« ZurückWeiter »
he had been 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.” “The Norwegians continued to visit vineland yearly, and by this means partly established themselves as 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 is 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 Vineland, we have sufficient room to conjecture that this colony could not be 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 probably 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 Norwegian 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 SAMUEL DAN forth, Esq.
DEAR SIR, London, July 25, 1778.
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 gentleman's patent will be as beneficial to him as his invention must be to the public. I see by the papers, that you continue to afford that public your services, which makes me almost ashamed of my resolutions for retirement. But this exile, though an honorable one," 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. I hope for the great pleasure of once more seeing and conversing with you; and 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 it. self), will enable us to see the future glorious state of Qur 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
• Dr. Franklin was at that time agent for several of the American 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.
colonies in Great Britain. - * *
To His Most SERENE HIGHN ess Do N GA B R if L
: preserve their own people in peace, but to repel the force of all the other powers in Europe. It seems, therefore, prudent on both sides to cultivate a good understanding, that may hereafter be so useful to both ; towards which a fair foundation is already laid in our minds, by the well-founded popular opinion entertained here of Spanish integrity and honor. I hope my presumption in hinting this will be pardoned. If in any thing on this side the globe I can render either service or pleasure to your royal highness, your commands will make me happy. With the utmost esteem and veneration, I have the honor to be your Serene Highmess's most obedient and most humble servant, B. FRANKLIN.
To DR. PRI estLEY.
DEAR SIr, Paris, Jan. 27, 1777. I received your very kind letter of February last, some time in September. Major Carleton, who was so kind as to forward it to me, had not an opportunity of doing it sooner. I rejoice to hear of your continual progress in those useful discoveries; I find that you have set all the philosophers of Europe at work upon fixed air; and it is with great pleasure I observe how high you stand in their opinion; for I enjoy my friends’ fame as my own. The hint you gave me jocularly, that you did not quite despair of the philosopher's stone, draws from me a request, that when you have found it, you will take care to lose it again; for I believe in my conscience that mankind are wicked enough to continue slaughtering one another as long as they can find money to pay the butchers. But of all the
wars in my time, this on the part of England appears to me
the wickedest; having no cause but malice against liberty,