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numbing coldness seizing me in my lame arm, I thought I had only a few moments to live; but, unwilling to disturb their scanty repose, I did not speak, till Mr Hake, seeing my condition, called Mr Abraham Hake to my assistance, who setting me up, I recovered a little, and by bleeding the next morning was greatly relieved, and was forced to have application to this remedy four times more.
On the Tuesday Mr Screfton the surgeon came to me with great difficulty from Belem; said he was almost pulled to pieces by the people, and, confirming the former opinion of my case, told me he was very glad to hear I had fallen into such good hands as he esteemed the bone-setter's to be.
Mr Hake from the first assured me of his assistance and protection, yet when I heard the clamour of the starving people for bread, threatening to break in upon us (so that we were forced to eat our victuals almost by stealth), as also the variety of reports of robberies and murders which were committed all around us, whilst all government was at an end, and at the same time the English were pressing him for his own safety to go on board ship, I expected every day necessity would force him to compliance, and should that happen I knew not whither to look with hope!
With what gratitude then did my heart overflow (a gratitude which no time can ever efface) to hear him declare, when earnestly entreated to go on board a ship of which he himself was an owner, and where there was a place reserved for him, that he could not leave his family. On being told they would make room for his sons, he said he not only meant his sons but myself also, whom he could not abandon in so distressful a condition, and therefore it would be in vain to mention it any more to him. And indeed in every respect he most fully complied with his promise to me, carrying me on board the aforementioned ship on Saturday the 29th of November. The next day she sailed for England with twenty-four passengers, being the second ship after the earthquake;
the Expedition packet, Captain William Clies, having sailed about ten days before us with seventeen passengers.
It was constantly a most sensible increase of uneasiness to me to give so much trouble to Mr Hake's family at such a time of general confusion and distress, and I must ever acknowledge myself greatly indebted for my recovery to the particular care and attention of Mr Abraham Hake.
Thus far I have endeavoured not only to describe most minutely all the accidents that happened to me, but even the hopes and fears occasioned by them, whether depressed and magnified by my debilitated state of mind I know not. I can only say that after I got into the street the general distress painted in every ghastly countenance made but little reflection necessary to conclude that even the nearest relations would be unable to assist each other; and from the short examination I had made of myself, I thought it was of little consequence to me, and therefore at once resolved, without a murmur, to resign myself to the will of the Supreme Governor of all things, humbly hoping, by my patience in suffering what He was pleased to inflict, to make some atonement for my faults.
How great, then, must be my thankfulness to Divine Providence for raising me up assistance, not only unasked, but even unhoped for, amongst people almost strangers to me, more especially Mr Jorg (with whom I had but a slight acquaintance), who, like a guardian angel, appeared always to assist me in the utmost extremities. He afterwards assured me that it gave him the greatest concern to be obliged to leave me in the manner he did; but that, finding all hopes of procuring a boat were vain, because the moment any came near to the shore they were immediately crowded with people who waited there on purpose, he resolved to get away himself in the same manner, and endeavour to send me the first help he could procure: that accordingly, after crossing the river (which took them up a long time), he met with a Mr Bride, an English shoemaker, who was going over, and
who, at his entreaty, promised to look for me, and carry me away with him; and that, after making the most diligent search for me without success, he rightly concluded I had been already removed thence. I have been the more particular to mention this circumstance, because it sets in its true light a behaviour I can never reflect on without the greatest surprise and astonishment, as well as the deepest sense of gratitude.
Some time afterwards, I learnt that no part of our house fell except the arada where I was, nor were any of the family killed; only the housekeeper and one man-servant were much hurt by the falling of the arada upon them as they were going out of the house. The ceilings of the upper story were, however, so much shattered, that none ventured to enter into any of the rooms.
It is universally agreed that all the mischief proceeded from the first three shocks of the earthquake, which were attended with a tumbling sort of motion, like the waves of the sea, so that it was amazing the houses resisted so long as they did.
No place nor time could have been more unlucky for the miserable people! The city was full of narrow streets; the houses strong-built and high, so that their falling filled up all the passages; the day of All Saints, with the Portuguese a great holiday, when all the altars of the churches were lighted up with many candles, just at the time they were fullest of people! Most of the churches fell immediately. The streets were thronged with people going to and from mass, many of whom must have been destroyed by the mere falling of the upper parts of the houses.
It would be impossible to pretend justly to describe the universal horror and distress that everywhere prevailed! Many saved themselves by going upon the water, whilst others found there the death they hoped to have avoided. Some were wonderfully preserved by getting to the tops of their houses; more by retiring to the bottoms of them. Others, again, unhurt, were imprisoned under the ruins of their dwellings, only to be burnt alive! whilst two Dutchmen,
in particular, were said to have escaped by the fire reaching the ruins of their house, and lighting them through passages they would not otherwise have found out. The earnest but unheeded supplications of the disabled, and the violent, noisy prayers of the people, who thought it to be the Day of Judgment, added to the general distraction. In short, death in every shape soon grew familiar to the eye.
The river is said to have risen and fallen several times successively in a most wonderful manner; at one time threatening to overflow the lower parts of the city, and directly afterwards leaving the ships almost aground in the middle of its bed, showing rocks that had never been seen before.
The duration of the first shock (which came without any warning, except a great noise heard by the people near the water-side) is variously reported, but by none is esti mated at less than three minutes and a half. At the latter part of it (I suppose), I was thrown over the wall, and fell about four stories, between the houses, where I must have lain but a little time, if it was the second shock that I felt in the Portuguese man's house-which was said to have happened at ten o'clock (though by some people it is confounded with the first). I almost think it could not have been the third that I felt at Mr Jorg's house; for as that took place at twelve o'clock, I must have remained a long time in the street, whereas it appeared to me that, instead of two hours, as it must have been if between the second and third shocks, I lay there scarcely a quarter of an hour.
Before I left Mr Jorg's house on the Saturday night about eleven o'clock, which was in the same street with ours, called Pedras Nagras, situated upon the hill leading up to the Castle, I saw all the middle part of the city to the King's Palace, and from thence up the opposite hill to us, leading to the Baira Alto, containing a number of parishes, all in one great blaze.
Three times I thought myself inevitably lost! The first, when I saw all the city moving like the water;
the second, when I found myself shut up between four walls; and the third time, when, with that vast fire before me, I thought myself to be abandoned in Mr Jorg's house; and even in the square, where I remained the Saturday night and Sunday, the almost continual trembling of the earth, as well as the sinking of the great stone quay adjoining to the square, at the third great shock at twelve o'clock (covered, as it was said, with three hundred people, or perhaps more justly with one hundred and fifty, who were endeavouring to get into boats, and were, boats and all, swallowed up, which was the reason so few boats ventured on the river for some time after), made me fearful lest the water had undermined the square, and that at every succeeding shock we should likewise sink; or else, as the ground was low, and even with the water, the least rising of it would overflow us. Full of these terrors, as well as the distresses already mentioned, it more than once occurred to me that the Inquisition, with all its utmost cruelty, could not have invented half such a variety of tortures for the mind as we were then suffering.
Had the general consternation been less, not only many lives, but even much property might have been saved; for the fire did not, till the Saturday morning, reach the Custom-House, which stood next to the water-side, and had large open places on each side of it; so that great multitudes of bundles, which caused us so much distress, might easily have been saved by boats, as in some parts the fire was two days in getting to them. But the King's soldiers, amongst whom were many foreign deserters, instead of assisting the people, turned plunderers, adding to the fires, as some before their execution confessed.
No fire came out of the ground, but the whole was occasioned by the fallen houses; nor were there any openings of the earth, unless the sinking of the quay was caused by one, but every where innumerable cracks, from many of which were thrown out water and sand.
The King sent directly to the
nearest garrison for his troops, upon whose arrival order was restored; and the butchers and bakers dispersed about to provide for the people, who were not permitted to move farther from the city without passes. The common people were immediately forced by the soldiers with swords drawn to bury the dead bodies, the stench growing so noisome that bad consequences were apprehended from it. The judges were also dispersed about with orders to execute upon the spot all who were found guilty of murder or theft. It was said before we left the place, that there were above eighty bodies hanging upon gibbets round about the city. Several of the ships were searched, and none were allowed to leave the harbour without permission.
All the heart of the city (the rich part of it) was burnt. The suburbs, which were very large, escaped, and have since been repaired. All the towns and villages round about suffered more or less. Setuval was not only thrown down and burnt, but afterwards overflowed. The shock was strongly felt at Oporto, 150 miles to the northward, and even at Madrid, 300 miles from Lisbon.
Every place to the south suffered greatly. The royal palace and convent at Mafra were not thrown down, nor the grand aqueduct.
The royal family were at Belem, where they most commonly resided. It was said a large stone grazed the Queen's neck as she went down stairs. None of them, however, were hurt.
The Portuguese from the first ran into two extremes; making the number of the inhabitants of their city to be much greater than it really was, and on the other hand as much diminishing that of the persons who perished. The former they insisted could not be so little as 350,000; but Mr Hake, from many years' residence in the place, thinks 250,000 to have been the outside; and the latter they were desirous of concealing for political reasons, therefore it is unlikely that the number will ever be known. In one of their best accounts since published, it is calculated at about 15,000; but Mr John Bristow, junior, has told me, that he had from the very best authority (as I imagine, the
Secretary of State), that the number of the dead found and buried was twenty-two thousand and some hundreds; in which case, as there must have remained a yet larger number under the ruins, the computation would be moderate at 50,000 people lost by the earthquake.
There were sixty-nine British subjects killed on that occasion, most of whom were Irish Roman Catholics. Only about twelve or thirteen Engglish out of three hundred-a most moderate number in proportion to the general loss. This, I suppose, was greatly owing (next to the Divine Providence) to the distance they were at from the streets, where the destruction was almost over before they could arrive.
Mrs Hake, sister to Sir Charles Hardy, was killed by the falling of the front of her own house, after she had got into the street. Her body was found under the rubbish three months after, not at all changed.
It is inconceivable as well as inexpressible the joy it gave us to meet with one another, each thinking the other in a manner to be risen from the dead, and all having wonderful escapes to relate, all equally satisfied to have preserved their lives only, without desiring anything further. But soon, this first joyful impression passing away, and cares and necessities making themselves felt, many, on considering their utterly destitute condition, almost regretted that the same stroke had not deprived them of life which had stripped them of all means of existence.
As for the Portuguese, they were entirely employed in a kind of religious madness, lugging about saints without heads or limbs, telling one another how they met with such misfortunes; and if by any chance they espied a bigger, throwing their own aside, they hauled away the greater weight of holiness, kissing those of each other that they encountered; whilst their clergy declared that the earthquake was a judgment on them for their wickedness some saying because they had shown so much favour to heretics; and, going in a tumultuous manner to Court, declared that was the cause of their pre
sent sufferings. They almost thought it impious to try to take care of them.selves, and called it fighting against Heaven-particularly in the case of an officer upon guard at the Mint, who, with the greatest courage and resolution, remained there three days, and by knocking down the buildings round about it, preserved it from the fire. However, the King rewarded him as his merits highly deserved.
At last a miracle (performed, as was supposed, by a secret order from the Court) brought them tolerably to their senses. In the middle of the night the Virgin Mary was seen sitting amongst flames of fire, waving a white handkerchief to the people from the ruins of a church or famous convent of hers, called Our Lady of Pentrade Franca, situated upon the top of a very high hill. This was immediately declared to be a forgiveness of their past offences, and a promise of life; however, notwithstanding this, we had many prophecies of destruction several times afterwards.
It is remarkable that the bull feast, celebrated two months before the earthquake, in a great square called the Boccio, made an old blind prophecy of great mischief to happen to Lisbon, in a year with two fires in it, to be much talked of; because, some hundreds of years before, in the same square, upon a like occasion, the scaffolds fell and killed great numbers of people: the fear, therefore, that something of that sort would happen then to accomplish the prophecy, prevented many from going to the first day's spectacle.
It was said that the Queen of Spain immediately sent her brother a large remittance in cash, and that the King wrote a letter with his own hand, not only offering his treasures and troops, but to come himself in person if necessary. The French also made some very trifling offers. But the Portuguese people of all denominations fixed their hopes upon England from the very first, most confidently expecting to receive all manner of assistance from thence: nor would they have been much deceived, had the winds proved as favourable as the intentions of the English.
CHAPTER XXII.-EWINS OF THAT ILK.
I WAS strolling one fine afternoon in February through the Park, by way of relaxation after my work, when I descried immediately before me the tall gaunt figure of Mr Jefferson J. Ewins. Without losing a moment I made up to the Yankee, upon whose cadaverous countenance hovered a grim smile as he returned my greeting, protesting that he was as happy as a clam at high water to renew the pleasure of our acquaintance. Mr Ewins was nowise altered in appearance since I saw him last, save that, in honour of the country he had been visiting, he had donned a pair of trousers of the fieriest tartan, which made him rather a conspicuous object, and attracted the notice of several butchers' boys, who facetiously inquired if he had been getting his legs cut up into collops. He told me that he had recently arrived in London after a prolonged sojourn in the north; and was quite eloquent in his praise of Glasgow, a city which he vastly preferred to Edinburgh, because it was a "rael go-ahead place, and no mistake, where the people knew how to put the licks in ;" whereas the Scottish metropolis was, in his opinion, "used up, mighty fine to look at, but bogus to the backbone; and as for doing a streak of business there, it was as useless trying that as whistling psalms to a dead horse." With regard to London, his mind was not yet exactly made up, though from what he had seen he was inclined to admit that it was 66 some pumpkins," but by no means comparable to New York.
"I say though, mister," he remark ed, "land can't be very valuable hereabouts, else them there parks would have been squatted on long ago. They tell me they are public property. Wall, then, as you've a good jag of public debt, I reckon it would be the sensible thing to sell
these clearings and run up streets. I would, I know, if I had only half a jumping claim, and I guess it 'ud be a grandacious spekilation."
"Why, Mr Ewins, you must remember that the parks are the very lungs of London, healthy as well as ornamental. Without them there would be no ventilation."
"That's all moonshine," said the Yankee. "I guess the folks in the City don't draw much breath here; but jest you rub their hair back, and see if they won't holler as loud as any nigger when he gets a taste of the cow-hide. That shows there's no want of lung leather among them. I don't know what wind's good for, except to drive a mill or blow up a pair of bagpipes. But there's a sorter conceit about the south Britishers that pulls wool over their eyes, and makes them as blind as a honeybear after he has plundered a beetree. They ain't smart hereabouts, that's a fact. It's a huckleberry above my persimmon how the onnateral old country keeps thriving, with its Lords, and Commons, and rotten institutions such as no free and enlightened citizen would knuckle down to; but I allow it's a wonderful place, considering its size, and I ain't such a goney as to run down the land of my forefathers. Do you know, Squire Sinclair, sir, I've discovered that I'm a kinder countryman of yourn?"
"Indeed! I'm extremely gratified to hear you say so, Mr Ewins. May I inquire if the discovery is a recent one ?"