When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws. — G. K. Chesterton

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

The Meeting of Penn and the Indians

The forenoon was more than half spent before William Penn, followed by nearly all the men of the town, came in sight, walking slowly as if bent on business of great importance.

I had looked to see our governor blossom out in gorgeous garments, for surely it seemed fitting he should appear in his bravest attire when the savages were decked in all the feathers and beads that could be come at; but, to my disappointment, he wore the same sad-colored coat and breeches as when he first came ashore.

He had, however, girt around his waist, a blue silk sash of fine network, the ends of which hung below his knees, displaying no little of fringe. It would have given me great satisfaction if he could have buckled on a sword; but that I did not expect, for Friends do not wear warlike weapons, and our governor was too strict a Quaker to offend for the sake of showing himself in finery.

When he arrived with the other men, the savages never lifted so much as an eyelash, and I wondered greatly why some of our people did not tell them to show at least so much of respect to the governor, as to stand on their feet when he came toward them.

William Penn and the others of our men gathered in a little group near the big boxes, and when they were come to a halt, looking as if ready to go on with the business, I saw one of the oldest Indians, who was seated in the very front row, whisper to a younger savage, whereupon this last got on his feet, beginning to talk in his own language.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

I could gather a word here and there, enough to give me a smattering of what he was saying, and knew the savages were bidding our governor welcome to the country.

Nearby William Penn stood an Indian who could talk in English right well; he told the governor what the other fellow was saying, and when the speech was come to an end, our William made "great talk" to the brown people.

He told them we had come to live in their world, if so be they were willing, and would pay for all the land we used. I didn't quite like it because of his failing to say that the king had already given him the whole country, and that therefore he could do as he pleased without asking leave of anybody; but perhaps it was best to make the brown men understand that we believed they bad better right to the place than had we.

The governor also told them that all Christians should love each other, striving always to do good instead of wrong, and every time the governor stopped to breathe, they would speak out as if to say it was all right. When he wound up saying he would now show what he had brought to pay for the land, there was considerable noise and excitement, some of the younger men getting on their feet, but onlv to sit down again right soon, as if ashamed of having shown so much interest.


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