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XEW-YORK, SUNDAY. MARCH 2, 1913.
The Gncat Autliori?LOii the ??&to?rcfftet
IfeWTic Gioiy of ?&umbuskflRrigfcbcr
? ? TteaiBer + * *
11HK author ni tin remarkable- contribution i" the literature relating
In the dlacovery of America which la prin t ?ii below has long enjoye?!
hmli repute In our diplomat!, servtoe. When. Mine time after he bad
!irst entered that set vice, he w.is appointed BeCOnd Sea retar? a.f the Legn
non at Pans, he there made hitnsei." ?... exceptionally useful as ta. win
golden opiniams from ins eucces ive chiefs. Continuing hi? labors Inter
as First Beeretary .uni afterward aa H>anomr] Counaellor. ii< diatln
guianed himself alike i.y ins seal and ins rapacity. Among th? man*, trib?
utes rnid him on his retiremenl not long ago, after some thirty-odd years
of official activity, th.- note of warm admiration for ins .|U;i?ti??s .1? a m m
heard nt the embassj was matched by ?mi.1 a>f peculiar reaped for hi?- effl
.ioncy as n worker. Tlreleaa In the performance "f in- duties, he never?
thoicss found tima- throughout .- lone period of in- life t>> make him?
?eir I'v exhauetlve reaearch and the writing of certain memorable booh
th? greatest living authority ?m Columbus and the discover: of Amerii ?
11 w.is in recognition of very solidnchlevementa that .Mr. Vignaud waa
made preaidenl a.f the Soci?t? ?i??- kmerieanlstee, Thal bod) honored M
self if honoring the author ol "Tosonnelll ami Columbus: Th.- Letter
Hiid Chart "f T-aecnnelll on the Routs i<> iiic Indies bj Way of .li
west"; "T(.scaiieiii ami Columbus: Letters to Sir dementa Markham uni
C< Raymond Bensley"; "Ls Maison d'Albe .t lea Archiv?e Colom?
Mannes"; "Etudes Critiques sur ls Nie 'le Colomb"; "Histoire Critique de
la Grande Knteiptrs. de 11-?2." Sot h..s he been conten! i?, real In his
..id age upon the laureis gathered through the production <a these boohs.
our Paria correspondent reporta :<' thla moment th- publication of the
--.? a?n?l \..lutne of tin- woik ?ti whi h Mr. Vignnud h?-- deal! "?th Atii'-i
ma V-sspucci anal the attribution of his nnms to the Neo W-orld These
\wi. email, condensed volumes constitutes clsaslcnl vork ?.i rcferenc?
tiit- author's scientific and scholsrlyinvestigation "i th? subjeel ? - aba*??
utelj eabaustlve. Ev?ery statement he makes is support-ed i ? tboritls
from whom he cite.?? chapter ami verse. Wa muy appropriate! note he s
something of the sui.staii.i- of thla lat.-si addition la ?< iif- - work of
ft iitful historl-cnl Investigation,
Tiu- volume opens wiiii ;i delightful description of ihe quaint little
ii.a-i'.'' ?>r college of Samt-Di.', in the Vosges, ?.' the beglnnini of
sixteenth century. Qnuthier Lud, secretan and chaplain of the
reigning Duke Rem n of Anjou, founded the Acndemj al Balnt?*D14, and
m ir.??! established In its library ; priming press, which two years Intel
produced the "C-osnaographise Introduction' In this little I.k there wa
printed for the first time the word "America" as a designation for the
\ World, According t?> the weight of evidence, thegeogrnph? Wald?
?eemuller was Ihe author. ThS Brat edition was issued am April 25, 1.307.
i others were struck off during the same year, and there ata? to-day
.- \'? coplea of the booh known ta> ? xjst. it is curious to remark thai In
IHld ? copj of Hi" original edition was aold for ?*.".'_' at Frankfort) and
m 1912 ;i copy waa bought by Quaritch for $880. Mr. Vignnod'a r?
???i?!-.- around the great topic supplied by this work inov.? beyond doubl
iliai Yespu-ccl, the Florentine explorer, landed on the main continent of
America after ? ' 11><?t. but before Columbus. Moreov?-r. V'enpucoi ?an til"
Ural i" ascertain thai the land wns pan of a continent quits distinct
rom ill?' of Asia. Cabo! ami Columbus both supposed that they had
lia overed .? back door to Asia, whereas in troth th? y bad coma a^.ntv-;
iti. ti?,nt door "f America.
Vespucci was a man >.f modest, retiring disposition. Hla vo>agev .ire
, ihe must Important ami thrilling known in history, but it was no;
I?. his initiative a.r ta> his wish that the application of his name to the
sen continent was ?inc. The responsibility for that "baptism" |"-1"iik-.
!.. the little hand a.f sch-Otara at Saint-De-, to the cultured Duke Ren4
>?f Anjou and to hi- intelligent ihaplnin, Onuthler Lud. Mr. Vignnud haa
.1 omplished a work ofgreai historic valut in his treatment of i h? who;.?
? ?< t. whtoh renders justi" to V-SSpUCCl and seems finally to settle B
controversy that for (?-nturies ha-- been a source a>f quarrels and bitte.
antm>osltlea bstw?ssn scholara ami blsforhuM,
Th" same disinterested devotion to the truth win. h he has shown in
ihm instance he has always shown m his Columbian writings; Im! from lip
discussions growing out of th?? ;att<?i in which ii" bna necesaaril)
heen Involved there has developed In some ?uiarters a strange mlsconcep
lion Of this impartial scholar's litlltude toward the ons hero In the an?
nals of exploration whose lame has, ?M a matter ?if fact, been nearesi to
his hum. Authors preferring romance t?> history, legend t.. facts, have
read iuv<> Mr. Vlgnaud s critical examination of the life a.r Columbus
ideas Which he never dreamed of putting there. Tiny have acusad him
<?f dis-paraying the man he has delighted to honor, wlmn? greatness Mis
only been the more firmly established by Ihe boaiks to which we luiv?? re
ferre-l above. Desiring to answer hi? critics once ami for all, Mr Vlgnaud
decided to bring his conclusions together in a brief paper, ami this ha
addressed, In the form of a personal letter, to the late Whltslaw Keid,
hla old chief in the diplomatic SSTVICS at Pali?-. To Mr. Reld the com?
munication appealed at once as or striking inti rest to men a.r letters,
and one of the last of the mattet? to which he was al.lt to give his atten?
tion was this footnote to history.
?.t the steal O?.ie, while In reality
ill. > were tilling hilll ? iliss.-l \ i. .
litre Ifl ?: fa** lin-s is. the legend.
Belonging to ? family of ssdlors and
related to two L-etobrated adm?rale
Columbua from Ins early years took to
ihe s? a and turnad bit thoughts toward
maritime dtacovery. Bj his reading
and his .-.luv'eraation with th?oae con?
erned m Hi?-.-?- mattere be noon cam?
't.. in.- conclusion that ihe East Indtae
inuiii be more easily reached bj sallini
I ?lue west th.iii h\ taking l he route
round the Cape of ''?.I ll??i>? Full ?"?f
tins i'ie.i hf g?.?f i?. Liabon, than the
ccntr? <?f maritime enterprise, and
entera mi?, r^latlona "?th King John,
of whom in- ask* the mean* i?> put his
i?i?-a into effect Refused by that kins*,
he so*m i?. CasUle ami makes the earn?
propoaala to the Spanish monarcha,
[After long efforts he at last obtains
. their.perathm, all he ??*-ks i?.i beins
granted, on ?condition thai he is t?. go ?
? the Baal Indies, not bj th.dlnai
route, but b) s a) of the xt ? i
Thus autltoiised gad assisted, he Hu
OUI B Small ib'tilla ami lOtl sail I Mir ? ,
! Ing the * hole "I the ? OJ an< he ha
i?i.->i tu reach the Bast Indies I hi
on. object Wholly occupied *\iiii this
Igrcal design h? r< I is? s ?., ?.?.. oui of
I his . ourse to took for Istandi <>r im ?
i lands, signs of lb* existen?*? ?.f which
had notwithstanding been dis.?ed,
and m spite of the opposition of his
I crea h< push?*** stralghl befon him
Iuntil i?f i.a ii.-s isiau.is which be d?
clares to be these Indies He then n
'turns to Palos, t*onvtnced thsl he had
I ted his expedition as Intended thai
I to the ?ntrenltles of Eastern Asia
There, in outline, Is the stoi . ot
Columbus as It Is general!) believed
and as told bj all his resdsrn blog
Bagneux, December. IM2. ,
To the Hen. Whitelaw Reid. American
Ambassador in London and formerly
my old chief in l'arls.
Hear Sir: What falls to the lot Of
many others has befallen BBC, and,
while I arn not surprised, it H none the
less a great discouragement?tlie work
of my Hie is misrepresente?!, and, in
?pite of repeated efforts, I hav? not yet
?ucceeded in making it gSMrall)
i (atended to re, Ufy a grave sad
?nclent hlatorieal error ami to make
known the actual beginnings of the |
discover of Amerl? , as well a?* th?;
true reasons f??* which we should honor
flM memo**) of Columbus Itow per?
?ons have comprehended the character.
?n?i ?scope of this rectification; mosl
People hav? s.-?-n In it nut the attempt
of an iconoclast i" reduce the dlscov
?rer of the New World to the level of
the common adventurers of hM Mine
The extent <?f this Bs*raad?trrstandlng
may be judged by u??- following titles,
which may be read' m larga totters, at
'h? bead of most of the articles devoted
l" my i.ks, notabi) to the latest and
most Important "L'Histoire Critique
del? Grande Entreprise de 1482," as
"Columbus .. tu Cook." 'Columbus a
??Hod, "Columbus the Humbug."
"Columb s a I'lain Kak.-i " These
'?tie? and others <?r like kind, sut*** ai
??M epithet <?i "muckraker," by which
?ome papers have stigmatised m<
"how very clearly tbe erroneous id??a
'he general pu bit? has of my work, f??f
't Is not only in Irresponsible pubUca
ll*>ns that all tiiift may be found, n\it in
'hoee. of wi?le < irculntioii ami repute.
While il is ilifti? ult almost impos?
able, to stop s m h misrepresentation, I
?xre it to myself to attempt to do so,
?nd beg of you t?i ausist me In permit?
"ng me to ?tale briefly in your papel
?he object which I had in view and
?Sie", I ni\ne|r believe 1 have a? ?dill- j
What 1 ?lefinitely .sought to destroy
is the Columbian legend?thai in to say.
the history ?if tin- discoverer according
to authors who have drawn <>nl\ from
source?? of Columbian origin, in the b.-.
ii, i that the] ware serving the memory '
And yet M i* an pure!) legend?r)
Not a Magic assertion on which th?
above narrative is based , an be pro\ed
and all th? statements ate contrary
b.ith to known facts ami the authenti.
testimonies which we posses?
ColumbUS belonged to a famil" >??.
ireavera, not sailors lie wan not re?
lated I" < Ither of the celebrated ad?
mirals who hole th?- same name I If
did not take t,, the sea early, in 1 I TU
ami l IT", be was still n weaver, il?- ?lui
not go to Portugal to seek to put in as?
<? ni..n the plan of g"ing t?> lii'lia b)
i he west, be arrived there i>> accident
in ih? coarse of a trading voyage hav?
log another destination: and ii was
onl) after bis marriage ami after ??<?!
tocttng num.nuis Indications <?f th?- .-x
Istence ?>r Islands ami unknown toads
to ih?- w?Bstward that he formed the da
sign which be never afterword rolla?
qulshed, it was for the discover] of
i rn-w islands, the existence ??f which be
said be knew, that be submitted plans
ar lirst to King .lohn and later to the
Catholb nioiiar.lis, and il was solely
foi ihe illscover) <?f these Islaads
known to him that the agreement with
i-'crdiiiaml ami Isabella i\as made.
Be then weal to Patos to organise bis
expedition, and made agreements with
the brothers Platon and the mariners
?o? that plaoe. We knoa that bespoke
j t.. th'-ni of the very Islands that be
afterward dte*Mt*v<******d. but thons la no
trace of his h.-?\ ing discussed with them
a ?I? sign to go t?i India. He embarked,
after having given written Instructions
[indicating UM distance at which lan?l
'ought to he met with, and set ?ail in g
] parallel of latitude from which he did
twx proposa to deviate. Far from being
? unconcerned ai to the discovery of BOS
Islands, while Intent on reaching th?
extremities of Asia, he end his com
panions (a?ccording lo the t-sstlmony oi
hiH own journal of the voyage? werf
occupied the whole tune in seeking fot
certain tslamls whi?h they BOUM nail
find. After sailing bevond where these
ought to have heen seen his peopk
wauled to g.? hack. He induced them
lo push the exploration farther, and at
last dtsaiivere.i an Inland which his sun
says was th>> one he sought. I'er
BUgded. then, that h>' had gOUS as fat
as the regions of Asia, he returned i"
Palos, and deelared i lint h?- had ?'amie
back from tlie Kasteni Indies, vvhere.
he adds, his Intention had always been
to go?a declaration hellet ed by no ame.
Such is the true story of the dls
? cov cry of the Kew World as revealed
?by a critical examination of ail our
| sources of Information of this great
event it is an a? .mint borne out by
all th.? known facts, testified |,\ aye
wltneeses ami ear-witnesses and eon?
Bimsd bj contemporary blstortana
whai say not a word of a route to the
East Indies by way of lite west, hut
who state, on the contrary, that t'ulum
l>us set Mil to search for the Islands
w hick lie aduallv found.
i 'I'll.it I have carried oui this critical
e:.animation with Impartiality and
(ssvsrtt) will, i am sine, be acknowl
a?.ii<?ii by ail who vvjii take tin? trouble
t?. read the three volumes in which it la
sat forth, ami it shows thai tile discov?
ery of Amelia a was made under Clr?
cumstances quits different from those
of the Columbian legend.
The qusstlon now :s whether thla bis
tortead readjustment Injures the mem?
ory of Columhus. In oilier words, id
th.- discoverer himself belittled by this
Inquiry, instituted to test Ihs assertions
?of Columbian origin b) iliosa? from an?
it must i.e said, Bret >>t ,.n. thai sven
if such injuiv happened ii would be no
?argument for setting asid.? the results '
?obtalneal hv a w is.? ami healthy ? rili
! cism. The historian cannot lake iiila?
'account a consideration of the kind; lie
, knows thai truth carries its own en?
lightenment, nn?l that truth alone is
useful and of moral service. No
sophism should induce ban to prefer
error, Bui In th - case there is no oc
L-aston to hesitate, oui of rsgafd to ths
m- -mon of Columbas, between the
1 gend snd actual history, for it is the
actual history which does the greater
honor i?< htm whom we still continue to
cal t h? gn st ? tenoesa
The Columbus of the legend la a man
who is possessed, ?me does not know
why, h] ? chimerical Idas, in seeking to
r? ah/?- whi.h be stumbtoa against lands
\v !),.>,? existence he did not suspect and
Which he lakes for th?> extremities of
The Columbas of history is a ?impie
workman whom the ?-nanees of life
have brought to Portugal, where ha
find? himself thrown among a?i\entur
..-is msriners whose principal occupa
: i - -11 is making voyages into regions un?
known. Their way of life attracts him;
he ?s laterestod in their adventures,
.?.l?.-(t-i with enthusiasm the narra
lives of discoveries mide or antici?
pate,!, empares th.-ni ?me with an?
other, and arrives at the ronviotlon
that new lands lie to tH.o westward.
Strong in this conviction, which is oon
lirmed hv his studies and meditation,
lie sets himself resolutely to the quest
of these islands, whose existence is to
him demonstrated by the loglo of facts,
and in ihe end ho finds them.
Whldi, then, <>f the two men deserve?i
im.st the expression of our admira'.lon
and of our gratitude for the work done.'
is it he who, imbued with a false idea,
makes accidentally a ?reat discovery
whi.h ho did not foresee, or he who.
patlantly putting tog?-ther all the ele?
ments of the problem of the possible
existence of tanda hitherto unexplored
Net generally mimitfed at the time, de?
duces from numi-rous indications?con -
tr.'oli? tory, uncertala, even false?the
just conclusion that new lands exist in
a definite raci?n, and who actually find?
the same where he Judged they ought
Is it not plain thai it is to the Colum?
bus ?>f history, a/ho wittingly did a
great thing, and not to the legendary
Columbus servad by chance, that we
?.we the j'isi tribute of our gratitude
?mi admiration? This conclusion Is
not to be s?-t sable or moditied when we
admit that it was as the Columbus of
tradition thai the discoverer himself
was willing to be known to posterity.
The fact is. unfortunately, only too
true. B) a mental evolution of which
n is .hill, ult t.? catch the working, but
which probably began in the fact that
the land win? h !i<- expected to find at a
relatively short distance from the
<"anailes was found much further off.
Columbus, v. ho set out with the fixed
Intention t<> search for islands about
which be believed his information cer?
tain, returmd from his great enterprise
with ideas v?sry ?lift?rent from those
which <b < '?'<! him to undertake it. and
died under the singular illusion that he
had ?lone quite another thing than that
which he had originally proposed to do.
This illusion, under the influence of
whi.-h he mude his three other voyages,
and which nothing would mak* him re
nounce, poisoned his last days, for, la
spit.- of incessant efforts, he could not
impart his belief to any one, and ex?
Continued ?a third noto.