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what the admiral had been taught to expect. He now ordered the men of San Domingo to appear under arms, that he might ascertain the force with which he could take the field in case of necessity. A report was immediately circulated that they were to be led to Bonao, against the rebels; some of the inhabitants had relations, others friends, among the followers of Roldan; almost all were disaffected to the service; not above seventy men appeared under arms; one affected to be ill, another lame; there were not forty to be relied upon.
Columbus saw that a resort to arms would only serve to betray his own weakness and the power of the rebels; it was necessary to temporize, therefore, however humiliating such conduct might be deemed. His first care was to despatch the five ships which he had detained in port, until he should receive the reply of Roldan. He was anxious that as many as possible of the discontented colonists should sail for Spain, before any commotion should take place. He wrote to the sovereigns an account of his late voyage, giving an enthusiastic description of the newly discovered continent, accompanied by a chart of the coast, and specimens of the pearls which he had procured from the natives.
He informed the sovereigns, also, of the rebellion of Roldan; and as the latter pretended it was only a quarrel between him and the Adelantado, he begged the matter might be investigated by their majesties, or by persons friendly to both parties. Among other judicious requests, he entreated that a man learned and experienced in the law might be sent out to officiate as judge over the island.
By this opportunity Roldan and his friends likewise sent letters to Spain, endeavouring to justify their rebellion, by charging Columbus and his brothers with oppression and injustice, and painting their whole conduct in the blackest colours. It would naturally be supposed, that the representations of such men would have little weight in the balance against the tried merits and exalted services of Columbus; but they had numerous friends and relations in Spain to back them; Columbus was a foreigner, without influence in the court, and with active enemies near the sovereigns, ever ready to place his conduct in an unfavourable light.
The ships being despatched, the admiral resumed his negotiation with the rebels. As the burden of their complaint was the strict rule of his brother, who was accused of dealing out justice with a rigorous hand, he resolved to try the alternative of extreme lenity, and wrote a letter to Roldan, calling to mind past kindnesses, and entreating him, for the sake of his own reputation, which stood well with the sovereigns, not to persist in his present insubordination. He again repeated his assurance, that he and his companions might come to treat with him at San Domingo, under the faith of his word, for the inviolability of their persons.
There was a difficulty as to who should be the bearer of this letter. The rebels had declared that they would receive no mediator but Alonzo Sanchez de Carvajal. Strong suspicions existed in the minds of many as to the integrity of that officer, from his transactions with the rebels at Xaragua, and his standing so high in their favour. Columbus, how
ever, discarded all those suspicions, and confided implicitly in Carvajal, nor had he ever any cause to repent of his confidence.
A painful and humiliating negotiation was now carried on for several days, in the course of which Roldan had an interview with Columbus at San Domingo, and several letters passed between them. The rebels felt their power, aud presumed, in consequence, to demand the most extravagant concessions. Miguel Ballester wrote at the same time to the admiral, advising him to agree to whatever they might demand. He represented their forces as continually augmenting, and that the soldiers of his garrison were daily deserting to them, and gave it as his opinion, that unless some compromise were speedily effected, and the rebels shipped off for Spain, not merely the authority, but even the of the admiral would be in danger; for person though the hidalgos and the immediate officers and servants about him would doubtless die in his service, yet he feared that the common people were but little to be depended upon.
Thus urged by veteran counsel, and compelled by circumstances, Columbus at length made an arrangement with the rebels, by which it was agreed, that Roldan and his followers should embark for Spain, from the port of Xaragua, in two ships which should be fitted out and victualled within fifty days; that they should each receive from the admiral a certificate of good conduct, and an order for the amount of their pay up to the actual date; that slaves should be given them, as had been given to colonists, in consideration of services performed; and that such as had wives, natives of the island, might take them
with them in place of slaves; that satisfaction should be made for property of some of the company which had been sequestrated, and for live stock which had belonged to Francis Roldan.
It was a grievous circumstance to Columbus, that the vessels which should have borne his brother to explore the newly discovered continent had to be devoted to the transportation of this turbulent and worthless rabble; but he consoled himself with the idea that, the faction being once shipped off, the island would again be restored to tranquillity. The articles of arrangement being signed, Roldan and his followers departed for Xaragua, to await the arrival of the ships; and Columbus, putting his brother Don Diego in temporary command, set off with the Adelantado on a tour to visit the various fortresses, and restore every thing to order.
In the mean while, unavoidable delays took place in fitting out the ships, and they encountered violent storms in their voyage from San Domingo to Xaragua, so as to arrive there long after the stipulated time, and that in a damaged condition. The followers of Roldan seized upon this as a pretext to refuse to embark, affirming that the ships had been purposely delayed, and eventually sent in a state not seaworthy, and short of provisions. New negotiations were therefore set on foot, and new terms demanded. It is probable that Roldan feared to return to Spain, and his followers were loth to give up their riotous and licentious life. In the midst of his perplexities, Columbus received a letter from Spain, in reply to the earnest representations which he had made of the distracted state of the colony, and of the outrages of these
licentious men. It was written by his invidious enemy, the Bishop Fonseca, superintendent of Indian affairs. It informed him that his representations of the alleged rebellion had been received, but that the matter must be suffered to remain in suspense, as the sovereigns would investigate and remedy it presently.
This cold reply had the most disheartening effect upon Columbus, while it increased the insolence of the rebels, who saw that his complaints had little weight with the government. Full of zeal, however, for the prosecution of his discoveries, and of fidelity to the interests of the crown, he resolved, at any sacrifice of pride or comfort, to put an end to the troubles of the island. He departed, therefore, in the latter part of August, with two caravals, to the port of Azna, accompanied by several of the most important personages of the colony, to give Roldan a meeting. The latter, in this interview, conducted himself more like a conqueror exacting terms, than a delinquent seeking pardon. Among other things, he demanded that such of his followers as chose to remain in the island should have lands assigned them, and that he should be reinstated in his office of alcalde mayor, or chief judge. The mind grows wearied and impatient with recording, and the heart of the generous reader must burn with indignation at perusing, this protracted and ineffectual struggle, of a man of the exalted merits and matchless services of Columbus, in the toils of such contemptible miscreants. rounded by doubt and danger, a foreigner among. a jealous people, an unpopular commander in a mutinous island, distrusted and slighted by the