Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

William Penn's Care for the Colonists

It was as if William Penn had studied out all these things until he came to understand what would be needed by people who ventured into the wilderness as had we. He took good care to have ships ready to sail from England whenever there were men and women enough to use them to advantage, and in each vessel he sent over necessary goods and supplies.

Thus it was that when the ship Submission sailed from London, she had on board men who knew how to make lime and bricks, to quarry stone, to set up mills for grinding corn, and to establish tanneries for making leather.

I have been told that in the eastern settlements the people had neither oxen, cows, sheep. pigs, nor even poultry, until three or four years after they had come into this land; whereas we of Philadelphia had, as soon as they were really needed, all these animals, as well as mills for grinding grain, brickyards, stone for building, tools for the planters, and everything to our hand, all through the thoughtfulness and oversight of our governor.

Our people were eager to follow the directions for making the city as they were laid down by William Penn, because of his having looked so sharply after their welfare, and again and again have I heard Thomas Holme read that which had been written for his guidance:

"Pitch upon the very middle plot of the town, to be laid facing the harbor, for my house," he had written, and so we did.

He directed also that each man's house should be in the center of his lot of land, to the end that we might have a green town such as would always be wholesome.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

We were told to be very tender with the Indians; to make them presents when deserved; to pay honestly for their goods or their labor, never striving, as it was said the Dutch in New Amsterdam had done, to put them off with worthless trinkets, and above all to assure them that we would buy all the land they claimed in that part of the country which had been given William Penn by the king.

I believe we had none among us who did not strive to do that which was required for the betterment of the city and for the safety of those who should live in it, either now, or in the time to come. We had built it with our own hands, having come far to do so, and it would have been strange had any failed of doing all that might be needed.

Now you can fancy that while we labored to do as our governor would have us, we were eager for his coming. Word had been sent that he was to leave England at some time during the summer, and eagerly did we watch the river, hoping each day that before another night had come he would be with us.


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