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thought was the only object of commerce worth his attention. In fteering fouthward he difcovered the islands of Cuba and Hifpaniola, abounding in all the neceffaries of life, and inhabited by a humane and hofpitable people.
On his return he was overtaken with à ftorm, which had nearly proved fatal to his fhips and their crews. At a crifis when all was given up for loft, Columbus had prefence of mind enough to retire into his cabin, and to write upon parchment a fhort account of his voyage. This he wrapped in an oiled cloth, which he inclofed in a cake of wax, put it into a tight cafk, and threw it into the fea, in hopes that fame fortunate accident might preferve a depofit of fo much importance to the world. He arrived at Palos in Spain, whence he had failed the year before, on the 15th of March, 1493. He was welcomed with all the acclamations which the populace are ever ready to beftow on great and glorious characters; and the court received him with marks of the greateft respect.
In September of this year, (1493) Columbus failed upon his fecond voyage to America; during the performance of which, he discovered the inlands of Dominica, Marigalante, Gaudelupe, Montferrat, Antigua, Porto Rico and Jamaica; and returned to Spain in 1496.
In 1498 he failed a third time for America; and on the ift of Auguft difcovered the CONTINENT. He then coafted along weftward, making other discoveries for 200 leagues, to Cape Vela, from which he croffed over to Hifpaniola, where he was feized by a new Spanish Governor, and fent home in chains.
In 1502 Columbus made his fourth voyage to Hifpaniola; thence he went over to the Continent-difcovered the bay of Honduras; thence failed along the main fhore easterly 200 leagues, to Cape Gracias a Dios, Veragua, Porto Bello and the Gulf of Darien.
The jealous and avaricious Spaniards, not immediately receiving thofe golden advantages which they had promifed, and loft to the feelings of humanity and gratitude, fuffered their efteem and admiration of Columbus to degenerate into ignoble envy.
The latter part of his life was made wretched by the cruel perfecutions of his enemies. Queen Ifabella, his friend and patronefs, was no longer alive to afford him relief. He fought redress from Ferdinand, but in vain. Disgusted with the ingratitude of a monarch, whom he had served with fo much fidelity and fuccefs, exhaufted with hardships, and broken with the infirmities which thefe brought upon him, Columbus ended his active and ufeful life at Valladolid, on the 20th of May, 1506, in the 59th year of his age. He died with a compofure of mind fuited to the magnanimity which diftinguished his character, and with fentiments of piety becoming that fupreme refpect for religion which he manifefted in every occurrence of his life. He was grave though courteous in his deportment, circumfpect in his words and actions, irreproachable in his morals, and exemplary in all the duties of his religion. The courts of Spain were fo juft to his memory, notwithstanding their ingratitude towards him during his life, that they buried him magnificently in the Cathedral of Sevillę, and erected a tomb over him with this infcription,
COLUMBUS has given a NEW WORLD
To the KINGDOMS of CASTILE and LEON.
Among other adventurers to the New World in pursuit of Gold, was Americus Vefpucius, a Florentine gentleman, whom Ferdinand had appointed to draw fea charts, and to whom he had given the title of chief pilot. This man accompanied Ojeda, an enterprizing Spanish adventurer, to America; and having with much art, and fome degree of elegance, drawn up an amufing history of his voyage, he published it to the world. It circulated rapidly, and was read with admiration. In his narrative he had infinuated that the glory of having firft discovered the continent in the New World, belonged to him. This was in part believed, and the country began to be called after the name of its fuppofed first discoverer. The unaccountable caprice of mankind has perpetuated the error; fo that now, by the univerfal confent of all nations, this new quarter of the globe is called AMERICA. The name of Americus has fupplanted that of Columbus, and mankind are left to regret an act of injuftice, which, having been fanctioned by time, they can never redress.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION of AMERICA. BOUNDARIES and EXTENT.
HE Continent of America, of the difcovery of which a fuccinct account has just been given, extends from Cape Horn, the fouthern extremity of the Continent in latitude 56° fouth, to the north pole; and fpreads between the 40th degree eaft, and the 100th degree weft longitude from Philadelphia. It is nearly ten thoufand miles in length from north to fouth; its mean breadth has never been ascertained. This extenfive continent lies between the Pacific Ocean on the weft, and the Atlantic on the caft. It is faid to contain upwards of 14,000,000 square miles.
Climate, Soil, and Productions.] In regard to each of thefe, America has all the varieties which the earth affords. It ftretches through the whole width of the five zones, and feels the heat and cold of two fummers and two winters in every year. Moft of the animal and vegetable productions which the eastern continent affords, are found here; and many that are peculiar to America.
Rivers.] This continent is watered by fome of the largest rivers in the world. The principal of thefe, are Rio de la Plata, the Amazon and Oronoke in South America-The Miffiffippi and St. Lawrence in NorthAmerica.
Gulfs.] The Gulf or Bay of Mexico, lying in the form of a bason between North and South America, and opening to the east, is conjectured by fome, to have been formerly land; and that the conftant attrition of the waters of the Gulf Stream, has worn it to its prefent form. The water in the Gulf of Mexico is faid to be many yards higher, than on the western fide of the continent in the Pacific Ocean.
Gulf Stream.] The Gulf Stream is a remarkable current in the Ocean, of a circular form, beginning on the coast of Africa, in the climates where
the trade winds blow weiterly, thence running across the Atlantic, and between the Islands of Cuba and South America into the Bay of Mexico, from which it finds a paffage between Cape Florida and the Bahama Islands, and runs north-easterly along the American coaft to Newfoundland; thence to the European coaft, and along the coaft foutherly till it meets the trade winds. It is about 75 miles from the fhores of the fouthern states. The distance increases as you proceed northward. The width of the ftream is about 40 or 50 miles, widening toward the north, and its common rapi dity three miles an hour.-A north-east wind narrows the ftream, renders it more rapid, and drives it nearer the coaft; north-weft and weft winds have a contrary effect.
Mountains.] The Andes in South America, ftretch along the Pacific Ocean from the Ifthmus of Darien, to the Straits of Magellan, 4300 miles. The height of Chimborazo, the moft elevated point in this vaft chain of mountains, is 20,280 feet; above 5000 feet higher than any other mountain in the known world.
North America, though an uneven country, has no remarkably high mountains. The moft confiderable, are those known under the general name of the Allegany Mountains: Thefe ftretch along in many broken ridges under different names, from Hudfon's River to Georgia. The Andes and the Allegany Mountains are probably the fame range, interrupted by the Gulf of Mexico. It hath been conjectured that the Weft India iflands were formerly united with each other, and formed a part of the continent, connecting North and South America. Their prefent difjointed fituation is fuppofed to have been occafioned by the trade winds. It is well known that they produce a ftrong and continual current from eaft to weft, which by beating against the continent for a long course of years, muft produce furprifing alterations, and may have produced fuch an effect as has been fuppofed.
Number of Inhabitants.] It has been fuppofed that there are 160 millions of inhabitants in America. It is believed, however, that this account is exaggerated at leaft one half. This number is compofed of Indians, Negroes, Mulattoes, and fome of almoft every nation in Europe.
Aborigines.] The characteristical features of the Indians of America, are, a very finall forehead covered with hair from the extremities to the middle of the eyebrows. They have little black eyes, a thin nofe, finall and bending towards the upper lip. The countenance broad; the features coarfe, the ears large and far from the face; their hair very black, lank and coarfe. Their limbs fmall but well turned; the body tall, ftrait, of a copper colour, and well proportioned; ftrong and active, but not fitted for much labour. Their faces fmooth and free from beard, owing to a cuftom among them of pulling it out by the roots. Their countenances at first view appear mild and innocent, but upon a critical infpection, they difcover fomething wild, diftruftful and fulien. They are dextrous with their bows and arrows; fond of adorning themfelves with ftrings of beads and fhells about their necks, and plates in their ears and nofes. In fummer they go almoft naked; but in winter they cover themselves with the skins of beafts taken in hunting, which is their principal employment. They many times torture their prifoners in the
moft fhocking and cruel manner; generally fcalp them, and fometimes broil and eat them. A great part of the Aborigines of America are grofs idolaters, and worship the fun, moon, and ftars. It is the opinion of many learned men, fupported by feveral well established facts, that the Indians of America are remains of the ten tribes of Ifrael, and that they came to this continent in the manner hereafter mentioned.
Society among favages is extremely rude. The improvement of the talents which nature has given them, is of courfe proportionably fmall. It is the genius of a favage to act from the impulfe of prefent paffion. They have neither forefight nor difpofition to form complicated arrangements with respect to their future conduct. This, however, is not to be afcribed to any defect in their natural genius, but to their state of fociety, which affords few objects for the difplay either of their literary or political abilities. In all their waslike enterprizes they are led by perfuafion. Their fociety allows of no compulsion. What civilized nations enforce upon their fubjects by compulfory measures, they effect by their cloquence; hence the foundation of those mafterly ftrokes of oratory, which have been exhibited at their treaties; fome of which equal the most finished pieces that have been produced by the most eminent ancient or modern
As a fpecimen, take the following from Mr. Jefferfon's notes on Virginia. I may challenge the whole orations of Demofthenes and Cicero, and of any more eminent orator, if Europe has furnifhed more eminent, to produce a fingle paffage, fuperior to the fpeech of Logan, a Mingo chief, to Lord Dunmore, when governor of this ftate. And, as a teftimony of their talents in this line, I beg leave to introduce it, firft ftating the incidents neceffary for underftanding it. In the fpring of the year 1774, a robbery and murder were committed on an inhabitant of the frontiers of Virginia, by two Indians of the Shawanee tribe. The neighbouring whites, according to their cuftom, undertook to punish this outrage in a fummary way. Col. Crefap, a man infamous for the many murders he had committed on thofe much injured people, collected a party, and proceeded down the Kanhaway in queft of vengeance. Unfortunately a canoe of women and children, with one man only, was feen coming from the oppofite fhore, unarmed, and unfufpecting an hoftile attack from the whites. Crefap and his party concealed themfelves on the bank of the river, and the moment the canoe reached the shore, fingled out their objects, and, at one fire, killed every perfon in it. This happened to be the family of Logan, who had long been diftinguished as a friend of the whites. This unworthy return provoked his vengeance. He accordingly fignalized himself in the war which enfued. In the autumn of the fame year, a decifive battle was fought at the mouth of the Great Kanhaway, between the collected forces of the Shawances, Mingoes, and Dela-` wares, and a detachment of the Virginia militia. The Indians were defeated, and fued for peace. Logan however difdained to be feen among the fuppliants. But, left the fincerity of a treaty fhould be diftrufted, from which fo diftinguished a chief abfented himself, he fent by a meffenger the following speech to be delivered to Lord Dunmore.
"I appeal to any white man to fay, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and
he clothed him not. During the course of the laft long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they paffed, and faid, "Logan is the friend of white men." I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Col. Crefap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not fparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have fought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to fave his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan?-Not one."
Of their bravery and addrefs in war they have given us multiplied proofs. No people in the world have higher notions of military honour than the Indians. The fortitude, the calmness, and even exultation which they manifeft while under the extremeft torture, is in part owing to their favage infenfibility, but more to their exalted ideas of military glory, and their rude notions of future happiness, which they believe they fhall forfeit by the leaft manifeftation of fear, or uneafinefs, under their fufferings. They are fincere in their friendships, but bitter and determined in their refentments, and often pursue their enemies feveral hundred miles through the woods, furmounting every difficulty, in order to be revenged. In their public councils they obferve the greatest decorum. In the foremost rank fit the old men, who are the countellors, then the warriors, and next the women and children. As they keep no records, it is the business of the women to notice every thing that paffes, to imprint it on their memories, and tell it to their children. They are, in fhort, the records of the council; and with furprifing exactnefs, preferve the ftipulations of treaties entered into a hundred years back. Their kindness and hofpitality is fcarcely equalled by any civilized nation. Their politeness in converfation is even carried to excefs, fince it does not allow them to contradict any thing that is afferted in their prefence. In fhort there appears to be much truth in Dr. Franklin's obfervation, "We call them favages, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the fame of theirs."
The first peopling of America.] It has long been a queftion among the curious, how America was first peopled. Various have been the theories and fpeculations of ingenious men upon this fubject. Dr. Robertfon* has recapitulated and canvaffed the moft probable of thefe theories, and the refult is,
I. That America was not peopled by any nation from the ancient continent, which had made any confiderable progrefs in civilization; because when America was firft difcovered, its inhabitants were unacquainted with the neceffary arts of life, which are the firft effays of the human mind toward improvement; and if they had ever been acquainted with them, for inftance with the plow, the loom, and the forge, their utility would have been fo great and obvious, that it is impoffible they fhould have
* Hift. America, Vol. I. Page 22.