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at family prayer, they would run over us in all directions ; and we found much difficulty in keeping them out of our beds. One morning, on hearing the servant scream while making the bed, we ran into the room and found that four of these intruders, in search of a snug place, had crept under my pillow," &c. &c. Again, p. 146, Mr. W. says; “To complete my perplexities the rats, which at Rarotonga were like one of the plagues of Egypt, as if by general consent, congregated during the night in immense numbers, and devoured every particle of the goat's skin; and on entering the workshop in the morning, I was mortified at the discovery, that nothing remained of the unfortunate bellows but the bare boards."
This irruption of rats was contemporaneous at Rarotonga with an an epidemic disorder of a very deadly kind, in several of the South Sea Islands, and famine occasioned by a violent storm which desolated the island, and was succeeded by a hurricane accompanied (as all hurricanes are) by violent shocks of earthquake. *
That the occurrence in Rarotonga is quite in agreement with the natural history of the rat in Europe,+ may be learned by reference to many works that treat of those animals. Our present inquiry, however, more immediately concerns the mice; and of these it may be observed, that Cuvier says, of the 'Campagnolf ou petit rat des champs'—"quelquefois il se multiplie excessivement et cause des grands dégâts." In Griffith's edition of the Règne Animals (vol. iii. p. 110) it is stated, that “this species is a most formidable enemy to the labours of mankind .... his spoliation extends to the seed in the ground, as well as to that which is not gathered. In some seasons the Campagnols have been known to increase in an extraordinary degree; and by biting the straw asunder they lower the grain to within their reach, and by these means will sometimes destroy the whole produce of a field, and then proceed in their destructive office to another. ...
“ France|| seems to be particularly subject to what may be called the plague of mice of this description; and though found in particular provinces at particular times, a square of not less than forty leagues has been not unfrequently known to suffer to a most pernicious degree in one season."
Mr. Bell quotes the ravages done by these little creatures in the New
• See pp. 275, 278, 442.
+ The Brown Rat made its first appearance in Paris in the 16th century; the Black Rat was common to Europe in the middle ages. The Brown Rat is said to have come to England in the same ship with William III. There are several departments in France, however, where it is not yet known; and Pallas says, in the autumn of 1727 it came to Astracan in such numbers from the western desert, traversing the Volga, as to be unopposable. It is not known further north than Siberia. (F. Cuvier and Griffith, iji. 130.)
I "Je l'appelle Campagnol, de son nom en Italien Campagnoli.” (Buffon.) This naturalist calls the small species "souris de terre,”--the larger, “mulot."
$ The Animal Kingdom arranged in Conformity with its Organization. By the Baron Cuvier, &c. : with additional descriptions of all the species hitherto named, and of many not before noticed; by Edward Griffith, F.L.S., A.S. &c. and others.
|| Belgium is also infested by mice, especially in the neighbourhood of Liege, a district bordering on the volcanic region of the Rhine and Eifel, and troubled by earthquakes.
Forest and Forest of Dean in 1813 and 1814, when there was a fear “lest the whole of the young trees in those extensive woods should be destroyed by them;" and from Jesse's Gleanings, states, that the increase of the mice was “sudden and rapid," that the bark of the upper branches as well as of the trunk and the roots of the trees were destroyed; that in three or four months, 30,000 mice were caught in holes dug for the purpose, besides those destroyed by stoats, weasels, kites, hawks and owls; and also by crows, magpies, jays, &c." It was calculated that " the total destruction of mice in the two forests in question would probably amount to more than 200,000.” (P. 328.)*
Some species of mice are subject to migrations; as the small Norway Rat, which will cross rivers and lakes; the Lemming, (Mus Lemmus) which seldom oftener than once in ten years, and sometimes but once or twice in a century, make their appearance in countless numbers, ravaging the country, and travelling from the Kolen mountains in Lapland to the Western Ocean or Baltic, entering which, they perish. These migrations foretell a hard winter.† “ This army of mice moves chiefly by night, or early in the morning, devouring the herbage as it passes, in such a manner that the surface appears as if burnt." No obstacles appear to thwart them, “neither fires, nor deep ravines, nor torrents, nor marshes, nor lakes."I
The Economic or Meadow Campagnol is equally interesting in its migratory habits. Pallas informs us, that hosts of these little creatures assemble in the spring, traverse Kamtschatka ; reaching the Judoma and Ochot about the middle of July, and returning in October. Like the Lemmings, neither fire nor water stops them. The seasons, however, of these migrations are uncertain. Pallas thinks they depend upon some sensations of internal fire in that country of volcanos, where earthquakes and eruptions are extremely frequent; or from some presage of a bad season. The former is by no means an extravagant supposition. All presages of bad seasons in animals must arise from some atmospheric or telluric affection; and since the Kamtschatdales observe that their migrations are followed by rainy and tempestuous weather, the sure concomitants of a volcanic derangement,) and hail their return with joy as “a sure prognostic of a successful fishery,”' (the fish being driven away by volcanic heat and vapours, as is well known to all who have inquired into the subject,sl) it is probable that these migrations are
Speaking of the mulot, Buffon observes: “Il habite, comme je l'ai dit, les terres sèches et élevées; on le trouve en grande quantité dans les bois et dans les champs qui en sont voisins. Il se retire dans des trous qu'il trouve tout faits, ou qu'il se pratique sous des buissons et des troncs d'arbres. ...,“J'ai souvent approuvé le dommage très considérable que ces animaux causent aux plantations." .. “Eux seuls sont plus de tort à un semis de bois, que tous les oiseaux et tous les autres animaux ensemble." (Histoire Naturelle, par Buffon, vii. 328.)
+ Phil. Trans. ii. 872, also Lyell's Geology, iii, 37. i Griffith's Cuvier, iii. 115.
See Griffith, iii. 113. il It would be superfluous to mention all the instances in which fish have been destroyed, or driven away, by shocks of earthquakes. But a few may be selected. In A.D. 79, when Pompeii was destroyed, the fish in the neighbouring sea also perished. During the Black Death Plague of 1348, the fish died, or had blotches upon them. (Hecker.) In 1788 almost all the cod-fish taken off Newfoundland were thin and sickly; and in the following year dead haddocks covered leagues of the sea off the
always occasioned by telluric causes. And if so, the same probability exists in the cases of “rapid and sudden" increase of unice elsewhere; for, as is well remarked by an intelligent author, “On a encore observé, à la verité, que des troupes immenses de souris ont quitté leur séjour habituel, et qu'elles se sont portées sur une autre région avec une impulsion tellement forte, que la mer n'a pas même pu les arrêter dans leur course, lorsqu'elles voulaient atteindre par ex. ane île voisine; on a vu également une certaine espèce de sauterelle, qui ont offert le spectacle singulier d'une migration en toute forme ; mais ces phénomènes extraordinaires ne peuvent pas être considérés comme ayant quelque chose de commun avec le passage régulier et périodique des oiseaux."'*
The conviction that this must be the case forces itself upon the mind, when in modern instances it is found, that these migrations or irruptions occur contemporaneously with an evident and extensive derangement of the carth's organism, and the prevalence of epidemic disorders and rare diseases.
coast of Norway: for several years after, none were taken. These events were contemporaneous with violent earthquakes there. In 1790, shads were so abundant at New York, that 14,000 were caught at a single draught; whilst in 1796 all the shad taken there were thin and sickly, and could not be kept. This was a time of violent fever and pestilence in New York. In 1775, whales and cod were killed off the American coast during the great earthquake. All the oysters at Wellfleet also, at that time, became sickly or died. Similar facts are stated of the plague in 1665. (The authorities for the above facts are given by Dr. Webster.) In 1833 a great irruption of bears occurred in Canada, supposed to have been occasioned by a want of fish in their usual haunts (Quebec Paper); and in 1817 a similar irruption took place in Russia and Kamtschatka in immense numbers, attributed to the same cause. ( An. Reg.) In 1827 the coast about Rye was covered with dead and stupified fish. In 1830 a similar case happened off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts: dog-fish were numerous amongst them, and conger-eels. (M. N. H.) Sir. W. Hamilton, describing the earthquakes in Calabria in 1783, says that cicirelli, fish usually at the bottom of the sen, were then taken at the surface in such abundance as to be eaten by the common people ; and that all fish were taken in greater abundance and much more casily since the earthquakes. (See P. T. vol 73.) The same writer, describing the eruption of Vesuvius in 1794, mentions a similar fact off Resina. (P. T. 1795.) Mr. Wright found a half-dead and stupified sword-fish near Graham's Island in 1831. (Penny Mag. 114.) In 1731, during the great eruption of Lancerote, all the banks and shores were covered with dead and dying fish, some kinds not seen before. In 1775, when the fish died off the American coast, the coasts of Sumatra were covered with dead and dying fish thrown up by the sea daily, principally the mullet and cata fish ; this lasted a month or more, and was contemporaneous with sickness in the island, and a dense fog, (the known concomitant of earthquakes,) and drought. (Marsden in P. T.) In Feb. 1835, during the tremendous convulsions off the coast of Chili, the whole of the whales, fish, and fowls, were driven away. The earthquakes extended 600 miles from land. Such a scarcity of whales, fish, and fowl was never before experienced by the oldest inhabitant: and this was attributed to the earthquake. In the same year, when Vesuvius was also in eruption, the oysters in the Lucrine Lake nearly all perished ; and fish commonly die in the lakes many miles distant, during an eruption. The cause probably is, the disengagement of mephitic vapours, which destroy the fish that are suddenly involved in them, or that have no room to escape, and drive others away to better spots where they are safe. “They often abandon the banks where they have appeared for centuries, and appear in places where they were never before kuown." (Webster.) The Kamtschatka fishermen, therefore, observing such phenomena as earthquakes, &c. contemporaneous with the migrations of mice, and seeing that fish also are scarce then, rightly conclude that when the mice return, the fish will also return.
# Kuhn in the “ Bulletin de Férussac." B. tone 21, p. 133. 9. VOL. XX. NO. XI.
The first example which I shall adduce, is that afforded by the year A.D. 1120. In that year (a case particularly in point) Judea was overrun by locusts and mice. Now in 1112 there was a severe plague in Europe, and in 1113 Hecla erupted; tempests occurred of excessive character; drought, and pestilential epidemics followed. In 1114, Syria and a great part of the East were desolated by earthquakes, whilst drought was experienced universally. In Nov. 1115, Antioch was nearly swallowed up. In 1116 many places were violently shaken; and in 1117 all Italy also. In 1117 swarms of locusts devoured the vegetation about Jerusalem. In 1118 and 1119 earthquakes were frequent and violent. In 1120 earthquakes shook Italy, succeeded in after years by famine, drought and pestilence, which latter in 1115 also destroyed much cattle. The appearance of mice at this period was, therefore, in connexion with earthquakes and pestilence. *
The next example is that of the year 1580. Stow, in his Chronicle, (p. 689,) says that during this year, there appeared at South Minster, in Dansey hundred, Essex, in the month of November, an infinite number of mice, &c. &c. Maitland, also, in his History of London, states, that in addition to Essex, Kent was also ravaged by mice, which were so numerous, that the herbage was destroyed.
Now the contemporaneous phenomena fully bear out the assertion of their connexion.t In the year 1579 Etna was in eruption, and for ten years previously pestilence had ravaged and desolated Europe and Asia. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, inundations, tempests, and the occurrence of unusual animals, marked this pestilential period. A new disease had broken out in Moravia ;I and the assizes at Oxford had been broken up by a sudden damp or pestilential vapour, that smothered almost all in court. Full 500 persons were killed by this pestilence, which was not infectious nor contagious. $ In June 1580 began an epidemic influenza in Sicily, which reached Venice and Constantinople in August, Hungary and Saxony in September, Norway in November, and Sweden and Russia in December: England was also ravaged. At the same time a most destructive plague broke out in Egypt; and from November 1580 to July 1581, there died more than 500,000 persons. This plague also visited France the same year, destroying in Paris alone 40,000 persons, and in Laon 6000. | A murrain amongst cattle in England also occurred this year. Earthquakes were frequent also. They were very powerful in Belgium, Cologne, the Mediterranean, and England. Great storms also occurred, and violent agitations and swelling of the sea. ** In 1581 the earthquakes continued, especially in Kent and Yorkshire ;tt and in the two following years, especially in 1583, when plague appeared in London, Germany, and Holland, the same phenomena returned. II So far, then, as this example goes, the case of 1580 parallels that of “the mice of Philistia ;" for the
• The authorities are Knighton, Magdeburg Chron., Short, Baronius, Muratori, (Analista Saxo. Sicard Petrus Diaconus,) Webster.
+ In 1574 there was a most remarkable display of Aurora Borealis, fo!lowed, as since, by violent earthquakes. (Gemma.) | De Thou. § Stowe's Chronicle, p. 681. || Riverius, lib. 17.
De Thou. ** De Thou, Short, and Riverius. *t Baker's Chronicle. 11 Short and Maitland.
pestilence reached England about the time the mice appeared, and the murrain among the cattle succeeded.
The next example I shall adduce is that of the year 1660. “In the month of November last, 1660," says the author of the “Annus Mirabilis,"* (part 1, p. 44) in some parts of Norfolk were such multitudes of meddow-mice, that in many hundred acres together, one could hardly set down his foot without treading on them. They did eat up the roots of the grass; and in one Mr. Spelman's ground, as himself confest, they have spoiled him so much grass, as used to keep 130 fat cattle: he feared also he should be damnified by them 3001. in a field of coleseed.” Now the year 1660 was marked by the occurrence in England of whirlwinds, tempests, hail-storms, hurricanes, swarms of flies, spiders, unusual warmth in October and November, violent agitations of the sea; earthquakes in Leicestershire, Rutland, &c.; and a shower of ashes about Chesterfield, which last was doubtless volcanic dust, as there was about the time a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Vesuvius also erupted in 1660, and earthquakes and tremendous tempests shook and ravaged France and America as well as England. The years 1658 and 1659 were also marked by sickness and mortality, both in Europe and America, and the following 1661, from January to December, the whole of Europe was perpetually shaken by earthquakes. I In November 1660, earthquakes occurred in Switzerland, and continued from the 1st of that month till the 5th of December. $ Dr, Webster has observed, that “in England all diseases assumed a new violence, as early as in 1660 preparatory to the great plague.”ll And certain it is, that this period was most prolific in diseases of a malignant kind “ in different and distant parts of the world.” The wonderful coincidence of phenomena, terrestrial and atmospheric, during the period of the great plague in London, will be duly noticed under another head.
Sufficient has been stated to shew, that the irruption of mice in 1660 occurred at a time of earthquake and pestilence, when all nature was
befalling divers persons, according as they
all which have happened within the
repent and turn to the
ed up amongst us.
Printed in the year 1661. + Trans. Roy. Soc. Neal's New England. Mem. Amer. Acad. Epidemic Diseases. # Id. and Bertrand.
§ Bertrand. || History of Epidemic and Pestilential Disorders, vol. 1, p. 312.