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Looking Out For a Sail

Found September 1871, Gulf of Mexico.

Written in pencil:

Off East Coast of Brazil, Jan. 21, 1871. — This is to certify that we three are the only survivors of the English ship Lilian, lost on the night of the 15th of this month. We have now been drifting in an open boat for six days, suffering hunger, thirst, and hardships which none but those that has experienced can illustrate. We have been looking out for a sail since the ship went down. What became of the captain and the rest of the men God can only tell.
JOHN THOMAS, Second Mate.

Some newspapers gave the Lillian three Ls. “It may be a hoax,” one said, “but if not it is of so much importance as to be thought worthy of publication.”

[Morning Advertiser, 2 September 1871]