The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK VIII.

CHAPTER I.
ARRIVAL OF THE ADMIRAL AT ISABELLA—(CHARACTER OF
BARTHOLOMEW COLUMBUS.

[1494. Sept. 4.]

The sight of the little squadron of Columbus standing once more into the harbor was hailed with joy by such of the inhabitants of Isabella as remained faithful to him. The long time that had elapsed since his departure on this adventurous voyage, without any tidings arriving from him, had given rise to the most serious apprehensions for his safety; and it began to be feared that he had fallen a victim to his enterprising spirit in some remote part of these unknown seas.

A joyful and heartfelt surprise awaited the admiral on his arrival, in finding at his bedside his brother Bartholomew, the companion of his youth, his confidential coadjutor, and in a manner his second self, from whom he had been separated for several years. It will be recollected that, about the time of the admiral's departure from Portugal, he had commissioned Bartholomew to repair to England, and propose his project of discovery to King Henry VII. Of this application to the English court no precise particulars are known. Fernando Columbus states that his uncle, in the course of his voyage, was captured and plundered by a corsair, and reduced to such poverty, that he had for a long time to struggle for a mere subsistence by making sea-charts; so that some years elapsed betore he made his application to the English monarch. Las Casas thinks that he did not immediately proceed to England, having found a memorandum in his handwriting, by which it would appear that he accompanied Bartholomew Diaz in 1486, in his voyage

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