Earthquake In South America--total Destruction Of The City Of Mendoza, In In The Argentine Republic--nearly 15,000 Lives Lost
Valparaíso, April 3, 1861. W.th frelinga of deep regrel I have t unnoiinco iu yon the aiter tion of the city of Mendoza, tn tho Argentino Repubh , hv an eartlK]Uftke, on tho o niiig df ihe 20lh of March last. At that date, nt hall-pnsteight P. Míj n t-light but prolongcd vibrution of the earth was feit in this eity nixi ii Santiago tfimultaneoudly. .Vo.-t df tho ctaurohes ero ilensely filleJ, i: being noai' the utose oí Lont, and nome alarm and confusión was cfeated, but ik seriouB accident ooeurred, fiid Iranquility was boqd reutoreJ. un Sunday, the 21 h, hovvever, a general glooni was cast over thia city by thé unnoúncemeot by teTegr.iph from the cnpitul that Benigno Bruno, the mail rider, had orrived from Mendoza that reurniog uiihuut a mail, bringing ihe idttle;bing news that theio remained but a heap of ruina to pint the spot whore, a few days bélico, had ítood a luriving and populoua iit_ lPyQOO BOulö. Bruno sta'ed thathe nrrived at Mendozu o;i th moruing of the 20th ; that at half past eíght l M.. a bricí but i exceeeively viuluut shock of an o:rlli(uake, laaiing but six or eigbt seconde, deatroyed tvery building, public and ji'ivati;, in tbc cily, aud that the number vv!u) wei'o enubled lo escape Va.s very ümited. The strcets being narrow, the buildings high, and tho inhabitants totally unused to Buchjphenonioua, they wre páralyzed with terror, and negk'cted to sock rcfuge in the opoo coarta of their dwelhngd until too wt. Tho Postmaster was buried bonoath the rui;is of the Fust Oilico, tho üovernor was missing, and u hou askod wiiy he brought do certifio te that the mails werp lost, tho messenger replied, "Tliero oo one lef o to write tD, nor rnateriula to write it with.'! the acpoot prasentcd by the city after the ñrst shock was terrifio. - Hoarse subterrraean thunder deiife the air, animaU of all kinds rnsbed fran'ioally through tho upen spac s ho'.vling, tho earth oponed and votnited fórth floods of water, wbile to crown tho gcene of horror, flamea buret from tho runis and consumed neaily the ontiro business portion oi llio city, with itá dead, its dying and its wounded. Ou tho 27th a number of lettera ware recuivod here and ai Santiago by rt-bitivos and frienda of Chileana resi lingin Mendoza, but tho hope, oot.il thep euteitained, that the eariier accounta were exaggorated, soon gave away to ihedreadful eertainty thnt the calamity had not yet boen pain tod in colora sulficiently vivid, The earth slül coniinucd to Irembie, tho few walls that had resistod the fiïat shock ono by o:ie foll, until now uo vestige of a building roinains. The mountain roads are in a inost dangoious eondition, not oaly on nocount oí tho huge masses of rock tliat have already fallón and obetruoted the road, but because the vibration of the earth id sill hurling them down from the heights above into tho ralieys. The gauchos, or nativos of the gurrounding country, haatened tothespot, not to assist the "noody or aid in reeöuing the wounded frora a lingeriog Uoath, but to eek for plunder among the smoking ruius, and to snatch tho litüo saved from tho wretched survivors. Ono gentleman writing from thencc, after desöribing these hcjrrors, gays: - I believe that in a few days we sha!l havo no othcr luw biero tban that oi the poignurd." Tbe prison was dëstroyed ; out of one hundred inmatea ninety-two perished. the remaining eight, wlio were alroady hardened villains, tormsd them8elvea iuio a band of treebooter, and had gone, it was supposed, to tho mountain passes, to intereept and rob tho partios sent [rom Chile i'or tlio rorcliof of the sutlerors. Ono woman vas foutid robbod aud murdered by the roadsi'lo. fi? was reoognized as one who 88 00 her ay to Meudoza to seo hee farnily. They too had all porished on tho 20th. In the Jcsuit church there was preaching tiitit, night. Tho eervices had just concluded, and tho congregation was abüiit dispersing, when the íhook carne. The few who had reachd the plazza were sayed, but the walls nd roof of the building feil inward with a crush, and tho priest and poniteat together were hurriedintoetèrnity.