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An eruption at Mount Vefuvius.

In the year 1717, in the middle of April, with much difficulty I reached the top of Mount Vefuvius, in which I faw a vaft aperture full of smoke, that hindered me from feeing its depth and figure. I heard within that horrid gulf, extraordinary founds, which feemed to proceed from the bowels of the mountain; and, at intervals, a noise like that of thunder or cannon, with a clattering like the falling of tiles from the tops of houfes into the streets. Sometimes, as the wind changed, the fmoke grew thinner, difcovering a very ruddy flame, and the circumference of the crater ftreaked with red and feveral fhades of yellow. After an hour's stay, the smoke being moved by the wind, we had fhort and partial profpects of the great hollow; in the flat bottom of which I could difcern two furnaces almost contiguous: that on the left, feeming about three yards over, glowing with ruddy flame, and throwing up red hot ftones, with a hideous noife, which, as they fell back, caused the clattering already taken notice of. May 8, in the morning, I afcended the top of Vefuvius a fecond time, and found a different face of things. The smoke afcending upright, afforded a full profpect of the crater, which, as far as I could judge, was about a mile in circumference, and a hundred yards deep. Since my last visit, a conical mount had been formed in the middle of the bottom. This was made by the ftones, thrown up and fallen back again into the crater, In this new hill remained the two furnaces already mentioned. The one was seen to throw up every three or four minutes, with a dreadful found, a vaft number of red hot stones, at least three hundred feet higher than my head: but as there was no wind, they fell perpendicularly back from whence they had been discharged. The other was filled with red hot liquid matter, like that in the furnace of a glass-houfe; raging and working like the waves of the fea, with a fhort abrupt noife. This matter fometimes boiled over, and ran down the fide of the conical hill, appearing at first red hot, but changing colour as it hardened and cooled. Had the wind fet towards us, we fhould have been in no fmall danger of being ftifled by the fulphurous fmoke, or killed by the maffes of melted minerals that were fhot from the bottom. But as the wind was favourable, I had an opportunity of

furveying this amazing fcene for above an hour and a half together. On the fifth of June, after a horrid noise, the mountain was feen at Naples to work over; and about three days after, its thunders were fo renewed, that not only the windows in the city, but all the houses shook. From that time, it continued to overflow, and fometimes at night exhibited columns of fire fhooting upward from its fummit. On the tenth, when all was thought to be over, the mountain again renewed its terrors, roaring and raging most violently. One cannot form a juter idea of the noife, in the most violent fits of it, than by imagining a mixed found, made up of the raging of a tempeft, the murmur of a troubled fea, and the roaring of thunder and artillery, all confufed together. Though we heard this at the distance of twelve miles, yet it was very terrible. We refolved to approach nearer to the mountain; and, accordingly, three or four of us entered a boat, and were fet afhore at a little town, fituated at the foot of the mountain. From thence we rode about four or five miles before we came to the torrent of fire that was defcending from the fide of the volcano; and here the roaring grew exceedingly loud and terrible. I observed a mixture of colours in the cloud, above the crater, green, yellow, red, blue. There was likewise a ruddy, difmal light in the air, over that tract where the burning river flowed. Thefe circumftances, fet off and augmented by the horror of the night, formed a fcene the most uncommon and astonishing I ever faw; which ftill increased as we approached the burning river. A valt torrent of liquid fire rolled from the top, down the fide of the mountain, and with irresistible fury bore down and confumed vines, olives, and houses; and divided into different channels, according to the inequalities of the mountain. The largest ftream feemed at leaft half a mile broad, and five miles long. I walked before my companions fo far up the mountain, along the fide of the river of fire, that I was obliged to retire in great hafte; the fulphurous steam having furprised me, and almost taken away my breath. During our return, which was about three o' clock in the morning, the roaring of the mountain was heard all the way, while we obferved it throwing up huge fpouts of fire and burning ftones, which, falling, refembled the stars in a rocket. Sometimes I obferved two or three diftinct columns of fame, and fometimes one only that was large enough to

fill the whole crater. These burning columns and fiery ftones feemed to be fhot a thousand feet perpendicular above the fummit of the volcano. In this manner the mountain continued raging for fix or eight days after. On the eighteenth of the fame month the whole appear. ance ended, and Vefuvius remained perfectly quiet, without any visible smoke or flame.



Defcription of the preparations made by Xerxes, the Perfian monarch, for invading Greece.

In the opening of fpring, Xerxes directed his march towards the Hellefpont, where his fleet lay in all their pomp, expecting his arrival. When he came to this place, he was defirous of taking a furvey of all his forces, which formed an army that was never equalled either before or fince. It was compofed of the most powerful nations of the Eaft, and of people fcarcely known to pofterity, except by name. The remotest India contributed its fupplies, while the coldeft tracts of Scythia fent their affistance. Medes, Perfians, Bactrians, Lydians, Affyrians, Hyrcanians, and many other nations of various forms, complexions, languages, dreffes, and arms, united in this grand expedition. The land army, which he brought out of Afia, confifted of feventeen hundred thousand, foot, and fourfcore thousand horfe. Three hundred thousand more that were added upon croffing the Hellefpont, made his land forces all together amount to above two millions of men. His fleet, when it fet out from Afia, confifted of twelve hundred and feven veffels, each carrying two hundred men. The Europeans augmented his fleet with a hundred and twenty veffels, each of which carried two hundred men. Befides thefe, there were two thousand fmaller veffels fitted for carrying provifions, and ftores, The men contained in these, with the former, amounted to fix hundred thousand; fo that the whole army might be faid to amount to two millions and a half; which, with the women, flaves, and futtlers, always accompanying a Perfian army, might make the whole above five millions of fouls a number, if rightly conducted, capable of overturning the greatest monarchy; but which, commanded by prefumption and ignorance, ferved only to obftruct and embarrass each other...



Lord of fo many and fuch various fubjects, Xerxes found a pleasure in reviewing his forces; and was defirous of beholding a naval engagement, of which he had not hitherto been a spectator. To this end a throne was erected for him upon an eminence; and in that fituation, beholding the earth covered with his troops, and the fea crowded with his veffels, he felt a fecret joy diffuse itself through his frame, from the consciousness of his own fuperior power. But all the workings of this monarch's mind were in the extreme; a fudden sadness foon took place of his pleasure ; and diffolving in a fhower of tears, he gave himself up to a reflection, that not one of fo many thousands would be alive a hundred years after.

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Artabanus, the king's uncle, who was much disposed to moralize on occurrences, took this occafion to discourse with him upon the shortnefs and miseries of human life. Finding this more distant fubject attended to, he spoke closely to the prefent occafion; infinuated his doubts of the fuccefs of the expedition; urged the many inconveniences the army had to suffer, if not from the enemy, at least from their own numbers. He alleged, that plagues, famine, and confufion, were the neceffary attendants of fuch ungovernáble multitudes: and that empty fame was the only reward of fuccefs. But it was now too late to turn this young monarch from his purpose. Xerxes informed his monitor, that great actions were always attended with proportionable danger and that if his predeceffors had obferved fuch fcrupulous and timorous rules of conduct, the Persian empire would never have attained to its prefent height of glory.

Xerxes, in the mean time, had given orders to build a bridge of boats acrofs the Hellefpont, for tranfporting his army into Europe. This narrow ftrait, which now goes by the name of the Dardanels, is nearly an English mile over. But foon after the completion of this work, a violent ftorm arifing, the whole was broken and deftroyed, and the labour was to be undertaken anew. The fury of Xerxes upon this disappointment was attended with equal extravagance and cruelty. His vengeance knew no bounds. The workmen who had undertaken the task had their heads ftruck off by his order; and that the fea itself might also know its duty, he ordered it to be lafhed as a delinquent, and a pair of fetters to be thrown into it, to curb its future irregularities. Thus having given vent to his abfurd refentment, two bridges were ordered to be built in the place

of the former, one for the army to pass over, and the other for the baggage and the beasts of burden. The workmen, now warned by the fate of their predeceffors, undertook to give their labours greater stability. They placed three hundred and fixty vessels across the ftrait, fome of them having three banks of oars, and others fifty oars a piece. They then caft large anchors into the water on both fides, in order to fix these vessels against the violence of the winds, and the current. After this they drove large piles into the earth, with huge rings faftened to them, to which were tied fix vaft cables that went over each of the two bridges. Over all these they laid trunks of trees, cut purposely for that ufe, and flat boats again over them faftened and joined together, fo as to ferve for a floor or folid bottom. When the whole work was thus completed, a day was appointed for their paffing over; and as soon as the first rays of the fun began to appear, fweet odours of all kinds were abundantly scattered over the new work, and the way was ftrewed with myrtle. At the fame time Xerxes poured out libations into the fea; and turning his face, towards the Eaft, worshipped that bright luminary, which is the god of the Perfians. Then, throwing the veffel which had held his libation into the fea, together with a golden cup and Perfian fcimitar, he went forward, and gave orders for the army to follow. This immenfe train was seven days and feven nights in paffing over; while thofe who were appointed to conduct the march, quickened the troops by lashing them along; for the foldiers of the East, at that time, and to this very day, are treated like flaves.

This great army having landed in Europe, and being joined there by the feveral nations that acknowledged the Perfian power, Xerxes prepared for marching directly forward into Greece. After a variety of disastrous and adverse events, fuffered in the profecution of his vainglorious defign, this haughty monarch was compelled to relinquish it. Leaving his generals to take care of the army, he hastened back with a fmall retinue, to the fea-fide. When he arrived at the place, he found the bridge broken down by the violence of the waves, in a tempeft that had lately happened there. He was, therefore, obliged to pass the strait in a fmall boat; which manner of returning, being compared with the oftentatious method in which he had fet out, rendered his difgrace ftill more poignant and afflicting. The army which he had ordered to follow him, having been un

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