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fountains which he examined possess the rejuvenating virtue. Convinced, therefore, that this was not the promised land of Indian tradition, he turned his prow homeward on the 14th of June, with the intention, on the way, of making one more attempt to find the island of Bimini. In the outset of his return he discovered a group of islets abounding with sea-fowl and marine animals. On one of them his sailors, in the course of a single night, caught one hundred and seventy turtles, and might have taken many more had they been so inclined. They likewise took fourteen sea-wolves, and killed a vast quantity of pelicans and other birds. To this group Juan Ponce gave the name of the Tortugas, or Turtles, which they still retain. Proceeding in his cruise, he touched at another group of islets near the Lucayos to which he gave the name of La Vieja, or the Old Woman group, because he found no inhabitants there but one old Indian woman.* This ancient sibyl he took on board his ship to give him information about the labyrinth of islands into which he was entering, and perhaps he could not have had a more suitable guide in the eccentric quest he was making. Notwithstanding her pilotage, however, he was exceedingly baffled and perplexed in his return voyage * Herrera, decad. i., lib. ix.

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kept the island in perpetual verdure, but none that could restore to an old man the vernal greenness of his youth.

Thus ended the romantic expedition of Juan Ponce de Leon. Like many other pursuits of a chimera, it terminated in the acquisition of a substantial good. Though he had failed in finding the fairy fountain of youth, he had discovered in place of it the important country of Florida.”

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ExPEDITION of JUAN PONcE AGAINST THE cars Bs -HIS DEATH.

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JUAN Ponce DE LEON now repaired to Spain to make a report of his voyage to King Ferdi

* The belief of the existence in Florida of a river like that sought by Juan Ponce, was long prevalent among the Indians of Cuba, and the caciques were anxious to discover it. That a party of the natives of Cuba once went in search of it and remained there, appears to be a fact, as their descendants were afterwards to be traced among the people of Florida. Las Casas says, that, even in his days, many persisted in seeking this mystery, and some thought that the river was no other than that called the Jordan, at the point of St. Helena, without considering that the name was that given to it by the Spaniards in the year 1520, when they discovered the land of Chicora.

among the Bahama Islands, for he was forcing his way as it were against the course of nature, and encountering the currents which sweep westward along these islands, and the tradewind which accompanies them. For a long time he struggled with all kinds of difficulties and dangers; and was obliged to remain upwards of a month on one of the islands to repair the damages which his ship had suffered in a Storin. Disheartened at length by the perils and trials with which nature seemed to have beset the approach to Bimini, as to some fairy island in romance, he gave up the quest in person and sent in his place a trusty captain, Juan Perez de Ortubia, who departed in one of the other ships, guided by the experienced old woman of the isles and by another Indian. As to Juan Ponce, he made the best of his way back to Porto Rico, where he arrived infinitely poorer in purse and wrinkled in brow by this cruise after inexhaustible riches and perpetual youth. He had not been long in port when his trusty envoy, Juan Perez, likewise arrived. Guided by the sage old woman, he had succeeded in finding the long-sought-for Bimini. He described it as being large, verdant, and covered with beautiful groves. There were crystal springs and limpid streams in abundance, which kept the island in perpetual verdure, but none that could restore to an old man the vernal greenness of his youth.

Thus ended the romantic expedition of Juan Ponce de Leon. Like many other pursuits of a chimera, it terminated in the acquisition of a substantial good. Though he had failed in finding the fairy fountain of youth, he had discovered in place of it the important country of Florida.”

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JUAN Ponce DE LEON now repaired to Spain to make a report of his voyage to King Ferdi

* The belief of the existence in Florida of a river like that sought by Juan Ponce, was long prevalent among the Indians of Cuba, and the caciques were anxious to discover it. That a party of the natives of Cuba once went in search of it and remained there, appears to be a fact, as their descendants were afterwards to be traced among the people of Florida. Las Casas says, that, even in his days, many persisted in seeking this mystery, and some thought that the river was no other than that called the Jordan, at the point of St. Helena, without considering that the name was that given to it by the Spaniards in the year 1520, when they discovered the land of Chicora.

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