So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do. — Benjamin Franklin

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

A Journey Inland

When Berkeley was called back to England in disgrace, none of the Virginians were sorry to see him leave. But the new governor sent out by the owners was no better, for he laid such heavy taxes upon the people that the king finally had to take back the gift he had made to his friends. Virginia, therefore, once more became a royal province. But shortly after, King Charles died, and his Catholic brother, James, had to put down a rebellion in England before he could occupy the throne in peace. James was very resentful; so many of those who had taken up arms against him were sentenced by a harsh English judge to be shipped to Virginia and sold there as slaves for a term of ten years.

But although both king and judge had decreed that none of these poor prisoners should be allowed to buy their freedom, the Virginians generously set them at liberty as soon as they landed. The governor, seeing it would make trouble if he tried to oppose the Virginians in this, made no great objection, and after that no white men were ever sold as slaves in America.

Before long, too, another improvement was made; for the Virginians, feeling that it was necessary to have a college of their own, sent a messenger to England for a charter. Although the king's ministers swore at this man at first, and told him that Virginians ought to think of nothing but tobacco, permission was finally granted, on condition that two copies of Latin verse should be sent to England every year. The college thus founded—the second in our country—was called William and Mary, in honor of the king and queen who succeeded James II. in 1688.

Some years later, Governor Spotswood built himself a beautiful house in Virginia, which he ornamented with large mirrors. But the woods were still so thick there that we are told a deer strayed into the parlor one day. Catching a glimpse of his reflection in a tall mirror, he rushed up to the glass and dashed it to pieces with his horns!

This same Spotswood was of an adventurous turn of mind, and wishing to see what lay beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, he once set out on a journey of exploration. It is said that he and his jolly companions crossed both the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, coming home after a ride of about one thousand miles, delighted with the beautiful country they had found on the other side of the mountains.

They sent such a glowing account of this journey to King George I. that he knighted Spotswood, giving him a coat of arms bearing a golden horseshoe. Some writers add that, in memory of this long ride, Spotswood founded an order of knighthood in Virginia, which included all those who had made part of the expedition, and their direct descendants.


Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell