Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

The End of the Voyage

I might set down very much regarding the voyage overseas; but it would all be out of place if I am to tell how we began the city of Brotherly Love in what was little better than a wilderness, even though there were many Swedes, Dutchmen, and a few English living then on the lands that had been given to William Penn.

It is enough if I say that after a fairly prosperous voyage we came to the mouth of a noble river flowing between two capes, and then sailed slowly over waters as calm as a mill pond, between shores covered with huge trees among which could yet be seen late blooming flowers, until, so the captain of the ship declared, we were near to ninety miles in from the ocean.

Now, because of our not knowing where this new city of ours was to be set up, and of our not being able to learn whatsoever regarding it until after the surveyors had marked out the bounds of the country, one place was as good as another in which to spend the time until the other vessels should arrive.

Without any idea that we might have come by accident to the very spot which we were eager to see, some of our company proposed that we should land where the ship then lay at anchor, after having sailed three days up the river, and verily no more beautiful place could have been found.

The land before us was high, with many springs of sweet water, and situated between two rivers. Even though it might not be the place chosen for the city, it was a pleasant spot in which to pass the time waiting for the arrival of the Amity and the Factor; therefore, without much of discussion, it was agreed that our voyage should come to an end here, and, as was shown later, it seemed of a verity that God had directed our steps.

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