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

Our Neighbors

Now you must know that many years before, which is much the same as if I had said in the year of our Lord, 1620, a number of English people who had been living in Holland because of their consciences not permitting them to worship God in a manner according to the Church of England, came over to this country, and built a town which was called Plymouth.

This town was not far by water from our settlement; indeed, one might have sailed there in a shallop, if he were so minded, and, in case the wind served well, perform the voyage between daylight and sunset.


It was, as I have said, settled ten years before we came to this new world, and the inhabitants now numbered about three hundred. There were sixty-eight dwelling houses, a fort well built with wood, earth and stone, and a fair watch tower. Entirely around the town was a stout palisade, by which I mean a fence made of logs that stand eight or ten feet above the surface, and placed so closely together that an enemy may not make his way between them, and in all respects was it a goodly village, so my father declared.

Near the mouth of the Neponset river Sir Christopher Gardner, who was not one of our friends in a religious way, had settled with a small company, and farther down the coast, many miles away, it was said were three other villages; but none among them could outshine Salem, either in numbers of people, or in dwellings.

When we were on the shore in Charlestown, looking straight out over the water toward the nearest land, we could see, not above two miles away, three hills which were standing close to each other, and Master Thomas Graves, who had taken charge of the people that first settled in the town of Charles, had named the place Trimountain; but the Indians called it Shawmut. There only one white man was living and his name was Master William Blackstone, as I have already told you.

It seemed to me a fairer land, because of the hills and dales, than was our settlement, and yet it would not have been seemly for me to say so much, after our fathers and mothers had decided this was the place where we were to live.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: Leaving Salem for Charlestown  |  Next: Getting Settled
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.