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LXXXIII. — COLUMBUS AND HIS DISCOVERY. 1 In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, an Italian mariner, a citizen of the little republic of Gěn'oa, El who had hitherto gained a livelihood as a pilot in the commercial service of different countries, made his appearance successively at various courts in the south and west of Europe, soliciting patronage and aid for a bold and novel91 project in navigation. The idea of reaching the East by a voyage around the African continentet had begun to assume consistency; but the vastly more significant idea, that the earth is a globe, and capable of being circumnavigated, had by no means become incorporated into the general intelligence of the age.
2. And thus to reach the East by sailing in a western direction, this was a conception which no human being is known to have formed before Columbus, El and which he proposed to the governments of Italy, of Spain, of Portugal, and of England, and for a long time without success. The state of science was not such as to enable men'to discriminate between the improbable and the absurd. They looked upon Columbus as we did thirty years ago upon Captain Symmes. El But the illustrious adventurer persevered. Sorrow and disappointment clouded his spirits, but did not shake his faith nor subdue his will. His well-instructed imagination had taken firm hold of the idea that the earth is a sphere.60
3. What seemed to the multitude even of the educated of that day a doubtful and somewhat mystical theory, El — what appeared to the uninformed mass a monstrous paradox, El contradicted by every step we take upon the broad flat earth which we daily tread beneath our feet, - that great and fruitful truth revealed itself to the serene intelligence of Columbus as a practical fact, on which he was willing to stake all he had, — character and life. And it deserves ever to be borne in mind, as the most illustrious example of the connection of scien. tific theory with great practical results, that the discovery of America, with all its momentous consequences to mankind, is owing to the distinct conception in the mind of Columbus of the single scientific proposition, the terrāquéousEl earth is a sphere.
4. After years of fruitless and heart-sick solicitation, after offering in effect to this monarch and to that monarch the gift of a hemisphere, the great discoverer touches upon a partial success. He succeeds, not in enlisting the sympathy of his countrymen at Gen'oa and "enice for a brave brother-sailor ; not in giving a new direction to the spirit of maritime adventure which had 80 long prevailed in Portugal; not in stimulating the commercial thrift of Henry the Seventh, or the pious ambition of the Catho • lic King. His sorrowful perseverance touched the heart of a noble princess, worthy the throne which she adorned. The New World, which was just escaping the subtle45 kingcraft of Ferdinand, was saved to Spain by the womanly compassion of Isabella.
5. It is truly melancholy, however, to contemplates the wretched equipment for which the most powerful princess in Christendom I was ready to pledge her jewels. Three small ves. sels, one of which was without a deck, and no one of them probably exceeding the capacity of a pilot-boat, and even these impressede into the public service, composed the expedition fitted out under royal patronage, to realize that magnificent conception in which the creative mind of Columbus had planted the germs of a New World. No chapter of romance83 equals the interest of this expedition.
6. The departure from Palos, Es where, a few years before, he had berged a morsel of bread and a cup of water for his way. worn child ; his final farewell to the Old World at the Cana'ries ;** his entrance upon the trade-winds, EI which then for the first time filled a European sail; the portentous variation of the needle, EI never before observed; the fearful course westward and westward, day after day and night after night, over the unknown ocean; the mutinous and ill-appeased crew; at length the tokens of land; the cloud-banks on the western horizon; the logs of drift-wood; the fresh shrub floating with its leaves and berries; the flocks of land-birds; the shoals of fish that inhabit shallow water; the indescribable smell of the shore; the mysterious presentiment that ever goes before a great event; and, finally, on that ever-memorable night of the 12th of October, 1492, the moving light seen by the sleepless eye of the great discoverer himself from the deck of the Santa Maria, and in the morning the real, undoubted land, swelling up from the bosom of the deep, with its plains, and hills, and forests, and rocks, and streams, and strange new races of men, — these are incidents in which the authentio history of the discovery of our continent excels the spēcious wonders of romance, as much as gold excels tinsel, or the sun in the heavens outshines the flickering taper.
LXXXIV. — THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. 1. As they proceeded, the indications of approaching and seemed to be more certain, and excited hope in proportion. The birds began to appear in flocks, making towards the soutb-west.
Colunibus, in imitation of the Portuguese navigators, who had been guided in several of their discoveries by the motion of birds, altered his course from due west towards that quarter whither they pointed their flight. But, after holding on for several days in this new direction, without any better success than formerly, bavir:g seen no object during thirty days but the sea and the sky, the hopes of his companions subsided faster than they had risen; their fears revived with additional force; impatience, rage, and despair, appeared in every countenance.
2. All sense of subordination was lost. The officers, who had hitherto concurred with Columbus in opinion, and supported his authority, now took part with the private men; they assembled tumultuously on the deck, expostulated with their commander, mingled threats with their expostulations, and required him instantly to tack about and to return to Europe. Columbus per. ceived that it would be of no avail to have recourse to any of his former arts, which, having been tried so often, had lost their effect; and that it was impossible to rekindle any zeal for the success of the expedition among men in whose breasts fear had extinguished every generous sentiment.
3. He saw that it was no less vain to think of employing either gentle or severe measures, to quell a mutiny so general and so violent. It was necessary, on all these accounts, to soothe passions which he couid no longer command, and to give way to a torrent too impetuous to be checked. He promised solemnly to his men that he would comply with their request, provided they would accompany him and obey his command for three days longer; and if, during that time, land were not discovered, lie would then abandon the enterprise, and direct his course towards Spain.
4. Enraged as the sailors were, and impatient to turn their faces again towards their native country, this proposition did not appear to them unreasonable. Nor did Columbus hazard much in confining himself to a term so short. The pres’ages of discovering land were now so numerous and promising, that he deemed them infallible. For some days the sounding-line reached the bottom, and the soil which it brought up indicated land to be at no great distance. The flocks of birds increased, and were composed not only of sea-fowl, but of such land-birds as could not be supposed to fly far from the shore. The crew of . the Pinta observed a cane floating, which seemed to have beea newly cut, and likewise a piece of timber artificially carved, The sailors aboard the Nina took up the branch of a tiec with red berries, perfectly fresh.
5. The ciouds around the setting sun assumed * a new appear ance; the air was milder and warmer; and dūring night the wind became unequal and variable. From all these symptoms, Columbus was so confident of being near land, that on the evening of the eleventh of October, after public prayers for success, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the ships to lie to, keepiny strict watch lest they should be driven ashore in the night. During this interval of suspense and expectation, no man shut his eyes; all kept upon deck, gazing intently towards that quarter where they expected to discover the land which had been so long the object of their wishes.
6. About two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on the forecastle, El observed a light at a distance, and privately pointed it out to Pedro Guttierez, El a page of the queen's wardrobe. Gut. tierez perceived it, and calling to Salcedo, comptrolleras of the feet, all three saw it in motion, as if it were carried from place to place. A little after midnight the joyful sound of “Land ! land!” was heard from the Pinta, which kept always ahead of the other ships. But, having been so often deceived by fallacious appearances, every man was now become slow of belief, and waited in all the anguish of uncertainty and impatience for the return of day.
7. As soon as morning dawned (October 12, 1492), all doubts and fears were dispelled. From every ship an island was seen about two leagues to the north, whose flat and verdant fields, well stored with wood, and watered with many rivulets, presented the aspect of a delightful country. The crew of the Pinta instantly began the Te Deüm, El as a hymn of thanksgiving to God, and were joined by those of the other ships, with tears of joy and transports of congratulation. This office of gratitūde to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with feelings of selfcondemnation mingled with reverence.
8. They implored him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disquiet, and had so often obstructed the prosecution of his wellconcerted plan; and j'assing, in the warmth of their admiration, from one extreme to another, they now pronounced the man whom they had so lately reviled and threatened to be a person inspired by Heaven with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in order to accomplish a design so far beyond the ideas and conceptions of all former ages.
to The mark of quantity over the u always indicates that it should have the long, diphthongal sound, as in cube, &c. In many words not marked, the dame sound should be given. Soe T 73
9. As soon as the sun arose, all their boats were manned and Armed. They rowed towards the island, with their colors displayed, with warlike music, and other martial pomp. As they approached the coast, they saw it covered with a multitude of peoplo, whom the novelty of the spectacle had drawn together, whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view. Columbus was the first European who set foot in the New World, which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a baked sword in his hand. His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had so long desired to see. They next erected a crucifix, El and, prostrating them selves before it, returned thanks to God for conducting their voy nge to such a happy issue.
LXXXV. - FIRST VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS.
1. What did the ocean's waste supply
To soothe the mind or please the eye?
2. Full oft upon the deck — while others slept
To mark the bearing of each well-known star
3. But soon his dauntless soul, which naught could bend, -
Nor hope delayed nor adverse fate subdue, -