THURSDAY’S ECLIPSE OF THE SUN.
The sky being beautifully clear, the eclipse was perfectly seen in all parts of the country. In Some parts of the country a snow storm prevailed, but about the time of the eclipse it cleared off. In South Wales the sky was also clear, and a thin veil of light clouds passing before the sun, serving instead of a smoked glass, allowed the progress of the eclipse to be observed with the naked eye. The diminution of light, as we on Thursday intimated would be the case, was very slight. About half-past twelve, when the eclipse was at its height, a yellowish tinge was given to the atmosphere, and this gradually diminished, until in about an hour all traces of the obscuration were at an and.
(from our own correspondent.)
The darkening of the sun, by means of the eclipse which took place to-day about noon, is naturally suggestive of those other apocalyptic signs-the wan and rumours of wan, the distress of nations, men withering away for fear because of the noise of the roaring of the sea and of the waves, and so forth-occurring more or less all around us, appallingly in France, ominously on its borders (as, for example, at this very moment in Luxemburg), threateningly at St. Petersburg and at Washington; here in regard to the Alabama claims, there in reference to the neutrality of the Euxine one can only read the signs of the times very gravely indeed, and recognise in them one and all, at the east, an awful significance. Occurrences equally astounding have, of coarse, come to pass before now repeatedly. The siege of Jerusalem, for example, was one of the most portentous events in the history of the human race, particularly followed, as it was, by the literal fulfilment in its regard of the detailed prophecy of the doom reserved for the holy city-the prophecy uttered by lips no less sacred than those of the world’s Redeemer. The total destruction of two fair cities marked yet another of these marvellous epochs, when the dust and ashes and molten lava vomited from! Vesuvius swallowed up and obliterated for seventeen centuries the very site of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Nearer to our own time, during the wonderful epoch when the eighteenth was lapsing into the nineteenth century, there was the simply unparallelled political outburst of the great French Revolution, followed immediately afterwards by the marvellous wars of the Great Napoleon, in which a hero of modern times vied, in his achievements, with the history of the greatest conquerors and lawgivers of antiquity- with Caesar and Justinian, and Alexander, and Hannibal, and Lycurgus, and Charlemagne. The peculiarity of the portents now visible all around is their cumulative character and their overwhelming consequences. Never has the pride of an Empire been so abruptly or so completely abased as that of France. Never have such serried armies been swept away more entirely like autumn leaves before the blast of a whirlwind. Warlike implements of destruction have never been more numerous or more devastating than all the varieties of their terrible arms of precision. It is very recently that a tidal wave, of the like of which there is no record, swept from the northern to the southern hemisphere. It was about the very date, nay, was probably the proximate cause of that amazing wave (by the rolling onward of which one of the southern islands was almost submerged) that an earthquake swept along the seaboard of South America, strewing with the ruins of cities the whole of the Peruvian border of the Pacific. Writing on the day of the great eclipse – the greatest eclipse of the sun that can occur for tho next thirty years, namely, during the continuance of the present century – I am almost by necessity driven into these reflections, particularly now when wars and rumours of wars are filling the cars and firing the imagination of the world in so many different directions. It is not I who am an alarmist, it is the epoch itself that is so very startling and astounding.
Western Mail, 1870