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attending the court of Spain for near two years, as an humble fuitor, he found it impoffible to remove Ferdinand's prejudices and apprehenfions; and perceived, at length, that he laboured in vain, when he urged a claim of justice or merit with an interested and unfeeling prince.

But even this ungenerous return did not discourage him from pursuing the great object which first called forth his inventive genius, and excited him to attempt discovery. To open a new passage to the East Indies was his original and favourite scheme. This still engrossed his thoughts; and either from his own observations in his

voyage to Paria, or from some obscure hint of the natives, or from the accounts given by Bastidas and de la Cofa, of their expedition, he conceived an opinion that, beyond the continent of America, there was a fea which extended to the East Indies, and hoped to find some narrow strait or narrow neck of land, by which a communication might be opened with it and the part of the ocean already known. By a very fortunate conjecture, he fupposed this strait or isthmus to be situated near the gulf of Darien, Full of this idea, though he was now of an advanced age, worn out with fatigue, and broken with infirmities, he offered, with the alacrity of a youthful adventurer, to undertake a voyage which would ascertain this important point, and perfect the grand fcheme which from the beginning he proposed to acomplish. Several circumstances concurred in difpofing Ferdinand and Isabella to lend a favourable ear to this proposal. They were glad to have the pretext of any honourable employment for removing from court a man with whose demands they deemed it impolitic to comply, and whose services it was indecent to neglect. Though unwilling to reward Columbus, they were not insensible of his merit, and from their experience of his skill and conduct, had reason to give credit to his conjectures, and to confide in his success. To these cons fiderations, a third must be added of ftill more powerful influence. About this time the Portuguese flect, under Cabral, arrived from the Indies; and, by the richness of its cargo, gave the people of Europe a more perfect idea, than they had hitherto been able to form, of the opulence and fertility of the eaft. The Portuguese had been more fortunate in their discoveries than the Spaniards. They had opened a communication with countries where industry, arts, and elegance flourished; and where commerce had been longer established, and carried to greater extent, than in any region of the carth. Their first voyages thither yielded immediate, as well as vast returns of profit, in commodities extremely precious and in great request. Lisbon became immediately the feat of commerce and of wealth; while Spain had only the expectation of remote benefit, and of future gain, from the western world. No

thing, then, could be more acceptable to the Spaniards than Columbus's offer to conduct them to the eait, by a route which he expected to be shorter, as well as less dangerous, than that which the Portuguese had taken. Even Ferdinand was roused by such a prospect, and warmly approved of the undertaking.

But, interesting as the object of his voyage was to the nation, Columbus could procure only four small barks, the largest of which did not exceed seventy tons in burden, for performing it. Accustomed to brave danger, and to engage in arduous undertakings with inadequate force, he did not hesitate to accept the command of this pitiful squadron. His brother Bartholomew, and his second son Ferdinand, the historian of his actions, accompanied him. He failed from Cadiz on the ninth of May, and touched, as usual, at the Canary Islands; from thence he purposed to have stood directly for the continent; but his largest vefsel was so clumsy and unfit for service, as constrained him to bear away for Hispaniola, in hopes of exchanging her for some thip of the fleet that had carried out Ovando. When he arrived off St. Do-. mingo, on June the twenty-ninth, he found eighteen of these ships ready loaded, and on the point of departing for Spain. Columbus immediately acquainted the governor with the destination of his voyage, and the accident which had obliged him to alter his route.

He requested permision to enter the harbour, not only that he might negociate the exchange of his ship, but that he might take shelter during a violent hurricane, of which he difcerned the approach from various prognoftics, which his experience and fagacity had taught him to observe. On that account, he advised him likewise to put off for some days the departure of the fleet bound for Spain. But Ovando refused his request, and despised his counsel. Under circumstances in which humanity would have afforded refuge to a stranger, Columbus was denied admittance into a country of which he had discovered the exiftence and acquired the possession. His falutary warning, which merited the greatett attention, was regarded as the dream of a visionary prophet, who arrogantly pretended to predict an event beyond the reach of human forekght. The fleet set sail for Spain. Next night the hurricane came on with dreadful impetuosity. Columbus, aware of the danger, took preCautions against it, and saved his little squadron. The fleet destined for Spain met with the fate which the rashness and obstinacy of its commanders deserved. Of eighteen ships two or three only escaped. In this general wreck perished Bovadilla, Roldan, and the greater part of those who had been the most active in persecuting Columbus, and oppredling the Indians. Together with themselves, all the wealth which

they they had acquired by their injustice and cruelty was swallowed up. It exceeded in value two hundred thousand pesos; an immense fum at that period, and sufficient not only to have screened them from any fevere scrutiny into their conduct, but to have secured them a gracious reception in the Spanish court. Among the ships that escaped, one had on board all the effects of Columbus which had been recovered from the ruins of his fortune. Historians, ftruck with the exact discrimination of characters, as well as the just distribution of rewards and punishments, 'conspicuous in those events, universally attribute them to an immediate ipterposition of divine Providence, in order to avenge the wrongs of an injured mắn, and to punish the opprefors of an innocent people. Upon the ignorant and superstitious race of men, who were witnesses of this occurrence, it made a different impression. From an opinion, which vulgar admiration is apt to entertain with respect to persons who have distinguished themselves by their fagacity and inventions, they believed Columbus to be possessed of supernatural powers, and imagined that he had conjured up this dreadful storm by magical art, and incantations, in order to be avenged of his enemies.

Columbus foon left Hispaniola, July 14, where he met with such an inhospitable reception, and stood towards the continent. After a tedious and dangerous voyage, he discovered Guanaia, an island not far diftant from the coast of Honduras. There he had an interview with some inhabitants of the continent, who arrived in a large canoe. They appeared to be a people more civilized, and who had made greater progress in the knowledge of useful arts, than any whom he had hitherto discovered. In return to the inquiries which the Spaniards made, with their usual cagerness, concerning the places where the Indians get the gold which they wore by way of ornament, they directed them to countries situated to the west, in which gold was found in such profusion, that it was applied to the most coramon uses. Instead of steering in quest of a country so inviting, which would have conducted him along the coast of Yucatan to the rich empire of Mexico, Columbus was so bent upon his favourite scheme of finding out the strait which he fupposed to communicate with the Indian ocean, that he bore away to the east towards the gulf of Darien. In this navigation he discovered all the coast of the continent, from Cape Gracias a Dios, to a harbour which, on account of its beauty and security, he called Porto Bello. He searched, in vain, for the imaginary strait, through which he expected to make his way into an unknown fta; and though he went on shore several times, and advanced into the country, he did not penetrate so far as to cross the narrow isthmus which separates the gulf of Mexico



from the great southern ocean. He was so much delighted, however, with the fertility of the country, and conceived such an idea of its wealth, from the specimens of gold produced by the natives, that he refolved to leave a small colony upon the river Belem, in the province of Veragua, under the command of his brother, and to return himself to Spain, in order to procure what was requisite for rendering the establishment permanent. But the ungovernable spirit of the people under his command, deprived Columbus of the glory of planting the first colony on the continent of America. Their insolence and rapacioulness provoked the natives to take arms, and as these were a more hardy and warlike race of men than the inhabitants of the islands, they cut off part of the Spaniards, and obliged the rest to abandon a station which was found to be untenable.

This repulse, the first that the Spaniards met with from any of the American nations, was not the only misfortune that befel Columbus; it was followed by a succession of all the disasters to which navigation is exposed. Furious hurricanes, with violent storms of thunder and lightning, threatened his leaky vessels with destruction; while his discontented crew, exhausted with fatigue, and deftitute of provisions, was unwilling or unable to execute his commands. One of his ships perished; he was obliged to abandon another, as unfit for service; and with the two which remained, he quitted that part of the continent which in his anguish he named the Coast of Vexation, and bore away for Hispaniola. New distresses awaited him in this voyage. He was driven back by a violent tempest from the coast of Cuba, his ships fell foul of one another, and were fo much shattered by the shock, that with the utmost difficulty they reached Jamaica, on June 24, where he was obliged to run them aground, to prevent them from finking. The measure of his calamities seemed now to be full. He was cast ashore upon an island at a considerable distance from the only settlement of the Spaniards in America. His Mips were ruined beyond the posibility of being repaired. To convey an account of his situation to Hispaniola, appeared impracticable; and without this it was vain to expect relief. His genius, fertile in resources, and most vigorous in those perilous extremities when feeble minds abandon themselves to despair, discovered the only expedient which afforded any prospect of deliverance. He had recourse to the hospitable kindness of the natives, who considering the Spaniards as beings of a superior nature, were eager, on every occafion, to minister to their wants. From them he obtained two of their canoes, each formed out of the trunk of a single tree hollowed with fire, and so mif-thapen and aukward as hardly to merit the name of boats. No, II, L


In these, which were fit only for creeping along the coast, or crossing from one side of a bay to another, Mendez, a Spaniard, and Fieschi, a Genoefe, two gentlemen particularly attached to Columbus, gallantly offered to set out for Hispaniola, upon a voyage of above thirty leagues. This they accomplished in ten days, after surmounting incredible dangers, and enduring such fatigue, that several of the Indians who accompanied them funk under it, and died. The attention paid to them by the governor of Hispaniola was neither such as their courage merited, nor the distress of the persons from whom they came required. Ovando, from a mean jealousy of Columbus was afraid of allowing him to fet foot in the island under his government. This ungenerous passion hardened his heart against every tender sentiment, which reflection upon the services and misfortunes of that great man, or compassion for his own fellow-citizens involved in the same calamities, must have excited. Mendez and Fieschi spent eight months in foliciting relief for their commander and associates, without any prospect of obtaining it.

During this period, various passions agitated the mind of Columbus, and his companions in adverfity. At first the expectation of speedy deliverance, from the success of Mendez and Fieschi’s voyage, cheered the spirits of the most desponding. After some time the more timorous began to suspect that they had miscarried in their daring attempt. At length, even the most fanguine concluded that they had perished. The ray of hope which had broke in upon them, made their condition appear now more dismal. Despair, heightened by disappointment, settled in every breast, Their last resource had failed, and thing remained but the prospect of ending their miserable days among naked favages, far from their country and their friends. The seamen, in a transport of rage, rose in open mutiny, threatened the life of Columbus, whom they reproached as the author of all their calamitics, seized ten canoes, which he had purchased from the Indians, and despising his remonftrances and entreaties, made off with them to a distant part of the island.

At the same time the natives murmured at the long residence of the Spaniards in their country. As their industry was not greater than that of their neighbours in Hispaniola, like them they found the burden of supporting fo many strangers to be altogether intolerable. They began to bring in provisions with reluctance, they furnished them with a sparing hand, and threatened to withdraw those supplies altogether. Such a resolution must have been quickly fatal to the Spaniards. Their safety depended upon the good-will of the Indians; and unless they could revive the admiration and reverence with which that simple people had at first beheld them, destruction was un



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