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Columbus was the first to take the alarm, and was soon followed by the master of the ship, whose duty it was to have been on watch, and by his delinquent companions. The admiral ordered them to carry out an anchor astern, that they might warp the vessel off. They sprang into the boat, but being confused and seized with a panic, as men are apt to be when suddenly awakened by an alarm, instead of obeying the commands of Columbus, they rowed off to the other caraval. Vincente Yañez Pinzon, who commanded the latter, reproached them with their pusillanimity, and refused to admit them on board; and, manning his boat, he hastened to the assistance of the admiral.

In the mean time, the ship swinging across the stream, had been set more and more upon the bank. Efforts were made to lighten her, by cutting away the mast, but in vain. The keel was firmly bedded in the sand; the seams opened, and the breakers beat against her, until she fell over on one side. Fortunately, the weather continued calm, otherwise both ship and crew must have perished. The admiral abandoned the wreck, and took refuge, with his men, on board of the caraval. He lay to until daylight, sending messengers on shore to inform the cacique Guacanagari of his disastrous shipwreck.

When the chieftain heard of the misfortune of his guest, he was so much afflicted as to shed tears; and never, in civilized country, were the vaunted rites of hospitality more scrupulously observed, than by this uncultured savage. He assembled his people, and sent off all his canoes to the assistance of the admiral, assuring him, at the same time, that every

The effects

thing he possessed was at his service. were landed from the wreck, and deposited near the dwelling of the cacique, and a guard set over them, until houses could be prepared, in which they could be stored. There seemed, however, no disposition among the natives to take advantage of the misfortune of the strangers, or to plunder the treasures thus cast upon their shores, though they must have been inestimable in their eyes. Even in transporting the effects from the ship, they did not attempt to pilfer or conceal the most trifling article. On the contrary, they manifested as deep a concern at the disaster of the Spaniards as if it had happened to themselves, and their only study was how they could administer relief and consolation. Columbus was greatly affected by this unexpected goodness. "These people," said he, in his journal, intended for the perusal of the sovereigns, "love their neighbours as themselves, their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied by a smile. I swear to your majesties there is not in the world a better nation or a better land."

When the cacique first met with Columbus, he was much moved at beholding his dejection, and again offered him every thing he possessed that could be of service to him. He invited him on shore, where a banquet was prepared for his entertainment, consisting of various kinds of fish and fruit, and an animal called Utia by the natives, which resembled a coney. After the collation, he conducted Columbus to the beautiful groves which surrounded his residence, where upwards of a thousand of the natives were assembled, all perfectly. naked, who performed several of their national

games and dances. Thus did this generous cacique try, by every means in his power, to cheer the melancholy of his guest, showing a warmth of sympathy, a delicacy of attention, and an innate dignity and refinement, which could not have been expected from one in his savage state. He was treated with great deference by his subjects, and conducted himself towards them with a gracious and prince-like majesty. His whole deportment, in the enthusiastic eyes of Columbus, betokened the inborn grace and dignity of lofty lineage.

When the Indians had finished their games, Columbus gave them an entertainment in return, calculated to impress them with a formidable opinion of the military power of the Spaniards. A Castilian, who had served in the wars of Granada, exhibited his skill in shooting with a Moorish bow, to the great admiration of the cacique. A cannon and an arquebus were likewise discharged; at the sound of which the Indians fell to the ground, as though they had been struck by a thunderbolt. When they saw the effect of the ball rending and shivering the trees, they were filled with dismay. On being told, however, that the Spaniards would protect them with these arms, against the invasions of their dreaded enemies, the Caribs, their alarm was changed into confident exultation, considering themselves under the protection of the sons of heaven, who had come from the skies, armed with thunder and lightning. The cacique placed a kind of coronet of gold on the head of Columbus, and hung plates of the same metal round his neck, and he dispensed liberal presents among his followers. Whatever trifles Columbus gave in return were regarded with reverence

as celestial gifts, and were said by the Indians to have come from Turey, or heaven.

The extreme kindness of the cacique, the gentleness of his people, and the quantities of gold daily brought by the natives, and exchanged for trifles, contributed to console Columbus for his misfortunes. When Guacanagari perceived the great value which the admiral attached to gold, he assured him, by signs, that there was a place, not far off, among the mountains, where it abounded to such a degree as to be regarded with indifference; and he promised to procure him, from thence, as much as he desired. Columbus gathered many other particulars concerning this golden region. It was called Cibao, and lay among high and rugged mountains. The cacique who ruled over it owned many rich mines, and had banners of wrought gold. Columbus fancied that the name of Cibao must be a corruption of Cipango, and flattered himself that this was the very island productive of gold and spices, mentioned by Marco Polo.

Three houses had been given to the shipwrecked crew for their residence. Here, living on shore, and mingling freely with the natives, they became fascinated by their easy and idle mode of life. They were governed by their caciques with an absolute but patriarchal and easy rule, and existed in that state of primitive and savage simplicity which some philosophers have fondly pictured as the most enviable on earth. "It is certain," says old Peter Martyr, "that the land among these people is as common as the sun and water; and that mine and thine,' the seeds of all mischief, have no place with them. They are content with so little, that, in so large a country,

they have rather superfluity than scarceness; so that they seem to live in a golden world, without toil, in open gardens, neither intrenched, nor shut up by walls or hedges. They deal truly with one another, without laws, or books, or judges." In fact, they seemed to disquiet themselves about nothing; a few fields, cultivated almost without labour, furnished roots and vegetables, their groves were laden with delicious fruit, and the coast and rivers abounded with fish. Softened by the indulgence of nature, a great part of the day was passed by them in indolent repose, in that luxury of sensation inspired by a serene sky and voluptuous climate, and in the evening they danced in their fragrant groves, to their national songs, or the rude sound of their sylvan drums.

When the Spanish mariners looked back upon their own toilsome and painful life, and reflected upon the cares and hardships that must still be their lot, should they return to Europe, they regarded with a wistful eye the easy and idle existence of these Indians, and many of them, representing to the admiral the difficulty and danger of embarking so many persons in one small caraval, entreated permission to remain in the island. The request immediately suggested to Columbus the idea of forming the germ of a future colony. The wreck of the caraval would furnish materials and arms for a fortress; and the people who should remain in the island could explore it, learn the language of the natives, and collect gold, while the admiral returned to Spain for reinforcements. Guacanagari was overjoyed at finding that some of these wonderful strangers were to remain for the defence of his

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