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aroidable. Though the licentious proceedings of the mutineers had, in a great measure effaced those impressions which had been so favourable to the Spaniards, the ingenuity of Columbus suggested a happy artifice, that not only restored but heightened the high opinion which the Indians had originally entertained of them. By his skill in astronomy he knew hat there was shortly to be a total eclipse of the moon. He assembled all the principal persons of the district around him on the day before it happened, and, after reproaching them for their fickleness in withdrawing their affection and assistance from men whom they had lately revered, he told them, that the Spaniards were servants of the Great Spirit who dwells in heaven, who made and governs the world ; that he, offended at their refufing to support men who were the objects of his peculiar favour, was preparing to punish this crime with exemplary severity, and that very night the moon should withhold her light, and appear of a bloody hue, as a sign of the divine wrath, and an emblem of the vengeance ready to fall upon them. To this marvellous prediction some of them listened with the careless indifference peculiar to the people of America ; others, with the credulous astonishment natural to barbarians. But when the moon began gradually to be darkened, and at length appeared of a red colour, all were struck with terror. They ran with confternation to their houses, and returning instantly to Columbus loaded with provisions, threw them at his feet, conjuring him to intercede with the Great Spirit to avert the destruction with which they were threatened. Columbus, seeming to be moved by their entreaties, promised to comply with their defire. The eclipfe went off, the moon recovered its fplendour, and from that day the Spaniards were not only furnished profusely with provisions, but the natives, with fuperftitious attention, avoided every thing that could give them offence.

During those tranfa&tions, the mutineers had made repeated attempts to pass over to Hispaniola in the canoes which they had seized. But, from their own misconduct, or the violence of the winds and currents, their efforts were all unsuccessful. Enraged at this disappointment, they marched towards that part of the isand where Columbus remained, threatening him with new insults and danger. While they were advancing, an event happened, more cruel and aflicting than any calamity which he dreaded from them. The governor of Hispaniola, whose mind was ftill filled with some dark fufpicions of Columbus, sent a small bark to Jamaica, not to deliver his diftressed countrymen, but to spy out their condition. Left the sympathy of those whom he employed hould afford them relief, contrary to his intention, he gave the command of this veel to Escobar, an inveterate enemy of Columbus, who


adhering adhering to his instructions with malignant accuracy, cast anchor at fome, distance from the island, approached the shore in a small boat, obferved the wretched plight of the Spaniards, delivered a letter of empty compliments to the admiral, received his answer, and departed. When the Spaniards first descried the vessel ftanding towards the illand, every heart exulted, as if the long expected hour of their deliverance had at length arrived; but when it disappeared fo fuddenly, they funk into the deepest dejection, and all their hopes died away. Columbus alone, though he felt most fenfibly this wanton insult which Ovando added to his past neglect, retained such composure of mind, as to be able to cheer his followers. He assured them, that Mendez and Fiefchi had reached Hispaniola in safety; that they would speedily procure ships to carry them off; but as Escobar's vessel could not take them all on board, he had refused to go with her, because he was determined never to abandon the faithful companions of his ditress. Soothed with the expectation of speedy deliverance, and delighted with his apparent generosity in attending more to their preservation than to his own safety, their fpirits revived, and he regained their confidence.

Without this confidence, he could not have refifted the matineers, who were now at hand. All his endeavours to reclaim those desperate men had no effect but to increase their frenzy. Their demands became every day more extravagant, and their intentions more violent and bloody. The common safety rendered it necessary to oppose them with open force. Columbus who had been long afflicted with the gout, could not take the field. On the twentiethi of May his brother, the Adelantado, marched against them. They quickly met. The mutineers rejected with scorn terms of accommodation, which were once more of fered them, and rushed on boldly to the attack. They fell not upor an enemy unprepared to received them. In the first shock, several of their moft daring leaders were flain. The Adelatando, whose strength was equal to his courage, closed with their captain, wounded, disarmedy and took him prisoner. At fight of this, the ref: fled with a daftardly fear, suitable to their former infolence. Soon after, they submitted in a body to Columbus, and bound themselves by the most folemn oaths to obey all his commands. Hardly was tranquillity re-established, when the ships appeared, whose arrival Columbus had promised with greataddress, though he could foresee it with little certainty. With tranfports of joy, the Spaniards quitted an island in which the unfeeling jealoufy of Ovando had suffered them to languish above a year, exposed Ho mnifery in all its various forms.


When they arrived at St. Domingo, on the thirteenth of August, the governor, with the mean artifice of a vulgar mind, that labours to atone for infolence by fervility, fawned on the man whom he envied, and had attempted to ruin. · He received Columbus with the most studied respect, lodged him in his own house, and distinguished him with every mark of honour. Bat amidst these overacted demonstrations of regard, he could not conceal the hatred and malignity latent in his heart. He set at liberty the captain of the mutineers, whom Columbus had brought over in chains, to be tried for his crimes, and threatened such as had adhered to the admiral with proceeding to a judicial enquiry into their conduct. Columbus submitted in silence to what he could not redress; but discovered an extreme impatience to quit a country which was under the jurisdiction of a man who had treated him, on every occasion, with inhumanity and injustice. His preparations were soon finished, and he set fail for Spain with two ships, on September the twelfth, 1504. Disasters similar to those which had accompanied him through life continued to to pursue him to the end of his career. One of his vessels being disabled, was foon forced back to St. Domingo; the other, hattered by violent storms, failed seven hundred leagues with jury-mafts, and reached with difficulty the port of St. Luear in the month of December.

There he received the account of an event the most fatal that could have befallen him, and which completed his misfortunes. This was the death, on the ninth of November, 1504, of his patronefs queen Isabella, in whose justice, humanity, and favour, he confided as his laft resource. None now remained to redress his wrongs, or to reward him for his services and sufferings, but Ferdinand, who had so long opposed and so often injured him. To solicit a prince thus prejudiced against him, was an occupation no less irksome than hopeless. In this, however, was Colombus doomed to employ the close of his days.

As soon as, his health was in some degree re-established, he repaired to court; and though he was received there with civility barely decent, he plied Ferdinand with petition after petition, demanding the punishment of his oppressors, and the restitution of all the privileges bestowed upon bim by the capitulation of one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Ferdinand amused him with fair words and unmeaning promises. Instead of granting his claims, he proposed expedients in order to elude them, and spun out the affair with such apparent art, as plainly discovered his intention that it should

never be terminated. The declining health of Columbus flattered Ferdinand with the hopes of being soon delivered from an importunate fuitər, and encouraged him to persevere in this liberal plan. Nor was he deceived in his expectations. Disgusted with the ingratitude of a monarch whom he had served with such fidelity and success, exhausted with the fatigues and hardships which he had endured, and broken with the infirmities which these brought upon him, Columbus ended his life at Valladolid on the twentieth of May, one thousand five hundred and fix, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He died with a composure of mind suitable to the magnanimity which distinguished his character, and with sentiments of piety becoming that fupreme respect for religion, which he manifested in every occurrence of his life.

Having thus given an Account of the first Discovery of America, we shall now proceed to lay before the Reader, a GENERAL DESCRIPTION of that Country, its Soil, Climate, Productions, Original Inhabitants, &c. &c.




THIS vaft country extends from the Both degree of north, to the

56th degree of south latitude; and, where its breadth is known, from the 35th to the 136th degree west longitude from London; stretching between 8000 and gooo miles in length, and in its greatest breadth 3690. It sees both hemispheres, has two summers and a double winter, and enjoys all the variety of climates which the earth affords. It is washed by the two great oceans.

To the eastward it has the Atlantic, which divides it from Europe and Africa; to the west it has the Pacific or Great South Sea, by which it is separated from Asia. By these feas it

may, and does, carry on a direct commerce with the other three parts of the world.

NORTH AND SOUTH CONTINENT. America is not of equal breadth throughout its whole extent; but is divided into two great continents, called North and South America, by an isthmus 1500 miles long, and which at Darien, about Lat. 9° N. is only 60 miles over. This isthmus forms, with the northern and southern continents, a vast gulph, in which lie a great number of islands, called the West Indies, in contradistinction to the eastern parts of Alia, which are called the East Indies.

CLIMATE. Between the New World and the Old, there are several very striking differences ; but the most remarkable is the general predominance of cold throughout the whole extent of America. Though we cannot, in any country, determine the precise degree of heat merely by the distance of the equator, because the elevation above the sea, the nature of the soil, &c. affect the climate; yet, in the ancient continent, the heat is much more in proportion to the vicinity to the equator than in any part of America. Here the rigour of the frigid zone extends ovec half that which should be temperate by its position. Even in those


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