Journal of First Voyage to America

Journal of First Voyage to America

Journal of First Voyage to America

Journal of First Voyage to America

Excerpt

The so-called Journal of Columbus is one of those bare, spare, essential documents that form the skeleton of the corpus of history. It is a simple sailor's record, but like the staff of Columbus Is patron saint it has grown with time into a palm-tree, covered with fruits and foliage. The narrative is an abstract of the original journal (made by the Admiral's companion Las Casas.) It is as direct and outwardly severe as such a work would necessarily be; and yet from this seed have sprung histories, biographies, novels, plays and poems innumerable.

Naturally, for no other voyage has formed so large a link in the chain of human cause and effect. But aside from this the Journal is intrinsically dramatic. It requires a little imagination to penetrate behind the diarist's mask of reserve and relive these long days of apprehension and bewilderment and the days of intoxication that followed them. (Other days of apprehension followed in turn, for Columbus had to live up to his promises, and we can feel the change in his interest as he became accustomed to the mere fact of the dis-

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