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´╗┐Title: The Voyage of Verrazzano
 - A Chapter in the Early History of Maritime Discovery in America
Author: Murphy, Henry Cruse
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Voyage of Verrazzano
 - A Chapter in the Early History of Maritime Discovery in America" ***

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The following pages, intended to show the claim of discovery in
America by Verrazzano to be without any real foundation, belong to a
work, in hand, upon the earliest explorations of the coast which
have led to the settlement of the United States by Europeans. They
are now printed separately, with some additions and necessary
changes, in consequence of the recent production of the map of
Hieronimo de Verrazano, which professes to represent this discovery,
and is therefore supposed to afford some proof of its authenticity;
in which view it has been the subject of a learned and elaborate
memoir by J. Carson Brevoort Esq.

Certain important documents in relation to Verrazzano, procured from
the archives of Spain and Portugal by the late Buckingham Smith, on
a visit to those countries a year or two before his death, are
appended. They were intended to accompany a second edition of his
Inquiry, a purpose which has been interrupted by his decease. They
were entrusted by him to the care of his friend, George H. Moore
Esq., of New York, who has placed them at our disposal on the
present occasion.

The fragmentary and distorted form in which the letter ascribed to
Verrazzano, appeared in the collection of Ramusio, and was thence
universally admitted into history, rendered it necessary that the
letter should be here given complete, according to its original
meaning. It is, therefore, annexed in the English translation of Dr.
Cogswell, which though not entirely unexceptionable is, for all
purposes, sufficiently accurate. The original Italian text can,
however, be consulted in the Collections of the New York Historical
Society, accompanying his translation, and also in the Archivio
Storico Italiano, in which it is represented by the editor to be
more correctly copied from the manuscript, and amended in its
language where it seemed corrupt; but such corrections are few and
unimportant. In all cases in which the letter is now made the
subject of critical examination, the passages referred to are given,
for obvious reasons, according to the reading of the Florentine

We are indebted to the American Geographical Society of New York for
the use of its photographs of the Verrazano map, and to Mr. Brevoort
for a copy of the cosmography of Alfonse, from which the chart of
Norumbega has been taken. And our thanks are due to Dr. J. Gilmary
Shea of New York, for valuable assistance; and to Dr. E. B.
Straznicky of the Astor Library, Mons. O. Maunoir of the Societe de
Geographie of Paris, Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull of Hartford, Hon. John
R. Bartlett of Providence, and James Lenox Esq. of New York, for
various favors kindly rendered during the progress of our



    I. The Discovery Attributed to Verrazzano

   II. The Verrazzano Letters not Genuine

  III. The Letter untrue. I. No Voyage of Discovery made
       for the King of France, as it states

   IV. II. Misrepresentations in regard to the Geography
       of the Coast. The Chesapeake. The Island of
       Louise. Massachusetts Bay

    V. III. Cape Breton and the Southerly Coast of Newfoundland,
       here claimed to have been discovered,
       were known previously. Perversion of the Text
       of the Letter by Ramusio

   VI. IV. The Description of the People and Productions
       of the Land not made from the Personal Observations
       of the Writer of the Letter. What distinctly
       belonged to the Natives is unnoticed, and what is
       originally mentioned of them is untrue. Further
       important Alterations of the Text by Ramusio,

  VII. The Extrinsic Evidence in Support of the Claim. I.
       Discourse of the French Sea Captain of Dieppe,

 VIII. II. The Verrazzano Map. It is not an Authoritative
       Exposition of the Verrazzano Discovery. Its Origin
       and Date in its present Form. The Letter of Annibal
       Caro. The Map presented to Henry VIII.
       Voyages of Verrazzano. The Globe of Euphrosynus

   IX. The Letter to the King founded on the Discoveries of
       Estevan Gomez. The History of Gomez and his
       Voyage. The Publication of his Discoveries in
       Spain and Italy before the Verrazzano claim. The
       Voyage described in the Letter traced to Ribero's
       Map of the Discoveries of Gomez

    X. The Career of Verrazzano. An Adventurous Life and
       Ignominious Death. Conclusion



[Proofreaders note: ILLUSTRATIONS and MAPS omitted]





The discovery of the greater portion of the Atlantic coast of North
America, embracing all of the United States north of Cape Roman in
South Carolina, and of the northern British provinces as far at
least as Cape Breton, by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine, in
the service of the king of France, has received until quite recently
the assent of all the geographers and historians who have taken
occasion to treat of the subject. This acknowledgment, for more than
three hundred years, which would seem to preclude all question in
regard to its authenticity at this late day, has, however, been due
more to the peculiar circumstances of its publication than to any
evidence of its truth. The only account of it which exists, is
contained in a letter purporting to have been written by the
discoverer himself, and is not corroborated by the testimony of any
other person, or sustained by any documentary proof. It was not
published to the world until it appeared for the first time in
Italy, the birth place of the navigator, more than thirty years
after the transactions to which it relates are alleged to have taken
place; and it has not, up to the present time, received any
confirmation in the history of France, whose sovereign, it is
asserted, sent forth the expedition, and to whose crown the right of
the discovery accordingly attached. Yet it is not difficult to
comprehend how the story, appealing to the patriotic sympathies of
Ramusio, was inconsiderately adopted by him, and inserted in his
famous collection of voyages, and thus receiving his sanction, was
not unwillingly accepted, upon his authority, by the French nation,
whose glory it advanced, without possibly its having any real
foundation. And as there never was any colonization or attempt at
possession of the country in consequence of the alleged discovery,
or any assertion of title under it, except in a single instance of a
comparatively modern date, and with no important hearing, it is no
less easy to understand, how thus adopted and promulgated by the
only countries interested in the question, the claim was admitted by
other nations without challenge or dispute, and has thus become
incorporated into modern history without investigation.

Although the claim has never been regarded of any practical
importance in the settlement of the country, it has nevertheless
possessed an historical and geographical interest in connection with
the origin and progress of maritime discovery on this continent. Our
own writers assuming its validity, without investigation, have been
content to trace, if possible, the route of Verrazzano and point out
the places he explored, seeking merely to reconcile the account with
the actual condition and situation of the country. Their
explanations, though sometimes plausible, are often contradictory,
and not unfrequently absurd. Led into an examination of its merits
with impressions in its favor, we have nevertheless been compelled
to adopt the conclusion of a late American writer, that it is
utterly fictitious. [Footnote: An Inquiry into the Authenticity of
Documents concerning a Discovery in North America claimed to have
been made by Verrazzano. Read before the New York Historical
Society, Tuesday, October 10, 1864. By Buckingham Smith. New York,
1864. pp. 31, and a map.] The grounds upon which our conviction
rests we propose now to state. Some documents will be introduced,
for the first time here brought to light, which will serve further
to elucidate the question, and show the career and ultimate fate of

The letter, in which the pretension is advanced, professes to be
addressed by Verrazzano to the king of France, at that time Francis
I, from Dieppe, in Normandy, the 8th of July (O. S.), 1534, on his
return to that port from a voyage, undertaken by order of the king,
for the purpose of finding new countries; and to give an account of
the discoveries which he had accordingly made. He first reminds his
majesty that, after starting with four ships, originally composing
the expedition, he was compelled by storms, encountered on the
northern coasts, to put into Brittany in distress, with the loss of
two of them; and that after repairing there the others, called the
Normanda and Delfina (Dauphine), be made a cruize with this FLEET OF
WAR, as they are styled, along the coast of Spain. He finally
proceeded on the voyage of discovery with the Dauphine alone,
setting sail from a desolate rock near the island of Madeira, on the
17th of January, 1524, with fifty men, and provisions for eight
months, besides the necessary munitions of war. This voyage,
therefore, is to be regarded, according to the representations here
made, to have been begun with the sailing of the four ships, from
Dieppe, in the preceding year they fell upon a "country never before
seen by any one either in ancient or modern times." [Footnote: Some
writers have regarded this introductory as referring to two voyages
or cruises, one with the four ships before the disaster, and the
other with the Dauphine afterwards. But it seems clear from their
being described as assailed by tempests in the north, which
compelled them to run into Brittany for safety, that they were not
far distant from Dieppe when the storms overtook them; and must have
been either on their way out or on their return to that port. If
they were on their return from a voyage to America, as Charlevoix
infers (Fastes Chronologiques 1523-4), or simply from a cruise, as
Mr. Brevoort supposes, they would, after making their repairs, have
proceeded home, to Dieppe, instead of making a second voyage. They
must, therefore, be regarded as on their way from Dieppe. The idea
of a voyage having been performed before the storms seems to be due
to alteration which Ramusio made in this portion of the letter, by
introducing the word "success," as of the four ships, Charlevoix
expressly refers to Ramusio as his authority and Mr. Brevoort makes
a paraphrase from the Carli and Ramusio versions combined. (Notes on
the Verrazzano Map in Journal of the Am. Geog. Society of New York,
vol. IV, pp. 172-3)] On leaving Madeira they pursued a westerly
course for eight hundred leagues and then, inclining a little to the
north, ran four hundred leagues more, when on the 7th of March
[Footnote: There is some ambiguity in the account, as to the time
when they first saw land. The letter reads as follows: "On the 17th
of last January we set sail from a desolate rock near the island of
Madeira, and sailing westward, in twenty-five days we ran eight
hundred leagues. On the 24th of February, we encountered as violent
a hurricane as any ship ever weathered. Pursuing our voyage toward
the west, a little northwardly, in twenty-four days more, have run
four hundred leagues, we reached a new country," &c. If the twenty-
four days be calculated from the 24th of February, the landfall
would have taken place on the 20th of March; but if reckoned from
the first twenty-five days run, it would have been on the 7th of
that month. Ramusio changes the distance first sailed from 800 to
500 leagues; the day when they encountered the storm from the 24th
to the 20th of February; and the twenty-four days last run to
twenty-five; making the landfall occur on the 17th or 10th of March
according to the mode of calculating the days last run. As it is
stated, afterwards, that they encountered a gale WHILE AT ANCHOR ON
THE COAST, EARLY in March, the 7th of that month must be taken as
the time of the landfall.] It seemed very low and stretched to the
south, in which direction they sailed along it for the purpose of
finding a harbor wherein their ship might ride in safety; but
DISCOVERING NONE in a distance of fifty leagues, they retraced their
course, and ran to the north with no better success. They therefore
drew in with the land and sent a boat ashore, and had their first
communication with the inhabitants, who regarded them with wonder.
These people are described as going naked, except around their
loins, and as being BLACK. The land, rising somewhat from the shore,
was covered with thick forests, which sent forth the sweetest
fragrance to a great distance. They supposed it adjoined the Orient,
and for that reason was not devoid of medicinal and aromatic drugs
and gold; and being IN LATITUDE 34 Degrees N., was possessed of a
pure, salubrious and healthy climate. They sailed thence westerly
for a short distance and then northerly, when at the end of fifty
leagues they arrived before a land of great forests, where they
landed and found luxuriant vines entwining the trees and producing
their own; and from whence they carried off a boy about eight years
old, for the purpose of taking him to France. Coasting thence
northeasterly for one hundred leagues, SAILING ONLY IN THE DAY TIME
AND NOT MAKING ANY HARBOR in the whole of that distance, they came
to a pleasant situation among steep hills, from whence a large river
ran into the sea. Leaving, in consequence of a rising storm, this
river, into which they had entered for a short distance with their
boat, and where they saw many of the natives in their CANOES, they
sailed directly EAST for eighty leagues, when they discovered an
island of triangular shape, about ten leagues from the main land,
EQUAL IN SIZE TO THE ISLAND OF RHODES. This island they named after
the mother of the king of France. WITHOUT LANDING UPON IT, they
proceeded to a harbor fifteen leagues beyond, at the entrance of a
large bay, TWELVE LEAGUES BROAD, where they came to anchor and
remained for fifteen days. They encountered here a people with whom
they formed a great friendship, different in appearance from the
natives whom they first saw,--these having a WHITE COMPLEXION. The
men were tall and well formed, and the women graceful and possessed
of pleasing manners. There were two kings among them, who were
attended in state by their gentlemen, and a queen who had her
waiting maids. This country was situated in latitude 41 Degrees 40'
N, in the parallel of Rome; and was very fertile and abounded with
game. They left it on the 6th of May, and sailed one hundred and
fifty leagues, CONSTANTLY IN SIGHT OF THE LAND which stretched to
the east. In this long distance THEY MADE NO LANDING, but proceeded
fifty leagues further along the land, which inclined more to the
north, when they went ashore and found a people exceedingly
barbarous and hostile. Leaving them and continuing their course
northeasterly for fifty leagues FURTHER, they discovered within that
distance thirty-two islands. And finally, after having sailed
between east and north one hundred and fifty leagues MORE, they
reached the fiftieth degree of north latitude, where the Portuguese
had commenced their discoveries towards the Arctic circle; when
finding their provisions nearly exhausted, they took in wood and
water and returned to France, having coasted, it is stated, along an
added, they had found it inhabited by a people without religion, but
easily to be persuaded, and imitating with fervor the acts of
Christian worship performed by the discoverers.

The description of the voyage is followed by what the writer calls a
cosmography, in which is shown the distance they had sailed from the
time they left the desert rocks at Madeira, and the probable size of
the new world as compared with the old, with the relative area of
land and water on the whole globe. There is nothing striking or
important in this supplement, except that it emphasizes and enforces
the statements of the former part of the letter in regard to the
landfall, fixes the exact point of their departure from the coast
for home again at 50 Degrees N. latitude, and gives seven hundred
leagues as the extent of the discovery. The length of a longitudinal
degree along the parallel of thirty-four, in which it is reiterated
they first made land, and between which and the parallel of thirty-
two they had sailed from the Desertas, is calculated and found to be
fifty-two miles, and the whole number of degrees which they had
traversed across the ocean between those parallels, being twelve
hundred leagues, or forty-eight hundred miles, is by simple division
made ninety-two. The object of this calculation is not apparent, and
strikes the reader as if it were a feeble imitation of the manner in
which Amerigo Vespucci illustrates his letters. A statement is made,
that they took the aim's altitude from day to day, and noted the
observations, together with the rise and fall of the tide, in a
little boat, which was "communicated to his majesty, in the hope of
promoting science." It is also mentioned that they had no lunar
eclipses, by means of which they could have ascertained the
longitude during the voyage. This fact is shown by the tables of
Regiomontanus, which had been published long before the alleged
voyage, and were open to the world. The statement of it here,
therefore, does not, as has been supposed, furnish any evidence in
support of the narrative, by redeem of its originality. Such is the
account, in brief; which the letter gives of the origin, nature and
extent of the alleged discovery; and as it assumes to be the
production of the navigator himself, and is the only source of
information on the subject, it suggests all the questions which
arise in this inquiry. These relate both to the genuineness of the
letter, and the truth of its statements; and accordingly bring under
consideration the circumstances under which that instrument was made
known and has received credit; the alleged promotion of the voyage
by the king of France; and the results claimed to have been
accomplished thereby. It will be made to appear upon this
examination, that the letter, according to the evidence upon which
its existence is predicated, could not have been written by
Verrazzano; that the instrumentality of the King of France, in any
such expedition of discovery as therein described, is unsupported by
the history of that country, and is inconsistent with the
acknowledged acts of Francis and his successors, and therefore
incredible; and that its description of the coast and some of the
physical characteristics of the people and of the country are
essentially false, and prove that the writer could not have made
them, from his own personal knowledge and experience, as pretended.
And, in conclusion, it will be shown that its apparent knowledge of
the direction and extent of the coast was derived from the
exploration of Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese pilot in the service of
the king of Spain, and that Verrazzano, at the time of his pretended
discovery, was actually engaged in a corsairial expedition, sailing
under the French flag, in a different part of the ocean.



No proof that the letter ascribed to Verrazzano, was written by him,
has ever been produced. The letter itself has never been exhibited,
or referred to in any authentic document, or mentioned by any
contemporary or later historian as being in existence, and although
it falls within the era, of modern history, not a single fact which
it professes to describe relating to the fitting out of the
expedition, the voyage, or the discovery, is corroborated by other
testimony, whereby its genuineness might even be inferred. The only
evidence in regard to it, relates to two copies, as they purport to
be, both in the Italian language, one of them coming to us printed
and the other in manuscript, but neither of them traceable to the
alleged original. They are both of them of uncertain date. The
printed copy appears in the work of Ramusio, first published in
1556; when Verrazzano and Francis I, the parties to it, were both
dead, and a generation of men had almost passed away since the
events which it announced had, according to its authority, taken
place, and probably no one connected with the government of France
at that time could have survived to gainsay, the story, were it
untrue.[Footnote: Verrazzano died in 1527; Louise, the mother of
Francis I in September, 1582, and Francis himself in March, 1547.]
Ramusio does not state when or how he obtained what he published. In
the preface to the volume in which it is printed, dated three years
before, he merely speaks of the narrative incidentally, but in a
discourse preceding it, he obscurely alludes to the place where he
found it, remarking that it was the only letter of Verrazzano that
he had "been able to have, because the others had got astray in the
troubles of the unfortunate city of Florence." The origin of the
manuscript version is equally involved in mystery. It forms part of
a codex which contains also a copy of a letter purporting to have
been written by Fernando Carli, from Lyons to his father in
Florence, on the 4th of August, 1524, giving an account of the
arrival of Verrazzano at Dieppe, and inclosing a copy of his letter
to the King. The epistles of Carli and Verrazzano are thus connected
together in the manuscript in fact, and by reference in that of
Carli, making the copy of the Verrazzano letter a part of Carli's,
and so to relate to the same date. But as the Carli letter in the
manuscript is itself only a copy, there is nothing to show when that
was really written; nor is it stated when the manuscript itself was
made. All that is positively known in regard to the latter is, that
it was mentioned in 1768, as being then in existence in the Strozzi
library in Florence. When it came into that collection does not
appear, but as that library was not founded until 1627, its history
cannot be traced before that year, [Footnote: Der Italicum von D.
Friedrich Blume. Band II, 81. Halle, 1827.] Its chirography,
however, in the opinion of some competent persons who have examined
it, indicates that it was written in the middle of the sixteenth
century. There is, therefore, nothing in the history or character of
the publication in Ramusio or the manuscript, to show that the
letter emanated from Verrazzano. Neither of them is traceable to
him; neither of them was printed at a time when its publication,
without contradiction, might be regarded as an admission or
acknowledgment by the world of a genuine original; and neither of
them is found to have existed early enough to authorize an inference
in favor of such an original by reason of their giving the earliest
account of the coasts and country claimed to have been discovered.
On the contrary, these two documents of themselves, when their
nature and origin are rightly understood, serve to prove that the
Verrazzano letter is not a genuine production. For this purpose it
will be necessary to state more fully their history and character.

The existence of the copy which, in consequence of its connection in
the same manuscript with that of the Carli letter, may be designated
as the Carli version, is first mentioned in an eulogy or life of
Verrazzano in the series of portraits of illustrious Tuscans,
printed in Florence in 1767-8, as existing in the Strozzi library.
[Footnote: Serie di Ritratti d'Uomini Illustri Toscani con gli elogi
istorici dei medesimi. Vol. secondo Firenze, 1768.] The author calls
attention to the fact, that it contains a part of the letter which
is omitted by Ramusio. In another eulogy of the navigator, by a
different hand, G. P. (Pelli), put forth by the same printer in the
following year, the writer, referring to the publication of the
letter of Ramusio, states that an addition to it, describing the
distances to the places where Verrazzano had been, was inserted in
writing in a copy of the work of Ramusio, in the possession at that
time of the Verrazzano family in Florence. These references were
intended to show the existence of the cosmography, which Tiraboschi
afterwards mentions, giving, however, the first named eulogy as his
authority. No portion of the Carli copy appeared in print until
1841, when through the instrumentality of Mr. Greene, the American
consul at Rome, it was printed in the collections of the New York
Historical Society, accompanied by a translation into English by the
late Dr. Cogswell. It was subsequently printed in the Archivio
Storico Italiano at Florence, in 1853, with some immaterial
corrections, and a preliminary discourse on Verrazzano, by M.
Arcangeli. From an inspection of the codex in the library, where it
then existed in Florence, M. Arcangeli supposes the manuscript was
written in the middle of the sixteenth century. This identical copy
was, therefore, probably in existence when Ramusio published his
work. Upon comparing the letter as given by Ramusio with the
manuscript, the former, besides wanting the cosmography, is found to
differ from the latter almost entirely in language, and very
materially in substance, though agreeing with it in its elementary
character and purpose. The two, therefore, cannot be copies of the
same original. Either they are different versions from some other
language, or one of them must be a recomposition of the other in the
language in which they now are found. In regard to their being both
translated from the French, the only other language in which the
letter can be supposed to have been written besides the native
tongue of Verrazzano, although it is indeed most reasonable to
suppose that such a letter, addressed to the king of France, on the
results of an expedition of the crown, by an officer in his service,
would have been written in that language, it is, nevertheless,
highly improbable that any letter could, in this instance, have been
so addressed to the King, and two different translations made from
it into Italian, one by Carli in Lyons in 1524, and the other by
Ramusio in Venice twenty-nine years afterwards, and yet no copy of
it in French, or any memorial of its existence in that language be
known. This explanation must therefore be abandoned. If on the other
hand, one of these copies was so rendered from the French, or from
an original in either form in which it appears in Italian, whether
by Verrazzano or not, the other must have been rewritten from it. It
is evident, however, that the Carli version could not have been
derived from that contained in Ramusio, because it contains an
entire part consisting of several pages, embracing the
cosmographical explanations of the voyage, not found in the latter.
As we are restricted to these two copies as the sole authority for
the letter, and are, therefore, governed in any conclusion on this
subject by what they teach, it must be determined that the letter in
Ramusio is a version of that contained in the Carli manuscript. This
suggestion is not new. It was made by Mr. Greene in his monograph on
Verrazzano, without his following it to the conclusion to which it
inevitably leads. If the version in Ramusio be a recomposition of
the Carli copy, an important step is gained towards determining the
origin of the Verrazzano letter, as in that case the inquiry is
brought down to the consideration of the authenticity of the Carli
letter, of which it forms a part. But before proceeding to that
question, the reasons assigned by Mr. Greene, and some incidental
facts stated by him in connection with them, should be given. He

"The Strozzi Library is no longer in existence; but the manuscripts
of that collection passed into the hands of the Tuscan government,
and were divided between the Magliabechian and Laurentian libraries
of Florence. The historical documents were deposited in the former.
Among them was the cosmographical narration of Verrazzano mentioned
by Tiraboschi, and which Mr. Bancroft expresses a desire to see
copied for the Historical Society of New York. It is contained in a
volume of Miscellanies, marked "Class XIII. Cod. 89. Verraz;" and
forms the concluding portion of the letter to Francis the First,
which is copied at length in the same volume. It is written in the
common running hand of the sixteenth century (carrattere corsivo),
tolerably distinct, but badly pointed. The whole volume, which is
composed of miscellaneous pieces, chiefly relating to contemporary
history, is evidently the WORK OF THE SAME HAND.

"Upon collating this manuscript with that part of the letter which
was published by Ramusio, we were struck with the differences in
language which run through every paragraph of the two texts. In
substance there is no important difference [Footnote: In this
statement Mr. Greene was mistaken, as will be manifested in a
comparison of the two texts hereafter given, in which the difference
of language will also appear.] except in one instance, where by an
evident blunder of the transcriber, bianchissimo is put for
branzino. There is something so peculiar in the style of this
letter, as it reads, in the manuscript of the Magliabechian, that it
is impossible to account for its variations from Ramusio, except by
supposing that this editor worked the whole piece over anew,
correcting the errors of language upon his own authority. [Footnote:
Mr. Greene adds in a note to this passage: "He did so also with the
translation of Marco Polo. See Apostolo Zeno, Annot. alla Bib. Ital.
del Fontanini, tom. II, p. 300; ed. di Parma. 1804." There is
another instance mentioned by Amoretti in the preface to his
translation of Pigafetta's journal of Magellan's voyage, and that
was with Fabre's translation of the copy of the journal given by
Pigafetta to the mother of Francis I. Premier voyage autour du
monde. xxxii. (Jansen, Paris l'an ix.)] These errors indeed are
numerous, and the whole exhibits a strange mixture of Latinisms
[Footnote: An instance of these Latinisms is the signature "Janus
Verrazzanus," affixed to the letter.] and absolute barbarisms with
pure Tuscan words and phrases. The general cast of it, however, is
simple and not unpleasing. The obscurity of many of the sentences
is, in a great measure, owing to false pointing.

"The cosmographical description forms the last three pages of the
letter. It was doubtless intentionally omitted by Ramusio, though it
would be difficult to say why. Some of the readings are apparently
corrupt; nor, ignorant as we are of nautical science, was it in our
power to correct them. There are also some slight mistakes, which
must be attributed to the transcriber.

"A letter which follows that of Verrazzano, gives, as it seems to
us, a sufficient explanation of the origin of this manuscript. It
was written by a young Florentine, named Fernando Carli, and is
addressed from Lyons to his father in Florence. It mentions the
arrival of Verrazzano at Dieppe, and contains several circumstances
about him, which throw a new though still a feeble light upon parts
of his history, hitherto wholly unknown. It is by the discovery of
this letter, that we have been enabled to form a sketch of him,
somewhat more complete than any which has ever yet been given.

"The history of both manuscripts is probably as follows: Carli wrote
to his father, thinking, as he himself tells it, that the news of
Verrazzano's return would give great satisfaction to many of their
friends in Florence. He added at the same time, and this also we
learn from his own words, a copy of Verrazzano's letter to the king.
Both his letter and his copy of Verrazzano's were intended to be
shown to his Florentine acquaintances. Copies, as is usual in such
cases, were taken of them; and to us it seems evident that from some
one of these the copy in the Magliabechian manuscript was derived.
The appearance of this last, which was prepared for some individual
fond of collecting miscellaneous documents, if not by him, is a
sufficient corroboration of our statement." [Footnote: Historical
Studies: by George Washington Greene, New York, 1850; p. 323. Life
and Voyages of Verrazzano (by the same), in the North American
Review for October, 1837. (Vol. 45, p. 306).]

Adopting the Carli copy as the primitive form of the Verrazzano
letter, and the Carli letter as the original means by which it has
been communicated to the world, the inquiry is resolved into the
authenticity of the Carli letter. There are sufficient reasons to
denounce this letter as a pure invention; and in order to present
those reasons more clearly, we here give a translation of it in

Letter of Fernando Carli to his Father. [Footnote: The letter of
Carli was first published in 1844, with the discourse of Mr. Greene
on Verrazzano, in the Saggiatore (I, 257), a Roman journal of
history, the fine arts and philology. (M. Arcangeli, Discorso sopra
Giovanni da Verrazzano, p. 35, in Archivio Storico Italiano.
Appendice tom. IX.) It will be found in our appendix, according to
the reprint in the latter work.]

In the name of God.

4 August, 1524.

Honorable Father:

Considering that when I was in the armada in Barbary at Garbich the
news were advised you daily from the illustrious Sig. Don Hugo de
Moncada, Captain General of the Caesarean Majesty in those barbarous
parts, [of what] happened in contending with the Moors of that
island; by which it appears you caused pleasure to many of our
patrons and friends and congratulated yourselves on the victory
achieved: so there being here news recently of the arrival of
Captain Giovanni da Verrazzano, our Florentine, at the port of
Dieppe, in Normandy, with his ship, the Dauphiny, with which he
sailed from the Canary islands the end of last January, to go in
search of new lands for this most serene crown of France, in which
he displayed very noble and great courage in undertaking such an
unknown voyage with only one ship, which was a caravel of hardly--
tons, with only fifty men, with the intention, if possible, of
discovering Cathay, taking a course through other climates than
those the Portuguese use in reaching it by the way of Calicut, but
going towards the northwest and north, entirely believing that,
although Ptolemy, Aristotle and other cosmographers affirm that no
land is to be found towards such climates, he would find it there
nevertheless. And so God has vouchsafed him as he distinctly
describes in a letter of his to this S. M.; OF WHICH, IN THIS, THERE
IS A COPY. And for want of provisions, after many months spent in
navigating, he asserts he was forced to return from that hemisphere
into this, and having been seven months on the voyage, to show a
very great and rapid passage, and to have achieved a wonderful and
most extraordinary feat according to those who understand the
seamanship of the world. Of which at the commencement of his said
voyage there was an unfavorable opinion formed, and many thought
there would be no more news either of him or of his vessel, but that
he might be lost on that side of Norway, in consequence of the great
ice which is in that northern ocean; but the Great God, as the Moor
said, in order to give us every day proofs of his infinite power and
show us how admirable is this worldly machine, has disclosed to him
a breadth of land, as you will perceive, of such extent that
according to good reasons, and the degrees of latitude and
longitude, he alleges and shows it greater than Europe, Africa and a
part of Asia; ergo mundus novus: and this exclusive of what the
Spaniards have discovered in several years in the west; as it is
hardly a year since Fernando Magellan returned, who discovered a
great country with one ship out of the five sent on the discovery.
From whence be brought spices much more excellent than the usual;
and of his other ships no news has transpired for five years. They
are supposed to be lost. What this our captain has brought he does
not state in this letter, except a very young man taken from those
countries; but it is supposed he has brought a sample of gold which
they do not value in those parts, and of drugs and other aromatic
liquors for the purpose of conferring here with several merchants
after he shall have been in the presence of the Most Serene Majesty.
And at this hour he ought to be there, and from choice to come here
shortly, as he is much desired in order to converse with him; the
more so that he will find here the Majesty, the King, our Lord, who
is expected herein three or four days. And we hope that S. M. will
entrust him again with half a dozen good vessels and that he will
return to the voyage. And if our Francisco Carli be returned from
Cairo, advise him to go, at a venture, on the said voyage with him;
and I believe they were acquainted at Cairo where he has been
several years; and not only in Egypt and Syria, but almost through
all the known world, and thence by reason of his merit is esteemed
another Amerigo Vespucci, another Fernando Magellan and even more;
and we hope that being provided with other good ships and vessels,
well built and properly victualed, he may discover some profitable
traffic and matter; and will, our Lord God granting him life, do
honor to our country, in acquiring immortal fame and memory. And
Alderotto Branelleschi who started with him and by chance turning
back was not willing to accompany him further, will, when he hears
of this, be discontented. Nothing else now occurs to me, as I have
advised you by others of what is necessary. I commend myself
constantly to you, praying you to impart this to our friends, not
forgetting Pierfrancesco Dagaghiano who in consequence of being an
experienced person will take much pleasure in it, and commend me to
him. Likewise to Rustichi, who will not be displeased, if he
delight, as usual, in learning matters of cosmography. God guard you
from all evil. Your son.


This letter bears date only twenty-seven days after that of the
Verrazzano letter, which is declared to be inclosed. To discover its
fraudulent nature and the imposition it seeks to practise, it is
only necessary to bear this fact in mind, with its pretended origin,
in connection with this warlike condition of France and the personal
movements of the king, immediately preceding and during the interval
between the dates of the two letters. It purports to have been
written by Fernando Carli to his father in Florence. Carli is not an
uncommon Italian name and probably existed in Florence at that time,
but who this Fernando was, has never transpired. He gives in this
letter all there is of his biography, which is short. He had
formerly been in the service of the emperor, Charles V, under
Moncada, in the fleet sent against the Moors in Barbary, and was
then in Lyons, where, it might be inferred, from a reference to its
merchants, that he was engaged in some mercantile pursuit; but the
reason of his presence there is really unaccounted for. It is not
pretended that he held any official position under the king of
France. The name of his father, by means of which his lineage might
be traced, is not mentioned, but Francisco Carli is named as of the
same family, but without designating his relationship. Whether a
myth or a reality, Fernando seems to have been an obscure person, at
the best; not known to the political or literary history of the
period, and not professing to occupy any position, by which he might
be supposed to have any facility or advantage for obtaining official
information or the news of the day, over the other inhabitants of
Lyons and of France.

He is made to say that he writes this letter for the particular
purpose of communicating to his father and their friends in
Florence, the news, which had reached Lyons, of the arrival of
Verrazzano from his wonderful and successful voyage of discovery,
and that he had advised his parent of all other matters touching his
own interests, by another conveyance. It might be supposed and
indeed reasonably expected in a letter thus expressly devoted to
Verrazzano, that some circumstance, personal or otherwise, connected
with the navigator or the voyage, or some incident of his discovery,
besides what was contained in the enclosed letter, such as must have
reached Lyons, with the news of the return of the expedition, would
have been mentioned, especially, as it would all have been
interesting to Florentines. But nothing of the kind is related.
Nothing appears in the letter in regard to the expedition that is
not found in the Verrazzano letter. [Footnote: Mr. Greene, in his
life of Verrazzano, remarks that it appears from Carli's letter,
that the Indian boy whom Verrazzano is stated to have carried away,
arrived safely in France; but that is not so. What is said in that
letter is, that Verrazzano does not mention IN HIS LETTER what he
had brought home, except this boy.] What is stated in reference to
the previous life of Verrazzano, must have been as well known to
Carli's father as to himself, if it were true, and is therefore
unnecessarily introduced, and the same may be said of the facts
stated in regard to Brunelleschi's starting on the voyage with
Verrazzano and afterwards turning back. The particular description
of Dagaghiano and Rustichi, both of Florence, the one as a man of
experience and the other as a student of cosmography, was equally
superfluous in speaking of them to his father. These portions of the
letter look like flimsy artifices to give the main story the
appearance of truth. They may or may not have been true, and it is
not inconsistent with an intention to deceive in regard to the
voyage that they should have been either the one or the other. A
single allusion, however, is made to the critical condition of
affairs in France and the stirring scenes which were being enacted
on either side of the city of Lyons at the moment the letter bears
date. It is the mention of the expected arrival of the king at Lyons
within three or four days. It is not stated for what purpose he was
coming, but the fact was that Francis had taken the field in person
to repel the Spanish invasion in the south of France, and was then
on his way to that portion of his kingdom, by way of Lyons, where he
arrived a few days afterwards. The reference to this march of the
king fixes beyond all question the date of the letter, as really
intended for the 4th of August, 1524.

The movements of Francis at this crisis become important in view of
the possibility of the publication in any form of the Verrazzano
letter at Lyons, at the last mentioned date, or of the possession of
a copy of it there as claimed by Carli in his letter. The army of
the emperor, under Pescara and Bourbon, crossed the Alps and entered
Provence early in July, and before the date of the Verrazzano
letter. [Footnote: Letter of Bourbon. Dyer's Europe, 442.] The
intention to do so was known by Francis some time previously. He
wrote on the 28th of June from Amboise, near Tours, to the
Provencaux that he would march immediately to their relief;
[Footnote: Sismondi, xvi. 216, 217.] and on the 2d of July he
announced in a letter to his parliament: "I am going to Lyons to
prevent the enemy from entering the kingdom, and I can assure you
that Charles de Bourbon is not yet in France." [Footnote: Gaillard,
Histoire de Francois Premier, tom. III, 172 (Paris, 1769).] He had
left his residence at Blois and his capital, and was thus actually
engaged in collecting his forces together, on the 8th of July, when
the Verrazzano letter is dated. He did not reach Lyons until after
the 4th of August, as is correctly stated in the Carli letter.
[Footnote: Letter of Moncada in Doc. ined. para la Hist. de Espana.
tom. XXIV, 403, and Letters of Pace to Wolsey in State Papers of the
reign of Henry VIII, vol. IV, Part I, 589, 606.]

The author of the Carli letter, whether the person he pretends to
have been or not, asserts that news of the arrival of Verrazzano at
Dieppe on his return from his voyage of discovery had reached Lyons,
and that the navigator himself was expected soon to be in that city
for the purpose of conferring with its merchants on the subject of
the new countries which he had discovered, and had described in a
letter to the king, a copy of which letter was enclosed. He thus
explicitly declares not only that news of the discovery had reached
Lyons, but that the letter to the king was known to the merchants at
that place, and that a copy of it was then actually in his
possession and sent with his own. The result of the expedition was,
therefore, notorious, and the letter had attained general publicity
at Lyons, without the presence there of either Francis or

This statement must be false. Granting that such a letter, as is
ascribed to Verrazzano, had been written, it was impossible that
this obscure young man at Lyons, hundreds of miles from Dieppe,
Paris and Blois, away from the king and court and from Verrazzano,
not only at a great distance from them all, but at the point to
which the king was hastening, and had not reached, on his way to the
scene of war in the southern portion of his kingdom, could have come
into the possession of this document in less than a month after it
purports to have been written for the king in a port far in the
north, on the coast of Normandy. It obviously could not have been
delivered to him personally by Verrazzano, who had not been at
Lyons, nor could it have been transmitted to him by the navigator,
who had not yet presented himself before the king, and could have
had no authority to communicate it to any person. It was an official
report, addressed to the king, and intended for his eye alone, until
the monarch himself chose to make it public. It related to an
enterprise of the crown, and eminently concerned its interests and
prerogatives, in the magnitude and importance of the new countries;
and could not have been sent by Verrazzano, without permission, to a
private person, and especially a foreigner, without subjecting
himself to the charge of disloyalty, if not of treason, which there
is no other evidence to sustain. On the other hand it could not have
been delivered by the king to this Carli. It is not probable, even
if such a letter could have come into the hands of Francis, absent
from his capital in the midst of warlike preparations, engaged in
forming his army and en route for the scene of the invasion, that he
could have given it any consideration. But if he had received it and
considered its import, there was no official or other relation
between him and Carli, or any motive for him to send it forward in
advance of his coming to Lyons, to this young and obscure alien.
There was no possibility, therefore, of Carli obtaining possession
of a private copy of the letter through Verrazzano or the king.

The only way open to him, under the most favorable circumstances,
would have been through some publicity, by proclamation or printing,
by order of the king; in which case, it would have been given for
the benefit of all his subjects. It is impossible that it could have
been seen and copied by this young foreigner alone and in the city
of Lyons, and that no other copies would have been preserved in all
France. The idea of a publication is thus forbidden.

No alternative remains except to pronounce the whole story a
fabrication. The Carli letter is untrue. It did not inclose any
letter of Verrazzano of the character pretended. And as it is the
only authority for the existence of any such letter, that falls with



All the circumstances relating to the existence of the Verrazzano
letter thus prove that it was not the production of Verrazzano at
the time and place it purports to have been written by him. We pass
now to the question of its authenticity, embracing the consideration
of its own statements and the external evidence which exists upon
the subject.

The letter professes to give the origin and results of the voyage;
that is, the agency of the king of France in sending forth the
expedition, and the discoveries actually accomplished by it. In both
respects it is essentially untrue. It commences by declaring that
Verrazzano sailed under the orders and on behalf of the king of
France, for the purpose of finding new countries, and that the
account then presented was a description of the discoveries made in
pursuance of such instructions. That no such voyage of discoveries
were made for that monarch is clearly deducible from the history of
France. Neither the letter, nor any document, chronicle, memoir, or
history of any kind, public or private, printed or in manuscript,
belonging to that period, or the reign of Francis I, who then bore
the crown, mentioning or in any manner referring to it, or to the
voyage and discovery, has ever been found in France; and neither
Francis himself, nor any of his successors, ever acknowledged or in
any manner recognized such discovery, or asserted under it any right
to the possession of the country; but, on the contrary, both he and
they ignored it, in undertaking colonization in that region by
virtue of other discoveries made under their authority, or with
their permission, by their subjects.

I. That no evidence of the Verrazzano discovery ever existed in
France, is not only necessarily presumed from the circumstance that
none has ever been produced, but is inferentially established by the
fact that all the French writers and historians, who have had
occasion to consider the subject, have derived their information in
regard to it from the Italian so-called copies of the letter, and
until recently from that in Ramusio alone. No allusion to the
discovery, by any of them, occurs until several years after the work
of Ramusio was published, when for the first time it is mentioned in
the account written by Ribault, in 1563, of his voyage to Florida
and attempted colonization at Port Royal in South Carolina, in the
previous year. Ribault speaks of it very briefly, in connection with
the discoveries of Sebastian Cabot and others, as having no
practical results, and states that he had derived his information in
regard to it, from what Verrazzano had written, thus clearly
referring to the letter. He adds that Verrazzano made another voyage
to America afterwards, "where at last he died." As Ramusio is the
only authority known for the latter statement, it is evident that
Ribault must have had his work before him, and consequently his
version of the letter, when he prepared this account. [Footnote: The
original narrative of Ribault, in French, has never appeared in
print. It was probably suppressed at the time for political reasons,
as the colony was intended for the benefit of the protestants of
France. It was, however, translated immediately into English and
printed in 1563, under the following title: "The whole and true
discoverye of Terra Florida &c never found out before the last year,
1562. Written in French by Captain Ribault &c and now newly set
forthe in Englishe the XXX of May, 1563. Prynted at London, by
Rowland Hall, for Thomas Hacket." This translation was reprinted by
Hakluyt in his first work, Divers Voyages, in 1582; but was omitted
by him in his larger collections, and the account by Laudoniere, who
accompanied Ribault, of that and the two subsequent expeditions,
substituted in its stead.] In the relation written by Laudoniere in
1566, but not printed until 1586, of all three of the expeditions
sent out from France, for the colonization of the French
protestants, mention is again made of the discoveries of Verrazzano.
Laudoniere gives no authority, but speaks of them in terms which
show that he made his compend from the discourse of the French
captain of Dieppe, published by Ramusio in the same volume, in
connection with the Verrazzano letter. He says that Verrazzano "was
sent by King Francis the First and Madame the Regent, his mother,
into these new countries." In thus associating the queen mother with
the king in the prosecution of the enterprise Laudoniere commits the
same mistake as is made in the discourse in that respect. Louise did
not become regent until after the return of Verrazzano is stated to
have taken place, and after both his letter and that of Carli are
represented to have been written. [Footnote: The edict appointing
Louise regent, was dated at Pignerol, the 17th of October, 1524,
when Francis was en route for Milan. Isambert, Recueil, &c., tom.
XII, part I, p. 230.] In adopting this error it is plain that
Laudoniere must have taken it from the work of Ramusio, as the
discourse of the French captain is found in no other place, and
therefore used that work. He also speaks of the discovered country
being called Francesca, as mentioned in the discourse. [Footnote:
Basanier, L'Histoire notable de la Floride. (Paris, 1586), fol. 1-3.
Hakluyt, III, p. 305. Ramusio, III, fol. 423. (Ed. 1556.)]

The Verrazzano discovery is referred to, for the first time, in any
work printed in France, in 1570, in a small folio volume called the
Universal History of the World, by Francois de Belleforest, a
compiler of no great authority. In describing Canada, he
characterizes the natives as cannibals, and in proof of the charge
repeats the story, which is found in Ramusio only, of Verrazzano
having been killed, roasted and eaten by them, and then proceeds
with a short account of the country and its inhabitants, derived, as
he states, from what Verrazzano had written to King Francis.
[Footnote: L'Histoire Universelle du Monde. Par Francois de
Belleforest. (Paris 1570, fol. 253-4.)] He does not mention where he
obtained this account, but his reference to the manner in which
Verrazzano came to his death, shows that he had consulted the volume
of Ramusio. Five years later the same writer gave to the world an
enlarged edition of his work, with the title of The Universal
Cosmography of the World, in three ponderous folios, in which he
recites, more at length, the contents of the Verrazzano letter, also
without mentioning where he had found it, but disclosing
nevertheless that it was in Ramusio, by his following the variations
of that version, particularly in regard to the complexion of the
natives represented to have been first seen, as they will be
hereafter explained. [Footnote: La Cosmographie Universelle de tout
le Monde, tom. II, part II, 2175-9. (Paris, 1575.)] This publication
of Belleforest is the more important, because it is from the
abstract of the Verrazzano letter contained in it, that Lescarbot,
thirty-four years afterwards, took his account of the voyage and
discovery, word for word, without acknowledgment. [Footnote: Hist.
de la Nouvelle France, p. 27, et seq. (ed. 1609). In a subsequent
portion of his history (p. 244) Lescarbot again refers incidentally
to Verrazzano in connection with Jacques Cartier, to whom he
attributes a preposterous statement, acknowledging the Verrazzano
discovery. He states that in 1533 Cartier made known to Chabot, then
admiral of France, his willingness "to discover countries, as the
Spanish had done, in the West Indies, and as, nine years before,
Jean Verrazzano (had done) under the authority of King Francis I,
which Verrazzano, being prevented by death, had not conducted any
colony into the lands he had discovered, and had only remarked the
coast from about the THIRTIETH degree of the Terre-neuve, which at
the present day they call Florida, as far as the FORTIETH. For the
purpose of continuing his design, he offered his services, if it
were the pleasure of the king, to furnish him with the necessary
means. The lord admiral having approved these words, represented
then to his majesty, &c." Lescarbot gives no authority for this
statement, made by him seventy-five years after the voyage of
Cartier. It is absurd on its face and is contradicted by existing
records of that voyage. No authority has ever confined the
Verrazzano discovery within the limits here mentioned. Cartier is
represented as saying to the admiral that in order to complete
Verrazzano's design of carrying colonials to the country discovered
by him, that is, within those limits, he would go himself, if the
king would accept his services. The documents recently published
from the archives of St. Malo, show that the voyage of Cartier
proposed by Cartier, was for the purpose of passing through the
straits of Belle Isle, in latitude 52 Degrees, far north of the
northern limit of the Verrazzano discovery, according to either
version of the letter, and not with a design of planting a colony,
or going to any part of the Verrazzano explorations, much less to a
point south of the fortieth degree. (Rame, Documents inedits sur
Jacques Cartier et le Canada, p. 3, Tross, Paris, 1865.) Besides,
neither in the commissions to Cartier, nor in any of the accounts of
his voyages, is there the slightest allusion to Verrazzano.] The
latter writer has accordingly been cited by subsequent authors as an
original authority on the subject, among others by Bergeron,
[Footnote: Traiete des Navigations, p. 103, par. 15.] and the
commissioners of the king of France, in the controversy with his
Britannic majesty in relation to the limits of Acadia; [Footnote:
Memoires des Commissaires du Roi, &c., I, 29.] but, as this
plagiarism proves, without reason. Charlevoix, with a proper
discrimination, refers directly to Ramusio as the sole source from
whence the account of the discovery is derived, as do the French
writers who have mentioned it since his time, except M. Margry, who,
in his recent work on the subject of French voyages, quotes from the
Carli version. It is thus seen that no other authority is given by
the French historians than one or other of the Italian versions.
[Footnote: Andre Thevet, who published a work with the title of
Cosmographie Universelle, in two volumes, large folio, in rivalry
apparently with Belleforest, and in the same year, 1575, is referred
to sometimes as an authority on this subject. Speaking of the cruel
disposition of the people of Canada, he mentions in illustration of
it, the fate at their hands of some colonists whom Verrazzano took
to that country. The fact is thus related by him in connection with
this voyage, for which he gives no authority or indication of any.
"Jean Verazze, a Florentine, left Dieppe, the SEVENTEENTH OF MARCH,
one thousand five hundred and twenty-four, by command of King
Francis, and coasted the whole of Florida, as far as the thirty-
fourth degree of latitude, and the three hundredth of longitude, and
explored all this coast, and PLACED HERE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO
CULTIVATE IT, who in the end were all killed and massacred by this
barbarous people" (fol. 1002 B.). This statement seems to justify
what the President De Thou, the contemporary of Thevet, says of him,
that he composed his books by putting "the uncertain for the
certain, and the false for the true, with an astonishing assurance."
(Hist. Univ., tom. II, 651, Loud., 1734.) Thevet had published before
this, in 1557, another book, called Les Singularites de la France
Antarctique, autrement nommee Amerique, in which he describes all
the countries of America as far north as Labrador, and says that he
ran up the coast to that region on his way home from Brazil, where
he went in 1555, with Villegagnon. In this earlier work he makes no
mention of Verrazzano; but does say that Jacques Cartier told him
that he (Cartier) had made the voyage to America twice (fol. 148-9).
It is thus evident that Thevet had not heard of Verrazzano in 1557,
or he would necessarily have mentioned him, as he had the subject
distinctly before him; and if he is to be believed in regard to his
intimacy with Cartier, with whom he says he spent five months at his
house in St. Malo (Cos. Univ., fol. 1014, B.), and from whom he
received much information, it is quite as clear that Cartier knew
nothing of the Verrazzano discovery, or he would have mentioned it
to Thevet.] It must, therefore, as regarded as confessed by them,
that no original authority for the discovery has never existed in

If any voyage had taken place, such as this is alleged to have been,
it is morally impossible, in the state of learning and art at that
time in France, and with the interest which must necessarily have
attached to the discovery, that no notice should have been taken of
it in any of the chronicles or histories of the country, and that
the memory of it should not have been preserved in some of the
productions of its press. According to the letter itself, it was one
of the grandest achievements in the annals of discovery, and
promised the most important results to France. It was an enterprise
of her king, which had been successfully accomplished. There had
been discovered a heathen land, nearly three thousand miles in
extent, before unknown to the civilized world, and, therefore, open
to subjugation and settlement; healthy, populous, fertile and
apparently rich in gold and aromatics, and, therefore, an
acquisition as great and valuable as any discovery made by the
Spaniards or Portuguese, except that of Columbus. Silence and
indifference in regard to such an event were impossible. Printing
introduced long previously into the principal cities in France, had
early in this reign reached its highest state of perfection, as the
works issued from the presses of Henri Estienne and others attest.
In 1521 twenty-four persons practiced the art in Paris alone.
[Footnote: Didot in Harrisse Bib. Am. Vet., 189.] The discoveries in
the new world by other nations excited as much attention in France
as they did in the other countries of Europe. The letters of
Columbus and Vespucci, describing their voyages and the countries
they had found, were no sooner published abroad than they were
translated into French and printed in Paris. From 1515 to 1529
several editions of the Italian collection of voyages, known as the
Paesi novamente ritrovati, containing accounts of the discoveries of
Columbus, Cortereal, Cabral and Vespucci in America, and in 1532 the
Decades of Peter Martyr, were translated and published in Paris, in
the French language. Cartier's account of his voyage in 1535-6,
undertaken by order of Francis, in which he discovered Canada, was
printed in the same city in 1545, during the reign of that monarch.
These publications abundantly prove the interest which was taken in
France in the discoveries in the new world, and the disposition and
efforts of the printers in the country at that time to supply the
people with information on the subject; and also, that the policy of
the crown allowed publicity to be given to its own maritime
enterprises. Of the enlightened interest on the part of the crown in
the new discoveries, a memorable instance is recorded, having a
direct and important bearing upon this question. A few months only
after the alleged return of Verrazzano, and at the darkest hour in
the reign of Francis, when he was a captive of the emperor in Spain,
Pigafetta, who had accompanied the expedition of Magellan and kept a
journal of the voyage, presented himself at the court of France.
Louise was then exercising the powers and prerogatives of her son,
and guarding his interests and honor with maternal zeal. Pigafetta
came to offer her a copy of the manuscript which he had prepared,
and which told of the discovery of the newly discovered route to the
Moluccas and Cathay. It was written in Italian; and the queen mother
caused it to be translated into French by Antoine Fabre, and printed
by Simon de Colines, the successor of Estienne. The book bears no
date, but bibliographers assign it that of 1525, the year of the
regency. Certain it is, it was printed in Paris during the life of
Francis, as Colines, whose imprint it bears, died before the king.
Thus by the instrumentality of the crown of France was the account
of the discovery of Magellan, written by one who belonged to the
expedition, first given to the world. It is not probable that the
queen mother, exercising the regal power immediately after the
alleged return of Verrazzano, would have left entirely unnoticed and
unpublished an account of his discovery, so interesting to the
subjects of the king and so glorious to France, and yet have caused
to be put forth within his realm in its stead, the history of a like
enterprise, redounding to the glory of the great rival and enemy of
her son. [Footnote: The little book of Pigafetta, a copy of which,
by the kindness of Mrs. John Carter Brown, of Providence, is now in
our hands, bears the title of Le voyage et navigation faict par les
Espaignols es Isles de Molucques, &c. It is fully described by M.
Harrisse in his Bib. Vet. Am. The concluding paragraph contains the
statement that this manuscript was presented to the queen regent.
Ramusio (vol. I, 346), mentions the fact that it was given by her to
Fabre to be translated. The particulars are detailed by Amoretti
Primo Viaggio, Introd. XXXVII. Premier Voyage, XLIV.]

II. Conclusive as the silence of the history of France is against
the assertion that the Verrazzano voyage and discovery were made by
direction of her king, the life of Francis is a complete denial of
it. He was released from his captivity early in 1526, and lived and
reigned over France for more than twenty years afterwards, active in
promoting the greatness of his kingdom; encouraging science and art
among his people, and winning the title of father of letters; awake
to whatever concerned his royal rights and prerogatives, and
maintaining them with might and vigor abroad as well as at home; and
willing and able to obtain and occupy new countries inhabited by the
heathen. That he was not insensible to the advantages to his crown
and realm of colonies in America, and not without the ability and
disposition to prosecute discoveries there for the purpose of
settlement, is proven by his actually sending out the expeditions of
Jacques Cartier in 1534 and 1535 and Cartier and Roberval in 1541-2,
for the purpose of exploring and developing the region beyond the
gulf of St. Lawrence, through the icy way of the straits of Belle
Isle, in latitude 52 Degrees N.

Yet he never recognized by word or deed the voyage or discovery of
Verrazzano. If any one in France could have known of them, surely it
would have been he who had sent forth the expedition. If Verrazzano
were dead, when Francis returned to his kingdom, and the letter had
miscarried and never come to his hands, the knowledge of the
discovery still would have existed in the bosom of fifty living
witnesses, who composed the crew, according to the story; and
through them the results of the voyage would have been communicated
to the king. But Verrazzano was not dead, at that time, but was
alive, as will appear hereafter, in 1527. There is good reason to
believe that he was well known then to the royal advisers. One of
the first acts of the king after his return from Spain was to create
Phillipe Chabot, Sieur de Brion, the admiral of France, whereby that
nobleman became invested on the 23d of March, 1526, with the charge
of the royal marine. [Footnote: Pere Anselme, IV, 57l.] A document
has recently been brought to light from among the manuscripts in the
Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, purporting to be an agreement made
by Chabot in his official capacity, with Jean Ango, of Dieppe, and
other persons, including Jehan de Varesam, for a voyage to the
Indies with two vessels belonging to the king, and one to Ango, to
be conducted by Varesam, as master pilot, for the purpose ostensibly
of bringing bask a cargo of spices. [Footnote: M. Margry.
Navigations Francaises, p. 194. See Appendix.] This instrument has
no date, but on its face belongs to Chabot's administration of the
admiralty, and must, therefore, have been drawn up in the year 1526
or that of Verrazzano's death, in 1527. If it be genuine, it proves
not only that Verrazzano was alive in that period, but was known to
the admiral, and, consequently, that any services which he had
previously rendered must have been in the possession of the crown.
In either case, however, whether Verrazzano were dead or alive when
Francis resumed his royal functions, there is no reason why the
discovery, if it had ever taken place, should not have been known by

In sending forth the expeditions of Jacques Cartier and the joint
expeditions of Cartier and Roberval, Francis not only showed his
interest in the discovery of new countries, but he acted in perfect
ignorance of the Verrazzano discovery. If it were known to him, upon
what rational theory would he have attempted new voyages of
discovery in a cold and inhospitable region, on an uncertain search,
instead of developing what had been found for him? What could he
have expected to have accomplished by the new expeditions that had
not been already fully effected by Verrazzano? And, especially after
the way to Canada was found out by Cartier, what was there more
inviting in that unproductive quarter than was promised in the
temperate climate, fertile soil, and mineral lands, which the
Florentine had already discovered in his name, that he should have
sent Cartier and Roberval to settle and conquer the newer land?
[Footnote: The letters issued to Roberval have been recently
published, for the first time, by M. Harrisse, from the archives of
France, in his Notes pour servir a l'histoire de la Nouvelle France,
p. 244, et seq. (Paris, 1872.) They are dated the 16th of February
1540. Cartier's commission for the same service is dated in October,
1540. Charlevoix, misled probably by the letters granted by Henry IV
to the Marquis de la Roche in 1598, in which the letters to Roberval
are partially recited, asserts that Roberval is styled in them lord
of Norumbega. The letters now published show that he was in error;
and that France limited the authority of Roberval to the countries
west of the gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada and Ochelaga), so far as
any are named or described, and made no reference to Norumbega as a
title of Roberval or otherwise. As the year commenced at Easter the
date of Roberval's commission was in fact after that of Cartier.]

With the failure of the expedition of Roberval, Francis abandoned
the attempt to discover new countries, or plant colonies in America;
but his successors, though much later, entered upon the colonization
of New France. They inherited his rights, and while they
acknowledged the discoveries of Cartier they discredited those
ascribed to Verrazzano. Of the latter claim all of them must have
known. The publication of Ramusio took place during the reign of
Henry II, who died in 1559; but he made no endeavor to plant
colonies abroad. In 1577 and 1578, the first commissions looking to
possessions in America north of Florida, were issued by Henry III,
to the Marquis de la Roche, authorizing settlement in the terres
neufves and the adjacent countries NEWLY discovered, in the
occupancy of barbarians, but nothing was done under them. In 1598,
another grant was made to the same person by Henry IV, for the
conquest of Canada, Hochelaga, Newfoundland, Labrador, the country
of the river St. Lawrence, Norumbega, and other countries adjacent.
This is the first document emanating from the crown, containing any
mention of any part of the continent north of latitude 33 degrees
and south of Cape Breton.

Norumbega is the only country of those here enumerated which is
included within those limits, and that did not become known through
Verrazzano. [Footnote: Norumbega embraced the region of country
extending from the land of the Bretons to the Penobscot, of which it
was regarded as the Indian name. It was almost identical with what
was subsequently called Acadia. It had become known at an early
period through the French fishermen and traders in peltries, who
obtained the name from the Indians and carried it home to France. It
is described by Jean Alfonse, the chief pilot of Roberval, from an
exploration which he made along the coast on the occasion of
Roberval's expedition to Canada, in 1542. (Hakluyt, III, 239-240.
MS. cosmography of Alfonse, in Bib. Nat. of Paris, fol. 185.)
Alfonse states that he ran down the coast as far as a bay which he
did not penetrate, in latitude 42, between Norumbega and Florida,
showing that Norumbega was considered as north of that parallel of
latitude. He particularly describes it in the manuscript just cited,
which Hakluyt had before him, as the ruttier of Alfonse which he
publishes is found in that manuscript. It appears to have been
written by Alfonse in 1544-5, which was shortly after his return
from Canada with Roberval. the name of Norumbega is found in the
discourse of the captain of Dieppe, written in 1539, and printed in
third volume of Ramusio. This writer distinctly states that the name
was derived from the natives. The description of the country and its
inhabitants given by Alfonse, is important, as showing its extent,
and alluding to the trade there in peltries thus early. It is found
in the cosmography in connection with the ruttier before mentioned
(fol. 187-8), and is as follows: "I say that the cape of St. Jehan,
called Cape Breton and the cape of the Franciscaine, are northeast
and southwest, and take a quarter of east and west and there is in
the route one hundred and forty leagues. And here makes a cape
called the cape of Noroveregue. This said cape is at forty-five
degrees of the height of the arctic pole. The said coast is all
sandy land, low without any mountain. And along this coast there are
several islands of sand and coast very dangerous, with banks and
rocks. The people of this coast and of Cape Breton are bad people,
powerful, great archers and live on fish and flesh. They speak, as
it were, the same language as those of Canada, and are a great
nation. And those of Cape Breton go and make war upon those of
Newfoundland (Terre neufve), where they fish. On no account would
they save the life of a person when they capture him, if it he not a
child or young girl, and are so cruel that if they find a man
wearing a beard, they cut his limbs off and carry them to their
wives and children, in order to be revenged in that matter. And
there is among them much peltry of all animals. Beyond the cape of
Noroveregue [Cape Sable] descends the river of the said Noroveregue
which is about twenty-five leagues from the cape. The said river is
more than forty leagues broad at its mouth, and extends this width
inward well thirty or forty leagues, and is all full of islands
which enter ten or twelve leagues into the sea, and it is very
dangerous with rocks and reefs. The said river is at forty-two
degrees of the height of the arctic pole. Fifteen leagues within
this river is a city which is called Norombergue, and there are in
it good people and THERE IS MUCH PELTRY OF ALL ANIMALS. The people
of the city are clothed with peltry, wearing mantles of martin. I
suspect the said river enters into the river of Ochelaga, for it is
salt more than forty league inward, according to what is said by the
people of the city. The people use many words, which resemble Latin,
and adore the sun; and are handsome and large men. The land of
Norobregue is tolerably high. On the side on the west of the said
city there are many rocks which run into the sea well fifteen
leagues; and on the side towards the north there is a bay in which
there is a little island which is very subject to tempest and cannot
be inhabited."

Two sketches of the coast by Alfonse accompany this description,
which are here reproduced united in one. The map in Ramusio (III,
fol. 424-5), prepared by Gastaldi, shows the Terra de Nurumbega, of
the same extent as here described, that is, from Cape Breton
westerly to a river running north from the Atlantic and connecting
with the St. Lawrence or river of Hochelaga. Gastaldi, or Gastaldo,
published previously an edition of Ptolemy's Geography (12mo.,
Venice, 1543), in which (map 56), Norumbega is similarly laid down,
without the river running to the St. Lawrence. Norumbega was
therefore a well defined district of country at that time.

The word was undoubtedly derived from the Indians, and is still in
use by those of the Penobscot, to denote certain portions of that
river. The missionary Vetromile, in his History of the Abnakis (New
York, 1866), observes (pp. 48-9): "Nolumbega means A STILL-WATER
BETWEEN FALLS, of which there are several in that river. At
different times, travelling in a canoe along the Penobscot, I have
heard the Indians calling those localities NOLUMBEGA."

That the country did not become known through Verrazzano is evident
from the letter, in which it is stated that he ran along the entire
coast, from the harbor to which they remained fifteen days, one
hundred and fifty leagues easterly, that is from Cape Cod to the
Island of Cape Breton, without landing, and consequently without
having any correspondence with the natives, so as to have acquired
the name.

When in particular Alfonse ran along the Atlantic coast is not
mentioned, though it is to be inferred that it was on the occasion
of Roberval's expedition. There is nothing stated, it is true, to
preclude the possibility of its having taken place on some other
voyage previously. It could not have been afterwards, as the
cosmography describing it was written in 1544-5. Some authors assert
that Roberval dispatched him towards Labrador with a view of finding
a passage to the East Indies, without mentioning his exploration
along Nova Scotia and New England. But Le Clerc, who seems to have
been the author of this statement (Premier Etablissement de la Foy
dans la Nouvelle France, I, 12-13. Paris, 1691), and who is followed
by Charlevoix, also alleges that on the occasion of his exploration
towards Labrador, he discovered the straits between it and
Newfoundland, in latitude 52, now known as the straits of Belle
Isle, which is not correct. Jacques Cartier sailed through that
passage in his first voyage to Canada, in 1534. Le Clerc either drew
false inferences or relied upon false information. He probably
derived his impression of the voyage to Labrador and the discovery
of the straits by Alfonse, from a cursory reading of the cosmography
of Alfonse, who describes these straits, but not as a discovery of
his own.

In the printed work, called Les voyages avantureux du Capitaine Jean
Alphonse, Saintongeois, which was first published in 1559, after the
death of Alfonse, it is expressly stated that the river of
Norumbega, was discovered by the Portuguese and Spaniards.
Describing the great bank, he says that it runs from Labrador, "au
nordest et suroest, une partie a oest-suroest, plus de huit cens
lieues, et passe bien quatre vingts lieues de la terre neufue, et de
la terre des Bretons trente ou quarante lieues. Et d'icy va tout au
long de la coste jusques a la riviere du Norembergue, QUI EST
We quote from an edition of the work not mentioned by the
bibliographers (Brunet-Harrisse), printed at Rouen in 1602. This is
almost a contemporary denial by a French author, whether Alfonse
himself or a compiler, as it would rather appear, from his
cosmography, of the Verrazzano discovery of this country.]

No allusion is made, in these letters of de la Roche, to any
previous exploration, although an enormous recital, already alluded
to, is made to a purpose of Francis I, in his commission to
Roberval, to conquer the countries here indicated. [Footnote:
Lescarbot (ed. 1609), 434. Harrisse, Notes de la Nouvelle France, p.
243.] De la Roche made a miserable attempt to settle the island of
Sable, a sand bank in the ocean, two degrees south of Cape Breton,
with convicts taken from jails of France, but being repelled by
storm and tempest, after leaving that island, from landing on the
main coast, returned to France without any further attempt to
colonize the country, and abandoning the poor malefactors on the
island to a terrible fate. [Footnote: The story is told by Lescarbot
(p. 38, ed. 1609), which he subsequently embellished with some
fabulous additions in relation to a visit to the island of Sable by
Baron de Leri, in 1519 (Ed. 1611, p. 22), even before the date of
the Verrazzano letter.] There is therefore no acknowledgment, in the
history of this enterprise, of the pretended discovery. The next act
of the regal prerogative was a grant to the Sieur de Monts, by the
same monarch in 1603, authorizing him to take possession of the
country, coasts and confines of La Cadie, extending from latitude 40
Degrees N. to 46 Degrees N., that is, Nova Scotia and New England,
the situation of which, it is alleged, De Monts understood from his
previous voyages to the country. [Footnote: Lescarbot (ed. 1609),
452-3. La Cadie, or Acadie, as it was for a long time afterwards
known, appears for the first time on any chart on the map of Terra
Nova, No. 56, in Gastaldi's Ptolemy, and is there called Lacadia.]
This document also is utterly silent as to any particular discovery
of the country; but it distinctly affirms that the foundation of the
claim to this territory was the report of the captains of vessels,
pilots, merchants and others, who had for a long time frequented the
country and trafficked with its inhabitants. Accompanying these
letters patent was a license to De Monts to trade with the natives
of the St. Lawrence, and make settlements on that river. It was
under these authorisations to De Monts exclusively, that all the
permanent settlements of the French in Nova Scotia and Canada were
effected, beyond which countries none were ever attempted by them,
within the limits of the Verrazzano discovery, or any rights
asserted on behalf of the French crown.

It is thus evident that the history of France and of her kings is
utterly void on the subject of this discovery, without any
legitimate cause, if it had ever taken place; and that the policy of
the crown in regard to colonization in America has ever been
entirely in repugnance to it. It is incredible, therefore, that any
such could ever have taken place for Francis, or for France.

An important piece of testimony of an affirmative character,
however, still exists, showing that the crown of France had no
knowledge or appreciation of this claim. It comes from France, and,
as it were, from Francis himself. It is to be found in the work of a
French cartographer, a large and elaborately executed map of the
world, which has been reproduced by M. Jomard, in his Monuments of
Geography, under the title of Mappemonde peinte sur parchemin par
ordre de Henry II, roi de France. [Footnote: Les Monuments de la
Geographie ou Receuil d'anciennes cartes, &c., en facsimile de la
grandeur des originaux. Par M. Jomard. No. XIX.] M. D'Avezac assigns
it the date of 1542, which is five years before the death of Francis
and accession of Henry to the throne. [Footnote: Inventaire et
classement raisonne des "Monuments de la Geographie" publies par M.
Jomard de 1842 a 1863. (Communication de M. D'Avezac.) Extrait du
Bulletin de L'Academie des inscriptions et belles lettres. Seance du
30 Aout 1867, p. 7. L'Annee Geographique. Sixieme annee (1867), pp.
548, 554.] But neither of these dates appears to be exactly correct;
as upon that portion of the map representing Saguenay, the person of
Roberval is depicted and his name inscribed, evidently denoting his
visit to that country, which did not take place until June, 1543.
[Footnote: Hakluyt, III, 242.] No information, could possibly have
arrived in France, to have enabled the maker of the map, to have
indicated this circumstance upon it before the latter part of that
year. On the other hand the arms of both the king and dauphin are
repeatedly drawn in the decorated border of the map, showing that it
was made, if not under the actual direction of Henry, at least while
he was in fact discharging the functions of admiral of France, which
he assumed after the disgrace of Chabot, in 1540, and continued to
exercise until the death of Francis, in 1547. It therefore belongs
to the period of 1543-7; and thus comes to us apparently impressed
with an official character. It is the work of an accomplished French
geographer, DURING THE REIGN OF FRANCIS, and it, no doubt,
represents not only the state of geographical knowledge in France at
that time, but also all the knowledge possessed by Francis of this
coast. Mr. Kohl expresses the opinion that it "is not only one of
the most brilliant, but also one of the most exact and trustworthy
pictures of the world which we have in the first part of the
sixteenth century. It gives accurately all that was known of the
world in 1543, especially of the ocean, and the outlines of the
coasts of different countries." He adds, "the author of the map must
have been a well instructed, intelligent and conscientious man.
Where the coasts of a country are not known to him, he so designates
them. For his representations of countries recently discovered and
already known, he had before him the best models and originals."
[Footnote: Discovery of Maine, 351-4.] Yet notwithstanding the
thorough knowledge of the subject displayed by this cartographer,
his French nationality, and the contemporariness of his labors with
the reign of Francis, "no evidence," as Mr. K. further observes,"
appears that the report or chart of the French commander,
Verrazzano, had been used in constructing this chart." On the
contrary, the line of coast from Cape St. Roman in South Carolina to
Cape Breton is copied from the Spanish map of Ribero, with the
Spanish names translated into French. [Footnote: Thus R. del
principe, R. del espiritu santo, B. de Santa Maria (the Chesapeake)
Playa, C. de S. Juan, R. de St. Iago, C. de Arenas (Cape Henlopen),
B. de S. Christoval (the Delaware), B. de S. Antonio (the Hudson),
R. de buena Madre, S. Juan Baptista, Arcipelago de Estevan Gomez,
Montanas, and R. de la buelta, on the map of Ribero, become on the
French map, R. du Prince, R. du St. Esprit, B. de Sa. Marie, Les
playnes, C. St. Jean, St. Jacques, C. des Sablons, G. de St.
Christofle, R. de St. Anthoine, R. de bonne Mere, Baye de St. Jean
Baptiste, Arcipel de Estienne Gomez, Les Montaignes and R. de
Volte.] Many other names occur within the same distance, which are
found on other Spanish charts since that time, and some which were
probably taken from Spanish charts not now known. [Footnote: Of this
class are the R. de Canoes, R. Seche, Playne, Coste de Dieu, R.
d'Arbres, which, on the map XII, of the Munich Atlas, said to have
been taken from the map of the Spanish cosmographer, Alonzo de Santa
Cruz, are given, R. de Canoas, R. Seco, Terra Ilana, Costa de Diego,
R. d'Arvoredos.] Thus within the limits mentioned, embracing the
exploration of Gomez no designation occurs connecting the coast with
Verrazzano. [Footnote: The name of Avorobagra, on the west side of
the great bay, is found in place of C. de Muchas illas of the Ribero
map. This is supposed to have been intended for Norumbega.] From
Cape Breton easterly and northerly along the coast of Newfoundland
the discoveries of the Normand and Bretons and the Portuguese, and
in the river and gulf of St. Lawrence, those of Jacques Cartier, are
shown by the names. The whole coast claimed by the letter is thus
assigned to other parties than Verrazzano. The logical maxim,
expressio unius est exclusio alterius, must here apply. The
expression of the Spanish discoveries, at least exclude those of
Verrazzano; demonstrating almost to a moral certainty that the
latter could never have been performed for the king of France. The
author of this map, whether executing it under official
responsibility or upon his own account, would not have ascribed, or
dared to ascribe, to a foreign nation, much less to a rival, the
glory which belonged to his own sovereign, then living, whose
protection he enjoyed.



In pursuing its main object of making known the discovery, the
letter ventures upon certain statements which are utterly
inconsistent with an actual exploration of the country. The general
position and direction of the coast are given with sufficient
correctness to indicate the presence there of a navigator; but its
geographical features are so meagrely and untruthfully represented,
as to prove that he could not have been the writer. The same
apparent inconsistency exists as to the natural history of the
country. Some details are given in regard to the natives, which
correspond with their known characteristics, but others are
flagrantly false. The account is evidently the work of a person who,
with an imperfect outline of the coast, by another hand, before him,
undertook to describe its hydrographical character at a venture, so
far as he deemed it prudent to say anything on the subject; and to
give the natural history of the country, in the same way, founded on
other accounts of parts of the new world. The actual falsity of the
statements alluded to is, at all events, sufficient to justify the
rejection of the whole story. So far as they relate to the littoral,
they are now to be considered.

In general, the geography of the coast is very indefinitely
described. Of its latitudes, with the exception of the landfall and
termination of the exploration, which are fixed also by other means,
and are necessary to the ground work of the story, only a single one
is mentioned. The particular features of the coast are for the most
part unnoticed. Long distances, embracing from two hundred to six
hundred miles each, are passed over with little or no remark.
Islands, rivers, capes, bays, and other land or seamarks, by which
navigators usually describe their progress along an unknown coast,
are almost entirely unmentioned. For a distance of over two thousand
miles, adopting the narrowest limits possible assigned to the
discovery, only one island, one river, and one bay are attempted to
be described, and not a single cape or headland is referred to. No
name is given to any of them, or to any part of the coast, except
the one island which is named after the king's mother. It was the
uniform practice of the Catholic navigators of that early period,
among whom, according to the import of the letter, Verrazzano was
one, to designate the places discovered by them, by the names of the
saints whose feasts were observed on the days they were discovered,
or of the festivals of the church celebrated on those days; so that,
says Oviedo, it is possible to trace the course of any such explorer
along a new coast by means of the church calendar. This custom was
not peculiar to the countrymen of that historian. It was observed by
the Portuguese and also by the French, as the accounts of the
voyages of Jacques Cartier attest. But nothing of the kind appears
here. These omissions of the ordinary and accustomed practices of
voyagers are suspicious, and of themselves sufficient to destroy all
confidence in the narrative. But to proceed to what is actually
stated in regard to the coast.

Taking the landfall to have occurred, as is distinctly claimed, at
latitude 34 Degrees, which is a few leagues north of Cape Fear in
North Carolina, and which is fixed with certainty, for the purposes
of the letter, at that point by the estimate of the distance they
ran northerly along the coast before it took an easterly direction,
the discovery must be regarded as having commenced somewhat south of
Cape Roman in South Carolina, being the point where the fifty
leagues terminated which they ran along the coast, in the first
instance, south of the landfall. It is declared that from thence,
for two hundred leagues, to the Hudson river, as it will appear,
there was not a single harbor in which the Dauphine could ride in
safety. [Footnote: A league, according to the Verrazzano letter,
consisted of four miles; and a degree, of 15,625 leagues or 62 1/3
miles.] The size of this craft is not mentioned, but it is said she
carried only fifty men, though manned as a corsair. Judging from the
size of the vessels used at that time on similar expeditions, she
was small. The two which composed the first expedition of Jacques
Cartier carried sixty men and were each of about sixty tons burden.
The Carli letter, which must be assumed to express the idea of the
writer on the subject, describes her as a caravel; which was a
vessel of light draught adapted to enter shallow rivers and harbors
and to double unknown capes where shoals might have formed, and was
therefore much used by the early navigators of the new world.
[Footnote: Le Moyen Age et la Renaissance. Tome Second. Marine, par
M. A. Jal. fol. V. (Paris 1849.)] Columbus chose two caravels, out
of the three vessels with which he made his first voyage; and the
third one, which was larger than either of the caravels, was less
than one hundred tons. The Dauphine is therefore to be considered,
from all the representations in regard to her, of less than the
latter capacity, and as specially adapted to the kind of service in
which she is alleged to have been engaged. In running north from
their extreme southerly limit, they must have passed the harbor of
Georgetown in South Carolina, and Beaufort in North Carolina, in
either of which the vessel could have entered; and in the latter,
carrying seventeen feet at low water and obtaining perfect shelter
from all winds. [Footnote: Blunt's American Coast Pilot, p. 359
(19th edition.)] But if they really had been unable to find either
of them, it is impossible that they should not have discovered the
Chesapeake, and entered it, under the alleged circumstances of their
search. That it may be seen what exactly is the statement of the
letter in regard to this portion of the coast, it is here given in
its own terms. Having represented the explorers as having reached a
point fifty leagues north of the landfall, which would have carried
them north of Hatteras, but still on the coast of North Carolina,
their movements over the next four hundred miles north are disposed
of in the following summary manner: "After having remained here,"
(that is, at or near Albemarle,) "three days riding at anchor on the
coast, as we could find no harbor, we determined to depart and coast
along the shore to the northeast, keeping sail on the vessel ONLY BY
DAY, and coming to anchor by night. After proceeding one hundred
TO THE SEA." There can be no mistake in regard to the portion of the
coast here intended. Upon leaving this river they found that the
coast stretched, it is stated, as will presently appear, in an
EASTERLY direction. A stream coming from the hills, its situation at
the bend of the coast, its latitude as fixed by that of the port
which, after leaving it, they found in nearly the same parallel and
which is placed in 41 Degrees 40', all point distinctly to the
embouchure of the Hudson at the highlands of Navesink as the
termination of the hundred leagues. Within this distance the
Chesapeake empties into the sea.

The explorers were not only in search of a harbor for the purpose of
recruiting, but they were seeking, as the great end of the voyage, a
passage to Cathay, rendering, therefore, every opening in the coast
an object of peculiar interest and importance. They were sailing
with extreme caution and observation, in the day-time only, and
constantly in sight of land. The bay of the Chesapeake is the most
accessible and capacious on the coast of the United States. It
presents an opening into the sea of twelve miles from cape to cape,
having a broad and deep channel through which the largest ships of
modern times, twenty times or more the tonnage of the Dauphiny, may
enter and find inside of Cape Henry ample and safe anchorage.
[Footnote: Blunt's American Coast Pilot, p. 340.] That an actual
explorer could not have failed to have discovered this bay and found
a secure harbor at that time, is shown by the account of the
expedition, which the Adelantado, Pedro Menendes, of infamous
memory, despatched under the command of Pedro Menendez Marquez, for
the survey of this coast in 1573; when the means and facilities of
navigators for exploration were not different from what existed at
the date of the Verrazzano voyage. Menendez Marquez was the first to
enter the Chesapeake after Gomez, who gave it the name of the bay of
Santa Maria. [Footnote: This name occurs on the map of Ribero on
this part of the coast, which establishes its application by Gomez;
but its position is evidently misplaced and carried too far south.]
Barcia thus summarizes the result of the expedition, so far as it
relates to this bay.

"Pedro Menendez Marquez, governor of Florida for his uncle the
Adelantado reduced many Indians to obedience and took possession of
the provinces particularly in the name of the king, in the presence
of Rodrigo de Carrion, notary of the government of Santa Elena.
Afterwards, he, being a great seaman, inasmuch as he had formerly
been admiral of the fleet, as Francisco Cano relates, Lib. 3, de la
Histor. de las Ordenes Militares, fol. 184, went, by order of the
Adelantado, to explore the coast, which exploration commenced at the
cape of the Martyrs, and the peninsula Tequesta [point of Florida],
where the coast begins to run north and south, at the outlet of the
Bahama channel, and extended along the coast to beyond the harbor
and bay of Santa Maria, which is three leagues wide and which is
entered towards the northwest; and within it are many rivers and
harbors where, on both sides of it, they can anchor. At the
entrance, near the shore, on the south, there are from nine to
thirteen fathoms of water, and on the north, from five to seven. Two
leagues outside, in the sea, the depth is the same, north and south,
but more sandy than inside. Going through the channel there are from
nine to thirteen fathom; and in the harbor about fifteen, ten and
six fathoms were found in places where the lead was thrown."

"The bay of Santa Maria is in thirty-seven degrees and a half.
[Footnote: Ensayo Chronologico, pp. 146, 8.]"

To ignore the existence of this great bay, the most important
hydrographical feature of our coast, as Verrazzano, according to the
letter, does, and to pretend that no harbor could be found there, in
which the diminutive Dauphiny could lie, is, under the circumstances
under which this exploration is alleged to have been conducted, to
admit that he was never on that part of the coast.

Suddenly leaving the river of the hills, in consequence of an
approaching storm, they continued their course directly east for a
distance of ninety-five leagues, passing in sight of the island and
arriving finally at the bay, which are the only ones described, and
that very briefly, in the whole voyage along the coast.

"Weighing anchor," reads the letter, "we sailed eighty leagues
TOWARDS THE EAST, as the coast stretched in that direction, and
ALWAYS IN SIGHT OF IT. At length we discovered an island of
triangular form, about ten leagues from the main land, in size about
equal to the island of Rhodes, having many hills covered with trees
and well peopled, judging from the great number of fires which we
was all around its shores; we gave it the name of your majesty's
illustrious mother. WE DID NOT LAND THERE, as the weather was
unfavorable, but proceeded to another place, fifteen leagues distant
from the island, where we found a very excellent harbor. * * * This
land is situated in the parallel of Rome, being 41 degrees 41' of
north latitude. It looks towards the south, on which side the harbor
is half a league broad; afterwards, upon entering it between the
east and the north it extends twelve leagues, [Footnote: A slight
correction of the translation of Dr. Cogswell, which is the one we
have adopted, here becomes necessary. It reads: "upon entering it
the extent between the east [misprinted coast], and north, is twelve
leagues." The text is, "entrando in quello infra oriente e
settentrione s'esteude leghe XII."] and then enlarging itself it
forms a very large bay, twenty leagues in circumference, in which
are five small islands of great fertility and beauty, covered with
large and lofty trees. Among these islands any fleet, however large,
might ride safely, without fear of tempests or other dangers.
Turning towards the south, at the entrance of the harbor on both
sides there are very pleasant hills and many streams of clear water
which flow down to the sea. In the midst of the entrance, there is a
rock of freestone, formed by nature and suitable for the
construction of any kind of machine or bulwark for the defence of
the harbor."

This island is a mere fancy; none such exists any where upon this
coast. The distance which they thus ran easterly, of eighty leagues,
would have carried them more than an hundred miles into the ocean
beyond Cape Cod. That distance, however, may be regarded only as
approximate, because they possessed no means of determining
longitude with accuracy, and therefore this, like all statements in
the letter, of distances running east and west, is to be considered
an estimate only, formed from the circumstances attending the
sailing of the vessel, and liable to serious error. But the island
and bay were objects of actual observation, and are therefore to be
regarded as they are described. After leaving Long Island, which
forms the coast in an easterly direction for a little over an
hundred miles from the Hudson, only three islands occur, except some
insignificant ones and the group of the Elizabeth islands all near
the shore, in the entire distance to the easterly shore of Cape Cod,
when the coast turns directly north. They are all three somewhat of
a triangular shape, and in that respect are equally entitled to
consideration in connection with the description of the island of
Louise, but are all incompatible with it in other particulars.
Louise is represented as being a very large island, equal in size to
the famous island of Rhodes, which has an area of four hundred
square miles, and as being situated ten leagues distant from the
main land. The first of the three islands met with, eastward of Long
Island, is Block island. It contains less than twenty square miles
of territory and lies only three leagues from the land; and thus
both by its smallness and position cannot be taken as the island of
Louise. It has, however, been so regarded by some writers, because
on the main land, about five leagues distant, are found Narraganset
bay and the harbor of Newport, which, it is imagined, bear some
resemblance to the bay and harbor which the explorers entered
fifteen leagues beyond the island of Louise, and which cannot be
elsewhere found.

But Narraganset bay does not correspond in any particular with the
bay described in the letter, except as to its southern exposure and
its latitude, and as to them it has no more claim to consideration
than Buzzard's bay, three leagues further east, and in other
respects not so much. Newport harbor, several miles inside of
Narraganset bay, faces the north and west, and not the south. The
whole length of that bay, including the harbor of Newport from the
ocean to Providence river, is less than five leagues, and its
greatest breadth not more than three. But the harbor described in
the letter first as extending twelve leagues and then enlarging
itself, formed a large bay of twenty leagues in circumference. The
two, it is clear, are essentially unlike. The great rock rising out
of the sea at the entrance of the harbor, has no existence in this
bay or harbor. Narraganset bay, therefore, affords no support to the
idea that Block island, or any other, is the island of Louise.
Martha's Vineyard, the second of the three islands before mentioned,
is the largest of them, but it contains only one hundred and twenty
square miles of land, and is within two leagues of the main land.
Nantucket, the last of the three, is less than half the size of
Martha's Vineyard, and is about thirty miles from Cape Cod, the
nearest part of the continent. From neither of them is any harbor to
be reached corresponding with that mentioned in the letter. It is
incontrovertible, therefore, that there is neither island nor bay on
this coast answering the description. It is not difficult to
perceive that the island of Louise was a mere invention and artifice
on the part of the writer to give consistency to the pretension that
the voyage originated with Francis. This island is the only one of
which particular mention is made in the whole exploration. Yet it
was not visited or seen except, in sailing by it, at a distance. Its
pretended hills and trees disclosed nothing of its character; and,
under such circumstances, its alleged dimensions were all that could
have entitled it to such particular notice and made it worthy of so
exalted a designation; and to those no island on this coast has any

There is little room to doubt from the description itself, and the
fact will be confirmed by other evidence hereafter, that the bay
intended to be described was the great bay of Massachusetts and
Maine terminating in the bay of Fundy. It is represented as making
an offset in the coast of twelve leagues towards the north, and then
swelling into an enclosed bay beyond, of twenty leagues in
circumference, indicating those bays, in their form. The distances,
it is true, do not conform to those belonging to that part of the
coast; but it is to be borne in mind that they may have been taken,
according to the only view which can reconcile the contradictions of
the letter, from an imperfect delineation of the coast by another
hand. The identity of the two is, however, proven, without recourse
to this explanation, by the description of the coast beyond, which
is given as follows:

"Having supplied ourselves with every thing necessary, we departed,
on the sixth [Footnote: According to the Archivio Storico Italiano,
and not the FIFTH, as given in N. Y. Hist. Coll.] of May, from this
port [where they had remained fifteen days] and SAILED ONE HUNDRED
FROM OUR SIGHT; the nature of the country appeared much the same as
before, but the MOUNTAINS were a little higher and all in appearance
RICH IN MINERALS. WE DID NOT STOP TO LAND, as the weather was very
favorable for pursuing our voyage, and the country presented no
variety. THE SHORE STRETCHED TO THE EAST, and fifty leagues beyond
more to the north, where we found a more elevated country full of
very thick woods of fir trees, cypresses and the like, indicative of
a cold climate. The people were entirely different from the others
we had seen, whom we had found kind and gentle, but these were so
rude and barbarous that we were unable by any signs we could make to
hold communication with them."

This is all that is mentioned in regard to the entire coast of New
England and Nova Scotia, embracing a distance of eight hundred miles
according to this computation, but in fact much more. It is here
stated, however, distinctly, that from the time of leaving the
harbor, near the island of Louise, they kept close to the land,
which ran in an EASTERLY direction, and CONSTANTLY IN SIGHT OF IT,
for one hundred and fifty leagues. This they could not have done if
that harbor were on any part of the coast, west of Massachusetts
bay. If they sailed from Narraganset bay, or Buzzard's bay, or from
any harbor on that coast, east of Long Island, they would in the
course of twenty leagues at the furthest, in an easterly direction,
have reached the easterly extremity of the peninsula of Cape Cod,
and keeping close to the shore would have been forced for one
hundred and fifty miles, in a northerly and west of north direction,
and thence along the coast of Maine northeasterly a further distance
of one hundred and fifty miles, and been finally locked in the bay
of Fundy. It is only by running from Cape Sable along the shores of
Nova Scotia that this course and distance, in sight of the land, can
be reconciled with the actual direction of the coast; and this makes
the opening between Cape Cod and Cape Sable the large bay intended
in the letter. But this opening of eighty leagues in width, could
never have been seen by the writer of it; and nothing could more
conclusively prove his ignorance of the coast, than his statements
that from the river among the hills, for the distance of ninety-five
leagues easterly to the harbor in 41 Degrees 40' N. and from thence
for a further distance of one hundred and fifty leagues, also
EASTERLY, the land was always in sight.

[Illustration with caption: ] CAPE HENRY AND ENTRANCE INTO THE
CHESAPEAKE. Lighthouse, with lantern 129 feet above the sea, bearing
W. N. W. 1/2 W., three leagues distant.



By the two courses and distances just mentioned, the explorers are
brought first to the island of Cape Breton, and then to the cape of
that name, where the coast first takes a decided turn, from its
easterly direction, to the north, and forms the westerly side of the
strait leading into the gulf of St. Lawrence. This cape, according
to the letter, is distant easterly one hundred and fifty, and fifty,
leagues from the harbor in the great bay, distances which, for
reasons already mentioned, are to be regarded as estimates only, but
which taken exactly would have carried them beyond Cape Race in
Newfoundland. They are to be considered, however, as properly
limited to the turn of the coast before mentioned, as that is a
governing circumstance in the description. Beyond this point, north,
and east, the letter presents the claim to the discovery in another
aspect. Thus far it relates to portions of the coast confessedly
unknown before its date. But from Cape Breton, in latitude 46
Degrees N. to latitude 50 Degrees N. on the east side of
Newfoundland, it pretends to the discovery of parts, which were in
fact already known; and it makes this claim circumstances which
prove it was so known by the writer, if the letter were written as
pretended. Having described their attempts at intercourse with the
natives at Cape Breton, the narrative concludes the description of
the coast with the following paragraph.

"Departing from thence, we kept along the coast, steering northeast,
and found the country more pleasant and open, free from woods, and
distant in the interior, we saw lofty mountains but none which
extended to the shore. Within fifty leagues we discovered thirty-two
islands, all near the main land, small and of pleasant appearance,
but high and so disposed as to afford excellent harbors and
channels, as we see in the Adriatic gulf, near Illyria and Dalmatia.
We had no intercourse with the people, but we judge that they were
similar in nature and usages to those we were last among. After
sailing between east and north one hundred and fifty leagues MORE,
and finding our provisions and naval stores nearly exhausted, we
took in wood and water, and determined to return to France, having
discovered (avendo discoperto) VII, [Footnote: "The MS. has
erroneously and uselessly the repetition VII, that is, 700 leagues."
Note, by M. Arcangeli. It is evident that VII is mistakenly rendered
502 in the transcription used by Dr. Cogswell.] that is, 700 leagues
of unknown lands."

The exact point at which they left the coast, and to which their
discovery is thus stated to have extended, is given in the
cosmography which follows the narrative, in these words:

"In the voyage which we have made by order of your majesty, in
addition to the 92 degrees we ran towards the west from our point of
departure (the Desertas) before we reached land in the latitude of
34, we have to count 300 leagues which we ran northeastwardly, and
400 nearly east along the coast before we reached the 50TH PARALLEL
OF NORTH LATITUDE, the point where we turned our course from the

That this latitude must be taken as correctly determined follows
from the representation of the letter, that they took daily
observations of the sun and made a record of them, so that no
material error could have occurred and remained unrectified for over
twenty-four hours; and from the presumption that they were as
capable of calculating the latitude as other navigators of that
period, sent on such purposes by royal authority, like Jacques
Cartier, whose observations, as the accounts of his voyage to this
region show, never varied half a degree from the true latitude. The
fiftieth parallel strikes the easterly coast of Newfoundland three
degrees north of Cape Race, and to that point the exploration of
Verrazzano is therefore to be regarded as claimed to have been made.
[Footnote: Damiam de Goes, Chronica do felicissimo rei Dom Emanuel
parte I. C. 66. (Fol., Lisboa, 1566)]

This intention is made positively certain by the remark which
follows the statement of the latitude, that "beyond this point the
Portuguese had already sailed as far north as the Arctic circle
without coming to the termination of the land." The exploration of
the Portuguese here referred to, and as far as which that of
Verrazzano is carried, was made by Gaspar Cortereal in his second
voyage, when according to the letter of Pasqualigo the Venetian
embassador, he sailed from Lisbon on a course between west and
northwest, and struck a coast along which he ran from six to seven
hundred miles, "without finding the end." [Footnote: Paesi novamente
ritrovati. Lib. sexto. cap. CXXXL. Venice, 1521. A translation into
English of Pasqualigo's letter, which is dated the 19th of October,
1501, is given in the memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 235-6.] No other
exploration along this coast by the Portuguese, tending to the
Arctic circle is known to have taken place before the publication of
the Verrazzano letter. The first voyage of Cortereal, was, according
to the description of the people given by Damiam de Goes, among the
Esquimaux, whether on the one side or the other of Davis straits it
is unnecessary here to inquire, as the Esquimaux are not found south
of 50 Degrees N. latitude. The land along which he ran in his second
voyage, was, according to the same historian, distinctly named after
him and his brother, who shared his fate in a subsequent voyage. It
is so called on several early printed maps on which it is
represented as identical with Newfoundland. It appears first on a
map of the world in the Ptolemy of 1511 edited by Bernardus Sylvanus
of Eboli, and is there laid down as extending from latitude 50
Degrees N. to 60 Degrees N. with the name of Corte Real or Court
Royal, latinized into Regalis Domus. [Footnote: Claudii Ptholemaei
Alexandrini liber geographiae, cum tabulis et universali figura et
cum additione locorum quae a recentioribus reporta sunt diligenti
cura emendatus et impressus. (Fol., Venetiis, 1511.)] The length of
the coast, corresponds with the description of Pasqualigo, and its
position with the latitude assigned by the Verrazzano letter for
their exploration. Its direction is north and south. There can be no
question therefore as to the pretension of the Verrazzano letter to
the discovery of the coast by him, actually as far north as the
fiftieth parallel.

That it is utterly unfounded, so far as regards that portion of the
coast lying east and north of Cape Breton, that is, from 46 Degrees
N. latitude to 50 Degrees N., embracing a distance of five hundred
miles according to actual measurement, or eight hundred miles
according to the letter, is proven by the fact, that it had all been
known and frequented by Portuguese and French fishermen, for a
period of twenty years preceding the Verrazano voyage. The
Portuguese fisheries in Newfoundland must have commenced shortly
after the voyages of the brothers Cortereaes in 1501-2, as they
appear to have been carried on in 1506, from a decree of the king of
Portugal published at Leiria on the 14th of October in that year,
directing his officers to collect tithes of fish which should be
brought into his kingdom from Terra Nova; [Footnote: Memorias
Economicas da academia Real das Sciencias da Lisboa, tom. III, 393.]
and Portuguese charts belonging to that period, still extant, show
both the Portuguese and French discoveries of this coast. On a map
(No. 1, of the Munich atlas,) of Pedro Reinel, a Portuguese pilot,
who entered the service of the king of Spain at the time of fitting
out Magellan's famous expedition, Terra Nova, and the land of Cape
Breton are correctly laid down, as regards latitude, though not by
name. On Terra Nova the name of C. Raso, (preserved in the modern
Cape Race) is applied to its southeasterly point, and other
Portuguese names, several of which also still remain, designating
different points along the easterly coast of Newfoundland, and a
Portuguese banner, as an emblem of its discovery by that nation, are
found. Another Portuguese chart, belonging to the period when the
country between Florida and Terra Nova was unknown (No. 4 of the
same atlas) delineates the land of Cape Breton, not then yet known
to be an island, in correct relation with the Bacalaos, accompanied
by a legend that it was discovered by the Bretons. [Footnote: Atlas
zur entdeckingsgeschichte Amerikas. Herausgegeben von Friedrick
Kunstmann, Karl von Sprusser, Georg M. Thomas. Zu den Monumenta
Saecularia der K.B. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 28 Maers, 1859.
Munchen.] The French authorities are more explicit. The particular
parts of this coast discovered by the Normands and Bretons with the
time of their discovery, and by the Portuguese, are described in the
discourse of the French captain of Dieppe, which is found in the
collection of Ramusio. This writer states that this land from Cape
Breton to Cape Race was discovered by the Bretons and Normandy in
1504, and from Cape Race to Cape Bonavista, seventy leagues north,
by the Portuguese, and from thence to the straits of Belle Isle by
the Bretons and Normands; and that the country was visited in 1508
by a vessel from Dieppe, commanded by Thomas Aubert, who brought
back to France some of the natives. This statement in regard to the
Indians is confirmed by an account of them, which is given in a
work, printed in Paris at the time, establishing the fact of the
actual presence of the Normands in Newfoundland in that year, by
contemporaneous testimony of undoubted authority. [Footnote: Eusebii
Chronicon, continued by Joannes Multivallis of Louvain, (Paris
1512) fol. 172.

We give here, a translation of the interesting passage referred to
in the text, from this volume, which came from the celebrated press
of Henri Estienne.

"An Salutis, 1509. Seven savages were brought to Rouen with their
garments and weapons from the island they call Terra Nova. They are
of a dark complexion, have thick lips and wear marks on their faces
extending along their jaws from the ear to the middle of the chin
LIKE SMALL LIVID VEINS. Their hair is black and coarse like a
horse's mane. They have no beard, during their lives, or hairs of
puberty. Nor have they hair on any part of their persons, except the
head and eye-brows. They wear a girdle on which is a small skin to
cover their nakedness. They form their speech with their lips. No
religion. THEIR BOAT IS OF BARK and a man may carry it with one hand
on his shoulders. Their weapons are bows drawn with a string made of
the intestines or sinews of animals, and arrows pointed with stone
or fish-bone. Their food consists of roasted flesh, their drink is
water. Bread, wine and the use of money they have none. They go
about naked or dressed in the skins of bears, deer, seals and
similar animals. Their country is in the parallel of the seventh
climate, more under the west than France is above the west." PLUS
meant the meridional line, from which longitude was calculated at
that time, through the Island of Ferro, the most westerly of the
Canary islands, and the idea here intended to be conveyed is that
the country of these Indians was further on this side than France
was on the other side, of that line.

This description, as well as the name, Terra Nova, indicates the
region of Newfoundland as the place from whence these Indians were
taken. According to the tables of Pierre d'Ailly, the seventh
climate commences at 47 Degrees 15' N. and extends to 50 Degrees 30'
N. beginning where the longest day of the year is 15 hours and 45
minutes long. (IMAGO MUNDI, tables prefixed to the first chapter.)
This embraces the greater part of the southerly and easterly coasts
of Newfoundland. The practice of tattooing their faces in lines
across the jaw, as here described, was common to all the tribes of
this northern coast, the Nasquapecs of Labrador, the red Indians of
Newfoundland and the Micmacs of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. It was
from the use of red ochre for this purpose that the natives of
Newfoundland obtained their designation of red Indians. The Micmacs
used blue and other colors; hence it would appear from the
circumstance of the marks upon these Indians being livid (LIVIDAE)
or blue, like veins, that they belonged to the tribes of Cape
Breton. (Hind's Labrador II, 97-110. Purchas, III. 1880-1. Denys.

That the French and especially the Normands had soon afterwards
resorted to Newfoundland for the purpose of taking fish, and were
actually so engaged there at the time of the Verrazzano voyage, is
evident from the letter of John Rut, who commanded one of the ships
sent out on a voyage of discovery by Henry VIII of England in 1527.
That voyager states that, driven from the north by the ice, he
arrived at St. Johns in Newfoundland on the third of August in that
year, and found there eleven Normand, one Breton and two Portuguese
vessels, "all a fishing." [Footnote: Purchas, III, 809. Memoir of
Sebastian Cabot, pp. 108, 268, and the authorities there cited.]
This was at a single point on the coast, and in latitude 47 Degrees
30' N.; and so large a number of vessels there denotes a growth of
many years, at that time, of those fisheries.

These facts not only prove that Newfoundland and Cape Breton were
well known in France and Portugal before the Verrazzano voyage and
therefore that he did not discover them, but that he must have known
of them before, and that the letter is intentionally false in that
respect. It might perhaps be insisted with some plausibility under
other circumstances, that he ran along the coast, believing that it
was a new land, and therefore made the representation of having
discovered it in good faith. But admitting that it was even possible
for him to have sailed along those shores without encountering a
single fishing craft which would have assured him that he was not in
unknown waters, it is impossible that he could have sailed from
Dieppe and returned to that port where, of all the places in France
or Europe, the knowledge of these facts most existed, and where they
were as familiar as household words, and where they must have
entered into the thoughts and hopes of many of its inhabitants,
without their being known to him; and that he could have written the
letter from that same port, claiming the discovery of the country
for himself, without intending a fraud. It was the port to which
Aubert belonged and where he landed the Indians he brought from
Newfoundland. It was the principal port of Normandy from which the
fishing vessels made their annual voyages to that country. It was
the port from whence he manned and equipped his own fleet of four
ships, with crews which must have been largely composed of Normand
sailors who were familiar with the navigation and the coast. And
there was not a citizen of Dieppe, probably, who had not an interest
of some nature in one or more of the fishing vessels, and could have
told him what country it was that he had explored.

It bears unequivocal testimony to the fictitious character of this
claim, that Ramusio thought it necessary to interpolate in his
version a passage representing the discovery of Verrazzano as
terminating where the discoveries of the Bretons began, and to omit
the cosmography which states it was at the point where those of the
Portuguese towards the Arctic circle commenced. By this alteration
the letter is made to acknowledge the prior discoveries by the
Bretons, which are entirely excluded in the original version, and to
adopt the latitude of 50 Degrees N. for the Verrazzano limit thus
making the false statement, as to the extent of the discovery, a
mistake as it were of nautical observation. The following parallel
passages in two versions will best explain the character and effect
of the alteration.


 Navicando infra 'l subsolano ed
 aquilone in spatio di leghe CL et
 de gia avendo consumato tutte le
 nostre substantie navale et vettovaglie,
 avendo discopruto leghe DII
 cive leghe 700, piu do nuova terra
 fornendoci di acque et legne
 deliberammo di tornare in Francia.
 * * * * * * * * * * * *


 In questa nostra navigatione
 fatta per ordine du V. S. M.,
 oltre i gradi 92 che dal detto
 meridiano verso lo occidente della
 prima terra trovamo gradi 34
 navigando leghe 300 infra oriente
 e settentrione leghe 400, quasi allo
 oriente continuo el lito della terra
 siamo pervenuti per infino a gradi
 50, lasciando la terra che piu
 tempe fa trovorno li Lusitani,
 quali seguirno piu al septentrione,
 pervenendo sino al circulo
 artico e'l fine lasciendo incognito.

 Translation Narrative.

 After sailing between east and
 north the distance of one hundred
 and fifty leagues more and finding
 our provisions and naval
 stores nearly exhausted, we took
 in wood and water, and determined
 to return to France having
 discovered VII that is 700
 leagues of unknown lands.
 * * * * * * * * * * *


 In the voyage which we made
 by order of your Majesty, in
 addition to the 92 degrees we ran
 towards the west from our point
 of departure, before we reached
 land in the latitude of 34, we
 have to count 300 leagues which
 we ran northeastwardly, and 400
 nearly east along the coast before


 Navigando fra levante &
 tramontana per spatio di leghe
 STA IN GRADI 50 & havendo
 horamai consumati tutti li
 nostri armeggi & vettovaglie,
 havendo scoperto leghe 700,
 & piu di nuova terra, fortnitoci
 di acque &  legue, deliberammo
 tornare in Francia.
 * * * * * * * * * * * *

 Cosmography omitted.

 Translation Narrative.

 Sayling northeast for the space
 of 150 leagues WE APPROACHED TO
 spent all our provision and
 victuals and having discovered
 about 700 leagues and more of
 newe countries, and being
 furnished with water and wood we
 concluded to returne into Fraunce.
 (Hakluyt, Divers voyages).

(Cogswell, Coll. of N. Y. Hist.
 Society, Second series, I.)

Ramusio in omitting the cosmography and confining his version to the
narrative would have left the letter without any designation of the
northerly limit reached by Verrazzano, had he not transferred to the
narrative, the statement of the latitude attained, namely, the
fiftieth degree, from the cosmographical part; which was therefore
properly done; though as an editor he should have stated the fact.
But he transcended his duty entirely in asserting, in qualification
of the latitude, what does not appear in the letter, that it was
near where the Bretons had formerly made discoveries, and omitting
all reference to the Portuguese. The Bretons are not mentioned or
even alluded to in either portion of the original letter. The effect
of this substitution therefore is to relieve the original from
making a fake claim to the discovery north of Cape Breton, by
admitting the discoveries of the Bretons, and making the alleged
extent of the Verrazzano discovery, as already remarked, a mistake
of nautical observation only. That it was deliberately made, and for
that purpose, is shown by his taking the designation of the latitude
from the same sentence in the cosmography as that in which the
mention of the Portuguese discoveries occurs, in qualification of
the latitude.

The motive which led Ramusio to make this alteration is found in the
discourse of the French captain of Dieppe, in which it is stated
that this part of the coast was discovered by the Normands and
Bretons and the Portuguese, many years before the Verrazzano voyage.
Ramusio, as he informs us himself, translated that paper from the
French into the Italian and published it in the same volume, in
conjunction with the Verrazzano letter, which he remodelled. He thus
had the contents of both documents before him, at the same time, and
saw the contradiction between them. They could not both be true. To
reconcile them, alterations were necessary; and this change was made
in the letter in order to make it conform to the discourse. The fact
of his making it, proves that he regarded the letter as advancing an
indefensible claim.

It is also to be observed that in adopting the fiftieth parallel as
the extent of the discovery in the north, Ramusio obtained the
statement from the cosmography, showing that he had that portion of
the letter before him; and confirming the conclusion, expressed in a
previous section, that his version was composed from the Carli copy
of the letter, in which alone the cosmography occurs. Whether this
limit was so transposed by him for a purpose or not, may be a
question; but the origin of it cannot be disputed.



We are brought now to the observations in reference to the people
and productions of the country. The communications which the
explorers had with the shore are not represented as having been
numerous, or their visits of long duration, the longest having been
one of three days, while they were riding at anchor off the coast of
North Carolina, and another of fifteen, spent in replenishing the
supplies for their ship, in the harbor in the great bay of
Massachusetts. These opportunities were however, it seems,
sufficient to have enabled them to study the characteristics of the
natives and to determine the nature of the vegetation at those
places; but the description given of both is very general. Not a
single person, sagamore or warrior, or even the boy who was carried
away to France, is designated by name, nor any object peculiar to
the region by its native appellation. Not an Indian word, by which a
locality or a tribe might be traced, occurs in the whole narrative.
Some familiar details are mentioned of Indian manners and customs,
which give the account the appearance of truth, but there is nothing
in them which may not have been deduced from known narratives of
earlier voyages to adjoining parts of America; while much that was
peculiar to the country claimed to have been discovered, and of a
character to compel observation, is omitted; and some particulars
stated which could not have existed.

In its incidents of Indian life it recalls the experiences of
Columbus. When the great discoverer first came to the island of
Hispaniola it is related, "they saw certaine men of the Islande who
perceiving an unknowen native comming toward them, flocked together
and ran into the thicke woodes, as it had bin hares coursed with
greyhoundes. Our men pursuing them took only one woman, whom they
brought, to the ships, where filling her with meate and wine, and
apparrelling her, they let her depart to her companie." Also, "their
boates are made only of one tree made hollow with a certain sharpe
stone, for they have no yron, and are very long and narrow." And
again, "when our men went to prayer, and kneeled on their knees,
after the manner of the Christians, they did the like also. And
after what manner soever they saw them pray to the crosse, they
followed them in all poyntes as well as they could." [Footnote: Peter
Martyr, Dec. LL in Eden.]. The Verrazzano letter tells us, in like
phrase, that when they landed at the end of fifty leagues from the
landfall, "we found that the people had fled to the woods for fear.
By searching around we discovered in the grass a very old woman and
a young girl of about eighteen or twenty, who had concealed
themselves for the same reason. We gave them a part of our
provisions, which they accepted with delight, but the girl would not
touch any." At the same place, it is added, "we saw many of their
boats made of one tree, without the aid of stone or iron or other
kind of metal." And to make the parallel complete, the letter
asserts of the natives, "they are very easy to be persuaded and
imitated us with earnestness and fervor in all which they saw us do
as Christians in our acts of worship." While they were taking in
their supplies and interchanging civilities with the Indians in the
harbor of the great bay, the following scene of royalty is described
as having occurred. "One of the two kings often came with his queen
and many gentlemen (gentili uomini) to see us for his amusement, but
he always stopped at the distance of about two hundred paces, and
sent a boat to inform us of his intended visit, saying they would
come and see our ship. This was done for safety, and as soon as they
had an answer from us, they came off and remained awhile to look
around; but on hearing the annoying cries of the sailors, the king
sent the queen with her maids (demizelle) in a very light boat to
wait near an island, a quarter of a league distant from us while he
remained a long time on board." This hyperbolical description of the
visit of the sachem of Cape Cod accompanied by the gentlemen of his
household and of his squaw queen with her maids of honor, has its
prototype in the visit paid to Bartholomew Columbus, during the
absence of his brother, the admiral, by Bechechio the king or
cacique of Xacagua and his sister, the queen dowager, Anacoana, who
are represented as going to the ship of the Adelantado in two
canoes, "one for himself and certayne of his gentlemen, another for
Anacoana and her waiting women." The astonishment which the natives
manifested at the appearance of the Dauphiny and her crew; their
admiration of the simple toys and little bells which were offered
them by the strangers; their practice of painting their bodies,
adorning themselves with the gay plumage of birds, and habiting
themselves with the skins of animals, seem all analogized, in the
same way, from the accounts given by Peter Martyr of the inhabitant
of the islands discovered by Columbus, and of the northern regions
by Sebastian Cabot. These traits of Indian life and character,
therefore, not having been peculiar to the natives of the country
described in the letter, and having been already mentioned in
earlier accounts of the adjoining parts of America, the description
of them here furnishes no proof of originality or of the truth of
the letter for that reason.

On the other hand objects which historically belong to the
inhabitants of the places declared to have been visited, and
characterize them distinctly from those previously discovered, and
which were of such a marked character as to have commanded
attention, are not mentioned at all. Of this class perhaps the most
prominent is the wampum, a commodity of such value and use among
them that, like gold among the Europeans, it served the double
purpose of money and personal adornment. The region of the harbor
where the voyagers spent, according to the letter, fifteen days in
familiar intercourse with the inhabitants, was its greatest mart,
from which it was spread among the tribes, both north and east.
Wood, describing the Narragansets in 1634, says they "are the most
curious minters of the wampompeage and mowhakes which they forme out
of the inmost wreaths of periwinkle shels. The northerne, easterne,
and westerne Indians fetch all their coyne from these southern mint-
masters. From hence they have most of their curious pendants and
bracelets; hence they have their great stone pipes which will hold a
quarter of an ounce of tobacco." And in regard to their practice of
ornamentation, he remarks again: "although they be poore, yet is
there in them the sparkes of naturall pride which appeares in their
longing desire after many kinde of ornaments, wearing pendants in
their eares, as formes of birds, beasts and fishes, carved out of
bone, shels, and stone, with long bracelets of their curious wrought
wampompeage and mowhackees which they put about their necks and
loynes; which they count a rare kinde of decking." The same writer
adds a description of an Indian king of this country in his attire,
which is somewhat less fanciful than that in the letter. "A sagamore
with a humberd (humming-bird) in his eare for a pendant, a
blackhawke in his occiput for his plume, mowhackees for his gold
chaine, good store of wampompeage begirting his loynes, his bow in
his hand, his quiver at his back, with six naked Indian
spatterlashes at his heeles for his guard, thinkes himselfe little
inferiour to the great Cham. [Footnote: New England Prospect, pp.
61, 65-6.] Roger Williams confirms this account of the importance of
the wampum among these same Indians. "They hang," he states "these
strings of money about their necks and wrists, as also about the
necks and wrists of their wives and children. Machequoce, a girdle,
which they make curiously of one, two, three, four and five inches
thickness and more, of this money, which sometimes to the value of
tenpounds and more, they weare about their middle, and a scarfe
about their shoulders and breasts.

  The Indians prize not English gold,
    Nor English, Indians shell:
   Each in his place will passe for ought,
    What ere men buy or sell."
 [Footnote: Key into the Language of America, pp. 149-50.]

Another important article in universal use among the Indians of the
main land, north and south, was the tobacco pipe. Tobacco was used
by the natives of the West India islands, made up in rolls or
cigars; but by the Indians of the continent it was broken up,
carried in small bags attached to a girdle round the body, and
smoked through clay, stone or copper pipes, sometimes of very
elaborate workmanship. Smoking the pipe was of universal use among
them, both on ordinary and extraordinary occasions. It was a tender
of hospitality to strangers; and a sign of peace and friendship
between the nations. [Footnote: For a full and interesting account
of the importance of the tobacco-pipe among the Indians of North
America, upon cited authorities, we refer the reader to Antiquities
of the Southern Indians. By Charles C. Jones Jr., p. 382. (New York,
1873.)] When Captain Waymouth ran along the coast of the great bay
of Massachusetts, in 1605, he repeatedly encountered this custom. On
one occasion the natives came from the shore in three canoes, and
Rosier remarks of them: "they came directly aboord us and brought us
tobacco, which we tooke with them IN THEIR PIPE which was made of
earth very strong, but blacke and short, containing a great
quantity. When we came at shoare they all most kindely entertained
us, taking us by the hands, as they had observed we did to them
aboord in token of welcome, and brought us to sit downe by their
fire, where sat together thirteene of them. They filled their
tobacco pipe, which was then the short claw of a lobster, which will
hold ten of our pipes full and we dranke of their excellent tobacco,
as much as we would with them." [Footnote: Purchas, IV. 1662.] No
notice is taken of this custom, either of tobacco or the pipe in the
Verrazzano letter.

The most remarkable omission of all is of the bark canoe. This light
and beautiful fabric was peculiar to the Algonkin tribes. It was not
found among the southern Indians, much less in the West India
islands. Its buoyancy and the beauty of its form were such as to
render it an object of particular observation. Though so light as to
be capable of being borne on a man's shoulders, it would sometimes
carry nine men, and ride with safety over the most stormy sea. It
was always from the first a great object of interest with the
discoverers of the northerly parts of the coast, which they
manifested by taking them back to Europe, as curiosities. Aubert
carried one of them to Dieppe in 1508, and Captain Martin Fringe,
who was one of the first to visit the shores of Cape Cod, took one,
in 1603, thence to Bristol, which he thus describes, as if he saw no
other kind.

"Their boats whereof we brought one to Bristoll, were in proportion
like a wherrie of the river of Thames, seventeene foot long and
foure foot broad, made of the barke of a birch tree, farre exceeding
in bignesse those of England: it was sowed together with strong and
tough oziers or twigs, and the seames covered over with rozen or
turpentine little inferiour in sweetnesse to frankincense, as we
made triall by burning a little thereof on the coales at sundry
times after our comming home: it was also open like a wherrie, and
sharpe at both ends, saving that the beake was a little bending
roundly upward. And though it carried nine men standing upright, yet
it weighed not at the most, above sixtie pounds in weight, a thing
almost incredible in regard of the largenesse and capacitie thereof.
Their oares were flat at the end like an oven peele, made of ash or
maple, very light and strong, about two yards long wherewith they
row very swiftly." [Footnote: Purchas, IV. 1655.]

The silence of the letter in regard to this species of the canoe is
the more remarkable, as it is in connection with the natives of the
harbor where they spent fifteen days, that mention is made in it a
second time of the manner of making their boats out of single logs,
as if it were a subject of importance, and worthy of remark. The
inference is most strongly to be drawn therefore, from this
circumstance, that the writer knew nothing about the bark canoe, or
the people who used them.

The absence of all allusion to any of the peculiar attributes,
especially of the essential character just described, of the natives
of the great bay leads to the conclusion that the whole account is a
fabrication. But this end is absolutely reached by the positive
statement of a radical difference in complexion between the tribes,
which they found in the country.

The people whom they saw on their first landing, and who are stated
to have been for the most part naked, are described as being black
in color, and not very different from Ethiopians, (di colore neri
non molto dagli Etiopi disformi) and of medium stature, well formed
of body and acute of mind. The latter observation would imply that
the voyagers had mixed with these natives very considerably in order
to have been able to speak so positively in regard to their mental
faculties, and therefore could not have been mistaken as to their
complexion for want of opportunity to discover it. The precise place
where they first landed and saw these black people is not mentioned
further than that the country where they lived was situated in the
thirty-fourth degree of latitude. From this place they proceeded
further along the coast northwardly, and again coming to anchor
attempted to go ashore in a boat without success, when one of them,
a young sailor, attempted to swim to the land, but was thrown, by
the violence of the waves, insensible on the beach. Upon recovering
he found himself surrounded by natives who were black like the
others. That there is no mistake in the design of the writer to
represent these people as really black, like negroes, is made
evident by his account of the complexion of those he found in the
harbor of the great bay in latitude 41 Degrees 40", who are
described as essentially different and the finest looking tribe they
had seen, being "of a very white complexion, some inclining more to
white, and others to a yellow color" (di colore bianchissimo; alcuni
pendano piu in bianchezza, altri in colore flavo). The difference
between the inhabitants of the two sections of country, in respect
to color, is thus drawn in actual contrast.

This is unfounded in fact. No black aborigines have ever been found
within the entire limits of North America, except in California
where some are said to exist. The Indians of the Atlantic coast were
uniformly of a tawny or yellowish brown color, made more conspicuous
by age and exposure and being almost white in infancy. The first
voyagers and early European settlers universally concur in assigning
them this complexion. Reference need here be to such testimony only
as relates to the two parts of the country where the distinction is
pretended to have existed. The earliest mention of the inhabitants
of the more southerly portion is when the vessels of Ayllon and
Matienzo carried off sixty of the Indians from the neighborhood of
the Santee, called the Jordan, in 1521, and took them to St.
Domingo. One of them went to Spain with Ayllon. They are described
by Peter Martyr, from sight, as semifuscos uti nostri sunt agricolae
sole adusti aestivo, half brown, like our husbandmen, burnt by the
summer sun. [Footnote: Dec. VII, 2.] Barlowe, in his account of the
first expedition of Raleigh, which entered Pamlico sound, within the
region now under consideration, describes the Indians whom he found
there as of a "colour yellowish." [Footnote: Hakluyt, III. 248.]
Captain John Smith, speaking of those of the Chesapeake, remarks,
that they "are of a color brown when they are of age, but they are
born white." [Footnote: Smith, Map of Virginia, 1612, p. 19.] On the
other hand the natives of Massachusetts and Rhode Island in latitude
4l Degrees 40' are described by the first explorers of that region
in substantially the same terms. Brereton, who accompanied Gosnold
in his first voyage to the Elisabeth islands and the main land
opposite, in 1602, mentions the natives there, as being of a
complexion or color "much like a dark olive." [Footnote: Purchas, IV.
1652.] Martin Fringe who visited Martha's Vineyard the next year and
constructed there a barricade where the "people of the country came
sometimes, ten, twentie, fortie or three score, and at one time one
hundred and twentie at once," says, "these people are inclined to a
swart, tawnie or chesnut colour, not by nature but accidentally."
[Footnote: Ibid, IV, 1655.] And Roger Williams, partaking of the
same idea as Pringe, that the swarthy color was accidental,
testifies, almost in the same language as Captain Smith, that the
Narragansets and others within a region of two hundred miles of
them, were "tawnie by the sunne and their annoyntings, yet they were
born white." [Footnote: Roger Williams's Key, 52.] Thus the
authorities flatly contradict the statement of black Indians
existing in North Carolina, and a difference of color between the
people of the two sections claimed to have been visited in this

Of an equally absurd and preposterous character is the statement
made in reference to the condition in which the plants and
vegetation were found. The grape particularly is mentioned in a
manner which proves, beyond question, that the writer could not have
been in the country. The dates which are given for the exploration
are positive; and are conclusive in this respect. The Dauphiny is
represented as having left Madeira on the 17th of January, and
arrived on the coast on the 7th of March, that is, the 17th of that
month, new style. [Footnote: See ante, page 4, note.] They left the
harbor of the great bay, where they had remained for fifteen days on
the 6th of May, which makes their arrival there to have been on the
21st of April, or first of May, N. S. They were thus during the
months of March and April, engaged in coasting from the landfall to
the great bay in latitude 41 Degrees 40', during which period the
observations relating to the intermediate country, consequently,
must have been made. They left the coast, finally, in latitude 50
Degrees N., for the purpose of returning to France, in time to reach
there and have the letter written announcing their arrival at Dieppe
on the 8th of July, and therefore it must have been some time in
June, at the latest; so that very little if any portion of the
summer season was passed upon the coast of America.

In describing the country which they reached at the end of the fifty
leagues north of the landfall, that is, near the boundary between
North Carolina and Virginia, where they discovered the old woman and
girl concealed in the GRASS and found the land generally, "abounding
in forests filled with various kinds of trees but not of such
FRAGRANCE" as those where they first landed, the writer gives a
particular description of the condition in which they found the
vines and flowers.

"We saw," he says, "many vines there growing naturally, which run
upon, and entwine about the trees, as they do in Lombardy, and which
if the husbandmen were to have under a perfect system of
cultivation, would without doubt produce the BEST WINES, because
TASTING (beendo, literally, drinking or sucking) THE FRUIT MANY
TIMES, we perceived it was sweet and pleasant, not different from
ours. They are held in estimation by them because wherever they grow
they remove the small trees around them in order that the fruit may
be able to germinate. We found wild roses, violets, lilies and many
species of plants and ODORIFEROUS FLOWERS, different from ours."
[Footnote: "Vedenimo in quella molte vite della natura prodotte,
quali alzando si avvoltano agli alberi come nella Cisalpina Gallia
custumano; le quali se dagli agricultori avessimo el perfetto ordine
di cultura, senza dubbio produrrebbono ottimi vini, perche piu volte
il frutto di quello beendo, veggiendo suave e dolce, non dal nostro
differente sono da loro tenuti in extimatione; impero che per tutto
dove nascono, levano gli arbusculi circustanti ad causa il frutto
possa gierminare. Trovamo rose silvestre et vivuole, gigli et molte
sorte di erbe e fiori odoriferi da nostri differenti."]

The flavor and vinous qualities of the grapes are thus particularly
mentioned as having been proven several times by eating the ripe and
luscious fruit, and in language peculiarly expressive of the fact.
According to the dates before given, this must have occurred early
in the month of April, as the scene is laid upon the coast of North
Carolina. There is no native vine which ever flowers in this
country, north of latitude thirty-four, before the month of May, and
none that ripens its fruit before July, which is the month assigned
by Lawson for the ripening of the summer fox grape in the swamps and
moist lands of North Carolina,--the earliest of all the grapes in
that region. [Footnote: New Voyage to Carolina, p. 602.] North of
latitude 41 Degrees no grape matures until the latter part of
August. As the explorers are made to have left the shores of
Newfoundland for home in June, at farthest, they were at no time on
any part of the coast, in season to have been able to see or taste
the ripe or unripe fruit of the vine. The representation of the
letter in this respect depending both upon the sight and the taste,
must, like that of the contrasted appearance of the natives, be
regarded as deliberately made; and consequently, the two as
establishing the falsity of the description in those particulars,
and thus involving the integrity and truth of the whole.

The liberty which Ramusio took with these passages in his version of
the letter, demands notice, and adds his testimony again to the
absurdity of the account. He doubtless knew, from the numerous
descriptions which had been published, of the uniformity of the
physical characteristics of the American Indians; and he certainly
knew of it as regarded the natives of this coast; as is proven by
his publication of Oviedo's account of the voyage of Gomez, made
there in 1525, in which they are described, in the same volume with
the Verrazzano letter. [FOOTNOTE: Tom. III. fol. 52, (ed. 1556).]
His own experience, as to the climate of Venice, taught him also
that grapes could not have ripened in the latitude and at the time
of year assigned for that purpose. He had therefore abundant reason
to question the correctness of the letter in both particulars. As in
the case of the representation of the extent of the discovery,
before mentioned, he did not hesitate to make them conform more to
the truth. He amended the original in regard to the complexion of
the natives represented as those first seen, by inserting in place
of the words, applied to them, of "black and not much different from
Ethiopians," the phrase, "brownish and not much unlike the Saracens"
(berrettini & non molto dalli Saracini differenti) [FOOTNOTE:
Berrettini is derived from beretta, the Turkish fez, a red cap,
designating also the scarlet cap of the cardinals & the church of
Rome.] by which they are likened to those Arabs whose complexion,
"yellow, bordering on brown," is of a similar cast; [Footnote:
Pritchard, Natural History of Man, p. 127 (2d edition).] and in
regard to the grapes, by substituting instead of, "tasting the fruit
many times we perceived it was sweet and pleasant," the passage,
"having often seen the fruit thereof DRIED, which was sweet and
pleasant," (havedo veduto piu volte il frutto di quelle secco, che
era suave & dolce,) by which he apparently obviates the objection,
but in fact only aggravates it, by asserting what has never yet been
heard of among the Indians of this coast, the preservation of the
grape by drying or otherwise.

It is evident that whatever may have been the motives of Ramusio in
making these repeated alterations of the statements in the letter,
they not only show his own sense of their necessity, but they have
had the effect to keep from the world the real character of this
narrative in essential particulars, until its exposure now, by the
production of the Carli version.



The extrinsic evidence which in urged in support of the claim to the
discovery by Verrazzano is not of great amount. It is certain,
however, that if the letter upon which the claim is founded, be
spurious and fictitious, as for the reasons assigned, it is
considered to be, any extraneous evidence, must either partake of
the same character, or have originated in some misconception or
error. What exists upon the subject consists principally of two
pieces, which have only recently been regarded of any importance for
this purpose, and in connection with which the others may be

One of them is an anonymous paper entitled in full, "Discourse of a
great sea-captain, a Frenchman of the town of Dieppe, as to the
voyages made to the new land of the West Indies, called New France,
from the 40 Degrees to the 47 Degrees under the Arctic pole, and
concerning the land of Brazil, Guinea, the island of St. Lawrence
and that of Sumatra," the other is a map of the world, bearing the
name of Hieronimo de Verrazzano.

The discourse of the French captain does not, any more than the
letter of Verrazzano, exist in the original; nor has any copy of it
ever been produced, except in a printed translation by Ramusio in
the same volume, as that in which his version of that letter
appears, and immediately following it. Ramusio states that it was
written in 1539, as may he inferred from the letter itself in its
present form, and that he had translated it from the French,
grieving much that he did not know the name of the author, because
not giving it he seemed to do wrong to the memory of so valiant and
noble a gentleman. It is evident, however, upon comparing the
description, which it gives, of a voyage made from Dieppe to
Sumatra, with the original journal, first brought to light and
published a few years ago, of such a voyage made by Jean Parmentier
in 1529, that this discourse was written by some one of the persons
engaged in that expedition.[Footnote: Voyages et decouvertes des
navigateurs Normands. Par L. Estancelin, p. 241. (Paris 1832.) M.
Estancelin supposes that Pierre Mauclere the astronomer of one of
the ships composing the expedition of Parmentier, was the author of
this discourse (p. 45, note). But M. D'Avezac attributes it to
Pierre Crignon, who also accompanied Parmentier, and who besides
being the editor of a collection of poems by Parmentier, after his
death, evinced his knowledge of nautical matters by writing a
dissertation on the variation of the needle. Introduction to the
Brief Recit of Jacques Cartier, p. VIL (Tross, Paris, 1868.) Brunet,
sub Parmentier. Margry, Les navigateurs Francaises, p. 199. ] Its
authenticity, in general, may therefore not be questioned. But as
the original has never been produced and it is only known through
this version of Ramusio, experience in regard to his practice as a
compiler, of altering texts according to his judgment of their
defects and errors, proves that we have by no means a reliable copy
for our guidance. In fact, as given by Ramusio, its recognition of
the Verrazzano discovery is only by way of parenthesis, and in such
antagonism to the context, as to render it quite certain that this
portion of it is by another hand.

The writer, after explaining the nature of latitude and longitude,
and taking the meridian of no variation running through the eastern
extremity of the Cape de Verde islands as the basis of his
observations of longitude, proceeds to a description of Terra Nova;
so much of which as is pertinent is here abstracted.

"The Terra Nova, the nearest cape of which is called the Cape de
Ras, is situated west of our diametrical or meridional line whereon
is fixed the first point of longitude according to the true meridian
of the compass; and the said Cape de Ras is in west longitude 40
Degrees and 47 of North latitude. The Terra Nova extends towards the
Arctic pole from 40 Degrees to 60, and from Cape de Ras going
towards the pole, the coast almost always runs from south to north,
and contains in all 350 leagues, and from said Cape de Ras to the
cape of the Brettons, the coast runs east and west, for an hundred
leagues, and the cape of the Brettons is in 47 Degrees west
longitude and 46 north latitude. To go from Dieppe to the Terra
Nova, the course is almost all east and west, and there are from
Dieppe to said Cape de Ras 760 leagues.

"Between Cape de Ras and cape of the Brettons dwell an austere and
cruel people with whom you cannot treat or converse. They are large
of person, clad in skins of seals and other wild animals tied
together, and are marked with certain lines, made with fire, on the
face and as it were striped with color between black and red, (tra
il nero & berrettino) and in many respects as to face and neck, are
like those of our Barbary, the hair long like women, which they
gather up on top of the head as we do with a horse's tail. Their
arrows are bows with which they shoot very dexterously, and their
arrows are pointed with black stones and fish bones. * * *

"This land was discovered 35 years ago, that is, the part that runs
east and west, by the Brettons and Normands, for which reason the
land is called the Cape of the Brettons. The other part that runs
north and south was discovered by the Portuguese from Cape de Ras to
Cape Buona-vista, which contains about 70 leagues, and the rest was
discovered as far as the gulf of the Castles, and further on by said
Brettons and Normands, and it is about 33 years since a ship from
Honfleur of which Jean Denys (Giovanni Dionisio) was captain and
Camart (Camarto) of Rouen, was pilot, first went there, and in the
year 1508, a Dieppe vessel, called the Pensee, which was owned by
Jean Ango, father of Monsignor, the captain and Viscount of Dieppe
went thither, the master or the captain of said ship being Thomas
Aubert, and he was the first who brought hither people of the said

"Following beyond the cape of the Brettons there is a land
contiguous to the said cape, the coast whereof extends west by
southwest as far as the land of Florida and it runs full 500
REGENT,) and this land is called by many la Francese, and likewise
by the Portuguese themselves and its end towards Florida is at 78
Degrees west longitude and 30 Degrees north latitude. The
inhabitants of this land are tractable peoples, friendly and
pleasant. The land is most abundant in all fruit. There grow
oranges, almonds, wild grapes and many other kinds of odoriferous
trees. The land is called by its people Nurumbega, and between this
land and that of Brazil is a great gulf which extends westwardly to
92 Degrees west longitude, which is more than a quarter of the
circuit of the globe; and in the gulf are the islands and West
Indies discovered by the Spaniards." [Footnote: Ramusio, III. fol.
423-4 (ed. 1556).]

This account emphatically contradicts the Verrazzano letter which
claims the discovery of the coast from Cape Breton in 46 Degrees N,
as far east and north, as 50 Degrees N. latitude, embracing a
distance of two hundred leagues, both according to the letter and
the discourse. It distinctly affirms this long stretch of coast to
have been discovered long before the Verrazzano voyage by the
Portuguese and the Bretons and Normands, assigning to the Portuguese
and French specific portions of it. This is in perfect harmony with
the truth as established by the authorities to which occasion has
already been had to refer. This account therefore unequivocally
repudiates the Verrazzano claim to the discovery of that part of the
country, and thus derogates from the pretensions of the letter
instead of supporting them.

The letter contains a distinct and specific claim for the discovery
of the coast as far north as 50 Degrees N. The writer of the
discourse, if he had any knowledge on the subject, must have known
of the extent of this claim. In attributing to others the discovery
of that large portion of the coast, east and north of Cape Breton,
he must have considered the claim to that extent as unfounded. It is
difficult therefore to account for his admitting its validity as
regards the country south of Cape Breton as he apparently does; as
it is a manifest inconsistency to reject so important a part as
false, and affirm the rest of it to be true, when the whole depends
upon the same evidence.

Another circumstance to be remarked is, that the description, which
follows, of the country said to have been discovered by Verrazzano,
has not the slightest reference to the account given in the letter,
but is evidently derived from other sources of discovery. Two names
are attributed to it, Francese and Nurumbega, both of which owe
their designation to other voyagers. Francese, or French land,
appears for the first time in any publication, on two maps hereafter
mentioned, printed in 1540, under the Latin form of Francisca. It is
called in the manuscript cosmography and charts of Jean Alfonse,
terre de la Franciscane. An earlier map by Baptista Agnese,
described by Mr. Kohl, indicates that the name owes its origin, as
will hereafter be pointed out, to the voyages of the French
fishermen to the shores of Nova Scotia and New England. [Footnote:
Discovery of Maine, p. 202, chart XIV.] Nurumbega, as the writer
himself states, is an Indian name, which could not have been taken
from the Verrazzano account, as that does not mention a single
Indian word of any kind. The statement of the productions of the
country includes oranges, which do not belong to any portion of the
continent claimed to have been visited by Verrazzano, and plainly
indicates an entirely different authority for that portion of the
coast. It is therefore equally unaccountable why the author of the
discourse should have acknowledged the discovery by Verrazzano and,
at the same time, have passed over altogether the description in the
letter, and sought his information in regard to the country
elsewhere, when he had there such ample details, especially in
connection with the great bay.

The solution of the whole difficulty is to be found in the fact that
the clause relating to Verrazzano was not the work of the author of
the discourse, but of another person. It is not difficult to
understand how and by whom this interpolation came to be made.
Ramusio had both the letter and the discourse in his hands at the
same time, for the purpose of preparing them for publication,
recomposing the one, as has already been shown, and translating the
other from the French into the Italian, as he himself states. In the
execution of the former of these tasks, he took the liberty of
altering the letter, as has been proven, by substituting the phrase
EXPLORED BY THE PORTUGUESE, as the northern limit of the voyage of
Verrazzano; thereby removing the objection, to which the letter was
obnoxious, of entirely ignoring the discoveries of the Bretons,
which were distinctly asserted in the discourse. In order to conform
to the Verrazzano letter, as it was thus modified, it was necessary
to insert this clause in the discourse, which would else to
contradict the letter entirely. The two alterations, however
necessary they were to preserve some consistency between the two
documents, are, nevertheless, both alike repugnant to the original

This discourse fails, therefore, as an authority in favor of the
Verrazzano discovery, or even of the existence of a claim in its
behalf; the statement which it contains in relation to Verrazzano,
originating with Ramusio adding nothing to the case. [Footnote: The
writer gives, however, some details in relation to the Indians and
the fisheries along the easterly coast of Newfoundland, illustrative
of certain points which have arisen in the course of this enquiry.
Continuing his remarks, as given in the text, in regard to the
Indians inhabiting the southerly coast between Cape Race and Cape
Breton, he states: "There are many stags and deer, and birds like
geese and margaux. On the coast there is much good fishery of cod,
which fish are taken by the FRENCH AND BRETONS, ONLY BECAUSE THOSE
OF THE COUNTRY DO NOT TAKE THEM. In the coast running north and
south, from Cape de Ras to the entrance of the Castles, [straits of
Belle-Isle] there are great gulfs and rivers, and numerous islands,
many of them large; and this country is thinly inhabited, except the
aforesaid coast, and the people are smaller; and there is great
fishery of cod as on the other coast. There has not been seen there
either village, or town, or castle, except a great enclosure of
wood, which was seen in the gulf of the Castles; and the aforesaid
people dwell in little cabins and huts, covered with the bark of
trees, which they make to live in during the time of the fisheries,
which commences in spring and lasts all the summer. Their fishery is
of seal, and porpoises which, with certain seafowl called margaux,
they take in the islands and dry; and of the grease of said fish
they make oil, and when the time of their fishery is ended, winter
coming on, they depart with their fish, and go away, IN LITTLE BOATS
MADE OF THE BARK OF TREES, called buil, into other countries, which
are perhaps warmer, but we know not where."]



The map of Hieronimo de Verrazano, recently brought to particular
notice, [Footnote: Journal of the American Geographical Society of
New York. 1873 Vol. IV. Notes on the Verrazano map. By James Carson
Brevoort.] is a planisphere on a roll of parchment eight feet and a
half long and of corresponding width, formerly belonging to Cardinal
Stefano Borgia, in whose museum, in the college of the Propaganda in
the Vatican, it is now preserved. It has no date, though, from a
legend upon it referring to the Verrazzano discovery, it may be
inferred that the year 1529 is intended to be understood as the time
when it was constructed. No paleographical description of it,
however, has yet been published, from which the period of its
construction might be determined, or the congruity of its parts
verified. It may, however, in order to disencumber the question, be
admitted to be the map mentioned by Annibal Caro in 1537, in a
letter to which occasion will hereafter be had to refer, and that
its author was the brother of the navigator, though of both these
facts satisfactory proof is wanting. [Footnote: This map was either
unknown to Ramusio and Gastaldi or discredited by them. Ramusio in
his preface, after mentioning to Fracastor that he placed the
relation of Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier in that volume, adds,
that inasmuch as Fracastor has exhorted him to make, in imitation of
Ptolemy, four or five maps of as much as was known up to that time
of the part of the world recently discovered, he could not disobey
his commands, and had therefore arranged to have them made by the
Piedmontese cosmographer Giacomo de Gastaldi. They are accordingly
to be found in the same volume with the letter of Verrazzano. One of
them is a map of New France extending somewhat south of Norumbega,
but no features of the Verrazzano map are to be traced upon it: and
no other map of the country is given. Fol. 424-5.]

No entirely legible copy of this map has yet been made public. Two
photographs, both much reduced from the original, have been made for
the American Geographical Society, from the larger of which, so much
as relates to the present purpose, has been carefully reproduced
here on the same scale. It is to be regretted that the names along
the coast, and the legends relating to the Verrazzano exploration,
are not photographed distinctly, though the legends and a few names
have been supplied by means of a pen. But although a knowledge of
all the names is necessary for a thorough understanding of this map,
these photographs, nevertheless, affording a true transcript of it
in other respects, enable us to determine that it is of no authority
as to the alleged discovery itself. [Footnote: This map was first
brought to public notice by M. Thomassey, in a memoir entitled, Les
Papes Geographes et la Cosmographie du Vatican, which was published
in the Nouvelles Annales des Voyages. Nouvelle serie, tome XXXV.
Annee 1853. Tome Troisieme. Paris. We are indebted to this memoir
for the explanation of our copy of the map of the scale of
distances, which is illegible on the photographs. According to this
explanation there should be nine points in the narrower, and
nineteen in the wider spaces. These being two and half leagues
apart, give twenty-five leagues for the smaller and fifty leagues
for the larger spaces, making three hundred and fifty leagues for
the whole scale.]

It will be found, in the first place, to contravene the Verrazzano
letter as to the limits of the discovery, both north and south, and
to indicate merely an attempt to reconcile that discovery generally
with the discoveries of the Spaniards, Bretons and Portuguese, as
shown on the maps of the period to which it relates. The coast of
North America is laid down continuously from the gulf of Mexico to
Davis straits, in latitude 60 Degrees N. Beginning at the point of
Florida, which is placed IN LATITUDE 33 1/2 Degrees N., more than
eight degrees north of its true position, it runs northerly along
the Atlantic, trending slightly to the west, to a bay or river, in
latitude 38 Degrees N. On this part of the country, called Terra
Florida, the arms of Spain are represented, denoting its discovery
by the Spaniards: and the whole of its coast for a distance of
eighty or ninety leagues, is entirely devoid of names.

From 38 Degrees N. that is, from the land of Florida as here shown,
the coast continues in a northerly direction thirty or forty leagues
farther, to a point between 40 Degrees and 41 Degrees N. when,
turning northeasterly, it runs with slight variations, on a general
course of east north east, for six hundred and fifty leagues to Cape
Breton placed in latitude 51 1/2 S., five and a half degrees north
of it true position. Along this part of the coast more than sixty
names of places occur at intervals sufficiently regular to denote
one continuous exploration. They are for the most part
undistinguishable on the photographs, but nine of them, at the
beginning, are made legible by hand, the first two of which
commencing AT LATITUDE 38 Degrees, are Dieppa and Livorno. The
others, proceeding north, are Punta de Calami, Palamsina, Polara
flor, Comana, Santiago, C. d' Olimpe, and Olimpe, indicating a
nomenclature different from that used on any other known map of this
region. At a distance of three hundred leagues from Dieppa, and IN
LATITUDE 46 Degrees N., is a large triangular island, designated by
the name of Luisia. Hence to Cape Breton the names are illegibly
photographed. Along this coast, at three points, namely, in latitude
42 Degrees; opposite the island of Luisia, in latitude 46; and in
latitude 50 Degrees, standards are displayed, the nationality of
which cannot be distinguished, but which no doubt were intended for
those of France, inasmuch as over them occurs the name of Nova
Gallia sive Iucatanet in large, commanding letters, with the
Verrazzano legend, before referred to underneath it, in these words:
'Verrazana seu Gallia nova quale discopri 5 anni fa Giovanni di
Verrazano fiorentino per ordine et comandamete del Chrystianissimo
Re di Francia; that is, Verrazzana or New Gaul which Giovanni di
Verrazzano, a Florentine, discovered five years ago by order and
command of the most Christian king of France. [Footnote: The names
Verrazzana and Verrazzano in this legend are WRITTEN on the
photograph by hand, with a double z, though M. Thomassey uses only
the single z, which is adopted on our copy. It would be a singular
circumstance, leading to some speculation, if they should really be
spelt with the two z's on the original. Hieronimo, if he were the
brother of Giovanni, would hardly have written his own name, as it
is inscribed on the map, with one z, and that of his brother with
two, in the same document.]

Over Cape Breton is a representation of the shield of Brittany,
denoted by its ermines, in token of the discovery of that country by
the Bretons, which is separated by a bay or gulf from Terra Nova
sive Le Molue, the latter term being evidently intended for Bacalao
(codfish, Fr. morue), the received name of Newfoundland. The
southerly coast of Terra Nova for an hundred leagues, and its
easterly coast running to the north, are delineated, with the
Portuguese name of C. Raso and the island of Baccalaos barely
legible. The coast runs north from C. Raso to C. Formoso in latitude
60 Degrees where it meets the straits which separate it from Terra
Laboratoris, the country discovered by Gaspar Cortereal on his first
voyage, but here attributed to the English, and being in fact
Greenland. [Footnote: Mr. Brevoort gives other names as legible on
the easterly coast of Terra Nova, which we have not been able to
distinguish, namely: c. de spera, illa de san luis, monte de trigo,
and illa dos avos. Mr. B. reads IUCATANET, and M. Margry YUCATANET,
where our engraver has IUCATANIA, for the general name of the
country. The word in either form is apochryphal, as Yucatan is
designated in its proper place, though as an island; but which form
is correct cannot be determined from the photograph.]

It is obvious that the discoveries of Verrazzano are thus intended
to embrace the coast from latitude 38 Degrees N. to Cape Breton,
that is, between the points designated by the armorial designations
of Spain and Brittany, and not beyond either, as that would make the
map contradict itself. That they begin at the parallel 38 is shown
by the names of Dieppa and Livorno, (Leghorn), which commemorate the
port to which the expedition of Verrazzano belonged, and the country
in which he himself was born. These names cannot be associated with
any other alleged expedition. They are given on the map which
contains the legend declaring the country generally to have been
discovered by him; and are not found on any other. There can be no
doubt, therefore, that they are meant to indicate the beginning of
his exploration in the south.

That his discoveries are represented as extending in the north to
Cape Breton is proven by the continuation of the names to that
point, showing an exploration by some voyager along that entire
coast, and by the absence of any designation of its discovery by any
other nation than the French; while the distance from Dieppa to Cape
Breton is laid down as seven hundred leagues, the same as claimed
for this exploration.

But in restricting his discoveries to latitude 38 Degrees N. on the
south, this map essentially departs from the claim set up in the
letter ascribed to Verrazzano which carries them to fifty leagues
south of 34 Degrees; and on the other hand, in limiting them, in the
north, to the land discovered by the Bretons, it conforms to its
Portuguese authorities, upon which, as will be seen, it was founded,
but, in so doing, contradicts the letter which extends them to the
point where the Portuguese commenced their explorations to the
Arctic circle, which this map itself shows were on the east side of
Terra Nova. Verrazzano the navigator, therefore, could not have been
the author of the letter and also the authority for the map.

That this map did not proceed from him is also proven by the
representation upon it of a great ocean, called Mare Occidentale,
which is laid down between the parallels within which these
discoveries are confined. It lies on the west side of the continent
but approaches so near the Atlantic, in latitude 41 Degrees N., that
is, in the vicinity of New York, that according to a legend
describing it, the two oceans are there only six miles apart, and
can be seen from each other. This isthmus occurs several hundred
miles north of Dieppa, and therefore at a point absolutely fixed
within the limits of the Verrazzano discoveries, and where the
navigator must have sailed, according to both the letter and the
map, whether the latitudes on the map be correctly described or not.
This western sea is thus made by its position a part of the
discoveries of Verrazzano, and is declared by the legend to have
been actually seen; and as he was the discoverer, it must be
intended to have been seen by him. As, however, there is no such sea
in reality, Verrazzano could never have seen it; and therefore, he
could not have so represented; or if he did, then the whole story
must for that reason alone be discredited. There is no escape from
this dilemma. Verrazzano could not have been deceived and have
mistaken some other sheet of water for this great sea, and so
represented it on any chart, or communicated it in any other way to
the maker of this map; for he makes no mention of the circumstance
in his letter to the king to whom he would have been prompt to
report so important a fact; as it would have proved the
accomplishment of the object of his voyage,--the discovery of a
passage through this region to Cathay, or if not a passage, at least
a way, which could have been made available for reaching the land of
spices and aromatics, by reason of its low grade, evident by one sea
being seen from the other, and its short distance.

The unauthentic character of this map, and the manner in which its
representation of the Verrazzano discoveries was produced,
distinctly appear in its method of construction. Cape Breton and
Terra Nova are represented as they are laid down on the charts of
Pedro Reinel and the anonymous cartographer,--reproduced on the
first and fourth sheets of the Munich atlas and unquestionably
belonging to the period anterior to the discovery of the continuity
of the land from Florida to Cape Breton. They bear the names which
are found on those maps, importing their discovery thus early by the
Bretons and Portuguese. In the south, the designation of Florida as
a Spanish discovery, with its southerly coast running along the
parallel of thirty-three and a half of north latitude, eight degrees
north of its actual position, is precisely the same it as it is
shown on the anonymous Portuguese chart just mentioned. These
representations of the country, in the north and the south, were
thus adopted as the basis of this map. But as there were not seven
hundred leagues of coast between latitude 38 Degrees and Cape
Breton, which is the distance it indicates as having been explored
by Verrazzano, that extent could be obtained only, either by
changing the latitude of Florida or Cape Breton, or prolonging the
coast longitudinally, or both. The latitude of the northerly limit
of Florida having been preserved for the commencement of the
discoveries, Cape Breton had therefore to be changed and was
accordingly carried five degrees and a half further north and placed
in latitude 51-1/2 instead of 46, and by consequence the whole line
of coast was thrown several degrees in that direction, as is proven
by the position of the island of Louise, which thus falls in 46
Degrees N. instead of 41 Degrees, the latitude assigned to it in the
letter. Nothing could more conclusively show the factitious origin
of this delineation and its worthlessness as an exposition of the
Verrazzano discovery.

Some importance, however, attaches to this map in its assisting us
to fix approximately the time of the fabrication of the Verrazzano
letter. If it were constructed in 1529, as some would infer, with
the portions relating to the discovery upon it, then it is the
earliest recognition of the CLAIM to this discovery yet produced,
irrespective of the letter. But it is by no means certain that it
was originally made in that year. Nothing appears on the map itself
giving that date in terms; but it is left to be inferred exclusively
from the language of the legend, which states that the discovery was
made FIVE YEARS AGO, without any indication, either in the legend
itself or elsewhere on the map, to what time that period relates;
and leaving the discovery, therefore, to be ascertained from
extraneous sources. If the discovery be assumed to have been made in
1524, then indeed the map, according to the legend, would have been
constructed in 1529. But no person, unacquainted with the letter,
can determine from this inscription, or any other part of the map,
the date either of the discovery or map; and this precise difficulty
Euphrosynus Ulpius apparently encountered in attempting to fix the
time of the discovery for his globe, as will hereafter be seen. Why
the time of the discovery should have been left in such an ambiguous
state, compatibly with fair intentions, it is difficult to
understand. The year itself could and should, in the absence of any
date on the map, have been stated directly in the legend, without
compelling a resort to other authorities. It is not unusual, it is
true, for valuable maps and charts of this period to be left without
the dates of their construction upon them; but when, as in this
case, a date is called for, there seems to be no reason why it
should not have been given. This circumstance creates the suspicion
that the legend did not belong to the map originally, but was added
afterwards, as it now appears on the copy in the Vatican; or if it
were upon it then, that it was intended to mislead and conceal the
true date of the map. But whatever may be the secret of its origin,
this legend furnishes no positive evidence as to the time when the
map was made, or pretended to have been made; and we are left to
find its date, if possible, by other means.

A fact which indicates that this map could not have existed as late
as 1536, in the form in which it is now presented, if it existed
then at all, is that the western sea is delineated upon a map of the
world, made in that year, by Baptista Agnese, an Italian
cosmographer, without any reference to the Verrazzano discoveries,
under circumstances which would have led him to have recognized them
if he knew of them, and which would have required him to have done
so if this map were his authority. This sea is laid down by Agnese
in the same manner as it is shown on the Verrazzano map, approaching
the Atlantic, from the north, along a narrow isthmus terminating at
latitude 40 Degrees, with the coast turning abruptly to the west;
the ocean being thus represented open thence from the isthmus to
Cathay. A track of French navigation, not a single voyage, expressed
by the words: el viages de France, is designated upon it, leading
from the north of France to this isthmus, referring obviously to the
voyages of the fishermen of Brittany and Normandy, to the coasts of
Nova Scotia and New England. No allusion is made to the voyage of
Verrazzano, or to the discoveries attributed to him by the Verrazano
map. The Atlantic coast on the contrary, is plainly delineated after
the Spanish map of Ribero, as is shown by the form, peculiar to that
map, of the coast, at latitude 40 Degrees, returning to the west. It
is apparent, therefore, that the two maps of Agnese and Verrazano,
both representing the western sea in the same form, must have been
derived from a common source, or else one was taken from the other;
and that the map of Agnese could not, in either case, have been
derived from a map showing the Verrazzano discovery, and must
consequently have been anterior to the Verrazano map in its present

It militates against the authenticity of the Verrazano map and the
early date which it would have inferred for itself, that there is
not a single known map or chart, either published or unpublished,
before the great map of Mercator in 1569, that refers to the
Verrazzano discoveries, or recognizes this map in any respect before
that of Michael Lok, published by Hakluyt, in 1582; or any before
Lok, that applies the name of the sea of Verrazano to the western
sea. The unauthenticated and until recently unnoticed globe of
Euphrosynus Ulpius, purporting to have been constructed in 1542, of
which we will speak presently, is the only evidence yet presented of
the existence of the Verrazano map, as it now appears, beyond the
map itself. The whole theory of the early influence of the
Verrazzano discovery, or of the Verrazano map, upon the cartography
of the period to which they relate, and its consequently proving
their authenticity, as advanced by some learned writers, is
therefore incorrect and is founded in a misconception of fact.

This mistake relates to a map which is found in several editions of
the geography of Ptolemy printed at Basle, supposed to represent the
western sea shortly after the Verrazzano discovery, and consequently
as derived from that source. Mr. Kohl, [Footnote: We are indebted
entirely to Mr. Kohl for our knowledge of the map of Agnese, which
he produces, on a reduced scale, in the Discovery of Maine, (chart
XIV), with an account of the map and its author (p. 292).] in a
chapter specially devoted to the consideration of charts from
Verrazzano, reproduces one (No. XV, a) which he describes as a
sketch of North America, from a map of the new world, in an edition
of Ptolemy printed in Basle, 1530. And he adds: "the map was drawn
upon which it was engraved, must have been in use for a long time;
for the same map appears both, in EARLIER and much later editions of
Ptolemy. The same also reappears in the cosmography of Sebastian
Munster, published in Basle." Mr. K. finally observes in regard to
it: "this map has this particular interest for us, that it is
probably the first on which the sea of Verrazano was depicted in the
form given to it by Lok, in 1582. I have found no map PRIOR to 1530,
on which this delineation appears." [Footnote: Discovery of Maine,
pp. 296-7.] There is a little confusion of dates in this statement.
Mr. K. states, however, that he had not seen the map of Hieronimo de
Verrazano, and evidently derives his information, in regard to the
sea of Verrazano, from the map of Lok, who alone gives the western
sea the name of Mare de Verrazana, no doubt because he found the sea
laid down on the map presented by Verrazzano to Henry VIII, to which
reference will presently be made. Had Mr. K. seen the Verrazano map
with the absurd legend upon it, in effect declaring the western sea
to have been observed by Verrazzano, he must have arrived at
different conclusions, notwithstanding the map in Ptolemy of the
supposed early date. Mr. Brevoort, in his notes on the Verrazano
map, probably relying on the authority of Mr. Kohl, says, "that the
first published map containing traces of Verrazano's explorations,
is in the Ptolemy of Basle, 1530, which appeared FOUR YEARS BEFORE
the western sea without a name, and the land north of it is called
Francisca." [Footnote: Journal of Am. Geog. Soc. of New York, vol.
IV, p. 279.] The inference left to be drawn is that, the presence of
the French in this region, as denoted by the name, Francisca, four
years before the discoveries in that quarter, by Jacques Cartier,
and by the delineation of the western sea upon the Verrazano map,
establish the authenticity both of the voyage of Verrazzano and the

All this is erroneous. There was no edition of Ptolemy published in
1530 at Basle, or elsewhere, known to bibliographers. The map to
which reference is made, and which is reproduced by Mr. Kohl, was
first printed in 1540 at Basle, in an edition of Ptolemy with new
maps, both of the new and old world, and with new descriptions of
the countries embraced in them, printed on the back of each,
accompanied by a geographical description of the modern state of the
countries of the old world by Sebastian Munster. [Footnote:
Geographia Universalis, vetus et nova, complectens Claudii Ptolemai
Alexandrini enarrationis libros VIII. * * * Succedunt tabulos
Ptolemaice, opera Sebastiani Munsteri nto paratos. His adjectos sunt
plurime novae tabulae, moderna orbis faciem literis & pictura
explicantes, inter quas quaedam antehac Ptolemao non fuerunt
additae. Sm. fol. Basiteae apud Henricum Petrum Meuse Martio Anno
MDXI.] In all the editions of Ptolemy, containing maps of the new
world, before the year 1540, North America was represented according
to the mistaken ideas of Waltzemuller on that subject in 1513, and
without regard to the discoveries which took place after his
edition. The maps of Munster constituted a new departure of the
Ptolemies in this respect, and were intended to represent the later
discoveries in the new world. They were reprinted several times at
Basle by the same printer, Henri Pierre (Lelewell II. 176, 208). In
the first edition, which is now lying before us, the map in
question, number 45, bears the title of Novae Insalae XVII. Nova
Tabula. It is an enlarged representation of the portion relating to
the new world of another map, No. 1, in the same volume, called
Typas Universalis, a map of the whole world, which appears here also
as a new map, and represents, for the first time in the Ptolemaic
series, the straits of Magellan in the south, New France in the
north, and the coast running continuously, north and NORTHEAST, from
Florida to Newfoundland.

Upon this map a deep gulf is shown, indenting America from a strait
in the north, which leads from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in the
region of Hudson's straits, in latitude 60 Degrees N. This gulf runs
southerly into the continent as far as latitude 40 Degrees N.,
approaching the Atlantic coast, and in that respect, alone, conforms
to the representation of the western sea on the maps of Verrazano
and Lok. It differs materially, however, from that sea, and
indicates an entirely different meaning and origin. It is simply a
gulf, or deep bay, like Hudson's bay, but reaching further south,
being land-locked on all sides, except the north, as high as
latitude 60 Degrees N.; whereas the western sea, on the other maps,
is, as already observed, an open sea, extending westerly from the
isthmus in latitude 40 Degrees, without intervening land,
uninterruptedly to India. The intention of the delineation of this
portion of the map, is not equivocal. For the first time, on any
map, there is found upon it the name of Francisca, which is placed
above the parallel of 50 Degrees N. latitude and above that of C.
Britonum, designated thus by name, in the proper position of Cape
Breton. It is placed between the river St. Lawrence, which also is
represented but not named, and the gulf before mentioned. This name,
Francisca, [Footnote: Called Francese in the discourse of the French
captain of Dieppe.] or the FRENCH LAND, and the position, indicate
the then recent discoveries in that region, which were due to the
French under Jacques Cartier, and which could properly belong to no
other exploration of the French. The gulf, no doubt, relates to the
great lakes or fresh water sea of which Cartier had heard from the
natives, as he himself mentions. (Hakluyt, III. 225.)

With the correction, therefore, of the date of the Munster map, the
argument in favor of the authenticity either of the Verrazzano
discovery or of the Verrazano map, based upon the recognition by the
Munster map, of that discovery immediately after it is alleged to
have taken place, or after the alleged construction of the Verrazano
map, in 1529, and before any other voyages were made by the French
to that region, falls entirely to the ground. And with the actual
representation upon it of the discoveries of Cartier, without any
allusion to the alleged discoveries of Verrazzano or the pretensions
of the Verrazano map, while giving the latest discoveries in
America, it is fairly to be concluded that both were unheard of, or
utterly discredited by the author of the Munster map.

The map of Agnese stands, therefore, as the earliest chart of an
acknowledged date showing the western sea, and that is independently
of the Verrazzano discovery, or the Verrazano map. The hitherto
unpublished maps produced by Mr. Kohl, also for the purpose of
proving the influence of the Verrazzano discovery, fail entirely of
that object. The first of them, in point of date, the sketch (No.
XV. c) from the portolano of 1536, preserved in the Bodleian library
at Oxford, shows a track of navigation from the north of France,
THENCE TO CATHAY. There is no representation of the western sea, as
shown on the Verrazano map, but on the contrary, the whole of the
western coast of North America is shown conjecturally in a different
form, by dotted lines. So far as this map affords any indication on
the subject, it refers to the route of Cartier, and delineates the
Atlantic coast according to the Spanish map of Ribero, that is, with
a trending of the coast in a more northerly direction than the
Verrazano map, and with the peculiar return of that coast westerly,
in latitude 40 Degrees N., given on that map. The next chart (No.
XV. d) from a map made by Diego Homem in 1540, shows the western sea
nearly the same as on the map of Agnese, but conjecturally only;
while the representation of the Atlantic coast has the same
characteristics as the Bodleian and Agnese maps, showing its
derivation from Ribero and not the Verrazano map. The remaining
sketch given by Mr. Kohl (No. XV. b) from a map made by G. Ruscelli
in 1544, presenting the same features, as do the two others, in
regard to the Atlantic coast, puts beyond all question that the map
of Ribero is its authority, by adopting from it the name of Montagne
Verde which is applied by Ribero to the hills at the mouth of the
river San Antonio, in latitude 41 Degrees N., thereby certainly
excluding any recognition of the Verrazzano discovery or the
Verrazano map.

The first published map which refers to the Verrazzano discoveries,
that of Mercator in 1569, makes no reference to the Verrazano map,
and does not recognize it in any manner. Mercator was the first to
give the name of Claudia to the island of Louise, evidently
mistaking the name of the wife of Francis for that of his mother,
after whom the island was called, according to the letter, without
stating her name. Mercator gives a legend in which he mentions that
Verrazzano arrived on the coast on the 17th of March 1524, which is
the day according to the version of Ramusio, following our mode of
computation, as before explained. It is evident, therefore, that
Mercator had the Ramusio version before him, and not the Verrazano
map, as his authority on the subject. His delineation of the
Atlantic coast, moreover, is according to the plan of Ribero, and he
gives no indication of the western sea of the Verrazano map, but
mentions in a legend the fresh water inland sea spoken of by
Cartier, of the extent of which the Indians were ignorant.

The existence of the Verrazano map, much less its date, is obviously
not proven by any of the maps or charts to which reference has here
been made, and which are supposed to reflect some of its features,
or indicate the verity of the Verrazzano discovery. There is,
however, some evidence of a positive character, both historical and
cartographical, which points to the existence of this map in two
different forms, one originally not representing the Verrazzano
discovery, and the other subsequently, as now presented.

The existence of a Verrazano map in some form or other, as early as
1537, seems to be established by a letter of the commendatory,
Annibal Caro, written in that year. Caro, who became distinguished
among his countrymen for his polite learning, was, in early life,
secretary to the cardinal, M. de Gaddi, a Florentine, residing in
Rome. While thus engaged, he accompanied his patron on a journey to
the mines of Sicily, and there, from Castro, addressed a playful
letter to the members generally of the cardinal's household,
remaining at Rome. In this letter, which is dated the 13th of
October in that year, he writes to them: "I will address sometimes
one and sometimes another of you, as matters come into my mind. To
you, Verrazzano, a seeker of NEW WORLDS and their marvels, I cannot
yet say anything worthy of YOUR MAP, because we have not passed
through any country which has not been discovered by you or your
brother." [Footnote: "De le lettre familiari des commendatore
Annibal Caro," vol. 1. P. 6-7. Venetia, 1581.] This passage was
supposed by Tiraboschi to have been addressed to the navigator, and
as proving that he was alive at the time the letter was written. But
we now know that Verrazzano had then been dead ten years; besides,
it is not probable, inasmuch as the person addressed was one of the
servants of the prelate, that the navigator would have occupied that
position. M. Arcangeli suggests that the name is used by Caro merely
as a nom de guerre; [Footnote: "Discorso sopra Giovanni da
Verrazzano," p. 27, in "Archivio Storico Italiano," Appendice vol.
IX.] but in either case, whether borrowed or not, the remark plainly
enough refers to a Verrazzano map, which may POSSIBLY have been the
map of Hieronimo.

Hakluyt furnishes testimony which, if correct, shows the probable
existence of this map before 1529, BUT NOT IN ITS PRESENT FORM. In
the dedication to Phillip Sydney of his "Divers voyages touching the
discoveries of America, &c.," printed in 1582, he refers to the
probabilities of the existence of a northwest passage, and remarks
that, "Master John Verarzanus which had been THRISE ON THAT COAST in
an olde excellent mappe, which HE GAVE to King Henry the eight, and
is yet in custodie of Master Locke, doth so lay it out as is to bee
seene in the mappe annexed to the end of this boke, being made
according to Verarzanus plat." Hakluyt thus positively affirms that
the old map to which he refers was given by Verrazzano himself to
the king. What evidence he had of that fact he does not mention, but
he speaks of the map as if it had been seen by him, and probably
that was his authority. The map he declares of his own knowledge was
transferred, so far as regards the western strait, to the map of
Lok, which he himself publishes. Lok's map represents the northwest
passage as attempted by Frobisher in his several voyages, and as
continued from the termination of the English exploration, to a
western sea, a portion of which lying between the parallels of 40
Degrees N. and 50 Degrees N. latitude is laid down the same as it
appears on the Verrazano map, and bears the inscription of Mare de
Verrazana, 1524. The map of Lok is the first one upon which the
western sea is so called. The designation was undoubtedly the work
of Lok himself, as it is in conformity with his practice in other
parts of the map, where he denotes the discoveries of others in the
same way, that is, by their names with the dates of their voyages
annexed. He no doubt applied the name of Verrazzano to this ocean
from finding it represented on the old map given by Verrazzano to
the king, and obtained the date from the letter, of which Hakluyt
printed in the same volume a translation from the version in
Ramusio. It is certain that Verrazzano could not have been accessory
to declaring it a DISCOVERY by himself for the reason already
mentioned that no such sea, as there laid down, existed to have been

Lok's map represents on the Atlantic coast, in latitude 41 Degrees
N., the island alleged in the Verrazzano letter to have been named
after the king's mother, and gives it the name of Claudia. That it
is the same island is proven by note to the translation of the
letter given in the volume in which this map is found. Hakluyt puts
in the margin, opposite the passage where mention of the island
occurs in the letter, the words "Claudia Ilande." From whatever
source this name was derived by them, whether from Mercator or by
their own mistake, both Lok and Hakluyt here indirectly bear their
testimony to the fact, that the name of Luisia was not upon the old
map given to Henry VIII, which Lok consulted, and Hakluyt described.
It is thus to be concluded that the map delivered to the king showed
the western sea, but not any discoveries of Verrazzano on the
Atlantic coast.

In another work, as yet unpublished, Hakluyt affords some additional
information in regard to the old map, which though brief, is quite
significant. He remarks that it is "a mightie large olde mappe in
parchment, made AS IT WOULD SEEM by Verrazanus, now in the custodie
of Mr. Michael Locke;" and he speaks also of an "olde excellent
GLOBE in the Queen's privie gallery, at Westm'r, w'h ALSO SEEMETH
to be of Verrazanus making." [Footnote: MS. in possession of the
Maine Historical Society, cited in Mr. Kohl's Discovery of Maine, p.
291, note.] Both the map and the globe are thus mentioned as the
PROBABLE workmanship of Verrazzano, from which it is probable that
there was no name upon them to determine that question positively.
The great size of the chart, the material upon which it was made,
and the authorship of the map and globe by the same person, are
circumstances which go to prove that they were both the work of a
professed cosmographer, and embraced the whole world; and
consequently that the map was not a chart made by the navigator,
showing his discoveries, but possibly the map of Hieronimo in its
original form. The construction of this old map, whoever was the
author, is fixed certainly BEFORE 1529, by the statement of Hakluyt,
that it was presented to Henry VIII by Verrazzano, the navigator,
inasmuch as Verrazzano came to his death in 1527. The Verrazzano
map, in its present phase, not claiming to have been made before the
year 1529, could not, therefore, have furnished the original
representation of the western sea, or have been the one used by Lok.

Hakluyt adds to his statement that Verrazzano had been three times
on the coast of America, which, if true, would disprove the
discovery set up in the letter. That document alleges that the coast
explored by him was entirely unknown and HAD NEVER BEFORE BEEN SEEN
BY ANY ONE before that voyage, and consequently not by him; and
that, as regards the residue of the coast north of 50 Degrees N.,
the Portuguese had sailed along it as far as the Arctic circle,
without finding any termination to the land, thus giving the
Portuguese as his authority for the continuity of the northern part
of the coast, and excluding himself from it. It is thus clearly
stated in the letter, that he had not been there before. It was
impossible that he could have, consummated two voyages to America,
and another to England, and made his court to the king, after 1524,
and before his last and fatal cruize along the coast of Spain, as
would have been necessary to have been done. In asserting that
Verrazzano made other voyages to America, Hakluyt is corroborated by
the ancient manuscripts, to which the author of the memoirs of
Dieppe refers, as mentioning that one Jean Verassen commanded a ship
which accompanied that of Aubert to Newfoundland in 1508. [Footnote:
Desmarquets. "Memoires chronologiques pour servir a l'histoire de
Dieppe," I. 100. (2 Vols. Paris, 1785.) It is worthy of remark that
this annalist seems to regard Verasseu and Verrazzano as different
persons, which proves, at least, that his authority was independent
of any matter connected with the Verrazzano claim. That these names
really relate, however, to the same individual, appears from the
agreement with Chabot] It is possible, therefore, that Verrazzano
made three voyages to Newfoundland, and was well acquainted with
that portion of the coast, before hostilities broke out between
Francis I. and the emperor, in 1522; at which time, as will be seen,
he entered upon his course of privateering; and that during the time
Francis was a prisoner at Madrid, in 1525-6, and the state of war
accordingly suspended, and Verrazzano thrown out of employment, he
visited England, and laid before the king a scheme of searching for
the northwest passage; a project which Henry had been long
meditating, as may be gathered from the proposition of Wolsey to
Sebastian Cabot in 1519, and the expedition actually sent out for
that purpose by that monarch under John Rut, in 1527. [Footnote:
Letter of Contarini, the Venetian ambassador in Spain, to the
Council of Ten. See "Calendar of State Papers &c. in Venice," 1520-
6. Edited by Rawdon Brown. No. 697, London, 1869. Purchas, III. p.
809.] It is evident that the representation of the western sea, upon
the map given to the king, was merely conjectural of its existence
in connection with the supposed strait, laid down upon the map,
according to Hakluyt. This explanation will serve also to account
most readily for the partial knowledge which the letter exhibits, in
regard to the customs and characteristics of the Indians of Cape
Breton, which might have been collected by the writer, from the
journals of those early voyages or other notes of Verrazzano in
relation to them; although the same information was obtainable from
others who had made similar voyages to that region, from Normandy
and Brittany.

It is thus established by the same testimony which furnishes the map
of Lok, taken in conjunction with its own teachings, that it was not
derived from the Verrazano map in its present shape, and does not
represent the Verrazzano discovery.

The only evidence of the existence of the Verrazano map in any
cosmographical production whatever, book, chart or globe, so far as
known, independently of its history in the Borgian collection, is a
copper globe, found by the late Buckingham Smith in Spain, a few
years ago, and now in the possession of the New York Historical
Society. This globe purports to have been constructed by Euphrosynus
Ulpios in 1542. Inscribed upon it, in a separate scroll, is a
dedication, in these words; "Marcello Cervino S. R. E. Presbitero
Cardinali D.D. Rome." Cervinus had been archbishop of Florence and
was afterwards raised from the cardinalate to the pontificate under
the title of Marcellus II. This globe represents the western sea in
the same form as it is on the Verrazano map, and contains a legend
on the country lying between the isthmus and Cape Breton, in these
words: "Verrazana sive Nova Gallia a Verrazano Florentino Comperta
anno sal. M.D." In all other respects it differs essentially from
the map in its description of the coast. Florida and Cape Breton are
laid down in their true positions, and the isthmus occurs at the
parallel of 33 degrees N. latitude, instead of 41 degrees. The
direction of the coast, between the two points just mentioned, is
more northerly, and the length of it consequently much reduced. The
names along the coast, so far as the photograph of the map furnishes
the means of comparison, are entirely different, except that Piaggia
de Calami appears north of the isthmus. Dieppa and Livorno are not
found upon it. But the legend affords indubitable evidence that the
Maker had consulted the map. The name of Verrazana applied to the
land is found no where else no applied, except on the map. But the
incompleteness in which the date of the discovery is left, us if
written 15--, proves that the maker was unable to ascertain it fully
from his authority; the map, therefore, must have been his sole

As to the authenticity of this globe there is no other evidence than
that it has the appearance of an old instrument, and its
representations generally correspond with the state of geographical
knowledge of the period of its date. [Footnote: It measures forty-
two inches in circumference. Hist. Mag. (New York) 1862, p. 202. A
map showing so much of it as relates to North America, was
lithographed for the dissertation of Mr. Smith, and is here
reproduced.] Adopting its own story of its construction, it proves
the existence of the Verrazano map, with the Verrazzano discoveries
upon it, and consequently the existence of the claim as early as the
year 1542.

The other references to a Verrazzano map, prove nothing on the
subject of the discoveries, unless the letter of Annibal Caro, which
alludes to discoveries by the brothers Verrazzani, in connection
with a map, he deemed as referring to them. In that case, 1537 would
be the earliest mention of them, in any known publication. Lok and
Hakluyt, as has been already seen, clearly do not refer to any map
showing the Verrazzano discoveries. The period of the fabrication of
the letter may therefore, possibly, be fixed between 1536 and 1542.
But whether this period be properly deduced or not, is immaterial;
since in no event can an earlier date than 1529 be assigned by any
evidence outside of the letter, for the existence of the Verrazzano
claim; which year, as is now to be shown, was long after the coast
had been discovered and made known to the world by another.



In the proofs adduced, outside of the letter addressed to the king,
no direct evidence appears in regard to the discovery. There is no
testimony to be found of any one who took part in the setting forth
or equipment of the expedition, or in the prosecution of the voyage,
or who was personally cognizant of the return of the Dauphiny. No
chart or private letter, no declaration or statement of the
navigator, in regard to the extraordinary discovery achieved by him,
is produced or mentioned, although he belonged to a family of some
note in Tuscany, which still existed in the present century. In this
respect, Italy, the birth place and home of Verrazzano, is as blank
and barren as France. All that is really shown of any pertinency is
the single circumstance, that possibly the claim to the discovery
was advanced in Italy, and in that country alone, at the time of the
construction of the globe of Ulpius in 1542, but not anterior to the
year 1529, or until five years after the event, when, according to
the Verrazano map, if that he accepted as genuine in its present
form, and the most favorable construction be upon its ambiguous
legend, of which that inscription is capable, the claim was for the
first time announced. And thus there is nothing showing that the
letter or its pretensions were known before the last named year. In
view this important fact, and the absence of any evidence whatsoever
corroborative of the letter or its contents, it is not unreasonable
to believe that the letter was an attempt to appropriate to the
Florentine the glory which belonged to Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese
pilot, who actually discovered and explored this coast, in 1525, in
the service of the emperor, Charles V, and whose voyage and
exploration were immediately thereupon made known, both, in Spain
and Italy. That such, indeed, was the source from which the
Verrazzano letter was derived is susceptible of demonstration; and
for that purpose some account of the voyage and discoveries of Gomez
and their publication becomes necessary.

Gomez, who was born in Oporto and reared there to a sea-faring life,
for some reason, unexplained; left Portugal and entered into the
Spanish service, in which he was appointed pilot in 1518, at the
some time that Sebastian Cabot was created pilot major in the same
service. He proposed immediately to the king, to go in search of a
new route to the. Moluccas or Spice islands recently discovered by
the Portuguese, and which, he affirmed, were within the limits
assigned to Spain by the line of demarkation. He exhibited a chart
constructed by him showing this fact, [Footnote: Cespedes,
"Regimento de Navigacion," 148.] from which it may be inferred that
he had already made a voyage to those islands. The way which he
proposed then to take is not mentioned. At the same juncture
Magellan also arrived in Spain and tendered his services to find a
new route to the Moluccas, specifically by the west, as delineated
on a globe which he produced. Magellan prevailed in his suit, which
was the reason, according to Pigafetta, the historian of the
expedition, that the emperor did not give Gomez any caravels to
discover new lands. [Footnote: Primo Viaggio, 38] It is to be
inferred, therefore, that the first route proposed by Gomez was not
by the west. The fleet of Magellan set sail on his expedition in
September 1519, with Gomez as chief pilot, an arrangement intended
to conciliate and combine both interests; but it was not a happy
one. Actuated, it is charged, by a spirit of jealousy and a desire
to embarrass Magellan, and render his voyage abortive, Gomez at the
very moment that success was assured, and the fleet was entering the
strait which led into the Pacific, abandoned his commander; and
profiting by the opportunity which was offered him in being detached
by Magellan with the San Antonio, one of the ships, to make a
reconnaissance in another direction, joined with certain mutineers,
seized the captain of that vessel, and returned with her to Spain,
arriving there in March 1521. The reasons assigned by him for this
desertion of the expedition, were the severity of the treatment of
the crew by Magellan, a want of provisions and the unseaworthiness
of the San Antonio. He was, however, held by the council of the
Indies to answer to any charges which might be preferred against him
by Magellan on his return, and in the meantime his pay was
sequestered and his property on board the ship attached. In
September 1522, the Victoria, the only ship of Magellan's squadron
which succeeded in returning to Spain, arrived with the news of
Magellan's discovery, and also of his death in a conflict with the
natives of the island of Tidore. Upon this information proceedings
against Gomez were discontinued and his property released.

The success of Magellan served the more to stimulate the purpose of
Gomez to undertake a search for the same object. It was supposed at
that time, by Sebastian Cabot and others, that the northern parts of
America were broken up into islands, but nothing positively was
known in relation to them, except in the region of Newfoundland.
Between that country and South Carolina, then recently discovered by
the joint expedition of the licentiates, all was unknown; and it was
considered not improbable that a passage might be found between
those points, through to Cathay and the Moluccas, the same as had
been discovered in the south, by Magellan. Gomez, released from his
disabilities, renewed his application to the emperor for permission
to prosecute his search, proposing now to make it through the
northern seas; and on the 27th of August 1523 a cedule was made to
that effect authorizing him to go with a caravel of fifty toneles
burden on the discovery of eastern Cathay. [Footnote: Herrera, III.
Iv. 20. The cedule is still extant in the archives at Seville.] In
consequence, however, of the remonstrance of the king of Portugal
against any interference with his rights to the Moluccas, Charles
suspended the prosecution of further voyages in that quarter until
the question should be determined to which of the two crowns those
islands belonged by virtue of the pope's demarcation. The voyage of
Gomez, and also that of Cabot to the La Plata, were delayed until
the decision of the junta convened at Badajos by the two monarchs
for the purpose of making this determination. To this body Gomez, in
conjunction with Sebastian Cabot and Juan Vespucci as pilots, and
Diego Ribero as cartographer, was attached,--a circumstance which
shows the high estimation in which his nautical knowledge was held.
The proceedings closed in May 1524, too late for Gomez to make his
arrangements to leave in that year. These were completed, however,
in February 1525, in which month he set sail from Coruna, in the
north of Spain, in a single caravel, on his voyage of discovery,
[Footnote: Navarrete III. 179. Peter Martyr, Dec. VII. 8.] Peter
Martyr, after mentioning the proposed expedition of Sebastian Cabot
to the south, thus refers in July 1524, to that of Gomez and its
destination. "It is also decreed that one Stephanus Gomez, who also
himselfe is a skillful navigator, shal goe another way, whereby,
betweene the Baccalaos and Florida, long since our countries, he
saith he will finde out a waye to Cataia: one onely shippe, called a
Carvell, is furnished for him, and he shall have no other thing in
charge then to search out whether any passage to the great Chan,
from out the diuers windings and vast compassings of this our Ocean,
were to be founde." [Footnote: Peter Martyr, Dec. VI. 10. Eden's

Gomez commenced his exploration on the coast of South Carolina, and
proceeding thence northwardly, reached the Rio de la buelta, where,
as that name denotes, he commenced his return, on the island of Cape
Breton. He carefully observed the rivers, capes and bays, which
occur within those limits, entering the Chesapeake, Delaware, Hudson
and Penobscot, to which he gave appropriate names, derived from the
church calendar, or from some characteristic of the locality. He was
for a while encouraged to believe, in consequence of the great flood
of water which he found issuing from the Penobscot, or Rio de Gamos,
(Stag river), that he had there fallen upon the desired strait.
Though unsuccessful in the object of his search, he nevertheless
accomplished an important service for geographical science, in
determining that no such passage existed within the region he had
sailed. Taking in a cargo of Indians from the islands of the great
bay, he continued his course to the south, and running along the
coast of Florida, returned to Spain by way of Cuba. [Footnote: Peter
Martyr, Dec. VI. c. 10. Herrera, III, VIII. S. Cespedes, Yslario
General, in MS. Cespedes was cosmographer major of the Indies in
Seville and wrote many geographical works early in the seventeenth
century. His Yslario General, embracing a history of the islands of
the world, exists in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.]

The authenticity of this voyage is established by Oviedo and Peter
Martyr both of whom were eyewitnesses of the Indians which Gomez
brought home and exhibited at Toledo. Both of these writers have
given short accounts of the voyage, which, as it was not successful
in the purpose for which it was undertaken and promised no returns
of gold, excited no public attention. The results were, however,
interesting to the hydrographers of Spain, who soon prepared charts
of the coast, according to his exploration, among which that made by
Diego Ribero, associate of Gomez at the junta of Badajos, and royal
cosmographer, will demand especial attention.

The voyage of Gomez and what he had accomplished became immediately
known to the world at large by printed publications. He arrived home
on his return in November 1525; and three months afterwards Oviedo
published his first work, addressed to the emperor, in which he
makes the following brief mention of the expedition.

"Shortly after that yowr Maiestie came to the citie of Toledo, there
arryved in the moneth of November, Stephen Gomes the pylot who the
yeare before of 1524 by the commandement of yowre maiestie sayled to
the Northe partes and founde a greate parte of lande continuate from
that which is cauled Baccaleos discoursynge towarde the West to the
XL and XLI degree, fro whense he brought certeyne Indians, of the
whiche he brought sum with hym from thense who are yet in Toledo at
this present, and of greater stature than other of the firme land as
they are commonlye. Theyr coloure is much like the other of the
firme lande. They are great archers, and go couered with the skinnes
of dyuers beastes both wylde and tame. In this lande are many
excellent furres, as marterns, sables and such other rych furres, of
the which the sayde pilot brought summe with hym into Spayne. They
have sylver and copper and certeyne other metalles. They are
Idolaters and honoure the soonne and moone, and are seduced with
suche superstitions and errours as are they of the firme."
[Footnote: Oviedo de la natural hystoria de las Indias. (Toledo, 15
Feby. 1526), fol. 14; and under the title of Relucion Sumaria, p.
16, in Barcia's Historiadores primitivas, tome 1. Translated in
Eden's Decades of the new worlde, fol. 213-14.]

The details of the exploration appear more distinctly upon the
charts which the royal cosmographers at Seville prepared, with the
names given to the prominent points of the coast. Two of these maps
are still extant, bearing the respective dates of 1527 and 1529, the
first by an anonymous cartographer, and the last by Ribero.
[Footnote: Both these maps, so far as they relate to America, have
been reproduced, with very valuable notes and illustrations, by Mr.
Kohl in Die beiden altesten general karten von Amerika. Weimar
1860.] The whole line of coast from the river Jordan, in latitude 33
degrees 10', visited by both the expeditions of Ayllon, to Cape
Breton, is laid down upon them with sufficient exactitude. The names
indicate the exploration to have been made by Gomez the whole
distance between those points; for no other navigator of Spain, in
the language of which they are given, had sailed within those limits
up to the time these maps bear date. The only question which has
been raised in this regard relates to the expeditions of Ayllon; but
the first of these, a joint descent upon the coast to carry off
Indians in 1520 by two vessels belonging to the licentiates Ayllon
and Matienzo of St. Domingo, proceeded no further than the Jordan,
as we learn from the testimony of Pedro de Quejo, the pilot of
Matienzo. [Footnote: Proceedings before the Auditors at St Domingo,
by virtues of a royal decree of Nov. 1525, in relation to the
dispute between Ayllon and Matienzo concerning their discovery,
preserved in MS. at Seville.] The expedition which Ayllon made
afterwards in 1526, in person, to the same coast, proceeded directly
to the river Jordan, and after remaining there a few days, ran
southwesterly along the coast to Gualdape or St Helena, where Ayllon
died, and from whence it thereupon immediately returned home to St
Domingo, without any further attempt at exploration. [Footnote: tom.
III. p 624. (Madrid 1853.) Mr. Kohl states (Discovery of Mains, 397)
that the ships of Ayllon made an extensive survey of the coast,
NORTH of the Jordan, soon after their arrival in the country. In
this he is in error; into which he appears to have been misled by
Navarrete, a part of whose language he quotes in a note, as that of
Oviedo. Navarret, referring to the portion of Oviedo's history, not
then (1899) published, as his authority, says on this point that
after leaving the river Jordan the ships of Ayllon proceeded to
Gualdape, "distante cuarenta o cicuenta leguas mas al norte" distant
forty or fifty leagues more to the north; whereas the language of
Oviedo, as contained in the recently published edition of his work,
is, "acordaron de yrse a pohlar la costa delante hacia la costa
accidental, e fueron a un grand rio (quarenta o quarenta e cico
leguas de alli, pocas mas o menos) que si dice Gualdape," (ut supra,
p. 628) they agreed to go and settle the coast further on towards
the west coast, and sent to a large river (forty or fifty-five
leagues from that place, a little more or less) which is called
Gualdape. The course of the coast at these points is northeast and
southwest. A westerly course was therefore to the SOUTH and not to
the north. Besides, Oviedo states that the Jordan was in latitude 33
degrees 40' and that Gualdape was the country through which the
river St. Helena ran, which he also calls the river of Gualdape, and
which in another part of his history he places in latitude 33
degrees N., and expressly stating that the Jordan was north of the
St. Helena, towards Cape Trafalgar, or Cape Fear (tom. II p. 144.)
Ayllon, therefore did not sail north of the Jordan, and the names on
the Ribero map, north of that river, are not attributed to his

This disastrous expedition, therefore, went no further north, than
the Jordan or Santee. It demonstrated the falsity of the stories
told to Peter Martyr by Francis, the Chicorane, as he was called,
one of the Indians seized in the first expedition and taken by
Ayllon to Spain, of the vast provinces with uncouth names which were
upon his authority transferred to the royal cedule granted to Ayllon
on the 12th June, 1523. [Footnote: P. Martyr, Dec. VII. o.2;
Navarrete III. 153.] That region remained unknown, therefore, until
the voyage of Gomez, and to it and it alone can the names on these
maps, within the limits before designated, be attributed.

These maps passed at once into Italy; and that of Ribero, bearing
the date of 1529 and the arms of the then reigning pontiff, Clement
VII, and his successors, the most finished of the three copies known
to exist, is still to be found at Rome, and is reasonably supposed
to have been the original; and like the last decade of Peter Martyr
in 1526, which mentions the discoveries of Gomez, to have been sent
to the Holy Father at his desire, in order to keep him informed of
the latest discoveries. [Footnote: Nouvelles Annales des Voyages.
Nouvelle series, tome xxxv. Annee 1853. Tome troisieme. Paris. Les
Papes geographes et la cartographic du Vatican. Par R. M. Thomassey.
Appendix p. 275.] Other copies of the Spanish charts showing the
exploration of Gomez, found their way in to Italy about the same
time, proving that there was then no interdict against their
exportation from Spain to that country, at least. [Footnote: In
regard to the freedom which the charts of the Spanish navigators so
enjoyed there is confirmatory proof in Ramusio. In the preface to
his third volume, dedicated to his friend Fracastor of Florence, he
writes: "All the literary men daily inform you of any discovery made
known to them by captain or pilot coming from those parts, and among
others the aforesaid Sig. Gonzalo (Oviedo) from the island of
Hispaniola, who every year visits you once or twice with some new
made chart."] This appears by a volume which was published in Venice
in 1534 under the auspices of Ramusio, [Footnote: M. d'Avezac in
Bulletin de la Societe de Geographic for July and August, 1872.]
embracing a summary of the general history of the West Indies by
Peter Martyr and a translation of Oviedo's natural history of the
Indies of 1526, containing the account of Gomez' voyage, with a map
of America upon which the discoveries of Gomez are laid down the
same as upon the Spanish maps of 1527 and 1529, before mentioned.
The following colophon, giving the origin of this map, is to be
found at the end of the translation of Oviedo: "Printed at Venice,
in the month of December 1534. For the explanation of these books
there has been made an universal map of the countries of all the
West Indies, together with a special map, taken from two marine
charts of the Spaniards, one of which belonged to Don Pietro
Martire, Councillor of the Royal Council of the said Indies, and was
made by the pilot and master of marine charts, Nino Garzia de
Loreno, in Seville. The other was made also by a pilot of the
majesty, the emperor, in Seville. With which maps the reader can
inform himself of the whole of this new world, place by place, the
same as if he had been there himself." [Footnote: This volume has no
general title, but contains three books, primo, secondo & ultimo
della historia de l'India Occidentali. It is very rarely found with
the large map of America. We are indebted to the kindness of James
Lonox, Esq. of New York, for the use of a perfect copy in this
respect.] The special map here referred to is one of Hispaniola, in
the same volume, and was undoubtedly taken from that of Nuno Garcia,
in the possession of Peter Martyr. It was therefore made in or
before the year 1526, since Martyr died in that year. The map of
America, by the pilot of the emperor at Seville, was probably the
anonymous map of 1527 before mentioned, as it appears not to have
had the name of the author upon it. These facts prove at least that
the map of Ribero was in Italy in the year 1529, and that the map of
1527 may have been there before that year.

It was from the delineation of the coast on one or other of these
two maps, which are in that respect almost identically the same,
that the description of it in the Verrazzano letter was derived.
This will now be made manifest by the application of that
description to the map of Ribero, so much of which as is necessary,
is here reproduced for that purpose.

In making the proof thus proposed, it is to be borne in mind that
the letter is positive and explicit as to the extent and limits of
the discovery or exploration which it describes. It fixes them by
three different modes which prove each, other: 1. By giving the
latitude of the commencement and termination of the voyage along the
coast; 2. By a declaration in two different forms of the entire
distance run, and 3. By a statement of intermediate courses and
distances, from point to point, between the landfall and the place
of leaving the coast, separately, making in the aggregate the whole
distance named. There can be therefore no mistake as to the meaning
of the writer in respect of the extent of the exploration.

As to its limits and extent, we have already had occasion to quote
his language in impressing upon Francis the great length of the
voyage; giving both at the same time: "In the voyage," he says,
"which we made by order of your majesty, in addition to the 92
degrees which we ran towards the west from our point of departure,
before we reached land in latitude 34, we have to count 300 leagues
which we ran northeastwardly and 400 nearly east, along the coast,
before we reached the 50th parallel of north latitude, the point
where we turned our course from the shore towards home." This
distance is also mentioned in the total at the end of the voyage,
where he says: "finding our provisions and naval stores nearly
exhausted, we took in wood and water, and determined to return to
France, having discovered 700 leagues of unknown lands."

The several courses and distances run are described in the letter,
from point to point, as follows: [Footnote: The translation of Dr.
Cogswell, in N.Y. Hist. Collections, is here used, somewhat

First. "We perceived that it (the land) stretched to the SOUTH and     L.
coasted along in that direction in search of some port in which we
might come to anchor, and examine into the nature of the country,
but for FIFTY LEAGUES we could find none in which we could lie        50

SECOND. "Seeing the coast still stretched to the south we resolved
to change our course and stand to the northward, and as we still had
the same difficulty, we drew in with the land, and sent a boat
ashore. Many people, who were seen coming to the sea-side, fled at
our approach. We found not far from this people another. This
country is plentifully supplied with lakes and ponds of running
water and being in the latitude of 34, the air is salubrious, pure
and temperate, and free from the extreme both of heat and cold. We
set sail from this place continuing to coast along the shore, which
we found stretching out to the west (east?) While at anchor on this
coast, there being NO HARBOR to enter, we sent the boat on shore
with twenty-five men to obtain water. Departing hence, and always
following the shore, which stretched to the NORTH, we came in the
space of FIFTY LEAGUES to another land which appeared beautiful and    50
full of the largest forests."

THIRD. "After having remained here three days riding at anchor on
the coast, as we could find no harbor we determined to depart, and
coast along the shore to the NORTHEAST. After proceeding ONE HUNDRED
LEAGUES, we found a very pleasant situation among some STEEP HILLS
THROUGH WHICH A VERY LARGE RIVER, deep at its mouth forced its way    100
to the sea."

FOURTH. "We took the boat and entering the river we found the
country on its banks well peopled. All of a sudden a violent
contrary wind blew in from the sea, and forced us to return to our
ship. Weighing anchor, we sailed EIGHTY LEAGUES TOWARDS THE EAST, as
the coast stretched in that direction, and always in sight of it. At
length we discovered an island, triangular in form, about ten
leagues from the mainland. We gave it the name of your majesty's       80
illustrious mother."

FIFTH. "We did not land there, as the weather was unfavorable, but
proceeded to another place, FIFTEEN LEAGUES distant from the island,
where we found a very excellent harbor. It looks towards the south,
on which side the harbor is half a league broad. Afterwards, upon
entering it, the extent between the east and the north is twelve
leagues, and then enlarging itself, forms a VERY LARGE BAY, twenty     15
leagues in circumference."

SIXTH. "Having supplied ourselves with every thing necessary, on the
sixth of May we departed from the port and sailed one hundred and
fifty leagues, keeping so close to the coast as never to lose it
from our sight. WE DID NOT STOP TO LAND, as the weather was very
favorable for pursuing our voyage, and the country presented no       150
variety. The shore stretched to the EAST"

SEVENTH. "And FIFTY LEAGUES beyond, MORE TO the NORTH, where we
found a MORE ELEVATED COUNTRY. The people were entirely different
from the others we had seen, so rude and barbarous that we were
unable by any signs we could make, to hold communication with them.
INTERIOR with twenty-five men."

EIGHTH. "Departing from thence we kept along the coast, steering
BETWEEN EAST AND NORTH, and found the country more pleasant and
open. Within FIFTY LEAGUES we discovered thirty two islands, all       50
near the mainland."

NINTH. "We had no intercourse with the people. After sailing between
east and north ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY LEAGUES MORE we determined to
return France, having discovered 700 leagues of unknown lands."       150
                                                  Making a total of   695 L.

Now let the reader trace for himself, these courses and distances,
as shown on the accompanying sketch of the map of Ribero. according
to the following scale, [Proofreaders Note: scale omitted]
representing the measurements in the letter; which are calculated on
the basis of 15.625 leagues to a degree, while those on the map are
17 1/2 leagues; and he will find, that not only is the whole
littoral distance between the parallels of 34 degrees and 50 degrees
on the map about seven hundred leagues, but that the several courses
and distances, of which this entire distance is composed according
to the letter, correspond with similar divisions on the map, proving
to a certainty that this map was the source from which the line of
coast described in the letter was derived, or the reverse.

It will be observed that the FIRST course, beginning according to
the letter at the landfall, in latitude 34 N., commences on the map
a little north of C. Trafalgar as there laid down, now Cape Fear,
and proceeds southerly fifty leagues to C. de S. Roman.

The first course being retraced, the SECOND, also of fifty leagues,
starting from the landfall near C. Traffalgar, extends to C. de S.
Juan of the map, the well known point of Hatteras.

The THIRD, runs from C. de S. Juan, one hundred leagues NORTHWARDLY,
to the Montana verde, the Navesinks at the mouth of the Hudson,
"described as the pleasant situation among steep hills, through
which a very large river forced its way into the sea." The perfect
identification of this course and distance has already been

The fourth extends EASTERLY from the Montana verde eighty leagues
and strikes the islands of the C. de Muchas yllas, or Cape Cod,
where, among the Elizabeth islands, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket,
the island of Louise is intended by the letter to be placed. This
course, easterly, fixes the position of that island at this point.

The FIFTH course and distance embrace fifteen leagues from the
islands of C. de Muchas yllas, but the direction is not stated, and
is left to be inferred from the fact which is stated that they
proceeded on to another place where they entered a harbor, at the
mouth of a large bay opening between NORTH and east, of twelve
leagues in width. This course must therefore have been NORTHERLY and
proceeded along the easterly shore of C. de Muchas yllas or Cape

The sixth runs easterly from the harbor on the C. de Muchas yllas,
or Cape Cod, one hundred and fifty leagues EASTERLY which include
the opening of the great bay of twelve leagues and proceeds along
the Arecifes or C. Sable on the coast of Nova Scotia to the
Sarcales, probably Cape Canso at Chedabucto bay, WHERE THE COAST

The SEVENTH, from the Sarcales, fifty leagues MORE TO THE NORTH,
extends along the tierra de los Bretones or island of C. Breton to
the cape of that name, passing the R. de la buelta, the easterly
limit of the voyage of Gomez. From this river easterly the map is
compiled, as the names indicate, from Portuguese charts.

The EIGHTH, from C. Breton FIFTY LEAGUES between north and east,
runs along the easterly coast of the tierra de los Bretones, to the
supposed northerly shore of the bay between that land and the tierra
de los Bacallaos or Newfoundland, but in reality the southerly
entrance into the gulf of St. Lawrence,

The NINTH from the termination of the last course, embraces one
hundred and fifty leagues between north and east along the coast of
the Bacallaos to C. Rasso or Cape Race and thence along the easterly
coast of the Bacallaos to the Y. de Bacallaos In latitude 50 degrees
N., the point of departure from the coast, and making the complement
of 695 leagues, in all.

Such exact and unexceptional concurrence in the observation of
distances for over two thousand miles, as this comparison exhibits,
by two different navigators sailing at different times, under
different circumstances of wind and weather, and under different
plans of exploration, is impossible. So far as regards the distances
running north and south, such an agreement might happen, because the
truth in that direction was ascertainable by any one, by means of
observations of the latitude; but not as regards those running east
and west; for these, no means of determining them existed, as before
explained: and accordingly on the Ribero map they are grossly
incorrect. From the Montana verde to the C. de Muchas yllas, that
is, from the Hudson to the west end of the peninsula of Cape Cod,
the distance appears to be eighty leagues, or nearly double its true
length; while the width of the great bay between the C. de Muchas
yllas and the Arecifes, or from Cape Cod to Cape Sable is shown to
be less than twenty leagues, whereas it is more than fifty. And so
also from the Arecifes to the Sarcales, from Cape Sable to Cape
Canso, it is one hundred and thirty-five leagues on the map, or
twice the actual distance. These great errors show how impossible it
was at that time to calculate longitudinal distances correctly. But
two navigators, sailing independently as mentioned, could not have
fallen into these errors exactly to the same extent, exaggerated in
the two cases by the same excessive length, and in the other by the
same extraordinary diminution. Yet in the particulars just described
the map and the letter correspond precisely. Such a coincidence of
mistakes, could not have been accidental.

One of these documents must, therefore, have been the source of the
other. In determining between them, there can be no mistake in
adopting as the original, that one which has a certain and
indisputable authenticity, and rejecting that which is unsupported
by any other testimony. The voyage of Gomez was long the subject of
consideration and preparation, and was heralded to the world for
months before it was undertaken. The order of the king of Spain
under which it was made, still exists in the archives of that
kingdom. The results of the expedition were announced by credible
historians of the country, immediately after its return; and the
nautical information which it brought back, and in regard to which
alone it possessed any interest at the time, was transferred at once
to the marine charts of the nation, imperfectly it is true, and
spread before the world. These charts still remain in their original
form, as they were then prepared. With these incontrovertible facts
to sustain it, the discovery of Gomez must stand as established in
history and, consequently, the claim of Verrazzano must fall.
[Footnote: The map of Ribero is not a faithful representation of the
exploration of Gomez, in many respects. The tierra de Ayllon is made
to embrace a large portion of the country the coast of which was
discovered by Gomez. The bay of Santa Maria, or the Chesapeake, is
placed two degrees further south than it should he, that is, in
latitude 35 degrees, instead of 37 degrees N. The R. de los Gamos,
or Penobscot, mentioned by Cespedes, is not named at all. The
question, however, of its greater or less correctness is of no
importance on the present occasion; it is sufficient that it was
followed by the writer of the letter, erroneous as it was.]



The true history of Verrazzano, so far as known, is now to be given,
in order to make a final disposition of this story. Nothing is
preserved in relation to his early life. Even the year of his birth
is matter of conjecture. He is called by Ramusio, Giovanni da
Verrazzano, Florentine; and according to Pelli, was born about the
year 1485, His father was Piero Andrea, son of Bernardo, the son of
Bernardo of Verrazzano, a little town situated in the Val di Greve,
near Florence,--the latter Bernardo having belonged to the
magistracy of the priors in 1406. All that his eulogist was enabled
to gather concerning him, beyond this brief genealogy, is taken from
the Verrazzano letter and the discourse of Ramusio, relating how he
was killed, roasted and devoured by the savages in a second voyage
to America; [Footnote: The account which Ramusio gives of
Verrazzano, and the manner of his death, occurs in his Discourse on
Labrador, the Baccalaos and New France (vol. III fol. 41), in which,
after reffering to the Cortereaes and Sebastian Cabot, he adds:

"There also sailed along the said land, in the year 1524, a great
captain of the most Christian king in France, called Giovanni da
Verrazzano, a Florentine; and he ran along all the coast, as far as
Florida, as will be particularly seen by a letter of his, written to
the said king, which alone we have been able to have, because the
others have got astray in the troubles of the unfortunate city of
Florence. And in the last voyage which he made, having wished to
descend on the land with some companions, they were all put to death
by those people, and in the presence of those who remained on board
of the ship, were roasted and devoured. Such a wretched end had this
valiant gentleman, who, had not this misfortune intervened, would,
by the great knowledge and intelligence which he had of maritime
affairs, and of navigation, accompanied and favoured by the immense
liberality of King Francis, have discovered and made known to the
world, all that part of the earth, up to the north pole, and would
not have been contented with the Coast merely, but would have sought
to penetrate far inland, and as far as he could go; and many, who
have known and conversed with him, have told me, that he declared it
was his intention to seek to persuade the most Christian King to
send from these parts, a good number of people to settle in some
places of said coast which are of temperate climate, and very
fertile soil, with very beautiful rivers and harbors capable of
holding any fleets. The settlers in these places would be the
occasion of producing many good results, and among others of
bringing those rude and ignorant tribes to divine worship, and to
our most holy faith, and to show them how to cultivate the land,
transporting some of the animals of our Europe to those vast plains;
and finally, in time, having discovered the inland parts, and seen
whether among the many islands existing there, any passage to the
south sea exists, or whether the main land of Florida or the West
Indies continues up to the pole. This and so much is what has been
related of this so brave a gentleman, of whose toil and sweat, in
order that his memory may not remain buried, and his name pass into
oblivion, we have desired to give to the light the little that has
come into our hands."

Ramusio here distinctly asserts that the only document in relation
to the voyage of Verrazzano which he had been able to procure, was
the letter which he published; but he informs his readers that he
had been told by certain persons who had known and conversed with
Verrazzano, that it was the intention of the navigator, as he
himself declared, to seek permission from Francis I, his adopted
sovereign, in whose service it is claimed he made the discovery, to
make another voyage to the new found land for the purposes of
colonization and further exploration; and he also states, upon the
same or other authority, that Verrazzano on another voyage was
killed and eaten, by the natives of the country. Consequently,
Verrazzano must have made a second voyage to America and obtained
such permission from the king. But there is not a particle of
evidence in existence, apart from the declarations of these persons
to Ramusio, that any such permission was ever given, or that a
second voyage took place. It proved the credulity of Ramusio that he
received these naked statements without any examination.] with the
suggestion of Coronelli, the Venetian geographer, that the place
where he thus met his death was at the entrance of the gulf of St.
Lawrence, The spurious letter of Carli adds that he had been in
Egypt, Syria and most other parts of the world. The ancient
manuscripts of Dieppe, as we have seen, [Footnote: Ante, p. 112,
note] speak of one of his name who accompanied Aubert, in his voyage
to Newfoundland, in 1508; and the statement of Hakluyt before
referred to, gives some ground to believe that he was employed in
early voyages to that region, before he engaged in his operations
against the commerce of Spain.

What is certainly known of him relates almost exclusively to his
career as a French corsair, during the few years which intervened
between the breaking out of hostilities between Francis I and
Charles V, and his death, in 1527. His cruises, though directed
principally against the Spaniards, were not tender of the interests
of Portugal; and it is accordingly from Spanish and Portuguese
writers and documents of the period, that the little information
that exists in relation to him, is derived. He is called by the
former, Juan Florin or Florentin, or simply, the Florentine,--the
French corsair. He is designated on an occasion to be noted, as Juan
Florin of Dieppe. [Footnote: On the capture of the treasure fleet.
See Appendix, iv.] They appear to have known him by no other name.
They never heard of him as a discoverer, real or pretended, of new
countries, until long afterwards. The Verrazzano letter had not been
published when Peter Martyr, Oviedo and Gomara wrote; and when
Martyr and Gomara make mention of him, they do so only by the title
by which he was designated by the Spanish sailors. There was,
therefore, no opportunity for his identification by them in the
double character of a great discoverer, and a corsair; and it was
not until many years after the publication of the Verrazzano letter
that this identification was first declared by Barcio [Footnote:
Ensayo Chronologico, sub anno, 1524.].

There is no room, however; to doubt its entire correctness. That the
occupation of Verrazzano was that of a cruizer on the seas, is not
only declared in the letter ascribed to him, [Footnote: Ramusio
gives Verrazzano this character more distinctly than it appears in
the original version. One of the first alterations of the text, is
of the passage previously referred to, relating to the cruise of the
Normandy and Dauphiny, after their repairs in Brittany. The Carli
version, reads, in connection with the two ships on that occasion:
date restaurati ara V. S. M. inteso il discorso facemo con quelle
armate in querra per li liti di Spagna, that is, "where being
repaired, your serene majesty will have understood we made the
cruize with THIS FLEET OF WAR along the coasts of Spain," from which
it is to be implied only, that the cruize was for the purpose of
depredating on Spanish commerce. But Ramusio, as became his
practice, with this document at least, altered this clause into doce
poi che furono secondo il bisogno raccociate So ben armeggiate, per
i liti di Spagna ce n'andammo in carso, il che V. M. haverd inteso
per il profitto che ne facemmo; which Hakluyt fairly renders:
"Where, after we had repaired them in all points as was needfull,
and armed them very well, we took our course along by the coast of
Spain, which your majesty shall understand, BY THE PROFIT WE
RECEIVED THEREBY." As this cruize according to the date of the
letter must have taken place in 1523, this language, which is
Ramusio's own, as to the profit, would seem to refer almost to the
capture by Verrazzano of the treasure sent by Cortes, to the emperor
which occurred in the summer of that year, as hereafter related: but
Verrazzano's fleet consisted of six instead of two ships on that
occasion. The words of Ramusio, show, however, that he knew
Verazzano was a rover, in search of booty on the seas or at least,
that he so regarded him.] but is clearly established by the
agreement made by him with Chabot. Besides, there is no other
Giovanni, a Florentine, known in the history of the time, sailing in
that capacity under the French flag and from the same port of
Dieppe; and the references must have therefore been to him alone.

The appellation of corsair, does not necessarily imply a pirate. It
was applicable to any one engaged in the capture of vessels on the
high seas, whether authorized to do so or not. The state of
hostilities between France and Spain, protected Verrazzano under the
rules of war, as a subject of Francis, in capturing Spanish vessels,
as long as it continued; and the anomalous condition of affairs
existing at that time, according to the Portuguese historian,
Andrade, of private war between the subjects of the kings of France
and Portugal, without any public war between the sovereigns, would
seem to have justified him in similar acts in regard to the commerce
of the Portuguese, as long as the practice was not forbidden by the
kings of the two countries.

The first adventure of the kind, in which we hear of Verrazzano, was
in 1521. At this time a valuable commerce had grown up between Spain
and her conquests in the West Indies, and large amounts in gold,
pearls, sugar, hides and other articles were sent home. A ship, on
her way from Hispaniola, was captured by him, in the year just
mentioned, having on board eighty thousand ducats in gold, six
hundred pounds weight--eight ounces to the pound, of pearls and two
thousand arrobas, of twenty-five pounds each, of sugar.

[Footnote: Peter Martyr, Dec. v. c. 8. Epistola 771 (ed. 1671). In
this letter which is dated at Valladolid 19th November 1522, Martyr
writes: "Anuo quippe superiore Florinus quidam Gallus pirata navim
unam ab Hispaniola venientem, auro ad sommam octoginta millium
dragmarum, unionum vero libris octuolibus sexcentis & ruborum
saecari duobus millibus rapuit."]

In the following year, he took possession of seven vessels bound
from Cadiz to the Canary islands, with emigrants, but being
overhauled off the point of Gando, by vessels sent in pursuit, was
compelled to relinquish his prizes. [Footnote: Don Bartholome Garcia
del Castillo in Noticias de la historia de las islas de Canaria, by
Don Joseph de Viera y Clavijo. (Madrid 1772-84).]

He is next found apparently meditating an expedition against the
Portuguese possessions in Brazil, upon the pretext of discovering
other countries in the east, which that nation had not found. The
mention of this project is positive, and becomes curious and
interesting in the history of his life, as it affords the only
authentic evidence extant of any suggestion of a voyage of
discovery, contemplated by him towards Cathay. The design, if really
entertained, appears, however, to have fallen through and to have
been abandoned; but it may, nevertheless, have been the foundation
of the story of the alleged voyage. It is related by Francisco
d'Andrade, in his Chronicle of John III, the then reigning king of
Portugal. After referring to the death of Magellan, as an event
which removed a cause of difference between the crowns of Portugal
and Castile, growing out of the famous expedition of that navigator,
Andrade thus speaks of the state of affairs between the crowns of
France and Portugal.

"At that time, the king was told by some Portuguese, doing business
in France, that one Joao Varezano, a Florentine, offered himself to
Francis, to discover other kingdoms in the East, which the
Portuguese had not found, and that in the ports of Normandy a fleet
was being made ready under the favor of the admirals of the coast,
and the dissimulation of Francis, to colonize the land of Santa
Cruz, called Brazil, discovered and laid down by the Portuguese in
the second voyage to India. This, and the complaints every where
made of the injuries inflicted by French corsairs, rendered the
early attention of the king necessary.

"Accordingly he sent to France an ambassador, Joao da Silveyra, son
of Fernao da Silveyra, who delayed his going no longer than was
necessary to get ready. The purpose of his mission was to ask
Francis, inasmuch as there never had been war between them, but
rather an ancient peace and friendship, that he would give orders
throughout his kingdom for the many robberies and injuries,
perpetrated at sea on each other by the Portuguese and French, to
cease, (which tacitly was a private and not an open war, as in
general they were friends); that whatever could be found in his
ports taken from the Portuguese, should be restored, as what might
be found in the harbors of Portugal, taken from the French, should
be forthwith given up, and that to all who should ask justice in
this particular it should he rendered immediately and fully. The
king then required Francis likewise, to prevent his vessels from
making outfits to go to parts of the Portuguese conquest, whither it
was not lawful for even Portuguese vessels to sail or the people to

"Joao da Silveyra was well received at the court of France; but as
respects the specific matters of negotiation in his charge, he was
answered every way indefinitely, with reasons more specious than
sound which appeared to be given not so much to conclude the affaire
upon which he treated as to procrastinate and consume time.

     *       *       *       *       *       *       *

"Joao da Silveyra continued to solicit with much urgency the matters
in his keeping at the court of France, and received answers
respecting them according as the matters which were proposed in
Portugal, [the marriage of Carlota, daughter of Francis, with the
prince Dam Joao], gave hopes of advancement. The king said through
one Luys Homem that he greatly desired the fostering and increase of
ancient friendship. Following upon that in a few days he ordered the
vessels in his ports preparing for India to be stopped, stating that
he would arrange this in such a way that the king should be
satisfied. Measures were adopted for the restoration of all property
that was known to have been taken from the king or his vessels, and
expectations were entertained of an order making such provision
throughout as should put a stop to all the robberies and the evils
arising from them. Since this had been the principal object for
which the embassador had been sent to France, it appeared to the
king of Portugal, that it would be for his service that he should
order the return of Joao da Silveyra, and that the licentiate Pedro
Gomez Feixeira with Master Diego de Gevoeya, (to whom he likewise
wrote of this matter) should demand justice respecting certain
matters of his property and assist such of his vessels as were
seeking it. But before the order for the return of Silveyra had left
this court, information was received by one Jacome Monteyro (who by
authority of the king of France sought the restitution of property)
that Francis had issued new orders, commanding the general
sequestration of all the property of the king of Portugal and of his
people, the embargo of all his vessels to be found in the ports of
France, without the declaration of any new cause, or the statement
of any reason for this order, the opposite of what had before been
promulgated. The king in consequence, directed Joao da Silveyra to
take truthful information of the particulars and the reasons for
this proceeding and commanded his presence before the council, to
make them known.

"Following this, hostilities having been declared between the
kingdoms and seignories of the emperor and the king of France, they
waging cruel strife by land and sea, the French with an armament
afloat took a Spanish ship with gold, belonging to the emperor,
within the limits of the Portuguese coast, besides much property of
individuals, regardless of where she had been found, so little
attentive were they in those times, to Portugal and Portuguese;
seized her by force as belonging to their enemies, and carried her
off, as good prize of war. Pedro Batelho was sailing the while,
giving protection to the coast of Portugal, by the royal order,
according to the ancient custom of this kingdom, held always to be
useful and necessary, the value of which became evident from what
occurred afterwards, when it fell into disuse.

"The captain coming out one morning with his fleet, near those who
were carrying of the Spanish ship, he obliged them by force to take
in sail, as they hesitated to obey for some time, until he informed
himself of what had passed. Discovering that there were some doubts
and that deliberation would be necessary to do justice, he brought
all before him to the port of Lisbon, where the prize was
sequestrated and they made prisoners, and the case, by order of the
king, was sent to the Casa da Supplicacam where sentence was
pronounced the following year. This news, which was directly known
in France, made great change in the order of affairs with Portugal,
and produced the state they were afterwards in, during the following
nine consecutive years that Joao da Silveyra was there, in which
time, he accomplished nothing he had in hand, except to EMBARGO THE
VOYAGE OF THE FLORENTINE, of which mention is made before, and of
some few vessels of corsairs which was but sheer justice to
us."[Footnote: Cronica de muyto alto, emuyto poderoso rey destes
reynos de Portugal Dom Joao o III deste nome. By Francisco
d'Andrade. Part I, c. 13 and 14. (Lisbon 1613.)]

The time when these preparations were being made by Verrazzano is
more definitely fixed by a despatch of Silveira to the king, from
Paris on the 25th of April 1523, in which he states that "Verazano"
had not yet left for Cathay that this whole story of an intended
voyage of discovery was proposed for the purpose of concealing the
real object of the preparations which were going on in Normandy, of
seizing the treasure which had been sent from Mexico, by Cortes to
the emperor, of the successful accomplishment of which we have
now to speak. [Footnote: Sautarem gives the date of this dispatch
as the 23d of April 1522, Quadro Elementar, tom III, sec. XVI, p. 165.
But the letter of Silveira will be found in full in the Appendix (III)
from the Portuguese archives. Santarem]. It is highly probable,
therefore, is evidently mistaken as to the year, inasmuch as the
news of Magellan's death, to which Andrade refers as a prior event,
did not reach Spain until September 1522 and Silveira's appointment
as embassador was after that news was received.]

In November, 1522, a vessel arrived in Spain which had been sent
from Mexico, by the conquistador with the emperor's share of the
tribute money collected in that country, in the special charge of
Alonzo Davila and Antonio Quinones, with other articles of value.
Fearing capture by the French corsairs, this vessel had sailed by
the way of the Azores, and leaving the treasure, with its
custodians, at the island of Santa Maria, proceeded on without it,
in order that a proper force might be sent to that island to bring
it safely to Spain. Joan Ribera, the secretary of Cortes, came in
the ship to Spain. These facts appear to have become notorious
immediately. Peter Martyr mentions them in his letter of the 17th of
November 1522, and in the fifth of his decades, written while the
treasure was still at Santa Maria, speaks of the French having
knowledge of its being left there. "I know not," he says, "in
reference to the ships sent there for it, what flying report there
is that the French pirates have understood of those ships, God grant
them good successe." [Footnote: Dec. v. c. 10. (Lok's trans.)] Three
caravels were despatched from Seville to Santa Maria, under the
command of Captain Domingo Alonzo, arriving there on the 15th of May
1523. Davila and Quinones immediately embarked in them, with the
treasure, sailing directly to Spain. Meanwhile, Verrazzano proceeded
with six vessels towards Cape St. Vincent, for the purpose of
intercepting them, which he succeeded in doing, within ten leagues
of that cape. After a sharp encounter, in which Quinones was killed,
he captured two of them, in one of which Davila was taken with the
gold, and the other most valuable articles. The third caravel
escaped, and arrived in Spain, with a tiger and various articles of
rich manufacture, which had belonged to Montezuma. Verrazzano took
his prizes into Rochelle. The value of the treasure and articles
taken was estimated at more than six hundred thousand ducats, or one
million and a half of dollars. [Footnote: Peter Martyr, Dec. v. c.
8. Epist. 771, Nov. 19, 1522, and 779, June 11, 1523 (ed. 1670).
Herrera, Dec. III. lib. IV. c. 20. Letter of Davila to the emperor
from Rochelle, June 17, 1523, in the archives at Seville, now first
published in the Appendix (IV). Martyr says there were two ships,
the larger of which only containing the treasure fell into the hands
of John Florin, the French pirate, and the others escaped; but
Davila must be right.]

These facts at least establish that Joao Verazano mentioned by the
Portuguse, Andrade and Silveira, was the same person who made the
capture of the treasure ships; for it is not to be supposed that two
different Florentines of the name of Giovanni, were in command of
French fleets, at the same time, belonging to the ports of Normandy
alone; and consequently that Verrazzano, our navigator, and Juan
Florin the corsair were one. But how far the seizure of the treasure
ships was, as before suggested, the original purpose of the fleet
can only be inferred from the circumstances, and is important only
in connection with the DESIGN of a voyage of discovery. Between the
time of the arrival of Ribera with the information that the treasure
had been left at the Azores, and the sending of the caravels to
bring it to Spain, nearly six months elapsed. Taking the dates,
which are established by the official documents now produced, of the
fitting out of the fleet in Normandy by Verrazzano and the actual
capture of the two caravels, it is easy to see that the real purpose
of those preparations from the first, might have been to effect the
capture of the treasure. The transmission of the news to Portugal of
an intended voyage to Brazil and the sending of instructions to the
embassador at [Footnote: According to the letter of Silveira, he was
at Polssy on Christmas, and Andrade was therefore, probably in error
in stating that he had his instructions in regard to Varezano before
he left Portugal.] the French court could all have taken place after
the detention of the treasure at Santa Maria became known in France
and the fitting out of the vessels for its capture had begun to be
made. It is stated by Andrade that it was at a port in Normandy
where the vessels were being made ready; and it is to be presumed,
from the connection of Verrazzano with Jean Ango, as shown
subsequently by the agreement with Chabot for a like purpose, that
it was from Dieppe, and probably a the expense of that rich
merchant, who we are told was enabled to entertain his sovereign
with princely magnificence and to embargo the port of Lisbon, with a
fleet of his own, [Footnote: Mem. Chron. de Dieppe. I. 106-111.]
that they sailed on this occasion.

Verrazzano is certainly found at Rochelle on the 16th of June, 1523,
two months after the despatch of Silveira was written, with his
prizes captured on a different expedition from that mentioned by the
ambassador. It is evident, therefore, that the project of a voyage
of discovery to Cathay, if ever seriously entertained, had at that
time been abandoned; as may also be inferred from the statement of
Andrade, that Silveira, in the nine years he was at the court of
France, succeeded only in embargoing the voyage of the Florentine,
and accomplishing some minor matters.[Footnote: The document
accompanying the letter of Davila in the archives, describes Juan
Florin as of Dieppe, and thus fixes the seat of his operations in
Normandy. See Appendix, (IV. 2.)]

But the question of any such voyage of discovery having been made at
the time claimed in the Verrazzano letter is effectually set at rest
by the fact that Verrazzano was then actually engaged in a
corsairial enterprise elsewhere. Peter Martyr, in an epistle written
on the 3d of August 1524, less than a month after the alleged return
of Verrazzano to Dieppe from his voyage of discovery, wrote from
Valladolid that "a courier of the king of Portugal had arrived (with
word) that Florin, the French pirate, had captured a ship of his
king on her way from the Indies, with a cargo valued at one hundred
and eighty thousand ducats." [Footnote: Epist. 800 (ed. 1670).] It
is impossible for Verrazzano to have been on the coast of North
America, or on his return from Newfoundland to France, and at the
same time to have taken a ship on her way from the Indies to
Portugal, coming as she must have done, by the Cape of Good Hope.

The defeat of Francis I at the battle of Pavia and his capture and
detention in Spain during the year 1525, seem to have suspended the
depredations upon the seas by the French, and nothing more occurs
relating to Verrazzano, until after the release of the king, in the
following year, and then in an adventure which seems to have cost
him his life, unless his probable appearance in England as mentioned
by Hakluyt, to which reference has already been made, be an
exception. Allusion has also been made several times to an agreement
between Chabot, admiral of France, and others, including Verrazzano,
which now assumes particular importance. It is the only document yet
produced in France, relating to him, and is of recent discovery.
[Footnote: Margry, Les Navigations Francaises, p.194 (Paris, 167.)
See Appendix (II)] By this agreement it was stipulated that Chabot,
as admiral of France, should furnish two galleons, Jean Ango one
ship, and Verrazzano two pilots besides himself, and that the three
persons here named should with Guillaume Preudhomme, general of
Normandy, Pierre Despinolles and Jacques Boursier, in different
specified amounts each, make up the sum of twenty thousand pounds in
Tours currency for the expenses, on joint account, of a voyage to
the Indies for spices,--the admiral and Ango, however, to have one-
fourth of all the merchandise returned, for the use of the vessels,
and Verrazzano to have one-sixth of the remaining three-fourths, for
his compensation and that of his two pilots. The contract contained
another provision, that if any booty should be taken on the sea from
the Moors, or other enemies of the faith and the king, the admiral
should first take a tenth of it and the remainder should be divided
as stipulated in regard to the merchandise, except such part as
should, upon advisement, be given to the crew. The admiral was to
have letters patent expedited from the king for permission to make
the voyage. This paper has no date, but as it was made by Chabot, in
his official capacity, as admiral of France, it could not have been
earlier than March 1526, when, as we have seen, he was so created.
It belongs, therefore, either to that or the following year, judging
from the fatal consequences which happened to Verrazzano in the

Although a voyage from France to the Indies for spices was not an
improbable venture at that time inasmuch as one was actually made
from Dieppe, two years afterwards, by Jean Parmentier in the service
of Ango, there is every reason to believe that such was not the real
object of the parties to this agreement. One of the stipulations
between them was for a division, of booty, showing an intention to
make captures on the sea. Who were the enemies of the king from whom
it was to be taken is not stated. By the treaty of Madrid, in
January 1526. peace existed between France and Spain, and any
expedition from one of them against the commerce of the other, was
clearly piratical. Neither did war exist at this time, between
France and Portugal. Yet it appears that both the Spaniards and the
Portuguese, were searching for Verrazzano at the time, when the
former succeeded in capturing him, in September or October 1527. He
had, therefore, not sailed to the Indies and must have made himself
obnoxious to those nations, by fresh depredations upon their
vessels. Bernal Diaz, who gives an account of his capture and
execution, states that he was actually so engaged. [Footnote:
Historia verdadera, fol 164.] It appears from the letters of the
judge who superintended his execution that he was then encountered
by six Biscayan galleons and ships, and after battle, captured and
taken by them to Cadiz, with his crew, consisting of one hundred and
twenty or thirty persons, besides several gentlemen adventurers,
Verrazzano offered his captors thirty thousand ducats to be
released, but in vain. He was sent under guard with the adventurers
to Madrid, but was overtaken on the way at Colmenar near Puerto del
Pico, villages between Salamanca and Toledo, [Footnote: Blaen,
Utriusque Castilia nova descripto. Martiniere, Dictionaire
Geographique, aub Colmenar et Pico.] by the judge of Cadiz with an
order made by the emperor at Lerma on the 13th of October 1527, by
virtue of which he was there put to death in November of that year.
Such was the termination of the career of this hold man, which was
long ago substantially told by Bernal Diaz and Barcia, but so
loosely in regard to dates, as to have created doubts as to their
correctness, but which is established by the documents existing in
the archives at Simancas, now brought to light. [Footnote: See the
letter of the judge of Cadiz, in the Appendix (V.L.) Barcia, in his
Chronological Essay, mentions the capture and execution of Juan the
Florentine as a pirate under the year 1524. He does not state that
they took place in that year, but refers to them in connection with
the discoveries alleged to have been made in that year by
Verrazzano, whom he identifies as the corsair. It has been supposed,
consequently, that he meant that year as the time of Verrazzano's
death; and hence, inasmuch as Verrazzano was known to have been
alive after that year, that the whole story was an error. The
letters of Juan de Giles, the resident judge of Cadiz, appended to
this memoir, enable us to fix the date of his execution, for
although not dated themselves, they contain a reference to the date
of the cedule, ordering the execution, by which it can be
determined. Giles mentions that this cedule was dated at Lerma, on
the 13th of last month, showing that it was made there on the 13th
of some month. According to the Itinerary of Charles V, kept by his
private secretary, Vandernesse, containing an account of the
emperor's journeys from the year 1519 to 1551, Charles went to
Lerma, a small town in Old Castile, for the first time on the 9th of
May, 1524 and returned thence to Burgos on the 12th of that month,
going to Lerma again on the 21st of July of that year and leaving it
on the 24th for Vallidesole. He was not there afterwards, until the
12th of October, 1527, where he remained until the 17th of that
month when he went to Burgos. He went to Lerma again on the 20th of
February 1528, and remained there for two days only. These are all
the occasions of his presence at Lerma during the whole period of
the Itinerary. These dates prove that the only possible occasion for
issuing the order of execution was the 13th of October 1527. The
prisoners left under guard, on the 15th of that month for Madrid,
and the letter apprising the emperor that the order had been
executed upon Verrazzano must have been written in November, the
month following.

The Itinerary will be found in the Correspondence of the Emperor
Charles V, by William Bradford, London, 1850.]

And thus finally the testimony, upon which the tale of discovery was
credited and proclaimed to the world, is contradicted and disproved.
The statement that Verrazzano and a member of his crew were killed
and then feasted upon by the inhabitants of the coast which he had
visited a second time, has no support or confirmation in the history
of that rude and uncivilized people; for, however savage and cruel
they were towards their enemies, or, under provocation, towards
strangers, no authenticated instance of their canibalism has ever
been produced; but on the contrary the testimony of the best
authorities, is that they were guiltless of any such horrid
practice. Yet that statement was a part of the information which
Ramusio received and communicated to his readers at the same time
with the Verrazzano letter; and constituted a part of the evidence
upon which he relied. How utterly false it was is shown by the
agreement with Chabot and the capture and execution of Verrazzano by
the Spaniards. It is now seen how the credulity of the historian was
imposed upon, and he was led by actual misrepresentations to adopt a
narrative which has no foundation in truth, and whose
inconsistencies and incongruities he vainly sought to reconcile, but
which, for three centuries, sanctioned by his authority alone, has
been received as authentic and true; until at length, by the
exposure of its original character, and the circumstances of its
publication by him, with the production of undoubted evidence from
the records of the time, it is proven to be a deliberate fraud.

This completes our purpose. The question, however, still presents
itself what was the motive for this gross deception? The answer is
suggested by the feet that all the evidence produced in favor of the
story is traceable to Florence, the birthplace of Verrazzano.
Ramusio obtained the Verazzano letter there,--the only one, he says,
not astray in consequence of its unfortunate troubles. The letter of
Carli, enclosing that of Verrazzano, is professedly written by a
Florentine to his father in that city. The map of Hieronimo de
Verrazano bears the impress of the family. The discourse of the
French captain of Dieppe appears to have been sent originally to
Florence, whence it was procured by Ramusio. Even the globe of
Euphrosynus Ulpius, a name otherwise unknown, is represented to have
been constructed for Marcellus, who had been archbishop of Florence.
They are all the testimony of Florence in her own behalf. The cities
of Italy which had grown in wealth and importance during the
fifteenth century, by means of enterprising and valuable commerce,
produced and nurtured a race of skillful seamen, among whom were the
most distinguished of the first discoverers of the new world, in the
persons of Columbus, Vespucci and the Cabots; but those cities
contributed nothing more to the discoveries which thus were
achieved, than to give these men birth and education. The glory of
promoting and successfully accomplishing those results belonged to
other nations, which had the wisdom and fortune to secure the
services of these navigators. The cities shone, however, with the
lustre reflected from having reared and instructed them to the work
they so wonderfully performed. Although enjoying a common
nationality, these municipales belonged to independent republics and
were in a measure rivals of each other. Florence emulated Genoa. She
truly boasted that Vespucci, born and raised on her soil, was the
first to reach the main land and thus to have his name applied for
the whole continent, "America quasi Americi terra;" while Genoa
justly claimed for her son, that the discovery of all America was to
be regarded as assured from the moment that Columbus landed on the
little sandy island of Guanahana, on the 12th of October 1492.
[Footnote: Humboldt, Examen Critique, IV, 37.] But Florence enjoys
in addition the unenviable distinction of having sought to advance
the pretensions of Vespucci by fictitious letters, purporting to be
signed with his name.[Footnote: Varnhagen, Amerigo Vespucci, son
caractere, ses scrits (meme les moins authentiques) &c., p. 67, et
seq. (Lima, 1865).] That this spirit of civic pride in that same
community may have actuated the fabrication of the Verrazzano letter
is not improbable; but in justice to the memory of Verrazzano it
must be added, there is no reason to believe that he was in any way
accessory to the imposture.




From the Archivo Storico Italiano. Appendice Tomo IX. 58-5 Firenze

Al nome di Dio

a di 4 Agosta 1524.

"Onorando padre,--Considerando che quando fui in la armata di
Barbaria alle Gierbe vi furono grate le nuove advisatevi
giornalmente per lo illustre sig. Don Ugo di Moncada, capitano
generale della Cesarea Maesta in quelle barbare parti, seguite
certando [Footnote: Combattendo (Nota dell edisione Romana) con li
Mori di detta isola; per la quale mostrasi haver fatto piacere a
molti nostri padroni ed amici, e con quelli della conseguita
vittoria congratulatovi, pertanto, essendo nuovamente qui nuova
della giunta del capitano Giovanui da Verrazzano nostro fiorentino
allo porto di Diepa in Normandia con sua nave Delfina, con la quale
si parti dalle insule Canarie fino di Gennaio passato, per andare in
busca di terre nuove per questa serenissima corona di Francia, in
che mostro coraggio troppo nobile e grande a mettersi a tanto
incognito viaggio con una sola nave che appena e una caravella di
tonelli [Footnote: L'amanuense ha lasciato il numero delle
lonnellate di cui era capace la nave (Nota come sopra)], solo con 60
uomini, con intenzione di, giusta sua possa discoprire il Oataio,
tenendo cammino per altri climati di quelli usano li Portughesi in
lo discoprire di verso la parte di Calicut, ma andando verso coro e
settentrione omnino tenendo, che ancora [Footnote: Ancorche] Tolomeo
ed Aristotile ed altri cosmografi descrivano verso tali climati non
trovarsi terra, di trovarvene a ogni modo; e cosi gli ha Dio
concesso, come distintamente descrive per una sua lettera a questa
S. M.; della quale in questa ne e una copia. E per mancargli le
vettovaglie, dopo molti mesi giunto navigando, assegna essergli
stato forza tornare da quello in questo emisperio; e in sette mesi
suto in viaggio mostrare grandissimo ed accelerato cammino, aver
fatto cosa miranda e massima a chi intende la marinera del mondo.
Della quale al cominciamento di detto suo viaggio si fece male
iuditio [Footnote: L'ediz. romana ha indizio, una crediamo per
errore di stampa.], e molti pensorno che non piu nedilui ne del
vascello si avesse nuova, ma che ei dovesso perdere da quella banda
della Norvegia per il grands diaccio che e per quello oceano
settentrionale; ma come disse quel Moro, lo Dio grande, per darca
ogni giorno piu notizie di sua infinita possanza e mostrarci di
quanto sia admirabile questa mundiale machina, gli ha discoperto una
latitudine di terra, come intenderete, di tauta grandezza che,
secondo le buone ragioni e gradi, per latitudine (et) altezza,
assegna e mostra piu grande che l'Europa, Africa e parte di Asia:
ergo mundus novus; e guesto senza lo che [Footnote: Quello che (Nota
come sopra.)] hanno discoperto in piu auni gli Spani per
l'occidente, che appena e un anno torno Ferrando Maga-ghiana, quale
discoperse grande paese con una nave meno delle cinque [Footnote:
Forse venne qui omesso ite o simile; e sembra accennarsi al
naufragio di una di quelle cinque navi] a discoprire. Donde addusse
garofani molto piu eccellenti delli soliti; e le altro sue navi in 5
anui mai nuova ci e trapelata. Stimansi perae. Quello [Footnote:
nelle romana si legge: "stimansi per se quello ec."; ma ci sembra
che il senso glustifichi abbastanza la nostra correzione.] che
questo nostro capitano abbia condotto non dice per questa sua
lettera, salvo uno uomo giovanetta preso di quelli paesi; ma
stimansi che abbia portato mostra di oro, poicbe da quelle bande non
lo etimano, e di droghe e di altri liquori aromatici, per conferie
qua con mold mercatanti di poi che sara stato alla presenza della
Serenissima Maesta. E a questa ora doverra. essarvi, a di qua
trasferirsi in breve, per che e molto desiato, par ragionare seco;
tanto piu che trovers qui la Maesta del Re nostro sire, Che fra tre
o quattro giorni vi si attende: e speriamo She S. M. lo rimetta. di
mezza dozzina di buoni vascelli, e che tornera al viaggio. E se
Francesco Carli nostro ci fosse tornato dal Cairo, advisate che alla
ventura vorra andere seco a detto viaggio, e credo si conoschino al
Cairo dove e stato piu anni; e non solo in Egitto ed Soria, ma quasi
per tutto il cognito mondo; e di qua mediante sua virtu e stimato un
altro Amerigo Vespucci, un altro Ferrando Magaghiana, e davantaggio;
e speriamo che rimontandosi delle altre buone navi e vascelli ben
conditi a vettovagliati come si richiede, abbia ad iscoprire qualche
profittoso traffico e fatto; e fara, prestandogli nostro Signore Dio
vita, onore alla nostra patria da acquistarne immortale fama e
mamoria. E Alderotto Brunelleschi che parti con lui, e per fortuna
tornando indietro nou volse piu seguire, come di costa lo
intende, sara malcontento. Ne altro per ora mi occorre, perche per
altre vi ho avvisato il bisogno. A voi di continuo mi raccomando,
pregandovi ne facciate parte agli amici nostri, non dimenticando
Pierfrancesco Dagaghiano [Footnote: Forse, da Gagliano], che per
essere persona perita, tengo che na prendera grande passatempo; ed u
lui mi raccomanderete. Simile al Rustichi, al quale non dispiacera
se si diletta, come suole, intendere cose di cosmografia. Che Dio
tutti di male vi guardi.

Vostro figliuoio FERNANDO CARLI in Lione."



From the Fontette Collection, XXI, 770, fol. 60, in the Bibliotheque
Nationale in Paris. First printed by M. Marguy, and her corrected
according to the MS.

Nous, Philippe Chabot, baron d'Apremont, chevalier de l'ordre du
Roi, son gouverneur et lieutenant general de Bourgoingne, admiral de
France et de Bretaine.

Avons ce jourdhuy delibere que, pour le bien, prouffict et utilite
de la chose publieque du royaulme de France, mettre sur deux de nos
gallyons estant de present au Havre de Grace avec une nef
appartenant a Jehan Ango, de Dieppe, du port soixantedix tonneaulx
ou environ, por iceulx troys veseaulx, esquipper, vitailler et
convinyr, pour faire le voiaige des espiceryes aux Indies.--Dont
pour icelluy voiage faire avons accorde avec les personnes
cidessoubz nommes et signez en la maniere qui ensuict pour fournyr
lesd. trois navyres de marchandises, victailles et avance de
compaignons ainsi qu'il sera requis et necessaire.

Et pour ce faire avons conclud et delibere, avec iceulx, mectre et
employer jusqnes a la somme de vingt mil livres tour, c'est
assavoir, pour nous Admiral quatre mille livres tour, maistre
Guillaume Preudhomme, general de Normandye, deux mil livres tour;
Pierre Despinolles, mil livres tour; Jehan Ango; deux mil livres
tour; Jacques Boursier, pareille somme de deux mil livres tournoys,
messire Jehan de Varesam, principalle pilote, semblable somme de
deux mil livres tournoys.

Lesd. parties revenans ensemble a la somme de vingt mil livres
tournoys. Por icelle employer aux vitailles, marchandises et avance,
loyer de compagnons. Et nous Amyral et Ango prometons bailler lead.
gallyons et nef, bien et deuement radoubees et accoustrees, comme il
appartient a faire led voyaige, tant da calfadages, cables, ancres,
doubles appareilz, tous cordages, artilleries, pouldres, boullets,
et tout ce qui est requiz a telz navires pour faire ung tel et si
long voiaige que cestuy et rendre iceulx galyons et nefs prestz, et
apareillez a faire led. voiaige dedans deux moys de ce jourduy Par
ainsy que nous Admiral et Ango, prenderons au retour dud. voiaige,
pour le fret et noleage desd. gallyous et nef, le cart de toutes les
marchandises qui reviendront et seront rapportes par iceulx, sans
aucune chose payer.

Et pour le loyer dudict messire Jehan pillote, lequel s'est submis
et oblige de fournyr deux pillotes bons et suffisans pour conduire
les deux aultres navires, prendra pr son dict loyer et de ses deux
pillotes, le sixiesme de tout se qui reviendra de marchandises, led.
cart por nolliage, les frais et mises des marchandises et loyers
desa copaignons en prealable prins et leves avant que prendre led.

Et se, par cas de fortune, aucuns d'iceulx gallyons on nef feussent
pdus aud. voiaige, ou que l'ung p quelque incovenient et les deux
aultres feissent leur voiaige, la marchandise qui reviendroit se
pteroit comme dessus et y ptiroit led. navire qui n'ayroit este
audict voyaige et les marchans, chacun au marc la livre, car tout va
a commun profit.

Et se aucun butin se faict a la mer sur les Mores, ou aultres
ennemys de la Foy et du Roy; monseigneur l'Amyral prendera en
prealable sur icelluy butin son xme, et le reste qui revenderoit
dud. butin se ptira comme l'autre marchandise, sanf quelque portion
d'icelluy butin, que ong baillera aux copagnons ainsi qu'il sera

Et fera mond. sr Lamyral expedier letres du Roy en patent pour avoir
license et conge faira led. voiaige, et que aucun empeschement ne
leur sera fet ou donne par aucune nation des aliez, amys ou
cofenderez du Roy nore d sr.

Pour le voiage de messire Joan.


We, Philippe Chabot, Baron d'Apremont, Knight of the Ordre du Roi,
his Governor and Lieutenant-general of Burgundy, Admiral of France
and of Brittany,

Have this day determined for the good, advantage, and utility of the
public affairs of the Kingdom of France, to put two of our galleons,
at present at Havre de Grace, with one ship belonging to Jehan Ango
of Dieppe, of seventy tons burden or thereabouts, to equip, victual
and fit these three vessels, to make the voyage for spices to the
Indies. To make the aforesaid voyage we have agreed with the persons
hereinafter named and signed, in the manner following, to furnish
the said three vessels with goods, victuals, and advance money for
the crew, as shall be requisite and necessary.

And to do this we have concluded and determined with the aforesaid,
to put and employ as large a sum as twenty thousand pounds, Tours
currency, that is to say, for ourself, Admiral, four thousand
pounds, Tours; Master Guillaume Preudhomme, General of Normandy, two
thousand pounds, Tours; Pierre Despinolles, one thousand pounds,
Tours; Jehan Ango, two thousand pounds, Tours; Jacques Boursier, an
equal sum of two thousand pounds, Tours; Messire Jehan de Varesam,
Chief pilot, a like sum of two thousand pounds, Tours.

The said parts together amounting to the said sum of 20,000 pounds,
Tours, [Footnote: The sums here named do not make twenty thousand
pounds.--TRANSLATOR.] to be employed for provisions, merchandise,
and advance money to hire the crew. And we, Admiral and Ango,
promise to deliver the said galleons and ship well and properly
refitted and accoutred, as befits to make the said voyage, as well
as caulkings, cables, anchors, duplicate furniture, all cordage,
artillery, powder, shot, and all that is required by such vessels,
to make such a long voyage as this; and to have these galleons and
ship ready and prepared to make the said voyage within two months
from this day. Also, that we, Admiral and Ango, will take, on the
return from the said voyage, for the freight and freighting of the
said galleons and ship, the fourth part of all the merchandise which
shall return and shall be brought back by the aforesaid, without any

And for the hire of the said pilot, Messire Jehan, who has agreed
and bound himself to provide two good and competent pilots to steer
the other two vessels, he shall take for his hire and that of his
two pilots, the sixth of all the goods which shall be brought back;
the said fourth for freightage, expenses and disposing of the goods,
and the wages of the crew, being previously taken and levied, before
taking the said sixth.

And if, in case of accident, any of those galleons or ship should be
lost on the said voyage, or if one by any mischance does not, and
the other two do make their voyage, the merchandise which should he
brought back, would be divided as above, and the said vessel which
might not have been on the said voyage shall share, and the
merchants each one a mark to the pound, for all goes to the common

And if any booty be taken at sea, from the Moors or others enemies
of the faith and the King, my Lord; the Admiral, shall take
previously, of the aforesaid booty, his tenth; and the balance which
would accrue from the said booty, shall be divided like the other
goods, except some portion of that booty, which shall be given to
the crew as shall be advised.

And my aforesaid Admiral shall have letters-patent from the king
expedited, in order to have permission and leave to make the said
voyage; and no obstruction shall be made or given to these letters,
by any allies, friend, or confederate of the king, our said Lord.

For the voyage of Sir Joan.



Translated from the original at Lisbon, in Archivo de Torre de
Tambo, Corp. Chron. Part I. Ma. 29. Doc. 54.


I received a letter from Your Highness on the 19th of this month,
through Joao Francisco, wherein I am directed what is to be done
respecting the galleon and caravel, taken at the deira Islands,
[Footnote: Probably Madeira Islands. TRANSLATOR.] by the galleys of
France. As soon as I received the instruction, which was about the
beginning of Christmas, I spoke on the subject in a manner befitting
the nature of the case. At once they were released,--the caravel
with her artillery and the brocades and silks. [Footnote: That is to
say, the hangings, tapestry, and awnings of the vessel. TRANSLATOR.]
By this time they must have arrived at Lisbon. As respects the
merchandise, I had the promise that if it was found to be the
property of Your Highness or of your subjects it should not be sold.
After a few days, discovering that it belonged to Joao Francisco, an
ample order was given to his agents for its entire restitution,
which orders set forth that as he lives in the kingdoms of Your
Highness, and there is an old friendship existing with the King of
France which he was no less desirous of preserving, in this he would
favor that king. After this order was promulgated another came from
the chief official, in consequence of which nothing was delivered,
and the goods moreover were sold. From that time to the present,
nothing has been accomplished. I will strive the best I can for
despatch, in the manner that Your Highness points out, and will give
account of what I do.

When the matter of the galleon occurred, the Licentiate Pero Gomez
had already embarked at Anaflor. I advised the Doctor, Maestro
Diogo, who was about going to Reuao [Footnote: i.e. Rouen.
TRANSLATOR.] that he ought not to leave before writing, and to give
Your Highness a statement of the facts in that regard; as he at once
wrote that he would do so, I have said nothing further in my

By what I hear, Maestro Joao Verazano, who is going on the discovery
of Cathay, has not left up to this date, for want of opportunity and
because of differences, I understand, between himself and men; and
on this topic, though knowing nothing positively, I have written my
doubts in accompanying letters. I shall continue to doubt unless he
take his departure.

The Doctor Maestro Diogo de Gouvea is now going to Ruao [Footnote:
i.e. Rouen. TRANSLATOR.] where he is going to find out everything
with the greatest exactness possible, and, as I have requested,
report at great length. May our Lord prolong the life of Your
Highness many days and prosper the royal estate.

From Poessi the xxv of April 1523.

                 JOAO DA SILVEIRA.



Translated from the original in the Archivo de Indias at Seville.


Captain Domingo Alonso, who was commander of the three caravels that
sailed as guard on the coast of Andalusia, gave a cedula to Antonio
Quinones and myself at the Island of Azores, in which Your Majesty
was pleased to state to us that, from the news of our fear of the
French who were said to run the coast, we had remained at the island
of Santa Maria until your Highness should direct what might be for
the royal service, in so doing we had acted well; that to secure the
gold and articles we had brought, the three caravels were sent to us
under that captain; and we were enjoined to embark in them at once
and come with every thing to the city of Seville, to the House of
Contratacion, and the officers who by the royal command reside
there, for which favor we kiss your feet and hands.

The caravels arrived the xvth of May, and directly in fulfilment of
the order we embarked, sailing for the Portuguese coast, which the
pilots deemed the safer course, and coming within ten leagues of
Cape St. Vincent, six armed French ships ran out upon us. We fought
them from two caravels, until we were overpowered, when everything
eminently valuable on the way to Your Majesty was lost; the other
caravel not being disposed to fight escaped to carry the news; and
but for that perhaps the captain might better have staid with his
additional force aid our defence than to carry back such tidings.
Quinones died, and I am a prisoner at Rochelle in France.

I should desire to come, would they but let me, to kiss your royal
feet, and give a complete history of all; for I lost everything I
possessed in the service of Your Majesty, and have wished that my
life had been as well. I entreat that privileges be granted to the
residents and inhabitants of New Spain and that you will consider
services to have been rendered, since that people have loyally done
their duty to this moment, and will ever do as true vassals.

I beseech that Your Majesty be pleased to order good protection
placed on the coast of Andalusia for the ships coming from the
Indies; for now all the French, flushed as they are, desire to take
positions whence they may commit mischief. Let it be an armament
that can act offensively, and which will not flee, but seek out the

I entreat, prisoner and lost as I am, yet desiring still to die in
the royal service, that Your Highness will so favor me, that if any
ship should be sent to New Spain, an order be directed to Hernando
Cortes, requiring that the Indians I have there deposited in the
name of Your Majesty be not taken, but that they be bestowed on me
for the period that is your pleasure.

Our Lord augment the imperial state of Your Royal Majesty to the
extent your royal person may require.

From Rochela of France, the XVIth day of June of M. d. XXIIJ years.

Of Y.C.Ca. Ma. the loyal vassal who kisses your very royal feet and



Translated from the original in the Archivio de Indias, Seville, in
the same hand, says Dr. D. Francisco Xmarez, the ancient archivero,
as the letter of Alonso Davilla addressed from Rochelle to the
emperor. The hand writing is most difficult to make out. The amounts
marked CII may intend coo, and CI two CO.

The French vessels of war which cruise the sea of Spain as far as
Andalusia, of which Jn. Florin le Diepa is captain.

First, a largo ship CII. tons, in which are CII men--the half
soldiers, and the other half sailors; carries XX pieces of artillery
of brass, besides others of iron, with munitions and victuals in
large quantity.

Another vessel, built in Vizcaya, captured by the French of CI tons.

Another vessel of CI tons, made in Britany.

Five galleons-the largest of LXX tons, another of IX, another of L,
another of XL, made in Vizcaya, another of XL, which are also
provided with CC men of war, being of the French soldiers who were
in Tuenteravia, They have besides full supply of man & of artillery,
munition and victuals for one year; and, it is said, that this
armada goes direct to Andalusia, to ran that coast and take what may
come from the Indias; for this is the same armada that last year
took the CXXM ducats that were coming, consequently, it is necessary
that His Majesty should have an armada in Andalusia to go to meet
this one of France, and not suffer to do mischief.



Translated from the original, in the Archivo general in Simancos.
Estado: Legajo 13, fol. 316.

Sacred Caesarean Catholic Majesty.

The Licentiate Juan de Giles your Resident Judge in the City of
Cadiz reports what has been done in the taking of Juan Florin, a
French corsair, and others, made prisoners with him. Before
receiving a cedula signed by Your Majesty at Lerma, the thirteenth
of last month, knowing that there were some differences of opinion
among those making the capture, I labored, and with success, to
induce them to bring Juan Florin, Mons. de la Saia, loner Juan de
Mensieris, Hichel and a page of Juan Florin before Your Majesty, to
avoid certain difficulties that were impending. This was done by
Bartolome del Alamo, high-sheriff of said City, with six persons,
one from each ship engaged in the capture. These took their
departure on the 15th of last month, carrying their prisoners to
court; and by virtue of the cedula of Your Majesty, I caused the
delivery to me of the remaining French to be kept securely as Your
Highness required. One hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty
of them were given up, and were in custody when a certain dispatch,
came to hand from your Counsel on the twenty seventh of last month.
In obedience thereto, I ordered the chief Alcalde of said city to
proceed against these in my power, agreeably to what was commanded
me by your Counsel; and with the utmost speed I came on in pursuit
of Juan Florin to Colmenar de Arenas where were executed on his
person the laws of your kingdom, Mon de Mensieris, Michel and Gile I
condemned perpetually to the galleys; and because the High Sheriff
and the Vizcaynos left Mons de la Sale at the point of death with
Juan Lopez de Cumaya, a Vizcaino, who go by another road, I send the
High Sheriff for him while I return to Cadiz to make provision for
things not done in a manner beat befitting the royal service.

In pursuance of your Majesty's order I take especial care that no
person ransom or conceal himself. Those of consideration, captured
with Juan Florin are Mons de la Sala, doctor indiscretis, a native
of Paris, Mons Juan de Mensieris, a native of Turenne, son of Martin
Mensieris, who has an income of two hundred ducats, Mons de Londo, a
native of Lombardy, son of a gentleman, a Baron, native of Venice,
Mons de Lane, second son of Mons de Lane, Mons Vipar, a native of
Drumar, son of Mons Vipar, who is rich, and Mons Fasan.

S. C. C. M. I kiss the sacred feet of Your Majesty,

Licenclado Giles


Translated from the original in the Archivo general in Sijoncas
Astado: Legajo 18, fol. 845.

Sacred Caesarean Catholic Majesty:

The Licentiate Giles, Resident Judge in the City of Cadiz, in
compliance with what your Majesty required by your cedula that it
should be stated who captured Juan Florin and his accomplices,
answers that Martin Yricar, Antonio de Cumaya, Juan Martinez de
Aricabalo, Martin Perez de Leabnr, Saba de Ysasa, Juan de Galarza,
Captains of their galleons and ships, with their people, were those
who captured Juan Florin in the manner that they will relate, and
brought him to the Bay of Cadiz. I went directly to their galleons,
and to my requirement they answered that they would keep him in
safety, that they desired all for your service; and this
notwithstanding that the said Juan Florin promised them thirty
thousand ducats to be released. The captains of the fleet of
Portugal who were cruising at sea in quest of him at the same place
in which he was taken also offered ten thousand ducats for him that
they might take him to their king, and other offers were made, none
of which they would accept, but, unitedly, with the sheriff of that
city, took him to Your Majesty, like good and loyal servants. And
when they arrived at Puerto del Pico, finding Your Majesty had
commanded that he and his said accomplices should be given up to me
at once, they delivered and I executed the law upon them.

Those captains have sustained much injury and have been at much
cost, as I am witness. They arrived with their ships broken, the
sails rent, the castles carried away. They had spent much in
munition and powder, and for the sustenance of those French before
they delivered them to me. When they arrived in the bay they were
greatly reduced and hungered, having exhausted their stores by
giving to the French. Much would it be for the service of Your
Majesty that those Captains should be satisfied for their losses and
rewarded which I have promised them, as Your Highness desired by
your cedula, that others seeing how they are honored may be
encouraged in the royal service. Thus much I entreat that Your
Majesty will order done for the loyalty I know those captains tear
to your service, and because they are persons by whom you may he
much served.

S. C. C. M. I kiss the sacred feet of your Highness. LICENCLADO


Translated by Dr. J. G. Cogswel, from a copy of the MS. in the
Magliahechian Library in Florence, and printed in the Collections of
the New York Historical Society. Second Series. Vol. 1, pp. 41-51

FRANCE, writes: [Footnote: This introduction reads in the original:
"Captain John Da Verrazzano Florentine, of Normandy, to the most
Serene Crown of France, relates:"]

Since the tempests which we encountered on the northern coasts, I
have not written to your most Serene and Christian Majesty
concerning the four ships sent out by your orders on the ocean to
discover new lands, because I thought you must have been before
apprized of all that had happened to us--that we had been compelled
by the impetuous violence of the winds to put into Brittany in
distress with only the two ships Normandy and Dolphin; [Footnote:
The signification of Delfina, the name of the Verazzano ship of
discovery, is differently given by the translators. Hakluyt renders
it into English by the Word Dolphin and Dr. Cogswel here does the
same. But this is not correct. The Italian for dolphin is delfino;
which also signifies the dauphin, or oldest son of the King of
France, so called because upon the cession of Dauphiny to the crown
of France, he became entitled to wear the armorial device, which was
a dolphin, of the princes of that province. Delfina is the feminine
noun of Delfino, in that sense, that is the Dauphiness, M. Margry
has so interpreted it in this case, and accordingly gives the vessel
the name of Dauphine (Nav. Fran. 209), which as she is represented
to have belonged to France, would have been her actual name.] and
that after having repaired these ships, we made a cruise in them,
well armed, along the coast of Spain, as your Majesty must have
heard, and also of our new plan of continuing our begun voyage with
the Dolphin alone; from this voyage being now returned, I proceed to
give your Majesty an account of our discoveries,

On the 17th of last January we set sail from a desolate rock near
the island of Madeira, belonging to his most Serene Majesty the King
of Portugal, with fifty men, having provisions sufficient for eight
months, arms and other warlike munition and naval stores. Sailing
westward with a light and pleasant easterly breeze, in twenty-five
days we ran eight hundred leagues. On the 24th of February we
encountered as violent a hurricane as any ship ever weathered, from
which we escaped unhurt by the divine assistance and goodness, to
the praise of the glorious and fortunate name of our good ship, that
had been able to support the violent tossing of the waves. Pursuing
our voyage towards the west, a little northwardly, in twenty-four
days more, having run four hundred leagues, we reached a new
country, which had never before been seen by any one, either in
ancient or modern times. At first it appeared to be very low, but on
approaching it to within a quarter of a league from the shore we
perceived, by the great fires near the coast, that it was inhabited.
We perceived that it stretched to the south, and coasted along in
that direction in search of some port, in which we might come to
anchor, and examine into the nature of the country, but for fifty
leagues we could find none in which we could lie securely. Seeing
the coast still stretched to the south, we resolved to change our
course and stand to the north-ward, and as we still had the same
difficulty, we drew in with the land and sent a boat on shore. Many
people who were seen coming to the sea-side fled at our approach,
but occasionally stopping, they looked back upon us with
astonishment, and some were at length induced, by various friendly
signs, to come to us. These showed the greatest delight on beholding
us, wondering at our dress, countenances and complexion. They then
showed us by signs where we could more conveniently secure our boat,
and offered us some of their provisions. That your Majesty may know
all that we learned, while on shore, of their manners and customs of
life, I will relate what we saw as briefly as possible. They go
entirely naked, except that about the loins they wear skins of small
animals, like martens fastened by a girdle of plaited grass, to
which they tie, all round the body, the tails of other animals
hanging down to the knees; all other parts of the body and the head
are naked. Some wear garlands similar to birds' feathers.

The complexion of these people is black, not much different from
that of the Ethiopians; their hair is black and thick, and not very
long, it is worn tied back upon the head in the form of a little
tail. In person they are of good proportions, of middle stature, a
little above our own, broad across the breast, strong in the arms,
and well formed in the legs and other parts of the body; the only
exception, to their good looks is that have broad faces, but not
all, however, as we saw many that had sharp ones, with large black
eyes and a fixed expression. They are not very strong in body, but
acute in mind, active and swift of foot, as far as we could judge by
observation. In these last two particulars they resemble the people
of the east, especially those the most remote. We could not learn a
great many particulars of their usages on account of our short stay
among them and the distance of our ship from the shore.

We found not far from this people another whose mode of life we
judged to be similar. The whole shore is covered with fine sand,
about fifteen feet thick, rising in the form of little hills about
fifty paces broad. Ascending farther, we found several arms of the
sea which make in through inlets, washing the shores on both aides
as the coast runs. An outstretched country appears at a little
distance rising somewhat above the sandy shore in beautiful fields
and broad plains, covered with immense forests of trees, more or
less dense, too various in colours, and too delightful and charming
in appearance to be described, I do not believe that they are like
the Hercynian forest or the rough wilds of Scythia, and the northern
regions full of vines and common trees, but adorned with palms,
laurels, cypresses, and other varieties unknown in Europe, that send
forth the sweetest fragrance to a great distance, but which, we
could not examine more closely for the reasons before given, and not
on account of any difficulty in traversing the woods, which, on the
contrary, are easily penetrated.

As the "East" stretches around this country, I think it cannot be
devoid of the same medicinal and aromatic drugs, and various riches
of gold and the like, as is denoted by the colour of the ground. It
abounds also in animals. as deer, stags, hares, and many other
similar, and with a great variety of birds for every kind of
pleasant and delightful sports. It is plentifully supplied with
lakes and ponds of running water, and being in the latitude of 34.
the air is salubrious, pure and temperate, and free from the
extremes of both heat and cold. There are no violent winds in these
regions, the most prevalent are the north-west and west. In summer,
the season in which we were there, the sky is clear, with but little
rain: if fogs and mists are at any time driven in by the south wind,
they are instantaneously dissipated, and at once it becomes serene
and bright again. The sea is calm, not boisterous, and its waves are
gentle. Although the whole coast is low and without harbours, it is
not dangerous for navigation, being free from rocks And bold, so
that within four or five fathoms from the shore there is twenty-four
feet of water at all times of tide, and this depth constantly
increases in a uniform proportion. The holding ground is so good
that no ship can part her cable, however violent the wind, as we
proved by experience; for while riding at anchor on the coast, we
were overtaken by a gale in the beginning of March, when the winds
are high, as is usual in all countries, we found our anchor broken
before it started from its hold or moved at all.

We set sail from this place, continuing to coast along the shore,
which we found stretching out to the west (east?); the inhabitants
being numerous, we saw everywhere a multitude of fires. While at
anchor on this coast, there being no harbour to enter, we sent the
boat on shore with twenty-five men to obtain water, but it was not
possible to land without endangering the boat, on account of the
immense high surf thrown up by the sea, as it was an open roadstead.
Many of the natives came to the beach, indicating by various
friendly signs that we might trust ourselves on shore. One of their
noble deeds of friendship deserves to be made known to your Majesty.
A young sailor was attempting to swim ashore through the surf to
carry them some knick-knacks, as little bells, looking-glasses, and
other like trifles; when he came near three or four of them he
tossed the things to them, and turned about to get back to the boat,
but he was thrown over by the waves, and so dashed by them that he
lay as it were dead upon the beach When these people saw him in this
situation, they ran and took him up by the head, legs and anus, and
carried him to a distance from the surf; the young man, finding
himself borne off in this way uttered very loud shrieks in fear and
dismay, while they answered as they could in their language, showing
him that he had no cause for fear. Afterwards they laid him down at
the foot of a little hill, when they took off his shirt and
trowsers, and examined him, expressing the greatest astonishment at
the whiteness of his skin. Our sailors in the boat seeing a great
fire made up, and their companion placed very near it, full of fear,
as is usual in all cases of novelty, imagined that the native were
about to roast him for food. But as soon as be had recovered his
strength after a short stay with them; showing by signs that he
wished to return aboard, they hugged him with great affection, and
accompanied him to the shore, then leaving him, that he might feel
more secure, they withdrew to a little hill, from which they watched
him until he was safe in the boat. This young man remarked that
these people were black like the others, that they had shining
skins, middle stature, and sharper faces, and very delicate bodies
and limbs, and that they were inferior in strength, but quick in
their minds; this is all that he observed of them.

Departing hence, and always following the shore, which stretched to
the north, we came, in the space of fifty leagues, to another land,
which appeared very beautiful and full of the largest forests. We
approached it, and going ashore with twenty men, we went back from
the coast about two leagues, and found that the people had fled and
hid themselves in the woods for fear. By searching around we
discovered in the grass a very old woman and a young girl of about
eighteen or twenty, who had concealed themselves for the same
reason; the old woman carried two infants on her shoulders, and
behind her neck a little boy eight Sending Completed Page, Please
Wait ... as they carefully remove the shrubbery from around them,
wherever they grow, to allow the fruit to ripen better. We found
also wild roses, violets, lilies, and many sorts of plants and
fragrant flowers different from our own. We cannot describe their
habitations, as they are in the interior of the country, but from
various indications we conclude they must be formed of trees and
shrubs. We saw also many grounds for conjecturing that they often
sleep in the open air, without any covering but the sky. Of their
other usages we know nothing;--we believe, however, that all the
people we were among live in the same way.

After having remained here three days, riding at anchor on the
coast, as we could find no harbour, we determined to depart, and
coast along the shore to the north-east, keeping sail on the vessel,
only by day, and coming to anchor by night. After proceeding one
hundred leagues, we found a very pleasant situation among some steep
hills, through which a very large river, deep at its mouth, forced
its way to the sea; from the sea to the estuary of the river, any
ship heavily laden might pass, with the help of the tide, which
rises eight feet. But as we were riding at anchor in a good berth,
we would not venture up in our vessel, without a knowledge of the
mouth; therefore we took the boat, and entering the river, we found
the country on its banks well peopled, the inhabitants not differing
much from the others, being dressed out with feathers of birds of
various colours. They came towards us with evident delight, raising
loud shouts of admiration, and showing us where we could most
securely land with our boat. We passed up this river, about half a
league, when we found it formed a most beautiful lake three leagues
in circuit, upon which they were rowing thirty or more of their
small boats, from one shore to the other, filled with multitudes who
came to see us. All of a sudden, as is wont to happen to navigators,
a violent contrary wind blew in from the sea, and forced us to
return to our ship, greatly regretting to leave this region which
seemed so commodious and delightful, and which we supposed must also
contain great riches, as the hills showed many indications of
minerals. Weighing anchor, we sailed eighty (ottanta) leagues
towards the east, as the coast stretched in that direction, and
always in sight of it; at length we discovered an island of a
triangular form, about ten leagues from the mainland, in size about
equal to the island of Rhodes, having many hills covered with trees,
and well peopled, judging from the great number of fires which we
saw all around its shores; we gave it the name of your Majesty's
illustrious mother.

We did not land there, as the weather was unfavourable, but
proceeded to another place, fifteen leagues distant from the island,
where we found a very excellent harbour. Before entering it, we saw
about twenty small boats full of people, who came about our ship,
uttering many cries of astonishment, but they would not approach
nearer than within fifty paces; stopping, they looked at the
structure of our ship, our persons and dress, afterwards they all
raised a loud shout together, signifying that they were pleased. By
imitating their signs, we inspired them in some measure with
confidence, so that they came near enough for us to toss to them
some little bells and glasses, and many toys, which they took and
looked at, laughing, and then came on board without fear. Among them
were two kings more beautiful in form and stature than can possibly
be described; one was about forty years old, the other about twenty-
four, and they were dressed in the following manner: The oldest had
a deer's skin around his body, artificially wrought in damask
figures, his head was without covering, his hair was tied back in
various knots; around his neck he wore a large chain ornamented with
many stones of different colours. The young man was similar in his
general appearance. This is the finest looking tribe, and the
handsomest in their costumes, that we have found in our voyage, They
exceed us in size, and they are of a very fair complexion (?); some
of them incline more to a white (bronze?), and others to a tawny
colour; their faces are sharp, their hair long and black, upon the
adorning of which they bestow great pains; their eyes are black and
sharp, their expression mild and pleasant, greatly resembling the
antique. I say nothing to your Majesty of the other parts of the
body, which are all in good proportion, and such as belong to well-
formed men. Their women are of the same form and beauty, very
graceful, of fine countenances and pleasing appearance in manners
and modesty; they wear no clothing except a deer skin, ornamented
like those worn by the men; some wear very rich lynx skins upon
their arms, and various ornaments upon their heads, composed of
braids of hair, which also hang thrown upon their breasts on each
side. Others wear different ornaments, such as the women of Egypt
and Syria use. The older and the married people, both men and women,
wear many ornaments in their ears, hanging down in the oriental
manner. We saw upon them several pieces of wrought copper, which is
more esteemed by them than gold, as this is not valued on account of
its colour, but is considered by them as the most ordinary of the
metals--yellow being the colour especially disliked by them; azure
and red are those in highest estimation with them. Of those things
which we gave them, they prized most highly the bells, azure
crystals, and other toys to hang in their ears and about their
necks; they do not value or care to have silk or gold stuffs, or
other kinds of cloth, nor implements of steel or iron. When we
showed them our arms, they expressed no admiration, and only asked
how they were made; the same was the case with the looking-glasses,
which they returned to us, smiling, as soon as they had looked at
them. They are very generous, giving away whatever they have. We
formed a great friendship with them, and one day we entered into the
port with our ship, having before rode at the distance of a league
from the shore, as the weather was adverse. They came off to the
ship with a number of their little boats, with their faces painted
in divers colours, showing us real signs of joy, bringing us of
their provisions, and signifying to us where we could best ride in
safety with our ship; and keeping with us until we had cast anchor.
We remained among them fifteen days, to provide ourselves with many
things of which we were in want, during which time they came every
day to see our ship, bringing with them their wives, of whom they
were very careful; for, although they came on board themselves, and
remained a long while, they made their wives stay in the boats, nor
could we ever get them on board by any entreaties or any presents,
we could make them. One of the two kings often came with his queen
and many attendants, to see us for his amusement; but he always
stopped at the distance of about two hundred paces and sent a boat
to inform us of his intended visit, saying they would some and see
our ship--this was done for safety, and as soon as they had an
answer from us they came off, and remained awhile to look around;
but on hearing the annoying cries of the sailors, the king sent the
queen, with her attendants, in a very light boat, to wait, near an
island a quarter of a league distant from us, while he remained a
long time on board, talking with us by signs, and expressing his
fanciful notions about every thing in the ship, and asking the use
of all. After imitating our modes of salutation, and tasting our
food, he courteously took leave of us. Sometimes, when our men staid
two or three days on a small island, near the ship, for their
various necessities, as sailors are wont to do, he came with seven
or eight of his attendants, to enquire about our movements, often
asking us if we intended to remain there long, and offering us every
thing at his command, and then he would shoot with his bow, and run
up and down with his people, making great sport for us. We often
went five or six leagues into the interior, and found the country as
pleasant as is possible to conceive, adapted to cultivation of every
kind, whether of corn, wine or oil; there are open plains twenty-
five or thirty leagues in extent, entirely free from trees or other
hinderances, and of so great fertility, that whatever is sown there
will yield an excellent crop. On entering the woods, we observed
that they might all be traversed by an army ever so numerous; the
trees of which they were composed, were oaks, cypresses, and others,
unknown in Europe, We found, also, apples, plumbs, filberts, and
many other fruits, but all of a different kind from ours. The
animals, which are in great numbers, as stags, deer, lynxes, and
many other species, are taken by snares, and by bows, the latter
being their chief implement; their arrows are wrought with great
beauty, and for the heads of them, they use emery, jasper, hard
marble, and other sharp stones, in the place of iron. They also use
the same kind of sharp stones in cutting down trees, and with them
they construct their boats of single logs, hollowed out with
admirable skill, and sufficiently commodious to contain ten or
twelve persons; their oars are short, and broad at the end, and are
managed in rowing by force of the arms alone, with perfect security,
and as nimbly as they choose. We saw their dwellings, which are of a
circular form, of about ten or twelve paces in circumference, made
of logs split in halves, without any regularity of architecture; and
covered with roofs of straw, nicely put on, which protect them from
wind and rain. There is no doubt that they would build stately
edifices if they had workmen as skilful as ours, for the whole sea-
coast abounds in shining stones, crystals, and alabaster, and for
the same reason it has ports and retreats for animals. They change
their habitations from place to place as circumstances of situation
and season may require; this is easily done, as they have only to
take with them their mats, and they have other houses prepared at
once. The father and the whole family dwell together in one house in
great numbers; in some we saw twenty-five or thirty persons. Their
food is pulse, as with the other tribes, which is here better than
elsewhere, and more carefully cultivated; in the time of sowing they
are governed by the moon, the sprouting of grain, and many other
ancient usages. They live by hunting and fishing, and they are long-
lived. If they fall sick, they cure themselves without medicine, by
the heat of the fire, and their death at last comes from extreme old
age. We judge them to be very affectionate and charitable towards
their relatives--making loud lamentations in their adversity, and in
their misery calling to mind all their good fortune. At their
departure out of life, their relations mutually join in weeping,
mingled with singing, for a long while. This is all that we could
learn of them. This region is situated in the parallel of Rome,
being 41 degrees 40' of north latitude, but much colder than
accidental circumstances, and not by nature, as I shall hereafter
explain to your Majesty, and confine myself at present to the
description of its local situation. It looks towards the south, on
which side the harbour is half a league broad; afterwards upon
entering it, the extent between the east (oriente) and north is
twelve leagues,[Footnote: See ante, p.51, note] and than enlarging
itself it forms a very large bay, twenty leagues in circumference,
in which are five small islands, of great fertility and beauty,
covered with large and lofty trees. Among these islands any fleet,
however large, might ride safely, without fear of tempests or other
dangers. Turning towards the south, at the entrance of the harbour,
on both sides, there are very pleasant hills, and many streams of
clear water, which flow down to the sea. In the midst of the
entrance there is a rock of freestone, formed by nature, and
suitable for the construction of any kind of machine or bulwark for
the defence of the harbour.

Having supplied ourselves with every thing necessary, on the sixth
(sei) of May we departed from the port, and sailed one hundred and
fifty leagues, keeping so close to the coast as never to lose it
from our sight; the nature of the country appeared much the same as
before, but the mountains were a little higher, and all in
appearance rich in minerals. We did not stop to land as the weather
was very favourable for pursuing our voyage, and the country
presented no variety. The shore stretched to the east, and fifty
leagues beyond more to the north, where we found a more elevated
country, full of very thick woods of fir trees, cypresses and the
like, indicative of a cold climate. The people ware entirely
different from the others we had seen, whom we had found kind and
gentle, but these were so rude and barbarous that we were unable by
any signs we could make, to hold communication with them. They
clothe themselves in the skins of bears, lynxes, seals and other
animals. Their food, as far as we could judge by several visits to
their dwellings, is obtained by hunting and fishing, and fruits,
which are a sort of root of spontaneous growth. They have no pulse,
and we saw no signs of cultivation; the land appears sterile and
unfit for growing of fruit or grain of any kind. If we wished at any
time to traffick with them, they came to the sea shore and stood
upon the rocks, from which they lowered down by a cord to our boats
beneath whatever they had to barter, continually crying out to us,
not to come nearer, and instantly demanding from us that which was
to be given in exchange; they took from us only knives, fish books
and sharpened steel. No regard was paid to out courtesies; when we
had nothing left to exchange with them, the men at our departure
made the moat brutal signs of disdain and contempt possible. Against
their will we penetrated two or three leagues into the interior
with, twenty-five men; when we came to the shore, they shot at us
with their arrows, raising the most horrible cries and afterwards
fleeing to the woods. In this region we found nothing extraordinary
except vast forests and some metalliferous hills, as we infer from
seeing that many of the people wore copper ear-rings. Departing from
thence, we kept along the coast, steering north-east, and found the
country more pleasant and open, free from woods, and distant in the
interior we saw lofty mountains, but none which extended to the
shore. Within fifty leagues we discovered thirty-two islands, all
near the main land, small and of pleasant appearance, but high and
so disposed as to afford excellent harbours and channels, as we see
in the Adriatic gulph, near Illyria and Dalmatia. We had no
intercourse with the people, but we judge that they were similar in
nature and usages to those we were last among. After sailing between
east and north the distance of one hundred and fifty leagues more,
and finding our provisions and naval stores nearly exhausted, we
took in wood and water and determined to return to France, having
discovered 502, [Footnote: see ante. p. 58, note.] that is 700 (sic)
leagues of unknown lands.

As to the religions faith of all these tribes, not understanding
their language, we could not discover either by sign or gestures any
thing certain. It seemed to us that they had no religion or laws, or
any knowledge of a First Cause or Mover, that they worshipped
neither the heavens, stars, sun, moon nor other planets; nor could
we learn if they were given to any kind of idolatry, or offered any
sacrifices or supplications, or if they have temples or houses of
prayer in their villages; our conclusion was, that they have no
religious belief whatever, but live in this respect entirely free.
All which proceeds from ignorance, as they are very easy to be
persuaded, and imitated us with earnestness and fervour in all which
they saw us do as Christians in our acts of worship.

It remains for me to lay before your Majesty a Cosmographical
exposition of our voyage. Taking our departure, an I before
observed, from the above mentioned desert rocks, which lie on the
extreme verge of the west, as known to the ancients, in the meridian
of the Fortunate Islands, and in the latitude of 32 degrees north
from the equator, and steering a westward course, we had run, when
we first made land, a distance of 1200 leagues or 4800 miles,
reckoning, according to nautical usage, four miles to a league. This
distance calculated geometrically, upon the usual ratio of the
diameter to the circumference of the circle, gives 92 degrees; for
if we take 114 degrees as the chord of an arc of a great circle, we
have by the same ratio 95 deg., as the chord of an arc on the
parallel of 34 degrees, being that on which we first made land, and
300 degrees as the circumference of the whole circle passing through
this plane. Allowing then, as actual observations show, that 62 1/2
terrestrial miles correspond to a celestial degree, we find the
whole circumference of 300 deg., as just given, to be 18,759 miles,
which divided by 360, makes the length of a degree of longitude in
the parallel of 34 degrees to be 52 miles, and that is the true
measure. Upon this basis, 1200 leagues, or 4800 miles meridional
distance, on the parallel of 34, give 92 degrees, and so many
therefore have we sailed farther to the west than was known to the
ancients. During our voyage we had no lunar eclipses or like
celestial phenomenas, we therefore determined our progress from the
difference of longitude, which we ascertained by various
instruments, by taking the sun's altitude from day to day, and by
calculating geometrically the distance run by the ship from one
horizon to another; all these observations, as also the ebb and flow
of the sea in all places, were noted in a little book, which may
prove serviceable to navigators; they are communicated to your
Majesty in the hope of promoting science.

My intention in this voyage was to reach Cathay, on the extreme
coast of Asia, expecting however, to find in the newly discovered
land some such an obstacle, as they have proved to be, yet I did not
doubt that I should penetrate by some passage to the eastern ocean.
It was the opinion of the ancients, that our oriental Indian ocean
is one and without interposing land. Aristotle supports it by
arguments founded on various probabilities; but it is contrary to
that of the moderns and shown to be erroneous by experience; the
country which has been discovered, and which was unknown to the
ancients, is another world compared with that before known, being
manifestly larger than our Europe, together with Africa and perhaps
Asia, if we might rightly estimate its extent, as shall now be
briefly explained to your Majesty. The Spaniards have sailed south
beyond the equator on a meridian 20 degrees west of the Fortunate
Islands to the latitude of 54, and there still found land; turning
about they steered northward on the same meridian and along the
coast to the eighth degree of latitude near the equator, and thence
along the coast more to the west and north-west, to the latitude of
21 Degrees, without finding a termination to the continent; they
estimated the distance run as 89 degrees, which, added to the 20
first run west of the Canaries, make 109 degrees and so far west;
they sailed from the meridian of these islands, but this may vary
somewhat from truth; we did not make this voyage and therefore
cannot speak from experience; we calculated it geometrically from
the observations furnished by many navigators, who have made the
voyage and affirm the distance to be 1600 leagues, due allowance
being made for the deviations of the ship from a straight course, by
reason of contrary winds. I hope that we shall now obtain certain
information on these points, by new voyages to be made on the same
coasts. But to return to ourselves; in the voyage which we have made
by order of your Majesty, in addition to the 92 degrees we run
towards the west from our point of departure, before we reached land
in the latitude of 34, we have to count 800 leagues which we ran
north-east-wardly, and 400 nearly east along the coast before we
reached the 50th parallel of north latitude, the point where we
turned, our course from the shore towards home. Beyond this point
the Portuguese had already sailed as far north as the Arctic circle,
without coming to the termination of the land. Thus adding the
degrees of south latitude explored, which are 54, to those of the
north, which are 66, the sum is 120, and therefore, more than are
embraced in the latitude of Africa and Europe, for the north point
of Norway, which is the extremity of Europe, is in 71 north, and the
Cape of Good Hope, which is the southern extremity of Africa, is in
35 south, and their sum is only 106, and if the breadth of this
newly discovered country corresponds to its extent of sea coast, it
doubtless exceeds Asia in size. In this way we find that the land
forms a much larger portion of our globe than the ancients supposed,
who maintained, contrary to mathematical reasoning, that it was less
than the water, whereas actual experience proves the reverse, so
that we judge in respect to extent of surface the land covers as
much space as the water; and I hope more clearly and more
satisfactorily to point out and explain to your Majesty the great
extent of that new land, or new world, of which I have been
speaking. The continent of Asia and Africa, we know for certain is
joined to Europe at the north in Norway and Russia, which disproves
the idea of the ancients that all this part had been navigated from
the Cimbric Chersonesus, eastward as far as the Caspian Sea. They
also maintained that the whole continent was surrounded by two seas
situate to the east and west of it, which seas in fact do not
surround either of the two continents, for as we have seen above,
the land of the southern hemisphere at the latitude of 54 extends
eastwardly an unknown distance, and that of the northern passing the
66th parallel turns to the east, and has no termination as high as
the 70th. In a short time, I hope, we shall have more certain
knowledge of these things, by the aid of your Majesty, whom I pray
Almighty God to prosper in lasting glory, that, we may see the most
important results of this our cosmography in the fulfilment of the
holy words of the Gospel.

On board the ship Dolphin, in the port of Dieppe in Normandy, the
8th of July, 1524.

Your humble servant,


We have received from Mr. Henry Harrisse of Paris copies, taken from
the archives of the Parliament of Rouen, of two powers of attorney
made by Verrazzano. They do not relate to his reputed voyage of
discovery, but apparently refer to the projected voyage to the
Indies for spices, and serve to establish the authenticity of the
agreement with Chabot in regard to the latter voyage. They are
important in so far as they fix the year 1526 as that in which the
contract was made, corroborating the opinion which we expressed in
that particular,[Footnote: page 35.] and conforming to the documents
from the archives in Simancas in regard to the capture and execution
of Verrazzano by the Spaniards. They also prove that Verrazzano had
a brother Hieronimo, a relationship conceded [Footnote: Page 91] to
the author of the map, in the Borgian collection,[Footnote: The
Propaganda College in which this collection is found, is not in the
Vatican, as inadvertently stated, but in the Via Due Macelli on the
opposite side of the river.] bearing his name, though not
ascertained, but regarded as of no practical importance, inasmuch as
the mere consanguinity of these parties could not verify the
representations on the map, even if they were made by Hieronimo, of
which as yet there is no positive proof. Indeed on the contrary we
are assured from Rome, on high authority, that this map appears to
belong to a period subsequent to 1550, and is regarded by its
custodians is only a copy at the best.

This note with the two papers from Rouen appended are intended as a
supplement to the Memoir on the "Voyage of Verrazzano." H. C. M,
Brooklyn, April, 20, 1876.


"Du vendredi onze mai 1526

Noble homme Jehan de Varasenne, capitain des navires esquippez pour
aller au voyage des Indes, lequel fist, nomma, ordonna, counstitua
et estably son procureur general et certains messagiers eapeciaulx
cest asscavoir Jerosme de Vurasenne son frere et heritier et Zanobis
do Rousselay en plaidoirie et par eapeciaL de recevoir tout ce qui
au dit constituant est, sera peult et pourra estre den par quelque
personne et pour quelque cause ou causes que ce soit on puisse estre
tant a raison du dit voyage des Indes qur autrement, du dit deu
ensemble de ses descords et procez traicter, composer et appoincter
par tels prix moiens et conditions que les dita Jerosme et de
Rousselay pourront et de receu et bailler quictance et discharge
telle que mestier sera et generalemeat promettre, tenir et obliger
biens et heiritages--presents m Gales et Nieolaa Doublet Janus

Sur le meme feuillet--

"Du samedi douzieme jour de mai 1526.

Noble homme Messire Jehan de Varasenne, capitaine des navires
esquippez pour uller au voiage des Indes, confessa avoir commis,
constitue et estably Adam Godeffroy, bourgeois de Rouen auqel il a
donne et donne par ces presentes pouvoir et puissauce de faire pour
le dit de Verrassane [Footnote: Les mots "en sa charge de capitaine
es dits navires," sont ici rayes dans l'original, et l'on ajoute en
marge ceux ci: "et pour le dit Godeffroy." ] en ung dea dits navires
nomme la Barque de Fescamp, du port de quatre vingt et dix tonneualx
ou environ dont est maistre, aprez Dieu, Pierre Cauuay pour
ouicelluy navire faire traffiquer et negossier par le dit
Varrassenne en toutes choses pour le dit voiage des Indes ainsi que
par le dit de Varrassene sera baille par articles et memoires soubz
son seing audit Grodeffroy. Et pour ce faire le dit de Varrasene a
promis payer au dit Godeffroy pour sa peine et vaccation de farie et
accomplir les dits articles et memoirs a son pouvoir en faisant le
dit voiage de la dite barque la somme de cinq ceuts livres tournois
icelle somme payer au retour du dit voiage a quoi faire le dit de
Varassene a oblige et oblige tous ses biens meublea et heritages et
iceulx prendre par execution incontinent le dit retour.--Etaussai le
dit Godefroy s'est submis faire le dit voyage et deuement et
loyaument servir le dit de Varassenne et accomplir a son pouvoir les
dits articles et memoires qui ainsi lui seront baillez par le dit de
Varraesenne.--Et est ce sans prejudice des biens, deniers et
merchandises que le dit Godeffroy aura et pourra mettre es dites
navirea pour faire le dit voiage, lesquels lui et les siens auront
avec eux emportez pour le profit d'icculx oultre la dite somme de
cinq ceuts livres tournois pour le dit voyage et a ce tenir obligent
par l'uu et l'autre chacun en son regard leurs biens et heritages.--
Presents Jehan Desvaulx et Robert Bouton."


Friday the Eleventh of May, 1526.

Jehan de Varasenne, nobleman, captain of the ships equipped to go on
the voyage to the Indies, has made, named, ordained, constituted and
instituted his attorney, and certain special commissioners that is
to say, Jerosme de Varasenne his brother and heir and Zanobis de
Rousselay, to sue and especially to receive all which to the said
principal is, shall be, may and may become due by any person and for
any cause or causes whatsoever as regards what is thus due as well
by reason of the said voyage to the Indies as otherwise; and also
his disagreements and law suits to treat compound and settle by such
prices, means and conditions as the said Jerosme and de Rousselay
shall be able to do, and to receive and receipt for and discharge
according as the case may be, and generally to pledge, hold and bind
chattels and lands.

Present mol Gales and Nicolas Doublet.


On the same leaf:

Saturday the Twelfth day of May, 1526. Messire Jehan de Varasenne,
nobleman, captain of the ships equipped to go on the voyage to the
Indies acknowledged that he had appointed, constituted and
instituted Adam Godeffroy citizen of Rouen, to whom be has given and
gives by these presents power and authority to act for the said de
Varrasenne [FOOTNOTE: The words "in his quality of captain of the
said ships" are here erased in the original, and they have added in
the margin these; "and for the said Godeffroy."] in one of the said
ships named the barque of Fescamp of the burthen of ninety tons or
thereabouts, of which the master is, after God, Pierre Cauvay, the
which ship to employ in trading and traffic for the said Varrasenne
in all things for the said voyage of the Indies as by the said de
Varrassenne shall be directed by articles and memoranda under his
sign manual to the said Godeffroy. And for doing this the said de
Varrasenne has promised to pay to the said Godeffroy for his trouble
and time and attention in doing and fulfilling the said articles and
memoranda according to his ability in making the said voyage of the
said barque, the sum of five hundred pounds Tours currency, and this
sum to pay on the return from the said voyage, to do which the said
de Varrasenne has bound and binds all his chattels and lands, and to
take them by execution immediately on the said return. And in like
manner the said Godeffroy has undertaken to make the said voyage and
duly and loyally to serve the said de Varrasenne, and to carry out
according to his power the said articles and memoranda which thus
shall be given by the said de Varrasenne.

And it is without prejudice of the goods, funds and merchandise
which the said Godeffroy shall have and might place on the said
ships to make the said voyage, which he and his shall have carried
away with them, for their profit, besides the said sum of five
hundred pounds Tours currency for the said voyage. And to keep this,
each for himself, both parties bind themselves, their chattels and

Present Jehan Desvaulx and Robert Bouton.

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 - A Chapter in the Early History of Maritime Discovery in America" ***

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