is the best example of White
progress in America
, because nothing accidental, nothing temporary, rules the conditions of her growth.
She has not been made a Royal residence, like Rome
; the centre of a new imperial system, like Berlin
No great discovery of mineral wealth has drawn to her the daring spirits of all nations, like San Francisco
She is not the chief entry of immigrants from Europe
, like New York.
She has not sprung into fashion like Brighton
She owes no part of her fortune to having been made a free port, like Livorno, or to her having taken the fancy of a Caesar, like Madrid
Her growth is natural.
Accidental growth is seen in many towns.
A railway bridge secures prosperity to Omaha
; a line of docks makes Birkenhead
; a spring of oil gives life to Petrolia.
owes her wealth to
general causes, and her greatness is not jeopardized by the failure of a dozen industries.
Men now living in Walnut Street remember a time when Philadelphia
was not so large as Croydon
She is now bigger than Berlin
— nearly as big as New York.
Only fifty years ago she was about the size of Edinburgh
Ten years later she was as big as Dublin
In another ten years she had outgrown Manchester
Fifteen years ago she was ahead of Liverpool
At the present moment Philadelphia
is more than equal to Manchester
, and Sheffield
If the population of Dublin
, and Chester
were counted in one list they would hardly make up half the number of people who house in Philadelphia
at this present day. If size is but another name for power the City of Brotherly Love
Leaving out Chinese
claims to be the fourth city in the world, admitting no superiors save London
, and New York.
She over-caps all other rivals.
She is bigger than Moscow
and St. Petersburg
, the two capitals of Russia
, put together.
The three capitals of the Astrologer Monarchy
, Pesth, and Prague
far below her numbers.
She has left behind her the four capitals of United Italy-Rome
, and Turin
She claims to have at the present hour a population somewhat exceeding eleven hundred thousand souls.
The growth of modern Rome
, the splendour of Berlin
, are not so singular as the growth and splendour of Philadelphia
No city in our time has thriven so much as Rome
has done since she became the capital of Italy
; yet in point of population Rome
is but a sixth-rate town.
In three years London
adds to her numbers more people than cluster on the Seven Hills
In four years Philadelphia
does the same.
No one supposes that Rome
will grow for ever as she is growing now. A Government, a Court, an army, and a Parliament, cannot enter her gates every year.
has grown with an amazing swiftness, and the capital of Imperial Germany
may feel the impulse of events longer than Rome
; for Germany
is a bigger country than Italy
, her state system is less parochial, and more of her chief citizens, both civil and military, find their interest in living near the Emperor
Yet in Berlin
, as in Washington
, and other artificial capitals,
the limit of this accidental growth must soon be reached.
is not, like London
and like Philadelphia
, a great commercial centre, with a port sufficiently near the sea for purpose of trade.
is land-locked, like Madrid
Few things are more certain than that the future capitals of the world will stand on both elements, accessible, as Constantine
said of Byzantium, by sea and land.
We hear so rarely of this silently-growing city on the Delaware
that four persons in every five will be amazed to hear that, like New York, Philadelphia
has left such ancient and historic capitals as Vienna
And yet her growth seems no less sound in bole than high in branch and rich in foliage.
On coming back into the city after some years' absence you are caught by a surprise at every turn.
You may not like to say you left the city clay and find it marble, yet the saying would not seem a great perversion of the facts.
Eight years ago I left many of my friends in brick houses, who are now dwelling in marble palaces.
The thoroughfares are rising into pomp and show.
I do not speak just now of public buildings of exceptional character and excellence-such
edifices as Girard's College, the most perfect classical building in America
, or of the new Girard bridge, over the Schuylkill River
— the widest, perhaps the handsomest, iron roadway in the world --but of ordinary structures-clubs and banks, churches and law-courts, masonic halls, hotels, and newspaper offices.
Two or three of the new banks are equal to the best things lately done in Lombard Street, while the great Masonic Temple
puts the residence of our own Grand Lodge to shame.
The new churches are mostly in good style and rich material, nearly all being faced with either rough green-stone or polished white marble.
The new buildings of the University
-partly completed — are fine in exterior, built of the rough green-stone peculiar to the .place, faced with red sand-stone, as well as rich in apparatus and collections, the department of physics being particularly good.
Broad Street is not yet a rival of Pall Mall, but Penn Square is both larger and better built than St. James's Square. Market Street is not yet equal to the Strand, but Chestnut Street is not unworthy to rank with Cheapside; and in a few years the business
quarters of Philadelphia
will vie in architectural effect with that of the best parts of London
, even Queen Victoria Street
and Ludgate Hill.
But banks are banks, and clubs are clubs.
A special beauty may be gained in one part of a city at the expense of others, as we have seen in Bloomsbury and Belgravia, when thousands on thousands of the poor were routed out of ricketty old lodgings to make room for New Oxford Street and Grosvenor Gardens.
Such things occur in great cities without being signs of growth.
The pulling-down of Paris
, under Louis Napoleon
, was no evidence of public health, but rather of a hectic glow and morbid appetite for change.
flow are the ordinary houses in a city built?
How are the masses lodged?
These are the questions which a statesman and a moralist ought to ask. It is not enough to ask whether, behind these banks and palaces, lie Field Lanes and Fox Courts; it is of more importance to see how the average classes of mankind are housed.
In no place, either in America
or out of it, have I seen such solid work-such means of purity and comfort — in the ordinary private houses, as in Philadelphia
There seem to be no sheds, no hovels,
In almost every house I find a bathroom.
Let no reader think the presence of a bathroom in a house a little thing.
It is a sign.
A bath means cleanliness, and cleanliness means health.
countries we see the baths of sultans and pashas; basins of marble, in the midst of shady trees, with jets of flashing water; luxuries for the rich, not necessaries for the poor.
Here we have baths for everyone who likes to pay for water; and I read in the Water Company
's report that more than forty thousand heads of families in Philadelphia
pay that company a water-rate for household baths.
That record is a greater honour to the city-as implying many other things, the thousand virtues that depend on personal cleanliness — than even the beauties of Fairmont Park
Yet Fairmont Park
, containing three thousand five hundred acres, and lying along the Schuylkill River
and Wissahickon Creek
, is a wonder of the earth.
Think of a park in which Hyde Park
, with its four hundred acres (the Ring, the Serpentine
, and the Ladies
' Mile) would be lost!
Central Park, New York
, is more than double the size of Hyde Park
, yet Central Park
would lie in a mere corner
of Fairmont Park
All the seven London Parks
thrown into one-Victoria
, Finsbury, Battersea
, St. James
, and Regent's-would not make one Fairmont Park
Nor is the loveliness of Fairmont Park
less striking than the size.
Neither the Prater in Vienna
, nor Las Delicias in Seville
, nor the Bois de Boulogne
, though bright and varied, can compare in physical beauty with Fairmont
The drive along the Guadalquiver on a summer evening is delicious; and the views of Sevres
and St. Cloud
are always charming; but the Schuylkill
is a more picturesque river than either the Guadalquiver near Seville
or the Seine near Paris
The view from George Hill
combines the several beauties of the view from Richmond Hill
and Greenwich Hill.
There is a wooded country rolling backwards into space.
There is the wide and winding river at your feet, and, just beyond the river, camps of spires and steeples, towers and domes; and, rising over all, like a new Parthenon, the noble pile called Girard's College.
Seen on a sunny day, in the Indian
summer, when the forest leaves are burning into gold and crimson, and the shining marble flashes through the
air, this view from George Hill
is one of the things which, “seen, become a part of sight.”
Yet, in this proud story of American growth, there is some drawback.
May one hint that in the halls of victory there is a sad, if not a serious, writing on the wall?