Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/796

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the great variety of decomposition products which the different species of bacteria produce, we can see ahead a great development m the varieties of cheese. Who can tell what may he the numerous varieties of cheeses produced when our cheese-makers have learned to ripen their product with pure cultures of different species of bacteria, instead of depending as they do now upon "wild" species which get into the cheese by accident from the milk!


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THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE OF PORT ROYAL.

By Colonel A. B. ELLIS.

THE popular notion of the great catastrophe which overtook the city of Port Royal, Jamaica, in the year 1692, is that the earth yawned open, taking in the unfortunate city, as it were at one gulp, and that the next minute the sea flowed several fathoms deep over the spot where it had stood. Connected with this notion is the belief, which has been sedulously inculcated by several generations of religious writers, that the catastrophe was a signal instance of divine wrath; that, in fact, the city was swallowed up on account of the desperate wickedness of its inhabitants — the buccaneers and their associates. It is somewhat strange that in this age of investigation and research no one should have yet come forward to dispel some of the illusions with which ignorance and superstition have clothed this great disaster; for we may confidently affirm that the earth did not yawn open and swallow up the town of Port Royal, which was destroyed in a perfectly natural and comprehensible manner; and to those persons who profess to be exponents of divine motives we may point out that Port Royal was not overwhelmed when it was the resort of the buccaneers and the dissolute and profligate of both sexes, but at least fifteen years after these gentry had been expelled from Jamaica, and had removed their headquarters to the French portion of Hispaniola.

The former city of Port Royal stood where the present town now stands, at the western extremity of the long tongue of sand, called "The Palisades," which incloses the harbor of Kingston on the southern side. Its area in 1692 was much the same as it is now; for, except on the northern side, where the church buoy marks the site of the submerged cathedral, the action of the tides has in a great measure repaired the damage committed by the earthquake. The accompanying map will enable the reader to see its situation and surroundings at a glance.

The sand-spit, some nine miles in length, called "The Palisades," at the extremity of which Port Royal stands, owes its existence to