Two sad catastrophes occurred off the neighbouring coast of Liverpool on Wednesday 2th September 1818. The brig Sine, Captain N Doak, sailed from this port [Liverpool] two days earlier for Boston; thirty two passengers were embarked on board of her. On the night of the third day whilst the two vessels were standing on the opposite tacks, somewhere west of Cardigan Bay, she unfortunately ran down the brig Dash bound from Barmouth to London.
The Dash sank almost instantaneously. Her crew consisted of five persons, two of whom were saved by the exertions of Captain Doak and his crew, and the remainder were unhappily drowned. The Sine's bowsprit was carried away by this lamentable accident and the vessel seriously damaged by the violence of shock. Captain Doak being incapable of prosecuting the voyage with his vessel in this shattered condition, determined to return to Liverpool to repair. But misfortunes awaited the ill-fated vessel.
Between four and five o'clock, the captain worn out by his previous exertion and anxiety for the fatal accident which had occurred, retired to his cabin after having left the brig in charge of the mate and given him strict injunctions to keep a sharp look out and to call him before she got up with the Skerries. The vessel continued on her course till about half past seven o'clock [3th September 1818] when she struck off the Platters on the Welsh coast near to the Skerries lighthouse. The water rushed in with great rapidity and the vessel was sinking fast.
At this dreadful conjuncture, Captain Doak who had hurried on deck as soon as she struck, ordered the ship's boats to be instantly cleared away. She had only two: the one a long boat and the other a very small one. The longboat was speedily filled but only a few persons got into the small one, for, before the whole of the people on the wreck could embark, both boats were cut adrift, the persons on board of them fearing, we suppose, that if they allowed all to embark they would be so much crowded as to endanger the lives of the whole. Captain Doak who had been actively and anxiously engaged in transhipping the passengers; the mate; a seaman and many passengers were thus abandoned to all the horrors of their impending fate.
The scene which ensued was awfully affecting. The brig was now nearly under water. Death stared the unfortunates on the wreck in the face. Mothers were seen clinging to their unhappy children in all the agony of maternal despair, piercing the air with their shrieks, whilst the helpless children clung to their distracted parents, looking to them for aid which they could not yield. At this awful moment, the small boat put about and returned towards the vessel. This afforded the people on the wreck a gleam of hope but it was but transient: no entreaties could prevail upon the persons in her to come alongside to rescue their companions. At length the vessel went down in less than half an hour after she struck. Captain Doak was saved by the boat which also picked up the mate, who was almost lifeless; two children; two women and one man.
The remainder, consisting of: Mrs Moor and her four children; Mrs Croft and her child; Mrs Latham and her two children; Mrs Robinson and Mr Taylor, were swallowed by the remorseless waves. In total 12 passengers were lost.
The long boat was still in sight, making towards the Welsh coast, but Captain Doak pulled off the land in hopes of meeting with some vessel which might rescue him and his unhappy companions from their still perilous situation. A ship was in sight when the Sine struck and clawed up her topsails as if intending to render her assistance, but made all sail away when she went down. The forlorn voyagers, after rowing some distance, were taken up by a pilot boat which, perceiving the imminence of their danger, had come with praiseworthy alacrity to their succour. They then made sail after the long boat with which they soon came up and took the people on board. They shortly afterwards fell in with two brigs [one was the Mary and Sally from Salem] bound for this port - between which the survivors were divided and safely landed at Liverpool.
Many of them were in a most forlorn and desolate condition, some having been roused from their beds by the striking of the vessel, the suddenness of which and the confusion incident to it, allowing them neither time nor thought to dress themselves. Their immediate wants, we have been informed, were relieved by the humanity of our excellent chief magistrate. A subscription has been since opened for the relief of such of them as have been reduced to a state of destitution by this sad calamity. Most of the unhappy sufferers, it will be perceived, were mothers and their offspring. The history of the voyage of some of them is truly affecting. The husbands of two of them, Moor and Croft, are now in the United States and had sent for their wives and families. Some scenes truly affecting took place during the time the vessel was sinking. An unhappy man saw his wife and two children perish before his eyes without being able to afford them assistance. A little boy belonging to one of the women was about being put in the boat but refused to go, saying he would remain and die with his mother.