Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919.

Events Since Columbus’s Discovery

November 14th.

The fourth day out was in some respects the most interesting. All the forenoon we had Cuba on our right and most of the forenoon and part of the afternoon Hayti on our left; and in each case green, jungly shores and bold mountains—two great, beautiful, venomous tropic islands. These are historic seas and Mother and I have kept thinking of all that has happened in them since Columbus landed at San Salvador (which we also saw), the Spanish explorers, the buccaneers, the English and Dutch sea-dogs and adventurers, the great English and French fleets, the desperate fighting, the triumphs, the pestilences, of all the turbulence, the splendor and the wickedness, and the hot, evil, riotous life of the old planters and slave-owners, Spanish, French, English, and Dutch;—their extermination of the Indians, and bringing in of negro slaves, the decay of most of the islands, the turning of Hayti into a land of savage negroes, who have reverted to voodooism and cannibalism; the effort we are now making to bring Cuba and Porto Rico forward.

To-day is calm and beautiful, as all the days have been on our trip. We have just sighted the highest land of Panama ahead of us, and we shall be at anchor by two o’clock this afternoon; just a little less than six days from the time we left Washington.