Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/239

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219
THE FIRST AWAKENING

to settle in and then making a half-way halt in Maryland, hurried down to the Eastern Shore to get together what material he could to keep us in countenance in the town of my Grandfather's adoption. It was soothing to find more than one Robins among the earliest settlers of Virginia and mixed up with Virginia affairs at an agreeably early date. But what wouldn't I have given to see our name in a little square on one of the early maps of the City of Philadelphia as I have since seen J.'s? And the interest in ancestors spread, and no Englishman could ever have been so eager to prove that he came over with the Conqueror as every American was to show that he dated back to William Penn, or the first Virginia Company, or the Dutch, or the Mayflower; no Order of Merit or Legion of Honour could have conferred more glory on an American than a Colonial Governor in the family; no aristocracy was more exclusive than the American founded on the new societies of Colonial Dames and Sons and Daughters of Pennsylvania and of every other State.

It was preposterous, I grant, in a country whose first article of faith is that all men are born equal, but Americans could have stood a more severe attack of snobbishness in those days, the prevailing attitude of Americans at home being not much less irreverent than that of the Innocents Abroad. In Philadelphia it was not so much irreverence as indifference. The habit of Philadelphians to depreciate their town and themselves, inordinate as, actually, was their pride in both, had not been thrown off.