« FöregåendeFortsätt »
placed at the table, and his feeble, but thankful voice, was raised to ask a blessing upon the food, which a kind Creator had enabled them to obtain. When
supper was over, 66 Come, boys,” said the old man, “ tell us who have staid at home, a little of what you have seen to-day.”
Each one told of what had pleased him most; and when George had tried to repeat what Mr. Elmer had said of voting, Robert asked his grandfather if he used to vote.
Grandfather. Yes, my boy; I have voted for thirty years, except the two past; and I am proud to say it: but I should not say proud, for it becomes us best to be humbly thankful for God's blessings; and a rich one it is to be an American citizen, under no restraints but of wise laws.
Frank. You are so old, grandfather, that, I suppose, you can remember before the laws of this country were made.
Grandfather. I can remember before the Declaration of Independence was signed. That was on the fourth of July.
Roberf. Did you live here then?
Grandfather. Yes; I was born here.
George. Did you see General Washington when he was President?
Grandfather. Yes; and a noble sight he was; and I saw him too before that, when God was blessing him with wisdom and strength to gain freedom for us. He trusted in God, and had experience of the truth of the promise to those who make their prayer to him, and put their trust in him. 66 Whoso putteth their trust in the Lord, shall be safe.” And he found the truth of what we are told in the Bible. 6. Asa said, Lord it is nothingwith Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power.” It did seem to us if he had the promise, “ Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” The boys listened attentively, and the pleased old man talked on with liveliness, I can remember, said he, when my grandfather used to tell me about the first settlers, who came to this part of the country, 6 like so many Robinson Crusoe's who had left their homes to seek religious freedom; and were
cast upon a houseless land, where they had every thing to do for themselves." Where this city stands, was called Coaquanock by the Indians; foxes barked, and wolves howled here in a great woods; and there were plenty of wild turkies and deer.
Robert. I heard you tell that William Penn brought the first people that came here; how many years ago was that, grandfather?
Grandfather. About a hundred and fortyfive.
Frank. Had they to drive away the Indians?
Grandfather. No; William Penn made a treaty, or agreement with them, and they promised to keep it, “ as long as the trees should grow, or the waters hold their courses.
Mr. Hilton. And they kept that promise as long as William Penn's government lasted.
Robert. What kind of houses, grandfather, could the settlers make in a thick woods?
Grandfather. They soon cut down trees, and then the Indians showed them how to make huts of bark; and some made them of
grass sods, laid on each other, and some dug caves in the bank that hung over the river Delaware. The first Philadelphian was born in a cave near Race street; his name was John Key, and he lived to be eighty-five years old.
Robert. How many hardships they must have had.
Grandfather. Yes, but hardships made strong bodies and bold minds, and it was their children, and children's children, who were not afraid to say, they would be freemen, though they were sure they must suffer to gain the right.
Frank. You said the settlers came to gain religious freedom; that was what brought settlers to our state, too.
George. Did they come where Boston is, first?
Frank. No; the place they came to is now called Plymouth. I do not understand, grandfather, what you mean by religious freedom.
Grandfather. I heard Andrew reading the constitution of this state the other evening, my memory fails me, but he can tell you
what are the words in that about religious freedom.
Mr. Hilton. I do not remember the words, but the meaning is, that every man shall have a right to worship God as his own conscience tells him he should; and that no man, or set of men, have a right to force the conscience.
Frank. Then means that every man in this country has a right to be of what religion he pleases; or of no religion at all, if he pleases.
Mr. Hilton. There is no law to punish a man for having no religion; but, you know that it is the want of religion, nine times out of ten, that causes a man to break the laws of his country; and so bring punishment upon himself, by pleasing, (as you say) to be of no religion at all.
Robert. Father, do not ministers tell us what religion we must be of?
Mr. Hilton. Jesus Christ gave a law or command, which is, “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you al