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brought to a period, it would be imprudent to engage in any new and expensive enterprise.
Whatever care was taken to foften the harshness of this declaration, Columbus considered it as a final rejection of his proposals. But happily for mankind, the fuperiority of genius, which is capable of forming great and uncommon designs, is usually accompanied with an ardent enthusiasm, which can neither be cooled by delays, nor damped by difap. pointment. Columbus was of this fanguine temper. Though he felt deeply the cruel blow given to his hopes, and retired immediately from a court, where he had been amused fo long with vain expectations, his confidence in the justness of his own system did not diminish, and his impatience to demonstrate the truth of it by an actual experiment became greater than ever. Having courted the protection of fovereign states without success, he applied, next, to persons of inferior rank, and addreffed successively the dukes of Medina Sidonia, and Medina Celi, who, though subjects, were possessed of power and opulence more than equal to the enterprise which he projected. His negociations with them proved as fruitless, as those in which he had been hitherto engaged; for these noblemen were either as little convinced by Columbus's arguments as their fuperiors, or they were afraid of alarming the jealousy, and offending the pride of Ferdinand, by countenancing a scheme which he had rejected.
Amid the painful sensations occasioned by fuch a succession of disappointments, Columbus had to sustain the additional distress, of having received no accounts from his brother, whom he had sent to the court of England. In his voyage to that country, Bartholomew had been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of pirates, who having stripped him of every thing, detained him a prisoner for several years. At length, he made his escape, and arrived in London, but in such extreme indigence, that he was obliged to employ himself, during a considerable time, in drawing and selling maps, in order to pick up as much money as would purchase a decent dress, in which he might venture to appear at court. He then laid before the king the proposals, with which he had been entruited by his brother, and, notwithstanding Henry's exceslive caution and parfimony, which rendered him averse to new or expensive undertakings, he received Columbus's overtures, with more approbation, than any
monarch to whom they had hitherto been presented. Meanwhile, Columbus being unacquainted with his brother's fate, and liaving now no prospect of encouragement in Spain, resolved to visit the court of England in person, in hopes of meeting with a more favourable reception there. He had already made preparations for this
purpose, and taken measures for the disposal of his children during his absence, when Juan Perez, the guardian of the monastery of Rabida, near Palos, in which they had been educated, earnestly solicited him to defer his journey for a short time. Perez was a man of considerable learning, and of some credit with Queen Isabella, to whom he was known personally. He was warmly attached to Columbus, with whose abilities as well as integrity he had many opportunities of being ac. quainted. Prompted by curiosity or by friendship, he entered upon an accurate examination of his system, in conjunction with a physician fettled in the neighbourhood, who was a considerable proficient in mathematical knowledge. This investigation satisfied them so thoroughly, with respect to the solidity of the principles on which Columbus founded his opinion, and the probability of success in executing the plan which he proposed, that Perez, in order to prevent his country from being deprived of the glory and benefit, which must accrue to the patrons of such a grand enterprise, ventured to write to Isabella, conjuring her to consider the matter anew, with the attention which it merited.
Moved by the representations of a person whom the respected, Isabella desired Perez to repair immediately to the village of Santa Fé, in which, on account of the siege of Granada, the court resided at that time, that she might confer with him upon this important subject. The first effect of their interview was a gracious invitation of Columbus back to court, accompanied with the present of a small sum to equip him for the journèy. As there was now a certain prospect, that the war with the Moors would speedily be brought to an happy issue by the reduction of Granada, which would leave the nation at liberty to engage in new undertakings; this, as well as the mark of royal favour, with which Columbus had been lately honoured, encouraged his friends to appear with greater confidence than formerly in support of his scheme. The chief of these, Alonso de Quintanilla, comptroller of the finances in Caftile, and Luis de Santangel, receiver of the ecclesiastical revenues in Arragon, whose meritorious zeal in promoting this great design entitles their names to an honourable place in history, introduced Columbus to many per. fons of high rank, and interested them warmly in his behalf.
But it was not an easy matter to inspire Ferdinand with favourable sentiments. He still regarded Columbus's project as extravagant and chimerical; and in order to render the efforts of his partizans ineffectual, he had the address to employ in this new negociation with him, some of the persons who had formerly pronounced his scheme to be impracticable. To their astonishment, Columbus appeared before them with the same confident hopes of success as formerly, and insisted upon
the fame high recompence. He proposed that a small fleet fhould be fitted out, under his command, to attempt the discovery, and demanded to be appointed hereditary admiral and viceroy of all the seas and lands which he should discover, and to have the tenth of the profits arising from them, settled irrevocably upon himself and his descendants. At the same time, he offered to advance the eighth part of the sum necessary for accomplishing his design, on condition that he should be entitled to a proportional share of benefit from the adventure. If the enterprise hould totally miscarry, he made no ftipulation for any reward or emolament whatever. Instead of viewing this conduct as the cleareft evidence of his full persuasion with respect to the truth of his own system, or being struck with thât magnanimity which, after so many delays and repulses, would stoop to nothing inferior to its original claims, the perfons with whom Columbus treated, began meanly to calculate the expence of the expedition, and the value of the reward which he demanded. The expence, moderate as it was, they represented to be too great for Spain, in the present exhausted state of its finances. They contended, that the honours and emoluments claimed by Columbus, were exorbitant, even if he should perform the utmost of what he had promised; and if all his fanguine hopes should prove illusive, such vast concessions to an adventurer would be deemed not only inconsiderate, but ridiculous. In this imposing garb of caution and prudence, their opi. pion appeared so plausible, and was so warmly supported by Ferdinand, that Isabella declined giving any countenance to Columbus, and abruptly broke off the negociation with him which she had begun.
This was more mortifying to Columbus than all the disappointments which he had hitherto met with. The invitation to court from Isabella, like an unexpected ray of light, had opened such prospects of success, as encouraged him to hope that his labours were at an end; but now darkness and uncertainty returned, and his mind, firm as it was, could hardly support the shock of such an unforeseen reverse. He withdrew in deep anguish from court, with an intention of prosecuting his voyage to England, as his last resource.
About that time Granada surrendered, and Ferdinand and Isabella, in triumphal pomp, took poffeffion of a city, the reduction of which extirpated a foreign power from the heart of their dominions, and rendered them masters of all the provinces, extending from the bottom of the Pyrenees to the frontiers of Portugal. As the flow of spirits which accompanies success elevates the mind, and renders it enterprising, Quin. tan:lla and Santangel, the vigilant and discerning patrons of Columbus, took advantage of this favourable situation, in order to make one effort
more in behalf of their friend. They addressed themselves to Isabella, and, after expressing some surprise, that the, who had always been the munificent patroness of generous undertakings, should hesitate so long to countenance the most splendid scheme that had ever been proposed to any monarch; they represented to her, that Columbus was a man of a found understanding and virtuous character, well qualified, by his experience in navigation, as well as his knowledge of geometry, to form juft ideas with respect to the structure of the globe and the situation of its various regions; that, by offering to risk his own life and fortune in the execution of his scheme, he gave the most satisfying evidence both of his integrity and hope of success; that the sum requifite for equipping fuch an armament as he demanded was inconsiderable, and the advantages which might accrue from his undertaking were immense; that he demanded no recompence for his invention and labour, but what was to arise from the countries which he should discover; that, as it was worthy of her magnanimity to make this noble attempt to extend the sphere of human knowledge, and to open an intercourse with regions hitherto unknown, so it would afford the highest satisfaction to her piety and zeal, after re-establishing the Christian faith in those provinces of Spain from which it had been long banished, to discover a new world, to which she might communicate the light and blessings of divine truth; that if now she did not decide instantly, the opportunity would be irretrievably loft; that Columbus was on his way to foreign countries, where some prince, more fortunate or adventurous, would close with his proposals, and Spain would for ever bewail the fatal timidity which had excluded her from the glory and advantages that she had once in her power to have enjoyed,
These forcible arguments, urged by persons of such authority, and at a juncture fo well chofen, produced the defired effect. They dispelled all Isabella's doubts and fears ; she ordered Columbus to be instantly recalled, declared her resolution of employing him on his own terms, and regretting the low state of her finances, generously offered to pledge her own jewels, in order to raise as much money as might be needed in making preparations for the voyage. Santangel, in a transport of gratitude, kissed the queen's hand, and in order to save her from having recourse to such a mortifying expedient for procuring money, engaged to advance immediately the fum that was requisite.
Columbus had proceeded fome leagues on his journey, when the melsenger from Isabella overtook him. Upon receiving an account of the unexpected revolution in his favour, he returned directly to Santo Fe, though some remainder of diffidence still mingled itself with his joy.
But the cordial reception which he met with from Isabella, together with the near prospect of setting out upon that voyage which had fo long been the object of his thoughts and wishes, foon effaced the remembrance of all that he had suffered in Spain, during eight tedious years of solici. tation and suspense. The negociation now went forward with facility and dispatch, and a treaty of capitulation with Columbus was signed on the seventeenth of April, one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. The chief articles of it were, 1. Ferdinand and Isabella, as sovereigns of the ocean, constituted Columbus their high admiral in all the seas, islands, and continents which should be discovered by his industry ; and ftipulated, that he and his heirs for ever should enjoy this office, with the fame powers and prerogatives which belonged to the high admiral of Caftile, within the limits of his jurisdiction. 2. They appointed Co. lumbus their viceroy in all the islands and continents which he should discover; but if, for the better adminiftration of affairs, it should here. after be necessary to establish a separate governor in any of those coun trics, they authorised Columbus to name three persons, of whom they would chuse one for that office; and the dignity of viceroy, with all its immunities, was likewise to be hereditary in the family of Columbus. 3. They granted to Columbus and his heirs for ever the tenth of the free profits accruing from the productions and commerce of the countries which he should discover. 4. They declared, that if any controversy or law-fuit shall arise with respect to any mercantile transaction in the countries which should be discovered, it should be determined by the sole authority of Columbus, or of judges to be appointed by him. 5. They permitted Columbus to advance one-eighth part of what should be expended in preparing for the expedition, and in carrying on commerce with the countries which he fould discover, and intitled him, in return, to an eighth part of the profit.
Though the name of Ferdinand appears conjoined with that of Isabella in this transaction, his distrust of Columbus was still so violent that he refused to take any part in the enterprise as king of Arragon. As the whole expence of the expedition was to be defrayed by the crown of Caftile, Isabella reserved for her subjects of that kingdom an exclusiva right to all the benefits which might redound from its success.
As soon as the treaty was signed, Isabella, by her attention and activity in forwarding the preparations for the voyage, endeavoured to make some reparation to Columbus for the time which he had loft in fruitless solicitation. By the twelfth of May, all that depended upon her was adjusted ; and Columbus waited on the king and queen, in order to receive their final instructions. Every thing respecting the destination