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bowels of the earth, and to refine the rude ore, were operations to«> complicated and laborious for their talents and industry, and they had no such high value for gold as to put their ingenuity and invention upon the stretch in order to obtain it. The small quantity of that precious metal which they possessed, was either picked up in the beds of the rivers, or washed from the mountains by the heavy rains that fall within the tropics. But, from those indications, the Spaniards could no longer doubt that the country contained rich treasures in its bowels, of which they hoped soon to be masters. In order to secure the command of this valuable province, Columbus erected a small fort, to which he gave the name of St. Thomas, by way of ridicule upon some of his incredulous followers, who would not believe that the country produced gold, until they saw it with their own eyes, and touched it with their hands.
The account of those promising appearances of wealth in the country ofCibao came very seasonably to comfort the desponding colony, which was effected with distresses of various kinds. The stock of provisions which had been brought from Europe was mostly consumed; what remained was so much corrupted by the heat and moisture of the climate, as to be almost unfit for us:; the natives cultivated so small a portion or ground, and with so little skill, that it hardly yielded what was sufficient for their own subsistence; the Spaniards at Isabella had hitherto neither time nor leisure to clear the soil, so as to reap any considerable • fruits of their own industry. On all these accounts, they became afraid of perishing with hunger, and were reduced already to a scanty allowance. At the same time, the diseases predominant in the torrid zone, and which rage chiefly in those uncultivated countries, where the hand of industry has not opened the woods, drained the marches, and confined the rivers within a certain channel, began to spread among them. Alarmed at the violence and unusual symptoms of those maladies, they exclaimed against Columbus and his companions in the former voyage, who, by their splendid but deceitful descriptions of Hispaniola, had allured them to quit Spain for a barbarous uncultivated land, where they must ether be cut off by famine, or die of unknown distempers. Several of the officers and persons of note, instead of checking, joined in those seditious complaints. Father Boyl, the apostolical vicar, was one of the most turbulent and outrageous. It required all the authority and address of Columbus to re-establish subordination and tranquillity in the Colony. Threats and promises were alternately employed for this purpose; but nothing contributed more to soothe the malcontents than the prospect of finding, in the mines of Cibao, such a rich store of treasure
33 would be a recompence for all their sufferings, and efface the memory of former disappointments.
When, by his unwearied endeavours, concord and order were so far restored, that he could venture to leave the island, Columbus resolved to pursue his discoveries, that he might be able to ascertain whether those new countries with which he had opened a communication were connected with any region of the earth already know,n, or whether they were to be considered as a separate portion of the globe hitherto unvisiteJ. He appointed his brother Den Diego, with the assistance of a council of officers, to govern the island in his absence 5 and gave the command of a body of soldiers to Don Pedro Margarita, with which he was to visit the different parts of the island, and endeavour to establish the authority of the Spaniards among the inhabitants. Having left them very particular instructions with respect to their conduct, he weighed anchor on the twenty-fourth of April, with one ship and twa small barks under his command. During a tedious voyage of full five months, he had a trial of almost all the numerous hardships to which persons of his profession are exposed, without making any discovery of importance, except the island of Jamaica. As he ranged along the southern coast of Cuba, he was entangled in a labyrinth formed by an incredible number of small islands, to which he gave the name of the Qoetn's Garden. In this unknown course, among rocks and'shelves, he fas retarded, by contrary winds, assaulted with furious storms, and alarmed with the terrible thimder and lightning which is often almost incessant between the tropics. At length his provisions fell short; his crew, exhausted with fatigue, as well as hunger, murmured and threatened, and were ready to proceed to the most desperate extremities against, him. Beset with danger in such various forms, he was obliged to keep continual watch, to observe every occurrence, with his own eyes, to issue every order, and to superintend the execution of it. On no occasion, was the extent of his skill and experience as a navigator so much tried. To these the squadron owed its safety. But this unremitted fatigue of body, and intense application of mind, overpowering his constitution, though naturally vigorous and robust, brought on a feverish disorder, which terminated in a lethargy, that deprived him offense and memory and had almost proved fatal to his life.
But, on his return Sept. Z7, to Hispaniola, the sudden emotion °'joy which he felt upon meeting with his brother Bartholomew at Wabella, occasioned such a flow of spirits as contributed greatly to his recovery. It was now thirteen years since the two brothers, whom Wlarity ef talents united in close friendship, had separated from each
other, other, and during that long period there had been no intercourse be* tween them. Bartholomew, aster finishing his negociation in the court ©f England, had set out for Spain by the way of France. At Paris he received an account of the extraordinary discoveries which his brother had made in his first voyage, and that he was then preparing to embark on a second expedition. Though this naturally induced him to pursue his journey with the utmost dispatch, the admiral had sailed for Hifpaniola before he reached Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella received him with the respect due to the nearest kinsman of a person whose merit and services rendered him so conspicuous; and as they knew what consolation his presence would afford to his brother, they persuaded him to take the command of three ships, which they had appointed to carry provisions to the colony of Isabella.
He could not have arrived at any juncture when Columbus stood more in need of a friend capable of assisting him with his counsels, or of dividing with him the cares and burden of government. For although the provisions now brought from Europe, afforded a temporary relief to the Spaniards from the calamities of famine, the supply was not in such quantity as to support them long, and the island did not hitherto yield what was sufficient for their sustenance. They were threatened with another danger, still more formidable than the teturn of scarcity, and which demanded more immediate attention. No sooner did Columbus leave the island on his voyage of discovery, than the soldiers under Margarita, as if they had been set free from discipline and subordination, scorned all restraint. Instead of conforming to the prudent instructions of Columbus, they dispersed in straggling parties over the island, Jived at discretion upon the natives, wasted their provisions, seized their women, and treated that inoffensive race with all the insolence of milir tary oppression.
As long as the Indians had any prospect that their sufferings might come to a period by the voluntary departure of the invaders, they submitted in silence, and dissembled their sorrow; but they now perceives that the yoke would be as permament as it was intolerable. The Spaniards had built a town, and surrounded it with ramparts. They had erected forts in different places. They had enclosed and sown several fields. It was apparent that they came not to visit the country, but t<* settle in it. Though the number of those strangers was inconsiderable, the state of cultivation among this rude people was fo imperfect, and in such exact proportion to their own consumption, that it was with difficulty they could afford subSstence to their new guests. Their own mode of life was so indolent and inactive, the warmth of the climate so enervating, the constitution of their bodies naturally so feeble, and so unao2 customed. tuftomed to the laborious exertions of industry, that they were satisfied with a proportion of food amazingly small. A handful of maize, or a little of the insipid bread made of a cassada-root, was sufficient to support men, whose strength and spirits were not exhausted by any vigorous efforts either of body or mind. The Spaniards, though the most abstemious of all the European nations, appeared to them excessively voracious. One Spaniard consumed as much as several Indians. This keenness of appetite surprized them so much, and seemed to them to be so insatiable, that they supposed the Spaniards had left their own country, because it did not produce as much as was requisite to gratify their immoderate desire of food, and had come among them in quest of nourishment. Self-preservation prompted them to wish for the departure of guests who wasted so fast their slender stock of provisions. The injuries which they suffered, added to their impatience for this event. They had long expected that the Spaniards would retire of their own accord. They now perceived that, in order to avert the destruction with which they were threatened, either by the flow consumption of famine, or by the violence of their oppressors, it was necessary to assume courage, to attack those formidable invaders with united force, and drive them from the settlements of which they had violently taken possession.
Such were the sentiments which universally prevailed among the Indians, when Columbus returned to Isabella. Inflamed by the unprovoked outrages of .the Spaniards, with a degree of rage of which their pntle natures, formed to suffer and submit, seemed highly susceptible, they waited only for a signal from their leaders to fall upon the colony. Some of the caziques had already surprised and cut off several stragglers. The dread of this impending danger united the Spaniards, and re-established the authority of Columbus, as they saw no prospect os safety but in committing themselves to his prudent guidance. It was now necessary to have recourse to arms, the employing of which against: the Indians, Coiumbus had hitherto avoided with the greatest solicitude. Unequal as the conflict may seem, between the naked inhabitants of the New World, armed with clubs, sticks hardened in the fire, wooden swords, and arrows pointed with bones or flints; and troops accustomed to the discipline, and provided with the instruments of destruction known in the European art of war, the situation of the Spaniards was far from being exempt from danger. The vast superiority of the natives in number, compensated many defects. An handful of men was about to encounter a whole nation. One adverse' event, or even any adverse delay b determining the fate of the war, might prove
fatal fatal to the Spaniards. Conscious that success depended on the vigors and rapidity of his operations, Columbus instantly assembled his forces. They were reduced to a very small number. Diseases, engendered by the warmth and humidity of the country, or occasioned by their own licentiousness, had raged amang them with much violence; experience had not yet taught them the art either of curing these, or the precautions requisite for guarding them J two-thirds of the original adventurers were dead, and many of those who survived wefe incapable of service. The body which took the field on March 24, 1495, consisted only of two hundred foot) twenty horsej and twenty large dogs; and how strange soever it may seem, to mention the last as coiriposing part of. a military force, they were not perhaps the least formidable and destructive of the whole, when employed against naked and timid Indians. All the caziques of the island, Guacanahari excepted, who retained an inviolable attachment to the Spaniards, were in arms to oppose Columbus, with forces amounting, if we may believe the Spanish historians, to a hundred thousand mem Instead of attempting to draw the Spaniards into the fastnesses of the. woods and mountains, they were fe* imprudent as to take their station in the Vega Real, the most open plain in the country* Columbus did not allow them time to perceive their error, or to alter their position. He attacked them during the nightj when undisciplined troops are least capable of acting with union and concert, and obtained an easy and bloodless victory. The consternation with which the Indians were filled by the noise and havoc made by the fire-arms, by the impetuous force of the cavalry, and the first onset of the dogs, was so great, that they threw down their weapons, and fled without attempting resistance. Many were (lain; more were taken prisoners, and reduced to servitude; and so thoroughly were the rest intimidated, that from that moment they abandoned themselves to despair, relinquishing all thoughts of contending with aggressors whom they deemed invincible*
Columbus employed several months in marching through the island, and in subjecting it to the. Spanish government, without meeting with any opposition. He imposed a tribute upon all the inhabitants above the age of fourteen. Each person who lived in those districts where gold was found, was obliged to pay quarterly as much gold dust as filled a hawk's bell; from those in other parts of the country, twenty-five pounds of cotton were demanded. This was the first regular taxation of the Indians, and served as a precedent for exactions still more intolerable; Such an imposition was extremely contrary to those maxims which Columbus had hitherto ineulcated with respect to the mode of treating