Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Earthquake Averted

Wed 2 November 1763: I spent an agreeable hour with old, venerable Mr.——. How striking is a man of sense, learning, and piety, when he has well-nigh finished his course, and yet retains all his faculties unimpaired! His grey hairs are indeed ‘a crown of honour’.
In this neighbourhood I learned the particulars of a remarkable occurrence. On Friday, August 19, a gentleman who was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, walking with his friend near Brighthelmstone in Sussex, and looking south-west toward the sea, cried out, ‘God grant the wind may rise! Otherwise we shall have an earthquake quickly. Just so the clouds whirled to and fro, and so the sky looked, that day at Lisbon.’ Presently the wind did rise, and brought an impetuous storm of rain and large hail. Some of the hailstones were larger than hen-eggs. It moved in a line about four miles broad, making strange havoc, as it passed quite over the land till it fell into the river, not far from Sheerness. And wherever it passed it left an hot sulphurous stream, such as almost suffocated those it reached.

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