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time thought of abandoning his discoveries altogether.
The insolence of these worthless men harassed him to the last moment of his sojourn in Spain, and followed him to the water's edge. One of the most noisy and presuming was one Ximeno de Breviesca, treasurer of Fonseca, a converted Jew or Moor, and a man of impudent front and unbridled tongue, who, echoing the sentiment of his patron the bishop, had been loud in his abuse of the admiral and his enterprises.
At the very time that Columbus was on the point of embarking, he was assailed by the insolence of this Ximeno. Forgetting, in the hurry and indignation of the moment, his usual self-command, he struck the despicable minion to the earth, and spurned him with his foot, venting in this unguarded paroxysm the accumulated griefs and vexations which had long rankled in his heart. This transport of passion, so unusual in his well-governed temper, was artfully made use of by Fonseca, and others of his enemies, to injure him in the royal favour. The personal castigation of a public officer was represented as a flagrant instance of his vindictive temper, and a corroboration of the charges of cruelty and oppression sent home from the colony; and we are assured that certain humiliating measures, shortly afterwards adopted towards him, were in consequence of the effect produced upon the sovereigns by these misrepresentations. Columbus himself deeply regretted his indiscretion, and foresaw the invidious use that would be made of it. It would be difficult to make, with equal brevity, a more
direct and affecting appeal than that contained in one of his letters, wherein he alludes to this affair. He entreats the sovereigns not to let it be wrested to his injury in their opinion; but to remember, when any thing should be said to his disparagement, that he was "absent, envied, and a stranger."
Discovery of Trinidad and the Coast of Paria-Arrival at San Domingo. [1498.]
On the 30th of May, 1498, Columbus set sail from the port of San Lucar de Barrameda, with a squadron of six vessels, on his third voyage of discovery. From various considerations, he was induced to take a different route from that pursued in his former expeditions. He had been assured by persons who had traded to the east, that the rarest objects of commerce, such as gold, precious stones, drugs, and spices, were chiefly to be found in the regions about the equator, where the inhabitants were black or darkly coloured; and that, until he arrived among people of such complexions, it was not probable he would find those articles in great abundance.
Columbus expected to find such people more to the south and south-east. He recollected that the natives of Hispaniola had spoken of black men who had once come to their island from the south, the heads of whose javelins were of guanin, or adulterated gold. The natives of the Caribbee islands, also, had informed him that a great tract of the main land lay to the south; and in his preceding voyage he had remarked that Cuba, which he supposed to be the continent of Asia, swept off in that direction.
He proposed, therefore, to take his departure from the Cape de Verde islands, sailing to the south-west until he should come under the equinoctial line, then to steer directly westward, with the favour of the trade winds.
Having touched at the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira, to take in wood and water, he continued his course to the Canary islands, from whence he despatched three of his ships direct for Hispaniola, with supplies for the colony. With the remaining three he prosecuted his voyage towards the Cape de Verde islands. The ship in which he sailed was decked, the other two were merchant caravals. As he advanced within the tropics, the change of climate, and the close and sultry weather, brought on a severe attack of the gout, accompanied by a violent fever; but he still enjoyed the full possession of his faculties, and continued to keep his reckoning and make his observations with his usual vigilance and minuteness.
On the 5th of July, he took his departure from the Cape de Verde islands, and steered to the southwest until he arrived, according to his observations, in the fifth degree of north latitude. Here the wind suddenly fell, and a dead sultry calm succeeded. The air was like a furnace, the tar melted from the sides of the ships, the seams yawned, the salt meat became putrid, the wheat was parched as if with fire, some of the wine and water casks burst, and the heat in the holds of the vessels was so suffocating that no one could remain below to prevent the damage that was taking place among the seastores. The mariners lost all strength and spirits. It seemed as if the old fable of the torrid zone was
about to be realised, and that they were approaching a fiery region, where it would be impossible to exist. It is true, the heavens became overcast, and there were drizzling showers, but the atmosphere was close and stifling, and there was that combination of heat and moisture which relaxes all the energies of the human frame.
A continuation of this weather, together with the remonstrances of his crew, and his extreme suffering from the gout, ultimately induced him to alter his route, and stand to the north-west, in hopes of falling in with the Caribbee islands, where he might repair his ships, and obtain water and provisions. After sailing some distance in this direction, through an ordeal of heats and calms, and murky, stifling atmosphere, the ships all at once emerged into a genial region: a pleasant cooling breeze played over the sea, and gently filled their sails; the sky became serene and clear, and the sun shone forth with all its splendour, but no longer with a burning heat.
On the 31st of July, when there was not above a cask of water remaining in each ship, a mariner, named Alonzo Perez, descried, from the mast-head, three mountains rising above the horizon: as the ships drew nearer, these mountains proved to be united at the base. Columbus, therefore, from a religious association of ideas, gave this island the name of La Trinidad (or the Trinity), which it continues to bear at the present day.
Shaping his course for this island, he approached its eastern extremity, to which he gave the name of Punta de Galera, from a rock in the sea which resembled a galley under sail. He then coasted