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printing has furnished a powerful instrument for improving the mind, polishing the manners and exalting the character of man.
To crown the whole, the establishment of societies for circulating the scriptures, and sending the gospel and the arts of civil life to heathen and savage nations, aided by commerce and the press, completes probably the system of human means by which man is to be reclaimed from the degradation of the apostasy, and raised to his primitive dignity.
DISCOVERY OF AMERICA BY EUROPEANS.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS,* the first European who discovered the Western World, was a native of Genoa, and was bred to navigation. By his knowledge of the form of the earth, and of geography and astronomy, he was led to believe that there must be a continent on the west of the Atlantic, to balance the vast tract of land on the east; and he imagined that by sailing westward, he might find a shorter course to China and the East-Indies, than by travelling eastward. He therefore applied to the government of Genoa for assistance to enable him to undertake a voyage of discovery. He did not succeed. He then applied to Portugal, but with no better success. He was thought, as men of superior genius are often thought, a visionary projector.
Columbus then made application to Ferdinand, king of Spain, for ships and men to proceed on a voyage westward; but for some years, he did not obtain bis request. Finally, by the influence of the queen, Isabella, he obtained three ships and ninety men.. He also obtained a commission, dated April 30, 1492, constituting him Admiral, Vice Roy and Governor of all the isles and countries which he should discover and subdue, with full powers, civil and criminal. With this authority, he sailed from Palos in Spain, in August 1492.
Not many days after Columbus left Spain, he was perplexed with the variations of the magnetic needle, which had not before been discovered, and which served to dishearten his mariners. To add to his perplexity, his seamen grew uneasy at venturing so far into an unexplored ocean, and threatened to throw him overboard if he would nor return. To quiet their minds, he promised that if land should not appear
*This is the name as usually written; but his real name was CHRISTOVAL Colon.
in three days, he would return. On the third day, land was discovered, to the inexpressible joy of Columbus and of his seamen, who now humbled themselves for their refractory conduct. The land first seen was one of the Bahama Islands, and on the 12th of October, 0. S. 1492.
Proceeding southward, Columbus discovered Cuba and Hayti; to the latter he gave the name of Hispaniola. Here he landed, entered into a friendly intercourse with the natives, built a fort, in which he left a garrison of thirty-eight men, with orders to treat the natives with kindness, and sailed for Europe. On his voyage, a violent tempest arising, Columbus was apprehensive the ship would founder; and to afford a sinall chance that the world should not lose the benefit of his voyage, he wrote a short account of his voyage, wrapped it in an oiled cloth, inclosed it in a cake of wax, and putting this into an empty cask, he committed it to the sea, in hopes that it might fall into the hands of some fortunate navigator, or be cast ashore. But the storm abated, and Columbus arrived safe in Spain.
In September 1493, Columbus sailed from Cadiz on his second voyage to the new world, and discovered the Caribbee Isles-to which he gave their present names, Dominico, Maragalant, Gaudaloupe, Montserat and Antigua. Then steering for Cuba, he saw Jamaica, and proceeded to Hispaniola. On his arrival, he found that the men whom he had left in garrison, had been guilty of violence and rapine, and were all destroyed by the natives.
As the first colony which Columbus left, was cut off, he sought a more convenient and healthful situation, marked out the plan of a town, erected a rampart, and built houses. This town be called Isabella, in honor of the queen his benefactress. The government of this colony he committed to, his brother, Don Diego, who, after Columbus had departed for Europe, abandoned this spot, and removing to the south side of the isle, began the town called St. Domingo, the
first permanent establishment in the new world.Columbus returned to Spain early in 1496.
In May 1498, Columbus lest Spain on his third voyage, and proceeding farther southward, discovered and named Trinidad, and in August discovered the main land, or continent of South-America, along which he coasted two hundred leagues westward; then sailed to Hispaniola. When he arrived at St. Domingo, he found the colony in a mutinous state; bút by prudent and firm measures, he composed the troubles. In the mean time, the discontented men repaired to Spain, and by false representations, persuaded the king to appoint Bovadilla governor of the new world, with orders to take Columbus and send him to Spain. This commission was executed with inhuman severity, and the great Columbus was sent to Spain in chains. Such is the reward which the great and good receive, from vile factious men.
In 1499, Alonzo Ojedo made a voyage to the western continent. With him went one Amerigo, or Americus Vespų. cius, a native of Florence, who wrote an account of the voyage and pretending that he was the first discoverer of the Main Land, the country was called after him, AMERICA; which name, by the consent of nations, it has retained, to the injury of Cabot and Columbus, who had discovered the continent the preceding year.
Columbus arrived in Spain, bound like a criminal; but was soon set at liberty by order of the king, to whom he justified his conduct in the most satisfactory manner. But he did not recover his authority, and Ovando was appointed governor of Hispaniola, in the place of Bovadilla. Columbus however prepared for a fourth voyage in 1502; intent upon finding a passage to the East-Indies by the west. In this voyage, he entered the gulf of Darien, and examined the coast. But meeting with furious storms, he bore away for Hispaniola, and was shipwrecked' on Jamaica.
Being cast on an isle, at a distance of thirty leagues from Hispaniola, and his ships all destroyed, Columbus was in ex
treme distress. But the natives were kind, and furnished him with two canoes, in which two of his friends, with some Indians, rowed themselves to St. Domingo. But the governor, Ovando, meanly jealous of Columbus, delayed to send a ship to bring him off, for eight months; during which time, Columbus was exposed to famine, to the natives, and to the malice of his own mutinous seamen. At last he was relieved, and furnished with two ships, with which he sailed for Spain in 1504. Finding Isabella, his patroness, dead, and himself neglected, he sunk under his infirmities, and died May 20, 1506, in the 59th year of his age.
The king of Spain, to obtain a secure title to the new world, obtained from Pope Alexander the sixth, a bull or patent, dated at Rome, May 4th, 1493, in which the objects of the grant are said to be, to humanize and christianize the savage nations of the new world. By this charter, the king of Spain was invested with sovereign jurisdiction over all the isles and lands which had been or should be discovered, west of a line running from pole to pole, at the distance of one hundred leagues west of all the Azores, and the Cape de Verd Isles to be held by him, his heirs and successors forever -excepting such isles and countries as were then actually possessed by some christian king or prince.
In the year 1500, one Pinzon, who had accompanied Columbus in his first voyage, sailed to America, crossed the equinoctial line, and discovered the Maranon, or Amazon, the largest river on the globe. In the same year one Cabral, a Portuguese, pushed his adventures further south, and discovered the country now called Brazil. Pinzon made a second voyage in 1508, with Solis, and proceeded as far south as the river which they called the river of Plata, or silver. In 1509, two adventurers, Ojedo and Nicuessa, attempted to form settlements on the continent, within the gulf of Darien, but were repelled by the natives. In the two following years, settlements were begun at Jamaica, Porto Rico, Darien and Cuba.