A TALE OF THE SEA
THE STORY OF THE MARLBOROUGH CASTAWAY AT CAPE HOR.K (PROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) LONDON, 16th January. During the last weelc I ha.ye received, from an English sea ca.ptain of unquestioned reliability, the narrative of the finding of the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company's ship Marlborough, which left iN'ew Zealand for London twentythree years ago and was never afterwards heard of. A bare statement of the discovery appeared in New Zealand some months ago, and a number of London papers, in search- of further romance, fabricated a disgraceful story under the impression that the wreck had just been discovered. As a maiter of fact it was seen twenty years ago, but the one person who saw it and survived only recently told his story to another captain who happened to be interested personally. The captain who gave me the narrative was formerly in the employ of the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company, and he was specially interested in the loss of the Marlborough because he had applied to be put in her for that voyage. He got the story quite recently from Captain S. Burley, a pilot on Puget Sound, Arid he says : — "Captain Burley was telling me how he was -wrecked when a lad on the mainland near Staten Island. After his party landed from the ship a rumour started among them .that there was a whaling station near where help might be obtained ; and two men (Burley and another) started to walk there. "'On the way/ he said, 'we passed 'the wreck of a London ship, the Marlborough, a painted port ship of about 1200 tons. The foremast had - fallen over the bow on to a. small bluff or cliff and formed a bridge by which we reckoned some of the crew had got on shore. On the beach, 'in a tent made by. the belly of a foresail or mainsail, were seven dead men, practically skeletons, and outside the tent was a pile of mussel shells about three feet high, and no other sign of food of any sort. The wreck was lying about six to seven miles north of Wood Success Bay and in sight (on a clear day) of Staten Island.' "Burley's party, the narrator continues, "when he and his comrade failed to find help, put to sea in a small boat and were eventually picked up and taken, I think he said, to Callao, but out of the entire crew of his ship only Burley and another man lived to reach it, the rest dying in the boat or after they were picked up. The second man, who was a foreigner, sailed in a homeward bound ship and was, I believe, lost off the. Horn." PRESUMPTIVE AUTHENTICITY. "The name Marlborough caught- my attention 'at 0n.c6," said my informant, "because I had, asked to be placed' .in that ship my first voyage at sea, but, fortunately for me, she had a full complement of boys and I was sent to the Invercargill. The Marlborough was lost on the homeward bound voyage, and Burley saw the wreck of a painted port ship, the Marlborough, of London, about 1200 tons, the following summer (August), .when, as I judged, the Marlborough I knew had been misisng six to twelve months. Burley had never reported her, and he was sure the other man, had not. Therefore I conceive there were reasonable grounds for supposing that she was the one belonging to Shaw Savill, but of course we neither of us could be sure. . "I have every reason to Relieve -that. Captain Burley 's story was' correct as he remembered it — and men do not forget such a time as he had — also that, although it was his first Voyage abroad, he had been some time at sea on the English coast, and would know what he was talking about even ab that time. Agam, he did not know that I was, or had been, a Shaw Savill man, or know anything about the Marlborough. Practically the only suggestion against the authenticity of the narrative is the statement made lo my informant in the Shaw Savill office in London that Captain Hird, the master of the Marlborough, was an exceptionally careful navigator and would not have attempted to take the passage between Staten Island and the mainland, as it appeared the wrecked vessel had been trying to do. But there is, of course, no evidence at all that the casting away of the ship was due to careless navigation. It is quite posisble that she. was blown out of her course. It is not unnatural that Captain Hird's family should scout as absurd the sensational fabrications which appeared in the London press, because they were based* on the supposition that the wreck had only just been discovered by a vessel "on nfer way to Lyttelton round Cape Horn." But the actual story which Captain Bur/ey told remains unassailed. \ —————
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