Benjamin Franklin had written on the Phoenicians: “This inscription, which you find to be Phoenician, is, I think, near Taunton (not Jannston, as you write it). There is some account of it in the old Philosophical Transactions. I have never been at the place, but shall be glad to see your remarks on it.’

The compass appears to have been long known in China before it was known in Europe; unless we suppose it known to Homer, who makes the prince, that lent ships to Ulysses, boast that they had a spirit in them by whose directions they could find their way in a cloudy day, or the darkest night.

If any Phoenicians arrived in America, I should rather think it was not by the accident of a storm, but in the course of their long and adventurous voyages; and that they coasted from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and to New England; as the Danes themselves certainly did some ages before Columbus.”

SOURCE: Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 1 By Benjamin Franklin

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