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embark in the remaining caraval, as soon as it could be extricated from the river, and would abandon themselves to the mercy of the seas, rather than continue on that fatal coast.

The admiral was deeply afflicted at this intelligence, but there appeared no alternative but to embark all the people, abandon the settlement for the present, and return at a future day, with a force competent to take secure possession of the country. The state of the weather rendered the execution even of this plan doubtful. The high wind and boisterous waves still prevented communication, and the situation of those at sea, in crazy and feebly manned ships, on a lee-shore, was scarcely less perilous than that of their comrades on the land. Every hour increased the anxiety of the admiral. Days of constant perturbation, and nights of sleepless anguish, preyed upon a constitution broken by age and hardships. Amidst the acute maladies of the body, and the fever of the mind, he appears to have been visited by partial delirium. In a letter to the sovereigns, he gives an account of a kind of vision, which comforted him when full of despondency, and tossing upon a couch of pain. In the silence of the night, when, wearied and sighing, he had fallen into a slumber, he thought he heard a voice reproaching him with his want of confidence in God. "Oh fool, and slow to believe thy God!" exclaimed the voice, "what did he more for Moses, or for his servant David? From the time that thou wert born he has ever taken care of thee. When he saw thee of a fitting age, he made thy name to resound marvellously throughout the world. The Indies, those rich parts of the earth, he gave thee for thine own,

and empowered thee to dispose of them to others according to thy pleasure. He delivered thee the keys of the gates of the ocean sea, shut up by such mighty chains, and thou wert obeyed in many lands, and didst acquire honourable fame among Christians. Thou dost call despondingly for succour. Answer; who has afflicted thee? God, or the world? The privileges and promises which God has made thee, he has never broken. He fulfils all that he promises, and with increase. Thy present troubles are the reward of the toils and perils thou hast endured in serving others." Amidst its reproaches the voice mingled promises of further protection, and assurances that his age should be no impediment to any great undertaking.

Such is the vision which Columbus circumstantially relates in a letter to the sovereigns. The words here spoken by a supposed voice, are truths which dwelt upon his mind, and agitated his spirit in his waking hours; it was natural, therefore, that they should recur vividly in his feverish dreams. He had a solemn belief that he was a peculiar instrument in the hands of Providence, which, together with a deep tinge of superstition, common to the age, made him prone to mistake every striking dream for a revelation.

His error was probably confirmed by subsequent circumstances. Immediately after the supposed vision, and after nine days of boisterous weather, the wind subsided, the sea became calm, and the Adelantado and his companions were happily rescued from their perilous situation, and embarked on board of the ships. Every thing of value was likewise brought on board, and nothing remained but the

hull of the caraval, which could not be extricated from the river. Diego Mendez was extremely efficient in bringing off the people and the property; and, in reward of his zeal and services, the admiral gave him the command of the caraval vacant by the death of the unfortunate Diego Tristan.

CHAPTER XL.

Voyage to Jamaica-Transactions at that Island. [1503.]

TOWARDS the end of April, Columbus set sail from the disastrous coast of Veragua. The wretched condition of his ships, the enfeebled state of his crews, and the scarcity of provisions, determined him to make the best of his way for Hispaniola : but it was necessary, before standing across for that island, to gain a considerable distance to the east, to avoid being swept away far below their destined port by the currents. The pilots and mariners, who had not studied the navigation of these seas with an equally experienced and observant eye, fancied, when Columbus stood along the coast to the east, that he intended to proceed immediately to Spain, and murmured loudly at the madness of attempting so long a voyage, with ships destitute of stores and consumed by the worms. The admiral did not impart his reasons, for he was disposed to make a mystery of his routes, seeing the number of private adventurers daily crowding into his track.

Continuing along the coast eastward, he was obliged to abandon one of the caravals in the harbour of Puerto Bello, being so pierced by the teredo that it was impossible to keep her afloat. He then proceeded about ten leagues beyond Point Blas, near

to what is at present called the gulf of Darien, and which he supposed to be the province of Mangi, in the territories of the Grand Khan. Here he bade farewell to the main land, and stood northward, on the first of May, in quest of Hispaniola. Notwithstanding all his precautions, however, he was carried so far west by the currents, as to arrive, on the 30th of May, among the cluster of islands called the Queen's Gardens, on the south side of Cuba. During this time, his crews suffered excessively from hunger and fatigue. They were crowded into two caravals, little better than mere wrecks, and which were scarcely kept afloat by incessant labour at the pump. They were enfeebled by scanty diet, and dejected by a variety of hardships. A violent storm on the coast of Cuba drove the vessels upon each other, and shattered them to such a degree, that the admiral, after struggling as far as Cape Cruz, gave up all further attempt to navigate them to Hispaniola, and stood over, in search of a secure port, on the island of Jamaica. Here, on the 24th of June, they anchored in a harbour, to which the admiral gave the name of Port San Gloria.

Seeing that his ships were no longer capable of standing the sea, and were in danger of foundering even in port, Columbus ran them aground, within bowshot of the shore, where they were fastened together side by side. They soon filled with water. Thatched cabins were then erected at the prow and stern to shelter the crews, and the wreck was placed in the best possible state of defence. Thus castled in the sea, Columbus trusted to be able to repel any sudden attack of the natives, and at the same time

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