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MODERN VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY, FRONOLUMBUS TO
SECOND VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS. GENERAL ENTHUSIASM IN HIS
FAVOUR.-ARRIVES AT THE CARIBBEE ISLANDS. - APPROACHES
HIS THIRD VOYAGE, DISCOVERS THE AMERICAN CONTI-
The grand discovery made by Columbus caused a general transport of joy throughout Europe, and filled the popular mind with sanguine anticipations. He was im
mediately considered as one marked out by destiny for great achievements. The voyage across the ocean, under his auspices, was no longer looked upon with mistrust or gloomy bodings; it was regarded, on the contrary, as conducting to certain distinction and unbounded riches. The honours heaped on the admiral by his grateful sovereigns, as well as the specimens of gold and rare productions which he had brought from the newlydiscovered countries, all operated as incentives to the bold and the ambitious, the covetous and the needy. After the court had resolved to furnish the previous expedition, the greatest difficulty had been experienced in equipping three small vessels. That task had been imposed on the port of Palos, a place of some importance in Andalusia ; but although sought to be enforced by magisterial authority, yet so many difficulties arose from the disinclination of the people to embark in what they considered a desperate enterprise, that the requisition might perhaps have never been effectually complied with, had it not been for the personal influence of the Pinzons. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, the eldest of the family, was a person of some consideration in this maritime district. His reputation as an able navigator, no less than his affluent circumstances, procured him the regard and deference of his neighbours. He engaged heartily in the enterprise of Columbus, advanced money, provided the ships, and, what was of greater importance, embarked himself with his two brothers to share in all the toils and peril of the expedition. In an unlucky hour he swerved from the line of rectitude and forgot his duty to the admiral : the painful consciousness of having done what was unworthy of him, aggravated his bodily disease, and hastened his death. But the unhappy instability of conduct which contributed to embitter the last moments of this brave man's life, must not lead us to forget the habitual generosity of his character.
When Columbus prepared to embark on his second voyage, no difficulty was found in equipping the ex
pedition. The public favour, of which he was now the object, rendered every exertion easy.
A fleet of seventeen vessels, three being ships of burden, the remainder caravels, was quickly fitted out; and about fifteen hundred persons, many of whom were volunteers, eager to gather in the new world the first harvest of glory and of gold, embarked full of hope and animation.
On the twenty-fifth of September, as the sun rose, the fleet hoisted sail, and stood out of the bay of Cadiz. This appears to have been one of the happiest moments in the life of Columbus. When he first descried the land of Guanahani, the sensations of delight, the sentiments of gratitude, and conscious pride of having earned by his courage, sagacity and perseverance, rank, fortune, and an immortal name, must have filled his bosom with sensations the most powerful and exalting of which human nature is susceptible ; but the ocean still gaped between him and the immortality for which he sighed ; his glorious task was but imperfectly achieved until he had returned and communicated his discoveries to the world. But now he found himself at the head of a considerable fleet; his merits had been duly appreciated; he was cheered by the applauses of Europe, and the flattering kindness of his sovereigns; he was confirmed in the possession of those titles on which he seems to have laid so much stress; and what perhaps must have gratified him still more, he no longer prosecuted a career opposed to the current of vulgar opinion ; the public enthusiasm was now enlisted in his cause, and flattered, with new-born ardour, the darling speculation of his life. Yet the motives which impelled so many to embark under the guidance of Columbus were of a nature essentially different from the enthusiasm which fired his own breast. The principle of dissociation soon developed itself, and harassed with unceasing vexations the remainder of the life of that great man.
The admiral on this occasion steered for the Cape Verd islands, intending to pursue a course to the south of that held in his former voyage. On the thirteenth