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THIS WORK IS DEDICATED
BY THE AUTHOR
THE MEMORY OF
HIS DECEASED WIFE
CATHARINE V. UPDEGRAFF WEISE
: It is a fact that America in the early ages was one of the inhabited parts of the earth. The Egyptians, who were among the first of the peoples of the eastern hemisphere to use letters and to write history, furnish the earliest known account of the inhabitants of this continent. It is also a truth that some ancient geographers and philosophers, who had no personal knowledge of the existence of a primitive people in the western hemisphere, regarded the information recorded by the Egyptians as fictitious and incredible. When Columbus proposed to go to this inhabited realm beyond the western ocean almost all the learned men of Portugal and Spain opposed the undertaking as visionary, and not a few of them asserted that the navi. gator's opinions were absurd, because, as they argued, no one of all the seamen who had lived since the creation of the world had discovered land beyond Hibernia.
The discovery of the continent and the subsequent explorations of the Spaniards not only confuted the fallacious arguments of the learned men of the middle ages but confirmed the statements of the Egyptian records descriptive of the civilization of the Atlantic country. The tradition of the peopling of the continent by the descendants of Euenor, the good man begotten in the beginning from the ground, and of the residence of celestial beings among the inhabitants peculiarly confirms the account in the Bible of the
PREFACE. . creation of the first man from the dust of the ground and of his descendants having communications with angels.
The asserted discovery of America by the Northmen rests more upon conjecture than evidence. It appears that Columbus was not the discoverer of the continent, for it was seen in 1497 not only by Giovanni Caboto but by the commander of the Spanish fleet with whom Amerigo Vespucci first sailed to the New World.
The land of Francesca, discovered by Verrazzano in 1524, it will be seen, was early possessed by the French, who built a fort near the Indian village where now is the city of New York, and called the surrounding country La Terre d'Anormée Berge; a geographical designation more significantly expressed in the phraseology, The Land of the Palisades.
The writing of this work required the personal examination of many old and rare books, manuscripts, and
maps, besides the perusal of a large number of recent papers and publications relating to its subject. The task further demanded a careful review and comparison of the various statements of historical writers concerning the voyages of the persons whom they believed to have been the discoverers of certain parts of the coast of America, between Baffin's Bay and Tierra del Fuego.
It seemed to me that some of the information contained in the different works which I had examined should be presented in the language of the writers or in faithful translations so that the intended significance of the information could be perceived by the reader. I therefore have placed these excerpta before the general reader and the critic in the belief that the
citations will be appreciated. They will at least show my desire that the judgments of those who examine them should not be biased by any conclusions of my own.
My researches were for the most part made in the General Library of the State of New York, in Albany. The generous personal interest taken by the State's distinguished librarian, Henry A. Homes, LL.D., in placing before me the large number of works which I desired to examine, was so constant and helpful that it is a great pleasure for me to mention and acknowledge his kind offices. I am also indebted to his assistant, George Rogers Howell, for many official courtesies. I also owe my thanks to George H. Moore, LL.D., the erudite superintendent of the Lenox Library, in the city of New York, to Frederick Saunders, librarian of the Astor Library, to Jacob B. Moore, librarian of the New York Historical Society, and to Leopold Lindau, librarian of the American Geographical Society. The offices of L'Abbé A. N. Ménard, vicar of the parish of St. Roch, Paris, France ; of Pádre Antonio Ceriani, prefect of the Ambrosian Library, Milan, Italy; of Jules Godeby, professor of French literature in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; and of Dr. Titus Munson Coan, of New York City, place me under many obligations to these gentlemen. It is also a great pleasure for me to acknowledge the generous favors of E. Thompson Gale, of Troy, which permitted me to accomplish the purposes that I had in view when, eight years ago, I undertook my long-protracted task. The kind offices of my friend, William H. Young, of Troy, are also gratefully remembered. TROY, N. Y.,
ARTHUR JAMES WEISE. March 27, 1884