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Earthquake of 1727

A substantial earthquake occurred at Boston on October 29, 1727. Although earthquakes occur infrequently in the northeast, there have been several significant earthquakes during the past 400 years. In the early days of the colony, natural disasters were generally interpreted as acts of God, brought about by the sins of its inhabitants. The following article is quoted from the November 3, 1727 Weekly News-Letter, describing the surprising event at Boston:

"The night after the last Lord's Day about 40 minutes after 10, in a calm & serene hour, the town was ... [suddenly] extremely surprised with the most violent shock of an earthquake that has been known among us. It came with a loud noise like thunder. The earth reel'd & trembled to a great degree. The houses rock'd & crackl'd as if they were tumbling into ruins. Many of they inhabitants were wakened out of their sleep, with the utmost astonishment: and others affrighted run into the streets for safety. Thro' the Goodness of GOD, the shock continued but about 2 or 3 minutes: and tho' some damage was done in the houses; yet none of the people received any bodily injury. For several times in the morning, there were heard some distant rumblings; and some fainter shocks were felt. But since that, the Earth, has been quiet; and tho' the minds of the people are yet greatly and justly affected."

Follow-up articles about the natural disaster were published in the November 10, 1727 Weekly-Newsletter. First a notice about the earthquake being felt in Connecticut, second an advertisement for Cotton Mather's book Phenomena Apocalyptica, and then an advertisement for a pamphlet about the earthquake. The following relates to the shaking in Connecticut:

"We are inform'd that the late dreadful earthquake that we had here the night between the 29th & 30 of Octob. last, was also at Guildford in Connecticut Colony, which is 160 miles from this place; it was about 10 a-Clock, and was so violent that it shook down a chimney, threw open a door of a ministers house, toll'd a bell, remov'd blocks in a chimney corner, and a chest about the floor, and shook the houses to a great degree: the shock lasted about a minute."

And an advertisement for a book or pamphlet about the earthquake: "Just Published, A Composure of remarks, upon the tremendous EARTHQUAKE that shook New England: in the night between the 29th and 30th of October; some Account of it's extent and progress and effect; and a brief touch upon what the Country has formerly in a lesser degree suffered in that kind; and an epigram of the famous Mr. Peter Bulkly [Concord Minister, 1630s] on one such Occurrence. Together with a copy of the Instructive and Awak'ning SPEECH made by Rev. Cotton Mather to the inhabitants of Boston, who assembled the next morning in a very great congregation for the proper exercise of religion on such a Solemn Occasion. Published for the benefit of the whole country, which yet seems at times to be shaken. Sold by Samuel Kneeland at his shop in King Street."

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