Christopher Columbus drafted several letters to the Spanish King and Queen immediately upon making landfall in the New World. In them, he announces that his letters are to be chiefly informative. He opens by saying "I have determined to write you this letter to inform you of everything that has been done and discovered in this voyage of mine."
His tone, however, is far more than merely descriptive. With great enthusiasm, Columbus paints a colorful and exciting picture of his findings. He is very boastful of his successes and describes the islands using many superlatives. The land is bountiful and the natives amiable, he writes. He optimistically describes the land as ripe for the taking and a boon for the Spanish Empire.
It is no wonder that he is very boastful and exuberant in his early letters. He needs to justify the expense that his voyage cost to his royal backers in Spain. His tone is not entirely unlike that of a salesman. Indeed, he is already trying to convince the Spanish monarchs to fund future voyages. Nowhere does Columbus express doubts or misgivings about his endeavors.
However, his tone is dramatically different in his later letters describing his fourth and final voyage. By this time, the exaggerations of his earlier letters had been discovered. He was out of favor with the Spanish Court, and there was distressing political instability in the new Spanish colonies. These final letters have a much more dour and subdued tone as Columbus expresses his misgivings. He is much more desperate in his final letters as he pleads with the King for the "restitution of my honor." In many cases, he is downright cynical as he describes the destruction wrought on the land by the Spanish conquest. The events that occurred between Columbus's first voyage and his final one seem to have changed his outlook and disposition greatly.