Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE MONTH OF APRIL.

Apiul is the fourth month of the year, and has held that station ever since the days of Numa Pompilius; it consists of thirty days, the number originally assigned to it by Romulus. Numa reduced its duration to twenty-nine days; but Julius Csasar restored it to its original length, which it has ever since retained. This is the only month in the year whose name appears to have been given with any reference to the character of the season in which it occurs. The names of all the other months are derived from Heathen Deities, to whom they were dedicated, from Roman emperors, or as September, October, November, and December, from their situation in 'the calendar, with reference to the month of March, with which Romulus's year commenced; but the appellation " April," is universally allowed to be derived from the verb aperire (to open), and to be allusive to the opening of the young buds, and the general springing forth of fresh vegetation from the opened bosom of the earth, which takes place at this season.

The Romans dedicated April to the goddess Venus, and hence sometimes called itmeiisis Veneris, as well as Aprilis. In the ancient Cornish its name, evidently derived from the Romans, was Eprell. By the Anglo-Saxons it was denominated Oster-monat, OsterMonatii, and Easter-monath, according to somejfrom one of their goddesses, named Easter, while others contend that the easterly winds, which were observed to be chiefly prevalent at this period, were the reason of the month being so called.

The air during this month is generally mild and moist, and the weather showery, affording to the young vegetation that supply of water which is so essential to its growth and perfection : whence the old English proverb,—

"March winds and April showers,
Bring forth May flowers."

In the course of this month several birds of passage begin to reappear in England, as the swallow, the cuckoo, and the nightingale ; rivcr-lish leave their winter retreats, and again afford sport for the angler; while all the thousand tribes of insects seems springing into new life under our eyes.

Painters have generally represented this month by the figure of a young man, with wings at his shoulders, and a green flowing mantle, adorned with garlands of myrtle and, hawthorn, holding violets and primroses in his hands, and either mounted upon, or holding in one hand, a bull, in allusion to the zodiacal sign Taurus, into which the sun enters on the 19th of April.

ANNIVERSARIES. MONDAY, 1st, Has obtained in this country the name of " All Fools' Day," from an ancient, though very absurd custom, which is too well known to need description. The custom, however, silly as it is, prevails throughout Europe, and has even been traced amongst the Hindoos. 1403 Tamerlane, or Timour Khan, a Tartar prince, and one of the

§reatest conquerors whose exploits are recorded in history, ied in his seventieth year. During his lifetime he subjected Persia, Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, the Chorassan, Armenia, Egypt, India, and Greece, to his power, and was marching to overrun the Chinese empire, when death put a period to his victories and his cruelties. 1406 Robert III., King of Scotland, died at Rothsay of grief. 1801 The English fleet, under the command of Sir Hyde Parker

and Lord Nelson, forced the passage of the Sound. 1810 The marriage of Napoleon with the Archduchess Maria Louisa of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Francis II., solemnized at St. Cloud.

TUESDAY, 2nd. 586 The Lombards made an irruption into Italy, and founded the

kingdom of Lombardy, which lasted 206 years. 774 Charlemagne, after conquering the kingdom of Lombardy,

made a triumphal entry into Rome. 1512 The Floridas, which had been origally touched at by Sebastian Cabot, fifteen years before, were rediscovered by Ponce de Leon, a Spanish navigator. The 'reason of his undertaking the voyage will hardly now be believed; but he actually set out in quest of a country, where there was said to be a fountain, the waters of which had the miraculous property of restoring the aged to youth and vigour. 1791 Mirabeau, one of the ablest, and, if not the most bloodthirsty, among the most profligate, leaders of the French Revolution, died in his forty-fourth year. 1801 Battle of Copenhagen, the most severe, and the most doubtful, contest in which our navy was engaged during the revolutionary war. The firmness and talents of Lord Nelson, however, secured to us all the fruits of victory. Captains Moss and Riou were killed on this occasion. 1804 H.M.S. Apollo, and forty sail of West Indiamen under her convoy, lost off Cape Mondego, on the coast of Portugal. WEDNESDAY, 3rd. 1826 Died Reginald Heber, the learned, accomplished, and truly exemplary Bishop of Calcutta, falling a sacrifice, at the early age of forty-two, to the fatigues of visiting his immense diocese, and the effects of a climate, which rarely spares an European who has not been inured to it in early life. In 1803 his poem, entitled " Palestine," gained the prize of English poetry at Oxford.

THURSDAY, 4th. Maundy Thursday: also St. Ambrose's Day.—St. Ambrose was of noble parentage, and born in the palace of his fathei at Aries, in Gallia Narbonensis, of which district he was prefect. He studied the civil law, and practised as an advocate in Rome. In A. D. 374, he settled in Milan, where a great contest arising between the orthodox and the Arians, concerning the election of a bishop, on the death of Bishop Auxentius, Ambrose exerted himself with so much eloquence and moderation in appeasing the tumult, that he was uaauimous.lT solicited to accept tUe vacant See, which he filled for

more than twenty years, distinguished equally y by the eloquence of his preaching and the piety of his life. St. Ambrose died at Milan, April 4, 397. His works are still held in much respect, especially the hymn of " Te Deum," which he is said to have written on the occasion of the baptism of his great convert, St. Augustine. 1581 Drake, the celebrated English admiral, having returned from a voyage round the world, the first which had ever been achieved by an Englishman, was honoured by a visit from Queen Elizabeth on board his ship, the Pelican, at Deptford. Her Majesty dined on board, and after dinnei knighted the distinguished navigator. A chair, made out of the remains of the ship, is still preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. 1774 Died Oliver Goldsmith, author of the Vicar of Wakefield, a novel; two poems of great beauty, The Deserted Village and The Traveller, as well as many other works. 1815 A Volcanic Explosion of the Mountain Tomboro, in the Island of Java, took place, to which all that have been recorded of European volcanoes are mere trifles. Its effects were felt to the distance of 1000 miles all around; clouds of ashes, so dense as to create darkness at noonday, were projected 300 miles from the crater. The darkness continued, more or less, until the 17th of April, and the explosions did not cease before the 15th of July. The whole population of two towns near the mountain was destroyed, to the number of at least 12,000 souls. 1827 Captain Parry sailed from the Nore on a voyage, the object of which was, if possible, to reach the North Pole; but, after penetrating as far as 82° 45' North, was obliged to abandon the enterprise and return.

FRIDAY, 5th. Good Friday; a day which, from the earliest records of Christianity, has ever been held as a day of solemn fast, in awful remembrance of the Crucifixion of our blessed Saviour. Our Saxon ancestors called it Lono Friday, from the length of the offices and fasting on that day; but its ancient and appropriate title was Holy Friday, by which it is still sometimes distinguished, as the whole of the week in which it occurs is by the name of Holy or Passion Week. The custom of eating on this day buns marked with a cross, is a remaining fragment of some of the many superstitious observances of our ancestors connected with this day. 1605 John Stowe, the celebrated English antiquarian and chronicler,

died, aged eighty. 1753 Parliament voted a sum 'of £20,000, to be raised by lottery, and applied to the purchase of Sir Hans Sloane's Library and Museum of Natural History, which purchase laid the foundation of the British Museum.. 1811 Died, aged seventy-six, Robert Raikes, the first establisher of Sunday Schools.

SATURDAY, 6th. 1199 Richard Cctur de Lion, King of England, died of the wound received from a cross-bow while besieging a smalt castle in France. It has been remarked, that ne met his death by a weapon introduced into warfare by himself, much to the displeasure of the warriors of his time, who said that " heretofore brave men fought hand to hand, but now the bravest and noblest might be brought down by a cowardly knave lurking behind a tree." 1528 Died Albert Durer, one of the earliest engravers and painters

of the German school.

1590 Died Sir Francis Walsingham, one of the ablest and most

accomplished of that distinguished body of statesmen whom

Queen Elizabeth selected as her ministers and advisers.

1695 Died, aged eighty-nine, Dr. Richard Busby, for fifty-five years

master of Westminster School; celebrated alike for his great

abilities and the severity of his discipline.

SUNDAY, 7th.

Easter Sunday, or Easter Day.—If Good Friday is kept as a

day of solemn fast and humiliation, this is no less one of joy and

thanksgiving throughout all Christendom, as being set apart for the

commemoration of our Blessed Saviour's Resurrection from the

dead. It was anciently called the " Great Day," the "Feast of

Feasts," and the "Sunday of Joy." It is the most important in

secular transactions of the moveable feasts, inasmuch as the day on

which Easter falls regulates all the rest. The first Sunday after the

full moon immediately following the 21st of March, is ordained to

be kept as Easter Sunday. Easter Day cannot fall earlier than the

22nd of March, nor later than the 25th of April in any year, and

hence these two flays have obtained the appellation of Easter Limits

LONDON:

Published In Weekly Numbers, Price One Pknny, And In Monthly Parts,

Price Sixpence, By

JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.

LSold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in the Kingdom. Hawkers and Dealers in Periodical Publications supplied on wholesale terms I by ORR, Paternoster-row; BERGER, Holywell-street; *" And by the Publisher's Agents in the following places :—

[graphic]

Aberdeen, Brown & Co.
Bath, George.
Birmingham, Langbridge.
Bristol, Westley k Co.; D.

Vickery.
Bury, Lankester.
Cambridge, Stevenson*
Carlisle, Thurnam.
Chelmsford, Guy.
Cheltenham, Lovesy."

C/iMter,Scncome; Harding,
Chichester, Glover.
Colchester.S*inborne &Co.
Derby, Wilkins & Son,
Devonport, Byers.
Dublin, Curry, Jun. & Co.
Dundee, Shaw,
Durham, Andrews.

Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd,
Exeter, Penny & Co.
Falmouth, Phllp.
Glasgow, Griffin & Co.
Gloucester, Jew.
Hereford, Child.
EuU, Wilson.
Ipswich, Deck.
Jersey, Le Ber.
Lancashire and Cheshire,

Bancks Si Co., Man

Chester. Leamington, Merridew. Leeds, Robinson. Leicester, Combe. Liverpool, Hughes. Macctesjield, Swinnerton Northampton, BirdtaU.

Ncwcastle-on-Tyne, Fin ■ lay & Co.; ............

AfcwicA.Musket^Smith

Nottingham, Wright,

Oxford, Slatter.

Paris, Bennis.

Plymouth. Nettleton.

Salisbury. Brodie Si Co.

Sheffield. Ridge.

Shrewsbury, Eddowes.

Staffordshire Potteries, Watts, Lane End.

Sunderland, Marwood.

Warwick, Merridew.

Whitby, Rodger*.

Worcester, Deighton.'

Yarmouth, Alexander,

York, BeUabv.,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

In a previous number, a brief account was given of the causes which produce both volcanoes and earthquakes; but though these tremendous visitations have a common origin', yet the appearances they present during their continuance, and their subsequent effects, are so different, that they should properly be described apart, in a paper intended only for the general reader.

When it is remembered that the very circumstance of a volcanic eruption, implies that a vent has been found, or made, for the mass of gaseous and fiery matter, which chemical agency has produced under the surface of the earth; it is not surprising that earthquakes to any alarming extent seldom accompany such catastrophes, or that they cease when the eruption takes place. It is in countries remote from active volcanoes, that the effects of the former are most widely and powerfully felt; in such, the efforts to escape, made by the imprisoned elements, convulse the ground for thousands of square leagues, bringing destruction to the habitations of man, and crushing him under the ruins of his own frail abodes; and when the overpowering force exerted by the subterranean matter rends the surface of the earth, chasms are opened, which in a few seconds often swallow up whole cities, with their

• This common origin is proved by many circumstances; and the reader may De interested by the following facts illustrating this subject. The volcano of Pasto, east of the river Guaytara, sent out, without cessation, a tall column of smoke, for three months, in the year 1797: this suddenly ceased, at precisely the same moment that a violent earthquake occurred at sixty miles' distance, at Hiobamba, which, together with a mud-eruption of the Moya, destroyed from thirty to forty thousand Indians. The sudden appearance of the island Sabrina, in the Azores, on the 30th of January, 1811, was the forerunner of those fearful concussions which, further westward, shook the Antilles, the plains of the Ohio and Mississippi, and the opposite coast of Venezuela, in succession, without intermission, from May, 1811, to June, 1813.

Vol. II.

Ruins of the Cathedral of Lisbon, after the Earthquake of 1755.

devoted inhabitants, and a dreary plain, a dismal lake, or

a yawning gulf remains to point out the spot, where but a few hours before stood a flourishing town, swarming with thousands of human beings.

A torrent of lava or a shower of ashes, often has, and may again destroy cities; but there are always some previous warnings which allow the inhabitants time to escape; consequently the destruction of human life by volcanic eruptions only, is trifling compared to that caused by earthquakes; added to which, the devastations produced by the former are generally confined to the immediate neighbourhood of the mountain, whereas in the case of an earthquake, the suddenness of the crisis, and the extent of its influence, precludes the possibility of escaping the danger, while the mode of its approach, the rendering unstable " the fixed and firm foundations of the globe," so paralyzed with fear the minds of the victims, as to incapacitate them from making any efforts to avoid the coming danger.

In all ages this quantity of human suffering has excited sympathy, and called attention to these convulsions. In times of perfect ignorance concerning the laws of nature, they would probably have occasioned little remark, if their effects had been confined to the destruction of mountains, or the birth of new hills and lakes where none had before existed; events which in a greater or less degree always accompany these visitations.

It is for this reason that historical records of earthquakes are numerous; and of a few of these we propose to give such an account as our limits will allow; dwelling, for obvious reasons, chiefly on those which are most interesting for their moral, as well as physical effects.

Though the shocks of an earthquake are, as we before stated, fatally sudden in their approach, yet it must not be imagined that they inflict their visits without previous

48

threats. These have been observed to be very similar in different countries and at remote periods, and generally consist in atmospherical, or, as they are termed, in meteorological appearances, which are now known to be intimately connected with changes in the electrical state of the earth and air; and very direct indications of these are always observable in volcanic eruptions as well as during and preceding earthquakes.

Variations in the usual course of the seasons, violent gusts of wind, or preternatural calms, rains in countries or at times of the year in which they are usually unknown to occur, a mistiness of the air often continued for months, and the consequent lurid appearance of the sun's face, flashes of lightning or noxious vapours from the surface of the ground, with subterranean noises resembling the rolling of carriages, the discharge of artillery, Or distant thunder, are indications of the approaching evil.

Pliny, in the second book of his Natural History, has given an account of the principal earthquakes in ancient times ; but this is mixed up with so much matter obviously fabulous, that little instruction or rational amusement can be derived from it; one of the most authentic is that which occurred in the year 17; and destroyed twelve cities of Asia Minor in one night. There exists a medal, struck during the reign of Tiberius, recording the rebuilding of these. The earthquake in the year G3, which partly destroyed, among others, the city of Pompeii, is familiarly known to our readers, from the interest excited by the discoveries which have been made there.

The city of Antioch affords an example of repeated suffering from earthquakes. In A.D. 115, it was destroyed by one which lasted several days; the Emperor Trajan happened to be in the town at the time with a large force, returning from one of his military expeditions; he escaped, it is said, with great difficulty, but an immense loss was sustained by his troops and the inhabitants. In 458, in the month of September, the city, which was once more flourishing, and thickly peopled, was again visited by a convulsion, which ruined it, and destroyed 40,000 inhabitants; and, before it could well recover this loss, in 525, under the Emperor Justin, a third earthquake, still more fatal, killed nearly 60,000*; but this is a trifling fatality in one city compared with that which has attended Lima, as we shall presently see.

The accounts of these remote convulsions are, however, too vague to be interesting t, we, therefore, pass them over, till we arrive at the one of Calabria in 1638; of this Kircher has given an account, having been a witness to its horrors, in a journey he made from Sicily to the continent during its continuance. He, and four other persons, left the harbour of Messina on the 24th of March, and had not proceeded far, when the air and ocean gave manifest signs of some approaching catastrophe: Etna was seen to cast forth great volumes of smoke, which obscured the island from their view; the strange disturbance of the sea, and the dreadful noises, induced them to land at Tropsea, which they no sooner gained, than a shock ensued, which destroyed the greater part of the place. Compelled to prosecute their voyage, now seeking safety on shore, and now returning to their vessel, as dangers alternately menaced them by land or at sea, they witnessed the destruction of Rochctta and other places, but, on arriving within sight of the city of St. Euphemia, whither they were bound, they perceived a dark lurid cloud resting on the spot, though the atmosphere was otherwise serene; when this cleared off, the city had disappeared, and a lake occupied its place, and, during the remainder of their voyage to Naples, where they were now obliged to proceed, the whole coast, for upwards of 200 miles, presented one picture of ruined cities and houseless wanderers.

* Gibbon states that the loss was 250,000, and accounts for this enormous number by the multitudes attracted to the city to celebrate the festival of the Ascension.

t As a proof of the ludicrous ideas on the subject of earthquakes prevalent till very lately, a little work, entitled The General History of Earthquakes, Sec. &c. by R. B. 1734, may be referred to. In a chronological list of all the remarkable ones which have ever occurred, the author invariably narrates cotemporary historical events, as immediately caused by, or connected with, the commotions; as a specimen take the following, selected from hundreds more, equally authentic and rational.—" In 1622 was a great earthquake in Italy; the shape of an elephant was seen in the air, and three guns. Armies fighting, monstrous births, waters turned into blood, unusual and impetuous tempests which overthrew several towers. At this time began the third civil war in France; the Prince of Conde is taken, and shot to death with a pistol; the emperor prohibited the Protestant religion at Aiken." 0) &C. &C.

In 1693, after several previous 'shocks, one occurred on the 11th of January, which, m three or four minutes, entirely destroyed the city of Catania, and 19,000 inhabitants of the island of Sicily: the undulations of this were felt, it is said, in Germany, France, and even in England. Fifty-four towns of some magnitude were, more or less, sufferers by this earthquake, and the total loss of human life amounted, it is supposed, to nearly 100,000.

The earthquake at Jamaica in the previous year, 1692, w:as still more dreadful : the earth rose and fell like waves of the sea, and hundreds of chasms were seen opening and closing alternately; many persons were swallowed up in these, others crushed to death, with their bodies half out and half in them, and some, even after being buried alive, were cast out again with torrents of water. Three-fourths of the buildings of Port Royal sank down with all their inhabitants under the water, and long after, the roofs and chimneys of many were perceivable, at the distance of thirty and forty feet below the surface. A space of ground, about a thousand acres in extent, sunk down during the first shock, the sea rolled over it, and a frigate, then in one of the docks, was washed by the wave over the tops of many buildings. On the north of the island, the plantations, which covered upwards of a thousand acres, were swallowed up, and a lake appeared in their place; this afterwards dried up, leaving nothing but sand and gravel, without a trace of a house or tree having ever occupied the spot. The chain of mountains which traverses the island presented the most fearful signs of the violence of the convulsion; they were almost entirely stripped of their verdure and their woods, which were brought down by the rivers in such quantities, that several hundred thousand tons of timber were seen strewed on the face of the deep.

The first earthquake which is mentioned as having visited Lima, since its establishment by the Spaniards, was in 1582; but was not of very serious consequence six years after that time, however, one occurred, so fatal, that a solemn fast was appointed to be annually kept, and is still observed, in commemoration of it. In 1609, Lima was again injured by a shock, which destroyed many houses. In November, 1630, such extensive damage was done to the town by an earthquake, that an annual festival is observed on that day, in acknowledgement for its not having been totally annihilated; in the same month, twenty-four years afterwards, the city was again visited, and many hundred houses thrown down; but time and warning were vouchsafed to the inhabitants, who, consequently, suffered hut little. Another percussion took place in 1078; but that of October, 1687, was more violent than most, if not all, which had preceded it. It commenced at four o'clock in the morning of the 28th, and by this first shock destroyed many of the public buildings and private houses, in which a great number of persons perished: two hours afterwards, the concussions returned so rapidly and so powerfully, that the whole town was laid in ruins; though, from the previous warning, few additional lives were lost. During this second shock, the sea, first retiring considerably, reflowed in such enormous waves, as to overwhelm the town of Callao, five miles distant from Lima, and all the adjacent country, with its unfortunate inhabitants. No less than six additional earthquakes were experienced at Lima between this time and that at which the following occurred.

The earthquake which desolated Peru, in 1746, is con sidered as one of the most severe that country ever experienced: it began on the 27th of October, and in the course of the first twenty-four hours, two hundred shocks were felt. The sea retired twice from the shore, and flowed in again on the land with such impetuosity, as totally to destroy Lima, and several other places. Not only were nineteen ships, out of twenty-three, in the harbour, sunk, but the other four were carried, by the power of the waves, a great distance up the country—one of these was a frigate! Two hundred inhabitants alone were saved, out of four thousand who lived in the city; and these were rescued by the preservation of a small part of the fort of Vera Cruz, which was the onlv trace left of the situation of that once flourishing place.

In 1750, the ancient city of Concepcion, in Chile, Woj totally destroyed by an earthquake; the sea rolled over it, and the bed of the ocean was so elevated by the shocks, that the port was rendered useless.

In 1759, Syria, and the adjacent countries, were devas tated, during three months, by earthquakes, which ex tended over upwards of 90,000 square miles. Balbeck, Damascus, Tripoli, Sidon, Accon, and many other towns, ■were entirely or in great part destroyed; in each of which, thousands of inhabitants were victims. Twenty thousand are said to have perished in the valley of Balbeck alone.

THE EARTHQUAKE OF LISBON.

Whether considered with respect to its fatal violence, or to the extensive sympathy and interest it excited, no convulsion in nature, in the Old World, can compare with the destruction of Lisbon in November 1755. A subterraneous noise, as of thunder, was heard between the hours of nine and ten in the morning of the 1st; the weather being as serene and lovely as is ever experienced in that favoured country. This was instantly followed by a shock which destroyed the greater part of the city, and in less than three minutes from the first sound, 30,000 persons were crushed under the falling edifices 1 The sea retired from the harbour and left the bar dry, and then rolled in again in an immense wave, rising fifty or sixty feet above its usual level; the mountains in the neighbourhood, which are some of the largest in that country, were shaken from their very foundations, and some were cleft and rent quite to their base, enormous portions of them being thrown down into the valleys, while electric flashes issued from their sides.

Many of the surviving inhabitants had rushed to the new quay which had been lately finished, and was constructed of marble, conceiving that it would be a place of security from the falling ruins; but this, on a sudden, sank down into an abyss which opened under it, drawing in along with it boats and small craft which were lying near it; and so completely was it swallowed up, that not a piece of timber of the wrecks, or one body of the thousands crowded on it, ever floated again to the surface.

The particulars of this melancholy catastrophe were recorded minutely by eye-witnesses who survived it, and the horrors they relate would only uselessly pain the reader, if it were not for many a moral lesson they convey. Some of these describe the dreadful situation of hundreds of their fellow-creatures lying half killed under the stones of walls that had struck them down, vainly imploring, with shrieks of pain, relief from their agony, which those whom they addressed were too powerless, too frightened, or too intent on self-preservation to be able to afford them.

The destruction of life was increased by the circumstance of the event occurring during the time when many churches were filled with their congregations, and these large and lofty buildings, being naturally the first that suffered from the shock, thousands were crushed at once by the fall of a single building; in one square of the city near the great church of St. Paul, were to be seen, according to the account of some, a crowd of persons who had had time to escape from it, collected round priests and bishops equally fortunate with themselves; and who, dressed in their sacerdotal robes, were offering up their prayers for succour and mercy from on high.

When night came on, after this day of horror, the city was seen to be on fire in different places, caused, of course, partly by the domestic fires of the inhabitants igniting the timber, furniture, &c, that was promiscuously buried with them, partly by the large wax-tapers which were burning in the churches, on account of its being a festival, but chiefly by bands of miscreants, who, unawed by the dangers they had hardly yet escaped from, and untouched by the misery and destruction of their fellow-creatures, deliberately set fire to the uninjured houses for the sake of profiting by the additional confusion thus created, to commit their robberies and atrocities with impunity; unfortunately such depravity has too many parallels in all times to make this either a singular or extraordinary instance.

The fire continued for six days to add to the desolation caused by the earthquake, for the survivors, rendered heipless by distress and fear, engaged in seeking for their friends, or disinterring the mangled corpses of those whom they found, were unable to take any steps to stop this fresh calamity. And, as a climax of horror to this picture of misery, it must be mentioned that the bodies of the dead, half roasted and burnt by the flames, so infected the air as to cause, for a long time, serious apprehensions of a pestilential disease.

The number of shocks in all felt in Lisbon, or its immediate neighbourhood, on this occasion, was about twentytwo, but the first three were the only serious ones; these occurred within a space of two or three hours, and the first

was, as we have stated, the most fatal. In all, the loss of lives was estimated at 60,000, but at such a time, and in such a country, no accurate account could, of course, be obtained. Four persons alone survived out of thirty-eight inhabitants of one house, and in the city prison alone 800, and in the general hospital 1200, were all killed.

This earthquake was the most extensively felt of any that have been recorded. Its effects were perceived over the whole of Europe, the North of Africa, and to the West Indies. We shall give a short notice of some of these at different places.

A sea-port called St. Ethyl's, about twenty miles south of Lisbon, was ingulfed and totally disappeared. At Oporto the first shock was felt at half-past nine, as at Lisbon, and in the streets the earth was distinctly seen to rise and fall, but comparatively little damage was done; the river continued rising and falling four or five feet at a time, every fifteen or twenty minutes, for four or five hours, and violent gusts of wind were forced through the water from chasms which opened and shut again in its bed. At Madrid the shock was not felt violently, but at Cadiz, the sea rose in a wave to a height of sixty feet, which carried away a large part of the breast-work of the fortification, and swept every thing off the mole; others, less and less violent, ensued for several hours, which washed up to the walls of the town.

AtTetuan, on the coast of Barbary, the earthquake began at ten in the morning, three shocks being felt m the space of seven or eight minutes, and at the same hour at all other places on that coast; at Fez many buildings were destroyed and lives lost in consequence, but, generally speaking, the principal effect was the rising of the sea, or more correctly, the progress of one principal and the consequently succes sive waves which washed along the shores, which were probably caused by the sudden heaving up, or sinking down, of a vast area of the bed of the Atlantic Ocean, under which the principal focus of the earthquake appeared to lie. Near Morocco, however, the earth opened and swallowed up a village with eight or ten thousand inhabitants, and then closed again over its prey : it is remarkable that on the 18th of the same month another earthquake was felt in these countries more violent and more fatal than that of the 1st: but this was much slighter in Europe, though it was felt at many places both in the Old and in the New World. To return, however, to that of the first the great shock was felt by vessels at sea, and produced an effect on them similar to that of striking on a rock or sandbank; in some the blow was so violent as to throw the sailors off their feet, to overturn the binnacle, and to cause the seams of the deck to open; and more than one captain, misled by these sensations, ordered out the boats, believing that they had, by an error in their reckonings, struck on some reef, but they found deep water all round their vessels.

The vast wave caused in the Atlantic Dy tins earthquake reached, as we have seen, the coasts of Portugal, Spain, and Africa, and from the well-known undulatory motion of a body of water suddenly displaced, was succeeded by others, gradually diminishing in magnitude: but so enormous in extent was the first, that it was felt on many parts of our own coasts, at Portsmouth, and the southern harbours especially, where vessels, even in docks, shut in by flood gates, were rocked backwards and forwards by the violence of the motion; and many forced from their moorings. Small rivers, canals, or pieces of water communicating in any way with the sea, were affected by this general wave, even to places far inland; but what is more extraordinary, even in numberless small ponds, agitation of the waters was clearly perceived, though no shock or motion in the earth was felt at the time; undoubtedly, however, it must have been chiefly to some such, that these effects were attributable, as very distinct tremors or concussions were perceived in several places, especially near to, and at the bottom of a lead-mine in Derbyshire.

Effects either of the earthquake itself, or of this motion of the sea, were felt in a similar way in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, in the lakes of Cumberland, Durham, and Scotland, at the Hague, Leyden, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, &c.; at Kingsale and Cork, in Ireland; and even as far as Norway, at different hours, from 10 to 3, p.m.: according to the distance, or to other causes which regulated the pro gressive motion of the original shock. It was calculated from these data, that the subterranean movement was propelled at the rate of about twenty miles per minute. At Tiiplitz, a village situated about nine miles north west of Prague, in Bohemia, celebrated for some warm Daths, which had from their first discovery, nearly a thousand years before, constantly been supplied with an equal and regular quantity of clear water from some springs, a singular change was remarked between eleven and twelve O'ciock, of the 1st of November; the supply of water suddenly increased greatly, and became very turbid; this, however, ceased shortly after, but the spring, ever since, continued more copious, and the temperature and medicinal properties of the water were augmented.

In 1772, an eruption of one of the highest volcanoes in Java occurred; before all the inhabitants on its side could escape, the ground began to sink, and soon after a great part of the mountain was entirely swallowed up, with adjoining ground, to an extent of area of fifteen miles long and six. broad, together with forty villages, and 2900 persons; with an immense number of cattle, which were either ingulfed by the earthquake, or buried by the volcanic matter. In this case, an example is presented, of simultaneous convulsion and destruction by both species of volcanic powers.

THE EARTHQUAKES OF CALABRIA.

Calabria and the adjoining countries, as being near the centre of the great volcanic region of the Mediterranean, are especially subject to the recurrence of earthquakes; one of these we have already noticed, but another, not less important, as well in extent and effect, as in duration, must now be described; and though it has been exceeded in all these respects by several, in other countries, yet from particular circumstances, we are possessed of more minute and accurate details of its various peculiarities.

The shocks began on February 5th, 1783, and continued at intervals, with different degrees of violence, for four years; the first threw down, in a few minutes, most of the houses of all the towns and villages in that part called Calabria-ultra, as well as the city of Messina: the concussion was felt as far north as Naples, and through the greatest part of Sicily; but the area over which the earthquake was violent enough to cause destruction and consternation, was not much more than four or five hundred square miles; within this limit, the whole surface of the country was entirely changed, innumerable openings and clefts were made in the surface of the ground, some of great length and width; many hills were levelled, and valleys filled up by their ruins; rivers were choked up, and springs of water broke forth where none had previously existed, while others were dried up. In one place near Laureano, two tracts of land, situated in a level valley, were transported to the distance of a mile, with all their trees and olives still standing; and volumes of hot water and sand issued from the ground where they formerly stood; and two others, on which a part of the town of Polistena was built, were moved nearly across a contiguous ravine to about half a mile from their former position, with some hundreds of houses on them, and many of the inhabitants, several of whom were extricated from the ruins alive and unhurt *! Near Seminara, a large olive-ground was precipitated to a distance of two hundred feet into a valley sixty feet in depth, and this so compactly as to leave uninjured a house with its inhabitants, that stood on it, and the olive-trees continued to grow, and bore an abundant crop the same year in their new situation.

The permanent chasms or ravines caused by this earthquake, were of great size; one in the district of Plaisano, was a mile long, 105 feet broad, and 30 feet deep; another three quarters of a mile long, 150 feet broad, and above 100 feet deep; another was no less than 225 feet deep; one gulf at Fosolano, measured 300 feet square; and another, 750 feet square, and about 30 feet deep. A mountain at the southern part of the Peninsula, was cloven for the length of nearly half a mile, the opening being of an irregular breadth of many feet.

But in opposition to these, and many other comparatively harmless effects, long and frightful is the catalogue of suffering and misery: in the neighbourhood of Oppido,

,,. s'r William Hamilton, who wrote the most complete "account of this earthquake, and from whose paper In the Philosophical Transactions these events are copied, afterwards spoke to one of these survivors, who, with his maid-servant and wife, were extricated; the former unhurt, but the latter, as the man said, "a little so, but she was then nearly recovered." On Sir William's asking him the nature of the injury his wife had received, he said, " she had had both her legs vfaib?e i »nn ' SCuU >0 fractured. that the brain wis

[merged small][graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small]

Along the sea-coast of the straits of Messina, near the classical rock of Scylla, the huge masses detached from the lofty cliffs, overwhelmed many villas; the water, as usual, was violently agitated, and showed that the subterranean motion was not less active beneath the bed of the sea, than on shore. The prince of Scylla, an old man, on the occurrence of the first shock, observing the effects produced on the cliffs, on which his own castle and the houses of tha town were situated, advised the inhabitants to get boats ready, and to assemble on the shore, to be ready to escape in them, if another shock should bring down the rock above them. This actually occurred to a mountain at some distance, near midnight; and whether from this falling partly into the sea, or from the immediate effects of the second convulsion, an enormous wave flowed along the low beach, carrying away boats, people and all with it, either dashing them against the rocks, or washing- them out to sea, so that the prince, and 1400 of his people, perished.

The peasants informed Sir W. Hamilton, who visited the greater part of the country in the May following; that the motion of the earth was so violent as to cause the loftiest trees to bow their heads to the ground repeatedly; that animals gave evident signs of being aware of the ap^ proach of each shock, and that during them, oxen and horses spread out their legs, in order to avoid being thrown down. Another very touching circumstance was repeatedly told him; when the bodies were dug out, or discovered, those of the men indicated, by their attitude, that they had struggled to the last; while the females appeared to have

« AnteriorContinuar »