Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

On Board Ship

Because of my going on board ship within four and twenty hours after my father had decided to make a home on the land which the king had given William Penn, I did not have the disagreeable opportunity of raising dismal forebodings regarding the long voyage before us.

I knew nothing whatsoever of a seaman's life; but had heard that he who goes on the ocean for the first time must expect to be ill. There was never a thought that the illness of the sea was a sickness that seemingly brought one nigh unto death, but the ship was hardly more than out of the port, before I believed of a verity that my last hour was near at hand.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

When it seemed to me that I could not live any longer, the illness began to leave me, and from that time until we were come to Penn's land, the sea, however violent, could not cause me uneasiness so far as concerned my stomach.

Then it was, that I began to take delight in thus voyaging on the ocean, and again and again did I spend a full day at a time, watching the onrush of the ship through the curling, dizzying waves which at one time appeared so beautiful, and at another were so threatening that it aroused fear in one's heart simply to glance at them.

When I stood by the rail in the hinder part of the ship, it was as if a big lump came into my throat on seeing her dive into the green valleys of water, and again rise on the foaming mountains, as if eager to bring us speedily to our new home.

When I was not thus engaged in watching the movements of the vessel, I listened to the conversation of my elders, which was, as you may suppose, chiefly concerning the land to which we were voyaging.


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