The New Haven Storm Ship





In 1647 the New Haven colonists, who even at that early day exhibited the

enterprise that has been a distinguishing feature of the Yankee, sent a

ship to Ireland to try to develop a commerce, their trading posts on the

Delaware having been broken up by the Swedes. When their agent, Captain

Lamberton, sailed--in January--the harbor was so beset with ice that a

track had to be cut through the floes to open water, five miles distant.

She had, moreover, to be dragged out stern foremost--an ill omen, the

sailors thought--and as she swung before the wind a passing drift of fog

concealed her, for a moment, from the gaze of those on shore, who, from

this, foretold things of evil. Though large and new, the ship was so

walty--inclined to roll--that the captain set off with misgiving, and

as she moved away the crew heard this solemn and disheartening invocation

from a clergyman on the wharf:--Lord, if it be thy pleasure to bury

these, our friends, in the bottom of the sea, take them; they are thine:

save them.



Winter passed; so did spring; still the ship came not; but one afternoon

in June, just as a rain had passed, some children cried, There's a brave

ship! for, flying up the harbor, with all sail set and flaunting colors,

was a vessel the very mould of our ship, the clergyman said.



Strange to tell, she was going flat against the wind; no sailors were on

her deck; she did not toss with the fling of the waves; there was no

ripple at her bow. As she came close to land a single figure appeared on

the quarter, pointing seaward with a cutlass; then suddenly her main-top

fell, her masts toppled from their holdings, the dismantled hulk careened

and went down. A cloud dropped from heaven and brooded for a time above

the place where it had vanished, and when it lifted the surface of the

sea was empty and still. The good folk of New Haven believed that the

fate of the absent ship had been revealed, at last, for she never came

back and Captain Lamberton was never heard from.





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