1663 Earthquake

(Goes with article "What a Disaster!") - quoted:

"Here are excerpts of the books "The Jesuit Relations" on the earthquake of 1663. To make the description as closely as possible, French and spelling are conserved. Only a few paragraphs are omitted in order to write the information most pertinent

An earthquake of more than two hundred leagues in length, and one hundred in width, which are in all twenty thousand leagues, has shaken all that peace, where one has seen tremendous changes: Mountain abyss, the Forests changed in the great Lakes, Rivers, who disappeared, who thunders rumbled under our feet, who vomited flames; Whales and porpoises screaming in the white waters. But the protection of God has been so soft on us, that not one has died, and the greater part have derived so much benefit for their salvation, French and Indians, faithful and unfaithful.

This was the fifth in February 1663, the five thirty in the evening, but a great rattling be heard concurrently, throughout the expanse of Canada. This noise made everyone come out, they were very surprised to see, all the stones to move, as if they were detached, the bells rang of themselves, beams, joists and floors creak.

The animals run away, children crying in the streets, men and women seized with fear not knowing where to hide, the disorder being much larger in forests: it seems there is fighting between the trees that are knocking together, and not only their branches, but even it is said that the trunks stand out of their seats for a jump on the other, with a crash and saw upheaval that made our savages say that the whole forest being playful. Ice thickness of five and six feet crashing, jumping into pieces, and opening in several places, where it evaporates jets of mud and sand that rose high up into the air, our water sulfuric; some water becomes yellow, others red, and our great St Lawrence River seemed all whitish even to Tadoussac, although surprising and prodigy capable of surprising those who know the amount of water that big river rolls over Isle d’Orleans, and what he was of matter to whiten.

A powerful dike which forced the river to change its bed, and spread over large plains newly discovered. We see new lakes where there ever was, the earth was cracked in many places and opened precipices which we do not find the bottom, we see now areas for more than a thousand acres all shaved, and as if it were freshly tilled, where shortly before there were only forests. To the Pointe-aux-Alouettes, an entire forest has been detached from the mainland, and has slipped into the river, and shows large trees, straight and verdant, which grew up in water overnight.

The time it lasted, continuing even into the month of August, that is to say more than six months, it is true that the tremors were not always equally harsh, in some places as to the mountains that we have to back the din and the fluttering is perpetual summer for a long time, in other, as to Tadoussac, he trembled usually two to three times a day with great efforts. 

It was felt from Isle Percée and Gaspé, which are at the mouth of our river, as far as the outside of Montreal, as also in New England, Acadia, and other places very far distant."


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