The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Philippine Islands, 1493–1898, Volume XXXVI, 1649–1666, by Various

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Title: The Philippine Islands, 1493–1898, Volume XXXVI, 1649–1666 Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the close of the nineteenth century
Author: Various
Contributor: Edward Gaylord Bourne
Editor: Emma Helen Blair
Editor: James Alexander Robertson

Release Date: October 28, 2009 [eBook #30350]
[Most recently updated: December 4, 2022]

Language: English

Produced by: Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The Philippine Islands, 1493–1898

Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the close of the nineteenth century,

Volume XXXVI, 1649–1666


Contents of Volume XXXVI

  1. Preface 9
  2. Documents of 1649–1658
    1. Royal funeral rites at Manila. [Unsigned;] Manila, 1649. 23
    2. Royal aid for Jesuits asked by Manila cabildo. Matheo de Arceo, and others; Manila, June 20, 1652. 44
    3. Condition of the Philippines in 1652. Magino Sola, S. J.; September 16, 1652. 49
    4. Jesuit missions in 1655. Miguel Solana, S. J.; San Pedro, June 30, 1655. 53
    5. Letter from the archbishop of Manila to Felipe IV. Miguel de Poblete; Manila, July 30, 1656. 63
    6. Two Jesuit memorials, regarding religious in the Moluccas, and the Inquisition. Francisco Vello, S. J.; [Madrid, 1658]. 68
    7. Jesuit protest against the Dominican university. Miguel Solana, S. J.; [1658?]. 74
    8. Description of the Philipinas Islands. [Ygnacio de Paz; Mexico, ca. 1658]. 87
  3. Documents of 1660–1666
    1. Recollect missions, 1646–60. Luis de Jesús and Diego de Santa Theresa, O.S.A., (Recollect); [compiled from their works]. 109 [6]
    2. Description of Filipinas Islands. Bartholomé de Letona, O.S.F.; La Puebla, Mexico, 1662. 189
    3. Events in Manila, 1662–63. [Unsigned; July, 1663?]. 218
    4. Letter to Francisco Yzquierdo. Diego de Salcedo; Manila, July 16, 1664. 261
    5. Why the friars are not subjected to episcopal visitation. [Unsigned and undated; 1666?]. 264
  4. Appendix: Judicial conditions in the Philippines in 1842 279
  5. Bibliographical Data 307


  1. Map of Philippine and Ladrone Islands; photographic facsimile of map by Sansón d’Abbeville ([Paris?], 1652); from copy in Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. facing p. 50
  2. Map of Cavite, with proposed fortifications, by the engineer Juan de Somovilla Tejada; photographic facsimile from original MS. (dated 1663) in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla. 93
  3. Chart of the island of Luzón, with some of the smaller islands, drawn by a Dutch artist, ca. 1650; photographic facsimile of original MS. map in the British Museum. 191
  4. Birds-eye view of bay of Cavite, showing towns, fortifications, etc., by the engineer Richard Carr (in employ of the Dutch), captured in Madrid; photographic facsimile from original MS. (dated 1663), in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla. 215


The present volume, covering the years 1649–66, is mainly ecclesiastical in scope. An appendix, showing the judicial state of the islands in 1842, is added. A number of the documents are from Jesuit sources, or treat of the affairs of that order. Among these are an account of the Jesuit missions in the islands, and their protest against the erection of the Dominican college at Manila into a university. The archdiocese of Manila strives to gain more authority, both in the outlying islands of the Eastern Archipelago and over the administration of parishes by the regular orders; and effort is made to strengthen the power of the tribunal of the Inquisition at Manila. The question of episcopal visitation of the regular curas is already vital, and the later conflicts over this question are plainly foreshadowed, and even begun. The history of the Recollect missions for the above period shows their prosperous condition until the time when so many of their laborers die that the work is partially crippled. As for secular affairs, the most important is the Chinese revolt, of 1662; this and other disturbances greatly hinder and injure the prosperity of the islands.

Reverting to the separate documents: a curious pamphlet (Manila, 1649) describes the funeral ceremonies [10]recently solemnized in that city in honor of the deceased crown prince of Spain, Baltasar Carlos. Solemn and magnificent rites are celebrated, both civil and religious; and a funeral pyre, or chapelle ardente, is erected in the royal military chapel, the splendors of which are minutely described.

The Manila cabildo send a letter (June 20, 1652) to the king, praising the work of the Jesuits in the Philippines, and urging the king to send thither more men of that order. Their services as confessors, preachers, missionaries, and peacemakers are recounted, and their poverty is urged; they are sending an envoy to Spain, to ask for royal aid, a request supported by the cabildo.

The Jesuit Magino Sola represents, in a memorial (September 15, 1652) to Governor Manrique de Lara, the needs of the Philippine Islands. The greatest of these is men and arms; and with these must be provided money to pay the soldiers. Sola enumerates the many misfortunes which have reduced the islands to poverty, and urges that the aid sent from Mexico be greatly increased.

An account of the Jesuit missions in the islands in 1655 is furnished by Miguel Solana, by command of Governor Manrique de Lara. He enumerates the villages administered by Jesuits, with the names of the priests in charge. To this we append a similar report, made the year before, enumerating the missions in Mindanao and the population of each.

The archbishop of Manila, Miguel Poblete, writes to the king (July 30, 1656), making some suggestions regarding diocesan affairs: that the bishopric of Camarines be discontinued, and its prelate assigned to the Moro and heathen peoples farther [11]south; and that ministers be sent from Manila to outlying islands for their spiritual aid, as thus far these have been dependent on Goa. Poblete asks whether he shall ordain Portuguese priests who come to him for this office; on this point the royal Council ask for further information.

Two memorials presented (1658) by the Jesuits to the king ask that a tribunal of the Inquisition be established at Manila, and that the religious jurisdiction of Ternate be vested in the archbishop of Manila.

A memorial to the king is presented (1658?) by Miguel Solana, procurator-general at Madrid for the Jesuits of Filipinas, protesting against the erection of Santo Tomás college at Manila into a university, claiming that this will interfere with the rights already granted to the Jesuit college of San Ignacio there. Solana accuses the Dominicans of trickery and bribery in having obtained privileges for Santo Tomás; and maintains that the rights of his order have been legally granted and authenticated, while the claims of the Dominicans are mere assertions. Nevertheless, the latter are scheming to secure new letters and bulls granting their pretensions; Solana adduces various arguments to show that they should not be allowed the privileges of a university in Santo Tomás, and that such a foundation should rather be made in San Ignacio, which “will be subject in all things to the behest and commands of your Majesty and your Council.” The king is asked to examine certain documents in the case, which show that the students of Santo Tomás are obliged to swear allegiance to the doctrines taught by Aquinas, and are not allowed to teach other branches than philosophy [12]and theology; moreover, that college has “no teachers who are acquainted with the first principles” of medicine and law; and the curious statement is made that there is no graduate physician in the Philippine Islands, since one could not obtain a living, and the sick are treated by Chinese. There is no need and no room there for a regular university, and the burden of its support should not be imposed on the treasury; but, if one be founded, it should be in San Ignacio.

From a document of 1658 relating to the Inquisition we extract a description of the Philippines, written in Mexico from data furnished by the Jesuit Magino Sola. It outlines very briefly the government of Manila, civil and ecclesiastical; mentions the convents, hospitals, and other public institutions there; and enumerates the villages of that archbishopric, with mention of the missions conducted therein by the several orders. Similar information is given about the towns and villages of the suffragan bishoprics; and the location, extent, government, and missions of the principal islands in the archipelago, including the Moluccas. At the end is a statement regarding the number of commissaries of the Inquisition who are needed in the islands.

The Recollect historian Luis de Jesús relates in his Historia (Madrid, 1681) the holy life and death (1646) of Isabel, a native beata of Mindanao; and the foundation in 1647, in the City of Mexico, of a hospice for the shelter and accommodation of the Recollects who pass through that city on their way to Filipinas. The history of the discalced Augustinians for the decade 1651–60 is found in the Historia of Fray Diego de Santa Theresa (Barcelona, 1743), [13]a continuation of the work begun by Andrés de San Nicolas and Luis de Jesús; such part as relates to the Philippines is here presented (partly in synopsis). It begins with the troubles of 1647 in the Recollect mission at Tándag, in Mindanao, when its convent was destroyed by the military authorities, as dangerous to the fort at that place in case the convent were occupied by an invading enemy. Accusations against the Recollect missionary there are sent to the king, who warns the provincial of that order to see that his religious aid the civil government in keeping the natives pacified. Santa Theresa here prints letters from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities at Manila, praising in high terms the Recollect missionaries in the islands and their great services in all directions, and asking royal aid for them in their great poverty. The life of Fray Pedro de San Joseph is sketched. In the village of Linao, Mindanao, a revolt occurs (1651) among the natives, which is related in detail; it arises from an order issued by Governor Faxardo requisitioning from each of the islands a number of native carpenters for the government service at Manila. A Manobo chief, named Dabáo, fans the flame of discontent among the converted natives of Linao, and by a stratagem brings conspirators into the fort, who kill nearly all the Spaniards. Troops are sent to that region who punish severely even the natives who surrender; and the people, although overawed, are filled with resentment. The Recollect missionaries do much to aid the natives, overlooking the fact that the latter had killed one of those fathers; and one of them, “Padre Capitan,” secures an order from the Audiencia liberating all the Indians who had been [14]enslaved in consequence of the above revolt. This is followed by a sketch of Fray Santa María’s life; he was slain by the insurgents in that same year. The writer recounts the difficulties met by the Recollect province of Filipinas, and the coming to Manila (1652) of a body of Recollect missionaries. The lives of many of these are sketched.

Considerable space is devoted to the subjection of religious to the episcopal visitation, when they act as parish priests. Santa Theresa describes the plan on which the missions have always been administered in the Philippines by the various orders, and their relations to the diocesan authorities. His account is a brief for the orders in their controversy with the bishops over this question of visitation, and presents the main points in its history; he writes it for the purpose of refuting the slanders that have been current in Europe regarding the attitude of the orders toward the diocesans, and discusses at length the arguments against the episcopal visitation of the regulars in parishes. These are advanced in behalf of all the orders in general, and then the writer adduces special reasons, which concern the Recollects in this matter. He enumerates the villages administered by that order in different islands, and the spiritual conquests made by his brethren; in their missions the number of Christians has been steadily increasing, and the hostile heathen element much reduced. Santa Theresa relates the dangers and sufferings experienced by the Recollects in their missions, which lie on the very frontier toward the Moro pirates; many of these devoted missionaries have even lost their lives in the Moro raids. Have not these religious, then, deserved the exemption [15]from episcopal supervision that was granted to the religious in Nueva España? Moreover, the missions need more laborers than can be supported by their incomes (the royal grant from the tributes), and the order itself must maintain these additional men. It will become necessary for the order to abandon the missions if these are to be placed under diocesan control; nor, in such case, can it do more than sustain its leading convents in the islands. Finally, the writer presents sketches of some illustrious Recollects who have labored in the Philippines.

In a rare pamphlet by the Franciscan Bartholomé de Letona—bound in with his Perfecta religiosa (La Puebla, Mexico, 1662)—occurs an enthusiastic description of the Philippines, which we here present (in translation and synopsis). He describes the voyage thither, the location and distribution of the islands; the various provinces of Luzón; the climate, people, and products; the city of Manila, which Letona describes as the most cosmopolitan in the world; and the Chinese Parián. Letona relates the downfall of Venegas (the favorite of Fajardo), and the achievements of Manrique de Lara; enumerates and describes the various churches, colleges and seminaries, convents and hospitals of Manila; and gives a sketch of each of the various religious orders there, with special attention, of course, to his own, the Franciscan.

One of the Jesuit documents preserved in the Academia Real de la Historia, at Madrid, relates in detail the embassy sent to Manila by the noted Chinese leader Kue-sing (1662) to demand that the Spaniards submit to his power and pay him tribute. This demand being angrily refused by the Spaniards, [16]the Chinese in Manila, fearing evil to themselves, and hearing of their intended expulsion from the islands, undertake to flee from the Parián and other neighboring settlements, blindly endeavoring to save their lives. The Jesuit missionary at Santa Cruz hastens to the governor, to secure pardon for these poor fugitives; and other priests second his efforts. Meanwhile, the other Sangleys in the Parián are so terrified that many are drowned in trying to swim across the river, others commit suicide, and most of those who remain flee to the hills. The Spaniards in Manila, in fear of an attack by the Chinese, are ready to slay them all; and a repetition of the horrors of the Chinese insurrection in 1639 is averted only by the prudence and good sense of Governor Manrique de Lara, who, with mingled sternness and humanity, calms the fear of the Chinese and the anger of the Spaniards. Granting protection to all who return to Manila by a certain day, he allows a specified number to remain there for the aid and service of the Spaniards, and obliges the rest to return at once to China. The fugitives who do not come back to Manila are hunted down and slain by the Spanish troops, aided by the natives. The two chief leaders of the Sangleys in their flight are executed in public, and those who remain in Manila are kept in the Parián under heavy guards of Indian troops; afterward these Chinese are set at forced labor on the fortifications of Manila and Cavite, thus taking a great part of that burden from the shoulders of the natives. The same ambassador sent by Kue-sing returns to Manila in April, 1663, this time with news of that corsair’s death, and a request from his successor for an amicable arrangement between [17]them and the maintenance of their trade. Our writer gives an interesting sketch of Kue-sing’s career, especially of his conquest of Formosa (1660–61), the first occasion when Chinese had defeated a European nation in war. The death of this formidable enemy relieves the fears of the Manila colony; and the authorities decide to allow a moderate number of Chinese to reside in the islands, since their services are so necessary to the Spaniards.

Governor Salcedo sends to a friend (July 16, 1664) some account of the affairs of the colony at his arrival in the islands—the treasury almost empty, the soldiers unpaid, commerce paralyzed, and the natives “irritated by cruel punishments.” He takes vigorous measures, at once, to improve the condition of the colony.

An unsigned document (1666?) gives the reasons why the civil authorities have not executed the royal decrees subjecting the Philippine friars in charge of parishes to the episcopal visitation. Apparently written by a friar, it gives the reasons why the missions must be administered by the religious orders rather than by secular priests, and why the friars ask that they be not placed under the episcopal authority. They allege that there are still many heathen and Mahometans to be converted, throughout the islands; that the missions are full of hardship; that the courage and strict observance of the religious would grow lax under diocesan supervision; and that the most able of them would not consent to such subjection. Difficulties, also, must necessarily arise in the attempt of a religious to obey his superiors when these are both religious and ecclesiastical, and from interference by the civil authorities. All sorts [18]of scandals and irregularities are liable to spring from these causes, affecting not only the missionaries but the natives, as well as the many heathen peoples who surround Manila.

The present volume is terminated by a short appendix taken from Sinibaldo de Mas, showing the condition of the judiciary of the Philippines in 1842. Justice is administered by the royal Audiencia, by the alcaldes, and by the gobernadorcillos, the last being Filipinos. The action of the alcalde-mayor is very limited and dependent on the Audiencia. Mas draws a vivid picture of some of the alcaldes which shows that the system is honeycombed with graft. The great evil arises from the fact that alcaldes are allowed to trade, and hence business absorbs all their energies for the six years of their office, for during that time they must become rich. As one does not need to be a lawyer to become an alcalde, those posts generally being assigned to military officers, the incumbent of such post needs an adviser. This results in great delay, and often justice is completely subverted. By advancing money at usurious rates the alcalde bleeds those who borrow from him, and in fact such unfortunate people can almost never get square with the world again. The gobernadorcillos in turn lash the alcaldes, for they are necessary to the latter, and good terms must be maintained with them. For the general legal business the alcalde depends on his clerk, a native, who runs things to suit himself, and in his turn makes his office an occasion for graft. The parish priests who formerly had so great influence in the villages have now been ordered by the governors to cease meddling with secular matters, and some of them even are in [19]collusion with the alcalde, whom they endeavor to aid in order that they may gain their own ends. Notwithstanding the alcaldes are few who are not often fined during their term. The government is most to blame for this state of affairs for its course implies that the alcaldes are expected to be rogues. Crime has increased greatly of late years. Punishments are too light, and many criminals even get off scotfree. This produces only bad results. The officials are slow to arrest because the criminal will soon be released as a general rule, and will always take vengeance if possible. Although he argues that the death sentence ought to be abolished as an unnecessary cruelty, Mas urges that the lash be not spared, for a good beating will correct more faults than anything else. The jail only acts as an allurement for the majority of Filipinos, for it is generally better than their own houses. The laws in force in the islands are a confused mass, consisting of the Leyes de Indias, royal decrees and orders, the decrees and edicts of the governors, a portion of the laws of the Siete Partidas, parts of Roman law, etc. Mas advocates strenuously the prohibition of trade granted to alcaldes and an extension of their term of office. One common native language, could such be established, would be very useful. There should be a commission after the manner of that in British India, to advise revision in the existing laws.

The Editors

March, 1906.


Documents of 1649–1658

  1. Royal funeral rites at Manila. [Unsigned;] 1649.
  2. Royal aid for Jesuits asked by Manila cabildo. Matheo de Arceo, and others; June 20, 1652.
  3. Condition of the Philippines in 1652. Magino Sola, S.J.; September 15, 1652.
  4. Jesuit missions in 1655. Miguel Solana, S.J.; June 30, 1655.
  5. Letter from the archbishop of Manila. Miguel de Poblete; July 30, 1656.
  6. Two Jesuit memorials. Francisco Vello, S.J.; [1658].
  7. Jesuit protest against the Dominican university. Miguel Solana, S.J.; [1658?].
  8. Description of the Philipinas Islands. [Ygnacio de Paz; ca. 1658]

Sources: The first of these documents is taken from Retana’s Archivo, ii, pp. 105–158; the second and sixth, from Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica, iii, pp. 786, 787, and 804, 805; the third and fourth, from the Ventura del Arco MSS. (Ayer library), ii, pp. 385–389. The following are obtained from original MSS. in archives as follows: the fifth, in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla; the seventh, in the Academia Real de la Historia, Madrid; the eighth, in the Archivo general, Simancas.

Translations: The fifth document is translated by Robert W. Haight; the seventh, by Rev. T. C. Middleton, O.S.A.; the remainder, by James A. Robertson. [23]


Royal Funeral Rites at Manila

Funeral ceremonies and the royal pyre of honor erected by piety and consecrated by the grief of the very distinguished and ever loyal city of Manila, in memory of the most serene prince of España, Don Balthassar Carlos (may he dwell in glory). By license of the ordinary and of the government. [Printed] at Manila, by Simon Pinpin, in the year 1649.

[This document is presented in translation and synopsis, because of the light it throws on the religio-social life of Manila in the middle of the seventeenth century. It is preceded by the license to print given (June 5, 1649), for the archbishop by Doctor Don Juan Fernandez de Ledo, precentor of Manila cathedral, judge-provisor, official and vicar-general of the archbishopric; by that of the government, given (May 27, 1649), on recommendation of Joseph de la Anunciacion, prior of the Recollect convent in Manila; and by a letter (dated Manila, December 15, 1648, and signed by Lucas de Porras, Gabriel Gomez del Castillo, and Diego Morales) addressed to the governor Diego Faxardo y Chacon, which amounts to a dedicatory epistle. The relation begins with the grief that comes to the city of Manila with the announcement of the sudden death [24](at the age of seventeen) of the prince Balthasar Carlos, heir to the throne and son of Felipe IV and Isabel of Bourbon, who had died but a short time before. The document continues:]

The first rumors of this so sad event reached this city in the middle of December, 1647, by means of the Dutch, who were harassing these islands at that time with a large fleet of twelve galleons, which sailed from Nueva Batavia with the intention of capturing this stronghold. But they, after having experienced the valor and boldness of our Spaniards in the severe and obstinate combat in the port of Cabite, of which a full relation has been written in former years,1 attempted to terrify the hearts and take away the courage of those whom they had not been able to resist by hostilities, by sending a letter to Don Diego Faxardo, knight of the Order of Santiago, member of the War Council, and president, governor, and captain-general of these islands; and with it part of a gazette printed in the Flemish characters and language, which contained a copy of a letter from his Majesty to the Marqués de Leganés, in which was mentioned the heavy grief of his royal heart because of the sudden death of his son and heir, Don Balthassar Carlos. The minds of so loyal vassals were alarmed, and their hearts chilled, on hearing so sad news; and those who had not given way before the violent attack of cannon-balls yielded to the tenderness of grief, and to the sighs of sorrow; and they bore in their faces the effects of their dismay and the marks of their pain, as if the prince were seen dead in each one.... There was no doubt [25]of the truth of that news, for its arrival with the superscription of misfortune gave it the credit of truth. But neither the condition in which we found ourselves, with arms in our hands, nor prudence allowed us to proceed with public demonstrations and funeral ceremonies until we received a letter from his Majesty, and with the letter the order, direction, and prudent management which so serious a matter demanded.

[The royal announcement arrived in July, 1648; and by his decree the king ordered the demonstrations of sorrow to be made on the same scale as if intended for his own person.]

In conformity with that decree, and in order that they might obey it, the auditors called a meeting, and resolved to publish the mourning, and to prepare the things necessary for the splendid celebration of the funeral ceremonies. At the same time they elected as the manager of that solemn function the fiscal auditor, Don Sebastian Cavallero de Medina, who was as vigilant and punctual in the affairs of his office as attentive to the service of both Majesties—guaranteeing by the completeness of his arrangements the entire success which so serious a matter demanded. As his assistants in carrying out that commission were named the treasurer, Lucas de Porras Ontiberos, alcalde-in-ordinary, and Captains Gabriel Gomez del Castillo and Don Diego Morales, regidors. At a suitable time, the mourning rites were heralded, in fulfilment of the above resolution; and all the provinces were notified to make the same demonstrations, so that the external conduct of so faithful vassals should correspond to the sorrow which palpitated in their hearts and saddened [26]their breasts. Scarcely was the word given before the obedient people changed the precious and fine appearance of their attire with somber mourning garments; and this whole community became a theater of grief—each one showing the loyalty which was as much evinced by his grief as it was wondered at by the barbarous nations who trade in these islands, when they saw in so remote a part of the world so extreme piety, so intense love, and so faithful allegiance to their king, that distance does not make it lukewarm, or absence weaken the affection that these deserving vassals have ever had for their Catholic kings.

The day set for their expressions of condolence arrived, Monday, November 9, 648; for the direction of the ceremonies, Admiral Don Andres de Azcueta and Captain Don Pedro Diaz de Mendoza were appointed managers. The halls of the Audiencia and royal assembly were made ready with the funereal adornments and other preparations significant of so melancholy an occasion. At two in the afternoon the bells of all the churches began to ring, in so sad and doleful tones that they filled the air with sorrow, and the hearts of those who heard their plaints with bitterness and grief, learning from the very bronze to grieve for so considerable a loss. At that same time all the religious communities assembled, with their crosses, priests, deacons, and subdeacons, clad in their vestments, in the royal chapel of the garrison. That temple, although small in size, has all the characteristics of a great one in its beauty, elegance, and arrangement. There, architecture was employed to the best effect, and genius was alert in erecting a royal tomb and [27]mausoleum proportionate to the grandeur and sovereign rank of the person; and one not at all inferior to the one erected during the funeral rites and pageant of our lady the queen,2 by the direction and advice of Doctor Don Diego Afan de Ribera, auditor of this royal Audiencia, and auditor elect of that of the new kingdom of Granada. The royal assembly entrusted the arrangements of that solemnity to him. Each community in succession chanted its responsary, with different choirs of musicians, so well trained that they could vie with those of Europa. While that pious action was going on, the ecclesiastical and secular cabildos were assembling, as well as the tribunal of the royal official judges, the superiors of the orders, the rectors of the two colleges—San Joseph, which is in charge of the fathers of the Society of Jesus; and San Thomas, which is ruled by the fathers of St. Dominic—and the members of the bureau of the Santa Misericordia (as was determined and arranged two days previously, the place of each being assigned) in the hall of the royal Audiencia. There the managers assigned them their position, observing toward each one the order of his seniority and precedence. They left that place in the same order, to express their condolences to Don Diego Faxardo, governor and captain-general of these islands, who stood in the hall of the royal assembly. He was covered with mourning, which well manifested his grief and represented very vividly in his majestic appearance the royal person[28]—in whose name he received the condolences for the death of the royal son and heir, Don Balthassar Carlos, the prince of España. First entered the royal Audiencia, in company with their official, as grave in the pomp of their mourning as adequate in the demonstrations of their grief. Don Antonio de Castro, senior auditor and auditor-elect of Mexico, spoke in the name of all, expressing in brief and impressive sentences the universal grief of all the community and the special grief of that royal Audiencia. His Lordship listened to him attentively, and answered him gravely and concisely, with words suitable to the subject, thanking him in the name of his Majesty for the demonstrations of grief which servants so loyal were making on an occasion so consecrated to sorrow. Having finished their oration, the royal Audiencia gave place successively to the ecclesiastical cabildo, the secular cabildo, the tribunal of the royal official judges, the superiors of the orders, the colleges, and the bureau of the Santa Misericordia—each one taking its proper place as regards precedence. All of them observed the courtesies and punctilious forms due to the decorum and seriousness of that function. After these had signified by the gravity of their words, and by the seriousness and sadness of their countenances, the heavy weight of the sorrow which oppressed their hearts for a loss so worthy of immortal lament, and after his Lordship had answered with equally apposite speech what good judgment dictated and sorrow forced out, that act of mourning came to an end. It was no less dignified than refined; and no accompaniment or ceremony was lacking in the decorum of that action—the daughter of the affection [29]with which so faithful vassals serve their king and sovereign.

That parade was followed by another of no less gravity, namely the accompaniment of the royal crown to the chapel of the royal camp for the solemnity of vespers and the funeral oration which was prepared [for this occasion]. For that purpose, after the condolences the members of the royal Audiencia returned to the hall of the royal assembly, where the august crown reposed with all authority and propriety, signifying, in the somber mourning with which it was covered, a sorrowing majesty and a monarchy grief-stricken at beholding itself without the head from whose glorious temples it had fallen—Cecidit corona capitis nostri.3 His Lordship handed the crown to General Don Pedro Mendiola y Carmona, entrusting to his hands the honor of so great a Majesty, and thus crowning the great services which the latter had rendered to his king in the lofty posts that he has occupied in these islands. This was the opening act of the parade, which commenced at the palace, encircled the entire plaza of arms under the galleries, and ended at the royal chapel—the theater, as we have already remarked, destined for the magnificence of that funeral celebration. That act was arranged by the care and foresight of the royal assembly, and carried out by means of the managers with so great brilliancy, gravity, and propriety that it corresponded in all things with the majesty of the [dead] person. The orphan boys of the college of San Juan de Letran—who number more than one hundred and fifty, and are reared at the expense of his [30]Majesty, in charge of the fathers of St. Dominic—marched first of all, two by two (the universal order that was observed in that act by all the tribunals and communities) holding their candles of pure white wax, which were distributed, that day and the following, with magnificence and liberality by this illustrious city. The alguaçils followed, and then the ministers of justice, the attorneys, the judges’ secretaries, the notaries, public and royal, with their gowns and cloaks trailing behind. Next to them came the confraternities with their pennants and banners, and after these the parishes from the suburbs of this city, with their crosses, and their curas clad in black cloaks. Next in the line was the college of Santo Thomas, and following it that of San Joseph, with their badges [becas] turned back at the collar as a sign and token of grief. Then followed the bureau of the Santa Misericordia (which is composed of the most noble persons of this city) all clad in their black surtouts and hats, with heads covered, bearing their small bells, and the standard with their insignia in front. The holy families also marched: the brethren of St. John of God, the Recollects of St. Augustine, the Society of Jesus, the hermits of St. Augustine, the seraphic family of St. Francis, and that of the Preachers. These were not so splendid by reason of the candles which they carried in their hands as by the gravity and modesty of their manner, showing in the seriousness and composure of their faces the religious sorrow and pious grief that oppressed their hearts. The ecclesiastical cabildo followed with their black choir-cloaks, with the skirts extended and their heads covered; and altogether with so grave and [31]majestic a demeanor that they commanded the eyes and also the applause of all the people. The city [cabildo] followed, together with the tribunal of the royal official judges, bearing their maces and insignia. They were accompanied by the nobility of the city with flowing black mourning cloaks, and with heads covered; but very apparent was the grief and manifest the sadness which their love and good-will towards their unfortunate prince brought to their faces. The royal standard of the city was carried by Captain Gabriel Gomez del Castillo, assisted by the two alcaldes-in-ordinary, who carried it between them, as authorizing the action. The royal Audiencia with their president, the governor of these islands, crowned all that grave and religious concourse with all the splendors of authority. They were followed by the government and court secretaries, and by the gentlemen and pages of the palace, clad in all display of grandeur in funeral garb, thus manifesting in somber grays the sharpness and depth of the wound which they had received by the sudden death of the most serene and very august prince, Don Balthassar Carlos, the clear and resplendent light of the Spanish monarchy, at whose taking away all the world was darkened. Between the city cabildo and the royal Audiencia was carried the Cæsarean crown, with two kings-at-arms, on a cushion of rich cloth, with the gravity and decorum which is due to the head [that it adorns], to which all the people who were present that day rendered humble veneration. So sad a spectacle was made by all that splendid parade, that never was more bitter grief represented, never was Majesty seen more afflicted, never was sorrow seen more at [32]its height. All the Plaza de Armas was occupied, while that brilliant procession was going round it, by the royal regiment of the Spanish troops, the governor of which is Sargento-mayor Manuel Estacio Venegas. It consisted of four hundred and eighty-six infantrymen formed in a body with four fronts, each of which was commanded by two captains and one alférez. The regiment marched to take position in five lines, with fifty artillerymen in the rear with their campaign linstocks. They all maintained so great order and discipline that the military art was seen in practice in all its splendor—a glorious proof of the diligence of their commandant and the loyalty and devotion of so valiant soldiers; for notwithstanding the excessive heat of the sun they remained immovable on that and the following day, their zeal and love for their king, which burn most brightly in their hearts, being preponderant in them. The parade having passed, all the soldiers fell in behind, captained by the sargento-mayor himself, the commandant of the regiment. They entered by one door of the royal chapel and went out by the other, with drums muffled and banners trailing, and the soldiers carrying their arquebuses under the arm with the butt-ends reversed, with an order so regular and so in keeping with military rules that that action deserved the acclamation and even the admiration of all. The father chaplain-in-chief of the regiment, namely, the presentado father Fray Joseph Fayol, of the Order of Nuestra Señora de la Merced, was present, as were also all the royal chaplains, at the door of the royal chapel, with cross and wax tapers [ciriales] held aloft while the procession was entering. After they [33]had entered, the royal crown was placed on its royal catafalque—or rather a funeral pyre of fire, crowned with candles as is the firmament with stars, where the brilliant and the majestic glowed in competition. I leave the description of that for the crown of this historical compilation. Those in the procession took possession of and even filled all the seats which were provided for the tribunals and the communities, distributing themselves therein according to the same order of their seniority. With this began the vespers for the dead, which was in charge of the chaplain-in-chief, assisted by the royal chaplains, with all the requisites of solemnity and pomp, accompanied by the piety, devotion, and silence of so grave an assembly who were present, at the verge of tears. They paid with fervent suffrages the debt of their love and the obligations of their loyalty to the prince, their deceased sovereign, whose obsequies they were performing; and they refreshed their memories with his heroic virtues, and his brilliant deeds in the tender and flowery years of his age—gifts that assured us that he was glorious and triumphant in the court of Heaven. The complement of the solemn splendor of that day was the reverend father, Fray Vicente Argenta, of the seraphic order, and past provincial of this province of San Gregorio. He, occupying the pulpit, took up the space of an hour with a funeral panegyric, where his eloquence had an opportunity to exercise itself in all its colors, and in a beautiful variety of erudition, both divine and human. He roamed through the spacious and extensive field of the virtues of our most serene prince, with so impressive discourse adjusted to the gravity and meaning of the subject, [34]that he softened the hearts of the people and even drew tears from their eyes, the faithful witnesses of their grief. That solemn function ended with a responsary; and then the procession was again formed, in the same manner and method, until they left his Lordship at the palace. After having performed the due courtesies, the gentlemen of the royal Audiencia, and of the cabildos, tribunals, and religious communities bade one another farewell, and returned to their houses, for the night had set in.

The following day, Tuesday, November 10, before sunrise, the care and anxiety of the sacred families were awake, and all went to the royal chapel with different choirs of musicians. There, at the various altars assigned to them, they sang first each their mass, and afterward the responsary in front of the royal catafalque. The mingling of so many voices with the dead silence and serene quiet of the night made an indistinct harmony and a confusion of echoes pleasant and agreeable to the listeners, awakening at the same time in their hearts tender affection and loving grief, which they consecrated to the glorious memory of the prince whose obsequies were being celebrated. After having performed this pious action they went to the palace, where they waited until all who had taken part in the parade of the preceding day had assembled. The parade was arranged and directed at the appointed hour, with the same order and brilliant display as on the preceding day, and took the same course until they entered the chapel of the royal camp. There having filled the seats, and the order and arrangements of the day before having been observed, the office for the dead was commenced, and [35]then the mass was sung. Doctor Juan de Ucles, the venerable dean of the holy church, officiated, accompanied with all solemnity and pomp, at an altar which was erected near the center of the catafalque in front of the urn. He was clad in his vestments, with precious ornaments; and on that day the music was better than ever before, the musicians outdoing themselves in heightening its beauties, and with the consonance and harmony of their voices rendering it suitable to the majesty and high dignity of him who filled their thoughts at that moment. The reverend father Francisco Colin, outgoing provincial and present rector of the college of the Society of Jesus, and qualifier of the Holy Office, sealed the glory of that day. He mounted the pulpit, where he preached a sermon so well suited to the subject in its eloquence, the depth of its arguments, the gravity and maturity of its discourse, the profundity and erudition of its fundamental proofs, and the solidity and thoroughness of its learning, that he arrested the attention and even the admiration of those present. Not less learnedly did he instruct them than he melted them to affection and sorrow, quickening in them all, with his intellectual vigor and his well-known pulpit eloquence, grief at having lost a life so filled with virtues and so crowned with merits. Some responsaries followed the sermon, and with that ended the funeral ceremonies for our prince, whose memory will live immortal in our hearts. During those two days was shown the devotion and loyalty of vassals ever attentive to the service of their Catholic monarch, in recognition of the rewards that they receive from his august hand. The same parade was formed once more; and, leaving his [36]Lordship at the palace, they bade one another farewell, and returned to their houses.

The sumptuous and royal mausoleum, which was erected by the piety of this noble community, occupies the last place in this brief relation. In the description of it, one finds his eloquence fail and he is dismayed, and he can find no excellence in his art that is proportionate to the measure of its grandeur and majesty. The said alcaldes-in-ordinary and two regidors assisted the fiscal auditor as managers in the construction of that catafalque. They urged forward the work, and attended to what was done by the best workmen and those who were most skilled in the matter. Beyond doubt they saw fulfilled the object of their vigilance, in the applause and admiration of all. It was a work that seemed born of nature rather than a contrived invention of art. In it gravity was surpassed, richness gleamed forth, majesty was displayed, and method excelled; and its brilliancy was dazzling, with so beautiful an arrangement and display of lights, without proving an obstacle by their number or the lights paling, that grandeur was never seen to greater advantage or majesty more resplendent.

Its ground space and arch occupied all the space of the principal chapel, until it met the very ceiling of the temple; and had the capacity of the place allowed more, the execution of so extensive a contrivance would not have been confined to so narrow limits. The height of the socle was six feet, and it was thirty-nine feet wide. In the center of it arose the catafalque, which was octagonal in form. It was composed of two structures made after the best ideas of architecture. The first structure was composed [37]of sixteen columns, with foundations on a like number of bases and pedestals crowned with beautiful and curiously wrought capitals. On top of them arose the entablatures with their friezes, architraves, fluted mouldings, and pediment of the arch crowned with balusters—all regulated to the requirements of art without detracting one jot from the idea [that they expressed]. That structure ended in a cupola,4 which well supplied the place of the sky, when it was seen reflecting the lights, and bathed in splendor. The cornices, mouldings, representations of fruit, mouldings above, and brackets, were of a bronze color, so cunningly done that they appeared rather the work of nature than the imitation of art. The pedestals and capitals, touched with beaten gold, heightened the fiction of the bronze which the brush and hand of the artist feigned and imitated. The shafts of the columns, with their pedestals, friezes and architraves were so vivid an imitation of jasper that one would believe them to have been cut from that mineral; or that they had stolen the confused variety of its colors, so that one’s sight was mistaken in it. Their beauty was heightened by the brilliancy of silver work or broken crystals with which they were wreathed. In the center of that structure shone forth majestically the urn, which was placed under a canopy of solid silver covered with a rich violet cloth of gold, with two cushions of the same material, and and her of white cloth of gold, on which reposed the royal crown. On its pedestal was seen a stanza of ten verses, as follows:

“Esta fatal urna encierra fallîda vna Magestad: ayer temida [38]Deidad, oy breve montón de tierra.

Poco alcança, y mucho hierra quien prevenido, no advierte lo inconstante de su suerte; pues no reserva la Parca al Sucessor de un Monarca del tributo de la muerte.”

This fatal urn encloses a dead majesty, but yestreen a reverenced deity, now a mere heap of earth. Little gains he, and much he errs, who, cautious, does not note the mutability of his lot; for Fate does not exempt the successor of a monarch from the tribute of death.”5

At the four corners of the urn, outside the circumference of the catafalque, were seen four kings-at-arms, of beautiful appearance with their headpieces pulled down and gold maces on their shoulders, with which one hand was occupied, while with the other they held up the escutcheon of the royal arms embroidered with gold. The royal arms were also stamped upon their breasts on their black corselets, girdled with a beautiful variety of bands and edgings of gold. In the niches of the first columns, which formed the front and faced the urn, upon their fretted pedestals and spattered with gold rose the figures of Grammar and Rhetoric with their emblems—so excellent in their workmanship and lifelike in attitude that, although mute, the excellence of their sculpture and make-up instructed [the beholder]. I do not describe the grace of their shapes, the beauty of their features, the easy flow of the hair, the undulations of the drapery, spangled with bits of glass, and the other accompaniments of beautiful ornaments and fantasies of art, in order not to weary [my readers] with prolixities. They were significant of the excellent progress which the prince made in both of those branches of study, and an illustrious trophy of his early genius and marvelous [39]intellect. Grammar had the following attached to the placard of her pedestal:

“La primera, que dictò al Principe Balthassar Preceptos de declinar, y de construir, fuy yo.

A la muerte declinó en su postera licion, porque es cierta conclusion; que en el arte del morir, la construccion del vivir acaba en declinacion.”

“The first to dictate to Prince Balthassar the rules of declension and construction was I. At death he declined in his last lesson; for it is a sure conclusion that in the art of dying the construction of living ends in declension.”

Not less pithily and elegantly did Rhetoric explain her thought in another stanza, of ten verses, as follows:

“Yo enseñé lo figurado, y lo terso del estilo al Principe, aquiem el hilo cortò de la vida, el Hado

Mas ya está desfigurado en aquesta tumba oscura: mirale sin hermosura; y desde tus tiernos años, Rhetoricos desengaños aprende en esta Figura.”

“I taught the figures and polish of style to the Prince, whose thread of life Fate cut short. But now already lies he disfigured in that dark tomb. Look at him, robbed of his beauty; and, from thy tender years, learn in that figure rhetorical errors.”

The second structure was built upon the first, and it was no less grave and majestic. There symmetry and proportion vied with beauty and variety of colors, which the brush usurped from nature. It was composed of twelve columns, made in imitation of jasper, with their pedestals, architraves, and flying cornices; and these were closed above with a cupola, adorned with spirals and volutes, which happily completed the work. In the space between the columns of the facade or front, and occupying their own pedestals, were set majestic and pleasing figures of Arithmetic and Geometry, with their emblems. These statues faced each other, and corresponded to Grammar and Rhetoric who were in the first structure—in both their location and altitude, [40]and in the proportions and excellence of their sculpture. It was a glorious blazon for our prince, who, although of so tender years, was able, having cast aside sloth and childish amusements, to give himself up to the exercise of branches of learning so useful, thus preparing for success in the monarchical government of his kingdoms. Arithmetic had an inscription on the placard of her pedestal, which read as follows:

“A guarismo reducida la cuenta de Balthassar, no vino mas que a sumar diez y siete años de vida.

Concluyóse la partida, y la cuenta rematada se hallò la muerte pagada: porque se ajustó de suerte, en la vida con la muerte, que no quedó a dever nada.”

“Reduced to a cipher is the account of Balthassar, who at last added up but seventeen years of life. The entry was concluded, and the account having been ended, death was found to be paid. For he so balanced his accounts with death in life that he did not remain at all indebted.”

Geometry had a corresponding placard on her base, which read as follows:

“Balthassar con mi medida el orbe entero midio: y no contento passó a medir la eterno vida.

La indistancia conocida, que ay del vivir al morir; es mejor saber medir lo que eterno a de durar con regla del bien obrar, con compas del bien vivir.”

“Balthassar estimated the whole world with my measure, and, not content, he passed to measure eternal life. It is better to be able to measure the unknown distance between life and death (which must endure eternally) with the rule of good works and the compass of good living.”

The space between the columns of this structure was occupied by the prince (or rather, our sovereign)—the glorious shoot from the Austrian trunk, and the beautiful flower which was the most brilliant ornament of the august lily of Francia—who, because he had no room in the entire sphere of his extensive monarchy, mounted gloriously, by means of [41]the wings of his brilliant and heroic virtues, to rule in the heavens. His statue was so well conceived, and so commensurate with the beauty of the architecture, that one would think it had a soul, for it gave soul to the entire work. Not only did it take possession of the eyes but also of the hearts [of the people] who rendered humble adoration to the image of their prince. The prince was armed, with breastplate and shoulder-piece embroidered with beautiful edgings of gold, and his clothing was elegant and showy. In his right hand he held an imperial and Cæsarean crown. In his left hand was another and royal crown, indicating him as sworn prince of the kingdoms of España and of the empire of the Indias. On the base of the image was an inscription which read as follows:

“Iurado Principe fui; y Rey, y Emperador fuera: mas ay que la Parca fiera, embidia tuvo de mi! Hiriome cruel, y perdi el ser Rey, y Emperador: mas orto Imperio mejor por el perdido he ganado: porque crece el embidiado, quanto la embidia es mayor.”

“I was the sworn prince, and would have been king and emperor, had it not been that savage Fate was envious of me. Cruelly did she wound me, and I lost the kingship and the empire. But I have gained another and better empire instead of the one that I lost; for greater does the envied one become when the envy is greater.”

By way of a finial, there was displayed on the ball at the center of the cupola a proud and spirited figure of Monarchy—armed gracefully but heavily with breastplate, shoulder-plate, greaves, cuisses, gorgets, and bracelets; and wearing skirts of bronze color edged with gold. Her head was encased in a morion surmounted by waving plumes and beautiful crests. Over her breast was a rich sash that hung loosely with airy grace and splendor. She was clad [42]in a military cloak, flowing in beautiful lines, and ornamented here and there with embroidery in silver. In her right hand she gracefully held a general’s baton subduing with it by the jaw a rampant lion of wonderful fierceness. With the left hand she clasped an escutcheon of the royal arms, bound about with many spirals of gold edging and beautiful ornaments. Massed about her feet were various military instruments, and at her side were the standards and devices of her glorious triumphs. All that variety composed a collection of beauties which was the crown of the entire work. Two finely carved pyramids arose gloriously at the two extremes of the socle, which they confronted. They were as high as the catafalque, and were painted in various colors, and spangled with bits of crystal, and on them were many rows of candle-sockets. There were, besides, other triumphal obelisks which were erected upon the cupola, and garlanded the upper structure, which accompanied Monarchy as glorious monuments. Many escutcheons of the royal arms and of the city were seen hanging at regular intervals—some of them embroidered and others in bas-relief, and all with much ornamentation of ribbons and resplendent in colors. The brilliant display of candles, (more than one thousand two hundred in number), enhanced all this splendor. Most of the lights were candles of two, three, four, five, or six libras, and were placed in their silver candlesticks, sockets, and holders. Besides, there were a great number of codales,6 which were made for that purpose and filled the entire space of the plinth.

The funeral poems and eulogies with which all [43]the royal chapel was crowned were a glorious acquittance of the Muses, in the happy death of their illustrious pupil. Some of these will be given in conclusion, and with them will end [the account of] what was done at the funeral ceremonies which this noble and loyal city of Manila performed for its august prince. The public demonstrations corresponded, not to the devotion with which so loyal vassals serve their Catholic sovereigns, but to the condition in which this community finds itself at present, worn out with so many calamities, oppressed by so many misfortunes, and even bloodless and exhausted by the so continual invasions of enemies; had not the divine hand been so favorable on its side, it would not now have any shoulders to support so heavy a burden. May our Catholic and invincible monarch accept these slight indications of the desire, and the proofs of the affection, which all this community offers as the obligation of its loyalty and in token of its grief, consecrated to the happy memories of their prince, in this public manifestation; if not suited to the grandeur of his person, it is to the generosity of his royal breast and august blood. May Heaven extend his life for the glory and increase of this monarchy, as we his humble and obedient vassals desire.7

[Then follow the poems and eulogies above mentioned, which are written partly in Latin and partly in Spanish.] [44]

1 Evidently a reference to the “Relation” of Father Fayol, q.v., Vol. XXXV, pp. 212–275.

2 This was the mother of the dead prince Baltasar Cárlos—Isabel (or Elizabeth) of France, daughter of Henri IV; she died October 6, 1644.

3 i.e., “The crown of our head has fallen.”

4 Spanish, una media naranja, literally, “a half orange.”

5 The original verses are given for this and following stanzas, because of the plays on words which cannot be perfectly rendered in English.

6 Codal: A short thick wax candle, one cubit in length.

7 Upon the occasion of the death of the late pope Leo XIII, a rich catafalque was erected in the great cathedral of Sevilla, between the choir and the high altar, and services were conducted somewhat in the same manner as here described.


Royal Aid for Jesuits Asked by Manila Cabildo


This city of Manila has informed your Majesty on other occasions how the Order of the Society of Jesus, which came to these islands many years ago with an ardent and apostolic zeal for the greater service of our Lord and that of your Majesty, has been employed in the conversion of souls; and that it has made and makes use of various means extraordinarily and especially efficacious to allure souls to the true knowledge of the matters of our holy Catholic faith, as experience has proved and proves daily. Their modest prudence and their admirable example of life and morals have verily aided in that—qualities which, resplendent in them, as is right, our Lord has permitted to shine out with great profit in the missions that they have in charge in these remote islands, besides the great edification that they cause in this city by their holy and excellent instruction.

We say the same in this letter, and, in particular, that the said order, recognizing its extremely great need of religious, has determined to send at the present time Father Diego Patiño1 as their procurator-general[45]—a religious of excellent abilities and learning, and of long experience in everything relating to these islands, as he has served your Majesty here for thirty years—in order that he might petition your Majesty to be pleased to grant him permission to bring as many religious as he can; for the said need is today greater than what it was when Father Diego de Bobadilla came with the forty men that he brought. For, since that time, sixty-one religious have died here, and some of them of but moderate age, as the land and its means of livelihood in general are so poor. The said order uses them as sparingly as is demanded by the poverty that the land suffers at this time. They are also placed under great restrictions by the continual hardships and dangers of their missions, as they are so separated in various islands—some of Moros and others of infidels—and by the stormy seas and awful currents. In that said number of sixty-one who have died, are nine priests who have gloriously given and sacrificed their lives to our Lord at the hands of the infidels. Attested official reports regarding three of these have been given before the ordinary of the city of Santísimo Nombre de Jesus, while those of the remaining six are being considered. For that reason the posts of the province are suffering the said need of the workers who are necessary; for the college of this city has one-half of the number of priests that it [46]had formerly, in order that they might attend to the so numerous duties that they exercise—the school for children; chairs of grammar, arts, and theology; and as preachers and confessors, because of the great frequency with which people of all nations go to their college for the administration of the holy sacraments of confession and communion throughout the year, and especially during Lent. This is something which does not receive due consideration; and with the few religious that they have, they are necessarily very hard-worked, for they have to go out day and night to confess the sick; to minister in the hospitals, prisons, and girls’ schools; and to the ordinary preaching in the guardhouses—from which abundant fruit has been seen.

The colleges of the city of Santísimo Nombre de Jesus and of the port of Yloylo, which formerly had five or six priests, do not now have two apiece, so that it is impossible to attend to the many duties that there present themselves.

Many of their Indian missions which formerly rendered two religious indispensable, have now but one. In the great island of Mindanao, nearly one-half of the civilized villages are without a minister, and consequently many people die without the sacraments. It is necessary for one minister to attend to one, two, three, or four villages which are very distant from one another, when each village needs its own priests. They do not hesitate, for all that, to go in the fleets when opportunity offers, in the capacity of chaplains, and in the shipyards where galleons are built. In those duties they have performed well-known and special services to our Lord and to your Majesty. [47]

By the industry of the said religious, and by the toil and hardships which can be understood, they have aided the arms of your Majesty; and the kings of Jolo and Mindanao, who were the ones who had rebelled and were destroying the islands with their plunderings, were reduced to peace, and today are increasing their friendship. The greatest foundation for that friendship is the example furnished by the said religious in their lands, and in the region where they have their missions, such as the mild and fitting treatment that they employ, according to their custom, having hopes [thereby] to gain the natives for God; for they listen without any reluctance to the matters of our holy Catholic faith from the mouths of the fathers, and learn from them very willingly.

The poverty of the houses of the said Society is as great as that which the inhabitants suffer, who are the fount whence originates all the support of this order and all the others. For since they are so poor, they cannot aid with the generosity that they might wish this and the other orders, the colleges, hospitals, prisoners, and brotherhoods. For that reason it was necessary to beg alms from door to door for more than five years, in order that they might maintain the college of this city and the few fathers in it; and the reason why they have ceased to beg is not because the need is not the same and greater, but because it is recognized that the citizens cannot continue their aid. For that reason the said father procurator-general of the said order is going [to España], as others have gone, as he can expect no more aid here. Consequently, it will be necessary to make heavy loans there, if your Majesty do not please to order [48]that he be assisted in that royal court, and in Sevilla and Mexico, with your usual liberality. This city humbly petitions your Majesty to be mindful of the said great need of ministers and the great fruit that they obtain for our Lord and your Majesty, whose royal Catholic person may the divine Majesty preserve, as is necessary to Christendom. Manila, June twenty, one thousand six hundred and fifty-two.2

Matheo de Arceo
Jeronimo de Fuentes Cortés
Nicolas Fernandez Paredes
Cristobal Velazquez
Gabriel Gomez del Castillo
Pedro de Morales
Pedro de Almonte
Juan de Somonte
A. de Verastegui
Francisco Lopez Montenegro
Albaro de Castillo [49]

1 Diego Patiño was born June 1, 1598, at Tarancon, in the diocese of Cuenca, and entered his novitiate March 22, 1613. [45n]After teaching grammar he went to the Philippines in 1622. He had charge of missions in Catubig, Malanao, Iligan, and Dapitan; was afterwards associate to the provincial, rector of Catbologan and Manila, and provincial of the Philippines; and was finally sent to Rome as procurator. He was versed in the various dialects of the Bisayan Islands. See Sommervogel’s Bibliothèque, and post, note 9.

2 The archbishop of Manila, Miguel Poblete, wrote to the king in like terms under date of July 8, 1654, as did also the bishop of Nueva Cáceres, under date of December 15, 1654. When Father Diego Patiño reached Mexico, he obtained permission from the viceroy there (June 26, 1656) to go to Madrid and Rome. Patiño died of suffocation from hernia, in Tenerife at the convent of the Dominicans, July 26, 1657, and was succeeded in his office by Brother Francisco Bello, who presented his licenses, authorizations, and memoranda to the Council, September 30, 1659 [sic. in Pastells, but probably 1658.] Recruits finally reached the Jesuits in 1662. The above document is only one of many written by various persons, detailing the need of the Jesuit missions and petitioning aid. See Pastells’s Colin, iii, pp. 787–790, where some of these letters are given with press-marks.


Condition of the Philippines in 1652

Summary of the memorial of the Jesuit Magino Sola1 to Don Sabiniano Manrique de Lara, governor of the Filipinas Islands, explaining the needs of the islands.

In this memorial Magino Sola shows that the conquest cannot be sustained, or extended to the points that are indispensable, without arms and soldiers. That the conquest may be carried on, it is necessary that the pay of the soldiers be met, as well as the other obligations of the islands, which have been quite disregarded for several years. Especial attention should be given to the evangelical ministers, who ought to be helped by the military.

The scarcity and misery has been the cause of serious disturbances. The father says: “The reason why the Chinese in Filipinas rose in revolt was only because of the lack of the ordinary supplies for the soldiers, so that the soldiers violently seized [50]their food and clothing from the houses and Parián of the Chinese. The merchants could not pay the Chinese for the goods that they had bought from them for the want of the same succor.2 The reason why the natives in some provinces have risen in insurrection and killed their ministers and the Spaniards was only because, the ordinary supplies being lacking, the Spaniards could not satisfy the natives for the food and goods that they had given on credit, nor pay them for their work.

“The reason why the governor of those islands found himself obliged to seize the money of their citizens and that of this city [i.e., Mexico], with so great loss to trade, was only for the reënforcement of the presidios, and to avoid troubles which follow from not paying the soldiers. Let one consider in how many years either the relief for those islands has been lacking altogether, or has been sent in so small quantity that it neither supplies the need, nor gives any hope of paying the amount owed. That is the origin and beginning, if I do not deceive myself, of all the many troubles and misfortunes that were and are suffered by the inhabitants of those islands, since the year 1637, when the trade began to dwindle because of the harshness at Acapulco in the visitation of Licentiate Don Pedro de Quiroga y Moya—troubles predicted, without doubt, by the ashes that rained down throughout those islands in the year 1633, which was followed by a general famine. In the year 1636, no ships came from those islands. In the year 38, the ‘Concepcion’ was wrecked in the [51]Ladrones. In the year 39, the two ships which were being sent back from this kingdom were lost on the coast of Cagayan, and the Sangleys rose in revolt. In the year 1640, the volcanoes burst open and some villages were entirely engulfed; and many other damages resulted. It would appear that Heaven itself was announcing new troubles and was sounding to arms against those islands. For throughout that archipelago one could hear distinctly aërial combats with artillery, and skirmishes with musketry.

“In the year 1644, occurred the so terrible earthquake which destroyed and overthrew two-thirds of the temples and buildings of Manila, and buried many persons among their ruins. In the year 46, the ship which was returning from this kingdom to those islands was wrecked. In that year and in that of 47 no ships could come here, for the Dutch held those seas, and they were committing great depredations and robberies in those islands. In the year 49, the ship ‘Encarnacion’ ran aground while returning, and was lost with all the cargo aboard it, while some of the people lost their lives. There was no ship in the year 1650, for that which was coming had to put back into port. ‘Nuestra Señora de Guia’ was almost wrecked among the islands when returning, with great loss and damage on the goods carried. No help was sent to those islands in the year 51–52. Let so many misfortunes be considered, and whether so many losses demand extraordinary reënforcements. Let one consider what must be the present gloomy conditions in those islands since the reënforcements have failed there for so many years. Let one consider whether an extraordinary and all-surpassing [52]reënforcement is now rightly due and demanded, and according to the command of his Majesty. For, as appears by his decrees, he ordered in past years, on hearing of some of the above-mentioned troubles, that those islands be reënforced, even though the usual money and treasure should not be sent to España for that purpose.”

The father continues to speak of the sacrifices made by the citizens of Manila because of the wars with the Dutch, not only giving money to the royal treasury, but also military service in the Plaza de Armas and manning the galleys with their slaves. In the time of Corcuera, money was taken from the charitable fund of the Misericordia for the maintenance of the infantry; and the gratings and balconies, and even the bells, served for the making of nails and artillery.

Therefore, the father states the necessity to the islands of a governor who should have as his chief aim the relief of the soldiers, and of the other classes who received assistance from the state.

This relation is dated September 15, 1652. [53]

1 Magino Sola was born at Girona, April 22, 1605, and was admitted into the Society of Jesus, August 15, 1624. He went to the Philippines, where he labored among the natives for three years, was procurator of his province for four years, minister at Manila for three years, rector of Silang, and after 1659 procurator for the Philippines in Spain. He died at Cadiz, October 31, 1664. Sommervogel mentions two letters written by him.

2 A note of Ventura del Arco, the transcriber and synopsizer of this document, says: “It is not exact to say that this was the cause of the insurrection of the Sangleys either in 1639 or in 1603.”


Jesuit Missions in 1655

Father Fray Miguel Solana1 of the Society of Jesus, provincial of this province of Filipinas, in fulfilment of the royal decree, of which he was notified by order of your Excellency, commanding him to give accurate information of the religious whom the Society has engaged in work in the missions of the Indians and of the villages which are in their charge, declares that all the villages and missions that they administer are located in the archbishopric of Manila and the bishopric of the city of Dulce Nombre de Jesus, where there are sixty-seven priests, distributed as follows:

There are seventeen in the archbishopric of the city of Manila.

There are four priests in the city of Manila, who are interpreters, and are at the expense of his Majesty, so that they may attend to the ministry to the Indians who go thither from all parts, as that place is the capital of the islands. They also minister to the [54]mulattoes and those of other races. At present those priests are Fathers Antonio Juan Sana, Jose Pimentel, Juan Bautista Suredo, Francisco Manuel.

In the village of San Miguel, which is inhabited by Tagálog Indians, is Father Magino Sola.

In the village of Santa Cruz, which, is inhabited by Christian Chinese, mestizos, free negroes, and Tagálogs, are two priests, namely, Fathers Francisco Ferrer and Ambrosio de la Cruz.

The village of San Pedro, where Indians, Chinese, and mestizos who work in the surrounding country congregate, has Father Francisco Colin.

In the residence of Antipolo, where there are other villages—namely, Antipolo, Taytay, and Baras, with four visitas in the mountains—there have always been three priests. At present there are two, namely, Fathers Luis Espinelli and Ygnacio Zapata.

In the residence of Silang reside three priests, namely, Fathers Ygnacio del Monte, Diego de Sanabria, and Juan de Esquerra. They have charge of three villages, namely, Silang, Yndan, and Maragondon, and their visitas.

In Cavite, the port of Manila, and in Cavite el Viejo, Fathers Andres de Ledesma and Juan Lopez attend to all the people of every class.

There are two fathers in four settlements of the island of Marinduque, namely, Fathers Luis Pimentel and Juan de Espinosa.

Bishopric of Cebu, or of Santisimo Nombre de Jesus

In various islands of the bishopric of Cebu there are fifty priests of the Society of Jesus, in the following residences and villages. [55]

In the city of Cebu itself are two fathers, who attend to the village of Mandaui and to the many Indians in the said city [of Cebu]. They are Fathers Domingo Esquerra and Francisco Combés.

There are four fathers in the island of Bohol—namely, Luis Aguayo, Pedro de Auñon, Bartolome Sanchez, and Francisco de la Peña—who attend to all the villages of the said island, five in number, called Loboc, Baclayon, Panglao, Ynabangan, and Malabohoc, and their visitas.

Island of Leyte

The Society has two residences in this island. The first is that of Carigara, where there are six priests, namely, Juan de Avila, Juan de la Rea, Pedro Carlos Cristobal de Lara, Andres Vallejo, and Antonio de Abarca. They instruct twelve villages, namely, Carigara, Leyte, Jaro, Barugo, Alangalan, Ocmug, Baybay, Cabalian, Sogor, Ynonangan, Panaon, and Luca. Those villages are scattered through a space of sixty leguas.

The second residence in the same island is that of Dagami. Its villages number ten, namely, Dagami, Malaguicay, Tainbuco, Dulag, Bito, Abuyo, Palo, Basey, Guinan, and Balanguigan. They are in charge of six fathers, namely, Carlos de Lemos, Diego de las Cuevas, Francisco Luzon, Laudencio Horta, Juan de la Calle, and Jose de Leon.

Island of Samar and Ybabao

The Society has two residences in this island, which is a very large one. One is located on the coast on the side toward España, and the other on the opposite coast. The former is called the residence [56]of Samar, and the alcalde-mayor of this jurisdiction lives there. It is composed of six villages, namely, Catbalogan, Calbigan, Paranas, Bangahun, Ybatan, and Capul; and other smaller villages have been reduced to these. The ministry of that residence is in charge of four priests, namely, Fathers Melchor de los Reyes, Baltasar de Portiçela, Ygnacio de Alçina, and Matias de Montemayor.

The second residence is that of Palapag. The villages in its mission number ten, namely, Palapag, Catubig, Burabur, Catalman, Bonbon, Biri, Bacor, Tubig, Sulat, and Borongan. They are visited—with great difficulty, because of the roughness of the seas—by six priests, namely, Fathers Bartolome Besco, Simon Baptista, Diego Flores, Cosme Pilares, Pedro de Espinar, and Jose Luque.


One father looks after the fort of Spanish infantry owned by his Majesty. Another priest attends to the village of Yloilo, which is composed of Indians and Sangleys. Those priests are Fathers Pedro de Montes and Juan de Contreras. However, his Majesty gives a stipend to only one.

Island of Negros

In four villages, namely, Ylog, the capital of the corregidor of the island of Negros, Canancalan, Suay, and Ygsiu, with two other visitas in the mountains, there are two fathers, namely, Esteban Jaime and Francisco Deza. [57]


His Majesty possesses two forts in this great island, that of Yligan and that of Samboangan, to which two priests of the Society attend. Father Ygnacio Navarro attends to that of Yligan, and Father Nicolas Cani to that of Samboangan. There are also two residences in the said island. The one lying toward the north is that of Dapitan. The villages in its district are inhabited by Subanos. There are fourteen churches, besides the one of the natives in the village of Yligan. They are Cayaguan, Delanun, Bayug, Dapitan, Lairaya, Dipolo, Dicayo, Duhinug, Piao, Licay, Manucal, Ponot, Silingan, Quipit, besides some others of less renown. They are in charge of four priests, namely, Fathers Jose Sanchez, Carlos de Valencia, Francisco Angel, and Bernardino de Alison.

The second residence is that of Samboangan. It extends from the border of Dapitan to Sibuguy, the boundary of King Corralat, which is a distance of about fifty leguas. There are seventeen villages along that coast, which are as follows: Siocon, Siraney, Cauit, Sibuco, Bocot, Malandi, La Caldera, Baluajan, Masluc, Manicaan, Ducunney, Coroan, Bitali, Tungauan, Sanguito, Boloan, and Bacalan. Besides the above there are three [sic] villages of Lutaos near the fort of Samboanga, namely, Bagumbaya, Buayabuaya. In addition to these, that residence includes the island of Basilan, and also the island of Joló and the island of Pangotaran, and other islands where many Christians live. Five priests are divided among all those places, and sail in the fleet of Samboangan, and they are paid at his [58]Majesty’s expense. Those priests are Father Pedro Tellez, Father Francisco Lado, Father Francisco de Victoria, Father Juan Andres Palavicino, and Father Juan Montiel.

Terrenate and Siao

Three priests are busied in these missions, by order of the government. They are Father Vicente Choua, Father Francisco Miedes, and Father Diego de Esquivel, and they are paid at his Majesty’s expense. Another one is needed to go and come thence, in order that the said priests may be sustained.

The above sixty-seven priests are actual instructors and missionaries. Besides them, there are eleven students in the college of the Society, who are studying the language and becoming suitable ministers to supply the place of those who shall die. There are also five masters, who teach not only the members of the Society, but also laymen. To their teaching are indebted the majority of the beneficed clergy, secular priests, in the islands, besides many others who have entered the orders. They also have charge of missions. Other priests in the said province who are occupied in the care of the Spaniards are not named in this paper, because they are not maintained at his Majesty’s expense. These are also used to fill the vacant places of those who are lacking in the said missions either from sickness or death; for no priest is permitted to work therein who does not know one of the languages of the Indians who are in our care, so that all may be instructors. In order that this may be given credit, I have affixed my signature in this village of San Pedro, June 30, 1655. [59]

The Mindanao Missions

The island of Mindanao2 is the largest of these Filipinas Islands, next to that of Manila. A great portion of it is yet to be subdued. In that part which is conquered, the Society has charge of the jurisdictions of Iligan and Zamboanga. The latter is the chief presidio of the Spaniards, where a college is in the first years of foundation, which has a rector and five priests who work in it. The villages that it instructs are as follows: The village of the natives and Lútaos3 of the same Zamboanga, who number 800 families. In place of paying tribute, they serve as rowers in our fleets, which are quite usually cruising about in defense of our coasts and to harass the enemy. The island of Basilan opposite the presidio of Zamboanga and two leguas distant, has about 1,000 families—who, attracted by the industry, affection, and care of the mission fathers are most ready to show themselves for the Christian instruction, but few appear at the time of collecting the tribute. The Christian kindness of the Spaniards, which attends rather to the welfare of the souls than to personal interest, is tolerant with those people, as they are not yet entirely tamed and subdued, and because of the danger of losing everything if they are hard pressed. That happens not only in the island of Basilan, but also in all the other places of that jurisdiction of [60]Zamboanga, in the land of Mindanao. Those places are: La Caldera, a port so named, two leguas from Zamboanga toward the east, with about 200 families; Bocot, 250 families; Piacan and Siraney, 100 families; Siocon, 300 families; Maslo, 100 families; Namican, 30 families; Data, 25 families; Coroan, 20 families; Bitales, 40 families; Fingan, 100 families; Tupila, 100 families; Sanguinto, 100 families. All those places are at the southern part of Zamboanga, and contain in all 3,251 families. The islands of Pangotaran and Ubian are also included in that jurisdiction, which are two days’ journey from Zamboanga; and their inhabitants, now almost all christianized, pay some kind of tribute when the fleets pass there. The islands of Tapul and Balonaquis, whose natives are yet heathen. There are many islets about Basilan which serve as a shelter for Indian fugitives, many of whom are Christians, who on occasions come to the fathers for the sacraments, and come at the persuasion of the fathers to serve in the fleets. The island of Jolo also belongs to the same jurisdiction of Zamboanga. It has many Christians, who remained there when the Spanish presidio was withdrawn. The father ministers go at times to visit them, and endeavor to attract them in order to administer the holy sacraments to them. All of the people in these various places reduced to families will be a little more or less than as follows: in Pangotaran and Ubian, 200; in Tapul and Balonaquis, 150; in the islets of Basilan, 200; in Jolo, with its islets, 500—all together amounting to 1,000. [61]

The jurisdiction of Iligan, with its residence of Dapitan

This jurisdiction runs along the eastern coast of the island, and its territory extends for a distance of about sixty leguas. That district includes the people of the Subanos, who are one of the most numerous in the island, and one of the most ready to receive the evangelical doctrine, as they are heathen and not Mahometans, as are the Mindanaos. The village of Iligan, which is the capital of the jurisdiction, where the alcalde-mayor and the infantry captain of the presidio live, has about 100 tributes along the coast. The district further inland, in another village called Baloy, has about 200 families, although only 30 make their appearance for the tribute. Another village called Lavayan, which is located on the other side of Iligan and the bay of Panguil, has 50 tributes, although there are [actually] twice as many more. Then comes Dapitan, which is our center for residence and instruction, as it is one of the most ancient Christian villages in these islands. Its inhabitants went of their own accord to meet the first Spaniards who went out for the conquest, and guided and served them in that conquest; and they have always remained faithful in their friendship, for which reason they have been exempted from paying tribute. There are about 200 families there, while another village in the interior at the head of the same river has about 250. The villages located along the coast toward Zamboanga are Dipoloc, with 300 families Duino, 600; Manucan, 100; Tubao, 100; Sindangan 500; Mucas, 200; Quipit, 300—in all 2,750 families [62]This is the number estimated to be in this residence. Five priests generally aid in their instruction.4 [63]

1 Miguel Solana was born in Castilla, June 1, 1594; at the age of eighteen he entered the Jesuit order, and ten years later (1622) came to the Philippines. During twenty years he ministered to both the Spaniards and the natives, and later was (twice) provincial, and procurator-general at Madrid. He died at San Miguel, December 21, 1669.

Cf. this document with “Jesuit missions in 1656” (Vol. XXVIII of this series, pp. 78–103), both being written by royal command.

2 This information is obtained by Montero y Vidal from a report made in 1654 by the Jesuits, at the order of the colonial government; it is probably one of the local reports used by Solana in compiling the preceding account.

3 Murillo Velarde says of the Lutaos (Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 73b): “They are capable and alert, and remind me of the gypsies in España.”

4 Montero y Vidal adds: “It is seen, then, that the Christian population in charge of the Jesuits in Mindanao and adjacent regions was at that time 50,000 souls. The discalced Augustinians, who had gone to aid the Jesuits in 1621 in extending their jurisdictions of Butuan and Caraga, had 20,000 more or so in charge. As the entire population of the island was, according to Father Colin, calculated at that time at 150,000, it follows that more than two-fifths had embraced Christianity and were obedient to Spanish authority.”


Letter from the Archbishop of Manila to Felipe IV


When we became established in these islands, and they were divided up into bishoprics, the division was not made with due regard to convenience, and as the distance between the several parts required. This was due either to a lack of information, or to the fact that the conversion [of the heathen] had not yet been accomplished, nor had various islands, inhabited by numerous souls, yet been discovered; but these are now for the most part brought to our holy Catholic faith, or are shortly to be so, as we hope. To this must be added the lack of gospel laborers in regions which are distant more than a hundred leguas in the sea; as are the Litaos of Zamboanga, the Mindanaos, the Xoloans, the Borneans, and other nations, to which no bishopric extends or can extend, nor is there any prelate to care for those souls. Such a condition demands a remedy, and it appears to me best to present the matter to your Majesty, beseeching you to be pleased to apply the remedy which is fitting, by providing a prelate and bishop to govern the church for so many souls. The most effective measure, it appears to me, is to discontinue the bishopric of Camarines, and have the bishop put over [64]the said nations—considering that the former is the smallest bishopric, and borders on this archbishopric of Manila; and that the administration of the sacraments of confirmation, and the visitations, could be attended to by land journeys [from here]. In this way these souls will be provided with their needed nourishment, and many will receive [spiritual] aid who today are neglected, or who have hardly any ministers. It has seemed best to me to present this matter to your Majesty, that you may command what shall seem best. [In the margin: “Let the decision on the printed memorial, number 47, 48, and 53, be executed.”]

In the year 654 I gave an account to your Majesty of all the kingdoms and islands in the neighborhood of these. In some of them your Majesty has garrisons and government, as in that of Terrenate; others are governed by their own native kings; and in all there are an infinite number of Christians. But all of them are lacking in ecclesiastical jurisdiction and spiritual administration, because priests have to come to them from Goa; and on account of the want that they have suffered, they find themselves in need of ministers. Considering the fact that I am the nearest metropolitan in these islands, it seemed best to me to make known these facts to your Majesty, so that, if it be your pleasure, you may provide assistance from this archbishopric—as is provided for the countries of Camboxa, Tunquin, Macazar, Sian, which are all governed by their native kings and are inhabited by an infinite number of baptized persons, who are afforded salvation in the same manner and way as was done in the year 654 in the islands of Terrenate, where the power of your Majesty is established. [65]Your governor, Don Sabiniano Manrrique de Lara, withdrew the curacy which was established at Malaca, as it seemed expedient for the service of your Majesty; and at that time he sent ministers to maintain that Christian community until your Majesty should determine otherwise, or his Holiness should make provision [through me], as the metropolitan nearest at hand, for the saving of these souls. [In the margin: “The same as in the preceding clause.”]

I also relate to your Majesty how, through the lack of bishops which prevails in the kingdoms near these islands (whose ecclesiastical government has been administered by the archbishopric of Goa), several Portuguese candidates, both secular priests and religious, have come to this city from Macam and other regions, to be ordained. As a vassal of your Majesty, I decided not to ordain them without special advice from your Majesty; I, therefore, informed your governor of this, and have ordained none of them. That I may execute in this and in everything else the will of your Majesty, I beg you to be pleased to command me what I must do. May God protect your Catholic and royal person, granting greater kingdoms and seigniories. Manila, July 30, 1656. [In the margin: “This question was found in another letter from the archbishop. Have the fiscal examine it at once, and have it brought with everything to the Council.” “The fiscal, having examined this clause of the letter, says that the Council might be pleased to command that the archbishop give information as to the manner in which those mentioned in this clause came to be ordained—whether with or without dismissory letters, and from [66]whom they bring them—so that with this he may make such request as is suitable. Madrid, March 2, 660.”]

Miguel, archbishop of Manila.

[Endorsed: “Manila, July 30, 656. To his Majesty. The archbishop informs us concerning various subjects, which are noted on the margin, namely: the great number of Christians who are in those islands, and the few laborers; much besides bishops and ministers is needed for their government and instruction; and he proposes other matters which should be decided.” “June 6, 659. Memorial, number 47, 48, and 53.” “Session of the Council of March 4, 1660. Let his Majesty be advised that the Council have considered what the archbishop of Manila writes in the last clause of this letter of July 30, 1656, in regard to his refusing to ordain the religious and secular priests who come to his archbishopric from the Portuguese who are in the territory of the archbishopric of Goa, on account of the state in which Portugal is; and, besides, what the fiscal answered on this point, after he had seen the letter—namely, that the archbishop should be asked to give information in regard to the manner in which these men came to be ordained, whether with or without dismissory letters, and from whom they bring them, so that the proper request may be made. Although orders to this effect have been issued, it has seemed best to the Council to render account to your Majesty of what this information contains, on account of the bearing which it has generally upon the affairs of Portugal; so that, in so far as this knowledge is important to him, such consultation may be held as shall appear most expedient.” [67]“Let the Council take immediate action on this, so that their decision may go with the fleet.”

Don Juan Gonzales
Don Pedro de Galbez
Don Miguel de Luna

Dated on the same day.] [68]


Two Jesuit Memorials, Regarding Religious in the Moluccas, and the Inquisition


I, Francisco Vello of the Society of Jesus, procurator-general of the province of Filipinas, who am at present in this court, deem it advisable for the service of your Majesty to make the following statements:

The governor of Filipinas, for certain reasons and motives that he had, withdrew from the Terrenate forts the rector of a house of the Society of Jesus which the province of Cochin in Eastern India had there from the beginning of those conquests, and placed there instead religious belonging to my province of Filipinas. The said rector acted as commissary of the Inquisition for the tribunal of Goa, as long as he was there; but when he was withdrawn those forts were left without any commissary. I gave testimony regarding that to the inquisitor-general, so that he on his part might procure from your Majesty the appointment for those forts of a minister—a matter so important for the purity of our holy faith—since your Majesty strives, as your chief glory, to preserve it in all the kingdoms and provinces of your monarchy; and it is most necessary [69]in them, as they are in the midst of many sectaries, and, as those people are very warlike, they are more ready to receive errors.

Everything relating to the Inquisition of the Filipinas is carried to the tribunal of Mexico, with great hardships to the persons, expense to the treasury, and the risk of losing everything—sometimes years being spent in questions and answers, and the enemy capturing (as happened at various times) not only the records but the criminals as well. And when affairs are settled, whether the criminals are punished or freed, they are left about two thousand five hundred leguas from their home and abode, and sometimes it is impossible for them to return. One would think that, since it was considered an inconvenience for the vassals of the Canarias (who are distant only two hundred odd leguas from Hespaña) to go to Sevilla, and a tribunal was established there for their alleviation, there is not less but much [more] reason in the Filipinas for your Majesty to be pleased to order that a tribunal be erected in the city of Manila, as was done in the Canarias. Moreover, supposing that Goa return later to the allegiance of your Majesty, it is as difficult to take criminals and records from the forts of Terrenate to that place as to Mexico; and, in proportion to the dangers of the sea, much greater.

At present, even if the road from Terrenate to Goa were short and easy, it is not right to take the faithful vassals of your Majesty to be punished by rebels, and by secret decrees, in districts so distant from one another. And if they are not taken—as they have not been taken for many years, during which acts have been fulminated—evildoers remain without [70]punishment, and the one evil is as bad as the other. All that will be avoided by establishing a new tribunal in Manila. By that erection no new expense will be added to the royal treasury other than that of the inquisitor, and the amount given him will be proportioned to the income of the country, and can be obtained by assigning a certain number of Indian tributes to the royal treasury for that purpose; and he can afterward be advanced to bishop and archbishop, with greater experience than those have who go from other regions. The other officials do not receive a salary. I trust in God, and the piety of your Majesty, that provision will be made for this in the manner most to our Lord’s glory and the welfare of your vassals, etc.

Francisco Vello1


I, Francisco Vello, procurator-general of the Society of Jesus for the province of Filipinas, declare that, on account of the information that I have had from those islands and from all parts of the Orient, I have deemed it necessary to represent to your Majesty that, when the forts of Terrenate were restored from the possession of the Dutch in the year six hundred and four, the temporal government of those forts (which was before under Eastern Yndia), was administered by Filipinas, while the ecclesiastical and spiritual was left to the said Yndia, as it belonged to the bishopric of Malaca, and the Inquisition to the tribunal of Goa, and a house of my order [71]to the province of Cochin or Malabar (which is one and the same thing)—your Majesty paying both the expenses of the military and the salaries of the ecclesiastical persons from your royal treasury of Manila.

Because of the troubles that Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera recognized while governor, after the insurrection of Portugal and their conquests, he had the religious withdrawn—leaving only the vicar, because of the jurisdiction—which could not be administered by secular officials, but by those to whom it belongs. After Don Diego Faxardo assumed that government, he again introduced Portuguese religious there, and withdrew those of my province. [That plan was pursued] until Don Saviniano Manrrique de Lara assumed the same government, who, on account of information from the warden of those forts, again withdrew the religious from Yndia, and likewise the vicar—entrusting to my provincial that administration and house, at the advice of the archbishop of Manila. That charge was immediately accepted, in order to serve your Majesty; and it has been thus far fulfilled.

Although those presidios and the king of Tidore (who is a Christian) and the people of those districts have persons to administer the holy sacraments to them, their ministers have no jurisdiction, as it has to emanate from the ordinary of Malaca. In the same way there is no commissary of the Inquisition, as the tribunal of Goa thus far has jurisdiction there. Malaca, to which the said forts belonged, has been occupied by the Dutch since the year six hundred and forty-one; and our holy Roman faith is no longer exercised there, nor has there been left any [72]city or village of that bishopric which could obtain that see. Also is there no hope of the restoration of what has been lost, according to the trend of the times. Because of that loss the jurisdiction of Terrenate had to be transferred either to the bishopric of Cochin—which is the nearest one, being distant thence six hundred leguas—or to the metropolitan of Goa, which is seven hundred leguas from Malaca, while the first one is one thousand three hundred leguas and the second one thousand four hundred from Terrenate. Consequently, on account of the long navigation, they cannot be furnished with supplies from there, as their proper administration requires. For that same reason they were not visited for more than twenty years by any ordinary or ecclesiastical superior, as is commanded by the councils. Besides the above difficulty there is another one, namely, that no people sail from Yndia to the Moluccas except the Dutch, as the latter have gained possession of those islands and of their drug trade, which they defend from all, most especially the Portuguese of Yndia.

Consequently, it seems to be necessary that the spiritual affairs of those forts be placed in charge of the archbishop of Manila (although they are nearer to the bishopric of Zebú), because of the ships which continue to carry reënforcements, with a voyage of three hundred leguas or a little more or less. No other object is intended in this than the welfare of those Christians; and your Majesty will obtain no other advantage than that of maintaining our Roman faith in its purity in that most remote district of the world, among so warlike nations as are the Japanese, Chinese and Tartars, Tunquinese, Cochin-chinese, Cambojans, Siamese, Joloans, and others [73]who almost surround it. For that alone so great a sum of money is spent as is known, not only in those forts but in all those islands. It has been proved to be very agreeable to God because of the extent to which the holy gospel has spread among them, for they are the best fields of Christian effort of all the conquests of the monarchy. It is well seen that He favors it in the continual victories that your Majesty’s arms have had in those regions on sea and land, although it is so distant a member of the body of this monarchy. May God prosper this monarchy well with fortunate victories for the welfare and increase of our holy religion.2

Francisco Vello [74]

1 Before embracing a religious life, Brother Francisco Bello (or Vello) had been a fine business man and merchant, and had a thorough knowledge of the Orient. See Pastells’s Colin, iii, p. 806.

2 Considerable legislation took place in regard to these two memorials. They were submitted to Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, who indited his reply from Santander, November 22, 1658, in which he corroborated the statements of Vello, and advises that the suggestions in both be followed. They were also submitted to one Licentiate Antonio de León Pinedo, because of his knowledge of such matters, who answered under date of Madrid, January 10, 1659, advising that the forts of Terrenate be annexed to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Philippines. The fiscal, reporting on the matter at Madrid, February 11, 1659, also favors the establishment of a tribunal of the Inquisition at Manila and the merging of the Terrenate forts in the archbishopric of Manila. On March 11, 1659, the council resolved that the viceroy and Audiencia of Nueva España report pro and con on the founding of a tribunal of the Inquisition in Manila, after conferring with the inquisitor of Mexico; also that the governor and archbishop of the Philippines report on the means of supporting a tribunal of the Inquisition without royal expense. A royal decree of April 24, 1659, directed to the governor and Audiencia of the Philippines, orders them to report pro and con on the separation of the Terrenate forts from the bishopric of Malacca and their addition to the archbishopric of Manila. Another decree of like date addressed to the viceroy and Audiencia of Nueva España orders a report on the establishment of a tribunal in Manila. Although the memorials are without date, it is probable that they were presented to the royal Council in the latter part of 1658; for Bello succeeded Patiño as procurator-general at Tenerife, July 26, 1657. See the original documents presented by Pastells (Colin, iii, pp. 806–810).


Jesuit Protest against the Dominican University

Memorial of Miguel Solana, Jesuit, petitioning the king not to allow the Dominican friars to carry out their purpose of founding a university in Manila.


Miguel Solana of the Society of Jesus, and procurator-general of the province of the Philippine Islands, makes the following declaration, namely: That he has been shown a memorial presented by the father master Fray Mateo Vermudez,1 procurator-general of the college of Santo Tomas in the city of Manila, wherein for reasons therein set forth he asks that the ambassador at Rome be authorized in writing to petition his Holiness to erect a university of general studies, and to incorporate and establish it in his college as above—so that, should there hereafter be founded separate schools and general [studies], the said university is to be transferred to them, in which may be taught three other branches of learning—[75]namely, canon law, civil law, and medicine, as more fully set forth in the said memorial, the meaning whereof to be taken for granted. Your Majesty will be pleased to order that the same be stricken from the judicial acts, and furthermore, that no other petition of similar import be admitted, with the declaration to the opposing party that, inasmuch as the matter has already been decided [cosa juzgada] in favor of the college of San Ignacio, which the Society conducts in the said city, they are barred from further relief. All which I petition for, for reasons to be more fully described hereafter, whereon I found the necessary petitions and prayers, which, as is evident and appears, will be acknowledged throughout the whole line of reasoning and the acts of the suit that has been entered by the said college, as well as from the allegations and claims deduced therein. The claim of the college of Santo Tomas, in brief, is the establishment of a university in order to nullify the right and privileges of the Society and of the said college of San Ignacio, whereon the Audiencia of Manila has acted and delivered judgment—which acts, on being brought before the Council on appeal, were ended definitively in the trial and review of the said suit. The case, therefore, is finished and closed, and for no reason can or should it be reopened, either in whole or part. Wherefore it results that the claim now introduced is faulty with no other purpose than to burden the said Society with new suits and expenses; as the case, as stated, has been decided and closed, and the reopening of it barred, as being a matter already determined. The said memorial therefore should not be admitted, nor a hearing granted to the claim advanced therein, which should [76]be refused further consideration. And to the end that his plea be drawn up according to the requirements of law, and for the better confutation of the reasons advanced in the said memorial, he [i.e., Solana] maintains that what was petitioned for and obtained by the opponents in the warrant (which was secured through the aid of money) was the establishment of a university like those at Avila and Pamplona. But in order to avoid raising the question of temporal privileges with the necessary expenses therefor, as well as because the paper to be sent to Rome had to be of similar tenor, it was trickily drawn up, and the petition for a university made to read as for one like Lima and Mexico, whereof the reasons advanced in the said suit were set forth in full form, whence it follows that it is not entitled to any further consideration; especially so, since the concession made by his Holiness was according to the tenor of the clear and truthful petition that had been presented to him, without taking into consideration the ulterior meaning that through deceit and malice had been introduced into the report and the subsequent decree thereon. Nor should so important a defect be glozed over with the assertion that the said paper bore the signatures of the president and the members of your Council (whereof there is no evidence) while the very contrary is evident in the acts. [Let it be noted] that considerable time has passed, while, moreover, the proceedings have taken for granted the certainty that those acts should have in similar matters—besides the facts that, in the endeavor to secure a bull, the accompanying statement was vague in that no mention was made therein of the authority [77]possessed by the Society of conferring degrees by perpetual and lawful right; and that in the Council acknowledgment was made (with full cognizance of the case and of whatever was proposed in the said memorial and papers), that they were in favor of the college of San Ignacio and its degrees and students, and not of those of Santo Tomas. Moreover, the bulls and apostolic privileges that have been enjoyed by the Society are in legal and recognized form, and have been admitted and certified to in all the audiencias and tribunals of the Indias, as is notorious; they were passed by the Council, and were presented in the suit, and acknowledged as being of value; while what was advanced by the said father procurator whereon were issued the decisions and writs of the Audiencia of Manila and the Council, was held as gratuitously asserted and without foundation. As early as the year 26, the said bulls were presented to the president, governor, and captain-general, at that time Don Juan Niño de Tabora—from which the subreption latent in the bull which they obtained is inferrible, for in the form wherein it was granted, they would not have secured it if his Holiness had had the evidence of the right and [fact of] possession on the part of the said Society. Nevertheless, the said father procurator-general seeks and claims to have all the defects therein corrected through the issuance of new letters and bulls, in order that the said Society may thereby be deprived and despoiled of its said just privileges and legal titles. In virtue of these it is toiling to the great benefit and advantage, both spiritual and temporal, of the vassals of your Majesty who are resident in those regions and provinces, and who again and again have sought to [78]have the Society upheld in its said right, the same having been duly acknowledged and certified, of which there cannot be the slightest doubt. In order to make plain the baselessness of the arguments that are raised against the said bulls, it suffices to say that they have been presented in legal, authentic, and unchallengeable shape, whereof the evidence is wholly undeniable; and have been recognized as such by the Council, by which they have been accepted with all needed circumstances and requirements—so that, had any further scrutiny been needed therein, the same would not have been neglected, nor, [in such case], would the audiencias of the Indias have allowed them to be cited. Moreover in the suit now pending in the Council, between the college of the Society and that of Santo Tomas in sequence of the one conducted before the royal Audiencia resident in that city [of Manila], the fiscal of Santa Fé [in Mexico?] required that those bulls should be recognized and fulfilled; and although opposition thereto was offered on the part of the college of Sante Tomas, the acts of the trial and the review show that a writ of execution was issued empowering the Society to make full and complete use of the same by conferring degrees, as it had been doing, the college of Santo Tomas being enjoined therefrom. In consideration of this it is not right to grant the father procurator a hearing. Besides, in that suit many other arguments and reasons were brought forward in favor of the Society. Wherefore, if this had not already been decided, finished, and closed, as is the case, a petition would be presented to have all the acts relative to the same brought together, or that a report should be drawn [79]up of the proceedings in the trial. With this concurs the fact, as said, that they were passed by the Council, of which a cedula to that effect has been presented. Moreover in the said suit before the Audiencia of Manila, the cedula of November 25 of [the year 16] 45 having been offered in opposition thereto, full recognition was had of this article; and in the trial and review of the case the claim was refused consideration, since the truthfulness and promptness wherewith the Society was and is proceeding was in evidence—as also was its right use of the said bulls and its conferral of degrees, of which recognition and discussion was made before all parties in this said suit. Besides, to assert that the powers to confer degrees were revoked by Pius V and Sixtus V is contrary to established fact, inasmuch as, so far as relates, appertains, and belongs to its privileges and bulls, these not only were not withdrawn from the Society, but rather were confirmed most amply, with the grant besides of new favors and graces. Wherefore, as regards this plea all question is ended, while the revocation to which he refers concerns other parties, and other intents and purposes, which do not belong to or affect this suit relative to the firm and unalterable right of the Society of Jesus. The said father procurator-general, then, should know what is so notorious that even in Rome, where the Society has its principal university, it has been conferring degrees on its students without any opposition whatever, which would not be the case were the bulls in any way detective. But this [claim] is wholly gratuitous and censurable, as the said decrees of execution were issued by the audiencias and councils; nor should it be offered in opposition [80]on the part of the college of Santo Tomas; nor should an attempt be made to reopen what has been resolved and decided legally with such full knowledge of the case. And the report which he files is also opposed to established fact, in his statement that the city [of Manila] petitioned for the foundation of a university in the said college; for no such paper was written, nor has one been discovered, to the best of our knowledge. Nay, the evidence on the contrary goes to show that a special petition was drawn up in both the general and the particular interest of that community wherein the said Society is established and the use and exercise of its said bulls maintained. For this reason, when the Audiencia ordered the trial to be held, the citizens displayed so much regret for this disturbance of the Society, that the cabildo and magistracy felt obliged to repair to the governor and most urgently petition him to interpose his authority to have the suit remanded to the Council. They asked that no change [in regard to the college] be made, and that he would petition your Majesty on their behalf not to sanction the finding of the said act; or, in event of this being done, to extend the same grace also to the Society of Jesus, in opposition to whose growth it was not right or within reason (with due respect) to have the question decided through the expenditure of money, and that the petty amount of two thousand pesos. Because of the harm to the public welfare and the service of your Majesty, besides other cogent reasons, any similar proposal should be regarded with disfavor and refused a hearing. Moreover, it [i.e., the Jesuit college] was sought for and granted on the fiat of the Conde de Castrillo, through whose [81]agency this grant was secured, and confirmed by the Council. This they secured and obtained fully and sufficiently, and their warrants have been put into effect; whence it results that (even though the intent [of these] had not prevailed and been put into execution, as it has been; even though the res judicata bars further action, as it does) no recourse is open to them [i.e., the Dominicans], nor means that can be of use for introducing the said claim, nor ground for complaint—especially since in virtue of the bull they enjoy many and valuable prerogatives which were not contained in the temporal privileges which they exercised in former times. Then the archbishop gave them their degrees, which were recognized only in the Indias, while now these are recognized everywhere, being conferred by the rector of the college, which has other officials, insignia, and preëminences of special import. Nor do they [i.e., the Dominicans] refrain from nor content themselves with disparaging in every way the degrees and students of the Society of Jesus, whom they deprive and despoil of their just titles and rights. Such is the reason wherefore your Majesty should not give them a hearing were the subject one entitled to a hearing; such the reason wherefore the Council, although wrongly the contrary is maintained, has not declared the college of Santo Tomas to be a university—since what it did do, as is evident in the acts, was to order and declare that both colleges use their bulls. Thus the opposing party is deprived of nothing; nay, especially since, as is stated in the petition and prayer drawn up for that purpose, it was in order to obtain such powers as are held by the universities of Avila and Pamplona. They should not now seek, because [82]of the illegal act of the secretary, to have those powers extended and enlarged to those [possessed by the colleges] of Lima and Mexico, even though his Holiness had not reduced them to the form, limits, and branches of knowledge, referred to in the said bull—to whose tenor and decision one must submit without therefore giving undue significance to the word academia used therein. For, without now raising any question as to the effects thereof, the burden of this treatise simply states that whether a college be a university or not depends on the will of him who is empowered to grant it after inquiry into the fundamental grounds of the matter. In the said lawsuit, the truth was established; accordingly it is neither expedient nor fitting to discuss new points, as whether the term academia, or that of university, or something else be used. Besides, as already stated, the city of Manila did not petition for a university as alleged by the opposite party. The petitioner to that effect in the paper referred to was the said college itself, which secured the grant with limitations as in the decree. Wherefore, even if the said bull had not been secured, there would have been no cause for complaint, inasmuch as they paid the said two thousand pesos with your Majesty’s consent; nor could a new petition at any time be presented, one already having been granted, even though they had not obtained the bull.

But without calling in question the matter which is already settled, or his other representations which he insists on and firmly maintains—without appearance, however, of abandoning his claim in case of its rejection—the point that now may be discussed relative to a regular university and general studies is as follows: Has the college of Santo Tomas the [83]needed requisites therefor? or are there new conditions by which their claim can be supported, and which would deprive your Majesty of all ground [for refusing it], although you do not support it? In case a new foundation should be deemed advisable, this more suitably should be established in the said college of San Ignacio, for the reasons to be gathered from the acts of the said trial, from the reports that have been made in favor of the Society, and from the excellent progress which, as is proved by experience, has resulted from their learning and teaching in those islands, with the general applause and approval of their inhabitants and citizens. All this [the writer] again brings forward in the interest of this plea; and he represents that the college of San Ignacio is one founded by your Majesty, and the earliest, and is older than that of Santo Tomas; he also asserts its precedence and other prerogatives adjudged to it in the said trial. Its teaching staff has been, as it will continue to be, adorned with the needed endowments and learning; and that the Society will, as is usual in such cases, carefully teach and train youth follows from its statutes; and the results of its labors in this direction are well known. For its teachers it has never demanded any fees, nor have they any other reward than the luster which is derived from the learning and uprightness of the scholars. They need no royal endowment for their support and maintenance, nor will they ever apply for one. From the revenues enjoyed by the college and the favor shown by your Majesty from the beginning of their earliest establishments they will maintain themselves and be gladly occupied in the fulfilment of this duty. Your Majesty will be their only patron and will give them such statutes as he [84]shall please for their better government. Moreover, without having the royal exchequer put to the slightest expense, application will be made to his Holiness for bulls whereby this institution may win greater renown; while it will be subject in all things to the behest and commands of your Majesty and your Council, as ever has been the notable course of the Society of Jesus in those regions, in order that you may clearly see and understand its mode of procedure and how consistent are its actions. As a favor from your Majesty, it prays with the utmost earnestness and respect that you will be pleased to command that the papers and reports bearing on this matter in the secretary’s office be examined and compared—not only those from the present governor, but those from his predecessor; and especially what the latter wrote in the year 49, on the occasion of his referring [to the Council] this lawsuit. Therein will appear the arguments in opposition to the college of Santo Tomas, and the decisions thereon—among others, the fact that its graduates and students have to take oath that they will uphold the teachings of Saint Thomas [of Aquino]. As a matter of fact, in the renowned universities of the world an oath is taken to defend whatever the consensus of Christian piety has decreed—as during these days was sworn to amid public demonstrations and applause, in the presence of your Majesty—relative to the mystery of the conception of the most holy Virgin our Lady.2 Besides this, by express enactments [85]of law they are forbidden under censures to read and teach other faculties and sciences than those of philosophy and theology. It is therefore unbecoming and in conflict with the said enactments, as well as incompatible with their institute and profession, which forbid them to conduct public universities in the form now claimed. It, moreover, is in manifest prejudice to the right conferred by bulls and privileges on the Society of Jesus, as well as to what has been decreed in its favor with so much toil and expense. And, besides, it may be remarked that the establishment of a university, with courses of medicine, and canon and civil law, in the convent of Santo Domingo would be an improper and absurd proceeding, as they have no teachers who are acquainted with the first principles of these sciences, in default of which there could be but poor instruction, whereas the law requires that the teachers thereof be very learned, besides being endowed with singular talents and qualifications. As the matter is well and generally known, it may be observed that in the Philippines and the city of Manila, where the only persons who treat the sick are Chinese, there is no graduate physician; for no one wishes to go thither from Mexico, as he would be unable to get a living. As regards canon and civil law, graduates therein might go thither every year, if only they could obtain a living and find scholars to whom they might lecture and give instruction. But the city of Manila is so [86]small and confined that—as is evident from the paper here presented with the necessary formalities from Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corquera—it numbers no more than two hundred and seventy citizens. Behold then, your Majesty, under what conditions and in what sort of a place it is sought to establish a regular university of sciences and arts, with chancellor, rector, secretary, beadle, and other officials and teachers who make up its stall—for whose support would be needed twelve thousand ducados of income, no matter how moderate the salaries; whereas, if a portion of this were applied in increasing the number of settlers, with a consequent saving of burdens on the royal exchequer, this would redound to the greater benefit and service of your Majesty. With consideration of the same and whatever besides in fact or law may be of moment, the writer prays and beseeches your Majesty to order the said memorial to be rejected, and allow no other of similar import to be received—with the addition of the declaration, if needed, that the case has already been settled, and the claim is not entitled to a hearing. In conclusion, without prejudice, however, to his plea nor with abandonment of the same, he [i.e., Solana] prays that, should a university be established, it be founded in the college of San Ignacio of the said Society; and on each and every matter relating thereto he files all the petitions needed therefor, wherein he will receive favor with justice, etc.3 [87]

1 Mateo Bermudez was one of the Dominican mission that arrived in the islands in 1626. He ministered in Formosa, and in the Parián of Manila; and was afterward procurator at Madrid and Rome, and visitador to the American provinces. In 1658 he returned to Mexico, remaining there until his death (1673), at the age of eighty.

2 In the MS. this latter clause is separated from the preceding one, but obviously refers to it. The argument of Solana is: The Dominican school requires the teachings of St. Thomas, “the Angelical Doctor,” to be maintained. But St. Thomas opposed the belief and doctrine of the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin Mary. In Solana’s day the dogma of the immaculate [85n]conception had not yet been defined by the Church; it then was a moot question. But in that day the belief in and teaching of the immaculate conception was common, though not (as said) of duty—Dominicans only, one may say, holding to the contrary. The pupils, then, of Santo Tomas had to swear to uphold what was not common belief, although it was not then heretical.—Rev. T. C. Middleton, O.S.A.

3 Many passages in this document are very involved and elliptical, and in some places the sense is not at all clear. The translation is necessarily somewhat free, at times, in wording; but it is believed that the author’s meaning is, as a rule, accurately rendered.—Rev. T. C. Middleton, O. S. A.


Description of the Philipinas Islands1

Although it appears by the information above that in regard to the Philipinas Islands (which belong to the district of the Inquisition of Mexico) it has not been possible to arrange the itinerary, because of the great distance thither from this kingdom; and that the inquisitor visitor, Doctor Don Pedro de Medina Rico, charged its execution by letter to the father-definitor, Fray Diego de Jesus Maria, discalced religious of St. Augustine, and calificador of the Holy Office, as he had labored more than twenty years in the said islands—the said letter being sent in duplicate in the two ships that left this kingdom in this present year of one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight—yet, because the said visitor has heard of the great knowledge of those regions that is possessed by Father Maxino Sola, a religious of the Society [88]of Jesus (who is at present in the City of Mexico, and about to go to the kingdoms of Castilla as procurator-general of the province of Philipinas), in order that the said itinerary might be arranged with greater despatch, and so that in the interim until the coming of the person who shall settle things in those islands, there may be such relation as we are able to have in this book (which must be sent at the first opportunity to the most illustrious and most reverend inquisitor-general and the members of the Council of the general Holy Inquisition), his Lordship ordered me, Ygnaçio de Paz, that, continuing the work, I should set down the information given by the said Father Maxino Sola. And, in obedience to that order, that relation which I have been able to procure with the exercise of all care and minuteness, is as follows.

Archbishopric of Manila

The city of Manila, from which the said archbishopric (as well as all the island) takes its name, occupies the same site as did the largest settlement of the natives of this island when they were heathen, who called it by the same name. It was conquered and happily united to the Spanish crown on May nineteen, one thousand five hundred and seventy-one (the same year of the establishment of the tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Mexico) by the valiant Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, native [of Guipúzcoa: blank space in MS.], and a former citizen of the said City of Mexico, whom his Majesty honored with the title of adelantado of the said islands. The city lies in fourteen degrees of north latitude. The governor lives there, who is the captain-general [89]and president of the royal Audiencia which resides in that city, and consists of four auditors who are also alcaldes of the court, a fiscal, and the chief constable of the court. Their archbishop and the ecclesiastical cabildo live there, the latter consisting of the accustomed dignitaries—three canons (for one of the four canonries there was suppressed by his Majesty), two racioneros, two medio-racioneros, one secular cura, who has charge of the Spaniards, and another who has charge of the natives and mulattoes. They are building at the cost of his Majesty a temple for a cathedral, as that which they had before fell in the ruin caused throughout those islands by the earthquakes in the year one thousand six hundred and forty-four [sic; sc. five]. There is a royal chapel in the Plaza de Armas for the funerals and ministry of the soldiers, and it has a chief chaplain and six secular chaplains, all at his Majesty’s expense. There is a commissary of the tribunal of the Holy Office, counselors, calificadors, a chief constable, and other employes. The said commissary is necessary in the said city, and he will suffice for all the jurisdiction of the archbishopric of Manila, with the exception of the port of Cavitte. Because of the vessels that anchor at the said city from foreign kingdoms, and because it is not easy to cross the bay during certain months of the year, it is advisable for that city to have its own commissary, as will be related later in the proper place. There is also need of the chief constable, four familiars, and two notaries. [There is] a house of the Misericordia with its temple and two seculars as chaplains, where marriages are provided [for girls]. There is another house, called Santta Pottençiana, [90]with its chapel and secular chaplain, where the wives of those who travel and leave the islands in his Majesty’s service are sheltered. There is a royal hospital for the treatment of Spaniards, with its chapel and secular chaplain. The convents of religious in the said city of Manila, in regard to the seniority of their establishment there, are as follows: the calced religious of St. Augustine; the discalced of St. Francisco, of the advocacy of St. James; those of the Society of Jesus; those of St. Dominic; and the discalced of St. Augustine—all with convents and churches of excellent architecture. In addition, the fathers of the Society of Jesus have a seminary with some twenty fellowships under the advocacy of St. Joseph, with a university from which students are graduated in all the faculties. The religious of St. Dominic have another seminary, with not so many fellowships, under the advocacy of St. Thomas, where they also graduate students in all the faculties. In both, lectures are given in grammar, philosophy, and theology. There is a convent with religious women of St. Clare, who are in charge of the religious of St. Francis; a hospital of the Misericordia for poor people and slaves of the Spaniards, the administration of which is in charge of the religious of St. John of God, whose convent is located at the port of Cavite. There is a cabildo and magistracy, with two alcaldes-in-ordinary, a chief constable, regidors, and a clerk of cabildo; and an accountancy of results, with its accountant and officials. There are also three royal officials, with their employes. There are about sixty Spanish citizens, not counting those who occupy military posts. The latter amount usually to about four hundred men. There are [91]many servants, of various nations, amounting to more than four thousand men and women.

Hamlets falling in the circumference of the city of Manila

Outside and near the walls of the city lies the parish of Santiago where one beneficed secular has charge of all the Spaniards who live outside the said walls. The village of San Antonio is also near the walls, and is in charge of a beneficed secular.

The village of Quiapo, which lies on the other side of the river, is administered by the said beneficed secular.

The village called La Hermita, in whose temple is the venerated image of Nuestra Señora de Guia, is two musket-shots away from the walls of Manila, and is administered by a beneficed secular.

The village called Parián, the alcaicería where the Chinese merchants and workmen live—most of that people being infidels, and few of them Christian—are in charge of religious of St. Dominic. This place is close to the walls.

There is a small village next the walls called San Juan, which is in charge of the discalced religious of St. Augustine.

Another village, somewhat farther from the walls than the said San Juan, and called Malatte, is in charge of the calced Augustinian fathers.

Another very near village, called Dilao, is where some Japanese Christians live, separated from the natives; and their administration, as well as that of the natives, is in charge of religious of St. Francis.

There is another small village contiguous to that of Dilao, called San Miguel, which has a house of [92]retreat for the Japanese women who are exiled from their country because they follow our holy faith. They, as well as the natives of the said village, are in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

All of the said villages, so far as the secular affairs are concerned, belong to the jurisdiction of the alcalde-mayor of Tondo, who lives in the village of that name on the other side of the river. That village is densely populated with natives and Chinese mestizos who are in charge of calced religious of St. Augustine.

Still nearer the river is the village of Milongo [sic; sc. Binondo] which is almost wholly composed of Chinese mestizos. It is in charge of religious of St. Dominic.

The religious of St. Dominic administer and care for a Chinese hospital which is located on the bank of the said river.

On the same shore of the river is a village named Santa Cruz, composed of married Christian Chinese, who are in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

Up-stream toward the lake are various villages. One is called San Sebastian, and is in charge of discalced Augustinians.

Another is called Santa Ana and is administered by religious of St. Francis.

Another, called San Pedro, is in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

Another, called Guadalupe, is in charge of calced Augustinians.

Another, called Pasic, is in charge of calced Augustinian religious. [95]

The village of San Matheo is in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

The village of Taitai is in charge of the said religious of the Society.

The village of Antipolo is in charge of the same religious of the Society of Jesus.

The village of San Palo [i.e., Sampaloc] is in charge of religious of St. Francis.

Coasting along from the city of Manila to the port of Cavite, where the ships that sail from this kingdom anchor, and across the said river, is the village of Parañaca, which is in charge of the calced Augustinian religious.

Port of Cabitte

The port of Cabitte is six or seven leguas distant from Manila by land, and three by sea, and the seamen live there with a Spanish garrison; they have their castellan, who is also the chief justice. There is a secular cura who ministers with the help of his assistant and sacristan. There is a college of the Society of Jesus; a convent of St. Francis, another of St. Dominic, and another of discalced Augustinians, as well as a hospital in charge of the religious of St. John of God. The cura of that port also has charge of the natives living about the walls, who are almost all workmen who work at the building of galleons. The same cura also has charge of the small villages which are located on the other side of the port. Another called Cabitte el Viexo [i.e., Old Cavite] is in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus. At a distance of four or five leguas about this port are located some cattle-ranches and some farmlands [96]belonging to the citizens of Manila, which are in charge of a secular cura.

In the jurisdiction of the alcalde-mayor of Tondo, which is the place nearest to the city of Manila besides the aforesaid villages (which all belong to him, except the port of Cabitte), is the village of Tegui, close to the lake. It is in charge of calced Augustinian religious.

In the interior are located the villages of Silan and Ymdan which are in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus.

Up-stream and next to the jurisdiction of Tondo begins the jurisdiction of the lake of Bari [sic; sc. Bay] which lies east of Manila; this jurisdiction lies along the shore of the said lake. The chief village is called Barii (whence the name of the said lake) and it is in charge of calced Augustinian religious.

The village of San Pablo, distant six leguas inland, is in charge of the same calced Augustinian religious.

There is a hospital located on the bank of the said lake, which is in charge of religious of St. Francis. These religious have charge of most of the villages of that jurisdiction with the exception of that of Binan and its subordinate villages.

Coasting along Manila Bay, one comes first to the island of Maribeles, a small jurisdiction in charge of a Spaniard, who is corregidor and serves also as sentinel. Its villages are in charge of discalced Augustinian religious, with the exception of that of Maragondon and its subordinate villages, which are in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

Leaving the bay, and pursuing the same voyage made by the ships that go to Nueva España, on the [97]left and some fourteen leguas from Cavitte is the jurisdiction of Balayan or Bombon, located on a small lake which bears that name. It has an alcalde-mayor; most of its villages are in charge of seculars, and the others, of calced religious of St. Augustine.

Opposite the said jurisdiction and to the right, lie the islands of Mindoro and Luban, which are in charge of secular priests. They have an alcalde-mayor, to whom belongs also the island of Marinduque, which is in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus.

Traveling along the other side of the land of Manila,2 one encounters the jurisdiction of Bulacan, which is but small, and is administered by religious of the calced Augustinians—as also is the jurisdiction of Panpanga, which is large and fertile, and contains many large villages.

Fourteen or fifteen leguas past the island of Mindoro to the southwest, are the islands called Calamianes, which number about seventeen. They are small and most of them now subdued; and they lie between the island of Mindoro and that called Paragua, which is the third of the said Philipinas Islands in size.3 A small portion of the latter island is subject to the Spaniards; it is one hundred and fifty leguas in circumference, and its greatest latitude is nineteen degrees.

In the islands called Calamianes is located an alcalde-mayor with a small presidio, as it lies opposite [98]the Camucones enemy. The administration of all those islands, and of that called Cuio, is in charge of discalced Augustinian religious.

Bishopric of Cagayan or Nueva Segovia

The city where the seat of the bishopric is located is called Nueva Segovia. It has a Spanish presidio and its fort, whose castellan is the alcalde-mayor of that jurisdiction. It is in charge of one secular cura. The religious of St. Dominic have a convent in the said city. The jurisdiction is about eighty leguas long and forty wide. All the province of Cagayan is in charge of religious of St. Dominic except the village and port of Viga, which is in charge of a secular cura.

Next to that province on the side toward the archbishopric of Manila, lies the province called Ylocos. It is very fertile and abounds in gold and cotton, and is densely populated. It has an alcalde-mayor, and all its administration is in charge of calced Augustinian religious.

The province called Pangasinan is next to the said province of Ylocos. It is densely populated, fertile, and abounds in gold. The religious of St. Dominic have charge of it, with the exception of some small villages on the seacoast, which are in charge of discalced Augustinian religious. All those three provinces together with the islands called Babullanes belong to the said bishopric of Cagaian. They lie north of Manila. There are many people yet to be converted, some of them being rebels who have taken to the mountains, while there are others who pay their tributes although they are not Christians. [99]

Bishopric of Camarines or Nueva Cazeres

In the part opposite the bishopric of Cagayan lies the bishopric called Camarines or Nueva Cazeres. Its city, called [Nueva] Cazeres, is the seat of the bishopric and has a secular cura and a convent of religious of St. Francis which has a hospital. All that province of Camarines, and another one called Paracale is in charge of religious of St. Francis; and they are in the jurisdiction of one alcalde-mayor.

The province called Calilaya or Taiabas, which has another alcalde-mayor, is also in the charge of religious of St. Francis, except the villages called Bondo which are in charge of seculars. The said jurisdiction has another province called Canttanduanes, which has its own corregidor; and some small islands a short distance from the mainland. Those islands, which are called Burias, Masbate, and Tican, are in charge of seculars.

The islands of Romblon and Bantton, which belong to that jurisdiction of Canttanduanes, are in charge of religious of the discalced Augustinians. Those two bishoprics of Nueva Segovia and Nueva Cazeres are located in the island of Manila. That island is about two hundred leguas or so long and runs from the east to the north, from about thirteen and one-half degrees [of latitude] to about nineteen or a trifle less. In the east it has a width of about one day’s journey from one sea to the other, or a trifle more; and in the north is thirty or forty leguas wide. The total circumference of the island is about four hundred leguas. [100]

Bishopric of Sebu or Nombre de Jesus

The see of that bishopric is located in the city called Sebu, as it took that name from that of the whole island; the Spaniards gave it the name of Nombre de Jesus. It was so called from the image of the child Jesus which was found by the adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpe in the Indian settlement in the year one thousand five hundred and sixty-five. It appears that that image was left in that island in the year one thousand five hundred and twenty-one, when Hernando de Magallanes (who died there) arrived at that place. Only one secular cura lives there, for although dignitaries, consisting of a dean and the others, have been assigned to Sebu, they are so only in name; and those dignities are enjoyed by the seculars who have charge of the places nearest to the said city of Sebu. In that city is located a convent of calced Augustinian religious, which was the first convent to be founded in the said Philipinas Islands. There is a college of the Society of Jesus, and a convent of discalced Augustinian religious. As far as the secular power is concerned, there is an excellent stone fort with a Spanish presidio, which is governed by an alcalde-mayor who generally bears the title of “lieutenant of the captain-general.” There is a cabildo and magistracy, with alcaldes-in-ordinary and regidors. That island is somewhat prolonged for fifteen or twenty leguas, and is eight leguas wide. It has a circumference of eighty or ninety leguas, and extends northeast and southwest in ten degrees of latitude.4 The city has a Parián or alcaicería of Chinese who are in [101]charge of a beneficed secular. About it are some natives who are in charge of calced and discalced Augustinian religious.

The nearest island to the above island is that called Bohol, which runs north and south for some fifteen leguas, with a width of eight or ten leguas and a circumference of forty. It is all in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus. As regards secular affairs, it belongs to the jurisdiction of Sebu.

Next the said island of Bohol lies that called Leite. It also extends north and south, and has a length of some thirty leguas, and a width in some parts of only three leguas, while its circumference is about ninety or one hundred leguas. It is also in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus.

Next the said island of Leite lies that called Samar or Ybabao, the last of the Philipinas. Its coast is bathed by the Mexican Sea, and it makes a strait with the land of Manila which is called San Bernardino. By that strait enter and leave the ships of the Nueva España line. It lies between thirteen and one-half degrees and eleven degrees south latitude, in which latitude it extends for the space of two and one-half degrees. It is also in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus. That island and that of Leite have one alcalde-mayor.

North of the island of Sebu lies the island of Negros, which extends between nine and ten and one-half degrees, and has some hundred leguas of circumference. It is almost all in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus, except one mission which the discalced Augustinian religious have there.

Northeast of the same island of Sebu lies the [102]island called Bantallan with four other islets, all of which are in charge of one secular.

Lower down and near Manila is the island called Panai, which is very fertile and densely populated. It is some hundred leguas in circumference, and runs east and west, and north and south in ten degrees of latitude. The city of Arebalo or Oton is located in that island, and an alcalde-mayor lives there—who is also the purveyor for the fleets of those islands, and of Mindanao and its presidios. The cura of the town is a secular; but the Spaniards of the presidio are in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus; they have a college in the said city, and also have charge of the district called Hilo Hilo. The balance of the said island of Panai has an alcalde-mayor, and is in charge of calced Augustinian religious.

There are two other districts in the said jurisdiction which are in charge of seculars. All the above islands belong to the bishopric of Sebu, as do also the great island of Mindanao, with Jolo, and their adjacent islands.

The island of Mindanao is the largest of all the Philipinas Islands, next to that of Manila. In its largest part that island extends from five and one-half degrees northeastward to nine degrees—a distance of some seventy leguas. Its two headlands, which are called San Augustin and that of La Caldera, bound a coast which runs east and west for some hundred and ten leguas. That island has at the port located about its middle, called Sanbuangan, an excellent Spanish presidio with a stone fort which is well equipped with artillery. That fort has its governor and castellan, who is also governor [103]and castellan of the islands of Jolo, Baçilan, and some other smaller islands. The administration of all the islands called Mindanao, Jolo, and the others, both Spaniards and natives, is in charge of religious of the Society of Jesus.

From the cape of San Augustin northeastward in that island is the jurisdiction called Caraga and Buttuan, which has its own alcalde-mayor. Its administration is in charge of discalced Augustinian fathers.

Along the coast toward the vendaval [i.e., southwest], on that same island is the jurisdiction of Yligan, the principal part of which lies on a lake of the same name. It is in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus.

The district called Dappitan in that same island is in charge of fathers of the Society of Jesus.


The islands called Terrenate or the Clove Islands are located for the most part under the equinoctial line toward the east; and are three hundred leguas distant from Malaca in India, and slightly less from Manila, toward the southeast. The islands are five in number, extend north and south, and are quite near one another. The largest, from which the others take their name, is that of Terrenate.5 Two leguas from it is that of Tidore, and then comes Mutiel. The fourth is called Maquien and the fifth Bachan. All of them lie opposite the land called Battachina. Those islands of Terrenate have various Spanish presidios, the principal one of [104]which is in the same island of Terrenate where the governor lives; he is the governor of all the other presidios. The Dutch have a settlement in that island with a good fort, all for the sake of the profit [that they obtain from the] cloves and nutmeg. The number of Christians there is small, although there were many in the time of the glorious apostle of Yndia, St. Francis Xavier. It has always been administered by religious of the Society of Jesus, as well as the natives of the island of Siau, who are the most affectioned to our holy faith. The Spaniards of Terrenate are in charge of a secular cura belonging to the jurisdiction of the bishopric of Cochin in Oriental Yndia; for the administration of those islands has always been in charge of that bishopric and province of Cochin, although the ministers of the Society of Jesus have been appointed since the time of the revolt of Portugal by the superior of the said Society in the province of Philipinas. The stipends of the cura and of the other evangelical workers are paid from the royal treasury of Manila, as are also the salaries of the governor and the presidios. In the island of Terrenate is a house of the Society of Jesus, whence they go out to administer the other islands and presidios. It has also a royal hospital which is in charge of the discalced religious of St. Francis. The cura of that island and presidio was withdrawn to Manila when Portugal rebelled, and the archbishop chose a cura from his archbishopric; but it was a question whether he had any jurisdiction for it, so that the appointment of cura passed again in due course to the proprietary cura of the jurisdiction and bishopric of Cochin, which is in actual charge of the said presidio [and [105]will remain thus] until the determination and commands of the king our sovereign are known.

The commissaries that seem necessary in the said islands, and in the places where such office will be desirable, are the following.

1. In the city of Manila, with the jurisdiction of all the archbishopric except the port of Cavitte. On account of the vessels that anchor in the latter place from foreign kingdoms, and because during some months in the year it is not easy to cross the bay, it is advisable for that port to have its own commissary.

2. In the said city of Manila, the said employes who are mentioned in its description.

3. In the fort of Sanboangan in the island of Mindanao, and the islands subordinate to it.

4. In the city of Sebu, whose commissary can serve for all the islands called Pinttados.

5. In the town of Arebalo or Oton; the same person may be commissary of its jurisdiction and of that of Panai and the island of Negros.

6. In the presidio of Yligan and Caraga.

7. There could also be one in the islands of Calamianes and the islands subordinate to them.

8. Another commissary in the jurisdiction of Cagaian, Ylocos, and Pangasinan.

9. Another in the forts of Terrenate. This is most necessary, as the Spaniards of the said forts are among Dutch and Moros, and so far from the city of Manila. [107]

1 This description of the Philippines appears in a manuscript book of an itinerary of the district of the Inquisition of Mexico, made by the order of the bishop of Plasencia, Diego de Arce Reynoso, a member of his Majesty’s Council and inquisitor-general of his kingdoms and seigniories, and given to Pedro de Medina Rico, visitor of the Inquisition of the City of Mexico and its districts. The Philippines have place in this itinerary, as they were under the Inquisition of Mexico. This general visit or itinerary was to include a general review of all things affecting the Inquisition, its establishments and employees.

2 That is, along the bay shore in the other direction—northward from the city of Manila.

3 This is a misstatement, for the three islands of Samar, Negros, and Panay are larger than Paragua, the areas of the four islands in square miles being respectively, 5,031, 4,881, 4,611, and 4,027. See Census of Philippine Islands, ii, p. 30.

4 The island of Cebú has an area of 1,762 square miles; Bohol, 1,441; 2,722; 5,031; Samar, 5,031; Negros, 4,881; Bantayan [101n](the Bantallan of the text), 47; Panai, 4,611; Mindanao, 36,292. See Census of Philippine Islands, ii, p. 30.

5 Bachian, not Ternate, is the largest of the Moluccas, its area being 800 square geographical miles, while that of Ternate is only 11.5. See Crawfurd’s Dictionary.

Documents of 1660–1666

  1. Recollect missions, 1646–60. Luis de Jesús and Diego de Santa Theresa, O.S.A. (Recollect); [compiled from their works].
  2. Description of Filipinas Islands. Bartholomé de Letona, O.S.F.; 1662.
  3. Events in Manila, 1662–63. [Unsigned; July, 1663?].
  4. Letter to Francisco Yzquierdo. Diego de Salcedo; July 16, 1664.
  5. Why the friars are not subjected to episcopal visitation. [Unsigned and undated; 1666?].

Sources: The first of these documents is taken from the Historia general de los religiosos descalzos ... de San Agustin: part II, by Luis de Jesús (Madrid, 1681), from a copy in the library of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago; and part III, by Diego de Santa Theresa (Barcelona, 1743), from a copy in the Library of Congress. The second is from a pamphlet bound in with a copy (in the possession of Antonio Graiño y Martinez, Madrid) of Letona’s Perfecta religiosa (Puebla, Mexico, 1662), a rare work. The remainder are from the Ventura del Arco MSS. (Ayer library), ii, pp. 401–483.

Translations: The first and fifth of these are translated by James A. Robertson; the remainder, by Emma Helen Blair. [109]


Recollect Missions, 1646–601

Chapter Sixth

The venerable sister Isabel, a beata, dies holily in the faith in the province of Butuan

Only section: (Year 1646)

One of our Beatas, named Isabel, passed to the better life this year in the village of Butuan of Filipinas. We know nothing else about her except that she was converted to the faith by the preaching of Ours when they entered that province. The Lord illumined her so that she should leave the darkness of their idolatries, and she was baptized and given the name of Isabel. She produced great fruit in a short time, for the hand of God is not restricted to time limit. Seeing her so useful in the mysteries of the Catholic religion, our religious sent her to become a coadjutor and the spiritual mother of many souls, whom she reduced to the faith and catechized thus gaining them for the Church.

She was sent to the villages where the devil was waging his fiercest war and deceiving by his tricks, so that she might oppose herself to him by her exemplary life and the gentleness of her instruction. [110]She established her school in a house in the village to which the young girls resorted. With wonderful eloquence she made them understand that the path of their vain superstitions would lead them astray, and explained the rudiments and principles of the Christian doctrine. At her set hours she went to the church daily, and the people gathering, she instructed the stupid ones, confirmed the converted, and enlightened the ignorant—and that with so much grace and gentleness of words that she seized the hearts of her hearers. To this she joined a modesty and bearing sweetly grave, by which she made great gain among those barbarians.

Since so copious results were experienced through the agency of Isabel, both in the reformation of morals and in the many who were converted from their blind paganism, the fathers sent her to preach in the streets and open places where the people gathered to hear her—some through curiosity, and others carried away by her wonderful grace in speaking. By that means many souls were captured and entreated baptism, for she was a zealous worker and an apostolic coadjutor in that flock of the Lord. She also entered the houses of the obstinate ones who did not go to hear her in the streets. There, with mild discourses and full of charity, she softened their hearts and inclined them to receive the faith.

After some years of employment in that kind of apostolic life her husband died. Upon being freed from the conjugal yoke she desired to subject her neck to that of religion. Father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio, at that time vicar-provincial of that province, gave her our habit of mantelata or beata. She recognized, as she was very intelligent and experienced [111]in the road to perfection, that her obligations to make herself useful were stricter, that she must live a better life and employ the talent which she had received from God for the benefit of her neighbor, and she did so. One cannot easily imagine the diligence with which she sought souls; the means that she contrived to draw them from the darkness of heathendom. What paths did she not take! What hardships did she not suffer! She went from one part to another discussing with the spirit and strength, not of a weak woman, but of a strong man. The Lord whose cause she was advancing aided her; for the solicitation of souls for God is a service much to His satisfaction.

She finally saw all that province of Butuan converted to the faith of Jesus Christ, for which she very joyfully gave thanks. She retired then to give herself to divine contemplation, for she thought that she ought to get ready to leave the world as she had devoted so much time to the welfare of her neighbor. She sought instruction from Sister Clara Calimán (whose life we have written above), and imitated her in her penitences, her fastings, and her mode of life, so that she became an example of virtues.

For long hours did Isabel pray devoutly; she visited the sick; she served them; she exhorted them to repentance for their sins and to bear their sorrows with patience. She devoted herself so entirely to those works of charity that it seemed best to our fathers (who governed that district) not to allow her respite from them, and that she could [not] live wholly for herself. They built a hospital for the poor and sent her to care for them. She sought the needy, [112]whom she often carried on her shoulders, so great was her charity. She cared for their souls, causing the sacraments to be administered to them; and for their bodies, applying to them the needful medicines. She solicited presents and alms, and she had set hours for going out to beg for the sick poor. She did all that with a cheerful and calm countenance, which indicated the love of God which burned in her breast. Her hour came during those occupations and she fell grievously ill. She knew that God was summoning her and begged for the sacraments of the Catholic Church; and, having received them with joy, she surrendered her soul to her Lord—leaving, with sorrow for her loss, sure pledges that she has eternal rest.

Chapter Seventh

A hospice is established in the City of Mexico for the accommodation of the religious who go to the Filipinas.

Only section: (Year 1647)

As the province of San Nicolàs de Tolentino had been founded in the Filipinas Islands by our religious, and since they had many missions in various districts to which to attend—not only converting infidels, but comforting and sustaining those converted—they thought that it would be necessary for them to send repeated missions of religious and to conduct them from España to those districts. The usual route is by way of Mexico, a most famous city; and since our Recollects had no house there where the religious could await in comfort the opportunity to embark for the said islands, they determined to take a house or hospice in which they could live [113]and where those who fell sick from the long and troublesome journey could be treated. The Order petitioned it from the king our sovereign, Felipe Fourth, who, exercising his wonted charity, issued his royal decree in this year of 1647 for the founding of the said hospice; and it was actually founded. It does not belong to this history to relate the conditions that were then accepted; we have only thought it best to give this notice of it here.

[The remainder of this book does not concern Philippine affairs].

[The following is translated and condensed from Diego de Santa Theresa’s Historia general de los religiosos descalzos, being vol. iii in the general history of the Recollect order.]2 [114]

1 The following two sections are taken from the Historia de los religiosos descalzos (Madrid, 1681) of Luis de Jesús, pp. 371–373.

2 The title-page of this book, translated, reads as follows: “General history of the discalced religious of the Order of the hermits of the great father and doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, of the congregation of España and of the Indias. Volume third: which was written by the very reverend father Fray Diego de Santa Theresa, pensioned lecturer, ex-definitor, and chronicler-general of the said congregation; arranged and enlarged by Father Fray Pedro de San Francisco de Assis, pensioned lecturer, calificador of the Holy Office, definitor of the holy province of Aragon, and chronicler-general. Dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Pilar [i.e., “our Lady of the Pillar”] of Zaragoza. Containing apologetic additions to the first volume in defense of the discalced Augustinians, in answer to what was written against them by the father master Fray Alonso de Villerino; and one decade, namely, from the year 1651 to that of 1660. With license. In Barcelona; at the press of the heirs of Juan Pablo and Maria Martí, under the management of Mauro Martí, in the year 1743.” The heading of the dedication is as follows: “To the sovereign queen of heaven and earth, on her throne of the pillar in Zaragoza” and it is followed by a long and curious letter of dedication. We translate and condense from a copy owned by the Library of Congress, which bears the following inscription: [114n][This book] belongs to the Library of the convent of the discalced Augustinian fathers of Valladolid. Fray Tomas de San José, Librarian.”


Decade Seventh—Book First

Chapter I

Treats of the fifth intermediary chapter; and of some events in the province of Philipinas.

[The first section treats of the fifth intermediary chapter of the order, which was held at Madrid, May 27, 1651].

§ II

The convent of Tándag, in the province of Carágha of the Philipinas Islands, is demolished

232. Tándag is located in the island of Mindanáo, and is the capital of the district of the jurisdiction of Carágha, where the alcalde-mayor resides. In regard to ecclesiastical affairs, it belongs to the bishopric of Zibú. Our convent which is found in that settlement has charge of three thousand souls, scattered in the said capital and in five annexed villages called visitas. How much glory that convent has gained for God may be inferred from the repeated triumphs which its most zealous ministers obtained, thanks to His grace; and the words of our most reverend and illustrious Don Fray Pedro de San-Tiago, bishop of Solsona and Lerida, in the relation of the voyage made by our discalced religious to the Indias are sufficient. “There was,” he says, “a powerful Indian, called Inúc, the lord of Marieta, who, waging war on the Spaniards and peaceable Indians, killed many of them in various engagements while he captured more than two thousand. [115]The very reverend father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios left Tándag, without other army or arms than his virtues. He went to meet Inúc and, by the force of the divine word, he alone conquered Inúc, who was accompanied by squadrons; the religious conquered the soldier, the lamb the lion, and forced him to lay aside his arms and reduce himself to the obedience of the king our sovereign, and to be baptized with all his family.” Thus did he give in that one action, peace to the country, a multitude of souls to heaven, and an exceeding great number of vassals to the Spanish monarch.

233. The seasons continued to pass interwoven with various incidents, now prosperous, now adverse; although as the world is a vale of tears, it gave its pleasures with a close hand and its sorrows with prodigal liberality—especially in the years 46 and 47 when the Dutch, having become the ruler of the seas, forced or compelled all vessels to take refuge in the ports. The commerce of the Sangleys or Chinese fell off almost entirely; and according to the common opinion, the Dutch were so victorious that their invasions, painted with those rhetorical colors that fear is wont to give, filled all the islands with terror. Don Diego Faxardo, knight of the Habit of San-Tiago, was then governor and captain-general of Philipinas, and also president of that royal Audiencia. He was most vigilant in defending those wretched villages from the powerful invasions of the enemy, who, by the specious pretext that they were going to set them free, induced the chiefs to [join] a general conspiracy. Don Diego tried to ascertain the forces of the enemy with accuracy; he ordered the ports to be reconnoitered and the presidios to be fortified. He [116]solicited truthful reports in order to obtain advice upon the best way to decide.

234. There was at that time an alcalde-mayor in the fortress of Tándag whose name is omitted for a special reason. The venerable father Fray Pedro de San Joseph Roxas, a religious of eminent qualities and excellent virtues, was prior of that convent. He, having concluded that the minister ought, as a teacher, to attend to the Indians in regard to instruction, and as a father, to watch over their protection, on seeing his parishioners persecuted with unjust vexations thought himself obliged to oppose the illegal acts of the alcalde. Father Fray Pedro saw the people of Tándag and its visitas oppressed with insupportable burdens. He saw them suffering so great sadness that their weeping did not dare to mount from the heart to the eyes, nor could the bosom trust its respiration to the lips. The father noted that, in proportion as they were sacrificed to the greed of another, just so much did they grow lukewarm in living according to the Catholic maxims. Since there was no one to speak for the Indians if that zealous minister became dumb, he resolved to defeat them efficaciously in order to make so great wrong cease, even if it were at his own risk. He asked humbly, exhorted fervently, and insisted in and out of season in proportion to the cause; but seeing his petitions unheeded in Tándag, he placed them in a Tribunal where they would receive attention.

235. The alcalde-mayor, resenting the father’s demands, took occasion to send his reports to Don Diego Faxardo; accordingly he said that that fortress of Carágha was in a state of vigorous defense, although it had a dangerous neighbor in the convent, [117]for that was a very strong work and dominated the fortress. Consequently, he thought that it was a necessary precaution to destroy it. Thereupon the governor called a meeting of auditors, judges, and officials of the royal treasury; and on the nineteenth of December, 1647, they despatched a general order to all the alcaldes-mayor commanding that the stone churches and convents built along the sea shore be demolished. The reason given was that if the Dutch succeeded in capturing them in their invasions, they would find in them forts enabling them to continue their raids with greater persistency. Already the said captain had been withdrawn from Tándag and Don Juan Garcia appointed in his place when that order from the royal Audiencia was received. He called a meeting of Captains Juan de Sabáta and Don Marcos de Resines, also summoning Sargento-mayor Don Andrés Curto and the same alcalde-mayor who had been at Tándag—of whom he did not yet even know that he had given the said report. They recognized that the church could be burned and pulled down in less than six hours, in case the Dutch came; for its walls were built of the weakest kind of stone and the roof of nipa, which is as combustible as straw. On the other hand, they saw the Indian natives somewhat sad and feared that they would take to the mountains in flight in order not to be forced to work at a new building. Therefore they resolved, by common consent, to suspend the execution [of the order] until those reasons could be represented in the royal Audiencia, and the most advisable measures taken for the service of both Majesties.

236. Don Diego Faxardo and the royal assembly [118]saw that those reports were contrary; for the first said that it was very important to demolish the convent and church, as it was a very strong work; and that, since it was within musket-shot and dominated the redoubt, the Dutch could demolish it in twenty-four hours with only two ten-libra cannon: while the second report set forth the fear of the revolt and flight of the Indians, alleging that the convent and church, although built of stone, would serve as no obstacle. But, notwithstanding that contradiction, a new decree was despatched ordering the demolition of the church and convent of Tándag. That was done immediately amid great sorrow, although with great conformity of the religious and Indians to so peremptory decrees. Since malice thus triumphed, vengeance was satisfied, and a religious order so worthy was slighted; and although its members had more than enough reasons for anger, they never permitted it to pass their lips, and only employed their rhetoric in restraining the natives so that they would not take to the mountains.


Philipo Fourth is informed that Fray Pedro de San Joseph resisted the demolition of the convent strongly, and that he was the cause of the insurrection of the Indians in the village.

237. Nothing else was thought of in the Philipinas Islands than their defense from the fear occasioned by the Dutch with their fleets. That holy province was engaged in the reparation of the ruins of their demolished church, and the zeal of those evangelical ministers was working with the same ardor, for they were wont not to become lukewarm [119][even] with the repeated strokes of the most heavy troubles. In May, 1651, it was learned at the court in Madrid, that the royal mind of his Catholic Majesty had been informed of what will be explained in more vivid colors in the following letter, which the venerable father-provincial of Philipinas received in the year 53. “Venerable and devout father-provincial of the Augustinian Recollects of the Philipinas Islands: It has been learned in my royal Council of the Indias from letters of the royal Audiencia resident in the city of Manila that, in virtue of a resolution taken by the council of war and treasury of those islands, certain strong churches in the islands were ordered to be demolished, such as those of Abucáy, Marindúque, and Carágha, so that they might not be seized by the enemy, as those edifices were a notorious menace and peril to the islands after the Dutch attacked Cavite. It was learned that, although the church of Carágha was demolished, it was done after the greatest opposition from the religious of your order who are settled in those missions. He who instructed the Indians there threatened that the Indians would revolt, as happened later. For the village rose in revolt, and the Indians took to the mountains—thereby occasioning the many and serious troubles that demand consideration. The matter having been examined in my royal Council of the Indias, it has been deemed best to warn you how severely those proceedings by the religious of that order have been censured—so that, being warned thereof, you may correct them and try to improve them, in order that the religious may restrain themselves in the future and not give occasion to the natives to become restless. For they are [120]under so great obligation to do the contrary, and they ought to have taken active part in calming the Indians and restraining them if they believed that they were attempting to make any movement; since the care and watchfulness of the officials cannot suffice if the religious of the missions fail to aid them with the natives. I trust that you will be attentive to correct this matter from now on; for besides the fact that it is so in harmony with your obligation and with the example that the religious ought to give to others in respect to their rules, I shall consider myself as well served by you. Madrid, May 27, 1651.


238. It cannot be denied that the terms of that royal letter could serve the most austere man for no small exercise [in mortification]; and more on that occasion when that holy province was laboring in the service of his Catholic Majesty, so much to the satisfaction of his ministers that many praises of our discalced religious were published.... We confess that the king alleges that he received that notice through letters from the royal Audiencia, a tribunal of so great circumspection that it would not undertake to inform its monarch without sure knowledge. But we declare that the secretary of the king our sovereign might have been mistaken in the midst of so great a rush of business, in representing as a report of that most upright assembly that which proceeds from private subjects only. In order that the good opinion in which our Augustinian Recollects were held by the cabildo, city, and royal Audiencia may be thoroughly evident, I shall insert here their letters of April 29 and 30, 1648, those dates being [121]somewhat later than the notice which was received in Manila of this entire affair.

239. The letter of the royal Audiencia runs as follows—“Sire: Your Majesty was pleased, at the instance of the discalced religious of St. Augustine, to order this royal Audiencia to report on the justification for the continuation which they ask of the alms of 250 pesos and 250 fanegas of rice for the support of four religious who administer to the Indians in this convent of Manila. We know the excellent manner in which they attend to their ministry, and their poverty—which obliges them to beg weekly alms, for the incomes of some of the chaplaincies were lost in the earthquake. They are very strictly observed in their ministries and hasten to serve his Majesty on occasions when we encounter enemies, by sea and land, where some have been killed or captured. Consequently they are today very short of laborers. These are causes which demand that your Majesty, with your accustomed liberality, should be pleased to continue the said alms and allow the Recollects to bring religious hither. May God preserve, etc. April 30, 1648.”

240. I find the letter of the most illustrious cabildo to be couched in these terms—“Sire: As this see is vacant, it is incumbent upon us in obedience to your royal decree to assure your Majesty that the Augustinian Recollect religious attend to their ministry punctually. The poverty that they suffer is great, for they are obliged to beg alms from door to door as they lost the incomes of some of their chaplaincies in the earthquake and their convent was ruined. They are very observant in their rules, and in their administrations to the natives in the missions [122]in their charge. As those missions are among the most unconquerable and fierce people in these districts, many of the religious have been killed and captured. Consequently, they suffer from a great lack of laborers; but they have not for that failed in the service of your Majesty on the occasions that have arisen by sea and land—all, motives that should impel your Majesty with your royal liberality to be pleased to continue the said alms, and to concede them a goodly number of religious for these islands. May God preserve, etc. Manila, April 29, 1648.”

241. That of the city of Manila speaks of the Recollects in the following manner—“Sire: This city of Manila has informed your Majesty on various occasions of the great importance in these islands of the order of discalced Recollects of St. Augustine; of the apostolic men in that order; of the great results that they obtain by the preaching of the holy gospel; of the singular example that they have always furnished, and do now, with their strict and religious life and their so exact mode of observing their rules; and of the so considerable effects that have through their agency been attained in the service of our Lord and that of your Majesty, with the aid of your royal arms, in the great number of infidels whom they have converted to our holy Catholic faith, and how they have been brought to render to your Majesty the due vassalage and tribute, which they have generally paid, and are paying, annually. [We have also told your Majesty] that they have engaged in all this with the spiritual affection that belongs to their profession, with singular care—both in the conservation of what they have attained and in their continual desire, notwithstanding the many discomforts [123]that they suffer, to carry on their work, steadily converting new souls to the service of our Lord and to the obedience of your Majesty. [We have also reported] the great peace and quiet which they preserve among themselves so that they have always been and are, one of the most acceptable and well-received orders in these islands—although they are the poorest, as all their missions are in districts very distant from this city, and among the most warlike people that are in all the provinces of these islands, as they are recently conquered; and the danger in which, for that reason, the lives of those fathers are. Indeed, some have already risked life, at times, when those people who appeared to be peaceful have rebelled; and others have gloriously [met death] at the hands of those who were not pacified, when the holy gospel was preached to them—besides many others who have suffered martyrdom in the kingdom of Japon, enriching with noble acts the church of God and the crown of your Majesty. [We have reported] that no fleet has gone out in which those fathers do not sail for the consolation of the infantry, and that, in the emergencies that have arisen, they have fought like valiant soldiers; and that they accommodate themselves to everything with the angelic spirit that is theirs, when it is to the service of our Lord and that of your Majesty. At the present we inform you of the extreme poverty that the convent of San Nicolás of this city is suffering; for with the earthquake which happened on November 30 of the former year 1645, their entire church fell, so that today they are living in great discomfort in cells of straw which have been built in the garden. The sick are the ones who suffer the greatest inconveniences; [124]and they generally have sick people, since the religious of the missions in their charge come, when ill, to this convent to be treated. Consequently, this city is constrained to petition your Majesty, with all due humility, to be pleased to order that 250 pesos and 250 fanegas of rice be annually contributed to them on the account of the royal treasury of your Majesty—which amount was given them as a stipend for four ordained religious (although there are always more)—as well as 150 pesos for medicines. [We ask for] the continuation of the extension conceded by the decree of May 3, 1643, without any time-limit being set; for the great affection with which our Lord and your Majesty are thereby served merits it. This city petitions your Majesty to be pleased to grant the said order license to send as many religious as you may please from those kingdoms to these islands, in consideration of the remarkable necessity for religious in their so distant missions—where, because of the poor nourishment from the food which they use for the sustenance of human life (treating themselves like actual beggars), with the great abstinence which they observe, and where no discomforts of sun or rain keep them back (for they go through dense forests and over inaccessible mountains in order to reduce to our holy Catholic faith the thousands of souls in those districts who have no knowledge of it), many have perished in that work; for in this year alone such number more than twelve. To some of them no companions have come for this vineyard of the Lord, and the increase of the royal estate and crown of your Majesty—whose Catholic person may the divine Majesty preserve, [125]as is needed in Christendom. Manila, April 30, 1648.”

242. These letters—which are authentic, and preserved in our general archives—are those written in the year 1648 by the city, the cabildo, and the royal Audiencia. The order to demolish Tándag was given in the year 47, and it was apparent to them that the fear of the [Indians’] insurrection and flight with the other motives for suspending the execution proceeded only from that junta of the captains, and that there was no resistance on the part of the minister. Further, it was clearly proved in the year 55 that that information was not written by the royal Audiencia (nor could it be, since that is a fount whence the truth flows with so great purity); but that the secretary Was mistaken in thus ascribing to so upright a tribunal what was only signed by an inferior, who desired to dazzle by giving the first news which generally arrives very much garbled.

[Section iv is a vindication of the Recollects in regard to the demolition of the convent and church of Tándag. Juan Garcia, alcalde-mayor and captain of the fort of that place at the time of the demolition, declares (July 29, 1654) that “he proceeded with the razing of the building without the religious losing their composure, or threatening that their natives would revolt; and that neither before nor after was there any insurrection or disquiet in Tándag or throughout its districts; neither did the natives desert and flee to the mountains; neither did he see or know of any such thing while he was alcalde-mayor, or during the many months after that while he resided in the said village.” The following section treats [126]of the life of father Fray Pedro de San Joseph (whose family name was Roxas) prior of Tándag in the time of the above troubles. He was born in Manila (where he took the Recollect habit) April 21, 1621. He achieved distinction in the study of moral and mystic theology. At the completion of his studies he was sent to various villages to preach, proving himself a successful preacher. In 1635 he was sent to the island of Romblon, where he worked with good results in spite of the hostile attempts of the Moros in that district. At the completion of his term of service at Romblon he was sent to Tándag, where he had to contend against the Spaniards themselves, on account of their excesses toward the natives. After the demolition of his convent and church he returned to Manila, arriving there on May 26, 1650. That same year he was sent to Taytáy in Calamianes, although he desired to remain in retreat in Manila. His death occurred in the following year at Manila, to which place he went as his last illness came on.]

§ VI

The insurrection in the village of Lináo

257. It has been stated above that when the Dutch enemy came in the year 48 to bombard Cavite, they had treated with certain Indian chiefs, saying that they would return with a larger fleet in the year 49. They gave the Indians to understand that they only would treat them as their friends and not in the domineering manner of the Spaniards, who (as the Dutch said) treat them as slaves; and therefore they hoped to find the Indians prepared, so that, having become well-inclined toward the Dutch power, they might be able to free themselves from so heavy a [127]bondage. That proposition continued to spread from one to another; it was agreeable to them all because of the liberty that it seemed to promise, although it was offensive to many because it incited the natives to seditious movements. At that time Don Diego Faxardo, governor of Manila, despatched a decree ordering a certain number of carpenters with their wives and children to go to that city from each one of the islands. The effects produced by that mandate were especially fatal for the village of Palápac in the island of Hibábao. For they refused to obey the governor, killed their minister, a zealous father of the Society, took their possessions to the mountains, and commenced to gather to their following a great number of rebels.

258. That decree caused a great disturbance in the island of Mindanáo, for of its five divisions scarcely one is reduced to obedience; therefore those who live unsubdued in the mountains only wait for such opportunities in order to foment disturbances and restlessness. Many of the natives hid their property in the province of Carágha, and proved so unquiet that although the Butuans were the most trustworthy Indians, the father prior, Fray Miguel de Santo Thomás, had to work hard to restrain them. Those of Lináo descended to the last vileness, and it is presumed that the same would have happened in the district of Tándag if the alcalde-mayor, Bernabé de la Plaza, had not concealed the decree. That was afterward approved by the auditors in Manila, as they had experienced that that decree had been a seed-bed for many troubles. All that disquiet continued to operate with the manifest disturbance of the public peace, even at the news alone of the above-mentioned [128]decree. Even the hint of it succeeded in Lináo where the insurrection took place in the following manner.

259. There are certain wild Indians in the mountains of Butuán, located in the province of Carágha, called Manóbos.1 They have kinky hair, oblique eyes, a treacherous disposition, brutish customs, and live by the hunt. They have no king to govern them nor houses to shelter them; their clothing covers only the shame of their bodies; and they sleep where night overtakes them. Finally, they are infidels, and belie in everything, by the way in which they live, that small portion that nature gives them as rational beings. Among so great a rabble, but one village is known where some people are seen far from human intercourse. They are a race much inclined to war, which they are almost always waging against the Indians of the seacoast. There lived Dabáo,2 who had become as it were a petty king, without other right than that of his great strength, or other jurisdiction than that of his great cunning. His wickedness was much bruited about, and he made use of subtle deceits by which he committed almost innumerable murders. He was often pursued by Spanish soldiers, but he knew quite well how to elude them by his cunning. For on one occasion, in order to avoid the danger, he went to the house of an evangelical minister saying that he wished baptism, [129]and that the minister should defend him, as it would be the motive for many conversions; but he only made use of that trick to save his life. Father Fray Agustin de Santa Maria—a very affable religious, and one who labored hard to attract the infidels—was prior of the convent of Santa Clara de Monte Falco of Lináo, a place forty leguas up-stream from Butuán. He visited Dabáo, and won him over so well by presents and gifts to intercourse with the Spaniards, that he spent nearly all the day in the convent and entrusted father Fray Agustin with the education of one of his sons—being quite eager in that in order to work out the treachery that he had planned.

260. Dabáo went by night to the houses of the chief Christians. He laid before them the harsh decree of the governor, the offers that the Dutch had made, and especially the attaining of freedom to keep up their old religion. Since they were not well rooted in our holy faith, those discussions were very agreeable to them. That faithless Indian was so contagious a cancer that he infected the greater part of the village with his poison. Therefore, almost all of them assenting to his plan, the day was set on which he resolved to kill the Spaniards and the minister. He warned the people to be ready with their arms to aid him. He had previously held a meeting with his Manóbos, in which they decided that if the provincial sent a visitor and did not come personally to make the visitation, it would be a clear sign that the Dutch were infesting those coasts. When they learned with certainty that the father-provincial, Fray Bernardo de San Laurencio, had not gone out for the visitation, but that he was sending the father [130]ex-provincial, Fray Juan de San Antonio, as visitor, they were confirmed [in the belief] that the hostile fleet was coming, and began immediately to stir up the country.

261. The father visitor had already reached the convent of Butuán, and Dabáo sent his Manóbo Indians to the river Humáyan with obsequious appearances of readiness to receive him, but with the peremptory order to kill him. God so arranged that the father visitor, Fray Juan de San Antonio, should pass to the convent of Cagayáng without stopping to visit that of Lináo. He left a letter for the father prior of Lináo which he sent by Juan de Guevara, one of the soldiers who was later killed in the fray. That soldier met the Manóbos who were waiting at the river; they asked him for the father visitor, and he told them simply that he had left Butuán. They, without asking whether the father were to pass that way, returned to their village to inform their leader of the matter. Thus did God save the life of His minister for the second time, thereby allowing one to see even in so slight occurrences the height of His Providence.

262. At that time some hostile Indians began to harass the peaceful Indians, from whom they took a quantity of their rice and maize. Dabáo offered to make a raid in order to check so insolent boldness with that punishment, and he assured them that he would immediately return with the heads of some men, from which result their accomplices would take warning. He selected, then, eight robust and muscular Indians, whose hands he bound behind their backs, but by an artifice so cunning that they could untie themselves whenever occasion demanded. Thus did he bring [131]as captives those who were really Trojan horses; for, concealing their arms, they showed only many obsequious acts of submission. The captain ordered them to be taken to the fort where the father prior, Fray Agustin de Santa Maria, was already waiting; and when the order was given that the feigned captives should be set in the stocks, at that juncture Dabáo drew a weapon which he had concealed, and broke the captain’s head. The Indians untied their bonds, the rebels came with lances from the village, and a hotly-contested battle took place in which almost all our men lost their lives. Only the religious and four Spanish soldiers and a corporal were left alive. It did not occur to them, in the midst of so great confusion, to take other counsel than to drop down from the wall. We shall leave the father prior, Fray Agustin, for the present, and speak only of the soldiers who opened up a road with their invincible valor by means of their arms, in order to take refuge in the convent. But finding it already occupied by the insurgents, who had gone ahead to despoil it, they fought there like Spaniards, hurling themselves sword in hand on the mass of the rebels. However, they were unable to save the post, for the convent and the church were blazing in all parts. Thereupon it was necessary for them to hurl themselves upon a new danger in order to return to the redoubt, where they arrived safely at the cost of many wounds, although they found the fort dismantled. Thence they sent the Indians in flight to the mountains by firing their arquebuses at them.

263. Only the family of one pious woman remained in the village, who (although sparingly) gave them food every day. But that charity could [132]not last long, for necessity forced that family to take refuge with the insurgents, thus leaving the Spaniards destitute of all human consolation. They, seeing themselves wounded and without food, made a small boat of bamboo, dangerous at any time, and embarked in it in order to go to Butuán by way of the river, after they had dismantled the fort and spiked the artillery. In order that the so evident risk of that voyage might be more increased, their opponents pursued them with swift caracoas, from which firing many arrows they multiplied the wounds of the soldiers. The Spaniards, seeing that they could not defend themselves, entered the village of Hóot where the people had not yet risen. There they met an Indian called Pálan, who was going to Lináo for his daughter, so that she might not be lost amid the confusion of that so barbarous race. He took compassion on those afflicted soldiers, and, availing himself of fifteen Indians who were with him, accommodated them in his bark and took them to our convent of Butuán. They arrived there twenty days after the insurrection at Lináo, so used up and crippled that they were already in the last extremity.


Relation of the punishment of the rebels and their restoration to their villages

264. As soon as father Fray Miguel de Santo Thomás, prior of our convent of Butuán, learned what was passing in Lináo, he sent a messenger to Tándag and to the royal Audiencia of Manila; for promptness is generally the most efficacious means in such cases. Afterward the afflicted Spaniards [133]arrived at his convent, and he received them with great love, accommodated them in cells, set up beds for them, and gave them medicines—assisting them with the compassion of a father, to their consolation, and with extreme charity aiding in their entertainment. One of those soldiers, who was named Juan Gonzalez, had broken a leg, his body was full of wounds and a poisoned arrow had pierced his loins. When he was treated, he was so lifeless that all thought that he had expired. The father prior was not a little afflicted at that, for the man had not yet been confessed, as the father had been assisting the others. In that extremity the father applied to him a picture of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and at its contact the dying man returned to his senses, confessed very slowly, and received the other sacraments with fervor; and had even twenty-four hours left in which to bewail the carelessness of his life, as he did. All held that event as a miracle worked by St. Nicholas, for whom the sick man and the religious had great devotion.

265. That fatal news having reached the city of Manila, a general revolt was feared as in the former year of 1631, when our churches were burned, our convents pillaged, our sacred images profaned, and our ministers seized and killed. In consideration of that, Governor Don Diego Faxardo sent Captain Gregorio Dicastillo to Tándag with a small band of Spanish infantry to join Bernabé de la Plaza, alcalde-mayor and captain of that fort, so that they might try all means to reduce the insurgents. They went to Butuán where they established their military headquarters. A general pardon was published with the warning that those who did not submit would bring [134]upon themselves the full rigor of the war. But many of the Indians who presented themselves were hanged, and there were very few of those who descended the mountains to surrender who were not made slaves. The very persons who were under greatest obligation to fulfil the word that they had given in the name of their king broke that word.

266. Our whole convent of Lináo was consumed by fire, except two chalices and some vestments from the sacristy, which three Indians were able to carry out. They presented themselves with it, thinking that they would thereby secure their freedom; but they were immediately thrown under the heavy yoke of slavery. With such acts of injustice, although the rebels were subdued by that expedition, their hearts were more obstinate than ever. The city of Manila and its environs were full of slaves. The Butuán chiefs who were the mirror of fidelity, suffered processes, exiles, and imprisonments; and although they were able to win back honor, it was after all their property had been lost. Some heedless individuals blame the superior officials with what their inferiors have done, and the excesses and abuses of others are considered to be done by the influence of the superiors. But the uprightness and honesty of the royal Audiencia of Manila can be seen in what they did. For after two years of imprisonment of one of the Indians whom that expedition prosecuted, his property was confiscated. Another was tortured and condemned to death by decapitation. Another was reduced to extreme poverty. All were persuaded that the heavy hand was entering there. Finally the governor committed the examination of the causes to Licentiate Manuel Suarez de Olivéra, auditor-general [135]of war and assessor of the governor of Manila. He declared in favor of the Indian slaves, and freed them all. The wretched Indians were overjoyed at the decree, but they were troubled because they had no one to solicit their freedom for them by attending to the necessary expenses of the court; consequently, they regarded the day of their redemption as a thing impossible to attain. They did not dare to ask the aid of the Recollect fathers, as they thought that the latter were angry at them, as they had murdered a religious in that insurrection. But since the Recollect fathers regarded that as [the vicissitude of] fortune, they took the part of the Indians and did considerable in their defense.

267. Father Fray Agustin de San Pedro was secretary of that province, who was known by the name of Padre Capitan because of his military feats which will be explained in part in recording his life. He had illumined those Indians with the light of the gospel, for which they held him in great affection. Therefore, he made a list of the slaves who were in Manila, and its environs, giving the name and surname of each, and the village where he lived. In the list he included many others who were not contained in the processes. He presented that list to the governor and asked him to order the slaves to be set at liberty. Such a writ was despatched very promptly, and the father went with the notary through all the houses in order to place the order in execution. That was a work that caused him great fatigue, and produced violent contentions. For since those who had paid their money for slaves were deprived of them, scarcely did he arrive at a house where some insult was not heard. The expenses were increased, but he [136]obtained his purpose; for he secured all the slaves, and the [Recollect] order took care of them, providing them with all the necessities of life until they were taken to their own native places. A religious accompanied them, as it was considered necessary to have a person to defend them in case that any one attempted to injure them.

268. That race is not so rude that it cannot be conquered by kind acts. Therefore, those Indians talked over among themselves what the Recollect fathers had done for them without remembering that the Indians had killed a religious. As they did not remain in their villages, the notice of our method of procedure spread to the most hidden recesses of the mountains. In the year 1650 father Fray Joseph de la Anunciacion was elected provincial; and at the beginning of the following year, while making his first visit to the province of Carágha, he arrived at Butuán where he learned that the Indians were having some trouble with the soldiers. But they were very mild in telling them of the Recollect fathers. He became encouraged at that, and having placed his confidence in God, directed himself to the village of Lináo. He entered the mountains, talked with the Indian chiefs, and exhorted them to become peaceful and return to the vassalage of his Majesty. He obtained that in a very few days, and left that region in the utmost peace.

269. At this point we must reflect upon what was insinuated above. I said that the king our sovereign wrote to the father provincial of Philipinas ordering him to see to it that his religious did not rouse up the Indians, since they ought, on the contrary, to take part in calming their minds. His royal letter is [137]dated May 27, 1651, and in regard to it I mentioned that at the same time when his Majesty ordered it, he was obeyed in the village of Lináo, and with that statement is already given the proof. I add to this that on the tenth of July of the above-mentioned year, while the father provincial, Fray Joseph de la Anunciacion, was in Manila, he wrote to our father vicar-general informing him of the visit to Carágha. Among other things (which do not concern the matter) he wrote the following, which is very suitable for our purpose: “I made the first visit to the province amid remarkable sufferings and contrary winds, and thus spent about one year there. But I considered that labor as well spent because of the fruit that was obtained from it; for God was pleased by my assistance to reclaim more than six hundred tributes in Lináo, who had revolted and were disturbed, without greater cost than one decapitation and some punishments of little importance. All was left as quiet as it had been before, and it has been increased by some tributes. The only thing that especially troubled me was, that I could leave no more than one religious in each mission, while some missions were such that two were not sufficient. These are so separated from one another that the distance is at least twenty leguas. That distance must be made over troublesome seas, for the winds are not always favorable, so that one can only occasionally favor or console the other. It is a mercy of God that zeal for the conversion of souls has penetrated all, so that they put away their own welfare, relief, and consolation for those of others.”

270. That section proves, first, the care of the superiors in aiding to pacify the Indians; secondly, that, to maintain them in peace, one cannot accomplish [138]so much by the severity of punishment as by the mildness and gentleness of love; thirdly, the vast amount of hardship that those poor ministers suffer. I must only add now that some who had but little fear of God, seeing that the Indians in Tándag had become quiet through the efforts of father Fray Pedro de San Joseph Roxas, ascribed the sedition of Lináo to father Fray Agustin de Santa Maria. No investigation was made in order to give the lie to the enormity of that falsehood, for he was purified from that accusation by the blood from his veins, and because Heaven itself gave some more than ordinary testimonies of his innocence. I am going to mention them by compiling a treatise on his life.

[Section viii treats of the life of father Fray Augustin de Santa Maria. He was born in Macan of Portuguese parents, and entered the Recollect order. After being ordained as a priest, he was sent to Carágha to learn the language of the natives, where he labored diligently. Some years later he was sent to Lináo, where he was killed by the insurgents, May 16, 1651. His body, after being treated with indignities by the natives, was finally buried by a pious native woman. The section and chapter close with the recitation of several miraculous occurrences.] [139]

Chapter II

Life of the venerable father Fray Francisco de la Resurreccion; and other events that happened in the year 1651.

[Section vi is the only part of this chapter referring to the Philippines.]

§ VI

The eleventh mission goes from España to the Philipinas Islands

328.... Our holy province of Philipinas was burning with the most ardent desire to enlighten the wretched Indians with the rays of the faith; but it found itself opposed by contrary winds; these blowing forcibly against the four corners of the house (as happened there with Job), God proved it in patience. The church and a great portion of the convent of the city of Manila had been ruined by earthquakes, and the religious had no other habitation left than some wretched cells, or rather huts, that they had set up in the garden. Governor Don Diego Faxardo had ordered the convent of Tándag to be demolished. The insurrection of that village (which thus far has not succeeded) was said to have been caused by our religious. The village of Lináo had been withdrawn from its subjection to España, and the venerable father Fray Agustin de Santa Maria had been killed by lance-thrusts. The triennium of our father Fray Juan de San Antonio was passing; and during that time some missionaries had been seized and made captives—among them fathers Fray Martin de San Nicolás, Fray Miguel de la Concepcion (a native of Guadix, or as others assert, of Granada), and brother Fray Joseph de la Madre [140]de Dios, a native of México. The Jolo Moros practiced the greatest cruelties on those men; they also pillaged and burned the convents of Cúyo, Romblón, and Marivélez. The Chinese occasioned a great fire in the convent of San Sebastian de Calumpán, and the Dutch another in the convent of Cigayán. All those unfortunate events kept that holy province harassed to the utmost; but their fervor did not cool one whit. On the contrary, the fire of their zeal always mounted high and blazed more brightly the more they were oppressed by misfortunes, as it was a flame that never knew other paths.

329. In the year 1646 was celebrated the intermediary chapter of that holy province, during the provincialate of our father Fray Juan de San Antonio. In it the venerable father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio was chosen to come to España and attend, as one of the voting fathers, the seventh general chapter which was to be celebrated in the city of Valladolid in the year 48; and especially, so that he might enlist evangelical soldiers who should go to work in the spiritual conquest of the Indians—for, since so many religious had been captured, there was a lack of them. The said father Fray Jacinto could not embark that same year, because of the great disturbances caused on the sea by the Dutch, as already remarked. Consequently, he did not reach the city and court of Madrid until March, 1649, after the chapter had already been held. In that chapter, our venerable father Fray Pedro Manuel de San Agustin was elected vicar-general of all the congregation.

330. The said our father vicar-general was outside the court visiting the provinces, when the father commissary arrived. Accordingly, the latter wrote [141]to him, petitioning him to advise the convents of his coming so that the religious might in that way learn of the opportunity presented to them to go to employ their talents in the new world. Our father vicar-general attended to that with the so holy zeal that he was known to possess. His pastoral letter was filled with the flames of divine love; for he inspired the souls of the religious in such a manner that, in a few days, he had the signatures of more than fifty of them. At that same time his Reverence received a paper from the convent of San Carlos de Turin (which belongs to our Recollect congregation in Italia) in which father Fray Celestino de San Christoval, lecturer in theology, father Fray Bruno de San Guillermo, and father Fray Archangel de Santa Maria petitioned him very urgently to admit them in that mission, binding themselves to get the permissions of their prelates. But, praising their good intention, our father vicar-general refused to admit them on the ground of the royal decree that forbids the passing [to the Philippines] of foreigners.

331. While all the above was happening, the father-commissary, Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio, delivered to his Majesty the letters of the royal Audiencia, the city, and the most illustrious cabildo of Manila, which were given above for another purpose. He obtained a royal decree to take back eighteen religious. The king our sovereign gave him three hundred and sixty-two thousand three hundred and ninety-two maravedís for the journey, beside what his Majesty had assigned for the maintenance and transportation of the missionaries in Cadiz, Vera-Cruz, Mexico, and Acapulco. His Majesty also continued the alms for the four ministers [142]of the convent of Manila, and the medicines; ordering also that four thousand pesos be given them in Mexico for the repair of the said convent, which had suffered almost total ruin in the earthquake of the year 45. In addition to that, the father-commissary petitioned that the father-procurator at Roma urgently request permission to send evangelical ministers to Japon, China, Siám, and other near-by kingdoms, showing in all his great zeal for the conversion of souls.

332. The eighteen missionaries whom the king hail conceded to the father-commissary for that so distant harvest in the Philipinas Islands gathered to him in a few days. He also took six more religious at the cost of that holy province, in its name contracting many new obligations, in order not to fail in the cultivation of the vineyard of the Lord. Of those who had volunteered, those who appeared to be most intelligent and zealous were chosen; and the procurator tried to get them to Sevilla as soon as possible, where they arrived on February 20, 1651. They finally embarked, and celebrated their spiritual exercises on shipboard just as if they were in the retirement and quiet of their own convents. They preached many afternoons; persuaded the sailors to be present at the prayer of the rosary daily, exhorted them never to let the sun go down on their sins, since they had the sacrament of penitence so near at hand; and were very urgent in teaching them all the Christian doctrine. God granted them the consolation of experiencing considerable fruit by that means; for morals were considerably reformed, and oaths and blasphemies were banished, so that the ship was like a religious house. The religious gave many thanks to God, because [143]at their exhortation He conquered the obstinacy of a Moro who begged them to wash him with the holy waters of baptism. The Moro received those waters with great fervor, and died shortly after, leaving all in the great hope that he attained glory.

333. For twenty days they suffered violent and contrary winds, but God delivered them from that peril and from other very serious dangers. He preserved them also from an epidemic that was raging in the port of Vera-Cruz—a disease called vomito prieto,3 from whose malignancy the greater part of those who had embarked died, although only one of our religious perished. They reached Mexico all worn out, and remained in that city until March 10, 1652. Finally they reembarked in the port of Acapulco, whence they had a fortunate passage to the Philipinas Islands. They arrived there so opportunely that the fathers were discussing the abandonment of some of the missions because of their so great need of ministers. Consequently, they gave many thanks to the divine Majesty for those religious who arrived at so suitable a season.

[Chapter iii consists of accounts of the lives of various Recollect fathers. Those who labored in the Philippines are the following. Miguel de Santa Maria was a native of Cadiz and a son of Rodrigo Lopez de Almansa. He professed in the Manila convent June 26, 1618, at the age of 28. Later he became prior of the Caraga mission, and founded the convent of Tándag. In 1624 he was elected procuratol-general of the Philippine province. He attempted in 1629 and 1630 to go to Japan; but in the [144]first year the vessel was wrecked, and in the second the governor forbade the journey. He was sent finally to the mission at Cuyo, but the troubles with the Moros compelled him to flee. Reaching Manila, he refused the offer of the secretaryship to the visitor-general, and the remainder of his life was spent in that city, his death occurring in the year 1644 or 1651. Gaspar de Santa Monica was a native of the city of Orihuela, in Valencia, his family name being Padrós. He took the habit in the convent at Valencia, November 1, 1613. He joined the mission organized by Andrés del Espíritu Santo, and arrived at Manila in 1622. The following year he was appointed prior of the convent of Marivelez; and in 1624, when the first provincial chapter of the order was held in the Philippines, he was elected prior of the convent of Cuyo, where he suffered many hardships. He became secretary to Andrés del Espíritu Santo upon the election of the latter to the provincialate in 1626; but, falling ill, he was unable to perform the duties of that office and was made prior of the convent of Calumpán, in 1627. In 1629 he was one of the religious shipwrecked in the endeavor to reach Japan surreptitiously. He became definitor of the province in 1632, and in 1638 prior of the convent at Lináo. On the completion of that office in 1642 it does not appear that he filled other posts. He died in the city of Manila in 1651.]

[Chapter iv treats in great part of the life of Pedro de la Madre de Dios. He was born at Salamanca in 1580, and his family name was Lopez. He took the habit in the convent at Valladolid, in 1605. Somewhere between the years 1612–1614 he was sent as vicar-provincial to the Philippines, with the brief for [145]the separation of the Recollects from the regular Augustinians, conceded by the pope. After the expiration of that office in 1615 he spent the time until 1623 in work among the novices and as prior of the convents of Manila and Cavite. July 1623 to February 1624, he acted again as vicar-provincial. In the latter year he was chosen procurator to Spain, and the representative of the Philippines to the general chapter of the order to be held in 1627. Sailing from Manila in 1625, the remainder of his life was spent in Spain in various employments and in retirement. His death occurred between the years 1649–1652. Section vi of this chapter treats of the Recollect convent of San Juan de Bagumbaya (for whose early history given in summary here, see VOL. XXI). In 1642, the governor Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera ordered all the buildings in the village of Bagumbaya to be torn down for fear of the Dutch, among them the convent. Despite the endeavor of the religious to save their convent, it was demolished and a new fort begun there. The order had refused the 4,000 pesos offered them by the governor, saying that their possessions were worth more than 50,000. This action of the governor was made part of the charges in the residencia, and he was condemned to pay the order 25,000 pesos, and the ground-plots were restored to them. Thereupon the fort was demolished, and a new convent and church erected. Section vii details the placing of the holy image of the Christ of Humility and Patience (Santo Cristo de Humildad y Paciencia) in the Recollect convent at Manila in the year 1652.]

[Chapter v contains treatises on the lives of the following Recollect missionaries in the Philippines. [146]Diego de Santa Ana was a native of Zaragoza (his secular name being Ribas), and was born in 1599. He professed in the convent of that city, July 26, 1616. Volunteering for the Philippine missions in 1620, he arrived at Manila in 1622. That same year he was sent to the islands of Calamianes, in company with Francisco de San Nicolás, where he labored amid great difficulties for the conversion of the rude people inhabiting those islands. In 1626 he was sent to the village of Caviscaíl in Paragua, where he labored for a year; then he was appointed prior of the convent of Linacapán, the most dangerous mission of the Calamianes, which was infested by the hostile Moros. He was in the district of Butuan in 1629 when the insurrection of Caraga broke out, where he was in considerable danger of losing his life. He remained in Caraga for several years after the insurrection was put down; but asked leave to return to the Calamianes missions. In 1652 he suffered extreme hardships while hiding in the mountains from the Joloans, who had made one of their numerous raids in the village of Dináy in the island of Paragua. Some assert that he died in the Manila hospital, while others say that he met his death in the mountains about Dináy. Lorenzo de San Facundo was born in Calaceyte in Aragón (his family name being Valls) and professed in the convent of Zaragoza, July 8, 1618, at the age of 36. He went to the Philippines in 1621. There he became prior of the convent of Marivelez, and afterward of Binalgában in the province of Panay, of Masíngloc in the province of Zambales, and lastly of Bacoág where he suffered various hardships and captivity. He especially obtained good results by his preaching in the island [147]of Cuyo, and in Siargáo in the province of Caraga. He was afterward president of the chapter, definitor of the province, and procurator to Spain with a vote in the general chapter (although he was unable to arrive in Spain in time for the chapter). In company with Juan de San Joseph, he was taken by Corcuera on his Jolo campaign to look after the Caraga natives in his army. The two religious penetrated the mountains alone in an endeavor (partially successful) to reduce the Joloans to peace. He died in 1652, after a long and deep-seated infirmity. Antonio de la Madre de Dios, son of Fernando Romero Pizarro of Truxillo, professed in the Madrid convent, September 24, 1615. He went to the Philippines in 1621. He was sent to the island Hermosa, where he remained until that island was abandoned by the Spaniards. On returning to the islands he was employed in various missions, dying in 1652 from fever contracted while nursing a secular priest. Juan de San Joseph was a native of Granada, and took the Recollect habit in Manila. Being sent to the missions of the Calamianes he proved very successful in the snaring of souls. He was captured in 1632 by the Joloans, and was a captive among them for more than two years. After his service in the Jolo campaign he returned to Manila, and finally died in the mission of the island of Romblon. Diego de San Juan Evangelista, son of Pedro de Olíte, was a native of Zaragoza and took the habit in the convent of Manteria in Zaragoza, April 3, 1606. Shortly after, he deserted the order; but afterward returned to it. He left for the Philippine mission in the year 1622, where he became an eloquent preacher. He served as chaplain in two fleets, missionary in [148]the Calamianes, and prior of Cavite and Manila. Death came to him in the convent of Bagumbaya in 1652. Antonio de San Agustin was a native of Manila (being born about 1592), where he professed. In 1634 he obtained permission to go to the Japanese mission, but the Chinese who had been hired to take them failed to fulfil their contract. In the great Chinese revolt of 1639 he acted as minister to the Zambal archers in the Spanish army. He served in various capacities, among them being the office of definitor. His death occurred in 1652.]

[Chapter vii treats of the lives of Onofre de la Madre de Dios and Augustin de San Pedro, the famous “Padre Capitan.” The first was the son of Joseph Boquét, and was born in Perpiñán in 1584, and professed in the convent of Zaragoza, March 16, 1606. Joining the Philippine mission, he reached those islands in 1620, where he was immediately sent to the new missions in the south of the archipelago, with the appointment of prior of Cebú. In 1624 he was elected first provincial of the order in the Philippines, serving in that office for two years, during which time he visited his province at the risk of capture from both Dutch and Moros. After the expiration of his term he asked and obtained permission to go to the Calamianes, and worked faithfully in the island of Culión, where he mastered the language. In 1627 he was sent to Spain as procurator, but did not return thence, as he was elected provincial of the province of Aragón. His death occurred in the convent of Calatayud in Spain, in 1638 (reported wrongly to have occurred at Barcelona in 1653, as he was confused with another religious of the same name). “Padre Capitan,” the son [149]of Miguel Rodriguez, was born in Berganza, Portugal, and professed in Valladolid, in 1619. Arriving at the Philippines in 1623, he was speedily sent to the Caraga missions, where he labored for the rest of his life in the conversion of its natives, and in defending them from the inroads of the Moros. He was many times prior of Butuán, Cagayáng, Lináo, Tándag, and Romblón. In Mindanao he personally baptized more than 10,000 adults. His death occurred in 1653, and he left behind a name long revered among the natives because of his prowess. The seventh section of this chapter is an answer to Father Combes of the Jesuit Society (who had tried to belittle the efforts of the Recollects in Mindanao), in which the good work that the Recollects have accomplished is shown.]

1 Manobos: This name is applied to several pagan Malay tribes in northern and eastern Mindanao, the word meaning “man”—just as many other savage tubes in all parts of the world designate themselves as “men” (“the men,” par excellence); but Santa Theresa’s description of them does not accord with that of Dr. Barrows. (See Census of Philippine Islands, i, pp. 461, 462.)

2 The same name as Dávao, that of the province occupying the southeastern part of Mindanao.

3 i.e. “Black vomit;” a reference to the yellow fever, which is still prevalent today in that region.


Book Second of the Seventh Decade

Chapter II

The attempt is made in Philipinas to subject the religious who are parish priests to the visitation of the bishops.

§ I

Relation of the practice that has always been followed in the spiritual administration of the islands; and what happened when the attempt was made to change it.

Year 1656

[In 1654 the first mutterings of the storm caused by the visitation of the regulars by the bishops break in the Philippines. The dates of the arrival of the [150]various orders are given; and the narrative continues:]

719.... Those holy orders, each one doing its share, declared pitiless war against paganism, and achieved signal victories in that war, destroying the idols of Belial and planting solidly the health-giving sign of the cross; so that whatever is conquered in the islands is due to their fervent zeal. For they planted the faith, and watered that land with blood so that it might produce fruit abundantly; and God was the cause of so wonderful an increase. The system that they have always followed in the spiritual administration of the missions and villages which they have formed at the cost of their sweat is the same as that observed in América in the beginning by various apostolic privileges. In the provincial chapters held by each order, they appoint as superiors of the houses established in the villages of Indians who are already converted, those religious who are fit to exercise the office of cura by their learning, their morals, and other qualities. The same is also done in regard to the residences of the active missions, where those thus appointed continue the preaching to and conversion of the heathen, with very perceptible progress. Both the former and the latter exercise the ministries to which they are destined, without need of other approbation than that of the definitors—who entrust to these heads of houses the administration of the sacraments and the spiritual cultivation of those souls, in the respective territory where the convent is located, a superior being elected for each convent. This is done independently of the bishops. Likewise the definitors of each order in their meetings appoint various of the most learned and experienced [151]men, to whom is entrusted and delegated the faculty of giving dispensation in regard to the obstacles of marriage, and the exercise of other favors and privileges contained in the pontifical briefs. Those powers are never exercised if the diocesans are intra duas dietas,1 without their permission and approbation; and always this is done [only] in cases of evident necessity.

720. The provincials visit their provinces annually; and the said religious not only in what concerns their profession and regular observance, but also in what relates to their activities as curas. The diocesan prelates appoint their outside vicars for those territories which are in charge of the orders. They almost always avail themselves of those same religious for that, because of the great lack of secular priests. The religious submit to the visitation of the diocesan in matters touching the erection of chaplaincies, charitable works, the inspection of wills, and confraternities that are not exempt. They resist only what includes the violation of their privileges granted by the supreme pontiffs to the said holy orders for the purpose of the propagation of the faith in regions so distant. Such privileges, although not used in other parts of the Indias, ought to be maintained in Philipinas, for reasons that will be stated below. This is what has been observed from the discovery of the said islands until the present time; and the contrary has not been ordered by the king as patron, by the royal Council of the Indias, or by the apostolic see, although they have had full knowledge of the cause. This method has been practiced, both before and since the Council of Trent; and there has [152]been no change in it—not even since the year 1652, when special provision regarding it was made for Nueva España and Perú; and it was ordered that the missionary religious of those provinces should receive collation and canonical institution from the ordinaries of those countries, in order to continue their exercise as curas; and that consequently they must submit to the visitation and correction of the bishops in officio officiando et quoad curam animarum.2 But however thoroughly that was placed in execution in those kingdoms, it could not be carried out in the Philipinas Islands; for there even the reasons which influenced the exemption of the regulars are in force.

721. It is true that the bishops have always made the strongest efforts to subject the parish priests who are religious to their jurisdiction; but they have never been able to succeed in it, for the religious are unwilling to accept the charge with that burden. The first bishop of Manila and of all the islands, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, tried to establish that subjection. The Observantine Augustinian fathers and the Franciscans made use of the means which prudence dictated, in order to quiet their scrupulous consciences. Seeing that nothing [else] was sufficient, they resigned their missions before the governor, as vice-patron, protesting that they would care for the conversion of the heathen, but that they could not keep the parochial administration of those who were converted, without the enjoyment of all their privileges. Therefore, his Excellency was forced to desist from his attempt, as he had no seculars [153]to whom to entrust that administration. In 1654, the attempt was made to establish in Philipinas the practice recently adopted in the kingdoms of Perú and Nueva España by petition of the fiscal of the royal Audiencia. That body ordered that plan to be carried out, by a decree of October 22; and since the chapters of the two provinces of the order, the calced and discalced, were to be held in April of 55, that decree was communicated to them, with the warning that if they were not obedient they would be deprived of their missions, and the missionaries of the emoluments which had been assigned them for their suitable support. All the orders opposed that change, following logical methods in their defense, and averse to seeing the necessity of abandoning their missions. But at last, as there was no other way, the venerable fathers-provincial were reduced to handing over to the governor and bishops all the ministries in their charge, so that, as the former was the vice-patron and the latter were the ordinaries, they might appoint whomever they wished to the curacies.

722. That resignation was handed to the fiscal, and in view of it, in order that the most suitable provision might be made, with full knowledge, he asked that writs be made out—first, to show how many secular clergy were in the four bishoprics; second, so that the officials of the royal treasury might attest the amount of the stipends paid to the religious employed in the missions, and third, so that the provincials might send the names of their subordinates employed in the missions. That was ordered by a decree of May 10 in the said year 1655. It resulted that, in all, 254 religious were occupied in 252 missions; that the royal treasury only paid stipends corresponding to [154]141 missionaries; and that there were only 59 suitable secular priests in all the islands. The fiscal, seeing that according to the report the procedure that had been taken could not be maintained, in order to obviate the inconveniences that would ensue to the natives and inhabitants of those dominions if the religious were withdrawn from the villages, petitioned on January 4, 1656, that without innovation the orders be maintained in the missions, until it should be proved that there was a sufficient supply of secular priests to take care of them; and that they be assisted with the usual emoluments. He asked and charged the reverend fathers-provincial to look after the spiritual administration with their accustomed zeal. The royal Audiencia having so ordered in toto by an act of February 17, the holy orders returned very willingly to apply their shoulders to the work. Those acts were sent to the royal Council of the Indias. The cause having been discussed there, in view of the reports of the governor (which were throughout favorable to the orders), and of the manifestos presented by the orders in justification of their rights, the documents were approved on October 23, 1666, and the result was to make no innovation in what had been decided, and it does not appear that any other decree was enacted against the observance and practice that the religious have always maintained in those islands. Therefore the archbishop, having claimed that the appointments for the missions devolved on him by the form of canonical collation in cases where his Majesty did not make use of the privilege which belonged to him as patron; and endeavoring by that means to deprive the orders of the right which they possess of making [155]those appointments without the intervention of his Excellency: the royal Council by a decree of September 26, 1687, ordered that the matter be continued in the form in which it had been administered until then, and that no change be permitted.

723. Shortly after the archbishop of Manila, Don Diego Camacho, making use of the most powerful means, attempted to subject the religious to his approbation, visitation, and correction in officio officiando. For that purpose he had recourse to his Holiness, to whom in the year 1697, he represented that there were many religious in the islands employed in more than seven hundred parishes, who had refused and were refusing to receive the visitation and correction of the diocesans; and he asked that they be compelled to receive such visitation. Upon seeing that, his Holiness Clement XI decided (January 30, 1705) that the right of visiting the parochial regulars belonged to the said archbishop and other bishops; but he made no mention of the other points which had been referred to him, and which were also under dispute. This appears from the brief despatched in this regard. This brief having been presented in the Council of the Indias, it appears that it was confirmed on April 22 of the same year. The said archbishop ordered it to be executed (October 26, 1707) with the most strenuous efforts; but he encountered in this such dissensions and disturbances that it is considered advisable to omit the relation thereof. It was necessary to resign the ministries once more, the superiors [of the orders] protesting that they would never agree to such a subjection, and that the archbishop could make appointments to the curacies as he wished. By that [156]means his Excellency was so balked that, the cause having been fully proved, the evidence received, and the proofs adduced by both parties, the petition introduced by the orders was allowed on March 30, 1708; and it was ordered that the necessary official statements be given them. The authority of the governor was interposed extra-judicially, and he ordered that the religious should occupy the abandoned curacies, and that there should be no change. The archbishop himself, who had put forward that claim, was obliged to confess that he could not put it into practice.

724. It was sufficiently clear by that alone that the holy orders have more than enough reason for the independence from the bishops that they enjoy in their parochial ministry. For if they did not have in their primitive being the causes and motives for the apostolic privileges which exempted them, even from that of the ordinaries, it would not have been possible for them to maintain themselves so long with that prerogative which could not subsist in the kingdoms of América. But, since there are some persons who, as their understanding is on a par with their bodily senses, register events on the surface only without going within for the reasons (from which the report has been originated and spread through Europa, that the orders of Philipinas have seized all the authority without other reason than because they wish it so), I am compelled to vindicate them from so atrocious a calumny by making known some of the reasons why they have made (as they still do) so strong a resistance to this subjection. I shall first discuss all the orders in common, and then our reformed branch in particular. But I give warning [157]that I do not intend to transform my history into formal charges. Adequate apologetic writings, founded on law, have been scattered through those holy families to demonstrate the exemption that attends them. Quite recently, in the former year 1734, a formal statement was presented in the royal Council by twenty-three graduates of the famous University of Salamanca (confirmed by eight who are not regulars) in which their testimonies agree in affirming that the religious act according to the dictates of conscience in administering the curacies without subjecting themselves to the bishops. Some add that they are bound in conscience to resist this subjection, as it is an imposition on the regular religious. Therefore, I shall treat that matter simply as an historian, taking for granted the right which, according to various apostolic privileges, supports them in not subjecting themselves to the bishops; and, in case the latter attempt this, in abandoning the ministries.

§ II

Some of the arguments that support the orders in Philipinas in not submitting to the visitation of the ordinaries in regard to the ministries.

725. That various supreme pontiffs, especially St. Pius V, conceded to the regulars of the Indias the privilege of obtaining their ministries with complete independence from the bishops, no one is so bold as to deny. The motive for that concession was the lack of secular priests in those countries. Consequently, the question (or doubt) as to whether that indult is or is not to be observed is not one of law, but one of pure fact. Its solution depends on [158]ascertaining whether there are in those regions a sufficient number of clergy suitable to serve their parishes and exercise the care of souls. For, in case there are, it is not denied that that duty belongs to the seculars; for it is the peculiar duty of the religious to devote themselves to God in the retirement of their cloisters. If, on this hypothesis, the regulars should desire or be permitted to take charge of the said spiritual administration, they ought to submit to the bishops in officio officiando for then the cause of that indult would not exist. The fact of the exemption having ceased for the great part in the kingdoms of Nueva España and Perú, did not arise from the said privileges having been revoked (for they are not, especially that of St. Pius V) but only and necessarily because the impelling cause for conceding such exemption did not actually exist. For, in those kingdoms, the number of secular ecclesiastics increased so greatly that enough of them were found to administer the holy sacraments to their inhabitants. Since the motive has ceased, the privilege cannot endure. Now then, I suppose that there are more than two millions of people in the Philipinas Islands who confess the name of Christ, through the influence of the fervent zeal of the religious. In the year 1655, as was stated in the preceding paragraph, for two hundred and fifty-two missions in charge of the orders there were only fifty-nine secular priests. In 1705, when that subjection was attempted so earnestly by Archbishop Don Diego Camacho, the parishes were extended by his deposition to the number of more than seven hundred. For those parishes, according to the certification of the secretary of that prelate, only sixty-seven secular priests were [159]found in his diocese; and of those only ten were suitable for administering the missions, as the rest were occupied in the duties of necessary residence. At present, the number of seculars is not much greater nor will it ever be—partly because those of Europa do not have any inducement to go to those islands, and partly because, since the Spaniards there are so few, there cannot be many persons sprung from these kingdoms who rise to the priesthood; further, because the Indians are generally unfit for that holy ministry. In view of all the above, who does not see that the orders avail themselves of their right in resisting the burden of the visitation which the bishops are trying to impose on them?

726. Nor does it avail the opposition that Pope Clement XI determined and declared, at the petition of the said archbishop, on January 30, 1705, “that the right of visiting the regulars in what concerns the care of souls and the administration of the holy sacraments belongs to the archbishop of Manila and the other bishops of the Philipinas Islands.” For besides the defects of misrepresentation and surreptitious measures [obrepcion y subrepcion] which were then made manifest, contained in that brief, the said pontifical declaration, whether it be conceived as a law, as an order, or as a sentence, cannot fail to be appealed from. This is what the orders did, appealing to his Holiness, alleging before the archbishop who put the brief into execution the motives which, according to law, they rightfully had for resisting that visitation. In order to establish the truth that the religious had many arguments in their favor, it is not necessary to adduce other proof than what results from the fact that the said archbishop, who was [160]the person most interested, desisted from the execution of the brief. Other diocesans of the islands who, notwithstanding the above-cited brief, have tolerated and tolerate the exemption of the orders for no other reason than the actual scarcity of secular priests, have authorized that procedure. Therefore, they practically admit that the indult of St. Pius remains in force, and that the mandate of Clement XI is impossible whenever the religious abandon the curacies.

727. Besides, the same fact that the said metropolitan did not put into execution the above-cited brief of Clement XI as its nature and authority demanded, gave one to understand either that it was notoriously surreptitious, or especially grievous and productive of some scandal, or of irreparable injury to the Catholic religion; for only through such motives can the mandates of the pope be suspended. If the first be correct, it is an implied or virtual declaration that the said order is null and void; therefore, the regulars can legally proceed with the administration of the missions without subjecting themselves to the ordinaries, making use of their former privileges. If the second or third—his illustrious Lordship having offered in that same act in which he provided for the suspension of the brief, to inform the pope of the predominant reasons that determined him to supersede the said brief—in the meantime, until the said information shall reach him, and the effect that is produced by it on his Holiness’s mind shall be made known to the religious, the fact that they avail themselves of their privileges in the administration of the parishes cannot be imputed to them as guilt. The reason for that is, that [161]they cannot believe that that prelate will neglect to inform his Holiness of the motives why he did not proceed with the execution [of the brief]. The fact that the Roman court has not made any new provision in regard to that matter shows that, just as in virtue of the allegations of the regulars the said archbishop found it necessary not to carry his pretension farther, so likewise the supreme pontiff has tacitly approved and has left the religious with the exemption that they enjoyed before the above-mentioned brief. Therefore, in regard to either law, they will safely be able to proceed with the administration of the churches in their charge without the intervention of the bishops.

728. Much less can the said brief of Clement XI stand in regard to the decree that “the regulars cannot resign from the missions or parishes under penalty of censures, loss of benefices, and other arbitrary penalties.” For this clause alone is sufficient to persuade one that the representations that were made to obtain that decision from the pope were not ruled by truth. For had his Holiness well understood all the circumstances, how could he have issued an order from which would follow the inference of injuries terrible and irremediable to the holy orders? If those religious, in so far as they are curas, were to become subject to the bishops, they would not hold their curacies as a reward after serving his Majesty so much, but would regard their position as lower than that of those who remain free from responsibility in their communities. For the latter have no other obligation than to obey their superior or his two subordinates, so that there can never be any contrariety in the orders or any doubt for the religious of [162]what he is to do; while the former, after all their anxiety, have to study very carefully over obeying their legitimate superiors and in keeping the bishops content (which, as will be said, would both be impossible things), whence must originate many disturbances and much restlessness. And if it is intolerable that he who serves his king with faithfulness be not rewarded, the order would be inverted on this occasion; for after so much labor they could only succeed in multiplying subjections, and be less free in their ministries. The orders would receive as their reward the abolition of the exemption which the holy see conceded to them as a recompense for the noble fruits which they have gathered in the universal Church by their virtue and holiness—preserving it fresh and beautiful by watering it with the blood of so many martyrs, by which they made it illustrious; and increasing it with new worlds, provinces, and millions of children whom they have subjected to it, of which the histories are full. They will be obliged to place in the curacies those who solicit them the most urgently, importuning by means from which the more retiring and the more worthy shrink. They will expose their religious to danger even after they have well fulfilled the obligations of their ministries, in case that they are not to the liking of the ordinary—besides many other annoyances which will inevitably come upon the regulars. And if the orders have no other means to avoid that and the rest which will be stated below than to resign their missions, how could the benign pontiff oblige them to stay therein if he knew those circumstances fully?

729. It cannot be denied that the office of parish priest even with the exemption from the ordinary is [163]altogether accessory, and a heavy responsibility superadded to the religious estate. For in order that they might administer in the said form, an apostolic dispensation has been necessary which is founded on grave reasons—and that with attention to only what the religious estate demands from him who has entered it, according to what is taught by common law and the doctrine of the saints. If that method of administering with exemption from the ordinary is changed, and the regular who has charge of a parish should as such become subject to the correction and visitation of the ordinary, and in other respects to the heads of his order, it is certain that it would be an innovation so great that they would be quite changed in their respect for public opinion, and in their mode of life; and the religious would be like a man cleft in two, those in some houses being subject to one superior and those in others to another, all of different hierarchies, and with the dangerous consequences that will be stated. Will the piety of the pope bind the religious to so great a cross?

730. Let us suppose (as is feasible) that the bishop were to become displeased with any order, or with any missionary. In such case he could maintain or remove the missionary against the will of his provincial by very specious pretexts. If necessary, he could even threaten the latter with censures, in order to make him submit to his authority. How fecund a source of perdition and total ruin that would be for the orders, any one can conceive; but only those who have experience in those islands could perfectly comprehend it. Let the regulars of América tell how they have to tolerate it through compulsion. If a religious is found lacking, and the offense has the [164]appearance on one side of belonging to morals and life and on the other to the office of cura, the poor missionary is left in the sane position as those goods which the law styles mostrencos [i.e., goods which have no known owner], and shall belong to the first one who seizes them; and even he is in much worse condition, because of the contests that must necessarily ensue. For, if the provincial commences to form a process and it comes afterward to the notice of the ordinary, the latter will issue an act—and, if it should be necessary, a censure—ordering the said provincial to quash the entire process, to deliver it to him, and to desist from the cause by saying that he alone has the power to try it. The provincial appeals to the judge delegated by his Holiness and he, as he has entire jurisdiction of the case, commands the ordinary with the warning of censure to leave the cause alone and deliver up the acts. The latter not obeying, the matter may be carried to such an extreme that two ecclesiastical prelates excommunicate each other, and threaten each other with interdict and the cessation of divine service. This is not fancy, for that has happened in like case in Manila. That is the greatest danger since, because of the great distance, redress moves with very dilatory steps. But in the meanwhile the suits concerning the religious are proceeding from tribunal to tribunal, contrary to the clearly expressed privileges of his exemption.

731. But let us suppose that the regular parish priest is unworthy to persevere in his mission because of secret sins, and that, even if he remain in it, he may run some risk of his salvation. The provincial learns of the matter secretly. In such a case, justice requires two things—one, the punishment of [165]the guilty person; and the other, that the delinquent shall not lose his reputation by the declaration of his fault. Charity urges him to remove his subordinate from danger. If that regular administers without canonical institution and subjection to the ordinary, everything will be settled very easily, and justice and charity will be satisfied without any infamy to the criminal or any dishonor to the order. But if he is subject to the ordinary, the provincial cannot remove him by his own authority; but he must have recourse to the ordinary himself, and to the vice-patron, and then those two agree on the removal. In that case, what can the provincial say to them? If he should say that he will impart to them in all secrecy the [nature of the] crime of his subject, that means is harsh and less safe. The ordinary and the governor, as the father and the master, may correct and punish the faults of their inferiors without the least wound to their honor; and must a provincial do so by dis-accrediting his subordinate with the heads of the community? If it is decided that the superior do not tell the kind of crime, but that he asseverate in general terms that there is cause to remove the religious from that place, the trouble is not avoided. First, they may think that he speaks thus in order to go ahead with his oldtime custom; second, because even though the cause of removing him be not a fault, it can easily be alleged to be one, and the fact that he does not offer more explanation in that case comes to be the same as manifesting its gravity by his silence. Finally, honor is very delicate and is lessened by rumor and suspicion. Since God made the religious exempt from the secular judges, and the apostolic see exempted them from the ordinaries, the [166]religious, when they have not professed as curas, will find themselves without courage to assume that charge with so many dangers and burdens. And will the apostolic see force them to that?

732. The fact that common law decides that the regular parish priest, as such, is subject to the visit of the ordinary furnishes no argument against my statement. For, leaving aside the fact that the supreme pontiff may abolish such a law—as in fact was done by Pius V, after the holy Council of Trent, while Urban VIII confirmed this action afterward; and various statements of the most eminent cardinals favor this when there is a lack of secular priests as happens in the Philipinas—it is answered that common law which orders such subjection is only in point when they wish to persevere in being parish priests; but does not order that they be so under compulsion. If a secular priest to whom the curacy has been given permanently by canonical institution can resign it, and the law does not therefor disqualify him, why cannot the regulars make that same resignation in order not to live with the risks from having so many superiors? The regulars are not curas for justice, but for charity, and they have taken charge of the missions for lack of other ministers. They do not administer them through right of proprietorship, but are removable at will. Consequently, they can be deprived of those missions even though they live like saints. Is it possible that when the will of another is sufficient to remove them from their curacies, their own volition will not suffice with the knowledge of the dangers which will follow from such a charge? Further, is the regular incapable of being a proper parish priest, or is he not? If he is, why, if [167]the secular cura is perpetual—so that, if he does not become unworthy, neither the ordinary nor the vice-patron can remove him—will not the regular also remain a cura, supposing the incumbrance of collation and canonical institution? Why does that institution give all favorable things to the secular and deprive the regular of all relief? It imposes upon the regular the duty of feeding the sheep. It binds him to the territory, so that the provincial cannot remove him without the consent of the vice-patron and of the ordinary. He loses in great measure the privilege of the exemption, and with those duties does not have the comfort of being secure in his curacy, for he does not hold it for life. Neither is he master of the emoluments which the parish yields, unless it be imagined that he be dispensed from his vow of poverty. Consequently, he only gets the burdens by reason of the collation, and nothing to his advantage. If it be said that he is not capable of being a parish priest, why the pledge in this new form of administration?

733. Those who are striving for the subjection of the regulars as parish priests generally oppose the fact that that form of administration has been introduced into América, and that therefore it might serve as an example for the Philipinas Islands. But that argument is not convincing, and contains many remarkable disparities. First, because there are plenty of secular priests in Peru and Nueva España; therefore the bishops rightly compelled the religious either to abandon the administration of the parishes, or to submit to the visitation. For the motive of the privilege of St. Pius V was lacking, not by any revocation that he made of it, but because its [168]force had ceased, its object not being realized. Second, because no one will say that the orders of América were obliged to remain in the charge of souls, with the insupportable burden of the visitations. On the contrary, they agreed to it willingly in order not to abandon the parishes. The fact that they consented to it there is no proof that they have to do the same in Philipinas. Third, because the experience of what happened in Mexico and Perú in regard to the diminution of strict observance by the regulars, which originated beyond doubt from that subjection, ought to open the eyes of the superiors of orders in Philipinas to prevent such harm in their houses. This is not to cast blame on those who are now enjoying the curacies in this manner in the said kingdoms; we ought to consider them all as very excellent religious. But it is an undoubted fact that, with the practice by which the missions are maintained, in a manner almost perpetual, the provincials not being able to dispose of their subordinates with complete liberty, that oldtime strict observance which was planted in those provinces at their first erection has been greatly obscured. Human nature is easily inclined to what promotes liberty; and as St. Bernard teaches, the same ones who love retirement because of their austere training in the rigors of the order from childhood, when they come to taste the life that is not so well regulated, desire, procure, and solicit it. Nothing of that has been seen hitherto in Philipinas, where, however much they have the parishes in charge, the holy orders flourish in the most strict observance—for no other reason than that, if a religious sins, the remedy is quite near at [169]hand since it is administered solely by the head of the order.

734. Fourth, because there are things more to be wondered at than to be followed. Although the religious orders are alike, we see that, while the Church is also one and the same, one person elects one condition which the other does not adopt. From the same order some go to the Indias, and others do not go. Then why cannot the same thing happen in regard to being parish priests subject to the ordinary? Let the histories of the Indias be read. All of them consider earnestly whether the religious are to be curas of souls, and much more whether they are to be curas of justice. Resolutions of entire provinces will be found on the question whether they should abandon the missions; generals and illustrious men of the same orders will be found who approved it; and the reader will find bitter complaints for having admitted such a burden, recognizing it as the seminary of interminable discords. For, if those on the mainland, seeing a furious hurricane on the sea which is dashing the ships to pieces and endangering the lives of those who are sailing, fear to embark, how much should the regulars in Philipinas take warning from the new practice in América? How can one wonder that they follow the example of those who abandoned the missions joyfully, rather than of those who now live sorrowfully because they adopted the new method? The fact is, that no one can take it ill that each one procures what he thinks best so long as he uses means that are not unlawful in order to get it. This is what the religious are doing in the present case, taking care that no detriment follows to their [170]estate and profession. For, before the souls of others, one ought to watch over his own. Let it not be (as says St. Paul) that we, preaching to others, behold ourselves in the irreparable danger of becoming reprobates.

735. Fifth, because the provinces of Philipinas are not, nor can they be, like those of América, but are as distinct as they are separate. The latter include, besides the ministries, many community convents where there are plenty of religious, who greatly exceed the parish priests in number. The former have but one convent apiece in Manila, which enjoys an adequate community as do the convents of Europa. The other houses are located in the villages of the Indians where those who have charge of the spiritual administration live, and there is no more community at times than the head of the house alone; and at the most he has one or two associates, if they are considered necessary for the exercise of the duties of the mission. Since that is true, an undeniable inconvenience will follow, namely: if they are subjected to the visitation and correction of the bishops all can call themselves not regulars—those outside, because they are parish priests; and those of Manila, because they have to go to take the places of the others in case of absence, sickness, or death. They cannot be excused from that by either the actual definitors of the outgoing provincials, and all to have to be employed if there is a lack of ministers. Since the provinces are composed of them almost entirely, and the consent of the ordinary and the vice-patron would be necessary for their removal, there would be some provinces which would have the name of religious government and in reality would be under the secular [171]government, dependent on those two wills, to which they would make no vow of obedience. It is a fact that it would be a real change which those religious would have to endure, from free and unhindered evangelical ministers to seculars bound in justice to the care of souls. Can it be considered ill that they resist so great a transformation, and leave the missions if they find no other way?

736. Sixth, and last, because in América the practice of presenting three religious for each mission in the form ordered by the king can be easily observed, as there are many religious. But that presentation is mortally impossible in Philipinas because of the great scarcity of religious. For although the orders make the most painstaking efforts to get them from España, they succeed in this with difficulty. For lack of workers, they are often obliged to entrust the administration of many villages to one person, and sometimes to abandon districts in toto. Then how can three be presented for each ministry when there is scarcely one for each mission? Besides, since there are so many languages, there is no order which does not minister in four or five languages; and although all of them apply themselves to the study of the languages, few attain them so perfectly that they can explain entirely the height of the mysteries of our holy faith; and since there are so many missions, what order can present three times the number of ministers who will worthily serve the missions? Let us suppose a case also where there would be a sufficient number of capable religious. On that account there would be no assurance of better results; for of the three who would be presented, it is possible that the least capable would be [172]chosen, as there would be no accurate information of his being less competent. That would be known better within his own order, where by continual intercourse it is learned who is most suitable for the ministry. Besides that, there might be a religious whom it would be proper to retire because of his demerits, but by virtue of the fact that the prelates have to present three religious for each mission, they are obliged to include him in the presentation for the sole purpose of completing the number. Who will prevent a froward one from slandering the electors, discrediting the worthy, and gaining the favor of friends and relatives by putting forth all his efforts to attain the desired liberty in order to escape from the observance and the cloister? Oh, beginning so full of troubles! If one had to describe all the troubles, it would be necessary to use much paper. Let the above suffice, so that it may be recognized that the reason why the holy orders resist subjection to the bishops is not so much for the sake of preserving their authority, as because they see the grave dangers that must ensue for them. Finally, they exercise their right in that, of which no one can complain, for they are doing wrong to no one.


Continuation of the matter of the preceding section, with especial bearing on our discalced Recollect branch.

737. The reasons thus far advanced touch all the orders in common. Let us now pass on to speak of our own in particular. There is no doubt that St. Pius V conceded the above-mentioned exemption to the regulars because they were employed in the conversion [173]of the Indians, and so that they might proceed in their apostolic missions. That reason is clearly expressed in the bull; consequently, whenever it is found to exist, the orders ought to be maintained in the possession of that grace so long as it is not annulled by express revocation. Hence it is that, until the present, the bishops have not attempted to subject the missionaries who are laboring to allure the heathen to our holy faith and withdraw them from the darkness of their infidelity; for in order to effect those ends they acknowledge in its force the privilege of St. Pius V. I agree then that all the missions held by our holy reformed branch in the said islands ought to be considered as active missions, where the religious, although as parish priests they minister spiritually to those already converted, exercise also the arduous employ of missionaries, as the villages are surrounded by infidels, whose conversion they secure by the most diligent efforts. Therefore, the parishes of our jurisdiction ought to be considered not as villages of converts [doctrinas] already formed, where the only care is to administer the holy sacraments, but as new conquests where the flock of Christ is continually increased by apostolic attempts.

738. There are at present one hundred and five villages (besides those called active missions, which do not enter into this account) at present in the charge of our holy discalced branch, and they lie in more than twenty islands. In the principal island of Luzón, where the city of Manila is located, the order administers fifteen villages; in that of Mindanao, the second in size, thirty-four; in that of Parágua and others of the Calamianes, twelve; in that of Mindóro, twenty-four; in that of Romblón and its outlying [174]islands, eleven; and in that of Masbáte and its intermediate islands, nine. It is seldom that one of those villages has no infidel inhabitants; and the religious are kept quite busy in converting them. For beginning with the island of Luzón and the mountains of Zambáles, the villages of Marivélez, Cabcáben, Móron, and Bagác are surrounded by blacks who are there called “de Monte” [i.e., “of the mountain”]3 who are being constantly converted to our holy faith, for they are of a very peaceful disposition. Súbic is a new conquest, where various Indians are settling who wander about and are forgotten by the Christianity of those districts. The settlements that follow from that point to Bolináo are so near to the black Zambals and Aetas that, when the latter revolt, one cannot go there without running great risk of his life. But when peace makes them tractable, some souls are obtained for God. The villages of Uguit and Babáyan, which have recently been founded in this century with the converted blacks and wild Indians, [Zimarrónes] clearly attest that fact. In [175]Mindanao the territory conquered by our religious, namely, the district of Cagayáng and the province of Carágha, ought to be considered as the rose among the thorns, oppressed by Moros, Mindanáos, and Malanáos, and by infidel Tagabalóyes and Manóbos. Of those peoples, the former keep the evangelical ministers in continual fear, because of their persecutions; the latter keep us in a perpetual mission for converting them to our holy Catholic faith. As proof of the great and continual advance of Christianity there, it suffices to state that at the end of the last century the tributes which those who have been subdued paid to the king did not equal the expenses occasioned to the royal treasury by the maintenance of the said province; in the year 1720, the expenses and collections were equal; but now the royal income exceeds the expenses necessary for conservation.4 Since the expenses have not decreased—for there is always the same number of infantry forces in the presidios of Tándag, Catél, and Lináo, to which all the expense is reduced—it is inferred that the royal tributes have increased, and consequently the number of Christians.

739. There are so many heathen in the islands of Calamiánes, especially in the island of Parágua, that at least one hundred heathens will be found for each Christian. In the island of Mindóro only the coasts are conquered, and heathen fill all the interior of the island. The same success as I said was obtained in the province of Carágha has also been secured in the above two provinces; although a very notable decrease [176]of Christianity has taken place in them because of the invasions of the Moros of which I shall speak later. The island of Zibuyán, whose mountains are peopled by infidels—who, as they are exceedingly obstinate in regard to conversion, give us considerable anxiety, although some converts are obtained among them—is located in the Romblón district. The island of Mæstre de Campo, formerly peopled by Indians who were almost all apostates from religion, has now in great part embraced the faith through the efforts of the religious, who scarcely ten years ago founded a new village peopled by families of the said Indians. It is not many years since the wild Indians [Zimarrónes] were feared in the island of Masbáte but these are now so few, through the persuasions of the religious, that one can cross the island without danger. The villages have increased greatly with the people who have been reduced to a Christian life and civilization. The village of Camasóso is a new colony peopled by that before indomitable people; and the same has happened in the island of Burías. Now then, I ask, since this is so (and it is a fact, and one that can be proved whenever necessary), in what are these ministries or curacies different from those in Nueva España and Perú, when St. Pius V conceded the exemption of the regulars? What difference is there between those missions or parishes and those founded in the Philipinas Islands when they began to be subject to the crown of España? There appears to be no difference. If the privilege conceded to the religious in América with those circumstances was considered justifiable, and was also observed in the said islands at the beginning, our discalced religious will proceed quite conformably [177]with right in resisting any change with all their strength, as long as their individual parish priests are also, as stated, engaged as missionaries.

740. More force is given to this argument if one considers that, even in carrying on missions in infidel lands, our religious could not suffer greater hardships than those which they endure in the said ministries. That it may be seen that this is not imagination, I shall give a rough outline of what happened recently from the year 1720 until the present. I shall do it as briefly as possible, for those regrettable tragedies will occasion great extension to this history in due time. It is well known that our villages are the most exposed to the invasions of the Moros; consequently, they always serve as the theater of war and as the object of disasters. In the said year, then, they attacked the province of Calamiánes with a powerful fleet. Landing on the island of Linacapán they burned the village, convent, and church; outraged the sacred images; and killed with lance-thrusts the venerable father, Fray Manuel de Jesus Maria, a native of Lupiana in Alcarria—while another religious who was there was able to escape miraculously, at the cost of incredible hardships that he suffered, by hiding in the mountain. In the year 1721 they did the same thing in the village and island of La-Agutáya,5 and in Manàol, which is located in the island of Mindóro. The evangelical ministers fled thence in a small boat and thus saved their lives, although after very prolonged hardships; and from there they took refuge in the mountains, in order to endure, without other relief than that of God, the [178]discomforts that one can imagine. In the year 1722 the Moros landed on the island of Cúyo, and although they could not take the redoubt, for the Indians (captained by our religious) defended it bravely, one can imagine what the latter suffered in a siege so immeasurably prolonged. In the year 23, the Moros bordering on the province of Carágha besieged the presidio of Catél. Father Fray Benito de San Joseph, son of Casál de Cáceres in Estremadura, who, as its minister, undertook to attend to its defense, was left so exhausted from the fatigues of war in which no relief came, that after the retreat of the Moros, he lived but little longer; for he gave up his soul to God amid the plaudits of victory. Almost at the same time, in the island of Camiguín, the religious were compelled to hide in the mountains, where they were besieged by many fears. In Parágua, they killed father Fray Juan de la Purificacion (a native of Atéa in the kingdom of Aragon) with an insidious poison. The invasions of the said Mahometans were continual until the year 30 through Calamiánes and other districts; for, although they were not seen in large fleets, a great number of pirates were never lacking, and they caused those persecuted ministers repeated troubles. But in the above-mentioned year they had the boldness to assault the presidio of Taytáy6 with such swiftness and fury that two of the three religious who were there succeeded by great good luck, and without any preparation, in retiring afoot to the mountains; while the other, only saving the chalices and ciborium, retired [179]to the redoubt where he suffered the hardships of the siege.

741. In the year 31 they attacked the village of Culión; in 32, that of Linacapán and all the villages of Parágua, where they committed innumerable acts of cruelty. In 33 they ruined the village of Calatán; and father Fray Antonio de Santa Ana (whose death I shall relate later), had no other opportunity than to flee to the mountain afoot and naked as he was in his bed, so that one can imagine what he suffered. In the year 34 they destroyed the villages of Malampáyan, Dumarán, and Linacapan. Father Fray Domingo de San Agustin, a native of Aldeguela near Teruel, while escaping to the mountain remained for five days in a cellar with the water up to his waist without eating anything else than herbs. As a consequence of that and other hardships that he suffered on various occasions, various illnesses came upon him which finally ended his life, he refusing to turn his back on the evangelical enterprises, although he could have done so. Father Fray Juan de la Virgen de Moncayo (a native of Añon in Aragon) retiring first to the redoubt of Taytáy and then to the mountains, as he had done at other times, became so ill that he surrendered his soul, though always fighting, in the island of Mindóro. The Moros went to that island also in the above-mentioned year and attacked several villages, and the religious remained in the mountains for a long time; this caused father Fray Joseph de San Agustin (a son of Azarét, in the said kingdom of Aragon) to contract his last illness, and he retired to Manila, where he ended the miseries of this life in order to pass to life eternal. In the year 35 they became masters of the villages of Parágua, [180]whose Christian faith is little less than lost. In the year 36 they again besieged the presidio of Taytáy; and although it was possible to defend it at the cost of miracles, in one of the assaults a bullet took away the life of father Fray Antonio de Santa Ana, a native of Gandia in the kingdom of Valencia. In the years 37 and 38 the Moros, already masters of the sea, filled Calamiánes and Mindóro with horror. In the year 39 they had so closed the passage from the said islands to Manila that for more than six months nothing could be heard from the religious living in those fields of Christendom. In the year 40 they went to the coast of Mindóro opposite Luzón, where they inhumanly killed father Fray Leon de San Joseph (a son of Peraléda in Castilla) and captured another religious who was going as missionary to Mindanáo; and it was a miracle that they did not capture all those who were returning from the chapter-meeting. In that same period, although I do not know definitely the year, they also landed at Hingoóg, a village of the province of Carágha; in the island of Camiguín, which belongs to the alcaldeship of Zibú; and on the coast of Zambáles at the boundaries of the village of Cabangán. The inference from the above is that the missionary religious had to hide in the caverns of the mountains in all districts; to look for their sheep in the deserts; go without food, or live on herbs of the field; to suffer the inclemencies of the weather, which is a martyrdom in Philipinas; and always to flee from one part to another without other relief by sea or land than fears and fatigues. What is lacking, then, to those ministers of the evangelical doctrine to enable them to say that they are toiling in apostolic missions? [181]Now, did those who began the conquest of América or those of Philipinas endure the more grievous and continual persecutions? Therefore, if those were worthy of receiving the exemption, because they were employed at the cost of their lives in the promulgation of the faith, no change ought to be introduced in these missions.

742. The procedure of our religious in resisting the subjection of the ordinaries is justified even more by that which causes the anxiety of the ministers, if one considers the fact (on which their resistance is founded) that the proper administration of those souls is morally impossible. For that we must assume that the king assigns one missionary to each five hundred tributes or families. But our districts, especially those of the islands of Luzón, Calamiánes, and Mindóro, although each does not exceed three hundred tributes; need each one or two religious in order that they may be looked after as is necessary for the preaching and for the [spiritual] food of the holy sacraments. This arises from the fact that each mission is extended over a distance of twenty or thirty leguas, without its being possible to make any other arrangement. For although the reduction into large settlements has been attempted, for the more suitable spiritual administration it has been impossible to attain that. On the contrary, whenever it has been attempted, Christianity has decreased. In the islands of Mindanáo, Romblón, and Masbáte, the missions have more people, for they contain from six to eight hundred tributes. But, for the same reason, each one needs three or four religious; and even that number must be on the road continually in order to fulfil their obligations as parish priests. Hence it results [182](the stipends not being received in proportion to the number of the religious but in proportion to the tributes), that they have to maintain three and sometimes four religious with what the king assigns for one minister. It is endured with the greatest kind of poverty, and they even lack the necessities for the maintenance of life.

743. I suppose also that, when once the new form of administration would be established according to the subjection that is claimed, it would follow that each ministry would have a prior appointed in the chapters, and a cura assigned by the ordinary with canonical institution. For this is the observance in América, in order to save the freedom of the elections in what concerns the regular superiors, and in order to prevent the religious who are curas from being free from the vow of obedience. Of these, the parish priest cares for the administration, the prior looks after matters pertaining to the regular estate but cannot assist in what pertains to the instruction [doctrina], for generally he does not know the language. The former has increased expenses with the visit of the bishop and other matters relating thereto; and the latter, with the journeys to the chapter and the visitation of the provincial; and all these expenses must be paid by the stipends of the mission, for there is no other source of income. Consequently, it is inferred that it would be necessary in this case, to reduce the ministries to a new form and assign one single cura to each five hundred tributes. It would be doing well if the product of those tributes sufficed for the maintenance of the two religious, prior and parish priest, with the other unavoidable and necessary expenses. But if at present two priests scarcely [183]suffice to administer two hundred families well in our villages, how could a single one look after five hundred families? Then, if (and this could be proved with exactness) the children or neophytes begged the bread of the teaching of the faith, there would be no one to attend to that need. Therefore, our holy reformed branch foreseeing so formidable and unavoidable consequences do very well in abandoning the missions. For there is no reason why they should load injuries upon themselves which cannot be corrected afterward, and of which their prelates must render account to God.

744. Let us conclude this matter by stating one other motive for the justification of our religious in resisting exercise as parish priests, when one tries to subject them to the visitation and correction of the bishops. It is a constant fact that the Christianity of the Philipinas Islands cannot maintain itself unless numerous missions be continually taken thither from Europa. For there are few sons of Spaniards there (to whom only the habit can be given), and of those few the smallest number are inclined to the religious estate. I state then, that in case of the said subjection it would be impracticable to take missionaries there, especially those of our holy discalced branch. Consequently, the administration of the missions could not be cared for, as is already seen, when affairs are going to the prejudice of the Catholic faith. In order to prove the aforesaid, we must take it for granted that each religious causes an expense of practically one thousand pesos from the time he leaves his convent in España until he sets foot in Manila—about one-half of which is paid from the royal treasury, while the remainder is supplied by the order. To [184]realize that sum, which amounts to huge figures, the ministries contribute with some voluntary offerings, and the province applies all its incomes and alms. Compare this now with that alleged in the preceding number, and it will be seen that in the said case it would not be possible for the missionary religious to attend to that necessity. For, even at present, they have to live like beggars in order that they may assist, taking from their necessary support what they give, so that they may support that expense. On the other hand, the province would not be able to employ its incomes in this either, for it would have to use them in establishing solidly the convents which are not ministries, There are five of these, namely: in Manila, in Bagumbáya, in Cavíte, in San Sebastian, and the convent of La Concepcion in Zibú. Of that number only the first has a community at present, for the others can scarcely support two religious apiece. But in the said case it would be indispensable, so that the province might maintain itself as such, to place communities in the convents and to apply to them the incomes that it possesses; and on that account it could not attend to the expenses of the missions.

745. But let us suppose that some funds existed for those expenses. The trouble remains that the religious of España would not consent to go to the islands, if they were informed that they had to be curas, and submit to the bishop in what they have not professed. Thus has experience shown by what has happened to our province, because no religious went from these kingdoms from the year 1692 until that of 1710, during which time Archbishop Camacho was attempting to bring about the subjection. That is a precedent which induces the strong suspicion [185]that no one could be found who would voluntarily submit to correction by a strange prelate, and at times be accused and denounced in a foreign jurisdiction as he had only promised obedience to his own superiors. Grant that some would be allured, but those would be the least capable who would be incited by the perverse desire for greater freedom. As a rule, when a mission for those islands is now proclaimed, those who volunteer in their desire for the conversion of souls are so many that one may choose laborers of excellent qualifications; for their zeal for the propagation of the gospel and for the spiritual health of those poor Indians impels them. But were that subjection inaugurated, what timorous religious after that would leave his cell (a safe port whither to escape during storms) only to serve in the employ of cura? That is, any change is accompanied by a very great alteration; and he who attempts to introduce it must be responsible for all the consequences, in order to prevent and forestall them. Nor is it prudent not to oppose oneself to the foregoing, when one foresees the sequel of conclusions so fatal. Therefore, our holy order opposes itself to the innovation of this subjection, for it considers the inevitable injuries that must result. In view of that and many other losses, it acts most holily in abandoning the missions, in order that they may remain in the full charge of the bishops.

[Chapter iii deals with the life of certain Recollect religious, of whom the following labored in the Philippines. Jacinto de San Fulgencio, the son of Vicente Francisco Claramonte, was born in Cocentayna, and was received in the convent of Valencia January 17, 1614. He joined the mission to the [186]Philippines which was organized in 1619; and on his arrival at Manila began to study the languages, becoming fluent in the Tagálog, Zambal, Bisayan, and Calamian. In 1622 he was sent with Juan de San Nicolás to Caraga, where he worked to good effect. Later, accompanied by one religious and some converts, he ascended the river for fifty leguas to Lináo, where his labors were crowned successfully. He was appointed prior of the convent of San Joseph in Butuan in 1624, where he continued his work, with the evident approbation of heaven. In 1626 he became prior of Bacoag, and later was the first prior of Iguaquét. He was the first to preach to the Caragas, among whom he remained for ten years, during which time he erected six convents. In Butuan he worked for four years, where he converted three thousand people and erected three convents. In 1635 he went to the island of Negros, where he converted six thousand Indians; and the same year was appointed prior of Tándag, where he brought order out of chaos. In 1638 he was elected definitor, and in 1640 became prior for the second time of Tándag, and vicar-provincial of Caraga. He was elected procurator to Spain in 1646, and definitor with vote in the general chapter in that country, which he reached in March 1649. His mission which he took from Spain reached Manila in 1652 and consisted of twenty-one religious. In the next chapter he was again elected procurator, but he died at Manila in 1656. He had served as chaplain for the Spanish fleets, and as ambassador to the natives, in addition to his mission work proper.]

[Section ii of chapter v contains an account of the life of Salvador del Espiritu Santo, who had formerly [187]been an Augustinian of the Observant branch, but who joined the Recollects. He went to Manila in 1634 with the desire to go to Japan, learning some little of that language for that purpose. After much entreaty he obtained permission from the provincial of the order to go to Japan in 1635, but he was unable to effect his purpose. He served as prior in the Cavite convent, was twice superior of the convent of San Juan Bautista in Bagnumbáya, prior of the Manila convent, twice definitor; twice visitor of Calamianes and Mindoro. He was elected procurator in place of Jacinto de San Fulgencio, and after various setbacks arrived in Mexico in 1657, where he died in December of that same year.]

[Chapter vi deals with the life of Andrés del Espiritu Santo. That valiant worker was born in Valladolid in January 1585, his father being Hernando Tanégo. He made his vows in the convent of Portillo in 1601, and joining the first Philippine mission arrived at the islands in 1606. There he was sent immediately to the Zambales coast, where he founded the village of Masinloc, from which as a center he carried on his work. In 1609 he was elected vicar-provincial, which office he kept until 1612. He was elected vicar-provincial for the second time in 1615; and on the completion of that office in 1618, being elected procurator, he went to Spain for new missionaries, of whom he obtained a fine band, returning to Manila in 1622. The following year he was elected vicar-provincial for the third time, and in 1624 first definitor. The highest office of the province, namely, that of provincial, came to him in 1626 and at the end of his provincialate he asked permission to go to Japan, but in vain; he therefore continued [188]the work among the Philippine missions until 1632, when he was again elected provincial. In 1635 he was again definitor, and at the expiration of that office he was appointed prior of the Manila convent; thence he retired to the Cavite convent where he worked with the most vigorous men, although worn out by his excessive toil. He finally retired to the Manila convent, where he died at the end of 1657 or the beginning of 1658, at the age of 78.]

[Chapter viii records the death, in 1659, of Nicolás de la Madre de Dios, who had labored in Cagayán, where he had accomplished most in quieting an insurrection that had broken out under a native heathen priest called Salúr.]

[Chapter x contains a bull promulgated by Alexander VII, dated August 5, 1660, confirming a decree of the congregation Propaganda fide of June 28, 1660 (inserted in the bull) forbidding Recollect religious who had been sent to the Philippines from turning aside on the way or unnecessarily delaying their journey. The penalty imposed by the decree is that such fugitives are to be deprived of all active and passive vote, and can never hold any dignity or honorary charge in the order. That same year of 1660, a mission left Spain for the islands but did not arrive there until 1664.] [189]

1 i.e., “within two days’ journey.”

2 i.e., “When officiating in his duties, and as far as it relates to the care of souls.”

3 The Negritos (who have been frequently mentioned in previous volumes of this series), or Aetas, form part of the Eastern division of the pygmy race of blacks. In the Philippines, the Negritos are tound mainly in Luzón and Panay, and in northeastern Mindanao; in smaller numbers they also inhabit districts in Palawan and Negros, and in some small islands besides. As in our text, they are, in Luzón, often mentioned in connection with the Zambals—who “were the most indolent and backward of the Malayan peoples,” and “who, in the days before the arrival of the Europeans, were in such close contact with the Negritos as to impose on them their language, and they have done it so thoroughly that no trace of an original Negrito dialect remains.” See W. A. Reed’s study of the “Negritos of Zambales,” vol. ii, part i of Ethnological Survey Publications (Manila, 1904); it contains valuable information, based on actual field-work among those people, regarding their habitat, physical features, dress, industrial and social life, amusements, superstitions, etc., with numerous illustrations.

4 Apparently this comparison of financial statements was inserted by Fray Pedro de San Francisco de Assis, the editor of Santa Theresa’s work.

5 Agutaya is the principal island of the northern Cuyos group, and contains a town of the same name.

6 There are several places of this name in the islands; the reference in the text is probably Taytay, the chief town of northern Palawan.


Description of Filipinas Islands

[After a prolonged address to Fray Diego Zapata, a high official of the Franciscan order and of the Inquisition, Fray Letona proceeds with a description of the Philippines in numbered sections. No. 1 states that it is written for Zapata’s information; no. 2, that the voyage from Acapulco to Manila is more than 2,500 leguas in length. The course of the ships in that voyage is given in no. 3. Such parts of this description as are useful for our purpose are here presented in full; other parts are omitted, in each case stating the nature of such matter.]

3. Acapulco, in Mexico, which is the eastern port for the South Sea and for navigations from Nueva España to Filipinas, is in sixteen and one-half degrees of latitude. If in voyaging from Acapulco to Filipinas the ships sail in a straight line from the rising toward the setting sun, from east to west, without change of latitude, they will arrive at Baler,1 a village in the northern part of the further coast of Manila Island, which is in the same latitude as Acapulco. But usually, as soon as they set sail from Acapulco, they descend to the eleventh or the tenth parallel in order to find the winds with which they [190]can navigate; then they again go northward and follow their former course to a point five hundred leguas from Manila, and one hundred from the Ladrones Islands—among which they pass, in a latitude of fifteen degrees. Thence they sail again to lower latitudes, descending to barely thirteen and one-half degrees—on which line is the Embocadero of San Bernardino, one hundred leguas from Manila. Thence the voyage is made between that same island of Manila—which extends as far as the Embocadero, and remains on the right hand—and other islands which lie on the left, to the port of Cabite which is two leguas from Manila. Ordinarily this voyage is made in three months, although the return trip is usually much longer—sometimes requiring more than seven months; while in this year, sixty-two, it lasted eight months.

Distribution of these islands

4. Although they are innumerable, hardly more than forty of the inhabited Filipinas Islands are subject to the monarchy of España. The first and chief of these, and the head of all, is that of Luzon. It is large, being almost three hundred and fifty leguas in circumference; and has more than twenty bays and ports where ships of all sizes can anchor. It is the frontier [of the islands] toward Great China, which is a hundred leguas distant from Manila. The island lies between thirteen and one-half and nineteen degrees of latitude, and it has the form of a square with two narrow arms—one of which extends from south to north, the other from west to east.

5. In that which points northward lie, on its western coast, four distinct conquered provinces. [193]The first and nearest of these on the bay of Manila (and belonging to the archbishopric of that name), and in latitude 15°, is Pampanga; it is very populous, and abounds in rice and other products of the soil; and it contains some gold-placers. Its natives have the reputation of being the best and bravest, and most faithful to the royal crown [of all in the island]; they have a language of their own. On the western outskirts of this province among its mountains, and within the archbishopric of Manila are some Negrillos; they are heathen, and natives of the country (which is yet to be conquered) that is called Zambales. They are very barbarous, resembling the Chichimecos of Nueva España who eat human flesh.

6. Next at 16° latitude and on the western coast [of Luzon], follows Pamgasinam; it belongs to the bishopric of Cagayan, and is rich in gold and other products of the soil. The natives have a language of their own.

7. Ylocos is a province of the same bishopric, and lies next [to Pamgasinam] on the same coast; it also abounds in the same products and is very populous. The natives have their own language. Its latitude is 17°. In the year 1661, these two provinces rebelled; they were conquered and pacified with extraordinary valor and skill, by General Francisco de Esteybar with three hundred soldiers. He punished thirty persons with death and five hundred with slavery.

8. Cagayan is the last province in this arm of the island, and the most northern, lying in 18° to 19° latitude. It contains many Indians who are good soldiers. Here is the city of Nueva Segobia, which has few Spanish residents. It has a bishop [194]and cathedral; an alcalde-mayor, and a garrison of Spanish soldiers. This province yields the same products [as the others], and has a distinct language. Almost opposite this province, to the northeast (that is, between north and east) is Xapon, a noted empire. It is distant three hundred leguas, and this voyage is made in sight of land, that of various islands.

9. This arm of land is almost a hundred leguas long and fifty or sixty wide; on its eastern coast the province of Baler is conquered and pacified. The region midland of all these five provinces is called Ytui, and is peopled by heathen Indians, not yet subdued. On the south lies Pampanga; northward, Cagayan; to the east, Baler; to the west, Ylocos and Pangasinan. All these provinces have their alcaldes-mayor. The ports on the eastern coast are mentioned below in section 91.

10. In the eastern arm of this island of Luzon there are two provinces; both abound in rice and other products, and are very populous; and each one has its own distinct language. The first is Tagalos, which begins at the city of Manila, and belongs wholly to that archbishopric. It contains the environs of the city; and the lake of Bay (a freshwater lake, of many leguas in circumference), and extends along the coasts of this arm, both northern and southern, more than fifty leguas in a direct line, southeast and northeast—that is, from Manila to Silangan, which is an island very near to that of Luzon. There ends the archbishopric [of Manila]; also the Tagal province (which is divided into six or eight districts of alcalde-mayor and corregidor) and the Tagal language.

11. The second and last province of this eastern [195]arm is Camarines, which has a different language, and belongs to another bishopric. It begins at the village of Paracali, which is on the northern coast and has some rich gold mines. It is distant from Manila sixty leguas, and extends almost forty eastward, as far as the extremity of this island. Here is the city of Nueva Caceres, where there is a bishopric and a cathedral, and an alcalde-mayor; the Spanish population is very small, but there are many Indians, as also in the entire province. Inland from these two provinces there are some Çimarron Indians, who are not yet conquered. This arm [of land] is almost a hundred leguas long, and ten to twenty wide; its northern ports are mentioned below in section 91.

12. At the center where these two arms of land meet, in the middle and on the shores of a beautiful bay—closed in from the sea; thirty leguas in circumference, and eight wide; and everywhere clear, soundable, and safe—at the mouth and on the banks of the great river of Bay [i.e., Pasig River] (which, having flowed four leguas from its own lake, empties into this sea) is built the distinguished city of Manila, the capital and court of Filipinas. It is, for its size, the richest in the world; a special account of it will soon be given. Entrance into this bay is furnished by a passage on its western side, four leguas in width. In the middle of this passage, eight leguas from Manila and opposite this city, is an islet called Maribelez; it is inhabited, and is two leguas in circuit in 14½° latitude. It serves as a watch-tower to look for foreign ships, which can be seen fifteen leguas at sea.

13. The “Modern Geographer,” which was printed at Amsterdam in four large volumes in Latin [196]and Castilian, containing the geographical maps of the world, does not present a map of these islands, although it gives a special one of the Molucas or Ternate Islands which are adjacent to the Filipinas. For lack of facilities, I do not insert here a map of these islands, which I have drawn by hand, with the greatest exactness, from my personal knowledge. In place thereof, I will write a description so clear that any geographer can reduce it to a map; and for greater clearness the above-mentioned island of Maribelez will be the center of this description—which is divided into four parts or voyages: to the east, southeast, south, and north, respectively.

14–28. [These paragraphs contain data for the map that Letona would have made—the location, latitude, size, and names of islands, with distances and direction by compass. We note a few points of interest which contain new information. In Mindoro is “El Baradero, a celebrated bay and a very safe harbor.” With the island of Burias “ends the archbishopric of Manila; the next lands [i.e., Banton] belong to the bishopric of Zebu.” In Catanduanes reside a beneficed curate and a corregidor. “The interior of Mindanao is still unsubdued; its natives are heathen in the eastern part, and Mahometan pirates in the west. They have been reduced to his Majesty’s obedience and to the Church, and among them are four garrisons of Spaniards—one in the east, at Tandag; two in the north, at Bacilan and Malanao; and another in the west, at Samboanga. In this island some cinnamon is collected.” “Sanguil, or Calonga, is a small island under a petty king—who is a Catholic Christian—named Don Juan Buntuan. At his request, I sent thither in the [197]year 1651 with my credentials and instructions father Fray Joseph de Truxillo, a deserving son of our father St. Francis in this convent of La Puebla; ... who, with his excellent example, preaching, and instruction—aided by his companion father Fray Mateo Rodriguez, a man of his own spirit—established and renewed the faith, built a church, and converted and baptized many infidels, both children and adults.” “Macazar is an island yet to be conquered; its people are Mahometans and heathen, and are very numerous. It is 180 leguas in circuit; in its eastern part it has a powerful Mahometan king, who has at his capital factories from Europa and Assia; and he has the utmost devotion and reverence for the king our sovereign.” The four islands of Bolinao form the boundary of the archbishopric of Manila; from these extends the bishopric of Cagayan. The following islands are depopulated (some of them being mentioned in earlier accounts as having inhabitants): Ticao, San Bernardino, Maesse de Campo, Cimara, Panaon, and Capones (fifteen leguas from Maribeles); islets near Luban, Panay, Bantayan, Mindoro, and Cuyo; and islets between Leyte and Cebú.]

Climate, population, and products

29. The climate of these islands is, for sensible people, for the most part reasonably healthful and temperate. On the coasts it is hot; in the mountains it is cool, pleasant, and refreshing. There is no certain knowledge of the time or source of their settlement. The nearest mainland is Great China, the eastern end of Assia (one of the first which were inhabited after the general deluge). On the west of China is [198]the gulf and kingdom of Bengal, from which (through the strait of Sincapura) it seems very probable that the first settlers of these islands came,2 [199]to judge from the similarity in their color, customs, and language. They are of average size, light-colored, and have well-shaped features and much intelligence. [200]They live in high wooden houses, and support themselves by tilling the soil, fishing, and other industries. At the time of this writing, there are more than 600,000 Christians here, vassals of the king our sovereign; and the Catholic piety of his Majesty maintains them in the holy faith, although they are 5,000 leguas from his court, at the cost of immense expenditures from his royal treasury. It appears from the books of the royal accountancies that his Majesty has, in only twenty years, expended more than 300,000 ducados in sending religious to Filipinas—from which it will be seen that incalculable treasure has been spent for this purpose during only the ninety-eight years since the islands were discovered.

30. Their products are: Rice in great abundance, which is the wheat of that country and the usual food of its people, serving as their bread. Everywhere, whether in mountains or plains, there is abundant growth of cocoanut palms. These nuts are as large as average-sized melons, and almost of the same shape; the shell is hard, and contains a sweet liquid which makes a palatable beverage, and a meat which is a delicious food. This is the most useful plant in the world; for not only are food and drink, and wine and oil, obtained from it, but innumerable [201]other things—comprising all that is necessary to human life, for the dwellings, food, and clothing of man. There are plantations of these trees, as in España there are vineyards—although the former are at less cost and labor. In these islands there is abundance of salt, fowls, and cattle, besides swine, deer, and buffaloes; there are also several kinds of beans, and other vegetables. With these foods not only do the people support themselves, but the fleets and garrisons, and the ships that make long sea-voyages are furnished with provisions. On all the coasts, and in all the rivers and lakes, excellent fish are caught in abundance; and in the mountains the people gather much honey and wax. In the gardens, they raise a great deal of delicious fruit, and much garden-stuff. Oranges and bananas not only grow in abundance, but are of the best quality in the world. In some of the islands nutmeg, pepper, cloves, and cinnamon are found. The country is everywhere fertile, and green and pleasant all the year round; and in some places wheat is sown and harvested.

31. In these islands grows much cotton, from which the people make Ylocan blankets, lampotes, white cloth, medriñaques, material for hose, and other useful fabrics. In many (indeed in most) islands are found amber and civet, and gold mines—these especially in the mountain ranges of Pangasinam and Paracali, and in Pampanga; consequently; there is hardly an Indian who does not possess chains and other articles of gold. Besides these products (which are peculiar to the country), others are brought to Manila from Great China, Xapon, and numberless other kingdoms and islands of this archipelago[202]—wheat, iron, copper, some quicksilver, tin, and lead; cinnamon (from Zeilan), pepper, cloves, nutmeg, musk, and incense; silks (both raw and woven), and linens; Chinese earthenware, ivory, and ebony; diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones; valuable woods; and many uncommon and delicious fruits. In Manila, gunpowder is manufactured, and excellent artillery and bells are cast; and various articles are exquisitely wrought in filigree of gold and silver. All things necessary to human life [are found there] and even articles of superfluity, ostentation, pomp, and luxury.

The city of Manila

32. This city was conquered and founded by its first governor on May 19, the day of St. Potenciana the virgin, in the year 1571. It was built on a site naturally strong on the shore of the sea, and at the mouth of a great river—which flows four leguas from the lake of Bay, and here loses itself [in the sea]—on a strip of land formed between the sea and the river. Thus half of the city, that on the north and west, is surrounded by water; and the other half, toward the east and south, by land and a ditch. It is entirely surrounded, almost in a circular form, by a rampart wall of stone; this is high and strong and so thick that in some parts it is more than three varas wide, and one can walk on top of it everywhere. It extends three-quarters of a legua, and is adorned and furnished with battlements and merlons in modern style; with towers, cavaliers, and Hankers at intervals; and with two castles and some bulwarks. It is furnished with excellent artillery, and a force of six hundred (sometimes more) Spanish soldiers—with [203]their master-of-camp, sargento-mayor, captains, wardens, and other military officers. There are five gates and several posterns.

33. The streets of the city are beautifully laid out, and level, like those of Mexico and Puebla. The main plaza is large, rectangular, and well proportioned. Its eastern side is occupied by the cathedral; the southern, by the government building, which is a splendid palace—large, handsome, and very spacious; it was built by a merchant, the favorite3 of a governor, for his own use. The northern side of the plaza (opposite the palace) contains the cabildo’s house, the jail, and other buildings that belong to private persons (which also occupy the western side).

34. The houses in the city, before the earthquakes of the years 45 and 58, numbered six hundred (many of which must be by this time rebuilt), most of them of hewn stone with handsome iron balconies and rows of windows, and built in costly style. In them resided various gentlemen and nobles, and two hundred citizens who were merchants (who themselves form a commonwealth); there were also soldiers, royal officials, prebends, and other citizens. Much of its material grandeur and beauty was destroyed by the earthquakes above mentioned, but it lost not the essential greatness which it has and always has had as a court and an illustrious commonwealth. In the villages of Bagunbaya and others of its suburbs there are probably six hundred houses more—not counting those of the Parian, which number many more than those of the city and suburbs together. [204]Along the river are a great many country houses for recreation—some very costly, and all very convenient and pleasant, with gardens, orchards, and baths.

35. It is the capital of all these islands, with its governor, who is the captain-general, and president of the royal chancilleria, which is composed of four auditors and one fiscal who have cognizance of cases both civil and criminal; then there are the other employes of the royal Audiencia, and the royal officials with their tribunal. The jurisdiction [of this audiencia] is the most extensive in the Spanish monarchy; for it extends to all territories that are discovered and pacified in that great archipelago (the largest in the world)—extending more than four hundred leguas in a straight line, and more than a thousand in circumference—and to all yet to be discovered and pacified, an immense region. The city has twelve perpetual regidors, who on the first of January in every year elect two alcaldes-in-ordinary; these have jurisdiction throughout the district of the municipality, which has a radius of five leguas.

36. On the eastern side of the city, but outside of it and in front of its walls, at the distance of a musket-shot is a silk-market which they call Parian. Usually 15,000 Chinese live there; they are Sangleys, natives of Great China, and all merchants or artisans. They possess, allotted among themselves by streets and squares, shops containing all the kinds of merchandise and all the trades that are necessary in a community. The place is very orderly and well arranged, and a great convenience to the citizens. It is [an indication of] their greatness that although they are so few, they have so many workmen and servants assigned to their service. The Sangleys [205]live in wooden houses; they have a governor of their own nation, and a Spanish alcalde-mayor and the other officers of justice, with a notary; also a jail. They have a parish church, where the sacraments, the divine word, and burial are administered to the 4,000 Christians among these Sangleys; the rest of them are heathen.

37. Accordingly the commerce of this city is extensive, rich, and unusually profitable; for it is carried on by all these Chinese and their ships, with those of all the islands above mentioned and of Tunquin, Cochinchina, Camboja, and Sian—four separate kingdoms, which lie opposite these islands on the continent of Great China—and of the gulfs and the numberless kingdoms of Eastern India, Persia, Bengala, and Ceilan, when there are no wars; and of the empire and kingdoms of Xapon. The diversity of the peoples, therefore, who are seen in Manila and its environs is the greatest in the world; for these include men from all kingdoms and nations—España, Francia, Ingalaterra, Italia, Flandes, Alemania, Dinamarca, Sueçia, Polonia, Moscobia; people from all the Indias, both eastern and western; and Turks, Greeks, Moros, Persians, Tartars, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, and Asiatics. And hardly is there in the four quarters of the world a kingdom, province, or nation which has not representatives here, on account of the voyages that are made hither from all directions—east, west, north, and south.

38–58. [These sections are devoted to brief biographical notices of the governors of the islands—information already presented in our VOL. XVII. Letona says (no. 58) of Diego Fajardo’s government:] [206]In the year 51, the governor withdrew his favor from his petted favorite, whom, after confiscating his goods (which were many), he imprisoned in the castle of Santiago—in the same quarters where (at his own instance, as people say) the five years’ captivity of Governor Corcuera was accomplished. Then Faxardo opened his eyes, so that he could recognize the serious troubles which result from the favorite’s having great power in the government. “For,” Fajardo said, “he did not regard the vassals of the king with the affection that he ought; nor did he attend to their welfare, but to his own advantage and profit.” Imitating him, the subordinate officials, he said, “committed acts of violence in the provinces that they governed, harassing them with various oppressions, and failing to administer justice to the poor—levying on them repartimientos of many products that were not necessary, and at exorbitant prices; and, although the commodity might be had in another district for half the price, the natives must not buy it there, but only from the agent of the magistrate, who would not allow any one else to traffic or trade in all the province. From these practices,” said this gentleman, “arise irreparable injuries to the poor vassals, and to his Majesty’s alcabalas [i.e., excise taxes]. Nor have those vassals any redress, since the door is closed to them by the favor shown to the minion.” For this same reason, he gave no office of justice to a relative or servant of his own, judging that no aggrieved person would dare to utter a complaint on account of his fear lest the governor would take ill a suit against his relative or servant. These and other very just opinions were [207]expressed by this governor during the last year of his rule.

59. [Of Manrique de Lara, Letona says:] “He governed for ten years, a longer term than that of any predecessor of his. Many of these he surpassed not only in the period of service, but in his care and efficiency—personally assisting in the despatch of the armed fleets (although this had to be done at a distance of twenty leguas from Manila), and attending to the shipbuilding and the timber-cutting; crossing seas, rivers, and mountains, and overcoming great dangers and hardships, in order to serve the commonwealth and his Majesty, and that the royal revenues might be spent with due faithfulness, and without oppressing his Majesty’s poor vassals. He opened up the commerce of the kingdoms of Tunquin and Cochinchina, and extended that of Great China; and he brought to terms the king of Tidore. He repressed the invasions of the Mindanaos, Xoloans, and Camucones through the instrumentality of Andres de Zuloeta, a valiant captain—who was sargento-mayor of Manila, admiral, and commander of the fleet that carries supplies to Ternate. In the year of 61 there were disturbances in Pampanga, the finest province in this government, and inhabited by a people who are valiant and very skilful in the use of arms. This governor with courage and tact went to Pampanga, and pacified the province without shedding blood, thus acquiring a great reputation. He subdued also the provinces of Pangasinan and Ilocos, which had rebelled, he punished some with death, and others with slavery, bestowing on the rest a general pardon. This campaign increased the [208]reputation of the Catholic arms throughout that archipelago, a renown that is still maintained.”

The ecclesiastical estate

60. In April of the year 1565, there was founded in Zebu (afterward being transferred to Manila) the church and ecclesiastical community of these islands; and its ordinary jurisdiction was allotted to the superiors of the Order of St. Augustine, who were the founders and apostles of this kingdom; they held that dignity up to the year of 77, in which it passed to the fathers of the order of our father St. Francis. It remained in their keeping until the year 82, in which Don Fray Domingo de Salazar—a Dominican, the first bishop of all the Filipinas—with a bull from his Holiness Pope Gregory XIII founded the cathedral of Manila, dedicating it to the most immaculate Conception of the Virgin. It was established with five dignitaries, four canonries, and four other prebends; they are appointed by his Majesty, or ad interim by the governor. The cathedral has a good choir of singers, also chaplains and many able clerics, and two curas and two sacristans. It is the only parish church of the city, although outside in the suburbs there are two others—that of Santiago, and that of San Antonio—administered by learned and exemplary clergymen.

61. Within the city, on the Plaza de Armas and opposite the castle of Santiago, is the royal chapel founded by Governor Corcuera. It is a magnificent church (containing the most holy sacrament), and is richly adorned with altars, reredos, pulpit, and sacristy ornaments of silver, with a monstrance of pure gold which is worth 11,000 ducados. It has a choir, [209]an organ, and a famous chorus of singers; also chaplains, sacristans, and other ministers, who serve it with much propriety and pomp. These clergymen are independent of the parish church, and go through the public streets, wearing their copes and carrying the cross aloft, to the royal hospital for the bodies of dead soldiers, which they solemnly convey to the royal chapel for interment.

62. In the midst of the city is the Misericordia’s seminary for orphan girls with its church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin, which was founded in the year 1594. It is of beautiful architecture, handsomely adorned, and served by clerics with the utmost care and propriety. Since the year 1653, this church has served for a cathedral. It is in charge of the brotherhood and congregation of the holy Misericordia, which is directed by a manager and twelve deputies with the same rules as that of Lisboa; its mission is to aid the poor. In the best part of the city is another seminary for the shelter of girls, with its church of Santa Potenciana, served by a cleric. There are two hospitals—the royal, for the soldiers; and that of the Misericordia, for the other poor. There are two others in the environs—one of San Juan de Dios for the Spaniards; and another for the Indians in Dilao. There is also a noted sanctuary, that of Nuestra Señora de Guia, besides the two parish churches above mentioned; and the convents and colleges, which will be enumerated below.

63. Most of the clerics of this archbishopric are learned men, excellent preachers and distinguished in all branches of study, on account of the opportunity which this city affords in two universities—in which they employ their abilities, emulating and [210]rivaling one another in letters. They administer many benefices and curacies in the islands of Luzon, Luban, Mindoro, and others—besides the above-mentioned curacies and chaplaincies, both within and without Manila.

64–84. [These sections are occupied with biographical notices of the archbishops and bishops in the various dioceses, which we here omit, intending to present data of this sort in a later volume.]

Religious orders in Filipinas

85. The Order of St. Augustine entered the islands in the year 565; its first superior, and first prelate of all the islands was Fray Andres de Urdaneta—a Vascongado,4 and a son of the convent and province of Mexico; he was the apostle who unfurled the gospel banner, and he planted the faith in the island of Zebu and others. They have in Manila a notable convent, with fifty religious—counting novices, students, and men of mature years; it was founded in the year 71. It is the head of eighty other parish convents, most of them having costly buildings; and in all these the sacraments are most watchfully administered to more than two hundred thousand Christians. They are located on the river and in the environs of Manila; along the lake of Bay, and in its mountains; throughout Pampanga, and in Pangasinan and Ilocos; and in the islands of Pintados, whose vicar-provincial is the prior of Zebu. In all times this order has possessed illustrious men of distinguished virtue, and martyrs in Xapon, and [211]zealous ministers of the gospel. Next followed the order of our father St. Francis, which is left for the end.

86. The Society of Jesus entered Manila in the year 1582, in which was founded their college of La Concepcion, which is one of the most costly and magnificent buildings of this city. Its first superior was Father Antonio Zedeño. It is a university, where instruction is given in reading, writing, and accounts; and in grammar, rhetoric, the arts, theology, and literature—with the earnestness, thoroughness, and care which is customary in the [colleges of the] Society. Its rector confers the degrees of bachelor, licentiate, and doctor, with very rigorous courses of lectures, examinations, and literary theses, as in Salamanca and Mexico. Near, this great college the Society has another, that of San Joseph, with lay students; they wear tawny mantles and red bands. In Cabite, Zebu, and Mindanao the Society has also colleges, which are most useful for the education of the youth and of the entire commonwealth. Its fathers are in charge of many conversions and parish ministries about Manila, and in the islands of Marinduc, Ybabao, Panay, Negros Island, Bohol, Leyte, Imaras, and Mindanao—all belonging to the bishopric of Zebu—and in others; all these are administered with admirable exactness, courage, thoroughness, and zeal. In all the languages spoken therein, grammars and vocabularies have been prepared. The Society has, and always has had, some very learned writers, and other members distinguished in all branches of knowledge; and it has many martyrs, not only in Xapon but in Mindanao. This province is one of the most illustrious, and most [212]worthy of imitation, belonging to the Society, and in it is evident much austerity and excellence.

87. The Order of St. Dominic entered Manila in the same year of 82; but its first convent was founded in the year 87, and its first superior was father Fray Juan de Castro, provincial of Chiapa. That convent had a magnificent building; but in the earthquake of 645, and in those of 51 and 52, their church was ruined. It was rebuilt with greater splendor and thoroughness than the old one; the author of this work (at that time prior) being the illustrious master Don Fray Francisco de la Trinidad y Arrieta, most worthy bishop of Santa Marta in Peru, and the first bishop who was a son of this convent. Without having any fixed income, this convent supports more than thirty religious. It is the head of a province, the most religious one in the entire order. In the environs of Manila these fathers have the parishes of the Parian and of Binondoc; a hospital, and a church at San Juan de Letran; and Batan in Pampanga. They have many Indian missions in the provinces of Pangasinan and Cagayan. In Xapon and China this order has had many and resplendent martyrs; and it now has in China some gospel ministers. In Manila it has a notable college, that of Santo Tomas, which is a university. There with great ability are taught grammar, the arts, and theology, and both higher and lower degrees are conferred. It has lay students, who wear green mantles and red bands. They train many able men there, of whom many have been martyrs in Xapon. The order has had and has some writers, who have by their erudition ennobled this new church. The commissary of the Holy Office in Manila always belongs to this province. [213]

88. The discalced fathers of St. Augustine entered Manila in the year 606, at which time they built a large convent, that of San Nicolas. It is the head of a very religious province which contains eleven other convents. Four are in the archbishopric—San Juan, San Sebastian, Cabite, and Bolinao; and seven in that of Zebu—Romblon, Paragua, Zebu, Siargao, Bacilan, Tangda, and Catel. There are three in the province of Caraga in the island of Mindanao (where they have had four martyrs). All their convents are of very strict observance, and devoted to an apostolical administration of the sacraments. They have had some martyrs in Xapon, and always have members who are well versed in all branches of learning. Their first superior was father Fray Juan de San Geronimo, who directed twelve others, his companions, the founders and apostles of this province.

89. The order of our father St. Francis entered Filipinas in the year 1577, when fifteen religious arrived at Manila, all apostolic men. Of these, six came from the province of San Joseph, two from that of Santiago, one from La Concepcion, another from Mechoacan, and five from the province of Santo Evangelio in Mexico. The superior of all was father Fray Pedro de Alfaro, of the province of Santiago (incorporated into that of San Joseph). On the second of August in the same year was founded the convent of Manila, with the title of Santa Maria de Los Angeles; their first guardian was father Fray Pedro de Ayera, a man in every respect remarkable. He was provincial of Mechoacan, and bishop-elect; and he was provisor and ecclesiastical judge of Filipinas. This convent usually has more than thirty religious—novices, students, and graduates; [214]and it is the head of a very religious province of Discalced, who have more than fifty convents (which will soon be enumerated), in which they religiously administer the sacraments to one hundred and thirty thousand Christians.

90. This province during the first fourteen years was a custodia, subject to the province of San Joseph; and it was governed by four custodians, up to the year 1591. It was then erected into a province, and its first provincial elected; this was father Fray de Jesus, a Catalan from the province of San Joseph, a most accomplished religious. From then until this year of 662 there have been twenty-three provincials. This province has the following convents, most of which have very substantial buildings of hewn stone, and handsome churches well adorned with altars, reredoses, and ornaments, with much silver—and with singers, organs, and other musical instruments, and ecclesiastical jewels.

91. Cabite, two leguas from Manila, is the chief port of Filipinas; it is safe, and very convenient for all the ships of that region. With soldiers, pilots, and mariners, it numbers one hundred and fifty Spanish citizens; there are also many Indians, and it has a ward of Mahometan Lascars, and another of Chinese. It has a parochial church, with secular priests, a hospital, and convents; that of San Francisco is the second of this [Franciscan] province, the third being that of Ternate. The rest of the convents are in mission parishes, each one with a religious or two teachers. There are six in the environs of Manila—Dilao, Santa Ana, Sampaloc, Polo, Bocaui, and Meycahuayan. There are ten [sic] along the lake of Bay—Moron, Tanay, Pililla, Mabitac, Siniloan, [217]Pangil, Paete, Lumban, Santa Cruz, Pila, and Baños. There are seven in the mountains or tingues of that lake—Nacarlan, Lilio, Mahayhai, Cabinti, Luchan, Tayabas, and Sadiaya. On the seacoast between east and north are six—Baler, Casiguran, Binangonan, Mauban (or Lampon), Atimonan, and Silanga (an island), where end the archbishopric and the use of the Tagálog language. The same coast extends through the province and bishopric of Camarines; and journeying by way of the eastern point to the southern coast, there are twenty convents—Paracali, Indan, Daet, Ligmanan, Quipayo, Naga (which is Caceres), Bula, Iriga, Libon, Polanguin, Oas, Camarines, Albay, Tabaco, Malinao, Bacon, Casiguran, Nabua, Quipia, and Bolosan. For just reasons, I omit the administration of Ilocos, Panay, and other districts. In Great China the order now has father Fray Antonio de Santa Maria, a man who is great in learning and in the religious life; with another companion, a learned preacher, he aids in the propagation of the gospel in that great empire.

92. This province is the only one of these Indias that has six of its sons as holy canonized protomartyrs in Xapon—besides twenty-seven other martyrs here and in other islands. This province has also gained great distinction by having in Manila the convent of Santa Clara, and in it Mother Geronima with many others who have inherited much of her spirit.

93–94. [In these sections Letona enumerates some of the holy Franciscans who have been canonized from the Indias.] [218]

1 Baler is capital of the subprovince of Príncipe, in Luzón; its latitude is 15° 40′ 6″ North.

2 The following statement by Dr. David P. Barrows—who is chief of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, Manila, and is probably our best authority on this subject—presents the latest view regarding the origin of the Filipinos, adopted after much patient and enthusiastic research in that field by him and other American ethnologists. It may be found in the recently-published Census of the Philippine Islands, i, pp. 411–417.

“Ethnologically, no less than geographically, the Philippines belong to the Malay archipelago. With the exception of the aboriginal dwarf blacks, the Negritos, who are still found inhabiting the forests in a great number of localities, all the tribes of the islands, whether Christian, Mohammedan, or Pagan, are, in my belief, derived from the Malayan race. We probably have in these tribes two types which represent an earlier and a later wave of immigration; but all came from the south, all speak languages belonging to one common stock, and all are closely related in physical type and qualities of mind. As representative of the first migratory movement may be named the Igorot, the mountain head-hunter of Northern Luzón; and of the latter almost any of the present Christian or Mohammedan tribes. The migratory period of this latter type, which constitutes the great bulk of the present population of the islands, is almost covered by the early historical accounts of the exploration and settlement of the Far East.

“Four hundred years ago, when the Portuguese discoverers and conquerors reached southeastern Asia, they found the long peninsula in which the continent ends, and the islands stretching south and east in this greatest and most famous of archipelagoes, inhabited by a race which called itself Malayu. On the island of Java this race had some ten centuries before been conquered by Brahmin Hindus from India, whose great monuments and temples still exist in the ruins of Boro Budor. Through the influence and power of the Hindus the Malay culture made a considerable advance, and a Sanskrit element, amounting in some cases to twenty per cent of the words, entered the Malayan languages. How far the Hindu actually extended his conquests and settlements is a most interesting study, but can hardly yet be settled. He may have colonized the shores of Manila Bay and the coast of Luzón, where the names of numerous ancient places show a Sanskrit origin. The Sanskrit element is most pronounced in the Tagálog and Moro tongues. (Pardo de Tavera, El Sanscrito en la lengua Tagala.)

“Following the Hindus into the Malay archipelago came the [199n]Arabs. They came first as voyagers and merchants, and here as always the Arab was a proselyter, and his faith spread rapidly. Long before the Portuguese arrival Islamism had succeeded Brahminism and the Arab had supplanted the Hindu.... Mohammedanism gradually made its way until, on the arrival of the Europeans, its frontiers were almost the same as those of the Malay race itself.

“The people who carried this faith, and who still rank as the type of the race, were the seafaring population, living in boats as well us on the shore, who control the islands of the straits between Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and Borneo. These people received from the Portuguese the name of Cellates, a corruption of Orang Salat (Sea Folk). Under the influence of Mohammedanism this race, which seems to have originated in Sumatra, improved in culture, formed many settlements and principalities, and because of their seagoing habits, their enjoyment of trade, and their lust for piracy, carried their name (Malayu), their language, and their adopted Mohammedan religion throughout the Malay archipelago. Probably as early as 1300 these adventurers established a colony on northwest Borneo, opposite the island of Labuan, which colony received the name of Brunei, from which has been derived the name of the whole island, Borneo. The island was already inhabited by Malayan tribes of more primitive culture, of which the Dyak is the best known. From this settlement of Borneo the Mohammedanized Malay extended his influence and his settlements to the Sulu archipelago, to Mindanao, to Mindoro, and to Manila Bay.” The people of Sulúan, whom Magellan encountered near Sámar, “were almost certainly of the same stock from which the present great Visayan people are in the main descended. Many things incline me to believe that these natives had come, in successively extending settlements, up the west coast of Mindanao from the Sulu archipelago.... To the present day the physical type and the language, persisting unchanged in spite of changes of culture, closely relate the Visayan to the Moro. In addition to these arrivals from the archipelago of Sulu there was probably a more primitive Malayan population, whom the later arrivals already had more or less in subjection, as the Moros even now control the pagans on the mainland of Mindanao.... Thus we may infer that at the time of the discovery there were on these central islands of the archipelago, a primitive, tattooed Malayan people, related on the one hand to the still primitive and pagan tribes of the Philippines, and on the other hand to the wild [200n]head-hunting tribes of Borneo; and in addition intruding and dominating later arrivals, who were the seafaring Malays.”

Interesting in this connection is the following remark on the Negritos by Taw Sein Ko, in his “Origin of the Burmese Race,” published in the magazine Buddhism, (Rangoon, Burma), in March, 1904: “There remains the question as to the autochthonous races which were displaced by the Burmese, Talaings, Shans, Chins, and Karens in Burma. Before the advent of these nations, the Negrito race appears to have occupied southeastern Asia, including Burma. Remnants of it are still found in the Andaman Islands, Philippines, Borneo, and Malaya.”

3 Apparently a reference to Manuel Estacio Venegas, a favorite of Fajardo’s, whose downfall Letona relates in sect. 59.

4 Vascongado: a term applied to the people or products of the Spanish provinces of Alava, Guipúzcoa, and Vizcaya (or Biscay).


Events in Manila, 1662–63

Relation of the events in the city of Manila from the embassy sent by Cotsen,1 captain-general of the coasts of China and king of Hermosa Island, with father Fray Victorio Ricio his ambassador, in the year 1662, until the second embassy, which his son sent with the same father, and which was despatched on July 11, 1663.

On the fifth of May the ambassador of Cot-sen made his entry; this was father Fray Victorio Riccio,2 a Florentine, a religious of the Order of Preachers. [219]He was attired in the garb of a mandarin’s rank, which the barbarian had conferred on him to equip him for this embassy. Little pomp was displayed in his reception, for the unfriendly nature of his errand was already known. Don Sabiniano Manrrique de Lara received the letter which he brought; it was full of arrogance, ostentatiously boasting of Cot-sen’s power, and declaring that his champans were many thousands in number and his perfect soldiers hundreds of thousands; (it is a fact that those champans, counting large and small, amount to 15,000, as is known by eyewitnesses); and, in virtue of this pompous and noisy declaration, he demanded that these islands should pay him tribute, threatening us with the example of the Dutch.3

The insolence of this demand angered all the Spaniards, and our resolute attitude filled the Sangleys with anxiety; for, as it could not be imagined [220]that a less generous one [would be taken], they feared the injuries that would be caused by the war, and that they would be the first to suffer from these. The governor, as pious as prudent, commanded that in the church of the Society of Jesus the blessed sacrament should remain exposed, in order that the archbishop, the three auditors, the superiors of the religious orders, and the military chiefs might assemble in a devout public supplication; and ordered that, at about the same time, a council should be summoned (in order to give the Sangleys less cause for blame), where Cot-sen’s letter should be read and such decision made as in the opinion of the council ought to be adopted.

In regard to the principal point in the letter, there was little discussion; for, as the Spanish blood was coursing impetuously in the heart of every man there, all gave angry reply to Cot-sen’s demand, showing the courage and resolution that was to be expected from their noble blood, and feeling shame that [even in] imagination [he] could dare to cast so black a stigma on the Spanish name. Resolved to die a thousand times rather than consent to such humiliation, and regarding war as certain, as being our honorable decision, the members of the council discussed the question of drawing off beforehand the unwholesome humor from the body of this commonwealth by expelling the Sangleys—who in an emergency would dangerously divide our attention and our forces. Most of the speakers were in favor of driving away all the infidels, leaving only the Christians, who would in part render to the community the many services in which the men of that nation are employed for its benefit; and, since the Christian [221]Sangleys were few, it would be easy to secure ourselves from them. Moreover, we could, profiting by our experience of their procedure, easily get rid of them if that should be expedient for our defense in such an emergency. The council came to the conclusion that the merchants should be allowed to carry their property with them, and return [to China] in peace with their merchandise—not only because they had come here in confidence and on the security afforded by the peace, but because this generous conduct of ours would pacify their resolute attitude, and Cot-sen would feel more anxiety at seeing how little importance we attached to increasing his forces with the men whom we were sending away, and at our contempt for his resources in not appropriating the property of his people.

As this sudden change might cause some disturbances when it should be put into execution, the publication of the council’s decision was delayed until as many of the cavalry horses as possible could be conveyed to the stock-farms; for, after the military authorities had seized the roads promptly with their troops, they could check any rash attempt, and the infidels could be peaceably sent to the ships as had been decreed. It was resolved by unanimous vote to withdraw the garrisons from Ternate, Zamboangan, Calamianes, and Yligan, since everything was at risk in the principal fort [i.e., Manila], which had not more than six hundred soldiers—and of these hardly two hundred were in condition to endure the hardships of a campaign or of service on the walls.4 [222]

These conferences, and the activities that necessarily followed from them were perfectly known by the Sangleys (whose fear kept them very attentive to everything), and the lack of secrecy in the members of the council gave them exact knowledge [of its proceedings]; consequently, they were fully assured of a war and of their own danger. This fear was increased by the haste with which the citizens who had wealth in their possession undertook to hide it away. Their desperation was completed by the interpretation which the common people gave to everything—irresponsible soldiers, with mestizos, mulattoes, and blacks, telling the Sangleys that they were to have their heads cut off, as if they were men already sentenced to death; and inflicting on them many injuries and uttering a thousand insults. Such circumstances as these concurring in the insurrection of the year 1603 necessarily caused it, as Doctor Morga observes; and on this occasion their fear of the like proceedings led them to a similar desperation. They heard that the twenty-fifth day of May was to be that of their destruction, because the cavalry troops were to arrive on the day before. Some of them—the most worthless class, as butchers and vegetable-sellers—began to talk of extricating themselves from he danger; but those in the Parián displayed no courage for any measures, for, as their [223]interests are so involved in peace, they never have incurred the hazard of war except under compulsion.

On the night of the twenty-fourth, the governor received information from the castellan of Cavite that the Parián was to revolt on the next day; but on that very night it was quite evident that their determination was not to revolt, but to flee as best they could from the death which they regarded as certain. For on that night all the talisays5 (which are the fishermen’s boats) departed in flight; and although General Don Francisco de Figueroa talked to the Sangleys, endeavoring to calm their minds, it was not possible to remove their fear. They excused themselves by saying that they knew that on the next day all their heads would be cut off. They said that in planning the insurrection it had been agreed that they would not separate; but they had formed an organization to be prepared, their shops made secure, and such weapons provided as they could find for this purpose.

On the next day, May 25, his Lordship being anxious at this went out with only four captains to stroll through the Parián, to learn their intentions by observing what arrangements they had made. He found them all very peaceable, and their shops open; they were furnishing supplies therein, and most of them were eating breakfast. In various places they entreated him very submissively to protect them, because the blacks threatened them, saying that they were to be slain. His Lordship reassured them, and [224]offered to send a force of soldiers who should protect and defend them from the insolent acts of the blacks. In order to obtain further security, his Lordship ordered that the [Sangley] ship-captains be summoned and that a bell be rung to assemble them, in order to provide for the guard and defense of the Parián. When they saw the captains enter the city, they regarded the arguments of their fear as confirmed; and the entire Parián turned out to watch what was done, all being doubtful of their own courage. Finally, thirty Sangleys from those who were uneasy, seeing the last captain enter, ran toward the gate to detain him and laid hands upon him when he was near the portcullis—either to obtain by this service means to ingratiate themselves with Cot-sen, or to secure a person who at all events could direct them. The men stationed at the gate, who saw the haste with which they approached, seized their arms and shot down some of the Sangleys. The guard on the walls suspected them of greater designs; and from the bulwark of San Gabriel Sargento-mayor Martin Sanchez, without the order that he should have had for this, fired two cannon. At the noise of the shots the people in the Parián, who were in suspense waiting to see how this tragedy would end, without further delay raised an outcry; and having heard that all Manila was coming to attack them flung themselves into the river—those who could, in bancas; most of them held up by some piece of bamboo. Others, more alarmed, took to swimming, and as they were confused by fear, went down the current, and many of them were drowned. The multitude of bancas hurried to a champan which was about to depart, which lay outside the bar with only two [225]soldiers to guard it; and the Sangleys going aboard it hoisted sail. The [rest of the] crowd crossed to Santa Cruz where they halted; they talked with the father minister of that village (who was minister to the Chinese), Father Francisco Mesina, and gave him an account of their flight, saying that they feared that our people intended to cut off their heads. The father calmed them and offered to obtain for them pardon from his Lordship, for which purpose he immediately set out. The merchants and peaceable people in the Parián, some 1,500 in number, remained in their houses—in hiding, so that it seemed as if there was not a soul in the Parián—awaiting their doom. Considering that in the hills they would not better their condition, but that this with excessive hardships would only delay their end, many fore-stalled death by inflicting it upon themselves—some by hanging, and others by plunging into the river.

Without delay his Lordship went to the gate, most fortunately for the Sangleys and with great benefit to the community, as the result showed; for if he had not been present at the gate, the fear of being besieged which all felt, would have led them to engage in hostilities with the Parián and use their arms, compelling the governor to give them his entire attention. But his Lordship in so difficult a crisis which demanded prompt and resolute action, took counsel with past experiences and present necessities, his keen and quick mind attentive to everything. Knowing well that this disturbance was caused by fear, he was unwilling to make it greater in the outcome without dissuading [the Sangleys from revolt] by acts of clemency—since an encounter with the Parián must of necessity make both [parties among the [226]Sangleys] declared enemies, and desperation would render them terrible as had been experienced in former insurrections. Moreover, our people would be obliged to use time and people when both were scanty for the emergency that we were expecting of further conflict; since the guards necessary for fortifying the city were inadequate, on account of our pursuing the rest of the fugitives. Accordingly, the governor prudently preferred to leave them uncertain and in expectancy rather than in declared and resolute attitude, since in the former condition they were easy to subdue, which in the other case would involve a great expenditure of military supplies—which would of necessity be greatly impaired when, for a long siege, all abundance is moderation. [For economy is needed:] of provisions, when there are no funds in the treasury, and no harvest in the villages with which to supply the city with food; and of men, when there are not enough to man the walls—to say nothing of the severity of fighting and of the inclemencies of the weather with their exposure to the rains.

His Lordship left the Sangleys reassured, and the rage of the Spaniards checked; he retired to the storehouses from which he immediately despatched a champan with a strong force of men in pursuit of the one that the Sangleys had stolen, and furnished all the military posts with abundance of supplies. It was past one o’clock when he returned to the palace; and before he took any rest or sat down at his table, he appointed General Francisco de Esteibar as chief master-of-camp, to act if occasion should arise for a military campaign, and that there might [227]be, either for that purpose or for affairs in the city, an officer to take his own place when absent.

While the governor was at the warehouses the first embassy sent by the Sangleys found him; it came by Father Francisco Mesina, who said that those who had crossed over to Santa Cruz were in the greatest uncertainty, and would return to their obedience if he would pardon them. During the time which the father spent in this mission the scoundrels who had approached the gate, and in the first onslaught had killed two Spaniards, finished crossing the river; these fled in confusion by way of the Parián, and completed the terrorization of the other Sangleys, most of whom therefore went out to Sagar and others to Meysilo.

Father Mesina returned with pardon for them and found it necessary to pursue them. He continued his endeavors by means of the father mandarin,6 giving him a paper written in the Chinese language [to assure them] of entire safety. Although the latter set out with it, he did not reach the Sangleys, and Father Francisco Mesina sent his despatch by a messenger whom he encountered, placing it in the hands of a boy who carried it; for lack of a horse, he himself remained at Meyhaligue.

Fathers Nicolas Cani and Bartolome Vesco, who mounted on good horses had been pushing ahead since noon, went as far as San Francisco del Monte where they encountered some troops. They fell in with the soldiers and talked with them about bringing in the Sangleys; it was finally decided that Father [228]Francisco Mesina should go ahead, and that the matter should be settled with him.

While the religious were making these efforts, his Lordship took all suitable measures by way of preparation for any event. He sent for Master-of-camp Don Juan Macapapal, who in the disturbances in Pampanga had proved his constancy and devotion in his Majesty’s service, and ordered him to bring three hundred picked bowmen, the best in his villages; and he commanded that two hundred veteran soldiers be selected from the villages of Pampanga. From two o’clock were continually arriving the cavalry which the governor had ordered to be brought from the ranches7 in order to relieve the Sangleys of the Parián from their fears; for the coming of these horsemen would guide the fugitives from the mountains in their decision. His Lordship charged the religious orders to send some fathers in order that they might assist the Spaniards, and by their authority check the insolent acts of those who might try to harm the Sangleys, in order that the latter might not be further upset by their misfortunes. This was a prudent decision; for, even with all this foresight, it was almost impossible to defend the Sangleys from the robberies which were attempted by negroes and base fellows at the risk of frustrating his Lordship’s pious efforts. Among these were not lacking some persons from whom more might be expected, who—some in person, and some by means of their servants—furnished their own houses very well [from the spoils of the Sangleys]. [229]

That afternoon, his Lordship walked through the Parián; the Sangleys came to their doors, and kneeling before him with faces like those of dead men entreated mercy from him. His Lordship consoled them, telling them that they had no cause to fear; that his anger was not directed against them, and that he was their father; that only the foolish ones who would not submit would find him severe, while those who were discreet and peaceable would experience his great clemency.

From the time when the disturbance began until it was entirely quieted, his Lordship had much to do in defending his prudent decision against the many Spaniards who desired to break entirely with the Sangleys and make an end of them—not considering that such proceedings would ruin the colony, all the more as, since we had to prepare for the war that we regarded as certain, we needed more of the Sangleys’ industry for the many labors required for defending and fortifying the walls, erecting temporary defenses, and harnessing so many horses; for it is they who bear the burdens of the community in all its crafts, notably in those that are most necessary.

The debate became hotter when, at nightfall, our people found the body of Fray José de Madrid,8 a Dominican whom the seditious Sangleys had slain in that morning’s outbreak in order to crush the rest by the horror of that crime—making the other Sangleys think that after so atrocious a deed there remained for them no hope of pardon, and no other [230]means of saving their lives than to follow [the dictates of] their desperation. There is no doubt that if this murder had been known in the morning, it would have injured the interests of the Sangleys; and that between the scruples of prudence and justice [on the one hand], and the boldness of the counsels given by all the rest of the military men [on the other], the piety of so just a vengeance would have strongly prevailed. But the corpse was quickly buried—either by the father’s assailants, repentant; or by the peaceable Sangleys, in fear—and, detected either by the odor or by the signs made by some servants who, hidden in the convent of the Parián, witnessed the occurrence, the body was found that night. The news, which quickly ran through the Parián, filled all with horror and caused some of the Sangleys to flee from that quarter. Accordingly, by morning affairs assumed a worse aspect, and the more influential personages and the military leaders became less friendly to the Sangleys. All directed their efforts to persuading his Lordship to have the heads of all the Sangleys cut off, commencing at the Parián and conducting a campaign in pursuit of the rest of the fugitives. His Lordship, seeing that they had allotted the Sangleys but a short respite, that they had the day before left the settlement of matters with Father Francisco Mesina and that more time than this was necessary for securing the proper degree of order, resolved to hasten the negotiations for peace and to go to see the father with the Sangleys in company with a Sangley named Raimundo, an agent of Cot-sen in this city.

At this time so many lies were current against the behavior of the Sangleys, and these were so well received [231]by those who desired to destroy them—persons who were actuated more by avarice and selfishness than by interest in the welfare of the community—that they caused hesitation among even the most cautious and prudent. On one hand they said that a battalion of Sangleys had entered the village of Tondo (which is distant a cannon-shot from the city) and had already set fire to the church. Again, the fugitives had retreated upon Sagar, and had fitted up many forges in order to make weapons, and were working these eagerly day and night. But his Lordship—who was well informed regarding the available forces, and knew that he could send hardly one hundred strong men into the field out of the six hundred whom he had in the city, and how important it was to reserve his entire strength for the greater danger; and who very correctly judged that inconsiderate desires for an assault [on the Parián] had fabricated these inventions, and that the more discreet gave credit to these tales in order to oppose his own steadfast determination—instantly went in person to satisfy himself regarding this story about Tondo. Finding that it was imaginary, he realized how little credence should be given to novelties brought from afar when some one had dared to concoct such things under his very eyes; and he therefore allowed the peace negotiations to proceed by the agencies which had commenced them.

There is no doubt that the successful outcome of this affair is due solely to the prudent management of the governor; and that, if he had allowed himself to be dragged along by the opinions which prevailed in popular estimation, an insurrection would have been contrived that would have fatigued the soldiery [232]in a campaign of many months, and caused much destruction in the villages; for the insurrections that we keep in mind in these islands included no more [favoring] circumstances [than did this one], nor did this lack anything except the actual assault. But his Lordship knew how evil advisers are the individuals concerned in this matter, in which one seldom finds a person who is not interested in the ruin of the Sangley—some on account of the loot [that they may obtain]; the rest, because there are few persons who do not hold property of the Sangleys in trust, or else owe for much merchandise which they have bought on credit. Many have become depositaries for their acquaintances, who, fearing the removal of their property to other hands, give it to their intimate friends to keep; and by slaying the Sangleys all render account with payment. Accordingly, in the insurrection of 1639 it was found by experience that those in whom the Sangleys placed most confidence were the first and most importunate voters for their ruin. In this decision it is only the king who hazards his treasure, and his governor who risks a point of honor; for finally the very persons who, through either self-interest or greed, advised the assault [on the Sangleys] cast on the governor the blame of the insurrection, as happened to Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera. The very persons who, censuring him as a coward and representing to him instances of boldness forced [by desperation] on the part of the Sangleys as causes for employing armed force against them, afterward, when at their importunities he had kindled the fire, declared that by this act he had caused the revolt, compelling the innocent and peaceable to become enemies against [233]their own will. Here this class of persons was protected, and the way left open for [the return of] the others; for with the burning of the Parián these would have been enemies, and all would have despaired of reconciliation. This was seen by the response made to Father Francisco Mesina the first time when he went to confer with them about their submission; they said, “To whom shall we turn if the Parián is burned now?” But when he assured them that the affair had not reached that stage, they were astonished and readily discussed submission—as those who had gone away, fleeing from our arms which they supposed to be declared against them; and the haste of their flight had not given them leisure to ascertain our decision, as they regarded their own imaginations as facts.

In their mode of action they plainly showed their intentions—that they were not rebels, but terrified fugitives; nor did they injure either life or property, whether of Spaniards or of natives. Nor did they avail themselves of the privilege which the necessity of supporting life gave them, to use the rice, for they used what they needed of the food which the Sangley farm-hands had in their houses; while in the insurrections attested as such they did not leave a village without burning it, or property that was not pillaged in all this province of Tondo—sparing not even what was holy, profaning the churches and the sacred images.

In consequence of his agreement with the Sangley fugitives, Father Francisco Mesina set out again on the twenty-sixth of the month in company with the Sangley Raimundo; and at night he reached Sagar in the fields of which the Sangleys were encamped. [234]Many of them (mostly Christians) hastened toward the father bewailing their misery and asking permission to go down to the Parián. So great was their anxiety that, on that very night, they undertook to carry out this plan. How important was the preservation of the dove-cote, in order that these doves might not complete their flight to the mountains and might easily recover their domesticated tranquillity! The father delayed their journey until morning, and on the next day, the twenty-seventh, sent to Manila four hundred of them whom he found most inclined to go and who showed least distrust in the company of Father Nicolas Cani, so that he could assure their safety from any misfortune. On the same day he went with Father Bartolome Besco and the Sangley Raimundo to the place where the fugitives were encamped. On the way he encountered some companies of seamen from the champans and other riff-raff, who were ignorant of the agreement for the submission of their fellows; and these would not allow the fathers to pass. But when this was known at their camp two of their leading men went down to the father and told him that they all would follow his advice; but that Raimundo was not a suitable person for settling the matter with them, because many of the Sangleys were suspicious of him on account of his long residence among us. They told the father to bring two of their ship-captains, so that this business might be concluded with them. The father retired to San Juan del Monte, in order to say mass there the next day, the twenty-eighth (which was the feast of Pentecost), and sent word to his Lordship of what the Sangleys demanded.

In accordance with this his Lordship on the [235]twenty-eighth summoned the ship-captains, and after he had conferred with them they went back to the father and told him that it was not necessary that he should fatigue himself by going to the [Sangley] camp, since all the fugitives had already agreed to come down. They only asked that the ships might go to Nabotas, from which place all the Sangleys who had to embark for China would sail; and that the father would, for this purpose, go there in company with the regimental master-of-camp, Domingo de Ugarte, who was very acceptable to them and well known for his kindness to them. On the thirtieth they came down with this reply; and on the thirty-first the father went back with it to confer with his Lordship. The latter was ill pleased with the stipulation of embarking at Navotas on account of the lack of confidence that they displayed; but the father set out to bring them over to whatever his Lordship should ordain, as he finally decided it—departing on the first of June accompanied by Master-of-camp Domingo de Ugarte and three ship-captains. They arrived that night at the village of Taytay, the nearest village to the place that the Sangleys had occupied; and that very night they despatched the ship-captains fully instructed. On the next day, June 2, the captains came down with the reply and decision of all the Sangleys—that they would come down to the Parián from which they would embark in the champans which were ready to depart; while the Christians would come down to the villages of Santa Cruz and Binondo, or as his Lordship should command. This they carried out in the time which they asked, which was two days.

Their resolution was much aided by the one which [236]his Lordship had taken ever since May 26, when he ordered that one of the champans should be made ready for the voyage, promising its captain beforehand a thousand Sangleys, whom he must without fail transport. He commanded one of the three champans that were at Cavite to come to Manila; this was to open the door wide in the face of their mistrust, and it showed that his intention was only to make the country safe and not to avenge on them (as they had believed) the insolence of Cot-sen.

The fugitives thereupon came down in all haste and especially on the day that had been set, June 4; yet notwithstanding this, so great was the anxiety to feed on the wretched Sangleys that [some people attempted to] persuade his Lordship that the whole arrangement was a sham; that all the Sangleys were still in the field, and that they only came down from their camp on this pretext, in order to search for what they needed and to carry away the few who remained in the Parián. His Lordship, giving another day of vigilance, apparently yielded to the importunate outcries of the many who clamored for the punishment of the Sangleys—who had committed no crime except their terrified flight; and ordered the soldiers to be made ready in order that he might freely select the troops who were to go out for the campaign.

The bowmen of Master-of-camp Don Juan Macapagal had already arrived, also the 200 Pampango veteran soldiers in charge of Master-of-camp Don Francisco Lacsamana. He [i.e., his Lordship] commanded them to be mustered on June 6; and when all were expecting [that he would select] a strong [237]battalion of Spaniards, Pampangos, Mardicas,9 Japanese, and creoles, he left them all mocked and humiliated who had attributed to cowardice the forbearance dictated by his prudence. He set aside only the regiment of Pampangos, arquebusiers and bowmen; and committed the exploit to the Pampango master-of-camp, Don Francisco Lacsamana—leaving in the lurch those who attached so much importance to the enterprise, and who attributed his delay to fear. Unaffected by considerations of mere policy, his Lordship moved in accordance with right and the light of truth which belongs to those free from prejudice; he had carefully considered the enterprise and saw that but little [poisonous] humor remained to be corrected. He therefore chose to make it evident that his delay was not for the sake of temporizing but to show clemency; and that, able to resist no longer, he was using rigor against those who in so many days had not availed themselves of [238]his clemency. And, to show how great was his courage and how superior he regarded his forces, he did not vouchsafe to send out Spaniards but entrusted the issue to the Pampangos.

This was information which by one act, his discretion gained with great results. He made trial of the fidelity of the Pampangos, whose commotions and recent punishments had left their fidelity uncertain; and he put them on their honor with this so honorable commission, to act then with valor and afterward with constancy. It would make them hated by the Sangleys, to oblige them to become enemies; and would give Cot-sen to understand how little importance the governor attached to the latter’s men, since he was attacking them with natives alone. He could ascertain thus what was the disposition of the Pampangos, and how much courage they had for resisting that pirate; for himself, the injury which the islands had experienced in so many disturbances of the natives gave him some confidence.

He gave them their orders—that they should march to the camp of the Sangleys without doing harm to any peaceable Sangleys whom they might encounter on the way, who should be going to the city; and when they should arrive there, giving the troops a rest, they should make the assault on the next day cutting off the heads of all [whom they should find there]. At the same time his Lordship despatched orders to the alcaldes-mayor of Bay and Bulacan—through whose provinces the Sangleys would necessarily have to disperse after they were routed—to go out with three hundred bowmen from each province to occupy the roads against them; so that wherever they should seek a route to safety they [239]should meet destruction. The Pampangos left the city before noon; his Lordship anticipating all possible events three hours later commanded two companies of horsemen to make ready, who should set out at daybreak for the [Sangley] camp—in order that if the Pampangos met bad luck they might have sufficient protection, and could thus recover their courage and renew the attack in full assurance of victory.

The Pampangos encountered on the way many bands of Sangleys, who were coming to the Parián, and allowed these to pass them without any harm. About five o’clock in the afternoon they came in sight of the camp; and, in order not to divide the merit of the exploit with the Spaniards—who, as they knew, were to go thither at daylight—they would not wait until the daylight watch as they had planned. Without taking any rest and unarmed they closed with the Sangleys who numbered some 1,500 men; and in two assaults they routed the enemy without any loss save a captain of their nation who fell dead, and some soldiers who were wounded. The Sangleys left in their camp more than sixty dead men, and all their provisions and baggage remained in the possession of the Pampangos; the latter did not follow in pursuit, partly as the hour was now very late, partly that they might satiate themselves with the booty. But on the morning of June 7 the cavalry appeared, who, learning of the defeat, pursued the fugitives until they entered a region that was rocky and overgrown with thickets, where most of them perished—some from hunger, and many from the cruelty of the Negrillos of the mountains. Then, as the alcaldes-mayor of Bay and Bulacan attacked [240]them with their troops, hardly a Sangley could escape who did not perish either at their hands or those of the Negrillos.

Up to the twenty-fourth of June the troops, both cavalry and infantry, remained in active service—partly to put an end to the remaining fugitives, partly to keep the retirade occupied in case of any disturbance in Manila, since it was a place near that point to which the Sangleys resorted on such occasions. After that date the troops gradually withdrew, his Lordship showing great kindness and many favors to the Pampangos. To those who had shared in this exploit he granted exemption from paying tributes; and, honoring them by the confidence which he had in their fidelity, he gave up to them on the twenty-sixth the guard-room in the palace—with which they left service well content and full of courage for greater enterprises.

Afterward, the regiments from Pangasinan and Ylocos entered Manila, brought by General Don Felipe de Ugalde. After they had been mustered in Manila, so that the Sangleys could see the force that had been provided against Cot-sen, they were ordered to return to their own country so that they could attend to the cultivation of their grainfields; for, as they were nearest to us, they could easily be summoned for an emergency. The same orders were given to the Pampangos and to the men from the provinces of Bay and Bulacan; also that they should keep the picked and trained men separate, so that these might be found ready without confusion or disturbance at the first warning.

The cavalry, a suitable number for 600 horses, were finally assembled by General Don Francisco [241]de Figueroa whom his Lordship had honored with this command. They were divided into six companies each containing twenty-five Spaniards, the remainder being cowherds, negroes, and mulattoes—men very suitable for this service as being dextrous and inured to hardship. They were mustered in the city and along the beach in sight of the champans; and were at once divided among the posts that were most suitable—two companies in Cavite, and the rest in the environs of Tondo.

All the Sangleys in the provinces of this mainland [of Luzón] who had not taken refuge in the Parián in time were decapitated. Those who thus took refuge were confined to the point of Cavite or to the Parián of the city, so that we might keep them within range of our guns, and where they would be of advantage for whatever had to be done for the fortification of both posts and the protection of the shore. His Lordship commanded that lists be made of [the Sangleys engaged in the different] crafts, reserving as many of these as were deemed sufficient for the needs of the city and service; and he ordered that of all the rest as many as space could be found for should be shipped [to China], compelling the captains to transport them. There was one champan which took aboard 1,300 of them; they were so crowded together that they could hardly sit down; but in this the captain had no small profit, for they exacted from each one ten pesos as passage-money.

When the champans were ready to weigh anchor, his Lordship was informed that the two chief leaders of the people who had fled to the mountains had come down in the last bands. These two were infidels; one was the contractor for the slaughterhouses, [242]named Barba, and the other a shopkeeper named [blank space in MS.]; and by the help of some of their followers they had been hidden, so that they could go away in the first champans. We had certain information that these men were among the people on shipboard, but all the efforts of the officials were frustrated by the dissimulation of the Sangleys until his Lordship resorted to direct measures, and, summoning the ship-captains, commanded them to find and surrender those two men, saying that if they did not he would order their heads to be cut off. All were terrified and within a few hours they dragged out the two culprits by the neck—one from the champan on which he had embarked; the other from a hut in which he had hidden himself. On the following day they were executed between the Parián and the city in sight of the Sangleys. They had ruled tyrannically, and with their deaths our fear passed away, having inflicted due punishment with so little bloodshed.

The champans departed one after another; and on the day when the last three—those of the ambassador and two others which he carried in his convoy—were to set sail, which was June 10, his Lordship ordered that the chimes should be rung as a token of rejoicing over false news of the ships from Nueva España (which he caused to be published), artfully brought in by an advice-boat. This was done in order that the ambassador and the Sangleys, persuaded that we had received succor of men and money, might with this belief aid in repressing the fierceness of the barbarian, artfully supplying what was lacking in our reputation for strength. But God, who directs the hearts of rulers, made the bells ring for true news, [243]bringing to port on that very day the patache which came from Nueva España, July 13, when people were becoming discouraged by the delay of the second advice-boat.

His Lordship gave orders to collect in the Parián all the remaining Sangleys under penalty of death to any who should leave it; and although in a few days he gave them more space, it did not extend beyond the range of the artillery. With the same severity he compelled them to sleep within the Parián; and as the regiment from Cagayan came unexpectedly—a warlike people, who, as they belong to a province so remote, cannot wait for news of the necessity, but can only forestall it—he lodged these near the Parián in full readiness for any disturbance. The regiments of Caragas, Cebuans, and Boholans arrived; the Caragas were sent to the point of Cavite, and the rest were quartered in La Estacada,10 the Cagayans proceeding to Santa Cruz. With these forces the river was thoroughly occupied from the bar to the upper reaches, and its passage was closed to the Sangleys. The same plan was observed with the cavalry, the two companies at Cavite being quartered in the fields there and the rest in Binondo and Meyhaligue. The Sangleys were thus more thoroughly imprisoned than if they were in the jail.

From the first day [of the commotion] his Lordship directed all his efforts to supplying the city with provisions, and succeeded in bringing in 120,000 [244]cabans of rice with meat, fish, and vegetables. Now with greater energy he attended to its fortification, personally overcoming the difficulties: in [procuring] the lime—which were great, for the rains had begun and the lime was brought so far (from Bulacan and Bacolor)—and in the construction itself, for eleven defenses were begun in different places. His Lordship gave personal attention to those which were most important—eating his meals and despatching business on the beach in a straw hut that was built for him, so light that it was carried on men’s shoulders from one place to another as the importance of the work required; and was watchful on every side, not only on account of the ardor which caused him to give his aid, but also for the sake of his example. He was the first and most steadfast in the work of conveying earth and stones for earth-works and masonry; and his example was followed by the citizens with the men in their service. Besides this fatigue he was overburdened with the minor cares of the work, sending in all directions for the lime, and himself allotting it as if he had no other matters to attend to. In order that the dissensions among the military leaders might not delay the execution of his plans, he suppressed the office of chief master-of-camp and sargento-mayor—which had been created to divide his cares, and when necessary, to supply his place when absent, since he must render aid in all quarters—and took upon himself all those cares, in order that those who were working should find no obstacle that would delay them. Thus he finished in a short time and with less than 6,000 pesos of expense, works which would have consumed half a million [pesos] and caused ten years of hardships [245]to the provinces—availing himself of the opportunity to attain his endeavor, and arranging that the Sangleys should be exchanged in shifts, 300 together in these. The [various native] peoples [were exchanged] by companies in the same manner as were the Spaniards; and the people of the neighboring villages with longer time for resting their relays, so that they might not be hindered from attending to their grain-fields. And in this there was much latitude in the execution of orders, the neglects and omissions which are so usual to the sloth of those peoples being overlooked—although the way in which the people were treated, their willingness, and their consideration of its importance, all facilitated so difficult an enterprise as the repair of the castle, which toward the river was threatening to fall. A fausse-braye11 was applied to it, which commenced at a cupola and ended at the bar, with a very handsome platform; and five redoubts were erected which ran from that point toward the sea as far as the bulwark at the foundry (which defends the gate on the land side), as the wall was there very weak and its defenses were far apart and not very convenient. From this bulwark to the gate was built a covert-way, and in front of it a ravelin, from which again ran the covert-way until it connected with the bulwark of Dilao, and met the estuary which crosses from Malosa the land as far as the moat. At the gate of Santo Domingo another redoubt was erected, and another at the postern of the Almacenes [i.e., magazines], [246]so that these shook hands with the cupola at the river. At the gate of the Parián a spacious ravelin was made with its covert-way toward the bridge over the river, cutting the land between the inner and outer ditches, and leaving a passage sunken around the ditches for a movable bridge. The wall was strengthened toward the river and Bagumbayan by its fausse-braye. A fine bridge was built on the estuary of Santa Cruz, so that the cavalry and troops could reconnoiter unhindered the other side of the river, as well as Sagar and Antipolo.12

At the same time, public prayers were offered. The Augustinian religious began this with the opportunity afforded by the fiesta of the canonization of St. Thomas of Villanova. They were followed by the fathers of the Society of Jesus with the triumphal reception of the bodies of Sts. Martial and Jucundus and the relics of other martyrs, which were deposited in the cathedral, and were carried in a grand procession to the church of the Society; the governor, the Audiencia, the cabildos, and the citizens, with the regiment of soldiers (who fired a salute) took part in this. The governor paid the expenses of an octave festival in the cathedral in honor of the archangel St. Michael on the fourteenth of January; it began with a procession which marched through the Calle de Palacio, past the house of the [247]Misericordia, the convent of San Agustin, and the college of the Society; thence it turned toward the Recollects by way of the convent of San Francisco to that of Santo Domingo; and by the college of Santo Tomas returned to the cathedral. The said prayers were continued until Lent.

In the midst of these pious exercises the ambassador from China found us: this was the same religious as before, Fray Victorio Riccio. To the salute which he fired his Lordship commanded answer to be made with ball, as one who, having been challenged, awaited the envoy on a war footing; and despatched to the shore the sargento-mayor of the garrison to tell him that, on account of the hostilities which he had announced in the name of Cot-sen, we had expected him to come as an enemy and were prepared to receive him with the sternness that is customary in war, and that he must inform the governor of the nature of the despatches that he carried. The ambassador answered that he came in peace; and by the news which he at once related it was learned that, only a few days after his Lordship had placed his forces under the powerful protection of the holy archangel, Cot-sen had died.

That ruler was ready in all the strength given by ships, men, and provisions to deliberate according to the news that he should receive from here upon the measures that would have to be taken, when the first Sangleys [from Manila] arrived. They, driven by fear and urged on by desperation, scorning the cannon-shots that were fired from the castle, seized a royal champan which was ready to sail; and those Sangleys who had left [the Pasig River] in the talisays, for whom there was no room, seized other [248]champans in the channels of Mariveles. These fugitives regarded as already executed that of which their fear persuaded them; and they told the corsair that the governor had commanded that all the Sangleys should be slain, not only the traders but those who were living in this city. At this he was kindled to such anger that he immediately undertook to sally forth for vengeance without heeding the obstacles that he would now meet in the expedition from unfavorable weather. It seemed to the Chinese that with only half of their fleet, even though the other half should perish, they could carry abundant force for the enterprise. Upon this disturbance of his mind came the rebellion of his son whom he had commanded to be slain;13 and the mandarins of his city, Vi-cheo, [Fuh-chau, or Foo-chow] protected the son, having resolved to defend him. With these anxieties Cot-sen was walking one afternoon through the fort on Hermosa Island which he had gained from the Dutch. His mind began to be disturbed by visions, which he said appeared to him, of thousands of men who placed themselves before him, all headless and clamoring for vengeance on the cruelty and injustice which had been wreaked on them; accordingly, terrified at this vision (or else a lifelike presentation by his imagination) he took refuge in his house and flung himself on his bed, consumed by a fierce and burning fever. This caused him to die on the fifth day, fiercely scratching his face and biting [249]his hands—without any further last will than to charge his intimate friends with the death of his son, or more repentance for his cruelty than to continue it by the orders that he gave for them to kill various persons; thus God interrupted by his death many cruel punishments.

Moreover, some mandarins were pacified who were resentful because the alcaldes of Pangasinan and Cagayan had seized some goods from their agents; and the father ambassador made satisfactory answers to the complaints made on account of the incorrect reports of the fugitives. The Chinese therefore solicited peace, and the continuance of the trade. This was a piece of good-fortune so timely that it enabled us to send this year a ship to Nueva España for the usual aid, the building of this ship having been stopped for lack of iron; for, since the iron which came in three ships from China had been bought on his Majesty’s account, it became necessary to beg iron from the religious orders and the citizens and to tear out the few iron gratings which such emergencies as these had left in the city. This necessarily made evident to that [Chinese] nation how greatly we depend on them for our means of support.

The ambassador, Fray Victorio Riccio, finally came hither on April 8 with news of the peace; it had been concluded so much to our favor that no further conditions were imposed beyond the restitution of the property which had remained here placed in the hands of private citizens, and that which the alcaldes-mayor had withheld in Cagayan and Pangasinan. Thus the country was quieted, and all its people were freed from the affliction which [250]the haughty and cruel kingdom of China had caused us by its threats.

The people who followed this corsair amounted to over a million of men of war alone. The champans (which are their ships), large and small, numbered 15,000 and many of them carried forty pieces of artillery. So arrogant was the corsair with his power, that he aspired to gain the kingdom from the Tartar king (who is also ruler of Great China) and be crowned at Nanquin, assured that, as Fortune showed herself friendly to him, the entire empire would follow him as the man who maintained the authority of it all—not only as he was captain-general for the dead king but because he had been confirmed in this office by the king now living, who is called Ens-lec.14 He also intended to maintain the superstitions, dress, rites, and customs of his ancestors—especially the garments and [mode of wearing] the hair, to which the Chinese are excessively attached. This purpose had caused them to endure his cruelty, which had been so great that more than three millions of men had died for his satisfaction alone. This fierce captain would have succeeded in that enterprise, if he had not been drawn off from it to gain the neighboring cities, nine in number (the smallest one containing 200,000 souls), thus giving the Tartar king time for better preparation. Nevertheless, he [251]had the courage to invest Nanquin, the court city of Great China, which is defended by three walls two leguas distant from one another, the circuit of the first being thirty leguas.15 He gained the first wall and brought affairs to such a crisis that the king, fearing his fierce determination, talked of fleeing from his court of Pequin. The mandarins warned him that by such a course he would lose the entire kingdom; for the inhabitants of the city, dispirited by such tokens of weakness, would instantly surrender in order not to experience the corsair’s ferocity. They said that this victory would give him so much reputation that he would easily subdue the entire kingdom; that it was most important to make all the rest of their power effective, withdrawing all the troops from other strongholds to increase the royal forces with a multitude of veterans and well-disciplined soldiers. The king did so and attacked the enemy with 400,000 horsemen; and as Cot-sen on account of having left his islands had no cavalry worth mention, he was compelled to yield to a power so formidable. With the loss of 80,000 men and most of his champans, he left the river on which the court city stands, and returned to his own town, Vi-chen. But this blow left him so little inclined to profit by experience and his strength so little diminished that, when the entire Chinese force pursued him in a fleet [252]of many ships, he went out to meet them at a legua’s distance from his principal island,16 and fought with them the greatest battle that those seas have ever seen. Cot-sen sent most of their champans to the bottom, and captured many; few escaped, and those were damaged. This filled that country with such fear that their precautions [against him] wrought more destruction than his cruelty could have accomplished; for these obliged the king of China to depopulate the extensive coasts of his entire kingdom, a strip of land six leguas wide embracing cities of 100,000 or 200,000 inhabitants, in order that they might not be the prey of the conqueror.17 This was [253]a measure tending to the latter’s prosperity; for all those many people, finding themselves without land or settled mode of life, crowded into the corsair’s service to spend their lives and to maintain themselves on the abundant booty offered to them by his power as absolute master of the seas.

The intention of this barbarian [Cot-sen] was to become the master of China, profiting by the hatred of the Chinese to the Tartars, and on the present occasion by the fact of the king’s death. But as Cot-sen needed land whereon to maintain so many people, he was minded to conquer Hermosa and these islands. Accordingly, he landed [on Hermosa] first in April, 1660, with 100,000 men, a hundred cannon for batteries, and a still larger number of field-pieces; the cannons carried balls of forty to fifty libras. At first the Dutch scoffed at their forces, calling them “men of the paypay”—that is, “of the fan,” which all of that nation use, as if they were women. Confident in the impregnable nature of their fortress (into which they gathered the feeble garrison of the island), and in the large and splendid force of men which defended it, more than two thousand in number, although they had nineteen ships, they did not take these out of the river when they could; and the Sangleys attacked them on the sea to great advantage overcoming the Dutch with their champans, and inflicting much injury on them—for these champans are lighter vessels [than those of the Dutch], and their people are very skilful in the management of [254]artillery. The Dutch at once sallied out with 300 men to prevent them from occupying the islet in the Mosamboy entrance,18 on which the Chinese expected to plant their battery; but the multitude charged upon the Dutch and cut off the heads of all, except one or two who escaped by swimming. This humbled the pride of the Dutch and dispirited their men. As soon as the Chinese landed their men they attacked the eminence, where the Dutch had a fort called Chiacam garrisoned with sixty soldiers; but it surrendered on the third day, and the Chinese used the Dutchmen for handling the artillery, assigning them to various stations. In the harbor they burned three ships and boarded one; and such was the fear that filled the hearts of the timid of falling into the hands of so bloody and savage an enemy, that twelve Dutch fugitives with other people went to him [as those who surrendered] with five brigantines which the [Dutch] fort had employed for many purposes.

The Chinese began their enterprise with as much fury as if they had lacked time for the attacks of their batteries; but in their assurance and the manner of their encampment they acted as if time were of no importance, since it was the chief enemy of the besieged. Palmo by palmo they steadily gained the [surrounding] country, carrying with them branches, and baskets [of earth], until they established themselves near the fortifications of the Dutch; and during the ten months while the siege lasted they did not cease firing all their artillery, night or day. In another [255]direction an innumerable throng of laborers were continually at work cultivating the soil, as if they were already its owners; and before the fort surrendered, the Chinese were already enjoying the produce of their farming. For the proud corsair went [to Hermosa] so confident in his strength that among the 500 champans which he took with him for this enterprise many went loaded with plows, seeds, and the other things used in cultivating land with innumerable workmen who were set aside for this service alone. Consequently, while he fought he peopled and cultivated the island without any one being able to prevent him; and, as he is so rich, he carried a great quantity of cloth, in order to attract the poor natives and bring them over to his side, in which he has succeeded.

Only one other engagement was a success for the Dutch, who undertook, when the Chinese first encamped, to bombard them with all their cannon at once; and, having thus demolished their huts and fortifications, the Dutch made a bold sortie, spiked six of the enemy’s cannon, cut to pieces the garrison, 3,000 in number, and were carrying away nineteen pieces of artillery to the fort. But another Sangley officer hurried up with his regiment and attacked the Dutch with such fury that they were obliged to leave the captured cannon behind, and in disorder, take refuge within the fort. With the twelve Dutchmen they put the fortifications in better shape, and their bombardment began to be more effective. Finally they demolished the redoubt with all the fortifications outside, and approached the fort so closely that the men on the walls talked with those [256]in the enemy’s camp. They demolished the second height of the wall, which had no terreplein; the governor of the place was killed by a cannon-ball; and every day the enemy came up to the walls to drink the health of the Dutchmen and display other soldierly civilities.

They had now demolished all of the wall that rose above the terreplein, and talked of making a general assault. The Dutch began to be disheartened by the death of the governor and the loss of so many soldiers; and when they saw the preparations for the assault they talked of negotiating fur surrender, in order that they might not be left exposed to the enemy’s cruelty—since for that arrogant tyrant it was the same to slay five or six thousand men as one. He therefore at once replaced twice the number in a post [which had lost its defenders], as he was so near to his island of Vicheu where he kept the main body of his followers, from which they were continually coming and going; and for every one who died a thousand fresh men came to his camp. They now set out to engage the Dutch with six hundred scaling-ladders, fourteen of their men being allotted to each ladder; but the besieged hung out a white flag, and came out to propose terms of surrender. This was granted with the condition that only the property of private persons should be removed, and that they must surrender intact the property of the [East India] Company, which was done. It is computed according to the Company’s books, that with the military supplies and the artillery of the fort, [this capture] had a value of five millions—an amount which will not cause surprise to any one who knows that [257]this place was the magazine for the two richest traffics in the Orient, those of China and Japon. The artillery found there [by the Chinese] included 150 pieces; the firearms, 4,000; and there were provisions and military supplies for years. The slain in this war, for the entire period, were: of the Dutch, 630; of the Chinese, 10,000 men. The vanquished left the fort on the day of the Purification of our Lady, six hundred in number, and embarked in nine ships which had remained in the harbor.

In short, this [i.e., the Chinese] people is the most ingenious in the world; and when they see any contrivance in practice they employ it with more facility than do the Europeans. Accordingly, they are not now inferior in the military art, and in their method of warfare they excel the entire world. No soldier is hindered by providing his food; every five men have their own cook. All are divided into tens, and every ten have their own flag, and on it are written the names of its soldiers. These tens are gathered into companies and regiments with such concert and such ease in governing them that Europeans who have seen it are astonished.

Consider the anxiety that must be caused by a nation so ingenious, so hardy, so practiced in the military art, so numerous, so haughty and cruel, in a city where all the forts together could not call to arms 2,000 Spaniards—and these of so many colors that not two hundred pure Spaniards could be picked out from them—and occupying so much space that for its suitable garrison it needs 6,000 soldiers. From this may be inferred the joy that was felt throughout the city [at his death] and the so special kindness of [258]God in putting an end to this tyrant in the prime of his life—for he was only thirty-nine years old, and had spent his time in continued military practice from the year 1644 until that of 1662, when he conquered Hermosa Island. He was always favored by fortune, and there was no undertaking in which he did not succeed except the siege of Nanquin—which would be considered foolish temerity by any one who will consider the strength and greatness of that city—an enterprise in which he had to entomb or submerge in blood his fortune and his acquired glories; yet it weakened him so little that he quickly restored the losses, victorious over the entire naval force of China.

At the beginning of June his Lordship gave permission to all the [native] tribes to return home; they went away well satisfied and loaded with praises. He gave the Chinese more freedom, permitting them to remove to the villages adjoining the city, and releasing them from serving on the ships [de las faginas] on account of the great labors which they had performed before his Lordship’s eyes in completing, with so much readiness and with so little expenditure of time and money, [public] works which [otherwise] could not have been finished in ten years of hard labor, with half a million pesos, and the exhaustion of the weak natives of the neighboring provinces.

His Lordship summoned a council, in which by his command were read the letters from the mandarins who were directors and guardians of Cot-sen’s estate, written by order of his son, in which was discussed the stipulation which they made a condition of peace—the restitution of the property which their [259]agents had left here in trust, and other merchandise which the alcaldes-mayor of Ylocos and Cagayan had withheld. In accordance with the [decision of the] first council, this one ordered that such restitution be made. Therein was also discussed the question whether the Sangleys should be permitted to live in the islands; this was done by a few ecclesiastics (only three in number), who opposed such permission; they had attempted, both in the pulpit and in private conversation, to persuade the rest to their opinion. All of the council agreed with only one dissenting voice, that the Sangleys ought to be allowed to remain here up to the number which the decrees of his Majesty regarding this matter have prescribed—that is, 6,000 men—provided that they be not allowed to spread into other provinces, nor go beyond the villages included in the jurisdiction of Tondo (which is in the territory of this city) conformably to the royal ordinances which have fixed these limits. All recognized our need of that [Chinese] nation, in the lack and scarcity of all things to which we see ourselves now reduced—all because the number of the Sangleys has been diminished, since the natives have neither energy nor strength to support the burdens that the Chinese carry; and much more on account of our dependence upon their trade, for everything. For not only does everything necessary for life come to us from China—as wheat, cloth, and earthenware—but it is the Sangleys who carry on all the crafts, and who with their traffic maintain the fortunes of the citizens (without those other products of vineyards and olive-groves that are furnished in the industries carried on [260]in Nueva España) from the merchandise of China, having secured in their hands the entire commerce of these islands, since that of Yndia and Japon failed. His Lordship, having handsomely entertained the ambassador, dismissed him, with letters for the prince and the mandarins; and we here remain in peace, affairs settled as they were before, and the fear [removed] that an enemy so powerful and at our very gates must occasion us. [261]

1 A phonetic rendering of one of the numerous names of a noted Chinese corsair—generally known as Kue-sing or Ko-xinga; La Concepción also gives, as his original Chinese name, Tching-tching-cong, and Coseng and Punpuan (in Diaz, Cogsin and Pompóan) as other appellations. He also says that Kue-sing (the name meaning “adopted son of a king”) was adopted by the emperor Congun, who had no sons. The accounts of various writers do not agree regarding the early history of this adventurer; but that given by our text is apparently corroborated by other accounts of Kue-sing’s achievements and exploits during his later years. Detailed relations of his career, and of his attempt upon the Philippines, may be found in Diaz’s Conquistas, pp. 461, 551–555, 616–637; Santa Cruz’s Hist. de Filipinas, pp. 271–278, etc.; Murillo Velarde’s Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 270b–275; La Concepción’s Hist. de Philipinas, vi, pp. 345 (sc. 355)–359, and vii, pp. 38–56; Ferrando’s Hist. PP. Dominicos, iii, pp. 12–17, 29–41, 47–67, 78–98; Montero y Vidal’s Hist. de Filipinas, i, pp. 313–322, 329. Ferrando calls Kue-sing the “Attila of the East.”

2 Vittorio Ricci (Spanish Riccio) was a relative of the noted Jesuit, Mateo Ricci. He made profession as a Dominican in 1635, [219n]and was a student and afterward a teacher in the Dominican college at Rome. Meeting there (1643) the noted Fray J. B. Morales, Ricci decided to return with him to the East, and arrived at Manila in 1648. There he ministered to the Chinese for seven years, when he was sent to the China mission. He was much favored by the noted Kue-sing (or Ko-xinga), who obliged him to become his ambassador to Manila (1662). Returning to China, Ricci found that Kue-sing was dead, and persuaded the latter’s officers that it was to their interest to maintain peace and commerce with the Spaniards—for which purpose they sent him again to Manila, as here narrated. In 1664 a persecution arose in China, and the missionaries were summoned to Peking. Fearing to obey, as he had been on Kue-sing’s side, Ricci fled to Formosa, and afterward (March, 1666) returned to Manila—where he was imprisoned for some time. Afterward he held various important offices in his order, and aided in the compilation of Santa Cruz’s continuation of Aduarte’s history. He died at the Parián, February 17, 1685. See Reseña biográfica, ii, pp. 461–464.

3 The letter of Kue-sing, and the governor’s reply, may be found in Diaz’s Conquistas, pp. 625, 626, 629–631; and Murillo Velarde’s Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 271, 274.

4 The order to abandon Zamboanga arrived there on June 19, 1662; but this was not accomplished until April, 1663. The commandant of this fort at that time was Fernando de Bobadilla. [222n]Paquian Bactial, king of Joló, as soon as he heard of the proposed abandonment, plotted to kill all the Spaniards in Zamboanga, and make it his own capital; he asked Corralat to aid in this enterprise, but the latter refused to break his peace with the Spaniards. Royal decrees at various times ordered that fort to be again occupied; but this was not done until 1718, under the rule of Governor Bustamente. (See Murillo Velarde’s Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 275, 276.)

5 Probably thus named from the tree called talisay (Terminalia catappa), as perhaps constructed from its wood. Its bark is used for dyeing; and its seeds are edible, resembling almonds. See Blanco’s Flora (ed. 1845), p. 264; and Official Handbook of Philippines, pp. 309, 356.

6 Referring to the Dominican Riccio, who with the title of mandarin had brought Kue-sing’s message.

7 “From the cattle-herds on the ranches, and other men who were skilful in managing horses, he formed a cavalry troop of 400 men, in command of Don Francisco de Figueroa” (Murillo Velarde, Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 273).

8 José de Madrid, a native of Cebú, was a student and later a teacher, in the college of Santo Tomás at Manila, having entered the Dominican order in 1646. He went to China, but, fearing to lose his life, returned to Manila, only to die, as here related, at the hands of the Chinese (May 25, 1662).

9 These were Malays who had accompanied the Spaniards from Ternate, where they formed a village, their name meaning “free people” (Pastells’s ed. of Colin’s Labor evangélica, iii, pp. 266, 812). La Concepción (Hist. de Philipinas, vii, p. 102) says: “Under this name [i.e., Mardicas, or Merdicas] are included natives of Ternate, Tidore, and Siao; of Manados, Cauripa, Celebes, and Macasar. They were allotted a dwelling-place at Marigondon, on the great bay of Manila ... and theirs is the island of Corregidor, from which they give warning of the ships that they descry, by signal-fires.” He says that they speak three languages—Spanish, Tagálog, and their own dialect; and “regard themselves as the spiritual sons of St. Francis Xavier, to whom they are singularly devoted—a feeling inspired by their forefathers, who had known him and witnessed his marvelous works.” Ferrando says (Hist. PP. Dominicos, iii, p. 94) that these people have preserved their own dialect, usages, and customs; and up to recent times had not intermarried with the Filipinos of neighboring villages.

10 La Estacada (literally “the stockade”) was on the same side of the Pasig River as Binondoc, but separated from that village by the little estuary which leads to the village of Tondo. See Muñoz’s map of Manila and its suburbs (1671) in Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica, iii, p. 824; this map will be reproduced in the present series.

11 Spanish falsabraga: “a parapet constructed at a lower elevation than the main parapet, and between the parapet and the edge of the ditch. It was used only in permanent fortification, and has long been obsolete;” see Wilhelm’s Military Dictionary (Phila., 1881), p. 158.

12 Cf. with this description the fortifications indicated on Muñoz’s map, mentioned ante, p. 243, note 50.

In order to prevent the enemy from fortifying large buildings outside the walls, “orders were issued to demolish the churches of Santiago, Bagumbaya, Hermita, Malate, Parañaque, Dilao, San Lazaro, the Parian, and Santa Cruz—besides various country houses which the Spaniards own in those environs.” (Murillo Velarde’s Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 272.)

13 This son was called Kin-sié, also known as Tching King-may and Sipuan; La Concepción says (vii, p. 55) that he, “who had been reared in the study, among books, did nothing to cultivate the country which his father had acquired with so many dangers and fatigues, and the troops therefore became, in his service, lax and cowardly.”

14 The references in this document to the rulers of China can hardly be satisfactorily identified; the various names given to the same person, the conflicting claims of various usurpers or temporary rulers, and the struggle between the dying Ming dynasty and the Manchu conquerors, cause great confusion and uncertainty in the history of that period. The actual ruler of China was then the Manchu Chuntche (1646–61); he was succeeded by his second son, Kanghi.

15 Nanking was, under some early Chinese dynasties, the capital of the empire. This name signifies merely “Southern Court;” the proper appellation of the city is Kianningfu. Odoric of Pordenoñe, who visited it near the year 1325, says that its walls had a circuit of forty miles, and in it were three hundred and sixty stone bridges, the finest in the world (Yule’s Cathay, i, pp. 120, 121).

16 This was Hia-mun, or Emuy (known by the English as Amoy); it lies off the province of Fuh-kien, at the mouth of the Lung-kiang (“Dragon”) River. On it lies the city of Amoy, a large and important commercial port; it has one of the best harbors on the coast. (Williams’s Middle Kingdom, i, pp. 114, 115.)

17 Diaz relates this (Conquistas, p. 619) in greater detail. “The Tartar [i.e., Chuntche], seeing himself reduced to so great straits ... resolved to command that all the [inhabited places on the] maritime coasts should be laid waste and dismantled, for a distance of three or four leguas inland, throughout the more than eight hundred leguas of coasts which that empire possesses. This, to the great injury of the empire, left demolished and razed to the ground innumerable settlements and cities, enough to compose several kingdoms. This was the greatest conflagration and havoc that the world has seen, ... and only populous China could be the fit theater for such a tragedy, and only the cruel barbarity of the Tartars [could make them the] inventors and executors of such destruction. The upheaval which the execution of this so unexampled cruelty caused cannot be described; the loss of property is incalculable; and human thought cannot conceive the horror produced by the sight of so many thousands of towns and cities burning. At last this general conflagration was completed, the fire lasting many days—the clouds of smoke reaching as far as Hia-muen, more than twenty leguas, and the sun not being visible in all that broad expanse. Stations were established at suitable distances for easily rendering aid, well garrisoned with soldiers; and watch-towers were erected a legua apart, to keep a lookout over the sea-coasts. A public proclamation [253n]forbade any person to pass the bounds assigned, four leguas distant from the seashore. With these precautions, if Kue-sing’s ships landed there, a great number of soldiers were quickly assembled to dispute his entrance into the country—thus keeping within bounds Kue-sing, who now did not encounter sleeping men.”

18 Referring to the bay whereon was situated the chief settlement and fort of the Dutch in Formosa, that of Tai-wan, in the southwestern part of the island.


Letter from Governor Salcedo to Francisco Yzquierdo

Summary of this letter, written from Manila, dated July 16, 1664, giving information regarding the condition of the islands at his arrival, and the measures that he had taken.

He states therein that he set sail from the port of Acapulco on March 25, 1663; and after a prosperous voyage they sighted the cape of Espiritusanto. There a vendaval storm came against them, so violent that it carried them to Cape Engaño; and on July 8 he landed, made the ship secure, unladed all the money sent for the situado, and made arrangements for its transportation to Manila. The governor was gladly received there, and took possession of the government and the authority of captain-general, on September 8, 1663.

He found the islands in most wretched condition—the Spaniards as yet hardly reassured after the insurrections of the years 61 and 62, and the natives irritated by cruel punishments. The royal treasury was so exhausted that it contained no more than 35,000 pesos; the magazines were destitute of provisions, ammunition, and other supplies for the relief of the fortified posts and the soldiers. A few months before, the soldiers had received part of their pay—[262]each one who had eight pesos of wages being paid one peso, and others receiving only a ration of rice and meat. But the governor found the officials of all classes still unpaid; and he had no ship to send to Nueva España, because the vessel sent thither by his predecessor had put back to port. The commerce [of the islands] with all the neighboring countries was paralyzed, and the said commerce must again be revived, for without it Manila could not exist.

He states that he had ordered timber to be cut for repairing the ship that would go to Nueva España, and for the construction of the forty galleys that were needed for the defense of the islands from the Moro pirates that infested them—who were still more daring since the abandonment of our forts on account of our fear of the Chinese Cotseng. The governor ordered that wheat shall be sowed, since this is so necessary to the manufacture of sea-biscuit for the ships, and in order not to depend upon foreigners for the supply of this article. For the same reasons, he caused an engineer (whom he had carried to the islands at his own expense) to make examination of the iron mines; this reconnaissance had given satisfactory results, for the engineer had begun to work the mines with so good success that he had taken out nearly 600 arrobas [of iron], and was continuing to operate the mines.

In another (but undated) letter on the same subject, he mentions the improvements that he had had to make in the walls of Manila; and says that he had ordered four forts to be built in the interior of Luzon, in order to push forward the conquest of the infidel [263]peoples. He also repeats much of what he had said in the preceding letter.1 [264]

1 Apparently referring to the usual despatch of several copies of a letter, to ensure its safe receipt. The form of this summary would indicate that it is made by Ventura del Arco; and it is followed by a tracing of Salcedo’s autograph.


Why the Friars are not Subjected to Episcopal Visitation

The reasons that the governor and the royal Audiencia of the Filipinas Islands apparently might have had for suspending the execution of the royal decrees, which were repeatedly ordered to be observed in favor of the right of the royal patronage, from the year 1624 to that of 1656 [sic] have been as follows.1

First, the consideration of the zealous observance of [their rules by] all the orders in those islands; the zeal with which they busy themselves in their ministries; the new conversions that are made daily in certain portions of the islands; and because if the religious are forced to that subjection [to the diocesan authorities] they will surely fall into laxity, and consequently, will lose the zeal that they today exercise, as experience shows in the orders throughout America that have entered that subjection.

Second, because of the few seculars that there have always been in the islands to take charge of those missions; for when these were most numerous here was in the years 24, 28, and 34, for then the city of Manila had 400 citizens, and Cebu, Oton, Nueva [265]Segovia, and Arevalo had nearly 200 more. Now the representative citizens throughout the islands do not number 60. Then if in that time, when the islands contained most Spaniards, there were no secular priests, how can there be any today when there are not 60 citizens in all the islands, while the number of priests is steadily growing less in America, where the Spanish settlements are large and populous and are continually increasing?

So great is the lack of the secular clergy that they cannot even take care of the missions in their charge. For there is no district belonging to the seculars, especially outside of the island of Manila, that does not need two or three priests; for most of the villages of their jurisdiction are 10, 20, or 30 leguas distant from the chief mission station—from which, as they find themselves alone, they do not go out to visit their districts as a rule, except once a year. Consequently many must necessarily die without the sacraments, and even the children without baptism, because of the laziness of the Indians and the little esteem in which they hold the faith because of the lack of instruction. Even the ministers themselves run the risk of dying without confession, and there are not few examples of that in those islands. That occurs because they can do no more, and have no priests who can aid them in their ministries. In order to have these, they must maintain them at their own cost, in order to meet the obligations of their consciences. But the regulars in all their districts which consist of many villages (they have three or four priests in each district), are ever traveling unceasingly by sea and land, visiting their villages. Consequently the villages instructed by the religious are [266]frequent in their use of the holy sacraments, because of their good opinion of our holy Catholic faith, and their stricter observance of it.

The ministries of those islands need at least 400 priests who are religious; for I assume that there must not be only one to a district, as are the seculars in regions so extensive as these, but three or four, and sometimes more, and that is a matter involving a question of conscience, because of their ministries and their own souls; for there is a district belonging to the seculars where a priest does not arrive for a whole year, and if one reaches some parts, it is only by chance.

For the above reasons I believe that the governor and the royal Audiencia of Manila, as those who have the matter in hand, in the past year of 1665 suspended the execution of the said decrees, giving a time-limit of four years to the Order of St. Dominic to present the said reasons to his Majesty and his royal Council of the Yndias. For it is to be believed that if they found it advisable for the royal service (as they are so attentive to it) to carry out the exact royal orders in the matter, they would not have delayed the execution of the orders for four years, nor have allowed any more replies.

The reasons that the regulars have for petitioning his Majesty to be pleased not to change the method that they have followed for the space of one hundred years in their administration of the Indians in the islands, are as follows:

First, because the Indians are not yet well rooted in the faith, and there are still a great number of heathen and Moros to be newly converted—for the sacred Order of St. Dominic has many heathen in [267]the provinces of Cagayan, Pangasinan, and Ytui. The Order of St. Augustine has still many heathen among the Yglotes (who belong to the province of Ylocos) and in the island of Panay. The Society of Jesus has all the island of Mindanao, those of Jolo, and the islands adjacent to them, which are for the most part inhabited by Moros and to a less extent by Christians and heathens. They have abandoned the Maluccas, where they have labored for so many years; and at present they administer only the island of Siao which is all Christian. The Recollect Augustinians administer the Negrillos of Masinlo and many of the Caragas bordering upon the Mindanaos. The Order of St. Francis is not lacking in Aetas (who are still heathen) in their districts of La Laguna and the mountains there to be converted.

Second, because the missions of the Filipinas are suitable for him who is looking for hardship and not ease. How is it possible for missions in the islands of old infested by infidel pirates, and [now] having new conversions of Moros and heathen, not to be full of hardship? For as a rule, those missions outside the island of Manila are visited by sea by their ministers; and that brings them no little trouble besides the constant danger of being killed by the Moros.

Third, because the regulars in those islands now and those who have always been there have almost all come from España, and have gone to them, not for the purpose of any temporal advantage, but with the design of reducing infidels to the bosom of the Church. Most of them are desirous of going thence to Japon, as the reduction of that empire as well as a portion of that of China belongs to the crown of [268]Castilla. Since, then, the missions and doctrinas of those islands are so apostolic, and the zeal of the regulars in going there is expended only in the direction of promulgating the gospel among heathen, one can easily infer how necessary it is that the regulars be maintained there in the strict observance and spirit with which they left España. They fear, and with great reason, that if that subjection be accepted the regulars in those islands will relax, as has been experienced in the provinces where the orders have bowed to that subjection, paying heed perchance rather to not leaving the comforts of the fatherland than to the observance of their rules. But since the religious in the Filipinas Islands are not rooted in their fatherlands, but on the contrary regard themselves as exiled therefrom, it is impossible for them to return thither. Subject there to hardships and sickness (for the climate of Filipinas is less favorable and healthful to Europeans), they will not have the difficulty in quitting their ministries that has been experienced in America—where, in order not to leave their ministries, they have become subject, thus losing their positions; and they will not be willing that the most religious and those most zealous for their rules should at least keep away from the missions and ministries of the Indians through the imposition of that burden, and that no others should be found. Consequently, with that subjection they desire again to journey to parts so remote; so that in such case, in those provinces which are today so religious, their courage would grow less and that not without danger to those ministries, which by their very nature demand zealous persons and those of a very superior virtue. [269]

For it is sufficient to consider that, if serious men of learning and virtue subject themselves to the ordinary in order to minister in a doctrina, it may happen that they will be punished for a slight omission or neglect, perhaps one that they could not avoid—such as not being able to arrive in time to hear the confession of a dying person or to give him the holy oil; or to baptize a new-born infant. It is possible that this fear alone would make some refuse the ministries of the islands with such a risk. For although the ordinary cannot punish them as religious, he can punish them as curas; and in such a case it is difficult to proceed between cura and religious.

In the first place the religious’s definitorio may assign him also to a house with a vote, all of which have ministries in the Filipinas; and an ambitious man may by the exercise of skill, and by influence, intercessions, and presents deprive him of the place, and perhaps may impute to him faults and defects that he does not possess in order to attain his purpose better and to justify his action. That can not fail to be a cause for sorrow, and more so to one who has no foundation in the islands, but who is rather disgusted at being there; and it will be a sufficient cause for him to retire from his ministries and even to attempt to return to España.

And even though the superiors may order the religious to live in their missions with that subjection, it may be that they cannot obtain it by entreaty from them, and that the religious will excuse themselves by saying with St. Paul: Unusquisque enim in ea vocatione qua vocatus est permanet.2 They may also say that they wish to persevere in the vocation [270]to which they were called by God, and that they did not enter religion to recognize two superiors, one a regular and the other a secular, but rather one of their own profession—by whom they would willingly allow themselves to be visited, censured, and punished; but not by two distinct in profession. For if there are two superiors who are unequal in profession, it is quite possible that they will be at variance in the matters of orders and obedience; and that such subordinate may be in doubt without the power to help it lest obedience to one be an offense to the other. Consequently, placed between two extremes, he will come to obey the more powerful and to disobey his regular superior, who is the one from whom he can fear less.

And one might doubt whether the superior could impose on those who should be thus firm in their purpose the precept of obedience, so that they should subject themselves as curas to an ordinary and to tho choice of a governor. And if for the above reasons those who are zealous for their rules should be lacking in the provinces and ministries, the men who are less religious would become the mainstay of the provinces and would administer the missions—men whom neither ambition nor their slight attachment to the observance calls away [from the order]. Consequently, such men coming in time to rule the provinces and to possess the ministries in those islands, the end will be that there will be no religion, observance, or examples in them to invite the Indians, but only scandals by which they will stumble; for, as a foolish people, they embrace what they see rather than what they hear.

Besides the above, the orders fear lest the governors [271]and the ordinaries will make use of that subjection to harass them, especially if by any accident some collision should occur between them and the authorities. For if the governor had the selection of the [religious of the] villages in his control, who could prevent him from removing or appointing whomever he wished, or choosing those whom he considered better for his own purposes and even molesting the good? For since all the houses with votes in those islands except the convents of Manila are doctrinas, he could place in them the men satisfactory to himself; and these would not fail him in the following provincial chapters in accepting from his hand a provincial who would be most advantageous to him, or most inclined to agree with him. Consequently, he would become absolute master of the monastic government of the orders. If the ordinaries wished to molest those religious whom they did not like, who could prevent them from fulminating penalties for the slightest causes? and this especially where the witnesses are Indians who would swear against their missionaries at any threat or for any profit, whatever the ministers or the visitors of the bishops wished.

It is well seen that all those troubles, so possible, would cease if the governors would govern according to the pious zeal and most Christian intention of his Majesty, and the ordinaries according to the obligation of their estate. But, nevertheless, in parts so distant and remote from the heart of the monarchy, not all the governors and ordinaries work in harmony. For even the good and those regarded as such in España are wont to become changed in the Yndias, and to act very differently from what was [272]expected of them; for power and opportunity generally change the purposes and disorder the expectations of those who are by nature covetous, revengeful, or subject to other passions. What may not [therefore] be feared? On account of all those things the fears of the orders are not ill founded. Would that experience did not testify to all these possibilities. Since even without that subjection the governors and ordinaries are wont to give the regulars causes for merit for very slight causes, what would it be if they held the regulars as subjects and had absolute power to be able to punish them as criminals and to depose them as guilty?

If the regular superior should decide that he ought in conscience to remove any occasion for scandal, or one who was a discredit to his profession, in the case of any of his subjects; and it should be necessary for that reason to remove him from his mission: in such case, if he went to the governor to impart his purpose as he is obliged to do by the right of the royal patronage, the governor having heard the reasons would have a copy of the charges given to the party; and the suit having been brought to trial the defense might even manage with crafty pleas to frustrate the zeal of the superior. In such cases (which are quite ordinary where the said subjection to bishops and viceroys is allowed) the superior will come out disaccredited and justly angry, and the accused triumphant; for his evil conscience and the zeal of his prelate will put him on his guard, and he will be forewarned of each attack.

How many scandals will follow from this, and how many discords, edicts, and enmities! how many expenses in money, and how much bribing of witnesses [273]and intercessors! both of servants and friends of the governors, who are usually benefited by religious of that sort. They are generally aided as much by cunning as by what they spend in order to succeed in their designs, without considering that they are trampling upon all the three essential vows of the estate which they profess—namely, poverty, obedience, and chastity.

Therefore, if the desires of his Majesty are that the regulars shall live in accordance with their own laws; that the natives of the Indias be well instructed; and that they be not molested by the officials of the two estates: the remedy for that is to leave the regulars to their observance without obliging them to become more subject than they have been hitherto. If this is either not advisable or cannot be done, it would be better for the orders that the secular clergy should administer those missions.

For how is it possible that such missionaries should not be covetous if they are inclined to that vice as an efficacious means to maintain themselves in their posts, to attain others that are larger and more wealthy, to defend themselves from the zeal of their prelates? Such will have the power of loading the Indians with pecuniary fines and of doubling the fees; and even perhaps there will not lack some who will avail themselves of trade and commerce to attain that end.

The subjection will result only in advantage to the governors and ordinaries, in trouble to the Indians (for the latter furnish the wealth of such ministers) and disservice to his Majesty; since it means the ruin of religious discipline. The Indians being harassed and the governors and ordinaries [274]being interested parties, all contrary to his Majesty’s holy intent, the Indians will come to have disinclination instead of love to affairs of the faith and religion. And I dare affirm that Christians thus instructed will be Christians rather by force than in their hearts.

In no part of the Yndias can one more intelligently expect that the regulars will be strict of observance than in the Filipinas Islands; for all their missions, even those in the suburbs of Manila, are surrounded by heathen and Moros—Chinese, Japanese, Mindanaos, Joloans, and Borneans, and people of almost all the other kingdoms of the Orient whose conversion is so anxiously desired. For if those heathen and Moro nations, who have before their eyes the conduct of the Christians, come to observe it as not at all in accord with right, not only among the secular clergy but among the regulars—who are by their profession teachers of the law and are bound to furnish a good example as the rule of their observance—what would they think, or what notion would they form of it? It is learned from some mandarins of Great China who were converted to our holy faith because they saw in all the ministers of it for many years a conformity of morals that was regulated to natural law, that they prudently conclude therefrom that the law which taught such actions could not be other than true. If the Chinese and Japanese who live in those islands should see the evangelical ministers acting against all natural dictates, they would come to a contrary conclusion, for they have no greater arguments for belief than those which come through their eyes.

The regulars of the Filipinas Islands have well [275]understood how just it is that the right of his Majesty’s royal patronage be observed therein according to his orders. Therefore, they do not petition for exemption from the choice by the governors and the collations by the ordinaries under any other title than that of a favor from the greatness of his Majesty, if perchance their merits have deserved it. For, as is well known, there are no missions more distant throughout the monarchy nor more seas to pass nor seas so endangered by the enemies of the faith—which can be affirmed by those who administer outside the suburbs of Manila and their environs, who continually bear death or captivity before their eyes.

If his Majesty has been pleased to give privileges to the citizens of those islands with the honorable title of hidalgos and nobles—the munificence of his Majesty supplying what birth denied to many, a privilege not conceded to any others of the Yndias—as a reward for having been willing to become citizens in regions so remote from their fatherland without any other service, in order that by such kindness others might be encouraged to do the same, not less do the regulars merit some special privilege and reward from your Majesty, and the welfare of the souls of the natives. This is the chief object of your Majesty in conserving the Filipinas Islands and all that conduces to this is only a means—namely, that it is inhabited by Spaniards and garrisoned with soldiers, and the expenses which are incurred in all this. Therefore if his Majesty exercises so great munificence in order that the means may not fail so that the end may be attained, in order that it may be more completely and perfectly executed, the regulars may hope for greater favor from the piety of their king. [276]And if laymen are rewarded for the services that they have rendered in those islands with military honors and with great encomiendas of Indians, one can trust that the services rendered to his Majesty by all the orders during a hundred years in the islands will merit some recompense in immunity (even though it be not due for their services) from his gratitude and liberal hand, as they hope from the grandeur of their king and sovereign.

1 Either this date or the date 1665 (see post, p. 266) is doubtless a transcriber’s error.

2 I Corinthians, vii, 20.


Appendix: Judicial Condition of the Philippines in 1842

Source: This is from Sinibaldo de Mas’s Informe de las Islas Filipinas, ii, no. 12.

Translation: This is by James Alexander Robertson. [279]


Appendix: Judicial Condition of the Philippines in 1842

[In addition to the following account by Mas, the student desirous of pursuing the subject will find much data in the various Guias de Filipinas. Some statistics are also presented by Montero y Vidal (Archipielago Filipino, pp. 194–203) for the years 1883–1884. Much of value and interest will also be found in the various reports of the Philippine Commission, and in the numerous pamphlets issued by the United States Government.]

Justice is administered by means of an Audiencia, which has the title of royal, and resides in Manila, being composed of one regent, and five judges; by means of alcaldes-mayor who govern the provinces; and by the gobernadorcillo whom each village has and who is equivalent to our alcalde de monterilla.1 The latter proceeds in criminal cases to the formation of a verbal process, and tries civil causes up to the value of two tailes of gold or 44 pesos fuertes.

The royal Audiencia is a court without appeal in Filipinas. The alcaldes-mayor cannot terminate by their own action civil questions that have to do with a sum of greater value than 100 pesos fuertes, or [280]impose any corporal punishment without the approval of the Audiencia, and then only imprisonment for one week. But they are judges of the first instance for every kind of litigious or criminal cases.

In order that one may obtain the post of alcalde-mayor, it is not necessary that he should have studied law. Hence, the greater part of the heads of the provinces are laymen in that respect. Generally those posts are given to military men. Consequently, this is the origin that for every process which is prosecuted in a lawsuit or cause, the alcalde has to have recourse to an assessor, in order to obtain the opinion of that one on which to base his action. But since the advocates reside in Manila, the records have to make at times many trips from the province to the capital. From this results the inconvenience of delay, the liability of theft, or the destruction of the mail. For, in the many rivers that must be crossed, the papers become so wet that they are useless (as happened with several letters of a post which was received in the chief city of a province when I was there, the envelopes of which it was impossible for us to read), and the malicious extraction in order to obscure the course of justice. The defect of this system can only be understood if one reflect that the various provinces of the colony are not situated on a continent, but in various islands, and that by reason of the periodic winds and the hurricanes which prevail in this region, the capital very often finds itself without news of some provinces for two or three months, and of that of Marianas for whole years.

It appears that what we have said ought to be sufficient to show the necessity of radical reforms in this department, but, unfortunately, there are other [281]more grave reasons for such reform. The alcaldes-mayor are permitted to engage in business.2 The author of Les Estrits des Lois3 said many years ago that the worst of governments is the commercial government; and surely, for those who have studied the science of government, all comment on this point is superfluous. The alcalde who is permitted to engage in business naturally tries, if possible, to monopolize it by all means in his power. This vice of the system leads some greedy men to the greatest excesses, which later are attributed to all alcaldes in general. Upon my arrival at Manila, I asked a very respectable Spaniard who had been in the country for many years about what happens in the provinces. He replied to me: “You know that the alcaldeships are reported to be worth 40,000 or 50,000 duros, and he who seeks one of those posts very earnestly has no other object or hope than to acquire a capital in the six years for which the government confers them. Before going to his province, he borrows 8,000 or 10,000 duros from one of the charitable funds at such and such a per cent. Besides, he has to pay an interest to those who act as bondsmen for him, both to the government for the royal treasury, and to the charitable funds which supply him with money. When he arrives at his province he acts according to conditions ruling in that province, for not all provinces [282]are alike in their productions and circumstances. He generally establishes a supply store, and, consequently, from that moment, any other storekeeper is his rival and enemy. If such storekeeper has a creditor whom he tries to hurry up and goes to the alcalde, he gets no protection. If any theft happens to him the same thing more or less occurs; for, although the alcalde orders efforts made to ascertain the thief, far from taking those measures earnestly, he is secretly glad of the losses of his rivals, and it has even been asserted that there are cases in which the alcalde himself has been the instigator of the crime. Who is your enemy? That of your trade. But does the alcalde himself sell the goods? Sometimes he sells and measures them, at other times he keeps an agent in the store; the most usual thing is, if he is married, for his wife to take charge of the expense, especially of those goods of any value. But his greatest gain consists in making advances of money at the time of the sowing, the period when the Indians need it and try to get it at any cost, for their negligence and their vices do not allow them to foresee such a case and be prepared for it. For example: a farmer signs a paper for the alcalde which obliges him to deliver at harvest time ten measures of sugar, which are worth at least two and one-half duros, and he himself receives only one and one-half, consequently, by that operation alone of advancing money, the alcalde-mayor sometimes gains 40 per cent. But what generally happens is that the Indian is so short sighted and is so indifferent to the future that he signs any burdensome obligation provided he gets some money, and he only takes account of what they give him without [283]thinking of what they are going to get from him. For example, the alcalde gives him 60 duros as an advance for forty measures of sugar at the harvest time. The harvest is bad and he can only give 20. In such case the reckoning is after the following fashion: ‘The sugar has been sold for 4 duros, and hence 20 measures will amount to 80 duros. You cannot pay them to me, consequently they can just as well remain as an advance for the coming year at one and one-half.’ In consequence of that the farmer signs a paper by which he enters under obligation to deliver 53 measures at the next harvest. Harvest time comes, and if it is bad, he only presents, say, 13. Therefore, 40 measures at 4 duros amount to 160 duros of debt, and at one and one-half make 108 measures for the following year. In this way the man keeps on adding more and more until all his goods are at the disposal of the alcalde. Besides, there are innumerable other vexations to which he must subject himself. For instance: he has to deliver to the alcalde 100 cabans of rice; when he presents them the alcalde measures them out with a larger measure than that used in the market. Hence, in reality, the alcalde exacts from him more than he is bound to pay. The same thing happens with indigo. For, a discussion arises as to whether the indigo is, or is not, very damp, and some libras must be taken off for waste; or, whether it is of poorer quality than the Indian promised, and so on.” “But surely it must needs be that it is fitting to take money advanced, since there is one who seeks it, and it is worth more for a farmer to cultivate his land in this way than that he leave it without cultivation for lack of the necessary capital. In regard to the tyrannies [284]which the alcalde tries to commit, it seems to me that they might be avoided by the countryman borrowing the money from a private person who is not in position to annoy him.” “That is all very well thought out, but I will tell you what happens. The Indian borrows money very easily, but it is very difficult to get him to pay it, and he generally avoids doing so, if possible. If a private person lends him money and does not collect it when due, he has to go to the alcalde in order that the latter may force payment. The latter either does so coldly, or pays no attention to the whole matter, since his intention is that such private persons take warning and never again lend to anyone; for, it is evident, that if many come to speculate in this kind of business, the alcalde will soon be shut out, or at least will have to submit himself to the general rules. Consequently, the result is that capitalists draw back from him, saying, and very rightly, that it is only fitting for the alcaldes who possess the means to cause themselves to be paid when a debt is due. The alcalde, then, remains master of the field, and monopolizes this department at his pleasure, for he who needs funds has to go to him, for there are very few who enjoy enough credit to get them elsewhere. Many other advantages also favor the alcalde. The parish priests aid him, and many times take charge of the division of the money of the alcalde in their villages, for they know that that is the sure means of keeping on good terms with him, and obtaining the measures which depend on his will in the matters of their villages. The gobernadorcillos and officials of justice are other instruments of which the alcalde makes use to apportion and collect his funds.” “Why is it that these do not [285]occupy themselves rather in their affairs than in those of the alcalde?” “The alcalde can always, whenever he wishes, make trouble for the gobernadorcillo by making him go to the chief village with innumerable pretexts, and by various other methods which it would take a long time to enumerate, and which it is very easy to conceive. Besides, it is important for the alcalde to keep the gobernadorcillo satisfied. Suppose now, that a road has to be built, or a bamboo bridge, or any other work for which the people of the village who have to do it, according to their obligation called polos and services, are summoned. As some of them are busy in their fields or other business, they wish to be free from such a burden, and they give the gobernadorcillo two or three reals and he excuses them on the ground of sickness. A party of troops or a Spaniard passes by and asks for some beast of burden, or an aid in food. That is also an occasion for the gobernadorcillo to get even with those whom he dislikes and obtain part of his demands; for some give him presents in order that he may not give the beasts of burden, while others do not receive the pay for that food. During the days of tiangui or village fairs, such and such a sum is exacted for each post in the market place. In general there are some men of service called bantayanes who are a kind of sentinel placed at the entrances of villages. Many of them also pay to be excused from that burden when their turn comes or when they are told that it comes. In general he has ten or twelve men called honos, manbaras, etc., given to him, who are exempt from polos and services, and they serve the ayuntamiento to send papers, conduct prisoners, etc., and the gobernadorcillo [286]gives them permission so that they may cultivate their lands, by collecting from them a contribution.” “But it seems to me that the gobernadorcillo will have to give account, if not for all, at least for many of the taxes that you have mentioned.” “It ought to be so, and in fact, some enter into the communal treasury, but they are the fewest and those connected with the legal matters, for of the others there is nothing to be said. For example: I have seen an order enclosing a fine as a punishment on the gobernadorcillo for some fault or misdeed that he had committed. He assembles the cabezas de barangai; the whole sum is apportioned among the people of the village. The amount of the fine is collected and the gobernadorcillo has still something left for his maintenance and revelling.” “Why do they not complain to the alcalde?” “Because, sir, of just what I told you. The alcalde needs the gobernadorcillo so that he may use him in his business, and for all such things he is a very far-sighted man. Besides, the alcalde who tries to investigate those snares of the tribunals (ayuntamientos) will lose his senses without deriving any benefit from it. He does not know the language. As interpreter he has the clerk, who is an Indian, and the entangler-in-chief, and almost always in accord with the Indian magnates.” “If the clerk is a bad man, will he not be hated?” “I do not say that he is beloved, but some fear him, and others are his accomplices. Since the alcalde is, in reality, a business man, he naturally takes more interest in his business than in that of other people, and leaves all court matters in charge of the clerk, who comes to be the arbiter in that matter, and here is where the latter reaps [287]his harvest. One of the members of the tribunal (ayuntamiento) steals, or causes to be stolen from some man his buffalo. The man finds out where it is; he complains to the gobernadorcillo; they begin to take measures; at last the animal is returned to him, but if it is worth five duros, they make him pay ten duros in expenses so that the man either considers his beast as lost and the thieves keep it, or the latter get from him twice as much as it is worth. Hence, if I were to tell all that passes in this wise, my story would be very long. One of the things which they are accustomed to do is to let the prisoners go out of the prison for several days without the government knowing it. I have seen that done this very year of 1841 in the province of—-, in regard to some prisoners whom the alcalde-mayor believed to be in prison; but they were working on the estate of the clerk, and one of those prisoners had committed very serious crimes.” “But why do not the curas remedy all that? I have heard it said that they are really the ones who govern the villages.” “In reality, when the curas take that matter upon themselves, those abuses are remedied, at least in great measure, for they know the language well, and every one in their village knows the truth, if the cura wishes to ascertain it. That is what happened in former times. And also at that time the communal funds were deposited in the convent, and [thus] many tricks and tyrannies were avoided. But for some years the governors who have come from España have desired that the parish priests should keep to their houses and say mass and preach and not meddle with the temporal government; without taking heed that in a whole province there is no other Spaniard [288]who governs than the alcalde-mayor himself, who generally comes from Europa and goes without reflection to take his charge without any knowledge whatever of the country or knowing even a single word of its language. Consequently, many religious, in order to avoid trouble, see and keep still, and allow everything to take what course God wills. This is one of the chief causes of the disorders of the villages, and of the increase of crime.” “Now tell me, do the alcaldes make all the wealth that they are accustomed to acquire with the kind of trade which you have explained to me?” “They have many means of hunting [buscar] for that is the technical expression used in this country, but those means vary according to circumstances. In some provinces great efforts are made to obtain posts as gobernadorcillos and officials of justice, and that department generally is worth a good sum annually. Those are things which the clerk or secretary manages. In the province of—- while Don—- was alcalde-mayor, that gentleman was in collusion with the manager of the wine monopoly and they practiced the following. The harvesters came with their wine, but they were told that it was impossible to receive it. There was a conflict within themselves, for they had to return to their village. Then they were told that if they wished to deposit the wine they would put it in certain jars which had been provided in the storehouse, by paying such and such a rent until the administration could introduce it. The harvesters, who needed the money, thereupon sold the wine to the agents of the alcalde, at any price at all in order to return to their homes. Finally, as he who had come to be an alcalde, has had no other object than [289]to acquire wealth, every matter which does not contribute to that object, such as the making of a bridge, or a road, the prosecution of evil doers, or any occupation purely of government or justice, distracts and troubles him. On the contrary every means of attaining his end appears to him fitting and good. This method of thought is a little more or less in the minds of all; and thus you observe that no one says here, not even excluding the religious, who are those who know the country best, ‘I have such or such reasons for gaining this suit,’ but, ‘I have so many thousand pesos to gain the suit.’ But to tell the truth, it is not to be wondered at that the alcaldes-mayor work without much scruple. In the space of six years they have to pay their passage from and to España; to satisfy the high interest on the money which they have borrowed; to acquit themselves of the amount which their alcaldeship has often cost them; and besides they make their fortunes. Not more or less is done in Turquia.”

In the same way as this good man talked, the majority talk. The faults and vices of some are attributed and laid to all. It is certain that this system is fatal, for governors of such sort must be essentially interested in turning down the attempt of private speculators, and to frighten away instead the attraction of capital. That has, as a natural consequence, the increased interest on money which so endangers production, and, consequently, exportation and the encouragement of the islands. But not less fatal is the opinion that the authorities of Manila themselves are fed on such abuses. Complaints are continually presented against the alcalde, at times very captious and filled with falsehood and absurdity. The Audiencia [290]and office of the captain-general receive those complaints kindly and very easily dictate measures humiliating for the alcalde, and impose fines on him, of which a copy is given to the complaining parties. Rarely is it that one leaves his alcaldeship without having paid many fines. The Filipinos make the greatest ado, as is natural, over those triumphs against authority, but authority loses decorum and moral force. All this comes from the bad system established, for, since the governor from the moment that he becomes a merchant, must be a bad governor and a usurer and tyrant, the government of Manila is predisposed against his acts, and declares itself the protector of the Filipinos. In this way one evil is remedied by a worse. The supreme authority instead of supporting and sustaining the subordinate government punishes and degrades it. Illusion, respect, and fear vanish. It is believed that that severity against those who rule is advantageous in making our yoke loved, and that the natives will say, “The government is kind for it punishes the alcaldes,” while it would be better for them to say, “The government is kind because it gives us good alcaldes.”

Shortly after my arrival in the islands, being at the feast of Cavite, distant four hours from the capital, I wished to go thither on horseback, but all who heard of it dissuaded me from the idea, asserting that I was about to commit a rash act. Another time when I was coming from Laguna, on passing through Montinlupa, the manager of the estate of that name was so greatly alarmed that he wished to accompany me with his servants until we came near the city, and in fact I learned soon that I was running [291]a great danger on that road, and that shortly before a Spanish sergeant had been murdered on it. Then I was very much surprised to find that it was dangerous to go near the capital without an escort, but later I have been much more surprised to see that in provinces distant from the capital a complete security is enjoyed. In order to show the condition of the criminality of the island we shall present the following data drawn from the clerk’s office of the Audiencia.

Criminal causes sentenced in the Audiencia of Filipinas between the years 1831–1837

[not inclusive]

Years Causes
1832 75
1833 83
1834 43
1835 102
1836 108

Report of the criminal causes sentenced between the years 1836–1842 [not inclusive]


Years Rebellion or Conspiracy Murder Robbery Theft and Imposition Incendiarism Mobs and Lampoons Falsehood and Perjury Immorality and Scandal Wounds and rough usage Total no. of Causes
1837 43 54 2 2 8 5 114
1838 108 145 6 4 7 52 60 382
1839 74 149 1 5 2 45 41 317
1840 2 83 106 5 1 3 41 54 295
1841 131 216 12 6 5 66 67 499
2 439 670 26 16 19 212 227 1609


[Years] Imprisonment Deprivation of Office and other correctives Total no. of Sentences
[1837] 6 99 17 122
1838] 6 140 169 313
1839] 6 192 46 244
1840] 7 131 19 157
[1841] 3 173 77 253
28 735 328 1089
Total number of causes sentenced in the first five years 411
Idem 1607
Increasing the latter 1196

[Here follows a report in tabular form showing the number of causes in each province for the years 1840 and 1841. This table is compiled at least in part from the guide of Manila for the year 1840; the population of each province being taken therefrom. Thirty-three provinces are enumerated. The total number of causes for 1840 was 295, and for 1841, 499.]

The first thing which arrests the attention in these reports is the increase of crime. The fiscal, whom I questioned in regard to this matter, told me that now many causes are elevated to process which were before finished in the interior courts, and that during these latter years many old causes had been sentenced. This may be true, but in regard to the accumulation of back cases that have been sentenced, I believe that that can only be understood from the year 1838, or even from that of 1839, because of the lack of judges in which the court found itself in 1837. No matter how it is considered, the increase is palpable, for the causes alone for murder of last year amount to more than all those of any of the [293]years of the first five years, and it is incredible that at that time they neglected to try people for homicide, although they did dissimulate in regard to lesser crimes. The second thing which arrests the attention is the tendency to theft, since the greater part of the homicides have been committed by robbers, and further one sees a great multitude of causes for theft. For among those two kinds of crime are found two-thirds of all kinds of criminality. This is a matter well worthy of reflection in a country where the means of existence can be procured so readily. The third [thing that arrests the attention] is the mildness of the sentences. In the last five years, when there were 439 homicides, only 28 have ascended the scaffold, one-third of those tried have been set at liberty, and 328 condemned to light punishment. One would not believe that those treated with so great mercy are (at least always) criminals for insignificant faults. A man of the village of Narbakan was tried in the year 1840 for having begotten children twice by his daughter, the second time that having been done by means of assaulting her with a dagger. The attorney asked for ten years of imprisonment, but the Audiencia did not impose any penalty and did not even condemn him to the costs, nor did it take the measure in honor of public morality of causing them to separate, but allowed them to live together as they are still doing. At the beginning of the same year, 1840, Mariano San Gerónimo, a servant from youth to a Spanish tailor called Garcia, stole one hundred pesos fuertes from his master, and another hundred from Captain Castejon, adjutant of the captain-general of the islands, who was living in his house; by extracting them from the trunks of [294]each one. That of the captain-general he opened with the key which the latter’s own assistant gave him. The greater part of the money was delivered to that assistant, his accomplice; the rest was lost at play. This deed served the defender of San Geronimo, Don Agustin Ruiz de Santayana, to petition his acquittal, alleging in his favor the incapacity and irreflection which that individual had shown with the said thief. Both the criminal and his accomplice confessed, and no obstacle was presented to substantiate this verbal process. However, it lasted for more than one year. They troubled the master Garcia so much with notifications and accounts of the maintenance of the prisoner that at last he refused to have anything more to do with the matter, and abandoned the charge. The alcalde-in-ordinary sentenced San Gerónimo to six months’ imprisonment. When the Audiencia examined that clause, March 31, 1841, it ordered the prisoner to be liberated. In Inglaterra, that violator of his own daughter, and the domestic thief would have been given the death sentence on the gallows.

This impunity for crimes is, to my understanding, very fatal, not only because of the encouragement which it gives on that account to criminality, but also because of the fear which gobernadorcillos and alcaldes have in arresting the guilty, for they know that they will be soon liberated and will soon take vengeance on them by robbing them, cutting down their trees, and burning their places of business. An employe of estimable qualities in the department of taxes told me that once grown tired in a certain province of seeing that no one dared to arrest a thief who had terrified the entire village, he himself took the [295]trouble to waylay and seize him in the very operation of committing a theft. He had him bound, and sent him to the alcalde with the general complaint. In a few weeks he saw him again in the village and had to reckon with him. I have been in the estate of Buena-Vista in the outskirts of which live very many robbers. However, they do not steal there, but they go to do that in other places, bringing there afterward horses, buffaloes, and whatever they can lay their hands on. The manager does not dare to wage war against them or to denounce their thefts, although he knows them. One night when I was there at twelve o’clock, appeared a cavalry troop sent from the neighboring province of Pampanga by Alcalde Urbina and commanded by Lieutenant Lao. With them they brought several persons who had been robbed, and took them before the official. He had a list of many whom he was to arrest. It had already been given to the justice of the village. We amounted to four or five Spaniards in that place. One of those who live there came within a few minutes to tell us secretly that those who were to do the arresting had already advised those who were to be arrested so that they might get out of the way, and so that no one could be caught. That person and the manager were silent in order not to compromise themselves, and I did the same, because the evil was already done, and in order not to abuse the confidence which they had in me. In fact, the officer and his men, and the guides, went away without having arrested a single one. A fortnight after another official, named Dayot, who knows the language of the country well, returned. Warned by what had happened the first time, he went directly to the houses where [296]his guides took him; and, consequently, he seized some of them. Later he came to the estate and asked us for a very notorious fellow who was said to be absent. We assured him that we had seen that man less than an hour before. I advised Dayot to have the soldiers put aside their arms and uniforms, and send them dressed like the natives together with the guides, and if they surprised anyone to take him to the barracks; since, to imagine that the justice would aid him to arrest the criminals was to imagine something that could not be. In fact, he did that, and within three days he marched away taking five or six prisoners with him. A great state of consternation reigned throughout that district, which was good evidence of the moral condition of the inhabitants. In a few months I asked and learned that they were back already and in quiet possession of their homes. One day I was talking in Manila to the regent of the Audiencia, Don Matías de Mier, about that system of impunity which I had observed in the islands. That gentleman remarked to me: “It is not possible to take severe measures here, Señor Mas, for it is necessary to govern here with mildness.” I praise and esteem most sincerely the benevolent ideas and the good heart of Señor Mier, but it seems to me that his words might be answered somewhat by those of Jeremias Bentham:4 “How many praises are wasted on mercy! It has been repeated, time and time again, that that is the first virtue of a sovereign. Surely if crime consists only in an offense to one’s self-love, if it is no more than a satire which is directed against him or his favorites, the moderation of [297]the prince is meritorious. The pardon which he grants is a triumph obtained over himself! But when one treats of a crime against society, the pardon is not an act of clemency, it is a downright prevarication.... Every criminal who escapes justice threatens the public safety and innocence is not protected by being exposed to become the victim of a new crime. When a criminal is absolved all the crimes that he can perpetuate are committed by his hands.” In no army are there so many executions as in that in which slight faults are disregarded. How many charges can be laid to the door of the one who carried away by a poorly understood charity, contributes to the increase, in any society, of assault, theft, assassination, tears, and executions. “Every pardon granted to a criminal,” says Filangieri,5 “is a crime committed against humanity.” I cannot conceive how there is anyone who can imagine that the exercise of kindness to evil doers is useful or agreeable to the good. I believe, on the contrary, that those are lamented by the people who are unsafe in their houses while they are paying contributions to the government which is obliged to protect them. [Other reflections of a similar nature follow.]

The tribunal might declare that it works in accordance with the spirit of the Leyes de Indias, but be that as it may, it is, in my opinion, certain that with this system of tolerating everything from the natives, and of punishing and degrading the subordinate authorities, the Audiencia of Manila is losing the islands. [298]

So far am I removed from being a bloodthirsty individual that I would like to see the death sentence removed from our criminal code. It would be useless to repeat in support of my opinion the ideas expressed by many celebrated socialists in regard to the abolition of capital punishment, but I will make one observation only, which I have read in no author. The criminal ought always to inspire public scorn and horror, but from the instant in which he is seen on the scaffold, the aversion of people becomes calm, and he is converted into an unfortunate fellow and an object of compassion. This impression does not seem proper to me. Further, restricting myself to Filipinas I shall say that since the penalties are imposed so that fear of them may keep others from committing the crimes, the death penalty does not cause in that country the same effect as in others, for its natives have a distinct physical organization from us, and their instinct of life is much less strong than that of the Europeans. Consequently, outside of cases in which one treats of questions vital for the colony, I believe that the death penalty is a useless cruelty. To mark those criminals well, and to use them in public works, or in agriculture, would be much more advantageous, and would better conserve the real object to which laws should tend, namely, the common good.

One of the things which contributes to the increase of crime is the prohibition in which the chiefs of the provinces find themselves from applying corporal punishment, without the approval of the Audiencia. For if a cause were to be made for the theft of buffaloes, horses, etc., it would be an interminable matter. To put the Filipino in jail is to move him to a better [299]dwelling than his own. Then he is given his food there, which, however little and poor it be, will never be less than that to which he is accustomed daily. He does not work; on the contrary he lies stretched out all day, and that is his happiness. Besides, he finds in the same dwelling other fellow-countrymen with whom to converse and to chew buyo. Consequently, in the country, the idea of going to prison is very far from the impression that it gives in España where men are always animated by the spirit of activity and love to society. It has happened many times and I have seen it, that prisoners escape to attend a feast or go on a pilgrimage, and as soon as that is over they return to present themselves. I am of the opinion that the prison ought alone to be used as a means of detention, and that for light punishments, the lash should be applied. The idea of beating a man is repugnant to many philanthropic persons, for they say that such punishment is for beasts. However, for certain people who do not know what self esteem and honor mean, material punishments are necessary. How can one infuse fear and aversion to crime in one who despises that powerful stimulus for well doing? Who will tell us? This question is still disputed in cultured Europa and the civilized English have not dared to banish the rod from their military code. The first thing which is seen in the hut of any Filipino is the rattan for bringing up their children, and whoever has been in the country for some years thinks that all the provinces would be most tranquil and free from highwaymen if less papers were written and more beatings given.

There are over 80 advocates in Filipinas. The majority have studied in Manila in the same manner [300]as they did a century ago in España. It might be said that they belong to the casuist school. The preparation for any lawsuit is consequential and the superfluous writs innumerable, as our system has always been to open all the doors to the innocence of the natives; and many of the advocates are of that same class or are Chinese mestizos. The language which they use is often indecorous, bold, lacking in purity and idiom, and even in grammatical construction. The Audiencia endures it as it is the old style custom, for in times past there were few advocates capable of explaining themselves better. The Filipinos believe that composed and moderate writs can have no effect at court, and they are only contented with those which are full of invective, reticence, interrogation, and exclamation.

Since the alcaldes of the first instance are laymen, they have to appoint an assessor and very often when one party sees that his suit is badly prepared, he challenges the assessor even three times. It is an abusive matter, and to the prejudice of justice, for in case of challenge of the assessor, that ought to be done at the moment that he is notified of his appointment, and not after seeing that which is not favorable to him, and that judgment is near.

The Leyes de Indias, compiled in 1754, and all the previous decrees and royal orders before that time still rule in Filipinas, in addition to the decrees and edicts of the governor-general. Of all this there is nothing, or very little, printed. The advocates generally know the laws in force by tradition and hear-say, but when they need any of the laws they have to look for it in the house of some friend, or, if not that, in the secretary’s office of the government, whence [301]very frequently it has disappeared, or in the office of the fiscal, or that of the intendant; because some orders are communicated by grace and justice, and others by the treasury or by other ministries. He who has no relatives or is new in the country is ignorant of the rules in force, or has not the means of acquiring them. Besides so far as they are not overthrown by the Leyes de Indias the laws of the Siete Partidas have as much force as do the latest Recopilación,6 Roman law, royal and old law, and, in fact, all the confused mass of the Spanish codes. Consequently, it is a vast sea in which are found abundantly the resources necessary to mix up matters and stultify the course of justice. In English India, a book is printed annually of all the orders which have been communicated to the tribunals and governors. This forms a collection which is entitled The Regulations, which is now being translated into the language of the natives by order of the government.

There are orders and even articles of the ordinances of good government to specify the price of food. These schedules are very often, as is evident, the cause of the disappearance of things, and, as they are not found in the market it is necessary to petition the gobernadorcillo to provide food which he is obliged to furnish at the price named in this schedule; and at times where there are many Spaniards and soldiers, that amounts to hundreds of fowls, eggs, etc., which the village must supply monthly and even daily. This is not only an odious task, but also the reason for infamous vexations on the part of the cabezas de barangai, for the unhappy cailianes are those who have to furnish it all without even collecting [302]a thing. It must be well known that cheapness in articles proceeds only from collecting those articles and this proceeds only from abundance, and abundance only from freedom in the market; and the assigning of a low price to any article by schedule is the most direct method of restricting its production and heightening its price.

After all that we have set forth, one can well say that the department of the administration of justice is what needs the most prompt and speedy reform. From that, then, it is obvious that all the alcaldes-mayor ought to be jurisconsults. The custom of allowing governors to trade is not suitable for the age in which we live, surely, although there are some who do not abuse their position, and today there are some who can be presented as models of honor and nobility, especially Don Juan Castilla who governs in Samar, and Don Francisco Gutierrez de los Rios in Laguna. Not only is the latter free from the avarice and other faults which are so common to other alcaldes, and does not make use of the permission to trade, but also recognizes the defects of the present administration, and declaims in the bosom of his friends against them, since he is imbued with the sane principles of justice and political economy. But in such matters one must not reckon on virtue but always with human nature. One day happening to question one of the most judicious and kind persons whom I have known in the islands, how Alcalde Peñaranda had happened to lose his money, he answered me: “He gave it to an agent to use, he to share in the profits, and then paid no attention to it for three years after. He gave up his time very greatly to the building of bridges and roads, and [303]while he was busy in such bits of foolishness, the other made the most of his time and consumed it all.” Another person, of whose philanthropy and gentlemanliness I have positive proofs, told me that if he obtained the government of a province, he would assemble all the influential men and make them an offer to renounce all trade provided that they gave him a certain annual sum. I replied to him that that was an impracticable project and stated my reasons. “Then,” replied he, “I would harass everyone who engaged in trade until he ceased it, or left the province, and it would be all the worse for him.” Such are the evils of a bad system. One becomes accustomed to the idea that a government post offers the opportunity of making money and nothing else. The moment that one has obtained office, he believes that he has a right to make money, without considering the means to any extent; while he who is careless of his own interests and busies himself in the progress of the province, like Señor Peñaranda, is ridiculed and called a fool.

Many believe that to prohibit the alcaldes from trading would be useless, because they would do it by all means through a second person. There might be some fraud, but there is no doubt but that the evil would be remedied, if not wholly, in great measure, especially if any contract in regard to business interests signed by the alcaldes in Filipinas be declared null and void; for it is very difficult to find in the country persons to whom to hand over a capital and be sure of their good faith, and it is not easy to take them with him from España. And even leaving aside these disadvantages, it will always result from the prohibition that the agent of the alcalde will have [304]to manage his money with great secrecy and as if it were his own, in which case there would be no trouble. The government of India was a few years ago entirely commercial, but since the commerce was prohibited, none of its dependents engage in it. Those who have savings deposit them in one of the banks or in one of the good commercial houses there at four or five per cent, or indeed they buy public stock or speculate with them. Alcaldeships in my opinion ought to be divided into three classes and given to individuals, all of them advocates, who would form a body of civil employes. When an alcaldeship of the first class fell vacant, it would be given to the senior advocate in charge of those of the second class, and so on. The regulation that alcaldes were to remain in the country only six years was founded certainly on the fear that they might acquire a dangerous influence over the country. To the degree that the precaution is not unfounded, the term is very short for so long a distance, for among other obstacles it contains the one that when a chief is beginning to know the country he has to leave it. Fifteen or twenty years would be a more fitting time.

In English India all the civil and military employes know the language of the country. That extreme, however advantageous it be, and is, in fact could be brought about here only with difficulty. It would have been easy if one of the dialects of the islands had been established from the beginning as the language of the government and of the courts; for a Visayan learns Tagálog very quickly, and any other idiom of the country, and the same thing is true of the other natives.

[If that had been done] all would at this moment [305]show well or poorly the dominant language, just as in Cataluña, Valencia, the Baleares Islands, and the Basque provinces, Castilian is known. But this is not a matter which can be remedied in a brief time. Consequently, if an alcalde who is beginning to administer justice in Cagayan has to go immediately to Cebú, he will surely arrive there without knowing the language, although he had given himself to the study of it from the very beginning. But if this is an evil, this evil is now being endured, for the alcaldes arrive from España, and since they know that they have to return in six years, they do not take the least trouble to learn the language, and they leave the government in this regard just as when they entered it.

In the capital and its suburbs, justice is administered by means of two lay alcaldes, who are appointed annually by the ayuntamiento from the citizens of the city. When the appointees are men of wealth, they resign, for this charge alone occasions them ill-humor and serious occupations which distract them from their business. Those who accept or desire it, can have no other stimulus than that of vile interest, tolerating prohibited games, etc. It is, then, necessary to appoint two lawyers with suitable pay to be judges of first instance.

Everyone knows what the Leyes de Indias are, the epoch in which they were made, and the distinct regions for which they were dictated. It is, then, indispensable and peremptory to make the civil codes of legal processes, of criminal instruction, and of commerce especially for the country.

In India there is a commission of the government composed of four votes and a president, charged [306]with making and revising the laws of India. For the same purpose, in my opinion, three persons who had studied or should study the country would be sufficient here. In such case I would be of the opinion that they be not allowed to do their work together, but that each one work alone and present his results. Another commission ought to be appointed immediately (there would be no harm in those same men forming it) to examine the codes and present a résumé of the points in which they differed essentially. These would be few and in regard to them the government could take the best resolution. [307]

1 Alcalde de monterilla: An ironical and descriptive qualification of petty judges (Dominguez’s Diccionario).

2 As appears from a note by Mas, the alcaldes paid a certain sum for the privilege of trading. Their salaries in 1840 were variously for the sums of 300, 600, and 1,000 (one instance) pesos. The trading privilege cost from 40 to 300 pesos.

3 This is the famous philosophical treatise on political science, which was published by Charles de Secondat, baron de la Brède de Montesquieu, in 1748, and was the product of twenty years’ work.

4 Jeremy Bentham, the English jurist and philosopher who lived in the years 1748–1832.

5 Probably referring to La scienza della legislazione of Gaetano Filangieri, the Italian jurist, who lived 1752–88. He was influenced somewhat by Montesquieu.

6 i.e., Of the Leyes de Indias.


Bibliographical Data

The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla:

1. Letter from the archbishop of Manila.—“Simancas—Eclesiastico; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y espedientes de arzobispo de Manila; años 1579 á 1697; est. 68, caj. 1, leg. 32.

The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid:

2. Jesuit protest.—“Papeles de los Jesuitas, to. 4o., no. 259.

The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Archivo general, Simancas:

3. Paz’s Description of Philipinas.—“Consejo de Inquisicion, libro 786.” (We present such part of this document as relates to the Philippines.)

The following are taken from the Ventura del Arco MSS. (Ayer library):

4. Condition of Philippines, 1652.—Tomo ii, pp. 385–390.

5. Jesuit missions, 1655.—Tomo ii, pp. 391–399.

6. Events in Manila, 1662–63.—Tomo ii, pp. 421–480.

7. Letter from Salcedo.—Tomo ii, pp. 481–483.

8. Friars and episcopal visitation.—Tomo ii, pp. 401–419. [308]

The following is obtained from Retana’s Archivo:

9. Royal funeral rites.—Tomo ii, pp. 105–158.

The following are taken from Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica:

10. Aid asked for Jesuits.—Tomo iii, pp. 786, 787.

11. Two Jesuit memorials.—Tomo iii, pp. 804, 805.

The following is taken from Historia general de los religiosos descalzos ... de San Agustin:

12. Recollect missions, 1646–60.—Part ii, by Luis de Jesús (Madrid, 1681), pp. 371–373, from a copy in the possession of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago; and part iii, by Diego de Santa Theresa (Barcelona, 1743) pp. 134–558, from a copy in the Library of Congress—using only such matter as relates to the Philippines.

The following is obtained from an old pamphlet not usually included in Philippine bibliographies:

13. Description of Filipinas, 1662.—From a pamphlet published at Puebla, Mexico, in 1662; it is bound in with Letona’s Perfecta religiosa (Puebla, 1662, a rare work), in the copy possessed by Antonio Graiño y Martinez, Madrid.

The following is obtained from Sinibaldo de Mas’s Informe de las Islas Filipinas:

14. Administracion de Justicia (1842).—Vol. ii, no. 12.

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