National Geographic : 1894 Dec 29
180 J. W. Redway-The First Landfall of Columbus. having the most weight are those of trained seamen. In the fol lowing pages I have endeavored to discuss the merits of the two prevailing opinions from a geographic standpoint, making use not so much of a modern chart as of the evidence contained in certain maps of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There is but one source from which information concerning the first landing-place can be obtained, and that is the log book. Ever since navigation of the sea began it has been the custom to keep this official record of the voyage with the utmost fidelity, for a falsely kept log is an abomination that nowadays will subject the master of the vessel to the severest penalties. In his private log book, the only one whose contents are now known, Columbus admits that he understated the daily run of the caracca Santa Maria, but he says that he thus falsified his quasi-official log in order to keep a mutinous crew in subjection. The decep tion practiced on his crew, however, was a subterfuge that could have misled no one but an ignorant sailor; it could not have deceived the brothers Pinzon, the masters of the two caravels, for they were quite as skillful navigators as Columbus. The private log must have been reasonably correct, therefore, or it would have been exposed by the enemies of the Admiral. Unfortunately, this document has disappeared and it cannot now be found. All we know of its contents-is contained in an abridged and interpolated copy made by that grand old soldier priest, Las Casas. From the date of October 10, however, the log seems to have been copied in full, and mainly in the ipsissima verba of the Admiral.* The interpolations, however, are gen erally apparent; but, good, bad or indifferent, about the only knowledge we possess is contained in this abridged log, and whatever conclusions one may reach concerning the locus of the landfall and the courses between Guanahani and Cuba, it must stand or fall accordingly as it agrees or disagrees with Las Casas' abridgment. The map of Juan de la Cosa affords no tangible evidence; Columbus' letter to Luis Santangel contains no allu sion to the matter. One might think that with the log and a good chart the estab *Apparently Sefior Castelar, in his serial article published in the Century Magazine, 1892, has not appreciated the fact that only a part of the log is in the words of Columbus. He quotes freely from Columbus, seemingly oblivious to the fact that much of the material quoted is not the language of Columbus, but that of Las Casas.
1895 Apr 20