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of the other (hips, with tears of joy and transports of cons ratolatiorv This office of gratitude to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with feelings of self-condemnation mingled with reverence. They implored him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disqoiet, and had so often obstructed the prosecution of his well-concerted plan; and passing, in the warmth of their admiration, from one extreme to another, they now pronounced the man, whom they had so lately reviled and threatened, to be a person inspired by Heaven with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in order to accomplish a design, so far beyond the ideas and conception of all former ages.
As soon as the fun arose, all their boats were manned and arrced. They rowed towards the island with their colours displayed, with warlike music, and other martial pomp. As they approached the coast, they saw it covered with a multitude os people, whom the novelty of the spectacle had drawn together, whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view. Columbus was the first European who set foot in the New World which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand. His men followed, and kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had so long defired to see. They next erected a crucifix, and prostrating themselves before it, returned thanks to God for conducting their voyage to such an happy issue. They then took solemn possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, with all the formalities which the Portuguese were accustomed to observe in acts of this kind, in their new discoveries.
The Spaniards, while thus employed, were surrounded by many of the natives, who gazed, in silent admiration, upon actions which they could not comprehend, and of which they did not foresee the consequences. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising. The vast machines in which they had traversed the ocean, that seemed to move upon the waters with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck them with such terror, that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the Sun, who had descended to visit the earth.
The Europeans were hardly less amazed at the scene now before
them. Every herb, and shrub, and tree, was different from those which
3 flourished flourished in Europe. The soil seemed to be rich, but bore sew marks of cultivation. The climate, even to Spaniards, felt 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 around their heads. They had no beards, and every part of their bodies was perfectly smooth. Their complexion was of a dulky copper colour, their features singular, rather than disagreeable, their aspect gentle and timid. Though not tall, they were well shaped, and active. Their faces, and several parts of their body, were fantastically painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and with transports of joy received from them hawks-bells, glass beads, or other baubles, in return for which they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value that they could produce. Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ships, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes, and though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rowed them with surprising dexterity. Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the old and new worlds, every thing was conducted amicably, and to their mutual satisfaction. The former, enlightened and ambitions, formed already vast ideas with respect to the advantages which they might derive from the regions that began to open to their view. The latter, simple and undiscerning, had no foresight of the calamities and desolation which were approaching their country.
Columbus, who now assumed the title and authority of admiral and viceroy, called the island which he had discovered San Salvador. It is better known by the name of Guanabani, which the natives gave to it, and is one of that large cluster of islands called the Lucaya or Bahama isles. It is situated above three thousand miles to the west of Gomera, from which the squadron took its departure, and only four degrees to the south of it; so little had Columbus deviated from the westerly course, which he had chosen as the most proper.
Columbus employed the next day in visiting the coasts of, the island; and from the universal poverty of the inhabitants, he perceived that this was not the rich country for which he sought. But, comformably to his theory concerning the discovery of those regions of Asia which stretched towards the east, he concluded that San Salvador was one of the isles which geographers described at situated in the great ocean adjacent to India. Having observed that most of the people whom he had seen wore small plates os' gold, by way of ornament, in their nof
£ trils, trils, he eagerly inquired where they got that precious metal. They pointed towards the south, and made him comprehend by signs, that gold abounded in countries situated in that quarter. Thither he immediately determined to direct hi* course* in full confidence of finding there those opulent regions which had been the object of his voyage,, and would be a recompence for all his toils and dangers. He took along with him seven of the natives of San Salvador, that, by acquiring the Spanish language, they might serve as guides and interpreters; and those innocent people considered it as a mark of distinction1 when they were selected to accompany him.
He saw several islands, and touched at three of the largest, on which he bestowed the names of St. Mary of the Conception, Fernandina, and Isabella. But as their foil, productions, and inhabitants, nearly resembled those of San Salvador, he made no stay in any of them. Ha inquired every where for gold, and the signs that were uniformly made by way of answer, confirmed him in the opinion that it was brought from the south. He followed that course, and soon discovered a country which appeared very extensive, not perfectly level, like rhose which he had already visited, but so diversified with rising grounds* hills, rivers, woods, and plains, that he was uncertain whether it might prove an island, or part of the continent. The natives of San Salvador, ■whom 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 all the inhabitants fled to the mountains as he approached the shore. Jut as he resolved to careen his ships in that place,- he sent some Spaniards, together with one of the people of San Salvador, to view the interior parts of the country. They, having advanced above sixty miles from the shore, reported upon their return* that the soil wasricher and more cultivated than any they had hitherto discovered; that, besides many scattered cottages, they had found one village, containing, above a thousand inhabitants; that the people, though naked, seemed to be more intelligent than those of San Salvador, but had treated them•with the fame respectful attention, kissing their feet, and honouring them as sacred beings allied to Heaven; that they had given them toeat a certain root, the taste of which resembled roa-sted chesnuts, and likewise a singular species of corn called maize, which, either when toasted whole or ground into meal, was abundantly palatable; thatthere seemed to be no four-footed animals in the country, but a-species of dogs, which couH not bark, and a creature resembling a rabbit, but of a much smaller size; that they had observed some ornaments of gold among the people, but of no great value.
These messengers had prevailed with some of the natives to accompany them, who informed Columbus, that the gold of which they nude their ornaments was found in Cubanacan. By this word they meant the middle or inland part of Cuba; but Columbus, being ignorant of their language, as well as unaccustomed to their pronunciation, and his thoughts running continually upon his own theory concerning; the discovery of the East Indies, he was led, by the resemblance of sound, to suppose that they spoke of the Great Khan, and imagined that the opulent kingdom of Cathay, described by Marco Polo, was not very remote. This induced him to employ some time in viewing the country. He visited almost every harbour, from Porto del Principe, on the 'north coast of Cuba, lo the eastern extremity of the island; but though delighted with the beauty of the scenes, which every. where presented themselves, and amazed at the luxuriant fertility of the foil, both which, from their novelty, made a more lively impression upon his imagination *, he did not find gold in such quantity as was sufficient to satisfy either the avarice of his followers, or the expectations of the court to which he was to return. The people of the country, as much astonished at his eagerness in quest of gold, as the Europeans were at their ignorance and simplicity, pointed towards the east, where an island which they called Hayti was situated, it which that metal was more abundant than among them. Columbus wdered his squadron to bend its course thither; but Martin Alonso finzon, impatient to be the first who should take possession of the treasures which this country was supposed to contain, quitted his conv panions, regardless of all the admiral's signals to slacken fail until they should come up with him.
Columbus, retarded by contrary winds, did not reach Hayti till the sixth of December. He called the port where he first touched St.
* In a letter of the admiral's to Ferdinand and Isabella, he describes one of the tabours in Cuba, with ali the enthusiastic admiration of a discoverer.—"/ discovered a river which a galley might easily enter; the beauty of it induced me to sound, and I found from five to eight fathoms of water. Having proceeded a considerable way up the river, every thing invited me to settle there. The beauty of the river, the clearness of the water, through which I could fee the sandy bottom, the multitude of palmtrees of different kinds, the tallest and finest 1 had seen, and an infinite number of other large and flourishing trees, the birds, and the verdure of the plains, are so wonderfully keantiful, that this country excels all others as far as the day surpasses the night in brightness and splendour, so that I often said, that it would be in vain for me to attempt to give your highnesses a full account of it, for neither my tongue nor my pen could come up to the truth, and indeed> I am so much amazed at the sight of such beauty, that I know pot how to describe it." Life of Columb. c. 30.
E a Nicholas, Nicholas, and the island itself Espagnola, in honour of the kingdom by which he was employed j and it is the only country, of those he had yet discovered, which has retained the name that he gave it. As he could neither meet with the Pinta, nor have any intercourse with the inhabitants, who fled in great consternation towards the woods, he soon quitted St. Nicholas, and sailing along the northern coast of the island, he entered another harbour, which he called the Conception. Here he was more fortunate; his people overtook a woman who was flying from them, and after treating her with great gentleness, dismissed her with a present of such toys as they knew were most valued in those regions. The description which she gave to her countrymen of the humanity and wonderful qualities of the strangers; their admiration of the trinkets, which she shewed with exultation; and their eagerness to participate of the fame favours; removed all their fears, and induced many of them to repair to the harbour. The strange objects which they beheld, and the baubles, which Columbus bestowed upon them, amply gratified their curiosity and their wishes. They nearly resembled the people of Guanahani and Cuba. They were naked like them, ignorant, and simple; and seemed to be equally unacquainted with all the arts which appear most necessary in polished societies; but they were gentle, credulous, and timid, to a degree which rendered it easy to acquire the ascendant over them, especially as their excessive admiration led them into the fame error with the people of the other islands, in believing the Spaniards to be more than mortals, and descended immediately from Heaven. They possessed gold in greater abundance than their neighbours, which they readily exchanged for bells, beads, or pins; and in this unequal traffic both parties were highly pleased, each considering themselves as gainers by the transaction. Here Columbus was visited by a prince or cazlquc of the country. He appeared with all the pomp known among a simple people, being carried in a sort of palanquin upon the shoulders of four men, and attended by many of his subjects, who served him with great respect. His deportment was grave and stately, very reserved towards his own people,' but with Columbus and the Spaniards extremely courteous. He gave the admiral some thin plates of gold, and a girdle of curious workmanship, receiving iii return presents of small value, but highly acceptable to him.
Columbus, still intent on discovering the mines which yielded gold, continued to interrogate all the natives with whom he had any intercourse concerning their situation. They concurred in pointing out a mountainous country, which they called Cibao, at some distance from the sea, and farther towards the east. Struck with this found, whick