Mr. Anthony Thacher's relation concerning his and his wife's being marvellously preserved alive, when all the ship's company perished. The wonderful preservation of Major Gibbons and his company. Several other remarkable sea-deliverances mentioned by Mr. Janeway, wherein New England men were concerned. Mr. Grafton's preservation. A vessel lately coming from Bristol for New England saved out of great distress at sea. Some providentially met with by a New England vessel in an open boat, many leagues off from any shore, strangely preserved. An account of a remarkable sea-deliverance which happened this present year. Another like unto it which happened above twenty years ago.



THE royal pen of the prophet David hath most truly affirmed, "that they who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." And, in special, they see wonders of Divine goodness in respect of eminent deliverances wrought by the hand of the Most High, who stills the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves. It is meet that such providences should be ever had in remembrance, as most of all by the persons concerned in them, so by others, that the God of Salvation, who is the confidence of them that are afar off upon the sea, may have eternal praise. Many remarkable stories of this kind are to be seen in books already published:--e. g. in Mandelslo's Travels; Hackluyt and Linschoten's Voyages; Wanley's History; Caussin's Holy Court; Mr. Burton's Treatises, lately printed; and in Mr. Janeway's Sea Deliverances. I shall in this chapter confine myself unto things which have happened either in New England, or wherein New England vessels have been concerned. We shall begin with that remarkable sea-deliverance which Mr. Anthony Thacher did experience at his first coming to New England. A full and true relation whereof I find in a letter directed to his brother, Mr. Peter Thacher, then a faithful minister of Christ in Sarum in England (he was father to my worthy dear friend, Mr. Thomas Thacher, late pastor of one of the churches in this Boston). This letter of Mr. Anthony Thacher to his brother, being written within a few days after that eminent providence happened unto him, matters were then fresh in his memory; I shall, therefore, here insert his narrative in his own words, who expresseth himself as followeth:


"I must turn my drowned pen and shaking hand to indite the story of such sad news as never before this happened in New England. There was a league of perpetual friendship between my cousin Avery (note that this Mr. Avery was a precious holy minister, who came out of England with Mr. Anthony Thacher) and myself never to forsake each other to the death, but to be partakers of each others misery or welfare, as also of habitation in the same place. Now, upon our arrival in New England, there was an offer made unto us. My cousin Avery was invited to Marble-head, to be their pastor in due time; there being no church planted there as yet, but a town appointed to set up the trade of fishing. Because many there (the most being fishermen) were something loose and remiss in their behaviour, my cousin Avery was unwilling to go thither, and so refusing we went to Newbery, intending there to sit down. But being solicited so often, both by the men of the place and by the magistrates, and by Mr. Cotton and most of the ministers, who alleged what a benefit we might be to the people there, and also to the country and commonwealth; at length we embraced it, and thither consented to go. They of Marble-head forthwith sent a pinnace for us and our goods. We embarked at Ipswich, August 11, 1635, with our families and substance, bound for Marble-head, we being in all twenty-three souls, viz., eleven in my cousin's family, seven in mine, and one Mr. William Eliot, sometimes of New Sarum, and four mariners. The next morning, having commended ourselves to God, with cheerful hearts we hoisted sail; but the Lord suddenly turned our cheerfulness into mourning and lamentations; for on the 14th of this August 1635, about ten at night, having a fresh gale of wind, our sails being old and done, were split. The mariners, because that it was night, would not put to new sails, but resolved to cast anchor till the morning. But before daylight it pleased the Lord to send so mighty a storm, as the like was never known in New England since the English came, nor in the memory of any of the Indians. It was so furious that our anchor came home. Whereupon the mariners let out more cable, which at last slipped away. Then our sailors knew not what to do, but we were driven before the wind and waves. My cousin and I perceived our danger, solemnly recommended ourselves to God, the Lord both of earth and seas, expecting with every wave to be swallowed up and drenched in the deeps. And as my cousin, his wife, and my tender babes, sat comforting and cheering one the other in the Lord against ghastly death, which every moment stared us in the face, and sat triumphing upon each one's forehead, we were by the violence of the waves and fury of the winds (by the Lord's permission), lifted up upon a rock between two high rocks, yet all was one rock, but it raged with the stroke which came into the pinnace, so as we were presently up to our middles in water as we sat. The waves came furiously and violently over us, and against us; but by reason of the rock's proportion could not lift us off, but beat her all to pieces. Now look with me upon our distress, and consider of my misery, who beheld the ship broken, the water in her, and violently overwhelming us, my goods and provisions swimming in the seas, my friends almost drowned, and mine own poor children so untimely (if I may so term it without offence), before mine eyes drowned, and ready to be swallowed up, and dashed to pieces against the rocks by the merciless waves, and myself ready to accompany them. But I must go on to an end of this woful relation. In the same room whereas he sat, the master of the pinnace not knowing what to do, our foremast was cut down, our mainmast broken in three pieces, the fore part of the pinnace beat away, our goods swimming about the seas, my children bewailing me, as not pitying themselves, and myself bemoaning them; poor souls, whom I had occasioned to such an end in their tender years, when as they could scarce be sensible of death. And so likewise my cousin, his wife, and his children, and both of us bewailing each other, in our Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom only we had comfort and cheerfulness, insomuch that from the greatest to the least of us, there was not one screech or outcry made, but all as silent sheep were contentedly resolved to die together lovingly, as since our acquaintance we had lived together friendly. Now as I was sitting in the cabin-room door, with my body in the room, when lo! one of the sailors, by a wave, being washed out of the pinnace was gotten in again, and coming in to the cabin-room over my back, cried out, 'We are all cast away! the Lord have mercy upon us! I have been washed overboard into the sea, and am gotten in again!' His speeches made me look forth. And looking towards the sea, and seeing how we were, I turned myself to my cousin and the rest, and spake these words: 'Oh, cousin! it hath pleased God to cast us here between two rocks, the shore not far off from us, for I saw the tops of trees when I looked forth.' Whereupon the master of the pinnace looking up at the scuttle-hole of the quarter-deck, went out at it, but I never saw him afterwards. Then he that had been in the sea went out again by me, and leaped overboard towards the rocks, whom afterwards also I could not see. Now none were left in the barque that I knew or saw, but my cousin, his wife and children, myself and mine, and his maid-servant. But my cousin thought I would have fled from him, and said unto me--'Oh, cousin, leave us not, let us die together,' and reached forth his hand unto me. Then I, letting go my son Peter's hand, took him by the hand, and said--`Cousin, I purpose it not, whither shall I go? I am willing and ready here to die with you and my poor children. God be merciful to us, and receive us to himself,' adding these words, `the Lord is able to help and deliver us.' He replied, saying--`Truth, cousin; but what His pleasure is we know not; I fear we have been too unthankful for former deliverances, but he hath promised to deliver us from sin and condemnation, and to bring us safe to heaven through the all-sufficient satisfaction of Jesus Christ, this therefore we may challenge of him.' To which I replying, said, `that is all the deliverance I now desire and expect.' Which words I had no sooner spoken, but by a mighty wave I was with the piece of the barque, washed out upon part of the rock, where the wave left me almost drowned, but recovering my feet I saw above me on the rock my daughter Mary, to whom I had no sooner gotten, but my cousin Avery, and his eldest son came to us, being all four of us washed out by one and the same wave, we went all into a small hole on the top of the rock, whence we called to those in the pinnace, to come unto us, supposing we had been in more safety than they were in. My wife seeing us there, was crept into the scuttle of the quarter deck to come unto us, but presently came another wave and dashing the pinnace all to pieces, carried my wife away in the scuttle, as she was, with the greater part of the quarter deck unto the shore, where she was cast safely, but her legs were something bruised, and much timber of the vessel being there also cast, she was sometime before she could get away, being washed by the waves. All the rest that were in the barque were drowned in the merciless seas. We four, by that wave, were clean swept away from off the rock also, into the sea; the Lord, in one instant of time, disposing of fifteen souls of us, according to His good pleasure and will; His pleasure and wonderful great mercy to me, was thus: standing on the rock as before you heard with my eldest daughter, my cousin and his eldest son, looking upon and talking to them in the barque, when as we were by that merciless wave washed off the rock as before you heard. God in his mercy caused me to fall by the stroke of the wave, flat on my face, for my face was toward the sea, insomuch, that as I was sliding off the rock into the sea, the Lord directed my toes into a joint in the rock's side, as also the tops of some of my fingers with my right hand, by means whereof, the wave leaving me, I remained so, having in the rock only my head above the water. When on the left hand I espied a board or plank of the pinnace; and as I was reaching out my left hand to lay hold on it, by another coming over the top of the rock, I was washed away from the rock, and by the violence of the waves, was driven hither and thither in the seas a great while, and had many dashes against the rocks. At length, past hopes of life, and wearied in body and spirits, I even gave over to nature, and being ready to receive in the waters of death, I lifted up both my heart and hands to the God of heaven. For note, I had my senses remaining perfect with me all the time that I was under and in water, who at that instant lifted up my head above the top of the water, that so I might breathe without any hindrance by the waters. I stood bolt upright as if I had stood upon my feet, but I felt no bottom, nor had any footing for to stand upon, but the waters. While I was thus above the waters, I saw by me a piece of the mast, as I suppose about three feet long, which I laboured to catch into my arms. But suddenly I was overwhelmed with water, and driven to and fro again, and at last I felt the ground with my right foot. When immediately whilst I was thus groveling on my face, I presently recovering my feet, was in the water up to my breast, and through God's great mercy had my face unto the shore, and not to the sea. I made haste to get out, but was thrown down on my hands with the waves, and so with safety crept to the dry shore. Where blessing God, I turned about to look for my children and friends, but saw neither, nor any part of the pinnace, where I left there as I supposed. But I saw my wife about a butt length from me, getting herself forth from amongst the timber of the broken barque; but before I could get unto her, she was gotten to the shore; I was in the water after I was washed from the rock, before I came to the shore, a quarter of an hour at least. When we were come each to other, we went and sat under the bank. But fear of the seas roaring, and our coldness, would not suffer us there to remain. But we went up into the land and sat us down under a cedar tree which the wind had thrown down, where we sat about an hour almost dead with cold. But now the storm was broken up, and the wind was calm, but the sea remained rough and fearful to us. My legs were much bruised, and so was my head, other hurt had I none, neither had I taken in much quantity of water; but my heart would not let me sit still any longer, but I would go to see if any more were gotten to the land in safety, especially hoping to have met with some of my own poor children, but I could find none, neither dead nor yet living. You condole with me my miseries, who now began to consider of my losses. Now came to my remembrance the time and manner, how and when I last saw and left my children and friends. One was severed from me sitting on the rock at my feet, the other three in the pinnace; my little babe (ah! poor Peter) sitting in his sister Edith's arms, who to the uttermost of her power sheltered him from the waters, my poor William standing close unto them, all three of them looking ruefully on me on the rock; their very countenances calling unto me to help them, whom I could not go unto, neither could they come at me, neither would the merciless waves afford me space or time to use any means at all, either to help them or myself. Oh! I yet see their cheeks, poor silent lambs, pleading pity and help at my hands. Then on the other side to consider the loss of my dear friends, with the spoiling and loss of all our goods and provisions, myself cast upon an unknown land, in a wilderness, I knew not where, nor how to get thence. Then it came to my mind how I had occasioned the death of my children, who caused them to leave their native land, who might have left them there, yea, and might have sent some of them back again and cost me nothing: these and such like thoughts do press down my heavy heart very much. But I must let this pass, and will proceed on in the relation of God's goodness unto me in that desolate island on which I was cast. I and my wife were almost naked both of us, and wet and cold even unto death. I found a knapsack cast on the shore, in which I had a steel and flint and powderhorn. Going further I found a drowned goat, then I found a hat, and my son William's coat, both which I put on. My wife found one of her petticoats, which she put on. I found also two cheeses and some butter, driven ashore. Thus the Lord sent us some clothes to put on, and food to sustain our new lives which we had lately given unto us; and means also to make fire, for in an horn I had some gunpowder, which to my own (and since to other men's) admiration was dry; so taking a piece of my wife's neckcloth, which I dried in the sun, I struck fire, and so dried and warmed our wet bodies, and then skinned the goat; and having found a small brass pot, we boiled some of her. Our drink was brackish water; bread we had none. There we remained until the Monday following. When about three of the clock, in the afternoon, in a boat that came that way, we went off that desolate island, which I named after my name, Thacher's Woe; and the rock, Avery his Fall: to the end that their fall and loss, and mine own, might be had in perpetual remembrance. In the isle lieth buried the body of my cousin's eldest daughter, whom I found dead on the shore. On the Tuesday following, in the afternoon, we arrived at Marble-head."

Thus far is Mr. Thacher's relation of this memorable providence. We proceed to some other:


Remarkable was that deliverance mentioned both by Mr. Janeway and Mr. Burton, wherein that gallant commander, Major Edward Gibbons, of Boston, in New England, and others were concerned. The substance of the story is this:--A New England vessel going from Boston to some other parts of America, was, through the continuance of contrary winds, kept long at sea, so that they were in very great straits for want of provision; and seeing they could not hope for any relief from earth or sea, they apply themselves to heaven in humble and hearty prayers; but no calm ensuing, one of them made this sorrowful motion, that they should cast lots, which of them should die first, to satisfy the ravenous hunger of the rest. After many a sad debate, they come to a result, the lot is cast, and one of the company is taken, but where is the executioner to be found to act this office upon a poor innocent? It is death now to think who shall act this bloody part in the tragedy. But before they fall upon this involuntary execution, they once more went unto their prayers; and while they were calling upon God, he answered them, for there leaped a mighty fish into the boat, which was a double joy to them, not only in relieving their miserable hunger, which, no doubt, made them quick cooks, but because they looked upon it to be sent from God, and to be a token of their deliverance. But alas! the fish is soon eaten, and their former exigencies come upon them, which sink their spirits into despair, for they know not of another morsel. To lot they go again the second time, which falleth upon another person; but still none can be found to sacrifice him: they again send their prayers to heaven with all manner of fervency, when, behold a second answer from above! a great bird alights, and fixes itself upon the mast, which one of the company espies, and he goes, and there she stands till he took her with his hand by the wing. This was life from the dead the second time, and they feasted themselves herewith, as hoping that second providence was a forerunner of their complete deliverance. But they have still the same disappointments; they can see no land; they know not where they are. Hunger increaseth again upon them, and they have no hopes to be saved but by a third miracle. They are reduced to the former course of casting lots; when they were going to the heart-breaking work, to put him to death whom the lot fell upon, they go to God, their former friend in adversity, by humble and hearty prayers; and now they look and look again; but there is nothing. Their prayers are concluded, and nothing appears, yet still they hoped and stayed; till at last one of them espies a ship, which put new life into all their spirits. They bear up with their vessel, they man their boat, and desire and beg like perishing, humble supplicants to board them, which they are admitted. The vessel proves a French vessel--yea, a French pirate. Major Gibbons petitions them for a little bread, and offers ship and cargo for it. But the commander knows the Major (from whom he had received some signal kindnesses formerly at Boston), and replied readily and cheerfully--"Major Gibbons, not a hair of you or your company shall perish, if it lie in my power to preserve you." And accordingly he relieveth them, and sets them safe on shore.


Memorable also is that which Mr. Janeway, in his Remarkable Sea Deliverances, p. 35, hath published. He there relates, that in the year 1668, a ketch, whereof Thomas Woodbery was master, sailing from New England for Barbadoes; when they came in the latitude 35 deg., because there was some appearance of foul weather, they lowered their sails, sending up one to the top of the mast, he thought he saw something like a boat floating upon the sea; and calling to the men below, they made towards it, and when they came near, it appeared to be a longboat with eleven men in it, who had been bound for Virginia; but their ship proved leaky, and foundered in the sea, so that they were forced suddenly to betake themselves to their long-boat, in the which they had a capstanbar, which they made use of for a mast, and a piece of canvas for a sail, so did they sail before the wind. But they having no victuals with them, were soon in miserable distress. Thus they continued five days, so that all despaired of life. Upon the sixth day they concluded to cast lots for their lives, viz., who should die, that the rest might eat him, and have their lives preserved. He that the lot fell upon, begged for his life a little longer; and being in their extremity, the wonder-working providence of God was seen, for they met with this New England vessel, which took them in and saved their lives. An hour after this, a terrible storm arose, continuing forty hours, so that if they had not met the vessel that saved them in the nick of opportunity, they had all perished; and if the New England men had not taken down some of their sails, or had not chanced to send one up to tallow the mast, this boat and men had never been seen by them. Thus admirable are the workings of Divine Providence in the world.

Yet further:


That worthy and now blessed minister of God, Mr. James Janeway, hath published several other Remarkable Sea Deliverances, of which some belonging to New England were the subjects. He relates (and I am informed that it was really so) that a small vessel--the master's name Philip Hungare--coming upon the coast of New England suddenly sprang a leak, and so foundered. In the vessel there were eighteen souls, twelve of which got into the long-boat. They threw into the boat some small matters of provision, but were wholly without fire. These twelve men sailed five hundred leagues in this small boat, being by almost miraculous providences preserved therein for five weeks together. God sent relief to them by causing some flying-fish to fall into the boat, which they eat raw, and were well pleased therewith. They also caught a shark, and opening his belly, sucked his blood for drink. At the last the Divine Providence brought them to the West Indies. Some of them were so weak as that they soon died; but most of them lived to declare the works of the Lord.


Again, he relates that Mr. Jonas Clark, of New England, going for Virginia, the vessel was cast ashore in the night. They hoped to get their ship off again; to which end the master with some others going in the boat, when they were about sixty fathoms from the shore there arose a great sea, which broke in upon them, and at last turned the boat over. Four men were drowned. Mr. Clark was held under water till his breath was gone, yet, through the good hand of a gracious God, he was set at liberty, and was enabled to swim to the shore, where the providence of God did so overrule the hearts of barbarians, as that they did them no hurt; until at last they were brought safe unto the English plantations. These things have (as was said) been related by Mr. Janeway. I proceed therefore to mention some other sea deliverances. And that notable preservation deserves to be here inserted and recorded, wherein Mr. John Grafton and some others of his ship's company were concerned; who as they were bound in a voyage from Salem in New England, for the West Indies, in a ketch called the Providence, on September 16, 1669, their vessel suddenly struck upon a rock; at the which they were amazed, it being then a dark and rainy night; the force of the wind and sea broke their vessel in a moment. Their company was ten men in number, whereof six were drowned. The master and the mate were left upon the rock. As they sat there the sea came up to their waists. There did they embrace each other, looking for death every moment; and if the tide had risen higher it would have carried them off. By the same rock was one of the seamen, being much wounded and grievously groaning. In the morning they saw an island, about half a mile off from them. The rocks were so sharp and cragged that they could not tread upon them with their bare feet, nor had they shoes or stockings. But they found a piece of tarpauling, which they wrapped about their feet, making it fast with ropeyarns; so getting each of them a stick, they sometimes went on their feet, and sometimes crept, until at last they came to the island, where they found another of their company ashore, being carried thither by a piece of the vessel. Upon the island they continued eight days, four of which they had no fire. Their provision was salt-fish and rain-water, which they found in the holes of the rocks. After four days they found a piece of touchwood, which the mate had formerly in his chest, and a piece of flint, with which, having a small knife, they struck fire. A barrel of flour being cast on shore, they made cakes thereof. Now their care was how to get off from the island, there being no inhabitants there. Finding a piece of the mainsail, and some hoops of cask, they framed a boat therewith. Yet had they no tools to build it with. But Providence so ordered, that they found a board twelve feet long, and some nails; also a box was cast ashore, wherein was a bolt-rope needle; they likewise found a tar-barrel, wherewith they tarred their canvass. Thus did they patch up a boat, in fashion like a birchen canoe; and meeting with some thin boards of ceiling which came out of the cabin, they made paddles therewith; so did they venture in this dangerous vessel ten leagues, until they came to Anguilla and St. Martin's, where they were courteously entertained, the people admiring how they could come so many leagues in such a strange kind of boat. Besides all these particulars, which have been declared, information is brought to me concerning some sea preservations which have happened more lately.

There was a small vessel set sail from Bristol to New England, September 22, 1681; the master's name William Dutten. There were seven men in the vessel, having on board provisions for three months, but by reason of contrary winds, they were twenty weeks before they could make any land; and some unhappy accidents fell out, which occasioned their being put to miserable straits for victuals, but most of all for drink. The winds were fair and prosperous until October 28, when they supposed themselves to be gotten 600 leagues westward. But after that, the north-west winds blew so fiercely that they were driven off from the coast of New England, so that, December 12, they concluded to bear away for Barbadoes. But before this, one of their barrels of beer had the head broken out, and the liquor in it lost. They had but seven barrels of water, three of which proved leaky, so that the water in them was lost. When their victuals failed, the providence of God sent them a supply, by causing dolphins to come near to the vessel; and that still as their wants were greatest, nor could they catch more than would serve their present turn. But still their misery upon them was great, through their want of water. Sometimes they would expose their vessels to take the rain-water; but oft, when it rained, the winds were so furious that they could save little or no rain; yet so it fell out, that when they came near to the latitude of Bermudas they saved two barrels of rain-water, which caused no little joy amongst them. But the rats did unexpectedly eat holes through the barrels, so that their water was lost again. Once when a shower of rain fell they could save but a pint, which, though it was made bitter by the tar, it seemed very sweet to them. They divided this pint of rain-water amongst seven, drinking a thimbleful at a time, which went five times about, and was a great refreshing to them. On January 27, a good shower of rain fell; that so they might be sure to save some water, and not be again deprived thereof by the rats, they laid their shirts open to the rain, and wringing them dry, they obtained seven gallons of water, which they put into bottles, and were, for a time, much refreshed thereby. But new straits come upon them. They endeavoured to catch the rats in the vessel, and could take but three or four, which they did eat, and it seemed delicate meat to their hungry souls. But the torment of their drought was insufferable. Sometimes, for a week together, they had not one drop of fresh water. When they killed a dolphin they would open his belly and suck his blood, a little to relieve their thirst; yea, their thirst was so great that they fell to drinking of salt water. Some drank several gallons, but they found that it did not allay their thirst. They greedily drank their own urine when they could make any. They would go overboard, with a rope fastened to their bodies, and put themselves into the water, hoping to find some refreshment thereby. When any of them stood to steer the vessel, he would think a little to refresh himself by having his feet in a pail of sea-water. In this misery, some of the seamen confessed that it was just with God thus to afflict them, in that they had been guilty of wasting good drink, and of abusing themselves therewith before they came to sea. The divine Providence so ordered, that, on February 7, they met with a vessel at sea, which happened to be a Guiny-man; (Samuel Ricard, master). Their boat was become leaky, that they could not go aboard, if it had been to save their lives; but the master of the other vessel understanding how it was with them, very courteously sent his own boat to them, with ten pieces of Guinybeef, two ankors of fresh water, and four bushels of Guinycorn, whereby they were sustained until they arrived at Barbadoes; being weak and spent with their hardships, but within a fortnight they were all recovered, and came the next summer to New England. This account I received from the mate of the vessel, whose name is Joseph Butcher.


Remarkable, also, is the preservation of which some belonging to Dublin, in Ireland, had experienced, whom a New England vessel providentially met, in an open boat, in the wide sea, and saved them from perishing. Concerning which memorable providence I have received the following narrative:--A ship of Dublin, burdened about seventy tons, Andrew Bennet, master, being bound from Dublin to Virginia: this vessel having been some weeks at sea, onward of their voyage, and being in the latitude of 39, about 150 leagues distant from Cape Cod, in New England, on April 18, 1681, a day of very stormy weather, and a great sea, suddenly there sprang a plank in the fore part of the ship, about six o'clock in the morning; whereupon the water increased so fast in the ship, that all their endeavours could not keep her from sinking above half an hour; so when the ship was just sinking, some of the company resolved to launch out the boat, which was a small one: they did accordingly, and the master, the mate, the boatswain, the cook, two foremast men, and a boy, kept such hold of it, when a cast of the sea suddenly helped them off with it, that they got into it. The heaving of the sea now suddenly thrust them from the ship, in which there were left nineteen souls, viz., sixteen men and three women, who all perished in the mighty waters, while they were trying to make rafters by cutting down the masts, for the preservation of their lives, as long as might be. The seven in the boat apprehended themselves to be in a condition little better than that of them in the ship, having neither sails nor oars, neither bread nor water, and no instrument of any sort, except a knife and a piece of deal board, with which they made sticks, and set them up in the sides of the boat, and covered them with some Irish cloth of their own garments, to keep off the spray of the sea, as much as could be by so poor a matter. In this condition they drave with a hard wind and high sea all that day and the night following. But in the next morning, about six o'clock, they saw a ketch (the master whereof was Mr. Edmund Henfield, of Salem, in New England) under sail, which ketch coming right with them, took them up and brought them safe to New England. And it is yet further remarkable, that when the ship foundered, the ketch which saved these persons was many leagues to the westward of her, but was, by a contrary wind, caused to stand back again to the eastward, where these distressed persons were, as hath been said, met with and relieved.


Another remarkable sea deliverance, like unto this last mentioned, happened this present year; the relation whereof take as followeth:--A ship called the Swallow, Thomas Welden, of London, master, on their voyage from St. Christopher's towards London, did, on March 23 last, being then about the latitude of 42, meet with a violent storm. That storm somewhat allayed, the ship lying in the trough of the sea, her rudder broke away; whereupon the mariners veered out a cable, and part of a mast to steer by; but that not answering their expectation, they took a hogshead of water, and fastened it to the cable to steer the ship; that also failing, they laid the ship by, as the seamen's phrase is. And on March 25 an exceeding great storm arose, which made the vessel lie down with her hatches under water, in which condition she continued about two hours; and having much water in the hold, they found no other way to make her rise again but by cutting down her masts; and accordingly her mainmast and her mizenmast being cut down, the ship righted again. The storm continuing, on March 28 the ship made very bad steerage, by reason of the loss of her rudder and masts. The sea had continual passage over her, and one sea did then carry away the larboard quarter of the ship, and brake the side from the deck, so that there was an open passage for the sea to come in at that breach; and, notwithstanding their endeavours to stop it with their bedding, clothes, &c., so much water ran in by the sides of the ship, that it was ready to sink. Now, all hopes of saving their lives being gone, the Divine Providence so ordered, that there appeared a vessel within sight, which happened to be a French ship, bound from St. John de Luce to Grand Placentia, in Newfoundland; this vessel took in the distressed Englishmen, and carried them away to Grand Placentia; from whence the master and sundry of the mariners procured a passage in a ketch bound for Boston in New England. There did they arrive, June 21, 1683, declaring how they had seen the wonders of God in the deep, as hath been expressed.

There was another memorable sea-deliverance like unto these two last. The persons concerned in it being now gone out of the world, I have not met with any who perfectly remember the particular year wherein that remark able providence happened; only that it was about twentytwo years ago, when a ship (William Laiton, master), bound from Pascataqua, in New England, to Barbadoes, being 250 leagues off from the coast, sprang a leak. They endeavoured what they could to clear her with their pump for fourteen hours. But the vessel filling with water, they were forced (being eight persons) to betake themselves to their boat, taking with them a good supply of bread and a pot of butter; the master declaring that he was persuaded they should meet with a ship at sea that would relieve them: but they had little water, so that their allowance was at last a spoonful in a day to each man. In this boat did they continue thus distressed for nineteen days together. After they had been twelve days from the vessel, they met with a storm which did very much endanger their lives, yet God preserved them. At the end of eighteen days a flying-fish fell into their boat, and having with them a hook and line, they made use of that fish for bait, whereby they caught two dolphins. A ship then at sea, whereof Mr. Samuel Scarlet was commander, apprehending a storm to be near, that so they might fit their rigging, in order to entertain the approaching storm, suffered their vessel to drive right before the wind, and by that means they happened to meet with this boat, full of distressed seamen. Captain Scarlet's vessel was then destitute of provision; only they had on board water enough and to spare. When the mariners first saw the boat, they desired the master not to take the men in, because they had no bread nor other victuals for them; so that by receiving eight more into their company, they should all die with famine. Captain Scarlet who as after he left using the sea, he gave many demonstrations, both living and dying, of his designing the good of others, and not his own particular advantage only, did at this time manifest the same spirit to be in him; and therefore would by no means hearken to the selfish suggestions of his men, but replied to them (as yet not knowing who they were)"—“It may be these distressed creatures are our own countrymen, or if not, they are men in misery, and therefore, whatever come of it, I am resolved to take them in, and to trust in God, who is able to deliver us all." Nor did God suffer him to lose anything by this noble resolution. For as in Captain Scarlet's ship there was water which the men in the boat wanted, so they in the boat had bread and the two dolphins lately caught, whereby all the ship's company were refreshed. And within few days they all arrived safe in New England.


From: A History of God’s Remarkable Providences in Colonial New England by Increase Mather, pag. 1-22, 1997, Back Home Industries, Milwaukie, OR, USA.