. This “Voyage” was supposed to have taken place in 1640; an account of it was first
published in a London periodical in 1708. The purported leader and narrator, Admiral
Bartholomew de Fonte, claimed to have sailed from Lima in Peru up the west coast of
North America and to have found a water route to Hudson Bay, since he encountered
a Boston ship which must have entered the Bay from the northeast. These claims were
disputed with some warmth on both sides of the question during the middle decades
of the 18th century, and French and English maps showing the discoveries in detail
were published by those who believed a northwest passage existed. By the end of the
century they were totally discredited; modern geographers consider Admiral de Fonte
an entirely fictitious person. See Henry R. Wagner, “Apocryphal Voyages to the Northwest
Coast of America,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs.
, 41 (1931): 179–234, which includes a reprint of the De Fonte “Letter” and facsimiles
of several pertinent maps.
In his Diary entries for 17
June, below, JA
records more speculation and conversation on the controversy over the northwest passage.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.