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course to an expedient to deliver themselves from a yoke, imposed upon them by a handful of strangers, to whom they were under no obligations. They had recourse to an expedient for obtaining deliverance from this yoke, which demonstrates the excess of their impatience and despair. They agreed to suspend all agricultural operations, and thus hoped to starve their oppressors to death.
148. They pulled up the manioc roots that were planted, and planted no maize; and retired to the most inaccessible parts of the woods, leaving the uncultivated plains to their enemies. This desperate resolution produced some of the effects intended; the Spaniards were reduced to great want; but they received some seasonable supplies from Europe, and found so many resources in their own ingenuity and industry, that they suffered no great loss of men.
149. The Indians were the greatest sufferers by this ill-concerted policy. Shut up among barren mountains, without any food but the wild productions of the earth, and distressed by famine, contagious diseases were the consequence: and in the course of a few months, more than a third part of the inhabitants perished.
150. Columbus now began to have serious thoughts of re. turning to Spain. His enemies had gained considerable influence at court: they represented his prudent care to preserve discipline and subordination, as excess of rigor; the punishments he inflicted upon the mutinous and disorderly, were imputed to cruelty; and he was represented as inconsiderately. ambitious; these accusations obtained such credit in that jealous court, that a commissioner was appointed to repair to Hispaniola, to scrutinize the conduct of Columbus.
151. By the influence of his enemies, Aguado, a groom of the bedchamber, was made choice of, upon this occasion; a man whose capacity was by no means fit for the station. Puffed up with such sudden and unexpected elevation, Aguado displayed all that frivolous self-importance and insolence natural to little minds, in the exercise of his office. He listened with eagerness to every accusation against Columbus, and encouraged, not only the evil-disposed among the Spaniards, but also the Indians; by which partial conduct he fomented jealousies and dissensions in the colony, without establishing any regulations for the public good: and while he wished to load the administration of the admiral with disgrace, placed an indelible stain upon his own.
152. Columbus sensibly felt how humiliating his situation must be, if he remained under the control of such a partial inspector. He therefore took the resolution of returning to Spain, in order to give a full account of his transactions, with respect to the points in dispute between him and his adversaries, before Ferdinand and Isabella. He committed the administration of ' his affairs during his absence to his brother Don Bartholomew,
with the title of Adelantado, or lieutenant-governor; and Fran. cis Rolden, chief justice, with very extensive powers.
COLUMBUS RETURNS TO SPAIN WITH GREAT TREASURES.
HE SAILS ON A THIRD VOYAGE.-ARRIVES AT TRINIDAD. MUTINY OF ROLDEN.HE IS SENT AS A PRISONER TO SPAIN. -OVANDO'S APPOINTMENT AS GOVERNOR.
153. In returning to Europe, Columbus held a different course to what he had taken in his former voyage. He steered almost due east from Hispaniola in the parallel of twenty-two degrees of latitude: as he was unacquainted with the more expeditious method of stretching to the north, whereby he would have fallen in with the south-west winds. By this mistake he was exposed to very great fatigue and danger; and had to struggle with the trade-winds which blow, without variation, from the east, between the tropics.
154. He nevertheless persisted in this course with his usual patience and firmness, but made such little way, that he was three months before he came within sight of land. Provisions at last began to fail : they were reduced to the allowance of six ounces of bread a day for each person : the admiral faring no better than the meanest sailor.
155. In this extreme distress, he retained that humanity which distinguished his character; and refused to comply with the pressing solicitations of his crew to feed upon the Indian prisoners, whom they were carrying over; others insisted that they should be thrown overboard, in order to lessen the consumption of provisions. He objected to their destruction, al. leging that they were human beings, reduced to the same calami. ties with themselves, and entitled to share an equal fate. These arguments, backed by his authority, dissipated those wild ideas suggested by despair: soon after, they came in sight of Spain, and all their troubles and fears vanished.
156. Columbus, conscious of his own integrity, appeared at court with that determined confidence, which those who have performed great actions, will always assume. Ferdinand and Isabella, ashamed of lending too favorable an ear to frivolous and ill-founded accusations, received him with such distinguished marks of respect, as overwhelmed his enemies with shame. Their calumnies and censures were not heard at that juncture.
157. The gold, the pearls, the cotton, and other rich commodities which Columbus produced, seemed fully to refute the stories the malcontents had propagated with respect to the poverty of the country. By reducing the Indians to obedience, and imposing a regular tax upon them, he had secured to Spain a large accession of new subjects, and a revenue that promised much. By the mines which he had found out and examined, a source of wealth was still more copiously opened.
158. Columbus represented these only as preludes to future and much larger acquisitions, and as an earnest of more im. portant discoveries. The attentive consideration of all these circumstances made such an impression upon Ferdinand and Isabella, that they resolved to supply the colony with every thing necessary to render it a permanent establishment, and to furnish Columbus with such a fleet, that he might proceed to make such discoveries as he meditated.
159. A plan was now formed of a regular colony, that might serve as a model for all future establishments. Every particular was considered with attention, and arranged with scrupulous accuracy. The exact number of adventurers who should be permitted to embark was fixed: these were to be of different ranks and professions; and the proportion of each was established, according to their usefulness and benefit to the colony. A proper number of women were chosen to accompany these new settlers.
160. As a want of provisions had occasioned great distress in the colony, a number of husbandmen were to be carried
As they had formed and entertained the most sanguine hopes with respect to the riches contained in the mines, a number of artists were engaged who were skilful in refining the precious metals; who were to receive pay from the government for a number of years.
161. Thus far the regulations were well adapted to the end in view ; but as it was foreseen that few would embark to settle in a country that had proved so fatal to many of their countrymen, Columbus proposed to employ such convicts and male. factors who were convicted of crimes, which, though capital, were of a less atrocious nature; and that, instead of sending them to the galleys, they should be condemned to labor in the
mines which were to be opened. This advice was inconsiderately adopted ; the prisons were drained to collect members for the intended colony; and the judges were instructed to reeruit it by their future sentences. But they were not aware that such corrupt members would poison the body politic, and be productive of violent and unhappy effects. This the Span. iards fatally experienced, and other European powers imitated their practice, from which pernicious consequences have followed, and can be imputed to no other cause.
162. Columbus easily obtained the royal approbation to every measure and regulation he proposed: but his endeavors 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.
163. These men, astonished at the reception Columbus had met with, and overawed by his presence, gave way, for some time, to a tide of favor too strong for them to oppose. Their enmity, however, was too strong to remain long inactive; and 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 a 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.
164. He now meditated a different course from what he had before undertaken : still possessed with those erroneous ideas, which at first induced 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 course 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 favorable wind which blows inva. riably between the tropics.
165. 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 dispatched 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.
166. No remarkable occurrence 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 this did not much abate the heat. The admiral was so fatigued by unremitting care and loss of sleep, that he was seize with a violent fit of the gout and a fever. These cir. cumstances 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.
167. On the first of August, the man stationed at the masthead, surprised them with the joysul cry of Land! Columbus named it Trinidad, which name it still retains ; it lies near the mouth of the river Orinoco, 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 height, it occasions such a swell and agitation, as are both surprising and formidable.
168. Columbus, before he was aware of the danger, was entangled with those adverse currents, and owed his safety by boldly venturing through a narrow strait which appeared so tremendous, that he called it La Boca del Drago: no sooner had the consternation subsided, than Columbus drew comfor 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 country of immense extent, and that he had now arrived at that country, which had been the main object of his pursuit.
169. 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 inhab. itants 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.
170. This country produced four-footed animals of different kinds, and a great variety of fowls and fruit. The admiral
much delighted with its fertility, that with the warm en