From a Ship’s Captain writing home under the same date.
“. . . On Saturday the first instant, I arose at Five, in order to remove my Ship from the Custom-house, agreeable to my Order; by Nine we sailed down and anchored off the upper end of the Terceras. Wind at N.E. a small Breeze, and a fine clear morning. Ten Minutes before Ten, I felt the Ship have an uncommon Motion, and could not help thinking she was aground, although sure of the Depth of Water. As the Motion increased, my Amazement increased also; and as I was looking round to find out the Meaning of this uncommon Motion, I was immediately acquainted with the direful Cause; when at that Instant looking towards the City, I beheld the tall and stately Buildings tumbling down, with great Cracks and Noise, and particularly that part of the City from St. Paul’s in a direct Line to Bairroalto; as also, at the same Time, that Part from the said Church along the River-side Eastward as far as the Gallows, and so in a curve Line Northward again; and the Buildings as far as St. Joze and the Rofcio, were laid in the three following Shocks, which were so violent as I heard many say they could with great Difficulty stand on their Legs. There is scarce one House of this great City left habitable. The Earth opened, and rent in several Places, and many expected to be swallowed up.—As it happened at a Time when the Kitchens were furnished with Fires, they communicated their Heat to the Timber with which their Houses were built or adorned, and in which the Natives are very curious and expensive, both in Furniture and Ceilings; and by this means the City was in a Blaze in different Parts at once. The Conflagration lasted a whole Week.—What chiefly contributed to the Destruction of the City, was the Narrowness of the Streets. It is not to be expressed by Human Tongue, how dreadful and how awful it was to enter the City after the Fire was abated: when looking upwards one was struck with Terror at beholding frightful Pyramids of ruined Fronts, some inclining one Way, some another; then on the other hand with Horror, in viewing Heaps of Bodies crushed to death, half-buried and half-burnt; and if one went through the broad Places or Squares, there was nothing to be met with but People bewailing their Misfortunes, wringing their Hands, and crying The World is at an End. In short, it was the most lamentable Scene that Eyes could behold. As the Shocks, though Small, are frequent, the People keep building Wooden Houses in the Fields; but the King has ordered no Houses to be built to the Eastward of Alcantara Gate.—Just now four English Sailors have been condemned for stealing Goods, and hiding them in the Ballast, with Intent to make a Property of them.”
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