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DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.
445 came mutinous, and reproached the king and queen for trusting to ” this bold Italian, who wanted to make a great lord of himself at the price of their lives.” On September 25th Pinzon reported to him that he thought he saw land; but it proved to be only clouds. With great difficulty he kept down his mutinous crew. On October 2d he observed the sea-weeds drifting from east to west. Pinzon having seen in the Pinta a flight of parrots going to the southwest, the course was altered on October 7th, and he steered after them west-southwest; he had hitherto been on the parallel 26.
N. On the evening of October 11th the signs of land had become so unmistakable that, after vesper hymn to the Virgin, he made an address of congratulation to his crew, and commended watchfulness to them. His course was now due west. A little before mid-night, Columbus, on the forecastle of his ship, saw a moving light at a distance; and two hours after a signal-gun was fired from the Pinta. A sailor, Rodrigo de Triana, had descried land. The ships were laid to. As soon as day dawned they made it out to be a verdant island. There were naked Indians upon the beach watching their movements. At sunrise, October 12, 1492, the boats were manned and armed, and Columbus was the first European to set foot on the new tropical world. The chief events of the voyage of Columbus were, 1st. The discovery of the line of no magnetic variation, which, as we shall see, eventually led to the circumnavigation of the earth. 2d. The navigability of the sea to the remote west, the weeds not offering any insuperable obstruction. When the ships left Palos it was universally believed that the final border or verge of the earth is where the western sky rests upon the sea, and the air and clouds, fogs and water are commingled. Indeed, that boundary could not actually be attained; for, long before it was possible to reach it, the sea was confused with inextricable weeds, through which a ship could not pass. This legend was perhaps derived from the stories of adventurous sailors, who had been driven bystress of weather toward the Sargasso Sea, and seen an island of weeds many hundreds of square miles in extent green meadows floating in the ocean. 3d. As to the new continent, Columbus never knew the nature of his own,discovery. He died in the belief that it was actually some part of Asia, and Americus Vespucius entertained the same misconception. Their immediate successors supposed that Mexico was the Quinsay, in China, of Marco Polo. For this reason I do not think that the severe remark that the “name of America is a monument of human injustice” is altogether merited. Had the true state of things been known, doubtless the event would have been different. The name of America first occurs in an edition of Ptolemy’s Geography, on a map by Hylacomylus.
446 CONSEQUENCES OF THE VOYAGE.
Two other incidents of no little interest followed this successful voyage: the first was the destruction of Patristic Geography; the second was the consequence of the flight of Pinzon’s parrots. Though, as we now know, the conclusion that India had been reached was not warranted by the facts, it was on all sides admitted that the old doctrine was overthrown, and that the admiral had reached Asia by sailing to the west. This necessarily implied the globular form of the earth. As to the second, never was an augury more momentous than that flight of parrots. It has been well said that this event determined the distribution of Latin and German Christianity in the New World. The discovery of America by Leif, the son of Eric the Red, A.D. 1000, can not diminish the claims of Columbus. The wandering Scandinavians had reached the shores of America first in the vicinity of Nantucket, and had given the name of Vinland to the region extending from beyond Boston to the south of New York. But the memory of these voyages seems totally to have passed away, or the lands were confounded with Greenland, to which Nicolas V. had appointed a bishop A.D. 1448. Had these traditions been known to or respected by Columbus, he would undoubtedly have steered his ships more to the north. Immediately on the return of Columbus, March 15, 1493, the King and Queen of Spain dispatched an embassador to Pope Alexander VI. for the purpose of insuring their rights to the new territories, on the same principle that Martin V. had already given to the King of Portugal possession of all lands he might discover between Cape Bojador and the East Indies, with plenary indulgence for the souls of those who perished in the conquest. The pontifical action was essentially based on the principle that pagans and infidels have no lawful property in their lands and goods, but that the children of God may rightfully take them away. The bull that was issued bears date May, 1493. Its principle is, that all countries under the sun are subject of right to papal disposal. It gives to Spain, in the fullness of apostolic power, all lands west and south of a line drawn from the Arctic to the Antarctic pole, one hundred leagues west of the Azores. The donation includes, by the authority of Almighty God, whatever there is toward India, but saves the existing rights of any Christian princes. It forbids, under pain of excommunication, any one trading in that direction, threatening the indignation of Almighty God and his holy apostles Peter and Paul. It directs the barbarous nations to be subdued, and no pains to be spared for reducing the Indians to Christianity. This suggestion of the line of no magnetic variation was due to Columbus, who fell into the error of supposing it to be immovable. The infallibility of the pontiff not extending to matters.

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