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the choice of “penguin, a bird with a white head," all the birds of that name on the American shores having black or dark brown heads; and the name penguin is said to have been originally pinguedine, from their excessive fatness.*
Among the proofs which some late writers have adduced in support of the discovery of America by Madoc is this, that a language resembling the Welsh was spoken by a tribe of Indians in North Carolina, and that it is still used by a nation situate on some of the western waters of the Mississippi. If that part of the account preserved by Hakluyt be true, that the language was lost, it is vain to offer an argument of this kind in support of the truth of this story; but a question may here arise : How could any report of the loss of their language have been transmitted to Europe at so early a period ?t
An attempt has lately been made to ascer. tain the truth of this piece of history by Dr. John Williams. I have not seen the book itself, but if the critical reviewers may be credited,* no new facts have been adduced. It is remarked by them, that “if Madoc once reached America, it is difficult to explain how he could return home; and it would be more improbable that he should arrive in America a second time, of which there is not the slightest evidence.” They also observe, that " if Madoc sailed westward from Wales, the currents would rather have carried him to Nova Scotia than to the southward.” .
will probably gain and lose somewhat. The uncertainty of the facts and the scantiness of the examples are a better and sufficient ground of doubt.-H.]
* See the new Encyclopedia, under the article AMERICA.
+ [Without leaving som more distinct trace of the position of the colony.)
The mentioning of Nova Scotia reminds me of some words in the native language of that .country which-begin with two syllables resembling the name of Madoc.t. A sachem of the Penobscot tribe, who lived in the end of the last and in the beginning of the pres. ent century, bore the name of Madokawando. A village on Penobscot River was called Madawankee. One branch of the River St. John, which runs into the Bay of Fundy, is Medoctack, and another is Medocscenecasis. The advocates of this opinion may avail themselves as far as they can of this coincidence, but in my apprehension it is too precarious to be the basis of any just conclusion.
* Critical Review for 1791, p. 357.
After all that has been or can be said on the subject, we must observe with the critical reviewers, that “if Madoc left Wales and discovered any other country, it must always remain uncertain where that country is."'* Dr. Robertson thinks, if he made any discovery at all, it might be Madeira or one of the Azores.
The book of Hakluyt, in which the original story is preserved, was written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and in the time of her controversy with Spain. The design of his bringing forward the voyage of Madoc appears, from what he says of Columbus, to have been the asserting of a discovery prior to his, and, consequently, the right of the crown of England to the sovereignty of America; a point at that time warmly contested between the two nations. The remarks which the same author makes on several other voyages evidently tend to the establishment of that claim. But if the story of Biron be true, which (though Hakluyt has said nothing of it) is better authenticated than this of Madoc, the right of the crown of Den
* [There are no data from which it can be ascertained ; no intimation of latitude, climate, or distance ; nothing more than that from Ireland it was southwest.-H.]
† Hist. Amer., vol. i., p. 374 [note 17).
mark is, on the principle of prior discovery, superior to either of them.
Perhaps the whole mystery may be unveiled if we advert to this one circumstance, the time when Hakluyt's book was first published. National prejudice might prevail, even with so honest a writer, to convert a Welsh fable into a political argument to support, against a powerful rival, the claim of his sovereign to the dominion of this continent.
It is well known that the Venetians were reckoned among the most expert and adventurous of the maritime nations. In that republic, the family of Zeno or Zeni is not only very ancient and of high rank, but celebrated for illustrious achievements. Nicolo Zeno, having exhibited great valour in a war with the Genoese, conceived an ardent desire, agreeably to the genius of his nation, to travel, that he might, by his acquaintance with foreign nations and languages, render himself more illustrious and more useful. With this view he equipped a vessel at his own expense, and sailed through the Straits of Gib. raltar to the northward (A.D. 1380), with an intention to visit Britain and Flanders; but by a storm which lasted many days, he was cast away on the coast of Frisland.*
The prince of the country Zichmni (or, as Purchas spells, it Zichmui) finding Zeno an
* (The narrative, gathered from the letters of the brothers Zeni, is given in an abridged form in Purchas's Pilgrims, iii., 610; and more fully in Hakluyt, iii., 121–128.-H.]