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English on account of its fishery,) and advanced several degrees within the polar circle. After a variety of adventures, serving more to enlarge his knowledge than to increase his fortune, he went to Lisbon; a city in which there lived many of his countrymen, and where, having married a Portuguese lady, he fixed his residence. This alliance did not lessen his early attachment to the sea. It fortunately contributed to enlarge bis naval information, and excite a desire of still further extending it. His wife was a daughter of Perestrello; one of the captains employed by the Portuguese in their former navigations, and who had first carried them to Madeira. Columbus got possession of his journals; the study of which inflamed his favourite passion and rendered irresistible his impatience to visit the several countries which Perestrello had described. He ac. cordingly made a voyage to Madeira; and continued during many years to trade with the Canaries, the Azores, the coast of Guinea, and all the other places discovered by the Portuguese on the continent of Africa.

At that period, the great object of the Portuguese, as already narrated, was to find out a passage to the East Indies. But they searched for it only by steering towards the south; in hopes of accomplishing their wishes by turning to the east, when they had reached the southern extremity of Africa ; a course of so great extent, that a voyage from Europe to India must have appeared to them equally arduous and uncertain. Stimulated by this reflection, the active mind of Columbus, after attentively comparing the observations of modern pilots with the conjectures of the ancients, at last concluded, that, by sailing directly to the west, across the Atlantic Ocean, new countries, which it was likely formed a part of the great continent of Asia, must infallibly be discovered. The spherical figure of the earth was known; its magnitude ascertained with some degree of accuracy: and sir John Mandeville had already, from astronomical demonstration, asserted, that it might be circumnavigated. It was evident, that the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, formed but a small portion of the terraqueous globe. It seemed rational, that the vast, unexplored space, was not entirely covered by water, but was occupied, in some measure, by countries fit for the residence of man. These, des ductions did not rest merely on conjecture. Although the offspring of scientific theory, they were supported by recent observations. Timber, artificially carved, driven by a westerly wind, was seen floating at an unusual distance in the ocean: to the west of the Madeira isles, there had been found another piece, fashioned in the same manner, brought by the same wind; and canes, of enormous size, resembling those described by Ptolemy, as peculiar to the Indies. Trees were frequently driven upon the Azores; and, at one time, the dead bodies of two men, with singular seatures, not corresponding with the inhabitants of Europe, Africa, or Asia.

Fully satisfied with the truth of his system, Columbus was impatient to bring it to the test of experiment. The first step towards this, was to secure the patronage of some considerable power. As long absence had not lessened his affection for his native country, he wished that Genoa should reap the fruits of his ingenuity and labour; and, accordingly, laid his scheme before the senate. But he had resided so long abroad, that his countrymen were unacquainted with his character; and not being able to form any just idea of the principles upon which he founded any hopes of success, they rejected his proposals, as the dream of a chimerical projector.

Columbus had now performed a natural duty; a conduct, which though it does not form the grandest, is certainly one of the most amiable, features in his history, and must be admired whilst there is a mind clear enough to discern, or a heart sufficiently warm to conceive, an act of generosity:

He was not discouraged by this repulse. Instead of relinquishing his undertaking, he pursued it with increasing ardour. He made his next overture to the king of Portugal; in whose dominions he had long resided, and whom he considered, on that account, as having the second claim to his services. John listened to his proposals, and appointed three eminent cosmographers to examine the merits of his plan. But these men, after drawing from Columbus all the information which treachery could devise, or their capacities understand, basely conspired to rob the ingenious seaman of his expected glory; and the king, forgetting on this occasion all sentiments of honour, adopted their perfidious counsel. The pilot, however, chosen to execute the fraud, was no less deficient in courage, than were his employers in dignity and justice. He returned to Lisbon, execrating the project as extravagant and dangerous.

Disgusted by this transaction, Columbus resolved to break * T all intercourse with a nation capable of so flagrant treachery. He instantly went to Spain, that he might lay his plan before Ferdinand and Isabella. But, as he had already experienced the uncertain issue of applications to potentates and ministers, he wisely increased the chances of success, by

sending his brother Bartholemew into England, to negociate - with Henry the seventh; who was reported to be one of the most sagacious and opulent princes of the age.

Though Spain was then engaged in a serious contest with Grenada, the last of the Moorish kingdoms in that country, yet, Ferdinand and his queen paid so much regard to Columbus, as to submit the consideration of his plan to a confidential minister. To enumerate all the objections offered to his scheme, or portray, in appropriate colours, the firmness with which the philosophic stranger combated his successive disappointments, would neither be conformable with our design, nor within the compass of our ability. Some asserted, that he would find the ocean of infinite exient: others, that if he persisted in steering to the west, beyond a certain point, the convex figure of the earth would prevent his re. turn; and, that it was absurd to attempt opening a communication between the two opposite hemispheres, which nature had for ever disjoined.

But the total expulsion of the Moors produced a happy change in the disposition of the Spanish court, and excited, still further, the vigilant and generous patrons of Columbus, -Quintanella, and Santangel; who took advantage of this joyful situation of affairs, to press, once more, the solicitations of their friend. Their effort was successful. Though Ferdinand was still restrained by his characteristic caution and reserve, Isabella, alive to the glory which must accrue from the accomplishment of so grand an enterprise ; and, if historians be correct, anxious to spread the knowledge of the Christian religion; declared her resolution of employing Columbus; and, regretting the low state of her finances, offered to pledge her jewels; in order to complete the preparations for the voyage. A measure so humiliating to a feeling mind was, however, fortunately prevented. Transported with gratitude and admiration, Santangel kissed Isabella's hand, and engaged to advance, immediately, the necessary sum. 1492.

On the 17th of April, more than seven years from the

the date of his first application, an agreement with Columbus was concluded. The ships, of which he was to have the command, were fitted out at Palos; a small town

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in the province of Andalusia. But the armament was not suitablc, either to the rank of the nation by which it was equipped nor to the important service for which it was in. tended. It consisted only of three vessels. The largest, of inconsiderable burthen, called the Santa Maria, was commanded by Columbus, as admiral; the second, named the Pinta, not superior in size to a large boat, by Martin Pinzon; and the third, of similar dimensions, called the Nigna, by Vincent Pinzon, a brother of the latter. The whole were victualled for twelve months, and provided with ninety men.

On the 3d of August, Columbus set sail. He steered directly for the Canary Islands; and, having refitted his crazy vessels, departed from Gomera on the 6th day of September. Holding his course due west, he left the usual track of navigation, and stretehed boldly into seas unfrequented and unknown. His sailors, alarmed at the distance which they had proceeded without finding the expected land, began to mutiny, and placed Columbus in a situation, in which any other man would have yielded to their entreaties to return. But he still maintained his accustomed serenity and resolution. Fertile in expedients, possessing a thorough knowledge of mankind, an insinuating address, and the talent of governing the minds of others, he promised solemnly to his men, that, provided they would obey his commands for three days longer, and that, in the mean time, land were pot discovered, he would comply with their request.

Columbus did not hazard much by confining himself to a period so short. For some days before, the sounding line had reached the bottom, and brought up soil which indicated land to be at no great distance. The flocks of birds increased, and contained many of a description supposed not to fly far from shore. A cane was observed, that seemed to have been recently cut; and a branch of a tree, with red berries, perfectly fresh.

The clouds around the sun assumed a new appearance; the air was more mild, and, during the night, the wind became unequal and variable. Each succeeding hour confirmed Columbus in his opinion of being near land. On the evening of the 11th of October, he ordered the sails to be furled, the ships to lie to, and a strict watch to be kept, to guard against the danger of running ashore in the night; an interval of suspense and expectation, during which all remained on deck, intently gazing towards that quarter where they hoped to discover the interesting object of their wishes.

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The period at length arrived. Columbus observed a light, which seemed to be carried from place to place; and, a little after midnight, there was heard from the Pinta the joy. ful cry of LAND!

When morning dawned, an island was seen, about two leagues to the north: its verdant fields well stored with wood, and watered by many rivulets; presenting the aspect of a delightful country. All the boats were immediately manned and armed. The Spaniards rowed towards the shore, with their colours displayed, with martial music, and all the dazzling insignia of military pomp. As they approached the beach, they saw it covered with a multitude of people, whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and amazement. Columbus was the first who set foot on this new world which he had discovered. His men followed; and all kneeling, kissed the ground that they had long desired, but expected never to behold: he then erected a crucifix, returned thanks to God, and, with the usual formalities, took posses. sion of the country.

To this island called by the natives Guanahani, Columbus gave the name of St. Salvador. It is one of that large clus. ter called the Lucaya or Bahama isles ; situated above threethousand miles to the west, but only four degrees to the south, of Gomera; so little had he deviated from his intend. ed course.

After discovering several other islands, amongst which were Cuba and Hayti, (the latter named by Columbus, Hispaniola,) the shattered condition of his vessels, and the general eagerness of his seamen to return to their native country, constrained him to make preparations for his departure. He did not, however, neglect using every precaution to se. cure the benefit of a first discovery. With the consent of the cazique or sovereign of the district, he erected a fort in Hispaniola: in which he left a party of his men, under the command of an experienced officer; and on the 4th of Jan1493 uary sailed for Europe; where he arrived after, ex

periencing dangers and fatigues which required all his skill and fortitude to surmount.

Various conjectures were formed respecting these newly discovered countries. Columbus adhered to his original opinion, that they were part of those vast regions of Asia, comprehended under the general name of India. From their productions, this idea seemed correct.

Goid was known to abound in India; a metal of which he had obtained


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