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his island among the officers and men. The Admiral was at this time in his cabin, engaged in his morning devotions. When he appeared on deck, the chieftain hastened to meet him with an animated countenance.
“My friend,” said he, “ I have determined to leave my country, and to accompany thee. I have heard from these Indians who are with thee, of the irresistible
power of thy sovereigns, and of the many nations thou hast subdued in their name. Whoever refuses obedience to thee is sure to suffer. Thou hast destroyed the canoes and dwellings of the Caribs, slaying their warriors, and carrying into captivity their wives and children. All these islands are in dread of thee; for who can withstand thee now that thou knowest the secrets of the land, and the weakness of the people? Rather, therefore, than thou shouldst take away my dominions, I will embark with all my household in thy ships, and will go to do homage to thy king and queen, and to behold their country, of which thy Indians relate such wonders.”
When this speech was explained to Columbus, and he beheld the wife, the sons, and daughters of the cacique, and thought upon the snares to which their ignorance and simplicity would be exposed, he was touched with compassion, and determined not to take them from their native land. He replied to the cacique therefore, that he received him under his protection as a vassal of his sovereigns, but having many
lands yet to visit before he returned to his country, he would at some future time fulfil his desire. Then taking leave with many expressions of amity, the cacique, with his wife and daughter, and all his retinue, re-embarked in the canoes, returning reluctantly to their island, and the ships continued on their course.
* Hitherto, in narrating the voyage of Columbus along the coast of Cuba, I have been guided principally by the manuscript history of the Curate de los Palacios. His account is the most clear and satisfactory as to names, dates, and routes, and contains many characteristic particulars not inserted in any other history. His sources of information were of the highest kind. Columbus was his guest after his return to Spain in 1496, and left with him manuscripts, journals, and memorandums; from these he made extracts, collating them with the letters of Doctor Chanca, and other persons of note who had accompanied the Admiral.
I have examined two copies of the MS. of the Curate de los Palacios, both in the possession of O. Rich, Esq. One written in an ancient handwriting, in the early part of the sixteenth century, varies from the other, but only in a few trivial particulars.
VOYAGE ALONG THE SOUTH SIDE OF HISPANIOLA,
AND RETURN TO ISABELLA.
N the 19th of August Columbus lost
sight of the eastern extremity of Jamaica, to which he gave the name
of Cape Farol, at present called Point Morant. Steering eastward, he beheld, on the following day, that long peninsula of Hispaniola, know by the name of Cape Tiburon, but to which he gave the name of Cape San Miguel. He was not aware that it was a part of the island of Hayti, until, coasting along its southern side, a cacique came off on the 23d of August, and called him by his title, addressing him with several words of Castilian. The sound of these words spread joy through the ship, and the weary seamen heard with delight that they were on the southern coast of
Hispaniola. They had still, however, many toilsome days before them. The weather was boisterous, the wind contrary and capricious, and the ships were separated from each other. About the end of August Columbus anchored at a small island, or rather rock, which rises singly out of the sea opposite to a long cape, stretching southward from the centre of the island, to which he gave the name of Cape Beata. The rock at which he anchored had the appearance, at a distance, of a tall ship under sail, from which circumstance the Admiral called it “ Alto Velo.” Several seamen were ordered to climb to the top of the island which commanded a great extent of ocean, and to look out for the other ships. Nothing of them was to be seen. On their return the sailors killed eight sea-wolves, which were sleeping on the sands; they also knocked down many pigeons and other birds with sticks, and took others with the hand; for in this unfrequented island the animals seemed to have none of that wildness and timidity produced by the hostility of man.
Being rejoined by the two caravels he continued along the coast, passing the beautiful country watered by the branches of the Neyva, where a fertile plain, covered with villages and groves, extended into the interior. After pro
ceeding some distance farther to the east the Admiral learnt from the natives who came off to the ships, that several Spaniards from the settlement had penetrated to their province. From all that he could learn from these people, everything appeared to be going on well in the island. Encouraged by the tranquillity of the interior he landed nine men here, with orders to traverse the island and give tidings of his safe arrival on the coast.
Continuing to the eastward he sent a boat on shore for water near a large village in a plain. The inhabitants issued forth with bows and arrows to give battle, while others were provided with cords to bind prisoners. These were the natives of Higuey, the eastern province of Hispaniola. They were the most warlike people of the island, having been inured to arms from the frequent descents of the Caribs. They were said also to make use of poisoned arrows. In the present instance, their hostility was but in appearance. When the crews landed they threw by their weapons, and brought various articles of food, and asked for the Admiral, whose fame had spread throughout the island, and in whose justice and magnanimity all appeared to repose confidence. After leaving this place, the weather, which had been so long variable and adverse,