Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Volume 4

Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Volume 4

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Project Gutenberg's Christopher Columbus, Volume 4, by Filson Young
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,
give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
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Title: Christopher Columbus, Volume 4 And The New World Of His Discovery, A Narrative
Author: Filson Young
Release Date: December 5, 2004 [EBook #4111]
Language: English
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, VOLUME 4 ***
Produced by David Widger
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
AND THE NEW WORLD OF HIS DISCOVERY
A NARRATIVE BY FILSON YOUNG
Volume 4
CHAPTER IV
THE HOUR OF TRIUMPH
From the moment when Columbus set foot on Spanish soil in the spring of 1493 he was surrounded by a fame and glory
which, although they were transient, were of a splendour such as few other men can have ever experienced. He had not
merely discovered a country, he had discovered a world. He had not merely made a profitable expedition; he had
brought the promise of untold wealth to the kingdom of Spain. He had not merely made himself the master of savage
tribes; he had conquered the supernatural, and overcome for ever those powers of darkness that had been thought to
brood over the vast Atlantic. He had sailed away in obscurity, he had returned in fame; he had departed under a cloud of
scepticism and ridicule, he had come again in power and glory. He had sailed from Palos ...

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Project Gutenberg's Christopher Columbus,Volume 4, by Filson YoungThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTNitelwe:  WChorrilsdt oOpf hHeirs  CDoilsucmovbeursy,,  VAo lNuamrrea t4i vAend TheAuthor: Filson YoungRelease Date: December 5, 2004 [EBook #4111]Language: English*E*B* OSTOAK RCT HORIF STTHOIPS HPERRO CJEOCLTU MGBUUTSE,N VBOELRUGME 4***Produced by David Widger
CCHOLRIUSMTBOUPSHERAND THE NEW WORLD OF HIS DISCOVERYA NARRATIVE BY FILSON YOUNGVolume 4CHAPTER IVTHE HOUR OF TRIUMPHFrom the moment when Columbus set foot onSpanish soil in the spring of 1493 he wassurrounded by a fame and glory which, althoughthey were transient, were of a splendour such asfew other men can have ever experienced. He hadnot merely discovered a country, he haddiscovered a world. He had not merely made aprofitable expedition; he had brought the promiseof untold wealth to the kingdom of Spain. He hadnot merely made himself the master of savagetribes; he had conquered the supernatural, andovercome for ever those powers of darkness thathad been thought to brood over the vast Atlantic.
He had sailed away in obscurity, he had returned infame; he had departed under a cloud of scepticismand ridicule, he had come again in power andglory. He had sailed from Palos as a seeker afterhidden wealth, hidden knowledge; he returned asteacher, discoverer, benefactor. The whole ofSpain rang with his fame, and the echoes of itspread to Portugal, France, England, Germany,and Italy; and it reached the ears of his own family,who had now left the Vico Dritto di Ponticello inGenoa and were living at Savona.His life ashore in the first weeks following his returnwas a succession of triumphs and ceremonials. Hisfirst care on landing had been to go with the wholeof his crew to the church of Saint George, where aTe Deum was sung in honour of his return; andafterwards to perform those vows that he hadmade at sea in the hour of danger. There was acertain amount of business to transact at Palos inconnection with the paying of the ships' crews,writing of reports to the Sovereigns, and so forth;and it is likely that he stayed with his friends at themonastery of La Rabida while this was being done.The Court was at Barcelona; and it was probablyonly a sense of his own great dignity andimportance that prevented Christopher from settingoff on the long journey immediately. But he whohad made so many pilgrimages to Court as a suitorcould revel in a position that made it possible forhim to hang back, and to be pressed and invited;and so when his business at Palos was finished hesent a messenger with his letters and reports toBarcelona, and himself, with his crew and his
Indians and all his trophies, departed for Seville,where he arrived on Palm Sunday.His entrance into that city was only a foretaste ofthe glory in which he was to move across thewhole of Spain. He was met at the gates of the cityby a squadron of cavalry commanded by an envoysent by Queen Isabella; and a procession wasformed of members of the crew carrying parrots,alive and stuffed, fruits, vegetables, and variousother products of the New World.In a prominent place came the Indians, or ratherfour of them, for one had died on the day theyentered Palos and three were too ill to leave thattown; but the ones that took part in the processiongot all the more attention and admiration. Thestreets of Seville were crowded; crowded also werethe windows, balconies, and roofs. The Admiralwas entertained at the house of the Count ofCifuentes, where his little museum of dead and livecuriosities was also accommodated, and wherecertain favoured visitors were admitted to view it.His two sons, Diego and Ferdinand, were sent fromCordova to join him; and perhaps he found time tovisit Beatriz, although there is no record of hishaving been to Cordova or of her having come toSeville.aMneda nQwuheileen  hhisa dl etptreords uacnedd  tmheeisrs deuneg eerfsf etcot .t hTeh eKingtahlemmosste ilvnecrse tdhibel em hoanda rccohms en toto  pmaesrse,l ya onfd  Sthpeaiyn ,s abwut
of a new Empire that might be as vast as Europeand Africa together. On the 30th of March theydespatched a special messenger with a letter toColumbus, whose eyes must have sparkled andheart expanded when he read the superscription:"From the King and Queen to Don ChristovalColon, their Admiral of the Ocean Seas andViceroy and Governor of the Islands discovered inthe Indies." No lack of titles and dignities now!Their Majesties express a profound sense of hisability and distinction, of the greatness of hisservices to them, to the Church, and to GodHimself. They hope that he will lose no time, butrepair to Barcelona immediately, so that they canhave the pleasure of hearing from his own lips anaccount of his wonderful expedition, and ofdiscussing with him the preparations that mustimmediately be set on foot to fit out a new one. Onreceiving this letter Christopher immediately drewup a list of what he thought necessary for the newexpedition and, collecting all his retinue and hismuseum of specimens, started by road forBarcelona.Every one in Spain had by this time heard more orless exaggerated accounts of the discoveries, andthe excitement in the towns and villages throughwhich he passed was extreme. Wherever he wenthe was greeted and feasted like a king returningfrom victorious wars; the people lined the streets ofthe towns and villages, and hung out banners, andgazed their fill at the Indians and at the strangesun-burned faces of the crew. At Barcelona, wherethey arrived towards the end of April, the climax of
these glittering dignities was reached. When theKing and Queen heard that Columbus wasapproaching the town they had their throneprepared under a magnificent pavilion, and in thehot sunshine of that April day they sat and waitedthe—coming of the great man. A glittering troop ofcavalry had been sent out to meet him, and at thegates of the town a procession was formed similarto that at Seville. He had now six natives with him,who occupied an important place in the procession;sailors also, who carried baskets of fruit andvegetables from Espanola, with stuffed birds andanimals, and a monstrous lizard held aloft on astick. The Indians were duly decked out in all theirpaint and feathers; but if they were a wonder andmarvel to the people of Spain, what must Spainhave been to them with its great buildings andcities, its carriages and horses, its glitteringdresses and armours, its splendour and luxury! Wehave no record of what the Indians thought, only ofwhat the crowd thought who gaped upon them andupon the gaudy parrots that screeched andfluttered also in the procession. Columbus cameriding on horseback, as befitted a great Admiraland Viceroy, surrounded by his pilots and principalofficers; and followed by men bearing golden belts,golden masks, nuggets of gold and dust of gold,and preceded by heralds, pursuivants, and mace-bearers.hWahd atb eae rne tpuorinn tfeodr  taht ea nmda lna uwghhoe tdh troe es cyoeranr si nb tehfiosrecslaomseel yb trihlliaat ntth se opcrieotcye! sTsihoen  ccroouwldd sh parredlsys egde tso
through the streets; the whole population was thereto witness it; and the windows and balconies androofs of the houses, as well as the streetsthemselves, were thronged with a gaily dressedand wildly excited crowd. At length the processionreaches the presence of the King and Queen and,crowning and unprecedented honour! as theAdmiral comes before them Ferdinand and Isabellarise to greet him. Under their own royal canopy aseat is waiting for him; and when he has made hisceremonial greeting he is invited to sit in theirpresence and give an account of his voyage.He is fully equal to the situation; settles down to dohimself and his subject justice; begins, we may besure, with a preamble about the providence of Godand its wisdom and consistency in preserving thenarrator and preparing his life for this great deed;putting in a deal of scientific talk which had in truthnothing to do with the event, but was alwaysapplied to it in Columbus's writings from this dateonwards; and going on to describe the voyage, thesea of weeds, the landfall, his intercourse with thenatives, their aptitude for labour and Christianity,and the hopes he has of their early conversion tothe Catholic Church. And then follows a longdescription of the wonderful climate, "like May inAndalusia," the noble rivers, and gorgeousscenery, the trees and fruits and flowers andsinging birds; the spices and the cotton; and chiefof all, the vast stores of gold and pearls of whichthe Admiral had brought home specimens. Atvarious stages in his narrative he producesillustrations; now a root of rhubarb or allspice; now
a raw nugget of gold; now a piece of gold labouredinto a mask or belt; now a native decorated withthe barbaric ornaments that were the fashion inEspanola. These things, says Columbus, are merefirst-fruits of the harvest that is to come; the thingswhich he, like the dove that had flown across thesea from the Ark and brought back an olive leaf inits mouth, has brought back across the stormyseas to that Ark of civilisation from which he hadflown forth.It was to Columbus an opportunity of stretching hisvisionary wings and creating with pompous wordsand images a great halo round himself of dignityand wonder and divine distinction,—an opportunitysuch as he loved, and such as he never failed tomake use of.The Sovereigns were delighted and profoundlyimpressed. Columbus wound up his address withan eloquent peroration concerning the glory toChristendom of these new discoveries; and therefollowed an impressive silence, during which theSovereigns sank on their knees and raised handsand tearful eyes to heaven, an example in whichthey were followed by the whole of the assembly;and an appropriate gesture enough, seeing whatwas to come of it all. The choir of the Chapel Royalsang a solemn Te Deum on the spot; and theSovereigns and nobles, bishops, archbishops,grandees, hidalgos, chamberlains, treasurers,chancellors and other courtiers, being exhaustedby these emotions, retired to dinner.
During his stay at Barcelona Columbus was theguest of the Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo, andmoved thus in an atmosphere of combinedtemporal and spiritual dignity such as his soulloved. Very agreeable indeed to him was thehonour shown to him at this time. Deep down in hisheart there was a secret nerve of pride and vanitywhich throughout his life hitherto had beencontinually mortified and wounded; but he was ablenow to indulge his appetite for outward pomp andhonour as much as he pleased. When KingFerdinand went out to ride Columbus would beseen riding on one side of him, the young PrinceJohn riding on the other side; and everywhere,when he moved among the respectful and admiringthrong, his grave face was seen to be wreathed incomplacent smiles. His hair, which had turnedwhite soon after he was thirty, gave him a dignifiedand almost venerable appearance, although hewas only in his forty-third year; and combined withhis handsome and commanding presence to exciteimmense enthusiasm among the Spaniards. Theyforgot for the moment what they had formerlyremembered and were to remember again—thathe was a foreigner, an Italian, a man of no familyand of poor origin. They saw in him the figure-headof a new empire and a new glory, an emblem ofpower and riches, of the dominion which theirproud souls loved; and so there beamed upon himthe brief fickle sunshine of their smiles and favour,which he in his delusion regarded as an earnest oftheir permanent honour and esteem.It is almost always thus with a man not born to
such dignities, and who comes by them through hisown efforts and labours. No one would grudge himthe short-lived happiness of these summer weeks;but although he believed himself to be as happy asa man can be, he appears to quietly contemplatingeyes less happy and fortunate than when he stoodalone on the deck of his ship, surrounded by anuntrustworthy crew, prevailing by his own unaidedefforts over the difficulties and dangers with whichhe was surrounded. Court functions andprocessions, and the companionship of kings andcardinals, are indeed no suitable reward for thekind of work that he did. Courtly dignities are suitedto courtly services; but they are no suitable crownfor rough labour and hardship at sea, or for thefulfilment of a man's self by lights within him; nosuitable crown for any solitary labour whatsoever,which must always be its own and only reward.It is to this period of splendour that the story of theegg, which is to some people the only familiarincident in Columbian biography, is attributed. Thestory is that at a banquet given by the Cardinal-Arch bishop the conversation ran, as it always didin those days when he was present, on the subjectof the Admiral's discoveries; and that one of theguests remarked that it was all very well forColumbus to have done what he did, but that in acountry like Spain, where there were so many menlearned in science and cosmography, and manyable mariners besides, some one else wouldcertainly have been found who would have donethe same thing. Whereupon Columbus, calling for