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some Christian colonies and to exercise their holy ministry among them. The learned and critical Windsor' admits the existence of one small colony of Irishmen in Iceland visited by monks of their native country; and the Icelandic scholar Magnussen, who drew at the fountain-heads of historic information, thinks that Iceland, at the arrival of the Northmen, was simply occupied by the Scots or Hibernians.” The nature of the articles which the Irish left behind them, when retiring from Iceland, adds great weight to Letronne's opinion,-namely, that their monks had, long since, one or more monasteries and churches established there.” Nor can any objection be found in the silence of Dicuil, because he took no interest in this particular question when introducing his Icelandic clerics simply for the purpose of disproving a geographical error. “It is a great mistake,” Magnussen says,” “to hold that Iceland was first discovered by the Norwegians, for the ancient Icelandic historiographer, Are Frode, as well as the author of the registers of Iceland's first repartition among the Northmen, clearly states that the new-comers found in the eastern parts of the island certain Christians, whom they called Papas, and who were Irishmen, as was apparent from the books written in Irish, which, among other things, they left behind at the time of their departure.” Such authorities leave no doubt to von Humboldt that, indeed, the Irish were in Iceland, as in the Faroes, the predecessors of the Scandinavians." The Icelandic records mention the very localities of the principal settlements of the Papas, namely, “Papey,” an islet of the eastern district; the domain “Papyli,” on the Hornefiord; and “Kirkiubui,” one of the warm and fertile valleys that lie near the southern shores." To these may be added the “Vestmannaeyar,” the islets off Iceland's southern coast, which remind us of the Papas of the West. Several authors consider Iceland as the uttermost limit of the excursions of the Irish monks and of the settlements of their countrymen. Yet, as a consequence of this gratuitous assumption, they are compelled to account by the most unwarrantable of all historical arguments—namely, by pure chance, or by storms imagined in spite of ancient records—for the long series of the first Scandinavian landings on the American continent, while all these westward voyages would appear quite natural if we should pay due attention to the facts which we shall now relate. Beauvois* translates, after Rafn,” a remarkable passage of the saga of St. Olaf," as follows: “Mar of Hols married Thorkatla. Their son was Ari, who was driven by a tempest to White-man's Land, which some have called Ireland the Great, and lies towards the West in the ocean, near Vinland the Good, six days' sail west from Ireland,” ” on the American continent. The original, however, simply states that Ari sailed across the sea to White-man's Land, without so much as alluding to wind or storm." This happened before the year 1000, likely in 983. Eric the Red was banished from Iceland in the year 983. He might have heard of the uninviting Gunnbjörn rocks, but is supposed to have been wholly ignorant of any other western country. Still, he set sail, with a few companions, in a westerly direction, and happened to strike the mildest, the only inhabitable shore of Greenland." Because of adultery and murder, Björn Asbrandson had been exiled from Iceland, and had lived for ten years with the vikings of Jomsburg in Denmark. He returned in the year 996, but did not amend his wicked life. To avoid the dangers caused by his crimes, he resolved to expatriate himself again. We would suppose that he should take refuge once more among the brigands, who had honored him for his audacity; but this time he chose a different course, in a direction in which no land was known to exist ! He set out with a wind which, that fall, was steadily blowing from the Northeast, and for a long time his ship was not heard of. He had, however, the best luck of the world, not Only finding land, but also being made a chief in a fine country of Irish-speaking people.” This happy result of a foolhardy undertaking was witnessed by Gudleif, another Scandinavian mariner, who was also swept by a tempest from the coast of Ireland, in a southwestern direction, to a great country of which he had no idea ; but where, for his own safety, he found Björn, his countryman, in all his glory and power, as he was happy to relate afterwards in Iceland.” In a similar manner was Bjarne Herjulfson, who, in the fall of the year 986, was sailing from Iceland to Greenland, overtaken by dense fogs and violent northern winds, thrown out of his course, and hurled into sight of Labrador, if not of more southern portions of the American continent." The sad accident still upholds his claim to the immortal glory bestowed upon Leif Ericsson, who, fourteen years later, likewise lost his route between Norway and Greenland, evidently through the action of some tempest, as he was an expert sailor; but was happily driven away far enough to take a view of the spot where afterwards his statue would rise ! These are then six remarkable discoveries of America, made in the space of half a century by natives of the little frozen Iceland, and every one of them directed by contrary winds ! As if the reader's credulity were not yet sufficiently taxed, Beauvois confidently adds that these accidental American voyages were but a few of all those that took place in a similar manner, but were left unnoticed by the sagas as being of small interest. And, indeed, of small interest they were, being voyages of every-day occurrence, made by clerics and laics of Ireland to a country known long before. It is universally admitted that but few Icelanders
'Wol. i. p. 60. * Hin forna Lögbók, p. xiv, n. * Grágás, p. xiv. * Kosmos, S. 461 ; see also Docu* P. 143. ment XX.
1 Magnussen, in Grágás, p. xiv, “Or Heimskringla, kap. clxxxix. n. ; Cooley, The History of Mari- * We shall, farther on, notice this time, vol. i. p. 216; Peschel, Erd- “six days' sail.” kunde, S. 82, n. 3.; Olafsen and * Theirra son var Ari, hann Pavelsen, Bd. ii. S. 124, ap. von vardh Saehafi til HvítramannaHumboldt, Examen, t. ii. p. 91, n. 2; lands; that kalla sumir Irland edh Beauvois, La Découverte, p. 32, n. 1. mikla, that liggr vestr s has naer
* La Découverte, pp. 3, 39. Vínlandi enu gódha, that er VI.
* Antiq. Amer., p. 210. daegra sigling vestr fré srlandi.
'Beauvois, La Découverte, p. * Beauvois, La Découverte, p. 10; 39; Aa. passim. Rafn, Antiq. Amer., p. 246, seq.;
* Beauvois, La Découverte, pp. Aa. passim. 9, 10; Rafn, Antiq. Amer., p. 215.
sailed to the American continent before the eleventh
century, but they were not ignorant of the regular intercourse which existed before that time between Ireland and the New World, as their most ancient records testify in a dozen places. Should hypercriticism prefer windy explanations to the reports of St. Brendan's and St. Cormac's voyages, arguments would not be wanting to establish the early presence of Irish Christians in America.
* Beauvois, La Découverte, p. 39; Aa. passim.
From his theory of American discoveries through the agency of storms Beauvois draws the conclusion that the Irish Papas could not avoid discovering our continent. This sensible conclusion rests, however, on better grounds. When we consider the seafaring inclinations of the ancient Irish, and the fearless zeal of their monks in quest of ocean solitudes and of souls to be converted, and notice that the coasts of Greenland are distant from the Thule which they inhabited, three hundred and sixty miles only, while favorable winds would carry their vessels in less than three weeks from Ireland to Labrador; we should have reasons to wonder that they would not have attempted to land on our shores, or would have been frustrated in their efforts. We have, indeed, positive indications of such expeditions in the statement of Dicuil, who says that the clerics, from whom he received his information, had sailed a whole day towards the North from Iceland, till they were stopped by the ice." It is, in all probability, from the Irish that the Icelanders received their first knowledge of more western lands, in particular of the “Krosseyar” or Cross Islands in sight of the Greenland coast, which the learned Finn Magnussen suggests to be the same as the rocks on which Gunnbjörn landed in the year 876.” According to most Icelandic sagas, endorsed by Torfeus, Greenland was first discovered by Eric the Red in the year 983; but, on the other hand, we have some Greenland annals in Danish verse, by the divine Claude Christophersen or Lyschander, who supposes the discovery to have been made before Iceland was settled by the Northmen, namely, in A.D. 770. His calcu
* See Document XXI., in fine. * Amer. Cath. Quar. Rev., vol.
xiv. p. 603.