1890 Dundee Advertiser, Friday 31st January.

 

WILD ANIMALS IN POSESSION OF A SHIP

 

   The overdue British barque Margaret (Captain Sargent), from the West coast of Africa, has arrived at Boston after a remarkable voyage. Captain Sargent said that between the gales and the nature of his cargo he had an experience he does not wish again to meet.

Besides a regular cargo there were twelve snakes, 400 cockatoos and parrots, an ourang-outang, some monkeys, two crocodiles, and a gorilla, which he was bringing from Africa for a museum. Rats caused the death of all but four of the cockatoos and parrots by eating up all the corn that had been provided for them.

During a gale the snakes and crocodiles broke out of their boxes in the hold and invaded the forecastle, so that for five days the men could not venture into their quarters, but had to live in the cabins. These reptiles, along with the rats, kept up a continual warfare until the surviving crocodile killed the last snake, and completed the chain of vengeance by being killed during a fierce storm by some of the cargo falling on it. During the scrimmage among the reptiles the monkeys took to the rigging, and stuck there despite all efforts to dislodge them. Finally they were all washed away except four which were captured.

 

The worst passenger was a five-foot gorilla, which was imprisoned in a stout wooden box. The top of this the animal forced off, but though held by a chain he had considerable play, and getting possession of an iron bar he swept the decks. He wound up by partially scalping the negro cook one day, and only letting go after he had been nearly killed with an axe. All the men were more or less hurt by the beast, and he led them a life of terror.

The museum collection now reduced to a gorilla, three monkeys, and four parrots.

Last Updated ( Monday, 31 August 2009 20:12 )