The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

our cousin," said he, "wants both head and feet." He alluded to the character both of the mission and the envoys. Don Garcia do Caravajal was vain and frivolous, and Don Pedro do Ayala was lame of one leg.*

In the height of his vexation, King John is even said to have. held out some vague show of hostile intentions, taking occasion to let the ambassadors discover him reviewing his cavalry and dropping ambiguous words in their hearing, which might be construed into something of menacing import. The embassy returned to Castile, leaving him in a state of perplexity and irritation; but whatever might be his chagrin, his discretion prevented him from coming to an open rupture. He had some hopes of interference on the part of the pope, to whom he had sent an embassy, complaining of the pretended discoveries of the Spaniards, as infringing the territories granted to Portugal by papal bull, and earnestly imploring redress. Here, as has been shown, his wary antagonist had been beforehand with him, and he was doomed again to be foiled. The only reply his ambassador received, was a reference to the line of partition from pole to pole, so sagely devised by his holiness. Such was this royal game of diplomacy, where the parties were playing for a newly-discovered world. John II. was able and intelligent, and had crafty councillors to advise him in all his moves; but whenever deep and subtle policy was required, Ferdinand was master of the game.


CHAPTER X.
FURTHER PREPARATIONS FOR THE SECOND VOYAGE—CHARACTER
OF ALONSO DE OJEDA—DIFFERENCE OF COLUMBUS WITH SORIA
AND FONSECA.

[ 1493.]

Distrustful of some attempt on the part of Portugal to interfere with their discoveries, the Spanish sovereigns, in the course of their negotiations, wrote repeatedly to Columbus, urging him to hasten his departure. His zeal, however, needed no incitement; immediately on arriving at Seville, in the

____________________
*
Vasconcelos, lib. vi. Barros, Asia, d. i, lib. iii. cap. 2.
Vasconcelos, lib. vi.
Herrera, decad. i., lib. ii. cap. 5.

-202-

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