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my American travels, the most celebrated phenomenon is the elevation of the newly produced Jorullo, and its effusion of lava. This volcano, the topography of which, founded on measurements, I was the first to make known", by its position between the two volcanoes of Toluca and Colima, and by its eruption on the great fissure of volcanic activity, which extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, presents an important geognostic phenomenon, which has consequently been all the more the subject of dispute. Following the vast lava-stream which the new volcano poured out, I succeeded in getting far into the interior of the crater, and in establishing instruments there. The eruption in a broad and long-peaceful plain in the former province of Michuacan, in the night from the 28th to the 29th of September, 1759, at a distance of more than 120 miles from any other volcano, was preceded for fully two (?) months, namely, from the 29th June in the same year, by an uninterrupted subterranean noise. This differed from the wonderful bramidos of Guanaxuato, which I have elsewhere described by the circumstance that it was, as is usually the case, accompanied by earthquakes, which were not felt in the mountain city in January, 1784. The eruption of the new volcano, about 3 o'clock in the morning, was foretold the day before by a phenomenon which, in other eruptions, does not indicate their commencement but their conclusion. At the point where the great volcano now stands, there was formerly a thick wood of the Guayava (Psidium pyriferum), so much valued by the natives on account of its excellent fruit. Labourers from the sugar-cane fields (cañaverales) of the Hacienda de San Pedro Jorullo, belonging to the rich Don Andres Pimentel, who was then living in Mexico, had gone out to collect the fruit of the guayava. When they returned to the farm (hacienda) it was remarked with astonishment that their large straw hats were covered with volcanic ashes. Fissures had, consequently, already opened in what is now called the Malpais, probably at the foot of the high basaltic dome el Cuiche,
3. Atlas Géographique et Physique, accompanying the Relation Hi:torique, 1814, pl. 28 and 29.
4 Cosmos, vol. v. pp. 279–280.
which threw out these ashes (rapilli) before any change appears to have occurred in the plain. From a letter of Father Joaquin de Ansogorri, discovered in the Episcopal archives of Valladolid, which was written three weeks after the day of the first eruption, it appears evident that Father Isidro Molina, sent from the neighbouring Jesuits' College of Patzcuaro “to give spiritual comfort to the inhabitants of the Playas de Jorullo, who were extremely disquieted by the subterranean noise and earthquakes,” was the first to perceive the increasing danger, and thus caused the preservation of the small population.
In the first hours of the night the black ashes already lay a foot deep ; every one fled towards the hill of Aguasarco, a small Indian village, situated 2409 feet higher than the old plain of Jorullo. From this height (so runs the tradition) a large tract of land was seen in a state of fearful fiery eruption, and “in the midst of the flames (as those who witnessed the ascent of the mountain expressed themselves) there appeared, like a black castle (castillo negro), a great, shapeless mass (bulto grande)”. From the small population of the district (the cultivation of indigo and cotton was then but very little carried on) even the force of longcontinued earthquakes cost no human lives, although, as I learn from manuscript records , houses were
6 In my Essai Politique sur la Nouvelle-Espagne, in the two editions of 1811 and 1827 (in the latter, t. ii, pp. 165–175), I have, as the nature of that work required, only given a condensed abstract from my journal, without being able to furnish a topographical plan of the vicinity or a chart of the altitudes. From the importance which has been assigned to this great phenomenon of the middle of the last century, I have thought it necessary to complete this abstract here. I am indebted for particular details relating to the new volcano of Jorullo to an official docuinent, written three weeks after the day of the first eruption, but only discovered in the year 1830 by a very scientific Mexican clergyman, Don Juan José Pastor Morales; and also to oral communications from my companion, the Biscayan Don Ramon Espelde, who bad been able to examine living eye-witnesses of the first eruption. Morales discovered in the Archives of the Bishop of Michuacan, a report addressed on the 19th of October, 1759, by Joaquin de Ansogorri, Priest in the Indian village la Guacana, to his Bishop. In his instructive work (Aufenthalt und Reisen in Mexico, 1836) Burkart has also given a short extract from it (Bd. i. s. 230). At the time of my journey, Don Ramon Espelde was living on the
turned by them near the copper mines of Ingvaran, in the small town of Patzcuaro, in Santiago de Ario, and many
plain of Jorullo, and has the merit of having first ascended the summit of the volcano. Some years afterwards he attached himself to the expedition made on the 10th March, 1789, by the Intendente Corregidor, Don Juan Antonio de Riaño. To the same expedition belonged a well-informed German, Franz Fischer, who had entered the Spanish service as a Mining Commissary. By means of the latter the name of the Jorullo first became known in Germany, as he mentioned it in a letter in the Schriften der Gesellschaft der Bergbaukunde, Bd. ii., 8. 441. But the eruption of the new volcano had already been referred to in Italy,-in Clavigero's Storia antica del Messico (Cesena, 1780, t. i, p. 42), and in the poetical work, Rusticatio Mexicana of Father Raphael Landivar (ed. altera, Bologna, 1782, p. 17). In his valuable work, Clavigero erroneously places the production of the volcano, which he writes Juruyo, in the year 1760, and enlarges the description of the eruption by accounts of the shower of ashes, extending as far as Queretaro, which had been communicated to him in 1766 by Don Juan Manuel de Bustamente, Governor of the Province of Valladolid de Michuacan, as an eye-witness of the pheno
The poet Lapdivar, an enthusiastic adherent, like Ovid, of our theory of upheaval, makes the Colossus rise, in euphonious hexameters, to the full height of 3 milliaria, and finds the thermal springs (after the fashion of the ancients) cold by day and warm at night. But I saw the thermometer rise to 12640 in the water of the Rio de Cuitimba about noon.
In 1789, and consequently in the same year that the report of the Governor Riaño and the Mining Commissary Franz Fischer, appeared in the Gazeta de Mexico, in the fifth part of his large and useful Diccionario geográfico-histórico de las Indias Occidentales ó America, in the article Surullo, pp. 374–375) Antonio de Alcedo gave the interesting information that, when the earthquakes commenced (29th June, 1759) in the Playas, the western volcano of Colima, which was in eruption, suddenly became quiet, although it is at a distance of " 70 leguas” (as Alcedo says; according to my map only 112 geog. miles !) from the Playas. “ It is thought,” he adds, “ that the materials in the bowels of the earth have met with obstacles to their following their old course; and as they have found suitable cavities (to the east,” they have broken out at Jorullo-para reventar en Xurullo).Accurate topographical statements regarding the neighbourhood of the volcano occur also in Juan José Martínez de Lejarza's geographical sketch of the ancient Taraskian country: Análisis estadístico de la provincia de Michuacan en 1822 (Mexico, 1824), pp. 125, 129, 130, and 131. The testimony of the author, living at Valladolid in the vicinity of Jorullo, that, since my residence in Mexico, no trace of an increased activity has shown itself in the mountain was the earliest contradiction of the report of a new eruption in the year 1819 (Lyell, Principles of Geology, 1855, p. 430). As the position of
miles further, but not beyond San Pedro Churumucu. In the Hacienda de Jorullo, during the general nocturnal flight, they forgot to remove a deaf and dumb negro slave. A mulatto had the humanity to return and save him, while the house was still standing. It is still narrated that he was found kneeling, with a consecrated taper in Jorullo in latitude is not without importance, I have noticed that Lejarza, who otherwise always follows my astronomical determinations of position, and who gives the longitude of Jorullo exactly like myself as 2° 25' west of the meridian of Mexico (101° 29' west of Greenwich), differs from me in the latitude. Is the latitude attributed by him to the Jorullo (18° 53' 30''), which comes nearest to that of the volcano of Popocatepetl (18° 59'47"), founded upon recent observations unknown to me? In my Recueil d'Observ. Astrono. miques, vol. ii, p. 521, I have said expressly, “ Latitude supposée, 19° 8', deduced from good astronomical observations at Valladolid, which gave 19° 52' 8", and from the Itinerary direction." I only recognized the importance of the latitude of Jorullo, when subsequently I was drawing up the great map of Mexico in the capital city and inserting the E.-W. series of volcanoes.
As in these considerations upon the origin of Jorullo, I have repeatcdly mentioned the traditions which still prevail in the neighbourhood, I will conclude this long note by referring to a very popular tradition, which I have already touched upon in another work (Essai Politique sur la Nouvelle Espagne, t. ii, 1827, p. 172):—" According to the belief of the natives, these extraordinary changes which we have just described, are the work of the monks, the greatest, perhaps, that they have produced in either hemisphere. At the Playas de Jorullo, in the hut that we occupied, our Indian host told us that, in 1759, the Capuchins belonging to the mission preached at the station of San Pedro, but that, not having been favourably received, they charged this beautiful and fertile plain, with the most horrible and complicated imprecations, prophesying that first of all the house would be devoured by flames which would issue from the earth, and that afterwards the surrounding air would become cooled to such a degree that the neighbouring mountains would remain eternally covered with snow and ice. The former of these maledictions having had such fatal consequences, the lower class of Indians already see in the gradual cooling of the volcano, the presage of a perpetual winter.”
Next to that of the poet, Father Landivar, the first printed account of the catastrophe was probably that already mentioned in the Gazeta de Àlexico of the 5th May, 1789 (t. iii, Num. 30, pp. 293–297); it bears the modest title, Superficial y nada facultativa Descripcion del estado en que se hallaba el Volcán de Jorullo la mañana del dia 10 de Marzo de 1789, and was occasioned by the expedition of Riaño, Franz Fischer, and Espelde. Subsequently (1791) in the naval astronomical expedi. tion of Malaspina, the botanists, Mociño and Don Martin Sesse, visited Jorullo, from the Pacific coast.
his hand, before the picture of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
According to the tradition, widely and concordantly spread amongst the natives, the eruption, during the first days, consisted of great masses of rock, scoriæ, sand, and ashes, but always combined with an effusion of muddy water. In the memorable report, already mentioned, of the 19th of October, 1759, the author of which was a man who, possessing an accurate knowledge of the locality, describes what had only just taken place, it is expressly said : Que espele el dicho Volcan arena, ceniza y agua. All eye-witnesses relate (I translate from the description which the Intendant, Colonel Riaño, and the German Mining Commissary, Franz Fischer, who had passed into the Spanish service, have given of the condition of the volcano of Jorullo on the 10th March, 1789), " that before the terrible mountain made its appearance (antes de reventar y aparecerse este terrible Cerro), the earthquakes and subterranean noises became more frequent; but on the day of the eruption itself the flat soil was seen to rise perpendicularly (se observó, que el plan de la tierra se levantaba perpendicularmente), and the whole became more or less inflated, so that blisters (vexigones) appeared, of which the largest is now the volcano (de los que el mayor es hoy el Cerro del Vol. can). These inflated blisters, of very various sizes, and partly of a tolerably regular, conical form, subsequently burst (estas ampollas, gruesas vegigas ó conos diferentemente regulares en sus figuras y tamaños, reventáron despues), and threw boiling hot earthy mud from their orifices (tierras hervidas y calientes), as well as scoriaceous stony masses (piedras cocidas ? y fundidas), which are still found, at an immense distance, covered with black stony masses.
These historical records, which we might, indeed, wish to see more complete, agree perfectly with what I learnt from the mouths of the natives 14 years after the ascent of Antonio de Riaño. To the questions, whether "the castle mountain,” was seen to rise gradually for months or years, or whether it appeared from the very first as an elevated peak, no answer could be obtained. Riaño's assertion that further eruptions had taken place in the first 16 or 17 years, and therefore
to 1776, was declared to be untrue.