• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Frontispiece
 Dedication
 Preface
 List of the principal authors consulted...
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Birth of Columbus
 Pioneer discoveries of the Portuguese...
 Columbus in Spain
 Columbus at Cordova
 Preparations
 Columbus cruises among the Bahama...
 Columbus received with joy...
 Columbus crosses the Atlantic a...
 The condition of Hispaniola
 Columbus arrives in Spain
 Roldan resumes his office as alcalde...
 Fourth voyage of Columbus
 Columbus enters Spain
 Notes
 Index














Group Title: Old and new lights on Columbus : with observations on controverted points and criticisms
Title: Old and new lights on Columbus
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077025/00001
 Material Information
Title: Old and new lights on Columbus with observations on controverted points and criticisms
Physical Description: 600 p., 1 leaf of plates : port. ; 25 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Clarke, Richard H ( Richard Henry ), 1827-1911
John Boyd Thacher Collection (Library of Congress)
Publisher: R.H. Clarke
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1893
 Subjects
Subject: Discovery and exploration -- America   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Citation/Reference: Thacher,
Statement of Responsibility: by Richard H. Clarke.
General Note: Includes index.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00077025
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 00520115
lccn - 02007995

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Frontispiece
        Page iii
    Dedication
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of the principal authors consulted in the preparation of this work
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Introduction
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Birth of Columbus
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
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        Page 48
    Pioneer discoveries of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
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    Columbus in Spain
        Page 78
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    Columbus at Cordova
        Page 100
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    Preparations
        Page 158
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    Columbus cruises among the Bahama Islands
        Page 183
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    Columbus received with joy at Palos
        Page 210
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    Columbus crosses the Atlantic a second time
        Page 236
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    The condition of Hispaniola
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
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        Page 283
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    Columbus arrives in Spain
        Page 332
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    Roldan resumes his office as alcalde mayor
        Page 406
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    Fourth voyage of Columbus
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    Columbus enters Spain
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    Notes
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    Index
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Full Text



OLD AND NEW LIGHTS

ON


COLUMBUS.





WITH
OBSERVATIONS ON CONTROVERTED POINTS AND
CRITICISMS.





BY
RICHARD H. CLARKE, LL.D.


RICHARD H. CLARKE,
NEW YORK,















*F




















Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1893, by
RICHARD H. CLARKE,
In the Office of the Librarian ot Congress, at Washington.


.-R- R..aTI)Q tIOUfl, ?0








































'S.


A"/Y
PRm/




























TO

Onr monntry.
DISCOVERED BY COLUMBUS, LIBERATED BY WASHINGTON;
IN WHICH
STHE LOVE OF LIBERTY IS ONLY EQUALLED BY THE LOVE OF JUSTICE ;
UNION IS ENHANCED BY DIVERSITY,
AND
PERPETUATED BY THE LOVE OF COUNTRY;
IN WHICH
MAN AND RELIGION ARE FREE;
CIVILIZATION AND PROGRESS CROWNED BY THE ARTS AND SCIENCES;
AND
EQAAL LAWS PREVAIL;
THIS WORK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
BY

phe jn4or.













PREFACE.


MUCH as has been written of Columbus, and numerous as are
the works published in regard to his great discovery, especially
during the quarto-centennial celebrations, there is a widespread
ignorance among the people in regard to many important points.
This may be partly attributable to the want of works in one
volume and of convenient size; but many and serious miscon-
ceptions of events in his life and services, of his motives, of his
public and private character, and of important details, as well as
of salient points in his career, have become widely circulated of
late by adverse criticism and hostile methods of treatment. Not
a few able pens and potent names have been enlisted in unfriendly
comment, and controverted points have been handled with foren-
sic and partisan animosity. The spirit with which many of these
phases of the subject have been handled would be worthy of
living controversies in which Columbus were now a living par-
ticipant, or would seem appropriate to a contemporary public
trial in which he were the indicted or impeached official arraigned
at the bar of public justice.
On the other hand, excessive eulogy and blind advocacy, in
other quarters, have seemed to invite opposition, and it has been
cogently said that the undue hostility to Columbus, which has
been manifested in recent publications, is the reaction which was
awakened by the spirit of resistance to injudicious and indis-
criminate laudation. These elements have rendered both ex-
tremes unreliable and devoid of historical calmness and judg-
ment. A well-balanced mind and sober historical pen-that of
Mr. John Fiske, of Cambridge-has pronounced this reaction
more than energetic-as, in fact, violent. Hence it may be said
that the works of Count Roselly de Lorgues and Justin Winsor
have equally lost that recognition to which industrious research
would otherwise have entitled them. Of the latter, Mr. Fiske
has justly said : No one can deny that Las Casas was a keen







PREFACE.


judge of men, and that his standard of right and wrong was quite
as lofty as any one has reached in our time. He had a much
more intimate knowledge of Columbus than any modern historian
can ever hope to acquire, and he always speaks of him with
warm admiration and respect; but how could Las Casas ever
have respected the feeble, mean-spirited driveller whose portrait
Mr. Winsor asks us to accept as that of the discoverer of
America ?" The vast importance of the discovery achieved by
Columbus, the immense results and unparalleled benefits result-
ing from his personal services to mankind, while not sufficient to
justify a travesty of history, should at least make every true man
just and impartial in relating the history of that discovery and of
those services. I have aimed with honest purpose to place
myself with the latter in the preparation of these pages, and in
handling controverted points I have followed this course; but
when this method resulted in a conviction that positive wrong
had been done to Columbus, as in the charge that he deserted
his wife and family when he left Portugal for Spain, and in that
other more received impression that Columbus was never mar-
ried to Beatrix Enriquez, the mother of his son and historian,
Fernando, then I have espoused the cause of truth and justice
with energy and zeal. On controverted points I have endeav-
ored to be exact and ample In detail, and 'in order to make the
work complete, have given a full history of the personal and
public life and career of Columbus. In leading up to him and
his. work, I have brought in the voyages of the Northmen in the
tenth and succeeding centuries, and have related with greater
detail the expeditions and explorations of the Portuguese on the
west and southern coasts of Africa, in search of Southern Asia.
I have taken pleasure in vindicating the great name of Las Casas
against the common statement that he was the originator of
African slavery in America, and in defending Americus Ves-
pucius against the charge of having purposely robbed Columbus
of the honor of bestowing his name upon the new world which
he discovered. A vindication of Columbus seemed scarcely
necessary, even after such adverse accounts as those of Harrisse
and Winsor, for the latter have had little effect on the reputation
and honor of Columbus, since he has now received from mankind
and from the nations of the earth, and especially from our own
country, such honors as have never before been paid to any man.

















LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL AUTHORS CONSULT-
ED IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS WORK.

Fernando Colombo, Historia della Vita e del Fatti dell' Ammiraglio Don Cristo-
foro Colombo, suo padre," Venezia, 1686.
Navarrete, Colleccion Diplomatica."
Spotorno, Della Origine e Della Patria di Cristoforo Colombo."
Las Casas, Historia de las Indias."
Muloz, Historia del Nuovo Mundo."
Herrera, General History of the Voyages and Conquests of Castilians."
Oviedo y Valdez, Historia Nat. y gen. de las Indias."
" Letter of Christopher Columbus to their Majesties."
Malte Brun, "G6ographie Universelle."
Humboldt, Histoire de la G6ographie."
Gomera, Historia de las Indias."
Feragallo, Cristoforo Colombo in Portogallo."
Humboldt, Cosmos."
Irving, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus and his Companions."
Lafitare, Conqu&tes Portugais."
Oviedo, Cronica de las Indias."
Cura de los Palacios, Ms., Hist. Ferdinand and-Isabella."
Peter Martyr, Letters and Decades of the Ocean Sea."
Charlevoix, Histoire de St. Domingo."
De Lorgues, Histoire de la Vie et des Voyages de C. Colomb."
De Lorgues, L'Ambassadeur de Dieu."
Mariana, Historia de Espatia."
Ramusio, Della Navigazioni e Viaggi."
Fernando Columbus, "Journal of Columbus."
Humboldt, "Examen Critique."
Barros, Asia Portugueza."
Robertson, History of America."
Hakluyt, "Collection de Voyages."
Herrera, Historia des Indias."
" Letter of Dr. Chanca," Raccolta dl Viaggi."
Christopher Columbus, Memoria del Almirante."
Fernando Colombo, "The Admiral's Narrative of his Third Voyage."
Marmocchi, Raccolta di Viaggi," Letter to the:Governess of the Infanta Don Juan."
Christopher Columbus, Letter from Jamaica to their Majesties."
Diego Mendez, Narrative."
Francesco Tarducci, The Life of Christopher Columbus." Translated by Henry F.
Brownson.
Rev. Arthur George Knight, S. J., The Life of Christopher Columbus."
General James Grant Wilson, Memorials and Footprints of Columbus," in Bulletin
of the American Geographical Society, 1884, No. 2.








viii LIST OF AUTHORITIES.

Cotolendy, La Vie de Cristophe Colomb et la D6couverte."
Giralomo Benzoni, La Historia del Nuovo Mundo."
R. H. Major's Letters of Columbus," Hakluyt Society, 1847.
Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella."
" Columbus and How he Received and Transmitted the Spirit of Discovery," by Jus-
tin Winsor.
" The Discovery of America," by John Fiske.
" Have We a Portrait of Columbus ?" Charles P. Daly, 1893.
The Marquis de Belloy's "Columbus and the Discovery of America." English
Translation, 1878.
"Christoforo Colombo," by M. A. Lazzaroni, Milano, 1892.
"The Wife of Columbus," by Nicolau Florentino (Pereira) and Regina Maney, N. Y.,
1893.


















TABLE OF CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
Introductory-The new and the old worlds each ignorant of the existence of the other
when Columbus discovered America-Views of the learned on the existence of
continents and great islands beyond the western ocean prior to and at the time
of the discovery-The sea of darkness-Christopher Columbus meets the preju-
dices and opinions of the learned world, and breaks the spell-The man of
genius and achievement ................... ....... ...................... 13

CHAPTER II.

Birth of Columbus-Controversy over his birthplace-His parentage, early
boyhood, education-A weaver of woollen goods-Becomes a sailor at the age
of fourteen-Early voyages-Conditions of commerce and customs of warfare
in the fifteenth century-The Colombos, a family of naval and maritime adven-
ture-The naval services of Columbus-Adventures and encounters at sea-At
Lisbon, Madeira, Funchal-His first marriage-Makes maps for a living-
Residence at Funchal-Birth of his son Diego-Death of his first wife-
His hair turns gray-Voyage to Iceland-His plan of western Atlantic dis-
coveries-His studies. .....................................********...**** 24

CHAPTER III.

Pioneer discoveries of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century-Prince Henry
the Navigator, of Portugal, the precursor of Columbus-Character of Columbus
-Residence at Lisbon-Maritime history and spirit of the age-Thirst for new
discoveries-Columbus studies ancient and modern authors-The foundations
upon which Columbus built his theory of western and undiscovered countries-
His enthusiasm and firmness-Correspondence with Dr. Toscanelli-Columbus
announces his theory and plan-Proposals to Venice, to Genoa, and their rejec-
tion-Presents them to the King of Portugal-Again rejected-Bad treatment
-Columbus shakes the dust of Portugal from his feet-An accusation refuted. 49

CHAPTER IV.

Columbus in Spain-Negotiations with Spanish noblemen-Ferdinand and Isa-
bella-Columbus at the Spanish court-Royal audiences-Presents his plan-
Columbus at Salamanca-Follows the court-A soldier-Refusal-Departure
from court-Columbus at the Convent of La Rabida-Visits Lisbon-Sends his
brother to England-Renews his application to Spain-Delays-Departure-
Recall-Renewal of Negotiations-Success-Terms of compact between Colum-
bus and the Spanish sovereigns-Cristoval Colon-Lofty aspirations.......... 78








CONTENTS.


CHAPTER V.
Columbus at Cordova-His social position-Beatrix Enriquez-Second marriage
-Birth of their son Fernando-First origin of the question raised as to the
second marriage of Columbus-Nicolao Antonio-Palma y Freytas-Spotorno
-Napione-Navarrete-Count Roselly de Lorgues-Cancellieri-Washington
Irving-Humboldt-The Jesuit, Father Knight-The question discussed-
Thirty reasons sustaining the marriage of Columbus and Beatrix-Lazzaroni's
"Cristoforo Colombo" sustains the second marriage-Copious extracts there-
from-The judgment of an American woman-Constance Goddard Du Bois's
"Columbus and Beatrix"-Extracts-Conclusion .......................... oo

CHAPTER VI.
Preparations-First voyage-The Pinta disabled-Arrival at the Canaries-The
Pinta repaired-Escape from Portuguese vessels-Fears of the sailors-Colum-
bus discovers the line of no variations of the needle-Indications of land-
Watches day and night-His devotions-Masses of seaweeds-Fears of sailors
and mutiny-Columbus, overcomes them-Hope revived-Columbus sees a
light on the shore-The new world is discovered-The landing ............... 158

CHAPTER VII.
Columbus cruises among the Bahama Islands-St. Mary of the Conception-
Fernandina, now Exuma-Saometa-Island of Isabella-Columbus in search of
Cipango and the kingdom of the Grand Khan-Discovery and exploration of
Cuba-In search of the fabled island of Babeque-Columbus deserted by the
Pinta-Discovery of tobacco and the potato-Discovery and exploration of His-
paniola-Shipwreck-Intercourse with the Indians-Guacanagari's hospitality-
Fortress of La Navidad erected-Columbus sails for Spain-Meets the deserter
Pinzon and the Pinta-Skirmish with the natives-Storms at sea-The Azores
-At the island of St. Mary's-Lands in Portugal-At the Portuguese court-
Return to Palos..,,,....... ......................................... 183

CHAPTER VIII.
Columbus received with joy at Palos-Triumphant entry into Barcelona-Recep-
tion at court-Honors paid to him by Ferdinand and Isabella-The pope
divides the new lands of the world between Spain and Portugal-Preparations
of Columbus for a second voyage-Difficulties with officials-Second voyage of
Columbus ............................................................... 210

CHAPTER IX.
Columbus crosses the Atlantic a second time-Discovers the Caribbee Islands-
Guadeloupe Island-Cruises among the Caribbees-Cannibals-Arrival at His-
paniola-Finds the fortress and'garrison of La Navidad destroyed-The Cacique
Guacanagari-The city of Isabella founded-Disease among the Spaniards-
Exploits of Alonzo de Ojeda-Ships sent back to Spain-Dissatisfaction and
mutiny in the colony-The admiral at Cibao-The interior of the island ; the
natives; their character, customs, religion, and traditions-Sickness-Spanish
soldiers distributed through the island-Disappointment and discontent against
Columbus-Enmity of Father Boll.................................... 236








CONTENTS.


CHAPTER X.

The condition of Hispaniola-Columbus makes a voyage of exploration to Cuba
-Discovers Jamaica-The Queen's Gardens-East and southern coast bf Cuba-
South side of Jamaica-Voyage along the south side of Hispaniola-Columbus
falls into a deep lethargy-Return to Isabella-Bartholomew Columbus-
Henry VII. might have taken the place of Spain as the patron of Columbus-
Margarite, the rebel, and Father Boil; their departure from Hispaniola-
Caonabo besieges Fort St. Thomas-Arrival of ships from Spain-Indian
slaves-Columbus subjugates the rebellious natives-Tribute imposed-Colum-
bus intrigued against at court-Aguado sent out to investigate his conduct-
Aguado's arrogance toward the admiral-Mines discovered at Hayna-Colum-
bus returns to Spain with Aguado........................................ 278

CHAPTER XI.

Columbus arrives in Spain-Awaits an invitation to court-Wears in public the
habit of a Franciscan monk-His reception at Burgos-Proposes a third voyage
-Refuses a principality-Establishes a mayorazgo-Makes his will-Delays
suffered from the Bureau of the Indies-Third voyage-Discovers Trinidad-
Sails through the Gulf of Paria-Discovers the continent-Discovers the
equatorial swelling of the earth and the Gulf Stream-His theories and specula-
tions-Reaches Hispaniola-The Adelantado-Military posts-Conspiracy and
rebellion of Roldan-Treatment of the rebels-Insurrections of the chief Gua-
rionex-The Adelantado's campaign in Ciguay-Confusion in Hispaniola-
Roldan and the rebels take possession of Xaragua-Negotiations with the
rebels ; their treachery ; Columbus compelled to accept their terms-Colum-
bus and the Indians-Why his name was not conferred on the new world-Las
Casas not the originator of African slavery in America-Americus Vespucius.. 332

CHAPTER XII.
Roldan resumes his office as alcalde mayor-His arrogance-Columbus grants
lands to Roldan's followers-Indian service-Rebels returning to Spain-Rol-
dan and Ojeda-The admiral despondent-Vision of Columbus-Improved
condition of affairs-Intrigues against Columbus at the court of Spain-Boba-
dilla appointed to examine into the affairs of Hispaniola and the administration
of Columbus-His violence-Columbus summoned before him-Arrested and
placed in chains-Sent to Spain in this condition-Sensation in Spain-Appears
at court-Bobadilla superseded by Ovando-Columbus proposes to redeem the
Holy Sepulchre-Proposals for a fourth voyage-Departure for the new world
-His precautions-Signature..................................... ...... 406

CHAPTER XIII.
Fourth voyage of Columbus-Repelled by Ovando from San Domingo-Foretells
an approaching storm-Escapes unharmed, while Bobadilla and Roldan are lost
at sea-Discovers the continent at Honduras-Severe illness-Veragua--Ex-
ploration of the Mosquito coast-Abandons the search for a central passage to
the other sea-Attempted colony at Belen River-Hostile encounters with the
natives-Abandons Veragua-Loses two ships-The remaining two ships, with
the admiral and his companions on board, stranded on the coast of Jamaica-








Xii CONTENTS.

Endures disaster heroically-Heroism of Diego Mendez-Desperate condition
of Columbus-Mutiny of the Porras brothers-The natives of Jamaica-Eclipse
of the moon-Mendez and Fiesco carry word of his condition to Ovando-
Ovando's conduct-Battle with the Porras rebels-Ovando's administration at
Hispaniola-Escape from Jamaica-Visit to Hispaniola-Return to Spain..... 475

CHAPTER XIV.
Columbus enters Spain-His sickness, poverty and distress-Application to the
court for justice-Death of Queen Isabella-Columbus has himself conveyed to
court-His petitions for redress and the restitution of his rights unheeded-In-
gratitude of King Ferdinand-The last illness of Columbus-His death-His
epitaph-Removals of his remains-His family-His character and services-
The quadri-centennial celebration of the discovery of America by Columbus... 554
















OLD AND NEWLIGHTS ON COLUMBUS.


CHAPTER I.

Ocean, thou dreadful and tumultuous home
Of dangers, at eternal war with man'
Death's capitol, where most he dominates,
With all his chosen terrors frowning round,
Wide opening and loud roaring still for more,
Too faithful mirror!"
-ANONYMOUS.
Let ignorance with envy chat ;
In spite of both, thou fame shalt win."
-HERRICK, TO BEN JONSON.

His was the gifted eye, which grace still touched
As if with second nature; and his dreams,
His childish dreams, were lit by hues of heaven-
Those which make Genius."
-MIss LANDON.
Our fortunes meet us ;
if good, the act of heaven."
-DRYDEN.

IN spite of occasional theories of Greek or Roman philosophers
as to the shape of the earth, and of dim traditions of savage tribes
almost shapeless and objectless, the old world and the new were
equally ignorant of the existence of each other, from remotest
times down to October i2th, 1492, when Christopher Columbus,
with undaunted courage, consummate skill and action, realizing
his own theories and verifying traditions and prophesies, electri-
fied the one by his discovery of the other. Now at last mankind
saw their own planet, a beautiful sphere bathed in celestial light.
When the admiral and his companions approached and anchored
their three vessels at the islands of the Western Hemisphere,
which they had just discovered, the gentle natives either fell
upon the earth on their faces and worshipped the new-comers
as divine beings, or, frightened and dismayed at so sudden and
marvellous an apparition, fled to the woods in terror. When






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


they saw these noble and resplendent strangers land with pomp
and pageantry, and, displaying their golden banner, take formal
possession of the country, a ceremony then little understood by
the natives, they exclaimed : Turey, Turey !" You are from
Heaven !" The fierce Caribs of the Caribbean Islands, and later
the warlike tribes of the mainland along the coast of Honduras,
marshalled their naked warriors in battle array to repel the
celestial visitors.
On the other hand, when Columbus broached his theories and
presented his propositions and plans, for the discovery of new
countries in the western ocean, to the civilized world, and de-
manded ships to sail westward across the Atlantic in search of
the promised land, his suit was rejected by one sovereign after
another; he traveled from country to country, and from one
royal court to another, to plead the cause of a new world, before
unwilling and incredulous nations. He was derided as a needy
adventurer and visionary theorist, and as he passed through the
streets, which afterward he traversed in triumph, even the little
children mocked and scoffed at him, and they placed their hands
upon their foreheads to indicate, as they had been taught, that
he was a madman. The august Council of Salamanca, composed
of the most learned men of the age, to whom the propositions of
Columbus were referred for investigation by Ferdinand and
Isabella, the Spanish sovereigns, and before whom he elaborately
and ably explained them and answered all objections, reported
to their Majesties that the plan was vain and impossible, and
that it did not become such great princes to engage in an enter-
prise of the kind on such weak grounds as had been advanced."*
Whatever may have been the learning and the intelligence of
the ancients in relation to the shape, size, extent, and geography
of the earth, and as to the existence of other continents, all these
had been swept aside and buried in oblivion by the great social,
political, and moral cataclysm caused by the terrific incursions
of the northern barbarians into Southern Europe. It is certain
that, at the time Christopher Columbus sprang the subject upon
the world toward the close of the fifteenth century, Europe and
Asia knew nothing of the existence of western islands and con-
tinents in the Atlantic, and wholly rejected every such theory.


* Irving's Life of Columbus," vol. i., p. loo.






ON COLUMBUS.


The Atlantic Ocean, vast, unexplored, and stormy, was an ob-
ject of fear and terror to all men; even the learned and experi-
enced navigators regarded it with awe and aversion. It was
called the Sea of Darkness,* and the belief was universal, except
possibly with a very few learned ones, that it was unnavigable
and impassable. It was regarded by the most experienced navi-
gators as a boundless and tempestuous expanse, without opposite
shores, and they regarded the known world as already reaching
to the limits of the habitable or passable globe. It was univer-
sally believed that our planet was embrace 3 by a raging and
torrid zone, subject to the unbridled, fiery and all-consuming
flames of the sun, and that this zone formed a region of impassa-
ble and impassive heat, and that the two hemispheres were for-
ever and irretrievably separated from each other by it; the
waters of the torrid zone, under the vertical and raging fires of
the sun, were a caldron of boiling and seething billows, and
that sea and land were scorched to a heat in which animal and
vegetable life could riot be maintained.t Iceland was regarded
as the ultima Thule, the utmost boundary of the earth ;t and the
learned Gravier, in our own times, writes, while commenting on
the space lying beyond Thule or Iceland, in passages which I
translate from his profound work, thus : According to Strabo,
who quotes Polybius, Pythias should have said that beyond
Thule there is no longer to be met nor earth, nor sea, nor air,
but a concretion of these different elements, similar to the marine
pulmonate, which holds in suspension and reunites by one com-
mon bond the earth, the sea, and the air, and no longer allows
man to walk or to navigate.
The learned have much discussed this marinepulmonate, and
have successively transferred it into smoke thrown out by Mount
Hekla, into polar seas, into pumice-stones proceeding from vol-
canoes, which seem to exist toward the seventy-fifth degree.
A seaman, who had seen only the beautiful blue sky of the
Mediterranean, who partook more or less of the ideas prevailing
in his time upon the cosmography of the hyperborean regions,
could believe that he had reached the extreme border of the

De Costa, Pre-Columbian Discovery of America," xii.
S" Historia Espan. Mariana,"lib. ii., cap. 22.
SStrabo, Polybius."







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


globe accessible to man, and compare the atmosphere of these
regions to the marine pulmonate." *
Even the famous Dialogues of Plato," preserved in their
temple by the Egyptian priests, and now given to the modern
world in all their details, represent the Atlantic Ocean as having
been in ancient times navigable, but in consequence of the great
cataclysm, which destroyed the island or continent of Atlantis,
it had now become impassable by reason of the vast quantities of
slimy mud resulting from the submerging of those immense
regions of the earth. But afterward there occurred violent
earthquakes and floods, and in a single day and night of rain all
your warlike men in a body sunk into the earth, and the island
of Atlantis in like manner disappeared, and was sunk beneath the
sea; and that is the reason why the sea in those parts is impass-
able and impenetrable, because there is such a quantity of shallow
mud in the way ; and this was caused by the subsidence of the
island." t
Considering the age of the human race and the duration of
man's dominion on the earth, we can but be surprised at the slow
growth of the science of geography, and how little was known
in the time of Columbus concerning the planet upon which we
live. While several of the wisest men of the ancients entertained
most intelligent views of the shape and size of the earth, still
after the overthrow of the Roman Empire scarcely more was
known of the earth than the countries immediately around the
Mediterranean Sea, and while scarcely anything was known of
Scandinavia, Russia, ,and Northern Germany, the vaguest and
most erroneous notions prevailed as to them and other lands
known only by name ; and almost nothing was known of Siberia,
Tartary, China, Japan, and of the great Asiatic archipelago.
There was a strong tendency, even among the learned, to ex-
aggerate the proportions of Europe and to underrate those of
Asia. Among the egregious errors then prevailing were the
belief that the Ganges flowed entirely to the east and emptied
into the eastern ocean, while the Caspian Sea was believed to be
the northern limit of the earth; and what we know now to be


"Decouverte de I'Amerique parles Normans au XI Siecle," xvii.
f Plato's Dialogues," ii., 517. "Titnaeus,"as given in Donnelly's "Atlantis,"
p. II.







ON COLUMBUS.


Siberia and Tartary were regarded as an inland sea connecting
the Caspian with the eastern ocean. The Mediterranean borders
of Africa alone were known, and all south of these was regarded
as the torrid zone and so ravaged with the solar flames as to be
uninhabitable. This view of the torrid zone toward the equator
prevailed even to the time of Columbus, and was only dissipated
by the bold explorations of the Portuguese along the west coast
of Africa, and by Columbus himself, who visited the equator.
Strabo, in the first quarter of the first Christian century, while
rejecting the ancient belief that Africa was circumnavigable,
intelligently adhered to the belief in an encircling ocean; and
Pomponius Mela, the earliest of the Roman geographers, in the
time of the Emperor Claudius, divided the world into two hemi-
spheres: the Northern, which embraced all of the known world,
such as Europe north of the Mediterranean and west of the
Tanais ; Africa, south of the Mediterranean and west of the Nile,
and such parts of Western Asia as were known; the Southern
Hemisphere embraced all the rest of the earth, which was un-
known. But in the middle of the second century, when the
Roman Empire had acquired its greatest extent and all its prov-
inces were known and surveyed and their census taken, the great
geographer Ptolemy, who had abandoned the more intelligent
notion of Strabo as to a circumambient ocean, contented himself
with the theory of a vast expanse of unknown land ; but while
he added much to mankind's knowledge of the geography of the
earth, including slight glimpses at the Baltic countries, Russia,
Scythia, and even China and India, still Africa was delineated as
extending indefinitely to the south, and was continued around so
as to join Eastern Asia, thus surrounding the Indian Ocean by
land, like the Mediterranean. It is true and wonderful that in
the ninth century the Northmen from Iceland discovered and
colonized Greenland, and visited lands now known by us to be
the shores and islands of our own Atlantic coast; but these bold
adventurers never understood the geographical bearing of their
own discoveries, nor that they had entered a western hemi-
sphere, nor was the knowledge of these discoveries given to man-
kind until recent years. Such were the circumstances and re-
sults as to deprive their achievements of the character of discov-
eries. Some have supposed that Columbus may have heard of
the expeditions of the Northmen during his visit to Iceland in







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


1477 ; but his son, Fernando, who recorded the sources of infor-
mation upon which his father acted, fails to mention this as
among the varied and numerous data possessed by the great
admiral; for the latter left, among his papers, the most ample
memoranda of all the information he had ever obtained, bearing
upon his theory of the existence of western islands and continents
across the Atlantic.
But it was the progress of European advances into Eastern
Asia that contributed the most important results to the progress
of geography, and it was this growth of European knowledge of
the vast extent of Asia in that direction that so greatly influenced
the work of Christopher Columbus, who to the last aimed at dis-
covering a Northwest passage to Asia, and lived and died in the
belief, in which all the world united with him then, that the
islands and lands he had discovered in the Western Hemisphere
were parts of Asia. Prior to the thirteenth century Asia was
but little known to Europeans, but in that century the Popes
sent missionaries into the distant regions of that continent. Thus
in 1246 we behold Pope Innocent IV. sending the celebrated
Father John de Plano Carpini with Franciscan monks to convert
the subjects of the Tartar Emperor, Kayuk Khan, and these zeal-
ous missionaries extended their apostolate to the far regions of
Thibet. But even prior to this, toward the middle of the twelfth
century, startling rumors were current in Europe that there
reigned in Asia a powerful Christian emperor, Prester John,
who had already broken the power of the Mussulmans, and was
ready to come to the assistance of the Crusaders. Pope Alex-
ander III. determined to lose no time in opening communication
with this famous yet shadowy chief, who was at once both king
and pontiff, and on September 27th, 1177, he sent a special em-
bassy, headed by the heroic physician, Philip, bearing a letter
and proposal for a union of this Asiatic part of the Church with
the rest of Christendom. Although Dr. Philip never returned
with tidings of Prester John, this effort was followed by the mis-
sions under Pope Innocent IV., in the thirteenth century, and
again in 1253, when St. Louis, King of France, sent Rubruiquis
and other missionaries in search of Prester John, and these pene-
trated into Asia far beyond all other European expeditions. In
1271 the celebrated Venetian discoverer and geographer, Marco
Polo, went forth With his father and uncle to reach the far-famed







ON COLUMBUS.


court of the Tartar conqueror of China, the celebrated Kublai
Khan. They traveled three years, reached the city of Yehking,
which was near the present site of Peking, and Marco Polo, after
a residence of twenty-four years in Asia, returned to Europe and
published his great work on his travels, thus revealing to Europe
the existence of the vast Empire of Japan and of many of the islands
of the East Indies. Marco Polo was a favorite author of Colum-
bus, who was confident that in his voyages to the Western Con-
tinent he would reach the countries visited and described by that
great traveler and writer, and that he was destined to reach the
court of the Grand Khan of Tartary, and effect the conversion
of that famous potentate and the union of the Grand Khan and his
vast empire, teeming with countless populations, with the Chris-
tian Church, a result which had been sought in vain for centuries
by popes, kings, and apostles. On his first voyage Columbus
actually carried letters from Ferdinand and Isabella addressed
to, and which he expected to deliver in person to, the Grand
Khan. The most enlightened view reached by the advanced
cosmographers and scholars of the fifteenth .century, by such
men as Columbus and Dr. Toscanelli, the learned and venerable
cosmographer of Florence, the friend and correspondent of the
admiral, was that the eastern shores, countries, and islands of
Asia lay over against the western coasts of Europe and Africa,
and that they would be reached by sailing across the Atlantic,
the Sea of Darkness, in a direct western course.
It was during the lifetime of Columbus, and before his great
discovery, that the most gigantic strides were made in the science
of navigation and in the knowledge of the earth's geography.
We shall show hereafter, in this book, the brilliant and useful
part he took in these enlightened and practical advances-a part
which culminated in the greatest achievement in the history of
our race, the discovery of America. But, in order to accomplish
this great boon for mankind, he had to contradict the opinions,
the traditions, and the honest convictions of men and of the
world. The chaos spoken of by Washington Irving, in the fol-
lowing passage of his Life of Columbus," is similar to the
conglomerate of earth, air, sea, and smoke spoken of by Gravier
under the name of marine pulmonate, as expressing the absurd
views entertained concerning the Atlantic, even by the most
learned in the time of Columbus. Certairi it is," says Mr.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


Irving, that at the beginning of the fifteenth century, when the
most intelligent minds were seeking in every direction for the
scattered lights of geographical knowledge, a profound igno-
rance prevailed among the learned as to the western regions of
the Atlantic; its vast waters were regarded with awe and won-
der, seeming to bound the world as with a chaos, into which
conjecture could not penetrate and enterprise feared to venture."
In pressing his great suit and pleading the cause of a new world,
Columbus encountered all the supposed learning of past ages, as
well that of his contemporaries, to which, I think, Mr. Justin
Winsor attaches an exaggerated importance.* Rejected by the
Council of Salamanca, as it had previously been pronounced by
the most learned men at the court of Portugal, as an enter-
prise of a wild, chimerical nature," the admiral, toward the close
of the fifteenth century, had also to meet and refute the argu-
ments mistakenly based upon passages from the Bible, and also
such as could be found or deduced from the writings of the
Christian Fathers. Lactantius, one of the earliest and most
learned of the Fathers of the Church, had rejected and ridiculed
the theory of the Antipodes, which had been broached by the
ancients, in the following remarkable and sarcastic passage : Is
there any one so foolish as to believe that there are antipodes
with their feet opposite to ours-people who walk with their
heels upward and their heads hanging down? that there is a
part of the world in which all things are topsy-turvy ; where the
trees grow with their branches downward, and where it rains,
hails, and snows upward? The idea of the roundness of the
earth was the cause of inventing this fable of the antipodes, with
their heels in the air ; for these philosophers, having once erred,
go on in their absurdities, defending one with another." t And
St. Augustine wholly rejected the fact of the antipodes as in-
compatible with the historical foundations of the earth." Having
no acquaintance with the geography of the polar regions and the
lay of the land of Northern Asia, as we know them, he regarded
the theory of the antipodes as contradicting the scriptural ac-
count of the unity of the human race; and the races of men in-

Christopher Columbus, and how he Received and Transmitted the Spirit of
Discovery," by Justin Winsor, 1891.
f Firmiani Lactantim, Divin. Instit.," lib. iii., cap. xxiv.







ON COLUMBUS.


habiting tlhe opposite side of the earth could not have been de-
scended from Adam and Eve, since there was no land passage
for them to take from the cradle lands of the old world, and it
was impossible for them to have passed the intervening ocean." *
The genius, the learning, and the convictions of Columbus
arose above opposition, prejudice, and tradition. His knowl-
edge of the subject, acquired by long years of study, his cogent,
clear, and unanswerable reasoning, his bold and confident pledge
to the world that, if afforded the opportunity and provided with
ships, he would discover a new world-all point him out for all
time, as it did to the intelligent minds of Ferdinand and Isabella,
as the man that was fitted, if not destined, to achieve this splendid
and unparalleled conquest. He believed in his own destiny, and
being a man of profoundly religious character, he failed not to
find in the sacred writings texts which pointed to him as the man
of destiny-the man that was to lead the way, by his grand dis-
coveries and achievements, to extending the realms of Christen-
dom to vast and unknown countries. He sustained his startling
propositions with scientific knowledge and facts drawn from the
very nature, size, shape, and from the known geography of the
earth, from the reports of experienced and veteran navigators,
and the writings of the learned in all ages. While there were
errors of detail in the theories and anticipations of the great dis-
coverer, such as his expectation and belief that Asia was the land
he would find, and his miscalculation of the size of the earth,
arising out of the then current imperfect geographical knowledge
of the world, his main proposition was correct, and he made it
good by the unanswerable argument of success. All the learned
men, scientists and scholars of his day, with few exceptions, de-
rided the startling conceptions of Columbus. After the great
discovery had been accomplished they also adopted the mistaken
hypothesis that the countries discovered were parts of Asia.
But they now rejoiced that their lives were cast in an age of such
brilliant achievements; that they had been permitted to witness
the consummation of so grand an event, and to welcome discov-
eries pregnant with the fate of empires and of worlds. I cannot
more appropriately close this introductory chapter than by quot-
ing the language of the historian, William H. Prescott, who,


* St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei," lib. xvi., c. ix.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


after describing the magnificent and royal reception accorded to
Columbus on his return from discovering the new world, says :
" It was, indeed, the proudest moment in the life of Columbus.
He had fully established the truth of his long-contested theory,
in the face of argument, sophistry, sneers, scepticism, and con-
tempt. He had achieved this not by chance, but by calculation,
supported through the most adverse circumstances by consum-
mate conduct. The honors paid him, which had hitherto been
reserved only for rank or fortune or military success, purchased
by the blood and tears of thousands, were, in his case, an homage
,to intellectual power, successfully exerted in behalf of the noblest
interests of humanity." *
It seems almost impossible to study the life and character of
Columbus without becoming impressed with an indulgent if not
sympathetic view of the idea which the man himself entertained,
that he was foreordained to become the discoverer of the new
world, and to yield our admiration to the thought. Many learned,
grave, and practical authors, who have written on the subject,
appearto become unconsciously imbued with the idea of destiny,
which Columbus entertained of himself. The good but perhaps
over-zealous Count de Lorgues, in one of his spirited works on
Columbus, boldly asserts that he who does not believe in the
supernatural cannot comprehend Columbus ;" and our own Ban-
croft, seemingly yielding to the same inspiration, says : Poets
of ancient and of more recent times had foretold that empires
beyond the ocean would one day be revealed to the daring navi-
gator. The genial country of Dante and Buonarotti gave birth
to Christopher Columbus, by whom these lessons were so re-
ceived and weighed that he gained the glory of fulfilling the
prophecy." t And again he speaks of Columbus as one who
was still the promiser of kingdoms, holding firmly in his grasp
'the keys of the ocean sea,' claiming, as it were from Heaven,
the Indies as his own, and 'dividing them as he pleased.' It
was then that through the prior of the convent his holy confi-
dence found support in Isabella, the Queen of Castile, and in
1492, with three poor vessels, of which the largest only was
decked, embarking from Palos for the Indies by way of the west,

* Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella," vol. ii., p. 164.
t History of the United States," 1883, vol. i., p. 7.






ON COLUMBUS. 23

Columbus gave a new world to Castile and Leon, 'the like of
which was never done by any man in ancient or in later times.' *
And again, speaking of the predictions by ancient poets of the
discovery of America, and of the belief prevalent for ages that
vast inhabited regions lay unexplored in the west," he says:
" But Columbus deserved the undivided glory of having realized
that belief. "t

Bancroft's History of the United States," vol. i., p. 9.
f Ib., 1854, vol. i., p. 6.














CHAPTER II.


How young Columbus seem'd to rove,
Yet present in his natal grove,
Now watching high on mountain cornice,
And steering, now, from purple cove;

Now pacing mute by ocean's.rim,
Till in a narrow street and dim,
I stay'd the wheels at Cogoleto,
And drank, and loyally drank, to him."
-TENNYSON.
"The dark blue jacket that enfolds the sailor's manly breast
Bears more of real honor than the star and ermine vest;
Thetithe of folly in his head may wake the landsman's mirth,
But Nature proudly owns him as her child of sterling worth."

-Miss ELIZA COOK.
THE time and the place of the birth of Christopher Columbus
have been, among rival cities and historians, the subjects of
warm controversy and of consequent careful research. While
the day of his birth has never been ascertained, and there exists
a difference of many years between the earliest and the latest years
assigned for his nativity, it is now considered by the far greater
number of authentic historians that he was born in the year
1446, or possibly early in 1447.*
Still greater has been the diversity of claims as to his birth-
place, and far more earnest the controversy. While Genoa is
the foremost and most successful claimant, even the Genoese
have warmly disputed among themselves for the honor, and
whether Columbus was born in the city, or in some village or


Mr. Irving gives 1435 as the year of his birth (" Life of Columbus," vol. i.,
p. 22). The Count de Lorgues adopts the same year (Dr. Barry's translation of the
Count de Lorgues' Life of Columbus," p. 48). Francesco Tarducci, a learned Ital-
ian author, prefers the year 1436, on the authority of Andres Bernaldez, known in his-
tory as the Curate of Los Palacios (Mr. Brownson's translation of Tarducci's Life of
Columbus," vol. i., p. io). Various authors give different years for the birth of Colum-
bus, and the time covered by these years varies from 1430 to 1456. I think, after
consulting many opinions and authorities, and considering the events and course of
the admiral's life, the year of his birth was most probably 1446.







ON COLUMBUS.


other part of the Genoese territory, was long and is possibly
now a question that has provoked considerable rivalry and local
research. Savona, Finale, and Oneglia, western coastwise towns
of Liguria, and Cogoleto (the place where Lord Tennyson drank
his health in verse), Boggiasco, and several other towns and
villages have claimed the great admiral as their native towns-
man. While Cogoleto and Savona have successively been ad-
judged the victors, and finally Genoa carried off the palm, other
places, such as Placentia, and especially Piedmont, have laid
claim to the distinction, and the controversy is still warmly and
stoutly maintained. Yet the victory is now almost universally
acknowledged to be with Genoa as the birthplace of Columbus.*
This contest for the honor of having given birth to this illustrious
man was never raised until after his death, for di hisifetime
thereja e been few men of any distinction who lJave borne more
disappointment, ridicule, ingratitude, and poverty than he. lis
fate in this respect has been similar to that of another gifted and
famous personage, the earliest and greatest of Grecian poets,
Homer ; for of the latter it has been said that
"Seven cities claim great Homer dead,
Through which the living Homer begged his bread."
Columbus was the oldest of the four children of Dominico
Colombo and Susannah Fontanarossa ; three of them were sons,
Bartholomew and Giacomo (written Diego in Spanish and James
in English) being his brothers, and of these our history will make
frequent mention ; but of his only sister, who was married to an
obscure Genoese named Giacomo Bavarello, we know nothing
further. Since his death efforts have been made to deduce the
descent of Columbus from ancient and ennobled sources, and
several illustrious and noble families have claimed him as of their

At first the claimants for the honor of having been the birthplace of Columbus
were six ; but in after years, as his fame increased, the number increased to fif-
teen-viz., Genoa, Quinto, with Terrarossa in the valley of Fontanabuona, Boglias-
co, Chiavari, another Terrarossa, Cogoleto or Cugureo, Albissola, Savona, Oneglia,
with a third Terrarossa-all places or lands on the Ligurian coast; and beyond the
Apennines, Casseria, Cuccaro ; in the Montferrat, Pradella, near Piacenza; the city of
Calvi, in Corsica; a place in France; even England. (Tarducci.)
Hon. Charles P. Daly, in an interesting pamphlet, Have we a Portrait of Colum-
bus ?" states that the places claiming to be the birthplace of Columbus number
tventy-three. From the same source we learn that there are about five hundred
-alleged portraits of Columbus.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


lineage. However this may be, his descendants have now
sensibly preferred to regard the discoverer of America as the
founder of their family, and the most illustrious and proudest
families of Spain have courted their alliance. It is certain, how-
ever, that at the birth and during the youth of Columbus his-
family was in obscure and poor circumstances; his father fol-
lowed the occupation of a weaver of woollen goods, and the-
illustrious son assisted his parent in this humble but honest
calling.
There is also a deep significance in the name of the great
admiral, which in his native language was rendered Colombo
and in Latin Columbus, which signifies a dove, and his son and
historian, Fernando, regards this as marvellously mysterious and
typical, as the very name'dove was a token of his having been
foreordained to carry the olive branch and oil of baptism over
the ocean, like Noah's dove, to denote the peace and union of -
the heathen people with the Church, after they had been shut
up in the ark of darkness and confusion." There is a further
and greater significance in the name of Christopher, which means
the Christ-bearer in Latin, in token of his zeal for the conversion
of the Indians to Christianity, and of his being the first Christian
to salute the new world, to display the cross to its inhabitants,
and to carry missionaries for their instruction and conversion.
Christopher Columbus was baptized at the Dominican Church
of St. Stephen, at Genoa. Of his early boyhood we know but
little. His father, from his scanty resources, found the means to
send his oldest son, at the age of ten years, to the University of
Pavia, a fact, as already mentioned, held in dispute, but which
the stronger arguments have well sustained ; and here the bright
and gifted youth availed himself, to the best advantage, of the
short collegiate course of two years, in acquiring some knowl-
edge of Latin, geometry, geography, astronomy, and naviga-
tion.t The instruction he thus received gave him but a faint
glimpse at sciences which, however, in after life, his energy, his
intellectual powers, his ambition, and his indomitable persever-

Fernando Colon, Historia del Almirante," chaps. I and 2.
f The extent of the admiral's education is a much-disputed question. The Univer-
sity of Pavia claims him as an alumnus ; has erected a monument there to commemo-
rate that fact; and, in recognition of it, a small portion of his relics has been sent
there.







ON COLUMBUS.


ance enabled him to acquire and apply to a degree that made
him quite early one of the foremost men of his age, and a leader
of thought, study, and action in the most important events in the
history of mankind.* At the age of twelve years, such was his
poverty, he returned to the humble suburban home of his father,
and assisted him at his business as weaver of woollen goods. It
was greatly to the credit of the young Columbus that he steadily
assisted his father in his useful avocation, but his brief yet studi-
ous education had inspired him with loftier and more important
aspirations. His family was, as is alleged, of honorable descent,
and he himself had acquired no inconsiderable knowledge of the
practical sciences, which he wished to make the stepping-stones
to his own and his family's advancement, ant in which," says
Prescott, he subsequently excelled." It is claimed by his son,
Fernando, that he spent two years in study at the University of
Pavia, and Las Casas repeats the statement on the authority of
Fernando; but the fact is strenuously disputed by many astute
historians and critics,t while others have conceded the fact.
He was a youth of uncommon promise. His native city of
Genoa was a centre of commercial enterprise and of maritime
adventure ; but as it was surrounded by lofty and rugged moun-
tains, and looked only toward the sea, it afforded no inland
field for youthful adventure in the case of so gifted a boy. The
Mediterranean Sea was the field for brave exploits and bold ad-
ventures. Commerce and war in those days went hand in hand
together ; piracy still prevailed, and was almost legalized, or at
least connived at and openly practised. A state of war was the


The following passage from the Dublin Review for April, 1893, will prove inter-
esting as suggesting new or divergent views in regard to events in the life of Colum-
bus which have been much discussed. It is a notice of Mariana Monteno's Chris-
topher Columbus." It records the chief events in the life of the great discoverer, as
we have been accustomed to understand them, and without reference to modern criti-
cism-e.g., it states that Columbus was educated at Pavia; Father Knight says
Padua, and Markham maintains that he was not educated at either university, but at
the weaver's school at Genoa. Again, in the matter of the marriage of Columbus, the
authoress follows the older accounts, whereas some modern writers maintain that the
first wife of Columbus was not Dofia Perestrello, daughter of the Governor of Porto
Santo, but another lady by the name of Moniz" (p. 487). We will show that she bore
both names.
f Tarducci's Life of Columbus," H. F. Brownson's translation, vol..i., p. 13.
t Winsor's Columbus," etc., p. 79.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


normal condition of the sea-bordering countries. What exploits
could be more fascinating to a gallant and noble youth, than
encounters with these reckless marauders and highwaymen of
the sea!
Even religion entered into this strange and interesting belliger-
ency, for the Mediterranean was then infested by Mohammedan
corsairs. The expeditions of Christian merchantmen always went
to sea with warlike armaments suited for encounters with these
enemies of the cross, and the mariners were accoutred with per-
sonal arms for hand-to-hand encounters with these desperate fol-
lowers of the Prophet.
The Columbuses, though perhaps of various stocks, were, in
fact, mostly a seafaring family. At this time two Colombos
were famous for maritime and naval exploits: the rugged and
hardy old admiral, who is represented to have been a bold and
adventurous seaman and warrior, ready to encounter either the
enemies of his country or of his faith, and fond of fighting on the
sea as a vocation ; and his nephew, Colombo the younger, who
was distinguished in the same field of perilous adventure. Chris-
topher Columbus is said to have served under both of them.
Such was the reputed school which was to prepare a future
admiral, if much credence is to be given to uncertain details and
romantic narrative, for his subsequent career of unparalleled dis-
covery and brilliant achievement.
At an early age Columbus, influenced by the prevailing and
growing tastes of the age, manifested a decided inclination for a
seafaring and maritime life. His earliest studies, and especially
his two years of university training, were directed and shaped
so as to promote and cultivate this inclination and prepare him
for the sea, for in those days the only course that led to distinc-
tion and success was one of maritime adventure. The sciences
of geometry, geography, astronomy, and navigation, with which
he followed up his earlier and more elementary studies, were
of sufficient depth to enable him in after life to become distin-
guished in those sciences, and also to make a skilful practical use
and application of them. The humbler yet important study of
drawing was kindred to these, and possessed in his case a special
significance, as it enabled him to become a map-maker of unusual
skill, and thus earn a scanty subsistence during the long years of
disappointment and rebuff he spent in waiting upon the courts of







ON COLUMBUS.


Portugal and Spain ; and this assisted him in those cosmographi-
cal studies which formed a prominent part in the great work of
self-education which he so eminently accomplished. These
studies were enthusiastically followed by him from his youth,
and such was his regard for them that, after he had achieved his
great discovery, he claimed, and even so stated in one of his
letters from the West Indies to the Spanish sovereigns, that
his youthful and ardent love for nautical and other kindred
studies, at so early an age, had marked him out from his birth as
the one foreordained by Heaven to reveal to mankind the exist-
ence of the Western Continent, and the true shape and size of the -
earth. Inspired by the prevailing tastes of the age, and impelled
by his own ardent enthusiasm, Columbus became a sailor at the -
age of fourteen.
Of the early voyages of Columbus we have some accounts,
which, however, are too meagre and confused to satisfy our cu-
riosity as to the first practical and earnest endeavors of our young
seaman in a career, which afterward gave fame and splendor-to
his name, or to gratify our desires to know and study the details
of those experiences and conflicts with men and floods, which
formed his more advanced education for the career of usefulness
and renown he was destined to accomplish. The famous ad-
mirals of that day were claimed by the admiral's son, Fernando,
as relatives and as instructors of his father; but more reliable
accounts show them to have been Frenchmen. Yet even the
admiral himself in after life said he was not the first admiral of
his family. But while the admiral no doubt served under
Colombo the younger, because Genoa and France were then in
alliance, many authors suppose that he served also under the
elder Colombo, who was then prominent in the maritime an-
nals of that day as a brave and hardy commander, who sometimes
led a squadron of his own and at others commanded in naval ex-
peditions of the Genoese Government, from which he is sup-
posed, though doubtfully, to have held an admiral's commission.
The Mediterranean in those days was the scene of tumultuous
adventure and perilous encounter. A voyage in those days,
even in the should-be peaceful prosecution of trade, was hazard- -
ous and daring, for the sea was then frequented by roving adven-
turers and reckless freebooters of every kind. The commerce
of Europe, Asia, and Africa was subject to constant depredations







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


of pirates, and the ships of commerce had to protect themselves
by force of arms and to fight their way. Thus they resembled
warlike expeditions rather than amicable ships of trade. The
navies of rival Italian States then openly depredated on the com-
merce of their neighbors. The States bordering on the Mediter-
ranean made this the seat of their naval wars, which were mostly
piratical. 'Even private noblemen and wealthy families main-
tained a sort of feudal sovereignty over their retainers, and not
only supported military equipment on land, but also miniature
navies at sea.
The rude and reckless expeditions and ships of the Catalonians
also constituted a bold feature in the naval life of the times, and
even private individuals fitted out ships of their own, with which
they either accepted service from some belligerent or openly
roved over the waters of the Mediterranean as pirates in search of
plunder. But one of the most startling and interesting features
in these commingling and disordered scenes was the Moham-
medan expeditions by sea, which sought encounter with Chris-
tian navies or plundered the merchant ships of the Christian
countries. To go in pursuit of these godless depredators and
assailants of everything that was Christian was deemed an act
of religious merit, and blessings and spiritual privileges accom-
panied the pious and zealous Christian sailors, who embarked in
such holy warfare. It was amid such scenes and exploits that
the character and prowess of Columbus were moulded and
trained.
Of one of the early services of Columbus, supposed by some
to have been performed under the old Admiral Colombo, but
more probably under the younger, we have interesting but
doubtful accounts. In 1459 John of Anjou, Duke of Calabria,
equipped a naval expedition, which sailed from Genoa against
the city of Naples, its purpose being to reconquer that kingdom
for the duke's father, King Reinier, Count of Provence ; and as
Genoa became his ally, the old Admiral Colombo joined the
expedition, and young Christopher Columbus, it is claimed,
served under him with distinguished gallantry and courage.-
The expedition was unsuccessful, indeed, unfortunate, as few of
the ships were left ; but it was of great service in educating and
inuring to severe service and tests of character the future dis-
coverer. He relates of himself an incident which occurred dur-







ON COLUMBUS.


ing this naval expedition, and which is worthy of reproduction,
as it throws light upon characteristic expedients which he re-
sorted to in his first voyage of discovery to America, many
years later. King Reinier gave orders to our young captain,
who commanded a vessel in the expedition, to sail to Tunis and
capture the galley Fernandina, which was represented to be
there alone and without protection. Columbus gladly accepted
the task, but when his vessel reached the island of St. Pedro, in
Sardinia, he learned, to the consternation of his crew, that the
Fernandina had for consorts two ships and a carrack, whereupon
the frightened crew refused to proceed to the encounter, though
their gallant young captain only yearned for the attack; and
they insisted on returning to Marseilles for reinforcements of
ships and men. Columbus, who was powerless to compel them,
seemed to acquiesce in their determination, and spreading all
sail, orders were issued accordingly: but Columbus secretly
altered the point of the compass, and next morning, instead of
finding themselves sailing for Marseilles, the crew found that he
had piloted the ship within the Cape of Carthagena. When we
come to relate the history of Columbus's first voyage across the
Atlantic, we will have occasion to show how, by the stratagem
of altering the reckoning of the log-book, he deluded his rebel-
lious crew as to the distance they had sailed from Palos, and
thus secured a continuance of that momentous voyage-until the
sight of land soon gladdened the hearts of all.
For several years Columbus, according to current accounts,
more or less unreliable, continued to follow the sea, and to render
gallant and intrepid service either in the employ of the Genoese
Government or as captain of a vessel under the leadership of
the renowned old captains of his name, uncle and nephew, the
latter of whom also gained great notoriety as a reckless and
daring corsair, whose name was a terror to the Mohammedans;
and it is said that disobedient children in Moorish families were
frightened by their mothers into subjection and obedience by
the very mention of the name of Colombo. After Christopher
Columbus became famous as the discoverer of America, and his-
torians ransacked every annual and reports of the past for inci-
dents of his life during this earlier and obscurer portion of his
active career, some of the reckless and even questionable deeds
of the elder and of the younger Colombos were, in the confusion







OLD AND -NEW LIGHTS


of the annals, attributed to Christopher Columbus. Great ob-
scurity and confusion prevail in the accounts of events and dates
on the career and life of Columbus from 1450 to 1470, the period
of his seafaring life. We come now to his advent and residence
in Portugal, upon which we hope to throw some new light.
The circumstances or motives which led Columbus to go to
Portugal have been variously assigned. Fernando, his second
son, who wrote the first history of his father, with evident and
recurring pleasure taken in linking his name with the adventures
at sea of the two French commanders, Colombo, relates that
shipwreck off the coast of Portugal was the first cause of his
father's advent to Lisbon. This account would attribute to
chance one of the most important steps ever taken by Columbus,
but it is not well authenticated, and other more probable and
reasonable causes for his going to Lisbon are not wanting. Co-
lumbus acted with a purpose in this, as in the other great events
of his life.
The most usual time assigned for the advent of Christopher
Columbus to Portugal is 1470. It certainly was between 1470
and 1474. If we take the former year, 1470, he evidently did
not then make Lisbon or the Portuguese possessions his per-
manent home, since we find him at Savona with his father in 1472
and 1473. Documents published by Harrisse, in his Chris-
tophe Colomb," to which the name of Christopher Columbus
is signed, together with those of his mother and next brother,
Giovanni, relinquishing all their right to a house and lot then
sold by the father; Dominico Colombo, show this.
In these documents, of which the last is dated August 7th,
1473, or at least in the earlier ones, the signature of Columbus
is followed, according to the Genoese custom, with his occupa-
tion, which was stated as that of a weaver of woollen goods,
which was the trade of most of ,the members of the Columbus
family.t
The occurrence of the name of Columbus in legal documents
at Genoa and Savona, during the years generally included in the

Harrisse's Christophe Colomb," tom. ii., pp. 419-26.
f "The Wife of Columbus," 1873, by M. Nicolau Florentino (whose real name is
Senhor Gabriel Pereira, Director of the National Library of Lisbon) and Senhora
Regina Maney, a.valuable contribution to Columbian literature, and one based upon
authentic archives and documents.







ON COLUMBUS.


seafaring period of his life, would indicate that he was occasion.
ally if not frequently at home during that period with his father ;
that his profession, as given, was more or less continuously dur-
ing those years that of a weaver of woollen goods, and hence
that probably his exploits at sea were not so constant or so long
as his son Fernando had been led to believe and to relate. It is
probable that Columbus commenced his visits to Portugal in
1470, and went to stay in the latter part of 1473, for it is nearly
certain that he went to the island of Madeira, a leading Portu-
guese' possession, in or prior to 1474.* The occasion of his
going to Portugal was not accident or battle or shipwreck, but
it was in pursuit of occupation and fortune, as many other Italians
had done and were then doing. During the period of Portuguese
leadership in maritime enterprise, there was a considerable immi-
gration of French and Italians to Portugal; and as the latter now
only concern us, the names of the Spinolas, Cezares, Uzadamari,
Cataneos, Lomellinos, Dorias, Grimaldi, and many others will
testify. But his own name and blood preceded him to Portugal,
for when he went to Lisbon he found his brother Bartholomew
there, and this, no doubt, had added strength to his motives for
going, for the two brothers were devoted to each other through-
out their eventful lives. Independently of these considerations,
Lisbon, at that time especially, was the centre of maritime energy,
enterprise, and adventure, and offered great attractions to one of
Columbus's temperament, who had followed the sea from the
age of fourteen, and whose mind was fired with the ambition for
discovery and renown. The enthusiastic study of the art of
navigation, the bold pursuit of discovery, and the love of adven-
ture, had passed from Lisbon to other countries, and as Colum-
bus, flushed with a gallant career at sea, studious of maritime
sciences, emulous of rivalling the great discoveries of Portuguese
mariners and captains, perhaps, even probably, then meditating
on his plans for a westward voyage, was alive to the spirit of
his age and country, he very naturally followed so many of his
own countrymen and his own brother to that busy capital. It
was greatly to his credit that after so many years of active ser-
vice at sea, and after such continuous exposure to the vices so
prevalent among seafaring men, Columbus escaped moral con-

*" The Wife of Columbus," by Nicolau Florentino and Regina Maney, pp. 43, 44.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


tamination, and preserved his purity of character and a highly
religious and devout demeanor, He was twenty-four years
old when he first visited Portugal in 1470. It would seem that
he did not linger long at Lisbon, but followed many of his
countrymen to the Portuguese Islands, those advanced posts of
Portuguese enterprise and discovery.
The researches made by Senhor Gabriel Pereira, Director of
the National Library at Lisbon, and by his associate in the work,
Senhora Regina Maney, among official and authentic archives,-
the Torre de Tombo, national archives at Lisbon-the results of
which they have embodied in their interesting little volume,* just
published, seem to justify essential changes in the oft-repeated
accounts given of the first marriage of Columbus. Up to this
time historians have uniformly related that this marriage occurred
at Lisbon, and' that the acquaintance between Columbus and
Donna Philippa Moniz de Perestrello commenced at the chapel
of the Convent of All Saints, where he was in the habit of attend-
ing mass daily, and where the young lady was one of several of
her age and rank who, while living in the world, were regular
attendants of the convent, probably for purposes of education as
well as of devotion. Senhora Maney, in her preface to The Wife
of Columbus," declares that she and the Director of the National
Library of Lisbon had been able to discover among the national
archives a different history of this interesting event, and I have
embodied their account of it in this work. We have estab-
lished," she says, the time and place of his marriage, along-
with other data, and we have found much about Columbus that
is entirely new."
The families of Moniz and Perestrello were both of distin-
guished lineage in, Portugal. The Monizes were of noble rank.
Bartholomew Perestrello, the father of Donna Philippa, the first
wife of Columbus, left early without a father, obtained when
very young a position in the household of the Infante Dom John,
who was in his earlier life united with his brother, the famous.
Prince Henry the Navigator. He was afterward created a
knight in the household of the Infante Dom John, and still later
he received a grant at his own request of the island of Porto
Santo, and undertook its colonization. He does not appear to.

The Wife of Columbus," by Florentino and Maney, passim.







ON COLUMBUS.


have been its discoverer, or even to have been a companion in
that maritime achievement of Gongalves Zarco and Tristan Vaz
in its discovery. He was married three times; his first wife
was Donna Margarida Martins; his second wife was Donna
Brites Furtado de Mendonca; and his third wife was Donna
Isabel Moniz, daughter of Vasco Martins Moniz, who, after an
active and successful career, had retired with large wealth to
Machico, on the island of Madeira, where he lived in grand
style" and dispensed a liberal hospitality. Donna Isabel, when
she married Bartholomew Perestrello, was only eighteen years
old, and she then left the luxurious and wealthy home of her
father to share the declining fortunes of a gentleman of worth,
energy, and enterprise, but to whom Porto Santo had proved a
fatal gift, Bartholomew Perestrello. The governorship of this
island had already sunk the portions of two wives, and all the
donations he could get from the crown for the purchase of fer-
tilizers, agricultural implements, stock, equipment, and the as-
sistance necessarily extended to his colonists. It now absorbed
the portion if any of his third wife; the rabbits, which had
marvellously increased on the island, destroyed its productions,
and the governor's health now gave way under the losses,
struggles, disappointments, and ruin of many years. He died at
Baleira, in 1457, at the age of fifty, leaving his widow, at the age
of twenty-five years, with a son and daughter, and in circumstances
most precarious. The mother devoted her life entirely to the
education of her children, Bartholomew and Philippa; but now,
with the consent of King Affonso V., the fruitless governorship
of Porto Santo was assigned to Pedro Corea, who had married
Donna Izeu Perestrello, a daughter of Bartholomew's second
marriage, a member of the noble family of Corea. The price
paid by Cor8a for the island was three hundred thousand reis
in gold, and an annuity of thirty thousand reis. Donna Isabel
Moniz, now relieved from anxiety, retired with her son and
daughter to the sumptuous mansion of her father at Machico,
and no care or expense was spared in educating the children
according to their rank. Young Bartholomew embraced the
military profession, and was correspondingly equipped by his
good mother for the king's service in Africa with everything
suited to his rank and aspirations; but in 1473 he returned to
Porto Santo and disavowed his mother's disposition of the island,







OLD AND NEW .LIGHTS


and with the consent of the king annulled the sale to Corea, and
assumed the task which had cost his father so many.fortunes and
his life. This ungrateful and undutiful conduct of the son com-
pletely estranged him from his mother, who was now left at
Machico with her father and her daughter Philippa. Although
the father of Donna Isabel Moniz was very rich, he had sixteen
children, and no trace can be found of any portion of this fortune
received by his daughter Isabel, or by his granddaughter Philippa.
The latter is represented as very beautiful, and the social and
educational advantages she enjoyed must have made her quite
accomplished.
It was at this time, 1474, that Christopher Columbus arrived
at Machico and joined the Italian colony in the Portuguese archi-
pelago. Through his compatriots, who were frequent visitors
and guests at the hospitable mansion of Vasco Moniz,'he became
acquainted with the young and beautiful Philippa, or perhaps the
story of his meeting her at daily mass at a convent chapel may
be transferred to Machico. Although he was the son of a woollen
weaver, and had followed his father's calling at home, he was
hospitably received by the noble family of the Monizes, for few
if any there were among the young men of Machico so hand-
some, accomplished, and plausible as the bold Genoese. He was
then of the age of twenty-eight years. Donna Philippa was only
twenty-one. The interesting little work from which these par-
ticulars are mostly derived,* which, however, places his age at
thirty-eight, thus refers to Columbus at this interesting period
of his checkered career: Once landed in Madeira, the daring
Genoese immediately set about getting acquainted with the im-
portant families of the archipelago, through his compatriots
already established. He insinuated himself by his sympathetic
manners, his fluent speech, which many took for proof of great
instruction, and finally by his taking advantage of the fraternal
predisposition of the Portuguese toward the Italian immigrants,
who were much liked, whether in the ordinary occupations of
life, acquiring the good will of the chiefs of families, or in the
amorous adventures and most beautiful progeny, as far as the
young female portion of the inhabitants went, who looked de-
spairingly on the gallant Portuguese youth going off to Africa

"The Wife of Columbus," by Florentino (Pereira) and Maney, p. 44.







ON COLUMBUS.


to die unmarried, or to come back with hair whitened by the
hardships of ocean and battlefield. The very Donna
Philippa Moniz de Mello, of whom it is said she was a very hand-
some young girl, demonstrated the case in the alliance of the
Monizes and Perestrellos, already mixed with the blood of the
Teixeiras; and this rapid sketch of Donna Philippa, made by a
genealogist, reveals to us a marriage of simple affection con-
tracted with Christopher Columbus." The character of Colum-
bus must have been above reproach to have won such a prize.
Columbus himself was poor. It is conjectured that the sale of
a house by his father at Savona, in 1473, was either the result of
family reverses or was necessitated to provide an outfit and
traveling expenses for his sons Christopher and Bartholomew.
Married at Machico, in 1475, with the solemn rites of the Church,
the young couple went immediately to live in Funchal, a resi-
dence preferred by Columbus, because he thus remained in direct
,contact with the whole maritime movement."* No circumstance
could have been mentioned nor any step taken which could more
clearly have indicated the deep purposes and high aspirations of
the future discoverer of America, than his immediate departure,
after his marriage, from the luxurious mansion of his wife's grand-
father, in order that he might be in constant touch with the great
movement of the age toward geographical discovery, maritime
enterprise, and heroic conquest. It is related that Columbus and
his wife were poor. The work of Pereira and Maneyt thus
speaks of this event in the life of the future admiral : On the
other hand, what did Columbus bring from Genoa ? If anything
came to him from the product of the sale effected by his father
on the eve of Christopher's departure for Portugal, little could
be left, over and above the traveling expenses, for his mainte-
nance at the first, until fortune should smile upon him or open
some way or other for earning a living. The fact is. that he
must have worked hard either to sustain himself while alone, or
to provide, however poorly, for the indispensable exigencies of
his married life. Did he draw sea-maps and charts ? Where
did he learn to do so ? Did he open a shop or a boarding-house ?
Did he exercise any other branch of activity that one could con-
jecture or discover ? This is certainly an important question for


* The Wife of Columbus," p. 46.


td., p. 45.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America, but of very
secondary order for Christopher Columbus, the husband of Donna
Philippa Moniz de Mello." Senhor Pereira was convinced from
his access to and study of the public archives, as well as from
inquiries made of surviving members of the Perestrello family,
that few if any marine maps or maritime traditions had been left
by Bartholomew Perestrello to serve his future son-in-law in his
vast schemes of discovery, for he had never been a mariner, dis-
coverer, or a follower of the sea. Neither did Columbus obtain
much information or inspiration from his brother-in-law, Pedro
Corea, who, according to these recent researches, never fixed
his residence in Porto Santo during his gubernatorial incum-
bency, nor in Graciosa, of which island he was also the donee,
nor was he a navigator or an adventurer in the maritime enter-
prises of the day. On the contrary, Corea was a resident on
his farm in Charneca, near Lisbon, and died there in 1485.*
The marriage of Columbus and Philippa, in 1475, was followed
by the birth of their son Diego, in 1476, at Funchal. These
facts, which seem well sustained, go far to upset the usual narra-
tives of historians that Columbus was married at Lisbon, that his
son Diego was born there, and that he went with his wife and
mother-in-law to Porto Santo. According to the accounts, based
upon such recent researches, Philippa Moniz de Perestrello, the
wife of Columbus, died shortly after the birth of their son Diego,
who thereupon fell to the tender care of his grandmother, Donna
Isabel de Perestrello, who continued to reside at the house of
her father at Machico. On this subject we shall have more to
say when we come to relate the circumstances of the departure
of Columbus from Portugal for Spain. In the year following the
death of his wife, 1477, or possibly in the latter part of the year
1476, Columbus, most probably to assuage his grief, divert his
mind, and to study further the great problem engaging his mind
as affected by questions of climate and latitude, made his voyage
to Iceland, of which we will speak in another place. The little
volume before us, to which reference has been made, thus
speaks of his departure upon this important expedition: The
father, profoundly wounded in his passionate attachment to his


* The Wife of Columbus," p. 42.


SId., p. ,47.






ON COLUMBUS.


wife, took one of those extreme resolutions in which great moral
sufferings sometimes end."
The circumstance mentioned by Las Casas and other contem-
poraries of Columbus-that of his having had his hair turn gray
prematurely-now becomes a thread of testimony in connection
with the charge of Harrisse and Winsor that he deserted his wife
when he left Portugal for Spain. At the time of his wife's death
he was thirty years old, and the time assigned by his contem-
porary historians for his hair turning gray was precisely at that
age. It is, therefore, but a natural conclusion that so sudden
and violent a grief, one which forced him to seek mental relief
in a trip then regarded as heroic even among veteran mariners-
the voyage to Iceland-was the cause of his hair turning gray.
Sudden grief or excitement has frequently been known to pro-
duce that result. The death of his wife and the change in the
color of his hair occurred at the same time. The ardent temper-
ament of Columbus lends strength to the conclusion.
The period of time from 1470, when Columbus first visited
Portugal, to 1484, when it is generally agreed that he left Por-
tugal, is one in which the greatest confusion exists as to the exact
dates of events in his life. The whole period agrees with the
time which Columbus, in i5o5, in a letter to King Ferdinand,
wrote that he had spent in Portugal, in which he says that God
must have directed him into the service of Spain by a kind of
miracle, since he had already been in Portugal, whose king was
more interested than any other sovereign in making discoveries,
and yet God closed his eyes, his ears, and all his senses to such
a degree that in fourteen years Columbus could not prevail on
him to lend aid to his scheme." This eventful but confused
period covered many events'which are no doubt true, but with-
out correct dates. He landed in Portugal in 1470, visited his
father at Savona in 1472 and 1473, took part in engagements at
sea under the French ColombQs, corresponded with Dr. Tosca-
nelli in 1474, went to Madeira in 1474, was married to Donna
Philippa de Perestrello in 1475, witnessed the birth of his son
Diego and the death of the mother in 1476, went to Iceland in
1477, and on his return therefrom made one or more expeditions
to the Portuguese islands or stations on the mainland of Africa,
and during the remainder of the time was engaged in unceasing
and wearisome negotiations with the King of Portugal for the






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


adoption of his plans for a westward voyage across the Atlantic.
Owing to the uncertainty of the dates of this period, we have
,treated the various subjects without strict adherence to the sup-
posed dates, aiming rather at presenting the character, studies,
efforts, struggles, and aspirations of Columbus as essential events
in themselves, rather than attempting, as so many others have
tried in vain, to reconcile dates or arrive at correctness. Hence
our accounts of his studies, inquiries, investigations, self-prepara-
tions, and the formulation of his plans, may relate to periods of
sojourn either in Lisbon or at Funchal, for it seems probable, if
not certain, that he may have gone back to Lisbon several times
between 1474 and 1477.
It was in the heated atmosphere of nautical and scientific
studies, of naval adventure, and of pioneer discovery, at Lisbon
or at Funchal, that the mind of Columbus caught fire with the
prevailing fever. While it is not known at what precise time his
theories and convictions, as to the existence of western lands and
continents, were conceived and matured, or his ambition to
become the discoverer of a new world was awakened, such were
the attractions and influences of the scene and of the times, and
such his opportunity of comparative repose and studious inclina-
tion, in the intervals between his voyages, that this period of his
residence at Lisbon would seem to have been the crucial time,
which developed the grand schemes he afterward accomplished
for the glory and benefit of mankind. This view is strengthened
by authentic facts. His wife's mother, accustomed as she had
been to scenes and narratives of adventure and discovery in her
married life, and finding in her son-in-law an enthusiastic listener
and ardent student of such subjects, took pleasure in relating to
him all she had heard from her deceased husband concerning cur-
rent voyages, expeditions, colonization, and discoveries. Thus,
too, Columbus was afforded-ample opportunity and time for in-
specting and studying the papers, charts, journals, and memoranda
of the old and experienced navigators and mariners he must have
met at Funchal, which proved to him a rich mine of nautical and
maritime'treasures and information. His residence and marriage
in Portugal and the Portuguese possessions made him a resident
subject of the king of that country, and, as Portugal was then
the leading nation in discovery and colonization, thus acquiring-
the islands in the Atlantic and along the west coast of Africa,







ON COLUMBUS.


Columbus served occasionally in the Portuguese expeditions to
and along the coast of Guinea. These studies and voyages, and,
still more, the deeper researches which he made in the practical
sciences, especially the science of navigation and its kindred
sciences, raised him to a foremost rank among enlightened and
learned men of his day. Indeed, as the sequel will show, he was
centuries in advance of the times in which he lived. Cosmog-
raphy became a leading study and favorite science of his, and
in his straitened circumstances he turned it to good and fruit-
ful account, during the intervals between his voyages, by making
maps and charts for a livelihood. We have already related how
slight had been the advances made by the scientific world in
cosmography since the days of Ptolemy, who prepared his
famous map of the known world at Alexandria about the middle
of the second century of the Christian era; and this map, con-
sidered the most perfect, like all the other maps produced then,
was, in the light of our present knowledge, a tissue of errors and
absurdities. Such, too, was the map brought by Marco Polo
from Cathay, and such the celebrated map of Mauro, the Italian
friar, scarcely more than an improved copy of the former, which,
however, gained for him from the Venetians the title of the in-
comparable cosmographer," and the distinction of a medal struck
in his honor. Yet during all this period, and throughout the
fifteenth century, the most perfect maps, by the most learned
cosmographers, were absurdly incorrect and ludicrously quaint.
The studies and voyages of then recent times, and the explora-
tions of the Portuguese and Spaniards along the western coast
of Africa and around the islands adjacent thereto, had tended to
lift the science of geography out of the chaos and darkness of
centuries. Even yet, in the days of Columbus, the map of
Ptolemy was among the foremost authorities of the time. In
many of the maps conjecture boldly supplied the place of knowl-
edge, and popular fables of the most incongruous character were
handed down and accepted in an age of advancing intelligence.
Learning and ignorance were here strangely and grotesquely
commingled. Able disquisitions on astronomy and navigation
were set off with the fables of monsters, such as men with the bod-
ies of lions and women with the faces of dogs, salamanders, giants,
pigmies, and sea monsters so large as to kill and devour large
stags and able to cross the ocean. Here we have the origin of







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


the sea monster, which figures even in our day in the stories and
yarns of mariners and seamen. The study of drawing, which
Columbus had pursued at the University of Pavia, though slight,
now came to his aid, and enabled him, with his thorough and
advanced knowledge of cosmography, to produce the best maps
and charts. Another fact which added greatly to his knowledge
of this subject, the most engrossing study of that age of nautical
adventure and geographical discovery, was his correspondence
with Dr. Paulo Toscanelli, of Florence, who was one of the fore-
most scientists of his age, and the most accomplished cosmog-
rapher. And here we might cite this remarkable correspond-
ence, which commenced in the early part of his visits and
sojourns at Lisbon after 1470, as further proof of our view that
it was during this early period of the life of Columbus that
he conceived and developed his grand and learned propositions
and plans, which led him to the discovery of our continent. Thus
it was that during his sojourn at Lisbon, Columbus, rich in learn-
ing, science, religion, and exalted purposes, but poor in worldly
goods, was compelled to practise the most unsparing economy ;
and it was during this period that he supported himself by pre-
paring and disposing of maps and charts of the earth. Such was
the avidity with which good and accurate maps were sought in
those days, that Columbus made this his entire source of revenue
and support. Such was his honorable and generous nature that,
from his scanty and pinching income, he spared the means to
relieve the necessities of his venerable parent at Genoa, and to
educate his younger brother, Diego, in whose subsequent love,
loyalty, and service, and to a greater extent in those of Bartholo-
mew, he found consolation amid the calumnies of men and the
ingratitude of sovereigns.
Columbus won position among the learned and scientific men
of his day by his admirable maps, to the production of which he
brought the most advanced cosmographical study and the skill
of an accomplished draughtsman. His labors in this congenial,
and to him then most useful and necessary avocation, were
greatly aided and stimulated by numerous and important voy-
ages which he made during this time. The whole circle of
Columbus's acquaintance was thoroughly imbued with the spirit
of the age. The Portuguese court and nation were foremost.
The Portuguese islands in the Eastern Pacific were recent in-







ON COLUMBUS.


stances of progress in discovery and geography, for they lay
on the very frontiers of the then known world. They were on the
ocean highway of the frequent and important. voyages between
the coast of Guinea and the ports of Portugal. Columbus and
all his connections and associates were seafaring people, and
hence they unavoidably, and indeed from choice, fell in with the
experienced and veteran sea captains and navigators, who con-
stantly touched at Funchal or Machico in their cruises to the
western coast of Africa. These circumstances and others of a
similar character, which we will relate hereafter, are most im-
portant facts, for it was such surroundings at Lisbon that gave
confirmation in the mind of Columbus to the great thought of
western continental discovery, and fostered that exalted concep-
tion until it culminated in the noblest achievement of man. They
formed the more immediate education which prepared the man
for his mission, and are second only to the great conception itself
and its realization in the final triumph. They also go far to
point out the period of his life, a question regarded by great his-
torians as involved in doubt, when his mind opened to the possi-
bility and progressed to certainty as to the existence of vast
countries across the Atlantic. In a future chapter we will give
an account of the great strides made by maritime nations, espe-
cially by Portugal, in exploring the western coast of Africa, dis-
covering and settling islands in the Atlantic, and in expanding
the sphere of human knowledge as to the geography of the earth.
The writings of the ancients and of classical authors, which re-
ferred in unmistakable terms and with inspiring grandeur of
thought to distant continents, were brought into prominent refer-
ence, and were studied with enchanting delight. The Cartha-
ginians and their great island of Antilla in the western ocean,
now, after the rest of centuries, came forth to inflame the public
enthusiasm and to fan the flame of maritime adventure and ex-
ploration. The Dialogues of Plato," containing the account
of the great island or continent of Atlantis, and of its submersion
in the western ocean, were studied, and their authenticity found
then, as now, many earnest and learned advocates. Then, as in
our own day, there were many among advanced scholars, who
adopted and advocated the theory that the islands then known
to the world-the Canaries and the Azores-were remnants of the
submerged Atlantis, and that other and vaster insular remains of







SOLD AND NEW LIGHTS


that vast continent or island existed in far distant regions of the
Atlantic, all of them being more elevated and mountainous limits
of the lost country.* While there was much of reason and fact
to rest such theories upon, the feverish state of the public mind
gave rise to other and imaginary islands and lands of vast extent,
which mariners, driven westward from their course, had seen or
dreamed of as lying clearly in sight on the western horizon ; and
many a voyager related to willing ears the exciting and fasci-
nating stories of discoveries of lands lying far out in the ocean,
which subsequent knowledge of the Atlantic showed to have
been mere clouds or clusters of clouds, which are commonly seen
at sea, resting low and flat on the horizon on summer afternoons,
and closely resembling islands. The thirst for such exciting
accounts and wonders invited exaggeration and even wilful in-
vention, and many a tale of western land was fabricated to feed
the popular tastes and fancies. We know that a noted story of
this kind was told to Columbus by one Antonio Leone, who re-
sided at Madeira, and who assured our hero that he had dis-
tinctly seen three islands lying in the western distance while he
was sailing westward from the island of Madeira. Such imagi-
nary islands were not seen alone by the inhabitants of Madeira,
for the people of the Canaries labored under a similar imagina-
tion, and optical delusion became a chronic disease with them.
When the skies were clear and the weather warm, they could
distinctly see an immense island lying to the westward, and
its majestic mountains broke forth high above the horizon;
while they admitted that the island was seen only at intervals, it
was always seen in the same place, though frequently not visible
in the clearest weather. Anxious to nurse their belief, the credu-
lous islanders thought that the fact of the distant island always
presenting the same shape and same outline of mountains was
sufficient to prove it a reality. Authorities from the literature
of the past were not wanting to show the existence of islands or
lands lying westward, with which this new discovery might be
identified. There were also advocates for the claim that this
was the famous Antilla which Aristotle mentioned. This island
apparition also gave revival to the old Spanish legend of the
island of the Seven Cities, which were founded by the seven


* Donnelly's "Atlantis," jasdrn.







ON COLUMBUS.


bishops who are said to have abandoned their country at the
time of its conquest by the Moors, and who, under the special
protection and pilotage of Heaven, sailed to this beautiful island
with their flocks, and there built the seven famous cities. Other
zealous believers in the newly discovered island believed it to be
the far-famed island of St. Brandon, which, according to ancient
tradition, was discovered by this celebrated priest of Scotland
in the sixth century. So universal was the belief in St. Bran-
don's Island, that it passed into the domain of history, is
alluded to in the current literature and histories of our day, and
it was actually located on the maps of the fifteenth century as
lying in the very direction in which the people of the Canaries
now saw it. The new island was also identified by others with
the Antilla of the Carthaginians. Such was the faith of the
people in this wonderful island, that they actually petitioned the
King of Portugal to grant them permission to fit out expeditions
for its exploration and conquest, and expeditions actually went
in search of it; but it ever eluded their grasp. Such was the
atmosphere in which Columbus, in the prime of his life, ardent
and ambitious, lived for years, and as he carefully recorded
accounts of all these things among his notes and memoranda, it
is reasonable to suppose that they exerted some influence in
generating his earliest thoughts of discovery, and led him through
and from the field of the imagination to those severer and deeper
studies, which subsequently enabled him to expound his theories
before the most learned bodies of Europe, and to refute all their
misconceived objections.
It was also during this period of his life, as supposed by his-
torians, though probably erroneously, in the light of recently
discovered facts, that Columbus may have taken part in other
expeditions which extended through the Mediterranean and to
the Levant, some of which were in the prosecution of commer-
cial enterprises for Venetian merchants, others in taking a gallant
part in naval wars and engagements, in which the rival States of
Italy then unfortunately engaged against each other, and others
still were undertaken with religious zeal against the Mohammedan
rovers and pirates, enemies of his faith and his Church. In sev-
eral of these adventures Columbus commanded a ship either
under his uncle, Admiral Colombo, or under Colombo the
Younger. In one of these singular and characteristic adven-







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


tures, under the latter, Columbus, as usual, commanded a vessel,
and took a conspicuous part in so eventful and perilous an en-
counter that it was only his own presence of mind, endurance,
and good swimming that warded off the catastrophe that, by his
death, would have left America undiscovered perhaps for cen-
turies. It is related by his son and historian, Fernando, that the
commander of the expedition, Colombo the Younger, went with
all his ships to the coast of Portugal and lay in wait for four
Venetian galleys returning from Flanders and laden with rich
cargoes. The engagement which ensued at the meeting of the
two fleets was desperate and frantic. The attacking ships and the
merchantmen, which were no less well armed and prepared for
war, grappled each other in deadly contest, and the officers and
crews, as was the custom of the age, fought their antagonists
hand-to-hand from their respective ships, each endeavoring always
to board the enemy. The struggle, which was marked with
extraordinary carnage on both sides, lasted all day, and fierce
was the encounter. Columbus with his ship engaged a powerful
Venetian galley; the vessels were fastened to each other by
chains and grappling-irons, for they fought in those days after
the manner of pirates, and one or other of the vessels and its
crew, if not both, was sure to be destroyed. Both vessels were
toward evening enveloped in flames from the hand-grenades and
other burning projectiles, and were involved together in certain
destruction from fire. The officers and crews of each vessel had
to take refuge from the fire by throwing themselves into the
water. While many perished, if not most of them, Columbus
calmly seized an oar and swam the distance of six miles to the
shore. Fernando Columbus states that, after recovering from
his exhaustion, his father proceeded to Lisbon, and finding many
of his countrymen, Genoese, there, he readily consented to make
it his place of residence. But as this engagement took place
several years later than 1470,. and it seems well established that
it was in that year that he went to Lisbon first, it is more prob-
able, as Mr. Irving concludes, that this disaster merely led to
his return then to his former residence at the capital of Portugal.
Tarducci discredits almost entirely the accuracy and truthfulness
of Fernando's account.*
As it seems clear that Columbus went to Madeira in 1474, and
Mr. Brownson's translation of Tarducci's Columbus," vol. i., pp. 20, 21.






ON COLUMBUS.


after his marriage there in 1475 went to Funchal to reside with
his wife in 1476, and thence on his voyage to Iceland in the latter
part of 1476 or early in 1477, there is but little probability of his
having been in any such engagements during this period. His
correspondence with Dr. Toscanelli took place about the year
1474, and then and ever afterward his mind was absorbed in the
grander field of oceanic and western voyages and discoveries.
In 1477, while residing at Funchal, and after the death of his
wife, and after leaving his son Diego with his grandmother at
Machico, Columbus made that voyage, to which allusion
has already been made, not the least remarkable of his many
adventures on the sea; this was his visit to Iceland, then re-
garded as the ultima Thule, the utmost boundary of the earth.
Subsequent historical discussions in relation to the voyages of
the Northmen to Greenland and our own northern coasts have
developed the conjecture that Columbus might have learned of
the voyages and discoveries of lands west of Iceland, of Green-
land, and even of our own country, from Icelanders, in 1477, dur-
ing his visit to their country. But Columbus kept such ample
notes and memoranda of all he saw and heard bearing upon the
geography of the earth, that, had he heard of the western dis-
coveries of the Northmen at Iceland, he would have assuredly
mentioned it in his writings, and in the letter he wrote to his
son, Fernando, on his voyage to Iceland. The following extract
from that letter tends to exclude, upon the laws of evidence, the
presumption that he had heard of the Norse voyages and colonies
in the Western Hemisphere, which had then ceased. In the
year 1477, in February, I navigated one hundred leagues beyond
Thule (Iceland), the southern part of which is seventy-three
degrees distant from the equator, and not sixty-three, as some
pretend ; neither is it situated within the line which includes the
west of Ptolemy, but is much more westerly. The English,
principally those of Bristol, go with their merchandise to this
island, which is as large as England. When I was there the sea
was not frozen, and the tides were so great as to rise and fall
twenty-six fathoms." But doubtless his observations of the
earth and sea at that point strengthened the grounds, upon which
Columbus founded his firm conviction and confident assurance,
that extensive lands and countries would be found by sailing due
Fernando Columbus, Historia del Almirante," cap. 4.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


west across the Atlantic. After his Icelandic voyage Columbus
is reported to have visited the Portuguese settlement of San
Jorge de Mina, on the coast of Guinea. During this period of
his life which we are now considering, he acquired great stores
of knowledge in relation to the progress and results of modern
discoveries, the location of regions and islands discovered and
explored on or along the western coasts of Europe, and espe-
cially of Africa, and in the practical sciences of cosmography,
geography, astronomy, and navigation. His good judgment,
clear perception, and varied experience enabled him to distin-
guish between the real and genuine information and knowledge
then accessible, on the one hand, and the visionary reports and
conjectures of the heated and ardent imaginations of ignorant
navigators on the other ; but he kept a record of all he saw and
heard, and stored up, in his ripened and cultured mind and
memory, all the learning and facts developed in the past and in
his own times. Yet there was nothing that his vigorous mind
and enterprising spirit did not utilize in evolving his grand con-
ceptions of the earth and ocean. Believing that it was this
period of his life that gave birth to his -admirable and practical
views and plans, we have thought it important to give at some
length the history of his voyages and expeditions, of the means
and opportunities he possessed, and of which he availed himself
from the time of his first arrival in Portugal, soon after which he
must have presented his claims and propositions to the king of
that country. The following passage, from Mr. Irving's life
of the admiral, will fitly conclude the review of this interesting
part of his career, and of his progress from poverty and obscurity
to fame and glory : His genius having thus taken its decided
bent, it is interesting to notice from what a mass of acknowledged
facts, rational hypotheses, fanciful narrations, and popular rumors
his grand project of discovery was wrought out by the strong
workings of his vigorous mind." We should add that the mem-
oranda and writings of Columbus, covering this extensive field
of inquiry and study, were carefully preserved by him and trans-
mitted to his son Fernando, who has given their contents to the
world in his History of the Admiral;" and though impaired by
the enthusiastic and indiscreet exaggerations of the compiler and
editor, the work forms a noble monument raised by a loyal son
to an illustrious parent!














CHAPTER III.


"Theirs was the tread of pioneers,
Of nations yet to be ;
The first low wash of waves where soon
Shall roll a human sea."
-ANONYMOUS.

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS lived in an age of discovery. Spain
and Portugal were the leading and pioneer nations that awakened
among modern peoples the study of navigation and its kindred
sciences, the spirit of discovery and the thirst for maritime
adventure and conquests. The Canary Islands, now generally
believed by historians and cosmographers to be the Fortunate
Islands of the ancients mentioned by Pliny the Elder, by Plutarch,
and by Ptolemy, visited by the Moors in the twelfth century
and by Italian navigators in the thirteenth, were rediscovered
by a Spanish vessel driven by a storm to that quarter in 1334.
In the beginning of the fifteenth century many abortive attempts
were made to bring them within the Spanish dominion, and
though Spanish naval commanders landing there saw nothing of
the fabled gardens of the fair daughters of Atlas and Erebus, nor
of the golden apples which Terra gave to Juno as a wedding gift
in the times when deities mingled in the convivialities of earth,
such were the beauty and attractions of these noted islands that
continued expeditions were renewed, until they were finally and
effectually conquered by a joint Spanish and Norman expedition
under a Norman commander, the gallant Jean de Bethencourt;
and though claimed subsequently by both Spain and Portugal,
they were eventually adjudged to and became a permanent pos-
session of the former. Great interest attached to the Canary
Islands on account of the ancient and mythical traditions con-
nected with them, for not only did the poets of Greece and Rome
locate here the enchanted gardens of the Hesperides-a trans-
formed tradition of the Mosaic Garden of Eden-but it was these
gardens that Ptolemy, the great Helleno-Egyptian mathemati-
cian, astronomer, and geographer, who flourished in the second







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


century of the Christian era, the first to prove the earth to be a
globe, a favorite author of Columbus, established as the point
from which to compute the longitude of the earth. But they
had long been lost to the world, except in dim traditions and
mythical legends, until the advancing spirit of discovery in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries added them, in fact, to the
realms of the civilized world. Even in that more practical era,
which still retained the traditional chivalry and romance of the
Middle Ages, the most real events bore a tinge of sentiment, and
some have supposed that the excitement and stimulus to adven-
turous discovery which this age manifested was not wholly
attributable to their practical importance, but rather to a roman-
tic story of love adventure. Sentiment was then a potent ele-
ment in all public events. The discovery of Madeira was traced
by some to the accounts given in the fourteenth century of the
flight of two lovers, an Englishman named Macham and a beauti-
ful lady of France, enamored with each other, who fled from the
lady's home in a vessel, went to sea, were driven by storms far
beyond the sight of land, and were tossed and carried long and
far over dangerous waters, until they finally saw and landed on
a fair and wooded island unknown and without human presence
save their own, then, for the first time. This lover's retreat was
afterward identified as the island of Madeira.
SThe Cape Verde Islands and the Azores, though dimly
known, and even in the fourteenth century laid down on the
maps, were only explored and taken possession of in the fifteenth
by the Portuguese. These events, together with a greater
familiarity with the Atlantic coasts of Africa, prepared the way
for one who, like Columbus, was in advance of his time in all the
studies, sciences, enterprises, and discoveries of an age eventful
beyond precedent in advancing the progress of the human race
over the earth. This remarkable person was Prince Henry the
Navigator, of Portugal; a prince whose career of energy, enter-
prise, and progress-adorned, too, as he was with scientific
studies, profound and learned research, and princely liberality-
have handed his name down to succeeding ages an ornament to
his rank and his race. He did not leave events to drift slowly
and fortuitously to their results; he advanced at once to be a
leader of his age; he was a worthy and brilliant precursor of
Columbus, who carried the work commenced by Prince Henry







ON COLUMBUS.


the Navigator to its culmination in the discovery of Amer-
ica.
Prince Henry was the fourth son of King John I. of Portugal,
and on his mother's side he was descended from John of Gaunt,
Duke of Lancaster. He was born on March 4th, 1394, and was
distinguished while a youth for his courage and brilliant achieve-
ments in the wars against the Moors of Barbary. Returning
from the conquest of Ceuta, in 1415, he received the order of
knighthood for his chivalrous deeds, and then, going to reside
at an Atlantic retreat near Cape St. Vincent, he fitted out naval
expeditions against the Moors on the coast of Africa. Having
served through three campaigns of naval warfare, besides the
military expeditions under his father in Barbary, he acquired a
vast amount of information in relation to Africa, both in the in-
terior, south of the Mediterranean, and along the coast of Guinea.
Instead of spending his life amid the allurements of the court of
Portugal, he devoted himself to study and to works of utility
and glory to his country. He was distinguished for his learn-
ing, especially in the sciences of mathematics, geography, and
navigation. In his retreat in the Algarve, near Sagres and Cape
St. Vincent, he attracted by his enterprise, learning, and munifi-
cence men of science and study around him. He became also
an accomplished astronomer. He erected at Sagres a naval and
astronomical observatory and nautical school, at which young
noblemen and other earnest students might study all the sciences
connected with navigation, and he appointed as its president the
learned cosmographer and scientific navigator, James Mallorca.
Prince Henry, after studying ancient and modern scholars and
authors, boldly adopted the opinion that the prevailing belief
that the coast of Africa ended at Cape Nun was false; that, on
the contrary, the torrid zone at the equator was not impassable
and unnavigable, on account of the stifling and destroying heats
of the sun; that Cape Bojador was not the last and only secure
point of navigation; that beyond this cape the Atlantic was
navigable; that great and valuable discoveries could be made
by tracing its line to the southward ; and, finally, he adopted the
view that Africa was circumnavigable, and that India, with its
vast and wealthy empires and lucrative commerce, could be
reached by sailing around the southern end of Africa. Prince
Henry commenced sending out expeditions to solve this dreaded







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


yet fascinating problem. The first of these, in 1418, consisting
of two vessels under the command of Jo-o Gongalves Zarco and
Tristan Vaz, intended to pass Cape Nun, was driven off the
coast by storms, and resulted in the accidental discovery of Porto
Santo. .The next year the same captains discovered and colo-
nized the island of Madeira, under the patronage of Prince Henry
and the court of Lisbon. During twelve succeeding years he
continued to send expedition after expedition. Cape Nun was
passed, and Cape Bojador was reached, but beyond this nothing
was accomplished, except to seem, alas to confirm the popular
belief that this was the limit of the habitable world, and that
whoever doubled Cape Bojador would never return. The un-
daunted prince persevered against these prejudices and the home
clamors at the expense of these fruitless expeditions, until, in
1433, one of his expeditions doubled this dreaded cape-an era
in the history of navigation which, together with the recent dis-
covery of the Azores, produced a great sensation in Portugal and
throughout maritime Europe. These expeditions were regarded
now with universal favor, as tending to enlarge the domain of
Christendom. In 1441, at the solicitation of Prince Henry, the
Pope granted to Portugal all the countries it could conquer from
Cape Bojador to India. Indeed, these expeditions were regarded
as holy or as naval crusades, and the Holy See conferred upon
them extraordinary spiritual favors. Having extended their dis-
coveries to the mouth of a river nearly two hundred miles south
of Cape Bojador, in 1445, the Portuguese sailed down the coast
of Africa as far as Cape Verde; and now these expeditions
became profitable on account of the rich returns in gold and
slaves, and the glory of Portugal's having advanced in that direc-
tion farther thar any other European nation. In 1447 the limit
of discovery was advanced to the river Gambia, and just before
the death of Prince Henry, which occurred on November I3th,
1460, one of his expeditions had reached Sierra Leone. This
noble prince did not live long enough to realize his fond hope of
reaching India by sailing southward and eastward around Africa;
but he had seen the Portuguese flag carried beyond the limits of
all other European discovery and conquest in that direction.
He bequeathed his spirit and his ambition to his country. Por-
tugal, persevering in his grand purposes, which had now become
national, in 1524, under Vasco de Gama, succeeded, but after







ON COLUMBUS.


Columbus had discovered the new world, in doubling the Cape
of Storms, whose name was then changed to the Cape of Good
Hope, in reaching and sailing along the southern coast of India,
and in thus opening to Europe the rich Oriental markets of Asia.
So noble and brilliant a man was Prince Henry, and his work
was so conducive to that of Columbus, that we will give here a
personal account of him by one of Portugal's oldest and most
distinguished historians : He was bulky and strong; his com-
plexion red and white; his hair coarse and shaggy. His aspect
produced fear in those not accustomed to him, not. in those who
were; for even in the strongest current of his vexation at any-
thing his courtesy always prevailed over his anger. He was
patient in labor, bold and valorous in war, versed in arts and
letters ; a skilful fencer ; in the mathematics superior to all men
of his time ; generous in the extreme, and zealous in the extreme
for the increase of the faith. No bad habits were known in him.
He did not marry, nor was it known that he ever violated the
purity of continence." *
Had not Columbus been a man of original thought and inde-
pendent character, he would have assuredly followed up the un-
accomplished plans of Prince Henry the Navigator, for sailing
and exploring around Southern Africa, and reaching Asia by a
southeastern passage around the Cape of Good Hope. Like all
the leading men of his times, he was deeply interested in and
thoroughly aroused by the achievements of the Prince and the
great discoveries of the Portuguese. Columbus, like Prince
Henry, was full of thoughts of lofty enterprise and acts of gen-
erous spirit," and, led by these noble sentiments, we now find
him, in 1470, at Lisbon, among the throng of enterprising men,
navigators, mathematicians, astronomers, and cosmographers,
who had been attracted thither by the excitement of discovery,
of which that capital was the focus, and by the pre-eminent
energy and activity in maritime undertakings and conquests,
which had raised Portugal from the smallest in size to be the
foremost of European nations in glory and conquest.
Columbus was the most earnest and studious man in that active
and restless throng of progressive men, and in his deep thoughts
was generated a new departure from the accustomed course of

Favia y Sousa, Asia Portuguesa."







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


navigation and discovery. From the accounts given by Fer-
nando Columbus and Las Casas, Mr. Irving summarizes the fol-
lowing personal description of the man, who was then coming
forward to the accomplishment of results far grander and more
useful to mankind than the great achievements of Prince Henry,
for these two men stand forth as the paragons of that remarkable
age. According to these accounts," Mr. Irving writes of the
coming man, he was tall, well-formed, muscular, and of an ele-
vated and,dignified demeanor. His visage was long, and neither
full nor meagre; his complexion fair and freckled and inclined
to ruddy ; his nose aquiline ; his cheek-bones were rather high,
his eyes light gray, and apt to enkindle; his whole countenance
had an air of authority. His hair in his youthful days was of a
light color, but care and trouble, according to Las Casas, soon
turned it gray, and at thirty years of age it was quite white. He
was moderate and simple in diet and apparel, eloquent in dis-
course, engaging and affable with strangers, and his amiableness
and suavity in domestic life strongly attached his household to
his person. His temper was naturally irritable, but he subdued
it by the magnanimity of his spirit, comporting himself with a
courteous and gentle gravity, and never indulging in any intem-
perance of language. Throughout his life he was noted for
strict attention to the offices of religion, observing rigorously the
fasts and ceremonies of the Church; nor did his piety consist in
mere forms, but partook of that lofty and solemn enthusiasm
with which his whole character was strongly tinctured." This
account by Mr. Irving has prepared us for another description
by the manly and even more admiring pen of the Count de
Lorgues, which is substantially given in the next paragraph.
The personal appearance of Columbus, prepossessing and im-
posing as it was, gave but a faint insight into the higher qualities
of his mind and soul, as reverently represented to us by the
venerable Count de Lorgues. His character was embellished
with rich gifts of nature and of grace, of education and study, of
magnanimity and virtue. The simplicity of his attire, so far
from lessening the appreciation and respect of men, seemed to
accord with the grandeur of his nature and the loftiness of his
mind. His modesty only gave distinction to his presence. The
grace and ease of his manners and the dignity and self-conscious-
ness of. his purposes enabled him to appear to advantage before






ON COLUMBUS.


the proudest noblemen and grandees, as well as before the most
powerful and ceremonious sovereigns. His garments were long
worn but well preserved, spotless and unrent, and his linen was
always of the finest texture and purest white. He had a refined
and delicate taste, loved nature and the beauties of nature, and
while he admired the productions of the sea, he eagerly enjoyed
and admired flowers, birds, and other productions of the land.
His long and frequent following of the sea never tainted his mind
or manners with the coarseness or vices of seamen ; his language
was refined and chaste, he never indulged in games of chance,
avoided all effeminate pleasures, used but little wine, preferred
vegetable food, was frugal on land as he was at sea, and his
favorite beverage was orange water flavored with sugar or candy.
His religious inclinations were as fresh and constant at sea and
among distant and barbarous peoples as they were in his own
family. He sought the guidance of Heaven, and whenever he
succeeded in any of his undertakings, his first impulse was to
render thanks to God.
In his temperament, I must say, he was irascible, but this
failing he is known to have controlled and subdued by the
strength of his mind and the .scrupulous and religious training of
his conscience. I will have but one occasion to relate his
yielding wholly to the anger and violence which injustice and
petty persecutions so naturally aroused in men of his nature ; but
the wrong had been long endured, and the yielding was of short
duration. He was generous almost beyond question, and gave
away the scanty means he needed even for purchasing the neces-
saries of life, in order to succor and relieve the poor or ship-
wrecked seamen who had followed him over the seas, and to
those even who had requited his generosity with the basest in-
gratitude. In his intercourse with men he was patient, conde-
scending, and affable. To the rough and profligate, the treacher-
ous and violent, with whom he was so constantly thrown in con-
tact, and over whom he held almost at times unlimited power,
he was mild, just, and forbearing, and his conduct, in many of
the most trying and embarrassing positions in which it were
possible for a man to be thrown, was marked by wisdom, tact,
and good sense. With all this, his nature overflowed with senti-
ment, and his fancy revelled in the most portentous anticipations
and achievements. In the midst of his struggles and successes






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


he took an exquisite pleasure in the beauties of nature, and failed
not to notice and admire the smallest as well as the grandest
things of creation. His enthusiasm was unbounded, his faith
jubilant, his hopes inexhaustible. In the home circle he was
amiable and gentle, and won the hearts of those around him;
yet he was capable of the most uncompromising severity when
needed, and of the most just indignation. Even royalty itself
was made to feel his just abhorrence of wrong. Such is a faint
outline of the character of the man to whom the world owes and
now acknowledges so much.
At Lisbon, on the arrival and during the residence of Colum-
bus in that capital, all was activity, energy, bustle, and excite-
ment; and every pulsation of the public heart and aspiration of
the popular ambition were directed toward prosecuting the great
works commenced by Prince Henry in the discovery, explora-
tion, and conquest of distant countries. The king, the court, the
high dignitaries of the Church-who then usually discharged the
highest and most important functions of the government-the
nobility, the gentry, the middle and lower classes of the people,
were all swayed by the prevailing sentiment, dominated by the
popular enthusiasm, and carried along by the ambition of the
day. Portugal was still prosecuting the patriotic enterprises of
Prince Henry, and to reach Asia, with its vast and populous
empires; to make the wealth and markets of the East tributary
to European predominance, interest, and luxury ; to plant the
national flag on distant conquests; to find the brilliant and im-
perial court of the Grand Khan and the long-sought Christian
empire of Prester John, and to unite vast Oriental countries, with
their teeming populations, to the Latin Church and to the spirit-
ual sway of the successors of St. Peter, were the aspirations of
the maritime European nations, and especially of little Portugal,
in the fifteenth century. From time to time Lisbon was agitated
over the successes of the national expeditions sent to explore the
coast of Africa and to open the passage to Asia ; by the return of
fleets that had extended the field of discovery and enterprise,
and by the departure of new expeditions-all which gave con-
stant food to the excitement of the public mind.
The public events of the day, the new discoveries of the Por-
tuguese, and the expansion of the boundaries of human knowl-
edge and of human civilization, went far to educate the mind of







ON COLUMBUS.


Columbus up to the great work for which he seemed destined;
but his intelligent, active, and enterprising intellect did not stop
at this point of educational and mental development, which was
attained by others, his contemporaries. He studiously delved
into the writings of ancient and modern authors on cosmography,
and studied all the existing maps of the earth. Though com-
paratively an obscure man, he became, in actual merit though
not in reputation, one of the foremost men of his age in such'
learning; and, though destitute of prestige, he became a man
far in advance of his age and times, and prepared to meet and
refute the opposition of most learned bodies that could then be
assembled in any country. He evidently became self-conscious
of a high and irrepressible destiny.
It is believed that Columbus, after studying the subject for
years, had about the year 1474 arrived at a definite and positive
belief that, by sailing westward across the Atlantic, the unknown
lands, islands, and continents of the western ocean would be dis-
covered. He did not follow the theory of Prince Henry of Por-
tugal, that the only route to Asia by sea was that which led
around the continent of Africa and by doubling the Cape of
Good Hope. He believed that the most direct route to Asia
was a western passage across the Atlantic ; and while this latter
part of the theory of Columbus was an error of detail, the theory
upon which he based it was correct, for the lands were there;
they lay in the very direction in which he sailed ; and by sailing
westward he found them It is singular that neither Prince
Henry the Navigator nor Christopher Columbus lived to realize
the real value of the services which they had rendered to man-
kind. It was in the last year we have named above that
Columbus is known to have mentioned for the first time his great
theory to others. Heretofore his thoughts lay buried in his
mind, but in his mind they constituted a real discovery.
Early in 1474 Columbus opened a correspondence with Dr.
Paul Toscanelli, the learned physician, cosmographer, and geog-
rapher, of Florence, one of the most advanced scientists of the
age, and one not only known and honored at Rome, but appealed
to and consulted by the explorers and cosmographers of the
time, who had already been in correspondence with King
Affonso V., through the Canon Fernando Martinez, on the sub-
ject of the Portuguese voyages to Guinea. To this learned doc-






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


tor Columbus wrote, and announced his theory and intention of
testing the whole question, by making in person a voyage west-
ward across the ocean, and his desire to find the opportunity of
thus demonstrating the true shape and formation of the earth by
sailing around it ; and he sent to the doctor a small globe explain-
ing his views. Dr. Toscanelli's answer to Columbus is dated
June 25th, 1474, in which he applauds in enthusiastic terms the
latter's intention of sailing westward, imparts to him much new
and quaint information on the subject, assures him of success in
such unmeasured terms as to assume the result as an actual fact,
and praises his zeal for the extension of the area of Christendom.
Believing, as he did, in the practicability of reaching India by
the western route, as proposed by Columbus, Dr. Toscanelli
sent to the former, with his noble letter of encouragement and
commendation, and as a return for the globe he had received
from him, a map then of great value, which was prepared and
made up of information and suggestions partly obtained from
the celebrated map of Ptolemy and partly from the writings of
Marco Polo. This celebrated map, which was carried by Colum-
bus on his first voyage-the one which resulted in the discovery
of America-confirmed the previous impressions of Columbus,
for it located the eastern coasts of Asia in front of the western
coasts of Europe and Africa ; the intervening ocean was regarded
as the great highway leading from Europe to Asia, and while it
seems to us singular how the width of the Atlantic could have
been so greatly underestimated, this must be understood as a
mistake caused partly by the imperfect knowledge of the earth
possessed at that day, and by the corresponding exaggeration
by Marco Polo and other authors of the size and width of the
continent of Asia, and its supposed vast unknown empires. On
this early and pioneer map are delineated and located, at con-
venient but conjectural distances apart, the great continental
islands of Cipango, Antilla, and other islands of Eastern Asia.
This noted map, with all its errors and misconceptions, was far
in advance of the geographical knowledge of the age in which it
was produced, and withal contained the pregnant and fruitful
germs of many truths. Columbus was wonderfully encouraged
and animated by this assuring and sympathetic letter of Dr.
Toscanelli, and his mind became immovably bent on the great
enterprise upon which it had been so long meditating. He pro.






ON COLUMBUS.


cured a copy of the work of Marco Polo, in whose learned And
fascinating pages he read of the vast and great empires of Cathay
and Mangi, of their boundless riches and inexhaustible resources,
and upon whose shores a navigator, sailing directly westward
from Europe, according to Dr. Toscanelli, would be certain to
land. In these richly laden pages Columbus read of the bound-
less empire of the Grand Khan of Tartary, of his wealth, grandeur,
and power, the magnificence and splendor of the metropolitan
cities of Cambalu and Quinsai, and the vastness and astounding
details of the immense island of Cipango or Zipangi, which last
is located in the ocean five hundred leagues from and opposite
Cathay. Cipango abounded in gold, spices, precious stones, and
the choicest articles of Oriental wealth and commerce, and the
sovereign of the Imperial Island lived in palaces of immeasurable
brilliancy, splendor, and luxury, the very roofs of which were of
solid gold. While Marco Polo's narratives were exaggerated in
their details, they contained much that was substantially true,
and we now know'that Cathay and Mangi were Northern and
Southern China, and Cipango is now identified with Japan. The
map and letter of Toscanelli and the work of Marco Polo had an
unbounded influence upon the mind and faith of Columbus.
They fired up to the highest pitch the already enkindled and
enthusiastic imagination of that bold and ardent sailor, and they
form a most important part of our history, by reason of the un-
tiring and active influence they ever afterward exerted on the
opinions, theories, actions, and career of the future admiral.
During the whole remaining course of his checkered and eventful
life, and to the hour of his death, the views interchanged between
himself and Dr. Toscanelli remained among his firm convictions.
As he presented his cause to one nation after another, he de-
picted the grandeur and wealth of the great Asiatic empires he
expected to reach and bring into relations with the. European
world, and, in his deep religious feelings and zealous propagan-
dism, he hoped to bring those empires, their sovereigns and peo-
ples to embrace the Christian faith. Even when success crowned
his efforts, he saw in the islands and lands he discovered the out-
posts of the great Oriental empires depicted on the map of Dr.
Toscanelli and portrayed in the graphic pages of Marco Polo.
The errors as to the size of Asia and the width of the earth, east
and west, were fortunate errors; for had the reality been known,







60 OLD AND NEW LIGHTS

Columbus could never have obtained recognition, nor ships, nor
a crew of sailors, to undertake the voyage.
Columbus, as we are informed by his son and biographer,
Fernando Columbus, as the great scheme for discovering the
remaining unknown portions of our globe developed in his well-
stored mind, arranged the grounds upon which he built his
propositions and plans under three distinct heads. He relied in
support of his theories on three sources of information: First,
upon the very nature of things; second, upon the authority of
learned writers; and, third, upon the reports of navigators.
And Columbus, with great method and consummate skill, had
arranged his arguments and facts under these respective heads ?
and this classification well represented the studies of his subject
through which he had passed.
First : He contended that the earth was a globe or terraqueous
sphere ; that the circuit of this earth could be made by a traveler
going either east or west, and that he could return to the spot
from which he had started; he boldly announced his belief in
the antipodes, and then, following Ptolemy, he divided the cir-
cumference of the earth from east to west into twenty-four hours,
each hour containing fifteen degrees, or three hundred and sixty
degrees in all. While he believed that the ancients had known
of fifteen hours, extending from the Canary Islands to the Asiatic
city of Thine, which was supposed to be the most eastern limit
of the known world, the Portuguese had carried the western
limits an hour farther west by discovering the Azores and Cape
Verde Islands; and he computed that his proposed discoveries
would disclose to mankind the remaining eight hours-one third-
being the balance or unknown portion of the earth's circumfer-
ence. This space was occupied by the Atlantic Ocean and the
easternportions of Asia, and, though as estimated by him less
than the actual circumference of the earth as now known, he
thought might be even reduced by the computation of Alfra-
ganus, the Arabian astronomer, who had diminished the size of
the degrees. With this data, drawn from the nature of the
earth, correct in the main theory and erroneous only in detail,
he contended that it was evident that a vessel sailing from east
to west was certain to reach Asia, and whatever islands or lands
rested in the intervening space of the ocean would thus be dis-
covered.







ON COLUMBUS.


Second: Under the second head Columbus manifested his
usual research and learning. The classic authors of ancient
Greece and Rome afforded him far greater authority for his
theory even than modern authors, though his citations were well
supported by the latter. Such writers as Aristotle, Seneca, and
Strabo had believed that a ship might sail ih a few days from
Cadiz to the Indies. Strabo, too, had contended that it would
be quite possible for a vessel to navigate on the same parallel,
due west from the coast of Africa or Spain to the Indies, and
that the ocean surrounds the earth, washing the shores of India
on the east and those of Spain and Mauritania on the west. A
passage from Aristotle is too remarkable to be omitted, and may
be translated thus : The whole inhabitable world consists of an
island, surrounded by an ocean called the Atlantic. It is prob-
able, however, that many other lands exist, opposite to this,
across the ocean, some less, some greater than this; but all,
except this, invisible to us." Plato's" Dialogues" have already
been alluded to, and here we have a direct allusion to a great
island or continent called Atlantis, which had been the seat of a
vast population, of powerful kingdoms, and of an advanced civili-
zation; but that a great cataclysm had involved this vast island
in ruin and had engulfed it in the ocean, leaving the Atlantic
unnavigable by reason of the mud and slime that prevailed in its
waters.t So, too, in jElian mention is made of Europe, Asia,
and Africa composing one island, around which flows the ocean,
the boundary of the world, and that only is continent which
exists beyond the ocean." T There is also another work pub-
lished among the writings of Aristotle, but which some authors
attribute to one of his disciples, entitled De Mirabilibus," in
which it is related that, in the days of Carthage's ascendency,
certain Carthaginian merchants sailed over the Atlantic Ocean,
and after many days arrived at a large island, which was at a
great distance from any continent, was well wooded, watered
with great rivers, and possessed a fertile soil. The voyagers
made a settlement on the island, had their families brought
thither, and the colony grew in power and population. The
magistrate of Carthage, when he became aware of this new em-

Aristotle, De Mondo," cap. iii. f Donnelly's "Atlantis."
f "Var. Hist.," lib. iii., cap. xviii.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


pire springing up in the ocean, and saw the mother country de-
pleted of its population, feared that the new nation might grow
powerful enough to endanger the independence of Carthage
herself, and issued his edicts forbidding the emigration of Car-
thaginians for this new settlement under penalty of death. Pom-
ponius Mela* relates that when Quintus Metellus Celer was pro-
consul of Gaul, the King of Sweden presented him with Indians,
who had been driven by a storm upon the shores of Germany ;
and although the Indian Ocean is mentioned as the medium over
which they had been carried to Germany, the absolute absence
of any such water communication between India and Germany or
Sweden would leave the inference complete that they must have
been borne across the Atlantic. Cornelius Nepos and Pliny
mention this same circumstance. It is also related by Hugo
Grotius that, in the time of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa,
Indians had been driven by a storm on the ocean upon the shores
of Germany, as will be seen by reference to his treatise on the
origin of the American tribes.
The remarkable lines of the learned Seneca, written in the first
half of the first Christian century, are regarded as wonderfully
prophetic of the discovery of America :
Venient annis,
Secula series, quibus Oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat Tellus, Typhisque novos
Detegat Orbes, nec sit terris
Ultima Thule."f
Mr. Joshua Toulman Smith, in his Northmen in America," thus
freely translates this passage, now nearly nineteen centuries old,
as follows :
Naught now its ancient place retains;
Araxes' banks the Indian gains ;
The Persian, Elbe and Rhine hath found,
Far from his country's ancient bound.
And ages yet to come shall see
Old Ocean's limits passed and free,
Where lands, wide-stretched, beyond our view lie
Remoter than remotest Thule."
The Latin professor in one of our classical colleges has furnished
ime with the following more literal and graceful translation :


*_"De Situ Orbis," lib. iii., cap. v.


t Seneca's Medea."








ON COLUMBUS.


"An age in the dim distant future
Shall the bonds of the ocean unbind;
Shall open up earth to its limits,
And continents new shall it find,
When ultima Thule has left
But a name or a record behind."
In more modern times, about two centuries before Columbus
announced his intention of revealing to the world the undiscov-
ered lands of the western ocean, Dante had announced in divine
verses his belief in such a fact :
De' vostri sensi, ch' 6 del rimanente,
Non vogliate negar l'esperienza,
Diretro al sol, del mondo senza gente."*
This beautiful passage has been admirably rendered by Carey,
as follows:
Obrothers,' I began, 'who to the West
Through perils without number now have reached,
To this the short remaining match, that yet
Our senses have to wake, refuse not proof
Of the unpeopled world, following the track
Of Phoebus.'"
And Longfellow, our own illustrious countryman, has rendered
the same inspired words of the divine Dante into the following
expressive English verses :
brothers, who amid a hundred thousand
Perils,' I said, 'have come unto the west,
To this so inconsiderable vigil
Which is remaining of your senses still,
Be ye unwilling to deny the knowledge,
Following the sun, of the unpeopled world.'"
The Cosmographia" of Cardinal Aliaco, who was born in
1340 and died in 1425, was a favorite work with Columbus, and
while the text and the map accompanying the same partake
greatly of the marvellous, for myths go hand in hand with facts
and history, it gave valuable information on the subjects of
Columbus's deep and constant thought and study.
But the most remarkable passage, that occurs in any work pub-
lished before Columbus had achieved his great discovery, is one
in the Morgante Maggiore" of the Florentine poet Pulci, who
makes the devil answer his companion Rinaldo, in allusion to the

Dante's Inferno," cant. 26, v. I15.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


common superstition respecting the end of the earth being
located at the Pillars of Hercules, our modern Gibraltar, thus:
Know that this theory is false; his bark
The daring mariner shall urge far o'er
The western wave, a smooth and level plain,
Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.
Man was in ancient days of grosser mould,
And Hercules might blush tolearn how far
Beyond the limits he had vainly set,
The dullest sea-boat soon shall wing her way.
Men shall descry another hemisphere,
Since to one common centre all things tend;
So earth, by curious mystery divine
Well balanced, hangs amid the starry spheres.
At our antipodes are cities, states,
And thronged empires, ne'er divined of yore;
But see, the Sun speeds on his western path
To glad the nations with expected light."*

The author of these enlightened verses, showing a knowledge of
scientific facts not fully demonstrated until more than a century
afterward, was a contemporary of Columbus. He was born at
Florence in 1431, and died, before the admiral had succeeded in
getting any recognition of his theories, 1487. The Morgante
Maggiore" of Pulci was first published at Florence in 1481.
We have already alluded to the work of Marco Polo, who had
traveled through many parts of Asia in the thirteenth century,
and the influence it exerted upon the mind, theories, and subse-
quent career of Columbus He also attached great importance
to the work of Sir John Mandeville, an English traveler, who
in the fourteenth century proceeded to the East, visited the holy
places in Palestine, and by the favor of the Sultan of Egypt
acquired facilities for traveling through Armenia, Persia, India,
Tartary, and Northern China, which last-named country was
then called in the books Cathay. It is curious and interesting to
notice in the life and writings of Columbus how his strong mind,
while appropriating all the solid learning and verified facts re-
lated by these learned and enterprising authors and travelers,
was, like their own minds, swayed by the mixture of fact and
fable which characterized theirs and all the other cosmographi-

Pulci, "Morgante Maggiore," cant. 25, st.'23o. I have given Mr. Prescott's
translation of these verses. See his Ferdinand and Isabella," vol. ii., p. 117.







ON COLUMBUS.


cal works of that and of previous ages. It was from such sources
that Columbus derived his idea of the vastness of the Continent
of Asia, which he believed filled the greater part of the unex-
plored space of the earth's surface, and left the width of the
ocean to be crossed only about four thousand miles from Lisbon
to the province of Mangi, near Cathay, now known to be North-
ern China. Columbus concluded that a voyage of no long dura-
tion would carry him to the eastern provinces of Asia and the
vast and opulent adjacent islands. Dr. Toscanelli, the learned
Florentine correspondent of Columbus, had also transmitted to
him a letter he had previously written to Fernando Martinez,
the learned canon of Lisbon already mentioned, giving a mag-
nificent description of those wealthy Asiatic regions, taken from
the work of Marco Polo, maintaining the practicability of the
western Atlantic route to Asia, and mapping out the voyage as
laying in the route of the opulent and favored islands of Antilla
and Cipango, at whose safe harbors the ships of such an expedi-
tion could touch, replenish their supplies, rest their crews, and
open those rich and productive markets to the commerce of
Europe. It was even undertaken to show the distance between
Antilla and Cipango, which was stated at two hundred and
twenty-five leagues. The previously conceived views and plans
of Columbus were greatly confirmed by such cogent and respect-
able authorities, and his alert mind expanded to the vast achieve-
ments which it had originated.
Third : The reports of navigators concerning their voyages,
and the indications of unexplored lands which they had observed,
also made a deep impression on the mind of Columbus. In that
active age of discovery every circumstance, however trifling in
itself, was seized upon to confirm the aspirations of ambitious ex-
plorers and discoverers. Columbus allowed nothing of this sort
to escape his vigilant eye. His theories were confirmed by
numerous objects which had floated ashore in Europe from the
ocean, as so many indications of the existence of western lands ;
shreds of knowledge derived from the veteran navigators of the
coast of Africa; the statements and rumors current among the
inhabitants of the newly discovered islands along the African
coasts; the statement of an old Portuguese pilot named Martin
Vincenti, that he had taken from the ocean a piece of carved
wood, evidently wrought with an iron tool, at a distance of four







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


hundred and fifty leagues west of Cape St. Vincent; the reported
sight of a similar piece of wood by his brother-in-law, Pedro
Corea, on the island of Porto Santo ; the narration by the King of
Portugal concerning the reeds of immense size, which had floated
to the shores of some of the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic from
the west, and which Columbus recognized as answering the
description of the mighty reeds which Ptolemy describes as grow-
ing in India-all these, and other similar reports, brought the
theories of Columbus to a certain conviction of fact. Following
up this line of inquiry, his notes show that he received also infor-
mation from the inhabitants of the Azores of large trunks of
great pine-trees, such as never grew on these islands, which
were floated to their shores from the western ocean. Still more
important and startling, he was informed of the floating ashore,
on the island of Flores, of the bodies of two dead men, whose
features were not similar to those of any of the then known races
of men. A mariner of the port of St. Mary reported that, in a
recent voyage to Ireland, he and his crew had seen lands to the
west, which they believed were the remote eastern lands of Tar-
tary. The traditions and fables of the past centuries were re-
vived in a maritime age like that, such as those relating to St.
Brandon's Island, the islands of the Seven Cities, and other
similar mythical colonies of less enlightened times. It is inter-
esting to observe from his notes, referred to by his son Fernando,
how the practical mind of Columbus, though now worked up to
a degree of wonderful enthusiasm, distinguished between fable
and fact. He saw, however, from all these things, that an un-
broken tradition-such, no doubt, as Mr. Winsor builds his whole
work on Columbus upon-showed the belief of ages that many
undiscovered lands existed, and that the field of enterprise was.
open to him, and that the time had come.
The authors to whom I have referred show, not the current
and ordinary belief of the age in which Columbus lived, but they
are wholly the examples of the most advanced and exceptional
thought in preceding times and in his own. We have shown in
our first chapter how the Atlantic was regarded as the Sea of
Darkness, and the hearts of the most experienced navigators re-
coiled with fear from its terrors. Asia was then unexplored ; the
size and shape of the earth were unknown ; the ocean was a sealed
mystery and a seething vortex of death; the laws of specific







ON COLUMBUS. 67

gravity and of central gravitation had not been discovered ; and
it was natural under these circumstances that astonishment and
opposition should be provoked by so daring a project as that of
Columbus. These facts, however, also show how Columbus,
availing himself of rare works and studies, had advanced to a
conviction far beyond the development of knowledge and science
in his age. It is an unchallenged fact that to Columbus alone is
due the merit of this great discovery, the revelation of one half
the world's surface to the inhabitants of the other half. The
achievement proves the fact. His studies and struggles, so far
in advance of his age and so much in conflict with the prevail-
ing convictions of the civilized world, present a most interesting
phase in the history of the human mind-it was the effort of
man, led by one master mind, to assert dominion over the whole
earth; it was the movement of human intellect to cast off the
inherited ignorance and prejudices of ages ; it was a vast stride
of civilization, of science, of thought, of conquest. Such was
the mental and moral movement, with all its train of social,,
political, and commercial results, in which the world was led by
Christopher Columbus. Truly did he say of himself: I have
been seeking out the secrets of nature for forty years, and wher-
ever ship has sailed, there have I voyaged."
We have already related how the bold plans of Columbus for
discovering the remaining undiscovered portions of the earth,
and for exploring the space of ocean between Europe and Asia,
had matured in his mind as early as the year 1474. Between
that time and the period of his final career of success, which we
are now approaching, it would seem that he actually proposed
his plans first to his native city of Genoa and then to Venice,
" the city by the sea." The times and circumstances of these
negotiations are not precisely known, and some obscurity rests
upon this part of the admiral's career.- It is thought that, from
motives of patriotism and love for his native place, he proposed
to Genoa first to take up his scheme and supply him with ships
to carry it into execution. Not only was his proposal refused by
the Senate of Genoa, but,.after pleading the depleted condition
of the public treasury, they even threw doubts upon his being
the originator of the theory and plan. They alleged that the
records of their city showed that, two hundred years before, two
noble Genoese captains had sailed westward over the Atlantic,







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


and had never returned or been heard of. Turning next to
Venice, he met with a courteous but firm refusal. It is probable
that these events occurred prior to 1476, as it is asserted that
from Venice he returned to visit his aged and venerable father
at Savona, whom he found bent under his seventy years and his
lifelong embarrassments, and that he assisted his good parent
from his own scanty means. He returned to Lisbon, which was
then and for many years the central point of nautical and geo-
graphical enterprise.*
At length the time seemed to have arrived for Columbus to
advance upon his great mission. The epoch seemed propitious.
The late King Alphonso had been too much occupied with
dynastic and political ambitions to embark in other and more
beneficent, though expensive undertakings. Yet it is thought
that Columbus proposed his plans to him before the death
of that king. Though the expeditions commenced along the
coast of Africa by Prince' Henry the Navigator had produced
great results for Portugal, and though the mariner's compass
had grown into more extensive application, the mind of the king
and the sentiments of the people had not thrown off the timidity
and fear of the ocean, which had been transmitted to the Europe
of the fifteenth century from past ages. But now, in 1481, a
young, more intelligent, and ambitious monarch had reached the
throne of Portugal in the person of John II.; the invention of
printing had given great impetus to all kinds of study and re-
search, and the secrets of knowledge were now an open book to
all. The young king seemed to have succeeded to the energy
and enterprise of Prince Henry. He erected a fort at St. George
de la Mina, on the coast of Africa, for the protection of Portu-
guese commerce, and looked with pride upon the maritime
achievements of his country. The publication of the geographi-
cal works of Marco Polo, Sir John Mandeville, and other great
travelers and geographers had deeply interested all, and now
the narratives of Benjamin ben Jonah, of Tudela, in Spain, in-
tensified the already deep interest felt in the study of the earth
and the remote nations, empires, and countries thereof. Rabbi
Benjamin had started from Saragossa in 1173, with the view of

On these points the reader can consult with interest the pages of Irving and
Tarducci.







ON COLUMBUS.


reaching the remnants of the scattered tribes of Israel, wandered
over almost the entire Oriental countries, advanced into China,
and reached the extreme southern Asiatic islands.* So popular
and instructive was this work, that after its translation into
Western European languages, it had sixteen editions. To this
publication was added the works of travel by the two friars,
Carpini and Ascelin, whom Pope Innocent IV. had sent as apos-
tolic envoys, respectively in 1246 and 1247, to announce the
Gospel to the Grand Khan of Tartary. So also was read with
avidity the journal of William Rubruquis, a Franciscan monk of
the Cordelier branch of that order, whom St. Louis, King of
France, had dispatched on a like pious errand, and who went
forth from the French crusade at Palestine, in 1253. The publi-
cation of these great works in print in the fifteenth century, and
their influence on the learned mind of Europe and their promo-
tion of the spirit of maritime enterprise and inland continental
exploration, form an interesting guide in estimating how greatly
the invention of printing was influential in hastening the dis-
covery of America. So prominently did the famous and long-
sought-for Christian monarch of the East, Prester John, figure
in most of these narratives, that, as late as the times of which
I am now writing, King John II. of Portugal sent pious mission-
aries in search of this mythical and renowned personage, with the
desire of reuniting him and his supposed Christian subjects to
the one fold of Christ. He determined to revive the efforts of
Prince Henry, and he expended both energy, study, and treasure
in the most active prosecution of nautical and astronomical
studies and improvements, and in increasing the means and appli-
ances of maritime development. In his efforts to secure greater
certainty of results and security to ships and crews, as well as
more accurate guides and means of navigation, he brought to-
gether the three most learned astronomers and cosmographers
of Portugal, his own physicians, Drs. Joseph and Roderigo, and
the distinguished navigator, Martin Behaim ; and the grand re-
sult of their joint studies, researches, and experiments was the
application of the astrolabe to navigation, by whose aid mariners
were able to ascertain at sea at any point the distance from the

Irving's "Life of Columbus," vol. i., p. 62 ; Bergeron, Voyages en Asie," tom.
i. ; Andres, Hist. B. Let.," ii., cap. 6.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


equator. The effect of this great discovery on navigation was
magical. The learned saw in it the loosing of the shackles which
bound the gallant ship to the timid limits of the coastwise navi-
gation, and the unlearned sailor needed only to experience its
unerring guidance at sea to inspire him with courage to brave
the terrors of the ocean. Yet all these influences were princi-
pally confined for the time to the learned few, and to the ad-
vanced thinkers of the age; but there was no living navigator,
whose quick and experienced mind saw the value of this great
step, and appreciated it more or as much, as that of Christopher
Columbus. He saw that the age predicted by Seneca had
arrived, when the bonds of the ocean should be loosed, when the
earth's limits should be reached, and when a man of skill and of
courage should discover continents. He saw at once from the
astrolabe that
the sky
Spreads like an ocean hung on high."
It seemed at first like a providence that had led his steps to
Lisbon, whose king and court were such enthusiastic patrons of
maritime science and discoveries. His mind did not rely upon
common report or popular rumor and conjecture; with him it
was an immovable conviction resting upon scientific data. At
the same time, being of a sanguine temperament, his enthusiasm
rose to the highest elevation, and he felt himself justified in meet-
ing kings and courts, and claiming the trial and the inevitable
and just reward of his labors and researches. So exalted was
his perception of the truth, that he felt that he could dictate his
own terms to those who would reap the fruits of his bold con-
ceptions. At the same time, he regarded even a hearing as a
boon. In his intercourse with men he was courteous, simple,
and gracious, and used-both the persuasiveness of his eloquence
and the cogency of his arguments. He knew that King John of
Portugal was most anxious to find the route to India, for which
Prince Henry had sought so many years, and this he thought
opened to him his opportunity. He sought an audience with the
king, which, after some delay and hesitation, was granted. He
now presented his plan of a shorter, more direct, and safer route
to the coveted regions of India, and proposed that, if the king
would supply him with the necessary vessels, he would accom-
plish the voyage to India, not by sailing around Africa, as the







ON COLUMBUS.


Portuguese had been for years endeavoring to do, but by sailing
directly westward across the Atlantic Ocean. He supported his
proposals by arguments and facts drawn from the nature, size,
and shape of the earth, from the writings of learned authors, and
from the reports of veteran navigators. While he dwelt elo-
quently on the vastness and wealth of the Asiatic empires he
would find, he expressed the conviction that Cipango, the great
island of unbounded opulence, would be the first land he would
reach on his route.
Fernando Columbus,* no doubt deriving his information from
the note-books of his father, represents King John as receiving
favorably these startling proposals, but that he declined them at
first on account of the vast expenditure already incurred in en-
deavoring to reach Asia by the African coastwise route; that
Columbus sustained his proposals with such facts and reasons,
enforced them with such eloquence, that the king consented to the
proposals; but, when it came to the adjustment of the terms, as
Columbus demanded concessions of such titles and substantial
rewards, commensurate with the magnificent results he felt sure
of accomplishing, that the negotiation fell through. The Portu-
guese historians, however, represent the king as regarding
Columbus as overconfident and vainly presumptuous, and treated
him merely with royal condescension. In fact, the king's credu-
lity in Oriental fables far exceeded the enthusiasm of Columbus
in behalf of a rational, but then regarded as a new and rash enter-
prise. The proposals were referred by the king to three learned
men, Roderigo and Joseph, two expert cosmographers, and
Diego Ortiz de Cazadilla, Bishop of Ceuta, a man of great re-
puted learning; but this learned Junto, regarding the plan as
unfounded and chimerical, reported against it. But as King
John was not content with this summary method of disposing of
the subject, he convened a council composed of the savans of the
kingdom, and requested their views on the subject. Though this
learned body rejected the proposition of Columbus, it is evident
from the speeches of the Bishop of Ceuta and of the Count of
Villa Real, Don Pedro de Mereses, that Columbus must have
gained some ground with the council, since his proposals were

Historie," etc., cap. xii. ; Mr. Brownson's translation of Tarducci's "Co-
lumbus," vol. i., p. 66.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


now apparently not rejected on account of their visionary and
impracticable nature, but on account of the depleted exchequer
and the preference of the Portuguese, through national pride,
for the route proposed by Prince Henry, the route around the
Cape of Good Hope, which had already, in its prosecution, led
to such glorious results for Portugal, and had made her the fore-
most of maritime countries, though the smallest. Even this re-
sult did not satisfy the inclinations of the king toward an effort
to accomplish what, if successful, would crown Portugal and his
own reign with imperishable glory. It was at this juncture that
Portugal made choice of a course, in respect to Columbus and
his noble propositions, as disgraceful as the opposite course would
have been wise and honorable. Yielding to the dishonorable sug-
gestions of one of his council, King John, after mendaciously pro-
curing, as if for the council, from Columbus, a minute plan of his
proposed voyage and the maps and charts illustrative thereof,
secretly and treacherously dispatched an expedition of his own,
designed to rob Columbus of his glory and appropriate it for
himself. Thus a caravel was sent out to cross the ocean in search
of the promised land of Columbus, under the false and deceptive
pretext of carrying provisions to the Cape Verde Islands.
The captain had instructions to pursue the route westward in-
dicated by Columbus. After the departure from the Cape
Verde Islands, and pursuing the westward route for some days,
the first severe weather, accompanied with storms, brought back
to the imaginations and faint hearts of the crew the traditional
terrors of the Sea of Darkness. They quailed before the task,
and disgracefully returned to the land they had disgracefully
left. To shield themselves, they had recourse to open ridicule
and raillery against Columbus and his project, representing his
plans as impossible, vain, and absurd.*
The lofty spirit of Columbus rose with indignation at this.
treachery when he heard of it, more especially when practised
by a king and his council. He proudly rejected every offer of
the king to enter into new treaties. 'Portugal had not only re-
jected his offers, but had attempted to rob him of his glory. He
resolved to leave the treacherous land. The loss of his wife in

Mr. Brownson's translation of Tarducci's "Columbus," vol. i.; Irving's Co-
lumbus," vol. i.







ON COLUMBUS.


1476 had long ago broken the last social link that bound him to
the country.
Mr. Irving justly writes of the difficulties Columbus experi-
enced in getting recognition of his grand projects: To such
men the project of a voyage directly westward, into the midst
of that boundless waste, to seek some visionary land, appeared
as extravagant as it would be at the present day to launch forth
in a balloon into the regions of space in quest of some distant star."
Taking his departure from Portugal, in the autumn of 1484,
Columbus, accompanied by his young son Diego, turned his
course toward Spain. His departure from Lisbon was a secret
one, as is supposed for the double purpose of avoiding forcible
detention by the treacherous yet envious king, or by his creditors,
for the former was desirous of reopening negotiations with him ;
and such was the poverty of this most aspiring man of the age,
that he was probably compelled to beg his bread, or purchase it
on credit, while on the eve of bestowing continents on mankind.*
The dignity and justice of history, the conservative caution
and necessity for substantial material as the basis of a statement or
conjecture, which ought to characterize historical criticism of an
acceptable standard, should have prevented historians or critics,
such as Harrisse and Winsor, from uttering another calumny
against the name and fame of so eminent and historical a person-
age as Christopher Columbus, or even a mere sinister insinuation
-for such only is it-such as the intimation that he deserted his
first wife and other children when he left Portugal in the latter
part of 1484. Winsor, unreasonably following Harrisse, to
whom he himself attributes habitual scepticism, gives expression
to this, among his many calumnies against the great discoverer,
in the following illogical and unhistorical passage : Irving and
the biographers in general find in the death of Columbus's wife
a severing of the ties which bound him to Portugal; but if there
is any truth in the tumultuous letter which Columbus wrote to
Donna Juana de la Torre, in 1500, he left behind him in Portugal,
when he fled into Spain, a wife and children. If there is the
necessary veracity in the Historie,' this wife had died before

Irving's "Columbus," vol. i., p. 69 ; Mr. Brownson's translation of Tarducci's
Life of Columbus," vol. ;., pp. 70, 71. See also the Count de Lorgues' Columbus,"
and the general list of authors herein given, bearing on the subject of Columbus, etc.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


he abandoned .the country. That he had other children at this
time than Diego is only known through this sad, ejaculatory
epistle. If he left a wife in Portugal, as his own words aver,
Harrisse seems justified in saying that he deserted her, and in
the same letter Columbus says that he never saw her again."
Now the letter in question had no reference whatever to his
leaving Portugal or to his first wife, whom he married in
Madeira. It was written in 1500oo, when he was returning to
Spain in chains, and with his manacled hands. It was addressed
to a friend whom he had at court, and who, he knew, would
communicate it to Queen Isabella, Donna Juana de la Torre ; and
she, in fact, did communicate the letter to the queen. This
letter is one of complaint over the wrongs he was then suffering
from the hands of Bobadilla, in the name of the sovereigns, and
was an appeal to them for justice, to which end he recounted
what he had done and suffered in their service. Portugal had
passed far away from his daily memories, at that dread moment
especially, and he had no regrets for having fifteen'years before
abandoned a country where he had met with nothing but delay,
deception, treachery, and wrong. The wife and children to
whom he alluded in this letter were Donna Beatrix Enriquez
and his two children, Diego and Fernando, all of whom he
had left living together at Cordova, in order to embark in the
perilous and momentous service of the Spanish king and queen;
his family was never reunited again, and it was true, as stated
by Columbus in this important letter, he never had the happi-
ness of living with his family again. Such was the treatment
which Columbus had received in Portugal, that it would be a
violent interpretation to put upon a letter written at any after
period by him, that he expressed regrets at leaving that country,
or that he regarded it, as in any sense, a sacrifice to have ex-
changed it for Spain.
This letter serves the double purpose of refuting two cal-
umnies, which Mr. Winsor repeats after other writers, against
the character of Columbus : first, that he deserted his wife and
children in Portugal, and second, that he was never married to
the mother of his second son, Fernando. It was, in fact, his son
Fernando who accompanied his father on his fourth and last
voyage, and received from the admiral's lips the details of his
eventful life. These sacred communications between the father






ON COLUMBUS.


and son were, after the admiral's death, used as the materials
for the Historia del Almirante," written by this devoted son ;
and in this important work Fernando states expressly that the
admiral's first wife died before he left Portugal. Could there
be a better witness than this, who repeated the very account he
received from the admiral himself ? Is it possible that Columbus
should, in this very same voyage, in a letter to Donna Juana de
la Torre, have contradicted what he had just told Fernando?
But Mr. Winsor, in order to maintain his accusation against
Columbus, found it necessary to deny the veracity of his son and
historian, Fernando Columbus. It is the uniform voice of his-
tory that the character of Fernando Columbus was above re-
proach. In a Spanish work giving the history of the eminent
families of the very city in which Fernando was born, he is spoken
of as a gentleman of great intelligence, bravery, virtue, and
a great scholar."
The letter of Columbus to Donna Juana de la Torre, which Mr.
Winsor uses so uncandidly as the basis of his assertion that
Columbus, in 1484, deserted his first wife and children in Por-
tugal, was, on the contrary, relied upon by other writers as
proof of the opposite' conclusion, and they applied it to his leav-
ing his second wife, Beatrix Enriquez, and his two sons at Cor-
dova, in order to find a new world for Spain. Count Roselly
de Lorgues, in his Life of Columbus," writes of this very point
as follows : Finally, these assurances (as to the legitimacy of
Columbus's relations with Beatrix) received their last irrefraga-
ble guarantee from the very hand of Columbus himself. In a
letter to persons whose duty he considered it was to support
his reclamations at the court of Spain, he reminds them that for
the service of the crown he quitted all-wife -and children-and
never enjoyed the sweetness of living with his family." Mr.
Fiske, with the same misconception of the allusions in the letter,
draws quite a different conclusion-one, on the contrary, honor-
able to Columbus. He says: My own notion is that Colum-
bus may have left his wife with an infant and perhaps one older
child, relieving her of the care of Diego by taking him. to his
aunt" (in Spain), and intending as soon as practicable to reunite

Winsor's Columbus,"etc., p. 154 ; Count Roselly de Lorgues' "Life of Colum-
bus," by Dr. Barry, p. 43.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


the family. He clearly did not know at the outset whether he
should stay in Spain or not." *
But now we have the result of the researches of Senhor
Pereira, Director of the National Library at Lisbon, and of
Senhora Regina Maney, among the national archives of Portugal
-results bearing directly and powerfully on this point. For the
information they thus give on the subject we are indirectly
indebted to Mr. Winsor himself, for in her preface Senhora
Maney states that when she applied to the Director of the
National Library at Lisbon to join her in her researches, he
opened our Winsor's book on Columbus at the page where that
author intimates that much that was new could probably be
learned about Columbus from documents not yet examined in
the Torre de Tombo (the national archives)." They accordingly
looked where Mr. Winsor pointed the way, and most of their
conclusions are based upon those very archives. In 1476
Diego Columbus was born, the only fruit of this union, the little
fecundity of which has been to us an object of some reflection,
when we consider the healthy stock both Donna Philippa and
Columbus sprang from, as well as a few facts several writers
hint at with regard to the epoch of that lady's death.
In Pira Loureiro's genealogical work, whose twenty-eight
volumes have been most useful to us, we see the confirmation of
our suspicion that the death of Columbus's wife must have fol-
lowed quite close upon the birth of her son. Before the name
of Donna Philippa is to be read the summary notice, that she
did not live long after the birth of her son.' Did she die in
child-bed ? Did she enjoy only a few days or weeks of the in-
effable happiness of being a mother ?
This species of revelation, which by itself cannot define an
epoch, contains a fact in the life of Columbus that has a certain
logical value in turning that life less vague, which has much
impressed us. This fact consists in the departure of the daring
navigator for the Arctic regions in 1477.
"We observe Columbus got married in 1475, had a son born
to him in 1476, and left for a most dangerous voyage in 1477,
there existing no known engagement of any kind or plans con-
ceived and matured beforehand. The rapid succession of the


* Fiske's Discovery of America," vol. i., p. 399, note.







ON COLUMBUS.


three facts has a something of mystery about it, on account of
the precipitation of the latter. Reason and heart alike refuse to
believe that the peaceful life of Columbus and Donna Philippa,
who saw their union blessed and their poor home gladdened by
the birth of a son, should in the very year following this event
be rudely disturbed by a long separation without a sudden and
powerful motive.
The above transcribed phrase, and the fact of this rather
violent separation, concur in perfect harmony in fixing the epoch
of Donna Philippa's death as between the birth of the son and
the voyage of her husband to the northern seas.
The grandmother of the little boy-child was to take the place
of the mother, substituting her love and care for that of which
death deprived the poor infant all too soon. The father, pro-
foundly wounded in his passionate attachment to his wife, took
one of those extreme resolutions in which great moral sufferings
sometimes end." *
The important facts thus arrayed by these accomplished Por-
tuguese scholars, as I am credibly informed they are, already
confirmed by the explicit statement in Loureiro's genealogical
works, receive further confirmation from Columbus's voyages
among the islands and main stations in Portuguese Africa imme-
diately after his return from Iceland, from his abandonment of
Funchal and Machico as a residence, his return to Lisbon, his
long and ultimate stay in that capital, and the fact that during
the remaining seven years of his sojourn in Portugal no mention
is made of Philippa or of his having a wife. Repeating the
cogent language of the authors of The Wife of Columbus,"
" heart and reason alike refuse to believe" that it was possible
that Columbus under such circumstances and facts could have
" deserted" her, who had married him in poverty at Funchal,
and shared his sorrows.


* The Wife of Columbus," Pereira and Maney, pp. 46, 47.















CHAPTER IV.


Ay, nerve thy spirit to the proof,
And blench not at thy chosen lot ;
The timid good may stand aloof,
The sage may frown-yet faint thou not!
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The hissing, stinging bolt of scorn;
For with thy side will dwell at last
The victory of endurance borne."
-BRYANT.
THOUGH Columbus left Lisbon in the autumn of 1484, we have
no traces of his immediate movements or presence until the fol-
lowing year. Some have supposed that it was during this uncer-
tain interval that he made propositions to Genoa and Venice.
Such was his filial piety, such his love for home, that he now,
no doubt, visited and assisted his venerable father, carrying with
him his son Diego. It is quite probable, as asserted by some
authors upon tradition only and without any authentic proofs of
the fact, that from Portugal he again proceeded to Genoa, in
1484, and for the second time earnestly pressed his application
upon the Senate of his native city. It is further stated that the
vessels of the little republic were all needed and were then
actively in service at home, and not a ship could be spared for
a service which would have reflected much greater profit and
honor upon the Genoese.
The first information we have of Columbus's arrival in Spain,
according to Mr. Irving,* was in the year 1485. According to
others it was in January, 1486. The chivalrous spirit of that
noble nation, its zeal for the ancient faith and for its extension to
heathen peoples, the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile
under Ferdinand and Isabella, and the intelligence and energy
of those two young and accomplished sovereigns, induced him
to go, discouraged but not disheartened, to that gallant people.


* Irving's "Columbus," vol. i., p. 72.







ON COLUMBUS.


Tired, however, of the delays and disappointments he had experi-
enced at the various governments to which he had applied, we
find him first in the south of Spain negotiating with opulent and
powerful noblemen, such as the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and
Medina Cell, who possessed immense estates, who even main-
tained armies of their own, and were more like allies than vassals
of the crown. The Duke of Medina Celi received Columbus as
his guest, and was so thoroughly convinced of the practicability
of his plans, that he was on the point of placing at his disposal a
fleet of three or four caravels then ready for sea in his own har-
bor of Port St. Mary, near Cadiz; but the consideration that
such an undertaking was more fitting for the king and queen,
and that he might thereby provoke the animosity of the crown,
deterred him from the undertaking. The apprehension that
Columbus would go to France caused the duke to give him a
letter to Queen Isabella, in which he recommended him and his
project to her Majesty, and requested, in case the expedition
was undertaken, that himself might be permitted to share in it.
Columbus repaired at once to the Spanish sovereigns, then hold-
ing their court at Cordova.
There is a singular difference in the account given of this part
of the life of Columbus by Mr. Irving and by Senor Tarducci.
The latter does not find any trace of him in Spain until the spring
of 1486, when he states that his first visit to the Convent of La
Rabida, accompanied by his son Diego, took place. Columbus
is represented as leaving his little son with the prior of the con-
vent, while, he, supplied with money for his journey, a letter
of introduction to the Father Prior of the Monastery of El Prado,
and fortified with the blessing and encouragement of Father Juan
Perez de Marchena, started in the spring of 1486 for Cordova to
lay his proposals before the sovereigns. Mr. Irving makes
Columbus pay but one visit to the convent before the signing of
the capitulations with the Spanish sovereigns, while Tarducci
relates two such visits, the second one being in 1491 or 1492,
when Columbus, after exhausting all his efforts with the crown,
was on the eve of departing from Spain for France.
The Count de Lorgues states that Columbus went from Por-
tugal to Genoa and Venice, there in succession had his proposal
declined, and that he returned to Spain in 1485, when his first
visit to the Convent of La Rabida took place. He also states







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


that in 1491 or 1492 Columbus, despairing of aid from Spain,
was about to go to France, but paid a second visit to the Con-
vent of La Rabida. Yet the still later account of Justin Winsor,
in 1891, shows that author unable to determine whether Colum-
bus visited the Convent of La Rabida once or twice. In one
place he writes: Ever since a physician of Palos, Garcia Fer-
nandez, gave his testimony in the lawsuit through which, after
Columbus's death, his son defended his titles against the crown,
the picturesque story of the Convent of Rabida, and the appear-
ance at its gate of a forlorn traveller accompanied by a little boy,
and the supplication for bread and water for the child, has stood
in the lives of Columbus as the opening scene of his career in
Spain." And again he says: This story has almost always
been placed in the opening of the career of Columbus in Spain.
It has often in sympathizing hands pointed a moral in contrasting
the abject condition of those days with the proud expectancy
under which, some years later, he sailed out of the neighboring
harbor of Palos, within eyeshot of the monks of Rabida. Irving,
however, analyzed the reports of the famous trial already referred
to, and was quite sure that the events of two visits to Rabida
had been unwittingly run into one in testimony given after so
long an interval of years. It does, indeed, seem that we must
either apply this evidence of 1513 and 1515 to a later visit, or
else we must determine that there was great similarity in some
of the incidents of the two visits."t But subsequently, narrating
the events of 149I, the same writer says : A consultation which
now took place at the Convent of Rabida affords particulars
which the historians have found difficult, as already stated, in
keeping distinct from those of an earlier visit, if there were
such." t
Mr. John Fiske, however, with historical acumen and de-
cisiveness, but with less pretension to expert criticism, was able
to arrive at a definite and positive opinion on the subject. He
makes Columbus go into the service of Ferdinand and Isabella
in January, 1486, after an interval of over a year of unascertained
engagements, possibly in Genoa and Venice, and he places the
only visit of Columbus to the Convent of La Rabida in 1491,
when he was about to abandon Spain in hopelessness. In this


* Winsor's Columbus," etc., p. 154.


. Id., p. 173.


f Id., p. 156.







ON COLUMBUS. S8

account he says : For some reason or other-tradition says to
ask for some bread and water for his boy-he stopped at the
Franciscan Monastery of La Rabida, about half a league from
Palos. The prior, Juan Perez, who had never seen Columbus
before, became greatly interested in him, and listened with
earnest attention to his story." And in another place he says :
" It is pretty clear that Columbus never visited La Rabida before
the autumn of 1491."
Ferdinand and Isabella were two of the most remarkable, suc-
cessful, and promising sovereigns in Europe. As two prominent
figures in the history of the discovery of America, they seem to
stand in parallel yet contrasting attitudes with Prince Henry
the Navigator and Christopher Columbus the discoverer. Their
reign was in many respects the most glorious and the most re-
markable in the history of Spain. Their crowns were only united
by marriage, each retaining a separate and yet a co-ordinate sov-
ereignty. They could act for their respective kingdoms inde-
pendently of each other; each had a separate exchequer and a
separate council; and yet all the acts of sovereignty were their
joint acts; they both joined in signing royal documents; the
coin of the country bore the images of both; and the arms of
Aragon and Castile were united on the royal seal. Such, how-
ever, was the independence of the one from the other, that it
was almost entirely the separate glory of Isabella that Columbus
was enabled to discover the new world. Ferdinand was rather
an impediment, and even when a new world was placed at his
feet he was not grateful.
Ferdinand's character was set off by many lights and shadows,
and it seems strange how so many good and bad qualities could
be united in the same person. He was fortunate to a marvel-
lous degree, inheriting Aragon, acquiring Castile by marriage,
seizing Navarre on the excommunication of its sovereigns, taking
Granada and Naples by conquest, reducing by his arms Tunis,
Tripoli, Algiers, and most of the Barbary States, and making
them vassals of his throne. His extraordinary fortunes were
crowned by having a beautiful and accomplished queen for his
wife, and in having a new world placed at his command with
little effort, sympathy, or expenditure on his part. He was a

Fiske's "Discovery of America," vol. i., pp. 399, 4o0.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


man of deep and uniform, though perhaps not always consistent
religious faith and zeal; he prosecuted with success the conquest
of the Moors in Spain and added their country to his crown, and
expelled the Jews from his dominions. He was rewarded by
Pope Innocent VIII. with the title of Most Catholic Majesty.
But Ferdinand was selfish, intolerant, grasping, wily, ungrateful,.
and, when his interests were involved, unscrupulous.
The character of Isabella was a model of moral, intellectual,
religious, and queenly symmetry. Beautiful in person, graceful
in movement, and benignant in every expression, she possessed
a tender heart, a quick and expansive intellect, a generous nature,
and a pure and upright conscience. She surpassed in judgment
and intellect her more astute consort; she had more genius than
he, and on many occasions exhibited greater firmness and in-
trepidity. He was subtle and calculating; she was gifted with
higher genius and with a truer and more noble nature. Saintly
in her life and devotions, she was wholly free from intolerance.
She opposed the expulsion of the Jews, tempered the treatment
of the subjugated Moors with mercy, hated slavery and oppres-
sion of every kind, was simple and frugal in her private life while
regal in her public administration; she was fond of liberal and
learned studies, and promoted the highest forms of education in
her realm. While Ferdinand possessed the traits of a successful
politician, Isabella possessed many of the masculine and sterner
qualities that fitted her for a ruler and a conqueror, without
losing an iota of the graceful and tender virtues that adorn pre-
eminently the character of woman. While her reign would have
been even more glorious without a Ferdinand, his career would
have been less commendable without an Isabella. It was fortu-
nate for Columbus, for the cause of human development and
civilization, and for the sake of the teeming nations now inhabit-
ing the new world, that by the duke's letter of commendation
the cause of Columbus was placed under the generous and en-
lightened patronage of the illustrious Isabella, rather than sub-
jected to the cold and selfish scrutiny of Ferdinand. As it was,
the cause was lost so far as his calculating and short-sighted
policy could crush it, as it was only saved by the personal gener-
osity of the noble queen.
On his arrival at Cordova, Columbus found the sovereigns, the
court, the army and the nation all absorbed in the war against







ON COLUMBUS.


the Moors. It was a turning-point in the war. The two rival
Moorish kings of Granada, Muley Boabdil, the uncle, and
Mohammed Boabdil, the nephew, had become reconciled, and
had united their strength for a last struggle against the combined
forces of Aragon and Castile. The court, resembling more a
military encamptnent, the nobles and grandees of Spain, the
chivalry of Aragon ahnd Castile, and all the military forces of the
nation were assembled, and the busy and ceaseless din of war
resounded on all sides. The king and queen prosecuted the war
in person, and moved from one point to another to meet the
exigencies of the campaign. At one moment siege had to be
laid to the Moorish city of Loxa; the siege of Moclin followed ;
and scarcely had the sovereigns time to make their thanksgiving
for these victories at Cordova, when they had to hasten to
Galicia to quell the rebellion of the Count de Lemos. In the
mean time, Columbus at Cordova was the guest of Alonzo de
Quintanilla, the comptroller of the Treasury of Castile. In the
winter of 1484-85, the court having temporarily established itself
at Salamanca, Columbus followed thither. He had not yet had
an audience. During his tedious sojourn at Cordova he had
made earnest converts to his cause of his generous host, Quin-
tanilla, and of the Papal Nuncio, Antonio Geraldini, and of
his brother Alexander, the latter being tutor to the royal chil-
dren.
At Salamanca Columbus, through the influence of his friend,
Quintanilla, was introduced to His Eminence Cardinal Pedro
Gonzales de Mendoza, Archbishop of Toledo, who occupied so
important and influential a position at court that Peter Martyr
used to call him the third King of Spain." This learned and
noble-hearted ecclesiastic at first hesitated about countenancing
one whose theories as to the form of the earth seemed to him to
contradict the accounts of the sacred Scriptures ; explanations
of the theory of Columbus followed, and the intelligent mind of
the cardinal soon perceived and acknowledged that no truths of
science or of actual discovery could militate against the truths
of religion, for all truth is one and harmonious. He received
Columbus, who, knowing the importance of such an audience,
exerted his best abilities and most thorough efforts to convince
his illustrious hearer of the truth of his theories, and he suc-
ceeded. Admiring the learning, the simplicity, arid frankness of







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


Columbus, as well as his great and self-conscious dignity and
lofty bearing, the cardinal secured for him an audience at court.
Appearing before the astute and discriminating Ferdinand, for
it seems in doubt and improbable that the queen was present,
Columbus with modesty, self-possession, eloquence, and zeal
stated and explained his propositions to the king, who was evi-
dently impressed by his scientific and practical views, by the
immense advantages he would gain over other nations by such
an enterprise crowned with success, and especially over his rival,
Portugal. Ferdinand, however, was too cautious to commit
himself; but the first step was gained by the king's ordering
Fernando de Talavera, Prior of the Monastery of Prado, a man
of great learning, but one who had no special knowledge of the
scientific studies connected with the enterprise of Columbus, to
call together the most accomplished and learned astronomers and
cosmographers of the kingdom, with the intention of sifting the
matter, and more especially of interrogating Columbus on the
foundations and reasons for his theories and plans. This learned
Junto was to report to the king. Columbus repaired to Sala-
manca, by the professors of whose famous university his theories,
proofs, and propositions were to be examined. At Salamanca
he became the guest of the Dominican Convent of St. Stephen,
a part of the university. The Junto was composed of professors
of astronomy, geography, mathematics, and of other sciences,
besides whom there were present as members of the council
several high ecclesiastics and erudite friars. The time when this
famous conference was held was probably the winter of 1486--87.
It is difficult for us, after four hundred years, and under such
different circumstances of time, place, country, institutions, and
ideas, to comprehend the almost appalling difficulties under which
Columbus appeared before this august body to plead the cause
of a new world. Confirmed prejudices against all that was new,
the pedantry of learning, the power of place, the timidity of
conscientious pastors, confessors, and theologians lest some dan-
ger of disturbing the faith of the flock or of the schools might oc-
cur, the national distrust of foreigners, the disposition of placemen
to regard a man in his poor circumstances and with his startling
propositions as a visionary, an adventurer, a mendicant, if not
even a lunatic-all these and many other disturbing and dis-
heartening sentiments and influences stood in the way of Colum-






ON COLUMBUS.


bus. Under such adverse circumstances Columbus appeared
before the learned Junto at Salamanca with a calm and confident
mien ; his manner and address were courteous and reverential,
his mind was clear and full of conviction, the resources of argu-
ment, science, learned tradition, and many years of study were
ready at his command; his bearing was dignified, lofty, and
conscious of truth and justice ; he felt and expressed the inspira-
tion of his vocation. He felt that he had carried his appeal from
ignorant and capricious public opinion to the candor and dis-
crimination of a learned and dignified body ; from the rabble,
that had jeered at and had ridiculed him, to the erudite and
responsible representatives of the Spanish crown and of the
educated and devout world. Yet this learned assembly piteously
fell below the standard of their own fame and pretensions. With
the exception of the good and learned friars of St. Stephen's
Convent, the most learned body in the far-famed University of
Salamanca, who paid deep attention to Columbus from the
beginning, these dignified officials and shallow scholars prejudged
his cause and his scientific problems and propositions. It seemed
absurd that an obscure mariner should know and be able to do
more than all the world beside had known and done for so many
centuries. Passages from the sacred Scriptures and from the
Fathers of the Church were quoted and wrested to the refutation
of purely scientific propositions. Then, entering upon the dis-
cussion on scientific grounds, the ignorance and errors of ages
were adhered to, rather than the new light of advancing knowl-
edge and science; the existence of the antipodes was regarded
as absurd ; the earth was argued to be flat and not round ; even
if an opposite and habitable hemisphere existed, it would be
impossible to reach it or return, in consequence of the unendur-
able heats of the torrid zone ; or if this were not so, the circum-
ference of the earth must be so great as to require three years
at least to reach the other hemisphere, and all attempting it must
perish of hunger and cold; that only the Northern Hemisphere
was habitable, and the heavens did not extend beyond it; that
all else was chaos ; and that, even if vessels should succeed in
sailing down the route to India, it would be impossible for them
to sail up again to Europe, as the rotundity of the earth would
present a mountain-like barrier, which the most favorable winds
would never enable them to surmount.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


Columbus, in face of such unexpected methods of considering
a scientific proposition, rose to the full strength and dignity of
his mission. The contrast between traditional and learned igno-
rance, on the one hand, and the advanced theories of modern and
awakening science, on the other, was presented. There was an
immense gulf between them. Columbus broke down the bar-
riers, and the human intellect expanded to receive the new results
of actual demonstration. The attitude, the bearing, and the
answer of Columbus to his opponents in the council are described
by his contemporaries as having been impressive. With remark-
able clearness he argued that the passages from the sacred writ-
ings did not profess to use scientific or technical language, but
rather aimed at reaching the human mind by the figurative lan-
guage of the current age and country; the Fathers of the
Church, also, he demonstrated, were writing devout commen-
taries, and in illustrating them merely used such scientific views
and facts as then prevailed or were possessed by the world.
But even here he was superior to his opponents in their own
field of scriptural inquiry and sacred lore, for, taking them on
their own grounds, he quoted those renowned and startling pas-
sages of the Scriptures, those mystic prophecies of the inspired
prophets of old, which he, in his devout zeal, construed as pro-
phetic and typical of the grand results he aimed at, and of the
man himself, who, as he believed himself to be, was destined to
accomplish them. In appealing to the writings of the ancient
philosophers of Greece and Rome, the opponents of his problems
and plans found in Columbus an over-match, for he was familiar
with them, and he'was able to show a wonderful consensus of
ancient authors in favor of his views as to the size, contour, and
shape of the earth and the ocean. As to the torrid zone being
impassable, he assured them, from what he saw in his voyage to
St. George la Mina, in Guinea, which was near the equator,
that the torrid zone was inhabitable and traversable ; that it pos-
sessed a teeming population, and was rich in the productions'of
the animal and vegetable kingdoms. As to a ship's inability to
overcome the rotundity of the earth, his own voyage to Iceland
and back, and the expeditions of the Spanish and Portuguese
navigators between the ports of Spain and Portugal and the
islands far south on the African coast, demonstrated the absurdity
of the objection. In this contest of the intellect Columbus stood






ON COLUMBUS.


forth inevitably victorious on all points in reality, for scientific
and actual truth were on his side. His answers made a profound
impression on many of his hearers. Among those convinced of
the truth of his propositions and converted to his cause was
Diego de Deza, a good and learned friar of St. Stephen, after-
ward Archbishop of Seville; but Fernando de Talavera, who
was charged with conducting the investigation, was indifferent,
too much absorbed in pressing public interests, in the war against
the Moors, or other official cares, to give much countenance to
what seemed an abstract and, visionary scheme. The learned
Junto, with some few, illustrious exceptions, was still uncon-
vinced. The majority was against the plan. Some further con-
ferences were held, but no result was attained. Mr. Winsor,
with his usual scepticism, attributes but little importance to the
,conference at Salamanca, alleging that it was held with Talavera
zand a few councillors, and that it was in no way associated with
the prestige of the University of Salamanca.*
In the mean time, the Moorish war was prosecuted with great
.activity. In the spring of 1487 the court returned from Sala-
manca to Cordova; the campaign against Malaga followed; the
war was conducted in a rugged and mountainous country, and
through various vicissitudes the city of Malaga was forced to
surrender on August I8th, 1487. Columbus followed the court
.and army, and was several times summoned before the sovereigns
in intervals of warlike struggle, or during the comparative leisure
of a long siege, to explain again and again his plans; but each
time disappointment and postponement awaited him. Returning
to Cordova after the surrender of Malaga, the hopes of Columbus
for a more patient hearing were again blasted, for the court and
its retinues were almost immediately driven away from the city
by the outbreak of a pestilence, and from Cordova to Saragossa ;
then in another campaign in Murcia, then at Valladolid, and next
at Medino del Campo. Nearly a year thus passed-a year of
-cruel delays and disappointments to Columbus. During its shift-
ing scenes, arduous marches, and many perils, Columbus fol-
lowed up his suit at this ever-migratory court with zeal and per-
severance, and thus encountered the hardships of war in the
pursuit of a scientific enterprise. His patience, however, was


* Winsor's Columbus," pp. 161, 162.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


severely tried. While expounding his proposals in Spain, he
had been cautious in not imparting enough of his plans to enable
any treacherous adversary, if there should be one at hand, to
attempt to defraud him of his glory, as was done in Portugal.
While Columbus was baffled in Spain by the delays and the
uncandid pretensions of King Ferdinand, Portugal had made a
noted and proud advance toward discovering the African route
to Asia. Ferdinand did not yet trust in the Atlantic or westerrr
route, and yet he kept the inventor of it fruitlessly hanging-
around the wandering and warlike court. It is a singular fact
that Bartholomew, the brother of Columbus, had taken part in,
the Portuguese expedition, which resulted in the discovery of
the Cape of Good Hope, under Diaz, and in December, 1487,
he had returned to Lisbon with the electrifying news. It is
supposed by some that Columbus had now become so disgusted'
with Spanish delays, that early in 1488 he thought of again open-
ing negotiations with the King of Portugal, John II., and went to,
Lisbon for that purpose; he had asked for and obtained a safe con-
duct from that sovereign, and left Spain. Other accounts repre-
sent him as going to Lisbon toward the last of the summer, for
the purpose of meeting Bartholomew and of sending him to Eng-
land to open negotiations with Henry VII. He went to Lisbon,
however, at this time under King John's safe conduct, which.
was dated March 2oth, 1488. Probably the Portuguese king, in
giving him so full a protection, which it is supposed was also
intended as an assurance against the interference of creditors
with Columbus, who had been so absorbed in his great project as
to neglect his private affairs, had in view the renewal of negotia-
tions for an arrangement with Columbus for his proposed west-
ward voyage of discovery. But this was not practicable ; or at
least Columbus did not entertain such proposals for his once re-
jected and attempted-to-be-stolen plans, or did not tarry for them,
for he was back again in Spain in May, 1489.
Bartholomew Columbus, the ever-faithful brother and sup-
porter of the admiral, a man of no mean ability, whether with
the pen or the sword, for he was at once a good map-drawer,
sailor, and soldier, was sent out to open negotiations with Eng-
land and France. Directing his course first to Bristol, where he,
had many acquaintances of his seafaring life, and captured on
the way by pirates, he finally arrived at London undaunted and







SON COLUMBUS.


well equipped for his brother's cause. At the court of Henry
VII. he made a deep impression by his arguments and facts upon
the mind of the king, especially with the assistance of a map of
his own skilful workmanship. While the English monarch fully
appreciated the scheme, he did not feel inclined hastily to embark
in so remote an enterprise, and Bartholomew went to France.
At the court of Charles VIII. he had an influential friend in
Madame de Bourbon, a sister of the king; but now again his
cause was slow of success, and he resorted to his occupation of
Lisbon in making geographical maps, chiefly for the members of
the court. In the mean time, Henry VII., probably stimulated
by the advancing prospects of Columbus in Spain, came to a
favorable conclusion in the spring of 1492. The next meeting
between the two brothers, Christopher and Bartholomew, as to
the circumstances of time, place, and results, as I shall mention
hereafter, was interesting and historically dramatic.*
Mr. Irving, in relating this portion of Columbus's life, states
that, wearied and discouraged by delays in Spain, he was
thinking of looking elsewhere for the aid he had sought in vain
from Ferdinand, and that he applied to John II. of Portugal,
and received in reply encouragement and the safe conduct. He
also states that Columbus received a letter from Henry VII. of
England, inviting him to that country, and holding out promises
of encouragement.t Though he does not give the source of this
information, this correspondence may have quickened his efforts
and those of Bartholomew in the direction of England and France.
It also stimulated the wary and selfish Ferdinand, who summoned
him again to court and provided him with means for his journey
through Gonzalez, the royal treasurer. But he again resorted
to his former system of delays, and it was not until Bartholo-
mew's departure for England and Columbus's return from Por-
tugal, in the spring of 1489, that he summoned Columbus to
appear before another learned council at Seville, and again made
royal provision for his travel ; his expenses on the way and his
entertainment at Seville were provided for him out of the public
treasury. He repaired to the beautiful city flushed with hope;
but, alas,! another disappointment followed, another campaign


* The Discovery of America," by John Fiske, vol. i., pp. 401-408.
t Washington Irving's Life of Columbus," vol. i., pp. 95, 96.






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


commenced. The court and army departed to invade Granada,
besiege the city of Baza, and crush the Moors in their strong-
hold. Columbus, however, was not inactive. He served in this
eventful campaign as a soldier with distinguished valor," and
on December 22d, 1489, he was present on that august occasion
when Boabdil the Elder surrendered his own crown and his
remaining possessions to Ferdinand and Isabella.* It was also
during this campaign that the devout mind of Columbus con-
ceived the thought and made the resolution-a vow registered in
his own soul and openly declared-of devoting the profits of his
projected discoveries, in case of success, to the expenses of an-
other crusade for the rescue of the Holy Land and the sacred
places from the hands of the infidels. This occurred during the
siege of Baza, in Granada, and during the campaign of 1489, in
which Columbus fought in the army of Ferdinand and Isabella
with such intrepid personal valor as to have won the meed of a
distinguished mention in the history of the war. Two venerable
monks from the convent at the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem
arrived, bringing a message from the Grand Soldan of Egypt
that he had resolved to massacre the Christians of Palestine,
destroy the Holy Sepulchre, and devastate their convents and
churches unless Ferdinand and Isabella discontinued the war
against the Moors. The holy friars received immediate audience
with the Catholic sovereigns; the court and the army and all
Spain were deeply excited at the threat; the. war was prosecuted
with renewed vigor, until the last inch of Moorish territory in
Spain was surrendered. Isabella granted a perpetual annuity of
one thousand ducats, equal to $4269 of our currency, for the
support of the convent at the Holy Sepulchre, and sent an em-
broidered veil, the work of her own hands, to be suspended
before the sacred shrine. The big heart and munificent soul of
Columbus then consecrated to a new crusade he would inaugu-
rate for the rescue of the holy places the profits of the princedom
he felt sure of winning, and which he afterward won, but which
the ingratitude of princes rendered barren in his hands and those
of his family.
But the suit of Columbus was again postponed in the interests

Irving's Life of Columbus," vol. i., p, 97; Diego Ortiz de Zuniga, Ann. de
Sevilla," lib. xii., anno 1489, p. 404.






ON COLUMBUS.


of the Moorish war. The victorious sovereigns, returning from
the surrender of Baza, entered Seville in triumph and with ex-
traordinary pomp and grandeur in February, 1490. The national
rejoicings ensued, and then came the preparations for the nuptials.
and their celebration in April, of the Princess Isabella with
Prince Don Alonzo, heir-apparent of Portugal. The stirring
and exciting events of battles, triumphs, and wedding rejoicings
stood in the way of Columbus now, and while the discoverer
stood ready to reveal the reality of his long-dreamed plans, and
followed the court as a member of the royal suite, his heart felt
at every moment the pangs of bitter disappointment. What
next ? Then came the campaign for the conquest of the Vega
of Granada, and it was announced that neither sovereign nor
soldier would rest from battle until Granada was theirs. Colum-
bus saw his life waning with the passing years of toil, delay, broken
promises,' disappointment, and neglect. He resolved to brook
no further postponement of his cause ; he insisted upon a decision
of his suit. Bishop Fernando de Talavera was directed by the
sovereigns to hold a decisive consultation of the sages of Sala-
manca, and after some further delay the answer was given that
this learned Junto regarded the project as vain, impracticable,
and resting on grounds too weak to merit the support of the
government." Columbus was informed through the bishop
that, in consequence of the engrossing prosecution of the war and
its great expense, the sovereigns could not then entertain his
propositions, but that when the war was successfully ended they
would feel disposed, with more time at their disposal, to negotiate
with him. In the mean time, at court, in the army, and in the
cities where he tarried, he was mocked and jeered at by the
ignorant and the giddy, and when he, passed through the streets
the children meeting him sneeringly pointed to their foreheads
to indicate that he was regarded as a man of unsound .mind.
During portions of this time he provided for his support by
making maps. Six years were thus lost in fruitless petitions to
the Spanish court. While he had assurances from individual
members of the Junto, of Salamanca-Diego de Deza, tutor of
Prince Juan, and others-of their confidence and support, he not-

Fernando Colon, Historia del Almirante,." cap. 2; Prescott's Ferdinand and
Isabella," vol. iii., p. 121 ; Irving's. Life of Columbus," vol. i., p. Too.







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


withstanding regarded the answer of the sovereigns as final, and
he indignantly left Seville and turned his face toward France,
from which country he had received a letter from King Charles
VIII. inviting him to come to France and lay his project before
that monarch.
We next find the illustrious discoverer standing at the gates
of the Franciscan Convent of La Rabida. According to Mr.
Irving, this was Columbus's first and only visit to La Rabida ;
according to Tarducci, it was his second visit, before the signing
of the capitulations. Traveling on foot, holding his young son
Diego by the hand, he asked the porter at the lodge for a little
bread and water for the exhausted child. With the great man
the heart alone was weary. He had traveled thus from Seville;
the stranger was poorly but genteelly dressed, but there was
something noble and exalted in his aspect and demeanor. Ac-
cording to the account of Tarducci, his son Diego was left at
Columbus's first visit as a guest of the convent, and his inten-
tion now was to take him to Cordova and leave him there
with his second son, Fernando, in the care of Beatrix Enriquez.
He regarded it as a providence that directed his steps to the en-
lightened prior of the convent, Juan Perez de Marchena, for
the good monk immediately entered into conversation with the
strangers, and although Columbus was on his way to the neigh-
boring town of Huelva, to visit his sister-in-law, and, according
to other accounts, leave with her his young son Diego during
his proposed visit to France, the good prior succeeded in induc-
ing him to tarry at the convent and become its guest. The
intelligent prior and friars of La Rabida had never received at
their hospitable board so remarkable and extraordinary a guest.
They became intensely interested in his theories and projects,
for Columbus spoke of nothing else, and as their proximity to the
seaport of Palos had given the monks some familiarity with
maritime subjects, they stood astonished at the magnificence and
grandeur of the proposals of the Genoese stranger. They be-
came still more surprised if not convinced by the arguments and
facts, scientific data and traditional learning by which he sus-
tained his propositions. They were edified by the deep religious
convictions and boundless zeal for the faith manifested by their
guest. The physician of the convent, Garcia Fernandez, one of
the most scientific men of the neighboring maritime town of







ON COLUMBUS.


Palos, was sent for, and a number of conferences were held at
the convent, and these were also attended by several ancient
mariners" of Palos, among whom was Martin Alonzo Pinzon-
the Pinzons being a prominent, wealthy, and nautical family of
standing and experience. The plans and arguments of Columbus
had more effect among the well-informed and practical mariners
and scientific men of Palos than among the sages of Salamanca's
famed university. Pinzon was so especially impressed with the
plan that he tendered his means and his personal services in such
an expedition as Columbus proposed, and offered to bear the
cost of another effort to engage the co-operation of the court of
Spain. There was no dissenting voice in the councils of La
Rabida.
The good prior, Juan Perez, who had formerly been confessor
to Queen Isabella, resolved to make a direct appeal to her, for
she had from the beginning been favorable to the plans of Colum-
bus, and he immediately sent to her Majesty a letter by a trusty
and shrewd messenger, Sebastian Rodriguez, a pilot of Lepe, a
rnan of intelligence and of importance in the neighborhood. In
fourteen days Rodriguez returned with the queen's answer, in
which she expressed her thanks for the prior's opportune exer-
tions, and requested him to give hope to Columbus, and that the
prior would immediately visit her at court. Juan Perez without
delay saddled his mule, started before midnight, and, having
traversed the conquered territories of the Moors and arrived at
the new city of Santa F6, where the king and queen were press-
ing the siege of Granada, he found no difficulty in obtaining a
prompt audience. He now pleaded the cause of Columbus with
zeal, eloquence, and learning, and he gave his personal assur-
ances of the integrity, skill, and knowledge of Columbus, and of
his capacity to fulfil his every engagement; he also gave an
intelligent exposition of the grounds upon which the propositions
were based, and depicted in glowing words the advantages and
glory which Spain would gain by such an enterprise, of the suc-
cess of which he felt confident. The Marchioness de Moya, a
favorite of the queen, united her gentle and persuasive eloquence
to the strong appeal of the prior, and the result was that Isabella
requested Columbus again to repair to her presence, and for-
warded to him a sum of money, equal to $216 of our currency, to
bear the expenses of the journey ard enable him to make a suit-







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


able appearance at court. Columbus replaced his worn garments
with a court suit, and, having purchased a mule, journeyed at
once to the royal camp before the besieged city of Granada.
Amid the triumphs and rejoicings of the Spanish arms before
the ill-fated city of Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors,
Columbus arrived at court. In his former applications he was
put off by the press of warlike preparations and active operations
in field or siege; now at least the war was over. He had wit-
nessed the surrender by Boabdil, the last of the Moorish kings,
of the keys of the Alhambra to Ferdinand and Isabella, and the
crusade of eight centuries was triumphantly brought to an end.
In the midst of national rejoicings, wherein the court, the army and
the people abandoned themselves to unbounded jubilation; amid
the songs of minstrels, the shouts of victory, the hymns of thanks-
giving, military and religious pageants, the frequent appearance
of king and queen in public surrounded by more than imperial
magnificence, the throngs of grandees, warriors, and ecclesias-
tics of dignity and station, the glitter of arms, and the sounds of
music and clangor of arms-all tended to thrust aside the long-
seeking and long-waiting discoverer of worlds. Columbus
counted among his friends and the advocates of his cause the
good prior of La Rabida, Juan Perez, Alonzo de Quintanilla, the
accountant-general, the Marchioness de Moya, and Luis de
Santangel, the receiver of ecclesiastical revenues. Now again
he had to wait until a moment of comparative quiet enabled him
to gain an audience. Clemencin, a contemporary writer, and
one who saw him now at court, no doubt reflected the general
sentiment of the community when he described Columbus as an
obscure and unknown man following the court, one of numerous
importunate applicants brooding in antechambers over the vain-
glorious project of discovering a world, melancholy and indiffer-
ent in the midst of the national and universal rejoicings, con-
temptuous of all glory except his own anticipated triumphs,
dejected yet puffed up. To the few friends I have named he
appeared as the seer, the scientist, the deliverer of nations, the
benefactor of Spain and of the world, the. hero of hemispheres.
The sovereigns now appointed several persons of rank and influ-
ence to negotiate with Columbus, and among them was Fernando
de Talavera, then promoted as Archbishop of Granada. Colum-
bus entered upon the negotiations 'of the terms with the air of







ON COLUMBUS.


one confident of success ; but when these dignitaries of Church
and State, noblemen and officials, heard the obscure stranger
demand as the price of his success terms that were princely-a
viceroyalty of all the lands he discovered and a tenth of the
gains, whether from trade or conquest-they were filled with
indignation mingled with contempt. Columbus was unmoved,
and when sneered at for his spirit of self-aggrandizement, he
boldly offered, relying on Pinzon's proposition, to defray one
eighth of the expense on his being guaranteed one eighth of the
profits. Notwithstanding this confident and liberal offer, the
terms insisted on by Columbus were regarded as extravagant,
presumptuous, and vainglorious. The report of Fernando de
Talavera to the queen represented the terms as exorbitant, and
that it would be beneath the dignity of the crown to bestow such
dignities, powers, and emoluments upon any one, but especially
upon a stranger without means, titles, or prestige, one who, it
was well known, was regarded as a dreamer and an adventurer.
Isabella had commenced to feel great inclination to favor the
proposals of Columbus, but this report of so important a person-
age as the Archbishop of Granada, her confessor and spiritual
adviser, the one who had been from the beginning entrusted
with the conduct of the affair, caused her to hesitate. Lesser
terms were proposed to Columbus, but he remained immovable,
even with the prospect of utter failure or of undergoing at other
courts the delays, neglects, ridicule, and disappointments he had
already experienced for eighteen years, the best portion of his
life and manhood. His lofty and confident spirit should now
have inspired, more respect if not admiration, but he was per-
mitted to depart from Santa F6,' and he now turned his face
toward France. Well might Mr. Irving exclaim, while a1ading
to the long years of solicitation and denial he had spent at Euro-
pean courts, What poverty, neglect, ridicule, contumely, and
disappointment had he not suffered !" It was in February, 1492,
that this illustrious man, after having taken leave of his few
friends at court, mounted his mule and wended his weary way
toward Cordova. The noble -Luis de Santangel and other
friends of Columbus, actuated by the loftiest and most patriotic
sentiments, resolved to make a final effort to prevent France
from wresting from Spain the glory of the impending discovery.
He and Alonzo de Quintanilla hastened to the queen and obtained







OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


an immediate audience. They appealed to her by every con-
sideration of patriotism, glory, interest, and justice not to let
Columbus carry to France the honor of discovering new worlds,
which had been so unwisely rejected by Spain, and in their
ardor for the cause they mingled the highest eulogies on Colum-
bus, with almost reproaches on their own sovereigns. The ex-
pedition would only require two vessels and about three thou-
sand crowns, and the great discoverer had generously proposed
to bear one eighth of the cost. The Marchioness de Moya was
present at this momentous interview, and warmly and eloquently
supported the fervid appeals of Santangel and of Quintanilla.
The mind of Isabella had been so engrossed with the Moorish
war and other cares of State, that the proposals of Columbus
seemed now for the first time to dawn upon her generous spirit
in all their grandeur and glory, and with characteristic spirit
and judgment she resolved to embark in so exalted a work.- The
king was still indifferent and sat coldly by, his thoughts grovel-
ling over his depleted treasury. Was Isabella now to displease
her royal consort and subject the public treasury to a further drain;
when he was opposed to it? Her mind hesitated between the
two views-a cold and calculating State policy, on the one hand,
and the noblest of human undertakings, on the other. All pres-
ent felt the crisis of the moment, but Isabella rose now to the
full elevation of her exalted character, and with an inspired ardor
she exclaimed : I undertake the enterprise for my own crown
of Castile, and will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary
funds !" The boundless joy of Santangel, Quintanilla, and the
Marchioness de Moya broke forth in expressions of gratitude
and honor for the queen, whose illustrious career she had now
crowned with the noblest act of her life. She seemed like the
angel of intercession, whose wings extended over two hemi-
spheres, to unite them in a common humanity and in one common
faith.
Columbus must be sent for at once and brought back to Santa
F6 ; but in his generous zeal Santangel assured her Majesty that
there was no need of pledging her jewels, as he would advance
the requisite money. It was arranged, therefore, 'that San
Angel, the receiver of ecclesiastical revenues, should advance
the necessary funds, which were taken, in fact, from the treas-
ury of Aragon, to the amount of seventeen thousand florins.






ON, COLUMBUS.


This sum the king took care afterward to have reimbursed
to him from a part of the first gold brought by Columbus from
the islands he discovered in the West Indies, by having it ap-
plied to gilding the vaults and ceilings of his own royal saloon
in the grand palace of Saragossa, in Aragon. In the mean time,
Columbus was pursuing his lonely and dejected journey from the
court ; had crossed the Vega of Granada and reached the bridge
of Pinos. He had traveled about two leagues from Granada;
the lofty mountains of Elvira were before him, and every spot
was rendered historical by Spanish triumphs over the Moors;
but they were associated in his mind with the causes of the de-
lays and disappointments he had sustained for so many years.
Here he was overtaken by a royal messenger at full speed, who
requested his return to the court at Santa F6, and assured him
of the pledge the queen had made, and of her ardor in the cause
he had so long pleaded in vain. Columbus hesitated; he was
reassured by the messenger; and then, feeling unbounded con-
fidence in the word of the noble Isabella, his heart filled with an
unaccustomed joy. He hastened back to Santa F6. When two
such minds and souls as those of Columbus and Isabella came to
understand each other and to act in accord, the civilized world
had at once advanced more than it had done before for centuries.
Man was :now to become the master and ruler of the whole
earth ; the shackles of ignorance, prejudice, and cowardice were
to fall from the human race; it was the proudest moment in the
life of Isabella, the most hopeful in that of Columbus, the most
auspicious in the progress of the world !
Isabella received Columbus most graciously on his return to
Santa F6. Ferdinand was unable to resist longer the generous
resolve of the queen, and he concurred in what he had failed to
prevent; but Isabella was the.inspiring mover and supporter of
this magnificent enterprise. The views of Columbus as to terms
were already understood ; his terms were accepted and reduced
to writing by the secretary of the queen, Juan de Coloma, and
were substantially as follows. Talavera had said that a beggar
made conditions like a king to monarchs." Now the parties
stood on more equal terms. All was now understood and stipu-
lated between the contracting parties. First: Columbus was to
be the admiral of the seas and countries he should discover dur-
ing his own life, and the office should be hereditary in his family,






OLD AND NEW LIGHTS


with dignities and honors equal to those enjoyed in his district
by the high admiral of Castile. Second : He was -to be viceroy
and governor-general over the countries and islands, and invested
with power of nominating three persons for the governorship of
each island or province, from whose number the sovereigns were
to select the incumbent. Third : He was to receive a share of
all the pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and of all
other articles and merchandise that might be found, gained,
brought, or exported from the discovered countries. Fourth :
He in his quality as admiral, or his representative, was to be
the sole judge in all mercantile matters, causes, and disputes
arising between those countries and Spain, provided the high
admiral of Spain possessed the like power in his district. Fifth :
He should have the privilege of contributing one eighth of
the cost of fitting out all ships to be engaged in the undertaking,
and receiving one eighth of the profits in return. These terms.
were embodied in a written contract or capitulation signed by
both Ferdinand and Isabella, written out by Almazon, and coun-
tersigned by Coloma, the secretary, on April 17th, 1492, and they
were also set forth in a letter of privilege signed by the sover-
eigns, April 3oth. In the latter document, not only were the
titles and offices aforesaid made hereditary in his family, but also
Columbus and his heirs were privileged to affix the title of Don
to their names, which was in those days a rare distinction.
It has already been observed that the Italian name of Colum-
bus was rendered Colombo, while the French, if it be true that
he had French relatives, was Colomb, or Coloup. In Spain his
name underwent decided changes. The Duke of Medina Cell
called him Colomo, which was changed into Colom, which Tar-
ducci supposes was changed into Colon for the sake of euphony ;
but the admiral's son Fernando argued that as the Roman name
was Colonus, that could easily be transformed into Colon. The
signature to the contract with the Spanish sovereigns was quite
Spanish, Cristoval Colon. Fernando says the admiral's object
in changing his name in Spain was to distinguish his own im-
mediate family and descendants from the collateral stock of the
Italian Colombos. Oviedo calls him Colom.
While Mr. Winsor thinks that Columbus failed in Portugal
and again in Spain by his arrogant spirit and demands, and thus
also disgusted Talavera by demanding in his poverty and ob-







ON COLUMBUS. 99

security what could only be conceded to proved success, the
answer is very complete with less unfriendly critics of the dis-
coverer, that he finally succeeded in obtaining 'the concession of
those very terms which at first seemed so arrogant; and when
made in the manner so distasteful to Mr. Winsor, they were
always accompanied by solid and true arguments, based on his
scientific data, and were never urged except in terms and manner
of Columbus's acknowledged and uniform courtesy, forbearance,
and precatory demeanor. His success justifies his conduct in
this respect. Far more admirable than such criticism is the view
which Columbus took, that he was the instrument of Providence
for the achievement of a great mission. Such a spirit of criti-
cism is never found united with that magnanimity of spirit which,
in Columbus, before he unfurled a sail at Palos, had dedicated
the expenditure of fortunes in the restoration of a Saviour's tomb
to Christendom.















CHAPTER V.


"Love is life's end ; an end, but never ending;
All joys, all sweets, all happiness, awarding."
-SPENSER'S BRITAIN'S IDA."
Nothing shall assuage
Your love but marriage; for such is
The tying of two in wedlock."
-LILLY'S "SAPPHO AND PHAON."
"For know, lago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea's worth."
-SHAKESPEARE'S OTHELLO."

WE have accompanied Columbus in his journeys in pursuit of
the Spanish court, and of audiences with King Ferdinand ; in his
services as a soldier and his return, in the spring of 1487, with
the court to Cordova. During his several sojourns at this beau-
tiful and ancient city he had mingled in its social life. He
had made influential friends in Spain, and among them were the
powerful Dukes Medina Celi and Medina Sidonia; Diego de
Deza, the noble Dominican friar; Alonzo de Quintanilla, who
was comptroller of the treasury of Castile; Antonio Geraldini,
the papal nuncio, and his brother, Alexander Geraldini, who was
tutor to the royal infants; and, above all, Pedro Gonzales de
Mendoza, Archbishop of Toledo and Grand Cardinal of Spain.
He had been the guest of several of these illustrious Spaniards.
It was, no doubt, through such powerful social influences, as
well as by his own engaging manners, eloquence of speech,
courtly appearance and address, his religious devotion and con-
stancy in attendance at the solemn services of the Church in the
venerable Cathedral of Cordova, his learning on rare and attrac-
tive subjects, the very mystery and attraction that attaches
always, with the refined and cultivated of every land and age,
to aspiring thoughts and noble purposes, that gained for him the




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