« ПредишнаНапред »
was looking for, Columbus would not give in to the men's wishes to cruise after it. The one object, the fixed unalterable aim, Columbus had, was to sail westward--to go on, and on, and on, till he came to what he believed in—“land ahead.” The crew
He keeps two reckonings, the true one for his own guidance, the other reducing the distance they sailed daily. On the 1st of October, by the true reckoning, they had come 2000 miles at least, from Ferro. Still, still, his sole word to the helmsman is, “west.” The crew mutiny. Columbus is firm, and they are quiet again. And, indeed, this conduct of the crew is in no way to be wondered at, hardly to be blamed. I dare say it is much what we should have done ; for it is what is very natural for ordinary men to do; and well brings out before us the peculiar greatness of Columbus. The crew did not understand Columbus : they thought him at least half madthey would have thought him altogether so, but somehow they could not, he was such a calm man : though his eye was so wild his head was so clear: he could do such things : he knew so much more than they did : he was such an uncommonly good
But still theirs was a fearful lot. To be out there, no one of them could tell where, nor for what: in the craziest, miserablest deckless craft : with bad food daily growing worse and scantier, return growing daily less practicable : to be out there day after day, and week after week, for weeks and months, and for aught they knew till they died : living by faith, and that faith not their own : with free passage everywhere but no port: shut out from all men but only shut in by infinity: themselves seeming the only habitable spot in the world, and they a floating speck, without another known one anywhere attainablethis was the lot of Columbus's crew. They hated it, and murmured at it, and endured it. They were men-emphatically manly—but still ordinary, commonplace men. Columbus, he foresaw all this, and foreseeing chose it; nay, he willed it and exulted in it. And this it is which makes Columbus a great man. And scarcely, I think, can we picture to ourselves a grander sight, than this man sitting by his helm, not cheerful only but joyous ; with his spirit moved to deep thankfulness at every breeze that blew him from his home ; with no wish nearer to his heart, no prayer oftener on his lips, than that these breezes should blow, and blow on, till they bore him to the utmost boundaries of the globe.
There he sits—that once seaboy of Genoa, that alms-asking wayfarer at La Rabida, that visionary hoverer about the court of Castilethere he sits with the wildness of his eyes now dimmed into mildness by the tear of gratitude for his high destiny ; sometimes silent, sometimes with audible utterance of joy, as his crazy caravel careers through the waters. His men, sulkily in groups, eye him with mingled awe and hate. He reads what they look, he hears what they say; but he sits unmoved: only now and then speaking kindly to the timid, and thundering out his orders to the sullen. First and last, early and late, a watcher is he, almost sleepless ; but when he does lie down, it is with prayer and thanksgiving, and to rise up each day stirred by an increased excitement, the offspring not of fear but of faith. And so there he sails, a dim speck on a waste of waters seeming boundless—moving ever onwards to the west : there he sails, with his heart beating quick with the hope, that he shall be permitted to plant the cross amid the countless tribes of a New Hemisphere: there he sails, full of faith, full of courage—an earnest heroic man, and an humble worshipper of God—and every generous heart that could have known of him as he went must have said, and said devoutly, “ And God's blessing go with him.” And so it did ; for the very day after the mutiny, they see a branch of a thorn with berries on it float by them : they are all excitement. Again, a small board : they are all hope. Again, a rudely carved stick : they are all confidence. On the night of the 11th of October Columbus sees a light. All the crews watch till dawn. Soon a seaman cries, “land,” and to their straining eyes before sunrise, is revealed a peopled shore. The crews bless Columbus, Columbus blesses God.
Columbus disembarks, and on landing kneels down and returns thanks to God, and plants upon that first-fruits of the New World —the symbol of the cross and the standard of Castile. Strange and tumultuous must have been his feelings now. He has solved the riddle of centuries, and given to all men of all time, knowledge as of another world. For this it was he had sacredly cherished within him that idea, which was as a fire consuming while it warmed him : for this he had wandered about from kingdom to kingdom, a seeming visionary and needy adventurer, and borne seven years' scorn as such from proud Castile : for this he had toiled and endured, hoped and prayed, throughout the whole prime of life: and now he possessed all he had so long believed. This was the proudest, happiest, solemnest moment of his life. There were others when he was more honoured, more praised, more wondered at—as on his return; but to one who, as Columbus, regarded himself as an instrument of the Most High, there could be no day in his life like this 12th day of October, 1492.
The savages received Columbus and his crew as angels from the skies. The new land was all that he expected, and more. He seems at first to have lived in a kind of riot of imagination ; but herein, too, see his superiority to all about him. His crew wanted to remain and enjoy themselves, as ordinary men would ; but all enjoyment of his toils Columbus was determined to deny himself, lest the profit of his discovery might run the greater risk of being lost to mankind. Columbus, therefore, will cruise but little ; he is deserted by one of his ships in consequence, and loses another by shipwreck. With the crew and wreck of this latter, he forms a settlement and builds a fortress.
On the 4th of January, 1493, he sets sail for Spain, meets with all kinds of difficulties and most extraordinary tempests, but, through God's mercy, enters once more the well-known port of Palos on the 15th of March.
A strange contrast is his entry now, to his first appearance there, begging bread for his boy ; or even to his departure thence seven or eight months before, amid the murmurs and the hate of all. Now, there are loud shouts from the shore, hearty greetings in the market-place ; all crowd around him as he walks to the old church, to return public thanks to Almighty God for late mercies vouchsafed to him : they stare, they point with the finger, they bless him. And his journey from Palos to Barcelona (where the court is) is like a festival procession all the way ; such ringing of bells and climbing on house-tops, such holiday crowds, in every town through which he passes. As he approaches, all the pageantry of the court is employed to give him homage ; and as he enters with his Indians and his gold, his birds, and animals, and plants, and all his curious but peaceful spoils—it would have reminded you of a Roman triumph. No tricksy show is it—no mountebank parade ; but rather a grave and solemn sight, though so joyful. A white-haired, reverend man, lofty in his bearing, as, one might be who remembered, that the honour which he was receiving he had earned-proud, but in no way vain—such an one is the idol and peaceful victor of the day. The sovereigns rise at his approach, and bid him be seated in their presence. They listen with rapt attention to his story ; and when he has done, all fall on their knees and thank God, and, on rising, chant together the Te Deum. Columbus is sumptuously entertained at court; the news of his discovery spreads rapidly throughout Europe, and Columbus becomes world-famous.
Lectures on Great Men.
SPEECH ON THE REFORM BILL,
LORD BROUGHAM. My LORDS,—I do not disguise the intense solicitude which I feel for the event of this debate ; because I know full well that the peace of the country is involved in the issue. I cannot look without dismay at the rejection of the measure. But grievous as may be the consequences of a temporary defeat-temporary it can only be, for its ultimate, and even speedy success is certain, nothing can now stop it—do not suffer yourselves to be persuaded that even if the present ministers were driven from the helm, any one could steer you through the troubles which surround you, without reform.
But our successors would take up the task in circumstances far less auspicious. Under them, you would be fajn to grant a bill, compared with which the one we now proffer you, is moderate indeed. Hear the parable of the sybil; for it conveys a wise and wholesome moral. She now appears at your gate, and offers you mildly the volumes—the precious volumes of wisdom and peace. The price she asks is reasonable: to restore the franchise, which, without any bargain, you ought voluntarily to give. You refuse her terms—her moderate terms-she darkens the porch no longer. But soon—for you cannot do without her wares—you call her back. Again she comes, but with diminished treasures ; the leaves of the book are in part torn away by lawless hands, in part defaced with characters of blood. But the prophetic maid has risen in her demands : it is parliament by the year ; it is vote by the ballot; it is suffrage by the million ! From this you turn away indignant, and for the second time she departs. Beware of her third coming ; for the
treasure you must have ; and what price she may next demand, who shall tell ? It may even be the mace which rests upon
that woolsack. What may follow your course of obstinacy, if persisted in, I cannot take upon me to predict; nor do I wish to conjecture. But this I know full well,—that, as sure as man is mortal, and to err is human, justice deferred enhances the price at which you must purchase safety and peace ; nor can you expect to gather in another crop than they did who went before
you persevere in their utterly abominable husbandry, of sowing injustice, and reaping rebellion.
But among the awful considerations that now bow down my mind, there is one which stands pre-eminent among the rest. You are the highest judicature in the realm ; you sit here as judges, and decide all causes, civil and criminal, without appeal. It is a judge's first duty never to pronounce sentence, in the most trifling case, without hearing. Will you make this the exception? Are you really prepared to determine, but not to hear, the mighty cause upon which a nation's hopes and fears hang? You are, then beware of your decision! Rouse not, I beseech you, a peaceloving, but a resolute people ; alienate not from your body the affections of a whole empire. As your friend, as the friend of my order, as the friend of my country, as the faithful servant of my sovereign, I counsel you to assist with your utmost efforts in preserving the peace, and upholding and perpetuating the constitution. Therefore, I pray and exhort you not to reject this measure. By all you hold most dear, by all the ties that bind every one of us to our common order and our common country, I solemnly adjure you—I warn you—I implore you-yea, on my bended knees, I supplicate you-reject not this bill.
COWPER CONTRASTED WITH OTHER ENGLISH
SYDNEY TAYLOR. Of all our great poets, Cowper was, perhaps, that one who most enriched poetic thought and language, while ambitious only to advance the cause of simple truth. Capable, by his original powers, of discovering new regions in the ideal world, he disdained