# 43739


[SYDNEY] Affecting narrative of the total loss of the first-class steam ship Harriet Cooper, and awful sacrifice of 142 lives, when on her passage from Aberdeen to Sydney.

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Aberdeen : Edward Walker, n.d. [c 1855?]. Single folio sheet, printed on both sides and folding into 8pp octavo (unopened and uncut), with a wood engraving of the ship; small tear at one corner, which clips the very end of the caption beneath the engraving, and some minor toning, otherwise very good.


This is an apparently bogus account of a maritime disaster, the loss of the emigrant ship Harriet Cooper. The narrator is Captain J. Humpleby, master of the ship, and he relates the terrible tragedy that ensued after the ship was struck by lightning and caught fire, two months out from Aberdeen (the precise position is not given). Nine crew members manage to escape the burning ship, but all of the passengers perish. Drifting at sea in an open boat with no provisions, the sailors elect to sacrifice one of their company, who is to be cannibalised by the others. Just at this point they are rescued by the passing steam ship Clifton Park, en route from Calcutta to Liverpool. Eight survivors eventually reach England, the ninth crewman having died from the trauma of knowing his companions had been on the verge of killing and eating him. The captain’s narrative is followed on the last page by an elegiac poem, Lines on a shipwreck.