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taken possession of the newly found lands in the name of their catholic majesties. This he sealed and directed to the king and queen, and superscribed a promise of a thousand ducats to whomsoever should deliver the packet unopened. He then wrapped it in a waxed cloth, which he placed in the centre of a cake of wax, and enclosing the whole in a cask, threw it into the sea. A copy of this memorial he enclosed, in a similar manner, and placed it upon the poop of his vessel, so that, should the caraval sink, the cask might float off and survive.
Happily, these precautions, though wise, were superfluous; at sunset there was a streak of clear sky in the west, the wind shifted to that quarter, and on the morning of the 15th of February they came in sight of land. The transports of the crew at once more beholding the old world were almost equal to those they had experienced on discovering the new. For two or three days, however, the wind again became contrary, and they remained hovering in sight of land, of which they only caught glimpses through the mist and rack. At length they came to anchor, at the island of St. Mary's, the most southern of the Azores, and a possession of the crown of Portugal. An ungenerous reception, however, awaited the poor tempest-tossed mariners, on their return to the abode of civilized man, far different from the kindness and hospitality they had experienced among the savages of the new world. Columbus had sent one half of the crew on shore, to fulfil the vow of a barefooted procession to a hermitage or chapel of the Virgin, which stood on a solitary part of the coast, and awaited their return to perform the same ceremony with the remainder
of his crew. Scarcely had they begun their prayers and thanksgiving, when a party of horse and foot, headed by the governor of the island, surrounded the hermitage, and took them all prisoners. The real object of this outrage was to get possession of the person of Columbus; for the King of Portugal, jealous lest his enterprise might interfere with his own discoveries, had sent orders to his commanders of islands and distant ports to seize and detain him wherever he should be met with.
Having failed in this open attempt, the governor next endeavoured to get Columbus in his power by stratagem, but was equally unsuccessful. A violent altercation took place between them, and Columbus threatened him with the vengeance of his sovereigns. At length, after two or three days' detention, the sailors who had been captured in the chapel were released; the governor pretended to have acted through doubts of Columbus having a regular commission, but that being now convinced of his being in the service of the Spanish sovereigns, he was ready to yield him every service in his power. The admiral did not put his offers to the proof. The wind became favourable for the continuation of his voyage, and he again set sail on the 24th of February. After two or three days of pleasant sailing, there was a renewal of tempestuous weather. About midnight of the 2d of March, the caraval was struck by a squall, which rent all her sails, and threatened instant destruction. The crew were again reduced to despair, and made vows of fastings and pilgrimages. The storm raged throughout the succeeding day, during which, from various signs, they considered themselves in the vicinity of land,
which they supposed must be the coast of Portugal. The turbulence of the following night was dreadful. The sea was broken, wild, and mountainous, the rain fell in torrents, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder pealed from various parts of the heavens. In the first watch of this fearful night, the seamen gave the usually welcome cry of land; but it only increased their alarm, for they were ignorant of their situation, and dreaded being driven on shore, or dashed upon the rocks. Taking in sail, therefore, they endeavoured to keep to sea as much as possible. At day-break on the 4th of March, they found themselves off the rock of Cintra, at the mouth of the Tagus. Though distrustful of the good will of Portugal, Columbus had no alternative but to run in for shelter, and he accordingly anchored about three o'clock in the river, opposite to Rastello, The inhabitants came off from various parts of the shore, to congratulate him on what they deemed a miraculous preservation, for they had been watching the vessel the whole morning, with great anxiety, and putting up prayers for her safety. The oldest mariners of the place assured him that they had never known so tempestuous a winter. Such were the difficulties and perils with which Columbus had to contend on his return to Europe: had one-tenth part of them beset his outward voyage, his factious crew would have risen in arms against the enterprise, and he never would have discovered the new world.
Visit of Columbus to the Court of Portugal—Arrival at Palos. [1493.]
IMMEDIATELY on his arrival in the Tagus, Columbus despatched a courier to the King and Queen of Spain, with tidings of his discovery. He wrote also to the King of Portugal, entreating permission to go to Lisbon with his vessel, as a report had got abroad that she was laden with gold, and he felt himself insecure in the neighbourhood of a place like Rastello, inhabited by needy and adventurous people. At the same time he stated the route and events of his voyage, lest the king should suspect him of having been in the route of the Portuguese discoveries.
The tidings of this wonderful bark, freighted with the people and productions of a newly discovered world, filled all Lisbon with astonishment. For several days the Tagus was covered with barges and boats going to and from it. Among the visiters were various officers of the crown and cavaliers of high distinction. All hung with rapt attention upon the accounts of the voyage, and gazed with insatiable curiosity upon the plants, and animals, and above all upon the inhabitants of the new world. The enthusiasm of some, and the avarice of others, was excited; while many repined at the
incredulity of the king and his counsellors, by which so grand a discovery had been for ever lost to Portugal.
On the 8th of March, Columbus received a message from King John, congratulating him upon his arrival, and inviting him to the court at Valparaiso, about nine leagues from Lisbon. The king at the same time ordered, that any thing which the admiral required for himself or his vessel should be furnished free of cost.
Columbus distrusted the good faith of the king, and set out reluctantly for the court; but his reception was what might have been expected from an enlightened and liberal prince. On approaching the royal residence, he was met by the principal personages of the king's household, and conducted with great ceremony to the palace. The king welcomed him to Portugal, and congratulated him on the glorious result of his enterprise. He ordered him to seat himself in his presence, an honour only granted to persons of royal dignity, and assured him that every thing in his kingdom was at the service of his sovereigns and himself. They had repeated conversations about the events of the voyage, and the king made minute inquiries as to the soil, productions, and people of the newly discovered countries, and the routes by which Columbus had sailed. The king listened with seeming pleasure to his replies, but was secretly grieved at the thoughts that this splendid enterprise had been offered to him and refused. He was uneasy, also, lest this undefined discovery should in some way interfere with his own territories, comprehended in the papal bull, which granted to the crown of Portugal all the