[A Discourse, Intended to Commemorate the Discovery of America By Christopher Columbus, 1792]
"Regarding the original inhabitants of America: "For three centuries this has been a subject of debate among the learned... The claims of Hanno the Carthaginian, of Madoc the Welchman, of the seven Bishops of Spain, and the ten tribes of Israel, have had their several advocates...
He wonders why the gospel was "... not brought by the Apostles to America, as well as propagated in the several regions of the old continent? To solve this difficulty, it has been alleged that America was known to the ancients; and that it was enlightened by the personal ministry of the Apostles."
"If we survey the whole continent, from the first discovery of America, to the present time, the number of converts to christianity, among the Indians, bears but a small proportion to those, who have [died] .... If the truths of our holy religion are to be propagated among the savages, it will become us to consider, whether we had not better first agree among ourselves, what these truths are. ... If the christian religion is to be propagated, without the assistance of miracles, among the savages of this continent, it must be in some such manner as the Moravians have attempted"
Included are the words to a song performed for the occasion that include: America "form'ed by God's creating hand" the "Ocean kept his sacred charge" to conceal the new world while Europe faltered through war, superstitition, and anti-science under "monastic rubbish ... and pure religion quite were lost." ... "Then, guided by th' Almighty Hand, Columbus" discovers the new world set aside for "pure religion." ... The Lord acted as "shield and sword" against those who threatened America and "Heav'nly truth shall shine on fair Columbia's happy ground; There Freedom and Religion join and spread their influences all around."
He weighs in on the debate of whether the honey bee was native to America or imported.
He also speculates that native Americans may have arrived in two separate groups, both by ship in the 12th and 13th centuries.
[Jeremy Belknap, A Discourse, Intended to Commemorate the Discovery of America By Christopher Columbus, in Grunder, Rick, Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source]