LuxBorough Incident

Luxborough is a vessel fitted to carry guns and ammunitions during the 18th Century.  Before even reaching their destination, around 600 African slaves have already died due to a disease and on June 25, 1727, the vessel was caught on fire and sank.

The incident was narrated by a 24-year old second in command, William Boys.  They were able to survive the fire by using smaller boats to escape the vessel.  While on their journey, the survivors had to eat the flesh of their comrades and drank their blood for nourishment.  Below is a part of the narrative found in the works of William Boys:

"The sensation of hunger was not so urgent, but we all saw the necessity of recruiting our bodies with some more substantial nourishment, and it was at this time we found ourselves impelled to adopt the horrible expedient of eating part of the bodies of our dead companions, and drinking their blood. Our surgeon, Mr. Scrimsour, a man of the utmost humanity, first suggested the idea, and, resolute to set us an example, ate the first morsel himself; but, at the second mouthful, turned his face away from as many as he could and wept. With great reluctance we brought ourselves to try different parts of the bodies of six, but could relish only the hearts, of which we ate three. We drank the blood of four. By cutting the throat a little while after death, we collected a little more than a pint from each body. Here I cannot but mention the particular respect shown by the men to the officers, for the men who were employed in the melancholy business of collecting the blood in a pewter bason that was in the boat, and the rest of the people, would never touch a drop till the captain, surgeon, and myself had taken as much as we thought proper. And I can truly affirm, we were so affected by this strong instance of their regard that we always left them a larger share than of right belonged to them. This expedient, so shocking in relation, and so distressing to us in the use, was undoubtedly the means of preserving those who survived, as we constantly found ourselves refreshed and invigorated by this nourishment, however unnatural.We often saw birds flying over our heads, and fish playing round the boat's stern, which we strove to catch with our hat-bands knotted together, and a pin for a hook, baited with a piece of the dead men's bodies; but with all our contrivance could not catch either fish or bird." -Details of the gruesome incident at the Luxborough Galley found in the works of William Boys 


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