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ter from the crater of Vesuvius latt, our view nothing but heaps of Sunday night.
black cinders and ashes, blasted Soon after having passed the trees, ruined houses, with a few town of Somma, we began to per- of their scattered inhabitants just ceive that the heat of the fiery returned with ghastly, dismayed hower which had fallen in its countenances, to survey the ha- neighbourhood had affected the vock done to their tenements and leaves of the trees and vines, which habitations, and from which they we found still more parched and themselves had with much difficulty Thrivelled in proportion as we ap- escaped alive on Sunday last, was proached the town of Ottaiano, such a melancholy scene, as can which may be about three miles neither be described or forgotten. from Somma. At about the dif. We found the roof of his Sicilian tance of a mile from Somma, we majesty's sporting seat at Caccia. began to perceive fresh cinders or bella much dainaged by the fall of scoriæ of lava, thinly scattered on large stones and heavy scoriæ, some the road and in the fields. Every of which, after having been broken step we advanced we found them by their fall through the roof, stiil of a larger dimension, and in weighed upwards of thirty pounds. greater abundance. At the distance This place, in a direct line, cana: of a mile and a half from Ottaiano, not be less than four miles from the the soil was totally covered by crater of Vesuvius. them, and the leaves and fruit The most authentic accounts were either entirely stripped from have been received of the fall of the trees, or remained thinly on small volcanic stones and cinders them, shrivelled and dried up by (some of which weighed two ounces) the intense heat of the volcanic at Benevento, Foggia, and Monte thower.
Mileto, upwards of thirty miles After having passed through the froin Vesuvius * ; but what is most most fertile country, abounding extraordinary (as there was but lit- : with trees loaded with fruits of tle wind during the eruption of the every kind, and the most luxuriant eighth of August) minute alhes vegetation, through gay villages fell thick that very night upon crowded with chearful inhabitants, the town of Manfredonia, which is to come at once to such a scene of at the dittance of an hundred miles defolation and mifery, affording to from Vesuvius t.
• The Prince of Monte Mileto told me, that his son, the Duke of Popoli, who was ac Monte Mileto the 8th of Auguit, had been alarmed by the shower of cinders that fell chere, some of which he had lent to Naples weighing two Ounces; and that stones of an ounce had fallen upon an estate of his ten miles farther off. Monte Mileto is about thirty miles from the volcano.
+ The Abbe Galini, well known in the literary world, cold me, that his fifter, a nun in a Convent at Manfredonia, had wrote to enquire after him, imagining that Naples must have been deltroyed, when they, at so great a dir. tance, had been so inuch alarmed by a shower of minute ashes, which fell on that city at eleven o'clock at night, Aug. 8, as to open all the churches, and go to prayers. As the great eruption happened at nine o'clock at night, the ales inust have travelled an hundred miles within the short space of two hours.
These facts seem to confirm the that till the eruption became conextrenie supposed height of the co. 'fiderable, it was not vigible to lumn of fire that issued from the them. On Sunday night, when crater of Vesuvius last Sunday the noise encreased, and the fire night, and are greatly in support began to appear above the mounof what we find recorded in the tain of Somma, many of the inha. history of Vesuvius with respect to bitants of this town flew to the the fall of its alhes at an amazing churches, and others were prepar, diftance, and in a short space of ing to quit the town, when a sud. time, during its violent eruptions. den violent report was heard; foon
We proceeded from Caccia-bella after which they found themselves to Ottaiano, which is a mile nearer involved in a thick cloud of smoko to Vesuvius, and is reckoned to and minute ashes: a horrid clash. contain twelve thousand inhabi- ing noise was heard in the air, and tants. Nothing could be more prelently fell a deluge of stones disial than the light of this town, and large scoriæ, some of whică unroofed, half buried under black scoriæ were of the diameter of fcoriæ and alhes; all the windows seven or eight feet, and must have towards the mountain broken, and weighed more than an hundred Some of the houses theinselves pounds before they were broken by burnt; the streets choaked up with their fall, as some of the frag. there ashes (in soine that were nar, ments of them, which I picked up row, the stratuin was not less in the streets, still weighed upwards than four feet thick); and a few of of fixty pounds. When thele laryo the inbabitants just returned were vitrified masses either ftruck against employed in clearing them away, one another in the air, or fell oa and piling up the athes in hillocks the ground, they broke in many 10 get at their ruined houses. pieces, and covered a large space Others were ailembled in little around them with vivid Iparks of groups, enquiring after their friends fire, which communicated their and neighbours, relating each heat to every thing that was como other's woes, crossing themselves, bustible *, In an instant the town and lifting up their eyes to Heaven and country about it was on fire in when they mentioned their mira- many parts; for in the vineyards culous escapes. Some Monks, who there were several straw huts, which were in their convent during the had been ere&ed for the watchmen whole of the horrid thower, gave of the grapes, all of which were us the following particulars, which burnt. A great magazine of wood they related with folemnity and in the heart of the town was all in precision.
a blaze, and, bad there been much The mountain of Somma, at the wind, the flames must have spread foot of which Ottaiano is fituated, universally, and all the inhabihides Vesuvius from its tight, so tants would haye infallibly been
* These masses were formed of the liquid lava, the exterior parts of which had become black and porous by cooling in the long traverse they had made through the air, whilst the interior parts, less exposed, retained an extreme leat, and were perfectly rode
burnt in their houses, for it was taiano is situated on an eminence impoflible for them to ftir out above the town, and nearer the Some who attempted it with pil- mountain : the steps leading up to lows, tables, chairs, the tops of it, being deeply covered with volwine calks, &c. on their heads, canic matter, resembled the cone were either knocked down, or of Vesuvius, and the white marble foon driven back to their close ftatues on the balustrade made a : quarters under arches, and in the fingular appearance -peeping from celiars of their houses. Many were under the black athes, which had wounded, but only two persons entirely covered both the baluhave died of the wounds they re- ftrade and their pedestals. The ceived from this dreadful volcanic roof of the palace was totally de. fhower. To add to the horror of stroyed, and the windows were the scene, inceffant volcanic light- broken; but the house itfelf, being ping was whilking about the black strongly built, had not fuifered cloud that surrounded them, and much. the sulphureous smell and heat We had an opportunity of seeing would scarcely allow them to draw here exa&ly the quality of the their breath.
dreadful thower, as the volcanic In this miserable and alarming matter which broke through the fituation they remained about roof of the palace, and fell into the twenty-five ininutes, when the vol garrets, on the balconies and in the canic storm ceased all at once, and courts, had not been removed. It the frightened inhabitants of Ot. was composed of the scoriæ of taiano, apprehending a fresh ato. fresh lava much vitrified, great and tack from the turbulent mountain, finall, mixed with fragments of hastily quitted the country, after ancient solid lavas of different having deposited the fick and bed- sorts : many pieces were enveloped ridden, at their own desire, in the by the new lava, which formed a churches,
crust about them; and others were Had the eruption lasted an hour only flightly varnished by the fresh longer, Ottaiano must have re- lava. There kind of stones being mained exactly in the state of Pom- very compact, and some weighing peia, which was buried under the eight or ten pounds, must have alhes of Vesuvius juft 1700 years fallen with greater force than the ago, with most of its inhabitants, heavier scoriæ, which were very whose bones are to this day fre. porous, and had the great surface quently found under arches and in above mentioned. the cellais of the houses of that an. The palace of Ottaiano is built cient city.
on a thick ftratum of ancient We were told of many miracles lava, which ran from the mountain that had been wrought by the of Somma when in its active volimages of saints at this place dur- canic state. Under this itratum ing the late dilalter ; but, as they we were thewn three grottoes, from are quite foreign to my purpose, I which issues a constant extreme thall, as usual, pass them over in cold wind, and at times with imfilence.
petuosity, and a noite like water The palace of the Prince of Ot- dashing upon rocks. They are
shut up with doors like cellars, and dered a considerable fum of money are made use of as such, as also to to be distributed among the un. keep provisions fresh and to cool happy fufferers of Ottaiana and its liquors. I had never seen these neighbourhood. ventaroli before. In my letter to On the 18th of September I Dr. Maty, upon the nature of the went upon Mount Vesuvius, acsoil round Naples, I have mention- companied by Lord, Herbert and ed others of the same kind that I my usual guide, We could not had met with on Vesuvius, Eina, possibly reach its crater, being coand in the island of Ischia *.
vered with a thick smoke, too sulWe oblerved, that the tract of phureous and offensive to be encountry completely covered with a countered; neither would it have Itratum of the volcanic matter been prudent to have ventured up, above mentioned was about two had there not been that impedimiles and a half broad, and as ment, as it was evident, from the much in length, in which space loud reports we heard from time to the vines and fruit-trees were to time, that there existed still a great tally Itript of their leaves apd fruit, fermentation within the bowels of and had the appearance of being the volcano. We therefore conquite burnt up; but, to my great tented ourselves with examining surprize, having visited that coun- the effects of the late extraordinary try again two days ago, I saw eruption on its cone, and in the those very trees, which were apple, valley between it and the mouptain pear, peach, and apricot, in blos- of Somma. som again, and some with the fruit The conical part of Vesuvius is already formed, and of the size of now covered with fragments of hazel nuts. The vines there had lava and scoriæ, wbich makes tbe alio put forth freth leaves, and afcent much more difficult and were in bloom. Many foxes, troublesome than when it was only liares, and other game, were de- covered with minute ashes. The troyed by the fiery thower in the particularity of this last eruption district. of Somma and Ottaia. was, that the lava which usually no t.
ran out of the flanks of the rolHis Sicilian majesty, whose good. cano, forming cascades, rivers, and ness of heart inclines him on all rivulets of liquid fire, was dow occasions to thew bis benevolence chietly thrown up from its crater and a fit the unfortunate, has or- in the form of a gigantic fountain
* At Celi, in the Roman State, towards the Adriatic, there are many fuch ventaroli; and the inhabitants of that town, by means of leaden pipes,,conduet the fresh air from them into the very rooms of their houses, lo that by furning a cock they can cool them to any degree. Some who have refined stiil more upon this luxury, by smaller pipes, bring this cold air under the dining table, so as to cool the boule of liquor upon it.
+ Having had the honour of being on a Mhooting party lately with the King of Naples, at the foot of Vesuvius and Somma, several dead hares were found, and we killed others whole backs were quite bare, the fur having been finged off of them by the hot alhes,
of fire *, which falling still in some changed. Those curious channels degree of fusion, has, in a man- in which the laya ran in the month ner, cased up the conical part of of May last, are all buried. The Vesuvius with a stratum of hard volcano appears to have likewise scoriæ : on the side next the moun- encreased in height; the form of tain of Somma, that ftratum is the crater is changed, a great surely more than one hundred feet piece of its rim towards Somma thick, forming a high ridge. The being wanting ; and on the side valley between Vefuvius and Som- towards the sea it is also broken. ma bras received such a prodigious There are some very large cracks quantity of lava and other volcanic towards the point of the cone of matter during this last eruption, the volcano, which makes it prothat it is raised, as is imagined, bable, that more of the borders of two hundred and fifty feet or the crater will fall in. The ridge more. Three such eruptions as of fresh volcanic matter on the the last would completely fill up cone of Vesuvius towards Somma, the valley, and, by uniting Ve. and the thick stratum in the suvius and Sonama, form them into valley, are likewise full of cracks, one mountain, as they most proba- from which there issues a constant bly were before the great eruption fulphureous smoke that tinges them in the reign of Titus. In short, I and the circumjacent scoriæ and found the whole face of Vesuvius cinders with a deep yellow, or
* Sorrentino mentions, in his Iftoria del Vesuvio, that the volcano in 1676 vented itself in the like manner : “Non a torrenti modo mando fuori le due viscere, ma tutti in aria menolla." Such wonderful, violent, and sudden emif. fions of liquid lava must have been occasioned by some accidental and extraor. dinary cause; and I was inclined to think, that a sudden cominunication of wa. ter with the lava in fusion might be the occasion of such a phænomenon, parti. cularly as we know that pools of rain-water have been found formerly in ca. verns within the bowels of Vesuvius; and that a river, supposed to be that anciently called Draco, and which was buried by an ancient eruption, burit out fume years ago with such force, from under a Aratum of lava at Torre del Gre. co, as to be sufficient to turn mills there; but a late curious experiment, men. tioned by Monf. de Faujas, in his Recherches sur les Voicans éteints, p. 176, seems to contradict my fuppoficion; and that waterintroduced to the furnace of a volcano, finding there a more rarefied air, would not produce an explosion. Mons. Delaudes, Director of the Royal Manufacture of Looking glass at St. Gobin, made the following experiment in 1768, in the presence of the Duke de la Rochefoucault, Monf. de Faujas, and others. He poured fome water upon a quancity of glass in fufion, and which had been in that stare in the crucible for twelve bours. The water did not occasion the least ferinentation ; but, on the contrary, rolled upon its surface, without even producing any smoke; and af. ter having become seemingly red-hot, like the metal in fusion, disappeared in about three minutes, without having occasioned the least explosion. If the great emiffions of lava above mentioned were not then occasioned by water mixing with the lava, may not they have been produced by violent subrerraneous exhalations having forced their way into the cauldron of the volcano (if I may be allowed the exprellion) replete with matter in fusion, and blown its whole contents, with whatever opposed its passage, at once into the air ?