Storm’s End

Eliza Baylies Wheaton described the third night of the storm as the worst yet, bringing still rougher seas.  “On this morn[in]g about 2 o’cl[oc]k,” she wrote, a wave “came with a fearful power on to the upper Deck over the wheel house— The smoke stack was marked with the salt water some 20 or 25 f[ee]t above upper deck— At the shipping of this sea one of the sail burst from the strength of the wind and all together the sound was like that of a cannon on board— She tumbled a moment then mounted the waves and went on her way—”

Wheaton responded anxiously to these events, but she could find no one, either passenger or crew, to affirm her fears.  The wind lessened late in the morning of April 25, and she took the air on the upper deck in the afternoon.  “The English,” she noted, “have a confidence in one of Cunard’s Steamers that seems to set aside the superintending providence of God—“  An Englishwoman from Toronto told her she did not believe a Cunard steamer could be wrecked.  An officer disagreed with Wheaton’s characterizing the passage as rough, but he remarked that the way the sea made the ship roll did make everyone uncomfortable.

Wheaton herself took the opportunity to reflect on how well her faith had weathered the storm.  She wrote: “But during the Storm I had a good degree of quiet trust, and yet I longed for a more sensible nearness to Christ… for that perfect love that casts out fear.”


Eliza Baylies Wheaton, Travel Journal, Wheaton Family Collection (MC089), Marion B. Gebbie Archives & Special Collections, Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.

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