The Custom Of The Sea
by Neil Hanson
On 5 July 1884 the yacht Mignonette sank in a storm off the coast of West Africa. The survivors were cast adrift in an open dinghy, and survived for 24 days without food or water. The ordeal that they endured and the trial which followed their return to England held the whole nation, from the lowliest ship's deckhand to Queen Victoria herself, spellbound the following winter, and made legal history. This is the true story of the case that outlawed for ever a practice followed since man first put to sea in boats: the Custom of the Sea, that of drawing straws and surviving by eating one of the members of the shipwrecked party.
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