« AnteriorContinuar »
about fifty-six years), to remain in obscurity. He appears to have wished to cast a cloud over it, and only to have presented his father to the reader after he had rendered himself illustrious by his actions, and his history had become in a manner identified with the history of the world. His work, however, is an invaluable document, entitled to great faith, and is the corner-stone of the history of the American Continent.
As the date I have assigned for the birth of Columbus makes him about ten years older than he is generally represented at the time of his discoveries, it is proper to state precisely my authority. In the valuable manuscript chronicle of the reign of the Catholic sovereigns, written by Andres Bernaldes, the Curate of Los Palacios, there is a long tract on the subject of the discoveries of Columbus; it concludes with these words: “Muria en Valladolid, el asio de 1506, en el mes de Mayo, in senectute bona, de edad 7o años, poco mas 6 menos.” (He died in Valladolid in the year 1506, in the month of May in a good old age, being seventy years old, a little more or less). The Curate of Los Palacios was a contemporary, and an intimate friend of Columbus, who was occasionally a guest in his house; no one was more competent, therefore, to form a correct idea of his age. It is singular, that, while the biographers of Columbus have been seeking to establish the epoch of his birth by various calculations and conjectures, this direct testimony of honest Andres Bernaldes has entirely escaped their notice, though some of them had his manuscript in their hands. It was first observed by my accurate friend Don Antonio Uguina in the course of his exact investigations, and has been pointed out and ably supported by Don Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, in the introduction to his valuable collection of voyages. Various circumstances in the life of Columbus will be found to corroborate the statement of the Curate; such, for example, as the increasing infirmities with which he struggled during his voyages, and which at last rendered him a cripple and confined him to his bed. The allusion to his advanced age in one of his letters to the sovereigns, wherein he relates the consolation he had received from a secret voice in the night season : “ Tu reje: no impedira a toda cosa grande. --1brahan pasaba cien ańos cuando engendro a /saac, etc.” (Thy old age shall be no impediment to any great undertaking. Abraham was above a hundred years old, when he begat Isaac, etc.) The permission granted him by the King the year previous to his death to travel on a mule, instead of a horse, on