There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government. — Benjamin Franklin

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

The End of Our School Days

In three months' time we had completed our course at school, unless we felt disposed to pay eight shillings more and go over the same routine; but neither Jethro nor I believed we should be warranted in so doing, for there was much work to be done in the building of the new town, and it seemed like willful waste to turn our backs on the forge when so many shillings could be earned making nails or spikes. Therefore it was we set about working old iron into shape once more, striving earnestly to make perfect wares.

I have since come to understand, however, that we had better never have forged a nail, than fail of gaining all the knowledge possible, for he who has not as much of book-learning as his fellows, is in a bad way when he comes to be a man grown.

More than once since Jethro and I went out from Enoch Flower's house for the last time as pupils, have I regretted most bitterly that I cast aside the one opportunity I had for learning that which is to be had from books.

Then, however, I said to myself that when another school was opened in Philadelphia, with a teacher who gave more time to the children than he did to carding or spinning, I would present myself as a pupil, no matter what the cost might be; but like many another foolish fellow before me, I reckoned on a chance which never came.

It was not until the year of grace 1689 that the Friends' school was opened, with George Keith, a Scotch Quaker and public preacher, as the teacher, and then I was not only too old, but had so many of worldly cares on my shoulders that school-going was out of the question, even though I had not been painfully ashamed to sit myself down with small children who could put me to blush because of knowing more than I did.

Therefore it is I know full well of what I write, when I set it down that the lad who fails to get whatsoever of knowledge he can in his early youth, is worse than a fool, and, if God spares his life many years, will spend the greater portion of them mourning over his folly.


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