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which, being much heavier than the circumambient air, instead of rising in it as smoke generally does, it rolls down the side of the mountain like a torrent, till coming to that part of the atmosphere of the same specific gravity with itself, they shoot off hurizontally, and form a large tract in the air, according to the direction of the wind. The crater is so hot, that it is very dangerous, if not impossible, to go down into it. Besides, the smoke is very incommodious ; and, in many places, the surface is so soft, that there have been instances of people sinking down into it, and paying for their temerity with their lives. Near the centre of the crater is the great mouth of the volcano. And, when we reflect on the immensity of its depth, the vast caverns whence so many lavas have issued; the force of its internal fire, sufficient to raise up those lavas to so great a height; the boiling of the matter, the shaking of the mountain, the explosion of flaming rocks, &c, we must allow, the most enthusiastic imagination, in the midst of all its terrours, can hardly form an idea more dreadful.
Description of an Eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 1. In the year 1717, in the middle of April, with much difficulty I reached the top of Mount Vesuvius, in which I saw a vast aperture full of smoke, that hindered me from seeing its depth and figure. I heard within that gulph extraordinary sounds, which seemed to proceed from the bowels of the moun. tain, and, at intervals, a noise like that of thunder or cannon, with a clattering like the falling of tiles from the tops of houses into the streets. Sometimes, as the wind changed, the smoke grew thinner, discovering a very ruddy flame, and the circumference of the crater streaked with red and several shades of yellow. After an hour's stay, the smoke being moved by the wind, we had short and partial prospects of the great hollow; in the flat bottom of which I could discern two furnaces almost contiguous: that on the left, seeming about three yards over, glowing with ruddy flame, and throwing up red hot stones, with a hideous noise, which, as they fell back, caused the clattering already taken notice of.
2. The 8th of May, in the morning, I ascended the top of Vesuvius, a second time, and found a different face of things. The smoke ascending upright, afforded a full prospect of the crater, which, as far as I could judge, was about a mile in cir cumference, and an hundred yards deep. Since my last visit, a conical mount had been formed in the middle of the bottom. This was made by the stones 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 sound, a vast 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 glasshouse ; raging and working like the waves of the sea, with a short abrupt noise. This matter sometimes boiled over, and ran down the sides of the conical hill, appearing at first red hot, but changing colour as it hardened and cooled.
3. Had the wind set towards us, we should have been in no small danger of being stifled by the sulphurous smoke, or killed by the masses of melted minerals, that were shot from the bottom. But as the wind was favourable, I had an opportunity of surveying this amazing scene for above an hour and a half together. On the fifth of June, after a horrid noise, the mountain was seen at Naples to work over; and about three days after its thunders were renewed so, that not only the windows in the city, but all the houses shook. From that time, it continued to overflow, and, sometimes at night, exhibited columns of fire shooting upward from its summit. On the tenth, when all was thought to be over, the mountain again renewed its terrours, roaring and raging most violently. One cannot form a juster idea of the noise, in the most violent fits of it, than by
magining a mixed sound, made up of the raging of a tempest, the murmur of a troubled sea, and the roaring of thunder and artillery, confused all together.
4. Though we heard this at the distance of twelve miles, yet it was very terrible. We resolved to approach nearer to the mountain ; and, accordingly, three or four of us entered a boat, and were set ashore at a little town situated 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 descending from the side of the volcano ; and here the roaring grew exceedingly loud and terrible. I observed a mixture of colours in the cłowid, above the crater, green, yellow, red, and blue. Tbere was, likewise, a ryddy dismal light in the air, over that tract where the burning river flowed. These circumstances, set off and augmented by the horrour of the night, formed a scene the most uncommon and astonishing I ever saw; which still increased as we approached the burning river. A vast torrent of liquid fire rolled from the top, down the side of the mountain, and with irresistible fury bore down and consumed vines, olives,
and houses ; and divided into different channels, according to the inequalities of the mountain. The largest stream seemed at least half a mile broad, and five miles long.
5. I walked before my companion so far up the mountain, along the side of the river of fire, that I was obliged to retire in great haste, the sulphurous stream having surprised 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 observed it throwing up huge spouts of fire and burning stones, which falling, resembled the stars from a rocket. Sometimes I observed two or three distinct columns of flame, and sometimes one only, which was large enough to fill the whole crater. These burning columns, and fiery stones, seemed to be shot a thousand feet perpendicularly above the summit of the volcano. In this manner the mountain continued raging for six or eight days after. On the eighteenth of the same month, the whole appearance ended, and Vesuvius remained perfectly quiet, without any visible smoke or flame.
Niagara River and Falls. 1. NIAGARA river connects the northern end of Lake Eric with the south end of Lake Ontario, and is about thirty miles in length. It forms a part of the western boundary between the state of New York and Upper-Canada. The falls of this river, which are about seven or eight miles south of Lake Ontario, form the greatest curiosity that this, or perhaps any other country affords. In order to have a tolerable idea of this stupendous cataract, it will be requisite to conceive, that Lake Erie, and that part of the country in which it is situated, is elevated about three hundred feet above that which contains Lake Ontario.
2. The slope wbich separates the upper and lower country, is generally very steep, and in many places almost perpendicular. Some have conjectured that from the great length of time, the quantity of water, and the distance through which it falls, the rocks have been worn away for about seven miles from Lake Ontario up the river towards Lake Erie ; by which such an astonishing chasm is formed, as strikes the beholder with terrour. Down this chasm the water rushes with an astonishing velocity, after it makes the first great pitch, which is a fall of nearly one hundred feet perpendicular.
3. It is not easy to bring the imagination to correspond to the greatness of the scene. A river extremely deep and rapid, and that serves to drain a great part of the waters of North Ameri
ca into the Atlantic Ocean, is here poured precipitately down a ledge of rocks, that rises, like a wall, across the whole bed of its stream. The river, a little above, is nearly three quarters of a mile broad ; and the rocks over which the water falls, are four hundred yards over. The direction of these rocks is not straight across the stream, but hollowing inwards like a horseshoe ; so that the cataract, which bends to the shape of the obstacle, rounding inwards, presents a kind of theatre, the most tremendous in nature. Just in the middle of this circular wall of waters, a little island, that has braved the fury of the current, presents one of its points, and divides the stream at the top into two parts, but they unite again long before they reach the bottom.
4. The perpendicular pitch of this past body of water, produces a sound that is frequently heard at a distance of many miles. A perceptible tremulous motion in the earth, is felt at the distance of several rods around the fall. The dashing of the water produces a mist that rises to the very clouds ; in which rainbows may be seen when the sun shines. This fog or spray, in the winter season, falls upon the neighbouring trees, to which it congeals, and exhibits a beautiful crystaline appearance. Just below the great pitchi, the water and foam may be seen puffed up in large spherical figures, which burst at the top, and project a column of the spray to a prodigious height, and then subside, and are succeeded by others, which burst in like manner.
5. This appearance is most remarkable about half way between the island that divides the falls, and the west side of the strait, where the largest column of water descends. The descent into the chasm of this stupendous cataract, is very difficult, on account of the great height of the banks ; but when once a person has descended, he may go up to the foot of the falls, and take shelter behind the descending column of water, between that and the precipice, where there is a space sufficient to contain several persons in perfecť safety; and where conversation may be held without interruption by the noise of the water, which is less here than at a considerable distance.
The Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. 1. The Bay of Naples, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, exhibits an object beyond description. It is of a circular figure; in most places upwards of twenty miles in diameter; so that including all its breaks and inequalities, the circumference is more than sixty miles. The whole of this space is so wonderfully divided, by all the riches both of art and na
cure, that there is scarce an object wanting to render it completely sublime. It is difficult to determine whether the view is more pleasing from the singularity of many of these objects, or from the incredible variety of the whole. You see an amazing mixture of the ancient and modern ; some rising to fame, and some sinking to ruin.
Palaces reared over the tops of other places; and ancient magnificence trampled under foot by modern folly. Mountains and islands, that were celebrated for their fertility, changed into barren wastes, and barren wastes into fertile fields and rich vineyards.
2. You see mountains sunk into plains, and plains swollen into mountains. Lakes drank up by volcanoes, and extinguished volcanoes turned into lakes. The earth still smoaking in many places, and in others throwing out flames. In short, nature seems to have formed this coast in her most capricious mood for every object appears a sport of nature. She never seems to have gone seriously to work; but to have devoted this spot to the most unlimited indulgence of caprice and frolic. The bay is shut out from the Mediterranean by several famous islands and celebrated promontories, all lying a little west, exhibiting the finest scenery that can be imagined ; the great and opulent city of Naples, with three castles, its harbour full of ships from every nation, its palaces, churches, and convents innumerable. The rich country thence to Portici, is covered with noble houses and gardens, and appearing only a continuation of the city. The palace of the king, with many others surrounding it, all built over the roofs of those of Herculaneum, buried near a hundred feet by eruptions of Vesuvius.
3. You see Vesuvius itself in the back ground of the scene discharging volumes of fire and smoke, and forming a broad tract in the air over our heads, extending without being broken or dissipated, to the utmost verge of the horizon , a variety of beautiful towns and villages round the base of the mountain, thoughtless of the impending ruin that daily threatens them. Next follows the extensive and romantic coast of Castello Sea and Sorrentum, diversified with every picturesque object in nature. It is strange that nature should make use of the same agent to create as to destroy; and that what has only been looked upon as the consumer of countries, is in fact the very power that produces them. Indeed this part of our earth seems to have already undergone the sentence pronounced upon the whole of it; but like the Phønix, has risen again from its own ashes, in much greater beauty and splendour than before it was consumed. The traces of these dreadful conflagrations, are still