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the same high recompence. He proposed that a small fleet should b» fitted out, under his command, to attempt the discovery, and demanded to be appointed hereditary admiral and viceroy of all the seas and lands which he should discover, and to have the tenth of the profits arising from them, settled irrevocably upon himself and his descendants. At the fame time, he offered to advance the eighth part of the sum necessary for accomplishing his design, on condition that he should be entitled to a proportional share of benefit from the adventure. If the enterprise should totally miscarry, he made no stipulat!on for any rewaid or emolument whatever. Instead of viewing this conduct as the clearest evidence of his full persuasion with respect to the truth of his own system, •r being struck with that magnanimity which, after so many delays and repulses, would stoop to nothing inferior to its original claims, the persons with whom Columbus treated, began meanly to calculate the expence of the expedition, and the value of the reward which he demanded. The expence, moderate as it was, they represented to be too great for Spain, in the present exhausted state of its finances. They contended, that the honours and emoluments claimed by Columbus, were exorbitant, even if he should perform the utmost of what he had promised; and if all his sanguine hopes should prove illusive, such vast concessions to an adventurer would be deemed not only inconsiderate, but ridiculous. In this imposing garb of caution and prudence, their opinion appeared so plausible, and was so warmly supported by Ferdinand, that Isabella declined giving any countenance to Columbus, and abruptly broke off the negociation with him which she had begun.
This was more mortifying to Columbus than all the disappointments which he had hitherto met with. The invitation to court from Isabella, like an unexpected ray of light, had opened such prospects of success, as encouraged him to hope that his labours were at an end; but now darkness and uncertainty returned, and his mind, firm as it was, could hardly support the (hock of such an unforeseen reverse. He withdrew in deep anguish from court, with an intention of prosecuting his TOyage to England, as his last resource.
About that time Granada surrendered, and Ferdinand and Isabella, in triumphal pomp, took possession of a city, the reduction of which extirpated a foreign power from the heart of their dominions, and rendered them masters of all the provinces, extending from the bottom of the Pyrenees to the frontiers of Portugal. As the flow of spirits which accompanies success elevates the mind, and renders it enterprising, Quintanilla and Santangcl, the vigilant and discerning patrons of Columbus, took advantage of this favourable situation, in order to make one effort
more more in behalf of their friend. They addressed themselves to Isabella, and, after expressing some surprise, that (he, who had always been the munificent patroness of generous undertakings, should hesitate so long to countenance the most splendid scheme that had ever been proposed to any monarch; they represented to her, that Columbus was a man of a found understanding and virtuous character, well qualified, by his experience in navigation, as well as his knowledge of geometry, to form just ideas with respect to the structure of the globe and the situation of its various regions; that, by offering to risk his own life and fortune in the execution of his scheme, he gave the most satisfying evidence both of his integrity and hope of success; that the sum requisite for equipping such. an armament as he demanded was inconsiderable, and the advantages which might accrue from his undertaking were immense; that he demanded no recompence far his invention and labour, but what was to arise from the countries which lie should discover; that, as it was worthy of her magnanimity to make this noble attempt to extend the sphere of human knowledge, and to open an intercourse with regions hitherto unknown, so it would afford the highest satisfaction to her piety and zeal, after re-establishing the Christian faith in those provinces of Spain from which it had been long banished, to discover a new world, to which she might communicate the light and blessings of divine truth; that if now she did not decide instantly, the opportunity would be irretrievably lost; that Columbus was on h!s way to foreign countries, "here some prince, more fortunate or adventurous, would close with his proposals, and Spain woald for ever bewail the fatal timidity which lad excluded her from the glory and advantages that she had once in her power to have enjoyed.
These forcible arguments, urged by persons of such authority, and at a juncture so well chosen, produced the desired effect. They dispelled sll Isabella's doubts and fears; she ordered Columbus to be instantlyrecalled, declared her resolution of employing him on his own terms, 'ad regretting the low state of her finances, generously offered to pledge her own jewels, in order to raise as much money as might be needed in making preparations for the voyage. Santangel, in a transport of gratitude, kissed the queen's hand, and in order to save her from having recourse to such a mortifying expedient for procuring money, engaged to advance immediately the sum that was requisite.
Columbus had proceeded some leagues on his journey, when the messenger from Isabella overtook him. Upon receiving an account of the unexpected revolution in his favour, he returned directly to Santo Fe, though some remainder of diffidence still mingled itself with his joy.
But But the cordial reception which he met with from Isabella, together with the near prospect of setting out upon that voyage which had so long been the object of his thoughts and wishes, soon effaced the remembrance of all that he had suffered in Spain, during eight tedious years of solicitation and suspense. The negociation now went forward with facility and dispatch, and a treaty of capitulation with Columbus was signed on the seventeenth of April, one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. The chief articles of it were, t. Ferdinand and Isabella, as sovereigns of the ocean, constituted Columbus their high admiral in all the seas, islands, and continents which should be discovered by his industry; and stipulated, that he and his heirs for ever should enjoy this office, with the fame powers and prerogatives which belonged to the high admiral of Castile, within the limits of his jurisdiction. 2. They appointed Columbus tkeir viceroy in all the islands and continents which he fliould discover; but if, for the better administration of affairs, it should hereafter be necessary to establish a separate governor in any of those countries, they authorised Columbus to name three persons, of whom they would chuse one for that office; and the dignity of viceroy, with all its immunities, was likewise to be hereditary,in the family of Columbus, 3. They granted to Columbus and his heirs for ever the tenth of the free profits accruing from the productions and commerce of the countrie* which he should discover. 4. They declared, that if any controversy or law-suit shall arise with respect to any mercantile transaction in the countries which fliould be discovered, it should be determined by the sole authority of Columbus, or of judges to be appointed by him. 5. They permitted Columbus to advance one-eighth part of what should -be expended in preparing for the expedition, and in carrying on commerce with the countries which he should discove»,%nd intitled him, in return, to an eighth part of the prosit.
Though the name of Ferdinand appears conjoined with that of Isabella in this transaction, his distrust of Columbus was still so violent that he refused to take any part in the enterprise as king of Arragon. As the whole expence of the expedition was to be defrayed by the crown of Castile, Isabella reserved for her subjects of that kingdom an exclusive right to all the benefits which might redound from its success.
As soon as the treaty was signed, Isabella, by her attention and activity in forwarding the preparations for the voyage, endeavoured to make some reparation to Columbus for the time which he had lost in fruitless solicitation. By the twelfth of May, all that depended upon her was adjusted; and Columbus waited on the king and queen, in order t,o receive their final instructions. Every thing respecting the destination ind conduct of the voyage, they committed implicitly to the disposal of his prudence. But, that they might avoid giving any just cause of offence to the king of Portugal, they strictly enjoined him not to approach near to the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Guinea, or in any of the other countries to which the Portuguese claimed right as discoverers. Isabella had ordered the ships, of which Columbus was to take the command, to be fitted out in the port of Palos, a small maritime town in the province of Andalusia. As the guardian Juan Perez, to whom Columbus has already been so much indebted, resided in the neighbourhood of this places he, by the influence of that good ecclesiastic, as well as by his own connection with the inhabitants, not only raised among them what he wanted of the sum that he was bound by treaty to advance, but engaged several of them to accompany him in the voyage. The chief of these associates were three brothers of the name of Pinion, of considerable wealth, and of great experience in naval affairs* Who were willing to hazard their lives and fortunes in the expedition.
But, after all the efforts of Isabella and Columbus, the armament was not suitable, either to the dignity of the nation by which it was equiped, or to the importance of the service for which it was destined. It coafisted of three vessels; The largest, a ship of no considerable buritn, was commanded by Columbus, as admiral, who gave it the name of Santa Maria, out of respect for the Blessed Virgin, whom he honoured with singular devotion. Of the second, called the Pintat Martin Pinzon was captain, and his brother Francis pilot. The third, named the Nigna, was under the command of Vincent Yanez Pinzon. These two were light vessels, hardly superior in burden or force to large boats. This squadron, if it merits that name, was victualled for twelve months, and had on board ninety men, mostly sailors, together with a few adventurers who followed the fortune of Columbus, and some gentlemen of Isabella's court, whom she appointed to accompany hiiru Though the expence of the undertaking was one of the circumstances) Which chiefly alarmed the court of Spain, and retarded so long the ne* gociation with Columbus, the sum employed in fitting out this fquadroa did not exceed four thousand pounds.
As the art of ship-building in the fifteenth century was extremely rude, and the bulk of vessels was accommodated to the short and Easy voyages along the coast which they were accustomed to perform, it is a proof of the courage as well as enterprising genius of Columbus, that he ventured, with a fleet so unfit for a distant navigation, to explore unknown seas, where he had no chart to guide him, no knowledge of the ■^tt ami currents, and no experience of the dangers to which he might
Q fe* be exposed. His eagerness to accomplish the great design which had h long engrossed his thoughts, made him overlook or disregard every circumstance that would have intimidated a mind less adventurous. He pushed forward the preparations with such ardour, and was seconded so effectually by the persons to whom Isabella committed the superintendence of this business, that every thing wai soon in readiness for th« voyage. But as Columbus was deeply impressed with sentiments of religion, he would not set out upon art expedition so arduous, and of which one great object was to extend the knowledge of the Christian faith, without imploring publicly the guidance and protection of Heaven. With this view, he, together with all the persons under his command, marched in solemn procession to the monastery of Rabida. Aster con« sessing their sins, and obtaining absolution, they received the holy sacrament from the hands of the guardian, who joined his prayers to theirt for the success of an enterprise which he had so zealously patronized.
Next morning, being Friday the third day of August, in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two, Columbus set fail, a little before fun-rise, in presence of a vast crowd of spectators, who sent up their supplications to Heaven for the prosperous issue of the voyage, which they wished, rather than expected. Columbus steered directly for the Canary Islands, and arrived there, August 13,1492, without any occurrence that would have deserved notice on any other occasion. But, in a voyage of such expectation and importance, every circumstance was the object of attention. The rudder of the Pinta broke loose, the day after flie left the harbour, and that accident alarmed the crew, no less superstitious than unskilful, as a certain omen of the unfortunate destiny of the expedition. Even in the short run to the Canaries, the ships were found to be so crazy and ill appointed, as to be very improper for a navigation, which was expected to be both long and dangerous. Columbus refitted them, however, to the best of his power, and having supplied himself with freih provisions he took his departure from Gomera, one of the most westerly of the Canary iflands, on the sixth day of September.
Here the voyage of discovery may properly be said to begin; for Columbus holding his course due west, left immediately the usual track of navigation, and stretched into unfrequented and unknown seas. The first Hay, as it wa6 very calm, he made but little way; but on the second, he loft sight of the Canaries; and many of the sailors, dejected already a>id dismayed, when they contemplated the boldness of the undertaking, began to beat rheir breasts, and to shed tears, as if they were nevermore to behold land. Columbus comforted them with assurances of success, and tiie prospect of vast wealth, in those opulent .regions whither he was «ouducting them. This early discovery of the spirit os hi» followers