Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. — George Orwell

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Game in Plenty

I can well fancy that you are wondering why I do not speak of what we had to eat in those days when we were living in caves, waiting for the remainder of the company to arrive that it might be decided where the city was to be built.

There is little need for me to say that we had brought with us enough of pickled beef, pork, meal, flour, and such things, to keep hunger far from us a full year; but straightway we were done with making those shelters which served in the stead of houses, we came to know that there was an abundance of food in the forest and rivers.

I had thought we were in the midst of plenty while in England, where one might buy whatsoever he desired, provided he had the money with which to pay for it; but here it was as if you need only venture out in any direction to get food such as would have caused the mouth of a king to water.

The wild pigeons came into the forest near us in such numbers that one could hardly see the sun when a flock flew overhead, and I, with none other to help me save Jethro, have knocked down from the branches of the trees, after the birds had gone to roost, a full two bushels of them in a single evening. What is more, I have actually seen the birds settle in such great numbers on a single limb as to break it off because of their immense weight.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Mother preserved as many of these pigeons as she could care for in what jars of stone or delft we brought with us, and had it been possible to step out and buy all the crockery-ware she wanted, I dare say we might have had of potted pigeons enough to serve us as food a full year, if so be one could eat of such meat for so long a time.

Nor were pigeons the only game to be found in these woods of Penn. He who was a fair marksman could, by going less than half a mile into the forest in the early morning, or just when the sun was setting, bring down a wild turkey of from twenty to forty pounds weight; and let me tell you that there is no more pleasing meat than can be found in a turkey that has been roasted on a spit, before a fire of chestnut wood, until the outside is crisp like that which, in England, we call the crackling of a young pig.

Then what think you of deer meat so plentiful that one may buy a fine fat buck for two shillings? We had so much of venison during the winter when we lived i n the cave that I have more than once turned up my nose at it, and yet an alderman's nose might well grow red at sight of the haunches mother served to us on that makeshift of a table which I had built.

We also had not a little of bear meat; and although others may eat that kind of food, if they are so disposed, it tastes too nearly like fresh pork on which sugar has been sprinkled, to please me.

Then there were elk in the forests as large as small oxen, and rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, and partridges in great numbers, while on the water could be found, in season, swan, geese, ducks, teal, and many other kinds of fowl.

Jethro and I went often into the forest, making as excuse that we would have a turkey, some partridges, or, perhaps, a deer; but the taking of game for food required but little time, and we spent the remainder of the day watching the wild creatures who had not come to know what a cruel enemy man is to them.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

My father held strictly to it that it is sinful to kill more than may be needed for food, and I have come to have the same belief. God gave them to us that we should not go hungry; but surely the poor creatures were never put in this world that we might find sport in depriving them of life.


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