One of the first things Captain Morehouse did in Gibraltar was to cable news of the salvaging of Mary Celeste to a part-owner of Dei Gratia, John W. Parker, who was a partner in the brokerage business of Haney and Parker at 25 Coenties Slip, New York. Parker in turn notified the offices of J.H. Winchester & Co., who informed the various insurers, including the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, whose Disaster Clerk noted on page 192 of Disaster Book No. 93 the content of the cablegram:

On the same day the United States Consul in Gibraltar, Horatio Sprague, sent the following telegram:

He also cabled his opposite number in Genoa, O.M. Spencer:

In reply to the first telegram, Alfred Ogden, who was Chairman of the Standing Committee on Salvages, Losses and Averages of the Board of Underwriters of New York (who was also VicePresident of the Orient Mutual Insurance Company, one of the main insurers of Mary Celeste), told Sprague:

The recovery of Mary Celeste was reported in Lloyd’s List, a British newspaper reporting shipping movements and casualties, maritime news and other commercial information:1

The Times on 16 December also carried the news of the discovery under its heading ‘Latest Shipping Intelligence’ and by 19 December the story had reached the New York Journal of Commerce. The tale at this time was brief and to the point, but it did not take long for the peculiar circumstances of Mary Celeste’s discovery to attract the attention of the press and on 21 December the Shipping and Commercial List noted that:

The last sentence carried a slight implication that the shippers were guilty of fraud, and on 25 December the Shipping and Commercial List offered a correction in which they apologised for any imputation of the shipper’s honesty but in doing so cast speculative aspersions on the Mary Celeste’s crew:

This was just the start of the extraordinary speculations that would surround both the crew of Mary Celeste and Dei Gratia and which must have made Captain Morehouse, Oliver Deveau and the crew of Dei Gratia rue the day they set eyes upon the ocean wanderer. On 30 January 1873 the Gibraltar Chronicle would lay out the basic facts for suspicion and indicate the direction in which the suspicion was leading. During a long report, which was picked up and repeated in The Times in London on 14 February, it stated:

The utter respectability of the crew of both vessels makes murder on the high seas highly improbable, but it cannot be denied that despite the abundant theories the circumstances of Mary Celeste’s abandonment seem to defy convincing explanation, and it is therefore hardly surprising that Mary Celeste should have been a talking point. What turned her into a cause célèbre in the annals of maritime mystery and remembered 130 years later was a pompous little man named Frederick Solly Flood who possessed the grand and imposing title of Her Majesty’s Advocate-General and Proctor for the Queen in Her Office of Admiralty, and Attorney-General for Gibraltar.