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rera been a learned and judicious man, the precipitation with which he put together those materials would have led to innumerable errors.” The remark is just; yet it is to be considered, that to select and arrange such materials judiciously and treat them learnedly, was no trifling merit in the historian. Herrera has been accused also of flattering his nation; exalting the deeds of his countrymen, and softening and concealing their excesses. There is nothing very serious in this accusation. To illustrate the glory of his nation is one of the noblest offices of the historian ; and it is difficult to speak too highly of the extraordinary enterprises and splendid actions of the Spaniards in those days. In softening their excesses he fell into an amiable and pardonable error, if it were indeed an error for a Spanish writer to endeavor to sink them in oblivion. Vossius passes a high eulogium on Herrera. “No one,” he says, “has described with greater industry and fidelity the magnitude and boundaries of provinces, the tracts of sea, positions of capes and islands, of ports and harbors, the windings of rivers and dimensions of lakes; the situation and peculiarities of regions, with the appearance of the heavens, and the designation of places suitable for the establishment of cities.” He has been called among the Spaniards the Prince of the Historians of America, and it is
added that none have risen since his time capable of vol. v.-23
disputing with him that title. Much of this praise will appear exaggerated by such as examine the manuscript histories from which he transferred chapters and entire books, with very little alteration, to his volumes; and a greater part of the eulogiums passed on him for his work on the Indies will be found really due to Las Casas, who has too long been eclipsed by his copyist. Still Herrera has left voluminous proofs of industrious research, extensive information, and great literary talent. His works bear the mark of candor, integrity, and a sincere desire to record the truth. He died in 1625, at sixty years of age, after having obtained from Philip IV, the promise of the first charge of secretary of state that should become vacant.
THE singular malevolence by Bishop Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca towards Columbus and his family, and which was one of the secret and principal causes of their misfortunes, has been frequently noticed in the course of this work. It originated, as has been shown, in some dispute between the Admiral and Fonseca at Seville in 1493, on account of the delay in fitting out the armament for the second voyage, and in regard to