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would not suffer their nabob of Arcot to sign the treaty, nor even to give to a prince, at least his equal, the ordinary titles of respect and courtesy. From that time forward a continued plot was carried on within the divan, black and white, of the nabob of Arcot, for the destruction of Hyder Ali. As to the outward members of the double, or rather treble, government of Madras, which had signed the treaty, they were always prevented by some overruling influence (which they do not describe, but which cannot be misunderstood,) from performing what justice and interest combined so evidently to enforce.
“When at length Hyder Ali found that he had to do with men who either would sign no convention, or whom no treaty and no signature could bind, and who were the determined enemies of human intercourse itself, he decreed to make the country possessed by these incorrigible and predestinated criminals a memorable example to mankind. He resolved, in the gloomy recessés of a mind capacious of such things, to leave the whole Carnatic an everlasting monument of vengeance, and to put perpetual desolation as a barrier between him and those against whom the faith which holds the moral elements of the world together was no protection. He became at length so confident of his force, so collected in his might, that he made no secret whatsoever of his dreadful resolution.
“ Having terminated his disputes with every enemy and every rival, who buried their mutual animosities in their common detestation against the creditors of the nabob of Arcot, he drew from every quarter whatever a savage ferocity could add to his new rudiments in the arts of destruction; and compounding all the materials of fury, havock, and desolation, into one black cloud, he hung for a while on the declivities of the mountains. Whilst the authors of all these evils were idly and stu.
pidly gazing on this menacing meteor, which blackened all their horizon, it suddenly burst, and poured down the whole of its contents upon the plains of the Carnatic. Then ensued a scene of woe, the like of which no eye had seen, no heart conceived, and which no tongue can adequately tell. All the horrors of war, before known or heard of, were mercy to that new havock. A storm of universal fire blasted every field, consumed every house, destroyed every temple. The miserable inhabitants, flying from their flaming villages, in part were slaughtered; others, without regard to sex, to age, to the respect of rank or sacredness of function, fathers torn from children, husbands from wives, enveloped in a whirlwind of cavalry, and amidst the goading spears of drivers, and the trampling of pursuing horses, were swept into captivity in an unknown and hostile land. Those who were able to evade this tempest fled to the walled cities. But escaping from fire, sword, and exile, they fell into the jaws of famine.
“ The alms of the settlement, in this dreadful exigency, were certainly liberal, and all was done by charity that private charity could do; but it was a people in beggary ; it was a nation which stretched out the hands for food. For months together these creatures of sufferance, whose very excess and luxury, in their most plenteous days, had fallen short of the allowance of our austerest fasts, silent, patient, resigned, without sedition or disturbance, almost without complaint, perished by an hundred a-day in the streets of Madras; every day seventy at least laid their bodies in the streets, or on the glacis of Tanjore, and expired of famine in the granary of India. I was going to awake your justice towards this unhappy part of our fellow-citizens, by bringing before you some of the circumstances of this plague of hunger. Of all the calamities which beset and waylay the life of man, this comes the nearest to our heart, and is that wherein the proudest of us all feels himself to be nothing more than he is: but I find myself unable to manage it with decorum ; these details are of a species of horror so nauseous and disgusting ; they are so degrading to the sufferers and to the hearers; they are so humiliating to human nature itself, that, on better thoughts, I find it more advisable to throw a pall over this hideous object, and to leave it to your general con. ceptions.”
“ It is very strange," said the Bachelor, “ when Egeria had laid down the book, that we should enjoy so much pleasure from the description of calamities.”
“ It argues," said the nymph, “ nothing very favourable to the benevolence of the human heart.”.
“ Yes; it is a proof of the malice of our nature, that we should find delight in hearing of the sufferings of our fellow-creatures,” replied the Bachelor.
“ I did not make the remark with any reference to so general a sentiment,” said Egeria ;-“but, now that you call my attention to it so particularly, I must own that it does look as if we had a latent penchant to be pleased with evil. May not, however, our pleasure in perusing descriptions of sorrows and calamities arise from the degree of excitement which they produce on our sympathetic feelings? Be the source of our enjoyment, however, in the good or the bad properties of our own heart, there is no disputing the fact, that we do receive great pleasure from well-drawn pictures, whether they be with words or with colours, of those scenes in which the nothingness of man, as an object of the care of Providence, is most strikingly delineated. This morning for example, in turning over the leaves of De Humboldt's Travels, I felt myself very pleasingly interested by his vigorous description of the catastrophe which befell the city of Caraccas. I shall read it to you.”
AN EARTHQUAKE. “A great drought prevailed at this period in the pro. vince of Venezuela. Not a single drop of rain had fallen at Caraccas, or in the country ninety leagues round, during the five months which preceded the destruction of the capital. The 26th of March was a remarkably hot day. The air was calm and the sky unclouded. It was Holy Thursday, and a great part of the population was assembled in the churches. Nothing seemed to presage the calamities of the day. At seven minutes after four in the afternoon the first shock was felt; it was sufficiently powerful to make the bells of the churches toll; it lasted five or six seconds, during which time the ground was in a continual undulating movement, and seemed to heave up like a boiling liquid. The danger was thought to be past, when a tremendous subterraneous noise was heard, resembling the rolling of thunder, but louder, and of longer continuance, than that heard within the tropics in time of storms. This noise preceded a perpendicular motion of three or four seconds, fol. lowed by an undulatory movement somewhat longer. The shocks were in opposite directions, from north to
our thousano, great in thed not yet
south, and from east to west. Nothing could resist the movement from beneath upward, and undulations crossing each other. The town of Caraccas was entirely overthrown. Thousands of the inhabitants (between nine and ten thousand) were buried under the ruins of the houses and churches. The procession had not yet set out; but the crowd was so great in the churches, that nearly three or four thousand persons were crushed by the fall of their vaulted roofs. The explosion was stronger toward the north, in that part of the town si. tuated nearest the mountain of Avila, and the Silla. The churches of La Trinidad, and Alta Gracia, which were more than one hundred and fifty feet high, and the naves of which were supported by pillars of twelve or fifteen feet diameter, left a mass of ruins scarcely exceeding five or six feet in elevation. The sinking of the ruins has been so considerable, that there now scarcely remain any vestiges of pillars or columns. The barracks, called El Quartel de San Carlos, situate farther north of the church of the Trinity, on the road from the customhouse de la Pastora, almost entirely disappeared. A regiment of troops of the line, that was assembled under arms, ready to join the procession, was, with the exception of a few men, buried under the ruins of this great edifice. Nine-tenths of the fine town of Caraccas were entirely destroyed. The walls of the houses that were not thrown down, as those of the street San Juan, near the Capuchin Hospital, were cracked in such a manner that it was impossible to run the risk of inhabiting them. The effects of the earthquake were somewhat less violent in the western and southern parts of the city, between the principal square and the ravin of Caraguata. There the cathedral, supported by enormous buttresses, re. mains standing.
“ Estimating at nine or ten thousand the number of the dead in the city of Caraccas, we do not include those