All this talk about optimism and pessimism is itself a dismal fall from the old talk about right and wrong. Our fathers said that a nation had sinned and suffered like a man. We say it has decayed, like a cheese. — G. K. Chesterton

Ruth of Boston - James Otis

This book follows the story of Ruth, a Puritan girl of ten who travels to the new world and is one of the earliest settlers of the New England colony that formed around Boston. The book emphasizes episodes from the daily life of a Puritan settler, such as preparing food, attending church and school, and doing household chores. Relations with the Indians and historical events are all portrayed from a Puritan's viewpoint.

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The purpose of this series of stories is to show the children, and even those who have already taken up the study of history, the home life of the colonists with whom they meet in their books. To this end every effort has been made to avoid anything savoring of romance, and to deal only with facts, so far as that is possible, while describing the daily life of those people who conquered the wilderness whether for conscience sake or for gain.

That the stories may appeal more directly to the children, they are told from the viewpoint of a child, and purport to have been related by a child. Should any criticism. be made regarding the seeming neglect to mention important historical facts, the answer would be that these books are not sent out as histories,—although it is believed that they will awaken a desire to learn more of the building of the nation, — and only such incidents as would be particularly noted by a child are used.

Surely it is entertaining as well as instructive for young people to read of the toil and privations in the homes of those who came into a new world to build up a country for themselves, and such homely facts are not to be found in the real histories of our land.


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Front Matter

A Proper Beginning
On the Broad Ocean
Making Ready for Battle
The Rest of the Voyage
First View of America
The Town of Salem
Other Villages
Visiting Salem
Making Comparisons
An Indian Guest
A Christening and a Dinner
Deciding upon a Home
A Sad Loss
Rejoicing to Mourning
Thanksgiving Day in July
Leaving for Charlestown
Our Neighbors
Getting Settled
The Great Sickness
Moving the Town
Master Prohibits Swimming
Anna Foster's Party
The Town of Boston
Guarding Against Fires
Our Own New Home
The Fashion of the Day
My Own Wardrobe
Master Johnson's Death
Many New Kinds of Food
The Supply of Food
The Sailing of the Lyon
The Famine
The Search for Food
The Starvation Time
A Day to be Remembered
The Coming of the Lyon
Another Thanksgiving Day
A Defense for the Town
A Problem of Servants
Building a Ship
Household Conveniences
How the Work is Divided
Launching the Ship
Master Winthrop's Mishap
New Arrivals
Another Famine
Fine Clothing Forbidden
Our First Church
A Troublesome Person
The Village of Merry Mount
Punishing Thomas Morton
Philip Ratcliff's Crime
In the Pillory
Stealing from the Indians
The Passing of New Laws
Master Pormont's School
School Discipline
Other Tools of Torture
Difficult Lessons
Other Schools
Raising Flax
Preparing Flax
Spinning, Bleaching, Weaving
What We Girls Do at Home
Making Soap
Soap from Bayberries
A Change of Governors
Flight of Roger Williams
Sir Harry Vane
Making Sugar
Sugaring Dinner
Training Day
Shooting for a Prize
Lecture Day
Punishment for Evildoers
Murder of John Oldham
Savages on the Warpath
Pequot Indians