Christopher Columbus and His Monument Columbia Part 12

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An indentation of the coast of Watling's Island, in the Bahamas, is known to this day as Columbus' Haven.


The gift of the ex-Empress of the French. (See page 109.)]


In the caves of Bellamar, near Matanzas, Cuba, are sparkling columns of crystal 150 feet high; one is called the "Mantle of Columbus."


The Hon. WILLIAM ELEROY CURTIS, an American journalist, Secretary of the Bureau of the American Republics, Washington, D. C. Born at Akron, Ohio. From an article, "The Columbus Portraits," in the _Cosmopolitan Magazine_, January, 1892.

Although Columbus twice mentioned in his alleged will that he was a native of Genoa, a dozen places still demand the honor of being considered his birthplace, and two claim to possess his bones. Nothing is certain about his parentage, and his age is the subject of dispute.

The stories of his boyhood adventures are mythical, and his education at the University of Pavia is denied.

The same doubt attends the various portraits that pretend to represent his features. The most reliable authorities--and the subject has been under discussion for two centuries--agree that there is no tangible evidence to prove that the face of Columbus was ever painted or sketched or graven, during his life. His portrait has been painted, like that of the Madonna and those of the saints, by many famous artists, each dependent upon verbal descriptions of his appearance by contemporaneous writers, and each conveying to the canvas his own conception of what the great seaman's face must have been; but it may not be said that any of the portraits are genuine, and it is believed that all of them are more or less fanciful.

It must be considered that the art of painting portraits was in its infancy when Columbus lived. The honor was reserved for kings and queens and other dignitaries, and Columbus was regarded as an importunate adventurer, who at the close of his first voyage enjoyed a brief triumph, but from the termination of his second voyage was the victim of envy and misrepresentation to the close of his life. He was derided and condemned, was brought in chains like a common felon from the continent he had discovered, and for nearly two hundred years his descendants contested in the courts for the dignities and emoluments he demanded of the crown of Spain before undertaking what was then the most perilous and uncertain of adventures. Even the glory of giving his name to the lands he discovered was transferred to another--a man who followed in his track; and it is not strange, under such circ.u.mstances, that the artists of Spain did not leave the religious subjects upon which they were engaged to paint the portrait of one who said of himself that he was a beggar "without a penny to buy food."


The Hon. WILLIAM ELEROY CURTIS, in an able article in the _Chautauquan Magazine_, September, 1892.

Whether the meager results of recent investigation are more reliable than the testimony of earlier pens is a serious question, and the sympathetic and generous reader will challenge the right of modern historians to destroy and reject traditions to which centuries have paid reverence. The failure to supply evidence in place of that which has been discarded is of itself sufficient to impair faith in the modern creation, and simply demonstrates the fallacy of the theory that what can not be proven did not exist. If the same a.n.a.lysis to which the career of Columbus has been subjected should be applied to every character in sacred and secular history, there would be little left among the world's great heroes to admire. So we ask permission to retain the old ideal, and remember the discoverer of our hemisphere as a man of human weaknesses but of stern purpose, inflexible will, undaunted courage, patience, and professional theories most of which modern science has demonstrated to be true.


GIULIO DATI, a Florentine poet. Born, 1560; died about 1630.

A lengthy poem, in _ottava rima_ (founded upon the first letter of Columbus announcing his success), was composed in 1493, by Giulio Dati, the famous Florentine poet, and was sung in the streets of that city to publish the discovery of the New World. The full Italian text is to be found in R. H. Major's "Select Letters of Christopher Columbus," Hakluyt Society, 1871.


JEAN FRANcOIS CASIMIR DELAVIGNE, a popular French poet and dramatist. Born at Havre, April 4, 1793; died at Lyons, December, 1843.


On the deck stood Columbus; the ocean's expanse, Untried and unlimited, swept by his glance.

"Back to Spain!" cry his men; "put the vessel about!

We venture no farther through danger and doubt."

"Three days, and I give you a world," he replied; "Bear up, my brave comrades--three days shall decide."

He sails--but no token of land is in sight; He sails--but the day shows no more than the night; On, onward he sails, while in vain o'er the lee The lead is plunged down through a fathomless sea.

The second day's past, and Columbus is sleeping, While mutiny near him its vigil is keeping.

"Shall he perish?" "Ay, death!" is the barbarous cry.

"He must triumph to-morrow, or, perjured, must die!"

Ungrateful and blind! shall the world-linking sea, He traced, for the future his sepulcher be?

Shall that sea, on the morrow, with pitiless waves, Fling his corse on that sh.o.r.e which his patient eye craves?

The corse of a humble adventurer, then.

One day later--Columbus, the first among men.

But, hush! he is dreaming! A veil on the main, At the distant horizon, is parted in twain; And now on his dreaming eye--rapturous sight-- Fresh bursts the New World from the darkness of night.

O vision of glory! how dazzling it seems; How glistens the verdure! how sparkle the streams!

How blue the far mountains! how glad the green isles!

And the earth and the ocean, how dimpled with smiles!

"Joy! joy!" cries Columbus, "this region is mine!"

Ah, not e'en its name, wondrous dreamer, is thine.


The Rev. B. F. DE COSTA, D. D., a well-known New York divine and social reformer of the present day. Founder of the White Cross Society.

Prof. Rafri, in "Antiquitates Americanae," gives notices of numerous Icelandic voyages to American and other lands of the West. The existence of a great country southwest of Greenland is referred to, not as a matter of speculation merely, but as something perfectly well known. Let us remember that in vindicating the Northmen we honor those who not only give us the first knowledge possessed of the American continent, but to whom we are indebted besides for much that we esteem valuable.


CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW, one of the leading American orators of the nineteenth century. From an oration on "Columbus and the Exposition," delivered in Chicago in 1890.

It is not sacrilege to say that the two events to which civilization to-day owes its advanced position are the introduction of Christianity and the discovery of America.

When Columbus sailed from Palos, types had been discovered, but church and state held intelligence by the throat.

Sustained enthusiasm has been the motor of every movement in the progress of mankind.

Genius, pluck, endurance, and faith can be resisted by neither kings nor cabinets.

Columbus stands deservedly at the head of that most useful band of men--the heroic cranks in history.

The persistent enthusiast whom one generation despises as a lunatic with one idea, succeeding ones often worship as a benefactor.

This whole country is ripe and ready for the inspection of the world.


AUBREY THOMAS DE VERE, an English poet and political writer. Born, 1814. In a sonnet, "Genoa."

Whose prow descended first the Hesperian Sea, And gave our world her mate beyond the brine, Was nurtured, whilst an infant, at thy knee.

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Christopher Columbus and His Monument Columbia Part 12 summary

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