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Burges, B., 1790. A series of Indostan letters. New York, W.Ross, pp. i-xxv, 1-168

Location: Asia - South Asia - India
Subject: Text as original
Species: Indian Rhino

Original text on this topic:
No.12. [To] George Chapman, esq; Athy, in Ireland.
[Written at] Muxeddabads, the capital of Bengal.

Your curiosity has been excited at my relating to you the manner the Spaniards fight the bulls at Barcelona, Valentia, Malaga, and other parts in Spain; I will now give you an account of a fight I saw witness to last week, of elephants, rhinoceroses, tygers, and wild buffaloes. The Nabob was visited by a brother of the Nizam, and some other men of distinction from the Deccan, at the same time, and meaning to compliment them with an elephant fight, amongst other diversions he gave orders to that effect, and preparations were made accordingly.
[this letter, pp. 60-64, presents some details of the fight of elephants; the rhinoceros is not mentioned again.]

No.14 The Miss Chapman’s in general, at Castle-Michel and Castle-Raben, near Athy.
[same subject matter as letter no.12]
In the cool of the evening we returned to the place of action, in a few minutes after which the Nabob, with his visiters and aumeers, appeared again in the same balcony they did in the morning, on which a rhinoceros, and an elephant prepared for battle, were brought forth, who on the sight of each other, instantly approaching, begun with the utmost fury to engage. The elephant, at the first onset, oversetting the rhinoceros in scringing back to get sufficient play for his teeth, which were at least between eight and nine feet long, he being a very large elephant, and upwards of ten feet in height, and proportionably strong and robust, and in appearance double, the magnitude of his foe, but failing in his attempt by only helping the unweildly animal up by lifting him bodily with his teeth, that he ran compleatly under him, instead of through his vitals as he intended; the recovered brute, with all his might, rushing his head under the elephant's belly, in order to rip it open with the horn that projected out from his forehead (which is always the rhinoceros’s - play when engaging his common enemy the elephant), he continued - poking at his antogonist’s guts, having got at last both his head and shoulders between the elephant's hind legs, which being out of the reach of the elephant's teeth, giving him pain without his being able to disengage himself.
Provoked with his situation, he gave three sudden successive roars, followed by a violent jerk of his whole body backwards, which bringing the rhinoceros in front, with an incredible rapid puth of one of his teeth, he maimed him to such a degree, that unable to continue longer the fight, he turned tail and
marched of and left him master of the field, amidst the shouts and acclamations of the crowd; when he was conduced by an escort in the same manner the conquering elephant had been in the forenoon to salute the Soubah his sovereign lord and master. The rhinoceros I have been treating of, though described in the encyclopedia; and by writers of natural history, as an animal not so generally known as many others of a less note, I will, before I proceed in my account of the diversions I have promised in my letters, say something about this creature. The head of a rhinoceros has resemblance to both a camels and a boar's, and so thick the bone of his scull that it will repel a musket ball, or the blow of an ax; but disproportionate to his body, which with his legs and thighs resemble much an elephant's: upon his forehead grows a horn, turning inwards towards his ears, to which his forehead is a base, this horn being about six inches in diameter below that part of it that coheres to his face, and seven inches in length, terminating gradually from the base to a point; which horn though not very large is very solid and stubborn and is the only weapon he has to trust for offence or defence, except his hide, which is a compleat coat of mail, nature having provided this animal with, above all others known in the creation, the most redoubtable barriers against the missive weapons of men, or the formidable talons and voracious jaws of other beasts, an hard knobby crust of ramification and thick impenetrable scales covering the superfices of his hide, excepting his belly and lower parts, that, though retained within a skin of an inch thick, and of a more glutinous and elastic nature than that of even a bufaloe's, lies exposed to the wound of hot and pointed weapons. His food is vegetable, and when kept up a while, he will grow docile and pacifc; and his horn is said to be so certain
an antidote, that liquor even drank out of it, though mixed with poison, will have no fatal effects.

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