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Flames Gioia, a citizen of Amala, a town of confiderable trade in the kingdom of Naples, was the aatbor of this great discovery, about the year 1302. It hath often been the fate of thole illustrious benefactors of mankind, who base ennched science and improved the arus by their inventions, to derive are reputation than benefit from the happy efforts of their genius: but the lot of Gwia has been fill mure cruci: through the inatteotion or ignorance e contemporary hiflorians, he has been defrauded even of the fame to which
e hai fach a juft tile. W e receive from them no information with respect to ben profelbon, bis character the precise time when he made this important d ery, and the scidents and enquiries which led to it: the knowledge of this exent, though productive of greater effects than any recorded in the anma's of ibe human race, is ransmitted to us without any of those circumtances which can gratify the curiofuv which it naturally awakened."
Christopher Columbus, who was destined to the high honour of revealing a new hemisphere to Europeans, was by birth a Genoefe, who had been early trained to a scafaring life, and, having acquired every branch of knowledge connected with that profesion, was no Jels dilinguished by his skill ud abilizios, than for his intrepid and persevering spirit. This man, when kur farwy jcars of age, had formed the great idea of reaching the East Indzes by failing weft ward; but, as his fortune was very fmall, and the attempt required very effectual patronage, desirous that his native country fhould profit by bis luccefs, he laid his plan before the senare of Genoa, but the scheme appearing chimerical, it was rejected. He then repaired to the Our of Portugal; and alıbough the Portuguese were at that time diltinpubes for their commercial fprrit, and Joho II, who then reigned, was a diicerning and enterprising prince, yet the prepollellions of the great med in Es courts to whoon the matter was referred, caused Columbus finally to saul in to attempt there also. He next applied to Ferdinand and Isabella, king
aniqueen of Arragon and Caftite, and at the saine time loot his brother : Barksomew (who followed the fame profession, and who was well qualified - to fill obe immediate place imder such a leader) to England, to lay the pro
polul before Henry VII. which likewise, very fortunately for ihe future well being of the country, met with no fuccess. Many were the years wtich Chriftopher Columbos spent in ineffectual attendance at the Carillian * curt; the impoverished flate into which the finances of the united kingdoms :. etre reduced, by the war with Granada, represbing every disposicion to al
tempt to great deligns; but the war being at Jength terminated, the powera - ful mind of Isabella - broke through all oblacles; she declared bericlf the
paroness of Columbus, whilf her husband Ferdinand, declining to partake . a 20 adventurer in the voyage, only gave it the sanction of his name.' Thus
did the fuper jor genius of a woman effect the discovery of one half of ihe
The lips fent on this important search were only three in number, two of ibam very small : they had ninety men on board. Although the expence of the expedition had long remained the sole oblacle to its being undertaken, yet, when every thiog was provided, she coft did not amount to more than 17,760 dola, and there were twelve months provisions put on board.
Columbus Set sail from port Palos, in the province of Andalufia, on the third of August 1492: he proceeded to the Canary islands, and from thence directed his course due W. in the latitude of about 28'. N. In this course be continues for iwo months, without falling in with any land; which caused Tach a spirit of discontent apd muiny to nie as ebe Cuperior address and brought over with him a small body of cavalry. The Indians, who had never before seen such a creature, imagined the Spanish horles to be rational beings, and that each with its rider formed buc one animal : they were astonished at their specd, and considered their impetuosity and strength as irresistible. In this on set they had beside an other formidable enemy to tera rify and destroy them : a great number of the largest and fierceft fpecics of dogs which were then bred in Europe, had been brought hither, which, set on by their weapons, whithout attempting resistance, fled with all the speed which terror could excite. Numbers were slain, and more made prisoners, who were indiscriminately consigned to flavery. Dr. Robertson says, upon the authority of a M. S. in his poffeffion, that live hundred of these captives were sent (or rather brought by Columbus) to Spain, and sold bublicly in Scoille as flaves.
The character of Columbus stands very high in the estimation of mankind; he is venerated not only as a man poflelling superior fortitude, and such a fteady perseverance, as no impediments, dangers, or sufferings, could shake, but as equally distinguished for piety and virtue. His second fon Ferdinand, who wrote the life of his father, apologizes for this severity toward the natives, on account of the distrelled fate into which the colony was brought : the change of climate, and the indispensable labours which were required of men unaccustomed to any exertions, had swept away great numbers of the new setilers, and the survivors were declining daily, whilf such was the irreconcilable comity of the natives, that the most kind and circumfpect conduct on the part of the Spaniards, would not have been effectual to regain their good will. This apology seems to have been generally admitted, for all modern writers have bestowed upon the discoverer of the new world the warmeft commendation unmixed with censure. It is an unpleasant talk to derogate from exalted merit, and to impute a deliberate plan of cruelty and extirpation to a man revered for moral worth ; but although a pert affe&ation of novel opi. nions can only originate in weak minds, and can be countenanced only by luch, yet a free and unreserved scrutiny into facts, can alone separate truth from error, and apportion the just and intrinsic degree of merit belonging to any character. That Columbus had formed a design of waging offensive war againll the Indians, and reducing them to slavery, before he entered upon bis second voyage, and, consequently, before he was apprized of the destruction of the people which he had left upon the island of Hispaniola, may be inferred from his providing bimself with such a number of fierce and powerful dogs.
Having found the natives peaceable and well dispered, he had no reason to apprehend that they would commenfe unprovoked hostilities ; the cavalry which he took over, whilft it tended to impress those people with the deep. elt awe and veneration, was fully fufficieni for the security of the new solo. ny, if the friendship of the natives had been fincerely meant to be cultivate ed by a kind and equitable deportment ; but to treat them as a frec people was inconsitent with the views which led to planting a colony, for as ihe grand incentive to undertake these diftant voyages was the hope of acquiring gold, so, as Columbus had seen fome worn as ornaments by ihe natives, and had been informed that the mountanous parts of the country yielded that precious metal, he had excited expectations in his employers, and in the nation at large, which both his incerelt and ambition compelled him as far as possible to realive : the Spaniards could not obtain guld without the affiftande of the natives, and shosc were fo conflitutionally indolent char no allure
tents of presents or gratifications could excite them to labour. To rcicue hitnleif therefore from disgrace, and to secure future support, le seems delia berately to have devored a barintels race of men to laughier or ilivery. Such as survived the massacre of that dreadful day, and preserved their free. dom, ted into the mountainous and inaccesible parts of the island, which DX yielding them fufficient means of Publiftence, they were compelled to obtain a portion of food from their cruel pursuers, by procuring gold day in order to support life; a tribute being upoled upon them which was rit gervully erected. Thefe wretched remains of a free people, thus driven fo: fruitfulness and amenity; compelled to lesout for the suppurt of litez e prey to defpondercy, which the preciiection of their former happiness fharpened, aod which their bopeless firvation rendered in fupportable, died in graat numbers, the innocent, but unrevenged victims of European Ivarice. Such are the facts which have ever been admitted, yer, Arange contradiction ! Columbus is celebrated for his humanity and govodi sess! but frould he not saber be confulered as a most confummae dilembler; Spröfelling mordenation will be medized fubversion ? and, like moft of the heroes and conquerors whon bihory records, renouncing every principle of justice and humaniiv when they stopped the career of his ambition? Ferdinand Columbus, his for and biographer, has with great address covered the ihame of his father, whilst de admiring world has been little disposed to censure a man, the fpicndor of whose actions to powerfully fascinates and dazzles.
When Columbus returned ro Spain from his fecond voyage, he found that his enemies had been very addive and successful in exciting in Ferdinand and I fabella unfavourable fentiments of his condutt: but he lo fur recovered bis gedit that a fawadron of fix fhips were firied out, with which he proceeded ea a third voyage, on the 30th of May 1498. Taking a more fouthern courie, be discovered the illand of Trinidad, on the coast of Guana, near the monti of the yeat river Oronoko. The swell occafioned by this veft river pouring is waters into the ocean was fo great, as d'expose the fhips to extreme daiger, but after long combaunt the currents and treinendous waves with doub.. fot success he condučied his fquadron safe through a narrow Arait, which tparates that illand from the continent ; this he celled, “ Bocca del Drago,"
the dragon's mouth. He juftly concluded, ihat such a vaht body of water muil flow through a country of immen'e extent, and ibat he was now arrived at that continent which it had long been the object of his wilhes to discovere Full of that idea he itoad to the W. along the coat of those provinces now known by the names of Paria and Conana.He laod din leveral places; and kud some intercourse with this fatives, who reiembled those of Hiiparina ola.in their appearance and naruer of life. 6. Thu," says Dr. Roberton, * Colunbus had not only the glory of discovering to tankind she exitince of a new world, but mane conliderable progress toward a perfect koowledge of t, and was the firs man' who condućicd the Spaniards to that valli concie trent which has been the chief seat of their empire, and the fource of their treasures in that diserter of the globe.”
He afterward directed his course to Il spaniola, and on quitring the con. tinen al coal fell in with the finall island Caberna, and che far er olie called Margarita, not for diftant: these afterward became remarkable for their pearl ishery. .
The enemies of Columbus having at lendih dAroyed all !vis credir wish Ferdinand and Ifabella, Francis de Bovadilla, a knizli of Calviruvilty was appointed to repair in Hifpaniolu, with full powers to squire into his
condu&t. This commission Bouadilla exercised in the most arbitrary and fevere manner; for, without having recourse even to the form of a judicial erquiry, he Jivested Columbus of all authority, and, puuing him in chains, sent him a prisoner to Spain: but the authority thus exercised was not long held; he was superceded, and the government given to Ovando, who however proved, in the sequel, to be but little less inimical to Columbus. Although this violent conduct was not approved by the king and queen, who endeavoured, by outward marks of attention and respect, to wipe off the ignominy which had been cait upon the discoverer of America, yet it is probable he would never have prevailed upon them, to aslift him in the undertaking a fourth voyage, had it not been for she discovery inade by the Portuguese, of sailing to the East Indies by doubling che Cape of Good Hope ; but as it had ever been his firm belief, that the country which he had discovered was not far from the East Indies, and that there was a more direct way chiiher, by the route which he had ftruck out, he prevailed upon his noble patrons to affin him in ascertaining this important point : he had however only four small barks alsigned him ; the largest not more than seventy tons borden. In this expedition he was accompanied by his brother Don Bartholomew, and bis second fon Don Ferdinand, who afterward wrote his life.
He failed from Cadiz on the gth of May 1502, but without being invelted with any authority in the country which he had discovered. When he arrived at Hispaniola, he found Ovando little inclined to afford him alliftante ; he therefore foon quitted that island, and steering towards the continent, explored all the coast from Cape Gracias a Dois southward, until he arrived at a harbour, which, on account of its beauty and security, he called Porto Bello. Whilst thus coasting he went afhore at several places, and sometimes proceeded up the country, but did not penetrate so far as to cross the isthmus which separates the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. It was his design to have seuled a colony to the W. of Porto Bello, but this scheme was so much disrelished by his people that he could not effect it, and he was therefore deprived of the glory of planting the first colony of America, He afterwards suffered many hardships, chictly from the neglect of Ovando, and soon after his return to Spain, his great patroness I labella, queen of Calile. died; but tbis most able navigator did not long survive her, he dy-, ing a Valladolid, on the 2016 of May 1506, in the 591h year of his age.
Llaving thus given a general description of America, and of the circumfiances, which led to its discovery, we shall now consider it as being divided in:o two parts, viz. North and South America, and begin with North Aincrica.
Of North America.
North America extends from about the tenth degree of N, latitude, to the North Pole, and from East to West between the 40° E. and the 93 W. longitude from Philadelphia. We propose to divide North America into four parts. 1. The BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA. li. THE A,BOUGENES, OR ORIGINAL INHABITAXTS. . III. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. IV. THE DOMINIONS or SPAIN. We shall begin with the poslellions of Great Britain.