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ERUPTION OF MOUNT ARARAT IN 1840. The village of Arguri, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Ararat in 1840, was, according to the traditions of the country people, of most unquestionable antiquity, having been founded by no less a person than Noah himself, immediately after coming out of the ark.
Arguri was one of the handsomest and largest villages of Armenia. It lay in a ravine of Mount Ararat about two thousand five hundred feet above the level of the Araxes. It had an intelligent population of nearly one thousand six hundred, independently of the Kurds, who worked as day-labourers for the Armenians. flourishing place; wheat and barley ihrove well, notwithstanding its elevated position. In its gardens most of the fruits of Europe prospered well, and the flocks and herds found good pasture from April to October. A spring furnished the inhabitants with good water for drinking, and in sufficient quantity for the irrigation of the gardens. At the melting of the snow, this brook became a considerable stream, and poured down into the river Karasu.
According to tradition, Arguri was the oldest village in the world, and its first vine was planted by the hands of Noah. Half a mile above Arguri stood the convent of St. James, where the traveller Parrot resided during his stay at the village of Ararat.
The gardens, planted with fruit-trees, reached still higher, and, by the operation of water, the crumblivg of the volcanic rock had here advanced further than elsewhere on the mountains. Near to the upper end of the ravine were great hollows, containing masses of ice and snow, which in the hottest summer neverentirely melted, and probably reached to a great depth. What was called the Dark Ravine of Ararat, was most likely originally formed by a rending of the mountain from internal fire. For centuries, however, the existence of slumbering volcanic forces had only been indicated by occasional tremblings. But the tranquillity in which for ages this vast subterranean furnace had reposed was, on the 20th of June, 1840, suddenly broken by a most terrible and devastating eruption.
About half an hour after sunset, when the atmosphere was perfectly clear, the inhabitants of Armenia were startled by a loud explosion, which was loudest and most fearful in the vicinity of Ararat. This was followed by an undulation of the ground, in a direction eastward and south-eastward from the mountain, and at the same time a chasm yawned open about three miles above Arguri, at the end of the Dark Ravine, and there bursted from it volumes of gas and steam, while stones and masses of earth were hurled with enormous forces down the declivities towards the plain. The clouds of steam that arose from the abyss were probably caused by the rain that fell on the mountain during the night, as watery deposits are in the summer, in these regions, very rare.
At the first breaking forth, the stream was tinged sometimes of a blue, but more frequently of a red colour; whether there had been flames or not, the witnesses could not undertake to say. The blue and red colours soon changed into a deep black, and at the same time the air was filled with a sulphurous smell. The mountain roared, and the earth shook without ceasing; and, besides a subterranean noise of crackling and bellowing, there was a whistling sound, like that of cannon-balls, from the stones thrown through the air. The size of these masses of rock will scarcely be credited. One I observed which could not have weighed less than several tons. Wherever these masses fell, they mostly remained, as the inclination of the ground at the foot of the hill is too gentle to enable them to roll on.
The eruption lasted a full hour, and when the steam and smoke rolled away, the shower of stones and mud ceased, neither the great rich village of Arguri nor the renowned convent were any longer to be seen, and the fields, and the blooming gardens, and the happy and harmless population which for many peaceful years had found in them their occupation, had now found in them a grave, beneath stones and mud. Of the monks and servants of the convent, of the sixteen hundred villagers and four hundred Kurd labourers, only one hundred and fourteen individuals were left alive, and these had been on journeys, or otherwise absent. These poor people were, when I was at Ararat, scattered about among the villagers of the plain, suffering the bitterest poverty, and Noah's mountain was again as solitary as the morning after the Deluge.
“It has been observed of many volcanoes that they have long periods of rest; that they have remained for centuries inactive, and suddenly burst forth again, with their tremendous energy.
Thus Vesuvius, up to the year 79, appeared to be completely extinguished, and was covered with trees to its very summit. Strabo, indeed, concluded, from the external character of the mountain, that it might at one time have vomited fire ; but he could find no historical fact to prove his assertion. Aurelius Victor, speaking of Vesuvius, says that in 79 it began to burn. The case was the same with Ætna before the year 40, and the volcanoes of America have seldom more than one eruption in a century."
“ The life of volcanoes,” says Humboldt, “depends entirely on the mode and duration of their connection with the interior of the earth. Eruptions have with many volcanoes an intermittent character, and this effect ceases as soon as the channel is closed by which the communication of the atmosphere with the interior of the earth has been kept up."
LETTERS TO THE YOUNG.
NO. IX.-A WONDERFUL BOOK, MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,—
It is very selfish in any one to wish to “eat his morsel alone.” A generous mind wishes others to share in its happiness. That very good and holy man, John Fletcher, of Madely, could not relish a good dinner unless some of his poor parishioners shared it with him. So when a generous minded man falls in with a book, that affords him a rich treat,—a mental feast,--he desires his friends to possess and read the same book, that they may enjoy a
similar treat, and partake of the same instruction and pleasure. A narrow soul is an unhappy one. The word miser means miserable ; and in every greedy breast there is misery. “But the liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth others shall be watered himself.”
You will remember that I closed my last letter, by promising you one this month, on “ A Wonderful Book." I wish the letter may be worthy of the book. The name of the book is “Uncle Tom's Cabin ; or, Negro Life in the Slave States of America.” I call it a wonderful book. So will you when you have read it. It was written by a very excellent and gifted American lady, the wife of a Professor in one of the American Colleges. Her name is Harriet Beecher Stowe. Its design is most kind and benevolent; and every page gives evidence of a fine genius and a kind heart. Uncle Joseph's attention was first called to the book by a very intelligent friend, with whom he occasionally spends a pleasant and profitable half-hour; and through whom he has been introduced to many an excellent book. One day when I called to see him, and was introduced into his study, he requested me to take a seat, and soon began to tell me, with evident enthusiasm, of a very excellent book that he had just finished reading. He also read, in his own excellent way, several striking passages in the book. I was delighted. My sympathies were strongly enlisted in the book; and my friend allowed me to take it home with me. As it is published in a cheap form, I soon bought one for myself. I, with far more interest than I can tell you, soon devoured its contents. I thought of my young friends and resolved, that, with the permission of the Editor, I would address you a letter about it. Some of you may have seen the book yourselves. Some of you who read the Wesleyan Association Magazine, may have read the two excellent papers about it, that appeared therein, a month or two ago. Many of you, I know, have not yet seen it; and to some of you this may be the first notice that has met your eye about it. Those who have read it, will have no objection, I am sure, to read a letter about it. For one feels toward a favourite book as one does toward a dear friend.
I told you just now, that the book was written by an American lady. Its design is to expose the horrors and iniquities of slavery, as existing in several of the States in the American Union. For it is a painful fact, my young friends, that in America, men and women, and boys and girls, are bought and sold in the markets. If a person there, bas had the misfortune to be born of parents who were slaves, he may be sold from the arms of his mother, into the hands of strangers. He may never see his mother again, or know the pleasure of having a kind word spoken to him. He is treated as a thing, not as a human being. Many are the tears of distress shed by poor slaves. Many are the scenes of guilt and moral turpitude, seen in that land of boasted freedom. And great must be the wickedness of that nation that holds three millions of human beings in hopeless bondage. “God hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell upon the face of the earth.” And God hath redeemed by one blood, all nations of men. All souls are His. All are of equal value in his sight.
Skins may differ, but affection dwells in black and white the same.” The poor Negro has as kind and feeling a heart as the white man. While the reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin will cause you to pity the slave, it will lead you to remember with gratitude the lines of the poet,
“ I was not born a little slave, to labour in the sun,
And wish I were but in my grave, and all my labour done.” While you are led to pity and pray for the slave, you will see the slave-holder to be not only deserving of blame, but needing your pity too. The book will teach you, that while the system brings misery and degradation to the poor slave, it makes the master in many instances, equally miserable. We cannot injure others without injuring ourselves. The wrong recoils on our ownselves. You will also feel thankful to God—whose ears are open to the of the oppressed—for raising up men and women of such genius and mental power, as the writer of Uncle Tom's Cabin, to hold up the system of slavery to the execration and scorn of mankind.