Know I Died Happy

Found September 1866, Ventnor harbour, Isle of Wight.

In a corked wine bottle, stamped “Patent, Powell and Co., Bristol”:

Her first voige to England.
June 17, 1866.
The Spanish Queen, bound for Bristol with timber from Quebec, having left on the 5 of March, and owing to the rough weather, which has lasted 9 days, the old ship leaks like a sieve, and we are settling down fast. All hands are out at the pump, and the captain is ill upon deck, but is riting a note to put it in a flask. It is my last wish if this bottle is picked up that it may be published in some papers, as I have a Dear father and mother, and I should like them to know I died happy. There is no hope for us. I shall not throw this over till the last.
Hands in number, 23.
I remain yours.

The message was retrieved by William H Whitewood, who waded into the harbour up to his knees. It was photographed by Mr Frederick Hudson, and passed to the coastguard. Mr Hudson wrote to the Times, offering to send copies of the photographs to the parents of George Mills, saying, “They may prove some slight consolation to them in their bereavement.”

[The Times, 18 September 1866]

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