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Ferdinand in forbearing to reinstate Columbus in those dignities and privileges which had been solemnly granted to him by treaty, and which it was acknowledged he had never forfeited by misconduct. Plausible reasons, however, were given for delaying his re-appointment. It was observed that the elements of those factions which had recently been in arms yet existed in the island, and might produce fresh troubles should Columbus return immediately. It was represented as advisable, therefore, to send some officer of talent and discretion to supersede Bobadilla, and to hold the government for two years, by which time all angry passions would be allayed, and turbulent individuals removed. Columbus might then resume the command, with comfort to himself, and advantage to the crown. With this arrangement the admiral was obliged to content himself.

The person chosen to supersede Bobadilla was Don Nicholas de Ovando, commander of Lares, of the order of Alcantara. He is described as being of the middle size, with a fair complexion, a red beard, a modest look, yet a tone of authority; fluent in speech, courteous in manners, prudent, just, temperate, and of great humility. Such is the picture drawn of him by some of his contemporaries; yet he appears, from his actions, to have been plausible and subtle, as well as fluent and courteous; his humility concealed a great love of command; he was a merciless scourge to the Indians, and in his dealings with Columbus he was both ungenerous and unjust.

While the departure of Ovando was delayed by various circumstances, every arrival brought intelligence of the disastrous state of the island, under

The latter was

the administration of Bobadilla. not so much a bad, as an imprudent and a weak man. Imagining rigorous rule to be the rock on which his predecessors had split, he had, at the very outset, relaxed the reins of justice and morality, and, of course, had lost all command over the community. In a little while such disorder and licentiousness ensued, that many, even of the opponents of Columbus, looked back with regret to the strict but wholesome rule of himself and the Adelantado.

One dangerous indulgence granted to the colonists called for another, and each was ceded, in its turn, by Bobadilla. He sold the farms and estates of the crown at low prices, and granted universal permission to work the mines, on paying only an eleventh of the produce to government. To prevent any diminution in the revenues, it became necessary to increase the quantity of gold collected. He enforced, therefore, the repartimientos, by which the caciques were obliged to furnish parties of their subjects to work for the Spaniards in the field and in the mine. To carry these into more complete effect, he made an enumeration of the natives of the island, reduced them into classes, and distributed them, according to his favour or caprice, among the colonists. His constant exhortation to the Spaniards was, to produce large quantities of gold. "Make the most of your time," he would say, "there is no knowing how long it will last;" alluding to the possibility of his being speedily recalled. The colonists acted up to his advice, and so hard did they drive the poor natives, that the eleventh yielded more revenue than had ever been produced by the third, under the government of Columbus. In the mean time, the unhappy Indians

sunk under the toils imposed upon them, and the severities by which they were enforced. A capricious tyranny was exercised over them by worthless men, numbers of whom had been transported convicts from the dungeons of Castile. These wretches assumed the tone of grand cavaliers, and insisted upon being attended by trains of servants: they took the daughters and female relatives of caciques for their servants or their concubines. In travelling, they obliged the natives to transport them on their shoulders in litters or hammocks, while others held umbrellas of palm leaves over their heads, and cooled them with fans of feathers. Sometimes the backs and shoulders of the unfortunate Indians who bore the litters were raw and bleeding from the task. When these arrogant upstarts arrived at an Indian village, they capriciously seized upon and lavished the provisions of the inhabitants, and obliged the cacique and his subjects to dance for their amusement. They never addressed the natives but in the most degrading terms; and for the least offence, or in a mere freak of ill humour, they would inflict blows and lashes, and even death itself.

The tidings of these abuses, and of the wrongs of the natives, grieved the spirit of Isabella, and induced her to urge the departure of Ovando. He was empowered to assume the command immediately on his arrival, and to send home Bobadilla by the return of the fleet. Hispaniola was to be the metropolis of the colonial government, which was to extend over the islands and Terra Firma. Ovando was

to correct the late abuses, to revoke the improper licences granted by Bobadilla, to lighten the burdens imposed upon the Indians, and to promote their religious instruction. He was, at the same time, to

ascertain the injury sustained by Columbus in his late arrest and imprisonment, and the arrears of revenue that were due to him, that he might receive ample redress and compensation. The admiral was to be allowed a resident agent in the island, to attend to his affairs and guard his interests, to which office Columbus immediately appointed Alonzo Sanchez de Carvajal.

Among various decrees on this occasion, we find the first trace of negro slavery in the new world. It was permitted to transport to the colony negro slaves born in Spain, the children and descendants of natives brought from Guinea, where the slave trade had for some time been carried on by the Spaniards and Portuguese. There are signal events in the course of history, which sometimes bear the appearance of temporal judgments. It is a fact worthy of observation, that Hispaniola, the place where this flagrant sin against nature and humanity was first introduced into the new world, has been the first to exhibit an instance of awful retribution.

The fleet appointed to convey Ovando to his government put to sea on the 13th of February, 1502. It was the largest armament that had yet sailed to the new world, consisting of thirty sail, of various sizes, provided with all kinds of supplies for the colony. Twenty-five hundred souls embarked in this fleet, many of them persons of rank, with their families. Ovando was allowed a brilliant retinue, a body guard of horsemen, and the use of silks, brocades, and precious stones, at that time forbidden by the sumptuary laws of Spain. Such was the style in which a favourite of Ferdinand, a native subject of rank, was fitted out to enter upon the government withheld from Columbus.



Proposition of Columbus for a Crusade-His Preparations for a fourth Voyage. [1500-1501.]

COLUMBUS remained in the city of Granada upwards of nine months, awaiting employment, and endeavouring to retrieve his affairs from the confusion into which they had been thrown. During this gloomy period, he called to mind his vow to furnish, within seven years from the time of his discovery of the new world, an army of fifty thousand foot and five thousand horse, for the recovery of the holy sepulchre. The time had elapsed, the vow remained unfulfilled, and the expected treasures that were to pay the army had never been realised. Destitute, therefore, of the means of accomplishing his pious purpose, he considered it his duty to incite the sovereigns to the enterprise; and he felt emboldened to do so, from having originally proposed it as the great object to which the profits of his discoveries should be directed. He set to work, therefore, with his accustomed zeal, to prepare arguments for the purpose. Aided by a Carthusian friar, he collected into a manuscript volume all the passages in the sacred scriptures and in the writings of the fathers, which he conceived to contain mystic portents and prophecies of the discovery

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