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James Otis

Master Graves Prohibits Swimming

He had been placed in command of the settlement by Master Endicott, and among his first acts was the appointment of tithing men, one of whose duties it was to prevent the boys from swimming in the water, as some lads of our company speedily learned when they would have enjoyed such sport.

They were arrested straightway, and but for the fact of being strangers, who were not acquainted with the rules of the settlement, would have been fined three shillings each.

Susan and I had no desire to spend our time swimming, even had it been seemly for girls so to do; but during very warm days it would have pleased us much to go down into the water, properly clad, in order to take a bath. Therefore did we believe Master Graves had done that which was almost cruel, and it surprised us no little when, later, our own fathers passed the same law.