Page images

sel, he manifested a serenity and presence of mind perhaps never equalled in cases of like extremity. He wrote a short ac. count of his voyage, and of the discoveries he had made, wrapped it in an oiled cloth, enclosed it in a cake of wax, put it in an empty cask, and threw it overboard ; in hopes that some accident might preserve a deposit of so much importance to the world.

49. The storm, however, abated, and he at length arrived in Spain ; after having been driven, by stress of weather, into the port of Lisbon, where he had an opportunity, in an interview with the King of Portugal; to prove the truth of his sys. tem, by arguments more convincing than those he had before advanced in the character of an humble and unsuccessful suitor. · 50. He was received every where in Spain with royal honors ; his family was ennobled, and his former stipulation, re. specting his offices and emoluments, was ratified in the most solemn manner, by Ferdinand and Isabella; while all Europe Jesounded his praises and reciprocated their joy and congratų. iations on the discovery of a new world. '

51. The immediate consequence of this was a second voyage; in which Columbus took charge of a squadron of seventeen ships of considerable burihen. Volunteers of all ranks and conditions solicited to be employed in this expedition. He carried over 1500 persons, together with all the necessaries for establishing a colony, and extending the discoveries.

52. In this voyage he explored most of the West India isl. unds ; but on his arrival at Hispaniola, be found the garrison he had left there, had been totally destroyed by the natives, and the fort demolished. He however proceeded in the planting of his colony; and by his prudent and humane conduct towards the natives, he effectually established the Spanish authority in that island.

53. But while he was thus laying the foundation of their fu-ure grandeur in South America, some discontented persons, who had returned from the colony to Spain, together with his for ner enemies in that kingdom, conspired to accomplish his ruin.

54. They represented his conduct in such a light at court, as to create uneasiness and distrust in the jealous mind of Ferdinand, and made it necessary for Columbus again to return to Spain, in order to counteract their inachinations, and to obtain uch further supplies as were necessary to his great political

benevolent purposes. .

55. On his arrival at court, and stating, with his usual digni*ty and confidence, the whole history of his transactions abroad, every thing wore a favorable appearance. He was received with usual honors, and again solicited to take charge of ano. ther squadroil, lo carry out further supplies, to pursue his discoveries, and in every respect to use his discretion in extending the Spanish empire in the new world. In this, his third voyage, he discovered the continent of America, at the mouth of the river ronokc. i 56. He rectified many disorders in his government of His. paniola, which had happened in his absence; and every thing was going on in a prosperous train, when an event was allnouncedio him, which completed his own ruin, and gave a fä. tal ior to the Spanish policy and conductin America. This was the arrival of Francis de Bovadilla, with a conimission to supercede Columbus in his government; and with power to arraign him as a criminal, and to judge of his former adminis. tiation, in

57. It seems that by this time the enemies of Columbus, despairing to'complete his overthrow by groundless insinuations of misconduct, had taken the more effectual method of exciting the jealousy of their sovereign.

58. Froin the promising samples of gold and other valuable connodities brought from America, they took occasion to represent to the king and queen, that the prodigious wealth and extent of the countries he had discovered, would soon throw such power into the hands of the Viceroy, that he would transple on the royal authority, and bid defiance to the Spanish power,

59. These arguments were wellcalculated for the cold and suc. picious temperof Ferdinand, and they must have had some effect upon the mind of Isabella. The consequence was the appointment of Bovadilla, who had been the inveterate enery of Columbus, to take the government froin his hands. The first ty. rant of the Spanish nation in America, began his adininistration by ordering Columbus to be put in chains on board a ship, and sending him prisoner to Spain.

60. By relaxing all discipline, he introduced disorder and licentiousness throughout the cololy. He subjected the 13tives to a most miserable servitude, and apportioned them out in large numbers among his adherents. Under this severe treatment perished, in a short time, many thousands of those innocent people.

K 2

61. Columbus was carried in his fetters to the Spanish court, where the king and queen either feigned or felt a sufficient res gret at the conduct of Bovadilla towards this illustrous prisoner. He was not only released from confinement, but treated with all imaginable respect.

62. But, altho'the king endeavored to expiate the offence, by censuring and recalling Bovadilla, yet we may judge of his sincerity from his appointing Nicholas de Ovando, another bitter enemy of Columbus, to succeed in the government, and from his ever after refusing to reinstate Columbus, or to fulfil any of the conditions on which the discoveries were undertaken.

63. After two years solicitation for this or some other em• ployment, he at length obtained a squadion of four small ves

sels, to attempt jew discoveries. He now set out, with the ardor and enthusiasm of a young adventurer, in quest of what was always liis favorite object, a passage into tbe South Sea, by which he might sail to India. He touched at Hispaniola, where Ovando, the governor, refused him admittance on shore, even to take shelter during a hurricane, the prognostics of which his experience had taught him to discern.

64. By putting into a small creek, he rode out the storm, and then bore away for the continent. Several months, in the most boisterous season of the year, he spent in exploring the coast round the Gulf of Mexico, in hopes of finding the intendcd navigation to India. At length he was shipwrecked, and driven ashore on the island of Jamaica.

65. His cup of calamity seemed now completely full. He was cast upon an island of savages, without provisions, without any vessel, and thirty leagues from any Spanish settlement. But the greatest providential misfortunes are capable of being crbittered by the insults of our fellow creatures.

66. A few of his hardy companions generously offered, in two Indian canoes, to attempt a voyage to Hispaniola, in hopes

s obtaining a vessel for the relief of the unhappy crew. After suffering every extremity of danger and hardship, they arri. yed at the Spanish colony in ten days. Ovando, through per. sonal malice and jealousy of Columbus, after having detained these messengers eight months, dispatched a vessel to Jamaica, in order to spy out the condition of Columbus and his crew, with positive instructions to the captain not to afford them any

7. This order was punctually executed. The captain ap.
ched the shore, delivered a lejter of empty compliment from

Ovando to the admiral, received his answer and returned. About four months afterwards a vessel came to their relief; and Columbus, worn out with fatigues, and broken with mis. fortunes, returned for the last time to Spain."

68. Here a new distress awaited him, which he considered as one of the greatest he had suffered in his whole life. This was the death of Queen Isabella, his last and greatest friend.

69. He did not suddenly abandon himself to despair. He · called upon the gratitude and justice of the king, and in terms of dignity demanded the fulfilment of the former contract.

70. Notwithstanding his age and infirmities, he even soli. cited to be further employed in extending the career of discovery without a prospect of any other reward but the con. sciousness of doing good tu mankind. But Ferdinand, cold, ungrateful, and timid, dared not to comply with a single proposal of this kind, lest he should increase his own obligations to a man whose services he thought it dangerous to reward.

71. He therefore delayed and avoided any decision on these subjects, in hopes that the declining health of Columbus would soon rid the court of the remonstrances of a man, whose extraordinary merit was, in their opinion, a sufficient occasion of destroying him.

72. In this they were not disappointed. Columbus languished a short time, and gladly resigned a life, which had been worn out in the most essential services that perhaps were ever rendered, by any human character, to an ungrateful world


THE attempts of the British parliament to raise a reve.

nue in America, without her consent, occasioned the late war, which separated this country from Great-Britain.

2. The first attempt of consequence was the famous Stamp Act, March, 1765. By this the Americans were obliged to make use of stamped paper, for all notes, bonds, and other legal instruments ; on which paper a duty was to be paid.

3. This act occasioned such general uneasiness in America, that the parliment thought proper to repeal it the year after it was made. He

4. But the next year (1767) the Tea Act was framed, by which a hcavy duty was laid upon tea, glass, paper, and many other articles, which were much used in America. This threw the colonies into confusion, and excited such resent

ment among the people, that the parliment, three years after, took off three fourths of the duty.

5. The duty was still disagreeable to the Americans, who entered into a resolution not to import and consume British manufactures

6. A few years after (in 1773) the people of Boston, whol were determined not to pay duties on tea, went on board some ships, belonging to the East-India company, which lay in the harbor, and threw all the tea overboard. In other parts of America, violent opposition was made to British taxation.

7. This apposition enkindled the resentment of the British Parliament, which they expr..sed the next year (1774) by shutting the port of Boston, which ruined the trade of that flourishing town. This act was followed by others, by which the constitution of Massachusetts was new modelled, and the liberties of the people infringed.

8. These rash and cruel measures gave great and universal alarm to the Americans. Genera: Gage was sent to Boston, to enforce the new laws; but he was received with coldness, and opposed with spirit in the execution of liis commission.

9. The assemblies throughout America, remonstrated and petitioned. . At the same time many contributions of money and provisions from every quarter, were sent to the inhabitants of Boston, who were sufiering in consequence of the port bill.

10. The same year', troops arrived in Boston, to enforce the wicked and unjust acts of the British Parliament. Forti. fications were erected on Boston Neck, by order of General Gage; and the ammunition and stores in Cambridge and Charlestown were seized and secured.'

11. In September, deputies from most of the colonies moet in Congress at Philadelphia. These delegates approved of the conduct of the people of Massachusetts; wrote a letter -10 General Gage ; published a declaration of rights; formed an association not to import, or use British goods; sent a petition to the king of Great Britain ; an address to the inhabitants of that kingdom; another to the inhabitants of Canada; and another to the inhabitants of the colonies.

12. In the beginning of the next year (1775) was passed the fishery Bill, by which the northern colonies were forbid to fish on the banks of Newfoundland, for a certain tine, This bore hard upon the commerce of these colonies, which was in a great measure supported by the fishery:

« PreviousContinue »