| American History Stories, Volume I|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of early exploration and founding of American colonies, conflicts over religion, and troubles with the Indians, culminating in the French and Indian War. Ages 8-12 |
 The Quakers of England certainly were in great need at this
time of someone who would call them together and find for
them a place of safety. Such a leader appeared at last.
This leader was William Penn. He was the son of Admiral
Penn, of the English
 navy. Admiral Penn had been brought up to believe only in
the English Church, and to hold in contempt all such
people as Puritans and Quakers. Imagine that father's
astonishment when his son, having returned from college,
came before him dressed in the queer garb of a Quaker, and
told him that he had resolved to join these much abused
The old gentleman was horrified. He scolded and he argued;
he raved and he threatened, but not one whit was the son
moved by it all. He sent him abroad, hoping that the gay
life at Paris and other great cities of Europe would cure
him of this foolish freak he had taken.
Penn came back to England still a Quaker. His father's
patience was now exhausted; he allowed Penn to live in
the house, but he would have nothing to say to him, and for
years would not even look at him.
 When his father died, Penn made up a large party of Quakers
to come to America. On August 31, 1682, he set sail from
Deal, England, in the good ship Welcome, and after a
voyage of two months arrived at New Castle on the Delaware
on October 27, 1682, and immediately began a settlement. To
this settlement he gave the name, Philadelphia, which
means "brotherly love."
In payment of a debt owed to Penn's father, King Charles
of England had already granted to Penn that tract of land
which we now call Pennsylvania; still Penn was not willing
to take the land from the Indians without paying them also
for it. He held a council with them under a large elm tree.
There he made a treaty with them, and the agreements were
made peaceably and honestly. Think what a strange picture it
must have made! There was the
 Englishman in his long-skirted coat, with blue sash
and broad hat, while all around him stood the Indians
gorgeous in their feathers and war-paint, glittering with
strings of wampum, and wrapped about with furs.
Like Roger Williams, Penn was always loved and reverenced
by the Indians. The great elm under which the treaty was
made has long since decayed and fallen; but in its place
to-day stands a monument which tells the story of Penn and
REDUCED FAC-SIMILE OF TREATY WITH INDIAN TRIBES
This treaty of peace, made between the Quakers and the
Indians, had no other than the blue sky, the bright sun
and the forests for witnesses. But the Indians were a
true-hearted race, and if they were treated with any degree
of fairness, whatever, were ready and willing to be
honorable in their dealings with the white man. There was a
 about them that was like a child's; and it is a pity that
other white men, not Quakers, had not wisdom enough to
deal fairly with these simple-souled people.
The history of this treaty was kept by the Indians by means
of their strings of wampum, and long afterwards they would
tell the story over to their children, bidding them always in
 their fights and war-makings to remember
their father's promises to the good Quaker,
And so it was that, in the years that followed, when war
was raging on every side in all the surrounding States,
not one drop of Quaker blood was ever spilled.
There is a little story told of how one Quaker saved the
lives of many families about him.
One morning, some Indians, incensed at the behavior of
certain colonists up the river, fiercely set forth in full
war dress, war paint and all, cruelly bent upon revenge.
On the borders of the forest, toward which they strode,
lived a good Quaker and his family. As the Indians
approached, the Quaker went forth to greet them. Knowing
how honorably the treaty with the Quakers was
 held by these red men, the Quaker had no fear for his own
"But they mean bloodshed to the colonists
up the river, I am sure," said he to his wife. "I must
try to turn them back."
So generous and frank was the Quaker's greeting, that the
fierce warriors, thirsting as they were for blood, melted
in the warm sunlight of his gentle heart, and turned back
to their wigwams, the massacre given up for that day, at
As they went away, one of the Indians climbed up on the
little porch over the door and fastened there the "white
feather of peace," which was a mark among these
Indians that the house upon which that was placed should
never, under any provocation, be molested.
War raged on every side in the days that
 followed; many cruel deeds were done, and hundreds of
colonists were slain; but the good Quaker and his family
dwelt in safety and slept without fear of harm from their
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