The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

requested also that discreet persons should be sent out to form a council, and others for certain fiscal employments, entreating, however, that their powers should be so limited and defined, as not to interfere with his dignity and privileges. He bore strongly on this point; as his prerogatives on former occasions had been grievously invaded. It appeared to him, he said, that princes ought to show much confidence in their governors; for without the royal favor to give them strength and consequence, everything went to ruin under their command; a sound maxim, forced from the admiral by his recent experience, in which much of his own perplexities, and the triumph of the rebels, had been caused by the distrust of the crown, and its inattention of his remonstrances.

Finding age and infirmity creeping upon him, and his health much impaired by his last voyage, he began to think of his son Diego, as an active coadjutor; who, being destined as his successor, might gain experience under his eye, for the future discharge of his high duties. Diego, though still serving as a page at the court, was grown to man's estate, and capable of entering into the important concerns of life. Columbus entreated, therefore, that he might be sent out to assist him, as he felt himself infirm in health and broken in constitution, and less capable of exertion than formerly.*


CHAPTER V.
ARRIVAL OF OJEDA WITH A SQUADRON AT THE WESTERN PART
OF THE ISLAND—ROLDAN SENT TO MEET HIM.

[ 1499.]

Among the causes which induced Columbus to postpone his Aeparture for Spain, has been mentioned the arrival of four ships at the western part of the island. These had anchored on the 5th of September in a harbor a little below Jacquemel, apparently with the design of cutting dyewoods, which abound in that neighborhood, and of carrying off the natives for slaves. Further reports informed him that they were commanded by

____________________
*
Herrera, decad. i. lib. iii. cap. 16.

-447-

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