All Hands Will Perish

Found February 1879, on the sands at Craster, Northumberland

In a bottle:

The Mary Jane, of Dover, bound from Glasgow for New Zealand, was wrecked 300 miles off the coast of England. It is supposed all hands will perish. There is a heavy sea, and crew in small open boats.
T. SNAITH, captain.

The Berwickshire News and General Advertiser said this message stated the Mary Jane “was wrecked 300 miles off the coast of New Zealand”, not England, and therefore concluded it must be a hoax as it could not have drifted such a distance. But this seems to have been based on a transcription error, as in the first publications of the message, in the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette a week earlier, the ship “was wrecked 300 miles off the coast of England”, and there was no suspicion of a hoax.

[Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette, 18 February 1879, Berwickshire News and General Advertiser, 25 February 1879]

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