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þeir to the crown, published an edict,
A. D. deciaring, that in consequence of the
1792. unhappy situation of his mother, he would place his signature to public acts during her indisposition, and that no other change would be made in the forms.
In the late war, which involved, either nearly or remotely, all the civilized world, Portugal was often threatened by the ephemeral go vernments of France, on account of its alliance with Britain ; and when Bonaparte, with equal good fortune and address, engrossed the whole power of the nominal republic, an invasion on the part of his ally the king of Spain took place, in which some territory was wrested from Portugal, while the French extorted a considerable treasure from it, as the price of farther forbear
Its faithful friends and allies, the British, were too much engaged in an extended warfare to grant that prompt and efficacious assistance, which it had done on former occasions; but nothing was omitted that zeal and good faith could accomplish, not only to main, tain the independence, but as far as possible the integrity, of the Portuguese dominions. * Whether the gratitude of this nation will keep pace with the generous exertions that the crown of Great Britain made in its favour remains to be tried; but certain we are, it cannot fail in this respect without incurring all the infamy which attaches to those who are unmind. ful of their benefactors.
HISTORY OF PORTUGAL,
THE subsequent letter, addressed to a friend
in England, by a gentleman attached to the British factory in Lisbon, immediately after the earthquake, 'in 1755, gives such a lively “picture of that dreadful catastrophe, of which he was an eye-witness, that it cannot fail to be read with perpetual interest, and therefore deserves to be recorded in this place.
Lisbon, Nov. 13, 1755. Dear Sir, I flattered myself I should have been able to write to you upon a more agreeable subject than the present, and had sufficient reason to believe, I should have had the pleasure of seeing you 'ere this in London; but God has been pleased to order it otherwise; and as no instance of the kind has happened in these parts of the world for some ages, I herewith send you an account of one of the most dreadful catastrophes recorded in history, the veracity of which you may entirely depend on, as I shared so great a part in it myself.
There never was a finer morning seen than the first of November; the sun shone out in its
full lustre; the whole face of the sky was perfectly serene and clear; and not the least signal or warning of that approaching event, which has made this once flourishing, opulent, and populous city, a scene of the utmost horror and desolation, except only such as served to alarm, but scarcely left a moment's time to fly from the general destruction.
It was on the morning of this fatal day, between the hours of nine and ten, that I was sat down in my apartment, just finishing a letter, when the papers and table I was writing on, began to tremble with a gentle motion, which rather surprised me, as I could not perceive a breath of wind stirring; whilst I was reflecting with myself what this could be owing to, but without having the least apprehension of the real cause, the whole house began to shake from the very foundation: which at first I imputed to the rattling of several coaches in the main street, which usually passed that way, at this time, from Belem to the palace; but on hearken. ing more attentively, I was soon undeceived, as I found it was owing to a strange frightful kind of noise under ground, resembling the hollow distant rumbling of thunder. All this passed in less than a minute, and I must confess I now began to be alarmed, as it naturally occurred to me, that the noise might possibly be the fore. runner of an earthquake, as one I remembered which had happened about six or seven years 'ago, in the island of Madeira, commenced in the same manner, though it did little or no damage.
Upon this, I threw down my pen, and started upon my feet, remaining a moment in suspense,
whether I should stay in the apartment, or run into the street, as the danger in both places seemed equal; and still flattering myself that this tremor might produce no other effects than such inconsiderable ones as had been felt at Madeira; but in a moment I was roused from my dream, being instantly stunned with a most horrid crash, as if every edifice in the city had tumbled down at once.
The house I was in shook with such violence, that the upper stories immediately fell, and though my apartment (which was the first floor) did not then share the same fate, yet every thing was thrown out of its place in such a manner, that it was with no small difficulty I kept my feet, and expected nothing less than to be soon crushed to death, as the walls continued rocking to and fro in the frightfullest manner, opening in several places; large stones falling down on every side from the cracks; and the ends of most of the rafters starting out of the roof. To add to this terrifying scene, the sky in a moment became so gloomy, that I could now distinguish no particular object: it was an Egyptian darkness indeed, such as might be felt; owing, no doubt, to the prodigious clouds of dust and lime, raised from so violent a concussion, and as some reported, to sulphureous exhalations, but this I cannot affirm; however, it is certain I found myself almost choked for near ten minutes.
As soon as the gloom began to disperse, and the violence of the shock seemed pretty much abated, the first object I perceived in the room, was a woman sitting or the floor, with an infant in her arms, all covered with dust, pale, and
trembling: I asked her how she got hither; but her consternation was so great, that she could give me no account of her escape. The poor creature asked me, in the utmost agony, if I did not think the world was at an end; at the same time she complained of being choked, and begged, for God's sake, I would procure her a little drink; upon this
went to a closet where I kept a large jar with water, but finding it broken in pieces, I told her she must not now think of quenching her thirst, but saving her life, as the house was just falling on our heads; and if a second shock came, would certainly bury us both. I bade her therefore take hold of my arm, and that I would endeavour to bring her into some place of security.
I shall always look upon it as a particular providence, that I happened on this occasion to be undressed, for had I dressed myself, as I proposed, when I got out of bed, in order to breakfast with a friend, I should, in all probability, have run into the street, at the beginning of the shock, as the rest of the people in the house did, and consequently have had my brains dashed out, as every one of them had. However, the imminent danger I was in, did not hinder ma from considering that my present dress, only a gown and slippers, would render my getting over the ruins almost impracticable : I had, therefore still presence of mind enough left, to put on a pair of shoes and a coat, the first that came in. my way, which was every thing I saved, and in this dress I hurried down stairs, the woman with me holding by my arm, and made directly to that end of the street which opens to the Tagus; but finding the passage this way entire