MELANCHOLY SHIPWRECK, AND REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF THE INTERPOSITION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, in the preservation of the lives of 12 unfortunate persons, who were shipwrecked on the 3d of December last (1833,) on their passage from Portsmouth, (Eng.) to Bombay, and after being 17 days in an open boat, subsisting on an allowance of half a biscuit to each day, were providentially picked up by an English homeward bound Whaleman. Mathews Mrs.
MELANCHOLY SHIPWRECK, AND REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF THE INTERPOSITION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, in the preservation of the lives of 12 unfortunate persons, who were shipwrecked on the 3d of December last (1833,) on their passage from Portsmouth, (Eng.) to Bombay, and after being 17 days in an open boat, subsisting on an allowance of half a biscuit to each day, were providentially picked up by an English homeward bound Whaleman.
MELANCHOLY SHIPWRECK, AND REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF THE INTERPOSITION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, in the preservation of the lives of 12 unfortunate persons, who were shipwrecked on the 3d of December last (1833,) on their passage from Portsmouth, (Eng.) to Bombay, and after being 17 days in an open boat, subsisting on an allowance of half a biscuit to each day, were providentially picked up by an English homeward bound Whaleman.

MELANCHOLY SHIPWRECK, AND REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF THE INTERPOSITION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, in the preservation of the lives of 12 unfortunate persons, who were shipwrecked on the 3d of December last (1833,) on their passage from Portsmouth, (Eng.) to Bombay, and after being 17 days in an open boat, subsisting on an allowance of half a biscuit to each day, were providentially picked up by an English homeward bound Whaleman.

n.p., 1834. Soft Cover. Very Good binding. Item #6186

Octavo. 24 pp., frontis, illus. First edition. In modern marbled paper wrappers with printed title label on the front wrap; lacking original wrappers. Early tidelines to the top and bottom margin; general toning; one leaf has a modest ink stain to the fore-edge margin; one leaf has an expert repair to a closed tear to the bottom margin extending into the text by a line or two, very discreet. A remarkably uncommon work with a magnificent frontispiece engraving and a half-page engraved vignette on the title page.

A striking story of Mrs. Mathews's ship being lost in a storm on its way to deliver her to her husband who was doing missionary work in Bombay. She along with eleven crew members (eleven others went down with the ship) spent 17 days in a small open boat without a sail and with scarcely any rations and very little drinking water. The climax is wonderfully dramatically: having run through the scant food it was decided to draw lots, the loser of which would become, well… sustenance for those that remained (that individual at least could determine the manner of their death to the extent that the means were available). Of this possibility Mrs. Mathews writes, "O Heavens! what a moment was this for me! Thoughts of my poor husband, my kind and affectionate parents, my late peaceful home, my sad destiny of being sacrificed and my body eaten to appease for a few hours the hunger of my poor, dying companions! or, if less unfortunate, to partake myself of human flesh!" Mrs. Mathews had forestalled this cannibalism for 24 hours but as the moment arrived to draw the lots she asked to lead her companions in a prayer and then asked that the drawing of the lots be put off for one more hour, that time to be spent in individual prayer. It was within this hour that a whaler was spotted, flagged down, and the crisis averted. While there is a degree of specificity to some of the detail in the narrative there are also many notable details that at best give the reader to pause suspiciously and at worst defy plausibility. Perhaps this is a true narrative exaggerated in religious exhortation--in fact one third of the narrative falls under the heading, "Moral Reflections" related by an unidentified narrator--or perhaps the whole is a fiction to that same moralizing end. Whatever the case, we have been unable to corroborate any of the details of the actual shipwreck of an unnamed Bombay-bound ship leaving from Portsmouth late in the year of 1833. Fact or fiction, this is a remarkable tale dramatically told. Scarce in the trade with only a handful of institutions holding a physical copy. OCLC 17772532; Huntress [1979], 261C.

Price: $400.00