[HAINS, THORNTON JENKINS], “CAPTAIN MAYN CLEW GARNETT” (1866–?). Named for his maternal grandfather, Admiral Thornton
Jenkins, U.S.N., Thornton Jenkins Hains had a career of indefinite length
as a working seaman and was licensed in both England and the United States
as a navigator for large oceangoing vessels. He began a writing career in
1889 and had gained enough fame as a sea-writer to be the subject of a
front-page article in the New York Times on 16 December 1903. Titled
“Author Rescued at Sea,” the article recounts the sinking of Hains’ yacht
Edna in a hurricane that struck on his voyage from North Carolina to the
Bahamas. By then he had published at least two collections of sea stories,
Tales of the South Seas (1894) and The Wind-Jammers (1899), and one
novel, The Wreck of the Conemaugh (1899). Of his several other books,
three are especially notable: a collection of stories mostly of sea animals, The
Strife of the Sea (1903), and the novels The Black Barque (1905) and The
Voyage of the Arrow (1906).
Tales of the South Seas, published in the same year as Jack London’s* Call
of the Wild, presents a unique, Darwinian view of sea life. The handsome,
illustrated volume attracted London’s attention, as did The Voyage of the
Arrow, which features an interesting, self-conscious narrator and Hains’ typically engaging, plain style. The Black Barque is a novel about the slave trade,
presented in a balanced, realistic way. The title story of a later collection,
The White Ghost of Disaster (published in 1912, the year of the Titanic*
disaster, under the name “Captain Mayn Clew Garnett”) is a memorable
tale of a captain who kills himself after sinking his speeding passenger liner
in a collision with an iceberg.