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A Terrible Tale of the Sea

In ;i lately published book, written by Rear Admiral Werner, of the German Navy, a strange story is told of the way in which many years ago, in 1836, a French man-of-war went down, with all hands on board, in West Indian waters. The ship had been in commission for two years on the Antilles Station, and during the whole of the time her captain, who is described as an incarnation of cruelty, had exercised his ingenuity in tormenting in every possible way both the officers and men of his crew. So well had he succeeded that the lives of all on board had been rendered a burden to them, while the captain himself was hated with an intensity of which proof was soon given. Orders at length came for the ship to return home. Not long after the anchor had been weighed it became evident that a heavy squall was coming -down on the ship, ■ and the captain directed the officer of the watch to shorten sail. The orders were given, but not a man moved. Again the orders were repeated, this time by the captain himself; but still not a man moved. “ This is mutiny!” cried the captain, and then a hundred voices anwered : “We will not shorten sail.” In vain the terrified captain appealed to the officers to support him. They stood silent, and neither threats nor promises availed to make men or officers move, save only a few who were noted as spies and favorites of the captain. A few minutes more and the squall struck the ship. In a moment the vessel was thrown upon her beamends. “ Cut away the masts !” shouted the captain ; but still not a man moved. In another minute, however, the rigging was carried away, the masts went "by the board, and, thus relieved, the ship righted herself. Then the long-suppressed rage of the crew broke forth, and rushing aft, seized the captain. A few minutes more, and he would have followed the rigging, but the first lieutenant, going below, opened the door of the magazine and fired his pistol into it. There was a loud report, and the ship was no more. An hour afterwards an American vessel passing over the spot picked up one of the crew, who told the story of what had happened and died shortly afterward.

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Bibliographic details

A Terrible Tale of the Sea, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 258, 2 February 1881

Word Count

A Terrible Tale of the Sea Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 258, 2 February 1881

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