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Gustave Doré illustration

Simon Hatley (1685 – after 1723) was an English sailor involved in two hazardous privateering voyages to the South Pacific Ocean. With his ship beset by storms south of Cape Horn, Hatley shot an albatross, an incident immortalised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (illustrated). Hatley went to sea in 1708 under Captain Woodes Rogers, but was captured by the Spanish on the coast of Ecuador and was tortured by the Inquisition. Hatley's second voyage, under George Shelvocke, was the source of the albatross incident, recorded in Shelvocke's journal for 1 October 1719, and also ended with his capture by the Spanish, who held him as a pirate for looting a Portuguese ship. Hatley returned to Britain in 1723, though he hastily sailed to Jamaica lest he risk trial for piracy. His fate thereafter is unknown. In 1797, Wordsworth suggested Hatley's shooting of an albatross as the basis of a poem, which Coleridge published in Lyrical Ballads (1798). (Full article...)