Gateway to the Classics: Peter of Amsterdam by James Otis
Peter of Amsterdam by  James Otis

The Village Called Plymouth

I had thought that, having been given the office of storekeeper, I was like to remain all my days in the town, without having the privilege of going even on a trading ship, and yet matters so came about that I became a great traveler, so far as seeing the New World was concerned.

Shortly after we were come to New Netherland, Master Minuit heard from the savages that at a place called Plymouth, many miles from us, a company of Englishmen had made for themselves a village which was fair to look upon, and growing exceeding fast.

Now you may suppose that I had not been dumb during this time, when I was showing goods to the savages while our gentlemen made the bargains, but so I must have been had I not learned a word now and then of their speech, until, by using many signs in addition, I could carry on quite a conversation with such of the brown men as would stoop to make talk to a boy.


Therefore it was I understood Indian words far better than I could speak them, and when these stories were told concerning a company of English people at this new village of Plymouth, my heart went out to them, for was I not an English boy, and these my countrymen?

I had known, of course, that those of my race who once lived in Leyden, came to this New World; but that we might be anywhere near them never entered my head, until the savages told us of Plymouth, and then I said to myself that there could be no greater pleasure than to see these people who had been friendly with my father and mother.

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