Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XV / The Ship of Fire >> Page 337

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription only to shoot up in the distance and renew her fiery progress to
the shore.
" Every part of her seems ablaze. Hull and gunwale, mast
and spar, sail and cordage, are all distinctly defined in fiery mass
and outline. Yet she does not seem to burn. No fiery flakes
ascend, no smoke darkens her figure, no shroud or sail falls, no
visible change takes place in her fate, or dimensions and thus
perfect, she glides onward to the shore, glides along the shore,
skirts the breakers into which she appears about to penetrate,
then suddenly goes out ; but only, as I have said, to loom up
once more upon the eastern edge of the sea. This operation
continues for twenty-four hours, one day in every year."" Bless me, how curious. I wish we could get an exhibition of
it now. Is it a regular day in the year on which it appears ?"
So it is asserted, but I do not recollect the day, and I doubt
if our chronicles determine the fact. But the affidavits of re-
spectable witnesses give the date on which they declare them.-
selves to have seen the spectacle, and that clay, each year, may
be assumed to be the one on which it annually reappears."" Well, how do they account for this singular exhibition ?"" In the following manner. The tradition, I may add, is a
very old one, and the historical facts, so far as they may, are
found to confirm it.
" The burning vessel is known as ' The ship of the Palatines.'
The story is that, some time during the region of the First
George of England, and when it was the anxious policy of that
monarch to encourage emigration to the Southern Colonies, a
small company of that class of colonists who were known as
`German Palatines ' having come from the Palatinate, arrived
in London seeking means to get to America. They were sus-
tained for a time at the public expense, until a vessel could be
chartered for their use, when they took their departure for the
New World. The public policy made it comparatively easy to
persuade the crown to this sort of liberality ; and succor of this
character was frequently accorded to this class of adventurers,
who were supposed to have a special claim on the bounty of the
German monarch of the English. The emigrants, in the present
instance, wore the appearance of poverty so common to their
class, and studiously forebore to betray the fact that they had