Gateway to the Classics: Ruth of Boston by James Otis
Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

The First View of America

Five days later, which is the same as if I said on the twelfth day of June, early in the morning, when Susan and I came on deck, we saw spread out before us the land, and it needed not we should ask if this was the America where we were to live, for all the people roundabout us were talking excitedly of the skill which had been displayed by the master of the Arabella, in thus bringing us directly to the place where we had counted on coming.

It can well be fancied that Susan and I overhung the rail as the ship sailed nearer and nearer to the land, watching intently everything before us; yet seeing, much to our surprise, little more than would have been seen had we come upon the coast of England.

I had foolishly believed that even the shores of this New World would be unlike anything to be found elsewhere, and yet they were much the same. The rocks rising high above the waters, with the waves beating against them, made up a picture such as we had before us even while we lay at anchor off Cowes. The trees were like unto the trees in our own land, and the grass was of no different color. Save that all this before us was a wilderness, we might have been off the coast of Cornwall.

I have said it was all the same, and yet because of the fears and the anxieties regarding the future, was it different.

This was the land to which we had come for the making of a new home; the place where our parents had pledged themselves to spread the gospel as the Lord would have it spread.

We knew, because of what had been written by our friends who had journeyed to this new world before us that here we were to find brown savages, many of whom, like wild beasts, would thirst to shed our blood. Here also could we expect to see fierce animals, such as might not be met with elsewhere in the world; and, in the way of blessings, we should meet those friends of ours who, for conscience sake and for the will to do God's bidding, had come to prepare the land that it should be more friendly toward us.

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