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telligence so genial and magnetic. He was a wonder of a man, alive to every issue, living to a very great age with faculties singularly fresh and strong. Among his last papers was one in the Baltimore American, on the legal aspect of the Cuban question, that read like the vigorous product of a brain of forty.
A recent writer, describing the effect of modern intelligence upon art, refers to the development of tastes unknown to the ancients. They painted and carved and modelled the human figure, and built magnificent temples; but it was reserved for the genius of the nineteenth century to find poetry in the sea, the soil, the sunset, and the clouds; to combine geology, electricity, astronomy, and chemistry with the highest aptitudes of human skill, and to teach ästhetics with the aid of a finished imagination. Is this not true, also, of modern authorship? How curious and varied the personal literature of the day! Not better than, but how different from, autobiographies a century ago! If art has been utilized, so are biography and autobiography. Everybody that writes of the present thinks of the future as well as of the past. There is an ambition to teach by example; whether it is Turner, or Richards, who paints in faithful colors the sandy beach, the gray sea, or the roseate dawn; or Church who copies with inspired ecstasy the snowy foams of Niagara; or Bierstadt who reveals to us the awful glories of the Yosemite; or, turning to literature, those who write of themselves, or try to rescue the experiences of othersthey work with a warmer zest because they feel that they are helping to make a better and more correct history when they reveal a thousand things heretofore neglected by the great masters whose luminous footprints they reverentially follow.
THE OLD CLUBS OF PHILADELPHIA, AND THE NEW.-A HOST
OF UNFORGOTTEN NOTORIETIES.
I OFTEN amuse myself with anticipations of the manners and customs of those who are to follow us in the Great Hereafter. What sort of newspapers will be printed in 1980? How many new utilities will have been produced from steam, electricity, chemistry, geology, botany, and science generally? Will our posterity traverse the air as we now travel the land ? Will the dream of Mr. Maitland in his curious English novel of “Byeand-Bye" be fulfilled ?--the ocean underlaid with telegraphs, light performing the offices of heat, coal exhausted in all the great centres, balloons superseding or surpassing locomotives, women voting and legislating, and men chosen to office only because they are honest and fit? Will our descendants look back to us as warnings or examples ?
I was thinking of these things the other evening at one of our Philadelphia Saturday Club assemblies as the guests of the generous host passed before me in unconscious review. This “club" is a social institution peculiar to Philadelphia, the outgrowth of the memorable weekly reunions started seventyeight years ago, under the auspices of the beloved and learned Dr. Caspar Wistar, whose life was one long unselfish contribution to the comfort and happiness of his fellow-creatures. His paternal grandfather, Caspar Wistar, emigrated from the dominions of the Electorate of Heidelberg, Germany, where he was born September 16, 1717. His parents and ancestors on both sides belonged to the Society of Friends, and he himself was born in Philadelphia, September 16, 1761. He died January 14, 1818, yet in that comparatively short period he created an unforgotten name. The battle of Germantown made him a physician through his anxiety to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded, and, at the same time, to be consistent with the peaceful precepts of his faith. He graduated in Philadelphia after this, but completed his education abroad, in London and Edinburgh, and returned, after an absence of three years, a polished man of letters and of the world, and an accomplished practitioner. In easy circumstances, favored by a large patronage, professor of the anatomical chair of the University of Pennsylvania, first in every benevolent movement, his lectures were attended by crowds of students, and his patients included rich and poor. His house was open to men of learning, citizens and strangers, once every week in the winter, and at these assemblies were matured many plans for the benefit of science. They were called "Wistar" parties, and, long after his death, were continued, alike in honor of his high character and cultivated hospitalities, and because there was no better way to promote good-will among men and to soften the asperities of business, party, and religion. The card of invitation bore his handsome likeness, and thousands hailed it as the sure sign of an agreeable reunion between people of all opinions, nations, and vocations. Most of these thousands are gone; but there are some yet living who will tell you of Dr. Caspar Wistar, of his gentle manners and princely entertainments, and of the distinguished people they met in his spacious saloons. Here might be seen the men of the Revolution-soldiers and statesmen, for he knew them all. Yet, ardent patriot as he was, he
, tolerated differences like a true philosopher, and those widest apart on great questions greeted each other like brothers the moment they passed his threshold.
The Civil War terminated these characteristic weekly gatherings, and the Saturday Evening Club, organized two years ago, renews the delightful custom under modern auspices.
Here, as I have said, we may recall the past in the aged survivors of bygone days, and speculate upon the future in the presence of those who will live when we are gone. Their children will, perhaps, like to know about a Saturday Night Club in 1880, just as I should like to read a description of the company at Dr. Wistar's house eighty years ago. Watson, in the first volume of his " Annals," page 497, give us this glimpse :
“These evening -parties, for which Philadelphia society is remarkable, were begun by Dr. Caspar Wistar in 1799, by his call of all the members of the Philosophical Society to his house once a week during winter. They were continued to his death, in 1818, by himself alone. They were then continued by the members successively, in turn, at their several houses.
“In 1835, when Job R. Tyson, Esq., became the owner and resident of Dr. Wistar's former house, at the southwest corner of Fourth and Prune streets, they were again begun in that house, and have been continued in Mr. Tyson's turn, as often as it occurs, to the present time. None but members of the Philosophical Society can be members, and they only can be such who can come in by a unanimous vote. A limited number of guests can be invited, an indulgence more than once extended to the writer. Other societies, however, also exist bearing the name of Wistar parties, organized by sundry social circles, in imitation of the former; and they, not being enrolled philosophers, aim more to gratify the sense of good-cheer and hilarity than to discuss philosophy and intellectual abstractions. All these parties comprise only the male sex. Why don't the ladies take umbrage at the exclusion, and have their Blue-stocking parties too?"
The Saturday Night Club is a sight worthy of record and remembrance. It would be invidious to name the courteous hosts; but the guests, in one sense at least, are public property, because they have generally occupied public places, and will live in the history they have made for themselves. They arrived between nine and ten, and always leave at twelve; but these two hours were busy hours. In one group you saw nearly four centuries talking to each other in the persons of General Robert Patterson, eighty-nine, in the year of our Lord 1880; Henry C. Carey (since dead, at eighty-seven); Joseph R. Chandler, eighty nine; Colonel Charles S. Smith; and Charles Macalester (since dead, at eighty). Two ex-Chief-justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, both familiar in Washing. ton society, both giants in past Congresses, and both Democrats of the old time and new-James Thompson and George W. Woodward—were making a little circle merry with their wit, Thompson's "contagious laugh” ringing over all like a bugle note in an orchestra. Of course, Morton McMichael was there, the youngest man in the room (since dead, at seventy-four), telling Louis A. Godey, of the Lady's Book, his last joke, at which the latter closed his merry eyes over his large, round face, and shook his jolly sides. Yes, there were part of the Centennial Commission: Colonel Walter W. Wood and Hon. A. R. Boteler, ex-Confederates, from Virginia; Hon. Joseph R. Hawley, of Connecticut; Dr. George B. Loring, of Massachusetts; and Director-general Alfred T. Goshorn, of Ohio. That tall man with the dark-gray beard and a Paganini look is Peter F. Rothermel, the painter of "The Battle of Gettysburg," which you may see as you enter Fairmount Park. In 1874 I would have introduced you to General George Gordon Meade at any one of these parties; now he is in heaven. The handsome face 'framed in gray locks, and lighted by a pair of flashing eyes, is S. Austin Allibone, whose “ Dictionary of Authors,” in three large volumes, is on every editor's table. Talking to Colonel Thomas A. Scott is Hon. James Campbell, Postmaster-general under President Pierce, both men of mark. Scott's hair is growing whiter, but he is as bright as if the panic had not just grazed him, and Campbell is as cool and quiet as when everybody honored him for his honest administration of a difficult office. The tall, Spanish-looking person, a little like John A. Logan, and a good deal like General Lew Wallace, is General Hartranft, Governor of Pennsylvania; while next to him is Hon.