An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger. — Confucius

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

New Laws in Our Own Town

Our people had made one law during this year which was of no little concern to me, even though I did not profit greatly thereby, because of there being no way, save for the school kept by Enoch Flower, in which our people could obey it.

This was a law that every boy or girl must learn so much as to be able to read the Bible, and this before he or she was twelve years old, at which time the school days were over, and a trade, or something in the way of work by which a living might be gained, must be learned by each one, regardless of how great wealth the parents might have.

The children under twelve years of age were required to be able to write a clerkly hand, but more was not required by law; therefore when Enoch Flower had finished off his pupils, he could say that all necessary had been done, since I dare venture to say neither girl nor boy sat under his instruction without being able at least to card and spin.

It was the beginning of this law which pleased me in the wording, for there was good sound common sense therein, and I can repeat it even now, because of having been forced to read it so many times while striving to get the full value of the eight shillings I paid, out of the money earned by making nails, to Enoch Flower.

These are the words which father declared gave good proof that our William Penn was a man of wisdom, for he it was who set down them "To the end that poor as well as rich may be instructed in good and commendable learning, which is to be preferred before wealth,"—and verily learning is the only thing which a lad may have in this world that he cannot squander or lose, however much of a spendthrift he may be.


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