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consolation it would afford Columbus, they persuaded him to take the command of three ships, which they had ape: pointed to carry provisions, to the new colony.
Columbus never stood more in need of such a friend to assist him, with his counsels, or of dividing with him, the caresiof government. For although the provisions, 10W brought from Furope, proved a temporary relief, from the calamilies of famine, the quantity was too small to last them long, and the prod'ice of the island, was insufficient to support them. They were also threatened with a dan. ger more formidable than the return of scarcity; and which demanded core immediate attention..
When.Columbus was absent from the island, on this last expedition, the soldiers under the coin inand of Margarita, contemned all subordination, but dispersed in straggling parties over the island, lived at discretion on the natives, wasted their provisions, seized their women, and treated those inoffensive people, with all the insolence of military oppression. While the Indians retained any hopes of their Fufferings.coming to an end, by the voluntary departure of heir invaders they submitted in silence, and dissembled. their indignation : but, now that they discovered the yoke would be as permanent as it was intolerable ; self-preser. vation, prompted them to assume courage, and attack their oppressors with united force, and drive them from the settlements, of which they had violently taken possession. Such were the sentiments, which universally prevailed amongst the Indians, when „Columbus returned to Isabella, from his last expedition. - Inflamed, and justly irritated, by the outrages of the Spaniards, with a degree of rage, of which their gentle natures seemed hardly susceptible, they waited only for a signal from their leaders, to fall upon the colony. Some of the caziques had already surprized, and cut off several stragglers.' The dread of impending danger united the Spaniards, and re-established the authority of Columbus, as they saw no prospect of safety, but in committing themselves to his prudent guidance. : It was now become necessary, to have recourse to arms; an event, Columbus bad anxiously wished to avoid. The vast superiority of the natives in number, compensated in a great measure their want of fire arms; one unforeseen event, might have proved fatal to the Spaniards. Conscious thal success depended on the rapidity and vigour of his
operations, Columbus instantly assembled his forces ; which were reduced to a very small number, two hundred foot, twenty horse, and as many large clogs, were all the force he could muster, against (agreeable to the Spanish accounts, one hundred thousand Indians. Although it may seem strange, to mention dogs as composing part of a military force, they were perhaps, as formidable and destructive as so many men in arms, when employed against naked and timid Indians.
All the caziques of the island, (Guacana hari excepted, who still retained an inviolable altacliment to the Spaniards,) were in arms to oppose Columbus. . Instead of attempting to draw the Spaniards into the woods and moun. tains, they were so im prudent, as to take their station in the most open plain in the country. Columbus did not allow them time to perceive their mistake, or to alter their position. He attacked them during the night, and obtained an easy and bloodless victory.
The noise and havock made by the fire arms; the irr. petuous force of the cavalry, and the fierce onset of the dogs, was so great, that the Indians were fun miini consternation : they threw down their arms, and iled wiciout making any resistance : many of them were si in, more were taken prisoners, and reduced to slavery. From that moment, they abandoned themselves to despair, and re. linquished all thoughts of contending with aggressors, whom they deemed invincible. Humanity must lamient the sad reverse of that unhapay race, who had enjoyed the free and unmolested enjoyment of their na ive woods ; their wants were supplier by the spontaneous productions of the earth ; but noi a race unknown had in varled their country, and forced them to submit to exacions enthought of, and arbitrary impositions, which they were by no means enabled to comply with, consistent with their ideas of perfect liberty.
Columbus employed several months in the year 1495, in marching through the island, and in subjecting it to the Spanish government, without meeting with any opposition. He imposed a tax upon all the inhabitants above the age of fourteen : each person who resided in the district where gold was to be found, was obliged to pay quarterly as much gold dust as would fill a hawk's bill ; from others, twenty-five pounds of cotton were demanded. This served as a prece:lent for exactions still more oppressive, Con.
trary as these exactions were to the maxims which cow' tumbus had hitherto inculcatell, yet the intrigues carried on at the court of Spain at this juncture, with the manifest design'to undermine his power, and diszredit his operations, constrained him to depart from his own system of administration, " Several unfavourable accounts of his conduct, as well as of the countries, discovered by him, had been transa quitted to Spain. Margarita and father Boyle were at court, and in order to gratify their resentment, watched with malevolent attention for opportunities to spread insiruations to his disadvantage. Several others about the court viewed his growing reputation with envious eyes. Fonseca, the archdeacon of Seville, who was intrusted with the chief direction of Indian affairs, for some reasons mot made public, listened with partiality to every invece
It was not easy for an unfriended stranger, unpractised in courtly arts, to counteract the machinations of such powerful enemies. There remained but one method to support his credit, and siltica his enemies, he inust pro. cuce such a quantity of gold, as would justify his reports, with respect to the richness of the country ; the necessity of cbtaining it, forced him not only to impose this heavy tax upon the Indians, but to exact payment of it with ex
1eme rigour; and furnished him with a plausible excuse Jor departing from that mildness and humanity, with which he had iniformly treated that' unhappy people.
This imposition appeared the most intolerable of all evils ; accustomed to pass their days in a careless man. ner, this restraint upon their liberty was so grievous, that ulicy had recourse to an expedient to deliver themselves from a yoke, imposed upon them by a handful of strangers; to whom they were under no obligations.
Their impatience and despair prompted them to fall upon an expedient, wliich to them appeared an infallible method to rid them of their troublesome neighbours.
They agreed 10 suspend all agricultural operations, and from the voracious appetites of the Spaniards, concluded the execution of it very practicable.
They pulled up the Manioc roots that were planted, and planted no Maize ; and retired to the most inaccessible parts of the woods, leaving the uncultivated plains to. their enemies,
This desperate resolution produced some of tiie eficcts intended ; the Spaniarıls were reduced to great want; but they received some season able supplies from Lurope, and found so many resources in their own ingenuity and industry, that they suffered no great loss of men.
The Indians were the greatest sufferers by this ill-concerted policy. Shut up among barren mountains, without any food but the wild productions of the earth, distressed by famine, contagious diseases were the consequence : and in the course of a few months, more than a third part of the inhabitants peristied.
Columbus now began to have serious thoughts of re. turning to Spain. His enemies at court had gained consi. derable influence : they represented his prudent care to preserve discipline and subordination, as excess of rigour; the punishments he indicted upon the mulinous and disorderly, were in puted to cruelty; and he was represenied as inconsiderately ambitious ; these accusations obtained such credit in a jealous court, that a conimissioner was appointed to repair to Hispaniola, to inspect into the conduct of Columbus, :
By the influence of his enemies, Aguado, a groom of the bed chamber, was made choice of, upon this occasion ; a man whose capacity was by no means fit for the station: Puffed up with such sudden and unexpected elevation; Aguado displayed all that frivolous self-importance and insolence, natural to little minds, in the exercise of his office. He listened with eagerness to every accusation against Columbus, and encouraged, not only the evil disposed among the Spaniards, but also the Indians; by which partial conduct he fomented jealousies and dissen. tions in the colony, without establishing any regulations for the public good : and while he wished to load the ad. ministration of the admiral with disgrace, placed an inde. lible stain upon his own.
Columbus sensibly felt how humiliating his situation must be, if he remained under the controul of such a par. tial inspector. He therefore took the resolution of return. ing to Spain, in order to give a full colui of his transactions, with respect to the points in dispule between him and his adversaries, before Ferdinand and Isabella. He committed the administration of his affairs during his ab. * Sence to his bro!her Don Bartholomey, with the title of
Adelanta lo, or lieutenant governor; and Francis Roidanı, chief justice, with rery extensive powers.
In returning to Europe, Columbus held a different course to what he had taken in his former voyage. lle steered almost d've east from Hispaniola in the parallel of twenty-two degrues of latitude : as he was unacquainted with the more expeditious method of stretching to the north, whereby he would have fallen in with the southWest winds. By which mistake he was exposed to very. great fatigue and danger; and had to struggle with the trade winds which blow without variation from the east, between the tropics.
He nevertheless persisted in this course with his usual patience and firmness, but made so little way, that he was three months before he came within sight of land. Provisions at last began to fail : they were reduced to the allowance of six ounces of bread a day for each person ; the admiral faring no better than the meanest sailor. :: In this extreme distress be retained that humanity which clistinguished his character ; ard refused to comply with the pressing solicitations of his crew to feed upon the Tadian prisoners whom they were carrying over; others. insisted that they should be thrown overboard, in order to lessen the consumption of provisions. He objected to their destruction, alleging that they were human beings, reduced to the same calamities wilb themselves and intitled to share an equal fate. These arguments backed by his authority, dissipated those wild ideas suggested by despair : soon after, they came in sight of Spain, and all their troubles and fears vanished.
Columbus, conscious of his own integrity, appeared at court with that determined confidence, which those who have performed great actions, will always 'assume. Ferdinand and Isabella ashamed of lending 100 favourable an ear to frivolous and ill founded accusations, received him with such distinguished marks of respect, as overwhelmed his enemies with shame. Their calumny and censures were not heard at that juncture. · The gold, the pearls, the cotton and other rich commodities which Columbus produced, seemed fully to refute the stories the malecontents had propagated with respect to the poverty of the country. By reducing the Indians