The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

gentlest means, instead of being treated with severity. Unfortunately her orders came too late to Hispaniola to have the desired effect. The scenes of warfare and violence, produced by the bad passions of the colonists and the vengeance of the natives, were not to be forgotten, and mutual distrust and rankling animosity had grown up between them, which no after exartions could eradicate.


CHAPTER IX.
APRIVAL OF AGUADO AT ISABELLA—HIS ARROGANT CONDUCT—
TEMPEST IN THE HARBOR.

[ 1495.]

Juan Aguado set sail from Spain toward the end of August, with four caravels, well freighted with supplies of all kinds. Don Diego Columbus returned in this squadron to Hispaniola and arrived at Isabella in the month of October, while the admiral was absent, occupied in re-establishing the tranquility of the interior. Aguado, as has already been shown, was under obligations to Columbus, who had distinguished him from among his companions, and had recommended him to the favor of the sovereigns. He was, however, one of those weak men whose heads are turned by the least elevation. Puffed up by a little temporary power, he lost sight, not merely of the respect and gratitude due to Columbus, but of the nature and extent of his own commission. Instead of acting as an agent employed to collect information, he assumed a tone of authority, as though the reins of government had been transferred into his hands. He interfered in public affairs; ordered various persons to be arrested; called to account the officers employed by the admiral; and paid no respect to Don Bartholomew Columbus, who remained in command during the absence of his brother. The Adelantado, astonished at this presumption, demanded a sight of the commission under which he acted; but Aguado treated him with great haughtiness, replying that he would show it only to the admiral. On second thought, however, lest there should be doubts in the public mind of his right to interfere in the affairs of the colony, he ordered his letters of credence from the sovereigns to be pampously proclaimed by sound of trum-

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