The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK XII.

CHAPTER I.
CONFUSION IN THE ISLAND—PROCEEDINGS OF THE REBELS AT
XARAGUA.

[ August 30, 1498.]

Columbus arrived at San Domingo, wearied by a long and arduous voyage, and worn down by infirmities; both mind and body craved repose, but from the time he first entered into public life he had been doomed never again to taste the sweets of tranquillity. The island of Hispaniola, the favorite child, as it were, of his hopes, was destined to involve him in perpetual troubles, to fetter his fortunes, impede his enterprises, and imbitter the conclusion of his life. What a scene of poverty and suffering had this opulent and lovely island been rendered by the bad passions of a few despicable men! The wars with the natives and the seditions among the colonists had put a stop to the labors of the mines, and all hopes of wealth were at an end. The horrors of famine had succeeded to those of war. The cultivation of the earth had been generally neglected; several of the provinces had been desolated during the late troubles; a great part of the Indians had fled to the mountains, and those who remained had lost all heart to labor, seeing the produce of their toils liable to be wrested from them by ruthless strangers. It is true, the Vega was once more tranquil, but it was a desolate tranquillity. That beautiful region, which the Spaniards but four years before had found so populous and happy, seeming to inclose in its luxuriant bosom all the sweets of nature, and to exclude all the cares and sorrows of the world, was now a scene of wretchedness and repining. Many of those Indian towns, where the

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