The Project Gutenberg EBook of Christopher Columbus and His Monument
Columbia, by Various

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Title: Christopher Columbus and His Monument Columbia
       being a concordance of choice tributes to the great Genoese,
              his grand discovery, and his greatness of mind and purpose

Author: Various

Release Date: July 23, 2009 [EBook #29496]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Sculptor, Signor Lanzio. Dedicated 1862.
(See page 141.)





A Concordance of Choice Tributes To the Great
Genoese, His Grand Discovery, and
His Greatness of Mind and Purpose.



Compiled by J. M. Dickey.

CHICAGO AND NEW YORK: Rand, McNally & Company, Publishers. 1892.
Copyright, 1892, by Rand, McNally & Co.
[Pg 5]Columbus.


History places in prominence Columbus and America. They are the brightest jewels in her crown. Columbus is a permanent orb in the progress of civilization. From the highest rung of the ladder of fame, he has stepped to the skies. America "still hangs blossoming in the garden of time, while her penetrating perfume floats all round the world, and intoxicates all other nations with the hope of liberty." If possible, these tributes would add somewhat to the luster of fame which already encircles the Nation and the Man. Many voices here speak for themselves.

Six hundred authors and more have written of Columbus or his great discovery. An endless task therefore would it be to attempt to enumerate, much less set out, the thousands who have incidentally, and even encomiastically, referred to him. Equally impossible would it be to hope to include a tithe of their utterances within the limits of any single volume, even were it of colossal proportions. This volume of tributes essays then to be but a concordance of some of the most choice and interesting extracts, and, artistically illustrated with statues, scenes, and inscriptions, is issued at an appropriate time and place. The compiler desires in this preface to acknowledge his sincere obligations and indebtedness to the many authors and publishers who so courteously and uniformly extended their consents to use copyright matter, and to express an equal sense of gratitude to his friend, Stuart C. Wade, for his valuable assistance in selecting, arranging, and [Pg 6]indexing much of the matter herein contained.

In one of the galleries of Florence there is a remarkable bust of Brutus, left unfinished by the great sculptor Michael Angelo. Some writer explained the incomplete condition by indicating that the artist abandoned his labor in despair, "overcome by the grandeur of the subject." With similar feeling, this little book is submitted to the admirers of Columbus and Columbia, wherever they may be found.

J. M. D.

Colorado Springs, Colo., July, 1892.


Table of Contents,7
List of Illustrations,9
Life of Columbus,11-40
Selected letters of Columbus,41-57
Tributes to Columbus,61-323
Tributes to Columbia,327-384
Index of Authors—Columbus,385-388
Index of Authors—Columbia,389-390
Index of Head Lines,391-396
Index of Statuary and Inscriptions,397

[Pg 7]
[Pg 8]


[Pg 9]

The Columbus Statue, Genoa,Frontispiece
Columbus at Salamanca,17
The De Bry Portrait,24
The Embarkation at Palos,32
Columbus in Chains,49
Fac-simile of Columbus' letter to the Bank of St. George, Genoa,52
Columbus Statue, on Barcelona Monument,64
Columbus Monument, Barcelona,81
The Paseo Colon, Barcelona,96
Columbus Statue, City of Colon,113
Zearing's Head of Columbus,120
Park's Statue of Columbus, Chicago,128
House of Columbus, Genoa,145
The Antonio Moro Portrait,160
Toscanelli's Map,177
Samartin's Statue of Columbus, Madrid,192
Suñol's Statue of Columbus, Madrid,209
Map of Herrera (Columbus' Historian),224
Modern Map of the Bahamas,241
Map of Columbus' Pilot,256
Columbus Monument, Mexico,273
Columbus Monument, New York City,288
Bas-relief, New York Monument,296
Bas-relief, New York Monument,305
Columbus Statue, Havana,312
Columbus Statue, Philadelphia,320
Part of Columbus Statue, New York City,328
The Convent of Santa Maria de la Rábida,337
The Santa Maria Caravel,352
The Columbus Fleet,360
Vanderlyn's Picture of the Landing of Columbus,369
Columbus Statue, St. Louis, Mo.,384

[Pg 10]

Columbus and His Monument Columbia.


Christopher Columbus, the eldest son of Dominico Colombo and Suzanna Fontanarossa, was born at Genoa in 1435 or 1436, the exact date being uncertain. As to his birthplace there can be no legitimate doubt; he says himself of Genoa, in his will, "Della salí y en ella naci" (from there I came, and there was I born), though authorities, authors, and even poets differ. Some, like Tennyson, having

Stay'd the wheels at Cogoletto
And drank, and loyally drank, to him.

His father was a wool-comber, of some small means, who was living two years after the discovery of the West Indies, and who removed his business from Genoa to Savona in 1469. Christopher, the eldest son, was sent to the University of Pavia, where he devoted himself to the mathematical and natural sciences, and where he probably received instruction in nautical astronomy from Antonio da Terzago and Stefano di Faenza. On his removal from the university it appears that he worked for some months at his father's trade; but on reaching his fifteenth year he made his choice of life, and became a sailor.

Of his apprenticeship, and the first years of his career, no records exist. The whole of his earlier life, indeed, is dubious and conjectural, founded as it is on the half-dozen dark[Pg 11] and evasive chapters devoted by Hernando, his son and biographer, to the first half-century of his father's times. It seems certain, however, that these unknown years were stormy, laborious, and eventful; "wherever ship has sailed," he writes, "there have I journeyed." He is known, among other places, to have visited England, "Ultima Thule" (Iceland), the Guinea Coast, and the Greek Isles; and he appears to have been some time in the service of René of Provence, for whom he is recorded to have intercepted and seized a Venetian galley with great bravery and audacity. According to his son, too, he sailed with Colombo el Mozo, a bold sea captain and privateer; and a sea fight under this commander was the means of bringing him ashore in Portugal. Meanwhile, however, he was preparing himself for greater achievements by reading and meditating on the works of Ptolemy and Marinus, of Nearchus and Pliny, the Cosmographia of Cardinal Aliaco, the travels of Marco Polo and Mandeville. He mastered all the sciences essential to his calling, learned to draw charts and construct spheres, and thus fitted himself to become a consummate practical seaman and navigator.

In 1470 he arrived at Lisbon, after being wrecked in a sea fight that began off Cape St. Vincent, and escaping to land on a plank. In Portugal he married Felipa Moñiz de Perestrello, daughter of Bartollomeu Perestrello, a captain in the service of Prince Henry, called the Navigator, one of the early colonists and the first governor of Porto Santo, an island off Madeira. Columbus visited the island, and employed his time in making maps and charts for a livelihood, while he pored over the logs and papers of his deceased father-in-law, and talked with old seamen of their voyages and of the mystery of the Western seas. About this time, too, he seems to have arrived at the conclusion that much of the world remained undiscovered, and step[Pg 12] by step to have conceived that design of reaching Asia by sailing west which was to result in the discovery of America. In 1474 we find him expounding his views to Paolo Toscanelli, the Florentine physician and cosmographer, and receiving the heartiest encouragement.

These views he supported with three different arguments, derived from natural reasons, from the theories of geographers, and from the reports and traditions of mariners. "He believed the world to be a sphere," says Helps; "he underestimated its size; he overestimated the size of the Asiatic continent. The farther that continent extended to the east, the nearer it came round toward Spain." And he had but to turn from the marvelous propositions of Mandeville and Aliaco to become the recipient of confidences more marvelous still. The air was full of rumors, and the weird imaginings of many generations of mediæval navigators had taken shape and substance, and appeared bodily to men's eyes. Martin Vicente, a Portuguese pilot, had found, 450 leagues to the westward of Cape St. Vincent, and after a westerly gale of many days' duration, a piece of strange wood, sculptured very artistically, but not with iron. Pedro Correa, his own brother-in-law, had seen another such waif near the Island of Madeira, while the King of Portugal had information of great canes, capable of holding four quarts of wine between joint and joint, which Herrera declares the King received, preserved, and showed to Columbus. From the colonists on the Azores Columbus heard of two men being washed up at Flores, "very broad-faced, and differing in aspect from Christians." The transport of all these objects being attributed to the west winds and not to the gulf stream, the existence of which was then totally unsuspected. West of the Azores now and then there hove in sight the mysterious Islands of St. Brandan; and 200 leagues west of the Canaries lay[Pg 13] somewhere the lost Island of the Seven Cities, that two valiant Genoese had vainly endeavored to discover, and in search of which, yearly, the merchants of Bristol sent expeditions, even before Columbus sailed. In his northern journey, too, some vague and formless traditions may have reached his ear of the voyages of Biorn and Lief, and of the pleasant coasts of Helleland, Markland, and Vinland that lay toward the setting sun. All were hints and rumors to bid the bold mariner sail westward, and this he at length determined to do. There is also some vague and unreliable tradition as to a Portuguese pilot discovering the Indies previous to Columbus, and on his deathbed revealing the secret to the Genoese explorer. It is at the best but a fanciful tale.

The concurrence of some state or sovereign, however, was necessary for the success of this design. The Senate of Genoa had the honor to receive the first offer, and the responsibility of refusing it. Rejected by his native city, the projector turned next to John II. of Portugal. This King had already an open field for discovery and enterprise along the African coast; but he listened to the Genoese, and referred him to the Committee of Council for Geographical Affairs. The council's report was altogether adverse; but the King, who was yet inclined to favor the theory of Columbus, assented to the suggestion of the Bishop of Ceuta that the plan should be carried out in secret, and without Columbus' knowledge, by means of a caravel or light frigate. The caravel was dispatched, but it returned after a brief absence, the sailors having lost heart, and having refused to venture farther. Upon discovering this dishonorable transaction, Columbus felt so outraged and indignant that he sent off his brother Bartholomew to England with letters for Henry VII., to whom he had communicated his ideas. He himself left Lisbon[Pg 14] many other friends, and here met with Beatrix Enriquez, the mother of his second son, Hernando, who was born August 15, 1488.

A certain class of writers pretend that Beatrix Enriquez was the lawful wife of Columbus.[1] If so, when he died she would of right have been Vice-Queen Dowager of the Indies. Is it likely that $56 would have been the pension settled upon a lady of such rank? Señor Castelar, than whom there is no greater living authority, scouts the idea of a legal marriage; and, indeed, it is only a few irresponsible and peculiarly aggressive Catholic writers who have the hardihood to advance this more than improbable theory. Mr. Henry Harrisse, a most painstaking critic, thinks that Felipa Moñiz died in 1488. She was buried in the Monastery do Carmo, at Lisbon, and some trace of her may hereafter be found in the archives of the Provedor or Registrar of Wills, at Lisbon, when these papers are arranged, as she must have bequeathed a sum to the poor, under the customs then prevailing.

From Cordova, Columbus followed the court to Salamanca, where he was introduced to the notice of the grand cardinal, Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza, "the third King of Spain." The cardinal, while approving the project, thought that it savored strongly of heterodoxy; but an interview with the projector brought him over, and through his influence Columbus at last got audience of the King. The matter was finally referred, however, to Fernando de Talavera, who, in 1487, summoned a junta of astronomers and cosmographers to confer with Columbus, and examine his design and the arguments by which he supported it. The Dominicans of San Estebàn in Salamanca entertained Columbus during the conference. The jurors, who were most of them ecclesiastics, were by no means unprejudiced, nor were they disposed to abandon their pretensions to[Pg 15] for Spain (1484), taking with him his son Diego, the only issue of his marriage with Felipa Moñiz. He departed secretly, according to some writers to give the slip to King John, according to others to escape his creditors. In one of his letters Columbus says: "When I came from such a great distance to serve these princes, I abandoned a wife and children, whom, for this cause, I never saw again." The first traces of Columbus at the court of Spain are on May 5, 1487, when an entry in some accounts reads: "Given to-day 3,000 maravedis (about $18) to Cristobal Colomo, a stranger." Three years after (March 20, 1488), a letter was sent by the King to "Christopher Colon, our especial friend," inviting him to return, and assuring him against arrest and proceedings of any kind; but it was then too late.

Columbus next betook himself to the south of Spain, and seems to have proposed his plan first to the Duke of Medina Sidonia (who was at first attracted by it, but finally threw it up as visionary and impracticable), and next to the Duke of Medina Celi. The latter gave him great encouragement, entertained him for two years, and even determined to furnish him with the three or four caravels. Finally, however, being deterred by the consideration that the enterprise was too vast for a subject, he turned his guest from the determination he had come to, of making instant application to the court of France, by writing on his behalf to Queen Isabella; and Columbus repaired to the court at Cordova at her bidding.

From the celebrated painting by Señor V. Izquierdo.
(See page 16.)

[Pg 16]

It was an ill moment for the navigator's fortune. Castille and Leon were in the thick of that struggle which resulted in the final defeat of the Moors; and neither Ferdinand nor Isabella had time to listen. The adventurer was indeed kindly received; he was handed over to the care of Alonzo de Quintanilla, whom he speedily converted into an enthusiastic supporter of his theory. He made[Pg 17] knowledge without a struggle. Columbus argued his point, but was overwhelmed with Biblical texts, with quotations from the great divines, with theological objections, and in a short time the junta was adjourned. Señor Rodriguez Pinilla, the learned Salamantine writer, holds that the first refusal of Columbus' project was made in the official council at Cordova. In 1489, Columbus, who had been following the court from place to place (billeted in towns as an officer of the King and gratified from time to time with sums of money toward his expenses), was present at the siege of Malaga. In 1490 the junta decided that his project was vain and impracticable, and that it did not become their Highnesses to have anything to do with it; and this was confirmed, with some reservation, by their Highnesses themselves, at Seville.

Columbus was now in despair. So reduced in circumstances was he that (according to the eminent Spanish statesman and orator, Emilio Castelar) he was jocularly and universally termed "the stranger with the threadbare coat." He at once betook himself to Huelva, where his brother-in-law resided, with the intention of taking ship to France. He halted, however, at Palos, a little maritime town in Andalusia. At the Monastery of Santa Maria de la Rábida[2] he knocked and asked for bread and water for his boy Diego, and presently got into conversation with Fray Juan Perez de Marchena, the prior, who invited him to take up his quarters in the monastery, and introduced him to Garci Fernandez, a physician and an ardent student of geography. To these good men did Columbus propound his theory and explain his plan. Juan Perez had been the Queen's confessor; he wrote to her and was summoned to her presence, and money was sent to Columbus to bring him once more to[Pg 18] court. He reached Granada in time to witness the surrender of the city by the Moors, and negotiations were resumed. Columbus believed in his mission, and stood out for high terms; he asked the rank of admiral at once, the vice-royalty of all he should discover, and a tenth of all the gain, by conquest or by trade. These conditions were rejected, and the negotiations were again interrupted. An interview with Mendoza appears to have followed, but nothing came of it, and in January, 1492, Columbus actually set out for France. At length, however, on the entreaty of Luis de Santangel, receiver of the ecclesiastical revenues of the crown of Aragon, Isabella was induced to determine on the expedition. A messenger was sent after Columbus, and overtook him at the Bridge of Piños, about two leagues from Granada. He returned to the camp at Santa Fé, and on April 17, 1492, the agreement between him and their Catholic Majesties was signed and sealed. This agreement being familiarly known in Spanish history as "The Capitulations of Santa Fé."

His aims were nothing less than the discovery of the marvelous province of Cipango and the conversion to Christianity of the Grand Khan, to whom he received a royal and curious blank letter of introduction. The town of Palos was, by forced levy, as a punishment for former rebellion, ordered to find him three caravels, and these were soon placed at his disposal. But no crews could be got together, Columbus even offering to throw open the jails and take all criminals and broken men who would serve on the expedition; and had not Juan Perez succeeded in interesting Martin Alonzo Pinzon and Vicente Yañez Pinzon in the cause, Columbus' departure had been long delayed. At last, however, men, ships, and stores were ready. The expedition consisted of the Gallega, rechristened the Santa Maria, a decked ship, with a crew of fifty[Pg 19] men, commanded by the Admiral in person; and of two caravels—the Pinta, with thirty men, under Martin Pinzon, and the Niña, with twenty-four men, under his brother, Vicente Yañez Pinzon, afterward (1499) the first to cross the line in the American Atlantic. The adventurers numbered 120 souls, and on Friday, August 3, 1492, at 8 in the morning, the little fleet weighed anchor and stood out for the Canary Islands, sailing as it were "into a world unknown—the corner-stone of a nation."

Deeply significant was one incident of their first few days' sail. Emilio Castelar tells us that these barks, laden with bright promises for the future, were sighted by other ships, laden with the hatreds and rancors of the past, for it chanced that one of the last vessels transporting into exile the Jews, expelled from Spain by the religious intolerance of which the recently created and odious Tribunal of the Faith was the embodiment, passed by the little fleet bound in search of another world, where creation should be newborn, a haven be afforded to the quickening principle of human liberty, and a temple be reared to the God of enfranchised and redeemed consciences.

An abstract of the Admiral's diary made by the Bishop Las Casas is yet extant; and from it many particulars may be gleaned concerning this first voyage. Three days after the ships had set sail the Pinta lost her rudder. The Admiral was in some alarm, but comforted himself with the reflection that Martin Pinzon was energetic and ready-witted; they had, however, to put in (August 9th) at Teneriffe to refit the caravel. On September 6th they weighed anchor once more with all haste, Columbus having been informed that three Portuguese caravels were on the lookout for him. On September 13th the variations of the magnetic needle were for the first time observed;[3] and on[Pg 20] the 15th a wonderful meteor fell into the sea at four or five leagues distance. On the 16th they arrived at those vast plains of seaweed called the Sargasso Sea; and thenceforward, writes the Admiral, they had most temperate breezes, the sweetness of the mornings being most delightful, the weather like an Andalusian April, and only the song of the nightingale wanting. On the 17th the men began to murmur. They were frightened by the strange phenomena of the variations of the compass, but the explanation Columbus gave restored their tranquillity. On the 18th they saw many birds and a great ridge of low-lying cloud, and they expected to see land. On the 20th they saw two pelicans, and they were sure the land must be near. In this, however, they were disappointed, and the men began to be afraid and discontented; and thenceforth Columbus, who was keeping all the while a double reckoning—one for the crew and one for himself—had great difficulty in restraining the men from the excesses which they meditated. On the 25th Alonzo Pinzon raised the cry of land, but it proved a false alarm; as did the rumor to the same effect on October 7th, when the Niña hoisted a flag and fired a gun. On the 11th the Pinta fished up a cane, a log of wood, a stick wrought with iron, and a board, and the Niña sighted a branch of hawthorne laden with ripe luscious berries, "and with these signs all of them breathed[Pg 21] and were glad." At 8 o'clock on that night, Columbus perceived and pointed out a light ahead,[4] Pedro Gutierrez also seeing it; and at 2 in the morning of Friday, October 12, 1492, Rodrigo de Triana, a sailor aboard the Niña, a native of Seville, announced the appearance of what proved to be the New World.[5] The land sighted was[Pg 22] an island called by the Indians Guanahani, and named by Columbus San Salvador.[6]

The same morning Columbus landed, richly clad, and bearing the royal banner of Spain. He was accompanied by the brothers Pinzon, bearing banners of the Green Cross, a device of his own, and by great part of the crew. When they had all "given thanks to God, kneeling down upon the shore, and kissed the ground with tears of joy, for the great mercy received," the Admiral named the island, and took solemn possession of it for their Catholic Majesties of Castille and Leon. At the same time such of the crews as had shown themselves doubtful and mutinous sought his pardon weeping, and prostrated themselves at his feet. Had Columbus kept the course he laid on leaving Ferrol, says Castelar, his landfall would have been in the Florida of to-day, that is, upon the main continent; but, owing to the deflection suggested by the Pinzons, and tardily accepted by him, it was his hap to strike an island, very fair to look upon, but small and insignificant when compared with the vast island-world in whose waters he was already sailing.

Into the details of this voyage, of highest interest as it is, it is impossible to go further. The letter of Columbus, hereinafter printed, gives further and most interesting details. It will be enough to say here that it resulted in the discovery of the islands of Santa Maria del Concepcion, Exuma, Isabella, Juana or Cuba, Bohio, the Cuban Archipelago (named by its finder the Jardin del Rey), the island of Santa Catalina, and that of Española, now called Haiti[Pg 23] or San Domingo. Off the last of these the Santa Maria went aground, owing to the carelessness of the steersman. No lives were lost, but the ship had to be unloaded and abandoned; and Columbus, who was anxious to return to Europe with the news of his achievement, resolved to plant a colony on the island, to build a fort out of the material of the stranded hulk, and to leave the crew. The fort was called La Navidad; forty-three Europeans were placed in charge, including the Governor Diego de Arana; two lieutenants, Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigo de Escobedo; an Irishman named William Ires (? Harris), a native of Galway; an Englishman whose name is given as Tallarte de Lajes,[7] and the remainder being Spaniards.

On January 16, 1493, Columbus, who had lost sight of Martin Pinzon, set sail alone in the Niña for the east; and four days afterward the Pinta joined her sister ship off Monte Christo. A storm, however, separated the vessels, during which (according to Las Casas) Columbus, fearing the vessel would founder, cast his duplicate log-book, which was written on parchment and inclosed in a cake of wax, inside a barrel, into the sea. The log contained a promise of a thousand ducats to the finder on delivering it to the King of Spain. Then a long battle with the trade winds caused great delay, and it was not until February 18th that Columbus reached the Island of Santa Maria in the Azores. Here he was threatened with capture by the Portuguese governor, who could not for some time be brought to recognize his commission. On February 24th, however, he was allowed to proceed, and on March 4th the Niña dropped anchor off Lisbon. The King of Portugal received the Admiral with the highest honors; and on March 13th the Niña put out from the Tagus, and two days afterward, Friday, March 15th, dropped anchor off Palos.[Pg 24]

The court was at Barcelona, and thither, after dispatching a letter[8] announcing his arrival, Columbus proceeded in person. He entered the city in a sort of triumphal procession, and was received by their Majesties in full court, and, seated in their presence, related the story of his wanderings, exhibiting the "rich and strange" spoils of the new-found lands—the gold, the cotton, the parrots, the curious arms, the mysterious plants, the unknown birds and beasts, and the nine Indians he had brought with him for baptism. All his honors and privileges were confirmed to him; the title of Don was conferred on himself and his brothers; he rode at the King's bridle; he was served and saluted as a grandee of Spain. And, greatest honor of all, a new and magnificent escutcheon was blazoned for him (May 4, 1493), whereon the royal castle and lion of Castille and Leon were combined with the four anchors of his own old coat of arms. Nor were their Catholic Highnesses less busy on their own account than on that of their servant. On May 3d and 4th, Alexander VI. granted bulls confirming to the crowns of Castille and Leon all the lands discovered,[9] or to be discovered, beyond a certain line of demarcation, on the same terms as those on which the Portuguese held their colonies along the African coast. A new expedition was got in readiness with all possible dispatch to secure and extend the discoveries already made.


[Pg 25]

After several delays the fleet weighed anchor on September 25th and steered westward. It consisted of three great carracks (galleons) and fourteen caravels (light frigates), having on board about 1,500 men, besides the animals and materials necessary for colonization. Twelve missionaries accompanied the expedition, under the orders of Bernardo Boyle, a Benedictine friar; and Columbus had been directed (May 29, 1493) to endeavor by all means in his power to christianize the inhabitants of the islands, to make them presents, and to "honor them much," while all under him were commanded to treat them "well and lovingly," under pain of severe punishment. On October 13th the ships, which had put in at the Canaries, left Ferrol, and so early as Sunday, November 3d, after a single storm, "by the goodness of God and the wise management of the Admiral," land was sighted to the west, which was named Dominica. Northward from this new-found island the isles of Maria Galante and Guadaloupe were discovered and named; and on the northwestern course to La Navidad, those of Montserrat, Antigua, San Martin, and Santa Cruz were sighted, and the island now called Puerto Rico was touched at, hurriedly explored, and named San Juan. On November 22d Columbus came in sight of Española, and, sailing eastward to La Navidad, found the fort burned and the colony dispersed. He decided on building a second fort, and, coasting on forty miles east of Cape Haytien, he pitched on a spot, where he founded the city and settlement of Isabella.

It is remarkable that the first notice of india rubber on record is given by Herrera, who, in the second voyage of Columbus, observed that the natives of Haiti "played a game with balls made of the gum of a tree."

The character in which Columbus had appeared had till now been that of the greatest of mariners; but from this[Pg 26] point forward his claims to supremacy are embarrassed and complicated with the long series of failures, vexations, miseries, insults, that have rendered his career as a planter of colonies and as a ruler of men most pitiful and remarkable.

The climate of Navidad proved unhealthy; the colonists were greedy of gold, impatient of control, and as proud, ignorant, and mutinous as Spaniards could be; and Columbus, whose inclinations drew him westward, was doubtless glad to escape the worry and anxiety of his post, and to avail himself of the instructions of his sovereigns as to further discoveries. In January, 1494, he sent home, by Antonio de Torres, that dispatch to their Catholic Highnesses by which he may be said to have founded the West Indian slave trade. He founded the mining camp of San Tomaso in the gold country; and on April 24, 1494, having nominated a council of regency under his brother Diego, and appointed Pedro de Margarite his captain-general, he put again to sea. After following the southern shore of Cuba for some days, he steered southward, and discovered the Island of Jamaica, which he named Santiago. He then resumed his exploration of the Cuban coast, threading his way through a labyrinth of islets supposed to be the Morant Keys, which he named the Garden of the Queen, and after coasting westward for many days he became convinced that he had discovered the mainland, and called Perez de Luna, the notary, to draw up a document attesting his discovery (June 12, 1494), which was afterward taken round and signed, in presence of four witnesses, by the masters, mariners, and seamen of his three caravels, the Niña, the Cadera, and the San Juan. He then stood to the southeast and sighted the Island of Evangelista; and after many days of difficulties and anxieties he touched at and named the Island La Mona. Thence[Pg 27] he had intended to sail eastward and complete the survey of the Carribbean Archipelago. But he was exhausted by the terrible wear and tear of mind and body he had undergone (he says himself that on this expedition he was three-and-thirty days almost without any sleep), and on the day following his departure from La Mona he fell into a lethargy that deprived him of sense and memory, and had well nigh proved fatal to life. At last, on September 29th, the little fleet dropped anchor off Isabella, and in his new city the great Admiral lay sick for five months.

The colony was in a sad plight. Everyone was discontented, and many were sick, for the climate was unhealthy and there was nothing to eat. Margarite and Boyle had quitted Española for Spain; but ere his departure the former, in his capacity as captain-general, had done much to outrage and alienate the Indians. The strongest measures were necessary to undo this mischief; and, backed by his brother Bartholomew, a bold and skillful mariner, and a soldier of courage and resource, who had been with Diaz in his voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, Columbus proceeded to reduce the natives under Spanish sway.[10] Alonzo de Ojeda succeeded, by a brilliant coup de main, in capturing the Cacique Caonabo, and the rest submitted. Five ship-loads of Indians were sent off to Seville (June 24, 1495) to be sold as slaves; and a tribute was imposed upon their fellows, which must be looked upon as the origin of that system of repartimientos or encomiendas which was afterward to work such cruel mischief among the conquered. But the tide of court favor seemed to have turned against Columbus. In October, 1495, Juan Aguada arrived at Isabella, with an open commission from[Pg 28] their Catholic Majesties, to inquire into the circumstances of his rule; and much interest and recrimination followed. Columbus found that there was no time to be lost in returning home; he appointed his brother Bartholomew "adelantado" of the island, and on March 10, 1496, he quitted Española in the Niña. The vessel, after a protracted and perilous voyage, reached Cadiz on June 11, 1496. The Admiral landed in great dejection, wearing the costume of a Franciscan. Reassured, however, by the reception of his sovereigns, he asked at once for eight ships more, two to be sent to the colony with supplies and six to be put under his orders for new discoveries. The request was not immediately granted, as the Spanish exchequer was not then well supplied. But principally owing to the interest of the Queen, an agreement was come to similar to that of 1492, which was now confirmed. By this royal patent, moreover, a tract of land in Española, of fifty leagues by twenty, was made over to him. He was offered a dukedom or a marquisate at his pleasure; for three years he was to receive an eighth of the gross and a tenth of the net profits on each voyage, the right of creating a mayorazgo or perpetual entail of titles and estates was granted him, and on June 24th his two sons were received into Isabella's service as pages. Meanwhile, however, the preparing of the fleet proceeded slowly, and it was not till May 30, 1498, that he and his six ships set sail.

From San Lucar he steered for Gomera, in the Canaries, and thence dispatched three of his ships to San Domingo. He next proceeded to the Cape Verde Islands, which he quitted on July 4th. On the 31st of the same month, being greatly in need of water, and fearing that no land lay westward as they had hoped, Columbus had turned his ship's head north, when Alonzo Perez, a mariner of Huelva, saw land about fifteen leagues to the southwest. It was crowned[Pg 29] with three hilltops, and so, when the sailors had sung the Salve Regina, the Admiral named it Trinidad, which name it yet bears. On Wednesday, August 1st, he beheld for the first time, in the mainland of South America, the continent he had sought so long. It seemed to him but an insignificant island, and he called it Zeta. Sailing westward, next day he saw the Gulf of Paria, which was named by him the Golfo de la Belena, and was borne into it—an immense risk—on the ridge of breakers formed by the meeting with the sea of the great rivers that empty themselves, all swollen with rain, into the ocean. For many days he coasted the continent, esteeming as islands the several projections he saw and naming them accordingly; nor was it until he had looked on and considered the immense volume of fresh water poured out through the embouchure of the river now called the Orinoco, that he concluded that the so-called archipelago must be in very deed a great continent.

Unfortunately at this time he was suffering intolerably from gout and ophthalmia; his ships were crazy; and he was anxious to inspect the infant colony whence he had been absent so long. And so, after touching at and naming the Island of Margarita, he bore away to the northeast, and on August 30th the fleet dropped anchor off Isabella.

He found that affairs had not prospered well in his absence. By the vigor and activity of the adelantado, the whole island had been reduced under Spanish sway, but at the expense of the colonists. Under the leadership of a certain Roldan, a bold and unprincipled adventurer, they had risen in revolt, and Columbus had to compromise matters in order to restore peace. Roldan retained his office; such of his followers as chose to remain in the island were gratified with repartimientos of land and labor; and some fifteen, choosing to return to Spain, were enriched with a number of[Pg 30] slaves, and sent home in two ships, which sailed in the early part of October, 1499.

Five ship-loads of Indians had been deported to Spain some little time before. On arrival of these living cargoes at Seville, the Queen, the stanch and steady friend of Columbus, was moved with compassion and indignation. No one, she declared, had authorized him to dispose of her vassals in any such manner; and proclamations at Seville, Granada, and other chief places ordered (June 20, 1499) the instant liberation and return of all the last gang of Indians. In addition to this, the ex-colonists had become incensed against Columbus and his brothers. They were wont to parade their grievances in the very court-yards of the Alhambra; to surround the King, when he came forth, with complaints and reclamations; to insult the discoverer's young sons with shouts and jeers. There was no doubt that the colony itself, whatever the cause, had not prospered so well as might have been desired. Historians do not hesitate to aver that Columbus' over-colored and unreliable statements as to the amount of gold to be found there were the chief causes of discontent.

And, on the whole, it is not surprising that Ferdinand, whose support to Columbus had never been very hearty, should about this time have determined to suspend him. Accordingly, on March 21, 1499, Francisco de Bobadilla was ordered to "ascertain what persons had raised themselves against justice in the Island of Española, and to proceed against them according to law." On May 21st the government of the island was conferred on him, and he was accredited with an order that all arms and fortresses should be handed over to him; and on May 26th he received a letter, for delivery to Columbus, stating that the bearer would "speak certain things to him" on the part of their Highnesses, and praying him to "give faith and cre[Pg 31]dence, and to act accordingly." Bobadilla left Spain in July, 1500, and landed in Española in October.

Columbus, meanwhile, had restored such tranquillity as was possible in his government. With Roldan's help he had beaten off an attempt on the island by the adventurer Ojeda, his old lieutenant; the Indians were being collected into villages and christianized. Gold mining was actively and profitably pursued; in three years, he calculated, the royal revenues might be raised to an average of 60,000,000 reals. The arrival of Bobadilla, however, on August 23, 1500, speedily changed this state of affairs into a greater and more pitiable confusion than the island had ever before witnessed. On landing, he took possession of the Admiral's house, and summoned him and his brothers before him. Accusations of severity, of injustice, of venality even, were poured down on their heads, and Columbus anticipated nothing less than a shameful death. Bobadilla put all three in irons, and shipped them off to Spain.

Andreas Martin, captain of the caravel in which the illustrious prisoners sailed, still retained a proper sense of the honor and respect due to Columbus, and would have removed the fetters; but to this Columbus would not consent. He would wear them until their Highnesses, by whose order they had been affixed, should order their removal; and he would keep them afterward "as relics and memorials of the reward of his services." He did so. His son Hernando "saw them always hanging in his cabinet, and he requested that when he died they might be buried with him." Whether this last wish was complied with is not known.

A heart-broken and indignant letter from Columbus to Doña Juana de la Torres, the governess of the infant Don Juan, arrived at court before the dispatch of Bobadilla. It was read to the Queen, and its tidings were confirmed by communications from Alonso de Villejo and the alcaide of[Pg 32] Cadiz. There was a great movement of indignation; the tide of popular and royal feeling turned once more in the Admiral's favor. He received a large sum to defray his expenses; and when he appeared at court, on December 17th, he was no longer in irons and disgrace, but richly appareled and surrounded with friends. He was received with all honor and distinction. The Queen is said to have been moved to tears by the narration of his story. Their Majesties not only repudiated Bobadilla's proceedings, but declined to inquire into the charges that he at the same time brought against his prisoners, and promised Columbus compensation for his losses and satisfaction for his wrongs. A new governor, Nicolas de Ovando, was appointed in Bobadilla's room, and left San Lucar on February 18, 1502, with a fleet of thirty ships. The latter was to be impeached and sent home. The Admiral's property was to be restored and a fresh start was to be made in the conduct of colonial affairs. Thus ended Columbus' history as viceroy and governor of the new Indies, which he had presented to the country of his adoption.

From the celebrated painting by Señor A. Gisbert.
(See page 19.)

His hour of rest, however, was not yet come. Ever anxious to serve their Catholic Highnesses, "and particularly the Queen," he had determined to find a strait through which he might penetrate westward into Portuguese Asia. After the usual inevitable delays his prayers were granted, and on May 9, 1502, with four caravels and 150 men, he weighed anchor from Cadiz and sailed on his fourth and last great voyage. He first betook himself to the relief of the Portuguese fort of Arzilla, which had been besieged by the Moors, but the siege had been raised voluntarily before he arrived. He put to sea westward once more, and on June 13th discovered the Island of Martinique. He had received positive instructions from his sovereigns on no account to touch at Española, but his largest caravel[Pg 33] was greatly in need of repairs, and he had no choice but to abandon her or disobey orders. He preferred the latter alternative, and sent a boat ashore to Ovando, asking for a new ship and for permission to enter the harbor to weather a hurricane which he saw was coming on. But his requests were refused, and he coasted the island, casting anchor under lee of the land. Here he weathered the storm, which drove the other caravels out to sea and annihilated the homeward-bound fleet, the richest till then that had been sent from Española. Roldan and Bobadilla perished with others of the Admiral's enemies; and Hernando Colon, who accompanied his father on this voyage, wrote, long years afterward, "I am satisfied it was the hand of God, for had they arrived in Spain they had never been punished as their crimes deserved, but rather been favored and preferred."

After recruiting his flotilla at Azua, Columbus put in at Jaquimo and refitted his four vessels, and on July 14, 1502, he steered for Jamaica. For nine weeks the ships wandered painfully among the keys and shoals he had named the Garden of the Queen, and only an opportune easterly wind prevented the crews from open mutiny. The first land sighted was the Islet of Guanaja, about forty miles to the east of the coast of Honduras. Here he got news from an old Indian of a rich and vast country lying to the eastward, which he at once concluded must be the long-sought-for empire of the Grand Khan. Steering along the coast of Honduras great hardships were endured, but nothing approaching his ideal was discovered. On September 13th Cape Gracias-á-Dios was sighted. The men had become clamorous and insubordinate; not until December 5th, however, would he tack about and retrace his course. It now became his intention to plant a colony on the River Veragua, which was afterward to give his[Pg 34] descendants a title of nobility; but he had hardly put about when he was caught in a storm which lasted eight days, wrenched and strained his crazy, worm-eaten ships severely, and finally, on the Epiphany, blew him into an embouchure, which he named Bethlehem. Gold was very plentiful in this place, and here he determined to found his settlement. By the end of March, 1503, a number of huts had been run up, and in these the adelantado, with eighty men, was to remain, while Columbus returned to Spain for men and supplies. Quarrels, however, arose with the natives, the adelantado made an attempt to seize on the person of the cacique and failed, and before Columbus could leave the coast he had to abandon a caravel to take the settlers on board, and to relinquish the enterprise. Steering eastward he left a second caravel at Porto Bello, and on May 31st he bore northward for Cuba, where he obtained supplies from the natives. From Cuba he bore up for Jamaica, and there, in the harbor of Santa Gloria, now St. Anne's Bay, he ran his ships aground in a small inlet called Don Christopher's Cove.

The expedition was received with the greatest kindness by the natives, and here Columbus remained upward of a year awaiting the return of his lieutenant Diego Mendez, whom he had dispatched to Ovando for assistance. During his critical sojourn here the Admiral suffered much from disease and from the lawlessness of his followers, whose misconduct had alienated the natives, and provoked them to withhold their accustomed supplies, until he dexterously worked upon their superstitions by prognosticating an eclipse. Two vessels having at last arrived for their relief from Mendez and Ovando, Columbus set sail for Spain, after a tempestuous voyage landing once more at Seville on September 7, 1504.

As he was too ill to go to court, his son Diego was sent[Pg 35] thither in his place, to look after his interests and transact his business. Letter after letter followed the young man from Seville, one by the hands of Amerigo Vespucci. A license to ride on mule-back was granted him on February 23, 1505;[11] and in the following May he was removed to the court at Segovia, and thence again to Valladolid. On the landing of Philip and Juan at Coruña (April 25, 1506), although "much oppressed with the gout and troubled to see himself put by his rights," he is known to have sent the adelantado to pay them his duty and to assure them that he was yet able to do them extraordinary service. The last documentary note of him is contained in a codicil to the will of 1498, made at Valladolid on May 19, 1506; the principal portion is said, however, to have been signed at Segovia on August 25, 1506. By this the old will is confirmed; the mayorazgo is bequeathed to his son Diego and his heirs male; failing these to Hernando, his second son, and failing these to the heirs male of Bartholomew.[Pg 36] Only in the event of the extinction of the male line, direct or collateral, is it to descend to the females of the family; and those into whose hands it may fall are never to diminish it, but always to increase and ennoble it by all means possible. The head of the house is to sign himself "The Admiral." A tenth of the annual income is to be set aside yearly for distribution among the poor relations of the house. A chapel is founded and endowed for the saying of masses. Beatrix Enriquez is left to the care of the young Admiral in most grateful terms. Among other legacies is one of "half a mark of silver to a Jew who used to live at the gate of the Jewry in Lisbon." The codicil was written and signed with the Admiral's own hand. Next day (May 20, 1506) he died.

The body of Columbus was buried in the parish church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Valladolid. It was transferred in 1513 to the Cartuja de las Cuevas, near Seville, where on the monument was inscribed that laconic but pregnant tribute:

Á Castilla y a Leon,
Nuevo mundo dió Colon.

(To Castille and Leon, Columbus gave a new world.)

Here the bones of Diego, the second Admiral, were also laid. Exhumed in 1536, the bodies of both father and son were taken over sea to Española (San Domingo), and interred in the cathedral. In 1795-96, on the cession of that island to the French, the august relics were re-exhumed, and were transferred with great state and solemnity to the cathedral of Havana, where, it is claimed, they yet remain. The male issue of the Admiral became extinct with the third generation, and the estates and titles passed by marriage to a scion of the house of Braganca.

"In person, Columbus was tall and shapely, long-faced and aquiline, white-eyed and auburn-haired, and beauti[Pg 37]fully complexioned. At thirty his hair was quite gray. He was temperate in eating and drinking and in dress, and so strict in religious matters, that for fasting and saying all the divine office he might be thought possessed in some religious order." His piety, as his son has noted, was earnest and unwavering; it entered into and colored alike his action and his speech; he tries his pen in a Latin distich of prayer; his signature is a mystical pietistic device.[12] He was pre-eminently fitted for the task he created for himself. Through deceit and opprobrium and disdain he pushed on toward the consummation of his desire; and when the hour for action came, the man was not found wanting.

Within the last seven years research and discovery have thrown some doubt upon two very important particulars regarding Columbus. One of these is the identity of the island which was his first discovery in the New World; the other, the final resting-place of his remains.

There is no doubt whatever that Columbus died in Valladolid, and that his remains were interred in the church of the Carthusian Monastery at Seville, nor that, some time between the years 1537 and 1540, in accordance with a request made in his will, they were removed to the Island of Española (Santo Domingo). In 1795, when Spain ceded to France her portion of the island, Spanish officials obtained permission to remove to the cathedral at Havana the ashes of the discoverer of America. There seems to be a question whether the remains which were then removed were those of Columbus or his son Don Diego.[Pg 38]

In 1877, during the progress of certain work in the cathedral at Santo Domingo, a crypt was disclosed on one side of the altar, and within it was found a metallic coffin which contained human remains. The coffin bore the following inscription: "The Admiral Don Luis Colon, Duke of Veragua, Marquis of Jamaica," referring, undoubtedly, to the grandson of Columbus. The archbishop Señor Roque Cocchia then took up the search, and upon the other side of the altar were found two crypts, one empty, from which had been taken the remains sent to Havana, and the other containing a metallic case. The case bore the inscription: "D. de la A Per Ate," which was interpreted to mean: "Descubridor de la America, Primer Almirante" (Discoverer of America, the First Admiral). The box was then opened, and on the inside of the cover were the words: "Illtre y Esdo Varon, Dn Cristoval Colon"—Illustrissime y Esclarecido Varon Don Cristoval Colon (Illustrious and renowned man, Don Christopher Columbus). On the two ends and on the front were the letters, "C.C.A."—Cristoval Colon, Almirante (Christopher Columbus, Admiral). The box contained bones and bone-dust, a small bit of the skull, a leaden ball, and a silver plate two inches long. On one side of the plate was inscribed:

Ua. pte. de los rtos
del pmr. alte D.
Cristoval Colon Desr.

(Urna perteneciente de los restos del Primer Almirante Don
Cristoval Colon, Descubridor—Urn containing the
remains of the First Admiral Don Christopher
Columbus, Discoverer.)

On the other side was: "U. Cristoval Colon" (The coffin of Christopher Columbus).

These discoveries have been certified to by the archbishop Roque Cocchia, and by others, including Don Emil[Pg 39]iana Tejera, a well-known citizen. The Royal Academy of History at Madrid, however, challenged the foregoing statements and declared that the remains of Columbus were elsewhere than at Havana. Tejera and the archbishop have since published replies affirming the accuracy of their discovery.[13]

Regarding the identity of the island first seen by Columbus, Capt. G. V. Fox, in a paper published by the U. S. Coast Survey in 1882, discusses and reviews the evidence, and draws a different conclusion and inference from that heretofore commonly accepted. His paper is based upon the original journals and log-book of Columbus, which were published in 1790 by Don M. F. Navarrete, from a manuscript of Bishop Las Casas, the contemporary and friend of Columbus, found in the archives of the Duke del Infanta. In this the exact words of the Admiral's diary are repro[Pg 40]duced by Las Casas, extending from the 11th to the 29th of October, the landing being on the 12th. From the description the diary gives, and from a projection of a voyage of Columbus before and after landing, Capt. Fox concludes that the island discovered was neither Grand Turk's, Mariguana, Watling's, nor Cat Island (Guanahani), but Samana, lat. 23 deg. 05 min., N.; long. 75 deg. 35 min., W.

If we accept the carefully drawn deductions of Capt. Fox there is reason to believe that the island discovered was Samana.[Pg 41]

Selected Letters of Columbus

Translation of the letter of Christopher Columbus offering his services to King Ferdinand of Spain:

Most Serene Prince: I have been engaged in navigating from my youth. I have voyaged on the seas for nearly forty years. I have visited all known quarters of the world and have conversed with a great number of learned men—with ecclesiastics, with seculars, with Latins, with Greeks, with Moors, and with persons of all sorts of religions. I have acquired some knowledge of navigation, of astronomy, and of geometry. I am sufficiently expert in designing the chart of the earth to place the cities, the rivers, and the mountains where they are situated. I have applied myself to the study of works on cosmography, on history, and on philosophy. I feel myself at present strongly urged to undertake the discovery of the Indies; and I come to your Highness to supplicate you to favor my enterprise. I doubt not that those who hear it will turn it into ridicule; but if your Highness will give me the means of executing it, whatever the obstacles may be I hope to be able to make it succeed.[14]

Translation of a letter written by Christopher Columbus from the court of Queen Isabella at Barcelona to Padre Juan Perez de Marchena, a Franciscan monk, Prior of the Convent of Santa Maria de la Rábida, Huelva, Spain (Date, 1492):

Our Lord God has heard the prayers of His servants. The wise and virtuous Isabel, touched by the grace of Heaven, has kindly listened to this poor man's words. All has turned out[Pg 42] well. I have read to them our plan, it has been accepted, and I have been called to the court to state the proper means for carrying out the designs of Providence. My courage swims in a sea of consolation, and my spirit rises in praise to God. Come as soon as you can; the Queen looks for you, and I much more than she. I commend myself to the prayers of my dear sons and you.

The grace of God be with you, and may our Lady of Rábida bless you.


Translation of a letter sent by Columbus to Luis de Santangel, Chancellor of the Exchequer of Aragon, respecting the islands found in the Indies; inclosing another for their Highnesses (Ferdinand and Isabella).

R. H. Major, F. S. A., Keeper of the Department of Maps and Charts in the British Museum and Honorary Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society of England, states that the peculiar value of the following letter, descriptive of the first important voyage of Columbus, is that the events described are from the pen of him to whom the events occurred. In it we have laid before us, as it were from Columbus' own mouth, a clear statement of his opinions and conjectures on what were to him great cosmical riddles—riddles which have since been solved mainly through the light which his illustrious deeds have shed upon the field of our observation:

Sir: Believing that you will take pleasure in hearing of the great success which our Lord has granted me in my voyage, I write you this letter, whereby you will learn how in thirty-three[15] days' time I reached the Indies with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave to me, where I found very many islands thickly peopled, of all which I took possession, without resistance, for their Highnesses, by proclamation made and with the royal standard unfurled. To[Pg 43] the first island that I found I gave the name of San Salvador,[16] in remembrance of His High Majesty, who hath marvelously brought all these things to pass; the Indians call it Guanahani. To the second island I gave the name of Santa Maria de Conception; the third I called Fernandina; the fourth, Isabella; the fifth, Juana; and so to each one I gave a new name.

When I reached Juana, I followed its coast to the westward, and found it so large that I thought it must be the mainland,—the province of Cathay; and as I found neither towns nor villages on the sea-coast, but only a few hamlets, with the inhabitants of which I could not hold conversation because they all immediately fled, I kept on the same route, thinking that I could not fail to light upon some large cities and towns.

At length, after proceeding of many leagues and finding that nothing new presented itself, and that the coast was leading me northward (which I wished to avoid, because winter had already set in, and it was my intention to move southward; and because, moreover, the winds were contrary), I resolved not to wait for a change in the weather, but returned to a certain harbor which I had remarked, and from which I sent two men ashore to ascertain whether there was any king or large cities in that part. They journeyed for three days and found countless small hamlets with numberless inhabitants, but with nothing like order; they therefore returned. In the meantime I had learned from some other Indians whom I had seized that this land was certainly an island; accordingly, I followed the coast eastward for a distance of 107 leagues, where it ended in a cape. From this cape I saw another island to the eastward, at a distance of eighteen leagues from the former, to which I gave the name of "La Española." Thither I went, and followed its northern coast to the eastward (just as I had done with the coast of Juana) 178 full leagues due east. This island like all the others is extraordinarily large, and this one[Pg 44] extremely so. In it are many seaports, with which none that I know in Christendom can bear comparison, so good and capacious that it is wonder to see. The lands are high, and there are many very lofty mountains with which the island of Cetefrey can not be compared. They are all most beautiful, of a thousand different shapes, accessible, and covered with trees of a thousand kinds, of such great height that they seemed to reach the skies. I am told that the trees never lose their foliage, and I can well understand it, for I observed that they were as green and luxuriant as in Spain in the month of May. Some were in bloom, others bearing fruit, and others otherwise, according to their nature. The nightingale was singing as well as other birds of a thousand different kinds; and that in November, the month in which I myself was roaming amongst them. There are palm trees of six or eight kinds, wonderful in their beautiful variety; but this is the case with all the other trees and fruits and grasses; trees, plants, or fruits filled us with admiration. It contains extraordinary pine groves and very extensive plains. There is also honey, a great variety of birds, and many different kinds of fruits. In the interior there are many mines of metals and a population innumerable. Española is a wonder. Its mountains and plains, and meadows and fields, are so beautiful and rich for planting and sowing, and rearing cattle of all kinds, and for building towns and villages. The harbors on the coast, and the number and size and wholesomeness of the rivers, most of them bearing gold, surpass anything that would be believed by one who had not seen them. There is a great difference between the trees, fruits, and plants of this island and those of Juana. In this island there are many spices and extensive mines of gold and other metals. The inhabitants of this and of all the other islands I have found or gained intelligence of, both men and women, go as naked as they were born, with the exception that some of the women cover one part only with a single leaf of grass or with[Pg 45] a piece of cotton made for that purpose. They have neither iron nor steel nor arms, nor are they competent to use them; not that they are not well-formed and of handsome stature, but because they are timid to a surprising degree. Their only arms are reeds, cut in the seeding time,[17] to which they fasten small sharpened sticks, and even these they dare not use; for on several occasions it has happened that I have sent ashore two or three men to some village to hold a parley, and the people have come out in countless numbers, but as soon as they saw our men approach, would flee with such precipitation that a father would not even stop to protect his son; and this not because any harm had been done to any of them, for from the first, wherever I went and got speech with them, I gave them of all that I had, such as cloth and many other things, without receiving anything in return; but they are, as I have described, incurably timid. It is true that when they are reassured and thrown off this fear they are guileless, and so liberal of all they have that no one would believe it who had not seen it. They never refuse anything that they possess when it is asked of them; on the contrary, they offer it themselves, and they exhibit so much loving kindness that they would even give their hearts; and, whether it be something of value or of little worth that is offered to them, they are satisfied. I forbade that worthless things, such as pieces of broken porringers and broken glass, and ends of straps, should be given to them; although, when they succeeded in obtaining them, they thought they possessed the finest jewel in the world. It was ascertained that a sailor received for a leather strap a piece of gold weighing two castellanos[18] and a half, and others received for other objects, of far less value, much more. For new blancas[19] they would give all they had,[Pg 46] whether it was two or three castellanos in gold or one or two arrobas[20] of spun cotton. They took even bits of the broken hoops of the wine barrels, and gave, like fools, all that they possessed in exchange, insomuch that I thought it was wrong and forbade it. I gave away a thousand good and pretty articles which I had brought with me in order to win their affection; and that they might be led to become Christians, and be well inclined to love and serve their Highnesses and the whole Spanish nation, and that they might aid us by giving us things of which we stand in need, but which they possess in abundance. They are not acquainted with any kind of worship, and are not idolaters; but believe that all power and, indeed, all good things are in heaven; and they are firmly convinced that I, with my vessels and crews, came from heaven, and with this belief received me at every place at which I touched, after they had overcome their apprehension. And this does not spring from ignorance, for they are very intelligent, and navigate all these seas, and relate everything to us, so that it is astonishing what a good account they are able to give of everything; but they have never seen men with clothes on, nor vessels like ours. On my reaching the Indies, I took by force, in the first island that I discovered, some of these natives, that they might learn our language and give me information in regard to what existed in these parts; and it so happened that they soon understood us and we them, either by words or signs, and they have been very serviceable to us. They are still with me, and, from repeated conversations that I have had with them, I find that they still believe that I come from heaven. And they were the first to say this wherever I went, and the others ran from house to house and to the neighboring villages, crying with a loud voice: "Come, come, and see the people from heaven!" And thus they all, men as well as women, after their minds were at rest about us, came, both large and small, and brought us something to eat and drink, which they gave us[Pg 47] with extraordinary kindness. They have in all these islands very many canoes like our rowboats; some larger, some smaller, but most of them larger than a barge of eighteen seats. They are not so wide, because they are made of one single piece of timber; but a barge could not keep up with them in rowing, because they go with incredible speed, and with these canoes they navigate among these islands, which are innumerable, and carry on their traffic. I have seen in some of these canoes seventy and eighty men, each with his oar. In all these islands I did not notice much difference in the appearance of the inhabitants, nor in their manners, nor language, except that they all understood each other, which is very singular, and leads me to hope that their Highnesses will take means for their conversion to our holy faith, toward which they are very well disposed. I have already said how I had gone 107 leagues in following the seacoast of Juana in a straight line from west to east; and from that survey I can state that the island is larger than England and Scotland together, because beyond these 107 leagues there lie to the west two provinces which I have not yet visited, one of which is called Avan, where the people are born with a tail. These two provinces can not be less than from fifty to sixty leagues, from what can be learned from the Indians that I have with me, and who are acquainted with all these islands. The other, Española, has a greater circumference than all Spain, from Catalonia by the seacoast to Fuenterabia in Biscay, since on one of its four sides I made 188 great leagues in a straight line from west to east. This is something to covet, and, when found, not to be lost sight of. Although I have taken possession of all these islands in the name of their Highnesses, and they are all more abundant in wealth than I am able to express; and although I hold them all for their Highnesses, so that they can dispose of them quite as absolutely as they can of the kingdoms of Castille, yet there was one large town in Española of which especially I took possession, situated in a locality[Pg 48] well adapted for the working of the gold mines, and for all kinds of commerce, either with the mainland on this side or with that beyond, which is the land of the Great Khan, with which there will be vast commerce and great profit. To that city I gave the name of Villa de Navidad, and fortified it with a fortress, which by this time will be quite completed, and I have left in it a sufficient number of men with arms,[21] artillery, and provisions for more than a year, a barge, and a sailing master skillful in the arts necessary for building others. I have also established the greatest friendship with the King of that country, so much so that he took pride in calling me his brother, and treating me as such. Even should these people change their intentions toward us and become hostile, they do not know what arms are, but, as I have said, go naked, and are the most timid people in the world; so that the men I have left could, alone, destroy the whole country, and this island has no danger for them, if they only know how to conduct themselves. In all those islands it seems to me that the men are content with one wife, except their chief or king, to whom they give twenty. The women seem to me to work more than the men. I have not been able to learn whether they have any property of their own. It seems to me that what one possessed belonged to all, especially in the matter of eatables. I have not found in those islands any[Pg 49] monsters, as many imagined; but, on the contrary, the whole race is well formed, nor are they black as in Guinea, but their hair is flowing, for they do not dwell in that part where the force of the sun's rays is too powerful. It is true that the sun has very great power there, for the country is distant only twenty-six degrees from the equinoctial line. In the islands where there are high mountains, the cold this winter was very great, but they endure it, not only from being habituated to it, but by eating meat with a variety of excessively hot spices. As to savages, I did not even hear of any, except at an island which lies the second in one's way coming to the Indies.[22] It is inhabited by a race which is regarded throughout these islands as extremely ferocious, and eaters of human flesh. These possess many canoes, in which they visit all the Indian islands, and rob and plunder whatever they can. They are no worse formed than the rest, except that they are in the habit of wearing their hair long, like women, and use bows and arrows made of reeds, with a small stick at the end, for want of iron, which they do not possess. They are ferocious amongst these exceedingly timid people; but I think no more of them than of the rest. These are they which have intercourse with the women of Matenino,[23] the first island one comes to on the way from Spain to the Indies, and in which there are no men. These women employ themselves in no labor suitable to their sex, but use bows and arrows made of reeds like those above described, and arm and cover themselves with plates of copper, of which metal they have a great quantity.

Marble statuary by Señor V. Vallmitjana, formerly in the Ministry of the Colonies, Madrid; now in Havana, Cuba.
(See page 31 .)

They assure me that there is another island larger than Española in which the inhabitants have no hair. It is extremely rich in gold; and I bring with me Indians taken from these different islands, who will testify to all these things. Finally, and speaking only of what has taken place in this voyage, which[Pg 50] has been so hasty, their Highnesses may see that I shall give them all the gold they require, if they will give me but a very little assistance; spices also, and cotton, as much as their Highnesses shall command to be shipped; and mastic—hitherto found only in Greece, in the Island of Chios, and which the Signoria[24] sells at its own price—as much as their Highnesses shall command to be shipped; lign aloes, as much as their Highnesses shall command to be shipped; slaves, as many of these idolaters as their Highnesses shall command to be shipped. I think I have also found rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall find a thousand other valuable things by means of the men that I have left behind me, for I tarried at no point so long as the wind allowed me to proceed, except in the town of Navidad, where I took the necessary precautions for the security and settlement of the men I had left there. Much more I would have done if my vessels had been in as good a condition as by rights they ought to have been. This is much, and praised be the eternal God, our Lord, who gives to all those who walk in his ways victory over things which seem impossible; of which this is signally one, for, although others have spoken or written concerning these countries, it was all mere conjecture, as no one could say that he had seen them—it amounting only to this, that those who heard listened the more, and regarded the matter rather as a fable than anything else. But our Redeemer has granted this victory to our illustrious King and Queen and their kingdoms, which have acquired great fame by an event of such high importance, in which all Christendom ought to rejoice, and which it ought to celebrate with great festivals and the offering of solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity with many solemn prayers, both for the great exaltation which may accrue to them in turning so many nations to our holy faith, and also for the temporal benefits which will bring great refresh[Pg 51]ment and gain, not only to Spain, but to all Christians. This, thus briefly, in accordance with the events.

Done on board the caravel, off the Canary Islands, on the fifteenth of February, fourteen hundred and ninety-three.

At your orders,


After this letter was written, as I was in the Sea of Castille, there arose a southwest wind, which compelled me to lighten my vessels, and run this day into this port of Lisbon, an event which I consider the most marvelous thing in the world, and whence I resolved to write to their Highnesses. In all the Indies I have always found the weather like that in the month of May. I reached them in thirty-three days, and returned in twenty-eight, with the exception that these storms detained me fourteen days knocking about in this sea. All seamen say that they have never seen such a severe winter nor so many vessels lost.

Done on the fourteenth day of March.

The prayer of Columbus on landing at Guanahani on the morning of Friday, October 12, 1492:

Lord! Eternal and Almighty God! who by Thy sacred word hast created the heavens, the earth, and the seas, may Thy name be blessed and glorified everywhere. May Thy Majesty be exalted, who hast deigned to permit that by Thy humble servant Thy sacred name should be made known and preached in this other part of the world.[25]


Columbus in bequeathing a large portion of his income to the Bank of St. George in Genoa, upon trust, to reduce[Pg 52] the tax upon provisions, only did what Dario de Vivaldi had accomplished in 1471 and 1480, as we read on the pedestal of his statue, erected in the hall of the bank. This example was followed by Antonio Doria, Francesco Lomellini, Eliano Spinola, Ansaldo Grimaldo, and others, as the inscriptions on their statues testify. A fac-simile letter of Columbus, announcing the bequest, is shown on the opposite page.

Dated April 2, 1502.
(See page 52 .)

View larger image

The letter in English is as follows:

High noble Lords: Although the body walks about here, the heart is constantly over there. Our Lord has conferred on me the greatest favor ever granted to any one since David. The results of my undertaking already appear, and would shine greatly, were they not concealed by the blindness of the government. I am going again to the Indies under the auspices of the Holy Trinity, soon to return, and since I am mortal I leave it with my son Diego that you receive every year, forever, one-tenth of the entire revenue, such as it may be, for the purpose of reducing the tax upon corn, wine, and other provisions.[26] If that tenth amounts to something, collect it. If[Pg 53] not, take at least the will for the deed. I beg of you to entertain regard for the son I have recommended to you. Mr. Nicolo de Oderigo knows more about my own affairs than I do myself, and I have sent him the transcripts of my privileges and letters for safe keeping. I should be glad if you could see them. My lords, the King and Queen, endeavor to honor me more than ever. May the Holy Trinity preserve your noble persons and increase the most magnificent House (of St. George). Done in Sevilla on the second day of April, 1502.

The Chief Admiral of the Ocean, Vice-Roy and
Governor-General of the islands and continent
[Pg 54]of Asia, and the Indies of my lords, the King
and Queen, their Captain-General of the sea,
and of their Council.

"S. A. S."
"X. M. Y."
"Xpo. FERENS."


The reply of Columbus to Andreas Martin, captain of the caravel conveying him a prisoner to Spain, upon an offer to remove his fetters:

Since the King has commanded that I should obey his Governor, he shall find me as obedient in this as I have been to all his other orders; nothing but his command shall release me. If twelve years' hardship and fatigue; if continual dangers and frequent famine; if the ocean first opened, and five times passed and repassed, to add a new world, abounding with wealth, to the Spanish monarchy; and if an infirm and premature old age, brought on by these services, deserve these chains as a reward, it is very fit I should wear them to Spain, and keep them by me as memorials to the end of my life.

From a letter to the King and Queen:

This country (the Bahamas) excels all others as far as the day surpasses the night in splendor; the natives love their neighbors as themselves; their conversation is the sweetest imaginable, and their faces are always smiling. So gentle[Pg 55] and so affectionate are they that I swear to your Highness there is no better people in the world.

From the same:

The fish rival the birds in tropical brilliancy of color, the scales of some of them glancing back the rays of light like precious stones, as they sported about the ships and flashed gleams of gold and silver through the clear water.

Speech of a West Indian chief to Columbus, on his arrival in Cuba:

Whether you are divinities or mortal men, we know not. You have come into these countries with a force, against which, were we inclined to resist, it would be folly. We are all therefore at your mercy; but if you are men, subject to mortality like ourselves, you can not be unapprised that after this life there is another, wherein a very different portion is allotted to good and bad men. If therefore you expect to die, and believe, with us, that every one is to be rewarded in a future state according to his conduct in the present, you will do no hurt to those who do none to you.


From the "Life of Columbus," by his son Hernando:

I say, that whilst the Admiral sailed with the aforesaid "Columbus the Younger," which was a long time, it fell out that, understanding the before-mentioned four great Venetian galleys were coming from Flanders, they went out to seek, and found them beyond Lisbon, about Cape St. Vincent, which is in Portugal, where, falling to blows, they fought furiously and grappled, beating one another from vessel to vessel with the utmost rage, making use not only of their weapons but artificial fireworks; so that after they had fought from morning until evening, and abundance were killed on both sides, the Admiral's ship took fire, as did a great Venetian galley, which, being fast[Pg 56] grappled together with iron hooks and chains used to this purpose by seafaring men, could neither of them be relieved because of the confusion there was among them and the fright of the fire, which in a short time was so increased that there was no other remedy but for all that could to leap into the water, so to die sooner, rather than bear the torture of the fire.

But the Admiral being an excellent swimmer, and seeing himself two leagues or a little farther from land, laying hold of an oar, which good fortune offered him, and, sometimes resting upon it, sometimes swimming, it pleased God, who had preserved him for greater ends, to give him strength to get to shore, but so tired and spent with the water that he had much ado to recover himself. And because it was not far from Lisbon, where he knew there were many Genoeses, his countrymen, he went away thither as fast as he could, where, being known by them, he was so courteously received and entertained that he set up house and married a wife in that city. And forasmuch as he behaved himself honorably, and was a man of comely presence, and did nothing but what was just, it happened that a lady whose name was Dona Felipa Moñiz, of a good family, and pensioner in the Monastery of All Saints, whither the Admiral used to go to mass, was so taken with him that she became his wife.


From a letter of Christopher Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella:

Such is my fate that twenty years of service, through which I passed with so much toil and danger, have profited me nothing; and at this day I do not possess a roof in Spain that I can call my own. If I wish to eat or sleep, I have nowhere to go but to the inn or tavern, and I seldom have wherewith to pay the bill. I have not a hair upon me that is not gray; my body is infirm; and all that was left me, as well as to my brothers,[Pg 57] has been taken away and sold, even to the frock that I wore, to my great dishonor. I implore your Highnesses to forgive my complaints. I am indeed in as ruined a condition as I have related. Hitherto I have wept over others; may Heaven now have mercy upon me, and may the earth weep for me.


From Columbus' own account of his discovery:

Such is my plan; if it be dangerous to execute, I am no mere theorist who would leave to another the prospect of perishing in carrying it out, but am ready to sacrifice my life as an example to the world in doing so. If I do not reach the shores of Asia by sea, it will be because the Atlantic has other boundaries in the west, and these boundaries I will discover.


From a letter of Columbus to a friend:

For me to contend for the contrary, would be to contend with the wind. I have done all that I could do. I leave the rest to God, whom I have ever found propitious to me in my necessities.


S.i. e.Servidor
S. A. S. Sus Altezas Sacras
X. M. Y. Jesus Maria Ysabel
Xpo. FERENS Christo-pher
El Almirante El Almirante.

In English: Servant—of their Sacred Highnesses—Jesus, Mary, and Isabella—Christopher—The Admiral.


[Pg 58]


Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.[Pg 59]

Columbus and Columbia.


Look up, look forth, and on.
There's light in the dawning sky.
The clouds are parting, the night is gone.
Prepare for the work of the day.

Bayard Taylor.

A Castilla y Leon,
Nuevo mundo dió Colon.

To Castille and Leon
Columbus gave a New World.

[Pg 60]Inscription upon Hernando Columbus' tomb, in the pavement of the cathedral at Seville, Spain. Also upon the Columbus Monument in the Paseo de Recoletos, Madrid.[Pg 61]



John Adams, American lawyer and statesman, second President of the United States. Born at Braintree (now Quincy), Norfolk County, Mass., October 19, 1735. President, March 4, 1797-March 4, 1801. Died at Braintree July 4, 1826.

I always consider the discovery of America, with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.


William Livingston Alden, an American author. Born in Massachusetts October 9, 1837. From his "Life of Columbus" (1882), published by Messrs. Henry Holt & Co., New York City.

Whatever flaws there may have been in the man, he was of a finer clay than his fellows, for he could dream dreams that their dull imaginations could not conceive. He belonged to the same land which gave birth to Garibaldi, and, like the Great Captain, the Great Admiral lived in a high, pure atmosphere of splendid visions, far removed from and above his fellow-men. The greatness of Columbus can not be argued away. The glow of his enthusiasm kindles our own even at the long distance of four hundred years, and his heroic figure looms grander through successive centuries.


Two anchors that Columbus carried in his ships are exhibited at the World's Fair. The anchors were found by Columbian Commissioner Ober near two old wells at San[Pg 62] Salvador. He had photographs and accurate models made. These reproductions were sent to Paris, where expert antiquarians pronounced them to be fifteenth century anchors, and undoubtedly those lost by Columbus in his wreck off San Salvador. One of these has been presented to the United States and the other is loaned to the Fair.



It was at the door of the convent of La Rábida that Columbus, disappointed and down-hearted, asked for food and shelter for himself and his child. It was here that he found an asylum for a few years while he developed his plans, and prepared the arguments which he submitted to the council at Salamanca. It was in one of the rooms of this convent that he met the Dominican monks in debate, and it was here also that he conferred with Alonzo Pinzon, who afterward commanded one of the vessels of his fleet. In this convent Columbus lived while he was making preparations for his voyage, and on the morning that he sailed from Palos he attended himself the little chapel. There is no building in the world so closely identified with his discovery as this.



Look at Christopher Columbus. Consider the disheartening difficulties and vexatious delays he had to encounter; the doubts of the skeptical, the sneers of the learned, the cavils of the cautious, and the opposition, or at least the indifference, of nearly all. And then the dangers of an untried, unexplored ocean. Is it by any means probable he would have persevered had he not possessed that earnest enthusiasm which was characteristic of the great[Pg 63] discoverer? What mind can conceive or tongue can tell the great results which have followed, and will continue to follow in all coming time, from what this single individual accomplished? A new continent has been discovered; nations planted whose wealth and power already begin to eclipse those of the Old World, and whose empires stretch far away beneath the setting sun. Institutions of learning, liberty, and religion have been established on the broad basis of equal rights to all. It is true, America might have been discovered by what we call some fortunate accident. But, in all probability, it would have remained unknown for centuries, had not some earnest man, like Columbus, arisen, whose adventurous spirit would be roused, rather than repressed, by difficulty and danger.



Every man has within himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul.



His soul was superior to the age in which he lived. For him was reserved the great enterprise of traversing that sea which had given rise to so many fables, and of deciphering the mystery of his time.


Samuel Rogers. (See post, page 275.)

When first Columbus dared the Western main,
Spanned the broad gulf, and gave a world to Spain,
How thrilled his soul with tumult of delight,
When through the silence of the sleepless night
Burst shouts of triumph.
[Pg 64]


J. R. Lowell. (See post, page 204.)

Joy, joy for Spain! a seaman's hand confers
These glorious gifts, for a new world is hers.
But where is he, that light whose radiance glows,
The loadstone of succeeding mariners?
Behold him crushed beneath o'ermastering woes—
Hopeless, heart-broken, chained, abandoned to his foes.


John J. Anderson, American historical writer. Born in New York, 1821. From his "History of the United States" (1887).

It is recorded that "Columbus had to beg his way from court to court to offer to princes the discovery of a world." Genoa was appealed to again, then the appeal was made to Venice. Not a word of encouragement came from either. Columbus next tried Spain. His theory was examined by a council of men who were supposed to be very wise about geography and navigation. The theory and its author were ridiculed. Said one of the wise men: "Is there any one so foolish as to believe that there are people living on the other side of the earth with their feet opposite to ours? people who walk with their heels upward and their heads hanging down?" His idea was that the earth was flat like a plate.


From the third of a series of articles by the Hon. Elliott Anthony, Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, in the Chicago Mail.

(See page 81 .)

Bancroft, the historian, says that nearly three centuries before the Christian era, Aristotle, following the lessons of the Pythagoreans, had taught that the earth is a sphere[Pg 65] and that the water which bounds Europe on the west washes the eastern shores of Asia. Instructed by him, the Spaniard, Seneca, believed that a ship, with a fair wind, could sail from Spain to the Indies in a few days. The opinion was revived in the Middle Ages by Averroes, the Arab commentator of Aristotle. Science and observation assisted to confirm it; and poets of ancient and of more recent times had foretold that empires beyond the ocean would one day be revealed to the daring navigator. The genial country of Dante and Buonarotti gave birth to Christopher Columbus, by whom these lessons were so received and weighed that he gained the glory of fulfilling the prophecy.

Accounts of the navigation from the eastern coast of Africa to Arabia had reached the western kingdoms of Europe, and adventurous Venetians, returning from travels beyond the Ganges, had filled the world with dazzling descriptions of the wealth of China, as well as marvelous reports of the outlying island empire of Japan. It began to be believed that the continent of Asia stretched over far more than a hemisphere, and that the remaining distance around the globe was comparatively short. Yet from the early part of the fifteenth century the navigators of Portugal had directed their explorations to the coast of Africa; and when they had ascertained that the torrid zone is habitable, even under the equator, the discovery of the islands of Madeira and the Azores could not divert them from the purpose of turning the southern capes of that continent and steering past them to the land of spices, which promised untold wealth to the merchants of Europe, new dominions to its princes, and heathen nations to the religion of the cross. Before the year 1474, and perhaps as early as 1470, Columbus was attracted to Lisbon, which was then the great center of maritime adventure. He came to insist[Pg 66] with immovable resoluteness that the shortest route to the Indies lay across the Atlantic. By the words of Aristotle, received through Averroes, and by letters from Toscanelli, the venerable cosmographer of Florence—who had drawn a map of the world, with Eastern Asia rising over against Europe—he was riveted in his faith and lived only in the idea of laying open the western path to the Indies.

After more than ten years of vain solicitations in Portugal, he left the banks of the Tagus to seek aid of Ferdinand and Isabella, rich in nautical experience, having watched the stars at sea from the latitude of Iceland to near the equator at Elmina. Though yet longer baffled by the skepticism which knew not how to comprehend the clearness of his conception, or the mystic trances which sustained his inflexibility of purpose, or the unfailing greatness of his soul, he lost nothing of his devotedness to the sublime office to which he held himself elected from his infancy by the promises of God. When, half resolved to withdraw from Spain, traveling on foot, he knocked at the gate of the monastery of La Rábida, at Palos, to crave the needed charity of food and shelter for himself and his little son, whom he led by the hand, the destitute and neglected seaman, in his naked poverty, was still the promiser of kingdoms, holding firmly in his grasp "the key of the ocean sea;" claiming, as it were from Heaven, the Indies as his own, and "dividing them as he pleased." It was then that through the prior of the convent his holy confidence found support in Isabella, the Queen of Castille; and in 1492, with three poor vessels, of which the largest only was decked, embarking from Palos for the Indies by way of the west, Columbus gave a new world to Castille and Leon, "the like of which was never done by any man in ancient or in later times."

The jubilee of this great discovery is at hand, and now[Pg 67] after the lapse of 400 years, as we look back over the vast ranges of human history, there is nothing in the order of Providence which can compare in interest with the condition of the American continent as it lay upon the surface of the globe, a hemisphere unknown to the rest of the world.

There stretched the iron chain of its mountain barriers, not yet the boundary of political communities; there rolled its mighty rivers unprofitably to the sea; there spread out the measureless, but as yet wasteful, fertility of its uncultivated fields; there towered the gloomy majesty of its unsubdued primeval forests; there glittered in the secret caves of the earth the priceless treasures of its unsunned gold, and, more than all that pertains to material wealth, there existed the undeveloped capacity of 100 embryo states of an imperial confederacy of republics, the future abode of intelligent millions, unrevealed as yet to the "earnest" but unconscious "expectation" of the elder families of man, darkly hidden by the impenetrable veil of waters. There is, to my mind, says Everett, an overwhelming sadness in this long insulation of America from the brotherhood of humanity, not inappropriately reflected in the melancholy expression of the native races.

The boldest keels of Phœnicia and Carthage had not approached its shores. From the footsteps of the ancient nations along the highways of time and fortune—the embattled millions of the old Asiatic despotisms, the iron phalanx of Macedonia, the living, crushing machinery of the Roman legion which ground the world to powder, the heavy tramp of barbarous nations from "the populous north"—not the faintest echo had aroused the slumbering West in the cradle of her existence. Not a thrill of sympathy had shot across the Atlantic from the heroic adventure, the intellectual and artistic vitality, the convulsive struggles for freedom,[Pg 68] the calamitous downfalls of empire, and the strange new regenerations which fill the pages of ancient and mediæval history. Alike when the oriental myriads, Assyrian, Chaldean, Median, Persian, Bactrian, from the snows of Syria to the Gulf of Ormus, from the Halys to the Indus, poured like a deluge upon Greece and beat themselves to idle foam on the sea-girt rock of Salamis and the lowly plain of Marathon; when all the kingdoms of the earth went down with her own liberties in Rome's imperial maëlstrom of blood and fire, and when the banded powers of the west, beneath the ensign of the cross, as the pendulum of conquest swung backward, marched in scarcely intermitted procession for three centuries to the subjugation of Palestine, the American continent lay undiscovered, lonely and waste. That mighty action and reaction upon each other of Europe and America, the grand systole and diastole of the heart of nations, and which now constitutes so much of the organized life of both, had not yet begun to pulsate.

The unconscious child and heir of the ages lay wrapped in the mantle of futurity upon the broad and nurturing bosom of divine Providence, and slumbered serenely like the infant Danae through the storms of fifty centuries.


From the writings of Saint Augustine, the most noted of the Latin fathers. Born at Tagasta, Numidia, November 13, A. D. 354; died at Hippo, August 28, A. D. 430. (This passage was relied on by the ecclesiastical opponents of Columbus to show the heterodoxy of his project.)

They do not see that even if the earth were round it would not follow that the part directly opposite is not covered with water. Besides, supposing it not to be so, what necessity is there that it should be inhabited, since the[Pg 69] Scriptures, in the first place, the fulfilled prophecies of which attest the truth thereof for the past, can not be suspected of telling tales; and, in the second place, it is really too absurd to say that men could ever cross such an immense ocean to implant in those parts a sprig of the family of the first man.


Joanna Baillie, a noted Scottish poetess. Born at Bothwell, Scotland, 1762; died at Hampstead, near London, February 23, 1851. From "The Legend of Columbus."

Is there a man that, from some lofty steep,
Views in his wide survey the boundless deep,
When its vast waters, lined with sun and shade,
Wave beyond wave, in serried distance, fade?


No kingly conqueror, since time began
The long career of ages, hath to man
A scope so ample given for trade's bold range
Or caused on earth's wide stage such rapid, mighty change.—Ibid.


Some ardent youth, perhaps, ere from his home
He launch his venturous bark, will hither come,
Read fondly o'er and o'er his graven name,
With feelings keenly touched, with heart aflame;
Till, wrapped in fancy's wild delusive dream,
Times past and long forgotten, present seem.
To his charmed ear the east wind, rising shrill,
Seems through the hero's shroud to whistle still.
The clock's deep pendulum swinging through the blast
Sounds like the rocking of his lofty mast;
[Pg 70]While fitful gusts rave like his clam'rous band,
Mixed with the accents of his high command.
Slowly the stripling quits the pensive scene,
And burns and sighs and weeps to be what he has been.

Oh, who shall lightly say that fame
Is nothing but an empty name?
Whilst in that sound there is a charm
The nerves to brace, the heart to warm,
As, thinking of the mighty dead,
The young from slothful couch will start,
And vow, with lifted hands outspread,
Like them to act a noble part.

Oh, who shall lightly say that fame
Is nothing but an empty name?
When but for those, our mighty dead,
All ages past a blank would be,
Sunk in oblivion's murky bed,
A desert bare, a shipless sea!
They are the distant objects seen,
The lofty marks of what hath been.—Ibid.


On Palos' shore, whose crowded strand
Bore priests and nobles of the land,
And rustic hinds and townsmen trim,
And harnessed soldiers stern and grim,
And lowly maids and dames of pride,
And infants by their mother's side—
The boldest seaman stood that e'er
Did bark or ship through tempest steer;
And wise as bold, and good as wise;
The magnet of a thousand eyes,
[Pg 71]That on his form and features cast,
His noble mien and simple guise,
In wonder seemed to look their last.
A form which conscious worth is gracing,
A face where hope, the lines effacing
Of thought and care, bestowed, in truth,
To the quick eyes' imperfect tracing
The look and air of youth.

The signal given, with hasty strides
The sailors line their ships' dark sides,
Their anchors weighed, and from the shore
Each stately vessel slowly bore.
High o'er the deep and shadowed flood,
Upon his deck their leader stood,
And turned him to departed land,
And bowed his head and waved his hand.
And then, along the crowded strand,
A sound of many sounds combined,
That waxed and waved upon the wind,
Burst like heaven's thunder, deep and grand;
A lengthened peal, which paused, and then
Renewed, like that which loathly parts,
Oft on the ear returned again,
The impulse of a thousand hearts.
But as the lengthened shouts subside,
Distincter accents strike the ear,
Wafting across the current wide
Heart-uttered words of parting cheer:
"Oh, shall we ever see again
Those gallant souls across the main?
God keep the brave! God be their guide!
God bear them safe through storm and tide!
Their sails with favoring breezes swell!
O brave Columbus, fare thee well!"—Ibid.
[Pg 72]


Maturin Murray Ballou, American author. Compiler of "Pearls of Thought" and similar works. Born in Boston, Mass., April 14, 1822. From "Due South," published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1887.

The name of Columbus flashes a bright ray over the mental darkness of the period in which he lived, for the world was then but just awakening from the dull sleep of the Middle Ages. The discovery of printing heralded the new birth of the republic of letters, and maritime enterprise received a vigorous impulse. The shores of the Mediterranean, thoroughly explored and developed, had endowed the Italian states with extraordinary wealth, and built up a very respectable mercantile marine. The Portuguese mariners were venturing farther and farther from the peninsula, and traded with many distant ports on the extended coast of Africa.

To the west lay what men supposed to be an illimitable ocean, full of mystery, peril, and death. A vague conception that islands hitherto unknown might be met afar off on that strange wilderness of waters was entertained by some minds, but no one thought of venturing in search of them. Columbus alone, regarded merely as a brave and intelligent seaman and pilot, conceived the idea that the earth was spherical, and that the East Indies, the great El Dorado of the century, might be reached by circumnavigating the globe. If we picture to ourselves the mental condition of the age and the state of science, we shall find no difficulty in conceiving the scorn and incredulity with which the theory of Columbus was received. We shall not wonder that he was regarded as a madman or a fool; we are not surprised to remember that he encountered repulse upon repulse as he journeyed wearily from court to court, and pleaded in vain to the sovereigns of[Pg 73] Europe for aid to prosecute his great design. The marvel is that when door after door was closed against him, when all ears were deaf to his earnest importunities, when day by day the opposition to his views increased, when, weary and footsore, he was forced to beg a bit of bread and a cup of water for his fainting and famishing boy at the door of a Spanish convent, his reason did not give way, and his great heart did not break with disappointment.


From an article in the Baltimore American.

To a patriotic Frenchman and to Baltimore belongs the credit of the erection of the first monument to the memory of Christopher Columbus. This shaft, though unpretentious in height and material, is the first ever erected in the "Monumental City" or in the whole United States. The monument was put up on his estate by Charles Francis Adrian le Paulmier, Chevalier d'Amour. The property is now occupied by the Samuel Ready Orphan Asylum, at North and Hartford avenues. It passed into the hands of the trustees from the executors of the late Zenus Barnum's will.

It has ever been a matter of surprise, particularly among tourists, that among the thousand and one monuments which have been put up in the United States to the illustrious dead, that the daring navigator who first sighted an island which was part of a great continent which 400 years later developed into the first nation of the world, should be so completely and entirely overlooked. It is on record that the only other monument in the world, up to 1863, which has been erected in the honor of Columbus is in Genoa. There is no authoritative account of the construction of the Baltimore monument. The fact that it was built[Pg 74] in honor of Columbus is substantial, as the following inscription on the shaft shows:

to the
Oct. XII,

It can be seen that the numerals are engrossed in the old English style, and show eight less than 1800, or 1792, and the date October 12th. The shaft towers among the boughs of a great oak tree which, like itself, has stood the storms and winds of nearly a hundred years. It has seen Baltimore develop from a little colonial town to a great city. The existence of the monument, strange to say, was known to only a few persons until the opening of North Avenue through the Barnum estate about twelve years ago. It looms up about fifty feet, and is attractive. Tradition says that it is built of brick which was brought from England, and covered with mortar or cement. At any rate it is substantial, and likely to stand the ravages of time for many more years. The Samuel Ready estate is on the east side of the Hartford turnpike and fronts on North Avenue. The old-fashioned country house, which was built many years ago, was occupied by the proprietor of Baltimore's famous hostelry, and is still in use. It is occupied by girls who are reared and educated by money left by the philanthropist Samuel Ready. Forty or fifty years ago the elder David Barnum resided there.

In the southeast corner of the beautiful inclosure stands the monument. It is on an elevated terraced plateau. The plaster or cement coating is intact, and the inscription is plain. The shaft is quadrangular in form, sloping from a base six feet six inches in diameter to about two feet and a[Pg 75] half at the top, which is a trifle over fifty feet from the ground. The pedestal comprises a base about thirty inches high, with well-rounded corners of molded brick work. The pedestal proper is five feet six inches in diameter, ten feet in height, and a cornice, ornamental in style, about three feet in height. From this rises a tapering shaft of about twenty-eight feet. The whole is surmounted by a capstone eighteen inches high. Three stories are told about the monument.

Here is the first: Among the humble people who have lived in that section for years the legend is that the monument was erected to the memory of a favorite horse owned by the old Frenchman who was the first French consul to the United States. For years it was known as the "Horse Monument," and people with imaginative brains conjured up all sorts of tales, and retailed them ad lib. These stories were generally accepted without much inquiry as to their authenticity.

This, however, is the true story: Gen. D'Amour, who was the first representative sent to the colonies from France, was extremely wealthy. He was a member of a society founded to perpetuate the memory of Columbus in his own land.

It is said that Gen. D'Amour came to America with Count de Grasse, and after the fall of Yorktown retired to this city, where he remained until he was recalled to France in 1797. His reason for erecting the monument was because of his admiration for Columbus' bravery in the face of apparent failure. Tradition further says that one evening in the year 1792, while he was entertaining a party of guests, the fact that it was then the tri-centennial of the discovery of America was the topic of conversation. During the evening it was mentioned incidentally that there was not in this whole country a monument to commemorate the[Pg 76] deeds of Columbus. Thereupon, Gen. D'Amour is said to have made a solemn vow that this neglect should be immediately remedied by the erection of an enduring shaft upon his own estate.

He bought the property around where the monument now stands, and lived in grand style, as befitted a man of his wealth and position. He entertained extensively. It is said that Lafayette was dined and fêted by the Frenchman in the old brick house which is still standing behind the mansion. In the year and on the date which marked the 300th anniversary of the discovery of America the monument was unveiled. The newspapers in those days were not enterprising, and the journals published at that time do not mention the fact. Again, it is said that D'Amour died at the old mansion, and many people believe that his body was interred near the base of the shaft. It is related that about forty years ago two Frenchmen came to this country and laid claims on the property, which had, after the Frenchman's death, passed into other hands. The claim was disputed because of an unsettled mortgage on it, and they failed to prove their title. They tried to discover the burial-place of the former owner. In this they also failed, although large rewards were offered to encourage people to aid them in their search. It is said that an ingenious Irishman in the neighborhood undertook to earn the reward, and pointed out a grave in an old Quaker burying-ground close by.

The grave was opened and the remains exhumed. Examination proved the bones those of a colored man. Old Mrs. Reilly, who was the wife of famous old Barnum's Hotel hackman Reilly, used to say that some years after the two Frenchmen had departed there came another mysterious Frenchman, who sat beside the monument for weeks, pleading to the then owners for permission to[Pg 77] dig in a certain spot hard by. He was refused. Nothing daunted, he waited an opportunity and, when the coast was clear, he dug up a stone slab, which he had heard was to be found, and carried away the remains of a pet cat which had been buried there.

Frequent inquiries were made of Mr. Samuel H. Tagart, who was the trustee in charge of the estate of Zenus Barnum, in regard to the old Frenchman. Antiquarians all over the country made application for permission to dig beneath the monument, and to remove the tablet from the face of the shaft. He felt, however, that he could not do it, and refused all requests.

Early in the present century the Samuel Ready estate was owned by Thomas Tenant—in those days a wealthy, influential citizen. One of his daughters, now dead, became the wife of Hon. John P. Kennedy. Another daughter, who lived in New York, and who is supposed to be dead, paid a visit in 1878 to the old homestead, and sat beneath the shadow of the Columbus monument. She stated that the shaft has stood in her early girlhood as it stands now. It was often visited by noted Italians and Frenchmen, who seemed to have heard of the existence of the monument in Europe. She repeated the story of the wealthy Frenchman, and told of some of his eccentricities, and said he had put up the monument at a cost of £800, or $4,000.

The old land records of Baltimore town were examined by a representative of the American as far back as 1787. It appears that in that year Daniel Weatherly and his wife, Elizabeth; Samuel Wilson and wife, Hannah; Isaac Pennington and Jemima, his wife, and William Askew and Jonathan Rutter assigned to Rachel Stevenson four lots of ground, comprising the estate known as "Hanson's Woods," "Darley Hall," "Rutter's Discovery," and "Orange."[Pg 78] Later, in 1787 and 1788, additional lots were received from one Christopher Hughes, and in the following year the entire estate was assigned by Rachel Stevenson to Charles Francis Adrian le Paulmier, Chevalier d'Amour, the French consul, the eccentric Frenchman, and the perpetuator of Columbus' memory in Baltimore.

The property remained in his possession up to 1796, when Archibald Campbell purchased it. In the year 1800 James Hindman bought it, and retained possession until 1802, when James Carere took hold. Thomas Tenant purchased the estate in 1809. At his death, in 1830, it changed hands several times, and was finally bought by David Barnum, about 1833. At his death, in 1854, the estate passed into the hands of Samuel W. McClellan, then to Zenus Barnum, and subsequently fell to his heirs, Dr. Zenus Barnum, Arthur C. Barnum, Annie and Maggie Barnum. After much litigation, about four years ago the estate passed into possession of the executors of Samuel Ready's will, and they have turned the once tumbled-down, deserted place into a beautiful spot. All the families mentioned have relatives living in this city now. In all the changes of time and owners, the monument to Columbus has remained intact, showing that it is always the fittest that survives, and that old things are best.

Mr. E. G. Perine, one of the officers of the Samuel Ready Orphan Asylum, has collected most of the data relating to the monument.


The Italian citizens resident in Baltimore propose to donate a magnificent statue of Columbus to the "Monumental City," in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.[Pg 79]


George Bancroft, Ph.D., LL.D., D.C.L., America's premier historian. Born at Worcester, Mass. October 3, 1800; died January 17, 1891. From "The History of the United States."[28]

Imagination had conceived the idea that vast inhabited regions lay unexplored in the west; and poets had declared that empires beyond the ocean would one day be revealed to the daring navigator. But Columbus deserves the undivided glory of having realized that belief.

The writers of to-day are disposed to consider Magellan's voyage a greater feat than that of Columbus. I can not agree with them. Magellan was doubtless a remarkable man, and a very bold man. But when he crossed the Pacific Ocean he knew he must come to land at last; whereas Columbus, whatever he may have heard concerning lands to the west, or whatever his theories may have led him to expect, must still have been in a state of uncertainty—to say nothing of the superstitious fears of his companions, and probably his own.

The enterprise of Columbus, the most memorable maritime enterprise in the history of the world, formed between Europe and America the communication which will never cease. The story of the colonization of America by Northmen rests on narratives mythological in form and obscure in meaning; ancient, yet not contemporary. The intrepid mariners who colonized Greenland could easily have extended their voyages to Labrador and have explored the coasts to the south of it. No clear historic evidence establishes the natural probability that they accomplished the passage; and no vestige of their presence on our continent has been found.[Pg 80]

Nearly three centuries before the Christian era, Aristotle, following the lessons of the Pythagoreans, had taught that the earth is a sphere, and that the water which bounds Europe on the west washes the eastern shores of Asia. Instructed by him, the Spaniard Seneca believed that a ship, with a fair wind, could sail from Spain to the Indies in the space of a very few days. The opinion was revived in the Middle Ages by Averroes, the Arab commentator of Aristotle; science and observation assisted to confirm it; and poets of ancient and of more recent times had foretold that empires beyond the ocean would one day be revealed to the daring navigator. The genial country of Dante and Buonarotti gave birth to Christopher Columbus, by whom these lessons were so received and weighed that he gained the glory of fulfilling the prophecy.

Dedicated May 2, 1888


Hubert Howe Bancroft, an American historian. Born at Granville, Ohio, 1832.

As a mariner and discoverer Columbus had no superior; as a colonist and governor he proved himself a failure. Had he been less pretentious and grasping, his latter days would have been more peaceful. Discovery was his infatuation; but he lacked practical judgment, and he brought upon himself a series of calamities.


Since the Postoffice Department has decided to issue a set of stamps in honor of Columbus, it has been suggested that a Columbus bank note would also be in good taste at this time. Chief Meredith, of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, originated the latter idea and will lay it before Secretary Foster when he returns to his desk at the Treas[Pg 81]ury. Issuing a whole set of Columbian notes would involve not only a great deal of preparation but cost as well, and hence it is proposed to choose one of the smaller denominations, probably the $1 note, for the change. There is an engraving of Columbus in the bureau made by Burt, who was considered the finest vignette engraver in the country. It is a full-face portrait, representing Columbus with a smooth face and wearing a brigandish-looking hat.


The historic Muralla del Mar (sea wall) of Barcelona has been effaced during the progress of harbor improvements, and its place supplied by a wide and handsome quay, which forms a delightful promenade, is planted with palms, and has been officially named the Paseo de Colon (Columbus Promenade). Here, at the foot of the Rambla in the Plaza de la Paz, is a marble statue of Columbus.

This magnificent monument, erected in honor of the great Genoese mariner, was unveiled on May 2, 1888, in the presence of the Queen Regent, King Alfonzo XIII. of Spain, and the royal family; Señor Sagasta, President of the Council of Ministers, the chief Alcalde of Barcelona, many other Spanish notables, and the officers of the many European and American men-of-war then in the port of Barcelona.

It was dedicated amid the thunders of more than 5,000 guns and the salutes of battalions of brave seamen. The ceremony was such and so imposing as to be without a parallel in the history of any other part of the world.

The following ships of war, at anchor in the harbor of Barcelona, boomed out their homage to the First Admiral of the Shadowy Sea, and, landing detachments of officers, seamen, and marines, took part in the inauguration ceremonies.[Pg 82]

American—United States steamship Winnebago.

Austrian—The imperial steamships Tegethoff, Custozz, Prinz Eugen, Kaiser Max, Kaiser John of Austria, Meteor, Panther, and Leopard.

British—H.M.S. Alexandra, Dreadnought, Colossus, Thunderer, and Phaeton, and torpedo boats 99, 100, 101, and 108.

Dutch—The Johann Wilhelm Friso.

French—The Colbert, Duperre, Courbet, Devastation, Redoubtable, Indomptable, Milan, Condor, Falcon, the dispatch boat Coulevrine, and six torpedo boats.

German—The imperial vessel Kaiser.

Italian—The royal vessels Etna, Salta, Goito, Vesuvius, Archimedes, Tripoli, Folgore, Castellfidardo, Lepanto, and Italia.

Portuguese—The Vasco da Gama.

Russian—The Vestruch and Zabiaca.

Spanish—The Numancia, Navarra, Gerona, Castilla, Blanca, Destructor, Pilar, and Pilés.


The monument was cast in the workshops of A. Wohlgemuth, engineer and constructor of Barcelona, and was made in eight pieces, the base weighing 31½ tons. The first section, 22½ tons; the second, 24½ tons; the third, 23½ tons; the fourth, 23⅛ tons; the capital, 29½ tons; the templete, 13½ tons; the globe, 15½ tons; the bronze ornaments, 13½ tons; the statue of Columbus, 41 tons; the pedestal of the column, 31½ tons; the total weight of bronze employed in the column being 210½ tons; its height, 198 feet.

The total cost of the monument amounted to 1,000,000 pesetas. Of these, 350,000 were collected by public subscription, and the remaining 650,000 pesetas were contributed by the city of Barcelona.[Pg 83]

The monument is 198 feet in height, and is ascended by means of an hydraulic elevator; five or six persons have room to stand on the platform. On the side facing the sea there opens a staircase of a single flight, which leads to a small resting room richly ornamented, and lit by a skylight, which contains the elevator. The grand and beautiful city of Barcelona, the busiest center of industry, commerce, and shipping, and mart of the arts and sciences, is not likely to leave in oblivion he who enriched the Old World with a new one, opening new arteries of trade which immensely augmented its renowned commercial existence; and less is it likely to forget that the citizens of Barcelona who were contemporaneous with Columbus were among the first to greet the unknown mariner when he returned from America, for the first time, with the enthusiasm which his colossal discovery evoked.

If for this alone, in one of her most charming squares, in full view of the ocean whose bounds the immortal sailor fixed and discovered, they have raised his statue upon a monument higher than the most celebrated ones of the earth. This statue, constructed under the supervision of the artist Don Cayetano Buigas, is composed of a base one meter in height and twenty meters wide, and of three sections. The first part is a circular section, eighteen meters in diameter, ten feet in height; it is composed of carved stone with interspersed bas-reliefs in bronze, representing episodes in the life of Columbus.

The second story takes the form of a cross, and is of the height of thirty-three feet, being of carved stone decorated with bronzes. On the arms of the cross are four female figures, representing Catalonia, Aragon, Castille, and Leon, and in the angles of the same are figures of Father Boyle, Santangel, Margarite and Ferrer de Blanes.

On the sides of the cross are grouped eight medallions of[Pg 84] bronze, on which are placed the busts of Isabella I., Ferdinand V., Father Juan Flores, Andrés de Cabrera, Padre Juan de la Marchena, the Marchioness of Moya, Martin Pinzon, and his brother, Vicente Yañez Pinzon.

This section upholds the third part of the monument, which takes the form of an immense globe, on top of which stands the statue of Columbus, a noble conception of a great artist, grandly pointing toward the conquered confines of the Mysterious Sea.[29]


Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, vicar of Looe Trenchard, Devonshire, England. Born at Exeter, England, 1834. An antiquarian, archæological and historical writer, no mean poet, and a novelist. From his "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages."

According to a Keltic legend, in former days there lived in Skerr a Druid of renown. He sat with his face to the west on the shore, his eye following the declining sun, and he blamed the careless billows which tumbled between him and the distant Isle of Green. One day, as he sat musing on a rock, a storm arose on the sea; a cloud, under whose squally skirts the foaming waters tossed, rushed suddenly into the bay, and from its dark womb emerged a boat with white sails bent to the wind and banks of gleaming oars on either side. But it was destitute of mariners, itself seeming to live and move. An unusual terror seized on the aged Druid; he heard a voice call, "Arise, and see the Green Isle of those who have passed away!" Then he entered the vessel. Immediately the wind shifted, the cloud enveloped him, and in the bosom of the vapor he[Pg 85] sailed away. Seven days gleamed on him through the mist; on the eighth, the waves rolled violently, the vessel pitched, and darkness thickened around him, when suddenly he heard a cry, "The Isle! the Isle!" The clouds parted before him, the waves abated, the wind died away, and the vessel rushed into dazzling light. Before his eyes lay the Isle of the Departed, basking in golden light. Its hills sloped green and tufted with beauteous trees to the shore, the mountain tops were enveloped in bright and transparent clouds, from which gushed limpid streams, which, wandering down the steep hill-sides with pleasant harp-like murmur emptied themselves into the twinkling blue bays. The valleys were open and free to the ocean; trees loaded with leaves, which scarcely waved to the light breeze, were scattered on the green declivities and rising ground; all was calm and bright; the pure sun of autumn shone from his blue sky on the fields; he hastened not to the west for repose, nor was he seen to rise in the east, but hung as a golden lamp, ever illumining the Fortunate Isles.


There is a Phœnician legend that a large island was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, several days' sail from the coast of Africa. This island abounded in all manner of riches. The soil was exceedingly fertile; the scenery was diversified by rivers, mountains, and forests. It was the custom of the inhabitants to retire during the summer to magnificent country houses, which stood in the midst of beautiful gardens. Fish and game were found in great abundance, the climate was delicious, and the trees bore fruit at all seasons of the year.—Ibid.[Pg 86]


Joel Barlow, American poet, patriot, and politician. Born at Reading, Conn., 1755; died near Cracow, in Poland, 1812. From the introduction to "Columbiad" (1807).

Every talent requisite for governing, soothing, and tempering the passions of men is conspicuous in the conduct of Columbus on the occasion of the mutiny of his crew. The dignity and affability of his manners, his surprising knowledge and experience in naval affairs, his unwearied and minute attention to the duties of his command, gave him a great ascendancy over the minds of his men, and inspired that degree of confidence which would have maintained his authority in almost any circumstances.


Long had the sage, the first who dared to brave
The unknown dangers of the western wave;
Who taught mankind where future empires lay
In these confines of descending day;
With cares o'erwhelmed, in life's distressing gloom,
Wish'd from a thankless world a peaceful tomb,
While kings and nations, envious of his name,
Enjoyed his toils and triumphed o'er his fame,
And gave the chief, from promised empire hurl'd,
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world.
Barlow, "Columbus" (1787).


Ages unborn shall bless the happy day
When thy bold streamers steer'd the trackless way.
O'er these delightful realms thy sons shall tread,
And following millions trace the path you led.
[Pg 87]Behold yon isles, where first the flag unfurled
Waved peaceful triumph o'er the new-found world.
Where, aw'd to silence, savage bands gave place,
And hail'd with joy the sun-descended race.
Barlow, "The Vision of Columbus,"
a poem in nine books (1787).


Truth leaves the world and Isabella dies.


I sing the mariner who first unfurl'd
An eastern banner o'er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who swayed a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia's scepter on the new-found shore;
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood;
The tribes he fostered with paternal toil
Snatched from his hand and slaughtered for their spoil.
Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoyed his labors and purloined his fame,
And gave the viceroy, from his high seat hurl'd,
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world.
Barlow, The "Columbiad," Book I; lines 1-14.


The bliss of unborn nations warm'd his breast,
Repaid his toils, and sooth'd his soul to rest;
Thus o'er thy subject wave shall thou behold
Far happier realms their future charms unfold,
[Pg 88]In nobler pomp another Pisgah rise,
Beneath whose foot thy new-found Canaan lies.
There, rapt in vision, hail my favorite clime
And taste the blessings of remotest time.
Barlow, The "Columbiad," Book 1; lines 176-184.


He opened calm the universal cause
To give each realm its limit and its laws,
Bid the last breath of tired contention cease,
And bind all regions in the leagues of peace.

To yon bright borders of Atlantic day
His swelling pinions led the trackless way,
And taught mankind such useful deeds to dare,
To trace new seas and happy nations rear;
Till by fraternal hands their sails unfurled
Have waved at last in union o'er the world.


J. J. Barry, M. D., "Life of Columbus."

The first object of the discovery, disengaged from every human consideration, was the glorification of the Redeemer and the extension of His Church.


The accumulations of his reverses exceed human proportions. His misfortunes almost surpass his glory. Still this man does not murmur. He accuses, he curses nobody; and does not regret that he was born. The people of ancient times would never have conceived this type of a hero. Christianity alone, whose creation he was, can comprehend him. * * * The example of Columbus shows that nobody can completely obtain here below the objects[Pg 89] of his desires. The man who doubled the known space of the earth was not able to attain his object; he proposed to himself much more than he realized.—Ibid.


The congregation of the little colored church at Haleyville, in Cumberland County, N. J., contributes an interesting historical relic to the World's Fair. It is the bell that has for years called them to church. In the year 1445, the bell, it is said, hung in one of the towers of the famous mosque at the Alhambra. After the siege of Granada, the bell was taken away by the Spanish soldiers and presented to Queen Isabella, who, in turn, presented it to Columbus, who brought it to America on his fourth voyage and presented it to a community of Spanish monks who placed it in the Cathedral of Carthagena, on the Island of New Granada. In 1697 buccaneers looted Carthagena, and carried the bell on board the French pirate ship La Rochelle, but the ship was wrecked on the Island of St. Andreas shortly afterward, and the wreckers secured the bell as part of their salvage. Capt. Newell of Bridgeton purchased it, brought it to this country, and presented it to the colored congregation of the Haleyville church. The bell weighs sixty-four pounds, and is of fine metal.


Geronimo Benzoni of Milan, Italy. Born about 1520. From his "History of the New World" (1565).

He was a man of a good, reasonable stature, with sound, strong limbs; of good judgment, high talent, and gentlemanlike aspect. His eyes were bright, his hair red, his nose aquiline, his mouth somewhat large; but above all he was a friend to justice, though rather passionate when angry.[Pg 90]


The Right Rev. George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, Ireland. Born at Kilcrin, Kilkenny, March 12, 1684; died at Oxford, England, January 14, 1754. The author of the celebrated line, "Westward the course of Empire takes its way."

But all things of heavenly origin, like the glorious sun, move westward; and Truth and Art have their periods of shining and of night. Rejoice, then, O venerable Rome, in thy divine destiny! for, though darkness overshadow thy seats, and though thy mitred head must descend into the dust, thy spirit, immortal and undecayed, already spreads toward a new world.


The Hon. James Gillespie Blaine, one of America's leading statesmen. Born in Washington County, Pa., in 1830.

Columbus was no chance comer. The time was full. He was not premature; he was not late. He came in accordance with a scientifically formed if imperfect theory, whether his own or another's—a theory which had a logical foundation, and which projected logical sequences. * * * Had not Columbus discovered America in 1492, a hundred Columbuses would have discovered it in 1493.


Baron Bonnafoux, a French author. From "La Vie de Christophe Colombe" (1853).

He was as certain of the truth of his theory as if he had seen and trodden on the very ground which his imagination had called into existence. * * * There was an air of authority about him, and a dignity in his manner, that struck all who saw him. He considered himself, on principle, above envy and slander, and in calm and serious[Pg 91] discussion always had the superiority in argument on the subjects of his schemes. To refuse to assist him in his projects was one thing; but it was impossible to reply to his discourse in refutation of his arguments, and, above all, not to respect him.


From an editorial in the Boston Journal, July 13, 1892.

When John Bright, in Parliament, shortly after the successful laying of the Atlantic cable, called Cyrus W. Field the Columbus of modern times, he made no inappropriate comparison. Mr. Field, in the early days of the great undertaking that has made his name immortal, had to contend against the same difficulties as the intrepid Genoese. The lineal descendants of the fifteenth century pundits, who vexed the soul of Columbus by insisting that the world was flat, were very sure that a cable could never be laid across the boisterous Atlantic; that sea monsters would bite it off and huge waves destroy it. Both men finally prevailed over a doubting world by sheer force of indomitable enthusiasm.

Many men in Mr. Field's place, having amassed a fortune comparatively early in life, would have devoted themselves to ease and recreation. But there was too much of the New England spirit of restless energy in Mr. Field to permit him to pass the best years of his life thus ingloriously. The great thought of his cable occurred to him, and he became a man of one fixed idea, and ended by becoming a popular hero. No private American citizen, probably, has received such distinguished honors as Mr. Field when his cable was laid in 1867, and the undertaking of his lifetime was successfully accomplished. And Mr. Field was honestly entitled to all the glory and to all the financial profit[Pg 92] that he reaped. His project was one that only a giant mind could conceive, and a giant mind and a giant will could carry on to execution.

As if to make the parallel with Columbus complete, Mr. Field passed his last few days under the heavy shadow of misfortune. His son's failure, and the sensational developments attending it, were probably the occasion of his fatal illness. It is a melancholy termination of a remarkable career to which the nations of the earth owe a vast debt of gratitude.

Chicago Tribune, July 13, 1892.

The story of the twelve years' struggle to lay an Atlantic cable from Ireland to Newfoundland is the story of one of the greatest battles with the fates that any one man was ever called on to wage. It was a fight not only against the ocean, jealous of its rights as a separator of the continents, and against natural obstacles which seemed absolutely unsurpassable, but a fight against stubborn Parliaments and Congresses, and all the stumbling blocks of human disbelief. But the courage of Cyrus W. Field was indomitable. His patience and zeal were inexhaustible, and so it came to pass, on July 27, 1866, that this man knelt down in his cabin, like a second Columbus, and gave thanks to God, for his labors were crowned with success at last.

He had lost his health. He had worn out his nervous forces by the tremendous strain, and he paid in excruciating suffering the debt he owed to nature. But he had won a fortune and a lasting fame.


In 1849 the Italian merchants of Boston, under the presidency of Mr. Iasigi, presented to the city a statue of[Pg 93] Columbus, which was placed inside the inclosure of Louisburg Square, at the Pinckney Street end of the square. The statue, which is of inferior merit, bears no inscription, and is at the present date forgotten, dilapidated, and fast falling into decay.


Flavius J. Brobst in an article on Westminster Abbey, in the Mid-Continent Magazine, August, 1892.

Sublimest of all, the incomparable Earl of Chatham, whose prophetic ken foresaw the independence of the American nation even before the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill had been fought; and who, from the first, in Parliament, rose with his eagle beak, and raised his clarion voice with all the vehemence of his imperial soul in behalf of the American colonies, reaching once a climax of inspiration, when, in thunderous tones, he declared to the English nation, "You can not conquer America."


William C. Bryant, an eminent American poet. Born at Cummington, Mass., November 3, 1794; died June 12, 1878. From his "History of the United States."

With a patience that nothing could wear out, and a perseverance that, was absolutely unconquerable, Columbus waited and labored for eighteen years, appealing to minds that wanted light and to ears that wanted hearing. His ideas of the possibilities of navigation were before his time. It was one thing to creep along the coast of Africa, where the hold upon the land need never be lost, another to steer out boldly into that wilderness of waters, over which mystery and darkness brooded.[Pg 94]


J. W. Buel, a celebrated American author.

Oh, thou Santa Maria, thou famous remembrancer of the centuries! The names of none of those that sailed in search of the Golden Fleece are so well preserved among the eternities of history as is thine. No vessel of Rome, of Greece, of Carthage, of Egypt, that carried conquering Cæsar, triumphant Alexander, valiant Hannibal, or beauteous Cleopatra, shall be so well known to coming ages as thou art. No ship of the Spanish Armada, or of Lord Howard, who swept it from the sea; no looming monster; no Great Eastern or frowning ironclad of modern navies, shall be held like thee in perpetual remembrance by all the sons of men. For none ever bore such a hero on such a mission, that has glorified all nations by giving the greatest of all countries to the world.


John Burroughs, an American essayist and naturalist. Born at Roxbury, New York, April 3, 1837. From a letter in the St. Nicholas Magazine of July, 1892. (See post, Nason.)

There are a great many species of the thorn distributed throughout the United States. All the Northern species, so far as I know, have white flowers. In the South they are more inclined to be pink or roseate. If Columbus picked up at sea a spray of the thorn, it was doubtless some Southern species. Let us believe it was the Washington thorn, which grows on the banks of streams from Virginia to the Gulf, and loads heavily with small red fruit.

The thorn belongs to the great family of trees that includes the apple, peach, pear, raspberry, strawberry, etc., namely, the rose family, or Rosaceæ. Hence the apple, pear, and plum are often grafted on the white thorn.

A curious thing about the thorns is that they are sup[Pg 95]pressed or abortive branches. The ancestor of this tree must have been terribly abused sometime to have its branches turn to thorns.

I have an idea that persistent cultivation and good treatment would greatly mollify the sharp temper of the thorn, if not change it completely.

The flower of the thorn would become us well as a National flower. It belongs to such a hardy, spunky, unconquerable tree, and to such a numerous and useful family. Certainly, it would be vastly better than the merely delicate and pretty wild flowers that have been so generally named.


Richard E. Burton, in the Denver (Colo.) Times, 1892.

I see a galleon of Spanish make,
That westward like a wingéd creature flies,
Above a sea dawn-bright, and arched with skies
Expectant of the sun and morning-break.
The sailors from the deck their land-thirst slake
With peering o'er the waves, until their eyes
Discern a coast that faint and dream-like lies,
The while they pray, weep, laugh, or madly take
Their shipmates in their arms and speak no word.
And then I see a figure, tall, removed
A little from the others, as behooved,
That since the dawn has neither spoke nor stirred;
A noble form, the looming mast beside,
Columbus, calm, his prescience verified.


Hezekiah Butterworth, American author. Born in Rhode Island, 1839. From an article, "The Sea of Discovery," in The Youth's Companion, June 9, 1892.

The Bahama Sea is perhaps the most beautiful of all[Pg 96] waters. Columbus beheld it and its islands with a poet's eye.

"It only needed the singing of the nightingale," said the joyful mariner, "to make it like Andalusia in April;" and to his mind Andalusia was the loveliest place on earth. In sailing among these gardens of the seas in the serene and transparent autumn days after the great discovery, the soul of Columbus was at times overwhelmed and entranced by a sense of the beauty of everything in it and about it. Life seemed, as it were, a spiritual vision.

"I know not," said the discoverer, "where first to go; nor are my eyes ever weary of gazing on the beautiful verdure. The singing of the birds is such that it seems as if one would never desire to depart hence."

He speaks in a poet's phrases of the odorous trees, and of the clouds of parrots whose bright wings obscured the sun. His descriptions of the sea and its gardens are full of glowing and sympathetic colorings, and all things to him had a spiritual meaning.

"God," he said, on reviewing his first voyage over these western waters, "God made me the messenger of the new heavens and earth, and told me where to find them. Charts, maps, and mathematical knowledge had nothing to do with the case."

On announcing his discovery on his return, he breaks forth into the following highly poetic exhortation: "Let processions be formed, let festivals be held, let lauds be sung. Let Christ rejoice on earth."

Columbus was a student of the Greek and Latin poets, and of the poetry of the Hebrew Scriptures. The visions of Isaiah were familiar to him, and he thought that Isaiah himself at one time appeared to him in a vision. He loved nature. To him the outer world was a garment of the Invisible; and it was before his great soul had suffered dis[Pg 97]appointment that he saw the sun-flooded waters of the Bahama Sea and the purple splendors of the Antilles.

With the Columbus Monument in the background.
See page 81

There is scarcely an adjective in the picturesque report of Columbus in regard to this sea and these islands that is not now as appropriate and fitting as in the days when its glowing words delighted Isabella 400 years ago.


George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, one of England's famous poets. Born in London, January 22, 1788; died at Missolonghi, Greece, April 19, 1824.

Teems not each ditty with the glorious tale?
Ah! such, alas, the hero's amplest fate.
When granite molders and when records fail,

Pride! bend thine eye from heaven to thine estate,
See how the mighty shrink into a song.
Can volume, pillar, pile, preserve thee great?
Or must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue,
When Flattery sleeps with thee, and History does thee wrong.


Sebastian Cabot, a navigator of great eminence. Born at Bristol, England, about 1477. Discovered the mainland of North America. Died about 1557.

When newes were brought that Don Christopher Colonus, the Genoese, had discovered the coasts of India, whereof was great talke in all the Court of King Henry the VII. who then raigned, * * * all men with great admiration affirmed it to be a thing more divine than humane to saile by the West into the Easte, where the spices growe, by a chart that was never before knowen.[Pg 98]


Sir Arthur Helps. From "The Life of Columbus." [See other extracts, post, sub nomine Helps.]

1. Christopher Columbus wishes to be made Admiral of the seas and countries which he is about to discover. He desires to hold this dignity during his life, and that it should descend to his heirs.

This request is granted by the King and Queen.

2. Christopher Columbus wishes to be made Viceroy of all the continents and islands.

Granted by the King and Queen.

3. He wishes to have a share amounting to a tenth part of the profits of all merchandise—be it pearls, jewels, or any other thing—that may be found, gained, bought, or exported from the countries which he is to discover.

Granted by the King and Queen.

4. He wishes, in his quality of Admiral, to be made sole judge of all mercantile matters that may be the occasion of dispute in the countries which he is to discover.

Granted by the King and Queen, on condition that this jurisdiction should belong to the office of Admiral, as held by Don Enriques and other Admirals.

5. Christopher Columbus wishes to have the right to contribute the eighth part of the expenses of all ships which traffic with the new countries, and in return to earn the eighth part of the profits.

Granted by the King and Queen.

Santa Fé, in the Vega of Granada, April 17, 1492.[Pg 99]


Thomas Carlyle, "the Sage of Chelsea," celebrated English philosophic writer. Born at Ecclefechan, Scotland, December 4, 1795; died at Cheyne walk, Chelsea, London, February 5, 1881. From "Past and Present."

Brave Sea-captain, Norse Sea-king, Columbus, my hero, royalest Sea-king of all! it is no friendly environment this of thine, in the waste deep waters; around thee, mutinous, discouraged souls; behind thee, disgrace and ruin; before thee, the unpenetrated veil of Night. Brother, these wild water-mountains, bounding from their deep basin—ten miles deep, I am told—are not entirely there on thy behalf! Meseems they have other work than floating thee forward; and the huge winds that sweep from Ursa Major to the Tropics and Equator, dancing their giant waltz through the kingdoms of Chaos and Immensity, they care little about filling rightly or filling wrongly the small shoulder-of-mutton sails in this cockle-skiff of thine. Thou art not among articulate-speaking friends, my brother; thou art among immeasurable dumb monsters, tumbling, howling, wide as the world here. Secret, far off, invisible to all hearts but thine, there lies a help in them; see how thou wilt get at that. Patiently thou wilt wait till the mad southwester spend itself, saving thyself by dextrous science of defense the while; valiantly, with swift decision, wilt thou strike in, when the favoring east, the Possible, springs up. Mutiny of men thou wilt entirely repress; weakness, despondency, thou wilt cheerily encourage; thou wilt swallow down complaint, unreason, weariness, weakness of others and thyself. There shall be a depth of silence in thee deeper than this sea, which is but ten miles deep; a silence unsoundable, known to God only. Thou shalt be a great man. Yes, my World-soldier, thou wilt have to be greater than this tumultuous, unmeasured world here[Pg 100] around thee; thou, in thy strong soul, as with wrestler's arms, shalt embrace it, harness it down, and make it bear thee on—to new Americas.


Bliss Carman, from a poem in the Century Magazine, 1892.[30]

A lonely sail in the vast sea-room,
I have put out for the port of gloom.

The voyage is far on the trackless tide,
The watch is long, and the seas are wide.

The headlands, blue in the sinking day,
Kiss me a hand on the outward way.

The fading gulls, as they dip and veer,
Lift me a voice that is good to hear.

The great winds come, and the heaving sea,
The restless mother, is calling me.

The cry of her heart is lone and wild,
Searching the night for her wandered child.

Beautiful, weariless mother of mine,
In the drift of doom I am here, I am thine.

Beyond the fathom of hope or fear,
From bourn to bourn of the dusk I steer.

Swept on in the wake of the stars, in the stream
Of a roving tide, from dream to dream.


Lope de Vega Carpio, a celebrated Spanish poet and dramatist. Born at Madrid, November 25, 1562; died, 1635.[31]

[Pg 101]

Lope puts into the mouth of Columbus, in a dialogue with Ferdinand, who earnestly invites the discoverer to ask of him the wherewithal to prosecute the discovery, the following verses:

Sire, give me gold, for gold is all in all;
'Tis master, 'tis the goal and course alike,
The way, the means, the handicraft, and power,
The sure foundation and the truest friend.

Referring to the results of the great discovery, Lope beautifully says that it gave—

Al Rey infinitas terras
Y á Dios infinitas almas.

(To the King boundless lands, and to God souls without number.)


E. H. Chapin, American author of the nineteenth century.

Man was sent into the world to be a growing and exhaustless force; the world was spread out around him to be seized and conquered. Realms of infinite truth burst open above him, inviting him to tread those shining coasts along which Newton dropped his plummet and Herschel sailed, a Columbus of the skies.


From Chicago Tribune, August, 1892. [See also ante, Boston Journal.]

The suggestion has been made by Mr. John Boyd Thacher, commissioner from New York to the World's Fair, that a tribute be paid to the memory of Amerigo Vespucci by opening the Fair May 5, 1893, that being the anniversary of America's christening day. Mr. Thacher's suggestion is based upon the fact that May 5, 1507, there[Pg 102] was published at the College of Saint-Dié, in Lorraine, the "Cosmographic Introductio," by Waldseemuller, in which the name of America "for the fourth part of the world" (Europe, Asia, and Africa being the other three parts) was first advocated, in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. As Mr. Thacher's suggestion already has aroused considerable jealous opposition among the Italians of New York, who claim all the glory for Columbus, a statement of what was really discovered by the two great explorers will be of interest at the present time.

No writer of the present day has shed a clearer light upon this question than John Fiske, and it may be incidentally added, no student has done more than he to relieve Amerigo Vespucci from the reproach which has been fastened upon his reputation as an explorer, by critics, who, as Mr. Fiske clearly shows, have been misled by the sources of their authority and have judged him from erroneous standpoints. In making a statement of what the two explorers really discovered, the Tribune follows on the lines of Prof. Fiske's investigation as the clearest, most painstaking, and most authoritative that has yet been made.

Christopher Columbus made four voyages. On the first he sailed from Palos, Friday, August 3, 1492, and Friday, October 12th (new style, October 21st), discovered land in the West Indies. It was one of the islands of the Bahamas, called by the natives Guanahani, and named by him San Salvador; which name, after the seventeenth century, was applied to Cat Island, though which one of the islands is the true San Salvador is still a matter of dispute.

After spending ten days among the Bahamas Columbus (October 25th) steered south and reached the great Island of Cuba. He cruised around the east coast of the big island, and December 6th landed at Haiti, another immense island.[Pg 103] A succession of disasters ended his voyage and he thereupon returned to Spain, arriving there March 15, 1493.

Columbus sailed on his second voyage September 25, 1493, and November 3d landed at Dominica in the Caribbean Sea. During a two-weeks' cruise he discovered the islands of Marigalante, Guadaloupe, and Antigua, and lastly the large Island of Puerto Rico. April 24th he set out on another cruise of discovery. He followed the south coast of Cuba and came to Jamaica, the third largest of the West Indies, thence returning to Cuba, and from there to Spain, where he arrived June 11, 1494. On his third voyage he sailed May 30, 1498. Following a more southerly course, he arrived at Trinidad, and in coasting along saw the delta of the Orinoco River of South America and went into the Gulf of Paria. Thence he followed the north coast of Venezuela and finally arrived at Santo Domingo.

The story of his arrest there is well known. He was taken in chains to Cadiz, Spain, arriving there in December, 1500.

On his fourth and last voyage he sailed May 11, 1502. On June 15th he was at Martinique. He touched at Santo Domingo, thence sailed across to Cape Honduras, doubled that cape, and skirted the coast of Nicaragua, where he heard of the Pacific Ocean, though the name had not its present meaning for him. It was during his attempt to find the Isthmus of Darien, which he thought was a strait of water, that he was shipwrecked on the coast of Jamaica. He remained there a year and then went back to Spain, reaching home November 7, 1504. It was the last voyage of the great navigator, and it will be observed that he never saw or stepped foot on the mainland of North America, though he saw South America in 1498, as stated. In 1506 he died in Spain.

Amerigo Vespucci, like Columbus, made four voyages,[Pg 104] some of the details of which are known. His letter, written to his friend Piero Soderini, September 4, 1504, gives us information concerning his famous first voyage. Hitherto the only copy of this letter known was a Latin translation of it published at the College of Saint-Dié, April 25, 1507, but the primitive text from which the translation was made has been found, and by that text Americus' reputation has been saved from the discredit critics and biographers have cast upon it, and his true laurels have been restored to him. The mistake of changing one word, the Indian name "Lariab," in the original, to "Parias," in the Latin version, is accountable for it all. The scene of his explorations is now transferred from Parias, in South America, to Lariab, in North America, and his entire letter is freed from mystery or inconsistency with the claims which have been made for him.

It is now established beyond controversy that Americus sailed on the first voyage, not as commander, but as astronomer, of the expedition, May 10, 1497, and first ran to the Grand Canaries. Leaving there May 25th, the first landfall was on the northern coast of Honduras of North America. Thence he sailed around Yucatan and up the Mexican coast to Tampico ("Lariab," not "Parias"). After making some inland explorations he followed the coast line 870 leagues (2,610 miles), which would take him along our Southern gulf coast, around Florida, and north along the Atlantic coast until "they found themselves in a fine harbor." Was this Charleston harbor or Hampton Roads? In any event, when he started back to Spain he sailed from the Atlantic coast somewhere between Capes Charles and Canaveral. The outcome of this voyage was the first discovery of Honduras, parts of the Mexican and Florida coasts, the insularity of Cuba—which Columbus thought was part of the mainland of Asia—and 4,000 miles[Pg 105] of the coast line of North America. The remaining three voyages have no bearing upon North American discovery. On the second, he explored the northern coast of Brazil to the Gulf of Maracaibo; on the third, he went again to the Brazilian coast and found the Island of South Georgia, and on the fourth returned to Brazil, but without making any discoveries of importance.

Mr. Fiske's luminous narrative lends significance to Mr. Thacher's suggestion, for Vespucci discovered a large portion of the mainland of the North American continent which Columbus had never seen. To this extent his first voyage gave a new meaning to Columbus' work, without diminishing, however, the glory of the latter's great achievement. Americus, indeed, had his predecessors, for John and Sebastian Cabot, sent out by Henry VII. of England a short time before his discovery, had set foot upon Labrador, and probably had visited Nova Scotia. And even before Cabot, the Northern Vikings, among them Leif Ericcson, had found their way to this continent and perhaps set up their Vineland in Massachusetts. And before the Vikings there may have been other migrants, and before the migrants the aborigines, who were the victims of all the explorers from the Vikings to the Puritans. But their achievements had no meaning and left no results. As Prof. Fiske says: "In no sense was any real contact established between the eastern and western halves of our planet until the great voyage of Columbus in 1492." It was that voyage which inspired the great voyage of Americus in 1497. He followed the path marked out by Columbus, and he invested the latter's discovery with a new significance. Upon the basis of merit and historical fact, therefore, Mr. Thacher's suggestion deserves consideration; and why should Italians be jealous, when Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and John Cabot were all of Italian birth?[Pg 106]


Hyde Clarke, Vice-President Royal Historical Society of England, in his "Examination of the Legend of Atlantis," etc. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1886.

At the time when Columbus, as well as others, was discussing the subject of new lands to be discovered, literary resources had become available. The Latin writers could be examined; but, above all, the fall of Constantinople had driven numbers of Greeks into Italy. The Greek language was studied, and Greek books were eagerly bought by the Latin nations, as before they had been by the Arabs. Thus, all that had been written as to the four worlds was within the ken of Columbus.


James Freeman Clarke, an American writer and Unitarian minister. Born at Hanover, N. H., in 1810; died at Jamaica Plain, June 8, 1888.[32]

We think of Columbus as the great discoverer of America; we do not remember that his actual life was one of disappointment and failure. Even his discovery of America was a disappointment; he was looking for India, and utterly failed of this. He made maps and sold them to support his old father. Poverty, contumely, indignities of all sorts, met him wherever he turned. His expectations were considered extravagant, his schemes futile; the theologians exposed him with texts out of the Bible; he wasted seven years waiting in vain for encouragement at the court of Spain. He applied unsuccessfully to the governments of Venice, Portugal, Genoa, France, England. Practical men said, "It can't be done. He is a visionary." Doctors of divinity said, "He is a heretic; he contradicts the Bible." Isabella, being a woman, and a woman of senti[Pg 107]ment, wished to help him; but her confessor said no. We all know how he was compelled to put down mutiny in his crew, and how, after his discovery was made, he was rewarded with chains and imprisonment, how he died in neglect, poverty, and pain, and only was rewarded by a sumptuous funeral. His great hope, his profound convictions, were his only support and strength.


Diego Clemencin, a Spanish statesman and author of merit. Born at Murcia, 1765; died, 1834. From his "Elogio de la Reina Catolica, Isabella de Castilla" (1851).

A man obscure, and but little known, followed at this time the court. Confounded in the crowd of unfortunate applicants, feeding his imagination in the corners of antechambers with the pompous project of discovering a world, melancholy and dejected in the midst of the general rejoicing, he beheld with indifference, and almost with contempt, the conclusion of a conquest which swelled all bosoms with jubilee, and seemed to have reached the utmost bounds of desire. That man was Christopher Columbus.


James David Coleman, Supreme President of the Catholic Knights of America, in an address to the members of that body, September 10, 1892.

History tells that the anxious journey was begun by Columbus and his resolute band, approaching Holy Communion at Palos, on August 3, 1492; that its prosecution, through sacrifices and perils, amid harrowing uncertainties, was stamped with an exalted faith and unyielding trust in God, and that its marvelous and glorious consummation, in October, 1492, was acknowledged by the chivalrous knight,[Pg 108] in tearful gratitude, on bended knee, at the foot of the cross of Christ, as the merciful gift of his omnipotent Master. Then it was that Christopher Columbus, the first Catholic knight of America, made the gracious Christian tribute of grateful recognition of Divine assistance by planting upon the soil of his newly discovered land the true emblem of Christianity and of man's redemption—the cross of our Savior. And then, reverently kneeling before the cross, and with eyes and hearts uplifted to their immolated God, this valiant band of Christian knights uttered from the virgin sod of America the first pious supplication that He would abundantly bless His gift to Columbus; and the unequaled grandeur of our civil structure of to-day tells the manifest response to those prayers of 400 years ago.


Robert Collyer, a distinguished pulpit orator. Born at Keighley, Yorkshire, December 8, 1823.

The successful men in the long fight with fortune are the cheerful men, or those, certainly, who find the fair background of faith and hope. Columbus, but for this, had never found our New World.


In the city of Colon, Department of Panama, Colombia, stands a statue to the memory of Columbus, of some artistic merit. The great Genoese is represented as encircling the neck of an Indian youth with his protecting arm, a representation somewhat similar to the pose of the statue in the plaza of the city of Santo Domingo. This statue was donated by the ex-Empress of the French, and on a wooden[Pg 109] tablet attached to the concrete pedestal the following inscription appears:

Statue de
Donnée par
L'Impératrice Eugénie
Erigée à Colon
Par Decret de la Legislature de
Au 29 Juin, 1866,
Par les soins de la Compagnie
Universelle du Canal Maritime
De Panama
Le 21 Fevrier, 1886.[33]


Statue of
Presented by
The Empress Eugénie
Erected in honor of Columbus
By Decree of the Legislature of
The 29th of June, 1866,
Under the Supervision of the Universal
Company of the Maritime Canal
Of Panama
The 21st of February, 1886.


Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, commonly called Lord Bacon, is generally so called. Born in London January 22, 1561; died April 19, 1626.[Pg 110]


Sir William Herschel, one of the greatest astronomers that any age or nation has produced, is generally so termed. Born at Hanover November 15, 1738; died August, 1822.


Cyrus W. Field was termed "the Columbus of modern times, who, by his cable, had moored the New World alongside of the Old," by the Rt. Hon. John Bright, in a debate in the British Parliament soon after the successful completion of the Atlantic cable.


Galileo, the illustrious Italian mathematician and natural philosopher, is so styled by Edward Everett (post). He was born at Pisa February 15, 1564; died near Florence in January, 1642.[34]


Hernando Columbus, son of Christopher. Born at Cordova, 1488; died at Valladolid, 1539.

He was tall, well formed, muscular, and of an elevated and dignified demeanor. His visage was long, neither full nor meager; his complexion fair and freckled, and inclined to ruddy; his nose aquiline; his cheek bones were rather high, his eyes light gray, and apt to enkindle; his whole countenance had an air of authority. His hair, in his youthful days, was of a light color, but care and trouble, according to Las Casas, soon turned it gray, and at thirty years of age it was quite white. He was moderate and simple in diet and apparel, eloquent in discourse, engaging and affable with strangers, and his amiability and suavity in domestic life strongly attached his household to his person. His temper was naturally irritable, but he subdued[Pg 111] it by the magnanimity of his spirits, comporting himself with a courteous and gentle gravity, and never indulging in any intemperance of language. Throughout his life he was noted for strict attention to the offices of religion, observing rigorously the fasts and ceremonies of the church; nor did his piety consist in mere forms, but partook of that lofty and solemn enthusiasm with which his whole character was strongly tinctured.


Kinahan Cornwallis. From his "Song of America and Columbus; or, The Story of the New World." New York, 1892. Published by the Daily Investigator.

Hail! to this New World nation; hail!
That to Columbus tribute pays;
That glorifies his name, all hail,
And crowns his memory with bays.

Hail! to Columbia's mighty realm,
Which all her valiant sons revere,
And foemen ne'er can overwhelm.
Well may the world its prowess fear.

Hail! to this richly favored land,
For which the patriot fathers fought.
Forever may the Union stand,
To crown the noble deeds they wrought.

Hail! East and West, and North and South,
From Bunker Hill to Mexico;
The Lakes to Mississippi's mouth,
And the Sierras crowned with snow.

Hail! to the wondrous works of man,
From Maine to California's shores;
From ocean they to ocean span,
And over all the eagle soars.
[Pg 112]


Six sail were in the squadron he possessed,
And these he felt the Lord of Hosts had blessed,
For he was ever faithful to the cross,
With which compared, all else was earthly dross.
Southwestward toward the equinoctial line
He steered his barks, for vast was his design.
There, like a mirror, the Atlantic lay,
White dolphins on its breast were seen to play,
And lazily the vessels rose and fell,
With flapping sails, upon the gentle swell;
While panting crews beneath the torrid sun
Lost strength and spirits—felt themselves undone.
Day after day the air a furnace seemed,
And fervid rays upon them brightly beamed,
The burning decks displayed their yawning seams,
And from the rigging tar ran down in streams.—Ibid.


Rudolph Cronau, the eminent author and scientist of Leipsic, Germany, has contributed to the World's Fair his extensive collection of paintings, sketches, and photographs, representing scenes in the life of Columbus, and places visited by Columbus during his voyages to the New World. Doctor Cronau has spent a great part of his life in the study of early American history, and has published a work on the subject, based entirely upon his personal investigations.


An indentation of the coast of Watling's Island, in the Bahamas, is known to this day as Columbus' Haven.

The gift of the ex-Empress of the French.
(See page 109 .)

[Pg 113]


In the caves of Bellamar, near Matanzas, Cuba, are sparkling columns of crystal 150 feet high; one is called the "Mantle of Columbus."


The Hon. William Eleroy Curtis, an American journalist, Secretary of the Bureau of the American Republics, Washington, D. C. Born at Akron, Ohio. From an article, "The Columbus Portraits," in the Cosmopolitan Magazine, January, 1892.

Although Columbus twice mentioned in his alleged will that he was a native of Genoa, a dozen places still demand the honor of being considered his birthplace, and two claim to possess his bones. Nothing is certain about his parentage, and his age is the subject of dispute. The stories of his boyhood adventures are mythical, and his education at the University of Pavia is denied.

The same doubt attends the various portraits that pretend to represent his features. The most reliable authorities—and the subject has been under discussion for two centuries—agree that there is no tangible evidence to prove that the face of Columbus was ever painted or sketched or graven, during his life. His portrait has been painted, like that of the Madonna and those of the saints, by many famous artists, each dependent upon verbal descriptions of his appearance by contemporaneous writers, and each conveying to the canvas his own conception of what the great seaman's face must have been; but it may not be said that any of the portraits are genuine, and it is believed that all of them are more or less fanciful.

It must be considered that the art of painting portraits was in its infancy when Columbus lived. The honor was reserved for kings and queens and other dignitaries, and Columbus was regarded as an importunate adventurer,[Pg 114] who at the close of his first voyage enjoyed a brief triumph, but from the termination of his second voyage was the victim of envy and misrepresentation to the close of his life. He was derided and condemned, was brought in chains like a common felon from the continent he had discovered, and for nearly two hundred years his descendants contested in the courts for the dignities and emoluments he demanded of the crown of Spain before undertaking what was then the most perilous and uncertain of adventures. Even the glory of giving his name to the lands he discovered was transferred to another—a man who followed in his track; and it is not strange, under such circumstances, that the artists of Spain did not leave the religious subjects upon which they were engaged to paint the portrait of one who said of himself that he was a beggar "without a penny to buy food."


The Hon. William Eleroy Curtis, in an able article in the Chautauquan Magazine, September, 1892.

Whether the meager results of recent investigation are more reliable than the testimony of earlier pens is a serious question, and the sympathetic and generous reader will challenge the right of modern historians to destroy and reject traditions to which centuries have paid reverence. The failure to supply evidence in place of that which has been discarded is of itself sufficient to impair faith in the modern creation, and simply demonstrates the fallacy of the theory that what can not be proven did not exist. If the same analysis to which the career of Columbus has been subjected should be applied to every character in sacred and secular history, there would be little left among the world's great heroes to admire. So we ask permission to retain the old ideal, and remember the discov[Pg 115]erer of our hemisphere as a man of human weaknesses but of stern purpose, inflexible will, undaunted courage, patience, and professional theories most of which modern science has demonstrated to be true.


Giulio Dati, a Florentine poet. Born, 1560; died about 1630.

A lengthy poem, in ottava rima (founded upon the first letter of Columbus announcing his success), was composed in 1493, by Giulio Dati, the famous Florentine poet, and was sung in the streets of that city to publish the discovery of the New World. The full Italian text is to be found in R. H. Major's "Select Letters of Christopher Columbus," Hakluyt Society, 1871.


Jean François Casimir Delavigne, a popular French poet and dramatist. Born at Havre, April 4, 1793; died at Lyons, December, 1843.


On the deck stood Columbus; the ocean's expanse,
Untried and unlimited, swept by his glance.
"Back to Spain!" cry his men; "put the vessel about!
We venture no farther through danger and doubt."
"Three days, and I give you a world," he replied;
"Bear up, my brave comrades—three days shall decide."
He sails—but no token of land is in sight;
He sails—but the day shows no more than the night;
On, onward he sails, while in vain o'er the lee
[Pg 116]The lead is plunged down through a fathomless sea.
The second day's past, and Columbus is sleeping,
While mutiny near him its vigil is keeping.
"Shall he perish?" "Ay, death!" is the barbarous cry.
"He must triumph to-morrow, or, perjured, must die!"
Ungrateful and blind! shall the world-linking sea,
He traced, for the future his sepulcher be?
Shall that sea, on the morrow, with pitiless waves,
Fling his corse on that shore which his patient eye craves?
The corse of a humble adventurer, then.
One day later—Columbus, the first among men.

But, hush! he is dreaming! A veil on the main,
At the distant horizon, is parted in twain;
And now on his dreaming eye—rapturous sight—
Fresh bursts the New World from the darkness of night.
O vision of glory! how dazzling it seems;
How glistens the verdure! how sparkle the streams!
How blue the far mountains! how glad the green isles!
And the earth and the ocean, how dimpled with smiles!
"Joy! joy!" cries Columbus, "this region is mine!"
Ah, not e'en its name, wondrous dreamer, is thine.


The Rev. B. F. De Costa, D. D., a well-known New York divine and social reformer of the present day. Founder of the White Cross Society.

Prof. Rafri, in "Antiquitates Americanæ," gives notices of numerous Icelandic voyages to American and other lands of the West. The existence of a great country southwest of Greenland is referred to, not as a matter of speculation merely, but as something perfectly well known. Let us remember that in vindicating the Northmen we honor those who not only give us the first knowledge possessed of the American continent, but to whom we are indebted besides for much that we esteem valuable.[Pg 117]


Chauncey M. Depew, one of the leading American orators of the nineteenth century. From an oration on "Columbus and the Exposition," delivered in Chicago in 1890.

It is not sacrilege to say that the two events to which civilization to-day owes its advanced position are the introduction of Christianity and the discovery of America.

When Columbus sailed from Palos, types had been discovered, but church and state held intelligence by the throat.

Sustained enthusiasm has been the motor of every movement in the progress of mankind.

Genius, pluck, endurance, and faith can be resisted by neither kings nor cabinets.

Columbus stands deservedly at the head of that most useful band of men—the heroic cranks in history.

The persistent enthusiast whom one generation despises as a lunatic with one idea, succeeding ones often worship as a benefactor.

This whole country is ripe and ready for the inspection of the world.


Aubrey Thomas de Vere, an English poet and political writer. Born, 1814. In a sonnet, "Genoa."


Whose prow descended first the Hesperian Sea,
And gave our world her mate beyond the brine,
Was nurtured, whilst an infant, at thy knee.


The crimson sun was sinking down to rest,
Pavilioned on the cloudy verge of heaven;
And ocean, on her gently heaving breast,
[Pg 118]Caught and flashed back the varying tints of even;
When, on a fragment from the tall cliff riven,
With folded arms, and doubtful thoughts opprest,
Columbus sat, till sudden hope was given—
A ray of gladness shooting from the West.
Oh, what a glorious vision for mankind
Then dawned upon the twilight of his mind;
Thoughts shadowy still, but indistinctly grand.
There stood his genie, face to face, and signed
(So legends tell) far seaward with her hand,
Till a new world sprang up, and bloomed beneath her wand.

He was a man whom danger could not daunt,
Nor sophistry perplex, nor pain subdue;
A stoic, reckless of the world's vain taunt,
And steeled the path of honor to pursue.
So, when by all deserted, still he knew
How best to soothe the heart-sick, or confront
Sedition; schooled with equal eye to view
The frowns of grief and the base pangs of want.
But when he saw that promised land arise
In all its rare and beautiful varieties,
Lovelier than fondest fancy ever trod,
Then softening nature melted in his eyes;
He knew his fame was full, and blessed his God,
And fell upon his face and kissed the virgin sod!


The Drake Fountain, Chicago, presented to the city by Mr. John B. Drake, a prominent and respected citizen, is to occupy a space between the city hall and the court house buildings, on the Washington Street frontage. The[Pg 119] monument is to be Gothic in style, and the base will be composed of granite from Baveno, Italy. The design includes a pedestal, on the front of which will be placed a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus, seven feet high, which is to be cast in the royal foundry at Rome. The statue will be the production of an American artist of reputation, Mr. R. H. Park of Chicago. The fountain is to be provided with an ice-chamber capable of holding two tons of ice, and is to be surrounded with a water-pipe containing ten faucets, each supplied with a bronze cup. The entire cost will be $15,000. Mr. Drake's generous gift to Chicago is to be ready for public use in 1892, and it will, therefore, be happily commemorative of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. The inscription on the fountain reads: "Ice-water drinking fountain presented to the City of Chicago by John B. Drake 1892." At the feet of the statue of Columbus, who is represented as a student of geography in his youth at the University of Pavia, is inscribed, "Christopher Columbus, 1492-1892."

The fountain is a very handsome piece of bronze art work, and Commissioner Aldrich has decided to place it in a conspicuous place, being none other than the area between the court house and the city hall, facing Washington Street. This central and accessible spot of public ground has been an unsightly stabling place for horses ever since the court house was built. It will now be sodded, flower-beds will be laid out, and macadamized walks will surround the Drake Fountain. The new feature will be a relief to weary eyes, and an ornament to Washington Street and the center of the city.

The red granite base for the fountain has been received at the custom house. It was made in Turin, Italy, and cost $3,300. Under the law, the stone came in duty free, as it is intended as a gift to the municipality.[Pg 120]


John William Draper, a celebrated American chemist and scientist. Born near Liverpool, England, 1811; died January 4, 1882. From his "Intellectual Development of Europe," 1876. By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York.

Columbus appears to have formed his theory that the East Indies could be reached by sailing to the west about A. D. 1474. He was at that time in correspondence with Toscanelli, the Florentine astronomer, who held the same doctrine, and who sent him a map or chart constructed on the travels of Marco Polo. He offered his services first to his native city, then to Portugal, then to Spain, and, through his brother, to England; his chief inducement, in each instance, being that the riches of India might be thus secured. In Lisbon he had married. While he lay sick near Belem, an unknown voice whispered to him in a dream, "God will cause thy name to be wonderfully resounded through the earth, and will give thee the keys of the gates of the ocean which are closed with strong chains." The death of his wife appears to have broken the last link which held him to Portugal, where he had been since 1470. One evening, in the autumn of 1485, a man of majestic presence, pale, careworn, and, though in the meridian of life, with silver hair, leading a little boy by the hand, asked alms at the gate of the Franciscan convent near Palos—not for himself, but only a little bread and water for his child. This was that Columbus destined to give to Europe a new world.


The Right Rev. Anthony Durier, Bishop of Natchitoches, La., in a circular letter to the clergy and laity of the diocese, printed in the New Orleans Morning Star, September 10, 1892.

We cherish the memory of the illustrious sailor, also of the lady and of the monk who were providential[Pg 121] instruments in opening a new world to religion and civilization.

Designed by H. H. Zearing of Chicago.

Honor to the sailor, Christopher Columbus, the Christ-bearing dove, as his name tells, gentle as a dove of hallowed memory as Christ-bearer. In fact, he brought Christ to the New World. Look back at that sailor, 400 years ago, on bended knees, with hands uplifted in prayer, on the shores of Guanahani, first to invoke the name of Jesus in the New World; in fact, as in name, behold the Christ-bearing dove. Columbus was a knight of the cross, with his good cross-hilted sword, blessed by the church. The first aim and ambition of a knight of the cross, at that time, was to plant the cross in the midst of heathen nations, and to have them brought from "the region of the shadow of death" into the life-giving bosom of Mother Church.

Listen to the prayer of Columbus, as he brings his lips to, and kneels on, the blessed land he has discovered, that historic prayer which he had prepared long in advance, and which all Catholic discoverers repeated after him: "O Lord God, eternal and omnipotent, who by Thy divine word hast created the heavens, the earth, and the sea! Blessed and glorified be thy name and praised Thy majesty, who hast deigned by me, thy humble servant, to have that sacred name made known and preached in this other part of the world."

Behold the true knight of the cross, with cross-hilted sword in hand, the name of Jesus on his lips, the glory of Jesus in his heart. He does not say a word of the glory which, from the discovery, is bound to accrue to the name of Spain and to his own name; every word is directed to, and asking for, the glory of the name of Jesus.

The great discoverer has knelt down, kissed the ground, and said his prayer; now, look at that Catholic Spanish[Pg 122] sailor standing up, in commanding dignity, and planting his Catholic cross and his Spanish flag on the discovered land; what does it mean? It means—the Spanish flag in America for a time, and the Catholic cross in America forever.

Hail, flag of the discoverer! Spanish flag, the flag of the noble and the daring. That Spanish flag came here first, had its glorious day, and still in glory went back. Hail, Catholic cross! the cross of the discoverer. That cross is not to go back, as the Spanish flag; no, not even in glory. About that cross, only two simple words, and that settles it; that Catholic cross is here to stay. Hail, American flag! star-spangled banner; the banner of the brave and of the free. That one, our own flag, came long after the Spanish flag, but we trust came to stay as long as the Catholic cross—until doom's-day.

Honor to the lady, Queen Isabella the Catholic. Among all illustrious women, Isabella alone has been graced with the title of "the Catholic,"—a peerless title! And truly did she deserve the peerless title, the lady who threw heart and soul, and, over and above, her gold, in the discovery by which, out of the spiritual domains of the Catholic church, the sun sets no more; the lady who paved the way over the bounding sea to the great discoverer. Bright and energetic lady! She at once understood Columbus and stood resolute, ready to pave him the way even with her jewels. Listen to her words: "I undertake the enterprise for my own crown of Castille, and I will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds."

The generous lady had not to pledge her jewels; yet her gold was freely spent, lavished on the expedition; and she stood by Columbus, in storm and sunshine, as long as she lived. Isabella stood by Columbus, in his success, with winsome gentleness, keeping up his daring spirit of enter[Pg 123]prise; and, in his reverses, with the balm of unwavering devotion healing his bruised, bleeding heart. Isabella stood by Columbus, as a mother by her son, ever, ever true to her heroic son.

Honor to the humble monk, John Perez, Father John, as he was called in his convent. That monk whose name will live as long as the names of Columbus and Isabella; that monk, great by his learning and still better by his heart; that humble, plain man inspired the sailor with perseverance indomitable, the lady with generosity unlimited, and sustained in both sailor and lady that will power and mount-removing faith the result of which was to give "to the Spanish King innumerable countries and to God innumerable souls." As the Spanish poet, Lope de Vega, beautifully puts it:

Al Rey infinitas tierras,
Y á Dios infinitas almas.

It is the Spanish throne which backed Columbus; but, mind! that monk was "the power behind the throne."

We Louisianians live, may be, in the fairest part of the New World discovered by Columbus. When Chevalier La Salle had explored the land, he gave it the beautiful name of Louisiana, and he wrote to his king, Louis XIV., these words: "The land we have explored and named Louisiana, after your Majesty's name, is a paradise, the Eden of the New World." Thanks be to God who has cast our lot in this paradise, the Eden of the New World, fair Louisiana! Let us honor and ever cherish the memory of the hero who led the way and opened this country to our forefathers. Louisiana was never blessed with the footprints of Columbus, yet by him it was opened to the onward march of the Christian nations.

To the great discoverer, Christopher Columbus, the gratitude of Louisiana, the Eden of the New World.[Pg 124]


Rev. L. A. Dutto of Jackson, Miss., in an article, "Columbus in Portugal," in the Catholic World, April, 1892.

Columbus in 1492, accompanied by a motley crew of sailors of different nationalities, crossed the Atlantic and discovered America. Hence the glory of that event, second only in importance to the incarnation of Christ, is attributed very generally solely to him. As reflex lights of that glory, history mentions the names of Queen Isabella, of the Pinzon brothers, the friar Juan Perez. There is another name that should be placed at head of the list. That is, Bartolomeo Columbus, the brother of Christopher. From the beginning there existed a partnership between the two in the mighty undertaking; the effect of a common conviction that the land of spices, Cipango and Cathay, the East, could be reached by traveling west. Both of them spent the best years of their life in privation, hardship, and poverty, at times the laughing stock of the courts of Europe, in humbly begging from monarchies and republics the ships necessary to undertake their voyage. While Christopher patiently waited in the antechambers of the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Bartolomeo, map in hand, explained to Henry VII. of England the rotundity of the earth, and the feasibility of traveling to the antipodes. Having failed in his mission to the English king, he passed to France to ask of her what had been refused by Portugal, Spain, Venice, England, and Genoa. While he was there, Columbus, who had no means of communicating with him, sailed from Palos. Had there been, as now, a system of international mails, Bartolomeo would now share with his brother the title of Discoverer of America. Las Casas represents him as little inferior to Christopher in the art of navigation, and as a writer and in things pertaining to cartography as his superior. Gallo, the earliest biographer of[Pg 125] Columbus, and writing during his lifetime, has told us that Bartolomeo settled in Lisbon, and there made a living by drawing mariners' charts. Giustiniani, another countryman of Columbus, says in his polyglot Psalter, published in 1537, that Christopher learned cartography from his brother Bartolomeo, who had learned it himself in Lisbon. But what may appear more surprising is the plain statement of Gallo that Bartolomeo was the first to conceive the idea of reaching the East by way of the West, by a transatlantic voyage, and that he communicated it to his brother, who was more experienced than himself in nautical affairs.


Charles H. Eden, English historical writer and traveler. From "The West Indies."

Nearly four centuries ago, in the year 1492, before the southern point of the great African continent had been doubled, and when the barbaric splendor of Cathay and the wealth of Hindustan were only known to Europeans through the narratives of Marco Polo or Sir John Mandeville—early on the morning of Friday, October 12th, a man stood bareheaded on the deck of a caravel and watched the rising sun lighting up the luxuriant tropical vegetation of a level and beautiful island toward which the vessel was gently speeding her way. Three-and-thirty days had elapsed since the last known point of the Old World, the Island of Ferrol, had faded away over the high poop of his vessel; eventful weeks, during which he had to contend against the natural fears of the ignorant and superstitious men by whom he was surrounded, and by the stratagem of a double reckoning, together with promises of future wealth, to allay the murmuring which threatened to frustrate the project that for so many years had been nearest his heart. Never, in the darkest hour, did the courage[Pg 126] of that man quail or his soul admit a single doubt of success. When the terrified mariners remarked with awe that the needle deviated from the pole star, their intrepid Admiral, by an ingenious theory of his own, explained the cause of the phenomenon and soothed the alarm that had arisen. When the steady trade-winds were reached, and the vessels flew rapidly for days toward the west, the commander hailed as a godsend the mysterious breeze that his followers regarded with awe as imposing an insuperable barrier to their return to sunny Spain. When the prow of the caravel was impeded, and her way deadened by the drifting network of the Sargasso Sea, the leader saw therein only assured indications of land, and resolutely shut his ears against those prophets who foresaw evil in every incident.

Now his hopes were fulfilled, the yearnings of a lifetime realized. During the night a light had been seen, and at 2 o'clock in the morning land became, beyond all doubt, visible. Then the three little vessels laid to, and with the earliest streak of dawn made sail toward the coast. A man stood bareheaded on the deck of the leading caravel and feasted his eyes upon the wooded shore; the man was Christopher Columbus, the land he gazed on the "West Indies."


San Salvador, or Watling's Island, is about twelve miles in length by six in breadth, having its interior largely cut up by salt-water lagoons, separated from each other by low woody hills. Being one of the most fertile of the group, it maintains nearly 2,000 inhabitants, who are scattered about over its surface. Peculiar interest will always attach itself to this spot as being the first land on which the discoverer of the New World set foot.—Ibid.[Pg 127]


Xerif Al Edrisi, surnamed "The Nubian," an eminent Arabian geographer. Born at Ceuta, Africa, about 1100. In "A Description of Spain" (Conde's Spanish translation, Madrid, 1799). He wrote a celebrated treatise of geography, and made a silver terrestrial globe for Roger II., King of Sicily, at whose court he lived.

The ocean encircles the ultimate bounds of the inhabited earth, and all beyond it is unknown. No one has been able to verify anything concerning it, on account of its difficult and perilous navigation, its great obscurity, its profound depth, and frequent tempests; through fear of its mighty fishes and its haughty winds; yet there are many islands in it, some peopled, others uninhabited. There is no mariner who dares to enter into its deep waters; or, if any have done so, they have merely kept along its coasts, fearful of departing from them. The waves of this ocean, although they roll as high as mountains, yet maintain themselves without breaking, for if they broke it would be impossible for ship to plow them.


Prof. Maurice Francis Egan. From an article, "Columbus the Christ-Bearer," in the New York Independent, June 2, 1892.

The caravels equipped at Palos were so unseaworthy, judged by the dangers of the Atlantic, that no crew in our time would have trusted in them. The people of Palos disliked this foreigner, Columbus. No man of Palos, except the Pinzons, ancient mariners, sympathized with him in his hopes. The populace overrated the risks of the voyage; the court, fortunately for Columbus, underrated them. The Admiral's own ships and his crew were not such as to inspire confidence. His friends, the friars, had somewhat calmed the popular feeling against the expedition; but ungrateful Palos never approved of it until it made her famous.[Pg 128]


Samuel R. Elliott, in the Century Magazine, September, 1892.

You have no heart? Ah, when the Genoese
Before Spain's monarchs his great voyage planned,
Small faith had they in worlds beyond the seas—
And your Columbus yet may come to land!


Ralph Waldo Emerson, the well-known American essayist, poet, and speculative philosopher. Born in Boston, May 25, 1803; died at Concord, April 27, 1882. From his essay on "Success," in Society and Solitude. Copyright, by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers, Boston, and with their permission.

Columbus at Veragua found plenty of gold; but, leaving the coast, the ship full of one hundred and fifty skillful seamen, some of them old pilots, and with too much experience of their craft and treachery to him, the wise Admiral kept his private record of his homeward path. And when he reached Spain, he told the King and Queen, "That they may ask all the pilots who came with him, Where is Veragua? Let them answer and say, if they know, where Veragua lies. I assert that they can give no other account than that they went to lands where there was abundance of gold, but they do not know the way to return thither, but would be obliged to go on a voyage of discovery as much as if they had never been there before. There is a mode of reckoning," he proudly adds, "derived from astronomy, which is sure and safe to any who understands it."


From a poem, "Seashore," by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston.

I with my hammer pounding evermore
[Pg 129]The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust,
Strewing my bed, and, in another age,
Rebuild a continent of better men.
Then I unbar the doors; my paths lead out
The exodus of nations; I disperse
Men to all shores that front the hoary main.
I too have arts and sorceries;
Illusion dwells forever with the wave.
I know what spells are laid. Leave me to deal
With credulous and imaginative man;
For, though he scoop my water in his palm,
A few rods off he deems it gems and clouds.
Planting strange fruits and sunshine on the shore,
I make some coast alluring, some lone isle,
To distant men, who must go there, or die.

From the Drake Drinking Fountain, Chicago.
(See page 118 .)


Columbus alleged, as a reason for seeking a continent in the West, that the harmony of nature required a great tract of land in the western hemisphere to balance the known extent of land in the eastern.—Ibid.


Edward Everett, a distinguished American orator, scholar, and statesman. Born at Dorchester, Mass., April 11, 1794; died, January 15, 1865. From a lecture on "The Discovery of America," delivered at a meeting of the Historical Society of New York in 1853.

No chapter of romance equals the interest of this expedition. The most fascinating of the works of fiction which have issued from the modern press have, to my taste, no attraction compared with the pages in which the first voyage of Columbus is described by Robertson, and still more by our own Irving and Prescott, the last two enjoying the advantage over the great Scottish historian of possess[Pg 130]ing the lately discovered journals and letters of Columbus himself. The departure from Palos, where a few years before he had begged a morsel of bread and a cup of water for his way-worn child; his final farewell to the Old World at the Canaries; his entrance upon the trade-winds, which then for the first time filled a European sail; the portentous variation of the needle, never before observed; the fearful course westward and westward, day after day and night after night, over the unknown ocean; the mutinous and ill-appeased crew; at length, when hope had turned to despair in every heart but one, the tokens of land—the cloud banks on the western horizon, the logs of driftwood, the fresh shrub floating with its leaves and berries, the flocks of land birds, the shoals of fish that inhabit shallow water, the indescribable smell of the shore; the mysterious presentment that seems ever to go before a great event; and finally, on that ever memorable night of October 12, 1492, the moving light seen by the sleepless eye of the great discoverer himself from the deck of the Santa Maria, and in the morning the real, undoubted land swelling up from the bosom of the deep, with its plains and forests, and hills and rocks and streams, and strange new races of men. These are incidents in which the authentic history of the discovery of our continent exceeds the specious wonders of romance, as much as gold excels tinsel, or the sun in the heavens outshines the flickering taper.


Dominicans may deride thy discoveries now; but the time will come when from two hundred observatories, in Europe and America, the glorious artillery of science shall nightly assault the skies; but they shall gain no conquests in those glittering fields before which thine shall be for[Pg 131]gotten. Rest in peace, great Columbus of the heavens![36] like him scorned, persecuted, broken-hearted.—Ibid.


We find encouragement in every page of our country's history. Nowhere do we meet with examples more numerous and more brilliant of men who have risen above poverty and obscurity and every disadvantage to usefulness and honorable name. One whole vast continent was added to the geography of the world by the persevering efforts of a humble Genoese mariner, the great Columbus; who, by the steady pursuit of the enlightened conception he had formed of the figure of the earth, before any navigator had acted upon the belief that it was round, discovered the American continent. He was the son of a Genoese pilot, a pilot and seaman himself; and, at one period of his melancholy career, was reduced to beg his bread at the doors of the convents in Spain. But he carried within himself, and beneath a humble exterior, a spirit for which there was not room in Spain, in Europe, nor in the then known world; and which led him on to a height of usefulness and fame beyond that of all the monarchs that ever reigned.—Ibid.


The Venerable Frederic William Farrar, D. D., F. R. S., Archdeacon of Westminster. Born in Bombay, August 7, 1831. From his "Lectures and Addresses."

There are some who are fond of looking at the apparently trifling incidents of history, and of showing how the stream of centuries has been diverted in one or other direction by events the most insignificant. General Garfield told his pupils at Hiram that the roof of a certain court[Pg 132] house was so absolute a watershed that the flutter of a bird's wing would be sufficient to decide whether a particular rain-drop should make its way into the Gulf of St. Lawrence or into the Gulf of Mexico. The flutter of a bird's wing may have affected all history. Some students may see an immeasurable significance in the flight of parrots, which served to alter the course of Columbus, and guided him to the discovery of North and not of South America.


John Fiske, a justly celebrated American historian. Born at Hartford, Conn., March 30, 1842. From "The Discovery of America."[37]

It was generally assumed without question that the Admiral's theory of his discovery must be correct, that the coast of Cuba must be the eastern extremity of China, that the coast of Hispaniola must be the northern extremity of Cipango, and that a direct route—much shorter than that which Portugal had so long been seeking—had now been found to those lands of illimitable wealth described by Marco Polo. To be sure, Columbus had not as yet seen the evidences of this oriental splendor, and had been puzzled at not finding them, but he felt confident that he had come very near them and would come full upon them in a second voyage. There was nobody who knew enough to refute these opinions, and really why should not this great geographer, who had accomplished so much already which people had scouted as impossible—why should he not know what he was about? It was easy enough now to get men and money for the second voyage. When the Admiral sailed from Cadiz on September 25, 1493, it was with seventeen ships, carrying 1,500 men. Their dreams were of the marble palaces of Quinsay, of isles of spices, and the treasures of Prester John. The sovereigns wept for joy as they[Pg 133] thought that such untold riches were vouchsafed them, by the special decree of Heaven, as a reward for having overcome the Moors at Granada and banished the Jews from Spain. Columbus shared these views, and regarded himself as a special instrument for executing the divine decrees. He renewed his vow to rescue the Holy Sepulcher, promising within the next seven years to equip at his own expense a crusading army of 50,000 foot and 4,000 horse; within five years thereafter he would follow this with a second army of like dimensions.

Thus nobody had the faintest suspicion of what had been done. In the famous letter to Santangel there is of course not a word about a new world. The grandeur of the achievement was quite beyond the ken of the generation that witnessed it. For we have since come to learn that in 1492 the contact between the eastern and the western halves of our planet was first really begun, and the two streams of human life which had flowed on for countless ages, apart, were thenceforth to mingle together. The first voyage of Columbus is thus a unique event in the history of mankind. Nothing like it was ever done before, and nothing like it can ever be done again. No worlds are left for a future Columbus to conquer. The era of which this great Italian mariner was the most illustrious representative has closed forever.


John Fiske, an American historian. Born in Connecticut, 1842. From "Washington and his Country."[38]

Learned men had long known that the earth is round, but people generally did not believe it, and it had not occurred to anybody that such a voyage would be practicable. People were afraid of going too far out into the ocean. A ship which disappears in the offing seems to be going down[Pg 134] hill; and many people thought that if they were to get too far down hill, they could not get back. Other notions, as absurd as this, were entertained, which made people dread the "Sea of Darkness," as the Atlantic was often called. Accordingly, Columbus found it hard to get support for his scheme.

About fifteen years before his first voyage, Columbus seems to have visited Iceland, and some have supposed that he then heard about the voyages of the Northmen, and was thus led to his belief that land would be found by sailing west. He may have thus heard about Vinland, and may have regarded the tale as confirming his theory. That theory, however, was based upon his belief in the rotundity of the earth. The best proof that he was not seriously influenced by the Norse voyages, even if he had heard of them, is the fact that he never used them as an argument. In persuading people to furnish money for his enterprise, it has been well said that an ounce of Vinland would have been worth a pound of talk about the shape of the earth.


John Milner Fothergill, M. D., an English physician. Born at Morland in Westmoreland, April 11, 1841; died, 1888.

Columbus was an Italian who possessed all that determination which came of Norse blood combined with the subtlety of the Italian character. He thought much of what the ancients said of a short course from Spain to India, of Plato's Atlantic Island; and conceived the idea of sailing to India over the Atlantic. He applied to the Genoese, who rejected his scheme as impracticable; then to Portugal; then to Spain. The fall of Granada led to his ultimate success; and at last he set out into the unknown sea with a small fleet, which was so ill-formed as scarcely to reach the Canaries in safety. Soon after leaving them,[Pg 135] the spirits of his crew fell, and then Columbus perceived that the art of governing the minds of men would be no less requisite for accomplishing the discoveries he had in view than naval skill and undaunted courage. He could trust himself only. He regulated everything by his sole authority; he superintended the execution of every order. As he went farther westward the hearts of his crew failed them, and mutiny was imminent. But Columbus retained his serenity of mind even under these trying circumstances, and induced his crew to persevere for three days more. Three critical days in the history of the world.


John Foster, a noted English essayist and moralist. Born at Halifax, September 17, 1770; died at Stapleton, October, 1843.

The hour just now begun may be exactly the period for finishing some great plan, or concluding some great dispensation, which thousands of years or ages have been advancing to its accomplishment. This may be the very hour in which a new world shall originate or an ancient one sink in ruins.


Edward Augustus Freeman, a celebrated English historian. Born at Harborne, Staffordshire, 1823; died at Alicante, Spain, March 16, 1892. From an article on "The Intellectual Development of the English People," in the Chautauquan Magazine, May, 1891.

The discovery of a new world was something so startling as to help very powerfully in the general enlargement of men's minds. And the phrase of a new world is fully justified. The discovery of a western continent, which followed on the voyage of Columbus, was an event differing in kind from any discovery that had ever been made before. And this though there is little reason to doubt that the[Pg 136] western continent itself had been discovered before. The Northmen had certainly found their way to the real continent of North America ages before Columbus found his way to the West India Islands. But the same results did not come of it, and the discovery itself was not of the same kind. The Old World had grown a good deal before the discovery of the New. The range of men's thoughts and enterprise had gradually spread from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, the Baltic, and the northern seas. To advance from Norway to the islands north of Britain, thence to Iceland, Greenland, and the American continent, was a gradual process. The great feature in the lasting discovery of America, which began at the end of the fifteenth century, was its suddenness. Nothing led to it; it was made by an accident; men were seeking one thing and then found another. Nothing like it has happened before or since.


Of evil omen for the ancients. For America the day of glad tidings and glorious deeds.

Friday, the sixth day of the week, has for ages borne the obloquy of odium and ill-luck. Friday, October 5th, B. C. 105, was marked nefastus in the Roman calendar because on that day Marcus Mallius and Cæpio the Consul were slain and their whole army annihilated in Gallia Narbonensis by the Cimbrians. It was considered a very unlucky day in Spain and Italy; it is still deemed an ill-starred day among the Buddhists and Brahmins. The reason given by Christians for its ill-luck is, of course, because it was the day of Christ's crucifixion, though one would hardly term that an "unlucky event" for Christians. A Friday moon is considered unlucky for weather. It is the Mohammedan Sabbath and was the day on which Adam was created. The Sabeans consecrated it to Venus or Astarte. Accord[Pg 137]ing to mediæval romance, on this day fairies and all the tribes of elves of every description were converted into hideous animals and remained so until Monday. In Scotland it is a great day for weddings. In England it is not. Sir William Churchill says, "Friday is my lucky day. I was born, christened, married, and knighted on that day, and all my best accidents have befallen me on a Friday." Aurungzebe considered Friday a lucky day and used to say in prayer, "Oh, that I may die on a Friday, for blessed is he that dies on that day." British popular saying terms a trial, misfortune, or cross a "Friday tree," from the "accursed tree" on which the Savior was crucified on that day. Stow, the historian of London, states that "Friday Street" was so called because it was the street of fish merchants who served the Friday markets. In the Roman Catholic church Friday is a fast day, and is considered an unlucky day because it was the day of Christ's crucifixion. Soames ("Anglo-Saxon Church," page 255) says of it, "Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on Friday and died on Friday." Shakspere refers to the ill-omened nature of the day as follows: "The duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton Friday" ("Measure for Measure," Act 3, Scene 2).

But to turn to the more pleasing side, great has been the good fortune of the land of freedom on this ill-starred day. On Friday, August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos on his great voyage of discovery. On Friday, October 12, 1492, he discovered land; on Friday, January 4, 1493, he sailed on his return voyage to Spain. On Friday, March 14, 1493, he arrived at Palos, Spain, in safety. On Friday, November 22, 1493, he arrived at Española on his second voyage to America. On Friday, June 12, 1494, he discovered the mainland of America. On Friday, March 5, 1496, Henry VIII. gave John Cabot[Pg 138] his commission to pursue the discovery of America. On Friday, September 7, 1565, Melendez founded St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest town in the United States. On Friday, November 10, 1620, the Mayflower, with the Pilgrim Fathers, reached the harbor of Provincetown. On Friday, December 22, 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock. On Friday, February 22, 1732, George Washington was born. On Friday, June 16, 1755, Bunker Hill was seized and fortified. On Friday, October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga. On Friday, September 22, 1780, Benedict Arnold's treason was discovered. On Friday, September 19, 1791, Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. On Friday, July 7, 1776, a motion was made by John Adams that "the United States are and ought to be independent." On Friday, July 13, 1866, the Great Eastern steamship sailed from Valentia, Ireland, with the second and successful Atlantic cable, and completed the laying of this link of our civilization at Heart's Content, Newfoundland, on Friday, July 27, 1866. In Spanish history it is noteworthy that on Friday the Christians under Ferdinand and Isabella had won Granada from the Moors. On a Friday, also, the First Crusaders, under Geoffrey de Bouillon, took Jerusalem.


Paul Gaffarel. Summarized from "Les Découvreurs Français du XIVme au XVIme Siècle," published at Paris in 1888.

Jean Cousin, in 1488, sailed from Dieppe, then the great commercial and naval port of France, and bore out to sea, to avoid the storms so prevalent in the Bay of Biscay. Arrived at the latitude of the Azores, he was carried westward by a current, and came to an unknown country near the mouth of an immense river. He took possession of[Pg 139] the continent, but, as he had not sufficient crew nor material resources adequate for founding a settlement, he re-embarked. Instead of returning directly to Dieppe, he took a southeasterly direction—that is, toward South Africa—discovered the cape which has since retained the name of Cap des Aiguilles (Cape Agulhas, the southern point of Africa), went north by the Congo and Guinea, and returned to Dieppe in 1489. Cousin's lieutenant was a Castilian, Pinzon by name, who was jealous of his captain, and caused him considerable trouble on the Gold Coast. On Cousin's complaint, the admiralty declared him unfit to serve in the marine of Dieppe. Pinzon then retired to Genoa, and afterward to Castille. Every circumstance tends toward the belief that this is the same Pinzon to whom Columbus afterward intrusted the command of the Pinta.


The Abbé Fernando Galiani, an Italian political economist. Born at Chieti, on the Abruzzi, 1728; died at Naples, 1787.

For five thousand years genius has turned opposite to the diurnal motion, and traveled from east to west.


The Rev. Cunningham Geikie, D. D., a noted English clergyman. Born at Edinborough, October 26, 1826.

Reading should be a Columbus voyage, in which nothing passes without note and speculation; the Sargasso Sea, mistaken for the New Indies; the branch with the fresh berries; the carved pole; the currents; the color of the water; the birds; the odor of the land; the butterflies; the moving light on the shore.[Pg 140]


The following inscription is placed upon Columbus' house, No. 37, in the Vico Dritto Ponticello, Genoa, Italy:


(No house deserved better an inscription.
This is the paternal home of Christopher Columbus, where
he passed his childhood and youth.)


"Genoa and Venice," writes Mr. Oscar Browning, in Picturesque Europe, "have much in common—both republics, both aristocracies, both commercial, both powerful maritime states; yet, while the Doge of Venice remains to us as the embodiment of stately and majestic pre-eminence, we scarcely remember, or have forgotten, that there ever was a Doge of Genoa. This surely can not be because Shakspere did not write of the Bank of St. George or because Genoa has no Rialto. It must be rather because, while Genoa devoted herself to the pursuits of riches and magnificence, Venice fought the battle of Europe against barbarism, and recorded her triumphs in works of art which will live forever. * * * Genoa has no such annals and no such art. As we wander along the narrow streets we see the courtyards of many palaces, the marble stairs, the graceful loggia, the terraces and the arches of which stand out against an Italian sky; but we look in vain for the magnificence of public halls, where the brush of Tintoretto or Carpaccio decorated the assembly-room of the rulers of the East or the chapter-house of a charitable fraternity."[Pg 141]

The artistic monument of Columbus, situated in the Piazza Acquaverde, facing the railway station, consists of a marble statue fitly embowered amid tropical palms, and is composed of a huge quadrangular pedestal, at the angles of which are seated allegorical figures of Religion, Geography, Strength, and Wisdom. Resting on this pedestal is a large cylindrical pedestal decorated with three ships' prows, on which stands a colossal figure of Columbus, his left hand resting on an anchor. At his feet, in a half-sitting, half-kneeling posture, is an allegorical figure of America in the act of adoring a crucifix, which she holds in her right hand. The four bas-reliefs on the sides of the pedestal represent the most important events in the life of the great discoverer: (1) Columbus before the Council of Salamanca; (2) Columbus taking formal possession of the New World; (3) his flattering reception at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella; (4) Columbus in chains. It is as well that this, the saddest of episodes, should be remembered, because great actions are as often as not emphasized by martyrdom.

The first stone of the monument was laid September 27, 1846, and the completed statue formally dedicated in 1862. It bears the laconic but expressive dedication: "A Cristoforo Colombo, La Patria" (The Nation to Christopher Columbus).

Genoa claims, with the largest presumption of truth, that Christopher Columbus was born there. The best of historical and antiquarian research tends to show that in a house, No. 37, in the Vico Dritto Ponticello, lived Domenico Colombo, the father of Christopher, and that in this house the Great Admiral was born. In 1887 the Genoese municipality bought the house, and an inscription has been placed over the door. To give the exact date of Christopher's birth is, however, difficult, but it is believed to[Pg 142] have occurred sometime between March 15, 1446, and March 20, 1447.

Whether Columbus was actually a native of Genoa or of Cogoletto—the latter is a sequestered little town a few miles west of the former—must ever remain a matter of conjecture. True enough, the house in which his father followed the trade of a wool-carder in Genoa is eagerly pointed out to a stranger; but the inscription on the marble tablet over the entrance does not state that the future discoverer was really born in it. This stands in a narrow alley designated the Vico di Morcento, near the prison of San Andrea.

On the other hand, the little town hall at Cogoletto contains a portrait of Columbus, more than 300 years old, whose frame is completely covered with the names of enthusiastic travelers. The room in which he is believed to have been born resembles a cellar rather than aught else; while the broken pavement shows how visitors have at various times taken up the bricks to preserve as relics. As if this undoubted evidence of hero worship were insufficient, the old woman in charge of the place hastens to relate how a party of Americans one day lifted the original door off its hinges and carried it bodily away between them.

As all the world knows, Columbus died at Valladolid on the 20th of May, 1506. It has always been a matter of intense regret to the Genoese that his body should have been permitted to be shipped across the seas to its first resting-place in San Domingo. More fortunate, however, were they in securing the remains of their modern kinsman and national patriot, Mazzini.

On the 29th of May, 1892, under the auspices of Ligurian Gymnastic Society Cristofore Columbo, a bronze wreath was placed at the base of the Columbus monument.

The Ligurian Gymnastic Society Cristofore Columbo is[Pg 143] an association which cultivates athletic exercises, music, and, above all, patriotism and charity. To awaken popular interest in the coming exhibition, the society had a bronze wreath made by the well-known sculptor Burlando, and fitting ceremonies took place, with a procession through the streets, before affixing the wreath at the base of the monument. The wreath, which weighed some 500 pounds, was carried by a figure representing Genoa seated on a triumphal car. There were 7,000 members of the society present, with not less than fifty bands of music. The ceremonies, beginning at 10 A. M., were concluded at 4 P. M. The last act was a hymn, sung by 2,000 voices, with superb effect. Then, by means of machinery, the bronze crown was put in its proper position. Never was Genoa in a gayer humor, nor could the day have been more propitious. The streets were decorated with flowers and banners. There were representatives from Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin, Venice, Naples, Leghorn, Palermo, and visitors from all parts of Europe and America. In the evening only did the festivities close with a grand dinner given by the Genoese municipality.

In this, the glorification of the grand old city of Liguria, was united that of its most memorable man, Christopher Columbus, for that mediæval feeling, when cities had almost individual personalities, is still a civic sense alive in Genoa. She rejoices in the illustrious men born within her walls with a sentiment akin to that of a mother for her son.

In an artistic sense, nothing could have been more complete than this festival. Throwing the eye upward, beyond the figure of Columbus, the frame is perfect. The slanting ways leading up to the handsome houses on the background are wonderfully effective.

Genoa is rich in the relics of Columbus. In the city hall of Genoa is, among other relics, a mosaic portrait of the[Pg 144] Admiral, somewhat modified from the De Bry's Columbus. Genoa is fortunate in possessing a number of authentic letters of Columbus, and these are preserved in a marble custodia, surmounted by a head of Columbus. In the pillar which forms the pedestal there is a bronze door, and the precious Columbus documents have been placed there.


The Geographical Society of Germany will shortly publish a volume commemorative of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, which will, it is said, be one of the most elaborate publications ever issued by the society. Dr. Konrad Kretschmer, the editor of the forthcoming work, has visited all the principal libraries of Italy in search of material, and has had access to many rare manuscripts hitherto unused. The memorial volume will contain forty-five maps relating to the discovery of America, thirty-one of which are said to have never been published. Emperor William has contributed 15,000 marks toward the expenses of publication, etc., and the work will undoubtedly be a most valuable contribution to the early history of America. It is expected that it will leave the government printing office early in August.


Germany proposes to loan a collection of Columbus rarities to the United States Government for exhibition at the Chicago Exposition, as will be seen by a communication to the State Department from Consul-general Edwards at Berlin. In his document, Mr. Edwards says:

No. 37 Vico Dritto Ponticelli, Genoa, Italy.
(See page 140 .)

The German government, appreciating the fact that no time is to be lost in this matter, has begun to carry its generous and friendly proposals into practical operation by instituting a thorough search in the various galleries, muse[Pg 145]ums, and libraries throughout Germany for works of art, objects, and rarities which are in any way identified with the Columbus period, and which the German government believes would be likely to be of general interest to the authorities of the World's Columbian Exposition as well as the visitors at that great show.

Among other works of art the German government consents to loan Pludderman's celebrated painting, "The Discovery of America by Columbus." Under the laws of Germany, as well as under the rules and regulations of the National Gallery, no person is permitted to lithograph, photograph, or make any sort of a copy of any picture or other work of art in the care or custody of any national gallery, in case when the artist has not been dead for a period of thirty years, without having first obtained the written permission of the legal representative of the deceased artist, coupled with the consent of the National Gallery authorities. Pludderman not having been dead thirty years, I have given assurances that this regulation will be observed by the United States Government.


His Eminence James Gibbons, D.D., a celebrated American ecclesiastic. Born in Baltimore, Md., July 23, 1834.

There is but a plank between a sailor and eternity, and perhaps the realization of that fact may have something to do with the superstition lurking in his nature.


William Gibson.

Thus opening on that glooming sea,
[Pg 146]Well seemed these walls[39] the ends of earth;
Death and a dark eternity
Sublimely symboled forth!

Ere to one eagle soul was given
The will, the wings, that deep to brave;
In the sun's path to find a heaven,
A New World—o'er the wave.

Retraced the path Columbus trod,
Our course was from the setting sun;
While all the visible works of God,
Though various else had one.


From the Glasgow Times.

The discovery by the Superintendent of the Military Archives at Madrid of documents probably setting at rest the doubts that formerly existed as to the birthplace of Columbus, must have awakened new interest in the history of the most renowned discoverer of the past. It is to be noted, however, that the documents only affirm tradition, for Genoa has always been the Admiral's accredited birthplace. But if the discovery should lead to nothing but a more careful investigation of the records of his later history it will have been of use.

The character of Columbus has been greatly misunderstood, and his 600 biographers have in turn invested him with the glory of the religious hero and the contumely of the ill-tempered and crack-brained adventurer. An impartial critic must admit, indeed, that he was something of both, though more of the hero than the adventurer, and that his biographers have erred considerably in what Mr. R. L. Stevenson would call their "point of view."

Educated, as it is supposed, in the local schools of[Pg 147] Genoa, and for a short period at the University of Pavia, the youthful Columbus must have come in close contact with the scholars of the day. Naturally of a religious temperament, the piety of the learned would early impress him, and to this may possibly be attributed the feeling that he had been divinely selected, which remained with him until his death.

There is little doubt that he began his career as a sailor, at the age of fourteen, with the sole object of plunder. The Indies were the constant attraction for the natives of Venice and Genoa; the Mediterranean and the Adriatic were filled with treasure ships. In these circumstances it is not to be wondered that the sea possessed a wonderful fascination for the youth of those towns. This opulence was the constant envy of Spain and Portugal, and Columbus was soon attracted to the latter country by the desire of Prince Henry to discover a southern route to the Indies. It was while in Portugal that he began to believe that his mission on earth was to be the discoverer of a new route to the land of gold—"the white man's god." For two years he resided in Lisbon, from time to time making short voyages, but for the most part engaged drawing maps to procure himself a living. Here he married, here his son Diego was born, and here his wife, who died at an early age, was buried.

Toscanelli at this time advanced the theory that the earth was round, and Columbus at once entered into correspondence with him on the subject, and was greatly impressed with the views of the Florentine scientist, both as to the sphericity of the world and the wonders of the Asiatic region. Heresy-hunting was then a favorite pastime, and Columbus in accepting these theories ran no small risk of losing his life. Portugal and France in turn rejected his offers to add to their dependencies by his[Pg 148] discoveries; and, though his brother found many in England willing to give him the necessary ships to start on his adventures, Spain, after much importuning on the part of the explorer, forestalled our own country.

Then followed his four eventful voyages with all their varying fortunes, and his death, when over seventy years of age, in a wretched condition of poverty. The ready consideration of theories, not only dangerous but so astounding in their character as to throw discredit on those who advanced them, shows him to have been a man of intellectual courage. Humility was another trait of his character, and in all his life it can not be said that he acted in any but an honest and straightforward manner toward his fellow-men.

It is true, no doubt, that his recognition of slavery somewhat dims his reputation. He sold many Indians as slaves, but it should be remembered that slavery prevailed at the time, and it was only on his second voyage, when hard pressed for means to reimburse the Spanish treasury for the immense expense of the expedition, that he resorted to the barter in human flesh. Indeed, his friendly relations with the natives show that, as a rule, he must have treated them in the kindly manner which characterized all his actions.

Throughout the reverses of his long career, whether received with sneers, lauded as a benefactor of his country, put in chains by crafty fellow-subjects, or defrauded, by an unscrupulous prince, of the profit of his discoveries, he continued a man of an eminently lovable character, kind to his family, his servants, and even his enemies. Americans are to do honor at the Columbian Exhibition to the name of him who, though not the first white man to land on the shores of the New World, was the first to colonize its fertile islands. Not only America, but the whole world,[Pg 149] may emulate his virtues with advantage; for, even now, justice and mercy, courage and meekness, do not always abide together.


Frank B. Goodrich, an American author of several popular books. Born in Boston, 1826. From his "History of the Sea."

John II. of Portugal applied for an increase of power, and obtained a grant of all the lands which his navigators could discover in sailing from west to east. The grand idea of sailing from east to west—one which implied a knowledge of the sphericity of the globe—had not yet, to outward appearance, penetrated the brain of either pope or layman. One Christopher Columbus, however, was already brooding over it in secret and in silence.


François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, a distinguished French statesman and historian. Born at Nîmes, October 4, 1787; died September 12, 1874. From his "History of Civilization" (5 vols., 1845).

The period in question was also one of the most remarkable for the display of physical activity among men. It was a period of voyages, travels, enterprises, discoveries, and inventions of every kind. It was the time of the great Portuguese expedition along the coast of Africa; of the discovery of the new passage to India, by Vasco de Gama; of the discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus; of the wonderful extension of European commerce. A thousand new inventions started up; others already known, but confined within a narrow sphere, became popular and in general use. Gunpowder changed the system of war; the compass changed the system of navigation. Painting in oil was invented, and filled Europe with masterpieces of art. Engraving on copper, invented in 1406, multiplied[Pg 150] and diffused them. Paper made of linen became common. Finally, between 1436 and 1452, was invented printing—printing, the theme of so many declamations and commonplaces, but to whose merits and effect no commonplaces or declamations will ever be able to do justice.


Rev. F. W. Gunsaulus, D. D., an American divine and able pulpit orator; at present, pastor of Plymouth Church, Chicago. From "New Testament and Liberty."

Look again! It has become so light now that it is easy to see. Yonder in the West a man has been pleading before courts, praying to God, thinking, and dreaming. His brave heart sends forth hot tears, but it will not fail. The genius of God has seized him. The Holy Ghost has touched him as the spirit of liberty. Humanity cries through him for more room. Emperors will not hear. But he gains one ear, at last, and with the mariner's needle set out for the unknown. Civilization has always walked by faith and not by sight. And do not forget to note, that, in that log-book, the first mark is, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." On! brave man, on! over wastes of ocean, in the midst of scorn, through hate, rage, mutiny, even death—and despair, worse than death. On! there is an America on the other side to balance. Cheerless nights, sad days, nights dark with woe, days hideous with the form of death, weeks sobbing with pity; but in that heart is He whose name is written in the log-book. "Land ahead!" And Columbus has discovered a continent. Humanity has another world. Light from the four corners of heaven. Glory touching firmament and planet. It is morning! Triumphant, beautiful dawn![Pg 151]


Arnold Henry Guyot, Ph. D., LL. D., a meritorious writer on physical geography. Born near Neufchâtel, Switzerland, 1807. Professor of geology and physical geography at Princeton College from 1855 until his death, February 8, 1884. From "Earth and Man" (1849).

As the plant is made for the animal, as the vegetable world is made for the animal world, America is made for the man of the Old World. The man of the Old World sets out upon his way. Leaving the highlands of Asia, he descends from station to station toward Europe. Each of his steps is marked by a new civilization superior to the preceding, by a greater power of development. Arrived at the Atlantic, he pauses on the shore of this unknown ocean, the bounds of which he knows not, and turns upon his footprints for an instant; then recommences his adventurous career westward as in the earliest ages.


Edward Everett Hale, D. D., a celebrated American author. Born in Boston, Mass., April 3, 1822. From an article, "Christopher Columbus," in the Independent, June 2, 1892.

What the world owes to him and to Isabella, who made his work possible, it is impossible in few words to say. The moment was one when Europe needed America as never before. She had new life, given by the fall of Constantinople, by the invention of printing, by the expulsion of the Moors; there was new life even seething in the first heats of the Reformation; and Europe must break her bonds, else she would die. Her outlet was found in America. Here it is that that Power who orders history could try, on a fit scale, the great experiments of the new life. Thus it was ordered, let us say reverently, that South America should show what the Catholic church could do[Pg 152] in the line of civilizing a desert, and that North America should show what the coming church of the future could do. To us it is interesting to remember that Columbus personally led the first discovery of South America, and that he made the first effort for a colony on our half of the continent. Of these two experiments the North America of to-day and South America of to-day are the issue.


The life of Columbus is an illustration constantly brought for the success which God gives to those who, having conceived of a great idea, bravely determine to carry it through. His singleness of purpose, his determination to succeed, have been cited for four centuries, and will be cited for centuries more among the noblest illustrations which history has given of success wrought out by the courage of one man.—Ibid.


Edward Everett Hale, in Overland Monthly Magazine. An article on "A Visit to Palos."

Lord Houghton, following Freiligrath, has sung to us how the

Palm tree dreameth of the pine,
The pine tree of the palm;

and in his delicate imaginings the dream is of two continents—ocean parted—each of which longs for the other. Strange enough, as one pushes along the steep ascent from the landing at Rábida, up the high bluff on which the convent stands, the palm tree and the pine grow together, as in token of the dream of the great discoverer, who was to unite the continents.[Pg 153]


Fitz-Greene Halleck, a noted American poet. Born in Guilford, Conn., July 8, 1790; died November 19, 1867.

Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
Come when his task of fame is wrought,
Come with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought,
Come in her crowning hour, and then
Thy sunken eye's unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
Of sky and stars to prison'd men;
Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh
To the world-seeking Genoese,
When the land wind, from woods of palm,
And orange groves, and fields of balm,
Blew o'er the Haytian seas.


Murat Halstead, an American journalist. Born at Ross, Ohio, September 2, 1829. From "Genoa—the Home of Columbus," a paper in Cosmopolitan, May, 1892.

The Italian coast all around the Gulf of Genoa is mountainous, and the mountains crowd each other almost into the sea. Land that can be built upon or cultivated is scarce, and the narrow strips that are possible are on the sunny southern slopes. The air is delicious. The orange trees in December lean over the garden walls, heavy with golden spheres, and the grass is green on the hills, and when a light snow falls the roses blush through the soft veil of lace, and are modest but not ashamed, as they bow[Pg 154] their heads. The mountains are like a wall of iron against the world, and from them issues a little river whose waters are pure as the dew, until the washerwomen use them and spread clothing on the wide spaces of clean gravel to dry. The harbor is easily defended, and with the same expensive equipment would be strong as Gibraltar. It is in this isolation that the individuality of Genoa, stamped upon so many chapters of world-famous history, grew. There is so little room for a city that the buildings are necessarily lofty. The streets are narrow and steep. The pavements are blocks of stone that would average from two to three feet in length, one foot in width, and of unknown depth. Evidently they are not constructed for any temporary purpose, but to endure forever. When, for a profound reason, a paving-stone is taken up it is speedily replaced, with the closest attention to exact restoration, and then it is again a rock of ages.


Among the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, that of the city of Hamburg, in Germany, will occupy a prominent place. On October 1st an exhibition will be opened at which objects will be on view that bear on the history of the act of discovery, on the condition of geographical science of the time, and on the conditions of the inhabitants of America at the time of the discovery. Side by side with these will be exhibited whatever can show the condition of America at the present time. On the date of the discovery of the little Island of Guanahani—that is, October 12th—the celebration proper will take place. The exercises will consist of songs and music and a goodly array of speeches. In the evening, tableaux and processions will be performed in the largest hall of the city. The scenery, costumes, and implements used[Pg 155] will all be got up as they were at the time of the discovery, so as to furnish a real representation of the age of Columbus.


Edward J. Harding, in the Chicago Tribune, September 17, 1892.


What came ye forth to see?
Why from the sunward regions of the palm,
And piney headlands by the northern main,
From Holland's watery ways, and parching Spain,
From pleasant France and storied Italy,
From India's patience, and from Egypt's calm,
To this far city of a soil new-famed
Come ye in festal guise to-day,
Charged with no fatal "gifts of Greece,"
Nor Punic treaties double-tongued,
But proffering hands of amity,
And speaking messages of peace,
With drum-beats ushered, and with shouts acclaimed,
While cannon-echoes lusty-lung'd
Reverberate far away?


Our errand here to-day
Hath warrant fair, ye say;
We come with you to consecrate
A hero's, ay a prophet's monument;
Yet needs he none, who was so great;
Vainly they build in Cuba's isle afar
His sepulcher beside the sapphire sea;
He hath for cenotaph a continent,
[Pg 156]For funeral wreaths, the forests waving free,
And round his grave go ceaselessly
The morning and the evening star.
Yet is it fit that ye should praise him best,
For ye his true descendants are,
A spirit-begotten progeny;
Wherefore to thee, fair city of the West,
From elder lands we gladly came
To grace a prophet's fame.


Beauteous upon the waters were the wings
That bore glad tidings o'er the leaping wave
Of sweet Hesperian isles, more bland and fair
Than lover's looks or bard's imaginings;
And blest was he, the hero brave,
Who first the tyrannous deeps defied,
And o'er the wilderness of waters wide
A sun-pursuing highway did prepare
For those true-hearted exiles few
The house of Liberty that reared anew.
Nor fails he here of honor due.
These goodly structures ye behold,
These towering piles in order brave,
From whose tall crests the pennons wave
Like tropic plumage, gules and gold;
These ample halls, wherein ye view
Whate'er is fairest wrought and best—
South with North vying, East with West,
And arts of yore with science new—
Bear witness for us how religiously
We cherish here his memory.


Yet sure, the adventurous Genoese
[Pg 157]Did never in his most enlightened hours
Forecast the high, the immortal destinies
Of this dear land of ours.
Nay, could ye call him hither from his tomb,
Think ye that he would mark with soul elate
A kingless people, a schismatic State,
Nor on his work invoke perpetual doom?
Though the whole Sacred College o'er and o'er
Pronounce him sainted, prophet was he none
Who to Cathaia's legendary shore
Deemed that his bark a path had won.
In sooth, our Western pioneer
Was all as prescient as he
Who cried, "The desert shall exult,
The wild shall blossom as the rose,"
And to a passing rich result
Through summer heats and winter snows
Toiling to prove himself a seer,
Accomplished his own prophecy.
Lo, here a greater far than he,
A prophet nation hath its dwelling,
With multitudinous voice foretelling,
"Man shall be free!"


Hellas for Beauty, Rome for Order, stood,
And Israel for the Good;
Our message to the world is Liberty;
Not the rude freedom of anarchic hordes,
But reasoned kindness, whose benignant code
Upon the emblazoned walls of history
We carved with our good swords,
And crimsoned with our blood.
Last, from our eye we plucked the obscuring mote,
[Pg 158](Not without tears expelled, and sharpest pain,)
From swarthy limbs the galling chain
With shock on mighty shock we smote,
Whereby with clearer gaze we scan
The heaven-writ message that we bear for man.
Not ours to give, as erst the Genoese,
Of a new world the keys;
But of the prison-world ye knew before
Hewing in twain the door,
To thralls of custom and of circumstance
We preach deliverance.
O self-imprisoned ones, be free! be free!
These fetters frail, by doting ages wrought
Of basest metals—fantasy and fear,
And ignorance dull, and fond credulity—
Have moldered, lo! this many a year;
See, at a touch they part, and fall to naught!
Yours is the heirship of the universe,
Would ye but claim it, nor from eyes averse
Let fall the tears of needless misery;
Deign to be free!


The prophets perish, but their word endures;
The word abides, the prophets pass away;
Far be the hour when Hellas' fate is yours,
O Nation of the newer day!
Unmeet it were that I,
Who sit beside your hospitable fire
A stranger born—though honoring as a sire
The land that binds me with a closer tie
Than hers that bore me—should from sullen throat
Send forth a raven's ominous note
Upon a day of jubilee.
[Pg 159]Yet signs of coming ill I see,
Which Heaven avert! Nay, rather let me deem
That like a bright and broadening stream
Fed by a hundred affluents, each a river
Far-sprung and full, Columbia's life shall flow
By level meads majestically slow,
Blessing and blest forever!


Jean Hardouin, a French Jesuit. Born at Quimper, 1646; died, 1729.

The rotation of the earth is due to the efforts of the damned to escape from their central fire. Climbing up the walls of hell, they cause the earth to revolve as a squirrel its cage.


By the President of the United States of America. A proclamation:

Whereas, By a joint resolution, approved June 29, 1892, it was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, "That the President of the United States be authorized and directed to issue a proclamation recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, on the 21st day of October, 1892, by public demonstration and by suitable exercises in their schools and other places of assembly."

Now, THEREFORE, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America, in pursuance of the aforesaid joint resolution, do hereby appoint Friday, October 21, 1892, the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, as a general holiday for the people of the United States. On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their[Pg 160] appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.

Columbus stood in his age as the pioneer of progress and enlightenment. The system of universal education is in our age the most prominent and salutary feature of the spirit of enlightenment, and it is peculiarly appropriate that the schools be made by the people the center of the day's demonstration. Let the national flag float over every school-house in the country, and the exercises be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duties of American citizenship.

In the churches and in the other places of assembly of the people, let there be expressions of gratitude to Divine Providence for the devout faith of the discoverer, and for the Divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 21st day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and seventeenth.

Benjamin Harrison.

By the President.
John W. Foster, Secretary of State.


Henry Harrisse, a celebrated Columbian critic, in his erudite and valuable work, "Columbus and the Bank of St. George."

Nor must you believe that I am inclined to lessen the merits of the great Genoese or fail to admire him. But my admiration is the result of reflection, and not a blind hero-[Pg 161]worship. Columbus removed out of the range of mere speculation the idea that beyond the Atlantic Ocean lands existed and could be reached by sea, made of the notion a fixed fact, and linked forever the two worlds. That event, which is unquestionably the greatest of modern times, secures to Columbus a place in the pantheon dedicated to the worthies whose courageous deeds mankind will always admire.

Used by Washington Irving to illustrate his "Life of Columbus." From the original in the possession of Mr. C. F. Gunther of Chicago.
(See pages 52 and 113 .)

But our gratitude must not carry us beyond the limits of an equitable appreciation. Indiscriminate praise works mischief and injustice. When tender souls represent Columbus as being constantly the laughing-stock of all, and leading a life of misery and abandonment in Spain, they do injustice to Deza, to Cabrera, to Quintanilla, to Mendoza, to Beatrice de Bobadilla, to Medina-Celi, to Ferdinand and Isabella, and probably a host of others who upheld him as much as they could from the start. When blind admirers imagine that the belief in the existence of transatlantic countries rushed out of Columbus' cogitations, complete, unaided, and alone, just as Minerva sprang in full armor from the head of Jupiter, they disregard the efforts of numerous thinkers who, from Aristotle and Roger Bacon to Toscanelli, evolved and matured the thought, until Columbus came to realize it. When dramatists, poets, and romancers expatiate upon the supposed spontaneous or independent character of the discovery of America, and ascribe the achievement exclusively to the genius of a single man, they adopt a theory which is discouraging and untrue.

No man is, or ever was, ahead of his times. No human efforts are, or ever were, disconnected from a long chain of previous exertions; and this applies to all the walks of life. When a great event occurs, in science as in history, the hero who seems to have caused it is only the embodiment and resulting force of the meditations, trials, and endeav[Pg 162]ors of numberless generations of fellow-workers, conscious and unconscious, known and unknown.

When this solemn truth shall have been duly instilled into the minds of men, we will no longer see them live in the constant expectation of Messiahs and providential beings destined to accomplish, as by a sort of miracle, the infinite and irresistible work of civilization. They will rely exclusively upon the concentrated efforts of the whole race, and cherish the encouraging thought that, however imperceptible and insignificant their individual contributions may seem to be, these form a part of the whole, and finally redound to the happiness and progress of mankind.


David Hartley, a celebrated English physician and philosopher. Born at Armley, near Leeds, 1705; died, 1757.

Those who have the first care of this New World will probably give it such directions and inherent influences as may guide and control its course and revolutions for ages to come.


Heinrich Heine. Born December 12, 1799, in the Bolkerstrasse at Dusseldorf; died in Paris, February 17, 1856.

Mancher hat schon viel gegeben,
Aber jener hat der Welt
Eine ganze Welt geschenkt
Und sie heisst America.

Nicht befreien könnt'er uns
Aus dem orden Erdenkerker
Doch er wusst ihn zu erweitern
Und die Kette zu verlängern


[Pg 163]Some have given much already,
But this man he has presented
To the world an entire world,
With the name America.

He could not set us free, out
Of the dreary, earthly prison,
But he knew how to enlarge it
And to lengthen our chain.


George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the most eminent philosophers of the German school of metaphysics. Born at Stuttgart in 1770; died in Berlin, 1831. From his "Philosophy of History."

A leading feature demanding our notice in determining the character of this period, might be mentioned that urging of the spirit outward, that desire on the part of man to become acquainted with his world. The chivalrous spirit of the maritime heroes of Portugal and Spain opened a new way to the East Indies and discovered America. This progressive step also involved no transgression of the limits of ecclesiastical principles or feeling. The aim of Columbus was by no means a merely secular one; it presented also a distinctly religious aspect; the treasures of those rich Indian lands which awaited his discovery were destined, in his intention, to be expended in a new crusade, and the heathen inhabitants of the countries themselves were to be converted to Christianity. The recognition of the spherical figure of the earth led man to perceive that it offered him a definite and limited object, and navigation had been benefited by the new-found instrumentality of the magnet, enabling it to be something better than mere coasting; thus technical appliances make their appearance when a need for them is experienced.

These events—the so-called revival of learning, the flourishing of the fine arts, and the discovery of America—may[Pg 164] be compared with that blush of dawn which after long storms first betokens the return of a bright and glorious day. This day is the day of universality, which breaks upon the world after the long, eventful, and terrible night of the Middle Ages.


Sir Arthur Helps, a popular English essayist and historian. Born, 1813; died, March 7, 1875. From his "Life of Columbus" (1869).

Columbus believed the world to be a sphere; he underestimated its size; he overestimated the size of the Asiatic continent. The farther that continent extended to the east, the nearer it came round to Spain.


It has always been a favorite speculation with historians, and, indeed, with all thinking men, to consider what would have happened from a slight change of circumstances in the course of things which led to great events. This may be an idle and a useless speculation, but it is an inevitable one. Never was there such a field for this kind of speculation as in the voyages, especially the first one, of Columbus. * * * The gentlest breeze carried with it the destinies of future empires. * * * Had some breeze big with the fate of nations carried Columbus northward, it would hardly have been left for the English, more than a century afterward, to found those colonies which have proved to be the seeds of the greatest nation that the world is likely to behold.—Ibid.


George Herbert, an English poet. Born at Montgomery, Wales, 1593; died, 1632.

Religion stands on tiptoe in our land,
Ready to pass to the American strand.
[Pg 165]


Antonio Herrera y Tordesillas, an eminent Spanish historian. Born at Cuellar in 1549; died, 1625.

Columbus was tall of stature, with a long and imposing visage. His nose was aquiline; his eyes blue; his complexion clear, and having a tendency to a glowing red; the beard and hair red in his youth, but his fatigues early turned them white.


Fernando Herrera, Spanish poet, 1534-1597.

Many sighed and wept, and every hour seemed a year.


C. W. Hodgin, professor of history in Earlham College, Indiana. From "Preparation for the Discovery of America."

The discovery of America by Columbus stands out in history as an event of supreme importance, both because of its value in itself and because of its reflex action upon Europe. It swept away the hideous monsters and frightful apparitions with which a superstitious imagination had peopled the unknown Atlantic, and removed at once and forever the fancied dangers in the way of its navigation. It destroyed the old patristic geography and practically demonstrated the rotundity of the earth. It overthrew the old ideas of science and gave a new meaning to the Baconian method of investigation. It revolutionized the commerce of the world, and greatly stimulated the intellect of Europe, already awakening from the long torpor of the Dark Ages. It opened the doors of a new world, through which the oppressed and overcrowded population of the Old World might enter and make homes, build states, and develop a higher ideal of freedom than the world had before conceived.[Pg 166]

But this event did not come to pass by accident, neither was it the result of a single cause. It was the culmination of a series of events, each of which had a tendency, more or less marked, to concentrate into the close of the fifteenth century the results of an instinct to search over unexplored seas for unknown lands.


Friedrich Heinrich Alexander, Baron Von Humboldt, the illustrious traveler, naturalist, and cosmographer. Born in Berlin, September 14, 1769; died there May 6, 1859. He has been well termed "The Modern Aristotle."

To say the truth, Vespucci shone only by reflection from an age of glory. When compared with Columbus, Sebastian Cabot, Bartolomé Dias, and Da Gama, his place is an inferior one.

The majesty of great memories seems concentrated in the name of Christopher Columbus. It is the originality of his vast idea, the largeness and fertility of his genius, and the courage which bore up against a long series of misfortunes, which have exalted the Admiral high above all his contemporaries.


Columbus preserved, amid so many material and minute cares, which freeze the soul and contract the character, a profound and poetic sentiment of the grandeur of nature. What characterizes Columbus is the penetration and extreme accuracy with which he seizes the phenomena of the external world. He is quite as remarkable as an observer of nature as he is an intrepid navigator.

Arrived under new heavens, and in a new world, the configuration of lands, the aspect of vegetation, the habits of animals, the distribution of heat according to longitude,[Pg 167] the pelagic currents, the variations of terrestrial magnetism—nothing escaped his sagacity. Columbus does not limit himself to collecting isolated facts, he combines them, he seeks their mutual relations to each other. He sometimes rises with boldness to the discovery of the general laws that govern the physical world.—Ibid.


Columbus was guided in his opinion by a flight of parrots toward the southwest. Never had the flight of birds more important consequences. It may be said to have determined the first settlements on the new continent, and its distribution between the Latin and Germanic races.—Ibid.


Columbus is a giant standing on the confines between mediæval and modern times, and his existence marks one of the great epochs in the history of the world.—Ibid.


The majesty of grand recollections seems concentered on the illustrious name of Columbus.—Ibid.


John Fletcher Hurst, D. D., LL.D., a noted American Methodist bishop. Born near Salem, Md., August 17, 1834. From his "Short History of the Church in the United States." Copyright, 1889. By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers, Publishers.

When Columbus discovered the little West India Island of San Salvador, and raised upon the shore the cross, he dedicated it and the lands beyond to the sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella. The "Gloria in Excelsis" was sung by the discoverer and his weary crew with as much fervor as it had ever been chanted in the cathedrals of Spain. The faith was Roman Catholic. On his second voyage, in 1494,[Pg 168] Columbus took with him a vicar apostolic and twelve priests, and on the island of Haiti erected the first chapel in the western world.[40] The success of Columbus in discovering a new world in the West awakened a wild enthusiasm throughout Europe. Visions of gold inflamed the minds alike of rulers, knights, and adventurers. To discover and gather treasures, and organize vast missionary undertakings, became the mania of the times. No European country which possessed a strip of seaboard escaped the delirium.


Washington Irving, one of the most distinguished American authors and humorists. Born in New York City, April 3, 1783. Died at Sunnyside on the Hudson, N. Y., November 28, 1859. From his "History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus" (4 vols., 1828). "This is one of those works," says Alexander H. Everett, "which are at the same time the delight of readers and the despair of critics. It is as nearly perfect as any work well can be."

It is my object to relate the deeds and fortunes of the mariner who first had the judgment to divine, and the intrepidity to brave, the mysteries of the perilous deep; and who, by his hardy genius, his inflexible constancy, and his heroic courage, brought the ends of the earth into communication with each other. The narrative of his troubled life is the link which connects the history of the Old World with that of the New.

To his intellectual vision it was given to read the signs of the times in the conjectures and reveries of the past ages, the indications of an unknown world, as soothsayers were said to read predictions in the stars, and to foretell events from the visions of the night.[Pg 169]


He who paints a great man merely in great and heroic traits, though he may produce a fine picture, will never present a faithful portrait. Great men are compounds of great and little qualities. Indeed, much of their greatness arises from their mastery over the imperfections of their nature, and their noblest actions are sometimes struck forth by the collision of their merits and their defects.

In Columbus were singularly combined the practical and the poetical. His mind had grasped all kinds of knowledge, whether procured by study or observation, which bore upon his theories; impatient of the scanty aliment of the day, "his impetuous ardor threw him into the study of the fathers of the Church, the Arabian Jews, and the ancient geographers"; while his daring but irregular genius, bursting from the limits of imperfect science, bore him to conclusions far beyond the intellectual vision of his contemporaries. If some of his conclusions were erroneous, they were at least ingenious and splendid; and their error resulted from the clouds which still hung over his peculiar path of enterprise. His own discoveries enlightened the ignorance of the age, guided conjecture to certainty, and dispelled that very darkness with which he had been obliged to struggle.

In the progress of his discoveries, he has been remarked for the extreme sagacity and the admirable justness with which he seized upon the phenomena of the exterior world. As they broke upon him, these phenomena were discerned with wonderful quickness of perception, and made to contribute important principles to the stock of general knowledge. This lucidity of spirit, this quick convertibility of facts to principles, distinguish him from the dawn to the close of his sublime enterprise, insomuch that, with all the sallying ardor of his imagination, his ultimate success has[Pg 170] been admirably characterized as a "conquest of reflection."—Ibid.


I can not express to you what were my feelings on treading the shore which had once been animated by the bustle of departure, and whose sands had been printed by the last footstep of Columbus. The solemn and sublime nature of the event that had followed, together with the fate and fortunes of those concerned in it, filled the mind with vague yet melancholy ideas. It was like viewing the silent and empty stage of some great drama when all the actors had departed. The very aspect of the landscape, so tranquilly beautiful, had an effect upon me, and as I paced the deserted shore by the side of a descendant of one of the discoverers I felt my heart swelling with emotion and my eyes filling with tears.—Ibid.


Columbus appeared in a most unfavorable light before a select assembly—an obscure navigator, a member of no learned institution, destitute of all the trappings and circumstances which sometimes give oracular authority to dullness, and depending on the mere force of natural genius.

Some of the junta entertained the popular notion that he was an adventurer, or at best a visionary; and others had that morbid impatience which any innovation upon established doctrine is apt to produce in systematic minds. What a striking spectacle must the hall of the old convent have presented at this memorable conference! A simple mariner standing forth in the midst of an imposing array of professors, friars, and dignitaries of the Church, maintaining his theory with natural eloquence, and, as it were, pleading the cause of the New World.—Ibid.[Pg 171]


From the Sacred Heart Review of Boston, Mass.

Early in September, 1891, the proposition of erecting a monument to Columbus on the site of his first settlement in the New World, at Old Isabella, in Santo Domingo, was first broached to the Sacred Heart Review of Boston by Mr. Thomas H. Cummings of that city. As the first house built by Columbus in the settlement was a church, it was suggested that such a monument would indeed fitly commemorate the starting-point and rise of Christian civilization in America. The Review entered heartily into the project, and steps were at once taken to secure a suitable plot of ground for the site of the monument. Plans were also drawn of a monument whose estimated cost would be from $3,000 to $5,000. A design which included a granite plinth and ball three feet in diameter, surmounting a pyramid of coral and limestone twenty feet high,[41] was transmitted, through the Dominican consul-general at New York to the Dominican government in Santo Domingo. Accompanying this plan was a petition, of which the following is a copy, setting forth the purpose of the Review, and asking certain concessions in return:

"Boston, Mass., October 7, 1891.

"Hon. Fco. Leonte Vazques, Dominican Consul-general, "New York City.

"Sir: The Sacred Heart Review of Boston is anxious to mark the spot with a suitable monument where Christian civilization took its rise in the New World, commonly known as Ancienne Isabelle, on the Island of Santo Domingo. We therefore beg the favor of your good offices with the Dominican government for the following concessions:

"First. Free entrance of party and material for monu[Pg 172]ment at ports of Puerto Plata or Monte Christi, and right of transportation for same to Isabella free of all coast expense and duties.

"Second. Grant of suitable plot, not to contain more than 100 × 100 square yards, the present owner, Mr. C. S. Passailique of New York having already signified his willingness to concede same to us, so far as his rights under the Dominican government allowed him to do so.

"Third. The right of perpetual care of monument, with access to and permission to care for same at all times.

"Fourth. Would the government grant official protection to same; i. e., allow its representatives to aid and protect in every reasonable way the success of the enterprise, and when built guard same as public property, without assuming any legal liability therefor?

"Finally, in case that we find a vessel sailing to one of said ports above named willing to take the monument to Isabella, would government concede this favor—allowing vessel to make coast service free of governmental duties?"

"In exchange for above concessions on the part of the Dominican government, the undersigned hereby agree to erect, at their expense, and free of all charge to said government, a granite monument, according to plan herewith inclosed; estimated cost to be from $3,000 to $5,000.

"Awaiting the favor of an early reply, and begging you to accept the assurance of our highest respect and esteem, we have the honor to be,

"Very respectfully yours,

"Rev. John O'Brien and others in behalf of the
Sacred Heart Review Monument Committee."

In reply to the above petition was received an official document, in Spanish, of which the following is a literal translation:[Pg 173]

"Ulises Heureaux, Division General-in-Chief of the National Army, Pacificator of the Nation, and Constitutional President of the Republic:

"In view of the petition presented to the government by the directors of the Sacred Heart Review of Boston, United States of America, dated October 7, 1891, and considering that the object of the petitioners is to commemorate a historical fact of great importance, viz.: the establishment of the Christian religion in the New World by the erection of its first temple—an event so closely identified with Santo Domingo, and by its nature and results eminently American, indeed world-wide, in its scope—therefore the point of departure for Christian civilization in the western hemisphere, whose principal products were apostles like Cordoba, Las Casas, and others, defending energetically and resolutely the rights of the oppressed inhabitants of America, and themselves the real founders of modern democracy, be it

"Resolved, Article 1. That it is granted to the Sacred Heart Review of Boston, United States of America, permission to erect a monument on the site of the ruins of Old Isabella, in the district of Puerto Plata, whose purpose shall be to commemorate the site whereon was built the first Catholic church in the New World. This monument shall be of stone, and wholly conformable to the plan presented. It shall be erected within a plot of ground that shall not exceed 10,000 square yards, and shall be at all times solidly and carefully inclosed. If the site chosen belongs to the state, said state concedes its proprietary rights to the petitioners while the monument stands. If the site belongs to private individuals, an understanding must be reached with them to secure possession.

"Article 2. The builders of said monument will have perpetual control and ownership, and they assume the obli[Pg 174]gation of caring for and preserving it in good condition. If the builders, as a society, cease to exist, the property will revert to the municipality to which belongs Old Isabella, and on them will revert the obligation to preserve it in perfect repair.

"Article 3. The monument will be considered as public property, and the local authorities will give it the protection which the law allows to property of that class. * * * But on no condition and in no way could the government incur any responsibility of damage that might come to the monument situated in such a remote and exposed location.

"Article 4. We declare free from municipal and coast duties the materials and tools necessary for the construction of said monument, and if it is introduced in a ship carrying only this as a cargo, it will be permitted to said ship to make voyage from Monte Christi or Puerto Plata without paying any of said coast imposts. In view of these concessions the monument committee will present to the mayor of the city a detailed statement of the material and tools needed, so that this officer can accept or reject them as he sees fit.

"Article 5. Wherefore the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, and other officers of the Cabinet are charged with the execution of the present resolution.

"Given at the National Palace of Santo Domingo, Capital of the Republic, on the twenty-fifth day of November, 1891, forty-eighth year of independence and the twenty-ninth of the restoration.

"Ulises Heureaux, President.
"W. Figuereo, Minister of Interior and Police.
"Ignacio M. Gonzales, Minister of Finance and Commerce.
"Sanchez, Minister of State.

[Pg 175]

'Copy exactly conforming to the original given at Santo Domingo, November 28, 1891.

"Rafael Y. Rodriguez,
"Official Mayor and Minister of Public Works and Foreign Affairs."

With these concessions in hand, a committee, consisting of Capt. Nathan Appleton and Thomas H. Cummings, was appointed to go to Washington and secure recognition from the United States Government for the enterprise. The committee was everywhere favorably received, and returned with assurances of co-operation and support. Hon. W. E. Curtis, head of the Bureau of Latin Republics in the State Department, was added to the general monument committee.

Meanwhile the Sacred Heart Review, through Dr. Charles H. Hall of Boston, a member of the monument committee, put itself in communication with the leading citizens of Puerto Plata, requesting them to use every effort to locate the exact site of the ancient church, and make a suitable clearing for the monument, at its expense.

In answer to this communication, a committee of prominent citizens was organized at Puerto Plata, to co-operate with the Boston Columbus Memorial Committee. The following extract is taken from a local paper, El Porvenir, announcing the organization of this committee:

"On Saturday last, a meeting was held in this city (Puerto Plata) for the purpose of choosing a committee which should take part in the celebration. Those present unanimously resolved that such a body be immediately formed under the title of, 'Committee in Charge of the Centennial Celebration.'

"This committee then proceeded to the election of a board of management, composed of a president, vice-president, secretary, and four directors. The following gentle[Pg 176]men were elected to fill the above offices in the order as named: Gen. Imbert, Dr. Llenas, Gen. Juan Guarrido, Presbitero Don Wenceslao Ruiz, Don José Thomás Jimenez, Don Pedro M. Villalon, and Don José Castellanos.

"To further the object for which it was organized, the board counts upon the co-operation of such government officials and corporations of the republic as may be inclined to take part in this great apotheosis in preparation, to glorify throughout the whole world the work and name of the famous discoverer.

"As this is the disinterested purpose for which the above-mentioned committee was formed, we do not doubt that the public, convinced that it is its duty to contribute in a suitable manner to the proposed celebration, will respond to the idea with enthusiasm, seeing in it only the desire which has guided its projectors—that of contributing their share to the glorification of the immortal navigator."

The following official communication was received from this committee:

"Puerto de Plata, March 19, 1892.

"Dr. Charles H. Hall, Member Boston Columbus Memorial Committee, Boston, Mass., U. S. A.

"Dear Sir: We have the honor of acquainting you that there exists in this city a committee for the celebration of the quadro-centennial whose purpose is to co-operate, to the extent of its ability, in celebrating here the memorable event.

"This committee has learned with the greatest satisfaction that it is proposed to erect a monument, on the site of Isabella, over the ruins of the first Catholic church in the New World. Here, also, we have had the same idea, and we rejoice that what we were unable to accomplish through lack of material means, you have brought to a consum[Pg 177]mation. And therefore we offer you our co-operation, and beg your acceptance of our services in any direction in which you may find them useful. With sentiments of high regard, we remain,

"Your very obedient servants,

"S. Imbert, President.

"Juan Guarrido, Secretary.

Direction, Gen. Imbert, President de la "Junta Para
de la Celebracion del Centenario.

View larger image

The statue consists of a bronze figure of Columbus eight feet two inches high, including the plinth, mounted on a pyramid of coral and limestone twelve feet high, and which, in its turn, is crowned by a capstone of dressed granite, on which the statue will rest.[42] The figure represents Columbus in an attitude of thanksgiving to God, and pointing, on the globe near his right hand, to the site of the first settlement in the New World. The statue and pedestal were made from designs drawn at the Massachusetts State Normal Art School by Mr. R. Andrew, under the direction of Prof. George Jepson, and the statue was modeled by Alois Buyens of Ghent.

The plaster cast of the monument, which has now been on exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston for some time, has been removed to the foundry at Chicopee for casting. In a few months it will be transformed into enduring bronze, and the Columbus monument will no longer be a growing thought but a living reality. To say it has stood the critical test of art connoisseurs in the Boston public is to say but little; for, from every quarter, comments on the work of the sculptor have been highly commendatory—the bold and vigorous treatment of the Flemish school, of which Mr. Buyens is a disciple, being something of a novelty in these parts, and well calculated to strike the popular fancy, which always admires strength,[Pg 178] especially when combined with gracefulness and high art. Not a few of the best critics have pronounced it superior to the average of similar statues to be found in and around Boston, and all unite in declaring it to be unquestionably a work of art, and one meriting great praise.

A recent communication from United States Consul Simpson, at Puerto Plata, announces that he has lately visited Isabella, in the interest of the monument. He made a careful survey of the site of the ancient town, and cleared the grounds of the trees and masses of trailing vines that encumbered the ruins, and after a thorough examination, assisted by the people of the neighborhood, he found the remains of the first church.

Other communications have been received from the Dominican government approving of the change of plan, substituting the statue for the simple stone monument, and offering the memorial committee the hospitalities of the island. And so the work goes on.

The monument, when erected, will commemorate two things—the establishment of Christianity and the rise of civilization in the New World. On the spot where it will stand Columbus built the first church 400 years ago.

One bronze relief shows the great discoverer in the fore-ground on bended knees with a trowel in his hand, laying the corner-stone. On the right, sits an ideal female figure, representing Mother Church, fostering a little Indian child, and pointing with uplifted hand to the cross, the emblem of man's salvation. Crouching Indians are at her feet, listening with astonishment to the strange story, while on the left of the cross are monks with bowed heads and lighted tapers, and in the distance are Spanish cavaliers and hidalgos.

The conception is thoroughly Catholic, Christian, simple, and artistic; it tells its own story with a pathos and directness not often found in works of this kind.[Pg 179]

The second tablet is more ideal and more severely classical than the first. The genius of civilization, bearing gifts, is carried in a chariot drawn by prancing horses. The Admiral, at the horses' heads, with one hand points the way for her to follow, while with the other he hands the reins to Columbia, the impersonation of the New World. An Indian at the chariot wheels stoops to gather the gifts of civilization as they fall from the cornucopia borne by the goddess. And thus is told in enduring bronze, by the genius of the artist, the symbolic story of the introduction of civilization to the New World.

Upon the face of the pedestal, a third tablet bears the inscription which was written at the instance of Very Rev. Dr. Charles B. Rex, president of the Brighton Theological Seminary. Mgr. Schroeder, the author, interprets the meaning of the whole, in terse rhythmical Latin sentences, after the Roman lapidary style:

Anno. claudente. sæculum XV.
Ex. quo. coloni. Christiani. Columbo. Duce
Hic. post. oppidum. constitutum
Primum. in. mundo. novo. templum
Christo. Deo. dicarunt
Ephemeris. Bostoniensis
Cui. a. sacro. corde. est. nomen
Sub. auspice. civium. Bostoniæ
Ne. rei. tantæ. memoria. unquam. delabatur
Hæc. marmori. commendavit.

(Translation of the Inscription.)

Toward the close of the fifteenth century,
Christian colonists, under the leadership of Columbus,
Here on this spot built the first settlement,
And the first church dedicated
[Pg 180]To Christ our Lord
In the new world.
A Boston paper, called the Sacred Heart Review,
Under the auspices of the citizens of Boston,
That the memory of so great an event might not be forgotten,
Hath erected this monument,
A. D. 1892.

The question is sometimes asked why are Catholics specially interested, and why should the Review trouble itself to erect this monument. The answer is this: We wish to locate the spot with some distinctive mark where civilization was first planted and where Christianity reared its first altar on this soil, 400 years ago. By this public act of commemoration we hope to direct public attention to this modest birthplace of our Mother Church, which stands to-day deserted and unhonored like a pauper's grave, a monument of shame to the carelessness and indifference of millions of American Catholics.

Why should we be specially interested? Because here on this spot the Catholic church first saw the light of day in America; here the first important act of the white man was the celebration of the holy mass, the supreme act of Catholic worship; here the first instrument of civilization that pierced the virgin soil was a cross, and here the first Catholic anthems resounding through the forest primeval, and vying in sweetness and melody with the song of birds, were the Te Deum Laudamus and the Gloria in Excelsis. Sculptured marble and engraved stone we have in abundance, and tablets without number bear record to deeds and historical events of far less importance than this. For, mark well what these ruins and this monument stand for.

One hundred and twenty-six years before the Congregationalist church landed on Plymouth Rock, 110 years before the Anglican church came to Jamestown, and thirty-five[Pg 181] years before the word Protestant was invented, this church was erected, and the gospel announced to the New World by zealous missionaries of the Catholic faith. No other denomination of Christians in America can claim priority or even equal duration with us in point of time. No other can show through all the centuries of history such generous self-sacrifice and heroic missionary efforts. No other has endured such misrepresentation and bitter persecution for justice's sake. If her history here is a valuable heritage, we to whom it has descended are in duty bound to keep it alive in the memory and hearts of her children. We have recently celebrated the centennial of the Church in the United States; but, for a still greater reason, we should now prepare to celebrate the quadro-centennial of the Church in America. And this is why Catholics should be specially interested in this monument. Columbus himself was a deeply religious man. He observed rigorously the fasts and ceremonies of the Church, reciting daily the entire canonical office. He began everything he wrote with the Jesu cum Maria sit nobis in via (May Jesus and Mary be always with us). And as Irving, his biographer, says, his piety did not consist in mere forms, but partook of that lofty and solemn enthusiasm which characterized his whole life. In his letter to his sovereigns announcing his discovery he indulges in no egotism, but simply asks "Spain to exhibit a holy joy, for Christ rejoices on earth as in heaven seeing the future redemption of souls." And so his religion bursts out and seems to pervade everything he touches. With such a man to commemorate and honor, there is special reason why Catholics, and the Review, which represents them, should busy themselves with erecting a Columbus monument.

But the name and fame and beneficent work of Columbus belong to the whole Christian world. While Catholics with[Pg 182] gratitude recall his fortitude and heroism, and thank God, who inspired him with a firm faith and a burning charity for God and man, yet Protestants no less than Catholics share in the fruit of his work, and, we are glad to say, vie with Catholics in proclaiming and honoring his exalted character, his courage, fortitude, and the beneficent work he accomplished for mankind. Hence Dr. Edward Everett Hale, in his recent article on Columbus in the Independent, voices the sentiment of every thoughtful, intelligent Protestant when he says, "No wonder that the world of America loves and honors the hero whose faith and courage called America into being. No wonder that she celebrates the beginning of a new century with such tributes of pride and hope as the world has never seen before." It is this same becoming sentiment of gratitude which has prompted so many worthy Protestants to enroll their names on the list of gentlemen who are helping the Review to mark and honor the spot Columbus chose for the first Christian settlement on this continent.

Thus, so long as the bronze endures, the world will know that we venerate the character and achievements of Columbus, and the spot where Christian civilization took its rise in the New World.


The daring mariner shall urge far o'er
The western wave, a smooth and level plain,
Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.


Samuel Jefferson, a British author. From his epic poem, "Columbus," published by S. C. Griggs & Co., Chicago.[43]

Thou searcher of the ocean, thee to sing
Shall my devoted lyre awake each string!
[Pg 183]Columbus! Hero! Would my song could tell
How great thy worth! No praise can overswell
The grandeur of thy deeds! Thine eagle eye
Pierced through the clouds of ages to descry
From empyrean heights where thou didst soar
With bright imagination winged by lore—
The signs of continents as yet unknown;
Across the deep thy keen-eyed glance was thrown;
Thou, with prevailing longing, still aspired
To reach the goal thy ardent soul desired;
Thy heavenward soaring spirit, bold, elate,
Scorned long delay and conquered chance and fate;
Thy valor followed thy far-searching eyes,
Until success crowned thy bold emprize.


Annie Fellows Johnston. From a poem published in Harper's Weekly, June 25, 1892.[44]

More than the compass to the mariner
Wast thou, Felipa, to his dauntless soul.
Through adverse winds that threatened wreck, and nights
Of rayless gloom, thou pointed ever to
The north star of his great ambition. He
Who once has lost an Eden, or has gained
A paradise by Eve's sweet influence,
Alone can know how strong a spell lies in
The witchery of a woman's beckoning hand.
And thou didst draw him, tidelike, higher still,
Felipa, whispering the lessons learned
From thy courageous father, till the flood
Of his ambition burst all barriers,
And swept him onward to his longed-for goal.

Before the jewels of a Spanish queen
[Pg 184]Built fleets to waft him on his untried way,
Thou gavest thy wealth of wifely sympathy
To build the lofty purpose of his soul.
And now the centuries have cycled by,
Till thou art all forgotten by the throng
That lauds the great Pathfinder of the deep.
It matters not, in that infinitude
Of space where thou dost guide thy spirit bark
To undiscovered lands, supremely fair.
If to this little planet thou couldst turn
And voyage, wraithlike, to its cloud-hung rim,
Thou wouldst not care for praise. And if, perchance,
Some hand held out to thee a laurel bough,
Thou wouldst not claim one leaf, but fondly turn
To lay thy tribute also at his feet.


John S. Kennedy, an American author.

The near approach of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America has revived in all parts of the civilized world great interest in everything concerning that memorable event and the perilous voyage of the great navigator whom it has immortalized.


Moses King, an American geographer of the nineteenth century.

I have read somewhere that in the northeastern part of Havana stands, facing an open square, a brown stone church, blackened by age, and dignified by the name of "cathedral." It is visited by every American, because within its walls lies buried all that remains of the great discoverer, Columbus.


Was it by the coarse law of demand and supply that a[Pg 185] Columbus was haunted by the ghost of a round planet at the time when the New World was needed for the interests of civilization?—Ibid.


Arthur G. Knight, in his "Life of Columbus."

Through all the slow martyrdom of long delays and bitter disappointments, he never faltered in his lofty purpose; in the hour of triumph he was self-possessed and unassuming; under cruel persecution he was patient and forgiving. For almost unexampled services he certainly received a poor reward on earth.


Lucius Lactantius, an eminent Christian author, 260-325 A. D.

Is there any one so foolish as to believe that there are antipodes with their feet opposite to ours; that there is a part of the world in which all things are topsy-turvy, where the trees grow with their branches downward, and where it rains, hails, and snows upward?


The World's Fair city is a close competitor with the historic cities of the Old World for the grandest monument to Columbus and the fittest location for it. At Barcelona, on the Paseo Colon, seaward, a snowy marble Admiral looks toward the Shadowy Sea. At Genoa, 'mid the palms of the Piazza Acquaverde, a noble representation of the noblest Genoese faces the fitful gusts of the Mediterranean and fondly guards an Indian maid. A lofty but rude cairn marks the Admiral's first footprints on the shores of the wreck-strewn Bahamas, and many a monument or encomiastic inscription denotes spots sacred to the history of his indomitable resolve. These all commemorate, as it were,[Pg 186] but the inception of the great discovery. It remains for Chicago to perpetuate the results, and most fitly to place an heroic figure of the first Admiral viewing, and in full view of all.

On the Lake Front Park, in full view of the ceaseless commercial activity of the Great Lakes, and close by the hum of the hive of human industry, grandly will a bronze Columbus face the blasts from Michigan's bosom. There the greatest navigator stands,

Calm, his prescience verified,

proudly through the ages watching the full fruits of that first and fateful voyage over the waves of the seas of mystery, to found a nation where Freedom alone should be supreme. Just where the big monument will be located on Lake Front Park has not been decided, but a site south of the Auditorium, midway between the Illinois Central tracks and Michigan Boulevard, will perhaps be chosen. The statue proper will be twenty feet high. It will be of bronze, mounted on a massive granite pedestal, of thirty feet in height, and will serve for all time as a memorial of the Exposition.

The chosen artist, out of the many who submitted designs, was Mr. Howard Kretschmar, a Chicago sculptor of rare power and artistic talent.

The massive figure of Columbus is represented at the moment the land, and the glorious future of his great discovery, burst upon his delighted gaze. No ascetic monk, no curled cavalier, looks down from the pedestal. The apocryphal portraits of Europe may peer out of their frames in this guise, but it has been the artist's aim here to chisel a man, not a monk; and a noble man, rather than a cringing courtier. Above the massive pedestal of simple design, which bears the terse legend, "Erected by the World's Columbian Exposition, A. D. 1893," stands the noble[Pg 187] figure of the Noah of our nation. The open doublet discloses the massive proportions of a more than well-knit man. The left hand, pressed to the bosom, indicates the tension of his feelings, and the outstretched hand but further intensifies the dawning and gradually o'erwhelming sense of the future, the possibilities of his grand discovery. One of the noblest conceptions in bronze upon this continent is Mr. Howard Kretschmar's "Columbus," and of it may Chicago well be proud.


Alphonse Lamartine, the learned French writer and politician. Born at Macon, 1792; died, 1869. From "Life of Columbus."

All the characteristics of a truly great man are united in Columbus. Genius, labor, patience, obscurity of origin, overcome by energy of will; mild but persisting firmness, resignation toward heaven, struggle against the world; long conception of the idea in solitude, heroic execution of it in action; intrepidity and coolness in storms, fearlessness of death in civil strife; confidence in the destiny—not of an individual, but of the human race; a life risked without hesitation or retrospect in venturing into the unknown and phantom-peopled ocean, 1,500 leagues across, and on which the first step no more allowed of second thoughts than Cæsar's passage of the Rubicon; untiring study, knowledge as extensive as the science of his day, skillful but honorable management of courts to persuade them to truth; propriety of demeanor, nobleness, and dignity in outward bearing, which afford proof of greatness of mind and attracts eyes and hearts; language adapted to the grandeur of his thoughts; eloquence which could convince kings and quell the mutiny of crews; a natural poetry of style, which placed his narrative on a par[Pg 188] with the wonders of his discoveries and the marvels of nature; an immense, ardent, and enduring love for the human race, piercing even into that distant future in which humanity forgets those that do it service; legislative wisdom and philosophic mildness in the government of his colonies; paternal compassion for those Indians, infants of humanity, whom he wished to give over to the guardianship—not to the tyranny and oppression—of the Old World; forgetfulness of injury and magnanimous forgiveness of his enemies; and lastly, piety, that virtue which includes and exalts all other virtues, when it exists as it did in the mind of Columbus—the constant presence of God in the soul, of justice in the conscience, of mercy in the heart, of gratitude in success, of resignation in reverses, of worship always and everywhere.

Such was the man. We know of none more perfect. He contains several impersonations within himself. He was worthy to represent the ancient world before that unknown continent on which he was the first to set foot, and carry to these men of a new race all the virtues, without any of the vices, of the elder hemisphere. So great was his influence on the destiny of the earth, that none more than he ever deserved the name of a Civilizer.

His influence in civilization was immeasurable. He completed the world. He realized the physical unity of the globe. He advanced, far beyond all that had been done before his time, the work of God—the SPIRITUAL UNITY OF THE HUMAN RACE. This work, in which Columbus had so largely assisted, was indeed too great to be worthily rewarded even by affixing his name to the fourth continent. America bears not that name, but the human race, drawn together and cemented by him, will spread his renown over the whole earth.[Pg 189]


Sidney Lanier, an American poet of considerable talent. Born at Macon, Ga., February 3, 1842; died at Lynn, N. C., September 8, 1881. From his "Psalm of the West."[45] Lanier was the author of the "Centennial Ode."

Santa Maria, well thou tremblest down the wave,
Thy Pinta far abow, thy Niña nigh astern;
Columbus stands in the night alone, and, passing grave,
Yearns o'er the sea as tones o'er under-silence yearn.
Heartens his heart as friend befriends his friend less brave,
Makes burn the faiths that cool, and cools the doubts that burn.

"'Twixt this and dawn, three hours my soul will smite
With prickly seconds, or less tolerably
With dull-blade minutes flatwise slapping me.
Wait, heart! Time moves. Thou lithe young Western Night,
Just-crowned King, slow riding to thy right,
Would God that I might straddle mutiny
Calm as thou sitt'st yon never-managed sea,
Balk'st with his balking, fliest with his flight,
Giv'st supple to his rearings and his falls,
Nor dropp'st one coronal star about thy brow,
Whilst ever dayward thou art steadfast drawn
Yea, would I rode these mad contentious brawls,
No damage taking from their If and How,
Nor no result save galloping to my Dawn.

"My Dawn? my Dawn? How if it never break?
How if this West by other Wests is pierced.
And these by vacant Wests and Wests increased—
One pain of space, with hollow ache on ache,
Throbbing and ceasing not for Christ's own sake?
[Pg 190]Big, perilous theorem, hard for king and priest;
'Pursue the West but long enough, 'tis East!'
Oh, if this watery world no turning take;
Oh, if for all my logic, all my dreams,
Provings of that which is by that which seems,
Fears, hopes, chills, heats, hastes, patiences, droughts, tears,
Wife-grievings, slights on love, embezzled years,
Hates, treaties, scorns, upliftings, loss, and gain,
This earth, no sphere, be all one sickening plain.

"Or, haply, how if this contrarious West,
That me by turns hath starved, by turns hath fed,
Embraced, disgraced, beat back, solicited,
Have no fixed heart of law within his breast;
Or with some different rhythm doth e'er contest,
Nature in the East? Why, 'tis but three weeks fled
I saw my Judas needle shake his head
And flout the Pole that, East, he lord confessed!
God! if this West should own some other Pole,
And with his tangled ways perplex my soul
Until the maze grow mortal, and I die
Where distraught Nature clean hath gone astray,
On earth some other wit than Time's at play,
Some other God than mine above the sky!

"Now speaks mine other heart with cheerier seeming;
'Ho, Admiral! o'er-defalking to thine crew
Against thyself, thyself far overfew
To front yon multitudes of rebel scheming?'
Come, ye wild twenty years of heavenly dreaming!
Come, ye wild weeks, since first this canvas drew
Out of vexed Palos ere the dawn was blue,
O'er milky waves about the bows full-creaming!
Come, set me round with many faithful spears
Of confident remembrance—how I crushed
[Pg 191]Cat-lived rebellions, pitfalled treasons, hushed
Scared husbands' heart-break cries on distant wives,
Made cowards blush at whining for their lives;
Watered my parching souls and dried their tears.

"Ere we Gomera cleared, a coward cried:
'Turn, turn; here be three caravels ahead,
From Portugal, to take us; we are dead!'
'Hold westward, pilot,' calmly I replied.
So when the last land down the horizon died,
'Go back, go back,' they prayed, 'our hearts are lead.'
'Friends, we are bound into the West,' I said.
Then passed the wreck of a mast upon our side.
'See (so they wept) God's warning! Admiral, turn!'
'Steersman,' I said, 'hold straight into the West.'
Then down the night we saw the meteor burn.
So do the very heavens in fire protest.
'Good Admiral, put about! O Spain, dear Spain!'
'Hold straight into the West,' I said again.

"Next drive we o'er the slimy-weeded sea,
'Lo! here beneath,' another coward cries,
'The cursed land of sunk Atlantis lies;
This slime will suck us down—turn while thou'rt free!'
'But no!' I said, 'freedom bears West for me!'
Yet when the long-time stagnant winds arise,
And day by day the keel to westward flies,
My Good my people's Ill doth come to be;
Ever the winds into the west do blow;
Never a ship, once turned, might homeward go;
Meanwhile we speed into the lonesome main.
'For Christ's sake, parley, Admiral! Turn, before
We sail outside all bounds of help from pain.'
'Our help is in the West,' I said once more.

"So when there came a mighty cry of Land!
[Pg 192]And we clomb up and saw, and shouted strong
'Salve Regina!' all the ropes along,
But knew at morn how that a counterfeit band
Of level clouds had aped a silver strand;
So when we heard the orchard-bird's small song,
And all the people cried, 'A hellish throng
To tempt us onward, by the Devil planned,
Yea, all from hell—keen heron, fresh green weeds,
Pelican, tunny-fish, fair tapering reeds,
Lie-telling lands that ever shine and die
In clouds of nothing round the empty sky.
'Tired Admiral, get thee from this hell, and rest!'
'Steersman,' I said, 'hold straight into the West.'

"I marvel how mine eye, ranging the Night,
From its big circling ever absently
Returns, thou large, low star, to fix on thee.
Maria! Star? No star; a Light, a Light!
Wouldst leap ashore, Heart? Yonder burns a Light!
'Pedro Gutierrez, wake! come up to me.
I prithee stand and gaze about the sea;
What seest?' 'Admiral, like as land—a Light!'
'Well, Sanchez of Segovia come and try;
What seest?' 'Admiral, naught but sea and sky!'
'Well, but I saw it. Wait, the Pinta's gun!
Why, look! 'tis dawn! the land is clear; 'tis done!
Two dawns do break at once from Time's full hand—
God's East—mine, West! Good friends, behold my Land!'"


Eugene Lawrence, an American historical writer. Born in New York, 1823. From "The Mystery of Columbus," in Harper's Magazine, May, 1892.[46]

In Columbus the passion for gold raged with a violence seldom known. He dreamed of golden palaces, heaps of[Pg 193] treasure, and mines teeming with endless wealth. His cry was everywhere for gold. Every moment, in his fierce avarice, he would fancy himself on the brink of boundless opulence; he was always about to seize the treasures of the East, painted by Marco Polo and Mandeville. "Gold," he wrote to the King and Queen, "is the most valuable thing in the world; it rescues souls from purgatory and restores them to the joys of paradise."

Sculptor, Señor J. Samartin.


Pope Leo XIII., the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. From a letter in Chicago Inter Ocean, 1892.

While we see on all sides the preparations that are eagerly being made for the celebration of the Columbian quadri-centenary feasts in memory of a man most illustrious, and deserving of Christianity and all cultured humanity, we hear with great pleasure that the United States has, among other nations, entered this competition of praise in such a manner as befits both the vastness and richness of the country and the memory of the man so great as he to whom these honors are being shown. The success of this effort will surely be another proof of the great spirit and active energy of this people, who undertake enormous and difficult tasks with such great and happy dealing. It is a testimony of honor and gratitude to that immortal man of whom we have spoken, who, desirous of finding a road by which the light and truth and all the adornments of civil culture might be carried to the most distant parts of the world, could neither be deterred by dangers nor wearied by labors, until, having in a certain manner renewed the bonds between two parts of the human race so long separated, he bestowed upon both such great benefits that he in justice must be said to have few equals or a superior.[Pg 194]


The Pope held a reception at the Vatican on the occasion of the festival of his patron saint, St. Joachim. In an address he referred to Columbus as the glory of Catholicism, and thanked the donors of the new Church of St. Joachim for commemorating his jubilee.


The following is the text of the letter addressed by Leo XIII. to the archbishops and bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas on the subject of Christopher Columbus.


To the Archbishops and Bishops of Spain and Italy, and of the two Americas. Leo XIII., Pope.

Venerable Brothers, Greeting and Apostolic Benediction: From the end of the fifteenth century, since a man from Liguria first landed, under the auspices of God, on the transatlantic shores, humanity has been strongly inclined to celebrate with gratitude the recollection of this event. It would certainly not be an easy matter to find a more worthy cause to touch their hearts and to inflame their zeal. The event, in effect, is such in itself that no other epoch has seen a grander and more beautiful one accomplished by man.

As to who accomplished it, there are few who can be compared to him in greatness of soul and genius. By his work a new world flashed forth from the unexplored ocean, thousands upon thousands of mortals were returned to the common society of the human race, led from their barbarous life to peacefulness and civilization, and, which is of[Pg 195] much more importance, recalled from perdition to eternal life by the bestowal of the gifts which Jesus Christ brought to the world.

Europe, astonished alike by the novelty and the prodigiousness of this unexpected event, understood little by little, in due course of time, what she owed to Columbus, when, by sending colonies to America, by frequent communications, by exchange of services, by the resources confided to the sea and received in return, there was discovered an accession of the most favorable nature possible to the knowledge of nature, to the reciprocal abundance of riches, with the result that the prestige of Europe increased enormously.

Therefore, it would not be fitting, amid these numerous testimonials on honor, and in these concerts of felicitations, that the Church should maintain complete silence, since, in accordance with her character and her institution, she willingly approves and endeavors to favor all that appears, wherever it is, to be worthy of honor and praise. Undoubtedly she receives particular and supreme honors to the virtues pre-eminent in regard to morality, inasmuch as they are united to the eternal salvation of souls; nevertheless, she does not despise the rest, neither does she abstain from esteeming them as they deserve; it is even her habit to favor with all her power and to always have in honor those who have well merited of human society and who have passed to posterity.

Certainly, God is admirable in His saints, but the vestiges of His divine virtues appear as imprinted in those in whom shines a superior force of soul and mind, for this elevation of heart and this spark of genius could only come from God, their author and protector.

It is in addition an entirely special reason for which we believe we should commemorate in a grateful spirit this[Pg 196] immortal event. It is that Columbus is one of us. When one considers with what motive above all he undertook the plan of exploring the dark sea, and with what object he endeavored to realize this plan, one can not doubt that the Catholic faith superlatively inspired the enterprise and its execution, so that by this title, also, humanity is not a little indebted to the Church.

There are without doubt many men of hardihood and full of experience who, before Christopher Columbus and after him, explored with persevering efforts unknown lands across seas still more unknown. Their memory is celebrated, and will be so by the renown and the recollection of their good deeds, seeing that they have extended the frontiers of science and of civilization, and that not at the price of slight efforts, but with an exalted ardor of spirit, and often through extreme perils. It is not the less true that there is a great difference between them and him of whom we speak.

The eminently distinctive point in Columbus is, that in crossing the immense expanses of the ocean he followed an object more grand and more elevated than the others. This does not say, doubtless, that he was not in any way influenced by the very praiseworthy desire to be master of science, to well deserve the approval of society, or that he despised the glory whose stimulant is ordinarily more sensitive to elevated minds, or that he was not at all looking to his own personal interests. But above all these human reasons, that of religion was uppermost by a great deal in him, and it was this, without any doubt, which sustained his spirit and his will, and which frequently, in the midst of extreme difficulties, filled him with consolation. He learned in reality that his plan, his resolution profoundly carved in his heart, was to open access to the gospel in new lands and in new seas.[Pg 197]

This may seem hardly probable to those who, concentrating all their care, all their thoughts, in the present nature of things, as it is perceived by the senses, refuse to look upon greater benefits. But, on the other hand, it is the characteristic of eminent minds to prefer to elevate themselves higher, for they are better disposed than all others to seize the impulses and the inspirations of the divine faith. Certainly, Columbus had united the study of nature to the study of religion, and he had conformed his mind to the precepts intimately drawn from the Catholic faith.

It is thus that, having learned by astronomy and ancient documents that beyond the limits of the known world there were, in addition, toward the west, large tracts of territory unexplored up to that time by anybody, he considered in his mind the immense multitude of those who were plunged in lamentable darkness, subject to insensate rites and to the superstitions of senseless divinities. He considered that they miserably led a savage life, with ferocious customs; that, more miserably still, they were wanting in all notion of the most important things, and that they were plunged in ignorance of the only true God.

Thus, in considering this in himself, he aimed first of all to propagate the name of Christianity and the benefits of Christian charity in the West. As a fact, as soon as he presented himself to the sovereigns of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, he explained the cause for which they were not to fear taking a warm interest in the enterprise, as their glory would increase to the point of becoming immortal if they decided to carry the name and the doctrine of Jesus Christ into such distant regions. And when, not long afterward, his prayers were granted, he called to witness that he wished to obtain from God that these sovereigns, sustained by His help and His mercy, should persevere in causing the gospel to penetrate upon new shores and in new lands.[Pg 198]

He conceived in the same manner the plan of asking Alexander VI. for apostolic men, by a letter in which these words are found: "I hope that it will some day be given to me with the help of God to propagate afar the very holy name of Jesus Christ and his gospel." Also can one imagine him all filled with joy when he wrote to Raphael Sanchez, the first who from the Indies had returned to Lisbon, that immortal actions of grace must be rendered to God in that he had deigned to cause to prosper the enterprise so well, and that Jesus Christ could rejoice and triumph upon earth and in heaven for the coming salvation of innumerable people who previously had been going to their ruin. That, if Columbus also asks of Ferdinand and Isabella to permit only Catholic Christians to go to the New World, there to accelerate trade with the natives, he supports this motive by the fact that by his enterprise and efforts he has not sought for anything else than the glory and the development of the Christian religion.

This was what was perfectly known to Isabella, who, better than any other person, had penetrated the mind of such a great man; much more, it appears that this same plan was fully adopted by this very pious woman of great heart and manly mind. She bore witness, in effect, of Columbus, that in courageously giving himself up to the vast ocean, he realized, for the divine glory, a most signal enterprise; and to Columbus himself, when he had happily returned, she wrote that she esteemed as having been highly employed the resources which she had consecrated and which she would still consecrate to the expeditions in the Indies, in view of the fact that the propagation of Catholicism would result from them.

Also, if he had not inspired himself from a cause superior to human interests, where then would he have drawn the constancy and the strength of soul to support what he[Pg 199] was obliged to the end to endure and to submit to; that is to say, the unpropitious advice of the learned people, the repulses of princes, the tempests of the furious ocean, the continual watches, during which he more than once risked losing his sight.

To that add the combats sustained against the barbarians; the infidelities of his friends, of his companions; the villainous conspiracies, the perfidiousness of the envious, the calumnies of the traducers, the chains with which, after all, though innocent, he was loaded. It was inevitable that a man overwhelmed with a burden of trials so great and so intense would have succumbed had he not sustained himself by the consciousness of fulfilling a very noble enterprise, which he conjectured would be glorious for the Christian name and salutary for an infinite multitude.

And the enterprise so carried out is admirably illustrated by the events of that time. In effect, Columbus discovered America at about the period when a great tempest was going to unchain itself against the Church. Inasmuch as it is permitted by the course of events to appreciate the ways of divine Providence, it really seems that the man for whom the Liguria honors herself was destined by special plan of God to compensate Catholicism for the injury which it was going to suffer in Europe.

To call the Indian race to Christianity, this was, without doubt, the mission and the work of the Church in this mission. From the beginning, she continued to fulfill it with an uninterrupted course of charity, and she still continues it, having advanced herself recently so far as the extremities of Patagonia.

Thus, when compelled by the Portuguese, by the Genoese, to leave without having obtained any result, he went to Spain. He matured the grand plan of the projected discovery in the midst of the walls of a convent, with the[Pg 200] knowledge of and with the advice of a monk of the Order of St. Francis d'Assisi, after seven years had revolved. When at last he goes to dare the ocean, he takes care that the expedition shall comply with the acts of spiritual expiation; he prays to the Queen of Heaven to assist the enterprise and to direct its course, and before giving the order to make sail he invokes the august divine Trinity. Then, once fairly at sea, while the waters agitate themselves, while the crew murmurs, he maintains, under God's care, a calm constancy of mind.

His plan manifests itself in the very names which he imposes on the new islands, and each time that he is called upon to land upon one of them he worships the Almighty God, and only takes possession of it in the name of Jesus Christ. At whatever coast he approaches he has nothing more as his first idea than the planting on the shore of the sacred sign of the cross; and the divine name of the Redeemer, which he had sung so frequently on the open sea to the sound of the murmuring waves—he is the first to make it reverberate in the new islands in the same way. When he institutes the Spanish colony he causes it to be commenced by the construction of a temple, where he first provides that the popular fêtes shall be celebrated by august ceremonies.

Here, then, is what Columbus aimed at and what he accomplished when he went in search, over so great an expanse of sea and of land, of regions up to that time unexplored and uncultivated, but whose civilization, renown, and riches were to rapidly attain that immense development which we see to-day.

In all this, the magnitude of the event, the efficacy and the variety of the benefits which have resulted from it, tend assuredly to celebrate he, who was the author of it, by a grateful remembrance and by all sorts of testimonials of[Pg 201] honor; but, in the first place, we must recognize and venerate particularly the divine project, to which the discoverer of the New World was subservient and which he knowingly obeyed.

In order to celebrate worthily and in a manner suitable to the truth of the facts the solemn anniversary of Columbus, the sacredness of religion must be united to the splendor of the civil pomp. This is why, as previously, at the first announcement of the event, public actions of grace were rendered to the providence of the immortal God, upon the example which the Supreme Pontiff gave; the same also now, in celebrating the recollection of the auspicious event, we esteem that we must do as much.

We decree to this effect, that the day of October 12th, or the following Sunday, if the respective diocesan bishops judge it to be opportune, that, after the office of the day, the solemn mass of the very Holy Trinity shall be celebrated in the cathedral and collegial churches of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas. In addition to these countries, we hope that, upon the initiative of the bishops, as much may be done in the others, for it is fitting that all should concur in celebrating with piety and gratitude an event which has been profitable to all.

In the meanwhile, as a pledge of the celestial favors and in testimony of our fraternal good-will, we affectionately accord in the Lord the Apostolic benediction to you, venerable brothers, to your clergy, and to your people.

Given at Rome, near St. Peter's, July 16th of the year 1892, the fifteenth of our Pontificate.

Leo XIII., Pope.


Capel Lofft.

O generous nation! to whose noble boast,
[Pg 202]Illustrious Spain, the providence of Heaven
A radiant sky of vivid power hath given,
A land of flowers, of fruits, profuse; an host
Of ardent spirits; when deprest the most,
By great, enthusiastic impulse driven
To deeds of highest daring.


The Rev. John Lord, LL. D., a popular American lecturer and Congregational minister. Born in Portsmouth, N. H., December 27, 1810.

Wrapped up in those glorious visions which come only to a man of superlative genius, and which make him insensible to heat and cold and scanty fare, even to reproach and scorn, this intrepid soul, inspired by a great and original idea, wandered from city to city, and country to country, and court to court, to present the certain greatness and wealth of any state that would embark in his enterprise. But all were alike cynical, cold, unbelieving, and even insulting. He opposes overwhelming universal and overpowering ideas. To have surmounted these amid such protracted opposition and discouragment constitutes his greatness; and finally to prove his position by absolute experiment and hazardous enterprise makes him one of the greatest of human benefactors, whose fame will last through all the generations of men. And as I survey that lonely, abstracted, disappointed, and derided man—poor and unimportant; so harassed by debt that his creditors seized even his maps and charts; obliged to fly from one country to another to escape imprisonment; without even listeners and still less friends, and yet with ever-increasing faith in his cause; utterly unconquerable; alone in opposition to all the world—I think I see the most persistent man of enterprise that I have read of in history. Critics ambitious to say something new may rake out slanders from the archives of[Pg 203] enemies and discover faults which derogate from the character we have been taught to admire and venerate; they may even point out spots, which we can not disprove, in that sun of glorious brightness which shed its beneficent rays over a century of darkness—but this we know, that whatever may be the force of detraction, his fame has been steadily increasing, even on the admission of his slanderers, for three centuries, and that he now shines as a fixed star in the constellation of the great lights of modern times, not only because he succeeded in crossing the ocean when once embarked on it, but for surmounting the moral difficulties which lay in his way before he could embark upon it, and for being finally instrumental in conferring the greatest boon that our world has received from any mortal man since Noah entered into the ark.


Rossely de Lorgues, a Catholic biographer.

Columbus did not owe his great celebrity to his genius or conscience, but only to his vocation, to his faith, and to the Divine grace.


Archbishop Janssens of New Orleans has issued a letter to his diocese directing a general observance of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. The opening paragraph reads:

"Christopher Columbus was a sincere and devout Catholic; his remarkable voyage was made possible by the intercession of a holy monk and by the patronage and liberality of the pious Queen Isabella. The cross of Christ, the emblem of our holy religion, was planted on America's virgin soil, and the Te Deum and the holy mass were the first religious services held on the same. It is, therefore,[Pg 204] just and proper that this great event and festival should be celebrated in a religious as well as a civil manner."

The Pope having set the Julian date of October 12th for the celebration, and the President October 21st, the archbishop directs that exercises be held on both these days—the first of a religious character, the second civic. October 12th a solemn votive mass will be sung in all the churches of the diocese, with an exhortation, and October 21st in the city of New Orleans the clergy will assemble at the archiepiscopal residence early in the morning and march to the cathedral, where services will be held at 7.30 o'clock. Sermons of ten minutes each are to be preached in English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian.


James Russell Lowell, an American poet. Born in Boston, 1819; died in Cambridge, 1891. From "W. L. Garrison." Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston.

Such earnest natures are the fiery pith,
The compact nucleus, round which systems grow.
Mass after mass becomes inspired therewith,
And whirls impregnate with the central glow.

O Truth! O Freedom! how are ye still born
In the rude stable, in the manger nursed.
What humble hands unbar those gates of morn
Through which the splendors of the new day burst.

Whatever can be known of earth we know,
Sneered Europe's wise men, in their snail-shells curled;
No! said one man in Genoa, and that no
Out of the dark created this New World.

Men of a thousand shifts and wiles, look here;
[Pg 205]See one straightforward conscience put in pawn
To win a world; see the obedient sphere
By bravery's simple gravitation drawn.

Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old,
And by the Present's lips repeated still,
In our own single manhood to be bold,
Fortressed in conscience and impregnable will?


He in the palace-aisles of untrod woods
Doth walk a king; for him the pent-up cell
Widens beyond the circles of the stars,
And all the sceptered spirits of the past
Come thronging in to greet him as their peer;
While, like an heir new-crowned, his heart o'erleaps
The blazing steps of his ancestral throne.—Ibid.

Columbus, seeking the back door of Asia, found himself knocking at the front door of America.—Ibid.


From "Columbus," a poem by the same author. Published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

Chances have laws as fixed as planets have;
And disappointment's dry and bitter root,
Envy's harsh berries, and the choking pool
Of the world's scorn are the right mother-milk
To the tough hearts that pioneer their kind,
And break a pathway to those unknown realms
That in the earth's broad shadow lie enthralled;
Endurance is the crowning quality,
And patience all the passion of great hearts;
These are their stay, and when the leaden world
Sets its hard face against their fateful thought,
[Pg 206]And brute strength, like a scornful conqueror,
Clangs his huge mace down in the other scale,
The inspired soul but flings his patience in,
And slowly that outweighs the ponderous globe—
One faith against a whole world's unbelief,
One soul against the flesh of all mankind.

I know not when this hope enthralled me first,
But from my boyhood up I loved to hear
The tall pine forests of the Apennine
Murmur their hoary legends of the sea;
Which hearing, I in vision clear beheld
The sudden dark of tropic night shut down
O'er the huge whisper of great watery wastes.

I brooded on the wise Athenian's tale
Of happy Atlantis, and heard Björne's keel
Crunch the gray pebbles of the Vinland shore.

Thus ever seems it when my soul can hear
The voice that errs not; then my triumph gleams,
O'er the blank ocean beckoning, and all night
My heart flies on before me as I sail;
Far on I see my life-long enterprise!

Lytton (Lord). See post, "Schiller."


Thomas Babington, Baron Macaulay, one of England's most celebrated historians. Born at Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, October 25, 1800; died, December 28, 1859.

Vespucci, an adventurer who accidentally landed in a rich and unknown island, and who, though he only set up[Pg 207] an ill-shaped cross upon the shore, acquired possession of its treasures and gave his name to a continent which should have derived its appellation from Columbus.


Charles P. Mackie, an American author. From his "With the Admiral of the Ocean Sea." Published by Messrs. A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago.

Whatever were his mistakes and shortcomings, Colon was neither a visionary nor an imbecile. Had he been perfect in all things and wise to the point of infallibility, we could not have claimed him as the glorious credit he was to the common humanity to which we all belong. His greatness was sufficient to cover with its mantle far more of the weaknesses of frail mortality than he had to draw under its protection; and it becomes us who attempt to analyze his life in these later days, to bear in mind that, had his lot befallen ourselves, the natives of the western world would still, beyond a peradventure, be wandering in undraped peace through their tangled woods, and remain forever ignorant of the art of eating meat. In his trials and distresses the Admiral encountered only the portion of the sons of Adam; but to him was also given, as to few before or since, to say with the nameless shepherd of Tempe's classic vale, "I, too, have lived in Arcady."

Colon did not merely discover the New World. He spent seven years and one month among the islands and on the coasts of the hemisphere now called after the ship-chandler who helped to outfit his later expeditions. For the greater part of that time he was under the constant burden of knowing that venomous intrigue and misrepresentation were doing their deadly work at home while he did what he believed was his Heaven-imposed duty on this side the Atlantic.[Pg 208]


At the top of the Paseo de Recoletos is a monument to Columbus in the debased Gothic style of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was unveiled in 1885. The sides are ornamented with reliefs and the whole surmounted by a white marble statue. Among the sculptures are a ship and a globe, with the inscription:

Á Castilla y á Leon
Nuevo mundo dió Colon.


To Castille and Leon
Columbus gave a new world.


Finn Magnusen, an Icelandic historian and antiquary. Born at Skalholt, 1781; died, 1847.

The English trade with Iceland certainly merits the consideration of historians, if it furnished Columbus with the opportunity of visiting that island, there to be informed of the historical evidence respecting the existence of important lands and a large continent in the west. If Columbus should have acquired a knowledge of the accounts transmitted to us of the discoveries of the Northmen in conversations held in Latin with the Bishop of Skalholt and the learned men of Iceland, we may the more readily conceive his firm belief in the possibility of rediscovering a western continent, and his unwearied zeal in putting his plans in execution. The discovery of America, so momentous in its results, may therefore be regarded as the mediate consequence of its previous discovery by the Scandinavians, which may be thus placed among the most important events of former ages.

Erected, 1885. (See page 209.)

[Pg 209]


Richard Henry Major, F. S. A., late keeper of the printed books in the British Museum; a learned antiquary. Born in London, 1810; died June 25, 1891.

It is impossible to read without the deepest sympathy the occasional murmurings and half-suppressed complaints which are uttered in the course of his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella describing his fourth voyage. These murmurings and complaints were rung from his manly spirit by sickness and sorrow, and though reduced almost to the brink of despair by the injustice of the King, yet do we find nothing harsh or disrespectful in his language to the sovereign. A curious contrast is presented to us. The gift of a world could not move the monarch to gratitude; the infliction of chains, as a recompense for that gift, could not provoke the subject to disloyalty. The same great heart which through more than twenty wearisome years of disappointment and chagrin gave him strength to beg and buffet his way to glory, still taught him to bear with majestic meekness the conversion of that glory into unmerited shame.

We look back with astonishment and admiration at the stupendous achievement effected a whole lifetime later by the immortal Columbus—an achievement which formed the connecting link between the Old World and the New; yet the explorations instituted by Prince Henry of Portugal were in truth the anvil upon which that link was forged.

He arrived in a vessel as shattered as his own broken and careworn frame.[Pg 210]


Conrad Malte-Brun, a Danish author and geographer of great merit. Born at Thister in Jutland, 1775; died, December, 1826.

Columbus, when in Italy, had heard of the Norse discoveries beyond Iceland, for Rome was then the world's center, and all information of importance was sent there.


Helen P. Margesson, in an article entitled "Marco Polo's Explorations, and their Influence upon Columbus" (being the Old South First Prize Essay, 1891), published in the New England Magazine, August, 1892.

Columbus performed his vast undertaking in an age of great deeds and great men, when Ficino taught the philosophy of Plato, when Florence was thrilled by the luring words and martyrdom of Savonarola, when Michael Angelo wrought his everlasting marvels of art. While Columbus, in his frail craft, was making his way to "worlds unknown, and isles beyond the deep," on the shores of the Baltic a young novitiate, amid the rigors of a monastic life, was tracing the course of the planets, and solving the problem in which Virgil delighted[47]—problems which had baffled Chaldean and Persian, Egyptian and Saracen. Columbus explained the earth, Copernicus explained the heavens. Neither of the great discoverers lived to see the result of his labors, for the Prussian astronomer died on the day that his work was published. But the centuries that have come and gone have only increased the fame of Columbus and Copernicus, and proven the greatness of their genius.[Pg 211]


Commander Clements Robert Markham, R. N., C. B., F. R. S., a noted explorer and talented English author. Midshipman in H. M. S. Assistance in the Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-51. Born July 20, 1830, at Stillingfleet, near York. From a paper read before the Royal Geographical Society of England, June 20, 1892.

In the present year the fourth centenary of the discovery of America by Columbus will be celebrated with great enthusiasm in Spain, in Italy, and in America. That discovery was, without any doubt, the most momentous event since the fall of the Roman Empire in its effect on the world's history. In its bearings on our science, the light thrown across the sea of darkness by the great Genoese was nothing less than the creation of modern geography. It seems fitting, therefore, that this society should take some share in the commemoration, and that we should devote one evening in this session to a consideration of some leading points in the life of the foremost of all geographers. * * *

Much new light has been thrown upon the birth and early life of Columbus, of late years, by the careful examination of monastic and notarial records at Genoa and Savona. At Genoa the original documents are still preserved. At Savona they no longer exist, and we are dependent on copies made two centuries ago by Salinerius. But both the Genoa and Savona records may be safely accepted, and we are thus furnished with a new and more interesting view of the early life of Columbus. Our thanks for this new light are mainly due to the laborious and scholarly researches of the Marchese Marcello Staglieno of Genoa, and to the work of Mr. Harrisse. We may take it as fully established that the original home of Giovanni Colombo, the grandfather of the great discoverer, was at Terrarossa, a small[Pg 212] stone house, the massive walls of which are still standing on a hillside forming the northern slope of the beautiful valley of Fontanabuona. Here, no doubt, the father of Columbus was born; but the family moved to Quinto-al-Mare, then a fishing village about five miles east of Genoa. Next we find the father, Domenico Colombo, owning a house at Quinto, but established at Genoa as a wool weaver, with an apprentice. This was in 1439. A few years afterward Domenico found a wife in the family of a silk weaver who lived up a tributary valley of the Bisagno, within an easy walk of Genoa. Quezzi is a little village high up on the west side of a ravine, with slopes clothed to their summits in olive and chestnut foliage, whence there is a glorious view of the east end of Genoa, including the church of Carignano and the Mediterranean. On the opposite slope are the scattered houses of the hamlet of Ginestrato. From this village of Quezzi Domenico brought his wife, Susanna Fontanarossa, to Genoa, her dowry consisting of a small property, a house or a field, at Ginestrato.

About the home of Domenico and his wife at Genoa during at least twenty years there is absolute certainty. The old gate of San Andrea is still standing, with its lofty arch across the street, and its high flanking towers. A street with a rapid downward slope, called the Vico Dritto di Ponticelli, leads from the gate of San Andrea to the Church of S. Stefano; and the house of Domenico Colombo was in this street, a few doors from the gate. It was the weavers' quarter, and S. Stefano was their parish church, where they had a special altar. Domenico's house had two stories besides the ground floor; and there was a back garden, with a well between it and the city wall. It was battered down during the bombardment of Genoa in the time of Louis XIV., was rebuilt with two additional stories, and is now the property of the city of Genoa.[Pg 213]

This was the house of the parents of Columbus, and at a solemn moment, shortly before his death, Columbus stated that he was born in the city of Genoa. No. 39 Vico Dritto di Ponticelli was therefore, in all probability, the house where the great discoverer was born, and the old Church of San Stefano, with its façade of alternate black and white courses of marble, and its quaint old campanile, was the place of his baptism. The date of his birth is fixed by three statements of his own, and by a justifiable inference from the notarial records. He said that he went to sea at the age of fourteen, and that when he came to Spain in 1485 he had led a sailor's life for twenty-three years. He was, therefore, born in 1447. In 1501 he again said that it was forty years since he first went to sea when he was fourteen; the same result—1447. In 1503 he wrote that he first came to serve for the discovery of the Indies—that is, that he left his home at the age of twenty-eight. This was in 1474, and the result is again 1447. The supporting notarial evidence is contained in two documents, in which the mother of Columbus consented to the sale of property by her husband. For the first deed, in May, 1471, the notary summoned her brothers to consent to the execution of the deed, as the nearest relations of full age. The second deed is witnessed by her son Cristoforo in August, 1473. He must have attained the legal age of twenty-five in the interval. This again makes 1447 the year of his birth.

The authorities who assign 1436 as the year of his birth rely exclusively on the guess of a Spanish priest, Dr. Bernaldez, Cura of Palacios, who made the great discoverer's acquaintance toward the end of his career. Bernaldez, judging from his aged appearance, thought that he might be seventy years of age, more or less, when he died. The use of the phrase "more or less" proves that Bernaldez[Pg 214] had no information from Columbus himself, and that he merely guessed the years of the prematurely aged hero. This is not evidence. The three different statements of Columbus, supported by the corroborative testimony of the deeds of sale, form positive evidence, and fix the date of the birth at 1447.

We know the place and date of the great discoverer's birth, thanks to the researches of the Marchese Staglieno. The notarial records, combined with incidental statements of Columbus himself, also tell us that he was brought up, with his brothers and sister, in the Vico Dritto at Genoa; that he worked at his father's trade and became a "lanerio," or wool weaver; that he moved with his father and mother to Savona in 1472; and that the last document connecting Cristoforo Colombo with Italy is dated on August 7, 1473. After that date—doubtless very soon after that date, when he is described as a wool weaver of Genoa—Columbus went to Portugal, at the age of twenty-eight. But we also know that, in spite of his regular business as a weaver, he first went to sea in 1461, at the age of fourteen, and that he continued to make frequent voyages in the Mediterranean and the Archipelago—certainly as far as Chios—although his regular trade was that of a weaver.

This is not a mere question of places and dates. These facts enable us to form an idea of the circumstances surrounding the youth and early manhood of the future discoverer, of his training, of the fuel which lighted the fire of his genius, and of the difficulties which surrounded him. Moreover, a knowledge of the real facts serves to clear away all the misleading fables about student life at Pavia, about service with imaginary uncles who were corsairs or admirals, and about galleys commanded for King Réné. Some of these fables are due to the mistaken piety of the great discoverer's son Hernando, and to others, who[Pg 215] seem to have thought that they were doing honor to the memory of the Admiral by surrounding his youth with romantic stories. But the simple truth is far more honorable, and, indeed, far more romantic. It shows us the young weaver loving his home and serving his parents with filial devotion, but at the same time preparing, with zeal and industry, to become an expert in the profession for which he was best fitted, and even in his earliest youth making ready to fulfill his high destiny.

I believe that Columbus had conceived the idea of sailing westward to the Indies even before he left his home at Savona. My reason is, that his correspondence with Toscanelli on the subject took place in the very year of his arrival in Portugal. That fact alone involves the position that the young weaver had not only become a practical seaman—well versed in all the astronomical knowledge necessary for his profession—a cosmographer, and a draughtsman, but also that he had carefully digested what he had learned, and had formed original conceptions. It seems wonderful that a humble weaver's apprentice could have done all this in the intervals of his regular work. Assuredly it is most wonderful; but I submit that his correspondence with Toscanelli in 1474 proves it to be a fact. We know that there were the means of acquiring such knowledge at Genoa in those days; that city was indeed the center of the nautical science of the day. Benincasa, whose beautiful Portolani may still be seen at the British Museum, and in other collections, was in the height of his fame as a draughtsman at Genoa during the youth of Columbus; so was Pareto. In the workrooms of these famous cartographers the young aspirant would see the most accurate charts that could then be produced, very beautifully executed; and his imagination would be excited by the appearance of all the fabulous islands on the verge of the unknown ocean.[Pg 216]

When the time arrived for Columbus to leave his home, he naturally chose Lisbon as the point from whence he could best enlarge his experience and mature his plans. Ever since he could remember he had seen the inscriptions respecting members of the Pasagni family, as we may see them now, carved on the white courses of the west front of San Stefano, his parish church. These Genoese Pasagni had been hereditary Admirals of Portugal; they had brought many Genoese seamen to Lisbon; the Cross of St. George marked their exploits on the Portolani, and Portugal was thus closely connected with the tradition of Genoese enterprise. So it was to Lisbon that Columbus and his brother made their way, and it was during the ten years of his connection with Portugal that his cosmographical studies, and his ocean voyages from the equator to the arctic circle, combined with his genius to make Columbus the greatest seaman of his age.

Capt. Duro, of the Spanish navy, has investigated all questions relating to the ships of the Columbian period and their equipment with great care; and the learning he has brought to bear on the subject has produced very interesting results. The two small caravels provided for the voyage of Columbus by the town of Palos were only partially decked. The Pinta was strongly built, and was originally lateen-rigged on all three masts, and she was the fastest sailer in the expedition; but she was only fifty tons burden, with a complement of eighteen men. The Niña, so-called after the Niño family of Palos, who owned her, was still smaller, being only forty tons. These two vessels were commanded by the Pinzons, and entirely manned by natives of the province of Huelva. The third vessel was much larger, and did not belong to Palos. She was called a "nao," or ship, and was of about one hundred tons burden, completely decked, with a high poop and forecastle. Her[Pg 217] length has been variously estimated. Two of her masts had square sails, the mizzen being lateen-rigged. The foremast had a square foresail, the mainmast a mainsail and maintopsail, and there was a spritsail on the bowsprit. The courses were enlarged, in fair weather, by lacing strips of canvas to their leeches, called bonetas. There appear to have been two boats, one with a sail, and the ship was armed with lombards. The rigs of these vessels were admirably adapted for their purpose. The large courses of the caravels enabled their commanders to lay their courses nearer to the wind than any clipper ship of modern times. The crew of the ship Santa Maria numbered fifty-two men all told, including the Admiral. She was owned by the renowned pilot Juan de la Cosa of Santoña, who sailed with Columbus on both his first and second voyages, and was the best draughtsman in Spain. Mr. Harrisse, and even earlier writers, such as Vianello, call him a Basque pilot, apparently because he came from the north of Spain; but Santoña, his birthplace, although on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, is not in the Basque provinces; and if Juan de la Cosa was a native of Santoña he was not a Basque. While the crews of the two caravels all came from Palos or its neighborhood, the men of the Santa Maria were recruited from all parts of Spain, two from Santoña besides Juan de la Cosa, which was natural enough, and several others from northern ports, likewise attracted, in all probability, by the fame of the Santoña pilot. Among these it is very interesting to find an Englishman, who came from the little town of Lajes, near Coruña.

Our countryman is called in the list, "Tallarte de Lajes" (Inglés). It is not unlikely that an English sailor, making voyages from Bristol or from one of the Cinque Ports to Coruña, may have married and settled at Lajes. But what can we make of "Tallarte"? Spaniards would be[Pg 218] likely enough to prefix a "T" to any English name beginning with a vowel, and they would be pretty sure to give the word a vowel termination. So, getting rid of these initial and terminal superfluities, there remains Allart, or Alard. This was a famous name among the sailors of the Cinque Ports. Gervaise Alard of Winchelsea in 1306 was the first English admiral; and there were Alards of Winchelsea for several generations, who were renowned as expert and daring sailors. One of them, I believe, sailed with Columbus on his first voyage, and perished at Navidad.

Columbus took with him the map furnished by Toscanelli. It is unfortunately lost. But the globe of Martin Behaim, drawn in 1492—the very year of the sailing of Columbus—shows the state of knowledge on the eve of the discovery of America. The lost map of Toscanelli must have been very like it, with its islands in mid-Atlantic, and its archipelago grouped round Cipango, near the coast of Cathay. This globe deserves close attention, for its details must be impressed on the minds of all who would understand what were the ideas and hopes of Columbus when he sailed from Palos.

Friday, August 3, 1492, when the three little vessels sailed over the bar of Saltes, was a memorable day in the world's history. It had been prepared for by many years of study and labor, by long years of disappointment and anxiety, rewarded at length by success. The proof was to be made at last. To the incidents of that famous voyage nothing can be added. But we may, at least, settle the long-disputed question of the landfall of Columbus. It is certainly an important question. There are the materials for a final decision, and we ought to know for certain on what spot of land it was that the Admiral knelt when he sprang from the boat on that famous 12th of October, 1492.[Pg 219]

The learned have disputed over the matter for a century, and no less than five islands of the Bahama group have had their advocates. This is not the fault of Columbus, albeit we only have an abstract of his journal. The island is there fully and clearly described, and courses and distances are given thence to Cuba, which furnish data for fixing the landfall with precision. Here it is not a case for the learning and erudition of Navarretes, Humboldts, and Varnhagens. It is a sailor's question. If the materials from the journal were placed in the hands of any midshipman in her Majesty's navy, he would put his finger on the true landfall within half an hour. When sailors took the matter in hand, such as Admiral Becher, of the Hydrographic Office, and Lieut. Murdoch, of the United States navy, they did so.

Our lamented associate, Mr. R. H. Major, read a paper on this interesting subject on May 8, 1871, in which he proved that Watling's Island was the Guanahani, or San Salvador, of Columbus. He did so by two lines of argument—the first being the exact agreement between the description of Guanahani, in the journal of Columbus, and Watling's Island, a description which can not be referred to any other island in the Bahama group; and the second being a comparison of the maps of Juan de la Cosa and of Herrera with modern charts. He showed that out of twenty-four islands on the Herrera map of 1600, ten retain the same names as they then had, thus affording stations for comparison; and the relative bearings of these ten islands lead us to the accurate identification of the rest. The shapes are not correct, but the relative bearings are, and the Guanahani of the Herrera map is thus identified with the present Watling's Island. Mr. Major, by careful and minute attention to the words of the journal of Columbus, also established the exact position of the first anchorage as having been a little to the west of the southeast point of Watling's Island.[Pg 220]

I can not leave the subject of Mr. Major's admirable paper without expressing my sense of the loss sustained by comparative geography when his well-known face, so genial and sympathetic, disappeared from among us. The biographer of Prince Henry the Navigator, Major did more than any other Englishman of this century to bring the authentic history of Columbus within the reach of his countrymen. His translations of the letters of the illustrious Genoese, and the excellent critical essay which preceded them, are indispensable to every English student of the history of geographical discovery who is not familiar with the Spanish language, and most useful even to Spanish scholars. His knowledge of the history of cartography, his extensive and accurate scholarship, and his readiness to impart his knowledge to others, made him a most valuable member of the council of this society, and one whose place is not easy to fill; while there are not a few among the Fellows who, like myself, sincerely mourn the loss of a true and warmhearted friend.

When we warmly applauded the close reasoning and the unassailable conclusions of Major's paper, we supposed that the question was at length settled; but as time went on, arguments in favor of other islands continued to appear, and an American in a high official position even started a new island, contending that Samana was the landfall. But Fox's Samana and Varnhagen's Mayaguana must be ruled out of court without further discussion, for they both occur on the maps of Juan de la Cosa and Herrera, on which Guanahani also appears. It is obvious that they can not be Guanahani and themselves at the same time; and it is perhaps needless to add that they do not answer to the description of Guanahani by Columbus, and meet none of the other requirements.

On this occasion it may be well to identify the landfall[Pg 221] by another method, and thus furnish some further strength to the arguments which ought to put an end to the controversy. Major established the landfall by showing the identity between the Guanahani of Columbus and Watling's Island, and by the evidence of early maps. There is still another method, which was adopted by Lieut. Murdoch, of the United States navy, in his very able paper. Columbus left Guanahani and sailed to his second island, which he called Santa Maria de la Concepcion; and he gives the bearing and distance. He gives the bearing and distance from this second island to the north end of a third, which he called Fernandina. He gives the length of Fernandina. He gives the bearing and distance from the south end of Fernandina to a fourth island named Isabella, from Isabella to some rocks called Islas de Arena, and from Islas de Arena to Cuba.

It is obvious that if we trace these bearings and distances backward from Cuba, they will bring us to an island which must necessarily be the Guanahani, or San Salvador, of Columbus. This is the sailor's method: On October 27th, when Columbus sighted Cuba at a distance of 20 miles, the bearing of his anchorage at sunrise of the same day, off the Islas de Arena, was N. E. 58 miles, and from the point reached in Cuba it was N. E. 75 miles. The Ragged Islands are 75 miles from Cuba, therefore the Islas de Arena of Columbus are identified with the Ragged Islands of modern charts. The Islas de Arena were sighted when Columbus was 56 miles from the south end of Fernandina, and E.N.E. from Isabella. These bearings show that Fernandina was Long Island, and that Isabella was Crooked Island, of modern charts. Fernandina was 20 leagues long N. N. W. and S. S. E.; Long Island is 20 leagues long N. N. W. and S. S. E. Santa Maria de la Concepcion was several miles east of the north end of Fernandina, but in sight. Rum[Pg 222] Cay is several miles east of the north end of Long Island, but in sight. Rum Cay is, therefore, the Santa Maria of Columbus. San Salvador, or Guanahani, was 21 miles N. W. from Santa Maria de la Concepcion. Watling's Island is 21 miles N. W. from Rum Cay; Watling's Island is, therefore, proved to be the San Salvador, or Guanahani, of Columbus.

The spot where Columbus first landed in the New World is the eastern end of the south side of Watling's Island. This has been established by the arguments of Major, and by the calculations of Murdoch, beyond all controversy. The evidence is overwhelming. Watling's Island answers to every requirement and every test, whether based on the Admiral's description of the island itself, on the courses and distances thence to Cuba, or on the evidence of early maps. We have thus reached a final and satisfactory conclusion, and we can look back on that momentous event in the world's history with the certainty that we know the exact spot on which it occurred—on which Columbus touched the land when he sprang from his boat with the standard waving over his head.[48][Pg 223]

The discoveries of Columbus during his first voyage, as recorded in his journal, included part of the north coast of Cuba, and the whole of the north coast of Española. The journal shows the care with which the navigation was conducted, how observations for latitude were taken, how the coasts were laid down—every promontory and bay receiving a name—and with what diligence each new feature of the land and its inhabitants was examined and recorded. The genius of Columbus would not have been of the same service to mankind if it had not been combined with great capacity for taking trouble, and with habits of order and accuracy. In considering the qualities of the great Genoese as a seaman and an explorer, we can not fail to be impressed with this accuracy, the result of incessant watchfulness and of orderly habits. Yet it is his accuracy which has been called in question by some modern writers, on the ground of passages in his letters which they have misinterpreted, or failed to understand. In every instance the blunder has not been committed by Columbus, but by his critics.

The Admiral's letters do not show him to be either careless or inaccurate. On the contrary, they bear witness to his watchfulness, to his methodical habits, and to his attention to details; although at the same time they are full of speculations, and of the thoughts which followed each other so rapidly in his imaginative brain. It was, indeed, the combination of these two qualities, of practical and methodical habits of thought with a vivid imagination, which constituted his genius—a combination as rare as it is valuable. It created the thoughts which conceived the great discovery, as well as the skill and ability which achieved it.[Pg 224]

Unfortunately, the journals and charts of Columbus are lost. But we have the full abstract of the journal of his first voyage, made by Las Casas, we have his letters and dispatches, and we have the map of his discoveries, except those made during his last voyage, drawn by his own pilot and draughtsman, Juan de la Cosa. We are thus able to obtain a sufficient insight into the system on which his exploring voyages were conducted, and into the sequence in which his discoveries followed each other. This is the point of view from which the labors of the Admiral are most interesting to geographers. The deficient means at the disposal of a navigator in the end of the fifteenth century increase the necessity for a long apprenticeship. It is much easier to become a navigator with the aid of modern instruments constructed with extreme accuracy, and with tables of logarithms, nautical almanacs, and admiralty charts. With ruder appliances Columbus and his contemporaries had to trust far more to their own personal skill and watchfulness, and to ways of handling and using such instruments as they possessed, which could only be acquired by constant practice and the experience of a lifetime. Even then, an insight and ability which few men possess were required to make such a navigator as Columbus.

(See page 220.)

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The first necessity for a pilot who conducts a ship across the ocean, when he is for many days out of sight of land, is the means of checking his dead reckoning by observations of the heavenly bodies. But in the days of Columbus such appliances were very defective, and, at times, altogether useless. There was an astrolabe adapted for use at sea by Martin Behaim, but it was very difficult to get a decent sight with it, and Vasco da Gama actually went on shore and rigged a triangle when he wanted to observe for latitude. If this was necessary, the instrument was useless as a guide across the pathless ocean. Columbus, of course,[Pg 225] used it, but he seems to have relied more upon the old quadrant which he had used for long years before Behaim invented his adaption of the astrolabe. It was this instrument, the value of which received such warm testimony from Diogo Gomez, one of Prince Henry's navigators; and it was larger and easier to handle than the astrolabe. But the difficulty, as regards both these instruments,[49] was the necessity for keeping them perpendicular to the horizon when the observation is taken, in one case by means of a ring working freely, and in the other by a plummet line. The instruction of old Martin Cortes was to sit down with your back against the mainmast; but in reality the only man who obtained results of any use from such instruments was he who had been constantly working with them from early boyhood. In those days, far more than now, a good pilot had to be brought up at sea from his youth. Long habit could alone make up, to a partial extent, for defective means.

Columbus regularly observed for latitude when the weather rendered it possible, and he occasionally attempted to find the longitude by observing eclipses of the moon with the aid of tables calculated by old Regiomontanus, whose declination tables also enabled the Admiral to work out his meridian altitudes. But the explorer's main reliance was on the skill and care with which he calculated his dead reckoning, watching every sign offered by sea and sky by day and night, allowing for currents, for leeway, for every cause that could affect the movement of his ship, noting with infinite pains the bearings and the variation of his compass, and constantly recording all phenomena on his card and in his journal. Columbus was the true father of what we call proper pilotage.[Pg 226]

It is most interesting to watch the consequences of this seaman-like and most conscientious care in the results of his voyages of discovery. We have seen with what accuracy he made his landfall at the Azores, on his return from his first and most memorable voyage. The incidents of his second voyage are equally instructive. He had heard from the natives of the eastern end of Española that there were numerous islands to the southeast inhabited by savage tribes of Caribs, and when he sailed from Spain on his second voyage he resolved to ascertain the truth of the report before proceeding to his settlement at Navidad. He shaped such a course as to hit upon Dominica, and within a few weeks he discovered the whole of the Windward Islands, thence to Puerto Rico. On his return his spirit of investigation led him to try the possibility of making a passage in the teeth of the trade-wind. It was a long voyage, and his people were reduced to the last extremity, even threatening to eat the Indians who were on board. One night, to the surprise of all the company, the Admiral gave the order to shorten sail. Next morning, at dawn, Cape St. Vincent was in sight. This is a remarkable proof of the care with which his reckoning must have been kept, and of his consummate skill as a navigator. On his third voyage he decided, for various reasons, to make further discoveries nearer to the equator, the result of his decision being the exploration of the Gulf of Paria, including the coast of Trinidad and of the continent. His speculations, although sometimes fantastic, and originating in a too vivid imagination, were usually shrewd and carefully thought out. Thus they led from one discovery to another; and even when, through want of complete knowledge, there was a flaw in the chain of his reasoning, the results were equally valuable.

A memorable example of an able and acute train of[Pg 227] thought, based on observations at sea, was that which led to his last voyage in search of a strait. He had watched the gulf stream constantly flowing in a westerly direction, and he thought that he had ascertained, as the result of careful observation, that the islands in the course of the current had their lengths east and west, owing to erosion on their north and south sides. From this fact he deduced the constancy of the current. His own pilot, Juan de la Cosa, serving under Ojeda and Bastidas, had established the continuity of land from the Gulf of Paria to Darien. The Admiral himself had explored the coast of Cuba, both on the north and south sides, for so great a distance that he concluded it must surely be a promontory connected with the continent. The conclusion was that, as it could not turn to north or south, this current, ever flowing in one direction, must pass through a strait. The argument was perfectly sound except in one point—the continental character of Cuba was an hypothesis, not an ascertained fact.

Still, it was a brilliant chain of reasoning, and it led to a great result, though not to the expected result. Just as the search for the philosopher's stone led to valuable discoveries in chemistry, and as the search for El Dorado revealed the courses of the two largest rivers in South America, so the Admiral's heroic effort to discover a strait in the face of appalling difficulties, in advancing years and failing health, made known the coast of the continent from Honduras to Darien.

All the discoveries made by others, in the lifetime of Columbus, on the coasts of the western continent (except that of Cabral) were directly due to the first voyage of the Admiral, to his marvelous prevision in boldly sailing westward across the sea of darkness, and are to be classed as Columbian discoveries. This was clearly laid down by Las Casas, in a noble passage. "The Admiral was the first to[Pg 228] open the gates of that ocean which had been closed for so many thousands of years before," exclaimed the good bishop. "He it was who gave the light by which all others might see how to discover. It can not be denied to the Admiral, except with great injustice, that as he was the first discoverer of those Indies, so he was really of all the mainland; and to him the credit is due. For it was he that put the thread into the hands of the rest by which they found the clew to more distant parts. It was not necessary for this that he should personally visit every part, any more than it is necessary to do so in taking possession of an estate; as the jurists hold." This generous protest by Las Casas should receive the assent of all geographers. The pupils and followers of Columbus, such as Pinzon, Ojeda, Niño, and La Cosa, discovered all the continent from 8 deg. S. of the equator to Darien, thus supplementing their great master's work; while he himself led the way, and showed the light both to the islands and to the continent.

Although none of the charts of Columbus have come down to us, there still exists a map of all discoveries up to the year 1500, drawn by the pilot Juan de la Cosa, who accompanied him in his first and second voyages, and sailed with Ojeda on a separate expedition in 1499, when the coast of the continent was explored from the Gulf of Paria to Cabo de la Vela. Juan de la Cosa drew this famous map of the world (which is preserved at Madrid) at Santa Maria, in the Bay of Cadiz, when he returned from his expedition with Ojeda in 1500. It is drawn in color, on oxhide, and measures 5 feet 9 inches by 3 feet 2 inches. La Cosa shows the islands discovered by Columbus, but it is difficult to understand what he could have been thinking about in placing them north of the tropic of cancer. The continent is delineated from 8 deg. S. of the equator to Cabo[Pg 229] de la Vela, which was the extreme point to which discovery had reached in 1500; and over the undiscovered part to the west, which the Admiral himself was destined to bring to the knowledge of the world a few years afterward, Juan de la Cosa painted a vignette of St. Christopher bearing the infant Christ across the ocean. But the most important part of the map is that on which the discoveries of John Cabot are shown, for this is the only map which shows them. It is true that a map, or a copy of a map, of 1542, by Sebastian Cabot, was discovered of late years, and is now at Paris, and that it indicates the "Prima Vista," the first land seen by Cabot on his voyage of 1497; but it shows the later work of Jacques Cartier and other explorers, and does not show what part was due to Cabot. Juan de la Cosa, however, must have received, through the Spanish ambassador in London, the original chart of Cabot, showing his discoveries during his second voyage in 1498, and was enabled thus to include the new coast-line on his great map.

The gigantic labor wore out his body. But his mind was as active as ever. He had planned an attempt to recover the Holy Sepulcher. He had thought out a scheme for an Arctic expedition, including a plan for reaching the north pole, which he deposited in the monastery of Mejorada. It was not to be. When he returned from his last voyage, he came home to die. We gather some idea of the Admiral's personal appearance from the descriptions of Las Casas and Oviedo. He was a man of middle height, with courteous manners and noble bearing. His face was oval, with a pleasing expression; the nose aquiline, the eyes blue, and the complexion fair and inclined to ruddiness. The hair was red, though it became gray soon after he was thirty. Only one authentic portrait of Columbus is known to have been painted. The Italian historian, Paulus Jovius,[Pg 230] who was his contemporary, collected a gallery of portraits of worthies of his time at his villa on the Lake of Como. Among them was a portrait of the Admiral. There is an early engraving from it, and very indifferent copies in the Uffizi at Florence, and at Madrid. But until quite recently I do not think that the original was known to exist. It, however, never left the family, and when the last Giovio died it was inherited by her grandson, the Nobile de Orché, who is the present possessor. We have the head of a venerable man, with thin gray hair, the forehead high, the eyes pensive and rather melancholy. It was thus that he doubtless appeared during the period that he was in Spain, after his return in chains, or during the last year of his life.

In his latter years we see Columbus, although as full as ever of his great mission, thinking more and more of the transmission of his rights and his property intact to his children. He had always loved his home, and his amiable and affectionate disposition made many and lasting friendships in all ranks of life, from Queen Isabella and Archbishop Deza to the humblest grumete. We find his shipmates serving with him over and over again. Terreros, the Admiral's steward, and Salcedo, his servant, were with him in his first voyage and in his last. His faithful captains, Mendez and Fieschi, risked life and limb for him, and attended him on his deathbed. Columbus was also blessed with two loving and devoted brothers. In one of his letters to his son Diego, he said, "Never have I found better friends, on my right hand and on my left, than my brothers." Bartholomew, especially, was his trusty and gallant defender and counselor in his darkest hours of difficulty and distress, his nurse in sickness, and his helpful companion in health. The enduring affection of these two brothers, from the cradle to the grave, is most touching. Columbus was happy too in his handsome, promising young sons, who were ever dutiful,[Pg 231] and whose welfare was his fondest care; they fulfilled all his hopes. One recovered the Admiral's rights, while the other studied his father's professional work, preserved his memorials, and wrote his life. Columbus never forgot his old home at Genoa, and the most precious treasures of the proud city are the documents which her illustrious son confided to her charge, and the letters in which he expressed his affection for his native town. Columbus was a man to reverence, but he was still more a man to love.

The great discoverer's genius was a gift which is only produced once in an age, and it is that which has given rise to the enthusiastic celebration of the fourth centenary of his achievement. To geographers and sailors the careful study of his life will always be useful and instructive. They will be led to ponder over the deep sense of duty and responsibility which produced his unceasing and untiring watchfulness when at sea, over the long training which could alone produce so consummate a navigator, and over that perseverance and capacity for taking trouble which we should all not only admire but strive to imitate. I can not better conclude this very inadequate attempt to do justice to a great subject than by quoting the words of a geographer, whose loss from among us we still continue to feel—the late Sir Henry Yule. He said of Columbus: "His genius and lofty enthusiasm, his ardent and justified previsions, mark the great Admiral as one of the lights of the human race."


Pietro Martire de Anghiera (usually called Peter Martyr), an Italian scholar, statesman, and historian. Born at Arona, on Lake Maggiore, in 1455; died at Granada, Spain, 1526.

To declare my opinion herein, whatsoever hath heretofore been discovered by the famous travayles of Saturnus[Pg 232] and Hercules, with such other whom the antiquitie for their heroical acts honoured as Gods, seemeth but little and obscure if it be compared to the victorious labours of the Spanyards.

—Decad. ii, cap. 4, Lok's Translation.


William Mason, an English poet. Born at Hull, 1725; died in 1797.

Old England's genius turns with scorn away,
Ascends his sacred bark, the sails unfurled,
And steers his state to the wide Western World.


J. N. Matthews, in Chicago Tribune, 1892.

Sailing before the silver shafts of morn,
He bore the White Christ over alien seas—
The swart Columbus—into "lands forlorn,"
That lay beyond the dim Hesperides.
Humbly he gathered up the broken chain
Of human knowledge, and, with sails unfurled,
He drew it westward from the coast of Spain,
And linked it firmly to another world.

Tho' blinding tempests drove his ships astray,
And on the decks conspiring Spaniards grew
More mutinous and dangerous, day by day,
Than did the deadly winds that round him blew,
Yet the bluff captain, with his bearded lip,
His lordly purpose, and his high disdain,
Stood like a master with uplifted whip,
And urged his mad sea-horses o'er the main.

Onward and onward thro' the blue profound,
[Pg 233]Into the west a thousand leagues or more,
His caravels cut the billows till they ground
Upon the shallows of San Salvador.
Then, robed in scarlet like a rising morn,
He climbed ashore and on the shining sod
He gave to man a continent new-born;
Then, kneeling, gave his gratitude to God.

And his reward? In all the books of fate
There is no page so pitiful as this—
A cruel dungeon, and a monarch's hate,
And penury and calumny were his;
Robbed of his honors in his feeble age,
Despoiled of glory, the old Genoese
Withdrew at length from life's ungrateful stage,
To try the waves of other unknown seas.


Letter written by the Duke of Medina Celi to the Grand Cardinal of Spain, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, dated March 19, 1493.

Most Reverend Sir: I am not aware whether your Lordship knows that I had Cristoforo Colon under my roof for a long time when he came from Portugal, and wished to go to the King of France, in order that he might go in search of the Indies with his Majesty's aid and countenance. I myself wished to make the venture, and to dispatch him from my port [Santa Maria], where I had a good equipment of three or four caravels, since he asked no more from me; but as I recognized that this was an undertaking for the Queen, our sovereign, I wrote about the matter to her Highness from Rota, and she replied that I should send him to her. Therefore I sent him, and asked her Highness that, since I did not desire to pursue the enterprise but had arranged it for her service, she should direct that compensation be made to me, and that I[Pg 234] might have a share in it by having the loading and unloading of the commerce done in the port.

Her Highness received him [Colon], and referred him to Alonso de Quintanilla, who, in turn, wrote me that he did not consider this affair to be very certain; but that if it should go through, her Highness would give me a reward and part in it. After having well studied it, she agreed to send him in search of the Indies. Some eight months ago he set out, and now has arrived at Lisbon on his return voyage, and has found all which he sought and very completely; which, as soon as I knew, in order to advise her Highness of such good tidings, I am writing by Inares and sending him to beg that she grant me the privilege of sending out there each year some of my own caravels.

I entreat your Lordship that you may be pleased to assist me in this, and also ask it in my behalf; since on my account, and through my keeping him [Colon] two years in my house, and having placed him at her Majesty's service, so great a thing as this has come to pass; and because Inares will inform your Lordship more in detail, I beg you to hearken to him.


The Columbus monument, in the Paseo de la Reforma, in the City of Mexico, was erected at the charges of Don Antonio Escandon, to whose public spirit and enterprise the building of the Vera Cruz & Mexico Railway was due. The monument is the work of the French sculptor Cordier. The base is a large platform of basalt, surrounded by a balustrade of iron, above which are five lanterns. From this base rises a square mass of red marble, ornamented with four basso-relievos; the arms of Columbus, surrounded with garlands of laurels; the rebuilding of the monastery of Santa Maria de la Rábida; the discovery of the Island[Pg 235] of San Salvador; a fragment of a letter from Columbus to Raphael Sanchez, beneath which is the dedication of the monument by Señor Escandon. Above the basso-relievos, surrounding the pedestals, are four life-size figures in bronze; in front and to the right of the statue of Columbus (that stands upon a still higher plane), Padre Juan Perez de la Marchena, prior of the Monastery of Santa Maria de la Rábida, at Huelva, Spain; in front and to the left, Padre Fray Diego de Deza, friar of the Order of Saint Dominic, professor of theology at the Convent of St. Stephen, and afterward archbishop of Seville. He was also confessor of King Ferdinand, to the support of which two men Columbus owed the royal favor; in the rear, to the right, Fray Pedro de Gante; in the rear, to the left, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas—the two missionaries who most earnestly gave their protection to the Indians, and the latter the historian of Columbus. Crowning the whole, upon a pedestal of red marble, is the figure of Columbus, in the act of drawing aside the veil that hides the New World. In conception and in treatment this work is admirable; charming in sentiment, and technically good. The monument stands in a little garden inclosed by iron chains hung upon posts of stone, around which extends a large glorieta.


Joaquin (Cincinnatus Heine) Miller, "the Poet of the Sierras." Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 10, 1842. From a poem in the New York Independent.

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
[Pg 236]Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said, "Now must we pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Adm'ral, speak; what shall I say?"
"Why say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"

"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly, wan and weak."
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Adm'ral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you shall say, at break of day,
'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'"

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said,
"Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Adm'ral, speak and say—"
He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"

They sailed. They sailed. Then spoke the mate,
"This mad sea shows its teeth to-night.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth as if to bite.
Brave Adm'ral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt as a leaping sword,
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck—
[Pg 237]A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled,
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson—"On! and on!"


D. H. Montgomery, author of "The Leading Facts of American History."

Loud was the outcry against Columbus. The rabble nicknamed him the "Admiral of Mosquito Land." They pointed at him as the man who had promised everything, and ended by discovering nothing but "a wilderness peopled with naked savages."


Gen. Thomas J. Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In an article, "Columbus and the Indians," in the New York Independent, June 2, 1892.

Columbus, when he landed, was confronted with an Indian problem, which he handed down to others, and they to us. Four hundred years have rolled by, and it is still unsolved. Who were the strange people who met him at the end of his long and perilous voyage? He guessed at it and missed it by the diameter of the globe. He called them Indians—people of India—and thus registered the fifteenth century attainments in geography and anthropology. How many were there of them? Alas! there was no census bureau here then, and no record has come down to us of any count or enumeration. Would they have lived any longer if they had been counted? Would a census have strengthened them to resist the threatened tide of invaders that the coming of Columbus heralded? If instead of corn they had presented census rolls to their strange visitors, and exhibited maps to show that the continent was already occupied, would that have changed the whole[Pg 238] course of history and left us without any Mayflower or Plymouth Rock, Bunker Hill or Appomattox?


Charles Morris, an American writer of the present day. In "Half Hours with American History."

The land was clearly seen about two leagues distant, whereupon they took in sail and waited impatiently for the dawn. The thoughts and feelings of Columbus in this little space of time must have been tumultuous and intense. At length, in spite of every difficulty and danger, he had accomplished his object. The great mystery of the ocean was revealed; his theory, which had been the scoff of sages, was triumphantly established; he secured to himself a glory durable as the world itself.

It is difficult to conceive the feelings of such a man at such a moment, or the conjectures which must have thronged upon his mind as to the land before him, covered with darkness. A thousand speculations must have swarmed upon him, as with his anxious crews he waited for the night to pass away, wondering whether the morning light would reveal a savage wilderness, or dawn upon spicy groves and glittering fanes and gilded cities, and all the splendor of oriental civilization.


Emma Huntington Nason. A poem in St. Nicholas, July, 1892, founded upon the incident of Columbus' finding a red thorn bush floating in the water a few days before sighting Watling's Island.

When the feast is spread in our country's name,
When the nations are gathered from far and near,
When East and West send up the same
[Pg 239]Glad shout, and call to the lands, "Good cheer!"
When North and South shall give their bloom,
The fairest and best of the century born.
Oh, then for the king of the feast make room!
Make room, we pray, for the scarlet thorn!

Not the golden-rod from the hillsides blest,
Not the pale arbutus from pastures rare,
Nor the waving wheat from the mighty West,
Nor the proud magnolia, tall and fair,
Shall Columbia unto the banquet bring.
They, willing of heart, shall stand and wait,
For the thorn, with his scarlet crown, is king.
Make room for him at the splendid fête!

Do we not remember the olden tale?
And that terrible day of dark despair,
When Columbus, under the lowering sail,
Sent out to the hidden lands his prayer?
And was it not he of the scarlet bough
Who first went forth from the shore to greet
That lone grand soul at the vessel's prow,
Defying fate with his tiny fleet?

Grim treachery threatened, above, below,
And death stood close at the captain's side,
When he saw—Oh, joy!—in the sunset glow,
The thorn-tree's branch o'er the waters glide.
"Land! Land ahead!" was the joyful shout;
The vesper hymn o'er the ocean swept;
The mutinous sailors faced about;
Together they fell on their knees and wept.

At dawn they landed with pennons white;
They kissed the sod of San Salvador;
But dearer than gems on his doublet bright
[Pg 240]Were the scarlet berries their leader bore;
Thorny and sharp, like his future crown,
Blood-red, like the wounds in his great heart made,
Yet an emblem true of his proud renown
Whose glorious colors shall never fade.


New Orleans Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, August 13, 1892.

The poet says that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but there is no doubt that certain names are invested with a peculiar significance. It would appear also that this significance is not always a mere chance coincidence, but is intended, sometimes, to carry the evidence of an overruling prevision. Christopher Columbus was not so named after his achievements, like Scipio Africanus. The name was his from infancy, though human ingenuity could not have conceived one more wonderfully suggestive of his after career.

Columba means a dove. Was there anything dove-like about Columbus? Perhaps not, originally, but his many years of disappointment and humiliation, of poverty and contempt, of failure and hopelessness, were the best school in which to learn patience and sweetness under the guiding hand of such teachers as faith and piety. Was anything wanting to perfect him in the unresisting gentleness of the dove? If so, his guardian angel saw to it when he sent him back in chains from the scenes of his triumph. He then and there, by his meekness, established his indefeasible right to the name Columbus—the right of conquest.

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And Christopher—Christum-ferens—the Christ-bearer? A saint of old was so called because one day he carried the child Christ on his shoulders across a dangerous ford. People called him Christo-pher. But what shall we say of the man who carried Christ across the stormy terrors of the[Pg 241] unknown sea? Wherever the modern Christopher landed, there he planted the cross; his first act was always one of devout worship. And now that cross and that worship are triumphant from end to end, and from border to border, of that New World. The very fairest flower of untrammeled freedom in the diadem of the Christian church is to-day blooming within the mighty domain which this instrument of Providence wrested from the malign sway of error. Shall not that New World greet him as the Christ-bearer? Indeed, there must have been more than an accidental coincidence when, half a century in advance of events, the priest, in pouring the sacred waters of baptism, proclaimed the presence of one who was to be truly a Christopher—one who should carry Christ on the wings of a dove.


From the Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, New Orleans, August 13, 1892.

Reverend and Dear Father: The fourth centenary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is at hand. It is an event of the greatest importance. It added a new continent to the world for civilization and Christianity; it gave our citizens a home of liberty and freedom, a country of plenty and prosperity, a fatherland which has a right to our deepest and best feelings of attachment and affection. Christopher Columbus was a sincere and devout Catholic; his remarkable voyage was made possible by the intercession of a holy monk; and by the patronage and liberality of the pious Queen Isabella, the cross of Christ, the emblem of our holy religion, was planted on America's virgin soil, and the Te Deum and the holy mass were the first religious services held on the same; it is therefore just and proper that this[Pg 242] great event and festival should be celebrated in a religious as well as in a civil manner.

Our Holy Father the Pope has appointed the 12th of October, and His Excellency the President of the United States has assigned the 21st of October, as the day of commemoration. The discrepancy of dates is based on the difference of the two calendars. When Columbus discovered this country, the old Julian calendar was in vogue, and the date of discovery was marked the 12th; but Pope Gregory XIII. introduced the Gregorian calendar, according to which the 21st would now be the date. We will avail ourselves of both dates—the first date to be of a religious, the second of a civil, character. We therefore order that on the 12th of October a solemn votive mass (pro gratiarum actione dicendo Missam votivam de S. S. Trinitate), in honor of the Blessed Trinity, be sung in all the churches of the diocese, at an hour convenient to the parish, with an exhortation to the people, as thanksgiving to God for all his favors and blessings, and as a supplication to Him for the continuance of the same, and that all the citizens of this vast country may ever dwell in peace and union.

Let the 21st be a public holiday. We desire that the children of our schools assemble in their Sunday clothes at their school-rooms or halls, and that after a few appropriate prayers some exercises be organized to commemorate the great event, and at the same time to fire their young hearts with love of country, and with love for the religion of the cross of Christ, which Columbus planted on the American shore. We further desire that the different Catholic organizations and societies arrange some programme by which the day may be spent in an agreeable and instructive manner.

For our archiepiscopal city we make these special arrangements: On the 12th, at half-past 7 o'clock P. M.,[Pg 243] the cathedral will be open to the public; the clergy of the city is invited to assemble at 7 o'clock, at the archbishopric, to march in procession to the cathedral, where short sermons of ten minutes each will be preached in five different languages—Spanish, French, English, German, and Italian. The ceremony will close with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the solemn singing of the Te Deum. In order to celebrate the civil solemnity of the 21st, we desire that a preliminary meeting be held at St. Alphonsus' Hall, on Monday evening, the 22d of August, at 8 o'clock. The meeting will be composed of the pastors of the city, of two members of each congregation—to be appointed by them—and of the presidents of the various Catholic societies. This body shall arrange the plan how to celebrate the 21st of October.

May God, who has been kind and merciful to our people in the past, continue his favors in the future and lead us unto life everlasting.

The pastors will read this letter to their congregations.

Given from our archiepiscopal residence, Feast of St. Dominic, August the 4th, 1892.

Francis Janssens,
Archbishop of New Orleans.

By order of His Grace:
J. Bogaerts, Vicar-general.


Stands at the Eighth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street entrance to Central Park, and was erected October 12, 1892, by subscription among the Italian citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. From a base forty-six feet square springs a beautiful shaft of great height, the severity of outline being broken by alternating lines of figures, in relief, of the prows, or rostra,[Pg 244] of the three ships of Columbus, and medallions composed of an anchor and a coil of rope. In July, 1889, Chevalier Charles Barsotti, proprietor of the Progresso Italo-Americano, published in New York City, started a subscription to defray the cost, which was liberally added to by the Italian government. On December 10, 1890, a number of models were placed on exhibition at the rooms of the Palace of the Exposition of Arts in Rome, and the commission finally chose that of Prof. Gaetano Russo.

The monument is seventy-five feet high, including the three great blocks, or steps, which form the foundation; and, aside from the historical interest it may have, as a work of art alone its possession might well be envied by any city or nation. The base, of Baveno granite, has two beautiful bas-relief pictures in bronze, representing on one side the moment when Columbus first saw land, and on the other the actual landing of the party on the soil. Two inscriptions, higher up on the monument, one in English and one in Italian, contain the dedication. The column is also of Baveno granite, while the figure of the Genius of Geography and the statue proper of Columbus are of white Carrara marble, the former being ten feet high and the latter fourteen. There is also a bronze eagle, six feet high, on the side opposite the figure of Genius of Geography, holding in its claws the shields of the United States and of Genoa. The rostra and the inscription on the column are in bronze.

This great work was designed by Prof. Gaetano Russo, who was born in Messina, Sicily, fifty-seven years ago. Craving opportunities for study and improvement, he made his way to Rome when a mere lad but ten years old. In this great art center his genius developed early, and his later years have been filled with success. Senator Monteverde of Italy, one of the best sculptors of modern times,[Pg 245] says that this is one of the finest monuments made during the last twenty-five years. On accepting the finished monument from the artist, the commission tendered him the following: "The monument of Columbus made by you will keep great in America the name of Italian art. It is very pleasant to convey to the United States—a strong, free, and independent people—the venerated resemblance of the man who made the civilization of America possible."

On the sides of the base, between the massive posts which form the corners, are found the inscriptions in Italian and English, composed by Prof. Ugo Fleres of Rome, and being as follows:




[Pg 246]

Near the base of the monument, on the front of the pedestal, is a representation of the Genius of Geography in white Carrara marble. It is a little over eleven feet high, and is represented as a winged angel bending over the globe, which it is intently studying while held beneath the open hand.

On the front and back of the base the corresponding spaces are filled with two magnificent allegorical pictures in bas-relief representing the departure from Spain and the landing in America of Columbus. The latter one is particularly impressive, and the story is most graphically told by the strongly drawn group, of which he is the principal figure, standing in at attitude of prayer upon the soil of the New World he has just discovered. To the left are his sailors drawing the keel of a boat upon the sand, and on the right the Indians peep cautiously out from a thicket of maize at the strange creatures whom they mistake for the messengers of the Great Spirit. Towering over all, at the apex of the column, stands the figure of the First Admiral himself, nobly portrayed in snowiest marble. The figure is fourteen feet in height and represents the bold navigator wearing the dress of the period, the richly embroidered doublet, or waistcoat, thrown back, revealing a kilt that falls in easy folds from a bodice drawn tightly over the broad chest beneath. Not only the attitude of the figure but the expression of the face is commanding, and as you look upon the clearly cut features you seem to feel instinctively the presence of the man of genius and power, which the artist has forcibly chiseled.

The Italian government decided to send the monument here in the royal transport Garigliano. Also, as a token of their good-will to the United States, they ordered their first-class cruiser, Giovanni Bausan, to be in New York in time to take part in the ceremonies attending the unveil[Pg 247]ing and also the ceremonies by the city and State of New York.

All the work on the foundation was directed gratuitously by the architect V. Del Genoese and Italian laborers. The materials were furnished free by Messrs. Crimmins, Navarro, Smith & Sons, and others.

The executive committee in New York was composed of Chevalier C. Barsotti, president; C. A. Barattoni and E. Spinetti, vice-presidents; G. Starace, treasurer; E. Tealdi and G. N. Malferrari, secretaries; of the presidents of the Italian societies of New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Hoboken; and of sixty-five members chosen from the subscribers as trustees.


Richard M. Hunt, John Lafarge, Augustus St. Gaudens, L. P. di Cesnola, and Robert J. Hoguet of the Sub-Committee on Art of the New York Columbian Celebration, awarded on September 1, 1892, the prizes offered for designs for an arch to be erected at the entrance to Central Park at Fifty-ninth Street and Fifth Avenue.

The committee chose, from the numerous designs submitted, four which were of special excellence. That which was unanimously acknowledged to be the best was submitted with the identification mark, "Columbia," and proved to be the work of Henry B. Hertz of 22 West Forty-third Street. Mr. Hertz will receive a gold medal, and the arch which he has designed will be erected in temporary form for the Columbian celebration in October, 1892, and will be constructed as a permanent monument of marble and bronze to the Genius of Discovery if $350,000 can be secured to build it. The temporary structure is estimated to cost $7,500.[Pg 248]

The design which the committee decided should receive the second prize was offered by Franklin Crosby Butler and Paul Emil Dubois of 80 Washington Square, East, and was entitled, "The Santa Maria." A silver medal will be given to the architects. The designs selected for honorable mention were one of Moorish character, submitted by Albert Wahle of 320 East Nineteenth Street, and one entitled "Liberty," by J. C. Beeckman of 160 Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Hertz' design was selected by the committee not alone for its artistic beauty, but because of its peculiar fitness. The main body of the arch is to be built of white marble, and with its fountains, its polished monolithic columns of pigeon-blood marble, its mosaic and gold inlaying, and the bas-relief work and surmounting group of bronze, the committee say it will be a monument to American architecture of which the city will be proud.

From the ground to the top of the bronze caravel in the center of the allegorical group with which the arch will be surmounted the distance will be 160 feet, and the entire width of the arch will be 120 feet. The opening from the ground to the keystone will be eighty feet high and forty feet wide. On the front of each pier will be two columns of pigeon-blood-red marble. Between each pair of columns and at the base of each pier will be large marble fountains, the water playing about figures representing Victory and Immortality. These fountains will be lighted at night with electric lights. The surface of the piers between the columns will be richly decorated in bas-relief with gold and mosaic. Above each fountain will be a panel, one representing Columbus at the court of Spain, and the other the great discoverer at the Convent of Rábida, just before his departure on the voyage which resulted in the discovery of America. In the spaces on either side of the[Pg 249] crown of the arch will be colossal reclining figures of Victory in bas-relief.

The highly decorated frieze will be of polished red marble, and surmounting the projecting keystone of the arch will be a bronze representation of an American eagle. On the central panel of the attic will be the inscription: "The United States of America, in Memorial Glorious to Christopher Columbus, Discoverer of America." The ornamentation of the attic consists of representations of Columbus' entrance into Madrid. Crowning all is to be a group in bronze symbolical of Discovery. In this group there will be twelve figures of heroic size, with a gigantic figure representing the Genius of Discovery heralding to the world the achievements of her children.

Mr. Hertz, the designer, is only twenty-one years old, and is a student in the department of architecture of Columbia College.


The Spanish-American citizens also wish to present a monument to the city in honor of the discovery. It is proposed to have a Columbus fountain, to be located on the Grand Central Park plaza, at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street, in the near future. The statuary group of the fountain represents Columbus standing on an immense globe, and on either side of him is one of the Pinzon brothers, who commanded the Pinta and Niña. Land has been discovered, and on the face of Columbus is an expression of prayerful thanksgiving. The brother Pinzon who discovered the land is pointing to it, while the other, with hand shading his eyes, anxiously seeks some sign of the new continent.

It is proposed to cast the statuary group in New York of cannon donated by Spain and Spanish-American coun[Pg 250]tries. The first of the cannon has already arrived, the gift of the republic of Spanish Honduras.

The proposed inscription reads:

y Los
Los Españoles
E Hispaño-Americanos
Nueva York.

To Columbus and the Pinzons, the Spaniards
and Spanish-Americans of New York.


One of the features of the New York celebration of the Columbus Quadro-Centennial is to be the production, October 10th, in the Metropolitan Opera House, of "The Triumph of Columbus," a festival allegory, by S. G. Pratt.

The work is written for orchestra, chorus, and solo voices, and is in six scenes or parts, the first of which is described as being "in the nature of a prologue, wherein a dream of Columbus is pictured. Evil spirits and sirens hover about the sleeping mariner threatening and taunting him. The Spirit of Light appears, the tormentors vanish, and a chorus of angels join the Spirit of Light in a song of 'Hope and Faith.'"

Part II. shows "the historical council at Salamanca; Dominican monks support Columbus, but Cardinal Talavera and other priests ridicule him." Columbus, to disprove their accusations of heresy on his part, quotes "sentence after sentence of the Bible in defense of his theory."

Part III. represents Columbus and his boy Diego in[Pg 251] poverty before the Convent La Rábida. They pray for aid, and are succored by Father Juan Perez and his monks.

Part IV. contains a Spanish dance by the courtiers and ladies of Queen Isabella's court; a song by the Queen, wherein she tells of her admiration for Columbus; the appearance of Father Juan, who pleads for the navigator and his cause; the discouraging arguments of Talavera; the hesitation of the Queen; her final decision to help Columbus in his undertaking, and her prayer for the success of the voyage.

Part V. is devoted to the voyage. Mr. Pratt has here endeavored to picture in a symphonic prelude "the peaceful progress upon the waters, the jubilant feeling of Columbus, and a flight of birds"—subjects dissimilar enough certainly to lend variety to any orchestral composition. The part, in addition to this prelude, contains the recitation by a sailor of "The Legend of St. Brandon's Isle"; a song by Columbus; the mutiny of the sailors, and Columbus' vain attempts to quell it; his appeal to Christ and the holy cross for aid, following which "the miraculous appearance takes place and the sailors are awed into submission"; the chanting of evening vespers; the firing of the signal gun which announces the discovery of land, and the singing of a Gloria in Excelsis by Columbus, the sailors, and a chorus of angels.

Part VI. is the "grand pageantry of Columbus' reception at Barcelona. A triumphal march by chorus, band, and orchestra forms an accompaniment to a procession and the final reception."


From an introduction to "The Story of Columbus," in the New York Herald, 1892.

What manner of man was this Columbus, this admiral of the seas and lord of the Indies, who gave to Castille and Leon a new world?[Pg 252]

Was he the ill-tempered and crack-brained adventurer of the skeptic biographer, who weighed all men by the sum of ages and not by the age in which they lived, or the religious hero who carried a flaming cross into the darkness of the unknown West, as his reverential historians have painted him?

There have been over six hundred biographers of this strange and colossal man, advancing all degrees of criticism, from filial affection to religious and fanatical hate, yet those who dwell in the lands he discovered know him only by his achievements, caring nothing about the trivial weaknesses of his private life.

One of his fairest critics has said he was the conspicuous developer of a great world movement, the embodiment of the ripened aspirations of his time.

His life is enveloped in an almost impenetrable veil of obscurity; in fact, the date and the place of his birth are in dispute. There are no authentic portraits of him, though hundreds have been printed.

There are in existence many documents written by Columbus about his discoveries. When he set sail on his first voyage he endeavored to keep a log similar to the commentaries of Cæsar. It is from this log that much of our present knowledge has been obtained, but it is a lamentable fact that, while Columbus was an extraordinary executive officer, his administrative ability was particularly poor, and in all matters of detail he was so careless as to be untrustworthy. Therefore, there are many statements in the log open to violent controversy.


It is probable that the letters of Toscanelli made a greater impression on the mind of Columbus than any other information he possessed. The aged Florentine entertained the brightest vision of the marvelous worth of the Asiatic region. He spoke of two hundred towns whose[Pg 253] bridges spanned a single river, and whose commerce would excite the cupidity of the world.

These were tales to stir circles of listeners wherever wandering mongers of caravels came and went. All sorts of visionary discoveries were made in those days. Islands were placed in the Atlantic that never existed, and wonderful tales were told of the great Island of Antilla, or the Seven Cities.

The sphericity of the earth was becoming a favorite belief, though it must be borne in mind that education in those days was confined to the cloister, and any departure from old founded tenets was regarded as heresy. It was this peculiar doctrine that caused Columbus much embarrassment in subsequent years. His greatest enemies were the narrow minds that regarded religion as the Ultima Thule of intellectual endeavor. In spite of these facts, however, it was becoming more and more the popular belief that the world was not flat. One of the arguments used against Columbus was, that if the earth was not flat, and was round, he might sail down to the Indies, but he could certainly not sail up. Thus it was that fallacy after fallacy was thrown in argumentative form in his way, and the character of the man grows more wonderful as we see the obstacles over which he fought.

From utter obscurity, from poverty, derision, and treachery, this unflinching spirit fought his way to a most courageous end, and in all the vicissitudes of his wonderful life he never compromised one iota of that dignity which he regarded as consonant with his lofty aspirations.—Ibid.


New York Tribune, 1892.

The voyage of Columbus was a protest against the ignorance of the mediæval age. The discovery of the New[Pg 254] World was the first sign of the real renaissance of the Old World. It created new heavens and a new earth, broadened immeasurably the horizon of men and nations, and transformed the whole order of European thought. Columbus was the greatest educator who ever lived, for he emancipated mankind from the narrowness of its own ignorance, and taught the great lesson that human destiny, like divine mercy, arches over the whole world. If a perspective of four centuries of progress could have floated like a mirage before the eyes of the great discoverer as he was sighting San Salvador, the American school-house would have loomed up as the greatest institution of the New World's future. Behind him he had left mediæval ignorance, encumbered with superstition, and paralyzed by an ecclesiastical pedantry which passed for learning. Before him lay a new world with the promise of the potency of civil and religious liberty, free education, and popular enlightenment. Because the school-house, like his own voyage, has been a protest against popular ignorance, and has done more than anything else to make our free America what it is, it would have towered above everything else in the mirage-like vision of the world's progress.


The Rev. Father Nugent of Iowa. From an address printed in the Denver Republican, 1892.

The theory of the rotundity of the earth was not born with Columbus. It had been announced centuries before Christ, but the law of gravitation had not been discovered and the world found it impossible to think of another hemisphere in which trees would grow downward into the air and men walk with their heads suspended from their feet. The theologians and scholars who scoffed at Columbus' theory had better grounds for opposing him, according to[Pg 255] the received knowledge of the time, than he for upholding his ideal. They were scientifically wrong and he was unscientifically correct.


The President responds to a message from the Alcalde of Palos.

The following cable messages were exchanged this day:

La Rábida, August 3d. The President: To-day, 400 years ago, Columbus sailed from Palos, discovering America. The United States flag is being hoisted this moment in front of the Convent La Rábida, along with banners of all the American States. Batteries and ships saluting, accompanied by enthusiastic acclamations of the people, army, and navy. God bless America.

Alcalde of Palos.

Department of State, Washington, D. C., August 3, 1892. Señor Prieto, Alcalde de Palos, La Rábida, Spain: The President of the United States directs me to cordially acknowledge your message of greeting. On this memorable day, thus fittingly celebrated, the people of the new western world, in grateful reverence to the name and fame of Columbus, join hands with the sons of the brave sailors of Palos and Huelva who manned the discoverer's caravels.

Secretary of State.


The nations of North, South, and Central America in conference assembled, at Washington, D. C., from October 2, 1889, to April 19, 1890.

Resolved, That in homage to the memory of the immortal discoverer of America, and in gratitude for the unparalleled service rendered by him to civilization and humanity, the International Conference hereby offers its hearty[Pg 256] co-operation in the manifestations to be made in his honor on the occasion of the fourth centennial anniversary of the discovery of America.[50]


Theodore Parker, a distinguished American clergyman and scholar. Born at Lexington, Mass., August 24, 1810; died in Florence, Italy, May 10, 1860. From "New Assault upon Freedom in America."

To Columbus, adventurous Italy's most venturous son, Spain gave, grudgingly, three miserable ships, wherewith that daring genius sailed through the classic and mediæval darkness which covered the great Atlantic deep, opening to mankind a new world, and new destination therein. No queen ever wore a diadem so precious as those pearls which Isabella dropped into the western sea, a bridal gift, whereby the Old World, well endowed with art and science, and the hoarded wealth of experience, wed America, rich only in her gifts from Nature and her hopes in time. The most valuable contribution Spain has made to mankind is three scant ships furnished to the Genoese navigator, whom the world's instinct pushed westward in quest of continents.


Capt. William H. Parker, an American naval officer of the nineteenth century. From "Familiar Talks on Astronomy."[51]

Let us turn our attention to Christopher Columbus, the boldest navigator of his day; indeed, according to my view, the boldest man of whom we have any account in history.[Pg 257] While all the other seamen of the known world were creeping along the shore, he heroically sailed forth on the broad ocean.

When I look back upon my own voyages and recall the many anxious moments I have passed when looking for a port at night, and when I compare my own situation, supplied with accurate charts, perfect instruments, good sailing directions, everything, in short, that science can supply, and then think of Columbus in his little bark, his only instruments an imperfect compass and a rude astrolabe, sailing forth upon an unknown sea, I must award to him the credit of being the boldest seaman that ever "sailed the salt ocean."

Columbus, then, had made three discoveries before he discovered land—the trade-winds, the Sargasso Sea, and the variation of the compass.

From the original in the Marine Museum, Madrid.
(See page 228)

View larger image


At a banquet in Chicago of the real-estate brokers, a waggish orator remarked that Columbus, with his cry of "Land! Land!" was clearly the patron saint of American real-estate dealers.


Horatio J. Perry, an American author. From "Reminiscences."

When those Spanish mutineers leaped upon their Admiral's deck and advanced upon him sword in hand, every man of them was aware that according to all ordinary rules the safety of his own head depended on their going clean through and finishing their work. No compromise that should leave Columbus alive could possibly have suited them then. Nevertheless, at the bottom of it all, the moving impulse of those men was terror. They[Pg 258] were banded for that work by a common fear and a common superstition, and it was only when they looked in the clear face of one wholly free from the influences which enslaved themselves, when they felt in their marrow that supreme expression of Columbus at the point of a miserable death—only then the revulsion of confidence in him suddenly relieved their own terrors. It was instinctive. This man knows! He does not deceive us! We fools are compromising the safety of all by quenching this light. He alone can get us through this business—that was the human instinct which responded to the look and bearing of Columbus at the moment when he was wholly lost, and when his life's work, his great voyage almost accomplished, was also to all appearance lost. The instinct was sure, the response was certain, from the instinct that its motive was also there sure and certain; but no other man in that age could have provoked it, no other but Columbus could be sure of what he was then doing.

The mutineers went back to their work, and the ships went on. For three days previous, the Admiral, following some indications he had noted from the flight of birds, had steered southwest. Through that night of the 10th and through the day of the 11th he still kept that course; but just at evening of the 11th he ordered the helm again to be put due west. The squadron had made eighty-two miles that day, and his practiced senses now taught him that land was indeed near. Without any hesitation he called together his chief officers, and announced to them that the end of their voyage was at hand; and he ordered the ships to sail well together, and to keep a sharp lookout through the night, as he expected land before the morning. Also, they had strict orders to shorten sail at midnight, and not to advance beyond half speed. Then he promised a velvet doublet of his own as a present to the man who[Pg 259] should first make out the land. These details are well known, and they are authentic; and it is true also that these dispositions of the Admiral spread life throughout the squadron. Nobody slept that night. It was only twenty-four hours since they were ready to throw him overboard; but they now believed in him and bitterly accused one another.


From a paper in New England Magazine, 1892, taken originally from a volume of "Reminiscences" left by Horatio J. Perry, who made a voyage from Spain to New Orleans in 1847.

A fortnight out at sea! We are upon the track of Christopher Columbus. Only three centuries and a half ago the keels of his caravels plowed for the first time these very waters, bearing the greatest heart and wisest head of his time, and one of the grandest figures in all history.

To conceive Columbus at his true value requires some effort in our age, when the earth has been girdled and measured, when the sun has been weighed and the planets brought into the relation of neighbors over the way, into whose windows we are constantly peeping in spite of the social gulf which keeps us from visiting either Mars or Venus. It is not easy to put ourselves back into the fifteenth century and limit ourselves as those men were limited.

I found it an aid to my comprehension of Columbus, this chance which sent me sailing over the very route of his great voyage. It is not, even now, a frequented route. The bold Spanish and Portuguese navigators of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are no longer found upon it. The trade of the Indies has passed into other hands, and this is not the road from England to the West Indies or to America.[Pg 260]

Thus you may still sail for weeks in these seas without ever meeting a ship. Leaving Madeira or the Canaries, you may even reach those western lands he reached without having seen or felt any other sign or incident except precisely such as were noted by him.


Oskar Ferdinand Peschel, a noted German geographer. Born at Dresden, March 17, 1826; died, August 31, 1875.

Death saved Columbus the infliction of a blow which he probably would have felt more than Bobadilla's fetters. He was allowed to carry to the grave the glorious illusion that Cuba was a province of the Chinese Empire, that Hispaniola was the Island Zipangu, and that only a narrow strip of land, instead of a hemisphere covered by water, intervened between the Caribbean Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

The discoverer of America died without suspecting that he had found a new continent. He regarded the distance between Spain and Jamaica as a third part of the circumference of the globe, and announced, "The earth is by no means as large as is popularly supposed."

The extension of the world by a new continent had no place in his conceptions, and the greatness of his achievement would have been lessened in his eyes if he had been permitted to discover a second vast ocean beyond that which he had traversed, for he would have seen that he had but half accomplished his object, the connection of Europe with the East.


Francesco Petrarch, Italian poet. Born at Arezzo, in Tuscany, July 20, 1304; died at Arquá, near Padua, July 19, 1374.

The daylight hastening with wingéd steps,
Perchance to gladden the expectant eyes
Of far-off nations in a world remote.
[Pg 261]


Barnet Phillips, in Harper's Weekly, June 25, 1892, on "The Columbus Festival at Genoa."[52]

It can not be questioned but that Christopher Columbus was a voluminous writer. Mr. Justin Winsor, who has made careful researches, says that "ninety-seven distinct pieces of writing by the hand of Columbus either exist or are known to have existed. Of such, whether memoirs, relations, or letters, sixty-four are preserved in their entirety." Columbus seems to have written all his letters in Spanish. Genoa is fortunate in possessing a number of authentic letters, and these are preserved in a marble custodia, surmounted by a head of Columbus. In the pillar which forms the pedestal there is a bronze door, and the precious Columbus documents have been placed there. (See p. 54, ante.)


Robert Pollok, a Scottish poet of some note. Born at Muirhouse, Renfrewshire, 1798; died near Southampton, September, 1827.

Oh, who can tell what days, what nights, he spent,
Of tideless, waveless, sailless, shoreless woe!
And who can tell how many glorious once,
To him, of brilliant promise full—wasted,
And pined, and vanished from the earth!


W. F. Poole, LL. D., Librarian of the Newberry Library, Chicago. From "Christopher Columbus," in The Dial for April, 1892. Published by The Dial Company, Chicago.

It had been well for the reputation of Columbus if he had died in 1493, when he returned from his first voyage. He had found a pathway to a land beyond the western ocean; and although he had no conception of what he had discovered, it was the most important event in the history[Pg 262] of the fifteenth century. There was nothing left for him to do to increase his renown. A coat-of-arms had been assigned him, and he rode on horseback through the streets of Barcelona, with the King on one side of him and Prince Juan on the other. His enormous claims for honors and emoluments had been granted. His first letter of February, 1493, printed in several languages, had been read in the courts of Europe with wonder and amazement. "What delicious food for an ingenious mind!" wrote Peter Martyr. In England, it was termed "a thing more divine than human." No other man ever rose to such a pinnacle of fame so suddenly; and no other man from such a height ever dropped out of sight so quickly. His three later voyages were miserable failures; a pitiful record of misfortunes, blunders, cruelties, moral delinquencies, quarrels, and impotent complainings. They added nothing to the fund of human knowledge, or to his own. On the fourth voyage he was groping about to find the River Ganges, the great Khan of China, and the earthly paradise. His two subsequent years of disappointment and sickness and poverty were wretchedness personified. Other and more competent men took up the work of discovery, and in thirteen years after the finding of a western route to India had been announced, the name and personality of Columbus had almost passed from the memory of men. He died at Valladolid, May 20, 1506; and outside of a small circle of relatives, his body was committed to the earth with as little notice and ceremony as that of an unknown beggar on its way to the potter's field. Yet the Spanish court was in the town at the time. Peter Martyr was there, writing long letters of news and gossip; and in five that are still extant there is no mention of the sickness and death of Columbus. Four weeks later an official document had the brief mention that "the Admiral is dead." Two Italian authors,[Pg 263] making, one and two years later, some corrections pertaining to his early voyages, had not heard of his death.


From the New York Commercial Advertiser.

Third Assistant Postmaster-General Hazen is preparing the designs for a set of "Jubilee" stamps, to be issued by the Postoffice Department in honor of the quadri-centennial. That is, he is getting together material which will suggest to him the most appropriate subjects to be illustrated on these stamps. He has called on the Bureau of American Republics for some of the Columbian pictures with which it is overflowing, and he recently took a big portfolio of them down into the country to examine at his leisure.

One of the scenes to be illustrated, undoubtedly, will be the landing of Columbus. The Convent of La Rábida, where Columbus is supposed to have been housed just before his departure from Spain on his voyage of discovery, will probably be the chief figure of another. The head of Columbus will decorate one of the stamps—probably the popular 2-cent stamp. Gen. Hazen resents the suggestion that the 5-cent, or foreign, stamp be made the most ornate in the collection. He thinks that the American public is entitled to the exclusive enjoyment of the most beautiful of the new stamps.

Besides, the stamps will be of chief value to the Exposition, as they advertise it among the people of America. The Jubilee stamps will be one of the best advertisements the World's Fair will have. It would not be unfair if the Postoffice Department should demand that the managers of the World's Fair pay the additional expense of getting out the new issue. But the stamp collectors will save the department the necessity of doing that.[Pg 264]

It may be that the issue of the current stamps will not be suspended when the Jubilee stamps come in; but it is altogether likely that the issue will be suspended for a year, and that at the end of that time the dies and plates for the Jubilee stamps will be destroyed and the old dies and plates will be brought out and delivered to the contractor again. These dies and plates are always subject to the order of the Postmaster-general. He can call for them at any time, and the contractor must deliver them into his charge.

While they are in use they are under the constant supervision of a government agent, and the contractor is held responsible for any plate that might be made from his dies and for any stamps that might be printed surreptitiously from such plates.

An oddity in the new series will be the absence of the faces of Washington and Franklin. The first stamps issued by the Postoffice Department were the 5 and 10 cent stamps of 1847. One of these bore the head of Washington and the other that of Franklin. From that day to this these heads have appeared on some two of the stamps of the United States. In the Jubilee issue they will be missing, unless Mr. Wanamaker or Mr. Hazen changes the present plan. It is intended now that only one portrait shall appear on any of the stamps, and that one will be of Columbus.

It will take some time to prepare the designs for the new stamps, after the selection of the subjects, but Gen. Hazen expects to have them on sale the 1st of January next. The subjects will be sent to the American Bank Note Company, which will prepare the designs and submit them for approval. When they are approved, the dies will be prepared and proofs sent to the department. Five engravings were made before an acceptable portrait of Gen.[Pg 265] Grant was obtained for use on the current 5-cent stamp. Gen. Grant, by the way, was the only living American whose portrait during his lifetime was under consideration in getting up stamp designs.


William Hickling Prescott, an eminent American historian. Born at Salem, Mass., May 4, 1796; died January 28, 1859. From "Ferdinand and Isabella."

There are some men in whom rare virtues have been closely allied, if not to positive vice, to degrading weakness. Columbus' character presented no such humiliating incongruity. Whether we contemplate it in its public or private relations, in all its features it wears the same noble aspect. It was in perfect harmony with the grandeur of his plans and their results, more stupendous than those which heaven has permitted any other mortal to achieve.


The bells sent forth a joyous peal in honor of his arrival; but the Admiral was too desirous of presenting himself before the sovereigns to protract his stay long at Palos. His progress through Seville was an ovation. It was the middle of April before Columbus reached Barcelona. The nobility and cavaliers in attendance on the court, together with the authorities of the city, came to the gates to receive him, and escorted him to the royal presence. Ferdinand and Isabella were seated with their son, Prince John, under a superb canopy of state, awaiting his arrival. On his approach they rose from their seats, and, extending their hands to him to salute, caused him to be seated before them. These were unprecedented marks of condescension to a person of Columbus' rank in the haughty and ceremonious court of Castille. It was, indeed, the proudest[Pg 266] moment in the life of Columbus. He had fully established the truth of his long-contested theory, in the face of argument, sophistry, sneer, skepticism, and contempt. After a brief interval the sovereigns requested from Columbus a recital of his adventures; and when he had done so, the King and Queen, together with all present, prostrated themselves on their knees in grateful thanksgivings, while the solemn strains of the Te Deum were poured forth by the choir of the royal chapel, as in commemoration of some glorious victory.—Ibid.


From an editorial in Public Opinion, Washington.

Modern historians are pretty generally agreed that America was actually first made known to the Eastern world by the indefatigable Norsemen. Yet, in spite of this fact, Columbus has been, and still continues to be, revered as the one man to whose genius and courage the discovery of the New World is due. Miss Brown, in her "Icelandic Discoverers," justly says it should be altogether foreign to American institutions and ideas of liberty and honor to countenance longer the worship of a false idol. The author first proceeds to set forth the evidence upon which the claims of the Norsemen rest. The author charges that the heads of the Roman Catholic church were early cognizant of this discovery of the Norsemen, but that they suppressed this information. The motives for this concealment are charged to their well-known reluctance to allow any credit to non-Catholic believers, under which head, at that time, the Norsemen were included. They preferred that the New World should first be made known to Southern Europe by adherents to the Roman Catholic faith. Most damaging evidence against[Pg 267] Columbus' having originated, unaided, the idea of a western world or route to India is furnished by the fact that he visited Iceland in person in the spring of 1477, when he must have heard rumors of the early voyages. He is known to have visited the harbor at Hvalfjord, on the south coast of Iceland, at a time when that harbor was most frequented, and also at the same time when Bishop Magnus is known to have been there. They must have met, and, as they had means of communicating through the Latin language, would naturally have spoken of these distant countries. We have no hint of the object of this visit of Columbus, for he scrupulously avoids subsequent mention of it; but the author pleases to consider it as a secret mission, instigated by the Church for the purpose of obtaining all available information concerning the Norse discoveries. Certain it is that soon after his return to Spain we find him petitioning the King and Queen for a grant of ships and men to further the enterprise; and he was willing to wait for more than fourteen years before he obtained them. His extravagant demands of the King and Queen concerning the rights, titles, and percentage of all derived from the countries "he was about to discover," can hardly be viewed in any other light than that of positive knowledge concerning their existence.


Luigi Pulci, an Italian poet. Born at Florence in 1431; died about 1487.

Men shall descry another hemisphere,
Since to one common center all things tend;
So earth, by curious mystery divine,
Well balanced hangs amid the starry spheres.
At our antipodes are cities, states,
And thronged empires ne'er divined of yore.
[Pg 268]


George Payne Quackenbos, an American teacher and educational writer. Born in New York, 1826; died December 24, 1881.

Full of religious enthusiasm, he regarded this voyage to the western seas as his peculiar mission, and himself—as his name, Christopher, imports—the appointed Christ-bearer, or gospel-bearer, to the natives of the new lands he felt that he was destined to discover.


The Rev. Myron Reed, a celebrated American clergyman of the present day.

Here is Columbus. Somehow I think he is more of a man while he is begging for ships and a crew, when he is in mid-ocean sailing to discover America, than when he found it.


The last days of the voyage of Columbus were lonesome days. He had to depend on his own vision. I do not know what he had been—probably a buccaneer. We know that he was to be a trader in slaves. But in spite of what he had been and was to become, once he was great.—Ibid.


Crew of the Santa Maria.—Admiral, Cristoval Colon; Master and owner, Juan de la Cosa of Santoña; Pilot, Sancho Ruiz; Boatswain, Maestre Diego; Surgeon, Maestre Alonzo of Moguer; Assistant Surgeon, Maestre Juan; Overseer, Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia; Secretary, *Rodrigo de Escobedo[53]; Master at Arms, *Diego de Arana[Pg 269] of Cordova; Volunteer, *Pedro Gutierrez, (A gentleman of the King's bedchamber); Volunteer, *Bachiller Bernardo de Tapia of Ledesma; Steward, Pedro Terreros; Admiral's Servant, Diego de Salcedo; Page, Pedro de Acevedo; Interpreter, Luis de Torres, (A converted Jew); Seamen, Rodrigo de Jerez, Garcia Ruiz of Santoña, Pedro de Villa of Santoña, Rodrigo Escobar, Francisco of Huelva, Ruy Fernandez of Huelva, Pedro Bilbao of Larrabezua, *Alonzo Velez of Seville, *Alonzo Perez Osorio; Assayer and Silversmith, *Castillo of Seville; Seamen of the Santa Maria, *Antonio of Jaen, *Alvaro Perez Osorio, *Cristoval de Alamo of Niebla, *Diego Garcia of Jerez, *Diego de Tordoya of Cabeza de Vaca, *Diego de Capilla of Almeden, *Diego of Mambles, *Diego de Mendoza, *Diego de Montalvan of Jaen, *Domingo de Bermeo, *Francisco de Godoy of Seville, *Francisco de Vergara of Seville, *Francisco of Aranda, *Francisco Henao of Avila, *Francisco Jimenes of Seville, *Gabriel Baraona of Belmonte, *Gonzalo Fernandez of Segovia, *Gonzalo Fernandez of Leon, *Guillermo Ires of Galway, *Jorge Gonzalez of Trigueros, *Juan de Cueva, *Juan Patiño of La Serena, *Juan del Barco of Avila, *Pedro Carbacho of Caceres, *Pedro of Talavera, *Sebastian of Majorca, *Tallarte de Lajes (Ingles).

The Crew of the Pinta.Captain of the Pinta, Martin Alonzo Pinzon; Master, Francisco Martin Pinzon; Pilot of the vessel, Cristoval Garcia Sarmiento; Boatswain, Bartolomè Garcia; Surgeon, Garci Hernandez; Purser, Juan de Jerez; Caulker, Juan Perez; Seamen, Rodrigo Bermudez de Triana of Alcala de la Guadaira, Juan Rodriguez Bermejo of Molinos, Juan de Sevilla, Garcia Alonzo, Gomez Rascon (owner), Cristoval Quintero (owner), Diego Bermudez, Juan Bermudez, Francisco Garcia Gal[Pg 270]legos of Moguer, Francisco Garcia Vallejo, Pedro de Arcos.

Crew of the Niña.—Captain of the Niña, Vicente Yañez Pinzon; Master and part owner of the vessel, Juan Niño; Pilots, Pero Alonzo Niño, Bartolomè Roldan; Seamen of the Niña, Francisco Niño, Gutierrez Perez, Juan Ortiz, Alonso Gutierrez Querido, *Diego de Torpa[54], *Francisco Fernandez, *Hernando de Porcuna, *Juan de Urniga, *Juan Morcillo, *Juan del Villar, *Juan de Mendoza, *Martin de Logrosan, *Pedro de Foronda, *Tristan de San Jorge.


John Clark Ridpath, LL. D., an American author and educator. Born in Putnam County, Indiana, April 26, 1840. From "History of United States," 1874.

Sir John Mandeville had declared in the very first English book that ever was written (A. D. 1356) that the world is a sphere, and that it was both possible and practicable for a man to sail around the world and return to the place of starting; but neither Sir John himself nor any other seaman of his times was bold enough to undertake so hazardous an enterprise. Columbus was, no doubt, the first practical believer in the theory of circumnavigation, and although he never sailed around the world himself, he demonstrated the possibility of doing so.

The great mistake with Columbus and others who shared his opinions was not concerning the figure of the earth, but in regard to its size. He believed the world to be no more than 10,000 or 12,000 miles in circumference. He therefore confidently expected that after sailing about 3,000 miles to the westward he should arrive at the East Indies, and to do that was the one great purpose of his life.[Pg 271]


Juan F. Riaño. "Review of Continental Literature," July, 1891, to July, 1892. From "The Athenæum" (England), July 2, 1892.

The excitement about Columbus has rather been heightened by the accidental discovery of three large holograph volumes, in quarto, of Fr. Bartolomé de Las Casas, the Bishop of Chiapa, who, as is well known, accompanied the navigator in his fourth voyage to the West Indies. The volumes were deposited by Las Casas in San Gregorio de Valladolid, where he passed the last years of his life in retirement. There they remained until 1836, when, owing to the suppression of the monastic orders, the books of the convent were dispersed, and the volumes of the Apostle of the Indies, as he is still called, fell into the hands of a collector of the name of Acosta, from whom a grandson named Arcos inherited them. Though written in the bishop's own hand, they are not of great value, as they only contain his well-known "Historia Apologetica de las Indias," of which no fewer than three different copies, dating from the sixteenth century, are to be found here at Madrid, and the whole was published some years ago in the "Documentos Inéditos para la Historia de España."

The enthusiasm for Columbus and his companions has not in the least damped the ardor of my countrymen for every sort of information respecting their former colonies, in America or their possessions in the Indian Archipelago and on the northern coast of Africa. Respecting the former I may mention the second volume of the "Historia del Nuevo Mundo," by Cobo, 1645; the third and fourth volume of the "Origen de los Indios del Peru, Mexico, Santa Féy Chile," by Diego Andrés Rocha; "De las Gentes del Peru," forming part of the "Historia Apologetica," by Bartolomé de las Casas, though not found in his three holograph volumes recently discovered.[Pg 272]


William Robertson (usually styled Principal Robertson), a celebrated Scottish historian. Born at Bosthwick, Mid-Lothian, September 19, 1721; died June, 1793.

Columbus was the first European who set foot in the New World which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand. His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had long desired to see. They next erected a crucifix, and prostrating themselves before it returned thanks to God for conducting their voyage to such a happy issue.

The Spaniards while thus employed were surrounded by many of the natives, who gazed in silent admiration upon actions which they could not comprehend, and of which they could not foresee the consequences. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising. The vast machines in which the Spaniards had traversed the ocean, that seemed to move upon the water with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound, resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck the natives with such terror that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the sun, who had descended to visit the earth.

To all the kingdoms of Europe, Christopher Columbus, by an effort of genius and of intrepidity the boldest and most successful that is recorded in the annals of mankind, added a new world.—Ibid.

THE COLUMBUS MONUMENT, THE COLUMBUS MONUMENT, Paseo de la Reforma, City of Mexico. Sculptor, M, Cordier.


This is the main central door of the Capitol at Washington, D. C., and on it is a pictured history of events[Pg 273] connected with the life of Columbus and the discovery of America.

The door weighs 20,000 pounds; is seventeen feet high and nine feet wide; it is folding or double, and stands sunk back inside of a bronze casing, which projects about a foot forward from the leaves or valves. On this casing are four figures at the top and bottom, representing Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. A border, emblematic of conquest and navigation, runs along the casing between them.

The door has eight panels besides the semicircular one at the top. In each panel is a picture in alto-relievo.

It was designed by Randolph Rogers, an American, and modeled by him in Rome, in 1858; and was cast by F. Von Muller, at Munich, 1861.

The story the door tells is the history of Columbus and the discovery of America.

The panel containing the earliest event in the life of the discoverer is the lowest one on the south side, and represents "Columbus undergoing an examination before the Council of Salamanca."

The panel above it contains "Columbus' departure from the Convent of Santa Maria de la Rábida," near Palos. He is just setting out to visit the Spanish court.

The one above it is his "audience at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella."

The next panel is the top one of this half of the door, and represents the "starting of Columbus from Palos on his first voyage."

The transom panel occupies the semicircular sweep over the whole door. The extended picture here is the "first landing of the Spaniards at San Salvador."

The top panel on the other leaf of the door represents the "first encounter of the discoverers with the natives." In it one of the sailors is seen bringing an Indian girl on[Pg 274] his shoulders a prisoner. The transaction aroused the stern indignation of Columbus.

The panel next below this one has in it "the triumphal entry of Columbus into Barcelona."

The panel below this represents a very different scene, and is "Columbus in chains."

In the next and last panel is the "death scene." Columbus lies in bed; the last rites of the Catholic church have been administered; friends and attendants are around him; and a priest holds up a crucifix for him to kiss, and upon it bids him fix his dying eyes.

On the door, on the sides and between the panels, are sixteen small statues, set in niches, of eminent contemporaries of Columbus. Their names are marked on the door, and beginning at the bottom, on the side from which we started in numbering the panels, we find the figure in the lowest niche is Juan Perez de la Marchena, prior of La Rábida; then above him is Hernando Cortez; and again, standing over him, is Alonzo de Ojeda.

Amerigo Vespucci occupies the next niche on the door.

Then, opposite in line, across the door, standing in two niches, side by side, are Cardinal Mendoza and Pope Alexander VI.

Then below them stand Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain; beneath them stands the Lady Beatrice Enriquez de Bobadilla; beside her is Charles VIII., King of France.

The first figure of the lowest pair on the door is Henry VII. of England; beside him stands John II., King of Portugal.

Then, in the same line with them, across the panel, is Alonzo Pinzon.

In the niche above Alonzo Pinzon stands Bartolomeo Columbus, the brother of the great navigator.[Pg 275]

Then comes Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, and in the niche above, again at the top of the door, stands the figure of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru.

Between the panels and at top and bottom of the valves of the door are ten projecting heads. Those between the panels are historians who have written Columbus' voyages from his own time down to the present day, ending with Washington Irving and William Hickling Prescott.

The two heads at the tops of the valves are female heads, while the two next the floor possess Indian characteristics.

Above, over the transom arch, looks down, over all, the serene grand head of Columbus. Beneath it, the American eagle spreads out his widely extended wings.

Mr. Rogers[55] received $8,000 for his models, and Mr. Von Muller was paid $17,000 in gold for casting the door. To a large portion of this latter sum must be added the high premium on exchange which ruled during the war, the cost of storage and transportation, and the expense of the erection of the door in the Capitol after its arrival. These items would, added together, far exceed $30,000 in the then national currency.


Samuel Rogers, the English banker-poet. Born near London, July 30, 1763; died December, 1855. Translated from a Castilian MS., and printed as an introduction to his poem, "The Voyage of Columbus." It is stated that he spent $50,000 in the illustrations of this volume of his poems.

In Rábida's monastic fane
[Pg 276]I can not ask, and ask in vain;
The language of Castille I speak,
'Mid many an Arab, many a Greek,
Old in the days of Charlemagne,
When minstrel-music wandered round,
And science, waking, blessed the sound.

No earthly thought has here a place,
The cowl let down on every face;
Yet here, in consecrated dust,
Here would I sleep, if sleep I must.
From Genoa, when Columbus came
(At once her glory and her shame),
'T was here he caught the holy flame;
'T was here the generous vow he made;
His banners on the altar laid.

Here, tempest-worn and desolate,
A pilot journeying through the wild
Stopped to solicit at the gate
A pittance for his child.

'T was here, unknowing and unknown,
He stood upon the threshold stone.
But hope was his, a faith sublime,
That triumphs over place and time;
And here, his mighty labor done,
And here, his course of glory run,
Awhile as more than man he stood,
So large the debt of gratitude.

Who the great secret of the deep possessed,
And, issuing through the portals of the West,
Fearless, resolved, with every sail unfurled,
Planted his standard on the unknown world.

[Pg 277]


Thy brave mariners,
They had fought so often by thy side,
Staining the mountain billows.


William Russell, American author and educationist. Born in Scotland, 1798; died, 1873. From his "Modern History."

Transcendent genius and superlative courage experience almost equal difficulty in carrying their designs into execution when they depend on the assistance of others. Columbus possessed both—he exerted both; and the concurrence of other heads and other hearts was necessary to give success to either; he had indolence and cowardice to encounter, as well as ignorance and prejudice. He had formerly been ridiculed as a visionary, he was now pitied as a desperado. The Portuguese navigators, in accomplishing their first discoveries, had always some reference to the coast; cape had pointed them to cape; but Columbus, with no landmark but the heavens, nor any guide but the compass, boldly launched into the ocean, without knowing what shore should receive him or where he could find rest for the sole of his foot.


One of the principal features in the State capitol at Sacramento is a beautiful and artistic group of statuary, cut from a solid block of purest white marble. It represents Columbus pleading the cause of his project before Queen Isabella of Spain. The Spanish sovereign is seated; at her left hand kneels the First Admiral, while an attendant page[Pg 278] on the right watches with wonder the nobly generous action of the Queen. Columbus, with a globe in his hand, contends that the world is round, and pleads for assistance to fit out an expedition to discover the New World. The royal reply is, "I will assume the undertaking for my own crown of Castille, and am ready to pledge my jewels to defray its expense, if the funds in the treasury shall be found inadequate," The group, which is said to be a masterpiece of work, the only piece of its kind in the United States, was executed in Florence, Italy, by Larkin G. Mead of Vermont, an American artist of known reputation. Costing $60,000, it was presented to the State of California, in 1883, by Mr. D. O. Mills.


At Valcuebo, a country farm once belonging to the Dominicans of Salamanca, Columbus was entertained by Diego de Deza—prior of the great Dominican convent of San Esteban and professor of theology at Salamanca—while the Junta [committee] of Spanish ecclesiastics considered his prospects. His residence there was a peaceful oasis in the stormy life of the great discoverer. The little grange still stands at a distance of about three miles west of Salamanca, and the country people have a tradition that on the crest of a small hill near the house, now called "Teso de Colon" (i. e., Columbus' Peak), the future discoverer used to pass long hours conferring with his visitors or reading in solitude. The present owner, Don Martin de Solis, has erected a monument on this hill, consisting of a stone pyramid surmounted by a globe; it commemorates the spot where the storm-tossed hero enjoyed a brief interval of peace and rest.[Pg 279]


Manoel Francisco de Barros y Souza, Viscount Santarem, a noted Portuguese diplomatist and writer. Born at Lisbon, 1790; died, 1856.

If Columbus was not the first to discover America, he was, at least, the man who rediscovered it, and in a positive and definite shape communicated the knowledge of it. For, if he verified what the Egyptian priest indicated to Solon, the Athenian, as is related by Plato in the Timœus respecting the Island of Atlantis; if he realized the hypothesis of Actian; if he accomplished the prophecy of Seneca in the Medea; if he demonstrated that the story of the mysterious Carthaginian vessel, related by Aristotle and Theophrastus, was not a dream; if he established by deeds that there was nothing visionary in what St. Gregory pointed at in one of his letters to St. Clement; if, in a word, Columbus proved by his discovery the existence of the land which Madoc had visited before him, as Hakluyt and Powell pretended; and ascertained for a certainty that which for the ancients had always been so uncertain, problematical, and mysterious—his glory becomes only the more splendid, and more an object to command admiration.


At Santiago, Chili, a marble bust of Columbus is to be found, with a face modeled after the De Bry portrait, an illustration of which latter appears in these pages. The bust has a Dutch cap and garments.


In the city of St. Louis, Mo., a statue of Columbus has been erected as the gift of Mr. Henry D. Shaw. It consists of a heroic-sized figure of Columbus in gilt bronze,[Pg 280] upon a granite pedestal, which has four bronze basso relievos of the principal events in his career. The face of the statue follows the Genoa model, and the statue was cast at Munich.


At Lima, Peru, a fine group of statuary was erected in 1850, representing Columbus in the act of raising an Indian girl from the ground. Upon the front of the marble pedestal is the simple dedication: "Á Cristoval Colon" (To Christopher Columbus), and upon the other three faces are appropriate nautical designs.


In addition to the Iasigi statue, Boston boasts of one of the most artistic statues to Columbus, and will shortly possess a third. "The First Inspiration of the Boy Columbus" is a beautiful example of the work of Signor G. Monteverde, a celebrated Italian sculptor. It was made in Rome, in 1871, and, winning the first prize of a gold medal at Parma, in that year, was presented to the city of Boston by Mr. A. P. Chamberlain of Concord, Mass. It represents Columbus as a youth, seated upon the capstan of a vessel, with an open book in his hand, his foot carelessly swinging in an iron ring. In addition to this statue, a replica of the Old Isabella statue (described on page 171, ante), is, it is understood, to be presented to the city.


In the Red Palace, Genoa, a statue of Columbus has been erected representing him standing on the deck of the Santa Maria, behind a padre with a cross. The pedestal of the statue is ornamented with prows of caravels, and on each[Pg 281] side a mythological figure represents Discovery and Industry.


Now in course of erection to commemorate the discovery, and under the auspices of the Spanish government, is a noble statue at Palos, Spain. It consists of a fluted column of the Corinthian order of architecture, capped by a crown, supporting an orb, surmounted by a cross. The orb bears two bands, one about its equator and the other representing the zodiac. On the column are the names of the Pinzon brothers, Martin and Vicente Yañez; and under the prows of the caravels, "Colon," with a list of the persons who accompanied him. The column rests upon a prismatic support, from which protrude four prows, and the pedestal of the whole is in the shape of a tomb, with an Egyptian-like appearance.


In Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pa., there is placed a statue of Columbus, which, originally exhibited at the Centennial Exposition, at Philadelphia, in 1876, was presented to the Centennial Commission by the combined Italian societies of Philadelphia.


In Central Park, New York City, is located an artistic statue, the gift of Mrs. Marshall O. Roberts, and the work of Miss Emma Stebbins. The figure of Columbus is seven feet high, and represents him as a sailor with a mantle thrown over his shoulder. The face is copied from accepted portraits of the Giovian type.[Pg 282]


When Columbus was made a prisoner in Santo Domingo, the governor, who arrested him, feared there might be an attempt at rescue, so he trained a big gun on the entrance of the citadel, or castle, in which Columbus was confined. That cannon laid in the same place until Mr. Ober, a World's Fair representative, recovered it, and, with the permission of the Governor of Santo Domingo, brought it to the United States. It is on exhibition at the World's Fair.


A very novel feature of the historical exhibit at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition will be a fac-simile reproduction of the little ship Santa Maria, in which Columbus sailed. Lieut. McCarty Little of the United States navy was detailed to go to Spain to superintend the construction of the ship by the Spanish government at the Carraca yard at Cadiz. The keel was laid on March 1, 1892. The caravel's dimensions are: Length at keel, 62 feet 4 inches; length between perpendiculars, 75 feet 5 inches; beam, 22 feet; draught, 14 feet 8 inches. Great care is being taken with details. It is manned by Spanish sailors in the costume of the time of Columbus, and is rigged as Columbus rigged his ship. There are on board copies of the charts that Columbus used, and fac-similes of his nautical instruments. The crew are of the same number, and included in it are an Englishman and an Irishman, for it is a well-founded historical fact that William Harris, an Englishman, and Arthur Lake, an Irishman, were both members of Columbus' crew. In fact, the reproduction is as exact as possible in every detail. The little ship, in company with her sisters, the Pinta and the Niña, which were reproduced by American capital, will make its first[Pg 283] appearance at the naval review in New York, where the trio will be saluted by the great cruisers and war-ships of modern invention from all of the navies of the world. They will then be presented by the government of Spain to the President of the United States, and towed through the lakes to Chicago, being moored at the Exposition. It is proposed that the vessels be taken to Washington after the Exposition, and there anchored in the park of the White House.

The Spanish committee having the matter in charge have made careful examinations of all obtainable data to insure that the vessels shall be, in every detail which can be definitely determined, exact copies of the original Columbus vessels. In connection with this subject, La Ilustracion National of Madrid, to whom we are indebted for our first-page illustration, says:

"A great deal of data of very varied character has been obtained, but nothing that would give the exact details sought, because, doubtless, the vessels of that time varied greatly, not only in the form of their hulls, but also in their rigging, as will be seen by an examination of the engravings and paintings of the fifteenth century; and as there was no ship that could bear the generic name of 'caravel,' great confusion was caused when the attempt was made to state, with a scientific certainty, what the caravels were. The word 'caravel' comes from the Italian cara bella, and with this etymology it is safe to suppose that the name was applied to those vessels on account of the grace and beauty of their form, and finally was applied to the light vessels which went ahead of the ships as dispatch boats. Nevertheless, we think we have very authentic data, perhaps all that is reliable, in the letter of Juan de la Cosa, Christopher Columbus' pilot. Juan de la Cosa used many illustrations, and with his important hydrographic letter, which[Pg 284] is in the Naval Museum, we can appreciate his ability in drawing both landscapes and figures. As he was both draughtsman and mariner, we feel safe in affirming that the caravels drawn in said letter of the illustrious mariner form the most authentic document in regard to the vessels of his time that is in existence. From these drawings and the descriptions of the days' runs in the part marked 'incidents' of Columbus' log, it is ascertained that these vessels had two sets of sails, lateens for sailing with bowlines hauled, and with lines for sailing before the wind.

"The same lateens serve for this double object, unbending the sails half way and hoisting them like yards by means of top ropes. Instead of having the points now used for reefing, these sails had bands of canvas called bowlines, which were unfastened when it was unnecessary to diminish the sails."


From the Saturday Review, August 6, 1892.

It was a happy notion, and creditable to the ingenuity of the Spaniards, to celebrate the auspicious event, which made Palos famous four hundred years ago, by a little dramatic representation. The caravel Maria, manned by appropriately dressed sailors, must be a sight better than many eloquent speeches. She has, we are told, been built in careful imitation of the flagship of Columbus' little squadron. If the fidelity of the builders has been thorough, if she has not been coppered, has no inner skin, and has to trust mainly to her caulking to keep out the water, we hope that she will have unbroken good weather on her way to New York. The voyage to Havana across the "Ladies' Sea" is a simple business; but the coast of the United States in early autumn will be trying to a vessel which will be[Pg 285] buoyant enough as long as she is water-tight, but is not to be trusted to remain so under a severe strain. She will not escape the strain wholly by being towed. We are not told whether the Maria is to make the landfall of Columbus as well as take his departure. The disputes of the learned as to the exact spot might make it difficult to decide for which of the Bahamas the captain ought to steer. On the other hand, if it were left to luck, to the wind, and the currents, the result might throw some light on a vexed question. It might be interesting to see whether the Maria touched at Turk Island, Watling's Island, or Mariguana, or at none of the three.

The event which the Spaniards are celebrating with natural pride is peculiarly fitted to give an excuse for a centenary feast. The complaints justly made as to the artificial character of the excuses often chosen for these gatherings and their eloquence do not apply here. Beyond all doubt, when Columbus sailed from Palos on August 3, 1492, he did something by which the history of the world was profoundly influenced. Every schoolboy of course knows that if Columbus had never lived America would have been discovered all the same, when Pedro Alvarez Cabral, the Portuguese admiral, was carried by the trade-winds over to the coast of Brazil in 1500. But in that case it would not have been discovered by Spain, and the whole course of the inevitable European settlement on the continent must have been modified.

When that can be said of any particular event there can be no question as to its importance. There is a kind of historical critic, rather conspicuous in these latter days, who finds a peculiar satisfaction in pointing out that Columbus discovered America without knowing it—which is true. That he believed, and died in the belief, that he had reached Asia is certain. It is not less sure that Amerigo[Pg 286] Vespucci, from whom the continent was named, by a series of flukes, misprints, and misunderstandings, went to his grave in the same faith. He thought that he had found an island of uncertain size to the south of the equator, and that what Columbus had found to the north was the eastern extremity of Asia. But the world which knows that Columbus did, as a matter of fact, do it the service of finding America, and is aware that without him the voyage from Palos would never have been undertaken, has refused to belittle him because he did not know beforehand what was only found out through his exertions.

The learned who have written very largely about Columbus have their serious doubts as to the truth of the stories told of his connection with Palos. Not that there is any question as to whether he sailed from there. The dispute is as to the number and circumstances of his visits to the Convent of Santa Maria Rábida, and the exact nature of his relations to the Prior Juan Perez de Marchena. There has, in fact, been a considerable accumulation of what that very rude man, Mr. Carlyle, called the marine stores of history about the life of Columbus, as about most great transactions. He certainly had been at La Rábida, and the prior was his friend. But, with or without Juan Perez, Columbus as a seafaring man would naturally have been in Palos. It lies right in the middle of the coast, which has always been open to attack from Africa and has been the starting point for attack on Africa. It is in the way of trade for the same reason that it is in the way of war. What are now fishing villages were brisk little trading towns in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Palos did not only send out Columbus. It received Cortez when he came back from the conquest of Mexico. Palos does very well to remember its glories. And Spain does equally well to remember that she sent out Columbus. In spite of the[Pg 287] platitudes talked by painfully thoughtful persons as to the ruinous consequences of the discovery to herself, it was, take it altogether, the greatest thing she has done in the world. She owes to it her unparalleled position in the sixteenth century, and the opportunity to become "a mother of nations." The rest of the world has to thank her for the few magnificent and picturesque passages which enliven the commonly rather colorless, not to say Philistine, history of America.


Randall N. Saunders, Claverack, N. Y., in the School Journal.

* * * What boy has not felt a thrill of pride, for the sex, at the dogged persistence with which Columbus clung to his purpose and to Isabella after Ferdinand had flung to him but stony replies.

Methinks I am starting from Palos. I see the pale, earnest face set in its steadfast resolution from prophetic knowledge. I see the stern lines of care, deeper from the contrast of the hair, a silver mantle refined by the worry; the "midnight oil" that burned in the fiery furnace of his ambition. I see the flush of pleasure at setting out to battle with the perilous sea toward the consummation of life's grand desire. I feel the waverings between hope and despair as the journey lengthens, with but faint promise of reward, and with those around who would push us into the overwhelming waves of defeat and remorse. Amid all discouragements, amid the darkest gloom, I am inspired by his words, "Sail on, sail on"; and sailing on with the grand old Genoese, I yet hope to know and feel his glorious success, and with him to return thanks on the golden strand of the San Salvador of life's success.[Pg 288]


The Reverend Minot Judson Savage, an American clergyman. Born at Norridgewock, Maine, June 10, 1841. Pastor of Unity Church, Boston. From his lecture, "The Religious Growth of Three Hundred Years."

Stand beside Columbus a moment, and consider how much and how little there was known. It was commonly believed that the earth was flat and was flowed round by the ocean stream. Jerusalem was the center. With the exception of a little of Europe, a part of Asia, and a strip of North Africa, the earth was unknown country. In these unknown parts dwelt monsters of every conceivable description. Columbus indeed cherished the daring dream that he might reach the eastern coast of Asia by sailing west; but most of those who knew his dreams regarded him as crazy. And it is now known that even he was largely impelled by his confident expectation that he would be able to discover the Garden of Eden. The motive of his voyage was chiefly a religious one. And, as a hint of the kind of world in which people then lived, the famous Ponce de Leon searched Florida in the hope of discovering the Fountain of Perpetual Youth. At this time Copernicus and his system were unheard of. The universe was a little three-story affair. Heaven, with God on his throne and his celestial court about him, was only a little way overhead—just beyond the blue dome. Hell was underneath the surface of the earth. Volcanoes and mysterious caverns were vent-holes or gate-ways of the pit; and devils came and went at will. Even after it was conceded that the earth revolved, there were found writers who accounted for the diurnal revolution by attributing it to the movements of damned souls confined within, like restless squirrels in a revolving cage. On the earth's surface, between heaven and hell, was man, the common battle[Pg 289]ground of celestial and infernal hosts. At this time, of course, there was none of our modern knowledge of the heavens, nor of the age or structure of the earth.

From Harper's Weekly.
Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.
Presented by the Italian Citizens.
(See page 243.)


Lucius Annæus Seneca, an eminent Roman stoic, philosopher, and moralist. Born at Corduba, Spain, about 5 B. C.; committed suicide 65 A. D.

Venient annis
Sæcula seris, quibus Oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat teilus, Tethysque novos
Detegat orbes, nec sit terris
Ultima Thule.


The following inscription is placed on the tomb of Hernando Columbus in the pavement of the Cathedral of Seville, Spain:

Aqui yaze el. M. Magnifico S. D. Hernando Colon, el qual aplicó y gastó toda su vida y hazienda en aumento de las letras, y juntar y perpetuar en esta ciudad todas sus libros de todas las ciencias, que en su tiempo halló y en reducirlo a quatro libros.

Falleció en esta ciudad a 12 de Julio de 1539 de edad de 50 años 9 meses y 14 dias, fue hijo del valeroso y memoráble S. D. Christ. Colon primero Almirante que descubrió las Yndias y nuevo mundo en vida de los Cat. R. D. Fernando, y. D. Ysabel de gloriosa memoria a. 11 de Oct. de 1492, con tres galeras y 90 personas, y partió del puerto de Palos a descubrirlas á 3 de Agosto antés, y Bolvió a Castilla con victoria á 7 de Maio del Año Siguente y tornó despues otras dos veces á poblar lo que descubrió. Falleció en Valladolid á 20 de Agosto de 1506 anos—[56]

Rogad á Dios por ellos.
[Pg 290]

(In English.) Here rests the most magnificent Señor Don Hernando Colon, who applied and spent all his life and estate in adding to the letters, and collecting and perpetuating in this city all his books, of all the sciences which he found in his time, and in reducing them to four books. He died in this city on the 12th of July, 1539, at the age of 50 years, 9 months, and 14 days. He was son of the valiant and memorable Señor Don Christopher Colon, the First Admiral, who discovered the Indies and the New World, in the lifetime of their Catholic Majesties Don Fernando and Doña Isabel of glorious memory, on the 11th of October, 1492, with three galleys and ninety people, having sailed from the port of Palos on his discovery on the 3d of August previous, and returned to Castille, with victory, on the 7th of May of the following year. He returned afterward twice to people that which he had discovered. He died in Valladolid on the 20th of August, 1506, aged ----.

Entreat the Lord for them.

Beneath this is described, in a circle, a globe, presenting the western and part of the eastern hemispheres, surmounted by a pair of compasses. Within the border of the circle is inscribed:

Á Castillo, y á Leon
Mundo nuevo dió Colon.

(To Castille and Leon, Columbus gave a new world.)[Pg 291]


Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller, one of Germany's greatest poets. Born at Marbach (about eight miles from Stuttgart), November 11, 1759; died, May 9, 1805, at Weimar.



Steure, muthiger Segler! Es mag der Witz dich verhöhen
Und der Schiffer am Steur senken die lässige Hand.
Immer, immer nach West! Dort muss die Küste sich zeigen,
Liegt sie doch deutlich und liegt schimmernd vor deinen Verstand.
Traue dem leitenden Gott und folge dem schweigenden Weltmeer!
War sie noch nicht, sie stieg' jetzt aus dem Fluten empor.
Mit dem Genius steht die Natur in ewigem Bunde
Was der Eine verspricht leistet die Andre gewiss.

Metrically translated (1843) by Sir Edward George Earle Lytton, Bulwer-Lytton, Baronet (afterward first Lord Lytton. Born at Heydon Hall, Norfolk, May 25, 1803; died, January 18, 1873), in the following noble lines:


Steer on, bold sailor! Wit may mock thy soul that sees the land,
And hopeless at the helm may droop the weak and weary hand,
Yet ever, ever to the West, for there the coast must lie,
And dim it dawns, and glimmering dawns before thy reason's eye;
[Pg 292]Yea, trust the guiding God—and go along the floating grave,
Though hid till now—yet now, behold the New World o'er the wave.
With Genius Nature ever stands in solemn union still,
And ever what the one foretells the other shall fulfill.

Señor Emilio Castelar, the talented Spanish orator and statesman, in the fourth of a series of most erudite and interesting articles upon Christopher Columbus, in the Century Magazine for August, 1892, thus masterly refers to the above passages:

He who pens these words, on reading the lines of the great poet Schiller upon Columbus, found therein a philosophical thought, as original as profound, calling upon the discoverer to press ever onward, for a new world will surely arise for him, inasmuch as whatever is promised by Genius is always fulfilled by Nature. To cross the seas of Life, naught suffices save the bark of Faith. In that bark the undoubting Columbus set sail, and at his journey's end found a new world. Had that world not then existed, God would have created it in the solitude of the Atlantic, if to no other end than to reward the faith and constancy of that great man. America was discovered because Columbus possessed a living faith in his ideal, in himself, and in his God.


Mrs. John B. Shipley's "Leif Erikson."

Father Bodfish, of the cathedral in Boston, in his paper, read a year ago before the Bostonian Society, on the discovery of America by the Northmen, is reported to have quoted, "as corroborative authority, the account given in standard history of the Catholic Church of the establishment of a bishopric in Greenland in 1112 A. D., and he added the interesting suggestion that as it is the duty of a bishop so placed at a distance to report from time to time to the[Pg 293] Pope, not only on ecclesiastical matters, but of the geography of the country and character of the people, it is probable that Columbus had the benefit of the knowledge possessed. It is [he said] stated in different biographies of Columbus that when the voyage was first proposed by him he found difficulty in getting Spanish sailors to go with him in so doubtful an undertaking. After Columbus returned from a visit to Rome with information there obtained, these sailors, or enough of them, appear to have had their doubts or fears removed, and no difficulty in enlistment was experienced."


Lydia Huntley Sigourney, an American poet and miscellaneous writer. Born at Norwich, Conn., September 1, 1791; died, June 10, 1865.

St. Stephen's cloistered hall was proud
In learning's pomp that day,
For there a robed and stately crowd
Pressed on in long array.
A mariner with simple chart
Confronts that conclave high,
While strong ambition stirs his heart,
And burning thoughts of wonder part
From lip and sparkling eye.

What hath he said? With frowning face,
In whispered tones they speak;
And lines upon their tablet's trace
Which flush each ashen cheek.
The Inquisition's mystic doom
Sits on their brows severe,
And bursting forth in visioned gloom,
Sad heresy from burning tomb
[Pg 294]Groans on the startled ear.

Courage, thou Genoese! Old Time
Thy splendid dream shall crown.
Yon western hemisphere sublime,
Where unshorn forests frown;
The awful Andes' cloud-rapt brow,
The Indian hunter's bow.
Bold streams untamed by helm or prow,
And rocks of gold and diamonds thou
To thankless Spain shalt show.

Courage, world-finder, thou hast need.
In Fate's unfolding scroll,
Dark woes and ingrate wrongs I read,
That rack the noble soul.
On, on! Creation's secrets probe.
Then drink thy cup of scorn,
And wrapped in fallen Cæsar's robe,
Sleep like that master of the globe,
All glorious, yet forlorn.


Samuel Smiles, the celebrated British biographer. Born at Haddington, Scotland, about 1815. From his volume, "Duty."

Even Columbus may be regarded in the light of a martyr. He sacrificed his life to the discovery of a new world. The poor wool-carder's son of Genoa had long to struggle unsuccessfully with the petty conditions necessary for the realization of his idea. He dared to believe, on grounds sufficing to his reason, that which the world disbelieved, and scoffed and scorned at. He believed that the earth was round, while the world believed that it was flat as a plate. He believed that the whole circle of the earth, outside the known world, could not be wholly occupied by sea; but that the probability was that continents[Pg 295] of land might be contained within it. It was certainly a Probability; But the Noblest Qualities of the Soul Are Often Brought Forth by the Strength of Probabilities That Appear Slight To Less Daring Spirits. In the Eyes of His Countrymen, Few Things Were More Improbable Than That Columbus Should Survive the Dangers of Unknown Seas, and Land On The Shores of a New Hemisphere.


Royall Bascom Smithey, in an article. "The Voyage of Columbus," in St. Nicholas, July, 1892.

So the voyage progressed without further incident worthy of remark till the 13th of September, when the magnetic needle, which was then believed always to point to the pole-star, stood some five degrees to the northwest. At this the pilots lost courage. "How," they thought, "was navigation possible in seas where the compass, that unerring guide, had lost its virtue?" When they carried the matter to Columbus, he at once gave them an explanation which, though not the correct one, was yet very ingenious, and shows the philosophic turn of his mind. The needle, he said, pointed not to the north star, but to a fixed place in the heavens. The north star had a motion around the pole, and in following its course had moved from the point to which the needle was always directed.

Hardly had the alarm caused by the variation of the needle passed away, when two days later, after nightfall, the darkness that hung over the water was lighted up by a great meteor, which shot down from the sky into the sea. Signs in the heavens have always been a source of terror to the uneducated; and this "flame of fire," as Columbus called it, rendered his men uneasy and apprehensive. Their vague fears were much increased when, on the 16th of September, they reached the Sargasso Sea, in which floating weeds[Pg 296] were so densely matted that they impeded the progress of the ships. Whispered tales now passed from one sailor to another of legends they had heard of seas full of shoals and treacherous quicksands upon which ships had been found stranded with their sails flapping idly in the wind, and manned by skeleton crews. Columbus, ever cheerful and even-tempered, answered these idle tales by sounding the ocean and showing that no bottom could be reached.


A decision has been reached by the World's Fair management in relation to the designs for the souvenir coins authorized by Congress at its last session, and a radical change has been determined upon regarding these coins. Several days ago Secretary Leach of the United States Mint sent to the Fair officials a copy of the medal struck recently at Madrid, Spain, in commemoration of Columbus' discovery of America. This medal was illustrated in a Spanish-American paper of July, 1892, and showed a remarkably fine profile head of the great explorer. It was deemed superior to the Lotto portrait previously submitted for the obverse of the coin, and the Fair directors have concluded that the Madrid medal furnishes the best head obtainable, and have accordingly adopted it. For the reverse of the coin a change has also been decided upon by the substitution of a representation of the western continent instead of a fac-simile of the Government building at Jackson Park, as originally intended. It was suggested by experts, artists, and designers at the Philadelphia mint that the representation of a building would not make a very good showing on a coin, and in consequence of these expressions of opinion it was decided to make the change proposed. Now that the Director of the Mint knows what the Fair management wishes for a souvenir coin, he will[Pg 297] inaugurate the preparations of the dies and plates as promptly as possible. Just as soon as the designs are finished, work will be begun on the coins, which can be struck at the rate of 60,000 daily, and it is quite likely that the deliveries of the souvenir coins will be completed early in the spring.

Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.
From the Columbus Monument in New York City.
(See page 244.)

The announcement that the Director of the Mint has decided upon the Madrid portrait of Columbus for the obverse side of the souvenir coin, with this hemisphere on the reverse, was a surprise to many interested in the designs. When the design was first presented, C. F. Gunther's portrait, by Moro, and James W. Ellsworth's, by Lotto, were also presented. Then a controversy opened between the owners of the two last-named portraits, and, rather than extend this, Mr. Ellsworth withdrew his portrait, with the suggestion that whatever design was decided upon should first be submitted to the artists at the World's Fair grounds. This was done, and they severely criticised the Madrid picture. Notwithstanding this, the design was approved and sent to Washington to be engraved. While Mr. Ellsworth, who is a director of the Fair, will not push his portrait to the front in this matter, he regrets that the Madrid portrait was selected. He said, "I think that the opinion of the World's Fair artists should have had some weight in this matter and that a portrait of authenticity should have been selected."


Charles Sumner, an American lawyer and senator. Born in Boston, Mass., January 6, 1811; died, March 11, 1874. From his "Prophetic Voices Concerning America." By permission of Messrs. Lee & Shepard, Publishers, Boston.

Before the voyage of Columbus in 1492, nothing of America was really known. Scanty scraps from antiquity,[Pg 298] vague rumors from the resounding ocean, and the hesitating speculations of science were all that the inspired navigator found to guide him.


The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is the greatest event of secular history. Besides the potato, the turkey, and maize, which it introduced at once for the nourishment and comfort of the Old World, and also tobacco—which only blind passion for the weed could place in the beneficent group—this discovery opened the door to influences infinite in extent and beneficence. Measure them, describe them, picture them, you can not. While yet unknown, imagination invested this continent with proverbial magnificence. It was the Orient, and the land of Cathay. When, afterward, it took a place in geography, imagination found another field in trying to portray its future history. If the golden age is before, and not behind, as is now happily the prevailing faith, then indeed must America share, at least, if it does not monopolize, the promised good.—Ibid.


Prof. David Swing, a celebrated American preacher. Born in Cincinnati in 1830; graduated at Miami University in 1852; was for twelve years Professor of Languages at this university. In 1866 he became pastor of a Presbyterian church in Chicago. He was tried for heresy in 1874, was acquitted, and then withdrew from the Presbyterian church, being now independent of denominational relations.

Columbus was not a little troubled all through his early life lest there might be over the sea some land greater than Spain, a land unused; a garden where flowers came and went unseen for ages, and where gold sparkled in the sand.[Pg 299]


From a sermon by Prof. Swing, printed in Chicago Inter Ocean,1892.

The present rejoices in the remembrance that Columbus was a student, a thinker; that he loved maps and charts; that he was a dreamer about new continents; but after enumerating all these attractive forms of mental activity, it comes with pain upon the thought that he was also a kind of modified pirate. His thoughts and feelings went away from his charts and compasses and touched upon vice and crime. Immorality ruins man's thought. Let the name be Columbus, or Aaron Burr, or Byron, a touch of immorality is the death of thought. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are beautiful, whatsoever things are of good report," these seek, say, and do, but when the man who would discover a continent robs a merchant ship or steals a cargo of slaves, or when a poet teaches gross vulgarity, then the thinker is hemmed and degraded by criminality. It is the glory of our age that it is washing white much of old thought. What is the emancipation of woman but the filtration of old thought? Did not Columbus study and read and think, and then go out and load his ship with slaves? Did not the entire man—man the thinker, the philosopher, the theologian—cover himself with intellectual glory and then load his ship with enslaved womanhood? Was not the scholar Columbus part pirate? What was in that atmosphere of the fifteenth century which could have given peculiar thoughts to Columbus alone? Was he alone in his piracy? It is much more certain that the chains that held the negro held also all womanhood. All old thought thus awaited the electric process that should weed ideas from crime. Our later years are active in disentangling thought from injustice and vulgarity.[Pg 300]


Torquato Tasso, a celebrated Italian epic poet. Born at Sorrento March 11, 1544; died in Rome, April, 1595.

Tu spiegherai, Colombo, a un novo polo
Lontane sì le fortunate antenne,
Ch'a pena seguirà con gli occhi il volo
La Fama ch' hà mille occhi e mille penne
Canti ella Alcide, e Bacco, e di te solo
Basti a i posteri tuoi ch' alquanto accenne;
Chè quel poco darà, lunga memoria
Di poema degnissima e d'istoria.[58]
—Gerusalemme Liberata, canto XV


Bayard Taylor, a distinguished American traveler, writer, and poet. Born in Chester County, Pa., in 1825; died at Berlin, December 19, 1878. From a description of Iceland.

It is impossible that the knowledge of these voyages should not have been current in Iceland in 1477, when Columbus, sailing in a ship from Bristol, England, visited the island. As he was able to converse with the priests and learned men in Latin, he undoubtedly learned of the existence of another continent to the west and south; and this knowledge, not the mere fanaticism of a vague belief, supported him during many years of disappointment.


The Rev. George L. Taylor, an American clergyman of the present century. From "The Atlantic Telegraph."

Glory to God above,
[Pg 301]The Lord of life and love!
Who makes His curtains clouds and waters dark;
Who spreads His chambers on the deep,
While all its armies silence keep;
Whose hand of old, world-rescuing, steered the ark;
Who led Troy's bands exiled,
And Genoa's god-like child,
And Mayflower, grandly wild,
And now has guided safe a grander bark;
Who, from her iron loins,
Has spun the thread that joins
Two yearning worlds made one with lightning spark.


Alfred Tennyson, Baron Tennyson D'Eyncourt of Aldworth, the poet laureate of England. Born, 1809, at Somerby, Lincolnshire; raised to the peerage in 1883.[59] From his poem, "Columbus."

There was a glimmering of God's hand. And God
Hath more than glimmer'd on me. O my lord,
I swear to you I heard his voice between
The thunders in the black Veragua nights,
"O soul of little faith, slow to believe,
Have I not been about thee from thy birth?
Given thee the keys of the great ocean-sea?
Set thee in light till time shall be no more?
Is it I who have deceived thee or the world?
Endure! Thou hast done so well for men, that men
Cry out against thee; was it otherwise
With mine own son?"
And more than once in days
Of doubt and cloud and storm, when drowning hope
Sank all but out of sight, I heard his voice,
"Be not cast down. I lead thee by the hand,
[Pg 302]Fear not." And I shall hear his voice again—
I know that he has led me all my life,
I am not yet too old to work His will—
His voice again.

Sir, in that flight of ages which are God's
Own voice to justify the dead—perchance
Spain, once the most chivalric race on earth,
Spain, then the mightiest, wealthiest realm on earth,
So made by me, may seek to unbury me,
To lay me in some shrine of this old Spain,
Or in that vaster Spain I leave to Spain.
Then some one standing by my grave will say,
"Behold the bones of Christopher Colòn,
"Ay, but the chains, what do they mean—the chains?"
I sorrow for that kindly child of Spain
Who then will have to answer, "These same chains
Bound these same bones back thro' the Atlantic sea,
Which he unchain'd for all the world to come."

The golden guess is morning star to the full round of truth.—Ibid.


The managers of the World's Columbian Exposition have prided themselves upon being the first to celebrate any anniversary of the Columbian discovery, but this credit really belongs to the Tammany Society of New York, and the second place of honor belongs to the Massachusetts Historical Society of Boston. The Tammany Society met in the great wigwam on the 12th day of October, 1792 (old style), and exhibited a monumental obelisk, and an animated oration was delivered by J. B. Johnson, Esq.

The Massachusetts Historical Society met at the house of the Rev. Dr. Peter Thacher, in Boston, the 23d day of October, 1792, and, forming in procession, proceeded to the[Pg 303] meeting-house in Brattle Street, where a discourse was delivered by the Rev. Jeremy Belknap upon the subject of the "Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus." He gave a concise and comprehensive narrative of the most material circumstances which led to, attended, or were consequent on the discovery of America. The celebration commenced with an anthem. Mr. Thacher made an excellent prayer. Part of a psalm was then sung, and then Mr. Belknap delivered his discourse, which was succeeded by a prayer from Mr. Eliot. Mr. Thacher then read an ode composed for the occasion by Mr. Belknap, which was sung by the choir. This finished the ceremony.

The facts were brought to light by World's Fair Commissioner John Boyd Thacher, New York. The account is taken from "a journal of a gentleman visiting Boston in 1792." The writer is said to have been Nathaniel Cutting, a native of Brookline, Mass., and who, in the following year, was appointed by Washington, upon the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson, on a mission to the Dey of Algiers.

It is interesting to note that the Massachusetts Historical Society, in assuming to correct the old style date, October 12th, was guilty of the error of dropping two unnecessary days. It dropped eleven days from the calendar instead of nine, and at a subsequent meeting it determined to correct the date to October 21st, "and that thereafter all celebrations of the Columbian discovery should fall on the 21st day of October."

The proclamation of the President establishing October 21st as the day of general observance of the anniversary of the Columbian discovery, and the passage of Senator Hill's bill fixing the date for the dedication of the buildings at Chicago, it is believed will forevermore fix October 21st as the Columbian day.[Pg 304]


Maurice Thompson, an American poet and novelist. Born at Fairfield, Ind., September 9, 1844. From his "Byways and Bird-notes."

What a thrill is dashed through a moment of expectancy, a point of supreme suspense, when by some time of preparation the source of sensation is ready for a consummation —a catastrophe! At such a time one's soul is isolated so perfectly that it feels not the remotest influence from any other of all the universe. The moment preceding the old patriarch's first glimpse of the promised land; that point of time between certainty and uncertainty, between pursuit and capture, whereinto are crowded all the hopes of a lifetime, as when the brave old sailor from Genoa first heard the man up in the rigging utter the shout of discovery; the moment of awful hope, like that when Napoleon watched the charge of the Old Guard at Waterloo, is not to be described. There is but one such crisis for any man. It is the yes or no of destiny. It comes, he lives a lifetime in its span; it goes, and he never can pass that point again.

Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.
Bas-relief on the New York Monument.
(See page 244.)


Henry David Thoreau, an American author and naturalist. Born in Concord, Mass., in 1817; died, 1862. From his "Excursions," published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as far as that into which the sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily, and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays. The Island of Atlantis, and the islands and gardens of the Hesper[Pg 305]ides, a sort of terrestrial paradise, appear to have been the Great West of the ancients, enveloped in mystery and poetry. Who has not seen in imagination, when looking into the sunset sky, the gardens of the Hesperides, and the foundation of all those fables?

Columbus felt the westward tendency more strongly than any before. He obeyed it, and found a new world for Castille and Leon. The herd of men in those days scented fresh pastures from afar.

And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
And now was dropped into the western bay;
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue;
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.


Paolo del Pozzo Toscanelli, a celebrated Italian astronomer. Born at Florence, 1397; died, 1482. From a letter to Columbus in 1474.

I praise your desire to navigate toward the west; the expedition you wish to undertake is not easy, but the route from the west coasts of Europe to the spice Indies is certain if the tracks I have marked be followed.


George Alfred Townsend. In a letter to the Philadelphia Times.

From one of the hillocks behind the hotel at Huelva you can see in the distance East Rábida, Palos, Moguer, San Juan del Porto, and the sea, where the three birds of good omen went skimming past in the vague morning light 400 years ago, lest they might be seen by the Portuguese. Columbus means dove, and the arms of Columbus contained three doves. From Huelva I sailed to Rábida first. Rábida is on the last point of the promontory, nearest the sea, and[Pg 306] Palos is inland from it three miles north, and is near half a mile from the Tinto. Passing down the oozy Odiel, we soon saw a watering place on the beach outside just where Columbus put to sea. We could also see the scaffolding around the Columbus monument they were building by Rábida.

After inspecting the convent at Rábida, I bade my skipper wait for flood tide to sail round to Palos, while I proceeded by land.

They brought me at Palos an old man who was extremely polite, but not one word could we understand of each other, until finally I took him by the arm and walked him in the direction of the church, whereupon suppressed exclamations of delight broke forth; the American savage had guessed the old man out. In point of fact, this old man was waiting all the time to take me to the church, and was the father of the boy behind whom I had ridden. Between the church and the beach rose a high hillock covered with grass, and as high as the church tower. In old times this was a mosque of military work, and it had not very long been Christian when Columbus came here; possibly it had been Christian in his day 150 years. It stands quite alone, is of rude construction, and has at the back of it some few graves—perhaps of priests. In the back part is a very good Moorish arch, which they still show with admiration. The front proper has a big door, barred strongly, as if the church might have been in piratical times a place of refuge for the population up in the hills. To the right of the entrance is the tower, which is buttressed, and its spire is made of blue and colored tiles, which have thoroughly kept their colors. A bell in this tower may have rung the inhabitants to church when Columbus announced that he meant to impress the Palos people to assist him in his voyage. I entered the church, which was all whitewashed, and felt, as[Pg 307] I did at Rábida, that it was a better monument than I had reason to expect.

Its walls were one yard thick, its floors of tiles laid in an L form. As I measured the floor it seemed to me to be sixty-six feet wide and sixty-six feet long, but to the length must be added the altar chapel, bringing it up to ninety feet, and to the width must be added the side chapels, making the total width about eighty feet. The nave has a sharper arched top than the two aisles, which have round arches. The height of the roof is about thirty-five feet. The big door by which I entered the church is fifteen feet high by eight feet wide. Some very odd settees which I coveted were in the nave. The chief feature, however, is the pulpit, which stands at the cross of the church, so that persons gathered in the transepts, nave, or aisles can hear the preacher. It has an iron pulpit of a round form springing from one stem and railed in, and steps lead up to it which are inclosed. It looks old, and worn by human hands, and is supposed to be the identical pulpit from which the notary announced that, as a punishment of their offenses, the Queen's subjects must start with this unknown man upon his unknown venture. Those were high times in Palos, and it took Columbus a long while to get his expedition ready, and special threats as of high treason had to be made against the heads of families and women. But when Columbus returned, and the same day Pinzon came back after their separation of weeks, Palos church was full of triumph and hosannas. The wild man had been successful, and Spain found another world than the apostle knew of.

The grown boy, as he showed the building, went into an old lumber room, or dark closet, at one corner of the church, and when I was about to enter he motioned me back with his palm, as if I might not enter there with my heretic feet. He then brought out an image of wood from[Pg 308] four to five feet high, or, I might say, the full size of a young woman. It was plain that she had once been the Virgin worshiped here, but age and moisture had taken most of the color from her, and washed the gilt from her crown, and now we could only see that in her arm she bore a child, and this child held in its hand a dove or pigeon. The back of the female was hollow, and in there were driven hooks by which she had once been suspended at some height. This was the image, I clearly understood, which Columbus' men had knelt to when they were about to go forth upon the high seas.

Strangely enough, the church is named St. George, and St. George was the patron saint of Genoa, where Columbus was born; and the Genoese who took the Crusaders to Jaffa had the satisfaction of seeing England annex their patron saint.


The Rev. Luther Tracy Townsend, D. D., an American divine. Born at Orono, Maine, September 27, 1838. From "The Bible and the Nineteenth Century."

When Luther in the sixteenth century brought the truths of the Bible from the convent of Erfurth, and gave them to the people, he roused to mental and moral life not only the slumbering German nationality, but gave inspiration to every other country in Europe. "Gutenburg with his printing press, Columbus with his compass, Galileo with his telescope, Shakspere with his dramas, and almost every other man of note figuring during those times, are grouped, not around some distinguished man of science, or man of letters, or man of mechanical genius, or man famous in war; but around that monk of Wittenberg, who stood with an unchained Bible in his hand."[Pg 309]


From a letter of Angelo Trivigiano, of Granada, Spain, dated August 1, 1501.

I have seen so much of Columbus that we are now on a footing of great friendship. He is experiencing at present a streak of bad luck, being deprived of the King's favor, and with but little money.


At Valparaiso, Chili, a bronze statue of Columbus has been erected on a marble pedestal. The figure, which is of heroic size, stands in an advancing attitude, holding a cross in the right hand.


Dr. P. H. Van der Weyde. In an article in the Scientific American, June, 1892.

The stupid anecdote of the egg was a mere trifling invention, in fact a trick, and it is surprising that intelligent men have for so many years thoughtlessly been believing and repeating such nonsense. For my part, I can not believe that Columbus did ever lower himself so far as to compare the grand discovery to a trick. Surely it was no trick by which he discovered a new world, but it was the result of his earnest philosophical convictions that our earth is a globe, floating in space, and it could be circumnavigated by sailing westward, which most likely would lead to the discovery of new lands in the utterly unknown hemisphere beyond the western expanse of the great and boisterous Atlantic Ocean; while thus far no navigator ever had the courage to sail toward its then utterly unknown, apparently limitless, western expanse.[Pg 310]


Padre Giocchino Ventura, an eloquent Italian preacher and theologian. Born at Palermo, 1792; died at Versailles, August, 1861.

Columbus is the man of the Church.


The Venerable George Waddington, Dean of Durham, an English divine and writer. Died, July 20, 1869. From a poem read in Cambridge in 1813.

And when in happier days one chain shall bind,
One pliant fetter shall unite mankind;
When war, when slav'ry's iron days are o'er,
When discords cease and av'rice is no more,
And with one voice remotest lands conspire,
To hail our pure religion's seraph fire;
Then fame attendant on the march of time,
Fed by the incense of each favored clime,
Shall bless the man whose heav'n-directed soul
Form'd the vast chain which binds the mighty whole.

Columbus continued till death eager to extend his discoveries, and by so doing to promote the glory of his persecutors.


The first of the eight pictures in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, D. C., and the first in point of event, is the "Landing of Columbus at San Salvador in 1492," by John Vanderlyn; its cost was $12,000. This picture represents the scene Washington Irving so admirably describes in his "Voyages of Columbus," occurring the morning the boats brought the little Spanish band from the ships to the shore of Guanahani. "Columbus first threw himself upon his[Pg 311] knees; then, rising, drew his sword, displayed the royal standard, and, assembling around him the two captains, with Rodrigo de Escobedo, notary of the armament; Rodrigo Sanchez (the royal inspector), and the rest who had landed, he took solemn possession of the island in the name of the Castilian sovereigns." The picture contains the picture of Columbus, the two Pinzons, Escobedo, all bearing standards; Sanchez, inspector; Diego de Arana, with an old-fashioned arquebus on his shoulder; a cabin-boy kneeling, a mutineer in a suppliant attitude, a sailor in an attitude of veneration for Columbus, a soldier whose attention is diverted by the appearance of the natives, and a friar bearing a crucifix.


The Columbus statue stands at the east-central portico of the Capitol, at Washington, D. C., above the south end of the steps, on an elevated block. It consists of a marble group, by Signor Persico, called "The Discovery," on which he worked five years, and is composed of two figures: Columbus holding the globe in his hand, triumphant, while beside him, wondering, almost terror-stricken, is a female figure, symbolizing the Indian race. The suit of armor worn by Columbus is said to be a faithful copy of one he actually wore. The group cost $24,000.


With true Chicago enterprise, the wideawake Chicago Herald dispatched an expedition to the West Indies in 1891 to search out the landing place of Columbus. The members of the party, after careful search and inquiry, erected a monument fifteen feet high on Watling's Island bearing the following inscription:[Pg 312]


Erected by
The Chicago Herald,
June 15, 1891.


Á Castillo, y á Leon
Nuevo Mundo dió Colon.

Theodore Watts, in the Athenæum (England).

To Christ he cried to quell Death's deafening measure,
Sung by the storm to Death's own chartless sea;
To Christ he cried for glimpse of grass or tree
When, hovering o'er the calm, Death watch'd at leisure;
And when he showed the men, now dazed with pleasure,
Faith's new world glittering star-like on the lee,
"I trust that by the help of Christ," said he,
"I presently shall light on golden treasure."

What treasure found he? Chains and pains and sorrow.
Yea, all the wealth those noble seekers find
Whose footfalls mark the music of mankind.
'Twas his to lend a life; 'twas man's to borrow;
'Twas his to make, but not to share, the morrow,
Who in love's memory lives this morn enshrined.


Cardenas, Cuba.—At Cardenas, Cuba, a statue by Piguer of Madrid has been erected by a Cuban lady, an authoress, and wife of a former governor.

In the Courtyard of the Captain-General's Palace, Havana, Cuba
(See page 313.)

Cathedral of Havana, Cuba.—In the Cathedral of[Pg 313] Havana there is a plain marble bas-relief, about four feet high, representing in a medallion a very apocryphal portrait of Columbus, with an inscription as follows:

O restos é Ymajen del grande Colon!
Mil siglos durad guardados en la urna
Y en la remembranza de nuestra Nacion.

(O remains and image of the great Columbus!
For a thousand ages endure guarded within this urn
And in the remembrance of our nation.)

Proposed Tomb—Havana Cathedral.—In February, 1891, by royal decree, all Spanish artists were invited to compete for a design for a sepulcher in which to preserve the Havana remains of Columbus; several were submitted to a jury, who awarded the first prize to Arthur Melida, with a premium of $5,000.

The sepulcher is now being erected in the cathedral. The design represents a bier covered with a heavily embroidered pall, borne upon the shoulders of four heralds, in garments richly carved to resemble lace and embroidered work. The two front figures bear scepters surmounted by images of the Madonna and St. James, the patron saint of Spain. On the front of their garments are the arms of Castille and Leon.

The two bearers represent Aragon and Navarre, the former being indicated by four red staffs on a gold field, and the fourth has gold-linked chains on a red field. The group is supported on a pedestal ornamented about its edge with a Greek fret.

Havana, Cuba.—In the court-yard of the Captain-General's palace, in Havana, is a full-length figure of Columbus, the face modeled after accepted portraits at Madrid.

Havana, Cuba.—In the inclosure of the "Templete," the little chapel on the site of which the first mass was[Pg 314] celebrated in Cuba, there is a bust of Columbus which has the solitary merit of being totally unlike all others.

Nassau.—At Nassau, in the Bahamas, a statue of Christopher Columbus stands in front of Government House. The statue, which is nine feet high, is placed upon a pedestal six feet in altitude, on the north or seaward face of which is inscribed:


It was presented to the colony by Sir James Carmichael Smyth, Governor of the Bahamas, 1829-1833, was modeled in London in 1831, is made of metal and painted white, and was erected May, 1832.

Santo Domingo Cathedral.—Above the boveda, or vault, in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, from which the remains of Columbus were taken in 1877, is a marble slab with the following:

Reposaron en este sitio los restos de Don Cristobal Colon el célebre descrubridor del Nuevo Mundo, desde el año de 1536, en que fueron trasladados de España, hasta el 10 de Setiembre 1877, en que se desenterraron para constatar su autenticidad. Y á posteridad la dedica el Presbitero Billini.

(There reposed in this place the remains of Christopher Columbus, the celebrated discoverer of the New World, from the year 1536, in which they were transferred from Spain, until the 10th September, 1877, in which year they were disinterred for the purpose of identification. Dedicated to posterity by Padre Billini) (curate in charge when the vault was opened.)

In the cathedral there is also preserved a large cross of mahogany, rough and uneven, as though hewn with an adze out of a log, and then left in the rough. This, it is claimed, is the cross made by Columbus and erected on the opposite bank of the Ozama River, where the first settlement in the[Pg 315] West Indies was made. In a little room by itself they keep a leaden casket, which Santo Domingoans claim contains the bones of Christopher Columbus, and, in another, those of his brother.

Plaza of Santo Domingo.—Humboldt once wrote that America could boast of no worthy monument to its discoverer, but since his time many memorials have been erected, not only in the New World, but the Old. In the plaza in front of the cathedral, in the city of Santo Domingo, stands a statue, heroic, in bronze, representing Columbus pointing to the westward. Crouched at his feet is the figure of a female Indian, supposed to be the unfortunate Anacaona, the caciquess of Xaragua, tracing an inscription:

Yllustre y Esclarecido Varon Don Cristoval Colon.

The statue was cast in France, a few years ago, and stands in the center of the plaza, in front of the cathedral.


Edwin Percy Whipple, a distinguished American critic and essayist. Born at Gloucester, Mass., 1819; died, June 16, 1886.

Lord North more than once humorously execrated the memory of Columbus for discovering a continent which gave him and his ministry so much trouble.


Daniel Appleton White, a distinguished American jurist and scholar. Born at Lawrence, Mass., June 7, 1776; died, March 30, 1861.

Hardy seamen, too, who have spent their days in conflict with the storms of the ocean, have found means to make themselves distinguished in science and literature, as well as by achievements in their profession. The life of Columbus gloriously attests this fact.[Pg 316]


Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen, an English writer and translator. Born at Woburn, 1792. Many years librarian and private secretary to the Duke of Bedford. Died, 1836. From his translation of Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered" (1830). (See ante, TASSO.)



The time shall come when ship-boys e'en shall scorn
To have Alcides' fable on their lips,
Seas yet unnamed and realms unknown adorn
Your charts, and with their fame your pride eclipse;
Then the bold Argo of all future ships
Shall circumnavigate and circle sheer
Whate'er blue Tethys in her girdle clips,
Victorious rival of the sun's career,
And measure e'en of earth the whole stupendous sphere.


A Genoese knight shall first the idea seize
And, full of faith, the untracked abyss explore.
No raving winds, inhospitable seas,
Thwart planets, dubious calms, or billows' roar,
Nor whatso'er of risk or toil may more
Terrific show or furiously assail,
Shall make that mighty mind of his give o'er
The wonderful adventure, or avail
In close Abyla's bounds his spirit to impale.


'Tis thou, Columbus, in new zones and skies,
That to the wind thy happy sails must raise,
Till fame shall scarce pursue thee with her eyes,
Though she a thousand eyes and wings displays;
Let her of Bacchus and Alcides praise
[Pg 317]The savage feats, and do thy glory wrong
With a few whispers tossed to after days;
These shall suffice to make thy memory long
In history's page endure, or some divinest song.


Emma Hart Willard, an American teacher and educational writer. Born at Berlin, Conn., 1787; died, 1870.

Since the time when Noah left the ark to set his foot upon a recovered world, a landing so sublime as that of Columbus had never occurred.


The Rev. Elhanan Winchester, an American divine. Born at Brookline, Mass., 1751; died, 1797. From an oration delivered in London, October 12, 1792, the 300th anniversary of the landing of Columbus in the New World. The orator, previous to a call to a pastorate in London, had lived many years in America, being at one time pastor of a large church in the city of Philadelphia. This oration should be prized, so to speak, for its "ancient simplicity." It is a relic of the style used in addresses one hundred years ago.

I have for some years had it upon my mind that if Providence preserved my life to the close of the third century from the discovery of America by Columbus, that I would celebrate that great event by a public discourse upon the occasion.

And although I sincerely wish that some superior genius would take up the subject and treat it with the attention that it deserves, yet, conscious as I am of my own inability, I am persuaded that America has not a warmer friend in the world than myself.

The discovery of America by Columbus was situated, in point of time, between two great events, which have caused it to be much more noticed, and have rendered it far more important than it would otherwise have been. I mean the[Pg 318] art of printing, which was discovered about the year 1440, and which has been and will be of infinite use to mankind, and the Reformation from popery, which began about the year 1517, the effects of which have already been highly beneficial in a political as well as in a religious point of view, and will continue and increase.

These three great events—the art of printing, the discovery of America, and the Reformation—followed each other in quick succession; and, combined together, have already produced much welfare and happiness to mankind, and certainly will produce abundance more.

By the discovery of America there was much room given to the inhabitants of the Old World; an asylum was prepared for the persecuted of all nations to fly to for safety, and a grand theater was erected where Liberty might safely lift up her standard, and triumph over all the foes of freedom. America may be called the very birthplace of civil and religious liberty, which had never been known to mankind until since the discovery of that country.

But the importance of the discovery will appear greater and greater every year, and one century to come will improve America far more than the three centuries past.

The prospect opens; it extends itself upon us. "The wilderness and solitary place shall rejoice, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." I look forward to that glorious era when that vast continent shall be fully populated with civilized and religious people; when heavenly wisdom and virtue, and all that can civilize, adorn, and bless the children of men, shall cover that part of the globe as the waters cover the seas.

Transported at the thought, I am borne forward to days of distant renown. In my expanded view, the United States rise in all their ripened glory before me. I look[Pg 319] through and beyond every yet peopled region of the New World, and behold period still brightening upon period. Where one contiguous depth of gloomy wilderness now shuts out even the beams of day, I see new states and empires, new seats of wisdom and knowledge, new religious domes, spreading around. In places now untrod by any but savage beasts, or men as savage as they, I hear the voice of happy labor, and behold beautiful cities rising to view.

Lo, in this happy picture, I behold the native Indian exulting in the works of peace and civilization; his bloody hatchet he buries deep under ground, and his murderous knife he turns into a pruning fork, to lop the tender vine and teach the luxuriant shoot to grow. No more does he form to himself a heaven after death (according to the poet), in company with his faithful dog, behind the cloud-topped hill, to enjoy solitary quiet, far from the haunts of faithless men; but, better instructed by Christianity, he views his everlasting inheritance—"a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Instead of recounting to his offspring, round the blazing fire, the bloody exploits of their ancestors, and wars of savage death, showing barbarous exultation over every deed of human woe, methinks I hear him pouring forth his eulogies of praise, in memory of those who were the instruments of heaven in raising his tribes from darkness to light, in giving them the blessings of civilized life, and converting them from violence and blood to meekness and love.

Behold the whole continent highly cultivated and fertilized, full of cities, towns, and villages, beautiful and lovely beyond expression. I hear the praises of my great Creator sung upon the banks of those rivers unknown to song. Behold the delightful prospect! see the silver and gold of[Pg 320] America employed in the service of the Lord of the whole earth! See slavery, with all its train of attendant evil, forever abolished! See a communication opened through the whole continent, from north to south, and from east to west, through a most fruitful country! Behold the glory of God extending, and the gospel spreading, through the whole land!

O my native country! though I am far distant from thy peaceful shores, which probably mine eyes may never more behold, yet I can never forget thee. May thy great Creator bless thee, and make thee a happy land, while thy rivers flow and thy mountains endure. And, though He has spoken nothing plainly in His word concerning thee, yet has he blest thee abundantly, and given thee good things in possession, and a prospect of more glorious things in time to come. His name shall be known, feared, and loved through all thy western regions, and to the utmost bounds of thy vast extensive continent.

O America! land of liberty, peace, and plenty, in thee I drew my first breath, in thee all my kindred dwell. I beheld thee in thy lowest state, crushed down under misfortunes, struggling with poverty, war, and disgrace. I have lived to behold thee free and independent, rising to glory and extensive empire, blessed with all the good things of this life, and a happy prospect of better things to come. I can say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation," which thou hast made known to my native land, in the sight, and to the astonishment, of all the nations of the earth.

I die; but God will surely visit America, and make it a vast flourishing and extensive empire; will take it under His protection, and bless it abundantly—but the prospect is too glorious for my pen to describe. I add no more.

Presented by Italian Citizens.
(See page 281.)

[Pg 321]


Justin Winsor, a celebrated American critical historian. Born, 1831.

No man craves more than Columbus to be judged with all the palliations demanded of his own age and ours. It would have been well for his memory if he had died when his master work was done.

His discovery was a blunder; his blunder was a new world; the New World is his monument.


George E. Woodberry, in the Century Magazine, May, 1892. By permission of the author and the Century Company.

Was this his face, and these the finding eyes
That plucked a new world from the rolling seas?
Who, serving Christ, whom most he sought to please,
Willed his one thought until he saw arise
Man's other home and earthly paradise—
His early vision, when with stalwart knees
He pushed the boat from his young olive trees
And sailed to wrest the secret of the skies?

He on the waters dared to set his feet,
And through believing planted earth's last race.
What faith in man must in our new world beat,
Thinking how once he saw before his face
The west and all the host of stars retreat
Into the silent infinite of space.


Joseph Emerson Worcester, a celebrated American lexicographer. Born at Bedford, N. H., 1758; died, 1865.

The discovery of America was the greatest achievement of the kind ever performed by man; and, considered in[Pg 322] connection with its consequences, it is the greatest event of modern times. It served to wake up the unprecedented spirit of enterprise; it opened new sources of wealth, and exerted a powerful influence on commerce by greatly increasing many important articles of trade, and also by bringing into general use others before unknown; by leading to the discovery of the rich mines of this continent, it has caused the quantity of the precious metals in circulation throughout the world to be exceedingly augmented; it also gave a new impulse to colonization, and prepared the way for the advantages of civilized life and the blessings of Christianity to be extended over vast regions which before were the miserable abodes of barbarism and pagan idolatry.

The man to whose genius and enterprise the world is indebted for this discovery was Christopher Columbus of Genoa. He conceived that in order to complete the balance of the terraqueous globe another continent necessarily existed, which might be reached by sailing to the west from Europe; but he erroneously connected it with India. Being persuaded of the truth of his theory, his adventurous spirit made him eager to verify it by experiment.


[Pg 324]It is remarkable how few of the eminent men of the discoverers and conquerors of the New World died in peace. Columbus died broken-hearted; Roldan and Bobadilla were drowned; Ojeda died in extreme poverty; Encisco was deposed by his own men; Nicuesa perished miserably by the cruelty of his party; Balboa was disgracefully beheaded; Narvaez was imprisoned in a tropical dungeon, and afterward died of hardship; Cortez was dishonored; Alvarado was destroyed in ambush; Pizarro was murdered,[Pg 323] and his four brothers cut off; Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded by an ungrateful king; the noble and adventurous Robert La Salle, the explorer of the Mississippi Valley, was murdered by his mutinous crew; Sir Martin Frobisher died of a wound received at Brest; Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Raleigh's noble half-brother, "as near to God by sea as by land," sank with the crew of the little Squirrel in the deep green surges of the North Atlantic; Sir Francis Drake, "the terror of the Spanish Main," and the explorer of the coast of California, died of disease near Puerto Bello, in 1595. The frozen wilds of the North hold the bones of many an intrepid explorer. Franklin and Bellot there sleep their last long sleep. The bleak snow-clad tundra of the Lena delta saw the last moments of the gallant De Long. Afric's burning sands have witnessed many a martyrdom to science and religion. Livingston, Hannington, Gordon, Jamieson, and Barttelot are golden names on the ghastly roll. Australia's scrub-oak and blue-gum plains have contributed their quota of the sad and sudden deaths on the earth-explorers' roll.[Pg 325]

Columbus and Columbia.


Hail, Columbia! happy land!
Hail, ye heroes! heaven-born band!
Joseph Hopkinson, 1770-1842.

[Pg 326] And ne'er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.
Robert Treat Paine, 1772-1811.

Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise.
The queen of the world, and child of the skies!
Thy genius commands thee; with rapture behold
While ages on ages thy splendors unfold.
Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817.
[Pg 327]



John Adams, second President of the United States. Born October 19, 1735; died July 4, 1826.

A prospect into futurity in America is like contemplating the heavens through the telescopes of Herschel. Objects stupendous in their magnitudes and motions strike us from all quarters, and fill us with amazement.


Louis Jean Rodolophe Agassiz, the distinguished naturalist. Born in Motier, near the Lake of Neufchâtel, Switzerland, in 1807; died at Cambridge, Mass., December 14, 1873. From his "Geological Sketches." By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers, Boston.

First-born among the continents, though so much later in culture and civilization than some of more recent birth, America, so far as her physical history is concerned, has been falsely denominated the New World. Hers was the first dry land lifted out of the waters, hers the first shore washed by the ocean that enveloped all the earth beside; and while Europe was represented only by islands rising here and there above the sea, America already stretched an unbroken line of land from Nova Scotia to the far West.


John James Audubon, an American ornithologist. Born in Louisiana May 4, 1780. Died in New York January, 1851. From his "Adventures and Discoveries."

My commercial expeditions, rich in attraction for scientific[Pg 328] observation, were attended also with the varied pleasures which delight a passenger on the waters of the glorious Mississippi. Fresh scenes are continually disclosed by the frequent windings of the river, as you speed along its rapid current. Thousands of birds in the adjacent woods gratify the ear with their sweet mellow notes, or dazzle the sight, as in their gorgeous attire they flash by. It was while ascending the Upper Mississippi, during the month of February, 1814, that I first caught sight of the beautiful Bird of Washington. My delight was extreme. Not even Herschel, when he discovered the planet which bears his name, could have experienced more rapturous feelings. Convinced that the bird was extremely rare, if not altogether unknown, I felt particularly anxious to learn its species. I next observed it whilst engaged in collecting cray fish on one of the flats of the Green River, at its junction with the Ohio, where it is bounded by a range of high cliffs. I felt assured, by certain indications, that the bird frequented that spot. Seated about a hundred yards from the foot of the rock, I eagerly awaited its appearance as it came to visit its nest with food for its young. I was warned of its approach by the loud hissing of the eaglets, which crawled to the extremity of the cavity to seize the prey—a fine fish. Presently the female, always the larger among rapacious birds, arrived, bearing also a fish. With more shrewd suspicion than her mate, glaring with her keen eye around, she at once perceived the nest had been discovered. Immediately dropping her prey, with a loud shriek she communicated the alarm, when both birds, soaring aloft, kept up a growling to intimidate the intruders from their suspected design.

" From Harper's Weekly.
Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers
(See page 244.)

Not until two years later was I gratified by the capture of this magnificent bird. Considering the bird the noblest of its kind, I dignified it with the great name to which this country owed her salvation, and which must be imperish[Pg 329]able therefore among her people. Like the eagle, Washington was brave; like it, he was the terror of his foes, and his fame, extending from pole to pole, resembles the majestic soarings of the mightiest of the feathered tribe. America, proud of her Washington, has also reason to be so of her Great Eagle.


Sir Edwin Arnold, C. S. I., an English poet and journalist. Born, June 10, 1832.

I reserve as the destiny of these United States the control of all the lands to the south, of the whole of the South American continent. Petty troubles will die away, and all will be yours. In South America alone there is room for 500,000,000 more people. Some day it will have that many, and all will acknowledge the government at Washington. We in England will not grudge you this added power. It is rightfully yours. With the completion of the canal across the Isthmus of Nicaragua you must have control of it, and of all the surrounding Egypt of the New World.



Land of the mighty! through the nations
Thy fame shall live and travel on;
And all succeeding generations
Shall bless the name of Washington.
While year by year new triumphs bringing,
The sons of Freedom shall be singing—
Ever happy, ever free,
Land of light and liberty.

Columbus, on his dauntless mission,
[Pg 330]Beheld his lovely isle afar;
Did he not see, in distant vision,
The rising of this western star—
This queen, who now, in state befitting,
Between two ocean floods is sitting?
Ever happy, ever free,
Land of light and liberty.


Henry Ward Beecher, a distinguished American writer and preacher. Born in Litchfield, Conn., June 24, 1813; died, March 8, 1887, in Brooklyn, N. Y. From his "Patriotic Addresses." By permission of Messrs. Fords, Howard & Hulbert, Publishers, New York.

When a man of thoughtful mind sees a nation's flag, he sees not the flag only, but the nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, he reads chiefly in the flag the government, the principles, the truth, the history, which belong to the nation which sets it forth. When the French tricolor rolls out to the wind, we see France. When the newfound Italian flag is unfurled, we see Italy restored. When the other three-cornered Hungarian flag shall be lifted to the wind, we shall see in it the long-buried, but never dead, principles of Hungarian liberty. When the united crosses of St. Andrew and St. George on a fiery ground set forth the banner of old England, we see not the cloth merely; there rises up before the mind the noble aspect of that monarchy which, more than any other on the globe, has advanced its banner for liberty, law, and national prosperity. This nation has a banner, too, and wherever it streamed abroad men saw daybreak bursting on their eyes, for the American flag has been the symbol of liberty, and men rejoiced in it. Not another flag on the globe had such an errand, or went forth upon the seas carrying everywhere, the world around, such hope for the captive and such glorious tidings. The stars upon it were to the[Pg 331] pining nations like the morning stars of God, and the stripes upon it were beams of morning light. As at early dawn the stars stand first, and then it grows light, and then, as the sun advances, that light breaks into banks and streaming lines of color, the glowing red and intense white striving together and ribbing the horizon with bars effulgent, so on the American flag stars and beams of many-colored lights shine out together. And wherever the flag comes, and men behold it, they see in its sacred emblazonry no rampant lion and fierce eagle, but only light, and every fold indicative of liberty. It has been unfurled from the snows of Canada to the plains of New Orleans; in the halls of the Montezumas and amid the solitude of every sea; and everywhere, as the luminous symbol of resistless and beneficent power, it has led the brave to victory and to glory. It has floated over our cradles; let it be our prayer and our struggle that it shall float over our graves.


Nathaniel S. S. Beman, an American Presbyterian divine. Born in New Lebanon, N. Y., 1785; died at Carbondale, Ill., August 8, 1871. For forty years pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Troy, N. Y.

The western continent has, at different periods, been the subject of every species of transatlantic abuse. In former days, some of the naturalists of Europe told us that everything here was constructed upon a small scale. The frowns of nature were represented as investing the whole hemisphere we inhabit. It has been asserted that the eternal storms which are said to beat upon the brows of our mountains, and to roll the tide of desolation at their bases; the hurricanes which sweep our vales, and the volcanic fires which issue from a thousand flaming craters; the[Pg 332] thunderbolts which perpetually descend from heaven, and the earthquakes, whose trepidations are felt to the very center of our globe, have superinduced a degeneracy through all the productions of nature. Men have been frightened into intellectual dwarfs, and the beasts of the forest have not attained more than half their ordinary growth.

While some of the lines and touches of this picture have been blotted out by the reversing hand of time, others have been added, which have, in some respects, carried the conceit still farther. In later days, and, in some instances, even down to the present period, it has been published and republished from the enlightened presses of the Old World, that so strong is the tendency to deterioration on this continent that the descendants of European ancestors are far inferior to the original stock from which they sprang. But inferior in what? In national spirit and patriotic achievement? Let the revolutionary conflict—the opening scenes at Boston and the catastrophe at Yorktown—furnish the reply. Let Bennington and Saratoga support their respective claims. Inferior in enterprise? Let the sail that whitens every ocean, and the commercial spirit that braves every element and visits every bustling mart, refute the unfounded aspersion. Inferior in deeds of zeal and valor for the Church? Let our missionaries in the bosom of our own forest, in the distant regions of the East, and on the islands of the great Pacific, answer the question. Inferior in science and letters and the arts? It is true our nation is young; but we may challenge the world to furnish a national maturity which, in these respects, will compare with ours.

The character and institutions of this country have already produced a deep impression upon the world we inhabit. What but our example has stricken the chains of[Pg 333] despotism from the provinces of South America—giving, by a single impulse, freedom to half a hemisphere? A Washington here has created a Bolivar there. The flag of independence, which has waved from the summit of our Alleghany, has now been answered by a corresponding signal from the heights of the Andes. And the same spirit, too, that came across the Atlantic wave with the Pilgrims, and made the rock of Plymouth the corner-stone of freedom, and of this republic, is traveling back to the East. It has already carried its influence into the cabinets of princes, and it is at this moment sung by the Grecian bard and emulated by the Grecian hero.


St. George Best. In Kate Field's Washington.

Puissant land! where'er I turn my eyes
I see thy banner strewn upon the breeze;
Each past achievement only prophesies
Of triumphs more unheard of. These
Are shadows yet, but time will write thy name
In letters golden as the sun
That blazed upon the sight of those who came
To worship in the temple of the Delphic One.


Henry Hugh Brackenridge, a writer and politician. Born near Campbellton, Scotland, 1748; died, 1816. From his "Rising Glory of America," a commencement poem.

This is thy praise, America, thy power,
Thou best of climes by science visited,
By freedom blest, and richly stored with all
The luxuries of life! Hail, happy land,
[Pg 334]The seat of empire, the abode of kings,
The final stage where time shall introduce
Renowned characters, and glorious works
Of high invention and of wondrous art,
Which not the ravages of time shall waste,
'Till he himself has run his long career!


The Right Honorable John Bright, the celebrated English orator and radical statesman. Born at Greenbank, Rochdale, Lancashire, November 16, 1811; died, March 27, 1889. From a speech delivered at Birmingham, England, 1862.

I have another and a far brighter vision before my gaze. It may be but a vision, but I will cherish it. I see one vast confederation stretching from the frozen North in unbroken line to the glowing South, and from the wild billows of the Atlantic westward to the calmer waters of the Pacific main; and I see one people and one language, and one faith and one law, and, over all that wide continent, the home of freedom, and a refuge for the oppressed of every race and every clime.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the most gifted female poets. Born near Ledbury, Herefordshire, England, in 1807; died at Florence, Italy, in June, 1861.

I heard an angel speak last night,
And he said, "Write—
Write a nation's curse for me,
And send it over the western sea."
I faltered, taking up the word:
"Not so, my lord!
If curses must be, choose another
[Pg 335]To send thy curse against my brother.

For I am bound by gratitude,
By love and blood,
To brothers of mine across the sea,
Who stretch out kindly hands to me."
"Therefore," the voice said, "shalt thou write
My curse to-night;
From the summits of love a curse is driven,
As lightning is from the tops of heaven."


William Cullen Bryant, an eminent American poet. Born at Cummington, Mass., November 3, 1794; died, June 12, 1878.

Oh, Mother of a mighty race,
Yet lovely in thy youthful grace!
The elder dames, thy haughty peers,
Admire and hate thy blooming years;
With words of shame
And taunts of scorn they join thy name.

They know not, in their hate and pride,
What virtues with thy children bide;
How true, how good, thy graceful maids
Make bright, like flowers, the valley shades;
What generous men
Spring, like thine oaks, by hill and glen;

What cordial welcomes greet the guest
By the lone rivers of the West;
How faith is kept, and truth revered,
And man is loved, and God is feared,
In woodland homes,
And where the solemn ocean foams.

Oh, fair young Mother! on thy brow
[Pg 336]Shall sit a nobler grace than now.
Deep in the brightness of thy skies,
The thronging years in glory rise,
And, as they fleet,
Drop strength and riches at thy feet.


James Bryce, M. P. Born at Belfast, Ireland, May 10, 1838. Appointed Regius Professor of Civil Law to the University of Oxford, England, 1870. From his "American Commonwealth."

Americans seem to live in the future rather than in the present; not that they fail to work while it is called to-day, but that they see the country, not merely as it is, but as it will be twenty, fifty, a hundred years hence, when the seedlings shall have grown to forest trees. Time seems too brief for what they have to do, and result always to come short of their desire. One feels as if caught and whirled along in a foaming stream chafing against its banks, such is the passion of these men to accomplish in their own lifetimes what in the past it took centuries to effect. Sometimes, in a moment of pause—for even the visitor finds himself infected by the all-pervading eagerness—one is inclined to ask them: "Gentlemen, why in heaven's name this haste? You have time enough. No enemy threatens you. No volcano will rise from beneath you. Ages and ages lie before you. Why sacrifice the present to the future, fancying that you will be happier when your fields teem with wealth and your cities with people? In Europe we have cities wealthier and more populous than yours, and we are not happy. You dream of your posterity; but your posterity will look back to yours as the golden age, and envy those who first burst into this silent, splendid nature, who first lifted up their axes upon these tall trees, and lined these waters with busy wharves. Why, then,[Pg 337] seek to complete in a few decades what the other nations of the world took thousands of years over in the older continents? Why do rudely and ill things which need to be done well, seeing that the welfare of your descendants may turn upon them? Why, in your hurry to subdue and utilize nature, squander her splendid gifts? Why allow the noxious weeds of Eastern politics to take root in your new soil, when by a little effort you might keep it pure? Why hasten the advent of that threatening day when the vacant spaces of the continent shall all have been filled, and the poverty or discontent of the older States shall find no outlet? You have opportunities such as mankind has never had before, and may never have again. Your work is great and noble; it is done for a future longer and vaster than our conceptions can embrace. Why not make its outlines and beginnings worthy of these destinies, the thought of which gilds your hopes and elevates your purposes?"

This convent has been restored and preserved as a National Museum since 1846.
(See pages 17 and 275.)


Edmund Burke, an illustrious orator, statesman, and philanthropist. Born in Dublin, 1730; died, July 9, 1797. To Burke's eternal credit and renown be it said, that, had his advice and counsels been listened to, the causes which produced the American Revolution would have been removed.

I can not prevail on myself to hurry over this great consideration—the value of America to England. It is good for us to be here. We stand where we have an immense view of what is, and what is past. Clouds, indeed, and darkness, rest upon the future. Let us, however, before we descend from this noble eminence, reflect that this growth of our national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life of man. It has happened within sixty-eight years. There are those alive whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my Lord Bathurst[Pg 338] might remember all the stages of the progress. He was, in 1704, of an age, at least, to be made to comprehend such things. Suppose that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the many virtues which made him one of the most amiable, as he is one of the most fortunate, men of his age, had opened to him in vision, that when, in the fourth generation, the third prince of the house of Brunswick had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation, which by the happy issue of moderate and healing councils was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, Lord Chancellor of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to a higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family with a new one. If amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honor and prosperity that angel should have drawn up the curtain and unfolded the rising glories of his country; and, whilst he was gazing with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body, and should tell him, "Young man, there is America, which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing to by a progressive increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilizing conquests and civilizing settlements in a series of 1,700 years, you shall see as much added to her by America in the course of a single life!" If this state of his country had been foretold to him, would it not have required all the sanguine credulity of youth, and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to make him believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it! Fortunate,[Pg 339] indeed, if he live to see nothing to vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day!


Emilio Castelar, one of Spain's most noted orators and statesmen. His masterly articles on Columbus in the Century Magazine alone would insure an international reputation. From a speech in the Spanish Cortes, 1871.

America, and especially Saxon America, with its immense virgin territories, with its republic, with its equilibrium between stability and progress, with its harmony between liberty and democracy, is the continent of the future—the immense continent stretched by God between the Atlantic and Pacific, where mankind may plant, essay, and resolve all social problems. Europe has to decide whether she will confound herself with Asia, placing upon her lands old altars, and upon the altars old idols, and upon the idols immovable theocracies, and upon the theocracies despotic empires; or whether she will go by labor, by liberty, and by the republic, to co-operate with America in the grand work of universal civilization.


William Ellery Channing, D. D., a distinguished American Unitarian divine, and one of the most eloquent writers America has produced. Born at Newport, R. I., April 7, 1780; died, October 2, 1842. From an address on "The Annexation of Texas to the United States."

When we look forward to the probable growth of this country; when we think of the millions of human beings who are to spread over our present territory; of the career of improvement and glory opened to this new people; of the impulse which free institutions, if prosperous, may be expected to give to philosophy, religion, science,[Pg 340] literature, and arts; of the vast field in which the experiment is to be made; of what the unfettered powers of man may achieve; of the bright page of history which our fathers have filled, and of the advantages under which their toils and virtues have placed us for carrying on their work. When we think of all this, can we help, for a moment, surrendering ourselves to bright visions of our country's glory, before which all the glories of the past are to fade away? Is it presumption to say that if just to ourselves and all nations we shall be felt through this whole continent; that we shall spread our language, institutions, and civilization through a wider space than any nation has yet filled with a like beneficent influence? And are we prepared to barter these hopes, this sublime moral empire, for conquests by force? Are we prepared to sink to the level of unprincipled nations; to content ourselves with a vulgar, guilty greatness; to adopt in our youth maxims and ends which must brand our future with sordidness, oppression, and shame? Why can not we rise to noble conceptions of our destiny? Why do we not feel that our work as a nation is to carry freedom, religion, science, and a nobler form of human nature over this continent? And why do we not remember that to diffuse these blessings we must first cherish them in our own borders, and that whatever deeply and permanently corrupts us will make our spreading influence a curse, not a blessing, to this New World? It is a common idea in Europe that we are destined to spread an inferior civilization over North America; that our absorption in gain and outward interests mark us out as fated to fall behind the Old World in the higher improvements of human nature—in the philosophy, the refinements, the enthusiasm of literature and the arts, which throw a luster round other countries. I am not prophet enough to read our fate.[Pg 341]


The Chicago Inter Ocean.

The Columbian Exposition should be an exhibition worthy of the fame of Columbus and of the great republic that has taken root in the New World, which the Genoese discoverer not only "to Castille and to Aragon gave," but to the struggling, the oppressed, the aspiring, and the resolute of all humanity in all its conditions.


Rufus Choate,, the most eminent advocate of New England. Born at Essex, Mass., October 1, 1799; died at Halifax, N. S., July 13, 1858. From an Independence Day oration delivered in Boston.

But now there rises colossal the fine sweet spirit of nationality—the nationality of America. See there the pillar of fire which God has kindled, and lighted, and moved, for our hosts and our ages. Under such an influence you ascend above the smoke and stir of this small local strife; you tread upon the high places of the earth and of history; you think and feel as an American for America; her power, her eminence, her consideration, her honor are yours; your competitors, like hers, are kings; your home, like hers, is the world; your path, like hers, is on the highway of empires; your charge, her charge, is of generations and ages; your record, her record, is of treaties, battles, voyages, beneath all the constellations; her image—one, immortal, golden—rises on your eye as our western star at evening rises on the traveler from his home; no lowering cloud, no angry river, no lingering spring, no broken crevasse, no inundated city or plantation, no tracts of sand, arid and burning, on that surface, but all blended and softened into one beam of kindred rays, the image, harbinger, and promise of love, hope, and a brighter day.[Pg 342]

But if you would contemplate nationality as an active virtue, look around you. Is not our own history one witness and one record of what it can do? This day, the 4th of July, and all which it stands for—did it not give us these? This glory of the fields of that war, this eloquence of that revolution, this one wide sheet of flame, which wrapped tyrant and tyranny, and swept all that escaped from it away, forever and forever; the courage to fight, to retreat, to rally, to advance, to guard the young flag by the young arm and the young heart's blood, to hold up and hold on till the magnificent consummation crown the work—were not all these imparted or inspired by this imperial sentiment.

Look at it! It has kindled us to no aims of conquest. It has involved us in no entangling alliances. It has kept our neutrality dignified and just. The victories of peace have been our prized victories. But the larger and truer grandeur of the nations, for which they are created, and for which they must one day, before some tribunal, give account, what a measure of these it has enabled us already to fulfill! It has lifted us to the throne, and has set on our brow the name of the Great Republic. It has taught us to demand nothing wrong and to submit to nothing wrong; it has made our diplomacy sagacious, wary, and accomplished; it has opened the iron gate of the mountain, and planted our ensign on the great tranquil sea. It has made the desert to bud and blossom as the rose; it has quickened to life the giant brood of useful arts; it has whitened lake and ocean with the sails of a daring, new, and lawful trade; it has extended to exiles, flying as clouds, the asylum of our better liberty. It has kept us at rest within our borders; it has scattered the seeds of liberty, under law and under order, broadcast; it has seen and helped American feeling to swell into a[Pg 343] fuller flood; from many a field and many a deck, though it seeks not war, makes not war, and fears not war, it has borne the radiant flag, all unstained.


There is a love of country which comes uncalled for, one knows not how. It comes in with the very air, the eye, the ear, the instinct, the first beatings of the heart. The faces of brothers and sisters, and the loved father and mother, the laugh of playmates, the old willow tree and well and school-house, the bees at work in the spring, the note of the robin at evening, the lullaby, the cows coming home, the singing-book, the visits of neighbors, the general training—all things which make childhood happy, begin it.

And then, as the age of the passions and the age of the reason draw on, and the love of home, and the sense of security and property under the law come to life, and as the story goes round, and as the book or the newspaper relates the less favored lot of other lands, and the public and private sense of the man is forming and formed, there is a type of patriotism already. Thus they have imbibed it who stood that charge at Concord, and they who hung on the deadly retreat, and they who threw up the hasty and imperfect redoubt at Bunker Hill by night, set on it the blood-red provincial flag, and passed so calmly with Prescott and Putnam and Warren through the experiences of the first fire.

To direct this spontaneous sentiment of hearts to our great Union, to raise it high, to make it broad and deep, to instruct it, to educate it, is in some things harder, and in some things easier; but it may be, it must be, done. Our country has her great names; she has her food for patriotism, for childhood, and for man.—Ibid.[Pg 344]


An appropriate addition to the White Squadron of the United States navy was launched from the Cramps' ship-yard at Philadelphia, July 26, 1892, and was most appropriately christened the Columbia. The launch was in every way a success, and was witnessed by many thousand people, including Secretary Tracy, Vice-President Morton, and others prominent in the navy and in public life.

This new vessel is designed to be swifter than any other large war vessel now afloat, and she will have a capacity possessed by no other war vessel yet built, in that of being able to steam at a ten-knot speed 26,240 miles, or for 109 days, without recoaling. She also possesses many novel features, the principal of which is the application of triple screws. She is one of two of the most important ships designed for the United States navy, her sister ship, No. 13, now being built at the same yards.

The dimensions of the Columbia are: Length on mean load line, 412 feet; beam, 58 feet. Her normal draught will be 23 feet; displacement, 7,550 tons; maximum speed, 22 knots an hour; and she will have the enormous indicated horse-power of 20,000. As to speed, the contractor guarantees an average speed, in the open sea, under conditions prescribed by the Navy Department, of twenty-one knots an hour, maintained for four consecutive hours, during which period the air-pressure in the fire-room must be kept within a prescribed limit. For every quarter of a knot developed above the required guaranteed speed the contractor is to receive a premium of $50,000 over and above the contract price; and for each quarter of a knot that the vessel may fail of reaching the guaranteed speed there is to be deducted from the contract price the sum of $25,000. There seems to be no doubt among the naval[Pg 345] experts that she will meet the conditions as to speed, and this is a great desideratum, since her chief function is to be to sweep the seas of an enemy's commerce. To do her work she must be able to overhaul, in an ocean race, the swiftest transatlantic passenger steamships afloat.

The triple-screw system is a most decided novelty. One of these screws will be placed amidships, or on the line of the keel, as in ordinary single-screw vessels, and the two others will be placed about fifteen feet farther forward and above, one on each side, as is usual in twin-screw vessels. The twin screws will diverge as they leave the hull, giving additional room for the uninterrupted motion upon solid water of all three simultaneously. There is one set of triple expansion engines for each screw independently, thus allowing numerous combinations of movements. For ordinary cruising the central screw alone will be used, giving a speed of about fourteen knots; with the two side-screws alone, a speed of seventeen knots can be maintained, and with all three screws at work, at full power, a high speed of from twenty to twenty-two knots can be got out of the vessel. This arrangement will allow the machinery to be worked at its most economical number of revolutions at all rates of the vessel's speed, and each engine can be used independently of the others in propelling the vessel. The full steam pressure will be 160 pounds. The shafting is made of forged steel, 16½ inches in diameter. In fact, steel has been used wherever possible, so as to secure the lightest, in weight, of machinery. There are ten boilers, six of which are double-ended—that is, with furnaces in each end—21¼ feet long and 15½ feet in diameter. Two others are 18¼ feet long and 11⅔ feet in diameter, and the two others, single-ended, are 8 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. Eight of the largest boilers are set in watertight compartments.[Pg 346]

In appearance the Columbia will closely resemble, when ready for sea, an ordinary merchantman, the sides being nearly free from projections or sponsons, which ordinarily appear on vessels of war. She will have two single masts, but neither of them will have a military top, such as is now provided upon ordinary war vessels. This plan of her merchantman appearance is to enable her to get within range of any vessel she may wish to encounter before her character or purpose is discovered. The vitals of the ship will be well protected with armor plating and the gun stations will be shielded against the firing of machine guns. Her machinery, boilers, magazines, etc., are protected by an armored deck four inches thick on the slope and 2½ inches thick on the flat. The space between this deck and the gun-deck is minutely subdivided with coal-bunkers and storerooms, and in addition to these a coffer-dam, five feet in width, is worked next to the ship's side for the whole length of the vessel. In the bunkers the space between the inner and outer skins of the vessel will be filled with woodite, thus forming a wall five feet thick against machine gun fire. This filling can also be utilized as fuel in an emergency. Forward and abaft of the coal bunkers the coffer-dam will be filled with some water-excluding substance similar to woodite. In the wake of the four-inch and the machine guns, the ship's side will be armored with four-inch and two-inch nickel steel plates.

The vessel will carry no big guns, for the reason that the uses for which she is intended will not require them. Not a gun will be in sight, and the battery will be abnormally light. There will be four six-inch breech-loading rifles, mounted in the open, and protected with heavy shields attached to the gun carriages; eight four-inch breech-loading rifles; twelve six-pounder, and four one-pounder rapid-firing guns; four machine or Gatling guns, and six torpedo-[Pg 347]launching tubes. Besides these she has a ram bow. The Columbia is to be completed, ready for service, by May 19, 1893.


Eliza Cook, a popular English poetess. Born in Southwark, London, 1817.

Land of the West! though passing brief the record of thine age,
Thou hast a name that darkens all on history's wide page.
Let all the blasts of fame ring out—thine shall be loudest far;
Let others boast their satellites—thou hast the planet star.
Thou hast a name whose characters of light shall ne'er depart;
'Tis stamped upon the dullest brain, and warms the coldest heart;
A war-cry fit for any land where freedom's to be won:
Land of the West! it stands alone—it is thy Washington!


Kinahan Cornwallis. In "The Song of America and Columbus," 1892.

Queen of the Great Republic of the West,
With shining stars and stripes upon thy breast,
The emblems of our land of liberty,
Thou namesake of Columbus—hail to thee!

No fitter queen could now Columbus crown,
Or voice to all the world his great renown.
His fame in thee personified we see—
The sequel of his grand discovery;
Yea, here, in thee, his monument behold.
[Pg 348]Whose splendor dims his golden dreams of old.
And standing by Chicago's inland sea,
The nations of the earth will vie with thee
In twining laurel wreaths for him of yore
Who found the New World in San Salvador.

Columbia! to Columbus give thy hand.
And, as ye on a sea of glory stand,
The world will read anew the story grand
Of thee, Columbia, and Columbus, too—
The matchless epic of the Old and New—
The tale that grows more splendid with the years—
The pride and wonder of the hemispheres.
In vast magnificence it stands alone,
With thee—Columbus greeting—on thy throne.


The Hon. Shelby M. Cullom, U. S. Senator from Illinois. In a speech delivered in Chicago, 1892.

From the altitude of now, from this zenith of history, look out upon the world. Behold! the American idea is everywhere prominent. The world itself is preparing to take an American holiday. The wise men, not only of the Orient, but everywhere, are girding up their loins, and will follow the star of empire until it rests above this city of Chicago—this civic Hercules; this miracle of accomplishment; the throbbing heart of all the teeming life and activity of our American commonwealth. The people of the world are soon to receive an object lesson in the stupendous kindergarten we are instituting for their benefit. Even Chile will be here, and will learn, I trust, something of Christian forbearance and good-fellowship.

Now, is it possible that monarchy, plutarchy, or any other archy, can long withstand this curriculum of instruction? No! I repeat, the American idea is everywhere triumphant.[Pg 349] England is a monarchy, to be sure, but only out of compliment to an impotent and aged Queen. The Czar of Russia clings to his throne. It is a hen-coop in the mäelstrom! The crumbling monarchies of the earth are held together only by the force of arms. Standing armies are encamped without each city. The sword and bayonet threaten and retard, but the seeds of liberty have been caught up by the winds of heaven and scattered broadcast throughout the earth. Tyranny's doom is sounded! The people's millennium is at hand! And this—this, under God, is the mission of America.


George William Curtis, a popular American author and lecturer. Born at Providence, R. I., February 24, 1824; died at West Brighton, Staten Island, N. Y., August 31, 1892.

I know the flower in your hand fades while you look at it. The dream that allures you glimmers and is gone. But flower and dream, like youth itself, are buds and prophecies. For where, without the perfumed blossoming of the spring orchards all over the hills and among all the valleys of New England and New York, would the happy harvests of New York and New England be? And where, without the dreams of the young men lighting the future with human possibility, would be the deeds of the old men, dignifying the past with human achievement? How deeply does it become us to believe this, who are not only young ourselves, but living with the youth of the youngest nation in history. I congratulate you that you are young; I congratulate you that you are Americans. Like you, that country is in its flower, not yet in its fruit, and that flower is subject to a thousand chances before the fruit is set. Worms may destroy it, frosts may wither it, fires may blight it, gusts may whirl it away; but how gorgeously it[Pg 350] still hangs blossoming in the garden of time, while its penetrating perfume floats all round the world, and intoxicates all other nations with the hope of liberty.

Knowing that the life of every nation, as of each individual, is a battle, let us remember, also, that the battle is to those who fight with faith and undespairing devotion. Knowing that nothing is worth fighting for at all unless God reigns, let us, at least, believe as much in the goodness of God as we do in the dexterity of the devil. And, viewing this prodigious spectacle of our country—this hope of humanity, this young America, our America—taking the sun full in its front, and making for the future as boldly and blithely as the young David for Goliath, let us believe with all our hearts, and from that faith shall spring the fact that David, and not Goliath, is to win the day; and that, out of the high-hearted dreams of wise and good men about our country, Time, however invisibly and inscrutably, is, at this moment, slowly hewing the most colossal and resplendent result in history.


Olive E. Dana, an American journalist. In the New England Journal.

The hidden world lies in the hand of God,
Waiting, like seed, to fall on the sod;
Tranquil its lakes were, and lovely its shores,
While idly each stream o'er the fretting rocks pours.
Its forests are fair and its mines fathomless,
Grand are its mountains in their loftiness;
Its fields wait the plow, and its harbors the ships,
No sail down the blue of the water-way slips.
God keeps in his palm, through centuries dim,
This hid, idle seed. It belongeth to him.
Away in a corner, where God only knows,
[Pg 351]The seed when he plants it quickens and grows.
The pale buds unfold as the nations pass by,
The fragrance is grateful, the blooms multiply,
But it is blossom time, this what we see;
Who knows what the fullness of harvest will be.


Timothy Dwight, an American divine and scholar. Born at Northampton, Mass., May 14, 1752; died at New Haven, Conn., January 11, 1817.

Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
The queen of the world and the child of the skies.


T. M. Eddy, an eloquent speaker and profound scholar. Born, 1823; died, 1874. From an oration delivered on Independence Day.

Patriotism is the love of country. It has ever been recognized among the cardinal virtues of true men, and he who was destitute of it has been considered an ingrate. Even among the icy desolations of the far north we expect to find, and do find, an ardent affection for the land of nativity, the home of childhood, youth, and age. There is much in our country to create and foster this sentiment. It is a country of imperial dimensions, reaching from sea to sea, and almost "from the rivers to the ends of the earth." None of the empires of old could compare with it in this regard. It is washed by two great oceans, while its lakes are vast inland seas. Its rivers are silver lines of beauty and commerce. Its grand mountain chains are the links of God's forging and welding, binding together North and South, East and West. It is a land of glorious memories. It was peopled by the picked men of Europe, who came hither, "not for wrath, but conscience' sake." Said the younger Winthrop to his father, "I shall call that[Pg 352] my country where I may most glorify God and enjoy the presence of my dearest friends." And so came godly men and devoted women, flying from oppressive statutes, where they might find

Freedom to worship God.

There are spots on the sun, and the microscope reveals flaws in burnished steel, and so there were spots and flaws in the character of the early founders of this land; but with them all, our colonial history is one that stirs the blood and quickens the pulse of him who reads. It is the land of the free school, the free press, and the free pulpit. It is impossible to compute the power of this trio. The free schools, open to rich and poor, bind together the people in educational bonds, and in the common memories of the recitation-room and the playground; and how strong they are, you, reader, well know, as some past recollection tugs at your heart-strings. The free press may not always be altogether as dignified or elevated as the more highly cultivated may desire, but it is ever open to complaints of the people; is ever watchful of popular rights and jealous of class encroachments, and the highest in authority know that it is above President or Senate. The free pulpit, sustained not by legally exacted tithes wrung from an unwilling people, but by the free-will offerings of loving supporters, gathers about it the millions, inculcates the highest morality, points to brighter worlds, and when occasion demands will not be silent before political wrongs. Its power, simply as an educating agency, can scarcely be estimated. In this country its freedom gives a competition so vigorous that it must remain in direct popular sympathy. How strong it is, the country saw when its voice was lifted in the old cry, "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." Its words started the slumbering, roused the careless, and called the "sacramental host," as well as the "men of the[Pg 353] world, to arms." These three grand agencies are not rival, but supplementary, each doing an essential work in public culture.



Ralph Waldo Emerson, a noted American essayist, poet, and speculative philosopher. Born in Boston, Mass., May 25, 1803; died, April 27, 1882.

America is another name for opportunity.


There is a Columbia of thought and art and character which is the last and endless sequel of Columbus' adventure.—Ibid.


Alexander Hill Everett, an American scholar and diplomatist. Born in Boston, Mass., 1792; died at Canton, China, May, 1847.

Scion of a mighty stock!
Hands of iron—hearts of oak—
Follow with unflinching tread
Where the noble fathers led.

Craft and subtle treachery,
Gallant youth, are not for thee;
Follow thou in words and deeds
Where the God within thee leads.

Honesty, with steady eye,
Truth and pure simplicity,
Love, that gently winneth hearts,
These shall be thy holy arts.

Prudent in the council train,
Dauntless on the battle plain,
Ready at thy country's need
[Pg 354]For her glorious cause to bleed.

Where the dews of night distill
Upon Vernon's holy hill,
Where above it gleaming far
Freedom lights her guiding star,

Thither turn the steady eye,
Flashing with a purpose high;
Thither, with devotion meet,
Often turn the pilgrim feet.

Let the noble motto be:
God—the countryliberty!
Planted on religion's rock,
Thou shalt stand in every shock.

Laugh at danger, far or near;
Spurn at baseness, spurn at fear.
Still, with persevering might,
Speak the truth, and do the right.

So shall peace, a charming guest,
Dove-like in thy bosom rest;
So shall honor's steady blaze
Beam upon thy closing days.


Ezra Stiles Gannett, an American Unitarian divine. Born at Cambridge, Mass., 1801; died, August 26, 1871. From a patriotic address delivered in Boston.

The eyes of Europe are upon us; the monarch, from his throne, watches us with an angry countenance; the peasant turns his gaze on us with joyful faith; the writers on politics quote our condition as a proof of the possibility of popular government; the heroes of freedom animate their followers by reminding them of our success. At no[Pg 355] moment of the last half century has it been so important that we should send up a clear and strong light which may be seen across the Atlantic. An awful charge of unfaithfulness to the interests of mankind will be recorded against us if we suffer this light to be obscured by the mingling vapors of passion and misrule and sin. But not Europe alone will be influenced by the character we give to our destiny. The republics of the South have no other guide toward the establishment of order and freedom than our example. If this should fail them, the last stay would be torn from their hope. We are placed under a most solemn obligation, to keep before them this motive to perseverance in their endeavors to place free institutions on a sure basis. Shall we leave those wide regions to despair and anarchy? Better that they had patiently borne a foreign yoke, though it bowed their necks to the ground.

Citizens of the United States, it has been said of us, with truth, that we are at the head of the popular party of the world. Shall we be ashamed of so glorious a rank? or shall we basely desert our place and throw away our distinction? Forbid it! self-respect, patriotism, philanthropy. Christians, we believe that God has made us a name and a praise among the nations. We believe that our religion yields its best fruit in a free land. Shall we be regardless of our duty as creatures of the Divine Power and recipients of His goodness? Shall we be indifferent to the effects which our religion may work in the world? Forbid it! our gratitude, our faith, our piety. In one way only can we discharge our duty to the rest of mankind—by the purity and elevation of character that shall distinguish us as a people. If we sink into luxury, vice, or moral apathy, our brightness will be lost, our prosperity deprived of its vital element, and we shall appear disgraced before man, guilty before God.[Pg 356]


James A. Garfield, American general and statesman; twentieth President of the United States. Born in Orange, Ohio, November 19, 1831; shot by an assassin, July 2, 1881; died, September 19 in the same year, at Long Branch, New Jersey. From "Garfield's Words." By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers.

The Atlantic is still the great historic sea. Even in its sunken wrecks might be read the record of modern nations. Who shall say that the Pacific will not yet become the great historic sea of the future—the vast amphitheater around which shall sit in majesty and power the two Americas, Asia, Africa, and the chief colonies of Europe. God forbid that the waters of our national life should ever settle to the dead level of a waveless calm. It would be the stagnation of death, the ocean grave of individual liberty.


The Right Hon. William Ewart Gladstone, the noted English statesman and orator. Born at Liverpool, December 29, 1809. From his "Kin beyond the Sea."

There is no parallel in all the records of the world to the case of that prolific British mother who has sent forth her innumerable children over all the earth to be the founders of half-a-dozen empires. She, with her progeny, may almost claim to constitute a kind of universal church in politics. But among these children there is one whose place in the world's eye and in history is superlative; it is the American Republic. She is the eldest born. She has, taking the capacity of her land into view as well as its mere measurement, a natural base for the greatest continuous empire ever established by man. And it may be well here to mention what has not always been sufficiently observed, that the distinction between continuous empire, and[Pg 357] empire severed and dispersed over sea is vital. The development which the Republic has effected has been unexampled in its rapidity and force. While other countries have doubled, or at most trebled, their population, she has risen during one single century of freedom, in round numbers, from two millions to forty-five. As to riches, it is reasonable to establish, from the decennial stages of the progress thus far achieved, a series for the future; and, reckoning upon this basis, I suppose that the very next census, in the year 1880, will exhibit her to the world as certainly the wealthiest of all the nations. The huge figure of a thousand millions sterling, which may be taken roundly as the annual income of the United Kingdom, has been reached at a surprising rate; a rate which may perhaps be best expressed by saying that, if we could have started forty or fifty years ago from zero, at the rate of our recent annual increment, we should now have reached our present position. But while we have been advancing with this portentous rapidity, America is passing us by as if in a canter. Yet even now the work of searching the soil and the bowels of the territory, and opening out her enterprise throughout its vast expanse, is in its infancy. The England and the America of the present are probably the two strongest nations of the world. But there can hardly be a doubt, as between the America and the England of the future, that the daughter, at some no very distant time, will, whether fairer or less fair, be unquestionably yet stronger than the mother.


Henry W. Grady, the late brilliant editor of the Atlanta Constitution. From an address delivered at the famous New England dinner in New York.

With the Cavalier once established as a fact in your charming little books, I shall let him work out his own[Pg 358] stratum, as he has always done, with engaging gallantry, and we will hold no controversy as to his merits. Why should we? Neither Puritan nor Cavalier long survived as such. The virtues and traditions of both happily still live for the inspiration of their sons and the saving of the old fashion. But both Puritan and Cavalier were lost in the storm of their first revolution, and the American citizen, supplanting both, and stronger than either, took possession of the republic bought by their common blood and fashioned to wisdom, and charged himself with teaching men government and establishing the voice of the people as the voice of God. Great types, like valuable plants, are slow to flower and fruit. But from the union of these colonists, from the straightening of their purposes and the crossing of their blood, slow perfecting through a century, came he who stands as the first typical American, the first who comprehended within himself all the strength and gentleness, all the majesty and grace of this Republic—Abraham Lincoln. He was the sum of Puritan and Cavalier, for in his ardent nature were fused the virtues of both, and in the depths of his great soul the faults of both were lost. He was greater than Puritan, greater than Cavalier, in that he was American, and that in his homely form were first gathered the vast and thrilling forces of this ideal government—charging it with such tremendous meaning and so elevating it above human suffering that martyrdom, though infamously aimed, came as a fitting crown to a life consecrated from the cradle to human liberty. Let us, each cherishing his traditions and honoring his fathers, build with reverent hands to the type of this simple but sublime life, in which all types are honored, and in the common glory we shall win as Americans there will be plenty and to spare for your forefathers and for mine.[Pg 359]


Benjamin Harrison, American soldier, lawyer, and statesman. Born at North Bend, Ohio, August 20, 1833. Grandson of General William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, and himself President, 1888-1892. From a speech at Sacramento, Cal., 1891.

Fellow-citizens: This fresh, delightful morning, this vast assemblage of contented and happy people, this building, dedicated to the uses of civil government—all things about us tend to inspire our hearts with pride and with gratitude. Gratitude to that overruling Providence that turned hither, after the discovery of this continent, the steps of those who had the capacity to organize a free representative government. Gratitude to that Providence that has increased the feeble colonies on an inhospitable coast to these millions of prosperous people, who have found another sea and populated its sunny shores with a happy and growing people.

Gratitude to that Providence that led us through civil strife to a glory and a perfection of unity as a people that was otherwise impossible. Gratitude that we have to-day a Union of free States without a slave to stand as a reproach to that immortal declaration upon which our Government rests.

Pride that our people have achieved so much; that, triumphing over all the hardships of those early pioneers, who struggled in the face of discouragement and difficulties more appalling than those that met Columbus when he turned the prows of his little vessels toward an unknown shore; that, triumphing over perils of starvation, perils of savages, perils of sickness, here on the sunny slope of the Pacific they have established civil institutions and set up the banner of the imperishable Union.[Pg 360]


Sir Francis Bond Head, a popular English writer. Born near Rochester, Kent, January 1, 1893. Lieutenant-general of Upper Canada 1836-1838. Died, July 20, 1875.

In both the northern and southern hemispheres of the New World, nature has not only outlined her works on a larger scale, but has painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she used in delineating and in beautifying the Old World. The heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the forests bigger, the plains broader.


Patrick Henry, a celebrated American orator and patriot. Born at Studley, Hanover County, Virginia, May 29, 1736; died, June 6, 1799. The author of the celebrated phrase, "Give me liberty or give me death," in speaking in the Virginia Convention, March, 1775.

Cast your eyes over this extensive country; observe the salubrity of your climate, the variety and fertility of your soil, and see that soil intersected in every quarter by bold, navigable streams, flowing to the east and to the west, as if the finger of Heaven were marking out the course of your settlements, inviting you to enterprise, and pointing the way to wealth. You are destined, at some time or other, to become a great agricultural and commercial people; the only question is, whether you choose to reach this point by slow gradations, and at some distant period; lingering on through a long and sickly minority; subjected, meanwhile, to the machinations, insults, and oppressions,[Pg 361] of enemies, foreign and domestic, without sufficient strength to resist and chastise them; or whether you choose rather to rush at once, as it were, to the full enjoyment of those high destinies, and be able to cope, single-handed, with the proudest oppressor of the Old World. If you prefer the latter course, as I trust you do, encourage immigration; encourage the husbandmen, the mechanics, the merchants, of the Old World to come and settle in this land of promise; make it the home of the skillful, the industrious, the fortunate, and happy, as well as the asylum of the distressed; fill up the measure of your population as speedily as you can, by the means which Heaven hath placed in your power; and I venture to prophesy there are those now living who will see this favored land amongst the most powerful on earth; able to take care of herself, without resorting to that policy, which is always so dangerous, though sometimes unavoidable, of calling in foreign aid. Yes, they will see her great in arts and in arms; her golden harvests waving over fields of immeasurable extent; her commerce penetrating the most distant seas, and her cannon silencing the vain boasts of those who now proudly affect to rule the waves.

THE FLEET OF COLUMBUS Niña.       Santa Maria.       Pinta.
(See pages 216 and 282.)

But you must have men; you can not get along without them; those heavy forests of valuable timber, under which your lands are growing, must be cleared away; those vast riches which cover the face of your soil, as well as those which lie hid in its bosom, are to be developed and gathered only by the skill and enterprise of men. Do you ask how you are to get them? Open your doors, and they will come in; the population of the Old World is full to overflowing; that population is ground, too, by the oppressions of the governments under which they live. They are already standing on tiptoe upon their native shores, and looking to your coasts with a wishful and longing eye; they see here[Pg 362] a land blessed with natural and political advantages which are not equaled by those of any other country upon earth; a land on which a gracious Providence hath emptied the horn of abundance; a land over which peace hath now stretched forth her white wings, and where content and plenty lie down at every door. They see something still more attractive than all this; they see a land in which liberty hath taken up her abode; that liberty whom they had considered as a fabled goddess, existing only in the fancies of poets; they see her here a real divinity, her altars rising on every hand throughout these happy States, her glories chanted by three millions of tongues, and the whole region smiling under her blessed influence. Let but this our celestial goddess, Liberty, stretch forth her fair hand toward the people of the Old World, tell them to come, and bid them welcome, and you will see them pouring in from the north, from the south, from the east, and from the west; your wildernesses will be cleared and settled, your deserts will smile, your ranks will be filled, and you will soon be in a condition to defy the powers of any adversary.


George Stillman Hillard, an eminent American writer, lawyer, and orator. Born at Machias, Maine, 1808; died, 1879. From an Independence Day oration.

Our Rome can not fall, and we be innocent. No conqueror will chain us to the car of his triumph; no countless swarm of Huns and Goths will bury the memorials and trophies of civilized life beneath a living tide of barbarism. Our own selfishness, our own neglect, our own passions, and our own vices will furnish the elements of our destruction. With our own hands we shall tear down the stately edifice of our glory. We shall die by self-inflicted wounds.[Pg 363]

But we will not talk of themes like these. We will not think of failure, dishonor, and despair. We will elevate our minds to the contemplation of our high duties and the great trust committed to us. We will resolve to lay the foundations of our prosperity on that rock of private virtue which can not be shaken until the laws of the moral world are reversed. From our own breasts shall flow the salient springs of national increase. Then our success, our happiness, our glory, will be as inevitable as the inferences of mathematics. We may calmly smile at all the croakings of all the ravens, whether of native or foreign breed.

The whole will not grow weak by the increase of its parts. Our growth will be like that of the mountain oak, which strikes its roots more deeply into the soil, and clings to it with a closer grasp, as its lofty head is exalted and its broad arms stretched out. The loud burst of joy and gratitude which, on this, the anniversary of our independence, is breaking from the full hearts of a mighty people, will never cease to be heard. No chasms of sullen silence will interrupt its course; no discordant notes of sectional madness mar the general harmony. Year after year will increase it by tributes from now unpeopled solitudes. The farthest West shall hear it and rejoice; the Oregon shall swell it with the voice of its waters; the Rocky Mountains shall fling back the glad sound from their snowy crests.


Oliver Wendell Holmes, M. D., the distinguished American author, wit, and poet. Born in Cambridge, Mass., August 29, 1809.

America is the only place where man is full-grown.[Pg 364]


The Rev. Thomas Starr King, an American Unitarian divine. Born in New York in 1824; died, 1864. From an address on the "Privileges and Duties of Patriotism," delivered in November, 1862. By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers, Boston.

Suppose that the continent could turn toward you to-morrow at sunrise, and show to you the whole American area in the short hours of the sun's advance from Eastport to the Pacific. You would see New England roll into light from the green plumes of Aroostook to the silver stripe of the Hudson; westward thence over the Empire State, and over the lakes, and over the sweet valleys of Pennsylvania, and over the prairies, the morning blush would run and would waken all the line of the Mississippi; from the frosts where it rises to the fervid waters in which it pours, for 3,000 miles it would be visible, fed by rivers that flow from every mile of the Alleghany slope, and edged by the green embroideries of the temperate and tropic zones; beyond this line another basin, too—the Missouri—catching the morning, leads your eye along its western slope till the Rocky Mountains burst upon the vision, and yet do not bar it; across its passes we must follow, as the stubborn courage of American pioneers has forced its way, till again the Sierras and their silver veins are tinted along the mighty bulwark with the break of day; and then over to the gold fields of the western slope, and the fatness of the California soil, and the beautiful valleys of Oregon, and the stately forests of Washington, the eye is drawn, as the globe turns out of the night shadow; and when the Pacific waves are crested with radiance, you have the one blending picture—nay, the reality—of the American domain. No such soil—so varied by climate, by products, by mineral riches, by forest and lake, by wild heights and buttresses,[Pg 365] and by opulent plains, yet all bound into unity of configuration and bordered by both warm and icy seas—no such domain, was ever given to one people.

And then suppose that you could see in a picture as vast and vivid the preparation for our inheritance of this land. Columbus, haunted by his round idea, and setting sail in a sloop, to see Europe sink behind him, while he was serene in the faith of his dream; the later navigators of every prominent Christian race who explored the upper coasts; the Mayflower, with her cargo of sifted acorns from the hardy stock of British puritanism, and the ship, whose name we know not, that bore to Virginia the ancestors of Washington; the clearing of the wilderness, and the dotting of its clearings with the proofs of manly wisdom and Christian trust; then the gradual interblending of effort and interest and sympathy into one life—the congress of the whole Atlantic slope—to resist oppression upon one member; the rally of every State around Washington and his holy sword, and again the nobler rally around him when he signed the Constitution, and after that the organization of the farthest West with North and South, into one polity and communion; when this was finished, the tremendous energy of free life, under the stimulus and with the aid of advancing science, in increasing wealth, subduing the wilds to the bonds of use, multiplying fertile fields and busy schools and noble work-shops and churches, hallowed by free-will offerings of prayer; and happy homes, and domes dedicated to the laws of States that rise by magic from the haunts of the buffalo and deer, all in less than a long lifetime; and if we could see also how, in achieving this, the flag which represents all this history is dyed in traditions of exploits, by land and sea, that have given heroes to American annals whose names are potent to conjure with, while the world's list of thinkers in matter is crowded[Pg 366] with the names of American inventors, and the higher rolls of literary merit are not empty of the title of our "representative men"; if all that the past has done for us, and the present reveals, could thus stand apparent in one picture, and then if the promise of the future to the children of our millions under our common law, and with continental peace, could be caught in one vast spectral exhibition—the wealth in store, the power, the privilege, the freedom, the learning, the expansive and varied and mighty unity in fellowship, almost fulfilling the poet's dream of "the parliament of man, the federation of the world"—you would exclaim with exultation, "I, too, am an American!" You would feel that patriotism, next to your tie to the Divine Love, is the greatest privilege of your life; and you would devote yourselves, out of inspiration and joy, to the obligations of patriotism, that this land, so spread, so adorned, so colonized, so blessed, should be kept forever against all the assaults of traitors, one in polity, in spirit, and in aim.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. From his "Courtship of Miles Standish," IV.

God hath sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting.


From North British Review.

It is too late to disparage America. Accustomed to look with wonder on the civilization of the past, upon the unblest glories of Greece and of Rome, upon mighty empires that have risen but to fall, the English mind has never fixed itself on the grand phenomenon of a great nation at school. Viewing America as a forward child that has[Pg 367] deserted its home and abjured its parent, we have ever looked upon her with a callous heart and with an evil eye, judicially blind to her progress.

But how she has gone on developing the resources of a region teeming with vegetable life. How she has intrenched herself amid noble institutions, with temples enshrined in religious toleration, with universities of private bequest and public organization, with national and unshackled schools, and with all the improvements which science, literature, and philanthropy demand from the citizen or from the state.

Supplied from the Old World with its superabundant life, the Anglo-Saxon tide has been carrying its multiplied population to the West, rushing onward through impervious forests, leveling their lofty pines and converting the wilderness into abodes of populous plenty, intelligence, and taste. Nor is this living flood the destroying scourge which Providence sometimes lets loose upon our species. It breathes in accents which are our own; it is instinct with English life; and it bears on its snowy crest the auroral light of the East, to gild the darkness of the West with the purple radiance of salvation, of knowledge, and of peace.

Her empire of coal, her kingdom of cotton and of corn, her regions of gold and of iron, mark out America as the center of civilization, as the emporium of the world's commerce, as the granary and storehouse out of which the kingdoms of the East will be clothed and fed; and, we greatly fear, as the asylum in which our children will take refuge when the hordes of Asia and the semi-barbarians of Eastern Europe shall again darken and desolate the West.

Though dauntless in her mien, and colossal in her strength, she displays upon her banner the star of peace, shedding its radiance upon us. Let us reciprocate the celestial light, and, strong and peaceful ourselves, we shall have nothing to fear from her power, but everything to learn from her example.[Pg 368]


James Otis, a celebrated American orator and patriot. Born at West Barnstable, Mass., February 5, 1725. Killed by lightning at Andover, Mass., May, 1783.

England may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes as to fetter the step of Freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland. We plunged into the wave with the great charter of freedom in our teeth because the faggot and torch were behind us. We have waked this new world from its savage lethargy; forests have been prostrated in our path, towns and cities have grown up suddenly as the flowers of the tropics, and the fires in our autumnal woods are scarcely more rapid than the increase of our wealth and population.


Prof. John Knowles Paine of Harvard University has completed the music of his Columbian march and chorus, to be performed on the occasion of the dedication of the Exposition buildings, October 21, 1892, to write which he was especially commissioned by the Exposition management. Prof. Paine has provided these original words for the choral ending of his composition:

All hail and welcome, nations of the earth!
Columbia's greeting comes from every State.
Proclaim to all mankind the world's new birth
Of freedom, age on age shall consecrate.
Let war and enmity forever cease,
Let glorious art and commerce banish wrong;
The universal brotherhood of peace
Shall be Columbia's high inspiring song.

From the celebrated picture by John Vanderlyn,
in the Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, D. C.
(See page 310.)

[Pg 369]


Charles Phillips, an Irish barrister. Born at Sligo, about 1788. He practiced with success in criminal cases in London, and gained a wide reputation by his speeches, the style of which is rather florid. He was for many years a commissioner of the insolvent debtors' court in London. Died in 1859.

Search creation round, where can you find a country that presents so sublime a view, so interesting an anticipation? Who shall say for what purpose mysterious Providence may not have designed her? Who shall say that when in its follies, or its crimes, the Old World may have buried all the pride of its power, and all the pomp of its civilization, human nature may not find its destined renovation in the New! When its temples and its trophies shall have moldered into dust; when the glories of its name shall be but the legend of tradition, and the light of its achievements live only in song, philosophy will revive again in the sky of her Franklin, and glory rekindle at the urn of her Washington.

Is this the vision of romantic fancy? Is it even improbable? I appeal to History! Tell me, thou reverend chronicler of the grave, can all the illusions of ambition realized, can all the wealth of a universal commerce, can all the achievements of successful heroism, or all the establishments of this world's wisdom secure to empire the permanency of its possessions? Alas, Troy thought so once; yet the land of Priam lives only in song. Thebes thought so once; yet her hundred gates have crumbled, and her very tombs are but as the dust they were vainly intended to commemorate. So thought Palmyra; where is she? So thought the countries of Demosthenes and the Spartan; yet Leonidas is trampled by the timid slave, and Athens insulted by the servile, mindless, and enervate Ottoman. In his hurried march, Time has but looked at their imagined immortality, and all its vanities, from the palace to the tomb, have, with their ruins, erased the very impression of his[Pg 370] footsteps. The days of their glory are as if they had never been; and the island that was then a speck, rude and neglected, in the barren ocean, now rivals the ubiquity of their commerce, the glory of their arms, the fame of their philosophy, the eloquence of their senate, and the inspiration of their bards. Who shall say, then, contemplating the past, that England, proud and potent as she appears, may not one day be what Athens is, and the young America yet soar to be what Athens was. Who shall say, when the European column shall have moldered, and the night of barbarism obscured its very ruins, that that mighty continent may not emerge from the horizon, to rule, for its time, sovereign of the ascendant.


Wendell Phillips, "the silver-tongued orator of America," and anti-slavery reformer. Born in Boston, Mass., November 29, 1811; died, February 2, 1884.

The Carpathian Mountains may shelter tyrants. The slopes of Germany may bear up a race more familiar with the Greek text than the Greek phalanx. For aught I know, the wave of Russian rule may sweep so far westward as to fill once more with miniature despots the robber castles of the Rhine. But of this I am sure: God piled the Rocky Mountains as the ramparts of freedom. He scooped the Valley of the Mississippi as the cradle of free States. He poured Niagara as the anthem of free men.


Edward G. Porter. In an article entitled "The Ship Columbia and the Discovery of Oregon," in the New England Magazine, June, 1892.

Few ships, if any, in our merchant marine, since the organ[Pg 371]ization of the republic, have acquired such distinction as the Columbia.

By two noteworthy achievements, 100 years ago, she attracted the attention of the commercial world and rendered a service to the United States unparalleled in our history. She was the first American vessel to carry the stars and stripes around the globe; and, by her discovery of "the great river of the West" to which her name was given, she furnished us with the title to our possession of that magnificent domain which to-day is represented by the flourishing young States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

The famous ship was well-known and much talked about at the time, but her records have mostly disappeared, and there is very little knowledge at present concerning her.


Edna Dean Proctor. In September Century

The rose may bloom for England,
The lily for France unfold;
Ireland may honor the shamrock,
Scotland her thistle bold;
But the shield of the great Republic,
The glory of the West,
Shall bear a stalk of the tasseled corn—
Of all our wealth the best.
The arbutus and the golden-rod
The heart of the North may cheer;
And the mountain laurel for Maryland
Its royal clusters rear;
And jasmine and magnolia
The crest of the South adorn;
But the wide Republic's emblem
Is the bounteous, golden corn!
[Pg 372]


Thomas Buchanan Read, a distinguished American artist and poet. Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1822; died in New York, May 11, 1872. From his "Emigrant's Song."[60]

Leave the tears to the maiden, the fears to the child, While the future stands beckoning afar in the wild; For there Freedom, more fair, walks the primeval land, Where the wild deer all court the caress of her hand. There the deep forests fall, and the old shadows fly, And the palace and temple leap into the sky. Oh, the East holds no place where the onward can rest, And alone there is room in the land of the West!


The Rev. Myron W. Reed, a distinguished American clergyman of Denver, Colo. From an address delivered in 1892.

The best thing we can do for the world is to take care of America. Keep our country up to the primitive pitch. In front of my old home, in another city, is the largest elm in the county. It never talked, it never went about doing good. It stood there and made shade for an acre of children, and a shelter for all the birds that came. It stood there and preached strength in the air by wide-flung branches, and strength in the earth by as many and as long roots as limbs. It stood, one fearful night, the charge of a cyclone, and was serene in the March morning. It proclaimed what an elm could be. It set tree-planters to planting elms. So America preaches, man capable of self-government; preaches over the sea, a republic is safer than any kingdom. Men have outgrown kings. We shall remember Walt Whitman, if only for a line, "O America! we build for you because you build for the world."[Pg 373]


William Henry Seward, an eminent American statesman. Born at Florida, Orange County, N. Y., May 16, 1801; died at Auburn, N. Y., October 10, 1872.

A kind of reverence is paid by all nations to antiquity. There is no one that does not trace its lineage from the gods, or from those who were especially favored by the gods. Every people has had its age of gold, or Augustine age, or historic age—an age, alas! forever passed. These prejudices are not altogether unwholesome. Although they produce a conviction of declining virtue, which is unfavorable to generous emulation, yet a people at once ignorant and irreverential would necessarily become licentious. Nevertheless, such prejudices ought to be modified. It is untrue that in the period of a nation's rise from disorder to refinement it is not able to continually surpass itself. We see the present, plainly, distinctly, with all its coarse outlines, its rough inequalities, its dark blots, and its glaring deformities. We hear all its tumultuous sounds and jarring discords. We see and hear the past through a distance which reduces all its inequalities to a plane, mellows all its shades into a pleasing hue, and subdues even its hoarsest voices into harmony. In our own case, the prejudice is less erroneous than in most others. The Revolutionary age was truly a heroic one. Its exigencies called forth the genius, and the talents, and the virtues of society, and they ripened amid the hardships of a long and severe trial. But there were selfishness and vice and factions then as now, although comparatively subdued and repressed. You have only to consult impartial history to learn that neither public faith, nor public loyalty, nor private virtue, culminated at that period in our own country; while a mere glance at the literature, or at the stage, or at the politics of any European country, in any previous age, reveals the fact[Pg 374] that it was marked, more distinctly than the present, by licentious morals and mean ambition. It is only just to infer in favor of the United States an improvement of morals from their established progress in knowledge and power; otherwise, the philosophy of society is misunderstood, and we must change all our courses, and henceforth seek safety in imbecility, and virtue in superstition and ignorance.


Samuel Sewell. Born at Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England, March, 1652. Died at Boston, Mass., January, 1730.

Lift up your heads, O ye Gates of Columbia, and be ye lift up, ye Everlasting Doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.


Joseph Story, a distinguished American jurist. Born in Marblehead, Mass., September 18, 1779; died at Cambridge, Mass., September 10, 1845. By permission of Messrs. Little, Brown & Co., Publishers.

When we reflect on what has been, and is, how is it possible not to feel a profound sense of the responsibilities of this Republic to all future ages? What vast motives press upon us for lofty efforts! What brilliant prospects invite our enthusiasm! What solemn warnings at once demand our vigilance and moderate our confidence! We stand, the latest, and, if we fail, probably the last, experiment of self-government by the people. We have begun it under circumstances of the most auspicious nature. We are in the vigor of youth. Our growth has never been checked by the oppressions of tyranny. Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the Old World. Such as we are, we have been from the beginning—simple, hardy, intelligent, accustomed to self-government and self-[Pg 375]respect. The Atlantic rolls between us and any formidable foe. Within our own territory, stretching through many degrees of latitude and longitude, we have the choice of many products and many means of independence. The government is mild. The press is free. Religion is free. Knowledge reaches, or may reach, every home. What fairer prospect of success could be presented? What means more adequate to accomplish the sublime end? What more is necessary than for the people to preserve what they themselves have created? Already has the age caught the spirit of our institutions. It has already ascended the Andes, and snuffed the breezes of both oceans. It has infused itself into the life-blood of Europe, and warmed the sunny plains of France and the lowlands of Holland. It has touched the philosophy of Germany and the north, and, moving to the south, has opened to Greece the lessons of her better days.


William Stoughton. From an election sermon at Boston, Mass., April 29, 1669.

God sifted a whole nation that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness.


Moses F. Sweetser, an American littérateur. Born in Massachusetts, 1848. From his "Hand-book of the United States."[61]

The name America comes from amalric, or emmerich, an old German word spread through Europe by the Goths, and softened in Latin to Americus, and in Italian to Amerigo. It was first applied to Brazil. Americus Vespucius, the son of a wealthy Florentine notary, made several voyages to the New World, a few years later than[Pg 376] Columbus, and gave spirited accounts of his discoveries. About the year 1507, Hylacomylus, of the college at St. Dié, in the Vosges Mountains, brought out a book on cosmography, in which he said, "Now, truly, as these regions are more widely explored, and another fourth part is discovered, by Americus Vespucius, I see no reason why it should not be justly called Amerigen; that is, the land of Americus, or America, from Americus, its discoverer, a man of a subtle intellect." Hylacomylus invented the name America, and, as there was no other title for the New World, this came gradually into general use. It does not appear that Vespucius was a party to this almost accidental transaction, which has made him a monument of a hemisphere.


T. T. Swinburne, the poet, has written to J. M. Samuels, chief of the Department of Horticulture at the World's Columbian Exposition, proposing the columbine as the Columbian Exposition and national flower. He gives as reasons:

It is most appropriate in name, color, and form. Its name is suggestive of Columbia, and our country is often called by that name. Its botanical name, aquilegia, is derived from aquila (eagle), on account of the spur of the petals resembling the talons, and the blade, the beak, of the eagle, our national bird. Its colors are red, white, and blue, our national colors. The corolla is divided into five points resembling the star used to represent our States on our flag; its form also represents the Phrygian cap of liberty, and it is an exact copy of the horn of plenty, the symbol of the Columbian Exposition. The flowers cluster around a central stem, as our States around the central government.[Pg 377]


Bayard Taylor, the distinguished American traveler, writer, and poet. Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1835; died at Berlin, December 19, 1878. From his "Song of '76." By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers, Boston.

Waken, voice of the land's devotion!
Spirit of freedom, awaken all!
Ring, ye shores, to the song of ocean,
Rivers answer, and mountains call!
The golden day has come;
Let every tongue be dumb
That sounded its malice or murmured its fears;
She hath won her story;
She wears her glory;
We crown her the Land of a Hundred Years!

Out of darkness and toil and danger
Into the light of victory's day,
Help to the weak, and home to the stranger,
Freedom to all, she hath held her way!
Now Europe's orphans rest
Upon her mother-breast.
The voices of nations are heard in the cheers
That shall cast upon her
New love and honor,
And crown her the Queen of a Hundred Years!

North and South, we are met as brothers;
East and West, we are wedded as one;
Right of each shall secure our mother's;
Child of each is her faithful son.
We give thee heart and hand,
Our glorious native land,
For battle has tried thee, and time endears.
We will write thy story,
And keep thy glory
As pure as of old for a Thousand Years!
[Pg 378]


Henry David Thoreau, American author and naturalist. Born in Concord, Mass., 1817; died in 1862. From his "Excursions" (1863). By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers, Boston.

If the moon looks larger here than in Europe, probably the sun looks larger also. If the heavens of America appear infinitely higher and the stars brighter, I trust that these facts are symbolical of the height to which the philosophy and poetry and religion of her inhabitants may one day soar. At length, perchance, the immaterial heaven will appear as much higher to the American mind, and the intimations that star it, as much brighter. For I believe that climate does thus react on man, as there is something in the mountain air that feeds the spirit and inspires. Will not man grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically under these influences? Or is it unimportant how many foggy days there are in his life? I trust that we shall be more imaginative, that our thoughts will be clearer, fresher, and more ethereal, as our sky; our understanding more comprehensive and broader, like our plains; our intellect generally on a grander scale, like our thunder and lightning, our rivers, and mountains, and forests, and our hearts shall even correspond in breadth and depth and grandeur to our inland seas. Else to what end does the world go on, and why was America discovered?


William Tudor, an American littérateur. Born at Boston in 1779; died, 1830.

Our numerous waterfalls and the enchanting beauty of our lakes afford many objects of the most picturesque[Pg 379] character; while the inland seas, from Superior to Ontario, and that astounding cataract, whose roar would hardly be increased by the united murmurs of all the cascades of Europe, are calculated to inspire vast and sublime conceptions. The effects, too, of our climate, composed of a Siberian winter and an Italian summer, furnish new and peculiar objects for description. The circumstances of remote regions are here blended, and strikingly opposite appearances witnessed, in the same spot, at different seasons of the year. In our winters, we have the sun at the same altitude as in Italy, shining on an unlimited surface of snow, which can only be found in the higher latitudes of Europe, where the sun, in the winter, rises little above the horizon. The dazzling brilliancy of a winter's day and a moonlight night, in an atmosphere astonishingly clear and frosty, when the utmost splendor of the sky is reflected from a surface of spotless white, attended with the most excessive cold, is peculiar to the northern part of the United States. What, too, can surpass the celestial purity and transparency of the atmosphere in a fine autumnal day, when our vision and our thought seem carried to the third heaven; the gorgeous magnificence of the close, when the sun sinks from our view, surrounded with various masses of clouds, fringed with gold and purple, and reflecting, in evanescent tints, all the hues of the rainbow.


Horace Walpole, fourth Earl of Oxford, a famous English literary gossip, amateur, and wit. Born in London, October, 1717; died, March, 1797.

Liberty has still a continent to exist in.[Pg 380]


Daniel Webster, the celebrated American statesman, jurist, and orator. Born at Salisbury, N. H., January 18, 1782; died at Marshfield, Mass., October 24, 1852.

I profess to feel a strong attachment to the liberty of the United States; to the constitution and free institutions of the United States; to the honor, and I may say the glory, of this great Government and great country.

I feel every injury inflicted upon this country almost as a personal injury. I blush for every fault which I think I see committed in its public councils as if they were faults or mistakes of my own.

I know that, at this moment, there is no object upon earth so attracting the gaze of the intelligent and civilized nations of the earth as this great Republic. All men look at us, all men examine our course, all good men are anxious for a favorable result to this great experiment of republican liberty. We are on a hill and can not be hid. We can not withdraw ourselves either from the commendation or the reproaches of the civilized world. They see us as that star of empire which, half a century ago, was predicted as making its way westward. I wish they may see it as a mild, placid, though brilliant orb, making its way athwart the whole heavens, to the enlightening and cheering of mankind; and not a meteor of fire and blood, terrifying the nations.


John Greenleaf Whittier, the distinguished American poet. Born at Haverhill, Mass, December 17, 1807. From his poem, "On receiving an eagle's quill from Lake Superior." By permission of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers, Boston.

I hear the tread of pioneers,
[Pg 381]Of nations yet to be;
The first low wash of waves, where soon
Shall roll a human sea.

The rudiments of empire here
Are plastic yet and warm;
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form.

Each rude and jostling fragment soon
Its fitting place shall find—
The raw material of a state,
Its muscle and its mind.

And, westering still, the star which leads
The New World in its train
Has tipped with fire the icy spears
Of many a mountain chain.

The snowy cones of Oregon
Are kindling on its way;
And California's golden sands
Gleam brighter in its ray.


Robert C. Winthrop, an American statesman and orator. Born in Boston, Mass., May 12, 1809. From his "Centennial Oration," delivered in Boston, 1876.

Instruments and wheels of the invisible governor of the universe! This is indeed all which the greatest men ever have been, or ever can be. No flatteries of courtiers, no adulations of the multitude, no audacity of self-reliance, no intoxications of success, no evolutions or developments of science, can make more or other of them. This is "the sea-mark of their utmost sail," the goal of their farthest run, the very round and top of their highest soaring. Oh, if there could be to-day a deeper and more pervading[Pg 382] impression of this great truth throughout our land, and a more prevailing conformity of our thoughts and words and acts to the lessons which it involves; if we could lift ourselves to a loftier sense of our relations to the invisible; if, in surveying our past history, we could catch larger and more exalted views of our destinies and our responsibilities; if we could realize that the want of good men may be a heavier woe to a land than any want of what the world calls great men, our centennial year would not only be signalized by splendid ceremonials, and magnificent commemorations, and gorgeous expositions, but it would go far toward fulfilling something of the grandeur of that "acceptable year," which was announced by higher than human lips, and would be the auspicious promise and pledge of a glorious second century of independence and freedom for our country. For, if that second century of self-government is to go on safely to its close, or is to go on safely and prosperously at all, there must be some renewal of that old spirit of subordination and obedience to divine, as well as human, laws, which has been our security in the past. There must be faith in something higher and better than ourselves. There must be a reverent acknowledgment of an unseen, but all-seeing, all-controlling Ruler of the Universe. His word, His house, His day, His worship, must be sacred to our children, as they have been to their fathers; and His blessing must never fail to be invoked upon our land and upon our liberties. The patriot voice, which cried from the balcony of yonder old State House, when the declaration had been originally proclaimed, "stability and perpetuity to American independence," did not fail to add, "God save our American States." I would prolong that ancestral prayer. And the last phrase to pass my lips at this hour, and to take its chance for remembrance or oblivion in years to come, as the conclusion of this centen[Pg 383]nial oration, and as the sum and summing up of all I can say to the present or the future, shall be: There is, there can be, no independence of God; in Him, as a nation, no less than in Him, as individuals, "we live, and move, and have our being!" God save our American States!


From "Things that Threaten the Destruction of American Institutions," a sermon by T. De Witt Talmage, delivered in Brooklyn Tabernacle, October 12, 1884.

What! can a nation die? Yes; there has been great mortality among monarchies and republics. Like individuals, they are born, have a middle life and a decease, a cradle and a grave. Sometimes they are assassinated and sometimes they suicide. Call the roll, and let some one answer for them. Egyptian civilization, stand up! Dead, answer the ruins of Karnak and Luxor. Dead, respond in chorus the seventy pyramids on the east side the Nile. Assyrian Empire, stand up! Dead, answer the charred ruins of Nineveh. After 600 years of opportunity, dead. Israelitish Kingdom, stand up! After 250 years of miraculous vicissitude, and Divine intervention, and heroic achievement, and appalling depravity, dead. Phœnicia, stand up! After inventing the alphabet and giving it to the world, and sending out her merchant caravans to Central Asia in one direction, and her navigators into the Atlantic Ocean in another direction, and 500 years of prosperity, dead. Dead, answer the "Pillars of Hercules" and the rocks on which the Tyrian fishermen spread their nets. Athens—after Phidias, after Demosthenes, after Miltiades, after Marathon—dead. Sparta—after Leonidas, after Eurybiades, after Salamis, after Thermopylæ—dead.

Roman Empire, stand up and answer to the roll-call! Once bounded on the north by the British Channel and on[Pg 384] the south by the Sahara Desert of Africa, on the east by the Euphrates and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Home of three civilizations. Owning all the then discovered world that was worth owning. Gibbon, in his "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," answers, "Dead." And the vacated seats of the ruined Coliseum, and the skeletons of the aqueduct, and the miasma of the Campagna, and the fragments of the marble baths, and the useless piers of the bridge Triumphalis, and the silenced forum, and the Mamertine dungeon, holding no more apostolic prisoners; and the arch of Titus, and Basilica of Constantine, and the Pantheon, lift up a nightly chorus of "Dead! dead!" Dead, after Horace, and Virgil, and Tacitus, and Livy, and Cicero; after Horatius of the bridge, and Cincinnatus, the farmer oligarch; after Scipio, and Cassius, and Constantine, and Cæsar. Her war-eagle, blinded by flying too near the sun, came reeling down through the heavens, and the owl of desolation and darkness made its nest in the forsaken ærie. Mexican Empire, dead! French Empire, dead! You see it is no unusual thing for a government to perish. And in the same necrology of nations, and in the same cemetery of expired governments, will go the United States of America unless some potent voice shall call a halt, and through Divine interposition, by a purified ballot-box and an all-pervading moral Christian sentiment, the present evil tendency be stopped.

First Bronze Statue to Columbus in America
(See page 279.)

[Pg 385]



[Pg 389]



[Pg 391]


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[1] Markham, in his "Life of Columbus," advances the ingenious suggestion of a marriage invalidated by the pre-contract of Beatrix to one Enriquez. No authority is adduced for this theory.

[2] The monastery has been restored and preserved as a national memorial since 1846.

[3] The invention of the mariner's compass is claimed by the Chinese for the Emperor Hong-ti, a grandson of Noah, about 2634 B. C. A compass was brought from China to Queen Elizabeth A. D. 1260 by P. Venutus. By some the invention is ascribed to Marcus Paulus, a Venetian, A. D. 1260. The discovery of the compass was long attributed to Flavio Gioja, a Neapolitan sailor, A. D. 1302, who in reality made improvements on then existing patterns and brought them to the form now used. The variation of the needle was known to the Chinese, being mentioned in the works of the Chinese philosopher Keon-tsoung-chy, who flourished about A. D. 1111. The dip of the needle was discovered A. D. 1576 by Robert Norman of London. Time was measured on voyages by the hour-glass. Compare Shakespere:

Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass
Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass.

[4] Capt. Parker, in Goldthwaithe's Geographical Monthly, argues ably that the myth that a light was seen by Columbus at 8 P. M. of the night of the discovery should be dropped simply as rubbish; it is incredible. More than one hundred men in the three vessels were anxiously looking for signs of land, and two "think" they see a light. To say that Columbus felt sure that he saw a light is to pronounce him an imbecile. For if ahead, he would have stopped; if abeam, stood for it. His log does not say where or in what direction the light was—an important omission—and Columbus ran forty sea miles after he saw this mythical light.

We may safely decide that Watling Island, named after a buccaneer or pirate of the seventeenth century, is best supported by investigation as the landfall of Columbus.

Cronau, who visited Watling Island in 1890, supposes that Columbus' ships, after making the land, continued on their course, under the reduced sail, at the rate of four or five miles an hour; and at daylight found themselves off the northwest end of the island. Mr. Cronau evidently is not a seafaring man or he would know that no navigator off an unknown island at night would stand on, even at the rate of one mile an hour, ignorant of what shoal or reefs might lie off the end of the island.

[5] The following from Las Casas' epitome of the log is all the information we have concerning the "sighting" of the New World:

"Thursday, October 11, 1492.—Navegó al Ouesudueste, turvieron mucho mar mas que en todo el viage habian tenido. Despues del sol puesto navegó á su primer Camino al Oueste; andarian doce millas cada hora. A las dos horas despues de media noche pareció la tierra, de la cual estarian dos leguas. Amainaron todas las velas y quedaron con el treo que es la vela grande sin bonetas, y pusiérouse á la corda temporizando hasta el dia viernes que llegaron á uná isleta de los Lucayos que se llamaba en lengua de indios Guanahani."

That is: "They steered west-southwest and experienced a much heavier sea than they had had before in the whole voyage. After sunset they resumed their former course west, and sailed twelve miles an hour. At 2 o'clock in the morning the land appeared (was sighted), two leagues off. They lowered all the sails and remained under the storm sail, which is the main sail without bonnets, and hove to, waiting for daylight; and Friday [found they had] arrived at a small island of the Lucayos which the Indians called Guanahani."

It will be observed that these are the words of Las Casas, and they were evidently written some years after the event.

[6] Helps refers to the island as "one of the Bahamas." It has been variously identified with Turks Island, by Navarette (1825); with Cat Island, by Irving (1828) and Humboldt (1836); with Mayaguara, by Varnhagen (1864); and finally, with greatest show of probability, with Watling Island, by Muñoz (1798), supported by Becher (1856), Peschel (1857), and Major (1871).

[7] See page 217, post.

[8] The greatest blot on the character of Columbus is contained in this and a succeeding letter. Under the shallow pretense of benefiting the souls of idolators, he suggested to the Spanish rulers the advisability of shipping the natives to Spain as slaves. He appeals to their cupidity by picturing the revenue to be derived therefrom, and stands convicted in the light of history as the prime author of that blood-drenched rule which exterminated millions of simple aborigines in the West Indian Archipelago.

[9] The countries which he had discovered were considered as a part of India. In consequence of this notion the name of Indies is given to them by Ferdinand and Isabella in a ratification of their former agreement, which was granted to Columbus after his return.—Robertson's "History of America."

[10] The will of Diego Mendez, one of Columbus' most trusted followers, states that the Governor of Xaragua in seven months burned and hanged eighty-four chiefs, including the Queen of San Domingo.

[11] Owing to the difficulty in securing animals for the cavalry in Spain (about A. D. 1505), an edict had been published by the King forbidding the use of mules in traveling, except by royal permission.

While Columbus was in Seville he wished to make a journey to the court, then sitting at Granada, to plead his own cause. Cardinal Mendoza placed his litter at the disposal of the Admiral, but he preferred a mule, and wrote to Diego, asking him to petition the King for the privilege of using one. The request was granted in the following curious document:

Decree granting to Don Cristoval Colon permission to ride on a mule, saddled and bridled, through any part of these Kingdoms.

The King: As I am informed that you, Cristoval Colon, the Admiral, are in poor bodily health, owing to certain diseases which you had or have, and that you can not ride on horse-back without injury to your health; therefore, conceding this to your advanced age, I, by these presents, grant you leave to ride on a mule, saddled and bridled, through whatever parts of these kingdoms or realms you wish and choose, notwithstanding the law which I issued thereto; and I command the subjects of all parts of these kingdoms and realms not to offer you any impediment or allow any to be offered to you, under penalty of ten thousand maravedi in behalf of the treasury, of whoever does the contrary.

Given in the City of Toro, February 23, 1505.


.s. s .s.
X  M  Y

Columbus' Cipher.—The interpretation of the seven-lettered cipher, accepting the smaller letters of the second line as the final ones of the words, seems to be Servate-me, Xristus, Maria, Yosephus. The name Christopher appears in the last line.

[13] See Washington Irving, Life and Voyages of Columbus, London, 1831; Humboldt, Examen Critique de l'Histoire de la Geographie du Nouveau Continent, Paris, 1836; Sportorno, Codice Diplomatico Colombo-Americano, Genoa, 1823; Hernan Colon, Vita dell' Ammiraglio, 1571; (English translation in vol. xi of Churchill's Voyages and Travels, third edition, London, 1744; Spanish, 1745); Prescott, History of Ferdinand and Isabella, London, 1870; Major, Select Letters of Columbus, Hakluyt Society, London, 1847, and "On the Landfall of Columbus," in Journal of Royal Geographical Society for 1871; Sir Arthur Helps, Life of Columbus, London, 1868; Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages y Descubrimientos desde Fines del Siglo XV., Madrid, 1825; Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, London, 1863.

See also Pietro Martire d'Anghiera, Opus Epistolarum, 1530, and De Rebus Oceanicis et de Orbe Novo, 1511; Gomora, in Historiadores Primitivos de Indias, vol. xxii of Rivadaneyra's collection; Oveido y Valdes, Cronica de las Indias, Salamanca, 1547; Ramusio, Raccolta delle Navigatione et viaggi iii, Venetia, 1575; Herrera de Tordesillas, Historia de las Indias Occidentales, 1601; Antonio Leon Pinelo, Epitome de la Biblioteca Oriental y Occidental, Madrid, 1623; Muñoz, Historia del Nuevo Mundo, Madrid, 1793; Cancellieri, Notizia di Christoforo Colombo, 1809; Bossi, Vita di Christoforo Colombo, 1819; Charlevoix, Histoire de San Domingo; Lamartine, Christoph Colomb, Paris, 1862 (Spanish translation, 1865); Crompton, Life of Columbus, London, 1859; Voyages and Discoveries of Columbus, sixth edition, London, 1857; H. R. St. John, Life of Columbus, London, 1850.

[14] This letter received no answer.

[15] Columbus left the Canary Isles September 8th, made the land October 11th—thirty-three days.

[16] Watling's Island.

[17] These canes are probably the flowering stems of large grasses, similar to the bamboo or to the arundinaria used by the natives of Guiana for blowing arrows.

[18] An old Spanish coin, equal to the fiftieth part of a mark of gold.

[19] Small copper coins, equal to about the quarter of a farthing.

[20] One arroba weighs twenty-five pounds.

[21] There appears to be a doubt as to the exact number of men left by Columbus at Española, different accounts variously giving it as thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, and forty. There is, however, a list of their names included in one of the diplomatic documents printed on Navarrete's work, which makes the number amount to forty, independent of the Governor Diego de Arana and his two lieutenants, Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigo de Escobedo. All these men were Spaniards, with the exception of two; one an Irishman named William Ires, a native of Galway, and one an Englishman, whose name was given as Tallarte de Lajes, but whose native designation it is difficult to guess at. The document in question was a proclamation to the effect that the heirs of those men should, on presenting at the office of public business at Seville sufficient proof of their being the next of kin, receive payment in conformity with the royal order to that purpose, issued at Burgos on December 20, 1507.

[22] Dominica.

[23] Martinique.

[24] Of Genoa. The Island of Chios belonged to the Genoese Republic from 1346 to 1566.

[25] This prayer of Columbus, which is printed by Padre Claudio Clementi in the "Tablas Chronologicas de los Descubridores" (Valencia, 1689), was afterward repeated, by order of the Sovereigns of Castille, in subsequent discoveries. Hernando Cortez, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, Pizarro, and others, had to use it officially.

[26] It is very much to be regretted that Christopher Columbus' intentions in this respect were not carried out because the Protectors would have certainly decreed that a marble statue should be erected to commemorate so great a gift, and we would then possess an authentic portrait of the discoverer of America, which does not exist anywhere. Nor do I believe that the portrait of Columbus ever was drawn, carved, or painted from the life.

There were doubtless painters already in Spain at the close of the fifteenth century, such, for instance, as Juan Sanchez de Castro, Pedro Berruguette, Juan de Borgona, Antonio del Rincon, and the five artists whom Cardinal Ximenes intrusted with the task of adorning the paranymph of the University of Alcala, but they painted only religious subjects. It is at a later period that portrait painting commenced in Spain. One of those artists may have thought of painting a portrait of Columbus, but there is no trace of any such intention in the writings of the time, nor of the existence of an authentic effigy of the great navigator in Spain or any other country.

We must recollect that the enthusiasm created by the news of the discovery of America was far from being as great as people now imagine, and if we may judge from the silence of Spanish poets and historians of the fifteenth century, it produced less effect in Spain than anywhere else. At all events, the popularity of Columbus lasted scarcely six months, as deceptions commenced with the first letters that were sent from Hispaniola, and they never ceased whilst he was living. In fact, it is only between April 20, 1493, which is the date of his arrival in Barcelona, and the 20th of May following, when he left that city to embark for the second expedition (during the short space of six weeks), that his portrait might have been painted; although it was not then a Spanish notion, by any means. Neither Boabdil nor Gonzalvo de Cordova, whose exploits were certainly much more admired by the Spaniards than those of Columbus, were honored in that form during their lifetime. Even the portraits of Ferdinand and Isabella, although attributed to Antonio del Rincon, are only fancy pictures of the close of the sixteenth century.

The popularity of Columbus was short-lived because he led the Spanish nation to believe that gold was plentiful and easily obtained in Cuba and Hispaniola, whilst the Spaniards who, seduced by his enthusiastic descriptions, crossed the Atlantic in search of wealth, found nothing but sufferings and poverty. Those who managed to return home arrived in Spain absolutely destitute. They were noblemen, who clamored at the court and all over the country, charging "the stranger" with having deceived them. (Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, cap. lxxxv, f. 188; Las Casas, lib. i, cap. cxxii, vol. ii, p. 176; Andres Bernaldez, cap. cxxxi, vol. ii, p. 77.) It was not under such circumstances that Spaniards would have caused his portrait to be painted. The oldest effigy of Columbus known (a rough wood-cut in Jovius, illustrium virorum vitæ, Florentiæ, 1549, folio), was made at least forty years after his death, and in Italy, where he never returned after leaving it as a poor and unknown artizan. Let it be enough for us to know that he was above the medium height, robust, with sandy hair, a face elongated, flushed and freckled, vivid light gray eyes, the nose shaped like the beak of an eagle, and that he always was dressed like a monk. (Bernaldez, Oviedo, Las Casas, and the author of the Libretto, all eye-witnesses.)—H. Harrisse's "Columbus, and the Bank of St. George, in Genoa."

[27] What strikes the paleographer, when studying the handwriting of Christopher Columbus, is the boldness of the penmanship. You can see at a glance that he was a very rapid caligrapher, and one accustomed to write a great deal. This certainly was his reputation. The numberless memoirs, petitions, and letters which flew from his pen gave even rise to jokes and bywords. Francesillo de Zuñiga, Charles V.'s jester, in one of his jocular epistles exclaims: "I hope to God that Gutierrez will always have all the paper he wants, for he writes more than Ptolemy and than Columbus, the discoverer of the Indies."—Harrisse.

[28] By permission of Messrs. D. Appleton & Co.

[29] For the above interesting particulars, and for the artistic illustration of this beautiful statue, the compiler desires to record his sincere obligations to the courteous kindness of Mr. William G. Williams of Rutherford, N. J.

[30] Copyright 1892 and by permission of the author.

[31] Lope de Vega has been variously termed the "Center of Fame," the "Darling of Fortune," and the "Phœnix of the Ages," by his admiring compatriots. His was a most fertile brain; his a most fecund pen. A single day sufficed to compose a versified drama.

[32] By permission of Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers.

[33] For the above particulars and inscription the compiler desires to acknowledge his obligation to the Hon. Thomas Adamson, U. S. Consul General at Panama, and Mr. George W. Clamman, the able clerk of the U. S. Consulate in the city of Colon.

[34] Copernicus has also been so styled.

[35] Señor Emilio Castelar, the celebrated Spanish author and statesman, in his most able series of articles on Columbus in the Century Magazine, derides the fact of an actual mutiny as a convenient fable which authors and dramatists have clothed with much choice diction.

[36] Galileo, the great Italian natural philosopher, is here referred to by the author.

[37] By permission of Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers.

[38] By permission of Messrs. Ginn & Co., Publishers.

[39] The Rock of Gibraltar is referred to.

[40] The location of the church at Old Isabella has been exactly determined, and a noble monument (fully described in these pages) has been erected there under the auspices of the Sacred Heart Review of Boston.

[41] Since changed to a life-size statue of Columbus.

[42] A replica is erected in Boston.

[43] Copyright, 1892, by permission of the publishers.

[44] Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.

[45] Copyright, and by permission of Chas. Scribner's Sons, Publishers, New York.

[46] Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.

[47] Docuit quae maximus Atlas. Hic canit errantem Lernam, Solisque labores. Virgil, Æneid, I, 741.

[48] Navarrete thought that Turk Island was the island, the most southern of the Bahama group, because he erroneously assumed that Columbus always shaped a westerly course in sailing from island to island; and Turk Island, being farthest east, would give most room for such a course. This island has large lagoons, and is surrounded by a reef. So far it resembles Guanahani. But the second island, according to Navarrete, is Caicos, bearing W. N. W., while the second island of Columbus bore S. W. from the first. The third island of Columbus was in sight from the second. Inagua Chica (Little Inagua), Navarrete's third island, is not in sight from Caicos. The third island of Columbus was 60 miles long. Inagua Chica is only 12 miles long. The fourth island of Columbus bore east from the third. Inagua Grande (Great Inagua), Navarrete's fourth island, bears southwest from Inagua Chica.

Cat Island was the landfall advocated by Washington Irving and Humboldt, mainly on the ground that it was called San Salvador on the West India map in Blaeu's Dutch atlas of 1635. But this was done for no known reason but the caprice of the draughtsman. D'Anville copied from Blaeu in 1746, and so the name got into some later atlases. Cat Island does not meet a single one of the requirements of the case. Guanahani had a reef round it, and a large lagoon in the center. Cat Island has no reef and no lagoon. Guanahani was low; Cat Island is the loftiest of the Bahamas. The two islands could not be more different. Of course, in conducting Columbus from Cat Island to Cuba, Washington Irving is obliged to disregard all the bearings and distances given in the journal.

[49] The cross-staff had not then come into use, and it was never of much service in low latitudes.

[50] It was also resolved to establish in the city of Washington a Latin-American Memorial Library, wherein should be collected all the historical, geographical, and literary works, maps, and manuscripts, and official documents relating to the history and civilization of America, such library to be solemnly dedicated on the day on which the United States celebrates the fourth centennial of the discovery of America.

[51] Published by A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago.

[52] Copyright, 1892, by Harper & Brothers.

[53] Note.—Those marked * were left behind, in the fort, at La Navidad, and perished there.

[54] Note.—The names of the crew are on the Madrid monument.

[55] Randolph Rogers, an American sculptor of eminence, was born in Waterloo, N. Y., in 1825; died at Rome, in the same State, aged sixty-seven, January 14, 1892.

[56] Mr. George Sumner, a painstaking investigator, states that after diligent search he is unable to find any other inscription to the memory of Columbus in the whole of Spain.

At Valladolid, where he died, and where his body lay for some years, there is none, so far as he could discover; neither is there any trace of any at the Cartuja, near Seville, to which his body was afterward transferred, and in which his brother was buried. It is (he writes in 1871) a striking confirmation of the reproach of negligence, in regard to the memory of this great man, that, in this solitary inscription in old Spain, the date of his death should be inaccurately given.—Major's "Letters of Columbus," 1871.

(The Madrid and Barcelona statues were erected in 1885 and 1888 respectively.)—S. C. W.

[57] Since writing this the Lotto portrait has been selected.

[58] For an English metrical translation, see post, Wiffen.

[59] Died at Aldworth October 6, 1892.

[60] Copyright, by permission of Messrs. Lippincott.

[61] By permission of The Matthews-Northrup Co., Publishers.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Christopher Columbus and His Monument
Columbia, by Various


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