On August 25, 1833, the British convict ship Amphitrite, filled with more than one hundred women prisoners and their children along with a crew of thirteen, left London for a convict colony in New South Wales. Less than a week later, all but three died when a savage storm battered their ship to pieces on the beach at Boulogne, all in sight of hundreds of horrified onlookers. The captain, John Hunter, had inexplicably refused offers of aid from the shore. Sensational news coverage of the calamity prompted an Admiralty investigation to find out who was responsible. The suspicion was that Hunter and the surgeon aboard rejected assistance because they feared the women would escape custody. Some blamed the doctor's wife because she had refused to go ashore in a boat with the convicts so no boat was launched.
Colourfully set in the political and social context of early 19th century Great Britain, this account of the shipwreck is peopled with a fascinating cast of characters that includes John Wilks, the Paris correspondent of a London newspaper whose reporting triggered public emotions; Lord Palmerston, the British foreign secretary; William Hamilton, the British consul who led the investigation; Sarah Austin, a British expatriate whose heroism the night of the wreck merits an award; and a Prussian prince. Drawing from government records in England, Scotland, and France, and from contemporary reports, Andrew Jampoler spins a memorable sea tale that is entirely true yet rivals the best of fiction.
About the Author
Andrew Jampoler is the award-winning author of The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt's Flight from the Gallows; Adak: The rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586; and Sailors in the Holy Land: The 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea. He spent more than twenty years in the U.S. Navy and later was a marketing executive in the international aerospace industry.
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 228 x 156 x 24 mm