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they had acquired by their injustice and cruelty was swallowed up. It exceeded in value two hundred thousand pesos; an immense fum at that period, and sufficient not only to have screened them from any fevere scrutiny into their conduct, but to have secured them a gracious reception in the Spanish court. Among the ships that escaped, one had on board all the effects of Columbus which had been recovered from the ruins of his fortune. Historians, ftruck with the exact discrimination of characters, as well as the just distribution of rewards and punishments, 'conspicuous in those events, universally attribute them to an immediate ipterposition of divine Providence, in order to avenge the wrongs of an injured mắn, and to punish the opprefors of an innocent people. Upon the ignorant and superstitious race of men, who were witnesses of this occurrence, it made a different impression. From an opinion, which vulgar admiration is apt to entertain with respect to persons who have distinguished themselves by their fagacity and inventions, they believed Columbus to be possessed of supernatural powers, and imagined that he had conjured up this dreadful storm by magical art, and incantations, in order to be avenged of his enemies.
Columbus foon left Hispaniola, July 14, where he met with such an inhospitable reception, and stood towards the continent. After a tedious and dangerous voyage, he discovered Guanaia, an island not far diftant from the coast of Honduras. There he had an interview with some inhabitants of the continent, who arrived in a large canoe. They appeared to be a people more civilized, and who had made greater progress in the knowledge of useful arts, than any whom he had hitherto discovered. In return to the inquiries which the Spaniards made, with their usual cagerness, concerning the places where the Indians get the gold which they wore by way of ornament, they directed them to countries situated to the west, in which gold was found in such profusion, that it was applied to the most coramon uses. Instead of steering in quest of a country so inviting, which would have conducted him along the coast of Yucatan to the rich empire of Mexico, Columbus was so bent upon his favourite scheme of finding out the strait which he fupposed to communicate with the Indian ocean, that he bore away to the east towards the gulf of Darien. In this navigation he discovered all the coast of the continent, from Cape Gracias a Dios, to a harbour which, on account of its beauty and security, he called Porto Bello. He searched, in vain, for the imaginary strait, through which he expected to make his way into an unknown fta; and though he went on shore several times, and advanced into the country, he did not penetrate so far as to cross the narrow isthmus which separates the gulf of Mexico
from the great southern ocean. He was so much delighted, however, with the fertility of the country, and conceived such an idea of its wealth, from the specimens of gold produced by the natives, that he refolved to leave a small colony upon the river Belem, in the province of Veragua, under the command of his brother, and to return himself to Spain, in order to procure what was requisite for rendering the establishment permanent. But the ungovernable spirit of the people under his command, deprived Columbus of the glory of planting the first colony on the continent of America. Their insolence and rapacioulness provoked the natives to take arms, and as these were a more hardy and warlike race of men than the inhabitants of the islands, they cut off part of the Spaniards, and obliged the rest to abandon a station which was found to be untenable.
This repulse, the first that the Spaniards met with from any of the American nations, was not the only misfortune that befel Columbus; it was followed by a succession of all the disasters to which navigation is exposed. Furious hurricanes, with violent storms of thunder and lightning, threatened his leaky vessels with destruction; while his discontented crew, exhausted with fatigue, and deftitute of provisions, was unwilling or unable to execute his commands. One of his ships perished; he was obliged to abandon another, as unfit for service; and with the two which remained, he quitted that part of the continent which in his anguish he named the Coast of Vexation, and bore away for Hispaniola. New distresses awaited him in this voyage. He was driven back by a violent tempest from the coast of Cuba, his ships fell foul of one another, and were fo much shattered by the shock, that with the utmost difficulty they reached Jamaica, on June 24, where he was obliged to run them aground, to prevent them from finking. The measure of his calamities seemed now to be full. He was cast ashore upon an island at a considerable distance from the only settlement of the Spaniards in America. His Mips were ruined beyond the posibility of being repaired. To convey an account of his situation to Hispaniola, appeared impracticable; and without this it was vain to expect relief. His genius, fertile in resources, and most vigorous in those perilous extremities when feeble minds abandon themselves to despair, discovered the only expedient which afforded any prospect of deliverance. He had recourse to the hospitable kindness of the natives, who considering the Spaniards as beings of a superior nature, were eager, on every occafion, to minister to their wants. From them he obtained two of their canoes, each formed out of the trunk of a single tree hollowed with fire, and so mif-thapen and aukward as hardly to merit the name of boats. No, II, L
In these, which were fit only for creeping along the coast, or crossing from one side of a bay to another, Mendez, a Spaniard, and Fieschi, a Genoefe, two gentlemen particularly attached to Columbus, gallantly offered to set out for Hispaniola, upon a voyage of above thirty leagues. This they accomplished in ten days, after surmounting incredible dangers, and enduring such fatigue, that several of the Indians who accompanied them funk under it, and died. The attention paid to them by the governor of Hispaniola was neither such as their courage merited, nor the distress of the persons from whom they came required. Ovando, from a mean jealousy of Columbus was afraid of allowing him to fet foot in the island under his government. This ungenerous passion hardened his heart against every tender sentiment, which reflection upon the services and misfortunes of that great man, or compassion for his own fellow-citizens involved in the same calamities, must have excited. Mendez and Fieschi spent eight months in foliciting relief for their commander and associates, without any prospect of obtaining it.
During this period, various passions agitated the mind of Columbus, and his companions in adverfity. At first the expectation of speedy deliverance, from the success of Mendez and Fieschi’s voyage, cheered the spirits of the most desponding. After some time the more timorous began to suspect that they had miscarried in their daring attempt. At length, even the most fanguine concluded that they had perished. The ray of hope which had broke in upon them, made their condition appear now more dismal. Despair, heightened by disappointment, settled in every breast, Their last resource had failed, and thing remained but the prospect of ending their miserable days among naked favages, far from their country and their friends. The seamen, in a transport of rage, rose in open mutiny, threatened the life of Columbus, whom they reproached as the author of all their calamitics, seized ten canoes, which he had purchased from the Indians, and despising his remonftrances and entreaties, made off with them to a distant part of the island.
At the same time the natives murmured at the long residence of the Spaniards in their country. As their industry was not greater than that of their neighbours in Hispaniola, like them they found the burden of supporting fo many strangers to be altogether intolerable. They began to bring in provisions with reluctance, they furnished them with a sparing hand, and threatened to withdraw those supplies altogether. Such a resolution must have been quickly fatal to the Spaniards. Their safety depended upon the good-will of the Indians; and unless they could revive the admiration and reverence with which that simple people had at first beheld them, destruction was un
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 refusing 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 desire. The eclipse 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 transactions, 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 afflicting than any calamity which he dreaded from them. The governor of Hispaniola, whose mind was still filled with some dark suspicions of Columbus, fent a small bark to Jamaica, not to deliver his diftressed countrymen, but to spy out their condition. Let 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 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.