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sentences. But they were not aware that such corrupt members would poison the body politic, and be productive of violent and unbappy effects.
This the Spaniards fatally experienced, and other European powers imitated their practice, from which perpicious consequences have followed, and can be imputed to no other cause.
Columbus easily obtained the royal approbation to every mea. sure and regulation he proposed : but his endeavours to carry them into execution, were long retarded, and must have tired out any man of less patience than himself. Those delays were occasioned, partly by that tedious procrastination, so natural to the Spaniards; partly by the exhausted state of the treasury, which at that time was drained by the celebration of the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella's only son, with Margaret of Austria ; and that of Joanna, their daughter, with Philip of Austria: but the chief source of all these delays, must principally be imputed to the malice of his enemies.
These, astonished at the reception Columbus had met with, and overawed by his presence, gave way for some time, to a tide of favour too strong for them to oppose. Their enmity, however, was too strong to remain long inactive; but, by the assistance of Fonseca, minister for Indian affairs, who was now promoted to be bishop of Badajos, they threw in so many obstacles, that the preparations were retarded one whole year, before he could procure two ships, to send over a part of the supplies intended for the colony; and near two years were spent before the small squadron. was ready, of which he was to take the command.
This squadron consisted of six ships of no great burden, and indifferently provided for a long voyage.
He now meditated a different course from what he had before undertaken; still possessed with those erroneous ideas, which at first iņduced him to consider the country he had discovered, as a part of the continent of India: he expected to find those fertile regions to the south-west of the countries he had discovered. He therefore proposed, as the most certain for finding out these, to stand directly for the Cape de Verd islands, until he came under the equinoctial line, and then to stretch to the west before a favourable wind whieh blows invariably between the tropics.
Full of this idea he set sail for his third voyage, on the thirtieth of May, 1498, and touched at the Canaries and Cape de Verd Islands; from Ferro he despatched three of his ships with a supply of provisions for the colony of Hispaniola : with the other three he pursued his course to the south.
No remarkable occurenee happened until they arrived within five degrees of the line, when they were becalmed, and the heat was so excessive that the Spaniards were apprehensive the ships would take fire; their fears were relieved by a shower of rain,
but did not much abate the heat. The admiral was so fatigued by unremitting care and loss of sleep, that he was seized with a violent fit of the gout and a fever.
These circumstances induced him to listen to the remonstrances of his men, and to alter his course to the north-west, that he might reach some of the Caribee islands, where he might refit, and obtain a fresh supply of provisions.
On the first of August, the man stationed in the round-top, surprized them with the joyful cry of Land! Columbus named it Trinidad, which name it still retains; it lies near the mouth of the river Oronoco, on the coast of Guiana. This river rolls towards the ocean such a vast body of water, and with such an impetuous force, that when it meets the tide, which on that coast rises to an uncommon hight, occasions such aswell and agitation, that it is both surprising and formidable.
Columbus, before he was aware of the danger, was entangled with those adverse currents, and owed bis safety by boldly venturing through a narrow strait which appeared so tremendous, that he called it La Boca del Drago: no sooner was the consternation subsided, than Columbus drew comfort and consolation from a circumstance, so full of peril. He wisely concluded, that such a vast body of water, could not be supplied by any island, but must flow through a couniry of immense extent, and that he had now, in consequence, arrived at that country, which had been the main object of his pursuit.
Full of this idea, he stood to the west along the coast of those provinces, now known by the names of Paria and Cumana. He landed in several places, and found the inhabitants resembled those of Hispaniola ; they wore, as ornaments, small plates of gold, and pearls of considerable value, which they willingly exchanged for European toys. Their understanding and courage appeared superior to the inhabitants of the islands.
This country produced four-footed animals of different kinds, and a great variety of fowls and fruit. The admiral was so much delighted with its fertility, that with the warm enthusiasın of a discoverer, be imagined it to be the paradise described in Scripture, which the Almighty had chosen for the residence of man, while he was innocent and worthy of such a possession.
Thus, Columbus had the glory of discovering a new world, making considerable progress towards a perf-ct knowledge of it, and was the first man who conducted the Spaniards to that vast settlement, which has been the chief seat of their empire, and source of their treasures The weak situation of his ships, scarcity of provisions, and his own infirmities, together with the impatience of his crew, made it oecessary for hun to steer away for Hispaniola. On the thirtieth of August, 1498, he reached that island, and found the colony in such a situation, as left him no
prospect of enjoying that repose, which he stood so much in need of. Many changes had happened, during his absence. His brother, the Adelantado, agreeable to former instructions, had removed the colony from Isabella, to a more convenient station, on the opposite side of the island, and laid the foundation of the town of St. Domingo.
As soon as they were established in this new settlement, the Adelantado, to prevent the people from forming new cabals, marched into other parts of the island, which his brother had not yet reduced to obedience; as the people were unable to resist, they submitted every where to the tribute imposed. While the Adelantado was thus employed, an alarming mutiny broke out among the Spaniards; the ringleader was Francis Roldan, who was placed by Columbus, to be the guardian of order and tranquility, in the colony.
The arguments he employed to seduce his countrymen, were frivolous and ill-founded. He accused Columbus, and his three brothers, of arrogance and severity. He insinuated, that they aimed at establishing an independent dominion in the country; for this purpose, they designed to cut off part of the Spaniards, by hunger and fatigue, thai they might the more easily, reduce the remainder to subjection; he said, it was unworthy of Castilians, to be the tame and passive slaves of three Genoese ad. venturers.
By these insiduous means, strengthened by his rank, a deep impression was made on the minds of his countrymen, already prepared to receive unfavourable impressions. A considerable number made choice of him, for their leader, and took up arms against the Adelantado and his brother, seized the king's magazine of provisions, and endeavoured to surprise the fort at St. Domingo. This was preserved by the vigilance of Don Diego Columbus. The mutineers were obliged to retire to the province of Xaragua, where they continued, not only to oppose the Adelantado's authority themselves, but excited the Indians to throw off the yoke.
Such was the distracted state of the colony, when Columbus arrived. He was astonished to find that the three ships, which he had despatched from the Canaries had not yet arrived. By want of skill in the pilots, and the violence of the currents, they had been carried one hundred and sixty miles west of St. Domingo, and forced to take shelter in the barbour of the province of Xaragua, where Roldan and his seditious followers were cantoned. Roldan carefully concealed from the commanders, his insurrection against the Adelantado, and employed all his art to gain their confidence, persuaded them to set on shore, a considerable part of the new settlers, whom they brought over, that they might proceed by land, to St. Domingo.
It required no great argument with those men, to espouse his cause. They were the refuse of the jails of Spain. These were familiarized to deeds of violence, and eagerly returned to a course of life to which they had been accustomed. The commanders of the ships were convinced, when it was too late, of their imprudence, and stood away for St. Domingo, and got safe into port a few days after their admiral.
These ships brought but small relief to the colony, their provisions being much reduced, by the length of the voyage. Roldan, by the additional force of his new associates, became extremely formidably, and extravagant in his demands. Columbus, filled with resentment at his ingratitude and highly incensed, at the insolence of his followers, yet appeared in no haste to take the field. He trembled at the thoughts of kindling the flames of ci
He saw with regret, that the prejudices and passions which had excited the rebels to take arms, had infected those who still adhered to him, and were all cold to the service. He therefore chose to negociate rather than fight. By a seasonable proclamation, offering free pardon to such as returned to their duty, he made impressions on some of the malecontents. To those who were desirous of returning to Spain, he gave full liberty: by this he allured all these that were disgusted with the country, and disappointed in their views. He soothed Roldau’s pride, by promising to restore him to bis former office; and by complying with the commands of others, he satisfied their avarice. Thus gradually, and without bloodshed, after several tedious negociations, he dissolved a confederacy that threatened ruin to the colony, and restored order and regular government.
This mutinous disposition in the people, prevented Columbus from prosecuting his discoveries on the continent. As soon as his affairs would permit he sent some of his ships to Spain, with an account of the voyage he had made, together with a description of the countries, which he had discovered ; a chart of the coast along which he sailed; also specimens of the gold, pearls, and other curiosities found there. At the same time, he transmitted an account of the insurrection in Hispaniola. Roldan and his followers, did not neglect to convey to Spian, by the same ships, an appology for their conduct, and recriminated upon the admiral and his brothers.
Unfortunately for the honour of Spain, and the happiness of Columbus, Roldan gained the most credit at court, and produce ed unexpected events. The perpetual occupation and disquiet, which the malecontents in the colony gave him, prevented him from attending to the machinations of his enemies, in the court of Spain. Several of these had embraced the opportunity of returning to Europe, in the ships Columbus bad despatched from St. Domingo
Inflamed with rage at the disappointment of all their hopes, their poverty and distress excited compassion, and gave their accusations the appearance of probability, and made their complaints interesting. They teazed Ferdinand and Isabella, with memorials, containing an account of their own grievances, and charges against Columbus. Whenever the king and queen appeared in public, they were surrounded by a croud of petitioners, demanding pa' ment of arrears due to them, and vengeance on Colombus, as tie author of their sufferings. The admiral's song were insulted wherever they met them, reproaching them as the offspring of a projector, whose fatal curiosity had discovered those pernicious regions, which drained Spain of its wealth, and would
of its people. These endeavours to ruin Columbus, where powerfully seconded by that party of courtiers, who had alwavs thwarted his schemes, and were stung with envy at his success and credit.
Ferdinand listened with a willing and partial ear to every accusation: time had now diminished the first sensations of joy which the discovery of the New World had ocasioned, and fame alone was not sufficient to satisfy the cold and avaricious mind of Ferdinand. He considered Spain as a loser by the enterprize of Columbus and innated it to bis incapacity for government, that a country abounding in gold. had not yielded a greater value to its conquerors. Even Isabella began to give way to the number and boldness of his accusers, and concluded, that there must have been some occasion, on his part. that caused such heavy complaints against him. This was no sooner known, than a resolution fatal to Columbus was taken.
Francis de Bovadilla, a knight of Calatrava, was appointed to repair to Hispaniola, with full powers to inquire into the conduct of Columbus ; and if he found the charge vif mal administration proved against him, to supercede him in the government. It was impossible for Columbus to escape condemnation when this preposterous commission made it the interest of the judge to find him guilty.
Though Columbus had restored tranquility in the island, though he had brought both Spaniards and Indians, to submit quitely to his government, yet the interested Bovadilla, without attending to the merit of those services, shewed a determined purpose of treating him as a cirminal. He seized the admiral's house in St. Domingo, when he was absent, with all bis effects; he rendered himself master of the fort and the king's stores, by violence; and required all persons to acknowledge him as supreme governor; he set at liberty all the prisoners confined by the admiral; and summoned him to appear before his tribunal to answer for his conduct, sending him, at the same time, a copy of the royal mandate, by which Columbus was enjoined to yield implicet ubedience to his commands.