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through the veins of the forest, and enchained for a while the allpervading principle of vegetation.

“ At length, after a heavy journey through the deep snow, I drew near to our little ark, and every other feeling was lost in the anticipation of the meeting which was soon to take place. My heart swelled with all the tenderest emotions which nature has implanted in the heart of man, and which are called forth by the name and the remembrance of home. It was a little before twelve, when, emerging from the wood through which our journey lay, I looked towards the well-remembered spot where our house stood, but could see nothing but a cloud of black smoke issuing from the place. A horrible thought came like lightning across my brain. I spurred on furiously, and in a few minutes beheld a scene, the remembrance of which haunts me wherever I go, embitters all my hours, and sleeping or waking exercises an influence which consumes me.

“I cannot describe it-I should go mad again if I did. Our house had been surprised by the Indians, set on fire, and every soul perished in the flames, or was butchered in attempting to escape them. I saw my gentle sisters; their pure blood had stained the snow, not more pure than itself-my father, whose gray hairs had been torn from his head and in the last moment of recollection I saw my poor mother scorched and mangled to death. The power of man could not support it; my heart that a few minutes before had opened to receive the full current of happiness shut again I believe forever—and a stunning sensation fell on my head with a force that overwhelmed my reason.

“ From that time until the lapse of more than a year I was as no ng I remember nothing I believe I felt nothing. I wandered, they say, from place to place, without motive or end, attended by the faithful old servant who was with me that fatal night; and was only released from this comparatively happy state, to feel the miseries that marked my future lot. Since then, I have drifted about the world, listless, reckless, and unpurposed. If I have any kindred left, I know not where to seek them., I am by the habits of my early life unfitted for any active business, that by employing and disciplining my mind would restore its elasticity; and I cannot return to the scenes of my youth, lest

the sight of them should again unhinge my brain. I am too old now to think of planting the tender shrub of affection in any female heart, and shall die long before it could take root and arrive at maturity. Nothing now remains for me but to bear my fate like a man, and wait with humble resignation for the hour when I shall be permitted to join my murdered family. 0! let no one think himself happy that he is exempt from the labours of business, nor let the needy man repine at his daily toils. My own experience has taught me this lesson—that employment is the surest path to the recovery of our peace of mind, and that to be exempt from the necessity of exertion, is to be at the mercy of incurable sorrow.

“Compare now your situation with mine. Though bereft of one blessing, you are surrounded by many others, and cherished by friends whose affection will in some measure supply your loss while I exist like a desert rock in the wide ocean, to whose barren breast no mariner is allured, and in whose desolate confines no gentle songster warbles a note of happiness, He who has none to love, and who is beloved by none, may be permitted to despair; but remember, that uncontrolled grief for the loss of one friend, is a tacit unkindness to those who survive, because it seems to indicate that their affection is of little worth—and it is ingra. titude to heaven which has still permitted you the enjoyment of many blessings."



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Felling is a manor about a mile and a half east of Gateshead. It contains several strata of coal, the uppermost of which were extensively wrought in the beginning of the last century. The stratum called the High-main was won in 1779, and continued to be wrought till the 19th January, 1811, when it was entirely excavated. The present colliery is in the seam called the Low-main. It commenced in October, 1810, and was at full work in May, 1812. This mine was considered by the workmen as a model of perfection in the purity of its air, and orderly arrangements-its inclined plane was saving the daily expense of at least 13 horses --the concern wore the features of the greatest possible prosperity, and no accident, except a trifling explosion of fire-damp, slightly burning two or three workmen, had occurred. Two shifts or sets of men were constantly employed, except on Sundays. Twentyfive acres of coal had been excavated. The first shift entered the mine at four o'clock A. M. and were relieved at their working posts by the next at eleven o'clock in the morning. The establishment it employed under ground consisted of about 128.persons, who, in the fortnight from the 11th to the 25th of May, 1812, wrought 624 scores of coal, equal to 1,300 Newcastle chaldrons, or 2,455 London chaldrons. About half past eleven o'clock on the morning of the 25th May, 1812, the neighbouring villages were alarmed by a tremendous explosion in this colliery. The subterraneous fire broke forth with two heavy discharges from the John, which were, almost instantaneously, followed by one from the William. A slight trembling, as from an earthquake, was felt for about half a mile around the workings; and the noise of the explosion, though dull, was heard to three or four miles distance, and much resembled an unsteady fire of infantry.

Immense quantities of dust and small coal accompanied these blasts, and rose high into the air, in the form of an inverted cone. The heaviest part of the ejected matter, such as corves, pieces of wood, and small coal, fell near the pits; but the dust, borne away by a strong west wind, fell in a continued shower from the pit to the distance of a mile and a half. As soon as the explosion was heard, the wives and children of the workmen ran to the workingpit. Wildness and terror were pictured in every countenance.



The crowd from all sides soon collected to the number of several hundreds, some crying out for a husband, others for a parent or a son, and all deeply affected with a mixture of horror, anxiety, and grief. The machine being rendered useless by the eruption, the rope of the gin was sent down the pit with all expedition. In the absence of horses, a number of men, whom the wish to be instrumental in rescuing their neighbours from their perilous situation, seemed to supply with strength proportionate to the urgency of the occasion, put their shoulders to the starts or shafts of the gin, and wrought with astonishing expedition. By twelve o'clock 32 persons, all tbat survived this dreadful calamity, were brought to day-light. The dead bodies of two boys, who were miserably scorched and shattered, were also brought up at this time; three boys, out of the 32 who escaped alive, died within a few hours after the accident. Only 29 persons were, therefore, left to relate what they observed of the appearance and effects of this subterraneous thundering ; 121 were in the mine when it happened, and 87 remained in the workings. Eight persons came up at different intervals, a short time before the explosion. They who had their friends restored hastened with them from the dismal scene, and seemed for a while to suffer as much from the excess of joy as they had lately done from grief; and they who were yet held in doubt concerning the fate of their relations and friends, filled the air with shrieks and howlings; went about wringing their hands; and threw their bodies into the most frantic and extravagant gestures. The persons who now remained in the mine had all been employed in the workings to which the plane-board was the gener ral avenue, and as none had escaped by that way, the apprehension for their safety began to strengthen every moment. Ata quarter after twelve o'clock, Messrs. Straker, Anderson, Haswell, Rogers, Wilson, Pearson, H. Anderson, Menham, and Greener, therefore, descended the John, in expectation of meeting with some of them alive. As the fire-damp would have instantly ignited at candles, they lighted their way by steel-mills, small machines which give light by turning a plain thin cylinder of steel against a piece of flint. Knowing that a great number of the workmen would be at the crane when the explosion happened, they attempted to reach it by the plane-board: but their progress was intercepted at the second pillar by the prevalence of choke-damp; the noxious fluid filled the board between the roof and the thill; and the sparks from the steel fell into it like dark drops of blood. Being, therefore, deprived of light, and nearly poisoned for want of atmospheric air, they retraced their steps to the shaft, and with similar success attempted to pass up the narrow boards; in these they were stopped at the sixth pillar by a thick smoke, which stood like a wall the whole height of the board. Here their flint.

mills were not only rendered useless, and respiration became extremely difficult, but the probability of their ever reaching the places where they expected to meet with those they were in search of, or finding any of them alive, was entirely done away. To the hopelessness of success in their enterprise should also be added, their certainty of the mine being on fire, and the probability of a second explosion at every moment occurring and burying them in its ruins.

At two o'clock Mr. Straker and Mr. Anderson had just ascended the John, and were gone to examine the appearance

of the air issuing from the William. Menham, Greener, and Rogers, had also ascended. Two of the party were at this moment in the shaft, and the other two remained below, when a second explosion, much less severe than the first, excited more frightful expressions of grief and terror among the relatives of the persons still in the mine. Rogers and Wilson, the persons in the shaft, experienced little inconvenience by the eruption; they felt an unusual heat, but it had no effect in lifting up their bodies, or otherwise destroying the uniformity of the motion of their ascent. Haswell and H. Anderson, hearing its distant growlings, laid themselves down at full length on their faces, and in this posture, by keeping firm hold of a strong wooden prop, placed near the shaft to support, the roof of the mine, experienced no other inconvenience from the blast, than its lifting up their legs and poising their bodies in various directions, in the manner that the waves heave and toss a buoy at sea. As soon as the atmospheric current returned down the shaft, they were drawn to bank. This expedient of lying down and suffering the fury of the blast to roll over them, is mentioned in the life of Lord Keeper North, under the year 1676. It is most efficacious where the mine is wet, for atmospheric şair always accompanies running water; but the warning of a blast being usually sudden, it requires a degree of experience and coolness, not commonly united, to exercise any precaution against . it. The miner, knowing its irresistible power, instantly sees the inefficacy of every attempt to escape, and, like a physician attacked by some incurable complaint, and conscious that his ari is unequal to its cure, makes no struggle to save his life.* As

* Dr. Thompson, in his Annals of Philosophy, says, that “what is called fire. damp in coal mines is thic carbureted hydrogen gas of chymists. It is composed of





or of seven atoms of hydrogen, and three of carbon. He conceives that fire-damp is formed by the action of coal upon water. The water is decomposed, two atoms

All the oxygen combines with carbon, and forms carbonic acid; while all the hydrogen unites likewise with carbon, and forms carbureted hydrogen, or fire

at once.

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