Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 555 pages of information about Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Complete.
seen a piece of wood of a very dark colour curiously carved, but not with any tool of metal; and some great canes had also come ashore, so big that, every joint would hold a gallon of wine.  These canes, which were utterly unlike any thing known in Europe or the islands of the Atlantic, had been looked upon as such curiosities that they had been sent to the King at Lisbon, where they remained, and where Columbus himself afterwards saw them.  Two other stories, which he heard also at this time, went to strengthen his convictions.  One was the tale of Martin Vincenti, a pilot in the Portuguese Navy, who had found in the sea, four hundred and twenty leagues to the west of Cape St. Vincent, another piece of wood, curiously carved, that had evidently not been laboured with an iron instrument.  Columbus also remembered that the inhabitants of the Azores had more than once found upon their coasts the trunks of huge pine-trees, and strangely shaped canoes carved out of single logs; and, most significant of all, the people of Flares had taken from the water the bodies of two dead men, whose faces were of a strange broad shape, and whose features differed from those of any known race of mankind.  All these objects, it was supposed, were brought by westerly winds to the shores of Europe; it was not till long afterwards, when the currents of the Atlantic came to be studied, that the presence of such flotsam came to be attributed to the ocean currents, deflected by the Cape of Good Hope and gathered in the Gulf of Mexico, which are sprayed out across the Atlantic.

The idea once fixed in his mind that there was land at a not impossible distance to the west, and perhaps a sea-road to the shores of Asia itself, the next thing to be done, was to go and discover it.  Rather a formidable task for a man without money, a foreigner in a strange land, among people who looked down upon him because of his obscure birth, and with no equipment except a knowledge of the sea, a great mastery of the art and craft of seamanship, a fearless spirit of adventure, and an inner light!  Some one else would have to be convinced before anything could be done; somebody who would provide ships and men and money and provisions.  Altogether rather a large order; for it was not an unusual thing in those days for master mariners, tired of the shore, to suggest to some grandee or other the desirability of fitting out a ship or two to go in search of the isle of St. Brandon, or to look up Antilia, or the island of the Seven Cities.  It was very hard to get an audience even for such a reasonable scheme as that; but to suggest taking a flotilla straight out to the west and into the Sea of Darkness, down that curving hill of the sea which it might be easy enough to slide down, but up which it was known that no ship could ever climb again, was a thing that hardly any serious or well-informed person would listen to.  A young man from Genoa, without a knowledge either of the classics or of the Fathers, and with no other

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Christopher Columbus and the New World of His Discovery — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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