DON FERNANDO met me at the door. “He is wandering —he thinks he is in Cordova with my mother.” He came from that and said he would get up and go to mass. Persuaded to lie quiet, he talked of his will, drawn before his third voyage, and said that he would have it read to him, and make a codicil.
This will. It ran at length through preamble and body.
“In the name of the most Holy Trinity who revealed
it to me that I could sail westward across Ocean-Sea—
“As it pleased God, in the year one thousand, four hundred
and ninety-two, I discovered the Continent of the Indies and many islands. I returned to Cadiz to their Majesties who allowed my going a second voyage, and in this God gave me victory over the island of Hispaniola, which covers six hundred leagues, and I conquered it and made it tributary; and I discovered many islands dwelled in by Caribals or eaters of men’s flesh, and also Jamaica which I named Santiago, and three hundred and thirty leagues of Continent from south to west—”
He recited his rights, dignities, tithes, emoluments,— “whereto I have the sacred word of the Sovereigns.” Then came the heirship. All upon Don Diego and the heirs of his body, with lavish provision for the younger son, “having great qualities and most dear to me,” and for the brothers, but more especially the Adelantado. Followed gifts to friends and companions, and then far-flung benefactions.
Son and son’s son must give, year following year, a tenth of revenue from the Indies to the help of needy men.
“In the city of Genoa in Italy is to be maintained a man and his wife of the line of our family of which he is to be the root in that city, from whence all good may derive unto her, for I was born there and came from thence.”
The taking of the Sepulchre. Into the Bank of Saint George in Genoa, “that noble and potent city” was to be put what moneys could be saved and collected for the purpose, “and one day God will bring the purpose about.”
His heirs must support the Crown of Spain, “seeing that these Sovereigns, next to God, are responsible for my achieving the property, though true it is that I came into this country to invite them to the enterprise, and that a long while passed before they allowed me to execute it, but this should not surprise us as it was an undertaking of which all the world was ignorant and no one had any faith in it.” And if schism arose in Christendom, his heirs must to their uttermost support His Holiness the Pope, and give all and die, if need be, defending the Church of God. And, where it was possible and not contrary to the service and the claims of the Sovereigns of Spain, “let them give aid and service to that noble city of Genoa from which we all spring.”
Such and such moneys, accruing, were to be applied to making fit marriages for the daughters of the line.