Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

News of William Penn's Arrival

It was known to the people that our governor counted to be with us during the first summer after we arrived; but we could not know just when he would sail from England, and while we looked for him each day, it was somewhat of a surprise when an Indian runner came up from a place down the river called New Castle, where had settled a few Swedes and some Dutchmen, with the news that William Penn had come in the ship Welcome.

As we learned later, our William had bought from the Duke of York a very large tract of land on which was this town of New Castle, and when his ship anchored there, the agent of the duke came down to the shore with the key of the fort, thus proving he was willing to admit that Governor Penn was the lawful ruler.

Then, to show that he had the right to the land, our William went up to the fort, unlocked the door, stepped inside, and locked the door after him. In a few minutes he came out again and walked around the fort, in token that everything outside, as well as in, was his.

After this the Duke of York's agent brought to him a sod of earth in which was growing a small tree-sprout, and a dish filled with water, which was the same as saying that all the land, with everything growing on it, together with the streams and springs, belonged to William Penn.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

The Indian runner had seen this ceremony before he came to warn us of the visitor whom we burned to welcome to his own, and the savage said that he left our William sitting at table; but that it was the latter's purpose to come up the river to where we were, on the morrow, if the wind served.

We were not only to see him; but doubtless he had brought with him many Friends whom we knew, and there was no thought of work from that moment until we had sobered down somewhat from our rejoicings.


Front Matter

The Name of My City
My Own Name
Why We Went to London
Bound for America
On Board Ship
Unknown Country
The End of the Voyage
Going Ashore
Our First Shelter
A Tedious Task
Our Cave Home Completed
How We Kept House
Savages Come to Town
What the Savages Wore
Game in Plenty
Sea Food
News of the Factor
Arrival of the Amity
Going to Meet the Factor
A Tiresome Journey
Meeting Old Friends
Roasting Turkeys
Turning an Honest Penny
A Place for the City
Building the City
A Bear Hunt
The New Home
Penn's Care for Colonists
The First Baby
How the Indians Live
Indian Utensils and Tools
Canoes of Bark
Making Wampum
The Beehive Huts
Finishing the Cure
Starting a Fire
Cooking Indian Corn
News of Penn's Arrival
Our Humble Preparations
The Welcome to Penn
A Day of Festivities
Penn Joins in the Sports
More Serious Business
What a Bake Oven Is
Baking in the New Oven
Penn Plans to Buy Land
Penn and the Indians
The Price Paid for Land
Gratitude of the Indians
Trapping Wild Turkeys
New Arrivals
Government by the People
The Promise of a School
Dock Creek Bridge
The Nail Business
Buying Iron in New York
No Merrymaking after Dark
Busy Days
Enoch Flower's School
End of Our School Days
Settlement of Germantown
New Laws in Our Own Town
A Division of Opinion
A Matter of History
Boundary Lines
The Governor's Following
A Proud Departure
The Settlement of Chester
Dining in State
Anchored off New Castle
An Uncomfortable Night
A Dull Journey
In Lord Baltimore's City
A Splendid Home
A Question of Duty
Amy of Maryland
The Shops of Maryland
The Result of the Visit
Philadelphia Progresses
Penn Goes Back to London