partly disintegrated by the thermal waters, that have produced all these disasters which we now know have been greater in the neighborhood of the points where these springs are most active and most abundant. Casamicciola, where the hydro-thermal activity of the island is concentrated, has been destroyed forever, for prudence will demand that it never be rebuilt. A single house remains standing in the midst of that disorder of ruins and that accumulation of dead bodies that now cover the site of a watering-place once so prosperous and so thronged. The city of Ischia itself has suffered severely; Loco Ameno exists no more; Forio is almost in ruins; Porto d'Ischia has also been very much tried; and we might say that there is not one of those picturesque villas, hung upon the mountain-side, or hidden in the verdure of the valleys, that has not been damaged; and the number of victims buried under the mass of ruins will probably never be fully ascertained.
We shall have to go very far back in the history of the Neapolitan volcanoes to find an example of another such catastrophe. Since Herculaneum and Pompeii were buried under a cover of ashes and lava, the most recent great disaster we can at all compare with the destruction of Ischia is that of Potenza, which, in December, 1857, cost the lives of more than ten thousand persons. This was in Calabria—that is, in one of the provinces between Vesuvius and Etna, which have frequently been subjected to terrible disturbances.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.
THE question is sometimes asked us as to the time of year we like the best. To my mind, the spring is the most delightful; for Nature then recovers from the apathy of winter, and stirs herself to renewed life. The leaves grow, and the buds open, with a suggestion of vigor delightful to behold; and we revel in this ever-renewed life of Nature. But this can not always last. The leaves reach their limit; the buds open to the full, and pass away. Then we begin to ask ourselves whether all this display has been in vain, or whether it has led to a bountiful harvest.
So this magnificent country of ours has rivaled the vigor of spring in its growth. Forests have been leveled, and cities built, and a large
- Vice-Presidential Address delivered before Section B, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, August 15, 1883. Abridged for The Popular Science Monthly.