From Abraham Castres Esq.: his Majesty’s Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Portugal, to the Secretary of State, Whitehall, London. LISBON, November 6th, 1755.
“SIR,—You will in all likelihood have heard before this of the inexpressible Calamity befallen the whole Maritime Coast, and in particular this opulent City, now reduced to a heap of Rubbish and Ruin, by a most tremendous Earthquake on the first of this Month, followed by a Conflagration which has done ten times more Mischief than the Earthquake itself. I gave a short account of our Misfortune to Sir Benjamin Keene, by a Spaniard, who promised (as all intercourse by Post was at a stand) to carry my Letter as far as Badajoz and see it safe put into the Post House. It was merely to acquaint His Excellency that, God be praised, my House stood out the Shocks, though greatly damaged; and that, happening to be out of the reach of the Flames, several of my Friends, burnt out of their Houses, had taken refuge with me, where I have accommodated them as well as I could, under Tents in my large Garden; no Body but Lord Charles Dowglass, who is actually on board the Packet, besides my Chaplain and myself having dared hitherto to sleep in my House since the Day of our Disaster. The Consul and his Family have been saved, and are all well, in a Country House near this City. Those with me at present are the Dutch Minister, his Lady, and their three Children, with seven or eight of their Servants. The rest of my Company of the better Sort consists of several Merchants of this Factory, who, for the most part have lost all they had; though some indeed, as Messrs. Parry and Mellish’s House, and Mr. Raymond, and Burrell, have had the good Fortune to save their Cash, either in whole or in part. The number of the Dead and Wounded I can give no certain Account of as yet; in that respect our Poor Factory has escaped pretty well, considering the number of Houses we have here. I have lost my Good and Worthy Friend the Spanish Ambassador, who was crushed under the Door, as he attempted to make his Escape into the Street. This with the Anguish I have been in for these five Days past, occasioned by the dismal Accounts brought to us every instant of the Accidents befallen to one or other of our Acquaintance among the Nobility, who for the most part are quite Undone, has greatly affected me; but in particular the miserable Objects among the lower sort of His Majesty’s Subjects, who fly also to me for Bread, and lie scattered up and down in my Garden, with their Wives and Children. I have helped them all hitherto, and shall continue to do so, as long as Provisions do not fail Us, which I hope will not be the Case, by the Orders which M. de Carvalho has issued in that respect. One