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past them, to Kamtschatka, thence to Behring Strait and Alaska, and so down our Pacific coast to South America, without losing sight of land all the way. And we have little doubt that this was done, although as
yet no record of the exploit has been found. At all events, there is nothing improbable, or unreasonable, in the supposition that such a thing was done, and done more than once, too.
In this way we may readily account for the existence of races on this continent like the Mound-builders, entirely distinct from the red men of the forest, improperly called Indians; and for the civilization, arts, and sciences of Mexico, before the Spanish conquest. The great Tartar warrior Kublai Khan, after he had subdued China (A. D. 1280), fitted out an expedition against Japan. It consisted of four thousand vessels, according to the accounts of Japanese,* and the ships were filled with the bravest and best warriors of Mongolia, Corea, and China ; but they were dispersed near the Piscaderes, or the Pang Hoo islands, in the channel of Formosa, in lat. 23°30' north, and long. 119°30' east of Greenwich, by violent storms; many of them were wrecked on the islands and on the coast of Formosa, many were driven out to sea and not heard of again, and the remainder returned to China. Is it improbable that some of these ships found their way across to the shores of Oregon or California ? At all events it is somewhat singular that the first appearance of the Algonquins in these regions, a race of warriors until that time unknown to the natives, occurred about the time of Kublai's expedition (A. D. 1283), and they commenced their march westward soon after. They spoke a language unknown to the western tribes of red men, but akin to that of the Iroquois, who came of the same ancestors, and made their first appearance in the northwestern portion of this continent about the same time. These Algonquins, as the natives called them, advanced to the Mississippi, carrying on a fierce struggle with the Appalachian tribes, and if the surmise be correct that they were Mongolians and Chinese, it is possible that they were the constructors of the mounds and earth fortifications found in the Ohio Valley, and other places in the west. And this idea receives confirmation from the circumstance that the age of the trees found growing on the mounds (as counted by the rings in the stems) is between 500 and 600 rears, which would carry back the time of their planting to this very period. The war was a long and bloody one—it was, in fact, one of extermination. The Algonquins fought their way northward, and, in conjunction with the Iroquois, drove the Appalachians and their allies--some of whom were white men-into Tennessee and Kentucky, and destroyed them there in such numbers as to obtain for the latter State the name of “the dark and bloody ground.” * From that time down to the time of the colonization of it by the Americans and Europeans, no tribe of red men ever permanently dwelt there, the Cherokees and the Creeks, in particular, holding the very soil in abhorrence.
* Gutzlaff's Sketch of Chinese History, Vol. i. p 382.
The war between the Algonquins and the Appalachian and Alleghany tribes seems never to have ceased until quite modern times. On the first settlement of the country by Europeans, the tribes of the Iroquois and the Lenne-Lenapes were at war with the Cherokees, Muscogees, and the Southern Alleghany tribes in Carolina, who were, in their turn, hemming in the Tuscaroras, a branch of the Iroquois, with whom they subsequently (in the eighteenth century) united, and became one of the “six nations,” in 1712.
The Iroquois also took the Meherrins or Tutelas under their protection, and it is most probable that many other of the kindred tribes, of whom we find no particular account, retired westwardly in like manner, and were incorporated into one or other of the western tribes.t
To return to the question as to how far the old world was acquainted with the new, before the time of Columbus, Humboldt gives a summary of what was thought and believed by the ancients ; # but they do not appear to have had any positive knowledge of the existence of the American continent; their ideas were speculations and surmises, not the least notable of them being that there was
* Alluded to in the article on Mexico, in National Quarterly Review. No. XXXVI, March, 1869.
7 Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, p. 156. # Cosmos, Vol. ii, pp. 63-99.
an underside to the world-an antichthon; and it was a subject of dispute among the early fathers of the Christian Church whether paradise was situated in the East or in the Antichthon.* With this, however, we are no further concerned at present than to show by it that the wise men of Europe, Asia, and Africa, did not know anything about America, but that they surmised there might be an inhabitable conntry at their antipodes. The only exception to these surmises may be that as to the existence of Atlantis, an island in the Atlantic, whose inhabitants in ancient times inade war on the Athenians. But the myth is so involved in mystery that it will not serve us as a guide.
M. de Bourbourg, however, believes that in deciphering the Mexican hieroglyphics, he has discovered the true meaning of the fable of Atlantis, and the hidden meaning of the sacred books of that nation. In his Quatre Lettres sur le Mexique, he argues at great length that the continent of America once extended very far to the East, even to the Azores, and that in those days there was constant communication with Africa, Europe, and this continent; hence the legend of Atlantis has a historical basis. Moreover, he finds in the Mexican theology the same myths and fables which are contained in the Greek and the Egyptian. † The whole of that portion of our continent, over which now roll the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean (between the windward West India Islands and the Azores) was, according to him, submerged after a series of hideous eruptions of rolcanos, earthquakes and whirlwinds, in which the greater portion of the inhabitants perished, a few only being sared in Cuba, Jamaica, Hayti and Porto Rico, which were previously the summits of lofty mountain ranges, as individual smaller West India Islands were summits of single
+ Plato, Timæus. Humboldt, Cosmos, Vol. i, pp. 156-166.
See particularly his fourth Letter.
mountains, but which became islands when the continent on which they stood sank. He further contends that America formerly extended far to the West, into the Pacific, and was at one time within an easy distance of Eastern Asia, the Polynesian Islands being the remains of its monntain ranges. As changes are, and always have been, going on all over the earth's surface, some portions of its crust rising and others sinking, there is nothing improbable in M. de Bourbourg's theory; but whether he has established it as corroborated by recorded facts must be left to those learned in Mexican lore to decide. If this theory be correct, it raises the question--not now mooted for the first time—whether, in fact, the commonly received order of things ought not to be reversed, and this continent be recognized as the old world, and Asia as the new. The name of the first Asiatic man was Adam, which signifies “ red earth”; was he of the same race as the primeval red men of this continent?
The statement made by Rafu, the Limerick trader (so called from his residing at Limerick, in Ireland), in his account of Are Marson's voyage to this continent in the year 983, will, if it can be relied on, prove that there had long been intercourse between Ireland and the coasts of Virginia, Carolina, Georgia, and Florida ; so much so, indeed, that that portion of our continent was named by the northmen Irland it mikla, , or Great Ireland. Rafu says that Are Marson, a powerful Iceland chieftain, was driven thither by storms, and there baptized. Another account states that Are was recognized there, and not allowed to return to Iceland, but was held in high respect in Florida. These people, most probably, were Irish Christians, settled there previously, how long cannot now be ascertained : “ They wore white dresses, used iron implements, and had poles borne before them, on which were fastened lappets, and who shouted with a loud voice.” *
Sixteen years afterwards, the Norwegian, Gudleif Gudlangson, trading with Dublin, was driven by adverse winds to the coast of Florida, where he met with a countryman of his, named Biärn Asbrandson, who had been driven thither also by storms many years before, and had become a chieftain of authority among the natives. * In the year 1121, Eric, bishop of Greenland, went over to Massachusetts (then called Vinland), thus showing that intercourse was still kept up between these countries.t In 1266 an expedition for the exploration of the Artic regions was fitted out by the clergy of Greenland, and the regions explored in recent times by Parry, Ross, Franklin, Kane, and others, were examined. I And in 1285, two Iceland clergymen, Adalbrand and Thorwald Helgason, discovered Newfoundland.s In 1347 a ship sailed from Greenland to Nova Scotia, then called Marteland, to bring back timber. The record of this voyage is presented in the archives of the Royal Historical Society of Copenhagen, translated from the Icelandic into Latin.
* Antiquitates Americana, p. xxxvii.
The foregoing details have been briefly noticed, to show that North America, or at all events its western shores, were known to, and frequently visited by the Northmen of Iceland and Norway, and by the Irish. We now come to the question, What was known and what can now be known of the state of the continent in those early times and prior to the so-called discovery of it by Columbus ? And in considering this question we shall omit Mexico, because a continuous sketch of the history and social and political condition of that ancient empire has already been given in the National Quarterly. I
What became of the Irish Christians of Florida ? Did they die out? or were they exterminated by the natives? or did they intermarry with the latter and become absorbed by the more numerous race? No answer can be given to any one of these questions. Not a vestige of their habitations or monuments, if they had any, has ever been found. The Northmen who visited them say they spoke the Irish language, and were Christians, but they took no root in the land, and passed away
* Antiquitates Americanæ. † Ibid, p. xxxviii. # Ibid, pp. xxxviii-ix. & Ibid, p. ix.
| Ibid. | Successive Conquests and Races of Ancient Mexico. National Quarterly Review, No. XXXVI, March, 1869.