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enterprises, and to revive the languishing interest of the public. Granting, however, the correctness of his opinion, that he was in the vicinity of Asia, an error by no means surprising in the imperfect state of geographical knowledge, all his consequent suppositions were far from extravagant. The ancient Ophir was believed to lie somewhere in the East, but its situation was a matter of controversy among the learned, and remains one of those conjectural questions about which too much has been written for it ever to be satisfactorily decided

Book 18.

Chapter 1.

RETURN OF COLUMBUS TO SPAIN WITH AGUADO.

[1496.]

T

HE new caravel, the Santa Cruz, being

finished, and the Niña repaired, Columbus made every arrangement for

immediate departure, anxious to be freed from the growing arrogance of Aguado and to relieve the colony from a crew of factious and discontented men. He appointed his brother, Don Bartholomew, to the command of the island, with the title, which he had already given him, of Adelantado; in case of his death he was to be succeeded by his brother Don Diego.

On the roth of March the two caravels set sail for Spain, in one of which Columbus embarked and in the other Aguado. In consequence of the orders of the sovereigns all those who could be spared from the island, and some

who had wives and relatives in Spain whom they wished to visit, returned in these caravels, which were crowded with two hundred and twenty-five passengers, the sick, the idle, the profligate, and the factious. Never did a more miserable and disappointed crew return from a land of promise.

There were thirty Indians also on board of the caravels, among whom were the once redoubtable Cacique Caonabo, one of his brothers, and a nephew. The Curate of Los Palacios observes that Columbus had promised the Cacique and his brother to restore them to their country and their power after he had taken them to visit the King and Queen of Castile.* It is probable that by kind treatment and by a display of the wonders of Spain and the grandeur and night of its sovereigns, he hoped to conquer their enmity to the Spaniards, and convert them into important instruments toward obtaining a secure and peaceable dominion over the island. Caonabo however was of that proud nature, of wild but vigorous growth, which can never be tamed. He remained a moody and dejected captive. He had too much intelligence not to perceive that his power was forever blasted, but he retained his haughtiness even in the midst of his despair.

* Cura de los Palacios, cap. 131.

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