Saturday, November 23, 2013

Newpaper Clipping about Foundering of Schooner Fox about 1790; discourtesy on the high seas

News item in the 20 March 1790 issue of the Massachusetts Centinel of the foundering of the Schooner Fox, built by Josiah Edes of Boston, Massachusetts.  

It describes a shocking case of maritime discourtesy on the part of an unknown sloop which declined to aid the men who had taken to an open boat.  Was it because the sloop decided not to help after seeing the colors the men raised on an oar?


Ship News
The Schooner Fox, Josiah Edes, maker, of this port, foundered in lat. 33.35 North and long. 74.0 West.  The Captain and crew got into an open boat, in which they continued four days and nights, without the least sustenance.  In this distressing situation they discovered a sloop standing for them, and in order to obtain relief, hoisted their colors on an oar, with the union down, being a signal of distress, when the sloop hauled her wind and ran from them.  In two hours afterwards saw the land a head and in four hours came up with it.  The wind blowing very hard, and there being a high sea and heavy surf, the boat filled with water and soon overset, by which accident the mate and four men were drowned, the Captain and one man only getting to shore alive, who arrived at Charleston (S.C.) with Capt. Swain from Wilmington.

From my admittedly-lacking knowledge of coordinates, it sounds as though the men were off the coast of North Carolina, but I welcome corrections!

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