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MayhemPost-War Crime and Violence in Britain, 1748-53$
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Nicholas Rogers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300169621

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300169621.001.0001

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Fire from Heaven: The London Earthquakes of 1750

Fire from Heaven: The London Earthquakes of 1750

(p.89) 4 Fire from Heaven: The London Earthquakes of 1750

Nicholas Rogers

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the London earthquakes of 1750. During a particularly stormy, turbulent spring, full of northern lights and gale-force winds, London experienced two earth tremors, the first in February and the second exactly a month later. These tremors toppled a few teacups and dislodged a few chimneys, but no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. Even so, some 40 pamphlets and poems recorded the event and sought to make sense of it, some offering naturalistic explanations of the quakes, others providential. The line of argument, that the earthquakes were a providential sign to Britons to repent their ways and recapture the true spirit of religion before God delivered a harsher punishment, typified the sermons which hit the press in the aftermath of the shocks.

Keywords:   London, earthquake, God, gale-force winds, tremors

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