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and inhumanity; some by the sword, others by blows and cruel usage, others through hunger; the greater part have perished in the mountains, whither they had fled, from not being able to support the labour imposed upon them."

He found his own immediate concerns in great confusion. His rents and arrears were either uncollected, or he could not obtain a clear account and a full liquidation of them; and he complained that Ovando had impeded his agents in their management of his concerns. The continual misunderstandings which took place between him and the governor, though always qualified on the part of the latter with courtly complaisance, induced Columbus to hasten his departure. He caused the ship in which he had returned from Jamaica to be repaired and fitted out, and another hired, in which he offered a passage to such of his late crews as chose to reThe greater part preferred to remain in San Domingo: as they were in great poverty, he relieved their necessities from his own purse, and advanced money to those who accompanied him for the expenses of their voyage. All the funds he could collect were exhausted in these disbursements, and many of the men thus relieved by his generosity had been among the most violent of the rebels.

turn.

On the 12th of September he set sail, but had scarcely left the harbour when the mast of his ship was carried away in a sudden squall. He embarked, therefore, with his family in the other vessel, commanded by the Adelantado, and sent back the damaged ship to port. Fortune continued to persecute him to the end of this his last and most disastrous expedition. Throughout the voyage he

experienced tempestuous weather, suffering at the same time the excruciating torments of the gout, until, on the 7th of November, his crazy and shattered bark anchored in the harbour of San Lucar. From thence he proceeded to Seville, to enjoy a little tranquillity of mind and body, and to recruit his health after his long series of fatigues, anxieties, and hardships.

CHAPTER XLV.

Fruitless Application of Columbus to be reinstated in his Government-His last Illness and Death.

[1504.]

THE residence of Columbus during the winter at Seville has generally been represented as an interval of repose. Never was honourable repose more merited, more desired, and less enjoyed. Care and sorrow were destined to follow him by sea and land; and in varying the scene, he but varied the nature of his afflictions. Ever since his memorable arrest by Bobadilla, his affairs had remained in confusion, and his rents and dues had been but partially and irregularly collected, and were detained in intermediate hands. The last voyage had exhausted his finances, and involved him in embarrassments. All that he had been able to collect of the money due to him in Hispaniola had been expended in bringing home many of his late crew, and for the greater part the crown remained his debtor. The world thought him possessed of countless wealth, while, in fact, he was suffering pecuniary want.

In letters written at this time to his son Diego, he repeatedly urges to him the necessity of practising extreme economy, until the arrears due to him should be paid. "I receive nothing of the revenue due to me," says he, on another occasion, "but live by borrowing. Little have I profited by

twenty years of toils and perils, since at present I do not own a roof in Spain. I have no resort but an inn, and, for the most times, have not wherewithal to pay my bill."

Being unable, from his infirmities, to go to court, he had to communicate with the sovereigns by letter, or through the intervention of friends, and exerted himself strenuously, but ineffectually, to draw their attention to the disastrous state of Hispaniola under the administration of Ovando, to obtain the restitution of his honours, and the payment of his arrears, and what seemed to lie equally near his heart, to obtain relief for his unfortunate seamen.

His letters were unregarded, or at least unanswered, his claims remained unsatisfied, and a cold indifference and neglect appeared to prevail towards him. All the tidings from the court filled him with uneasiness. Porras, the ringleader of the late faction, had been sent home by Ovando to appear before the council of the Indies, but the official documents in his cause had not arrived. He went at large, and being related to Morales the royal treasurer, had access to people in place, and an opportunity of inlisting their opinions and prejudices on his side. Columbus began to fear that the violent scenes in Jamaica might, by the perversity of his enemies and the effrontery of the delinquents, be wrested into matters of accusation against him, as had been the case with the rebellion of Roldan. The faithful and indefatigable Diego Mendez was at this time at court, and he trusted to his honest representations to counteract the falsehoods of Porras. Nothing can surpass the affecting earnestness and simplicity with which, in one of his letters, he declares his

loyalty. "I have served their majesties," says he, "with as much zeal and diligence as if it had been to gain paradise; and if I have failed in any thing, it has been because my knowledge and powers went no further." Whilst reading this touching appeal, we can scarcely realize the fact, that it was written by Columbus; the same extraordinary man who, but a few years before, had been idolized at this court as a benefactor, and received with almost royal honours.

His anxiety to have a personal interview with the sovereigns became every day more intense; he felt the inefficacy of letter-writing, and indeed, even that resource began to fail him, for the severity of his malady for a great part of the time deprived him of the use of his hands. He made repeated attempts to set off for the court; a litter was once actually at the door to convey him thither, but his increasing infirmities, and the inclemency of the season, obliged him to abandon the journey. In the mean time, the intrigues of his enemies appeared to be prevailing; the cold-hearted Ferdinand treated all his applications with indifference; on the justice and magnanimity of Isabella alone he relied for the redress of his grievances, but she lay dangerously ill. "May it please the Holy Trinity," says he, "to restore our sovereign queen to health; for by her will every thing be adjusted which is now in confusion." Alas! while writing that letter, his noble benefactress was a corpse !

The health of Isabella had long been undermined by repeated shocks of domestic calamities. The death of her only son, the Prince Juan, of her beloved daughter, and bosom friend, the Princess Isabella,

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