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Laying aside geographical demonstrations, let us now examine how historical records agree with the opinion here supported, that the island of San Salvador was the first point where Columbus came in contact with the New World. Herrera, who is considered the most faithful and authentic of Spanish historians, wrote his History of the Indies towards the year 1600. In describing the voyage of Juan Ponce de Leon, made to Florida in 1512, he makes the following remarks”: “Leaving Aguada in Porto Rico, he steered to the N. W. by N., and in five days arrived at an island called F1 Viejo, in latitude 22° 30′ north. The next day they arrived at a small island of the Lucayos, called Caycos. On the eighth day they anchored at another island called Yaguna in 24°, on the eighth day out from Porto Rico. Thence they passed to the island of Manuega, in 24° 30' and on the eleventh day they reached Guanahani, which is in 25° 40′ north. This island of Guanahani was the first discovered by Columbus on his first voyage and which he called San Salvador.” This is the substance of the remarks of Herrera, and is entirely conclusive as to the location of San Salvador. The latitudes, it is true, are all placed higher than we now know them to be ; that San Salvador being such as to correspond with no other land than that now known as the Berry Islands, which are seventy leagues distant from the nearest coast of Cuba; whereas Columbus tells us that San Salvador was only forty-five leagues from Port Principe. But in these infant days of navigation, the instruments for measuring the altitudes of the heavenly bodies, and the tables of declinations for deducing the latitude, must have been so imperfect as to place the most scientific navigator of the time below the most mechanical one of the present. The second island arrived at by Ponce de Leon, in his northwestern course, was one of the Caycos. The first one, then, called El Viejo, must have been Turk's Island, which lies S. E. of the Caycos. The third island they came to was probably Mariguana; the fourth, Crooked Island; and the fifth, Isla Larga. Lastly they came to Guanahani, the San Salvador of Columbus. If this be supposed identical with Turk's Island, where do we find the succession of islands touched at by Ponce de Leon on his way from Porto Rico to San Salvador?" No stress has been laid, in these remarks, on the identity of name which has been preserved to San Salvador, Concepcion, and Port Principe, with those given by Columbus, though traditional usage is of vast weight in such matters. Geographical proof, of a conclusive kind it is thought, has been advanced *In the first chapter of Herrera's description of the Indies, appended to his History, is another scale of the Bahama Islands, which corroborates the above. It begins at the opposite to enable the world to remain in its old hereditary belief that the present island of San Salvador is the spot where Columbus first set foot upon the New World. Established opinions of the kind should not be lightly molested. It is a good old rule that ought to be kept in mind in curious research as well as territorial deal
* Herrera. Hist, Ind., decad. i., lib. ix., cap. 10.
ings, “Do not disturb the ancient landmarks.”
Note to THE REvrsen Errtion of 1848.-The Baron de
Humboldt, in his Eramen Critique de l'Histoire de la Geo
graphie du Nouveau Continent, published in 1837, speaks repeatedly in high terms of the ability displayed in the above examination of the route of Columbus, and argues at great length and quite conclusively in support of the opinion contained in it. Above all, he produces a document hitherto unknown, and the great importance of which had been discovered by M. valeknaer and himself in 1832. This is a map made in 1500 by that able mariner, Juan de la Cosa, who accompanied Columbus in his second voyage, and sailed with other of the discoverers. In this map, of which the Baron de Humboldt gives an engraving, the islands as laid down agree completely with the bearings and distances given in the journal of Columbus, and establishes the identity of San Salvador, or Cat Island, and Guanahani.
“I feel happy,” says M. de Humboldt, “to be enabled to destroy the incertitudes (which rested on this subject) by a docuument as ancient as it is unknown ; a document which confirms irrevocably the arguments which Mr. Washington Irving has given in his work against the hypothesis of the Turk's Island ''
In the present revised edition the author feels at liberty to give the merit of the very masterly paper on the route of Columbus, where it is justly due. It was furnished him at Madrid by the late commander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, of the United States Navy, whose modesty shrunk from affixing his natue to an article so calculated to do him credit, and which has since challenged the high eulogiums of men of nautical scifence.
PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH THE SUMS MENTIONED IN This work HAVE BEEN REDUCED INTO MODERN currency.
IN the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the mark of silver, which was equal to 8 ounces, or to 50 castillanos, was divided into 65 reals, and each real into 34 maravedis; so that there were 2210 maravedis, in the mark of silver. Among other silver coins, there was the real of 8, which consisting of 8 reals, was, within a small fraction, the eighth part of a mark of silver, or one ounce. Of the gold coins then in circulation, the castillano, or dobla de la vanda, was worth 490 maravedis, and the ducado 383 maravedis.
If the value of the maravedi had remained unchanged in Spain down to the present day, it would be easy to reduce a sum of the time of Ferdinand and Isabella into a correspondent sum of current money, but by the successive depreciation of the coin of Vellon, or mixed metals, issued since that period, the real and maravedi of Vellon, which had replaced the ancient currency, were reduced towards the year 17oo to about a third of the old real and maravedi, now known as the real and maravedi of silver. As, however, the ancient piece of eight reals was equal approximately to the ounce of silver, and the duro, or dollar of the present day, is likewise equal to an ounce, they may be considered identical. Indeed, in Spanish America, the dollar, instead of being divided into twenty reals, as in Spain, is divided into only eight parts called reals, which evidently represent the real of the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, as the dollar does the real of eight. But the ounce of silver was anciently worth 27.6% marawedis ; the dollar therefore is likewise equal to 276% marawedis. By converting then the sums mentioned in this work into marazedis, they have been afterwards reduced into dollars by dividing by 276%. There is still, however, another calculation to be made before we can arrive at the actual value of any sum of gold and silver mentioned in former times. It is necessary to notice the variation which has taken place in the value of the metals themselves. In Europe, previous to the discovery of the New World, an ounce of gold commanded an amount of food or 1abor which would cost three ounces at the present day : hence an ounce of gold was then estimated at three times its present value. At the same time an ounce of silver commanded an amount which at present costs four ounces of silver. It appears from this that the value of gold and silver varied with respect to each other, as well as with respect to all other commodities. This is owing to there having been much more silver brought from the New World, with respect to the quantity previously in circulation, than