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the publisher to present to his readers more matter than was originally intended for the work; and to give in a duodecimo form, the quantity of reading commonly found in an octavo volume. Although presented to the public in a condensed form, it will be found to contain the most important events in the general history of this country.
The comparative population, wealth, resources, and progressive improvement in the states and territories, have been particularly noticed, and will be found a source of useful information to those who may design to change their present places of abode.
One entire chapter of this work is devoted to a view of the western states and territories, giving a description of the face of the country, the soil and productions, situation and extent, rivers, increase of population, settlements, &c. This is designed by the author to convey a useful table of information to all of his readers, but is inserted more particularly for the benefit of those who intend to emigrate.
C. B. T
Birth, Education, and early Life of Columbus. His dis
covery of America, and discoveries by Cabot, Hudson, and others.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, or Columbo, as the name is written in Italian, was born in the city of Genoa, about the year 1435, of poor but reputable and meritorious parentage. He was the son of Domenico Colombo, a wool comber, and Susanna Fontanarossa, his wife; and his ancestors seem to have followed the same trade for several generations in Genoa. Attempts have been made to prore him of illustrious descent, and several noble houses have laid claim to him since his name has become so renowned as to confer rather than receive distinction. It is possible some of them may be in the right, for the feuds in Italy in those ages had broken down and scattered many of the noblest families, and while some branches remained in the lordly heritage of castles and domains, others were confounded with the humblest
population of the cities. The fact, however, is not material to his fame; and it is a higher proof of merit to be the object of contention among various noble families, than to be able to substantiate the most illustrious lineage. His son Fernando had a true feeling on the subject. “ I am of opinion,” says he, “ that I should derive less dignity from any nobility of ancestry, than from being the son of such a father."
Columbus was the oldest of four children; having two brothers, Bartholomew and Giacomo, or, as his name is translated into Spanish, Diego, and one sister, of whom nothing is known, excepting that she was married to a person in obscure life, called Giacomo Bavarello.
While very young, Columbus was taught reading, writing, grammar, and arithmetic, and made some proficiency in drawing. He soon evinced a strong passion for geographical knowledge, and an irresistible inclination for the sea ; and in after life, when he looked back upon his career with a solemn and superstitious feeling, he regarded this early determination of his mind as an impulse from the deity, guiding him to the studies, and inspiring · him with the inclinations, proper to fit him for the high decrees he was destined to accomplish. His father, seeing the bent of his mind, endeavoured to give him an education suitable for maritime life. He sent him, therefore, to the university of Pavia, where he was instructed in geometry, geography, astronomy, and navigation; he acquired also a familiar knowledge of the Latin tongue, which at that time was the medium of instruction, and the language of the schools. He remained but a short time at Pavia, barely sufficient to give him the rudiments of the necessary sciences; the thorough acquaintance with them which he displayed in after life, must have been the result of diligent self-schooling, and of casual hours of study, amidst the cares and vicissitudes of a rugged and wandering life. He was one of those men of strong natural genius, who appear to form themselves ; who, from having to contend at their very outset with privations and impediments, acquire an intrepidity in braving, and a facility in vanquishing difficulties. Such men learn to effect great purposes with small means, supplying the deficiency of the latter by the resources of their own energy and invention. This is one of the remarkable features in the history of Columbus. In every undertaking, the scantiness and apparent insufficiency of his means enhance the grandeur of his achievements.
Shortly after leaving the university, he entered into nautical life, and, according to his own account, began to nåvigate at fourteen years of age. A complete obscurity rests upon this part of his history. It is supposed he made his first voyages with one Colombo, a hardy captain of the seas, who had risen to some distinction by his bravery, and who was a distant connexion of his family:
The seafaring life in those days was peculiarly full of hazard and enterprise. Even a commercial expedition resembled a warlike cruise, and the maritime merchant had often to fight his way from port to port. Piracy was almost legalized. The frequent feuds between the Italian states; the cruisings of the Catalonians; the armadas fitted out by noblemen, who were petty sovereigns in their own domains ; the roving ships and squadrons of private adventurers; and the holy wars waged with the Mahometan powers, rendered the narrow seas to which navigation was principally confined, scenes of the most hardy encounters and trying reverses.
Such was the rugged school in which Columbus was reared, and such the rugged teacher that first broke him in to naval discipline.
There is an interval of several years, during which we have but one or two shadowy traces of Columbus, who is supposed to have been principally engaged in the Mediterranean, and up the Levant, sometimes in voyages of commerce, sometimes in warlike contests between the Italian states, sometimes in pious and predatory expeditións against the infidels, during which time he was often under the perilous command of his old fighting relation, the veteran Colombo.
Columbus arrived at Lisbon about the year 1470. He was at that time in the full vigour of manhood, and of an engaging presence; and here it may not be improper to draw his portrait, according to the minute descriptions given of him by his contemporaries. He was tall, well formed, and muscular, and of an elevated and dignified demeanour. His visage was long, and neithér full nor meagre; his complexion fair and freckled, and inclined to ruddy; his nose aquiline, his cheek bones were rather high, his eyes light gray, and apt to enkindle; his whole conntenance had an air of authority. His hair, in his youthful days, was of a light colour, but care and trouble soon turned it gray, and at thirty years of age it was quíte white. He was moderate and simple in diet and apparel, eloquent in discourse, engaging and affable with strangers, and of an amiableness and suavity in domestic life, that strongly attached his household to his person. His temper was naturally irritable ; but he subdued it by the magnanimity of his spirit, comporting himself with a courteous and gentle gravity, and never indulging in any intemperance of language. Throughout his life, he was noted for a strict attention to the offices of religion. The Sabbath was to him a day of sacred rest, on which he would never sail from a port, unless in a case of extreme necessity.
While at Lisbon, he became acquainted with a lady of rank, named Dona Felipa, who resided in the convent. The acquaintance soon ripened into attachment, and ended in marriage.
When Columbus had once formed his theory, it became fixed in his mind, with singular firmness. He set it down as a fundamental principle, that the earth was a terraqueous globe, which might be travelled round from east to west, and that men stood foot to foot when on opposite points. This great man, when about forty years of
formed the idea of reaching the East Indies by sailing westward. His fortune being small, and the attempt requiring effectual patronage, he laid his plan before the senate of Genoa, desirous that his native country should profit if he was successful; the scheme, however, appearing chimerical, was rejected. He then repaired to the court of Portugal; and although the Portuguese were at that time distinguished for their commercial spirit, and John II. who then reigned, was a discerning and enterprising prince, yet the prejudices of the great men in his court, to whom the matter was referred, caused Columbus finally to fail in his attempt there also. He next applied to. Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Arragon and Castile, and at the same time sent his brother Bartholomew (who followed the same profession, and who was well qualified to fill the immediate place under such a leader) to England, to lay the proposals before Henry VII. which likewise, very fortunately for the future well being of the country, met with no success. Many were the years which Christopher Columbus spent in ineffectual attendance at the Castilian court; the impoverished state into which the finances of the united kingdom were