The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, V7, 1588-1591, by Emma Helen Blair This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, V7, 1588-1591 Author: Emma Helen Blair Release Date: October 11, 2004 [EBook #13701] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS *** Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Distributed Proofreaders Team
Important events and changes occur during the four years included in the scope of this volume. The Audiencia is suppressed, and in its place is sent a royal governor; the instructions given to him embody many of the reforms demanded by the people through their envoy Sánchez. Extensive and dangerous conspiracies among the natives against the Spaniards are discovered, and severely punished. Trade between Nueva España and China is beginning, and seems to menace the welfare of the Philippine colony. A large immigration of Chinese to the islands has set in, and is already seriously affecting economic interests there. The city of Manila, recently destroyed by fire, is being rebuilt, this time mainly with brick and stone. As usual, there is much friction between the ecclesiastical and secular authorities, largely concerning the collection of tributes from the Indians; the most prominent figure in these contentions is the aged but fiery bishop, Salazar.
Shortly after the Jesuit Sánchez had gone to Spain as envoy of the Philippine colonists, a document was prepared (December 31, 1586), by order of the Manila cabildo, to be sent to him for use at the Spanish court. As this was lost on the “Santa Ana,” and as Bishop Salazar regards the supply of missionaries Page 5in the islands as very inadequate, he applies (June 3, 1588) to the cabildo for another copy of such part of this document as relates to the religious needs of the natives. This he sends (June 25) to the royal Council of the Indias, with considerable additions regarding certain islands not mentioned in the cabildo's memorial. This document gives much interesting information, not only on religious matters, but on the social and economic conditions of both Spaniards and natives in the islands. In each island or province are enumerated the population, both native and Spanish; the number of Spanish troops, also of encomiendas and tributarios; the number of convents and their inmates; the religious and ecclesiastics, not only those resident, but those needed among the natives; the officials employed by the government; the Chinese immigrants and their occupations; the articles for sale in the public market; and the imports and exports at Manila. The writer relates many things of interest regarding the natural resources and products of the country, the mode of life of both Spaniards and natives, the means of defense possessed by the colony, the Indians who are not as yet under Spanish rule. All this affords a valuable and curiously interesting picture of the colony and its life; but Salazar, in presenting it, is mainly concerned with the great need of more religious instruction for the natives, and earnestly entreats the king to send more friars and ecclesiastics for the purpose.
A letter from Santiago de Vera to the king (dated June 26, 1588) gives his report for the past year. He recounts the exploits of the English adventurer Candish against Spanish commerce. Hereafter the ships which carry goods from the Philippines will be Page 6armed with cannon and other means of defense. Vera asks for more artillery with which to defend the islands, which are menaced by great dangers in their present weak condition. He has built some galleys, but would prefer some light ships for navigation among the islands. The new fort at Manila is described; it will, when completed, be sufficient defense for the city. The governor also enumerates the artillery which he has, and asks that more be provided by the home government. He has punished the royal officials for engaging in trade. Vera advises that the sale of certain public offices be deferred for some years, until the colony shall be more prosperous.
On the next day (June 27) Salazar writes to the king. He defends himself against the royal reprimand for his dissensions with the Audiencia. Further information is given regarding the capture of Spanish ships by Candish. The resulting losses of citizens in the islands are very great, and still more serious is the loss of Spanish prestige in the archipelago. In Mindanao, Moslem missionaries are conducting an extensive propaganda. The bishop complains that in his diocese the churches, as well as their furniture, are often so wretched and inadequate that they are a disgrace to religion, and are “not fit to be entered by horses.” This arises from the penuriousness or the poverty of the encomenderos; nothing can be expected from the natives, who are “so harassed and afflicted with public and private undertakings that they are not able to take breath.” The bishop regards the calamities that have befallen the Spaniards as punishments inflicted on them by God for their evil treatment of the Indians. He recommends that many religious be sent to the islands, Page 7who will be protectors of the natives; also that a governor be sent who is not ruled by selfish or family interests. Salazar complains of the harshness and severity shown by the viceroy of Nueva España, especially as the latter will not allow certain Dominican friars to go to the Philippines; and as he has injured the commerce of the islands by his restrictive measures—especially by selling the vessel “Saint Martin” to a Mexican merchant to be used in the Chinese trade. The wreck of that ship at sea he regards as a punishment from heaven. He urges that trade from Mexico to China be stopped, and that the viceroy of Nueva España be ordered to send aid to the Philippines, especially of troops and military supplies, and not to meddle with the decisions of the Audiencia there regarding customs duties, etc. Salazar objects to the presence of so many Chinamen in the islands.
An extract from a letter of the viceroy of India to the king (April 3, 1589) complains that some of his officers have violated the prohibition of intercourse with China and the Philippines. He has sent officials to Macao to quell disturbances there, and order has been given that all Castilians there shall be sent away. He is greatly opposed to the trade which has begun between Mexico and China, and thinks that rigorous measures should be taken against it.
Vera writes (July 13) to the king imploring reenforcements and supplies for the islands. Three Spaniards, among them a Franciscan friar, have been treacherously slain by the Borneans. This proves to be the outcome of a general conspiracy among the Filipinos, Borneans, and other peoples to attack and drive out the Spaniards. The plotters are Page 8detected and severely punished. Certain public offices have been sold, account for which is rendered by the governor. He is endeavoring to secure a small fleet of trading ships, but is obliged to ask aid for this from the royal treasury. Not only ships, but sailors and carpenters are needed, who should be paid in the same way. More artillery is needed, also to be furnished by royal aid. The Chinese trade is continually increasing. The city of Manila is being fast rebuilt, and in stone. But the land is unhealthful and the soldiers die fast, so that the islands have few men for their defense; and again the king is earnestly entreated to order that men and supplies be sent at once from Nueva España. The new fort has been injured by earthquakes, but Vera is building it more strongly. He complains that the friars have neglected his commands to learn the Chinese language and instruct the Chinese who live on the islands. The Dominicans alone have entered this field; they have achieved great results, and have now among the Chinese “a village of Christians.” Many more would be converted, if it were not for the bishop's order that the long hair of the converts should be cut off; accordingly the king orders that a conference of religious and learned persons be held, who shall take suitable action in regard to this and other matters concerning the conversion of the Chinese. Vera complains of the arrogance, obstinacy, and high temper of the bishop, and asks that the king restrain him. There is no physician in Manila, and one is urgently needed in the royal hospital. This document is followed by the notarial record of proceedings in the trial of various Indians for conspiracy, which is mentioned in Vera's letter. The punishments Page 9inflicted upon them are specified: in each case, appeal was made to the Audiencia, which in some cases modified the penalty, but otherwise affirmed the former decision.
Gaspar de Ayala, royal fiscal in the islands, makes his report to the king (July 15). He advises that ships for the royal service be built in the islands; also that the gold used as currency there be exchanged in Nueva España for Spanish coin—both of which measures will be of profit to the royal treasury. He renders account of the recent sale of offices in the islands, and gives advice regarding this method of aiding the royal exchequer. Certain encomiendas becoming vacant, Ayala, as fiscal, undertakes to secure them for the crown; in this he has difficulties with the governor, who also is trying to make trouble for Ayala with the soldiers. The latter asks to be relieved from his post in the Philippines, and sent to some other. The Chinese trade is meager this year, owing to war and pestilence in China; and there are rumors that it is being diverted to Peru or Nueva España. If this be true, the Philippine colony will be ruined. A second plot against the Spaniards has been revealed, this time in Cebú; but the leaders have been captured. The Indians of Cagayán have also revolted, and troops have been sent against them. Ayala adds, “I am ready to certify that there are few places in these islands where the natives are not disaffected.” The Spanish colony is in great danger, and imperatively needs reenforcements to save it from destruction. The galleys at Manila, now useless, should be replaced by light sailing-vessels. A further levy of tribute has been made on the Indians for the new fortress at Manila: this is an oppressive Page 10burden for them. Ayala relates at length the dissensions between the bishop and the secular authorities; the king is implored to settle the question at issue. The bishop has also offended the Augustinians, by sending Dominican friars into their field among the Chinese residents: The king is asked to send more friars, to instruct the natives. The Manila hospital for Indians has no income save of alms: Ayala recommends that the Franciscans in charge be allowed to sell a certain amount of pepper in Nueva España. The members of the Audiencia, and the magistrates and officials appointed during the current year are enumerated by name. A fierce tempest has occurred at Manila, causing great damage, and destroying all the vessels in the harbor except one small one. The expedition sent to Cagayán has returned without accomplishing anything except the destruction of the crops belonging to the hostile Indians, which will only irritate them and incite them to revenge.
A royal decree (dated August 9, 1589) orders the newly appointed governor of the Philippines, Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, to repeal the import duties levied at Manila on provisions and military supplies, also to suppress the retail trade conducted there by the Chinese.
As a result of Sanchez's embassy to Spain, the king and his counselors decide to institute many reforms in the Philippines, and to send thither a royal governor in place of the Audiencia. For this dignity is selected Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, and the king's instructions to him (dated August 9, 1589) embody the changes to be made in the government and life of the colony. The cathedral at Manila is to be built, for which purpose the king appropriates the sum of Page 11twelve thousand ducados. Similar aid is to be granted to the two hospitals at Manila. More religious are to be sent to the islands. The rate of tribute from the Indians shall be increased from eight reals to ten; this increase shall be used for tithes and the support of troops in the islands; and the encomenderos must support religious instruction among the natives, and pay tithes. A grant of money for six years is made to the city of Manila; but the king declines to abolish the customs duties—setting aside their proceeds, however, for the payment of the soldiers stationed in the islands—except those on food and military supplies. Appointments and encomiendas must be given to old citizens, or to soldiers who have done actual service; and a list of persons who are to be rewarded for their services is furnished to the new governor. Workmen are to be paid at Manila, not, as heretofore, at Mexico. Trade with Mexico is restricted to the inhabitants of the Philippines. The question whether the Chinese and other foreign merchants are to be allowed to sell goods at retail at the ports is left to the discretion of Dasmariñas. Only Christian Chinese may remain in the islands. Agricultural colonists shall be sent thither from Spain, for whom various provisions are made; and it is expected that from them the Indians will learn the Spanish methods of farming. Cattle and horses are to be sent to the islands; and the farmers sent out shall be ordered to tame and breed the wild buffaloes found there. Agriculture shall be encouraged in all ways. A convent for girls should be established, and its inmates provided with husbands; and Indian women should be enabled to marry poor Spaniards. Encomiendas must be granted with great care, and Page 12must be provided with adequate religious instruction. Dasmariñas is advised to settle lawsuits amicably out of court, when possible. In disaffected encomiendas, only part of the tributes should be collected. Suitable instruction for the natives must be provided, and those who are dispersed should be gathered into settlements where they can be taught the Christian faith. The king appoints Bishop Salazar the official protector of the Indians; and the governor is instructed to cultivate friendly relations with him. A force of four hundred paid soldiers shall be maintained in the islands, and various provisions are made for their discipline and welfare. The minimum age for military service is fixed at fifteen years, and the enlistment of mestizos is discouraged. The city of Manila shall be fortified and garrisoned; and the governor is instructed to be on his guard against various enemies, “chiefly of the Lutheran English pirates who infest those coasts,” and to build forts and galleys for the defense of the islands. He is expected to continue the conquests begun there by the Spaniards, but only in accordance with instructions furnished him. He must do all in his power to pacify the Indians in the disaffected provinces. In attempting any military expedition, the governor must consult with the most learned and experienced men of the community; he may contract with captains or encomenderos for the exploration or pacification of hitherto unsubdued regions. Provision is made for the instruction of the natives; and extortion and oppression of the natives in collecting the tributes must be checked. All Indians enslaved by the Spaniards shall be immediately set free. All lawsuits concerning the Indians shall be settled as promptly and simply as possible. Religious Page 13persons sent to the islands must remain there, except by permission of the authorities.
Of especial value are two relations (1589) by the Franciscan missionary Juan de Plasencia, on the customs of the Tagalogs. He describes their social organization, which was originally patriarchal; and rights of property, which are partly individual and partly communistic. There are three classes among the people—nobles, commoners and slaves. The status and rights of each are carefully defined, and the causes and kinds of slavery. A somewhat elaborate system of regulations concerning inheritances is described, also the status of children by adoption, which usage is widely prevalent among the Tagalogs. Marriage, dowries, and divorce are fully treated. In the second of these relations Plasencia describes their modes of burial and worship, and the religious beliefs and superstitions current among that people. They have no buildings set aside as temples, although they sometimes celebrate, in a temporary edifice, a sort of worship. Their chief idol is Badhala, but they also worship the sun and the moon, and various minor divinities. They believe in omens, and practice divination. A detailed account is given of the various classes of priests, sorcerers, witches, etc., in which the natives believed; also of the burial rites of both Tagalogs and Negritos.
A letter to the king from Portugal (written early in 1590) gives him information which he had requested from Portuguese officials in India, regarding the character and results of the trade between the Spanish colonies and those established by the Portuguese in India and the Eastern archipelago, and China. The continuance of this trade would, they Page 14think, ruin the prosperity of the settlements in India, and greatly injure the commerce of Spain, and deplete that country and her colonies of their coin. At Salazar's petition, he receives from the king (April 12, 1590) a grant of money toward the payment of debts incurred by him in procuring the rebuilding of Manila in stone. On June 20 of the same year, the members of the Audiencia, suppressed by order of the king and replaced by Dasmariñas, notify the king that they have surrendered their posts, and ask him for various favors.
Bishop Salazar writes to the king (June 24) a special communication regarding the Chinese (or Sangleys) at Manila. He apologizes for having formerly given, under a mistake as to their character, a wrong impression of that people; and relates various instances of their humane treatment of foreigners in their land. He blames the Portuguese for having spread in China false reports about the Spaniards, and thinks that by this means the devil is trying to hinder the entrance of the gospel into that land. The bishop urges that no hostile demonstration be made against the Chinese; for they are most favorably inclined to the Christian religion, and many conversions may be made among them. Most of Salazar's letter is devoted to the Chinese residents of Manila, and their quarters there, which is called the Parián. He narrates the gradual increase of the Chinese immigration to the islands, their relations with the Spaniards, the establishment of the Parián, and his efforts for their conversion. These last are ineffectual until the coming of the Dominican friars in 1587; they assume the charge of converting the Chinese, and build their convent next the Parián, which Page 15brings the friars into constant and friendly relations with the Chinese. An interesting description of the Parián and its inhabitants is given; all trades are represented therein, and the people carry on the manufactures to which they were accustomed in China, but with a better finish, which they have learned to use from the Spaniards. Salazar makes the enthusiastic statement that “the Parián has so adorned the city [Manila] that I do not hesitate to affirm to your Majesty that no other known city in España, or in these regions, possesses anything so well worth seeing as this; for in it can be found the whole trade of China, with all kinds of goods and curious things which come from that country.” Especially interesting are the economic effects of their residence there; “the handicrafts pursued by Spaniards have all died out, because people all buy their clothes and shoes from the Sangleys, who are very good craftsmen in Spanish fashion, and make everything at very low cost.” Salazar admires their cleverness and dexterity in all kinds of handiwork especially as they have learned, in less than ten years, both painting and sculpture; “I think that nothing more perfect could be produced than some of their marble statues of the Child Jesus which I have seen.” The churches are thus being furnished with images. A book-binder from Mexico had come to Manila, and his trade has been quickly taken from him by his Chinese apprentice, who has set up his own bindery, and excels his master. Many other instances of the cleverness, ability, and industry of the Chinese are related; and the city is almost entirely dependent on them for its food supplies. Not the least of the benefits received from them by the city is their work as stone-masons, and Page 16makers of bricks and lime; they are so industrious, and work so cheaply, that Manila is rapidly being rebuilt with substantial and elegant houses, churches, and convents, of stone and brick. The day's wage of a Chinaman is one real (equal to five cents of American money). So many Chinese are coming to Manila that another Parián is being built to accommodate them. Nearly seven thousand of them reside there, and in the vicinity of Manila, and four Dominican friars labor among them. Salazar reports the condition and progress of the missions conducted by that order in the islands. Those who minister to the Chinese are securing some converts, but many who are otherwise inclined to the Christian faith are unwilling thus to exile themselves from their own land. After due deliberation, the Dominicans conclude to open a mission in China, and in that case to relax the rule compelling converts to cut off their hair and foresake their native land. This purpose they are enabled to accomplish, after encountering many difficulties, through the aid of some Chinese Christians in Manila; and two friars are sent to China, Miguel de Benavides and Juan Castro. The Dominicans have also built a hospital for the Chinese; it is supported by alms, partly contributed by “Sangley” infidels; and its physician is a converted Chinese who devotes himself to its service. This institution has won much renown and commendation in China. Salazar asks that the king grant it some aid, and that he confirm a reward given by the governor to the two Christian Chinese who aided the mission to China. Another letter from Salazar bearing the same date (June 24) recounts many things concerning affairs in the islands. He protests against the royal orders Page 17to increase the rate of tribute paid by the Indians, saying that the king has been misinformed regarding their ability to pay. He makes comments on the several royal decrees which have come in this year's mail. One commands that the conquerors make restitution for the damages inflicted by them upon the natives; but they or their heirs are tardy in paying the amounts levied for this purpose, and meanwhile the Indians live in great poverty and want. The bishop's heart and conscience are harassed not only by this, but by the inability of the Spaniards to pay the full amount which is due the Indians as restitution; he therefore asks the king to settle this matter by remitting part of the amounts thus required. Salazar defends himself for having encouraged the Indian slaves (who had been freed by royal decree) to leave their Spanish masters; and for obliging the Chinese converts to cut off their hair. He also explains, as being greatly exaggerated, the accusations brought against his clergy of engaging in traffic; and promises to do all in his power to check them. One of the decrees settles the question of precedence between him and the Audiencia; but, as that tribunal has been suppressed, it is now useless. Salazar takes this opportunity to defend himself against the aspersions cast upon him in this matter, and in regard to certain legal proceedings wherein the Audiencia had claimed that he defied its authority. He declares that he always complied with its decisions or commands except in a few cases, which he explains in detail; and complains that the Audiencia has at various times usurped his jurisdiction, of which he relates instances.
In still another letter (of the same date) the bishop Page 18thanks his sovereign for recent kindness shown him, and for decrees favorable to the Philippine colony. The money which the king ordered to be given for building the cathedral at Manila has not yet been paid, as the royal treasury there is so poor. Salazar comments on certain recent decrees by the king: that the friars should not leave the islands without permission from the authorities; that tithes be remitted for twenty years to new settlers in the islands; and that the processes of justice be simplified, and pecuniary fines abrogated. The bishop reiterates his complaint against the cruelty and injustice with which the Spaniards collect the tributes from the natives, and the dearth of religious instruction for the latter; he feels responsible for this instruction, yet cannot provide it for lack of religious teachers. If more priests can be sent, great results can be achieved. The spiritual destitution of that region is so great that “of the ten divisions of this bishopric, eight have no instruction; and some provinces have been paying tribute to your Majesty for more than twenty years, but without receiving on account of that any greater advantage than to be tormented by the tribute, and afterward to go to hell.” If religious teachers are supplied, it will be comparatively easy to complete the pacification of the Indians who are now hostile; then the royal treasury will receive, from the increase in the tributes, far more than it would now expend in sending out the missionaries. The bishop asks that, as he is now appointed by the king the protector of the Indians, he may have also funds for the expenses and assistants necessary for this office; also that the same protection may be extended toward the Chinese, who need it even more than the Indians. A Page 19royal decree (July 23, 1590) orders that the trade with China shall be confined for six years to the inhabitants of the islands.
Next follows a long document, a collection of papers (bearing various dates in 1591) relating to the collection of tributes in the islands. The first is a memorandum of the resources and needs of the hospital at Manila; the former are so small, and the latter so great, that the institution is badly crippled. A short letter by Bishop Salazar (dated January 12) classifies the encomiendas according to the amount of religious instruction given therein, and lays down the conditions which ought to govern the collection of tributes. He declares that the encomendero has not fulfilled his obligations to the Indians under him by merely reserving a fourth of the tributes for building churches; and advises that the small encomiendas be combined to form larger ones. This letter is followed by twenty-five “conclusions” (dated January 18) relating to this subject, which express the opinions of bishop and clergy on the collection of tributes from the Indians. These define the purposes for which this tax should be collected, the restrictions under which collections shall be permitted, and the respective duties in this matter of the encomenderos, ministers of religion, and governors, They declare that restitution should be made for all tribute unjustly collected from the natives—which includes all that is taken from pagans who have not been instructed, or from any Indian by force. Another letter by the bishop (dated January 25) accompanies this document. He states that he does not desire to forbid the encomenderos from personally collecting the tributes. He advises that the amount of such Page 20collections should be reduced, and that the Spaniards should not be too heavily mulcted for the restitutions which should be made to the Indians. The governor replies to these communications, expressing much interest in the Indians and desire to lighten their burdens. The collections should be uniform in rate everywhere, and of moderate amount. Certain requirements should be made from the encomenderos, especially in regard to the administration of justice; but they must be enabled to retain their holdings. The governor wishes to adopt some temporary regulations which shall be in force until the king can provide suitable measures. On February 15 the city officials and the encomenderos present a petition to the governor. They complain of the pressure exerted upon them by the clergy and the friars to prevent the collection of the tributes; and entreat the governor to interpose his authority, and to secure a royal mandate, in order that they may collect the tributes without ecclesiastical interference, or else to permit them to return to Spain. Salazar answers (February 8) the previous letter of Dasmariñas; this reply, and the opinions furnished by the religious orders, we synopsize in our text, as being somewhat too verbose for the edification of our readers. Salazar answers the objections made to his earlier statements, and assures the governor that the encomenderos can live on one-third of the tributes, that there is no danger of their abandoning their holdings, and that the chief obstacle to the conversion of the pagans is the cruelty of the Spaniards. He urges the governor to reform the abuses practiced by them, and to do justice to the poor Indians; and says that the clergy will cooperate with him in this. The Page 21heads of the religious orders (except the Dominicans) send written opinions on this subject to the governor; and the Jesuits discuss certain measures proposed by the bishop, with some of which they disagree. The remainder of the document on tributes will be presented in Vol. VIII.
September, 1903.Page 22
Sources: The first of these documents is obtained from Cartas de Indias, pp. 637–652; the others, from the original MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla.
Translations: The first document is translated by James A. Robertson; the others, by José M. and Clara M. Asensio. Page 23
Most potent Sir:
I, the bishop of the Philipinas, declare that to your Highness1 it is evident and well-known that the greater number of the natives in these islands are yet to be converted, and that many of those who are converted are without instruction, because they have no one to give it; and because, even in the districts where there are ministers, they are so few, and the natives so numerous, that they cannot give the latter sufficient instruction. I have, moreover, been informed that in a letter which the cabildo of this city of Manilla wrote to your Highness last year there was a section in which they gave your Highness information of the districts and localities in these islands where instruction is provided, and of those where it is not, and of the number of ministers who are necessary to furnish Page 24instruction to the natives therein. This letter, with all the others which went in the said year on the ship “Sancta Ana,” was lost. For the relief of your royal conscience and my own, and for the welfare of the said natives, it is best that an order be given that those natives who are converted shall be supplied with ministers to instruct and maintain them in the Christian faith; for it is well known that, as soon as ministers fail them, they return to their rites and idolatries—in some districts, because they have lacked ministers for many years; and, in others quite near here, because those religious who had them in charge have abandoned them. This is well known to your Highness, through the information that has been given your Highness many times from this Audiencia. I am ready to furnish you sufficient information in this regard, if your Highness be so inclined. It is necessary also that ministers be furnished to the natives yet unconverted, that they may teach them and look after their conversion, since all of these Indians are under the dominion of your Highness, and pay tribute, as if they were Christians and received instruction. Unless ministers come hither from España, it is impossible to make good these deficiencies, or to supply the great lack of instruction. In order that this matter may be manifest to your Highness, and that you may be pleased to command that a remedy be provided, according to the great necessity for instruction in these islands, I ask, and, in order that the said need may be more certainly evident to your Highness, it is fitting, that the [above-mentioned] section of the said letter be sent to your royal hands. I beg and supplicate your Highness that you order the notary of the cabildo of Page 25this said city to draw up from the book of the cabildo one, two, or more copies of the said section, publicly and duly authenticated, in order to approach therewith your royal person—for which, etc.
The Bishop of the Philippinas
(In Manilla, on the third day of the month of June in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight. The honorable president and auditors of the royal Audiencia of these Philipinas Islands being in public session, this petition was read; and after examination by the said members of the Audiencia, they declared that the request of the bishop should be granted.
Juan de la Paraya)
(In fulfilment of the above order, I, Simon Lopez, notary of the king, our lord, and of the cabildo of this distinguished and ever loyal city of Manilla,2 have caused to be made, from the books and papers of the cabildo which are in my possession, a copy of the relation which is mentioned in the present memoir. It is as follows:)
Relation of the natives now inhabiting these Western Islands—those who are pacified, and from whom tribute is collected, both those who are under control of his Majesty and those allotted to encomenderos; also of the religious, and the instruction given by them, among the natives; of the number of Spanish inhabitants, both in this city of Manila and in the settlements outside of it; and of the ministers of religion who are needed here. Page 26
This city of Manilla was founded in the island of Luzon, which is very fertile and populous. Outside of it, within the circuit of five leagues, are settled seven thousand five hundred Indians; four thousand of these belong to his Majesty, and the rest, three thousand five hundred, are allotted to four encomenderos. There are eight Augustinian friars, in four residences, and in another house are two Franciscans, one of whom is a lay brother, all of the rest being priests. In order that sufficient instruction be furnished the Indians, five more religious are needed.
This city has eighty citizens. It contains the cathedral and the bishop's house, and the ecclesiastical dignitaries—the latter consisting of an arch-deacon, a schoolmaster, two canons, thirteen clerics who are priests, and a few candidates for holy orders.
The monastery of St. Augustine, which usually has seven or eight religious, four priests, and three brothers and candidates for holy orders.
The monastery of St. Francis, which usually has four priests, and eleven or twelve other professed members and novices.
Of the Society of Jesus, the father superior, with two other fathers and two brothers.
A royal hospital for Spaniards, and another (in the Franciscan monastery) for the Indians.
There are, ordinarily, two hundred soldiers in this city, quartered among the citizens and in the houses of the Indians near them. These soldiers are very poor, and are sustained by alms, as are likewise the inmates of the monasteries and hospitals—although four hundred pesos are given every year from the treasury, besides two hundred fanégas of rice, for Page 27the support of four Augustinian religious; and the royal hospital possesses an encomienda worth six or seven hundred pesos.
Fifty Spaniards in the city have married Spanish women; and some of the others, native Indian women. There are fifteen Spanish widows; also eight or ten girls who are marriageable, and some others who are very young.
The president and three auditors, one fiscal, one alguaçil-mayor, two secretaries—one for the Audiencia, and the other for the government—one bailiff, one keeper of the antechamber, two reporters, one proctor of the exchequer, four attorneys and as many interpreters,3 four commissioners of examination, two alguaçils of the court, one prison warden, the officials of the royal Audiencia, an officer to serve executions for the same, and one notary.
The governing body of the city, with two alcaldes-in-ordinary, an alguaçil-mayor, twelve regidors, bailiffs, six notaries public, two attorneys, a depositary-general, a chancellor, and registrar, a superintendent of his Majesty's works, two city watchmen, and one for vagabonds.
There are thirty captains, only four of whom have companies in this city.
All the above is confined to the said eighty citizens of this city, leaving out of account the churches, hospitals, and monasteries. Inside this city is the silk-market of the Sangley merchants,4 with shops to the Page 28number of one hundred and fifty, in which there are usually about six hundred Sangleys—besides a hundred others who live on the other side of the river opposite this city; these are married, and many of them are Christians. In addition to these there are more than three hundred others—fishermen, gardeners, hunters, weavers, brickmakers, lime-burners, carpenters, and iron-workers—who live outside the silk market, and without the city, upon the shores of the sea and river. Within the silk market are many tailors, cobblers, bakers, carpenters, candle-makers, confectioners, apothecaries, painters, silversmiths, and those engaged in other occupations.
Every day there is held a public market of articles of food, such as fowls, swine, ducks, game-birds, wild hogs, buffaloes, fish, bread, and other provisions, and garden-produce, and firewood; there are also many commodities from China which are sold through the streets.
Twenty merchantmen generally sail hither each year from China, each one carrying at least a hundred men, who trade from November until May—in those vessels coming hither, living here, and departing to their own country, during these seven months. They bring hither two hundred thousand pesos' worth of merchandise, only ten thousand pesos being in food supplies—such as flour, sugar, biscuits, butter, oranges, walnuts, chestnuts, pineapples, figs, Page 29plums, pomegranates, pears, and other fruits, salt pork, and hams—and in such abundance that the city and its environs are supported thereby during the whole year, and the fleets and trading-vessels are provisioned therefrom; they bring also many horses and cows, with which their land is well supplied. For two years, merchantmen have come hither laden with goods from Japon, Macaon, Cian [Siam], and other places, in order to trade in this city. The people of those countries are consequently becoming desirous of our friendship and trade, and many of the inhabitants of those nations are being converted.
They carry to their own countries, from this land, gold, wax, cotton, dye-woods, and small shells, which latter pass for money in their country, being used besides for many things, whereby they are held in much esteem. They bring hither silks—figured satins, black and colored damasks, brocades and other fabrics—which are now very commonly seen, a great quantity of white and black cotton cloth, and the above-mentioned articles of food.
Outside of this city and the above-mentioned villages lying within five leagues of it, there are seven well-populated provinces in this same island of Luzon—namely, Panpanga, Pangasinan, Ylocos, Cagayan, Camarines, La Laguna, and Bonbon y Balayan. These include three Spanish settlements—namely, Camarines, Ylocos, and Cagayan, and have the following number of tributarios [i.e., Indians paying tribute] and encomiendas.
The province of Panpanga
The province of Panpanga has twenty-two thousand Page 30tributarios, of whom seven thousand belong to his Majesty, and fifteen thousand are apportioned among eleven encomiendas. There are eight houses of the religious of St. Augustine, and one house of St. Francis, in which are sixteen Augustinian priests and one Franciscan. In another house is a Dominican, who is a coadjutor of the bishop. All together, there are eighteen priests. In order that sufficient instruction be given in this province, twenty-six more priests are needed; because, at the very least, a thousand tributarios means four thousand people, who require two religious—and in this ratio throughout the islands, where, it is believed, there will be a great increase of people and of their instruction. This province has an alcalde-mayor, and needs two corregidors.
This province is fifteen leagues in circuit, and is situated, at the very most, a like distance from this city. Between this province and that of Pangasinan, which is adjacent to it, there are three thousand Indians apportioned between two encomiendas; they are Çanbales, and many of them are pacified. Living at a distance of twenty-five or thirty leagues from this city are more than three thousand others of this same race—brave mountaineers—still to be pacified; and we have not the wherewithal to send twenty soldiers for that purpose. This entire population is without instruction. It needs six ministers.
The province of Pangassinan
The province of Pangassinan has five thousand tributarios, pacified, but without instruction. It is forty leagues' distance from this city, by either land or sea. His Majesty possesses one thousand five hundred Page 31of its tributarios, and the rest are held by five encomenderos. It has one alcalde-mayor. Ten religious are necessary.
The province of Ylocos
Five leagues beyond Pangasinan, by either land or sea, begins the province of Ylocos, which is inhabited for forty leagues inland. It has twenty-seven thousand tributarios. Of these the king has six thousand, and twenty-one thousand are in fourteen encomiendas. There are three Augustinian religious in two houses or districts, and two ecclesiastics in two others. Fifty others are needed. There is a considerable population of mountaineers who recognize no master. This province has an alcalde-mayor, and the [Spanish] population of a small town.
The province of Cagayan
The province of Cagayan has many rivers and bayous. On its principal river, by name Taxo, the city of Nueva Segovia has been founded, being situated two leagues inland. This city has forty citizens who are encomenderos. It has one Augustinian monastery, containing two priests; one alcalde-mayor, two alcaldes-in-ordinary, one alguaçil-mayor, and six regidors, who constitute the cabildo; and a royal hospital, which has for its income the tribute-money collected here for his Majesty. There is a fort with seven large pieces of artillery, and an equal number of small pieces—such as small culverins and falcons—a number of muskets and arquebuses, pikes, and coats-of-mail, which constitute the weapons and armor used in this land. For its maintenance this fort Page 32has assigned to it the tribute from one village, which amounts to about one hundred pesos. It has its own governor. The forty citizens of this city maintain in addition forty soldiers, who help to pacify, conquer, and collect the tribute of the encomiendas. Ten of these citizens are married, the remainder single. Twenty-six thousand Indians, of whom seven thousand are pacified and pay tribute, are apportioned to thirty-three of these citizens—some along the principal river Taxo, and the remainder in the districts near the same. Along this river and in its neighborhood his Majesty has one thousand seven hundred tributarios, of whom a thousand are pacified and pay their tribute. This river Taxo is very broad and deep, and large vessels can ascend it even to the city. It has an excellent bay. It rises fifty leagues inland, and is inhabited along its entire course by the above-mentioned people. Its water is excellent, and the whole land is quite fertile and healthful, and abounds in rice, swine, fowls, and palm-wine; and there is much hunting of buffaloes, deer, wild hogs, and birds. A great amount of wax, cotton, and gold is collected in this district, in which articles the natives pay their tribute. Two leagues opposite the bar of the river Taxo is the dense population of the Babuyanes Islands. One island is an encomienda under the control of his Majesty, and is said to contain one thousand men. The tribute has not been collected, because the inhabitants, it is said, are not pacified. The eight other islands are distributed among the seven [other] citizens [of Nueva Segovia]. They number three thousand men, more rather than less from all of whom their masters collect three hundred tributes. All of these islands are distant three or four Page 33leagues from one another. Sixty priests would be needed for the care of these thirty thousand Indians, counting two priests to each thousand tributarios. At the present time, sixteen priests are needed for those who are pacified, as we have said. These priests are very important for the pacification and permanent settlement of the natives, and for [the spiritual needs of] the soldiers. This province of Cagayan lies seventy leagues from the mainland of China and the coast cities of that country. Seventy ministers are necessary, who, with the help and protection of the soldiers, will gather the inhabitants together and pacify them all, and seek out the rest of the people—who, as we are informed, exist in great number as far as Cagayan.
The province of La Laguna
The province of La Laguna [“the Lake”], commences at the lake—which is the body of water above this city of Manilla where the river of this city rises, as well as others in the mountain hard by—six leagues from this city.5 It is about twenty leagues in circuit, and in this territory, inhabited by eleven thousand Indian tributarios, there are twelve religious houses—ten of Franciscans, with fifteen priests and nine brothers; one of Augustinians, with three priests; and, in the other house, one ecclesiastic. Two thousand seven hundred of the inhabitants are his Majesty's, and two thousand four hundred6 are distributed Page 34among eight encomenderos. Of all the provinces in these islands, this one has the most instruction. It needs three more priests. It has one alcalde-mayor, and should have besides one corregidor. Near the coast of the bay of this city is the province of Bonbon y Balayan.
The province of Bonbon y Balayan
The province of Bonbon contains the people of the Lake, who amount to four thousand men, belonging to the Mariscal.7 It comprises the villages of Batangas, Galbandayun, Calilaya, and the lowlands of Balayan, which amount in all to nine thousand tributarios. His Majesty has one thousand two hundred of them, and five encomenderos seven thousand eight hundred. There are four religious houses—two of Augustinians, in Bonbon and Batangas; and the other two of Franciscans, in Balayan and Dayun. These houses contain four Augustinian priests, and three Franciscan priests and two brothers. Ten more ministers are necessary.
Province of Camarines
The province of Camarines lies fifty leagues from this city. In it is located the city of Caçeres, with thirty citizens, who have generally thirty soldiers Page 35quartered among them. Twenty of these citizens are married, six of them to native women. The city has its own cabildo and governing body; also a church with one vicar, one Franciscan monastery with two priests and two brothers besides, and one alcalde-mayor. It could have three more corregidorships.
This province has twenty thousand tributarios, of whom two thousand five hundred are his Majesty's, and seventeen thousand five hundred are distributed among twenty encomiendas.
There are ten Franciscan houses in this province, besides the convent of the city, with eleven priests and eight brothers in all. There are two more ecclesiastics in two districts, not counting the curate of the city. Twenty more priests are necessary. The faith has had an excellent opening in this province of Camarines, and the preaching of the gospel has shed its rays far and wide therein. The natives are especially inclined to the sacrament of Penitence; and it is a thing to marvel at, to see the churches continually filled, especially during Lent, with people asking confession.
The people of this province are simple and well disposed. Their country is delightful in its location, being healthful and very beautiful. The chase yields many wild hogs, deer, and buffaloes; and there are many birds, such as hens, ducks of many varieties, the smaller birds, and many others. There is a river where fish abound in great plenty, especially swordfish, and many black shellfish, the latter being gathered at the river. There is much fine scenery in this province, and it contains many springs and rivers of fresh, clear water, on account of which there is always abundance of excellent water in this province. Page 36Near the boundaries of the province are two volcanoes of great size and remarkable beauty—one of fire, and the other of water.8 According to the report of the natives who have climbed up to the volcano of water, there are many royal eagles there, besides much white honey and wax, and fruits of various kinds.
The entire population of this province is in encomiendas, separated two or three leagues, or even a less distance, from one another; and all these encomiendas are contained within thirty leagues.
Besides this island of Luzon, there are many other inhabited islands, situated close to it, within a circuit of one hundred leagues. There are two more Spanish colonies—one the city of Nonbre de Jesus, in Çebu; and the other the town of Arevalo,9 in Oton.
The city of Cubu has thirty citizens, among whom are quartered twenty soldiers. These citizens are all encomenderos, and all married to either Spanish or Indian women. Their encomiendas are located among the neighboring islands, there being thirty-two encomiendas with eighteen thousand tributarios. Here his Majesty possesses some few little hamlets, in which but little tribute is collected, and the natives of the city—who by special privilege pay no Page 37tribute, because from the very first they received the Spaniards in a friendly manner, furnishing the camp with provisions, and showing themselves loyal on many occasions. This city has a church, with one vicar; and one Augustinian monastery, containing three or four religious. In all those encomiendas there is no other instruction. Three more priests are necessary.
This city has a municipal council and alcaldes; and has a fortress provided with three or four large pieces of artillery, and some small ones, such as falcons and small culverins; and having its own governor. This fort is located opposite Burney, the Malucos and Mindanaos, and other infidel islands and kingdoms. This city has one alcalde-mayor.
The town of Arevalo
The town of Arevalo is situated on the island of Oton [or Panay], and has twenty citizens; they are encomenderos, and have thirty soldiers quartered among them. The town has a municipal council, alcaldes-in-ordinary, and one alcalde-mayor. In the islands near this settlement there are twenty-two thousand tributarios; three thousand of these are his Majesty's, and nineteen thousand are distributed among eighteen encomiendas. There is one church and one vicar, and one monastery with two Augustinians. Outside of the town, in certain of the encomiendas, are four more houses of the same order. The five houses contain ten priests. Three or four more are needed.
All of these islands, as well as those of the settlement of Çubu, abound in flesh of wild hogs and birds; Page 38and in all the above-mentioned places many fowls and swine are raised. Tribute is paid in gold, cloth, wax, cotton thread, rice, and fowls, at a valuation based on the peso of Tipuzque.
In addition to these islands and settlements, there are other islands, namely, Marinduque, Luban, Mindoro, Elen, Calamianes, with two thousand five hundred tributarios, besides a much greater number still unpacified. None of them has any instruction, except Mindoro, where his Majesty has five hundred Indians who are instructed. One ecclesiastic in the islands of Calamianes collects the tribute, in the name of his Majesty, from two hundred more. We hear of many more who are still unpacified. The rest are in two encomiendas. Six ecclesiastics are necessary.
Summary of the Above Relation
According to what is set forth in this relation, it is therefore evident that there are one hundred and forty-six thousand, seven hundred pacified tributarios in this island of Luzon and the other islands of this government. Of this number his Majesty has twenty-eight thousand seven hundred. The religious number fifty-four Augustinian priests, and thirty-eight descalced Franciscan friars—all these for this city and the instruction of the natives—with an additional number of some ten ecclesiastics, in curacies and vicariates outside of this city, as has been related. One hundred and ninety more priests are necessary for the instruction of the said natives, which number will furnish sufficient instruction, counting for each thousand tributarios two religious—priests, friars, or Page 39ecclesiastics. These thousand tributarios amount to somewhat less than four thousand people. It is quite certain that with adequate instruction, such as is indicated in the foregoing, many people, not yet pacified, will become so, and the number of tributarios in the above-named provinces would be increased to two hundred thousand. For we have heard that in the province of Cagayan there are many more people besides those apportioned in encomiendas, as also in the islands of [Ca]lamianes, Mindoro, Luban, and Elin, as well as in many other islands included in the colonies of Oton and Çebu. In all of these the Christian instruction and conversion would be extended through the territories and provinces adjoining them, and the inhabitants would be rendered obedient to his Majesty without the necessity of arms and war; whereby God, our Lord, would be much pleased and these kingdoms greatly extended. The fathers of the Society, comprising but three priests and two brothers, reside in this city, where by means of their teaching they produce the greatest results. They are studying and learning the language of the natives and of the Chinese, in order to work among them when more of their Society come hither—a pressing necessity, for which your Majesty should provide.
(This relation, in its present sum and substance, was made by the cabildo of this city, in order that it might be sent to Father Alonso Sanchez, general agent for this city and these islands at his Majesty's court. Made on the last of December, one thousand five hundred and eighty-six.
This copy was made and transcribed, corrected, Page 40and collated with another copy in my possession, among the papers of the cabildo in Manila, on the twenty-first day of the month of June, one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, Francisco de Zarate and Alonso Maldonado being witnesses. Therefore, in testimony of the above, I, Simon Lopez, notary of the king, our master, and of the cabildo of this distinguished and ever loyal city of Manila, do affix hereunto my seal.
In testimony of the truth:
Simon Lopez, notary of the cabildo)
[The following matter is added by Salazar:] In addition to the towns named in this relation, I feel in duty bound to give your Majesty some general information concerning certain islands which are named in it without making particular mention of them; and concerning others which are not mentioned at all, which are very important, and have a large population.
The town of Arevalo, of which mention is made above, was founded in the island of Panay, which is one of the best islands of this archipelago. This island is one hundred leagues in circuit, and is well populated. The Augustinian friars had charge of it when the relation was written; but they abandoned it about six months ago, on account of having an insufficient number of friars for their houses.
Next to this island, at a league's distance, is the island of Ymaras, which is apportioned among encomenderos. It is about twenty leagues in circumference, and has six hundred tributarios. Instruction has never been furnished it, although some Augustinian friars have visited it at times. Page 41
Next this island of Ymaras, at three leagues' distance toward the south, is situated the island called Negros. It is much larger than Panay, but not so densely populated. It had two Augustinian monasteries, but they were abandoned more than five years ago, and the baptized Christians were left without instruction. The island is without instruction now, and the baptized Christians have returned to their idolatries.
The island of Bantayan is small and densely populated. It has more than eight hundred tributarios, most of them Christians. The Augustinians who had them in charge have abandoned them also, and they are now without instruction. This island is twenty leagues from Zubu.
The island of Leyte
The island of Leyte is thirty leagues south of Cubu. It is one of the most excellent islands of this bishopric, and produces much food. It has sixteen or eighteen encomenderos, and fifteen or sixteen thousand tributarios. It has never had, and has not now, any instruction.
Island of Bohol
The island of Bohol, situated near Çubu, is small and populated. It has about six hundred tributarios.
The island of Mindanao is larger than that of Luzon, although it is believed to be not so well populated. Much of it is apportioned among Spaniards, and some of the natives pay tribute. For three years, the preachers of Mahoma have come into the Page 42regions hereabout, coming from Burney to Terrenate. We have heard that there are some Moros from Méca among them. The law of Mahoma is preached publicly at the very river of Mindanao, and mosques have been built and are being built. And it is to the shame of Christianity there that it does not hasten to drive these preachers from that region, since the inhabitants are vassals of your Majesty, and have rendered your Majesty obedience for a long time. The galleons sailing from India to Maluco know that island, and obtain water and provisions there. Fifty leagues from this island of Mindanao lies the island of Jolo, which has been given over to encomenderos these many years. It is an island where many pearls are found, and where elephants are reared. The inhabitants have a king of their own, who is a relative of the monarch of Terrenate. Neither in this island nor in that of Mindanao is there much Christian teaching; nor can there ever be, unless the people are pacified.
The island of Ybabao, situated between this island of Luzon and that of Cubu, is quite large, but does not contain many inhabitants. It has a few encomenderos, is not yet entirely pacified, and has never had any instruction. The island of Catanduanes is excellent and well populated; it lies next to Camarines. There are four encomiendas on it; it contains about three thousand tributarios, who up to the present time have never had any Christian teaching. The island of Marinduque, lying about three leagues from this island, is divided into encomiendas. It has about eight hundred tributarios, who have never been instructed in the faith. From this island to the strait called Espiritu Sancto, many small islands are scatered—namely, Page 43Masbate, Capul, Burias, Banton, Conblon, Simara, Sibuyan, the island of Tablas, and many others—of which, because of their small size and scanty population, no mention is made, although all are apportioned into encomiendas and tribute is collected in them every year. They have no Christian teaching, nor hope of any.
Eighteen or twenty leagues west of the island of Panay, is located an exceeding fine and well-populated island, called Cuyo; it is very low and small. Together with seven small islands near by, it contains one thousand two hundred tributarios. Its inhabitants are rich, and the principal men live very well. The people of Burney have intercourse with this island, and we suspect that they preach here the law of Mahoma, although not so publicly as in Mindanao. Many goats, pheasants, and fowls of larger size than those of this region, are reared in this island. Its encomendero goes thither each year in the months of February and March for the purpose of collecting his tributes, and, this done, returns to his home in the island of Panay. No other communication is held with this island. It has no instruction now, and has never had any.
Lying between the islands of Mindoro and Burney are a number of islands called the Calamianes. They are scantily populated, and are under his Majesty's control. Great quantities of wax are collected therein. Their inhabitants pay tribute also to the people of Burney, because the Spaniards do not trouble themselves about them further than to collect the tribute, leaving them to whomsoever may come from Burney to rob them. They have never had any Christian teaching, nor is there hope of any Page 44speedily, because they are few in number and widely scattered.
The island of Mindoro is situated twenty-five leagues southwest of this city. From the nearest coast of this island [Luzón] the distance to Mindoro is about six leagues. This island of Mindoro is sixty leagues in circumference. It contains more than five thousand families, of whom two thousand pay tribute and are pacified. The remainder, for lack of men to subdue them, neglect to pay their tribute. Augustinian and Franciscan friars have been in this district, but all have abandoned it. There is at present one ecclesiastic there, who has the care of about one thousand Christianized tributarios. All of the remainder of the inhabitants are infidels, and without instruction.
Next to the island of Mindoro, and in the direction of this city, lies the small island of Luban, with about five hundred tributarios. Its inhabitants are well disposed, and have asked me many times for Christian teaching; but, for lack of ministers to send to them, they cannot have it.
This is the most trustworthy relation that your Majesty can have, in order that your Majesty may see clearly the great need for ministers who shall labor for the conversion of these infidels, and for the preservation of those who have already received the faith, but are falling back into their idolatrous practices, because they have been abandoned by those who baptized them. Many of the islands named in this relation I have visited personally, and concerning the others I have been informed by those familiar with them; and, although it is not possible to know the exact truth, I have tried to ascertain it as nearly Page 45as I could. All of these islands are included in your Majesty's kingdom; all pay tribute, and in sufficient quantities to entitle them to receive instruction. Since your Majesty has in your dominions so many and so excellent religious and ecclesiastics, who, if your Majesty give the order, will prepare to come hither, may your Majesty feel so strongly the ills of this land and its lack of religious workers, that you will order to come hither as many as are needed for the salvation of the great number of souls who are perishing here for want of religious teaching. Your Majesty should understand that, when we speak of such an island or town having so many tributarios, we mean married men, or two single men who make one whole tribute; so that when there are one thousand tributarios, it follows that there must be two thousand persons. And it will happen most frequently that the number will reach three or four thousand, counting one or two children to each household. From the foregoing your Majesty will realize clearly the countless number of souls under your Majesty's charge, and who are waiting for your Majesty to provide them with ministers of religion, in order that they may be drawn out of their present darkness, and placed on the pathway of salvation. At Manila, June twenty-fifth, 1585 [sic; should be 1588]. Page 46
1 This document is published in Cartas de Indias (pp. 637–652), under the title, “Letter of petition from the bishop of Manila to the president of the Council of the Indias, giving information of the religious condition and needs of the Filipinas Islands; December, 1585.” This date is incorrect, as shown by the internal evidence of the document itself, and probably arises from some error in the transcription from the original; the cabildo's letter was dated Dec. 31, 1586, and the bishop's on June 25, 1588 (incorrectly printed 1585 in Cartas de Indias). The allusions in this letter indicate that it was addressed to the king, rather than to the president of the council.
2 Span., ynsigne é siempre leal ciudad de Manilla; see the royal decree conferring this title, in Vol. III, pp. 250, 251.
3 Span., naguatatos, originally a Mexican word.
4 The alcaicería (silk-market) for the Chinese, where their trade was exclusively carried on, was at first located on the Pasig River, opposite Manila, and was established by Peñalosa (1581?). In 1583 it was brought within the city (Vol. V, p. 237) by his temporary successor, Diego Ronquillo, and was generally styled Page 28n“the Parián.” An interesting description of it is given by Salazar in a document, dated 1590, which appears in the present volume, post. The Parián was long the property of the city; it was destroyed under Governor Basco y Vargas (1778–87), to make room for other edifices, but was rebuilt by him in another location; it was finally destroyed in 1860. See Buzeta and Bravo's Diccionario, ii, p. 229; and Los Chinos en Filipinas (Manila, 1886).
5 Lake Bombón, or Taal (Vol. III, p. 82).
6 We here follow the text as given in Cartas de Indias (dos mill); but this number, if all the Indians in this province were allotted, and the number of those in the royal encomienda is correctly given, should be seven thousand four hundred.
7 In 1579 Gabriel de Ribera, who had been one of Legazpi's officers, was sent to conquer Mindanao—an undertaking, however, which was unsuccessful. Later, he explored the coasts of Borneo and Patan, and was afterward sent by Peñalosa to Spain, to render an account of the conquests thus far made in the Indian archipelago. As a reward for Ribera's services, Felipe II conferred upon him the title of Mariscal de Bonbon; it is he who is referred to in our text.
8 According to U.S. Philippine Gazetteer (pp. 9, 10, 286), there are now in the province of Ambos Camarines no active volcanoes, although its mountains form a volcanic chain. The peaks of Labo, Colasi, Isarog, and Iriga are extinct volcanoes, their height ranging from 4,000 to 6,450 feet.
9 This town was founded by Peñalosa (Vol. V, p. 26), and named for his native town, Arevalo in Castilla. The former is located a few miles west of Iloilo.
In the past year of 87, I sent your Majesty an account of the condition of this land, by the usual route, and also one by way of India. As the voyage is so uncertain and dangerous, another duplicate is sent herewith; and I beg your Majesty to have it examined, as it is important for your service.
On the twenty-seventh of February of this year, I had news from the Pintados Islands that, on the seventh of the said month, at one of the islands about eighty leagues south of Luçon, an English ship had been seen. With their small boat they had seized a Spanish sailor who was coasting along carelessly in a small bark. He did not flee from the enemy, as he took them to be Spaniards and friends; for it is unusual for ships from England to come here. Next day the English learned that a galleon of your Majesty was being built in the shipyard of Caigoan on the island of Panay. An attempt was made to land troops for the purpose, as is supposed, of burning it; but it was defended by some carpenters and calkers who were working thereon. By this it may be inferred that the enemy carried but a small force. After this resistance, the enemy went to Mindanao, leaving on an islet in their course the mariner whom Page 47they had taken prisoner.1 From him I ascertained the fresh destruction planned for this country. He says that several Spaniards, who were his fellow-prisoners on the English ship, told him that your Majesty's galleon “Santa Ana” had been captured near California, a country on the mainland which is continuous with Nueva España. The galleon left this port in June of the past year, 87; and as no other ships but ours have ever been sighted on this voyage, which is through so remote regions, they have always sailed with little or no artillery, and with as little fear from corsairs as if they were on the river of Sevilla. Thus the English easily captured the galleon, plundered and burned it, and hanged a canon of our church. The other persons were sent in a small boat to land, where it is believed that some of them have died of starvation and hardships. From this galleon there was plundered a thousand marcos of registered gold, and there must have been as large a sum unregistered; twenty-two and one-half arrobas of musk, an abundance of civet, and many pearls, and the richest of silks and brocades. At this capture, the enemy took with them [from the “Santa Ana”] several skilful mariners and a pilot, to guide them to these islands. The captive mariner knew these men, and in conversation with them he learned what I have related. This ship left England with two others, and plundered sixteen ships off the coast of Piru. One of the three was lost; the remaining two captured the said galleon “Santa Ana,” and came to these islands. They were separated in a storm, and only this one arrived. It brought about fifty men, most Page 48of them pilots. This mariner noticed that this vessel carried twenty-five pieces of bronze, and cast-iron artillery, and much ammunition. The ship is small, of about one hundred and fifty toneladas, staunch and well fitted. There is no doubt that they have plundered more than a million [pesos'] worth of gold, pearls, musk, civet, and rich merchandise, which all belonged in Nueva España. The Spaniards there would have been diligent in pursuing this corsair; but, as I received information so late, and the enemy only reconnoitered here, without remaining at any place, to inform them would have done no good. I sent word to Maluco, whither it seems the enemy directed his course, to the captain-general and to the sea-captains who might be there with their galleons; also to the petty kings friendly to your Majesty, and to the fort at Ambueno—where, it is understood, this corsair is going to spend the winter and repair his ship. Captain Francisco is at an island of that archipelago called Jula, near either Macasar or Japara. I advised the sending of a message to him, and the exercise of diligence, as they have greater facility for obtaining news there on account of the many ships which are usually near at hand. And I advised them to follow the Englishman and ascertain where he was going to winter; for it was impossible to return immediately to his own country, because the weather began to be contrary. It would be necessary to pass out through Sunda and other straits, of which the Portuguese are warned; and there it would be easy to await him and cut off his passage, as they hold him so closely. This account was given by a sailor—a native of this land—who was seized in the galleon, and carried away by the Page 49Englishman. He escaped at the mouth of the channel of these islands, and I have kept him here with me. His declarations accompany this letter.
The first time when this galleon “Sancta Ana” sailed from here, I sent by her some artillery removed from your Majesty's forts, in order to provide greater security. In Nueva España the artillery was taken out, and the ship returned without it. I thought that if I sent more on the ships, and it were taken out over there, the forts here would be in need, while the ships would gain nothing. Understanding that there was no danger from corsairs on the voyage, I sent the ships, as usual, without artillery. Now that I have seen the need for artillery, and the risk that they run, if it is not carried, I am sending two ships this year, each with four heavy pieces of artillery, two falcon guns, and arquebuses and other arms carried by the sailors and passengers. I am collecting what metal I can find and making thereof some pieces of ordnance with which to fill the place of those sent from the said forts. The merchants are paying your Majesty the value of the artillery, arms, and ammunition carried by one of the ships, and I have loaned the price of those of the other. They will pay this also in the coming year, and the ships will sail armed at the account and cost of the merchants. I beseech your Majesty to command the viceroy of Nueva España to have the artillery and arms returned by the same ships; and that the pieces carried by the “Sancta Ana” be returned to these forts, which greatly need them.
In another letter I have written to your Majesty about the general fire in this city. The powder and military supplies were burned and the artillery destroyed. Page 50Although I have had the pieces recast, using the metal which was left, there are only twenty-five heavy pieces and several lighter ones. This is but little artillery for the needs of this land, for defense and the expeditions that are made. Some copper mines have been discovered but although at first they seemed to be very rich, on commencing to work them, it was found that the labor was expensive and there was but little metal. Everything necessary could be brought from Macan, if your Majesty were pleased to have money sent from your royal treasury of Mexico for this purpose.
I have already written to your Majesty of the necessity that, for the preservation of this land, the viceroy of Nueva España send annual reenforcements of troops, arms, and ammunition. As this has not been done for three years, the majority of the troops have died, and there are now so few here, that if reenforcements are not supplied according to the requests of the governor and officers of the royal exchequer, great risk will be run, and what your Majesty has gained and preserved at cost of such labors and expenses will be irretrievably lost. I especially beg your Majesty to order such provision to be made that so propitious a beginning be not lost, and the door closed which has been opened by your Majesty for the conversion of so large and powerful kingdoms with untold riches and innumerable inhabitants.
According to your Majesty's commands I had some galleys made in these islands, and I have three at this port. They are of little use, because of the lack of men skilled in managing and sailing with lateen sails, and the scarcity of rowers. I have tried to keep up its crew by hiring men; but the natives are so despicable Page 51a people that they are of little use for this purpose, nor do they have sufficient strength for rowing. On hearing the report of an arquebus they throw themselves on the ground, and do not rise even at the lash. I have selected three hundred Chinese, who are stronger, and who, if allowed liberty to quit the work, and exemption from tribute, will bind themselves to serve on the galleys. But although earnest endeavors have been made to teach them, they row very badly, and have as little energy as the natives of these islands have. They row in their own country with a sort of oar which they call lios lios. By means of these the galley moves very slowly, and therefore they may be of some benefit among these islands. Better results would be obtained, however, if instead of these galleys there were small ships of from sixty to a hundred toneladas with which it is easier to navigate here. I inform your Majesty thereof in order that provision may be made according to the royal pleasure. As I have advised your Majesty, I have, in anticipation of future contingencies, commenced a good stone fort in this city, which will be entirely completed within a year. I have levied taxes therefor upon the citizens and encomenderos; the Indian tributarios have each paid one real, while one per cent has been collected for two years on the coin brought from Nueva España. I am sending to your Majesty the sketch and model of this fort; it is the strongest which has been built in the Yndias, although it is not of modern style. It was necessary to build it according to the condition of the country; it is round in shape, high, and covered over so as to be more capacious. The climate is so hot, the sun so fierce and the rains so heavy, that if the Page 52soldiers who must defend the place were not under cover they would perish from the heat, as would likewise those who should undertake to erect the fort. The stone for the most of the rampart is so suitable in quality that, wherever a ball strikes, the wall remains unhurt, nor is any other injury inflicted. There is no fear that an attack by a battery can do as much damage as if the stone were hard and resisting. The balls cannot be fired so as to strike, without great difficulty, as the fort is on the shore and the country is perfectly level. Within there is fresh running water in abundance; and in addition to that, wherever one digs, excellent drinking water is found. It is impossible to undermine the fort, because there is water around it, at a distance of one or two varas, or even less in some places. The city is surrounded by water—the sea on one side; on another the moat, which extends to the river; and, on still another side, the river itself. Thus the city is on an island; and, with the other bulwarks and the wooden fort, which I have had repaired, this city is well defended, provided we had sufficient troops and ammunition.
I received your Majesty's letter on the twenty-second of May of this year; and, by a royal decree of the first of December of the year 86, your Majesty orders me to act in accordance with my best judgment, as your Majesty had understood that the auditors of this Audiencia according to the present regulations, cannot visit the country out of their turn. I will fulfil your Majesty's commands and will render an account of all transactions.
By another royal decree of the nineteenth of August of said year, your Majesty orders that, if it should appear necessary to me, certain offices of Page 53notaries and magistrates in these islands should be sold, under the condition that the persons who should be the highest bidders should obtain confirmation of their title within three years. These offices are of very little profit, and of none at all in some places, as the land has been settled so recently, and there are few inhabitants and little business therein. As it is continually becoming more populous and well established, it would be more advantageous to postpone the sale of these offices for some years, until they shall be worth more. I will make the necessary investigations, as your Majesty commands me, and will advise your Majesty of the prices offered. If I find that for any of them I can obtain its value in the future I will have it auctioned. In the meantime I will make endeavors to have them sold for a price that can be profitable to your Majesty's royal exchequer.
By another decree of the twenty-seventh of August of said year, your Majesty orders me to give my opinion of the arms that are in the fort of the city of Manila, and those that are needed. In three forts which your Majesty has here, there are twenty-four heavy pieces, two small ones, and some culverins, as will be seen below.
In the stone fort there are three swivel-guns, located in the three casemates, of about twenty quintals' weight. On the first floor over the rampart, there are seven heavy pieces, extra thick and strong at the breech. Two are of about forty quintals' weight, three varas in length and carry a ball of cast iron weighing sixteen libras. Two others are of wrought iron, of sixty quintals' weight, three and two-thirds varas in length, and carry a ball of cast iron weighing fifteen libras. One cannon is of fifty-five quintals' Page 54weight, four and one-third varas in length, and carries a ball of cast iron weighing fourteen libras; one culverin, five and one-half varas in length, weighs one hundred and one quintals one arroba, and carries a cast iron ball weighing seventeen libras; another piece of thirty-five quintals' weight, three varas in length, carries a cast iron ball weighing twelve libras.
The fort at the point has one cannon weighing twenty-five quintals; three small cannon [sacres], weighing twenty-two; and a half-sacre weighing thirteen—the last, with its apparatus, being four varas in length.
The cavalier of the beach has a piece, extra thick and strong at the breech, of forty quintals' weight which carries a ball weighing fifteen libras; and one half-sacre, of thirteen quintals' weight.
At the river there is a large swivel-gun with cross-bars, weighing thirty quintals; one cannon weighing twenty-six quintals, one sacre weighing twenty-two quintals, four half-sacres weighing thirteen or fourteen quintals, and two esmeriles [a small piece of ordnance] weighing four or five quintals.
For the stone fort to be provided with artillery according to its plan and embrasures, it is necessary to have twenty-five pieces, three of them heavy, and twelve sacres and half-sacres.
The cavalier of the beach needs five pieces, two of them heavy, and three sacres.
That at the point of the sea and the river needs six pieces—some sacres, and two swivel-guns.
For the service of the ships and galleys there are needed four cannon, six swivel-guns, six sacres, six half-sacres, and some small culverins. Thus sixty pieces in all are necessary to provide the city well Page 55with artillery for defense, as well as for the galleys and ships of the fleet, and for the succor and pacification of all these islands. There are only twenty-four needed, for there are now thirty-six. In the shipyard there are now four sacres of twenty-two quintals' weight, two of which have been cast, and the other two are about to be cast. This class of arms is the best and most important for this land these and the swivel-guns. This artillery could be provided, and much more be made, for other of your Majesty's strongholds in these islands and the Yndias, should your Majesty be pleased to have six or eight thousand pesos sent annually from Mexico so that the metal could be bought at Macao in China, as it is very plentiful and cheap there.
According to the commission of your Majesty, I have proceeded against the royal officials in regard to their traffic and trade in merchandise. By the convictions of guilt which have resulted from the investigations and process of law, I have condemned the guilty to pay fines to the exchequer. There seems to have been no traffic with funds in the royal exchequer; or, if there were any, no damage or injury to it has resulted. I am sending the testimony of the sentences and proceedings to your Majesty's royal Council, where your Majesty will order their examination, if such is your pleasure. May God guard the Catholic person of your Majesty. Manila, June twenty-sixth, of the year 1588.
The licentiate Santiago de Vera
[Endorsed: “Examined, with the other letter.”] Page 56
1 See Candish's own account of this affair in Hakluyt's Voyages (Goldsmid ed.). xvi, pp. 43–45.
In a letter which your Majesty had written to me from Madrid, on the eleventh of January of the year 87, I see the reprimand which your Majesty gives me, on account of information that you had received that, on certain occasions which had arisen, I had had controversies with the royal Audiencia here; also that this has finally resulted in scandal and comment in the town, and that there was fault on both sides. I receive this reprimand as from my king and lord, but, although it comes from him, it is very serious and is sufficient to cause much pain; nevertheless, I have not allowed myself to feel hurt, since your Majesty judges according to the information that you have received. He who so informed your Majesty that I was made to appear guilty will give account to God for his good or bad intention, since for my own satisfaction the testimony of my conscience is all-sufficient. It is well-known in the city, and outside of it, that if I had not entered as mediator neither the president and auditors, nor the auditors alone, would have had peace. It would not have been possible for me to establish peace if there had not been friendly relations between them and me. Since they were Page 57pacified through my intercession, peace has lasted until now; and in order that this peace be lasting, and that there be no occasion for violating it, I humbly beseech your Majesty to be pleased to command the president and auditors not to interfere with me in affairs which concern my privileges—since my life is a very open one, a fact known to all. They have no cause for complaint because I sat down in my own church on the gospel side; for, besides my being the father and pastor of this state, and having in charge the souls of the auditors, it is a very usual thing for bishops and archbishops to seat themselves in that very place in the presence of viceroys and presidents, without that act exciting any surprise. For the sake of peace, I have overlooked the matter, and have not again taken my seat in that place, hoping that your Majesty would send commands concerning this and what ought to be done, since it is not right that I should leave to my successors the disputes and controversies with the Audiencia whereby results so much harm to the commonwealth. It is of no less importance that the prelates be as much respected by the people as are the audiencias. The latter make themselves feared by the power which they hold; but if the prelates are not favored by those who govern, they are speedily despised by the people. Since your Majesty sees how important this matter is, may it be your Majesty's pleasure not to leave us in controversies, but to order that each shall do his duty without prejudice to the other.
The hardships and calamities sent by God to this land make me greatly fear that we who live here have seriously offended Him. For I have been here eight years, and not one year have I seen pass without the Page 58happening of great calamities—loss of ships; death of the animals which maintained us; hurricanes, called here baguios, which tear up the trees by the roots and overthrow the houses completely, or leave them so that they cannot be inhabited; and the general fire of the year 83, of which your Majesty has been informed. Both before and since that time, this city has been burned three or four times; and now, as the last straw, the ship “Santa Ana,” which left this city last year, the richest ship to leave these islands, fell into the hands of the Lutherans. With that loss, and also that of the ship “Sant Juan” the year before, which likewise was laden with goods from this country, some of the citizens of these islands are totally ruined, and others have suffered so heavy losses that it will be long ere, with much difficulty, they regain their former state.
It is very evident, and can be denied by no one, that the loss of that particular ship was ordained by God; for, three days before it reached the coast [of California], another ship—from Macao, bound for Mexico—passed the same place and was not sighted by the Lutherans. When news was received in Piru of the coming of this pirate, the viceroy sent in pursuit of them a good fleet, with many soldiers and ammunition sufficient to engage an equal or greater number. When they came to the port of Acapulco, supplies were needed; and they requested these from the purveyor who had them in your Majesty's warehouses. He was unwilling to give them; and they even say that an order was given to detain some pack-teams which brought biscuits, so that the captain of the fleet from Peru could not take them. Thus they say that, as it Page 59was not desired to supply them with provisions, and because Doctor Palacios1 became dictatorial in regard to several points, they returned to Piru; while the Lutheran remained free to attack and capture, as he did. So great was our misfortune that, at the time when the two captains were debating as to who should take command, the pirate was near Puerto de la Navidad, which is not very far from Acapulco, repairing his ships. Had they attacked him, it would have been impossible for him to escape; but God chose to blind our men, so that we might be punished by this pirate. The punishment of God did not stop here; for, having set fire to the ship “Santa Ana,” they left it half burnt, set sail, and came to these islands. With more than human courage, they passed through the midst of them with a ship of one hundred toneladas, where the natives venture with trembling in very light boats; but this infidel dared not only to come into our midst, but to collect tributes from your Majesty's vassals. A Spaniard was captured, and after having told him what they wished him to say to us, they put him ashore. What they said was in boast that they had left the coasts of Peru and Nueva España utterly ruined; and that they had robbed and burned the ship “Santa Ana,” and hanged a canon who was on his way from this city to Mexico. In testimony of his prowess and our misfortune he displayed the silks, brocades, and cloths of gold which he had seized as plunder. Not content with this, he went away threatening us that he is to return soon to drive us all hence, and to destroy the nest that we Page 60have made here—meaning thereby the stone fortress built here. The grief that afflicts me is not because this barbarian infidel has robbed us of the ship “Santa Ana,” and destroyed thereby the property of almost all the citizens; but because an English youth of about twenty-two years, with a wretched little vessel of a hundred toneladas and forty or fifty companions, should dare to come to my own place of residence, defy us, and boast of the damage that he had wrought. As your Majesty has here an army of captains, who, as I understand, are certainly as many as the companions of the Lutheran, he went from our midst laughing, without anyone molesting or troubling him; neither has he felt that the Spaniards are in this land to any purpose. In this matter, I do not care to blame anyone, because I understand that the governor did his duty—although I was always of the opinion that the pirate should be pursued and that the result thereof would not be so bad as some say. The belief here, however, is that God is chastising us for our sins, and is making us the laughing-stock of other nations, who have all hitherto stood in such fear of us. I must explain to your Majesty two other points bearing on this subject, although it detains me somewhat, as I consider that I do thereby a very great service. The first is the failure of the expedition to Maluco. We all had been certain that with fewer men and less equipment than there actually were, the king of Terrenate could be subdued; but, quite to the contrary, our men came back as if fleeing from an unknown foe. The Indians of this archipelago, who feared us, now laugh; and, together with those of Terrenate, threaten us. The second point is that in the island of Mindanao, which is subject to your Page 61Majesty, and for many years has paid you tribute, the law of Mahoma has been publicly proclaimed, for somewhat more than three years, by preachers from Burney and Terrenate who have come there—some of them even, it is believed, having come from Meca. They have erected and are now building mosques, and the boys are being circumcised, and there is a school where they are taught the Alcoran. I was promptly informed of this, and urged the president to supply a remedy therefor at once, in order that that pestilential fire should not spread in these islands. I could not persuade them to go, and thus the hatred of Christianity is there; and we are striving no more to remedy this than if the matter did not concern us. Such are the calamities and miseries to which we have come, and the punishments which God inflicts upon us. The reason for it, He only knows; but, as I infer and fear, it is because we have ill acquitted ourselves in this land, where it is so needful that we be upright and furnish good examples. I have written to your Majesty on this point at other times; and I think that either my letters are not read, or what I say is not credited. I assure your Majesty that I have never written anything which is not true, and free from all outward influence, or self-interest, or human considerations; but I have only done my duty. The temporal affairs of this land are in the condition which I have related to your Majesty; and I consider that there will never be improvement, since cupidity is increasing so immeasurably that neither the punishments of God nor the threats of men are effectual to produce any moderation, nor do the manifold outrages cease to be felt.
The spiritual state, which is my concern, is in the Page 62sorriest condition, because there is no more respect for the things of God than if we were not Christians. I refer to the Indians and their instruction; and because entering on this subject is like embarking on a bottomless sea, I have determined to send to your Majesty a relation of the islands and towns of this bishopric which are without instruction, in order that your Majesty's conscience may be relieved by commanding that the remedy be applied. Therefore I shall now proceed with the said relation.
The cause of ruin in these islands—which is very menacing, although it is not declared in España—is that both the villages of your Majesty and those of encomenderos are places where the curacy is so ill-supplied with chalices and ornaments that it is a shame to see them. Many of the churches are so indecent that when I visited them, from pure shame I was obliged to command that they be torn down; they were not fit to be entered by horses. There are two principal causes for this: the first is that the encomenderos are penurious and allow little for the proper ornamentation of the church; and the second, that some or the majority of the encomiendas are so small that they do not suffice to support their encomenderos, who thus cannot attend to matters of divine worship. Consequently, the natives come to regard the things of God as of little worth, and have little esteem for our faith and the Christian religion, seeing that we who profess to be Christians pay so little attention to them. Moreover, the natives of these islands are so harassed and afflicted with public and private undertakings, that they are not able to take breath; nor do they have time to observe the instruction, and hold it of so little account that when they Page 63lack for anything, it must be in the instruction and not in temporal affairs. I cannot picture to your Majesty, nor declare what I feel in my heart about this matter. Moreover, I am very sure that all the chastisements given us by God, the hardships, misfortunes, and calamities sent us, all are because of evil treatment of the Indians and the little heed taken for the principal reason for our coming—that is, their conversion and protection. The remedy therefor is not that your Majesty send decrees and orders charging good treatment of the Indians, as in the letters which have already been received here; but that a number of the best religious be sent. They can deal with these natives, and defend them from the labors imposed by the Spaniards, and from the outrages that they inflict upon them. Again, it is of even more importance that, if your Majesty, as is rumored here, is to send hither a governor or president, he be a man free from all human interests, whose head could not be turned by the great gains in this country. He should not be married, nor should he bring with him relatives or followers for whom to provide. For under any one of the aforesaid conditions it is impossible to avoid the destruction of this country, beyond the power of your Majesty to remedy it. I have written this to your Majesty several times before, and now I repeat it, since it is the most necessary thing for the betterment of this land, which would be surely destroyed by its lack.
Of the viceroy of Nueva España, so many things are said in this country, that if but one-tenth of them were true, it is impossible for your Majesty to know them and fail to correct them. This is another of the Page 64heavy afflictions that God has sent upon this land, for even the severity which has been shown by him to those who go from here is alone sufficient to make this land desolate. No consideration is given to the fact that the citizens and soldiers thereof serve your Majesty with the same hardships and loyalty with which other men have served their king. Nevertheless, there is no lack of persons to inform your Majesty thereof, since the loss of temporal things is always felt more than the spiritual. I leave it to be described by those who have felt the hurt, since it does not concern me in any way, except the regret that I feel for the damage done to my neighbors; for my enterprises and traffic are to remedy the needs of the poor, and to defend and help the natives of these islands, who have much need thereof. The complaint that I make of the viceroy of Nueva España is that he has not allowed more than fifteen Dominican friars to come here, although your Majesty sent to Mexico forty of them. This is the greatest damage that the viceroy could do to this country, as there is exceeding need of ministers of religion, such as come now. If the fifteen were five hundred, the evils of the country would be corrected, and the conscience of your Majesty quite at ease. It is such men that your Majesty should order to come here, and you should refuse to permit those to come who will do more harm than good. Likewise your Majesty should order the generals of the orders of St. Francis and St. Augustine to send hither visitors, who are most necessary. Those of St. Augustine are to be preferred, however, as the friars of St. Francis are more retired from the world.
I wrote to your Majesty, via Malaca, of what had Page 65happened with the religious in regard to the observance of the royal decrees treating of the instruction of the Indians by the religious. As the licentiate Ayala, fiscal of the royal Audiencia here, sent the records concerning the subject, I shall but mention and not refer to them at length.
At other times I have written to your Majesty explaining the impossibility of a bishop being able to govern all the bishopric which I have now. For this island of Luçon it is necessary to have two or even three bishops—that is to say, I humbly beseech your Majesty to be pleased to provide for the Pintados Islands a bishop with his seat in the city of Çubu. By the relation which I am sending, your Majesty will see that two bishops are not sufficient. I declare to your Majesty that in that case the royal conscience would not be at ease nor would mine; and I dare not leave it unsaid, for fear of my peace of mind.
As I have said before, I had determined to write nothing whatever in detail concerning the damages that the viceroy of Nueva España had done to these kingdoms. It seems to me that your Majesty will have had advices thereof, and will have ordered a means of correction. Moreover, as many are interested and have grievances, there will be no lack of a person to advise your Majesty thereof. Nevertheless, I have since thought that I neglect my duty in failing to send a testimonial to your Majesty which was forwarded to this city from Lope de Palacios, captain of the ship “Sant Martin,” which went to China. He sent to this city, asking that he be granted permission to leave Macao, because he feared that they were about to kill him in order to gain possession Page 66of his property. I am the only person who can send this memorial to your Majesty, as Lope de Palacios sent it to this city with much secrecy, and in the same manner was it given to me. I discussed the matter with the president, saying that we should send for the captain as if the idea were our own and he had not requested it—employing so great secrecy, so that the Portuguese who were here would not learn of it; for the same Lope de Palacios had declared that he would be certainly put to death if they knew that he was trying to come here. Nevertheless, the request to send for him was in vain, and I was moved to forward this testimonial to your Majesty. It states therein the great harm done by the viceroy in sending the ship “San Martin” to Macao. As the same person who went to learn the damage gives testimony thereof, no witness more worthy of credit can be entered in the cause. I am also writing to the viceroy of Nueva España in regard to the injuries which he wrought on these kingdoms by despatching the ship “San Martin” to China—although God supplied the remedy, by the loss of the same ship. I tell him that if that ship had been sent to this city a more prosperous voyage would have been made than the investors could have expected, for so many Chinese merchants came this year to this city, that the merchandise was worth nothing; and if the ship “San Martin” had come here a satisfactory and cheap cargo could have been obtained, perhaps even in greater quantity than at Macao. Instead of damaging this city, those persons would have been enriched, who on account of greed were unable to see the damage done to all of us. Thus God has punished them all, by depriving them of that profit the Page 67desire for which had blinded them to their duty.
They also say that the ship “Sant Ana” was sold for thirty thousand pesos and ordered to make a voyage to Macao. These proceedings also were put to confusion by God, through means which have cost us dearly, namely the loss, of that vessel. It can be said that if it had been at Macao somewhat less damage would have been done to these islands than in the burning of the ship by the Englishman. As I wrote to your Majesty, via Malaca, for ships to go from Mexico to Macao is to destroy both those kingdoms and these, since the Chinese raise the prices of their merchandise to such an extent that Portuguese and Castilians cannot live. May your Majesty be pleased to order the viceroy to hold these lands in somewhat higher estimation, since your Majesty considers them (and justly so) worthy of constant attention. Ever since the viceroy came to Mexico, he has not sent to this country any troops (except exiles or criminals), or ammunition, or the customary supplies for this camp, as wine, flour, and other articles; he has so reduced everything that there is great privation here, and very little profit to your Majesty.
Your Majesty's governor and royal Audiencia in these islands look well to the service of your Majesty and the good of this country. Will your Majesty be pleased to order the viceroy of Nueva España, present or future, not to disturb or change what may be decided by them? not only in the customs duties, but in the price fixed for each tonelada, and in the mode of registration. According to our information, the viceroy has changed everything, greatly increasing the taxes imposed here. The labors of the citizens Page 68in the service of your Majesty in these islands should be sufficient without still more severe requirements from Nueva España.
During the past year there was great confusion, which still continues, about the goods which were brought to this city by your Majesty's ships. The citizens claim that they ought to be preferred to the merchants; and the merchants complain that, on account of the cargoes of the citizens, their merchandise remained here. I understand that on this point offenses' against God have been committed, and still more serious damage may be done—some persons being ruined, as they have no space in the cargoes for their property—unless it is checked by your Majesty commanding what order must be followed in this affair. It is of exceeding importance for the quiet and content of this city.
There are so many Chinese that come to this land that the islands are full of them. Thereby follows much damage to the natives, as the Chinese are a very vicious people, from intercourse with whom no good but much harm can be gained. I have tried to have the governors remedy the matter by commanding that all the Chinese be collected in this city. I see no improvement, however; and it is of much importance that this be corrected, for the temporal and spiritual good of these lands. Will your Majesty be pleased to order that this be remedied by severe measures. May our Lord guard your Majesty many years for the good of us who can do but little. At Manila, June 27, 1588.
The Bishop of the Filipinas Page 69
1 “The licentiate Palacios, alcalde of court in the Audiencia of Mexico, who in 1581 made official visits to the ports of Guatulco and Acapulco, where he had charge of the construction of ships intended for the Philippine archipelago.” (Cartas de Indias, p. 820.)
Sources: All but the fifth and the last of these documents are obtained from MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias. The decree of August 9 is taken from the “Cedulario Indico” in the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid; and Plasencia's accounts of the Tagalogs, from Santa Inés's Crónica, ii, pp. 592–603.
Translations: The first of these documents is translated by Arthur B. Myrick, of Harvard University; the second and fourth are by José M. and Clara M. Asensio; the third and fifth, by Alfonso de Salvio, of Harvard University; the sixth, by James A. Robertson; the seventh, by Frederic W. Morrison, of Harvard University. Page 70
One of the things that have seemed most surprising in Don Juan de Gama is the following. When decrees were published by order of the viceroy; Don Duarte,1 in your Majesty's name, prohibiting navigation to China and Luçoens [Luzón], which he [Juan de Gama] as captain-general should have executed, he did the contrary. Jheronimo Pereira, captain of the expedition to Japon, had already done likewise; thus those in authority, who were under obligation to execute your Majesty's laws and commands, were the first to break them, to the great scandal of all. Therefore, as soon as possible, I ordered a remedy for such disorders. For this purpose I appointed certain chief magistrates, who excused themselves, either through fear of Don Juan or dread of the sea. Things came to such a pass that, it was necessary to send by schooner, outside the monsoon season, the licentiate Ruy Machado who came from the kingdom this year, and who had been appointed Page 71to that auditorship; his adjutant was Ynacio Nuñez de Mancelos, the captain of the said vessel. The latter had a few soldiers, and is also to remain as captain of the city, since an order for the voyage will not have arrived from India. I think that these two vessels will suffice in every respect for this matter, both to extend the voyage for Don Juan, and to quiet various disturbances arising in the country, on account of the navigation from Nueva España. I also hope that everything will turn out well, and that your Majesty will bestow upon him great favor and honor for this service alone. Among the despatches brought by the auditor is a decree ordering, the embarcation for India and Luçoens of all Castilians, both religious and secular, so that only the original Portuguese citizens shall remain in Machao. That will do away with any further occasion for vessels to go there from Nueva España. From this last has resulted great injury to your Majesty's vassals in these regions, to the royal exchequer, and religion itself. Peradventure the Castilians were the cause of again closing the door to the preaching of the gospel, being moved by indiscreet eagerness or too much solicitude. They are so unrestrained in this particular, that, by trading in China without your Majesty's permission, they are the first who broke your decrees, under pretense of religion itself. No easier remedy can be applied than preventing them from entering this trade, which your Majesty should have for the advantage of your own service.
We might describe here the great inconveniences and hindrances to your Majesty from a longer continuance of this navigation. But since this letter will, be despatched by land, and the viceroy Don Duarte Page 72has described these matters so fully, I refrain from doing so here. I say only that, even if there were no other reason than not opening the way to the English and other nations to resort to those regions (as they did last year and this) that alone would be sufficient reason to stop this intercourse entirely. The Englishman Don Thomas, who came to these regions lately, has caused us much anxiety here. For this reason the people of India are very confident that your Majesty will order assistance in this case and apply the fitting remedy, for the common good of these states and that of your service.
Don Thomas, the Englishman, sailed from England with three ships in the year 87. Entering the straits of Magallanes, he sailed to the South Seas. Having made some prizes of large and small vessels, he loaded two of his own vessels and sent them to that kingdom [England] by the same route. Nearing the Philipinas, he took his course to Java, and entered the port of Balambuao in Java itself. At that time two Portuguese were at that port, who came immediately to the ship thinking it was from India. The Englishman received them well, and gave them some church ornaments and other valuable articles, together with a letter for the bishop of Malaca and another for the captain, the substance of which was, that he had come to explore those regions. From the questions asked these men by the auditor of Malaca, it was ascertained that the purpose of their coming was none other than trade, exploration, and prizes. He asked particularly about Achen, the straits of Meca and Malaca, and their fortifications. It is thought that this Englishman came especially to explore the channels of Bale, whence these men said that he would Page 73sail in March of this year to the island of Sant Lorenzo, from which place he would lay his course to the island of Santa Helena, following the course taken by the Portuguese vessels. Pray God he come not hither again, as an example for the daring of others—although the interest they have in doing so is so great, that I fear this navigation cannot be stopped without much trouble, and the prohibition of navigation by Castilians and Portuguese to Nueva España. A blockade will be established again, so that foreign nations will not undertake this navigation. On this account alone, it seems to me that this navigation should always be rigorously prohibited. Page 74
1 The Portuguese admiral Don Duarte de Meneses—who had been present in the negotiations between Legazpi and Pereira in 1569 (Vol. II, pp. 295, 298, 310)—was viceroy of India from November, 1584 until his death, May 15, 1588. He was succeeded in that office by Manuel de Sousa Coutinho, the writer of this letter. See Linschoten's Voyage (Hakluyt Society's trans., London, 1885), pp. 174, 200–203.
This past year of eighty-eight I gave an account to your Majesty of the condition of this land. As the voyage is so full of sea-perils and danger from corsairs, and it is difficult for the despatches to reach the hands of your Majesty, the duplicate of that letter accompanies this. Therein is declared the extreme need of the islands for reënforcements of troops and necessary supplies for the camp, and other things, of which I gave an account to your Majesty. They are most important to the royal service and the preservation of this land. I beseech your Majesty to have provision made with all possible expedition.
A small ship leaving this port for the city of Malaca carried two descalced religious of the order of St. Francis. As the king of Burney was at peace with us, they stopped at the port of Mohala which is two leagues from Burney. They visited the king, to whom they gave my letters, and were well received by him. He commanded houses to be given them and everything necessary to assure their sustenance. One night many people of that kingdom attacked them, among whom, it is said, there were a brother and other kinsmen of the king. They killed three Page 75Spaniards, among them one of the religious, and robbed them of all their possessions. From those who escaped I learned that the assaulting party were people well known in Burney, and that the spoils were sold publicly in that city. Some articles were seen in the possession of the king's kinsmen. I learned that some chiefs of these islands had intrigued with that people to secure their aid; and that they had plotted together to do this, and had agreed to bring Burney and the kings of Jolo and of Mindanao, and many other foreigners against this city, in order to rob and kill us. As there was a Japanese ship here, they conferred with the captain, and with people who came from that land, all Japanese, proposing that the latter should aid them with what they had, and with supplies and everything necessary, and thus deliver to them this land, in accordance with the plan and arrangements previously agreed upon. So well did they keep this secret, during fifteen months while they were awaiting a favorable opportunity, that they were not even suspected by myself, or the religious, or any other person. To accomplish their design, they despatched the chiefs of these islands to Burney, and to the other kingdoms three chiefs of their number. They wrote to Japon, so that, at the appointed time, all would come; and all were given orders as to what they were to do. I made secret investigations, and found out that all the aforesaid was true; and in a short time I had in my hands the guilty ones who were in these islands, and also those who had gone away after the death of the people, so that none remained uncaptured. Without any disturbance whatever, I beheaded seven of the authors of the rebellion, sons, nephews, and grandsons of the Page 76lords of this land. Others not so culpable I punished by exile to Nueva España and by other penalties, so that it now seems that this disturbance is quelled. After that, in the province of Cubu and in that called the Pintados, the chiefs held a conference, and plotted to kill the Spaniards. The majority of those who took part in this have been imprisoned, and proceedings are being instituted against them. I think that this will cause us but little trouble. This boldness is caused by the natives noticing the fewness of Spanish troops in the islands and the few reënforcements sent from Nueva España. It is necessary that your Majesty should order that there be less negligence in this respect.
By a royal decree your Majesty commands me to sell the magistracies of this city and four offices of notaries-public therein; also those of the provinces of Oton, Cebu, Camarines, Ylocos, Cagayan, Panpanga, and Bonbon. As the land is so newly settled, and the offices of so little profit, I wrote to your Majesty that, in my opinion, it was not time to dispose of them, and that they would bring but little if offered at auction; but that, if anyone would buy them at a reasonable price, I would sell them. This I did, and in order to enhance their value at the sale, I announced that the offices could be renounced and sold by paying to your Majesty the third part of the price they were worth. As the offices of notary have been sold, will your Majesty be pleased to provide that this condition be observed; or, if not, that the price be returned to them and the offices be sold without this condition—as the perquisites and influence of these offices are held in such esteem in this land, that they have risen to very good prices. The bids for Page 77the first of the magistracies that were commanded to be sold closed at one thousand two hundred and fifty-one pesos; and for the second, third, fourth, and fifth, at two thousand eight hundred. The four offices of notary-public of this city brought two thousand eight hundred and eighty pesos, at seven hundred and twenty pesos each. That of the province of Panpanga brought one thousand; of Oton, one thousand six hundred and twenty; that of the city and province of Cubu, five hundred and sixty; of Ylocos, three hundred pesos; and that of Bombon, two hundred and sixty-two pesos. The other magistracies and offices of notary-public which were offered at auction did not bring so high a price, as the stubbornness and competitions which had caused the offices to rise so in value had ceased. For this reason the remaining magistracies and offices of notary-public have not been sold. I shall give an account to your Majesty, later, of whatever is done with regard to them, and the sum they bring will be placed in the royal treasury as soon as it is collected. [Marginal note: “Write to the governor that, in what refers to the offices of regidor, it is not expedient that there be the condition permitting them to renounce the offices. The sales must be made in the usual way. As regards the notarial offices, what has been done is approved.”]
On this route to Nueva España your Majesty has four ships, and the new one that has just been finished, and which makes the voyage this year. Of these, the viceroy of Nueva España sold the ship “San Martin,” to make the voyage to Macan, where it was wrecked and burned by the Chinese. Another was taken by the English corsair, as I reported to your Majesty; and but now when another, in the port of Page 78this city, was ready to make the voyage, so great a hurricane burst on this and many other Spanish and Chinese ships that only a small boat was left unwrecked. Of the two remaining, only one is available; the other cannot be used, as it is so old. Understanding the great need there was of ships, I had a large galleon of six hundred toneladas, which had been built in the Pintados Islands, placed in the shipyards of your Majesty, for the above-named route. God willing, it may sail in the year ninety-one. I have given orders for private persons to make two other ships of less tonnage. One is already finished, and both will be able to sail next year. It is most important that there be for this navigation plenty of ships, both for the emergencies of war which may arise, and for the preservation of these islands, which are supported by trade. If, as I have suggested several times before, your Majesty were pleased to have about ten thousand pesos sent annually from Nueva España, two ships of good capacity can be launched very easily, without harassing the natives in any way—and with this help, at even less than a third of the cost elsewhere. Otherwise, there is no way to bring it about. Your Majesty will signify your royal pleasure in this. [Marginal note: “Write to the governor to proceed with and carry out this plan, and to give orders for private persons to build ships.”]
For the ships sailing between these islands and Nueva España, and to other places which may be found, sailors are much needed, to navigate them and to remain here to look after them; also carpenters and calkers who must reside here to repair them. They should be paid in Nueva España as this treasury is too poor. As the money for their wages must Page 79be sent, sometimes it is not brought, and at other times it is lost, thereby causing the sailors to die of starvation. Therefore the sailors serve half-heartedly, and desert; and there is great negligence in the despatch of the fleets. The only remedy for both these evils is from the exchequer of your Majesty. If it is to be spent therefor, it would be best for your Majesty to have the amount of the freight-charges on the property sent from these islands in the said ships granted annually to this royal treasury up to the sum of three thousand pesos. Thus the needs here will be met without taking from the treasury of Mexico. [Marginal note: “A decree in accordance herewith. Meanwhile order shall not be given that the ships of this line shall sail at his Majesty's cost.”]
I have already reported to your Majesty the removal from these forts of a quantity of artillery, for the security of the two ships which I despatched to Nueva España last year, eighty-eight. That carried by one of the ships is paid for by the merchants, as well as the powder, arms, and ammunition; and that on the other was at your Majesty's expense. Part of the money received I sent to the kingdom of China in order to buy what metal could be obtained. Thence they brought me one hundred and twenty-five picos1 (about five arrobas) of copper, at thirteen pesos and eight rreals. With this artillery is being cast; to take the place of the pieces carried by the ships, I had Page 80others cast from the metal which I had here. The results are very good. Bronze is so cheap in China, and so easy to transport and cast in this country, that, if your Majesty will have money sent hither from Nueva España for this purpose, artillery could be provided in this country both for Nueva España and Piru. Will your Majesty signify the royal pleasure in this. [Marginal note: “Write to the viceroy of Nueva España that this seems expedient, and that he may send money to the governor, in order that some artillery may be made there, both for Nueva España and Peru. Advice as to what is needed must be given to the viceroy of Peru.”]
The trade with the Chinese is continually increasing in these islands. About four thousand men of that land are here as a general rule, including merchants and workmen. These become citizens and settle in the alcaiceria [silk-market] of this city. In the surrounding villages there are also a large number of Chinese. Their houses are being rapidly built of stone, according to the Spanish custom. They are very strong, large and imposing in appearance. In two or three years, God willing, all the buildings will be erected, as also the cathedral church, the monasteries, and other churches. They are being built very substantially and some are already finished. The materials are so good and the workmen, both Chinese and natives, so numerous, that everyone is encouraged to build the houses in this manner. But it is a melancholy fact (for it all is like an empty purse, or an inn without a guest) that the land is unhealthful, and there are no doctors or medicines; and so there is great lack of troops, and of men for the usual work of guard and sentinel-duty, and for expeditions to Page 81carry succor to the settlements and to pacify the uprisings of the Indians. The soldiers are constantly dying and passing away, in such number that I fear there will be no troops to defend the city from any of the many enemies by whom we are surrounded. For the remedy thereof, will your Majesty be pleased to have the viceroy of Nueva España send the troops, arms, and ammunition which may be requested by the governor of these islands, and also the medicines and supplies necessary for the camp. It has been three years since we have had any kind of aid whatever, and consequently we are in extreme necessity. I beseech your Majesty, if you wish these islands to be preserved, that you will expressly command the said viceroy to send reënforcements annually to this camp, of two hundred men, with powder and ammunition; medicines, and other supplies for the hospitals; and whatever the governor may advise is necessary. I can assure your Majesty that if this succor fail, everything else will fail also, and everything gained by your Majesty at so great and excessive expenses, in order to start on the way to heaven so many millions of souls who had been dominated by the devil, will be lost. Thus will be closed the door of this new world which has been opened by your Majesty. [Marginal note: “Write to the governor that he continue the building. To Don Luis de Velasco, that he observe this command, and aid the settlements.”]
The fort which, as I had written to your Majesty, was being built, was shaken, when about completed, in three places by great earthquakes. It opened in one place more than a finger's breadth, although less in the others. To assure its safety and construct it Page 82in the modern style, although it was quite sufficiently strong before, I am constructing cavaliers which are to serve as buttresses for it. The principal part, that toward the sea, is finished; the other parts are commenced, and, God helping, will soon be completed. These will make it so capacious and strong that it can withstand any attack. I am sending the model, report, and account herewith to your Majesty. [Marginal note: “Let it be brought.”]
Since coming to this country, I have insisted that the religious should try to learn the Chinese language, in order to convert and teach the Chinese in this land, who are ordinarily about as many as I before stated. As it is so difficult and the religious are so busily engaged with the natives of the islands, they have not done this. When the Dominicans came here, I entrusted to them the instruction of the Chinese, and supplied them with interpreters to teach them the language. I bade them build a church and dwelling in the alcaiceria (called the Parian); and at the point of Tondo, where the Chinese live and carry on their trade. Two of the religious have been so apt that one of them already understands and speaks that language well, and the other will know it in a short time. They are preaching and teaching and have converted many people, having now a village of Christians. This year, on Holy Thursday they held a procession in honor of the blood of Christ, wherein they displayed much devotion. I hope in our Lord that, as this people so clearly and firmly understand what they learn, and as they have no particular worship, in a short time they will all be converted. It is certain that if their long hair were not cut off when they are baptized (according Page 83to the bishop's commands), there would already have been a general conversion in this land, and they would have received baptism. I gave account thereof to your Majesty, and await your orders. [Marginal note: “Write to the provincial acknowledging this, and to the bishop “in regard to cutting off the hair of the Chinese. This is not expedient, as their conversion is thereby retarded. Moreover, they do not dare to return to their own country where they could teach and convert others. This custom of the Chinese, wearing their hair long, is more usual in other parts of the Yndias, as he knows; and hitherto this has not been considered unseemly. Let the bishop call together the superiors of the orders, and other learned and zealous persons. They shall confer and give commands for what is expedient in regard to suitable measures for the conversion of the Chinese. He shall send advices thereof, and of the difficulties in the way, and shall provide for both.”]
The bishop of these islands, as I have at other times written to your Majesty, does not countenance appeals made by force, and the decrees of the Audiencia; and when he is so inclined, he refuses to comply therewith. We have therefore been put to much annoyance and constraint in enforcing exile and other penalties, particularly in regard to the defense of the royal jurisdiction. This latter has not been done because the land is new, and to avoid offending the natives. He becomes very angry at times, with little or no occasion, so that he often disagrees with the Audiencia, in the pulpit and out of it, and causes others to do the same—notwithstanding what your Majesty has commanded, and the reprimands Page 84that he has received. Although there have been serious difficulties, I do not discuss them, in order not to weary your Majesty with a longer account. I beseech your Majesty to supply the remedy which you think suitable, and to order the bishop not to publish, without reason, as he has done, causes of the Holy Office against the Audiencia and fiscal. Although we must always do justice, and the fiscal must act as plaintiff, there is caused much scandal and many hindrances to the authority of your Majesty's Audiencia, by trying to disgrace and intimidate the judges by threats of the Inquisition.
Although your Majesty has ordered this camp and the royal hospitals to be provided with medicines and other necessities, as there is no doctor the soldiers are only treated by unskilled surgeons who attempt to cure them. For this reason many people die, and I beseech your Majesty, as it so important to your service, to order the viceroy of Nueva España to send a good physician with an adequate salary at the cost of your royal estate. The city has no money with which to pay him, nor do the soldiers, since even the richest of them has not enough for his own support. [Marginal note: “Write to the viceroy of Nueva España to send a doctor and a surgeon to treat these people and give advice thereof.”]
At the shipyard of these islands your Majesty's chief shipbuilder and superintendent of work was Master Miguel de Palacio. He died and his place was filled by Master Marco, a good builder of all kinds of ships. He died also; and although I understand there is another now in charge of the galleon which is being built in the Pintados, he is old and cannot all alone attend to the work, to the repairing Page 85of the ships of the line, and the building of others. There is great need of another good officer. I beseech your Majesty to order that, if possible, men be sent for this from the kingdoms of Nueva España. [Marginal note: “Idem.”]
In the relation written by the Audiencia are other matters, of which I give no account here, since they are there mentioned; your Majesty will please order that these be examined. May God preserve the Catholic person of your Majesty. At Manila, July 13 of the year 1589.
The doctor Santiago de Vera
[Endorsed: “Provision is made for the within; let the governor be informed.”] Page 86
1 The following table of Chinese weights is given in Clarke's Weights, Measures, and Money (N.Y., 1888): 10 mace = 1 tael; 16 taels = 1 catty or kan; 2 catties = 1 yin; 50 yin = 1 pecul or tam. The catty = 1⅓ lbs., or 604.8 grammes. Hence the pecul = 133⅓ lbs. The shik is a weight of 160 lbs. In China almost everything is sold by weight.
Testimony in certain investigations made by Doctor Santiago de Vera, president of the Philipinas
In the city of Manila, on the twentieth of May in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine. Doctor Santiago de Vera, of the Council of the king, our lord, and his governor and captain-general in these Philipinas Islands, stated that inasmuch as it is proper and necessary to inform the king our sovereign of the compact and conspiracy which the Indian chiefs and natives of these islands and the vicinity of Manila had plotted against the service of God, our Lord, and against his Majesty, and of the inquiry and investigations made thus far in order to ascertain and verify the facts, and the status of the case: he therefore would order, and he did order, Estevan de Marquina, notary-public of Manila—before whom most of the trial has been conducted, of which an account has already been given three times to the royal Audiencia—to draw up an attested record of the said trial in a summary and relation, or such documents as shall be necessary, in order to send them to the royal Council of the Indias this present year. He also ordered him to inform his Majesty of what is occurring, and of what has Page 87been done about the matter. This was what Doctor Santiago de Vera declared, ordered, and signed.
By order of his Lordship:
In fulfilment of the command and decree of Doctor Santiago de Vera, governor and captain-general of these islands, and president of the royal Audiencia, I, Estevan de Marquina, notary-public for the king our sovereign, of the number [authorized] in the city of Manila, testify that a trial and criminal process has been conducted and is still pending before the said governor and captain-general. The parties are the royal department of justice of the one part, and certain Indian chiefs, natives of the villages of Tondo, Misilo, Bulacan, and other villages in the neighborhood of Manila, of the other part. The cause of this contention seems to be that on the twenty-sixth of October of last year, one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, Doctor Santiago de Vera, governor and captain-general of these islands, and president of the royal Audiencia, learned that the following persons: Don Agustin de Legaspi, one of the chiefs of this land; Martin Panga, governor of the village of Tondo, and his first cousin; Magat Salamat, the son of the old lord of this land; and other chiefs, had not long ago sent a present of weapons and other articles to the king of Burney, and that they were quite intent upon holding meetings and their usual drunken feasts, swearing to keep secret whatever they discussed. He also learned that they had sold and were selling their landed property. In order to ascertain what the condition of affairs is, the governor made an inquiry and many Page 88witnesses were summoned. From this inquiry and other investigations and inquests made in the course of the trials, it appears that the said Don Agustin de Legaspi and Magat Salamat had sent a quantity of shields, arquebuses, and other weapons to Xapon and to the petty king of Burney, who has thus been enabled to put himself on a war-footing. They warned these powers to fortify themselves in their strongholds, because the Spaniards intended to go there. They added that the said Don Agustin would notify them in person of what was taking place; and that, for this purpose, he would ask permission to set out on his commercial enterprises. Likewise we learned that the people of the kingdom of Burney were thinking of manning a fleet for the purpose of attacking the Spaniards; and that they had killed a Franciscan friar and other Spaniards while on their way to Malaca from Manila with messages and despatches for the king, our sovereign. It appears that on the fourth of November of the said year, when the inquiry had not gone further than this, Captain Pedro Sarmiento arrived in this city from the Calamianes, which are islands near Burney; and brought the news and information that he had left behind in the said Calamianes three Indian chiefs of Tondo, namely, Magat Salamat, Don Agustin Manuguit, son of Don Phelipe Salalila, and Don Joan Banal, brother-in-law of the said Magat. Through Don Antonio Surabao, his servant and chief of his encomienda, he had learned that these men were going as ambassadors to the petty king of Burney, in order to induce him to send a fleet to attack the Spaniards, and to join the chiefs of Jolo, and Sumaelob, chief of Cuyo, who had already come to terms and offered to Page 89help them with two thousand men. They had persuaded the said Don Antonio Surabao to accompany them and carry out their plans; but the latter while on the one hand he promised to help them, in order not to arouse their suspicion, on the other hand unfolded the plan to Captain Sarmiento. He added, moreover, that Amarlangagui, chief of Baibai, who was within the jurisdiction of Manila and held the office of master-of-artillery, had told him, while in this city, that all the chiefs of this neighborhood had plotted and conspired with the Borneans to rebel against the service of the king our sovereign, and to kill the Spaniards of this city, while they were off their guard. The plan was that when the fleet of Burney reached the port of Cavite, and the Spaniards trustfully called these chiefs to their aid, they would all immediately enter the houses of the Spaniards with their men, fortify themselves in them and thus take possession of them one by one. If the Spaniards took refuge in the fortress, Indian soldiers would follow them; and, being two to one, they would surely kill the Spaniards. Maluco offered an example of this; for with but few people they had taken so large a fortress from the Portuguese. To this end the people of Burney were building seven galleys and other warships, and were getting ready ammunition and war-material. Thus it is affirmed by the said Don Antonio Surabao himself, who says that, under the pledge of friendship and secrecy, he was made acquainted with all this, and was persuaded to join the said conspiracy. Upon this, with the governor's approval, soldiers and attendants were immediately despatched with his orders to arrest the said chiefs, and to bring them to this city as quickly as Page 90possible. From the inquiry and secret investigations which were taken up anew, it appears that last year, five hundred and eighty-seven, when Captain Don Joan Gayo and many Japanese with merchandise arrived at this city in a ship from Xapon, Don Agustin de Legaspi became very friendly to him, inviting him many times to eat and drink at his house which is on the other side of the river of this city. The agreement and stipulation which he made with Don Joan Gayo through the Japanese interpreter, Dionisio Fernandez, and in the presence of the said Magat Salamat, Don Agustin Manuguit, Don Phelipe Salalila, his father, and Don Geronimo Bassi, Don Agustin de Legaspi's brother, was, that the said captain should come to this city with soldiers from Xapon, and enter it under pretext of peace and commerce, bringing in his ship flags for the use of the Spaniards, so that the latter should think his intentions peaceful. It was also agreed that the chiefs of the neighborhood would help them to kill the Spaniards, and would supply the provisions and everything necessary. The said Don Agustin de Legaspi was to set out to meet them; and, in order that they might recognize one another, he would carry some of the weapons which the said captain had given him. After they had conquered the Spaniards, they would make him [Don Agustin] king of the land, and collect the tribute from the natives, which would be divided between Don Agustin and the Japanese. They swore this after their fashion, by anointing their necks with a broken egg. Don Agustin de Legaspi discussed and arranged the whole plan with Amaghicon, an Indian chief of Navotas, warned him to keep the secret, and gave him some of the weapons Page 91which the Japanese had given him, in order that they might recognize one another. According to the declarations of Dionisio Fernandez, the Japanese interpreter, Don Phelipe Salalila, Don Geronimo Basi, Magat Salamat, and other witnesses who were present at the said meetings and compacts, and as it appears also from the trial and investigations, it seems that when Don Martin Panga, under the charge of adultery, Don Agustin de Legaspi, for accounts demanded of him at the time when he was governor of Tondo, Don Gabriel Tuambaçan, Don Francisco Acta, his son, and Pitongatan were taken to the prison of this court, each and every one of them swore, after their fashion, to help one another with their persons and property in all matters—be it concerning the liberty of their slaves, or in any other difficulty.
Likewise it appears that after they left the said prison, the said Don Martin Panga was exiled from the village of Tondo for a certain period, and went to live in the village of Tambobo, not far from this city. There he and Don Agustin de Legaspi invited the other leaders to come together for a secret meeting. Under pretext of visiting said Don Martin Panga, a meeting was held in the said village by Don Phelipe Salalila, Don Agustin Manuguit; Magat Salamat, chief of Tondo; Don Pedro Bolingui, chief of Pandaca; Don Geronimo Basi and Don Grabiel Tuam Basar, Don Agustin's brothers; Don Luis Amanicalao and Calao his son; the brothers Don Dionisio Capolo and Don Phelipe Salonga; Don Phelipe Amarlangagui, chief of Catangalan; Don Francisco Acta and Amaghicon; with other Indian timaguas, servants, and allies of his. For three days they Page 92met, and drank after their fashion. During this time they resolved to act in harmony and with one mind in everything. If their slaves demanded liberty, they were to help one another against them; for already they were not regarded or obeyed as before. They possessed neither slaves nor gold, and found themselves poor and cast down, ready to go to prison any day. Their sorrow was very keen because their wives were being taken away from them, and given to others to whom, they claimed, they had been first married. For all these reasons they were very sad, and they discussed and plotted, and took oath, according to their custom, that if an enemy came to Manila to attack the Spaniards, they would unanimously and with one mind aid the enemy against the Spaniards. Thus they would once more become masters, as they had been before, and exercise the old tyranny over the common people—who now were much favored by the Spaniards, being promoted to superior places by them. The said Don Agustin de Legaspi proposed to them the plan and compact which he had made with the said Japanese Don Joan Payo [Gayo]; and the other chiefs declared that they were ready to help him and to accede to his wishes.
After this, it appears that in the month of February, one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, when we heard of the English pirate who passed through these islands and plundered the ship “Santana,” the said chiefs made preparations, thinking he would come to this city, to carry out their plan.
A few days afterward, Don Estevan Taes, chief of Bulacan, came to the village of Tondo where they were. He conferred with Don Martin Panga; and they decided that since the Englishman had not come, Page 93and the compact made at the meeting of Tambobo had not been carried out, they should call another meeting to discuss what had been planned at the former one. To this end, he offered to notify and call together all the chiefs from his village as far as Tondo, while Don Martin Panga was to summon the other chiefs as far as Cavite. To this end, the said Don Martin Panga said that he would carry a letter to the governors of Malolos and Guiguinto, and tell them to hasten to the meeting; and that, when they were assembled, he could communicate to them the bad or the good which he kept within his breast. After Don Esteban Tael [sic] had told him to leave the matter in his hands, Don Martin Panga declared, in the presence of Pitongatan, that he and Don Agustin had planned to call together the men of La Laguna and Comitan; and that, when the people were all gathered, they would discuss the means of regaining the freedom and lordship which their fathers had enjoyed before them; and, with all the people collected at Tondo, would attack Manila, as arranged with Balaya, chief of Vangos, and with the natives of Batan. It seems that the said meeting did not take place, on account of various occupations which detained the said chiefs. Moreover it appears that about the same time, when certain Indian chiefs of Panpanga came to Manila on business connected with their province, on passing through the village of Tondo, Don Agustin Panga summoned them; and he, together with Don Agustin de Legaspi, Sagat Malagat, and Amanicalao, talked with them, and inquired after the business that took them to Manila. The chiefs answered that they came to entreat the governor to command the cessation of the lawsuits Page 94concerning slaves in Panpanga, until they could gather in the harvest. Don Martin said that this was very good, and that they also wished to make the same entreaty and to bring their slaves to court; but that to attain this it would be best to assemble and choose a leader from among them, whom they should swear to obey in everything as a king, in order that none should act alone. The chiefs of Panpanga said that they had [no] war with the Spaniards, to cause them to plot against the latter, and that they had a good king. Thus they did not consent to what was asked from them by the aforesaid chiefs, and proceeded to Manila in order to transact their business. In Manila they were again invited to go to Tondo, to take food with the plotters; but the Panpanga chiefs refused. On the same day a meeting was held in Tondo by Don Agustin de Legaspi and Don Martin Panga; Don Luis Balaya, chief of Bangos; Agustin Lea and Alonso Digma, his nephews; Don Phelipe Salalila and Don Agustin Manuguit, his son; Don Luis Amanicalao, and Calao, his son; Don Grabiel Tuambacar, Don Francisco Acta, Don Phelipe Salonga, and other natives who rendered service. While they were thus assembled, they all resolved and agreed, amid the usual drinking, that the abovementioned Magat should go to the Calamianes and from that place notify the Borneans to come to Manila to attack the Spaniards; and the chiefs would wait for them here, and would take care to receive and help them. In fulfilment of this, the said chief Magat Salamat went to the Calamianes, which are near the kingdom of Burney, taking with him the chiefs Don Agustin Manuguit and Don Joan Banal. Thence he went to the island of Cuyo, where it seems Page 95that he discussed the matter with Sumaelob, chief of the said island, and persuaded him to come with the Borneans to plunder Manila. At that time he was arrested for this trial, was brought to this city, and openly confessed that what has been said actually occurred.
The said inquiries and investigations made in reference to the trial of the aforesaid persons were examined by the governor and captain-general; and he gave orders to arrest those who appeared guilty, in the various regions and provinces in which they were to be found, and on different days, letting no one of the guilty ones escape. The men were arrested and their confessions were taken down separately. At the proper time and place they were each charged with the crime which resulted against each of them; and a copy of the charge was given to them and to their attorneys on their behalf. Their cases were received on trial in a certain order and for a certain period, so as to give them, during that period, an opportunity of clearing themselves from the charge. The time expired, and the trial was definitely closed. The governor and captain-general reviewed the trial, and on different days pronounced a final sentence against each one of them, according to their guilt. The sentence is in substance as follows:
Don Agustin de Legaspi and Don Martin Panga, as leaders and chiefs, and being convicted by witnesses, were condemned to be dragged and hanged; their heads were to be cut off and exposed on the gibbet in iron cages, as an example and warning against the said crime. All their goods were to be confiscated and set apart, half for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. The above-mentioned appealed Page 96from the aforesaid sentence to the royal Audiencia of these islands; but after having examined the trial, the Audiencia confirmed the aforesaid sentence, and returned the case to the governor and captain-general in order that justice might be done. The death-punishment was to cut their heads off and to expose them on the gibbet in iron cages. The sites of their houses were to be plowed and sown with salt. All their property, after the judicial expenses had been defrayed, should be set aside for the royal treasury. This sentence was executed upon the abovementioned persons as here stated.
Dionisio Fernandez, Japanese interpreter in the negotiations with Xapon, having confessed and having been convicted, was condemned to be hanged and to lose his property, half of it to be set aside for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. He appealed from this sentence to the royal Audiencia; but this court, after it had examined the trial, returned it to the governor and captain-general, in order that justice might be done. The sentence was executed upon him as here stated.
Don Pedro Balinguit, chief of the village of Pandaca, was sentenced to six years of prescribed exile in Nueva España, and was condemned to pay six taes of orejeras gold1 for the treasury of the king our sovereign, and for judicial expenses. The fiscal and he appealed to his Majesty's chamber—I mean to the Page 97royal Audiencia—and this court returned the case to the captain-general, so that justice might be done. This man is about to sail in these ships for his place of exile.
Pitongatan, chief of the village of Tondo, was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for eight years. His property was to be equally divided between the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; and this court on a second examination sentenced him to exile in such place as the governor should choose, for two years—one prescribed and the other unconditioned—and to pay costs only.
Don Phelipe Salonga, chief of the village of Polo, was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for six years. Half of his property was to be set aside for the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done.
Don Phelipe Amarlangagui, chief of Catangalan, was sentenced to exile from his village for six years, to a place prescribed. His property was to be divided equally between the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done, except that the exile was to be for four years.
Daulat, chief of the village of Castilla, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this district for four years, and condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold, half for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; Page 98but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done, except that of the four years of exile two were to be prescribed and two unconditioned.
Don Joan Basi, chief and former governor of the village of Tagui, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction2 for four years. Half of his property was set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, whence the case was remitted to the captain-general, with the exception that the whole penalty should consist only of two years of prescribed exile.
Dionisio Capolo, chief of Candava, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction for eight years, and was condemned to pay fifteen taes of orejeras gold, half of which was to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, which, after having examined the report of the trial, remitted it to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done—save that the whole penalty was to consist of four years of prescribed exile, and the payment of twelve taes of orejeras gold. The sentence was executed.
Don Francisco Acta, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to four years of prescribed exile. Half of his goods and property was to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the court of his Majesty; but the case was remitted to the captain-general in order that Page 99justice might be done—save that the whole penalty was to consist of four years' prescribed exile, and nothing more.
Don Luis Amanicalao was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction for six years. His goods were to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and the judicial expenses. He and the attorney appealed to the royal Audiencia, but the case was likewise remitted to the captain-general in order that justice might be done—only that the exile was to be reduced to three years. The sentence was executed.
Don Grabiel Tuambacar, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for four years, and was condemned to pay six taes of orejeras gold—half for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. He appealed to the royal Audiencia, as did the fiscal also; but the case was remitted to the governor, in order that he might execute justice upon him—except that the penalty was to be only four years' exile.
Calao, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for four years. Half of his goods were to be applied as in other cases. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, whence the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that he might execute justice—except that the only penalty was four years' exile.
Omaghicon, chief of Navotas, was sentenced to prescribed exile in Nueva España for six years, and was condemned to pay sixty taes of orejeras gold, half of it to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. This money was to be paid within a month, under pain of hanging. The fiscal of his Majesty and the culprit appealed Page 100to the royal Audiencia; there the sentence was revoked, and the guilty man was condemned to die, and to lose half of his goods, the latter to be applied as specified above. Thus he was condemned on a new trial, and put to death; and inquiries are being made about his goods.
Don Geronimo Bassi was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for ten years. His property was to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal of his Majesty appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, after an examination and a new trial, revoked the sentence and condemned him to death, and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the royal treasury. The sentence was executed.
Don Phelipe Salalila, chief of Misilo, was exiled to Nueva España for twelve years, and condemned to pay seventy taes of gold de orejeras, of which half was to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty and half for judicial expenses. He was to pay the money within twenty days under pain of death. He and the attorney of his Majesty appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, after an examination and a new trial, revoked the sentence and condemned him to death, and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the treasury of his Majesty. The sentence was executed upon him.
Don Esteban Taes, chief of Bulacan, was sentenced to prescribed exile in Nueva España for eight years, and condemned to pay sixty taes of orejeras gold, for the treasury of his Majesty and for judicial expenses. The money was to be paid within thirty days under pain of death. He and the fiscal of the king appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, on an examination Page 101and new trial, revoked the sentence, and condemned him to death and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the royal exchequer and the treasury of his Majesty. The sentence was executed.
Magat Salamat was condemned to death. His goods were to be employed for the erection of the new fortress of this city. He appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was remitted to the governor, in order that justice might be done—except that the goods were to be set aside for the treasury. The sentence was executed.
Don Agustin Manuguit was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for six years, and condemned to pay twenty taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the new fortress. Failing to pay this sum, the term of his exile would be doubled. He agreed to pay it, and the sentence was executed.
Don Luis Balaya, chief of Bangos, was sentenced to exile from his village for two years, one prescribed and the other unconditioned. He was also condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the fortress, to which he agreed.
Alonso Lea was acquitted on the trial.
Amarlangagui, chief of the village of Tondo, was exiled from this jurisdiction for four years, two prescribed and two unconditioned. He was also condemned to pay fifteen taes of orejeras gold toward the said building of the fortress. He agreed to this, and the sentence was executed.
Don Joan Banal, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for six years, and condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the said fortress. He agreed to this, and paid the money. Page 102
In the case of Amaghicon, Indian chief of the island of Cuyo, sentence is yet to be passed by the governor; for the man was brought hither only a short time ago, as he lived very far from this city.
The said sentences, as specified, were executed upon the above-named persons. Those who were exiled to Nueva España are about to sail in the ships which are to be despatched this year to that country. As for the goods [confiscated], most of the men have paid their fines; but in case of those who have failed to do this, the alcaldes-mayor have been ordered to make investigations about them. They are already doing so, as appears from the said trial and process, to which I refer. And, in order that the whole matter may be evident, I give by the said command the present record, in Manila, on the thirteenth day of July in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine. I affix my seal, in testimony of the truth.
Esteban de Marquina, notary-public.
We, the notaries who have here signed our names,3 certify and attest that Esteban de Marquina, from whom proceeds this authenticated record, is indeed a notary-public, of the number authorized in this city, as is stated herein, and is now exercising his office; and that the deeds, attestations, and records which have been and are transacted in his presence have been and are thoroughly certified and authenticated, both within court and without. Done at Manila, on the thirteenth day of July in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine. Page 103
1 Orejeras was the name of a fine grade of gold used by the Malays; see Vol. III, p. 224, and IV, p. 99.
Exile thus inflicted was of two kinds. The Spanish phrase here is seis años de destierro precisos—the last word meaning that the culprit's residence was prescribed in a certain place. In the other form of exile, read, for precisos, voluntarios (“at will”), which may be translated “unconditioned”—that is, he might choose his place of residence.
2 Span., corte; a now obsolete use of the word, to signify a district of five leagues around the court. It will be remembered that Sande, in 1577, fixed the boundaries of the city of Manila within this limit. (See Vol. IV, p. 107.)
3 As the names of these notaries do not appear on the MS. from which our transcript was made, it was probably one of the duplicate despatches sent to Spain, rather than the first and original document.
Last year I gave your Majesty a detailed account of the events that had hitherto occurred in these islands; of what has since happened I will give account in this letter. As soon as the ships left for Nueva España, we set about building a ship of seven hundred toneladas at the cost of your Majesty's royal exchequer. As purveyor thereof was appointed Captain Don Juan Ronquillo, alcalde-mayor of the province of Pintados. The ship is being built in that district, and paid for out of the tributes which your Majesty has from that province; and this city provided some articles which were lacking there. The purveyor writes that he can make the voyage this coming year. This ship will be the fourth of your Majesty's vessels on that route [to Nueva España]. I understand that two of them will be of no use for this next year, as they will have to be laid aside. Thus it will be necessary, that the navigation on that route may not cease, that ships be built continually. Although the Mariscal Grabiel de Rribera and Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion are each building a ship, they will not be able to support them, and will be obliged to sell them at the port of Acapulco on the first voyage, Page 104for the Piru trade. Although they could be bought in these islands on the account of your Majesty's royal exchequer, it seems to me better that your Majesty should save the profits that will be made after their construction; since they can easily be built at much less cost than if they were bought after they are built.
The accounts of your royal exchequer have been audited this year, and are being sent with everything clearly expressed. The entire accounts are set forth and the data in detail, each class by itself. Because the gold was very cheap this year, on account of the great lack of coin, some uneasiness was felt for your royal exchequer. Its income has not reached the value of last year, although your Majesty's gold has been more valuable than that of private persons, because it had to be distributed in various payments. If it were possible for your Majesty's royal treasury to keep the gold and sell it at the coming of the ships, there would be considerable profit. However, as the gold is being constantly needed, and there is nothing else with which to meet the salaries and other necessary obligations, it is, when there is a lack of coin, distributed at the common value—although, as I have said before, a somewhat higher value is given to your Majesty's gold. If, as I have written in other letters, your Majesty would be pleased to command forty or fifty thousand pesos to be brought every year from Nueva España to the royal treasury of these islands, returning thence the value thereof in gold, it would give the greatest relief to this treasury and profit to your royal exchequer; for twenty-five thousand pesos in gold, at the price at which it is given in tribute by the Indians, would amount to fifty thousand in Nueva España. This could be done very easily, Page 105if your Majesty would assume the risk of the transportation of the money and the return of the gold. As a result, your royal treasury could in a short time be free from obligations, and could aid in the maintenance of this kingdom. [Marginal note: “Abstract this clause, and send it to the viceroy of Nueva España.”]
By virtue of your royal decree received by your governor in the past year, concerning the sale of the magistracies and offices of notary, by order of your said governor the following offices were sold, in the usual manner of selling your royal property: Four public notaryships in this city, at eight hundred pesos each; the notarial office of Panpanga, at one thousand pesos; that of the province of Pintados, at one thousand seven hundred pesos; that of Cebu, at six hundred; that of Bombon, at three hundred; that of Ylocos, at three hundred; that of Camarines is set at six hundred, and has not been adjudged to a bidder. These offices were sold with some inducements, in order that there should be more bidding. Of ten magistracies which were placed at auction, five were sold—the first at one thousand four hundred pesos, the second at nine hundred, the third at a thousand, the fourth at one thousand two hundred, and the fifth at nine hundred and ten. The others are left to be auctioned upon the arrival of the ship from Nueva España. To increase the value of the offices sold, there were also admitted some bonuses, after payment of which, I understand, the offices will clear fifteen thousand pesos more or less. That the magistracies might have more value to meet the present necessities, your said governor commanded that they be sold with the condition that the owners thereof could Page 106renounce them by depositing in your royal treasury the third of the value, as is done with the offices of clerks. Should your Majesty confirm this, it will be of much profit to your royal exchequer.
Besides the notarial offices which your royal decree ordered to be sold, no mention was made of those of La Laguna, of the Coast and Tondo, of Bulacan, of the cabildo of this city, and that of Pangasinan, which are all large jurisdictions and have notaries appointed by themselves. Moreover, there may thus be sold the office of notary of the alcaiceria [silk-market] of the Chinese, where there is a separate judge; and that of the mines and registries, with the inspection of the Chinese ships, in the form provided by your governor, and used by Thomas Perez. If this last office were sold with the others, we could find a person who would give therefor five thousand pesos; and should your governor provide the office of al-ferez-mayor and that of depositary-general, it would come to six thousand pesos. I understand that if your Majesty should command these offices to be sold by open vote in the cabildo, there would be found many purchasers.
When Alonso Veltran, your notary of the court of this Audiencia, departed for Nueva España, he sold his office, by official permission, to Alonso de Torres, an honored merchant, for four thousand five hundred pesos. The third thereof was placed in your royal treasury of which he made royal exhibition in the Audiencia, and asked to be admitted to the possession and exercise of said office. When your governor examined the records, he said that the cognizance of that cause was not for the Audiencia, but for the governor, because the general decree providing Page 107for the sale of offices for Nueva España came addressed to the viceroy. Consequently, the Audiencia referred to the governor the cognizance and decision of this matter; and he declared that the said Alonso de Torres was not entitled to admission. Although the latter appealed, he did not dare continue the case, in order, as he said, to avoid misfortune. For this reason, your royal treasury lost one thousand five hundred pesos. To remedy this, and to increase your royal exchequer, it is most important for your Majesty to command that the said general decree directed to the viceroy of Nueva España in the year eighty-one,1 which treats of the sale and renunciation of offices, be observed in these islands. Its fulfilment should be enforced by your president and auditors; and, when a vacancy occurs in any office, the said office should be sold, in order that your royal treasury may have some relief. If it is not thus commanded, the governors will exercise the privilege of providing offices.
Last year I reported to your Majesty that, because of the death of Doña Ana de Palacios, there had been left vacant an encomienda owned by her in Camarines. Petition had been made to your governor that it be placed to the account of your royal crown, in virtue of your Majesty's royal decree; and that twelve thousand pesos of income should be paid to this royal Audiencia. But because Captain Joan Maldonado presented another decree in which your Majesty commands that there be given him two thousand pesos of income from unallotted Indians, on account of his Page 108many services and extreme poverty, part of the said encomienda was given him; while to your royal crown there was assigned the other part, amounting to eleven hundred Indians, more or less. Moreover, at the end of December of the past year, eighty-eight, the encomienda owned by Don Luis de Sagajosa at Ylocos was left vacant by his death. I petitioned your governor to place it to the account of your royal crown, in compliance with the said royal decree. He declared that it could not be allotted to the crown, but that it would remain vacant, and the income would be assigned to your royal treasury as royal property, until your Majesty should command otherwise. Less than seven hundred Indians of this encomienda were apportioned to your royal crown, in order that the income therefrom should be enjoyed by the hospital. Appeal from this was made to the Audiencia, and the case was continued. The result thereof was that another decree was issued by your Majesty to the Augustinian friars, in which your Majesty granted them a gift and alms of ten thousand ducats, payable within ten years in unassigned Indians. In consideration of their poverty, I consented that from the income of this encomienda there should be given them three hundred pesos every year, until your decree should be fulfilled. Then a revision of the decree was issued, ordering that the said encomienda be allotted to your royal crown; but that from the income thereof there should be given to the hospital six hundred pesos for eight years, and to the convent of San Agustin three hundred pesos every year until your decree should be fulfilled. After the payment of that nine hundred pesos, the grants for religious instruction, and the costs of the collection, Page 109I understand that there will remain clear for your royal treasury the sum of one thousand four hundred pesos, besides the nine hundred of the hospital and convent after their dues are satisfied. The Audiencia placed this encomienda to the account of your royal crown; for, although your governor was ordered twice to do so, according to the ordinances of first consideration and revision, he would not comply. He was ordered to give a writ, in order that the officials of your royal exchequer could hold it as title.
Later, on account of the death of Captain Villanueva, two encomiendas were left vacant—one called Malgandon, and the other near this city—which were worth two thousand pesos of income. As soon as he died, without notice thereof having been given to me, on the first day of last May before daybreak, your governor assigned the said encomiendas—that of Malgandon to Cristoval de Axqueta; and the other to Don Luis Enrriques, who abandoned another encomienda which he held, of as much and more income, but somewhat farther away from this city. At the same time the encomienda that he had abandoned was assigned, half to each of two other soldiers. On the following day I heard the news, and I presented myself in the Audiencia in order to appeal, and to take exception to whatever possession should be taken. I appealed from whatever writ of possession might be provided; and I ordered that a copy of this appeal be handed to the parties. Cristoval de Axqueta kept himself hidden, in order that notice might not be served on him; and four or five days after my appeal the possession which I had opposed was given him by an alcalde-mayor of Pangasinan. The other litigants did not take possession; and, the case being concluded, Page 110a writ was issued, by which all were protected in their possession. The decision in respect to the ownership was submitted to your royal Council of the Indias, I having appealed from the writ. The case has been concluded and considered, and the decision has not been reached; of that I shall later send a report to your Majesty.
For these reasons your governor is inciting the soldiers and telling them that I am depriving them of means of sustenance, and various other things, in order to set them against me, and make himself popular with them, while disparaging me. Consequently, some of them bear me ill-will. Your said governor, although he knows that he cannot take Indians from your royal crown, has assigned some of them three or four times; and I have had them taken away by process of law. He satisfied himself by telling the soldiers that he had given them a means of support, but that I had taken it away. As I took exception to his acts, and caused several encomiendas to be revoked which had been given by him, he says that he is not the governor, but I am. I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to command your governor to refrain from such indignities to me, as the diligence which I exercise and the actions at law which I cause are for your royal service, the increase of the royal exchequer, and the fulfilment of my conscience and obligation. As I am hated in this country for doing my duty, would your Majesty be pleased to favor me by granting me leave to depart, and giving me a charge elsewhere where I may serve better and more satisfactorily, and where no one will complain of me. When your Majesty receives this, I shall have served in this office of fiscal almost seven years. Should your Page 111Majesty not be disposed to grant me this favor I shall continue in my service here until I die.
Still later, at the death of Doña Maria de Miranda, two encomiendas were left vacant, both worth a thousand pesos of income. They were given to Don Fernando de Villafaña, by virtue of your royal decree, in which it is commanded that your governor should give him an encomienda of Indians. He has served in these islands about ten years, and for his good service and poverty but little has been given him. On this account, and as your Majesty had commanded that he be given an encomienda of Indians, I took no exception, as in the other cases.
This year there came from China eleven or twelve vessels with but little merchandise, because, as they say, there have been many wars and a severe plague. It has been reported that a ship from Panama or Piru, prepared to lay out a large sum of money, has arrived at Macan, which is on the river of Canton. As I have stated in previous communications, if it is permitted to carry on trade between Piru or Nueva España and China, this country will be depopulated and ruined. The principal means of support here is the merchandise from China, and the profit which results from sending those goods to be sold in Nueva España. This would be completely done away with, should ships go from that country or Piru to China; for it is evident that, if these ships bought the merchandise needed, there would be no market or sale for the goods brought from these islands. Neither would the Chinese come here with their ships to sell the goods, or at least not in so large numbers; and besides the general loss to this land, there would be lost the customs duties of import and export. Page 112
At my petition, in view of the fact that a large part of the gold paid as tribute had not been declared, and the fifth taken, it was decreed that within a fortnight after the collection of tribute, the gold should be declared, and the registers of collection displayed, before the officials of your royal exchequer, under penalty of losing the third part of the tribute for that year. The aforesaid was proclaimed and notification was given to the encomenderos of this city, and the decrees therefor were sent to the alcaldes-mayor. Nevertheless, there is laxity in the declarations; and it would be of great benefit for your Majesty to order the officers of your royal exchequer to exercise great care in this, and to see that the disobedient suffer the penalties. [Marginal note: “Bring the decrees in this case.”]
Last year a fragata was despatched from this city to Maluco. Therein were two descalced friars, who were going to that court on business connected with their order; and they carried with them a packet of letters from this Audiencia and your governor. This fragata anchored in a port of the island of Borney, called El Paso; and the natives attacked them, after having given assurance of safety so that they would land. They killed one of the friars, and all the men except three or four Spaniards; and burned the fragata, after having robbed it. Those who escaped say that this attack had been made by order of the king of Burney, and that a Spanish soldier who had gone there had been persuaded to turn renegade. They pay him a stipend for making plans for stone fortifications, and making weapons and powder. Your governor despatched a ship, sending a messenger to ask for this soldier; but the reply has not yet Page 113come. Many people were of the opinion that, if soldiers had been in these islands in any great number, a fleet should be sent to attack the said king—both for the reason already given, and because he was a tributario to your Majesty, and has refused to pay tribute. But with the few troops in these islands, no expedition can be made, nor do we who are in Manila feel at all secure, with the forces that we have in this kingdom. There are many enemies and but few Spaniards, and the latter are dying in great numbers every day. Also, for lack of troops, punishment has not been meted out for the insolence which, as I reported to your Majesty last year, had been perpetrated by the king of Mindanao. In the past few days the Indians of Cibu have revolted, and have killed the encomenderos who were collecting the tribute, and other soldiers. They seized the women, and detained them for a long time, until the alcalde-mayor of that island, with a number of friendly Indians and fifty or sixty Spaniards, attacked and chastised them. Some were killed in the encounter, and those most guilty were hanged. Thereupon the said alcalde-mayor wrote that that island was pacified. It lies more than one hundred and fifty leagues from this city. Later, on the seventh of last June, there came further advices from the said alcalde-mayor, to the effect that the natives of said islands, with other neighboring peoples, had conspired to burn the city, and kill all the Spaniards who might be there; and that several of the principal authors of the plot have been captured, and steps are being taken to arrest the others. Your governor sent him instructions as to what he should do.
Four or five months ago two soldiers came from Page 114the city of Segovia, located in the province of Cagayan. They were sent by the alcalde-mayor of that province, bringing word that the province was all in rebellion and that the Indians had killed many Spaniards. The natives were so bold and daring that they entered into the city to murder and rob. He begged for reënforcements of troops and ammunition, or that province would be depopulated. It is the most important of these islands as it is the nearest to Japon and is within fifty leagues of the coast of China. Reënforcements were sent by the master-of-camp, Pedro de Chaves, with four or five ships and fifty soldiers, besides what supplies and ammunition they could take. We have received news of their arrival only. The outcome of the expedition I will relate when it is over. Captain Martin de Barrios was also slain by the Indians while he was collecting the tribute from his encomienda, together with other soldiers; and I am ready to certify that there are few places in these islands where the natives are not disaffected. When there is any uprising they communicate with one another, make allies, and send messengers to keep up relations. This is because the Indians know that there is but a small force of Spaniards, and that they are separated from one another, and that their punishments are not inflicted as they formerly were, under a military régime, but by a judicial order.
The past year we were informed that the Indian chiefs of this district had met together at different times to discuss rebellion against your royal service, and the death of all the Spaniards in these islands, and the mastery of this land which was enjoyed by their forefathers. At the time when this happened Page 115there was in this city a Japanese captain, who had come here ostensibly for trading and carrying on commerce. The natives made arrangements with him to come to their aid with ships and soldiers. They were to give him part of the land, and would send messengers to the king of Borney and other principal Indians of other provinces, in order that they might come to their assistance. They swore very solemnly according to their custom to keep and fulfil the agreement. They chose a king, captains, and officers of war; and weapons were made in secret. On the discovery of their treachery and plots, the principal chiefs were arrested; seven or eight of them were hanged and beheaded, and their property confiscated. Many others were exiled, some from their villages, and others to Nueva España who sail in this ship. By this punishment it seems as if the people have become somewhat cowed. May God aid us, and free us from so many dangers to which we are exposed. This land will be lost and ruined if your Majesty does not expressly order a goodly number of soldiers to be sent here, and that something be paid to the men for their support. It is pitiful to see them die of hunger, and if they are not paid no soldiers will care to come here, to be in captivity; and we are dying off very fast. Your Majesty should not permit such a thing; for, although this land is of much cost and no profit, it is a foothold and stepping-stone by which to enter the realms of Great China. For this it is very important to learn that language, and for some religious of the orders of St. Augustine and St. Dominic to teach the Chinese in that tongue, since in that wise they will become fond of our religion. May God bring this to pass, later. It would tend greatly Page 116to the preservation of the soldiers, should your Majesty order your viceroy of Nueva España to send a doctor to these islands, although he should be given a salary from your royal treasury of Nueva España. For lack of a physician and of someone who knows how to cure sickness, many of the people die—especially the soldiers and sailors, who have few comforts.
Your Majesty's galleys in this city are useless, and serve for nothing whatever. It will be more profitable and less costly to have a couple of small ships and another couple of armed fragatas. This can be done if your Majesty will order them to be built, and the galleys to be broken up.
The fort, which is being built of stone, has been fractured in some places, from the great weight. They say that it is caused by the small amount of cement used, and because it is near the water and built in a round shape. It seemed as if it could be made secure by building three buttresses with three cavaliers; and this work is now being done. If the cavaliers had been built at first, much money could have been saved; but, as there are no engineers here, they have done the best they could—although several captains say that they had given warning at the beginning of the work. For this there has been collected a little more than four thousand pesos from certain duties which used to be paid to your Majesty on the money brought from Nueva España. Later, collections were made from the Indians of the land, on each being levied one real—thus raising another twelve thousand pesos, more or less. Now another tax of one real has been levied on the Indians, who are oppressed by it; but as your royal treasury is so poor, everything must be borne. Page 117
In last year's letter I advised you that at my petition, taxes were levied on the Indians in their suits, according to the tariff of Spain, charging the Spaniards triple the amount. Finding that the clerks could not support themselves on so small fees, and at risk of levying too much, it was ordered that the fees be doubled, and it was so done.
Captain Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, son-in-law of the licentiate Melchior Davalos, your auditor, killed his wife and nephew, the own son of his brother, saying that they had committed adultery. This he proved by some Indian women of his house, although he did not find them in the act. I conducted the trial, and, after review thereof, condemned him to six years of exile, and a fine of five thousand pesos for your royal court, the expenses of justice, and other things.
This year a Japanese ship came to this port with many supplies and arms. There must have been more than five hundred arquebuses and as many of their kind of swords, and some battle-axes. As the conspiracy of the Indians had taken place when the said ship arrived, it was believed that it came for the execution of that plot. On entering the port, this ship was boarded, and all its cargo was sequestered and the crew imprisoned. It was learned that they were going to sell the weapons in Cian, and they were released from custody, on condition that they would sell the goods here. This they did, and this country has consequently been supplied with weapons.
As your royal treasury is usually in need and lack of money, it happened at the beginning of February of this year that, on petition of the prebendaries and curas of the cathedral, the bishop of these islands Page 118commanded the royal officials, under pain of excommunication, to pay them the stipends assigned them from your royal treasury—amounting to one thousand five hundred pesos annually, for four prebendaries. According to my information your said officials owed them nothing whatever, in accordance with the agreement made with them in the month of July of the year eighty-seven—namely, that from that day they were to be paid their entire current salary; and of that due them they were to be paid little by little, as your royal treasury was so over-burdened. At this notification they replied to the bishop that he could not be judge of that case, as it was a secular one and they were laymen. Of necessity, they appealed to the Audiencia; and the bishop ordered that they be declared excommunicated. This was publicly done, and their names written on the public list, on a Saturday evening. After the Audiencia saw what difficulties would follow on the excommunication of your royal officials, and after it had examined the proceedings in the report made to the judge, it passed an ordinance, asking and requiring the bishop to absolve and reinstate the officials until the documents could be examined in the council-room. To this he gave a certain reply, and after considering this, with the documents, another decree was made, in which it was declared to the bishop that he was not the judge of the cause, which the Audiencia ordered to be retained under its own jurisdiction. As I was not present at this decision it was ordered that I be notified, and that I should appear in the suit in defense of your royal jurisdiction. Therefore, on the Monday next following, I presented before the said bishop a petition requesting Page 119that he absolve the persons excommunicated, and declare himself not to have jurisdiction over that cause. To establish the fact that the recognition thereof did not belong to him, I stated in the first argument of my petition that it could not pertain to him as the royal officials were mere laymen, and not subject to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but to the royal. I alleged further reasons that the cause was secular and temporal. Among other things, the bishop replied to the petition that he was not satisfied with a proposition that I had offered, in reference to the holy office of the Inquisition. This caused exceeding disturbance and scandal in this city, because the bishop was not content with saying what he did in reply to my petition; but to every person who entered his house he said that I had been guilty of a heresy, and unlettered persons who heard this gave it credit. Moreover, as there is here a commissary of the Inquisition, he called together many friars and certified this proposition, separating it from the petition and paying no attention to my purpose therein, or to the circumstances under which I made it. I am sending a report of all the proceedings, in order that your Majesty may provide for the future, as to whether the bishop is to be the judge, and have entrance and privilege to cause the salaries to be paid from your royal treasury, which your Majesty in kindness and mercy had ordered to be assigned to the prebendaries and curates. The bishop, for the sake of peace, after he had kept your royal officials excommunicated many days, refusing to obey or fulfil the ordinances of your royal Audiencia, issued a decree in which he gave up the decision of the cause to his Holiness and to your Majesty. He protested that Page 120he would proceed with the case when he saw fit. Although I stated in petition that the bishop had not complied with the ordinances of the Audiencia, and that thereby he had incurred the penalties provided—which I begged to have executed—everything was passed over, and it was not deemed proper to exact the penalties. In this wise, whenever any dispute over jurisdiction occurs, the bishop displays like obstinacy, as he has done in other cases which are being added to the principal one. If a penalty should once be imposed that would hurt him, he would obey and comply with the ordinances of the Audiencia. But he says publicly that nothing can be done which will restrain him, and this is what he desires. Because of this case the prebendaries and bishop abandoned the cathedral church and did not enter it, or celebrate the divine offices therein from the fourth of February until the twenty-second of March—when, as it was holy week, they returned. During this time only the cura came to the church, to say mass; and thereby great complaint, scandal, and discontent were caused among all the people. I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to order this case to be summarily settled. The bishop declares that he will use the right, which he claims to own, when he sees fit to do so; and it should be decided if it is right to suffer this thing. Also, because I as fiscal attend to the defense of your royal jurisdiction, should the bishop have license to declare in writing that I had made a proposition touching the Holy Inquisition? It was not only this, but that the statement went from one pulpit to another, by his command, that to say that the bishop was not judge of that cause was a heresy. These and other words of which the Audiencia Page 121will give information caused no little scandal in this city. Likewise he refuses to obey the ordinances of the Audiencia, making light of and disputing over them, for which he may be restrained and condemned in temporal matters.
It is quite common for controversies to arise between your governor and the bishop as to which of them is to assign the salary to be given to the ecclesiastics who administer instruction, both in the encomiendas of your royal crown and in those of private individuals. Since the salaries in the encomiendas of the crown are paid from your royal exchequer, it is but just that your governor assign them, or at least that they do so jointly. In this way your royal patronage will be better guarded, and it will be known for whom the bishop is providing. I beg your Majesty to be pleased to have suitable orders given in this matter, and that it be done shortly, for every day more and more difficulties arise.
A case has been considered in the Audiencia, between the bishop and the order of St. Augustine, as to whether the said order and the religious thereof are to administer instruction to the Chinese living in the village of Tondo. Ever since the settlement of this town, they have had a convent there, ministering to the natives in their own language. They say that they have also instructed the Chinese, who understand what they say. The bishop placed in this town friars of his own order, the Dominican, so that they could minister to the Chinese in a chapel there. The Augustinians complained, saying that by a brief of his Holiness, and a royal decree which they presented, two monasteries of different orders should not be situated in the same town, or in its vicinity. The Page 122Audiencia passed an ordinance requiring that within thirty days the bishop should appoint ministers of one order, to administer instruction to the natives and the Chinese. As this ordinance concerned a matter already adjudicated, the bishop asked for a declaration of their position; and it was thereupon declared that by that ordinance the Dominicans were not excluded from the administration of instruction to the Chinese. An appeal was then made on the part of the order of St. Augustine; and they said that some of their religious would in a short time know the Chinese language. They were commanded by ordinance to observe the past decree, until your Majesty should have been consulted and should provide otherwise. Afterward, when the Augustinians saw that they were not by the said ordinances excluded from administering instruction to the Chinese, they commenced to undertake this work. The bishop, as he desired a religious of the said order who was said to know the Chinese language to preach to the Chinese on the afternoon of St John's day, went to the town of Tondo, which is opposite this city, on the other side of the river. He had trouble with the Augustinian friars, and the abovementioned religious would not consent to preach. Thereby was caused much severe comment and scandal, both among the natives and Chinese, and among the Spaniards. The Augustinian friars complain that the bishop, being a Dominican, favors his own order and persecutes them; and that before the coming of the Dominicans to these islands they did not have this persecution, but peace and concord.
There is great need of religious to administer instruction to the natives, since of the few who were Page 123here a large number have died, this year and last. There are many places without instruction, and in still others there are ecclesiastics who do not know the language, from which it results that the natives cannot be well instructed. It is of much importance for the welfare and pacification of this land that religious should come here, because in those places where they are now stationed the Indians live more peaceably and with less license. I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to give orders for their prompt despatch, since their coming is so necessary for the service of God and the good of souls. They should be of the three orders already here.
In this city there are two hospitals, one for Spaniards and the other for the natives. That of the natives is under the charge of a Franciscan friar,2 who cares for them and ministers to them with much charity. It seems as if God supports them as by a miracle; for there are usually more than a hundred patients, sick with all kinds of diseases, and they are maintained by alms, as they have no other income. It would be very injurious if the Franciscan friars should abandon it; and thus it will be expedient for your Majesty to order that they hold and administer it, as has been done hitherto. Moreover, license should be given for said hospital to send four toneladas of pepper as cargo on the ships which sail every year from these islands to Nueva España. There should be levied on them neither duties in these islands, nor freight charges at Acapulco; for with Page 124this privilege, which would little affect your Majesty's interests, they can further the work, and support themselves.
Those who are serving your Majesty in this royal Audiencia are: the doctor Santiago de Vera, your president; the licentiate Melchior Davalos, the licentiate Pedro de Rrojas, and the licentiate Don Antonio de Rribera, your auditors. The first two suffer from many ailments and infirmities. There are also myself, a secretary, a reporter, three attorneys, and interpreters and other officials of the Audiencia.
The persons who have been provided with offices this year are the following: Don Fernando de Villafaña, alcalde-mayor of La Laguna, with a salary of three hundred pesos, the amount usually given to other alcaldes-mayor; Pedro Manrique, alcalde-mayor at Pangansinan, who has served your Majesty nine years, in these islands; Cristoval de Leon, chief magistrate at Calompite, an elderly man, long in the land, and with wife and children; Gaspar de Ysla, chief magistrate at Lubao, one of the early colonists, and married; Captain Gomez de Machuca, alcalde-mayor of Camarines, who has served ten years in this country, and married here; Bartolome Pacheco, alcalde-mayor of Bulacan, who has seen six years' service in this land; Captain Don Alonso Maldonado, alcalde-mayor of the alcaicería of the Chinese, who has served here six years; Clemente Hurtado de Monrreal, alcalde-mayor of the coast of this city, who has seen six years' service here; Lorenço Lopez de Abiste, alcalde-mayor of the island of Çubu, who has served here six years; Captain Don Diego de Alcaraso, who was appointed by your governor as Page 125warden of the old fort, at the death of Captain Juan Maldonado, who used to hold it, and draws a salary of three hundred pesos; Juan de Bustamante, who was appointed by your governor as inspector to the Indians, and is now inspecting in the province of Ylocos; Don Gaspar de Vera, son of your governor, who was appointed as general of the sea; and Joan, Cantero, alcalde-mayor of Calompite, who has served seventeen years in this land.
On the twenty-ninth of June returned the messenger sent by your governor to the kingdom of Burney to ask the king to deliver to him the soldier who had turned renegade, as I have said above. Although the king made some excuses for his acts, he nevertheless refused to deliver the renegade.
On the same day there was an unusually severe tempest of wind and water in this city. The natives say that they never saw such a one. The sea and the river Madre rose until they joined and reached the fort. Much damage was done in the houses; and worse still, two ships which were here loading a cargo for Nueva España—one belonging to your Majesty, and the other to the mariscal Grabiel de Rivera—were driven on the coast by the force of this tempest, and it is understood that they cannot be repaired. Even should one of them be repaired, it cannot make the voyage this year. In all the port not one ship or fragata escaped, except one small boat, which was taken to send advices to Nueva España of the condition of this land, which is most unpropitious. By this calamity, so injurious to the community, the people have become greatly disheartened. Moreover, as I write this clause, we have had thus far no news of ships from Nueva España, Page 126although this is the seventh of July. The entire support of this land depends on the coming and going of the ships; and if they are not here by May or the middle of June, by delaying longer they run great risk of being lost, and with them the welfare and support of this land. Sailing from the port of Acapulco at the beginning of March, they would arrive here in good time and without risk from storms. As this is of so much importance, I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to order your viceroy of Nueva España to exercise the utmost diligence in the early despatch of the ships which are to come to this land, in order that they may accomplish the purpose of the voyage.
On the first of July, arrived the master-of-camp, Pedro de Chaves, who had gone to chastise the Indians of the province of Cagayan, who as I have said before, were at war. Although he had gone out with sixty soldiers and more than eight hundred friendly Indians, he did nothing whatever except to cut down their palm-trees and destroy their crops. He says that the Indians themselves burned their villages and went to the mountains. It is known, however, that he left that province in a worse state of war than before, and when the Indians see our men turn back and leave them they regain courage.
We Spaniards are very few in number, and are surrounded by enemies on every side. If we are not relieved in time by the despatch of reënforcements, it will be impossible to apply a remedy when it is wanted. As I have already said, we are but few, and the troops die very quickly. When the Indians see an opportunity to crush us, they are not likely to let it slip. I beseech your Majesty to be pleased to order Page 127your viceroy that, when your governor sends to ask troops and ammunition, or other necessaries, he should send them; and also that he should send some money, because on account of the many extraordinary occasions for expense which every day arise, your royal treasury is usually much embarrassed and in debt. Sometimes, for lack of money, important things are left undone.
On Sunday, the ninth of this month, I was in the cathedral, where were gathered all the people and the orders, as there was to be a solemn procession and sermon. The deacon came out to sprinkle the holy water, and went directly to the choir and sprinkled it on the bishop and all the persons who were in the choir. It is the custom to give it first to the Audiencia. When the deacon came back from the choir, your president and auditors told him that if the bishop would not cause precedence to be observed for the Audiencia, they would go to hear service elsewhere. When the bishop learned this, he left the church immediately, and sent orders to the preacher not to preach; and we were left without a sermon, to the great scandal of the people gathered there.
There is nothing else at present. Only I pray that our Lord may preserve your Majesty many years in perfect health, and with increase of greater kingdoms and seigniories, in His holy service. At Manila, July 15, 1589.
The licentiate Ayala. Page 128
1 Apparently a reference to the law found in Recop. leyes Indias (ed. 1841), lib. viii, tit. xx, ley i, which enumerates the offices that may be sold in the Indias. Cf. ley i, tit. xxi, which relates to the renunciation of such offices after purchase.
2 This was a lay brother, Juan Clemente, who came with the first Franciscan mission. (1577). He devoted himself to the care of the sick among the natives, and was in charge of a hospital for them (founded by himself) for many years. For an account of this charity, see Santa Inés's Crónica, i, pp. 379–392.
The King: To Gomez Perez Dasmariñas,1 knight of the order of Santiago, and appointed by me governor and captain-general of the Phelipinas Islands. As soon as Father Alonso Sanchez, a religious of the Society of Jesus, came here, ordered and empowered by all the estates of the islands to discuss certain matters regarding the service of our Lord, and the welfare and preservation of the inhabitants and natives of those islands, I ordered certain members of my councils to come together to hear him. This they did, and a thorough examination was made of certain memorials which that religious had been ordered to present.2 After they had consulted Page 129with me upon certain points of the said memorials, I decided, with the approval of the above-mentioned councilors to whom the matter was delegated, upon the following instructions which are given to you. I order you to fulfil your duties, in every respect, with the consideration, care, and diligence which I expect from you. The father has also entreated me, in behalf of the said city, to order that no persons entering the ports of the said islands from without shall be made to pay duties—whether they be Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Siamese, Borneans, or any other people whatsoever, especially when they bring provisions, ammunition, and raw material for these articles. These taxes are a grievance to the Chinese, and trade is hindered, and there are other resultant disadvantages, as the said Father Alonso Sanchez has informed me at length; accordingly I have held and do now hold it best that for the present no more of the said duties be levied upon provisions and ammunitions. Therefore you will not permit any duty to be levied until otherwise ordered and decreed. Another advisable measure discussed was that no Chinese or foreign ships could sell at retail the goods which they carried to the islands, as is done now; nor could the inhabitants buy the goods, openly or in secret, under severe penalties. The purchase of the said goods was to be discussed by the Council, and as many and so qualified persons as the business demanded were to be appointed. These persons alone should buy in a lot all the merchandise brought by the ships, and then distribute it fairly among the Page 130citizens, Spanish, the Chinese, and the Indians, at the same price at which it should be appraised. The matter was discussed and examined by the members of the said Council, and it has seemed best to send you the decision reached in this affair, as I now do. I order you, keeping this in mind, to give the orders which you may think acceptable to me. You will keep me informed of your proceedings, and will not permit or allow any person to go to the ships except the ones appointed to do so by a special order. You will endeavor to give products of the islands in exchange for the said merchandise, so as to avoid, if possible, the introduction of so much coin into foreign kingdoms as has been customary. Besides the good results which will follow from carrying out the provisions of the preceding clause, we may expect another of no less importance; and that is, that by enforcing the regulations, not only will you rid yourself of the Chinese retailers, who conceal and sell their merchandise, but there will be also avoided many other losses, expenses, and scarcity, and the secret sins and witchcraft which they teach. Their shops, which are necessary for the sale at retail, could, in the course of the year, be given up to Spaniards, so that they might remain in their possession and bring them profit. Such a course would also bring together a larger number of citizens. You might permit the Chinese Christians and other old inhabitants to remain, who do not come and go, and are not retailers in the true sense of the word; but who work as mechanics, carpenters, gardeners, farmers, and in other labors for food production. Considering the importance of this affair, you are warned not to permit or allow the presence of infidels and retailers in Page 131the said islands; and to prevent their coming together in so large numbers as to give rise to difficulties. All this you will carry out with the care and diligence which I am confident lies in your character and prudence, and the zeal which you will show where my service is concerned. San Lorenzo, August 9, 1589. Page 132
1 Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas was corregidor of Murcia and Cartagena in Spain when (in 1589) he was appointed governor of the Philippine Islands. Arriving there in May, 1590, he at once began the task of providing suitable fortifications for Manila, and a body of paid troops in place of the irregular and unpaid soldiers who had hitherto been the only dependence of the Spanish colony. In October, 1593, he formed a naval expedition to recover the fortress at Ternate; but on the way thither he was treacherously slain, with nearly all the Spaniards in his galley, by the Chinese rowers thereon. See Morga's account of him in Sucesos, cap. v, or in Stanley's translation (Hakluyt Society's publications, no. 39), pp. 32–39; also La Concepcion's Hist. de Philipinas, ii, pp. 177–213.
2 The proceedings of Sanchez at the Spanish court, and the decisions of the government regarding the Philippine colony, are Page 129nfully recounted by La Concepción in his Hist. de Philipinas, ii, pp. 103–148. Sanchez did not return to the Philippines, being assigned by the general of his order to various duties in Spain; his death occurred not long afterward.
The King: To Gomez Perez Dasmarinas, knight of the order of Santiago, whom I have appointed as my governor and captain-general of the Philipinas Islands. Upon the arrival of Father Alonso Sanchez, a religious of the Society of Jesus, who came, by order and authorization of all estates of the said islands, to confer about certain matters pertaining to the service of our Lord and the welfare and preservation of the inhabitants and natives of the islands,1 I convened certain members of my councils in order that they might hear him. After they had done so, and had examined in great detail certain memorials that the father presented, in accordance with his orders, and had consulted with me in regard to all the points of the said memorials, I resolved, with the advice of the aforesaid my counselors, to whom I committed the matter, upon what will follow here, which will serve as your instructions. I order you to observe and fulfil them to the letter, with the consideration, care, and diligence that I expect from your person. Page 133
2. Infinite thanks should be given our Lord, and I hereby offer them to Him, for the great mercy that He has been pleased to show me, in that, during the period while I, by His mercy and will, rule as king, and through me as the instrument, those so remote islands have been discovered; and that at present, as I have heard, more than two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants enjoy in those islands evangelical instruction, besides the great inclination which is manifest to spread the knowledge of our holy Catholic faith throughout the other islands with which all that great archipelago is sown and inhabited for the space of more than nine hundred leguas of latitude, and more than five hundred of longitude. This does not include the vast kingdoms of the mainland—China, Cochina, Conchinchina, Champa, Canvoja, Siam, Patan, Joor [Johore], and others—notwithstanding that I wish and desire that a pathway to them be opened. In order that this end be attained, it is necessary that for the present, and until our Lord so dispose and direct it, the conservation of what has been pacified and conquered, by so great labor and at so vast expense to my exchequer, be looked after carefully. I charge you straitly to see to this, taking note of the condition of affairs, what is advisable for their continuous improvement and settlement, and giving them a sound foundation, so that among so many enemies, not only may they be preserved, but continue to increase daily.
3. First: The above-mentioned father, Alonso Sanchez, has reported that the cathedral of those islands, located in the said city of Manila, has no building, ornaments, or other adornments pertaining to the service of divine worship; or income, or alms for Page 134its aid, or in order to provide it with sacristans, verger, or other necessary assistants; and that being, as is the case, in the gaze of so many idolatrous enemies and Mahometans, both natives and foreigners who meet there—especially the Chinese, who have observed this condition—it is very annoying that they should see it served so inadequately and covered with wood and thatch—poor, dilapidated, and without provision. And because it is very just, and in accord with my will and desire, that the above-mentioned church be built and served with all possible propriety, you shall, as soon as you arrive at the said islands, especially further the building and construction of the said church. You shall apportion for this purpose the sum of twelve thousand ducados, in three parts—to wit, one from my royal exchequer, another from the encomenderos, and the third from the Indians, as is done in Nueva España. The said twelve thousand ducados shall be spent upon the said building within four years, spending three thousand each year. And in order that it may be better done and be commenced immediately, I have ordered two thousand ducados paid, in anticipation, on the account of my third, from my royal treasury of the said Nueva España. As you pass there, you will ask them to send this amount.
4. I have been told that there are two hospitals in the said city of Manila—one for Spaniards, and the other for Indians—and that both of them suffer extreme need; for to that of the Spaniards resort many soldiers, sailors, and other poor folk, who become ill through certain exertions in my service, and those common to that country; while that of the Indians is sustained by themselves, by means of their Page 135fruits, work, and tributes. All those who are treated in the latter hospital fall sick in the same manner as the others, and in the foundation and preservation of the settlements. Both classes die in discomfort, through having no building in which to be protected from the ravages of the climate, and through the lack of beds, food, medicines, nurses, and other necessities. It would be advisable to send these supplies from the said Nueva Spaña, together with some blankets. This is, as you see, a work of the greatest charity, and it is especially desirable to assist with great care in the consolation and treatment of the sick. And besides that, you shall have diligence to examine the hospital built there, and ascertain what care is taken of the sick. From the first repartimientos that may become vacant in the said island, you shall apply to the principal hospital sufficient for an income of five thousand pesos annually; and to that of the Indians, five hundred ducados annually, granted from the increase of the tributes of the Indians (which shall be collected in the manner set down in the sixth section of these instructions), so that both may enjoy the said income as long as may be my pleasure. From these amounts the necessary buildings shall be constructed, and other things provided, so that both may be properly conducted. In order that this may be commenced immediately, I have granted four hundred ducados to the principal hospital, and two hundred to that of the Indians, to be paid from my royal treasury of the said Nueva Spaña, as you will see by the decree that will be given you.
5. The said Father Alonso Sanchez also reported that the need of ministers of instruction in the said Page 136islands is so great that many Indians die without baptism; that because of the same need, the conquest and conversion of other islands are neglected; and that it would be advisable to send religious from the orders established there, with instructions to remain there and not go elsewhere. Already permission has been granted and the needful care taken, so that some religious may go there, and others will be provided as soon as possible. All of them shall be notified to resolve upon staying in the said Philipinas Islands, and not to go to any other place without the express permission of the bishop and of yourself. Therefore I charge you that, whenever any religious shall offer themselves to you to leave the said islands, you shall confer with the said bishop, and shall consider and discuss the matter; but you shall grant the said permission only after thorough consideration.
6. Another section of the above-mentioned memorials indicates how instruction may be provided, not only where there is none, but also where there is some, although inadequate; that it would be advisable to increase the tributes and clear up the appraisements of the tributes, for they are at present in a very confused and dangerous condition, because of many scruples and injuries connected with them; and that, as each Indian's tribute has hitherto generally been collected in pesos of eight reals apiece, it should reasonably be raised to the value of ten Castilian reals to each of the said pesos—provided that the Indian may not be forced to pay it in any designated article, but only in money, if he have it, or shall choose to give it, or in some other article produced by him, or in goods acquired in trade, according to their valuation at the time of payment. Because, Page 137after discussing this point, it is believed that each peso may be increased by two reals to make up the ten, as is petitioned, therefore you shall order that this increase be paid into my royal treasury, and that half a real be used to pay the obligations of the tithes, and the other one and one-half reals be used for the pay of the soldiers stationed in the said islands, and for other things pertaining thereto; and that the encomenderos be obliged to pay, from the eight reals remaining, for the necessary instruction, and their share of the building of the church, during the time of its construction, in accordance with the foregoing. The said Indians shall reserve the choice to pay the tributes in money or in products, in whichever one they wish.
7. Another section of the said memorials also petitions that in order that this increase of tributes may be more justifiable, the encomenderos be ordered to pay the tithes, according to the use and custom in Mexico; for, inasmuch as the commonwealth previously had neither church, bishop, curates, nor settled rule, the tithes have not been paid. This is a just order, and as such you shall enforce it, providing that the said tithes due be paid from the products of their farms and their animals.
8. On the part of the said city of Manila, I have been petitioned to have it granted some public property, in order that it may attend to the affairs of peace, war, government, and other matters pertaining to its conservation and defense, and for suits that may arise—granting it for this purpose some Indians, or something from the duties on Chinese merchandise, or on the storehouses or shops where they trade. After advising with my counselors, I have determined Page 138to bestow upon the said city for six years, for its public property, one-half of the fines and pecuniary penalties paid into my treasury, and the incomes from the said storehouses; with the obligation that, each three years, the account of money thus obtained be sent, as well as a statement of what is expended. You shall take care to procure the advancement of the said city in this, to watch in what manner this grant is used, and to order that the said account and statement be sent at the proper time.
9. I have also been petitioned, in the name of the said city, to order that neither in the said city nor in any other part of the other islands shall be paid the three per cent duty2 imposed by Don Gonzalo Ronquillo, as the country is very new and needy, and the inhabitants have to assist in many other things. Although I would be very glad to relieve them, still expenses are so heavy, that I must aid myself by whatever is available. Therefore it will be advisable to collect the said three per cent. You shall give orders to this effect; and that the amount that is collected from these duties on merchandise be placed in my treasury on a separate account, and it shall be used for paying the soldiers stationed there; and that of the rest that is collected this duty be discontinued for the present.3
10. I have also been petitioned, in the name of the said city, to order that none of those who resort from foreign parts to the ports of the said islands—as Page 139Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Cianese, Burneyes, or any others—pay duty, especially on food, ammunition, and materials for ammunition. Because of this, much annoyance is caused—as, for instance to the Chinese—and the steady course of trade is hindered, and other troubles follow. After receiving detailed information from the said Father Alonso Sanchez, I have considered and still consider it advisable that, for the present, the collection of the said duties on provisions and ammunition be repealed; and therefore you shall not allow them to be levied until I order and provide otherwise.
11. I was also petitioned by the said islands to order that, inasmuch as none of the merchandise from Sevilla to Mexico pays any duties on the first sale, it be not paid on the merchandise sent from those islands to the port of Acapulco, or other places. So little is collected in said port of Acapulco, namely, twelve pesos per tonelada of freight on the goods of the inhabitants—the duty imposed by Don Gonçalo Ronquillo—and because likewise the proceeds of this duty are needed to pay the said soldiers, you shall order that it be collected for the present for the above purpose.
12. One of the things most conducive to the good government of the state and the happiness of the members and parts composing it, is the equitable administration of distributive justice. Accordingly, I command that the offices at your disposal and the advantageous posts of the country be given to men who merit them by their services and capacity, in such manner that the offices be filled by old citizens, who have lived in the country at least three years, and are citizens of it; and the encomiendas to soldiers who Page 140shall have lived there in actual military duty and service. Among them you should always give the preference to those who are most deserving; including, with the other circumstances of greater and better services in the country, their length of residence there. They must not be sons, brothers, relatives, servants, or friends of yours; for—besides that you are advised that you are not to grant encomiendas of Indians or provide offices to such men; and, with this end in view, a sufficient salary is given you to enable you to help them—it is not right for men who are but new arrivals, and have done no work, to enjoy the fruit of another's toil. If rewards are bestowed justly, all will serve willingly in the hope of attaining reward. Therefore it is my will that you observe this order; and, that it may be thus inviolable, I declare that, now and henceforth, your said sons, brothers, servants, and friends shall be incapable of holding the said encomiendas or offices. And because certain persons, who already hold encomiendas in the said islands, and with these easily [can satisfy] whatever needs they may have, are begging for further reward, you are advised not to grant them any more until many others—who, as I have been informed have been there for so long a time and are deserving, and have toiled in the conquest and maintenance of the country, to a much greater extent than those who are petitioning anew; but who have not been rewarded, and therefore are poor, irritated, and querulous—shall be provided and rewarded with encomiendas and other posts and means of gain. You shall take especial care to reward those whose names follow:
13. Diego Ronquillo, former governor and captain-general Page 141of those islands, who, I am told, exercised the said offices excellently and to the complete satisfaction of the country.
Don Rodrigo Ronquillo de Peñalosa, son of the governor Don Gonçalo Ronquillo.
Captain Antonio Rodriguez Chacon.
Captain Agustin de Arceo.
Captain Don Gonçalo Vallesteras Saavedra.
Captain Diego del Castillo.
Captain Don Juan Ronquillo del Castillo.
Captain Rodrigo Alvarez.
Captain Gomez de Machuca.
Hernando Muñoz de Poyatos, regidor of Manila.
Ensign Juan de Medrano.
Ensign Antonio Guerrero.
Charavia, an old and good soldier.
Gaspar Ruiz de Morales.
Aguilar, likewise an excellent soldier.
Gaspar de Ysla.
Ensign Christoval de Azcueta.
Geronimo de Cuellar.
Luis Nuñez Hernandez.
. Others, who are said not to have been there so long, but who are men of worth and account, are as follows:
Don Francisco de Porras y Guevara.
Joan de Alcega.
Don Luis de Velasco.
Don Fernando de Villafañe. Page 142 Christoval Gueral.
Joan Verdugo, who has lost his right arm in my service.
Joan Diaz Guerrero.
Joan de Cuellar.
Gaspar de Mena.
Diego de Çarate, who is returning with you, and who, I have been told, has usually been a commander, and has put down a rebellion, and has served faithfully.
15. You shall provide for and reward all of the above according to age, merits, and individual qualifications; and shall give them preference over all others who do not possess the above qualifications, in the distribution of encomiendas, posts of government and war, and other means for the advancement of the country.
16. I charge and order you to observe the same plan in all that pertains to the commissions and sources of profit, on land or on sea—especially in the choice of masters and officers of vessels. For besides observing, in regard to them, that they must have rendered service and deserve the appointment, the others will be encouraged, it will attract hither those who have gone away, and the country will be settled and increased.
17. I have been petitioned also, in behalf of the said city, that all those who have worked, or have held appointments for wages or pay, in the said islands be paid their wages there—as for instance, sailors, carpenters, smiths, and all others who live there, and they must live there permanently; and that the money for this purpose be paid from the Page 143said royal treasury of Mexico—in order that the country may become more thickly settled, and other good results follow. In regard to this, since there will be a treasury there, from which it may be paid, you shall be careful to order that those who labor be reimbursed fully for their services; and, if there is insufficient money to meet the obligations, you and my royal officials shall advise my officials of the said Nueva España thereof, where an order will be given to furnish that portion which appears, by sufficient testimony and report, to be needful.
18. In place of the third office of my royal treasury—namely, the office of factor, which I ordered to be suppressed—they petition for a ship-purveyor, in order that the vessels may leave better equipped and more promptly; for the other two officials are so busy that they cannot attend to it. As it would be advisable to place this in charge of the factor whom I am having appointed, you shall have care to see that he attends to it, as far as may be necessary, so that there may be no grievance or lack in this matter.
19. In regard to the trade of the said islands, on which their growth likewise depends, the said Father Alonso Sanchez relates that the large consignments of money sent there by wealthy people of Mexico, who do not quit their homes, is one of the things which has ruined the country; for great injuries result from it. The first is that all Chinese goods are bought by wholesale and are becoming dearer, so that the poor and common people of the said islands cannot buy them, or must buy them at extremely high rates. The second is that, as the said consignments are many and large, and the vessels few in number—being at times, and in fact generally, not more than Page 144one; and, by this one being quite laden and filled with goods for Mexicans, there is no space left for the citizens and common people to embark their goods. They have petitioned me that, as a remedy for the above wrongs, I forbid the sending of consignments of money from Mexico, or the maintenance of agents or companies in the said islands for any person of Nueva España; that only the inhabitants of the islands be allowed to buy and export domestic and foreign goods to the said Nueva España; and that, if anyone else wishes to trade and traffic, it must be on consideration of his becoming a citizen and residing there for at least ten years, and of not trading with the property of another, under penalty of its confiscation, besides that of his other personal effects. Since, by this method, some goods would still be sent to Mexico, the money now taken by the Chinese would not be withdrawn from the country, and goods would be bought more cheaply and in exchange for products of the islands. Now, because I am desirous of the advancement of the said islands, and the best interests of their inhabitants, I have therefore granted them by one of my decrees4 that, for the space of six years, only the said inhabitants may trade in China and in the said Nueva España. You shall observe the said decree, and shall not allow anything to be done in any wise contrary to its tenor.
20. The question was also discussed whether it would not be better to prohibit Chinese or other foreign vessels from selling at retail the merchandise that they bring to the said islands (as is done now), and the inhabitants of the country from buying those goods, in public or private, under heavy penalties; Page 145and to provide that, for the purchase of the said merchandise in bulk, as many and as capable persons as the matter requires be there deputed and appointed, so that they, and they alone, may buy in mass all the goods brought in the vessels, and afterward divide them among the Spanish, Chinese, and Indian inhabitants, with just and fair distribution, at the same prices which they paid for them. After discussion and conference by the members of the said assembly, it was decided to refer the entire matter to you, as I hereby do. I order you, since you will have the matter in hand, to ordain therein what you deem best. You shall advise me of what you do, and shall not permit or allow any person to go to the vessels except those assigned for that purpose, in the order that shall be prescribed. You shall see that their said merchandise is exchanged for other products of the islands, so that the taking of so much coin as is now carried to foreign kingdoms may be avoided.
21. In addition to the good effects, that, it is said, will result from the execution of what is ordered in the above section, it is presupposed that another, no less important, will follow—namely, that, through the operations of the aforesaid, the Chinese hucksters who lurk there and hawk their goods, will not stay there. Moreover, other very heavy expenses and increase in prices, and the secret sins and sorceries which they teach, would be avoided; while their shops, which are necessary for retail trade, in the course of the year could be given to Spaniards, so that the profits could remain among the Spaniards, and there would be an opportunity for more persons to acquire citizenship. The Chinese Christians and other old citizens who are not transients, or who are Page 146not expressly hucksters, but workmen—such as mechanics, carpenters, gardeners, farmers, or those engaged in other food trades—might be permitted to remain there. Inasmuch as this is a matter of importance, you are advised not to permit or allow any infidel hucksters in the said islands; or so many to become residents there that they may give rise to any trouble.
22. Should you consider it advisable to permit and allow the inhabitants of the said islands to go to Japon, Macan, or other kingdoms, or settlements, whether of Portuguese or heathen, in order that those countries may admit our commerce, you may do so—first taking especial care that no trouble arises therefrom, and that it is attended with no danger.
23. You shall cause the fifty settlers and fifty farmers whom you are to take with you to assemble, and go with you, according to the order contained in my decree that treats of this. In order to incline them to make the voyage, you shall give them the rewards and privileges which I have granted to them, which you shall maintain to the utmost. You shall take especial care that they attend to their settlement and farming; and that for the space of fifteen years, they and the Indians who aid and accompany them in their farming are not to be compelled to go to war, or to engage in any other personal service, such as manning the vessels, building, or any other services which may hinder or fatigue them. And since it is fair that, if these rewards and accommodations are given them, they, on their part, engage only in the work for which they go; and since peaceful men who are not forced from their trade and mode of living, apply themselves Page 147better, you shall see to it that those who enlist and are taken be married farmers, of humble estate and quiet disposition. From each one of them you shall take accredited bonds, to the amount that seems advisable to you, that for the period of six years they will not change to any other occupation or means of gain, or do anything else beyond the thing for which they enlisted, under the penalties which you may impose, and which you shall inflict.
24. You shall see that the chiefs and timagua Indians have just contracts and shares with the farmers, so that they may conceive a liking for and learn farming as practiced here; and so that the Spaniards may have those who can supply them with people and other necessities. You shall see that these Indians are intelligent and know how to keep their contracts with the farmers, especially if they are peaceful, as above stated.
25. The said islands, as I am told, need stallions, mares, cows, and other domestic animals. In order that they may be bred there in numbers, I am writing to the viceroy of Nueva España to send to the said islands twelve mares, two stallions, twenty-four cows, and two bulls. You shall ask him for these as you pass there, and shall take them with you in your vessels as you go upon your voyage; and whatever you think needful for the animals can be brought from China and Japon. You shall order those farmers who are about to go to the said islands, and the chiefs, to tame and breed buffaloes, so that with all these animals there may be a sufficiency to carry on the farming, and for other needful services.
26. It was also petitioned in behalf of the said islands that, now and henceforth, the encomiendas be Page 148given under the obligation and condition that the encomendero shall work a patch of ground, and assist the farmers and Indians, so that they also may work and cultivate the soil. You shall strive to begin this, and shall give lands and homesteads, farms and horses, for breeding and farming, to the settlers and farmers, without any prejudice to the Indians.
27. Upon your arrival at the said islands, you shall find out how and where, and with what endowment, a convent of secluded girls may be established, so that both those who go from here, and those born there may stay in it, and live respectably and well instructed, and go out therefrom to be married and bear children. By this method and by the naturalization of persons in the land, its population will increase continually. You shall endeavor to find some good plan or method for doing this without encroaching on my royal treasury, or so that it may be relieved as much as possible. You shall advise me of it on the first opportunity, as well as of the method that can be employed in endowing the said poor girls; and how and from what source other smaller dowries may be established, in order that the Indian women may marry poor Spanish soldiers and sailors.
28. In regard to what is petitioned by the said islands about appointing citizens of the islands to the posts therein, and not selling the offices, as former governors have tried to do, you shall look to it carefully, and favor and reward the citizens.
29. Further, it was proposed also that, as far as the natural fitness of the land and the settlements of the Indians permitted, it would be advisable to order that encomiendas of not less than eight hundred or one thousand Indians be granted, for there are tithes Page 149for the instruction, and the other expenses of maintenance, which small encomiendas cannot bear; and that those who have but few Indians be allowed to transfer or sell them at their pleasure to other and neighboring encomenderos, so that, by this union, the encomiendas may be larger, and may be able to meet the above expenses. Inasmuch as all matters pertaining to the sale of encomiendas have been enacted with great care, and it is not fitting to violate these enactments, you shall not permit this request. But you shall see to it carefully that the repartimientos have enough for instruction, and for the maintenance of the encomenderos. You shall endeavor to establish the Indians in settlements, which shall have adequate instruction. This you shall attend to with the most rigorous care and attention.
30. Among the things most wasteful of property, and which embarrass, and may cause harm in, a country so new, because of the animosity and quarrels resulting therefrom, are the suits and controversies engendered among the citizens, and among the Indians themselves. Although it is my will that complete justice be observed in each case, I charge you that, in so far as may be possible, and can be rightly done, you settle the differences and suits which arise, without having recourse to the technicalities of the law or proceeding by the ordinary methods, or condemning to pecuniary fines; but observing throughout the provisions of the decrees that shall be given you. And in order that all may enjoy the blessings which must ensue from so mild a government, and may live in ease and contentment, and without any perturbation in the great undertakings that, God helping, will be accomplished, I am writing in like Page 150tenor to the bishop of the said islands in regard to what touches their ecclesiastical service. You shall give him my letter, which shall be delivered to you, and you shall charge him straitly in my name.
31. I have been informed that there has been and is poor system, and worse observance and fulfilment of the ordinances, in the collection of the tributes of the disaffected or never-pacified encomiendas; and that it would be advisable to command that the ordinances be kept, and that, since such encomiendas ought not to be abandoned, at least the entire tributes should not be collected, but only a small portion of them, as a token of recognition. For since the Indians of the said encomiendas receive no spiritual or temporal benefit from their encomenderos, it is not right that they pay the tributes—especially as soldiers are sent annually to make the collection. This latter renders impossible the pacification of the country; and hence a large portion of the said islands are in revolt, and we must subdue Burney, Maluco, Mindanao, and other neighboring islands and mainlands. This matter demands much reform as you may plan. Therefore I charge you to ordain for this purpose what you may deem best, after consulting with the bishop; and that you carry your resolution into prompt and rigorous execution, in order that so great and injurious annoyances may cease.
32. As I have been informed, there is but little instruction in the said islands, and much difficulty in providing it, which is greatly increased by the natural conditions of the country, since it all consists of islands. Most of them, too, are so small that they do not have a population of more than three to five hundred Indians, and some even of less than one or two Page 151hundred. It is also prevented by the long and dangerous navigation, the heat, the rains, and the poor roads of the country. It is not right that even all of these, or the many other greater hindrances and difficulties should turn aside the accomplishment of what is so important. Therefore I order and charge you straitly that, immediately upon your arrival in the said islands, you shall note very particularly how this instruction can be furnished. After ascertaining the opinion of the bishop, with whom you shall meet and whom you shall charge, in my name, to aid in this matter with his person, as I expect from him—since, in truth, this matter is one for him to procure and bring about, by reason of his office—you shall enact what you consider advisable, so that all parts of the islands may have sufficient instruction. This shall be done with kind and gentle methods, in accordance with the will of the chiefs; and all the Indians who are dispersed shall be established in settlements, in order that account of them can be taken. You shall have the greatest care possible in procuring the accomplishment of what is ordained and enacted, since without that all the work will be lost.
33. Since I desire the welfare and conservation of the said Indians, and their protection and defense, and as I think that the said bishop can procure this better than anyone else, I am writing to him, and charging him with their protection. I am quite sure that he will be very glad to undertake this, inasmuch as it pertains to the service of our Lord and the relief of his conscience. And in order that everything may be done better and more smoothly, you shall maintain the best of relations throughout with the said Page 152bishop; and on your part, you shall have the greatest care to protect the said Indians and to aid them.
34. I have been informed that, because the soldiers who are stationed in the said islands receive no pay, nor have any other remuneration, they obey orders very unwillingly, and are discontented, since they endure the greatest poverty and affliction; that they are all spiritless, sick, necessitous, and compelled to become servants. Many die from their discontent, hunger, lack of comfort, and less provision for their sicknesses; and others escape by claiming to be married, sick, or bound to religion. As a consequence, the country has fallen into disrepute, and men of the requisite valor and quality do not go there, but only a very few poor, unarmed, and worthless men. If any of these do have weapons, they pawn or sell them for clothes and food. Their needs constrain them to commit injuries upon the natives, so that the latter are irritated. It is said that not only is there no increase in what has been conquered, but that even that pacification is becoming more doubtful each day; that domestic and neighboring enemies are being aroused; and that all of this would be remedied by giving pay to the said soldiers, who should be regularly and promptly paid. Inasmuch as it is my will that this be done, it was decided, after having considered how many soldiers it is necessary and advisable to maintain usually in the said islands, that there be four hundred soldiers; and that each one receive a monthly wage of six pesos, the captains thirty-five, the ensigns twenty, the sergeants ten, and the corporals seven. Also that the sum of one thousand pesos additional pay be distributed annually and proportionally among all of the companies, each person Page 153not to receive more than ten pesos each year; and that this additional pay be given according to the order and manner set forth in the decree that will be handed you. You shall order that the said soldiers be regularly paid, and see that they are satisfied, armed, and well disciplined; that the said number of four hundred soldiers be not lessened; and that they be divided into what companies you deem fitting. When you shall appoint the said captains, officers, or soldiers to any encomienda or other post, you shall not permit them to draw their pay any longer; and while they receive pay they cannot trade or traffic, for their solicitude in that pursuit necessarily occupies their minds and distracts them from their proper object and the practice of war. For the same reason, likewise, you shall not grant the said pay to any soldier who acts as servant to another person, whoever he may be. Whenever any repartimientos of Indians become vacant in the said islands, you shall apportion some of the Indians to my crown, as an aid toward the said pay.
35. In respect to the said captains, officers, and soldiers, you shall observe, and cause to be observed, their privilege of exemption from arrest for debt contracted while they were in the service; or the seizure of their weapons, horses, or other things needful and proper to military service, in satisfaction therefor.
36. Whenever you shall send any captain with men on any commission or business that arises, you shall order him also to maintain his privileges, in whatever pertains to the usual exercise of the power and authority requisite to command, direct, and punish his inferiors; as well as all the other things Page 154peculiar to the service, and which are conceded to and exercised by officers.
37. It is my will that you have a body-guard of twelve halberdiers, who shall be paid the same sum as the soldiers. The said halberdiers shall have a leader or captain, who shall receive pay of fifteen pesos monthly. Although their principal service shall be to act as a body-guard, and this is determined and ordained by that which pertains to the authority and dignity of your position, you shall take note that they also must go to war upon any occasion that arises.
38. Inasmuch as I have been informed that many of the soldiers, who are sent to the said islands from Nueva España, are mere lads, mestizos, and a few Indians, and unarmed; and that a portion of them are pages and servants of the captains or other persons, who under the title and name of soldier draw their pay but neither they nor their masters are soldiers: you shall allow none of them to be enrolled as soldiers unless they are more than fifteen years old; and accept no page or servant of any person, while he serves as such, as above stated. You shall receive only those mestizos who are worthy, but shall not open a gateway for this in general. I charge and recommend you to pay especial attention to this.
39. Immediately upon your arrival at the said islands, you shall give orders to enclose the city of Manila with stone, along that portion where it is necessary and advisable, and on the other sides by water. You shall construct a fort in the place assigned and deemed best there. You shall erect a tower at the junction and point made by the river and sea. All this shall be very thoroughly done, and with most careful planning and consideration; and shall Page 155be done at the least possible expense to my treasury—since, as you know, the buildings can be constructed there with great ease and cheapness.
40. You shall assign what garrison you judge advisable to the said fort and tower, so that the country may be defended, and that they may check the designs and hopes of the enemy, and the fear of revolts and risings.
41. Although you ought to live in great vigilance and the continual caution demanded for the conservation of a country so new, distant, and surrounded by enemies, you must beware chiefly of five classes of them. First, of the natives of the land, who are numerous, and but partially settled and established in the faith. Second, of four or five thousand Chinese Indians who live there, and go back and forth in their tradings. Third, of the Japanese who usually go thither. Fourth, of the natives of Maluco and Borney, who are aroused, and already display themselves boldly and openly. Fifth and chiefly, of the Lutheran English pirates who infest those coasts. In order to check their incursions, and present a superior force and defense to them all, you shall construct another fort in Yllocos or Cagayan, to oppose the Japanese and Chinese robbers; a second in Cebu, to oppose the Borneans and Malucos; a third in Panpanga, to oppose the Çambales. All shall be located in places where they may be effectual, and shall be carefully planned and substantially built by good engineers. The cost will be very little, because of the great abundance of materials, and because almost all of the Indians are workmen. You are to see that each fort has an adequate and desirable garrison.
42. Besides these forts and presidios, it is presupposed Page 156that a moderate-sized fleet of a few galleys or fragatas would be necessary, to cruise along the coasts in order to protect them, and to prevent the thefts and injuries wont to be committed along them by the Japanese, especially in the districts of Cagayan and Ylocos. They seize the Chinese vessels that bring food and merchandise to the said islands, whereby great loss is suffered, and commerce and plenty checked. This fleet would also serve to prevent the Chinese, when they are returning to their own country, from going among the said islands and committing depredations on the natives of them, and as a countercheck to other Chinese or Bornean pirates, as well as against all other undertakings, and troubles with foreigners. This appears advisable to me, and desirable. Therefore, as soon as you shall arrive at the said island, you shall construct six or eight galleys. You shall note what Doctor Sande, my former governor of those islands, and Father Alonso Sanchez say—namely, that it will cost but from one hundred and fifty ducados upward; and that there are, moreover, the necessary accommodations. You shall order these vessels to be well equipped, strengthened, and provisioned, so that they may be effectual. You shall give me an itemized account of the cost of the said galleys and facilities for building them.
43. It is advisable to set about the construction of the said forts and galleys as quickly as possible, in order to avoid the troubles and harm that might ensue if the Spaniards, upon the occasion of any danger from enemies, were compelled to retire inland among the Indians, who are all irritated and offended because of the ill-treatment that they have received; and I charge you straitly with this. Page 157
44. Upon your arrival at those islands, and when the situation is actually before you, you shall investigate the new method and circumstances with which the new entrances and pacifications are and can be justifiably made, as well as the few soldiers, slight cost, and the great ease and profit with which they can be made, because of the country being divided into many islands, and there being many petty rulers. These fall out among themselves on slight occasion, and make treaties with the Spaniards, and hence are kept in order with but little assistance. Since the petition made there in regard to the pay and the number of soldiers has been granted—and you are to maintain the soldiers in good discipline, and keep them quiet, and punctually paid—you shall make the said entrances and pacifications with great circumspection and just cause, in which you shall observe the rules of the instructions, which shall be furnished to you, regarding new discoveries.
45. It is said that there is great need of such pacification in the said islands, especially in the very districts where the Spaniards live and travel, for all of the natives are in revolt and unsubdued, because of the lack of soldiers, and of the injuries and annoyances inflicted upon the natives by what soldiers are there. Moreover, as we are informed from there, many provinces of the island of Luçon either have never been subdued, or, if subdued, have revolted—as, for instance, those of Cagayan, Pangasinan, Payasondan, Çambales, Balente, and others, which are situated among the pacified provinces quite near and round about Manila; all the provinces, therefore, are in confusion and disorder. Upon your arrival at the said islands, you shall ordain in this whatever is advisable. Page 158You shall proceed in this as shall seem expedient, commencing as shall be right, and be attentive to the remedy for these evils, with very special care and assistance, since evil may happen to what is distant, if one's own house is left in suspicion and unsubdued. Besides there is the great obligation to endeavor to instruct the many people converted already, who are under my royal protection. These, because of their lack of the requisite peace and quiet, live in great hardship and danger; for those who are in revolt and unpacified harass them daily, kill and assault them, and burn their crops. Because of this, and because they also kill many Spaniards, not only is there no increase in what has been gained, but each day that is becoming less. Everything demands and requires so prompt a remedy, which is thus committed to you.
46. Beyond and beside the said provinces which are here and there disaffected among the Spaniards and the Indians already converted, are others, which although not so near, owing to their remoteness and the nature of their inhabitants, still cannot be called new discoveries, because they have been visited and known already. These are Babuyanes, the island of Hermosa, the island of Cavallos [“horses”], Lequios, the island of Ayncio, Javas, Burney, Paca, Guancalanyanes, Mindanao, Siao [Siam], Maluco, and many others. Because it has been reported that they are falling into a worse condition daily, and having been advised that their welfare and the safety of the Spaniards demand their pacification, and that delay might render it difficult, you shall ascertain the manner and method with which the said pacification and subjection can be best and most quickly brought Page 159about, and you shall execute it, as seems best to you.
47. Since it seems advisable that you, from whom I expect so much, should have authority and power to make all the said entrances and pacifications at the cost of my royal estate, in respect to which if you were constrained to await a reply from here, in a land so distant, important occasions and opportunities might be lost, I have resolved to give you authorization for this. Accordingly I grant it to you, and order the officials of my royal estate of the said islands that, in all matters under your control, they shall honor and pay all the orders that you present to them for the said purpose. But you shall observe that you are to use the said authority only in the most important matters which shall arise, after consulting about matters of law with the ecclesiastics and the lawyers, and those of action with the captains and men of experience and conscience, and taking account of all other necessary conditions, so that the expense may be no greater than can be avoided, and profitable.
48. In order that you may accomplish them better and avoid expense, I authorize you to covenant and bargain with captains, encomenderos, and any others, in respect to the said entrances and pacifications, they to make them wholly or partly at their own cost, as seems advisable to you; and to give them title, for a limited time, as governors of the islands or provinces that they explore or pacify, and as captains and masters-of-camp, providing you do not give them title as adelantado or mariscal. You shall advise me of it, when anyone undertakes this, reporting the services, capacity, and merits of such person. The said covenant and agreement which you shall make may be kept in force until I approve them, because time Page 160will be saved thus—but with the condition of sending them to me, so that I may confirm them. You shall bind the parties to the agreement, upon the arrival of the said confirmations, to some brief period, such as you may assign for it.
49. I have been told that, although a few of the encomenderos of the said islands, who fear God and their consciences, are trying to establish ministers of religious instruction in their encomiendas, others are not doing this, and refuse to do it as they are obliged, and as is advisable, notwithstanding that there are plenty of the said ministers; that there are encomiendas which have been paying tribute peacefully for fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years, without the Indians of them ever having seen a minister or heard a word of Christian instruction; and that also many other encomiendas pay tribute by pure force of soldiers and arquebuses, who rebel and revolt because of the oppression and severity with which they are treated, without knowing the reason why they should pay it, since they have no instruction. Since, besides the obligation to procure the welfare of those souls, their conversion, instruction, and teaching, which should be the chief constraining force; and since even for temporal affairs, for the peace and tranquillity of the country, so that those pacified should not revolt, and so that those in revolt should be subdued, the best method is that of instruction—for which the common treatment, mildness, upright life, and counsels of the religious and ministers of the gospel incline and regulate their minds: therefore I charge you that, after consulting with the bishop you shall, in my name, provide what is advisable in this, so that the necessary instruction may be furnished, that my Page 161conscience, and his, and your own may be relieved.
50. I have also been informed that, in collecting the tributes from the Indians, there has been in the past, and is at present, great disorder, because the former governors of the said islands have done things very confusedly and haphazardly. Because the tribute of each Indian is of the value of eight reals, paid in what the Indian might possess, some persons take advantage of certain words of the said assessments, and of the articles in which tributes are designated—such as cotton cloth, rice, and other products of the country—to cause the said lawlessness. This disorder has consisted in each one collecting whatever he wished, to the great offense and injury of the said Indians; for when gold is abundant, their encomenderos demand coin from the Indians; and when coin is abundant and gold scarce, they demand gold, although the said Indians have to search for and buy it. In short, they always demand their tributes in those things which are scarce, by reason of which, for the tribute worth eight reals, some collect fifteen, and others twenty, twenty-five, thirty, and more, according to the value of those things that are demanded. They cause the Indians to seek them and bring them from other parts, to their great vexation and affliction. It is advisable to check this lawlessness and excess. Therefore I charge you to ordain that, in the payment of the said tributes, the order referred to in section six of these instructions shall be observed. That section treats of the Indians being allowed to pay their tributes in coin, gold, or products, as they may choose.
51. Another section of the said memorial also pointed out that, although certain Spaniards of tender Page 162conscience have freed their slaves, native to the said islands, in fulfilment of the provision of my decrees, many others have retained them, and do not allow them to have houses of their own, or to live on their own land under the ordinary instruction. It is advisable to remedy this also; and I therefore commit it to you, and order you that, immediately upon your arrival at the said islands, you shall set at liberty all those Indians held as slaves by the Spaniards.
52. I am informed that the said Indians have suffered many grievances and burdens from all the ministers of justice, because the latter have incited many suits, not only of cases after the country was discovered, but of others that had happened in its pagan days, among both the living and their forefathers, and both civil and criminal cases. These are not summary, but have all the terms, demands, preliminary hearings, and reviews, which can be found in any chancilleria of these kingdoms. In these the Indians have wasted and continue to waste their possessions. Although in section twenty-nine of these instructions, it treats of what you and the bishop have to do or provide as a remedy for these vexations of suits by Spaniards and Indians, once more I charge you and recommend you to strive to have the suits finished and decided promptly and summarily. You must take note that this will be one of the matters in which I shall consider myself most faithfully and fully served by you.
53. In regard to the confusion existing, past and present, in the religious leaving the said islands for the mainland of China and other places, without permission of the governor or bishop—asserting that, through their all-sufficient power, those who hinder Page 163them shall be excommunicated—the advisable course has also been pointed out in time past—namely, that the religious should go there with the resolution to settle in the said Philipinas Islands, and not go elsewhere without your permission and that of the said bishop. This must be construed in respect to the religious who shall have been assigned to make a settlement and to live there, and not with those who have license from me to pass farther and to go to other regions; for when this is given or permitted to them, it is after much consideration.
54. It has been said that, for the remedy of past confusion and wrongs, which have resulted from people going from the said islands to China and other districts without order or permission, it would be advisable to ordain, under severe penalties, that no secular Spaniard may leave them for any place or on any business, or supply a fragata, provisions, or any other assistance to any of the said religious, without my special order, or your permission and that of the said bishop. Inasmuch as this fits in with the provision of the above section, the same provision there is to be noted by you, so that likewise you may know what pertains to this, and doing that you shall understand it thoroughly.
You shall attend to all of the above with the care and close attention that I expect from your character and prudence, and from your earnest zeal in affairs touching my service. San Lorenço, August nine, one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine.
I The King
By order of the king, our sovereign:
Juan de Ybarra
Countersigned by the council. Page 164
1 For account of Sanchez's embassy, and of his instructions, see the “Memorial” adopted by the junta of 1586, with accompanying documents, in Vol. VI.
2 Regarding the rates thus levied, see Vol. V, pp. 29, 30.
3 This last sentence is literally translated from the MS which we follow; but there is evidently a defect or error in the text—probably arising from some mistake made by the first copyist, as the MS. is not the first original, but a copy made apparently by some government clerk.
4 For the text of this decree, see p. 137, ante.
(Two Relations by Juan de Plasencia, O.S.F.)
After receiving your Lordship's letter, I wished to reply immediately; but I postponed my answer in order that I might first thoroughly inform myself in regard to your request, and to avoid discussing the conflicting reports of the Indians, who are wont to tell what suits their purpose. Therefore, to this end, I collected Indians from different districts—old men, and those of most capacity, all known to me; and from them I have obtained the simple truth, after weeding out much foolishness, in regard to their government, administration of justice, inheritances, slaves, and dowries.1 It is as follows:
Customs of the Tagalogs
This people always had chiefs, called by them datos, who governed them and were captains in their wars, and whom they obeyed and reverenced. The subject who committed any offense against them, or spoke but a word to their wives and children, was severely punished.
These chiefs ruled over but few people; sometimes Page 165as many as a hundred houses, sometimes even less than thirty. This tribal gathering is called in Tagalo a barangay. It was inferred that the reason for giving themselves this name arose from the fact (as they are classed, by their language, among the Malay nations) that when they came to this land, the head of the barangay, which is a boat, thus called—as is discussed at length in the first chapter of the first ten chapters—became a dato. And so, even at the present day, it is ascertained that this barangay in its origin was a family of parents and children, relations and slaves. There were many of these barangays in each town, or, at least, on account of wars, they did not settle far from one another. They were not, however, subject to one another, except in friendship and relationship. The chiefs, in their various wars, helped one another with their respective barangays.
In addition to the chiefs, who corresponded to our knights, there were three castes: nobles, commoners, and slaves. The nobles were the free-born whom they call maharlica. They did not pay tax or tribute to the dato, but must accompany him in war, at their own expense. The chief offered them beforehand a feast, and afterward they divided the spoils. Moreover, when the dato went upon the water those whom he summoned rowed for him. If he built a house, they helped him, and had to be fed for it. The same was true when the whole barangay went to clear up his lands for tillage. The lands which they inhabited were divided among the whole barangay, especially the irrigated portion, and thus each one knew his own. No one belonging to another barangay would cultivate them unless after purchase or inheritance. The lands on the tingues, or mountain-ridges, Page 166are not divided, but owned in common by the barangay. Consequently, at the time of the rice harvest, any individual of any particular barangay, although he may have come from some other village, if he commences to clear any land may sow it, and no one can compel him to abandon it. There are some villages (as, for example, Pila de la Laguna) in which these nobles, or maharlicas, paid annually to the dato a hundred gantas of rice. The reason of this was that, at the time of their settlement there, another chief occupied the lands, which the new chief, upon his arrival, bought with his own gold; and therefore the members of his barangay paid him for the arable land, and he divided it, among those whom he saw fit to reward. But now, since the advent of the Spaniards, it is not so divided.
The chiefs in some villages had also fisheries, with established limits, and sections of the rivers for markets. At these no one could fish, or trade in the markets, without paying for the privilege, unless he belonged to the chief's barangay or village.
The commoners are called aliping namamahay. They are married, and serve their master, whether he be a dato or not, with half of their cultivated lands, as was agreed upon in the beginning. They accompanied him whenever he went beyond the island, and rowed for him. They live in their own houses, and are lords of their property and gold. Their children inherit it, and enjoy their property and lands. The children, then, enjoy the rank of their fathers, and they cannot be made slaves (sa guiguilir) nor can either parents or children be sold. If they should fall by inheritance into the hands of a son of their master who was going to dwell in another Page 167village, they could not be taken from their own village and carried with him; but they would remain in their native village, doing service there and cultivating the sowed lands.
The slaves are called aliping sa guiguilir. They serve their master in his house and on his cultivated lands, and may be sold. The master grants them, should he see fit, and providing that he has profited through their industry, a portion of their harvests, so that they may work faithfully. For these reasons, servants who are born in the house of their master are rarely, if ever, sold. That is the lot of captives in war, and of those brought up in the harvest fields.
Those to whom a debt was owed transferred the debt to another, thereby themselves making a profit, and reducing the wretched debtors to a slavery which was not their natural lot. If any person among those who were made slaves (sa guiguilir)—through war, by the trade of goldsmith, or otherwise—happened to possess any gold beyond the sum that he had to give his master, he ransomed himself, becoming thus a namamahay, or what we call a commoner. The price of this ransom was never less than five taels, and from that upwards; and if he gave ten or more taels, as they might agree, he became wholly free. An amusing ceremony accompanied this custom. After having divided all the trinkets which the slave possessed, if he maintained a house of his own, they divided even the pots and jars, and if an odd one of these remained, they broke it; and if a piece of cloth were left, they parted it in the middle.
The difference between the aliping namamahay and the aliping sa guiguilir, should be noted; for, by Page 168a confusion of the two terms, many have been classed as slaves who really are not. The Indians seeing that the alcaldes-mayor do not understand this, have adopted the custom of taking away the children of the aliping namamahay, making use of them as they would of the aliping sa guiguilir, as servants in their households, which is illegal, and if the aliping namamahay should appeal to justice, it is proved that he is an aliping as well as his father and mother before him and no reservation is made as to whether he is aliping namamahay or atiping sa guiguilir. He is at once considered an alipin, without further declaration. In this way he becomes a sa guiguilir, and is even sold. Consequently, the alcaldes-mayor should be instructed to ascertain, when anyone asks for his alipin, to which class he belongs, and to have the answer put in the document that they give him.
In these three classes, those who are maharlicas on both the father's and mother's side continue to be so forever; and if it happens that they should become slaves, it is through marriage, as I shall soon explain. If these maharlicas had children among their slaves, the children and their mothers became free; if one of them had children by the slave-woman of another, she was compelled, when pregnant, to give her master half of a gold tael, because of her risk of death, and for her inability to labor during the pregnancy. In such a case half of the child was free—namely, the half belonging to the father, who supplied the child with food. If he did not do this, he showed that he did not recognize him as his child, in which case the latter was wholly a slave. If a free woman had children by a slave, they were all free, provided he were not her husband. Page 169
If two persons married, of whom one was a maharlica and the other a slave, whether namamahay or sa guiguilir, the children were divided: the first, whether male or female, belonged to the father, as did the third and fifth; the second, the fourth, and the sixth fell to the mother, and so on. In this manner, if the father were free, all those who belonged to him were free; if he were a slave, all those who belonged to him were slaves; and the same applied to the mother. If there should not be more than one child he was half free and half slave. The only question here concerned the division, whether the child were male or female. Those who became slaves fell under the category of servitude which was their parent's, either namamahay or sa guiguilir. If there were an odd number of children, the odd one was half free and half slave. I have not been able to ascertain with any certainty when or at what age the division of children was made, for each one suited himself in this respect. Of these two kinds of slaves the sa guiguilir could be sold, but not the namamahay and their children, nor could they be transferred. However, they could be transferred from the barangay by inheritance, provided they remained in the same village.
The maharlicas could not, after marriage, move from one village to another, or from one barangay to another, without paying a certain fine in gold, as arranged among them. This fine was larger or smaller according to the inclination of the different villages, running from one to three taels and a banquet to the entire barangay. Failure to pay the fine might result in a war between the barangay which the person left and the one which he entered. This Page 170applied equally to men and women, except that when one married a woman of another village, the children were afterwards divided equally between the two barangays. This arrangement kept them obedient to the dato, or chief, which is no longer the case—because, if the dato is energetic and commands what the religious fathers enjoin him, they soon leave him and go to other villages and other datos, who endure and protect them and do not order them about. This is the kind of dato that they now prefer, not him who has the spirit to command. There is a great need of reform in this, for the chiefs are spiritless and faint-hearted.
Investigations made and sentences passed by the dato must take place in the presence of those of his barangay. If any of the litigants felt himself aggrieved, an arbiter was unanimously named from another village or barangay, whether he were a dato or not; since they had for this purpose some persons, known as fair and just men, who were said to give true judgment according to their customs. If the controversy lay between two chiefs, when they wished to avoid war, they also convoked judges to act as arbiters; they did the same if the disputants belonged to two different barangays. In this ceremony they always had to drink, the plaintiff inviting the others.
They had laws by which they condemned to death a man of low birth who insulted the daughter or wife of a chief; likewise witches, and others of the same class.
They condemned no one to slavery, unless he merited the death-penalty. As for the witches, they killed them, and their children and accomplices became slaves of the chief, after he had made some Page 171recompense to the injured person. All other offenses were punished by fines in gold, which, if not paid with promptness, exposed the culprit to serve, until the payment should be made, the person aggrieved, to whom the money was to be paid. This was done in the following way: Half the cultivated lands and all their produce belonged to the master. The master provided the culprit with food and clothing, thus enslaving the culprit and his children until such time as he might amass enough money to pay the fine. If the father should by chance pay his debt, the master then claimed that he had fed and clothed his children, and should be paid therefor. In this way he kept possession of the children if the payment could not be met. This last was usually the case, and they remained slaves. If the culprit had some relative or friend who paid for him, he was obliged to render the latter half his service until he was paid—not, however, service within the house as aliping sa guiguilir, but living independently, as aliping namamahay. If the creditor were not served in this wise, the culprit had to pay the double of what was lent him. In this way slaves were made by debt: either sa guiguilir, if they served the master to whom the judgment applied; or aliping namamahay, if they served the person who lent them wherewith to pay.
In what concerns loans, there was formerly, and is today, an excess of usury, which is a great hindrance to baptism as well as to confession; for it turns out in the same way as I have showed in the case of the one under judgment, who gives half of his cultivated lands and profits until he pays the debt. The debtor is condemned to a life of toil; and thus borrowers Page 172become slaves, and after the death of the father the children pay the debt. Not doing so, double the amount must be paid. This system should and can be reformed.
As for inheritances, the legitimate children of a father and mother inherited equally, except in the case where the father and mother showed a slight partiality by such gifts as two or three gold taels, or perhaps a jewel.
When the parents gave a dowry to any son, and, when, in order to marry him to a chief's daughter, the dowry was greater than the sum given the other sons, the excess was not counted in the whole property to be divided. But any other thing that should have been given to any son, though it might be for some necessity, was taken into consideration at the time of the partition of the property, unless the parents should declare that such a bestowal was made outside of the inheritance. If one had had children by two or more legitimate wives, each child received the inheritance and dowry of his mother, with its increase, and that share of his father's estate which fell to him out of the whole. If a man had a child by one of his slaves, as well as legitimate children, the former had no share in the inheritance; but the legitimate children were bound to free the mother, and to give him something—a tael or a slave, if the father were a chief; or if, finally, anything else were given it was by the unanimous consent of all. If besides his legitimate children, he had also some son by a free unmarried woman, to whom a dowry was given but who was not considered as a real wife, all these were classed as natural children, although the child by the unmarried woman should have been begotten Page 173after his marriage. Such children did not inherit equally with the legitimate children, but only the third part. For example, if there were two children, the legitimate one had two parts, and the one of the inaasava one part. When there were no children by a legitimate wife, but only children by an unmarried woman, or inaasava, the latter inherited all. If he had a child by a slave woman, that child received his share as above stated. If there were no legitimate or natural child, or a child by an inaasava, whether there was a son of a slave woman or not, the inheritance went only to the father or grandparents, brothers, or nearest relatives of the deceased, who gave to the slave-child as above stated.
In the case of a child by a free married woman, born while she was married, if the husband punished the adulterer this was considered a dowry; and the child entered with the others into partition in the inheritance. His share equaled the part left by the father, nothing more. If there were no other sons than he, the children and the nearest relatives inherited equally with him. But if the adulterer were not punished by the husband of the woman who had the child, the latter was not considered as his child, nor did he inherit anything. It should be noticed that the offender was not considered dishonored by the punishment inflicted, nor did the husband leave the woman. By the punishment of the father the child was fittingly made legitimate.
Adopted children, of whom there are many among them, inherit the double of what was paid for their adoption. For example, if one gold tael was given that he might be adopted when the first father died, the child was given [in inheritance] two taels. But Page 174if this child should die first, his children do not inherit from the second father, for the arrangement stops at that point.
This is the danger to which his money is exposed, as well as his being protected as a child. On this account this manner of adoption common among them is considered lawful.
Dowries are given by the men to the women's parents. If the latter are living, they enjoy the use of it. At their death, provided the dowry has not been consumed, it is divided like the rest of the estate, equally among the children, except in case the father should care to bestow something additional upon the daughter. If the wife, at the time of her marriage, has neither father, mother, nor grandparents, she enjoys her dowry—which, in such a case, belongs to no other relative or child. It should be noticed that unmarried women can own no property, in land or dowry, for the result of all their labors accrues to their parents.
In the case of a divorce before the birth of children, if the wife left the husband for the purpose of marrying another, all her dowry and an equal additional amount fell to the husband; but if she left him, and did not marry another, the dowry was returned. When the husband left his wife, he lost the half of the dowry, and the other half was returned to him. If he possessed children at the time of his divorce, the whole dowry and the fine went to the children, and was held for them by their grandparents or other responsible relatives.
I have also seen another practice in two villages. In one case, upon the death of the wife who in a year's time had borne no children, the parents returned Page 175one-half the dowry to the husband whose wife had died. In the other case, upon the death of the husband, one-half the dowry was returned to the relatives of the husband. I have ascertained that this is not a general practice; for upon inquiry I learned that when this is done it is done through piety, and that all do not do it.
In the matter of marriage dowries which fathers bestow upon their sons when they are about to be married, and half of which is given immediately, even when they are only children, there is a great deal more complexity. There is a fine stipulated in the contract, that he who violates it shall pay a certain sum which varies according to the practice of the village and the affluence of the individual. The fine was heaviest if, upon the death of the parents, the son or daughter should be unwilling to marry because it had been arranged by his or her parents. In this case the dowry which the parents had received was returned and nothing more. But if the parents were living, they paid the fine, because it was assumed that it had been their design to separate the children.
The above is what I have been able to ascertain clearly concerning customs observed among these natives in all this Laguna and the tingues, and among the entire Tagalo race. The old men say that a dato who did anything contrary to this would not be esteemed; and, in relating tyrannies which they had committed, some condemned them and adjudged them wicked.
Others, perchance, may offer a more extended narrative, but leaving aside irrelevant matters concerning government and justice among them, a summary Page 176of the whole truth is contained in the above. I am sending the account in this clear and concise form because I had received no orders to pursue the work further. Whatever may be decided upon, it is certainly important that it should be given to the alcal-des-mayor, accompanied by an explanation; for the absurdities which are to be found in their opinions are indeed pitiable.
May our Lord bestow upon your Lordship His grace and spirit, so that in every step good fortune may be yours; and upon every occasion may your Lordship deign to consider me your humble servant, to be which would be the greatest satisfaction and favor that I could receive. Nagcarlán, October 21, 1589.
Fray Juan de Plasencia2
Relation of the Worship of the Tagalogs, Their Gods, and Their Burials and Superstitions
In all the villages, or in other parts of the Filipinas Islands, there are no temples consecrated to the performing of sacrifices, the adoration of their idols, or the general practice of idolatry. It is true that they have the name simbahan, which means a temple or place of adoration; but this is because, formerly, Page 177when they wished to celebrate a festival, which they called pandot, or “worship,” they celebrated it in the large house of a chief. There they constructed, for the purpose of sheltering the assembled people, a temporary shed on each side of the house, with a roof, called sibi, to protect the people from the wet when it rained. They so constructed the house that it might contain many people—dividing it, after the fashion of ships, into three compartments. On the posts of the house they set small lamps, called sorihile; in the center of the house they placed one large lamp, adorned with leaves of the white palm, wrought into many designs. They also brought together many drums, large and small, which they beat successively while the feast lasted, which was usually four days. During this time the whole barangay, or family, united and joined in the worship which they call nagaanitos. The house, for the above-mentioned period of time, was called a temple.
Among their many idols there was one called. Badhala, whom they especially worshiped. The title seems to signify “all powerful,” or “maker of all things.” They also worshiped the sun, which, on account of its beauty, is almost universally respected and honored by heathens. They worshiped, too, the moon, especially when it was new, at which time they held great rejoicings, adoring it and bidding it welcome. Some of them also adored the stars, although they did not know them by their names, as the Spaniards and other nations know the planets—with the one exception of the morning star, which they called Tala. They knew, too, the “seven little goats” [the Pleiades]—as we call them—and, consequently, the change of seasons, which they call Mapolon; and Page 178Balatic, which is our Greater Bear. They possessed many idols called lic-ha, which were images with different shapes; and at times they worshiped any little trifle, in which they adored, as did the Romans, some particular dead man who was brave in war and endowed with special faculties, to whom they commended themselves for protection in their tribulations. They had another idol called Dian masalanta, who was the patron of lovers and of generation. The idols called Lacapati and Idianale were the patrons of the cultivated lands and of husbandry. They paid reverence to water-lizards called by them buaya, or crocodiles, from fear of being harmed by them. They were even in the habit of offering these animals a portion of what they carried in their boats, by throwing it into the water, or placing it upon the bank.
They were, moreover, very liable to find auguries in things they witnessed. For example, if they left their house and met on the way a serpent or rat, or a bird called Tigmamanuguin which was singing in the tree, or if they chanced upon anyone who sneezed, they returned at once to their house, considering the incident as an augury that some evil might befall them if they should continue their journey—especially when the above-mentioned bird sang. This song had two different forms: in the one case it was considered as an evil omen; in the other, as a good omen, and then they continued their journey. They also practiced divination, to see whether weapons, such as a dagger or knife, were to be useful and lucky for their possessor whenever occasion should offer.
These natives had no established division of years, months, and days; these are determined by the Page 179cultivation of the soil, counted by moons, and the different effect produced upon the trees when yielding flowers, fruits, and leaves: all this helps them in making up the year. The winter and summer are distinguished as sun-time and water-time—the latter term designating winter in those regions, where there is no cold, snow, or ice.
It seems, however, that now since they have become Christians, the seasons are not quite the same, for at Christmas it gets somewhat cooler. The years, since the advent of the Spaniards, have been determined by the latter, and the seasons have been given their proper names, and they have been divided into weeks.
Their manner of offering sacrifice was to proclaim a feast, and offer to the devil what they had to eat. This was done in front of the idol, which they anoint with fragrant perfumes, such as musk and civet, or gum of the storax-tree and other odoriferous woods, and praise it in poetic songs sung by the officiating priest, male or female, who is called catolonan. The participants made responses to the song, beseeching the idol to favor them with those things of which they were in need, and generally, by offering repeated healths, they all became intoxicated. In some of their idolatries they were accustomed to place a good piece of cloth, doubled, over the idol, and over the cloth a chain or large, gold ring, thus worshiping the devil without having sight of him. The devil was sometimes liable to enter into the body of the catolonan, and, assuming her shape and appearance, filled her with so great arrogance—he being the cause of it—that she seemed to shoot flames from her eyes; her hair stood on end, a fearful sight to those beholding, Page 180and she uttered words of arrogance and superiority. In some districts, especially in the mountains, when in those idolatries the devil incarnated himself and took on the form of his minister, the latter had to be tied to a tree by his companions, to prevent the devil in his infernal fury from destroying him. This, however, happened but rarely. The objects of sacrifice were goats, fowls, and swine, which were flayed, decapitated, and laid before the idol. They performed another ceremony by cooking a jar of rice until the water was evaporated, after which they broke the jar, and the rice was left as an intact mass which was set before the idol; and all about it, at intervals, were placed a few buyos—which is a small fruit3 wrapped in a leaf with some lime, a food generally eaten in these regions—as well as fried food and fruits. All the above-mentioned articles were eaten by the guests at the feast; the heads [of the animals], after being “offered,” as they expressed it, were cooked and eaten also.
The reasons for offering this sacrifice and adoration were, in addition to whatever personal matters there might be, the recovery of a sick person, the prosperous voyage of those embarking on the sea, a good harvest in the sowed lands, a propitious result in wars, a successful delivery in childbirth, and a happy outcome in married life. If this took place among people of rank, the festivities lasted thirty days.
In the case of young girls who first had their monthly courses, their eyes were blindfolded four days and four nights; and, in the meantime, the friends and relatives were all invited to partake of Page 181food and drink. At the end of this period, the catolonan took the young girl to the water, bathed her and washed her head, and removed the bandage from her eyes. The old men said that they did this in order that the girls might bear children, and have fortune in finding husbands to their taste, who would not leave them widows in their youth.
The distinctions made among the priests of the devil were as follows: The first, called catolonan, as above stated, was either a man or a woman. This office was an honorable one among the natives, and was held ordinarily by people of rank, this rule being general in all the islands.
The second they called mangagauay, or witches, who deceived by pretending to heal the sick. These priests even induced maladies by their charms, which in proportion to the strength and efficacy of the witchcraft, are capable of causing death. In this way, if they wished to kill at once they did so; or they could prolong life for a year by binding to the waist a live serpent, which was believed to be the devil, or at least his substance. This office was general throughout the land. The third they called manyisalat, which is the same as magagauay. These priests had the power of applying such remedies to lovers that they would abandon and despise their own wives, and in fact could prevent them from having intercourse with the latter. If the woman, constrained by these means, were abandoned, it would bring sickness upon her; and on account of the desertion she would discharge blood and matter. This office was also general throughout the land.
The fourth was called mancocolam, whose duty it was to emit fire from himself at night, once or oftener Page 182each month. This fire could not be extinguished; nor could it be thus emitted except as the priest wallowed in the ordure and filth which falls from the houses; and he who lived in the house where the priest was wallowing in order to emit this fire from himself, fell ill and died. This office was general.
The fifth was called hocloban, which is another kind of witch, of greater efficacy than the mangagauay. Without the use of medicine, and by simply saluting or raising the hand, they killed whom they chose. But if they desired to heal those whom they had made ill by their charms, they did so by using other charms. Moreover, if they wished to destroy the house of some Indian hostile to them, they were able to do so without instruments. This was in Catanduanes, an island off the upper part of Luzon.
The sixth was called silagan, whose office it was, if they saw anyone clothed in white, to tear out his liver and eat it, thus causing his death. This, like the preceding, was in the island of Catanduanes. Let no one, moreover, consider this a fable; because, in Calavan, they tore out in this way through the anus all the intestines of a Spanish notary, who was buried in Calilaya by father Fray Juan de Mérida.
The seventh was called magtatangal, and his purpose was to show himself at night to many persons, without his head or entrails. In such wise the devil walked about and carried, or pretended to carry, his head to different places; and, in the morning, returned it to his body—remaining, as before, alive. This seems to me to be a fable, although the natives affirm that they have seen it, because the devil probably caused them so to believe. This occurred in Catanduanes. Page 183
The eighth they called osuang, which is equivalent to “sorcerer;” they say that they have seen him fly, and that he murdered men and ate their flesh. This was among the Visayas Islands; among the Tagalos these did not exist.
The ninth was another class of witches called mangagayoma. They made charms for lovers out of herbs, stones, and wood, which would infuse the heart with love. Thus did they deceive the people, although sometimes, through the intervention of the devil, they gained their ends.
The tenth was known as sonat, which is equivalent to “preacher.” It was his office to help one to die, at which time he predicted the salvation or condemnation of the soul. It was not lawful for the functions of this office to be fulfilled by others than people of high standing, on account of the esteem in which it was held. This office was general throughout the islands.
The eleventh, pangatahojan, was a soothsayer, and predicted the future. This office was general in all the islands.
The twelfth, bayoguin, signified a “cotquean,” a man whose nature inclined toward that of a woman.
Their manner of burying the dead was as follows: The deceased was buried beside his house; and, if he were a chief, he was placed beneath a little house or porch which they constructed for this purpose. Before interring him, they mourned him for four days; and afterward laid him on a boat which served as a coffin or bier, placing him beneath the porch, where guard was kept over him by a slave. In place of rowers, various animals were placed within the boat, each one being assigned a place at the oar by twos—Page 184male and female of each species being together—as for example two goats, two deer, or two fowls. It was the slave's care to see that they were fed. If the deceased had been a warrior, a living slave was tied beneath his body until in this wretched way he died. In course of time, all suffered decay; and for many days the relatives of the dead man bewailed him, singing dirges, and praises of his good qualities, until finally they wearied of it. This grief was also accompanied by eating and drinking. This was a custom of the Tagalos.
The Aetas,4 or Negrillos [Negritos] inhabitants of this island, had also a form of burial, but different. They dug a deep, perpendicular hole, and placed the deceased within it, leaving him upright with head or crown unburied, on top of which they put half a cocoa-nut which was to serve him as a shield. Then they went in pursuit of some Indian, whom they killed in retribution for the Negrillo who had died. To this end they conspired together, hanging a certain token on their necks until some one of them procured the death of the innocent one.
These infidels said that they knew that there was another life of rest which they called maca, just as if we should say “paradise,” or, in other words, “village Page 185of rest.” They say that those who go to this place are the just, and the valiant, and those who lived without doing harm, or who possessed other moral virtues. They said also that in the other life and mortality, there was a place of punishment, grief, and affliction, called casanaan, which was “a place of anguish;” they also maintained that no one would go to heaven, where there dwelt only Bathala, “the maker of all things,” who governed from above. There were also other pagans who confessed more clearly to a hell, which they called, as I have said, casanaan; they said that all the wicked went to that place, and there dwelt the demons, whom they called sitan.
All the various kinds of infernal ministers were, therefore, as has been stated: catolonan; sonat (who was a sort of bishop who ordained priestesses and received their reverence, for they knelt before him as before one who could pardon sins, and expected salvation through him); mangagauay, manyisalat, mancocolam, hocloban, silagan, magtatangal, osuan, mangagayoma, pangatahoan.5
There were also ghosts, which they called vibit; and phantoms, which they called Tigbalaang. They had another deception—namely, that if any woman died in childbirth, she and the child suffered punishment; and that, at night, she could be heard lamenting. This was called patianac. May the honor and glory be God our Lord's, that among all the Tagalos not a trace of this is left; and that those who are now marrying do not even know what it is, thanks to the preaching of the holy gospel, which has banished it. Page 186
1 With this document cf., throughout, the “Relation” by Miguel de Loarca, in Vol. V of this series.
2 Juan de Plasencia, who entered the Franciscan order in early youth, came to the Philippine Islands as one of the first missionaries of that order, in 1577. He was distinguished, in his labors among the natives, for gathering the converts into reductions (villages in which they dwelt apart from the heathen, and under the special care of the missionaries), for establishing numerous primary schools, for his linguistic abilities—being one of the first to form a grammar and vocabulary of the Tagal language—and for the ethnological researches embodied in the memoir which is presented in our text. He died at Lilio, in the province of La Laguna, in 1590. See account of his life in Santa Inés's Crónica, i, pp. 512–522; and of his writings, Id., ii, pp. 590, 591.
3 The betel-nut; see Vol. IV, p. 222.
4 The Aetas, or Negritos, were the primitive inhabitants of the Philippine Islands; but their origin is not certainly known. It is perhaps most probable that they came from Papua or New Guinea. For various opinions on this point, see Zúñiga's Estadismo (Retana's ed.), i, pp. 422–429; Delgado's Historia general, part i, lib. iii, cap. i; and Report of U.S. Philippine Commission, 1900, iii, pp. 333–335. Invasions of the islands by Indonesian tribes, of superior strength and culture, drove the Negritos into the forest and mountain regions of the islands where they dwelt; they still remain there, in a state of barbarism, but in gradually decreasing numbers. See the Report above cited (pp. 347–351), for habitat and physical characteristics of this race.
5 For much curious and interesting information regarding these superstitions, beliefs in demons, etc., see Blumentritt's ”Diccionario mitológico,” in Retana's Archivo, ii, pp. 345–454.
Sources: These documents are obtained from the original MSS. in the Archivo general dé Indias, Sevilla—except the fourth, which is taken from Retana's Archivo del bibliófilo filipino, iii, pp. 47–80.
Translations: The first document is translated by Arthur B. Myrick, of Harvard University; the second, third, and sixth, by James A. Robertson; the fourth, by Alfonso de Salvio, of Harvard University; the fifth, by Isaac J. Cox, of the University of Pennsylvania, and by José M. and Clara M. Asensio. Page 187
After the king, our lord, succeeded to the crown of Portugal, there began to open a new commerce between the Philipinas Islands and the western Yndias belonging to the domain of Castilla and China, Maluco, Amboino, Banda, and other parts of the Portuguese conquest. As soon as this was known in the eastern Yndias, the viceroys and governors thereof were continually writing to his Majesty, that from this new commerce many heavy injuries were sustained by his Majesty's service, in regard to the preservation and support of that state of eastern Yndia, and the quiet of its inhabitants.
His Majesty after reading their letters and going over truthful reports of the great injury that the continuation of this new trade might cause, both to the crown of Castilla and to that of Portugal, resolved to prohibit anyone from going from the western Yndias to China, Maluco, Amboino, and Banda, and other places belonging to the crown of Portugal; or from the Eastern to the Western Yndias. Decrees for this prohibition, signed by his Majesty and by the Portuguese ministers, were passed and sent to Yndia, where they were published and ordered to be observed under heavy penalties. The same was to be done by the ministers of the crown of Castilla and Page 188certain memoranda of it were to be given. We do not know whether this has been done yet.
Because they have again written and continue to write from Yndia that the said decrees prohibiting the said commerce are not being observed by the Castilians, and because they everywhere encourage it and increase to a great extent the evils that result therefrom, which might be very serious indeed, and difficult to remedy, and involve the total destruction and loss of those states: his Majesty ordered, for the more thorough understanding of these details, that they should make this report of the existing causes for not continuing this commerce, and even for prohibiting it. These reasons are as follows:
The state of Eastern Yndia is very large, and its cities and garrisons very distant and remote from one another, and situated in the territories of kings and princes of great power. On this account they are maintained by regular soldiery and very powerful fleets, of large and small galleys and galleons. All the Portuguese resident in those places, and other Christian vassals of his Majesty, easily bear the excessive expense. The latter is made up by the income from those cities and strongholds. This income, although it exceeds a million, is not sufficient to obviate its being always pledged. Some aid in money is sent from Portugal. This income from Yndia consists principally in imposts from the said cities, which are paid for entries and clearances. The entire amount of these imposts is raised on merchandise from China, Maluco, Amboino, Banda, and other regions of the south; for the taxes that are raised on merchandise coming from the northern districts are of so much less importance, and the merchandise Page 189likewise, that they cannot be compared with those of the south. The principal commerce that the Portuguese have to live upon, is that from China and other southern districts, because the other traffic is contracted for by his Majesty's treasury and belongs to it. The better and more valuable trade through the southern districts belongs to the crown.
From all this it may be inferred that if we continue this commerce with China and other southern regions by way of the western Yndias, the income from the customs duties, on which Yndia is supported, will necessarily be lost. Nor will there be money or forces with which many large fleets may be organized by his Majesty for its preservation and defense, or with which to pay the soldiery stationed there, or to bear all the other state expenses incurred by the public government, or those incurred by his Majesty for the ecclesiastical estate in those places the conquest of which was granted to him by the apostolic bulls. The rest of these reasons which concern his Majesty's service, the profit and loss of his treasury, and what is expedient for common good of the inhabitants of that state, should be considered in this case with the greatest care. For the inhabitants of Yndia have no other resources to live upon except trade and commerce; and of these the principal is the trade with China and other places to which reference has been made. On this account, they feel very strongly the seizure of this commerce by the Castilians, saying that they and their fathers and forefathers conquered it for the royal crown with their blood and lives. There are and were on this subject practices and complaints of base character, principally in the city of Goa, the capital of that state. Page 190
And even if all the above (in respect to what concerns Portugal and the preservation and quiet of Yndia) were not of so great moment and consideration for his Majesty's service, so great are the injuries to the crown of Castilla which result from this new commerce that only for that (both for reasons of state and finance) it should be strictly prohibited. For if navigation is permitted from the western Indias to China, all the money and coin in the kingdom will flow thither and none will go to Hespaña, because China is so large and has so much to exchange and sell that, however much coin is sent, that country will absorb it all. The Indias will come to have no need of Hespaña, because all the products obtained from this country can be obtained from China in much greater abundance and more cheaply, except wines and olives, which can be very easily introduced in the Yndias. They might also do without them, because they are not very necessary or requisite. So they would care for trade with Hespaña only on that account, especially since they may get them from China itself through the Portuguese traders. Of how much consequence and importance this is in state matters, it is unnecessary to point out, because it may be well understood. It is, moreover, understood that the Indians have wine of their own.
And above all, when Chinese merchandise is in the western Indias and money is flowing toward China, trade and commerce with Hespaña will necessarily fall off, together with the income of the custom house at Sevilla, while money will be scarce there and throughout España.
Let it be further noted that among the sworn promises which his Majesty made to the kingdom of Page 191Portugal, there is one clause (the copy of which accompanies this) in which it is said that traffic with Yndia, Guinea, and other regions belonging to the kingdom of Portugal, both discovered and to be discovered, will not be wrested from them or any innovation made in present conditions; and the officials who are to go out for the said commerce and on the ships for that purpose shall be Portuguese. According to this clause, no alteration can be made in the commerce with China, Maluco, Amboino, Banda, and other parts of the Eastern Yndias. The Castilians shall not go there, nor shall the Portuguese go from here to the Castilian Yndias.1
The Lord Cardinal Archduke,2 to whom his Majesty has entrusted the government of Portugal, seeing and considering all these dangers, wrote many times to his Majesty that it would be greatly to his interest to prohibit this commerce; and besides what he says in many of his letters, in one letter of December 23, of last year, 89, he wrote as follows:
“In this despatch is sent a report of all that has been written to your Majesty by the viceroy Don Duarte, and by the governor Miguel de Sosa, and other persons, affirming that it is of no use to your Majesty, and unsafe for the state of Yndia, to continue the commerce which has begun to be opened from the Indias of the Castilian crown to China; and what your Majesty has had written in regard to it—Page 192in order that your Majesty may have it examined. According to the information which I possess in this matter, I advise your Majesty to order, under heavy penalties, that no one shall further this commerce from the said districts to China, nor from China the other way, because it is known that if there is no remedy applied, we will lose the customs receipts of the state of Yndia, and the trade of the merchants. It seems to me that the lack of confidence and the suspicion which the ships and embarkations of the Castilians cause in the Chinese are of even greater consequence. The latter is referred to in the letter which the city of Nombre de Dios wrote to your Majesty, on this matter.”
Hereunto is added the copy of one clause from a letter by the governor of Yndia (which was received a few days ago, having come by land) that what he says in regard to this matter, and the way in which this commerce is looked upon there, may be known. He concludes by explaining how well it suits his Majesty's service, and how advantageous it is to both Castilla and Portugal, to prohibit this commerce in such a way that all the ports shall be closed to it.
[Instructions: “On the new commerce of the Western Yndias, with China. His Majesty orders that this shall be examined in the Council of the Indias. The Council shall then advise him of their opinion, so that his Majesty can determine what measures must be taken, before the sailing of the ships. Pardo, March 3, 1590.”]3 Page 193
1 This paragraph is a quite literal translation of the clause therein mentioned; the latter (in Portuguese) is at the end of the original MS. of this document.
2 This was the Cardinal Archduke Albert of Austria, nephew of Felipe II, who in 1583 appointed Albert viceroy of Portugal. In that post he remained until 1594, when he was removed to the archiepiscopal see of Toledo.
3 The above instructions were intended doubtless for this document. They occupy a separate sheet in the collection of documents, but their position warrants this inference.
From information received de officio in the royal Audiencia of the city of Manila, of the Philipinas Islands, and from the opinion of the said Audiencia, it has been evident that, upon the arrival of the bishop [Salazar] in the islands, all the houses were built of wood and bamboo, and thatched with straw. As he saw that they were burned frequently, and especially in the year eighty-three, when, in but one fire, the city was nearly all destroyed including, with the property of the citizens, the cathedral church, monastery, hospital, fort, supplies, and artillery; seeing also the constant danger from fire and from the natives of whom there was great fear, the said bishop exerted himself to aid the citizens and soldiers with three thousand pesos of his own and others' money, dividing this sum among all of them, in order that they might rebuild their houses. By this means he relieved their extreme necessity, and afterward endeavored to persuade the governor and city to have the buildings constructed of stone and roofed with tile; and although everyone placed decided obstacles in the way, he set about this himself, and put great effort into it, even to the seeking and opening of quarries, Page 194and procuring the making of mortar and roof-tiles. Through his diligence, the result was obtained and great increase followed therefrom to the said city, for he built houses with the utmost toil and expense. Thereupon many of the citizens began to do the same, and the city has been made safe and fortified. Now, a fort, hospital, church, and monasteries are being built—all of stone. In addition to the above, when he went to those islands, he took altar-pieces, ornaments, and other articles of value for the service of divine worship; and afterward he bought there some buildings for the church, at an expense of eight hundred ducados. As, for both this and the bishopric, there is nothing left of the five hundred thousand maravedis paid him yearly from your Majesty's royal exchequer—which sum, even, has not been paid because there is no money there—he is deeply in debt and in need. He beseeches your Majesty that, attentive to his great labors in the service of our Lord and of your Majesty, and for the good of that state, your Majesty will bestow upon him a sum equal to what he has spent, in order that he may pay his debts; and that he be given an order for it on the royal treasury of Mexico. The said Audiencia, in its opinion cited above, declares that his debts amount to six or seven thousand pesos; that his request seems to them very just; and that any concession made to him will be a great aid to the bishop. After deliberation in the council, it is our opinion that, in consideration of the above, a concession of three thousand pesos, the equivalent of three thousand six hundred ducados, might be made the said bishop, as an aid in paying his debts: this sum to be given him once from the tributes of unassigned Indians in those islands, or Page 195from those that shall first become vacant. Your Majesty will act herein as suits your pleasure. Madrid, April xii, 1590. +
[Endorsed: “Council of the Indias. April 12, 1590. That the bishop of the Philippinas be granted three thousand six hundred ducados in unassigned tributes of those islands, as an aid in paying the debts that he has contracted in the service of our Lord, and of your Majesty, and the welfare of that state.” “The opinion of the council is approved, although the former concessions and assignments would be preferable; for I suspect that in such favors irregularities are wont to occur in the payment to the loss of the collectors.” “A warrant [for that sum] has been drawn up, in accordance with his Majesty's commands.”]1 Page 196
1 The first sentence is the official endorsement by the Council; the second, evidently that of the king; and the third, that of the Council's secretary.
Sire: All vessels sailing to Nueva España, since the Audiencia was established here, have taken advices to your Majesty of everything that has appeared fitting to your royal service. The orders of your royal decrees and the ordinances of the royal Council have been observed with all care. Whenever any trouble has arisen in the execution of these decrees and ordinances, advice thereof has been given in the letters from this royal Audiencia, as your Majesty may see, should you wish information thereof.
With the arrival of Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, governor and captain-general of these islands, the president, auditors, and fiscal of this Audiencia ceased to exercise their duties, and the trials of cases pending in that body were suspended, so that, in accordance with the orders of the royal decrees despatched in regard to this matter, they might be concluded in the royal chancilleria of Mexico.
Doctor Sanctiago de Vera, former president of this Audiencia, intended to go to Nueva España this year to assume his post as auditor in the royal Audiencia of Mexico, to which your Majesty appointed him. Just as he was about to embark, he was forced to remain here in these islands this year, because of a certain very severe sickness of his wife, from which she Page 197nearly died. He will sail next year. Licentiate Pedro de Rojas remains in these islands in the capacity of lieutenant-governor and counselor in government and military matters, in accordance with his letters-patent. Although this country proves very unfavorable to his health, so that he remains here at evident risk of life—because of a disease from which many die, and which has brought him twice or thrice to the verge of death—yet he thinks it his duty to continue his service to your Majesty here, and to remain at his post, notwithstanding all the danger. We beg your Majesty kindly to appoint him to another post elsewhere, where his health may be preserved, for he has always suffered here from weakness and ill-health. Not only would this prove to be an assurance of his life; his services, which are so acceptable and well-known, are such that he merits this favor from your Majesty. Inasmuch as he was auditor of this Audiencia, and the oldest member of it, because of the death of the licentiate Abalos, he should not be permitted to remain now as lieutenant-governor; for he is a person of whom your Majesty can make use in the government, and in any post whatever of great importance and trust.
The licentiate Don Antonio de Rivera, auditor of this royal Audiencia, and the licentiate Ayala,1 its fiscal, remain here without office. They were detained here one year in order to be present in this Page 198city during the four months of their residencia. They are very much disheartened over this, for they do not know to what post your Majesty will appoint them. They have served in their respective posts in these islands during their whole term with care, integrity, and disinterestedness, that [MS. illegible] and they are suffering from so great necessity and are five thousand leagues distant from those kingdoms, burdened with large families and households. They are grieving greatly over the prospect of so long, dangerous, and costly a voyage. We entreat your Majesty, since it is so just that rewards and promotions be given to your servants who have served you faithfully, and which your Majesty has ever been wont to bestow so generously, that you do not permit them to remain unrewarded, and that you have their salaries paid them from the time when their offices became vacant; for their services merit this, as well as the eagerness with which they have always exerted themselves, devoting all their energies to the sole service of God and your Majesty. They have ceased to exercise their duties in-these posts—the best and chiefest of the kingdom—not through any demerit, but through the suppression of the Audiencia. We trust that your Majesty will look favorably upon them and upon your other servants who have served you in this royal Audiencia; and that you will reward them and promote them as we desire. May God preserve the Catholic person of your Majesty. Manila, June 20, 1590.
The doctor Santiago Devera
The licentiate Pedro de Rojas
The licentiate Don Antonio de Ribera Maldonado Page 199
[Endorsed: “Filipinas; to his Majesty, 1590. The Audiencia, June 20. Seen, and no answer is necessary. Make a memorandum regarding this auditor and fiscal.”] Page 200
1 The collection of documents of which the above forms a part contains a letter from the licentiate Ayala to the king, under date of June 25, 1590. As in so many letters from royal officials, Ayala narrates his devotion to the king's service, and especially in the Philippines, whither he had been ordered suddenly from the Canaries, his previous post. He begs for a position in Mexico, and means to return to that country. The king orders that one-half his salary be given him.
As Chinese matters are so worthy of being known, I have thought best to give your Majesty an account of them in a special letter, although all I say will be but little in comparison with the facts. Before I undertake to relate what God through His mercy has chosen to unfold to us concerning the affairs of that kingdom which were so hidden to us, I must, in order to ease my conscience, and die without this scruple, undo an error into which I had fallen for a while. Under that error I wrote to your Majesty as I felt then; and, although what I wrote was true, according to the information received, I have learned since that the contrary is the fact. As soon as I began to see the error, I wrote to your Majesty; but it was not done with the necessary effectiveness, for I was not yet completely undeceived. Now that I am, it would be a very serious matter if I did not try to undo the deception. As at that time I wrote to your Majesty what I felt, under an erroneous impression, I shall write what I feel, now that I am fully undeceived; for one ought always to present the entire and naked truth, with no confusing elements, to all men, and much more to your Majesty. Page 201
Before reaching these islands, I heard that no foreigner could without danger of death set foot in the kingdom of China unless he received special permission from those having that kingdom in charge; and that the native who took a foreigner into the land without permission would be executed, and the foreigner sent to prison for life. When I reached these islands, I first interviewed some Portuguese who came here, and I heard them declare and affirm the same thing which I had heard before. Since I had that impression at my coming, I easily believed what the Portuguese told me, and persuaded myself that it was true that no foreigner could enter China without risk of losing his life. For a long time I have had the conversion of that kingdom at heart, and with that thought I came to these islands. One of the reasons which made me accept this bishopric was the fact that these islands were very near China, and that many Chinese had come to live here. Being grieved over the thought that by not allowing foreigners to set foot in that land the preaching of the gospel there might be hindered, I drew up a report signed by many Portuguese witnesses from Macan and Yndia who were here. In this report, which I sent to your Majesty, I gave evidence that the rulers of China, who are styled “mandarins,” allowed no one to enter the kingdom without their permission; and that for this purpose they kept large fleets to guard the coast, and to kill or arrest all who land there. Relying upon the information given me by the Portuguese, I wrote to your Majesty, asserting that it would be justifiable for your Majesty to send your fleet to that kingdom, and in case the preachers were denied entrance, to open a way by force, and Page 202make the Chinese receive them—it being understood that this opposition was from the mandarins alone, and that the common people offered no resistance and would receive them well. While all those in the islands, including myself, held this view, it pleased our Lord to reveal this deception and to deliver us from this error. It so happened that a ship left these islands for Mexico, and reached the coast of China in distress. At first the crew were somewhat ill-treated by the soldiers who guard the coast, because the latter had taken them for thieves or spies; but as soon as they were brought before the mandarin governor and it was learned that they had set out from the Lugones, as they call these islands, the governor treated them well, gave orders to return what the soldiers had taken from them, and punished those who had taken it. They sent the Spaniards in peace to Macan, whence they came to this city. The captain of the ship is living here at the present day, as well as two Augustinians who were on board; and they have told me all that happened to them.
From this time I began to be undeceived, and to understand that the kingdom of China was not so inaccessible as the Portuguese had represented it. Then I wrote to your Majesty the aforesaid letter, asserting that the ill-report concerning the mandarins of China was rather an invention of the Portuguese than a true report. Later on, my belief in this truth was confirmed by certain persons, both religious and laymen, who have gone to China from these islands. When these persons arrived there the Chinese arrested them, in order to find out whence they came and what they were seeking; and when it was learned who they were, they were allowed to return in peace Page 203and were even given supplies for the journey. While writing this, I have met two Franciscan friars who tell me that, as soon as they reached China, they were arrested and taken, handcuffed, before the mandarin. When he learned who they were he gave orders to set them free, and to provide for their support until they could return here. What fully confirms me as to the truth of all this is the report which I received of the kind reception given in the province of Chincheo to a ship which the viceroy then governing Nueba España sent to Macan, and whose captain was Lope de Palacios, the brother of the auditor Palacios, auditor of Mexico. This ship was driven to Chincheo under stress of weather, and there everyone in her was well received, when the inhabitants of Chincheo learned that they were coming to trade in China. They persuaded them to go no farther, saying that they would give them a cargo there for their ship; but God, who had chosen to punish those who by that means sought to destroy this land against the wish of your Majesty, blinded them, so that they would not take the most salutary advice that could have been given them. The three Dominican religious who were on board the ship were well received and lovingly treated by the mandarin of that province. He took them to the city and lodged them in his own house, giving them an apartment where they could celebrate mass. This they did with as much quiet and safety as if they had been at your court. The mandarin kept them with him for one week, after which he allowed them to go to their ship and proceed to Macan. I had this relation from the very religious who were there. At present I am entertaining at my house a man who came from Page 204Mexico in that ship, and who, being an eyewitness, has told me of all the occurrence; but, since this account and other events which occurred were reported to your Majesty two years ago, and I am sure that the report reached its destination, I shall not detain you with a more detailed account of those matters.
I have said all this in order to correct the wrong opinion held about the rulers of China; and although it is true that they are cautious and suspicious, prudently seeking to protect their nation against the entrance of foreigners who might harm and disturb the land, still, without any question, what has been said against them is a false accusation; for until now we know of no person whom they have killed for setting foot in their land, nor do we know of any one whom they have thrown into prison for life, as the Portuguese reported. If any of the Spaniards who went to that land received ill-treatment at the hands of the Chinese, it was due to the evil reports of us which the Portuguese spread among them, warning them to beware of Castilians as a people addicted to stealing and seizing foreign kingdoms; and who, as they had become masters of Nueva España, Peru, and the Philipinas, would strive likewise to obtain China. The people of that kingdom, being the most cautious people in the world, believed quite readily what the Portuguese told them of us; and in consequence they ill-treated the Castilians who went there. What I say here is a well ascertained fact, known by people who have seen themselves in great danger of being killed in China, just because the Portuguese had pointed them out to the Chinese as spies. One of the Franciscan religious whom I mentioned above has affirmed Page 205to me that he himself had heard it said that the Portuguese had reported them as spies, and that for this reason they had been handcuffed. Were I not sure that this was so, I would not dare to affirm it to your Majesty, for these are serious matters which do not speak well for the Portuguese. Although it is not to be believed that all of them say these things of us, still it needs only a few of them to speak such words in order to persuade the Chinese; and those few have caused no little harm, for, had not God provided a remedy, they would have greatly hindered the gospel from ever entering that kingdom. However, since the Chinese have experienced the contrary of what had been told them, and the Chinese or Sangleys (which mean the same thing) who go there from here tell them of the fairness with which we treat them here, and of the freedom that they enjoy among us, they have regained confidence, and are not offended at seeing us there, as is proved by those two ships which were driven on their shores. Doctor Sanctiago de Vera told me last year that he intended to make arrangements with the mandarins of Chincheo by which they might give us an island not far from that coast where the Castilians might settle and establish their commerce; he added that this plan met with no great opposition on the part of the Sangleys. But this was not carried out, and I do not know who was the cause of the failure. To corroborate the fact that the mandarins do not keep the gates of that kingdom so tightly closed as the Portuguese affirmed, something else has occurred quite recently which shows it clearly. When the Portuguese expelled all the Castilian religious from Macan and ordered them to go to Yndia, and not to return here, Page 206two friars fled secretly to the city of Canton, and thence they went to Chincheo by land, covering a distance of about one hundred leagues, without receiving any harm whatever; on the contrary, they were well treated, and the mardarin of Chincheo sent them back to this city in one of his own ships. The captain who brought them has visited me several times, and I have thanked him. At present these religious are in this city, and have spoken to me of what occurred to them on the journey from Macan to Chincheo, and of the presents which the captain who brought them here from Chincheo gave them. From all the aforesaid we infer that what has been reported of the refusal of the Chinese kingdom, and of its rulers, to permit entrance to foreigners has been invention and slander by the Portuguese, who did this for their own private interests, fearing that their commerce with the Chinese would cease if the Castilians gained an entrance there. We who live here have attributed this slander to that cause—or, more properly speaking, it has been the cunning of the devil, who has tried in this way to hinder the results which we hope to obtain by introducing the gospel into that great kingdom, in such manner as Jesus Christ, our Lord, commanded his disciples and apostles to preach it throughout the whole world, not trusting in their own strength, or in human wisdom or power, but only in the power of God. For He, when it pleases Him, smoothes out all difficulties which may arise; and if at times He allows his ministers to suffer, it is for their best good, in order that the perfection and power of God may shine forth with more brilliancy. Therefore, I say that if once I thought it possible to make war on China because Page 207of the false report given me of the hindrance and obstacles offered by the rulers of that kingdom to the preaching of the gospel, by not allowing those who could preach it to enter the land, now that I know the truth, I declare that one of the worst offenses which could be committed against God, and the greatest possible obstacle and opposition to the spread of the gospel, would be to go to China with the mailed hand, or to use any sort of violence. For we have had at no time, nor do we have, any cause, right, or reason to enter that kingdom by force of arms; for it is evident that we have not told them, nor do they know, our intention. On the contrary they take us for people whose only aim is to usurp foreign kingdoms; and, since they think thus, it is well for them to guard against us. In order to correct the wrong opinion which they entertain of us, we should not go there with large fleets and armies equipped, because the only result would be to vex and offend the greatest and best kingdom in the world; but if we go there in the way that God commands and desires, and at the time appointed by His Divine Majesty (for we men cannot know), we shall make one of the largest conversions ever seen since the time of the primitive church. This is what the devil tries to hinder by spreading abroad the notion that the only way by which China can be entered is by force of arms. The truth is, that until now no people has been discovered so ready to receive the gospel as this, or of whom can be entertained such hope of great results by going to preach the gospel as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded; and if any one, be he even an angel from heaven, were of a different opinion, may your Majesty consider him an agent of Page 208the devil, who tries to convince people that the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be preached with zeal and not with knowledge, with violence and force of arms, like the alcoran of Mahoma. This is a principle which may God remove from the minds of all Christian princes, and from all men who are well acquainted with the law of God and evangelical truth. I am confident that, when your Majesty learns the truth, you will not allow anything to be done contrary to the will of God.
Now I shall speak of the Sangleys, of whom there would be much to say had I not in the past given to your Majesty an account of many things concerning them. Therefore I shall be brief, in order not to make this account longer than is necessary.
When I arrived in this land, I found that in a village called Tondo—which is not far from this city, there being a river between—lived many Sangleys; of whom some were Christians, but the larger part infidels. In this city were also some shops kept by Sangleys, who lived here in order to sell the goods which they kept here from year to year. These Sangleys were scattered among the Spaniards, with no specific place assigned to them, until Don Gongalo Ronquillo allotted them a place to live in, and to be used as a silk-market (which is called here Parián), of four large buildings. Here, many shops were opened, commerce increased, and more Sangleys came to this city. Anxious for the conversion of this people, I soon cast my eyes upon them, and took precautions that they be well treated, for in that way they would become attached to our religion—as I was aware that this was your Majesty's desire. Considering that, wherever Spaniards are to be found, there Page 209will always be some unruly ones, who, forgetting the good example which they ought to give these infidels, ill-treat them at times, I began on this account to protect and to assist the Chinese, reproaching those who maltreated them. I took care to have their grievances removed so as to give them freedom to attend to their mercantile interests, and to sell their goods. In this there has been very much abuse in this city by those who were under obligation to furnish a remedy for it. For this reason the Sangleys began to have much love for me, for they are the most grateful people I have ever seen. Gradually commerce has so increased, and so many are the Sangley ships which come to this city laden with goods—as all kinds of linen, and silks; ammunition; food supplies, as wheat, flour, sugar; and many kinds of fruit (although I have not seen the fruits common in Spaña)—and the city has been so embellished, that were it not for the fires and the calamities visited upon her by land and by sea, she would be the most prosperous and rich city of your Majesty's domains. As I have written to your Majesty in other letters, this city has the best possible location for both its temporal and spiritual welfare, and for all its interests, that could be desired. For on the east, although quite distant, yet not so far as to hinder a man from coming hither, with favorable voyage, lie Nueba España and Perú; to the north, about three hundred leagues, are the large islands of Japón; on the northwest lies the great and vast kingdom of China, which is so near this island that, starting early in the morning with reasonable weather, one would sight China on the next day; on the west lie Conchinchina, the kingdoms of Sián and Patany, Malaca, the great kingdom of Dacheu (the Page 210ancient Trapobana), and the two Xavas [Javas], the greater and the smaller;1 and on the south lie the islands of Maluco and Burney. From all these regions people come to trade in this city; and from here we can go to them, for they are near. As to spiritual advantages, if we had preachers of the gospel to send thither, these regions all stand open to us, and we could gain good results from it, because Franciscan religious have gone to some of these places and have been well received, although on account of many wars and the lack of interpreters they were forced to return. It is not so certain that they would be received in China as they are elsewhere; but up to this time no one of those who went thither has been killed or thrown into prison.
When I came, all the Sangleys were almost forgotten, and relegated to a corner. No thought was taken for their conversion, because no one knew their language or undertook to learn it on account of its great difficulty; and because the religious who lived here were too busy with the natives of these islands. Although the Augustinian religious had charge of the Sangleys of Tondo, they did not minister to or instruct them in their own language, but in that of the natives of this land; thus the Sangley Christians living here, were Christians only in name, knowing no more of Christianity than if they had never accepted it. I was much grieved that a nation of such renown should lack priests to teach and instruct them in their own language. This led me to make arrangements Page 211with Don Goncalo Ronquillo for a special location to be assigned to them for their own use, and priests were to be given them who should learn their language and teach them in it. When this had been all arranged, and a priest had been appointed, the whole thing was undone through obstacles which arose at that time. Then I appealed to all religious orders to appoint some one of their religious to learn the language and take charge of the Sangleys. Although all of them showed a desire to do so, and some even began to learn it, yet no one succeeded; and the Sangleys found themselves with no one to instruct them and take up their conversion with the necessary earnestness, until, in the year eighty-seven, God brought to these islands the religious of St. Dominic. Their coming was for the welfare of the Sangleys, as the result proved, and as I shall relate further on. God soon showed us that the religious had come by His will, to take charge of the Sangleys. This city, being built on a narrow site with the sea on one side and a river on the other, was all occupied, and there seemed to be no place where the Dominicans could settle; but there was soon discovered a site of which no one had thought until then, and which now is the best in the city. The site adjoins the Parian of the Sangleys, and that gave the religious of that order occasion to begin to hold intercourse with them, and for the religious and Sangleys to become mutually attached to one another. For, whenever the Sangleys come and go from the Parián, they pass by the church of Sancto Domingo, and, being a very inquisitive people, they often stop and watch what is taking place there. When the confraternities of the Rosary and of the Oaths, which are founded in that house, hold their Page 212processions, a great many Sangleys come out to watch them. They live so near the monastery that in the night they hear the religious sing matins, and are not a little edified by it; for they also have their own form of religion, and there are among them religious men who lead a very austere life and claim to live in profound meditation. When it shall please God to enlighten them, Christianity will undoubtedly profit much by this characteristic.
I said above that the monastery of Sancto Domingo stands close by the Parián of the Sangleys, which is built in a marshy place on the border of this city between its northern and southern sides. The Sangleys were transferred thither by Diego Ronquillo, during his governorship, because the Parián which Don Gonzalo Ronquillo had built was destroyed by fire. At first it seemed absurd to think that human habitations were to be built in that marsh, but the Sangleys, who are very industrious, and a most ingenious people, managed it so well that, in a place seemingly uninhabitable, they have built a Parián resembling the other, although much larger and higher. According to them it suits them better than the other, because on the firm ground where the four rows of buildings are located they have built their houses and the streets leading through the Parián, a separate street for each row of buildings.
There are long passages and the buildings are quadrangular in shape. This Parián was also destroyed by fire on account of the houses being built of reeds; but through the diligence of the president and governor, Doctor Vera, much better houses were built, and covered with tiles for protection against fire. This Parián has so adorned the city that I do Page 213not hesitate to affirm to your Majesty that no other known city in España or in these regions possesses anything so well worth seeing as this; for in it can be found the whole trade of China, with all kinds of goods and curious things which come from that country. These articles have already begun to be manufactured here, as quickly and with better finish than in China; and this is due to the intercourse between Chinese and Spaniards, which has enabled the former to perfect themselves in things which they were not wont to produce in China. In this Parián are to be found workmen of all trades and handicrafts of a nation, and many of them in each occupation. They make much prettier articles than are made in España, and sometimes so cheap that I am ashamed to mention it. If we Castilians were as cautious as the Portuguese in trading with them, these articles would be much cheaper, and the Chinese would still gain by it. For goods are sold at a very low cost in China; and, no matter how little profit they make there, when these objects are sold here they yield large profits. But no restraint can be put upon the Castilians, nor can they be regulated—the consequence of which is that everything is going to ruin; for the Sangleys, who were not born as fools, begin to understand the Spaniards' disposition, and to take advantage of their lack of prudence, thus becoming richer than they would did the latter observe moderation.
This Parián is provided with doctors and apothecaries, who post in their shops placards printed in their own language announcing what they have to sell. There are also many eating-houses where the Sangleys and the natives take their meals; and I have been told that these are frequented even by Spaniards. Page 214The handicrafts pursued by Spaniards have all died out, because people buy their clothes and shoes from the Sangleys, who are very good craftsmen in Spanish fashion, and make everything at a very low cost. Although the silversmiths do not know how to enamel (for enamel is not used in China), in other respects they produce marvelous work in gold and silver. They are so skilful and clever that, as soon as they see any object made by a Spanish workman, they reproduce it with exactness. What arouses my wonder most is, that when I arrived no Sangley knew how to paint anything; but now they have so perfected themselves in this art that they have produced marvelous work with both the brush and the chisel, and I think that nothing more perfect could be produced than some of their marble statues of the Child Jesus which I have seen. This opinion is affirmed by all who have seen them. The churches are beginning to be furnished with the images which the Sangleys make, and which we greatly lacked before; and considering the ability displayed by these people in reproducing the images which come from España, I believe that soon we shall not even miss those made in Flandes. What I say of the painters applies also to embroiderers, who are already producing excellent embroidered works, and are continually improving in that art.
What has pleased all of us here has been the arrival of a book-binder from Mexico. He brought books with him, set up a bindery, and hired a Sangley who had offered his services to him. The Sangley secretly, and without his master noticing it, watched how the latter bound books, and lo, in less than [blank space in Retana] he left the house, saying that he wished to serve him no longer, and set up a similar shop. I Page 215assure your Majesty that he became so excellent a workman that his master has been forced to give up the business, because the Sangley has drawn all the trade. His work is so good that there is no need of the Spanish tradesman. At the time I am writing, I have in my hand a Latin version of Nabarro bound by him; and, in my judgment, it could not be better bound, even in Sevilla.
There are many gardeners among the Sangleys, who, in places which seemed totally unproductive, are raising many good vegetables of the kinds that grow in España and in Mexico. They keep the market here as well supplied as that of Madrid or Salamanca. They make chairs, bridles, and stirrups of so good a quality and so cheaply that some merchants wish to load a cargo of these articles for Mexico.
Many bakers make bread with the wheat and fine flour which they bring from China, and sell it in the market-place and along the streets. This has much benefited the city, for they make good bread and sell it at low cost; and although this land possesses much rice, many now use bread who did not do so before. They are so accommodating that when one has no money to pay for the bread, they give him credit and mark it on a tally. It happens that many soldiers get food this way all through the year, and the bakers never fail to provide them with all the bread they need. This has been a great help for the poor of this city, for had they not found this refuge they would suffer want. The Sangleys sell meat of animals raised in this country, as swine, deer, and carabaos (a kind of Italian buffalo, whose flesh is equal to beef). They also sell many fowls and eggs; and if they did not sell them we all would suffer want. They are so intent Page 216upon making a livelihood that even split wood is sold in the Parián. The city finds most of its sustenance in the fish which these Sangleys sell; they catch so much of it every day that the surplus is left in the streets, and they sell it at so low a cost that for one real one can buy a sufficient quantity of fish to supply dinner and supper for one of the leading houses in the city.
In the remaining space within the four fronts of the Parián is a large pond, which receives water from the sea through an estuary. In the middle of the pond is an islet, where the Sangleys who commit crimes receive their punishment, so as to be seen by all. The pond beautifies the Parián and proves to be of great advantage, because many ships sail into it through the aforesaid estuary at high tide, and bring to the Parián all the supplies, which are distributed thence all over the city.
Among the benefits which this city receives from the intercourse with the Sangleys, by no means the least important is that, while in España stone-masonry is so expensive and difficult to produce, here, through the diligence and industry of the Sangleys, we are able to build fine houses of hewn stone at a low cost; and in so short a time that in one year a man has been able to complete a house, all ready for habitation. It is wonderful to see with what rapidity many sumptuous houses, churches, monasteries, hospitals, and a fort are being built. The Sangleys also made very good bricks and roof-tiles at low cost. At first, lime was made with stone as in España; but now the Sangleys are using a kind of pebble, called “white corals,” which they find on this coast; and also shells of large oysters, of which there is a large quantity. At the Page 217beginning this lime did not seem to be of good quality; but the kind produced ever since has been so good that no other kind of lime is being employed in this city. It came to be sold at so low a price that for my house as well as for others we bought a cahiz2 of lime for four reals, and one thousand bricks for eight—although this is not the fixed price, for it fluctuates according to the money which comes from Mexico. The Sangleys know how to take advantage of the right time; they sell their goods dearer when they know that there is money to buy them, but they never raise the price so as to make it unreasonable. They agree to bring all the lime, bricks, and tiles to the house of the purchaser, thus saving him a great deal of labor. It is of great advantage also to have the Sangleys construct the building; they agree on so much per braza, including the cutting of stones and the carrying of the sand. If they are given the lime, they will furnish all the rest, and will thus deliver the house or work without any trouble to the owner. The day's wage of a Sangley, when he does not work by the job, is one real, and he provides his own food. The Sangleys are hard workers and very greedy for money. The number of those who have come to this city is so large that another large Parián is being built by the side of the above-mentioned one, resembling it in shape. Many Sangleys have built their houses in it, and it would be filled with people by this time had not the bricks of Mexico failed us last year through the Marquis de Villa-Manrrique—who, according to report, prevented the shipment of the bricks to us, thus causing no little injury and loss to Page 218this city and to the Sangleys. He shall give an account to your Majesty, and a more exact one to God, of the injuries and loss that he has caused to this land. Had not your Majesty set matters right by sending a successor to him,3 and so good a one as you did send, he would have brought ruin upon this land; and, even so, he leaves it sufficiently harassed and afflicted.
The Sangleys who live in this Parián number ordinarily between three and four thousand, not counting the two thousand and more who come and go in ships. These, together with those residing in Tondo, and the fishermen and gardeners who live in this neighborhood, number, according to the Dominican fathers who have them in charge, from six to seven thousand souls. Four religious of that order are engaged in their conversion and instruction.
I have mentioned many small matters here, and it does not seem very considerate to write so long a letter to one who is so occupied in affairs of moment as your Majesty is; but my great zeal deserves forgiveness. For, considering how far distant these regions are, and how extraordinary are these people—of whom we have known so little hitherto, on account of the opposition shown by the Portuguese to our gaining any knowledge of them—it seemed right for me to send your Majesty a relation and more specific news concerning the matter, so that your Majesty may know what exists and occurs here in his realms, and Page 219may enjoy through experience what was denied to his predecessors to hear even through report. Had I not already given your Majesty news of many other things which occur here, I would not dare to omit them now, even if I might be considered prolix.
This was the condition and disposition of the Sangleys in temporal matters, when the Dominican religious came to these islands in May, eighty-seven. I have already sent to your Majesty an account of what took place from the time of their arrival until the following year. I reported the singular change which had taken place among the Sangleys after the Dominican religious took charge of them, and the results which began to be obtained among them; and that they willingly began to accept Christianity, in which they have persevered until now. I will not here reiterate that, although there are many things worthy of being known, and for which many thanks are due to God, who shows how wonderful is His power when it pleases Him. What is left for me to relate, is the departure of the Dominican religious for China; and, although we do not know how it has fared with them, as they set out so recently, still the beginnings give us reason to hope that with the help of our Lord, they will be very successful.
Of the Dominican religious who came to these islands, four are engaged in ministering to the Sangleys. Two of these four officiate in the church of Sant Gabriel, which, together with the house where the religious live, stands close to the Parián. Another church with its house is on the promontory of Bay-bay, near Tondo—which a river divides, separating it from Manila. Two of the four have learned the language of the Sangleys so well, and one of these two Page 220how to write also (which is the most difficult part of the language), that the Sangleys wonder at their knowledge. The opportunity which the infidels of both towns had to hear the sermons preached by the fathers to the Christians, made them acquainted with many matters relating to our faith, and some of them desired to be baptized. But when they saw that, by becoming Christians, they would not be allowed to return to their own country, on account of the danger which the faith encounters in a country where the people are all idolaters, they said that our religion was too severe, since in embracing it one has to forsake his native country, and to deprive himself of father, mother, wife, children, and relatives. The arguments that they set forth were such that it seemed as if they wished to persuade us to baptize them without cutting off their hair, and without forbidding them to return to their own country. We saw that it was not advisable to do as they desired, and left matters as they stood. The Sangleys themselves told us to send fathers to their country to preach to them, saying that there they would become converted without so much risk as here. After due consideration of the matter, the Dominican fathers and myself decided that it was necessary to go to China; for, if God permitted the religious to remain in that land, we could baptize the Sangleys here without cutting off their hair, or preventing them from returning to their country to rejoice in their children, wives, and property. The Sangleys were much pleased at this decision; but there were differences of opinion regarding the manner in which the religious should go. The president thought that it would be best for them to go in a fragata accompanied by Spaniards: but the Chinese Page 221said that the friars should go alone, and not in the company of Spaniards; thus many arguments were presented on both sides. Two or three times I saw our endeavors thwarted, because the devil was laboring with all his might to prevent them. A fragata had already been bought, the captain and the men who were to take the friars over had been chosen, and almost everything was ready for their setting sail, when the plan was defeated I know not whence or how. My disappointment and the great sadness which I felt in seeing the defeat of an expedition which I so much desired, and for whose fulfilment had not sufficed his Holiness's permission and the special ordinance from your Majesty, made me think that this was the will of God; thus I was forced to abandon the attempt. But God, whose plans do not depend upon the advice of men, arranged matters better than I could have hoped, for He moved the hearts of the Sangley Christians, Don Francisco Zanco, a Christian and the governor of the Sangleys, and Don Tomás Syguán. The latter I baptized about two years ago, without cutting his hair, for I thought that God was to accomplish some great work through him, as well as through the other—who, being one of the oldest Christians in this island, also wore his hair long. When these two saw that the Spaniards were not going to China, and that the friars remained here because there was no one to take them over, they went to Fray Juan Cobo, one of the two friars acquainted thoroughly with the language, and who has charge of, the Sangleys of the Parián, and manifested to him their grief at seeing how little they were trusted. They said that since the fathers remained here because no Spaniards went to China, they who were Page 222Christians and natives of that land would take them over in more safety; they added that there should be no hesitation to accept their company, for they would lose their own lives before any harm should befall the religious. This we understood as an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because until then we had never heard that a Sangley would dare to take any Spaniards to China; accordingly, we decided to send the friars with the Chinese. When this was announced in the Parián, all the friendly Sangleys, of whom there are many among the infidels, were much pleased. One of the Sangley Christians had not taken a mouthful of food for two days, through grief at seeing us abandon the expedition; but when he heard that it was going to be made, and how it was going to be carried out, his joy knew no bounds, and he declared that it was just as he had hoped, and that it was the necessary method to pursue. I called two Sangley infidels—who, although without the faith, are endowed with all the qualities of good men, and who, I hope, through God's blessing will soon become Christians—and asked them what was their opinion concerning the expedition. They answered that they were very glad to see the way in which the religious were going; for, if they went with Spaniards, all would be lost. Thus we decided upon the departure, sending at present no more than two religious: Fray Miguel de Benavides,4 who was the first to learn the Page 223language of the Sangleys; and Father Juan de Castro, who came as vicar of the religious, and who was made provincial here. We preferred these two, as one is well acquainted with the language, and the other is much loved and esteemed by the Sangleys on account of his venerable gray locks and blessed old age; and we know that in that land old people are much respected and revered. As our Lord sent His disciples, so went these fathers, stripped of all human support, and carrying nothing with them except their own persons, their breviaries, and Bibles, for in this manner, and not with encompassing soldiers, should the gospel be preached.
I give many thanks to God that this expedition, so much desired by me, started under the best auspices which could be desired; for it is being undertaken by special permission of the Pope and by a decree of your Majesty, and with the consent of the governor, of myself, and of the auditors of this Audiencia. This enterprise has caused great happiness to all the religious orders, and to all the inhabitants of this city; and many demonstrations of rejoicing on the part of all the Sangleys. May it please the divine Majesty that the end be as we all desire. Another event occurred at the time of the expedition, which gave us a great deal of pleasure, and kindled in us the hope that God was really about to open the gates of that great kingdom. The aforesaid captain who brought the two Franciscan friars to this city received a letter, which they call chapa, for the president, in which the latter is entreated to do justice to the captain who brought the letter, so that he might collect some money which was due him in this city; in the letter, he anxiously entreats the two great fathers Juan and Page 224Miguel, who know the language, to help the captain, for they are known in that country to favor the Sangleys. Their names occur twice in that chapa, the first letters of the two names being written in red ink, which is considered a mark of veneration among the Chinese. A Sangley woman who lives in Chincheo wrote a letter to Fray Juan Cobo, thanking him for having helped her husband in a matter of business. These were the first indications by which we knew that this expedition was starting under the guidance of God. So on Tuesday, the twenty-second of May, of this year ninety, I went to the church of the Parián, and said mass there; after which the two Sangleys who had offered their services went through a ceremony worthy of notice. They knelt down before the altar where I said mass, and remained there for the space of two credos, speaking to one another in their own language and holding each other's hands; after that they embraced one another, and I learned afterwards that they had sworn to each other friendship and fidelity. From that place the fathers went to embark, and I went with them, accompanied by many Sangleys. On account of a contrary wind, the ship in which they were going could not set sail; and there were sent, to tow it out, four champans, which are the small boats of the Sangley ships. They gladly pulled it out to sea, for more than a league, where we left them under God's protection, and returned to the city. The captains of two Sangley ships who are about to follow in the same course have asked me for letters for the religious, promising me to place them in their own hands, and I shall not fail to write to them.
In conclusion, I must announce to your Majesty Page 225that a hospital has been built by the Dominican friars who have charge of the Sangleys of the Parián, which is close by their house. The hospital takes care of sick Sangleys and subsists on no other income than what the fathers gather as charity, and what the Sangley infidels contribute towards it. This fact has been so rumored in China, that the whole country feels very kindly towards the fathers, knowing of the friendly reception given to their countrymen here. About a year ago a prominent Sangley was converted. He was a doctor and an herbalist; but, forsaking all other worldly interests, he has offered and devoted himself to the service of the hospital. He cures the sick, bestowing upon them much love and charity, and prescribing for them his purges and medicines. In short, it was God who led him thither for the welfare of that hospital, and, to make the fame thereof more widely spread throughout China. Therefore I humbly beg your Majesty to be pleased to order that this hospital be endowed, so that the sick may be cared for. Moreover, if your Majesty attend to this personally, that fact will be very well received in China and will be of more benefit than the presents which your Majesty ordered to be sent to the king.
Doctor Vera, who is now president, on seeing the good will with which those two Sangley Christians, Don Francisco Canco and Don Tomás Siguán, offered their services for taking the fathers to China, exempted them, in the name of your Majesty, from paying taxes for the use of a ship for six years. I entreat your Majesty to be pleased to confirm this grant, and to extend it for life; for they certainly performed a great deed, and one considered of much importance by all the inhabitants of this city, both Page 226Spaniards and Sangleys. They deserve this favor from your Majesty, even if we should not gain the desired result, because they for their part have offered what they could.
Fray Juan Cobo, the Dominican religious—who, as I have said before, knows the language of the Sangleys and their writing, and who is most esteemed by them—is sending to your Majesty a book, one of a number brought to him from China. This intercourse which is taking root between them and ourselves is not a bad beginning for the object we have in view. The book is in Chinese writing on one half of the leaf, and Castilian on the other, the two corresponding to each other. It is a work worthy of your Majesty, and may it be received as such, not because of its worth, but because it is so rare a work, never seen before in the Parián, or outside of China. According to my judgment, it contains things worthy of consideration, by which is seen the force of the human reason; since without the light of the faith those things approach so near to those taught us by the Christian religion. From this your Majesty will see how much in error is the person who pretends that in kingdoms like that of China, where such things are taught, we should enter by force of arms to preach to them our faith. It is clear that with a people like this, the force of reason has more power than that of arms. May our Lord direct this affair according to His will; and may He be pleased that within the days of your Majesty we may see these kingdoms converted to the faith, and that your Majesty may enjoy this reputation first on earth and then in heaven. Amen. Manila, June 24, 1590.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Philipinas. Page 227
1 At that time, Java was supposed to contain two islands; the western part, inhabited by the people of Sunda, was thought to be separated by a river from the other, forming an entire island. Trapobana is a misprint for Taprobana, the ancient name of Sumatra; and Dacheu, for Achen (Achin).
2 The cahiz is equal to twelve fanégas, or nearly nineteen and one-fifth bushels.
3 Villamanrique was removed from his post in 1589, and in his stead as viceroy of Nueva España was appointed Luis de Velasco, Conde de Santiago, a son of the second viceroy; he reached Mexico on Jan. 25, 1590. “The country made steady progress in every branch of industry during Velasco's rule; political, commercial, and social conditions were improved, and prosperity prevailed.” (Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, ii, p. 766.) He held the office until 1595, when he was appointed viceroy of Peru.
4 Miguel de Benavides was born about 1550, and came to the Philippines as one of the first Dominican missionaries (1587). Soon after his return from China, he sailed (1591) for Spain, where he acted as procurator of his province. Early in 1598, he returned to the Philippines as bishop of Nueva Segovia; but the archbishop Santibañez dying in that same year (Aug. 14), he was succeeded by Benavides. Under his administration was begun the college of Santo Tomás at Manila. He died there July 26, 1605.
Five decrees of your Majesty came to me this year of ninety in the ship “Santiago,” which arrived at this port on the last of May. They are all dated at Madrid, four on the twenty-third of June of the year eighty-seven, and the fifth on the eighteenth of February of eighty-eight. After perusing the contents of the said decrees, I can truly not restrain my surprise that there can be men in the world who dare to say and declare things which are not certainly proved to be the truth, much less to give such information to their king. To report to one's sovereign the contrary of what happens, or to affirm what one is not certain is the truth, is a most grave offense, worthy of all punishment and chastisement. Such persons may properly be called destroyers of their countries, because, in not giving information in accordance with the principles of truth, they fail to remedy the evils and provide the good which is necessary for the preservation of the land. As this commonwealth is so far away from your Majesty, it has to be governed, not by what your Majesty sees and knows, but by the information received by him regarding it. This must be according to the good or bad intention of the informer. Page 228Consequently, this commonwealth is subjected to many hardships and misfortunes, by the fault not of your Majesty—with whose most holy zeal and desire for the welfare of this land we are well acquainted—but of us here who send information. There are but few of us who, oblivious of our own interests and pretensions, now fix our eyes on the common good alone, and seek only this; but the most of us seek only our own interests, our informations and reports are shaped by these, as appears by the increase of the tributes which your Majesty commands to be made. As this is discussed, however, in another letter, I will go to no greater length than to say that, if your Majesty were present here, no orders would be given to increase the tributes of these miserable people, but rather they would pay less. But he who informed your Majesty that more tribute can be paid has already accounted or will account to God also. I am affected in part by these hardships and dangers, as it is now two years since your Majesty wrote me a reprimand, as if I were the man to blame for the dissensions of the Audiencia. God knows, as do all in this community, that if I had not made peace, the dissensions between the president and auditors would have lasted until today. The same I say of the five decrees which I received this year. Among them are several which show that he who informed your Majesty did so in an account entirely malicious and totally contrary to the truth. Others show that, although the informer told something of the truth, he did so in an entirely different manner from the way in which things happened, concealing what he ought to say, and affirming what he should not. This will appear by my reply to each Page 229decree—not as an excuse for myself, as I consider myself to be very rightly judged elsewhere; but in order to satisfy your Majesty, as I shall proceed to relate.
Beginning with the first decree, which treats of the confessions of the conquerors, they being constrained to make restitution in solidum, I say that I have never done anything in this bishopric which leaves me so vexed and conscience-stricken, as that I dealt so mildly with those who came to this country nominally as conquerors, but actually as destroyers. According to the true and sound doctrine of St. Thomas, and of all right-feeling men, they are all bound to pay in solidum for the damage which they have done. I, with more than necessary boldness, have planned so that no one has been asked to pay more than he himself has confessed that he owed; but that is nothing in comparison with the innumerable injuries which have been committed in this country. Four years have passed since I gave this order obliging them to pay one hundred pesos, and then another two hundred pesos, the largest amount not exceeding five hundred pesos. There were very few persons taxed for the larger sum, and they were captains or leaders of expeditions. They have put me off from one year to another and even yet they have not paid me, always alleging poverty. I have found it necessary to take from the little that I have to pay some of these obligations, on account of the needs of the Indians, and because the Spaniards had not the wherewithal to pay them. When I considered the hardships suffered by Spaniards in this land, and that it will utterly ruin them, if the matter with which we have to deal be treated severely by the theologians, I dared, on this account, to do what no one else would have Page 230done. There is no lack of religious who, since their arrival here, condemn my action, and say that I am obliged to constrain the conquerors still further, or to pay the compensation myself. I assure your Majesty that these scruples have constrained me, and do so today, to such an extent that this is the principal thing among other matters of considerable import of which I have to give an account to his Holiness and to your Majesty. There is no doubt whatever that he who does the damage is obliged to make restitution; and all the more when the injured persons are living as they, or their children and heirs, do in these islands. From investigations which I have had made regarding those persons who inflicted the injuries, I am assured that the sums collected as restitution do not amount to the hundredth part of the valuation of the damages. As my age makes it impossible for me to go to Spain, and since your Majesty, as a most Christian prince, so earnestly desires and strives for the welfare of these natives, I shall send herewith a memorandum of what I have done in this case, and of what each of the conquerors has paid, and of the injuries committed—although it would be impossible to relate them all. I do this so that your Majesty may be pleased to grant to me and to all this land mercy and grace, when my actions are considered there; and, if it should be necessary, to procure the approbation of his Holiness to compromise the matter by releasing them from the remainder of the restitutions, as full restitution is impossible. To attempt to do more would be only to harass them, with no other result than burdening their consciences. Thus I will be freed from these intolerable scruples and continuous vexations in which I am placed. Page 231
Your Majesty seems to hold me guilty for having encouraged the slaves to leave the Spaniards. I do not know how blame can be placed on me therefor, since the Indians held as slaves by the Spaniards (who were unwilling to let them go) have been declared free by your Majesty. It was evident that the former could not be absolved, any more than if they had stolen property; and your Majesty knows that, in the jurisdiction of the conscience, there is not the liberty that there is in external matters. Your Majesty may pardon a life, or remit the penalty of the law to him whom he may consider meet; but the tribunal of conscience is not free to pardon anyone, or to absolve persons from any sin, except when they act as they ought. Confession being thus rigorous, even greater laxity was permitted than should have been. Your Majesty must believe that I am trying to do everything possible here, so as not to exceed my duty, and I never take such action without first consulting with such persons of learning and conscience as are here.
In the second decree, your Majesty orders that when the Sangleys wish to be baptized, their hair shall not be cut off. He who reported this to your Majesty deceived you, for there are not only a hundred houses occupied by Sangleys who remain here for negotiations with their merchandise, but more than [blank space in MS.] who live in the alcaiceria of this city, called Parián, and more than [blank space in MS.]1 in all the neighborhood. It is certain that in both places there are at the very least Page 232more than [blank space in MS.]. Since the religious of St. Dominic came to this country, more than two hundred have been baptized, and every day many more are receiving baptism. But inasmuch as what concerns the Sangleys, and the great compassion with which God has dealt with them and with us, will go in a separate letter, in order not to increase the length of this, your Majesty will read therein matters that will prove how well you are served, and you will give abundant thanks to God. He who reported this to your Majesty must have some zeal, but not with knowledge; for I consider all the conditions, desire the conversion of these Chinese, and obtain it, better than he who wrote to your Majesty. I would not decide to have their hair cut off, if it were not so necessary that not to do so would be to endanger greatly the faith and the persons with whom I deal. These affairs are of such a nature that no matter what opinion were given, I could not do anything else, even though I should wish to do so. Because I considered it fitting to baptize two of them without cutting off their hair, I thereby did myself much harm; your Majesty may thus see how contrary to actual facts are the things written you from here, and that the death-penalty is not suffered for cutting off their hair, as was written to your Majesty; for after the Dominican fathers learned the language we discovered vast secrets of that land, which were formerly well hidden.
The third decree states that there are many ecclesiastics in this bishopric who trade and carry on traffic, to the great scandal of and bad example to both Spaniards and Indians. He who wrote your Majesty told the truth in part, since two ecclesiastics Page 233from Nueva España furnished this bad example, although I did what I could to prevent them. Nevertheless, God punished them more severely than I did; for all the property of one was taken away by the Englishman,2 and the other died here, and lost what he had sent to Nueva España. Those ecclesiastics who are under my government, however, have not exceeded their duty in this respect as much as your Majesty has been informed. Moreover, they are not so many as has been said in Spain, for there are not more than five who are stationed among the Indians, and these are so poor that they do not even have enough to eat. More than one and one-half years before this decree came, I had taken measures to correct the excess which might result, having ordered that no ecclesiastic should carry on traffic. This appears by the ordinances which I had made concerning this. That your Majesty may order them to be considered and amended, I enclose them with this letter. In the future this order will be more rigorously observed, according to your Majesty's command.
In the fourth decree, your Majesty says that the president of this Audiencia wrote that when he came to this land, he agreed with me as to the order [of precedence] to be followed when the Audiencia and I should encounter each other in public. He further says that, disregarding this arrangement, I sat in the place which did not belong to me, and turned my back on the Audiencia. I would be very glad to meet the president before your Majesty, and hear his reason for daring to inform your Majesty in such a Page 234manner. It is very certain that no such agreement was ever made between him and me, except that, when there was to be a procession in the church, the president should go with the auditors, and I with my clergy; for he claimed the right hand, and I did not have it to take. Thus we came to this agreement. The place, however, was not discussed, nor was there any excuse for doing so, as it is well known that the Audiencia is always seated on the gospel side in the body of the chapel; and, although the bishop is usually in the choir, he may, when he wishes to do so, sit on the gospel side, above the steps. Wherever I have been, this has been the practice; and I sent an account thereof, with the testimony of an eye-witness, to the Council of the Indias. Your Majesty provides and commands by this decree that I shall take the place belonging to me. This order means that I take the same place which I took then, as that is the proper place belonging to a bishop, without giving any cause whatever for the Audiencia to feel injured, as the places are very distinct from each other. Although the vexation ceased, because of the suppression of the Audiencia, the injury done me by the president, in writing to your Majesty, has not yet come to an end. I ought not to fail to reply to what is so unjustly imputed to me.
He who informed your Majesty of the matter contained in the fifth decree, namely, that when appeal is made to the royal Audiencia in cases of fuerça,3 I do not allow the notaries to give an account thereof; and that I seize the writs and records of proceedings, so that they cannot be issued, the Audiencia Page 235having requested me in vain to do otherwise—whoever, I say, gave this account to your Majesty did me greater injury than any of the others. For not only is this not so, but I even urge the notary to give a report; and I am so far from [what has been said] to the contrary, that I assure your Majesty that I much regretted the suppression of the Audiencia. For I was very glad that, whenever I denied anything on appeal, the Audiencia examined my reasons therefor; and, whatever was determined there, my conscience was freed and at rest. Moreover, I always accepted, without making any objection, the decisions of the Audiencia; for I would consider it a grievous offense to deny your Majesty's right to make the final decision in cases of fuerça, and would not presume to contradict it in any manner whatsoever. If he who made that report based it on two cases which came up—one when they erased my name from the prayer at the mass of the Audiencia, and substituted their own names; the other when, in an investigation, they claimed the right to examine the proceedings which had been conducted in secret—in these two cases I confess that I refused to give up the records. I did so in one instance because there were therein very secret matters touching the office of the Inquisition, of which I was then in charge. When they commanded that report of this case be given, I said that it would be furnished in so far as concerned the chaplain of the said Audiencia. This was what they had asked, and claimed the right to try this case. Nevertheless, they would accept nothing but the entire proceedings; but with this I could not comply, for it would have been impossible to do so without very grave damage to my office. After considering Page 236my reasons therefor, the Audiencia insisted no more in the case. The other case concerned the general investigation which I had made of the prebendaries and clergy—two of whom appealed against the sentence which I imposed, stipulating that the tenor thereof be observed as is expressly commanded by the Council of Trent. They had recourse to the Audiencia; and when an order was given for the record of the case to be presented, I replied that there were secret matters touching the honor of the clergy, which I could not show, but that I would show that part referring to the two ecclesiastics; as they wished their offenses to be known. Nevertheless, it was not right to exhibit the guilt of the others, as they did not feel that their sentences were unjust. There were many arguments over this point, and all the theologians of this land said that I was right. To avoid scandal I openly consented that the two ecclesiastics should appeal to the archbishop.4 Both then and now I have felt much aggrieved by the injustice done me by the Audiencia. I have sent a complaint thereof to your Majesty, and do not know why the testimony I sent has not yet arrived there. I had then and still have reason for complaining that the Audiencia usurped my jurisdiction and discussed proceedings which properly belong to me, but in which they have forestalled me. A citizen of this city left a piece of land whereon was built a hospital and church for the poor. Although this was ecclesiastical property, they deprived me of judgment in Page 237this case, and retained it in their own body. At another time, the Indians had dared to take a friar from his convent, and they dragged him to the place where I was. I commenced to try the case, and gave a verdict against the Indians, as it was doubly sacrilegious to take the friar from his convent, and to place hands on an ecclesiastic. This case came to the Audiencia by way of appeal, and it still remains there, with the records. A beneficed priest, who was performing the duties of his office, was refused its dues by the encomendero, and came to me for justice. After I had ordered the encomendero to make the payment, he appealed to the Audiencia, and they retained the suit there, claiming that the property given to beneficiaries in this land is secular. As I am poor, and have little power, these injuries and similar ones have not been heard of in Spain. I have suffered them and have kept silence, in order to avoid scandal; but for having resisted in but two cases, in which I was obliged to defend the right of my jurisdiction, in order to comply with the duties of my office, they made a damaging report of me to your Majesty. They say that I would not permit a report to be made, and took the records of the suit from the notary, so that they could not be dealt with. In order that your Majesty may see the difference between what I here declare (which is the actual truth), and what they wrote to your Majesty, accusing me of resisting in toto the commands of the Audiencia in regard to the cases of fuerça (which was glaringly false testimony against me), I have decided—although everything touching the Audiencia is now settled, since your Majesty has commanded it to be suppressed—to answer the account which they gave Page 238your Majesty about the places and the cases of fuerça. Although I am sure that my cause has been justified before God and those men who know what has happened, I do it to satisfy your Majesty, to whom I owe all obedience and subjection as to my king and lord. I am even bound to explain my conduct; because, by the grace of God, your Majesty has no one in this kingdom who serves you with greater love and zeal. I claim no payment nor temporal interest whatever, because this I neither desire nor demand; but I do only my duty, and that I do with all my might. I could send your Majesty good and sufficient proofs of everything which I have said here; for I certify, in all truth, that everyone to whom I have shown these decrees has crossed himself in surprise that there should be a person or persons who would dare to make such malicious reports to your Majesty. It suffices me to say that, if credit be not given me, not much time will pass before this truth will be revealed, beyond all possibility of hiding.
May our Lord guard the royal person of your Majesty, and preserve you many years. At Manila, the twenty-fourth of June, one thousand five hundred and ninety.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Filipinas.
[Endorsed: “To the king our lord, in his royal Council of the Indias. Filipinas. 1590. The bishop; June 24.” “Received and read, June 19, of the year 1591. It is unnecessary to respond thereto.”]
The letter which your Majesty ordered to be Page 239written to me from San Lorenço el Real [i.e., the Escorial], on the seventeenth of August of eighty-nine, I received by the hand of the secretary of the governor, Gomes Perez Dasmarinas, in the village of Tabuco, outside of this city, on the first of June of this year ninety. And for one so beset with afflictions, labors, and difficulties as I am, the favor which your Majesty therein shows me was no little comfort; for I have been freed by it from the pains of conscience, which I continually bore in my soul, at seeing the course of affairs in this land. I held myself obliged by conscience to go in person to inform your Majesty of these matters, as it appeared to me that my letters were accomplishing little, in accord with my hope that your Majesty would at once amend what you knew stood in need of betterment. And this thought gave me more anxiety because, as at other times I have written your Majesty, among the calamities and misfortunes under which this land suffers, none the least is that your Majesty must get information of them through the very men who have destroyed this land, and who work for their private interests rather than for the common good. As the reports are made by such persons, your Majesty can well see the result. Therefore this land has come to its present misery; and the new governor will have no small task if he maintains it, and saves it from ruin, and it is even now all but lost. I am emboldened to say this because hitherto there have been made to your Majesty many perverse reports; and by this ship we have received the decrees, by which it clearly appears that false reports were given your Majesty, because of the provisions made in these decrees, as I shall explain elsewhere. Page 240
The greater part of the religious and other principal persons of this land were of the same opinion as I, maintaining that I was in duty bound to go in person and give your Majesty an account of affairs here, because they see that everything here is going to ruin; and that this common expedient was of greater importance than the harm that might be done by my absence. But thanks be to God, in whose hands are the hearts of kings, and who put into the heart of your Majesty what is provided, ordained, and commanded by this letter for the weal and betterment of all this land. If this be executed as your Majesty has ordered, the country may be helped; but hitherto there has been so much sloth and carelessness in executing what your Majesty provides and orders for the good of this land, that thus it has come to its present extremity. I trust in our Lord that this state of affairs will not continue, but that the principal aim of the governor and of all the rest will be to procure the good of these natives whom we have so afflicted.
This whole country has been well satisfied at your Majesty's suppression of the Audiencia, for without doubt it was a greater burden than a country so feeble and poor could bear; although I was always of the opinion that, if it were paid from Mexico, the Audiencia would work no harm here. But what your Majesty orders and commands is expedient for all of us; and so we hold it a great favor, especially as your Majesty sends in place of the Audiencia, as governor, Gomez Perez Dasmarinas—who, from the good example which he has furnished and the zeal which he has disclosed in the service of your Majesty and the good of these realms, has given universal satisfaction, and the hope that he will improve the Page 241condition of the land, and give it the orderly condition which it was losing. May the divine Majesty preserve in him these excellent intentions, and give him strength and grace to execute them; because as the heart of man is so hard to understand, and of itself so variable, and this land is so exposed, it is not strange that we fear some alteration, having seen it in others who also gave excellent examples. But if the governor who has now come to us shall persevere in what he has begun (as I hope in God he will persevere), your Majesty has sent us the man whom we need.
When Doctor Santiago de Vera came by command of your Majesty to establish the Audiencia in this country, he set up for himself a seat of honor in the church, as the viceroys do. The adelantado, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, did not establish one, nor did the governors who afterward succeeded him. Gomez Perez, who is now governor, did not wish to set one up; for in this and in all other things he has shown himself very moderate. But it seemed to me that he should not fail to establish it, and thus at my importunity, and that of other persons, he has done so. Because your Majesty has already honored him in other respects, favoring him with a guard of halberdiers, and as people from all the kingdoms of the infidels by whom we are surrounded resort to this city, and as these barbarians respect their superiors as gods, it did not appear to me to be right that the person who represented your Majesty should discontinue the dignity which was required to represent you. And in order that your Majesty in the future may be pleased to provide this land with a governor who shall be capable and worthy to use his authority, I Page 242beg your Majesty to approve this and send him the order to continue and make permanent the practice.
The twelve thousand ducats which your Majesty has ordered to be paid in three installments for the work on this church, were necessary enough, although I fear that they are to avail as little as the rest; because, although your Majesty has so often commanded it, and we on our part have exercised the greatest possible diligence, it has not been possible to draw out from the royal treasury what was due from it for the said work; and so it has come to a standstill, or so little is done that it never advances. It really is a pity to see a cathedral church, in a city containing so great a concourse of heathen, where divine offices are celebrated in a church of straw, in which, on the coming of a storm, no one can remain. Your Majesty will see what the condition of the rest of the churches must be. It certainly is a pity to see the little care there is in this matter, and the scandal occasioned to the heathen and the recent converts by the little veneration that we who have so long been Christians bestow upon the temples in which we worship our God, for really many of them are not fit to serve as stables. I have given your Majesty an account of this before now. The two thousand ducats which your Majesty ordered paid from the treasury of Mexico for this work were not brought, because the governor could not bring the securities that were necessary to obtain that sum there, because of his hurried departure. Moreover, it should be understood that it will be very difficult to collect the portions to be paid by Indians and encomenderos, because of their want and poverty. And for this reason we do not dare to press them much, deeming it better that the work should be done Page 243slowly than to harass one who is unable to do more; and it has been the treasury of your Majesty which has aided us least.
Your Majesty's command that the religious should not depart from the bishopric without license of your Majesty, or that of the governor and myself, is a very just thing, and therefore it will be carried out; because it also seems fitting to me not to let the religious depart from here, where they are so few and so many are needed. Before this ship arrived the president and I had despatched two Dominican religious to Chincheo, which is the province of China nearest to this land, and the place whence all the Sangleys who come here to trade set forth. In this departure there was a punctual observance of what your Majesty commands in this clause of your letter, although we had not then received it. And owing to the fact that before we determined to send them, and at the time when we sent them, there occurred many notable things from which your Majesty should receive much satisfaction, I thought it better, in order not to make this letter so long, to place them by themselves in another, which will accompany this one, in order to give your Majesty a more detailed account of things so worthy to be heard.
With regard to what your Majesty orders concerning the remission of tithes for twenty years to those who now come to settle and who may come in the future, I would to God that the Spaniards were inclined to cultivate the land and to gather the fruits from it, rather than that we should ever afflict the natives by tithes. But your Majesty should know that when a man comes to this country, even if he were a beggar in Spain, here he seeks to be a gentleman, and Page 244is not willing to work, but desires to have all serve him; and so no one will give himself to labor, but undertakes trafficking in merchandise, and for this reason military and all other kinds of training have been forgotten. From this fact not a little damage will come to this land, if the governor does not regulate this. In the letter which the cabildo of the church wrote to your Majesty a much longer account is given of this.
To proceed informally [de plano], without insisting on legal technicalities [sin llegar a tela de juicio], and not to impose pecuniary punishments in the suits which occur in these regions, is a most holy and necessary practice. I desire greatly that in the tribunals of your Majesty this be observed; in mine I have so provided, and this practice has been observed and henceforth will be observed with greater rigor.
He who informed your Majesty of the disorderly manner in which have been collected the tributes of the encomiendas which are not fully pacified, and how poorly the ordinances of your Majesty have been observed, spoke the truth in this matter. The excess in this has been so great that it has been the cause of all the riots and the revolt of the Indians, and of the deaths which have occurred among the Spaniards. I have given your Majesty news of this, grieving for the evils which have sprung from it. For the Indians of this province, in those places where the name of God has never entered, nor that of your Majesty, must feel resentful where they have seen neither ministers of instruction nor of justice; but only see that each year a dozen of soldiers with arquebuses come to their houses to take their property away from them, and the food upon which they live, although their Page 245all is little enough. These collectors afflict, maltreat, and torment them, and so leave them, until they return another year to do the same. What else can these natives think of us, but that we are tyrants, and that we come only to make our gain out of their property and their persons? And this will be very difficult to remedy, so distant from the rest are some of the encomiendas, with water between, and so little fear of God have those who make the collections. It may be that with the arrival of the new governor there will be much improvement in this; although if he does not bear an order from your Majesty to change some measures which up to the present have been in force, I have no hope of betterment.
In the next to the last clause of this letter your Majesty says that to remedy the present lack of instruction is my own special obligation, which I confess; and I have so appreciated this that, seeing the great present need of instruction and the little help which I can offer, I am so disturbed and so filled with anxiety that, if I were able to leave the bishopric, I would try to flee from it. But if, inasmuch as your Majesty declares to me my obligation, and puts in my charge what is lacking, you should give me, together with it, authority to right affairs, your Majesty would be relieved of responsibility, and I of anxiety, other than to make progress in learning my obligations. If I do not have authority and power to remedy this, I must live all my life in anxiety and perturbation of spirit, because every year I see them collect tribute from a race that is never given to understand why it is collected; nor is there any hope that they may be able to have instruction, because of the great difficulty there is in giving it to them. Page 246Knowing that this is the legitimate title which we have in seeking tribute, your Majesty may see what peace of conscience he can have who has all these souls in his charge, both those who collect and those of whom collection is taken. To relieve me from the anguish in which I live, the only means of removing all difficulties is for your Majesty to send us a great number of religious of the four orders already established here—without giving ear to those who speak of a matter about which, in my opinion, they have no means of judging here. They say that some have tried to persuade your Majesty, with no other spirit than that of the devil (who wishes to hinder so much good), that we have all the religious that are necessary. In addition to the thirty-seven Augustinians now here, more than three hundred others are needed; and even these will not be enough. Yet, with this number great results would be accomplished.
The first is that your Majesty would be fulfilling the obligation which you have toward these nations, in giving them instruction. They need this, because of the ten divisions of this bishopric eight have no instruction; and some provinces have been paying tribute to your Majesty for more than twenty years, but without receiving on account of that any greater advantage than to be tormented by the tribute and afterward to go to hell.
Second, all the Indians who are to be pacified will then be found, because experience has already shown us that to think of finding the Indians with a force of soldiers is rather to lose them, and never to pacify them; while with religious they all become obedient with great good will. And, when they are pacified Page 247and converted, much larger tributes can be exacted, and the increase of revenue in the treasury of your Majesty from their tributes would be greater than the amount spent in sending them religious; while the conscience of your Majesty would be free from the greatest weight which, in my judgment, it has in this land, because tributes are collected from Indians who have never rendered obedience, and do not, as I have said above, know why they are paying it.
In the last clause your Majesty orders me to charge myself with the protection of the Indians of this bishopric. I receive this charge as a special favor; because, as it was, I was burdened with the same responsibility, and with this commission I shall have, as your Majesty says, more authority in order to render aid. And this provision was so necessary because, without it, I was able to do almost nothing to succor the Indians. And with this I think I shall be able to serve your Majesty more, and to advance the cause of those who shall come with the charge of bishop, although the one joined to the other is of very great consequence. The Indians who have learned of it are very glad, since the obligation which is due them from the Spaniards is of no concern to the latter. And as it is from the hand of your Majesty, this office, then, is of greater importance for the relief of the conscience of your Majesty and the preservation of the natives, than any other one of all that are provided for afterward by the governor. I have not the wherewithal for the expenses which occur; for there must necessarily be a notary, interpreter, and lawyer, and persons who with my authorization shall be present to plead the suits—which will not be a few, and cannot be carried through without spending money—Page 248since I am not able, nor is it right that I should be on hand to present the petition, or to plead the causes and business of so much weight and authority. To take this task of being my agent, some honest man, however honorable his station, should be glad to do it. It is necessary that he be a person of great credit and of resolute mind, that he may not fear to defend the Indians, although at the risk of injury from those who harm them, and this seldom fails to come to pass, as the disputes are often with those who are very powerful.
It will also be necessary to send persons from this city through all the bishopric to investigate the injuries that the Indians suffer. Before they go to do this, I shall have notice of what is happening; and this is to be done at the cost of your Majesty's treasury, in order not to give occasion for the robbery of the Indians, if they should have to pay them. All this is necessary in order that I should be able to perform well this office, and relieve the conscience of your Majesty and my own; because many are the wrongs which the Indians receive in this bishopric from your encomenderos, the alcaldes-mayor, and the tax-receivers; and, the farther away they are, the greater the wrongs and the more difficult the remedy. I humbly beseech your Majesty to be pleased to command provision to be made as I here request, because otherwise my protection will be only nominal and ineffectual. I have already discussed this with the governor, and I understand that he will make provision in some of these things, because the necessity is very urgent; and for the remainder we wait what your Majesty is pleased to command. The friendly intercourse which your Majesty commands me to Page 249observe with the governor, your Majesty may be assured will not be lacking on my part; and I understand that without doubt there will be as little lack on the part of the governor, because in the little intercourse that I have had with him I have conceived very great hopes of him. And I believe that God inspired your Majesty to send him to us—although, as I have known him only a little while, I am not able to express more than what I hope.
Because there is no mention made of the Sangleys in the clause of the letter in which your Majesty commands me to take charge of the protection of these natives, the governor has considered—and this is his opinion—that because we were not there named, neither I nor my agent could answer for them, as for the natives. May your Majesty be pleased to command what is to be done in this case, because the Sangleys have so much more need of protection than the natives. In the meanwhile, according to the wish of the governor, I shall not cease to aid in whatever may concern them, just as if I had been appointed to look after them by your Majesty; and my agent will do the same, in those matters which belong to him as such. May our Lord preserve the royal person of your Majesty for many years. At Manila, the twenty-fourth of June, 1590.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Filipinas.
[Endorsed: “Filipinas. To his Majesty; 1590. The bishop; twenty-fourth of June.” “Received and read on June 19, 1591; and answer sent him that it had been received, and that what he advised had been approved and should be continued.”] Page 250
1 Regarding the numbers of Chinese residents at Manila, see Salazar's own statement in his account of the Parián (p. 230 ante.)
2 The English pirate Candish, who plundered the “Santa Ana.”
3 Fuerça: as here used, indicates violence to law, done by ecclesiastical judges; see note 46, in Vol. V, p. 292.
4 Reference is here made to the archbishop of Mexico, who had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Philippines until the archbishopric was created there. At the time when Salazar's letter was written, the see of Mexico had no incumbent, the diocese being governed by the dean and chapter.
Don Phelippe, by the grace of God, King of Castilla, Leon, Aragon, the two Sicilies, Jherusalem, Portugal, Mallorca, Sevilla, Cerdeña, Cordova, Corçega, Murçia, Jaem, the Algarves, Algezira, Gibraltar, the islands of Canaria, the Eastern and Western Yndias, and the islands and mainland of the Ocean Sea; Archduke of Austria; Duke of Borgoña, Bravante, and Milan; Count of Habspurg, Flandes, Tirol, and Barzelona; Seignior of Vizcaya and Molino, etc. Inasmuch as I have been informed1 by the city of Manila in the Philippinas Islands that the great consignments of money sent by the wealthy from Nueva España, for investment in Chinese merchandise and that of other countries, have caused ruin to that country; and that the factors and others taking part in the said trade buy the goods at wholesale prices, and raise the price of all the merchandise, so that the poor and common people of the said islands cannot buy them, or buy them at very high rates; and Page 251furthermore that, because of the number and size of the said consignments of goods, and the vessels being few in number (indeed, sometimes and usually but one, and then quite filled up and laden with the said merchandise for Mexicans), no space is left for the citizens and common people [of the Philippines] to send their merchandise: therefore, as they have implored me, as a remedy for the said annoyances, to provide and order that no consignments of money be sent from the said Nueva España to the said islands, and that they be not allowed to have factors or companies there, but that the citizens of the said islands alone be allowed to buy and export to the said Nueva España domestic and foreign products; and that, if anyone else should wish to trade and traffic there, he should be compelled to become a citizen of the islands, and reside there for at least ten years, or as might be my pleasure; and because my will is to concede favor to the said islands, in order that their condition may continue to improve, and the inhabitants thereof to be advantaged—I grant that, for the present, they alone, and no others—whether of Nueva España, or any other part of the Indias—may trade in China, and export, take, or sell to the said Nueva España the merchandise and articles thus traded for in both the kingdoms and mainland of China, and in the said islands, for the time and space of six years, first commencing from the date of the departure of the first vessel with a cargo of merchandise for the said Nueva España. I prohibit and forbid all other persons whomsoever, of whatever rank and preeminence, from trading in the said islands and in China for the space of the said six years, reckoned as above stated, under penalty of confiscation of the Page 252merchandise that they have traded for therein. I order that this my provision be promulgated in the City of Mexico, and that my royal officials there enter it in their books. Those of the said islands shall do likewise, and they shall endorse on the back of this said provision the date upon which it took effect, by the departure from port of the first vessel with the said merchandise. They shall send me a separate attestation of the same, so that I may know when the said six years are to be in force. And neither one nor the other shall do anything contrary to this order. [Blank spaces for place, day, and month] one thousand five hundred and ninety.
So that for the period of six years only, the citizens and inhabitants of the Philippinas Islands and none others, whether in Nueva España or other places, may trade and traffic in China.2
[Accompanying this decree is a separate paper reading as follows: “÷ By the crown of Castilla. Provision allowing the people of Manila to trade in China. His Majesty omitted to sign this decree, because he wishes your Lordship to summon Pedro Barbosa and Pedro Alvarez Pereira, and to ascertain from them what is written on the subject from India from Don Christoval de Mora to Pedro Alvarez. This latter will show your Lordship all the papers that he has bearing upon this matter; and after you shall have examined them, you shall advise his Majesty of your opinion. Sant Lorenzo, July 23, 1590.” Without other signature than a rubrica or flourish.] Page 253
1 The MS. from which this document was translated is evidently a copy of a decree prepared in answer to the request of the citizens of the Philippines (see the “Memorial” of the general junta, in Vol. VI, p. 166 ff.).
2 On the back, this document is signed by members of the royal Council of the Indias.
Source: This document is obtained from copies of the original MSS., in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla.
Translation: It is synopsized, and partially translated, by Emma Helen Blair; the remaining translation is by Frederic W. Morrison, of Harvard University, and Norman F. Hall. Page 254
|The royal hospital for the Spaniards possesses about one hundred taes of gold in the encomienda of Darandum in Ylocos, which was assigned to the said hospital by Doctor Sande.||DC pesos|
|It possesses, further, six hundred pesos, which were granted to it by the president from the encomienda which fell vacant because of the death of Don Luis de Sahajosa, in Ylocos.||DC pesos|
|It possesses one thousand five hundred fanegas of rice, and one thousand seven hundred fowls, assigned by the president from the tributes of Caruya and Lubao, which belong to his Majesty.||DLXX pesos|
|It possesses what your Lordship assigned it in the encomienda of Bondoy Moron, which, it is thought, will amount to more than eight hundred or nine hundred pesos.||IU pesos|
With the above, the said hospital cannot even support the expenses incurred for food and for services rendered by the Indians. It likewise needs a doctor, Page 255medicine, nurses, and other services, as well as exceptional delicacies, bed clothes, and tents. Indeed half the money is expended in the anointings and sweatings which are applied throughout the year.
There is also needed a chaplain, who is usually attached to the said hospital, to administer the sacraments to the sick.
The building of the said hospital does not suffice for its needs. It contains but one hall, where all classes of sick people are packed together, to their own detriment. Another infirmary is greatly needed for patients who suffer from buboes, and for anointings and sweatings; there are many sick with this disease, since this country is well suited to produce it. The said hospital also needs a room for the convalescents, for lack of which many relapses are wont to occur.
We also need quarters for sick women, for many poor creatures do not recover because they have no money, and no place where they can go.
Likewise, the said hospital is in need of a kitchen, utensils, and quarters for its servants, all of which things are needful therein for the suitable outfit and service of the said hospital.
The captain Cuenca, as director of the hospital.
Inasmuch as I understand that some of the encomenderos, and especially those from Camarines, have gone, or desire to go, to ask permission of your Lordship to collect from their encomiendas, in which they never have, nor do they at present, maintain Page 256religious instruction, I have deemed it best to send to your Lordship a brief statement of what I and the theologians of this bishopric feel concerning the collections in the aforesaid encomiendas, in order that your Lordship may understand how and in what way they are to be licensed to make these collections.1 Although the king, our lord, has unburdened his royal conscience by entrusting it to your Lordship and to myself, I see no reason why we should weigh down our own souls and consciences with what others are to eat and expend.
The encomiendas existing in these islands are, in general, divided into two classes; for some of them have had and do still have religious instruction, and others have never had it in the past, nor do they enjoy it at present. The encomiendas which do not possess instruction are themselves divided into two classes: the first consists of those which have not had, and now have not, any religious instruction, nor have they ever received from their encomenderos spiritual or temporal benefits; on the contrary, their present condition is such that it would seem the Spaniards had never gone thither to do aught else than to reduce and conquer them in order to exact tributes. We may even say that the encomiendas are in worse condition than if the Spaniards had never come, for, with the harsh treatment and oppression that they have received at our hands, they are at present further from receiving the law of God than if they had never known us. The second class consists of the encomiendas which, although they have not been instructed, Page 257have received from their encomenderos, or by means of them, some temporal advantages which tend toward spiritual benefits, which prepare them so that they may be instructed, and that one may live among them in security. In the first division are included the encomiendas of Calamianes, which at present belong to Captain Sarmyento; the islands of Cuyo, which belong to Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion; the encomiendas which are in the islands of Mindanao and Jolo, and on the coast opposite, Mindoro and Elin; the encomiendas called Zambales, which extend from Maribeles to Pangasinan; in Ylocos, the valley of Dinglas, and the encomiendas which extend from Ylagua to Cagayan, and all those of Cagayan; and those which extend along the farther coast from Cagayan to Mavban; and, finally, all those other islands of like character, which I do not at present remember. In all the aforementioned places, it has been hitherto impossible to collect the tributes, and it will likewise be impossible in the future, should they continue to maintain their present attitude; but whatever has thus far been collected from them we are under obligations to restore.
In the other division are included all the remaining encomiendas of the Pintados, with the exception of a few in Panay where there is religious instruction. In the above division are included the islands of Leite, Negros, Babao, Balon, and Bohol; and, in the island of Panay, the encomienda of Captain Pedro Sarmiento; the encomienda of Axuy, which belongs to his Majesty and to Francisco de Rribera; the tingues [hills] of the river of Araud which belong to his Majesty and to Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion and two or three other encomenderos; the islands of Page 258Marinduque and Masbate, and all the others which extend thence to the mouth of the channel; in Camarines, the islands of Catanduanes and Lagunay, and those along the coast and many others which are in this condition. In all the aforesaid places it may be considered a general rule that religious teaching did not, and does not exist—or at least has existed for so short a time that it is practically the same as if it had never existed. Moreover, from all the aforesaid places and from others like them, since they have been in such condition that one could travel through them in security (and, if ministers should come, their inhabitants could be instructed), it has been possible to collect a certain amount of tribute, for aid, and support, and expenses. Not all, or even half, of the tributes, however, could be collected; if the encomiendas are rather large, only the third part is obtained, and if they are small, only half. Moreover, whatever collections were made from these encomiendas could not be made until they had been prepared as aforesaid. Inasmuch as this matter is a most difficult one, on account of the danger incurred in collecting from the Indians what they do not owe, and when they are not willing that it should be collected, and of depriving the encomenderos of what is due them in case they have fulfilled their obligations toward the Indians, this shall be the rule regarding such action as has been taken hitherto by the confessors, namely, that an encomendero who has simply made collections among the Indians, without having done them any temporal or spiritual good, shall not be entitled to collect any tributes; if, however, through his endeavors, or by trading with them, they are so well-inclined that he can go about safely Page 259among them, and they themselves can be instructed when they have ministers, the encomenderos shall be entitled to collect from them the portion which we have named above. In order that from this time forth, the king in the royal encomiendas, and the encomenderos in theirs, may, as has been stated, collect the third part or the half, the following conditions must be observed:
First: That the encomenderos shall endeavor, with the utmost diligence and care, to establish sufficient religious instruction in their encomiendas. In case they are unable to do so, they shall write to his Majesty, requesting him to provide the necessary number of ministers to teach the Indians; and they shall ask this so earnestly and effectively that his Majesty will feel himself under obligation to send ministers. They shall likewise offer, if it be necessary, to pay a part of the expenses which his Majesty shall incur in sending the ministers.
Second: In case ministers cannot at once be found to instruct the natives, orders shall meanwhile be given as to how the encomenderos are to reside in their lands. This should not be done in the manner which has been hitherto practiced, when some of the encomenderos hoping thus to reduce their expenses go to live in their encomiendas (indeed, I know not if there are any who act otherwise), and there employ the Indians in the service of themselves, their families, and their houses, taking away their possessions at the lowest price, and treating them as if they were their slaves. They care nothing for instructing the natives, or setting them a good example, or preparing them to receive baptism; on the contrary they exasperate the Indians Page 260with their harsh treatment, and cause them to abhor the law of God. Such encomenderos as these should not reside in their encomiendas: the governor ought to forbid them even to visit those places, and should himself appoint such person or persons as would fulfil toward the Indians the obligations which rest upon encomenderos.
Third: In the encomiendas of the king, and in those of the encomenderos who, for the aforesaid reasons, ought not reside in their encomiendas, such persons shall be appointed, with the approbation of the bishop (to whom his Majesty has entrusted this care, and which of right falls to him), as shall fulfil those obligations toward the aforesaid natives which are incumbent upon encomenderos, conformably to the law of God and to what his Majesty has provided and commanded in his laws and ordinances—in order that in this manner the Indians may be pacified and appeased; and so prepared that, when they shall have ministers, they can receive instruction from them. Under these conditions and limitations, the king in his encomiendas, and the encomenderos in theirs, may collect from the said encomiendas something from their current products, for help, maintenance, and expenses. That would be a third part of the tributes, if the encomiendas are large and the religious teaching sufficient therein; but if the encomiendas are small it would be half, as has already been stated.
Among the encomiendas which maintain religious instruction (although none, or very few, have enough of it), there are some whose inhabitants, although including some Christians, are for the most part infidels, and so ill-disposed and so unfavorably situated Page 261that it is impossible for them to receive the instruction, since there are not enough ministers in the said encomiendas. Even though instruction exists therein, no tribute, or at least very little, ought to be exacted of the infidels until they have ministers to teach them, and the encomendero influences them to give consent, so that they can be taught. In this class of encomiendas are included the tingues of Silanga, Pasi, Tabuco, and Maragondon; those of Pangasinan, and others in Ylocos; and the rest in the island of Panay. These encomiendas are among those which have religious instruction: the others have already been enumerated.
The encomenderos of these islands have fallen into an error, based upon a misunderstanding of a decree of the king, in which he commands that a fourth part of the tributes from the encomiendas shall be set aside in order to construct churches and to provide for divine worship. They imagine that by virtue of this decree those encomiendas which have never had religious teaching may collect the entire tribute, after setting aside a fourth part of it. Moreover, but a small number have set aside this fourth part, and they have done it very seldom. It is an unbearable deception for the encomenderos to hold this view, for this decree does not refer to the encomiendas which, as we have said, are deprived of religious teaching. As for the latter, not only can the king not give them license to collect their tributes, but, even were he here, he himself could not collect them. The aforesaid decree, moreover, treats not of these, but of the encomiendas whose inhabitants are already Christian. It is with regard to these that the king commands that a fourth part of the tributes be appropriated Page 262for the construction of churches; and that in place of the tithes which they, as Christians, owe to the ministers for their maintenance, a certain part of the tributes be appropriated in such wise as may be here decided. Afterward, I shall satisfactorily prove that it never entered the king's mind that the encomenderos would, by renouncing the fourth part of the tributes, fulfil their obligations toward their encomiendas.
The above is a summary of the contents of the opinion which I am preparing, wherein may be found a more extensive treatment of what I have here set down. In that document your Lordship will find complete proofs of what is contained in this summary, accompanied by arguments so cogent and convincing that there is neither room nor possibility for doubt in this matter.
Two other points are to be found in the clauses furnished to me by the secretary, Juan de Cuellar, drawn from the instructions which the king, our lord, gave to your Lordship for the good government of this land. In one of them there is a discussion of the two reals which his Majesty ordered to be added to the tributes hitherto collected. It also contains the views of the theologians of this bishopric, and my own, concerning this increase. Your Lordship will find them all in the document which, as I said above, I am preparing. Inasmuch as the execution of that clause is not immediately pressing, it has not seemed to me necessary to discuss it here.
The other clause deals with the means to be employed in establishing religious instruction in the small encomiendas and districts where the said instruction does not exist. Concerning this we shall Page 263have but little to say at present, not because the affair is free from very great difficulties, in undertaking to accomplish his Majesty's orders as contained in the aforesaid clause; but because there is no present occasion for anxiety regarding the establishment of this instruction, inasmuch as there are no ministers to undertake the work. I will only say that, if his Majesty does not decree that the small encomiendas be made into a few large ones, it will be most difficult (and indeed almost impossible) to establish therein religious instruction.
In conformity with this, your Lordship will see how you are to give permission to the encomenderos who do not maintain instruction, so that they may collect from their encomiendas, if your Lordship wishes to make secure your own encomienda2 which I, by this statement, have enabled you to do.
May Jesus Christ, our Lord, bestow upon your Lordship the light of His grace, so that in all matters you may be enabled to accomplish His holy will, and secure the welfare and protection of these natives, which they so sorely need. From our house, on the twelfth of January of the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-one.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Filipinas.
The first conclusion: From the encomiendas Page 264which have not had and do not have religious instruction, and have never received from the encomenderos any other benefit or advantage, either spiritual or temporal, than the collection of the tributes, then being left in their former condition (and such are most of the encomiendas in this bishopric), the tributes should not be exacted. But in case they have already been exacted, or shall be in the future, and the encomenderos shall have done no more good therein than they have thus far, those who have made these collections shall be compelled to make restitution therefor to the natives of the said encomiendas. This same obligation also binds those who, being obliged by their office, and having the power to prevent this evil, shall give license, or consent, or permission, that these collections be made.
Second conclusion: In the encomiendas which, although they may not have had or at present have religious instruction (or so little, and for so short a space of time, that no result can be observed), have been pacified through the earnest endeavors and good works of the encomendero, and whose inhabitants are so subdued as to permit of travel and residence among them, and favorably disposed to receive instruction in case there should be anyone to impart it to them; the encomenderos shall be allowed to collect a certain portion of the tributes—as, for example, the third part, if the encomiendas are of average size (for, if they are large, it is a great deal to collect the third part), and one half, if they are small—by which we understand a population of three hundred Indians, or a less number. The tributes thus collected are granted as aid for the encomendero's maintenance, and for the expenses of said pacification. Page 265
Third conclusion: All that was collected from the Indians before they were thus rendered willing to pay must be restored to them by those who made such collection, or by those who permitted it, as is stated in the preceding clause.
Fourth conclusion: All the rest of the said half or third part which has been or shall hereafter be levied upon the Indians, before they shall have received sufficient religious instruction, must be restored by those who have made or permitted to be made the aforesaid collections.
Fifth conclusion: From the encomiendas which have received sufficient religious instruction and whose inhabitants are all, or for the most part, Christians; or when those who are not Christians have voluntarily held back from conversion—all of the tributes may be collected, provided that care be ever taken that the infidels be persuaded and not compelled or forced to make these payments: indeed, as much concern should be had for them as for the others. Let it be understood that the said infidels do not refuse or be adverse to becoming Christians; for in this case the tributes may not be exacted from them—or, at least, not all, and even then with their consent.
Sixth conclusion: In the encomiendas where there are infidels who, through lack of adequate religious instruction, have not received baptism, taxes should not in the past nor shall they at present be collected in full, but according to the manner set down in the second clause.
Seventh conclusion: Although all the inhabitants may be Christians, if their religious instruction has been insufficient the encomenderos are obliged to deduct Page 266from the tributes all that should be expended for a sufficient number of ministers to impart the necessary instruction.
Eighth conclusion: In order that an encomienda may be said to possess sufficient and adequate religious instruction, the minister should not be burdened with the care of more souls than he can properly instruct and direct in spiritual matters, so that he can give to all those who are infidels suitable instruction in Christian doctrine—not merely so that they know it by rote, but also so that they may understand (so far as they are capable of this) the signification of the words, and the mysteries contained therein. Thus, too, he will be able to make each and every one of them understand all that is necessary for them to believe, and know, and do, in order to be good Christians. All this should be done before baptism is conferred upon them; and like efforts should be made that no one shall die without the sacrament. When the minister undertakes to baptize them, he must see that they know well what it is, and are prepared for it, and understand what they are receiving—namely, that they are dead to their past life, and are commencing a new one, and from that time forth are new men. As the inhabitants of many of these islands have received baptism without the aforesaid solicitude and preparation, many sacrileges have been committed; and, as a result, many and great misfortunes have ensued, which we can now clearly discern, and yet but poorly remedy.
In order that the Indians, after their conversion, may have adequate religious teaching, and be taught and instructed and guided in the conduct of their souls, a minister should not have the care of more Page 267Indians than he can know, visit, and minister to in such wise that all may understand and comprehend the doctrine. Then, if anyone is sick, the minister can know of it, and visit and console him in his sickness; and if the sick man be poor, the minister can give him what he may need, or shall find someone to do so, so that the sick man may not die without confession or extreme unction. To the living who are prepared for it, he can administer the eucharist, and can persuade everyone to prepare himself so that he can receive communion, and can labor with all earnestness in making known the great benefits which are contained in the most blessed sacrament, and how much is lost by those who do not partake thereof, and the obligation of all Christians to receive it. The minister can thus also personally care for the burial of the dead; and, in short, fulfil with solicitude and concern all the demands and obligations of his office as a priest, and in the care of souls. It is because the ministers in the Indias are burdened with so many souls, that we observe so little Christianity there, that so many die without the sacraments, and there are so many infidels to be converted.
Ninth conclusion: As soon as the Indians shall have become Christians the encomendero may with good conscience exact from them the tributes which are imposed and regulated by his Majesty or by persons commissioned by him; and the Indians are bound by conscience and justice to pay them, if they have adequate religious instruction and the encomendero fulfils the obligations imposed upon him by his acceptance of the encomienda.
Tenth conclusion: The encomenderos are under obligation to observe, exactly and faithfully, the instructions Page 268given them, that they may not transgress these in regard to the kind of tributes to be paid, or to the age or condition of those who must pay them—under pain of mortal sin, and of making restitution for what they shall have exacted in violation of law or beyond the amount assessed. The damages moreover, which are sustained by the natives in compelling them to pay tributes which they are not bound to pay, and the expenses incurred in making the collections, should be at the cost of the encomenderos and not that of the Indians.
Eleventh conclusion: It is grievous inhumanity and a sort of cruel tyranny to seize the chiefs and keep them prisoners until they pay the tribute of those who fail to do so; and it is a much greater wrong to afflict and torture them while in durance. He who shall make collections in this manner, or permit them to be thus made, is, aside from the mortal sin which he commits, bound to restore to the chiefs the tributes thus exacted from them; and would be most fittingly punished by being deprived of the encomienda of which, through his own wrong-doing, he has made himself unworthy.
Twelfth conclusion: Although the encomiendas are given to the encomenderos in return for their services to the king, our lord, the principal aim and object of his Majesty in giving them has not been, nor can it be, only that the Indians should pay tribute and render service to the encomenderos; but, on the contrary, that in return for the tributes which are paid them, the encomendero shall be obliged to provide the Indians with ministers to instruct and care for them, to defend and protect them, to see that they are not ill-treated, and to answer for them in all necessary Page 269matters. It therefore follows that the encomiendas are and should be instituted rather for the good of the Indians than for that of the encomenderos; and that the encomenderos cannot be termed, nor are they, the lords of the Indians, but their attorneys, tutors, and protectors.
Thirteenth conclusion: The tributes which the king, our lord, has imposed upon the Indians are not, nor can, nor should they be, all for his Majesty or for the encomenderos—to whom he allots them in order that from this fund may be taken all that is necessary to support the ministers of religious instruction, and for the embellishment of the churches and divine worship.
Fourteenth conclusion: The encomenderos who, to avoid or lessen expense, neglect to employ in their encomiendas all the ministers needed to accomplish and fulfil what has been set down in the eighth conclusion are in mortal sin, and cannot be absolved. Moreover, it is not enough to say that their encomiendas already have ministers; they must employ as many of these as are necessary to fulfil all the duties there enumerated, according to the number of souls contained in their encomiendas. And the said encomenderos are responsible for all the injuries and evils referred to in the said conclusion, if through their fault there are not ministers to do what should be done. The minister or ministers, moreover, are responsible if, when they have in their care so many Indians that they cannot properly minister to them, they shall be unwilling to receive or to look for other ministers to help them.
Fifteenth conclusion: The number of ministers required for each community cannot be readily determined, Page 270since there are not in all the encomiendas the same conditions existing; in some, the people live closer together than in others; and where they are more scattered, or more difficult of access, more ministers will be needed than when they live nearer one another. When they are thus near, and well disposed, five hundred Indians are a sufficient number for one conscientious minister to take in charge; and when we shall have an abundant number of ministers, they should be stationed in each encomienda, in that ratio.
Sixteenth conclusion: If through lack of ministers enough cannot be placed in each encomienda to give adequate instruction, such as can be obtained at the time should be employed, and the encomenderos shall remain under obligation to deduct from the tributes what has been stated in the seventh conclusion.
Seventeenth conclusion: All that the Indians have expended in erecting churches and houses for the ministers, and in their maintenance, through the unwillingness of the encomenderos to pay therefor, the latter are obliged to make good—the entire amount expended, for the maintenance of the ministers; and of that expended for churches and houses, their share.
Eighteenth conclusion: In order that, from this time forth, the encomenderos who do not maintain religious instruction may collect from their encomiendas the portion which is stated in the second conclusion, the following conditions shall be observed: (1) They shall endeavor, most assiduously and earnestly, to establish religious instruction in their encomiendas, that such establishment shall not be delayed; or, if it be not made, so that the lack cannot be imputed to their negligence and indifference. And, Page 271inasmuch as we have not here the requisite number of ministers, the encomenderos shall inform his Majesty how great is the lack, and supplicate him promptly to send ministers hither—offering, if it shall be necessary, to pay a part of the expenses to be incurred in sending them hither. (2) The encomenderos shall endeavor, personally or through the medium of persons skilled and competent, in whom may be placed entire confidence that they will deal with the Indians as God requires and the king commands, to defend the Indians and protect them against the injuries inflicted upon them. They shall strive to influence them, by good works and example, to accept the law of God, most carefully preparing them so that, when they have ministers of the Christian doctrine, they can be instructed. They shall not act as do some encomenderos (and most of them are of this sort) who visit their encomiendas not for the good of the Indians, but for their own profit; and who, through their presence, work more injury to the Indians by the many grievances which they occasion, and the bad example that they set, than the latter are advantaged in being thus pacified.
Nineteenth conclusion: It has been a very great error on the part of the encomenderos in these islands who do not maintain religious instruction to think that because they contribute a fourth part of the tributes they may collect and keep for themselves the remainder. This is based upon their misinterpretation of a decree of the king which states the portion which is to be appropriated from the tributes for the erection of churches and the support of the ministers (although this decree has already been annulled by others). This decree did not apply to the encomiendas Page 272which we here mention; for if the king himself cannot levy tributes, he could ill permit others to do so, excepting the encomiendas which we discussed in the ninth conclusion.
Twentieth conclusion: What has been already said in the preceding conclusions concerning the encomenderos likewise applies to the encomiendas which belong to the royal crown; for the king is under even greater obligation than are the encomenderos to provide his Indians with religious teaching; and to the same extent as they, he is bound to make restitution of all that has been unjustly collected. It follows from this that the officials of the royal exchequer, who are charged with the collection, of the tributes for the king, are obliged in conscience to observe and fulfil all that is stated in the preceding conclusions, and to make restitution of all the tributes, or such part of them as has been or shall be collected contrary to the tenor of the said conclusions. This obligation is all the greater for the governor than for the officials of the royal exchequer; since he, by reason of his office, is bound to care for all the natives of these islands, and not to permit them to be wronged, and to require satisfaction from anyone who may wrong them.
Twenty-first conclusion: Former governors were under obligation, as are those who rule both now and hereafter, to observe and fulfil, in the repartimientos which they assign or shall assign, the provisions contained in section 144 of the royal ordinances drawn up in Segovia in the year 73, the tenor of which is as follows: “When the country has been pacified, and its rulers and inhabitants have been reduced to obedience to us, the governor shall, with their consent, direct Page 273the partition of the lands among the colonists so that each of them shall be responsible for the Indians of his repartimiento, defend and protect them, and provide a minister who shall teach them to live in civilized ways, and shall do for them all else that encomenderos are bound to do for the Indians of their repartimientos.” In the following section: “The Indians who shall be reduced to our obedience and allotted to the conquerors shall be persuaded, in recognition of universal seigniory and jurisdiction which we hold over the Indians, to assist us by the payment of a moderate tribute, from the fruits of the soil. It is our will that the tributes thus paid us be collected by the Spaniards to whom encomiendas shall be given, for which reason they fulfil the duties to which they are bound.” What his Majesty commands in these two sections of the said ordinances conforms to both natural and divine law, both of which would be violated if even the king should contravene these ordinances. From this the governors will recognize the obligations under which they are to heed the attitude of the Indians whom they must allot in encomiendas, in order not to work against a law as just and necessary as this is.
Twenty-second conclusion: If in any case the governor allot an encomienda whose inhabitants shall not be in the frame of mind which the aforesaid law requires (a condition which must needs be very rare, and the result of causes so forcible that the king, upon consultation, would consider them of sufficient weight), in order that the governor may not be under obligation to make restitution of what shall be collected therefrom, he is bound to order such encomendero not to collect the tributes until he has, by his Page 274earnest endeavors and just treatment, brought the Indians to that disposition which, in the aforesaid two sections, his Majesty requires. In case the encomendero shall collect the tributes beforehand, the governor shall command him to make restitution; and if, for lack of such orders, the Indians shall suffer any wrong, the governor shall be responsible.
Twenty-third conclusion: The religious who are in the Indias are not under obligation to go to Spain to obtain other religious; and if they could avoid it they would do wrong in going on account of the great deficiency of ministers caused by such departures. But as the need of ministers is so great, and as they are not sent hither from Spain, those who go thither to procure them should be well rewarded for the great hardships that they undergo in bringing religious. His Majesty, moreover, and the members of his royal Council are under obligation to send back at once, and with suitable provision, those who in their service to God and the king, and for the welfare of these souls, have suffered such hardships.
Twenty-fourth conclusion: The king our lord and his royal Council of the Indias are bound to send to these islands so many ministers that they can give adequate instruction to all the natives therein, even if our religious do not go or send for others.
Twenty-fifth conclusion: His Majesty is bound to give orders and to make all possible efforts for the conversion of the infidels—not only those who recognize him and pay tribute, but those who are not under his sway and do not recognize him as their lord—so that they may all come into the knowledge of God and enter the bosom of the Church. Nor should this be accomplished in the manner hitherto employed employed—Page 275namely, by the perversion of all law, divine and human; by murders, robberies, captivities, conflagrations, and the depopulation of villages, estates, and houses. These wrongs are inflicted and perpetrated by those who, under pretext and in the name of preaching the gospel, entered the Indias, and have thus profaned the sacred name of God and made the holy gospel odious; and it is by them that our holy religion has been dishonored. But now that his Majesty knows what excesses have been committed in these islands, he should order that henceforth they shall cease, and that in the promulgation of the holy gospel the instructions and rules be observed which our Lord Jesus Christ ordained, and which His holy evangelical law directs and commands, and which the holy apostles and the apostolic men who came after them practiced and observed until our wretched times. Since the Spaniards entered the Indias, their excessive cupidity has devised new methods of preaching the gospel such as our Lord Jesus Christ never ordained, or His holy apostles knew; they are not permitted by the law of nature, nor do they agree with reason.
I shall send the proofs of these conclusions to your Lordship as soon as my occupations give me opportunity and leisure to prove them. At Manila, on the eighteenth of January, 1591.
The Bishop of the Filipinas
In the document which I sent to your Lordship the other day was contained the substance of the opinion Page 276which I and other theologians of this bishopric hold concerning the collection [of tributes] from the encomiendas in these islands. I then stated that all the matter outlined therein would be sent later to your Lordship, proved in detail by convincing arguments. This, however, I have not been able to do, nor will it be possible as long as I must remain in this city; for day and night I am beset by necessary business. For this reason, I would be glad to be able to leave the city for a few days in order that I might conclude this matter—to which, since it is to be brought before his Majesty and his royal Council, persons who are to consider it with care, it would seem but right that I should also give most careful attention. And yet the truth of all that I say is so manifest that I would be put to little trouble if I were compelled to prove it; but considerable time would be necessary to put it in order. Having sent the aforesaid opinion to your Lordship, I ceased to concern myself about the matter, for it seemed to me that the document contained (although in outline) all that the truth required, and all that I had to say thereon. Accordingly, what remains for me to set down will not be an addition to the aforesaid, but merely an effort to explain it further, and to prove by arguments and authority what has already been stated in brief.
The dean informed me this morning that your Lordship was awaiting my opinion, and had suspended action until I should send it. I told him that, as far as I was concerned, I had already given it—that is to say, I had told your Lordship how I, as well as the other theologians, and right-thinking persons of this bishopric, felt in this matter. It is true, I did not send, as soon as I might, what remained Page 277to be said; but that, after all, matters but little for the truth of the affair. As I stated in the opinion which your Lordship has in your possession, all that I might afterward say is contained therein. However, in order that your Lordship may have a clearer statement of what I sent in that document, and of all else that I have to say, it has seemed expedient to send to your Lordship another paper, which accompanies this letter; therein are contained twenty-five conclusions, in which there is a summary of all that may be said in relation to the encomenderos of these islands, concerning both the collection of the tributes, and the obligations of the encomenderos towards the Indians of their encomiendas. Further, I have stated therein the duties of the governors in respect to their treatment of the Indians and the collection of tributes. I thought it best to state those conclusions in the same order as before, since I shall place them in that order in proving them.
I fully realize that for those who are accustomed to collect tributes with no other care for the Indians of their encomiendas than to obtain their money and then leave them to bear their afflictions, those conclusions must of necessity appear very severe; but, although the truth always hurts those whom it chastises, it should not on that account be suppressed—for, as St. Gregory says, one should not be hindered by any obstacle whatever from uttering the truth. The difficulty of this affair, moreover, does not consist in knowing what the truth is (for that is perfectly evident); but in the fact that unrighteous custom favors the powerful, and is hostile to those who, although they can do little, are unwilling to submit to what those who are in power choose to command. Page 278But the weak have given thanks to God, who has moved the heart of our most Christian king to order that a remedy be applied to so many and so great disorders and excesses, which up to the present time have been so contrary to natural law, and proved so great an impediment to religion and evangelical preaching, and so harmful and prejudicial to the inhabitants of these islands. Indeed, if we should hear, as God does, the complaints and outcries which continually arise in the hearts of these people, we would clearly see how much more cause there is for comforting them than for favoring those who have inflicted upon them such injury. And yet, if we but consider this carefully, we shall see that the Spaniards have done themselves still greater harm, since they have deprived the Indians merely of their property, but have incurred the condemnation of their own souls.
I, my Lord, do not wish, nor do I pretend, that the encomenderos should die of hunger, or that your Lordship should lack the means to fulfil your obligations; but I do maintain that we should have such care for what is right for the Spaniards as not to sicken more souls, or cause the gospel to be received in this land not gladly, but by force, and in such wise that it will not avail those who receive it.
The king, our lord, need only decree that this matter be left to the conscience of those who govern here; for his Majesty cannot examine it with his own eyes, and, consequently, the entire burden falls upon your Lordship and upon those of us who have to decide what shall be done. This affair is not one of so little risk as not to require a most careful consideration; for to deprive the Spaniards of the right of Page 279collecting the tributes from their encomiendas, when they might just as well do so, is to deprive them of their very property, and give them permission to collect from those who do not owe tribute, and to free them from obligation to the Indians. Thus the entire responsibility would fall upon those who might express their opinion; consequently, it has been necessary, as I have already said, to consider the matter most carefully. This I have done by consulting persons who know and thoroughly understand the point at issue; and by comparing therewith what I have seen and know from experience, and from my knowledge of the law.
Such are the contents of the conclusions which I herewith send your Lordship. I trust that you will be pleased to read them and will expect from me no other opinion than the one therein contained; for I have, and shall have, no other, and there is not a right-minded person in the bishopric who dares maintain the contrary.
Two points should be especially noted among those which I here set down. The one concerns the second conclusion wherein I make the following statement: From the small encomiendas may be collected half of the tributes even where there is no instruction, if the encomendero fulfils his duties; and from those of average size a third part of the same. Although there is, in strictness, no reason why one-half should be collected from the small encomiendas and only a third part from the others, yet after careful consideration, it has seemed to us both equitable and reasonable that, in a very small encomienda, the encomendero should collect from each inhabitant somewhat more for his maintenance than if the inhabitants were Page 280numerous and thus could provide, even when a less sum was levied, better support for the encomendero.
The other matter for consideration relates to the statements in the third and fourth conclusions concerning the restitution of what has thus far been taken from the natives. In this matter some moderation should be displayed, in view of the present needy condition of the encomenderos. This subject, however, will be discussed later, and the best possible arrangement will be made for assuring the peace of consciences, which we who are here strive to do. It is, too, no small grace to your Lordship, that this matter should be considered in your time. I can assure your Lordship that there has been much criticism concerning what past governors have permitted, and I do not know how in the end they are to fare with God; for a governor, from the very character of his office, is under obligation to prevent, within his jurisdiction, evils which can be remedied. God will know how to call to account those who have permitted these abuses, and will free your Lordship from these difficulties before they have entangled you. Your Lordship indeed owes much gratitude to God, for, whether or not the encomenderos make any collection, nothing will be cast into your purse without your experiencing much scruple at not having remedied the evil. God knows the scruples and anguish which the past has caused my soul, for, although it seems that I could have done no more than to raise my voice in opposition, and write to his Majesty, I am not sure that this will avail me with God, who is wont to dispose of such matters quite otherwise than we imagine; therefore, by giving my views upon this question, and by expressing to your Lordship my sentiments. I feel Page 281myself exonerated in the sight of God and of men. Let your Lordship reflect what it is meet to do, for my opinion has been already given. May God, our Lord, so enlighten your Lordship that in all things you may do what is right. Amen. From this, your Lordship's house, today, Friday, the twenty-fifth of January, 1591.
The Bishop of the Filipinas
Assuming it to be his Majesty's will that, in the encomiendas where, for lack of ministers, instruction is not given, some tribute shall be collected, if only in recognition of services rendered, it seems but fitting that enough should be collected to sustain the encomendero—or, if he should abandon the encomienda, some person who should continue, in his stead, intercourse and relations with the Indians, so influencing and directing them that, when they are given instruction, they may receive it willingly; and settling the minds of the Indians, so that we can deal with them and travel among them. Such persons or encomenderos are accessory to the gospel, and should be supported, as ministers are, by the tributes of the Indians—who, if deprived of their presence and left without this intercourse, will doubtless become intractable, and a country which is at present secure and orderly will require a fresh pacification. Accordingly I say that if your Lordship should order the encomendero to appropriate, for his own maintenance and for necessary expenses (which are so great, and the encomiendas so small), [three—M.]3 fourths of the Page 282tributes, and if the remaining fourth should [be used—M.] for the erection of a church, for ornaments, and other accessories of religious instruction; or, if this fourth part should be remitted to the Indians (although, in reality, if they think that by not becoming Christians less will be exacted from them, they will never become Christians or admit fathers into their territory; and it is certainly better for the Indians to have this fourth part held as a deposit for the three years, since at the end of that time [they can add—M.] to it a tribute, and assist in paying the expenses of erecting the church and the costs of other accessories of instruction and other necessary expenses which may arise); and if the above should be asked from them in advance, and as a whole—I maintain, that all this could not be exacted without great injury to the Indians.
This tribute should be collected with much gentleness toward the Indians, without the presence of soldiers and firearms, and without entering their houses. One house should, however, be set apart for the purpose of making these collections, where the Indians, summoned in friendly terms, may come voluntarily to pay their tributes; and no other force or pressure should be imposed upon them. Moreover, of the increase of two reals in the tributes, only one (and no more) should be exacted, and the aforesaid collection of the three-fourths should be general in all the encomiendas. There are no grounds for making a discrimination between the Indian of the large encomienda and the Indian of the small one; and if it is right to collect in the one, the same procedure holds good in the other, for the same thing applies to [four—M.] as to forty, which in this case would mean not Page 283to change the present and past condition of things, or the universal practice throughout all the Indias, by interfering with his Majesty's decree.
We should consider how little there is in this country besides the tributes, for the support of the encomendero or such person who has to represent him; and that, if the Indians should cease to pay the tributes, all would go to destruction; and even were religious instruction to exist, there would be no system for applying it. This instruction, moreover, is not at present in the hands of the encomenderos, for they have asked me, as I believe they have your Lordship, to make provision for the same, offering the necessary salary and expenses. Accordingly, since this charge is not in their hands, the above means might be justly employed; so that the districts which are disaffected might, with such intercourse, be prepared to receive the gospel in due time.
This plan can be followed temporarily, until information concerning it shall reach his Majesty—who, I assure your Lordship, will straightway adjust the matter by providing these islands, as well as those most distant and as yet unpacified, with sufficient religious instruction; and by determining what share of the cost shall fall to the encomenderos according to the detailed information and report which shall be sent hence to him, together with your Lordship's statement. Thus all will come to enjoy the fruits of the gospel, which is our principal end and object with these peoples. In return, they are to offer this moderate tribute, which is to facilitate their conversion, to which end everything is directed; and to prepare them for it by this means, without which there would be no way for endeavoring to interest anyone, even if Page 284the tribute should amount to many millions. But, with this justification, it can be levied.
The encomenderos shall maintain their residence, and, as your Lordship justly suggests, shall provide a good example and fair treatment toward the Indians of their encomiendas. And, in order that the latter may receive (as your Lordship says) some recompense in return, orders shall be given that all the encomiendas, however remote they may be, shall be provided with some administration of justice, with orders to the alcaldes-mayor in whose district these encomiendas chance to be to visit, at stated periods of the year, the Indians thereof. The officials shall then settle the disputes and redress the grievances of the Indians, bringing them by kind acts into intercourse and friendship with us. Where the present number of alcaldes-mayor is not large enough, others shall be sent, in order that thus may be facilitated our intercourse and influence among them. Under this pretext of administration of justice and of defense, at least a sufficient maintenance may be derived.
Let your Lordship take this matter into careful consideration. For my own part, cogent reasons oblige me to believe that, if this plan be not carried out, the encomenderos much of necessity abandon their encomiendas, as has [illegible in MS.] and no one will be found willing to burden himself with this charge and enter into relations with the Indians, in return for so small a stipend. Even if there were such persons, we could not place in them the confidence that we now have in the encomenderos, in whose virtue and Christian spirit his Majesty's conscience remains at rest. This would not be so secure in the care of substitutes, who replace persons who have abandoned Page 285their holdings, for lack [illegible in MS.] without much fear of being obliged to give a bad account of either themselves or the Indians; and, consequently, instead of introducing our holy faith among them, would only irritate the natives by oppression and ill-treatment.
This being so, if the encomenderos should abandon their offices, and no capable persons could be found in their stead, the rule of the Spaniards would come to an end in this land; for, as they possess here nothing beyond the encomiendas as a source of profit and a recompense for their services, if they should be deprived of these I fear that they all would depart from the country and it would be depopulated. In such a case, let your Lordship consider which of the two evils is the less, and which should be preferred: namely, that matters should remain in their present and past condition until his Majesty, after thorough information, make suitable provision; or that, in order to remedy this insignificant evil, we should run the risk of ruining and depopulating all the islands. I, my Lord, have not the slightest inclination to go to hell merely because the encomendero collects one or two thousand. After all, whatever your Lordship may consent to, and whatever we resolve to do, must be carried out, and I must order it to be executed, with the utmost promptness; for I understand this to be a matter which concerns the welfare of my conscience, wherein his Majesty unburdens his. But at present, I am thinking only of the difficulties involved in the execution of this act, which must be so hard for the encomenderos. When, in the establishment and accomplishment of a thing which in itself may be holy and good, there exist such obstacles that by Page 286means of them the whole is exposed to risk and danger, and the principal [illegible in MS.], as your Lordship may discern in the case of the religious fathers, who, because they attempted to place the Indians in charge of justice, desired them to give up all, and thus there was constraint. Yet they had charity and love for them, for otherwise all would be lost. The same injury will be inflicted on the encomendero, if we oblige him to relinquish the tribute, and give him no other means of support. This the king can do, by the decree which is expected.
It is certain that the very success of the affair admits of no other outcome than this. For, assuming that his Majesty, to unburden his own conscience, should commit to your Lordship and to myself the conduct and decision of what should be done in this matter, and should order me to execute what we both might determine, and agree upon, provided your Lordship should decide that what you have set down in your opinion and in your conclusions, ought in conscience to be done; and if I should find that, although such action is just and right according to law, yet in attempting to carry it out it would be in no wise proper to run the risk of ruining these islands—in this case your Lordship and I do not hold the same opinions, and we should report this to his Majesty. In the meantime matters will remain as they now are; and, if resolutions must be adopted, it is much better that we should propose them conjointly to his Majesty, with complete harmony and satisfaction on our part, in order that he may give such orders as shall seem best to him. In the meantime we should not undertake [illegible in MS.] all the more because, considering the affair in its beginnings, the commission Page 287and order of his Majesty—which instruct me to see that your Lordship consider what should and can be done in this matter; and also to execute the resolutions made by our joint agreement, with all the punctuality which is required therein—clearly express the will and determination of his Majesty, who mentions only the encomiendas which are at present disaffected, or have never been pacified. It is only concerning these latter, that doubts may be entertained as to the question of collecting the tributes, either in whole or in part (by way of recognition, as is stated in your opinion). These encomiendas are not reached by religious teaching, or by the administration of justice, or by other advantages; and, consequently, are the ones concerning which, as I have said, doubts are entertained. As for those encomiendas which may possess any of the aforesaid benefits, such as religious teaching, the administration of justice, intercourse, and other advantageous relations, there is no occasion for any dispute concerning them; nor should the management of these (as far as our present knowledge goes) be committed to your Lordship. It is, therefore, needless to include them in the general rule; but in dealing with the encomiendas which are disaffected, and in those not yet pacified, only a part of the tribute should be collected, for the unburdening of his Majesty's and our own consciences. Your Lordship's, etc. Page 288
We, the corporation and magistrates of the city of Manila, for ourselves, and in the name of all these Filipinas Islands, and of their encomenderos, settlers, and discoverers, do declare the following: As is well known, many of us came here twenty-seven years ago, when these islands were discovered, and have spent years in the propagation of our holy Catholic faith, the defense of the preaching of the gospel, and the service of the king, our lord. On account of this devotion we abandoned our fatherland, and forgot our parents, brothers, and relatives, and the comforts which each one of us possessed; and after having endured the great dangers of a long and hitherto unknown voyage, we settled in a land where we have shed our blood, and suffered the fearful miseries of hunger, thirst, exposure, and many other hardships, so great that they have cost the lives of the many thousands of men who are known to have come to these islands—not to mention all those valiant soldiers who serve his Majesty throughout his realm. At the conclusion of so many toils and misfortunes—after we had made this discovery, and had pacified and brought under the royal crown the many vassals who today are to be found throughout these islands, and had brought to the bosom of our faith the great number of souls who have already received baptism—his Majesty and the governors in his name have rewarded us by allotting to us a certain number of natives. But these grants are under such limitations and the tributes are so moderate that the most prosperous among us (and there are but few) are living Page 289in straitened circumstances, and the others do not receive the half of what is necessary for their sustenance; many of these have no recompense. Although our possessions are so scanty, we have been content therewith, inasmuch as we consider them as being a reward which we have won with our blood and so great labors; for we are thereby encouraged to serve our Lord and his Majesty—enjoying, as we do, these tributes and encomiendas in tranquil and peaceable possession of them, after they have been assigned to us. The king, our lord, also is profited by those who hold positions in the service of his royal crown; for they, with the tributes, assist in the great expenses which his royal patrimony incurs for the churches, religious orders, and ministers of the evangelical teaching, and for the supplies necessary for their maintenance. In this state of affairs it seems that on the part of the bishop of these islands and some of the religious thereof—not only generally, in sermons and in the pulpit, but privately, in the confessional—obstacles and difficulties are imposed upon our consciences by maintaining that we cannot exact the [illegible in MS.] his Majesty those which he exacts, and that we are going straight to hell [illegible in MS.] and that we are under obligation to make restitution for them. For this reason they refuse us the sacraments of absolution and communion; and, finally, they so obstruct us in the collection of this slender means of livelihood that we, and in fact the whole colony, are continually disconsolate and afflicted, and our consciences disturbed and ill at ease. We know not what plan we are to pursue in making these collections; for if we submit to the constraint which the aforesaid bishop and a portion of the religious would impose upon us, Page 290the necessary result will be that we cannot support ourselves, or even live; and his Majesty will be unable to meet the costs and expenses necessary for the preservation of the land—although our aim now as always, is to live and die in the service of his Majesty like faithful and loyal vassals.
We therefore entreat and supplicate your Lordship—inasmuch as the royal presence is so distant, and his authority is delegated to you in order to preserve us in peace and justice—to decree, in the name of his Majesty, as the person from whose hand we possess these encomiendas, that orders and explicit statements be given us as to what extent and in what manner we are to collect the aforesaid tributes, in order that with definite knowledge and freedom from misunderstanding, and without this present trouble and confusion, we may collect them by virtue of the order which your Lordship may give us to make such collections. And so likewise do we entreat your Lordship to command that his Majesty be informed as promptly as possible of what your Lordship shall order and decree, so that he may confirm and approve it, and determine what plan shall be pursued in this matter; and so that we may know and abide by it, and thus be delivered from these scruples and anxieties. In case the above should not be done as we petition, we would be deprived of part of the little that we possess; and, if compelled to make our collections in conformity with the ideas of the bishop and some of the religious, we shall not be able to support ourselves. We therefore entreat your Lordship, inasmuch as we do not depart from or fail in what we owe to the service of his Majesty as his loyal vassals, to give us permission to depart for Spain, where we may serve his Majesty Page 291in what he shall command us to do, and where he may favor us in proportion to the quality of the services of each one of us; thus we shall receive grace and justice, which is what we request.
Francisco Mereado Dandrade
Pedro Davalos y Vargas
Juan de Moron
Diego de Castillo
Juan Pacheco Maldonado
Don Francisco de Poca y Pendara
Hernan Gomez de Cespedes
Don Luis Enriques de Guzman
Antonio de Canedo
Alonso Garrido de Salcedo
[The remaining documents on tributes are presented partly in full, partly in synopsis, because of the repetitions and diffuseness which are frequent therein. Such parts as are thus synopsized will appear in brackets.]
[Replying (February 8) to the governor's letter, the bishop makes various suggestions. He considers that the responsibility for deciding questions connected with the tribute rests upon himself and the governor, and that it is unnecessary and undesirable to refer them to the king in ordinary cases.] This has been done for the welfare of these natives, or, to speak more exactly, in order that our holy faith may be received in these realms. On account of the many and glaring instances of lawlessness and disorder, this result is not yet accomplished in the greater part of these islands; and even those who have accepted the Page 292faith have received from it very little benefit. [Salazar urges the governor to meet this responsibility, and with him to determine the amount and methods of collection of the tributes. He remonstrates with the latter against his intention of collecting the whole or most of the tributes from the pagan Indians. Salazar says:] You state that the encomenderos will not desire the encomiendas, since they will obtain from them so little advantage, but will abandon their holdings; that the Indians will become unmanageable, and it will be necessary to pacify them anew, in order to have them instructed; and (which would be still worse) when the encomenderos can not be supported it will be necessary to abandon the country, and the faith will be ruined. This is certainly a very great difficulty, and would be the greatest which could befall us. But God, who has established here the faith, will not permit it to be so easily destroyed. Accordingly I maintain, first, that what is assigned to the encomenderos is not too small to support adequately any one of them whatsoever—not with the opulence and abundance that they desire, but as the extreme poverty and wretchedness of the Indians allows, and as the little that they have accomplished and are doing requires. For, if the encomienda be of good size, the encomendero can support himself very comfortably with the third part of the tribute, if it is expended in the same encomienda, where goods are held at lower prices; and if the encomienda be small, he may, by way of equity—although by the letter of the law he should take no more than does he who owns a large one—be allowed to collect the half of the tribute, since it would seem that he could not support himself with less. If they must have Page 293more, the encomenderos are not of so poor standing as not to have other relations and dealings by which they can increase their property and help to meet their expenses, in order that all the burden may not be laid upon the Indians; since even what they collect from the latter according to law they are not entitled to, until they pay the Indians what is due them.
[Salazar goes on to say that there is no danger that the encomiendas will be abandoned under this plan; and that the arrangement which he proposes is for only such time as is necessary to provide adequate religious instruction for the natives. Then the full amount of tribute may be collected, and the encomenderos will enjoy all their revenues. Most of them will shirk their obligations to the Indians, as they have done in the past, unless they are compelled to meet them; and Salazar thinks that they will be more ready to provide religious instruction if they are restricted from collecting the tributes until they shall have done so.] He who plants a vine expects to wait until it can mature its fruit; it is only with the Indians that the encomenderos will not wait until they are prepared to yield fruit, but are ready at once to cut their throats to make them yield it. And since they have thus far collected so many tributes from the Indians without justification for exacting them, it will be right that henceforth they should labor with them, without collecting from them the taxes so harshly, waiting until the Indians are prepared for having to pay the tribute; and the real preparation for this is to strive that they shall have instruction.
... For this they deserve some reward, such as the concession made to them in the second conclusion, which seems sufficient return for the little value of all Page 294that will be done for the Indians until they receive instruction. In order that your Lordship may be fully convinced that, even if further limitations should be imposed on the encomenderos, they need not for that abandon their holdings, your Lordship should remember that, after coming here, you reduced the salaries of some alcaldes-mayor, and took away those of some deputies; and yet they did not cease on that account to discharge their duties cheerfully, for they can with good conscience take whatever your Lordship shall assign to them. Why, then, should we fear that the encomenderos will leave their encomiendas, even if they are ordered to collect no more than the third part of the tributes?... Former governors, as well as your Lordship, have allotted encomiendas, imposing upon them an annual charge, for a limited period, for the benefit of the hospital or of some individual. These were most willingly accepted, the owners knowing that when the annual pension expired the encomiendas remained to them, which they might freely enjoy. It is certain, too, that what the encomenderos collected while the pension lasted was not equal to the third part. Why, then, will not the encomenderos endure this pension for so short a time, in order afterward to enjoy the encomiendas freely and with consciences at ease? for they can do that now.
[The bishop declares that the conversion of the pagan Indians will not be hindered by his plan. Not the least hindrance to the conversion of these islands is the harshness with which the tributes are collected from the Indians.] It is certain that when the faith is preached to the Indians on the plan and with the gentleness which our Lord ordained, attended with Page 295kind treatment and good examples, in accordance with the requirements of God's law, the infidels will never consider whether or not they have to pay tribute. For if they once reach a real understanding of what it means to be converted to God, and of the benefit which they receive from it, and the evils from which they are set free, not only will they not heed whether or not they are paying tribute, but they will, if necessary, surrender their goods and estates, in order not to remain without baptism. We need not vex ourselves to secure the baptism of infidels who avoid baptism in order not to pay tribute; since it is not such whom God chooses, or whom the church needs.
The greatest difficulty for the Sangleys who sought baptism has been the command to cut off their hair. It is certain that on this account many have failed to become Christians, whereat I have been exceedingly grieved. Not that I have not always wished, and still desire, that all of that nation might be converted, and I have exerted myself to that end with all my strength; but when I see one of them hesitate as to cutting off his hair, it seems to me that he has not come for baptism in the right spirit, and for that reason I do not admit him to baptism. Those, however, in whose hearts God has moved, and who truly understand what they are receiving (and there are many such), are not disturbed because their hair is cut, or because they are forever abandoning their native land. On the contrary, these persons have broken all ties, and submitted to every requirement, that they might not remain without baptism. It is true that we have baptized some of that nation without requiring them to cut off their hair, through our reasonable consideration toward them; but we have Page 296never consented that anyone of them should be baptized until he had made up his mind to allow his hair to be cut: and then he did not know that we intended to baptize him without removing his hair. From the above it may be inferred that the payment of little, or much, or none of the tribute is not in itself a reason for the infidels to avoid baptism; they do so because we oppose so many obstacles to the preaching of the gospel, and set so bad an example, and because it is so preached that they do not understand it.
[Salazar protests against the notion entertained by the encomenderos that “all their festivities and superfluous expenses should be at the expense of the wretched Indians, when they themselves do not fulfil their obligations toward the latter.” Other persons can support themselves without an encomienda; so those who possess such aid can certainly do something outside of it to meet their expenses. The method of collecting the tributes hitherto has been little more than slavery for the natives; the bishop pleads in eloquent terms that the governor will reform this abuse, and consider the subject from the standpoint of the Indians as well as from that of the Spaniards.] In order that they may endure their hardships cheerfully, it is well that they should understand the change among the Spaniards which has occurred since the coming of your Lordship; for their burdens have been lightened by the reduction of the tributes from the former amount; and the Spaniards have done what they did not previously—that is, to treat the natives well, and to converse with them in a friendly manner. This, without doubt, will greatly incline them toward our holy Christian religion; and then the Indians cannot make this a matter of complaint Page 297against the Spaniards, but will keep silence and yield to whatever commands are given them. [The Spaniards have might on their side, and terrorize the weaker natives; but the right only should be considered, and is mainly on the side of the Indians. The conquerors have brought forward many specious arguments to justify their oppression, which for a time deceived even the bishop, who expresses his regret and remorse for his own mistakes; but his long experience has opened his eyes, and he espouses the cause of the oppressed Indians, urging the governor to consider their needs, without allowing the Spaniards to influence him in favor of their selfish and unjust practices. Salazar complains that the orders of both the king and the governors have been systematically violated or ignored; that no one has been punished for infractions of law save the poor Indians, who often have been justified in these actions.] But even this has not availed them to escape punishment in their persons and property. Yet thus far there is no instance known when an encontendero or collector has been punished for even the grossest acts of injustice and injury which they have inflicted upon the Indians. And this is the Christian spirit and the justice with which we have thus far treated this unfortunate people—we, who came hither to bestow upon them a knowledge of God! Notwithstanding all that, we demand that they shall not dare to move, or to open their lips in complaint. But we have a righteous God, who hears them, and in His own time will bestow upon each man according to his deserts.
[The Audiencia had enacted laws favorable to the Indians, which the governor should enforce. For this purpose, it is useless to depend upon the alcaldes-mayor, Page 298since most of them care only for their own interests and profit.] On this account the president undertook to reduce the number of the alcaldes-mayor, and to increase the salaries of those who were left, in order to remove from them the temptation to plunder. He also wished to abolish entirely the office of deputy, as he had already begun to do; this would have been no little benefit to the country. [The country will only be injured by attempting to increase the number of officials; they aid in the oppression of the Indians, and care nothing for the bishop's efforts to oppose them. If the condition of affairs in Luzon is so bad, what must it be in Mindanao, or Xolo, or other remote districts? The Indians can not come to the governor with their grievances, and are helpless in the power of their oppressors.]
[Salazar briefly state the opinions given by the religious persons whom he has consulted regarding some of the chief points at issue. Most of them decide that the third part of the tributes will be enough for any encomendero, no matter how small his holding may be. As for the restitution of tributes unjustly collected, they all conclude that to require the return of all the goods thus acquired by the Spaniards would be too severe a penalty for the latter; but that hereafter no encomendero should be allowed to collect tributes from Indians unless he shall provide them with religious instruction, and if he shall so collect, he shall be compelled to restore to them the goods thus unjustly obtained. The governor is urgently entreated to investigate the manner in which the encomenderos are dealing with the Indians; to adopt and enforce the orders recommended by the Page 299clergy; and to permit no Spaniard to make collections of tributes unless he fulfil all obligations due from him to the natives. The same course should be pursued in the encomiendas belonging to the royal crown. If the governor will follow this course, the clergy will cooperate with him by refusing absolution to all who disobey.] From our house, February 8, 1591.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Philipinas.
[At the request of the governor, the members of the various religious orders furnish him with their opinions regarding the collection of tributes. The Augustinians thus conclude, in brief: The natives who enjoy the benefits of Spanish protection, the administration of justice, and religious instruction, should pay the entire amount assessed on them as tribute; for it is but just that they should bear the expenses of these benefits. It was Spain to whom the Holy See allotted the work of converting the pagans of the Indias; and, although she has in doing so inflicted many injuries on the natives, she has also conferred upon them many benefits in converting and civilizing them. If she should abandon the islands great evils would result. Even tyrannical treatment does not justify vassals in refusing obedience to their rulers—in support of which position many citations are made from the Bible and from historical precedents. The Spanish rulers are accordingly entitled to collect the moderate tribute which they have imposed on the Indians, if they protect and instruct the latter—the condition on which their right to tribute is based; but Page 300all should pay alike, infidels as well as Christians, when they receive alike those benefits. As for the Indians who have not been provided with instruction and the protection of law, no tribute should in any case be demanded from them and whatever has been thus far collected ought to be restored to them in full, as having been unjustly and unrighteously exacted. In the encomiendas which, although once pacified, have since rebelled, a small amount of tribute should be collected, not to maintain the encomendero, but to meet the expenses of restoring order and obedience therein. In other cases, where the encomendero fulfils his obligations in other respects, but fails to provide religious instruction for the natives through lack of ministers, he is entitled to collect only part of the tribute designated—that is, what remains after deducting the amount due for the support of ministers (estimated in proportion to the number of the people), and for the erection and maintenance of churches. In short, the natives should pay only for such benefits as they actually receive. The amount to be paid should be based on the amount expended by the government and the encomenderos in providing those benefits.] In these islands the number of five hundred Indians (and in some places even a smaller number) has been assigned to each minister as sufficient for his charge; and to each minister of religion has been given a hundred pesos and a hundred fanégas of rice, all which is worth at least one hundred and twenty-five pesos; this is the fourth part of the five hundred pesos which the five hundred Indians are worth to the encomendero. It is then a fair rate of taxation, and usually the most exact, to deduct, when religious instruction is lacking, the Page 301fourth part of the tribute. [If the encomienda is governed with justice, its holder may in reason collect the other three-fourths. The fathers remonstrate against the proposal to allow the holder of a small encomienda to collect more than he may who has a large one, as unjust and dangerous. If the fourth part is to be withheld from the encomendero, they think that it should be at once returned to the natives from whom it was taken. They recommend that the governor give orders that the administration of justice be everywhere established in the encomiendas, and then three-fourths of the tributes may be collected. For this, however, they advise the appointment of deputies directly by the governor, to inspect the encomiendas regularly—a duty which will not be satisfactorily performed by the present alcaldes-mayor, or by deputies whom they would appoint; and these persons should be given adequate salaries, to obviate the possibility of their defrauding the natives. The paper is signed by the Augustinian provincial, Juan de Valderrama, and eleven others of the order.]
[The Franciscans base their opinion upon the right of the king of Spain to impose tribute, as derived from the commission given to that country by the Holy See for the evangelization of the Indians; but this right exists only where the gospel is actually preached. They partially agree with the Augustinians, but hold a radically different view as to the amount of collections to be made when the encomendero does not or cannot provide religious instruction, but does protect and defend the natives, and set them a good example. For these services, as tending to prepare the Indians for receiving the true faith, he may be entitled to collect one-third of the tributes; Page 302but considered simply as temporal benefits, they do not give him any right to do so. Even the administration of justice to the Indians confers upon him no right in itself; it does so only as it may aid in or support the preaching of the gospel. This opinion is signed by Fray Pedro Baptista and three of his brethren.]
[The Jesuits regard both religious instruction and the administration of justice as just ground for the imposition and collection of tributes. When the Spaniards take possession of any land without providing these benefits, they are only “establishing divisions of territory between the crowns of Castilla and Portugal,” which has nothing to do with levying tributes on the natives of such region. In encomiendas where instruction is not given through lack of ministers, only such part of the tribute may be collected as belongs to the administration of justice; and the part which would be used for the support of religion must be returned to the natives. The fathers cite, in support of their opinion, various learned theologians. They would permit the encomendero who protects his Indians, but is unable to maintain religious teaching, to collect means for the support of himself and family—for which purpose they would allow him three-fourths of the tributes. The other fourth should be returned to the Indians; and, in districts where there is not and will not soon be religious instruction, this should be done without telling them the reason for such action; otherwise, they will not wish to become Christians. They urge that definite and prompt action be taken in regard to this matter. Their opinion is signed by Antonio Sedeño and two other fathers, and is dated February 20.] Page 303
[The Jesuits also send to the bishop a long and learned discussion of the question, answering some of the twenty-five “conclusions” which were adopted by the bishop and clergy (ante, p. 276 ff.). Their position is the same as that already stated to the governor; but they make a more detailed and full statement of their opinions on certain points mentioned by the bishop. They think that, in encomiendas where both religion and justice are administered, the infidels as well as the Christians should pay tribute; for they also are vassals of the king, and receive from him those benefits, and they alone are to blame if they do not profit by the instruction placed before them. Where justice is administered, without instruction, the tributes should be collected, after deducting the amount needed for the support of religion.] The fundamental reason why your Lordship and we cannot agree in this matter is, that your Lordship measures it by standards of sustenance, and we by those of income and just and due tributes; for since there are so many Christians here, there is no doubt that the king holds these lands by just title, nor can he in conscience abandon them. [In regard to making restitution to the Indians for tributes unjustly collected, the Jesuits would exempt from this the governors and royal officials; but it should be required from the encomenderos. If in these matters, however, the bishop and governor do not agree with them, the fathers will support the position taken by those authorities. They desire that the latter shall make definite decision on such points as can be settled, without unnecessary delay. They oppose the bishop's desire to permit the collection of a larger part of the tributes from small encomiendas than from large Page 304ones, because this would be not only unjust, but a dangerous precedent and a source of intolerable confusion and uncertainty. The tributes should be considered not as the means of support for the encomendero, but as the right and revenue of the king—a consideration which must shape all conclusions reached upon this subject. The Indians are not bound to support the encomendero; that is due him for his services to the king, who gives him the encomienda for this purpose, and for means to carry out the obligations of the king to the Indians. If from this some encomenderos grow rich, that concerns only the king; it is well that he should have in his colonies powerful men, “who are the bone and sinew of commonwealths.” Besides, the labors and responsibilities of these men increase in proportion to the size of their encomiendas; accordingly, they should be duly recompensed. The services rendered to the natives by the king and the encomenderos are enumerated; even those which are secular help to maintain religious instruction, and are also more costly than that; they should then be well recompensed. The restitution to be made by the encomenderos is a matter to be decided by the secular rather than the religious authorities; and such restitution need be only one-fourth of previous collections. A curious piece of information is here furnished: “It is known that a priest's district, even if it is not very large, yields him eight hundred to one thousand pesos; and besides this he has fees for burials, marriages, etc. There are reports, and even numerous complaints, from both secular and religious sources, that for lack of means to pay the fees, many persons do not marry, but live in concubinage.” The Jesuits think that this fee-system Page 305is wrong, and that the priest should be content with his stipend, at least among the poor, whether Indians or Spaniards; this applies both to regular clergy and to friars. The bishop is urged to remedy this abuse.]
[This is followed by another paper, which discusses minutely, from the standpoint of the logician and theologian, the question of collecting tribute from infidels who are not provided with religious instruction; it contains abundant citations from the Scriptures and from ecclesiastical writers. As it simply elaborates the opinions they have already stated, we do not here present it.] (To be concluded.)
1 This statement by the bishop, and the twenty-five “conclusions” which follow it are, in the original document from which we copy, misplaced in order of time; we therefore restore them to their proper place, as indicated by their respective dates.
2 Apparently a metaphorical use of the word, a religious double entendre.
3 The original MS. is in places torn or illegible; and matter enclosed in brackets, with the translator's initial, gives his conjectural readings of lacunæ.
Relation of 1586–88.—The text of this document is obtained from Cartas de Indias, pp. 637–652; but the location of the original MS. is not indicated by the editor of that work.
Decree of August 9, 1589.—This is obtained from the ”Cedulario Indico” in the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid; its pressmark is: “Tomo 7, fº 301, nº 449.”
Customs of the Tagalogs.—This is one of the appendices to Santa Inés's Crónica; see vol. ii, pp. 592–603.
The Chinese and the Parián.—This is translated from Retana's Archivo del bibliófilo filipino, iii, pp. 47–80.
All the remaining documents presented in this volume, are obtained from the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla, and are translated either from the originals or from transcripts thereof; the pressmark of each is indicated as follows:
1. Letter by Vera (1588).—“Simancas-Secular; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y expedientes del gobernador de Filipinas, vistas en el Consejo; años 1567 á 1599; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 6.”
2. Letter by Salazar (1588).—“Simancas-Eclesiastico; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y espedientes Page 307del arzobispo de Manila vistos en el Consejo; años de 1579 á 1599; est. 68, caj. 1, leg. 32.”
3. Letter by viceroy of India.—“Simancas-Secular; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y expedientes del presidente y oidores de esta Audiencia vistos en el Consejo; años 1583 á 1599; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 18.”
4. Letter by Vera (1589).—The same as No. 3.
5. Conspiracy against the Spaniards.—The same as No. 3.
6. Letter by Ayala.—The same as No. 3.
7. Instructions to Dasmariñas.—“Simancas-Secular; Audiencia de Filipinas; registros de oficio y partes; reales ordenes dirigidas a las autoridades y particulares del distrito de la Audiencia; años 1568 á 1605; est. 105, caj. 2, leg. 11, lib. i, fol. 171b–195a, part 2.”
8. Letter from Portugal.—The same as No. 3.
9. Grant to Salazar.—“Simancas-Audiencia de Filipinas; consultas originales correspondientes á dha Audiencia desde el año 1586 á 1636; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 1.”
10. Letter by Audiencia.—The same as No. 3.
11. Letter by Salazar (1590).—The same as No. 2.
12. Decree of July 23, 1590.—The same as No. 3.
13. Collection of tributes (1591).—The same as No. 2.