[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the winds and currents, their efforts were all unsuccessful. Enraged at this disappointment, they marched towards that part of the island 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 fome dark suspicions of Columbus, sent a small bark to Jamaica, not to deliver his distressed countrymen, but to spy out their condition. Lest the sympathy of those whom he employed should afford them relief, contrary to his intention, he gave the command of this vessel to Escobar, an inveterate enemy of Columbus, who adhering to his instructions with malignant accuracy, cast anonor at fome distance from the island, approached the shore in a small boat, observed the wretched plight of the Spaniards, delivered a letter of empty compliment to the admiral, received his answer ,, and departed. When the Spaniards first descried the vessel standing towards the island , every heart exulted , as if the long-expected hour of their deliverance had at length arrived ; but when it disappeared so suddenly, they funk into the deepest dejection, and all their hopes died away. Columbus alone, though he felt most sensibly 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 reached Hispaniola in safety; that they would speedily procure ships to carry them off; but' as Licobar's vessel could not take them all on board, that he had refused to go with her, becaule ne was determined never to abandon the faithful companions of his distress. "Soothed with his apparent generosity in attending more to the preservation than to his own safety, their ipla rits revived, and he regained their confidence.us

Without this confidence, he could not have refifted the mutineers, who were now at have All his endeavours to reclaim those delperatu men had no effect but to increase their frenzy. Their demands became every day more vagant, and their intentions more violent and bloody. The common safety rendered it sary to oppofe them with open force. Colur who had been long afflicted with the gout, not take the field. His brother, the Adela. tado, marched against them. They que met. (May 20. 1504.) The mutin eers! ed with scorn terms of accommodation, were once more offered them, and rui boldly to the attack. They fell not up enemy unprepared to receive them. In shock, several of their most daring leade flain. The Adelantado, whose ftrens equal to his courage, closed with their ca u) Lise of Columbus, c. 104. Herrera, dec. 1•

mmodation, which m, and rushed on

e them. In the firft qaring leaders were

ole strength was

a, dec. 1. lib. vie c. 11

wounded, disarmed, and took him prisoner. x) At fight of this, the rest fled with a daftardly fear, suitable to their former insolence. Soon after', they submitted in a body to Columbus, and bound themselves by the most folemn oaths to obey all his commands. Hardly was tran

quillity re-established, when the ships appeared, - whose arrival Columbus had promised with great

address, though he could foresee it with little
certainty. With transports of joy, the Spa-
niards quitted an island in which the unfeeling
jealously of Ovando had suffered them to lan-
guish above a year, exposed to misery in all its
various forms.

His deliverance, and arrival at Hispaniola.
: When they arrived at St. Domingo, (Aug.

13. 1504.) the governor, with the mean arti[ fice of a vulgar mind, that labours 'to atone for

insolence by servility, fawned on the man whom the envied, and had attempted to ruin. He re

ceived Columbus with the most studied respect; lodged him in his own house, and distingu sned him with every mark of honour. But, amidst

those over-acted demonstrations of regard, he y could not conceal the , hatred and malignity

latent in his heart. He set at liberty the captain of the mutineers, whom Columbus had brought over in chains to be tried for his crimes, and threatened such as had adhered to the ad5x) Life of Columbus. c. 107. Herrera, dec. 1. lib. vi. c. 11.

miral with proceeding to a judicial inquiry into their conduct. Columbus submitted in silence to what he could not redress, but discovered an extreme impatience to quit a country which was under the jurisdiction of a man who had treated him, on every occasion, with in humanity and injustice. His preparations were foon finished, and he fet fail (Septem. 12. 1504.) for Spain with two fpips. Difafters similar to those which had accompanied him through life continued to pursue him to the end of his career. One of his veftels being disabled, was foon forced back to St. Domingo; the other, fhattered by violent storms, (December.) failed seven hundred leagues with jurymafts, and reached with difficulty the port of St. Lucar. y)

Death of Isabella. • There he received the account of an event the most fatal that could have befallen him, and which completed his misfortunes. This was the death of his patronefs queen Isabella, (Nov. 9. 1504.) in whose justice, humanity, and favour, he confided as his last resource. None now remained to redress his wrongs, or to reward him for his services and sufferings, but Ferdinand, who had so long opposed and fo often injured him. To folicita prince thus prejudiced against him, was an occupation do less irksome than hopeless. "In this, however, - Life of Columbus, c. 108. Herrera, déc. I. lib. vi. C. 12.

was Columbus doomed to employ the close of his days. As foon as his health was in some degree re-established, he repaired to court; and though he was received there with civility ba. rely decent, he plied Ferdinand with petition after petition ,. demanding the punishment of his oppressors, and the restitution of all the privileges bestowed upon him by the capitulation of one thousand four hundred and ninetytwo. . Ferdinand amused him with fair words and unmeaning promises. Instead of granting his claims, he proposed expedients in order to elude them, and spun out the affair with such apparent art, as plainly discovered his intention that it should never be terminated.

Death of Colunibus. The declining health of Columbus flattered Ferdinand, with the hopes of being foon deJivered from an importunate fuitor, and encouraged him to persevere in this illiberal plan. Nor was he deceived in his expectations, Disgusted with the ingratitude of a monarch whom he had served with such fidelity and success, exhausted with the fatigues and hardships which he had endured, and broken with the infirmities which these brought upon him, Columbus ended his life at Valladolid on the twentieth of May one thousand five hundred and fix, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He died with a composure of mind suitable to the magnani.

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »