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Historical account of discoveries and travels in North America ; including the United States, Canada,… Murray, Hugh, 1779-1846 1829

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Author of Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Africa, Asia, &c.
Illustrate» fcg a jiflag of $otti) 'EmtvUs.
1829. K
Oliver & Boyd, Printers. ADVERTISEMENT.
The following Historical Account of Discoveries in
North America, including a View of the Actual State
of that Continent, is oh the same plan with the former works of the Author on Discoveries in Africa
and in Asia. These works having been favourably
received, he has been led to believe that the present
one might be equally acceptable to those readers who
take an interest in the progress of geographical discovery and the present state of the world.
The series of bold adventure by which the coasts
of North America were discovered and its colonies
founded ; the daring attempts to find a Northern Passage by its arctic shores ; the unparalleled growth and
extending power of the United States ; with the openings which America affords to our emigrant population,—all these circumstances conspire to render that
continent an object of peculiar interest. VI
In regard to the execution of these volumes, the
Author has only to say, that neither research nor
exertion has been spared, in order that they may
merit, in at least an equal degree, that measure of
public approbation which was bestowed on those
similar works by which they have been preceded. CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
CHAPTER I.—On supposed Early Discoveries op
General Statement of the Question, 5.—Absence of authentic
Records, 6.—Probabilities, 7-~Mode of ancient Navigation,
ib.—Different Modes in which Vessels might have reached
America, 10.—The  Carthaginians, the  Saracens,  11.—The
Welsh under Madoc, 12.—The Scandinavians, 13 Voyages
to Vinland,  14—Eric, Leif, Thorvald, Thorfin, &c, 15.—
. Vinland not America, 19.—What Country Vinland is, 21	
Voyages of the Zeni, 28.—Estotiland, 30.—Estotiland not
America, 32 What Country Estotiland is, 33.
CHAP. II.—On the Origin op the Inhabitants of
General Statement of the Question, 37.—Whether all Men were
• derived from one Original, 38.—Arguments for this Opi-
• nion, 39.—Action of the Sun on the Human Skin, 41.—Form
.and Colour of the Americans, 44.—Various Causes affecting
it, 46.—White Nations in America, 49.—Various Theories
respecting the Peopling of America, 51.—Imagined Resem- V1U
blancé between the Americans and Jews; 52.—Acosta, 53.—
Grotius, 54.—Probable Quarter whence America was peo-
. pled, 54.—Question whether Colonists might come from any
other Quarter, 55.—Supposed Resemblances between the
Languages of America and those of the other Continents, 57-
CHAP. I.—Early Voyages to the American Coast.
Discovery of North America, 61.—John and Sebastian Cabot,
62.—Various Accounts of their Voyage, 65.—Ponce de Leon,
Discovery of Florida,' 7L—Verazzani, his Voyages along the
American Coast, 74.—His Tragical Fate, 80 Cartier, 81.—
Discovers the Gulf of St Lawrence, 84.—Montreal, 87-—Roberval, 89;
CHAP. II.—Spanish Expeditions into Florida.
Florida becomes kùown as Part of the Contaient, 91.—Expe-
- dition of Pamphilo Narvaez, 92—War with tbe Indians; 97-
—Various Aïdventurés, 101.—AWè&o Nuhez reaches the Gfilf
of Mexico, 114.—Expedition of Fernando de Soto, lift.—
Various Countries through which he passes, 117.—His Return, 154—His Death, 155.
CHAP. Ill—French Expeditions into Florida.
Expedition of Ribaut, 162.—Of Laudoriifiêre, 164.—Of Menen-
dez, 166—Dreadful Catastrophe, 169.—Expédition of De
Gourgues, 173.—His Success, 175.—Return to France, 176. contents.
CHAP. IV.—Discovery and Settlement of Virginia.
Rise of Maritime Enterprise in England, 178.—Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, 180.—His Arrival at Newfoundland, 184.—Fate of
his Expedition, 187—Sir Walter Raleigh, 192.—Sends an
Expedition under Amadas and Barlow, 193.—Sir Richard
Greenville, 196—Lane, 197—White, 202.—Gosnold, 205—
Captain John Smith, 208.—His Voyages and Adventures,
211.—The Princess Pocahuntas, 215.—Progress of the Settlements, 223.—Conflicts with the Indians, 228.—View of the
Government, Religion, &c. of the Native Indians, 230.
CHAP. V.—Discovery and Settlement of New England.
First Discovery by Gosnold, 236.—Voyage of Challons, 237—
Captain John Smith, 239.—Unsuccessful Attempts, 241.—
Religious Persecution in England, 243.—The Brownists,
245.—Their Colony at New Plymouth, 246.—Persecution of
the Puritans, 247-—Numerous Emigrations, 248.—Settlement
of Salem and Boston, 249.—First Arrangements of the Colony, 254.—Schism occasioned by Williams, 259.—The Red
Cross, ib.—Rise of the Antinomian Sect, 260.—Mrs Hutchinson, 261.—Violent Ferment in the Colony, 265.—Proceedings
against the Antinomians, 268.—The Anabaptists, 276.—The '
Quakers, 278.—Accounts of their Conduct, 279.—Violent
Proceedings against them, 284.—Invasion of the Colonial
Charter, 289.—Andros Governor, 290.—Revolution of 1688,
292—Alarm about Witchcraft, 293—Trials, 296—Singular
Confessions, 297.—Dreadful State of the Colony, 306.—Close
of the Proceedings, 309.—The Native Indians, 311.—Dreadful Wars with them, 313 Measures taken for their Conversion, 316.
CHAP. VI.—Settlement of the other Colonies.
Secondary States of New England, 322.—Connecticut, 323.- S3i
Rhode Island, 326 New Hampshire, 327—New York, settled by the Dutch, 329.—Transference to England, 331.—
Maryland, 337-—Carolina, 340.—Its Constitutions, 342.—
Various Vicissitudes,.344.—Georgia, 348.—Pennsylvania, 351.
—Account of Penn, 352 Treaty with the Indians, 355.—-Its
rapid Increase, 357-
CHAP. VII.—Settlement op the French in Canada and
Plan of Colonizing Canada, 360.—La Roche, 362.—Disastrous
Issue, 363.—De Monts, 364 Champlain, 365 Marquette
and Jolyet, 372—La Salle, 378 His Death, 398.—Hennepin, ib.—Lahontan, 402.—Charlevoix, 404.
CHAP. VIH.—The American Indians.
Views of Savage Life, 405—The Five Nations, 407-—Form of
Policy, 408—War, 409.—Declaration, 413—March, 414—
Surprise, 415 Return, 416—Treatment of Captives, 417-—
Negotiations, 419.—Religious Belief and Observances, 420.—
Arts, 428.—Amusements, Music, Dancing, .430.—-Domestic
Life, 431.—General Decline and Disappearance of these
Tribes, 435 Its Causes, 436.
CHAP- IX.—America before and after the Revolution.
General Progress of the Colonies, 437-—Comparative State before and after the Revolution, 438.—Kalm, Burnaby, Smith,
Chastellux, Rochefoucault, 440.—Progress of Agriculture,
441.—Of Commerce, 446.—Society and Manners, 447.—Im-
bittered Hostility of the two Parties, 453.
CHAP. X.—Settlement of the Western Territory.
Difficulties of crossing the Alleghany,  Daniel  Boon, 458.	 contents.
Kentucky, 460—Henderson, 461—Smith, 463.—Dreadful
Wars with the Indians, 465.—Settlement and Progress of
Kentucky and Tennessee, 467-—Of Ohio, 469.—Indiana, 473.
—Illinois, Michigan, 474—Mississippi, 475.—Alabama, 476.
CHAP. XL—Discoveries in the Regions beyond the
Acquisition of Louisiana, 477-—Claim on the Countries West of
the Mississippi, 478.-—Expeditions sent to explore them, ib.
—Pike to the Head of the Mississippi, 479.—To the Head of
the Arkansaws, 483.—His Disasters, 486—Return, 487-—
Expedition of Lewis and Clarke, 488.i»-They cross the Rocky
. Mountains, 497-—Reach the Pacific, 506.—Long and James
to the South of the Missouri, 510.—Cass and Schoolcraft up
the Mississippi, 517.—Long and Keating to St Peter's River
and the Lake of the Woods, 520.  HISTORICAL ACCOUNT
America, of the three quarters of the world that
lie beyond the limits of Europe, possesses the strongest claim upon the attention of the natiqns of that
continent. It has had the most powerful influence in
calling forth their energies, and modifying their destiny. The moment, in which that mysterious veil
was lifted up, which had so long covered from their
eyes this other half of the world which they inhabited, was the most memorable in their annals. It
was a moment mighty in itself, and big with a long
train of event and adventure. America was every
way a different world from that to which the eyes of
its discoverers had been familiar. Nature appeared in savage and primeval grandeur, without a trace
of those arrangements of art and culture, which
give to Europe its form and aspect. The eternal forest, not planted by(!$iuman hand, covered almost its
entire surface.    Every feature existed on a bold and
1 2
sublime scale. The mountains were more extended,
more lofty, and subject to volcanic action more terrible, than any yet known to exist in the old world.
Rivers, rolling across the entire breadth of the continents, held a course so immense, and poured such a
profusion of waters, that streams which appeared
great in Europe ranked here only as creeks or rivulets. Man in America was a still more singular object than the region which he occupied. The man
of nature was seen ranging through his primeval forests, a stranger to art, to science, to even the rudest
forms of social existence. Even in the few favoured
regions where civilization had already begun her career, it had taken a direction, and assumed forms,
essentially different from those Which the old world
any where exhibited.
As the new world thus presented so many objects
calculated to arrest the attention and enlarge the
ideas of its visitants, it afforded also peculiar excitements to their energy and enterprise. Being found
thinly peopled by savage, and, as compared to their
invaders, defenceless tribes, the discovering nations
established among themselves, certainly an iniquitous
law, by which every part of America was held to belong to the European by whom it was first discovered
and occupied. The early prizes were singularly brilliant. Private individuals, often of humble birth,
made the conquest of empires, whose treasures
eclipsed even the boasted wealth of the East. As
kingdom after kingdom opened to the view, the sanguine hope was always excited, that a new adven-
titrer would arrive at something still more splendid INTRODUCTION.
than had rewarded the search of his predecessors.
Although these hopes proved ultimately illusory and
even disastrous, yet they impelled to high exertions,
and developed great characters, for the display of
which America became one of the grand modern
theatres. .asrr
Through the agency of these causes, in the course
of a few centuries, a new form has been impressed on
the whole of the western continent. It has been
filled with European colonists, before whom the natives have disappeared, or sought shelter in its ruder
and remoter tracts. The native race of wandering
savages has been succeeded by another, the most
civilized and improved on the globe. This new
race, by transporting into America the arts and industry of Europe, fit its immense surface to yield a
mass of subsistence, and to support a population, incalculably greater than was formerly possible, or than
yet exists. Its people are, therefore, in that state of
rapid increase which always ensues when the means
of subsistence are ample. There is every presumption, that, in a very few centuries, the whole of
the western world will be as highly peopled as
Europe. America will then be the most powerful
and flourishing portion of the globe ; and the arts and
improvements of- life, transported from Europe, will
be carried, perhaps, to higher perfection than they
have ever attained in their parent region. At present, America, growing with such rapidity, presents
the spectacle of constant and cheerful change ;—new
countries rising, new cities founding, desert after desert converted into the abode of culture and habitation. INTRODUCTION.
Before beginning to trace the progress of American discovery, two preliminary questions arise, which
have excited the natural curiosity and interest of the
modern world :—Was America known in any degree,
or through any channel, before the days of Columbus ?—-and what was the origin of the nations by
whom it was found inhabited, thinly indeed, but
throughout its whole extent? The questions are
closely connected, and have generally been treated in
combination ; but as they are materially different, we
shall here endeavour successively to collect the means
of forming a judgment relative to each. SUPPOSED DISCOVERIES OF AMERICA.
General Statement of the Question.—Absence of authentic Re-
cords.—Probabilities.—Mode of ancient Navigation.—Different
Modes in which Vessels might have reached America.—The Carthaginians.—The Saracens.—The Welsh under Modoc.—The
Scandinavians.—Voyages to Vinland—Eric, Leif, Thorvald,
Thorfin, fyc.—Vinland not America.—What Country Vinland
is.—Voyages of the Zeni.—Estotiland.—Drogio.—Icaria.—
Estotiland not America.—What Country Estotiland was.
It occurs at once as a curious and interesting question, whether the ancients, who made such researches
into all the kingdoms of nature, and from whom we
derive the principles of almost every other knowledge,
remained in profound and perpetual ignorance of that
vast portion of the globe, which lay beyond the Atlantic? Did no Greek or Phenician navigator ever
venture across that formidable gulf ?—Did they never for a moment succeed in lifting that awful veil,
which covered from their view the vast world of the
Upon this subject volumes have been written, the
(31 6
authors of which have made an immense display of
erudition. They have ransacked the records of every
naval state in antiquity, to examine whether they
have or have not undertaken this grand expedition.
These discussions have served no purpose but that
for which, perhaps, they were mainly intended,—of
displaying the erudition of their authors. They have .
all been obliged to begin and end with the simple
fact, that the records of antiquity contain upon this
subject absolutely nothing. There are distinct notices of voyages undertaken along the eastern and
western coasts of Africa, the southern of Asia, and
the northern of Europe ; but there is not the faintest rumour of one who directed his daring keel into
the vast abysses of ocean. In the total absence of
historical document, we have left only a calculation
of probabilities. Was it or was it not probable that
some one vessel belonging to the great maritime Mediterranean states should make its way across the
Atlantic ? If we listen to some speculators, nothing
could be less difficult. To a learned professor, seated
at ease in his elbow-chair, and looking at the space
which the Atlantic occupies on a sheet-map of the
world, the crossing of it appears no very vast achievement. Very different is the lot of the mariner, who,
without guide or compass, amid the péril of tempest
and famine, must make his way across the space which
it really occupies on the surface of the globe.
Let us grapple closely with the subject. There
were only two modes in which America could have
been discovered. Either an adventurer, like Columbus, must have undertaken a voyage for that express THE ANCIENTS.
purpose, or a vessel sailing along the western coasts of
Europe must have been driven by tempest upon the
shores of the new world. Let us attempt to weigh
the probabilities in either case.
Is it likely that any voyage was undertaken and
achieved by the ancients for the discovery of America ?
Of this idea a strong refutation is certainly afforded
simply by the profound silence of antiquity. Doubtless its naval records, when compared with the
modern, are very scanty. Yet enough transpires to
show that deep interest was excited, and reiterated
efforts made, for the exploration of all the unknown
shores of the three continents. Eudoxus, Sataspes,
and Hanno, are celebrated by their attempts to
navigate the eastern and western coasts of Africa ;
Himilco and Pytheas examined the western and
northern shores of Europe; while Nearchus was
sent by Alexander to traverse the southern shores of
Asia. But there is not the least hint as if a wish or
idea had ever arisen, to inquire into the secrets of the
Atlantic deep. Such a conception was indeed altogether foreign to the genius of ancient navigation.
The vessels were constructed and equipped solely
with reference to coasting voyages. The oar was
the main instrument in producing the movement
even of the largest vessels, which were only distinguished by the numbers and successive benches of
oars. Being thus in the constant proximity of the
coast, they were not in the habit of carrying either
provisions or water for the^. whole voyage, but trusted
to obtaining them on land at short intervals. Even
the fleet of Nearchus, equipped by Alexander with all 8
the resources which Asia could furnish, could not
keep the sea for a week, without landing and obtaining supplies by the most violent means. All the
exploratory voyages, therefore, which appear to have
been anciently attempted, or even conceived, were
along coasts, and never had for their object to fathom
the depths of an unknown ocean. Unreal terrors
probably guarded that vast expanse which terminated
all the western shores of Europe and Africa ; and
the idea seems to have prevailed, that on this side
lay the dark boundaries of the universe.
It may be said, however, that though the Greeks
and Romans were not likely to undertake the voyage
to America, it lay fairer for the Carthaginians, a
much greater, maritime people, and who had extensive possessions and commerce beyond the Straits.
The deep and studied mystery which that people
threw over their naval transactions, may have shrouded for ever the knowledge of such an event from
the classic writers of Greece and Rome. Nothing,
however, either in the nautical system of the Carthaginians, or in the structure of their vessels, appears to have materially differed from the forms
common to antiquity. Amid all the depth of that
veil which they threw over their naval operations, some voyages of discovery, and even one
entire narrative, have made their way ; but not the
least hint appears as if they had ever conceived the
idea of penetrating across the ocean. All their enterprises recorded seem to have been undertaken with
a view to commerce rather than curiosity; and in
that early state of navigation,  a route which led THE ANCIENTS. 9
across a thousand miles of open sea would not have
been considered by them as a naval route.
It must not be concealed, that one, and only one,
path across an ocean appears to have been traced in
antiquity. This was effected by the Alexandrians,
in the most advanced state of their skill and enterprise, under the Roman empire. They then traced a
line across the Indian ocean from the mouth of the
Red Sea to the coast of Malabar. The voyage was
performed under the influence of a favouring monsoon, which rendered it secure and prosperous. It
was not at all by this route, however, that the Indian
coast was discovered. The circuitous voyage along
the coasts of Arabia and Persia had been followed
for ages, ere some daring sail adventured to strike
across to a coast, of which the situation was already
well known, and which was of such a great and
continuous extent, that the navigator could not fail
of arriving upon some one of its portions.
To perceive all the improbability that the discovery of America should ever have been made by
the ancients, we have only to consider the magnitude
of the efforts which it cost to Columbus, with the use
of the compass, and under a greatly-improved system of navigation. After the resources furnished
by the most powerful monarch in Europe, joined to
his own almost superhuman fortitude and enthusiasm, his undertaking met every thing short of failure.
What then would have been expected from any expedition fitted out under antique auspices ? But there
was, I think, every ground to believe that no such
expedition was ever undertaken.    The ardent ima-
gination of the Greeks was so strongly acted upon
by every thing which bore a sublime and adventurous aspect, that an enterprise of so much bolder and
more peculiar a character, than any of those of which
the fame spread so wide, could scarcely have existed,
without penetrating to them, through every veil which
distance and mystery could draw across it.
There is another hypothesis, according to which
vessels may have been reluctantly driven upon the
shores of the new world. On this subject it is
observable, that the distance from any part of the
coasts of France and Spain to America would seldom fall short of two thousand miles. I cannot forbear remarking, that these monstrous aberrations
occasioned by tempest, which occur so frequently
in the writings of maritime theorists, are excessively
rare, if they exist at all, in real navigation. Although the number of ships passing along the western coasts of Europe exceeds now, perhaps, a hundred times what it anciently was, has it ever been
known that a vessel sailing between a port of Spain,
France, or Ireland, found itself landed on the coast of
Virginia ? Let us take the much more limited space
of the German ocean. I really am not aware if there
ever was an instance in which a ship sailing along the
somewhat rough eastern coast of England and Scotland was obliged to put into a port of Denmark or
Norway. The mariner, driven before an adverse wind,
takes down every sail, opposes every obstacle, avails
himself of every interval to regain his course ; and it
seldom happens, that a wind of extreme violence
blows many days in the same direction.    The ancient THE SARACENS.
vessels, from causes already observed, were singularly ill prepared for such a fearful extent of enforced
navigation. The scanty stock of provisions and water
with which they were furnished, rendered it impossible for them to be long distant from land, without
being reduced to the most dreadful extremities.
When we consider that their reluctant progress westward would at least be retarded by their continual
efforts to return, it seems inevitable that they would
either regain their destined course or perish. Supposing that they did reach America, nearly equal
obstacles would occur to their ever returning ; and,
on the whole, it seems still more improbable that
this than the former process should have led to the
discovery of the transatlantic continent.
The Arab or Saracen conquerors, who for several
ages were the most civilized and enterprising of the
old continent, had been bred in the interior of the
Asiatic continent, and never acquired much of maritime habits. The idea of the termination of ocean in
darkness, which had only floated in the minds of the
Greeks and Romans, was formed by them into a regular creed. The whole circuit of the bounding
ocean of the earth appears in their maps under the
appellation of the " Sea of Darkness." A region to
which such a name and idea were affixed was not
likely to invite the course, even of enterprising navigators. There is, however, the record of a voyage
westward from Lisbon while that city was under the
dominion of the Saracens. It was performed by two
brothers, of the name of Almagrurim, and led to
the discovery of some islands at a considerable dis-
•I 12
tance in the West.. But Hartmann, in his edition of
Edrisi, seems to have clearly proved that these were
the Azores only, and not any portion of the West
The Welsh have a tradition of some celebrity, in
virtue of which they claim the discovery of the western world.* Amid certain dissensions which distracted the royal family of North Wales, Madoc, one of
its members, fitted out, in 1170, several vessels, and
set sail in quest of maritime adventure. Proceeding
to the westward, after a long navigation, he arrived
at a " faire and large country," in which many wonderful things were beheld. After leaving there the
greater part of his companions, he returned to Wales,
and prevailed on a number of his kindred and acquaintances to accompany him in a second expedition, which consisted of ten sail. Here authentic tradition stops, though various other tales were circulated among the people of the country.* The
narrative is so meagre, that it is difficult to found
any conclusion, unless upon the probability of the
event, which, assuredly, is very slender. These
easy and comfortable trips across the vast Atlantic
have nothing which can suggest to our minds the
Welsh navigation of the twelfth century. The little
that is said of the direction is far from pointing precisely at America ; " he sailed west, leaving Ireland
so Jar north that he came," &c. Here it is clearly
implied, that the main direction beyond Ireland was
south.      The   country   at   which   he arrived   was
* Hackluyt, iii. 1.  Powell's History of Wales, p. 196, &c. THE WELSH.—THE SCANDINAVIANS.
then mqst probably Spain ; the reaching of which,
across the bay of Biscay, was in that age no inconsiderable achievement of a young Cymric chieftain. As
for the tribes found in the interior of America speaking purer Welsh than is spoken in Wales itself, I shall
leave M. Humboldt to deal with them, finding nothing
to add to his judicious observations on that subject.*
But, if these discoveries are fanciful or fabulous,
there is one, it is said, which can no longer admit of
any reasonable doubt. The Northmen who settled
Iceland and Greenland, sailed from the latter country
to Labrador and Newfoundland, with which they had
regular intercourse, and founded settlements. Some
centuries after, a party of Friesland fishermen found
their successors in Newfoundland, where they had
built castles, founded cities, endowed libraries, and introduced all the arts of European life into a-region
formerly supposed to be the seat of unbroken and primeval barbarism.f -
As I am about to contest the established opinion
of the learned in Europe, and especially of the northern literati, upon this curious and celebrated question,
the reader must excuse a somewhat greater detail
than the limits of the work might perhaps otherwise
have warranted. It is carried on under the disadvantage of being unacquainted with the Norse languages ; but the Saga of King Olaf Tryggeson has
been translated by Peringskiold, in his edition of the
* Personal Narrative, vi. 324-6.
t Forster, Discoveries in the North, b. ii. ch. 2.    Malte Brun,
Précis  I.  La Richarderie, Bibliothèque des Voyages, i. 49, &c. 14
Heimskringla ; and Torfaeus, in his histories of Greenland and Vinland, has collected with the greatest care
all the northern traditions upon the subject. As the
statements by which I expect to overthrow this hypothesis will all be drawn from the writings of these its
most zealous supporters, there can be no room for the
suspicion of their being false or garbled.
About the end of the tenth century, the Icelanders
had begun to form settlements on the opposite coast
of Greenland. Biorn, a young Icelandic mariner, who
had employed the summer in some distant voyages, arrived at home in the end of the season, intending to
spend the winter with his father, who, however, was
found to have gone across to Greenland. The enterprising and affectionate disposition of Biorn induced
him to follow, though across a stormy sea which he
had never before traversed. For three days the voyage was prosperous ; but then the sky was overcast,
a strong wind blew from the north, and they were
tossed about for several days they knew not whither.
At length the darkness dispersed, and, after a day's
sail, they descried an unknown land covered with
woods and low hills. Biorn sailed for several days
along this coast, after which, the wind becoming fa^
vourable, he made his way back, and arrived at his
Greenland destination.*
This adventure was no sooner reported to Leif, son
of Eric Redhead, a bold and enterprising young chief,
Heimskringla (edit. Pe- THE SCANDINAVIANS. 15
than he determined upon an expedition to this newly-
discovered region. He set sail with thirty-five men,
and, following the direction pointed out by Biorn, arrived in view of the unknown land. It was rude and
rocky, with lofty mountains, whose interstices were
filled with snow. This he called Helluland, or the
land of rocks. He came next to a flat and wooded
region, which he named Markland. Sailing still onward, and favoured by a north wind, he reached a
delightful island, situated opposite to the northern
coast of the continent. The soil was fertile, the
ground covered with bushes which bore sweet berries,
and there was a river and lake amply stored with salmon and other fish. The very grass dropped dew,
sweet like honey. In this agreeable abode they
spent the winter. Their retreat was one day enlivened by the arrival of a German of the name of
Tyrker, leaping and dancing, in that state of extravagant gaiety which wine usually inspires. As his companions crowded round him to inquire the cause, he
showed them some fruits, which, from his experience
of southern countries, he knew to be grapes ; whence
the name of Vinland or Winland continued to be
given to this newly-discovered region.*
The next adventurer was Thorwald, the brother
of Leif, who, after repeated voyages, came at last to
a promontory, with which he was so much delighted
that he made a vow to fix his abode there. Just as
the settlement was forming, however, there appeared
* Torfaeus, Vinland, ch. 2.    Heimskringla, i. 335. 16
three little barks, covered with skins in the Greenland
manner, each containing three men, who, from their
diminutive size, were denominated SJerœllingers,—
% cuttings or dwarf-shoots." Sorry am I to say, that
the Norse adventurers, in the most savage and wanton manner, attacked these poor creatures, and killed
them all except one, who contrived to escape. They
were not long, however, of reaping the fruits of this
crime. As they lay buried in slumber, a voice, it is
pretended, was heard calling out,—" Awake, if you
wish to save your lives !" They awoke, and saw the
bay covered with boats, and found clouds of arrows
poured in upon them. They defended themselves
with planks and boughs of trees, and, by their superior skill in fighting, succeeded in repulsing the assailants. Thorwald, however, feeling himself mortally
wounded, gave instructions that he should be buried
upon this promontory, so as to fulfil in some shape
the vow to make it his final abode.*
Thorstein, the brother of Leif and Thorwald, not
discouraged by the too-merited fate of his kinsman,
fitted out another expedition, composed of twenty-five
followers. He encountered a violent storm, and
reached home only after being obliged to spend some
time on a desert shore. The fatigue of this voyage,
joined, probably, to a scorbutic affection, brought on
a disease which terminated his life. As Gudrid his
wife and some other friends were watching round
him, the dead man rose from his bed, and predicted,
* Torf. Vinland, ch. v.
that a person from Iceland would marry Gudrid, and
would migrate with her into Vinland. The reader
will of course believe of this only so much as may
agree with his own preconceived ideas ; but it is a
much more probable fact, that Thorfin, surnamed
Karlsefnius, did come over from Iceland, did marry
Gudrid, and with her fitted out a much larger colony
than any that had heretofore sailed for that country. It consisted of three vessels, on board of which
were upwards of a hundred emigrants, with furniture
and cattle. They reached prosperously their destination, and very opportunely found a large whale
cast ashore, which afforded ample subsistence ; and
they began to cut wood and construct habitations.
They were soon visited by a party of Skraellingers,
who seem to have had no concern whatever in the
former disastrous transactions of their countrymen.
These simple people were affrighted beyond measure
by the lowing of the bull, an animal wholly strange
to them, and, running for shelter to the cottages, were
repelled with equal terror by the strange faces with
which they found them occupied. However, the
present visitors, wiser and more humane, invited
them back, presented various articles to them unknown, and milk, which extremely delighted their
palates. Weapons were prohibited articles ; but
one of them contrived to steal a battle-axe, with
which he sportively struck one of his companions, as
he had been wont with their wooden hatchets, but was
seized with horror when it killed him on the spot. A
friend who stood by took the axe and threw it into
the sea.
VOL. I. B 18
Thorfin, in the course of several years, was enriched by this traffic, and returned home, where he lived in
some splendour. After some time, another party
resorted to Vinland, but were involved in dreadful
and bloody contentions, chiefly fomented, we lament
to find, by a lady of the name of Freidis ; but there is
Uttle temptation to follow the colony through the
dire feuds in which she involved them. In 1321,
Bishop Eric, it is said, went to Vinland ; but Tor-
faeus, instead of relating any particulars of this
voyage, gives merely the genealogy of the worthy
bishop,—a long roll of barbarous names, which afford
no edification to the reader. Indeed, from what is
elsewhere mentioned, I incline to think that this
voyage was merely contemplated, and never really
took place. Soon after, by some cause never fully
ascertained, the communication both of Greenland
and Vinland with Iceland, and the rest of the north,
entirely ceased ; and the coast of the former, on
which considerable colonies had been settled, was
lamented by Europe under the appellation of Lost
Such is an epitome of the history of Vinland.
There cannot, I think, be a question as to its being
in the main authentic. Torfaeus admits that there
are a number of particular discrepances in the different accounts ; but this is accompanied with a
general agreement, whieh, in his opinion, must have
been produced by a special interposition of Providence, in order to preserve the memory of such remarkable events. Without being able to see any
sufficient ground for Providence specially to interfere, THE SCANDINAVIANS. 19
we readily allow that this variation of particulars,
amid agreement as to essentials, tends to confirm the
authenticity of the narrative, by showing that it does
not emanate from any single or artificial source.
Even the tincture of the fabulous and supernatural,
without which the narratives could not have been
those of that age, does not detract from its genuineness. In short, I agree with all the northern writers,
that the voyages to Vinland were real voyages ; but
that Vinland was America, is a question respecting
which I entertain the greatest possible doubt.
It is by examining the details of these voyages
that the question must be decided. Biorn sets sail
from Iceland, and three days after the tempest overtakes him. We may suppose him here about midway
between Iceland and Greenland,—the distance from
which to the nearest point of Labrador, or Newfoundland, cannot be reckoned at less than thirteen
hundred miles. It is as if a vessel sailing from Ireland to Spain should be driven upon Newfoundland.
Now, I may refer to all that was formerly said as to
the doubtful occurrence, and slender probability of
such enormous aberrations occasioned by tempest.
There is no exact statement of the duration of the
tempest, although the expressions ' some or several
days'* do not suggest any very lengthened period.
In the return there is something more specific.
Biorn, after losing sight  of the last point  of the
* Aliquot dies ; Torfaeus, ch. 1.    Complures dies ;  Heimskringla, p. 328.
1 20
newly-discovered land, came, in the course of the
fourth day, in view of a coast which proved to be
that of Greenland ;. and on the evening of that day
he arrived at his father's house, on Herjolfsness. I
do not inquire if it be physically possible ;—but can
any one seriously beUeve, that Biorn, in his little
bark, could make this voyage . of twelve hundred
miles in somewhat less than four days ? The duration of the voyages immediately subsequent is not
particularly mentioned ; but the expressions employed in no case suggest any protracted or formidable
voyage.* At last we come to something very positive. Karlsefnius, who fitted out an expedition
on .a greater scale than any preceding, sailed along
the coast till he came to the cultivated extremity of
West Greenland, and then, noctem diemque (tuo degr)
ultra, nçuoigantem, he came to HeUuland. From one
point in Greenland to one point in Vinland he sailed
in one day and one night. But there is no point in
Greenland nearer to any point in Labrador, or Newfoundland, than seven hundred miles. This distance
and this period seem to place the identity of Vinland
with America beyond every range of possibility.
But it will of course be asked, If Vinland be not
America,! what country is or can it possibly be?
* Neque vero ulla itineris commemoratio facta sit donee
Vinlandiam appellerent.—Mari se committebat, cum naviganti-
bus ipsis terra ipsa se primum aperuit, quam nuper viderat Bior-
nus. This is the whole narrative of two of these voyages. Heimskringla, i. 335.
t Torfaeus, Vinland, 50. THE SCANDINAVIANS.
I think it quite evident that it is the southern part of
Greenland, separated from the Greenland of the
ancient Icelanders by that deep sound or bay on
which aU their settlements are described as situated.
The fact is, that the earliest of the series of maps
given by Torfaeus, constructed in 1570, gives Vinland, as forming one continuous continent with
Greenland, and separated only by a deep gulf. This
map was the production of Sigurdus Stephanus,
reported as a person deeply versant in the antiquities
of Iceland. It is the only one of the series which is
constructed upon purely Icelandic materials. All
the others are adjusted to the knowledge of America,
and to the theory of Vinland being America. Even
that of Thorlacius, in 1606, separates Vinland indeed;
but only by a strait of about a hundred miles in
breadth, placing it, not in the position of America,
but due south from Greenland. In both maps the
promontory of Herjolfsness, opposite to Iceland;
where the settlements began, is represented as at
once the most eastern and the most southern part of
the continent to which it belonged ; and this opinion
is stated to have generaUy prevailed. To these we
may add the very high antiquarian authority of Arn-
grim Jonas, who describes Vinland, in relation to
Greenland, as | non admodum dissita,"*—an expression difficult to translate, but which impUes the
separation to have been so small, that the countries
could scarcely be said to be separated at all.
* Specimen Historicum Islandiae, p. 154. SUPPOSED DISCOVERIES OF AMERICA.
There are two features which may be aUeged to
miUtate against this view of the subject. Forster
roundly says, that on the shortest day of winter the
sun was eight hours above the horizon. He does
not notice that Torfaeus in the body of his work
makes it only six hours, stating that the sun rose at
nine and set at three. He appends indeed a long
note, to prove that he had misunderstood the expressions of the original, and that eight hours was the real
time. I pretend not to judge on a point of Icelandic
etymology ; but, as Torfaeus frankly confesses that
this new interpretation was adopted solely with a
view of adjusting Vinland to the Estotiland of Zeno,
and both to Newfoundland, there seems ground to suspect that the first after aU was the most genuine version.
Surely, at least, we may conclude, that the words are
susceptible of the meaning first attached to them by
this learned antiquary. One of the islands to the
south of Cape FareweU, which may be that described
as having a mainland to the north, and where this
phenomenon was observed, would be in about 59
degrees, and would have a day not much shorter
than six hours, which, from the very roundness of
the number, was evidently only an approximation.
There is next the term of Vinland, or the land of
the Vine ; but this expression, though most inapplicable to this southern point of Greenland, is scarcely
more so to the opposite American coast. There is a
species of grape which is found in the colder parts of
America, and even in Canada, but never, that I
know of, in Newfoundland or Labrador. If it could
thrive there, probably it might do so in  sheltered THE SCANDINAVIANS.
situations in the most southern part of Greenland.
But it seems more likely that one of those berries,
which these northern regions yield in profusion,
was mistaken by the fancy of Tyrker for the grape.
A subsequent and more careful account preserved by
Torfaeus describes the country as producing neither
grain nor wine.*
But there is another theory which has recently obtained acceptation among the northern Uterati, and
which would no doubt change the complexion of this
question. According to Mr Eggers, whose opinion
is embraced by La Richarderief and Malte Brun,|
aU the early Greenland settlements were, not upon
the eastern coast, which faces Iceland, but upon the
western, which extends along Baffin's Bay, and faces
America. This supposition would no doubt diminish
the impossibilities above recited, though it could
never solve the voyage to America (a distance nowhere less than seven hundred unies) in one day and
one night. But this hypothesis is directly opposed
to aU Icelandic faith and tradition. By Torfaeus
himself, and in aU the series of maps copied by him,
these settlements are placed on the eastern coast ; nor
does there seem to have been ever a doubt in Iceland
upon the subject. The map of Zeno, who states
himself to have actuaUy visited Greenland, and whose
authority the present writers are far from wishing to
* Vinland, p. 51.
t Bibliothèque Universelle des Voyages, i. 46-7-
$ Précis de la Géographie, i. 24
undervalue, is equally positive to the same effect. It
seems, indeed, a very wUd supposition, that those
little barks should ' sail seven hundred mues along a
stormy coast in search of a place of settlement, which,
according to the information of Crantz and Egede,
was similar and in no respect superior to that which
they passed by.
The ancient beUef, indeed, which makes Herjolfsness the most southern point of Greenland, may be
urged in support of the opinion of Eggers ; but it is
accompanied with the beUef that it is also the most
eastern, and the conclusion, that, in that case, Greenland stretches Uttle or nothing to the south {parum
procedit ad austrum). But the point on which they
mainly rest is the north-west course which, after
coming first in view of Greenland, the vessels took in
. order to reach the place of settlement. That this
course was followed to a certain extent admits of no
doubt. That coast, when first viewed by the mariner,
was rugged and precipitous, and the surrounding sea
encumbered with masses of floating ice. But the
sailing directions quoted by Torfaeus expressly state,
that from this point the navigator had only to sail
twelve Icelandic miles (60 EngUsh) tiU he came to
the episcopal seat of Gardar. Lowenorn, sent out in
1786 to seek the lost settlements of Old Greenland,
but who unluckily never read any of the works
in which they are described, came in view of this
rugged and perilous coast ; but, instead of avoiding
it by taking the south-west direction, which had been
clearly pointed out, he stood always more to the north,
tiU, being dangerously involved in ice-islands, he was THE SCANDINAVIANS. 25
obUged to return. Lowenorn has somewhat shaken
the authority of the ancient sailing directions, by disproving one leading statement, according to which
there was a point in the voyage, where the mountains
SnowfeU in Iceland, and White-Shirt in Greenland,
were seen at the same moment.* This was clearly
proved to be an optical deception ; fully accounted
for, however, by the fact, that in sailing towards
Greenland his people had an almost continued view
of apparent land, which melted away as they approached. But if he had read Torfaeus's account of
the country- which he came to explore, he would have
found that this imagined contemporaneous vision of
SnaefeU and Huit-Serk was not accompanied with
any false estimate of the actual distance between the
two coasts. Torfaeus supposes, from this middle
point, the distance to each to be thirty-five German
mfles, making the entire distance nearly three hundred EngUsh, which agrees very exactly with Lowen-
orn's own estimate of eighty-six marine leagues (of
twenty to a degree).f
To those who attentively consider the views which
have now been given, it wiU manifestly appear, that
the Oesterbygd and the Westerbygd, the East and West
Greenland of the old Icelanders, instead of being both
on the western, were both on the eastern side of this
great peninsula. The Westerbygd was only seated
farther in the interior of the great gulf, (caUed by
* Torfaeus, Grbnland, 75, &c.    Purchas, iii. 520.
t Lowenorn, Annales des Voyages, Septem. 1826, &c. SUPPOSED DISCOVERIES OF AMERICA.
Arngrim Jonas vastus sinus) on the northern side
of which appear to have been placed aU the settlements of Old Greenland. This view exactly agrees
with the statement of the great antiquary just named,
who describes the whole of these settlements as " max-
imae continentis districtus,reUquae continentis respectu
perexiguus, in dupUcem habitationem Asturbygd et
Westurbygd, i.e. Orientalem et Occidentalem Grœnlan-
diam divisa,"—a part of this vast continent very small
in comparison of the rest. Thorlacius also, though
he separates Greenland from Vinland, gives to the
former a long coast facing the south, on which are
both the Oesterbygd and the Westerbygd, whUe he
marks our western coast as " Grœnlandia OccidentaUs
veteribus incognita,"—West Greenland unknown to
the ancients. Our division of East and West Greenland, therefore, is founded upon a much more extensive
knowledge, and has no relation to this early distribution of the Icelandic settlements.
I cannot quit this subjectwithout observing, that the
beUef, according to which a coast extending upwards
of six hundred miles in direct distance, and partly
situated within the temperate zone, is supposed to be
bound in chains of perpetual ice, appears very gratuitous. It has come by frequent repetition to be received as an established fact, that numerous attempts
have been made to discover the site of these lost colonies, but that aU have been Vain. But if we look
narrowly into the matter, we shall find, that the attempts to reach this eastern coast have been excessively
few, and those few not vain. In 1578, the king of
Denmark sent Magnus Henningsen with a vessel to THE SCANDINAVIANS. 27
search for these lost colonies. But as Captain Hen-
ningsen was approaching with a favourable gale and
an open sea, the ship suddenly stopped, and could not
be worked forward in the direction of Greenland.
Henningsen was obUged to return ; and his failure
became a subject of deep speculation among the
northern sages. According to some the vessel must
have been caught by the teeth of the fish rémora ;
while others conceived that it must have been drawn
back by an immense mountain of magnet, placed at
the bottom of the sea ; but Crantz insinuates, that
the magnetic attraction exercised in the minds of the
sailors by the idea of home was that which reaUy
produced this sudden and marveUous pause in her
career.* Whatever theory we may adopt on this
subject, it is in no quarter alleged, that the nature of
the coast had any influence in producing this signal
failure. Yet from it seems to have been originaUy
derived the idea of its inaccessible character. In
1606, Christian IV. king of Denmark, sent out
Gotske Lindenau, with the title of Admiral, and
three vessels, one of which was commanded by James
HaU, an Englishman. Three voyages were accordingly made ; but the researches were almost exclusively confined to Davis's Straits, and consequently to
Western Greenland. On one occasion only, Lindenau
touched on the eastern coast, which he found no
difficulty in reaching, maintained for several days a
traffic with the natives, and ended with carrying off
* Crantz, i.
■f 5
!£ II
three, who, inconsolable for the loss of this favoured
country, did not long survive.* I reaUy find no record of any other voyages to this coast, except that of
Lowenorn, the fortune of which has been already
accounted for, and of Egede, who immediately after
foUowed in his steps, on the same plan. As soon as
Davis's Straits and the bays of Baffin and Hudson were
discovered, it became evident that the north-west passage, the primary object of all northern voyages, could
only be sought for in that direction ; and thither accordingly almost aU adventurers directed their course.
We have now to consider a narrative of stiU greater
celebrity, which is supposed to include an early record
of the discovery of America. Venice, in the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries, was the capital seat of aU commercial and maritime enterprise. Among its noble fa-
miUes, few held a higher rank than the Zeni, who had
fiUed the highest offices of the repubUc, and distinguished themselves in the wars against the Ottoman
Porte. In 1380, Nicolo Zeno set saU for the north,
with the view of visiting England and Flanders, but
was driven by a tempest on the coast of a country
which he calls Friesland. Zichmni, its prince, received him with much kindness, and, finding him
deeply skiUed in maritime affairs, placed him at the
head of his naval force. In this capacity, Zeno had
occasion, during the course of twenty years, to visit
almost aU the countries of the north,—Norway, Iceland, Greenland, with others which he calls Porland,*
Forster, b. iii. ch. 6, sect. 2.    Crantz, i. * Ramusio Navigazioni e Viaggi, ii. 230.
t Discoveries in the North, b. ii. ch. 3, sect. 13.
Estland, and Sorany.* These last, with Friesland,
not being now appropriate to any known region of
Europe, threw a veil of doubt over the whole relation.
Forster, in endeavouring to elucidate the question, at
first contended, that aU these countries had, by some
mighty convulsion, been swaUowed up in the bottom
of the sea. Had he been able to give no better account of the matter, not all the antiquity and high
exploits of the Zeni could have saved then* narrative
from the imputation of decided forgery. But Forster
wisely began to consider whether, under these names,
might not be implied other countries, now known to
us by different appeUations ; and it soon appeared
that Orkney, Shetland, the Faro Islands, and the
Hebrides, might very weU furnish out the apparently
unknown countries described by Zeno.f In fact, Estland is fixed very clearly as Shetland, by the names
Bras (Bressa), Broas (Bara), Talas (Zeal or YeU), and
several others. The introduction even of these* uncouth names, not known in Europe when the narrative was published, tends to remove the suspicion
of its being a manufactured production. Agreeing,
therefore, with the northern writers in thinking this
a genuine relation, I shaU proceed directly to that
part of it which is supposed to concern the discovery
of America.
Four fishing vessels belonging to Friesland, being
overtaken by a violent storm, were tossed about for
 j  lig
many days by the tempest. As the weather cleared,
they discovered a large island, which they caUed Estotiland, reckoned to be a thousand miles distant from
Friesland. Being obUged to land, they were conducted to a most beautiful and very populous city.
They were introduced to the king ; but neither party
were able to understand each other, tiU a man was
found who had been cast upon the same shore, and
who could speak Latin. The Frieslanders were detained for five years in this country, which they
found nearly as large as Iceland, and much more fertile, watered by four large rivers springing from a
high mountain in the interior. The inhabitants raised
grain and brewed beer, and had ships with which they
navigated the sea. The king had a library, in which
were Latin books, which the people, however, did not
now understand. The country contained many towns
and castles.
To the south of Estotiland there lay a more extensive and fertile country, caUed Drogio ; and the Fries-
landers, on account of their skill in navigation, were
employed in guiding thither a smaU fleet. They were
cast away, however, on the shore of a savage nation,
by whom the greater part of them were kiUed, and,
it is said, devoured. One fisherman, however, by
teaching the before-unknown art of fishing with nets,
came into so great favour, that war was even waged
for the possession of him. He passed, by forcible
or friendly means, through the hands of twenty-
five different lords in the course of thirteen years. He
found them a rude people, going naked, destitute of
any species of corn, and living by the chase.  They car- NARRATIVE OF THE ZENI.
ried on furious wars, and committed dreadful cruelties, to the extent even of devouring each other. To
the south-west the manners of the people were more
civilized. They made use of gold and sUver, had
cities, temples, and idols, to which they offered up
human sacrifices. At length the Frieslander effected
his escape from this country to that of Drogio, where,
having remained for three years, he found some barks
bound to Estotiland, in which he obtained a passage.
He afterwards, it is said, carried on a traffic between
the two countries, by which he acquired considerable
wealth, and, being thus enabled to equip a smaU vessel
of his own, returned to Friesland.
The intelligence brought by this fisherman roused
the adventurous spirit of Zichmni. He equipped a
fleet, which he placed under the command of Zeno,
for the purpose of exploring EstotUand. Unluckily
the fisherman died just as they were getting out ; but
one of the saUors who had accompanied him served as
a pilot. They sailed by Ledovo (Lewis), and Ilofe
(Islay) ; but, after leaving this last island, were overtaken by a violent storm, by which they were tossed
for several days, when they discovered land to the
westward. It proved to be an island caUed Icaria,
governed by a son of Daedalus, king of Scotland.
These names have a very fabulous sound ; but Forster
surmises that, classical recollections floating in the
mind of Zeno, he here confounds plain common names
with those furnished to him by ancient poetry. At
this island he met with a very inhospitable reception,
and, in attempting to land, a scuffle ensued, in which
several were killed on both sides.    Zeno, therefore,
W 32
sailed onwards to the west ; but, encountering a contrary wind, he aUowed his fleet to be carried northward to Greenland, whence he returned to Friesland
by way of the Faro Islands.
It is considered by Forster, Malte Brun,* and other
foreign savans, as beyond all contradiction, that Estotiland can be no other country than Newfoundland ;
and that the civilization and European aspect which
that region presented were derived from the Icelandic
colonies, who, two centuries before, had settled there,
and given it the name of Vinland. The very name,
synonymous with East Out-land, is said to be strikingly descriptive of the relative situation of Newfoundland to the American continent.
After the rigid scepticism which has reigned
throughout this discussion, the reader will probably
be prepared for finding the present pretension considered as equaUy questionable. I cannot indeed but
think, that he himself must have found these Latin
books, in a castle on "the coast of Newfoundland, of
somewhat difficult digestion. About a century after
this country was discovered by Cabot ; and its coasts,
forming the finest fishing-station in the world, were
very soon frequented and even crowded by European
vessels. How was it then, that not a vestige was
ever seen of any one of the objects described by the
Friesland fishermen? Where were the castles, the
libraries, the | belle e popolate citta ?" Where was
the brewing of beer, an art of aU others the least like-
* Précis de la Géographie, i. f»3
ly to be lost, among a people passionately fond of intoxicating Uquors. These accounts have generaUy a
somewhat boastful character, being written with the
view of inviting emigrants ; but they all describe
Newfoundland as existing in a complete state of savage
and primeval nature. Supposing that this numerous
and flourishing people had been exterminated by the
handful of naked savages who were found on the
coast, there would surely have remained some traces
of culture, some fragments or foundations of buildings, some remnant of European arts or instruments.
But it was not till the discoverers of America had
reached the banks of the Mississippi, a thousand
miles in the interior, that they found any traces of
departed civiUzation ; and though some have attempted to refer these to Norman emigrants, the idea cannot surely be deserving of a serious refutation.
It may be observed finaUy, that the geographical
position assigned is very far from agreeing with Newfoundland. The distance is stated at a thousand
miles ; but from the Orkney or Faro Islands to this
part of America it cannot be less than two thousand ;
and the space, in such difficult and hazardous voyages,
is always exaggerated instead of being so remarkably
diminished. If, then, the relation be, as I rather
incline to think, substantiaUy correct, I have Uttle
doubt that.Estotiland is neither more nor less than
Ireland. According to Forster's translation, it exceeds a thousand miles due west ; but this is by no
means impUed in the original, which says, " posta in
ponente, lontana de Frislanda piu de miUe miglia,"—
" situated in the west, distant from Friesland more
VOL. I. c
than a thousand mUes."    The distance is no doubt
exaggerated, but it might be expected to be so ; and
it might be the coast of Connaught on which they
landed.  The expression, East-out-land, under a somewhat different view of the subject, would be as ap-
pUcable to Ireland as to Newfoundland.    One thing is
clear, that, under  the  guidance of  a  person who
had  come from Estotiland,  they were  going  (by
Lewis and Islay) the direct route to Ireland, and a
very circuitous one to America.    If, indeed, according to Forster's supposition, the shore of Icaria, on
which they were cast, were that of Ireland, it would
be strange if the Estotilander should not know his
own country.    But it seems clear that Ireland could
not be Icaria, a smaU island which the expedition
sailed  all round, while  the party  of natives  who
met them on their  arrival went round along with
them.    It was evidently one of the minor Hebrides,
Tyree, or Barra.    Drogio, and the countries to the
south, more extensive and fertile than Ireland, might
be Spain and the south of France.    But here there do
occur certain features which have a tendency somewhat to shake our unbelief.    The account of nations
who subsisted solely by hunting, and were unacquainted with the  use of iron, bears  certainly an American character, and would not perhaps, even at that
era, apply to the rudest portions of Europe.    There
seems no foundation also, in that continent, on which
a rumour of human sacrifice could be founded.  These
particulars are so striking, while, at the same time,
the negative proofs above adduced appear quite deei-.
sive, that I am somewhat reluctantly driven to suspect NARRATIVE OF THE ZENI. 35
interpolation. This relation, it must be observed,
though stated to have long existed in manuscript, did
not appear tiU sixty years after the discovery of America, yet while the world was stiU echoing with that
discovery. That there was a good deal of piecing and
manufacturing before it arrived at the press, is evi-r
dent from the relation of Marcolini, the editor, who
confesses that the letters of the Zeni, from which it
was drawn up, having come into his hands while a
child, he had, with the wantonness of that age, torn
them into pieces, which he afterwards, when he became aware of their importance, sorrowfully coUected
and put into shape. Yet they form a connected narrative, which could not have been effected with-
out some help from the editor. Marcolini might
easily avail himself of these circumstances to eke
out the evidence of an early discovery of America. I cannot help remarking, that the Friesland
fishermen know a good deal too much for their own
credit. If carried into the interior of New England
or New York, they might learn somewhat of the
savage natives of those countries ; but where did they
hear of the gold and silver, the temples and human
sacrifices of Mexico ? It is also remarkable that, along
with aU the knowledge respecting America possessed
at the time when the narrative was pubUshed, they
should combine the errors which were then prevalent.
It was generaUy beUeved at that period, that the
Indians of North America were cannibals, which, as
America became better known, has proved an erroneous idea ; and of this the fisherman, if he reaUy passed
through so many of their tribes, and on such an in-  ORIGIN OF THE AMERICANS.
General Statement of the Question.—Whether aU Men were derived
from one Original.—Arguments for this Opinion.—Difficulties
answered.—Action of the Sun on the Human Shin.—Form and Colour of the Americans.—Various Causes affecting it.—White Nations in America.—Various Theories respecting the Peopling of
America.—Imagined Resemblance between the Americans and
Jews.—Acosta.—Grotius.—Probable Quarter whence America
was peopled.—Question whether Colonists might come from any
other Quarter.—Supposed Resemblance between the Languages
of America and those of the other Continents.
How or whence America has been peopled is a still
more curious question, and is connected with some of
the deepest problems respecting the origin and nature
of the human species. It is primarily involved in
that grand question, Whether all mankind had one
common original, or whether the different races which
are separated from each other by such marked distinctions, have each sprung from a separate source ?
It is on the former supposition only, that the question
respecting the peopling of America is a question at
w 38
all ; for if there were a number of separate originals,
that continent as weU as others might have had its own.
On considering those great masses of mankind,
among whom reigns an uniform aspect, with the broad
distinctions which separate them from other portions,
various learned inquirers* have concluded, that there
must be distinct original races of men, as there apparently are of dogs and other animals. They observe, that the negro, and other races, whose peculiarities have been ■ supposed to be most decidedly the
effect of climate, when transported to a different sky,
continue for generations to preserve aU their characters unaltered, and to transmit them to their posterity. But men transported from the temperate to the
tropical climates, though they acquire a darker tint,
do not communicate it to their chUdren. Although
colour be the circumstance supposed most especially
to depend on climate, yet the tints of the different nations can by no means be exactly measured by their
distance from the equator. There are nations of a
light colour between the tropics, and others in the
vicinity of the polar regions that are extremely dark.
The whole of this work would be no more thàh
ienough to enter into a fuU discussion of this difficult
and extended subject. Our Umits can allow us only
to take a very rapid sketch. Without referring to
any historical documents, however venerable, we may
find, in the mere examination of existing phenomena,
strong presumptions that aU men belong to one com-
* Pritchard, Lawrence, &c. VARIOUS RACES OF MEN. 39
mon race, and may observe various particulars which
have been overlooked by those who argued on the
opposite side.
There are no differences in the form and component parts of the human body sinnlar to those which
zoologists are accustomed to employ as distinctive
-characters. All races of men are of the same size ;
the very shght existing departures from this rule being easily solved by the abundance or scarcity of food,
and by other causes favourable or otherwise to the
development of the human growth. There is no difference in the number or form of the extremities,
which, being the circumstance least acted upon by
situation and habitude, is usually considered as the
surest test of a distinct species. All men have the
same number of fingers, of toes, of teeth ; while very
slight distinctions of this species mark, I believe,
otherwise similar species of various animals.
Colour is, of all other particulars, the most remarkable in which one race of men differ from another.
Now the action of the sun, in darkening the human
tint, is too obvious to be denied or unnoticed. The
European, transported under the burning influence of
a tropical sky, has its effects soon marked upon his
complexion in the most distinct manner. Let us observe the gradations of colour upon the meridian under which we live. Under the equator we have the
deep black of the negro ; then the copper or olive of
the Moors of Northern Africa ; then the Spaniard
and ItaUan, swarthy compared to any other Europeans ; the French still darker than the EngUsh ;
while the fair and florid complexion of England and
Germany passes, more northerly, into the bleached 40
Scandinavian white. At last, indeed, the gradation
is broken ; for a dusky tint reigns along the whole
circuit of the arctic border. This colour does not
seem very weU explained ; but its universal prevalence
under that latitude seems very clearly to indicate, that
there is something in the climate with which it is
connected. During their short but briUiant summer,
the sun, perpetuaUy above the horizon, shines with an
intensity unknown in temperate climates. May not
the natives, who spend this season almost perpetuaUy
in the open air, hunting or fishing, receive from it
that dark tint which is not easUy effaced? But I
cannot withstand the suspicion, that this deep tint is
neither more nor less than a smoke-brown. The
tenants of all this.bleak circuit necessarily spend half
the year in almost subterraneous abodes, heated by
fires as ample as they have fuel to maintain, the
smoke of which, deprived of any legitimate vent, constantly fills their apartments, and must have an effect
in darkening the complexion, to which it very closely
When observations are made on the difference of
colour in nations placed under the same latitude, due
aUowance is not always made for the other causes by
which the temperature is modified. Many of these
are of the most powerful nature, and sufficient entirely to counteract the influence of a southern position.
Among those which tend to diminish the heat are elevation, the proximity of the sea, vast woods and
marshes covering the surface of a country. The intensity of the heat, on the other hand, is remarkably
increased by the existence or vicinity of arid and sandy
To understand farther the varieties in the action of
heat, we must consider, that the sun does not paint
the human skin by an external and mechanical process, as the limner lays his colours on the canvass. It
acts by altering the character of the juices, and causing the secretion of a coloured fluid, which effuses itself into a ceUular membrane immediately under the
cuticle. Blumenbach seems to have ascertained, that
the negro colour is produced by the secretion of the
carbon which abounds in the human frame. It is
thus easUy conceivable, that heat itself, by a different
action, arising out of some constitutional pecuUarity,
may produce the dead white of the Albino. Thus
disease, especiaUy of the biUary system, tinges the
skin of a very deep colour. This change seems in
general to form a salutary provision, affording a fence
against the scorching heat, and even against the various
vicissitudes of the weather. The complexion of the
negro enables him to present a more iron front than
any other race against every inclement action of the
elements. It seems too much, however, to think with
Mr Jarrold,* that he becomes the most perfect specimen of the species, in consequence of possessing this
coarse impassive tegument. As weU might the hide
of the buffalo, or the quills of the porcupine, be considered as ranking those animals above man, because
they defend against many evUs to which his delicate
skin exposes him. Humboldt observes, that the dark
races are almost entirely free from those deformities
to which the Whites are Uable.* But the greater delicacy and sensibiUty on which this UabiUty depends
must be considered, on the whole, as a perfection in
the human structure. The Caucasian or European
variety, formed under the influence of a temperate cU-
mate, not only possesses a manifestly superior beauty,
but appears the best fitted for performing aU the
higher functions of life.
There are other characteristics different from colour,
which yet, being usuaUy combined with it, are urged
in support of the opinion that they belong aU to a race
differing throughout from the rest of mankind ; but, if
the colour of the Skin be the result of a constitutional
affection, the same affection may modify other parts of
the human frame. The hair is very particularly cU-
matic ; and the manner in which, even in the same
country, it varies with the complexion, shows how
much it is ruled by the same causes. It is a matter of
long observation, how, in proportion to the coldness of
the climate, the covering of every animal becomes richer
and softer;—hence, probably, the scanty and rude hairs
of the nations under the equator, as compared with the
full covering of the European head. The action of
mind, and the habits of Ufe,have doubtless an action upon the frame, imperfectly estimated, on account of the
extreme slowness of its operation. The unMteUec-
tual visage of the negro has been supposed, along with
his colour, to form different parts of that general
structure, which constitutes him a different being from
New Spain, i. 152. VARIETY OF RACES. 43
other mortals. I apprehend, however, that the conjunction wiU be found to be casual, and the two particulars to arise from distinct causes. The Foulahs,
of a more thinking and vigorous character than the
Mandingos, unite a deeper black, with much less of
the negro features. Nearly the same may be observed of the more inteUigent natives of Ashantee and
Haoussa. The Hindoo unites the black colour with
a delicacy of form and expression, arising evidently
from habits of mind and Ufe, which render him in
these respects the antipode of the negro. Thus, the
black colour and the negro features seem connected
casually, or at least in so far only as exposure to the
seasons, and inteUectual sluggishness, may jointly accompany a certain backward state of civilization.
The cases particularly urged by those who argue in
favour of the difference of races are those where an
individual transported to another climate than that of
his birth, and one destitute of those peculiarities to
which his form and colour have been referred, retains
these unaltered, and transmits them to his posterity for
generations. These facts appear to have been much
exaggerated, both as to the length of time and the absence of any gradual change. Undoubtedly, however,
when any characters have been thoroughly worked
into the system, they will long survive the causes
which gave them birth, especiaUy when no active contrary causes are in operation. A dark colour, though
soon acquired, is not easily effaced ; and when the
causes acting on form have come to affect the bones,
the effect is of course very obstinate. This may serve
for the solution of many cases in which the form and
i a'
climate do not appear to correspond. The Chinese,
descended from the Mongols, retain still a modified
Mongol visage and shape. The natives of New South
Wales, sprung from the oriental negro, and continuing still, from their rude habits, exposed to the constant action of sun and air, have remained black.
Thus Indostan is stUl peopled by races of various form
and colour. But I imagine that, upon narrow inspection, the original characters wiU be found undergoing
gradual modifications, which tend to asshmlate them
to those of the new country and situation. The Jews
form certainly a very striking example on this subject. " Descended from one stock, and prohibited by
the most sacred institutions from intermarrying with
other nations, and yet dispersed, according to the divine predictions, into every country on the globe, this
one people is marked with the colours of aU ;—fair in
Britain and Germany, brown in France and in Turkey, swarthy in Portugal and in Spain, oUve in Syria
and in Chaldea, tawny or copper-coloured in Arabia
and in Egypt."*
But it is said the Americans themselves, of whom
we are treating, afford the strongest argument against
this supposed power of cUmate in forming the peculiarities of race. One tint, one form, is said to prevail over the whole continent from the equator to the
pole. This statement has a superficial aspect of
truth ; but Humboldt remarks, that, " after living
longer among the indigenous Americans, we discover
that celebrated travellers, who could only observe a few
* Smith on the Variety of Complexion of the Human Species. COLOUR OF THE AMERICAN NATIONS.
individuals on the coasts, have singularly exaggerated
the analogy of form among the Americans."* If a
broad, squat, somewhat short form be the general
type, the Patagonians in the north have attained the
reputation of giants, and the tribes on the Orinoco, according to Humboldt, are among the largest and most
robust of the human race. The same great traveUer
found on the banks of the Orinoco tribes whose features differed as essentially from each other as those
of the various Asiatic nations. The general type resembles the Mongolie, though with some variations ;
the surface of the face, though broad, being less flat,
and the cranium of a peculiar form. The north-east
of Asia is the quarter from which it is probable, and
indeed almost certain, that the great mass of the Americans were derived. But this type itself was formed
from situation and habits of life, and is liable to be modified when these are changed. The features themselves appear to be the result of a hardy, hunting life,
among persons who feel continually " the seasons' difference." Hence these features, though not generally
Celtic, have been formed to a certain extent among
the Celts of the Scottish Highlands.
But it is the colour of the American nations which
has been especially urged as subverting the theory of
an unity of race. Even Humboldt himself conceives
that climate forms the colour of the old world, but
does not act upon it in America.f But I cannot be
satisfied with the facts which this very learned in-
New Spain, i. 141.
t Ibid. i. 143-5.
quirer adduces in support of an opinion so little
probable in itself. There are two extremities of
colour among mankind, the black and the white,
which appear in their perfection, the one in the, African negro, the other in the northern European- Between these two there is a series of medial colows,
—brown, copper, swarthy, mingled with tints of yellow and red. The Americans are placed among these
medial tints, the colour in scarcely any instance run^
ning into those two extremes, which are exhibited in
so great a proportion of the inhabitants of the old
world. In the physical structure, however, of the
American continent, and the circumstances of its
people, we shaU find probably a sufficient solution of
this peculiarity.
Why does the complexion of the American never
run into black, even when he Uves in climates which
in the old world are marked by the deepest shades
of this colour? On examination, we soon discover
remarkable circumstances, which in the new world
mitigate the violence of the solar action. Elevation is the most influential of aU these circumstances. The equatorial regions of the new world are
pervaded by mountain-ranges of stupendous altitude,
in consequence of which they present §U the features
of a temperate climate. The breezes, descending from
the perpetual snows with which these awful heights
are covered, cool the surrounding plains to a vast extent. The floods descending from them, unrivaUed
in the old world, inundate and convert into marsh a
great part of America, producing thus a remarkable
lowering of its temperature.    They prevent also the COLOUR OF THE AMERICAN NATIONS. 47
formation of any of those ranges of sandy desert, the
reflection of which, and the breezes blowing from them,
excite the most intense and scorching of all heats, and,
existing on a great scale in Africa and Indostan, are
doubtless one principal cause of producing the deep
black of those regions. Lastly, America is almost one
continued forest, entertwined with the most profuse
growth of underwood. Even in the wide open savannahs the grass attains a growth above the human
height. The deep shade thus produced not only affords a fence against the rays of the sun, but causes a
general coolness of the surface, and renders America
under the same latitude every where colder than Africa or Europe.
Though there are general causes sufficient to connect the absence of the negro in America with climatic influence, there are admitted to be great varieties
in the depth of the brown complexion ; but M. Humboldt contends that these cannot in any case be referred to the greater or less degree of heat.    It is the
same, he observes, in the most elevated plains of the
CordiUeras, and in the narrowest and deepest plains
of the equinoctial regions.     But the upper table-
plains of the Andes are in a great measure open
and  cultivated, while the  vaUeys at their feet are
buried under an almost impenetrable depth of shade.
A shaded heat, I imagine, has not the same influence  on the   complexion  as  the  direct beating  of
the rays of the sun.    A person, who, even in the
hottest  summer,  remains  constantly  within doors,
suffers perhaps more from heat than those who go
abroad, but never becomes, Uke them, freckled or sun-
s 48
burnt. A pale colour predominates even among the
most vigorous tenants of the back woods of America.
These considerations may solve much of the mystery
which M. Humboldt remarks in the swarthy colour
of the inhabitants of the high Mexican table-land.
This lofty plain, arid, and remarkably bare of vegetation, of course leaves its tenants without that
shelter which the lower regions afford. Another
mystery does not appear very profound. " In the
forests of Guiana, especially near the sources of
Orinoco, are several tribes of a whitish complexion."
The very terms of this description, implying considerable elevation and deep shade, seems to involve the
solution of the difficulty. The closest approach to
black appears to be in BrazU, where climatic causes
ought certainly to place it,—that country being comparatively low, and immediately under the equator.
But how then are we to solve the opposite phenomenon, that the American complexion never passes
into white ? America has a temperate region, more
extensive than that of Europe, and cooler, or rather
colder, under the same latitude. Yet the Hurons
and the Iroaquois, inhabiting the Canadian rivers and
lakes, frozen during half the year, are decidedly copper-
coloured nations. The simple reason appears to be,
they are savages. Scarcely half-clothed, most imperfectly defended, in miserable wigwams, from the
inclemency of the elements ; wandering often for
weeks on their long war and hunting excursions,
without any shelter but that of the trunk of a tree,
they are exposed to bear all the vicissitudes of
weather, and constantly 'ft to bide the pelting of the COLOUR OF THE AMERICAN NATIONS.
pitiless storm. ' Their visage soon acquires that hard
and bronzed aspect which is always formed under
such circumstances. A gentleman who should hunt
for a whole summer exposing himself to all weathers,
over the Highland mountains, would return with that
brown complexion which we caU weather-beaten, and
which sailors, even in the temperate seas, generaUy
acquire. The peasantry who work constantly in the
open air, unless, as in England, they take some pecu-
Uar precaution, soon acquire a hard and imbrowned
visage. No class of men is white, unless those who
are regularly clothed, live under cover, and enjoy
some of the conveniences of life.
After all, there are white nations in America, and
those of no inconsiderable extent. On the northwest coast, about lat. 50°, in Nootka Sound, and a
number of other bays examined by Cook, Meares,
and Vancouver, the,people are more numerous, and
have attained a much greater share of external
accommodation, than over the rest of the continent. One of their towns contains 2000, another
4000 people. They have buUt large houses, walled
and roofed with gigantic trunks of trees, which, as in
Florida, are often carved into a rude species of
images. They are well clothed, and, besides the
products of the chase, derive an ' abundant subsistence from the fishery. They are thus in a great
measure exempted from those hardships, and those
dire vicissitudes of the seasons, which the hunting
tribes encounter. Accordingly, when the thick coating of dirt and ochre in which they are usuaUy cased
could be taken off, they proved to be white.    Cook's
1 50
narrative calls it an effete white, like that of the
southern nations of Europe,—a description which does
not seem very easily understood ; but Meares expressly says, that some of the females, when cleaned, were
found kto have the fair complexions of Europe.
Somewhat farther north, at Cloak Bay, in lat. 54°
10', Humboldt remarks that, " in the midst of
copper-coloured Indians, with small long eyes, there
is a tribe with large eyes, European features, and a
skin less dark than that of our peasantry."* M.
Humboldt considers this as the strongest argument
of an original diversity of race which has remained
for ages unaffected by climate. But is it likely that
• there should be a creation of the inhabitants of
Cloak Bay distinct from that of the rest of America ?
These people exist evidently under the same circum?
stances with those of Nootka, and present the same
features, rendered perhaps more decided by their being
somewhat farther to. the north, while the long-eyed
copper Indians are the wandering savages of the
European writers, for some time after the discovery
of America, busied themselves to an extraordinary
degree in conjecturing whence and by whom this vast
continent had been peopled. The volumes, or rather
libraries, which have been written on the subject,
can be little deserving of any detaUed analysis, now
especiaUy, when the mysteries which once hung over
the subject have been in a great measure dispeUed.
One French writer has written five volumes to prove
that America was peopled by the Antediluvians.*
It is the opinion of many, that the Canaanites, after
being driven out by the Jews, fled into America;
and it is added, that the Jews themselves followed
after the captivity and dispersion of the ten tribes.
The Tyrians and Carthaginians, in the course of
their extensive navigations, could not possibly miss the
shores of the new world. Garcia does not see, when
so many nations are putting in their claim, why the
Trojans should remain behind.f In short, to read
these writers, one would think there never was any
class of persons, from the earUest ages, that felt straitened or uneasy at home, who did not instantly set
out for America. But we have said enough to show
that the undertaking is far from being of that easy
or hkely description which the student seated in his
closet so readily imagines.
The weak positive proofs on which the above
opinions rest, have been enforced by a supposed resemblance in customs and character between the Americans and certain nations of the old world. The
Jews have been speciaUy pitched upon, probably from
being the people whose usages were best known to
the Spanish ecclesiastics, who began the controversy,
and whose opinion has been seconded by Hennepin
and other French missionaries, and most zealously
* Essai sur la Question quand et comment l'Amérique a-t-il
été peuplée, 5 torn. 12mo, 1767.
t Oriffen de los Indios. ORIGIN OF THE AMERICANS.
by Adair, an English trader, who certainly had a
most intimate knowledge of the Indians. According
to these writers, the resemblance is so striking as to
leave no room to doubt that the Americans were
Jews. The judicious reader, however, soon perceives
that these boasted similarities consist merely in those
fundamental principles, in the constitution of man,
which are common alike to every country and every
age. Hennepin and Adair particularly instance that
the Indians are divided into tribes, over which chiefs
preside ; that they mourn at the death of their
relations ; that their females are fond of ornamenting
themselves ; with other customs equaUy singular,
which, it is thought, could never have entered the
minds of any people who were not of Jewish origin.*
Garica, in particular, remarks, that a great proportion
of them honoured their parents, and considered theft
and murder as crimes ; whence it appears to him
manifest, that they must have received the ten commandments from Moses. Others, on the contrary,
showed themselves obstinate, unbelieving, hard-hearted, and ungrateful,—faults which they could only
have learned from the stiff-necked posterity of Abraham. Every attempt to establish analogies of a
more positive nature has entirely failed.
Acosta has, of all the early writers, produced the
most judicious essay upon this subject. He rejects
positively the Jewish hypothesis, though he does not
much strengthen the arguments against it, by remark-
* Hennepin, Découverte, &c. ch. 11.    Adair's History of the
Atnerican Indians. OPINIONS OF ACOSTA. GROTIUS. 53
ing, that the Indians are not usurers ; for this practice belongs to the later era of Jewish exile and degradation, not to that in which they are supposed to
have emigrated to the west. He views also, with
much and just suspicion, all the colonies supposed to
have been sent across the ocean. The difficulty of
that age, however, was the want of any known point
of America which was not separated by an almost
immeasurable space from any other land. He indites on this subject a sentence which is almost predictive. He says, " I have long cherished in my mind
this opinion, that the two worlds join at least in some
point of their extremities, and are not separated by
such vast intervals."* He then points to the north
and north-west, observing, that there was here too
vast a range of unknown coast to aUow of any absolute negative being placed on his suggestion. Then,
unfortunately, he turns to the south, and suggests,
'that colonists from Asia may have come across the
great Austral continent, and crossed at the Straits of
MageUan. We must not condemn Acosta too hastily
for this wUd conjecture. Only the northern coast
of Terra del Fuego was then known ; and it was very
generaUy viewed as part of the great Austral continent, of which the existence was not doubted. Had
Acosta not spUt upon this rock, he might have been
considered as having produced the ablest solution of
this problem that has yet appeared.
Grotius, the ablest man who undertook to treat this
Ap. De Bry, ix. 37- y
subject, wrote perhaps the weakest of all the books
upon it. He denied the Tartar origin, and supposed
North America to have been peopled from Norway,
by way of Greenland. These northern emigrants,
however, were unable, he supposes, to pass the isthmus of Panama, and South America was peopled
partly from Africa and partly from China.
The peopling of America is no longer an object of
the sUghtest mystery or difficulty. The north-west
limit of this continent approaches so close to Asia,
that the two are almost within view of each other,
and smaU boats can pass between them. Even farther south, at Kamtschatka, where the distance may
be six or seven hundred mUes, the Fox and Aleutian
Islands form so continuous a chain, that the passage
might be effected with the greatest facility. The
Tschutchi, who inhabit the north-eastern extremity of
Asia, are in the regular habit of passing from one continent to the other.* These tribes, then, from the ear-
Uest ages, had discovered that mysterious world which
was hidden from the wisest nations of antiquity, and
appeared so wonderful to modern Europeans. It was
not a discovery in their eyes. They knew not that
this was Asia and that was America ; they knew not
that they were on one of the great boundaries of
earth. They knew only that one frozen and dreary
shore was opposite to another equaUy frozen and
dreary. However, it is manifest, that by this route
any amount of people might have passed over into
* Cochran's Pedestrian Journey. DIFFICULTY OF APPROACH BY SEA.
America. The form of the Americans approaching
to that of the nations in the north-east of Asia, the
comparatively weU-peopled state of its north-western
districts, and the constant tradition of the Mexicans,
that the Azteks and the Toultecs, who early occupied
their territory, came from the north-west ; all agree
with the indications afforded by the natural structure
of the continent.
But it may be said, that although people by this
channel undoubtedly passed over from the old world
to America, this does not exclude other colonies from
finding their way across the Atlantic or the Pacific.
Supposing it too much to have crossed the entire
breadth at once, they may have taken their departure
from some of the numerous islands with which both
oceans, and especiaUy the Pacific, are interspersed:
aU peopled at their first discovery. If these islands
were peopled from the distant continents of Europe
and Asia, why not America from them ? We are to
observe, however, that the South Sea groups, however distant some of them may be from any mainland,
range in a continuous line with each other, so that
the extremity of one group is seldom very far distant from the extremity of another. It was therefore no very mighty achievement for men possessing,
on a small scale, the maritime enterprise natural to
an insular territory, to effect a passage successively
to each. But America is every where, unless on the
north, begirt with an unbroken breadth of at least a
thousand miles of ocean, without a single insular
point which could form a step in the progress of the
navigator.     Combining this circumstance with the 56
: m
observations already made on these immense voyages,
whether voluntary or compulsory, the probability
appears very great, that no such passage ever took
place. If any detached individuals ever were wàfted
across the ocean, I am persuaded that they would
not possess or retain any of the civilization of the
old world ; and that they did not contribute in any
shape to that measure or form of improvement
which was -attained in Mexico or Peru. It is vain to
urge that the Mexicans expressed their ideas, and
even their history, by paintings, which bore some
resemblance to the paintings and hieroglyphics of
Egypt. Man, as soon as he emerges from total barbarism, must feel the desire of expressing his ideas
by some mode more durable than words ; and this
mode, in the first instance, must inevitably be painting. He must begin with a picture of the object
which he wishes to record. This picture, generalized
and refined, passes graduaUy into the symbol, the
hieroglyphic, the expressive mark, and, finaUy, into
the alphabetic character. In these latter stages,
although they depend upon the general principles of
human nature, there is much, in point of form, that
is arbitrary, and a coincidence in regard to which
might indicate very clearly an ancient connexion.
But mere paintings, as they must bear a certain resemblance, so their common use seems to indicate
nothing more than the action of the most elementary
principles in the human mind. The forms of architecture also, as they are dictated by convenience
or the sense of beauty, may often exhibit some
casual  coincidences.     I  am convinced that all the I «1
civilization which existed in America arose, as it
flourished, in the delightful table-lands of Mexico,
Quito, Cusco, and Cundinamarca. It is in these
happy regions Where men multiply, and the means
of subsistence are abundant, that the refined arts
first become an object of cultivation. This conclusion is not at all shaken by the fact quoted by
Humboldt, that the Toultec conquerors, who came
from the now barbarous regions in the north-west,
were the framers of the most remarkable of the
Mexican monuments.* Generally, conquerors adopt
the arts and improvements of the vanquished nation ;
and then* active and ambitious character impels
them to caU these into action on a greater scale
than the usually supine dynasty which they have
overthrown. The grandest monuments of Hindos-
tan and China were erected by monarchs of Tartar
origin ; but the art which constructed them was
Hindoo or Chinese.
Several very learned and dUigent efforts have recently been made to fix on a more precise basis the
origin of the American nations. Attempts have been
made to find in their languages such a sinnlarity with
those of the old continent as might indicate the one
as a derivative from the other. The first and most
meritorious research upon this subject has been made
by Mr Smith Barton of Philadelphia, in comparing
his own researches with the rich coUection of the Asiatic dialects made by Pallas, under the auspices of
New Spain, i. 133.
the empress Catherine. He has thus made a collection of similar sounds, which at first sight wear a
somewhat imposing aspect. Professor Vater,* however, by coUecting these into one point, has,- in my
opinion, triumphantly refuted the inference attempted
to be drawn from them. The resemblances amount
in all to about fifty-five ; but they are by no means of
any one language to any other language. One correspondence, for instance, is between the Samoiede
and the Delaware language ; the next between the
Ostiak and the Algonquin. Upon the whole, upwards of thirty Asiatic and the same number of
American languages are employed in bringing out
this very slender amount of coincidences ; making an
average of not quite two words to each language. It
seems somewhat odd, that a greater number of similar sounds should not have been the result of mere
chance. It is also very singular, that the most remote
Asiatic countries, those which seem most beyond the
reach of intercourse with America, contribute as
liberally as those which are in the closest contiguity
with that continent. Professor Vater, however, after
overthrowing the work of his predecessor, has not
hesitated to undertake a similar fabric of his own, and,
by immense labour, has actually raised the number of
resemblances to a hundred and four ; but, to obtain
this result, he has been obliged to bring into requisition, more than thirty other languages, including
those of Europe, Africa, and Australasia ;   so that
* Untersuchungen uber den America's Bevolkerung, p. 47-55. LANGUAGES OF AMERICA. 59
his results are quite as futile as those which he had
previously subverted.* Lastly, M. Malte Brun, taking Asia and America only, coUecting aU that had
been done by his predecessors, and adding a few of
his own, has made out about a hundred and twenty ;
but for this purpose he has been obUged to bring into
play upwards of sixty languages in each world ; so
that it seems somehow impossible to pass the fatal
average of two words to a language.f
The resemblances being so inconclusive, in consequence of the smaUness of their number, it may seem
superfluous to criticise that smaU number very severely; and yet they afford considerable room for
criticism. Almost aU the striking agreements consist
in the natural sounds,—Ata, Baba, Papa, Mama, Ana,
which, being the first usuaUy uttered by the infant
organs, are employed in all languages to express the
tender relation which exists between the parent and
child. Of the others, many reaUy appear excessively faint. The similarity of Jeehackquees to huh,
—pappoos to pup,—peechten to paschi,—keesq to
kus,—metsdi to muts,—mequarme to mik, appear to
be the reverse of striking.
There reaUy is something mysterious in this total
absence of aU analogy between the languages of the
old and new world. It appears the more singular,
when we observe that all the languages of the numerous nations of the civiUzed world spring from
one or two original stocks, which have also close ana-
Untersuchungen, &c. 156-74. t Universal Geography, v. ORIGIN OF THE AMERICANS.
logies with each other. It should seem, that the
speech of wandering tribes, who migrate to distant
regions, and have neither written record nor traditionary poetry to preserve any fixed standard, undergoes by degrees a total change. Even the provincial
dialects in the remoter districts of England diverge
so widely from the genuine standard as to be absolutely unintelligible to the speaker of pure EngUsh
and to the inhabitants of other provinces. Hence we
may wonder less at a stiU more entire change taking
place in cases of wider and longer separation. The
extraordinary number of languages which exist within America itself, and their faint analogies to each
other, tend to confirm this supposition.*
* Vater, Untersuchungen, &c. 195-203.  Humboldt, Personal
Narrative, vi. 359. BOOK  L
Discovery of North America.—-John and Sebastian Cabot.—
Various Accounts of their Voyage.—Ponce de Leon, Discovery
of Florida.—Verazzani—His Voyages along the American Coast
—His tragical Fate.—Cartier discovers the Gulf of St Law-
. rence—Canada—Montreal—Roberval.  ■
It is not here intended to enter into any detaU of the
grand discovery by Columbus. That event (the best
known of any in modern times) has been received into
the domain of history, and has been recorded by Robertson with an eloquence and interest with which I
should reluctantly enter into competition. Still more,
since Mr Irving has given new force to the character
of Columbus, and painted the shores of the new world
in such magic tints, the writer would be daring who
should attempt to tread in such footsteps. This work,
besides, relates   to North America,  and Columbus 62
only saw the southern, and did not, at any point, come
into contact with the northern part of that mighty
continent, which he had been the instrument of discovering.
Henry VII. of England narrowly, and somewhat
hardly, missed the glory of attaching to his name and
that of his country, the discovery of the transatlantic
world. Columbus, finding his negotiations at the
courts of Spain and Portugal in an unpromising state,
sent his brother, Bartholomew, to treat with Henry,
who, notwithstanding his cautious and penurious habits, appears very readily to have closed with the proposition.* Before, however, Bartholomew returned
to Spain, his brother, under the auspices of Isabella,
had | safled on the voyage, from which he returned
Henry, though he had missed the main prize, continued stiU disposed to encourage those who were inclined to embark in the briUiant adventure. An offer
was soon made to him from a respectable quarter.
Such are the vicissitudes of human destiny, that the
EngUsh, who were to become the greatest maritime
people in the world, ventured not then to undertake
distant voyages but under the guidance of ItaUans,—
a people whose vessels are now never seen beyond
the Mediterranean. Finding encouragement, however,
from the rising spirit of the nation, John Caboto,
whom we call Cabot, a Venetian, came over with his
three sons to settle in England.    By him a plan was
* Hackluyt, i. 4. THE CABOTS.
presented to Henry for a western voyage, to undertake
the discovery of lands and regions unknown. Fabyan and Ramusio assert, that Henry defrayed the cost
of at least one ship ; but their testimony, though followed by Forster, cannot stand against the express
words of the charter, in which the Cabots are authorised indeed to carry out ships and men, but " suis et
eorum propriis sumptibus et expensis." Their commission indeed is abundantly ample. They are empowered to discover all the parts, regions, and bays
of the eastern, western, and northern seas. They may
fix the royal banners of England in any city, castle,
town, island, or firm land, which may be by them discovered. John and his sons, their heirs and assignees, are to conquer, occupy, and rule the said cities,
castles, towns, islands, and firm lands, as governors
and Ueutenants under the king ; and no one is to approach or inhabit the said cities, castles, &c. without
their permission. They are to enjoy the exclusive
trade of these newly-discovered regions, being only
bound to bring aU their productions to the port of
Bristol. These goods are to be exempted from aU
the ordinary duties of customs ; but a fifth of the net
profits arising from their sale is to be paid over to
the king.
Under this warrant, Cabot set sail, and, on the 24th
June, 1497, saw land, which he termed Prima Flsta;
but the English have since substituted their native
term of Newfoundland. He afterwards sailed along
a considerable extent of coast both to the north and
south ; when, finding a continuous range of coast, and
no opening to the westward, he returned to England. w
This was the first discovery of. the American continent ; for it was not tiU the foUowing year, and in
his   third   voyage,   that  Columbus   saw the. coast
of South  America,   where   the   Orinoco  pours  its
vast  flood  into  the  ocean.    It is remarkable, and
seems to indicate a very supine state of feeling upon
these subjects, that, whUe the  Spanish discoverers
found such numerous historians, not a single narrative should exist of this memorable voyage.    Hack-
luyt has with difficulty collected from various quarters a number  of shreds, which do not harmonize
very weU together, and give only a very imperfect
idea of the proceedings.    The most authentic document is contained in a writing» made on a map drawn
by Sebastian, and engraved by Clement Adams, which
was kept at WhitehaU, and of which there are said to
have been copies in the houses of many of the old
merchants.    It is very short, and merely states the
discovery of Newfoundland, and some of its qualities.
The natives, it states, are clothed in the skins of
wild beasts, which they value as much as we do our
most precious  garments.    In  war they use  bows,
arrows, darts, wooden clubs, and slings.    The land
is barren, and bears no fruit, whence it is fiUed with
bears of a white colour, and stags of a magnitude
unusual among us.    It abounds in fishes, and those
very large, as sea-wolves, (seals ?) and salmon ; there
are soles of a yard in length ; but, above aU, there is
a great  abundance  of those  fishes which we call
baualaos, (cod).
This chart is stated, by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, to
be in his time still preserved in the queen's private
w%sm THE CABOTS. 65
gallery at Whitehall ; but I have understood that it
was afterwards destroyed by fire.
The only other meagre testimony is that of Fabyan, who saw three natives brought over by the
Cabots from Newfoundland. " These were clothed in
beasts' skins, and did eat raw flesh, and spake such
speech that no man could understand them." However, two years after, he saw them appareUed after
the manner of EngUshmen, in Westminster Palace,
" which that time I could not discern from Englishmen, till I was learned what they were ; but as for
speech, I heard none of them utter one word."
Such are all the records which England has seen
fit to preserve of this her earliest and one of her
most Ulustrious naVal exploits. John Cabot, it would
appear, soon died, and Sebastian, the most intelligent
of his sons, finding no sufficient honour or encouragement in England, repaired to Spain, where the ardour
for discovery stiU continued. He was readily received into the service of the Catholic king, and sent to
the coast of Brazil, where he made the important
discovery of the Rio de la Plata. He became the
most eminent person of his age for the sciences connected with his favourite pursuits ; the construction
of maps, geography, and navigation ; and, after age
had rendered him unfit for the active exertions of a
seafaring life, he guided and directed others in this
career, and obtained the honourable title of Piloto
Mayor of Spain. Afterwards, on the accession of
Edward VI. to the throne of England, when the
nation caught at last the enthusiasm of maritime
adventure, Cabot was invited back to England, and
J 66
constituted, by a special deed, Grand Pilot of England, with an ample salary. In this capacity he
formed the plan and drew up the instructions for
the expedition sent under Sir Hugh WiUoughby
and Chancellor, to attempt the discovery of India by
the north-east. Sebastian, with all his knowledge,
and in the course of a long life, never committed to
writing any narrative of the voyage to North Ame*
rica. The curious on the continent, however, drew
from him in conversation, various- particulars, which
gave a general idea of the extent and tenor of'-hfe
discovery. Butrigario, the pope's legate in Spain*
told Ramusio that he had much intercourse with
him, and found *him a very polite and agreeable person ; and Peter Martyr mentions in his- history, that
he had him often at his house, and was quite on an
intimate footing with him. In the reports.from these
different quarters there are discrepances, and even
errors, which mark imperfect memory on the part of
the narrators; but the general outline of the voyage
appears to have been as foUows :—The Gabots, like
Columbus, held it for their main object to reach
Cathay, and the golden regions of India, which had
still attached to them all the European ideas of
wealth. Sebastian proceeded first to the north, in
the hope, that, by turning on that side the boundary
of the continent, he might find himself in the expanse of ocean which led to the eastern regions.
He reached the latitude of sixty-seven degrees, or,
by a more probable account, only of fifty-six degrees ;
but, finding the sea encumbered with floating ice, and
the coast tending back to the eastward, he was either 'I£J
himself discouraged, or, as others say, overpowered
by a mutiny of the sailors. Perhaps there might be
a combination of both causes. Retracing his steps,
and reaching his former point, he thence proceeded
to the southward, stiU keeping the same object in
view. But though this, like the former coast, tended
steadily to the westward, it preserved the same unbroken continuity, and gave as little hope as ever of
the passage, to find which had been his primary
object. Worn out with a voyage of such unusual
length for that age, he returned to England. He
stated himself in this southern course to have reached the latitude of Gibraltar, and the longitude of
Cuba, which would place him near the entrance of
the Chesapeake.
It cannot fail to strike us as a remarkable circumstance, that, in all the foreign accounts of this
voyage, Sebastian is represented as its mover and sole
conductor. The legate even told Ramusio, that he
understood the father to have been dead before it was
undertaken ; yet the charter of Henry, and the record on the map, place it beyond a doubt, that old
John was at the head of the whole undertaking. This
suggests a disagreeable doubt, whether Sebastian,
when abroad, having his own story to tell, did not
drop aU mention of his worthy father, and even kill
him before the time. The hypothesis to which Campbell is driven, of there being two voyages, in one of
which were both father and son, and in the other the
son only, does not seem very tenable. Nothing of the
kind is hinted at in any of the original relations ; and
the date which Sebastian assigns to that of which he
I iiAsaÉii
makes himself the sole conductor, is rather prior than
subsequent to the date of the joint voyage.* -
It appears that, on the 9th December, 1502, Henry,
gave a patent to John ElUot and Thomas^Alhurst,
merchants of Bristol, with John Gonzales and Francis
Fernandez, natives of Portugal, to go with EngUsh
colours in quest of unknown countries.f I have not
been able to learn any thing of this voyage, which
seems to have escaped the diUgent researches of Hack-
luyt. He communicates the fragment of a letter from
Mr Robert Thorne of Bristol, boasting that his father,
and Hugh EUiot, another merchant of Bristol, had
been the discoverers of Newfoundland ; but this, I
suspect, is only in respect of having aided in setting
forth the Cabots, not of having preceded them.
Another important step in discovery was made by
a naval nation of the highest distinction at that era.
The Portuguese stood long foremost, and even alone,
in tracing a naval career through the ocean. Their
efforts, indeed, were for a long period concentrated in
that series of exploratory voyages, by which the passage
of the Cape was effected, and a path opened into the' Indian seas ; in thé coursé of which they made the dis-»
covery of Brazil. One Portuguese family; however,
caUed at first Costa, and afterwards Cortereal, signalized itself in the career of northern discovery. There
is even an authority, not devoid of some weight, according to which a Cortereal, twenty years before Ca-
* Hackluyt, iii. 6—9. Ramusio, iii. Pref. p. 28.  Peter Martyr,
Dec. iii. ch. 6.    Fabyan.    Kent's Memoirs of Seamen, i.
t Rapin's History, i. 683.
bot, is said to have sailed from the Azores to Newfoundland ; but though this voyage seems more plausible than any of those made by the Scandinavians, it
stands yet on too slender evidence to dispute with
Cabot and Columbus the glory of discovering America.
An expedition, undoubtedly genuine, was that of Gaspar
Cortereal, who, in 1500, set saUwith two caravels to
discover a shorter passage to India and the Spice
Islands. He appears first to have reached Newfoundland, whence, pushing on to the north, he came to
that great range of coast, to which, from some very
superficial observation, he gave the name of Labrador,
or the Labourer's coast, which it has ever since retained ; though Munster, Ortelius, and others of the
early cosmographers, give it, in honour of the discoverer, the name of Corterealis. He found the coast
covered with abundance of timber, well stocked with
fish, and inhabited by a poor, robust, and hardy race.
They are described correctly as skilful -archers, clothed
in the skins of beasts, and living in caves. They
were found very jealous of the chastity of their women. He brought with him several of the inhabitants, though surely not so many as fifty-seven, the
number stated by Pedro Pascoal. On reaching lat.
60°, and seeing snow drifting through the air at the
close of summer, and the sea beset with huge islands
of ice, he determined to postpone farther proceedings
till a future season. Much is said of his having discovered a strait called Anian, which was probably one
of those entering into Hudson's Bay. He returned,
on the whole, with sanguine hopes as to the discovery
of a northern passage ; and in the following year he i
set out again with two vessels, under the sanction and
furtherance of the court. The voyage was prosperous
tiU they reached a coast which they called Terra Verde,
Greenland ; not, however, our Greenland^but some
part, more smiling than the rest, of the coast formerly
visited. Here the two vessels, overtaken by a violent storm, were completely separated ; and that in
which Cortereal was not, after long beating about and
searching in vain for its consort, was- obUged to return
to Lisbon without the author of the expedition, who
was never more heard of.
Gaspar had a younger brother, Miguel, who, inconsolable for the fate of his brother, obtained permission
from the king to sail in search of him. He had with
him three vessels, which, on coming to the mouth of
the straits, took each a separate passage, appointing a
rendezvous, at which they were to meet on the 20th of
August. Two of them did there meet ; but Miguel
was wanting, and was no more seen or heard of.
There remained yet a third brother, who eagerly
sought to foUow in the traces of his lost kinsmen ;
but the king, who thought he had lost already too
much in this bold adventure, interposed his royal prohibition. Since these two gallant and ill-fated youths,
no Portuguese appears to have attempted either a
passage or a settlement on any part of the coast of
America ; though the nation engaged early and to a
great extent in the Newfoundland fishery.
The next point upon which the continent of America was approached was its southern extremity, from
the Gulf of Mexico. The Spaniards, who had begun
the career of discovery in so brilliant a manner, sought PONCE DE LEON. FLORIDA.        71
long to absorb the whole of the new continent. One
of the most eminent of the followers of Columbus was
Juan Ponce de Leon. After serving with distinction
in a subordinate capacity, he became desirous of a field
of action which might be wholly his own. In sailing
along the coast of Porto Rico, he had been struck
•with its attractive aspect, and with symptoms whieh
appeared to portend gold, that almost sole object of
Spanish desire. Ovando, under whom he served in
Hispaniola, very readily allowed him a detachment
with which to try his fortune. Ponce, acting with
equal prudence and vigour, soon reduced the island to
subjection ; and though he did not discover that ample deposit of gold which had been hoped and expected, he did not entirely fail in his search after this precious metal.*
Ponce de Leon having completed this undertaking,
had a mind too ardent and active to remain at rest.
Another object attracted his desire, and absorbed his
whole soul. He was assured by a number of Indians*
that in some part of the islands caUed Bahama, or
Lucayos, there was a fountain called Bimini, of such
marvellous virtue, that the happy man who bathed in
its waters, to whatever period of life he might have
reached, rose in the full bloom and vigour of youth;
To the discovery of this precious fountain, Ponce devoted his existence. He spent many months sailing
along these coasts, landing at every point, and plung-
i       , m m
* Herrera, Dec. i. lib. vii. ch. 9.
H ii
j 72
ing into every pool, however shallow or muddy, always hoping to rise in that state of blissful renovation
which he had been taught to anticipate. The conse-r
quence of such long and incessant agitation under "a
burning sky was, that, instead of the/brilliant youth
which he so vainly hoped to attain, he brought upon
himself all the infirmities of a premature old age.
Indeed, by what Oviedo could learn, instead of a
second youth, he arrived at a second, childhood, and
never discovered the same vigour, either of body or
mind, as before he entered upon this delusive search-.
It is seldom, however, that extraordinary efforts of human activity fail of leading to some result.* While
Ponce was beating about restlessly from shore to shore
in search of the mysterious fountain, he came in view
of a more extensive range of land than any formerly
seen. It was crowned with magnificent forests, intermingled with flowering shrubs, which presented an
enchanting aspect, and to which, therefore, he gave
the name of Florida. In navigating along its shore,
his ships were violently agitated by the currents
arising out of the action of the gulf-stream, which
rushes here with concentrated force through the Bahama chaimels, and from which he gave to the southern cape the name of Corrientes. The Spaniards,
however, still continued to attach the idea of island to
all the newly-discovered lands ; and the pointed and
* Ramusio, iii. 347-   Osorio, History of the Portuguese, book
Barrow's Voyages, 37-48. PONCE DE LEON.—FLORIDA. 73
peninsulated form which the continent here presents to
the Gulf of Mexico made them obstinately continue
for some time to attach to Florida the character of
insularity. In vain did the natives assure them, that
it formed part of a vast continent, of which they even
named various nations and provinces. Some years
elapsed, according to Herrera, before the Spaniards
could learn to view Florida as part of the American
continent. When at last they did so, they hesitated not
to claim as Florida, and as belonging to Spain, the
whole northern continent, as its vast extent was successively discovered. But this pretension was soon
met by others, advanced by nations who possessed
better means of making their claims effectual ; and
the name, of Florida was obliged to give way before
those of Virginia, Carolina, and others, which the
prosperous colonies of England imposed upon this
extensive line of coast.
Ponce de Leon having at length renounced his unfortunate search after the fountain of youth, deter
mined to make the utmost of his real discovery. He
repaired to Spain, and obtained from the king authority to lead an expedition into Florida, with the title
of Adelantado, which included the powers' of governor and commander-in-chief. Finding, however, Porto
Rico disturbed by an insurrection of the Caribes, he
was obliged to take the field against them ; but, being
unequal to his former exertions, he made an unfortunate campaign, and lost much of his former reputation. At length he contrived to equip an expedition for Florida ; but his constitution, exhausted by
visionary hopes and efforts, being now unfit for the
'Iii 74
fatigues of such a voyage, he was obliged to put into
Cuba, whesre he died.*
The Spaniards from Cuba soon found their way to
iElOrida, and made expeditions, of whiph one object
soon came to be the iniquitous practice of carrying off
the Indians as slaves. A considerable time elapsed,
as we shaU see, before attempts began to be made for
the actual conquest and occupation of Florida.
While the nations both of the north and the south
of Europe had made such vigorous exertions for the
discovery of America, the French flag had not yet
appeared in the western seas. That nation, though
equally powerful and enterprisingyhad been more attached to feudal usages, and less imbued with the modern maritime and commercial spirit, than any other
of modern Europe. A monarch of such spirit as
Francis I., however, could not be content to see
Charles, his rival, carrying off all the brilliant prizes
offered by the new world. He Ustened readily to the
suggestion, that he too should send an expedition to
thé west, for the discovery of kingdoms and countries
unknown. He found himself, however, under the
same necessity as Henry, to employ foreign science
and skiU to guide his fleet into those distant seas.
Juan Verazzani, a Florentine, who had distinguished
himself by successful cruises against the Spaniards,
was sent with a vessel called the Dauphin to the
American  coast.    In the narrative  of his  voyage
* Herrera, Dec. i. b. 9. c. 10; Dec. ii. c. 8; Dec. iv. b. 4;
c. 4, 5, 6.    Oviedo ap. Ramusio, iii. 146-7- VERAZZANI.
which he sends to Francis, Verazzani sets out from
the little island or rock near Madeira, caUed the Désertas. About midway across the Atlantic, he encountered one of those disasters to which navigators
of that age, in their comparatively small vessels, were
so liable. His little bark had nearly perished. It
survived, however, and, completing happily the rest of
his voyage, he arrived on a coast which, according to
him, was never seen by any either of the ancients or
moderns, and which appears to have been some
part either of CaroUna or Florida. That it was
inhabited appeared from the large fires kindled on
shore ; but he sought in vain for a port into which
his vessel could enter. After sailing first south, and
then north, in the fruitless search, he determined to
put out a boat, and open an intercourse with the natives. They came to the shore in considerable numbers ; but as soon as the French landed, and began to
follow them, they ran away, turning back, however*
with evident signs of wonder and curiosity. At length,
being satisfied that they had nothing to fear, they
offered victuals to the French, assisted them in drawing
their bark on shore, and viewed with surprise and admiration the white colour, the dress, and the whole
appearance of this unknown people. They were tall,
handsome, swift, perfectly naked, except that various
skins and tails of animals were fastened round the
middle by a girdle of woven grass, and hung down to
the knee. The coast was sandy, rising behind into
little hiUs ; but as they proceeded, it became more
elevated, and was covered with magnificent woods,
not of the common forest-trees, but of the palm, the
cypress, and others unknown to Europe, and which
diffused the most delicious perfume. This land was
in lat. 34°, which, if correct, would place it about Cape
Fear. They now proceeded along tlie coast, which
turned to the eastward, and appeared very populous,
but so low and open, that even a boat could not approach it. In this emergency, a young saUor undertook to swim on shore, and open an intercourse with
the natives. They crowded to receive him ; but just
as he had arrived within a few yards of the land, his:
courage failed, and he attempted to turn back. A
high wave, however, met him, and, amid