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congratulate the sovereigns on the success of Columbus, and to amuse them with negotiations respecting their discoveries. Ferdinand had received early intelligence of the naval preparations of Portugal, and perfectly understood the real purpose of this mission. A keen diplomatic game ensued between the sovereigns, wherein the parties were playing for a newly discovered world. Questions and propositions were multiplied and entangled; the object of each being merely to gain time to despatch his expedition. Ferdinand was successful, and completely foiled his adversary; for though John II. was able and intelligent, and had crafty counsellors to advise him, yet, whenever deep and subtle policy was required, Ferdinand was master of the game.
It may be as well to mention in this place, that the disputes between the two powers, on the subject of their discoveries, was finally settled on June 4th, 1494, by removing the imaginary line of partition three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape de Verde islands; an arrangement which ultimately gave to Portugal the possession of the Brazils.
By the indefatigable exertions of Columbus, aided by Fonseca and Soria, a fleet of seventeen sail, large and small, were soon in a state of forwardness; labourers and artificers of all kinds were engaged for the projected colony; and an ample supply was provided of whatever was necessary for its subsistence and defence, for the cultivation of the soil, the working of the mines, and the traffic with the natives.
The extraordinary excitement which prevailed
respecting this expedition, and the magnificent ideas which were entertained concerning the new world, drew volunteers of all kinds to Seville. It was a romantic and stirring age, and the Moorish wars being over, the bold and restless spirits of the nation were in want of suitable employment. Many hidalgos of high rank, officers of the royal household, and Andalusian cavaliers, pressed into the expedition, some in the royal service, others at their own cost, fancying they were about to enter upon a glorious career of arms, in the splendid countries and among the semibarbarous nations of the east. No one had any definite idea of the object or nature of the service in which he was embarked, or the situation and character of the region to which he was bound. Indeed, during this fever of the imagination, had sober facts and cold realities been presented, they would have been rejected with disdain, for there is nothing of which the public is more impatient than of being disturbed in the indulgence of any of its golden dreams.
Among the noted personages who engaged in the expedition was a young cavalier of good family, named Don Alonzo de Ojeda, who deserves particular mention. He was small, but well proportioned and muscular; of a dark but handsome and animated countenance, and possessed of incredible strength and agility. He was expert at all kinds of weapons, accomplished in all manly and warlike exercises, an admirable horseman, and a partisan soldier of the highest order. Bold of heart, free of spirit, open of hand;-fierce in fight, quick in brawl, but ready to forgive and prone to forget an injury;
he was for a long time the idol of the rash and roving youth, who engaged in the early expeditions to the new world, and distinguished himself by many perilous enterprises and singular exploits. The very first notice we have of him is a harebrained feat which he performed in the presence of Queen Isabella, in the Giralda, or Moorish tower of the cathedral of Seville. A great beam projected about twenty feet from the tower, at an immense height from the ground; along this beam Ojeda walked briskly with as much confidence as if pacing his chamber. When arrived at the end, he stood on one leg, with the other elevated in the air; then turning nimbly, walked back to the tower; placed one foot against it, and threw an orange to the summit; which could only have been done by one possessed of immense muscular strength. Throughout all this exploit, the least giddiness, or false step, would have precipitated him to the earth and dashed him to pieces.
During the fitting out of the armament, various disputes occurred between Columbus and the persons appointed by the crown to assist him. Juan de Soria, the comptroller, demurred occasionally to the expenses, which exceeded the amount originally calculated, and he sometimes refused to sign the accounts of the admiral. The archdeacon Fonseca, also, disputed the requisitions of Columbus for footmen and domestics suitable to his state as viceroy. They both received reprimands from the sovereigns, and were commanded to study, in every thing, the wishes of Columbus. From this trifling cause we may date the rise of an implacable hostility ever after manifested by Fonseca towards Columbus,
which every year increased in rancour, and which his official station enabled him to gratify in the most invidious manner. Enjoying the unmerited favour of the sovereigns, he maintained a control of Indian affairs for about thirty years. He must undoubtedly have possessed talents for business, to ensure such perpetuity of office; but he was malignant and vindictive, and, in the gratification of his private resentments, often obstructed the national enterprises, and heaped wrongs and sorrows on the heads of the most illustrious of the early dis
Departure of Columbus on his second Voyage of Discovery-Arrival at Hispaniola.
THE departure of Columbus on his second voyage of discovery presented a brilliant contrast to his gloomy embarkation at Palos. On the 25th of September, at the dawn of day, the bay of Cadiz was whitened by his fleet. There were three large ships of heavy burden, and fourteen caravals. The number of persons permitted to embark had originally been limited to one thousand; but many volunteers were allowed to inlist without pay, others got on board of the ships by stealth, so that eventually about fifteen hundred set sail in the fleet. All were full of animation, and took a gay leave of their friends, anticipating a prosperous voyage and triumphant return. Instead of being regarded by the populace as devoted men, bound upon a dark and desperate enterprise, they were contemplated with envy, as favoured mortals destined to golden regions and delightful climes, where nothing but wealth, and wonder, and enjoyment awaited them. Columbus moved among the throng accompanied by his sons, Diego and Fernando, the eldest but a stripling, who had come to