The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

Columbus and his brothers with oppression and injustice, and painting their whole conduct in the blackest colors. It would naturally be supposed that the representations of such men would have little weight in the balance against the tried merits and exalted services of Columbus; but they had numerous friends and relatives in Spain; they had the popular prejudice on their side, and there were designing persons in the confidence of the sovereigns ready to advocate their cause. Columbus, to use his own simple but affecting words, was absent, envied, and a stranger."*


CHAPTER III
NEGOTIATIONS AND ARMLNGEMENTS WITH THE REBELS.

[ 1498.]

The ships being dispatched, Columbus resumed his negotiation with the rebels, determined at any sacrifice to put an end to a sedition which distracted the island and interrupted all his plans of discovery. His three remaining ships lay idle in the harbor, though a region of apparently boundless wealth was to be explored. He had intended to send his brother on the discovery, but the active and military spirit of the Adelantado rendered his presence indispensable, in case the rebels should come to violence. Such were the difficulties encountered at every step of his generous and magnanimous enterprises; impeded at one time by the insidious intrigues of crafty men in place, and checked at another by the insolent turbulence of a handful of ruffians.

In his consultations with the most important persons about him, Columbus found that much of the popular discontent was attributed to the strict rule of his brother, who was accused of dealing out justice with a rigorous hand. Las Casas, however, who saw the whole of the testimony collected from various sources with respect to the conduct of the Adelantado, acquits him of all charges of the kind, and affirms that, with respect to Rolden in particular, he had exerted great forbearance. Be this as it may, Columbus now, by the advice of his counsellors,

____________________
*
Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i. cap. 157.

-434-

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