Warning Signs! The Lisbon Earthquake The Dark Day The Falling of the Stars Lesson 37
Martin Prochnik The earthquake dropped the massive entrance of the church on the right about 20 feet in respect to the buildings on the left. The force of the quake is estimated at about 9; approximately 90,000 people died from the quake and the subsequent tsunami and fire.
Monastery in Lisbon Damaged little by the earthquake Morgaine
The Lisbon Earthquake • Epicenter was in Atlantic Ocean, 120 miles from the coast. • Occurred Saturday, November 1, 1755, 9:40 a.m., on the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day, when most of the people were gathered in the city churches for mass. The vast number of lighted candles in the churches and house chapels were the main cause of the raging fire that followed the earthquake. Also, people ran from their homes and left cooking fires burning. Lisbon burned for nearly a week, fed by active strong winds which rendered it almost impossible to rescue people or goods. • Destroyed almost every important church in the city, resulting in many casualties and causing anxiety and confusion among the remaining citizens, who saw the earthquake as a manifestation of divine judgment. • Death toll in Lisbon alone is between 10,000 and 100,000. • Lasted 3.5 to 6 minutes and caused gigantic fissures in the city 15 feet wide • 40 minutes after the earthquake a gigantic tsunami engulfed the harbor and city, a 66-foot tsunami swept coast of Africa, and a 10-foot tsunami reached Great Britain. • Paintings by Titian, Rubens, and Correggio and the detailed historical records of explorations by Vasco da Gama and other early navigators, as well as many other treasures, were lost.
Here is a portion of a letter sent by a British merchant to his brother in London: “On Saturdaythe 1st instant, about half an hour past 9 o’ clock, I was retired to my room after breakfast, when I perceived the house begin to shake, but did not apprehend the cause, but as I saw the neighbours about me all running down stairs, I also made the best of my way, and by the time I had crossed the street, and got under the piazzas of some low houses, it was darker than the darkest night I ever saw, and continued so for about a minute, occasioned by the clouds of dust from the falling of houses on all sides. After it cleared up, I ran into a large square adjoining [the Terreiro do Paço], the palace to the west, the street I lived in to the north, the river to the south, and the custom house and warehouses to the east. But this dismal earthquake had such an influence upon the sea and river, that the water rose, in about ten minutes, several yards perpendicular; in that time I ran up into my room, got my hat and wig, and cloak, locked up the doors, and returned; but being alarmed with a cry that the sea was coming in, all people crowded forward to run to the hills, I among the rest, with Mr. Wood and family. We went near two miles through the streets, climbing over ruins of churches, houses, &c., stepping over hundreds of dead and dying people, killed by the falling of buildings; carriages, chaises and mules, lying all crushed to pieces …”
Abraham Davenport “I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment, if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.” United States Public Domain
John Greenleaf Whittier “Abraham Davenport” United States Public Domain
Abraham DavenportJohn Greenleaf Whittier In the old days (a custom laid aside With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent Their wisest men to make the public laws. And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound Drinks the small tribute of the Mianus, Waved over by the woods of Rippowams, And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths, Stamford sent up to the councils of the State Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.
’Twas on a May-day of the far old year Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon, A horror of great darkness, like the night In day of which the Norland sagas tell, The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs The crater’s sides from the red hell below. Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died; Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ Might look from the rent clouds, not as He looked A loving guest at Bethany, but stern As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts, Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut, Trembling beneath their legislative robes. “It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,” Some said; and then, as if with one accord, All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport. He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice The intolerable hush. “This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits; But be it so or not, I only know My present duty, and my Lord's command To occupy till He come. So at the post Where He hast set me in His providence, I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face, No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in.
Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read, Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands, An act to amend an act to regulate The shad and alewive fisheries, Whereupon Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport, Straight to the question, with no figures of speech Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without The shrewd dry humor natural to the man: His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while, Between the pauses of his argument, To hear the thunder of the wrath of God Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.
And there he stands in memory to this day, Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen Against the background of unnatural dark, A witness to the ages as they pass, That simple duty hath no place for fear.
The meteor storm of 1833 was of superlative strength. One estimate is over 100,000 per hour, over the entire region of North America east of the Rockies. This storm was not due to a recent passage of the comet, but from a direct impact with the previous 1800 dust trail. Leonids has stormed earth often, dating back to AD 900, and continues to our time.
Leonids Meteor Shower November 13, 1833 United States Public Domain
United States Public Domain Niagara Falls
“So at the post where he has set me in his providence, I choose, for one, to meet him face to face . . . Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in. Nevit Dilmen