Today I traveled to England by The Post Boy dated April 17, 1716. I found a most intriguing report from Genoa, “On the 22d, about Eight in the Evening, we had a great Shower of Rain colour’d like Blood, which lasted above two Hours, and was follow’d with dreadful Thunder and Lightning, which struck People with a general Fright; and the more, because nine Persons were kill’d, and twelve wounded by it, in the Suburbs of San Pietrod’ Arena. It was very calm over Night; but the next Morning there arose such a furious Storm, that many Houses along the Sea-Coast were blown down…”.
I know for certain that I would not have wanted to experience those storms!
It can be easy to understand the limits of astronomy prior to our modern age when you read a report like the one found in “The Bath Chronicle” from England, June 14, 1787, which reports an observation by one of the more noted astronomers of the era. It begins: “Our great astronomer Mr. Herschel has lately discovered three volcanoes in the moon. The principal one, which is now burning, ejects great quantities of smoke and lava…” (see image).
Today, by the means of The Edinburgh Advertiser dated March 7, 1766, I traveled to Scotland where I found that they received a letter from Bristol dated March 1st containing a report of a premature celebration in England of the repeal of the Stamp Act. Although the repeal was official on March 16, early readings in Parliament of the repeal bill gave notice that it would happen soon. “Never was joy more general or citizens hearts more sensibly touched than ours on Monday last on hearing the favourable turn of the American affairs. The bells throughout the city rang incessantly…”