During the Napoleonic Wars (early 1800’s) a French ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool coast, when the ship washed up to shore there was only one survivor, a monkey. The monkey was the ship’s pet which the crew dressed in a military uniform to amuse themselves at sea. At the time there was great fear of a French invasion, Britain was paranoid about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies. Unaware of how a French man looks like, the fishermen trailed the monkey as a human, which brought them to the conclusion that the so called ‘French man’ was a spy. So they sentenced him to death, and hung him.
What a strange little story, I can’t believe that the British thought a monkey was a French spy! Wow, we have come a long way since then. This illustation from Ben Kirchner triggered my memory of this mad little story. For more reading on this click here or for more on the Kirchner click here.