Alexander's Leviathan Art Print

Art Print

Alexander's Leviathan

by Skot Olsen

Collect your choice of gallery quality Giclée, or fine art prints custom trimmed by hand in a variety of sizes with a white border for framing.


Colin Alexander, a retired British naval captain, owned a small fleet of six converted frigates in the late 18th century. He used them for shipping goods, mostly cochineal, from Mexico to the Canary Islands, where he had a home, and then to England. By 1804, his business had waned and the condition of his ships was poor. He had no funds to repair his vessels and could no longer afford his Lloyd's of London insurance policy. He learned of a new insurance company, The Phoenix Assurance Company, which had opened in Montreal. He had letters of recommendation from members of the British military and was able to obtain coverage, provided the ship was lost due to an Act of God and not negligence. Later that year, one of the ships, the one that Alexander himself was captain on, sank off the coast of the Canary Islands. The captain was the sole survivor and later reported that the ship had been pulled down to a watery grave, along with its cargo, by a huge, white octopus. He had managed to escape by climbing the mast and floating to shore on a piece of it. The crew, he claimed, was not so lucky. Whether or not there was a monster or even a real crew or cargo, the captain was awarded a huge sum of money for his loss. In 1806, he retired to his home in the Canary Islands where he died a wealthy man only five years later.

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