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tuation to Hispaniola seemed impracticable; and without this it was in vain to expect relief. His genius, ever fertile in resources, and most vigorous in those perilous extremities, when weak minds abandon themselves to despair, discovered the only expedient which afforded any prospect of deliverance. He had recourse to the hospitality of the natives, who considering the Spaniards as superior beings, were eager on all occasions to administer to their wants; from them he obtained two of their canoes; in these, which were only fit for creeping along the coast, or crossing from one bay to another, Mendez, a Spaniard, and Fieschi, a Genoese, two gentlemen particularly attached to Columbus, gallantly offered to set out for Hispaniola: a voyage of above thirty leagues. This they accomplshed in ten days, after encountering incredible dangers, and such fatigue, that several of the Indians who accompanied them, sunk under it and died.

The attention paid them by the governor of Hispaniola, was neither such as their courage merited, or the distress of Columbus and his associates required. Ovando, from a mean jealousy of Columbus, was afraid of permitting him to set his foot in the island, under his government.

This ungenerous passion absorbed every tender sentiment for the misfortunes of that great man; and his own fellow citizens were involved in the same calamity. Mendez, and Fieschi, spent eight months in fruitless petitions, and seeking relief for their commander and associates.

During this period, the mind of Columbus was agitated by various passions. At first, the speedy deliverance expected from the success of Mendez and Fieschi's voyage, cheered the spirits of the most desponding; after some time, they began to suspect that they had miscarried in the attempt.* At length they all concluded, that Mendez and Fieschi had perished.

Hope, the last resource of the wretched, now forsook them, and made their situation appear more dismal. The only alter. native that appeared, was to end their miserable days among naked savages, far from their native country and friends. The seamen transported with rage, rose in open mutiny, threatened the life of Columbus, whom they reproached as the author of their calamities; seized ten canoes, which he had purchased of the Indians, and despising his remonstrances and entreaties, made off with them to a distant part of the island. At the same time, the natives murmured at the long residence of the Spaniards in their country.

Like their neighbours, in Hispaniola, they considered the supporting so many strangers to be an intolerable burden. They brought in provisions with reluctance, and with a sparing hand, and threatened to withdraw these supplies altogether. Such a resolution would have been fatal to the Spaniards. Their safety depended upon the good will of the natives; and, unless they could revive the admiration and reverence with which these

simple people at first beheld them, destruction appeared unavoidable.

Though the disorderly proceedings of the mutineers, had, in a great measure, effaced those favourable impressions, the ingenuity of Columbus suggested an artifice that completely answered their purpose; and not only restored, but encreased the high opinion which the Indians had formerly conceived of them.

By his skill in astronomy he knew there would be a total eclipse of the moon. He assembled all the principal persons of the district around him on the day before it happened; and after reproaching them for their fickleness in withdrawing their affection and assistance from men, whom they lately had revered; he told them the Spaniards were servants to the great Spirit, who dwells in heaven, who made and governed the world; that he was of fended at their refusing to support men who were the objects of his peculiar favour; was preparing to punish this crime with exemplary severity; and that very night the moon should with. hold her light, and appear of a bloody hue, as a sign of divine wrath, and an emblem of the vengeance ready to fall on them.

To this marvellous prediction some of them listened with careless indifference, others with credulous astonishment. But when the moon began gradually to be darkened, and at length appear. ed of a red colour, all were struck with terror. They ran with consternation to their houses, and returning instantly to Columbus loaded with provisions, threw them at his feet, conjuring him to intercede with the great Spirit to avert the destruction with which they were threatened. Columbus, seeming to be moved by their entreaties, promised to comply with their desire.

The eclipse went off, the moon recovered its splendour, and from that day the Spaniards were not only profusely furnished with provisions, but the Indians avoided every thing that could give them offence; and paid a superstitious attention to them as long as they staid upon the island.

During these transactions, the mutineers enraged at their disappointments, marched to that part of the island where Columbus remained, threatening him with new danger and insults. While they were advancing, an event more cruel and afflicting than any which he dreaded from them, happened. The governor of Hispaniola, still under the influence of dark suspicions, sent a small bark to Jamaica, not to relieve Columbus, or deliver his distressed countrymen, but to spy out their condition.

Fearing the sympathy of those whom he sent would operate too powerfully in favour of their countrymen, he sent Escobar an inveterate enemy of Columbus, who adhered to his instructions, with malignant accuracy: cast anchor at some distance from the island, approached the shore in a small boat, took a view of the wretched state of the Spaniards, delivered a letter of emp ty compliment to the admiral, received his answer and departed.


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When the Spaniards first descried the vessel standing towards the island, every heart exulted, expecting the hour of their deliverance had arrived; but when the vessel disappeared, they sunk into the deepest dejection, and all their hopes were lost. Columbus alone, though he felt this wanton insult, retained such composure, as to be able to cheer his followers. He assured them that Mendez and Fieschi, had reached Hispaniola in safety; and that they would speedily procure ships to carry them off; and as Escobar's vessel could not carry them all, he had refused to go with her, because he was determined not to abandon his faithful companions in distress; soothed with the expectation of speedy deliverance, and delighted with his apparent generosity, in attending more to their preservation than his own, their spirits revived, and he regained their confidence.

The mutineers were now at hand. All his endeavours to reclaim those desperadoes, had no effect, but to encrease their phrenzy. Their demands became more extravagant, and their intentions more violent and bloody. It became necessary to oppose them with open force.

Columbus who had been long afflicted with the gout, could not take the field. His brother the Adelantado marched against them. They quickly met. The mutineers rejected, with scorn, all offers of accommodation, and rushed on boldly to the attack. The were repulsed at the first onset, and several of their most daring leaders were slain. The Adelantado, whose strength was equal to his courage, closed with their captain, wounded, disarmed him, and made him a prisoner. This disconcerted the rest, who fled with a dastardly fear, equal to their former insolonce. Soon after they submitted in a body to Columbus, and bound themselves in the most solemn oaths, to submit to his commands..

Hardly was tranquillity established, when the ships appeared, whose arrival Columbus had promised. With transports of joy the Spaniards quitted an island, in which the mean jealousy of Ovando had suffered them to languish above a year, exposed to misery in various forms.

When they arrived at St. Domingo, the fourteenth of August, 1504, the governor, with that mean artifice usually attending vulgar minds, that labours to atone for insolence, with servility now fawned on the man he had attempted to ruin. He received Columbus with the most studied respect, lodged him in his own house, and distinguished him with every mark of honour. But, amidst those overacted demonstrations of regard, he could not conceal the 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 those who had adhered to the admiral, with proceeding to judicial inquiry into their conduct.

Columbus submitted in silence to what he could not redress; but was impatient to quit a country under the jurisdiction of a

man who had treated him with such inhumanity and injustice. His preparations were soon finished, and he set sail for Spain with two ships. Disasters still continued to accompany him; one of his vessels was so disabled, as to be forced back to St. Domingo; the other shattered by violent storms, sailed seven hundred leagues with jury masts, and reached with difficulty, the port of St. Lucar.

There he received an account of an event, the most discouraging that could have happened. This was the death of his patroness, queen Isabella, in whose justice, humanity, and favour he confided, as his last resource. Not one was now left to redress his wrongs, or to reward him for his services and sufferings, but Ferdinand, who had so long opposed, and so often had injured him. To solicit a prince, prejudiced against him, was irksome and hopeless. In this, however, was Columbus doomed to employ the close of his days.

As soon as his health would permit, he repaired to court, where he was received with civility barely decent: he presented petition after petition, demanded the punishment of his oppressors, and the rights and privileges bestowed upon him, by the capitulation of one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Ferdinand continued to amuse him with fair words, and unmeaning promises. Instead of granting his claims, he proposed expedients in order to elude them.

The declining health of Columbus, flattered Ferdinand with the hopes of being soon delivered from an importunate suitor, nor was he deceived in his expectations. Disgusted with the ingratitude of a monarch, whom he had served with such fidelity and success, worn out with fatigues and hardships, and broken with infirmi ties, which these brought upon him, Columbus ended his life at Valladolid, on the twentieth of May, one thousand five hundred and six, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He died with that composure of mind, suitable to the magnanimity which distinguished his character, and with sentiments of piety becoming that supreine respect for religion, which he manifested in every Occurrence of his life.

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WHILE Columbus was employed in his last voyage, the colo ny of Hispaniola was gradually acquiring the form of a regular government: the humane solicitude of Isabella to protect the Indians from oppression, and the proclamation, by which the Spaniards were prohibited from compelling them to work, retarded, for some time, the progress of improvement. The natives, who considered exemption from labour as supreme happiness, rejected with scorn every allurement by which they were invited to work. The Spaniards, accustomed to the service of the Indians, quitted the island; many of those who came over with Ovando were seized with distempers peculiar to the climate; and in a short time near a thousand of them died. At the same time, the demand of one half of the product of the mines claimed by the crown, was found to be an exaction so exorbitant, that there was none to be found that would engage to work them upon such terms. Ovando to save the colony from ruin, relaxed the rigour of the royal edicts, and again distributed the ians among the Spaniards, compelling them to work, for a stated time, in digging the mines, or in cultivating the ground; to cover this breach of his instructions, he enjoined their masters to pay them a certain sum, as the price of their work. He reduced the royal share of the gold found in the mines to one fifth, and was so fortunate as to persuade the court to approve of these regulations.

The Indians, after enjoying a short respite from servitude, now felt the yoke of bondage to be so galling, that they made several attempts to regain their freedom. This the Spaniards considered as rebellion, and took arms in order to reduce them to obedience: considering them not as men fighting in defence of their liberty, but as slaves, who had revolted against their masters. Their caziques, when taken, were condemned, like the leaders of a banditti, to the most cruel and ignominious punishments; and all their subjects without regard to rank, were reduced to the same abject slavery. Such was the fate of the cazique of Higuey, a province in the eastern extremity of the island.

This war was occcsioned by the perfidy of the Spaniards, in vi. olating a treaty, began and concluded by them with the natives;

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