Monday, October 5, 2009

Quit Monkeying Around

It is sometimes difficult to remember that, during the Napoleonic Wars, there still existed very isolated villages with little to no contact with the outside world, whom the Enlightenment appeared to have passed over in lieu of more interesting citizens.

The village of Hartlepool is a case in point (though, depending on who you ask, it might actually be Boddam). During the Napoleonic Wars, a storm destroyed a French chasse-marée, or a little fishing vessel, and the wreckage washed up on the shores of Hartlepool. Among the debris, there was one lone survivor, a monkey.

The crew had dressed up the monkey in a French uniform for their amusement, but this turned out to be a bad idea for poor Curious Georges. The villagers of Hartlepool had no idea what a French person might look like and decided to hold a trial for it on the beach. Despite the fact that the villagers had a. no idea what a monkey looked like, and b. no idea that there might be a language barrier even if the monkey had not been a monkey, the villagers concluded that since the monkey did not respond, it was probably a French spy, sentanced it to death and hung it on the mast of a fishing boat on the Headland.

One wonders how the villagers dealt with Darwin's theory of evolution later in the 19th century.


  1. i just showed this to Rob. Where do you find these things???

  2. Aw, thank you Ramsay! I find them mostly in history books, or in the random google searches I do when I want to procrastinate.

    Madame Berg, I feel your pain.