Rochefort’s account places a fabulous stone-built city of two thousand buildings called Melilot in “Florida,” which was the then-current name for everything south of Virginia, as Nicolas Sanson’s 1660 map of North America shows. Thornton takes “Florida” for the state rather than the older territory. The tribe was called the Apalache, and Rochefort claims that they not only were in direct communication with the Caribbean, but that the Apalache were the ancestors of the Caribs (i.e. Taino) of the West Indies. He therefore mixed in words of French, English, and Caribbean origin into his account to lend verisimilitude to the claims.
Thornton conveniently omits all this, as there is no evidence of seventeenth-century colleges or churches, or any lost English colony, near Track Rock.
As early as the nineteenth century, Rochefort’s claims were recognized for what they were, falsehoods. Here’s how the Historical Magazine explained it in 1860:
This strange account, backed by his Carib vocabulary, has misled many, and yet the whole is a fiction. Building on a few names found in De Laet, or some Spanish account—perhaps a manuscript narrative—he has made a golden picture, which, in spite of its apparent inconsistencies, has been regarded as exaggerated, but based on truth. Yet, to place the bishop and priests among English refugees was suspicious, and equally so the fact that no Spanish writer ever mentions any mission of Minims to Florida. As an order originating in France, the Society of St. Francis de Paula might be found more readily in French than in Spanish parts; but the writer, not over familiar with such matters, confounded, doubtless, the Fratres Minores or Franciscans, with the Minimi or Minims.
… as the very points which seem to support [the tale] could be gleaned from known works at the time, we are more disposed to share the Opinion of Mr. Buckingham Smith, that it is a total invention. "The framework," says he, "is taken from Garcilaso, and the accounts by the French of their occupation of Florida. Some names may be borrowed from the maps of the day; others appear to be those of mere fancy. Our knowledge of the geography and physical character of the country renders the story often improbable and sometimes absurd."
The whole story of English refugees in Florida corresponding with France, but unknown to English settlers in Virginia or the English government, which sent them bishops and priests, is too untenable to stand examination; and if the latter ecclesiastics bore papal faculties, it but adds one difficulty more in the matter.
Thornton further reports—falsely—that Rochefort described these English settlers as the lost colonists of Roanoke: “researchers were astonished to find in the book’s text, a description of the lost Roanoke Island colonists.” Thornton then suggests that this proves the authenticity of the Eleanor Dare stones, the hoax rocks that chronicled the alleged trek of the colonists from Roanoke to what is now Atlanta, pending a full translation of Rochefort, which is forthcoming from a “late medieval French” expert at the People One Fire group. (The book is not late medieval French, but rather seventeenth-century French.) He is wrong, and I will save them the trouble of translating the book since, as it happens, I can also read the more obscure parts of the antique French. And to prove I am not lying, I will supply the French as well.
Rochefort, in the relevant passage, very clearly writes something different:
Ces Familles, ainsi que nous l'avons tire des relations, que les Habitans de la Colonie de la Palme nous ont envoyées, avoient este contraintes de quiter la Virginie en l'an mil six cens vint & un, à cause des horribles massacres que les Barbares Originaires du païs, y faisoient pour lors, de tous les étrangers qu'ils rencontroient, & elles s'étoient embarque'es à dessein de se retirer à la neuve Angleterre: mais les vens leur ayans esté contraires, elles furent poussées à la coste de la Floride, où le manquement de vivres les obligea de descendre, & de s'arrêter fur le bord de la rivière de Seloy, & c'est de là qu'elles passèrent en la Province de Matique & puis en celles d' Amana & de Bemarin, sous la conduite d'une Compagnie d'Apalachites, qui étoient descendus à la coste de la mer, pour y prendre leur provision de sel, comme ils avoient acoútumé de le faire en ce tems-là.
These families, as we have taken from their relations, which the inhabitants of the Colony of the Palm sent to us, had been compelled to depart Virginia in the year one thousand six hundred twenty-one, because of the horrible massacres, which were happening then, by the Native barbarians of that country of all foreigners they met. And they planned to withdraw by ship to New England: but their winds having been contrary, they were pushed to the coast of Florida, where the failure of their food supply forced them to quit, and to stop at the edge of the river Seloy. That’s where they entered into the Province of Matique, then those of Amana and of Bemarin, under the guidance of a company of Apalaches, who were at the time down at the sea coast to collect their supply of salt, as they were accustomed to do there. (my translation)
Therefore, the text fails to support Thornton’s assertion, and archaeology knows nothing of the alleged structures the text claims existed. Government records of England, France, Spain, and the Vatican are equally ignorant of the alleged missions to and from the lost city. On all of his points of alleged evidence, Thornton is demonstrably wrong.
I wonder, therefore, why it is that Thornton—supposedly a researcher aiming to overturn modern science—is so happy to repeat claims secondhand about a text he has apparently never read while I, whom he accuses of all manner of faults, actually do the hard work of looking up the material and translating it so everyone can see that the emperor has no clothes?