The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

Such was the critical state to which the affairs of the colony had been reduced, and such the bitter hostility engendered among the people of the island, during the absence of Columbus, and merely in consequence of violating all his regulations. Margarite and Friar. Boyle had hastened to Spain to make false representations of the miseries of the island. Had they remained faithfully at their posts, and discharged zealously the trust confided to them, those miseries might have been easily remedied, if not entirely prevented.


CHAPTER IV.
MEASURES OF COLUMWS TO RESTORE THE QUIET OF THR ISLAND
—EXPEDITION OF OJEDA TO SURPRISE CAONABO.

[1494.]

Immediately after the return of Columbus from Cuba, while he was yet confined to his bed by indisposition, he was gratified by a voluntary visit from Guacanagari, who manifested the greatest concern at his illness, for he appears to have always entertained an affectionate reverence for the admiral. He again spoke with tears of the massacre of Fort Nativity, dwelling on the exertions he had made in defence of the Spaniards. He now informed Columbus of the secret league forming among the caciques; of his opposition to it, and the consequent persecution he had suffered; of the murder of one of his wives, and the capture of another. He urged the admiral to be on his guard against the designs of Caonabo, and offered to lead his subjects to the field, to fight by the side of the Spaniards, as well out of friendship for them as in revenge of his own injuries.*

Columbus had always retained a deep sense of the ancient kindness of Guacanagari, and was rejoiced to have all suspicion of his good faith thus effectually dispelled. Their former amicable intercourse was renewed, with this difference, that the man whom Guacanagari had once relieved and succored as a shipwrecked stranger, had suddenly become the arbiter of the fate of himself and all his countrymen.

The manner in which this peaceful island had been exasperated

____________________
*
Herrens, Hist. led., decad. i. lib. ii. cap. 16.

-315-

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