Imágenes de páginas

cause we find in it some manifestations of Joccurs to us that we ought first to say a few an excessive antiquarian zeal. It contains words to obviate objections which might enough to prove that the American continent arise in the minds of many from the fact of was known to the Northmen at the beginning Esquimaux being found on the shores of of the eleventh century; and we frankly Vinland. That race is at the present day avow that it appears to us to contain much confined to a high latitude, but we see little also, which, whatever be its pretension, proves difficulty in supposing that they extended nothing at all. It is doing an injustice to au- much further south in the tenth and eleventh thentic history to mix it up in the same cat-centuries; and this opinion, grounded on the egory with fiction or incoherent tradition. characters of human skeletons found within We therefore regret to find that M. Rafn has the United States ; on the traditions of the yielded so ready and unconditional a cre. Red Indians, and other circumstances, is, we dence to the ancient traditions respecting the believe, the one now generally adopted by Great Ireland or Whiteman's Land, which transatlantic antiquarians. was said to be six days' sail westward from It deserves in the first place to be remarkIreland. It was a Christian country and ed, that the Northmen scoured the western known earlier than Vinland. The North- seas and made discoveries doubtless long an. men appear to have received their informa. terior to the period reached by their historical tion respecting it chiefly from the traders to traditions. We learn from Dicuil, an Irish Limerick. Without venturing to deny the monk who wrote in the ninth century a geopossibility of the Atlantic having been cross- graphical work chiefly compiled from the ed by Europeans and Christians before the Roman authors, that the Irish had visited days of Biarne, Leif, and Karlsefne, we con- Iceland already towards the close of the tend that the discovery of Whiteman's Land eighth century, and that half a century earlier differs materially in evidence and authentici- they had been driven from the Feroe islands ty from that of Vinland, and ought not to be where they had settled, by the ravages of the allowed to interfere with or obscure it. Karl. Northmen. We must here venture to ex. sefne on his return home from Vinland, caught press an opinion that the seafaring Irish were on the shores of Markland as we have alrea- the posterity of Northmen, and not Celts, dy mentioned, two young Skrællings or Es. who never seem to have had a turn for a quimaux. From these he learned, that op- maritime life. Indeed the true Irish boat, the posite to their country was another in which corracle covered with skin, was unfit to go were men who wore white clothes, and who to sea ; and as to the construction of larger had long poles with flags (as it was under- vessels, the birch and alder of the Irish woods stood) appended to them. “ This country,” (for the oak and ash were useless in the insays the old historian, "is supposed to be fancy of art) could hardly supply very eligi. Whiteman's Land.” M. Rafn adopts this ble materials. The pine forests of the Northconclusion, and endeavours to prop up the men gave thern such incalculable advantages opinion that there was at that time a Euro for the construction of good sea-boats, that pean colony further south, by the traditions wherever we hear of bold navigation in those of the Shawanee Indians; which traditions days, we suspect them to have been present. however, manifestly refer, not to the tenth In short we believe that the Tuath na Danòn, century, but to the arrival of the Spaniards who settled in Ireland as early as the Chrisin Florida. It appears to us that the coun- tian era at least, and who, according to try "opposite their own" alluded to by the O'Halloran, spoke a Teutonic language young Esquimaux, was no other than Green-|(Germanice is lois expression) were no other land; and that by the poles and cloths at-than the Danes ; and that the intercourse be. tached to them, they intended merely to de- tween Scandinavia and the west of Ireland, scribe the masts and sails of the Whitemen's which gave exercise to so much maritime ships.

skill and courage, commenced at a very re. We are careful to prevent the true sour- mote period. ces of the history of carly discovery in the The discovery of Vinland, however, was west, from being contaminated by the streams not made in an obscure age. It


have of fabrication and corrupted tradition n, which (been preceded by many remarkable voyages flow so copiously in early ages. The more in the west, and we do nol venture to deny narrowly we examine the histories of Erik positively that the stories of the Limerick the Red and of Thorfinn Karlsefne, the more merchants respecting the Northmen carried to confidence do we feel in the narrative of dis. Great Ireland and the Whiteman's Land, may coveries there presented to us.

A few of have had their foundation in some very early the collateral considerations which tend to transatlantic discoveries. But confining our strengthen our belief in them we shall now fattention to what is strictly maiter of history, endeavour to lay before our reader. But it we may remark that the discovery of Vin.


land was made contemporaneously with the over here in silence. When he was on the first colonization of Greenland, and the esta- point of leaving Norway and embarking for blishment of Christianity in that country and Iceland, a merchant of Bremen came to him Iceland ; and consequently belonged to one to buy a small piece of wood, or if we transof the most interesting periods in the annals late the original literally, a broom-stick : of the North. Some of those engaged in it, Karlsefne gave him to understand that he had as Thorfinn Karlsefne for example, were the done trading, but the merchant offering him ancestors of some of the chief families in Ice. half a mark or pound of gold, which

appear. land, including a great number of learned ed a very liberal price, he did not hesitate to

It is not surprising, therefore, that it sell the stick. This precious wood was proshould participate in the full light thrown on bably the beautiful variegated or bird's-eye the events with which it is connected, and be maple which grows in abundance in Rhode described with fidelity and minuteness. The Island and Massachusetts. The price paid histories in which it is recorded, enlarge on for the stick was equivalent to sixteen pounds the lineage and connections by blood or mar- sterling of modern money. riage of the heroes engaged in it; they thus It has been frequently urged as a suspi. offer themselves to a test of an exact and cious circumstance in the history of Vinland, delicate kind by comparison with numerous that no communication was maintained with other histories, from all which they receive it by the Greenland colonists, and that it was confirmation.

almost immediately lost sight of. But this is Still further it must be observed that the a mistake arising from the ignorance in discovery of Vinland was not a transient which the greater part of Europe remains in event, no sooner past than forgotten. As it respect to Northern literature. It is well was thought likely to prove advantageous, known that all intercourse ceased with the the family of Erik the Red with whom it Greenland colonies in the beginning of the commenced, persevered in promoting it for fifteenth century, and that they were so com. some years. They had a share in all the pletely forgotten that a full century rolled over voyages made to Vinland from the year 1000 before the world awakened to the recollection to 1013, which must therefore be considered that they had once existed. Pestilence, fa. as one series. Such an order and connec- mine, and piratical ravages were then called tion of events is evidently not the character in to explain their apparently sudden extinc. of fiction. Icelandic writers of the fourteenth tion. But it is now well understood that the century tell us that the voyages to Vinland gradual disappearance and final dissolution were not found to be profitable ; but this in. of the old colonies in Greenland were in reformation appears to be in a great measure ality caused by the royal monopoly of the conjectural. Sanguine hopes and the high trade, which reduced the colony to depend. prices which novelties will fetch, may be ea. ence on insufficient and precarious supplies, sily imagined to have influenced the calcula- and narrowed its means of intercourse with tions of the first adventurers. We cannot Europe. Under these circumstances it is believe that Leif realized much profit from not at all surprising that little was heard of his freight of grapes, but why should we Vinland. But the Icelandic annals prove to therefore doubt that he brought home such a us that voyages continued to be made to the cargo? Were not freights of yellow mica, American continent as long as commercial mistaken for gold.dust, imported into London enterprize remained in Greenland, and nearly in the sixteenth century ? and have not ship to the last period of the expiring communicaloads of kaleidoscopes been exported in our tion between that colony and the mother own days to colonial markets which would country. The following brief extracts from be overstocked with a score of such toys ? those annals are all that we can find room Karlsefne, when about to sail to. Vinland, for :made all his companions partners in the enterprize. Freydisa also, we have

“1121. Erik Bishop of Greenland paid a visit

to Vinland. (It deserves to be re. gained for half the profits in her expedition.

marked that there is nothing in this The former realized by his adventure a great statement which should lead us to fortune with which he purchased an estate in believe that there was a colony of Iceland. As soon as he arrived in Vinland, Northmen in Vinland.) we are informed, he had timber hewn for his 1285. Adelbrand and Thorwald, sons of freight and laid along the shore to season.

Helge, discovered new land west of He also obtained from the natives a great

Iceland (probably some part of the

coast of Labrador). quantity of fine furs at the cheapest possible

1288. King Erik despatched Rolf to examine rate. With respect to the value of ihe tim.

the new land. ber which he brought home, there is an anec. 1290. Rolf sailed from Iceland whither he dote related of too curious a kind to be passed kad gone in search of persons quali.

other passage


fied to accompany him to the new Another proof of the fidelity to nature of land. (The death of Landa-Rolf, or those early writers is the simple gravity with Rolf the Discoverer, took place in which they relate their superstitions. The 1295.)

history of Gudrida the wife of Karlsefne gives 1347. Thirteen large ships arrived at Ice

land. The ship called the Endridian occasion to a very curious and even some.
was driven by the gale on Langanes what poetical display of the popular belief in
Point in the eastern Borgarfiord, but præternatural agency. In the history of Erik
the crew and part of the cargo were the Red, it is related that her former husband
saved. The Bessalang went to pieces Thorstein, after his death, sat up, and, having
on the shore at Sida ; nineteen of her called her by name, predicted her marriage
crew, including Haldor and Guthorm, with Karlsefne and the future greatness of
were drowned. A large sum of mo. her family. In the Karlsefne's Šaga the im.
ney was lost at the same time. There
were six other vessels in port there portant prediction is put into the mouth of a
which had been detained by the gifted woman invited to a feast to foretel the
winds. There came also from Green- success of the crops, or rather of the fishe-
land a bark of less size than the com- ries. These two passages are well deserv.
mon Iceland vessels. She ran into ing of a close study, and the latter of them
Straumfiord, having lost her anchors. probably paints the scene of a Scandinavian
who had sailed to Markland and had divination with more force and exactness


any afterwards been tossed about the

in the whole compass of northern literature. The author takes

care to introduce an apology for the share It appears to us not unlikely that in an which his heroine bore in a pagan ceremo. age when there were no maps to perpetuate ny; her father refused to be present at it. local names in the western hemisphere, the Gudrida again saw a witch in Vinland, at the appellation Vinland would soon become ob- time when Karlsefne's followers were nearly solete ; and that the Greenland adventurers defeated by the natives ; and the Northmen, would naturally give the name Markland on that occasion, having recovered from their (woodland) to all the south-western countries panic, perceived that the great multitudes to which they resorted for the purpose of cut- who seemed to have surrounded them, were ting timber.

but fetches or phantoms. The general verisimilitude of the Icelandic The discovery of Vinland, we have seen, histories which relate to Vinland is extremely was immediately made known in Norway ; remarkable. We find intimated in them, and in the latter half of the eleventh century among other things, the great mortality which Adam of Bremen heard of it from Swein in those early days attended voyages even of king of Denmark. “ This discovery," he modern length, arising evidently from dis. emphatically observes, “is not a fable, but comfort or bad provisions. The very im. we know of it from the certain information portant art of preserving health on board ship of the Danes.” In a heroic poem composed is of comparatively recent origin, and, we in the Feroe islands, and which M. Rafn has may add with pride, is an invention wholly inserted in his collection, frequent allusion is British. Of the half dozen voyages recorded made to Viniand. The hero Finn sails to directly or incidentally in the Histories of Vinland, at the command of the Irish prin. Erik the Red and Karlseine, three were pro. cess Ingeborga, and kills the kings of that ductive of fatal diseases, and in each of those country with sundry dragons. We doubt three cases the probable cause of disease is however whether a poet's testimony can be obvious. Thorbiorn when emigrating from admitted as proof of any thing beyond the Iceland to Greenland had an over-crowded popular persuasion, or whether it even proves ship: Thorer and his people were shipwreck- so much. ed and had probably endured much cold and The fragments of ancient Icelandic geo. hunger before they were taken off the rock graphers inserted in the collection are of by Leif. Thorstein, tossed about at sea the much greater value. They agree in informwhole summer, likewise experienced, it may ing us that Markland and Vinland were to be presumed, much physical suffering. It is the south of Greenland ; and, what is very also curious to observe that even the chiefs remarkable, that Vinland, the most remote of the Greenland colonists were not secure country known to them in that quarter, was from the evil of insufficiency of food. The supposed to join Africa. To perceive the wealth of those northern adventurers seems full force and significance of this strange hy. to have consisted much less in the extent of pothesis it will be necessary to call to mind their possessions than in the number of those some instances of like systematic opinions attached to their persons and who followed arising from a similar mixture of ignorance their fortunes.

land knowledge. Ptolemy, following Heca

tæus, supposed that Africa extended round themselves to the view of the attentive.ob. from the south-west till it joined Asia; and servers of the political and religious horizon this doctrine subsisted, among the Arabs at the Abbé Lamennais, or La Mennais, or De leas!, till the fourteenth century. Again, La Mennais, aut quocunque nomine gaudet ; Lapland was thought to stretch westwards (for we have him in two of his own books through the northern sea, till it became unit- with a duplex movement;) certainly occupies ed with Greenland : and this mode of deline- a remarkable position. There are few perating the northern regions was persisted in sons, even of that nation to which the author by map.makers till near the end of the six. of Paul Clifford has given the appellation of teenth century. It needs no great power of Thinkers, that have ever attained, even amid analysis to perceive that the idea which shoots the recherché disquisition with which they out into this kind of extravagant liypothesis, have enlightened, or darkened thinking, -to is that of the indefinite extent of a land. the distinguished originality of M. L'Abbé When two shores, the limits of whose extent De La Mennais. The plain common sense are unknown, lie opposite to each other, the of mankind would certainly have conducted problem, how far they reach, is speciously but few persons to the conclusion that the resolved by uniting them together. When principles of civil and religious liberty might the Icelandic geographers therefore, tell us best be advanced under the fostering culture that Vinland was supposed to join Africa, of the Church of Rome; still fewer are there they in reality make us acquainted with two who would imagine that the liberty of private facts; first, that it was situated a long way judgment, either in clergy or laity, would be south of Greenland; and secondly, that no. tolerated under the same auspices. But thing was known of the extent of its shores, what may not an original thinker effect? which was supposed to be very great.

The Abbé conceived these matters perfectly Columbus visited Iceland in 1567; and practicable, and set about their instant realifrom his general appetence of knowledge it zation. He had conceived the brilliant no. cannot be doubted that he heard of the early tion that he could put the popedom into the voyages of the Northmen and their discovery Movement party, and accordingly started a of Vinland. It has been urged however that journal entitled L'Avenir, and a society the voyage to Vinland, made in a few days in connection with the journal, with the for. from Greenland, a country at that time sup- midable title “General Agency for the De. posed to be joined to Europe, had little in fence of Religious Liberty." By way of common with the speculations of Columbus, still further aiding his own object, the followor calculated to encourage his bold thought ing just description of the Jesuits, the most of launching across the Atlantic in a tropical necessarily devoted to the See of Rome of latitude, But what could be more to his all her adherents, occupied one of the early purpose or better adapted to his views, than numbers of L'Avenir. the fact that the Northmen, the boldest of navigators, had knowledge of a land in the

• This is neither the place nor the time to west which they supposed to extend far south- criticise the society of the Jesuits, and to seek

amid the calumnies of hate, and the encomi. wards till it met Africa ? Or could not the ams of enthusiasm, pure and vigorous truth. intelligent Genoese find some suggestion in Nothing can be more absurd, more unjust, the following more accurate statement of an more revolting than the greater part of the Icelandic geographer ? “ On the west of the accusations urged against it. We can in. great sea of Spain, which some call Ginnun- stance no society of which the members claim gagap, and leaning somewhat towards the more deservedly, admiration for their zeai north, the first land which occurs is the good much, to affirm that their institute, in itself

and respect for their virtues. Conceding thus Violand." It would add little to the merit

so holy, is exempt at present from many of Columbus, to maintain that he was incapa-weighty objections,—to say that it is suffible of benefiting by so good a hint.

ciently adapted the state of modern intellect, to the world's present demands, would be untrue. Still this is neither the place nor the time to canvass this mighty question, and we

should feel deep anguish if a single word esART. VII.-1. Affaires de Rome. Par M. caped us that could sadden these venerable F. De La Mennais. Paris, 1836, 1837.

men at the present moment, when the fanati2. Paroles d'un Croyant. Par F. De La- the entire Catholic Church."

cism of impiety persecutes under their name mennais. 3. Le Livre du Peuple. Par F. Lamen. The Pope ;-whose arm in all ages has pais. Paris, 1898.

been strengthened by the disciples of Loyola,

and who knows the manhood of the Jesuit's Amid the modern phenomena that present mind, shut up as it is in the concentred



powers of the order, to be as utterly lost to spiritual, but also inculcates passive obedithe world as the emasculated slave of the ence to the powers whom she authorizes to East to every purpose of virility; who knows stand in that light. Rome had applauded that no state secrets are denied the See, from L'Avenir, and had encouraged its early efthe fatally disclosed confession of the King forts, but Rome could not openly go to the of Spain which expelled them from that length to which the Abbé compromised her country, to those of the Bourbon who re. by language of this character. tained them to the last about his person ; and

“Your power is dissipating, and with it the who feels therefore the deep usefulness of faith. Do you wish to save both? Unite the order to his state ;-stiil 'leans to them both to humanity, such humanity as eighteen with undivided trust, and would seek no centuries of Christianity have produced. firmer supporters, could he but safely use Nothing in this world is stationary. You them. This however, in the modern state once reigned over kings, and then kings en. of feelings towards the order is nearly im- slaved you. Separate yourself from mon

archs and extend your hand to the people. possible; and hence, save as secret mem. bers of his councils, they are as if they did and what is better, with firm affection. Quit

They will support you with the strong arm; not exist; yet with him are still potent as if the earthly relics of your ancient ruined they existed openly. The journal that struck grandeur; spurn them from you as unworthy at the Jesuit, in effect assailed the Pope ; and of you. You will not long retain them. For the Abbé could not but expect that his desig- what end do you wear these purple rags, save

And what nating that body as participating in no exist in mockery of what you were ? ing state of feeling or in any of the wants of use are they save to veil the glorious scars mankind; and describing them, in short, with in ancient times for the human race against

which indicate the holy wars, waged by you a few brilliant compliments to their learning their rulers! Your might is not in exterior and piety, as useless to the community at pomp, it is internal. It consists in the deep large, was a course very ill calculated 10 sense of your paternal duties, of your civilisatisfy either Jesuit or Pope. It certainly is zing mission, in a devotedness which knows as singular as it is true that we can trace in neither fatigue nor limit to exertion. Resume this body no work of a lofty range of intel. with the spirit of the early pastors of the lect.

In painful researches, in laborious dis. Church the simple crook, and if it must be quisitions, where shall we find the equal of So: even the martyr chain. Victory is cer

tain, but at this cost only.” the Jesuit? But he is neither poet, orator, historian, nor philosopher of a high order.*

The conductors of the journal indirectly He had in himself and his objects nothing to came under censure, and, taking a journey prompt to the issues of these things, and he to Rome, they requested an interview with became buried in the learning of the schools the Pontiff. It was granted on the express and estranged from every nobler sentiment stipulation of the forfeiture of the object for and feeling of the heart. To return to M. which it was solicited; namely, all discusL'Abbé : at first this solitary journal of the sion on the object of their visit. In this Roman Catholic hierarchy met with high Pope Gregory proved himself neither Innofavour. It almost appeared that M. L'Abbé cent 'nor Sylvan. We suspect that his had hit upon the method of contriving, like a Holiness had a shrewd guess at his visiter's celebrated agitator, to keep the Roman Cath- object; olics and the Liberalists together; and that

Scire volunt secreta domus atque inde timeri." the Holy Father and the democracy of this world (his power being nearly gone with the And with laudable precaution to preserve kings of the earth) might establish a system the secrets of his house his Holiness, as the of prosperous union, and the people be again Abbé observes, persevered a "riste and successfully spirited against their rulers. But morne silence.” Disappointed in the issue unluckily the Abbé did not move with suffi. of their journey, and surrounded by persons cient caution, and consequently struck upon who really thought the Abbé and council the difficult question of the temporal preten. any thing but what they professed themsions of the Holy See. Every one who un selves

, they drew up a justificatory memoir. derstands Rome well knows that she not only This was presented to his Holiness by Carclaims entire rule in things temporal and dinal Pacca, and entitled "Mémoire pré

sentée au Souverain-Pontife Greg. XVII. * About six or eight years ago, in a course of par les Rédacteurs de L'Avenir et les memlectures publicly announced, we believe, at Sal- bres du Conseil de l'Agence générale pour amanca, by one of this learned body upon the la Défense de la Liberte religieuse." Sciences in general, the Holy Father thus addres- this Memoir we shall offer a few observa

On sed his admiring audience. " We shall discuss arithmetic and geometry; all other Sciences lead tions. The Abbé clearly never expected only to infidelity!"

either from the Memoir or the visit to Rome

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