Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826

By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach

I spent the evening very pleasantly in the young ladies school; all the girls were assembled, and gave a musical entertainment, mostly songs composed for several voices. But as the girls have to retire early, the entertainment, for which I was indebted to the politeness of Mr. Seidel, was soon ended. I remained a short time with Mr. Seidel, I then took my leave of this worthy man, of the venerable Bishop Huffel, and the polite Mr. Frueauf, with the intention of returning next spring, God willing, to this lovely spot, with which I was so much delighted. In going home, I heard the young ladies sing their evening hymn, and received a very pretty serenade from twenty young folks of the place, who, although they belong to the brotherhood, serve as the musical band of the militia. I could not leave this peaceable and quiet Bethlehem without being affected, whose inhabitants all live united like one family, in brotherly and sisterly love, and seem all to have the same habits, acquired by the same education and continued sociability. I returned with the stage on the same bad road to Philadelphia by which I left it, but better enjoyed the view of this beautiful, well cultivated and thickly peopled country. The last part of the road was particularly interesting to me. In the flourishing villages of Germantown and Nicetown there are handsome gardens and country-seats of Philadelphians. In the vicinity of Whitemarsh, I observed the remains of General Washington's entrenchments. Germantown, originally settled by Germans, forms only one street, which is above three miles long. During the time when the English occupied Philadelphia and its vicinity, General Washington fell upon the English that were in and about Germantown. One battalion of the British threw themselves into a stone house, and defended themselves in it until the British army could rally again, and drive the Americans back. The house is situated in a garden, about one hundred paces from the road; near the house, in the street, is a well which supplies the house with water; to keep possession of the well was of great consequence to the British, and in its vicinity many men are said to have lost their lives.

On the ensuing morning I went with Mr. Halbach to Mr. Vaux, in order to visit under his guidance some other public institutions. At Mr. Vaux's we met several of the public characters of the city, with whom I had conversations on various subjects of public utility, such as schools, punishments, &c. Then we went into a Lancasterian free school, where five hundred lads are instructed, and several hundred girls of the lower classes. We did not see the girls; it was Saturday, which is a holiday. The boys are of various ages, and are divided into eight classes, under the inspection of one teacher and several monitors. They obey their instructors by signals, all their motions are made according to these signals, and they give their answers with the greatest precision. They exercise their memory by reciting pieces of poetry, and making mental calculations. They write well and all alike; they also receive instruction in geography; one of the boys had drawn a good and correct sketch of Thuringia. They ought to pay more attention to the dress of the children, for some of them were in rags. The school is supported by the city, and is under the direction of Quakers.

Of the courts of justice I will say nothing; they are entirely formed after the English model. The common law of England is so well known, and so many huge volumes written upon it, that I need say nothing on the subject.



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