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72. When the morning dawned, all their doubts and fears were dispelled; they discovered an island about two leagues to the north, whose verdant fields and woods, watered with many rivulets, presented the aspect of a delightful country.

73. The crew of the Pinta instantly began the Te Deum, as a hymn of thanksgiving to God; and were joined by the crews of the other ships, with tears of joy and transports of congratulation. This act of devotion, was followed by an act of justice to their commander : they fell at his feet with feelings of self-condemnation, inspired with reverence. They implored his pardon for their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disquiet, and passing from one extreme to another, in the warmth of their imagination they now pronounced him, whom they had lately reviled and threatened, to be a person divinely inspired with sagacity and fortitude more than human, that could accomplish a de. sign beyond the ideas and conceptions of all former ages.

74. When the sun arose, the boats were all manned and armed, with colors displayed, warlike music, and other martial pomp; they rowed towards the shore : as they approached, they saw a multitude of people, whose gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the novel and strange objects which presented themselves to their view.

75. Columbus was the first European that set his foot on the new world. He landed in a rich dress, and with a drawn sword in his hand. His men followed, with the royal standard displayed, and kneeling down, kissed the ground they had so long desired to see. They then erected a crucifix, and prostrating themselves before it, returned thanks to God, for thus conducting their voyage to so happy an issue.

76. They then, in a solemn manner, took possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, with all the for. malities which the Portuguese were accustomed to observe, in all their discoveries. While the Spaniards were thus employed, they were surrounded by the natives, who, in silent admiration, gazed upon actions, the meaning of which they could not comprehend, or foresee the consequences.

77. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skin, their beards, arms, and accoutrements, appeared strange and surprising The vast machines, in which they traversed the ocean, appeared to move upon the waters with wings, uttering a dreadful sound like thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke: this filled the natives with terror, and inspired them with a belief that their new guests were a superior order of


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beings, concluding they were children of the Sun, who had descended to visit the earth.

78. The Spaniards were as much amazed at the scene before them. The trees, the shrubs, the herbage, were all dif

ferent from those which were of European growth. The chi. & mate was warm, though extremely delightful. The inhabitants

appeared in the simple innocence of nature, entirely naked. Their black hair, long and uncurled, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses round their heads. They had no beards, and every part of their bodies was perfectly smooth; of a copper color; their features not disagreeable; of a gentle and timid aspect. They were well shaped and active. Their faces and bodies were painted in a fantastical manner, with glaring colors. They appeared shy at first, but soon became

familiar, and, with transports of joy, they received glass beads i and other baubles; in return for which they gave such pro

visions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value they had to trade with.

79. In the evening, Columbus returned to his ships in company' with many of the islanders in their canoes, which they managed with surprising dexterity. Every circumstance relating to this first interview, between the inhabitants of the Old and New World was conducted with harmony and satisfaction. The former, enlightened and influenced by ambition, formed vast ideas respecting the future advantages that would be likely to accrue from the discovery. The latter, simple and unsuspecting, had no forethought of the calamities and desolation which were soon to overwhelm their country.

80. Columbus, as admiral and viceroy, called the isłaırd San Salvador. It is, nevertheless, better known by the name of Guanahani, which the natives gave to it, and is one of the Bahama isles. It is sitụated above three thousand miles to the west of Gomera, from which the squadron took its departure, and only four degrees south of it." Columbus employed the next day in visiting the coasts of the island, and from the general poverty of the inhabitants, he was assured that this was not the rich country which he sought.

81. Having observed small plates of gold, which most of the people wore by way of ornament, pendent in their nostrils, he eagerly inquired where they found that precious metal. They pointed towards the south and south-west, and made him comprehend by signs, that there was abundance of gold in countries situated in that quarter. 82. Animated with hope, he determined to direct his course


thither, in full expectation of finding those wealthy regions which had been the main object of his voyage. With this view he again set sail, taking with him seven of the innocent na. tives, to serve as interpreters, who esteemed it a mark of distinction when they were selected to accompany

him. 83. In his course he passed several islands, and touched at three of them, which he called Mary; Fernandina, and Isa. bella. But as the sail and inhabitants resembled those of San Salvador, he made no stay there. He inquired everywhere for gold, and was answered as before, that it was brought from the south. Following that course, he soon discovered a coun. try of vast extent, diversified with rising grounds-hills, rivers, woods, and plains. He was uncertain whether it would prove an island or part of the continent. The natives he had on board called it Cuba ;' Columbus gave it the name of Juanna. He entered the mouth of a large river with his squadron, and the natives all fled to the mountains as he approached the shore.

84. Intending to careen his ships in that place, Columbus sent some Spaniards, together with one of the San Salvador Indians, to view the interior parts of the country. Having ad, vanced above sixty miles from the shore, they reported, upon their return, that the soil was richer and more cultivated, than what they had already discovered; that besides scattered cottages, they had found one village, containing a thousand inhabitants; that the people, though naked, were more intelligent than those of San Salvador, but had treated them with the same respectful attention, kissing their feet, and honoring them as sacred beings, allied to Heaven; that they gave them a certain root, which in taste resembled roasted chestnuts, and likewise a singular species of corn, called maize, that was very palatable; and that there seemed to be no four-footed animals, except a species of dogs that could not bark, and a creature resembling a rabbit, but smaller ; that they had observed some ornaments of gold among the people, but of no great value.

85. Some of the natives accompanied these messengers; they informed Columbus, as the others had done, that the gold he was so anxious about, was to be found to the southward; often mentioning the word Cubanacan, by which they meant the inland part of Cuba: Columbus, ignorant of their pronunciation, believed the country he had discovered was a part of the East Indies; and under the influence of this idea, he thought they spoke of the Great Khan, and imagined the opulent king. dom of Cathay, described by M. Polo, was not remote.



86. The natives, as much astonished at the eagerness of the Spaniards for gold, as the Europeans were at their ignorance and simplicity, pointed towards the east, where was an island called Hayti, in which that metal was more abundant. Colum. bus ordered his squadron to steer its course thither ; but Martin Alonzo Pinzon, eager to be the first in taking possession of the rich treasure, which the island was supposed to contain, quitted his companions, and paid no regard to the admiral's signals to slacken sail, until they should come up with him. Retarded by contrary winds, Columbus did not reach Hayti, until the sixth of December. He called the port where he first landed St. Nicholas, and the island itself Espagnola, in honor of the kingdom by which he was employed; and it is the only country that he discovered, that still bears the name which he

gave it.

them was

rtaken ;

87. As he could not have any intercourse with the inhabitants, who fled in great consternation, he soon left St. Nicholas, and sailed along the northern coast of the island: he entered another harbor, which he called Conception. Here he was more fortunate; a woman who was flying fra and after treating her kindly, she was dismissed with presents of such toys as, to an Indian, were considered most valuable. When she returned to her countrymen, with her imagination heated with what she had seen, she gave such a flattering description of the new-comers, at the same time producing the trinkets she had received, that they were eager to partake of the same favors.

88. Their fears being removed, many of them repaired to the harbor. Here their curiosity and wishes were amply grati. fied. They nearly resembled the other natives they had already seen, naked, ignorant, and simple, credulous and timid to a de. gree, which made it easy to acquire an ascendant over them : they were led into the same error as the other inhabitants, who believed them to be more than mortals, descended immediately from heaven. They possessed gold in greater abundance than their neighbors, which they cheerfully parted with for bells, beads, or pins; and in this unequal traffic, both parties were highly pleased, each considering themselves as gainers by the transaction.

89. A prince or cazique of the country made Columbus a visit at this place. He appeared in all the pomp of Indian mag. nificence: he was carried in a sort of palanquin by four men, and a numerous train of attendants, who approached him with respectful attention. His deportment was grave, and stately;


to his own people very reserved, but to the Spaniards open and extremely courteous. He gave the admiral some thin plates of gold, and a girdle curiously wrought after the Indian fashion. Columbus, in return, made him presents of small value to a European, but highly prized by the savage chief. .

90. The mind of Columbus being incessantly occupied with the prospect of discovering gold mines, he interrogated all the natives he met, concerning their situation. All his questions were answered by their pointing to a mountainous country, which, in their language, was called Cibao, at some distance from the sea, towards the east. Struck with the name, he no longer doubted but that it was Cipango, a name by which Marco Polo distinguished the islands of Japan + this strengthened him in the erroneous opinion he had embraced, that the country he had discovered was a remote part of Asia.

91. In full confidence of the rectitude of his opinion, he directed his course towards the east. He put into a commodious harbor which he named St. Thomas: this part of the country was governed by a powerful cazique named Guacanahari, who was one of the five sovereigns among whom the whole island was divided. He immediately sent messengers to Columbus with a present of a mask of beaten gold, curiously fashioned, and invited him to his town near the harbor, now called Cape Français, Columbus returned the cazique's civilities by a deputation of some of his own people; who returned with such favorable accounts of the country and people as made Co. lumbus impatient for that interview which Guacanahari had desired.

92. For this purpose he sailed from St. Thomas on the twenty-fourth of December, with a fair wind and smooth sea; and as he had not slept for two days, at midnight he retired to take some repose, committing the helm to the pilot, strictly en. joining him not to quit it for a moment. But he, dreading no danger, incautiously gave the helm ip charge to the cabin-boy, and the ship .was carried away by the current, and dashed against a rock. The violence of the concussion awakened Columbus. He immediately went upon deck, and there he found all was confusion and despair. He alone retained pres. ence of mind. He immediately ordered some sailors to take a boat and carry out an anchor astern; but they, instead of complying with the orders of their admiral, made off to the Nigna, about half a league distant. He then commanded the masts to be cut, but all his endeavors were too late ; the vessel -filled so fast with water, that it was impossible to save her.



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