Christopher Columbus and the New World HTML version

The Heritage Of Hatred
Although the journey from Jamaica to Espanola had been accomplished in four days by
Mendez in his canoe, the caravels conveying the party rescued from Puerto Santa Gloria
were seven weary weeks on this short voyage; a strong north-west wind combining with
the west-going current to make their progress to the north-west impossible for weeks at a
time. It was not until the 13th of August 1503 that they anchored in the harbour of San
Domingo, and Columbus once more set foot, after an absence of more than two years, on
the territory from the governorship of which he had been deposed.
He was well enough received by Ovando, who came down in state to meet him, lodged
him in his own house, and saw that he was treated with the distinction suitable to his high
station. The Spanish colony, moreover, seemed to have made something of a hero of
Columbus during his long absence, and they received him with enthusiasm. But his
satisfaction in being in San Domingo ended with that. He was constantly made to feel
that it was Ovando and not he who was the ruler there;—and Ovando emphasised the
difference between them by numerous acts of highhanded authority, some of them of a
kind calculated to be extremely mortifying to the Admiral. Among these things he
insisted upon releasing Porras, whom Columbus had confined in chains; and he talked of
punishing those faithful followers of Columbus who had taken part in the battle between
Bartholomew and the rebels, because in this fight some of the followers of Porras had
been killed. Acts like these produced weary bickerings and arguments between Ovando
and Columbus, unprofitable to them, unprofitable to us. The Admiral seems now to have
relapsed into a condition in which he cared only for two things, his honours and his
emoluments. Over every authoritative act of Ovando's there was a weary squabble
between him and the Admiral, Ovando claiming his right of jurisdiction over the whole
territory of the New World, including Jamaica, and Columbus insisting that by his
commission and letters of authority he had been placed in sole charge of the members of
his own expedition.
And then, as regards his emoluments, the Admiral considered himself (and not without
justice) to have been treated most unfairly. By the extravagant terms of his original
agreement he was, as we know, entitled to a share of all rents and dues, as well as of the
gold collected; but it had been no one's business to collect these for him, and every one's
business to neglect them. No one had cared; no one had kept any accounts of what was
due to the Admiral; he could not find out what had been paid and what had not been paid.
He accused Ovando of having impeded his agent Carvajal in his duty of collecting the
Admiral's revenues, and of disobeying the express orders of Queen Isabella in that
matter; and so on-a state of affairs the most wearisome, sordid, and unprofitable in which
any man could be involved.