The angry historians see one side of the question. The calm historians see nothing at all, not even the question itself. — G. K. Chesterton

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Penn Joins in the Sports

Then it was our governor did that which caused the heart of every lad present to warm toward him, for when the Indians had done their best, and the victor was pluming himself over the knowledge that he had distanced all the others, William Penn, throwing off his coat, made a straightaway leap, seemingly without exerting himself overly much.

A great shout went up from the Indians, who gathered around quickly to measure the distance covered, and then we white people yelled ourselves hoarse, for the governor had leaped a good four inches further than the best of the savage jumpers.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

From that moment our William Penn had a warm place in the heart of every man and boy, white or brown. He had shown that he was not one of those high and mighty ones, who, because of being set to rule over the people, holds himself aloof, as if made of better stuff than those under him, and we loved him for it.

The sports went on, after a time, the governor remaining with us, watching eagerly all that took place; but he did not give any further proof of what he could do, much to our disappointment.

Because of his eating what had been brought by the savages, as well as that sent to the pond by our mothers, the men of the town could do no less than follow his example, and while the women of Philadelphia were straining themselves to cook that which should particularly tempt the appetite, all hands were feasting on the food of the Indians.

A merry time did we have of it on that first day after William Penn came among us, and if it so be that there is ever a festival in Philadelphia which can surpass it, I shall be much surprised.


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