The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
COLUMBUS AND HIS BROTHERS ARRESTED AND SENT TO SPAIN IN
CHAINS.

[ 1500.]

The tidings that a new governor had arrived, and that Colurebus was in disgrace, and to be sent home in chains, circulated rapidly through the Vega, and the colonists hastened from all parts to San Domingo to make interest with Bobadilla. It was soon perceived that there was no surer way than that of vilifying his predecessor. Bobadilla felt that he had taken a rash step in seizing upon the government, and that his own safety required the conviction of Columbus. He listened eagerly, therefore, to all accusations, public or private; and welcome was he who could bring any charge, however extravagant, against the admiral and his brothers.

Hearing that the admiral was on his way to the city, he made a bustle of preparation, and armed the troops, affecting to believe a rumor that Columbus had called upon the caciques of the Vega to aid him with their subjects in a resistance to the commands of government. No grounds appear for this absurd report, which was probably invented to give a coloring of precaution to subsequent measures of violence and insult. The admiral's brother, Don Diego, was seized, thrown in irons, and confined on board of a caravel, without any reason being assigned for his imprisonment.

In the mean time Columbus pursued his journey to San Domingo, travelling in a lonely manner, without guards or retinue. Most of his people were with the Adelantado, and he had declined being attended by the remainder. He had heard of the rumors of the hostile intentions of Bobadilla; and although he knew that violence was threatened to his person, he came in this unpretending manner to manifest his pacific feelings, and to remove all suspicion.*

No sooner did Bobadilla hear of his arrival than he gave orders to put him in irons, and confine him in the fortress. This outrage to a person of such dignified and venerable appearance and such eminent merit, seemed for the time to shock even his enemies. When the irons were brought, every one

____________________
*
Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i. cap. 180.

-475-

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