ã€€ã€€His friends, the Pinzons, seem to have advanced this, and to have beenafterwards repaid. Las Casas and Herrera both say that the sum thus addedwas much more than one-eighth of the cost and amounted to half a millionmaravedis.
ã€€ã€€He would have been glad on some accounts to return, himself, at once; buthe did not think that the natives of the islands were sufficiently under thepower of the new colony to be left in safety.
ã€€ã€€Columbus was encouraged by the tone of this letter. He had chosen toact as if he were in disgrace, and dressed himself in humble garb, as if hewere a Franciscan monk, wearing his beard as the brethren of those ordersdo. Perhaps this was in fulfillment of one of those vows which, as weknow, he frequently made in periods of despondency.
ã€€ã€€The chief sent a canoe in search of Martin Pinzon and the Pinta, to tellthem of the disaster. But the messengers returned without finding them. Atthe camp, which was to be a city, all was industriously pressed, with theassistance of the friendly natives. Columbus, having no vessel but the littleNina left, determined to return to Europe with the news of his discovery,and to leave nearly forty men ashore.
ã€€ã€€With tidings as encouraging as this, Columbus returned to his city. Heappointed his brother and Pedro Margarita governors of the city, and leftwith three ships for the further exploration of Cuba, which he had left onlypartly examined in his first voyage. He believed that it was the mainlandof Asia. And as has been said, such was his belief till he died, and that ofhis countrymen. Cuba was not known to be an island for many yearsafterwards. He was now again in the career which pleased him, and forwhich he was fitted. He was always ill at ease in administering a colony,or ruling the men who were engaged in it. He was happy and contentedwhen he was discovering. He had been eager to follow the southern coastof Cuba, as he had followed the north in his first voyage. And now he hadhis opportunity. Having commissioned his brother Diego and Margaritaand appointed also a council of four other gentlemen, he sailed to explorenew coasts, on the twenty-fourth of April.
ã€€ã€€[*] To this first found land, called by the natives Guanahani, Columbusgave the name of San Salvador. There is, however, great doubt whetherthis is the island known by that name on the maps. Of late years theimpression has generally been that the island thus discovered is that nowknown as Watling's island. In 1860 Admiral Fox, of the United States navy,visited all these islands, and studied the whole question anew, visiting theislands himself and working backwards to the account of Columbus'ssubsequent voyage, so as to fix the spot from which that voyage began.