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In the carthquake at Charleston many buildings were demolished, and great destruction of property resulted from the terrible visitation, yet considering the frightful havoc made by some European earthquakes, our American city was extremely fortunate. The truth of this statement will apa: if we look at the account given of that tremendous convulsion in the islan / of Sicily which overthrew nearly the whole of the beauti’ul city of Messina, with a great loss of life. The shore for a considerable distance along the coast was rent, and the ground along the port, which was before quite level, became afterwards inclined towards the sea, the depth of the water having, at the same time, increased in several parts, through the displacement of portions of the bottom. The quay also subsided about fourteen inches below the level of the sea, and the houses near it were much rent.
A Graphic Description of the Awful Calamity. But it was in the city itself that the most terrible desolation was wrought-a complication of disasters having followed the shock, more especially a fierce conflagration, whose intensity was augmented by the large stores of oil kept in the place. An authentic account of this calamity has been preserved in a report sent by the Senate of the city of Messina to the King of Naples. It runs as follows: Your Majesty's feeling heart will, we doubt not, be touched by the deepest sorrow at the harrowing spectacle of a splendid city instantaneously changed, by a terrible and unexampled event, into a heap of ruins. The concussions of the earth, coming in succession every quarter of an hour, with inconceivable violence, have overthrown, from top to bottom, every building whatever. · The royal palace, that of the archbishop, the whole of the maritime theatre, the pawn repositories, the great hospital, the cathedral, the monasteries and nunneries-nothing has escaped destruction. The religious recluses are seen running through the streets in dismay, to seek, if possible, some place of refuge and safety, with the small number of persons escaped like themselves, almost by a miracle, from this overthrow The sight is fearful; but there is one yeć more terrible—that of the larg. pest proportion of the citizens, dead and dying, buried beneath the ruins of their dwellings, without its being possible, from the want of laborers, to render assistance under such circumstances, to withdraw from beneath the rubbish those still breathing. Shrieks and cries, groans and sighsall the accents of grief are everywhere heard; while the impossibility of redeeming from death those wretched victims, renders still more harrowing the voice of despair that appeals in vain for help and compasA new scourge has been added to all these calamities, and augments their horror. From amid the ruins of the overthrown buildings there is seen all at once to arise a raging fire. Unhappily—the first shocks having begun about dinner-time—the fires, then lighted in the kitchens, had kindled various combustible substances found among the remains of the crumbling houses. The king's lieutenant instantly hastencd to the spot with his troops ; but the absolute want of laborers and needful appliances rendered all efforts unavailing, and it was impossible, not only to extinguish the fire, but even to stop the progress of the flames, which contin
DESTRUCTION OF MESSINA. ued to devour the sad remains of a city, once the glory of her sovereigns, and the most flourishing in the kingdom.
To so many simultaneous disasters have to be added a thousand others beyond description horrible. The corn magazines having been overthrown, bread, that most needful of aliments, fails. The Senate has been obliged immediately to remedy this evil, by detaining in harbor the vessels laden with this commodity. But how make bread when the shops and utensils adapted to this trade are buried under the ruins, while the bakers have either perished or fled? The witer-courses having been turned aside, the public fountains are drain d, and the mills can no longer grind corn. This a sgravation of di asters has reduced almost to despair the remaining inhabitants, who demand with loud cries bread for their sustenance. Some bemoan their goods and chattels, others their parents.
In spite of the zeal and activity shown by the magistrates in restraining robbers, there are yet to be found wretches, without either humanity or religion, who, regardless of this Divine wrath displayed before their eyes, have pillaged not only private houses but also the public edifices and the pawn-repositories. Naught then, save the powerful protection of your Majesty, can redress such manifold misfortunes, so rapid in their succession, and give new existence to this city, which requires to be wholly restored. The Senate beseeches your Majesty instantly to transmit the needful succors of men and money, to clear the roads covered by ruins
FISSURES PRODUCED BY AN EARTHQUAKE. and corpses. The Senate equally entreats your Majesty to send to this city provisions of all sorts, for the subsistence of the inhabitants dispersed in the plains, and who, destitute of food, will be obliged to take flight, to the great detriment of your royal treasury.
According to official reports made soon after the events, the destruction caused by the earthquakes throughout the two Calabrias was immense. The loss of life was appalling—40,000 having perished by the earthquakes, and 20,000 more having subsequently died from privation and exposure. The greater number were buried amid the ruins of the houses, while others perished in the fires that were kind.ed in most of the towns, particularly in Oppido, where the flames were fed by great magazines of oil. Not a few, especially among the peasantry dwelling in the country, were suddenly ingulfed in fissures, which, seen in all directions, gave the
ground the appearance of having been shivered like glass. Many who were only half buried in the ruins, and who might have been saved had there been help at hand, were left to die a lingering death from cold and hunger. Four Augustine monks at Terranuova perished thus miserably. Having taken refuge in a vaulted sacristy, they were entombed in it alive by the masses of rubbish, and lingered for four days, during which their cries for help could be heard, till death put an end to their sufferings.
A Mother and Child Perish. Of still more thrilling interest was the case of the Marchioness Spadara. Having fainted at the moment of the first great shock, she was lifted by her husband, who, bearing her in his arms, hurried with her to the harbor. Here, on recovering her senses, she observed that her infant boy had been left behind. Taking advantage of a moment when her husband was too much occupied to notice her, she darted off, and, running back to her house, which was still standing, she snatched her babe from his cradle. Rushing with him in her arms towards the staircase, she found the stair had fallen-so barring all further progress in that direction. She fled from room to room, chased by the falling materials, and at length reached a balcony as her last refuge. Holding up her infant, she implored the few passers-by for help; but they all, intent on securing their own safety, turned a deaf ear to her cries. Meanwhile her mansion had caught fire, and ere long the balcony, with the devoted lady still grasping her darling, was hurled into the devouring flames.
A few cases are recorded of devotion similar to that of this heroic woman, but happily attended by more fortunate results. In the great majority of instances, however, the instinct of self-preservation triumphed over every other feeling, rendering the wretched people callous to the dangers and sufferings of others. Still worse was the conduct of the halfsavage peasantry of Calabria. They hastened into the towns like vultures to their prey. Instead of helping the sufferers, they ransacked the smoking ruins for plunder, robbed the persons of the dead, and of those entangled alive among the rubbish, perpetrating still more atrocious crimes.
Several cases occurred of persons being rescued alive from the ruins after the lapse of many days. Some were delivered at the end of three, four, or five days, and one even on the seventh day after interment. Those who were thus rescued all declared that their direst sufferings were from thirst.
MOUNTAINS OF FIRE.
Terrible Images of Grandeur-Open Mouths of Fire - The Earth a Seething Fur
nace Inside-A Lighthouse in the Eolian Islands - Dull Thunders Shaking Mountains-A River of Fire Thirty Miles Long—Violent Eruption of Mauna Loa-A Scene of Appalling Sublimity-Jets of Fire and Smoke a Thousand Feet High-Connection Between Earthquakes and Volcanoes-Hoffman's Vivid Description of Ficry Stromboli-A Volcano Bursting out of the Sea-Graham's Island in Conflagration-A Party Caught by a Deluge of Ashes and Hot Stones -Cities Buried Under Floods of Lava from Vesuvius-Remarkable Asiatic Volcanoes-A Strange New Zealand Tradition—The Sea Boiling and Driven Back.
JEEN from afar, volcanoes only give a very imperfect idea of what
they are. To appreciate their phenomena and their ravages, our eyes must survey their depths. All is then changed, and
the grandeur of the spectacle strikes the imagination, graving terrible images upon it. We are astonished at the immensity of their fire-spouting mouths, and at the vastness of the lava streams which flow from them at certain times. Some men of science have expressed their wonder that the interior of the earth can furnish matter sufficient for these eruptions, but a little reflection will show that no great contraction of the crust of the globe is required to feed them. Violent eruptions do not usually emit more than 1300 cubic yards of lava, and seldom so much. This quantity, supposing it spread equally over the surface of the globe, would not form a layer so much as the ten-thousandth of an irch in thickness. A contraction of the earth sufficient to shorten its radius half an inch would furnish matter for five hundred violent eruptions; and on consulting the history of recent volcanic phenomena we arrive at the conclusion that a contraction of one inch and a half is sufficient to have supplied the lava thrown up in all the eruptions that have occurred on our planet during the last 3000 years.
The loftier volcanoes are, the less frequent are their eruptions. The lava which they vomit forth, issuing from furnaces the depth of which is probably the same in every case, it is clear, that for the waves to mount in the chimneys of those which are very high, a much greater force is required than in others. Thus one of the smallest of all, Stromboli, is always throwing out flames; since the days of Homer it has served as a beacon to navigators approaching the Eolian Islands.