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The Oriental Voyager. By J. JOHNSON, Esq. Surgeon in the
(Concluded from Vol. XVIIL page 417.) L
EAVING Prince of Wales's Island, Mr. Johnson, on the 1st
of April, 1805, embarked on board his Majesty's ship Russel, for Madras, where he arrived on the 21st of the month. At this place, the jugglers greatly excited his curiosity, and he particularly notices the trick of swallowing the sword.
" This sword,” says he, “ has some resemblance to a common spit in shape, except at the handle, which is merely a part of the blade itself, rounded and elongated into a little rod; it is from twenty-two to twenty-six inches in length, about an inch in breadth, and about one-fifth of an inch in thickness; the edges and point are blunt, being rounded, and of the same thickness as the rest of the blade: it is made of iron or steel, smooth, and a little bright.
66 Having been visited by one of these conjurors, I resolved to see clearly his mode of performing this operation, and for that purpose ordered him to seat himself on the floor of the verendah, and having satisfied myself with respect to the sword, by attempt. ing to bend it, and by striking it against a stone, I firmly grasped it by the handle, and ordered him to proceed.
" He first took out a small phial of oil, and with one of his fingers rubbed a little of it over the surface of the instrument, then stretching up his neck as much as possible, and bending himself a little backwards, he introduced the point of it into his mouth, and pushed it gently down his throat, until my hand, which was on the handle, came in contact with his lips ; he then made a sign to me, with one of his hands, to feel the point of the instrument between his breast and navel, which I could plainly do, by bending him a little more backwards, and pressing my fingers on his stomach, he being a very thin and lean fellow. On letting go the handle of the sword, he instantly fixed on it a little machine that spun round, and disengaged a small firework, which, encircling his head with a blue flame, gave him, as he then sat, a truly diabolical appearance. On withdrawing the instrument, several parts of its surface were covered with blood, which shewed that he was still obliged to use a degree of violence in the introduction.
“I was, at first, a good deal surprised at this transaction alto. gether, but when I came to reflect a little upon it, there appeared nothing at all improbable, much less impossible, in the business. He told me, on giving him a trille, that he had been accustomed from his early years, to introduce at first small elastic instruments down his throat and into his stomach ; that by degrees he had used larger ones, until at length he was able to use the present iron sword.”
The Summary View of the Mythology, Rcligion, Munners, and Customs of the Hindoos, is judiciously selected from various authorities, and forms a very amusing chapter.
On the 2d of June, Mr. Johnson left Madras, and embarked on board his Majesty's ship Howe for Vizagapatam, where he arrived in three days, and joined the Caroline, which, from that time till October was employed on the Coromandel coast, in protecting the commerce of the country. Sketches of the small settlements on the Coromandel and Malabar coasts, interspersed with miscellancous remarks, from different authors, are here given.
In consequence of ill health, Mr. Johnson left Madras in the American brig Caravan, and arrived in the Ganges on the 21st of October, whence he sailed for England in his Majesty's ship Me. dusa, on the 3d of November. On the 14th of December, they passed in sight of the Cape, and stecred for St. Helena, where they arrived on the 22d of the same month. Mr. Johnson's descriptive tour through St. Helena, is written with the enthusiasm of a poet; but, as its effect would be lost by any partial extract, we have inserted the whole in another department of our CHRONICLE.
« We took leave of this curious island (says Mr. Johnson) on Christmas-day, and on the 26th of January, 1806, we saw the snow-topt hills of Cornwall; after a voyage (passage), hitherto without a parallel in the annals of navigation. As the Medusa ran from the Ganges to the Lizard in eighty.four days, two of which were spent at anchor in St. Jlelena roads, she was consequently but eighty-two days under sail, in which time she traversed the immense space of thirteen thousand eight hundred and thirty-one miles. Sir John Gore, then, may justly claim the merit of having made the most rápid passage that has ever yet
been performed between Bengal and England; while the Medusa's track will exhibit to the philosopher and to the world, a striking instance of that high degree of perfection which British men of war have attained in every respect, not only constant victors in the day of battle, but as couriers, almost outstripping the winds themselves."
It would be an act of injustice to close this article without ob. serving, that Mr. Johnson's book, with respect to its main object—that of furnishing the young voyager with an agreeable and useful companion, on his first visit to the oriental world.is the best and most servicrable work of the kind that we have seen.
PLATE CCLI. THE Rock of Lisbon, or Cape Roca, is situated at the nor.
thern entrance of the Tagus, in longitude 9o 5, east of Ferro; latitude, 39° 35' north.–The rock of Lisbon also forms the most westerly point of the Portuguese province of Estramadura, through which the Tagus passes. The Tagis, it
proper to obserre, rises in the mountains of Molina, which separate the kingdom of Arragon from Old Castile, passes by Aranjuez, Toledo, Talavera de la Reyna, crosses Castile, and Estramadura of Castile, enters Portugal at Montalvao, crosses Portuguese Estramadura, passes by Abrantes, Santarem, &c. and runs into the Atlantic, about ten miles below Lisbon.*
No haughty feat of arins I tell :
That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.
* A beautiful view of Lisbon harbour, and Belem Castle, by Mr. Pocock, appears in the second volume of the NAVAL CHRONICLE, page 209. The view is illustrated by a copious historical and descriptive account of Lisbon, from various authorities.