The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

doubt considered already confiscated to the crown, excepting that he paid out of it the wages of those to whom the admiral was in arrears.* To increase his favor with the people, he proclaimed, on the second day of his assumption of power, a general license for the term of twenty years, to seek for gold, paying merely one eleventh to government, instead of a third as heretofore. At the same time he spoke in the most disrespectful and unqualified term of Columbus, saying that he was empowered to send him home in chains, and that neither he nor any of his lineage would ever again be permitted to govern in the island.


CHAPTER III.
COLUMBUS SUMMONED TO APPEAR BEFORE BOBADILLA.

[ 1500.]

When the tidings reached Columbus at Fort Conception of the high-handed proceedings of Bobadilla, he considered them the unauthorized acts of some rash adventurer like Ojeda. Since government had apparently thrown open the door to private enterprise, he might expect to have his path continually crossed, and his jurisdiction infringed by bold intermeddlers, feigning or fancying themselves authorized to interfere in the affairs of the colony. Since the departure of Ojeda another squadron had touched upon the coast, and produced a transient alarm, being an expedition under one of the Pinzons, licensed by the sovereigns to make discoveries. There had also been a rumor of another squadron hovering about the island, which proved, however, to be unfounded.

The conduct of Bobadilla bore all the appearance of a lawless usurpation of some intruder of the kind. He had possessed himself forcibly of the fortress, and consequently of the town. He had issued extravagant licenses injurious to the government, and apparently intended only to make partisans among the people; and had threatened to throw Columbus himself in irons. That this man could really be sanctioned by govern-

____________________
*
Hist. del Almirante, cap. 85. Las Cassa. Herrera, ubi sup.
Letter of Columbus to the Nurse of Prince Juan.

-472-

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