The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

ereign who was so ungratefully neglecting him. It is in these unstudied and confidential letters that we read the heart of Columbus.


CHAPTER III.
COLUMBUS ARRIVES AT COURT—FRUITLESS APPLICATION TO THE
KING FOR REDRESS.

[ 1505.]

The death of Isabella was a fatal blow to the fortunes of Columbus. While she lived he had everything to anticipate from her high sense of justice, her regard for her royal word, her gratitude for his services, and her admiration of his character. With her illness, however, his interests had languished, and when she died he was left to the justice and generosity of Ferdinand!

During the remainder of the winter and a part of the spring he continued at Seville, detained by painful illness, and endeavoring to obtain redress from the government by ineffectual letters. His brother the Adelantado, who supported him with his accustomed fondness and devotion through all his trials, proceeded to court to attend to his interests, taking with him the admiral's younger son Fernando, then aged about seventeen. The latter, the affectionate father repeatedly represents to his son Diego as a man in understanding and conduct, though but a stripling in years; and inculcates the strongest fraternal attachment, alluding to his own brethren with one of those simply eloquent and affecting expressions which stamp his heart upon his letters. "To thy brother conduct thyself as the elder brother should unto the younger. Thou hast no other, and I praise God that this is such a one as thou dost need. Ten brothers would not be too many for thee. Never have I found a better friend to right or left, than my brothers."

Among the persons whom Columbus employed at this time in his missions to the court was Amerigo Vespucci. He describes him as a worthy but unfortunate man, who had not profited as much as he deserved by his undertakings, and who had always been disposed to render him service. His object in employing him appears to have been to prove the value of his

-618-

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