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Leaking Badly

Found 23 July 1883, off Long Island, New York.

In a bottle, picked up by Captain Chase of the steamer General Bartlett:

Schooner Smuggler leaking badly. Seine boats gone. Can’t keep afloat much longer. If this is found send news to Gloucester. Off Cape Elizabeth, July 15.

From Gloucester, Massachusetts, the 1877 schooner Smuggler was regarded as one of the most handsome schooners ever built. Although the Smuggler did become grounded on a ledge in July 1888, it was freed on the following day, and proceeded on its journey apparently undamaged. This message was therefore either an over-panicked dispatch or a hoax.

[New York Times, 24 and 25 July 1883]