In 1930, two years before his death at the age of fifty-two, Lionel Cecil Jane published this translation of the Columbus journal of the first voyage with the Argonaut Press of London. L. A. Vigneras now republishes the translation with some alterations, many footnotes, and a foreword of his own. The present volume also includes an English version of the Columbus letter, likewise from the 1930 Jane edition, announcing the discoveries made on the first voyage to various persons in Spain, and a brief original study by R. A. Skelton, superintendent of the Map Room of the British Museum, entitled “The cartography of the first voyage.” Vigneras acknowledges the help of several archival and maritime authorities in Spain and Portugal.
The extant versions of the Columbus journal are to be found only in the Historia de las Indias by Bartolomé de las Casas, several variant manuscripts of which exist. Jane used the version published at the time of the Columbus quatercentenary by the editors of the Raccolta Colombiana (I, 1-119). A considerably different journal will be found in the recent critical edition of Las Casas by Agustín Millares Carlo and Lewis Hanke (I, 179-327). The principal justification for republishing Jane’s translation, besides the needed corrections that are made, is that the Argonaut volume was published in a limited edition no longer available.
This is a handsome volume, containing old maps, facsimilies, and many other illustrations. Unfortunately, there is no index. The illustration on p. 161 by Theodore de Bry, called “Columbus at sea,” is sometimes taken to represent Amerigo Vespucci. It does not greatly matter which view is correct, for there is no authentic portrait of Columbus and the most reliable one of Vespucci was painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio when Amerigo was about nineteen.