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AMERIC A

6 Flavio Gioja, a citizen of Amalfi, a town of considerable trade in the kingdom of Naples, was the author of this great discovery, about the year 1302. It haih ofien been the faic of thole illustrious benefactors of mankind, who bave enriched science and improved the arts by their invencions, !o derive more reputation than benefit from the happy efforts of their genius: but the lot of Gioia has been fill mure cruel : chrough the inattention or ignorance of contemporary historians, he has been defrauded even of the fame to which he had such a juft cicle. We receive from them no information with respect to his profethon, his character, the precise time when he made this important discovery, and the accidents and enquiries which led to it: the knowledge of this event, though productive of greater effects than any recorded in the annals of (be human race, is transmitted to us without any of those circuinfances which can gratify the curiofiev which it naturally awakened."

Chriftopher Columbus, who was destined to the high honour of revealing a new hemisphere to Europeans, was by birth a Genoefe, who had been eady trained to a scafaring life, and, having acquired every branch of knowledge connected with that profeTion, was no Iels dißinguilhed by his skill and abilities, shan for his intrepid and persevering spirit. This man, when about forty jcars of age, had formed ihe great idea of reaching the East Indies by sailing westward ; but, as his fortune was very small, and the attempt required very effectual patronage, desirous that his native country inould prone by bis fuccefs, he laid his plan before the senate of Genoa, buic the scheme appearing chimerical, it was rejected. He then repaired to the court of Portugal; and although the Portuguese were at that time diftinguished for their commercial sprit, and John II, who then reigned, was a discerning and enterprising prince, yet the prepolleffions of the great men in his court, to whom the matter was referred, caused Columbus finally to fail in his attempt there also. He next applied to Ferdinand and Isabella, king c and queen of Arragon- and Callite, and at the same time feat his brother : Bartholomew (who followed the same profesion, and who was well qualified - to fill the immediate place umder such a leader) to England, 10 lay the pro

posal before Henry VII. which likewise, very fortunately for the future well being of the country, met with no success. Many were the years

which. Chriftopher Columbus spent in ineffe&tual autendance at the Caftillian ** court; the impoverished stare into which the finances of the united kingdoms .. were reduced, by the war with Granada, seprelling every disposition to al

tempt to great designs; but the war being at length terminated, the powerful mind of Isabella broke through all oblacles ;, she declared herself the patroness of Columbus, whilf her husband Ferdinand, declining to partake as an adventurer in the voyage, only gave it the sanction of his name. Thus did the fuperior genius of a woman effect the discovery of one half of the globe!

The ships fent on this important search were only three in number, two of shem very small : they had ninety men on board. Although the expence of tbe expedition had long remained the sole oblacle to its being undertaken, yet, when every thing was provided, she coft did not amount to more than 17,760 dols

. and there were iwelve months provisions put on board. Columbus set sail from port Palos, in the province of Andaluka, on the third of August 1492: he proceeded to the Canary islands, and from thence directed his courle due W. in the latitude of about 28°. N. In this course be continued for two months, without falling in with any land ; which caused Tuch a spirit of discontent apd muiny to rise as the superior address and brought over with him a small body of cavalry. The Indians, who had never before seen such a creature, imagined the Spanish horles to be rational beings, and that each with its rider formed bui one animal : they were altonished at their speed, and considered their impetuosity and strength as irresistible. In this onset they had beside an other formidable enemy to terrify and destroy them : a great number of the largest and fierceft species of dogs which were then bred in Europe, had been brought hither, which, set on by their weapons, whithout attempting resistance, fled with ali the speed which terror could excite. Numbers were flain, and more made prisoners, who were indiscriminately consigned to flavery. Dr. Robertson says, upon the authority of a M. S. in his poffeffion, that five hundred of these captives were sent (or rather brought by Columbus) to Spain, and fold bublicly in Seville as flaves.

The character of Columbus stands very high in the estimation of mankind; he is venerated not only as a man possessing superior fortitude, and such a fteady perseverance, as no impediments, dangers, or sufferings, could shake, but as equally distinguished for piety and virtue. His second fon Ferdinand, who wrote the life of his father, apologizes for this severity toward the natives, on account of the distrelled ftate into which the colony was brought : the change of climate, and the indispensable labours which were required of men unaccustomed to any exertions, had swept away great numbers of the new settlers, and the survivors were declining daily, whild such was the irreconcilable enmity of the natives, that the most kind and circumspect conduct on the part of the Spaniards, would not have been effectual to regain their good will. This apology seems to have been generally admitted, for all modern writers have bestowed

upon

the discoverer of the new world the warmeft commendation unmixed with censure. It is an unpleasant talk to derogate from exalted merit, and to impute a deliberate plan of cruelty and extirpation to a man revered for moral worth; but although a pere affe&ation of novel opinions can only originate in weak minds, and can be countenanced only by luch, yet a free and unreserved scrutiny into facts, can alone separate truth from error, and apportion the juft and intrinsic degree of merit belonging to any character. That Columbus had formed a design of waging offensive war againll the Indians, and reducing them to flavery, before he entered upon his second voyage, and, consequently, before he was apprized of the destruction of the people which he had left upon the island of Hispaniola, may be inferred from his providing bimself with fuch a number of fierce and powe erful dogs.

Having found the natives peaceable and well dispered, he had no reason to apprehend that they would commenfe unprovoked hostilities; the cavalry which he took over, whilft it tended to impress those people with the deepelt awe and veneration, was fully fufficieni for the security of the new solony, if the friendship of the natives had been fincerely meant to be cultivated by a kind and equitable deportment; but to treat them as a free people was inconsistent with the views which led to planting a colony, for as the grand incentive to undertake these distant voyages was the hope of acquiring gold, fo, as Columbus had seen fome worn as ornaments by the natives

, and had been informed that the mountanous parts of the country yielded that precious metal, he had excited expectations in his employers, and in the nation at large, which both his interest and ambition compelled him as far as possible to realive : the Spaniards could not obtain guld without the aflstande of the natives, and shosc were fo conflitutionally indolent that no allure

No. 22.

tents of presents or gratifications could excite them to labour. To rcicue tunleif therefore from disgrace, and to secure future support, le seems deliberately to have devoted a harmless race of men to laugher or iluvcıy. Such as survived the malfucre of that dreadful day, and preserved their friedom, led into the mountainous and inaccesible pirts of the island, witch D:X yielding them fufficient means of lubliitence, they were compelled to obtain a portion of food frorn their crucl pursuers, by procuring gold dad; in order to fupport life; a tribute being impoled upon them which was sia gouroully erected. Thefe wretched remains of a fica people, thus driver for fruitfulness and amenity, compelled to labour for the support of life; e prey to defpondercy, which the mecllection of their former" "happiness fharpened, and which their bopeless situation rendered in fupportable, diea ia great numbers, the innocent, but unrevenged victims of European avarice. Such are the facts which have ever been admitted, yet, frange contradiction! Columbus is celebrated for his humanity and gudress! but should be roc taber be confidered as a molt confuminae dillembler ; pröfelling moderation Whild be medized fubversion ? and, like most of the herdes and conquernig whora bitory records, renouncing every principle of joffice and humanity when they stopped the career of his ambition? Ferdinand Columbus, his fa and biographer, has with great address covered the shame of his father, whilft de admiring world has been lide disposed to casute a mail, the fplendor of whose actions to powerfully fascinates and dazzles.

When Columbus returned to Spain from his second voyage, he found that tris enemies bad been very active and fuccessful in exciting in Ferdinand and Ifabella unfavourable feruiments of his conduét: but he fo fur recovered his credit that a squadron of lix hips were fitted out, with which he proceeded ea a third voyage, on the 30th of May 1998. Taking a mote fouthern course, te discovered the island of Trinidad, on the coast of Guiana, near the mouti of the great river Oronoko. The swell occafioned by this veft river pouring kis exteis itio the ocean was fo great, as id'expose the fhips to exireme daiger, but after long combating the currents and treinendous waves with doub'. fak success he conducted his fquadron safe through a narrow Arait, which isparates that stand from the continent; this he celled, " Bocca dei Drago," de dragon's mouth. He juftly concluded, ihat such a vas body of water tull flow through a country of immense extent, and chat he was now arrived at that continent which ie had long been the object of his wilhes to di{cosera Full of that idea he stood to the W. along the toxit of those provinces now known by the names of Paria and Comana. He landed in several places, and bud some intercom se with th's rfarives, who relembled those of Hiinassa cla.in their appearance and manner of lifc. 6. Thus" says Di. Roberiton, " Columbus had not on!y the glory of difcovering to inankind the extince of a new world, but mare conliderable progress toward a perfect koowledge of 't, and was the firll man' who condućicd the Spaniards to that vall concie tent which has been the chief seat of their empire, and the fource of this treasures in that qissrter of the globe."

He afterward directed his course to Ilispaniola, and on quitring the continen: al coal fell in with the small illand Cabazua, and ihe far er stie called Margariiz, not fit diftant: these after word became renarkable for their peari ishery.

The enemies of Columbus having at length defroyed all lris credir with Ferdinand and Ifabella, Francis de Bovadilla, a knigte of Coldiruvilti was appointed to sepair in Hifpaniolu, wish full powers to chquire into his VOL. IV.

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condu&t. This commillion Bouadilla exercised in the most arbitrary and fevere manner; for, without having recourse even to the form of a judicial enquiry, he divelted Columbus of all authority, and, putting him in chains, sent him a prisoner to Spain : but the authority thus exercised was not long held; he was superceded, and the government given to Ovando, who however proved, in the sequel, to be but little less inimical to Columbus. Al though this violent conduct was not approved by the king and queen,

who endeavoured, by outward marks of attention and respect, to wipe off the ignominy which had been calt upon the discoverer of America, yet it is probable he would never have prevailed upon them, to alit him in the undertaking a fourth voyage, had it not been for she discovery inade by the Portuguese, of sailing to the East Indies by doubling the Cape of Good Hope ; but as it had ever been his firin belief, that the covetry which he had disco vered was not far from the East Indies, and that there was a more direct way this her, by the route which he had ftruck out, he prevailed upon bis noble patrons to affin him in ascertaining this important point: he had however only four finali barks alsigned him ; the largest not more than seventy tons borden. In this expedition he was accompanied by his brother Don Bartholomew, and his second fon Don Ferdinand, who afterward wrote his life.

He failed from Cadiz on the gıh of May 1502, but without being invested with any authority in the country which he had discovered. When he arrived at Hispaniola, he found Ovando little inclined to afford him alliftante ; he therefore foon quitted that island, and steering towards the continent, explored all the coast from Cape Gracias a Dois southward, until he arrived at a harbour, which, on account of its beauty and security, he called Porto Bello. Whilst thus coalling he went afhore at several places, and sometiines proceeded up the country, but did not penetrate so far as to cross the ifthmus which separates the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. It was his design to have settled a colony to the W. of Porto Bello, but this scheme was so much difrelished by his people that he could not effect it, and he was therefore deprived of the glory of planting the first colony of America. He afterwards suffered many hardships, chiefly from the neglect of Ovando, and soon after his return to Spain, his great patroness Isabella, queen of Caftile. died; but this most able navigator did not long survive her, he dy-, ing a Valladolid, on the 2015 of May 1506, in the 59th year of his age.

Ilaving this given a general description of America, and of the circumfrances, which led to its discovery, we Shall now conlider it as being divid. ed in:o two parts, viz. North and South America, and begin with North Aincrica.

Of North America.

North America extends from about the tenth degree of N, latitude, to the North Pole, and from East to Weit between the 40° E. and the 93 W. longitude from Philadelphia.

We propose to divide North America into four parts.
1. THE BRITISH PossessiONS UN NORTH AMERICA.
li. The A,BOUGENES, OR ORIGINAL IN HABITANTS.
111. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
IV. THE DOMINIONS OF SPAIN.
We shall begin with the possessions of Great Britain.

THE NEW YORK it

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