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The St. Louis Republic. (St. Louis, Mo.) 1888-1919, May 18, 1902, Magazine Section, Image 44

Image and text provided by State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1902-05-18/ed-1/seq-44/

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How lln' Lisbon Earthquake jf
17.").") Kiizi'tl Portugal's, ra)ital in
Jliiins A Wave Like the Even
Swell of tlie Atl:uin; Crossed the
tv ni-r ri-N i his tiic -i xiiav iti:r rn.u
s il. t il.i)s n and ilic rfiorts stll!
nit tn il.ii til- volci"ij 01 the islands if
M ir.mique and Si Vin.'.r.t c-omlnui p
I- 'i U.i lire -..i '.- m. ii liei'imes m-
i'eit I at the fir.-l r "jti isUmates of to
Ir- f .. ar.; t.i - (tlMfii el exaggerated
. ' .i this i ji 'Ka.i ea oli"iei wla
i a im'jn; ilic n i ; l. rnil- n
-i' ' of t!n- i-i:ii I v:o nJ.
' ii) .i!i that .tn !. t;.;!.ilMl
u. 'ion . f St Pierre wis llk :li
f'imrieil ami H'.-i I'aj im
:he de
ih. I i
r H-ii.ih, howe.er da Uc 1. i i'i
. iifK. iiunK of t'ie c'uri-' .n a Hi
:.ereM impression of ii. . ii'bu.'! of m.
i Hi.' most aw fil lua-.: ! of ;n. k.i
Iwimr r.t history, exl .s in th minus .if ihf
izen ..t to-day. Buiwer Lj.loi Ima-
J des ilptinn based on the !P it by
I'i i tin Vungcr. In "The Iat Div- of
' mp. li l- the only lengthy aci ouni which
': in pr r "lis have lead l-.t-r ext ivuilous
uk urn mi .ittoition in ih .i.irrlfiiK
ii i .I more iwciu .tixl coimIiv ter.iili
niptions anil upheavals, if int. t deal
'e.ibng .ire proahlv the most viviQ at this
'Imi l. ausp magazine and new-paper in
' i i.. Iiipturj. have storied them
1 1 ran I- submarine eruption of the Irj
!. i . .! . mo in the Indian Ocean jnly
ie -iti v.ars 1150, an the result of wnlrh
nn than .Hinty persons perished. 1 ih'
ii generally known of all the volcanic
"I rl-ani es
Hi' Ki.r.in disaster of 17.. as an carth
l ink aiimg a lo-s of life variously es
tinia' il from 2J.'ji tc 7.i.i'0). is more fnnill
trr un. I iorpe "it'iin modern times and
lr ou I i Kuropean lapital.
The olihti ration of Ft Pierre Is a parallel
foi the entombment of Pornpell. because the
I.TUMiion in e.ic'ij cai-e werr either buried
nnciii in- it. n lava, were suffocated by ul
ihurou ijan'S or died of the intense heat.
ira iidal waves. rcultinE from subma
rine expli-inns o Immeasurable ixiwer, or
fii m ihe ildhh occat-ioned by entire sec
tlr n- iif the Iflanl. million-, of cubic yards
(ii bu'K ruins iui:d Into the ocean
liroueht about the ( nnrmous list of fatali
ties at Krakatna The population of I.Im
luir ueie rnhel beneath their homeis
thtlr cathedrals, churchen and palaces, as
will us drowned by tidal naves, and burned
In the fire nhUh followed the downfall of
tho lit).
l-iblxm Was a Flourishing City
iu tin Eighteenth .Century.
In tho latter half of the KlKhteenth Cen
ttry I.hibon was a Hourishinc city, rich In
architecture, rich In worldly sood, and the
capital of a growing Power; for Portugal
had reaped great prolits from the dls-covery
of tho new world, and the wealth which
It contained. The nation was still aggres
sive and expanding.
There was little or no warning of the
devastation to come. On the evening of Oc
tober 31, 17K. the earth trembled idlqhtlx
nnd there were heard rumblings, whlcii
seemed to originate deep down In the
liowels of the earth. Such slight subterra
nean dlHturbances were not unknown at
Isbon. Occasional!)' serious cons-equences
had followed, but nothing to afford thu
faintest suggestion of the great earth
waves which were to tumble the city down,
to that "not one stone should stand upon
The morning of November 1 dawned clear
and bright. It was All Saints' Day, a Uo
man Catholic festival. The churches und
the magnificent Lisbon Cathedral were
crowded with worshipers. The streets were
crowded with pedestrians, and everybody
was looking forward to a day of enjoyment.
It wat. about 9:45 a. m. There came u
eudden round as of innumerable thunder
crashes It came from below, and the sky
was still unclouded. A wave like the even
well of the Atlantic, with Incredible rapid
ity and with a vertical displacement of
eight feci, was crossing the dry land. The
force, probably the result of tremendous
compression of gases, necessary thus to
shift the ground Is Inconceivable.
Pope in Temples Saw Pillars
(shake. Like Kceds.
The ptaoplo In the temples, looking up,
Faw great pillars shake like reeds, saw
arches collapse, heard breaking; windows,
saw walls totter and roofs parted. They
rushed panic-stricken toward the entrances,
only to meet another frantic mob seeking
sanctuary In the places of worship. Osbon
was enveloped In dust, caused by the fallen
debris of the first shock, but there came a
second, more severe than the first; and a
third, not so tremendous, but enough to
level any stancher structure which had
withstood the llrst two. Portugal's capital
was In ruins and a large proportion of its
populace were burled. It was Illustrative
of Byron's line:
"A thousand years scarce serve to build
a city; an hour may suffice to lay In the
Those who were In their homes suffered
tho fate of those In the churches. Those
In the strets were luckiest, and thos-e who
chanced to be in carriages were luckiest of
all. liut tho disaster was not complete.
Many who had survived the fall of tlfe
lntllillnliM l-lislleit tnirnnl the qm fur snfefv
und out upon a new marble Quay, which
had Just been completed at a large eo?t.
Following the earthquake came a tidal
wavo W feet In height. It fell upon the
low-lying section of the town, submerged
the quay and the wharves, and In subsiding
carried out to ocean thousands of the city's
one time Inhabitants. Strangest feature of
the whole occurrence was that, when the.
waters had retreated, there was left no
trace of the quay. The earth had literally
swallowed It up and the water had closed
over It and the human freight which It
had borne.
Fire was next to lie contended with.
Hame.s broke forth fiom the ruins si
multaneously In a thousand places.
They swept over the entire cen'ral
section of the city completing the destruc
tion of th best buildings. Joseph I was
then tlie King and was an etllcient ruler.
It happened, that, when the earthquake oc
curred, he was at a suburban resldence.and
escaped uninjured. He Inaugurated move
ments to rescue his people,, to prevent a
famine and pestilence, and to encourage
rebuilding. He succeeded and In ten years
Lisbon was once more one of the mo4t
beautiful cities or Southern Hurope.
Former Earthquake Described
by an Eye Witness
One of the most vivid descriptions of
Usbon during the earthquake was publlsnel
In ISO) In DlsckwoodV Magazine. It was
In the form of a letter from a man named
Chase, who was In Lisbon at the time.
who was Injured, and narrowly escaped
death. Tho following portrays the flr-it
"I was alone in ni) bed-chamber, four
ittorfes from the ground opening a
rl bureau, i
bureau, when a shaking or trembling of Ihe
miiTTnN" for the sukdat nErimuc.
A great municipality Is a large corpora
tion. In which every citizen Is a stockholder.
The poor man has equal electoral rights
with the millionaire, for the municipality
Is a local government of the people, de
riving its charter from the popular gov
ernment of the State, and In the organiza
tion und management of the municipal cor
poration the majority dictum prevails.
Slnco the people rule the municipality,
each citizen reuping personal advantages
from the local government, it devolves up
on the people to maintain the corporation.
Law and progress are the results of family
cnl community Interests. For the blessings
conferred upon every Individual and his
family and property, the citizen Is under
personal obligations to the government.
Judged by the proper standard, the pr!vi-v
leg of voting is really a duty. On tho prin-v
clplc that the will and interests of the ma
jority of the people are supreme, no citizen
or minority of citizens can rebel against
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sustaining the corporation that affords pro
tection and the favors of progressive civil
ization to all.
Taxation Is the method by which the mu
nicipality is maintained. It la the method
liv which sufficient revenue Is acquired to
operate the corporation the method of as
sessing the stockholders for funds to meet
the tlnanclal obligations of their company.
Whether a resident does or does not accept
the privilege of asserting his preference at
an clcctien in favor of a contain party,
pledged to specific policies for directing the
municipality, he Is, nevertheless, a stock
holder, and Is bound to aid in supporting
the corporation, for the reason that he re-
reives the same beneflts as the qualified
Term Assessment Means
Equalization of Taxation.
The term assessment of the revenue Is
equivalent to equalization of taxation In the
application of the law. If the terms are not
synonymous they should be. In spirit, the
law proposes thateveiy citizen shall assist.
accciCIng to his means and iu proportion tc
h's ownlntrMn maintaining the city. The city
affords certain benefits to the public. Equal
lzatlon in the fundamental principle of taxa
tion, as it Is of American government. Tho
man of wealth has more possessions than
the poor man, and consequently has greater
demands on the municipality, though, from i
the standpoint of citizenship, they are equal,
The rich man and the private corporation
must pay more taxes, therefore, than the
man of Ies3 wealth.
Public-utility franchises are granted
chietly for the accommodation of the public.
The profit that the city may acquire is not
of paramount importance. It is secondary
to the public utility of the project- The
profit that may, accrue to the recipient of
the franchise concerns the city only in no
far as the city Is entitled to a certain per
centage of the earnings. When compensa
tion for a franchise ia not made a part of
tho franchise the value of the franclse be
comes an object of taxation
Taxation of enterprise is not a good poli
cy. While franchises of quasi-public cor
porations should be taxed at the same rate
and Percentage as real and personal prop
erty. It Is not wise to impose unnecessary
taxation on mercantile ventures. The tax
ation of enterprise Is a public burden.' En
terprise means employment and progresa
and the taxation of enterpri-e means the
retardation of progress.
Rate Based on Aggregate
Value of Property.
As the object of taxation Is to get money
for the people's corporation, taxes are as
sessed at a rate that will bring adequate
revenue. The rate is based on the aggre
gate value of all property, and so that tax
ation may not be a hardship on any stock
holder. h!i property Is not taxed at Its ac
tual value, but at si safe percentage, which
is allowed In view of possible retrogression.
Tiic assessment of the revenue entails a
vast amount of work. First of all. the rato
and percentages of taxation are fixed by
the voters and the legislative bodies of the
State and city. The percentages of the
revenue define how much of the Income
shall go to the city and how much to the
The ten district assessors start their new
canvass on June 1. Armed with books con
taining plats of all the blocks In his district
tho assessor goes from house to house and
etlmates values of real and personal prop
erty. The president of the board has JurLs
dictlon over "every district and assists In
the canvass. In fact, the very first move
ment in the new 'canvass Ls made by the
president and the district assessors.
June 1 lists of all new buildings In tho
city are given to the president by the
afsessors. The president then rocs from
district tn district, nnd with the district
iiisesor fixes the values of the completed
portions of unfinished buildings. From
June 1 until January 1, each assessor re
mains in the neid. inspecting property and
establishing values. While the canvas'lne
Is In piogress the president goes Into the
different districts and supervises the work
of the assessors.
January 1 the district assessors tender to
the president their plats of property values.
Each assessor attests before the Circuit
Court or City Register to the correctness of
his assessments. From the plats the val
ues are rendered by the clerks in the presi
dent's office in fifty assessment books. In
which the names of all property owners are
arranged alphabetically. The transfers are
then compared.
From these hooks fifty tax books are
written, accurately describing the proper
ty and specifying in respective columns
the division of 'the different taxes. Tax
hills are drafted from these books, and
from the bills fifty abstract books are pre
pared. About August IS the tax books, tax
bills and abstract books are transmitted
to the Comptroller, who has them com
pared. The Comptroller retain the original
Destruction of Krakatoa Was Like-,
That of Martinio.ue.aml Pt. Pierre tlW
Uain of Lava and Ashes Fell
for Three Days Tlie Survivors
Sought the Jungles.
earth (which I knew Immediately to be an
earthquake), gentle at lirs-t, but gradually
becoming violent, alarmed me. Turnlns
round to look at the window the glasT
seemid falling out Calling to mini tho
miserable fate of Callao in the West Indies
1 dreaded a like catastrophe; und remember
ing that our house was so old and weak
j that any heuvy passing carriage made :t
MiaKe mrojenout. I ran directly .Into the
Arada. to see if the nelizhLorinc; 'hous.3
j were agitated with the same violence. Thi-
, place was u single room at the top of the
house, with windows xll around the rod.
1 and supported by tall pillars. It was only
one .utory higher than my chamber, but
commanded a prospect of some part i.f
tlie river, and of all the lower part of the
city, from the King's Palace up to th
Castle. I was no sooner up the stair than
the most horrid prospect the imaginattun
could picture appeared before my eyes. Tn..
house besan to heave to that degree, thai,
to prevent being thrown. I was oblljed t"
put my arm out of the window and suppo i
mself by the wall. Ktery stone in tee
wall, sepnrating and grinding against cacn
other, c.i'i-oil the rnot fearful jumbling of
noises ears eer heard The adjoining- wall
of a room net to where I was, fell first;
' tile n followed .ill the upper part of the
nouse. nnd of ever) other ay far -as I could
see toward the Ca-tle. when turning my
eyes quick to the front of the room (for I
thought the whole city was sinklmr Into the
earth), 1 saw the tops of two or more pil
lars meet, and saw no more."
The writer of the aboie awakened In th
basement of the house in which he had
lived. Cut in a scoie of pl.ic.e-. with an arm
broken and shoulder dislocated, he man
aged to find an exit. Then he graphically
tells of the burning of the city and the rush
, of the people to the urroundlng tuuntrj.
Eruption on Island of
Krakatoa in 1SS.5.
The eruption on the Island of Krakatoa
In 1VS-: was fully obsencd at the time by
ti.ilent! of volcanic action, and the phe
nomena attending it carefully noted.
The Island for two centuries had been
uninhabited. It was about live miles long
and three wide There were two volcanic
. peaks, or cones, of which the highest rose
j up 2.7 feet. Surrounding the island were
otrer and smaller cones, protruding above
the surface of the ocean Kvperts unite
In the opinion that none of tho cones were
craters, but that all were lava spurs upon
the edge of cne vast crater the greater
part of which was submerged.
In ItSO, :x ye.us before the recent out
bieak. tho island was fertile and Inhabited.
At that time came a territic eruDtlon. which
I changed the appearance of all ground ahovo
water and annihilated the natives. When
thl was ended, the volcano rested and was
thought to lie extinct.
In the month of May, 1SS3, came the first
warnings that Krakatoa was to once again
open up with its subterranean and subma
rine artillery- The spurs above water, in
size, were a nothing to the hundreds of
other towering mountains of the Indian
Ocean, but the crater )leldt-d to none In
respect to Its hidden power. In May were
explosions causing noises which were heard
in Bataviu, eighty miles away. These con
tinued with uninterrupted vigor for eight
or nine weeks. Masses of pumice stone nnd
ashes were- vomited into the air, which
were carried by the wind as far as the
Island of Timor. 1,200 miles away.
In August came the culmination. It Is
supposed that the continued minor explo
sions had opened a wide vent In the crater
and that the waters had rushed In only to
be converted into steam, which, expanding,
demanded an exit. Krakatoa was in parox
ysms, and now its voice was heard 2"1
miles away In Australia nnd 2.267 miles
away, at the Chagos Islands. The nights
were pitch dark, save for the electric Jlames
at the volcano's mouth, which shed a
lurid, fitful terrifying light.
Fall of Lava and Ashes
Continued Three Days.
About noon of August 26 came Krakatoa's
last mighty effort, and the detonations, the
discharges of molten stone, steam and
ashes continued for three days. The ex
plosions augmented In Intensity, and by 10
o'clock on tho night of the 2Sth the entire
Strait of Sunda, between tho Islands of Su
matra and Java, In the center of which
lay the mighty crater, was rendered Inky
dark by the ascending masses of smoke. The
sounds were deafening In Java as far as
Batavla, and over a large portion of Su
matra. In the morning the explosions ceased for
a short period. The Inhabitants of neigh
boring towns In Java. Buitenzorg, Sernng.
Anjer and Merak, sought to get a little
sleep. But nt 7 o'ejock came a crash so for
midable that all were startled from their
beds. Normally it should now be daylight,
but the sun's rays could not pierce the
dense overhanging- canopy. Limps were
used In tho houses.
There was no Interruption of the slsmlc
artillery during that day. nor during the
next day. Krakatoa's bottled up encrgy
seemed Inexhaustible. The terror of the
simple-mindd natives of Java and Sumatra
was Indescribable. They cowered In their
huts or sought the fastnesses of the Jun
gle, praying hysterically to their multifari
ous gods.
The reports of sea captains who ventured
near the Strait of Sunda and escaped to tell
the tale few did are graphic In the ex
treme. Captain Watson of the Kngllsh Mp
Charles Hal was ten miles south of tho
volcano on the 26th. He described the Mind
as shrouded In a dense, black cloud, which
slowly spread out until It obscured the bl.it
vault of the heavens. Aside from the thun
derous explosions, he speaks of crackling
noies, which are ascribed to the contact of
great rock? ascending and dexcendlne in
the utmospheie. He tell.s of a rain of
prmlce in large pieces, quite warm, which
fell a foot deep upon the ship. He remained
near the scene until J o'clock In the after
noon, when he dared to do so no longer.
Another captain describes the electrical
display which accompanied the eruption. On
the afternoon of the 26th, from a distance
of forty miles, he speaks of great vapor
clouds being lighted up by bursts of forked
lightning, which seemed like "large fiery
serpents, ruehlng through the air." After
dark, he reports that the great upsoarin,
overarching mantle uppeared like a blood
red curtain, with edges of all shades of yel
low, the whole of a murky tinge, through
which gleamed fierce flashes of lightning.
Studentu of such 'eruptions cablegram
from Martinique tell of similar phenomena
being observed state that this generation,
of atmospheric electricity Invariably accom
panies volcanic disturbances on n large
rcalc. Steam jets rushing through the
orifices of the earth's surface constitute an
ncrmousi hydro-electrical engine. Ejected
materials striking against each other pro
duce the frlcrlon necessary to strike
"s-parks" sparks as large In proportion as
a cliff of 100 cubic feet is to the iltnt-pebhls
from which a lad strikes lire with his pen
tax book. but gives the tax bills and ab
stract books, about September 1, to the Col
lector of Revenue, whose clerks again com
pare the books and bills, after which col
lections begin.
Franchise values are assessed by th
president, subject to change by the Board
of Penalization. This year franchises were
assessed for the first time. My Idea was to
assess franchises on a basis of C5 per cent
of their actual value, and the lists wero
submitted to the Board of Equalization on
that basis. The board, however, decreased
the percentage to 16U per cent of the actual
value. The Board of Equalization has full
power In equalizing all assessments. In my
experience I have found that the People
view taxation as a sacred duty. Seldom it
Is that any vigorous objection Is made. So
long as the taxpayers are assured that pub
lic money will not be wasted, they are sat
isfied. I have also found that they do.not
object to an Increase in the rate of taxa
tion when ronvlnced that the revenue will
be expended Judiciously for the public jood.
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