Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 17th, 2010
The New Times
September 30, 1819
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW TIMES.
SIR – Having read in your Paper of Saturday last [September 25], an account respecting the existence of the Mermaid, copied from The Galway Advertiser, I take the liberty to submit to you the following fact, which, if you should consider it worth insertion, you may publish whenever you like: –
In the month of August, 1805, I was on board of a brig, on my voyage through
the Red Sea, in latitude between 14 and 15 degrees, North, quite becalmed,
in the centre of the gulf. On a morning, about 11 o’clock, I saw a whale at
a little distance from us; and a short time after, I saw something about the
size and shape of a coffin jumping just by our side, out of the water as
high as nearly to the main-top, when on its dropping down, I observed the
lower part was like a dolphin, and the upper part, to my astonishment, was
exactly of the form of a female’s bust, composed of a head with long hair,
dropping backwards, a fine and correct profile, and an elegantly prominent
bosom; but I do not remember that I saw any arms or hands. My anxiety and
curiosity were, of course, warmly excited, till to my full satisfaction I
saw her jumping again four or five times, on which opportunities I had the
gratification to make ample observations. I considered her jumping out of
the water to be occasioned by her being pursued by the whale I saw before.
Now, Mr. Editor, I am very glad to find that this animal, the existence of
which was doubted, has been found in this quarter of the globe, because when
I related my story several times, my hearers were rather doubtful of the
I have the honour to be,
Your humble servant,
Sept. 27, 1819.
I was unable to locate the September 25, 1819, reprint of the Galway Advertiser story or, for that matter, the original in the latter newspaper. If anyone can find it, please post in comments below. Thank you. — Jerome Clark
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