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his viceroyalty. Four small caravels were, lesson not to put trust in princes. His however, entrusted to him in the interests favorite garb of late had been that of a of what might be termed strategic explora- Franciscan friar; and Franciscan poverty tion. For Portugal had recently, through now fell to his lot. But his life's work the agency of Vasco de Gama, struck out was accomplished. Aged beyond his a sea-way to the Indies by having doubled years by misery and hardship, weighed the Cape of Good Hope; and nothing down by sickness, destitution, and neglect, could appear more easy or desirable than he died at Valladolid, May 20, 1506, in for Spain, travelling round the other side such complete obscurity that the event of the world, to confront her there. All escaped notice from the busy chroniclers that was needed was to pursue the oceanic of current news. Yet he had thrown wide route still further west from Cuba ; and this a new realm to humanity! His remains Columbus attempied to do in 1502. But were allowed little repose. Removed in an utterly unexpected obstacle baffled his 1513 from Valladolid to Seville, they were circumnavigating project. To his extreme thence transferred to the cathedral of San discomfiture, an isthmus stood in his way Domingo, and are now supposed to be where he had expected to find a strait interred at Havana. But their identity, no other than the Strait of Malacca, which, characteristically enough, is problematiunless his cartographical notions were cal. completely astray, must separate the great Problematical, too, in large measure is “Eden-continent" from the Golden Cher. the character of the great discoverer. In sonese; and, after a year spent in pain- Mr. Winsor's judgment he was a crazy fully beating about the coasts of Honduras fanatic, half knave, half fool in his mystical and Veragua, he was compelled to aban. intervals, and outside of them a cheat, a don the hope of finding then and there a liar, and a tyrant. But accusations so viowesterly exit from the Caribbean Sea. lent and ucreasoned may safely be left to Provisions were failing; many of his men refute themselves. A certain class of had been slain by the natives ; his ships, French writers, on the other hand, admit unprotected by copper sheathing, were no flaw in a career stamped, in their view, rendered unseaworthy by the ravages of with legible marks of superhuman bero. the teredo; and he barely succeeded on ism and sanctity. If a choice between St. John's eve, 1503, in beaching their these two extremes were imposed upon riddled hulks on the desolate shore of Ja. us, we should certainly prefer to err with maica. There he spent another miserable M. Roselly de Lorgues rather than with year of turmoil and danger; and at last, Mr. Justin Winsor. For Columbus owned November 7, 1504, landed at San Lucar, a moral nature of no common type. He only to learn that the “Holy Catholic was swayed by motives incomprehensible Queen,” whom he loved, and who had been to vulgar minds; he followed grand ideals, his constant protectress, lay on her death- and if the consequences of his actions as bed.
a colonial ruler did not always correspond His voyagings were now ended. They to his intentions, it must be remembered had eventuated for him in poignant disap- that his position was one of extraordinary pointment. Posterity judges of them by and unprecedented difficulty. No share their momentous result; but that result of responsibility, assuredly, for the atro. could be only imperfectly appreciated by cious cruelties practised by his successors contemporaries keenly alive, on the con- in Hispaniola belongs to him; he had the trary, to the partial failures by which it interests of the natives at heart; his disseemed to be marred. The promised way position was clement; neither measures of to the Indies had, to be sure, been thrown extortion oor crimes of rapine could be open; but merely to what appeared like charged against him. And it was his some back premises connected with the main ambition to spread the empire of the shining, still inaccessible, kingdoms of Cross. the East. No dreams of avarice, at any Mr. Fiske has devoted much pains to rate, had yet come true; least of all for elucidating the intricate questions relating Columbus himself. So far was he from to the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, with possessing the means to fulfil his vow of the satisfactory result of dissipating still equipping a crusading army for the rescue more completely than it had been dissiof the Holy Sepulchre, that what effects pated before, the cloud which long overhe had were privily seized and sold by hung the fair fame of the great Florentine royal order to cover bis liabilities. In- pilot. It is now quite clear that he pregratitude could scarcely be carried fur-tended to nothing that he had not really ther; b'it Columbus had learned well the done, and was absolutely innocent of the base design of appropriating any portion fog and sleet. It was the island of South of the hardly won reputation of Columbus. Georgia, in latitude 54° S., and about 1,200 He started on his first voyage in May, miles east from Tierra del Fuego. Captain 1497, reaching terra firma at Cape Hon. Cook, who rediscovered it in January (midduras a year before Columbus discovered summer) 1775, called it the most wretched the Orinoco and the adjacent Pearl Coast, place he had ever seen on the globe. In and a few days after John Cabot sighted island, covered down to the water's edge with
comparison with this scarped and craggy the coast of Labrador in the Matthew. glaciers, Cook called the savage wastes of He then circuited the Gulf of Mexico, Tierra del Fuego balmy and hospitable. steered north by Florida to Chesapeake Struggling gusts lash the waves into perpetual Bay, and across to the Bermudas, whence fury, and at intervals in the blinding snowa few weeks sail brought him, October 15, flurries, alternated with freezing rains, one 1498, to Cadiz. It is lamentable to read catches ominous glimpses of tumbling ice-foes that the ships — of which there were four and deadly ledges of rock. For a day and a under the command of Vicente Pinzon night, while the Portuguese ships were driven - carried two hundred and twenty-two sailors, with blood half frozen in their veins,
along within sight of this dreadful coast, the slaves, kidnapped on the plea that the prayed to their patron saints and made vows crime of cannibalism placed the perpetra. of pilgrimage.As soon as the three ships tors outside the pale of humanity. Inexo succeeded in exchanging signals, it was deplicably little general interest was excited cided to make for home. Vespucius then by this remarkable trip, and Florida re- headed straight NN.E., through the huge mained practically unknown until redis- ocean, for Sierra Leone, and the distance of covered by Ponce de Leon on Whit more than 4,000 miles was made — with wonSunday (Pascua Florida) of the year ing about that – in thirty-three days. At
derful accuracy, though Vespucius says noth1513 After a voyage to the Pearl Coast in Sierra Leone one of the caravels, no longer
seaworthy, was abandoned and burned. After 1499-1500, Vespucci exchanged the ser.
a fortnight's rest ashore, the party went on in vice of Spain for that of Portugal. An the other two ships to the Azores, and thence, ensuing expedition attained world-wide after some further delay, to Lisbon, where celebrity. Coasting from point to point of they arrived on the 7th of September, 1502. the “ Land of Parroquets ” (Cabral's des- (Vol. ii., p. 104.) ignation for Brazil), the ships guided by him anchored on November 1 (All Saints' The region of America disclosed by this day), 1501, in a haven dubbed on the spot voyage was the first to be entitled a New “ Bahia de Todos Santos ;” and on Janu: World. The expression employed by ary i they arrived in a spacious bay, called, Vespucci himself, in a published and because of the date and under the mis- widely circulated letter to Lorenzo de' taken notion of its being the estuary of a Medici, the younger, caught the public great river, Rio de Janeiro. They pursued ear, and gained immediate currency. It their way to the south-west until it became bore, to begin with, a sense somewhat evident that they had crossed the line of different from that which we now attach demarcation between Portuguese and to it-a sense, indeed, connected with Spanish acquisitions, drawn by the pope the obsolete doctrine of the terrestrial one hundred leagues west of the Azores. “ five zones.” The “New World” was Then, having no desire to prosecute dis- primarily understood rather as an antipocovery in the interest of the rival power, dal than as an occidental continent. The a change of course was resolved upon, astonishing novelty which the term emphathe caravels were headed south-east, and sized in the popular fancy, lay in the ex. Vespucci was endowed with plenary au. istence of an inhabited territory wholly thority over them and their crews. The outside the ancient limits of what was upshot of the adventure cannot be better accounted habitable, and separated from described than in Mr. Fiske's spirited it by the long-reputed impassable belt of phrases:
torrid equatorial heat. This special mean
ing was, however, soon effaced; and the The nights [he says] grew longer and longer, phrase bears its wider modern significance until by April 3 they covered fifteen hours. in the famous motto adopted, before 1537, On that day the astrolabe showed a southern latitude of 52o. Before night a frightful storm by Ferdinand Columbus as the legend i'r overtook our navigators, and after four days his coat of arms, and engraved upon his of scudding under bare poles land hove in tomb in the cathedral of Seville : sight, but no words of welcome greeted it. In that rough sea the danger on such a coast
A Castilla y á Leon was appalling, all the more so because of the
Nuevo mundo dió Colun,
If it was a wrong to Columbus that the l in the library at Windsor Castle. It'is great western continent came to bear an applied to a large equatorial island, beother name than his, nobody, so to speak, tween which and the coast of Cathay lie was responsible. Certainly not his Flor- the smaller islands of Japan and Florida ! entine friend, upon whom, nevertheless, North America is conspicuous by absence, much odium, as if for a conscious act of while the equatorial island must be allowed usurpation, has been cast. The business to stand for a very early stage in the car. managed itself, after the haphazard fashion tographic development of the land of in which affairs of nomenclature very often the Amazon and the Andes. Magellan's do get transacted. Only the starting im- voyage, however, in 1520, was highly efpulse was given by an unguarded sugges. fective in setting things straight; and tion from a certain young professor of Asia was thenceforward compelled to keep geography at the college of Saint-Dié, in to its own side of the Pacific. Before the Lorraine. This Martin Waldseemüller middle of the century, in fact, a tolerably published in 1507 a brochure on cos correct general idea of the form and di. mography, wherein he proposed for the mensions of the American double conti“Quarta orbis pars ” the designation nent had been acquired by Mercator. Yet America, after its discoverer, Americus * Schouten van Horn sailed round its southVespucius, “a man of sagacious mind." ern cape only in 1616; it was not until So it was done, much more thoroughly 1728 that Vitus Beriog discovered the than Waldseemüller contemplated. For north-west strait; and the Rocky Mounthe “Quarta pars” as he understood it, tains remained unknown down to the year was simply the original" Mundus Novus," 1743. or the country known to us as Brazil; The main object of early explorers of while the appellation “ America ” widened the American coasts was to pierce or turn its meaning so rapidly, and, as it might the barrier they opposed. The Indies lay seem, so irresistibly, that, in 1541, it was beyond; they were the goal in view; the applied by Gerard Mercator to the whole interposed solid breastwork was regarded of the prodigious expanse of land in the as a mere obstacle to the attainment of Western hemisphere. But Amerigo him that goal. It seemed incredible that it self never knew of the future in should extend without break from tropic store for his name. Having returned to to tropic, and beyond, right over both temhis Spanish allegiance, he sailed twice to perate zones. Yet the quest for a bavigathe Gulf of Darien, with considerable re-ble channel was pushed continually nearer sults in the way of gold and pearls; was to the poles. Thus, when the Isthmus of appointed in 1508 to the important office Darien was encountered in the place of of pilot major of Spain ; and died at Se- the expected Strait of Malacca, and the ville, February 12, 1512, at the age of southern route by the Strait of Magellan sixty. He was an enterprising and able, proved too perilous and tedious for com. and appears to have been a worthy, man. mercial use, a "north-west passage” beNothing, at least, is known to his moral came an object of keen desire. For three disadvantage ; and he enjoyed opportuni. hundred and twenty-nine years the search ties of distinction in turpitude which were, continued. Every inlet between Florida by some others, under similar circum- and Labrador was examined in the hope stances, turned to the fullest account. that it might yield an outlet on the other
The slow laboriousness with which side. Verrazano, with this intent, groped America was discovered is duly reflected and burrowed along the coast from Cape in what Mr. Fiske calls “the long series Fear to Cape St. John; John Davis peneof perplexed and struggling maps made in traied through Davis Sirait into Baffin's the sixteenth century.” Cathay and Ci- Bay; Henry Hudson ascended the Hudpango long held their ground in them, and son River Dearly to the site of Albany, were only with difficulty displaced by the and pushed, by a fresh effort, into Hud. strange continent, which, emerging first, son's Bay, where he miserably perished, as it were, in embryo, gradually assumed set adrift by his mutinous crew in an open its genuine proportions, and completed its boat. But the upshot of his enterprise true outlines. The earliest representation was only to show that the long-desired by name of “ America” is in a sketch of route to the Indies by the northern sum. the date 1514, attributed to Leonardo da mit of America must be relegated to arctic Vinci, and found, some thirty years ago, latitudes. Sir Robert M'Clure's voyage • Amerigo, latinized as Americus, represents the secular problem, and gratified geograph
in 1853, accordingly, while it solveda Old High German Amalrich, signifying "the steadfast."
ical curiosity, was absolutely ineffective
for extending the system of the world's | continent their extent defies estimation. communications. The only available Mineral wealth of every variety indeed north-west passage is by the Canadian abounds. The strata round Lake Superior Pacific Railway.
are unrivalled in their provision of native Columbus might well be taken aback at copper; zinc, lead, and copper ores occur finding himself confronted with a neck of plentifully in the Cordilleras, in Montana, land where he had looked to meet open Arizona, and throughout the Appalachian water flowing widely between the Pearl and Laurentian formations. Central Coast and Cathay. A voyage round the America affords quicksilver, Canada and world, such as he planned it, ought to have Mexico supply tin, and the entire Ohio been feasible. There is no geological district roofs in capacious reservoirs of necessity for the linking together, in mineral oil, preserved unwasted in com. Siamese-twin fashion, of the two Amer- paratively undisturbed strata. icas. Although similarly planned, they In point of biological development, how. are separate constructions. The line of ever, America proved to be considerably the Rocky Mountains is, in a measure, re- bebindhand. Many forms of life, supersumed, but it cannot in any true sense be annuated in Europe and Asia, survived said to be continued by the line of the under the less stringent conditions of comAndes. Hence the junction of the masses pering existence presented by the western of land attached respectively to these two continent. Thus the sloths haunting the great dorsal elevations may be regarded as great virgin forests between the Amazon a purely temporary feature of ihe terra. and the Orinoco are modelled on one of queous globe. A few thousand years ago Nature's outgrown plans, and the oposit is more than probable that the Pacific sum is an animal as archaic as the kangawas in free communication with the Carib-roo. Moreover, the recent discovery in bean Sea, and after the lapse of a further the Tertiary rocks of Patagonia of the few thousand it may be so again. But remains of a carnivorous marsupial, closely long before that time comes man will in allied to the existing “pouched wolf" of all likelihood have taken the matter into Tasmania, seems to disclose strong and his own hands, and cut his way through immediate South American affinities with from ocean to ocean.
the arrested fauna of Australia. The The achievement of Columbus involved American organic series, too, shows strik not only the annexation of a hemisphere, ing deficiencies in its higher members. It but the emancipation of navigating enter-was, indeed, devastated by a cataclysm. prise from the terrors of the unknown. The glacial epoch swept away at least a By its means man came to his majority, dozen species of great mammals — the and entered into conscious possession of lion, tiger, elephant, mammoth, horse, rhihis earthly inheritance. Legendary geog. noceros, and others -- which until then raphy received a deathbiow; positive had roamed the continent in exuberant knowledge asserted its claim, thencefor- vitality. For some unexplained reason, ward incontrovertible, to complete domin. however, the “almshouse of the tropics jon this whirling, sun-illumined (to use Professor Shaler's phrase) failed to planet.
rescue and maintain them when a stress A rich and spacious realm was, by the of circumstances arose in the temperate discovery of America, thrown open to the zone. They perished accordingly, leaving progressive Aryan peoples. Its capabil. unfilled gaps. ities, indeed, can scarcely yet be measured, The almost total absence of domesti. and the part which it is destined to play cated animals from aboriginal America in the future civilization of the world can illustrates its zoological shortcomings.* certainly not yet be assigned. Moral For man's selection implies superiority. forces are incalculable until they come The organisms intimately associated with irresistibly into action, and forecasts even him must possess something of the plasof commercial influences are apt to be ticity by which his own organism is prefalsified by the event. Already, however, eminently distinguished. They must be the gold of California, the silver of Mex. capable of departing from the groove of ico, and the diamonds of Brazil have been wild nature, of meeting the exigencies of poured with notable effects into the uni- culture, of responding to demands for ser. versal market, and still greater results may vice. Native in a country without oxen, be anticipated from the unlovely potencies asses, sheep, horses, goats, or pigs, the of coal and iron. These even in the Red Indian was limited to the companUnited States and Canada have only just begun to be developed; elsewhere on the • Shaler, Nature and Man in America, p. 176.
jonship of the dog as represented by the Chilian and Peruvian Andes, was first cul. shabby curs that snarled round Iroquois tivated in Peru. Nor would it have been and Ojibbeway wigwams. The Aztecs, easy, in the early days of its somewhat even, notwithstanding their highly wrought laborious education, to forecast the comexistence, were in this respect no more than ing fortunes of an unpromising groundon a level with the cave-dwellers of the Old nut. Among other vegetable acquisitions World. Only the Peruvians employed from the New World, we need only men. llamas as beasts of burden, and kept al- tion the bark of the cinchona tree, all the pacas for the sake of their fine fleeces. varieties of cocoa and chocolate, vanilla, But oxen were unknown alike south and tomatoes, and pineapples. north of the isthmus, and a mounted man Its human products offer a curious and was a portent in all parts of the double a melancholy problem. The “noble sav. continent.
" had it there all his own way. NothAs regards serviceable creatures, ac- ing hindered the realization of his ideal cordingly, Europe got next to nothing of life. There was room, and to spare, for from America and gave much. The tur- his shiftless wanderings; he found game to key, found wild in Mexico, is the only hunt, and enemies to scalp; no hostile sysaddition to our domestic stock afforded tem of civilization loomed above his hori. by the Western hemisphere. Valuable zon; he was exempt from repression and plants, on the other hand, it has yielded restraint. Yet he was not satisfied. He by the score. Tobacco, for good or ill, looked back vaguely to a time when things created a want which it is now indispen- bad been better with him; he hoped dimly sable to supply:
for a coming deliverance from the evils of
a barely tolerable present. The diffusion No contribution (remarks Professor Shaler] of what may be called a Messianic tradifrom newly discovered lands has ever been so tion among the natives of both Americas welcomed as this so-called noxious weed. No is a circumstance of most curious interest. new faith has ever travelled so fast and far among men as the habit of smoking. In Each tribe cherished the expectation of a scarce a century from the first introduction of kind of millennium, when a mysterious the plant in Europe, its use had spread to benefactor, who had long ago, during a nearly half the peoples in the Old World. brief golden age, taught useful arts to his
special people, would return to reign in Maize was the only kind of grain culti- peace over them forever. The predesvated on the new continent. But it was tined hero, moreover, was a white man, to be found everywhere. Its range ex. and was to come from the East with a rettends from the Rio Negro to the Lake of inue of other white men. The Aztecs the Woods; nor could any plant be better and Peruvians, the Mayas of Yucatan, the suited to supply the staff of life for an Algonquin Indians, even the cannibals unsettled and uncivilized population. It of Hispaniola, far apart as they were in might, indeed, be designated the cereal of other respects, all held unanimously to this the savage, as affording the maximum of hope of a national redemption. “Here,” food with the minimum of cultivation. we may say with Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, * Indian corn is tolerant to the utmost limit“ was one of those unconscious prophe. of vegetable endurance. Under the least cies, pointing to the advent of a white favorable circumstances it will still pa- race from the East, that wrote the doom tieatly germinate and ripen its heavy ears. of the red man in letters of fire.” So the Forest lands need not even be cleared to arrival of the Spaniards was no surprise. provide a field for its bearing. It needs, It was looked for, and longed for, in re. to be sure, light and air, but will accom- gions thousands of miles distant from one modate itself to unfelled trunks. Over- another, before Cortez was born, or Coflowing harvests can thus be garnered at lumbus set sail from Palos. The predic. short notice in the backwoods; and but tion that it fulfilled, however, proved to be for the aid of such facile supplies it is of the ironical sort that devils might be doubted whether the early colonists of supposed to take delight in. Those who America could have held their ground had sown the wind reaped the whirlwind. amid the adverse circumstances of their Deliverance from blood-orgies came to lot. The introduction of maize into the them with their own destruction. agriculture of the rest of the world could Most remarkable indeed it is that a not then fail to prove of fundamental im. cruel and sanguinary race like the Aztecs portance. Only the diffusion of the should have sighed for a Saturniao regi. potato could be compared with it. Our indispensable tuber, indigenous in the • Myths of the New World, p. 180.