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ACCOUNT OF HECLA,
There is scarcely a part of this great island but bears the most striking marks of the effects of subterraneous fires, though the more dreadful eruptions of later years have been confined to its southern and eastern quarters. Not only in the loftiest mountains, but even in the plains and vallies, the remains of extinguished craters arrest the attention of the traveller, and the tracts of lava which he frequently meets with are so extensive, that it not uncommonly happens that an Icelandic summer's day, however considerable its length, does not allow sufficient time to traverse one of them in its greatest extent. Among the numerous volcanoes, Hecla, from the frequency of its fires, from its vicinity to the most populous part of the island, and from its situation that renders it visible to ships sailing to Greenland and North America, has been by far the most celebrated among foreign countries; nor does it seem to have been considered of less importance at home, having attracted to such a degree the notice of the native historians, that its several eruptions, subsequently to the colonization of the island (for it is supposed that many had taken place previously), have been inserted in the chronicles of the country. Upon this subject, however, the different annalists are far from being agreed, some, according to Povelsen and Olafsen, who speak only of the principal ones, mentioning no more than eleven, and others only sixteen; while these authors say that, after the most attentive researches, they can speak with confidence to twenty-two, without reckoning several, which, though enumerated by other writers, they regard as uncertain, thinking that the same eruption may have been counted more than once, from its having
lasted above a year, or its having begun in winter and ceased the following spring; and also without including the less important discharges, that have not issued from the volcano itself, but from some of the hillocks or beds of lava about it; though these in reality have a right to be included, as having originated from Hecla, whose fire passing through subterraneous channels has found vent in different places. Leaving this question undecided, I confine myself to Arngrim Jonas, who, in his Brevis Commentarius de Islandia *, relates the first to have taken
* This account does not exactly agree with that given by Von Troil, who mentions eruptions of Hecla, in 1374, 1390, and 1436.—The dates of the eruptions of and Vesuvius have also been recorded, and, in the uncertainty of their periods, resemble what 1 find respecting Hecla.—They are as follows:
Mount Mtna—before the christian sera, four;—in the years 3325, 3538, 3554, 3843.—After Christ twentyseven—1175, 1285, 1321, 1323, 1329, 1408, 1530, 1536, 1537, 1540, 1545, 1545, 1554, 1556, 1566, 1579, 1614, 1634, 1636, 1643, 1669, 1682, 1689, 1692, 1747. 1755, 1766.
Mount Vesuvius;—after Christ—79, 203, 472, 512, 685, 993, 1036, 1043, 1048, 1136, 1506, 1538, (tiw