THE TRUST OF COLUMBUS.
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.
SIGNATURE OF COLUMBUS.
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.
THE LAST WORDS OF COLUMBUS.
Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
[Footnote 14: This letter received no answer.]
[Footnote 15: Columbus left the Canary Isles September 8th, made the land October 11th—thirty-three days.]
[Footnote 16: Watling's Island.]
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 18: An old Spanish coin, equal to the fiftieth part of a mark of gold.]
[Footnote 19: Small copper coins, equal to about the quarter of a farthing.]
[Footnote 20: One arroba weighs twenty-five pounds.]
[Footnote 21: There appears to be a doubt as to the exact number of men left by Columbus at Espanola, 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.]
[Footnote 22: Dominica.]
[Footnote 23: Martinique.]
[Footnote 24: Of Genoa. The Island of Chios belonged to the Genoese Republic from 1346 to 1566.]
[Footnote 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 Nunez de Balboa, Pizarro, and others, had to use it officially.]
[Footnote 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 vitae, Florentiae, 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."]
[Footnote 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 Zuniga, 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.]
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.
A Castilla y Leon, Nuevo mundo dio Colon.
To Castille and Leon Columbus gave a New World.
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.
REVERENCE AND WONDER.
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.
THE GREATNESS OF COLUMBUS.
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 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.
COLUMBUS AND THE CONVENT OF LA RABIDA.
It was at the door of the convent of La Rabida 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.
THE EARNESTNESS OF COLUMBUS.
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 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.
EACH THE COLUMBUS OF HIS OWN SOUL.
Every man has within himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul.
A SUPERIOR 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.
COLUMBUS DARED THE MAIN.
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.
THE WORLD A SEAMAN'S HAND CONFERRED.
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.
THE RIDICULE WITH WHICH THE VIEWS OF COLUMBUS WERE RECEIVED.
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.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE ANCIENTS.
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.
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 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 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 Rabida, 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 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 Phoenicia 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, the calamitous downfalls of empire, and the strange new regenerations which fill the pages of ancient and mediaeval 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 maelstrom 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.
THE DARK AGES BEFORE COLUMBUS.
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 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.
THE LEGEND OF COLUMBUS.
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?
COLUMBUS THE CONQUEROR.
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.
THE EXAMPLE OF COLUMBUS.
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; 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, 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.
THE NAVIGATOR AND THE ISLANDS.
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 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.
THE FIRST AMERICAN MONUMENT TO COLUMBUS.
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 in honor of Columbus is substantial, as the following inscription on the shaft shows:
Sacred to the Memory of CHRIS. COLUMBUS, OCT. XII, MDCC VIIIC.
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 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 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 feted 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 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 L800, 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." 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 STATUE.
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.
COLUMBUS—THE FULFILLER OF PROPHECY.
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."
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.
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.
COLUMBUS THE MARINER.
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.
A COLUMBUS BANK NOTE.
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 Treasury. 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 BARCELONA STATUE.
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; Senor 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.
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 Piles.
DESCRIPTION OF THE MONUMENT.
The monument was cast in the workshops of A. Wohlgemuth, engineer and constructor of Barcelona, and was made in eight pieces, the base weighing 31-1/2 tons. The first section, 22-1/2 tons; the second, 24-1/2 tons; the third, 23-1/2 tons; the fourth, 23-1/8 tons; the capital, 29-1/2 tons; the templete, 13-1/2 tons; the globe, 15-1/2 tons; the bronze ornaments, 13-1/2 tons; the statue of Columbus, 41 tons; the pedestal of the column, 31-1/2 tons; the total weight of bronze employed in the column being 210-1/2 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.
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 bronze, on which are placed the busts of Isabella I., Ferdinand V., Father Juan Flores, Andres de Cabrera, Padre Juan de la Marchena, the Marchioness of Moya, Martin Pinzon, and his brother, Vicente Yanez 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.
LEGEND OF A WESTERN LAND.
Rev. SABINE BARING-GOULD, vicar of Looe Trenchard, Devonshire, England. Born at Exeter, England, 1834. An antiquarian, archaeological 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 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.
LEGEND OF A WESTERN ISLAND.
There is a Phoenician 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.
COLUMBUS AN IDEAL COMMANDER.
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).
[Footnote 28: By permission of Messrs. D. Appleton & Co.]
[Footnote 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.]
"ONLY THE ACTIONS OF THE JUST."
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. 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).
QUEEN ISABELLA'S DEATH.
Truth leaves the world and Isabella dies.
COLUMBUS' CHAINS HIS CROWN.
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.
PROPHETIC VISIONS URGED COLUMBUS ON.
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, 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.
COLUMBUS, THE PATHFINDER OF THE SHADOWY SEA.
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.
RELIGIOUS OBJECT OF COLUMBUS.
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 NOBILITY OF COLUMBUS IN ADVERSITY.
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 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.
THE PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF COLUMBUS.
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.
WESTWARD RELIGION'S BANNERS TOOK THEIR WAY.
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.
COLUMBUS NO CHANCE COMER.
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.
THE CERTAIN CONVICTIONS OF COLUMBUS.
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 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.
THE COLUMBUS OF MODERN TIMES.
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 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.
THE BOSTON STATUE.
In 1849 the Italian merchants of Boston, under the presidency of Mr. Iasigi, presented to the city a statue of 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.
YOU CAN NOT CONQUER AMERICA.
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."
THE INDOMITABLE COURAGE OF COLUMBUS.
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.
THE SANTA MARIA CARAVEL.
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 Caesar, 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.
THE SCARLET THORN.
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 Rosaceae. Hence the apple, pear, and plum are often grafted on the white thorn.
A curious thing about the thorns is that they are suppressed 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.
CAPTAIN AND SEAMEN.
RICHARD E. BURTON, in the Denver (Colo.) Times, 1892.
I see a galleon of Spanish make, That westward like a winged 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.
THE BEAUTIES OF THE BAHAMA SEA.
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 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 disappointment that he saw the sun-flooded waters of the Bahama Sea and the purple splendors of the Antilles.
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.
WHEN HISTORY DOES THEE WRONG.
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.
CABOT'S CONTEMPORANEOUS UTTERANCE.
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.
THE CAPITULATIONS OF SANTA FE—AGREEMENT OF COLUMBUS WITH FERDINAND AND ISABELLA.
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 Fe, in the Vega of Granada, April 17, 1492.
COLUMBUS, THE SEA-KING.
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 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.
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.
THE TRIBUTES OF THE PHOENIX OF THE AGES.
LOPE DE VEGA CARPIO, a celebrated Spanish poet and dramatist. Born at Madrid, November 25, 1562; died, 1635.
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 a Dios infinitas almas.
(To the King boundless lands, and to God souls without number.)
HERSCHEL, THE COLUMBUS OF THE SKIES.
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.
THE DISCOVERIES OF COLUMBUS AND AMERICUS.
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 was published at the College of Saint-Die, 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. 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, 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-Die, 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 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?
ALL WITHIN THE KEN OF COLUMBUS.
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.
COLUMBUS A HERETIC AND A VISIONARY TO HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE, an American writer and Unitarian minister. Born at Hanover, N. H., in 1810; died at Jamaica Plain, June 8, 1888.
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 sentiment, 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.