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Whether by doubling Straitsmouth, or passing through the Gut separating this island from Gap Head, the short extension of the sail to Thatcher's is not a less interesting division of it. On this course, the track of coasters between the Cape and Thatcher's is traversed ; and it is but a navigable river's width to the parallel track of steamers and ships passing into and out of Massachusetts Bay by the guidance of Thatcher's tall twin towers. Low in the bay, like a great raft, south-westward from Thatcher's is Milk Island. Sometimes a few cattle and sheep are ferried over to the latter from the Cape, for the scant herbage growing on it among the rocks. The shore of the former, all round, rises from the sea like a massive wall such as no might or skill of man ever reared. Near the one slope where small boats may land, the yacht is left to ride at anchor, while the voyagers see and learn all they may within the jagged rim which through all the years withstands the fury of tempest and wave.
In 1635, nineteen years after Captain John Smith named Straitsmouth, Thatcher's, and Milk Islands, the Three Turks' Heads, Thatcher's, the middle and largest of the three, became the object of the early colonists' sorrowful attention, because of an event the like of which had not before happened in New England. In Dr. Alexander Young's “ Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay,” is a narrative of this event, which was written by Anthony Thatcher, whose name the island now bears. It is entitled 6. Thatcher's Narrative of his Shipwreck.” A large part of it should be repeated to our excursionists, for nothing can be better or more touching to their minds than the sufferer's own manner of telling the sad tale.
" There was a league of perpetual friendship between” Mr. Thatcher and his “ Cousin Avery ” (who “was,” said Increase Mather, “a precious holy minister”) “never to forsake each other to the death, but to be partakers of each other's misery or welfare, as also of habitation, in the same place.” They with their families came from England together. Upon their arrival in New England, they tarried awhile in Ipswich, but finally took up their abode in Newbury, notwithstanding Mr. Avery had been “ invited to Marblehead.” There was no church " planted there as yet, but a town appointed to set up the trade of fishing." Though the promise was held out that Mr. Avery should become in due time the pastor of the Marblehead church, he was not inclined to leave Newbury. The good man shrank from what he believed would be a difficult work. For a time he did not rise to the heroic purpose to spend his strength where the need for it seemed the greatest. 6. But” (in the language of Mr. Thatcher) “ being solicited so often 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 thither consented to go. They of Marblehead forthwith sent a pinnace for us and our goods.”
The pinnace went to the then best known port near Newbury for the minister and his friend, and their wives and children. Mr. Thatcher's words are: 6 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 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, and
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 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 that 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 forepart 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 scarce could 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 into 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 and seeing how we were, I turned myself to my cousin and the rest, and spake these words: 0 cousin, it hath pleased God to cast us here between two rocks, the shore not far 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