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

Re: Books - observations on your comments

Dear Tim;
I  very much enjoyed the dialogue and wanted to comment further on the issue
you face with your observation and I quote you; "To establish the truth of
Prince Henry's Voyage is the aim of all of us, but it can only be
acomplished with reasoned argument  which is based upon hard evidence. In
our new book we have tried to do just  that, knowing in advance that we are
going to have to defend our thesis against sustained and vitriolic attack
from the academic establishment in North America who still cling on to
blinkered thinking based upon the falacious assumption that 'There was no
European contact with America before Columbus.'.

Now Tim, if I may let me share my perspective on how the simple because
complex and the complex simple. When I first made my acquaintance of the
topic of Prince Henry's voyage I did a fair amount of reading (not that
there was a lot). I read encylopedias that claimed he discovered Greenland
for the English, other biographical references to his discovering North
America being a lot of hocum, to the English perspective that Cabot - well
he was first. I travelled to Nova Scotia and also read all the versions
published from Pohl, who made a convincing case to my mind. Looking at the
debate which preceded and followed Pohl, in the absence of scientific
evidence the voyage could be total fabrication again what the acedemic
community seeks is science and as you suggest reasoned proofs. Others on
this list reasonable state that the archelogy is not established to verify
or disprove the existance of alledged factual assetions which leaves them in
the realm of speculative histories (well reasoned or not), whether they be
true or mythological in origin.  So against this previous context what I
have been trying to assert over the two years on the list is not whether the
facts exist ( I am not an original archelogical researcher) but whether the
logIcal circumstances existed which made the voyage of Prince Henry more
than logical and in the words of legal evidenciary rules, "more likely to be
believed than not". This I support with my own reasoning approach. .

What you will find in the North American community of scholars and
researchers, and book reviewers is a distinguishing between supposition and
circumstancial evidence leading to factual assertions. This is the task
which has to be met, as you say on reason not faith, on evidence not

Now my advocacy in the absence of reading your research and Niven;s long
study, comes as a well read history buff on this side of the pond who is
saddened at the way that history is taught. This is why I share with the
list members my perspective on who came first as not being the crux of any
intelligent discussion or much of an historical issue. (we will never know
what name came first) My conjecture has been, if you will, legal in
perspective based on our contextual knowledge, and the many points of
probality that are consistent with a voyage being made in 1398 by Henry,
which does credit to his biography and adds a worthy footnote to the history
of the development of civilization.

Now why all this effort to debate the voyage came to me as a mystery until I
again started reading about the historical context of the debate itself. I
was surprised at reference to a scholarly debate at the end of the 1800's
and some before as to the authenticity of the Zeno diary. I was unaware of
the debate from the perspective of Venice and Genoa. Then we review the
origin of a lot of the other "discovery" histories like those referencing
John Cabot and we have something that resembles an historical bag of mixed
vegetables! On a voyage that the simplest student of history can agree as
probable we have a debate every time it is raised. Why?

Now I do want to disuade you in the belief that the historic acedemic
community is ignorant or bigotted. In Canada and in many of the prominent
Universities in the United States there is a community that is highly
regarded and educated. That said 25 years ago the Viking settlements were
speculation as well by this same academic community. They will in my view be
looking for the "prove it" perspective and oppose the speculative and
hypothetical. This I leave to wiser minds than I like Tim, who have
conducted original research. I do continue to advocate that the historical
context made such a voyage probable and logical with more historcial and
archelogical evidence supporting it than that supporting the existance of
Christ from an archelogical perspective.

If I had a wish to make a contribution I would suggest that the odd
perplexity surrounding this part of history be put to rest through advancing
reason, awareness and good research and distinguishing that which is
speculative from that which is known.

I now go to curl up for by birthday this weekend and watch "Beyond a
Reasonable Doubt" from Niven's kindness and intelligence and read that book
I just got "Rosslyn Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail" from you Tim.
We pant in anticipation in the expectation of your next work.

Neil Toronto PEI ARGYLL
PS. I agree the only definative part on the cannons is that such original
cannons were common to being used in shipping and were most prevalent around
the Mediteranian. This is as far as the archivists at Louisburg go with
their material. That such technology was in existance before 1400 I believe
is also factual but can not find the authority for suggesting this.
The landing spot of Prince Henry I believe Pohl suggested was (Stellerton
because of the coal asphalt pits)  not Guysborough but some of us remain
The mini ice age was not an ice age in so far as a minor climate change
which I believe occured after 1400 but I could be wrong on this. It did make
Greenland uninhabitable.
Have a good one

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Wallace-Murphy" <tim@templartim.freeserve.co.uk>
To: <sinclair@matrix.net>
Sent: 5 July, 2000 9:29 AM
Subject: Re: Books - observations on your comments

> Re. The Louisburg story and the cannon

[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
[ To get off or on the list, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html