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deepest recesses of Hudson Bay; while we are looking for them beneath the Arctic circle, we hear that they have pierced into the opposite region of Polar cold, that they are at the Antipodes, and engaged under the frozen Serpent of the South. Falkland Island, which seemed too remote and romantic an object for the grasp of natural ambition, is but a stage and resting-place in the progress of their victorious industry. While some of them draw the line and strike the harpoon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude and pursue the gigantic game along the shores of Brazil.”
The sea that was at every man's threshold, combing down the beaches of the outer shore, lapsing from the sands ebb-tide and flood again in the bay, formed such a part of the day's experience as would be inconceivable to one of inland habitude. It was a friend to be loved, an enemy to be fought, a giver of food, and a solemn harvester that brought dead men to the door. Memorable storms have ravaged the shore: it is amazing that anything so delicate as the charming curve of Champlain's Cap Blanc could withstand the pull and push of the Atlantic surges; Gosnold's Point Gilbert and Tucker's Terror have been torn away and moulded elsewhere in other form; and the shoals of that cruel outer strand might be piled high with their wrecked ships. Nor has tragedy been all oceanwards.
In 1827 there was a lowering capricious winter when with more than common malice the wind, “bringing cold out of the north,” would swing to the melting south and back again to freeze and destroy. It was on such a day that the schooner Almira, loaded with wood, put her nose out of Sandwich Harbor. The rain had stopped at noon, the air was thick with vapor, and high overhead, as if seeking their shepherd wind, scudded little anxious clouds. Then, change about, by nightfall the iron hand of the north had
stripped the heavens bare and stars looked coldly down upon the scene. The air had filled with needles of frost to cut the faces of the miserable crew, and drenched as they were with spray they froze as they stood. The boat was headed for Plymouth Light; but Plymouth lay directly in the eye of the wind, and it was tack and tack again with sails slowly shredding to rags and every rope unyielding steel. The boat still answered her helm, but it was useless to drive her longer against wind and tide, and they turned her about for home. Into Barnstable Bay she swept, and in the moonlight that was more relentless than shroud. ing storm the master could see his own comfortable white house. The boat travelled as “if intent on some spot where it might be wrecked," and there on the teeth of a cruel ledge, less than the turn of twentyfour hours since she had set sail in the languorous south wind, the land once more received her. At the helm, his hands frozen to the tiller, his feet set fast in ice, pitiful rescuers found the only man who breathed: the others of that little company had made the cold port of death.
There have been historic wrecks, historic storms. As early as 1669 a quarrel over the salvage of a wreck was settled in court. Bradford, in 1635, records such a storm “as none living in these parts, either English or Indians, ever saw, causing the sea to swell above twenty feet right up.”. “Tall young oaks and walnut trees of good bigness were wound as a withe.” And “the wrecks of it will remain for a hundred years." It was this storm, raging up and down the coast, that threw Anthony Thacher and his little family upon the rocks of Cape Ann. And some Connecticut colonists, wrecked in Manomet Bay and wandering for days in the snow, finally reached Plymouth and were hospitably entertained there for the winter. Bradford's storm "took the roof of a house at Manomet and put it in another place”; and Rich reports the great gale of a later year that washed a house from its moorings on the Isles of Shoals and landed it at Truro so far intact that a box of linen and some papers were preserved to tell its story. He seems to think that if the family had had the courage to stand by their house, they might have made the voyage to Cape Cod in safety. After a savage September gale in 1815 that centred in Buzzard's Bay, a coasting schooner was found upright in some large trees, and another, lifted clean over a bluff, blocked the door of a house. Everything ashore was laid waste; even springs became brackish; but some land was enriched by its flooding and where only moss had been grass was to grow.
In 1703 the body of Captain Peter Adolphe, cast upon the shore at Sandwich, was there decently buried; and his widow, in grateful acknowledgment, presented the town with a bell cast in Munich and inscribed, “Si Devs pron bys [ sic) qvis contra nos 1675,” which was later sold to Barnstable where it is preserved as a relic.
In 1723 “The Great Storm” that “raised the tide three or four feet higher than had been known aforetime,” was reported by Mather to the Royal Society of London. In 1770 and 1785 were similar storms.
Bradford records that “the moon suffered a great eclipse" the second night after his storm; there were comets, portents of evil, during the Indian troubles, and earthquakes — in 1638 one so violent that “people out of doors could scarcely retain a position on their feet”; and the dating of subsequent events as so long “after the earthquake” was “as common for many years as once with the Children of Israel.” In 1727 a heavier shock still was “reformatory of some loose-livers in America who became apparently devout penitents”; and in 1755 was the worst earthquake that ever was known.
In November, 1729, one Captain Lothrop, Boston to Martha's Vineyard, espied off Monomoy a vessel in distress, and boarding her discovered shocking evidence of her state. Of the one hundred and ninety souls who had set sail from Ireland for the port of Philadelphia, no less than one hundred, including all the children but one, had died of starvation. Twenty weeks they had been afloat, and were out of both water and food. “They entreated him to pilot them into the first harbor they could get into, and were all urgent to put them ashore anywhere, if it were but land.” Lothrop would have taken them to Boston, but, when they threatened to throw him into the sea, landed them hastily with some provisions, at Sandy Point where there was but one house. A writer in a current number of the “New England Weekly Journal” remarks that “notwithstanding their extremity, 't was astounding to behold their impenitence, and to hear their profane speeches.” Their captain pro