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Universalist's Miscellany

For MARCH, 1799.


(Continued from p. 38.)

« Y TAVING hired a boat,” says Father Kircher, « in

company with four more----two friars of the order of St. Francis and two feculars----we launched, on the 24th of March, from the harbour of Mellina, in Sicily, and arrived the same day at the promontory of Pelorus. Our deftination was for the city of Euphæmia, in Calabria, where we had some business to transact, and where we designed 10 tarry for some time. However, Providence seemed willing to cross our design; for we were obliged to continue for three days at Pelorus, upon account of the weather; and though we often put out to sea, yet we were as often driven back. At length, however, wearied with the delay, we resolved to profecute our vo; age; and although the sea seemed more than usually agi. tated, yet we ventured forward. The gulph of Charybdis, which we approached, seemed whirled round in such a man.' ner, as to form a vast hollow, verging to a point in the centre. Proceeding onward, and turning my eyes to Ætna, I saw it cast forth large volumes of smoke, of mountainous sizes, which entirely covered the whole island, and blotied out the very shores from my view. This, together with the dreadful noise, and the sulphureous stench, which was strongly perceived, filled me with apprehensions that some more dreadful calamity was impending. The fea itself seemed to wear a very unusual appearance: those who have seen a lake in a violent Vol. III.



shower of rain,, covered all over with bubbles, will conceive some idea of its agitations. My surprise was still encreased by the calmness and serenity of the weather; not a breeze, not a cloud, which might be supposed to put all nature thus into motion. I therefore warned my companions, that an earthquake was approaching; and, after some time, making for the shore with all possible diligence, we landed at Tropoea, happy and thankful for having escaped the threatening dangers of the sea.

" But our triumphs at land were of short duration; for we had scarce arrived at the Jesuit's College in that city, when our ears were stunned with a horrid found, resembling that of an infinite number of chariots driven fiercely forward, the wheels rattling, and the thongs cracking. Soon after this, a most dreadful earthquake ensued; so that the whole tract upon which we stood seemed to vibrate as if we were in the scale of a ballance, that continued wavering. This motion, however, soon grew more violent; and, being no longer able to keep my legs, I was thrown prostrate upon the ground. In the mean time, the universal ruin round me redoubled my amazement. The crash of falling houses, the tottering of towers,and the groans of the dying, all contributed to raise my terror and despair. On every side of me I saw nothing but a scene of ruin and danger threatening wherever I should fly. I commended myself to God as my last refuge. At that hour, Oh, how vain was every sublunary happiness! Wealth, honour, empire, wisdom, all mere useless sounds, and as empty i as the bubbles of the deep! Just standing on the threshold of ' eternity, nothing but God was my pleasure; and the nearer I approached, I only loved him the more. After some time, however, finding I remained unhurt amidst the general concussion, I resolved to venture for safety; and running as fast as I could, reached the shore, but almost terrified out of my rea. fon. I did not search long here till I found the boat from which I had landed, and my companions also, whose terrors were even greater than mine. Our meeting was not of that kind where every one is desirous of telling his own happy escape ; it was all silence, and a gloomy dread of impending terrors.

“ Leaving this feat of deiolation, we prosecuted our voyage along the coast, and the next day came to Rochetta, where we landed, although the earth ftill continued in violent agitations, But we were scarce arrived at our inn, when we were once more obliged to return to the boat; and in about half an hour we saw the greatest part of the town, and the inn at which we


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had set up, dashed to the ground, and burying all its inhabitants beneath its ruins.

« In this manner, proceeding onward in our little vessel, finding no safety at land, and yet, from the smallness of our boat, having but a very dangerous continuance at sea, we at length landed at Lopizium, a castle midway between Troa pea and Euphæmia, the city to which, as I said before, we were bound. Here, wherever I turned my eyes, nothing but scenes of ruin and horror appeared : towns and castles levelled to the ground----Strombalo, though at 60 miles distance, belching forth fames in an unusual manner, and with a noise which I could distinctly hear. But my attention was quickly, turned from more remote to contiguous danger. . The rum. bling sound of an approaching earthquake, which we by this time were grown acquainted with, alarmed us for the consequences: it every moment seemed to grow louder, and to approach more near. The place on which we stood now began to shake most dreadfully, so that, being unable to stand, my companions and I caught hold of whatever shrub grew next us, and supported ourselves in that manner.

“ After some time, this violent paroxysm ceasing, we again stood up, in order to prosecute our voyage to Euphæmia, that lay within fight. In the mean time, while we were preparing for this purpose, I turned my eyes towards the city, but could fee only a frightful dark cloud, that seemed to rest upon the place. This more surprised us, as the weather was so very serene. We waited, therefore, till the cloud was passed away; when turning to look for the city, it was totally funk! Won-, derful to tell! nothing but a dismal and putrid lake was seen where it stood! We looked about to find some one that could tell us of its fad catastrophe, but could fee none! All was become a melancholy solitude ! a scene of hideous desolation ! Thus proceeding pensively along, in quest of some human being that could give us some information, we at lenth saw a boy fitting by the shore, and appearing stupefied with terror. Of him, therefore, we enquired concerning the fate of the city, - but he could not be induced to give us an answer. Ween.. treated him, with every expression of tenderness and pity, to tell us; but his senses were quite wrapt up in the conteinplation of the danger he had escaped. We offered him some victuals, but he seemed to lothe the sight. We still persisted in our offices of kindness; but he only pointed to the place of the city, like one out of his senles; and then running up into the woods, was never heard of after. Such was the fate of the


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city of Euphæmia! and as we continued our melancholy course along the Thores, the whole coast, for the space of 200 miles, presented nothing but the remains of cities and men scattered, without any habitation, over the fields. Proceeding thus along, we at length ended our distretsful voyage by arriving at Naples, after having escaped a thousand dangers both at sea and land.”

From the whole of these accounts we may gather that the most concomitant circumstances are these :

A rumbling noise before the earthquake. This proceeds from the air, or fire, or both, forcing their way through the chasms of the earth, and endeavouring to get free, which is also heard in volcanoes. . .

A violent agitation, or heaving of the sea, sometimes before and sometimes after that at land. This agitation is only a

similar effect produced on the waters with that at land, and į may be called, for the sake of perspicuity, a Jeaquake; and this also is produced by volcanoes.

A spouting up of waters to great heights. It is not easy to describe the manner in which this is performed; but volcanoes also produce the same---Vesuvius being known frequently to eject a vast body of water. : A rocking of the earth to and fro, and sometimes a perpendicular bounding, if it may be so called, of the same. This difference chiefly arises from the situation of the place with respect to the subterranean fire. Directly under, it lifts---at a farther distance it rocks.

Some earthquakes seem to travel onward, and are felt in different countries, at different hours, the same day. This arises from the great shock being given to the earth at one place, and that being communicated onward by an undulatory motion, successively affects different regions in its progress. As the blow given by a stone falling in a lake is not perceived at the shores till some time after the first concussion.

The shock is sometimes instantaneous, like the explosion of guilpowder; and sometimes tremulous, and continuing for several minutes. The nearer the place where the shock is first given, the more instantaneous and simple it appears. At a greater distance the earth redoubles the first blow with a sort of vibratory continuation. • As waters have generally so great a share in producing earthquakes, it is not to be wondered that they should generally follow those breaches made by the force of fire, and appear in the great chasms which the earthquake has opened.

Thele - These are some of the most remarkable phenomena of earthquakes, presenting a frightful assemblage of the most terrible effects of air, earth, fire, and water.

The valley of Salfatara, near Naples, seems to exhibit, in a minuter degree, whatever is seen of this horrible kind, on the great theatre of nature. This plain, which is about 1200 feet long, and 1000 broad, is embofomed in mountains, and has, in the middle of it,' a lake of noisome blackish water, covered with a bitumen that floats upon its furface. in every part of this plain caverns appear, smoking with sulphur, and often emitting flames. The earth, wherever we walk over it, trembles beneath the feet. Noises of flames, and the hifting of waters, are heard at the botom. The water sometimes spouts up 8 or 10 feet high. The most noisome fumes, fætid water, and fulphureous vapour, offend the smell. A stone thrown into any of the caverns, is ejected again with considerable violence. These appearances generally prevail when the sea is any way disturbed; and the whole seems to exhibit the appearance of an earthquake in miniature. However, in this in alier scene of wonders, as well as in the greater, there are many appearances for which, perhaps, we ihall never account; and many questions may be asked, which no conjectures can thoroughly resolve. It was the fault of the philosophers of the last age to be more inquisitive after the causes of things, than after the things themtelves. They seemed to think that a confession of ignorance cancelled their claims to wisdom; they therefore had a solution for every demand. But the present age has grown, if not more inquisitive, at least more modeft; and none are now ashamed of that ignorance woich labour can neither remedy nor remove.

, (To be continued.) '


To the Editor of the Universalist's Miscellany. SIR, TN perusing your Miscellany, I found a Letter from a Minif

| ter to his, son against the Universal Doctrine; on which I beg leave to make a few remarks.

The author of this letter admits, that the Universal Do&trine « is not a new sentiment.” True, it is not; for advocates of the restitution of all things may be found many ages before


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