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of India. This singular instrument was signed near that deep bay called by some the bay of Philipina, by others, of Cortes. At this very time, a ship-boy from the mast-head might have overlooked the group of islands to the south, and have beheld the open sea beyond. Had Columbus continued on for two or three days longer, he would have passed round the extremity of Cuba; his illusion would have been dispelled, and an entirely different course might have been given to his subsequent discoveries.
Returning now towards the east, the crews suffered excessively from fatigue, and a scarcity of provisions. At length, on the 7th of July, they anchored at the mouth of a fine river, in a genial and abundant country, which they had previously visited, as they had come down along the coast. Here the natives brought them provisions of various kinds. It was a custom with Columbus to erect crosses in all remarkable places, to denote the discovery of the country, and its subjugation to the true faith. This was done on the banks of this river, on a Sunday morning, with great ceremony. Columbus was attended by the cacique, and by his principal favourite, a venerable Indian, fourscore years of age. While mass was performed in a stately grove, the natives looked on with awe and reverence. When it was ended, the old man of fourscore made a speech to Columbus in the Indian manner. "I am told," said he, "that thou hast lately come to these lands with a mighty force, and hast subdued many countries, spreading great fear among the people; but be not therefore vain-glorious. Know that, according to our belief, the souls of men have two journeys to perform after they have
departed from the body; one to a place dismal, foul, and covered with darkness, prepared for such as have been unjust and cruel to their fellow-men ; the other full of delight, for such as have promoted peace on earth. If, then, thou art mortal, and dost expect to die, beware that thou hurt no man wrongfully, neither do harm to those who have done no harm to thee."
When this speech was explained to Columbus by his interpreter, he was greatly moved by the simple eloquence of this untutored savage, and rejoiced to hear his doctrine of the future state of the soul, having supposed that no belief of the kind existed among the inhabitants of these countries. He assured the old man that he had been sent by his sovereigns to teach them the true religion, to protect them from harm, and to subdue their enemies the Caribs. The venerable Indian was exceedingly astonished to learn that the admiral, whom he had considered so great and powerful, was yet but a subject; and when he was told, by the interpreter who had been in Spain, of the grandeur of the Spanish monarchs, and of the wonders of their kingdom, a sudden desire seized him to embark with the admiral, and accompany him to see this wonderful country, and it was with difficulty the tears and remonstrances of his wife and children could dissuade him from his purpose.
After leaving this river, to which, from the solemn mass performed on its banks, Columbus gave the name of Rio de la Misa, he continued on to Cape Cruz, and then stood over to Jamaica, to complete the circumnavigation of that island. For nearly a month he continued beating to the east
ward along its southern coast, coming to anchor every evening under the land, and making but slow progress. Anchoring one evening in a great bay, he was visited by a cacique with a numerous train, who remained until a late hour conversing with the Lucayan interpreter, who had been in Spain, about the Spaniards and their country, and their prowess in vanquishing the Caribs.
On the following morning, when the ships were under weigh, they beheld three canoes issuing from among the islands of the bay. The centre cne was large, and handsomely carved and painted. In it were seated the cacique and his family, consisting of two daughters, young and beautiful, two sons, and five brothers. They were all arrayed in their jewels, and attended by the officers of the chieftain, decorated with plumes and mantles of variegated feathers. The standard-bearer stood in the prow with a fluttering white banner, while other Indians, fancifully painted, beat upon tabors, or sounded trumpets of fine black wood ingeniously carved. The cacique, entering on board of the ship, distributed presents among the crew, and approaching the admiral, "I have heard,” said he, "of the irresistible power of thy sovereigns, and of the many nations thou hast subdued in their name. Thou hast destroyed the dwellings of the Caribs, slaying their warriors, and carrying their wives and children into captivity. All the islands are in dread of thee, for who can withstand thee, now that thou knowest the secrets of the land, and the weakness of the people? Rather, therefore, than thou shouldst take away my dominions, I will embark with all my household in thy ships, and will go to render ho
mage to thy king and queen, and behold thy country, of which I hear such wonders."
When this speech was interpreted to Columbus, and he beheld the wife, the sons and daughters of the cacique, and considered to what ills they would be exposed, he was touched with compassion, and determined not to take them from their native land. He received the cacique under his protection, as a vassal of his sovereigns, but informed him, that he had many lands yet to visit, before he should return to his own country. He dismissed him, therefore, for the present, promising that at some future time he would gratify his wishes.
On the 19th of August, Columbus lost sight of the eastern extremity of Jamaica, and on the following day made that long peninsula of Hayti, since called Cape Tiburon, but to which he gave the name of San Miguel. He coasted the whole of the southern side of the island, and had to take refuge in the channel of Saona, from a violent storm which raged for several days, during which time he suffered great anxiety for the fate of the other vessels, which remained at sea, exposed to the fury of the tempest. Being rejoined by them, and the weather having moderated, he set sail eastward with the intention of completing the discovery of the Caribbee islands, but his physical strength did not correspond to the efforts of his spirit. The extraordinary fatigues which he had suffered both in mind and body, during this harassing voyage, which had lasted for five months, had secretly preyed upon his health. He had shared in all the hardships and privations of the common seamen, and he had cares and trials from which they were exempt. When the sailor, worn
out with the labours of his watch, slept soundly, in spite of the howling of the storms, the anxious commander maintained his painful vigil, through long sleepless nights, amidst the pelting of the tempest and the drenching surges of the sea, for the safety of his ships depended upon his watchfulness. During a great part of the voyage he had been excited by the hope of socn arriving at the known parts of India; he was afterwards stimulated by a conflict with hardships and perils, as he made his way back against contrary winds and currents. The moment he was relieved from all solicitude, and found himself in a tranquil sea, which he had already explored, the excitement suddenly ceased, and mind and body sunk exhausted by almost superhuman exertions. He fell into a deep lethargy, resembling death itself. His crew feared that death was really at hand. They abandoned, therefore, all farther prosecution of the voyage, and spreading their sails to a favourable breeze from the east, bore Columbus back, in a state of complete insensibility, to the harbour of Isabella.