National Geographic : 1894 Dec 29
184 J. W. Redway-The First Landfall of Columbus. distinctive features enumerated by original authorities, and that "in following the course from Watling there is no difficulty in identifying all the islands at which the fleet stopped." Such a statement is simply ridiculous; if it were true, all dispute about the matter would have ended long ago. This writer also makes much of the assertion that the island contained a large interior lake. As a matter of fact, however, Columbus makes no such assertion. He says there was a large lagoon in the middle; but a lagoon is one thing and a lake is quite another.* Even Captain Becher falls into this error, a piece of carelessness for which Captain Fox takes him to task. Herr Cronau also criticises Kettell's translation of the passage in which Columbus states that, with the boats of the ships, he took a north northeasterly course to see the other side.t He translates this perplexing passage, " I skirted along the coast towards the north northeast in order to explore the other part of the island, namely, that which lies to the east." Now this may, or it may not be what Columbus meant; it certainly is not what he wrote, and Herr Cronau's guess is no better than that of any other student. Mr Clements R. Markham in reviewing the question does himself injustice by a few expressions which are certainly ill chosen. In a very scholarly article he says, concerning the first landfall: " If the materials from the Journal were placed in the hands of any midshipman in Her Majesty's navy, he would put his finger on the true landfall in half an hour." Such a statement as-this most certainly will not do. Could the ques tion be so easily settled as all this, it would not have been a bone of contention for more than a century. Furthermore, Mr Mark ham says: " It is obvious that, if we trace these bearings and distances backwards from Cuba they will bring us to an island that must necessarily be the Guanahani or San Salvador of Columbus. This is the sailor's method." 1 But what sailor has yet been able to accomplish this problem so suitable for a royal middy's recitation exercise? Where on the coast of Cuba is the place at which the Admiral landed ? How much and in what direction was the squadron carried out * "Y una laguna in medio muy grande." Log book, October 13. t En amaneciendo mand6 aderezar el batel de la nao y las barcas de las carabelas, y fue al luengo de la isla, en el camino del nornordeste, para ver la otra parte, que era de la otra parte del Leste. Log book, October 14. TProceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, September, 1892.
1895 Apr 20