to Mr. Fish.
Quito, Ecuador , November 12, 1873. (Received December 18.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that on Monday night last, at 11 o’clock, this city was shaken by a severe earthquake, which, in point of duration and force, surpassed any other since the fearful casualty of 1868. Such abject terror as was displayed by a large portion of the populace was incomprehensible, except as evincing a bitter and bloody experience in the past. Considerable property was destroyed, and it is feared that the beautiful, but already desolated, province of Imbabura has been again subjected to waste and havoc. All the bells in the city rang lustily with the shock.
As I am still very lame from my tedious and painful attack of inflammatory rheumatism, I was unable to leave my bed, though my house rocked like a vessel on a stormy sea, and I never remember to have been more vividly interested in getting into the open air.
I believe, from what I am informed, that by far the greater portion of the inhabitants spent the night in the streets and plazas, many of them with prayers and lamentations.
The movement of an earthquake is certainly a most unpleasant sensation, and as renewed shocks are hourly expected, there may be soon a repetition of the untold horrors of Iberra and Otovalo, so wofully smitten five years ago.
I have, &c.,