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When they arrived at St. Domingo, on the thirteenth of August, the governor, with the mean artifice of a vulgar mind, that labours to atone for infolence by fervility, fawned on the man whom he envied, and had attempted to ruin. He received Columbus with the most studied refpect, lodged him in his own houfe, and diftinguished him with every mark of honour. But amidst these overacted demonstrations of regard, he could not conceal the hatred and malignity latent in his heart. He fet at liberty the captain of the mutineers, whom Columbus had brought over in chains, to be tried for his crimes, and threatened fuch as had adhered to the admiral with proceeding to a judicial enquiry into their conduct. Columbus fubmitted in filence to what he could not redress; but discovered an extreme impatience to quit a country which was under the jurifdiction of a man who had treated him, on every occafion, with inhumanity and injuftice. His preparations were foon finished, and he fer fail for Spain with two fhips, on September the twelfth, 1504. Difafters fimilar to those which had accompanied him through life continued to to pursue him to the end of his career. One of his veffels being difabled, was foon forced back to St. Domingo; the other, fhattered by violent ftorms, failed feven hundred leagues with jury-mafts, and reached with difficulty the port of St. Luear in the month of December.
There he received the account of an event the most fatal that could have befallen him, and which completed his misfortunes. This was the death, on the ninth of November, 1504, of his patronefs queen Ifabella, in whofe juftice, humanity, and favour, he confided as his laft refource. None now remained to redrefs his wrongs, or to reward him for his fervices and fufferings, but Ferdinand, who had fo long opposed and fo often injured him. To folicit a prince thus prejudiced against him, was an occupation no lefs irkfome than hopeless. In this, however, was Columbus doomed to employ the clofe of his days. As foon as, his health was in fome degree re-eftablished, he repaired to court; and though he was received there with civility barely decent, he plied Ferdinand with petition after petition, demanding the punishment of his oppreffors, and the reftitution of all the privileges beftowed upon him by the capitulation of one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Ferdinand amused him with fair words and unmeaning promifes. Inftead of granting his claims, he propofed expedients in order to elude them, and spun out the affair with fuch apparent art, as plainly discovered his intention that it should never be terminated. The declining health of Columbus flattered Ferdinand with the hopes of being foon delivered from an importunate fuitor, and encouraged him to perfevere in this liberal plan. Nor was he deceived in his expectations. Difgufted
with the ingratitude of a monarch whom he had ferved with fuch fidelity and fuccefs, exhaufted with the fatigues and hardships which he had endured, and broken with the infirmities which thefe brought upon him, Columbus ended his life at Valladolid on the twentieth of May, one thousand five hundred and fix, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He died with a compofure of mind suitable to the magnanimity which diftinguished his character, and with fentiments of piety becoming that fupreme respect for religion, which he manifested in every occurrence of his life.
Having thus given an Account of the first Discovery of America, we fhall now proceed to lay before the Reader, a GENERAL DESCRIPTION of that Country, its Soil, Climate, Productions,Original Inhabitants, &c. Ic.
BOUNDARIES AND EXTENT.
THIS vaft country extends from the 80th degree of north, to the
56th degree of fouth latitude; and, where its breadth is known, from the 35th to the 136th degree west longitude from London; ftretching between 8000 and 9000 miles in length, and in its greatest breadth 3690. It fees both hemifpheres, has two fummers and a double winter, and enjoys all the variety of climates which the earth affords. It is washed by the two great oceans. To the eastward it has the Atlantic, which divides it from Europe and Africa; to the weft it has the Pacific or Great South Sea, by which it is separated from Afia. By these feas it may, and does, carry on a direct commerce with the other three parts of the world.
NORTH AND SOUTH CONTINENT. America is not of equal breadth throughout its whole extent; but is divided into two great continents, called North and South America, by an ifthmus 1500 miles long, and which at Darien, about Lat. 9° N. is only 60 miles over. This ifthmus forms, with the northern and fouthern continents, a vast gulph, in which lie a great number of islands, called the West Indies, in contradiftinction to the eastern parts of Asia, which are called the Eaft Indies.
CLIMATE. Between the New World and the Old, there are several very ftriking differences; but the most remarkable is the general predominance of cold throughout the whole extent of America. Though we cannot, in any country, determine the precife degree of heat merely by the distance of the equator, because the elevation above the fea, the nature of the foil, &c. affect the climate; yet, in the ancient continent, the heat is much more in proportion to the vicinity to the equator than in any part of America. Here the rigour of the frigid zone extends over half that which should be temperate by its pofition. Even in thofe
latitudes where the winter is scarcely felt on the Old continent, it reigns with great severity in America, though during a fhort period. Nor does this cold, prevalent in the New World, confine itself to the temperate zones; but extends its influence to the torrid zone, alfo, confider. ably mitigating the excess of its heat. Along the caftern coast, the climate, though more fimilar to that of the torrid zone in other parts of the earth, is nevertheless confiderably milder than in thofe countries of Afia and Africa which lie in the fame latitude. From the fouthern tropic to the extremity of the American continent, the cold is faid to be much greater than in parallel northern latitudes even of America itself.
For this fo remarkable difference between the climate of the New continent and the Old, various caufes have been affigned by different authors. The following is the opinion of the learned Dr. Robertfon on this fubject." Though the utmost extent of America towards the north be not yet discovered, we know that it advances nearer to the pole than either Europe or Afia. The latter have large feas to the north, which are open during part of the year; and, even when covered with ice, the wind that blows over them is lefs intenfely cold than that which blows over land in the fame latitudes. But, in America, the land ftretches from the river St. Laurence towards the pole, and fpreads out immenfely to the weft. A chain of enormous mountains, covered with fnow and ice, runs through all this dreary region. The wind paffing over fuch an extent of high and frozen land, becomes so impregnated with cold, that it acquires a piercing keennefs, which it retains in its progrefs through warmer climates; and is not entirely mitigated until it reach the gulph of Mexico. Over all the continent of North America, a north-wefterly wind and exceffive cold are fynonymous terms. Even in the most fultry weather, the moment that the wind veers to that quarter, its penetrating influence is felt in a tranfition from heat to cold no lefs violent than fudden, To this powerful cause we may ascribe the extraordinary dominion of cold, and its violent in-roads into the fouthern provinces in that part of the globe.
"Other causes, no lefs remarkable, diminish the active power of heat in those parts of the American continent which lie between the tropics, In all that portion of the globe, the wind blows in an invariable direction from east to weft. As this wind holds its courfe across the ancient continent, it arrives at the countries which ftretch along the western fhore of Africa, inflamed with all the fiery particles which it hath collected from the fultry plains of Afia, and the burning fands in the African defarts, The coast of Africa is accordingly the region of the earth which feels the
the most fervent heat, and is expofed to the unmitigated ardour of the torrid zone. But this fame wind, which brings fuch an acceffion of warmth to the countries lying between the river of Senegal and Cafraria, traverses the Atlantic ocean before it reaches the American fhore. It is cooled in its paffage over this vaft body of water; and is felt as a refreshing gale along the coafts of Brafil and Guiana, rendering those countries, though amongst the warmeft in America, temperate, when compared with thofe which lie oppofite to them in Africa. As this wind advances in its courfe across America, it meets with immenfe plains covered with impenetrable forefts; or occupied by large rivers, marshes, and stagnating waters, where it can recover no confiderable degree of heat. At length it arrives at the Andes, which run from north to fouth through the whole continent. In paffing over their elevated and frozen fummits, it is fo thoroughly cooled, that the greater part of the countries beyond them hardly feel the ardour to which they feem expofed by their fituation. In the other provinces of America, from Terra Firma weftward to the Mexican empire, the heat of the climate is tempered, in fome places, by the elevation of the land above the fea; in others, by their extraordinary humidity; and in all, by the enormous mountains fcattered over this tract. The islands of America in the torrid zone are either fmall or mountainous, and are fanned alternately by refreshing fea and land breezes.
"The caufes of the extraordinary cold towards the fouthern limits of America, and in the feas beyond it, cannot be ascertained in a manner equally fatisfying. It was long fuppofed, that a vast continent, diftinguished by the name of Terra Auftralis Incognita, lay between the fouthern extremity of America and the antarctic pole. The fame principles which account for the extraordinary degree of cold in the northern regions of America, were employed in order to explain that which is felt at Cape Horn and the adjacent countries. The immenfe extent of the fouthern continent, and the rivers which it poured into the ocean, were mentioned and admitted by philofophers as caufes fufficient to occafion the unufual fenfation of cold, and the ftill more uncommon appearances of frozen feas in that region of the globe. But the imaginary continent to which fuch influence was afcribed having been fearched for in vain, and the fpace which it was fuppofed to occupy having been found to be an open fea, new conjectures must be formed with refpect to the causes of a temperature of climate, fo extremely different from that which we experience in countries removed at the fame distance from the oppofite pole. No. II,