[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

RE: Knowledge

[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@zilker.net.
[ For more information, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html

Thank you.  This is very helpful.  DTR

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Margaret Rintoul/Neil Sinclair
	Sent:	Friday, May 29, 1998 3:18 PM
	To:	sinclair@zilker.net
	Subject:	Knowledge

	Greetings to the Clan Subscribers 
	Compliments to our Host. 
	My compliments to John for a well framed and thought through
explanation on the Henry Sinclair voyage. My added compliments and
respect for Peter Cummings who has done so much for all human kind on
the educational front, in publicizing the occurrence of a small yet
significant event by one of the worlds heros. By this point we do see
history repeating itself, and acknowledge that the tensions between
facts and proofs and conclusions will always be a point of further
study, debate and controversy. The same discussion occurred in the
1800,s and fortunately we now know a lot more than we did then. 
	But I also wanted to add a Canadian perspective (from a Canuk,
who is also a proud American) and with the perspective of a legally
trained individual as someone who has some understanding of evidence
meeting a standard of proof that gives rise to conclusions of fact. 
	I have read all that I could get my hands on pertaining to the
voyage, and for those subscribers interested in learning more about the
voyage, I am adding a bibliography. My bias is against the American
school of Historians that only look for evidence of a US connection in
all history and capsules centuries into hollywood bite sized
compartments. Neither actual knowledge not acquired wisdom works in that
	There are many parts of history that we lack archeological
proofs of and still seeking further evidence and knowledge. This does
not lead reasonable individuals to make a conclusion that there are 'no
reasonable conclusions' or 'facts that can be discerned', but rather
that knowledge acquired reasonably, remains knowledge until replaced
with newer and perhaps better understandings and more accurate and
updated evidential proofs. I am of the view that there always has been
good and sufficient evidence leading a conscientious student of history
to appreciate that Henry Sinclair was one of those that did make a
voyage in 1398.  But allow me to expand on the overwhelming direct and
circumstantial evidence that makes the voyage both plausible and above
all comprehensible. 
	For a 1000 years mankind had to rely on the bards or songs of
ancient Norwegians (from Trondelag), to document the viking voyages that
stretched from Egypt to North America. The Vikings were not documentary
individuals but celebrated their culture and feats through songs, passed
through generations. We knew of the proofs of the vikings for many
hundreds of years in this fashion. It is only since 1900 that mankind
has uncovered more physical proofs that the Vikings came to North
America, and made settlements well before 1398 in North America ( L'Anse
aux Meadows, and in Greenland (Godthab, Julianehab). In point of fact
these settlements were permanent with women and children and farms. Now
we have actual archaeological historical sites to visit and we can
speculate on the existence of others. All this exploration was well
prior to 1300 and some voyages from Iceland (Under Viking influence)
were before 1000 AD. and from Ireland again before 1400. 
	For an interesting discussion of navigation methods known before
1398 and an over view of the bards check out Canada's Farley Mowat's
West Viking which is a good introduction as to navigation methods that
allowed the Vikings to travel around the world and to allowed sailors
before Columbus to know latitude, and speed and direction. 
	When I was initially studying the voyage, I was impressed by the
circumstances we learned of which were all documented. Henry had a large
fleet, and owed allegiance (If anyone really did) to both Scotland and
the King of Norway. His principality was a buffer state between Scotland
and Norway. His acquisition of  the Shetland Islands, Orkney and the
Faroes were attributable to a treaty (documented) with King Hakon for
which he became the Jarl (Earl). He also married into the Scandanavian
royal families. The archaeological evidence of his presence in the
Orkneys is well established. Logic tells me that the Norwegians had not
obliterated their memories of the location where they had created
settlements. The Evidence is strong  that Henry made it to Greenland
which is the natural geographic route for a small boat. This trip would
be no surprise to those fishermen of Iceland, Ireland and the Shetlands
or Faros in the 1300's.  To this date the descendants of those northern
Scottish Islands speak Norwegian even though they are now part of
Scotland.  The evidence of pre-existing knowledge, and ability for Henry
to make the voyage is substantial and weighs heavily in support of the
subsequent facts. To this extent Canadian History has been helpful, and
I am sharing little that most educated Canadians are not already aware
of. The circumstantial and well documented context is the Henry would
have some knowledge of the Viking history, settlements and routes and
was the largest admiral in the region with the ability and expertise to
make this voyage. 
	Then was there a voyage? Well the evidence we have is supportive
of such a voyage which while long and arduous, was neither the first in
this direction to North America, nor was it particularly long using the
northern route, down and to the west of present day Newfoundland. Now do
we know where he landed? With apologies to my American Cousins who know
that Plymouth Rock is in a mythical landing place and the actual landing
place is totally unsupported & undocumented, ((Despite this the
Americans even built a shrine and imported a rock for the Pilgrims to
have land on!)), I have read nothing that supports exactly where Henry
landed or camped. Obviously he landed omewhere. Both Cape Ross NS, and 
Guysborough Harbor is a suspected anchoring place and logical on any sea
route around Nova Scotia. Pictou is a excellent tie to the ZEno diaries.
A celebration will occur in many of these maritime spots this summer.
Then did Henry get to Massachusetts? Well someone knew a lot of details
about a 13th century family and dress customs and the carving evidence
can not be simply ignored. Rock can not be carbon dated and hence like
the controversies that will always surround such events. Not unlike the
controversy as to'who shot Kennedy?',  this evidence will need further
appreciation. But I believe that this evidence currently stands ( as do
the pyramids), as a documented spot for time to unravel the mysteries
further and for all of us to appreciate more. A similar piece of
evidence lies in the rock carvings at Rosslyn Chapel. If there was ever
a building that screams out for the scientists of the day to study it is
Rosslyn. Every archetype and every document that could be created in the
space was placed with a purpose to reveal a hidden story or more
correctly many stories of the period. Maize and Aloe were not placed by
14th century stone masons out of the blue. The entire edifice screams
out to be studied, and appreciated further. There is much wisdom to be
learned from the construction of this building that will teach us more,
having read a lot about the chaple. 
	It is not my inttention to re-argue the symposium in Orkney by
those individuals far more learned and studied than I in their topics.
Nor is it of any value to argue what we do not know yet or still needing
to learn. I wanted to advance only that the voyage by Henry was in the
context of published history that we know up to this point of time,
totally logical and consistent with a rational belief, and that the
strong evidence that exist to this date, all of which points in an
entirely consistent direction that would lead a reasonable student of
history to celebrate the anniversary as a significant accomplishment by
one individual and those travelling with him. 
	I would add one other point, Henry was not the first man to set
foot in Nova Scotia or present day Massachusetts. The Micmac Indians
were there first, and had a very developed civilization by 1398 which
was far more democratic that anything in Scotland for a few hundred more
years! And here in Canada there is an appreciation that the legends of
the Mickmac Indians and their growth in technology (ocean travel and the
use of fishing nets) provide further evidence to support the occurrence
of the voyage. 
	No the initial contact  was not documented, (much aboriginal
knowledge never was) , but such oral ledgends and myths passed through
the generations has been now accepted as proof in court as to the
validity of the facts of their stories.  This states something about the
strength of oral legends and stories as historical evidence. It furnishs
perhaps the best direct evidence yet as to the contact with Henry
	To my cousins, I urge you to celebrate the accomplishments of
one individual that in his time and period did something not unheard of
before his time, but still very adventurous, and daring. He came to
North America, making no claims by a foreign power to lands that they
had no moral claim to. He was on a remarkable voyage of discovery, and
became a peaceful ambassador to the indigenous peoples. He exchanged
cultures and may have left monuments behind possibly including a
setlement which is significant for any period of exploration. 
	May we, the Sinclair extended world clan, hope that the 600th
Anniversary stirs up further seekers of knowledge (not the sit back show
me types, but actual seekers!) and perhaps archaeological evidence will
unfold shortly, perhaps at the Castle, Guysborough, Oak Island, the
Orkneys, Rosslyn Chapel or through our points of interest in the United
States. The Bibliography follows. If others can add to this list please
do so, especially from Europe which has far more documentation and
studies that exist in North America. 
	More appreciation must be extended to individuals like Peter
Cummings and John Quaterman who took the time to share their
considerable love of history and turned on a small light to a small yet
significant piece of our common culture and heritage. 
	Neil Sinclair 
	Partial Bibliography: 
	Bradley Michael Holy Grail Across the Atlantic 1988, Hounslow
Press Toronto 
	Bradley Michael The Columbus Conspiracy 1991, Hounslow Press
	Choyce Lesley;  Nova Scotia Shaped by the Sea  Penguin Books,
	Haywood John Historical Atlas of the Vikings 1995, Penguin Books
Ltd., London 
	Mowatl Farley West Viking The Ancient Norse in Greenland and
North America, 1965, McCelland & Stewart, Toronto. 
	Pohl Frederick J.  The Sinclair Expedition to Nova Scotia 1950
Pictou Advocate Press    Nova Scotia 
	Pohl Frederick J. Prince Henry Sinclair repub. Rep, 1965, 1995
Crown Press Halifax Nova Scotia 
	Pohl Frederick J. Atlantic Crossings Before Columbus 1961 Norton
Press New York. 
	Pohl Frederick J. The Vikings in Cape Cod (unknown) 
	Sinclair Andrew The Sword and the Grail 1992 Crown Publishing
New York and London. 
	Spence Lewis Myths of the North American Indians 1994 Random
House Value Publishing New York 
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@zilker.net.
[ For subscription, unusubscription, or other instructions, see
[  http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html
[ or send mail to majordomo@zilker.net with this single line in the body:
[  info sinclair
[ To unsubscribe, send a message like this:
[           To: majordomo@zilker.net
[           unsubscribe sinclair