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trated by the roving Northmen of that epoch all along the coasts of civilized Europe, he will not need to be told that Christians did not wish to live in their dreaded neighborhood. The particulars, moreover, which the chronicler adds to this statement, evidently show that the Irish had more cogent reasons than free choice to retire. They left behind them, Ari says, Irish books and bells and staffs. We can form no idea of the great value and importance attached at the time to books of any kind, which were worth their weight in gold; nor of the veneration which the saintly monks paid to the insignia of monastic rule and authority; and we may well presume that they never would have abandoned such treasures had they not seen danger for their very lives in trying to save them. It is but natural that the papas should have fared at the hands of the pagan Scandinavians in Iceland as their companions in other islands and in Ireland itself. The greater number of the Christian colonists were probably slain or enslaved; yet, as we shall notice farther on, a few families among the Irish population found safety and remained in the eastern districts of Iceland. The sagas tell us nothing of the people, the relics and ruins of whose implements and dwellings the Northmen discovered in Greenland; but it is not improbable that the quiet, harmless “Vestmen,” who no doubt kept up a frequent intercourse with their brethren of Iceland, also left their threatened solitudes shortly after their kindred neighbors were compelled to abandon their treasures in the bloody hands of the invaders. That, however, here, as in Iceland, some Christian settlers continued to dwell is faintly intimated by the Icelandic records, which relate the fact of a Christian, probably a monk of the Hebrides Islands, being on board of one of the ships that carried, in the year 986, the first Scandinavian settlers to Greenland." While all these settlers were pagans, the Celtic friar had presumably set out to bring to his distant abandoned countrymen the comforts of their common religion. As probable, not to say as certain, as it is that the Irish monks were established in Greenland long before its colonization by the Northmen, so likely is it also that it did not take them any longer than it did their successors to become acquainted, either through accident or in consequence of their intentional voyages of discovery, with a continent whose shores extended almost to their distant homes and lay by the side of the most practicable route to their mother-country. Having once set foot on Labrador or Newfoundland, the pious discoverers, in quest of souls to save, were not likely to stop in those northern regions; and it is hard to tell how far they must have been attracted by both the fertility and the climate of the South and by the longed-for conversion of its numerous aborigines.” Some authors, like Beauvois,” are of the opinion that the Irish monks and colonists first went over to America when they were expelled by the Scandinavian pirates from the North-Atlantic islands. Reusch also thinks that the land of liberty was their place of refuge on this sad occasion; but he remarks that, in fleeing to our shores, they were returning to the land from whence they had sailed to the East, and that their parents had lived in our hemisphere long before." He adds that, according to tradition, the Irish visited regularly the southern parts of North America towards the end of the eighth century." We have seen ‘ that Gravier” and the learned von Humboldt “are of the same persuasion. It is well known that already during the former half of the eighth century Feargal or Virgilius, an Irish missionary priest in Germany, sustained, against the learned of his time, the theory of the earth's sphericity and of its antipodes. St. Boniface accused him, with the pope, Zacharias, of disturbance and error. The pontiff answered that the priest should be examined before a synod, and expelled from the Church if found guilty of teaching that “under the earth there is another world with another race of men, not descended from Adam and excluded from the grace of redemption.” But the orthodox missionary easily exculpated himself from suspected heresy, and used as an important argument to establish the truth of his scientific doctrine the fact of Ireland's regular intercourse with a transatlantic world." The controversy brought to light his profound learning, and shortly after he was elevated to the episcopal see of Salzburg." This maritime communication between Ireland and the American continent, which lasted at least until the eleventh century, must have commenced at an early period, if we can rely upon a proof derived from the juxtaposition of Mexican traditions and of Scandinavian sagas. It has, indeed, been sufficiently shown that higher civilization and Christianity had been introduced upon the plains of Anahuac and parts of Central and South America by influential individuals who had arrived from eastern countries across the ocean, among the Toltec nation, which flourished in Mexico since the sixth century, if not before that time." On the other hand, there is no trace, no shadow, nor even a supposition, of any other European Christian people, that might have sent, at that epoch, the famous Quetzalcoatl and his companions to the Western World; while Icelandic venerable records inform us of the fact that part of the American continent was known as Ireland the Great before the discovery of America by the Northmen. From these data combined, however scant and indefinite they be, one cannot help granting some serious consideration to the opinion of those who believe that St. Brendan, if not the apostle St. Thomas, was the first founder of Christian missions in America.” However this may be, when we know of the nautical enterprise and courage of the ancient Irish, of their daring navigations, in the midst of winter, to the distant shores of Iceland and into the frozen seas beyond;" when we notice the relatively small distance—sixteen hundred and forty miles—between the Irish coast and that of Newfoundland, the prevalence of northeastern winds to drive the vessels, and the current of the Gulfstream to foster their return; then we shall not wonder if the Northmen admit the people of Ireland to have been their antecessors, not only on the northern, but also on the western shores of the Atlantic Ocean.” Old Erin's monastic libraries should have preserved, written in letters of gold, the records of its glorious deeds; but hardly any relics of ancestral archives are to be found in a land where foreign invasion and social strife have, for centuries, almost constantly kept ablaze the torch of destruction. It is from strangers that Ireland must obtain the evidences of its illustrious past. The most important and reliable information we have in regard to the ancient settlement of the Irish in America consists of a few incidental remarks and minor narratives of the Icelandic sagas, whose authors seem to attach no weight to the plain, simple recitals which are of so great consequence in our present study. But the very artlessness and candor of the statements are the best vouchers for their truthfulness and accuracy. We shall translate them from the original as literally as possible. Following is the first: “Their son [namely, of Mar from Reikjahols and of his wife Thorkatla] was Ari, who sailed on the ocean to Hvítramannaland [or White-man's Land]; that some call Ireland the Great; that lies westwards in the sea near Vinland the Good, that is said to be six days' sail to the west from Ireland; from where Ari could not fare away, and he was baptized there. Hrafn, the Limerick sailor, who had long been in Limerick in Ireland, told this story first. So also Thorkel Gellisson related that men of Iceland said, that they heard, mainly from the telling of Thorfinn in the Orkneys, that Ari had been recognized in Whiteman's Land, and could not get away, but was much honored there. Ari had, for wife, Thorgerda, daughter of Alf from Doels; their sons were Thorgil and Gudleif and Illugi, that is the race of the Reyknesings.” " This curious paragraph of the Icelandic “Landnámabók” is confirmed by an extract from another ancient saga, where we read that “to the west of Greenland there are great deserts, and, south of these, Mark
"Rafn, Antiquitates Americanæ, probably discovered directly from p. 19, and n. a. Ireland.
*The southern parts of North * La Découverte, pp. 25, 37. America were, however, more * Vol. ii. p. 294.
* Giebel, p. 91. the Mémoires de Trévoux, Janvier, * Supra, p. 44. 1708.
* P. 142. * Gaffarel, Découv., t. i. p. 180. * Kosmos, Bd. ii. S. 273. " Payne, p. 45, is a victim of
* Wouters, t. i. p. 410, ref. to misrepresentation when making the Labbe, t. wi. p. 1521, and de Vitry, false statement that Virgilius was Dissertation sur les Antipodes, in condemned as a heretic.
* See supra, vol. i. p. 238; Ban- * See Document XXI. croft, vol. ii. p. 96. “Moosmüller, S. 179; Gravier, *Supra, pp. 24, 25. p. 142.