William Bingley
Travels in North America, From Modern Writers

This town is laid out on a very extensive scale. A small part of it only is yet completed; but little doubt is entertained that ten years will accomplish the whole. Fifteen years had not passed since there was here no other trace of habitation than a solitary log-house, built for the occasional reception of merchandise, on its way down the Mohawk. The overflowing population of New England, fixing its exertions on a new and fertile soil, has, within a few years, effected this change.

Independently of its soil, Utica has great advantages of situation; for it is nearly at the point of junction betwixt the waters of the lakes and of the Atlantic.

With Utica commences a succession of flourishing villages and settlements, which renders this tract of country the astonishment of travellers. That so large a portion of the soil should, in less than twenty years, have been cleared, brought into cultivation, and have acquired a numerous population, is, in itself, sufficiently surprising; but the surprise is considerably increased, when we consider the character of elegant opulence with which it every where smiles on the eye. Each village teems, like a hive, with activity and employment. The houses, taken in the mass, are on a large scale; for (except the few primitive log-huts that still survive) there is scarcely one below the appearance of an opulent London tradesman's country box. They are, in general, of wood, painted white, with green doors and shutters; and with porches, or verandas, in front.

The travellers passed through Skaneactas, a village, pleasantly situated, at the head of the lake from which it is named. They then proceeded to Cayuga, which, besides its agreeable site, is remarkable for a bridge, nearly a mile in length, over the head of the Cayuga lake: it is built on piles, and level. Betwixt Cayuga and Geneva is the flourishing little village of Waterloo, formed since the battle so named. Geneva contains many elegant houses, beautifully placed, on the rising shore, at the head of the Geneva lake.

From Geneva to Canandaigua, a tract of hill and vale extends, for sixteen miles, and having (within that space) only two houses. Canandaigua is a town of villas, built on the rising shore of the Canandaigua lake. The lower part of the main street is occupied by stores and warehouses; but the upper part of it, to the length of nearly two miles, consists of ornamented cottages, tastefully finished with colonnades, porches, and verandas; and each within its own garden or pleasure-ground. The prospect, down this long vista, to the lake, is peculiarly elegant.

From Canandaigua the travellers turned from the main road, nine miles, south-west, to visit what is called "the burning spring." On arriving near the place, they entered a small but thick wood, of pine and maple-trees, enclosed within a narrow ravine. Down this glen, the width of which, at its entrance, may be about sixty yards, trickles a scanty streamlet. They had advanced on its course about fifty yards, when, close under the rocks of the right bank, they perceived a bright red flame, burning briskly on the water. Pieces of lighted wood were applied to different adjacent spots, and a space of several yards in extent was immediately in a blaze. Being informed by the guide that a repetition of this phenomenon might be seen higher up the glen, they scrambled on, for about a hundred yards, and, directed in some degree by a strong smell of sulphur, they applied their match to several places, with similar effect. These fires continue burning unceasingly, unless they are extinguished by accident. The phænomenon was originally discovered by the casual rolling of lighted embers, from the top of the bank, whilst some persons were clearing it for cultivation; and, in the intensity and duration of the flame, it probably exceeds any thing of the kind that is known.

Rochester stands immediately on the great falls of the Genesee, about eight miles above its entrance into lake Ontario. When Mr. Hall was here, this town had been built only four years, yet it contained a hundred good houses, furnished with all the conveniences of life; several comfortable taverns, a cotton-mill, and some large corn-mills. Its site is grand. The Genesee rushes through it, over a bed of limestone, and precipitates itself down three ledges of rock, ninety-three; thirty, and seventy-six feet in height, within the distance of a mile and a half from the town. The immediate vicinity of Rochester is still an unbroken forest, consisting of oak, hickory, ash, beech, bass, elm, and walnut-trees. The wild tenants of the woods have, naturally, retired before the sound of cultivation; but there are a few wolves and bears still in the neighbourhood. One of the latter had lately seized a pig close to the town. Racoons, porcupines, squirrels black and grey, and foxes, are still numerous. The hogs have done good service in destroying the rattlesnakes, which are already becoming rare. Pigeons, quails, and blackbirds abound. At Rochester, the line of settled country, in this direction, terminates; for, from this place to Lewistown, are eighty miles of wilderness.

The traveller, halting on the verge of these aboriginal shades, is inclined to pause in thought, and to consider the interesting scenes through which he has been passing. They are such as reason must admire, for they are the result of industry, temperance, and freedom. Five or ten, or, at the utmost, twenty years before Mr. Hall was in America, where there are now corn-fields, towns, and villages, the whole country was one mass of forest.

Notwithstanding the bad state of the roads, the stage-waggon runs from Rochester to Lewistown in two days. This journey is so heavy, that it is sometimes necessary to alight, and walk several miles, or to suffer almost a dislocation of limbs, in jolting over causeys or logged roads, formed of pine, or oak-trees, laid crossways. At different intervals, square patches seem cut out of the forest, in the centre of which low log-huts have been constructed, without the aid of saw or plane; and are surrounded by stumps of trees, black with the fires kindled for the purpose of clearing the land.

Lewistown was one of the frontier villages burnt during the last war, to retaliate upon the Americans for the destruction of Newark. It has, however, been since rebuilt, and all the marks of its devastation have been effaced. It is agreeably situated, at the foot of the limestone ridge, on the steep bank of the river St. Lawrence, which here rushes, with a boiling and eddying torrent, from the falls to Lake Ontario. Lewistown, notwithstanding its infancy, and its remote situation, contains several good stores.

Queenston, on the opposite side of the river, stands in the midst of corn-fields and farm-houses; a rare and interesting sight in Canada. It is built on the river's edge, at the foot of the heights. Before the late war it was embosomed in peach-orchards; but these were all felled, to aid the operations of the English troops. The heights are still crowned by a redoubt, and by the remains of batteries, raised to defend the passage of the river. It was near one of these that Sir Isaac Brocke was killed, on the 13th of October, 1812, while, with four hundred men, he gallantly opposed the landing of fifteen hundred Americans, the whole of whom were afterwards captured by g\General Sheaffe.

From Queenston Mr. Hall proceeded to York, a town within the British territory, situated on the north-western bank of lake Ontario. The country through which he passed abounded in game of various kinds. From the head of the lake it was, however, less varied than on the Niagara frontiers; and, for many miles, it was an uniform tract of sandy barrens, unsusceptible of culture.

York, being the seat of government for Upper Canada, is a place of considerable importance in the eyes of its inhabitants. To a stranger, however, it presents little more than about one hundred wooden houses, several of them conveniently, and even elegantly built; one or two of brick. The public buildings were destroyed by the Americans.

From York, Mr. Hall went, through the little town of Ancaster, to visit a Settlement of Mohawk Indians, on the banks of the Grand River. In the American war the Mohawks were strongly attached to the British interest, and first followed Sir William Johnson in Canada, under their chieftain, a celebrated warrior, whose name was Brandt. This man accustomed his people to the arts of civilized life, and made farmers of them. He built a church, and himself translated one of the gospels into the Mohawk language. His grave is to be seen under the walls of his church. The son of this extraordinary Indian is now living, and is a fine young man, of gentlemanly manners and appearance: he both speaks and writes the English language with correctness; and he dresses nearly in the English fashion. Brandt left also a daughter, who is living, and who would not disgrace the fashionable circles of Europe. Her face and person are fine and graceful: she speaks English, not only correctly, but elegantly; and, both in her speech and manners, she has a softness approaching oriental languor. She retains so much of her national dress as to identify her with her people; over whom she affects no superiority, but with whom she seems pleased to preserve all the ties and duties of relationship. She held the infant of one of her relations at the font, on the Sunday that Mr. Hall visited the church at Ancaster. The usual church and baptismal service was performed by a Dr. Aaron, an Indian, and an assistant priest; the congregation consisted of sixty or seventy persons, male and female. Many of the young men were dressed in the English fashion, but several of the old warriors came with their blankets, folded over them; and, in this dress, with a step and mien of quiet energy, they forcibly reminded Mr. Hall of ancient Romans. Some of them wore large silver crosses, medals, and other trinkets, on their backs and breasts; and a few had bandeaus, ornamented with feathers. Dr. Aaron, a grey-headed Mohawk, had touched his cheeks and forehead with a few spots of vermilion, in honour of Sunday: he wore a surplice, and preached at considerable length; but his delivery was unimpassioned and monotonous.

The Mohawk village stands on a little plain, and looks down upon the Grand River. The houses of the inhabitants, built of logs, rudely put together, exhibit, externally, a great appearance of neglect and want of comfort: some few are in a better condition. The house belonging to Brandt's family resembled that of a petty English farmer: Dr. Aaron's was neat and clean. The doctor, who had been regularly ordained, and spoke very good English, told Mr. Hall that the village had been much injured by the wars, which had impeded its improvements, and had dispersed the inhabitants over the country.

Mr. Hall had little opportunity of observing the manners and character of these Indians. It may, however, be conjectured that European intercourse is fast obliterating the characteristic features of their former social system. Their increased knowledge of European arts and enjoyments, has been probably followed by a proportionate increase of wants and desires. Their manners seemed, to Mr. Hall, remarkable for nothing so much as for that quiet self-possession, which constitutes the reverse of vulgarity. Their women, before strangers, are extremely timid: most of those who lived at a distance from the church, came mounted, with their husbands walking by their sides; a symptom, perhaps, that the sex is rising among them into an European equality of rights and enjoyments. The whole of the settlements are reckoned to furnish about five hundred warriors to the British government.

Mr. Hall next describes the celebrated Cataract or Falls of Niagara. At the distance of about a mile from this cataract, a white cloud, hovering over the trees, indicates its situation: it is not, however, until the road emerges from a close country, into the space of open ground immediately in its vicinity, that white volumes of foam are seen, as if boiling up from a sulphureous gulph. Here a foot-path turns from the road, towards a wooded cliff. The rapids are beheld on the right, rushing for the space of a mile, like a tempestuous sea. A narrow tract descends about sixty feet down the cliff, and continues across a plashy meadow, through a copse, encumbered with masses of limestone. Beyond this, Mr. Hall found himself upon what is called the Table Rock, on the west side of the upper part of the cataract, at the very point where the river precipitates itself into the abyss. The rapid motion of the waters, the stunning noise, and the mounting clouds, almost persuade the startled senses, that the rock itself is tottering, and is on the point of being precipitated into the gulph, which swallows the mass of descending waters. He bent over it, to mark the clouds rolling white beneath him, as in an inverted sky, illuminated by a most brilliant rainbow; one of those features of softness which nature delights to pencil amid her wildest scenes, tempering her awfulness with beauty, and making even her terrors lovely.

There is a ladder about half a mile below the Table Rock; and, by this, Mr. Hall descended the cliff, to reach the foot of the fall. There was formerly much difficulty in the descent, but a few years have made a great change: the present dangers and difficulties may easily be enumerated. The first is, the ordinary hazard that every one runs who goes up or down a ladder: this ladder is a very good one, of thirty steps, or about forty feet; and, from it, the path is a rough one, over the fragments and masses of rock which have gradually crumbled, or have been forcibly riven, from the cliff, and which cover a broad declining space, from its foot to the brink of the river. The only risk, in this part of the pilgrimage, is that of a broken shin from a false step. The path gradually becomes smooth as it advances towards the cataract. Mr. Hall, as he drew near, says that he felt a sensation of awe, like that caused by the first cannon, on the morning of a battle. He passed, from sunshine, into gloom and tempest. The spray beat down in a heavy rain; a violent wind rushed from behind the sheet of water: it was difficult to respire, and, for a moment, it seemed temerity to encounter the convulsive workings of the elements, and to intrude into the dark dwellings of their power. But the danger is in appearance only: it is possible to penetrate only a few yards beyond the curtain, and, in these few, there is no hazard; the footing is good, and the space is sufficiently broad and free. There is even no necessity for a guide: the eyes amply suffice to point out all that is to be seen or avoided. During Mr. Hall's first visit, there were two young American ladies on the same errand; and they, as well as himself, were drenched in the cloud of spray.

The larger fall was formerly called the "Horse-shoe," but this name is no longer applicable; for its shape has become that of an acute angle. An officer, who had been stationed in the neighbourhood thirty years, pointed out to Mr. Hall the alteration which had taken place in the centre of the fall, and which he estimated at about eighteen feet in that time.

The lesser fall, on the American side, had the appearance of a considerable elevation, above the bed of the greater: on enquiry, Mr. Hall found that there was a difference between them, of about fifteen feet, caused, probably, by the greater weight of water descending down one than the other.

The island which divides the falls has, of late years, been frequently visited; nor is the visit to it an adventure of much hazard. At the point where the rapids commence, the current separates, and is drawn, on either side, towards the centre of the two falls, while the centre of the stream, being in the straight line of the island, descends towards it, without any violent attraction; and, down this still water, American boats, well manned, and furnished with poles to secure them from the action of the two currents, have frequently dropt to the island.

There is a whirlpool about half way betwixt Niagara and Queenston. The river, boiling and eddying from the falls, enters a circular basin, round which the lofty cliff sweeps, like an antique wall, overgrown with trees at its base, and amid its clefts and crevices. The cause of the whirlpool is perceptible to the spectator, who looks down, and observes that the stream, being compelled into this basin, by the direction of its channel, and unable to escape with celerity, is forced to gain time by revolving within its own circumference.

[Mr. Weld, who visited Niagara, about the year 1797, observes that, although the spray, and the noise of the cataract, are sometimes not observable so far as half a mile, yet, at other times, the noise has been heard at the distance of forty miles; and that he has himself seen the spray, like a cloud, at the distance of fifty-four miles. The river, as it approaches the falls, runs with astonishing impetuosity. Just at the precipice, down which it tumbles, it takes a considerable bend towards the right; and the line of the falls, instead of extending from bank to bank, in the shortest direction, runs obliquely across. The whole width of the fall is estimated to be about three quarters of a mile, including a rocky island, a quarter of a mile wide, by which the stream is divided. This cataract is divided, by islands, into three distinct falls, the loftiest of which is one hundred and sixty feet in perpendicular height.

Mr. Weld observes that it is possible not merely to pass to the very foot of the great fall; but even to proceed behind the tremendous sheet of water which comes pouring down from the top of the precipice; for the water falls from the edge of a projecting rock, and, by its violent ebullition, caverns of considerable size have been hollowed out of the rocks at the bottom, and extend some way beneath the bed of the upper part of the river. Mr. Weld advanced within about six yards of the edge of the sheet of water, just far enough for him to peep into the caverns behind it. But here his breath was nearly taken away by the violent whirlwind, that always rages at the bottom of the cataract, occasioned by the concussion of such a vast body of water against the rocks. Indeed Mr. Weld had no inclination either to go further, or to explore the dreary confines of these caverns, where death seemed to await any one who should be daring enough to enter their threatening jaws. No words, he says, can convey an adequate idea of the awful grandeur of the scene, at this place. The senses are appalled by the sight of the immense body of water that comes pouring from the top of the precipice; and by the thundering sound of the billows dashing against the rocky sides of the cavern below. He trembled with reverential fear, when he considered that a blast of the whirlwind might have swept him from off the slippery rocks on which he stood, and have precipitated him into the dreadful gulph beneath; whence all the power of man could not have extricated him. He here felt what an insignificant being man is in the creation; and his mind was forcibly impressed with an awful idea of the power of that mighty Existence, who commanded the waters to flow.]

Fourth Day's Instruction.


Narrative of Lieutenant Hall's Journey from Niagara to Philadelphia

Mr. Hall crossed the river from Fort Erie, and proceeded to Buffalo, one of the frontier villages which had been burnt during the great American war. Not a house had been left standing; yet, when Mr. Hall was there, it was not merely a flourishing village, but a considerable town, with good shops and hotels. The celerity with which Buffalo had risen from its ashes, indicates the juvenile spirit of life and increase, which so eminently distinguishes the American population.

As Mr. Hall proceeded on his journey, he found the country thickly settled, but dull and uniform in feature; being an entire flat. The autumn had been dry, and water was, in many places, extremely scarce. This is an evil not uncommon in newly-settled districts. Draining follows clearing; the creeks, no longer fed by the swamps, disencumbered also of fallen trunks of trees, and other substances, by which their waters were, in a great degree, stayed, easily run dry in summer, and soon fail altogether.

The principal inn at Batavia is large, and yet constructed upon an economical principle; for one roof covers hotel, prison, court-house, and assembly-room. The inhabitants were, at this time, building, by subscription, an episcopal church, the cost of which was to be twenty thousand dollars.

Caledonia is a small, but flourishing village, which has a handsome inn, with very comfortable accommodations; and, close to the road, is a large sheet of water, from which a clear and rapid stream descends, through a pleasing valley, into Allen's Creek, before the latter unites with the Genesee River. The banks of this creek are adorned with natural groves and copses, in which Mr. Hall observed the candleberry myrtle in great abundance: but a more interesting sight was afforded by numerous organic remains, with which the blocks of limestone, scattered through the low ground around it, are encrusted, as if with rude sculpture. These blocks are mixed with nodules of granite, and present innumerable forms, both of shells and aquatic plants. This district had been settled fifteen years; and, when Mr. Hall was here, cleared land was worth fifty dollars, and uncleared land about fifteen dollars per acre. At Avon Mr. Hall quitted the main road, and followed the right bank of the Genesee. The scenery, in the vicinity of this place, began to improve, but the roads were proportionally deteriorated. Wild even to savageness, mountain heights branched thickly across the country, with no seeming order or direction. The only level ground was in the narrow valleys, along the course of the streams.

The woods in the vicinity of the Genesee abound in large black squirrels, some of which are as big as a small cat. They are destructive to grain, and are, therefore, keenly pursued by sportsmen, who frequently make parties to kill them, and who destroy several thousands at one chase: their flesh is considered a great delicacy. These animals migrate, at different seasons; and have the credit of ingeniously ferrying themselves over rivers, by using a piece of bark for a raft, and their tails for sails.

Bath is embosomed in wild mountains. The principal houses are constructed round the three sides of a square, or green; and, as most of them were at this time new, white, and tastefully finished, they had a lively appearance, and were agreeably contrasted with the dark adjacent mountain scenery.

The road from Bath to Painted Post, though stony, is tolerably level. The adjacent mountains have a slaty appearance, with horizontal strata. Mr. Hall was disappointed at Painted Post, to find the post gone, broken down or rotted, within the last few years. It had been an Indian memorial, either of triumph or death, or of both.

When he was at Ancaster, this gentleman had been shown the grave of an Indian, among the woods, near the head of the stream: it was covered with boards, and a pole was erected at each end, on which a kind of dance was rudely painted with vermilion. The relatives of the deceased brought offerings to it daily, during their stay in the neighbourhood.

After passing through some other villages, Mr. Hall reached the banks of the Susquehanna: these have no great variety of scenery, though they frequently present grand features. The space betwixt the mountains and the river is often so narrow, that it barely suffices for one carriage to pass; and, in many places, the road, for a mile or two, seems to have been hewn from the rock. Near the creeks there is tolerable land, and two or three pleasant villages. The face of the landscape is no where naked: mountain and vale are alike clothed with pine and dwarf oak-trees; the swamp lands are covered with hemlock-trees, and the bottoms of the woods with rhododendrons.

Wilksbarre is a neat town, regularly laid out, on the left bank of the Susquehanna. Its locality is determined by the direction of one of the Alleghany ridges, which recedes from the course of the river, a few miles above the town, and, curving south-west, encloses a semicircular plot of land, towards the centre of which the town is built. Its neighbourhood abounds in coal. The pits are about a mile distant. They lie under a stratum of soft clay slate, which contains impressions of ferns, oak-leaves, and other vegetables, usually found in such situations. The town itself, in consequence of the frequent separation of its streets and houses, by grass-fields and gardens, has a quiet and rural aspect. It contains a neat church, appropriated to the alternate use of episcopalians and presbyterians. Wilkesbarre is built on the site of Wyoming: a small mound, near the river, is pointed out, as that on which the fort stood; and the incursion of the Indians, when most of the inhabitants fell, in an unsuccessful battle, is still remembered. Some few escaped, by swimming across the stream, and fled, naked, through the woods, for several days, till they reached the nearest settlement; and this is all the record that exists of Albert and Gertrude, the foundation of Campbell's poem of Gertrude of Wyoming.

At Wilkesbarre the road quits the Susquehanna, and, ascending a ridge of the Alleghany Mountains, crosses through deep forests and hemlock swamps, sparingly interspersed with settlements. The Pokono Mountain, over which Mr. Hall passed, is famous with the sportsmen and epicures of Philadelphia, for its grouse. Mr. Hall crossed the Blue Ridge, at the stupendous fissure of the Wind Gap, where the mountain seems forcibly broken through, and is strewed with the ruin of rocks. There is a similar aperture, some miles north-east, called the Water Gap. This affords a passage to the Delaware; and all the principal rivers of the states, that rise in the Alleghanys, pass through similar apertures.

Betwixt the Blue Ridge and the Lehigh River, are two Moravian settlements, called Bethlehem and Nazareth. [The inhabitants of the former constitute a large society, and occupy several farms. They have a spacious apartment, in which they all daily assemble, for the purpose of public worship. The single men and women have each a separate dwelling. The women are occupied in various domestic employments; in fancy and ornamental works; and, occasionally, in musical practice, under the direction of a superintendant. The walls of the large hall, where the society dine, are adorned with paintings, chiefly Scripture pieces, executed by members. Various branches of trade and manufacture are carried on, the profits of which go to the general stock; and, from this, all are supplied with the necessaries of life. Their whole time is spent in labour, and in prayer; except an hour in the evening, which is allotted for a concert. Among the Moravians marriage is contracted in a singular manner. If a young man has an inclination to marry, he makes application to the priest, who presents a young woman, designated by the superintendant as the next in rotation for marriage. Having left the parties together for an hour, the priest returns, and, if they consent to live together, they are married the next day; if otherwise, each is put at the bottom of the list, containing perhaps sixty or seventy names; and, on the part of the girl, there is no chance of marriage, unless the same young man should again feel disposed for matrimony. When united, a neat habitation, with a pleasant garden, is provided; and their children, at the age of six years, are placed in the seminary. If either of the parties die, the other returns to the apartment of the single people. In the Moravian establishment at Bethlehem, there is a tavern, with extensive and excellent accommodations.]

Madame de Stael, in describing the Moravians, says, "Their houses and streets are peculiarly neat. The women all dress in the same manner, conceal their hair, and surround their heads with a ribbon, the colour of which indicates whether they are single, married, or widows. The men dress in brown, somewhat like quakers. A mercantile industry occupies nearly the whole community; and all their labours are performed with peculiar regularity and tranquillity." Mr. Hall attended one of the meetings which the inhabitants of Bethlehem commonly hold every evening, for the joint purposes of amusement and devotion. The women were ranged at one end of the room, and the men at the other. Their bishop presided: he was an old man, dressed in the plainest manner, and possessed a countenance singularly mild and placid. He gave out a psalm, and led the choir; and the singing was alternately in German and English.

There is another Moravian settlement about a mile and a half from Nazareth. This, though small, exceeds both the others, in the calm and pensive beauty of its appearance. The houses are built of limestone: they are all on a similar plan, and have their window-frames, doors, and other wood-work, painted fawn-colour: before each house are planted weeping willows, whose luxuriant shade seems to shut out worldly glare, and throws an air of monastic repose over the whole village.

The Lehigh Mountain is the last of the Allegheny Ridges; the country is thenceforth level, fertile, and thickly inhabited, by steady Germans, who wear broad hats, and purple breeches; and whose houses and villages have the antique fashion of Flemish landscape. German is so generally spoken here, that the newspapers and public notices are all printed in that language.

The approach to Philadelphia is announced by a good turnpike road. German Town is a large suburb to the city, and the traveller here feels himself within the precincts of a populous and long-established capital.

A Description of Philadelphia

The first impressions, on entering this city, are decidedly favourable. It possesses a character essentially different from that of New York. It has not so much business, nor so much animation; but there is, in Philadelphia, a freedom from mere display; an evidence of solidity, of which its more commercial rival is nearly destitute.

All the streets are spacious; the names of many of them, as Sassafras, Chesnut, and Locust, record their sylvan origin: rows of Lombardy poplars are planted in them. The private houses are characterized by elegant neatness; the steps and window-sills of many of them are of grey marble, and they have large mats placed before the doors. The streets are carefully swept, as well as the foot-paths, which are paved with brick. The shops do not yield, in display, to those of London. The principal street is one hundred feet wide; and the others vary from eighty to fifty. In the foot-paths a great inconvenience is experienced by the injudicious mode in which cellars are constructed, the openings of which project into the street; and also by the slovenly practice of the store or shopkeepers placing great quantities of loose goods on the outside of their doors.

Philadelphia stands on the bank of the river Delaware; and, in 1795, when Mr. Weld was there, its appearance, as approached from the water, was not very prepossessing. Nothing was visible but confused heaps of wooden store-houses, crowded upon each other, and wharfs, which projected a considerable way into the river. The wharfs were built of wood; they jutted out, in every direction, and were well adapted for the accommodation of shipping; the largest merchant vessels being able to lie close alongside of them. Behind the wharfs, and parallel to the river, runs a street called Water-street. This is the first street which the stranger in America usually enters, after landing; and (says Mr. Weld) it will not give him a very favourable opinion either of the neatness or commodiousness of the public ways of Philadelphia. Such stenches, at times, prevail in it, owing in part to the quantity of filth and dirt that is suffered to remain on the pavement, and in part to what is deposited in waste-houses, of which there are several in the street, that it is really dreadful to pass through it. It was here, in the year 1793, that the malignant yellow fever broke out, which made such terrible ravages among the inhabitants; and, in the summer season, in general, this street is extremely unhealthy.

Few of the public buildings in Philadelphia pretend to great architectural merit. The churches are neat, but plain. The Masonic Hall is an unsightly combination of brick and marble, in the Gothic style. The Philadelphia bank is in a similar style. The United States and Pennsylvania banks are the finest edifices in the city: the first has a handsome portico, with Corinthian columns of white marble, and the latter is a miniature representation of the temple of Minerva at Athens, and is the purest specimen of architecture in the states: the whole building is of marble.

The State House is a plain brick building, which was finished in 1735, at the cost of £.6000. The most interesting recollections of America are attached to this edifice. The Congress sat in it during the greatest part of the war; and the Declaration of Independence was read, from its steps, on the 4th of July, 1776. The Federal Convention also sat in it, in 1787. It is now occupied by the supreme and district courts below, and by Peale's Museum above. This museum, among other articles, contains an immense fossil skeleton of the great Mastodon, or American Mammoth, which, some years ago, was publicly exhibited in London.

The University of Pennsylvania was instituted several years ago, by some of the citizens of Philadelphia; among whom was Dr. Franklin, who drew up the original plan. It is governed by a provost and vice-provost. In 1811, the number of students amounted to five hundred. The lectures commence the first Monday in November, and end on the first day of March. Among others, are professors of anatomy, surgery, midwifery, chemistry, moral philosophy, mathematics, and natural philosophy, belles lettres, and languages.