The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

by Heaven as an agent. It shows how much his mind was elevated above selfish and mercenary views—how it was filled with those devout and heroic schemes, which, in the time of the Crusades had in flamed the thoughts and directed the enterprises of the bravest warriors and most illustrious princes.


CHAPTER VII.
SOJOURN OF COLUMBUS AT BARCELONA—ATTENTIONS PAID HIM
BY THE SOVEREIGNS AND COURTIERS.

The joy occasioned by the great discovery of Columbus was not confined to Spain; the tidings were spread far and wide by the communications of ambassadors, the correspondence of the learned, the negotiations of merchants, and the reports of travellers, and the whole civilized world was filled with wonder and delight. How gratifying would it have been, had the press at that time, as at present, poured forth its daily tide of speculation on every passing occurrence! With what eagerness should we seek to know the first ideas and emotions of the public, on an event so unlooked for and sublime! Even the first announcements of it by contemporary writers, though brief and incidental, derive interest from being written at the time; and from showing the casual way in which such great tidings were conveyed about the world. Allegretto Allegretti, in his annals for Sienna for 1493, mentions it as just made known there by the letters of their merchants who were in Spain, and by the mouths of various travellers.* The news was brought to Genoa by the return of her ambassadors Francisco Marchesi and Giovanni Antonio Grimaldi, and was recorded among the triumphant events of the year; for the republic, though she may have slighted the opportunity of making herself mistress of the discovery, has ever since been tenacious of the glory of having given birth to the discoverer. The tidings were soon carried to England, which as yet was but a maritime power of inferior importance. They caused, however, much wonder in London, and great talk and admiration in the court of Henry VII., where the discovery was pronounced "a thing more divine than hu-

____________________
*
Diarj Senesi de Alleg. Allegretti. Muratori, Ital. Script., tom. cxiii,
Foglieta, Istoria de Genova, lib. ii.

-188-

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