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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:30:08
Typefacelarge in Small
  Another clause which was much contested was his direction to his sonDiego to take care of Beatriz Enriquez, the mother of Fernando. Diego isinstructed to provide for her an honorable subsistence "as being a personto whom I have great obligation. What I do in this matter is to relieve myconscience, for this weighs much upon my mind. The reason of this cannotbe written here."The history of the litigation which followed upon this will and uponother documents which bear upon the fortunes of Columbus is curious, butscarcely interesting. The present representative of Columbus is DonCristobal Colon de la Cerda, Duke of Veragua and of La Vega, a grandeeof Spain of the first class, Marquis of Jamaica, Admiral and SeneschalMajor of the Indies, who lives at Madrid.

  On the thirteenth of August he leaves the island by what he calls thenorthern mouth of the river [Boca Grande], and begins to strike salt wateragain.

  Five hundred Indians, who came to be taught the language, enteringSpain as slaves, were but a poor return for the expenses in which thenation, not to say individuals, had been involved. The people of Spain,therefore, so far as they could show their feeling, were prejudiced againstColumbus and those who surrounded him. They heard with incredulity theaccounts of Cuba which he gave, and were quite indifferent to thegeographical theories by which he wanted to prove that it was a part ofAsia. He believed that the rich mines, which he had really found inHispaniola, were the same as those of Ophir. But after five years ofwaiting, the Spanish public cared but little for such conjectures.

  He did it immediately, as I believe, more from timidity than from choice.

  He seems to have observed the singular regularity by which the tradewinds bore him steadily westward as he came over. He had no wish tovisit the Canary Islands again, and with more wisdom than could havebeen expected, from his slight knowledge of the Atlantic winds, he borenorth. Until the fourteenth of February the voyage was prosperous anduneventful. One day the captive Indians amused the sailors by swimming.

  "As they were going along, viewing the river and land, some of ourmen found, in a place close by the river, two dead men, one with: a cord(lazo) around his neck, and the other with one around his foot. This wasthe first day. On the next day following, they found two other dead menfarther on than these others. One of these was in such a position that itcould be known that he had a plentiful beard. Some of our men suspectedmore ill than good, and with reason, as the Indians are all beardless, as Ihave said."This port was not far from the port where the Spanish settlement hadbeen made on the first voyage, so that there was great reason for theseanxieties. They set sail once more for the settlement, and arrived oppositethe harbor of La Navidad on the twenty-seventh of November. As theywere approaching the harbor, a canoe came towards them, with five or sixIndians on board, but, as the Admiral kept on his course without waitingfor them, they went back.

  Indeed, they would not have been sorry to know that he was dead.

  A picture ascribed to Titian, and engraved and circulated by thegeographer, Jomard, resembles closely the portraits of Philip III. Thecostume is one which Columbus never wore.


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