The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.
ARRANGEMENT WITH THE SPANISH SOVEREIGNS—PREPARATIONS
FOR THE EXPEDITION AT THE PORT OF PALOS.
[ 1492.]On arriving at Santa Fé, Columbus had an immediate audience of the queen, and the benignity with which she received him atoned for all past neglect. Through deference to the zeal she thus suddenly displayed, the king yielded his tardy concurrence, but Isabella was the soul of this grand enterprise. She was prompted by lofty and generous enthusiasm, while the king proved cold and calculating in this as in all his other undertakings.A perfect understanding being thus effected with the sovereigns, articles of agreement were ordered to be drawn out by Juan de Coloma, the royal secretary. They were to the following effect:
1. That Columbus should have, for himself during his life, and his heirs and successors forever, the office of admiral in all the lands and continents which he might discover or acquire in the ocean, with similar honors and prerogatives to those enjoyed by the high admiral of Castile in his district.
2. That he should be viceroy and governor-general over all the said lands and continents, with the privilege of nominating three candidates for the government of each island or province, one of whom should be selected by the sovereigns.
3. That he should be entitled to reserve for himself one tenth of all pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and all other articles and merchandises, in whatever manner found, bought, bartered, or gained within his admiralty, the costs being first deducted.
4. That he, or his lieutenant, should be the sole judge in all causes and disputes arising out of traffic between those countries and Spain, provided the high admiral of Castile had similar jurisdiction in his district.
5. That he might then, and at all after times, contribute an

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