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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/705

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THE AMERICANISTS IN CONGRESS.

first congress in Nancy—"not systems but facts"—have become the programme of the Americanists; doubly valuable in a time when the imagination is too ready to fly heedlessly over wide tracts which disclose their features only to toilsome searchers. Previous congresses have made numerous and important contributions to the structure which we are raising. From meteorology, geography, and the descriptive sciences, to comparative philology and the history of art and religion, the various branches of knowledge have offered their treasures. The circle of studies that help to the investigation of the New World is ever widening, and our extended knowledge of East Asian history and literature is opening to us new means of access to the last of these problems."

Minister Gossler was followed by Signor Guido Cora, who spoke of the discovery in the Vatican archives of important original documents of the time of Columbus.

Dr. Reiss, of Berlin, was chosen president of the congress, and the vice-presidents were Freiherr von Audrian-Werburg, of Vienna; Cora, of Italy; Fabié, of Spain; Gafarel, of France; Morse, of the United States; Netto, of Brazil; and Schmidt, of Copenhagen. At the close of this introductory meeting the president spoke of the condition of Americanistic research and the part which different countries had taken in it.

The first of the regular papers was by Signor Cora, and was on the name of America. The author was not ready to pronounce decisively upon the origin of the name, for various recent investigations had left it uncertain whether it was derived from some word of native origin or was imported. Señor Fabié remarked that the opinion should not be rejected that the name was derived from Amerigo Vespucci, for it had been taken from the maps of that traveler, which were signed with his name.[1] M. Gafarel spoke concerning the American navigation which was carried on principally by Frenchmen, early in the sixteenth century. The whale-fishery had brought Basques, Bretons, and Normans through the northern seas to Canada, as was shown by many names of points along the coast. In the discussion, M. de la Espada tried to prove that M. Gafarel had exaggerated the part which those discoverers, particularly the Basques, had played. The whale-fishery was not then very extensively prosecuted; but

  1. M. Jules Marcou says, in the "Bulletin of the Paris Geographical Society," that "it is beyond question that one edition of Vespucci's letter on his third voyage has the name Amerigo in the place of the Christian name; nineteen editions had Albericus, and subsequent Italian editions had Alberico. The one with Amerigo on the title-page was published in 1506, but M. Marcou suggests that this was never intended to be a variation of Alberico, but rather the adaptation of Amerrique, a name already known and applied to the New World, to Vespucci's name to distinguish him, as we say now 'Chinese Gordon,' to distinguish the particular Gordon by suggesting one of his greatest feats."