Imagens das páginas
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

some sixty or seventy miles, meeting with situation became absolutely unendurable, and many pleasing incidents of the same general on the 10th of March, 1496, he again set sail character which we have previously related, for Spain to seek the redress of his wrongs. he turned to the south, and had sailed but a After a long and stormy passage of three few leagues when the blue mountains of an- months he landed at Cadiz. other majestic island seemed to emerge from Ferdinand and Isabella received him with the sea. This was his first sight of Jamaica. kindness. But all the plans and wishes of CoFortunately the island has retained its original lumbus were thwarted by a series of incessant name. The natives, a bold and warlike race, and mortifying annoyances. He found his opposed the landing. The Spaniards, with popularity greatly on the wane. Many of the cross-bows and a blood-hound, put them all to nobles, indulging in unworthy jealousy of him flight. This was probably the first time that as a foreigner, did every thing in their power this animal, of execrable notoriety, was em- to embarrass his movements. More than two ployed in such services.

years passed away before Columbus could obBut Columbus could find here no gold. He tain another squadron. But on the 30th of returned to Cuba, and sailed along its southern May, 1498, he again sailed on his third voyage coast many days, and for so many leagues as to with six vessels. satisfy every one on board the ships that Cuba Pursuing a more southerly course, the first could not be an island, but that it was the main land he made was a large island on the coast land. After continuing his tour for nearly five of South America, which he named La Trinimonths, and having discovered many new is)- dad, The Trinity,from three lofty peaks unitands, Columbus returned to his colony at Isa- ed at their bases, which first hove in sight.. bella. Here he again found that the arrogance He also coasted for many leagues along the and oppression of those he had left behind had shore of South America, supposing it to be an so exasperated the natives that a coalition was island. The natives he found almost white, formed of all the tribes for the extermination and frank, bold, and friendly. At length, of the Spaniards. The wildest adventures of turning his prows toward the north, he made Indian warfare now ensued, a faithful narrative sail for Hayti, where he arrived the 30th of of which would fill volumes.

The flame of war swept over doomed Hayti, Though his mind remained vigorous as ever, and the island at length being entirely subju- his physical system was shattered by care, toil, gated, the wretched inhabitants were enslaved. and suffering. Beautiful Hayti, which he had But the victors were compelled to drink deeply originally found so populous, peaceful, and of the cup of misery which they had mingled. happy, was now war-scathed and desolate. The most envenomed complaints were preferred The Spaniards had converted a blooming Eden against Columbus before the Spanish Sovereigns. into a howling wilderness. Sickness and famA commission was sent out to investigate his ine brooded over the island, and the conquered conduct. These commissioners treated the Ad- and the conquerors were alike wretched. The miral with such contumely and insult that his colony was in a state of anarchy, and the Span

Vol. XXXVIII.-No. 228.-47


[graphic][merged small]

iards were intensely exasperated against each | whatever Bobadilla should order in their name. other. Columbus met with nothing but trou- By their authority he has put these chains upon ble. He was emaciate, haggard, and almost me. I will wear them till they shall order blind. Conscious that with his broken consti- them to be taken off. And I will preserve tution he could not long sustain such cares and them ever afterward as relics and memorials of toils, he decided to seek for a successor in the the rewards of my services." government, and to return to Spain.

It is affecting to record that Columbus ever The complaints in the Court of Ferdinand kept these shackles suspended in his room, and and Isabella against Columbus were now so requested that they might be deposited at his loud and bitter that another commission was side in the grave. sent out to Hayti, with authority to,supersede! The arrival of Columbus at Cadiz in chains him in command should he be found guilty. excited amazement, which was followed by uniAn officer of the royal household named Boba-versal indignation. The whole current of popdilla was intrusted with this important com- ular sentiment, in all its resistless strength, sudmission. This official, who proved to be totally denly turned in his favor. The King and Queen unfit for the delicate duty intrusted to him, im- were influenced by the general sentiment. They mediately upon his arrival assumed the supreme ordered his chains to be stricken off, directed command, and the venerable Admiral, to his ut- that he should be treated with every considerater amazement, was summoned to appear as a tion, and invited him to repair immediately to criminal before him. Bobadilla, whose name Court, sending him a purse of about eight thoushould be handed down to infamy, had the bru- sand dollars to defray his expenses. As he entality to seize Columbus, aged and infirm as he tered the presence of Ferdinand and Isabella, was, and to put his helpless victim in chains. and was greeted by them with the utmost symColumbus, too proud to make unavailing re- pathy and affection, the great heart of this mamonstrances, in dignified silence submitted to jestic man was overcome, and, falling upon his his fate. The iron had entered his soul. knees, he wept, sobbing like a child.

The renowned discoverer, worthy of the grat- Columbus was now far advanced in years. itude of the world, was plunged into a prison Still, being fully restored to the royal favor, he until a ship could be got ready to transport him | made preparations for a fourth voyage. Early across the ocean. He was then taken from his in May, 1502, he being then about sixty-six prison, shackled like the vilest culprit, and, sur- years of age, he again embarked, with four rounded by the jeers of an infamous rabble, was small vessels and a crew of one hundred and placed on board the vessel and sent to Spain. fifty men, for an enterprise no less than the The commander of the ship, moved with grief circumnavigation of the globe. The largest of and indignation in view of such indignities these vessels did not exceed seventy tons, and heaped upon so noble a man, wished, during the smallest was of but fifty. Riding safely the voyage, to strike off his chains.

through many severe tempests, he passed the “No!" exclaimed Columbus; "their Majes- islands of the Caribbean Sea, and touched the ties commanded me, by letter, to submit to continent at Yucatan. Sailing by a prominent

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

headland, which he named Cape Gracios a Dios, fined to his berth. His men, despairing of ever he cruised southerly along the coast for many again seeing their homes, broke away from all leagues, hoping to find a passage through the restraints, bade defiance to the authority of the Isthmus. Not succeeding, he attempted to es- Admiral, and in armed bands ranged the island, tablish a colony at the mouth of a river called visiting upon the poor natives every species of Belem ; but the natives were aroused by the lawless violence. licentiousness and the oppression of his men, The natives, exasperated beyond endurance, and the whole country was soon in arms against secretly united in a plan for the destruction of the Spaniards. The natives attacked the col- the Spaniards. Columbus, helpless upon his ony most fiercely, and drove the inhabitants bed of weakness and pain, saw indications of from the country. This voyage was also but a the rising storm. But in this dark hour the series of bitter disappointments. “My people,” firmness of his character shone forth with rehe writes, “are dismayed and downhearted, newed lustre. almost all my anchors are lost, and my vessels By his knowledge of astronomy he ascerare bored by worms as full of holes as a honey- tained that a total eclipse of the moon was to comb." One of his ships was left a wreck upon occur in a few days. He summoned the printhe Isthmus. The other ships, being in a sink- cipal caciques, informed them that the deity he ing condition, he was compelled to run ashore worshiped was in the skies, that this deity was upon the island of Jamaica. He converted the offended with the Indians for their unfriendly wrecks into a fortress to protect himself from feelings, and for withholding supplies, and that the natives.

in token of the fearful punishment which awaited The situation of Columbus was now as de- them they would soon see the moon fade away. plorable as can well be imagined. He was, as Some scoffed, some were frightened, and all it were, imprisoned in his two wrecked vessels, felt secret solicitude. which he had drawn side by side and fortified. The night came, brilliant in tropical splendor. He was confined to his bed by severe sickness, The moon rose effulgent over the waves. All and was suffering excruciating pangs from the eyes were fixed upon it. Soon some dark degout. The natives were manifesting hostility. struction seemed to be consuming it. The He was on a distant and unfrequented island beautiful luminary was rapidly wasting away. one hundred and twenty miles from Hayti, with The terror of the natives became intense; and apparently no possible means of sending intelli- when at last the whole moon had disappeared, gence of his condition. The position of affairs and portentous gloom shrouded the face of nawas so alarming that a bold mariner undertook ture, the natives actually shrieked in their disthe desperate enterprise of crossing the ocean may. They ran to and fro, and implored Colum-. in a canoe to Hayti. He left the shore, and his bus to intercede in their behalf. Columbus fragile boat soon disappeared in the boundless said that he would retire and commune with expanse of the ocean. Month after month lin- the deity. When the eclipse was about to gered away, and there were no signs of relief. cease he informed them that God would parColumbus, tortured with bodily pain, was con- don them upon condition that they would ful

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

fill their promises and fwnish supplies. The of wretchedness met the eye of Columbus. New shadow passed away, and the moon, with appar- rulers were in command. The offscouring of ently renovated brilliance, shone forth in the Spain had flocked as adventurers to the doomed serene sky. The natives were completely van- | island. The natives, who had received Columquished. They regarded Columbus with un- bus with almost celestial kindness, were conspeakable awe, and were henceforth ready to verted into slaves, and were driven by the lash do his bidding.

to the fields and the mines. If, in irrepressible In this imprisonment, with but little hope of yearnings for liberty, they attempted to escape ever being rescued, Columbus, with a few men and fled to the mountains, their brutal taskwho were still faithful to him, remained in the masters with guns and blood-hounds pursued wrecked and shattered ships for twelve long them, and hunted them down as if they were and dismal months. Day after day they scanned beasts of prey. Las Casas describes these outthe horizon till their straining eyes ached, but rages in terms which flood the eye of every huno sail appeared. There was hardly a possi- mane reader with grief and indignation. Many bility that the frail canoe could have reached of the natives in despair killed themselves; and its destined port; and as the months lingered mothers destroyed their own children to save away, bringing no relief, despair, to which the them from the doom of slavery. In less than seamen had long since resigned themselves, be- twelve years, under these atrocities, several hun. gan to settle gloomily over the mind even of dred thousands of the natives had perished, and Columbus. In one of those dismal hours he before one short half-century had passed the wrote in the following strain in his journal: whole native population had sunk in misery into

“ Hitherto I have wept for others; but now the grave. have pity upon me, oh Heaven, and weep for Columbus was by nature eminently a humane me, oh earth! In my temporal concerns with man. These awful calamities, which he had out a farthing to offer for a mass, cast away been instrumental in bringing upon the island, here in the Indies, surrounded by cruel and lacerated his soul. His whole life had been a hostile savages, isolated, infirm, expecting each sublime tragedy, hardly enlivened by a single day will be my last! Weep for me whoever has gleam of joy. Again he embarked for Spain. charity, truth, and justice !"

| Disasters seemed to pursue him every step of At length, after a year had passed away, two his way. Storm after storm beat fiercely upon vessels were seen approaching the island. De- his crazy bark. When he arrived he was so spair was succeeded by a delirious joy. The exhausted by pain and mental suffering that he mutineers, weary of license and crime, hastened could not sit upon a horse. He was removed from their dispersion and implored the forgive- to Seville, where he hoped to find a little repose. ness of the kind-hearted Admiral. He par- But poverty now stared him in the face. Isadoned the wretches, and all who had survived bella was dead. Ferdinand was heartless. In the dissipation and the hardships of the year a letter to his son he sadly writes : were transferred to Hayti.

“I live by borrowing. Little have I profiter Here an appalling spectacle of oppression and by twenty years of service with such toils and

perils, since at present I do not own a roof in San Domingo, on the island of Hayti. Upon Spain. If I desire to eat or sleep I have no re- the cession of this island to the French in 1795 sort but an inn, and, for the most times, have the remains of Columbus were transferred with not wherewithal to pay my bill."

great pomp, by the Spanish authorities, to the But still the fire of heroic enterprise glowed cathedral of Havana in Cuba. in the veins of this indomitable man. While In this brief sketch of the career of Columhelpless upon his bed at Seville, and having al- bus, a career more full of wonderful adventure ready passed his threescore years and ten, with than that of almost any other nan, we hare, undying enthusiasm he was still planning new of course, been under the necessity of omitting and gigantic enterprises, when death came to many occurrences of great interest. The intelhim with that summons which all must heed. ligent reader who wonld become acquainted with

It was the 20th of May, 1506. With pious the immediate results of the conquest of the New resignation he surrendered himself to the king World, with the nature of the colonial governof terrors. He was perfectly willing to depart ments which were established, with the system “ beyond the cares of this rough and weary of slavery introduced, with the awful drama of world.” Uitering devoutly the words “Into the extirpation of the native inhabitants, and thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit,” he the gradual introduction of new races, will find breathed his last. His remains were deposited this whole subject philosophically and admirain the convent of St. Francisco at Seville. bly treated in the work upon the Spanish ConThirty years afterward they were removed to quest, by Arthur HELPS.

If any woman of us all,

If any woman of the street,
Before the Lord should pause and fall,

And with her long hair wipe his feet

He whom with yearning hearts we love,

And fain would see with human eyes
Around our living pathway move,

And underneath our daily skies

The Maker of the heavens and earth,

The Lord of life, the Lord of death,
In whom the universe had birth,

But breathing of our breath one breath

If any woman of the street

Should kneel, and with the lifted mesh
Of her long tresses wipe his feet,

And with her kisses kiss their flesh

How round that woman would we throng,

How willingly would clasp her hands
Fresh from that touch divine, and long

To gather up the twice-blest strands!

How eagerly with her would change

Our idle innocence, nor heed
Iler shameful memories and strange,

Could we but also claim that deed!

« AnteriorContinuar »