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

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

The Gratitude of the Indians

Then a great feast of bread smeared with molasses, pickled beef, roasted pumpkins, nookick, hominy, and a dozen other dishes, all of which had been made by our mothers, was set before the savages, and the governor and chief men of Philadelphia, after eating a little to show their good will, went back to the tavern, for by this time it was fully built and had been given the name of Blue Anchor.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

It is in my mind that the Indians were well pleased when our fathers left them, for each one was eager to handle the price of the land, but did not want to show his eagerness while the white men were nearby to see him.

As for the lads, they cared not one whit, and when the governor and his following had disappeared, they fell upon the goods like crows upon a newly planted cornfield. Each chose what he most wanted, and it was left to the chief, an old fellow who was wrapped in two or three blankets, to say how the stuff might be divided.

The squaws didn't dare make too great a show of themselves; but now and then you would see one edge up to a package of paint, or a paper of beads, as if tempted to take possession boldly without asking leave. The children looked on the treasures from a distance, knowing only too well what would be the result if they dared lay hands on the poorest article.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Jethro and I had great sport watching the brown people, and at the same time I must confess that it would have pleased us right well to have some of the goods for our own, until the sun had set, when the savages, each man staggering under a burden, went to their villages, leaving us lads to attend to our chores for the night.

It was well that the Indians carried their goods away early, for otherwise Jethro and I would have been keen to stay until the last man had disappeared, even though there was good reason why we should get into bed at an early hour.


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