It is observed, that many persons, who
probably have read but little and have had still less
experience of the extraordinary phenomena of nature, are
disposed to think a good deal incorrectly respecting
those uncommon events which distinguished the year 1811,
viz. the Comet and the Earthquakes.
As these have been experienced before, since the
settlement of the western country, many are led to
consider them, if not as new events, yet as something
much more infrequent and ominous than an acquaintance
with history will justify. It is not wished to
detract from the interest and solemnity of those events,
but a knowledge of the truth can never be hurtful.
The repetition, indeed, of these astonishing phenomena
ought to inspire us with more profound awe, while at the
same time it is calculated to divest us of the
superstitious distraction of ignorance.
The following list is selected from one
of the most copious and best approved Chronolgical
tables which have appeared. The Table embraces all
remarkable events, such as wars, &c., &c. but
the limits of a newspaper can admit but a few, (and
those greatly abbreviated) which will be confined to
what we may call elemental phenomena,
principally Earthquakes and Comets,
to which may be added instances of pestilence.
The list will chiefly regard former times, that is, the
times since authentic history commenced (the earlier
part of which was extremely imperfect) and will not
descend within our own memory.
B.C. or years before Christ.
2352 The world is
destroyed by a deluge, which continued 377 days.
1961 The cities of Sodom
and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire from heaven.
1503 The deluge of
720 The first
record of an eclipse of the moon.
430 A plague over
the known world.
373 A great
earthquake in Peloponnesus, Greece.
315 Rhodes almost
destroyed by an inundation.
[The list continues with about 100 more events, mostly
in the common era.]
1775 An extraordinary
1779 A most
extraordinary eruption of Vesuvius.
1780 Jan 14—cold at
Glasgow, Scotland [16?] degrees below 0.
A dreadful hurricane in the Leeward Islands, Oct. 9—and
an extraordinary storm in
1783 Most violent
earthquakes in Italy and Sicily. Those of the 5th
and 7th of February, and
28th of March were the most violent, and destroyed every
building throughout Calabria,
not leaving one stone upon another. 40,000 persons
perished. The sun was obscured by a kind of fog
during the whole summer.
A volcanic eruption in Iceland,
surpassing all things of the kind recorded in history;
the burning lava spouted two miles high, and continued
thus for two months.
A large meteor appeared in Europe, whose
tract was observed more than 1000 miles.
Here the list will be closed with the
words of the excellent Cowper, who wrote
soon after the last mentioned events, and referring to
“Fires from beneath, and meteors from
Portentous, unexampled, unexplained,
Have kindled beacons in the skies, and th’
And crazy earth has had her shaking fits
More frequent, and foregone her usual
She quakes at His approach: her
Conceiving thunders, thro’ a thousand deep
And fiery caverns, roars beneath His foot;
The hills move lightly and the mountains
For he has touched them.
The rocks fall headlong and the vallies
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And charg’d with putrid vapors, breathe a
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluid, and the fix’d and rooted
Tormented into billows, heaves and swells,
Or with vertiginous and hideous whirl
Sucks down its prey insatiable.”