Another thing he said was that to his mind all the islands that we had found in six years, from San Salvador to Cubagua, had once been joined together. Land from this shore to Cuba and beyond. So the peoples were scattered.
He talked to us much upon this voyage of the great earth and the shape of it, and its destinies; of the stars, the needle, the Great Circle and the lesser ones, and the Ocean. He had our time’s learning, gained through God knows how many nights of book by candle! And he had a mind that took eagle flights with spread of eagle wings, and in many ways he had the eagle’s eye.
It was not Cipango and Cathay that now he talked of, but of this great land-mass before us which he would have rise to Equator and all Wonder. And he talked also of some water passage, some strait lying to the westward, by which we might sail between lands and islands to the further Indian Ocean, and so across to the Sea of Araby, and then around Africa by Good Hope and then northward, northward, to Spain, coming into Cadiz with banners, having sailed around the world!
He talked, and all the time his pain ate him, and he must cover eyes to keep the sword-light out.
In middle August we turned northward from our New Land, and a fortnight later we came to San Domingo, that Christopherus Columbus had never seen, though to us in Hispaniola it was an old town, having been builded above two years.
The Viceroy and the Adelantado clasped hands, embraced; tears ran down their bronzed cheeks.
Not later than a day after our anchoring, the ships being unladed, all San Domingo coming and going, trumpets blew and gathered all to our open place before the Viceroy’s house. Proclamation—Viceregal Proclamation! First, thanks to God for safe return, and second, hearty approval of the Adelantado, all his Acts and Measures.
There were two parties in San Domingo, and one now echoed in a shout approval of the Adelantado, and the other made here a dead silence, and here a counter-murmur. I heard a man say, “Fool praises fool! Villain brother upholding villain brother!”
Now I do not think the Adelantado’s every act was wise, nor the Viceroy’s either, for that matter. But they were far, far, those brothers, from fool and villain!
The Proclamation arrived at long thunders against Francisco Roldan his sedition. Here again the place divided as before. Roldan, I had it from Luis Torres, was in Xaragua, safe and arrogant, harking on Indian war, undermining everywhere. Our line of forts held for the Adelantado, but the two or three hundred Spaniards left in Isabella were openly Roldan’s men. The Viceroy, through the voice of Miguel the Herald, recited, denounced and warned, then left Francisco Roldan and with suddenness made statement that within a few days five ships would sail for Spain, and that all Spaniards whomsoever, who for reasons whatsoever desired Home, had his consent to go! Consent, Free Passage, and No Questioning!