A brief view of the discovery of America, and of the present prevailing

opinion respecting the manner it originally became peopled.


The first effectual discoverers of America among the moderns, were

Christophoro Colon, or Colombo, and Americo Vespucci, or Vesputius; of

these the former is supposed to have been a Genoese by birth, the other a

native of Florence: From him the new world took its name, yet his history

in other particulars is too intricate to afford much satisfaction.1 That

of the first under the well-known name of Christopher Columbus, is readily

traced; with him therefore we begin, as the person principally concerned

in the discovery.


He had applied himself to the study of astronomy and geography, and very

early appeared to have a more than common desire to understand the state

of all countries upon the face of the globe, and to make new discoveries;

which probably was his reason for settling at Lisbon, no nation having

push'd their discoveries further than the Portuguese at that time; here he

employed himself in drawing maps and charts, and preparing himself for

future enterprizes. He married and settled in Lisbon, was of a good

family, a grave and temperate man,2 of competent learning, studious in the

mathematicks, and from his youth bred to navigation.


What the particular motives were that induced him to search after this new

world, are not certainly known; some attribute it to informations he had

received, others to his skill in the nature of the globe; that this made

him conclude it probable there must be a great tract of land to the

westward of Spain, that it was not to be imagined the sun when it set in

that horizon gave light to nobody: Whatever gave rise to the project, a

discovery he resolved to attempt, and being unable to do it at his own

charge, he first offered his service to the Genoese, next to the king of

Portugal; not meeting with encouragement from either, he sent his

brother Bartholomew to England to offer his service to Henry the seventh:

King Henry approved his proposals; but the brother on his return being

taken by pirates, and Columbus receiving no answer, left Portugal and went

to Spain: On his application to Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of

Castile and Arragon, he succeeded so well, that in the year 1492, they

provided him with money, and entrusted him with three small ships for the

expedition; he also obtain'd a grant from them to be admiral of the

western seas; all civil employments as well as governments in the

continent or world to be discovered were to be wholly at his disposal; and

besides the revenues of the posts of admiral and viceroy, he was to

enjoy a tenth of all the profits arising by future conquests; his little

squadron manned only with ninety men set sail from Palos for the Canaries

the third of the month called August, 1492, and arriving at those islands

the twelfth, sailed from thence the first of September, upon his grand

design: He had not sailed a fortnight to the westward before his men began

to murmur at the enterprize; they observed the wind constantly set from

east to west, and apprehended there would be no possibility of returning

if they missed the land they were made to expect; on the nineteenth

observing birds to fly over their ships, and on the twenty-second weeds

driving by them, they began to be better satisfied, concluding they were

not far from land: they continued their course several days farther

westward, and meeting with no land, the seamen mutinied to that degree,

that they were almost ready to throw the admiral overboard, and return

home, when happily for him they saw more birds, weeds, pieces of boards,

canes, and a shrub with the berries upon it, swim by them, which made them

conjecture there must be islands thereabouts: It was on the eleventh of

October, about ten at night, that the admiral first discovered a light

upon the island of Guanahani,3 or St. Salvador, as he named it, in

consideration that the sight of it delivered him and his men from the fear

of perishing: It is one of the Bahama islands, about fifteen leagues long,

in the north latitude of 15 degrees.4 Day appearing, the ships came

to anchor very near the island; the natives crowded the shore, and beheld

the ships of these newcomers with astonishment, taking them for living

creatures.5 The admiral believing there was no great danger to be

apprehended from them, went ashore in his boat, with the royal standard,

as did the other two captains, with their colours flying, and took

possession of the country in the name of the king and queen of Spain with

great solemnity; the Indians meanwhile stood gazing at the Spaniards

without attempting to oppose them. The admiral ordered strings of glass

beads, caps and toys to be distributed among the natives, with which they

seemed much pleased: The principal ornament about them was a thin gold

plate in the form of a crescent, hanging from the nose over the upper lip;

the admiral demanding by signs, whence they had their gold plates, they

pointed to the south and south-west; he rowed in his boats about the

island, to discover if there was anything worth his settling there,

followed by the natives every where, who seem'd to admire him and his

people as something more than human: From this island coasting southward

180 leagues, he arrived at another, which he called Hispaniola, where his

own ship striking on a hidden rock was lost; he and his crew were taken on

board one of the other vessels; landing here, the natives, instead of

behaving as the others had done, fled from him; but taking one of their

women, treating her kindly, and then letting her go back among them, she

brought numbers to traffick, who seem'd very peaceably dispos'd; and by

some means, or other finding there were gold mines in this island,

Columbus, aided by the natives, built a fort, left thirty-nine men, with

provisions for a year, seeds to sow, and trinkets to trade with the

natives: After discovering a good part of the north and east coast of

Hispaniola, trading with the Indians in diverse places, and near three

months stay in the island, he bent his course homewards, and arrived at

Palos, in Andalusia, early in the spring 1493; having perform'd the voyage

in seven months and eleven days: Here the people received him with a

solemn procession and thanksgiving for his return, most of his seamen

belonging to that port; the king and queen of Spain being at Barcelona,

when the admiral drew near the city, the court went out to meet him; he

was receiv'd with the honors due to a sovereign prince: Having given an

account of his Voyage, he begged to be equipped according to the dignity

of his character of admiral and viceroy, that he might plant colonies in

the places he had thus discovered, which was readily granted; and he

afterwards made diverse other voyages to America.6


The fame of the discovery, and of the rich cargoes brought to Old Spain at

several times from thence, being spread through other nations, gave rise

to other adventurers. The next attempt was made by Sebastian Cabot, a

Venetian by extraction, but born in England, and being much given to the

study of navigation, and well skill'd in cosmography, he believed there

might be a passage found by the north-west to the East Indies shorter than

that lately discovered by the Cape of Goodhope; he made Interest with

Henry the seventh of England, who fitted out two ships to make the



In 1497, Cabot sailed from Lisbon, in the beginning of summer, and

steering his course north-west, came up with land about 60 degrees north

latitude, supposed to have been Greenland;7 but perceiving the land still

run north, he changed his course, in hopes of finding a passage in less

latitude. About the 50th degree, he saw that which is now well known by

the name of Newfoundland: Here he took three of the natives, and coasted

southward to the latitude of 38 degrees; (about Maryland) his provisions

growing scarce, and no supplies there to be expected, he return'd to

England, where the natives he brought lived a considerable time.8 From

this voyage and discovery made by Cabot, the English have claimed the

country ever since, from the well known Jus Gentium, LAW OF NATIONS, that

whatever waste or uncultivated country is discovered, it is the right of

that prince who had been at the charge of the discovery.9 This from

universal suffrage gives at least a right of preemption, and undoubtedly

must be good against all but the Indian proprictors.10


We have seen that in the discovery of North and South-America, inhabitants

were found at the places touch'd at; in all probability they were as

plentifully dispersed throughout the different countries of America; but

how these people originally came there, is a question not easily solved;

tho' it has for above two centuries, been the subject of much enquiry, it

is not yet arrived at a decision.11 All therefore that can be done, is to

give a short view of the most probable conjectures that have been hitherto



It is not unlikely the new world was known to the Phoenicians, even a

considerable time before the days of Plato; who in all likelihood found

but few (if any) inhabitants there; that they contributed towards the

planting of it, we have some reason to believe, as they are supposed to

have made three voyages thither; however that colonies from other nations

crossed the Atlantick, and landed in America, cannot be well denied;

neither the Egyptians nor Carthaginians are supposed void of some

traditional knowledge of America, since they are believed 12 to have

communicated such knowledge to other nations: which if we admit, it

follows, that some of the ancient Egyptians and Carthaginians had been

there, and contributed towards peopling the continent, as well as the

Phenicians. The Author of the book de Mirabilibas Audit supposed to be

Aristotle; expressly asserts the Carthaginians to have discovered an

island beyond Hercules's pillars, abounding with all necessaries, to which

they frequently sailed; and there several of them even fixed their

habitations; but the senate, adds he, would not permit their subjects to

go thither any more, lest it should prove the depopulation of their

own country.13 Several of the original American nations we are told, rent

their garments, the more effectually to express their grief on any

malancholly occasion; the Hebrews, Persians, Greeks, Sabines, and Latins,

according to various authors, did the same; from whence some may possibly

imagine, that those Americans deduced their origin from one or more of

those nations; but this is too slender a foundation for such belief:14 So

that Menasseh Ben Israel, appears to have wrongly concluded from thence,

that the Israelites were the progenitors of the Americans. Theophilus

Spizelius seems to have refuted this opinion: Though the Phenicians,

Egyptians and Carthaginians, might have planted some colonies, yet the

bulk of the inhabitants must certainly have deduced their origin from

another part of the world: Had the Phenicians and Egyptians peopled even a

considerable part of America, it would scarcely have been taken so little

notice of by the antients; even supposing those nations had industriously

endeavoured to conceal their western discoveries; for in such case, there

must have been a constant communication kept open between America, Egypt,

and Phenicia, and a very extensive trade carried on: so that many

particulars relating to the new world, must necessarily have transpired;

nor could even the sailors themselves, who navigated the Phenician ships,

have omitted divulging many accounts of what they observed on this

continent; some of which would undoubtedly have been transmitted to us.


That therefore, the Americans in general, were descended from a people who

inhabited a country not so far distant as Egypt and Phenicia, must be

admitted: Now no country can be pitched upon so proper and convenient for

this purpose, as the north-eastern part of Asia, particularly great

Tartary, Siberia, and more especially the Peninsula of Kamtschatka; that

probably was the tract through which many Tartarian colonies passed into

America, and peopled the most considerable part of it. This however, seems

the most prevailing opinion.


There is great reason to believe, that some of the western provinces of

North-America, must either be continuous to, or at no great distance from

the northeastern part of Asia; which, we are not yet informed; but it is

probable east of Kamtschatka, there is an immense tract approaching to

North-America, and that to this day, there remains at least a kind of

communication between them, by means of a chain of islands; it may also be

supposed that Asia and America, were formerly connected by an isthmus,

which might have been destroyed by an earthquake: such a supposition may

be supported by the authority of those writers who have rendered parallel

instances credible, such as the disjunction of Britain from Gaul, and

Spain from the continent of Africa: A communication between Asia and

America, seems agreeable to truth, not only from what has been advanced by

Reland, but from the discoveries made by the Russians; an account of which

we find in the publick prints of the year 1737, and since: According to

these, some of the Czarina's subjects have touched at several islands,

which lie at a distance in the eastern direction from Japan and

Kamtschatka, and consequently between those countries and America. The

people of these islands, in some points are said to resemble the Japanese,

and to use pieces of money with characters not unlike those of Japan.

Leonard Enler, professor of mathematicks, and member of the imperial

society at Petersburgh, seems to imagine, that the north-eastern cape of

Asia, discovered by Capt. Behring, is not thirty degrees off the last

known head-land of California; but the ingenious Dobbs, governor of

North-Carolina, places them at a much greater distance: Be that however as

it may, that the sea between the most north-eastern coast of Asia, and the

most western part of California, allowing such a sea to exist, is

interspersed with many islands, at no great distance from each other, may

be very naturally supposed; nay, if any credit may be given to the advices

lately received from Petersburgh, the connection of Asia and America, or

at least the communication between them, by means of such islands, is as

good as discovered.


That part of America next to Asia, is said to be much more populous than

the remoter eastern provinces or kingdoms; which is a manifest indication,

that this was first planted, by colonies coming from the nearest parts of

Asia, who settled here, and afterwards spread themselves gradually over

the new world; from whence we may conclude, that the bulk of the Americans

are descended from the Tartars, Sibenaus, and people of Kamtschatka.


The people inhabiting the extreme north-eastern part of Asia, entirely

want horses, those animals not being able to live in so cold a region; it

seems to be agreed, that no horses were found in America, at the first

discovery of it; for that in several places, the natives used reindeer and

large mastiff dogs 15 instead of them, as many of the posterity of the

antient most northern Scythians or Tartars did. The Epicerini, a people of

Canada, when the Europeans first came among them, asserted, that very far

from them, in a western direction, there lived a nation, who affirmed that

foreign merchants, without beards, in great ships, frequently visited

their coasts: we are also told, that in Quivira, several ships have been

found, whose sterns were adorned with silver and gold, which was a

distinguishing characteristick of the Chinese and Japanese ships,

according to some good authors: That some Chinese vessels of considerable

force, were found wreck'd in the Mare del nord, above Florida, which might

have been the same with those seen at Quivira, we learn from Ancosta. In

Quatulia too, a tradition prevailed, intimating that foreign merchants

after a long journey from the westward, arrived there, and that these

merchants were cloathed in silk: From whence we may collect, that the

Chinese visited America, and communicated some of their customs to the

people of that country,16 especially as the Chinese manner of writing in

Hieroglyphics, sufficiently agrees with the American dialect. We learn

from Hornius, the Hunns, or at least a branch of that people, placed in

the farthest part of Asia, had the appellation of Cunadani, or Canadani,

from Cunad, a place not far from the sea, where some of them had their

situation; hence we find a city in the upper Hungary, built by their

descendants, denominated Chonod, or Chunad, the inhabitants of which, and

those of the neighbouring district, still retain the name of Chonadi, or

Cunadi; from these Hornius believes the natives of Canada to have deduced

both their origin and denomination.


No small accession of strength will be brought to the opinion before

advanced, with respect to the peopling of America, by one particular

incident, mentioned in a short narrative of the late discoveries of the

Russians. They found peopled, as should seem, Captain Behring's new land

before mentioned, above fifty German miles to the east of Kamtschatka; for

coming to the entrance of a great river, he sent his boats and men ashore,

but they never returned, being probably either killed or detained by the

natives; nay, the publick prints in October, 1737, mention some

particulars relating to the inhabitants of certain islands between

Kamtschatka,17 Japan, and America, which seem to carry with them an air of

authority. This will amount to a fair presumption, that the islands

or continent between Kamtschatka, Japan, and California, still unknown to

the Europeans, are likewise inhabited; and if so, that those inhabitants

must have advanced gradually, from Tartary, Japan, and Kamtschatka to the

places wherein they are fixed: From whence we may infer, that even the

natives of California, and the adjacent parts of America, took originally

the same route; for that Tartary, and Japan, must have been, peopled

before America, as lying nearer to the land of Shinar, where the whole

race of mankind was assembled before the dispersion, will admit of no

dispute; and that America should have received many colonies from such

neighbouring countries as Tartary, Japan, and Kamtschatka, whether they

are continuous or contiguous to it, or connected with it, by some

intermediate continent, chain of islands, &c. is very natural to

suppose.18 So that from the tract lately discovered to the east of Japan

and Kamtschatka, and the people settled there, we may infer the

probability of America's being planted in part by colonies drawn from the

north-eastern regions of Asia; for by such discovery, a nearer approach is

made from Japan and Kamtschatka, to the coast of California; and from this

approach, a presumptive argument is drawn in favour of the opinion here



But it is time now to proceed to other matters: Such as may incline to see

the subject further discussed, are for brevity's sake, on a point not

material enough to dwell long upon here, referred to the Univ. Hist.19

Whence many of the arguments on this head, are selected; and where the

inquisitive reader, amidst much of the incredible, (with which it hath

been usual to load the subject) will find convincing proofs in favour of

what is here proposed.


Although the English had very early made the discovery of North-America, a

considerable time elapsed before any advantages accrued: Sir Walter

Raleigh, in 1584, was the first Englishman who attempted to plant a colony

in it.20 In this year he obtained a patent from Queen Elizabeth, for him

and his heirs, to discover and possess for ever, under the crown of

England, all such countries and lands as were not then possessed by any

christian prince, or inhabited by christian people: Encouraged by this

grant, Raleigh and other partners, at divers times, fitted out ships, and

settled a colony at Roanor,21 in Virginia; but notwithstanding various

attempts, they met with such discouragements, that no great improvements

were made until some time afterwards.


In the year 1606, King James, without any regard to Raleigh's right,

granted a new patent of Virginia; in which was included New-England, New-

York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; from queen Elizabeth's time

to the time of this patent, the whole country bearing that name, which was

given it by Raleigh, in honour of his virgin mistress, as some say; others

have it that it took its rise from the country's not being settled before.

The patentees were Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Summers, Richard Hackluyt,

clerk, Edward Maria Wingfield, Thomas Hanham, and Raleigh Gilbert, Esqrs.

William Parker, George Popham,22 and others: The extent of the land

granted, was from 34 to 45 degrees of north latitude, with all the islands

lying within 100 miles of the coast. Two distinct colonies were to be

planted by virtue of this patent, and the property ascertained in two

different bodies of adventurers: The first to belong to Summers, Hackluyt,

and Wingfield, under title of the London adventurers, or the London

company; and was to reach from 34 degrees to 41, with all lands, woods,

mines, minerals, &c. The other colony was to reach from the end of the

first, to 45 degrees, granting the same priviledges to Hanham, Gilbert,

Parker, and Popham, under the name of the Plymouth company, with liberty

to both colonies to take as many partners as they pleased; forbidding

others to plant within those degrees, without their licence; only

reserving the fifth part of all gold and silver mines, and the 15th part

of copper, to the use of the crown. By virtue of this grant, the London

company fitted out several ships with artificers of every kind, and all

things requisite for a new settlement; which sailed for America, and

planted a colony there; but in the year 1623, there were so many

complaints made of bad management, that on enquiry a Quo warranto was

issued against the patent; and after a trial had in the king's bench, it

was declared forfeited;23 since which time Virginia has been under the

immediate direction of the crown.


In the same year the patent was granted, the Plymouth company also

attempted to make a settlement; but with no great success, until about the

year 1620, when they sent a fresh recruit from England, under the command

of Capt. Standish, who arrived at Cape Cod in the latitude of 42 degrees,

and having turned the cape, found a commodious harbour opposite the point,

at the mouth of the bay, at the entry of which were two islands well

stocked with wood: Here they built a town, which they called Plymouth.

About this time the colonies in New-England were much augmented;

multitudes of dissenters thinking this a good oportunity of enjoying

liberty of conscience, offered their service to the Plymouth company; and

the grand patent being delivered up to the king, particular patents were

granted to the Lord Musgrave, the duke of Richmond, the earl of Carlisle,

the lord Edward Georges, and new colonies were planted in diverse places.


1 He made two voyages in 1497 and 1498, in the service of Spain: Another

in 1501, in the service of Portugal: In the first he fell in among the

Caribbee islands; and the last with three ships arrived to and discovered

the eastern continent of America, in five degrees of south latitude.

"America is a more common than fitting name, seeing Americus Vespucius the

Florentine, from whom this name is derived, was not the first finder nor

author of that discovery: Columbus will challenge that, and more justly,

with whom and under whom Americus made his first voyage; howsoever after

that he coasted a great part of the continent which Columbus had not seen,

at the charges of the Castilian and Portugal kings; but so it might more

rightly be termed Cabotia or Sebastiana, of Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian,

which discovered more of the continent than they both, about the same

time, first employed by king Henry the seventh of England. Columbus yet as

the first discoverer deserveth the name, both of the country for the first

finding, and of modesty, for not naming it by himself, seeking rather

effects than names of his exploits." Purchas's Pilgrim, p. 792.


2 His son who wrote his history, says, he was moderately tall and long

visaged, his complexion a good red and white, that he had light eyes, and

cheeks somewhat full, but neither too fat nor too lean; that in his youth

he had fair hair, which turned grey before he was thirty years of age;

that he was moderate in eating and drinking, affected a plain modest garb

or dress; that he was naturally grave, but affable to strangers, and

pleasant frequently among his domestics, strict and devout in religious

matters, and tho' a seaman, was never heard to swear or curse.


3 A bay or harbour of sea or water.


4 All that is commonly remembered of the sailor who first discovered land,

is, that expecting some great reward from the king of Spain, and

disappointed, he took it in his head in a rage to renounce Christianity,

and turn'd Mahometan.


5 One of the River Indians, in his speech at the treaty of Albany, 1754,

relates the surprize of their forefathers at the sight of the first ship

that came up the North river in the same manner; his speech so far as

relates to this subject was as followeth:


"FATHERS, we are greatly rejoiced to see you all here; it is by the will

of heaven that we are met here, and we thank you for this opportunity of

seeing you altogether, as it is a long while since we had such a one:

FATHERS who sit present here, we will just give you a short relation of

the long friendship which hath subsisted between the white people of this

country and us: Our forefathers had a castle on this river; as one of them

walked out he saw something on the river, but was at a loss to know

what it was; he took it at first for a great fish; he ran into the castle,

and gave notice to the other Indians; two of our forefathers went to see

what it was, and found it a vessel with men in it; they immediately joined

hands with the people in the vessel, and became friends."


6 He died in the city of Validolid in Spain, in the spring 1506, and was

buried in the cathedral of Seville, with this inscription on his tomb,

that Columbus had given a new world to Castile and Leon.


7 This country is considered as part of the American continent, both by

Hornius and Grotius. Grotius apud Horn. de orig. Gent. American, Lib. iii.

c. 5, 6, pp. 149, 162. ut et ipse Horn. ibid.


8 "King Henry VII. commissioned John Cabot (5th of March, in the eleventh

year of his reign) and his three sons, to sail in quest of unknown lands,

and to annex them to the crown of England; with this clause, which before

this time have been unknown to all christians. His first essay as related

by Sir Humphry Gilbert, who was employed in the like service afterwards by

queen Elizabeth, was to discover a north-west passage to Cathay or China;

in which voyage he sailed very far eastward, with a quarter of the north,

on the north side of Terra de Labrado; 'till he came into the north

latitude of sixty seven degrees and a half in his next voyage, which was

made with his son Sebastian, in the year 1497; he steered to the south

side of Labrador, and fell in with the island of Baccalaos, which is

Newfoundland, and took possession both of that island and all the coast of

the north-east part of America, as far as Cape Florida; which he also by

landing in several parts of it, claimed in the name of his master, the

king of England.


"In the memory of this discovery, and by way of evidence, there was a map

or chart of the whole coast of North-America drawn by Sebastian Cabot

himself; with his picture and this title, Efligies Seb. Caboti Angli,

Filii Jo. Caboti, Venetiani, Militia Aurati, &c., and with the following

account of the discovery above mentioned,


"'In the year of our Lord 1497, John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son

Sebastian (with an English fleet) set out from Bristol, and discovered

that land, which no man had before attempted. This discovery was made on

the 24th of June about five o'clock in the morning. This land he called

Prima Vista (or the first seen) because it was that part, of which they

had the first sight from the sea. It is now called Bonavista. The island,

which lies out before the land, he called the island of St. John, probably

because it was discovered on the festival of St. John Baptist.'


"This map was hung up in his Majesty's privy-gallery at Whitehall; and, it

is to be feared, the nation was deprived of such a valuable testimonial of

their American title to the whole coast of North-America, by the fire

which destroyed that gallery in the late King William's reign." Entick's

Gen. Hist. of the Late War, Vol. I., p. 168, &c.


9 Grotius de jure belliac pacis, Lib. 2. Cap. 2. Sect. 17. Molloy de jure

Mar. 422, 423. Justinian Inst. Lib. 2. Tit. 1. Sect. 12 & 22.


10 Lex Mercat. 156. Molloy ut supra.


11 "If we are not astonished (says Voltaire) that the discoverers found

flies in America; it is absurd to wonder that they should meet with men."

Univ. Hist. If European whites, and African negroes, are not descended

from the same original stock; a supposition confessedly adopted by the

celebrated historian, (it must be allow'd) easy to come to a decision in

the present case.


12 Perizonius and Cellarius seem to have inferr'd from thence, that the

new world was not entirely unknown to the remoter ages of antiquity.


13 Aristot de mund. c. 3. et de Mirah Audit. Christ. Cellar. ubi supra, p.

253. Jacob Perizon in Aelion. Var. Hist. Lib. 111. c. 18.


14 William Penn, in his letter to the committee of the free society of

traders in London, in 1683; gives a short sketch of his opinion, touching

the origin of the Indians here, whom be imagines to be of the stock of the

Jews, that after the dispersion of the ten tribes emigrated through the

easternmost parts of Asia, to the westernmost of America.


15 Some of the back Indians beyond Detroit, now make use of dogs to draw

wood and other matters on sleds.


16 The people (says M. de Guignes, in a memoir upon the ancient

navigations of the Chinese to America) whom we have always believed to

have been confin'd within the bounds of their own country, penetrated into

America in the year 458 of the Christian aera. That they went thither by

Japan and the countries of Ven-chin and Ta-han. By considering what the

Chinese geographers say of the distance and productions of these remote

regions, he proves that Ven-chin is Jesso or Yedzo, and that Ta-han is

the most eastern part of the north of Asia. From thence the Chinese sailed

towards the east, and fell in with the country of Fou-sang, which,

according to the Chinese distances, should lie to the north of California.

He gives us, from the annals of China, a short account of the manners of

the inhabitants of Fou-sang; he informs us further, that several islands

in the south sea were known to the Chinese; and also that coast which John

de Sama discovered in his passage from China to Mexico. To give a more

exact idea of these navigations, M. de Buache hath constructed a chart, on

which he hath traced with a great deal of accuracy, the route of the

Chinese, and noted the distances of the several countries. By this chart

it appears, that the geography of these parts, taken from the ancient

books of the Chinese, agrees very well with the late discoveries of the

Russians. To this chart is added part of another ancient chart drawn by

the Japonese, in which are laid down the north of Asia, and all the

western coast of America, according to the knowledge they had of it. This

continent there appears entirely terminated on the side of Asia, and we

there see the isles which have been lately known to the Russians only; and

this proves the truth of the former Japonese discoveries. This chart was

brought from Japan by the celebrated Kempfer, and afterwards lodg'd in the

cabinet of the deceased Sir Hans Sloane, president of the royal society of

London, who sent a copy of it to M. de Guignes.


After having determined the situation of all the countries to the east of

China, M. de Guignes remarks, that Chr. Columbus was not the first who

attempted discoveries towards the west: Long before him, the Arabians,

whilst they were masters of Spain and Portugal, enterprized the same thing

from Lisbon; but after having advanced far to the west, they were obliged

to put back to the Canaries; there they learnt that formerly the

inhabitants of these islands had sailed towards the west for a month

together, to discover new countries. Thus we see, that the most barbarous

people, without the knowledge of the compass, were not afraid to expose

themselves to the open sea in their slight small vessels, and that it was

not so difficult for them to get over to America, as we imagine.


These researches, which of themselves gives us a great insight into the

origin of the Americans, led M. de Guignes to determine the rout of the

colonies sent to this continent. He thinks the greatest part of them

passed thither by the most eastern extremities of Asia, where the two

continents are only separated by a narrow streight, easy to cross. He

reports instances of women, who from Canada and Florida, have travelled to

Tartary without seeing the ocean.


The commerce of the Chinese would naturally open a way to America, augment

the number of the inhabitants, and contribute to polish them. On this

occasion M. de Guignes observes, that the most civilized nations of the

American continent are situated on the coast which looks towards China,

and that they come originally from the north of America, i.e. from the

neighbourhood of countries where the Chinese landed, as Quivin and New

Mexico, whence the Mexicans came to settle in Mexico, properly so called,

after having expelled the ancient inhabitants.


M. de Guignes cites some authorities, which give us reason to believe,

that the streights of Magellan were known to the Chinese, and that the

Coreans had a settlement in Terra del Fuego. These navigations of the

Chinese, and of the most uncivilized nations, incline him to believe, that

the people dispersed in the isles to the south of the Indies, after having

multiplied, migrated from island to island, and by means of that chain of

islands which reaches almost to America, insensibly approached that

continent. The example of the inhabitants of the Canaries gives a

probability to this conjecture. Gentleman's Magazine, 1753, p. 607.


17 The new history of Kamtschatka, lately published in the Russian

language, and translated into English by J. Grieve, M.D. gives a

particular description of the customs and way of living of the inhabitants

there, which agrees in several particulars, and in the whole manner seems

not very different from the original customs of the North American

Indians. For a brief account of this history, see Monthly Review, vol.

30, p. 282.


18 Vide a memoir of M. La Page du Pratz, containing an account of the

travels of Moncacht-ape; a civilized Indian of Louisiana, to the north-

west parts of America, Gent. Mag. for Sept. 1753.


19 Vol. xx, Lond. Edit. 1748, p. 157.


20 That is a regular colony under grants - "Sir Armigell Wadd, of

Yorkshire, clerk of the council to Henry VIII. and Edward VI. and author

of a book of travels, was the first Englishman that made discoveries in

America." H. Walpole's anecdotes of painting, vol ii. Catalogue of

engravers, pp. 18, 19. A note.


21 Now Roanoke, in North-Carolina.


22 L. C. J. of England.


23 Other accounts say, the patent was dissolved by the king's roclamation,

in 1624; and that tho' a quo warranto was issued against it, no

determination followed in the courts of justice.