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


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.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: The New Home  |  Next: The First Baby
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.