1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about 1492.

" `Italian!’ Seven years in Spain and ten in Portugal, and a good while in Porto Santo that belongs to Portugal, a little in England and in Ultima Thule or Iceland, and long, long years upon ships decked and undecked in all the seas that are known—­fourteen years, childhood and boyhood, in Genoa and at Pavia where I went to school, and all my years of hope in Christ’s Kingdom, and in the uplands of great doers-and your Highness says to me for a slighting word, `Italian!’ I was born in Italy, but to-day, for this turn, King Ferdinand, you should call me `Spaniard’!  As, if King John sends me forth be will call me Portuguese!  Or King Henry will say, `Christopher the Englishman’ or King Charles, to whom verily I see that I may go, shall say, `Frenchman, to whom all owe the marriage of East and West, but France owes Empire!"’

The King said, “It may be so, or it may not be so,
Master Christopherus.—­Read!”

The secretary read:  The Genoese, Cristoforo Colombo, called in Spain Cristobal Colon, and in the Latin Christopherus Columbus, states and demands in substance as follows:  Sailing westward he will discover for the King and Queen of the Spains the Indies and Cathay and Cipango, to the great glory and enrichment of these Sovereigns and the passing thereby of Spain ahead of Portugal, and likewise and above all to the great glory of Christ and of Holy Church.  He will do this, having seen it clear for many years that it is to be done, and he the instrument.  And for the finding by going westward of the said India and all the gain of the world and the Kingdom of God and of our Sovereigns the King Don Ferdinand and the Queen Dona Isabella, he bargaineth thus: 

“He shall be named Admiral of the Ocean-Sea, whereby he means the whole water west of the line drawn by the Holy Father for the King of Portugal.  He shall be made Viceroy and Governor of all continents and islands that he may discover, claim and occupy for the Sovereigns.  And the said Christopherus Columbus’s eldest son shall hold these offices after him, and the heir of his son, and his heir, down time.  He shall be granted one tenth of all gold, pearls, precious stones, spices, or other merchandise found or bought or exchanged within his admiralty and viceroyship, and this tithe is likewise to be taken by his heirs from generation to generation.  He or one that he shall name shall be judge in all disputes that arise in these continents and islands, so be it that the honor of the Sovereigns of Spain is not touched.  He shall have the salary that hath the High Admiral of Castile.  He and his family shall be ennobled and henceforth be called Don and Dona.  And for the immediate sailing of ships he may, if he so desire, be at an eighth of the expense of outfitting, for which he shall be returned an eighth of all the profit of this the first voyage.”

The secretary did not make the terms less sounding by his reading.  Wind in leaves, went a stir through the room.  I heard a page near me whispering, “O Sancta Maria!  The hanger-on, the needy one!  Since the beginning of time I’ve seen him at doors, sunny and cloudy days, the big, droning bee!” Manuel Rodriguez painted on.  I felt his thought.  “I should like to paint you, Admiral of the Ocean-Sea!”

Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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