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BY F. M. H U B B A RD. 

VOL. I. 


329 & 331 PEARL STREET, 



Entered, according to Act of Congress in the year 1841, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the South*-:* District of New-York 


IN continuing their series of AMERICAN BIOGRA- 
PHY, the publishers believe that no work is more 
worthy of a place in it than the excellent one of 
BELKNAP, a new edition of which they now offer. 
The very frequent reference to it as an authority by 
more recent writers of American history, the uni- 
form acknowledgment of its singular accuracy by 
those who have had occasion to investigate anew 
the lives of those of whom Dr. Belknap has written, 
the correctness of his judgment, his candour, and the 
elegance of his style, render it unnecessary for them 
to say anything farther in commendation of these 
volumes. They were originally prepared with great 
labour, and with a scrupulous adherence to facts, 
and it is believed that the notes and additions to the 
present edition have been not less laboriously and 
faithfully made. 

The publishers have omitted three sketches which 
were in the original work, viz., the lives of Cabot, 
Smith, and Hudson, for the reason that memoirs of 
the same individual^, jsqm.e,wha^ \pore full, have been 


already published by them in former volumes of 
their series. 

The additions to the author's text, which has been 
exactly followed, are enclosed in brackets, and the 
notes of the editor are marked by brackets and the 
letter H. H. & B. 


IN preparing a new edition of a work so highly 
esteemed for its exactness and impartiality, the edi- 
tor has had a twofold labour. He has re-examined 
all the statements of facts made by Dr. Belknap, 
and compared them with the authorities he used, 
and with others which were not accessible when he 
wrote. It has been very seldom that he has found 
occasion to differ from Dr. Belknap, and that most 
frequently in cases in which documents recently dis- 
covered have thrown light upon subjects which the 
want of them rendered necessarily obscure. It is 
believed that no work has been published of such 
magnitude, embracing such a variety of persons and 
events, and extending over a period of more than 
six hundred years, in which so few, and those so 
unimportant, errors are to be found. The manu- 
script collections yet remaining, from which the 
work was originally written, prove a degree of care, 
ful diligence, and a discriminating and impartial 
judgment, which have been rarely exercised by the 
historical inquirer. 

yiil PREFACE. 

The second part of the editor's labour has been 
to add occasional illustrations and notes. These it 
was thought proper to make chiefly biographical. 
They have gradually swelled much beyond his ori- 
ginal design ; but it would have been more easy to 
make them larger than smaller. They have been 
prepared with much care, and it is hoped that they 
may not prove entirely unworthy of the excellent 
work to which they are added. In most cases he 
has given a reference to the sources on which he 
has relied, not for ostentation, but because some of 
his readers may choose to investigate and compare 
for themselves, and because his own statement might 
not have the weight of an authority. 

F. M. H. 

Northampton, Mass., May, 1841. 


No apology is necessary for the appearance of this 
work, if its utility be admitted. 

My first intention was to place the names in alpha- 
betical order ; but, on farther consideration, it was 
found to be impracticable, unless the whole work 
were before me at one view. A chronological ar- 
rangement appeared, on the whole, equally proper, 
and more in my power. Should any deviation from 
the exact order take place, it must be ascribed to a 
deficiency of materials ; which, however, it is hoped, 
will be supplied at some future time. 

Boston, January, 1794. 

THE author is so much indebted to HAKLUYT and 
PURCHAS, that he thinks it but just to give some 
account of them and their writings. 

RICHARD HAKLTTYT, prebendary of Westminster, 
was born in Herefordshire, 1553. He early turned 
his attention to geography, and read lectures in that 
science at Oxford, where he was educated, and where 
he introduced maps and globes into the public schools. 


In 1582 he published a small collection of voyages and 
discoveries ; and going two years after as chaplain to 
Sir Edward Stafford, ambassador to France, he there 
met with and published a MS. entitled The Notable 
History of Florida, ~by Laudonnierre and other Adven- 
turers. He returned to England in 1588, when he 
applied himself to collect, translate, and digest all the 
voyages, journals, and letters that he could procure, 
which he published first in one volume, 1589, to which 
he afterward added two others, and reprinted the 
first in 1599 and 1600. He was a man of indefati- 
gable diligence and great integrity ; much in favour 
with Queen Elizabeth's ministry, and largely conver- 
sant with seamen. He died in 1616, and his man- 
uscripts fell into the hands of Mr. Purchas. Wood 
and Northouck. 

A complete set of Hakluyt's voyages is in the li- 
brary of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

SAMUEL PURCHAS was born at Thackstead, in 'Es- 
sex, 1577, and educated at Cambridge. He was first 
vicar of Eastwood, in Essex, then rector of St. Mar- 
tin's, London. He published a folio volume, entitled 
Purchas his Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World 
and the Religions observed, in all Ages and Places, 
&c. The third edition of it is dated 1617. When 
Mr. Hakluyt's papers fell into his hands, he compiled 


four other volumes, which were printed 1625 ; they 
are entitled, Purchas his Pilgrims. Part i., ii., iii., iv. 
The whole makes a set of five volumes. They con- 
sist of journals, letters, narratives, translations, and 
abridgments, comprehending all the travels and dis- 
coveries made in all parts of the world, and are, with 
Hakluyt's work, the largest and most authentic col- 
lection of the kind extant for that time. By the pub- 
lishing of this voluminous work Purchas brought him- 
self into debt, and it has been said that he died in 
prison ; but Northouck says he died in his own house 
in London, 1628. 

A complete set of Purchas's Pilgrims is in the li- 
brary of Harvard College. 
I. B 






JEREMY BELKNAP, D.D., pastor of the church in 
Federal-street, was born in this town June 4, 
174-4 5 had the rudiments of his education at the 
Grammar School under the care of the celebra- 
ted Mr. Lord, and entered Harvard College in 

He discovered, at this early period, such marks 
of genius and taste, such talents for composi- 
tion, such a flow of sentiment in conversation, 
as to engage the esteem of the students, and ar- 
rest the attention of his instructers. His friends 
anticipated a life that would be distinguished, 
and soon beheld, with satisfaction, that it would 
be eminently useful. 

Having received the honours of the Universi- 
ty in 1762, he applied his mind to the various 
branches of science ; but, feeling very serious 
impressions of Divine truth, he turned his atten- 
tion to theology ; and, the more he studied, the 
more he was captivated with the beauties of re- 

* First published in the Columbian Centinel, June 25. 1798. 


lio-ion. The whole bent of his soul was to the 
work of the ministry, and to this he in the most 
solemn manner devoted himself. In 1763 he 
published a pathetic elegy upon the death of his 
minister, the Rev. Alexander Cuming, which dis- 
covered how much he was influenced by devo 
tional sentiments. 

When he became a preacher of the Gospel, he 
was invited to take charge of the church at Do- 
ver, in New-Hampshire ; there he passed several 
years of his valuable life with the esteem and 
affection of his flock, in habits of intimacy with 
ministers and other gentlemen of the neighbour- 
ing places, all of whom regretted his departure. 
He received marks of attention and respect from 
the first characters of the state, who persuaded 
and encouraged him to compile a history, which 
does much honour to our country, and has given 
the author a name and distinction among the 
first literary characters of the age. 

Soon after Dr. Belknap had left the church in 
Dover, the Presbyterian church in this town be- 
came vacant. Having agreed to form their 
church upon Congregational principles, and in- 
vited him to be their pastor, he accepted the 
call, and was installed April 4th, 1787. Nothing 
could have been more agreeable to the ministers 
and people of the other churches, and to all who 
regarded the interests of the University of Cam- 
bridge, with which he became officially connect- 
ed, being fully confident that he would be a 

O F 1) K. B K L K N A P. XV 

great instrument in promoting the cause of reli- 
gion and learning. As an overseer of the col- 
lege, he was attentive to the concerns of the in- 
stitution, always taking a lively interest in ev- 
erything that respected its welfare. 

He was an evangelical preacher, but his ser- 
sions were filled with a rich variety of observa- 
tions on human life and manners. He never 
aimed at a splendid diction, but a vein of piety 
ran through his discourses, and his style was 
uncommonly elegant and perspicuous, his ar- 
rangements clear and luminous, and his lan- 
guage adapted to the subject. He was sure to 
gratify equally the tastes of the best judges 
of composition and the humble inquirers after 
truth. He had a great readiness in quoting and 
applying texts of Scripture, and had read much 
of casuistic, systematic, and polemical divinity ; 
bxit he chose to give every sentiment a practical 
turn, and to diffuse that wisdom which is profit- 
able to direct. 

During the eleven years of his ministry in this 
place, the society with which he was connected 
grew and flourished. The attachment was strong 
and mutual. While they admired his diligence 
and fidelity, he received from them every testi- 
mony of respect which marks the character of a 
kind and obliging people. 

His attentions to his flock were founded upon 
a regard to them and the interests of religion. 
He was their sincere and affectionate friend, 


and he experienced peculiar pleasure in giving 
religious instruction to young children.* He 
was very active in encouraging those publica- 
tions which are designed for their use and ben- 

As a husband, parent, brother, or friend, he 
was tender, affable, kind, and obliging. He 
gave advice with cheerfulness, and with an at- 
tention to the concerns of his friends which in- 
vited their confidence. 

The friends of Dr. Belknap were numerous. 
His acquaintance was much increased by his be- 
coming a member of so many literary and be- 
nevolent societies j and he was active in promo- 
ting the good of every association to which he 
belonged : wherever he could be of any service, 
he freely devoted his time and talents. 

The Historical Society have lost their most 
laborious and diligent member, and the founder 
of their institution. No man ever had collected 
a greater number of facts, circumstances, and 
anecdotes, or a more valuable compilation of 
manuscripts, which might give information and 
entertainment to all those who wish to know the 
history of their own country. In his pursuits 
of this kind he frequently met with disappoint- 
ment from the loss of valuable papers ; and he 
often mentioned to his friends in New-Hamp- 

* In this pleasing office he was engaged in the afternoon 
of the day previous to his decease, at a public catechising 
of the. children of his society. 


shire and Boston, that it was necessary to pre- 
serve them by multiplying copies, and making it 
the principal duty and interest of an association 
to collect them, and to study their value. The 
proposals of Dr. Belknap met with the approba- 
tion and encouragement of several gentlemen in 
this town and its environs, and the society was 
incorporated in 1794. 

As an author, Dr. Belknap appears with great 
reputation, whether we consider his fugitive 
performances, which often appeared without a 
name, or his larger works, which have been cel- 
ebrated in America and Europe. He wrote much 
in the cause of freedom and his country before 
our Revolution ; and his patriotic ardour was as 
strong and sincere of late as in former years. 
He was attached to the Federal Constitution of 
these states, which he thought to be the bulwark 
of freedom and good government : he was fully 
persuaded that it had been wisely and purely 
administered ; and in his conversation, as well 
as in several of his public performances, mani- 
fested a conviction that a firm and uniform sup- 
port of it was essentially necessary to the liberty 
and prosperity of our country. 

The first volume of the American Biography 
excited a strong desire in the minds of the read- 
ers to have the work continued. A second vol- 
ume is now in the press ; and the tears of genius 
ore shed, that a work of so much entertainment 
anJ information could not be finished by the same 


hand. His mind was richly furnished with this 
kind of knowledge, and he wrote for the public 
benefit. The love of fame was only a secondary 
consideration ; his mind seemed to glow with a 
desire of being useful. 

The frequent returns of ill health to which 
this worthy man was subject, gave an anxiety to 
his friends, and led him to think that his days 
could not be long upon the earth. This stimu- 
lated his exertions, that he might do the more 
service while the day lasted. 

But he was seized suddenly with a paralytic- 
disorder at four o'clock, and died before eleven 
on Wednesday morning.* 

* Dr. Belknap's anticipations and humble indications of 
his choice relative to the manner of his death, mny be per- 
ceived in the following lines, which were found viong his 
papers after his decease, and which were composM by him 
probably at the time noted at the bottom, upon tip eudden 
death of one of his acquaintances : 

When faith and natience, hope and lov* 

Have made us meet for heaven above^ 

How bless'd the privilege to rise, 

Snatch'd in a moment to the skies, 

Unconscious to resign our breath. 

Nor taste the bitterness of Death. 

Such be my lot, Lord, if thou please. 

To die in silence and at ease 

When Thou dost know that I'm trei)ar4. 

seize me quick to my reward. 

But if thy wisdom sees it best 

To turn thine ear from this request ; 

If sickness be the appointed way 

To waste this frame of human clay 


His remains were interred on Friday last, with 
every testimony of respect from the inhabitants 
of the town. The Rev. Mr. Kirkland preached 
an affectionate discourse from John, ix., 4. The 
whole assembly expressed their sorrow for the 
loss of one so near and dear to them as a broth- 
er and friend ; so amiable in the more tender 
relations of domestic life, so exemplary as' a 
Christian, so useful as a minister, so respectable 
in all the public offices he sustained. Who does 
not readily acknowledge the worth and excel- 
lence of such a character 1 

List of Dr. Belknap's Publications. 

\ Sermon upon Military Duty, preached at Do- 
ver, 1772. 

A Serious Address to a Parishioner upon the 
neglect of Public Worship. 

A Sermon on Jesus Christ, the only Foundation, 
preached before an association of ministers in 

Election Sermon, preached at Portsmouth, 1784. 

If, worn with grief and rack'd with pain, 
This earth must turn to earth again, 
Then let thine angels round me stand, 
Support me by thy powerful hand ; 
Let not my faith or patience move, 
Nor aught abate my hope or love ; 
But brighter may my graces shine, 
Till they're absorb'd in light divine. 
February 9, 1791. 


A Sermon at the ordination of the Rev. Jedediah 
Morse, 1789. 

A Discourse, delivered at the request of the His- 
torical Society, Octoher, 1792 ; being the Com- 
pletion of the Third Century from Columbus's 
Discovery of America. 

Dissertations upon the Character and Resurrec- 
tion of Christ, 1 vol. 12mo. 

Collections of Psalms and Hymns, 1 vol. 12mo. 

Convention Sermon, 1796. 

A Sermon on the Day of the National Fast, May 
9th, 1798. 

Dr. Belknap's Historical Works are, 
History of New-Hampshire, 3 vols. 8vo. 
The Foresters ; an American Tale : being a e- 

quel to the History of John Bull, the Clothier, 

1 vol. 12mo. 
American Biography, 2 vols. 8vo. 

He published also several Essays upon the 
African Trade ; upon Civil and Religious Lib- 
erty ; upon the State and Settlement of this 
Country, in periodical papers, in the Columbian 
Magazine, printed in Philadelphia, in the Boston 
Magazine, 1784, in the Historical Collections, 
and in newspapers. 

Extract from the Rev. Mr. Kirkland'i Sermon of 

the interment of the Rev. Dr. Bt *nap 
" In an eminent manner did the p rson we la 
ment appear to consider himself, with all his en 
dowments and opportunities, as placed in tk 


world by the Great Moral Governor, and bound 
by the strongest obligations and motives to be 
faithful, active, and persevering in the duties of 
this station. In few instances have time and 
talents been so diligently, conscientiously, and 
usefully employed. A genius active and origi- 
nal, a judgment distinguished and correct, and a 
retentive memory, improved by a learned edu- 
cation and habitual and close industry, and uni- 
ted to Christian faith and temper, could not fail 
to make a character of eminent usefulness and 
honour. We have reason to bless the great 
Head of the Church that he devoted himself to 
the Christian ministry, and entered into the 
spirit of his office. With what diligence and 
zeal he strove to acquire and communicate a 
Christian knowledge, none present can be igno- 
rant. Seizing the early hour of the day, supe- 
rior to the enticements of indolence, abhorring 
idleness, finishing Avhatever study or inquiry he 
had begun, and using recreations and visits as 
preparations for serious pursuits, his mind be- 
came enriched with a large store of theological 
and evangelical learning. But his ardent curi- 
osity did not confine itself to the mere studies 
of his profession. Not by slighting any of the 
public or private duties of his office, but by su- 
perior economy of time and industry, he re- 
deemed leisure to carry his researches into oth- 
er fields of literature, suited to gratify his taste 
and increase his usefulness. How well he join- 


ed to theology and general literature the knowl- 
edge of human nature and the character of men, 
was evinced by his discourses, adapted to real 
life, and unfolding the secret springs of action ; 
and by his conversation and behaviour, suited to 
persons, times, and places. 

" Such intellectual and moral attainments could 
not but render him an important character to the 
world, to his country, and to the religious, liter- 
ary, and domestic societies with which he was 
connected. The world has reaped the fruits of 
his labours and researches, not only in his pro- 
fessional studies, but in other departments of 
literature j in writings which will maintain their 
reputation so long as readers of piety and taste 
and lovers of historical truth remain. It is a 
painful circumstance attending his death, that it 
stops the progress of a useful and interesting 
work, for which the public voice pronounces 
him peculiarly qualified, and which the world of 
letters hoped he might extend through the suc- 
cessive periods of his country's history.* 

"How he magnified the office of the Christian 
ministry, you afcd others who enjoyed his minis- 
trations, who joined in his prayers, who sat un- 
der his preaching, and who saw him in the pri- 
vate duties of his station, can better conceive 
than I describe. If a judicious and seasonable 
choice of subjects, pertinacity in thought, clear- 
ness in method, and warmth in application j if 
* The American Biography. 


language plain and perspicuous, polished and 
nervous ; if striking illustration ; if evangelical 
doctrines and motives ; if a seriousness and fer- 
vour, evincing that the preacher's own mind 
was affected ; if a pronunciation free and natu- 
ral, distinct and emphatical, are excellences in 
public teaching, you, my brethren of this socie- 
ty, have possessed them in your deceased pas- 
tor. Your attention was never drawn from the 
great practical views of the Gospel by the need- 
less introduction of controversial subjects, nor 
your minds perplexed, nor your devotional feel- 
ings damped by the cold subtleties of metaphys- 
ics. His preaching was designed to make you 
good and happy, and not to gain your applause. 
While the manner, as well as the matter, was 
suited to affect the heart, no attempt was made 
to overbear your imaginations and excite your 
passions by clamorous and affected tones. 

"While the Church is deprived of a distin- 
guished minister, the republic of letters of an 
accomplished scholar and writer, the country 
mourns a patriot. Ever a strenuous asserter of 
the rights of the colonies in speech and writing, 
and a warm friend of the Revolution which ac- 
complished the independence of the United 
States, he was also a decided advocate and sup- 
porter of the government of our own choice 
which succeeded, and of the Constitution of the 
states in union, which he considered the bulwark 
of our national security and welfare. His love 


of true liberty was equal to his hatred of licen- 
tiousness j his zeal for the equal rights of man 
to his zeal for the defeat of faction and anarchy. 
Actuated by public spirit, and viewing it the duty 
of every citizen to throw his whole weight into 
the scale on the side of law and order, he was 
earnest in his wishes and prayers for the govern- 
ment of his country, and in critical periods took 
an open and unequivocal, and, as far as profes- 
sional private duties allowed, an active part. 

"The academies and societies instituted for 
arts and sciences, for promoting historical knowl- 
edge and humanity, as well as the University, are 
deprived of all that assistance and support which, 
as far as health permitted, they derived from one 
whose preponderating desire was to do good, 
whose solid mind was superior to the vanity of 
applause, and valued everything in proportion to 
its utility. 

"As a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a 
friend, and neighbour, what he was their bleed- 
ing hearts can tell who were connected with 
him in these interesting relations j who knew 
his kind and cheerful temper, his sincere and 
guileless disposition, his disinterested benevo- 
lence, and his activity in every good work." 






BIRON .77 

MADOC 129 

ZENO 138 


JAMES CARTIER ......... 230 







THE first navigators of whom we have any 
account were the Phoenicians, who were 
scattered along the coasts of the Mediterra- 
nean and of the Red Sea. As early as the 
days of Moses they had extended their nav- 
igation beyond the Pillars of Hercules, on the 
western coast of Africa towards the south, 
and as far northward as the Island of Brit- 
ain, whence they imported tin and lead,* 
which, according to the universal testimony 
of the ancients, were not then found in any 
other country. 

From the accounts given in ancient history 
of the expeditions of Sesostris, king of Egypt, 
some have been led to conclude that he 
made a discovery of all the coasts of Africa, f 
However this might be, there is no doubt that 

* See Numbers, ch. xxxi., v. 22. 

* Forster's History of Voyages and Discoveries, p. 7. 

28 ""*' TRELIfcltfAfi Y .-TWSSERTATION. 

he 6ptnj^' pi' tsnved 3- 'commercial 
course* with 'Indid "siftti*. Ethiopia by way of 
the Red Sea. It hath also been thought that 
the voyages of the Phoenicians and He- 
brews to Ophir, in the time of Solomon, 
were nothing more nor less than circumnavi- 
gations of Africa.* 

But, leaving these, for the present, in the 
region of conjecture, the earliest regular ac- 
count which we have of any voyage round 
the Continent of Africa is that performed by 
order of Necho, king of Egypt, and recorded 
by Herodotus ; the most ancient historian, 
except the sacred writers, whose works have 
come down to our time. His character as a 
historian is " candid in his acknowledgment 
of what is uncertain, and absolute when he 
speaks of what he knows." The date of 
Necho's reign is fixed by Rollin 616 years 
before Christ. The da*e of Herodotus's his- 
tory is placed by Dufresnoy in the third year 
of the 83d Olympiad, answering to 446 years 
before Christ : so that he must have penned 
his narration of this voyage in less than two 
centuries after it was performed. I shall give 
his account at large, in a literal translation 
from the Geneva edition of his work, in 

* Forster's History of Voyages and Discoveries, p. 7. 


Greek and Latin, by Stephanus.* In de- 
scribing the several great divisions of the 
earth, he speaks thus : 

" I wonder at those who have divided and 
distinguished Libya,! Asia, and Europe, be- 
tween which there is not a little difference. 
If, indeed, Europe agrees with the others in 
length, yet in breadth it does not seem to me 
worthy to be compared. For Libya shows 
itself to be surrounded by the sea, except 
where it joins to Asia. Necos, king of the 
Egyptians, being the first of those whom we 
know to demonstrate it. After he had desist- 
ed from digging a ditch from the Nile to the 
Arabian Gulf (in which work above twenty 
thousand Egyptians perished), he betook him- 
self to raising armies' and building ships, part- 
ly in the North Sea,1: and partly in the Ara- 
bian Gulf, at the Red Sea, of which they yet 
show some remains. He sent certain Phoe- 
nicians in ships, commanding them that, 
having passed the Pillars of Hercules, they 
should penetrate the North Sea, and so return 
to Egypt. The Phoenicians, therefore, loos- 

* Lib. iv., chap. 42. 

t Libya is the name by which the whole Continent of Africa 
was called by the Greeks. 

t By the North Sea is meant the Mediterranean, which lie* 
north of Egypt. $ Lib. ii., ch. 48. 


ing from the Red Sea, went away into the 
Southern Sea, and, directing their ships to 
land, made a seed-time at the end of autumn, 
that they might expect a harvest, and might 
assiduously coast Libya. Then, having gath- 
ered the harvest, they sailed.* Thus, two 
years being consumed, in the third year, 
coming round the Pillars of Hercules, they 
returned to Egypt, reporting things which 
with me have no credit, but may perhaps with 
others, that in sailing round Libya they had 
the sun on the right hand.^ In this manner 
it was first known. 

" In the second place, the Carthaginians 
have said that a certain Sataspes, son of Te- 
aspis, a man of the Achamenides, did not 
sail round Libya when he was sent, but, be- 
ing deterred by the length of the naviga- 
tion and the solitude of the country, returned 
home, having not fulfilled the labour which 
his mother enjoined him. For he had viola- 
ted a virgin, daughter of Zopyrus, the son 
of Megabysus ; and for that cause being 
by Xerxes condemned to be crucified, his 

* " Into whatever part of Libya seamen came, they waited 
for harvest, and when they had reaped they loosed from the 
shore." (Note of Stephanus.) 

t I. e., They being in the southern hemisphere, and sailing 
westward, saw the meridian sun on the right hand. 


mother, who was sister to Darius, liberated 
him, because, she said, she would impose on 
him a punishment greater than the king's 
command. Wherefore it became necessary 
for him to sail round all Libya, till he should 
come to the Arabian Gulf. Xerxes consent- 
ing to this, Sataspes went into Egypt, and, 
having there taken a ship and companions, 
sailed to the Pillars of Hercules. Having 
passed them, and having doubled the prom- 
ontory of Libya called Syloes,* he kept a 
southern course. Having traversed much of 
the sea in many months, and finding much 
more time necessary, he turned about and 
came back to Egypt. Returning to Xerxes, 
he reported that, in visiting the remotest 
coasts, he had seen small men, clothed in 
Phoenician garments, who, at the approach 
of his ship, fled to the mountains and left their 
villages, which he entered, and took nothing 
from them but cattle. He gave this reason 
for not having sailed round Libya, that his 
ship could sail no farther, but was stopped. 
Xerxes did not believe him, and because he 
had not performed his engagement, ordered 
him to undergo his destined punishment.'' 

* Now called Cape Bojador, in the 26th degree of north lati- 


To the authenticity of this circumnaviga- 
tion of the African Continent, the following 
objections have been made : 

First, it is said that " the vessels which the 
ancients employed were so small as not to 
afford stowage for provisions sufficient to sub- 
sist a crew during a leng voyage." 

Secondly, " their construction was such 
that they could seldom venture to depart far 
from land, and their mode of steering along 
the coast was so circuitous and slow, that we 
may pronounce a voyage from the Mediterra- 
nean to India by the Cape of Good Hope to 
have been an undertaking beyond their power 
to accomplish, in such a manner as to render 
it in any degree subservient to commerce. 
To this decision, the account preserved by 
Herodotus of a voyage performed by some 
Phosnician ships employed by the King of 
Egypt can hardly be considered as repug- 

* Robertson'8 India, p. 175, American edition. 

The objections taken from this learned author were not made 
directly against the voyage mentioned by Herodotus, but rather 
against the possibility of a passage to India by way of the Atlan- 
tic Ocean and round the African Continent. However, as he 
brings this voyage into view in the same argument, and speaks 
of it dubiously, it is conceived that his sentiments are not mis- 
represented in the above quotations. 


I have chosen to consider both these objec- 
tions together, because that each one helps to 
destroy the other. For if the vessels were so 
small as not to contain provisions for a long 
voyage, this was one reason for the naviga- 
tors to keep their course near the land, that 
they might find water, fruits, game, and cat- 
tle on the shore, as well as fish on the shoals 
and rocks near the coast, for their subsistence. 
And if it was their design to keep near the 
land for the sake of discovery, small vessels 
were best adapted to the purpose, because 
they could pass over shoals, through small 
openings, between islands and rocks, which 
are generally situate near the coasts of great 
continents. Besides, if the vessels were 
small, they could carry but small crews, who 
would not require very large quantities of pro- 

But Herodotus has helped us to solve the 
difficulty respecting provisions in a manner 
perfectly agreeable to the practice of anti- 
quity, though unknown to modern navigators. 
They went on shore and sowed corn, and 
when it was ripe gathered the harvest. This 
enables us to account for two circumstances 
attending the voyage of Necho: the length 
of time employed, and the supply of provis- 
ion, at least of bread, consumed in it. 


Nor was the sowing and reaping any loss 
of time ; for the monsoons in the Indian 
Ocean would not permit them to proceed any 
faster. A ship sailing from the Red Sea with 
the N.E. monsoon in the summer or au- 
tumn, would meet with the S.W. monsoon 
in the beginning of December, which must 
have detained her in some of the harbours on 
the eastern coast of Africa till the next April. 
During this time, in that warm climate, corn 
might be sown and reaped ; and any other 
articles, either of provision or merchandise, 
might be taken on board. Then the N.E. 
monsoon would carry her to the southern 
parts of Africa, into the region of variable 
winds. This regular course and changing of 
the monsoons was familiarly known to the 
navigators .of Solomon's ships, and was the 
cause of their spending three years in the 
voyage to and from Ophir. " In going and 
returning they changed the monsoon six 
times, which made thirty-six months. They 
needed no longer time to complete the voy- 
age, and they could not perform it in less."* 

It is not pleaded that the voyage of Necho 
was undertaken for the sake of commerce ; 
or, if the authenticity of it were established, 
* Bruce's Travels, b. it, chap. iv. 


that it would prove the practicability of a voy- 
age from the Mediterranean to India round 
the Cape of Good Hope, by the vessels then 
in use and th'e nautical skill then acquired. 
The voyage of which Herodotus speaks might 
have been a voyage of discovery ; such a 
one as was perfectly agreeable to the genius 
of the people by whom it was performed, and 
of the prince by whose order and at whose 
expense it was undertaken. " The progress 
of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, in their 
knowledge of the globe, was not owing en- 
tirely to the desire of extending their trade 
from one country to another. Commerce was 
followed by its usual effects among both those 
people. It awakened curiosity, enlarged the 
ideas and desires of men, and incited them to 
bold enterprises. Voyages Avere undertaken, 
the sole object of which was to " discover new 
countries and to explore unknown seas"* 
The knowledge acquired in these voyages of 
discovery might afterward be subservient to 
commerce ; and though the Phoenicians might 
not think it convenient to circumnavigate Af- 
rica more than once, yet that they carried on 
a commercial intercourse with different parts 
of that country, and particularly with places 

* Robertson's America, vol. i., p. 11, 4th edit. 


situate on the eastern coast, in the Indian 
Ocean, we have evidence from the sacred 
writings. In the reign of Solomon, " the 
king's ships, with the servants of Hiram and 
the navy of Tharshish, every three years 
brought ivory,* apes, and peacocks, besides 
silver and the gold of Ophir" which is with 
great reason supposed to be the country now 
called Sofala, on the eastern coast of Africa, 
in the southern hemisphere, as the learned 
Bruce, in his late book of travels, has satis- 
factorily proved. 

The prophet Ezekiel, who was contempo- 
rary with Necho, king of Egypt, in the ac- 
count which he gives of the merchandise of 
Tyre, enumerates several commodities which 
it is well known belong to Africa, " horns of 
ivory and ebony, and the persons of men."t 
We may form some idea of the strength and 
materials of the ships of the Tyrians, and of 
their skill in navigation, from the following 
passages in his apostrophe to Tyrus. " They 
have made all thy ship-boards of fir-trees of 
Senir ; they have taken cedars of Lebanon to 
make masts for thee ; of the oaks of Bashan 
have they made thine oars. Thy wise men, 

* 2 Chron., viii., 18 ; ix., 21. 

t Ezekiel, chap, xxvii., ver. 13, 15. 


O Tyrus, were thy pilots. The ancients of 
Gebal, the wise men thereof, were thy calkers. 
The ships of Tharshish did sing of thee ; thou 
wast replenished and made very glorious in the 
midst of the seas ; thy rowers have brought 
thee into great waters." Though we have 
no particular description of the size or model 
of their ships, yet they certainly had masts, 
sails, and oars ; their pilots and calkers were 
wise men, and they were not afraid to sail in 
great waters, by which is probably meant the 
Ocean, in distinction from the Mediterranean. 
Of the form and structure of the Grecian 
vessels we have a more particular knowledge. 
" They were of inconsiderable burden, and 
mostly without decks. They had only one 
mast, and were strangers to the use of an- 
chors."* But then it must be remembered 
that "the Pho3nicians, who instructed the 
Greeks in other useful arts, did not communi- 
cate to them that extensive knowledge of 
navigation which they themselves possess- 
ed."! We may hence conclude that the 
ships of the Phoanicians were superior to the 
Grecian vessels ; and we have no evidence, 
from the structure of their vessels or their 
mode of sailing, to warrant a doubt of the 

* Rr icrtson's America, vol. i., p. 15. t Ibid., p. 14. 


ability of their ships or seamen to perform a 
voyage round the Continent of Africa in three 

To a European theorist such a voyage may 
seem less practicable than to an American. 
The Europeans have usually employed none 
but ships of great burden in their trade to In- 
dia and China ; but, since the Americans 
have visited those countries, sloops of fifty or 
sixty tons have sailed round the Cape of 
Good Hope to China, and round Cape Horn 
to the northwest coast of America, and across 
the North Pacific Ocean. If any doubt can 
yet remain, it may be entirely removed by 
the recollection of a voyage performed in 
the year 1789 by Lieutenant Bligh, of the 
British navy ; who, being turned adrift by his 
mutinous crew, traversed the South Pacific 
Ocean, above twelve hundred leagues, in a 
boat of twenty-three feet long, without a 
deck, in much stormy weather, with scanty 
provisions ; and, having passed many danger- 
ous rocks and shoals, among unknown isl- 
ands, arrived in forty-one days at a Dutch 
settlement in Timor, one of the Moluccas.* 
The objections, then, against the reality of 
Necho's voyage, from the size and structure 

* See the printed narrative by Lieut. Bligh. 


of the Phoenician vessels and the want of pro- 
vision, are not so formidable on examination 
as at the first appearance.* 

A third objection against the credibility of 

* Since this dissertation was sent to the press I have met 
with the following account of an adventure, which adds to the 
credibility of the circumnavigation of Africa in small embar- 

In 1534, when the Portuguese had established a government 
in India, Badur, king of Kambaya, being at war with the Great 
Mogul, sought assistance from the Portuguese, and offered 
them the liberty of building a fort at Diu. As soon as this lib- 
erty was granted and the plan of the fort was drawn, James Bo- 
tello, a person skilled in the affairs of India, having been in dis- 
grace with John, king of Portugal, and being anxious to recov- 
er the favour of that prince, resolved to carry the first news of 
it to him. Having obtained a copy of the plan, he set out 
from India in a bark sixteen feet long, nine broad, and four and 
a half deep, with three Portuguese, two others, and his own 
slaves. He pretended that he was going to Kambaya, but 
when he was out at sea, made known his design to go to Lis- 
bon, at which they were all astonished. Being overcome by 
fair words, they proceeded on their way, till, finding themselves 
reduced to distress, the slaves agreed to kill Botello ; but, 
after killing a servant, they were put to death themselves. 
With the four who remained Botello held on his course, doub- 
led the southern cape of Africa, and at length arrived at Lis- 
bon, where the bark was immediately burned, that no man 
might see it was possible to perform that voyage in so small a 
vessel. The king was greatly pleased wtih the news, and restored 
Botello to his favour, without any other reward for so daring an 

See a collection of Voyages and Travels, in quarto, printed 
at London, 1745, by Thomas Astley, vol. i., p. 82. 


this early circumnavigation is, that several 
writers of the greatest eminence among the 
ancients, and most distinguished for their 
knowledge of geography, regarded this ac- 
count rather as an amusing tale than the his- 
tory of a real transaction, and either enter- 
tained doubts concerning the possibility of 
sailing round Africa, or absolutely denied 
it."* That the Roman geographers and his- 
torians did doubt and disbelieve the story is 
very evident ; and the causes are not far to 
be sought. 

The first was the jealousy of the Phoeni- 
cians. " Whatever acquaintance with the 
remote regions of the earth the Phoenicians or 
Carthaginians acquired, was concealed from 
the rest of mankind with a mercantile jeal- 
ousy. Everything relative to the course of 
navigation was a secret of state as well as a 
mystery of trade. Extraordinary facts are 
recorded concerning their solicitude to pre- 
vent other nations from penetrating into what 
they wished should remain undivulged."t 
One of these extraordinary facts is thus rela- 
ted by Strabo. The Romans, being desirous 
to discover the places whence the Carthagin- 

* Robertson's India, p. 175. 

t Robertson's America, vol. i,, p. 13. 


ians fetched tin and amber, " sent a vessel, 
with orders to sail in the wake of a Phoeni- 
cian vessel. This being observed by the 
Carthaginian, he purposely ran his vessel 
among rocks and sand-banks, so that it was 
lost, together with that of the inquisitive Ro- 
man. The patriotic commander of the for- 
mer was indemnified for his loss by his coun- 

A second reason was the pride of the Ro- 
mans. If, as Pope tells us, 

" With honest scorn, the first famed Cato viewed 
Rome, learning arts from Greece whom she subdued ;". 

the same pride would make their wise men 
scorn to learn geography or navigation, theo- 
retically, from those best able to teach them. 
It is acknowledged that the Romans " did not 
imbibe that commercial spirit and ardour for 
discovery which distinguished their rivals."! 
It must also be observed, that there was but 
little intercourse between them, and that the 
Carthaginians were deficient in those scien- 
ces for which the Romans were famous. 
Among the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, 
the study and knowledge of their youth were 
confined to writing, arithmetic, and mercan- 

* Forster's History of Voyages and Discoveries, ch. i. 
t Robertson's America, vol. i., p. 14. 


tile accounts, while polite literature, history, 
and philosophy were in little repute ; and by 
a law of Carthage, the study of the Greek 
language was prohibited, lest any communi- 
cation should be carried on with their ene- 

A third reason was the opinion which the 
wisest men among the Romans had formed, 
and to which they obstinately adhered, con- 
cerning the five zones, and the impossibility 
of passing from one hemisphere to the other, 
because of the torrid zone lying between. 
This doctrine of the zones is so fully repre- 
sented by Dr. Robertson,! that I need only 
refer the reader to what he has written on the 

But, notwithstanding the doubts and the 
infidelity of the Roman philosophers, and the 
great deference paid to them by this learned 
and cautious inquirer, there is one circum- 
stance which almost convinced him of the 
reality of Necho's voyage as related by Her- 
odotus. It is this, that the Phoenicians, in 
sailing round Africa, " had the sun on their 
right hand;" which Herodotus, with his usual 
modesty and candour, says, " with me has 

* Rollin's Ancient History, book ii., part i., sect. 7. 
t Robertson's America, vol. i., note 8. 


no credit, though it may with others." On 
this the doctor judiciously remarks, " The 
science of astronomy was in that early period 
so imperfect, that it was by experience only 
that the Phrenicians could come at the knowl- 
edge of this fact ; they durst not, without 
this, have ventured to assert what would have 
appeared to be an improbable fiction."* In- 
deed, if they had not known it by experience, 
there is not the least conceivable reason for 
their inventing such a report, nor even for 
the entrance of such an idea into their imagi- 
nation. The modest doubt of Herodotus is 
another argument in favour of the truth and 
genuineness of it ; for, as he had no experi- 
ence to guide him, and the idea was new, it 
was very proper for him to hesitate in admit- 
ting it, though he showed his impartiality by 
inserting it in his relation. 

So much for the voyage performed by the 
Phoanicians under the orders of Necho, which 
is the first proof produced by Herodotus of 
his position that " Lybia is surrounded by 
the sea except where it joins Asia." 

His second proof is not so conclusive, nor 
is the design of his introducing it so obvious. 
It is the relation of a voyage undertaken by 
_ * Robertson's India, note 54. 


Sataspes, a Persian, whose punishment was 
commuted from crucifixion to sailing round 
Lybia ; which voyage he began, but returned 
by the same route, not having completed it. 
The reason which he gave for returning was, 
that " his ship was stopped and could sail no 
farther," which his sovereign did not believe, 
and therefore put him to death, to which he 
had before been condemned. 

The only evidence which this story can af- 
ford is, that the circumnavigation of the Af- 
rican Continent was at that time thought 
practicable. The mother of Sataspes thought 
so, or she would not have proposed it ; and 
Xerxes thought so, or he would not have 
disbelieved the story of the ship being stop- 
ped ; by which expression was meant that 
the sea was no farther navigable by reason 
of land. 

The exact date of this voyage is not ascer- 
tained ; but, as Xerxes reigned twelve years, 
and died in the year 473 before Christ, it 
could not have been much more than thirty 
years preceding the time when Herodotus 
published his history. 

The voyage of Hanno, the Carthaginian, is 
thus briefly mentioned by Pliny : " In the 
flourishing state of Carthage, Hanno, having 


sailed round from Gades [Cadiz] to the bor- 
der of Arabia, committed to writing an ac- 
count of his voyage ; as did Himilco, who 
was, at the same time, sent to discover the 
extreme parts of Europe."* The character 
of Pliny as a historian is, that "he collected 
from all authors, good and bad, who had writ- 
ten before him ; and that his work is a mix- 
ture of truth and error, which it is difficult 
to separate." An instance in confirmation 
of this remark occurs in this very chapter, 
where he speaks of some merchants sailing 
from India, and thrown by a tempest on the 
coast of Germany. He also mentions a voy- 
age made by Eudoxus from the Arabian 
Gulf to Gades, and another of Coelius Anti- 
pater from Spain to Ethiopia. 

Of these voyages, that of Hanno is best au- 
thenticated. He sailed from Carthage with 
sixty gaDeys, each carrying fifty oars, having 
on board thirty thousand men and women, 
with provisions and articles of traffic. The 
design of this equipment was to plant colo- 
nies along the western shore of Africa, which 
the Carthaginians, from priority of discovery, 
and from its contiguity to their territory, con- 
sidered as their own dominion. Hanno was 

" Pliny's Natural History, lib. ii., cap. f>7. 


absent five years on this colonizing expedi- 
tion ; but there is no certainty of his having 
proceeded any farther southward than the 
Bay of Benin, in the eighth degree of north 
latitude. A fragment of his journal, which, 
at his return, he deposited in the temple of 
Saturn at Carthage, is now extant ; and 
though it has been treated as fabulous by 
several authors, ancient and modern, yet its 
authenticity has been vindicated by M. Bou- 
gainville, in the 26th volume of the Memoirs 
of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and 
Belles Lettres, where a French translation 
of it is given from the Greek, into which lan- 
guage it was rendered from the original 

Concerning the voyage of Eudoxus, the 
following account is given by Bruce.* He 
was sent by Ptolemy Euergetes as an am- 
bassador to India, to remove the bad effects 
of the king's conduct in the beginning of his 
reign, who had extorted contributions from 
merchants of that and other trading countries. 
Eudoxus returned after the king's death, and 
was wrecked on the coast of Ethiopia, where 

* Travels, book ii., chap. 5. The voyage of Eudoxus was 
originally written by Posidonius, but I have not met with that 


he discovered the prow of a ship which had 
suffered the same fate. It was the figure of 
a horse ; and a sailor, who had been employ- 
ed in European voyages, knew this to have 
been part of one of those vessels which tra- 
ded on the Atlantic Ocean, of which trade 
Gades was the principal port. This circum- 
stance amounted to a proof that there was a 
passage round Africa from the Indian to the 
Atlantic Ocean. The discovery was of no 
greater importance to any person than to 
Eudoxus himself; for, some time afterward, 
falling under the displeasure of Ptolemy La- 
thyrus, and being in danger of his life, he 
fled, and, embarking on the Red Sea, sailed 
round Africa and came to Gades. 

This voyage of Eudoxus was treated as a 
fable by Strabo, the Roman geographer, who 
wrote about a century and a half after the 
time when it is said to have been performed. 
The true cause of the incredulity of him and 
of other Roman authors in respect to these 
voyages and discoveries was the doctrine 
of the zones, to which they inflexibly ad- 
hered, and which entirely precluded all con- 

These are all the evidences which I have 
had opportunity to examine respecting the 


question of the circumnavigation of Africa,* 
and, upon the whole, there appears to be 
this peculiarity attending the subject, that it 
was believed by those who lived nearest to 
the time when the voyage of Necho is said to 
have been made ; and that, in proportion to 
the distance of time afterward, it was doubt- 
ed, disbelieved, and denied, till its credibil- 
ity was established beyond all doubt by the 
Portuguese adventurers in the fifteenth cen- 

The credibility of the Egyptian or Phoeni- 
cian voyages round^the Continent of Africa 
being admitted, and the certainty of the Car- 
thaginian voyages and colonies on the western 
shore of Africa being established, we may ex- 
tend our inquiry to the probability of what 
has been advanced by some writers, and 
doubted or denied by others, the population 
of some parts of America from beyond the 

The discovery of the Canary Islands by the 
Carthaginians is a fact well attested. Pliny 

* Dr. Forster, in his history of voyages and discoveries 
(chap, i.), refers to three German authors, Gesner, Schlozer, and 
Michaelis, who have written on this subject, and observes, that 
" the circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians and Egyp- 
tians is proved almost to a demonstration." 


speaks of them as then destitute of inhabi- 
tants, but containing (vestigia cedificiorum) the 
remains of buildings. From this circum- 
stance it must appear that they had been in- 
habited before the Carthaginian discovery. 
In Plutarch's time, the Fortunate Islands 
were not only inhabited, but were so cele- 
brated for their fertility that they were sup- 
posed to be the seat of the blessed. 

When Madeira and Porto Santo were dis- 
covered by the Normans and Portuguese, 
both were uninhabited. A question then 
arises, If these islands were sometimes inhab- 
ited and at other times deserted, what became 
of their inhabitants ? It must have been some 
uncommon event which could induce them to 
abandon so pleasant and fruitful a country 
without leaving a single family behind. If 
they perished in the islands, it is still more 
extraordinary ; for it is a most singular cir- 
cumstance that all the inhabitants of any place 
should be destroyed, and yet the place itself 
remain. George Glas, who published a his- 
tory of these islands in 1764, attempts to 
solve the inquiry thus :* 

" Almost two thirds of the Canary Islands 
are covered with calcined rocks, pumice 

* Page 167, 4to. 



stones, and black ashes, which have been for- 
merly thrown out from volcanoes, the re- 
mains of which are still seen in every one of 
these islands. Many of the natives might 
have been destroyed by these violent erup- 
tions, and the remainder, being terrified, might 
abandon their country and go in quest of new 
habitations : but where they went is a ques- 
tion not easily solved, though some assert 
that they passed over to America." An event 
exactly similar is said by the same author to 
have happened about thirty years before he 
wrote.* " A volcano broke out in the S.W. 
part of the island of Lancerotta, near the sea, 
but remote from habitation, which threw out 
such an immense quantity of ashes and 
stones, with so dreadful a noise, that many of 
the natives deserted their houses and fled to 
Fuertaventura, another island, for the preser- 
vation of their lives." 

But whether we admit the conj ecture that, 
being thus obliged to quit the islands, they 
"passed over to America," or not, yet it is 
extremely probable that, in some of the an- 
cient circumnavigations of Africa, or in pass- 
ing to and from these islands, or even in 
coasting the continent from the Straits of Gib- 

* Page 200. 


raltar, some vessels might be drawn by cur- 
rents or driven by tempests within the verge 
of the trade- wind, " which begins not far to 
the southward of the straits, and blows nine 
months of the year on the coast of Morocco." 
In this case it would be next to impossible for 
those who had met with any considerable 
damage in their masts, sails, or rigging, to 
run in any other direction than before the 
wind to the westward, and this course must 
bring them to the continent, or islands of 

In confirmation of this remark, several facts 
have been adduced by way of proof. One is 
thus related by Glas:* " A few years ago, a 
small bark, laden with corn and passengers, 
bound from Lancerotta to Teneriffe, met with 
some disaster at sea, by which she was ren- 
dered incapable of getting to any of the Ca- 
nary Islands, and was obliged to run many 
days before the wind, till she came within 
two days sail of the coast of Caraccas, in 
South America, where she met an English 
ship, which supplied the surviving passengers 
with water, and directed her to the port of 
La Guiara, on that coast." La Guiara is one 
of the ports to which the trade from the Ca- 

* Introduction, page 5. 
I E 


naries is restricted by the King of Spain, and 
the run thither from Teneriffe is generally 
performed in less than thirty days with the 

Another fact is taken from Gumilla,t who 
says, " In December, 1731, while I was at 
the town of St. Joseph, in the Island of Trin- 
idad, a small vessel of Teneriffe, with six 
seamen, was driven into that island by stress 
of weather. She was laden with wine, and 
bound for one other of the Canary Islands ; 
she had provision only for a few days, which, 
notwithstanding the utmost care, had been 
expended, and the crew subsisted wholly on 
wine. They were reduced to the last extrem- 
ity, and were received with astonishment by 
the inhabitants, who ran in crowds to see 
them. Their emaciated appearance would 
have sufficiently confirmed the truth of their 
story, if the papers which they produced had 
not put the matter beyond all doubt." 

A third fact is related by Herrera, the roy- 
al Spanish historian.^ Columbus, in his sec- 
ond voyage to America, having discovered 

* Introduction, p. 329, 333. 

t Cited by Edwards in his History of the W. Indies, vol. i., 
p. 109. 
t Decad. i., book ii., chap. vii. 


the Island of Guadaloupe, "found a piece of 
timber belonging to a ship, which the seamen 
call the stern-post, which they much admired, 
not knowing which way it should come thith- 
er, unless carried by tempestuous weather 
from the Canaries, or from the Island of His- 
paniola," where the admiral's ship was cast 
away in his former voyage. Ferdinand Co- 
lumbus, in the life of his father,* does not 
distinctly assert this, but speaks of their find- 
ing " an iron pan," and endeavours to ac- 
count for it by saying, " that the stones there 
being, of the colour of iron, a person of an indif- 
ferent judgment might mistake the one for the 
other." Not content with this solution, he 
goes on thus : " though it were of iron, it 
was not to be admired, because the Indians 
of the Island of Guadaloupe, being Carib- 
bees, and making their excursions to rob as 
far as Hispaniola, perhaps they had that pan 
of the Christians, or of the other Indians of 
Hispaniola-; and it is possible they might 
carry the body of the ship the admiral lost to 
make use of the iron ; and though it were not 
the hulk of that ship, it might be the remain- 
der of some other wreck, carried thither by 
the wind and current from our parts." 

* Chapter xlvii., in Churchill's Collections, vol. it 

E 2 


The improbability of the Indians having 
carried " the body or hulk of the ship which 
the admiral lost" from the northern side of 
Hispaniola to the eastern side of Guadaloupe, 
will appear from the distance, which is not 
less than two hundred leagues in a direction 
opposite to the constant blowing of the wind. 
Nor will Herrera's conjecture, that the stern- 
post of the admiral's ship was carried thither 
by a tempest, be readily admitted by any 
who are acquainted with the navigation of 
the West Indies ; for it must have passed 
through a multitude of islands and rocks, 
and, without a miracle, could scarcely have 
come entire from so great a distance in such 
foul seas. But the difficulty is farther in- 
creased by considering what Don Ferdinand 
and Herrera have both asserted, that, when 
Columbus had lost his ship, " he built a fort 
with the timber, whereof he lost no part, but 
made use of it all ;"* and this fort was after- 
ward burned by the natives. If, therefore, 
there be any truth in the story of the stern- 
post found at Guadaloupe, it must have be- 
longed to some other vessel, either foundered 
at sea or wrecked on the shore. 

Under the head of fortuitous visits to the 
* Life of Columbus, chap, xxriv. Herrera, book i., chap, xviii. 


American Continent may be included a cir- 
cumstance mentioned by Peter Martyr,* that, 
not far from a place called Quarequa in 
the Gulf of Darien, Vasco Nunez met with a 
colony of negroes. From the smallness of 
their number it was supposed that they had 
not been long arrived on that coast. t These 
negroes could have come in no other vessels 
but canoes ; a circumstance by no means in- 
credible to those who have read the accounts 
of Cook and other navigators of the tropical 

To these facts may be added the casual 
discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese com- 
mander Pedro Alvarez Cabral, in his voyage 
to India in the year 1500, an account of 
which is preserved by Dr. Robertson. t " In 
order to avoid the calms near the coast of 
Africa, he stood out to sea, and kept so far 
west that, to his surprise, he found Jiimself on 
the shore of an unknown country, in the tenth 
degree of south latitude. He imagined at 
first that it was some island in the Atlantic 
Ocean ; but, proceeding along its coast for 
several days, he was gradually led to believe 

* De orbe novo, Decad. iii., chap i. 

t Edwards's Hist. West Indies, vol i. p. ] 10. 

t Hist. America, vol. i., p. 151. 


that a country so extensive formed a part of 
some great continent." 

These instances may serve as so many spe- 
cimens of the manner in which America 
might have proved an asylum to some of the 
ancient navigators of the African coasts or 
of the Canary Islands ; and being arrived, it 
would be impossible for them to return. The 
same winds which brought them hither, con- 
tinuing to blow from the eastward, would ei- 
ther discourage them from making the at- 
tempt, or oblige them to put back if they had 
made it. No argument, then, can be drawn 
from hence in favour of a mutual intercourse 
between this and the old continent. Those 
who would prove that America was known to 
the ancients . must produce better evidence 
than they have yet produced, if they contend 
for any other knowledge than what was ac- 
quired bycasual discoverers who never re- 

The opinion that America was peopled 
in part by the Phoenicians was long since 
maintained by Hornius ; and, though reject- 
ed by many succeeding writers, has been 
lately revived by Bryan Edwards,* a well-in- 
formed merchant of the Island of Jamaica. 
* Hist. W. Indies, vol. i., p. 103, 4to. 


He extends the argument no farther than to 
the Charaibe nation, who inhabited the Wind- 
ward Islands and some part of the Southern 
Continent, " whose manners and characteris- 
tic features denote a different Ancestry from 
the generality of the American nations." In 
support of this opinion, he has produced, 
perhaps, as much evidence from a similarity 
of manners and language as a subject of 
such remote antiquity can admit. 

To this elegant work I must refer the read- 
er, and shall add one only remark, arising 
from the preceding observations, that if any 
accession of inhabitants was made to Ameri- 
ca by the desultory migration of the Phoeni- 
cian or Carthaginian navigators, it is most 
rational to look for them between the tropics, 
the very place where the Charaibes were 




Those marked with 55" are more particularly enlarged upon in the Lire* 
of the Adventurers. 

A.D. BIRON, a Norman, accidentally discovered a 
1001. country which was afterward called Winland, 
KJ" and is supposed to be a part of the Island of 

Newfoundland. * Crantz. Pontoppidan. 
1170. MADOC, prince of Wales, emigrated, and, it 
KJ" is thought, discovered a new country in the 

West. Hakluyt, iii., 1. 

1358. An island called Estotiland was discovered by 
E~p a fisherman of Frisland, as related by ZENO. 

Ibid., 124. 

1492. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, in the ser- 
in? vice of Spain, discovered Guanahani, and other 

islands called Bahamas and Antilles. Ferd. Co- 

1493. COLUMBUS maa'e a second voyage, and dis- 
covered Dominica, and other islands called Car- 
ibbees. Ibid. 

1497. JOHN CABOT, with his son SEBASTIAN, 
in the service of HENRY VII. of England, dis- 
covered the Island of Newfoundland and some 
parts of a western Continent, as far northward 

* See the Life of Biron, p. 80. 


as lat. 45, and as far southward as lat. 38. 
HaUuyt, iii., 4-11. 

J498. COLUMBUS made a third voyage, and dis- 
covered the Western Continent, in lat 10 N. 
Ferd. Col. 

1499. OJEDA,* a private adventurer, and AMER- 
IGO VESPUCCI,f followed the track of COLUM 

. BUS, and discovered the Western Continent, of 
which Amerigo, after his return to Europe, 
wrote an account, and published it, from which 
the continent obtained the name of AMERICA. 

1500. CABRAL,{ in the service of Portugal, bound 

* [Alonzo de Ojeda, a man of singular bravery and prowess, who 
had early signalized himself in the Moorish wars. He had ac- 
companied Columbus in his second voyage. The merchants of 
Seville, by the influence of the Bishop of Badajos, who also pro- 
cured for him the journal and charts of Columbus, put four ships 
under his command. He made a second, but unsuccessful, voyage 
in 1501. He had shown himself to be* man of courage and skill, 
and was afterward (1509?) appointed by Ferdinand governor of 
that part of the continent which extends from Cape de Vela to 
the Gulf of Darien. This government, however, was soon broken 
up by the resolute resistance of the natives. See Irving's Life ot 
Columbus, vol. iii. H.] 

t [Vespucci was a gentleman of Florence, born March 9, 1451, 
a man of science, and an experienced navigator. He returned to 
Spain in June, 1500. His account of his voyage and discoveries 
was " drawn up not only with art, but with some elegance." The 
next year he made a voyage in the service of the King of Portu- 
gal, and touched on the coast of Brazil. Again, in 1503 he sailed 
for the East Indies, but returned in June, 1504, having gone no 
farther than Brazil. He afterward lived in Spain, in the capacity 
of chief pilot, where he died, Feb. 22, 1512. Irving's Columbus 
ii., 246. H.] 

$ [Pedro Alvarez Cabral. After the return of De Gama from 
his voyage to the East Indies, round the Cape of Good Hope, the 


to India, discovered by accident the Continent 
of America, in lat. 10 south, which was called 
Brazil. Robertson. 

J502. COLUMBUS made his fourth and last voyage 
to the new continent in quest of a passage 
through it to India. Ferd. Col. 

1512. JOHN PONCE,* in the service of Spain, dis- 
covered the new continent in the latitude of 30 
N., and called it Florida. Herrera. 

1513. VASCO NUNEZ,f a Spaniard, travelled 

King of Portugal fitted out a large fleet to prosecute these discov- 
eries, and gave the command of it to Cabral. To avoid the varia- 
ble winds and calms which he anticipated on the coast of Africa, 
he stood out to sea, and so far that he fell in with an unknown 
country, along which he sailed for several days. Concluding it to 
be a portion of the continent, he landed and look formal possession 
in the name of the king, and sent immediately a ship to Lisbon 
with an account of his unexpected discovery. H.] 

* [Juan Ponce de Leon, " an officer eminent for conduct no less 
than for courage." He had subdued the Island of Puerto Rico in 
1509 and the following years. For the discovery of Florida he 
equipped three ships at his own expense, and found daring spirits 
enough who were eager to share the dangers and honours of his 
enterprise. The name Florida was given to the newly-found re- 
gion because he reached it on Palm Sunday (Pascua Florida). 
He is said to have undertaken this voyage from a most romantic 
motive ; to search for a fountain, which the Indians had reported 
of such marvellous virtue, that whoever bathed in it put off at 
once the infirmities of age, and was. renewed in the .vigour and 
beauty of youth ; a tale which the simple native honestly told, and 
which the no less credulous Spaniards fully believed. H.] 

t.[Vasco Nunes de Balboa was of a noble family of Xeres, in 
Estremadura, and born in the year 1475. His first voyage to 
America was made in 1500, under Bastides. He resided some 
time at St. Domingo, where he became involved in debt ; and to 
escape, secreted himself on board a ship bound for the continent. 
They reached Darien, where his energy gained him favour with 



across the Isthmus of Darien, and from a mount 
ain discovered on, the other side of the conti- 
nent an ocean, which, from the direction in 
which he saw it, took the name of the South Sea. 

1519. HERNANDO CORTEZ,* in the service of 
Spain, entered the city of Mexico, and, in the 
space of two years, reduced the whole country 
under the dominion of the King of Spain. Ibid. 

tuguese in the service of Spain, passed through 

the men, and he was put in command of the colony. From this 
point he made many expeditions, and first gained a sight of the 
South Sea. He was brought to trial by the jealousy of Pedrarias 
Davila, who had been appointed governor of that country, and 
beheaded by his orders in the year 1527. H.] 

* [Hernando Cortez was born at Medellin, in Spain, in the year 
1485, and was educated at the University of Salamanca. He was 
of an adventurous disposition, and the prospect of riches and dis 
covery in the New World was just suited to his ardent and rest- 
less mind. He sailed for America in 1504, and stayed many years 
in St. Domingo, where he was married. He started for Mexico 
Feb. 19, 1519. After the conquest of that country, he relumed to 
Spain in 1523, and was appointed governor of a province in the 
land he had subdued. He returned again to Spain in 1540, and 
died there, Dec. 2, 1547. Cruel, perhaps, and unscrupulous, he 
was yet daring, sagacious, enthusiastic, heroic, and of a generous 
spirit. H.] 

t [Ferdinand de Magalhaens, or Magellan, was a gentleman 
of honourable birth, and had served with much distinction as a 
soldier in the East Indies. He proposed to Emanuel, then king 
of Portugal, to conduct a fleet by a westerly course to the Spice 
Islands. His scheme being rejected, he made the same offer to 
the court of Spain ; and, having been furnished with five ships, 
sailed from Seville Aug. 10, 1519. He was slain April 20, 1520, a 
man of great energy, judgment, and resolution. Robertson. H.] 


the strait which bears his name, and sailed 
across the South Sea, to which he gave the 
name of Pacific. He discovered the Philippine 
Islands, and was there killed in a skirmish with 
the natives. The ship, under the command of 
SEBASTIAN DEL CANO, returned to Spain by way 
of the Cape of Good Hope, and thus performed 
the first circumnavigation of the globe. Life of 

1524. JOHN DE VERAZZANI,* a Florentine in the 
service of FRANCIS I., king of France, discovered 
the new continent in lat. 34 N., sailed north- 
ward to lat. 41, where he entered a harbour, 
which, by his description, must be that of New- 
York. Thence he sailed E. and N.E. as far as 
Newfoundland, and called the whole country 
New France. Hakluyt, iii., 295-300. 

$ [Giovanni Verazzano was born of a distinguished family at 
Florence about the year 1475. He was early distinguished by a 
passion for adventure, travelled in Syria and Egypt, lived several 
years at Cairo, and navigated the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. 
He was selected by Francis I. to conduct the first expedition fitted 
out by France for the purpose of maritime discovery. He sailed 
from a rock near the Island of Madeira, Jan. 17, 1524, with a single 
ship, the Dolphin, fifty men, and provisions for eight months, and 
explored the coast of America from Florida to Newfoundland, 
from 34 to 50 north, a space of 700 leagues, entered the Hudson 
River and Narraganset Bay, and returned to Dieppe early in July 
of the same year. A translation of the report he made to Francis 
is given in Hakluyt, as cited in the text ; and a sketch of the 
same, with an estimate of the character of Verazzano, may be 
consulted in the North American Review, vol. xlv., p. 293-311, 
by G. W. Greene, U. S. consul at Rome. He is said to have made 
a second voyage of discovery, and, on landing, to have been ta- 
ken prisoner by the natives, and devoured in sight of his comrades 


1525. STEPHEN GOMEZ, in the service of Spain, 
sailed to Florida, and thence to Cape Race, in 
lat. 46 N., in search of a N.W. passage to In- 
dia. Herrera. 

1526. FRANCIS PI ZARRO* sailed from Panama 
to Peru, and began the conquest of that rich 
and populous country. Purchas. 

1528. PAMPHILO DE NARVAEZ,f in the service 
of Spain, sailed from Cuba with 400 men to con- 
quer Florida. His purpose was defeated by a 
tempest, in which he was wrecked on the coast. 
Herrera. Purchas. 

1534. JAMES CARTIER, in the service of France, 
KF discovered and named the Bay de Chaleur and 

the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Hakluyt, iii., 201- 

1535. CARTIER made a second voyage, discovered 
KP the great river of Canada, and sailed up as far 

as Hochelaga, which he named Montreal. He 
wintered in a little harbour near the west end 
of the Isle of Orleans, which he called Port de 

* [Francisco Pizarro was a native of Truxillo, born about the 
year 1500. Already trained to fatigue and martial enterprise, he 
accompanied Balboa in his expedition across the Isthmus of Da- 
rien in 1509. He started from Panama on his expedition to Peru, 
Nov. 14, 1524, and was engaged in it three years. He then re- 
turned to Spain, and was appointed by the emperor governor and 
admiral of the region he had discovered. His progress there was 
marked with acts of extreme cruelty and rapine, but the conquest 
was completely successful. When his triumph seemed most en- 
tire, he was slain, June 26, 1531, by a conspiracy of some of his 
followers, who feared and hated him. H.] 

t [De Narvaez, an officer of some courage, and much haughti- 
ness and self-confidence, had been sent by Velasquez to Mexico 
in April, 1520, to arrest and supersede Cortez, by whom he was 
attacked and made prisoner. H.] 


1536. St. Croix. The next summer he returned to 
France, carrying some of the natives. Hakluyt, 
iii., 21-2-232. 

1539. FERDINANDO DE SOTO sailed from Cu- 
ID 3 ba with 900 men to conquer Florida. He trav- 
ersed the country in various directions for three 

1542. years, and died on the banks of the Mississippi. 

1543. The surviving part of his army returned to Cuba. 
Herrera. Purchas. 

1540. CARTIER made a third voyage to Canada, 
built a fort and began a settlement, which he 

1541 called Charleburg, four leagues above the Port de 
or St. Croix. He broke up the settlement and 

1542. sailed to Newfoundland. Hakluyt, iii., 232-240. 
ROBERVAL, with three ships and 200 per- 
sons, going to recruit the settlement in Canada, 
met Cartier at Newfoundland, and would have 
obliged him to return ; but he gave him the slip 
and sailed for France. ROBERVAL proceeded up 
the River St. Lawrence four leagues above the 
Island of Orleans, where he found a convenient 
harbour and place for a fortification. Here he 
built a fort, and remained over the winter. The 
next year he returned to France with his colony. 
Ibid., 240-242. 

During the succeeding thirty years the passion 
for discovery took another direction. Adventu- 
rers from Europe were seeking a passage to In- 
dia and China by the N.E., but were prevented 1 

* [See also Hakluyt, vol. v., ed. 1810, and "A Relation of the 
Invasion and Conquest of Florida by the Spaniards, under the 
command of Ferdinando de Soto, written in Portuguese by a 
gentleman of the town of Elvas, now Englished," &c., London, 
1680. Solo's army consisted of 600 men. See p. 258, note. H.] 

F 2 


from accomplishing their views by the cold and 
ice of those inhospitable regions. Forster. 

In this interval, the French of Brittany, the 
Spaniards of Biscay, and the Portuguese, enjoy- 
ed the fishery on the Banks of Newfoundland 
without interruption. Purchas. 

1562. Under the patronage of CHATILLON, High-ad- 
miral of France, JOHN RIBALT* attempted a 
settlement in Florida. He entered a river in lat. 
32 on the first of May, which from that circum- 
stance he named the River May, and the entrance 
he called Port Royal. Here he built a fort, 
which, in honour of CHARLES IX. of France, he 
called Fort Charles. After his departure the 
people mutinied and returned to France. Hak- 
luyt, iii., 308-319, and Purchas. 

1564. LAUDONIEREf renewed the settlement and 
called the country Carolina, after the reigning 
monarch of France. This colony was on good 
terms with the natives, but suffered by famine. 
They were relieved by SIR JOHN HAWKINS, an 
Englishman, who offered to carry them to 
France ; but the hope of finding silver induced 

* [John Ribault, as the name is commonly spelled, sailed with 
two ships, Feb. 18, 1562, reached Florida in March, and returned 
to Dieppe July 20th of the same year. Laudoniere commends 
him as " a man in truth expert in sea causes." He came again '.<> 
Florida, Aug. 28, 1565, with a commission to be governor there, 
and remained till he was killed by the Spaniards under Melendes. 

f [Rene Laudoniere had accompanied Ribault in his first expe- 
dition, and was superseded by him in his second. Meanwhile, he 
sniled from France April 22, 1564, under the orders of De Chastil 
Ion. He reached Florida June 22d. After the destruction of 
their fort, Laudoniere returned through England to France. H.] 


them to stay, till RIBALT arrived with seven sail 
1565. of vessels. Hakluyt, iii., 319-349. 

PEDRO MELENDES,inthe service of Spain, 
came with a superior force, killed Ribalt and 
most of his company, and took possession of the 
country, building three forts. Ibid., 352-356. 
1568. GOURGUES,* from France, with the help of 
the natives, who hated the Spaniards, broke up 
the Spanish settlements in Florida, and return- 
ed to France, leaving the country desert. Ibid., 

1576. All attempts to find a N.E. passage to India 
being frustrated, MARTIN FROBISHER, in the 
service of ELIZABETH, queen of England, sailed 
in search of a N.W. passage. 

1577. He made a second voyage. 

1578. He made a third voyage. 

These voyages were made to Greenland, and 
produced no material discovery. He sailed 
through a strait which still bears his name, but 
is now impassable by reason of fixed ice. Hak- 
luyt and Crantz. 

SIR FRANCIS DRAKEf being on a cruise 
* [Dominique de Gourgues, " a gentleman and a well tried and 
valiant soldier," undertook this expedition chiefly at his own ex. 
pense, fitting out three vessels and more than 'two hundred men. 
They sailed, Aug. 22d, 1567, from France ; and attacked the first 
fort of the Spaniards on Easter day, in April, 1568. They return- 
ed to France in June of the same year. Gourgues died in 1582. 

t [This famous navigator was born in the year 1545, of obscure 
parentage. He became a seaman when very young, and was made 
captain of a ship at the age of twenty-two. He was engaged in 
many important naval enterprises, particularly in the half-piratical 
expeditions against the Spaniards. In 1577-1580, with five ships 
and one hundred and sixty-four men, he sailed round the globe. 
I. F 


against the Spaniards in the South Sea, landed 
on the Continent of America, northward of Cal- 
ifornia, took possession of a harbour, and called 
the circumjacent country, between lat. 38 and 
42, New Albion. Hakluyt. 

1579. SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT obtained of 
dp QUEEN ELIZABETH a patent for all countries not 
possessed by any Christian prince. Purchas. 

1583. GILBERT sailed to Newfoundland ; took for- 
mal possession of it and of the Continent of 
North America for the crown of England. In 
his return his ship foundered and he was lost. 

ELIZABETH a patent for the discovery of a N.W. 
passage, to remain in force five years. Hak- 
luyt, ill., 96. 

1584. SIR WALTER RALEIGH obtained of QUEEN 
ID 3 ELIZABETH a patent for lands not possessed by 

any Christian prince, by virtue of which he sent 
to explore the country called by the Spaniards 
Florida. Ibid., 243-251. 

1585. Under the authority of GILBERT'S patent, 
JOHN DAVIS sailed from England in search 
of a*N.W. passage. Ibid., 98-103. 

1586. He made a second voyage. Ib., 103-111. 

1587. He made a third voyage. J^., 111-121. 
DAVIS explored the western coast of Green- 

Hakluyt, iii., 730-742. The next year the queen conferred on 
him the honour of knighthood, and in 1588 he was appointed vice- 
admiral, under Lord Howard of Effingham. He died Jan. 28, 
1596, having gained an unequalled reputation for nautical skill and 
personal courage. See Campbell's Lives of the Admirals, vo? ,ii., p. 
37-55. H.] 


land and part of the opposite coast of the Conti- 
nent of America ; the strait between them bears 
his name. He also discovered another strait, 
which he called Cumberland. Hakluyt. 

GRENVILLE to Florida. He landed a colony 
of 100 people at Roanoak and returned. Ibid., 
iii., 251-265. 

1586. SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, returning from his 
expedition against the Spaniards, took the colo- 
ny on board and carried them to England. 
Ibid., 264. 

Sir RICHARD GRENVILLE arrived after 
their departure and landed another smaller col- 
ony. Ibid., 265. 

1587. Sir WALTER RALEIGH sent another company, 
under the command of JOHN WHITE, to colo- 
nize the country which QUEEN ELIZABETH called 
Virginia, in honour of her own virginity. The 
second colony were not to be found. One hun- 
dred and fifteen persons were landed to make a 
third colony, and the governor returned to Eng- 
land for supplies. Purchas. 

1590. GEORGE WHITE was sent to Virginia, but, 
finding none of the third colony living, returned 
to England. Ibid. 

1592. JUAN DE FUCA, a Greek, in the service 

IE? of Spain, was sent by the Viceroy of Mexico to 
discover a N.W. passage, by exploring the 
western side of the American Continent. He 
discovered a strait, which bears his name, in 
the 48th degree of N. latitude, and supposed 
it to be the long-desired passage. Purchas. 

1583. HENRY MAY, an Englishman, returning 



from the East Indies in a French ship, was 
wrecked on the Island of Bermuda, where he 
found swine, from which circumstance it ap- 
peared that some other vessel had been there 
before. The company built a boat of cedar, 
calked it, and payed the seams with lime mix- 
ed with turtles' fat, and sailed to Newfoundland, 
whence they got a passage to England. HaJtluyt. 

1593. GEORGE WEYMOUTH sailed from Eng- 
or land to discover a N.W. passage. He visited 

1594. the coast of Labrador, and sailed 30 miles up an 
K? inlet in the latitude of 56, but made no ma- 
terial discovery. Forster. 

1598. DE LA ROCHE obtained from HENRY IV. of 
France a commission to conquer Canada, and 
other countries not possessed by any Christian 
prince. He sailed from France with a colony 
of convicts from the prisons ; landed 40 on the 
Isle of Sable. After seven years the survivers, 
being 12 in number, were taken off and carried 
home to France, where HENRY pardoned them, 
and gave them 50 crowns each as a recompense 
for their sufferings. Purchas. Forster. 

1600. Q. ELIZABETH established by charter a 
company of merchants in England, with an ex- 
clusive privilege of trading to the East Indies. 
Tablet of Memory. 

1602. BARTHOLOMEW GOSNOLD, an English- 
ID 3 man, discovered a promontory on the American 

coast;, in lat. 42, to which he gave the name of 
Cape Cod. He landed on an island which he 
called -Elizabeth, and built a small fort ; but the 
same summer returned to England. Purchas. 

1603. DE MONTS obtained of HENRY IV. of France 


EJ" a patent for the planting of ISAcadia and Cana- 
da, from lat. 40 to 46. Purchas. 

K? SAMUEL CHAMPLAIN sailed up the great 
river of Canada, and returned to France the 
same year. Ibid. 

ie^3. DE MONTS sailed from France, taking CHAM- 
PLAIN and CHAMPDORE for pilots, and POUTRIN- 
COURT who intended a settlement in America. 
They discovered and began plantations at Port 
Royal, St. John's, and St. Croix, in the Bay of 

1610. POUTRINCOURT introduced two Jesuits 
into Port Royal ; but some controversy arising, 
the Jesuits went to Mount Desert and began a 
plantation there. Ibid. 

1605. GEORGE WEYMOUTH sailed on a second 
CP voyage to discover a N.W. passage ; but fall- 
ing short, made the land in 41 30' ; thence sail- 
ed to 43 20', and discovered a great river, sup- 
posed to be either Kennebec or Penobscot ; took 
on board five of the natives, and returned to 
England. He put in at Plymouth, and delivered 

in? three of them to SIR FERDINANDO GORGES, then 
governor of Plymouth. Gorges. 

1606. JAMES I., king of England, by patent divi- 
ded Virginia into two districts, called North and 
South Virginia. The southern part, situate be- 
tween 34 and 41, he granted to a London 
company; the northern part, situate between 
38 and 45, he granted to a Plymouth compa- 
ny. Neither of them were to plant within 100 
miles of the other. Purchas. 

(607. CHAMPLAIN, by order of DE MONTS, sail- 
ed up the river of Canada and fortified Quebec^ 
the name of a strait in the river. Ibid. 


HENRY HUDSON, in the service of the 

English East India Company, sailed in quest of 
a N.W. passage. He attempted to pass to the 
E. of Greenland, and discovered Spitzbergen. 
He sailed as far N. as 82, but, finding the sea 
obstructed by ice, returned. Forster. 

Virginia, and began a colony at Jamestown. ED- 
WARD WINGFIELD was president, but JOHN SMITH 
was the life and soul of the colony. Smith. 

GEORGE POPHAM* sailed to North Vir- 
ginia, and began a plantation at Sagadahock, of 
which he was president. In the winter, the 
ships* returned to England, leaving 45 persons 
1608. behind. Their president dying, the next spring 
they broke up the plantation and went back to 
England. This winter was remarkably severe 
both in America and England. Purchas. 

1608. HUDSON, in the service of the English East 
India Company, undertook a second voyage of 
discovery, and attempted to pass on both sides 
of Nova Zembla ; but the ice being impenetrable, 
he returned. Ibid. 

NELSON re-enforced the colony of South 
Virginia with 120 people. Ibid. 

1609. CHAMPLAIN returned to France, leaving 
Captain PIERRE to command at Quebec. Ibid. 

HUDSON, in the service of the DUTCH, made 
a third voyage, and discovered the rwer which 
bears his name in lat. 41. 

SIR GEORGE SOMERS, bound to South Vir . 

* See the Life of F. Gorges. 


ginia, was wrecked on Bermuda, whence those 
islands took the name Somer Islands. Smith. 

1610. CHAMPLAIN revisited Quebec and took the 
command there. Purchas. 

HUDSON, in the service of ihe English East 
India Company, discovered the strait and bay 
which bear his name, and passed the winter there, 
intending to pursue his discoveries in the ensu- 
ing spring ; but his crew mutinied, and turned him 
adrift in his boat, with seven others, who were 
never more heard of. Purchas. Campbell. 

1610. SIR GEORGE SOMERS, having built a pin- 
nace at Bermuda, sailed to South Virginia ; the 
colony determined to return to England ; but, in 
sailing down James's River, met Lord DELA- 
WARE with a re-enforcement, by which they were 
encouraged to return and resume the plantation. 

JOHN GUY, with a company of forty persons, 
began a colony at the Bay of Conception, in New- 
foundland. Ibid. 

1611. SIR THOMAS DALE re-enforced the colony 
ID 3 of South Virginia with 300 people, and Sir 

THOMAS GATES with 300 more, furnishing them 
with cattle and swine, and thus that colony was 
established. Ibid. 

1612. The colony at Newfoundland was augmented 
to sixty persons, but was for many years in a 
very precarious state. Mr. GUY returned to 
England, and was afterward Mayor of Bristol. 
Purchas. Oldmixon. 

The South Virginia Company having sold the 
island* *f Bermuda to a part of their own num- 


ber, they obtained a distinct charter, and sent a 
colony of ninety persons thither : their first gov- 
ernor was RICHARD MOOR. Purchas. 

1613. The colony at Bermuda was enlarged by the 
addition of 400 persons. Ibid. 

SIR THOMAS DALE, governor of Virginia, 
hearing that the French had settled within thje 
limits of the northern patent, sent Sir SAMUEL 
ARGALL with a sufficient force to dislodge them, 
which he did from Mount Mansel (Desert), 
St. Croix, and Port Royal, in the Bay of Fun- 
dy. These Frenchmen retired to Quebec and 
strengthened the settlement there. Smith. 
Purchas. Keith. 

1614. CAPT. JOHN SMITH, having quitted the col- 
ony of South Virginia, sailed for North Virginia 
on a fishing and whaling voyage ; he ranged the 
coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod, and made a 
map of the country, which he first called New- 
England. Smith. 

sailed from England in search of a N.W. pas- 

1616. They made another voyage, and discovered 
the great northern bay which bears BAFFIN'S 
name. Purchas. Forster. 

1617. During this and the two preceding years, war, 
famine, and pestilence raged among the natives 
of New-England, by which great numbers were 
swept off, and the fur trade between them and 
the Europeans was interrupted. Gorges. 

1619. THOMAS DERMER* sailed to New-Eng- 
land ; found many places, before populous, al- 
* See the Life of F. Gorges. 


most desolate, and the few remaining inhabitants 
either sick or but scarcely recovered. In this 
voyage he sailed through the whole passage be- 
tween the mainland and Long Island, and first 
determined its insular situation. Gorges. 
1620. A company of ENGLISH PURITANS,* who 
E? had resided twelve years in Holland, began a 
colony in New-England, which they called New- 
Plymouth . Mart on. 

K7 KING JAMES I.f established at Plymouth, in 
Devonshire, a council for the planting, ruling, 
and ordering of New-England ; and thus the 
business of colonization was formed into a sys- 

* See Life of W. Bradford. f See Life of F. Gorges. 




1792. Republic. 

1485. Henry VII. 

1509. Henry VIII. 

1547. Edward VI. 


1553. Mary. 

1474. Ferdinand V. and Is 

1558. Elizabeth. 


1603. James I. 

1504. Philip I. 

1625. Charles I. 
1648. Commonwealth. 

1516. Charles I y ^j* 

1653. O. Cromwell. 

1556. Philip II. 

1658. R. Cromwell. 

1598. Philip III. 

1660. Charles II. 

1621. Philip IV. 

1685. James II. 

1665. Charles II. 

1688. William and Mary. 

1700. Philip V. 

1694. William III. 

1746. Ferdinand VI. 

1701. Anne. 

1759. Charles III. 

1714. George I. 

1789. Charles IV. 

1727. George II. 

1760. George III. 




1481. John II. 
1495. Emanuel. 

'21. John III. 

1483. Charles VIII. 

557. Sebastian. 

1498. Louis XII. 

578. Henry. 

1515. Francis I. 
1547. Henry II. 

580. Philip II. ) of Spam 
598. Philip III. SandPor- 

1559. Francis II. 

621. Philip IV. >tugal. 

1560. Charles IX. 

640. John IV. 

1574. Henry II. 

656. Alphonso VI. 

1589. Henry IV. 

667. Peter. 

1610. Louis XIII. 

704. John V. 

1643. Louis XIV. 

750. Joseph. 

1715. Louis XV. 

777. Maria Frances Isa- 

1773. Louis XVI. 




THE ancient inhabitants of Norway and 
Denmark, collectively taken, were distin- 
guished by the name of NORMANS. Their sit- 
uation near the coast of the sea, and the ad- 
vantages which that element presented to 
them beyond all which they could expect from 
a rough soil in a cold climate, led them at an 
early period to the science and practice of 
navigation. They built their vessels with the 
best of oak, and constructed them in such a 
manner as to encounter the storms and bil- 
lows of the Northern Ocean. They covered 
them with decks, and furnished them with 
high forecastles and sterns. . They made use 
of sails as well as oars, and had learned to 
trim their sails to the wind in almost any di- 
rection. In these arts of building ships and 
of navigation they were superior to the peo- 
ple bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, who 


depended chiefly on their oars, and used 
sails only with a fair wind. 

About the end of the eighth and beginning 
of the ninth century, the Normans made 
themselves famous by their predatory excur- 
sions. England, Scotland, Ireland, the Ork- 
ney and Shetland Islands, were objects of 
their depredations ; and in one of their pi- 
ratical expeditions (A.D. 861) they discover- 
ed an island, which, from its lofty mountains 
covered with ice and snow, obtained the name 
of Iceland. In a few years after they plant- 
ed a colony there, which was continually 
augmented by migrations from the neigh- 
bouring countries. Within the space of thir- 
ty years (889) a new country, situate on the 
west, was discovered, and, from its verdure 
during the summer months, received the name 
of Greenland. This was deemed so impor- 
tant an acquisition, that, under the conduct 
of ERIC RAUDE, or REDHEAD, a Danish chief, 
it was soon peopled. 

The emigrants to these new regions were 
still inflamed with the passion for adventure 
and discovery. An Icelander of the name 
HERIOLF and his son BIRON* made a voyage 

* His name is spelled by difierent authors BIRON, BIORN, Bi- 

B I R O N. 79 

every year to different countries for the sake 
of traffic. About the beginning of the elev- 
enth century (1001) their ships were separa- 
ted by a storm. When Biron arrived in Nor- 
way, he heard that his father was gone to 
Greenland, and he resolved to follow him . 
but another storm drove him to the southwes^ 
where he discovered a flat country, free from 
rocks, but covered with thick woods, and an 
island near the coast. 

He made no longer stay at either of these 
places than till the storm abated, when by 
a northeast course he hasted to Greenland. 
The discovery was no sooner known there, 
than LEIF, the son of Eric, who, like his fa- 
ther, had a strong desire to acquire glory by 
adventures, equipped a vessel carrying twen- 
ty-five men, and, taking Biron for his pilot, 
sailed (1002) in search of the new country. 

His course was southwest. On the first 
land which he saw he found nothing but flat 
rocks and ice, without any verdure. He 
therefore gave it the name of Helleland, which 
signifies rocky. Afterward he came to a lev- 
el shore, without any rocks, but overgrown 
with woods, and the sand was remarkably 
white. This he named Markland, or woody. 
Two days after he saw land again, and an 


island lying before the northern coast of it. 
Here he first landed ; and thence sailing 
westward round a point of land, found a 
creek or river, into which the ship entered. 

On the banks of this river were bushes 
bearing sweet berries ; the air was mild, the 
soil fertile, and the river well stored with fish, 
among which were very fine salmon. At the 
head of this river was a lake, on the shore of 
which they resolved to pass the winter, and 
erected huts for their accommodation. One 
of their company, a German named Tyr- 
ker, having straggled into the woods, found 
grapes, from which he told them that in his 
country they made wine. From this circum- 
stance Leif, the commander of the party, 
called the place Winland dot gode, the good 
wine country. 

An intercourse being thus opened between 
Greenland and Winland, several voyages 
were made, and the new country was farther 
explored. Many islands were found near the 
coast, but not a human creature was seen till 
the third summer (1004), when three boats, 
constructed with ribs of bone, fastened with 
thongs or twigs, and covered with skins, each 
boat containing three men, made their appear- 
ance. From the diminutive size of these 

BIRON. 81 

people the Normans denominated them Skrce- 
ling-s,* and inhumanly killed them all but 
one, who escaped, and collected a larger 
number of his countrymen to make an attack 
on their invaders. The Normans defended 
their ships with so much spirit that the as- 
sailants were obliged to retire. 

After this, a colony of Normans went and 
settled at Winland, carrying on a barter trade 
with the SkraBlings for furs ; but a controver- 
sy arose in the colony, which induced some 
to return to Greenland. The others dispersed 
and mixed with the Skraslings. 

In the next century (1121) Eric, bishop of 
Greenland, went to Winland, with a benevo- 
lent design to recover and convert his coun- 
trymen, who had degenerated into savages. 
This prelate never returned to Greenland, nor 
was anything more heard of Winland for sev 
eral centuries. 

This account of the discovery of Winland 
is taken from Pontoppidan's history of Nor- 
way, Crantz's history of Greenland, and a 
late history of northern voyages by Dr. John 
Reinhold Forster. The facts are said to 
have been collected from " a great number 
of Icelandic manuscripts by Thormond Thor- 

* Cut sticks, chips Dwarfs, 


foeus. Adam von Bremen, Arngrim Jonas, 
and many other writers, so that it is hardly 
possible to entertain the least doubt concern- 
ing the authenticity of the relation." 

Pontoppidan says that " they could see the 
sun full six hours in the shortest day ;" but 
Crantz tells us that " the sun rose on the 
shortest day at eight of the clock," and For- 
ster that " the sun was eight hours above the 
horizon," from which he concludes that Win- 
land must be found in the 49th degree of 
northern latitude ; and, from its being in a 
southwesterly direction from Greenland, he 
supposes that it is either a part of Newfound-, 
land, or some place on the northern coast 
of the Gulf of St. Lawrence ; but whether 
grapes are found in either of those countries 
he cannot say. However, he seems so fully 
persuaded of the facts, that he gives it as 
his opinion that the Normans were, strictly 
speaking, the first discoverers of America, 
nearly five centuries before Columbus. 

From a careful perusal of the first accounts 
of Newfoundland, preserved by those painful 
collectors Hakluyt and Purchas, and of other 
memoirs respecting that island and the coast 
of Labrador, and from inspecting the most 
approved maps of those regions, particularly 

BIRON. 83 

one in the American Atlas, delineated agree- 
ably to the actual surveys of the late celebra- 
ted navigator Captain James Cook, the fol- 
lowing observations occur. 

On the N.E. part of Newfoundland, which 
is most directly accessible from Greenland, 
there is a long range of coast, in which are 
two bays, the one called Gander Bay, and the 
other the Bay of Exploits. Before the mouth 
of the former, among many smaller, there 
lies one large island called Fogo ; and before 
the mouth of the latter, another called The 
New World. Either of these will sufficient- 
ly answer to the situation described in the ac- 
count of Biron's second voyage. Into each 
of these bays runs a river, which has its head 
in a lake, and both these lakes lie in the 49th 
degree of north latitude. 

The earliest accounts of Newfoundland af- 
ter its discovery and the establishment of a 
fishery on its coasts, have respect chiefly to 
the lands about Trinity and Conception Bays, 
between the parallels of 48 and 49.* These 
lands are represented as producing strawber- 
ries, whortleberries, raspberries, gooseberries, 
pears, wild cherries, and hazel-nuts, in very 
great plenty. The rivers are said to have 

been well stored with salmon and trout. 
I. G 


The natives, who inhabited a bay lying to the 
northward of Trinity, and came occasionally 
thither in their canoes, are described as broad- 
breasted and upright, with black eyes, and 
without beards ; the hair on their heads was 
of different colours ; some had black, some 
brown^ and others yellow. In this variety 
they differed from the other savages of North 
America, who have uniformly black hair, un- 
less it be grown gray with age. 

The climate is represented as more mild in 
the winter than that of England ; but much 
colder in the spring, by reason of the vast 
islands of ice which are driven into the bays 
or grounded on the banks. 

On the northeastern coast of Labrador, be- 
tween the latitudes of 53 and 56, are many 
excellent harbours and islands. The seas 
are full of cod, the rivers abound with sal- 
mon, and the climate is said to be more mild 
than in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Nothing is said in any of these accounts of 
vines or* grapes, excepting that some which 
were brought from England had thriven 
well. If any evidence can be drawn from a 
comparison between the countries of New- 
foundland and New-England, it may be ob- 
served, that all the above-mentioned fruits 

B I R O N. 85 

and berries are found in the northern and 
eastern parts of New-England as far as Nova 
Scotia, in the latitudes of 44 and 45, and 
that grapes (vitis vulpina, vitis labrusca) are 
known to grow wherever these fruits are 

De Monts, in his voyage to Acadia in 1608, 
speaks of grapes in several places ; and they 
were in such plenty on the Isle of Orleans, 
in lat. 47, that it was first called the Island 
of Bacchus.* Though there is no direct and 
positive testimony of grapes in the Island of 
Newfoundland, it is by no means to be con- 
cluded that there were none. Nor is it im- 
probable that grapes, though once found 
there, might have been so scarce as not to 
merit notice in such general descriptions as 
were given by the first English adventurers. 

The distance between Greenland and New- 
foundland is not greater than between Ice- 
land and Norway, and there could be no 
more difficulty in navigating the western than 
the eastern parts of the northwestern ocean 
with such vessels as were then in use, and by 
such seamen as the Normans are said to have 

* It is also said that Mr. Ellis met with the vine about the 
English settlements at Hudson's Bay, and compares the fruit 

of it to the currants of the Levant. Morse's Un. Geo., vol. i., 
p. 64. 


been, though they knew nothing of the mag 
netic needle. 

Upon the whole, though we can come to 
no positive conclusion in a question of such 
remote antiquity, yet there are many circum- 
stances to confirm, and none to disprove, the 
relation given of the voyages of Biron.* 
But if it be allowed that he is entitled to the 
honour of having discovered America before 
Columbus, yet this discovery cannot in the 
least detract from the merit of that celebrated 
navigator. For there is no reason to suppose 
that Columbus had any knowledge of the 
Norman discoveries, which long before his 
time were forgotten, and would, perhaps, nev- 
er have been recollected, if he had not, by 
the astonishing exertions of his genius and 
his persevering industry, effected a discovery 
of this continent in a climate more friendly 
to the views of commercial adventurers. 

Even Greenland itself, in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, was known to the Danes and Normans 
only by the name of lost Greenland, and they 
did not recover their knowledge of it till af- 

* At my request, Governor WENTWORTH, of Nova Scotia, 
has employed a proper person to make inquiry into any vestiges 
of this ancient colony which may yet be subsisting. I am sorry 
that the result could not be had before the publication of this 
volume, but when it comes to hand it shall be tommunicatcd. 

BIRON. 87 

ter the English had ascertained its existence 
by their voyages to discover a N.W. passage 
to the Pacific Ocean, and the Dutch had 
coasted it in pursuit of whales. 

[The recent publications of the Society of 
Northern Antiquaries at Copenhagen have 
thrown new light upon the adventures and 
discoveries of Biron and those who followed 
him. It has been thought advisable, instead 
of illustrating the text by notes, to give entire 
the life of Biron by Belknap, which deserves 
to be perpetuated for its ingenious statements 
and conjectures, and to add the abstract of 
information and evidence on the subject 
which is contained in the " Antiquitates Ameri- 
cana?," and which will give a complete and 
connected view of all the knowledge we have 
relating to it. H.] 



ERIC THE RED, in the spring of 986, emi- 
grated from Iceland to Greenland, formed a 
settlement there, and fixed his residence at 


Brattalid in Ericsfiord. Among others who 
accompanied him was Heriulf Bardson, who 
established himself at Heriulfsnes. BIARNE, 
the son of the latter, was at that time absent 
on a trading voyage to Norway ; but in the 
course of the summer returning to Eyrar, in 
Iceland, and finding that his father had taken 
his departure, this bold navigator resolved 
"still to spend the following winter, like all 
the preceding ones, with his father," although 
neither he nor any of his people had ever 
navigated the Greenland Sea. They set sail, 
but met with northerly winds and fogs, and, 
after many days' sailing, knew not whither 
they had been carried. At length, when the 
weather again cleared up, they saw a land 
which was without mountains, overgrown with 
wood, and having many gentle elevations. 
As this land did not correspond to the de- 
scriptions of Greenland, they left it on the 
larboard hand, and continued sailing two 
days, when they saw another land which was 
flat and overgrown with wood. From thence 
they stood out to sea, and sailed three days 
with a S.W. wind, when they saw a third 
land which was high and mountainous, and 
covered with icebergs (glaciers] ; they did 
not go on shore, as Biarne did not find the 

B I R N. 89 

country to be inviting. Bearing away from 
this island, they stood out to sea with the same 
wind, and after four days' sailing with fresh 
gales, they reached Heriulfsnes, in Greenland. 


Some time after this, probably in the year 
994, Biarne paid a visit to Eric, earl of Nor- 
way, and told him of his voyage, and of the 
unknown lands he had discovered* He was 
blamed by many for not having examined 
these countries more accurately. On his re- 
turn to Greenland there was much talk about 
undertaking a voyage of discovery. LEIF, a 
son of Eric the Red, bought Biarne's ship, 
and equipped it with a crew of thirty-five 
men, among whom was a German of the 
name of TYRKER, who had long resided with 
his father, and who had been very fond of 
Leif in his childhood. In the year 1000 
they commenced the projected voyage, and 
came first to the land which Biarne had seen 
last. They cast anchor and went on shore. 
No grass was seen ; but everywhere in this 
country were vast ice-mountains (glaciers), 
and the intermediate space between these 
and the shore was, as it were, one uniform 


plain of slate (hello) : the country appearing 
to them destitute of good qualities, they 
called it HELLU-LAND. They put out to 
sea, and came to another land, where they 
also went on shore. The country was level 
(slett) and covered with woods, and whereso- 
ever they went there were cliffs of white 
sand (sand-ar-hvitir), and a low coast (6-scB- 
bratt) they called the country MAB.K- 
LAND ( Woodland}. From thence they again 
stood out to sea with a N.E. wind, and con- 
tinued sailing for two days, before they made 
land again. They then came to an island 
which lay to the eastward of the mainland, 
and entered a channel between this island 
and a promontory projecting in an easterly 
(and northerly) direction from the mainland. 
They sailed westward in waters where there 
was much ground left dry at ebb-tide. Af- 
terward they went on shore at a place where 
a river, issuing from a lake, fell into the sea. 
They brought their ship into the river, and 
from thence into the lake, where they cast 
anchor. Here they constructed some tempo- 
rary log-huts ; but afterward, when they had 
made up their mind to winter there, they built 
large houses, afterward called LEIFS-BU- 
BIR (Leifsbooths). When the buildings were 

BIRON. 91 

completed, Leif divided his people into two 
companies, who were by turns employed in 
keeping watch at the houses, and in making 
small excursions for the purpose of exploring 
the country in the vicinity : his instructions 
to them were, that they should not go to a 
greater distance than that they might return 
in the course of the same evening, and that 
they should not separate from one another. 
Leif took his turn also, joining the exploring 
party the one day, and remaining at the hous- 
es the other. It so happened that one day 
the German Tyrker was missing. Leif ac- 
cordingly went out with twelve men in search 
of him, but they had not gone far from their 
houses when they met him coming towards 
them. When Lief inquired why he had 
been so long absent, he at first answered in 
German, but they did not understand what 
he said. He then said to them in the Norse 
tongue, " I did not go much farther, yet I 
have a discovery to acquaint you with : I 
have found vines and grapes." He added, 
by way of confirmation, that he had been 
born in a country where there was plenty of 
vines. They had now two occupations, viz., 
to hew timber for loading the ship, and col- 
lect grapes ; with these last they filled the 


ship's long boat. Leif gave a name to the 
country, and called it VINLAND ( Vineland). 
In the spring they sailed again from thence, 
and returned to Greenland. 


Leif's Vineland voyage was now a subject 
of frequent conversation in Greenland, and 
his brother THORWALD was of opinion that the 
country had not been sufficiently explored. 
He accordingly borrowed Leif s ship, and, 
aided by his brother's counsel and directions, 
commenced a voyage in the year 1002. He 
arrived at Leifsbooths, in Vineland, where 
they spent the winter, he and his crew em- 
ploying themselves in fishing. In the spring 
of 1003 Thorwald sent a party in the ship's 
long boat on a voyage of discovery south- 
ward. They found the country beautiful and 
well wooded, with but little space between 
the woods and the sea ; there were likewise 
extensive ranges of white sand, and many 
islands and shallows. They found no traces 
of men having been there before them, ex- 
cepting on an island lying to the westward, 
where they found a wooden shed. They did 
not return to Leifsbooths until the fall. In 

BIRON. 93 

the following summer, 1004, Thorwald sailed 
eastward with the large ship, and then north- 
ward past a remarkable headland enclosing a 
bay, and which was opposite to another head- 
land. They called it KIAL-AR-NES (Keel 
Cape). From thence they sailed along to the 
eastern coast of the land, into the nearest 
friths, to a promontory which there projected, 
and which was everywhere overgrown with 
wood. There Thorwald went ashore with all 
his companions. He was so pleased with this 
place that he exclaimed, " This is beautiful ! 
and here I should like well to fix my dwell- 
ing !" Afterward, when they were preparing 
to go on board, they observed on the sandy 
beach within the promontory three hillocks, 
and repairing thither, they found three canoes, 
under each of which were three Skrellings 
(Esquimaux) ; they came to blows with the 
latter, and killed eight, but the ninth escaped 
with his canoe. Afterward a countless num- 
ber issued forth against them from the inte- 
rior of the bay. They endeavoured to protect 
themselves by raising battle-screens on the 
ship's side. The Skrellings continued shoot- 
ing at them for a while, and then retired. 
Thorwald was wounded by an arrow under 
the arm, and, finding that the wound was 


mortal, he said, " I now advise you to pre- 
pare for your departure as soon as possible, 
but me ye shall bring to the promontory 
where I thought it good to dwell ; it may be 
that it was a prophetic word that fell from 
my mouth about my abiding there for a sea- 
son ; there shall ye bury me, and plant a 
cross at my head and another at my feet, and 
call the place KROSS-A-NES (Crossness) in 
all time coming." He died, and they did as 
he had ordered. Afterward they returned to 
their companions at Leifsbooths, and spent 
the winter there ; but in the spring of 1005 
they sailed again to Greenland, having im- 
portant intelligence to communicate to Leif. 


Thorstein, Eric's third son, had resolved 
to proceed to Vineland to fetch his brother's 
body. He fitted out the same ship, and select- 
ed twenty-five strong and able-bodied men for 
his crew : his wife Gudrida also went along 
with him. They were tossed about the ocean 
the whole summer, and knew not whither 
they were driven ; but at the close of the first 
week of winter they landed at Lysufiord, in 
the western settlement of Greenland. There 
Thorstein died during the winter; and in 

BIRON. 95 

the spring Gudrida returned again to Erics- 


In the following summer, 1006, there ar- 
rived in Greenland two ships from Iceland ; 
the one was commanded by THORFINN, hav- 
ing the very significant surname of KARLSEFNE 
(i. e., one who promises or is destined to be 
an able or great man), a wealthy and power- 
ful man, of illustrious lineage, and sprung 
from Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Irish, and 
Scottish ancestors, some of whom were kings 
or of royal descent. He was accompanied 
by SNORRE THORBRANDSON, who was also a 
man of distinguished lineage. The other 
ship was commanded by BIARNE GRIMOLFSON, 
of Breidefiord, and THORHALL GAMLASON, of 
Austfiord. They kept the festival of Yule, or 
Christmas, at Brattalid. Thorfinn became en- 
amoured of Gudrida, and obtained the con- 
sent of her brother-in-laAv, Leif; and their 
marriage was celebrated in the course of the 
winter. On this, as on former occasions, the 
voyage to Vineland formed a favourite theme 
of conversation, and Thorfinn was urged both 
by his wife and others to undertake such a 


voyage. It was accordingly resolved on. 
In the 'spring of 1007 Karlsefne and Snorre 
fitted out their ship, and Biarne and Thorhall 
likewise equipped theirs. A third ship (being 
that in which Gudrida's father, Thorbibrn, 
had formerly come to Greenland) was com- 
manded by THORWARD, who was married to 
FREYDISA, a natural daughter of ERIC the 
Red ; and on board the ship was also a man 
of the name of THORHALL, who had long serv- 
ed Eric as huntsman in summer and as 
house-steward in winter, and who had much 
acquaintance with the uncolonized parts of 
Greenland. The whole expedition consisted 
of one hundred and sixty men ; and they 
took with them all kinds of live-stock, it be- 
ing their intention to establish a colony, if 
possible. They sailed first to the Wester- 
by gd, and afterward to Biarney (Disco). 
From thence thBy sailed in a southerly di- 
rection to HELLU-LAND, where they found 
many foxes ; and again two days in a south- 
erly direction to MARK-LAND, a country 
overgrown with wood, and plentifully stock- 
ed with animals. Leaving this, they contin- 
ued in a S.W. direction for a long time, 
having the land to starboard, until they at 
length came to KIAL-AR-NES, where there 

B I R O N. 97 

were trackless deserts and long beaches and 
sands, called by them FURDU-STRAND- 
IR. Passing these, they found the land in- 
dented by inlets. They had two Scots with 
them, TAKE and TEKIA, whom Leif had for- 
merly received from the Norwegian king, 
Olaf Tryggvason, and who were very swift of 
foot. They put them on shore, recommend- 
ing them to proceed in a S.W. direction, and 
explore the country. After the lapse of three 
days they returned, bringing with them some 
grapes and some ears of wheat, which grew 
wild in that region. They continued their 
course until they came to a place where a 
frith penetrated far into the country. Off the 
mouth of it was an island, past which there 
ran strong currents, which was also the case 
farther up the frith. On the island there were 
an immense number of eider-ducks, so that it 
was scarcely possible to walk without tread- 
ing on their eggs. They called the island 
STRAUM-EY (Stream Isle), and the frith 
SRRAUM-FIORDR (Stream Frith). They 
landed on the shore of this frith, and made 
preparations for their winter residence. The 
country was extremely beautiful. They con- 
fined their operations to exploring the country. 
Thorhall afterward wished to proceed in a N. 


direction in quest of Vineiand, Karlsefn 
chose rather to go to the S.W. Thorhall, 
and eight men with him, quitted them, and 
sailed past Furoustrander and Kialarnes ; but 
they were driven by westerly gales to the 
coast of Ireland, where, according to the ac- 
counts of some traders, they were beaten and 
made slaves. Karlsefne, together with Snorre 
and Biarne, and the rest of the ships' compa- 
nies, in all 131 (CXXXI) men, sailed south- 
ward, and arrived at the place where a river 
falls into the sea from a lake. Opposite to- 
the mouth of the river were large islands. 
They steered into the lake, and called the 
place HOP (I Hope). On the low grounds 
they found fields of wheat growing wild, and 
on the rising ground vines. While looking 
about one morning, they observed a great 
number of canoes. As they exhibited friend- 
ly signals, the canoes approached nearer to 
them, and the natives looked with astonish- 
ment at those they met there. These people 
were sallow and ill-looking : had ugly heads 
of hair, and broad cheeks. After they had 
gazed at them for a while, they rowed away 
again to the S.W. past the cape. Karlsefne 
and his company had erected their dwelling 
houses a little above the bay, and there they 

B I R O N. ,99 

spent the winter. No snow fell, and the cat- 
tle found their food in the open field. One 
morning early, in the beginning of 1008, they 
descried a number of canoes coming from the 
S.W. past the cape. Karlsefne having held 
up a white shield as a friendly signal, they 
drew nigh, and immediately commenced bar- 
tering. These people chose in preference 
red cloth, and gave furs and squirrel skins 
in exchange. They would fain also have 
bought swords and spears, but these Karl- 
sefne and Snorre prohibited their people from 
selling. In exchange for a skin entirely 
gray, the Skrellings took a piece of cloth 
of a span in breadth, and bound it round 
their heads. Their barter was carried on in 
this way for some time. The Northmen 
found that their cloth was beginning to grow 
scarce, whereupon they cut it up in smaller 
pieces, not broader than a finger's breadth ; 
yet the Skrellings gave as much for these 
smaller pieces as they had formerly given for 
the larger ones, or even more. Karlsefne 
also caused the women to make and pour out 
milk soup, and the Skrellings relishing the 
taste of it, they desired to buy it in prefer- 
ence to everything else ; so they wound up 
their traffic by carrying away their bargains 


in their stomachs. While this trade was go- 
ing on, it happened that a bull which Karl- 
sefne had brought along with him came out 
of the wood and bellowed loudly. At this 
the Skrellings became terrified, rushed to 
their canoes, and rowed away southward. 
About this time Gudrida, Karlsefne's wife, 
gave birth to a son, who received the name 
of SNORRE. In the beginning of the follow- 
ing winter the Skrellings came again in much 
greater numbers ; they showed symptoms of 
hostility, setting up loud yells. Karlsefne 
caused the red shield to be borne against 
them, whereupon they advanced against each 
other, and a battle commenced. There was 
a galling discharge of missiles. The Skrel- 
lings had a sort of war-slings ; they elevated 
on a pole a tremendously large ball, almost 
the size of a sheep's stomach, and of a bluish 
colour ; this they swung from the pole upon 
land over Karlsefne's people, and it descend- 
ed with a fearful crash. This struck terror 
into the Northmen, and they fled along the 
river. Freydisa came out, and, seeing them 
flying, she exclaimed, " How can stout men 
like you fly from these miserable caitiffs, whom 
I thought you could knock down like cattle ! 
If I had only a weapon, I ween I could fight 

BIRON. 101 

better than any of you !" They heeded not 
her words. She tried to keep pace with 
them, but the advanced rity.t.e of hei pregnan- 
cy retarded her -she, however, followed them 
into the wood.' "SSere she tfiteoianTtered a 
dead body : it was THORBRAND SNORRASON ; 
a flat stone was sticking fast in his head, and 
his naked sword lay by his side ; this she 
took up, and prepared to defend herself. She 
uncovered her bosom, and struck it with the 
naked sword. At this sight the Skrellings 
became terrified, and ran off to their canoes. 
Karlsefne and the rest now came up to her, 
and praised her courage. They were now 
become aware that, thpugh the country held 
out many advantages, still the life that they 
would have to lead here would be one of con- 
stant alarm, from the hostile attacks of the 
natives. They therefore made preparations 
for departure, with the resolution of returning 
to their own country. Sailing eastward, they 
arrived in Streamfirth. Karlsefne then took 
one of the ships, and sailed in quest of Thor- 
hall, while the rest remained behind. They 
proceeded northward round Kialarnes, and 
after that were carried to the northwest. 
The land lay to the larboard of them ; there 
were thick forests in all directions, as far as 


they could see, with scarcely any open space. 
They considered the hills at Hope and those 
which 'tljey. now 'savfr^s jfotming part of one 
continued range. They spe.nt the third win- 
ter at\Stfeaqfirt3i;| :K-Ar^efne's son, Snorre, 
was now three years of age. When they 
sailed from Vineland they had southerly 
wind, and came to Markland, where they 
met with five Skrellings. They caught two 
of them (two boys), whom they carried away 
with them, and taught them the Norse lan- 
guage, and baptized them. These children 
said that their mother was called VETHILLDI, 
and their father UVJEGE ; they said that the 
Skrellings were ruled by chieftains (kings j, 
one of whom was called AVALLDAMON, and 
the other VALDIDIDA ; that there were no 
houses in the country, but that the people 
dwelt in holes and caverns. Biarne Grim- 
olfson was driven into the Irish Ocean, and 
came into waters that were so infested with 
worms that the ship was in consequence re- 
duced to a sinking state. Some of the crew, 
however, were saved in the boat, as it had 
been smeared with seal-oil tar, which is a 
preventive against the attack of worms. Karl- 
sefne continued his voyage to Greenland, and 
arrived at Ericsfiord. 

B I R O N. 103 


During the same summer, 1011, there ar- 
rived in Greenland a ship from Norway, 
commanded by two brothers from Austfiord 
in Iceland, HELGE and FINNBOGE, who passed 
the following winter in Greenland. FREYDI- 
SA went to them, and proposed a voyage to 
Vineland, on the condition that they should 
share equally with her in all the profits which 
the voyage might yield : to this they assent- 
ed. Freydisa and these brothers entered 
into a mutual agreement that each party 
should have thirty able-bodied men on board 
their ship besides women ; but Freydisa im- 
mediately deviated from the agreement, and 
took with her five additional men, whom she 
concealed. In 1012 they arrived at Leifs- 
booths, where they spent the following win- 
ter. The conduct of Freydisa occasioned a 
coolness and distance between the parties ; 
and by her subtle arts she ultimately prevail- 
ed on her husband to massacre the brothers 
and their followers. After the perpetration 
of this base deed, they, in the spring of 1013, 
returned to Greenland, where Thorfmn lay 
ready to sail for Norway, and was waiting for 


a fair wind : the ship he commanded was so 
richly laden, that it was generally admitted 
that a more valuable cargo had never left 
Greenland. As soon as the wind became 
favourable he sailed to Norway, where he 
spent the following winter and sold his goods. 
Next year, when he was ready to sail for 
Iceland, there came a German from Bremen 
who wanted to buy a piece of wood from 
him : he gave for it half a marc of gold : it 
was the wood of the Mazer-tree, from Vine- 
land. Karlsefne went to Iceland, and in the 
following year, 1015, he bought the Glaumboe 
estate, in Skagefiord, in the northland quar 
ter, where he resided during the remaindei 
of his life : his son Snorre, who had been 
born in America, was his successor on this 
estate. When the latter married, his mother 
made a pilgrimage to Rome, and afterward 
returned to her son's house at Glaumboe, 
where he had in the mean time ordered a 
church to be built. The mother lived long 
as a religious recluse. A numerous and illus- 
trious race descended from Karlsefne, among 
whom may be mentioned the learned bishop 
Thorlak Runolfson, born in 1085, of Snorre's 
daughter Halfrida, to whom we are princi- 
pally indebted for the oldest ecclesiastical 

B I R N. 105 

Code of Iceland, published in the year 1123; 
it is also probable that the accounts of the 
voyages here mentioned were originally com- 
piled by him. 


I. Geography and Hydrography. 
It is a fortunate circumstance that these 
ancient accounts have preserved not only 
geographical, but also nautical and astronom- 
ical facts, that may serve in fixing the posi- 
tion of the lands and places named. The 
nautical facts are of special importance, al- 
though hitherto they have not been sufficient- 
ly attended to ; these consist in statements 
of the course steered and the distance sailed 
in a day. From data in the Landnama and 
several other ancient Icelandic geographical 
works, we may gather that the distance of 
a day's sailing was estimated at 27 to 30 
geographical miles (German or Danish, of 
which fifteen are equal to a degree ; each of 
these being, accordingly, equal to four Eng- 
lish sea-miles). From the Island of HEL- 
LU-LAND, afterward called little Helluland, 
Biarne sailed to Heriulfsnes (Iki-geit) in 
Greenland, with strong southwesterly gales, 
in four days. The distance between thai 


cape and Newfoundland is about one hundred 
and fifty miles, which will correspond when 
we take into consideration the strong gales. 
In modern descriptions it is stated that this 
land partly consists of naked rocky flats, 
where no tree, nor even a shrub, can grow, 
and which are therefore usually called Bar- 
rens ; thus answering completely to the hell- 
ur of the ancient Northmen, from which they 
named the country. 

MARKLAND was situate to the south- 
west of Helluland, distant about three days' 
sail, or from eighty to ninety miles. Here 
then we have Nova Scotia, of which the de- 
scriptions given by later writers answer to 
that given by the ancient Northmen of Mark- 
land : " the land is low in general ;" " the 
coast to the seaward being level and low, 
and the shores marked with white rocks ;" 
" the land is low, with white sandy cliffs, 
particularly visible at sea," says the new 
" North American Pilot," by J. W. Nori.j 
and another American sailor : "on the shore 
are some cliffs of exceedingly white sand." 
Here " level" corresponds completely to the 
Icelandic " stilt" " low to the seaward" to 
the short expression " 6-sce-bratt" and "white 
sandy cliffs" to the " hvit-ir sand-ar" of the 

B I R O N. 107 

Northmen. Nova Scotia, New-Brunswick, 
and Lower Canada, situate more inland, 
which probably may be considered as all be- 
longing to the Markland of the Northmen, 
are almost everywhere covered with immense 

VINLAND was situate at the distance of 
two days' sail, consequently from fifty-four 
to sixty miles, in a southwesterly direction 
from Markland. The distance from Cape 
Sable to Cape Cod is stated in nautical works 
as being W. by S. about seventy leagues, 
that is, about two hundred miles. Biarne's 
description of the coast is very accurate, and 
in the island situate to the eastward (between 
which and the promontory that stretches to 
eastward and northward Leif sailed) we rec- 
ognise Nantucket. The ancient Northmen 
found there many shallows (grunn-s&fui mik- 
it) ; modern navigators make mention at the 
same place " of numerous reefs and other 
shoals," and say " that the whole presents 
an aspect of drowned land." 

KIALARNES (from kiolr, a keel, and nes, 
a cape, most likely on account of its striking 
resemblance to the keel of a ship, particular- 
ly of one of the long ships of the ancient 

Northmen) must consequently be Cape Cod, 
I I 


the NAUSET of the Indians, which modern 
geographers have sometimes likened to a 
horn, and sometimes to a sickle or scythe. 
The ancient Northmen found here trackless 
deserts (or-cefi), and long narrow beaches 
and sandhills, or sands (strand-ir l(mg-ar ok 
sand-ar) of a very peculiar appearance, on 
which account they called them FURDU- 
STRAND-IR ( Wonder-strands, from furt-a, 
res miranda, and strond, strand, beach.) 
Compare the description given of this cape 
by a modern author, Hitchcock : " The 
Dunes or sandhills, which are often nearly 
or quite barren of vegetation, and of snowy 
whiteness, forcibly attract the attention on ac- 
count of their peculiarity. As we approach 
the extremity of the cape, the sand and bar- 
renness increase ; and in not a few places it 
would need only a party of Bedouin Arabs to 
cross the traveller's path to make him feel 
that he was in the depths of an Arabian or 
Libyan desert" A remarkable natural phe- 
nomenon which is observed there has also 
most probably had a share in giving rise to 
that peculiar name. It is thus described by 
the same author : " In crossing the sands of 
the cape, I noticed a singular mirage or de- 
ception. In Orleans, for instance, we seem- 

B I R O N. 109 

ed to be ascending at an angle of throe or 
four degrees ; nor was I convinced that yuch 
was not the case, until, turning about, I per- 
ceived that a similar ascent appeared in the 
road just passed over. I shall not attempt 
to explain this optical deception, but merely 
remark that it is probably of the same kind 
as that observed by Humboldt on the Pam- 
pas of Venezuela : "all around us," says he, 
11 the plains seemed to ascend towards the 
sky." Thus we observe that the appellation 
given by the ancient Northmen to the three 
strands or tracts of coast, Nauset Beach, Chat- 
ham Beach, and Monomoy Beach, is remark- 
ably appropriate. 

The great Gulf Stream, as it is called, 
which issues from the Gulf of Mexico, and 
runs between Florida, Cuba, and the Baha- 
ma Isles, and so northward in a direction 
parallel to the eastern coast of North Amer- 
ica, and of which the channel, in ancient 
times, is said to have approached still nearer 
to the coast, occasions great currents precise- 
ly at this place, inasmuch as the peninsula of 
Barnstable offers opposition to the stream as it 
comes from the southward. The STRAUM- 
FIORDR of the ancient Northmen is sup- 
posed to be Buzzard's Bay, and STRAUM- 


EY, Martha's Vineyard; although the ac- 
counts of the many eggs found there would 
seem more precisely to correspond to the isl- 
and which lies off the entrance of Vineyard 
Sound, and which to this day is called Egg- 

KROSS-A-NES is probably Gurnet Point, 
It must have been somewhat to the northward 
of this that Karlsefne landed when he saw 
the mountain range (the Blue Hills}, which 
he considered as forming a part of the same 
range that extends to the region where We 
recognise the place named Hop (z H6p-e). 

The word HOP, in Icelandic, may either 
denote a small recess or bay formed by a 
river from the interior falling into an inlet 
from the sea, or the land bordering on such a 
bay. To this Mount Hope's Bay, or MONT 
HAUP'S Bay, as the Indians term it, corre- 
sponds, through which the Taunton River 
flows, and, by means of the very narrow, yet 
navigable Pocasset River, meets the approach- 
ing water of the ocean at its exit at Seacon- 
net. It was at this H6pe that Leifsbooths 
were situate; it was above it, and therefore 
most probably on the beautiful elevation call- 
ed afterward by the Indians MONT HAUP, 
that Thorfinn Karlsefne erected his dwelling- 


II. Climate and Soil. 

Concerning the climate of the country and 
the quality of the soil, and also concerning 
some of its productions, the ancient writings 
contain sundry illustrative remarks. The 
climate was so mild that it appeared the 
cattle did not require winter fodder ; for 
there came no snow, and the grass was but 
slightly withered. Warden uses similar ex- 
pressions respecting this region : " La tem- 
perature est si douce que la vegetation souffre 
rarement du froid ou de la stcheresse. On 
1'appelle le paradis de VAmtrique parcequ'elle 
l r emporte sur les autres lieux par sa situation, 
son sol et son climat." "An excursion from 
Taunton to Newport, Rhode Island, down 
Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay, con- 
ducts the traveller among scenery of great 
beauty and loveliness," says Hitchcock; and 
when he adds "that the beautiful appearance 
of the country, and the interesting historical 
associations connected with that region, con- 
spire to keep the attention alive and to grat- 
ify the taste," he will find that this last re- 
mark is applicable to times much more re- 
mote than he thought of when he gave ex- 
pression to the above sentiment. 


A country of such a nature might well de- 
serve the appellation of " THE GOOD," which 
was the epithet the ancient Northmen be- 
stowed on it, especially as it yielded pro- 
ductions whereon they set a high value, and 
of which their colder native land was for the 
most part destitute. 

III. Produce and Natural History. 

Vines grew there spontaneously ; a circum- 
stance which Adam of Bremen, a foreign 
writer of the same (that is, of the eleventh) 
century, mentions that he had learned, not 
from conjecture, but from authentic accounts 
furnished by Danes. As his authority on this 
occasion, he cites the Danish king Sveyn 
Estrithson, a nephew of Canute the Great. 
It is well known that vines still grow in that 
region in great abundance. 

Spontaneously growing wheat (sj&lf sdn-ir 
hveiti-akrar.} At the subsequent arrival of 
the Europeans, maize, or Indian corn, as it 
is called, was found growing here ; this the 
natives reaped without having sowed, and 
they preserved it in holes in the earth, as it 
constituted one of their most valuable arti- 
cles of food. Honeydew was found on the 
island which lies off it, as is also still the case. 

BIRON. 113 

Mazer (mausur,} a species of wood of re- 
markable beauty, probably a species of the 
Acer rubrum or Acer saccharinum, which 
grows here, and which is called " bird's eye" 
or " curled maple." Wood for building was 
also obtained here. 

A great number of forest animals of all 
kinds. It is understood that the Indians 
chose this region- in preference for their 
abode, chiefly on account of the excellent 

At present the forests are for the most 
part cut down, and the animals have with- 
drawn to the interior and woodland regions. 
From the natives the Northmen bought squir- 
rel-skins and all kinds of peltries, which are 
still to be found in abundance in this district. 

Eider-ducks and other birds were found in 
great numbers on the adjacent islands, as is 
also at present the case, on which account 
some of them have the name of Egg Islands. 

Every river was full of fish, among which 
are mentioned excellent salmon. On the 
coast was also caught a great quantity of 
fish. The Northmen dug ditches along the 
shore, within the high water-mark, and when 
the tide receded they found halibuts in the 
ditches. On the coast they also caught ivhales, 


and among these the refer (Balsena physa- 
lus). In the modern descriptions of this re- 
gion it is stated that " all the rivers are full 
of fish ;" and of the waters in that neighbour- 
hood it is said " il y a une grande abondance 
de poissons de presque toutes les especes." 
Salmon may be mentioned as one of these. 
Not long ago, the whale fishery was, in that 
very region, an important branch of industry, 
especially for the inhabitants of the adjacent 
islands. Very possibly the adjacent Whale 
Rock has its name from the same circum- 

IV. Astronomical Evidence. 
Besides the nautical and geographical 
statements, one of the most ancient writings 
has preserved an astronomical notice, where 
it was said that here the days were of more 
equal length than in Iceland or Greenland ; 
that on the shortest day the sun rose at half 
past seven o'clock, and set at half past four, 
which makes the shortest day nine hours. 
This astronomical observation gives for the 
place latitude 41 24' 10". The latitude of 
Seaconnet Point, and of the southernmost 
promontory of the Island of Conannicut, is 
41 26' north, and that of Point Judith 

BIRON. 115 

23-. These three headlands form the en- 
trance boundaries of the modern Mount Hope 
Bay, which the ancients, according to the 
analogy of their language, no doubt, called 
HOPSVATN. We thus see that this statement 
corresponds exactly with the other data, and 
indicates precisely the same region. 


The party sent by Thorvvald Ericson, in 
the year 1003, from Leifsbooths, to explore 
the southern coasts, employed from four to 
five months in the expedition ; they there- 
fore most likely examined the coasts of Con- 
necticut and New- York, probably also those 
of New- Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. 
The description of this range of coast is ac- 

In those times the Esquimaux inhabited 
more southerly regions than they do at pres- 
ent. This is both evident from the ancient 
accounts, and seems, besides, to gain corrobo- 
ration from ancient skeletons which have 
been dug up in regions even more southerly 
than those in question ; a circumstance which, 
however, merits a more accurate examina- 


tion. In the neighbourhood of Vineland, 
opposite the country inhabited by the Esqui- 
maux, there dwelled, according to their re- 
ports, people who wore white dresses, and 
had poles borne before them, on which were 
fastened lappets, and who shouted with a loud 
voice. This country was supposed to be 
HVITRA-MANN-A-LAND, as it was call- 
ed (the Land of the White Men}, otherwise 
called IR-LAND IT MIKLA (Great Ire- 
land), being probably that part of the coast 
of North America which extends southward 
from Chesapeake Bay, including North and 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Among 
the Shawanese Indians, who some years ago 
emigrated from Florida, and are now settled 
in Ohio, there is preserved a tradition which 
seems of importance here, viz., that Florida 
was once inhabited by white people, who 
were in possession of iron implements. Judg- 
ing from the ancient accounts, this must have 
been an Irish Christian people, who, previous 
to the year 1000, were settled in this region. 
The powerful chieftain ARE MARSON, of Rei- 
kianes, in Iceland, was, in the year 903, driv- 
en thither by storms, and there received bap- 
tism. The first author of this account was 
his contemporary Rafa, surnamed the Lim- 

BIRON. 117 

erick-trader, he having long resided at Lim- 
erick, in Ireland. The illustrious Icelandic 
sage Are Frode, the first compiler of the 
Landnama, who was himself a descendant in 
the fourth degree from Are Marson, states on 
this subject, that his uncle, Thorkell Geller- 
Bon (whose testimony he on another occasion 
declares to be worthy of all credit), had been 
informed by Icelanders, who had their infor- 
mation from Thorfinn Sigurdson, earl of 
Orkney, that Are had been recognised in 
Hvitramannaland, and could not get away 
from thence, but was there held in high re- 
spect. This statement therefore shows that 
in those times there was an occasional inter- 
course between the western European coun- 
tries (the Orkneys and Ireland) and this part 
of America. 


It must have been in this same country that 
INGA-KAPPI, spent the latter part of his life. 
He had been adopted into the celebrated 
band of Jomsburg warriors, under Palnatoke, 
and took part with them in the battle of Fyr- 
isval, in Sweden. His illicit amatory con- 


nexion with Thurida of Frodo, in Iceland, a 
sister of the powerful Snorre Gode, drew 
upon him the enmity and persecution of the 
latter ; in consequence of which, he found 
himself obliged to quit the country forever, 
and in the year 999 he set sail from Hraun- 
hofn, in Sniofelsnes, with a N.E. wind. GUD- 
LEIF GUDLAUQSON, brother of Thorfinn, the 
ancestor of the celebrated historian Snorre 
Sturluson, had made a trading voyage to 
Dublin ; but when he left that place again, 
with the intention of sailing round Ireland 
and returning to Iceland, he met with long- 
continued northeasterly winds, which drove 
him far out of his course to the southwest, 
and late in the season he, along with his com- 
pany, at last made land; the country was 
very extensive, but they knew not what coun- 
try it was. On their landing, a crowd of the 
natives, amounting to several hundreds in 
number, came against them, overpowered, 
and bound them. They did not know any- 
body in the crowd, but it seemed to them 
that their language resembled Irish. The 
natives now took counsel whether they should 
kill the strangers or make slaves of them. 
While they were deliberating, a large compa- 
ny approached, displaying a banner, close to 

BIRON. 119 

which rode a man of distinguished appear- 
ance, who was far advanced in years, and 
had gray hair. The matter under delibera- 
tion was referred to his decision. He was 
the aforesaid Biorn Asbrandson. He caused 
Gudleif to be brought before him, and, ad- 
dressing him in the Norse language, he asked 
him whence he came. As he replied that he 
was an Icelander, Biorn made many inquiries 
about his acquaintance in Iceland, particular- 
ly about his beloved Thurida of Frodo, and 
about her son, and who at that time was the 
proprietor of the estate of Frodo. In the 
mean time, the natives becoming impatient 
and demanding a decision, Biorn selected 
twelve of his company as counsellors ; he 
took them aside, and some time after he 
went towards Gudleif and his companions, 
and told them that the natives had left the 
matter to his decision. "He thereupon gave 
them their liberty, and advised thern^ although 
the summer was already far advanced, to de- 
part immediately, because the natives we{g 
not to be depended on, and were difficult to 
deal with ; and, moreover, conceived that an 
infringement on their laws had been commit- 
ted to their disadvantage. He gave them a 
gold ring for Thurida, and a sword for Kiar- 


tan, and told them to charge his friends and 
relations not to come over to him, as he was 
now become old, and might daily expect that 
old age would get the better of him ; that the 
country was large, having but few harbours, 
and that strangers must everywhere expect a 
hostile reception. They accordingly set sail 
again, and found their way back to Dublin, 
where they spent the winter ; but next sum- 
mer they repaired to Iceland and delivered 
the presents ; and all were convinced that it 
was really Biorn Asbrandson whom they had 
met with in that country. 


It may be considered as certain that the 
intercourse between Vinelattd and Greenland 
was maintained for a considerable period af- 
ter this, although the scanty notices about 
Greenland contained in the ancient manu- 
scripts do not furnish us with any satisfactory 
information on this head. It is, however, re- 
corded, that the Greenland bishop ERIC, im 
pelled probably by a Christian zeal either of 
converting the colonists, or of animating them 
to perseverance in the faith, went over to 
Vineland in the year 1121. As we have no 
information of the result of his voyage, but 

BIRON. 121 

can merely gather from the above expression 
that he reached his destination, we must pre- 
sume that he fixed his permanent residence 
in Vineland. His voyage, however, goes to 
corroborate the supposition of a lengthened 
intercourse having been kept up between the 


The next event in chronological order, of 
which accounts have been preserved in an- 
cient records, is a voyage of discovery in the 
Arctic regions of America, performed during 
the year 1266, under the auspices of some 
clergymen of the bishopric of Gar&ar, in 
Greenland. The account of it is taken from 
a letter, addressed by a clergyman of the name 
of Halldor to another clergyman named Ar- 
nold, formerly established in Greenland, but 
who had then become chaplain to the Norwe- 
gian king, Magnus Lagabaeter. At that time 
all men of any consequence in Greenland 
possessed large vessels, built for the purpose 
of being despatched northward in hunting and 
fishing expeditions. The northern regions 
which they visited were called Nor&r-set-ur ; 
the chief stations were Greipai; and Kr6ks- 


fiar5-ar-heibi. The first of these stations is 
supposed to have been situate immediately to 
the southward of Disco ; but that the ancient 
Northmen went much farther north on this 
coast may be inferred from a very remarkable 
runic stone^ found in the year 1824, on the isl- 
and of Kin-gik-tor-s6ak, lying in the latitude of 
72 55' N. The latter-mentioned station was 
to the north of the former. The object of the 
voyage is stated to have been to explore re- 
gions lying more to the northward than those 
they had hitherto been accustomed to visit, 
consequently lying farther north than KROKS- 
FIARD-AR-HEIDI, where they had their 
summer quarters (set-ur), and which they 
were therefore regularly accustomed to visit. 
The following particulars are mentioned rela- 
ting to this voyage of discovery. They sail- 
ed out of Kroks-fiarb-ar-heibi, and after that 
encountered southerly winds, accompanied 
by thick weather, which obliged them to let 
the ship go before the wind. On the weather 
clearing up they saw many islands, and all 
kinds of prey, both seals and whales, and a 
great many bears. They penetrated into the 
innermost part of the gulf, and had icebergs 
(glaciers) lying also to the southward as far as 
the eye could reach. They observed some 

BIRO*, 123 

vestiges indicating that the Skrellings had in 
former times inhabited these regions, but they 
could not land on account of the bears. They 
then put about and sailed back during three 
days ; and now again they found traces of 
the Skrellings having been on some islands 
lying to the southward of a mountain, by them 
called Sniofell. After this (on St. James's 
day) they proceeded southward a great day's 
rowing. It froze during the night in those 
regions, but the sun was above the horizon 
both night and day; and when on the merid- 
ian in the south, he was not higher than that 
when a man lay down across a six-oared 
boat, stretched out towards the gunwale, the 
shadow formed by the side of the boat near- 
est the sun reached his face ; but at midnight 
the sun was as high as when it was (highest) 
in the northwest in the Greenland colony. 
Afterward they sailed back again to their 
home at Garbar. Kroks-fiarb-ar-heibi, as we 
have observed above, had been for some time 
previous regularly visited by the Greenland- 
ers. The name shows that the frith was sur- 
rounded by barren highlands (heik-i), and the 
description of the voyage shows that it was a 
frith of considerable extent, in and through 
which there was room for several days' sail. 
I. K 


It is stated, for instance, that they sailed out 
o/this frith or sound into another sea, and 
into the innermost part of a gulf, and that 
their returning voyage occupied several days. 
As to the two observations mentioned as hav- 
ing been taken on St. James's day, the first 
of them leads to no certain result, as we have 
no sure means of ascertaining the depth of 
the boat, or, rather, the relative depth of the 
man's position as he lay across the boat, in 
reference to the height of the side of the 
same, so as to enable us to deduce the angle 
formed by the upper edge of the boat's side 
and the man's face, which is the angle meas- 
uring the sun's altitude at noon on St. James's 
day, or the 25th of July. If we assume, as 
we may do with probability, that it was some- 
what less than 33, and yet very near that 
measure, the place must have been situate 
near north latitude 75. There seems no 
probability that it was a larger angle, and, 
consequently, that the place lay more to the 
southward. The result obtained from the 
other observation is, however, more satisfacto- 
ry. In the thirteenth century, on the 25th of 
July, the sun's declination was + 17 54'; 
f inclination of the ecliptic, 23 32'. If we 
now assume that the colony, and particularly 

B I R O N. 125 

the episcopa. seat of Gar&ar, was situate on 
the north side of Igaliko Frith, where the ru- 
ins of a large church and of many other 
buildings indicate the site of a principal set- 
tlement of the ancient colony, consequently 
in 60 55' north latitude, then, at the summer 
solstice, the height of the sun there, when in 
the northwest, was = 3 40', equivalent to the 
midnight altitude of the sun on St. James's 
day in the parallel of 75 46', which falls a lit- 
tle to the north of Barrow's Strait, being in 
the latitude of Wellington's' Channel, or close 
to the northward of the same. The voyage 
of discovery undertaken by the Greenland 
clergyman was therefore carried to regions 
which in our days have been more accu- 
rately explored, and their geographical posi- 
tion determined by Sir William Parry, Sir 
John Ross, and Captain James Clark Ross, 
and other British navigators, in the no less da- 
ring and dangerous expeditions conducted by 


The discovery next recorded was made by 
the Iceland clergymen ADALBRAND and THOR- 
WALD HELGASON, well known in the history% 
of Iceland as having been involved in the 


disputes at that time prevailing between the 
Norwegian king, Eric Priesthater, and the 
clergy, and which in Iceland were chiefly 
headed by the governor, Rafa Oddson, and 
Arne Thorlakson, bishop of Skalholt. Ac- 
counts drawn up by contemporaries contain 
merely the brief notice, that in the year 1285 
the above-mentioned clergymen discovered a 
new land to the westward of Iceland (fundu 
nyja land). This land, to which, by com- 
mand of King Eric Priesthater, a voyage was 
some years afterward 'projected by Landa- 
Rolf, is supposed to have been Newfoundland. 


The last piece of information respecting 
America which our ancient manuscripts have 
preserved, refers to a voyage in the year 1347 
from Greenland to MARK- LAND, perform- 
ed in a vessel having a crew of seventeen 
men, being probably undertaken for the pur- 
pose of bringing home building-timber and 
other supplies from that country. On the 
voyage homeward from Markland, the ship 
was driven out of her course by storms, and 
arrived with loss of anchors at Straumfiord, 
in the west of Iceland. From the accounts, 
scanty as they are, of this voyage, written by 

B I R O N. 127 

a contemporary nine years after the event, it 
would appear that the intercourse between 
Greenland and America proper had been 
kept up to so late a date as the year above 
mentioned ; for it is expressly said that the 
ship went to Markland, which is thus named 
as a country that in those days was still 
known and visited. 

After having perused the authentic docu- 
ments themselves, which are now accessible 
to all, every one will acknowledge the truth 
of the historical fact, that during the tenth 
and eleventh centuries, the ancient Northmen 
discovered and visited a great extent of the 
eastern coasts of North America ; and will, 
besides, be led to the conviction that, during 
the centuries immediately following, the in- 
tercourse never was entirely discontinued. 
The main fact is certain and indisputable. 
On the other hand, there are in these, as in 
all other ancient writings, certain portions of 
the narrative which are obscure, and which 
subsequent disquisitions and new interpreta- 
tions may serve to clear up. On this account 
it seems of importance that the original sour- 
ces of information should be published in the 
incient language, so that every one may have 


it in his power to consult them, and to form 
his own judgment as to the accuracy of the 
interpretations given. 

With regard to such traces of the resi- 
dence and settlement of the ancient North- 
men as, it is presumed, are still to be me 1 
with in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (the 
countries which formed the destination of 
their earliest American expeditions), we shall 
content ourselves for the present with refer 
ring to the hints which are contained in the 
will continue to form a subject for the accu- 
rate investigation of the COMMITTEE of the 
Hoyal Society of Northern Antiquaries 01* 
and the result of this investigation, togethei 
with such additional elucidations of the an- 
cient manuscripts as we may have it in oui 
power to furnish, shall be communicated ir 
the ANNALS and MEMOIRS of the Society.] 

MADOC. 129 


THIS person is supposed to have discovered 
America, and brought a colony of his coun- 
trymen hither, before the discovery made by 
Columbus. The story of his emigration from 
Wales is thus related by Hakluyt, whose book 
was first published in 1589, and a second 
edition of it in 1600.* 

"The voyage of Madoc, the son of Owen 
Guyneth, prince of North Wales, to the West 
Indies in the year 1170, taken out of the His- 
tory of Wales lately published by M. David 
Powel, Doctor of Divinitie." 

" After the death of Owen Guyneth, his 
sons fell at debate who should inherit after 
him. For the eldest son born in matrimony, 
Edward or lorwerth Drwydion, was coiinted 
unmeet to govern, because of the maime upon 
his face ; and Howel, that took upon him all 
the rule, was a base son begotten of an Irish 
woman. Therefore David gathered all the 
power he could and came against Howel, and, 
fighting with him, slew him, and afterward en- 

* [Vol. iii., p. 1, ed. 1600. H.] 


joyed quietly the whole land of North Wales, 
until his brother lorwerth's son came to age. 

" MADOC, another of Owen Guyneth his 
sons, left the land in contention between his 
brethren, and prepared certain ships'with men 
and munition, and sought adventures by sea, 
sailing west, and leaving the coast of Ireland 
so far north that he came to a land unknown, 
where he saw many strange things. 

" This land must needs be some part of 
that country of which the Spaniards affirm 
themselves to be the first finders since Han- 
no's time. [*For by reason and order of 
cosmographie, this land to the which Madoc 
came must needs be some part of Nova His- 
pania or Florida.] Whereupon it is manifest 
that that country was by Britains discovered 
long before [either] Columbus [or Americus 
Vesputius] led any Spaniards thither. 

" Of the voyage and return of that Ma- 
doc 'there be many fables feigned, as the 
common people do use, in distance of place 
and length of time, rather to augment than 
diminish, but sure it is there he was. And 
after he had returned home and declared the 
pleasant and fruitful countries that he had 

* The words included in crotchets [ ] are omitted in the sec- 
ond edition of Hakluyt's Voyages. 

MA DOC. 131 

seen without inhabitants ; and upon the contra- 
ry part, for what barren and wild ground his 
brethren and nephews did murther one an- 
other, he prepared a number of ships, and got 
with him such men and women as were desi- 
rous to live in quietness ; and, taking leave of 
his friends, took his journey thitherward again. 

" Therefore it is to be supposed that he 
and his people inhabited part of those coun- 
tries ; for it appeareth by Francis Lopez de 
Gomara, that in Acuzamil and other places 
the people honoured the cross, whereby it 
may be gathered that Christians had been 
there before the coming of the Spaniards. 
But because this people were not many, they 
followed the manners of the land they came 
unto, and used the language they found there. 

" This Madoc arriving in that western 
country, unto the which he came in the year 
1170, left most of his people there, and, re- 
turning back for more of his own nation, ac- 
quaintance, and friends to inhabit that fair and 
large country, went thither again with ten 
sails, as I find noted by Gutyn Owen. I am 
of opinion that the land whereto he came was 
some part of [Mexico ;* the causes which 
'make me think so be these : 

* In the second edition the word Mexico is changed for the 
West Indies, and the two following paragraphs are omitted. 


" 1. The common report of the inhabitants 
of that country, which affirm that their rulers 
descended from a strange nation that came 
thither from a far country ; which thing is 
confessed by Mutezuma, king of that coun- 
try, in an oration made for quieting of his 
people, at his submission to the King of Cas- 
tile, Hernando Cortez being then present, 
which is laid down in the Spanish chronicles 
of the conquest of the West Indies. 

" 2. The British words and names of pla- 
ces used in that country even to this day do 
argue the same ; as, when they talk together, 
they use the word gwrando, which is heark- 
en or listen. Also th#y have a certain bird 
with a white head, which they call penguin, 
that is, white head. But the island of Corro- 
eso, the river of Guyndor, and the white rock 
of Peng-uyn, which be all British or Welsh 
words, do manifestly show that it was that 
country which Madoc and his people inhab- 

" Carmina Meredith filii Rhesi mentionem 
facientia de Madoco filio Owein Guynedd et 
de sua navag-atione in terras incognitas. Vix- 
it hie Meredith circiter annum Domini 1477.* 

* [i. e., Songs of Meredith, the son of Rhesus (ap. Rees), ma- 
king mention of Madoe, Jhe son of Owen Guyned, and of his 

M A D O C. 133 

" Madoc wyf, mwyedic wedd 
lawn genau, Ovvyn Guyned 
Ni fynnum dir, fy enaid oedd 
Na da mawr, ond y moroedd. 

" These verses I received of my learned 
friend, Mr. William Camden. 

The same in English. 

" Madoc I am, the son of Owen Guynedd, 
With stature large, and comely grace adorned. 
No lauds at home, nor store of wealth me please, 
My mind was whole to search the Ocean seas." 

In this extract from Hakluyt is contained 
all the original information which I have been 
able to find respecting the supposed discovery 
of America by the Welsh. The account it- 
self is confused and contradictory. The coun- 
try discovered by Madoc is said to be " with- 
out inhabitants ;" and yet the people whom 
he carried thither " followed the manners of 
the land, and used the language they found 
there." Though the Welsh emigrants lost 
their language, yet the author attempts to 
prove the truth of his story by the preserva- 
tion of several Welsh words in the American 
tongues.* Among these he is unfortunate in 

sailing to unknown lands. This Meredith lived about the year 
\f our Lord 1477. H.] 

* The argument does not seem liable to much objection in its 
nature. For in the blending of nations and of languages, each 


the choice of "penguin, a bird with a white 
head" all the birds of that name on the 
American shores having black or dark brown 
heads ; and the name penguin is said to have 
been originally pinguedine, from their excess- 
ive fatness.* 

Among the proofs which some late writers 
have adduced in support of the discovery of 
America by Madoc is this, that a language 
resembling the Welsh was spoken by a tribe 
of Indians in North Carolina, and that it is 
still used by a nation situate on some of the 
western waters of the Mississippi. If that 
part of the account preserved by Hakluyt be 
true, that the language was lost, it is vain to 
offer an argument of this kind in support of 
the truth of this story ; but a question may 
here arise : How could any report of the loss 
of their language have been transmitted to 
Europe at so early a period ?t 

An attempt has lately been made to ascer- 
tain the truth of this piece of history by Dr. 

will probably gain and lose somewhat. The uncertainty of the 
facts and the scantiness of the examples are a better and suf- 
ficient ground of doubt. H.] 

* See the new Encyclopedia, under the article AMERICA. 
t [Without leaving som more distinct trace of the position 
of the colony.] 

M A D O C. 135 

John Williams. I have not seen the book it- 
self, but if the critical reviewers may be cred- 
ited,* no new facts have been adduced. It 
is remarked by them, that " if Madoc once 
reached America, it is difficult to explain how 
he could return home ; and it would be more 
improbable that, he should arrive in America 
a second time, of which there is not the slight- 
est evidence." They also observe, that " if 
Madoc sailed westward from Wales, the cur- 
rents would rather have carried him to Nova 
Scotia than to the southward." 

The mentioning of Nova Scotia reminds 
me of some words in the native language of 
that country which begin with two syllables 
resembling the name of Madoc. t A sachem 
of the Penobscot tribe, who lived in the end 
of the last and in the beginning of the pres- 
ent century, bore the name of Madokawando. 
A village on Penobscot River was called Ma- 
dawankee. One branch of the River St. John, 
which runs into the Bay of Fundy, is Medoc- 
tack, and another is Medocscenecasis. The 
advocates of this opinion may avail them- 
selves as far as they can of this coincidence, 
but in my apprehension it is too precarious 
to be the basis of any just conclusion. 

* Critical Review for 1791, p. 357. 

t See Gyles'a Memoir? ^f his Captivity in 1689. 


After all that has been or can be said on 
the subject, we must observe with the critical 
reviewers, that " if Madoc left Wales and dis- 
covered any other country, it must always re- 
main uncertain where that country is."* Dr. 
Robertson thinks, if he made any discovery at 
all, it might be Madeira or one of the Azores.! 

The book of Hakluyt, in which the origi- 
nal story is preserved, was written in the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth, and in the time of 
her controversy with Spain. The design of 
his bringing forward the voyage of Madoc 
appears, from what he says of Columbus, to 
have been the asserting of a discovery prior 
to his, and, consequently, the right of the 
crown of England to the sovereignty of 
America ; a point at that time warmly con- 
tested between the two nations. The remarks 
which the same author makes on several oth- 
er voyages evidently tend to the establish- 
ment of that claim. But if the story of Biron 
be true, which (though Hakluyt has said no- 
thing of it) is better authenticated than this 
of Madoc, the right of the crown of Den- 

* [There are no data from which it can be ascertained ; no in- 
timation of latitude, climate, or distance ; nothing more than 
that from Ireland it was southwest. H.] 
. t Hist. Amer., vol. i., p. 374 [note 17]. 

M A D O C. 137 

mark is, on the principle of prior discovery, 
superior to either of them. 

Perhaps the whole mystery may be un- 
veiled if we advert to this one circumstance, 
the time when Hakluyt's book was first pub- 
lished. National prejudice might prevail, 
even with so honest a writer, to convert a 
Welsh fable into a political argument to sup- 
port, against a powerful rival, the claim of 
his sovereign to the dominion of this continent. 



IT is well known that the Venetians were 
reckoned among the most expert and adven- 
turous of the maritime nations. In that re- 
public, the family of ZENO or ZENI is not only 
very ancient and of high rank, but celebra- 
ted for illustrious achievements. Nicolo Zeno, 
having exhibited great valour in a war with 
the Genoese, conceived an ardent desire, 
agreeably to the genius of his nation, to trav- 
el, that he might, by his acquaintance with 
foreign nations and languages, render him- 
self more illustrious and more useful. With 
this view he equipped a vessel at his own ex- 
pense, and sailed through the Straits of Gib- 
raltar to the northward [A.D. 1380], with an 
intention to visit Britain and Flanders ; but 
by a storm which lasted many days, he was 
cast away on the coast of Frisland.* 

The prince of the country Zichmni (or, as 
Purchas spells, it Zichmui) finding Zeno an 

* [The narrative, gathered from the letters of the brother* 
Zeni, is given in an abridged form in Purchas's Pilgrims, iii^ 
610; and more fully in Hakluyt, iii., 121-128. H.] 

Z E N O. 139 

expert seaman, gave him the command of 
his fleet, consisting of thirteen vessels, of 
which two only were rowed with oars ; one 
was a ship, and the rest were small barks. 
With this fleet he made conquests and dep- 
redations in Ledovo, and Ilofo, and other 
small islands, several barks laden with fish 
being a past of his capture. 

Nicolo wrote to his brother Antonio Zeno 
at Venice, inviting him to Frisland, whither 
he went, and. being taken into the service of 
Zichmni, continued with him fourteen years. 
The fleet sailed on an expedition to Estland, 
where they committed great ravages ; but, 
hearing that the King of Norway was coming 
against them with a superior fleet, they de- 
parted, and were driven by a storm on shoals, 
where part of the fleet was wrecked, and the 
rest were saved on Grisland, " a great island, 
but not inhabited." 

Zichmni then determined to attack Ice- 
land, which belonged to the King of Norway ; 
but, finding it well fortified and defended, 
and his fleet being diminished, he retired 
and built a fort in Bress, one of seven small 
islands, where he left Nicolo and returned to 

In the next spring Zeno, with three small 


barks, sailed to the northward on discovery, 
and arrived at Engroenland, where he found 
a monastery of friars, and a church dedicated 
to St. Thomas, situate near a volcano, and 
heated by warm springs flowing from the 

After the death of Nicolo, which happened 
in about four years, Antonio sucpeeded him 
in the command of the fleet ; and the Prince 
Zichmni, aiming at the sovereignty of the 
sea, undertook an expedition westward, be- 
cause that some fishermen had discovered 
rich and populous islands in that quarter. 

The report of the fishermen was, thai 
above a thousand miles westward from Fris- 
land, to which distance they had been driv- 
en by a tempest, there was an island called 
Estotiland, which they had discovered twen- 
ty-six years before ; that six men in one boat 
were driven upon the island, and, being taken 
by the inhabitants, were brought into a fair 
and populous city ; that the king of the place 
sent for many interpreters, but none was 
found who could understand the language of 
the fishermen, except one who could speak 
Latin, and he had formerly been cast ashore 
on the island ; that, on his reporting their case 
to the king, he detained them five years, in 

ZENO. 141 

which time they learned the language ; that 
one of them visited divers parts -of the island, 
and reported that it was a very rich country, 
abounding with all the commodities of the 
world ; that it was less than Iceland, but far 
more fruitful, having in the middle a very 
high mountain, from which originated four 

The inhabitants were described as very in- 
genious, having all mechanic arts. They 
had a peculiar kind of language and letters ; 
in the king's library were preserved Latin 
books, which they did not understand. They 
had all kinds of metals (but especially gold, 
with which they mightily abounded.*) They 
held traffic with the people of Engroenland, 
from whence they brought furs, pitch, and 
brimstone. They had many great forests, 
which supplied them with timber for the 
building of ships, houses, and fortifications. 
The use of the loadstone was not known ; but 
these fishermen having the mariner's com- 
pass, were held in so high estimation that the 
king sent them with twelve barks to a coun- 
try at the southward, called Drogio, where 

* This passage is in Hakhiyt's translation, and the abridg- 
ment by Ortelius ; but Dr. Forstcr could not find it in the Italian 
original of Rarausio. Northern Voyages, p. 189. 


the most of them were killed and devoured 
by cannibals ; but one of them saved him- 
self by showing the savages a way of taking 
fish by nets, in much greater plenty than by 
any other mode before known among them. 
This fisherman was in so great demand with 
the princes of the country, that they frequent- 
ly made war on each other for the sake of 
gaining him. In this manner he passed from 
one to another, till, in the space of thirteen 
years, he had lived with twenty-five different 
princes, to whom he communicated his " mi- 
raculous" art of fishing with nets. 

He thus became acquainted with every part 
of the country, which he described to be so 
extensive as to merit the name of a new world. 
The people were rude, and ignorant of the use 
of clothing, though their climate was cold, 
and afforded beasts for the chase. In their 
hunting and wars they used the bow and the 
lance, but they knew not the use of metal. 

Farther to the southwest the air was said 
to be more temperate and the people more 
civil. They dwelt in cities, built temples, 
and worshipped idols, to whom they offered 
human victims ; and they had plenty of gold 
and silver. 

The fisherman, having become fully ac- 

Z E N O. 143 

quainted with the country, meditated a return. 
Having fled through the woods to Drogio, 
after three years some boats arrived from Es- 
totiland, in one of which he embarked for 
that country ; and having acquired consider- 
able property, he fitted out a bark of his own 
and returned to Frisland. 

Such was the report of the fisherman, upon 
hearing of which Zichmni resolved to equip 
his fleet and go in search of the new coun 
try, Antonio Zeno being the second in com- 
mand. But " the preparation for the voy- 
age to Estotiland was begun in an evil hour ; 
the fisherman, who was to have been the pi- 
lot, died three days before their departure." 

However, taking certain mariners who had 
sailed with the fisherman, Zichrnni began the 
intended voyage. When he had sailed a 
small distance to the westward, he was over- 
taken by a storm which lasted eight days, at 
the end of which they discovered land, which 
the natives called Icaria. They were nu- 
merous and formidable, and would not per- 
mit him to come on sh&re. From this place 
they sailed six days to the westward with a 
fair wind, but a heavy gale from the south- 
ward drove them four days before it, when 
they discovered land, in which was a volcano. 


The air was mild and temperate, it being the 
Height of summer. They took a great quan- 
tity of fish, of seafowl and their eggs. A 
party, who penetrated the country as far as 
the foot of the volcano, found a spring, from 
which issued " a certain water like pitch, 
which ran into the sea." They discovered 
some of the inhabitants, who were of small 
stature and wild, and who, at the approach 
of the strangers, hid themselves in their caves. 
Having found a good harbour, Zichmni in- 
tended to make a settlement ; but his people 
opposing it, he dismissed part of the fleet 
under Zeno, who returned to Frisland. 

The particulars of this narrative were first 
written by Antonio Zeno, in letters to his 
brother Carlo at Venice, from some frag- 
ments of which a compilation was made by 
Francisco Marcolini, and preserved by Ra- 
musio. It was translated by Richard Hak~ 
luyt, and printed in the third volume of the 
second edition of his collections, page 121, 
&c. From it Ortelius has made an extract 
in his Tfieatrum Orbi's. 

Dr. Forster has taken much pains to exam- 
ine the whole account, both geographically 
and historically. The result of his inquiry is, 
that Frisland is one of the Orkneys ; that 

ZENO. 145 

Porland is the cluster of islands called Faro ; 
and that Estland is Shetland. ' 

At first, indeed, he was of opinion that 
" the countries described by the Zenos ac- 
tually existed at that time, but had since been 
swallowed up by the sea in a great earth- 
quake."* This opinion he founded on the 
probability that all the high islands in the mid- 
dle of the sea are of volcanic original, as is evi- 
dent with respect to Iceland a*nd the Faro Isl- 
ands in the North Sea ; the Azores, Teneriffe, 
Madeira, the Cape de Verds, St. Helena, and 
Ascension in the Atlantic ; the Society Isl- 
ands, Otaheite, Easter, the Marquesas, and 
other islands in the Pacific. This opinion he 
was induced to relinquish, partly because " so 
great a revolution must have left behind it 
some historical vestiges or traditions," but 
principally because his knowledge of the Ru- 
nic language suggested to him a resemblance 
between the names mentioned by Zeno and 
those which are given to some of the islands 
of Orkney, Shetland, Faro, and the Heb- 

However presumptuous it may appear to 
call in question the opinion of so learned and 
diligent an inquirer, on a subject which hia 
* Northern Voyages, Dublin edition, p. 200. 


philological and geographical knowledge must 
enable him to examine with the greatest pre- 
cision, yet, from the search which I have had 
opportunity to make, it appears to me that 
his first opinion was right as far as it respects 
Frisland, and perhaps Porland. My reasons 
are these : 

1. Dr. Forster says that Frisland was 
" much larger than Iceland ;"* and Hakluyt, 
in his account of Zeno's voyage, speaks of it 
as " bigger than Ireland."! Neither of these 
accounts can agree with the supposition of its 
being one of the Orkneys ; for Iceland is 346 
miles long and 200 wide. Ireland is 310 in 
length and 184 in breadth ; but Pomona, the 
mainland of the Orkneys, is but 22 miles long 
and 20 wide. 

2. Frisland was seen by Martin Frobisher 
in each of his three voyages to and from 
Greenland in the years 1576, 1577, and 
15784 In his first voyage he took his 
departure from Foula, the westernmost of 
the Shetland Islands, in latitude 60 30', 
and, after sailing W. by N. fourteen days, 
he made the land of Frisland, " bearing 
W.N.W. distant 16 leagues, in latitude 61." 

* Page 181. Vol. iii., p. 122. 

$ Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 30, &c. 

ZENO. 147 

In his second voyage he sailed from the Ork- 
neys W.N.W. twenty-six days before he came 
"within making of Frisland," which he thus 
describes : 

" July 4th. We made land perfect, and 
knew it to be Frisland. Found ourselves in 
latitude 60 i, and were fallen in with the 
southernmost part of this land. It is thought 
to be in bigness not inferior to England ; and 
is called of some authors West Frisland. I 
think it lieth more west than any part of Eu- 
rope. It extendeth to the north very far, as 
seemed to us, and appeareth by a descrip- 
tion set out by two brethren, Nicolo and An- 
tonio Zeni, who, being driven off from Ireland 
about 200 years since, were shipwrecked 
there. They have in their sea charts descri- 
bed every part, and, for so much of the land as 
we have sailed along, comparing their charts 
with the coast, we find it very agreeable. 
All along this coast the ice lieth as a continu- 
al bulwark, and so defendeth the country, 
that those who would land there incur great 
danger."* In his third voyage he found 
means to land on the island. The inhabitants 
fled and hid themselves. Their tents were 
made of skins, and their boats were like 

* Hakluyt, vol. ill., p. 62. 
I. M 


those of Greenland. From these well-au- 
thenticated accounts of Frisland, and its sit- 
uation so far westward of the Orkneys and 
Shetland, it seems impossible that Dr. For- 
ster's second opinion can be right. 

3. One of the reasons which led the doctor 
to give up his first opinion, that these lands 
once existed, but had disappeared, was, that 
so great a revolution must have left some ves- 
tige behind. If no person escaped to tell the 
news, what better vestige can there be than 
the existence of shoals and rocks in the pla- 
ces where these islands once were known to 
be ? In a map prefixed to Crantz's History 
of Greenland, there is marked a very exten- 
sive shoal between the latitudes of 59 and 60, 
called " The sunken land of Buss." Its lon- 
gitude is between Iceland and Greenland, and 
the author speaks of it in these words : " Some 
are of opinion that Frirland was sunk by an 
earthquake, and that it was situate in those 
parts where the sunken land of Buss is mark- 
ed in the maps, which the seamen cautiously 
avoid, because of the shallow ground and 
turbulent waves."* 

Respecting Buss Island I have met with no 
other account than what is preserved by Pur- 

* Vol. i., p. 273. 

Z E N O. 149 

chas* in his abridgment of the journal of 
James Hall's voyages from Denmark to 
Greenland. In his first voyage [A.D. 1605] 
he remarks thus : " Being in the latitude of 
59|, we looked to have seen Busse Island ; 
but I do verily suppose the same to be placed 
in a wrong latitude in the marine charts." 
In his second voyage [1606] he saw land 
which he " supposed to be Busse Island, ly- 
ing more to the westward than it is placed in 
the marine charts ;" and the next day, viz., 
July 2d, he writes, " we were in a great cur- 
rent, setting S.S.W., which I suppose to set 
between Busse Island and Frisland over to- 
wards America." 

In a fourth voyage, made in 1612, by the 
same James Hall, from England, for the dis- 
covery of a N.W. passage, of which there is 
a journal written by John Gatonbe, and pre- 
served in Churchill's Collections, t they kept 
a good look-out, both in going and returning, 
for the island of Frisland, but could not see 
it. In a map prefixed to this voyage, Fris- 
land is laid down between the latitude of 61 
and 62, and Buss in the latitude of 57. 
In Gatonbe's journal the distance between 
Shetland and Frisland is computed to be 260 

* Vol. iv., p. 815, 822. t Vol. vi., p. 260,268. 


leagues; the southernmost part of Frisiand 
and the northernmost part of Shetland are 
said to be in the same latitude. There is 
also a particular map of Frisiand preserved 
by Purchas,* in which are delineated several 
towns and cities ; the two islands of Ilofo 
and Ledovo are laid down to the westward 
of it, and another called Stromio to the east- 

In a map of the North Seas prefixed to an 
anonymous account of Greenland, in Church- 
ill's Collection,t we find Frisiand laid down 
in the latitude of 62, between Iceland and 

We have, then, no reason to doubt the ex- 
istence of these islands as late as the begin- 
ing of the last century ; at what time they 
disappeared is uncertain, but that their place 
has since been occupied by a shoal we have 
also credible testimony. 

The appearance and disappearance of isl- 
ands in the Northern Sea is no uncommon 
thing. Besides former events of this kind, 
there is one very recent. In the year 1783, 
by means of a volcanic eruption, two islands 
were produced in the sea near the S.E. coast 
of Iceland. One was supposed to be so per- 
* Vol. iv., p. 625. t Vol. ii., p. 378. 

ZENO. 151 

manent, that the King of Denmark sent and 
took formal possession of it as part of his do- 
minions ; but the ocean, paying no regard to 
tlie territorial claim of a mortal sovereign, 
has since reabsorbed it in his watery bosom.* 

These reasons incline me to believe that 
Dr. Forster's first opinion was well founded, 
as far as it respects Frisland. 

He supposes Porland to be the cluster of 
islands called Faro.f But Porland is said to 
lie south$ of Frisland, whereas the Faro Isl- 
ands lie northwest of Orkney, which he sup- 
poses to be Frisland. The learned doctor, 
who is in general very accurate, was not 
aware of this inconsistency. 

In the account which Hakluyt has given 
of Martin Frobisher's third voyage, we find 
that one of his ships, the Buss of Bridgewa- 
ter, in her return fell in with land 50 leagues 
S.E. of Frisland, " which (it is said) was nev- 
er found before," the southernmost part of 
which lay in latitude 57J. Along the coast 
of this land, which they judged to extend 25 
leagues, they sailed for three days.$ The 
existence of this land Dr. Forster seems to 

* See a new Geographical Grammar, by a society in Edin- 
burgh, published by Alexandej.Kincaid, vol. i., p. 123. 
t Northern Voyages, p. 207. t Ibid., p. 180. 

$ Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 93. 


doubt, but yet allows that, " if it was then 
really discovered, it must have sunk afterward 
into the sea, as it has never been seen again, 
or else these navigators must have been mis- 
taken in their reckoning." 

If such an island or cluster of islands did 
exist in the situation described by Frobisher, 
it might be the Porland of Zeno ; for the 
southernmost part of Frisland lay in the lati- 
tude of 60i ; the southernmost part of this 
land in 57 J, in a direction S.E. from it. It 
was probably called Buss by the English, 
from the name of Frobisher's vessel which 
discovered it. 

The only proof which can now be produced 
of this fact must be the actual existence of 
rocks and shoals in or near the same place. 
Of this, it is happily in my power to produce 
the evidence of two experienced shipmasters, 
of incontestable veracity, now living.* The 
first is Isaac Smith, of Maiden, near Boston, 
from whose logbook I have made the fol- 
lowing extract : "In a voyage from Peters- 
burgh to Boston, in the ship Thomas and Sa- 
rah, belonging to Thomas Russell, Esq., of 
Boston, merchant, Thursday, August 11, 
1785, course W.N.W., wind W.S.W. At 4 
A.M. discovered a large rock ahead, which 

* 1794. 

Z E N O. 153 

for some time we took to be a ship under 
close-reefed topsail. At 7, being within two 
miles, saw breakers under our lee, on which 
account wore ship. There are breakers in 
two places bearing S.E. ; one a mile, the oth- 
er two miles from the rock. It lies in lat. 57 
38' ; longitude west from London, 13 36 ; 
and may be discovered five leagues off. We 
sounded, and had 56 fathoms. The rock ap- 
pears to be about 100 yards in circumference, 
and 50 feet above water. It makes like a 
haystack, black below and white on the top." 
The other is Nathaniel Goodwin, of Boston, 
who, in his homeward passage from Amster- 
dam, on the 15th of August, 1793, saw the 
same rock. According to his observation 
(which, however, on that day was a little du- 
bious), it lies in lat 57 48', and Ion. 13 46'. 
He passed within two miles of it to the south- 
ward, and saw breakers to the northward of 
it. Its appearance he describes in the same 
manner with Smith. 

From these authorities I am strongly in- 
clined to believe that the shoal denominated 
" the sunken land of Buss" is either a part 
of the ancient Frisland or of some island in 
its neighbourhood ; and that the rock and 
ledges seen by Smith and Goodwin belonged 


to the cluster once called Porland. If these 
conclusions be admitted, there can be no sus- 
picion of fiction in the story of Zeno, as far 
it respects Prince Zichmni and his expedi- 
tions. Shetland may then well enough agree 
with Estland, which is described by Hakluyt 
as lying "between Frisland and Norway."* 

The only place which in Zeno's relation is 
called by the same name by which it is now 
known, is Iceland ; though there can be no 
doubt that Engroenland, or Engroneland, is 
the same with Greenland, where, according 
to Crantz, there was once a church dedicated 
to St. Thomas, and situate near a volcano 
and a hot spring. t 

But the question is, Where shall we find 
Estotiland ? Dr. Forster is positive that " it 
cannot be any other country than Winland 
(discovered in 1001), where the Normans 
made a settlement." The Latin books seen 
there by the fisherman he supposes to have 
been the library of Eric, bishop of Green- 
land, who went thither in the twelfth century 
to convert his countrymen. He is also of 
opinion that this fisherman had the use of the 

* Vol. iii., p. 122. 

t Crantz's History of Greenland, vol. ii., p. 265. Purchas, 
vol. iv., p. 651. 

Z E N O. 155 

magnetic needle, which began to be knoAvn 
in Europe about the year 1302, before the 
time of the Zenos. He also thinks that the 
country called Drogio is the same with Florida. 

In some of the old maps, particularly in 
Sanson's French Atlas, the name Estotiland 
is marked on the country of Labrador ; but 
the pompous description of it by the fisher- 
man, whether it be Labrador or New-Found- 
land, exceeds all the bounds of credibility, 
and abuses even the license of a traveller. 
The utmost extent of Zichmni's expedition, in 
consequence of the fisherman's report, could 
not be any farther westward than Greenland, 
to which his description well agrees. The 
original inhabitants were short of stature, half 
wild, and lived in caverns ; and between the 
years 1380 and 1384 they had extirpated the 
Normans and the monks of St. Thomas. 

The discovery of Estotiland must there- 
fore rest on the report of the fisherman ; 
but the description of it, of Drogio, and the 
country S.W. of Drogio, must be ranked in 
the fabulous history of America, and would 
probably have been long since forgotten if 
Christopher Columbus had not made his grand 
discovery, from the merit of which his rivals 
and the enemies of the Spanish nation have 
uniformly endeavoured to detract. 



.WBi-i ;>' ': : - '- f"i ;<.;, ' . - 

THE adventures which have been already 
spoken of were more the result of accident 
than design ; we are now entering on one 
founded in science and conducted by judg- 
ment ; an adventure which, whether we re- 
gard its conception, its execution, or its con- 
sequences, will always reflect the highest hon- 
our on him who projected it. 

[* Since the life of Columbus was written by Dr. Belknap, 
the subject has been investigated with much ardour and re- 
search, and new documents and sources of evidence have 
been brought to light. Many particulars of the history of that 
renowned navigator which were then doubtful have been render- 
ed certain, many that were obscure have been made plain ; and 
though, in some respects, we may still look for farther and more 
precise information, we have yet enough to enable us to do 
ample justice to his merits, and to furnish us with a satisfacto- 
ry conception of his character and achievements. 

Of the works which have been written to illustrate his history, 
and to which the reader is referred for more minute or extended 
information, the History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher 
Columbus, by Washington Irving, is deserving of special notice. 
It is in two volumes 8vo, with an additional volume relating to 
the Companions of Columbus. We are indebted to this work 
mainly for the corrections and additions we have made to the 
sketch by Dr. Belknap, which we have made more few and 
brief, because that work is within the reach of almost every one. 



About the middle of the fifteenth century, 
when the Portuguese, under the conduct of 
Prince Henry, and afterward of King John 
II., were pushing their discoveries along the 
western shore of Africa, to find a passage by 
the south to India, a genius arose, whose 
memory has been preserved with veneration 
in the pages of history, as the instrument of 
enlarging the region of science and commerce 
beyond any of his predecessors. CHRIS- 
TOPHER COLUMBUS, a native of the 
republic of Genoa, was born in the year 
1447,* and at the age of fourteen entered on 
a seafaring life,t as the proper sphere in which 

* [Mr. Irving, with greater probability, places the birth of 
Columbus in the year 1435 or 1436. The family name is Co- 
lombo, Latinized by the discoverer into Columbus, and in Span- 
ish Colon. His father was a wool-comber. Christopher was 
the eldest of four children. He was educated as well as the 
scanty means of his father would allow, and sent for a while to 
the University of Pavia, where he learned the elements of those 
sciences which are useful in navigation, to which he early show- 
ed a strong inclination. H.] 

t [Probably under Colombo, an experienced sea-captain and a 
distant relation. The navigation of the Mediterranean was 
then perilous, from the number of piratical cruisers who roved 
over it, and the perpetual feuds of the nations on its. banks, and 
involved the mariner in constant hardships, while it required and 
created in him great vigilance, daring, and address. Columbus 
was probably engaged in the various maritime services then 
common and accounted lawful among those who sailed in that 


his vigorous mind was destined to perform ex- 
ploits which should astonish mankind.* He 
was educated in the sciences of geometry 
and astronomy, which form the basis of nav- 
igation ; and he was well versed in cosmog- 
raphy, history, and philosophy. His active 
and enterprising genius, though it enabled 
him to comprehend the old systems, yet 
would not suffer him to rest in their decisions, 
however sanctified by time or by venerable 
names ; but, determined to examine them by 
actual experiment, he visited the seas within 
the polar circle, t and afterward those parts 
of Africa which the Portuguese had discover- 
ed, as far as the coast of Guinea ; and by the 
time that he had attained the age of thirty- 
seven, he had, from his own experience, re- 
sea; not less in piratical expeditions or attacks upon the infidels, 
than in the regular operations of commerce. We have few 
clear traces of his conduct in these scenes, but in those few are 
manifested the elements of that skill, hardihood, and self-reliance 
which were so conspicuous in his later life. H.] 

* Life of Columbus by his son Ferdinand, chap. iv. See 
vol. ii. of Churchill's Collection of Voyages. Herrera's Hist. 
Amer., vol. i. 

t [In a letter, a part of which his son has preserved, he says, 
" In the year 1477. in February, I navigated one hundred 
leagues beyond Thule, which is seventy-three degrees distant 
from the equator." To what extent he followed the track of 
the Portuguese discoverers on the coast of Africa I have not 
been able to learn. H.] 


ceived the fullest conviction, that the opinion 
of the ancients respecting the torrid and fri- 
gid zones was void of any just foundation. 

When an old system is found erroneous in 
one point, it is natural to suspect it of far- 
ther imperfections ; and when one difficulty 
is overcome, others appear less formidable. 
Such was the case with Columbus ; and his 
views were accelerated by an incident which 
threatened to put an end to his life. During 
one of his voyages, the ship in which he sail- 
ed took fire in an engagement with a Vene- 
tian galley, and the crew were obliged to leap 
into the sea to avoid perishing in the flames. 
In this extremity, Columbus, by the help of a 
floating oar, swam upward of two leagues to 
the coast of Portugal near Lisbon, and met 
with a welcome reception from many of his 
countrymen who were settled there.* 

* [There is some doubt (see living's Columbus, i., 11, 17, and 
ii., 244, note) respecting the date of the engagement mentioned 
in the text, and whether Columbus came to Lisbon thus by a 
fortunate accident. Lisbon was then the resort of the adventu- 
rous and skilful in navigation, drawn thither by the liberality of 
Prince Henry and the earnest projects of King John. Mr. Ir- 
ving places his arrival there in 1470. His sketch of the per- 
sonal appearance of Columbus at that time is interesting. 
" He was tall, well formed, muscular, and of an elevated and 
dignified demeanour. His visage was long, and neither full not 
meager ; his complexion fair and freckled, and inclined to rud- 


At Lisbon he married the daughter* of 
Perestrello, an old seaman who had been 
concerned in the discovery of Porto Santo 
and Madeira, from whose journals and charts 
he received the highest entertainment. Pur- 
suing his inquiries in geography, and observ- 
ing what slow progress the Portuguese made 
in their attempts to find a way round Africa 
to India, " he began to reflect that, as the 
Portuguese travelled so far southward, it were 
no less proper to sail westward," and that it 
was reasonable to expect to find the desired 
land in that direction. 

It must here be remembered that India was 
in part known to the ancients, and that its 

dy ; his nose aquiline ; his cheek bones were rather high ; his 
eyes light gray, and apt to enkindle ; his whole countenance 
had an air of authority. His hair in his youthful days was of 
alight colour ; but care and trouble soon turned it gray, and at 
thirty years of age it was quite white. He was moderate and 
simple in diet and apparel, eloquent in discourse, engaging and 
affable with strangers, and of an amiableness and suavity in do- 
mestic life that strongly attached his household to his person." 

* [She was styled Dona Felipa Monis de Perestrello. Hei 
father was Bartolomeo Monis de Perestrello, " an Italian cava- 
lier, who had been one of the most distinguished navigators 
nnder Prince Henry, and had colonized and governed the island 
of Porto Santo." He was now dead, and seems to have left no 
estate beyond his "journals and charts." After his marriage, Co- 
lumbus went to Porto Santo to reside. H.] 


rich and useful productions had for many cen- 
turies been conveyed into Europe, either by 
caravans through the deserts of Syria and Ara- 
bia, or by the way of the Red Sea, through 
Egypt, into the Mediterranean.* This lucra- 
tive commerce had been successively engross- 
ed by the Phoenicians, the Hebrews, the 
Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Palmyrenes, 
the Arabians, the Genoese, and the Venetians. 
The Portuguese were then seeking it by at- 
tempting the circumnavigation of Africa ; and 
their expectation of finding it in that direction 
was grounded on ancient historical traditions, 
that a voyage had been formerly made by the 
orders of Necho, king of Egypt, from the 
Red Sea, round the southern part of Africa to 
the Straits of Hercules ; and that the same 
route had been traversed by Hanno the Car- 
thaginian, by Eudoxus the Egyptian, and 
others. The Portuguese had consumed about 
half a century in making various attempts, 
and had advanced no farther on the western 
coast of Africa than just to cross the equator, 
when Columbus conceived his great design of 
finding India in the west. 

The causes which led him to entertain this 
idea are distinguished by his son, the writer 

* Robertson's India. Brace's Travels. 


of his life, into these three : " natural reason, 
the authority of writers, and the testimony of 

By the help of " reason" he argued in this 
manner : That the earth and sea composed 
one globe or sphere. This was known by 
observing the shadow of the earth in lunar 
eclipses. Hence he concluded that it might 
be travelled over from east to west, or from 
west to east. It had been explored to the 
east by some European travellers as far as 
Cipango or Japan, and as far westward as 
the Azores or Western Islands. The remain- 
ing space, though now known to be more than 
half, he supposed to be but one third part of 
the circumference of the globe. If this space 
were an open sea, he imagined it might be 
easily sailed over ; and if there were any land 
extending eastwardly beyond the known lim- 
its of Asia, he supposed that it must be near- 
er to Spain by the west than by the east. For 
it was then a received opinion that the conti- 
nent and islands of India extended over one 
third part of the circumference of the globe ; 
that another third part was comprehended 
between India and the western shore of 
Spain ; therefore it was concluded that the 
eastern part of India must be as near to Spain 


as the western part. This opinion, though 
now known to be erroneous, yet being then 
admitted as true, made it appear to Columbus 
very easy and practicable to discover India in 
the west. He hoped, also, that between Spain 
and India, in that direction, there might be 
found some islands, by the help of which, as 
resting-places in his voyage, he might the bet- 
ter pursue his main design. The probability 
of the existence of land in that ocean he ar- 
gued, partly from the opinion of philoso- 
phers, that there was more land than sea on 
the surface of the globe, and partly from the 
necessity of a counterpoise in the west for the 
immense quantity of land which was known 
to be in the east. 

Another source from which he drew his 
conclusion was " the authority of learned 
men," who had assumed the possibility of 
sailing from the western coast of Spain to the 
eastern bounds of India. Some of the an- 
cient geographers had admitted this for truth, 
and one of them* had affirmed that forty 
days were sufficient to perform this naviga- 
tion. These authorities fell in with the theo- 
ry which Columbus had formed ; and having, 
as early as 1474, communicated his ideas in 

* Pliny. 
I. N 


writing to Paul,* a learned physician of Flor* 
ence, he received from him a letter of that 
date, confirming his opinion and encoura- 
ging his design, accompanied with a chart, in 
which Paul had laid down the city of Quisay 
(supposed to be the capital of China) but lit- 
tle more than two thousand leagues westward 
from Lisbon, which, in fact, is but half the 
distance. Thus, by arguing from true prin- 
ciples, and by indulging conjectures partly 
well founded and partly erroneous, Columbus 
was led to the execution of a plan, bold in 
its conception, and, to his view, easily prac- 
ticable ; for great minds overlook interme- 
diate obstacles, which men of smaller views 
magnify into insuperable difficulties. 

The third ground on which he formed his 
idea was " the testimony of mariners ;" a class 
of men who at that time, and in that imp er- 
ect state of science, were too prone to mix 
fable with fact, and were often misled by ap- 
pearances which they could not solve. In 
the sea, between Madeira and the Western 
Islands, pieces of carved wood and large 

* [Paul or Paolo Toscanelli, an eminent native of Florence, 
born in 1397. He was greatly distinguished as an astronomer, 
geographer, and physician. He died in Florence, May, 1482. 
Tiraboschi, torn, vi., lib. ii., cap. xxxviii. H.] 


joints of cane had been discovered, which 
were supposed to be brought by westerly 
winds. Branches of pine-trees, a covered 
canoe, and two human bodies, of a complex- 
ion different from the Europeans and Afri- 
cans, had been found on the shores of these 
islands. Some navigators had affirmed that 
they had seen islands not more than a hun- 
dred leagues westward from the Azores. 
There was a tradition that, when Spain was 
conquered by the Moors in the eighth centu- 
ry, seven bishops, who were exiled from their 
country, had built seven cities and churches 
on an island called Antilla,* which was 
supposed to be not more than two hundred 
leagues west of the Canaries ; and it was said 
that a Portuguese ship had once discovered 
this island, but could never find it again. 
These stories, partly true and partly fabulous, 
had their effect upon the mind of Colum- 
bus. He believed that islands were to be 
found westward of the Azores and Canaries, 
though, according to his theory, they were at 
a greater distance than any of his contempo- 
raries had imagined. His candour led him to 
adopt an opinion from Pliny respecting float- 

* [Better known in modern times as the Island of the Seven 
Cities. H.] 


ing islands, by the help of which he account- 
ed for the appearances related to him by his 
marine brethren. It is not improbable that 
the large islands of floating ice driven from 
the Polar Seas to the southward, or the Fog 
Banks, which form many singular appearan- 
ces resembling land and trees, might have 
been the true foundation of this opinion and 
of these reports.* 

* The following account of a curious deception, extracted 
from the Gentleman's Magazine, may elucidate the above ob- 

" ' March 4, 1748-9, at two in the afternoon, made land which 
bore N.E. seven leagues distant by estimation : at five tacked, 
being about three leagues from said island, wind E.S.E., lati- 
tude by observation 49 40', longitude 24 30' from the Liz- 
ard. This island stretches N.W. and S.E., about 5 leagues 
long and 9 miles wide. On the south side fine valleys and a 
great number of birds. 

" ' March 5, said island bore N. three leagues, N.W. a reef of 
rocks three miles. This day a ship's mast came alongside. 
On the south point of said island is a small marshy island. 

" ' A copy of my journal on board the snow St. Paul, of Lon- 
don, bound from South Carolina to London. 

" ' William Otton, Commander. 

" ' P.S. Captain Otton thought he saw a tent on the island, 
and would have gone ashore, but had unfortunately stove his 
boat some time before.' 

" Commodore Rodney is commissioned to go in quest of an 
island, which, according to the report of a master of a ship and 
some others, on examination before the Lords of the Admiralty, 
lies about 50 N. and about 300 leagues west of England. 
Capt. Murdock Mackenzie, an excellent mathematician, and au- 


It is not pretended that Columbus was the 
only person of his age who had acquired 
these ideas of the form, dimensions, and bal- 
ancing of the globe, but he was one of the 
few who had begun to think for themselves, 
and he had a genius of that kind which 
makes use of speculation and reasoning only 
as excitements to action. He was not a 
closet projector, but an enterprising adventu- 
rer ; and, having established his theory on 
principles, he was determined to exert him- 
self to the utmost to demonstrate its truth 
by experiment. But, deeming the enterprise 
too great to be undertaken by any but a sov- 

thor of the sea charts of the Orkney and Lewis Islands, attends 
him in, the Culloden sloop to bring back an account of what dis- 
coveries he may make. As this island lies out of the track of 
the trade to America, it is supposed to have been missed by 
navigators to our colonies, though marked in some Dutch maps. 
If the commodore discovers it, he is to take possession of it by 
the name of Rodney's Island." 

" Friday, April 10, 1752, Commodore Rodney arrived at 
Woolwich ; he had been cruising ten days in quest of an island, 
and the men at the topmasthead were more than once deceived 
with what the sailors call fog-banks. About the 6th or 7th day 
the crew observed branches of trees with their leaves on, and 
flights of gulls, and pieces of shipwreck, which are generally re- 
garded as certain signs of an adjacent shore, but could not dis- 
cover any." Gent. Mag. for 1751, p. 235 ; for 1752, p. 88, 189. 

N.B. The island marked in the Dutch maps could not have 
been mistaken for this imaginary island, being but a single rock. 
It is the same that is described in the life of Zeno, p. 153. 


ereign state, he first applied (as it is said) to 
the Republic of Genoa, by whom his project 
was treated as visionary.* He then proposed 
his plan to John II., king of Portugal, who, 
though a prince of good understanding and of 
an enterprising disposition, yet was so deeply 
engaged in prosecuting discoveries on the 
African coast, with a view to find a way to 
India round that continent, and had been at 
so vast an expense without any considerable 
success, that he had no inclination ro accept 
the terms which Columbus proposed. Influ- 

* This is said on the authority of Herrera, the royal Spanish 
historian : Ferdinando Columbus, in the life of his father, says 
nothing of it, but represents his application to the King of Por- 
tugal as the first, and gives this reason for it, " because h'e lived 
under him."* 

* [The previous application to Genoa, though strongly affirm- 
ed, has now, we believe, been generally rejected. The circum- 
stances of the case, apart from any conclusive historical evi- 
dence, render it probable that his first application was to the 
King of Portugal. Columbus was residing in his dominions, and 
John was eminently liberal to maritime enterprise. His propo- 
sals were more likely to be well received by him than by a repub- 
lic then engaged in wars and torn by internal dissensions ; and 
we find no traces of so fond an attachment to his native country 
as would induce a prudent man to forego the advantages held 
out to him in the land of his residence and adoption. The 
precise date of this application is not known. It was undoubt- 
edly in 1482 or 1483, as John II. ascended the throne in 1481, 
and Columbus left Portugal in 1484. H.] 


enced, however, by the advice of Calzadilla,* 
a favourite courtier, he privately gave orders 
to a ship, bound to the islands of Cape de 
Verd, to attempt a discovery in the west ; but, 
through ignorance and want of enterprise, the 
navigators, after wandering for some time in 
the ocean and making no discovery, reached 
their destined port and turned the project of 
Columbus into ridicule. 

Disgusted with this base artifice, he quitted 
Portugal,! and went to Ferdinand, king of 

* [Diego Ortiz, called Calzadilla, from the name of his native 
place, a man of learning, then bishop of Ceuta, and confessor 
to the king. He was one of a number of scientific men to 
whom the proposals of Columbus were referred by the king for 
their judgment. H.] 

t [He left Portugal near the close of the year 1484. In the 
fall of 1485 he entered Spain. He had left Portugal deeply in 
debt and to avoid an arrest. He entered Spain with tis for- 
tunes in no way improved, and with feeble hopes. The circum- 
stances of his entrance are too singular and romantic to be omit- 
ted. One day a stranger, on foot, in humble guise, but of a dis- 
tinguished air, accompanied by a small boy, stopped at the gate of 
a convent of Franciscan friars, half a league from the little 
seaport of Palos, in Andalusia, and asked of the porter a little 
bread and water for his child. While receiving this humble re 
freshment, the prior of the convent, Juan de Perez Marchena, hap- 
pening to pass by, was struck with the appearance of the stran- 
ger, and entered into conversation with him. That stranger 
was Columbus, attended by his little son Diego. The prior 
was a man of learning, especially in geography and nautical 
science. He was struck with the lofty views of Columbus, and 
detained him as his guest. It was now lato in August, and 


Spain, having previously sent his brother to 
England to solicit the patronage of Henry 

Columbus passed the winter in this lonely retreat. The prior 
was charmed by his conversation and persuaded by his argu- 
ments, and continued ever after his zealous and steadfast 
friend. When the spring opened and his guest would be gone, 
the worthy prior gave him a letter to Fernando de Talavera, 
confessor to the queen, a man of great influence in public af- 
fairs, urging the scheme of Columbus upon his attention. Re- 
freshed with this, hope, the wanderer set forth again, to seek an 
audience of the confessor, and, through him, of the queen. 

Talavera received him with coolness, and believed him vis- 
ionary. Ferdinand and Isabella were in the midst of their 
wars with the Moors. The whole court was busied in mil- 
itary preparations and action. None had leisure to listen to 
the speculations of an obscure adventurer ; and he who could 
open a new world to him who would befriend him, was fain 
to take his place among lackeys and the humblest servitors, 
that he might, perchance, in some happy hour, gain a hearing 
for his vast suit. Slowly did he gain here and there a friend 
who might at some time be of service to him. After many de- 
lays and much uncertainty, the archbishop of Toledo assented 
to his views, and brought him to the presence of the king. The 
king hesitated and was doubtful, and referred the subject to a 
select council of learned men, to hear, examine, and report. 

The council met in 1486, in the Dominican convent of St. 
Stephen at Salamanca ; the dignitaries of the Church, studious 
monks, and learned professors, to decide on the project of an ob- 
scure and solitary theorizer. They gave more heed to the fa- 
thers than to the deductions of reason, and answered an argu- 
ment of science with a quotation from Lactantius. They were 
not ignorant, but they had not learned the different provinces of 
faith and reason. Some of them were convinced, but a major- 
ity could not be persuaded. The simple navigator proved him- 
self no mean theologian, and quoted prophecy as an offset to the 


VII. But, being taken by pirates and de- 
tained several years in captivity, Bartholomew 
had it not in his power to reveal his project to 

fathers ; but he was a stranger, with little academic lore, and 
could not' prevail. 

The court, meanwhile, was occupied with campaigns, and Co- 
lumbus, still sanguine, and yet waiting for a formal decision, 
accompanied its movements. Day after day, and year after 
year, he waited in vain. Conferences of the learned were pro- 
posed and postponed ; his sovereigns were detained from him as 
well by victory as by war ; and four years had passed before the 
opinion of the council was given, that the scheme was visionary 
and impossible. Thus far, led on by hopes, Columbus had 
gained a scanty livelihood by drawing maps and charts, or had 
been maintained by the bounty of the queen. Leaving the 
court, he applied to two powerful nobles, the Dukes of Medina 
Sidonia and Medina Celi, with some favour, but with no suc- 
cess, and retired once more to the convent at Palos. 

On the return of peace he was again recalled from his seclu- 
sion ; and, now that his visions of many years had ripened in his 
own mind to certainty, and he claimed the honours due to his 
discovery as if it had been already made, he endured the mor- 
tification of being again rejected, for the very pride and assu- 
rance of his conviction. Indignant and chagrined, he resolved 
to abandon Spain forever ; and, " having mounted his mule, sal- 
lied forth from Santa Fe early in February, 1492." He " had 
pursued his lonely way across the Vega, and had reached the 
bridge of Pinos, about two leagues from Granada, when he was 
overtaken by a courier from the queen, spurring in all speed, 
who summoned him to return to Santa Fe." He trusted once 
more, and this time to the promise of the queen, and was not 
disappointed. She had become convinced by some earnest 
friends of Columbus ; the expenses of the voyage had been 
pledged ; and he returned to reap the reward of so many years 
of solicitation and repulse, of suspense and despondency. H. | 



Henry till Christopher Columbus had suc- 
ceeded in Spain. Before this could be ac- 
complished he had various obstacles to sur- 
mount ; and it was not till after seven years 
of painful solicitation that he obtained his re- 

The objections made to the proposal of 
Columbus by the most learned men in Spain, 
to whom the consideration of it was referred, 
will give us some idea of the state of geo- 
graphical science at that time. One objection 
was, How should he know more than all the 
wise men and skilful sailors who had existed 
since the creation ? Another was the author- 
ity of Seneca, who had doubted whether it 
were possible to navigate the ocean at any 
great distance from the shore ; but, admitting 
that it were navigable, they imagined that 
three years would be required to perform the 
voyage which Columbus proposed. A third 
was, that if a ship should sail westward on a 
round globe, she would necessarily go down 
on the opposite side, and then it would be im- 
possible to return, because it would be like 
climbing up a hill, which no ship could do 
with the strongest wind. A fourth objection 
was grounded on a book of St. Augustine, in 
which he had expressed his doubt of the ex- 


istence of antipodes and the possibility of go- 
ing from one hemisphere to the other. As 
the writings of this holy father had received 
the sanction of the Church, to contradict him 
was deemed heresy. 

For such reasons and by such reasoners, 
the proposal of Columbus was at first reject- 
ed ; but, by the influence of John Perez,* a 
Spanish priest, and Lewis Santangel,t an offi- 
cer of the king's household, Queen Isabella 
was persuaded to listen to his solicitation, 
and, after he had been twice repulsed, to re- 
call him to court, when she offered to pawn her 
jewels to defray the expense of the equipment, 
amounting to no more than 2500 crowns ; 
which sum was advanced by Santangel, and 
the queen's jewels were saved. Thus, to the 
generous decision of a female mind we owe 
the discovery of America. 

The conditions stipulated between Ferdi- 
nand and Isabella! on the one part, and Co- 

* [Juan Perez de Marchena, already mentioned as the early 
and warm friend of Columbus, the worthy and learned prior of 
the convent at Palos. H.] 

t [Louis de St. Angel, receiver of the ecclesiastical reve- 
nues in Aragon. The queen relied much on his prudence, and 
was moved by his earnestness. The low sum at which he put the 
cost of the enterprise, two vessels and three thousand crowns, 
may have had some weight. H.] 

t [The lives and characters of these joint monarchs of Spain 



lumbus on the other part, were these : " That 
he, his heirs and successors, should hold the 
office of admiral in all those islands and con- 
tinents which he should discover, that he 
should be viceroy and governor of the same, 
with power of nominating three associates, of 
whom their majesties should appoint one. 
That he should have one tenth part of the 
nett proceeds of all the gold and silver, pre- 
cious stones, spice, and other merchandise 
which should be found ; that he, or a deputy 
of his own appointing, should decide all con- 
troversies respecting the trade ; that he should 
be at one eighth part of the expense of equip- 

have been fully delineated by Mr. Prescott in his History of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, and by Mr. Irving in his History of 
Columbus. We give a sketch of their personal appearance 
from Irving. " Ferdinand was of the middle stature, well pro- 
portioned, and hardy and active from athletic exercise. His 
carriage was free, erect, and majestic. He had a clear, serene 
forehead, which appeared more lofty from his head being partly 
bald. His eyebrows were large and parted, and, like his hair, of 
a bright chestnut ; his eyes were clear and animated ; his com- 
plexion somewhat ruddy ; his mouth moderate, well formed, and 
gracious in its expression ; his teeth white, though small and ir- 
regular ; his voice sharp, his speech quick and fluent. Isabella 
was well formed and of the middle size. Her complexion was 
fair, her hair auburn, inclining to red ; her eyes of a clear blue ; 
and there was a singular modesty in her countenance, gracing 
as it did a wonderful firmness of purpose and earnestness of 
spirit." H.] 


ping the first fleet, and should receive one 
eighth part of the profits."* 

The necessary preparations being made, 
and a year's provision laid in, on the 3d of 
August, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, a 
port of Spain, on the Mediterranean,! with 
three vessels, one of which was called a car- 
rack^ and the other two caravels, having 

* [The conditions were mutually signed April 17, 1492. 
The dignity and privileges of viceroy and governor were secu- 
red to his descendants, and the title of Don an hereditary prefix 
to their name. Having thus reached the height of his ambition, 
Columbus returned once more, and in triumph, to the convent at 
Palos, where he had passed so many days of weariness, and dis- 
appointment, and sadness. H.] 

t [This port, as is now well known, does not lie on the Med- 
iterranean, but on the Atlantic, in the western part of Andij- 
lusia. It is now a small village of about four hundred inhabi- 
tants. H.] 

t [The largest, in which Columbus sailed, was called the 
Santa Maria. The others were named the Pinta, commanded by 
Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and the Nina, commanded by his broth- 
er, Vincente Yanez Pinzon. Without the aid of these brothers 
Columbus found it difficult to get any ships for the voyage, so 
great was the reluctance of the merchants and navigators to en- 
gage in this enterprise, even though urged by a royal order. 
The largest was actually impressed into the service by that or- 
der. H.] 

$ A carrack was a vessel with a deck ; a caravel had none.* 
. a 

* [The distinction mentioned here seems to be true, at least, 
of the ships of Columbus, though it has been questioned. We 
have the authority of Peter Martyr, a contemporary of Colum- 
bus, that, of the three vessels of his fleet, two had no decks 


on board the whole ninety men.* Having 
passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, he 
arrived at the Canaries on the 12th of the 
same month, where he was detained in refit- 
ting one of the caravels, and taking in wood 
and water, till the 6th of September, when he 
sailed westward on his voyage of discovery. 
This voyage, which now is considered as an 
easy and pleasant run, between the latitudes 
of 20 and 30 degrees, with a trade-wind, was 
then the boldest attempt which had ever been 
made, and filled the minds of the best seamen 
with apprehension. They were going direct- 
ly from home, and from all hope of relief if 
any accident should befall them. No friend- 
ly port nor human being was known to be in 
that direction. Every bird which flew in the 

" Two of them," says Mr. Irving, i., 78, " were light barges, 
and called caravels, not superior to river and coasting craft of 
modern days. They are delineated (in old prints and paintings) 
as open, and without deck in the centre, but built up high at 
the prow and stern, with forecastles and cabins for the accom- 
modation of the crew." They were thought the best on voya- 
ges of discovery, on account of their slight draught. The word 
caravel is commonly used to designate a small kind of craft, 
and often, I suppose, without reference* to its having a deck or 
not. See note to Irving's Columbus, ii., 278. H.] 

* [The crew consisted of ninety persons. The whole num- 
ber on board, including several private adventurers, servants, 
&c., was one hundred and twenty. H.] 


air, every fish which appeared in the sea, and 
.every weed which floated on its surface, was 
regarded with the most minute attention, as 
if the fate of the voyage depended on it. A 
phenomenon which had never before been 
observed struck them with terror. The mag- 
netic needle appeared to vary from the pole. 
They began to apprehend that their compass 
would prove an unfaithful guide ; and the 
trade-wind, which wafted .them along with 
its friendly wings, they feared would obstruct 
their return. 

To be twenty days at sea, without sight of 
land, was what the boldest mariner had never 
before attempted. At the expiration of that 
time the impatient sailors began to talk of 
throwing their commander into the ocean 
and returning home. Their murmurs reach- 
ed his ears ; but his active mind was never at 
a loss for expedients, even in the greatest ex- 
tremity. By soothing, flattery, and artifice, 
by inventing reasons for every uncommon ap- 
pt arance, by promising rewards to the obe- 
dient, and a gratuity to him who should first 
discover land, in addition to what the king 
had ordered, and by deceiving them in the 
ship's reckoning,* he kept them on their 
* [He kept two logbooks ; one correct, for his own use, and 


course for sixteen days longer. In the night 
of the llth of October he himself saw a light, 
which seemed to be on shore, and in the 
morning of the 12th they had the joyful 
sight of land, which proved to be the island 
of Guanahana, one of the cluster called Ba- 
hamas, in the 25th degree of north latitude.* 

Thus, in the space of thirty-six days,t and 
in the 45th year of his age y Columbus com- 
pleted a voyage which he had spent twenty 
years in projecting and executing ; a voyage 
which opened to the Europeans a new world j 
which gave a new turn to their thoughts, to 
their spirit of enterprise and of commerce ; 
which enlarged the empire of Spain, and 
stamped with immortality the name of Co- 

After spending several months in sailing 
from one island to another in that vast archi- 
pelago, which, from the mistakes of the age, 
received the name .of the West Indies^ Co- 

thc other open to his men, in which a number of leagues were 
subtracted from the ship's daily distance. H.] 

* [This island was named by Columbus San Salvador, and, 
more recently, has been called by the English Cat Island. The 
original name was more properly Guanahani. H.] 

t [Reckoning from the Canaries. The age of Columbus, 
following the date given by Mr. Irving, must have been fifty-si* 
or fifty-seven. H.] 

t fit ought to be added, to the honour of Columbus, that his 
/entment of the natives was uniformly humane and 


lumbus returned to Spain* with the two small- 
er vessels (ihe larger having been wrecked on 
the island of Hispaniola), leaving behind him 
a colony of thirty-nine men, furnished with a 
year's provisions, and lodged in a fort which 
had been built of the timber saved from the 
wreck. During his passage he met with a 
violent tempest, which threatened him with 
destruction. In this extremity he gave an 
admirable proof of his calmness and foresight. 
He wrote on parchment an account of his 
discoveries, wrapped it in a piece of oiled 
cloth, and enclosed it in a cake of wax, which 
he put into a tight cask and threw into the 
sea. Another parchment, secured in the 
same manner, he placed on the stern, that, if 
the ship should sink, the cask might float, and 
possibly one or the other might be driven on 
shore, or taken up at sea by some future nav- 
igator. But this precaution proved fruitless. 
He arrived safe in Spain, in March,! 1493, 
and was received with the honours due to his 

equally politic and Christian, and in fine contrast with the sav- 
age and murderous course pursued by later adventurers. H.] 
* [He set sail from La Navidad Jan. 4th, 1493. H.] 
t [He reached the mouth of the Tagus on the fourth of the 
month. The brief and scanty outline of this voyage given 
in the text may easily be filled out from the ample mate- 


The account which Columbus gave of his 
new discoveries,* the specimens of gold and 
other valuable productions, and the sight of 
the natives which he carried from the West 
Indies to Spain, were so pleasing that the 
court determined on another expedition.1 
But first it was necessary to obtain the sanc- 
tion of the pope, who readily granted it ; and 
by an imaginary line, drawn from pole to 
pole, at the distance of one hundred leagues 
westward of the Azores, he divided between 
the crowns of Spain and Portugal all the 
new' 'countries already discovered or to be 
discovered, giving the western part to the 
former, and the eastern to the latter. No 
provision, however, was made in case that 
they should meet, and their claims should in- 

rials now before the public. The reader is particularly referred 
to Irving's Columbus, i., 79-168, the collections of Navarrette, 
and the First Voyage of Columbus, &c. H.] 

* [He still supposed himself to have touched on the east- 
ern shore of the Continent of India. His imagination, natural- 
ly ardent, was excited by all he saw in the new regions he had 
opened to the world, and still more by the vague accounts he 
had received from the natives. He fully believed, and honestly 
reported, that he had found the region of spices, of gold, and of 
pearls. H.] 

t [The journey of Columbus from Seville to Barcelona, 
where the court then was, has been likened to a royal progress, 
and his entrance into Barcelona to a triumph, so great was the 
joy universally felt for his discoveries, and so great the honour 
his sovereign and the nobles were now disposed to pay him. The 


terfere on the opposite side of the globe. 
The bull containing this famous but imper- 
fect line of demarcation was signed by Alex- 
ander VI.* on the second day of May, 1493 ; 
and on the 28th of the same month, the king 
and queen of Spain, by a written instrument, 
explained and confirmed the privileges and 
powers which they had before granted to Co- 
lumbus, making the office of viceroy and 
governor of the Indies hereditary in his fam- 
ily. On the 25th of September following he 
sailed from Cadiz, with a fleet of seventeen 
ships, great and small, well furnished with all 
necessaries for the voyage, and having on 
board 1500 people, with horses, cattle, and 
implements, to establish plantations.t 

second voyage was determined on before he left Seville, and the 
arrangements for it already begun. To secure regularity in all 
affairs touching the Indies, a superintendent was appointed by 
the crown, with a treasurer and comptroller ; and, to provide for 
the expenses of the new expedition, a large portion of the church 
tithes were appropriated, and the property of a multitude of ex- 
iled Jews confiscated. H.] 

* [Alexander VI. was by birth a Spaniard. The bull defining 
the line between the future possessions of Spain and Portugal 
was issued on the third of May : one had already been granted 
on the second, giving to the Spaniards the same rights in the 
lands discovered by them \\hichhad been previously given to the 
Portuguese. Irving., i., 187. The grant was made on the con- 
dition of planting in them the Catholic faith. H.] 

t [There was this time, no lack of adventurers. The covet- 


On Sunday, the third of November, he dis- 
covered an island, to which, in honour of the 
day, he gave the name of Dominica.* Af- 
terward he discovered in succession other 
islands, which he called Marigalante, Gua- 
daloupe, Montserrat, Redonda, Antigua, St. 
Martin's, St. Ursula, and St. John. On the 
12th of November he came to Navidad,t on 
the north side of Hispaniola, where he had 
built his fort and left his colony ; but he had 
the mortification to find that the people were 
all dead, and that the fort had been destroyed. 

The account given by the natives of the 
loss of the colony was, that they fell into dis- 
cord among themselves on the usual subjects 
of controversy, women and gold ; that, hav- 
ing provoked a chief, whose name was Ca- 
naubo, he came against them with a superior 
force, and destroyed them ; that some of the 
natives, in attempting to defend them, had 
been killed, and others were then ill of their 

ous and the heroic, soldiers and priests, gentlemen and nobles, 
all were eager to embark in an enterprise in which gain or fame 
was to be won. H.] 

* [From having discovered it on Sunday, Dies Dominica, 
i. e., the Lord's Day. H.J 

t [Nov. 14 he discovered Santa Cruz ; still later, an island 
which he called St. Juan Bautista, now called Porto Rico, and 
cast anchor off La Navidad on the 27th. Irving, i., 217. H.] 


wounds, which, on inspection, appeared to 
have been made with Indian weapons. 

Columbus prudently forbore to make any 
critical inquiry into the matter, but hasted to 
establish another colony, in a more eligible 
situation, to the eastward, which he called 
Isabella, after his royal patroness. He had 
many difficulties to contend with besides 
those which unavoidably attend undertakings 
of such novelty and magnitude. Nature, in- 
deed, was bountiful : the soil and climate pro- 
duced vegetation with a rapidity to which the 
Spaniards had not been accustomed. From 
wheat sown at the end of January, full ears 
were gathered at the end of March. The 
stones of fruit, the slips of vines, and the 
joints of sugarcane sprouted in seven days, 
and many other seeds in half the time. This 
was an encouraging prospect ; but the slow 
operations of agriculture did not meet the 
views of sanguine adventurers. The numer- 
ous followers of Columbus, some of whom 
were of the best families in Spain, had con- 
ceived hopes of suddenly enriching them- 
selves by the precious metals of those, new 
regions, and were not disposed to listen to his 
recommendations of patience and industry 
in cultivating the earth. The natives were 


displeased with the licentiousness of their new 
neighbours, who endeavoured to keep them 
in awe by a display of force. The explo- 
sion of firearms, and the sight of men mount- 
ed on horses, were at first objects of terror ; 
but use had rendered them less formidable. 
Columbus, overburdened with care and fa- 
tigue, fell sick, and at his recovery found a 
mutiny among his men, which, by a due mix-' 
ture of resolution and lenity, he had the ad- 
dress to quell. He then endeavoured to es- 
tablish discipline among his own people, and 
to employ the natives in cutting roads through 
the woods. While he was present and able 
to attend to business, things went on so pros- 
perously that he thought he might safely pro- 
ceed on his discoveries. 

In his former voyage he had visited Cuba, 
but was uncertain whether it were an island 
or a part of some continent. He therefore 
passed over to its eastern extremity, and 
coasted its southern side till he found himself 
entangled among a vast number of small isl- 
ands, which, for their beauty and fertility, he 
called the Garden of the Queen ; but the 
dangerous rocks and shoals which surrounded 
them obliged him to stretch farther to the 
southward, by which means he discovered the 


island of Jamaica, where he found water and 
other refreshments for his men, who were al- 
most dead with famine. The hazard, fa- 
tigue, and distress of this voyage threw him 
into a lethargic disorder, from which he had 
just recovered, when he returned to his colo- 
ny and found it all in confusion, from the 
same causes which had proved destructive to 
the first. 

In his absence, the licentiousness of the 
Spaniards had provoked several of the chiefs, 
four of whom had united to destroy them, and 
had actually commenced hostilities, in which 
twenty Spaniards were killed. Columbus 
collected his people, put them into the best 
order, and, by a judicious combination of 
force and stratagem, gained a decisive victo- 
ry, to which the horses and dogs did not a 
little contribute. 

At his return to Hispaniola he had the 
pleasure of meeting his brother Bartholo- 
mew,* whom he had not seen for several 

* [He was a man of great merit, whose deserts have been 
overshadowed by the singular renown of the admiral. He was 
a man of hardly inferior science, of great experience as a navi- 
gator, prompt, sagacious, and intrepid. Less imaginative, per- 
haps, and enthusiastic than his brother, he had more worldly 
wisdom, and more skill in ruling the turbulent and factious spir- 
its who tortured the more gentle temper of the admiral. Ho 


years, and whom he supposed to have been 
dead. Bartholomew was a man of equal 
knowledge, experience, bravery, and pru- 
dence with himself. His patience had en- 
dured a severe trial in their long separation. 
He had many obstacles to surmount before 
he could get to England and obtain access to 
the king. He was at Paris when he heard 
of the success of his brother's first enterprise, 
who had gone on the second before Barthol- 
omew could get to Spain. On his arrival 
there, and being introduced to the court, he 
was appointed to the command of three ships, 
which were destined to convey supplies to 
the colony ; and he arrived while Christopher 
was absent on his voyage to Cuba and Ja- 
maica. Columbus appointed his brother to 
command at Isabella, while he went into the 
interior part of the island to perfect his con- 
quest, and reduce the natives to subjection 
and tribute. 

The Indians were so unused to collect 
gold-dust in such quantities as their conquer- 
ors demanded it, that they offered to plant 

was generous and affable, though often abrupt and severe ; tall, 
muscular, and vigorous in person, of a grave and stern aspect. 
Patient in labour, cheerful in danger, and resolute in command, 
he was as a right hand to his brother. H.] 


the immense plains of Hispaniola, and pay 
an equivalent in corn. Columbus was struck 
with the magnanimity of the proposal, and, 
in consequence, moderated the tribute. This 
did not satisfy the avarice of his fellow-ad- 
venturers, who found means to complain of 
him to the king's ministers for his negligence 
in acquiring the only commodity which they 
thought deserved the name of riches. The 
Indians then desisted from planting their usu- 
al quantity of corn, and attempted to subsist 
chiefly on animal food. This experiment 
proved injurious to themselves as well as to 
their conquerors ; and it was computed that, 
within four years from the first discovery of 
the island, one third part of its inhabitants 

The complaints against Columbus so 
wrought on the jealous mind of King Ferdi- 
nand, tha-t John Aguado,* who was sent, in 
1495, with supplies to the colony, had orders 
to act as a spy on his conduct. This man 
behaved with so little discretion as to seek 
matter of accusation, and give out threats 

* [A weak, vain man, who had before received great favours 
from Columbus. His commission was merely one of inquiry, 
but he claimed the right to interfere in and control the affair* 
of the colony. H.] 
I. P 


against the admiral. At the same time, the 
ships which he commanded being destroyed 
by a hurricane, he had no means to return, 
till Columbus, knowing that he had enemies 
at home, and nothing to support him but his 
own merit, resolved to go to Spain with two 
caravels ; himself in one, and Aguado in the 
other. Having appointed proper persons to 
command the several forts his brother Bar- 
tholomew to superintend the whole, and his 
brother James* to be next in authority he 
set sail on the tenth of March, 1496, and, af- 
ter a perilous and tedious voyage in the trop- 
ical latitudes, arrived in Cadiz on the elev- 
enth of June. 

His presence at court, with the gold and 
other valuable articles which he carried home, 
removed, in some measure, the prejudices 
which had been excited against him. But 
his enemies, though silent, were not idle ; 
and in a court where phlegm and languor 
proved a clog to the spirit of enterprise, they 
found it not difficult to obstruct his views, 
which, notwithstanding all discouragements, 
were still pointed to the discovery of a way 
to India by the west. 

* [Better known by his Spanish name Diego. He was far 
inferior to his brotheri in talents and energy. H.J 


He now demanded eight ships to carry 
supplies to his colony, and six to go on dis- 
covery. These demands were complied with, 
and he began his third voyage on the thir- 
tieth of May, 1498. He kept a course so far 
to the southward, that not only his men, but 
his provisions and water, suffered greatly from 
excessive heat. The first land he made after 
leaving the Isles of Cape de Verd was a large 
island which he named Trinidad, from its ap- 
pearance in the form of three mountains. 
He then passed through a narrow strait and 
whirlpool into the Gulf of Paria, where, ob- 
serving the tide to be rapid and the water 
brackish, he conjectured that the land on the 
western and southern sides of the gulf was 
part of a continent, and that the fresh water 
proceeded from some great rivers. 

The people on the coast of Paria were 
whiter than those of the islands. They had 
about their necks plates of gold and strings 
of pearl, which they readily exchanged for 
pieces of tin and brass, and little bells ; and 
when they were questioned whence they ob- 
tained the gold and pearls, they pointed to 
the west. 

The admiral's provisions not allowing him 
to stay long in this place, he passed again 


through that dangerous strait, to which he 
gave the name of the Dragon's Mouth ; and 
having satisfied himself that the land on his 
left was a continent, he steered to the N.W., 
discovering Margarita and several other isl- 
ands in his course ; and on the thirtieth of 
August arrived at the harbour of St. Domin- 
go, in Hispaniola, to which place his brother 
had removed the colony in his absence, in 
consequence of a plan preconcerted between 

Wearied with incessant care and watching 
in this dangerous voyage, he hoped now to 
enjoy repose ; instead of which, he found his 
colony much reduced by deaths, many of the 
survivers sick with a disease, the peculiar 
consequence of their debauchery, and a large 
number of them in actual rebellion. They 
had formed themselves into a body ; they had 
gained over many of the Indians, under pre- 
tence of protecting them ; and they had re- 
tired to a distant part of the island, which 
proved a resort for the seditious and discon- 
tented. Their commander was Francis Rol- 
dan,* who had been chief-justice of the colo- 

* [Francisco Roldan was one of those vipers, too many of 
which crossed the path of Columbus, who stung their benefactor. 
Columbus had raised him from poverty and obscurity, and, ob- 


ny; and their number was so considerable 
that Columbus could not command a force 
sufficient to subdue them. He therefore en- 
tered into a negotiation, by offering a pardon 
to those who would submit, and liberty of re- 
turning to Spain to those who desired it. 
These offers, however impolitic, proved suc- 
cessful. Roldan himself accepted them, and 
persuaded others to do the same ; then, be- 
ing restored to his office, he tried and con- 
demned the refractory, some of whom were 
put to death. 

An account of this mutiny was sent home 
to Spain by Columbus, and another by Rol- 
dan. Each had his advocates at court, and 
the cause was heard by the king and queen. 
Roldan and his men were accused of adulte- 
ry, perjury, robbery, murder, and disturbing 
the peace of the whole island ; while Colum- 

serving his strong sense, had made him a justice of the peace, and 
on his own return to Spain appointed him chief-justice of the 
colony. He had now only to supplant Bartholomew Columbus, 
left governor in his absence, to become the chief man in the 
colony ; and such was the meanness of his treacherous ambi- 
tion, that he scrupled at no means to gratify it. He conspired 
with the dissolute and mutinous to assassinate the governor, and 
was prevented from doing it only by an accident ; and having 
been defeated in this plan, he withdrew, with his party in a 
formal opposition to the governiueut, till the return of the ad- 
miral. H.J 


bus was charged with cruelty to individuals, 
aiming at independence, and engrossing the 
tribute. It was insinuated that, not being a 
native of Spain, he had no proper respect for 
the noble families who had become adventu- 
rers, and that the debts due to them could 
not be recovered. It was suggested that, if 
some remedy were not speedily applied, there 
was danger that he would revolt, and join 
with some other prince ; and that, to compass 
this design, he had concealed the real wealth 
of the colony, and prevented the conversion 
of the Indians to the Catholic faith. 

These insinuations prevailed on the jeal- 
ousy of Ferdinand, and even staggered the 
constancy of Isabella. They resolved to ap- 
point a judge, who should examine facts on 
the spot ; and, if he should find the admiral 
guilty, to supersede him. For this purppse 
they sent Francis Bovadilla,* a man of noble 
rank, but whose poverty alone recommended 
him to the office. Furnished with these pow- 
ers, he arrived at St. Domingo when Colum- 
bus was absent ; took lodgings in his house \ 

* [" Don Francisco de Bobadilla, an officer of the royal house- 
hold, and a commander of the military and religious order of 
Calatrava." He is represented as " needy, passionate, and 
ambitious." Irving, ii., 41. He arrived at San Domingo Aug. 
33, 1500. H.] 


invited accusers to appear against him ; seiz- 
ed on his effects ; and finally sent him and 
both his brothers to Spain, in three different 
ships, but all loaded with irons. 

The master of the ship in which the admi- 
ral sailed had so much respect for him, that, 
when he had got to sea, he offered to take off 
his fetters; but Columbus nobly declared 
that he would permit that honour to be done 
him by none but his sovereign. In this hu- 
miliating confinement he was delivered to 
Fonseca,* bishop of Bajados, who had been 
the chief instigator of all these rigorous pro- 
ceedings, and to whom had been committed 
the affairs of the Indies. 

Not content with robbing Columbus of his 
liberty, this prejudiced ecclesiastic would have 
deprived him of his well-earned reputation of 
having first discovered the new continent. 
With the accusations which Columbus had 

* [Juan Rodrigues de Fonseca was a man of great abilities, 
but of a selfish and intriguing spirit. He was appointed super- 
intendent of Indian affairs in 1493, and afterward became Pa- 
triarch of the Indies. He was continued in office under the 
Emperor Charles V. In the use of his power he was treach- 
erous and malignant ; and having, for some slight cause, con- 
ceived an enmity to Columbus, persecuted him with unceasing 
rancour. His whole administration was marked with acts of 
meanness and perfidy. He died at Burgos in 1524. H.] 


sent home against Roldan, he had transmitted 
an account of the discovery of the coast of 
Paria, which he justly supposed to be part of 
a continent. Ojeda,* an active officer, who 
had sailed with Columbus in his second voy- 
age, was at court when these despatches arri- 
ved, and saw the draught of the discovery, 
with the specimens of gold and pearls, which 
the admiral had sent home. Being a favour- 
ite of Fonseca, he easily obtained leave to 
pursue the discovery. Some merchants of 
Seville were prevailed upon to equip four 
ships, with which, in 1499, Ojeda followed 
the track of Columbus, and made land on the 
coast of Paria. Amerigo Vespucci, a Flor- 
entine merchant, well skilled in geography 
and navigation, accompanied Ojeda in this 
voyage ; and, by publishing the first book and 
chart describing the new world, obtained the 
honour of having it called AMERICA. This, 
however, did not happen till after the death 
of Columbus. Several other adventurers fol- 
lowed the same track, and all supposed that 
the continent which they had seen was part 
of India. 

As soon as it was known that Columbus 

* [For a brief notice of this remarkable man, see the Chron- 
ological Detail, p. 60. H.] 


was arrived at Cadiz (Nov. 5, 1500) in the dis- 
graceful situation above mentioned, the king 
and queen, ashamed of the orders which they 
had given, commanded him to be released, 
and invited him to court, where they apolo- 
gized for the misbehaviour of their new gov- 
ernor, and not only promised to recall him, 
but to restore to the admiral all his effects. 
Columbus could not forget the ignominy. 
He preserved the fetters, hung them up in his 
apartment, and ordered them to be buried in 
his grave. 

Instead of reinstating him in his govern- 
ment according to the original contract, the 
king and queen sent Ovando* to Hispaniola 
to supersede Bovadilla, and only indulged 
Columbus in pursuing his darling project, the 
discovery of India by the west, which he still 
hoped to accomplish. He sailed again from 
Cadiz on the fourth of May, 1502, with four 
vessels, carrying one hundred and forty men 
and boys, of which number were his broth- 
er Bartholomew and his 'son Ferdinand, the 
writer of his life. 

* [Don Nicholas de Ovando, grand commander of the Order 
of Alcantara, a man of ability and prudence, yet ambitious. 
He was cruel to Columbus, and guilty of the vilest treachery 
and inhumanity in his treatment of the Indians. H.] 


In his passage to the Caribbee Islands he 
found his largest vessel, of seventy tons, unfit 
for the service, and therefore went to St. Do- 
mingo., in hope of exchanging it for a better, 
and to seek shelter from a storm which he 
saw approaching. To his infinite surprise 
and mortification, Ovando would not admit 
him into the port. A fleet of thirty ships was 
then ready to sail for Spain, on board of 
which Roldan and Bovadilla were prisoners. 
Columbus informed Ovando of the prognos- 
tics which he had observed, which Ovando 
disregarded, and the fleet sailed. Columbus 
then laid three of his vessels under the lee of 
the shore, and with grett difficulty rode out 
the tempest. His brother put to sea, and by 
his great naval skill saved the ship in which 
he sailed. Of the fleet bound to Spain, eigh- 
teen ships were lost, and in them perished 
Roldan and Bovadilla. 

The enemies of Columbus gave out that he 
had raised this storm by the art of magic ; 
and such was the ignorance of the age that 
the story was believed. What contributed 
the more to its credit was, that one of the 
worst ships of the fleet, on board of which 
were all the effects which had been saved from 
the ruined fortune of Columbus, was the first 
which arrived in Spain. The* amount of 


these effects was " four thousand pesos of 
gold, each of the value of eight shillings." 
The remark which Ferdinando Columbus 
makes on this event, so destructive to the ac- 
cusers of his father, is, " I am satisfied it was 
the hand of GOD, who was pleased to infat- 
uate them, that they might not hearken to 
good advice ; for, had they arrived in Spain, 
they had never been punished as their crimes 
deserved, but rather favoured and preferred, 
as being the bishop's friends."* 

After this storm, and another which fol- 
lowed it, Columbus, having collected his lit- 
tle squadron, sailed on discovery towards the 
continent ; and, steering to the southwest, 
came to 'an island called Guanania, twelve 
leagues from the coast of Honduras, where 
he met with a large covered canoe, having on 
board several pieces of cotton clbth of divers 
colours, which the people said they had 
brought from the westward. The men were 
armed with swords of wood, in which sharp 
flints were strongly fixed. Their provision 
was maize and roots, and they used the ber- 
ries of cocoa as money. When the admiral 
inquired for gold, they pointed to the west ; 
and when he asked for a strait by which he 

* Chap. 88. 


might pass through the land, they pointed to 
the east. From the specimens of coloured 
cloth, he imagined that they had come from 
India, and he hoped to pass thither by the 
strait which they described. Pursuing his 
course to the east and south, he was led to the 
Gulf of Darien, and visited several harbours, 
among which was one which he called Porto 
Bello ; but he found no passage extending 
through the land. He then returned to the 
westward, and landed on the coast of Vera- 
gua, where the beauty and fertility of the 
country invited him to begin a plantation, 
which he called Belem ; but the natives, a 
fierce and formidable race, deprived him of 
the honour of first establishing a colony on 
the continent, by killing some of his people, 
and obliging him to retire with the others. 

At sea he met with tempestuous weather 
of long continuance, in which his ships were 
so shattered, that, with the utmost difficulty, 
he kept them above water till he ran them 
ashore on the island of Jamaica. By his 
extraordinary address he procured from the 
natives tw6 of their largest canoes, in which 
two of his most faithful friends, Mendez and 
Fiesco, accompanied by some of his sailors 
and a few Indians, embarked for Hispaniola. 
After encountering the greatest difficulties in 


their passage, they carried tidings of his mis- 
fortune to Ovando, and solicited his aid. 
The merciless wretch detained them eight 
months without an answer, during which 
time Columbus suffered the severest hard- 
ships, from the discontent of his company 
and the want of provisions. By the hospi- 
tality of the natives he at first received such 
supplies as they were able to spare ; but the 
long continuance of these guests had dimin- 
ished their store, and the insolence of the mu- 
tineers gave a check to their friendship. In 
this extremity, the fertile invention of Colum- 
bus suggested an expedient which proved 
successful. He knew that a total eclipse of 
the moon was at hand, which would be visi- 
ble in the evening. On the preceding day he 
sent for the principal Indians, to speak with 
them on a matter of the utmost importance. 
Being assembled, he directed his interpreter 
to tell them that the GOD of Heaven, whom 
he worshipped, was angry with them for with- 
holding provision from him, and would pun- 
ish them with famine and pestilence ; as a to- 
ken of which, the moon would in the even- 
ing appear of an angry and bloody colour. 
Some of them received his speech with ter 
ror, and others with indifference ; but when 
the moon rose, and the eclipse increased as 


she advanced from the horizon, they came in 
crowds, loaded with provision, and begged the 
admiral to intercede with his GOD for the re- 
moval of his anger. Columbus retired to his 
cabin ; and when the eclipse began to go off, 
he came out and told them that he had pray- 
ed to his GOD, and had received this answer : 
that if they would be good for the future, and 
bring him provision as he should want, God 
would forgive them ; and, as a token of it, the 
moon would put on her usual brightness. 
They gave him thanks, and promised com- 
pliance ; and while he remained on the island 
there was no more want of provision. 

At the end of eight months Ovando sent a 
small vessel to Jamaica, with a cask of wine, 
two flitches of bacon, and a letter of compli- 
ment and excuse, which the officer deliv- 
ered, and, without waiting for an answer, 
weighed his anchor the same evening and 
sailed back to Hispaniola. The men who 
adhered to Columbus, and were with him on 
board the wrecks, wondered at the sudden 
departure of the vessel by which they ex- 
pected deliverance. Columbus, never at a 
loss for an evasion, told them that the caravel 
was too small to take the whole company, 
and he would not go without them. This 
fiction had the desired effect ; those who ad- 


hered to him resumed their patience, but the 
mutineers became so insolent that it was ne- 
cessary to subdue them by force. In the con- 
test ten of them were killed. Porras, their 
leader, was made prisoner, and the others es- 
caped. Bartholomew Columbus and two 
others of the admiral's party were wounded, 
of whom one died. 

The fugitives, having lost their leader, 
thought it best to submit ; and on the next 
day sent a petition to the admiral, confess- 
ing their fault, and promising fidelity. This 
promise they confirmed by an oath, of which 
the imprecation was singular ; " they renoun- 
ced, in case of failure, any absolution from 
priest, bishop, or pope at the time of their 
death, and all benefit from the sacraments 
of the Church, consenting to be buried like 
heathens and infidels in the open field." 
The admiral received their submission, provi- 
ded that Porras should continue prisoner, and 
they would accept a commander of his ap- 
pointment as long as they should remain on 
the island. 

At length a vessel, which Mendez had 
been permitted to buy, with the admiral's 
money, at Hispaniola, came to Jamaica and 
took them off. On their arrival at St. Do- 
mingo (August 13, 1504) Ovando affected 


great joy, and treated the admiral with a 
show of respect; but he liberated Porras, 
and threatened with punishment the faithful 
adherents of Columbus. As soon as the ves- 
sel was refitted, the admiral took leave of his 
treacherous host, and, with his brother, son, 
and servants, embarked for Spain. After a 
long and distressing voyage, in which the 
ship lost her masts, he arrived at St. Lucar 
in May, 1505.* 

His patroness Isabella had been dead about 
a year, and with her had expired all the fa- 
vour which he ever enjoyed in the court of 
Ferdinand. Worn out with sickness and fa- 
tigue, disgusted with the insincerity of his 
sovereign and the haughtiness of the court- 
iers, Columbus lingered out a year in fruit- 
less solicitation for his violated rights,! till 
death relieved him from all his vexations. 

* [His arrival was in November 7th, 1504. Irving, ii., 183 

t [So poor was he, that he wrote, " If I desire to eat or 
sleep, I have no resort but an inn, and for the most times 
have not wherewithal to pay my bill." Yet most earnestly of 
all did he claim the restoration of his honours and titles, and the 
perpetuation of them in his family. " These things," said he, 
" affect my honour." He claimed only bare justice, the perform- 
ance of promises long ago sealed with the royal seal. The 
warm heart of Isabella had ceased to beat, and Ferdinand 
could courteously evade what he intended to deny. H.] 


He died at Valladolid on the twentieth of 
May, 1506, in the 59th year of his age,* and 
was buried in the Cathedral of Seville,t with 
this inscription on his tomb : 

A Castillo, y a Leon, 
Nuevo Mundo dio Colon. 

Translated thus : 

To Castile and Leon 
Columbus gave a new World. 

In the life of this remarkable man there 
is no deficiency of any quality which can 
constitute a truly great character.^: His ge- 
nius was penetrating and his judgment solid. 
He had acquired as much knowledge of the 
sciences as could be obtained at that day, 
and he corrected what he had learned by his 

* [More truly, according to Mr. Irving, " about seventy 
years of age." H.] 

t [" His remains, first deposited in the convent of St. Francis 
at Valladolid, were, six years later, removed to the Carthusian 
monastery of Las Cuevas at Seville. From this spot his body 
was transported, in the year 1536, to the island of St. Domingo, 
the proper theatre of his discoveries ; and, on the cession of that 
island to the French in 1795, was again removed to Cuba, where 
his ashes now quietly repose in the cathedral church of its 
capital." PrescotCs Ferdinand and Isabella, Hi., 241, 242. 

t Some of these observations are taken from Dr. Campbell's 
account of European settlements in America, vol. i., chap. viii. 
[See also Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, ii., 115, note. 




own observations. His constancy and pa- 
tience were equal to the most hazardous un- 
dertakings. His fortitude surmounted many 
difficulties, and his invention extricated him 
out of many perplexities. His prudence en- 
abled him to conceal or subdue his own in- 
firmities, while he took advantage of the pas- 
sions of others, adjusting his behaviour to his 
circumstances ; -temporizing or acting with 
vigour, as the occasion required.* 

* [" A peculiar trait in his rich and varied character," says 
Mr. Irving, " was that ardent and enthusiastic imagination, 
which threw a magnificence over his whole course of thought. 
Herrera intimates that he had a talent for poetry, and some 
slight traces of it are on record, in the book of prophecies 
which he presented to the Catholic sovereigns. But his poet- 
ical temperament is discernible throughout all his writings and 
in all his actions. It spread a golden and glorious world 
around him, and tinged everything with its own gorgeous col- 
ours. It betrayed him into visionary speculations. It exalted 
his office in his eyes, and made him conceive himself an agent 
sent forth upon a sublime and awful mission, subject to impulses 
and supernatural intimations from the Deity." Closely con- 
nected with this quality was one which we might not expect to 
find in a hardy seaman, and which yet was strong in him, a clear 
perception and hearty love of the beauties of nature ; a quality 
which everywhere discloses itself in his simple narrative of the 
novel beauties of the New World. 

We cannot omit to speak of his self-reliance. He trusted in 
the truth of his own convictions, when he trusted in them alone. 
He frankly and boldly avowed them, when the avowal cost him 
at once scorn and neglect. He held them fast when the wise 
men of his day had deliberately scouted them. They were his 


His fidelity to the ungrateful prince whom 
he served, and whose dominions he enlarged, 
must render him forever conspicuous as an 
example of justice ; and his attachment to 
the queen, by whose influence he was raised 
and supported, will always be a monument 
of his gratitude. 

To his other excellent qualities may be 
added his piety.* He always entertained, 

treasure in the deepest poverty, and his hope when princes had 
despised and friends had forsaken him. They bore him up in 
every privation and distress, and made the simple mariner elo- 
quent in the halls of the learned and the courts of kings ; and 
yet he had no adequate, not even a true apprehension of the val- 
ue of those great truths to which he clung so steadfastly. 

Columbus was an ambitious man, yet with an honourable 
ambition. He sought not so much wealth as honour ; aad that 
not merely of scientific discovery, but of social rank, and not 
for himself only, but for his posterity. He would gain a place 
among the proud nobles of Spain which none of them should 
despise, and a title which should always point to his own mer- 
its as the source of his greatness. In his will he ordered that 
his heir should write for his signature only " The Admiral," what- 
ever other titles the king might confer on him. 

That he had faults need not be denied. That he sympathized 
with many erroneous opinions and practices of his age is not to 
be wondered at. But there was in him nothing sordid, mean, or 
revengeful. His faults were rather weaknesses ; too much pa- 
tience, too much forbearance with his enemies, too high-minded 
a confidence in the power of innocence and in the honour of 
princes. He was impetuous, but not rash ; sensitive, but not 
passionate ; deeply wronged, and forgiving like a Christian.- -H.j 

* [The oeculiar character of his piety cannot be better de- 


and on proper occasions expressed, a rever- 
ence for the Deity, and a firm confidence in 
his care and protection. In his declining 
days the consolations of religion were his 
chief support ; and his last words were, " Into 
thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." 

The persecution and injustice which he 
suffered may be traced up to the contract 
which he insisted on before he engaged in 
the plan of discovery. That a foreigner 
should attain so high a rank as to be viceroy 
for life, and that the honour of an admiral 

scribed than it has been by Mr. Irving. " He was devoutly pi- 
ous ; religion mingled with the whole course of his thoughts 
and actions, and shone forth in all his most private and unstudied 
writings. Whenever he made any great discovery, he celebra- 
ted it by solemn thanks to God. The voice of prayer and 
the melody of praise rose from his ships when they first beheld 
the New World, and his first action upon landing was to pros- 
trate himself upon the earth, and render up thanksgivings. Ev- 
ery evening the Salve Regina and other vesper hymns were 
chanted by his crew, and masses celebrated in the beautiful 
groves that bordered the wild shores of this heathen land. His 
language was pure and guarded, free from all oaths, impreca- 
tions, and other irreverent expressions. All his great enterpri- 
ses were undertaken ' in the name of the Holy Trinity.' He 
observed the festivals of the Church in the wildest situations. 
The Sabbath was with him a day of rest, on which he would 
never set sail from a port unless in a case of extreme necessity. 
He was a firm believer in the efficacy of vows, and penances, and 
pilgrimages, and resorted to them in times of difficulty and dan- 
ger." H.] ^'* 


should be hereditary in his family, to the ex- 
clusion of all the nobles of Spain, was more 
than their pride and jealousy could endure ; 
and they constantly endeavoured to depre- 
ciate his merit, the only foundation on which 
his honours were erected. 

There is a story recorded by Peter Mar- 
tyr,* a contemporary historian, which exem- 
plifies their malice, and his ingenuity in rising 
superior to it. After the death of the queen, t 
the nobility affected to insinuate that his dis- 
coveries were more the result of accident 
and good fortune than of any well-concerted 
measures. One day, at a public dinner, Co- 
lumbus having borne much insulting raillery 
on that head, at length called for an egg, and 
asked whether any of them could set it up- 

* [Peter Martyr was born at Anghiera, near Milan, Feb. 2d, 
1455. Having become eminent for his learning, he was invited 
by Isabella to educate the young nobles in her service, and was 
sent by Ferdinand, in 1501, as his ambassador to Venice and to 
Egypt. He was afterward appointed a minister of the council 
of the Indies. He wrote the " Decades of the New World" (De 
Orbe Novo), an account of the discoveries made there ; a work 
of peculiar value. He had ample and authentic materials for the 
purpose, and gained much information from Columbus himself. 
He died at Valladolid in 1626. H.] 

1 [In Mr. Irving's history this anecdote is told as having oc- 
curred soon after Columbus's first voyage and before the sec- 
ond, and, of course, some time before the death of the queen, 
who died Nov. 26., 1504. H.] 


right on its little end. They all confessed it 
to be impossible. Columbus, striking it gen- 
tly, flatted the shell till it stood upright on 
the table. The company, with a disdainful 
sneer, cried out, " Anybody might have done 
it." " Yes," said Columbus, " but none of 
you thought of it ; so I discovered the Indies, 
and now every pilot can steer the same 
course. Many things appear easy when once 
performed, though before they were thought 
impossible. Remember the scoffs that were 
thrown at me before I put my design into 
execution. Then it was a dream, a chimera, 
a delusion ; now it is what anybody might 
have done as well as I." When this story 
was told to Ferdinand, he could not but ad- 
mire the grandeur of that spirit, which at the 
same time he was endeavouring to depress. 

Writers of different countries have treated 
the character of Columbus according to their 
prejudices, either national or personal. It is 
surprising to observe how these prejudices 
have descended, and that, even at the distance 
of three centuries, there are some who affect 
to deny him the virtues for which he was con- 
spicuous, and the merit of originating a dis- 
covery which is an honour to human reason. 
His humanity has been called in question 


because he carried dogs to the West Indies, 
and employed them in extirpating the natives. 
The truth is, that in his second expedition he 
was accompanied by a number of gentlemen 
of the best families in Spain, and many more 
would have gone if it had been possible to 
accommodate them. These gentlemen car- 
ried with them " horses, asses, and other 
beasts, which were of great use in a new 
plantation." The conflict which Columbus 
}ad with the natives was in consequence of 
the disorderly conduct of these Spaniards, 
who, in his absence, had taken their goods, 
abused their women, and committed other 
outrages, which the Indians could not endure, 
and therefore made war upon them. In this 
war he found his colony engaged when he 
returned from his voyage to Cuba, and there 
was no way to end it but by pursuing it with 
vigour. With two hundred Spaniards, of 
whom twenty were mounted on " horses, fol- 
lowed by as many dogs," he encountered a nu- 
merous body of Indians, estimated at one hun- 
dred thousand, on a large plain. He divided 
his men into two parties, and attacked them 
on two sides ; the noise of the firearms soon 
dispersed them, and the horses and dogs pre- 
vented them from rallying ; and thus a com- 


plete victory was obtained. In this instance 
alone were the dogs used against the natives. 
They naturally followed- their masters into 
the field, and the horses to which they were 
accustomed ; but to suppose that Columbus 
transported them to the West Indies with a 
view to destroy the Indians, appears altogeth- 
er idle when it is considered that the number 
is reckoned only at twenty. Excepting in 
this instance, where he was driven by neces- 
sity, there is no evidence that he made war 
on the natives of the West Indies ; on the 
contrary, he endeavoured as far as possible to 
treat them with justice and gentleness. The 
same cannot be said of those who succeeded 

Attempts have also been made to detract 
from his merit as an original discoverer of the 
New World. The most successful candidate 
who has been set up as a rival to him is MAR- 
TIN BEHAIM,* of Nuremberg, in Germany. 
His claim to a prior discovery has been so 

* [He was born about 1430, was in early life a merchant, and 
came to Portugal about 1481. He accompanied Cam, in the 
voyages mentioned below, as journalist and cosmographer. The 
date of his death is not certain, though it was later than 1506. 
He has the credit of first applying the astrolabe to the uses of 
navigation, an instrument from which, with some modification, 
has been derived the modern quadrant. H.] 


well contested, ajid the vanity of it so fully 
exposed by the late Dr. Robertson, that I 
should not have thought of adding anything 
to what he has written, had not a memoir ap- 
peared in the second volume of the Transac- 
tions of the American Philosophical Society* 
at Philadelphia, in which the pretensions of 
Behaim are revived by M. OTTO, who has 
produced some authorities which he had ob- 
tained from Nuremberg, an imperial city of 
Germany, and which appear to him " to 
establish in the clearest manner a discovery 
of America anterior to that of Columbus." 

It is conceded that Behaim was a man of 
learning and enterprise ; that he was contem- 
porary with Columbus, and was his friend ; 
that he pursued the same studies and drew 
the same conclusions ; that he was employed 
by King John II. in making discoveries, and 
that he met with deserved honour for the im- 
portant services which he rendered to the 
crown of Portugal. But there are such diffi- 
culties attending the story of his discovering 
America as appear to me insuperable. These 
I shall state, together with some remarks on 
the authorities produced by M. Otto. 

The first of his authorities contains several 

* No. 35, p. 263. 
1 R 


assertions which are contradicted by other 
histories :* 1. That Isabella, daughter of 
John, king of Portugal, reigned after the 
death of Philip, duke of Burgundy, surnamed 
the Good. 2. That to this lady, when re- 
gent of the duchy of Burgundy and Flan- 
ders, Behaim paid a visit in 1459. And, 3. 
That, having informed her of his designs, he 
procured a vessel, in which he made the dis- 
covery of the island of Fayal in 1460. 

It is true that Philip, duke of Burgundy 
and Flanders, surnamed the Good, married 
Isabella, the daughter of John L, king of 
Portugal ; but Philip did not die till 1467, 
and was immediately succeeded by his son 
Charles, surnamed the Bold, then thirty-four 
years of age. There could therefore have 
been no interregnum nor female regent after 
the death of Philip ; and, if there had been, 
the time of Behaim's visit will not correspond 
with it, that being placed in 1459, eight years 
before the death of Philip. Such a mistake, 
in point of fact and of chronology, is suffi- 
cient to induce a suspicion that the " archives 
of Nuremberg" are too deficient in accuracy 
to be depended on as authorities. 

* Memoirs of Philip de Comines. Mezeray's and Henault'i 
History of France. Collier's Dictionary. 


With respect to the discovery of Fayal in 
1460, M. Otto acknowledges that it is " con- 
trary to the received opinion ;" and well he 
might ; for the first of the Azores, St. Maria, 
was discovered in 1431 ; the second, St. Mi- 
chael, in 1444; the third, Terceira, in 1445 ; 
and before 1449, the islands St. George, Gra- 
ciosa, Fayal, and Pico were known to the 
Portuguese.* However true it may be that 
Behaim settled in the island of Fayal, and 
lived there twenty years, yet his claim to the 
discovery of it must have a better foundation 
than the " archives of Nuremberg" before it 
can be admitted. 

The genuine account of the settlement of 
Fayal, and the interest which Behaim had in 
it, is thus related by Dr. Forster, a German 
author of much learning and good credit. 

" After the death of the infant Don Henry 
[which happened in 1463], the island of Fayal 
was made a present of by [his sister] Isabella, 
duchess of Burgundy, to Jobst von Hurter, a 
native of Nuremberg. Hurter went in 1466, 
with a colony of more than 200(5 Flemings of 
both sexes, to his property, the isle of Fayal. 
The duchess had provided the Flemish emi- 

* Forster's History of Voyages and Discoveries, p. 256, 257, 
Dublin edition 


grants with all necessaries for two years, and 
the colony soon increased. About the year 
1486 Martin Behaim married a daughter of 
the Chevalier Jobst von Hurter, and had a 
son by her named Martin. Jobst von Hur- 
ter and Martin Behaim, both natives of Nu- 
remberg, were lords of Fayal and Pico."* 

The date of the supposed discovery of 
America by Behaim is placed by M. Otto in 
1484, eight years before the celebrated voy- 
age of Columbus. In the same year we are 
toldt that Alonzo Sanchez de Huelva was 
driven by a storm to the westward for twen- 
ty-nine days, and saw an island, of which, at 
his return, he gave information to Columbus. 
From both these supposed discoveries this 
conclusion is drawn, " that Columbus would 
never have thought of this expedition to 
America had not Behaim gone there before 
him." Whether it be supposed that Behaim 
and Sanchez sailed in the same ship, or that 
they made a discovery of two different parts 
of America in the same year, it is not easy 
to understand from the authorities produced ; 
but what destroys the credibility of this plau- 

* Forster's History of Voyages and Discoveries, p. 257-259. 
t Garcilasso de la Vega's Commentaries Preface. Pur- 
chas, vol. T., p. 1454 


sible tale is, that Columbus had formed his 
theory and projected his voyage at least ten 
years before, as appears by his correspond- 
ence with Paul, a learned physician of Flor- 
ence, which bears date in 1474.* It is un- 
certain at what time Columbus first made his 
application to the King of Portugal to fit him 
out for a Western voyage, but it is certain 
that, after a negotiation with him on the sub- 
ject, and after he had found out the secret 
and unsuccessful attempt which had been 
made to anticipate a discovery, he quitted 
that kingdom in disgust, and went into Spain 
in the latter end of the year 1484. The au- 
thority of these facts is unquestioned ; and 
from them it fully appears that a prior dis- 
covery of America by Behaim or Sanchez, 
made in 1484, could not have been the found- 
ation of the enterprise of Columbus. 

M. Otto speaks of letters written by Be- 
haim in 1486, in the German language, and 
preserved in the " archives of Nuremberg," 
which support this claim to a prior discovery. 
As these letters are not produced, no certain 
opinion can be formed concerning them ; but, 
from the date of the letters, and from the 
voyages which Behaim actually performed in 
* Life, ch. viii. 


the two preceding years, we may, with great 
probability, suppose that they related to the 
discovery of Congo, in Africa, to which Be- 
haim has an uncontroverted claim. 

I will now state the facts relative to this 
event, partly from the authorities cited by M. 
Otto, and partly from others. 

Dr. Robertson places the discovery of Con- 
go and Benin in 1483, and with him Dr. 
Forster agrees. The authors of the modern 
Universal History* speak of two voyages to 
that coast, the first in 1484, the second in 
1485, both of which were made by Diego 
Cam,t who is said to have been one of the 
most expert sailors, and of an enterprising 
genius. From the chronicle of Hartman 
Schedl, as quoted by M. Otto, we are inform- 
ed that Behaim sailed with Cam in these voy- 
ages, which are described in the following 
terms : " These two, by the bounty of Heav- 
en, coasting along the Southern Ocean, and, 
having crossed the equator, got into the other 
hemisphere, where, facing to the eastward, 
their shadows projected towards the south, 

* Vol. xvi., p. 133, 135. 

t Diego is the Spanish name of James, in Latin Jacobus, and 
in Portuguese Jago. Cam is in Latin Camus or Canus, and 
in Spanish Cano ; these different names are found in different 


and right hand." No words could be more 
completely descriptive of a voyage from Por- 
tugal to Congo, as any person may be satis- 
fied by inspecting a map of Africa ; but how 
could M. Otto imagine that the discovery of 
America was accomplished in such a voyage 
as this ? " Having finished this cruise," con- 
tinues Schedl, " in the space of twenty-six 
months, they returned to Portugal with the 
loss of many of their seamen by the violence 
of the climate." This latter circumstance 
also agrees very well with the climate of the 
African coast;* but Schedl says not a word 
of the discovery of America. 

M. Otto goes on to tell us " that the most 
positive proof of the great services rendered 
to the crown of Portugal by Behaim is the 
recompense bestowed on him by King John 
II., who, in the most solemn manner, knight- 
ed him in the presence of all his court." 
Then follows a particular detail of the cere- 
mony of installation., as performed on the 18th 
of February, 1485 ; and M. Otto fairly owns 
that this was " a reward for the discovery of 
Congo." Now let us bring the detached 
parts of the story together. 

Behaim was knighted on the 18th of Feb- 
* Sec Brookes's Gazetteer, Benin. 


ruary, 1485, for the discovery of Congo, in 
which he had been employed twenty-six 
months preceding, having within that time 
made two voyages thither in company with 
Diego Cam. It will follow, then, that the 
whole of the preceding years, 1484 and 1483, 
were taken up in these two voyages. This 
agrees very well with the accounts of the 
discovery of Congo in Robertson and Forster, 
and does not disagree with the modern Uni- 
versal History, a& far as the year 1484 is con- 
cerned ; which, unfortunately, is the year as- 
signed for Benaim's discovery of " that part 
of America called Brazil, and his sailing even 
to the Straits of Magellan." 

The only thing in M. Otto's memoir which 
bears any resemblance to a solution of this 
difficulty is this. "We may suppose that 
Behaim, engaged in an expedition to Congo, 
was driven by the winds to Fernambuco, and 
from thence by the currents towards the coast 
of Guiana." But suppositions without proof 
will avail little, and suppositions against proof 
will avail nothing. The two voyages to Con- 
go are admitted. The course is described, 
and the time is determined ; and both these 
are directly opposed to the supposition of his 
being driven by winds and currents to Amer- 


ica. For, if he had been driven out of his 
course, and had spent " several years in ex- 
amining the American islands, and discover- 
ing the strait which bears the name of Ma- 
gellan," and if one of those years was the 
year 1484, then he could not have spent 
twenty-six months preceding February, 1485, 
in the discovery of Congo ; but of this we 
have full and satisfactory evidence ; the dis- 
covery of America, therefore, must be given 

There is one thing farther in this memoir 
which deserves a particular remark, and that 
is the reason assigned by M. Otto, for which 
the King of Portugal declined the proposal 
of Columbus to sail to India by the West. 
" The refusal of John II. is a proof of the 
knowledge which that politic prince had al- 
ready procured of the existence of a new 
Continent, which offered him only barren 
lands inhabited by unconquerable savages." 
This knowledge is supposed to have been de- 
rived from the discoveries made by Behaim. 
But, not to urge again the chronological dif- 
ficulty with which this conjecture is embar 
rassed, I will take notice of two circumstan- 
ces in the life of Columbus which militate 
with this idea. The first is, that when Co- 



lumbus had proposed a Western voyage to 
King John, and he declined it, " The king, 
by the advice of one Doctor Calzadilla, re- 
solved to send a caravel privately to attempt 
that which Columbus had proposed to him ; 
because, in case those countries were so dis- 
covered, he thought himself not obliged to 
bestow any great reward. Having speedily 
equipped a caravel, which' was to carry sup- 
plies to the islands of Cabb Verde, he sent it 
that way which the admiral proposed to go. 
But those whom he sent wanted the knowl- 
edge, constancy, and spirit of the admiral. 
After wandering many days upon the sea, 
they turned back to the islands of Cabo 
Verde, laughing at the undertaking, and say- 
ing it was impossible there should be any land 
in those seas."* 

Afterward "the king, being sensible how 
faulty they were whom he had sent with the 
caravel, had a mind to restore the admiral to 
his favour, and desired that he should renew 
the discourse of his enterprise ; but, not being 
so diligent to put this in execution as the ad- 
miral was in getting away, he lost that good 
opportunity; the admiral, about the end of 
the year 1484, stole away privately out of 

* Life of Columbus, ch. xi. 


Portugal for fear of being stopped by the 
king." This account does not agree with 
the supposition of a prior discovery. 

The other circumstance is an interview 
which Columbus had with the people of Lis- 
bon and the King of Portugal on his return 
from his first voyage. For it so happened 
that Columbus, on his return, was by stress 
of weather obliged to take shelter in the port 
of Lisbon ; and, as soon as it was known that 
he had come from the Indies, " the people 
thronged to see the natives whom he had 
brought and hear the news, so that the cara- 
vel would not contain them : some of them 
praising God for so great a happiness, oth- 
ers storming that they had lost the discovery 
through their king's incredulity." 

When the king sent for Columbus " he was 
doubtful what to do ; but, to take off all sus- 
picion that he came from his conquests, he 
consented." At the interview " the king of- 
fered him all that he stood in need of for the 
service of their Catholic majesties, though he 
thought that, forasmuch as he had been a cap- 
tain in Portugal, that conquest belonged to 
him. To which the admiral answered that 
he knew of no such agreement, and that he 
had strictly observed his orders, which were 


not to go to the mines of Portugal [the Gold 
Coast], nor to Guinea."* Had John II. heard 
of Behaim's voyage to a Western Continent, 
would he not have claimed it by priority of 
discovery rather than by the commission 
which Columbus had formerly borne in his 
service ? Had such a prior discovery been 
made, could it have been concealed from the 
people of Lisbon ? And would they have 
been angry that their king had lost it by his 
incredulity ? These circumstances appear to 
me to carry sufficient evidence that no discov- 
ery of America pridr to that of Columbus had 
come to the knowledge of the King of Portu- 

In answer to the question, " Why are we 
searching the archives of an imperial city for 
the causes of an event which took place in 
the western extremity of Europe ?" M. Otto 
gives us to understand that, " from the four- 
teenth to the sixteenth centuries, the Germans 
were the best geographers, the best histori- 
ans, and the most enlightened politicians." 
Not to detract from the merit of the German 
literati of those ages, I think we may give 
equal credit to a learned German author of 
the present age, Dr. John Reinhold Forster, 

* Life, ch. xli. 


who appears to have a thorough understand- 
ing of the claims, not only of his own coun- 
trymen, but of others. In his indefatigable 
researches into the discoveries which have 
been made by all nations, though he has given 
due credit to the adventures of Behaim in 
Congo and Fayal, yet he has not said one 
word of his visiting America, which he cer- 
tainly would have done if, in his opinion, there 
had been any foundation for it. 



To Christopher Columbus, Paul the Physician wisheth health. 

I PERCEIVE your noble and earnest desire to 
sail to those parts where the spice is produ- 
ced, and therefore, in answer to a letter of 
yours, I send you another letter, which some 
days since I wrote to a friend of mine and 
servant to the King of Portugal, before the 
wars of Castile, in answer to another he 
wrote to me, by his highness's order, upon 
this same account ; and I send you another 
sea chart like that I sent him, which will sat- 
isfy your demands. The copy of the letter is 
this : 


To Ferdinand, Martinez, Canon of Lisbon, Paul the Physician 

wisheth health. 

I am very glad to hear of the familiarity 
you have with your most serene and magnif- 
icent king ; and though I have very often 
discoursed concerning the short way there is 
from hence to the Indies, where the spice is 
produced, by sea, which I look upon to be 
shorter than that you take by the coast of 
Guinea, yet you now tell me that his high- 
ness would have me make out and demon- 
strate it, so as it may be understood and put 
in practice. Therefore, though I could bet- 
ter show it him with a globe in my hand, and 
make him sensible of the figure of the world, 
yet I have resolved, to render it more easy 
and intelligible, to show this way upon a 
chart, such as are used in navigation, and 
therefore I send one to his majesty, made 
and drawn with my own hand, wherein is set 
down the utmost bounds of the west, from 
Ireland in the north to the farthest part of 
Guinea, with all the islands that lie in the 
way. Opposite to which western coast is de- 
scribed the beginning of the Indies, with the 
islands and places whither you may go, and 
how far you may bend from the north pole to- 
wards the equinoctial, and for how long a 


time ; that is, how many leagues you may 
sail before you come to those places most 
fruitful in all sorts of spice, jewels, and pre- 
cious stones. Do not wonder if I term that 
country where the spice grows west, that pro- 
duct being generally ascribed to the east ; 
because those who shall sail westward will al- 
ways find those places in the west, and they 
that travel by land eastward will ever find 
those places in the east. The straight lines 
that lie lengthways in the chart show the dis- 
tance there is from west to east ; the others 
cross them, show the distance from north to 
south. I have also marked down in the said 
chart several places in India where ships 
might put in upon any storm, or contrary 
winds, or any other accident unforeseen. 

Moreover, to give you full information of 
all those places which you are very desirous 
to know, you must understand that none but 
traders live or reside in all those islands, and 
that there is as great number of ships and 
seafaring people with merchandise as in any 
other part of the world, particularly in a 
most noble port called Zacton, where there 
are every year a hundred large ships of pep- 
per loaded and unloaded, besides many other 
ships that take in other spice. 

This country is mighty populous, and 


are many provinces and kingdoms, and innu- 
merable cities under the dominion of a prince 
called the kham, which name signifies king 
of kings, who for the most part resides in the 
Province of Cathay. His predecessors were 
very desirous to have commerce and be in 
amity with Christians, and 200 years since 
sent ambassadors to the pope, desiring him 
to send them many learned men and doctors 
to teach them our faith ; but, by reason of 
some obstacles the ambassadors met with, 
they returned back without coming to Rome. 
Besides, there came an ambassador to Pope 
Eugenius IV., who told him the great friend- 
ship there was between those princes, their 
people, and the Christians. I discoursed 
with him a long while upon the several mat- 
ters of the grandeur of their royal structures, 
and of the greatness, length, and breadth of 
their rivers. He told me many wonderful 
things of the multitude of towns and cities 
founded along the banks of the rivers, and 
that there were 200 cities upon one river 
only, with marble bridges over it of a great 
length and breadth, and adorned with abun- 
dance of pillars. This country deserves as 
well as any other to be discovered ; and there 
may not only be great profit made there, and 
many things of value found, but also gold, 


silver, all sorts of precious stones, and spices 
in abundance, which are not brought into our 
parts. And it is certain that many wise men, 
philosophers, astrologers, and other persons 
skilled in all arts, and very ingenious, govern 
that mighty province, and command their ar- 

From Lisbon directly westward there are 
in the chart 26 spaces, each of which contains 
250 miles, to the most noble and vast city of 
Quisay, which is 100 miles in compass, that 
is, 35 leagues ; in it there are ten marble 
bridges. The name signifies a heavenly city, 
of which wonderful things are reported as to 
the ingenuity of the people, the buildings, and 
the revenues. This space above mentioned 
is almost the third part of the globe. This 
city is in the province of Mango, bordering 
on that of Cathay, where the king for the 
most part resides. 

From the island Antilla, which you call 
the Seven Cities, and of which you have some 
knowledge, to the most noble island of Cipan- 
g-0, are ten spaces, which make 2500 miles, or 
225 leagues ; which island abounds in gold, 
pearls, and precious stones ; and you must 
understand, they cover their temples and pal- 
aces with plates of pure gold : so that, for want 

I. S 


of knowing the way, all these things are hid- 
den and concealed, and yet may be gone to 
with safety. 

Much more might be said ; but, having told 
you what is most material, and you being 
wise and judicious, I am satisfied there is no- 
thing of it but what you understand, and 
therefore I will not be more prolix. Thus 
much may serve to satisfy your curiosity, it 
being as much as the shortness of time and 
my business would permit me to say. So I 
remain most ready to satisfy and serve his 
highness to the utmost, in all the commands 
he shall lay upon me. 

Florence, June 25, 1474. 


To Christopher Columbus, Paul the Physician wisheth heattfl. 

I received your letters with the things you 
sent me, which I shall take as a great favour, 
and commend your noble and ardent desire 
of sailing from east to west, as it is marked 
out in the chart I sent you, which would de- 
monstrate itself better in the form of a globe. 

I am glad it is well understood, and that 
the voyage laid down is not only possible, but 
true, certain, honourable, very advantageous, 
and most glorious among all Christians. Yor 


cannot be perfect in the knowledge of it but 
by experience and practice, as I have had in 
great measure, and by the solid and true in- 
formation of worthy and wise men, who have 
come from those parts to this court of Rome ; 
and from merchants who have traded long in 
those parts, and are persons of good reputa- 
tion. So that, when the said voyage is per- 
formed, it will be to powerful kingdoms, and 
to the most noble cities and provinces, rich 
and abounding in all things we stand in need 
of, particularly in all sorts of spice in great 
quantities, and store of jewels. 

This will, moreover, be grateful to those 
kings and princes who are very desirous to 
converse and trade with Christians of these 
our countries, whether it be for some of them 
to become Christians, or else to have commu- 
nication with the wise and ingenious men of 
these parts, as well in point of religion as in 
all sciences, because of the extraordinary ac- 
count they have of the kingdoms and govern- 
ment of these parts. For which reasons, and 
many more that might be alleged, I do not at 
all admire that you, who have a great heart, 
and all the Portuguese nation, which has ever 
had notable men in all undertakings, be ea- 
gerly bent upon performing this voyage. 



THOUGH the English did not prosecute the 
discovery made by the Cabots, nor avail 
themselves of the only advantages which it 
could have afforded them, yet their neighbours 
of Brittany,* Normandy, and Biscay wisely 
pursued the track of those adventurers, and 
took vast quantities of cod on the banks of 

In 1524, John Verazzani,f a Florentine in 
the service of France, ranged the coast of the 
new continent from Florida to Newfound- 
land, and gave it the name of New France. 
In a subsequent voyage he was cut to pieces 
and devoured by the savages. 

It is remarkable that the three great Euro- 
pean kingdoms, Spain, England, and France, 
made use of three Italians to conduct their 
discoveries : Columbus, a Genoese ; Cabot, 
a Venetian ;$ and Verazzani, a Florentine. 

* It is supposed that the island of Cape Breton took its name 
Irom the Bretons, the fishermen of Brittany. 

t [For a brief notice of Verazanni, see Chronological Detail. 

t [Cabot, though of Venetian extraction, was born in Bris- 
tol, England. H.] 

C ARTIER. 231 

This is a proof that among the Italians there 
were at that time persons of superior maritime 
knowledge to the other nations of Europe ; 
though the penurious spirit of those repub- 
lics, their mutual jealousy and petty wars, 
made them overlook the benefits resulting 
from extensive enterprises, and leave the vast 
regions of the New World to be occupied by 

The voyages of Verazzani having produced 
no addition to the revenue of France, all 
farther attempts to perfect his discoveries 
were laid aside ; but the fishery being found 
conducive to the commercial interest, it was 
at length conceived that a plantation in the 
neighbourhood of the banks might be advan- 
tageous. This being represented to King 
Francis I. by Chabot the admiral, JAMES 
C ARTIER, *J of St. Malo, was commissioned to 
explore the country, with a view to find a 
place for a colony. $ 

On the 20th of April, 1534, he sailed from 
St. Malo with two ships of sixty tons and 
122 men, and on the 10th of May came in 
sight of Bonavista, on the island of New- 

* His name is sometimes written Quartier. 

t [The French, of course, write the baptismal name Jacques. 
He was a native of St. Malo, and an able and experienced pilot. 

t Forster's Northern Voyages, p. 437. 


foundland. But the ice which lay along the 
shore obliged him to go southward, and he 
entered a harbour to which he gave the name 
of St. Catharine,* where he waited for fair 
weather and fitted his boats. 

As soon as the season would permit,t he 
sailed northward, and examined several har- 
bours and islands on the coast of New- 
foundland, in one of which he found such a 
quantity of birds that in half an hour two 
boats were loaded with them, and, after they 
had eaten as many as they could, five or six 
barrels full were salted for each ship. This 
place was called Bird Island. 

Having passed Cape de Grat, the northern 
extremity of the land, he entered the Straits 
of Bellisle, and visited several harbours on 
the opposite coast of Labrador, one of which 
he called Cartier's Sound. The harbour is 
described as one of the best in the world, 
but the land is stigmatized as the place to 
which Cain was banished, no vegetation be- 
ing produced among the rocks but thorns and 
moss. Yet, bad as it was, there were inhab- 
itants in it, who lived by catching seals, and 
seemed to be a wandering tribe.t 

* Called in some maps Catalina. 

t [May 21st. Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 202. H.J 

J Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 201-211 

C A.RTIER. 233 

In circumnavigating the great island of 
Newfoundland, they found the weather in 
general cold ; but when they had crossed the 
gulf in a southwesterly direction to the conti- 
nent, they came into a deep bay, where the 
climate was so warm that they named it Baye 
de Chaleur, or the Bay of Heat. Here were 
several kinds of wild berries, roses, and 
meadows of grass. In the fresh waters they 
caught salmon in great plenty. 

Having searched in vain for a passage 
through the bay, they quitted it, and sailed 
along the coast eastward, till they came to 
the smaller bay of Gaspe, where they sought 
shelter from a tempest, and were detained 
twelve days in the month of July. In this 
place Cartier performed the ceremony of taJ 
king possession for the King of France. A 
cross of thirty feet high was erected on a 
point of land. On this cross was suspended 
a shield, with the arms of France and the 
words Vive le Roy de France. Before it the 
people kneeled uncovered, with their hands 
extended and their eyes lifted towards heav- 
en. The natives who were present beheld 
the ceremony at first with silent admiration, 
but after a while, an old man, clad in a 
bear's skin, made signs to them that the land 


was his, and that they should not have it 
without his leave. They then informed him 
by signs that the cross was intended only as 
a mark of direction, by which they might 
again find the port, and they promised to re- 
turn the next year, and to bring iron and oth- 
er commodities. 

They thought it proper, however, to con- 
ciliate the old man's good-will by entertain- 
ing him on board the ship and making him 
several presents, by which means they so 
prevailed on him that he permitted Cartier to 
carry two of his sons, young men, to France, 
on the security of a promise that he would 
bring them back at his return the next spring. 

From Gaspe he sailed so far into the Great 
River, afterward called St. Lawrence, as to 
discover land on the opposite side ; but the 
weather being boisterous, and the current 
setting against him, he thought it best to re- 
turn to Newfoundland, and then to France, 
where he arrived safe in the harbour of St. 
Malo on the fifth of September. 

The discoveries made in this voyage exci- 
ted farther curiosity ; and the Vice-admiral 
Melleraye* represented Cartier's merits to 

* [Hakluyt, Hi., 201, calls him " Sir Charles do Mouy, knight,, 
lorde of Melleraye," &c. H.] 

C A R T I E K. ' 235 

the king so favourably as to procure for him 
a more ample equipment. Three ships, one 
of 120, one of 60, and one of 40 tons, were 
destined to perform another voyage in the en- 
suing spring ; and several young men of dis 
tinction entered as volunteers, to seek adven- 
tures in the New World. When they were 
ready to sail, the whole company, after the 
example of Columbus, went in procession to 
church on Whitsunday, where the Bishop of 
St. Malo pronounced his blessing on them. 
They sailed on the 19th of May, 1535. Meet- 
ing with tempestuous weather, the ships were 
separated, and did not join again till Cartier, 
in the largest ship, arrived at Bird Island,* 
where he again filled his boats with fowls, 
and on the 26th of July was joined by the 
other vessels. 

From Bird Island they pursued the same 
course as in the preceding summer ; and hav- 
ing cojne into the gulf on the western side of 
Newfoundland, gave it the name of St. Law- 
rence. Here they saw abundance of whales. 
Passing between the island of Assumption 
(since called Anticostif) and the northern 

* [July 7th. H.] 

t [Called by the natives Natiscotie, whence the presen* 
name. Forster, 439. H.] 


shore, they sailed up the great river till they 
came to a branch on the northern side, which 
the young natives who were on board called 
Saguenay ; the main river, they told him, 
would carry him to Hochelaga, the capital of 
the whole country. 

After spending some time in exploring the 
northern coast to find an opening to the 
northward, in the beginning of September 
he sailed up the river, and discovered several 
islands, one of which, from the multitude of 
filberts, he called Coudres ; and another, from 
the vast quantity of grapes, he named Bac- 
chus (now Orleans). This island was full of 
inhabitants, who subsisted by fishing. 

When the ships had come to anchor be- 
tween the N.W. side of the island and the 
main, Cartier went on shore with his two 
young savages. The people of the country 
were at first afraid of them ; but, hearing the 
youths speak to them in their own language, 
they became sociable, and brought eels and 
other fish, with a quantity of Indian corn in 
ears, for the refreshment of their new guests, 
in return for which they were presented with 
such European baubles as were pleasing to 

The next day, Donacona, the prince of the 

C A R T I E R. 237 

place, came to visit them, attended by twelve 
boats ; but, keeping ten of them at a distance, 
he approached with two only, containing six- 
teen men. In the true spirit of hospitality, 
he made a speech, accompanied with signifi- 
cant gestures, welcoming the French to his 
country, and offering his service to them. 
The young savages Taignoagni and Doma- 
gaia answered him, reporting all which they 
had seen in France, at which he appeared 
to be pleased. Then approaching the cap- 
tain, who held out his hand, he kissed it, and 
laid it round his own neck, in token of friend- 
ship. Cartier, on his part, entertained Dona- 
cona with bread and wine, and they parted 
mutually pleased. 

The next day Cartier went up in his boat 
to find a harbour for his ships, the season 
being so far advanced that it became neces- 
sary to secure them. At the west end of the 
Isle of Bacchus he found " a goodly and 
pleasant sound, where is a little river and 
haven, about three fathoms deep at high wa- 
ter." To this he gave the name of St. Croix, 
and determined there to lay up his ships. 

Near this place was a village called Stada- 
cona, of which Donacona was the lord. It 
was environed with forest-trees, some of which 


bore fruit ; and under the trees was a growth 
of wild hemp. As Cartier was returning to 
his ships, he had another specimen of the 
hospitable manners of the natives. A com- 
pany of people, of both sexes, met him on 
the shore of the little river, singing and dan- 
cing up to their knees in water. In return 
for their courtesy, he gave them knives and 
beads, and they continued their music till he 
was beyond hearing it. 

When Cartier had brought his ships to the 
harbour and secured them, he intimated his 
intention to pass in his boats up the river to 
Hochelaga. Donacona was loth to part with 
him, and invented several artifices to prevent 
his going thither. Among others, he contri- 
ved to dress three of his men in black and 
white skins, with horns on their heads, and 
their faces besmeared with coal, to make them 
resemble infernal spirits. They were put into 
a canoe and passed by the ships, brandishing 
their horns and making an unintelligible ha- 
rangue. Donacona, with his people, pursued 
and took them, on which they fell down as 
if dead. They were carried ashore into the 
woods, and all the savages followed them. 
A long discourse ensued, and the conclusion 
of the farce was, that these demons had 

C A R T I E R. 239 

brought news from the god of Hochelaga, 
that his country was so full of snow and ice 
that whoever should adventure thither would 
perish with the cold. The artifice afforded 
diversion to the French, but was too thin to 
deceive them. Cartier determined to pro- 
ceed ; and on the 19th of September, with 
his pinnace and two boats, began his voyage 
up the river to Hochelaga. 

Among the woods on the margin of the 
river were many vines loaded with ripe 
grapes, than which nothing could be a more 
welcome sight to Frenchmen, though the 
fruit was not so delicious as they had been 
used to taste in their own country. Along 
the banks were many huts of the natives, 
who made signs of joy as they passed, pre- 
sented them with fish, piloted them through 
narrow channels, carried them ashore on their 
backs, and helped them to get off their boats 
when aground. Some presented their chil- 
dren to them, and such as were of proper age 
were accepted. 

The water at that time of the year being 
low, their passage was rendered difficult ; 
but, by the friendly assistance of the natives, 
they surmounted the obstructions. On the 
28th of September they passed the rapids 


between the islands in the upper part of the 
Lake Arigouleme (now called St. Peters), and 
on the second of October they arrived at the 
Island of Hochelaga, where they had been 
expected, and preparations were made to give 
them a welcome reception. About a thou- 
sand persons came to meet them, singing and 
dancing, the men on one side, the women on 
the other, and the children in a distinct body. 
Presents offish and other victuals were brought, 
and in return were given knives, beads, and 
other trinkets. The Frenchmen lodged the 
first night in their boats, and the natives watch- 
ed on the shore, dancing round their fires du- 
ring the whole night. 

The next morning Cartier, with twenty-five 
of his company, went to visit the town, and 
were met on the way by a person of distinc- 
tion, who bade them welcome. To him they 
gave two hatchets and two knives, and hung 
over his neck a cross, which they taught him to 
kiss. As they proceeded they passed through 
groves of oak, from which the acorns were 
fallen and lay thick on the ground. Aftei 
this they came to fields of ripe corn, some of 
which was gathered. In the midst of these 
fields was situate the town of Hochelaga. 

It was of a round form, encompassed with 

CAR TIER. 241 

three lines of palisades, through which was 
one entrance, well secured with stakes and 
bars. On the inside was a rampart of timber, 
to which were ascents by ladders, and heaps 
of stones were laid in proper places for de- 
fence. In the town were about fifty long 
huts, built with stakes and covered with bark. 
In the middle of each hut was a fire, round 
which were lodging-places, floored with bark 
and covered with skins. In the upper part 
was a scaffold, on which they dried and pre- 
served their corn. To prepare it for eating, 
they pounded it in wooden mortars, and, 
having mixed it with water, baked it on hot 
stones. Besides corn they had beans, squash- 
es, and pumpkins.* They dried their fish 
and preserved them in troughs. These peo- 
ple lived chiefly by tillage and fishing, and 
seldom went far from home. Those on the 
lower parts of the river were more given to 
hunting, and considered the Lord of Hoche- 
laga as their sovereign, to whom they paid 

When the new guests were conducted to 
an open square in the centre of the town, the 
females came to them, rubbing their hands 

* [Or, as the narrative in Hakluyt, iii., 220, has it, "musk*- 
millions and very great cowcumbers " H.J 


and faces, weeping with joy at their arrival, 
and bringing their children to be touched by 
the strangers. They spread mats for them 
on the ground, while the men seated them- 
selves in a large circle on the outside. The 
king was then brought in a litter, on the 
shoulders of ten men, and placed on a mat 
next to the French captain. He was about 
fifty years old, and had no mark of distinc- 
tion but a coronet made of porcupine's quills 
dyed red, which he took off and gave to the 
captain, requesting him to rub his arms and 
legs, which were trembling with a palsy. 
Several persons, blind, lame, and withered 
with age, were also brought to be touched, 
as if they supposed that their new guests 
were messengers from Heaven invested with 
a power of healing diseases. Cartier grati- 
fied them as well as he could, by laying his 
hands on them and repeating some devotion- 
al passages from a service-book which he had 
in his pocket, accompanying his ejaculations 
with significant gestures, and lifting up his 
eyes to heaven. The natives attentively ob- 
served and imitated all his motions. 

Having performed this ceremony, he desi- 
red all the men, women, and children to ar- 
range themselves in separate bodies. To the 

C A R T I E R. 243 

men he gave hatchets, to the women beads, 
and to the children rings. He then ordered 
his drums and trumpets to sound, which 
highly pleased the company and set them to 

Being desirous of ascending the hill, under 
which the town was built, the natives con- 
ducted them to the summit, where they were 
entertained with a most extensive and beau- 
tiful prospect of mountains, woods, islands, 
and waters. They observed the course of 
the river above, and some falls of water in it ; 
and the natives informed them that they might 
sail on it for three months ; that it ran through 
two or three great lakes, beyond which was 
a sea of fresh water, to which they knew of 
no bounds, and that on the other side of the 
mountains there was another river which ran 
in a contrary direction to the southwest, 
through a country full of delicious fruits, and 
free from snow and ice ; that there was found 
such metal as the captain's silver whistle and 
the haft of a dagger belonging to one of the 
company, which was gilt with gold. Being 
shown some copper, they pointed to the north- 
ward, and said it came from Saguenay. To 
this hill Cartier gave the name of Montreal^ 

which it has ever since retained. 
I. T 


The visit being finished, the natives accom- 
panied the French to their boats, carrying 
such as were weary on their shoulders. They 
were loth to part with their guests, and fol- 
lowed them along the shore of the river to a 
considerable distance. 

On the fourth of October Cartier and his 
company departed from Hochelaga. In pass- 
ing down the river they erected a cross on 
the point of an island which, with three oth- 
ers, lay in the mouth of a shallow river, on 
the north side, called Fouetz. On the elev- 
enth they arrived at the Port de St. Croix, 
and found that their companions had enclosed 
the ships with a palisade and rampart, on 
which they had mounted cannon. 

The next day Donacona invited them to 
his residence, where they were entertained 
with the usual festivity and made the custom- 
ary presents. They observed that these peo- 
ple used the leaves of an herb [tobacco], which 
they preserved in pouches made of skins and 
smoked in stone pipes. It was very offensive 
to the French,* but the natives valued it as 

* [The use of this weed was a matter of great astonishment, 
as well as disgust, to the French. The writer of Cartier's voy- 
age says, " they sucke so long that they fill their bodies full of 
smoke, till that it commeth out of their mouth and nostrils, even 
as out of the tunnel of a chimney." H.] 

C A R T I R. 245 

contributing much to the preservation of their 
health. Their houses appeared to be well 
supplied with provisions. Among other things 
which were new to the French, they observ- 
ed the scalps of five men spread and dried 
like parchment. These were taken from their 
enemies the Toudamani, who came from the 
south, and were continually at war with them. 

Being determined to spend the winter 
among these friendly people, they traded with 
them for the provisions which they could 
spare, and the river supplied them with fish 
till it was hard frozen. 

In December the scurvy began to make its 
appearance among the natives, and Cartier 
prohibited all intercourse Avith them ; but it 
was not long before his own men were taken 
with it. It raged with uncontrolled violence 
for above two months, and by the middle of 
February, out of one hundred and ten per- 
sons, fifty were sick at once, and eight or ten 
had died. 

In this extremity Cartier appointed a day 
of solemn humiliation and prayer. A cruci- 
fix was placed on a tree, and as many as were 
able to walk went in procession, through the 
ice and snow, singing the seven penitential 
Psalms, and performing other devotional ex- 


ercises. At the close of the solemnity Cartier 
made a vow that, " if it would please God to 
permit him to return to France, he would go 
in pilgrimage to our Lady of E/oquemado." 
But it was necessary to watch as well as pray. 
To prevent the natives from knowing their 
weak and defenceless state, he obliged all 
who were able to make as much noise as 
possible with axes and hammers ; and told 
the natives that his men were all busily em- 
ployed, and that he would not suifer any of 
them to go from the ships till their work was 
done. The ships were fast frozen up from 
the middle of November to the middle of 
March ; the snow was four feet deep, and 
higher than the sides of the ships above the 
ice. The severity of the winter exceeded all 
which they had ever experienced ; the scurvy 
still raged ; twenty-five men had fallen vic- 
tims to it, and the others were so weak and 
low in spirits that they despaired of ever see- 
ing their native country. 

In the depth of this distress and desponden- 
cy, Cartier, who had escaped the disease, in 
walking one day on the ice met some of the 
natives, among whom was Domagaia, one of 
the young men who had been with him to 
France, and who then resided with his coun- 

C A R T I E R. 247 

trymen at Stadacona. He had been sick 
with the scurvy his sinews had been shrunk 
and his knees swollen, his teeth loose, and his 
gums rotten ; but he was then recovered, and 
told Carlier of a certain tree, the leaves and 
bark of which he had used as a remedy. 
Cartier expressed his wish to see the tree, 
telling him that one of his people had been 
affected with the same disorder. Two wom- 
en were immediately despatched, who brought 
ten or twelve branches, and showed him how 
to prepare the decoction, which was thus : 
" to boil the bark and the leaves ; to drink 
of the liquor every other day ; and to put the 
dregs on the legs of the sick."* 

* This tree was called by the natives Ameda or Haneda. 
Mr. Hakluyt supposes it to have been the sassafras ; but, as the 
leaves were used with the bark in the winter, it must have been 
an evergreen. The dregs of the bark were also applied to the 
sore legs of the patient. From these circumstances I am in- 
clined to think that it was the spruce pine (pinus Canadensis), 
which is used in the same manner by the Indians, and such as 
have learned of them. Spruce beer is well known to be a pow- 
erful antiscorbutic ; and the bark of this and of the white pine 
serves as a cataplasm for wounds and sores.* 

* [We may add, that, for the use of Cartier's men, " a tree, 
as big as any oake in France, was spoyled and stripped bare." 
The narrator of the second voyage speaks of " a kind of tree 
which they call Hanneda, above three fathom about." We be- 
lieve the sassafras hardly attains so great size. That it was 
used for such purposes appears, however, from the following 


This remedy presently came into use on 
board the ships ; and its good effects were so 
surprising, that within one week they were 
completely healed of the scurvy ; and some 
who had venereal complaints of long stand- 
ing were also cured by the same means. 

The severity of winter having continued 
four months without intermission, at the re- 
turn of the sun the season became milder, and 
in April the ice began to break up. On the 
third day of May Cartier took possession of 
the country by erecting a cross thirty-five 
feet high, on which was hung a shield, bear- 
ing the arms of France, with this inscription : 
FRANCISCUS primus, Dei gratid, FRANCORUM 
Rex, regnal. 

The same day, being a day of festivity,* 
the two young savages Taignoagni and Dom- 
agaia, with Donacona, the chief of the place, 
came on board the ships, and were partly 

passage from Josselyn's " Account of Two Voyages to New- 
England" (3d Mass. Hist. Coll., iii., 257) : " The sassafras is 
no great tree ; I have met with some as big as my middle. A 
decoction of the roots and bark thereof is good for the scurvie, 
taken some time together, and laying upon the legs the leaves of 
white hellebore." This corresponds to Cartier's narrative ex- 
cept in the particular of size. H.] 

* [Being Holy Rood day, i. e., the day of the holy cross. 
Hakluyt, iii., 329. H.] 

C ARTIER. 249 

prevailed on and partly constrained to ac- 
company Cartier to France. A handsome 
present was made to the family of Donacona, 
but it was with great reluctance that his 
friends parted with him, though Cartier prom- 
ised to bring him again at the end of twelve 
months. On the sixth of May they sail- 
ed from the port of St. Croix, and, having 
touched at St. Peter's in Newfoundland, they 
arrived at St. Malo, in France, the sixth of 
July, 1536. 

Whether Cartier performed his vow to 
God the history does not tell us ; certain it 
is, however, that he did not perform his prom- 
ise to his passengers. The zeal for adven- 
tures of this kind began to abate. Neither 
gold nor silver were carried home. The ad- 
vantages of the fur-trade were not fully un- 
derstood, and the prospect of benefit from 
cultivation in the short summer of that cold 
climate was greatly overbalanced by the 
length and severity of a Canadian winter. 
The natives had been so often told of the ne- 
cessity of baptism in order to salvation, that, 
on their arrival in France, they were, at their 
own request, baptized ; but neither of them 
lived to see their native land again. 

The report which Cartier brought home of 


the fine country beyond the lakes* had, 
however, made such an impression on the 
minds of some, that, at the end of four years, 
another expedition was projected. Franci? 
de la Roche, lord of Roberval,t was com* 
missioned by the king as his lieutenant-gov- 
ernor in Canadat and Hochelaga. and Cartier 

* [It is worth our while to notice with what partial and erro- 
neous information, and, of course, unreasonable expectations, the 
expeditions of those days were undertaken. Gold and silver be- 
ing the chief objects of desire, Cartier greedily received from the 
natives accounts of rich mines, and doubtless reported them with 
no diminution. They told him of a people in Saguenay " very 
honest, with many inhabited towns, and great store of gold." 
Hakluyt, iii., 225. Donacona had informed him of "infinite 
rubies, gold, and other riches" there, and "white men who 
clothe themselves with woollen cloth, as we doe in France." 
Ib., 228. They reported, too, a country distant a month's sail, 
perhaps down the Mississippi, of " oranges, almonds, cinnamon, 
and cloves." Ib., 225, 232. The Indians who went with Car- 
tier to France told similar stories to the king. Whether he or 
the natives were most deluded in these representations we do 
not know. Probably, early aware of the cupidity of the 
French, they had framed their stories to satisfy it. H.J 

t [Hakluyt, iii., 232, calls him John Francis, &c. He was 
a nobleman of Picardy, of great weight in his own province, and 
on that account Francis I. used to call him " the little King of 
Vimieu." Forster, 441. H.] 

t [The name Canada, some say, was derived from a saying 
of Velasco, who, when he saw the barrenness of the country, no 
signs of gold or silver there, cried out " aca nada" (or aqui na- 
da), " Nothing here." Some of the old maps have the name Ca- 
da-nada, or Cape Nothing. Others, say more probably, that the 

C ARTIER. 251 

was appointed his pilot,* with the command 
of five ships. When they were ready to sail, 
Roberval had not finished his preparations, 
and was therefore detained. The king's or- 
ders to Cartier being positive, he sailed from 
St. Malo on the 23d of May, 1540. 

The winds were adverse and the voyage 
tedious. The ships were scattered, and did 
not arrive at the place of their destination till 
the 23d of August, when they came to the 
port of St. Croix in the River of Canada. 

The first inquiry made by the natives was 
for their countrymen who had been carried 
away. The answer was that Donacona was 
dead, and that the others had become great 
lords, were married in France, and refused 
to return. Neither sorrow nor resentment 
was shown on this occasion ; but a secret 
jealousy, which had long been working, re- 
ceived strength from an answer so liable to 

The history of this voyage being imperfect, 
\t is not possible to say in what particular 

name given by the natives to a town or village was Canada, 
which the French understood to be the name of the country. 
Forster, 438, note, and Hakluyt, iii., 232. H.] 

* [" Captain-general and leader of the shippes." The voyage 
jvas made at the joint expense of Roberval and of the king, 
Brands I. H.] 
I. U 


manner this j ealousy operated. Cartier made 
another excursion up the river, and pitched 
on a place about four leagues above St. 
Croix to lay up three of his vessels for the 
winter. The other two he sent back to 
France to inform the king of what they had 
done, and that Roberval had not arrived. 

At the new harbour which he had chosen 
for his ships was a small river, running in a 
serpentine course to the south. On the east- 
ern side of its entrance was a high and steep 
cliff, on the top of which they built a fort, 
and called it Charleburg. Below, the ships 
were drawn up and fortified, as they had 
been in the former winter which he spent 
here. Not far from the fort were some rocks 
containing crystals, which they denomina- 
ted diamonds ; and on the shore were picked 
up certain specks of a yellow substance, 
which their imaginations refined into gold. 
Iron ore was found in abundan'ce, and a kind 
of black slate, with veins of an apparent me- 
tallic substance. 

In what manner they passed the winter, the 
defective accounts which we have do not in- 
form us. In the spring of the following year, 
Cartier and his company, having heard no- 
thing of Roberval, and concluding that they 


were abandoned by their friends, and exposed 
to perish in a climate the most severe, and 
among people whose conduct towards them 
was totally changed, determined to return to 
France. Accordingly, having set sail at the 
breaking up of the ice, they arrived in the 
harbour of St. John in Newfoundland some 
time in June, where they met Roberval, who, 
with three ships and two hundred persons, 
male and female, had sailed from Rochelle in 
April,* and were on their way to establish a 
colony ki Canada. Cartier went on board 
Roberval's ship, and showed him the dia- 
monds and gold which he had found, but 
told him that the hostile disposition of the na- 
tives had obliged him to quit the country, 
which, however, he represented to him as ca- 
pable of profitable cultivation. Roberval or- 
dered him to return to Canada ; but Cartier 
privately sailed out of the harbour in the 
night, and pursued his voyage to France. 

Mortified and disappointed, Roberval con- 
tinued some time longer at St. John's before 
he proceeded, and about the end of July ar- 

* [Roberval sailed April 16, 1542. Hakluyt, iii., 240. The 
same author says that Cartier had gone " the year before." 
Cartier must have been there nearly two years when Roberval 
arrived. H.] 


rived at the place which Cartier had quitted. 
There he erected a fort on a commanding 
eminence, and another at its foot, in which 
were deposited all the provision, ammunition, 
artillery, implements of husbandry, and oth- 
er materials for the intended colony.* 

In September, two vessels were sent back 
to France, to carry specimens of crystal and 
fetch provisions for the next year, the stores 
which they had brought being much reduced. 
By the help of the fish which they took in the 
river, and the game which they procured 
from the savages, and by well husbanding 
their provisions, they lingered out a tedious 
winter, having suffered much from the scurvy, 
of which about fifty of them died. In addi- 
tion to this distress, Roberval exercised such 

* [Near the present site of Quebec. The fortifications oi 
what is now the Gibraltar of America are thus described in the 
narrative of Roberval : " The saide general!, at his first arrival^ 
built a fayre fort, which is very beautiful to behold and of great 
force, . . situated upon an high mountain, wherein were two 
-courtes of buyldings, a great tower, and another of fortie or fif- 
tie foot long : wherein there were divers chambers, an hall, a 
kitchen, houses of office, sellers, high and lowe, and neere unto 
it were an oven and milles, and a stove to warm men in, and a 
well before the house. There was also at the foote of the 
mountaine another lodging, part whereof was a great tower of 
two stories high, two courtes of good buyldings." Such was it 
in 1542. H.] 

C A R T I E R. 255 

severity in his government, that one man was 
hanged, several were laid in irons, and some 
of both sexes underwent the discipline of the 

In April the ice began to break up, and 
on the fifth of June he proceeded up the riv- 
er, leaving De Royeze, his lieutenant, to com- 
mand in his absence, with orders to embark 
for France if he should not return by the 
middle of July. 

As the account of the expedition ends here, 
we can only remark that the colony was bro- 
ken up, and no farther attempt was made by 
the French to establish themselves in Cana- 
da till after the expiration of half a century. 
The last account of Roberval is that, in 1549, 
he sailed with his brother on some voyage of 
discovery, and never returned.* 

In this first visit which the natives of Can- 
ada received from the Europeans, we have a 
striking instance of their primitive manners. 
Suspecting no danger, and influenced by no 
fear, they embraced the stranger with unaf- 
fected joy. Their huts were open to receive 
him, their fires and furs to give warmth and 
rest to his weary limbs ; their food was sha- 
red with him, or given in exchange for his tri- 

* [Bosman, History of Maryland, p. 41, says to the St 
Lawrence. H.] 


fles ; they were ready with their simple med- 
icines to heal his diseases and his wounds ; 
they would wade through rivers, and climb 
rocks and mountains to guide him in his 
way, and they would remember and requite 
his kindness more than it deserved. 

Unhappily for them, they set too high a 
value on their new guest. Imagining him to 
be of a heavenly origin, they were extrava- 
gant and unguarded in their first attachment, 
and, from some specimens of his superiority, 
obvious to their senses, they expected more 
than ought ever to be expected from beings 
of the same species. But when the mistake 
was discovered, and the stranger whom they 
had adored proved to be no more than hu- 
man, having the same inferior desires and 
passions with themselves especially when 
they found their confidence misplaced and 
their generous friendship ill requited then the 
rage of jealousy extinguished the virtue of 
benevolence, and they struggled to rid them- 
selves of him as an enemy whom they had 
received into their bosom as a friend. 

On the other hand, it was too common for 
the European adventurer to regard the man 
of nature as an inferior being ; and, while he 
availed himself of his strength and experience, 

C A R T I E K. 257 

to abuse his confidence, and repay his kind- 
ness with insult and injury, to stigmatize him 
as a heathen and a savage, and to bestow on 
him the epithets of deceitful, treacherous, and 
cruel, though he himself had first set the ex- 
ample of these detestable vices. 



THE travels and transactions of this adven- 
turer are of so little importance in the history 
of America, that I should not have thought 
them worthy of much notice had it not been 
that some gentlemen of ingenuity and learn- 
ing have had recourse to the expedition of this 
Spaniard as a means of solving the question 
respecting the mounds and fortifications of a 
regular construction which, within a few years 
past, have been discovered in the thickest 
shades of the American forest. f Though the 
opinion seems to have been candidly given 
up by one of the writers who attempted to 
defend it, yet, as what was published on the 
subject may have impressed some persons 
with an idea that these works were of Euro- 

* [A minute and circumstantial narrative of De Solo's expe- 
dition was written by a "Portugese gentleman of Elvas," who 
accompanied him. It was translated about 1562, and is cited 
in these notes as the Relation. H.] 

t If the reader wishes to see a particular investigation of this 
hypothesis, he may consult the American Magazine, printed at 
New- York, for December, 1787, January and February, 1780, 
and some subsequent numbers, compared with the Columbian 
Magazine, printed at Philadelphia, for September and Novem- 
ber, 1788. 

s o T o. 259 

pean fabric, I shall briefly relate the history 
of Soto's march, and the difficulties which 
attend the supposition that he was the builder 
of any of these fortifications. 

After the conquest of Mexico and Peru in 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, the 
inextinguishable thirst for gold which had 
seized the Spanish adventurers prompted 
them to search for that bewitching metal 
wherever there could be any prospect of find- 
ing it. Three unsuccessful attempts had been 
made in Florida by Ponce, Gomez, and Nar- 
vaez ;* but, because these adventurers did 
not penetrate the interior parts of the Con- 
tinent, FERDINANDO DE Soxo,t governor of 

* [See Chronological Detail, &c. H.] 

t [De Soto was born at Xeres de Bajados (but, according to 
Garcilaso, at Villa Nuova de Barcarota, in Estrcmadura : see also 
Biog. Univ.), of a respectable family, but not distinguished for 
rank or wealth. By virtue of his natural energy and enthusi- 
asm he became interested in the then popular adventures in 
America, where he served under Pedrarias Davila, governor ot 
Darien, having "no more estate than a sword and buckler." 
With Pizarro in the conquest of Peru he commanded a troop ol 
horse, and gained much reputation as well as wealth. His share 
of the spoils in that expedition is said to have been 180,000 
crowns of gold. On his return to Spain he appeared at court 
with a magnificent retinue and equipage, " resolved to make 
himself be taken notice of by a sumptuous expense, though oth- 
erwise he had no inclination to liberality." Here he married 
the daughter of Pedrarias, and received the favourable notice of 
the emperor, who now made him governor of Cuba, and added 


Cuba, who had been a companion of the Pi- 
zarros in their Peruvian expedition, and had 
there amassed much wealth, projected a 
march into Florida, of which country he had 
the title of adelantado, or president. He 
sailed from the port of Havanna May 18, 
1539, with nine vessels, six hundred men,* 
two hundred and thirteen horses, and a herd 
of swine, and arrived on the 30th of the same 
month in the Bay of Espiritu Santo, on the 
western coast of the peninsula of Florida. 

Being a soldier of fortune and determined 
on conquest, he immediately pitched his camp 
and secured it. A foraging party met with 
a few Indians, who resisted them ; two were 
killed ; the others escaped, and reported to 

the title of "marquis of the lands which he might conquer." 
His inclination to invade Florida was strengthened, if not origi- 
nated, by the narrative of Cabeqa de Vaca, one of the survivors 
of the unfortunate expedition of Narvaez, who represented it as 
one of the richest countries in the world. Soto quickly assem- 
bled a company for this purpose, among whom were many cav- 
aliers of quality from Spain and Portugal. He equipped seven 
ships, and sailed from St. Lucar in the month of April, 1538. 
In the year which elapsed before he left Cuba for Florida, he 
sent two expeditions to explore the coast and select a suitable 
place for landing. The fleet with which he sailed from Havan- 
na consisted of five ships, two caravels, and two brigantines, 
with six hundred men. H.] 

* lu Prince's Chronology it is said that oto had 900 men , 
but he quotes Purchas for his authority, in whose book the num- 
ber is " sir hundred." 

SOTO. 261 

their countrymen that the warriors of fire 
had invaded their territories, upon which the 
smaller towns were deserted, and the natives 
hid in the woods.* 

Having met with a Spaniard of the party 
of Narvaez,t who had been wrecked dn the 
coast, and had been twelve years a captive 
with the Indians, Soto made use of him as a 
messenger to them to inquire for gold and 
silver ; and, wherever he could receive any 

* [The treatment of the Indians by De Soto and his party was 
marked by every circumstance of ferocious and brutal cruelty. 
They were hunted by bloodhounds, loaded with chains, forced 
to be baggage-carriers and guides, attacked on the slightest 
cause, and slaughtered like beasts. Take an example : " The 
general sent out two captains several ways to take Indians, who 
brought in a hundred, as well women as men, that were all divi- 
ded in this manner : The captain who took the prize set one or 
two apart for the governor, the rest were divided between the 
captain and soldiers. They were chained by the neck, and serv- 
ed to carry the baggage, pound the maize, and in other employ- 
ments wherein the chain incommoded them not too much." If 
any attempted to escape, " they paid dear for it." Relation, p. 
44. " Nor, indeed, did any of those who were put in chains 
ever return again" with the consent of their captors. Ib., 81. 
And again, " the Indians that served us, going naked and in 
irons during the bitter cold of winter, were almost all starved to 
death." Ib., 50. The historian of Elvas adds, that De Soto 
" could not endure that any Indian should be so bold as to fall 
foul upon a Christian, right or wrong/' Ib., 77. Once he or- 
dered an Indian to be burned alive merely to gain information 
of his route. Ib , 62. H.] 

t [John Ortiz. He died at Autiamque in 1542. H.J 


information respecting these precious metals, 
thither he directed his march. 

His manner of marching was this : The 
horsemen carried bags of corn and other pro- 
visions, the footmen marched by the side of 
the horses, and the swine were driven before 
them.* When they first landed they had 
thirteen female swine, which in two years in- 
creased to several hundreds ; the warmth of 
the climate being favourable to their propa- 
gation, and the forests yielding them a plenty 
of food. 

The first summer and winter were spent 
in the Peninsula of Florida, not far from the 
Bay of Apalache ; and in the beginning of 
the following spring, having sent back his 
vessels to Cuba for supplies, and left a part 
of his men at the port, where he expected the 

* [The fatigues and sufferings of the company were exces- 
sive. The footmen were obliged to carry their provision on their 
backs, and often reduced to extremities and death from the want 
of suitable food. Their journeys were over deserts and difficult 
mountains, or through tracts inhabited by those only of whom 
their own cruelty had made them suspicious, and who more than 
once proved themselves no contemptible foe. They swam riv- 
ers, waded deep marshes, cut through canebrakes, hungered, 
thirsted, scorched under a hot sun, and wasted away from fear, 
anxiety, and doubt. The golden region fled before them, sem- 
per ccdentia retro, and their high hopes of conquest and wealth 
gradually gave way to uncertainty and despair, till they aban- 
doned every wish but to escape with life. H. j 

SOTO. 263 

ships to return, he marched towards the north 
and east in search of a place called Yupaha, 
where he had been informed there was. gold.* 
In this march he crossed the River Alta- 
maha, and probably the Ogechee, and came, 
as he was informed, within two days' journey 
of the Bay of St. Helena, where the Spaniards 
had been several years before. In all this 
march he stayed not more than a week in any 
one place.! 

* [He was induced to march for Yupaha by the representa- 
tions of a young Indian, who told him that the queen of that 
country received tribute in gold ; and, to confirm his statements, 
described the process of digging, melting, and refining it, "as if 
he had seen it done a hundred times." Relation, 49. On 
reaching it they were disappointed in their expectations of gold ; 
but, having searched the tombs of the town, they found " four- 
teen bushels of pearls," which they lost in the burning at Mo- 
bile. Ib., 65, 95. H.] 

t [It is impossible to ascertain exactly the points which De 
Soto reached in his various excursions. We have the time and 
distance of the marches in general terms, the latter of which, at 
least, must be received with some caution. For their marches 
were often circuitous, and even retrograde, and their own com- 
putation of days' marches probably carelessly made. As we have 
not the precise length of their days' marches, which were very 
various, so we have not the precise number of days which they 
were actually marching. We cannot arrive at any certainty, 
though we may make, as in the text, a plausible conjecture. 
The party left Palache the third of March, 1540, and left Cuti- 
fachiqui, in the region of Yupaha, the third of May ; and the 
distance is given at " four hundred and thirty leagues, from 
southwest to northeast." Relation, &c., 50, 68, 87. H.] 


He then set his face northward, and, hav- 
ing passed a hilly country, came to a district 
called Chalaque, which is supposed to be the 
country now called Cherokee, on the upper 
branches of the River Savannah.* Thence 
he turned westward in search of a place call- 
ed Chiaha, and in -this route he crossed the 
Alleghany Ridge and came to Chiaha, where 
his horses and men, being excessively fa- 
tigued, rested thirty days. The horses fed in 
a meadow, and the people lay under the trees, 
the weather being very hot, and the natives 
in peace, This was in the months of May 
and June. During their abode there they 
heard of a country called Chisca, where was 
copper and another metal of the same colour. 
This country lay northward, and a party was 
sent with Indian guides to view it. Their 
report was that the mountains were impassa- 
ble, and Soto did not attempt to proceed any 
farther in that direction. 

From a careful inspection of the maps in 
the American Atlas, I am inclined to think 

* [To Chalaque was seven days' march, and to Xualla, in the 
same direction, to the north, five days. The distance is given 
as two hundred and fifty leagues. If we take from this one 
hundred leagues, which they went in the country of Yupaha, 
they must have travelled about thirty-eight miles a day, through 
a difficult and mountainous country. Relation, 69, 70. H.] 

s o T o. 265 

that the place where Soto crossed the mount- 
ains was within the thirty-fifth degree of lati- 
'ude. In Delisle's map a village called Can- 
asaga is laid down on the N.W. side of the 
A.lleghany, or, as it is sometimes called, the 
Apalachian ridge of mountains, in that lati- 
tude ; and Chiaha is said in Soto's journal to 
be five days westward from Canasagua. 

To ascertain the situation of Chiaha we 
must observe that it is said to be subject to 
the Lord of Cosa, which is situate on an east- 
ern branch of the Mobille ; and Soto's sick 
men came down the river from Chiaha in 
boats. This river could be none but a branch 
of the Mobille; and his course was then 
turned towards the south. In this march he 
passed through Alibama, Talise, Tascalusa,* 
names which are still known and marked on 
the maps, till he came to the town of Mavil- 
la, which the French pronounced Mouville 
and Mobille. It was then a walled town, 
but the walls were of wood. The inhabi- 
tants had conceived a disgust to the Spaniards, 
which was augmented by an outrage com- 

" [The modern names are Alabama, Tallahassee probably, 
and Tuscaloosa. Talise is briefly described as " a great town, 
and situated neere unto a main river." The position of Tasca- 
lusa is not very exactly defined. H.] 


mitted on one of their chiefs, and finally 
broke out in a severe conflict, in which two 
thousand of the innocent natives were slain, 
and many of the Spaniards killed and wound- 
ed, and the town was burned. This was in 
the latter end of October. 

It is probable that Soto intended to pass 
the winter in the neighbourhood of that vil- 
lage if he could have kept on friendly terms 
with the Indians, for there he could have had 
a communication with Cuba. There he heard 
that the vessels which he had sent to Cuba 
for supplies were arrived at Ochus [Pensaco- 
la], where he had agreed to meet them ; but 
he kept this information secret, because he 
had not yet made any discoveries which his 
Spanish friends would think worthy of regard. 
The country about him was populous and 
hostile, and, being void of gold or silver, was 
not an object for him to possess at the risk 
of losing his army, of which above a hundred 
had already perished. He therefore, after 
staying twenty-eight days for the recovery of 
his wounded, determined on a retreat. 

In this retreat it has been supposed that he 
penetrated northward beyond the Ohio. The 
truth is, that he began his march from Mavil- 
la, a village near the mouth of the Mobille, on 

SOTO. 267 

the 18th of November, and on the 17th of 
December arrived at Chica^a, an Indian vil- 
lage of twenty houses, where they remained 
till the next April. 

The distance, the time, the nature of the 
country, the course and manner of the march, 
and the name of the village, all concur to de- 
termine this winter-station of Soto to be a 
village of the Chickasaiv Indians, situate on 
the upper part of the Yasou, a branch of the 
Mississippi, about eighty leagues northwest- 
ward from Mobille, and not less than one hun- 
dred and forty leagues southwestward from 
the Muskingum, where the great fortifications 
which gave rise to this inquiry are found. 
From Chicaga, in the spring, he went west- 
ward, and crossed a river within the thirty- 
fourth degree of latitude, which he called Rio 
Grande, and which is now known to be the 

On the western side of the Mississippi, af- 
ter rambling all summer, he spent the next 

* [At the place where they crossed " the river was half a ' 
league over, so that a man could not be distinguished from one 
side to the other." The description of the river fully corre- 
sponds with the peculiarities of the Mississippi. It is worthy 
of notice that in this route they heard of a tradition among the 
natives that " a white people should come and conquer theif 
country." Relation, &c., 109, 112. H.] 

I X 


winter, at a place called Autiamque, where 
he enclosed his camp with a wall of timber, 
the work of three days only. Within this 
enclosure he lodged safely during three 
months ;* and, in the succeeding spring, the 
extreme fatigue and anxiety which he had 
suffered threw him into a fever, of which he 
died, May 21, 1542, at Guacoya.f To pre- 
vent his death from being known to the In- 
dians, his body was sunk in the middle of a 

His lieutenant, Louis de Moscosco,1: con- 
tinued to ramble on the western side of the 
Mississippi till the next summer, when, worn 
with fatigue, disappointment, and loss of 
men, he built seven boats, called brigantines, 
on the Mississippi, in which the shattered 
remnants, consisting of three hundred and 

* [He left Autiamque the 6th of March, having hardly more than 
three hundred soldiers remaining, and about forty horses. H.] 

t [His death is reported to have been peaceful and religious, 
though his life was cruel and bloody. His character was one 
not rare in that day, haughty, obstinate, perfidious, and selfish, 
yet daring, energetic, and enthusiastic. H.] 

t [Louis de Moscosco had been Soto's lieutenant, or, as he is 
called, " camp-master-general," through the whole expedition. 
He was a fellow-townsman of Soto, and was named by him on 
his deathbed to succeed to the command of the army. Before 
sailing down the Mississippi, he led them westward towards 
Mexico between four and five hundred miles. H.] 

s o T o. 269 

eleven, returned to Cuba in September, 

The place where Soto died is said to have 
been on the bank of the Red River, a west- 
ern branch of the Mississippi, in lat. 31. The 
place where the remnant of his army built 
their vessels and embarked for Cuba is called 
in the journal Minoya. They were seventeen 
days in sailing down the river, and they com- 
puted the distance to be two hundred and 
fifty leagues. $ 

From this account, faithfully abridged from 
Purchas, and compared with the best maps, I 
am fully persuaded that the whole country 
through which Soto travelled on the eastern 
side of the Mississippi is comprehended with- 
in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and 
that he never went farther northward than 
the 35th degree of latitude, which is distant 
two degrees southward from any part of the 
Ohio. The conclusion then is, that he could 

* Purchas, vol. v., p. 1532-1556. 

f [The Relation, &c., p. 211, says they sailed 52 days from 
the Mississippi along the coast of the gulf to the River Panico. 
in Mexico, where they arrived September 10, 1543, and that 
most of them, after remaining there a few weeks, visited the 
city of Mexico. H.] 

$ Mr. Prince, in his Chronology, says 400 in figures ; but 
Purchas, from whom he quotes, says " two hundred and fifty." 


not have been the builder of those fortifica- 
tions still remaining in that part of the conti- 
nent which lies N.W. of the Ohio. Nor, in- 
deed, can any works which he erected for 
the security of his camp be subsisting at this 
time ; for the best of them were made of 
wood, and were intended to cover his men 
and protect his horses and swine only during 
one winter. 

The works which have so much excited 
curiosity and conjecture are far more numer- 
ous, extensive, and durable. They are found 
in various and distant places in the interior 
part of the continent, on both sides of the 
Mississippi, on the Ohio and its branches, on 
James and Potomac Rivers in Virginia, in the 
country of the Six Nations, and on the shores 
of Lake Erie, where they are exceedingly 

The most obvious mode of solving the 
question respecting them is by inquiry of the 
present natives. But the structures are too 
ancient for their tradition ; the oldest and 
wisest men know nothing of their original. 
The form and materials of these works indi- 
cate the existence of a race of men superior 
to the present race in improvement, in de- 

SOTO. 271 

sign, and in that patience which must have 
accompanied the labour of erecting them. 

Trees which have been found growing on 
them have been cut down, and, from indubi- 
table marks, are known to have been upward 
of three hundred years old ; nor were these 
the first growth upon them. 

The mounds and ramparts are constructed 
of earth, and have acquired a firmness and 
solidity which render it probable that they 
are the work of some remote age and some 
other people", who had different ideas of con- 
venience, and were better acquainted with the 
arts of defence, and, in fact, were much more 
numerous than the ancestry of those natives 
of whom we or our fathers have had any 

It is to be hoped that the persons who now 
occupy and are cultivating th.e lands where 
these singular buildings are found, will pre- 
serve, as far as they are able, some, at least, 
of these monuments of unknown ages, that, 
as they have long resisted the ravages of 
time, and may possibly baffle the researches 
of the present generation, they may subsist 
unimpaired as subjects of speculation to our 



AFTER the discovery of Newfoundland by 
the Cabots, the passion for adventure among 
the English met with many severe checks. 
But while one adventurer after another was 
returning home from an unsuccessful voyage, 
foreigners were reaping the benefit of their 
partial discoveries. 

Within the first forty years we have no ac- 
count of any attempt made by the English to 
prosecute the discovery of the new continent, 
except that in 1536 two vessels, containing 
one hundred and twenty persons, of whom 
thirty were gentlemen of education and char- 
acter, under the conduct of " Master Hore, 
of London,"* made a voyage to Newfound- 
land ;t but they were so ill provided, and 
knew so little of the nature of the country, 
that they suffered the extremity of famine. 
For, notwithstanding the immense quantities 
of fish and fowl to be found on those coasts, 

* [Master Hore is described as " a man of goodly staturt 
and of great courage, and given to the study of cosmography.* 
Hakluyt, iii., 129. H.] 

t Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 130. 


they were reduced so low as to watch the 
nests of birds of prey, and rob them of the 
fish which they brought to feed their young. 
To collect this scanty supply, with a mixture 
of roots and herbs, the men dispersed them- 
selves in the woods until several of them 
were missing. It was at first thought that 
they were devoured by wild beasts ; but it was 
found that they met with a more tragical fate, 
the stronger having killed the weaker, and 
feasted on their flesh. In the midst of this 
distress, a French ship arriving with a supply 
of provisions, they took her by force, and re- 
turned to England, leaving to the Frenchmen 
their own smaller vessels, and dividing the 
provision between them. Complaint of this 
act of piracy was made to King HENRY VIII., 
who, knowing the miseries of the unfortunate 
crew, instead of punishing them, paid the 
damage out of his own coffers. 

Within the succeeding forty years the Eng- 
lish had begun to make some advantage by 
the fishery, and in 1578 the state of it is thus 
described:* " There are about one hundred 
sail of Spaniards who come to take cod, who 
make it all wet, and dry it when they come 

* Letter of Anthony Parkhurst to Richard Hakluyt, vol. iii., 
p. 138. 


home, besides twenty or thirty more who 
come from Biscay to kill whales for train. 
These be better appointed for shipping and 
furniture of munition than any other nation 
save the English, who commonly are lords 
of the harbours. As touching their tonnage, 
I think it may be near five or six thousand. 
Of Portugals there are not above fifty sail, 
whose tonnage may amount to three thou- 
sand, and they make all wet. Of the French 
nation there are about one hundred and fifty 
sail ; the most of their shipping is very small, 
not past forty tons ; among which some are 
great and reasonably well appointed, better 
than the Portugals, and not so well as the 
Spaniards ; the burden of them may be about 
seven thousand. The English vessels have 
increased in four years from thirty to fifty 
sail. The trade which our nation hath to 
Iceland maketh that the English are not there 
in such numbers as other nations." 

The next year [1579] Queen Elizabeth 
granted to Sir HUMPHREY GILBERT a patent 
for the discovering, occupying, and peopling 
of " such remote, heathen, and barbarous 
countries as -were not actually possessed by 
any Christian people."* 

* Hakluyt, Hi., 135. Forster, 292. 


[Sir Humphrey Gilbert was descended 
from an ancient family in Devonshire. His 
father was Otho Gilbert, Esq., of Greenway, 
and his mother Catharine, daughter of Sir 
Philip Champernon, of Modbury. Hum- 
phrey, born at Compton, in Devonshire, 
1539, was the second son, yet inherited a 
considerable estate. He received his early 
education at Eton, whence he was removed 
to Oxford. While yet a boy he was intro- 
duced by his aunt, Mrs. Ashley, to Queen 
Elizabeth, who is said to have been much 
pleased with his studious temper and court- 
ly behaviour, and recommended him to the 
especial favour of Sir Henry Sidney, after- 
ward lord-deputy of Ireland. The turn of 
his mind and studies was towards the art 
of war, navigation, and the like, and, as he 
diligently applied himself to these, he soon 
distinguished himself for courage, learning, 
knowledge, and practical skill. 

Opportunities were not wanting in those 
days for the employment and display of 
qualities such as young Gilbert possessed, 
and, being ambitious of distinction, he did 
not hesitate to use them. The first expedi- 
tion in which he gained peculiar notice was 
that to New-Haven, in which his coolness, 


prudence, and daring raised high hopes of 
his future eminence. He was soon appointed 
colonel in Munster,* a post of great difficulty 
and danger, " where he performed great 
things with a handful of men, and became 
more dreaded by the Irish than any English- 
man employed in that service. By his in- 
dustry and address he composed the stirs 
raised by the MacCarthies, and by his valour 
and activity drove the Butlers out of his prov- 
ince when they swerved from their duty, and 
forced James Fitz Maurice, the greatest cap- 
tain among the Irish, to abandon his country 
and seek safety abroad."* 

In the Parliament of April 2d, 1571, 13tK 
Eliz., he was a member of the Lower House 
from Compton, his native place. 

It is remarkable that, while Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert evidently gave much *.mie and atten- 
tion to the subjects of cosmography and mari- 
time discovery, we have no record of early ad- 
ventures by sea. His "Discourse to prove a 
passage by the Northwest to Cathaia and the 
East Indies" was first published in 15764 It 

* [Fuller, in his Worthies of Devon, says in 1569. H.] 
t [Campbell's Lives of the Admirals, vol. ii. See also Hol- 

linshed, vi., 366-7. H.J 

t [Campbell, ii., 17. The discourse is preserved in Hakluyt, 

vol. ii., p. 11-24. H.I 


is a methodical treatise, in which he affirms 
that America is an island, bounded on the 
north side by " the sea that severeth it from 
Groneland, thorow which Northern Seas the 
passage lyeth." This he attempts to prove 
" by authoritie, by reason, by experience of 
sundry men's travailes, by circumstance," &c., 
&c. The arguments are not all very conclu- 
sive. In his chapter of authorities he refers to 
Plato, Philo, and Aristotle. Yet the work 
evinces much learning and ability, as well as 
enthusiasm and credulity ; and he at least de- 
serves credit for his confident anticipation of 
what it has been reserved for the enterprise 
of our own day to demonstrate. He had 
also written another " Simple Discourse of 
Navigation," on which he had "not a little 
travelled," which is now lost. He concludes 
the discourse we have described with this 
sentiment, " That he is not worthy to live at 
all that for feare or danger of death shunneth 
his countrie's service and his owne honour, 
seeing death is inevitable, and the fame of 
vertue immortall." 

The queen, who seldom failed to distin- 
guish merit, bestowed on him, from time to 
time, the most encouraging notices. She 
knighted him, gave him one of her maids of 


honour in marriage, and, upon his preparing 
for his voyage, sent him a golden anchor 
with a large pearl at the peak, which he ever 
after wore at his breast as a singular honour. 
Raleigh accompanied this present, which was 
sent through his hands, with this letter : " I 
have sent you a token from her majesty, an 
anchor guided by a lady, as you see ; and, 
farther, her highness willed me to send you 
word that she wished you as great hap and 
safety to your ship as if herself were there in 
person, desiring you to have care of yourself 
as of that which she tendereth. Farther, she 
commandeth that you leave your picture with 
me," &c.* Sir Humphrey is represented as a 
gentleman of winning and courteous manners, 
commanding esteem and respect at first sight ; 
" his stature beyond the ordinary size, his 
complexion sanguine, and his constitution ro- 
bust."! Hollinshed, or, rather, Hooker, in 
the supplement to Hollinshed, vi.,J367, says 
he was " a man of higher stature than the 
common sort ; of a complexion cholerike ; 
from his childhood of a verie pregnant wit 
and good disposition." 

* [Southey's Lives of British Admirals, vol. iv., 218. Cay- 
ley's Life of Raleigh, i., 31. H.] 

t [Haliburton's Nova Scotia, i., 7, note. H.] 


The patent given by Elizabeth to Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert was dated June 11, 1578, 
and not, as stated by Dr. Belknap, 1579.* 
The provisions of the charter thus granted 
deserve notice, as it was one of the first in 
the long series of colony charters granted by 
the crown of England, and as it shows what 
notions of colonization prevailed in those 
days. After the general license to discover 
any countries not possessed by any Christian 
prince or people, it bestows the " soil of the 
same, with the royalties and jurisdiction, upon 
him, and his heirs, and assigns forever, with 
power to dispose of them, or any part of them, 
in fee simple ; to transport any persons thith- 
er, unless specially restrained by the crown ; 
authority to expel by force all persons who 
should attempt to inhabit within the space of 
two hundred leagues ; to capture all who 
should trade there without his license ; to 
punish at his discretion in all causes, civil, 
criminal, and capital ; and to make laws 
agreeable to the policy of England and the 

* [Chalmers, p. 4, says it was given in March ; Foster, 1. c. , 
dates it in 1578. Hazard, State Papers, vol. i., p. 24, and Hak- 
luyt, vol. iii., p. 137, who are better authority, and who give the 
patent at length, concur with Dr. Robertson in dating it June 
llth, 1578. H.] 


Christian faith professed in the Church of 

In consequence of this grant, many of his 
friends joined him, and preparations were 
made for an expedition, which promised to 
be highly advantageous. But, before the 
fleet was ready, some declined and retracted 
their engagements. Gilbert, with a few com- 
panions, sailed ;* but a violent storm, in which 
one of the ships foundered, caused him to re- 
turn. This misfortune involved him in debt, 
and he had no way to satisfy the demands of 
his creditors but by grants of land in Amer- 
ica. By such means the country was not 
likely to be peopled, nor the conditions of his 
patent fulfilled. He was obliged, therefore, to 
sell his estate before he could make another 
attempt ; and y after long solicitation, being 
assisted by some friends, he set sail from 
Plymouth with five ships, t carrying two hun- 

* [Sir Walter Raleigh was one of these companions. Cay- 
ley, i., 17. This voyage is supposed to have been made early 
in the summer of 1579. Few particulars of it have remained 
to us. One of the ships was lost in " a smart action with the 
Spaniards." Cayley, ubi supra. H.] 

t [The fleet would hardly now be deemed adequate to such 
an enterprise. It consisted of the Delight, 120 tons, the bark 
Raleigh, 200 tons, the Golden Hind, 40 tons, the Swallow, 40 
tons, and the Squirrel, 10 tons. Some of the crude notions of 
the adventurers are exhibited in one specimen of the cargo 


dred and sixty men, on the eleventh of June, 
1583, and on the eleventh of July* arrived 
off the bay of St. John, on the eastern coast 
of Newfoundland. 

Thirty-six fishing vessels were then in the 
harbour, who refused him admittance. He 
prepared to enter by force of arms ; but 
previously sent in his boat with his com- 
mission from Queen Elizabeth, on sight of 

" Besides," says Edward Hayes, the captain of the Golden 
Hind, and author of the narration in Hakluyt, and who writes 
himself " gentleman and principal actour in the same voyage," 
"for solace of our people and allurement of the savages, we 
were provided of rausike in good varietie, not omitting the least 
toyes, as morris-dancers, hobby-horses, and May-like conceits, 
to delight the savage people, whom we intended to win by all 
fair means possible. And to that end we were indifferentlie fur- 
nished of all petty haberdasherie wares to barter with those sim- 
ple people." The bark Raleigh abandoned the expedition soon 
after it sailed, an infectious disease having broken out among 
the crew. H.] 

* [The date in the text must, I think, be an error. Forster, 
indeed, p. 293, says, " on the llth of July they saw land ;" 
but he could hardly have been detained three weeks (July 1 1th 
to Aug. 3d) " off the bay" by fishing vessels. And Hayes, whose 
account is the original, Hakluyt, iii., 149, says, " Tuesday, the 
30th of July" (seven weeks after sailing), "we got sight of land." 
See also a letter of Stephen Parmenius from St. John's to Hak- 
luyt. Ib., 162. They then sailed south along the coast by 
Bacalaos, &,c., some twenty leagues, ib., 150, and reached the 
harbour of St. John's Aug. 3d. Hakluyt, iii., 165, and Gilbert's 
letter to Sir George Peckham. H.] 


which they submitted, and he sailed into the 

The intention of this voyage was to take 
formal possession of the island, and of the 
fishery on its banks, for the crown of Eng- 
land. This was done in the following man- 
ner :f 

On Monday, the fifth of August, Admiral 
Gilbert had his tent pitched on shore, in sight 
of all the shipping; and, being attended by 
his own people, summoned the merchants and 
masters of vessels, both Englishmen and oth- 
ers, to be present at the ceremony. When 
they were all assembled, his commission was 
read, and interpreted to the foreigners. Then 
a turf and a twig were delivered to him, 
which he received with a hazel wand. Im- 
mediately proclamation was made, that by 
virtue of his commission from the queen, he 
took possession, for the crown of England, 
of the harbour of St. John, and two hundred 
leagues every way round it. 

He then published three laws for the gov- 
ernment of the territory. By the first, public 
worship was established according to the 
mode of the Church of England. By the 

* Stith's History of Virginia, p. 6. 

t Hakluyt, iii., 151, 165, . 

G I L B E E T. 283 

second, the attempting of anything prejudi- 
,cial to her majesty's title was declared trea- 
son, according to the laws of England. By 
the third, the uttering of words to the dishon- 
our of her majesty was to be punished with the 
loss of ears and the confiscation of property. 

The proclamation being finished, assent 
and obedience were signified by loud accla- 
mations. A pillar was erected, bearing a 
plate of lead, on which the queen's arms were 
engraven ; and several of the merchants took 
grants of land, in fee farm, on which they 
might cure their fish, as they had done before. 

A tax of provision, by her majesty's author- 
ity, was levied on all the ships. This tax 
was readily paid ; besides which, the admiral 
received presents of wine, fruits, and other 
refreshments, chiefly from the Portuguese. 

This formal possession, taken by Sir Hum- 
phrey Gilbert in consequence of the discov- 
ery of the Cabots, is the foundation of the 
right and title of the crown of England to the 
territory of Newfoundland and to the fishery 
on its banks. 

As far as the time would permit, a survey 
was made of the country, one principal ob- 
ject of which was the discovery of mines and 

minerals. The mineralogist was a Saxoii, 
I. Y 


who is characterized as " honest and reli- 
gious." This man brought to the admiral 
first a specimen of iron, then a kind of ore, 
which, on the peril of his life, he protested to 
be silver. The admiral enjoined secrecy, and 
sent it on board, intending to have it assayed 
when they should get to sea. 

The company being dispersed abroad, some 
were taken sick and died ; some hid them- 
selves in the woods, with an intention to go 
home by the first opportunity ; and others cut 
one of the vessels out of the harbour and car- 
ried her off. 

On the twentieth of August, the admiral, 
having collected as many of his men as could 
be found, and ordered one of his vessels to 
stay and take off the sick, set sail with three 
ships, the Delight, the Hind, and the Squir- 
rel. He coasted along the southern part of 
the island, with a view to make Cape Breton 
and the Isle of Sable, on which last he had 
heard that cattle and swine had been landed 
by the Portuguese thirty years before. 

Being entangled among shoals and in- 
volved in fogs, the Delight struck on a sand- 
bank and was lost.* Fourteen men only 

* [There is somewhat of sad romance in the narrative of thir 
event. '^The evening was faire and pleasant, yet not withouf 


sa\ed themselves in a boat ; the loss of the 
Saxon refiner was particularly noted,* and 
nothing farther was heard of the silver ore. 
This misfortune determined the admiral to re- 
turn to England without attempting to make 
any farther discoveries, or to take possession 
of any other part of America. On his pas- 
sage he met with bad weather. The Squirrel 
frigate, in which Sir Humphrey sailed, was 
overloaded on her deck ; but he persisted in 
taking his passage in her, notwithstanding the 
remonstrances of his friends in the Hind, who 
would have persuaded him to sail with them.t 

token of storme to ensue, and most part of this, Wednesday, night, 
like the svvanne that singeth before her death, they in the Ad- 
miral, or Delight, continued in sounding of trumpets, with 
drummes and fifes ; also winding the cornets, haughtboyes ; 
and in the end of their jolitie, left with the battel and ringing of 
dolefull knels." " Thursday, the 29th of August," they perish- 
ed. Hakluyt, iii., 156. H.] 

* [A greater loss was that of Stephen Parmenius, a native of 
Buda, in Hungary, "who, of pietie and zeale to good attempts, 
adventured in this action, minding to record in the Latine 
tongue the gests and things worthy of remembrance happening 
in this discoverie to the honour of our nation, the same being 
adorned with the eloquent stile of this orator and rare poet of 
our time." Hakluyt, iii., 156. He addressed to Gilbert a 
poem on this voyage, in Latin hexameters, which is preserved 
Ib., 138-143. H.] 

t [The Squirrel was of only ten tons burden, and Sir Hum- 
phrey had taken passage in her as " being most convenient to 
discover upon the coast, and to search in every harbour or 


From the circumstance of his returning from 
his first voyage without accomplishing its ob- 
ject, it had been reported that he was afraid 
of the sea ; had he yielded to the solicitation 
of his friends, the stigma might have been in- 

When the wind abated and the vessels 
were near enough, the admiral was seen con- 
stantly sitting in the stern with a book in his 
hand. On the ninth of September he was 
seen for the last time, and was heard by the 
people in the Hind to say, " We are as near 
heaven by sea as by land."* In the follow- 
ing night the lights of his ship suddenly dis- 
appeared.! The people in the other vessel 
kept a good look-out for him during the re- 
mainder of the voyage. On the twenty-sec- 
ond of September they arrived, through much 
tempest and peril, at Falmouth. But nothing 
more was seen or heard of the admiral. $ 

creeke, which a great ship could not doe." Hakluyt, iii., 154. 

* [A speech, says Captain Hayes, " well becoming a soldiei 
resolute in Jesus Christ, as I can testify he was." H.] 

t [" About the same time was swallowed up by the ocean Sit 
Humphrey Gilbert, knight, a quick and lively-spirited man, fa- 
mous for his knowledge in matters relating both to war and 
peace." Camden,Eliz., 287. H.] 

t [Sir Humphrey Gilbert had two brothers, John and Adrian, 
both knighted, and both connected with schemes of maritime 


While his zeal for the interest of the crown 
and the settlements of its American domin- 
ions has been largely commended, he has 
been blamed for his temerity in lavishing his 
own and other men's fortunes in the prosecu- 
tion of his designs. This is not the only in- 
stance of a waste of property in consequence 
of sanguine expectations, which, though ru- 
inous to the first adventurers, has produced 
solid advantages to their successors. 

Dr. Forster has a remark on one of the in- 
cidents of this voyage which is worthy of rep- 
etition and remembrance. " It is very clear," 
says he, " in the instance of the Portuguese 
having stocked the Isle of Sable with domes- 
tic animals, that the discoverers of the New 
World were men of humanity, desirous of 
providing for such unfortunate people as 

discovery and foreign plantation. Of Sir John some account is 
given by Belknap in the Life of Gorges. Adrian obtained a 
patent from Queen Elizabeth, dated February 6, 1583, granting 
him privileges in respect to a discovery of a passage to China 
by the north, northwest, or northeast. In this instrument he is 
described as " Adrian Gylbert, of Sandridge, in the county of 
Devon, gentleman," and the company associated with him (Ra- 
leigh and Sanderson) were styled " the colleagues of the fellow- 
ship for the discovery of the Northwest Passage." Voyages 
were made by Davis and others unc'er the patronage of this 
company. Sir Walter Raleigh, in a letter to his wife in 1603, 
mentions Sir Adrian as owing him 600. H.J 


might happen to be cast away on those 
coasts. The false policy of modern times is 
callous and tyrannical, exporting dogs to de- 
vour them. Are these the happy consequen- 
ces of the so-much-boasted enlightened state 
of the present age and refinement of manners 
peculiar to our time ? Father of mercies, 
when will philanthropy again take up her 
abode in the breasts of men, of Christians 
and the rulers of this earth '" 



THE distinguished figure which the life of 
Sir Walter Raleigh makes in the history of 
England renders unnecessary any other ac- 
count of him here than what respects his ad- 
ventures in America, and particularly in Vir- 
ginia, of which colony he is acknowledged to 
have been the unfortunate founder. 

[The account of Sir Walter Raleigh given 
by Dr. Belknap is almost confined to his 
proceedings in the early settlement of Virgin- 
ia. The readers of these volumes may nat- 
urally expect some farther notice of " that 
rare, renowned knight, whose fame," says 
one of his contemporaries,* "shall contend in 
longevity with this island itself, yea, with that 
great world which he historizeth so gallant- 
ly." He was a courtier of singular gallantry 
and grace, a scholar of varied learning and 
accomplishments, a soldier of chivalrous tem- 
per and unstained honour, a statesman of large 
views, an adventurer of great hardihood and 

* [James Howel. in a letter to Carew Raleigh H.] 


enthusiasm. His long imprisonment, his pa- 
tient suffering, and the hard measure of his 
death, have given a tender and touching in- 
terest to a history otherwise full of attractive 
incident. He lived, as the attorney-general 
told him in his last sentence, like a star, and 
like a star which troubleth the firmament he 

Sir Walter Raleigh, or, as he wrote the 
name, Ralegh, was the fourth son of Walter 
Raleigh, Esq., of Fardel, near Plymouth. 
His mother was Catharine, daughter of Sir 
Philip Champernon, and widow of Otho Gil- 
bert, of Compton, Devonshire. He was thus 
half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. At 
the time of his birth, 1552, his father was re- 
siding at a farm called Hayes, in the parish 
of Budley, Devonshire, near the mouth of the 
Otter. Of his childhood we have no memo- 

* [The principal memoirs of Sir Walter Raleigh are those by 
Oldys, prefixed to his edition of Raleigh's History of the World ; 
by Birch, in an edition of his Miscellaneous Writings ; by Cayley, 
2 vols. 4to, London, 1805 ; by Southey, in his Lives of English 
Admirals, vol. iv. ; by P. F. Tytler, in the Edinburgh Cabinet Li- 
brary ; and by Mrs. Thompson ; all of which, unless it be Mrs. 
Thompson's, which we had not seen till this article was in press, 
are to be read with caution, as they show more or less clearly 
some bias in the writer. Southey, for example, we think, under 
values Sir Walter's character in respect of honesty and truth 



rial. He became a commoner of Oriel Col- 
lege, Oxford, about 1568, " and his natural 
parts being strangely advanced by academi- 
cal learning under the care of an excellent 
tutor, he became the ornament of the juniors, 
and was worthily esteemed a proficient in 
oratory and philosophy."* Lord Bacon has 
preserved an anecdote of him while here, 
which illustrates both his temper and his wit. 
A cowardly fellow, who was an excellent 
archer, asked him how he should revenge 
himself on one who had grossly insulted him. 
" Challenge him to a match of shooting," was 
the reply. It is uncertain how long he re- 
mained at the University, and still more un- 
certain whether, as some have asserted, he 
became a student of the Middle Temple. 
His active temper led him to mingle early in 
the business of life, and his ambition could 
hardly be satisfied with mere scholastic hon- 

The state of public affairs, both in England 
and on the Continent, might well arouse a 
spirit less ardent and adventurous than that 
of Raleigh. 

Sympathizing with the persecuted Protest- 
ants, the queen made a loan of money to the 

* [Wood's Athens Oxonienses. H.] 


Queen of Navarre, and permitted a company 
of one hundred selected volunteers, all gen- 
tlemen, under Henry Champernon, to go to 
France to her assistance. The motto on 
their banner was, FINEM DET MIHI VIRTUS : 
* Let valour decide" In this troop was young 
Raleigh, then but seventeen years of age. 
They arrived at the French camp in Octo- 
ber, 1569, and were received by the queen 
and princes with great distinction. We can- 
not doubt, though no traces of it remain, that 
this body, animated alike by martial enthusi- 
asm and religious zeal, did such gallant ser- 
vice as became gentlemen and soldiers. Ra- 
leigh remained in France till 1575, more than 
five years. We find here and there, in the 
writings of his late years, allusions to his resi- 
dence there, which show that he studied with 
deep interest the stirring and troubled events 
of those sadly-agitated Drears. The whole pe- 
riod was crowded with marches and battles, 
sieges, negotiations, stratagems, treacheries, 
and massacres ; all that could captivate and 
instruct the youthful soldier and the future 
politician. He was present in the flight on 
the Plains of Montcontour, and witnessed, in 
the security of the British embassage, the fear- 
ful slaughter on St. Bartholomew's Day. An 


attendant on the brilliant warfare of Coligny, 
he could not but learn the skilful use of arms ; 
and the daily companion of the noble and 
chivalrous warriors who so ably sustained the 
cause of the dreaded Huguenots, he added 
personal graces and the accomplishments of 
manner to his unsuspected courage. It was 
a school of valour and of discipline, and Ra- 
leigh was no negligent observer of its les- 

On his return to England we find him a 
short time in the Middle Temple, whether as 
a student or mere resident is not clear, though 
probably the latter. He seems to have de- 
voted his brief leisure to the Muses, and to 
have indulged in that kind of pastoral ama- 
tory poetry which was then so much in vogue. 
Some of his specimens which we have are of 
far more than ordinary merit. Yet an ad- 
venture in arms had more attractions for him, 
and in 1578 he accompanied Sir John Norris, 
with a body of English troops, to the Nether- 
lands. A war was then raging there between 
Don John of Austria and the States, who ha- 
ted him for his cruelty and feared him for his 
treachery. The queen assisted the States 
with men and money. Of Raleigh's service 
here we have no information. He was prob- 


ably in the famous battle of Rimenant, in 
which the English, " being more sensible of 
a little heat of the sun than any cold fears of 
death," threw off their armour and clothes, 
and gained a victory in their shirts. He soon 
returned to England, and in 1579 joined the 
first and unsuccessful voyage of Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert. This was the first in that long se- 
ries of maritime adventures in which he after- 
ward became so justly renowned. 

Raleigh was now twenty-seven years of age. 
He had seen much and varied service, and 
had diligently profited by his experience and 
observation. Only five of the twenty-four 
hours, we are told, were devoted to sleep, 
four were regularly employed in study, and 
in his Jand and sea. expeditions he voluntarily 
shared the labours, hardships, and hazards of 
the common soldier and sailor.* Abilities 
like his, thus trained, could not long remain 
in obscurity or unemployed. 

Ireland was now ripe for insurrection. The 
Catholic population were oppressed, their 
chiefs excluded from office for their religion ; 
the pope had claimed it as belonging to the 
Holy See, and scattered his emissaries all 
over it to excite the faithful to revolt ; and 
* [Cayley's Life of Raleigh, i., 17. H.] 


Philip of Spain stood ready with men and 
money to encourage the discontented and 
aid the insurgent. Lord Grey was sent over, 
August, 1580, as deputy, with orders to make 
quick and thorough work, and Raleigh served 
under him as captain of a troop of horse. 
The chronicles of the times make honourable 
mention of his services. His duties were dif- 
ficult, often painful, and eminently perilous ; 
to capture a rebellious or suspected chieftain, 
to hunt outlaws, to disperse the hourly gath- 
erings of half-naked but exasperated peas- 
ants, to burn, to pillage, to kill. He was in 
the country of an enemy who knew every 
pass', beset every road, and would have shot 
him down as they would a deer. Every day 
called for caution, skill, and desperate cour- 
age. His escapes were often marvellous, and 
his success not less so. When Smerwick was 
taken, the garrison were all put to the sword 
in cold blood, and Raleigh, as one of the cap- 
tains having the ward of that day, was obliged 
to superintend the butchery. In the spring 
of 1581 he was temporarily in the commis- 
sion for the government of Munster, and 
about the same time became a friend of Ed- 
mund Spenser, then residing at Kilcolman. 
But even this sympathy of poetic genius could 


not relieve the weariness of a service which 
had become odious to him. " I have spent 
some time here," he wrote to the Earl of Lei 
cester in August, 1581, " under the deputy, 
in such poor place and charge as, were it not 
for that I knew him to be as if yours, I would 
disdain it as much as to keep sheep." Not 
long after, probably, he was allowed to return 
from what he calls " this commonwealth, or, 
rather, common -wo." 

The letter which we have quoted above 
proves some passages of regard between Ra- 
leigh and the noble Earl of Leicester. The 
favour of that powerful nobleman may have 
aided his early reception at court, though* the 
report of his late services was enough to 
commend him to the notice of Elizabeth. 
His own abilities were more to him than any 
patronage. He is said to have owed his in- 
troduction to a singular and romantic incident. 
Fuller* relates that " this Captain Raleigh, 
coming out of Ireland to the English court in 
good habit (his clothes being then a consid- 
erable part of his estate), found the queen 
walking, till, meeting with a plashy place, she 
seemed to scruple going thereon. Presently 
Raleigh cast and spread his new plush cloak 

* [Fuller's Worthies of England, Devon., i. 419. H.] 

K A L E I G H. 297 

on the ground, whereon the queen trod gen- 
tly, rewarding him afterward with many suits 
for his so free and seasonable a tender of so 
fair a footcloth." This story is gravely told, 
and is in keeping with the temper and char- 
acter of the parties. Certainly she soon ad- 
mitted him to her court, and employed him 
in several honorary offices. He was one of 
the gentlemen appointed to attend Simier. the 
agent of the Duke of Anjou, to France ; and 
when the negotiations for the queen's mar- 
riage with Anjou were broken off in 1582, he 
was selected, with Leicester, Sidney, and oth- 
ers, to form the duke's escort to Antwerp. 
He there enjoyed the honour of a personal 
acquaintance with the Prince of Orange, and 
brought a special message from him to the 
queen on his return. These affairs required no 
great ability or skill, yet a graceful habit 
and a pleasing address might make much of 
them. He received clearer tokens of royal 
favour in consequence of the trial before 
the Privy Council of a disagreement between 
him and Lord Grey, the late deputy of Ire- 
and, of which Sir Robert Naunton* gives 
this account : "I am somewhat confident 
that among the second causes of his growth 

* [Fragmenta Regalia, 109. H.] 


was the variance between him and my Lord- 
general Grey, which drew them both over to 
the council-table, there to plead their own 
causes ; where what advantage he had in the 
case in controversy I know not y but he had 
much the better in the manner of telling his 
tale, insomuch as the queen and the lords 
took no slight mark of the man and his 
parts, for from thence he came to be known, 
and to have access to the lords ; . . . whether 
or not my Lord of Leicester had then cast in 
a good word for him to the queen, I do not 
determine ; but true it is, he had gotten the 
queen's ear in a trice, and she began to be ta- 
ken with his elocution, and loved to hear his 
reasons to her demands. And the truth is,, 
she took him for a kind of oracle." The 
queen was doubtless pleased with his ready 
wit, and perhaps wished to abate the hopes 
of some other aspirants for her favour. Naun- 
ton adds, " Those that he relied on began to 
be sensible of their own supplantation, and to 
project his."] 

He was half-brother, by the mother's side, 
to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and was at the ex- 
pense of fitting out one of the ships of his 
squadron. Notwithstanding the unhappy fate 
of his brother, he persisted in his design of 


making a settlement in America. Being a 
favourite in the court of Queen Elizabeth, he 
obtained a patent, bearing date the 25th of 
March, 1584, for the discovering and plant- 
ing of any lands and countries which were 
not possessed by any Christian prince or 

About the same time the queen granted him 
another patent, to license the vending of wine 
throughout the kingdom, that by the profits 
thence arising he might be able to bear the 
expense of his intended plan of colonization. 
Farther to strengthen his interest, he engaged 
the assistance of two wealthy kinsmen, Sir 
Richard Grenville and William Sanderson. ft 
They provided two barks, and, having well 
furnished them with men and provisions, put 
them under the command of Philip Amadas 

* [This patent was but a renewal of the one granted to Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert, there being no material variation in the pro- 
visions. Hazard, i., 33. Hakluyt, 135 and 243. H.] 

t [Sir William Sanderson was an eminent merchant of Lon- 
don, and had married a niece of Sir Walter. He was a princi- 
pal member of the company which in 1585, 6, 7 sent Captain 
John Davis to discover a northwest passage to China. In that 
enterprise he took a deep interest, and adventured largely with 
his purse, and the chief direction and management of it was 
committed to him. Smith (Gen. Hist., p. 2) calls him "a great 
friend to all such noble and worthy actions." H.] 

J Stith's History of Virginia, p. 7, 8. 


and Arthur Barlow,* who sailed from the 
west of England April 27, 1584. 

They took the usual route by the way of 
the Canaries and the West Indies, the reason 
of which is thus expressed in the account of 
this voyage written by Barlow,t " because 
we doubted that the current of the Bay of 
Mexico between the Cape of Florida and Ha- 
vanna had been of greater force than we af- 
terward found it to be." 

Taking advantage of the Gulf Stream, 
they approached the coast of Florida, and 
on the second of July came into shoal water, 
where the odoriferous smell of flowers indica- 
ted the land to be near, though not within 
sight. On the fourth they saw land, along 
which they sailed forty leagues before they 
found an entrance. At the first opening they 
cast anchor (July 13), and, having devoutly 
given thanks to GOD for their safe arrival on 
the coast, they went ashore in their boats, and 
took possession in the name of Queen Eliza- 

The place where they landed was a sandy 
island, called Wococon,1: about sixteen miles 

* [Barlow had served under Raleigh in Ireland. Cayley, i., 
24. H.] 

t Hakluyt, iii., 246. 

t This island is generally supposed to be one of those which 


in length and six in breadth, full of cedars, 
pines, cypress, sassafras, and other trees, 
among which were many vines loaded with 
grapes. In the woods they found deer and 
hares, and in the waters and marshes various 
kinds of fowl ; but no human creature was 
seen till the third day, when a canoe, with 
three men, came along by the shore. One 
of them landed, and, without any fear or pre- 
caution, met the Europeans, and addressed 
them in a friendly manner in his own lan- 
guage. They carried him on board one of 
their vessels, gave- him a shirt and some other 
trifles, .and regaled him with meat and wine. 

lie at the mouth of Albemarle Sound, on the coast of North 
Carolina. Barlow, in his letter to Sir W. Raleigh, preserved bj 
Hakluyt, says that he, with seven others, went in a boat " twen- 
ty miles into the River Occam, and the evening- following 
came to an island called Roanoke, distant from the harbour l>j 
which we entered seven leagues ; at the north end thereof was a 
village." Mr. Stith, who wrote the History of Virginia, and who 
acknowledges that he had, not seen this letter in English, but in a 
Latin translation, supposes that the Island Wococon must he 
between Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear, and that the distance 
might be 30 leagues. But it appears from Barlow's letter that 
the boat went in onr. day, and came in the evening to the north 
end of Roanoke : the distance is twice mentioned, once in miles 
and once in leagues. I sec no reason, therefore, to admit Stith's 
conjecture in opposition to Barlow. Stith, however, appears to 
have been a very close and accurate inquirer, as far as his ma- 
terials and opportunity permitted. 


He then returned to his canoe, and, with his 
companions, went a fishing. When the ca- 
noe was filled, they brought the fish on shore 
and divided them into two heaps, making 
signs that each of the vessels should take one. 
The next day several canoes came, in 
which were forty or fifty people, and among 
them was Granganimeo, brother of Wingina, 
king of the country, who was confined at 
home by the wounds which he had received 
in battle with a neighbouring prince. The 
manner of his approach was fearless and re- 
spectful. He left his boats at a distance, and 
came along the shore, accompanied by all his 
people, till he was abreast of the ship. Then 
advancing with four men only, who spread a 
mat on the ground, he sat down on one end, 
and the four men on the other. When the 
English went on shore armed, he beckoned 
to them to come and sit by him, which they 
did ; and he made signs of joy and friendship, 
striking with his hand on his head and breast, 
and then on theirs, to show that they were all 
one. None of his people spoke a word ; and 
when the English offered them presents, he 
took them all into his own possession, making 
signs that they were his servants, and that all 
which they had belonged to him. 

After this interview the natives came in 


great numbers, and brought skins, coral, and 
materials for dyes ; but when Granganimeo 
was present, none were permitted to trade 
but himself and those who had a piece of 
copper on their heads. Nothing pleased him 
so much as a tin plate, in which he made a 
hole and hung it over his breast, as a piece 
of defensive armour. He supplied them ev- 
ery day with venison, fish, and fruits, and 
invited them to visit him at his village, on the 
north end of an island called Roanoke. 

This village consisted of nine houses, built 
of cedar, and fortified with sharp palisades. 
When the English arrived there in their boat, 
Granganimeo was absent ; but his wife en- 
tertained them with the kindest hospitality, 
washed their feet and their clothes, ordered 
their boat to be drawn ashore and their oars 
to be secured, and then feasted them with 
venison, fish, fruits, and hommony.* While 
they were at supper, some of her men came 
in from hunting, with their bows and arrows 
in their hands, on which her guests began to 
mistrust danger ; but she ordered their bows 
to be taken from them, and their arrows to be 

* Hommony is made of Indian corn beaten in a mortar and 
separated from the bran ; then boiled either by itself or in the 
broth of meat. 


broken, and then turned them out at the gate. 
The English, however, thought it most pru- 
dent to pass the night in their boat, which 
they launched and laid at anchor. At this 
she was much grieved ; but, finding all her 
solicitations ineffectual, she ordered the vic- 
tuals in the pots to be put on board, with 
mats to cover the people from the rain, and 
appointed several persons of both sexes to 
keep guard on the beach during the whole 
night. Could there be a more engaging spe- 
cimen of generous hospitality ? 

These people were characterized as " gen- 
tle, loving, and faithful ; void of guile and 
treachery ; living after the manner of the 
golden age ; caring only to feed themselves 
with such food as the soil affordeth, and to 
defend themselves from the cold in their short 

No farther discovery was made of the 
country by these adventurers. From the na- 
tives they obtained some uncertain account 
of its geography, and of a ship which had 
been wrecked on the coast between twenty 
and thirty years before. They carried away 
two of the natives, Wanchese and Manteo, 
and arrived in the west of England about the 
middle of September. 


The account of this discovery was so wel- 
come to Queen Elizabeth, that she named 
the country Virginia, either in memory of her 
own virginity, or because it retained its virgin 
purity, and the people their primitive simpli- 

About this time Raleigh was elected knight 
of the shire for his native county of Devon ; 
and in the Parliament which was held in the 
succeeding winter, he caused a bill to be 
brought into the House of Commons to con- 
firm his patent for the discovery of foreign 
countries. After much debate, the bill was 
carried through both houses, and received the 
royal assent. In addition to which, the queen 
conferred on him the order of knighthood.*! 

* Stith, p. 11. 

t [The date of this honour is not precisely fixed. It was con- 
ferred probably in January, or early in February, 1585. Cay ley, 
i., 46, 47. The same year he received a different kind of honour. 
Captain John Davis sailed this summer for the discovery of the 
Northwest Passage, under the patronage of a company of which 
Adrian Gilbert was a chief member, and Sir Walter one of the 
associates. Davis anchored in 66 40', under a mountain, "the 
cliffs whereof were as orient as gold," which he named Mount 

The rebellion in Ireland having been suppressed, the queen 
attempted to carry into effect a favourite scheme of peopling 
Munster with an English colony. About 600,000 acres of land 
in that province had accrued to the crown by recent forfeitures, 
the larger part of which was divided into seignories, and distrib- 


A second expedition being resolved on, Sir 
Richard Grenville himself took the command, 
and with seven vessels,* large and small, 
sailed from Plymouth on the ninth of April, 
1585. t They went in the usual course by 
the Canaries and the West Indies, where 
they took two Spanish prizes ; and, after nar- 
rowly escaping shipwreck on Cape Fear, ar- 
rived at Wococon the 26th of June.J 

The natives came, as before, to bid them 
welcome and to trade with them. Manteo, 
whom they had brought back, proved a faith- 
ful guide, and piloted them about from place 
to place. In an excursion of eight days with 
their boats, they visited several Indian villa- 
ges on the islands and on the main, adjoining 
to Albema*rle Sound. At one place, called 
Aquascogok, an Indian stole from them a 
silver cup. Inquiry being made, the offender 

uted among those especially who had been active in quelling the 
insurrection. Twelve thousand acres, in the counties of Cork 
and Waterford, were granted to Sir Walter Raleigh. This he 
planted at his own expense, and about 1602 sold it to Rich...-.! 
Boyle, afterward Earl of Cork. H.] 

* [These vessels were the Tiger and the Roebuck, each of 
170 tons, the Lion of 100, the Elizabeth of 50, the Dorothie, a 
small bark, and two small pinnaces. H.] 

t Hakluyt, iii., 251. 

J Mr. Siith mistakes in saying May 26, and Sir William 
Keith, who copies from him, adopts the same mistake. 


was detected, and promised to restore it ; but 
the promise being not speedily performed, a 
hasty and severe revenge was taken by the 
orders of Grenville ; the town was burned, 
and the corn destroyed in the fields (July 16), 
while the affrighted people fled to the woods 
for safety. From this ill-judged act of vio- 
lence may be dated the misfortunes and fail- 
ure of this colony. 

Leaving one hundred and eight persons to 
attempt a settlement, Grenville proceeded 
with his fleet to the Island of Hatteras,* where 
he received a visit from Granganimeo, and 
then sailed for England. On the 18th of 
September he arrived at Plymouth, with a 
rich Spanish prize which he had taken on the 

Of the colony left in Virginia,! Ralph Lane 
was appointed governor. He was a military 
man of considerable reputation in the sea-ser- 
vice. Philip Amadas, who had commanded 
in the first voyage, was admiral. They chose 
the island of Roanoke, in the mouth of Albe- 
marle Sound, as the place of their residence, 
and their chief employment was to explore 

* [Written in the journal Hatorask. Hakluyt, iii., 253. H.] 
t [This colony remained in Virginia nearly a year, having ar- 
rived June 26, 1585, and sailed with Drake June 19, 1586. H.] 
I A A 


and survey the country, and describe the per- 
sons and manners of its inhabitants. For 
these purposes Sir Walter Raleigh had sent 
John Withe, an ingenious painter, and Thom- 
as Heriot, a skilful mathematician and a man 
of curious observation, both of whom per- 
formed their parts with fidelity and success.* 
The farthest discovery which they made to 
the southward of Roanoke was Secotan, an 
Indian town between the rivers of Pamplico 
and Neus, distant eighty leagues. t To the 
northward they went about forty leagues, to 
a nation called Chesepeags, on a small river 
now called Elizabeth, which falls into Chese- 

* The drawings which Mr. Withe made were engraven and 
printed at Frankfort (1590) by Theodore De Bry. They repre- 
sent the persons and habits of the natives, their employments, 
diversions, and superstitions. From these the prints in Bever 
ley's History of Virginia are copied. 

Mr. Heriot wrote a topographical description of the country 
and its natural history, which is preserved in Hakluyt's Collec- 
tion, vol. iii., 266. It was translated into Latin, and published 
by De Bry in his collection of voyages. It has been supposed 
that Raleigh himself came to Virginia with this colony. This is 
a mistake, grounded on a mistranslation of a passage in Heriot's 
narrative. It is thus expressed in English : " The actions of 
those who have been by Sir Walter Raleigh therein employed." 
Which is thus rendered in the Latin translation, " qui generosum 
D. Walterum Ralegh, in earn regianem comitati sunt." Stith, 
p. 22. 

t [Governor Lane's narrative, in Hakluyt, iii., 255, says "by 
estimation, fourscore miles." H.] 


peag* Bay below Norfolk. To the westward 
they went up Albemarle Sound and Chowan 
River about forty leagues, to a nation called 
Chowanogs, whose king, Menatonona,t amu- 
sed them with a story of a copper mine and 
a pearl fishery ; in search of which they spent 
much time, and so exhausted their provisions 
that they were glad to eat their dogs! before 
they returned to Roanoke. 

During this excursion their friend Gran- 
ganimeo died, and his brother Wingina$ dis- 
covered his hostile disposition towards the 
colony. The return of Mr. Lane and his 
party from their excursion gave a check to his 
malice for a while ; but he secretly laid a 
plot for their destruction, which being betray- 
ed to the English, they seized all the boats on 

* [The word Chesepeak is said to signify in the Indian 
tongue "Mother of Waters." Bosnian's Maryland, 77, note. 


t [Lane calls him Menatonon, and says that he was, " for a 
savage, a very grave and wise man, and of a very singular good 
discourse in matters concerning the state." He writes the name 
of the province Chawanook, and adds that the town itself, in ad- 
dition to the forces of the province, was able to send 700 fight- 
ing men into the field. H.] 

t [Lane calls it " Dogge's Porredge." After they had finish- 
ed that dish, they had for one or two days "nothing in the 
world to eat but pottage of sassafras leaves." H.] 

[Wingina had now changed his name to Pemisapan, and the 
conspiracy is comjr >nly spoken of as Pemisapan's. H.] 



the island. This brought on a skirmish, in 
which five or six Indians were killed, and the 
rest fled to the woods. After much jealousy 
and dissimulation on both sides, Wingina was 
drawn into a snare, and, with eight of his 
men, fell a sacrifice to the resentment of the 

In a few days after Wingina' s death, Sir 
Francis Drake, who had been cruising against 
the Spaniards in the West Indies, and had 
received orders from the queen to visit this 
colony, arrived with his fleet on the coast, 
and, by the unanimous desire of the people, 
took them all off and carried them to Eng- 
land, where they arrived in July, 1586. t 

Within a fortnight after the departure of 
this unfortunate colony, Sir Richard Gren- 

* [This was on the first of June, 1586. H.] 
t [Hakluyt, iii., 265, mentions a voyage made in 1586, by a 
ship fitted out by Sir Walter at his own charge, for the relief 
of his colony in Virginia, which arrived at Cape Hatteras be- 
tween the departure of Drake and the arrival of Grenville, and 
which, after an unsuccessful search, returned to England. 

He was now rapidly growing in favour with the queen, and 
about this time was appointed by her seneschal of the duchies 
of Cornwall and Exeter, and lord-warden of the stannaries in 
Devonshire and Cornwall. He was also a partner in a voyage 
undertaken by the Duke of Cumberland to the South Sea, and 
sent two pinnaces to the Azores, which took several prizes. 
Hakluyt, ii., 120. H.J 


ville arrived with three ships for their relief. 
Finding their habitation abandoned, and be- 
ing unable to gain any intelligence of them, 
he landed fifty* men on the Island of Roan- 
oke, plentifully supplied with provisions for 
two years, and then returned to England. 

The next year (1587t) three shipst were 
sent, under the command of John White, $ 
who was appointed governor of the colony, 
with twelve counsellors. To them Raleigh 
gave a charter of incorporation for the city 
of Raleigh, which he ordered them -to build 
on the River Chesepeag, the northern extent 
of the discovery. After narrowly escaping 
shipwreck on Cape Fear, they arrived at Hat- 
teras on the 22d of July, and sent a party to 
Roanoke to look for the second colony of 

* [Hakluyt says fifteen men, iii., 265, and again 282, 3, 4 
Smith, p. 13, says " fiftie." H.] 

t [This year Sir Walter was made captain of the guard to 
her majesty, and lieutenant-general of the county of Cornwall. 
He was also a member of the Parliament which met March 23d, 
1587, and received from the queen a grant of the lands of An- 
thony Babington, which had been forfeited on account of his 
connexion with the conspiracy in farour of Mary Queen of Scots. 

t [They carried one hundred and fifty colonists. Hakluyt, 
iii., 280, 281. H.] 

$ [White sailed from Plymouth May 8th. His fleet con- 
sisted of ' the Admiral, a shippe of 120 tuniies, a file-boat, and 
a pinnesae." Hakluyt, iii., 280, 281. H.] 


fifty men. They found no. person living, and 
the bones of but one dead. The huts were 
standing, but were overgrown with bushes 
and weeds. In conversation with some of 
the natives, they were informed that the col- 
ony had been destroyed by Wingina's people 
in revenge of his death. 

Mr. White endeavoured to renew a friend- 
ly intercourse with those natives, but their 
jealousy rendered them implacable. He 
therefore went across the water to the main 
with a party of twenty-five men, and came 
suddenly on a company of friendly Indians, 
who were seated round a fire, one of whom 
they killed before they discovered the mis- 

Two remarkable events are mentioned as 
happening at this time : one was the baptism 
of Manteo, the faithful Indian guide ; the 
other was the birth of a female child, daugh- 
ter of Ananias Dare,* one of the council, 
which, being the first child born in the colo- 
ny, was named Virginia. 

By this time (August 21) the ships had 
unloaded their stores, and were preparing to 
return to England. It was evident -that a 

* [Dare had married Eleanor, daughter of Governor White. 
The birth took place Aug. 18th. H.] 


farther supply was necessary, and that some 
person must go home to solicit it. A dispute 
arose in the council on this point, and, after 
much altercation, it was determined that the 
governor was the most proper person to be 
sent on this errand. The whole colony join- 
ed in requesting him to proceed, promising to 
take care of his interest in his absence. With 
much reluctance he consented, on their sub- 
scribing a testimonial of his unwillingness to 
quit the plantation. He accordingly sailed 
on the 27th of August, and arrived in Eng- 
land the following November. The nation 
was in a state of alarm and apprehension on 
account of the war with Spain, and of the in- 
vincible armada, which had threatened it with 
an invasion. Sir Walter Raleigh was one of 
the queen's council of war,* as were also Sir 
Richard Grenville and Mr. Lane. Their 
time was wholly taken up with public consul- 
tations, and Governor White was obliged to 
wait till the plan of operations against the en- 
emy could be adjusted and carried into exe- 

* [Raleigh was at this time one of the gentlemen of her majes- 
ty's privy chamber, and his wine-patent seems to have been en- 
larged. This was continued to him till the close of Elizabeth'^ 
reign. H.] 


The next spring Raleigh and Grenville, 
who had the command of the militia in Corn- 
wall, and were training them for the defence 
of the kingdom, being strongly solicited by 
White, provided two small barks, which sail- 
ed from Biddeford on the 22d of April, 1588. 
These vessels had commissions as ships of 
war, and, being more intent on gain to them- 
selves than relief to the colony, went in chase 
of prizes, and were both driven back by ships 
of superior force, to the great mortification of 
their patron and the ruin of his colony. 

These disappointments were a source of 
vexation to Raleigh. He had expended forty 
thousand. pounds, of his own and other men's 
money, in pursuit of his favourite object, and 
his gains were yet to come. He therefore 
made an assignment of his patent (March 7, 
1589) to Thomas Smith, and other merchants 
and adventurers, among whom was Governor 
White, with a donation of one hundred pounds 
for the propagation of the Christian religion 
in Virginia. Being thus disengaged from the 
business of colonization, he had full scope for 
his martial genius in the war with Spain. 

His assignees were not so zealous in the 
prosecution of their business. It was not till 
the spring of 1590 that Governor White coultf 


return to his colony.* Then, with three ships, 
he sailed from Plymouth, and, passing through 
the West Indies in quest of Spanish prizes, he 
arrived at Hatteras on the 15th of August. 
From this place they observed a smoke ari- 
sing on the Island of Roanoke, which gave 
them some hope that the colony was there 
subsisting ; on their coming to the place, they 
found old trees and grass burning, but no hu- 
man being. On a post of one of the housest 
they saw the word Croatan, which gave them 
some hope that at the island of that name 
they should find their friends. They sailed 
for that island, which lay southward of Hat- 
teras ; but a violent storm arising, in which 
they lost their anchors, they were obliged to 

* [Governor White's account of this voyage is preserved in 
Hakluyt, iii., 287-295. The three ships were furnished " at the 
special charges of Mr. John Wattes, of London, marchaat." 
They were the Hopewell, the John Evangelist, and the Little 
John, accompanied with two small shallops. They sailed from 
Plymouth March 20th, remained on the coast of Virginia but a 
few days, and reached home October 24th. Mr. White says this 
was his fifth voyage to Virginia, and complains bitterly, in his 
letter to Hakluyt, that " governors, masters, and sailors regarded 
very smally the good of their countrymen in Virginia, but wholly 
disposed themselves to seeke after purchase and spoiles." H.J 

t [They found that the houses had been taken down, and the 
place on which they had been enclosed with a strong palisade, 
and the word Croatan " in fay re capitall letters graven on one 
of the chief trees or posts at the entrance." White's Narrative, 
in Hakluyt, iii., 293. H.] 


quit the inhospitable coast and return home ; 
nor was anything afterward heard of the un- 
fortunate colony. 

The next year (1591) Sir Richard Gren- 
ville was mortally wounded in an engage- 
ment with a Spanish fleet, and died on board 
the admiral's ship, where he was prisoner.* 

* [The heroism of his death deserves a particular narration. 
The following account of it is taken from Miss Aikin's Memoirs 
of the Court of Queen Elizabeth, ii., 264 : "A squadron, under 
Lord Thomas Howard, which had been waiting six months at 
the Azores to intercept the homeward-bound ships from Spanish 
America, was there surprised by a vastly more numerous fleet 
of the enemy, which had been sent out for their convoy. The 
English admiral got to sea in all haste, and made good his re- 
treat, followed by his whole squadron excepting the Revenge, 
which was entangled in a narrow channel between the port and 
an island. Sir Richard Grenville, her commander, after a vain 
attempt to break through the Spanish line, determined, with a 
kind of heroic desperation, to sustain alone the conflict with a 
whole fleet of fifty-seven sail rather than strike his colours. 
From three o'clock in the afternoon till daybreak he resisted, by 
almost incredible efforts of valour, all the force which could be 
brought to bear against him, and fifteen times beat back the 
boarding-parties from his deck. At length, when all his bravest 
had fallen, and he himself was disabled by many wounds, his 
powder also being exhausted, his small arms lost or broken, 
and his ship a perfect wreck, he proposed to his gallant crew to 
sink her, that no trophy might remain to the enemy. But this 
proposal, though applauded by several, was overruled by the ma- 
jority : the Revenge struck to the Spaniards, and two days after 
her brave commander died on board their admiral's ship of his 
glorious wounds, ' with a joyful and quiet mind,' as he express- 
ed himself, and admired by all his enemies themselves for his 
high spirit and invincible resolution." H.] 


Raleigh, though disengaged from the busi- 
ness of colonizing Virginia, sent five times at 
his own expense to seek for and relieve his 
friends ; but the persons whom he employed, 
having more profitable business in the West 
Indies, either went not to the place, or were 
forced from it by stress of weather, it being a 
tempestuous region, and without any safe har- 
bour. The last attempt which he made was 
in 1602, the year before his imprisonment ; 
an event which gratified the malice of his 
enemies, and prepared the way for his death, 
which was much less ignominious to him than 
to his sovereign, King James I., the British 
Solomon, successor to Elizabeth, the British 

This unfortunate attempt to settle a colony 
in Virginia was productive of one thing which 
will always render it memorable, the intro- 
duction of tobacco into England. Cartier, in 

* As a specimen of the language of that time, let the reader 
take the following extract from Purchas : 

" He [i. e., King James] is beyond comparison a meer trans- 
cendent, beyond all his predecessors, princes of this realm ; be- 
yond the neighbouring princes of his own time ; beyond the 
conceit of subjects dazzled with so much brightness ; beyond 
our victorious Deborah, not in sex alone, but as peace is more 
excellent than war, and Solomon than David ; in this also that 
he is, and we enjoy his present sunshine." 


his visit to Canada fifty years before, had 
observed that the natives used this weed in 
fumigation, but it was an object of disgust to 
Frenchmen. Ralph Lane, at his return in 
1586, brought it first into Europe ; and Ra- 
leigh, who was a man of gayety and fashion, 
not only learned the use of it himself, but in- 
troduced it into the polite circles, and even 
the queen herself gave encouragement to u 
Some humorous stories respecting it are still 
remembered. Raleigh laid a wager with the 
queen that he would determine exactly the 
weight of smoke which issued from his pipe. 
This he did by first weighing the tobacco and 
then the ashes. When the queen paid the 
wager, she pleasantly observed that many la- 
bourers had turned their gold into smoke, but 
that he was the first who had converted smoke 
into gold. 

It is also related that a servant of Sir Wal- 
ter, bringing a tankard of ale into his study 
as he was smoking his pipe and reading, was 
so alarmed at the appearance of smoke issu- 
ing out of his mouth, that he threw the ale 
into his face, and ran down to alarm the fam- 
ily, crying out that his master was on fire. 

King James had so refined a taste, that he 
not only held this Indian weed in great ab- 
horrence himself, but endeavoured, by proc- 


lamations and otherwise, to prevent the use 
of it among his subjects. But all his zeal and 
authority could not suppress it. Since his 
time it has become an important article of 
commerce, by which individuals in Europe 
and America, as well as colonies and nations, 
have risen to great opulence. 

[We have thus far followed Raleigh in a 
course of nearly uniform prosperity, if not of 
constant success. He had become distin- 
guished among his countrymen, and was high 
in the favour of the queen. Yet his career at 
court was not without its perplexities, and 
he sorely felt, from time to time, how easily 
his repose may be disturbed " who hangs on 
princes' favours." He found a rival there in 
the youthful and accomplished Earl of Essex, 
son-in-law of the late powerful Leicester. He 
had fallen under the suspicion of insincerity 
in his professed attachment to that noble- 
man, as appears from a letter written by him 
in vindication of himself as early as 1586. 
Whether a-jealousy on this point was inherit- 
ed by Essex, or whether a degree of personal 
dislike arose from their competition for the 
royal favour, we cannot determine. The 
unfriendliness certainly existed, and Raleigh 
was a sufferer by it. He had been engaged 


in the unfortunate expedition, in the summer 
of 1589, to place Don Antonio on the throne 
of Portugal, and for his -good conduct in it 
had received from the queen the honour of a 
golden chain. Yet in August of the same 
year he suddenly withdrew to Ireland, evi- 
dently suffering under the royal displeasure. 
We have no knowledge of the cause of this 
change, except this imperfect notice in a let- 
ter of that date from Francis Allen to An- 
thony Bacon : ' My Lord of Essex hath 
chased Mr. Raleigh from the court, and con- 
fined him into Ireland : conjecture you the 
rest of that matter." 

Here he renewed his friendship with Spen- 
ser, a beautiful episode in a life of restless 
activity. Spenser was then residing at Kil- 
colman, on the banks of the Mulla, where he 
had devoted his leisure to the composition of 
" the Faery Queen." Raleigh's banishment 
was not of long duration, and on his return 
he brought Spenser to England, and proved 
an able and discerning patron. B 3 feelings 
during this brief exile are described in Spen- 
ser's " Colin Clout's come Home again," 
which was dedicated to him ten years later. 
In that poem Raleigh is introduced as " the 
Shepherd of the Ocean," and the poet says ; 


* His song was all a lamentable lay, 

Of great unkindness and of usage hard, 
Of Cynthia, the lady of the sea, 

Which from her presence, faultless, him debarr'd." 

The first three books of the Faery Queen 
were now published with his encouragement, 
and the "argument" is addressed "to the 
right noble and valorous Sir "Walter Raleigh." 

This noble sonnet, addressed to Spenser on 
his great work, will give the reader no unfa- 
vourable idea of Raleigh's poetic powers 

" Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay 

Within that temple, where the vestall flame 
Was wont to burne, and passing by that way 

To see that buried dust of living fame, 
Whose tumbe fair Love and fairer Vertue kept, 

All suddenly I saw the Faery Queene : 
At whose approche the Lord of Petrarke wept, 

And from henceforth those graces were not seene : 
For they this queene attended, in whose steed 

Oblivion laid him down on Laura's herse ; 
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed, 

And grones of buried ghosts the heavens did perse ; 
When Homer's spright did tremble all for grief, 
And curst th' accesse of that celestiall thiefe." 

In 1591 Sir Walter was busily engaged in 
preparing for an expedition to capture the 
Spanish fleet, which every year came richly 
laden with merchandise from their American 
possessions. So earnest were his endeav- 
ours, and so plausible his scheme of opera- 
tions, that thirteen ships were equipped for 


the enterprise by private adventurers, and two 
ships-of-war were added by the queen. She 
appointed Sir Walter general of the fleet, 
which sailed May 6, 1592. The next day, 
by a special messenger, he received letters 
from the queen containing his recall. He 
did not return till he began to despair of suc- 
cess, and left the expedition in charge of Sir 
John Burgh and Sir Martin Frobisher. 
Among other prizes they took the Madre de 
Dios, " of 1600 tons burthen, whereof 900 
were merchandise." 

Soon after his return he was arrested, hav- 
ing very probably been recalled for the pur- 
pose, and imprisoned in the Tower, for having 
carried on a criminal intrigue with one of the 
queen's maids of honour. The lady was im- 
prisoned at the same time. She was Eliza- 
beth, daughter of the statesman and ambas- 
sador, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and much 
celebrated for her beauty. After their release 
they were married, and his letters, with her 
efforts for him in his misfortunes, prove a rare 
degree of mutual affection and lasting happi- 
ness. During this confinement Sir Walter 
wrote a letter to Sir Robert Cecil,* which is 
too curious to be entirely omitted. It was 
written just as the queen was about to leave 
* [Burghley State Papers by Murden, ii., 657. H.] 


London on a royal progress, and was clearly 
intended for her majesty's eye. It shows 
servility in the writer hardly more than the 
peculiar temper of Elizabeth, which could be 
touched by sogross flattery. " My heart was 
never broken till this day, that I hear the 
queen goes away so far off, whom I have fol- 
lowed so many years with so great love and 
desire in so many journeys, and am now left 
behind her in a dark prison, all alone. While 
she was yet near at hand, that I might hear 
of her once in two or three days, my sorrows 
were the less, but even now my heart is cast 
into the depth of all misery. I that was wont 
to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting 
like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle 
wind blowing her fair hair about her pure 
cheeks like a nymph, sometime sitting in the 
shade like a goddess, sometime singing like 
an angel, sometime playing like Orpheus ; 
behold the sorrow of this world ! once amiss 
hath bereaved me of all ! .... All those times 
past, the loves, the sighs, the sorrows, the de- 
sires, can they not weigh down one frail mis- 
fortune ?....! am more weary of life than 
they are desirous I should perish, which, if 
it had been for her as it is by her, I had been 
too happily born." By virtue of such regrets, 

)r for some better reason, Sir Walter was rc- 
1. u K 


leasedfjjn the latter part of September, though 
he seems not to have been completely resto- 
red to the queen's favour for several years. 
He is described in letters of this time as 
" hovering between fear and hope," and so 
late as September, 1594, as " in good hope 
to return into grace." Yet in 1593 he ob- 
tained of the queen a grant of the manor of 
Sherborne, in Dorsetshire, where he for some 
time resided. 

Sir Walter was a member of the Parlia- 
ment which met in the spring of 1593, was 
an active member of several committees, and 
became distinguished for his eloquence and 
enlarged views of public policy and of nation- 
al honour. 

To reinstate himself in the favour of his 
royal mistress v and more rapidly advance his 
private fortunes, Sir Walter, with full faith in 
the reported infinite riches of El Dorado, 
prepared for an expedition into the unknown 
regions of Guiana. Dejection led him to med- 
itate on new schemes of wealth, and the soli- 
tariness of the Tower had given an impulse to 
his imagination, and substance to his dreams. 

The fleet for Guiana set sail Feb. 6th, 
1595,* and arrived at Trinidad the 22d of 

* [Sir Walter's narrative may be found in Hakluyt, iii., 
631-666, and in Cayley's Life of Ralegh. H.] 


March. They found a company of Span- 
iards at Puerto de los Espanoles, from whom, 
and from an Indian cacique who visited him, 
Sir Walter learned much of the resources 
and topography of the country. Suspecting 
the jealousy of the Spaniards, and unwilling 
to leave an enemy in his rear, he surprised 
and burned their city of St. Joseph, and de- 
tained the governor, Don Antonio de Berreo, 
a prisoner. He was farther induced to this 
course by a desire to punish the treachery of 
Berreo, who had, in violation of his promise, 
taken prisoners eight of Captain Whidden's 
men there in 1594. Whidden had been sent 
by Raleigh on a voyage of discovery. Ber- 
reo is described as " a gentleman well de- 
scended, who had long served the Spanish 
king in Milan, Naples, and the Low Coun- 
tries, very valiant and liberal, of a great as- 
suredness, and of a good heart." Though a 
captive, Raleigh treated him with the courte- 
sies due to a soldier. 

Here Sir Walter spent about a month, and 
learned that the region he was in search of 
was six hundred miles farther than he had 
supposed. He, however, concealed this from 
his company, and, leaving his ships at Curi- 
apan, on the Island of Trinidad, he embarked 


one hundred persons, with provisions for one 
month, in a small galley, a barge', two wher- 
ries, and a ship's boat, and set out in this poor 
plight for the empire of Guiana. The voyage 
was wearisome beyond description, " being al 
driven to lie in the raine, and weather in the 
open aire, in the burning sunne, and upon the 
hard bords, and to dresse our meatq, and to 
carry all maner of furniture in them (the 
open boats), wherewith they were so pestered 
and unsavoury . . . that I will undertake there 
was never any prison in England that could 
be found more unsavoury and lothsome, es- 
pecially to myself, who had for many years 
before been dieted and cared for in a sort far 
more differing." 

The troubles which they began thus to feel 
at the outset would have dissuaded any ordi- 
nary man from pursuing so difficult a scheme. 
Berreo, too, when informed of Sir Walter's 
purpose to penetrate into the interior of Gui- 
ana, " was stricken into a great melancholy 
and sadnesse," and represented to him the 
rivers as of difficult and perilous naviga- 
tion by reason of shoals and flats, the way 
long, the current rapid, and the natives at 
once timid and hostile, and resolved to have 
no intercourse with Christians. But difficul- 
ties seemed only to animate his resolution, 


and the prospect of dangers awakened his he- 

After reaching the mouths of the river, 
they entered, May 22d, a branch, which, as 
true knights, they named, from a fancied re- 
semblance, the River of the Red Crosse. In 
the labyrinth of waters made by the number- 
less courses of the great river near its mouth, 
interlacing in every direction, and seeming- 
ly flowing every way, they were confused, 
and might have wandered without end, so 
Hke were the islands, and so doubtful which 
was the main stream. The number of out- 
lets is sixteen, the outermost three hundred 
miles apart. Near the mouth of the Red 
Crosse River accident put in their power an 
old man of the Ciawani, a tribe which lived 
on the bank. He was familiar with the 
course of the stream, and served them as pi- 
lot. They now " passed up the river with 
the flood, and anchored during the ebb, and 
m this sort went onward." For four days 
the tide aided them, " till they fell into a 
goodly river, the great Amana." After this 
they were forced to row with main strength 
against a violent current, " every gentleman 
and others taking their turnes to spell one an- 
other at the hour's end." They thus labour- 
ed on many days, " in despair and discomfort, 


wearied, scorched, and doubtful withal, the 
air breeding great faintness, the current every 
day stronger, and ourselves growing weaker 
and weaker, our bread at the last, and no 
drinke at all." They were ready every hour 
to turn back, and kept up the spirits of the 
men only by Bordering the pilots to promise 
an end the next day, and used this so long 
that they were driven to assure them from 
four reaches of the river to three, and so to 
the next reach." 

In this distress and famine they halted '; 
and, at the instance of their guide, Sir Wai- 
ter, with a small party, rowed up a branch of 
the Amana, more than forty miles, to an In- 
dian village, in search of bread. They toiled, 
" heart-broken and tired, and ready to give 
up the ghost," from morning " till one o'clock 
past midnight," when they " saw a light and 
heard dogs bark at the village." They were 
kindly received by the few natives then at 
home, and got " good store of bread, fish, 
hennes. and Indian drincke." This stream 
opened to them a new view of the country. 
Their course hitherto had been up a river 
thickly bordered with overhanging woods, 
and beset with prickles, bushes, and thorns. 
Here they looked out upon " plaines of twen- 
ty miles in length, the grasse short and 


greene, and in divers parts groves of trees by 
themselves, as if they had been by all the 
art and labour in the world so made of pur- 
pose, and still as they rowed the deere came 
downe feeding by the water's side, as if they 
had beene used to a keeper's call. But, be- 
side strange fishes and of marvellous bignes, 
for lagartos (alligators) it exceeded, for there 
were thousands of those ugly serpents." 

On their return " they went on their way 
up the great river, and again, when they were 
even at the last call for want of victuals," 
they came upon four canoes filled with na- 
tives, and three Spaniards, which they took, 
and " found in them divers baskets of roots, 
and great store of excellent bread, than which 
nothing on the earth could have been more 
welcome to them next unto gold." The 
Spaniards had been mining, and their instru- 
ments for the trial of metals, and such dust 
as they had refined, were taken. This re- 
newed their hopes that the golden region 
was not far off. Sir Walter here took a new 
pilot from those who had guided the Span- 
iards, and " on the fifteenth day they discov- 
ered afarre off the mountains of Guiana, to 
their great joy;" and "a northerly wind, 
which blew very strong, brought them in 


sight of the great River Oronoco, out of which 
the Amana descended," and " they ankered at 
the parting of the three goodly rivers." Here 
they went ashore on the invitation of Topa- 
rimaca, " the lord of that border," " where 
some of the captains caroused of his wine 
till they were reasonable pleasant," and vis- 
ited his town Arowocai, which " was very 
pleasant, with goodly gardens a mile com- 
passe round about it." 

The next day they sailed on with an east 
wind, and found the river of varying breadth, 
from four to twenty miles, " with wonderfull 
eddies, divers shoals, rock, and many great 
islands," and wrought into huge billows by the 
wind. Passing by wide and rich plains, and 
sending out now and then parties to explore 
the banks, on the fifth day from their first 
sight of the mountains they arrived at the port 
of Morequito, three hundred miles from the 
sea. Here and in the neighbourhood they 
passed four days. From this place parties 
were sent abroad to search for the precious 
metals, and to reach, if possible, the mount- 
ains on the frontier of the great empire. 
Sir Walter accompanied, one, to view " the 
strange over-falls of the River of Caroli," the 
noise of which they heard twenty miles off, 


at Morequito. There appeared some ten or 
twelve falls, " every one as high over the oth- 
er as a church tower." Hear him describe 
the tract they traversed : "I never saw a 
more beautifull countrey nor more lively pros- 
pects ; hils so raised here and there over the 
valleys, the river winding into divers branch- 
es, the plains adjoyning without bush or 
stubble, all faire greene grasse, the ground of 
hard sand, easie to march on either for horse 
or foote, the deere crossing in every path, 
the birdes towards the evening singing on ev- 
ery tree with a thousand severall tunes, cranes 
and herons, of white, crimson, and carnation, 
pearching in the river's side, the aire fresh 
easterly winde, and every stone that wee 
stouped to take up promised either gold or 
silver by his complexion." They were hos- 
pitably entertained by the natives ; learned 
somewhat of the geography of the country ; 
heard and believed stories of a tribe of men 
" whose heads appeare not above their shoul- 
ders ;" were told of a rich silver mine, which, 
from the rise of the river, they could not 
reach ; dugout with their daggers and fingers 
from the hard white spar a few specimens of 
minerals, " marcasite, and mother-of-gold, 
and stones like sapphires," and then turned 

their faces again to the eastward. 
I, C c 


" The great city of Manoa" had eluded 
their grasp. Their farther progress was hin- 
dered, and their departure hastened by the 
summer rains. The smaller rivers " were 
raised with such speed, as, if they waded 
them over the shoes in the morning outward, 
they were covered to the shoulders homeward 
the very same day ;" and the Oronoco " be- 
gan to rage, and overflowe very fearfully." 
Besides, "the menne began to crie out for 
want of shift," having no change of clothes, 
and their single suits "throughly washt on 
their bodies for the most part tenne times 
in one day." They passed down the river 
rapidly and without labour, and had several 
interviews with the chiefs who dwelt on its 
banks. Their hopes of much gold in some 
future enterprise were highly excited by the 
reports they heard and the few specimens 
they saw ; but their small number, their past 
labours and fatigue, all persuaded them to 
undertake nothing farther for the present. 
They encountered a violent storm at the 
mouth of the river, where they passed through 
imminent peril, " one faintly cheering anoth- 
er to showe courage," and at length safely re- 
gained their vessels at Trinidad. 

Such is a brief outline of a narrative which 


Hume* says is " full of the grossest and most 
palpable lies that were ever attempted to be 
imposed on the credulity of mankind." That 
historian's bias against the brave and unfortu- 
nate Raleigh is manifest to every reader of 
his history. Yet his sketch of Raleigh's nar- 
rative, compared with the narrative itself, 
shows that he had read the latter very care- 
lessly, or would make him responsible for the 
truth of every rumour he reported, while 
Raleigh himself carefully distinguishes what 
he saw from what he heard. The attentive 
reader of Sir Walter's narrative will be struck 
with his extreme credulity, and make many 
allowances for an earnest enthusiasm and a 
poetic fancy, but will hardly find traces of a 
wilful purpose to deceive. 

The evidence on which the expedition was 
projected shows a large faith and a visionary 
imagination, though the value of its indica- 
tions is seen in the success of Cortez and Pi- 
zarro. The minds of men in general in that 
day, and of individuals two hundred years la- 
ter, habitually entertained the notion of the El 
Dorado, a region rich beyond all human ex- 

* [Chap. 41. In another place, Appendix B. to vol. vii., p. 
384, 12mo ed., he boldly charges Raleigh with " impudent im- 
posture " H.] 


perience in gold and gems, in the heart of 
South America. Though they doubted of 
particulars, they had full faith in the main. 
The Spaniards believed the way to this re- 
gion was through the Oronoco, and had sent 
many expeditions to search it out : Antonio 
Sedenno, with five hundred men, in 1536 ; 
Jala alone in 1560 ; De Orsua, with four hun- 
dred, the same year ; Orellana in 1542.* 
These expeditions were so far only success- 
ful as to encourage others. Berreo was now 
waiting for a re-enforcement from Spain to 
enable him to renew this enterprise. An ear- 
lier authority, and the source of them all, 
was the story of one Martinez, who, in the 
capacity of " master of the munition," had 
accompanied Diego Ordas, a knight of the 
order of St. Jago, in a voyage to this region 
in 1531. Ordas, with six hundred men and 
thirty horse, was said to have penetrated as 
far as Morequito, and was killed in a mutiny 
of his men. Martinez, for some negligence, 
was sentenced by Ordas to be executed, but, 
instead, was put afloat on the river alone in 
a canoe, taken up by the natives, carried 
through the country many days blindfolded, 
and at last to their capital, " the golden city 

* [Hakluyt, iii., 690. H.] 


of Manoa." He reported that he was car- 
ried in blindfold, and travelled in it a day and 
a half before he reached the palace of the 
inca ; that he remained there seven months, 
and saw there golden statues and shields, 
plates and armour of gold which they used 
in war, and many other tokens of vast wealth. 
He therefore named the country El Dorado, 
i. e., the golden. He told this on his return, 
and reaffirmed it on his deathbed to his con- 
fessor. This story was reported by Berreo, 
who was engaged in the same enterprise, and 
was doubtless believed by Sir Walter. Cre- 
dulity was the fault of the age, and was more 
reasonable then than now, as every day 
brought new rumours of rich countries to be 
won by adventurous conquest, and grave his- 
torians coolly affirmed the most prodigious 

The reports that came to England with the 
company were received with much distrust. 
Little ore was brought to satisfy the public 
expectation, though of that which was brought, 
a part, at least, proved good on assay. Sir 
Walter was accused of false dealing, even of 
having lain hid in Cornwall all the time of the 

* [See the passages from Gomara cited by Sir Walter. 
Hackluyt, 634, &c. H.] 


voyage. From these suspicions he clears 
himself, with sad earnestness, in his letter to 
Howard and Cecil,* affirming that he had re- 
turned " a beggar and withered," and publish- 
ing his confidence in the merits and final suc- 
cess of the scheme, with arguments which, 
though they may have somewhat fanciful in 
them, prove the patriot and the hero. " The 
common souldier," says he, in his eloquent 
vindication, " shall fight for gold, and pay 
himself, insteede of pence, with plates of 
halfe a foote broade, whereas he breaketh his 
bones in other warres for provant and penury. 
Those commanders and chieftains that shoot 
at honour and abundance, shall finde them 
more riche and beautifull cities, more temples 
adorned with golden images, more sepulchres 
filled with treasure, than either Cortez found in 
Mexico, or Pizarro in Peru ; and the shining 
glorie of this conquest will eclipse all those so 
farr : extended beams of the Spanish nation." 
Men who could offer, and be touched by such 
inducements, would engage, with ready heart 
and resolute hope, in schemes which the com- 
mercial prudence of later times would scout 
as visionary, and turn away from as imprac- 
ticable. The spirit of heroic adventure had 
* [Prefixed to his narrative of his voyage to Guiana. H.J 


not yet given way to the more palpable bene- 
fits of a system of colonization, and the diffi- 
culty, danger, and vastness of an enterprise 
was still to many a charm of no less power 
than gold or precious stones. 

But Sir Walter had large views of public 
policy. " The West Indies," he continues, 
" were first offered her majesty's grandfather 
by Columbus, a stranger in whom there might 
be doubt of deceipt, and besides, it was then 
thought incredible that there were such and 
so many lands and regions never written of 
before. This empire is made knowen to hei 
majestic by her owne vassell, and by him 
that oweth to her more dutie than an ordina- 
rie subject, so that it shall ill sort with the 
many graces and benefites which I have re- 
vived to abuse her highnesse either with fa- 
bles or imaginations. The countrey is alrea- 
die discovered, manie nations wonne to her 
majestie's love and obedience, and those 
Spaniards who have latest and longest la- 
boured about the conquest, beaten out, dis- 
couraged, and disgraced, which among those 
nations were thought invincible .... What- 
soever prince shall possesse it shall be great- 
est, and if the King of Spaine enjoy it, he will 
become irresistible. Her majestic shall here- 


by confirrne and strengthen the opinions of all 
nations as touching her great and princely 
actions .... The charge will only be in the 
first setting out, in victualling and arming ; 
for, after the first or second yere, I doubt not 
hjat to see in London a contractation-house of 
more receipt for Guiana than there is now in 
Sivill for the West Indies." 

The voyage to Guiana was undertaken 
partly, perhaps, with a view to restore him- 
self to favour at court by a noble and con- 
spicuous achievement, and partly " by absence 
to expel the passion of his enemies, and to 
teach envy a' new way of forgetfulness."* 
His success either, way was but indifferent. 
The public expectation was greatly disap- 
pointed j his enemies had time and free room 
to perfect their schemes against him; and he 
was not, certainly not at once, received at 
court on his return, though " there were great 
means made" for it. But Raleigh's enthusi- 
asm for his favourite project was not without 

Immediately on his return he began to 
make preparations for a second expedition. 
The lord-treasurer adventured in it 500, and 
Sir Robert Cecil " a new ship, bravely fur* 

* [Sir Robert Naunton. H.] 


nished." Two ships, the Darling and the 
Discoverer, were put under the charge of 
Laurence Keymis, who had gone with Ra- 
leigh in the former voyage. He sailed Jan- 
uary 26, 1596, and returned in June of the 
same year. His narrative of the voyage is 
preserved in Hakluyt, hi., 672687. He 
gained considerable knowledge of the coast 
and rivers, and made diligent inquiry for the 
position of Manoa. He sailed up the Rale- 
ana, as he named the Oronoco, as far as the 
mouth of the Caroli, where he found a com- 
pany of Spaniards, with a village of some 
twenty houses, and a fort on a rocky island 
in the river. He went within, as he suppo- 
sed, about fifteen miles of the gold mine, but 
was prevented from reaching it by fear of the 
Spaniards (who had left their town to plant 
an ambush on the passage leading to it), and 
returned after two days in the belief that they 
might easily have intercepted his company on 
their way down the river. He learned that 
the Spaniards were universally hated by the 
Indians ; and, though he brought home none 
of the precious metals, he reported " that the 
Ampagotos have images of gold of incredi- 
ble bigness." He reaffirmed the story of the 
headless men, and adds, " What I have heard 


of a sort of people more monstrous, I omit to 
mention, because it is no matter of difficulty 
to get one of them, and the report otherwise 
will appear fabulous." He appears to have 
been a shrewd and honest observer, and to 
have returned with a thorough conviction 
that success must yet crown the adventure. 
"Myself," he says, " and the remains of my 
few years I have bequeathed wholly to Rale- 
ana, and all my thoughts live only in that 

In 1596 Sir Walter was engaged in the 
famous expedition to Cadiz. The queen had 
been led to fear that Philip was seriously and 
earnestly preparing for war with England, if 
not for another attempted invasion. She re- 
solved to prevent the latter contingency at 
least, by attacking him in his own ports. For 
this purpose a fleet of seventeen ships-of-war 
and about one hundred and thirty smaller 
vessels was fitted out, and seven thousand 
soldiers and about the same number of sea- 
men were embarked. The Earl of Essex 
commanded the land forces, and Lord Charles 
Howard, of Effingham, the fleet. Sir Walter 
Raleigh had the command of one of the four 
squadrons into which the fleet was divided, 
and was a member of the council of war. He 


did not reach Plymouth, from which they 
were to sail, till some days after the other 
commanders. The cause of his delay is not 
known, though it occasioned some distrust 
and dissatisfaction at the time ; being sus 
pected to be, as Anthony Bacon wrote to his 
brother Sir Francis, "upon pregnant design, 
which will be brought forth very shortly." 
Some dissensions between him and his broth- 
er-officers, which were ascribed to his hostili- 
ty to Essex, happened by the way, which 
were soon, in appearance, reconciled. 

The fleet sailed on the first of June, and 
came to anchor near Cadiz on the twentieth. 
Sir Walter has left a " relation of the Cadiz 
action,"* which we follow. The command- 
ers, in Sir Walter's absence, had determined 
first to attack the town. At his suggestion, 
however, they concluded first to attempt the 
ships and fort which occupied and defended 
the harbour. At his own request, he was di- 
rected to board the "great galleons of Spain," 
in fly-boats to be sent up for that purpose. 
The Spanish men-of-war were arranged in 
several lines, with " seventeen galleys to in- 

* [Published in the " genuine remains" of Sir Walter Ra- 
\eigh, App. No. ii., p. 19-25 to the abridgment of his History of 
the World, by his grandson, Philip Raleigh. H.] 


terlace them, as occasion should be offered," 
in such manner as to cover the entrance " as 
a bridge." The English fleet, in entering, 
met a " fort called the Philip, which beat 
and commanded the harbour. There were 
also ordnance, which lay all along the curtain 
upon the wall towards the sea, and divers 
pieces of culverin, which scoured the chan- 
nel," and then the galleys. Sir "Walter's ships 
entered foremost, and answered the fire of 
the fort and the galleys, " to each piece a 
blurr with a trumpet, esteeming them as but 
wasps," and aiming at "the St. Philip, the 
great and famous admiral of Spain." 

The other ships came up in order, but Ra- 
leigh " held single in the head of all." The 
fight continued about three hours, when, the 
fly-boats having not come up, he " laid out a 
warp by the side of the Philip to shake hands 
with her," when the Spaniards, perceiving it, 
slipped their cables and ran their ships ashore. 
Eight only of the English ships were enga- 
ged, and of the Spaniards fifty-five. The 
soldiers were then landed, and the town ta- 
ken " Avith a sudden fury and with little loss." 
In this action Sir Walter received a grievous- 
wound in the leg, which prevented him from 
taking a part in the sacking of the town. The 


conclusion of his " relation" curiously shows 
how wars were carried on in those days. 
" The town of Gales was very rich in mer- 
chandise, in plate, and money : many rich 
prisoners given to the land commanders ; so 
as that sort are very rich. Some had prison- 
ers for 16,000 ducats, some for 20,000, some 
for 10,000 ; and, besides, great houses of mer- 
chandise. What the generals have gotten, I 
know least : they protest it is little. For mine 
own part, I have gotten a lame leg and a de- 
formed. For the rest, either I spake too late, 
or it was otherwise resolved. I have not 
wanted good words, and exceeding kind and 
regardful usance ; but I have possession of 
naught but poverty and pain. If God had 
spared me that blow, I had possest myself 
of some house." The contemporary testi- 
monies to the valour and skilful conduct of 
Sir Walter in this action are abundant. The. 
army re-embarked July 5, and reached Ply- 
mouth August 10. 

On his return from the expedition to Cadiz, 
Sir Walter prepared for a third voyage to 
Guiana. He fitted out for this purpose a 
stout pinnace, the Wat, and placed it under 
the command of Captain Leonard Birnie. A 
relation of the voyage by Thomas Masliam, a 


gentleman of the company, is preserved in 
Hakluyt, iii. , 692-697. They left Weymouth 
December 27, 1596, and returned to Plymouth 
June 28, 1597, having explored a large ex- 
tent of the coast of Guiana, and entered many 
of the rivers. They brought back, however, 
little information, except the geography of the 
coast, and the report of the natives that those 
who dwelt in the interior had " great store of 
gold :" enough to excite curiosity and stimu- 
late to farther enterprise, but nothing to grati- 
fy them. 

It was not till his return from the expedi- 
tion to Cadiz that he was completely restored 
to the queen's favour. He was powerful in 
the politic friendship of Sir Robert Cecil, now 
secretary of state. The influence of Essex, 
his enemy, was declining. He was employed 
to effect a reconciliation between these two 
noblemen. They were all rivals, though seem- 
ingly on the most intimate terms. A contem- 
porary letter-writer, under date of June 2d, 
1597, says : " Yesterday Sir Walter Raleigh 
was brought to the queen by Sir Robert Cecil, 
who used him very graciously, and gave him 
full authority to execute his place as captain 
of the guard, which immediately he under- 
took. In the evening he rode abroad with the 


queen, and had private conference with her ; 
and now he comes boldly to the privy-cham- 
ber as he was wont." Though the displeas- 
ure under which he had long laboured was 
removed, Sir Walter made little progress in 
Jhe preferments he desired. He was anxious 
to be made a baron, to be chosen vice-cham- 
berlain, to be called to the privy-council. In 
all these points his wishes were steadily eva- 
ded or declined. The only post he gained, 
from a mistress who bestowed honours with 
cautious jealousy even on her favourites, was 
the government of Jersey, with a grant of a 
manor in the same island. His commission 
was dated August 26, 1600. 

Meanwhile, in 1597, a great fleet was equip- 
ped for what was called the Island Voyage. 
It consisted of 120 ships, and was designed 
to intercept the Plate-fleet near the Azores. 
Essex was commander-in-chief, and Raleigh 
rear-admiral. They sailed from Plymouth 
August 17. Being disappointed of the fleet, 
it was determined, in a council of war, that 
Essex and Raleigh should jointly attack Fay- 
al. Departing from Flores, the place of their 
first rendezvous, the two squadrons were ac- 
cidentally separated, and Raleigh arrived first. 
Having waited two days for Essex, and find- 


ing that the enemy were busily completing 
their preparations for defence, he held a coun- 
cil of his officers, in which it was decided that, 
if Essex did not arrive the next day, it would 
become Sir Walter's duty to make the attack 
alone, and without farther delay. On the 
fourth day, the earl having not yet come, Sir 
Walter followed the decision of the council, 
and, landing with a small portion of his force, 
took possession of the town, with slight loss. 
The next day Essex arrived, and was much 
exasperated that Raleigh had dared to make 
the attempt without him. He had long been 
jealous of Sir Walter, and naturally conceiv- 
ed himself injured, and deprived of an occa- 
sion of honour by the forwardness of one 
whom he hated. Several of the officers who 
had been concerned in the enterprise were ca- 
shiered and confined ; and it was only on con- 
cessions and submissions made by Raleigh, at 
the instance of Lord Howard, that the earl's 
indignation was for the time appeased. The 
earl's proceedings were, however, " much 
mistaken in England, and Sir Walter gained 
large additions to his reputation for military 
skill and experience at sea." 

The career of the brave and popular, but 
impetuous and hasty Earl of Essex was now 


drawing to its close. He had provoked the 
queen's displeasure by various rash sayings 
and actions ; and, on his untimely return from 
his government of Ireland, he was arrested 
by her order, and treated with unexpected 

Despairing of a restoration to her majesty's 
favour, he formed the wild scheme of raising 
an insurrection in the city of London, of seiz- 
ing the queen's person, and expelling by force 
his enemies from the court. The plan was 
communicated by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a 
partisan of Essex, to Sir Walter Raleigh, and 
by him, it is supposed, to the queen. The 
attempted rising proved a failure, and Essex 
was imprisoned, and subjected to the power of 
his enemies. In this number he counted Ra- 
leigh ; and, as one of the pretexts of his rebell- 
ion, had caused a rumour to be circulated that 
Cobham and Raleigh were plotting against 
his life. This charge was amply refuted by 
Blount, a creature of Essex's, who testified 
on his trial that this rumour was only " a word 
cast out to colour other matters." 

While, however, the fate of Essex was in 
suspense, Sir Walter wrote a letter to Sir 
Robert Cecil,* which has been used in later 

* [Burghley State Papers, i., 811. H.] 
I. Do 


times to prove his malice against Essex, and 
an indecent anxiety for his death. Raleigh 
was doubtless his enemy, and would have 
been glad to have him out of the way ; but 
the letter bears, and I think -requires, a less 
harsh construction, and recommends a last- 
ing imprisonment or degradation perhaps, 
but not an execution. " The less you make 
him," he says, " the less he shall be able to 
harm you and yours ; and if her majesty's 
favour fail him, he will again decline to a 
common person .... Look to the present, and 
do you wisely .... Lose not your advantage ; 
if you do, I read your destiny. Let the queen 
hold Bothwell while she hath him; he will 
ever be the canker of her estate and safety 
I have seen the last of her good days, and all 
ours, after his liberty." The advice here 
given is clearly to crush the earl, and it may 
have been cautiously worded, so as to urge 
Cecil -to accomplish his death. Raleigh was 
present as captain of the guard at the trial 
and execution of Essex, and a report was 
then spread that he attended the execution 
to gratify his hatred by the sight of his ene- 
my's suffering. Certainly his supposed con- 
nexion with the death of Essex added to his 
former unpopularity. It was a misfortune to 


him in another way. The power of Cecil 
had hitherto been checked by the power of 
Essex. Now Cecil became absolute, and 
could exert, without division, his influence 
and intrigues against his only remaining and 
less powerful rival. 

Such was Raleigh's own view of it in his 
later years. In his speech on the morning of 
his execution, he said, referring to the death 
of Essex, " After his fall I got the hatred of 
those who wished me well before ; and those 
who set me against him, set themselves after- 
ward against me, and were my greatest ene- 

Sir Walter sat in Elizabeth's last Parlia- 
ment, which met October 27, 1601, as one of 
the knights of the shire for the county of Corn- 
wall, and was distinguished by his abilities 
as a debater. Of several speeches which have 
been briefly reported, the one in opposition 
to the act for sowing hemp shows more lib- 
eral views than then prevailed touching the 
protective policy of government. " For my 
part," said he, " I do not like this constrain- 
ing of men to manure or use their grounds at 
our wills, but rather let every man use his 
ground to that which it is most fit for, and 
therein use his own discretion." 


The queen died in March, 1603, and with 
her the honours and hopes, but not the fame, 
of Sir Walter. Her successor, James I., as- 
cended the throne with strong prejudices 
against him, which had been originated by 
the hatred of Essex, and fomented by the 
crafty insinuations of Cecil. It must be add- 
ed that Raleigh was generally very unpopu- 
lar. We may suppose him to have been lit- 
tle less haughty to his equals and inferiors 
than he was submissive and subservient to 
the queen. His ambition, which was never 
concealed, was commonly believed to be 
grasping and unscrupulous, and his credit for 
veracity and truth seems not to have been of 
the highest order. Sir Robert Naunton says, 
" We are not to doubt how such a man would 
comply to progression ;" and his preface to 
the account of his first, and his apology for 
his last voyage to Guiana fully show the dis- 
trust with which his representations were re- 
ceived. How far this prevailing unpopulari- 
ty of Sir Walter may have influenced the 
conduct of James, we do not know. An es- 
sential difference of character and views be- 
tween that monarch and Raleigh may have 
contributed to perfect a dislike which was 
early expressed and hardly ever concealed. 


James was timid and pacific, Raleigh brave 
and adventurous, "addicted to foreign affairs 
and great actions."* The favourite policy 
of James was to conciliate the court of Spain ; 
Raleigh had fought against and spoiled the 
Spaniards, and cordially disliked them for 
their power at sea. Raleigh was a scholar 
and a poet, James was a theologian and a 
pedant. James could hardly appreciate the 
character of Raleigh, and Raleigh could not 
sympathize with the character of James. 

The poison began speedily to work. Ra- 
leigh at first received such favourable notice 
from the king as to encourage his hopes of 
royal favour ; but, one after another, his of- 
fices and privileges were taken away, and in 
less than three months after the king entered 
England he was arrested on a charge of high 
treason. He was charged with a design to 
take away the king's life and bring the Lady 
Arabella Stuart to the throne ; with having 
negotiated with the Spanish ambassador for 
the means of carrying on the plot, and having 
received a pension for his aid and services. 
The whole pretended plot is at war with the 
known habits, feelings, and opinions of Ra* 

* [A brief Delation of Sir Walter Raleigh's Troubles. Har 
teian Miscellany, vol. iv., p. 58, 4to, 1745. H.] 


leigh, and sustained by evidence too feeble 
and slight not only to prove legal, but even 
moral guiltiness. The only fact established 
was an offer from Count Aremberg of a pen- 
sion, or the sum of 8000 crowns, for what pur- 
pose does not appear, and which was not ac- 
cepted. The only witness, Lord Cobham, a 
vain, weak man, who was never confronted 
even with the prisoner, made his accusation 
in a fit of passion, and retracted it again and 
again, pronouncing Raleigh utterly and en- 
tirely innocent. The whole case was too 
weak to have convicted any one of the pet- 
tiest larceny. Yet Raleigh was found guilty 
by the verdict of the jury, and, it would seem, 
with the full consent of the court,* which 

*[ An analysis of the evidence on which this most extraordi- 
nary conviction was grounded, such as would satisfy the read- 
er, would be too long, and require too much detail to be 
inserted here. It may be found very fully given in Cayley's 
Life of Raleigh, in Jardine's Criminal Trials, vol. i., the State 
Trials, vol. i. and ii., and in Tytler's Life of Raleigh. The 
kst-named writer attempts (Appendix F.) very plausibly to 
prove that the whole plot was a device of Sir Robert Cecil and 
Sir Henry Howard by which to get rid of Raleigh. The whole 
case shows that there was a determination in some powerful 
quarter that he should be put out of the way. 

Cobham was examined ten times touching the conspiracy, and 
varied his story almost as many times, and yet in the most of them 
he exculpated Raleigh. No one who knows the feeble, cow- 
ardly character of this nobleman, can doubt that his confession 


was made up of cold friends and secret ene- 

The demeanour of Raleigh on his trial was 
such as became him. With the firmness of 
innocence and with manly spirit he bore the 
coarse and brutal invective of Coke, and the 
hardly less rude taunts of Popham, and the 
studied insincerity of Cecil ; claiming his 
rights with Saxon boldness, yet patiently sub- 
missive to the authority which tried him. 
Sir Dudley Carleton, who was an eyewit- 
ness of the trial, in a letter* to John Cham- 
berlain, dated Nov. 27th, 1603, describing it, 
testifies that " he answered with that temper, 
wit, learning, courage, and judgment, that, 
save it went with the hazard of his life, it was 
the happiest day that he ever spent. And so 
well he shifted all advantages that were ta- 
ken against him, that, were not an ill name 

on the scaffold was made under the promise that his life should 
be spared, and was the meanest part in this solemn farce. 

It has always seemed to me a curious feature of this pretend- 
ed plot, that none but Raleigh and Cobham were imagined to be 
privy to it. Their own means and influence were certainly in- 
adequate, and yet there was no suspicion that any other person 
had any connexion with it. H.] 

* [Preserved in the Hardwicke Papers, vol. i., p. 378, seqq. 
Compare the account of the conspiracy by Sir Robert Cecil, in 
a letter of December 1st, 1603, to Sir Thomas Parry. Cavley, 
ii., 59. H.] 


half hanged, in the opinion of all men he had 
been acquitted." He adds that a Scotsman 
who witnessed the proceedings "said that 
whereas, when he saw him first, he was so led 
with the common hatred that he would have 
gone a hundred miles to have seen hkn hang- 
ed, he would, ere he parted, have gone a thou- 
sand to have Saved his life."* 

But ability, eloquence, even innocence, so 
powerful over disinterested spectators, had no 
effect on a hostile court and a pliant jury ; 
and still less when they believed, from too 
sure indications, that the surest way to raise 
themselves was to destroy their victim. The 
trial took place at Winchester, Nov. 17th, 
1603, and the sentence was duly pronounced, 
condemning him to the horrible penalties of 
treason. " Lost" was he, as he said in a let- 
ter to the king, " for hearing a vain man ; 
for hearing only, and never believing or ap- 
proving." He was for some time detained 
at Winchester, where he waited in daily ex- 

* [This was not the impression of a single person. Carle- 
ton adds, " Never was a man so hated and so popular in so short 
a time." Among other testimonies that it was not singular, we 
have this in a letter of Sir Walter, written at the close of his im- 
prisonment to Sir Ralph Winwood, that the Prince Henry, the 
queen, and the King of Denmark had petitioned in his favour. 
" The wife, the brother, and the son of a king do not use to sue 
for men suspect." H.] 


pectation of death, the king having, with a 
refinement of cruelty, taken care that he 
should be informed that the warrant for his 
execution had been prepared. 

During this interval of suspense he wrote 
a touching farewell letter to his wife : 

" You shall now receive, my dear wife, my 
last words in these my last lines. My love I 
send you, that you may keep it when I am 
dead ; and my counsel, that you may remem- 
ber it when I am no more. I would not, by 
my will, present you with sorrows, dear Bess ; 
let them go into the grave with me, and be 
buried in the dust. And, seeing it is not the 
will of God that ever I shall see you more in 
this life, bear it patiently, and with a heart 
like thyself. ... I beseech you, for the love 
you bear me living, do not hide yourself 
many days after my death ; but by your 
travail seek to help your miserable fortunes 
and the right of your poor child.* Thy 
mournings cannot avail me ; I am but dust. 
. . If you can live free from want, care for 
no more ; the rest is but vanity. Love God, 
and begin betimes to repose yourself on him ; 

* [Walter, whom he lost at Guiana. Carcw was born af- 
terward, in the Tower. H.] 


and therein shall you find true and Lasting 
riches and endless comfort. For the rest, 
when you have travailed and wearied your 
thoughts over all sorts of worldly cogitations, 
you shall but sit down by sorrow in the end. 
. . . When I am gone, no doubt you shall be 
sought to by many, for the world thinks that 
I was very rich. But take heed of the pre- 
tences of men and their affections. ... I 
speak not this, God knows, to dissuade from 
marriage ; for it will be best for you, both 
in respect of the world and of God. As for 
me, I am no more yours, nor you mine. 
Death has cut us asunder, and God hath di- 
vided me from the world, and you from me. 
Remember your poor child for his father's 
sake, who chose you and loved you in his 
happiest time. Get those letters, if it be 
possible, which I writ to the lords, wherein I 
sued for my life. God is my witness it was 
for you and yours that I desired life. But it 
is true that I disdain myself for begging it : 
for know it, dear wife, that your son is the 
son of a true man, and one who, in his own 
respect, despiseth death in all his misshapen 
and ugly forms. . . . Written with the dying 
hand of some time thy husband, but now, 
alas ! overthrown yours that was, but now 
not my own, WALTER RALEGH." 


But the axe, by which he expected speed- 
ily to suffer, was to be suspended over him 
for years. To complete this miserable farce, 
Cobham and Grey were reprieved at the 
block, and Raleigh was remanded to the 
Tower to await the king's pleasure. 

We have followed the career of Raleigh as 
a soldier, a courtier, a discoverer, a politi- 
cian. We are now to look upon him in a 
scene more trying thn were they all. Few 
men can bear gracefully the weariness of a 
long imprisonment ; fewer still whose habits 
have been as active, and whose temper so ad- 
venturous as his. He was shut out from al- 
most all that had been the delight of his for- 
mer life ; there were no more campaigns or 
voyages, masques or intrigues of court. Yet 
his versatile powers sustained him patiently 
and cheerfully through. His faithful wife 
and son were not excluded. A few attend- 
ants were allowed him. Thomas Heriot re- 
mained near his person, and the few friends 
whom his merits and misfortunes made might 
sometimes solace him by their visits. He 
turned again for relief to his books, which he 
had always loved, and which had been his 
companions in his busiest hours. Poetry, 
philosophy, history, politics, chymistry, by 


turns occupied his attention. He converted 
a small house in the garden belonging to the 
Tower into a laboratory, and "spent all the 
day in distillations." Among other proofs 
of his ingenuity and success was a famous 
cordial, for which he made the recipe, and 
which has since gone by the name of Sir 
Walter's cordial. Here he wrote, too, most 
of those works which have gained him a rep- 
utation, hardly surpassed by his fame as a 
soldier and discoverer.* Foremost among 
which, in the judgment of posterity, is his 
History of the World. Whether we consid- 
er the vastness of the scheme, and the scanty 
resources which his imprisonment allowed 
him for its execution, the abundant Jearning 
everywhere displayed in it, the nervous and 
elegant style, the exuberant fancy, and the 
sad yet patient morality which characterize it, 
we cannot but judge it one of the most re- 
markable literary productions the world has 
ever seen. 

* [The miscellaneous literary productions of Sir Walter are 
very numerous, and, until a critical examination shall have final- 
ly decided on their authenticity, we may safely, perhaps, follow 
Cayley, who gives a list of them, amounting in number to thir- 
ty-two. Life of Raleigh, ii., 186. More recently, a collection 
of his works, designed to comprise them all, has been publish- 
ed at Oxford, 8 vols. 8vo. H.] 


The walls of the Tower, though they may 
keep out friends, cannot shut out misfortune. 
During the seventh year of Sir Walter's so- 
journ there, his estate at Sherborne, which 
he had, before his evil days had come, settled 
on his son, was " lost in the law for want of 
a word." James wanted it for his new fa- 
vourite, Carr ; the instrument of conveyance 
was examined, and, some words having been 
omitted by the inadvertence of the copyist, it 
was declared void, and the estates passed to 
a worthless minion.* 

A severer blow to Raleigh was the death 
of Prince Henry, the king's eldest son, who 
loved him for his virtues and pitied him for 
his sufferings. He used to say " that no king 
but his father would keep such a bird in a 
cage." A strong affection had grown up be- 
tween them, and Raleigh wrote several works 
a' his instance and for his use.t So long as 

* [As a recompense the king gave him jESOOO, a sum not 
much greater than the annual rent of the estate. His son Ca- 
rew endeavoured to gain a restoration of this estate, but King 
James said " he appeared to him like the ghost of his father," 
and the remark drove him from the court. King Charles had 
promised that the present possessors should not be disturbed, 
and would not consent to his restoration in blood without his 
formally renouncing all title to Sherborne. Sir Walter Ra- 
leigh's Troubles. H.] 

t [Birch's Life of Prince Henry, 235, 236, and 392. See 
also Lord Somers's Tracts, i., 412. H.] 


this noble young prince lived, he had good 
hopes of liberation. His early death was 
a double loss to Sir Walter, in his present 
enjoyment and in his expectations of the fu- 
ture. He speaks of it* as " the loss of that 
brave prince, of which, like an eclipse of the 
sun, we shall find the effects hereafter." 

Yet death did not select his friends only. 
Sir Robert Cecil, his bitterest enemy, had 
also passed away from earth, less regretted 
than the man whom he had forsaken and 
persecuted. The influence of Carr was giv- 
ing way before the rising favour of Villiers. 
Sir Ralph Winwood, not a great, but an hon- 
est man, was now secretary of state. 

Raleigh had- long entertained the wish to 
be allowed to prosecute his discoveries in 
Guiana. From time to time he had sent 
thither for information, and some of the na- 
tives of that country had been brought 1 o 
conference with him in the Tower. He haa 
received what he asserted to be satisfactory 
evidence of the existence of a gold mine there, 
which, if at liberty, he would work. Cecil 
had rejected his applications to this effect, 
but Winwood listened to him. Nothing was 
needed but a whim to secure the king's con- 
* [In his History of the World. H.] 


sent. This was supplied by the influence of 
Villiers, and that influence was purchased 
by the payment of 1500 to his two uncles ; 
and finally, after twelve years' delay, James 
granted to the simple asking of a favourite 
what he had so long refused to humanity and 
justice. Sir Walter was released March 17, 

He now devoted himself, with an ardour 
augmented by his long restraint, to his cher- 
ished scheme of a golden expedition to Gui- 
ana. He appropriated to this purpose the 
8000 he had received for his estate at Sher- 
borne ; and, to further the same, his wife sold 
her estate for 2500. He thus staked his 
fortune, as well as his reputation, on this issue. 
He built at his own expense a ship, the Des- 
tiny, which mounted thirty-six guns and car- 
ried two hundred men. Encouraged by his 
zeal, many merchants and private adventur- 
ers flocked to join the enterprise. After some 
opposition from Count Gondomar, the Span- 
ish ambassador, whose objections to it as a 
piratical scheme against the Spanish settle- 
ments in the West Indies seem to have been 
easily removed, Raleigh received a commis- 
sion, dated Aug. 26th, 1616, under the privy 
seal, apoointing him commander of the fleet 


and governor of the new country. The fleet, 
consisting of fourteen sail, was ready in the 
spring of 1617, and on the 28th of March 
dropped down the Thames, and, having been 
long detained by storms, reached Guiana on 
the 12th of November. 

Here Raleigh was taken severely ill, and, 
being unable to lead the expedition up the 
river in person, gave the command of five 
ships and some three hundred men for that 
purpose to Captain Keymis, who had explo- 
red the country under his directions in 1596. 
His orders to Keymis were to penetrate to 
the mine, and bring away at least a few bas- 
kets of the ore, to satisfy the king that the 
mine was not a mere dream ; and, in case he 
should be attacked, to repel force by force. 
The five vessels sailed December 10th, and 
soon reached Santa Thome, a garrisoned 
town of 240 houses, built by the Spaniards 
on the right bank of the river. Keymis land- 
ed in the night, and took his position between 
the town and the mine. During the night 
they were attacked by the Spaniards, whom 
they repulsed and pursued to Saint Thomas, 
which they entered. The governor of the 
town, Palameque, was slain, and the English, 
galled by shots from the houses, set it on fire 


and consumed it. Keymis set out immedi- 
ately with a small party for the mine, and 
on the route was attacked by a body of the 
fugitive Spaniards and forced to retreat, with 
some loss. By this disaster he was so much 
discouraged that he abandoned the town and 
hastily sailed back to join his general. Soon 
after his return, mortified by his failure, and 
stung by the indignant reproaches of Raleigh, 
Keymis committed suicide. 

The enterprise had thus been frustrated, 
and Raleigh thought it not prudent, or was 
not in a condition to resume it. Disappoint- 
ed and sad, he turned away from a region 
where so many bright hopes had faded, set 
sail for Newfoundland, and, after a brief stay 
there, bent his course for England. The 
news of his defeat and of the burning of Santa 
Thome had arrived there before him ; the re- 
sentment of the Spanish ambassador had been 
strongly expressed ; and James at once pub- 
lished a proclamation, inviting all who had 
any knowledge of his doings to testify before 
the privy-council, and wrote to the King of 
Spain, submitting it to his discretion whether 
Raleigh should receive his punishment in 
England or in Spain. His fate was decreed 
without trial or reply, and this indecent haste 

was allowed to gratify the court of Spain. 
r T? 


The connexion of Gondomar and the Span- 
iards with the death of Raleigh was too im- 
portant to be passed without some notice. 
Many circumstances concur to show a long- 
cherished purpose, on their part, to bring him 
to the block. He had long been their avow- 
ed enemy, and their most formidable one in 
England. He had fought and conquered 
them, spoken against them in Parliament, 
and written against them with profound wis- 
dom and bitter hatred. With his dislike was 
mingled somewhat of contempt. " It were," 
he had said,* " a horrible dishonour to be 
overreached by any of those .dry and subtle- 
headed Spaniards." The dislike and suspi- 
cion seem to have been mutual. From the 
moment of his entering upon the plan of his 
last voyage to Guiana, every particular of his 
movements was carefully communicated to 
the Spanish court. These particulars were 
at once sent to the Spanish governors in 
America. In the plunder taken at Santa 
Thome were letters from the King of Spain 
referring to his expedition, with a minute ac- 
count of his course and armament, and dated 
before his departure from the Thames. t So 

* [In his Discourse on the Marriage of the Prince of Wales. 

t [See the Hardwicke State Papers, i., 398. H.] 


completely was James, whose heart was now 
set on the Spanish match, under the influence 
of Gondomar, and Raleigh an object of watch- 
ful jealousy. 

James seems to have felt that the recent 
acts of Sir "Walter would hardly justify his 
execution. He had ample proof of his sin- 
cere belief in the existence of the gold mine : 
he must have known that in the affair of San- 
ta Thome the Spaniards were the aggressors, 
and he was obliged to resort to conjectures, 
assertions, and remote circumstances to make 
out anything like a case of intended depre- 
dation and plunder. Accordingly, from the 
day of his arrest till his final sentence, he was 
surrounded with spies, and beset with every 
snare that might entrap him into an unwary 
confession, or some act that might be con- 
strued into guilt. He was arrested when on 
his way to London by his false kinsman Sir 
Lewis Stukely, who proposed and thwarted 
several plans for his escape. Manourie, a 
Frenchman, was also employed to aid in this 
perfidious business. After he was confined 
in the Tower, Sir Thomas Wilson was ap- 
pointed his keeper, and secretly commission- 
ed as a spy. Learned but mean, and refined 
but cruel, he played his part well, and daily 


reported to the king the petty items of infor- 
mation he had succeeded in extracting from 
his illustrious prisoner. His letters to his wife 
were intercepted to furnish matter of accusa- 
tion, and read by the king. Yet there was 
on his part no confession or intimation of 
guilt. The only act which could be thought 
to look that way was his attempt to escape 
half formed and speedily repented of an act 
springing, as he said in his letter to the king, 
" from a life-saving natural impulsion, with 
out an ill intent." 

But the marriage of Prince Charles with 
the Infanta must be effected ; the Spanish 
court were urgent ; and delay, which was 
found ineffectual for the purpose of crimina- 
tion, was now useless. The only question 
remaining was under what form of law Sir 
Walter might most properly, to save the ap- 
pearance of justice, be brought to the scaf- 
fold. Several devices were proposed and 
rejected. The new charge against him must 
not be made the ground of his sentence, for 
that charge would not bear examination. 
The king, in the plenitude of his wisdom, 
was at fault. It was finally decided that the 
former sentence should be revived, and that 
he should be brought, on a writ of Habeas 


Corpus, before the judges of the King's 
Bench, to give answer why that decree, which 
had slumbered now fifteen years, should not 
be executed. " He was condemned," says 
his son Carew, " for being a friend to the 
Spaniards, and lost his life for being their bit- 
ter enemy." He was brought up Oct. 24th, 
1618, and interrupted in his defence with the 
information that no plea could be admitted 
except special words of pardon :" whereupon 
he threw himself upon the king's mercy. 
There was no mercy for him, and on the 28th 
he was again brought to the bar to receive 
final sentence. On his return to prison, he 
was told he must prepare to die the follow- 
ing morning. The sentence was received 
with calmness, and on his way back to the 
prison he said cheerfully to the friends who 
were with him, that the world was but a lar- 
ger prison, from which some are every day 
selected for execution. Hasty as the sum- 
mons was, neither did his wonted fortitude 
forsake him, nor did the consolations of reli- 
gion fail him. 

The evening before the day that was to end 
his life was passed by him in a careful prep- 
aration for the life to come. The few items 
of business which yet remained to him were 


arranged. About midnight his wife, whose 
love was as tender as it had been faithful, 
took the last farewell. When she told him 
that his remains had been placed at her dis- 
posal, " It is well, Bess," said he, with a 
smile, " that thou mayst dispose of that dead 
thou hadst not always the disposing of when 
alive." Before composing himself to sleep, 
he wrote a few memoranda touching the 
false reports and charges against him, and, 
turning to his devotions, wrote on a blank 
leaf of his Bible these lines : 

Even such is Time, that takes on trust 
Our youth, our joys, our all we have, 

And pays us with but age and dust ; 
Who in the dark and silent grave, 

When we have wandered all our ways, 
Shuts up the story of our days ! 

But from this earth, this grave, this dust, 

The Lord shall raise me up, I trust. 

Early the next morning he received the 
holy communion from the hands of the DeaK 
of "Westminster, expressing a firm assurance 
of the love and favour of God, and a free 
forgiveness of all his enemies, and by name 
of those who had betrayed him. He showed 
no fear of death, and yet made no parade of 
courage, but rather manifested a truly Chris- 
tian resignation and cheerfulness. After 


these religious services he partook heartily 
of the breakfast prepared for him, smoked a 
pipe of tobacco, as his custom was, and drank 
a cup of sack. Being asked if he liked it, 
he replied, " Ay, 'tis good drink, if a man 
might tarry by it." He then withdrew to 
arrange his dress, which was a plain but rich 
mourning suit of black satin and velvet. 

As the hour of nine drew near, he was led 
to the place of execution in the Old Palace 
Yard. A large crowd had assembled to wit- 
ness the heroism of his death, and among 
them many nobles and knights who were his 
friends. As he ascended the scaffold he sa- 
luted them gracefully, and proclamation for 
silence being made, he addressed them in a 
short speech, vindicating the various passages 
of his life, and especially that touching the 
death of the Earl of Essex, and expressing his 
Christian hope in the article of death.* He 

* [See an account of the last hours of Sir Walter Raleigh, in 
a letter from Thomas Lakin to Sir Thomas Puckering. The 
letter is dated Nov. 3d, 1618, and may be found in Cayley, Ap- 
pendix xvii. He says, " His end was, by the general report of 
all that were present, very Christianlike, and so full of resolu- 
tion as moved all men to pity and wonder." His last address 
is termed " a most grave, Christian, and elegant discourse." 
He adds, " he seemed as free from all manner of apprehension 
as if he had been come thither rather to be a spectator than a 
sufferer ; nay, the beholders seemed much more sensible than 
did he." H.] 


then embraced his friends and took leave of 
them. Having put off his gown and doublet, 
he asked to see the axe, and, having taken 
it, he passed his finger lightly along the edge, 
saying, " 'Tis a sharp remedy, but a sound 
cure for all diseases." Then, having finish- 
ed his devotions, he laid his head upon the 
block, and being told to place himself so that 
his face might look towards the east, he said, 
" No matter how the head lie so the heart be 
right." After a brief interval, in which the 
motion of his lips showed him to be engaged 
in prayer, he gave the signal. The execu- 
tioner hesitating, he slightly raised his head, 
and said, " What dost thou fear ? Strike, 
man !" At two blows the head was severed 
from the body, " which never shrunk or al- 
tered its position." His relics were given to 
his now desolate widow. Thus passed away 
one of earth's bright spirits ; sometimes fit- 
ful, always brilliant, and at the last serene.] 


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