1822 - Anonymus
The Heat and the Cholera
We are indebted to a friend for the following extract of a letter from on board the Kent, Capt Kemp, which ship arrived here from Muscat on Friday last, having experienced much bad weather in the short run from Muscat to this place [Bombay]. On her passage from Muscat, the Kent experienced violent weather, with a tremendous sea; lost her main and mizen topmasts, when 20 leagues to the eastward of Ras-el-had; and, for most of the passage, was reduced to only her courses. The cholera was raging with violence at Muscat, and making rapid progress to the westward; its effects at Muscat appeared to be more fatally expeditious than in any part of India; scarce ten minutes elapsed, in innumerable cases, before life terminated. On board the Conde de Rio Pardo, a Jew merchant was in the act of closing a bargain for some tubs of sugar-candy, the merchant to whom he was talking was suddenly seized, vomited only twice, and expired! So many fell victims to this scourge, that they did not even take the trouble to bury them, but sewed the bodies up in a mat and turned them adrift in the cove. Several of the Arab ships lost some of their crew, and were frequently passing the Kent, towing their dead bodies, fast by the neck, into deep water. The Hindoos for some time entertained a superstitious idea that the cholera was a judgment only on the Arabs, for their eating animal food; but, before the Kent sailed, they were convinced that the pestilence was no respecter of persons. The heat was almost insupportable, the wind like a flame of fire. At midnight the thermometer stood at 104 [40° C]. The Kent lost only one man from the cholera.
On the forecastle of the Kent the heat was so intense, that the tube of a thermometer, graduated only to 122 [50° C], was completely filled by the expansion of the mercury, and consequently left them at a loss for the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere; but so scorching was the sun, that no European could expose himself to it with impunity. (Bombay Gazette, July 14.)
The cholera has nearly subsided at Muscat, after having committed dreadful ravages. The Imam says he has lost 10,000 of his subjects by it. We regret to hear this fatal disease has extended itself to Persia, and carried off many persons at Linga. (Bombay Paper, July 21.)
Asiatic Journal, 1822