The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

the greatest lenity, were censured as arbitrary and vindictive. Already the disadvantage of being a foreigner among the people he was to govern was clearly manifested. He had national prejudices to encounter, of all Others the most general and illiberal. He had no natural friends to rally round him; whereas the mutineers had connections in Spain, friends in the colony, and met with sympathy in every discontented mind. An early hostility was thus engendered against Columbus, which continued to increase throughout his life, and the seeds were sown of a series of factions and mutinies which afterward distracted the island.


CHAPTER IX.
EXPEDITION OF COLUMBUS TO THE MOUNTAINS OF CIBAO

[ 1494.]

Having at length recovered from his long illness, and the mutiny at the settlement being effectually checked, Columbus prepared for his immediate departure for Cibao. He intrusted the command of the city and the ships, during his absence, to his brother Don Diego, appointing able persons to counsel and assist him. Don Diego is represented by Las Casas, who knew him personally, as a man of great merit and discretion, of a gentle and pacific disposition, and more characterized by simplicity than shrewdness. He was sober in his attire, wearing almost the dress of an ecclesiastic, and Las Casas thinks he had secret hopes of preferment in the church;* indeed Columbus intimates as much when he mentions him in his will.

As the admiral intended to build a fortress in the mountains, and to form an establishment for working the mines, he took with him the necessary artificers, workmen, miners, munitions, and implements. He was also about to enter the territories of the redoubtable Caonabo; it was important, therefore, to take with him a force that should not only secure him against any warlike opposition, but should spread through the country a formidable idea of the power of the white men, and deter the Indians from any future violence, either toward communities

____________________
*
Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i. cap. 82, MS.

-246-

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