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MILIO CASTELAR, the famous orator of Spain, is still a force in Spanish politics, his present attitude being opposition within parliamentary limits to the existing moderate monarchy. He had paved the way by his writings and his speeches for the revolution of 1866, which was put down by Serrano; as one of the leaders of the revolt he was condemned to death, but made his escape to Geneva; he returned during the troubles of 1868, when Isabel II. was dethroned, and labored for the adoption of a republican form of government, but the throne was reestablished in 1870 with Amadeo as King; when the latter abdicated in 1873, Castelar became Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Republic, and in September of that year he was made President. His measures for suppressing the Carlist insurrection and for harmonizing conflicting interests did not succeed; on January 2, 1874, he resigned, Serrano came to the front in the military reaction, and a year later, when Alfonso XII. was called to the throne, Castelar made a second journey to Geneva. In 1876 he reëntered the Cortes; he has since taken an active part in the political debates. To a history of the Columbus epoch he brings scholarship of a special character; the chair of History and Philosophy at the University of Madrid was filled by him for many years until he resigned it in 1875. His democratic principles and his admiration for American institutions have served to keep him in sympathetic touch with the civilization of the New World.-THE EDITOR.
BY EMILIO CASTELAR.
I. THE AGE IN WHICH HE LIVED.
HE name of Columbus suggests mysterious analogies to all those redeemers who owe their influence on humanity, and their renown throughout the ages, to suffering and sacrifice. Fortunate, thrice fortunate was the Genoese mariner in the attainment of his ambition. While yet in the full maturity of his powers, long before the infirmities of age had begun their blighting inroads, he lifted the veil from a new and beautiful world. True, after Columbus had brought America to light, he did not grasp the significance and full extent of his achievement; nor would blind fate consent to the linking of his immortal name with his discovery, reserving that well-earned honor to a pilot of inferior merit. But, as if to make amends for this, he leaves in the background of fame all other navigators whose names are written in the priceless annals of discovery.
The first wanderer who quitted the watered valleys to seek a new existence amid the sands of the desert; the first frail bark intrusted by human daring to the surging billows; the Phenician explorer who first grounded his ship on the shores of Carthage; the wary son of Hellas, forced to flee from the reefs against whose hidden rocks vessels were dashed in pieces, and to cover eyes and ears, that he might return to his native land and not linger forever in idle harbors and along smiling shores; the hotly pursued searcher for the Golden Fleece-all who by means of perilous expeditions have brought to light unknown regions, or established communication between remote races, stand grouped yonder in the shadowy outlines of the early dawn of the historic ages.
When Columbus, greatest of discoverers, appears at last, in an era when the intellects of men are ripening, and when mind and nature are becoming reconciled under the influence of religious and scientific reformation, his personality stands out in such exact proportions, drawn in colors so bright, that it can never be confounded with another, or be hidden behind the glamorous mists that hang around other prominent historic characters, who, less fortunate, have never, with all their worth, risen so high as Columbus rose, nor won what he won-universal remembrance and recognition.
I attribute the historical good fortune of this portentous hero to his martyrdom; or, in other words, to the virtue and efficacy involved in the nature of suffering. That persistent struggle of the discoverer with superstition, prior to his wonderful success, and that other struggle, after his wonderful success, with his own errors and with ingratitude, encircled his brow with a crown of thorns, of which every barb that pierced his temples while he lived became
From a Photograph taken for the Bureau of American Republics. HOUSE IN WHICH COLUMBUS WAS BORN.
at his death a shining ray of glory. At the foot of every altar lies a sacrifice.
The fabulous aspects of his career became almost incredible. Beholding how Columbus stored his mind with all the gathered knowledge of his day; how he urged before universities and learned men the indispensable adoption of his plans, based in part on his personal conjectures and in part on his experience and his researches; how in all that time of steadfast preparation he staked his hopes upon magnates, archbishops, monks, and potent queens and kings; how learning and calculation entered into his plans as much as intuition and genius, many pious souls professed to discover therein revelations such as God made of old to his prophets, and proposed to the Church his canonization. I attribute such exceptional treatment of Columbus to the fact that discoveries and discoverers exert a potent influence upon the imagination; and yet they hold a lesser place in popular history than statesmen or warriors. How much more important would it be in our day to know who invented the flourmill than to know who won the battle of Arbela! The fact is that, comparing the volumes devoted to statecraft and to war with those treating of labor and industry, one is astounded and dismayed at the incredible disproportion. I can understand why this should have been so in ages when manual toil was considered degrading, and when trade, relegated to the common sort who were politically debarred from coping with the patrician classes, was despised. But even in our day, transcendently the age of labor and of industry, while the names of great commanders are borne on the world-wide wings of fame, those of discoverers fall with the utmost ease into ungrateful oblivion. For one Galvani, one Franklin, one Daguerre, one Edison who has spread his renown among all classes and stamped an invention forever with his name, what a vast number of unremembered or unknown glories!
The peoples of the future will not be so ungrateful. The first years of this century will grow in universal remembrance, not by reason of those Napoleonic victories whose godlike renown a thousand poems sing, but rather because of another and better title to glory the voltaic pile, imprisoning the all-diffused electric fluid, and by its chemicals and metals engendering currents and forces as though it were a microcosmic universe, an epitome of the alchemy whereby the great powers of nature produce and maintain life. Without the astrolabe, invented by the Arab schools of Cordova and Seville for the study of the heavens; with out the science of algebra, so greatly facilitating the labor of calculation; without the mariner's compass, which fixes a sure point to guide the VOL. XLIV.-17.
bark lost in the infinitude of sky and sea; without the printing-press, which within a short half-century after its invention had already become a potent auxiliary to the development of the human intellect, the discovery of the New World-itself the logical result of a slow but sure evolution, wrought out in successive stages like all great human achievements, and not by sudden chance-could never have taken place.
A LITTLE before the middle of the fifteenth century, about the year 1433 or 1434, Columbus was born at Genoa. Nature and Providence joined in willing that so sublime a mariner should be brought forth and reared on the shores of the sea. From the earliest times the true historic centers of civilization and culture have been associated with places situated on or near great waters. Survey the world of history, and you will discern what an intimate relation has from time immemorial existed betweenrivercourses and the formation or transformation of States. The Indus and India; the Euphrates and Chaldea; Israel and the Jordan; the Pharaohs and the mysterious Nile; Carthage and her harbor on the African coast of the Mediterranean; Tyre and Sidon, founded on the spot where the three continents of primeval earth seemed to converge; Greece with her sculptured shores and groups of islands redolent of song; Italy with her peninsular formation in the center of Europe and the southern sea; Spain set between the billows of old ocean and the Mediterranean furnish by their respective fluvial or maritime situations a perfect key to their strange and complicated histories.
The fact cannot be ignored that as there is a kinship in art, like that between all the Dutch and Flemish masters of the Germanic schools, so likewise is there a kinship between all the Italian painters-Florentine, Milanese, Roman, Venetian, and Umbrian. And like this affinity of the northern and Italian masters, so is there kinship between all Mediterranean mariners. So, therefore, Columbus belongs exclusively to the Mediterranean type of kinship by the happy union of inspiration and self-interest, which makes of him at once a trader and a prophet, equally capable of obeying the stimulus of gold like any sailor who roams the sea for commerce, for barter, and for the ignoble lust of gain, or of obeying the summons of religious faith like some old crusader. In the Norman sea-rover you always behold the mariner. In the Mediterranean sailor you behold, joined to the selfish interests of industry and traffic, the religious enthusiast, the prophet and the martyr. Let no man undertake to analyze Columbus who will not recognize how absolutely these two extremes meet in him.
It is a historical fact that the fifth, the tenth,