The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK III.

CHAPTER I.
DEPARTURE OF COLUMBUS ON HIS FIRST VOYAGE.

[ 1492.]

When Columbus set sail on this memorable voyage, he commenced a regular journal, intended for the inspection of the Spanish sovereigns. Like all his other transactions, it evinces how deeply he was impressed with the grandeur and solemnity of his enterprise. He proposed to keep it, as he afterward observed, in the mann of the Commentaries of Caesar. It is opened with a stately prologue, wherein, in the following words, were set forth the motives and views which led to his expedition.

"In nomine D. N. Jesu Christi. Whereas most Christian, most high, most excellent and most powerful princes, king and queen of the Spains, and of the islands of the sea, our sovereigns, in the present year of 1492, after your highnesses had put an end to the war with the Moors who ruled in Europe, and had concluded that warfare in the great city of Granada, where, on the second of January, of this present year, I saw the royal banners of your highnesses placed by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra, which is the fortress of that city, and beheld the moorish king sally forth from the gates of the city, and kiss the royal hand of your highnesses and of my lord the prince; and immediately in that same month, in consequence of the information which I had given to your highnesses of the lands of India, and of a prince who is called the Grand Khan, which is to say in our language, king of kings; how that many times he and his predecessors had sent to Rome to entreat for doctcos of our holy faith, to instruct him

-89-

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