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discoveries, which I send you enclosed.1 It is his own handwriting, and his own English; very intelligible for the time
1 This paper is wanting. We subjoin, however, another account of the discovery of America, which has lately appeared.
Briujells, Bee. 4, 1816. In the last number of the Magazine Jot the Sciences, Arts, and Letters, published in Dutch at Amsterdam, it is proved from new documents that are very authentic, that it is not to Columbus or to Vespatius that we owe the discovery of America, but to Martin Bejiens, a native of Nuremberg in Franconia. He was a most learned geographer, astronomer, and navigator. He sailed in 1459, with a vessel equipped by the orders of Isabella, daughter of John II., King of Portugal, who was at that time governess of Burgundy and Flanders. He first discovered Fayal, with the adjacent islands called the Azores, which bore for a long time the name of the "Isle of ttie Flemings." He inhabited for 20 years that city, where he established a colony of Flemings. Eight years before the expedition of Columbijs, in 1484, he secretly applied to John II. j who equipped a flotilla to give him all kinds of succors. Behens first discovered the Brazils, penetrated as far as the Straits of Magellan, and visited the country inhabited by the Patagonians. He made a map of his discoveries, delivered it to the King, and sent a copy of it to Nuremberg, his native city, where it is still preserved in the archives of the city. It was after the inspection of this map that Columbus undertook his expedition.—(From the Journal de la Belgique, Dec. 5,1810.)
The honor of this discovery has also been claimed by the Icelanders.
• "The Icelandic chronicles or annals, are in general very exact in relating their maritime expeditions in the northern seas, and even in preserving the adventurers' names. The following account stands on the testimony of Torsreus, and Angrim Jonas, two writers of undoubted credit, who have faithfully copied the old historians of their country.
"' There was,' say they, 'an Icelander, named Heriol, who, with his son Biarn, made every year a trading voyage to different countries, and generally wintered in Norway. Happening in the year 1001, to he had 1jeen among us. The circumstances give the account a great appearance of authenticity. And if one may judge
be separated from each other, the son steered his course for Norway,. where he supposed he should meet his father; but on his arrival there, he found he was gone to Greenland, a country lately discovered, and little known to the Norwegians, but which was settled by Eric Rufus, a young Norwegian nobleman, in the year 992, and before the eleventh century, churches were founded, and a bishopric created at Garde, the capital of the settlement. Biarn determined to follow his father, set sail for Greenland; although,' says Angrim, 'he had nobody on board who could direct him in the voyage, nor any instructions to guide him: so great was the courage of the ancient mariners. He steered by his observation of the stars, and from a remembrance of what he had heard of the direction in which the place he was in search of lay. During the three first days, he stood to the west, but the wind varying to the north, and blowing strong, he was forced to run to the southward. The wind died away in about 24 hours, when they discovered land at a distance, which, as they approached, appeared flat and low, and covered with wood; for which reason he would not go on shore, being convinced that it was not Greenland. They then stood to the north-west, and observed a bite of the sea which formed an island, but did not put in there. After some days they arrived safe in Greenland. In the summer of 1002, Biarn, accompanied by Lief the son of Eric Rufus, who had discovered Greenland, set out on a voyage to the land he had before seen, but after sailing about in various directions, they returned without any success. They however wintered in a place where the temperature of the air was mild, and the land fertile, producing fine grapes, from which they named it Vineland. The following year, a ship was sent out to push the discovery still further, but being overtaken by a storm, she was much damaged, and returned.'
"B.The Norwegians continued to visit Vineland yearly, and by this means partly established themsclvesas a colony there. This appears to be a fact well attested, but to settle the geography of that country is not so universally agreed upon. To succeed in an inquiry of this kind, we should know what part of America lies nearest to Greenland, and by what nations it js inhabited.
by the description of the winter, the country they visited should be southward of New England, supposing no change since that time of the climate. But if it be true, as Krantz, I think, and some other historians tell us, that old Greenland,
"Although we may not be able exactly to ascertain the situation of Viuelar.d, we have sufficient room to conjecture that this colony could not he far from the coasts of Labrador, or those of Newfoundland, which are not far from it, nor is there any circumstance in the relations of the ancient chronicles, but what may be accounted for on such a supposition.
"The first difficulty that must be obviated, is the short space of time that appears to have been taken up in passing to this country from Greenland. To this it may be said, that the Norwegians pro* bably sailed from the western, as well as from the eastern coast of that country, since they had settlements on both sides of it. '* it is certain that Davis's Strait, which separates Greenland from the American continent, is very narrow in several places, and it appears from * Ellis's Voyage to Hudson's Bay,' that his passage from the southern point of Greenland to the entrance to Hudson's Bay, was but seven or eight days' sail. The distance from the same point to the nearest coast of Labrador is much less. This could therefore appear no such frightful distance to adventurers who had newly discovered Greenland, which is separated from Iceland by a distance nearly equal. This reasoning is still further enforced, when we reflect, that Iceland itself is nearly double that distance from the nearest parts of Norway.
"Mr. Egede, in his account of Greenland, says, that Davis's Strait is only a deep bay, which runs on, narrowing towards the north, till the opposite or American continent can easily be discerned, and that. its extremity ends in a river, over which, wandering savages,inured to cold, might easily pass if they had no canoes.
"The result of this seems to be, that there can be no doubt but that the N orwegian Greenlanders discovered the American continent, and that the place where they settled was either the country of Labrador, or Newfoundland, and that their colony subsisted there a long time."— Mallet's Northern Antiquities, Vol. I.
once inhabited and populous, is now rendered uninhabited by ice, it should seem that the almost perpetual northern winter had gained ground to the southward; and if so, perhaps more northern countries might anciently have had vines, than can bear them in these days. B. Franklin.
To Sambel Danforth, Esq.
Dear Sir, London, July 25, 1773.
It gave me great pleasure to receive so cheerful an epistle from a friend of half a century's standing, and to see him commencing life a-new in so valuable a son. I hope the young geptleman's patent will be as beneficial to him as his invention must be to the public.
I sec by the papers, that you continue to afford that public yrour services, which makes me almost ashamed of my resolutions for retirement. But this exile, though an honorable one,1 is become grievous to me, in so long a separation from my family, friends and country, all which you happily enjoy; and long may you continue to enjoy them. 1 hope for the ^reat pleasure of once more seeing and conversing with you; aud though living on in one's children, as we both may do, is a good thing, I cannot but fancy it might be better to continue living ourselves at the same time. I rejoice therefore, in your kind intentions of including me in the benefits of that inestimable stone, which curing all diseases (even old age itself), will enable us to see the future glorious state of our America, enjoying in full security her own liberties, and offering in her bosom a participation of them to all the oppressed of other nations. I anticipate the jolly conversation
1 Dr. Franklin was at that time agent for several of the American colonies in Great Britain. •> • , . ,...... na-j we and twenty more of our friends may have a hundred years hence on this subject, over that Well replenished bowl at Cambridge commencement. I am, dear sir, for an age to come, and for ever, with sincere esteem and respect, your most obedient humble servant, B. Franklin.
To His Most Serene Highness Don Gabriel Of Bourbon.
On receiving his Version of Sallust.
Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 1775, Illustrious Prince,
I have just received through the hands of the ambassador of Spain, the much esteemed present your most serene highness hath so kindly sent me, of your excellent version of Sallust.
I am extremely sensible of the honor done me, and beg you would accept my thankful acknowledgments. I wish I could send hence any American literary production worthy of your perusal; but as yet the muses have scarcely visited these remote regions. Perhaps, however, the proceedings of our American congress, just published, may be a subject of some curiosity at your court. I therefore take the liberty of sending your highness a copy, with some other papers which contain accounts of the successes wherewith Providence has lately favored us. Therein your wise politicians may contemplate the first efforts of a rising state, which seems likely soon to act a part of some importance on the stage of human affairs, and furnish materials for a future Sallust. I am very old and can scarce hope to see the event of this great contest: but looking forward, I think I see a powerfuj dominion growing up here, whose interest it will be to form a close and firm alliance with Spain, (their territories bordering) and who being united, will be able, not only to