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other places, and more particularly felt in its effects at the port of Acapulco. On the 28th of March, at about seventeen minutes past eleven in the morning, the capital felt some of the severest shocks that ever befell that city. They lasted nearly six minutes, and the vibrations from north to south with some inclination to the north-west were so heavy as to cause much injury to the buildings. A repetition of the shocks occurred at 12:15, sometimes from east to west, and at others from north to south. During the rest of the day five more took place.
In Oajaca City the effects were, if possible, more alarming. The first shock was very strong at 11:15; the second being no less severe, the endangered citizens rushed to the plaza mayor as a place affording some safety. The damage to buildings was at once seen. The new and strongly built casas reales showed large cracks in the walls, and some of the cornices had fallen. The prisoners in the jail, some two hundred and twenty, implored removal, which was attended to with the requisite precautions. Measures were promptly taken by the authorities for the protection of life and property, and to avoid unnecessary confusion. During the whole of that day and the 29th the quaking of the earth ceased only at short intervals. It continued with increasing force on the 30th till 11:30 in the morning, when it stopped, but only to begin anew more severely at four in the afternoon. A more tremendous shock than the first one. of the 28th took place at 11 o'clock that night, and
ing that a volcano was on the point of breaking out, fled in confusion, leaving most of their valuables behind. All the efforts of the authorities, both civil and ecclesiastic, to check the exodus were unavailing, and finally, 200 men were put under arms to keep the inhabitants in. After a month the noise ceased; it had been like that of a heavy wagon on a gravel road, terminating in a loud detonation. Then the self-exiled returned to their homes to suffer from want of food, which traders had feared to bring. Some supposed the noise to have been caused by large rocks that disengaged themselves from some mountain-top near by. Gaz. de Méx. (1784–5), i. 15, 16, 18-19, 27; Martinez, Sermon de Gracias, 1-23; Romero, Mich., 168-9; Dicc. Univ. Hist. Geog., iii. 720-1; Zamacois, Hist. Méj., v. 641-2. On the 26th of July of the same year, in the city of Mexico was felt a strong vibration. Alzate, Gacetas, iv. 381.
injured still more the casas reales and other edifice... This dreadful state of things continued till daybreak on the 31st, when only a slight motion was felt. In the afternoon at five o'clock, after a violent hurricane, there fell a heavy rain. A rumor was circulated that the San Felipe hill, distant about three miles from the city, and supposed to be filled with water, had burst open, and so great was the terror which seized the people, that they fled in the direction of other hills. It was only with much difficulty that the authorities convinced them of their mistake and induced them to return. The motion of the earth ceased
on the 3d of April, when opportunity was offered to inspect the damages. Besides the royal houses, the cathedral, the convents of La Merced and San Francisco, and many other fine buildings had greatly suffered. Nearly all the families had sought shelter under tents raised by them in the plazas and open fields near the city. Fortunately there were no casualties, and, thanks to the timely measures adopted, no scarcity of food, or robberies, 28
23 The audiencia, then governing the kingdom, and the local authorities at the respective places had prayers made to heaven for mercy and the cessation of the scourge. Gaz. de Méx. (1786-7), ii. 327-31; Alegre, Hist. Comp. Jesus, iii. 226; Carriedo, Estudios Hist., ii. 107.
OTHER FEARFUL PHENOMENA.
From Acapulco the commander of the fort reported a strange action of the sea, which receded and then advanced, without forming high waves, at mid-day; after two o'clock, it would recede ten feet in four minutes, and rise again the same distance in six minutes. Over one hundred yards of beach were left bare each time the waters retired. At four in the afternoon the sea rose twelve feet, overflowing the
pier and some houses. The royal treasure was removed to the hospital, and the merchants removed their goods for safety. This alarming action of the ocean lasted twenty-four hours, the agitation of the waters becoming less and less after five o'clock. A large quantity of live-stock was carried off by the sea. The earthquakes with their consequent damages were also experienced in Teutitlan del Valle. In Vera Cruz, Chilapa, and many other places the people were sub
jected to the same alarms, but no serious damage seems to have been done to property.
Imaginary afflictions were not wanting. A brilliant meteor was observed about seven o'clock in the evening of the 24th of January, 1678, running from west to east, and made the city lights look pale and sickly; it disappeared after passing the meridian, previous to which it threw out sparks of a red color similar to those of a rocket. No report was heard in Mexico, but the people of Tacubaya and other places asserted that they had clearly heard it, and felt much alarmed. Between seven and eight in the evening of November 14, 1789,29 an aurora borealis was seen, which covered a large portion of the hemisphere on the north side. Surely the end of all things was at hand. The heavenly fire attained its greatest intensity an hour later, when red and yellow light glared threateningly. In yet another hour it had disappeared, leaving New Spain unscorched.
The fifty-first viceroy, Manuel Antonio Florez, was a lieutenant-general, or vice-admiral of the royal navy, a knight of the order of Calatrava, and commander of Molinos and Laguna-rota of the same order. He arrived at Vera Cruz on the line of battle ship San Julian, after a voyage of fifty-six days, on the 18th of July, 1787, bringing his family, one of whom was Lieutenant-colonel Joseph Florez, who had the appointment of castellano, or commandant of the fort at Acapulco.31
29 Alzate, Gacetas, i. 231-4; iv. 445; Gaz. de Méj. (1788-9), iii. 432–3; Panes, Vir., in Monum. Dom. Esp., MS., 140.
30 The list of his names as appearing at the head of all his edicts, were, besides the above, Maldonado Martinez de Angulo y Bodquin. I possess several of the rúbricas or scrolls that he usually added to his signature. During his rule the king, to relieve him of much labor, allowed that he should affix only his media firma, that is to say, his first surname with the scroll, to public documents that were neither warrants nor orders in any way involving pay. ment of moneys out of the royal treasury, nor original despatches to the sovereign, his ministers or council. Disposiciones Varias, i. 65, ii. 11. Cédulario, MS., i. 154.
31 This officer resigned that command after a while. He married in Mexico a lady of the Teran family. In later years he became conde de Casa
The tidings of the viceroy's arrival at the port reached the capital on the 21st. On the 14th of August the real acuerdo paid its last official visit to Archbishop Haro, as viceroy. The latter on the 16th surrendered the baton to his successor at the town of San Cristóbal de Ecatepec, where, as well as in Guadalupe, the incoming viceroy was splendidly entertained. On the 17th he entered the city of Mexico amid salvos of artillery and the enthusiastic, hearty greeting of the people, the troops lining both sides of the procession. He proceeded direct to the council chamber, where, his three commissions as viceroy-governor, president of the audiencia, and captaingeneral having been read, the oath of office was solemnly administered to him. The rest of that day and night and the two following ones were spent in receiving and returning visits of ceremony, in attending banquets, and general amusement.33
On the 21st the late viceroy was closeted in consultation on public affairs with Florez nearly three hours. The business of the ministerio general de Indias having become in 1787 extensive and complicated, the king resolved to divide it, placing judicial and ecclesiastic affairs in charge of one department, and the military and financial together with commerce and navigation in that of another; a secretary of state presiding over each of the departments. Viceroy Florez had filled the same position in Santa Fé de Bogotá, and was therefore familiar with its powers and duties; but in Mexico he found a complete change in the system of administration, owing to the establishment of the intendencias and the creation of a superintendente delegado de hacienda in the person of Fernando Mangino, former chief of the mint, by
Florez, viceroy of Buenos Aires, and ambassador at the French court. From him descended one of the first families of Mexico. Alaman, Disert., iii. app.
32 He allowed the halberdiers who rode by the side of his coach to go without their halberds, only with sword in hand. This was a favor. Gomez, Diario, 278-80.
33 Gaz. de Mex. (1786-7), ii. 397-8.
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