ships. On Sunday the 7th October, some signs of land appeared to the westwards, yet none durst say so, lest they might forfeit the annuity of 10,000 maravedies, which had been promised to him who first saw land; and it was provided that whoever should pretend to see the land, if his discovery were not verified in three days, should be ever after excluded from the reward, even though he should actually make the discovery in the sequel. Yet those in the Ninna, which was a-head of the rest, being the best sailer, were so sure of seeing land that they fired a gun and shewed their colours as a signal to that effect; but the more they advanced, the appearances became the less, and at length vanished away. In this disconsolate condition, it pleased God again to comfort them with the flights of many birds, and among them some which were certainly land birds, and which made for the south west. Upon this, concluding he could not now be far from land, Columbus altered his course from west to south-west; alleging the difference was not great, and that the Portuguese had discovered most of their lands by following the flight of birds, and that those he now followed took the very direction in which he had always expected to find the land. He added that he had always told them he did not expect to find the land till he had sailed 750 leagues westward of the Canaries, where he expected to find the island of Cipango, and must certainly have been upon it by this time; but knowing it to stretch north and south, he had not turned southwards lest he might get foul of it; yet he now believed it to lie among other islands towards the left, in the direction these birds flew; and since they were so numerous, the land must needs be near. On Monday the 8th October, about a dozen small birds of several different colours came to the ship, and hovering a while about it, afterwards flew away, and many others were seen flying to the south-west. On the same evening, many large birds were seen, and flocks of small birds, all coming from the northward, and many tunnies were seen. Next morning a gull and some ducks, with many small birds were seen, all flying in the same direction with the former; besides, the air became more fresh and fragrant, as at Seville in April. But the men were now so anxious for land, and so vexed at the frequent disappointment of their hopes, that they regarded none of these tokens; though, on Wednesday the 10th, many birds were seen both by day and night; yet neither the encouraging promises of the admiral, nor his upbraiding their cowardice, could allay their fears, or inspire them with any confidence of ultimate success.
Admiral Columbus discovers the Island of San Salvador, the Conception, Ferdinandina, Isabella, and others; with a Description of these islands, and some account of the Natives.