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on a second expedition. This intelligence made him pursue his journey with the utmost despatch: but Columbus had sailed be. fore he reached Spain.

Ferdinand and Isabella received him with the respect due to the brother of a man, whose services and merit had rendered him so conspicuous: and as they knew what consolation it would afford Columbus, they persuaded him to take the command of three ships, which they had appointed to càrrý provisions to the new colony.

Columbus never stood more in need of such a friend, to assist him with his counsel, or of dividing with him the cares of government. For although the provisions, now brought from Europe, proved a temporary relief, from the calamities of famine, the quantity was too small to last them long, and the produce of the island was insufficient to support them. They were also threat, ened with a danger more formidable than the return of searcity; and which demanded more immediate attention. When Columbus was absent from the island, on this last

expe. dition, the soldiers, under the command of Margarita, contemned all subordination, and dispersed in stragyling parties over the island, lived at discretion on the natives, wasted their provisions, seized their women, and treated those inoffensive people, with all the insolence of military oppression. While the Indians retained any hopes of their sufferings coming to an end, by the voluntary departure of their invaders, they submitted in silence, and dissembled their indignation : but, now that they discovered the yoke would be as permanent as it was intolerable, self.preservation prompted them to assume courage, and attack their oppressors with united force, and drive them from the settlements, of which they had violently taken possession. Such were the sentiments, which universally prevailed amongst the Indians, when Columbus returned to Isabella, from his last expedition.

Inflamed, and justly irritated, by the outrages of the Spaniards, with a degree of rage, of which their gentle natures seemed hardly susceptible, they waited only for a signal from their leaders, to fall upon the colony. Some of the caziques had already surprised and cut off several stragglers. The dread of impending danger united the Spaniards, and re established the authority of Columbus, as they saw no prospect of safety, but in committing themselves to his prudent guidance.

It was now become necessary to have recourse to arms; an event, Columbus had anxiously wished to avoid. The vast superiority of the natives in number, compensated in a great measure their want ot fire arms; one unforeseen event, might have proved fatal to the Spaniards. Conscious that suecess depended on the rapidity and vigour of his operations, Columbus instantly assembled his forces; which were reduced to a very small number: two hundred foot, twenty horse, and as many large dogs, were all the force he could muster, against (agreeable to the Spanish accounts) one hundred thousand Indians. Although it may seem strange, to mention dogs as composing part of a military force, they were perhaps as formidable and destructive as so many men in arms, when employed against naked and timid Indians.

All the caziques of the island, (Guacanahari excepted, who still retained an inviolable attachment to the Spaniards) were in arms to oppose Columbus. Instead of attempting to draw the Spaniards into the woods and mountains, they were so imprudent as to take their station in the most open plain in the country, Columbus did not allow them ime to perceive their mistake, or to alter their position. He attacked them during the night, and obtained an easy and bloodless victory.

The noise and havoc made by the fire arms; the impetuous foree of the cavalry, and the fierce onset of the dogs, was so great, that the Indians were filled with consternasion: they threw down their arms, and fled without making any resistance: many of them were slain, more were taken prisoners, and reduced to slavery. From that moment they abandoned themselves to des pair, and relinquished all thoughts of contending with aggressors, whom they deemned invincible. Humanity must lament ihe sad reverse of that unhappy race, who had enjoyed the free and unmolested enjoyment of their native woods; their wants were supplied by the spontaneous productions of the earth; but now a race unknown had invaded their country, and forced them to submit to exactions unthought of, and arbitrary impositions, which they were by po means enabled to comply with, consistent with their ideas of perfeet liberty.

Columbus employed several months in the year 1495, in marching through the island, and in subjecting it to the Spanish government, without meeting with any opposition. He imposed a tax upon all the inhabitants above the age of fourteen : each person who resided in the district where gold was to be found, was oblig. ed to pay quarterly as much gold dust as would fill a hawk's bill; from others, twenty-five pounds of cotton were deinanded. This served as a precedent for exactions still more oppressive. Con. trary as these exactions were to the maxims which Columbus had hitherto inculcated, yet the intrigues carried on at the court of Spain, at this juncture, with the manifest design to undermine his power, and discredit his operations, constrained hiin to depart: from his own system of administration. .

Several anfavourable accounts of his conduct, as well as the countries, discovered by him, had been transmitted to Spain. Margarita and father Boyle were at court, and in order to gratify their resentment, watched with malevolent attention for oppor

tunities to spread insinuations to his disadvantage. Several others about the court viewed his growing reputation with envious eyes. Fonseca, the archdeacon of Seville, who was intrusted with the chief direction of Indian affairs, for some reasons not made public, listened with partiality to every invective.

It was not easy for an unfriended stranger, unpractised in the courtly arts, to counteract the machinations of such powerful enemies. There remained but one method to support his credit, and silence his enemies: lie must produce such a quantity of gold, as would justify his reports, with respect to the richness of the country; the necessity of obtaining it, forced him not only to imppose this heavy tax upon the Indians, but to exact payment of it with extreme rigour; and furnished him with a plausible excuse for departing from that mildness and humanity, with which he had uniformly treated that unhappy people.

This imposition appeared the most intolerable of all evils; accustomed to pass their days in a careless manner, this restraint upon their liberty was so grievous, that they had recourse to an expedient to deliver themselves from a yoke, imposed upon them by a handful of strangers, to whom they were under no obligations.

Their impatience and despair prompted them to fall upon an expedient, which to them appeared an infallible method to rid them of their troublesome neighbours. They agreed to suspend all agricultural operations, and from the voracious appetites of the Spaniards, concluded the execution of it very practicable.

They pulled up the Manioc roots that were planted, and planted no Maize; and retired to the most inaccessible parts of the woods, leaving the uncultivated plains to their enemies.

This desperate resolution produced some of the effects intended; the Spaniards were reduced to great want; but they received some seasonable supplies from Europe, and found so many resources in their own ingenuity and industry, that they suffered no great loss of men.

The Indians were the greatest sufferers by this ill-concerted policy, Shut up among barren mountains, without

any

food but the wild productions of the earth, distressed by famine, contagious diseases were the consequence: and in the course of a few months, more than a third part of the inhabitants perished.

Columbus now began to have serious thoughts of returning to Spain. His enemies at court had gained considerable influence : they represented his prudent care to preserve discipline and subordination, as excess of rigour; the punishments he inflicted upon the mutinous and disorderly, were imputed to cruelty; and he was represented as inconsiderately ambitious; these accusations obtained such credit in a jealous court, that a commissioner was appointed to repair to Hispaniola, to inspect into the conduct of Columbus.

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By the influence of his enemies, Aguado, a groom of the bed charnber, was made choice of, upon this occasion; a man whose capacity was by no means fit for the station. Puff-d up with such sudden and unexpected elevation, Aguado displayed all that frivolous self-importance and insolence, natural to little minds, in the exercise of his office. He listened with eagerness to every accusation against Columbus, and encouraged, not only the evil disposed among the Spaniards, but also the Indians; by which partial conduct he fomented jealousies and dissentions in the colony, without establishing any regulations for the public good: and „while he wished to load the administration of the admiral with disgrace, placed an indelible stain upon his own.

Columbus sensibly felt how humiliating his situation must be, if he remained under the coutrol of such a partial inspeetor. He therefore took the resolution of returning to Spain, in order to give a full account of his transactions, with respect to the points in dispute between him and his adversaries, before Ferdinand aud Isabella He committed the administration of his affai's during his absence to his brother Don Bartholomew, with the tiile of Adelantado, or lieutenant governor; and Francis Roldan, chief justice, with very extensive powers.

In returning to Europe, Columbus held a different course to what he had taken in his former voyage. He steered almost due east from Hispaniola in the parallel of twenty-two degrees of latitude: as he was unacquainted with the more expeditious method of stretching to the north, whereby he would have fallen in with the south-west winds. By which mistake he was exposed to very great fatigue and danger; and had to struggle with the trade winds which blow without variation from the east, between the tropics.

He nevertheless persisted in this course with his usual patienee and firmness, but made so little way, that he was three months before he came within sight of land. Provisions at last began to fail : they were reduced to the allowance of six ounces of bread a day for each person : the admiral faring no better than the meanest sailor.

In this extreme distress he retained that humanity which distinguished his character; and refused to comply with the pressing solicitations of his crew to feed upon the Indian prisoners, . whom they were carrying over; others insisted that they should be thrown overboard, in order to lessen the consumption of provi.. sions. He objected to their destruction, alledging that they were human beings, reduced to the same calamities with themselves and entitled to share an equal fate. These arguments, backed by his authority, dissipated those wild ideas suggested by despair : soon after they came in sight of Spain and all their troubles and fears vanished.

Columbus, conscious of his own integrity, appeared at court with that determined confidence which those who have performed great actions, will always assume. Ferdinand and Isabella, ashamed of lending too favourable an ear to frivolous and ill founded accusations, received him with such distinguished marks of respect as overwhelmed his enemies with shame. Their calumny and censures were not heard at that juncture.

The gold, the pearls, the cotton, and other rich commodities which Columbus produced, seemed fully to refute the stories tlie malecontents had propagated with respect to the poverty of the country. By reducing the Indians to obedience and imposing a regular tax upon them, he had secured to Spain a large accession of new subjects, and a revenue that promised much. By the mines which he had found out and examined, a source of wealth, was still more copiously opened.

Columbus represented these only as preludes to future, and much larger, acquisitions, and as an earnest of more important discoveries. The attentive consideration of all these circum. stances made such an impression upon Ferdinand and Isabella, that they resolved to supply the colony with every thing necessary to render it a permanent establishment, and to furnish Columbus with such a fleet, that he might proceed to make such discoveries as he meditated.

A plan was now formed of a regular colony, that might serve as a model for all future establishments. Every particular was considered with attention, and arranged with scrupulous accuracy. The exact number of adventurers who should be permitted to embark was fixed: these were to be of different ranks and professions; and the proportion of each was established, according to their usefulness and benefit to the colony. A proper number of women were chosen to accompany these new settlers.

As a want of provision had occasioned great distress in the colony, a number of husbandmen were to be carried over. As they had formed and entertained the most sanguine hopes with respect to the riches contained in the mines, a number of artists were engaged who were skilful in refining the precious metals; who were to receive pay from the government for a number of years.

Thus far the regulations were well adapted to the end in view; but as it was foreseen that few would engage to embark to settle in a country that had proved so fatal to many of their countrymen, Columbus proposed to employ such convicts and malefactors who were convicted of crimes, which, though capital, were of a less attrocious nature; and that, instead of sending them to the gallies, they should be condemned to labour in the mines which were to be opened. This advice was inconsiderately adopted ; the prisons were drained to collect members for the intended colony; and the judges were instructed to recruit it by their future

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