Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

its first esiay, not only rivalling but eclipfing their fame. Columbus was received with all the marks of distinction due to a man who had performed things lo extraordinary and unexpected. The king admitted him into his presence, treate ed him with the highest respect, and listened to the account which he gave of his voyage with admiration mingled with regret. While Columbus, on his part, enjoyed the satisfaction of defcribing the importance of his discoveries, and of being now able to prove the folidity of his schemes to those very persons, who, with an ignorance disgraceful to themselves, and fatal to their country, had lately rejected them as the projects of a visionary or designing adventu. rer d).

[ocr errors]

Returns to Spain.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Columbus was so impatient to return to Spain, that he remained only five days in Lifbon. On the fifteenth of March he arrived in the port of Palos, seven months and eleven days from the time when he set out thence upon his voyage. As soon as his ship was discovered approaching the port, all the inhabitants of Palos ran eagerly to the shore, in order to welcome their relations and fellow-citizens, and to hear tidings of their voyage. When the prosperous issue of it was known, when they belield the strange people, the unknown animals,

d) Life of Columbus, G. 40. 41. Herrera, dec, I. lib. ii. 0. 3. and fingular productions brought from the countries which had been discovered, the effusion of joy was general and unbounded. The bells were rung, the cannon fired; Columbus was received at landing with royal honours, and all the people, in solemn procession, accompanied him and his crew to the church, where they returned thanks to Heaven, which had fo won. derfully conducted and crowned with success, a voyage of greater length and of more importance, than had been attempted in any former age. On the evening of the same day, he had the satisfaction of seeing the Pinta, which the violence of the tempeft had driven far to the north, enter the harbour,

[ocr errors]

His reception. The first care of Columbus was to inforra. the king and queen, who were then at Bar'celona, of his arrival and success. Ferdinand

and Isabella, no less astonished than delighted with this unexpected event, defired Columbus, in terms the most respectful and flattering, to repair immediately to court, that from his own mouth, they might receive a full detail of his extraordinary services and discoveries. During his journey to Barcelona, the people crowded from the adjacent country, following him every where with admiration and applause. His entrance into the city was conducted, by order of Ferdinand and Ifabella, with pomp fuit

[ocr errors]

able to the great event, which added such di. stinguishing lustre to their reign. The people whom he brought along with him from the countries which he had discovered, marched firit, and by their fingular complexion, the wild peculiarity of their features, an uncouth finery, appeared like men of another species. Next to them were carried the ornaments of gold, fashioned by the rude art of the natives, the grains of gold found in the mountains, and dust of the fame metal gathered in the rivers. After these appeared the various commodities of the newdiscovered countries, together with their curious productions. Columbus himself closed the procession, and attracted the eyes of all the fpectators, who gazed with admiration on the extraordinary man, whose superior fagacity and fortitude had conducted their countrymen, by a-route concealed from past ages, to the knowledge of a new world. Ferdinand and Isabella received him clad in their royal robes, and seated upon a throne, under a magnificent canopy. When he approached they stood up, and raising him as he kneeled to kiss their hands, commanded him to take his feat upon a chair prepared for him, and to give a circumstantial account of his voyage. He delivered it with a gravity and composure. no less fuitable to the disposition of the Spanish nation, than to the dignity of the audience in which he spoke, and with that modest fimplicity which characterises

men

[ocr errors]

men of superior minds; who, satisfied with have ing performed great actions, court not vain applause by an oftentatious display of their exploits. When he had finished his narration, the king and queen, kneeling down, offered up folemn thanks to almighty God for the discovery of those new' regions, from which they expected so many advantages to flow in upon the kingdoms subject to their government e). Every mark of honour that gratitude or admiration could fuggeft was conferred upon Columbus. Letters patent were iffned, confirming to him and to his heirs all the privileges contained in the capitulation concluded at Santa Fé; his family was ennobled; the king and queen, and, after their example, the courtiers treated him, on every occasion, with all the ceremonious respect paid to persons of the highest rank. But what pleased

him most, as it gratified his active mind, bent : continually upon great objects, was an order to

equip, without delay, an armament of such force, as might enable him ot only to take poffeffion of the countries which he had already discovered, but to go in search of those more opu. lent regions, which he still confidently expect. ed to find f).

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Astonishment of mankind at his discoveries.

[ocr errors]

While preparations were making for this expedition, the fame of Columbus successful voyage spread over Europe, and excited genę. ral attention. The multitude, struck with amazement when they heard that a new world had been found, could hardly believe an event fo much above their conception. Men of science, capable of comprehending the nature, and of discerning the effects, of this great discovery, received the account of it with admiration and joy. They spoke of his voyage with rapture, and congratulated one another upon their felicity, in having lived at the period when, by this extraordinary event, the boundaries of human knowledge were so much extended, and such a new field of inquiry and observation opened, as would lead mankind to a perfect acquaintance with the structure and productions of the habitable globe g). Various opinions and conjectures were formed concerning the new-found countries, and what division of the earth they belonged to. Columbus adhered tenaciously to his original opinion, that they should be reckon. ed a part of those vast regions in Afia, compre. hended under the general name of India. This sentiment 'was confirmed by the observations which he made concerning the productions of the countries he had discovered. Gold was

8) P. Mart, epist. 133 - 135. See NOTE XVIII,

« ElőzőTovább »