Extract of a letter from India, by the Dublin East Indiaman, to Mr. William Jones

We left Patia Dec. 15, 1789, and went to Decca, and arrived there after a passage of 16 days. Just as we arrived there was a famine, and it was really a shocking sight to behold; you could not move out of your house but the corpses lay in your way, and the wild dogs and jackalls were eating them at noon-day. The Hindoos never bury their dead, but burn them to ashes, if they can afford it; if not, throw them into the river. I have lately seen a man brought to the river side, and laid down at lowwater mark before he was dead ; and when the the tide flowed, it carried him off. If a man, woman, or child, dies at night, the corpse is eaten by the morning. This I have been an eye witness of ; for as I always rode out on horseback every morning, I had an opportunity of seeing more than those that did not. In the course of six months I became so much used to it, that I took no notice of it.

“I was there when a dreadful conflagration took place, and burnt upwards of seven miles without intermission, and many souls perished. Now consider, first, an inundation; second, a famine; and third, a conflagration. How much the place must be distressed, I leave you to think. I left Decca the 1st of December last, and arrived at Calcutta, after a passage through the Sunderburns (in 17 days), hearty and well, thank God.”

Citation: Glasgow Advertiser (Glasgow, United Kingdom), 21 August 1789, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/10.