Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

No Merrymaking after Dark

We had counted, however, that we should be able to enjoy ourselves during the evenings; but among the new laws that were made, was one which put an end to overly much merrymaking after dark.

Governor Penn had settled it that the men of the town should take turns acting as watchmen, and two or three went around every evening about nine of the clock, to make certain none were abroad save in case of necessity.

Thus it was that many of the lads who were coming from, or going to, the Indian villages, were brought up with a round turn, and sent home with the unpleasant knowledge that on the following morning their fathers would be notified that a sound flogging was due them, for being out of doors in the evening without good and sufficient reason.

This obliging the men of our city to play the part of watchmen, cut short many a frolic which the lads would have indulged in, and, as Jethro said one day, perhaps it was just as well that our work at the forge kept us busy as long as it was possible to see, otherwise we might have been sent home by some of our neighbors, with a disagreeable time of it in prospect for the next morning.

William Penn had brought over a bell for the use of the city, and this was rung in the morning at breakfast time; then again when the hour came for beginning the day's work; and still again when it was time to go to dinner, and also to finish. In fact, we did all our business by that bell, and in case Samuel Preston, who had been hired to ring it, felt so disposed, he could bring us out of our beds half an hour too early, or keep us working just that much longer at night, if so be it was a cloudy day when we could not watch the sun.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis


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