In January 1786, the East India Company's merchant ship, the Halsewell, set sail for India. Soon into the journey blizzards and hurricane force winds in the Channel overtook the ship, and eventually drove it on to the steep cliffs at Seacombe in Dorset.
This account of the wreck is written (in the third person) by Mr Meriton and Mr Rogers, two of the officers who survived the disaster. Over a hundred perished in the wreck, including the Captain, his two daughters and nieces, and the First Officer, his nephew. Another 60 seamen and soldiers, who managed to reach the cliffs, died of cold or were washed into the sea. About 70 were rescued from the cliffs.
This publication was rushed out to meet the high level of public interest in the tragedy. An almost identical account by the same authors appeared from another publisher under the title A Circumstantial Narrative of the Loss of the Halsewell.