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feebly and irregularly before either the functions of the mind or the respiration are affected; he found that respiration was carried on even after the circulation had ceased : and the cavities of the left side of the heart invariably contained scarlet blood, which, he says, never can happen where the cause of death is the cessation of the functions of the brain or lungs; as is the case when produced by alcohol, oil of almonds, juice of aconite, empyreumatic oil of tobacco, and the woorara of Guiana. Our readers will readily perceive, that neither the antiar nor the tieuté, is the hydra-headed monster sung by Darwin in “Sweet tretrandryan monogynian strains.” We thought, indeed, that the ghost of this non-descript had been laid, and so did poor Mr. Tombe, who assures us, that, after every possible inquiry from the Malay princes, (he means Javanese,) Chinese and Europeans, he could not hear one word of this terrible upas. To convince him, however, that he knew nothing about the matter, his learned editor, Sonnini, member of the Institute, Naturalist, Egyptian Traveller, &c. &c. &c. falls upon our simple traveller with a thundering note, in which he says, there can be no doubt of the tree growing in Java, and that Mr. Tombe did not meet with it, because he did not travel where it grew. To prove its existence, he quotes the ‘Monthly Repertory,’ where “an account is given of it by an English author, who modestly signs only the initials of his name, C. H. Can M. Sonnini be so igmorant of all that has been said of the supposed upas of Java, as to ferret out in 1810, the stale article of Foerch, published near thirty years ago, and now foisted into a paltry publication, among * fashionable caps, gowns and petticoats?’ If Leschinault's paper should fail to open his eyes, we would recommend to his attention a memoir of Dr. Lambert Nolst, fellow of the Batavian Experimental Society at Rotterdam, drawn up from information communicated by John Matthew a Rhyn, who was 23 years (from 1768 to 1786) resident in Java; thirteen as commanderin-chief at Maturam, in the Sultan's palace, and three as envoy at the court of the Soesoehoenam, or emperor of Java, at Soura Charta. He will there find that all the facts, and all the circumstances mentioned in the story, are utterly false; that no such man or tree was ever known or heard of at Soura Charta. The substance of this memoir was published in the Gentleman's Magazine for May 1794, under the signature of W. M. which we suspect to be W. Marsden. Foersch, whose name the story bears, was the third surgeon at Samarang, where he remained a very short time, and was scarcely known to any family of respectability. He withdrew himself privately from the Dutch service, and the island. Ten years afterwards, in the month of December 1783, the story appeared in the London Magazine, announced by the editors as a translation from the original Dutch, by Mr. Heydinger, a German bookseller, near Temple Bar. For our own parts, we have very little doubt of the article having been fabricated in London, from the following original materials, which we translate from the voluminous and pains-taking Valentyn, in his Beschryving van Amboina. 3 Deel. 1. Stuk. p. 218. Speaking of the Vergift boom, poison-tree (poon-upas) of Macassar, of which he says there is a male and female plant, and of which he procured a branch in 1638, he observes,
“Very few trees of this kind are said to exist, and those only in the district of Turatte, in Celebes. Malefactors under sentence of death are made use of, at certain times of the year, when the wind blows from the tree, with reference to their path, to collect the poison from it. By the reports of these people, neither plants nor grass grow in the neighbourhood, and for a wide track of country all around, nothing whatever is to be seen. The poison is collected with extreme caution in bamboos, into which it drops from incisions made in the trunk by those who are sent thither for that purpose, their hands, faces, and extremities being closely covered with napkins; for, should they attempt to take it with their hands, their muscles and joints would become contracted and rigid.”
After stating that the poison is used by the princes for touching their weapons and arrows, he proceeds:
“This poison is so quick in its operation that it immediately flies to the heart, and causes instant death. Raja Palacca, one of the most powerful kings in Celebes, once gave a remarkable proof of this by just drawing blood with a poison kris in the fleshy part of the thumb of two condemned malefactors, and immediately after amputating their arms: the toes of two others were punctured, and the corresponding legs removed. These four men died in a very short time; and in order to shew that their death was occasioned solely by the subtle operation of the poison, he allowed the bodies to be opened, when the hearts of all four were found poisoned.”
If to this account we add that given by Rumphius of the ipo of Macassar, which he calls arbo toxicaria, whose red resin was a deadly poison, the drops from whose leaves blistered those on whom they fell, and whose exhalations were so baneful that birds approaching on the wing fell lifeless to the ground—we shall, in fact, be in possession of the whole story attributed to Foersch, with the exception of the little machinery of Mahomet and the old Malay priest, and the misplaced allusion to Sodom and Gomorrah. It required but little ingenuity for an adept in forgery to substitute, for the thumbs and toes of four malefactors, the bare bosoms of thirteen beautiful but faithless concubines. Every
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other circumstance is to be found in the narratives of Valentyn and Rumphius.
It is worthy of remark, that Valentyn's account of the operation of the poison on the heart, perfectly agrees with the result of Mr. Brodie's experiments. The fact, we have no doubt, is so, for it is mentioned by Tavernier and others. Raja Palacca, from a betel-box bearer to the king of Macassar, was raised by the Dutch to the sovereignty of that district, and the bodies were opened by Dutch surgeons. Mr. Leschinault is of opinion that the ipo or toxicaria of Rumphius, is the same tree as that which produces the antiar in Java.
The natural history of Java presents a wide and unexplored field. Much has been done by Valentyn and Thumberg, by Wormbe, and other contributors to the six volumes of the transactions of the Batavian Society; and recently by Messrs. Deschamps and Leschinault, but more remains to be done. No country in the old world, lying under the same parallels of latitude, has yet been explored :—an additional incitement to those who may hereafter prosecute their researches in the interior of this island.
Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse: Containing Critical and Historical Memoirs, and original Anecdotes of British and Irish Dramatic Writers, from the Commencement of our Theatrical Exhibitions; among whom are some of the most celebrated Actors: also an Alphabetical Account and Chronological Lists of their Works; their Dates when printed; and Observations on their Merits. Together with an Introductory view of the Rise and Progress of the British Stage. Originally compiled, in the Year 1764, by David Erskine Baker; continued thence to 1782, by Isaac Reed, F. A. S.; and brought down to the end of November 1811, with very considerable Additions and Improvinents throughout, by Stephen Jones. 3 vols. 8vo. 1812.
AMONG the prominent novelties that peculiarly strike us in these volumes, is the life of Charles Bonnor; which, as a circumstance connected with the political situation of both England and France, has rendered it highly interesting, we shall quote.
“Bon Nor, CHARLEs, was the son of an eminent distiller in Bristol, and intended for a coach-maker; but, impatient of restraint, he prematurely burst the bond which was intended to hold him in a seven years course ef training for that business, and, in the year 1777, made his first appearance on the stage at Bath, in the character of Belcour. His reception was highly flattering; and his subsequent performances of Ranger, Charles Surface, Benedict, and the whole range of the elegant sprightly cast of genteel comedy, confirmed his claims to the partiality which he continued to experience there, till the year 1783, when he became the successor to Mr Lee Lewis, at Convent-garden theatre. His first appearance there, Sept. 19, of that year, was marked by the novelty of his writing and speaking an occasional Address, to introduce himself in the character of Captain Brazen; and two ladies— Miss Scrace, from Bath, who performed Sylvia; and Mrs. Chalmers, from Norwich, who acted the part of Rose. Mr. Bonnor was well received, and maintained in the metropolis the professional reputation that he had acquired at Bath. Mr. Palmer, the proprietor of that theatre, had not over-looked in Mr. Bonnor the possession of talents which qualified him for the more important pursuits of life; and he availed himself of his assistance in the earlier arrangements and experiments of the mail-coach plan, which eventually terminated Mr. Bonnor's theatrical career, by his being appointed deputy comptroller-general of the post-office. The appointment of comptroller-general ceased on Mr. Palmer's removal from the post-office in the year 1795, when a new arrangement took place, and Mr. Bonnor succeeded, at his own request, to the comptrollership of the inland department, which he held two years. The mail-coach plan, and all the corresponding internal arrangements, being then completed, the comptroller's office, with many others, was abolished; and he retired with a handsome provision for life, as a recompense for his past services. “In the year 1784, Mr. Bonnor was selected by Mr. Harris, the proprietor of Covent-garden theatre, as the fittest person to negociate and arrange a project, which has an indisputable claim to a place in the page of theatric history. It had been represented to Mr. Harris, by a friend of his, who resided at Paris, and had frequent access to the royal family during their hours of privacy at Versailles, that the establishing an English theatre at Paris had been the frequent subject of conversation among the higher orders; and, through the Count d'Artois, had obtained the approbation of the Queen. To ascertain these facts, and the practicability of such a plan, Mr. Bonnor, the appointed ambassador and destined manager of the scheme, was dispatched to Paris with full powers to negociate. “Previous to his departure, he disclosed the intention to Mr. Kemble, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Henderson, Miss Young, Miss Farren, and other principal performers of Drury-lane and Covent-garden theatres, who readily engaged to be of the party, in case the plan should be resolved on. After a residence of several weeks in Paris, the preliminaries were so far settled, as to induce Mr. Bonnor actually to engage that superb theatre which constitutes one of the grand divisions of the palace of the Thuilleries. It was at that time seldom used, and reserved chiefly for concerts and select occasions. Every thing being arranged, he was about to return to London; when his departure was retarded some days, for the purpose of his being presented by the Count d'Artois to the Queen, to receive her majesty’s personal assurances of
the protection and countenance which she meant to bestow upon the undertaking. On the day appointed, he repaired to Versailles for that purpose; where, however, instead of the flattering assurances which he had calculated upon receiving, he was abruptly given to understand, but in terms of extreme ambiguity,"and unquestionable regret, that some unforeseen occasion rendered the further prosecution of the design altogether impracticable at that period; and, without any possible ground of conjecture as to the cause of the sudden change the object was necessarily abandoned. It afterwards turned out to be occasioned by the brst discovery, at that precise time, of the deep root which the commencement of the Revolution had even then, unsuspectedly taken, which did not break out till five years after.
“ On his return from this excursion, Mr. Bonnor presented to the public, at Covent-garden theatre, his translation of a dramatic trifle, which he called,
“1. The Janager an Actor in spite of Himself. Int. 1784. N. P.
“ in a subse uent visit which he made to Paris, in the year 1790, he collected materials for a very interesting pantomime, which appeared at Covent-garden the same year, entitled,
" 2. The picture of Paris. 1790. N. P.
“ Besides an infinite variety of incidents and characters, altogether new to an English audience, it gave faithful representations of the grand federation ceremony in the Champ de Mars, on the 14th of July 1790, when Louis the XVIth swore fidelity to the new and shortlived constitution."
The situation of Mr. Kemble, acting manager of the most splendid theatre in Europe, and of course, arbiter elegantiarum to the Town, also merits our particular attention, not only for the histrionic exertions of this gentleman, but for his laudable attempts to restore classic intelligence to the English stage, to rekindle the native energy of its genius,
“ So from their taste absurd reclaim our youth,
« KEMBLE, John Philip, beyond dispute, the first tragedian of our times, was born at Prescot, in Lancashire, in the year 1757. He received the rudiments of letters at the celebrated Roman Catholic seminary of Sedgeleypark, in Staffordshire; and here made so rapid a progress in his studies, and gave proofs of a taste for literature so uncommon at his early age, that his father was induced to send him to the university of Douay, for the advantage of an education that might qualify him for one of the learned professions. Whilst at college, he was already distinguished for that talent of elocution, which has since raised him to unrivalled eminence in the delivery of the compositions of our immortal Shakspeare. Having gone through his academical course with much reputation, Mr. Kemble returned to England, and, preferring the stage to every other pursuit, performed at Liverpool, York, and Edinburgh.