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cal evidences as that we have laid before our readers, and his deduction from them was not less pointed and forceable than that we may now arrive at.

We have now fairly brought our investigation up to the period of Columbus's discovery, when the ordinary histories of America commence. Many further proofs of our theory might be derived from a critical examination of the characters of the nations and languages subsisting in America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As it is impossible, however, to do justice to this branch of the subject in our contracted limits, we must postpone it altogether to a more suitable occasion.

The preceding argument is mainly confirmed by Mr. Beamish's excellent treatise cited at the head of this article. This opportune publication does much credit to its author's antiquarian judgment and scholastic ability. We cannot better introduce it to the notice of our readers, so as to give them a just idea of its style and contents, than by quoting a portion of the author's preface, and letting him tell his own tale.

My design (says Mr. Beamish) is to put before the public, in a cheap and compendious form, those parts of Professor Rafn's work which I consider most likely to prove interesting to British readers, the greater part of whom, from the extent and language of the original publication, must necessarily be debarred from its perusal. The translations of the Sagas, and other Icelandic manuscripts, which embrace the whole detail of the discoveries and settlements in America, are made substantially from the Danish version, of the correctness of which, coming from the pen of the learned editor, there can be no doubt. But, in some cases, where the style of this version appeared to the translator to depart too much from the quaint and simple phraseology of the original, the Icelandic text has been specially referred to, and an effort has been made throughout to give to the English narrative the homely and unpretending character of the Icelandic Saga. In all cases where it was thought possible that doubts might arise, or where it was considered necessary to impress some particular fact or statement on the mind of the reader, the original Icelandic word or expression is given ; and free use has been made of the copious and lucid notes and commentaries of the learned editor, to explain and illustrate the various etymological, historical, and geographical points which call for observation. As an appropriate introduction to the whole, is prefixed a sketch of the rise, eminence, and extinction of Icelandic historical literature, founded upon the able Danish essay of Dr. Erasmus Muller, bishop of Zealand.

“ The eminent historian Dr. Robertson, appears to have been totally unacquainted with the early voyages of the Northmen to the western hemisphere ; and hence it is presumed, that the present summary of their discoveries may be received as an acceptable introduction to his celebrated History of America,

“ The incidental allusions to the voyages and settlements of the Irish, which are contained in the minor narratives, are more likely to excite than satisfy enquiry. Much still remains to be unravelled in this interesting topic, and it is to be regretted that no competent hands have yet been applied to this neglected portion of Irish history. It has been too much the practice to decry as fabulous, all statements claiming for the earlier inhabitants of Ireland a comparatively high degree of advancement and civilization. And, notwithstanding the many valuable publications connected with the history and antiquities of that country, which have from time to time come forth, and the more recent candid, learned, and eloquent production of Mr. Moore, there are not wanting, even among her sons, those who, with the anti-Irish feeling of the bigoted Cambrensis, would sink Ireland in the scale of national distinction, and deny her claims to that early eminence in religion, learning, and the arts, which unquestionable records so fully testify ; and yet a very little unprejudiced enquiry will be sufficient to satisfy the candid mind, that Erin had good claims to be called the school of the west, and her sons

* Inclyta gens hominum, milite, pace, fide.' “ Thus much, at least, will the following pages clearly show, that sixty-five years previous to the discovery of Iceland by the Northmen in the ninth century, Irish emigrants had visited and inhabited that island. That about the year 725, Irish ecclesiastics had sought seclusion upon the Faroe Islands; that in the tenth century, voyages between Iceland and Ireland were of ordinary occurrence, and that in the eleventh century, a country west from Ireland, and south of that part of the American continent which was discovered by the adventurous Northmen in the preceding age, was known to them under the name of White-man's Land, or Great Ireland.”

Mr. Beamish's book, comprising as it does masterly translations of the original Sagas, will be very properly considered the text book on this subject to British readers in general. It will probably lead the way to many historical disquisitions on these topics, if not to many novels and romances, in which the bold heroism and gallantry of the Norse adventurers will be portrayed in their most dramatic and poetic light. They afford singularly striking specimens, scarcely less impressive than Homer's own delineations—of man in the might of manhood,-physical, animal manhood,—daring for the pleasure of daring, -fearing but the name of fear, -rejoicing in the arduous,-lured on by the perilous,-believing the almost incredible--and achieving the almost impossible; they present us with a phase of human nature and human progress, admirably calculated for the boldest triumphs of fiction.

The limits of this article will not permit us to quote from the pages of Mr. Beamish the original Sagas; for these we must refer our readers to the work itself. But we shall endeavour to strengthen some of our preceding positions by his weighty authority. The view we have taken of the merit of the Northmen, as compared to that of Columbus, may appear novel and unfair ; but, without any wish to depreciate the glory of a justly-celebrated man, we recommend the following argument of Mr. Beamish as well deserving attention.

“ It may, perhaps (says he), be urged in disparagement of these discoveries of the Northmen, that they were accidental—that Bjarni Herjulfson set out in search of Greenland, and fell in with the eastern coast of North America,—but so it was also with Columbus. The sanguine and skilful Genoese traveller set sail in the quest of Asia, and discovered the West Indies. And even when, in his last voyage, he reached the eastern shore of central America, he still believed it to be Asia, and continued under that impression to the day of his death. Besides, how different were the circumstances under which the two voyages were made! The Northmen, without compass or quadrant,—without any of the advantages of science, geographical knowledge, or personal experience, without the support of either kings or governments, but guided by the stars, and upheld by their own private resources, and a spirit of adventure which no dangers could deter, cross the broad ocean, and explore these distant lands. Columbus, on the other hand, went forth with all the advantages of that grand career of modern discovery, which had been commenced in the preceding century, and which, under Prince Henry of Portugal, had been pushed forward to an eminent position in the period immediately preceding his first voyage.

“ The compass had been discovered and brought into general use, maps and charts had been constructed, astronoinical and geographical science had become more diffused, and the discoveries of the African coast, from Cape Blanco, to Cape de Verde, together with the Cape de Verde and Azore Islands, had produced a general excitement among those who were in any way connected with a maritime life, and filled their minds with brilliant images of fairer islands and more wealthy shores amid the boundless waters of the Atlantic. It should also be recollected that Columbus, ever ready to gather information from veteran mariners, had heard of land seen far to the west of Ireland, and of the Island of Madeira,—had been

assured that four hundred and fifty leagues east of Cape St. Vincent carved wood, not cut with iron instruments, had been found in the sea, and that a similar fragment, together with reeds of an immense size, had drifted to Porto Santo from the west. Added to this was the fact of huge pine trees of unknown species having been wafted by westerly winds to the Azores, and human bodies of wondrous form and feature cast upon the island of Flores. Nor should it be forgotten that Columbus visited Iceland in 1477, when having had access to the archives of the island and ample opportunity of conversing with the learned there, through the medium of the Latin language, he might easily have obtained a complete knowledge of the discoveries of the Northmen, sufficient at least to confirm his belief in the existence of a western continent.”

Towards the end of his valuable volume, Mr. Beamish pleads with great fervour and force, that the ancient Irish had no small share in the discoveries of America, particularly that portion of it called by the name of Great Ireland. As this plea may be interesting to our readers in the sister isle, we quote a portion of it.

“ From what cause, says Mr. Beamish, could the name of Great Ireland have arisen, but from the fact of the country having been colonized by the Irish ? Coming from their own green island to a vast continent, possessing many of the fertile qualities of their native soil, the appellation would have been natural and appropriate ; and costume, colour, or peculiar habits, might readily have given rise to the country being denominated White Man's Land, by the neighbouring Esquimaux. Nor does this conclusion involve any improbability. We have seen that the Irish visited and inhabited Iceland towards the close of the eighth century; to have accomplished which, they must have traversed a strong ocean to the extent of about eight hundred miles. A hundred years before the time of Dicuil, namely, in the year 725, they had been found upon the Faroe Islands. In the tenth century voyages between Ireland and Iceland were of ordinary occurrence. And in the beginning of the eleventh century, White Man's Land, or Great Ireland, is mentioned not as a newly discovered country, but as a land long known by name to the Northmen. Neither the Icelandic historians, nor navigators, were in the least degree interested in originating or giving currency to any fable respecting an Irish settlement on the southern shores of North America, for they set up no claim to the discovery of that part of the western continent, their interest being limited to the coast north of Chesapeake Bay. The discoveries of Vinland, and Great Ireland, appear to have been totally independant of each other. The latter is only incidentally alluded to by the northern navigators. With the name they were familiar, but of the peculiar locality of the country they were ignorant ; nor was it till after the

VOL. XI.-NO. XXI.

return of the Karlsefne from Vinland in 1011, and the information which he obtained from the Skrælings or Esquimaux, who were captured during the voyage, that the Northmen became convinced that White Man's Land, or Great Ireland, was a part of the same vast continent of which Helluland, Markland, and Vinland, formed portions."

We must not allow ourselves the license of quoting those interesting statements of historical facts, by which Mr. Beamish seeks to confirm his view of the carly settlement of the Irish in America.

One short paragraph, however, is too important to be omitted, as it opens up a brilliant field of antiquarian discovery.

“ A further examination (says he) of the Icelandic annals, may possibly throw more light on this interesting question, and tend to unravel the mystery in which the original inhabitants of America are involved. Lord Kingsborough's splendid publication in 1829, first brought to the notice of the British public the striking similitude between Mexican and Egyptian monuments. The ruins of Palenque, Guatemala, and Yucatan, rivalling the pyramids of Egypt, or the ruins of Palmyra, were only known to a few hunters, till the end of the eighteenth century, and modern travellers are still engaged in bringing the hidden wonders of this and other regions of the vast American continent to the knowledge of the literary world.”— Vide Waldeck's Voyage Pittoresque et Archéologique dans la Province d' Yucatan, Amérique Centrale.

The last publication mentioned at the head of this article, namely, Mr. Smith's treatise on the discovery of America by the Northmen, was, we believe, an American work, reprinted in London, and now nearly out of print. Though not equal in merit to Mr. Beamish's composition, it is a very respectable and readable volume. The information of the author on the subject on which he treats, is thrown into the form of dialogues, to which are added three disquisitions. This work like the former, strongly confirms the theory of successive discoveries; but there is nothing sufficiently remarkable to require further notice.

We trust, that in the course of this extensive article, we have done our subject the justice its importance demands. We have endeavoured to illustrate every link in the chain of historical evidences, and have wilfully avoided no difficulty, but resolutely grappled with the apparent anomalies which have perplexed our predecessors.

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