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and lands he should discover, and to have the tenth of the profits arising from them, settled irrevocably upon him and his descendants. At the same time he offered to advance the eighth part of the sum necessary, for accomplishing the design, on condition of his enjoying a proportional share of benefit from the adventure. If the enterprize should totally miscarry, he made no stipulation for any reward or emolument whatever.
Instead of viewing this last proposition as the clearest evidence of his full persuasion, with respect to the truth of his own system, or being struck with admiration with that magnanimity which after so many delays and repulses, would stoop to nothing inferior to its original claims, the persons with whom Columbus treated, meanly objected to the expense of the expedition, and the value of the reward which he demanded.
The expense they affirmed would be too great for Spain, in the present exhausted state of its finances. They con tended the honours and emoluments claimed by Columbus, were exorbitant, even if he should perform the utmost of what he had proposed ; and that if the expedition should prove abortive, such vast concessions to an adventurer would be deemed inconsiderate and ridiculous.
These cautious objections were so consonant with the natural disposition of Ferdinand, that he cordially approved of them, and Isabella discouraged, declined giving any countenance to Columbus, and abruptly broke off the conference.
The mind of Columbus firm as it was, could hardly sup port the shock of such an unforeseen reverse. He withdrew in deep anguish from court, with an intention of prosecuting his voyage to England, as his last resource.
About that time Granada surrendered, and Ferdinand and Isabella, in triumphal pomp, took possession of a city, the reduction of which rendered them masters of all the provinces extending from the bottom of Pyrenees to the frontiers of Portugal. Quintanilla and Santangel taking advantage of this favourable event, made one more effort in behalf of their friend. They addressed themselves to Isabella, and after expressing their surprize that she who had always been the liberal patroness of generous undertakings, should hesitate so long to countenance the most splendid scheme that had ever been proposed to any moChurch; they represented to her, that Columbus was a man of sound understanding, and virtuous character, well qualified by his experience in navigation, as well as his knowledge of geometry, to form just ideas with respect to the structure of the globe, and the situation of its various regions; and that by offering to risk his own life and fortune in the execution of his scheme, they gave the most satifying evidence both of his integrity and hope of success; that the sum requisite for equipping such an armament was inconsiderable, and the advantages that might accrue from his undertaking, were immense ; that he demanded no recompence for his invention and labour, but what was to arise from the countries which he should discover; that as it was worthy of her magnanimity, to make this noble attempt to extend the sphere of human knowledge, and to open an intercourse with regions hitherto unknown ; that Columbus was on his way to foreign countries, where some prince would close with his proposals, and Spain would forever bewail the fatal timidity which had excluded her from the glory and advantages that she had once in her power to have enjoyed.
These powerful arguments, urged by persons of such authority, and at a juncture so well chosen, had the desired effect. Isabella's doubts and fears were all dispelled ; she ordered Columbus instantly to be recalled, declared her resolution of employing him on his own terms, and regretting the low state of her finances, generously offered to pledge her own jewels in order to raise as much money as would be wanted for making the necessary preparations for the voyage. Santangel transported with gratitude kissed the queen's hand, and rather than she should have recourse to such a mortifying expedient for procuring money, engaged to advance immediately the sum that was requisite.
Columbus, ignorant of this change in his favour, had proceeded some leagues on his journey, when the messenger overtook him. Upon receiving the account so flattering to his hopes, he returned directly to Santa Fé, not without some diffidence mingling with his joy. But the cordial reception which he met with from Isabella, together with the near prospect of setting out upon that voyage which had so long engrossed his thoughts and wishes, soon effaced the remembrance of past sufferings, during eight years tedious solicitation and anxious suspense.
The negociation now went on with facility and dispatch; and a treaty with Columbus was signed on the seventeenth of April, 1492. The chief articles of it were :
1. Ferdinand and Isabella, as sovereigns of the Ocean, constituted Coluinbus their high Admiral in all the seas, islands, and continents, which should be discovered by his industry; and stipulated, that he, and his heirs forever, should enjoy this office , with the same powers and prerogatives which belonged to the high Admiral of Castile, within the limits of his jurisdiction.
2. They appointed Columbus their viceroy in all the islands and continents, he should discover ; but, if for the better administration of affairs, it should hereafter be necessary to establish a separate governor in any of those countries, they authorized Columbus to name three persons, of whom they would choose one for that office; and the dig. nity of viceroy, with all its immunities, was likewise to be hereditary in the family of Columbus.
3. They granted to Columbus, and his heirs forever, the tenth of the free profits accruing from the productions and commerce of the countries, which he should discover.
4. They declared, that if any controversy or law-suit, shall arise with respect to any mercantile transaction, in the countries which should be discovered, it should be determined by the sole authority of Columbus, or of judges to be appointed by him.
5. They permitted Columbus to advance one-eighth part of what should be expended in preparing for the expedition, and in carrying on commerce with the countries which he should discover ; and entitled him in return to an eighth part of the profit.
Notwithstanding the name of Ferdinand appears conjoined with that of Isabella in this transaction, his distrust of Columbus was so violent, that he refused to take any part in the enterprize, as king of Arragon. As the whole expense of the expedition, excepting the part Columbus was to furnish, was defrayed by the crown of Castile, Isabella reserved for her subjects of that kingdom, an exclusive right to all the benefits which might redound from its success.
When the treaty was signed, Isabella endeavoured to make some reparation to Columbus for the time he had lost in fruitless solicitation, by her attention and activity in forwarding the preparations.
By the twelfth of May, all that depended on her was adjusted ; and Columbus waited on the king and queen, in order to receive their final instructions. Every thing respecting the destination and conduct of the voyage was committed entirely to his wisdom and prudence. But that they might avoid giving any just cause of offence to the king of Portugal, they strictly enjoined him not to approach near to the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Guinea ; nor in any of the other countries, to which they claimed right as discoverers.
The ships of which Columbus was to take the command were ordered by Isabella to be fitted out in the port of Palos, a small maritime town in the province of Andalusia. The prior, Juan Perez, to whom Columbus had been so greatly indebted, resided in the neighbourhood of this place; he by the influence of that good ecclesiastic, as well as by his own connexion with the inhabitants, not only raised among them what he wanted of the sum that he was bound by treaty to advance, but engaged several of them to accompany him in the voyage. The chief of these associates were three brothers of the name of Pinzon, of considerable wealth, and of great experience in naval affairs, who were willing to hazard their lives and fortunes in the enterprize.
But, notwithstanding all the endeavours and efforts of Isabella and Columbus, the armament was not suitable to the dignity of the nation by which it was equipped, or to the importance of the service for which it was destined. It consisted of three vessels only : the largest, a ship of no considerable burden, was commanded by Columbus, as admiral, who gave it the name of Santa Maria, out of respect for the blessed virgin, whom he honoured with singular devotion. Of the second, called La Pinta, Martin Alonzo Pinzon was captain, and his brother Francis, pilot. The third, named La Nigna, was under the command of Vincent Yanez Pinzon : these two were hardly superior in burden and force to large boats. This squadron if it merits the name, was victualled for twelve months, and had on board ninety men, mostly sailors, together with a few adventurers, who followed the fortune of Columbus, and some gentlemen of Isabella's court, whom she appointed to accompany him. Though the expense of the undertaking was one of the circumstances that chiefly alarmed the court of Spain, and retarded so long the negociations with CoVOL. I
lumbus, the sum employed in fitting out this squadron did not exceed four thousand pounds.
The art of ship building in the fifteenth century was .extremely rude, and the bulk and construction of vessels were accommodated to the short and easy voyages along the coast, which they were accustomed to perform. It is a proof of the genius and courage of Columbus, that he ventured with a fleet so unfit for a distant navigation, to explore unknown seas, where he had no chart to guide him, no knowledge of the tides and currents, and no experience of the dangers to which, in all probability, he would be exposed. His eagerness to accomplish his great design made him overlook every danger and difficulty. He pushed forward the preparations with such ardour, and was so well seconded by Isabella, that every thing was soon in readiness for the voyage.
But as Columbus was deeply impressed with a sense of the superintendance of divine providence, over the affairs of this life, he would not set out upon his expedi. tion without publicly imploring the protection of heaven. With this view, he, together with all the persons under his command, marched in solemn procession to the monastery of Rabida. After confessing their sins, and obtaining absolution, they received the sacrament from the hands of the Prior, who joined his prayers to theirs for the suceess of an enterprize which he had so zealously patronized
Next morning, being the third day of August, in the year of our Lord 1492, the fleet sailed a little before sun rise. A vast crowd of spectators assembled on the shore, and sent up their supplications to heaven for the prosperous issue of the voyage, which they rather hoped than expected.
Columbus steered for the Canary islands, and arrived there without an occurrence worth remarking or that would have been taken notice of on any other occasion. But in this expedition every thing claimed attention. The rudder of La Pinta broke lopse, the day after they left the harbour ; the crew, superstitious and unskilful, considered this as a bad omen. In this short run, the ships were found so .crazy, as to be very unfit for a navigation which was expected to be long and dangerous. Columbus repaired them the best in his power; and, after taking in a supply of fresh provisions, at Gomera, he took his departure