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the contrary, it is not yet wholly destitute of its old Norwegian inhabitants. *
The several attempts that have been made to approach this coast, bound in chains of “thickribbed ice," and to ascertain the fate of the unhappy colonists, will be noticed in their proper places. Hitherto, all endeavours have been fruitless, but the recent disruption of the ice from that coast may afford the opportunity of examining into the fate of the wretched inhabitants, and of ascertaining, if possible, in what manner they perished, after the closing of the icy barrier upon them, and whether any and what records or ruins have been left behind them. Such a research is at least an object of rational curiosity, and it would be a reproach to the Danish government, if it neglected the only opportunity that may occur for instituting this inquiry.
NICOLO AND ANTONIO ZENO. 1380. The history of the noble family of Zeno is well known and celebrated in the records of Venice.
* Hans Egede, Crantz, Torfæus, and a host of writers, concur in the planting and destruction of these two settlements; yet in spite of these authorities, and the repeated attempts on the part of the Danish government to examine into the state of the ancient colony on the eastern coast, a M. Eggers undertook to prove, in 1792, that the eastern colony never had existence, and that it was only called East Greenland from being situated on the west side. This question will more properly be examined in the descriptive volume.
The extraordinary adventures of the two brothers Nicolo and ANTONIO, in the northern seas, were first published by Francesco Marcolini, in 1558, and afterwards in Ramusio's Collection of Voyages and Travels.* They are stated to have been drawn up from the letters sent by Antonio Zeno to his eldest brother Carlo, and delivered to Marcolini for publication by a descendant of the Zeno family, who laments the imperfect state into which they had fallen, by his ignorance of their importance at a time when he was incapable of exercising a judgment on their contents, and had carelessly and thoughtlessly destroyed some of them; that, however, in more mature years, he had collected together their scattered remains, and put them into order, with the view of preserving the memory of these early and interesting discoveries, made by his two noble relations,
From this circumstance, it is evident that great allowances must be made for what may appear to be inaccurate or mysterious; but the relation, as we have it in its mutilated state, contains so much curious and correct description, and so many interesting discoveries, that it must always maintain its ground as one of the most important in the history of early navigation. From this relation, it appears that Nicolo, being desirous of seeing foreign countries, fitted out a ship at his own ex
pense, and passed the Strait of Gibraltar, with an intention of visiting England and the Low Countries; but, in the course of his voyage, a violent storm arose, and his vessel was cast away on the coast of a large island which is called Frisland. Fortunately for him and his crew, he was saved from a savage attack made on them by the natives of the island, by the interference of a chieftain of the name of Zichmni, under whose protection he placed himself and all his people. This prince was also lord of certain small islands to the southward, called Porland, and duke of Sorano, lying opposite to Scotland. « Of these northern parts," says the narrator, “I drew out a copy of a navigation chart, which I still possess among the antiquities of our house."
This Zichmni, being a great warrior by sea, and finding Nicolo a man of judgment and discretion, and well experienced in sea affairs, engaged him in an expedition to the westward. It consisted of thirteen vessels, with which they took possession of Ledovo and Ilofe, and some other small islands, in which the Venetians obtained great renown, as well for their valour as their skill in sea affairs. On their return to Frisland, Nicolo was made captain of Zichmni's fleet, and so well pleased with the honours he received, that he wrote to his brother Antonio to join him; who accordingly fitted out a ship and proceeded thither, where he remained fourteen years, ten of them alone, and four in company with his brother Nicolo; the latter of whom was again sent out on an expedition against Estland, which is situated between Frisland and Norway. After this he attacked and plundered seven other islands, which are named Talas, Broas, Iscant, Traus, Mimant, Dambere, and Bres, in the last of which he built a fort. In the following year, having fitted out three ships, he set sail in July towards the North, and arrived in Engruneland, where he found a monastery of predicant friars, dedicated to Saint Thomas, and situated close to a mountain, which threw out flames like Vesuvius and Ætna.
There was besides in this place a fountain of hot water, with which the church of the monastery and the chambers of the friars were heated, and which was also brought into the kitchen so boiling hot, that no other fire was made use of for dressing their victuals ; and by putting their bread into brass kettles without water, it became baked as well as if it had been in a heated oven. They had also little gardens, covered over during winter, which being watered with this water, were defended against the snow, and cold, which, in those parts, by reason of their situation so near the pole, is most severe ; and by these means the friars produced flowers and fruits, and herbs of various sorts, just as well as in more temperate countries; so that the rude and savage people of those parts, seeing these supernatural effects, considered the friars as gods, and brought them presents of chickens, flesh, and other articles, and held them in the
greatest awe and respect. When the frosts and snows are severe, the friars heat their houses in this manner, and temper the heat or cold at pleasure. . Their buildings are made of the stones which are thrown out like burning cinders from the mountain, and which by throwing water on them become excellent white lime; when cold and not dissolved with water, they shape them with iron tools and use them in their buildings.
. Their winter is said to continue for nine months their food to consist of wild fowl and fish; for the warm water runneth into a capacious haven, which, on account of its heat, it preventeth from freezing, and in consequence of this there is such a concourse of sea-fowl and such abundance of fish, that both are easily taķen in vast multitudes, and enable the friars to maintain a great number of people, whom they keep in constant employment, in constructing their houses, in taking sea-fowl and fish, and in a thousand other matters relating to the monastery.
The trade of these friars with Norway and the neighbouring islands is then described ; and it is
resort the friars of Norway, of Sweden, and of other countries, but mostly from Iceland. The boats of the fishermen are described as being in shape like a wcaver's shuttle, and made of the skins and bones of fishes.
This curious account of Engroneland or Greenland is given by Nicolo to his brother Carlo; and