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 XXI, 1624


Contents of Volume XXI



  • Title-page of Historia general de los religiosos descalzos ... del gran padre ... San Augustin, by Andres de San Nicolas (Madrid, 1664); photographic facsimile from copy in library of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago. 109
  • Title-pages (the first engraved) to Historia general de los religiosos descalzos ... del gran padre ... San Augustin, by Luis de Jesús, Augustinian Recollect (Madrid, 1681); photographic facsimiles from copy in library of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago. 187, 189
  • Title-page of volume iv of Historia general de Philipinas, by Juan de la Concepción, Augustinian Recollect (Manila, 1788); photographic facsimile from copy in library of Harvard University. 261


This volume, dated 1624, is entirely devoted to religious matters, ecclesiastical or missionary in their scope. The current documents for that year are concerned with conflicts between the diocesan authorities and the religious orders, and between the civil and religious authorities in Manila; the defeat by the Audiencia of the late Governor Fajardo’s attempt to found a seminary for the training of Japanese missionaries to be sent to labor in their own country; and efforts by the Spanish government to check the assumptions of the religious orders. Then follows a historical account of the early Recollect missions in the islands, down to the year 1624, compiled from the works of Andrés San Nicolas, Luis de Jesús, and Juan de la Concepción.

A document entitled “Ecclesiastical affairs in the Philippines” contains letters, decrees, etc., bearing on this subject, dated from 1574 to 1624. Instructions to Gomez Perez Dasmariñas (1574) jealously restrict to the crown or its officials all exercise of the royal patronage; and give minute details of the course to be pursued by the governor and the provincials of the religious orders in matters where that right is involved. This is followed by various official documents issued in the controversy between Archbishop Serrano and the religious orders (1622–24) regarding the right claimed for archbishop and bishops to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority over the [4] religious of the orders, when charged with the care of souls, as over the secular clergy. Serrano fortifies his position by various royal decrees and papal bulls. These documents show that much laxity has prevailed in selecting missionaries for the Indians, some of these teachers not even knowing the language of the natives to whom they minister; also that the friars claim even greater authority over their parishioners than that exercised by the archbishop and bishops in whose dioceses their missions are located. On June 20, 1622, the archbishop begins his official visit in the parish of Dilao (near Manila); and his edict announcing this calls upon the people of the parish to bring to him any complaints or information that they may have regarding any fault, illegal act, or neglect of duty in their cura or parish priest. Fray Alonso de Valdemoro was then in charge of the Dilao mission; refusing to obey the archbishop’s commands, he is excommunicated by the latter, and sentenced to imprisonment in a monastery. But the Audiencia refuse to support the archbishop, who accordingly writes a letter to the king complaining of the resistance made by the friars. Felipe IV, in a decree dated August 14, 1622, orders that the missions in the Philippines shall be subject to the provisions of another decree (issued June 22 of the same year) promulgated for the missions in Nueva España. This provides that the same procedure be followed therein as in the missions of Peru; that the missions remain in charge of the orders, but that hereafter the religious be not placed in charge of missions; that they shall be subject to the archbishop in matters pertaining to the churches and the care of souls, but that anything relating to the personal character of such [5] priest shall be privately referred to his superior in the order, who shall try and correct him.

An unsigned and undated document (1624?) gives an interesting account of a conflict between the civil and religious authorities in Manila over the question of a criminal’s right to asylum in a church. It is decided, at least for the time, in favor of the ecclesiastical authorities.

At the death of Governor Fajardo (July 11, 1624) the Audiencia take charge of the government. One of their first measures is to revoke the grant made not long before by Fajardo of certain monopolies to a seminary founded by him for educating Christian Japanese to go as ordained missionaries to their own country. The members of the Audiencia claim that this was an ill-timed act, in view of the persecution of Christians in Japan, and the edicts of its ruler expelling Spaniards from his realm, and forbidding his subjects to trade with them. Moreover, the seminary building is being erected in a place selected in violation of a royal decree, and which has been arbitrarily seized from its owners; and the monopolies granted are a grievance and injury to many persons, especially to the Indians who reside near Manila. The Audiencia accordingly revoke these, and order that the seminary building be demolished; and they issue a royal decree in accordance with this decision.

In a letter dated August 15, 1624, Archbishop Serrano advises the king either to give more power and authority to the Audiencia, or to suppress it. In the latter part of the same year the king issues some decrees affecting the religious in the islands. The first (dated August 30) cites earlier decrees regulating the privileges and jurisdiction of the religious, [6] and orders that these be strictly observed. In a letter to the archbishop of Manila (dated October 8), Felipe gives some directions regarding the religious orders. A letter (dated November 27) to the Dominican provincial enumerates various abuses practiced toward the Indians by the friars of that order, and directs him to see that these be corrected.

An interesting chapter of ecclesiastical history is provided in the accounts of the early Recollect missions in the islands. These are selected from the printed works here named: Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden de San Avgvstin, by Andrés de San Nicolas (Madrid, 1664), and the second part of the same work, by Luis de Jesús (Madrid, 1681); and Historia general de Philipinas, by Juan de la Concepción (Manila, 1788). From all these books we select, as has been already announced, only such portions as closely concern our subject, and such as contain information of special value, or which is otherwise not accessible.

From San Nicolas’s work we take his account of the foundation of the Recollect missions in the islands. This is begun in May, 1605, by Fray Joan de San Jerónimo, who sets out with thirteen other religious; they arrive at Cebú on May 10, 1606, one of the missionaries having died on the voyage. After a brief description of Luzón and Manila, the writer recounts the entrance of the Recollects into that city, their hospitable reception from all, and their establishment in a house of their own outside the walls. After some of the fathers have learned the Tagál language, they begin their missionary labors at Mariveles, not far from Manila, whose native inhabitants are unusually brutal and ferocious. A brief [7] outline of the customs and beliefs of these people is presented, which, although slight, is valuable as being another original source of ethnological information about the Filipino peoples—the early Recollect missionaries, like Chirino and his co-laborers, having gone among wild Indians who had had little acquaintance with the Spaniards; and their observations are therefore of natural and primitive conditions among the natives.

The missionaries first sent to Mariveles soon die from hardship, privation, and penances; but others at once volunteer to take their places. Rodrigo de San Miguel is the first of these to go; and he, with others, accomplishes a wonderful work among the fierce Zambales. Details of the labors of each, and of marvelous escapes from death, are related. At Masinglo a convent is founded by Andrés del Espiritu Santo, which becomes a center of missionary work for a large district. The missionaries are kept under strict rule and discipline, that their self-abnegation and frugal mode of life may emphasize their preaching; and regulations are laid down for their missionary work and their relations with the Indians. The main residence of the Recollects is, after some years, removed within the walls of Manila; and a handsome building is erected for it, and endowed, by a pious citizen. Some notable images in its church are described.

Attempts being made, in both Rome and Spain, to suppress the new order of Augustinian Recollects, various testimonies to the value of their work, and to their piety and zeal, are furnished by various officials, both civil and ecclesiastical; and in connection with these is a statement of the scope and character [8] of the occupations and services of the Recollects, in both peace and war. Convents are founded by these missionaries at Bolinao and Cigayan. At the latter place, one of the fathers is slain by an Indian, and the church is burned by the revolting natives; but the indefatigable missionaries return to the unpromising field, again subdue the wild Indians, and restore what these had destroyed. Another residence is established at Cavite, which accomplishes great good among the seamen who live there.

The history of the discalced Augustinians is continued by Luis de Jesús. In 1621 the reformed branch of the Augustinians is erected into a congregation independent of the original order. In that year a convent of the discalced is founded in Cebú, and, through the generosity of their benefactor Ribera, another at Calumpan, outside the walls of Manila; the latter serves as a quiet retreat for the fathers, to the benefit of both their physical and spiritual health, and under its care is placed the village of Sampaloc. In it is kept a miraculous image of the Virgin. In 1622 the Recollects begin to evangelize Mindanao, of which island there is a brief description, with more detailed ones of certain curious birds and animals found there, and of the customs and beliefs of the natives. Their government is simply the tyranny of the strong over the weak, a condition of oppression and cruelty and wretchedness. Slavery, formerly a common practice among them, has been broken up where the missionaries have introduced the Christian religion. In 1609 the natives of Caraga are subdued by the Spaniards, as also in 1613 a revolt by them is quelled; and finally (1622) the Recollects carry the gospel among them. [9] The missionaries do much to subdue these fierce savages, and make many converts—notable among whom is a powerful chief named Inuc, whose example is followed by many. A flourishing mission has also been established on the river of Butúan, where had formerly been a Christian mission, now abandoned. Detailed accounts are given of the labors and dangers which the fathers undergo, and of certain conversions. Our historian does the same for the missions in Calamianes and Cuyo. It may be noted that the Recollect missionaries vigorously pursued the same policy as that of the Jesuits in forming “reductions” or mission villages of their converts. Various miraculous events in the experience of the missionaries are related, especially the exorcism of certain demons who attempted to drive the Spanish soldiers out of the country. Another mission is opened on the Cagayan River in Misamis, northern Mindanao; the fathers meet great trials and hardships, but finally succeed in converting the leading headman on the river, with many of his followers. They are greatly aided in this by the successful revolt of these Indians against the Mahometan chief Corralat, in which they ask and receive the assistance of the Spanish troops stationed at Tandag. From the records of the provincial chapter held at Manila in 1650 is compiled a list of the Recollect convents in Mindanao and Calamianes, with the number of families attached to each. The writer goes on to relate some of the trials, hardships, and dangers experienced by the Recollect missionaries in their work, several being martyrs to their zeal. In 1624 is held the first chapter meeting of the new Recollect province of Filipinas; Fray Onofre de la Madre de Dios is chosen [10] provincial, and certain regulations for the conduct of the religious of the order there are adopted.

With these earlier narratives may be compared that of Juan de la Concepción, in his Historia (vols. iv and v), which contains some matter additional to the others, although his account is largely drawn from these. The Recollects, like the Jesuits, form “reductions” of their scattered converts, in order to carry on their instruction more advantageously. The difficulties between the observantine and reformed branches of the Augustinian order are recounted with some fulness. A singular epidemic of demoniacal obsession at Cavite is dispelled by the religious services held at the new Recollect church there. At the request of the bishop of Cebú, the discalced Augustinians extend their work—a reënforcement of missionaries having arrived from Spain—to the Visayan Islands and to Mindanao (1622); some account of their successes in the latter region is given. They also push forward into the Calamianes Islands and Paragua (1622). Of these islands the writer presents an interesting account, describing their principal products and natural resources, as well as the character and religious beliefs of the natives. Among these people, unusually brutal and fierce, go the undaunted Recollects, and soon establish flourishing missions, collecting the people in “reductions.” Then they send to Manila a request that Spanish soldiers come and take possession of Paragua, which is done. The missions spread farther, and a large part of the island is subdued to the Christian faith and the crown of Spain.

The Editors

October, 1904.


Documents of 1624

Sources: The first of these documents is obtained from Pastells’s edition of Celin’s Labor evangélica, iii, pp. 674–697; the second, from the Ventura del Arco MSS. (Ayer library), i, pp. 515–523; the others, from the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla—save the second of the “Royal orders,” from the “Cedulario Indico” of the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid.

Translations: The third document is translated by Robert W. Haight; the second part of the fifth, by Arthur B. Myrick, of Harvard University; the remainder, by James A. Robertson. [12]

Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Philippines

Royal Instructions to Gomez Perez Dasmariñas Regarding Ecclesiastical Affairs

The King. To Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, my governor and captain-general of the Philipinas Islands, or the person or persons in charge of their government: I ordered a decree of various articles to be given to my viceroy of Nueva España, in regard to what was to be done and observed in that country for the preservation of my patronage, as is contained at length in the said decree, whose tenor is as follows:

“The King. To our viceroy of Nueva España, or the person or persons who shall, for the time being, be exercising the government of that country: As you know, the right of the ecclesiastical patronage belongs to us throughout the realm of the Yndias—both because of having discovered and acquired that new world, and erected there and endowed the churches and monasteries at our own cost, or at the cost of our ancestors, the Catholic Sovereigns; and because it was conceded to us by bulls of the most holy pontiffs, conceded of their own accord. For its conservation, and that of the right that we have to it, we order and command that the said right of patronage be always preserved for us and our royal crown, [13] singly and in solidum, throughout all the realm of the Yndias, without any derogation therefrom, either in whole or in part; and that we shall not concede the right of patronage by any favor or reward that we or the kings our successors may confer.

“Further, no person or persons, or ecclesiastical or secular communities, or church or monastery, shall be able to exercise the right of patronage by custom privilege, or any other title, unless it be the person who shall exercise it in our name, and with our authority and power; and no person, whether secular or ecclesiastical, and no order, convent, or religious community, of whatever state, condition, rank, and preeminence he or they may be, shall for any occasion and cause whatever, judicially or extra-judicially, dare to meddle in any matter touching my royal patronage, to injure us in it—to appoint to any church, benefice, or ecclesiastical office, or to be accepted if he shall have been appointed—in all the realm of the Indias, without our presentation, or that of the person to whom we commit it by law or by letters-patent. He who shall do the contrary, if he be a secular person, shall incur the loss of the concessions that shall have been made to him by us in all the realm of the Indias, shall be unable to hold and obtain others, and shall be exiled perpetually from all our kingdoms and seigniories; and if he shall be an ecclesiastical person, he shall be considered as a foreigner, and exiled from all our kingdoms, and shall not be able to hold or obtain any benefice or ecclesiastical office, and shall incur the other penalties established against such by laws of these my kingdoms. And our viceroys, audiencias, and royal justices shall proceed with all severity against those who thus shall infringe [14] or violate our right of patronage; and they shall proceed officially, either at the petition of our fiscals, or at that of any party who demands it; and in the execution of it great diligence shall be exercised.

“We desire and order that no cathedral church, parish church, monastery, hospital, votive church, or any other pious or religious establishment be erected, founded, or constructed, without our express consent for it, or that of the person who shall exercise our authority; and further, that no archbishopric, bishopric, dignidad, canonry, racion, media-racion, rectorial or simple benefice, or any other ecclesiastical or religious benefice or office, be instituted, or appointment to it be made, without our consent or presentation, or that of the person who shall exercise our authority; and such presentation or consent shall be in writing, in the ordinary manner.

“The archbishoprics and bishoprics shall be appointed by our presentation, made to our very holy father [i.e., the Roman pontiff] who shall be at that time, as has been done hitherto.

“The dignidades, canonries, racions and media-racions of all the cathedral churches of the Indias shall be filled by presentation made by our royal warrant, given by our royal Council of the Indias, and signed by our name, by virtue of which the archbishop or bishop of the church where the said dignidad, canonry, or racion shall be shall grant to him collation and canonical installation, which shall also be in writing, sealed with his seal and signed with his hand. Without the said presentation, title, collation, and canonical installation, in writing, he shall not be given possession of such dignidad, canonry, racion, or media-racion; neither shall he accept the benefits [15] and emoluments of it, under the penalties contained in the laws against those who violate our royal patronage.

“If in any of the cathedral churches of the Yndias there should not be four beneficiaries—at least resident, and appointed by our presentation and warrant and the canonical installation of the prelate—because of the other prebends being vacant, or if appointments to them have been made because the beneficiaries are absent (even though it be for a legitimate reason) for more than eight months, until we present them the prelate shall elect four seculars to fill out the term of those who shall have been appointed as residents, choosing them from the most capable and competent that shall offer, or who can be found, so that they may serve in the choir, the altar, the church, and as curas, if that should be necessary in the said church, in place of the vacant or absent prebendaries, as above stated. He shall assign them an adequate salary, as we have ordered at the account of the vacant or absent prebendaries; and the said provision shall not be permanent, but removable at will [ad nutum], and those appointed shall not occupy the seat of the beneficiary in the choir, nor enter or have a vote in the cabildo. If the cathedral church has four or more beneficiaries, the prelates shall not take it upon themselves to appoint any prebendaries, or to provide a substitute in such post, whether for those that become vacant, or for those whose incumbents may be absent, unless they shall give us notice, so that we may make the presentations or take such measures as may be advisable.

“No prelate, even though he have an authentic relation and information that we have presented any [16] person to a dignidad, canonry, racion, or any other benefice, shall grant him collation or canonical installation, or shall order that he be given possession of it, unless our original warrant of the said presentation be first presented; and our viceroys or audiencias shall not meddle by making them receive such persons without the said presentation.

“After the original warrant of our presentation has been presented, appointment and canonical installation shall be made without any delay; and order will be given to assign to him the emoluments, unless there is some legitimate objection against the person presented, and one which can be proved. If there is no legitimate objection, or if any such be alleged that shall not be proved, and the prelate should delay the appointment, installation, and possession, he shall be obliged to pay to such person the emoluments and incomes, costs, and interests, that shall have been incurred by him.

“It is our desire that, in the presentations that shall be made for dignidades, canonries and prebends in the cathedral churches of the Yndias, lettered men be preferred to those who are not, and those who shall have served in cathedral churches of these same kingdoms and who shall have had most experience in the choir and divine worship, to those who shall not have served in cathedral churches.

“At least in the districts where it can be conveniently done, a graduate jurist in general study shall be presented for a doctoral canonicate, and another lettered theological graduate in general study for another magistral canonicate, who shall have the pulpit with the obligations that doctoral and magistral canons have in these kingdoms. [17]

“Another lettered theologue approved by general study shall be presented to read the lesson of the holy scriptures, and another lettered jurist theologue for the canonicate of penitence, in accordance with the established decrees of the holy council of Trent. The said four canonries shall be of the number of those of the erection of the Church.

“We will and order that all the benefices, whether sinecures or curacies, secular and regular, and the ecclesiastical offices that become vacant, or that, as they are new, must be filled, throughout the realm of the Yndias, in whatever diocese it may be, besides those that are provided in the cathedral churches, as stated above, shall, in order that they may be filled with less delay, and that our royal patronage may be preserved in them, be filled in the following manner:

“When a benefice (whether a sinecure or a curacy), or the administration of any hospital or a sacristy or churchwardenship, or the stewardship of a hospital, or any other benefice or ecclesiastical office, shall become vacant, or when it has to be filled for the first time: the prelate shall order a written proclamation to be posted in the cathedral church, or in the church, hospital, or monastery where such benefice or office is to be filled, with the suitable limit, so that those who desire to compete for it may enter the lists. From all those who thus compete, and from all the others whom the prelate shall believe to be suitable persons for such office or benefice, after having examined them and after having informed himself concerning their morals and ability, he shall choose two persons from them—those whom, in the sight of God and his conscience, he shall judge most suitable for such office or benefice. The nomination [18] of the two thus named shall be presented to our viceroy or to the president of our royal Audiencia; or to the person who, in our name, shall exercise the superior government of the province where such benefice or office shall become vacant or must be filled, so that he may select one from the two appointees. He shall send that selection to the prelate, so that the latter in accordance with it, and by virtue of that presentation, may grant the appointment, collation, and canonical installation—by way of commission and not by perpetual title, but removable at will by the person who shall have presented them in our name, together with the prelate. And should there be no more than one person who desires to compete for such benefice or office, or the prelate shall not find more than one person whom he desires to receive the nomination to it, he shall send the name to our viceroy, president, or governor, as above stated, so that the latter may present him. Then by virtue of such presentation, the prelate shall make the appointment in the form above directed. But it is our desire and will that when the presentation shall be made by us, and we shall expressly state in our presentation that the collation and canonical installation shall be by title and not by commission, those presented by us be always preferred to those presented by our viceroys, presidents, or governors, in the form above mentioned.

“And in the repartimientos and villages of Indians, and in other places where there shall be no benefice or any regulations for electing one, or any form of appointing a secular or religious to administer sacraments and teach the doctrine, providing it in the form above directed, the prelate—after [19] posting a proclamation, so that if there shall be any ecclesiastical or religious person, or any other of good morals and education who may go to teach the doctrine at such village—from those who shall compete, or from other persons whom he shall deem most suitable and fitting, shall elect two, after informing himself of their competency and good character. He shall send the nomination to our viceroy, president, or governor who shall reside in the province, so that the latter may present one of the two thus nominated by the prelate. If there shall be no more than one, by virtue of that presentation the prelate shall appoint him to the mission, giving him installation, as he has to teach the doctrine. He shall order to be given to such person the emoluments that are to be given to ministers or missions, and shall order the encomenderos and other persons, under the penalties and censures that he shall deem suitable, not to annoy or disturb such person in the exercise of his duty and the teaching of the Christian doctrine; on the contrary, they shall give him all protection and aid for it. That appointment shall be made removable at the will of the person who shall have appointed him in our name, and that of the prelate.

“We also will and order that the religious orders observe and maintain the right of patronage in the following form.

“First: No general, commissary-general, visitor, provincial, or any other superior of the religious orders, shall go to the realm of the Yndias, without first showing in our royal Council of the Indias the powers that he bears and giving us relation of them; and without the Council giving him our decree and permission so that he may go, and a warrant so that our [20] viceroys, audiencias, justices, and our other vassals may admit and receive him to the exercise of his office, and give him all protection and aid in it.

“Any provincial, visitor, prior, guardian, or other high official, who may be elected and nominated in the realm of the Yndias shall, before being admitted to exercise his office, inform our viceroy, president, Audiencia, or governor who shall have in charge the supreme government of such province, and shall show him his patent of nomination and election, so that the latter may give him the protection and aid necessary for the exercise and use of his office.

“The provincials of all the orders who are established in the Yndias, each one of them, shall always keep a list ready of all the monasteries and chief residences [maintained there by his orders] and of the members [resident in each] that fall in his province, and of all the religious in the province—noting each one of them by name, together with a report of his age and qualifications, and the office or ministry in which each one is occupied. He shall give that annually to our viceroy, Audiencia, or governor, or the person who shall have charge of the supreme government in the province, adding to or removing from the list the religious who shall be superfluous and those who shall be needed. Our viceroy, Audiencia, or governor, shall keep those general lists which shall thus be given, for himself, and in order that he may inform us by report of the religious that there are, and those of whom there is need of provision, by each fleet sent out.

“The provincials of the orders, each one of them shall make a list of all the religious who are occupied in teaching the Christian doctrine to the Indians, [21] and the administration of sacraments, and the offices of curas in the villages of the chief monasteries. They shall give such list once a year to our viceroy, Audiencia, or governor, who shall give it to the diocesan prelate, so that he may know and understand what persons are occupied in the administration of sacraments and the office of curas and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and who are in charge of the souls for whom he is responsible; and in order that what is or must be provided may be apparent to him, and from whom he has to require account of the said souls, and to whom he must commit what is to be done for the welfare of those souls.

“Whenever the provincials have to provide any religious for instruction or for the administration of sacraments, or remove any who shall have been appointed, they shall give notice thereof to our viceroy, president, Audiencia, or governor who shall exercise the supreme government of the province, and to the prelate; and they shall not remove any one who shall have been appointed, until another shall have been appointed in his place, observing the above order.

“We desire, in the presentations and appointments of all the prelacies, dignidades, and ecclesiastical offices and benefices, that those most deserving, and who shall have been engaged longer and to better profit in the conversion of the Indians, and in instructing them in the Christian doctrine, and in the administration of sacraments, shall be presented and appointed. Therefore we strictly charge the diocesan prelates, and those superiors of the religious orders, and we order our viceroys, presidents, audiencias, and governors, that in the nominations, presentations, and appointments that they shall have to [22] make there, as is said, in conformity [with this decree], they shall always prefer, in the first place, those who shall have been occupied, by life and example, in the conversion of the Indians, and in instruction and in administering the sacraments, and those who shall know the language of the Indians whom they have to instruct; and, in the second place, those who shall be the sons of Spaniards and who shall have served us in those regions.

“In order that we may better make the presentation that shall become necessary of prelacies, dignidades, prebends, and the other ecclesiastical offices and benefices, we ask and charge the said diocesan prelates and the provincials of the religious orders, and we order our viceroys, presidents, audiencias, and governors, each one of them, separately and distinctly by himself, without communicating one with another, to make a list of all the dignidades, benefices, missions, and ecclesiastical offices in his province, noting those of them that are vacant, and those that are filled. Likewise they shall make a list of all the ecclesiastical and religious persons, and of the sons of citizens and Spaniards who are studying for the purpose of becoming ecclesiastics, and of the good character, learning, competency and qualities of each one, stating clearly his good parts and also his defects, and declaring, so that prelacies, dignidades, benefices, and ecclesiastical offices shall be suitably filled, both those that shall be at present found vacant, and those that shall become vacant hereafter. Those relations shall be sent us closed and sealed, in each fleet, and in different ships; and what shall be deemed advisable to add to or to suppress from the preceding ones that shall have been sent before, shall [23] be added or suppressed; so that no fleet shall sail without its relation. We charge the consciences of one and all straitly with this matter.

“In order that we may not be deceived by those who come or send to petition us to present them to some dignidad, benefice, or ecclesiastical office, we desire, and it is our will, that he who shall thus come or send appear before our viceroy, or before the president and Audiencia, or before the one who shall have charge of the supreme government of the province; and, declaring his petition, the viceroy, Audiencia, or governor shall make the relation officially, with information concerning his standing, learning, morals, competency, and other details. After it is made, he shall send it separately from those persons. Likewise the approval of their prelate shall be obtained, and warning is given that those who come to petition for a dignidad, benefice, or ecclesiastical office without such investigation shall not be received.

“We desire and it is our will that no person can hold, obtain, or occupy two dignidades, or ecclesiastical benefices in the provinces of the Yndias, either in the same or in different churches. Therefore we order that if any one shall be presented by us for any dignidad, benefice, or office, he shall renounce what he shall have held previously, before his collation and appointment.

“If the one presented by us does not present himself, within the time contained in the presentation, to the prelate who must make the appointment and canonical installation, after the expiration of the said time the presentation shall be void, and no appointment and canonical installation can be made by virtue of it. [24]

“Inasmuch as it is our will that the above-contained be observed and obeyed, for we believe that such procedure is expedient for the service of God and for our own, I order you to examine the above, and to observe and obey it, and cause it to be observed and obeyed in all those provinces and villages, and their churches, in toto, and exactly as is contained and declared, for what time shall be our will. You shall accomplish and fulfil it, in the ways that shall appear most advisable to you. You shall take for this purpose such measures and precautions as shall be advisable, in virtue of this my decree; and I give you for that complete authority in legal form. Accordingly we request and charge the very reverend father in Christ, the archbishop of that city, and member of our Council, and the reverend fathers in Christ, the archbishop of Nueva España, the venerable deans and cabildo of the cathedral churches of that country, and all the curas, beneficiaries, sacristans, and other ecclesiastical persons, the venerable and devout fathers provincial, guardians, priors, and other religious of the orders of St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St. Francis, and of all the other orders, that in what pertains to, and is incumbent on them, they observe and obey this decree, acting in harmony with you, for all that shall be advisable. Given in San Lorenzo el Real, June first, one thousand five hundred and seventy-four.

I The King
By order of his Majesty:
Antonio de Eraso

I order you to examine the said decree, and its sections above-incorporated, and you shall observe and [25] obey it, and cause it to be observed and obeyed in toto, as is contained and declared in it and in each one of its sections, as if it were given for those islands and directed to you. I charge the reverend father in Christ, the bishop of those islands, the venerable dean and cabildo of the cathedral church of the islands, all the curas, beneficiaries, sacristans, and other ecclesiastical persons, and the venerable and devout fathers provincial, guardians, priors, and other religious of the orders of St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St. Francis, and all the other orders, that in what pertains to, and is incumbent on them, they observe and obey it, acting in harmony with you in every way that may be advisable and necessary. Given in San Lorenzo, September thirteen, one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine.1

I The King
By order of the king our sovereign:
Joan de Ibarra
Signed by the Council.

[The litigation between the prelate and the religious orders originated from the visitation of the village of Dilao (which belonged to the ministry of the Franciscan fathers), commenced by Archbishop Miguel Garcia Serrano, June 24, 1624,2 with the dictation by him of the following:]3 [26]

Act. In the village of Quiapo, which is near the city of Manila, on the twenty-second day of the month of June, one thousand six hundred and twenty-two, his Excellency, Don Fray Miguel García y Serrano, archbishop of these Philipinas Islands, member of his Majesty’s council, etc., declared that, inasmuch as the eleventh chapter of the twenty-fifth session of the holy council of Trent rules and orders that the religious who exercise the duties of curas of souls be immediately subject, in regard to such duties and in all that pertains to the administration of the sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visit, and correction of the bishop in whose diocese they minister; and that no one, even though he be admovibilis ad nutum, can exercise the said office of cura without having obtained beforehand the consent and examination of the bishop or his vicar, etc.,4 which is ordered to be strictly observed and obeyed, both by the bishops and the superiors of the religious, and by the religious [27] themselves, by the twenty-second chapter following, notwithstanding any privileges, constitutions, rules, customs, rights, and others non obstantibus, etc.; besides which, his Holiness Gregory Fourteenth, by his brief which was obtained at the instance of his Majesty, under date of Roma, April 18, one thousand five hundred and ninety-one, charges and orders the archbishop of these islands to visit the missions and the religious in them.5

All of the above is ordered to be observed and obeyed in these islands by decrees of his Majesty, under date of June first, five hundred and eighty-five; December twenty-one, five hundred and ninety-five; and November fourteen, one thousand six hundred and three.6 In conformity with these decrees, his [28] most illustrious Lordship, wishing to observe what his Holiness and his Majesty have ordered, as it is a matter very advisable and necessary for the service of God our Lord and that of his Majesty, and the welfare and increase of the conversion, teaching, and instruction of the natives of these islands, notified the very reverend fathers-provincial in Christ of the sacred orders of St. Dominic and St. Augustine, and the commissaries of that of St. Francis, of these islands, by means of an order signed by his most illustrious Lordship, which was given to them in the first part of April of this current year, so that, understanding [29] it, the matter might be facilitated and observed on the part of the said orders, with the good-will and exactness that is proper, and which they have always had in obeying and observing the orders of the holy apostolic see, and those of his Majesty. And inasmuch as it is advisable that there be no more delay in the above, his most illustrious Lordship intends to go to visit the mission of the natives of the village of Dilao, outside the walls of the city of Manila, which is in charge of the Order of St. Francis, on the day of St. John the Baptist. He has advised the father guardian of the said convent thereof, in order that the [30] Indians of the said convent may be assembled in the church at the hour of high mass, and so that all other necessary arrangements be made for making the said visit. His Lordship ordered the above to be set down as an act, together with the copy of the brief of his Holiness Gregory Fourteenth, and of his Majesty’s decrees, of which mention is made above; and he signed the same.

Fray Miguel, archbishop.

Before me:

Licentiate Alonso Ramirez

In the town of Quiapo, on the twenty-fourth day of the month of June, one thousand six hundred and [31] twenty-two, the illustrious lord Don Fray Miguel Garcia Serrano, archbishop of the Philipinas, member of his Majesty’s council, etc., declared that he ordered—and he did so order—that that notification that his illustrious Lordship ordered to be made and that he made, to the superiors of the religious orders—namely, the order mentioned in the act of the twenty-second of this month, which was made on account of the visitation of Dilao—be filed with the [records of the] said visitation, which is to be begun on this said day, of the said mission and ministry of Dilao. Thus did he decree and order.

Fray Miguel, archbishop.

Before me:

Licentiate Alonso Ramirez

Very reverend fathers in Christ, the provincials of the holy orders of these Philipinas Islands: Being [32] obliged to carry out the ordinance and mandate of the holy council of Trent and the decrees of his Majesty in regard to the examination and visitation which I have to make of the religious who are administering the missions of natives in my diocese, I deemed it advisable, in order to attain my object better, to inform your Paternities of it before beginning it—so that, understanding the matter, it might be facilitated and observed by your Paternities with the good-will and exactness that are proper, and which you have always displayed in obeying and observing the mandates of the holy apostolic see and those of his Majesty.

As your Paternities know, chapter 11 of the 25th session of the holy council of Trent, De regularibus et monialibus, rules and orders that the religious who exercise the duties of curas of souls be immediately subject as regards such duties, and in everything that pertains to the administration of sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visit, and correction of the bishop in [33] whose diocese they administer; and that no one, though he be amovilibis ad nutum, may exercise the said duty of cura without first having obtained the consent of, and been examined by, the bishop or his vicar, etc. Both the bishops and the superiors of the religious, and the religious themselves, are strictly ordered to observe and fulfil the above, as ordered by article 22 following, notwithstanding any privileges, regulations, rules, customs, and rights, and others non obstantibus, etc.

This decree then, of the holy council of Trent, has two parts—one in which it is ordered that the said religious be immediately subject in regard to curas, and in all that pertains to the administration of sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visit, and correction of the bishops; and the other that, before being admitted to the said duty, they must obtain the consent of, and be examined by, the bishops or their vicars. There has never been any innovation in the first; for, although the second part had the innovation that appears in two briefs issued by his Holiness Pius V—one in general [34] for all Christendom, which he conceded at the instance of the mendicant orders, under date of Roma, July 17, 1567, in the second year of his pontificate, whose beginning is, Etsi mendicantium ordines; and the other a special one for the Yndias, at the instance of his Majesty, under date of Roma, of March 26, of the same year—in those briefs there was no innovation in regard to the first part. On the contrary, in the brief of his Holiness Gregory XIV which his Majesty sent to these islands, and which was obtained at his instance, under date of Roma, April 18, 1591, the first year in which he commits to the archbishop of Manila the adjustment and restitution of what the conquistadors and other persons had in charge among the Indians, and prohibits religious from going from a pacified district to convert one unpacified, without the permission of the bishops, there is a clause of the following tenor ...: Praeteria cum praecipuum munus Episcoporum sit proprias oves per se ipsos pascere et visitare.7

In regard to the second part of the two things ordered by the holy council—that is, that the religious, before they can exercise the duties of the care of souls, must first get the consent of, and be examined by, the bishops or their vicars—that order also appears today in its entire force and vigor. For although it is true that his Holiness Pius V reserved the said religious from the said permission and examination, by the two privileges above mentioned, afterward his Holiness Gregory XIII reduced these and all the other favors and concessions given to the mendicant orders by Pius V to the terms of law and the holy council of [35] Trent, as appears by his motu proprio given at Roma, on the kalends of March, 1573, the first year of his pontificate, whose beginning is In tanta rerum, etc., and which father Fray Manuel Rodriguez inserted in the book that he published concerning the privileges of the orders,8 in number 38 of those of that same supreme pontiff.

Although it is true that it is stated in the memorial which the Order of St. Francis in Nueva España presented regarding the substance of the privileges of the mendicant orders in the Yndias, at the provincial council that was convened in Mexico in the year 1585, [36] at the instance of the same council (as is mentioned by father Fray Juan Baptista, of the said order, in the second part of his book of advice for confessors), that the said revocation had no effect, because the cardinal protectors of the orders immediately appealed from it, asking his Holiness to suspend the said motu proprio and that it be not promulgated; and that his Holiness agreed to it, and that, accordingly, no account was taken of it—it appears that no attention must be paid to that, for the said memorial [37] has no further proof or authority than the certification of Father Master Veracruz, who was in Sevilla when the motu proprio of Gregory XIII was issued, and because Father Manuel Rodriguez, of the same Order of St. Francis, affirms the contrary—who some years later, while residing in Salamanca, where there was more notice of it than in the Yndias, published his books of “questions concerning the regulars,” as appears in article 7, question 8, of the first volume,9 as well as in other places. With the same agrees father Fray Alonso de Vega, in his conclusion, chapter 62, case 4, Questio de confessione, and it appears by the declarations of the holy congregation of the cardinals, which Marcilla reports in article 20, of section 25, de regularibus, and in article 15, of section 13, de reformatione,10 besides others, by which it is manifest that it is a privilege that his Majesty obtained for what he then judged advisable for the proper government of the churches of the Yndias, and the greater increase of their Christianity. It ought not, nor can it, be understood to be to the prejudice of the privileges that the holy apostolic see has conceded to the kings of España for the same purpose, such as that of Alexander VI, in his bull of the concession or confirmation of the Indias, as follows: Hortamur vos quamplurimum ... et infra sit—insuper mandamus vobis in virtute sanctae obedientiae (sicut etiam pollicemini) et non dubitamus pro vestra maxima devotione et regia magnanimitate [38] vos esse facturos, ad terras firmas et insulis praedictas, viros probos....11

And Adrian VI, in his Omnimodo, as follows: Dum tamen sint tales sufficientiae ... and of the right of the royal patronage.12

And since it is now his Majesty’s will that the fitness and approval of the said religious in regard to curas must be to the satisfaction of the bishops, which he says to be thus advisable for the discharge of his royal conscience and that of the said bishops, it is clear that we are bound to fulfil it as a command of the holy apostolic see.

The above is in respect to the mandates of his Holiness. Coming to that which is ordered in this regard by the decrees of his Majesty, it appears that his Majesty having despatched his royal decree on the sixth of December, 1585, that if there were any capable clergy they should be preferred, in the benefices and missions of the Indians to the religious who held them, and who should have held them, by virtue of another royal decree of May twenty-five, of five hundred and eighty-five, his Majesty gave notice to the Order of St. Francis, of Nueva España, that he had ordered the suspension for the time being of the execution of this decree; and that the said missions be held, as hitherto, by the orders and religious; that there be no innovation in the manner of presentation [39] and appointment; that the bishops in their own persons (these are the words of the royal decree), without committing it to any others, shall visit the churches of the missions, where the said religious may be, and in the missions inspect the most holy sacrament, the baptismal font, the building of the said churches, and the service of divine worship; and that they also visit the religious who should reside in the said missions, and correct them in matters concerning curas.

That royal decree is in the book of advice to confessors of Indians which father Fray Juan Baptista, of the Order of St. Francis, published in Mexico, in the year six hundred; it is on folio 380. On folio 259, it contains what the provincials of the orders of St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Augustine, of the province of Mexico, answered to it on the twenty-eighth of November, of the said year, 585. That answer was to accept the said missions non ex votis charitatis, but with the obligation of in se et justitia; and in regard to being visited, they say that, inasmuch as the obstacles of their disturbance and relaxation of discipline were always to be found, which induced the apostolic see to exempt them from the visits of the ordinaries—which obstacles would be more and greater in the Yndias, if authority were given for it—they would not refuse the reverence, respect, and submission due to the bishops, as prelates and shepherds of the Church of God. They said that they were under greater obligations to them than to any one else, and would respect them and receive them into their convents with proper reverence, as they had always done; and that, obeying what his Majesty ordered, they would be very glad to have them [40] visit in their churches the most holy sacrament, the baptismal font, and what concerns it; but in all matters outside the above-mentioned, they petitioned his Majesty not to give the bishops authority or entrance, for that would mean the perpetual disquiet and ruin of their order.

But as for that which the said orders of Nueva España declared in that reply, namely, that the obstacles of disturbance and relaxed discipline were bound to follow the visits of the bishops, for which the apostolic see was induced to exempt them from their jurisdiction; nevertheless, it will be considered that a very different reason will be found to prevail in this case in respect to which, as regards religious from whom visits are exempted, they have their special rules and regulations, which are peculiar to each order. Both for that reason, and because their institute, life, and government is of the cloister, and they have no administration, dominion, and jurisdiction over persons of the world, it was most advisable to give them superiors who had been reared in the same life, customs, and rules of religion, since, moreover, their profession was simply that of religious.

But the ministry of the care of souls that the religious exercise is not of the cloister, nor does it depend on their special rule or institute; nor in regard to such are they at all different from the secular curas, both touching the religious ministers themselves, and touching the persons who are ministered to, whose spiritual government is in charge of the bishops.

And since it is a fact that the religious who accepts an executorship is obliged to give a strict account of it to the bishop—nor does he fulfil his duty [41] by giving it to his superior, if it is a matter with which the deceased entrusted him, who made election and a confidant of him—with very much greater reason ought an account of the administration of the souls that are immediately in charge of the same bishop be given to him; and although in proof of that many other arguments might be adduced, none will be so effective and so conclusive as to consider that while there were, as is true, so many so aged, learned, grave, and holy religious of all the orders present in the holy council of Trent, who propounded as many difficulties and obstacles as they could offer, yet the holy council decreed and ordered as we have seen.

In conformity with that, notwithstanding the said reply which the orders of Nueva España gave to the decree of his Majesty, the orders of his Majesty in regard to the said visits seem to have been obeyed, for ten years after another royal decree was despatched, which the said father, Fray Juan Baptista, mentions on folio 396 of the said book, as follows:

“The King. Reverend father in Christ, bishop of the city of Antequera, of the valley of Huajaca, of Nueva España, and member of my council: Inasmuch as I have heard that the religious who reside in those regions, busied in the instruction and conversion of the Indians, give out that it is a cause of great disquiet and uneasiness to them for you to send to visit them, in regard to curacies, by clerics or religious of other orders; and as it is advisable to avoid all occasions that may divert them from their chief end, especially since (as they say) it is contrary to their institutes, and is the occasion of their living disconsolate, and that they are molested: I request and charge you that when you are unable to visit in person [42] the missions of that bishopric—in accordance with the order in my decree of June first, one thousand five hundred and eighty-five,13 where this matter is discussed at greater length—for the said visits of religious who shall be in those missions, in regard to matters of curacies, of the most holy sacrament, of the baptismal font, of the building of churches, and all else concerning them, and the divine worship, you send religious of the same orders. Consequently, where there are Dominican friars, a friar of the same order shall be sent as visitor; and the same shall be observed with Augustinians, Franciscans, and those of the Order of Mercy, and of the Society. That shall be observed for the cases and in the manner contained in the above-mentioned decree. Given in Madrid, December twenty-one, one thousand five hundred and ninety-five.14

[I The King]

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan de Ybarra

But since it was not expressed in the said royal decree of the year 585 that the religious who should administer the benefices and missions of the Indians should first be examined and approved by the bishops; and since the remedy for the public excesses of the said religious should be limited to the bishops in the decree, if there should be any excesses even in respect to curacies—the bishops proceeding in this, not in the form ruled by the said article II, of section [43] 25, of the holy council, but by that which is declared in article 14, of the same section: his Majesty afterward decided, for considerations that satisfied him, that the authority and jurisdiction of the bishops in regard to the above be extended further, as the holy council rules; and accordingly, on November 14, one thousand six hundred and three, he despatched his royal decree for the metropolitan churches of the Indias, one of which he sent to the archbishop of these islands, which is of the following tenor:

“The King. Very reverend father in Christ, archbishop of the city of Manila of the Philipinas Islands, and member of my council: Notwithstanding that it is very carefully ordered that the ministers who are appointed to the missions of the Indians, both seculars and friars, must know the language of the Indians whom they have to instruct and teach; that they shall have the qualifications that are required for the duties of the curacies that they have to perform; and that the religious missionaries be visited by the secular prelates in regard to the curacies: I have been informed that it is not obeyed as is advisable; that the prelates do not exercise the care that is advisable in examining the said religious missionaries, in order to satisfy you that they are competent and that they thoroughly understand the language of those whom they are going to teach; and that many of their omissions and excesses in the administration of the sacraments and the exercise of the duties of curas are not remedied in the visitations. That is a great obstacle, and consequently the Indians suffer considerably in the spiritual and temporal. I have heard that their superiors are less careful in this, and in the choice of the persons, than [44] they ought to be. And inasmuch as it is advisable for the service of God our Lord and for mine, and for the welfare of the Indians, that the ministers of instruction be such as are required for this ministry, and that they know the Indians’ language, I charge you strictly that, in accordance with what is decreed and ordained, you do not permit or allow, in the missions in charge of the orders in the district of that archbishopric, any religious to come to perform the duties of cura or to exercise that duty, unless he shall first be examined and approved by you or by the person who shall be appointed by you for that purpose, in order to satisfy yourself that he has the necessary ability, and that he knows the language of the Chinese or Indians whom he has to instruct. Those whom you shall find, in the visits that you shall make, who have not the competency, good qualities, and good example that are requisite, and who do not know sufficiently the language of the Indians whom they are to instruct, you shall remove; and you shall advise their superiors, so that they may appoint others who have the necessary qualifications, in which they also must be examined. You shall advise me of all that you do in this matter. Given in San Lorenzo, November fourteen, one thousand six hundred and three.

I The King

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan de Ybarra

With the above royal decree was despatched another to the royal Audiencia, in which its observance and fulfilment is ordered and charged; and another to the same archbishop, which only contains the [45] statement that he is strictly charged with its fulfilment.15 His Majesty says in it that it is advisable to do this for the relief of his royal conscience and that of the archbishop himself. Those decrees having arrived in the ships that came in the year six hundred and five, Don Fray Miguel de Benavides, archbishop at that time, as soon as he received them, presented all three in the royal meeting held on the second of June, of the said year, and they were obeyed and [46] ordered to be fulfilled. But as the said archbishop died within two months, he could not carry them out; and consequently they were left unobserved, because the cabildo succeeded to the government of the vacant see. Afterward, Archbishop Don Diego Vazquez de Mercado, either because he knew nothing about them, or because he was so far prevented by his age and infirmity (as all know), did not put them into practice. At his death, Don Fray Diego de Arce, bishop of Zibú, governed this archbishopric; but he did not know of the said decrees. But as they [47] have come to my notice, and since we are obliged, both myself and your Paternities, to observe and obey what his Holiness and his Majesty order in regard to this, as above stated, we cannot excuse ourselves from immediately putting it into execution.

We shall not be able to delay the observance of the said royal decree, by saying that since twenty years have passed since its issue, without having given it a beginning, it will be well to await his Majesty’s will once more; for, besides that things are today in the same condition as then, it appears that his Majesty, having heard that the said royal decree was not being observed in Nueva España, either because the bishops had no knowledge of it, or for other reasons, gave it again to the viceroy, Marquis de Guadalcazar, under date of November nineteen, six hundred and eighteen, in which, inserting word for word the first decree above mentioned of November fourteen, six hundred and three, he orders it to be obeyed in the following words:

“And inasmuch as it is my intention and will that what I have ordained and ordered in regard to the above be strictly observed and executed, I order you to examine the said my decree which is here incorporated, and to observe and obey it in toto, according to its contents and declarations, just as if I were talking with you, and it were directed to you. Such is my will, notwithstanding that in the lapse of time, and with the claims of the prelates and missionaries, it has been winked at or another custom introduced, which shall, under no circumstance, be in any manner allowed. Given in Madrid, November nineteen, one thousand six hundred and eighteen.

I The King [48]

By order of the king our sovereign:

Pedro de Ledesma

And the archbishop of Mexico having reported to his Majesty that the above decree of his Majesty of six hundred and eighteen had not been shown by the viceroy, although he had had it in his possession for some time, his Majesty despatched other new decrees to the said viceroy and archbishop, under date of February eighteen and August twenty-five, six hundred and twenty, in which, he again orders them to observe and obey the said first decree to the said archbishop, in these words: “And since your person is authorized, not only by the council of Trent, but by the declaration of the cardinals, and by common law, to proceed to the visit for the reformation of all the missionaries, both seculars and regulars, you shall endeavor to relieve your conscience and mine.”

Consequently, neither of us will by any means satisfy our obligations, if we neglect to carry out the commands of his Holiness and of his Majesty in this regard, so that we may report to his Majesty in the first ships that his royal will has been fulfilled.

From the above, and from the jurisdiction and authority conceded to the bishops over their sheep by the sacred canons, councils, and briefs of the holy apostolic see, it is manifest with what want of reason and foundation has been the assertion and declaration made three or four times by Father Pedro de San Pablo, provincial of the Order of St. Francis, in the royal courts about one month ago, while reporting a suit of the fiscals of the missions of the Indians—namely, that the provincials of the orders of these [49] islands, and the regular ministers of the Yndias, had more jurisdiction and power, by virtue of their privileges, over the Indians in regard to matters concerning the ministry of their missions than had the bishops and archbishops in whose dioceses the said missions are located. That appears to be a universal sentiment and practice of the said religious, by what we have experienced in the course of the visitation to the Indians of our archbishopric that we have as yet made. Given in Manila, March twenty-nine, one thousand six hundred and twenty-two.16

Fray Miguel, archbishop. [50]

[On April two and three, Don Gabriel de Mújica, the archbishopric’s secretary, delivered in person a similar copy of the above notifications to [each of] the fathers-provincial—namely, Fray Juan Henrríquez, Augustinian; Fray Miguel Ruiz, Dominican; Fray Cristóbal de Santa Ana, commissary visitor of St. Francis. On June 20, the archbishop began his visits through the parish of Dilao, causing an edict of the following tenor to be published from the pulpit during high mass.]

We, Don Fray Diego Garcia Serrano, by the grace of God and the holy apostolic see, archbishop of the Philipinas, member of his Majesty’s council, etc.: To you, the faithful Christians, citizens, dwellers, residents, and inhabitants of the village of Dilao, which is administered by the Order of St. Francis, of whatever state, rank, and preëminence you may be, greeting in our Lord Jesus Christ. We cause you to know that the holy fathers, inspired personally by the Holy Spirit in their sacred councils, piously and rightly ordered and commanded that all the prelates and pastors of the universal Church be obliged, in person or through their visitors, to make annually a general visit and investigation of their subordinates and clergy, both seculars and regulars, who have in charge the administration of souls. This shall include the offices that they hold, in curacies and in churches, hermitages, hospitals, and confraternities, all which should be directed to the spiritual welfare of souls—which consists in being, through the grace of God, our Lord, separated from sins, especially public and disgraceful sins, which offend His [Divine] Majesty so greatly. In order to fulfil this our obligation, we admonish and order that those of you [51] who shall know or who shall have heard anything said concerning the father cura, your minister, who has charge of you in the matter of the administration of sacraments, or of any other person, which cannot or ought not to be tolerated by the citizens and inhabitants of this said village of Dilao, of whatever nation and rank he be, shall tell and declare it to us; especially if he shall have committed what will be mentioned and related to you later in this edict, in whole or in part, or any other thing similar to it. You shall declare and manifest the same before us within the three days first following after this our letter and edict shall be declared and read to you.

First, if you know or have heard said whether the said father cura N., your minister, has been remiss and negligent in the administration of the holy sacraments of baptism, penance, the eucharist, extreme unction, and matrimony.

Item: Whether anyone has died without holy baptism through his neglect and carelessness, or without confession, communion, or extreme unction.

Item: If you know whether the said your minister has not said mass for you on every Sunday or feast that is observed; or whether he has made any signal omission in this; and whether he preaches and teaches the Christian doctrine to you, as he is obliged.

Item: Whether the administration of the holy sacraments takes place with the reverence and propriety that is fitting; whether he has married anyone before daybreak, or without the admonitions ordered by the holy council, or without the notification of our vicars, and their permission having preceded, in the cases in which it ought to be made and asked for; and whether the baptisms that have taken place have [52] been in the baptismal font of the church, with all respect and reverence.

Item: If you know whether the said your minister keeps the tariff of the fees—both those which pertain to him and those that pertain to singers, fiscals, and sacristans—written and placed openly where all may read it, so that they may know what they have to pay; or whether he has forced the natives to give more alms than they owe or are willing to give for marriages, baptisms, or burials, whether in money or in other things.

Item: Whether the said your minister is careful to execute the pious foundations and the wills of his parishioners; or whether these have failed to be observed through his fault.

Item: Whether the said your minister is careful to register his parishioners, both natives and those of other nations, at the time of Lent; and whether he has confessed them during that time, or tried to confess them; and whether he has, after Lent, made any effort to ascertain whether they fulfilled their duties to the church according to their obligation.

Item: If you know whether the said your minister has concealed any public or notorious sin of his parishioners, that has come to his notice, and has not endeavored to have it remedied by the persons who can remedy it.

Item: If you know whether the said your minister has not looked after the property of the church, the silver, and ornaments, and everything belonging to it; and whether any property has been lost by his carelessness and negligence.

Item: If you know whether the said minister, in the public sins that have come to his notice and that [53] he has punished, has condemned the sinners to pecuniary fines, or something of value, such as wax, cloth, or other things; and whether he has failed to apply the said fines to those to whom they belong, in accordance with his Holiness’s brief and his Majesty’s decrees.

Item: If you know whether the fiscals have performed their duty poorly; or whether they live in sin, or are dishonest, or they conceal sins or concubinage; or whether they receive bribes; or whether with their authority as fiscal they have annoyed the Indians, or have taken rice, fowls, or other things at a less price; or whether they have imposed any tax under pretext of alms for the church, by their authority that they possess as ministers of it; or whether they have taken more fees than belong to them by our tariffs.

Item: If you know whether the choristers and sacristans have likewise taken larger fees than are assigned them by our said tariffs, for burials, funeral honors, and other things that belong to them; and whether, when any poor man has died who has not the wherewithal to pay the fees, they have refused to bury him unless they are paid, or unless they receive pledges that they demand before burying him.

Item: If you know whether there are any apostates of our holy Catholic faith; or who practice any evil worship; or who possess or read books of it.

Item: Whether there are any who are living in public concubinage, or as whoremongers; or who keep in their houses slave women, or other women or men of evil life, in order to commit sins.

Item: Whether there are any who have not confessed, or fulfilled the precept of the church, according to their obligation; or whether there are any [54] who have eaten meat unnecessarily during Lent on the fast of Friday or the four ember days.

Item: Whether there are any married twice while the first husbands or wives are living, or who are married to relatives in the degree prohibited, without dispensation from him who can give it.

Item: If you know whether there are any usurers who loan money at usury and interest; or who sell on credit at a dearer price than the things are worth when cash is paid; or who buy at a less price in order to give the money advanced with the imposition or fraud and usury.

Item: If you know whether there are any, either of you natives, or of any other nation, either men or women, who are sorcerers, or witches, or magicians; or those who pray to the devil, or who cast any kind of lots, whether to discover theft, or to ascertain other things by enchantments and witchcraft.

And inasmuch as the above evil is a very great offense and disservice to God our Lord; and as it is advisable to remedy that herein contained that has been committed: we order, exhort, and admonish all the citizens, dwellers, residents, and inhabitants of this said village of Dilao [to make known these things], within the said term of three days—under penalty that, if they know it and do not declare it, they shall, if it be proved, be punished most severely.

Given in this village of Dilao, June twenty-four, one thousand six hundred and twenty-two.

Fray Miguel, archbishop.
By order of the bishop, my master:
Licentiate Alonso Ramirez

[While the archbishop was proclaiming the visitation [55] in the church of the above village, father Fray José Fonte, secretary of father commissary Fray Cristóbal de Santa Ana, presented to him the following petition.]

Fray Christoval de Santa Ana, preacher and commissary visitor of the discalced Franciscans of this province of San Gregorio, etc.: I declare that, as I have been informed that your Lordship intends to visit the missions and their ministers of the said my order in this archbishopric—which is not only an innovation, and a thing not done by the other archbishops, the predecessors of your most illustrious Lordship, but also contrary to the ordinance of the brief of his Holiness Pius V, despatched in Roma, March twenty-four, one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven, in which, notwithstanding the ordinance of the holy council of Trent, authority is given to the religious who are occupied in the conversion of, and preaching to, the Indians, to perform the office of curas and administer the holy sacraments, with subordination to the superiors of their order, and exemption from the bishops and ordinary judges—accordingly the said my order receives violence and injury from your Lordship’s endeavor.17 [56]

I petition and entreat you, in observance of the ordinance of his Holiness, to preserve the said ministers and the said my order in their exemption and privileges; if this be not done, I protest that I shall make use of the other powers conceded to my order by the apostolic see, and the remedies that belong to it by law. I petition justice, etc.

Fray Christoval de Santa Ana, commissary-visitor.

... His Lordship having seen the said petition and having noted the brief of his Holiness and its contents, declared: That besides that the said brief is revoked by a motu proprio of his Holiness Gregory XIII, under date of Roma, on the kalends of March, of the year five hundred and seventy-three, by which are revoked all concessions and privileges that his Holiness Pius V conceded to the religious of the mendicant orders, reducing them to [57] the terms of the law and of the holy council of Trent, even in case that the brief of his Holiness Pius V, which has been read, is not comprehended in the said revocation, his Holiness Pius V did not make any innovation in the rulings of the holy council in regard to the religious who administer souls being immediately subject as far as such ministers are concerned, and in everything that pertains to the administration of sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visit, and correction of the bishop in whose diocese they minister. For, as is evident by the said brief, his Holiness was requested, at the instance of his Majesty, to be pleased to decree concerning as many things as had been ordered in the holy council of Trent; namely: first, that marriages should not be allowed to be celebrated except in the presence of the parish priest or by his permission; second, that the religious could not preach without the permission of the bishop; third, that they could not hear confessions without having been examined by the ordinary; fourth, that the bishops could erect new parishes in places very far apart.18

And in regard to the fact that the religious were exercising the duties of parish priests in the Yndias, it was necessary to provide relief in the above four [58] things. His Holiness, in accordance with that petition and request, decides the first three points in favor of the said religious, so that, having been examined and approved by their superiors, in the form ordered by the said brief, the permission of the ordinaries was not necessary in order to exercise their offices; and then his Holiness, immediately providing for the fourth, orders that there be no innovation by the ordinaries in the custom followed before. Consequently, his Holiness decided in this regard that, if it were the custom before the council for the ordinaries to erect new parishes in the missions administered by the religious of the Yndias, his Holiness orders that that custom be retained; and if not, that there be no innovation; and that the said brief does not treat of other things. Consequently, his Lordship orders that the visitation that he has commenced be continued; and he made declaration to that effect through the interpreter, Christoval de Vera. Thus did he decree and order, and he affixed his signature.

Fray Miguel, archbishop.
Before me:
Licentiate Alonso Ramirez [59]

[Father Fray Alonso de Valdemoro, definitor of the province of San Gregorio, was then president and minister of the mission and ministry of Dilao. In consequence of the aforesaid, the archbishop having ordered him to open the sacristy, in order to inspect the holy sacrament, and to examine the adornment that was there, he said that he could not do it. Notwithstanding that reply, the prelate ordered him once more to open the sacristy, where the most holy sacrament was kept, in order that he might proceed with the said visit, “which he was to obey immediately under penalty of the greater excommunication, latae sententiae ipso facto incurrenaa, and four years’ suspension from the office of the ministry of souls.” The father minister, having been informed of the act, insisted on his reply, basing his action on the pontifical privileges of his order. In respect to the royal decrees, he said that he was obeying them, but that it was necessary that they should be communicated to his own regular superior, who had the right of answering them; “and consequently, that in virtue of the said briefs, by which he is exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishops in regard to the ministry and visit that his Excellency intends to make; and by law, inasmuch as he is not the archbishop’s sheep or subject, the said excommunication ... does not oblige or bind him. Accordingly, let his most illustrious Lordship determine that matter with his superior, whom the said father is bound to obey; and, while this matter is not clear, he does not consider as harmful the penalties and censures imposed by his Excellency. He affixed his signature, witnesses being Captain Gregorio de Galarça, Alférez Antonio de Viana, and Don Melchor de Valdes, and many other [60] persons.

Fray Alonso de Valdemoro, definitor.

Before me, and I attest it:

Licentiate Alonso Ramirez

Thereupon the archbishop ordered his notary to read the act passed on the twenty-second of the same month, “in which is discussed the right of his Excellency to make this visitation. Together with it the archbishop ordered the clause of the brief of Gregory Fourteenth to be read and communicated to him, which treats of this visitation and the decrees of his Majesty which are in these acts, so that the said father should not pretend ignorance of it. Thus did he order, and he affixed his signature.

Fray Miguel, archbishop.”

The definitor responded “that in consideration of the fact that when his Holiness concedes any indult, and orders any new mandate, he is seen to address himself, as is his constant custom, to the chief men, to whom it pertains to carry out any new mandate, the same law extends to the decrees sent by his Majesty, which are directed to the chief persons, to whom it pertains to answer the said decrees and mandates of his Holiness. Consequently, as it does not appear that his prelate and superior, to whom it pertains to receive and answer the said decrees and clauses of the said brief that have been communicated to him, has been notified of them; and as it is not apparent to him from the said reply: he cannot make any innovation until such time as the will of his superior, with whom those matters must be discussed, is known to him....” [61]

Having received that reply, the archbishop “declared the said father, Fray Alonso de Valdemoro, to have incurred the penalty of greater excommunication and of suspension from his office as minister, which is imposed on him; and that, as such excommunicate, he was deprived of what excommunication deprives one; and in order that he might not allege or pretend ignorance, this declaration, stating that he has incurred the censures imposed, is to be read and communicated to him....”

Having heard the act, Father Valdemoro replied: “that, in consideration of the replies that he has given, and his protestation against the violence that his Excellency has exercised toward his order, and the lack of summons,19 which are an intrinsic right in excommunication, he does not consider himself as such excommunicate, until information has been given to his superior, as he has said, and in the meantime he does not consider himself injured....”

After the aforesaid, Father Valdemoro took part in a procession, in which the image of our Lady of Guidance was carried to the city, so that the Lord might be pleased, through her intervention, to bring safely to port the ships that were to anchor that year in Cavite from Acapulco. The ecclesiastical fiscal was informed of it, and he informed the provisor and vicar-general of it. At that time the latter was the canon and treasurer, Don Juan Cevicós. He ordered the father to leave the procession, and by the archbishop’s order he opened an official inquiry, in order to investigate the offense, and to punish it according to law, “as the said father is a parish priest and minister [62] for souls in the said mission of Dilao, and the said offense is dependent on the visit which his said Excellency is making on him as such minister, inasmuch as he is, in that regard, under his Lordship’s jurisdiction and subject to him....”

The investigation ended on June 26 of the said year. In it the depositions were taken of Licentiate Juan de Arguijo, ecclesiastical fiscal of the archbishop; Don Alonso García de León, canon; Licentiate Jerónimo Rodriguez Luján, presbyter; Miguel Calderón, presbyter; and Alférez Francisco del Castillo, chief constable of the archbishop. The archbishop ordered that the father minister of Dilao be arrested, “and placed as a prisoner in one of the convents—that of St. Dominic, or St. Augustine, or the Society of Jesus, or St. Nicolas of the Recollects of this city—the one which the said father should select. That convent the archbishop assigns to him as a prison and place of confinement; and he is ordered not to break it under penalty of greater excommunication, latæ senteniæ ipso facto incurrenda, and suspension from active and passive vote for three years. And in order that the said imprisonment might be effective, and not be hindered by the religious of the said order, the royal aid shall be petitioned through this royal Audiencia, to whom it rightly belongs to give that aid, in order that they may fulfil the decrees of the holy council of Trent, and a royal decree given for this purpose, under date of San Lorenzo, November fourteen, six hundred and three, directed to this royal Audiencia, and another royal decree of the same date directed to the archbishop of these islands, in which they are ordered to make effectual the said visit, as such is advisable for the [63] relief of the consciences of his Majesty and of the said archbishop....”

The Audiencia having been asked for aid on June 27, declared on July 4, that “there was no occasion at the present time for imparting to the archbishop of these islands the royal aid asked in his name....”

While the above was happening, one Sunday, June 26, papers were seen to be posted on the doors of the cathedral and convents of Manila. They were signed by father Fray Pedro de Muriel, by order of the judge conservator appointed to prevent the said visit. He was father Fray Tomás Villar, rector of the college of St. Dominic, by virtue of two briefs of Pius V: the first given March 24, 1567; and the second September 23, 1571 Universis et singulis venerabilibus fratribus. He had accepted his charge one day before the said posters were put up. In those posters, Don Juan Cevicós was declared to have incurred the excommunication of the canon si quis suadente diabolo, for having taken Father Valdemoro from the procession the twenty-fourth of the same month.

The matter being communicated to the archbishop, “he summoned the said conservator to immediately refrain from proceeding in the said causes, under penalty of incurring the penalties established by law; besides which he would proceed to punish the scandal caused in this community by his having affixed decrees in which the said provisor was said to be excommunicated.”

Father Villar replied, declaring his charge as apostolic judge conservator, and that, as such, “he must proceed in the said cause. Accordingly, he [64] petitions and requests his Lordship to cease to proceed in the said visit, that he has intended to make in the said mission of Dilao; and that he send all that has been written and done to the said judge conservator; and if not, the latter will proceed to what is advisable, in accordance with law. In respect to the provisor, through his having incurred that contained in the said canon, si quis suadente, he ordered that he be proclaimed in the public parts of this city as excommunicated, so that all may know of it, and that no person remove, or cause to be removed, the said posters, under penalty of greater excommunication, ipso facto incurrenda ... ”

In view of the aforesaid, and considering that the Audiencia gave no support to the archbishop, so that he might prosecute the said visit that he had begun, he insisted no further on it. But “so that the aforesaid might be apparent to his Majesty, and that the latter might provide what relief he pleased, the archbishop ordered—and he did so order—a testimony to be sent to the royal Council of the Yndias of all that had been done, and that the briefs mentioned in this act be sent also ... ”

At the same time he wrote the following letter to his Majesty:]


Finding myself obliged, both by the holy council of Trent and a brief of his Holiness Gregory Fourteenth, and by the restraining decrees of your Majesty, in regard to the visiting of the religious missionaries by the bishops—respecting curacies, and that they do not exercise such office without being examined beforehand in the language of the natives that they administer—I determined to carry out so [65] holy mandates, from which so many blessings must result to the service of God and that of your Majesty. Accordingly, having declared my purpose to the superiors of the said orders, three months before beginning the said visit, by means of a letter or notification which I gave them, in which I cited the passages of the said holy council, the brief of his Holiness, and the decrees of your Majesty, they responded to me orally, saying that they had an indult from his Holiness, Pius Fifth, in order that they might not be visited in matters touching curas and ministers of souls; and that the bishops had no jurisdiction over their ministries. I began, in fulfilment of the aforesaid, the visitation on the twenty-fourth of the past month of June, at a ministry in charge of the Order of St. Francis, in the suburbs of Manila. Proceeding to the visit, I found so much resistance from the religious missionaries, both on reading the edict, and when I happened to request them to open the sacristy in order to inspect the casket of the most holy sacrament, that it was necessary to order that under censure, and that was not sufficient to make them agree to my request. Accordingly, I declared and announced that the minister of that mission was excommunicated. For the time being I contented myself with that effort, with which, in order to avoid scandal, I returned home, with the intention of asking aid from this royal Audiencia.

But the said minister regarded the ecclesiastical censures and his prelate as of so little moment, that his subsequent action was just as if he had not been excommunicated and denounced. In a general procession that this cathedral made to the chapel of Nuestra Señora de Guia, for the happy arrival of the ships [66] that we were awaiting from Nueva España, in which were the royal Audiencia, cabildo, city, and orders—all aware of the event of the previous day, for even the most secret thing is known in a city so small—all were universally scandalized. Consequently, my provisor, in order to avoid that scandal, was obliged to order the said minister to leave the procession, and not to furnish the bad example that he was setting by showing contempt for ecclesiastical censures. As he refused to leave, the provisor removed him from the procession, ordering the fiscal of this archbishopric to follow him until he ejected him from the procession. As it was a matter that concerns, and is dependent on, the visit, all the orders were so angry over it that, speaking through the mouth of the Order of St. Francis, they elected as judge conservator a friar of St. Dominic, the rector of this college of Manila, in order to avoid any further attempts in the said visit to the ministries of the orders. The judge conservator, without informing me of any apostolic letter or brief of his Holiness pertaining to the said conservatorship, posted decrees next day in the churches and public places, declaring the said provisor as excommunicated and as fallen into the penalties of the clause si quis suadente Diabolo ... I continued to prosecute the cause of the visit, and, having found the said minister guilty, I requested aid in order to proceed against him, and, until he should become obedient, to keep him confined in one of these convents of Manila.

The royal Audiencia voted that there was at present no occasion for the said aid. Thereupon I issued an act, in which I abandoned the visit until I could give an account to your Majesty—to whom I [67] enclose a testimony of everything with this letter, and with it another testimony of the act of the royal Audiencia in regard to the case against my provisor, whom the judge conservator tried to arrest, and for which he requested aid, which the auditors refused him.

I have written your Majesty this relation in order to comply with your orders to inform you of what should be done in this, and so that you may see the freedom with which the religious proceed in this country, confident that they are the greatest part of the community; and that having, as they do, so great influence in all these provinces which they administer, they must succeed with whatever they undertake, even creating a judge conservator, contrary to the ruling of the holy council and the royal will of your Majesty. That is so true that they proclaimed in Manila that if the archbishop proceeded with the visit, they would place him on the list as excommunicated, and would not absolve him until he should go to their convent of St. Dominic to beg absolution. I might easily have proceeded with the visit, Sire, but I preferred to be chidden as remiss, than not to have those great scandals muzzled which were represented to me to be inevitable if I went to law with these religious. And speaking with all truth, it seems to them a case of less value than that any Indian or Spaniard should imagine that there is any power in these kingdoms greater than their own. May God preserve the very Catholic person of your Majesty, with the increase of new kingdoms and the happiness of those that you possess, as Christendom has need, and as we your Majesty’s humble vassals and chaplains desire. [68]

Manila, August first, one thousand six hundred and twenty-two.20

Fray Miguel Garcia Serrano, archbishop of Manila.

Regulations concerning the visits of religious

The King. Inasmuch as I have considered it advisable to order to be given, and gave, one of my decrees of the following tenor:

“The King. Inasmuch as there have been many differences in regard to the manner in which the religious of the mendicant orders who have missions of Indians in their charge in Nueva España, are to be visited by their prelates, and whether it is advisable that they possess missions; and inasmuch as various decrees have been despatched, some of which have been carried out, but others, because of finding some trouble in the execution, have not been observed; and desiring to end those quarrels and establish the form most advisable for the service of God and for mine: I ordered that, the papers that treat of that matter having been collected, what had been done in that matter be examined in an assembly of ministers and other experienced and educated persons. The assembly having conferred on the matter, and advised me of their opinion, I have considered it best to determine and order, as I do by this present, that, for the present, and until I order otherwise, the said missions remain to, and be continued by, the religious as hitherto; and there shall under no consideration be any innovation in that matter; and [69] the assignment and removal of the religious who are curas, whenever it may be necessary, shall be made by my viceroy of those provinces, in my name, the latter observing in those appointments and promotions the form, together with the conditions and circumstances, with which it is done in the kingdoms of Pirú; and it is my will that the religious be not admitted to the exercise or to the service of the said missions, or that they receive the emoluments of them in any other manner. I also order that the archbishop of those provinces may visit the said religious in what refers to the ministry of curas and to nothing else—inspecting the churches, the sacraments, the chrism, the confraternities, their alms, and everything pertaining to the mere administration of the holy sacraments and the said ministry of curas. He shall go to make the visit in his own person, or shall assign or send for this duty such persons as he shall choose and find satisfactory, to those districts where he cannot go in person, or where there is no occasion for his aid. He shall employ correction and punishment whenever necessary, strictly within the limits and exercise of curas as above stated, and nothing further. In respect to personal transgressions in the morals and lives of such religious curas, the latter shall not remain subject to the said archbishops and bishops, so that these may punish them through the visits, even though under pretext that they are curas; but, on having notice of such matters, they shall, without writing or drawing up processes, secretly advise their regular superiors of such persons, so that the latter may correct the wrong. In case that the latter should not do this, then the former might make use of the authority given them by the [70] holy council of Trent, in the manner and in the cases when they can and ought to act in regard to religious who are not curas. In this instance I order that they have recourse to the said my viceroy, who shall appoint them and who can remove them, to represent to him the causes, so that it may be done as has been and is done in Pirú. And inasmuch as the said religious, in regard to the jurisdiction, are not endeavoring to acquire any right for the perpetuity of the said missions; and since by the aforesaid the ordinary jurisdiction is not annulled in cases that conform to law and to the holy council of Trent: it pertains to the superiors to try the causes of the religious. That must and shall be understood, without any prejudice to the ordinary jurisdiction and the right of my patronage. I order all the above to be thus observed and executed inviolably by my viceroy, archbishop, bishops of Nueva España and all other persons whom its fulfilment concerns, notwithstanding any other orders whatever that may exist to the contrary. Such I revoke and declare null and void. Given in Madrid, June twenty-two, one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.

I The King

Juan Ruiz de Contreras

And in behalf of the archbishop of the metropolitan church of the city of Manila in the Philipinas Islands, I have been requested to be pleased to declare whether the decree of November fourteen of the former year six hundred and three is to be observed in those islands, in regard to the manner in which the said religious missionaries are to be visited; or whether the visit is to be exercised with the limitation [71] and in the form contained in the new decree which was given to Nueva España. The matter having been examined in my royal Council of the Indias, I have considered it fitting to give the present. By it I order that everything contained in the decree herein inserted be observed and obeyed by my governor, archbishop, and bishops of those islands, and by all other persons whom it concerns, exactly as is contained in it, for such is my will. Given in Madrid, August fourteen, one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.21

I The King

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan Ruiz de Contreras [72]

1 Translated from Pastells’s Colin, iii, pp. 674–677. The original is conserved in Archivo general de Indias, with the following pressmark: “Registros de oficio y partes; reales ordenes dirigidos a las autoridades y particulares del distrito de la Audiencia; 1568–1808; est. 105, caj. 2, leg. 11, libro 1, folio 233, verso, part 2.”

2 Thus in Pastells’s text (p. 690); but it is apparently a misprint for June 22, 1622, the date of Serrano’s act.

3 Throughout this document, the matter contained in brackets [26n] is editorial comment by Rev. Pablo Pastells, S.J., who has published the present document in the appendix to the third volume of his edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica (Barcelona, 1904), ut supra.

4 The passage of the council of Trent referred to above reads as follows: “In monasteries, whether the houses of men or of women, with which the care of the souls of secular persons is connected, all persons—excepting those who belong to their monasteries, or who are servants of those places—both secular and religious, who exercise that care after this manner, shall be immediately subject in those things which pertain to the said care and administration of sacraments, to the jurisdiction, visit, and correction of the bishop in whose diocese they are located. Neither shall any there, even those removable at will [ad nutum amovibilis], be considered unless by the consent of that bishop, and by the latter’s previous examination, made personally or by his vicar; excepting the monastery of Cluny and its boundaries, and also excepting those monasteries or places in which abbots, generals, or the heads of the orders establish their ordinary and chief residence, and other monasteries or houses in which abbots, or other [27n] superiors of the regulars, exercise episcopal or temporal jurisdiction in parish churches and parishes; excepting likewise from the right of those bishops even persons who exercise greater jurisdiction in the said places.” See the original reading in Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica, appendix, p. 677.

5 See the above bull in this series, Vol. IV, pp. 119–124.

6 See the last two decrees here mentioned, later in this document. The first decree—the original of which is preserved in the Archivo general de Indias, in “Cartas y expedientes del gobernador de Filipinas vistos en el Consejo; años 1567–1699; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 10”—which we translate, as well as all the above document, from Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica, iii, pp. 682, 683, is as follows:

“The King: Very reverend father in Christ, archbishop of the metropolitan church of the city of Mexico of Nueva España; reverend fathers in Christ, bishops of my council, venerable deans, dignidades, canons, and other persons, who are assembled in the provincial council which is held in the city of Mexico. You have already been informed by my decree—of which duplicates signed by my hand were sent out, directed to all the prelates of the churches of the Yndias—dated December six, of the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-three, that I ordered you all, and each of you in particular, that if you have clerics who are suitable and competent, you shall appoint them to benefices, curacies, [28n] and missions, in preference to the friars of the mendicant orders, who hold them at present—observing, in the said appointment, the order that is mentioned in the title of my patronship, as is more minutely set forth in the said decrees, the tenor of which, being precisely the same as that of the one sent to you, the above-mentioned archbishop, is as follows:

“The King: Very reverend father in Christ, archbishop of the metropolitan church of the city of Mexico of Nueva España, and member of our council: Already you know that, in accordance with the ordinances and established rules of the holy Catholic church, and with the ancient custom received and observed in Christendom, the jurisdiction of the holy sacraments in the curacies of the parishes of the churches belongs to the seculars, they being aided as assistants in preaching and confessing by the religious of the orders; and that if missions and curacies have been entrusted to religious of the mendicant orders in those regions by apostolic concession, it was because of the lack that was experienced of the said lay priests, and the convenience that was found in the said religious for busying themselves in the conversion, instruction, and teaching of the natives, with the example and profit that is required. Now granting that this was the object aimed at in that arrangement, and that the effect has been greatly in accordance with the efforts made for it, and that they have obtained so much fruit through their apostolic lives and holy perseverance, and that so great a multitude of souls have come to the knowledge of our Lord through His favor and aid by means of their teaching: still, inasmuch as it is advisable to bring back this matter to its beginning, and that, in so far as is possible, what pertains to the said curacies of parishes and missions be restored [29n] to the common and received use of the Church, so that there may be no defect in that of the Indians, I request and charge you that now and henceforth, if you have suitable and competent clergy, you appoint them to the said curacies, missions, and benefices, preferring them to the friars, and observing in the said appointments the order that is mentioned in the title of our patronship. As long as there are not all the seculars necessary for the said missions and benefices, you shall divide those which are left over, equally, among the orders in those provinces, so that there may be some of all the orders, to the end that each order may labor according to its obligation, striving to excel in so holy and apostolic an enterprise. And you shall watch above all, as a good shepherd, so that your subordinates live with great watchfulness, relieving our conscience and your own, so that the results that are desirable be obtained among those natives. Madrid, December six, 1583.

I The King

By order of his Majesty:
Antonio de Eraso

“Certain religious of the above-mentioned orders having come from those provinces and from others of the Yndias, and having related the many annoyances that have followed and that might follow from the observance and fulfilment of the said decree, I ordered some of the members of my council and other persons of great learning, prudence, and intelligence to assemble. They having examined the indults, briefs, and concessions of the supreme pontiffs, and the other papers that are filed in the secretary’s office of my Council of the Indias, in regard to this matter of the missions—as well as the informations, letters, relations, and opinions [30n] that have been given, sent, and brought from all parts but lately, and upon the occasion of this decree, both by the religious and by the prelates and clergy—have given me their opinion. Considering that it was proper, in order to come to a resolution and decision in a matter of so great moment and importance, and commencing with what is of greatest importance—namely, to commend it to God our Lord, whom you all, as is done here, are to entreat very urgently to guide and direct it as may be most to His service, the proper spiritual government of those kingdoms, the welfare of the souls of the inhabitants and natives therein, and the propagation of the holy gospel: I have determined to await a more detailed relation of what may appear from these new documents, and the general consensus of opinion in all classes, so that after examining them all (since we all must aid for one and the same purpose, and the result must be for the welfare of all, and particularly for mine, for the fulfilment of the great obligation under which our Lord, besides the many benefits which I continually receive from His blessed hand, has placed me by adding thereto so great kingdoms and seigniories, where so great a multitude of souls have come to His true knowledge, and where they will continue to come daily, by the help of His grace which illumines them, so that they may leave their blindness) the best conclusion may be reached. Accordingly, I request and charge you that, having assembled and congregated in that holy council, you discuss and confer over what pertains to this matter. You shall send me a very minute relation of the measures that you [31n] shall deem it advisable to take in each province and bishopric by itself, and for all in general, in regard to the execution of the said decree. You shall say what missions are in possession of the religious and those in charge of the seculars, and in what villages and vicinity these are, and all the other things concerning it that you think to be necessary for the sake of greater clearness; so that, having examined the said relations and the others that are awaited, and the papers that are here, and holding consultation with my Council of the Indias, as well as with the other persons whom I shall appoint for this purpose, I may take the most advisable measures. While that is being done and determined, you shall suspend (as I now for the time being do suspend), and I shall consider as suspended, the execution of the decree herein inserted.

“All, and each one by himself, if they are in your dioceses, shall leave the said missions freely and quietly to the said orders and religious, so that those who have held, hold, and shall hold them, may hold them as hitherto, without making any innovation, or changing the manner of filling those missions or appointing the religious to them.

“Each of you personally, in his own district, without entrusting [32n] it to any other person, shall visit the churches of the missions where the said religious shall be established, and inspect the most holy sacraments and the baptismal fonts in them, the buildings of the said churches, the alms given for them, and all the other things pertaining to such churches and the services of divine worship. You shall also visit and fraternally correct the religious established in the said missions, in regard to curacies, and shall take special care to consider the honor and good fame of such religious in irregular acts that may be hidden; and when more than this should be necessary or advisable you shall inform their prelates, so that these may punish them. If the latter do not inflict punishment, you shall do so, each one of you, in accordance with the ordinance of the holy council of Trent, after the period of time mentioned in it is passed. And inasmuch as it is not advisable that a matter that is so important as is the care of souls—and, further, those souls that are so new in the faith—be at the will of the religious who shall be established in the said missions, curacies, and benefices, they must understand, both superiors [33n] and members [of the orders] that they are to hold the office of cura non ex voto charitatis, as is said, but by justice and obligation, administering the holy sacraments, not only to the Indians, but also to the Spaniards who may be found living among them—to the Indians by virtue of the above-mentioned apostolic indults, and to the Spaniards by commission from the prelates. For that each of you shall give, in his own district, and to me, a very specific account of how the religious, on their part, observe what pertains to them of this—which they are to perform exactly and according to their obligation—together with what, in your opinion, they may do to aid you in fulfilling your pastoral duties, in which you shall consider the safety of the souls in your charge, for whom you must give so strict an account to God our Lord. Barcelona, June first, one thousand five hundred and eighty-five.

I The King
By order of his Majesty:
Antonio de Erasso

7 Referring to his Nova collectio et compilatio privilegiorum apostolicorum regularium (Turnoni, 1609).

8 Gregory XIV, in his brief Cum sicuti nuper accepimus, after approving the first diocesan council (convened in Manila by Bishop Salazar), and the reservation of cases that the bishop should make with the advice of the said council, imposes on him the visitation of his flock and of the religious who administer it, forbidding any religious to go out for the conquest of unpacified infidels without the express command of their regular superior and the license of the bishop in writing. The extract to this effect is as follows:

“And lest the rules and resolutions made for the said bishop [i.e., of Manila], and the religious and missionaries assembled in the same place, for the happy progress of the Christians newly converted to the faith, should be infringed by them for their own special pleasure, profit, or inclination, we will and decree by our apostolic authority that those things that shall have been ordained and commanded by that congregation, by the votes of the majority, for the protection of the Christian faith or for the salvation of souls for the thorough conversion of those converted Indians, be steadfastly and rigorously observed, as long and so far as that congregation shall ordain and command it.

“Moreover, whenever that bishop, at the advice of the said congregation, shall have reserved any case for himself, according to what shall have appeared expedient for the nature of the times, persons, and affairs, no secular priest nor a member of any religious order or congregation shall, under pretext of any privilege or indult (even though apostolic), excepting the bishop himself, or by his express license and command, be authorized, or dare or presume to grant absolution in any manner in cases so reserved, during the said reservation, under penalty of being suspended [36n] from the ministry of the mass and from the confession of the faithful, incurring that penalty by the very act.

“Moreover, we enjoin and order that bishop that, since it is the special duty of the bishop to minister to his own sheep and to visit them in person, he shall visit the flock entrusted to him, the religious of the Christian instruction, and those missions, in his own person or in that of his vicar-general in spiritual things, or at least in the persons of other very grave men, and not at all by simple and unskilled clergy, ignorant of letters, and of no judgment.

“And inasmuch as some of the inhabitants of those islands, and members of the above-mentioned orders, eager to see new things, and wandering or passing from one district to another, abandon those newly converted and baptized; and inasmuch as such persons cause the latter at times to revert to idolatry, which is greatly to be deplored; and inasmuch as many others who otherwise would acknowledge the faith and accede to baptism neglect it on account of the lack of ministers, or remain in infidelity; and inasmuch as the religious themselves, ignorant even of the languages of those districts, are despised, to the shame of their orders, and render more difficult the conversion of the Indians: We, desirous of checking this evil by an opportune remedy, strictly forbid and prohibit all and singular, of whatever religious order, and all others whomsoever who are engaged in the conversion of the infidels and the teaching of Christian doctrine, under penalty of excommunication, not to dare or presume to go from a pacified to an unpacified land, except by the express license and command of their bishop and of the religious superiors, given in writing.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the seal of the fisherman, April xviii, MDXCI, in the first year of our pontificate.”

See Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, iii, p. 679.

9 Tomo i of his Questiones regulares et canonicæ was published at Salamanca in 1598; another edition, in four volumes, was issued some years later.

10 Probably contained in his Epitome, o compendio de la Suma (Madrid, 1610).

11 See the bulls concerning the Indias granted by Alexander VI, in Vol. I of this series, pp. 97–114. The bull here referred to is the Inter cætera of May 4, 1493.

12 This bull was dated May 9, 1522, and begins Omnimodo exponi nobis; it grants authority to the friars of the mendicant orders to go to the Indias, after securing permission from their king or from his royal council. See Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, iii, p. 677.

13 See this decree ante, note 6.

14 The original of this decree is in the Archivo general of Sevilla, ”Cartas y expedientes del gobernador de Filipinas vistos en el Consejo; años 1567–99; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 10.”

15 The two decrees here mentioned (see Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, iii, pp. 684, 685)—the originals of which are conserved in Archivo general de Indias, having the same pressmark as that in the preceding note—are respectively as follows:

“The King: To the president and auditors of my royal Audiencia of the city of Manila, of the Philipinas Islands. Certain prelates of those regions have written to me that many religious who are appointed to the missions of Indians which are in charge of the orders do not have the competency and qualities that are required for the office of cura, which they fill; that they do not know the language of those whom they have to instruct; and that the archbishops and bishops cannot remedy this, because the religious do not come before them to be examined. And in the visits that the former make, the latter claim to be exempt from their jurisdiction, even in regard to curacies, saying that they have an indult for it; neither can their superiors remedy it. Inasmuch as it is a matter of so great consideration, I have now ordained that, in so great conformity with what is decreed and ordained, the said archbishops and bishops shall not allow any religious to enter to perform or exercise the duties of cura in the missions which are in their charge, without first being examined and approved by the prelate of that diocese, both in regard to his competency and in the language, in order to exercise the duty of cura and to administer the sacraments to the Indians of their missions, as well as to the Spaniards who may be there; that, if in the visits that the said prelates make to them in regard to curacies, any of the said religious missionaries should be found without the ability, qualifications, and example that are requisite, and who do not know sufficiently the language of the Indians whom they instruct, such religious shall be removed and their superiors advised, so that the latter may appoint others who have the necessary qualifications, in which they are to be examined; and that, if any indult or bull of his Holiness is presented to them [46n] exempting the said religious from this, they shall advise you, so that you may do your duty. And inasmuch as it is advisable that that be observed, executed, and obeyed, I charge you that you give the said prelates in that district the encouragement, protection, and aid necessary for this; and that you do not permit or allow religious to be admitted into the missions in any other way. You shall advise me of what you shall do. Given in San Lorenço, November fourteen, one thousand six hundred and three.

I The King

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan de Ybarra

“The King. Very reverend father in Christ, archbishop of the city of Manila of the Philipinas Islands, and member of my council: You will see by my decree of the same date as this, which this accompanies, what I have resolved and ordered in regard to the examination of the religious who shall exercise duties as curas in the district of that archbishopric—which is not discussed here in regard to seculars, as it is a settled and fixed matter. And inasmuch as it is advisable for the relief of my conscience, and that of yours, that that decree be fulfilled and obeyed carefully, I charge you that you do so; and if any indult or brief from his Holiness be presented to you, in behalf of the orders, exempting them from this, you shall advise my royal audiencias, so that they may do their duty, and my fiscal shall plead what is suitable. You shall advise me of what you shall do in everything. San Lorenzo, November fourteen, one thousand six hundred and three.

I The King

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan de Ybarra.”

16 The following decree was given by the king prohibiting certain practices of the regulars:

“The King. To the president and auditors of my royal Audiencia of the city of Manila of the Philipinas Islands: I have been informed that the religious who reside in those regions have the custom of assigning at times Indian villages for the celebration of their chapter meetings, from which, besides the annoyances and wrongs that the Indians receive, it happens that the audiencias and governors are unable to apply the remedy for certain things that occur in the said chapter meetings, and that require despatch. And inasmuch as it has been considered that that is a cause for trouble, it has been deemed advisable to prevent it by ordering—as I do order and command by this present—that now and henceforth, chapter meetings of the religious be not celebrated in Indian villages; and that if there be reasons obliging the meeting to be celebrated at any time in any such village, those reasons be communicated to you, both the president and the Audiencia, and that your order and permission be obtained. Such is my will. Given in Valladolid, June thirteen, one thousand six hundred and fifteen.

I The King

By order of the king our sovereign:

Juan Ruiz de Contreras

This decree is translated from Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, p. 685; its original is conserved in the Archivo general of Sevilla, its pressmark, “Registros de oficio; reales ordenes dirigidos á las autoridades del distrito de la Audiencia; años 1597–1804; est. 105, caj. 2, leg. 1, lib. 1, vol. 64.”

17 The passage of the brief referred to above, is as follows:

“We, therefore, who gladly favor the increase of Divine worship and the salvation of souls, especially since we have been petitioned by each of the Catholic kings, giving assent to them petitioning after this manner, do, by virtue of our apostolic authority, concede and grant license and authority, by the tenor of these presents, to all and singular, the religious of any, even the mendicant orders, living in monasteries of their orders in the said regions of the Indias (of the Ocean Sea), or outside of them, by the consent of their superiors, so that they may freely and legally use the license obtained from their superiors, as is declared in their provincial chapters, to exercise the office of parish priest in the villages of those regions, such office having [56n] been and being assigned to them by a similar license, in the celebration of marriages and in the administration of the ecclesiastical sacraments, as has been their wont hitherto (provided that they observe the form of the said council in other ceremonies); and to preach the word of God and hear confessions, as is declared, so long as those religious know the languages of those districts; and no other permission of the ordinaries of those places, or of any other persons, shall be necessary. And moreover, by the same authority and tenor, we decree and ordain that the said bishop shall make no innovation in the places of those regions where there are monasteries of religious who exercise the care of souls. So likewise [we decree and ordain] that it must be resolved and determined by any judges and commissaries, who exercise any authority whatever, delegated to them or to any one of them, to him determining and interpreting otherwise by virtue of any authority whatever; and we declare null and void whatever else shall be attempted in regard to these things, by anyone under any authority whatever.... Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the seal of the fisherman, March 23, 1567.”

See Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, iii, p. 678.

18 The passage referred to above, which we translate from the original bull as given in Pastells’s Colin, ut supra, p. 678, is as follows:

“Since, therefore, our predecessor Pope Pius V of happy memory, after hearing of the troubles which were said to have been inflicted on the friars of the mendicant orders by the ordinaries of the places and the rectors of ecclesiastical parishes in many ways, in regard to ... the care of souls and the administration of the sacraments ... not only decreed many things differently in certain of his letters to the said friars, but even those things that were recently decreed in regard to these [58n] things in the council of Trent, ... we ... decree and ordain concerning the said and concerning all other letters and regulations which emanated in any manner from the same predecessor concerning those matters to any orders and congregations of any regulars, including the mendicants, and concerning all and whatever is contained therein, that that regulation and decision, which was legal before the declaration of the said letters and regulations, whether by the ancient law, or by the holy decrees of the said council, or in any other way, be regarded as having force hereafter, and which they would have, had not those letters and regulations emanated, to which regulation and decision and to their former undiminished condition and limitation, we reduce them all.... Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord, 1572 [sic] on the kalends of March.”

19 Monitoria: Summons issued by an ecclesiastical judge to command the personal appearance and deposition of a witness.

20 The original of this letter is conserved in the Archivo general of Sevilla; its pressmark, “Cartas y expedientes del Arzobispo de Manila; años 1579–1697; est. 68, caj. I, leg. 32.”

21 This document is obtained from Pastells’s Colin, iii, pp. 685, 686. The original decree is conserved in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla; its pressmark the same as that indicated in note 14, ante.

Conflict Between Civil and Religious Authorities

Case that happened in Manila in the year 1623, in regard to a fugitive who was taken from the church

Juan Soto de Vega, whom justice was prosecuting for having stolen a large sum of money from the ship which was coming from Mejico to Filipinas, had taken refuge in the asylum [sagrado] of the cathedral of Manila. Desirous of escaping from the prosecution of the secular tribunal, he tried to get to Eastern or Portuguese Yndia in the month of December. He begged permission from the provisor and vicar-general, Don Pedro Monrroy, that he might be taken from the cathedral and kept in the ecclesiastical prison; and they actually kept him there, but with guards and in confinement, until the Portuguese boats left for Yndia. Then they returned him to the cathedral, where he remained for the space of eight months, until an auditor took him violently from the church on the fifth of September, 1623, and took him to the public prison. There he, in company with another auditor, tortured Juan de la Vega until they broke his arm, which caused a great public scandal.

The provisor began to take steps in defense of the ecclesiastical immunity. He demanded the criminal, [73] and publicly declared the auditors to be excommunicated, threatening to place them under interdict, unless they would return the prisoner to the church. After the time-limit had expired, the interdict was imposed. The auditors, on the other hand, despatched a letter and a second letter to the provisor charging him to lift the censures and interdict, under penalty of banishment and a fine of 2,000 ducados, unless he did that in the time-limit that they assigned him. As he did not fulfil the command, they despatched the court constable, with soldiers, to look for the provisor in order to arrest him. They registered all the house of the archbishop, and the house of the provisor himself, sequestered his goods, broke off the locks of the cupboards and writing-desks, and ransacked his papers, but did not find him, for he had hidden in the convent of the Augustinians.

The archbishop (against whom the proceedings were directed), seconded by the public opinion, which was contrary to the auditors, summoned Doctor Don Juan de Renteria, bishop of Nueva Segovia (who was then in Manila), and various religious, prebendaries, and lawyers, and assembled or formed a council to discuss what ought to be done in such a case. The opinion of all was that the auditors were legitimately excommunicated, and the interdict rightly imposed; and that the ecclesiastical immunity ought to be sustained, and satisfaction demanded for the scandal by returning the fugitive to the church.

While that meeting was being held, the auditors despatched a royal mandate, which they said was given by Don Felipe, to the archbishop, ordering him not to retain Don Pedro de Monrroy as provisor, as he was exiled from the kingdoms, to absolve [74] the excommunicated, and lift the interdict—under penalty, if he did not do so, of banishment and a fine of 2,000 ducados. The archbishop replied, demanding a testimony of the cause and the corresponding acts [of the Audiencia], in order to determine what he should do. But the auditors sent him another royal decree, warning him that he would be considered to have incurred the said penalties if he did not immediately lift the censures and interdict. Since the archbishop held firm, the auditors sent the chief court constable, together with the actuary of the Audiencia and thirty pikemen under command of an adjutant, at four in the afternoon on that same day, in order to take charge of the episcopal residence, with orders not to permit any one to leave it or anything to be taken from it.

At this juncture, the rector of the Jesuit college and others advised the archbishop to raise the censures ad reincidentiam [i.e., “until a repetition of the offense”], and the interdict for one week, since they thought that the auditors would return the prisoner. That was done, and the archbishop requested the opinion in writing of the orders and learned persons, which they gave him—with the exception of the Dominicans, who excused themselves. The archbishop, seeing that the auditors not only did not do what was promised, but even issued another decree to arrest and expel the provisor, called another meeting, at which the Dominicans had no part. In that meeting it was decided to defend the ecclesiastical immunity, and that two individuals of the assembly should go to talk with the auditors in the name of the assembly, and notify them that the prisoner must be returned, or else the archbishop could not raise [75] the censures or interdict. Two Jesuits went, and the auditors replied to them that they would not desist or turn back. The interdict was immediately imposed again, and the auditors were publicly declared to be excommunicated.

A Jesuit, who was a friend to the governor, advised him to take a hand in the matter in order to cut short such scandals. The result was that the governor decided to see the archbishop at the residence of the Society, in order to discuss the most suitable method. The interview was held, but without result. Another interview had the same result. Meanwhile it was decided to appoint two arbitrators, one from each side. Doctor Jolo was appointed for the auditors, and Father Juan de Bueras,1 rector of the residence of the Society of Jesus, for the archbishop. They agreed that the prisoner should be returned to the episcopal prison, and that each side should desist from their claim in what was accomplished.

When the time came to execute the agreement of the arbitrators, the auditors put difficulties in the way. But, since at the same time it happened that the provisor, as commissary of the holy crusade, had drawn up acts against the auditors for the violation of his house and tribunal, against which there was no recourse by force in these islands; and since, on the other hand, the governor demanded from them the record of all that had been done (separating [76] himself from them, as not being a lawyer) in order to inform the king: they resolved to form an assembly without the governor, and voted that the prisoner should be returned to the ecclesiastical prison, while the ecclesiastical judge was investigating whether the church was protecting him, which was what the archbishop claimed.

The victorious provisor left the residence of the Society, and with great pomp, and, accompanied by a mass of people and by his ministers, drew the prisoner from the public prison and took him to his own. The interdict was raised, to the chime of the bells of all the churches.

The auditors begged to be absolved in their houses, but the archbishop refused, saying that since the scandal had been public, the absolution also must be so. However, absolution was given in his house to one who was sick and who was less culpable; as well as to another by the influence of the Dominicans, who obtained that it be given him by the parish priest. [77]

1 Juan de Bueras was born in the mountains of Burgos. He went to the American missions after having taught moral theology at Toledo. He was provincial of the Philippines in 1627. Later he became visitor of the provinces of New Spain and Mexico, dying at Mexico, February 19, 1646. See Sommervogel’s Bibliothèque.

Seminary for Japanese Missionaries

In the city of Manila, on the twenty-third day of July in the year one thousand six hundred and twenty-four, the honorable president and auditors of the royal Audiencia and Chancillería of these Philipinas Islands, in whose charge is the government thereof, declared that [they have resolved upon this measure] in view of the fact that Señor Don Alonso Faxardo de Tenga, formerly governor and captain-general of these said islands, and president of the royal Audiencia, undertook to found a seminary [and] college where Japanese should be educated, instructed in religion, and taught, so that when they had received holy orders they might go to the kingdom of Japan and preach and instruct there in our holy faith, after the manner and likeness of the English colleges in the kingdoms of España, and other Christian countries—for which purpose he designated space and locations for a church, house, and garden in the unoccupied land outside the walls of the said city; and for the income and maintenance of the said seminary [and] college he designated and applied the income from the passage and navigation from this city to the port of Cavite, and the monopoly of buyo, bonga,1 [78] and tobacco, which he ordered to be established by a royal decree, which, to this purpose, was despatched in the name of his Majesty on the twenty-ninth of January of this present year. By this it was commanded that no person should make use of the said passage, nor of the carriage and sale of the said buyo, bonga, and tobacco, excepting those who hold it in lease for the said college and its administrators, or those named by them for this purpose, under the penalties which are imposed upon them by the magistrates. From this have resulted great discontent and scandal in all ranks of this commonwealth, and particularly among serious persons therein, both ecclesiastical and lay—who, being moved by zeal for the service of God our Lord, and of his Majesty, and for the prosperity and preservation of these islands and the citizens and natives thereof, have made representations of the many difficulties resulting from the aforesaid grant, not only in sermons which have many times been preached in regard to this, but likewise by information and declaration to the judges and ministers of his Majesty, that they might aid in procuring relief therein, as it is a thing so important for the royal service. For the establishment of the said college and seminary was accomplished at a time when the king of Japon so rigorously prohibited the preaching of the holy gospel in his kingdom, as is explained in the said royal decree; and [his resentment] had reached such an extreme that, when ambassadors were despatched in the past year to negotiate on behalf of these islands for friendship and good understanding with the said king, he showed himself to be so ill disposed against them that he did not allow the said ambassadors to enter his court during [79] the eight months and more which they passed in his kingdom, seeking an audience in order to give their message and embassy. According to the letters and relations received, his resentment was the result of having found certain religious in his kingdom in secular clothes, and of having learned that they had been brought from these islands to his land in disguise and secretly. On this account, and in order to prevent them from entering Japon, he has ordered all Spaniards who are in his said kingdom to leave it, and has forbidden and discontinued traffic, and he will not consent that Japanese ships come to these islands, as they used to come, to bring provisions and other military stores for the royal warehouses; this can only result in the ruin of this country, on account of the lack which this may cause in its armament, trade, and maintenance. If the king of Japon, who has already ordered that religious cannot dwell in his kingdom, by not consenting to allow Spaniards in it, as has been said, should get word that Japanese are being educated and instructed in the said seminary, to go and continue the said preaching, it is certain that he must experience even greater displeasure and annoyance, and adopt more strenuous measures to stop all communication and passage from these islands to his said kingdom. As a result, the Spaniards will suffer the greatest need through the want of provision which is brought to these islands from there. It might even be the cause that he would unite with the Dutch enemy, whom he admits peacefully into his said kingdom, and that they would come with a great number of troops and vessels against these islands, and cause great losses to them, as we have no forces sufficient to resist them successfully. On this account [80] it is expedient to use prudent measures and acts, and not to continue this, which in all certainty, and evidently, as is generally known by all the religious orders and serious persons of this city, must result in harm to the service of God and of his Majesty, and in notable loss to this commonwealth—both because the said seminary cannot bring about the good results claimed for it, on account of the little inclination of the Japanese for it, and the different objects which it is presumed have been aimed at by it; and because in this case the argument does not exist that holds good in other kingdoms and parts where there are colleges of the English and other foreign nations. For, if those peoples are irritated by the religious instruction and teaching of the persons who are gathered in the said colleges, there are forces to resist them; but through this seminary they might cause greater injury than the said nations are doing without it. As for the location which was designated for the said seminary, although it was, as has been said, in the unoccupied land outside the walls of this city, it appears to have been selected and set aside in the Plaza de Armas here, close by the village of Laguio, where they have commenced to erect a building and pillars of stone, contrary to what his Majesty directed by his royal decree of the sixth of March of the year one thousand six hundred and eight, which is as follows:

“The King. In consideration of the fact that a relation has been made to me on behalf of Hernando de los Rios Coronel, procurator-general of the Philipinas Islands, to the effect that when the uprising of the Chinese Sangleys occurred there, there were, about the walls of the city of Manila, many buildings [81] from which the Sangleys did much damage to the walls thereof, until they were destroyed; and to prevent this difficulty for the future, Don Pedro de Acuña, my former governor and captain-general of those islands, commanded that no buildings should be erected within three hundred paces from the wall of the said city, in its entire circuit, and begged me, considering that this was so expedient as he had given me to understand, in order that the said city should be provided with the necessary defense, and protected from the past dangers, that I should be pleased to have this confirmed, or do as might be according to my pleasure. Having examined it in my royal Council of the Yndias, the said order which the said Don Pedro issued has appeared to me to be very effective, as is said. Accordingly it is my will that this be observed and fulfilled, as exactly and punctually as if it were issued by myself; and, in fulfilment thereof, I order that neither now nor at any time shall any building be erected within the said three hundred paces about the said wall of the said city of Manila, since this is expedient for my service and for the security and defense of the said city. Done at Madrid, on the sixth of March of the year one thousand six hundred and eight.

I The King

By order of the king, our lord: Juan de Civiza

All the aforesaid procedure is contrary to this decree. Besides, the district and place where the said seminary building has been commenced are the lots which have been seized and taken away from the owners who possessed them, the houses which they [82] had built upon them being removed or torn down, in order to make the said Plaza de Armas; nor have they thus far been paid for, nor has any satisfaction been given to the owners. Accordingly, if the said lots were not necessary for the purpose for which they were taken, they should be returned to their owners as land and property which pertain and belong to them, and no work or edifice should be erected thereon until they be paid and satisfied. As for the income which is appropriated for the work, its maintenance, and the prosecution of the building for the said seminary, it was contrary to the rules of justice and to the laws of the kingdom, and greatly to the prejudice of this whole commonwealth and the Indian villages in its neighborhood; for the voyage and navigation from this city to the port of Cavite—as it is not a river passage, but a bay and an arm of the sea, which may be crossed with all sorts of vessels, both large and small—cannot be reduced to the status of a private route and profit, on account of the loss which this would cause to so great a number of persons as possess the said vessels, and use them to carry and convey merchandise and other sorts of articles from this city to the said port. And especially it will cause this loss to the native Indians of this city and of the villages of Laguio, Mahar, Meytubi, Dongalo and others of this coast, who will be deprived and prevented from using the vessels which they ordinarily possess to carry and convey to the said port persons, merchandise, and other things; and if this profit be hindered they will have nothing wherewith to sustain themselves, and will not be able to pay his Majesty the royal tributes, nor aid in other impositions and personal services. The same losses [83] will be increased by granting a monopoly of the said buyo, bonga, and tobacco—not only for the neighboring villages but even for provinces where it is collected and brought to this city; for their natives have no other source of income which would be to them so important and profitable as the gathering, carrying, and sale of buyo, bonga, and tobacco, and if this were stopped they would be reduced to the greatest poverty and want. That would make it impossible for them to succeed in paying the royal tributes, impositions, repartimientos, and other consequences of the service of his Majesty; and to the citizens and the people of various nationalities who dwell here, for whom the said commodities serve as food and sustenance, there would be caused expense and inconvenience, as has already been seen by experience, for even without the said monopoly being erected, but merely projected and intended, the said buyo, bonga, and tobacco have risen and increased in price, so much that the cost at present is twice what it was before, and at the time when it was decided to erect the said monopoly—which not only is of the fruits of the land, and articles which the said peoples use for their sustenance, but likewise is prohibited by equity and the laws. Consequently, looking for the greatest service to God and his Majesty, the growth and preservation of these islands, and the welfare and comfort of the citizens and natives thereof, they [i.e., the president and auditors] declared that they would revoke, and they did revoke, the said grant with everything therein contained; and that they would declare it, and they did declare it, to be null and of no force and effect. And they declared that they would notify, and they did notify, each and every [84] magistrate of his Majesty, that each one of them, in his jurisdiction, in so far as may concern him, shall not consent to the use of the said monopolies, or of any one of them, on the part of either the said seminary or of any other person with a lease-title therefrom, or in any other manner, who may employ and make use of the said grant; but on the contrary they shall proceed to the punishment of such, who shall be in their jurisdiction, as against persons making use of a title and right not pertaining to them. And as for the said edifice and its demolition, it shall be entrusted to the captain-general, so that he, when he has examined it, and found that it is within the said three hundred paces about the walls, shall have it demolished and razed, until it be put in the state in which the said Plaza de Armas had been before, and at the time when the said edifice was commenced, in such manner that the purpose of the command of his Majesty in the said royal decree shall be complied with. A royal decree in conformity with this act shall be despatched, and shall be cried publicly in the customary districts and places, so that knowledge thereof may come to all. And, by this their act, they decree and command accordingly, and have signed their names.

Doctor Don Alvaro de Messa y Lugo
Licentiate Don Juan de Saavedra Valderrama
Licentiate Don Mathias Delgado y Flores
Before me:
Pedro Alvarez

Don Phelipe, by the grace of God king of Castilla, of Leon, of Aragon, of the two Çiçilias, of Hierusalem, of Portugal, of Navarra, of Granada, of [85] Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Mayorca, of Sevilla, of Cerdeña, of Cordova, of Córcega, of Murcia, of Jaen, of the Algarves, of Algeciras, of Gibraltar, and of the Canaria Islands, and of the Eastern and Western Yndias, islands and mainland, of the Ocean Sea; Archduke of Austria, Duke of Borgoña, of Bramante, and Milan; Count of Arpspug [i.e., Hapsburg] and of Flandez, of Tirol, and of Barcelona; Seignior of Viscaya and of Molina, etc. [Here the royal decree quotes in full the foregoing act of the royal Audiencia beginning: “In consideration of the fact that Don Alonso Faxardo de Tença,” etc., down to “but likewise is prohibited by equity and law.”]

Wherefore, looking for the greatest service to God and myself, the increase and preservation of the said islands, and the welfare and comfort of the citizens and dwellers therein, after examination by my president and auditors of the royal Audiencia and Chancilleria of my said Philipinas Islands, in whose charge is the government thereof, through the death of my governor, Don Alonso Fajardo de Tença, it was agreed that I should revoke, as by these presents I do revoke, the said grant and everything therein contained, and I declare it null and of no force and effect. And I command all my justices and ministers that each one of them in his jurisdiction, in so far as concerns him, shall not consent to the use of the said monopolies or any one of them, on the part either of the said seminary or of any other person with a lease-title therefrom, or in any other manner, who may employ and make use of the said grant; but on the other hand they shall proceed to the punishment of such, who may be in their jurisdiction, as [86] against persons making use of a title and right not pertaining to them. And as for the said edifice and its demolition, it shall be entrusted to the master-of-camp, Don Geronimo de Silva, captain-general, likewise of the artillery of my said islands, so that when he has examined it, and found that it is within the said three hundred paces about the walls of the city of Manila, he shall have it demolished and razed until it be put in the state in which the said Plaza de Armas had been before, at the time when the said edifice was commenced, in such manner that the purpose of my royal command in my royal decree shall be complied with. And this, my letter and royal edict, shall be publicly cried in the customary districts and places, so that it may come to the knowledge of all. Given in the city of Manila, on the twenty-fourth of July of the year one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.

Doctor Don Alvaro de Messa y Luga
Licentiate Don Juan de Saavedra Valderrama
Licentiate Don Matthias Delgado y Flores

I, Captain Pedro Alvarez, chief secretary of the government and department of war of these Philipinas Islands for the king our lord, have had this written by his command with the decision of his president and auditors.

Registered by Don Juan Sarmiento.
Chancillor Don Juan Sarmiento

In the city of Manila, on the twenty-fourth of Jury of the year one thousand six hundred and twenty-four, was published this decree in conformity with the provision therein, in loud and intelligible words, by the voice of Augusto de Navarrete, public crier, [87] in front of the gate of the Audiencia hall, and on the corner where resides Captain Antonio de Xérez Montoro, and on the site of Bagun Bay, outside the walls—Captain Martin de Esquival, sargento-mayor, Geronimo Enrriquez Sotelo, and many other persons being witnesses. To this I certify:

Pedro Alvarez

I, Captain Pedro Alvarez, sargento-mayor of the government and department of war of these Philipinas Islands, at the command of Señor Doctor Don Alvaro de Messa y Lugo of the council of his Majesty, and his auditor in the royal Audiencia in these islands—who, as the senior auditor, fills the office of president thereof—have ordered to be drawn, and have drawn, this copy of the act and royal decree, the originals whereof remain in my possession; and this is certain and true, corrected and compared with the said original, to which I refer. Witnesses at its correction and comparison were: Captain Lopez de Olaiz, Sargento Pedro Delgado, and Martin de la Rroca, citizens and residents of this city of Manila, where this is dated, on the fifth day of the month of August of the year one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.

Pedro Alvarez

[Endorsed: “Copy of the act and royal decree which were published revoking the grant which was made to the seminary [and] college for Japanese, of a monopoly of buyo, bonga, and tobacco, and the passage to the fort of Cavite.”] [88]

1 See Vol. IV, p. 222.

Extract of a Letter from the Archbishop to Felipe IV

10. The chief argument that induced his Majesty Philippo Second, our sovereign, to reëstablish in these islands, during the term of Don Francisco Tello’s government, the royal Audiencia which he had suppressed some years before, was in order that the governors might not be so absolute in regions so remote and so far separated from his royal presence, but that there might be a superior arm to restrain them, without allowing extortions on the innocent. That is a most pious act, and one experienced by all this community during the time of that sovereignty and superintendency in all things pertaining to justice, government, and war. If your Majesty be pleased to have it restored and reëstablished with the majesty and power with which it was founded, it will be of great service to God and your Majesty, and the consolation and relief of your vassals. For it is certain that three or four men view a cause which does not concern them with more impartial eyes than does one man who is sole and absolute, who is at times governed by passion, and consequently blind in what he orders executed. Although it be said that demands for justice may be made in the residencia—as if the poor man who suffers in person, property, [89] honor, and at times in his life, would appear at the residencia; and, even if he were alive, could go to obtain satisfaction at that court [i.e., of Mexico], or have method or means to do so, even though his grievances were enormous and cried out to the heavens—well do I know that there are testimonies in that royal Council (since they have been sent from here) that say the contrary. But I equally affirm this to be the truth, as, to my positive knowledge, it actually occurs—more true than I would indeed wish, for it would be well if these things did not happen. And since this royal Audiencia has no more authority than at present, to suppress it will be of great service for your Majesty, and even necessary, as the poor auditors are as much annoyed and molested as are other private persons. What is worse, your Majesty’s authority has been seen humbled by so many nations who know that this Audiencia immediately represents your royal person. It will be less troublesome for us private persons to suffer than that so great authority be seen in such decay. I petition your Majesty to be pleased to have the importance of a matter of so great moment considered, as may be most fitting to your royal service.

It is a fact that this city of Manila, both at the instance of the governor and by its own action, has caused representations to be made in that royal Council, that this royal Audiencia should refrain from making appointments in which the children and relatives of the auditors occupy the best offices of war, without ever having fired an arquebus in their lives. These men become captains at one stroke, to the grievance of the old soldiers who have served, just as if your Majesty had not provided for this by making [90] such men incapable of offices—in which intention, I consider, enter the offices of justice and war. However, even though it is not agreeable to them, it should be so understood; and if your Majesty be pleased to order this to be declared, and that favors and rewards for services can be expected only from your royal hands, this difficulty would be remedied. For I avow that it is vastly prejudicial, since, when a man has an auditor to defend his causes, and those inclined to him favor those causes, his negligence comes to be rewarded. In a matter of war, the present condition of things very often is wont to be of irreparable damage, as we in these islands have experienced on various occasions. [August 15, 1624.] [91]

Royal Orders Regarding the Religious

Regulating their privileges

The King. Inasmuch as the king my sovereign and father (whom may holy Paradise keep) was informed that the religious who resided in the Philipinas Islands, busied in the instruction and conversion of the Indians, were meddling in things that did not concern them, he ordered Gomez Perez das Mariñas, then governor and captain-general of the Philipinas Islands, or the person in whose charge the government might be—by his decree, dated June eleven, of the former year five hundred and ninety-four—not to allow the religious to have prisons or jails, or to make arrests or condemn, unless they have commission from the bishop for the things in which he can give it in accordance with law; or not to appoint as fiscals others than those whom the bishop might assign them, together with other declarations contained in the said decree. Afterward the king my sovereign and father, who is in glory, by another decree dated May six, six hundred and fourteen, ordered the aforesaid to be obeyed and observed, according to its contents, without violating or exceeding its tenor and form, as is contained more at length in the said decree and its reissue, which are of the following tenor: [92]

“The King. To Don Juan de Silva, my governor and captain-general of the Philipinas Islands and president of my royal Audiencia of them, or the person or persons in whose charge may be their government: The king my sovereign and father, who is in heaven, ordered to be issued and gave the decree of the following tenor:

”’The King. To Gomez Perez das Marinas, my governor and captain-general in the Philippinas Islands, or the person in whose charge may be the government of them: Inasmuch as I have been informed that the religious who reside in those islands, busied in the instruction and conversion of the Indians, meddle in matters that do not concern them, I order you not to allow them to have prisons or jails, or to arrest or condemn, unless they be those who have commission from the bishop for those things in which he can give commission in accordance with law; that they do not appoint or have other fiscals than those assigned them by the said bishop; and that they take no fees for burials, marriages, or baptisms, other than according to the appraisement and declaration of the said bishop. And inasmuch as I have been informed that they have proceeded in the exercise of their privileges, with an excess prejudicial to the suitable progress of the instruction, and that it would be advisable to declare what privileges be conserved and what revoked, in order to remove confusions and doubts—for they confess the Indians without the bishop’s authorization, and, although not curas, perform marriages, which is in direct violation of the ordinance in the holy council of Trent, incurring risk that the confessions and marriages are invalid: I order you likewise that you shall communicate with [93] the superiors of the orders, and command them to examine the said privileges; and, unless they have such privileges, not to proceed in the matters here specified, because of the doubts and scandals that may result. Given in Madrid, June eleven, one thousand five hundred and ninety-four.

I The King
By order of the king our sovereign:
Juan de Ibarra

“And now it has been represented to me on the part of the archbishop of that city that none of the contents of the said decree are observed or obeyed with the exactness that would be fitting and expedient to the service of God and to my service. He petitioned me to order that it be strictly observed, as a remedy for the troubles that arise from it. Inasmuch as it is my will that this be done, I order you to observe, and to cause the said decree above inserted of the king my sovereign and father to be obeyed and observed, exactly according to its contents and declarations, without violating or exceeding in any part of it. This I shall regard with approbation; but by the contrary I shall consider myself as disserved. Given in Madrid, May six, one thousand six hundred and fourteen.

I The King
By order of the king our sovereign:
Don Juan Ruiz de Contreras

And now Don Juan Çevicos, treasurer of the metropolitan church of the city of Manila of the said Philipinas Islands, has informed me in the name of the archbishop of the city that, petition having been [94] made in behalf of Licentiate Don Diego Barquez de Mercado, while archbishop of the said church, and of the suffragan bishops, in my royal Audiencia of the said city, for the execution of the said decree, because it was not observed by the religious of the Order of St. Francis, and an edict to that effect having been despatched, the provincial of the said order was notified. He—under pretext of two other decrees of the sixteenth of March of the said year six hundred and fourteen, despatched at the petition of the said religious because they had represented that the said archbishop had tried to make innovations in the missions by appointing fiscals in them (as in fact he did do, so that information should be made of what had been done in this), and that in the meanwhile no innovation or change should be made in what had been the usual practice at the time when he entered the said archbishopric—opposed the said edict, and petitioned that the said decree of the sixteenth of March, six hundred and fourteen, be observed. The same was done by the other orders in the said islands. After the cause had been prosecuted in the said Audiencia, after some questions and answers, it was ordered by an act lately issued, on the first of August the past year, six hundred and twenty-two, that the said decrees be observed and obeyed, and that notice be given to the president, governor and captain-general of the said islands and to the said archbishop, as was done, so that they might investigate on what was ordered and charged to them. The determination in the said cause was sent to my royal Council of the Indias. Until other provision should be made, there was to be no innovation and the execution of the said edict was to be suspended, as was evident and [95] appeared by the testimony of the records, which was, in accordance with the above said, presented and examined in the said my Council. I was petitioned to order that the commands of the said decree of June eleven, five hundred and ninety-four, and its reissue of May six, six hundred and fourteen, above inserted, be executed; and that, in accordance with them, the said archbishop and bishops should appoint and name the said fiscals—as pertains to them, in accordance with law—and try judicially the crimes and causes of the said Indians; and that the said religious, who arrest and punish them, as appears, [should not do this]. Having been examined by the members of the said my Council of the Indias, it was agreed that I ought to order this my decree to be given. Therefore I desire, and it is my will, that the above decrees, above inserted (of June eleven of the said year five hundred and ninety-four, and May six, six hundred and fourteen), be observed, obeyed, and executed exactly according to their contents and declarations, notwithstanding the contents of the said decrees of March sixteen of the said year six hundred and fourteen, ordering that the said archbishop make no change in the usual practice in the appointment of fiscals, and that the said governor investigate. And, since this is necessary, I render those decrees to be null and void, and without effect. I order the president and auditors of my royal Audiencia of the said islands not to violate or exceed the contents of this my decree, or consent that they be violated or exceeded, now or henceforth, and in no manner. On the contrary, they shall give the protection and aid that may be necessary for its execution and observance. This I shall regard with approbation. Given [96] in Madrid, August thirty, one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.

I The King
By order of the king our sovereign:
Juan Ruiz de Contreras
Signed by the members of the Council.

[Endorsed: “In order that the decrees above inserted, ordering that the missionaries of the Filipinas Islands have no prisons or jails; that they may not condemn, except those who have commission from the archbishop; and that they appoint no other fiscals than those whom he shall assign them; notwithstanding the decrees that were given ordering no innovation in the former practice, be followed in the appointment of the said fiscals.”]

Letter to the archbishop

The King. Very reverend father in Christ, archbishop of the metropolitan church of the city of Manila in the Filipinas Islands. The letter which you wrote me on the thirteenth of August of last year, 1623, has been received and considered in my royal Council of the Indias. In regard to your statement that, on account of the haste in which were sent from Mexico the ships which arrived that year at those islands with assistance, the archbishop did not send you the papers for convening the council, and that you therefore did not carry out your plan for doing so, but that the necessary measures for it would be taken this year: I command you, on receiving the despatches, to execute the orders contained therein with the care and punctuality that is desirable, and that I expect from you. [97]

I appreciate the diligence which you exerted in preventing the attempt to nominate for provincial of the Order of St. Augustine a person who did not possess the qualifications which are necessary and requisite. You should always be on your guard against such things, and attempt to preserve the desirable peace and concord among the orders.

You advised us that it was necessary to have some ecclesiastical person to be charged with the guardianship and the mode of governing the seminary of Santa Potenciana, and to examine the persons who are to live there. It was resolved to order the president of the Audiencia, jointly with you, to inform us of what takes place, and that in the meantime you were both to join in providing the most effective way of administering the said seminary, with regard to both the persons who enter it and those who leave it, with this justification, that it be necessary. Accordingly, you will endeavor, for your own part, to have these orders executed.

Your statements regarding the foundation that was being established so that the youths of those islands might be graduated without going to the university—which foundations were to be under the patronage of the most pure conception of Mary most holy, our Lady—have been considered, and you may proceed.

As to your proposition that my royal exchequer in those islands should be inspected, the necessary provisions have already been made.

You advise us that in the execution of the measures contained in the decree of August 9, 1621, you have warned the heads of the orders that they shall not receive in those islands the religious from Yndia, and that you caused several clerics to embark who [98] arrived at that city from that country. You will continue to do so, fulfilling your orders contained in this memorandum.

The other points mentioned in your letter have been considered, but answers to you are not yet ready. [Madrid, October 3, 1624.]

I The King

Countersigned by Juan Ruiz de Contreras.

Ordering the correction of abuses against the Indians by the Dominicans

Don Phelipe, by the grace of God, king of Castilla, Leon, Aragón, Jerusalem, Portugal, Navarra, and the Indias. To the reverend and devout father-general of the Order of St. Dominic: It has been learned from letters received and examined in my royal Council of the Indias from Don Alonso Faxardo de Tenza, my governor and captain-general of the Philipinas Islands, and president of my royal Audiencia resident therein, that, although the religious of the Order of St. Dominic who reside there are most exemplary and protect their parishioners so well, it generally results that there is anger at their encomenderos, and they do not attend to the affairs of my service as is advisable. On the other hand, the Indians consider the treatment received from the religious as severe, for they do not allow even the women to wear shoes, while they force the men of the province of Nueva Segovia to guard the church in rotation and turn. For whatever annoyance the Indians cause them, they question them with regard to the Christian doctrine, and their questions exceed those that persons with more reason and education can answer. And thereupon, if they fail in the least [99] to meet these requirements, the religious have the chiefs and their wives whipped, and cut off their hair. That has resulted in causing among the Indians so great resentment that the insurrection of the Indians that occurred may be attributed to that. Inasmuch as that is a matter in which it is advisable to apply a remedy; and inasmuch as the harsh treatment practiced by the said religious toward their parishioners has appeared excessive, and not in harmony with what they should do, since their purpose in going to the said islands is to instruct and teach the natives in the articles of our holy faith, and with all love and mildness, because they are, as is a fact, people without reason and so newly converted (for which reason it is so expensive to my royal revenues, from which everything necessary is given): I request and charge you to give what order is advisable so that the aforesaid evils be remedied, as may be most necessary to the religion that they profess. What remedy you shall furnish, you shall send to the said my Council, with all haste, so that it may be remitted to the said islands; for if that be not done with the promptness required by the case, the relief that seems most effective will [not] be applied. Madrid, November twenty-seven, one thousand six hundred and twenty-four.

I The King

Countersigned by Joan Ruiz de Contreras, and signed by the Council.

[Endorsed: “To the father-general of the Order of St. Dominic, directing him to remedy the excesses, committed on the Indians by punishing them, by the religious of that order, who have missions in Philipinas.”] [100]

Early Recollect Missions in the Philippines

Extracts from the Following Works, Covering the History of the Missions to 1624:

  • Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden de ... San Avgvstin. Fray Andrés de San Nicolas; Madrid, 1664. (pp. 396–510.)
  • Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden ... S. Augustin. Fray Lvis de Iesvs; Madrid, 1681. (pp. 1–61.)
  • Historia general de Philipinas. Fray Juan de la Concepción; Manila, 1788. (Tomo iv, pp. 189–265; v, pp. 32–100.)

Sources: The first and second of these are obtained from copies belonging to Edward E. Ayer, Chicago; the third, from a copy in the possession of the Editors.

Translations: The matter herein presented is translated and synopsized by James A. Robertson. [101]

Early Recollect Missions in the Philippines

General History of the Discalced Augustinian Fathers, By Fray Andres de San Nicolas1

Decade II

Chapter V

Now the second provincial Chapter is held. The mission to the Philippinas Islands is effectively discussed. The college of Zaragoça and the convent of Pedroso are founded. Reference to the life of Sister Polonia de los Santos.

Year 1605

[At the second provincial chapter meeting of the Augustinian Recollects, held in April, 1605, at the convent at Madrid, father Fray Joan Baptista de Vera was chosen provincial. At that chapter meeting, [102] the question of the rules of the young order was taken up, with other business. After the conclusion of their business the convention dissolved, “while father Fray Joan de San Geronimo2 was effecting his passage to the Indias, with his good companions” (pp. 396, 397).]

First mission of our religious to the Philipinas Islands

To his arduous labor in the formation and growth of the poor discalced Augustinians, the first provincial [i.e., Fray Joan de San Geronimo] gave a heroic end by beginning the very observant province of San Nicolàs3 de Tolentino, in the islands adjacent to Asia which we commonly call Philippinas....

[A short narrative of the early discoverers follows, [103] and the beginnings of the Augustinian missions. That order proving inadequate to cope with the immense number of the infidels, the other orders are also given a part in their conversion. But the need of other laborers is still felt, and King Felipe II assents to the petition of Fray San Geronimo “to go to the Indias with twelve associates to preach the gospel, in that part that he should deem best.” King Felipe “immediately decreed that he should get ready to go to the Philippinas Islands, and ordered his ministers to give him the despatches immediately. The noted and pious father had the despatches in hand before the celebration of the chapter, where after it was called to order, he presented there the decree, which received prompt obedience.”]

The memorial of this circumstance is found in the old register, and is in the following form: “May first, one thousand six hundred and five, while the very reverend fathers were in session, etc. Our father Fray Joan de San Geronimo, outgoing provincial of this province, presented certain royal letters of the king our sovereign, and of his royal Council of the Indias, in which his Majesty gives permission to the said father Fray Joan de San Geronimo to take twelve religious to the Philippinas Islands to preach the holy gospel, and to found monasteries of our holy order in those Philippinas Islands. Having examined and read them, the expedition seemed to us to be one of great service to God, and we, the entire body of definitors, resolved that it should be undertaken accordingly; and that all the documents and authority necessary should be given to him so that he should go as superior and vicar-provincial of the said Philippinas Islands; that he may found monasteries [104] there, and in all parts of the Indias—with the following proviso, namely, that he shall not have more authority than that which this province shall give him; and that those houses that shall be founded there, and the religious in them, shall always be subject to the father provincial who is, or shall be, over this province. He shall always correspond with the latter, and at each chapter held they shall send the elections of vicar-provincial and priors, and the acts that they shall pass, so that the father provincial of this province may confirm them, or refuse to confirm, as he shall deem best. Advice shall be given of all the deceased of those houses, so that the office may be performed for them, at the time when the elections of the vicar-provincials shall be sent, etc.” Then, lower in the roll of those elected—or in the catalogue, as we commonly call it—one reads at the end the words that follow: “As vicar provincial of the Indias, we nominate the venerable father, Fray Joannis de Sancto Hieronymo, and assign to him fourteen religious, who shall always be subject to this provincial of this province of Hispania.” This arrangement having been made (which was made by the intervention of the royal decrees that were despatched at Valladolid, April three of that year, and which contained, in fact, the permission for such, and general authority to found as many convents there as the new Augustinian Recollect missionaries were able and desired; to which were added other messages touching spiritual matters which the pontiff’s legate generously conceded), the father provincial, Fray Joan Baptista, decreed the issue of his warrant, on May two. In this document, after mentioning that he was ordered and commanded by [105] the king, and also by the said legate, to send the said father as superior of the religious, who were about to set out for the help of those who were occupied in the vineyard of the Lord, in the cultivation of those islands, the father provincial entrusted to him all his authority, without reserving anything whatever; but with the conditions that we mention, in the records and other minutes which are generally made on such occasions, the permissions that are despatched.

The father vicar-provincial had already chosen his workers, men like himself. They were among the choicest and best men that the Reform then had in their convents. They were as follows: Fathers Fray Andres de San Nicolàs, who was called de Canovas, an apostolic man, and a great preacher in word and deed; Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, a most exemplary man, and devoted to the rigorous life; Fray Geronimo de Christo,4 very austere and observant; Fray Pedro de San Fulgencio, a capable and very clever man for all things; Fray Diego de la Anunciacion,5 adorned with very singular virtues, [106] and regarded as a saint; Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel,6 most keen-witted and erudite in all learning; Fray Francisco Baptista, a penitent to excess, and regulated by conscience; Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios, most zealous for the discalced, and for the welfare of his brethren; Fray Andres del Espíritu Santo, a religious, although very young, [107] very modest and retiring.7 The father superintendent also chose four other religious, lay brethren, who were of use and a great credit to the Reform, on the voyage, and at the time when they came, whose names are as follows: Fray Simon de San Joseph; Fray Joan de San Geronimo; Fray Geronimo de la Madre de Dios; and Fray Joan de San Guillermo. They all assembled in Madríd on the fifteenth or sixteenth of May. Thence they left for Sevilla, and from there went later to San Lucar. They were detained there until they could embark in one of the ships of the Nueva España trading-fleet, which set sail from the great bay of Cadiz, July twelve, and commenced its voyage happily. The zealous missionaries [108] were going, very full of God, and consequently did not abate one point of their observance, fulfilling their religious obligations as if they were in the most retired house of those which they had left behind in their province, notwithstanding that they were going in the midst of the traffic and excitement that seem to be inevitable in sea-voyages, and more so in so long ones as are those of the Indias. They did not discontinue the two hours’ mental prayer or the choral divine office, at their proper times, and the silence, fastings, and discipline. If they were given any moment from those holy exercises, they employed it in preaching, and in caring for the sick. They cared for and served the latter with what they needed, and as well as they could. They did not content themselves only in their own ship, for when good weather and the quiet of the sea permitted, they went in the small boat or lancha to the others, in order to console and confess those in need of it. They gave them wholesome counsels, and encouraged them to serve God our Lord as they ought. By such course they succeeded in gaining great credit and esteem. The commander himself always approached them with his flagship to salute them, and to ask after their health, and whether they needed anything, while he commended himself very earnestly to their petitions and prayers. He visited them in the island of Guadalupe with the great following of his men, charging to them the prosperous outcome of the fleet. Finally they reached the port of San Juan de Lua, September seventeen, with the rejoicing common to those who sail, and especially on those seas. They disembarked and, after having rested for some little time, they took [109] the road; this they moderated by stopping several days in La Puebla de los Angeles,8 as guests of our calced fathers, where they received the friendly reception and love that that province has shown to the discalced very often because their beginning was in that form.

Since the strictness of that convent was then extreme, it lit up in great measure the devotion and modesty of ours, the will of all going well alongside the rare mildness of their customs. The more serious inmates of the house did not fail to praise the humility, poverty, and circumspect behavior of our fathers; and consequently not a few of them were determined to follow their purpose and accompany them on that holy undertaking, and to enjoy so good examples. They requested this from the father commissary, but he, being so exact in matters of attention and courtesy, excused himself prudently, in order not to anger the prelates of the province; and, besides, because he had no order from the king, nor any subsidy with which to pay the expenses of any more persons than he had brought from España, although he esteemed the desire that they showed to aid him. He went immediately to Mexico, leaving the fathers of La Puebla very enamored and sad. They were received in that magnificent city with kindness and extraordinary devotion by the most learned father, Fray Diego de Contreras—to whom was given, after a few years, the church of Santo Domingo, the primatial church of the Indias. He [110] was then professor of rhetoric in the noted university, and rector of the college of San Pablo whose venerating community went out to meet them in solemn procession and with pomp, when they entered their gates. The learned master gave proof of his ardent charity in his hospitality and cordial kindness, making them very happy. He prepared a room for them, in which they remained, where they received all comfort and aid, until the father vicar-provincial rented a comfortable house, into which he and his subordinates, and the brethren whom he had with him moved, in order not to give occasion for so much ceremony and so many compliments; hoping for the near opportunity to depart for the port of Acapulco.

That one—although formerly a secular lodging, now a very strict convent—could rival the most famous monastery in the matter of observance; for, giving themselves to continual prayers, rigorous fastings, harsh mortifications, and severe penances, all of them were opposing themselves to the best of their ability in the war against the flesh. They did not leave the house unless summoned for some work of charity, such as to confess or to preach, which they performed very willingly, and to the profit and good of souls. They voted unanimously not to strive to obtain for themselves or for others, under any pretext, in person or through others, any offices within the order, or out of it—in order to give, as was actually seen, a solid foundation to the province which they afterward erected so humbly. Their rigid mode of life there was bruited through the city, and the most noble and the wealthiest, with simple earnestness, asked them to remain. Some of [111] such persons offered to endow their house, and others to contribute very ample alms. They begged our fathers at least to leave them the number sufficient to give a good beginning to the convent that they desired to establish. The master, Fray Diego de Contreras, whom we mentioned above, was aiding and encouraging those arguments, promising that they would become discalced, and that he would carry forward our Institute,9 with his great authority and power, in that kingdom. Father Joan de San Geronimo was tempted by those pious offers of generosity, but he did not deceive himself; for many souls would have been lost if he had desisted from that opportune and holy voyage, or if he had lessened the number of the helpers whom he took with him—who were but few for the abundant harvest that they set about gathering, as we shall note with the lapse of years, in the manner in which it occurred. Accordingly, having closed his ears to all the proposed advantages, he undertook to go to the port at the end of that year, where we shall leave him continuing with his observance of rules and pious devotions on the roads, although these were horrible, as if he had been in the most comfortable and most quiet convent of all those which he had lately left well established in España.

[The remainder of chapter V is concerned with matter that does not touch the Philippines, namely, the founding of the college of Zaragoza, that of the convent of Pedroso, and the life of Sister Polonia de los Santos.] [112]

Chapter VI

Our religious reach Luzon, after the death of Father Andres de San Nicolas in sight of the islands. They found the convent, which is located outside the walls of Manila, and undertake the conversion of the barbarous Zambàles, in which three of their men die from the hardships, and father Fray Alonso de la Anunciacion at the house of Portillo.

We left father Fray Joan de San Geronimo and his twelve associates, anxious to finish their journey, continuing their road from Mexico to the port commonly called Acapulco, because it was necessary to embark once more in order to reach Philippinas, where God our Lord had prepared many souls who, oppressed by the demon, had no ministers to lighten their darkness. There was already in the said port a ship ready to sail, called “Espiritu Santo,” and they were accordingly detained but a short time. They finally set sail on the twenty-second of February, that year of one thousand six hundred and six, in all safety, and all being overjoyed at seeing themselves nearer the land that they were seeking. Some incidents happened on that voyage which were afterward regarded as miracles, and all attributed them to the good company of so notable religious whom they carried. The first one was that, the ship being all but sent to the bottom by burning, the fire having approached near some barrels of powder, warning was given in so good time that it could be extinguished, when if there had been but little more delay, this would have been impossible. The second seemed more prodigious; for on a certain very clear and serene night, shouts came from the bow from those who were stationed there, crying, “Land! [113] land!” The pilot and sailors were thunderstruck as soon as they saw themselves upon some shoals or sunken rocks, and already lost beyond all remedy. Thereupon bewailing their misfortune, they tried to seek confession, as quickly as possible. They thought that all efforts were useless; therefore they cared for nothing else. However they tried to cast the line, but uselessly, for their lines were cut, and they the more confounded by their slight hopes of life. The ship went ahead into that chasm [rebentaçon]—as it is called—as if it were passing through a strait; and after having sailed a goodly stretch without accident, among so many reefs, they found themselves on the high sea, free from everything.

Father Fray Andres de San Nicolas had preached the previous afternoon with great energy against the great licentiousness and shameless conduct of the passengers and the other people, who had no fear of God. He severely censured their excesses, and the little anxiety that they showed in that time of greatest danger. With burning words, he exhorted them to do better, representing to them their danger and begging them, finally, to confess, since they did not know what was to happen that night. The fruit that proceeded from that sermon was large, for, his audience becoming terrified and contrite, many of them confessed, and others proposed to do the same by having their entangled consciences examined as soon as possible. After a few hours, what is described above was experienced, whereby all thought that the good preacher had had a revelation of that event; and they could not thank our Lord sufficiently for having granted to them the company of so good religious, but more especially the company of him who [114] preached to them of their danger—whom they regarded as a distinguished servant of God, as he was. Some certified afterward that that place through which the boat had passed had been a rocky islet, and that they had seen it on other voyages; and they were astonished at having escaped on that occasion with life, attributing it, beyond doubt, to a manifest miracle, which the Lord wrought at the intercession of those fathers. They desired, therefore, to listen to their teaching daily, and especially to that of the father who announced to them what we have seen. Consequently, not sparing themselves at all, the fathers gave in alternation their inspired discourses, which were the health and medicine of the many who were there—the ship so conforming itself to these that it seemed a reformed convent, where before it had been a house of confusion and bluster, with soldiers, mariners, and seamen.

The same father, Fray Andres, among the continual sermons, preached a very fervent one on a certain day, and gave them to understand that he would live but a short time, and that he was not to reach the land of promise, for his faults and defects. That happened so, for not long after, he fell sick, before sighting the islands called Ladrones. His sickness increasing, when he was told that the islands were in sight, he arose from his bed, and looking at them, through a porthole of his cabin, immediately lay down again, saying, ”Nunc moriar lætus.”10 His weakness was already very great, and, as he had already received the holy sacraments, and was in great resignation and joy of soul, and all our fathers were present, he begged father Fray Joan de San Geronimo [115] to have the passion of Jesus Christ our Lord read to him very slowly. That was done, in the manner that he desired. He, holding an image of the same crucified Lord in his hands, broke out into very glowing utterances of love, and shed many tears during those moments. After the passion was finished—which lasted until near dawn, on account of so many pauses—he begged pardon of all for his omissions and neglect. He asked them to remember him in their masses and prayers. They recited the penitential psalms and other prayers, at the end of which, the sick man, very happy, conversed with his brethren with great affability. He charged them to keep their vows and the observance of the rules of the order. He persuaded them to persevere steadfastly in their purpose, and to be mindful of the zeal with which they had been ready to leave their fatherland for the welfare and conservation of many souls. He encouraged them to place their confidence in God, for His Sovereign Majesty had especial providence and care over that small flock. Accordingly, they were not to become disconsolate with the thought that they had no house or convent in Philipinas, for already a lodging suitable for their purposes was being prepared for them. He concluded by urging them to commend their souls to Him, and then became very calm. All obeyed him, surprised, and desirous of such a death; and, at the end of the prayer, that chosen spirit went out in peace and quiet from the waves and shipwrecks of this world, and reached the safe and calm harbor of glory.

Upon beholding his death, one cannot imagine the grief of both religious and laymen; for, venerating him as a father, they bewailed him universally, and, [116] in all truth, there was not one who did not show great affliction. The corpse remained in such manner that it caused gladness to all who looked at it. Various opinions were expressed as to whether they should bury it in the sea or not. The laymen promised that they would deposit it in a fitting place, until they should cast anchor in the islands now near. Father Fray Joan de San Geronimo did not consent to this, in order to avoid innovations—and especially when they were going to countries where they had no home, and where they knew no one. Therefore, placing the body in a closely-sealed wooden box, with an inscription written on a certain sheet of lead, which denoted his name, country, and virtues, amid their lamentations and tears the body was cast into the sea, without having added the weight which is used to draw the body to the bottom of the water. On account of that carelessness the box should have remained on the surface of the water, without being able to sink at all; but on that occasion the Lord permitted that the waves should receive such deceased without any violence. As the ship was in a calm, consequently, all were witnesses that it settled to the bottom very gradually, and easily. Certain violent fevers were raging in that vessel, from which about forty had already died, at the time that the noted Aragonese and observant religious finished the navigation of his life. But from that instant all had health, becoming better and recovering very soon. That was attributed to his prayers in heaven in fulfilment of the word that he gave them, during the last moments of his life, namely, that he would commend them to God in glory, provided that he went there, as he had good hopes of doing. After the [117] conclusion of the services for a death so fortunate and so bewailed, they soon arrived—May tenth—at the islands that they were seeking. Having disembarked first, according to the order that they bore, on the island of Zibù, the discalced were lodged in the convent of our calced fathers, the venerable bishop, and that example of prelates, Don Fray Pedro de Agurto, as we saw in his life, having gone out to receive them in procession. That most illustrious man desired that the new missionaries should not go further, and offered them a foundation and whatever they wished, in order to exercise themselves in the conversion and salvation of the infidels. It was impossible to assent to so many kindnesses, for their immediate passage to Manila was unavoidable, in order that the governor might see the despatches and the decrees from España, which it was necessary to present to him. After having given the bishop the thanks due, they had to set out as soon as possible.

Before proceeding with our relation, it will not be out of place to tell our readers, although in few words, something about the island of Luzòn and the city of Manila, as it is the metropolis of the kingdoms that the crown of Castilla has there. It was given that name, then, since the Spaniards have owned it, from a chief village so named, distant two leguas from Manavilis, which is corruptly called Marivelez. It was also called Nueva Castilla. It is the largest island in the Philippinas, and extends farthest north of all those islands. It is the most populous in nations and tribes, who exceed the others, both in bravery and in the light of reason, with well-known advantages. Its least altitude is scant thirteen [118] degrees, and its greatest ten or nine and one-half. Its circuit, without taking into account certain bays, comprehends four hundred and twelve leguas. Those who make it three hundred are in error, for they do not consider its position. It is all very fertile, and has many large rivers, that of Cagayan or Nueva Segovia being more swollen than the others. They are all navigable, more or less. Ships enter that of Manila at full tide with one-half their cargo, but the galleys enter it generally without any trouble. It furnishes a location for the aforesaid city, on a certain very pleasant and beautiful site on the shores of the sea. It is a point made by the Pasig River in sight of the bay. That bay is affirmed to be one of the largest and best that men can see in all the world, for it is thirty leguas in circumference, and has an island of six miles at its mouth, where a sentinel is always stationed. It sustains more than one hundred thousand persons daily with fish, counting the Sangleys and Japanese, and the villages that are settled on its shores. When Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legaspi took it by force of arms, May nineteen, one thousand five hundred and seventy, ten thousand houses beautified it, and it was the court of the king, Ladya [sic] Solìmàn, a follower in part of the religion of Mahomet. The same general rebuilt the city, and left it its former name of Manila—also the proper name of the island—in the following year of seventy-one. He made it the capital of the rest of the archipelago, as it was very suitable for the concourse and commerce of China. Its streets are pleasant and spacious, and without crossways or turns; for they are all straight, and have beautiful buildings of stone, which vie with those of España that are [119] considered well made. It is strong by art and by nature, because of the many creeks and swamps that surround it, together with the great wall of stone built according to the style of the moderns, with not a few ramparts. It is well defended with artillery, and has an excellent and important fortress, supplied with all that is necessary, even as the most noted forts that are renowned in Europa. Finally, it is now the finest and richest city of all those of its class that are known in the world. It enjoys a cathedral with its archbishop, a royal Chancillerìa, a presidio with numerous soldiers, and in short, all the products that the regions of the Orient yield for the pleasure, health, and comfort of this life, without having to envy anyone for anything. That city alone makes the name of España very glorious and formidable there; and what is more, it is that city which maintains the Catholic religion in those very remote and out-of-the-way hemispheres.

Writing this brief relation in order to give a beginning to the entrance of Ours, we shall go after them immediately, and shall find them safe at the gates of Manila, after a journey of four thousand eight hundred leguas by the course that they pursued from España. That country was then very joyful over the good news of the success that their governor, Don Pedro de Acuña, had had in the capture of Terrenàte, one of the enviable islands of Malùco. They were sheltered in a small house, until they found better accommodations; and although the whole city, upon hearing of their arrival, came in throngs to visit them and offer them more suitable lodging, as also did the holy orders already settled there, with singular affection, they refused to accept it—except [120] the infirmary, which they consented to take for some [sick men], in the convent of the most exemplary Dominican fathers, who immediately gave it with the greatest charity. At this juncture the victorious governor arrived, and amid all his victories and triumphs, as soon as he heard of Ours, he went to visit them and to regale them, as he was so Catholic and devout a gentleman. Time was wanting to present the royal despatches to him, for while he was in the height of his glories, sudden death assaulted him, brought him to his feet, and cast him into the gloom of a sepulcher. For that reason the recognition of the decrees and orders was suspended for some time. But at last, having been examined and ordered by the royal Audiencia and other officials to be observed, permission was freely given to father Fray Joan de San Geronimo to erect the establishments that he wished.

Foundation of the first convent of Manila

The announcement made by father Fray Andres de San Nicolas while on his deathbed to his brethren was fulfilled without any failure—namely, that they should not despair, for divine Providence was already arranging a house for them, which would give great pleasure to all. The fact was that, in verification of his words, on the same day on which the despatches for their voyage were made in España, the deceased governor began to build a very fine summer-house, which had its garden and its ponds, in a site called Bagunbaìàn, only three hundred paces from the walls. It was just being finished when he returned from his conquest, and when he ended the pleasures and joys of this life. The retreat and [121] pleasantness of this place were very welcome to Ours; consequently they tried to buy it, and did so—having collected the alms in two afternoons. During that time two religious went through the city, accompanied by certain influential persons, [and collected] more than three thousand pesos, with which they paid the sum asked, a great portion of what they should have given having been forgiven to them. Accordingly, they immediately took possession of their convent on the day of St. Nicolàs de Tolentino, to whom they dedicated it by a special vow, which all took at the beginning of their navigation from the shores and coasts of España. Under such good horoscope was born the happy province of the Philipinas Islands. And thus we should not wonder at the great luster that it has cast, shedding its rays by its zeal through the darkest and most forgotten districts, where a notable number of pagans, who were living like wild beasts in a blind barbarism, received the truth of the faith which we profess.

The apostolic men first settled the firm foundation of their house—not in the material of it but in the direction of their solid virtues. They lived in the greatest poverty and contempt of [earthly] things, without other end than the seeking of God in prayer, and in making Him known and loved in their talks and examples. There was some opposition on the part of our calced fathers in regard to the title that they gave to the new church, that of the miraculous Father San Nicolàs de Tolentino; for his devotion was practiced in a chapel of the principal convent and was very popular, and they thought that it would be lessened or be done away with altogether. Ours, being so good men, disapproved greatly of litigation; [122] and, although with great grief, they talked of consenting to change the title, commending the matter to our Lord very earnestly, with the intervention of peculiar penances and exercises. The matter was left to be decided by lot, in which many saints took part, not excluding their own dear one. He, then, was chosen, the first, second, and third time; and the will of God was thus made plain. Not only did they confirm what was already done, but they also placed under his protection the province which was now in its beginning, and gave it his name. In accordance with this a very solemn feast was made, that venerable prelate and bishop of bishops Don Fray Pedro de Agurto saying the first mass. He had come to Manila from Zibù to be the rainbow [Iris] that announced peace and true brotherhood to calced and discalced, whom we ought to hold as sons of a good father. Father Fray Pedro Solier—a chosen shoot of the convent of Salamanca, and afterward provincial of those islands, bishop of Puerto Rico, and lastly archbishop of Santo Domingo and primate of the Indias—preached in glowing terms in praise of the Reform, in the presence of the royal Audiencia, the ecclesiastical and secular cabildos, the orders, the nobility, and all the people of Manila—who from that time made greater progress in the veneration and worship of that saint. The good-will that the city began to have for the new evangelical ministers was vast. Consequently, the city desired to shelter them within the girdle of its walls, on noting the discomfort that they were suffering; and that was done by moving the convent of San Nicolas, as we shall see.

It seemed hard for the religious to leave their first [123] foundation, not so much for the material of the house as for the service that they were performing for our Lord in that suburb, in administering the holy sacraments to the not few persons who were living there. Those people, especially at night, were deprived of spiritual aid, for it was necessary that the gates of the city be tightly shut and the necessary guards posted. It was a true inspiration from heaven not to abandon that convent (now that of San Joan Baptista), since—as was within a very short time made evident, through the care and presence of Ours—so great a number of Christians came so frequently from all parts to confession and to holy communion that four ministers daily have not been sufficient. They numbered some Spaniards and many negroes, both free and slave, and more Indians of different nations, who came to seek in that refuge relief from their sins and failings. They found that convent always open day and night and the religious ever ready to give them the health and life of their souls. After several years the province determined that that house should be made a college, and accordingly that was carried out. The arts and theology were studied there, for, although instruction and piety join hands, it was not advisable that the college and the house be in one place. In that place rest three incorruptible bodies of the first founders, and no one knows who they are. All are surprised that they can remain so well preserved in a country so damp and hot, and it is regarded by all as a miracle. That college, besides the aforesaid, possessed a great treasure in the image of our Lady of Health. On bringing it from Mexico, that image gave proofs of her favors not a few times on the sea, and perfecting and increasing them in the [124] islands through her mercy. Her installation was celebrated with great pomp and ostentation in the presence of the royal Audiencia and the city, which made very Catholic and pious demonstrations in the feast. The church was filled in a short time with vows and memorials which the faithful offered. A brotherhood was founded under the title of Transito de Nuestra Señora [i.e., “Transit of our Lady”], whose chief procession may be seen and is solemnized on the third Friday of Lent, with the greatest ostentation and display that one could express in writing or in speech. The members of the confraternity march clad in very neat white tunics with blue escapulars, bearing the attributes of the queen of the skies on pendants of the same color and embroidered at a great cost—with a numerous accompaniment of children dressed as angels, who at intervals march along singing praises to the Virgin. It is not an easy task to count the large tapers and lighted candles; for, as is said, it is one of the best functions that are seen in the Philippinas. Then follows the bed of the always glorious and most pure Virgin, which the most devout and most noble women adorn with the wealth of the city. The bed is surrounded with a group of children, also dressed as angels, which is a cause for surprise every year. Lastly, go about one thousand bleeding penitents; and there many votive images, which move innumerable persons to compunction, who come from the neighboring provinces to enjoy that day without fear of any trouble. Thus has the fitting reverence of that image increased until it is one of the greatest in the Philippinas; as has been experienced on various occasions, especially when they put it within the city (for fear of the [125] Sangleys who revolted) in order to make a novena, in which took part the royal Chancillería, the archbishop, and the cabildos, for the health of the Catholic army which was very sick. From that prayer resulted not only the attaining of the convalescence of the soldiers, but also the peace and quiet that was sought. That college suffered a great blow in the time of a certain governor, whose name, in order not to cast infamy on him purposely, we suppress. He, under pretext that its building was a great obstacle to the wall, rigidly made them demolish it, driving our religious thence, contrary to justice and the permission of the city and cabildo; they opposed him until they could do no more, as they saw that he did that, being desirous of not conducting himself well, for it is said that such was his custom. But when the end of his office came, the church and cabildo brought suit for the injury received from that illegal act; and they sentenced him to twenty-five thousand pesos, notwithstanding that it is said that the damage exceeded fifty. Thereupon the college was rebuilt, and the image again placed there.

Preaching of Ours in the province of Zambales and of Tugui

Eagerly had the apostolic men left España in search of misguided and lost souls whom they might lead to the knowledge of God and into the flock of His Church. When once they had set foot on the destined land they could not be kept from turning their eyes and their desire to all parts. The first task was to learn some one of the many languages which are spoken among so many and so barbarous nations, in order to have the means to convert the [126] people that should happen to fall to their lot. Accordingly, after well considering the matter, they determined to study Tagál, as it was the most general tongue, and the one that was talked as native in Manila and its environs. All immediately applied themselves to one language with no little desire and diligence. He who learned it first was father Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, who was called Bombàu. Discussing with him in what part it would be better to begin their missions, they thought that it was not advisable to go far from Manila, since they were so few. At that juncture a very good opportunity came to their hands in the shape of a village quite near by, now called Marivelez.11 Its inhabitants had no ministers, no one of them wishing, although many were at its very doors, to abide in it—both because of the insalubrious climate of its location, and because of the bad disposition of the Indians, who were like brutes in their intercourse and in their customs. The vicar-provincial stumbled over none of these obstacles, because of his firm zeal. Accordingly, he sent the said father, Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, accompanied by father Fray Pedro de San Joseph—who, although of the Observance, had discalced himself—together with a lay-brother, named Fray Francisco de Santa Monica, who also went with both of the former, all of them being skilled in the aforesaid language. They invoked in common the grace of the Holy Spirit, and, after a fervent prayer, they took their farewells—these anxious to accomplish their desires, and the others sick at heart at seeing themselves left behind them. They were not long in arriving [127] at the lairs of the wild beasts, who lived eight leguas from Manila, and were desirous to subdue and soften them, together with the rest of the coast of Zambàles and of Tugui, which extends for a little more than thirty leguas to Bolinào.

The customs and ceremonies of those people must be touched upon briefly, not so much for the diversion that they may afford as that we may certify to the labor of Ours in changing them according to law and reason, and putting them into a suitable condition. The worship with which they then reverenced their false deities they were wont to perform not in the villages, but outside them in the mountains, or the part nearest to their fields. They had certain little houses there like chapels, in which they all assembled. But that did not prevent them from having gods—penates, or idols, which they called anìtos. The priesthood was exercised by certain old men, ceremonious in the extreme, and not less by old women called catalònas—witches, superstitious creatures, diviners, and casters of lots—who were esteemed and so thoroughly believed that whatever they said, although lies, was taken as an infallible oracle. The manner of their sacrifices (which they called by the name maganìtos), on meeting to make them in the place that we have spoken of above, was none other than that, having prepared an unclean animal, very well grown—or for lack of it, a large cock—they offered it to the devil by means of one of those witches, with peculiar and curious ceremonies. For, dancing to the sound of a bell, she took in her hands a small idol, made to imitate the form in which the father of deceit was wont to appear to them at times; it was of human form, with [128] very ugly features, and a long beard. She spoke certain words to it, invoking its presence, whereupon the iniquitous spirit came, and entered into her miserable body in order to dictate to her the deceits that are its custom in such acts. After having declared their false notions to those present, they ate the animal or bird, and they drank to intoxication, whereupon the wicked sacrifice was brought to an end. Besides that adoration which they gave to the devil, they revered several false gods—one, in especial, called bathala mey capal, whose false genealogies and fabulous deeds they celebrated in certain tunes and verses like hymns. Their whole religion was based on those songs, and they were passed on from generation to generation, and were sung in their feasts and most solemn assemblies. Those who were ignorant of the teachings of Mahomet adored not less the sun, the moon, the rainbow, birds, and animals—but especially the cayman or crocodile; a blue bird closely resembling the thrush; the crow; rocks placed on the shores of the sea, and those that they see in the sea, such as sunken rocks and shoals.12

Their ancestors also enjoyed that worship, and more especially those who had been famous in arms, and in the virtues native to their mode of belief; and they believed that reward was the lot of the good, and punishment that of the wicked. From this arose among them the knowledge of the immortality of the soul. Accordingly, when anyone died, they bathed the body and buried it with benzoin, storax, and other aromatic substances, and clothed it then [129] in the best of its possessions. Before burying the body, they bewailed it for the space of three days. They anointed the bodies of those of high rank with certain confections, which kept it from corruption better than do our unguents of Europa. They did not bury them except in the lower part of their houses, having placed and deposited them in a coffin of incorruptible wood. They placed some bits of gold in the mouth, and on the body the best jewels that they had. To that preparation they added a box of clothing, which they placed near them, and every day they carried them food and drink. They did not take especial pains that, if the dead had possessed more property, everything should be left to him; but slaves, both men and women, were presented to them to serve them in the other life (which they no doubt imagined to be similar to the present life). The custom that they observed with those slaves was, to behead them immediately after having fed them sumptuously, so that they might not fail the service and company of such influential men, since the latter needed them, as they said. In confirmation of that, it happened that, on the death of a chief of that race, they killed all the sailors necessary for a boat’s crew, in order that servants, and rowers befitting his station might not be lacking to him in the life that they ignorantly imagined for such a person. After the conclusion of those honors, they gave themselves up to extensive revelry and feasting, which they interspersed with their mourning, observing a notable silence in the nearest houses and in the streets. No one worked, just as during a festal occasion; nor did he have to navigate under any consideration. He who opposed the aforesaid usage did not escape [130] death, which was inflicted on him with rigor and without recourse.

Among all the above and many other follies, they believed that the world had a beginning, and they had some notion of the flood; but it was confused with the greatest nonsense and lies. They did not doubt the fact of there having been in its time a creation of man, but they believed that the first one had emerged from a bamboo joint and his wife out of another, under very ridiculous and stupid circumstances. They did not consider homicide as wrong, and the taking of as many lives as possible was a great honor. Consequently, the valiant and those who were feared set the heads of those who perished at their hands on the doors of their houses, as a proof of their deeds; for he who hung up the greatest number, in the sight of his other countrymen was most esteemed and applauded. It was an abuse of obligation that, a father or mother having died, the son who inherited should retire from the village into the mountains and forests until he had despoiled at least two persons of the common light—even though it should be, as one can well judge, at the risk of losing the light that he himself was enjoying. When they had more children than they desired, or than they could support as they wished, they generally buried them alive. In what pertains to political government, they had no greater superiority than that which the most powerful usurped in the matter of life and death over those who were not powerful, disposing of them as they wished. Accordingly they made them slaves for very slight reasons and occasions. When any suits and quarrels arose in regard to criminal or civil matters, their old men assembled, and [131] composed these difficulties or passed sentence in them, and no one could appeal or petition from their decisions. They proved causes orally, examining witnesses and investigating doubts verbally. Their laws were only traditions and very old customs, but they observed these carefully—not so much for fear of punishment, as because they believed that he who violated them would be instantly killed, or at least become afflicted with the disease of leprosy, and that another part also of his body would become corrupt.

Our three religious opposed themselves to so profound darkness as this, with the light of the gospel, and without taking other arms than the cross and the scourge of penance, by which all the wretchedness and misfortunes there were changed into delights and comforts. The suffering of great hardships was inevitable; for since those brutes were intractable and ferocious, they did not show the fathers any hospitality, that had any mark of reason and sense. The fathers sought them through the thickets and fields where they were living, and, alluring them with loving words, gave them to understand their error and the blindness of their souls. They preached to them with the ardor that came from their hearts of the Triune and One Lord, who governs the universe, and told them their obligation to love Him and to bow to the mild yoke of His law; but those people preferred to condemn themselves forever to the pains of hell. The fathers retired at night to some very small huts that they had made, in order to take the necessary refreshment, which consisted only of beans [frijoles], and at most a little rice, which they obtained but seldom. Then they gave some rest and repose to their weakened and fatigued bodies. That rest was, [132] however, broken by three cruel disciplines, which all took every two hours, in order to soften and mollify the diamond hearts of those barbarians with their blood. With that efficacious medicine and their tireless care, they continued gradually to soften those rocks—although from the wretched life that they were living, and their immense toil in going by day through those rough mountains, seeking the sheep whom they desired to corral with the flock, within the sheepfold of the Church, and from the worse sufferings in their nights, they sickened and died.

[Accounts of the pious deaths of Fathers Miguel de Santa Maria, and Pedro de San Joseph, and Brother Francisco de Santa Monica, the three laborers in this first mission, follow in this same section. The first named had long been renowned for his asceticism, both in Spain and in the islands, having been one of the first to join the new order. The second had been a calced Augustinian, but had transferred his allegiance to the Recollects after their arrival in the islands, and was very useful on this mission because of his thorough knowledge of Tagal. The narrative continues:]

By the death of those three religious, the others might well fear to go to complete the reduction of Marivelez, and to prosecute what was already begun with the perfidious Zambales. But being full of the love of God, and of zeal for souls, each of them offered himself, just as if it were to obtain the greatest comfort and abundance that men generally seek; and all demanded it anxiously, each as best he could, as their most ambitious desire to go up there and be honored. The city opposed it, for they thought that [133] it meant to send those fathers to their death—and all the more as they saw that, since Ours were so few and so pious, they could serve more usefully in more secure and healthful places. The holy obstinacy of those who would not consent to abandon the post conquered. Accordingly, the first lot fell to father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel. He disposed the minds of those heathen in such manner that, completing their reduction and leading them to the yoke of the Lord, and to a civilized and Christian life, he built a convent in a village called Bacag, adding to it that of Luzòn, which gave name to the island of Manila—through the error or misunderstanding of the first Spaniards, who discovered it, when examining and questioning the Indians whom they met in a boat. They removed afterward to a better site, in the said Marivelez, and that place has seven other villages, in a distance of twelve leguas, which it administers as annexes. The persons who were converted to the faith by the energy and labor of Ours reached one thousand five hundred.

That fort having been assured against the power and empire of the devil, the door was opened wider for passage inside, and the tyrannized souls of the Indians of Zambàles were gained. The latter, confident in their fierceness, were divided along the sea-coast, and exercised themselves in the chase, by which they sustained themselves—together with some fish—only zealous in killing men, which was the greatest glory among them. Consequently, no boats dared to go to their lands, unless with great risk of the occupants losing their lives. With such brutality, the mountains of difficulties which father Fray Rodrigo had to conquer in softening the harshness of those [134] beasts; and the sweat and labor that it would cost him to make them comprehend the dictates of reason (from which they were very far), while he was suffering extreme penury in all things necessary to life, can be imagined. His food was only wild herbs and some fruit, which was not on all occasions accompanied by a mouthful of biscuit, sent as a great treat, if possible, from Manila. His rest, day and night, was so little, and was so liable to surprises that scarcely could he rest a moment without the expectation of death before him all the time, which the heathen, instigated by the devil, promised to give him. He went through their thickets and along their shores, crying out and endeavoring to conquer the coldness of those men. By virtue of the cross, he was finally able, little by little, to soften the insolence of their fierce breasts, and to render them more tractable, although they seemed like rocks in the hardness of their obstinate hearts.

God our Lord decreed that, in order to conquer their obstinate resistance, it should happen one day that this same father, Fray Rodrigo, on passing through a thicket consecrated to their devils (where, as their rites said, it was sacrilege to cut or touch any branch—besides the great fear that they had conceived that if anyone should have the audacity to do so, or to take the least thing, he would surely die immediately), saw a tree covered with a certain fruit which they call pahos,13 that resemble the excellent plums that we know in Europa. As it was so ripe [135] and mellow, he ordered them to climb the tree and get some of the fruit. Those accompanying him refused roundly, but he insisted on his desire. They finally explained, and said that they would do it under no consideration; for, beyond all doubt, those who dared to offend the respect for that place would die very suddenly. Upon hearing that, the father was inflamed with zeal for the honor and worship of the true God whom he was preaching. Asking them whether all trees around about had that quality of inflicting death on him who touched them, accidentally or designedly, they answered “Yes.” Then elevating his voice, he gave them a fervent discourse against the delusion under which they were laboring; and concluded by intimating to them that he himself would get and eat the fruit, as well as cut down the trees, so that they might see that one would not die, and so that they might thereby be freed from the error and blindness of their ancestors. The Indians were very sorrowful because father Fray Rodrigo had decided to eat of the fruit, and they accordingly begged him earnestly and humbly not to do it. But the good religious, arming himself with prayer and with the sign of the cross, and repeating that antiphony, Ecce crucem Domini: fugite partes adversæ. Vicit leo de tribu Juda,14 began to break the branches and to climb the tree, where he gathered a great quantity of the fruit. He ate not a little of it before them all, in detestation of their wicked superstitions and ill-founded fears. The Indians looked at his face, expecting every moment to see him a dead man. But they immediately recognized the truth of what he told them. He [136] charged them not to tell anyone what they had seen him do there. On arriving at the village, he divided the rest of the fruit that he brought, and kept for that purpose, among the other chiefs and influential persons, who ate it with gusto, esteeming it as a present from that father. The next day, after assembling them (much to their pleasure), he execrated their ignorance in a long sermon, and told them the secret of the fruit. Thereupon, all of them, convinced and surprised, not one of them being wanting, followed him axes in hand, and felled that thicket, casting contempt on the devil; and many infidels ended by submitting to the knowledge of the truth.

Encouraged by so good an outcome, Ours proceeded with the conversion of those peoples. They were not stopped by the manifest danger to their lives, nor by the famines or other bodily privations that it was necessary for them to suffer, in lands new, rough, and productive of no relief for their so many hardships and miseries. However, the divine providence made all these, and as many more as might be very mild, by giving the fathers inward consolation, as well as outward aid on not a few occasions. One of those occasions, experienced by the same father, Fray Rodrigo, during a trip on the sea, was notable. At that time, a sudden squall overtaking him, his boat was driven on certain rocks and knocked to pieces, so that those aboard it were drowned, although they knew how to swim well. Only the said father, by the will of God and the beneficent miracle of a wave, which bore him safe and sound to a rocky islet or reef, escaped. He remained there until next day, in the fright that one can imagine, but hoping in God our Lord that He would continue his rescue by conveying [137] him to a place of safety. That happened after twenty-four hours, for an Indian who had seen him from a distance swam out to him and took him upon his shoulders; and he gave thanks to heaven for so great mercy.

More marvelous was the case of father Fray Joan de la Ascension, who, while sailing along the coast of Zambàles, was struck by a very violent storm, and the boat in which he was embarked, and all the Chinese who were accompanying him, were lost, without one of them being saved. The boat keeled over—as they say—and was turned completely bottom up. The father remained in the hull of the boat, but so that he could hold only his arms and head clear of the water, while the rest of his body was under water. He supported himself in that darkness with his hands tightly clasping a beam. For the space of three days did he remain thus, while the hull tossed hither and thither. At the end of that time, as some Indians were passing through that region and saw the wreck, they drew nigh to see whether they could find anything. They thought that they would surely find some pillage, and therefore began to break open the boat in the part open to view. Consequently, when they had made a small hole, the pitiful voice of the religious who was crying for aid was heard. The greedy Indians were frightened, and were about to flee from the terror caused them by so unexpected a petition. But proceeding, after the encouragement given them by one of their number who was bolder, they discovered the said father, who was already half dead. Getting him out as quickly as possible, they took care of him and gave him some food, whereupon he recovered, and told them of his accident. It was [138] told and wondered at, with reason, in Manila and in other places; and all who heard of it attributed it to nothing less than a prodigy never seen.

[Lives of Fathers Alonso de la Anunciacion and Francisco de los Santos, and Brother Bernardo de San Augustin, follow in the succeeding three sections of this chapter, which concludes with a section on the]

Foundation of the convent of Masinglo

With just reason can this house be [regarded as] the most precious and esteemed jewel that the Augustinian Reform venerates, as it was the fort that was raised against the devil in the lands of the infidels, which the devil had usurped from the cross and the gospel, when our religious, after so many labors and sufferings, tamed the untamable Zambàles. That village, before called Masinloc, was suitable for the foundation, as it was in a location from which they could attend quickly to the service of God our Lord and of souls. Accordingly, they chose it, although its inhabitants were more ferocious than the rest of their neighbors because they had no one to drive away their errors and illumine their darkness. Father Fray Andres del Espiritu Santo, then, accompanied by two other religious, planted that holy bulwark to oppose all hell. With great care and helpfulness they tried first to adorn it with the example of their virtues, so that the neophytes should become fonder of the law which we profess. At that time the recently baptized amounted to eight hundred, with whom great efforts were exerted in separating them from their former evil habits, more especially that of idolatry, to which was joined that of intoxication; [139] they were given to these in excess, by the habit that they had acquired in both things from childhood. With the lapse of time the converted have surpassed two thousand, because of the reduction of certain more terrible Indians who lived in the mountains, without houses and away from the coast. The latter were continually at war with others who are called Negrillos [i.e., “little blacks”], for they seem to be such, and they are very black. One may now consider the vigilance it must have cost to attract those brutes, in order to make them live a social life in accordance with reason, in peace and quiet—things that were never seen among them until our religious undertook to tame them and to bring them into rational intercourse. The jurisdiction of that convent has extended fourteen leguas, and it has ten visitas which are villages. The missionaries generally go to those villages to care for their souls, and do not allow them to continue their former wickedness.

It happened in that village of Masinglo that, an Indian woman finding herself at the end of her days, they summoned father Fray Bernardo de San Lorenço so that he might baptize her, for she was then asking for it. He went to her house, and as he thought that she was but slightly sick, he judged that it would be well to delay the sacrament until she knew her prayers well and the other mysteries that any Christian must know in order to be confessed. He began to instruct her, and to persuade her with efficacious reasons to hate her idolatries and to have sorrow for her sins. He tried to leave her in this way until next day, but she, crying out and moaning, said to him: “Baptize me, Father, baptize me, immediately; do not leave me or permit me to die [140] and lose the blessings which thou hast told me that I will obtain by becoming a Christian.” The religious consoled her and answered that he would baptize her in due time. She continued to urge him to wash away her sins without delay. Consequently, seeing so much faith, he baptized her, and left her and her children very happy. And, although she did not appear sick, she died shortly afterward without anyone having any warning of it. Upon another occasion another woman also came to the convent, and urgently requested the same father for baptism. He asked her why she desired it so urgently. She answered that one of her eyes pained her, and that she was very much afraid of dying suddenly without having the health to save herself. The father performed his duty in catechising her as well as he was able, and immediately administered the sacrament; she was very glad of this, and returned to her house, where they shortly afterward found her dead, without knowing that she had other illness or cause for death than the above mentioned pain in that eye.

Thus when a beginning was given to that convent, the religious discussed, as was unavoidable, the regulation of a new method by which it, as well as the other convents that should be founded in the lands and villages of the reduced Indians, should be governed. It could not be perfected at one time, for experience, that mistress of seasons, was, little by little, showing what was most advisable for them. Accordingly, they have established efficient laws in various assemblies and provincial and private chapters, so that those houses have shed a luster in the example of their virtues—even though they do not have an excessive number of religious, because of [141] the lack that they generally suffer of those who are necessary. It was, therefore, ordered, in the first place, that all the laws and statutes of our congregation be observed, without violating the most minute points of the rules and regulations in force in España—especially in regard to the two hours of mental prayer and the matins at midnight—even should there be but one religious; since he could say them with the Indian singers who reside and always live in the enclosure or within the walls of the convent. Each of the religious was prohibited strictly, and under well-imposed penalties, from engaging in any trade or commerce, directly or indirectly, however slight it might be. In addition, it was ordered that no one should use any piece of silver or gold, even though it should be a medal, because of the suspicion that it might arouse in the Indians who should see them, when they were preaching gospel poverty. They were forbidden to beg the loan of money, or to ask their stipends in advance from the encomenderos, contenting themselves with the little that they had; and living with the greatest possible frugality, in order that their lives might conform to their discalcedness and their abstraction from earthly things. The priors were not to leave their districts under any pretext; and they were not to send their associates and subordinates unless there were urgent necessity, and after a consultation, to be registered in the books of the convent. The religious were not to enter the houses of the Indians, except to administer the sacraments in the necessary cases; and no one could employ himself in this office until he should be well acquainted with the language of the land. They were not to acquire possessions, or more income than the [142] one hundred pesos of their stipend; and necessity was to be the standard and rule that they were to seek, as those who were truly poor. They were not to entertain secular persons, and much less governors, alcaldes-mayor, or encomenderos; for, if they did so, it would be very prejudicial to the fitting retirement and strict observance advisable for the Reform. The Christian doctrine was to be preached and explained to the young people every morning in the churches, but to everyone on feast days, with especial care and personal attendance. In order to conduct the divine worship, they were to endeavor to have music in all the convents, by teaching the youth not only to sing but also to play the sweetest and best instruments that we use in Europa, so that the new Christians might become very fond of frequenting the sacred offices. They were to be admonished straitly to attend to the devotion of the most holy Virgin, our Lady, having her rosary recited every afternoon in the church; and on Saturday mornings they were to be present at the mass, and before nightfall at the “Hail Mary,” holding their lighted candles in their hands. The religious also made other resolutions pertaining to the protection and defense of the Indians, in case that anyone should transgress by trying to do violence to them, so that, as true fathers, they might oppose themselves courageously to any annoyance that the malice of the soulless men of this age, always iniquitous, might attempt. In short, they applied the needed and fitting preservatives, with the desire of maintaining the good name and reputation of religious who were seeking the safety of those souls, and hating that which might have the appearance of love for temporal things—in [143] consideration of which no earthly interest had transported them from España to Philippinas.

Chapter VIII

The third provincial chapter is held; and after the election a not slight danger assails the Reform. The first convent of Manila is moved inside the walls.

[The first section of this chapter deals with affairs of the Recollect order in Spain. The third election of provincial results in the choice of father Fray Gregorio de Santa Catalina. Dissensions immediately break out in the ranks of the religious, which are engineered by the retiring provincial, father Fray Joan Baptista. The schism results in the suppression of the order by a bull of Paul V, and its absorption into the calced Augustinian ranks. Various influences are set afoot, however, by those devoted to the Reform, and the new provincial prepares to go to Rome to entreat the pope to reconsider the suppression. The second section deals with the]

Removal of the convent of Manila

In order to divert the grief of Ours in España for a moment, the need of referring to the removal of the convent of San Nicolas of Manila from its location outside the walls (which is now the college of San Joan Baptista, as above stated) to the other site, within the enclosure, where now is the glorious capital of the most religious province of the Philippinas Islands—is interpolated. The credit acquired by the good founders in a short time was vast, by means of their exemplary life, and the zeal that they [144] had manifested in the reduction and conversion of the infidels. They had shed abroad in all directions the light and splendor of their virtues, and very especially of their voluntary poverty and abstraction from temporal things, contenting themselves with but very little, and coveting, at the most, the attainment of permanent blessings and riches. They won many persons for God in that city by means of their holy instructions, and taught them the true way, which very few court. By that course they made themselves so much masters of the good-will of all that the people begged them unanimously that they should enter a more comfortable place—but without abandoning that place, because its preservation was so useful for the welfare of as many souls as lived in those suburbs and environs, so that nobles and plebeians might enjoy the spiritual food that the fathers so promptly distributed to them. Besides, it seemed unavoidable to do that, so that they might be more secure and better guarded, whatever happened, because of the continual and sudden attacks of the Japanese, Chinese, and Sangley enemies, who are wont to attack those suburbs with courage. Father Fray Joan de San Geronimo assented to the prayers of the faithful, and the not little convenience of his own associates; and accordingly, aided by the alms that were given him, he bought certain small houses, near to a site where many years ago the artillery was founded. That site was also given him at the end of the year by Governor Don Joan de Silva. The opposition of some was not wanting, although that convent was so desired and applauded. However, that opposition soon ended; and our religious endured it with signal austerity for many days, until the very noble [145] gentleman and master-of-camp, Don Bernardino del Castillo Ribera y Maldonado—a native of Mexico, castellan of the fort, and regidor of the city—together with his very virtuous wife, Doña Maria Enriquez de Cespedes, through the devotion that they bore to our institute and to the holy neo-thaumaturgus Nicolàs de Tolentino (at whose intercession a son was born to him, who died shortly afterward, the same lady having petitioned our glorious father to negotiate with God so that that son might not live if he were to grow up bad and a sinner), assumed the patronage of the church and convent. He immediately erected a fine building of cut stone, the cost of which exceeded one hundred thousand pesos. In addition to that, he assigned it a suitable income—not for the support of the religious, for at that time it was not the custom for Ours to accept such; but for the necessary repairs that had to be made later.

At the conclusion of the work, it was our Lord’s pleasure to grant him a very pious death, prepared, among his many alms, by actions and customs more resembling those of a perfect religious man of an arrogant and merry soldier. The religious buried him as if in his own house, displaying on his honorable tomb the memory of his deeds; and erecting monuments afterward to him and to his consort in a very fitting niche, as well as suitable proclamations of thankfulness that Ours published. He left the devotion of the great titular saint, whom he greatly loved, well established; consequently, by means of his authority, the city chose the saint as patron, and decreed that his day should be celebrated, and that the city should attend in the form of its cabildo, which has always been done. Governor Don Alonso [146] Faxardo, governor of the islands, our illustrious benefactor—who gave us permission, as far as the royal patronage is concerned, to preach the gospel in the provinces of Butuàn and Caràgha, together with the islands of Cuyo and Calamiànes—was also buried there. From that permission have resulted so great increase in numbers to the Church, and great honors to our Recollect order. Likewise the governor’s wife, Doña Catalina Zambrano, and others—auditors and officials of the Chancillería, and many noble gentlemen—keep him company there. A notable confraternity has been founded in that church, called the Nazarenos [i.e., the Nazarines”], so that on the night of Holy Thursday they march through the streets in a most devout procession, just as they are accustomed to do in the kingdoms of Castilla.

Among the most revered images of those islands is reckoned that of the holy Christ, which is called “the Christ of humility and patience,” which was lately placed in the right side chapel. Licentiate Joan de Araùz, cura and beneficiary of the parish church in the city of Mexico, gave it, and with it a treasure of favors and concessions to Manila. That image is very natural, and of the best manufacture that has been known in those remote hemispheres. He manifests himself to the sight, seated on a rock, with his cheek resting on his hand; and the sight of him moves the hard heart of the most abandoned to trembling and devotion. The religious took it aboard at Acapulco in solemn procession, all of them hoping to arrive safe with so good company, as happened. Accordingly, as soon as they cast anchor, they carried that image to the college of San Joan Baptista, so that it might be lodged until the necessary [147] arrangements were made for the festival of its entrance. The festival was at last effected after the lapse of many days, and it was one of the celebrated festivals that have been seen and admired, both in its pomp and in the concourse that collected from all parts because of the fame of the image. It was placed first in the cathedral church, and next day, a very momentous procession having been ordained, they carried it thence to the convent, where the beginning was made and the conclusion given to a magnificent novena. The divine mercy showed its favors very frequently to those who petitioned it for aid in their troubles with a true and living faith.

There is another image of our Lady, called “Consolation,” because of the great consolation that those who are afflicted find in it, when they are most exhausted. Her devotion commenced from the time of the entrance of our Reform into the islands; and it has been continued by means of the favors that she scatters in protection of those who commend themselves to her by invoking her aid. Our patrons had a most singular affection for her, and therefore they left a clause by which a mass was to be sung for their souls in all the festivities of the most blessed Mary. They offered her many gold jewels and articles of richest clothing, that testified the love with which they humbly surrendered to the vassalage due to her. Father Fray Antonio de San Augustin15 [148] encouraged greatly the worship and veneration of that sacred and miraculous image, and received instant pay and wages for his labor. For when he was about to die (the candle being already in his hand), without anyone perceiving it or having hope of it he recovered his senses, and talked to those present who were watching him and assisting him, to the astonishment of all the physicians, who regarded him as a dead man. He declared what had happened, and said that having offered in his heart his vows at the feet of the said Virgin, when he was almost dead, as was thought, he heard her near him talking to him, together with St. Nicolás de Tolentino; and she graciously revivified him, saying that he was not to die from that illness. That was a fact, for within a few days he arose, just as if he had not been at the gates of death.

The third image that illumines and ennobles that convent is that of the famous titular saint, Nicolàs de Tolentino. He has chosen to make himself known in those remote regions as much as in the other regions of Christendom, by means of the continual prodigies and marvels that he works there. A great volume might be written of those that have been seen in Manila alone, and a greater volume of those outside. Suffice it to say that, because of his having appeared to the sailors in their greatest straits and troubles, they have all unanimously taken him as their patron. The glorious saint rewards their pious devotion by lofty marvels, and does not discontinue for all that to work them very frequently on land—for which both the Spaniards and the Indians of the Philippinas Islands venerate him as a refuge, in whom they consider their relief very sure. [149]

Strong religious have gone out from that very strict house to combat the power of the devil, in order to remove his yoke from many souls, as we shall see in the time of reporting their deeds of valor.

[The chapter concludes with the pious deaths of Fathers Andrès de San Joseph, Diego de Santa Ana, and Gaspar de la Madre de Dios, and of Brother Simon de San Augustin, all of whose bodies were buried in the Manila convent.16]

Chapter IX

Father Fray Gregorio de Santa Catalina goes to Roma, and presents his [claim for] justice in the tribunal of the supreme pontiff. The end of the chapter is concerned with a mission that Ours tried to make to the Philippinas Islands, the founding of two convents, and the deaths of two great religious.

[The provincial’s mission to Roma results disastrously at first, for he is doomed to many months of dreary waiting is denied audience with the pope, and even ordered to quit the city. But finally the tide turns; the pope, having learned of his mission, grants the long-desired audience, and after hearing the humble representations of the pleader, looks favorably upon the Reform branch. Although the Augustinians in Spain attempt to suppress entirely the Reform, [150] public opinion is too powerful, and the Recollects have too many influential friends; and consequently, the general of all the Augustinian order, then Juan Baptista de Asti, orders opposition to cease. Meanwhile, Father Pedro de San Fulgencio comes as procurator from the Philippines to request more missionaries. He finds the Reform in almost its last throes, but, nothing daunted, departs for Rome to urge his mission before the pope. Being favorably received and his pretensions granted, after a considerable stay in the Roman court, where he also assists the provincial Gregorio de Santa Catalina, he sets out on his return to Spain, but dies at Milan; and, for lack of anyone to carry on his work everything is lost for the time being. Now Augustinian agents from Spain take the opportunity to arouse animus against the Reform and to thwart their designs by saying “that the discalced were unnecessary in the Philippinas Islands; and that those who had gone were few and hitherto of no use in the preaching, as they were persons who could in no way prove advantageous to the Indians. The contrary was seen then; and by the mercy of God, we have since seen it here, and shall see it, very clearly, in due course of time. We note here only, for the confusion of those who boldly devised such a proposition, the testimonies that have come on different occasions in regard to the credit and praise of Ours, who have shed luster amid those rude and very barbarous provinces, with so much glory to themselves, by illuminating them with the light of the gospel.” These testimonials, some of them later than the period which the present volume covers, follow:]

Let the first be that of an inquiry made in Manila, [151] at the time that the above-mentioned calumny was learned, before Captain Martin de Herrera, alcalde-in-ordinary of the same city. The report of this was approved afterward by the city’s cabildo, its justices, and magistrates, the witnesses being fully qualified to act as such: namely, the master-of-camp, Don Bernardino del Castillo Maldonado, castellan of the fort; Master-of-camp Don Pedro de Chaves; General Don Joan Esquerra; Captain Christoval Guiràl; General Don Joan Manuel de la Vega; Don Joan Sarmiento, chancellor of the royal Audiencia; Don Francisco Gomez de Arellano, dean of the cathedral there, and commissary-general of the crusade; Don Joan de Aguilar, archdean of the same church; Captain Hernando de Avalos y Vargas; Licentiate Rodrigo Guiràl, secular priest; Admiral Don Joan de Valmaseda; Don Luis Enrriquez de Guzman; Don Diego de Leòn, school-master of the said church; Captain and sargento-mayor Don Francisco de Ayala; Don Luis de Herrera Sandoval, treasurer also of the same church; Luis de Barrasa, regidor of the city; Captain Melchor de Ayllòn; and Don Antonio de Arze, also regidor of Manila. All those so illustrious persons deposed that the discalced Augustinian religious who were living and who had lived there, were serious, learned, spiritual, beloved men, and that they were gladly seen and heard by those who lived and dwelt in the Philippinas Islands; and that, by their good life and example, they had gathered and were gathering much fruit in the community, and among the natives of the province of Zambàles. Those people had been most fierce enemies of the Spaniards and other nations before Ours had taken charge of their reduction. By the excellent [152] instruction of our religious, they had become so tamed and gentle that now one could pass through their coast; while before one could not even approach them without evident risk of those people killing him, with great gusto, as they were so barbarous. Consequently, it would be well to keep and increase those religious in that archipelago, for the salvation and profit of souls.

The second testimony is that of the royal Chancillería of Manila, in a letter to the Catholic king of the Españas, and affirms the following:

“The discalced religious of the Order of St. Augustine, who are employed in these islands in preaching the holy gospel, are held in great esteem in this city of Manila because of their virtue and good example. They have three or four provinces of Indians in their charge, and, moved by holy and pious zeal for the welfare of souls, they continue daily to establish new convents among the most unconquerable people of the islands. Thus have they been seen to gather most considerable fruit for the service of God and of your Majesty.”

In another letter are also noted these words, which affirm the above:

“The discalced religious of St. Augustine are very observant in their ministries, and attend to the service of your Majesty, on occasions of enemies by sea and land, where some have been killed and captured.”

Before proceeding further, it will not be an impertinent digression to mention and explain briefly the services above mentioned, stating first that our religious serve as chaplains in the forts of Tandag, Calamiànes, Bagangàn, and Linào, with notable sacrifice both of their liberty (for they are often captured [153] and illtreated) and of their lives, because of the bad voyages on, and hardships of, the seas. When Don Fernando de Silva was governing the islands, a fleet was sent against the Bornean and Camucònes enemy, who were devastating the coasts, seizing numbers of captives, and committing other depredations. As chaplains went fathers Fray Diego de San Joan Evangelista, native of Zaragoça, and Fray Joan de la Cruz. They bore themselves so devotedly amid the military excitements, and gave so good examples, that the chief commander, one Captain Bartolome Diaz, finding it necessary to absent himself, in order to leave his men with security and in quiet appointed, with well recognized prudence, the first above named. For that religious, not as a substitute for the commander, but as a father, cared for all, and they were satisfied. And they were surprised, because it happened that, the supply of water falling short, they sought it, but were unable to find any in various parts of the islands, and were suffering the anguish and affliction that can be imagined in such an extremity, when one day the said father said mass, begging our Lord for help in such need. It happened, then, that after performing his ministry he returned to the men and told them to be very joyful, and to look in the direction that he pointed out to them for a spring that was there. They found it immediately, not very far away, and praised God for so great a mercy. In the insurrection of Caràgha a numerous fleet was also prepared; Captain Joan Mendez Porras was accompanied, for the common consolation of the soldiers, by fathers Fray Lorenço de San Facundo and Fray Diego de Santa Ana. By their efforts the villages of Bislìn, Careèl, and Bagangan were conquered and [154] that land again reduced. In another fleet that set out from the same province of Caràgha, Captain Joan Nicolas chose father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio, whereupon many villages surrendered to the service of the king; and the Indians of the island of Dinagàt, Baybayòn, and Sandegan requested ministers, and five hundred were baptized. Besides such occasions, which are generally quite common, Ours have served in divers fleets that have been prepared to oppose the Dutch who were infesting the shores. Lastly, in two expeditions made by Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuèra—one to the kingdom of Jolo, and the other to that of Mindanao—he took, in the first, fathers Fray Joan de San Nicolàs, and Fray Miguel de la Concepcion; and in the second, father Fray Lorenço de San Facundo and father Fray Joan de San Joseph. The last-named religious was very useful, for he served as ambassador to the Moro king, to whom he was a friend, as he had been his captive in former times.

Returning to our narration, and the relation of the security of Ours, now comes Don Fray Hernando Guerrero, archbishop of Manila, in a letter to the Congregation of the Propaganda of the Faith,17 and he confirms the work of the same, while he says: [155]

“The discalced Augustinian religious who live in these Philippinas Islands are gathering a very large harvest here in the conversion of souls. Not less known are the advances that Christianity is making in the kingdoms of Japan by their preaching and teaching, where in the years one thousand six hundred and twenty-nine and thirty, six religious of the same institute suffered martyrdom, together with many others, members of the third order,18 or Mantellatos, and confriars of the girdle [correa] of our father St. Augustine, all converted to the faith and instructed by the same discalced religious who are in those regions. Now, to relate the news that we have just received, two of the same religious are suffering the most exquisite torments that can be imagined, after two years of the hardest kind of imprisonment. They are suffering also, in the ministries and convents which they maintain in these islands, great discomfort and hardship; for the Indians in their charge are the most unbridled and fierce of all those known in this archipelago, as experience of last year [156] proved, when the Indians killed four religious. Their death and the evident danger of their lives did not frighten the others, and therefore other missionaries did not hesitate to go.”

While that prelate was bishop of Nueva Segovia, he also wrote two letters, one to the Catholic king of España, and the other to the above congregation, of the following tenor:

“The Order of the discalced religious of the Order of our father St. Augustine are of considerable importance in these islands, and they are gathering much fruit with their teaching and their good example. They have many missions in districts remote from this city, as they were the last who came to the islands, etc.”

“The discalced Augustinian religious,” he says in the other, “who reside in these Philippinas Islands are gathering large harvests in all parts in the conversion of the souls of these pagans, as they have done in the kingdom of Iapon. Two years ago six professed religious of the same order were slain there, by fire and sword, for the preaching of the gospel, and the conversion of souls, in addition to seventy other persons who suffered the same death, in the same kingdom, for the preservation of the faith, which they had received then through the ministry of two Spanish religious of the same institute, who were preaching it there. The two latter are also now in prison for the same reason, and it is thought will already have perished by fire or in some other way.”

Don Fray Pedro de Arze, bishop of Zugbù, was more minute in describing the labors and efforts of our religious, in a letter informing the sacred Congregation [157] of the Propaganda of the Faith, in which he says the following:

“For some years past the discalced Augustinian fathers of the congregation of España have been, and are, gathering very large harvests in the conversion of the infidels of these islands; for, besides the many others that they have in other bishoprics, they have more than ten convents in my diocese alone. They are laboring therein in the cultivation of the vineyard of the Lord, with the best of example, strict observance, and care. This is in the newest and most dangerous posts of these islands, where their lives are exposed to great risk, as the islands are hostile. But notwithstanding all these dangers and hardships, they have converted a very great number of infidels, both adults and children, to our holy Catholic faith. I trust, God helping, that the conversion of the infidels—and especially those of one island where those holy religious have their missions, as it is one of the largest islands of these regions—will, in the future, by means of their care and industry, advance and increase to much greater, etc.”

Besides the above, there are three other letters to the same congregation, of the following tenor:

“The discalced religious of the Order of our father St. Augustine have worked hard as long as they have been in these islands (which is many years), and with good example, in the preaching of the holy gospel; and they have gathered a great harvest of souls. They have established many convents in the islands, for which they should receive honor from your Excellencies, and receive protection, so that his Holiness, as master and father, may concede [158] them rewards and favors, so that they may be encouraged to complete what they have begun.”

The second letter contains the following points:

“The Recollect fathers of the Order of our father St. Augustine in these Philippinas Islands are laboring faithfully in the vineyard of the Lord, with good example and prodigious danger, as the people whom they instruct are harsh and fierce. In some districts, they are making much gain in the conversion of souls; in Japon they have made a very great gain, and have converted many, both men and women, who have given their lives for the confession of our holy faith, as will be seen there by the authentic report that is being sent to his Holiness. Consequently, they deserve that your most illustrious Lordships show them every grace and protection, and that you encourage them to proceed in a work so holy by writing to the king of España to protect and aid them, for that their example and good life deserve it.”

The third letter is of the tenor that is set down here:

“The Recollect fathers of the Order of our father St. Augustine in these Philippinas Islands are faithfully cultivating, in most exemplary manner, the vineyard of the Lord, and are preaching His holy gospel with great hardship and danger to their lives; for those people whom they have in charge are so harsh and fierce that they killed four religious the past year. But the others did not fear on that account to send new ministers to preserve the fruit that they were gathering among those souls, through their hope that, by their teaching, they will convert all of those people to the true knowledge. They have also made much gain in Japon, as has been seen; since [159] a great number of pagans, abandoning their errors, have embraced our holy faith through the preaching of the religious of this order who are in those kingdoms. For their confession, six religious of that institute, accompanied by many, suffered martyrdom, after they had taken the habits of Mantellatos, or tertiaries of the same order, with other confriars, and others who wear the girdle.”

This prelate confirmed the same in two other letters to the Catholic monarch, in the following manner:

“The Recollect fathers of the Order of our father St. Augustine, from their first arrival in these islands, have gathered a plentiful harvest in souls by their good example. They have many convents and many missions in their charge. In their care are the islands of Calamiànes, and they have charge of a great part of the island of Mindanao, where they have convents and labor with great zeal for the salvation of souls.”

In the second letter he wrote these words:

“The Recollect fathers of the Order of our father St. Augustine have many convents in these islands, where they administer, with great care, Christian instruction to the natives of the islands, to whom they furnish a good example and whom they treat with great gentleness. Their missions are very dangerous and the people of some of them are harsh and fierce. They have had very good success in Japon, and have given many martyrs to the Church, who fortified their lives by the confession of our holy faith, as will appear there [i.e., in Europe] by the report made here in regard to this. They merit the aid and protection of your Majesty, so that they may be encouraged to serve our Lord.” [160]

The ecclesiastical cabildo of Manila, occupying the vacant see, testified to the same king of España in another letter:

“The discalced Augustinian religious are very austere in their institute, and in their ministrations to the natives in the missions under their charge—who, as they are among the most untamable and fierce people in these regions, have killed and captured several of the religious. Consequently, they are very short of men, but have not failed in the service of your Majesty on the occasions that have offered by land and sea.”

It would be an evident ingratitude not to record here three letters, which the unconquerable city of Manila wrote to their king and sovereign, giving him a definite relation of the condition of Ours.

First letter

“The order of the discalced Augustinians, which has extended into these islands, has been and is of great fruit in the spiritual by their general virtue, their exemplary lives, and their excellent teaching—both in the settlements of the Spaniards, where they have convents, and in those of the natives where the ministration and preaching of the holy gospel results in a very great harvest of souls. Because they were the last order to settle in these regions, they had to build some of their convents among the most rude and warlike natives of these provinces. They have had so good success with those natives that, through their efforts and the loving treatment which they have shown them, they have so converted them to the faith and so subjected them to the obedience of his Majesty, that the fervent spirit which those religious [161] have infused into both those tasks is very evident. The order has a great lack of ministers to occupy their many missions; and they need the favor and protection of your Majesty, in order to attain their desire of carrying very far the conversion of souls, and of preserving those who have been converted to the faith. Therefore, this city is under obligations to represent it to your Majesty, and to petition your Majesty, as we do, with all humility, to be pleased to have a goodly number of religious sent to them, so that they may continue and carry on their good intentions in the service of God and that of your Majesty. For, besides that the number of religious here is very few, as they have scarcely enough for their missions, they fall sick and die, as many of the sites and posts to which they go are not very healthful; for which reason, the lack of ministers in their order is greater each day. This is felt so much the more keenly as the importance of it is known.”

Second letter

“This city of Manila has informed your Majesty on other occasions of the great results produced in these islands by the discalced Recollect religious of the Order of St. Augustine. Their exemplary devotion is daily increasing this Christianity, as they strive for it with so great energy. In regions so remote, and so full of enemies and of heathen people, they, losing the fear of the violent deaths that they suffer daily, with the holy zeal which accompanies them, have founded many convents. From that has resulted a very great conversion of those rude people, they being the most turbulent that are known in these regions. May our Lord, for whom is this work, decree [162] that they continue to increase, since so many blessings result from it for the glory of our Lord and the service of your Majesty. To you we represent the aforesaid, and their great need of religious so that they may continue. For two alone who went to Japon have been the cause of sending seventy Japanese to heaven—some already religious, and others brothers of the girdle—while the said two fathers were arrested and destined for martyrdom, and it is expected will by today have achieved the happy end of it.”

Third letter

“This city of Manila has informed your Majesty on various occasions of the great importance to these islands of the order of the discalced Recollects of the Order of St. Augustine; of the apostolic men in it; of the great harvest that they are gathering by the preaching of the holy gospel; of the excellent example which they have always given, and are giving, with their strict and religious life, and their so close observance of their rules; and of the so considerable results that have been achieved by them in the service of our Lord and in that of your Majesty, with the aid of your royal arms, in the great number of infidels who have been converted to our holy Catholic faith, and have been subdued so that they render your Majesty due homage and tribute. Those people have generally paid that tribute and pay it every year. [We have written you] that those religious have exercised and exercise with especial care in all things the spiritual earnestness that concerns their profession, both in the maintenance or their work and in their continual desire, notwithstanding the innumerable annoyances which they endure, to carry this [163] work onward. They are ever converting new souls to the service of our Lord and the obedience of your Majesty, while they preserve great harmony and concord among themselves. Consequently, that order has always been and is one of the most acceptable orders and one of the most welcome in these islands. They are the poorest of all, as all their ministries are in remote regions very distant from this city, and among the most warlike people in all the provinces of these islands, as they have been but lately reduced. [We have told you] of the risk of their lives on account of this, because it has happened at times that those who seemed to be pacified have rebelled; while at other times the religious have fallen into the hands of those who were not pacified, when preaching to them the holy gospel. There have been many others also who have suffered martyrdom in the kingdom of Japon, thus enriching the church of God with such noble actions, as well as the crown of your Majesty. Above all, they have no income except the alms given them by the faithful. There is no fleet in which they do not sail for the consolation of the infantry, etc. This city petitions your Majesty to be pleased to concede permission to the said order, so that religious may pass from those kingdoms to these islands to the number that your Majesty may decree, in consideration of the fact that the need for them, in ministries so distant as theirs, is very great. In those ministries, through the little nourishment of the food which they use for the sustenance of human life, for they live as those who are truly poor, and with great abstinence, which they observe, without reserving any time because of discomforts, whether of sun or shower, going through dense forests and inaccessible [164] mountains in order to reduce the many millions of souls of those districts to our holy Catholic faith, not one of whom has any light, etc.”

Don Joan Niño de Tavora, governor and captain-general of the above-named islands, and president of the royal Chancillería of Manila, says in another letter to the same king:

“The Recollect Augustinian fathers who reside in these islands, inasmuch as they arrived last, have taken the districts most distant from this city. They are extending their labors into the district of Caràgha, and Calamiànes, with success among those Indians, etc. During the last four years, more than four thousand persons have been baptized by that order alone. I petition your Majesty to be pleased to order that their procurators be despatched with the greatest number of religious possible, etc.”

Lastly, Sabiniano Manrique de Lara, who exercised the aforesaid office, concludes in another letter, in which he affirms the proposition:

“The order of discalced Recollects of St. Augustine who reside in these islands and the districts of them, preserves in its members, with all virtue and exemplary life, its obligations for the service of God, in the protection and instruction of their parishioners, the Indian natives; and in what regards the service of your Majesty, they show the efficacious zeal of good vassals. For during the time of my government they have not at all embarrassed me in any way. On the contrary, as I recognize their good conduct, I am obliged to represent it to your Majesty; and will your Majesty be pleased to show them every favor and grace, in whatever opportunity may occur to your Majesty.” [165]

A letter came with those that are here given as addressed to the sacred Congregation of the Propaganda of the Faith, who ordered the two following letters to be written, which we place at the end, in order to qualify better the labor of Ours, and to conquer the calumny of those who attempted to obscure and stifle the fervor with which the Reform commenced the reduction of the barbarous infidels.

To the vicar-general of the discalced Augustinians

“Very reverend father:

“Your Paternity will have learned that a letter was presented and read in the assembly of the sacred Congregation of the Propaganda of the Faith, received from the bishop of Zibù, etc. The most illustrious lord cardinals have received most special pleasure in learning from it the great number of convents that the religious of your order have built in the Philippinas, and also the great harvest that they are gathering in the conversion of those heathen by their example and their good and holy customs. Inasmuch as the said bishop lives with steadfast hopes of greater progress and advancement if he were again aided and reënforced with other laborers of their order, such as they, and resembling them, the sacred Congregation, attentive to this, petitions your Paternity, with the affection and earnestness that the salvation of so many souls merits, to effect and strive anew, with all the earnestness and care possible, to provide new religious and workers for those so remote and needy regions. We assure your Paternity that it will be a great service to God and to the holy apostolic see. And also that act will be one of great pleasure to their Excellencies the cardinals. The latter advise [166] you that, in the missions conducted by your Paternity, the contents of the decree enclosed herewith should be observed and obeyed. Besides this, the sacred Congregation, in consideration of the services that your Paternity’s order has rendered to the holy apostolic see, has thought best to protect that order with great pleasure and good-will, etc.

Cardinal Ludovisi
Francisco Ingoli, secretary.”

To the very reverend fathers the father provincial and the definitors of the discalced Augustinians in the Philippinas Islands

“Very reverend fathers:

“The relation of the progress that your Reverences have made in those districts in the conversion of the heathen, and of the efforts put forth and the hardships suffered for the said object, having been referred to this sacred Congregation of the Propaganda of the Faith, his Holiness and these my most illustrious Lordships, after having received most special consolation from so good news, have praised not a little the zeal and piety of your Reverences. They also exhort you to continue in the future with the same fervor, especially in the care of the mission destined for Japòn. In the same manner they have ordered that an urgent message be sent to the papal legate [nuncio] of España to try to procure prompt despatches for the multiplication of the ecclesiastical workers in those regions. His Holiness, in particular, has willingly offered them his consolation with eight thousand benedictions, etc.

Cardinal Borxa
Francisco Ingoli, secretary.” [167]

In order to conclude all this with the destruction of the calumny that their opponents invented, in regard to the presence of Ours in Philippinas being without fruit, we might quote certain authors who have spoken in no uncertain voice in their praise. But we forbear, except in the case of master Fray Thomas de Herrera, whom, as he is worth a thousand men, it will be well to cite. In regard to the aforesaid, he speaks in the following manner in his Alphabeto:

“These fathers, who were not slothful laborers, kindled with zeal for the Catholic faith, and desirous for the salvation of souls, crossed the seas in the year 1605, to remote regions of this world, although at the eleventh hour.” (Folio 181, volume i.)

“The discalced fathers of Hispania crossed the seas in the year 1605, kindled by their zeal for the salvation of souls (and at times by the shedding of their blood in the kingdoms of Japonia) to those remote islands, as planters of the Church or as spreaders of its tents.” (Folio 127, volume ii.)

“The congregation of the discalced of Hispania, which extends its vineyards even to the seas and to the Philippinas Islands, sent laborers about the year 1588 to remote colonies, who preached the gospel to the Japanese; and with their own blood, shed most profusely, they either planted or watered the Church in various kingdoms, and illumined the Augustinian order with a great number of glorious martyrs.” (Folio 485, ibidem.)

[A section devoted to the founding of the convent of Calatayud in Aragon follows, and the narration of the work in the Philippines is taken up again in the succeeding section, entitled:] [168]

Foundation of the convent of Bolinao

The missionary religious in the Philippinas Islands had complete and quiet peace, although those who were living in España, opposed by miseries and misfortunes, were trying with all earnestness to recover their lost quiet. A great field was offered to them, in which to give vent to the ardor of their desires; but being few in number, they could not accept as much as was given them. They determined finally to take the island of Bolinào, near the province of Zambàles and of Tugui, whose warlike and fierce inhabitants, although less so than the others, gave father Fray Geronimo de Christo, vicar-provincial at that time, and his associate, father Fray Andres del Santo Espiritu, sufficient occasion to exercise their patience; for, not wishing to hear them, they tried daily to kill them. The two fathers persisted in softening those diamond hearts with their perseverance, after having lived for some months on only herbs of the field, when the natives deprived them of food so that, thus needy, the fathers should be compelled to leave them and go away, or so that they might die of hunger. That might have happened if God our Lord had not aided them with His grace, as is His wont in times of greatest stress. The patient endurance of Ours conquered the barbarians; and, recognizing that those who were so long-suffering and so kind could not fail to be right in what they said, they submitted to the yoke of the gospel, very gladly and joyfully receiving the Christian instruction and baptism. For that reason it became necessary to found a convent there, and that was accomplished through the conversion of one thousand six hundred souls, who are directed, together with those [169] of other villages near by. In that place occurred a circumstance resembling that of father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel, which we have recounted above; for while all the Indians of the village were not yet converted, our religious learned that those of the village had gone to a bamboo plantation not very distant, in order to worship it and to venerate their bamboos, as if they were gods. They followed the Indians, and found them occupied with their blind observances. The more the religious persuaded them, they could not induce them to cut a single bamboo, because of the error which they had accepted from the mouth of the devil, namely, that they would surely die if they touched the canes. Thereupon the fathers, although at the evident risk of their lives, amid the great shouting and lamentations of the Indians, ordered a good Christian servant, who acted as their guide, to begin to fell the thicket. Proceeding at first with the fear of those foolish people, the servant felled the entire thicket to the earth, and then the barbarians were assured of their error, and without delay they more joyfully accepted Christianity.

[Two sections follow, treating of the lives of Fathers Geronimo de Christo and Diego de Jesus, the first of whom was a missionary in the Philippines and the second in Mexico—who, being captured by the English, passed through many stirring adventures.]

[Chapter x contains nothing touching the Philippines except a brief survey of the life and death of the founder of the Philippine missions, Father Joan de San Geronimo. He died near Ormuz, while returning to Spain in order to secure more workers for his mission.] [170]

Third Decade

[The first chapter recounts that papal permission was given to erect four novitiates in the convents in the four Spanish cities of Madrid, Valladolid, Zaragoza and Valencia.]

Chapter II

Foundation of the convent of Cigayan

The year 1612

The missionary fathers of the Philippinas Islands were free from anxiety, and were far from suffering the strife and upheaval that the Reform was enduring in España. However, in their great anxiety to guide souls to heaven, they did not desist from their fruitful conversion along the coasts of Zambàles. They needed associates to help them carry so heavy a burden; but notwithstanding that, in their sorrow for the lamentable loss of those who did not yet know God because of the lack of missionaries, after they had converted many infidels in the village of Cigayàn they set about founding a monastery there. They carried it out that year, and lived therein with all security until an Indian, instigated by the devil, laid violent hands on father Fray Alonso de San Augustin, whom he wounded severely in the throat with a very broad though short dagger, called igua in that country, which is made purposely for beheading a person at one blow—a vice common to the Zambàles, before they knew the sweet charity of the law which we profess. But as the stroke was first caught by the hood [of the father’s habit], the barbarian did not succeed in his purpose, which had been to behead him in a moment. But the wound did not heal [171] readily, and consequently he lived but a little while. It is said that there was no further cause for the atrocious and profane act of the wicked parricide than the desire to free himself from the censures that that same father had administered to him for his crimes and wickedness. Thereupon, the Indians of the village rose in revolt, and after burning the church and the convent, fled to the mountains. However, some remained, who defended the other religious, and carried the wounded man to Masinglo. Consequently, the village was almost deserted. Afterward they tried, and successfully, to subdue the insurgents again. They succeeded by their energy and toil, and restored the settlement and church again to their former state for the administration of seven hundred souls or so, who were the last ones to comprehend the cry of the gospel.

It happened in this place that one Sunday, while father Fray Francisco de Santa Monica was in the church teaching the rudiments of the Catholic faith to the least intelligent Indians, they came to tell him that there was a certain woman, at a long legua’s distance from that place, dying of childbirth, who was entreating for baptism very earnestly. The said father left his exercise, and, seizing a staff, started to run so fast that, as he himself testified, it seemed as if he were flying through the air. He was not far wrong, for in less than one-half hour he reached the place or hut of the poor woman who was expiring, all swollen and black with the pain and anguish that she was suffering. He baptized her (and also instructed her as was necessary), and she immediately gave birth to an infant, which, although alive, was much deformed because of the danger of the mother. [172] After it had been washed likewise from the original sin in which all we children of Adam are born, they both died, to the joy and wonder of that minister at seeing the depth of the divine decrees in regard to the predestination of those souls.

[Chapters iii, iv, and v treat of the European affairs of the order.]

Chapter VI

All of the charges against the Reform are annulled by a brief, and the fifth provincial chapter is held, with the prorogation which they claimed. Two convents are established and a mission arranged for the Philippinas.

The year 1616

[By a papal decree of May twenty-one, new life is given to the Recollect order, and their future assured. On the return of Father Gregorio de Santa Catalina, the chapter which had been delayed until that time was held. In this chapter, discretos (or persons elected as assistants in the council of the order) and visitors were abolished, the latter having been found more expensive than useful. The title of chief preacher was not to be given to anyone, as it tended to destroy the democratic principles of the order. A section on the founding of the college of Caudiel in Spain follows, and then the last section of this chapter, which is also the last of this volume in re the Philippines.]

Foundation of the convent of Cabite

Inasmuch as we have left our religious busily occupied [173] in the lofty ministry of the conversion of the infidels, it will be advisable for us to turn our attention to them, on the present occasion, praising their great zeal. Much more must we do so, since they advanced with so few workers to do all that their forces were able, both in the preaching of the gospel, and in the spread of their houses, in order that they might serve with energy in the no small toil that was theirs. That convent of Cabite seemed to be necessary; and they did not deceive themselves, for, although only two leguas distant from Manila, it is of considerable consequence for the conversion of many souls, as Cabite is a port where men of not a few Asiatic nations assemble for the sake of its commerce, which is remarkable. Hence that place comes to be the largest one in the Philippinas Islands after the said metropolis, and all the seamen live there, in order to be conveniently near to its traffic and its trade. With such a motive, that convent was founded by father Fray Andres del Espiritu Santo, and under so good auspices that it has been of use to the service of God and to the credit of the Reform, because of the spiritual blessing that it has obtained, as well as by the esteem in which it has been held, as the various people who come there from the most remote and distant kingdoms have experienced the example and instruction of Ours. Divine Omnipotence has there made illustrious, for the feeding of hearts, a devout image of our Lady of Rule [Nuestra Señora de Regla]—modeled from the one that protects and defends the Andalusian shores between Cadiz and San Lucar—especially favoring through her means the poor sailors in the continual dangers of their fearful duty. So many are the vows that attest her miracles, [174] that it would be a digression to have to mention them.

While the useful foundation of that convent was being directed in Philippinas, father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel was in España, working carefully and diligently in order to get the necessary despatches to conduct helpers suitable for the prosecution of the spiritual conquest that had been happily commenced among the Zambàles. The vigilance employed by two commissaries to get the so desired subsidy for his brothers was disappointed by death, and by the opposition we have already related. Consequently, the few who were fighting the devil in the enclosure did not desist, and sent the above-named father—since he was the most fitting person that could be found for the attainment of such an enterprise—to whom they consigned papers of great moment, as a testimonial of the work and of the fruit which they were gathering with the gain of souls. Our calced fathers themselves affirmed it, to the confusion of those who here opposed father Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios, and their ministries and desires. The father embarked with great haste, but as he was coming on an affair of heaven, misfortunes were not wanting in the world, and he endured very heavy ones. He himself mentioned them in a relation that he made to Pope Urban Eighth at the latter’s command, when he reached his feet, as the ambassador of certain schismatic princes of the Orient (as we shall relate in detail when we come to the year of that event). The father declares, then, that having suffered a severe storm amid the islands—during which the vessels anchored at Manila were wrecked—he sailed immediately toward Japòn. Thence, after suffering other tempests, they finally sighted Cape Mendocino [175] in forty-four degrees of latitude. Then coasting along the shores of Nueva España (which was composed of inaccessible mountains), and through unknown seas (in which he saw great monsters), for the distance of one thousand leguas, he sighted the cape of San Lucas. There the gulf of the Californias begins. The father anchored in Acapulco, the best of the ports known to the pilots, after having spent more than seven months on the voyage. He went to Mexico and to Vera Cruz; and, continuing his journey and encountering a new storm on the ocean, was driven to the coasts of Terranova [i.e., Newfoundland] and of Labrador. As a consequence so much shortness of food was experienced that only two onzas of biscuit were given to each man, and about the same amount of water. The ship began to leak, so that it was as if by a miracle that it was able to put in at the Terceras. There they refitted, and the father finished his navigation, by coming to Cadiz, after having made to that point from Manila seven thousand one hundred and sixty leguas, in the manner that we have seen. Thence he went to Madrid, and was given favorable audience; and everything that he petitioned was conceded to him. But when twenty religious had been assembled, although they were even about ready to sail in the fleet that was being sent with reenforcements to the Malucas, the father’s luck turned against him with the order that was received, for the boats that were ready not to sail. Consequently, he was accommodated on the fleet of Nueva España, but with very few religious. However they proved to be many, because of the lack of religious in the ministries and convents of the Indias.... [176]

1 Following is a translation of the title page of this work, a facsimile of which is here presented:

“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. To his Catholic Majesty our sovereign Felipe Fourth. By father Fray Andres de San Nicolas, son of the same congregation, its chronicler, and rector of the college of Alcalá de Henàres. Volume first. From the year M.D.LXXXVIII. to that of M.DC.XX. Divided into three decades. With privilege. In Madrid. Printed by Andres de la Iglesia. Year M.DC.LXIV.”

2 Fray Juan de San Jerónimo was born at Malagón, Spain; he became a priest, and when already in middle life entered the discalced Augustinian order at Talavera, in 1593, making his profession in the following year. He soon attained high standing in this new order, and was the envoy sent to Rome to negotiate its separation from the regular Augustinians and secure approval for its constitution. In 1602 he was elected its first provincial, and under his rule the order flourished and spread in Spain. He was nominated to the bishopric of Chiapa, in Nueva España, but declined this honor that he might devote himself to foreign missions. Arriving at the Philippines in 1606, he organized there his mission, built a convent at Bagunbayan, and undertook the conversion of the natives in the province of Zambales. The convent expanded into a college, but its buildings were demolished in 1644. Being soon afterward rebuilt, it lasted until the eighteenth century, when it was again torn down. San Jerónimo had charge of it during two years; but, his health being much enfeebled, he set out on the return to Spain. When in sight of Ormuz, he died, in 1610. See account of his life in San Nicolás’s Historia, pp. 469, 470; and in Provincia de S. Nicolás de Tolentino (Manila, 1879), pp. 20–23.

3 This and various other accents which are grave instead of acute follow the text of the original work.

4 Andrés de San Nicolás died at sea, when the ship was in sight of the Ladrone Islands.

Miguel de Santa María, after reaching Manila, was assigned to the settlement of Mariveles; but the natives were angered at his preaching, and stoned him so severely that he died from the effects of this attack, in the Manila convent.

Jerónimo de Christo was an old man when he departed for the Philippine mission, but was noted for his learning and ability. He was elected prior of the Manila convent, and afterward vicar-provincial in San Jerónimo’s absence; and died while in active service in the missions, in 1608.

5 Pedro de San Fulgencio soon afterward returned to Europe, to obtain more missionaries; having made arrangements for their voyage, he died on reaching Milan.

Diego de la Anunciacion, born in 1565, made his profession [106n] in the Recollect convent at Madrid, in 1597; and held several high positions in his order before he entered the Philippine mission. He was superior of the convent at Bagunbayan, and afterward prior. After some years he returned to Spain, where he spent the rest of his life, dying December 13, 1625.

6 Rodrigo de Agandum Moriz (in religion, Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel) was born in Valladolid—or, according to some authorities, in Orio of Guipuzcoa—in 1584, and entered the discalced Augustinian order at the age of fourteen years. Joining the Philippine mission in 1606, he ministered to the natives in various districts of Luzón with great acceptance, employing his poetical talents in teaching the Christian faith to the Indians. In 1614 he went to Spain for more missionaries, returning to the islands in 1617–18. Again voyaging to Europe (1622), he went, via India and Persia, to Rome, where he arrived in 1626. Declining the pope’s offer to make him a bishop and patriarch in the Indias, he planned a mission to Chaldea; but he died at Orio, while en route to Madrid, December 26, 1626. He left several manuscript works, mainly historical, among which was Historia general de las islas accidentales á la Asia adyacentes, llamadas Philipinas; this was published in Documentos inéditos para la historia de España, tomos lxxviii and lxxix (Madrid, 1882), but it was apparently left unfinished by the author, the part that is extant treating mainly of the early explorations by Magalhães and Villalobos, and of the history of the Moluccas.

In the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla, is the following letter from Felipe IV to a brother of Fray Rodrigo:

“The King. It has been learned in the Council of the Indias that father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel, a discalced Augustinian religious, who is said to be a brother of your Grace, brought from the Yndias a general history of the Filipinas Islands, compiled with great care, as, in order to write it, he had examined the archives and authentic memoirs of those regions; that it has been lately our Lord’s pleasure to take father Fray Rodrigo, who has died in Vizcaya; and that your Grace was given two of his books, [107n] especially the above history. And inasmuch as that work would be very important for what is written on the general history of the said islands by order of his Majesty, the matter having been discussed with the father provincial of the said order, in which the latter has declared that the said history is in possession of your Grace; the Council has directed me to write to your Grace, in its name, that it would be greatly to the service of his Majesty for your Grace to send me the said history for the said purpose. And if your Grace wish remuneration for it, or that it be returned after having used it for the said purpose, your Grace will advise me of what you desire in this matter, so that those gentlemen may know it, and so that the advisable measures may be taken. May God preserve your Grace, as I desire. Madrid, May seventeen, one thousand six hundred and twenty-seven.

Antonio Gonzalez de Legardo

On the receipt of this letter, I beg your Grace to advise me immediately, for the Council anxiously awaits a reply because of the history.” (Pressmark: “est. 139, caj. 1, leg. 15.”)

7 Andrés del Espíritu Santo was born at Valladolid in 1585, and made his profession at Portillo in 1601. Entering the Philippine mission, he began his labors with the natives in the province of Zambales, where he was very successful. In 1609, and again in 1615, he was chosen vicar-provincial. Afterward going to Spain for more missionaries, he returned to the islands in 1622, and four years later became provincial, as again in 1632. The rest of his life was spent at Manila, where he died in 1658.

8 A city between Vera Cruz and Mexico City, more commonly known as Puebla; it was founded about 1530, and became the seat of the diocese in 1550, and soon was a flourishing agricultural and manufacturing center.

9 Instituto: constitution, or rules of observance, adopted by the order.

10 “Now I shall die happy.”

11 Luís de Jesús states (Historia, p. 79) that this name is a corruption of Manavilis.

12 Cf. the accounts by Loarca (Vol. V of this series) and Plasencia (Vol. VII).

13 This tree (Mangifera altísima) resembles the mango, but its fruit is much smaller. The tree grows to a greater height than the mango. The fruit is eaten by the natives, being used with vinegar. See Blanco’s Flora.

14 “Behold the cross of the Lord. Flee, ye adverse ones. The lion of Judah is conqueror.”

15 Antonio de San Agustin was born in Manila, the son of Francisco de las Misas, and made his profession in the Recollect convent there, in December, 1614. He was a minister in various places, and had been prior of several convents. In 1658, while returning from an official visit to the Calamianes Islands, he was captured by Moros, who slew him. At the time of his death he was sixty-six years old.

16 The first father named above was afflicted by a grievous plague of vermin [chinches—literally, “bedbugs”], seemingly after a request that he might suffer his purgatory on earth. At the time of his death, “raising his voice and saying, In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, he expired, without making another movement. Immediately the chinches disappeared and not one could be found, although one could gather than by handfuls before, as they say.”

17 The Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, one of the “sacred congregations” of the Catholic Church, was founded in 1622, by Pope Gregory XV, conferring upon it most ample powers for the propagation of the faith, and especially for the superintendence of missions in countries where heretics or infidels had to be evangelized. The jurisdiction proper of the congregation extends to all territories which are governed more missionum, or as missionary countries—not by the bishops of the regular hierarchy, but by prefects and vicars apostolic. It has, moreover, legislative and judicial power. See Hoffmanns’ Catholic Directory, 1896, p. 48.

18 The status of a tertiary, or “member of the third order,” was originated by St. Francis of Assisi, after the foundation of his own order, and that of the Minorite nuns who lived under a rule prescribed by him. In 1221 he instituted a third order, the members of which, men and women, should be bound by rule to more unworldliness of life, pious devotion, and works of mercy than those of ordinary persons living in the world. He called them “Brothers and Sisters of Penance.” They had to take a year’s novitiate, and a simple vow to observe the rule. Many tertiaries, in course of time, desired to take solemn vows and live in community, while still conforming to the rule of the Third Order; thus arose various congregations of tertiary monks and nuns. Other religious orders had their Third Order; that of the Augustinians was established at the beginning of the fifteenth century. (Addis and Arnold’s Catholic Dictionary, p. 792.)

General History of the Discalced Religious of St. Augustine By Fray Luis de Jesus1

Decade Fourth

Chapter First

The Augustinian Reform is erected, by pontifical favor, into a congregatión, divided into provinces, and governed by a vicar-general.

[The first eleven sections of this chapter relate to affairs in Spain, and contain matters touching the order at large, as well as the affairs of various districts, and others pertaining to the lives of various religious of the order. The balance of the chapter deals with Philippine matters, as follows.]

Year 1621


Foundation of the convent of Zibù in Filipinas

During this year of twenty-one, when our discalced [177] order was erected into a congregation in España, the number of our houses in the Filipinas Islands was increased by the efforts of the zeal of the religious who were attending therein to the service of God and the welfare of so many souls, who were in need of ministers to lighten them with the divine word upon the pathway of the Lord. Sovereign Providence, then, arranged that our discalced should have a convent in that island of Zibù. It has been a station for the entrance of the publication of the faith of Christ our Lord to many distant provinces of barbarous and blinded people.

The famous Magallanes discovered it in the year 1521. It has a circumference of less than one hundred leguas. Its inhabitants are called Pintados, because they have various designs on their bodies, which they make with iron and fire. They were formerly regarded as lords and chiefs of the other neighboring provinces, for they made themselves feared by their great valor. Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legaspi gained it by force of arms from its king Tupas in the year 1575 [sic], and founded there the city of Nombre de Jesus, because an image of the most holy child Jesus, one-half vara tall, was found [178] there in the house of an Indian. The Observantine fathers possess that image in a convent that was built in the same house and on the same site; it had before been owned and venerated by the heathen, and is today frequented by the Catholics, who find there relief for their needs. The city lies in the eastern part, and has a good port, while there are other ports found in the island. There, then, did the most pious bishop, Don Fray Pedro de Arce (of the order of our father St. Augustine, and a son of the most observant province of Castilla, and of the convent of Salamanca—where he professed in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-nine, while father Fray Antonio Muñoz was prior), solicit our discalced to found a convent; for, although they had been the last in arriving at Filipinas, he hoped that they were not to be the last in the work of the vineyard of the Lord.

The bishop assigned the site in a chapel dedicated to the conception of our Lady, somewhat apart from the traffic of the city, so that, accordingly, the religious could give themselves more quietly to prayer. He adjudged them also the spiritual administration of an islet and small village called Maripipi, not very far from Zibù. About six hundred souls were instructed there by Ours with great care and vigilance. The erection of that convent was accomplished by father Fray Chrisostomo de la Ascension, who was its first prior. He erected a small building, that afterward was rebuilt because of an accidental fire, and extended so that now it is a very comfortable dwelling, well suited to purposes of devotion. That convent has a devout confraternity of Our Lady of Solitude [Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.] On Holy Thursday, a solemn procession is made after the ceremony [179] of the descent of Christ from the tree of the cross. That procession, passing through the streets of the city, is a great edification and consolation to the faithful.


Foundation of the convent of San Sebastian outside of the walls of Manila in Filipinas

The very devout and pious gentleman Don Bernardino del Castillo Ribera y Maldonado was so good a benefactor to our discalced that his generosity, which could not be satisfied within the circuit of the walls of Manila, desired that we should make an experiment about one-half legua from them. There as he had an estate which occupied all that site, called Calumpan, to the boundaries of a little village named Sampolog, and in its midst a well-built bit of a house, he made an entire gift of it, so that a monastery might be built, in which the religious could live retired, and, free from the excitement of the city, give themselves up with more quietness to prayer. Father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel—whose heroic labors will give us considerable of which to write—took possession of the estate, and remodeled the said house in the form of a convent. The aforesaid master-of-camp and castellan of the fort, Don Bernardino, was of great help, and it was completed in time. The said village of Sampolog was assigned to the care of the religious, so that the more than three hundred souls that it contained should be instructed and taught there by them.

The comfort of the site was increased, so that the provincials have chosen it as their place of habitation, because of the quiet that is enjoyed there, as well as [180] for its pleasantness, which serves as a just recreation to the continual fatigue that their government brings with it. One would believe that God looked on that house with pleasure, for, during the cruel rising of the Sangleys, or Chinese, it suffered no considerable damage, although they set fire to it in various parts with the desire of leaving not even a memory of it. We piously believe that the queen of the angels, our Lady, defended it, as being her dwelling; for a very holy image is revered there, under the title of Carmen. Although that image is small in stature, it is a great and perennial spring of prodigies and favors, which she performs for those who invoke her. Our religious took it from Nueva España, and even in that very navigation she was able to make herself known by her miracles.

Don Juan Velez, dean of that cathedral, was very devoted to our discalced Recollects. Upon finding himself in the last extremity of life, to which a very severe illness brought him, he requested that that holy image, which had been but recently taken there, be carried to his house. So lively was his faith, accompanied by the prayers of the religious, that he immediately received entire health on account of so celestial a visit. As a thank-offering for that favor, the pious prebendary made one of the most famous feasts that have been in that city. He founded a brotherhood, with so many brethren that they exceed four thousand. Consequently, that most holy image is daily frequented with vows, presents, and novenas, thank-offerings of the many who are daily favored by that queen of the skies.

Finally, in this year of our narration was sent the sixth mission of religious, which the father procurator, [181] Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios, arranged in España for those islands; and he obtained by his great energy authority from the Catholic monarch to take twelve religious there to increase the number of the laborers in the vineyard of the Lord.

That year died father Fray Alonso Navarro, and father Fray Antonio Muñoz. Mention was made of the first in the first volume, decade i, chapter 6. Mention will be made of the second in this fourth decade of this volume, chapter 9, in the foundation of the convent of Panamà, § 9.

Chapter Second

The apostolic see confirms what was enacted in the first general chapter of the reform. Other new privileges are conceded. The preaching of our religious in Filipinas spreads.

Year 1622

[Papal favor, with the confirmation of the enactments made by the first general chapter of the Recollects held in Madrid, puts the reformed order on a tolerably firm footing, and they are able to proceed with their missionary and other efforts with more peace of mind. The first section of the present chapter relates entirely to the affairs of the order at large. The Philippine narration is again taken up in section ii.]

§ II

Preaching of our discalced Recollect religious in the province of Caragha. Description of the country, with detailed and interesting information.

¶The divine Mercy scattered his accustomed favors [182] upon the province of San Nicolàs of Filipinas that year. For its zealous sons, desiring to propagate the holy gospel, but lacking sufficient workers, busied themselves in preserving what had been acquired, until the arrival of very good companions [of their order], when they undertook to go to the province of Caragha, a very principal portion of the island called Mindanao. That island rivals that of Luzòn in size. It is one hundred and fifty leguas distant from Luzòn, and is more than three hundred in circuit, counting promontories and indentations. Its greatest length is one hundred and thirty-six leguas, namely, from the point of La Galera to the cape of San Augustin. It has flourishing villages, especially along the shores of the rivers, which are large and not few. One which flows out of the famous lake of Malanao is larger than the others. That lake is formed from other rivers which dash down from the mountains. The shape of the lake is oval, and its circumference fifty leguas or more, according to report. Its greatest diameter is only sixteen leguas, with its points and bays, and without the latter it is only twelve. In short, that lake is considered as one of the most famous in the world. Its marge is extremely fertile in rice and other food products, which abound in the Bisayas. Its mountains are clothed with cinnamon-trees, brasil-trees, ebony, orange, and other trees that bear delicious fruit. On the lowlands are bred abundance of deer, buffaloes, turtle-doves, and fowls, besides other kinds of game-birds. But in the rough country are sheltered wild boars, civet-cats, and other fierce and wild animals.

There are certain birds that possess remarkable characteristics. The one called tabon is found on [183] the coast of Caragha.2 It is smaller than a domestic hen, and very like it [in appearance], although not in affection for its young. It lays its eggs, which are three times larger than those of our hens, in sandy places, and easily buries them in a hole about one braza deep. That done, it abandons them, and never returns to examine them again. Thereafter, the preservation of those birds being in the care of divine Providence, the heat of the sun quickens and hatches them, and the chicks, leaving the shell, also break out of the sand above them, and gradually get to the surface in order to enjoy the common light; and thus, without any further aid, they fly away. If it happens that the chick in the egg is buried with its head down, it does not get our, for upon breaking the shell and the sand, it continues to dig always downward, as that is the direction that its head has; and as it misses the road it gets tired and dies, and its cradle serves as its tomb.

Quite different from the tabon is another bird called cagri, which is not found outside of Mindanao.3 Its shape resembles that of the bat, although it is much larger. It has no wings, but only a membrane [184] resembling a cloak, which falls from its shoulders and covers it even to its feet. That enables it to pass from one tree to another, but it cannot soar like other birds. It spreads out that membrane when it wants to, and it is not without a tail. Its eyes and head resemble those of a very graceful little dog, and its hair is very soft, and at times colored with various colors, pleasing to the sight. It bears so great affection to its young that it carries them hanging to its breasts, just as women do, without leaving them, although it climbs, flees, or runs.

The reader will not be wearied with knowing the characteristics of another animal called hamac. It resembles a monkey, although the head is very round. Its eyes are golden, and very beautiful and large. Its tail is very large and serves it as a seat, and it neatly wraps itself about with it. It does not use its feet to walk; for, in order to go from one part to another, it lets its tail drop, and supporting itself on it, leaps as it wishes. It is not seen by day, because it keeps quiet until night, when it looks for its food, which is only charcoal.4 All its friendship is with the moon. Accordingly, seated on a tree, it awaits the moon, until the time when it shines. It looks at it fixedly without winking, from the time when it begins to shine [185] until it hides itself. When the dawn comes, that animal loses its sight and returns to its dwelling. If anyone discovers it, that animal takes pains to look at him, and measures and takes note of his person with his sight, from top to toe. That is usually a cause for fear, to those who do not know that characteristic; but, if he knows it, that threatening causes him no fear. Finally, concluding the description of that island, the reader must know that it is called Cesarea, in memory of the unconquerable Charles Fifth—a name that was given it by Bernardo de la Torre, captain and master-of-camp of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in the year 1543; and under that name it was designated by the documents and writings of that period.


Customs of the inhabitants of that island

Coming to the customs of the inhabitants of that land, we have to note their common tradition, namely, that the first inhabitants were blacks. Their barbarous descendants are preserved in the thickest forests and in the most retired mountains. They have no regular house, but stay where night overtakes them. They go almost naked, for they only cover the shame of nature with the bark of certain trees. Some of them have been seen to wear certain cloths made from cotton, called bahaquer. They use the bow and arrow, and very keen knives, with which they can sever the head of a man from the body at one stroke. Their employment is to go in search of Bisayan Indians, [186] who live in the districts nearer the rivers and seashore; for they hate the latter with fury because these have, as they give out, usurped their own land.

It has been learned from serious and trustworthy persons that tall and very ugly men have been discovered in those dense forests, whose feet are turned backward. They live on the flesh of wild game, tree-roots, and fish, without doing any work. The very sight of those men was so terrifying that he who unfortunately chanced to see any one of them was left cross-eyed and squinted forever, just like those whom we call vizcos [i.e., “cross-eyed”]. An eyewitness of this piece of information confirmed this, who declared that he had seen and known certain Indians who were almost squint-eyed from the effect produced by the glance of those monstrous men. Those Indians say that their speed is such that they can catch the swiftest deer by running; and that upon catching those said Indians, the wild men talked very confusedly among themselves, but afterward left the captives hanging to some trees—whence they descended with great risk, and were left squint-eyed, because of having looked at those enormous barbarians. Some years later, another eyewitness who had experience in the affairs of that island added that such monsters, called tecmas, had been seen with ears misshapen because of their size, and that their mouth was like that of a dog; while they were so hideous in face and teeth that they caused great fright.

According to this information, these Indians have languages that are very diverse, with peculiar characters. But they almost universally talk the Bisayan, which is common and peculiar to Zibù, the head of the other provinces called Pintados. Those Indians [187] and the Caraghas, with their other neighbors, go partly naked; for they cover the lower part of the body, while they wear certain twisted cloths on the head in the manner of a crown, or the duliman of the Turks, but without the little bonnet that the latter are wont to wear. The women are entirely covered, while, to protect themselves from the sun and other inclemencies of the weather, they use curiously woven hats of palm-leaves.

Their manner of religion was to adore, some the sky, and others the moon; or their now deceased ancestors; or the mountains or woods in which they believed their ancestors to dwell, accompanied by certain deities, enjoying perpetual tranquillity. They regarded it as certain that those who had been most valiant and tyrannical in this life were deified, and also that there was eternal punishment for some. Others, finally, reverenced most ugly idols made of stone or wood, which they called divatas. There were different kinds of such idols: some being destined for war, and others for sickness, sowing, and such objects. They were rendered furious by thunder, and defied the deity whom they supposed to have sent it; they called out loudly to it, and if that did not suffice, they took arms against it.

It is said that the ridiculous Alcoran of the Mahometans had penetrated even to that land from the Orient, having been taken there by certain zealots of that infamous sect, who were trying to extend it. However their efforts and false preaching availed them little; for the inhabitants of those islands were very much given to intoxication, and very fond of eating flesh forbidden by that false law. Consequently, that error took root in very few of them. [188]

They had no certain days established throughout the year for their sacrifices, but made them as time and opportunity offered. They were punctual in offering these when they were going to fight. War was their universal inclination, because of their bestial and ferocious appetite to rob and to go on raids, committing depredations on the neighboring islands, and making slaves of all the people who came to their hands. They also offered sacrifices in sickness, the beginnings of their sowings, the building of their houses, and for other necessities. The duties of priest were exercised indifferently by both men and women, called baylanes. They made use of superstitions, lots, witchery, and other ceremonies.

The method of their ceremonies was as follows. Those who were to be present were summoned, handsomely dressed and adorned, by the sound of certain harsh bells (or, rather, unmusical cattle-bells) to the house where it seemed best—for they had no assigned temple—which was adorned with herbs and flowers. While they were waiting for all to gather, those who first came began certain songs, alternating between men and women, in time to the sound of a small drum. The victim was already prepared. It was either a hog or some captive, whose hands and feet they tied as if he were a young sheep. All the invited ones having arrived, the priest or priestess began their barbarous function by going into a private retreat beforehand, where he made six conjurations; and, after the devil had entered his body, he left the retreat with infernal fury to explain the oracle which all were awaiting. Then the priest, taking a small lance in his hand, danced about the sacrifice to the music of certain cattle-bells and rustic instruments. [189] Finally, on reaching the animal or captive, the priest wounded it, and the bystanders killed it with spear-thrusts and blows. When the victim was dead, if it were a man, they cast it into the sea; if it were an animal, they quickly skinned, cooked, and ate it, drinking until they became intoxicated. But they kept something for the absent ones, as a relic, also reserving the most choice portion (generally the head), on a table that resembled an altar, for the devil whom they called the divata. No one touched that portion except the baylan, who afterward threw it into the water very reverently. The sacrifice was concluded with that ridiculous ceremony. However, they were wont to add certain other ceremonies, according to the purposes for which the said sacrifices were being made, as for instance in war. At such times, after their intoxication was over, they went to the shore of the river or sea; and, after launching a small boat, the baylan jumped into it, at the same time making his lying conjurations. If the boat moved, it was taken as a good sign, but if it were immovable, it was intimated to them that that war should not be made, unless they repeated the sacrifices.

They also made use of another ceremony to ascertain whom each one would capture. Each one kept in his house a great number of the teeth of the crocodile or wild boar, strung on a cord. He handed those to the priest very humbly. The latter received them with many salaams, ordained so that they should have reverence for him. Then he said certain badly-pronounced words ordering such teeth to move themselves, by whose number the said baylan prophesied those who would remain captive in the power of the [190] owner of the string. In the same way they cast other lots, in order to ascertain the future and its accidents.


Continuation of the same

When about to go rowing or sailing, they prayed to the promontories or capes, attributing to them worship, as to the gods of war, with very sad cries. They watched to see if a certain bird appeared, called limocòn, similar to the turtle-dove of Europa. If they saw it in the direction that they were taking, it was a bad sign, and they did not leave the port. They also considered the toco or taloto—called chacon by our Spaniards, and very like the lizard5—as inauspicious. They feared the latter wherever they found it, as a thing very contrary to their designs. While the war lasted, they did not eat of the fish called pulpo6 or of any other fish caught in a net. For they believed that if they tasted of that, they would become blind; while, if they ate of the others, they would lose the victory and would be made captives. They thought that if they ate with a light, they would be conquered; and consequently, never did they strike a light to eat, even though night had fallen. Those who remained in the village did no work for seven consecutive days; for, if they did not do that, they feared the defeat of their companions. On returning [191] victorious, they asked their nearest dead relative, with their rude prayers (having stopped their boats), whether he would like to have a part in the taking of the captives whom they had. If the boats moved—which was but natural and necessary, since they were in the water—they believed that he assented. Thereupon, taking the best slave, they bound him hand and foot; and, taking him ashore, they passed the boat over him with great force and weight until they killed him with brutal cruelty. The sacrifice was concluded in the house with the death of another captive, who was killed by the wife of the conqueror.

They showed themselves very dutiful toward their dead, burying them with lamentations and remarkable minuteness of detail, increasing or lessening the obsequies according to the quality and worth of their actions. The nearest relatives were careful to close their mouths, for they feared lest the soul of the dead would enter into their bodies and do them a great deal of harm. Then they began their mourning by lugubrious songs, which one of the kin intoned, while the others were very attentive in order to respond, in time, with fearful cries. That lasted more or less time according to the excellence of the deceased, whose exploits were mentioned with great exaggeration. The friends and acquaintances came in, both to console them and to become intoxicated, which formed the relief for that sorrow. Only the mourners, who wore white, refrained from drinking, in order that they might receive the compliments of condolence soberly and in a dignified manner.

So great was their devotion to the souls of their parents and grandparents (whom they called humalagar), [192] that they always offered them food in their banquets, especially when they finished any house, thinking that they themselves would die if they failed in that. They did the same with the first yield of their fruits. When they became sick, they invoked these ancestors to aid them, as we do the saints. Then they summoned certain old witches, who were their physicians. They respected the latter so greatly that, from the day on which they entered their doors, no fire was lit in that house, as a sign of great reverence. The medicines applied were after consultation with the devil, in the shape of a little idol or a very ugly figure of a man or woman, whom they asked for the life of the sick person. If the idol moved, it was a sign of death, just as remaining still was a sign of life and health. They made the same tests in the water, by putting a boat in it, and observing from a distance its state of quietness or motion.

During the time that those barbarous obsequies lasted, it was unlawful for anyone to go to any place where the deceased had gone, or where he had bathed, under penalty of the culprit’s losing his life immediately. After the days for the mourning had been completed, they covered the eyes and mouth of the corpse with sheets of gold. They carried it to the field in a coffin, and into distant caves or sepulchers among themselves; and buried it, together with a male servant if the deceased was a man, or a female servant if the deceased was a woman, so that such person might serve them, as they thought that that was necessary in the other life. Thus did the dead and living go hand in hand, without any recourse or dispensation. Such servants of the deceased were set apart for that purpose from their childhood, and were [193] called atabang. If the deceased was rich, a greater number of servants was added. This is confirmed by the event that was rumored in the island of Bohol shortly before Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived at Zibù; for those people placed seventy slaves in the sepulcher of one of those barbarians, all arranged in order in a little ship, which they call caracoa—which was provided with anchors, rigging, and everything else, even arms and food, as if it had been launched in the sea.

Of the aforesaid, it is well known that that people believed in the error that the soul went with the body, and that they were maintained in the other life as in this. Consequently, they placed the most costly clothes in the sepulchers. The relatives added others, and even arms, if the deceased was a man, and the instruments of her domestic labor if a woman, together with all the other dishes and jewels of the house (not even excepting gold and precious jewels), in accordance with their taste, so that these might be enjoyed in the other life. The food was carried to them for the space of one year, and it was placed on an adorned table every day. When it was taken there, the food of the preceding day was taken away. That they threw into the water, and no one dared to touch it, as it was a sacred thing. They generally built a hut over the grave, so that the deceased should not suffer from the inclemency of the weather.

If the death were by violence, vengeance pertained to the children, and in default of children to the nearest relative. The sign of that obligation was to place certain armlets on the arms, as for instance, twigs of osier, more or less according to the station of the dead. Upon killing the first man whom they encountered—even [194] though he were innocent—one armlet was removed; and thus they continued to kill until all the rings were removed from the arms. The avenger did not eat anything hot, or live in a settlement, during that wicked and barbarous vengeance.

Each year every relative punctually celebrated the obsequies, and that was a very festive day. They gathered a great quantity of food and beverages; they commenced many joyful dances; they stuffed themselves with what was prepared, taking some to their houses, and reserving the greater portion to offer to the divata, and to the deceased, in the following manner. A small bamboo boat was prepared, with much care, and they filled it with fowls, flesh, eggs, fish, and rice, together with the necessary dishes. The baylan gave a talk or a prolix prayer, and finished by saying: “May the dead receive that obsequy, by giving good fortune to the living.” Those present answered with great shouting and happiness. Then they loosed the little boat (sacred, as they thought), which no one touched, and whose contents they did not eat, even though they were perishing; for they considered that a great sin.


Vices of the inhabitants of that island

The vices of that people were indeed enormous. They were never lovers of peace among themselves, and always were anxious for continual wars, which they carried on at the slightest excuse. All their desire was to rob and capture on land and sea, although they had in their ancient times condemned theft severely. Their arms consisted of a lance; a long, narrow shield which covered the entire body; [195] and a dagger resembling a broad knife, with which they easily cut off the head of him whom they conquered, which was their greatest delight. They also used bows and steel-pointed arrows with skill.

Their greed was insatiable, although they were lazy and slothful; and for that reason they practice unheard-of usury. There is no trace of reason or justice in them. If one lent another a short measure of rice, the debtor was obliged to return it in a certain time. If he did not have the wherewithal to return it, he became a captive, and had no redress; for the judges, who should have prevented that oppression, were the first to practice that offense. That was the practice between peers. If the business were with any chief, the poor wretch remained a slave forever, even though the sum were for only four reals. They made a distinction in those captivities; for if one were born of a slave woman, and a free father, or the contrary, such a one remained a half slave. Consequently in order for the accomplishment of his service to his master, it was sufficient for him to serve for six months scattered along through the twelve of the year. If he were the child of parents both half slave, he was obliged to serve one month, remaining free the three following; then he served another month, continuing in this manner his servitude. Likewise, when a freeman and a slave had many children, the chiefs were wont to set some free, while the others remained slaves forever.

Their intoxication and lust went to excess. They had what wives they could support, and did not exempt among them their sisters and their mothers. Marriage consisted in the will of the parents of the bride, and the suitor paid them the dowry, although [196] it was not handed to them until after they had children. If either of the parents were dead, the dowry was given to the nearest relative. They were divorced with ease, but it was on condition that if the husband solicited it he lost what was given to his parents-in-law; but if the wife procured it, the dowry was restored. If adultery were proved, the aggressor and the aggrieved [husband] came to terms—the same being done in the case of the wife—in regard to the sum that was agreed upon, after considerable haggling, and they generally remained fast friends. Consequently, some husbands were wont to make a business of that, such was their barbarism, arranging tricks, and providing occasions for their wives to repeat their adulteries, in order that they might derive infamous gains. If the culprit had nothing with which to pay, he became a captive or lost his life. Divorce was very frequent, and agreement was made to divide the children between husband and wife for their support.

They gloried in knowing charms and in working them, by consulting the devil—a means by which some made themselves feared by others, for they easily deprived them of life. In confirmation of this assertion, it happened, according to the recital of one of our ministers, that while he was preaching to a great assembly one Indian went to another, and breathed against him with the intent of killing him. The breath reached not the Indian’s face, however, but an instrument that he was carrying, the cords of which immediately leaped out violently, while the innocent man was left unharmed. The philosophy of such cases is that the murderer took in his mouth the poisonous herb given him by the devil, and had [197] another antidotal herb for his own defense. Then, exhaling his breath in this manner, he deprived of life whomever he wished. They used arrows full of poison, which they extracted from the teeth of poisonous serpents. They wounded and killed as they listed, by shooting these through a blowpipe, which they concealed between the fingers of their hands with great dissimulation, blowing the arrows so that they touched the flesh of their opponent. They practiced consultation with the devil by means of their baylans, in order to ascertain natural causes, especially in their illnesses. Consequently, they were very great herbalists, knowing above all the preservatives from the poisons with which they attacked one another on slight occasions—especially the women, who are the more passionate and more easily aroused.

§ VI

Treats of the government of those islanders

The government of those people was neither elective nor hereditary; for he who had the greatest valor or tyranny in defending himself was lord. Consequently, everything was reduced to violence, he who was most powerful dominating the others. When one went to the chief to plead justice, the latter delivered his sentence without writing anything; and there was no appeal, whether the sentence were just or unjust. The rich treated the poor and the plebeians as useless brutes, so that those poor wretches flung themselves upon the rocks to die, as they were unable to endure so hard a yoke. If he who was less did not pay homage to him who was more influential, he was declared as his slave only because the other wished it. They also deprived those miserable beings of life for [198] such reasons. Such was their iniquity and madness.

If any criminal received protection in the house of a chief and the latter managed his affair, the one protected became a perpetual slave, together with his wife, children, and descendants, in return for the protection. Because once while some boats were sailing some drops of water fell on a chief woman, through the carelessness of him who was rowing, it was considered so serious an offense that the poor wretch was condemned to perpetual slavery, together with his wife, children and relatives. However, our religious destroyed that practice by spreading the holy gospel in that country.

The nobility of those Indians was personal. It consisted in one’s own deeds, without reference to those of others. Accordingly, he who was more valiant and killed most men in war was the more noble. The sign of that nobility consisted in wearing the cloth wrapped about the head (of which we have spoken above), of a more or less red color. Those nobles were exempt from rowing in the public fleets (and that although they were slaves), and ate with their masters at the table when they were at sea—a privilege which they gained by their exploits. In that custom of killing they reared their children and taught them from an early age, so that beginning early to kill men, they might become proud and wear the red cloth, the insignia of their nobility.


Governor Don Juan de Silva declares war against those Indians, and our religious enter to preach the gospel faith.

We have extended the relation of the barbarous [199] customs of those Indians, in order that the reader might know the great difficulty in subjecting them to the law of reason, and (what is more) to the mild law of the holy gospel. Some Spaniards, accompanied by evangelical ministers, had penetrated those provinces at times from the year 1597, with great zeal; but they could not remain there because of the ferocity of the natives, and for other casualties, which make those provinces less habitable, notwithstanding that they abound in many things that are necessary to life and advantageous to commerce.

For these and other reasons, Don Juan de Silva, governor and president of Manila, called various meetings of commanders, and experienced captains, in which it was determined to make energetic war on those barbarians. Charge of the war was given to General Don Juan de Vega, son of Doctor Don Juan de Vega, auditor of Manila. He with a fine fleet of four hundred Spaniards and other Indians sailed to humble the pride of those barbarians. The latter were not unprepared for resistance; for, joining their forces, they entrenched themselves so that there was considerable doubt as to the undertaking. Both sides fought with great valor, and there were many killed and wounded. But at last our troops were victorious, as their zeal was to the service of God and the increase of His worship. More than one thousand five hundred Christian captives were liberated, and a presidio and fort7 was erected as a warning for the future. That effort was not sufficient to quiet those Caraghas islanders; for within four years three thousand of them assembled and, surrounding the redoubt, [200] placed it in great straits. They were repulsed by our men with so great valor that, having retired to the sea, they vented their fury by inflicting severe injuries on some villages friendly to us. And, our men also getting a good reenforcement that was sent us from Manila, those men returned to their homes—where, treating afterward for articles of peace, they were pardoned for their past boldness, and their subjection was arranged with the mildness of the gospel yoke.

Affairs were in that condition, when the most illustrious Don Fray Pedro de Arce, bishop of Zibù, most worthy son of our Augustinian order, with his great zeal of gaining souls for God conceded to our Reform the office of catching them with the net of the gospel preaching. When the reënforcement of missionaries had arrived from España that year [i.e., 1622], as is said in volume i, last chapter, eight of our religious were appointed for that purpose. Stimulated by the pity that they had at learning that so many souls were being lost in the blindness of their idolatry, these missionaries set out in great fervor from Manila, after having received the blessing of their superior, and not without the holy envy of the other religious, who would have liked to spend their lives in that holy employment. These apostolic men landed at Zibù, where they received the blessings of the most zealous bishop and many kindnesses with which he wished to load them. He despatched them with promptness, and in a short time they reached the redoubt of Tanda, which was the name of the fort that had been erected there by our Spaniards.

Then commenced the greatest felicity of that land; for our religious, having as their object the welfare of [201] those barbarians, tried to gain their good-will by gentle measures. For that purpose, father Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, the superior of that spiritual squadron, refused to settle in the said fortress of Tanda; for, since those heathen had a horror of it, they would not go to it. Consequently, despising his life, and exposing it to manifest danger, he determined to enter the country one legua further, and to build a dwelling-place on the shores of a river. His design did not succeed badly, for, attended by good fortune, he continued to attract and gain the affections of those fierce Indians by making them understand their illusions and errors. His other associates were not idle amid so much, for, having separated among the environs (after having left a priest in the redoubt as chaplain, who was not slothful in his gaining of souls), they worked fervently in scattering the light of the faith, in the midst of the darkness of that blind people, without excusing themselves from great perils and hardships. They chose their residence in the village of Yguaquet,8 on the bank of another river where the country people generally met. Those gospel workers were divided and separated from one another, in order that they might attend with greater convenience to the different districts.

One cannot imagine the toil of our religious in cultivating that wild forest of barbaric people. They catechised, instructed, and baptized many, so that what was before a brutish wickedness, where the devil reigned, began to be a beautiful fragment of the Church. They endured great suffering, because of [202] the intractability and fierceness of the islanders, who were hostile to peace and to human intercourse; for they had so little affection for even their brothers and sons that they killed them or abandoned them to die, on but slight pretext. But everything surrenders to the grace of God, and to the earnest zeal of His ministers, who consider only the honor of His Divine Majesty—from whom those pious workers received so great strength, that great wonder is caused by the consideration that people so given to witchcraft, cruelty, and injustice should have received the worship of the true God with so great affection and devotion. To see them so surrendered to the obedience of the Catholic Church, and so fond of the churches that were soon built by the care and solicitude of Ours, edifies and consoles one. There are celebrated the feasts of Christ and His most holy mother, and those of the other saints, in which they show a very steadfast faith. Finally those people learned some arts and trades, by which they live in great comfort.

We cannot avoid mentioning a very notable conversion in that province of Caraghas. There was a chief, named Inuc, so celebrated and feared that through his power and cunning he was absolute master of a considerable territory, and the shores of a river that afterward took his name. That barbarian was not satisfied with tyrannizing within his own boundaries, but entering those of others, sailed through the gulfs and along the coasts, in search of whom he might rob, capture, and kill. It is said of that man that he had made more than two thousand persons slaves, and killed innumerable men with his own hand. Consequently, he was feared in the neighboring islands; while no vessel dared to go to his lands [203] —especially one of Spaniards, whom he hated beyond measure, so that he would never agree to make treaties of peace or of profit with them.

The perdition of that man and the injuries and offenses that he committed against God and his neighbors, caused great anguish to father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios,9 a native of Villa-Bañez in old Castilla, and one of the eight who went to Caragha. He took it upon himself to subdue this man without other aid than confidence of that of God. In order to achieve it, he prepared himself by special fasting and prayers. He went alone to look for him; having found him—to the great surprise of Inuc himself, who thought that the religious had great boldness in coming into his presence—the latter talked to him so fittingly and fervently, that the tyrant, having first pardoned the father’s coming without his leave, thanked him for the holy admonitions that he gave to him. Showing him great affection, Inuc admitted trade between his countrymen and the Spaniards; then he consented that the holy gospel might be preached in his territories. He gave his vassals an example by being baptized; by sending away his numerous wives and marrying the first according to the rites of the Church; by freeing his captives; and by issuing an edict allowing those aggrieved to come to him to receive reparation for the injuries which he [204] had inflicted on them. He fulfilled that exactly, binding himself by two judges, namely, our religious and the captain of the fort of Tanda. They settling and sentencing with all equity, restored to those interested whatever appeared to be theirs. Thus did he who was before a haughty tyrant become a humble sheep of the flock of the Church, and a faithful vassal of the kings of Castilla. News of that conversion spread throughout those districts, and following his example, many heathen submitted to the yoke of our holy law.

Our missionaries were greatly encouraged by that fortunate success, so that they were not dismayed at the work that they had undertaken, although its difficulties were many. They were confirmed in their intent by another case that happened in a village called Ambagan on that coast of Caragha. A religious was resting one night when an Indian, instigated by the devil, called together two other companions, who formed a rearguard for him; while he, entering the house, tried to kill the innocent man who was asleep. It was at midnight, the time that he thought most opportune. He left those who accompanied him at the foot of the house, while he mounted the ladder. At the entrance of the room of the gospel minister, a venerable old man accosted him and asked him in his own tongue: “Where art thou going? Seest thou not that I am watching this man who is asleep, and who is my son?” Notwithstanding that, the Indian persisted in his evil intent of entering. But at that juncture the old man raised a staff of gold which he held in his hand, and threatening the aggressor, scared him so that, turning his back to descend the ladder, he could not find it in order to escape, [205] notwithstanding his eager search for it. Thus did he spend the remainder of the night in great anxiety, and in the morning he was discovered by the people who lived there. The Indian, conscience-stricken, demanded that they inform the father, to whom with great sorrow he related all that had happened, giving him leave to publish it. He declared also who were his associates—who, growing tired of waiting, and seeing that day was dawning, had returned in order not to be discovered. The bystanders were astonished at hearing the circumstances; and it was believed that that venerable old man was our father St. Augustine, who defended his religious son with the pastoral staff.


Our religious preach in the province of Butuan

The province of Butuan—so called from the river of that name which flows through it and renders to the sea the tribute of its so abundant waters, while the sea enters the land for one-half legua—has wide borders and plains where numerous people live who resemble the Caraghas in their customs and ceremonies. However they are not so rude in their behavior, perhaps because they were softened by the evangelical law, which they once enjoyed. However, they abandoned that law because the ministers abandoned them.10 That holy conquest was undertaken with great resolution by father Fray Juan de San Nicolàs, one of the eight, who with a spirit [206] apostolically bold planted the standard of the cross in the town nearest the seashore. He subdued its inhabitants by his gentleness, and attracted them to the bosom of the Church by sermons in their own language. Those sermons produced a great fruit, not only among those country people, but also among the traders who came from other districts to traffic.

With such auspicious beginnings, Ours continued to penetrate the province, and, going up and down that river, sowed the divine word. It fell to the lot of father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio, also one of the eight above mentioned—who regarded but lightly the hardships that were represented to him, with unfortunate examples, as having encountered other ministers of the gospel—to journey more than fifty leguas, preaching the faith of Jesus Christ to the villages. He had serious and frequent difficulties in making himself heard; for the devil appeared in a visible form to the Indians, persuading them not to admit those fathers into their country, because of whom, so they said, dire calamities and troubles must happen to them. But, as it was the cause of God, all the deceits and cunning of that common enemy remained only threats.

It was no little work to make the Indians leave so many wives as each one had, obliging them to marry the first, and to free their slaves whom they miserably oppressed. But he attained it with his mildness, the inoffensive method by which our religious succored the weakness of those Indians. Thus did they obtain permission to travel through the shores of that river, gaining souls for heaven, and building a dwelling in the village of Linao.11 [207]

In that did the superb zeal of father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio excel wonderfully. For having resolved to go up the river together with some Butuan Indians, already Christians, and arriving at the said place of Linao, and seeing that its inhabitants were gentler and more docile, he erected an altar in a chosen house, where he placed the images—from which the heathen received great joy, praising their beauty. Then he assembled the chief men of the district, and preached them a sermon, in which he informed them who the true God is, and bade them abandon the customs and rites of the devil. They jested at such a proposition, but were soon subdued—especially one, who declared the location of their god or divata. Father Fray Jacinto was overjoyed at that, and schemed how he might see such place of worship, which was located on the other side of the river. Commending himself, then, to Jesus Christ, whose cause he was advancing, he ordered a boat to be launched and went to look for the idol. Some Indians went out to meet him, brandishing their lances in order to prevent his entrance. Others more humane, persuaded him that he should abandon that undertaking, saying that, if he wished to build a church there, they would give him a better location. The father answered mildly that that house was very much to his purpose because it was large, and all could gather in it in order to be instructed in the mysteries of the faith. The Indians who accompanied the pious father feared that a quarrel was about to ensue, and that fear went with them even to the door [of the house]. The father entered the place of worship [208] boldly, to the wonder of all. He saw various altars on which they sacrificed to the idol, which was placed on a higher altar covered with curtains. The father carefully avoided giving any attention to the said idol, and, having assembled the chiefs, addressed them in regard to erecting an altar to the true God. All agreed to it. On going out, the father purposely turned his gaze to the image, and asked who was that who had so much reverence there. No one replied, whereupon the zealous father seized the image, which was a fierce devil, made of wood covered with black paint, which made it altogether ugly and frightful. The barbarians were as if thunderstruck, for they thought that no one could touch that god without losing his life, and they could not cease their surprise that that father had been able to capture their divata. Thereupon the fervent missionary took occasion to make them understand their blindness, and to persuade them of the offense which was committed against the true God in worshiping the devil. After so notable an action, he returned triumphant, with the protection of heaven, to his boat, taking the idol with him without any one preventing him. On the next day the Indians offered a considerable quantity of gold to ransom their little god. The father paid no attention to it. On the contrary, he diverted them, and leaving them to forget it, descended to the convent of Butuan. There the people went to look for him, proclaiming the little or no value of their god, and saying that they wished to receive the true God. That was a matter of great consolation to the father at seeing how well his pains had been recompensed.

The divine pity approved the holy zeal of our religious [209] by the experience of that village of Linao, which was located on the shores of the river, forty leguas away from the sea—that while before they were molested by crocodiles, which killed numerous people, as soon as the fathers made a settlement there they suffered no persecution from those fierce animals. They all attributed it to the most holy cross now set up, and to the voice of the gospel. Numerous conversions were made in that country. Very famous is that of an Indian woman who, having received our holy faith, died shortly afterward on the eve of St. Catalina, virgin and martyr, at the first watch of the night. On going next day to deliver her to the fathers in order that they might bury her, and the grave being already opened, they came from the house of the deceased woman to say that she was alive. Wondering at the news, the fathers went to verify the matter, and found it to be truth. For the deceased talked before them all, declaring that God had permitted her to return to this life, so that, inasmuch as she had concealed a very grave sin in confession, she might confess and be saved. She did so immediately, and the instant when she was absolved she expired; while Ours gave many thanks to our Lord for the pity that He had had toward that soul, and to the others, since they became more inclined to our holy Catholic religion because of that prodigy.

Also it is worth while to narrate what happened in the province of Ambongan and the lake of Compongan through the preaching by Ours of the faith of Jesus Christ. An Indian woman was very near the end of her life, and her husband and children were sad because at the time there was no father there to administer the sacraments; for Ours were at Butuan, [210] whence they could not come without considerable delay. The sick woman, seeing their sadness, told them to console themselves; for the most holy Virgin, their advocate, had appeared to her very beautiful and shining, and had told her to rejoice, for she would not die until a father should have come to confess her and give her all the other sacraments of the church. That very thing happened, for within a month a missionary priest arrived there to visit and console those villages. The sick woman heard of it, and had herself carried to the church, where she received the sacraments of penitence, the eucharist, and extreme unction, in the presence of that village. She returned to her house, embracing a cross, to which she spoke innumerable tender words. She died about midnight, leaving behind strong indications of having gone to enjoy the eternal rest.

§ IX

Ours preach in Calamianes, and Cuyo

The fervor of our religious did not rest with what was accomplished in the provinces above mentioned. Having obtained some associates, they determined to preach in Calamianes, islands which remained in their blindness and idolatry. Their inhabitants were wild, and great sorcerers and magicians, who knew many herbs. They used the latter to kill by means of the breath or expiration infected with a poisonous herb, as we have said above. They are poor, not because of the sterility of the country, but because the Borneans, Camuzones, and others of their neighbors plunder them.

Those islands lie west of the island of Panai, which is one of the largest of the Filipinas, being [211] eighty leguas long, but narrow in its breadth, and extends north and south from ten to twelve and one-half degrees. They are small, for they are only four to six leguas in circuit, and that which is largest is twenty. The chief islands, those most frequented by Ours, number nine. In that of Butuagàn [sic], the climate is not suited to deer; for they are not raised there; and if they are taken there they die very soon, without the reason being known, for all the Filipinas contain many of them.

That of Coròn is also notable, as it is a ledge or rock, very high and rugged, which is fortified naturally by the crags that girdle it. Its ascent is steep and intricate. The Indians retire there as to a sacred place. It cannot be taken except by hunger or thirst, and the crag or island is dry and barren, so that not a drop of water can be found on it. Numerous birds resort thither, and there are also a great number of beehives12 amid the hollows of the rocks, and a quantity of honey is produced, as well as wax, without its costing any care or labor. The Indians gather that harvest, and, carrying it to other places, obtain the things needful for life.

All those islands are defended by reefs, which makes the navigation of those seas very dangerous, even in the time of fair weather. Within their boundaries there are a number of different kinds of animals, of rare form. There was one the size of a cat, with the head and feet of a tiger, and the eyes, nostrils, and hands of a man, and entirely covered with soft down. There is another little animal seen, which, as it has no teeth, because these never grow, lives on [212] maggots. To get them it sticks out its tongue, which is very long, where those little animals congregate; and, when the tongue is full of them, it draws it back and swallows them.13 The forests abound with many incorruptible woods, such as ebony, cypress, cedar, and small pomegranate trees.

Those islanders had never had a gospel minister to draw them from their ignorance. Our discalced, pitying their wretchedness, resolved to send five religious for that undertaking. Their superior was father Fray Juan de Santo Tomas. He, not fearing any dangers, and armed with the divine strength, planted the tree of the cross in the island of Cuyo. That island is called “the garden of nature,” because of the singular pleasantness and beauty that it enjoys, in which it is more fortunate than the other islands of that famous sea. It is six leguas in circuit, as are two others its near neighbors, which rival it in beauty. It abounds in rice, and very savory fruits. The mountains are full of fragrant flowers, and shelter a great number of wild boars. There are many species of birds, and fowls are reared in considerable abundance.

Although those islands were densely populated, the people were so barbarous that they seemed not to possess reason. For that cause our religious wished to cultivate that forest in order to sow the seed of the gospel. Notwithstanding [their savagery], father Fray Francisco de San Nicolás, accompanied by another priest, named Fray Diego de Santa Ana, and a lay brother, went to the chief island of the Calamianes. [213] Treating the inhabitants with gentleness, they instructed and persuaded them to live gathered into villages—a thing that they utterly abominated, both because of their natural fierceness, and because they were greatly harassed by the enemies who generally infested those islands. Much was suffered in the attainment of that, but it was accomplished, with the most severe toil on the part of Ours; and they baptized many of those Indians, whose number we shall declare below, when we treat of the convents which were built in those islands in spite of the devil and all hell, who opposed them with all their forces.

Although it will be somewhat of a digression, we cannot help saying something of the barbarous customs of those heathen Calamianes. They recognized a first cause, which governed what was visible. They attributed good or evil events to fortune and to the star of each one. They adored a deity who resembled Ceres, to whom they commended their fields and offered their fruits. They worshiped another petty deity who resembled Mars, in order to gain his protection in their battles. They believed in the humalagar [i.e., soul of an ancestor] (as we said of the Charaghas)—whom they summoned in their sicknesses by means of their priestesses. The priestesses placed a leaf of a certain kind of palm upon the head of the sick man, and prayed that it [i.e., the soul] would come to sit there, and grant him health. They also venerated the moon, asking that it would aid them at the time of death. They celebrated the obsequies of the dead during the full moon.

Their priests were highly revered, and were called mangaloc. The devil showed them what they asked from him, in water, with certain shadows or figures. [214] They practiced circumcision, and had ministers assigned for it. They had as many concubines as they could support. If the first wife committed adultery, the penalty was to repudiate her for a certain time. When anyone wished to have a share in the inheritance of the dead, he laid a piece of his garment upon the corpse, and thereby acquired that right, but he was obliged to aid the deceased’s children. They had no fidelity among themselves, whence many conflicts arose. In order to clear themselves of calumnies or charges, they invented various tricks. At times, divine Providence, breaking their entanglements, defended the innocent and punished the guilty.

Their arms consisted of bows and arrows. On the point of the arrow they fitted a fish spine, with a certain poison that was so effective that it was mortal even if it only slightly touched the flesh. They used short spears and certain shields which they called carazas. They carried certain knives with two sharp edges, which were short, like daggers. They used jackets or doublets of well-twisted cord, and under those others of rattan, a kind of osier. By means of these they turn aside the sharp, keen bamboos which, of the length of two brazas, are hurled in naval battles, with which they do great harm.14

Wonders were not wanting in the conversions of those people. The Christian parents of an Indian woman brought her into the presence of father Fray Juan de San Joseph, and, as she was suffering grievously from a violent fever, begged him to baptize her, [215] for they feared lest she die without that sacrament. The father instructed and catechised her, and told her to have confidence, and that baptism would save her, soul and body. The heathen woman received that instruction so thoroughly that when she was baptized, she was as well from her illness as if she had never had it, God rewarding her faith, and encouraging others so that they should receive baptism.

Another Indian woman was at the extremity of death, and without baptism. The father was summoned, but he, thinking that she was not in so great danger, and that more time was necessary to instruct her in the mysteries of the faith, wished to postpone her baptism. However, God put a strong impulse into his heart not to leave the sick woman in danger; and at last catechising her very briefly, scarcely had he baptized her when she died happy.

The devil grieved mightily because the fathers were taking away so many souls from his captivity, and tried to drive them from that province of Calamianes. He availed himself of a witch and her son, appearing in person to them, and ordering them to use all the delusions and witcheries that they knew, in order to frighten the Spanish soldiers who were in a fortress near by, so that the gospel ministers should by this means be induced to depart to Manila. The sorcerers began their deceits, and one night they seized the soldier on guard and bore him through the air to the top of a hill more than a legua away. When the period of his watch was over, others went to relieve him; as they could not find him, the captain thought that he had deserted, and sent another soldier to look for him. He was found crying out like a madman. He was taken manacled to the [216] fortress, and, recognizing that it was the devil who had maltreated him, they summoned father Fray Benito de Santa Monica, a native of Sevilla, and a powerful minister, who had grace to cast out devils. The father began the exorcisms of the church; and the evil spirit talked—a thing that he had not done before—and said many things in many languages. Consequently, the father ordered him not to talk unless he were questioned; the spirit obeyed, and, finally urged by the exorcisms, made known all the said trick, and left the body of the soldier.

The next night the devils entered into eight soldiers, afflicting them with the same accidental madness as the other. Thus did they continue to multiply their cases of possession, to the great fear of all the others. And although our religious did not cease in their exorcisms and prayers, the infernal spirits were stubborn and pertinacious. Fears grew greater when legions of devils were seen in the air at night in most horrible guise. On that account the most holy sacrament was exposed in the fort. Yielding to its sovereign presence, the demons fled in confusion to their eternal dungeons, with the ruin of their deceits; for the Catholics mended their lives, the faith was confirmed, and the infidels were more inclined to receive it.

§ X

Preaching of Ours in the river of Cagaìang

Let us leave those islands for a moment and return to Mindanào, where Ours were fervently attending to their ministry. After having put Christianity on the best footing possible along the shores of Butuan, they went forty leguas farther on by sea, to look for another river called Cagaìang, as they [217] had been told that its inhabitants were a people more docile than the other inhabitants, in order to enlighten them with the light of the gospel. The lord of that land was an Indian named Salangsang. He lived on a steep and inaccessible rock, which is a peninsula called Himologàn. It had no other approaches or mode of ascent than certain ladders made of rattans [bexucos], which resemble strong osiers. When those were removed it was fortified and protected from the invasions of enemies. The customs of those people are like those related of the inhabitants of Caraghas. The path opened for that undertaking was that Doña Magdalena Bacuya, a Christian Indian woman (the grandmother of the above mentioned Indian, Salangsang), being moved by zeal for the honor of God, and compassion for the blindness of those people, went to see her grandson. Although with difficulty, she succeeded in gaining admittance for our ministers, who were at that time staying at the island of Camiguì without being able to accomplish that which they wished. Finally, fathers Fray Juan de San Nicolàs and Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios arrived there [at Himologàn], and found the chief in the presence of five hundred Indians who lived in that place. That site, perched on its summit, was a very agreeable residence capacious enough for that people to live in a house resembling a cloister, so large that they lived in it with all their families. These had communication on the inside, while it was strongly enclosed on the outside. In the middle of it was the divatahan or temple dedicated to the devil. It was a little house and dirty, as was he who was worshiped there. The prince received the ministers with some show of affection, [218] for he gave them a little buffet on the cheek, as a sign that he received them as friends.

Those people wondered at seeing those ministers in their lands, and joked about them, taking them for madmen, since they entered without weapons or other defense, to seek their death. But as those fathers had God on their side, whose cause they were serving, His sovereign Majesty ordained that the chief, showing them kindness, should give them a small corner in his house, so that they might live securely, although very uncomfortably. For no one gave them anything, and, in order to live, they had to go fishing and to carry wood and water on their backs. They suffered considerably from that, but in joy and gladness, for they were serving the Lord, to whom they were attempting to offer those barbarous people by means of the preaching of the faith.

The fathers obtained permission to celebrate the holy mystery of the mass, although it had to be done outside that rock, the dwelling-place of the Indians. They selected the shore of a small river near the sea. There with their own hands they raised an oratory and an altar, where they celebrated mass with great labor, because they had to carry on their shoulders all the things necessary for the work, without any one aiding them. Then they went up, and locked themselves in their little lodging, which served them as cell and choir, going out only to discuss with the leading Indians the knowledge of the true God. By that good example, they steadily gained great love, and the people presented to them some food. Ours repaid them by fervently preaching our holy faith to them. The Indians brought their little children so [219] that they might be taught the holy mysteries and the Christian doctrine; and these made no poor beginning in this, although the old fathers, accustomed to their vices, were unwilling to accept it.

Those Indians were vassals of King Corralat (of whom we shall speak later) to whom they paid tribute. Collectors came yearly along the level land from his court to the river to collect the tribute. That king was a Mahometan, and consequently hostile to Christians. He learned that our religious were in the lands of his dominion as guests, and ordered that they be killed without any objection. More than one thousand men came to do that, but they were not bold enough to execute the order of their king, for the natives had acquired so great affection for Ours that they went out in their defense. The matter was arbitrated and it consisted in the gospel workers paying tribute to the king. They gladly assented to it, for the charity of the fathers extended to all things. The payment of the tribute cost them great trouble, as it was large, and they had to work with their hands, as they had no support from other directions.

Corralat did not become quiet with that, or rather it was the devil who, angry at the great fruit that Ours were gathering in the vineyard of the Lord, was trying by that means to drive them out from it. The Mahometan king proclaimed war against the villages of that river. During it the religious suffered great frights, pains, and hardships, fleeing to different parts, in dangerous boats, laden at times with the sacred ornaments; hiding in caves, in need of food and without comforts; and guarding themselves for a better occasion, in order to employ their [220] lives in the service of God and the spread of His faith. His [Divine] Majesty was not displeased with that earnest zeal, for he freed them all from those dangers; while the Indians were so energetic in their defense that they refused obedience to the tyrant king, and begged aid from the Spaniards who were established at the fortress of Caragha and from those at Zibù, which was given them immediately. Beyond doubt that was a plan of the divine pity to enlighten those heathen with the light of truth, and to withdraw them from the captivity of Satan. For the Indians, having been defended by the arms of Castilla and instructed by the religious, became so fond of them that they delivered to them their divatahan, where they built a church, in order to administer baptism to those who were converted. Salangsang, together with his wife, was the first to receive baptism in the church, and many others followed their example. That prince, having become a Christian, became a willing subject to the kings of Castilla. He built a stronghold with sufficient ramparts to defend himself against the stratagems of Corralat. Finally Ours erected the convent called Cagaiang, where the Indians began to build houses for their dwellings.

He who labored most in the conversion of those people was father Fray Augustin de San Pedro, a son of the convent of Valladolid, and a Portuguese by nationality. He not only took care of the teaching of the faith, but also instructed the Indians in civilized ways. Thus did they seem to have been transferred from wild beasts into men. It happened in a memorable assault that some nearby Indians made at dawn on the village of Cagaiang, with the [221] intention of killing the fathers (that was an attempt of the devil, and he instigated the Indians to do it, in order to break the friendship which those villages had made) that father Fray Jacinto de Jesus Maria was alone in his cell. The barbarians entering the house killed eight persons who were guarding it. Making themselves masters of the door, they fought with their campilans and other weapons, aiming thrusts, cuts, and strokes in all directions, so that in the darkness Ours might not hide from them. But the said father, trusting in God, went out through the midst of them all, without receiving the slightest blow. It is not difficult for the divine omnipotence to work those miracles, and He is wont to perform them often in order to defend His ministers. The father hid in a thicket, until after the fury had subsided, when he could place himself in safety.

§ XI

Foundation of the convents of the above-mentioned provinces

We cannot excuse ourselves, for the glory and honor of God, from referring to the souls whom Ours drew from the darkness of heathenism into the light of the Christian religion, in the provinces of Caragha, Butuan, Calamianes, and Cagaiang—for whose conservation it was thought necessary to found convents, whence the religious set out to overrun the country, administering sacraments, consoling some, subduing others, and always gaining souls for the Lord. We have not been able to ascertain with certainty in what year they were established, but that amounts to but little. The order in which they are mentioned in the records of the provincial chapter [222] held at Manila in the year one thousand six hundred and fifty is as follows:


1. The convent of Tandag, head of those in the province of Caragha, where there is a presidio of Spaniards, is one hundred and fifty leguas distant from Manila. It has to its account seven hundred Christian families. It was founded by father Fray Miguel de Santa Maria. At first it was more than one legua up the river but was afterward removed to the seashore for certain reasons of convenience. It has a devout confraternity of the most holy Virgin, and another of the girdle of our father St. Augustine, which has been already established in the other convents.

A captain (whose name is carefully suppressed) having been buried in the church of that house, the prior noted one day that his grave was higher than the others. Attributing it to the carelessness of the sacristan, he ordered the latter to level it. That was done; but on the following day, it was seen to be in the same shape as on the preceding day. It was leveled again, and a quantity of earth taken away, but still the grave did not discontinue rising. That novelty caused much talk, and at last the said prior ascertained that the said captain had died excommunicated. He ordered the body to be exposed, and then, absolving it in the manner that the holy Roman church orders, they buried it again without the earth after that making any more show of casting him out. By such demonstrations does God give us to understand the respect and fear that should be extended to the censures of the Church. [223]


2. The convent of Butuan is situated on the shore of the river. That village numbers one thousand five hundred Christians. The convent was founded by father Fray Francisco de San Nicolàs a native of Portillo, and a son of the house of Valladolid. He was a most zealous minister and preacher to those people.


3. The convent of Cuyo, in the island of that name, has to its account two thousand Catholic families.


4. The convent of Cagaiang governs and teaches one thousand eight hundred faithful persons.


5. The convent of Sidargào,15 which is an island ten leguas distant from the fort of Tanda, has two thousand Christian families. According to the testimony of persons of credit, certain manikins, small and beautiful, resembling pigmies in appearance and size, were seen in the said island on a certain occasion. They fled with great swiftness through the thickets of the forests, so that, notwithstanding the efforts made, they could not be caught. However, it is said that some of them were caught in former times, but that they died of fright in a few hours. A cross is preserved near the village of Sapào, on top of a rock of the size of two dedos above the stone, which has certain letters. Those letters cannot be read now, as they have been obliterated by the lashing [224] of the sea, which beats against it continually. It is a tradition that the first Spanish discoverers of that gulf made that cross, although it is not known when.

That islet is five or six leguas in circuit, and lies in nine degrees of latitude. It is well supplied with food and good water, of which there are many springs, called bito. They are always in the same condition, and do not increase with the rains, nor diminish with the dryness of the seasons. It is remarkable for one thing—in which it is different from that coast of Caragha, and the other islands—namely that no monkeys are reared there nor can they be reared if brought there, for they die immediately. During the rainy season, the earth turns red, and is so sticky that when one walks it tears the shoes from the feet. There is a remarkable tree that is called nono. It springs from the root of another large and shady tree. As it increases in size, it embraces it, and by sucking the moisture and nourishment from it, becomes strong. When it becomes so strong that it can grow alone, it casts away that tree, and despises that which was its staff, thus treating it badly until it withers—a living image of the children of this age.

Coming to the peculiarities of that coast, we cannot fail to mention one, namely, that there are trees of the hugest size, so tall that one would believe that they are trying to reach up into the clouds. The Indians are wont to make their dwellings in them, specially those Indians called cimarrones.16 They [225] pay no tribute, so that their trees serve them as a fort in which to defend themselves from the Spanish soldiers of the fort of Caragha. The manner of building those dwellings is as follows: They look out a very stout, high tree; they trim off all the branches up to the height where the floor of the house is to be. They put in some cross-bars, which cross on the trimmed-off branches. They fix them with large timbers in the manner of an enclosure, with which the trampling-ground is made. Then they enclose that floor with the same timbers, in the manner of a parapet, and cover it with a little nipa. The branches above are also protected from the rain and inclemencies of the weather. Thus the house is made so strong that it resists any invasion. It has often cost our soldiers considerable trouble to get those people; for those houses have no approach except certain light ladders made from rattans tied together. In those houses they keep all their possessions, and there live their children and wives, who all help to fight. They have made a place by which to retire when pursued closely, preparing a passage from [226] branch to branch in order to escape. Those houses are so capacious that one of our religious lay brothers, who had been a soldier in the presidio of Caragha, said that he had seen one that would hold sixty persons. On climbing into another out of curiosity, he saw three women hanging—a mother and her daughters. As well as could be guessed, the mother had hanged the girls and then herself, in order not to fall into the power of the Castilians.17

Calamianes or Taitai

6. The convent of Calamianes, or, as it is called, Taitai, where there is a presidio of Spaniards, and where one thousand six hundred souls are directed. That convent has another confraternity of our Lady, the Virgin.

Bislin or Bislig

7. The convent of Bislin or Bislig governs two thousand families. There died most happily father Fray Juan de San Augustin, a son of the province of Castilla. He was a grand minister of the gospel, and [227] knew the Bisayan tongue very well. He lived apostolically, and gave a fine example with his virtues, which made him very lovable to the Indians themselves, as was seen in the rising of the coast of Caragha, from which it was necessary to withdraw him and keep him from perils to the life that he would have lost through the fury of the enemies. His abstinence was remarkable, for, although the toil of his ministry was so vast, as he went continually through rugged places, forests, rivers, and seas, he ate nothing but herbs, and sometimes small fish, when he was especially fatigued. He was very humble and poor, bearing himself with the Indians as if he were the meanest of them. By these and other virtues he gathered great fruit in this life, which will doubtless have gained him eternal rest.

Baldad, Dignes,and Iaquet

8, 9, and 10. Our most reverend father, Fray Pedro de Santiago, preacher of Felipe Fourth, examiner of writings for the supreme council of the Inquisition, vicar-general of our congregation, chronicler of the kingdom of Aragòn, bishop of Solsona, and afterward of Lerida, referred many times to the convents of Baldad, Dignes, and Iaquet, in a relation that he published on the going of our religious to the Indias. However, father Fray Andres del Santo Espiritu, provincial of Filipinas, in another manuscript relation, calls one of them Iguaquet, which is thought to be that mentioned as Iaquet. In that convent there are eight hundred Christian families. It was founded on a river in the northern part of this coast of Caragha by father Fray Juan de San Nicolàs, a native of the Algarbes in Portugal, who [228] took the habit in Manila. He was a grand minister and knew the language of the Caraghas18 perfectly. He preached with great spirit, and succeeded in making many miraculous conversions, among both the heathen and the Christian sinners, who left his sermons so contrite, that they anxiously went to seek the salvation of their souls in the sacrament of penance.

11. Another convent is also mentioned as being in certain islets not far from Iguaquet, in which another eight hundred families of Christians were cared for.


12. The convent of Laylaia (which sounds the same as [the name of] the river above), is forty leguas distant from Butuan. There was a presidio of Spaniards there, which from the indications seems to be that of Linao. It has in charge one thousand six hundred souls.


13. That of Caviscail, in the Calamianes Islands, was abandoned because of the murder committed on one of our religious, an able minister of that village, by the Indians.


14. Father Fray Felipe de la Madre de Dios, provincial of Castilla, and chronicler, mentions another—in [229] the Noticias Historiales, that he left in manuscript—at Calagdan. He assigns to it seven hundred families that were converted to the faith.


15. That of Binalgavan, in the island of Negros, with one thousand five hundred families. That convent was left in the hands of the fathers of the Society of Jesus, for reasons that existed for such action. We cannot avoid mentioning some matters that happened there when it was in charge of Ours.

A certain Indian chief had a son two years old, who was very sick. He made the usual sacrifices to the devil for his health. As he did not get what he was after, he begged father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio for a little water passed through the chalice. The father gave it to the sick child, and the latter was instantly cured. With that occasion, it was the will of the divine mercy that the child, his parents, and their household should be baptized and leave their darkness.

On another occasion they brought an Indian from a mountain with a leg already rotting; and as he was being treated in the house of the alcalde-mayor, at an unseasonable hour of the night he called loudly for baptism. The father went to him, and, upon seeing him, the sick man said: “Baptize me, Father, since God has brought me into the power of the Christians for that reason.” The religious minister baptized him immediately, and scarcely had he finished administering the sacrament to him when the Indian, invoking the most sweet name of Jesus, expired.

Finally a converted Indian woman, having been convicted of a grave sin, in order to deny it cursed, [230] saying: “May a crocodile eat me before I reach my house, if what I said was untrue.” God punished her immediately, for while near her native place, called Passi, in the island of Panai, a crocodile attacked her, and seizing her in its mouth, dragged her into the river, and swallowed her. At that time, father Fray Juan de San Joseph was prior of that convent.


16. The convent of Tagho, so called from a river that bathes it, has in charge the care of nine hundred families of Christians.


17. In Calamianes, the convent of Dinai, with seven hundred families, was removed to Linacapan in order to avoid the continual raids of the pirates.


18. The convent of Damaràn had charge of four hundred baptized persons.

Father Fray Jacinto de San Fulgencio, commissary and procurator of that province of San Nicolàs of Filipinas, while at this court of Madrid gave a relation of other houses, in addition to those enumerated, which are as follows:


19. The convent of Layavan, with seven hundred families in its charge.


20. That of Camigui, with the bay of Liangàn, has six hundred families. [231]


21. That of Baqua has charge of one thousand two hundred families divided among six villages.


22. That of Parasao governs eight hundred families who live in that place.


23. That of Bagangan, with eight hundred other Christian families.


24. That of Tuggaban has in charge one thousand three hundred families.


25. That of Banton, with one thousand two hundred families.


26. That of Divàil cares for one thousand three hundred families.


27. That of Paràva administers one thousand families.


28. That of Sampongan governs six hundred families.


29. That of Surigao another six hundred.


30. That of Casteèl, a like number. [232]

Father Fray Christoval de Santa Monica, father of the said province, commissary and procurator-general, added:


31. That of Gura.


32. That of Baler.


33. That of Binangonan.

In other records and documents which have come from the said province is found the relation of:


34. That of Abucaì.


35. That of Dagat.


36. That of Tebastlan.

Many of the said convents are no longer in existence now, either through lack of religious, or for other accidental reasons; because these have occurred, it has been deemed advisable to abandon them—although the churches are still standing and are cared for, and our religious visit those villages, preserving them in the faith, so that the spiritual food is not wanting to them.


Mention of some hardships which Ours have suffered in the spread of the Catholic faith

It would be beyond our powers to tell what Ours [233] suffered in spreading the gospel truth, and in drawing the souls of so many barbarians and heathen from their blindness and errors; for, as they have cared more for gaining the reward of heaven than of earth, what is known of it is little or almost nothing. We trust in God, who can reward those who serve Him, and that He will have given great glory to those who have suffered so much for the extension of His honor, by bringing so many people to recognize Him. Let us, then, relate that the father-provincial of the above named houses visits them three times during the term of his office—and that with so great perils by land and water that the preservation of his life seems a special providence of heaven. Father Fray Onofre de la Madre de Dios was met on one of those occasions by more than twenty caracoas of pirates and was obliged to cast himself into the water, together with his secretary. They went to an island, where, naked and without food, they suffered those miseries that can be imagined.

Another provincial father, Fray Andrès del Espiritu Santo, suffered a violent tempest, in which a number of persons perished. The boat having overturned, as neither he nor three other religious who were accompanying him knew how to swim, they seized hold of the keel. They remained there two days and one night, expecting death every instant. But God was pleased to have them reach a beach amid rocks and reefs. There, bruised and full of wounds, they found no other comfort than to seek roots with which to support themselves for many days, until unexpected aid came to them from another part.

Father Fray Nicolàs de Tolentino visited the province [234] of Caragha. He was wrecked three times, and suffered most the last time; for, the boat having broken, he had nothing to eat in seven days. Having reached an uninhabited place by dint of his exertions, he went overland through rough paths and through mountains, at the risk of being eaten by crocodiles, until he found a little boat, that carried him and his companion to Manila. They were so weak and hurt that they could not recover their health for a long time.

Brother Fray Francisco de San Nicolàs, a native of Cadiz, coming from the island of Negros to attend to certain things of the church service, suffered so terrible a whirlwind that the boat was driven upon some rocks and broken into splinters. Its occupants were drowned, and our lay brother, not knowing how to swim, went to the bottom. Without knowing how, he found himself in the hollow of a rock which had an opening at the top. He managed to creep through, by the help of God, who protected him. Climbing to the top he saw that he was on a rocky islet of one-half legua in circuit, and remained there until his cries and shouts brought some passing Indians, who, surprised at so novel an occurrence, took him off in their boat.

The captivities and oppressions suffered by Ours would take long to recount, and so I shall give only one. Jolo is an island that lies between those of Burnei and Mindanao. It is very famous in that archipelago, not for its size, but for the warlike daring of its caciques or petty kings, who have made themselves feared by their robberies and cruel deeds throughout those seas. While their fleet, then, was at Calamianes, father Fray Juan de San Joseph, a [235] native of Granada, was captured. He was then prior of the convent of Cuyo, and was visiting those villages which had been converted to the faith, administering the sacraments and the word of God to them—the employment of those gospel ministers. They took him to their island, being greedy for the ransom. The amount of it was discussed, but as the sum demanded by those barbarians was large, and the poor religious could not collect it in a short time, it was necessarily delayed for some time. During that time the Mahometan islanders began to persuade the father to abandon the faith and adopt their vile worship, promising him great riches and comfort, and marriage with a sister of the lord or petty king of the island. That would have been a powerful temptation to one who was not so firm in the law of Jesus Christ, and assisted by His divine favor. Our religious resisted that strong and troublesome battery mightily; but those barbarians, seeing themselves despised, turned the leaf, converting those flatteries into threats of death, and placed before him many cruel methods of depriving him of life. That was not what the good father feared most, since he desired to lose his life for the faith which he professed. The petty king had conceived an affection for the father, and left untried no means in his power in order to break down the strength of the religious. To such an extent did he carry his madness that one of the wives of the barbarian, a beautiful and unbridled woman, visited our prisoner often, accompanied by beautiful women of high rank, in order that they might achieve success in winning him to their disgraceful love; for, had he been taken in that net, the chaste man would have remained ensnared. [236] That trick, it is well known, is one of the most persuasive that the devil furnishes. For he makes war by the affection for the object, and with the vehement incentives of the appetite. But divine grace was very well fortified in the soul of the gospel minister. Consequently, the shots of the devil, the world, and the flesh were weakened and destroyed. The women returned in confusion, after hearing him preach of the mysteries of our sacred law. He understood the Bisayan language very well, and consequently learned the one peculiar to that island in a short time. Although the instruction did not take root in their minds, at least they recognized a certain element of grandeur that aroused their veneration. Father Fray Juan passed considerable time in those struggles, comforting the Christians who were there, and obtaining many triumphs for himself. Finally, on the arrival of the time for his ransom, he returned to his convent at Cuyo, joyous at having suffered for God, although not well satisfied at not having given his life for his holy law. But we can declare that if the barbarians lacked the determination to condemn him to martyrdom, our Catholic soldier did not want the courage to receive it.

We shall give an end to this year of twenty-two, by giving a brief memorial of father Fray Diego de Santo Tomàs, a native of Nueva-España, a creole of Cholula, and the son of Diego Garcia de Leon and Doña Inès Carrillo. He went to Filipinas when very young, where, leaving the deceits of the world, he betook himself to the port of religion, taking our holy habit in the convent of San Nicolàs of Manila. He professed in the year 1610. When he saw the so great fervor of the religious for the spreading of the [237] faith, he took the call so effectively into his breast that the superiors, employing him in that exercise, ordered him to become sub-prior. He was afterward prior of Masinglo, and lastly of Dinai. In the exercise of those duties, he was careful to employ all his strength in caring for the sheep reduced to the flock of the church. He went through the Calamianes Islands, preaching, converting, and confirming those converted in the faith. And as his cares were prodigious, and he became weakened by his hardships, his strength failed him; tired out, he became sick, and died on a desert beach, without any human presence. However the divine presence would not fail him. Happy soldier, whom death overtook while fighting in the campaign of the Church of God!

Let us give a companion to this father, and let him be father Fray Juan de la Anunciacion. He was born in Madrid, in the parish of San Gines. His parents were Diego del Castillo and Felipa Manuel de Benavides. He took our holy habit in the year 1613, while father Fray Juan Bautista Altaraque was master of novitiates. He professed the following year under father Fray Augustin de San Gabriel, prior of the convent of the said town. He went to the Indias, being desirous of employing his life in the service of God and the welfare of souls. He thoroughly understood the languages of the Indians. Entering the rudest of the islands, he preached with great fervor, and converted many heathen. He spent some years in that employment, and finally his life, without anyone being present at his death. He died worn out, and for lack of nourishment. He lived much, since as long as life lasted for him he employed [238] it in the service of the holy church and the conversion of the infidels. His body was found and very reverently given honorable burial.

[Most of the third chapter is concerned with affairs in Japan. A short description of that country is followed by the efforts of the Recollects to gain entrance to its inhospitable shores in 1623. Fired by the news of the persecution waged against the Christians, two fathers, Francisco de Jesus and Vincente de San Antonio, disguised as merchants, set out from Manila to preach the gospel to the Japanese. But many misfortunes overtake them: their boat, old and weak, opens at the bow and compels them to put in at the island of Babuyanes; shortly after setting sail once more, a fierce storm drives them to the Chinese coast, whence they narrowly escape shipwreck and then death at the hands of the people, who prove hostile. However, forty days after leaving Babuyanes, they reach Japan, on June 20. Shortly begins their journey toward Nangasaqui, which they reach October 14, 1623, noting Japanese customs on the way. There it is reported that disguised priests are in the city, and an edict published by the emperor banishes all the Spaniards from the country. Both the fathers, however, escape the banishment. A section on the life of Father Juan de la Madre de Dios, a noted laborer in the missions of Mindanao, and who was buried at the fort of Caragha, follows; and the chapter closes with a reference to affairs at large connected with the order, and the obtaining of certain papal decrees.] [239]

Chapter Fourth

The first provincial chapter is celebrated in Filipinas in the convent of Manila; and in España the first intermediate general chapter of Portillo. Certain servants of God finish their lives happily.

§ I

Election of the first provincial of Filipinas, at the convocation of the first chapter of that province Year 1624

The religious of those islands had been governed since the time of their arrival there by vicar-provincials, either elected by the priests who were in the convents or missions, or appointed by the superior prelate of España, according to the letters and patents which father Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios and father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel had obtained for it. The first vicar-provincial was the venerable father Fray Juan de San Geronimo, who governed until the year 1608. Father Fray Geronimo de Christo followed him, but, as he died very soon, the chapter was convoked; and, in the following year of six hundred and nine, the same father Fray Juan de San Geronimo was elected. When the latter returned to España, the chapter was convoked in the year six hundred and ten, and father Fray Andrès del Espiritu Santo elected. He governed until the year twelve, when father Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios came from España with the appointment. But, his patents having expired, the chapter was convoked, in which the said father was elevated to the same office, and he ruled until the year 15. That year, the chapter having been convoked, father Fray Andrès del Espiritu Santo took the government a [240] second time, until the year of eighteen, when father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel came from España with the appointment. He had it in charge until the year twenty-two, when, as he returned to España, he was succeeded by the said father, Fray Andrès del Espiritu Santo, who had come that same year from España with religious. He governed until the year twenty-three, in which father Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios came from España, having been appointed by the venerable father vicar-general. He convoked a chapter, in order that a separate provincial might be elected in that province, as was done in the others. The patents were as follows.

“His Holiness, our most blessed father Gregory Fifteenth (may God preserve him), with the desire that is his of aiding the reformed orders, at the instance made him by his Majesty and our order—who petitioned him that a vicar-general be given us, and permission that the convents of our order, with the title and name of province, might divide into several provinces—conceded a brief for the aforesaid, which was carried out. For that purpose a chapter was convoked in this convent of the city of Madrid on November twenty of the following year, the past year of 1621, in which I was elected vicar-general. The convents possessed by the order in España in those islands were divided into four provinces. Consequently, that the orders given by his Holiness and by the general chapter may be executed, I am sending the messages, so that a provincial chapter may be held. In that chapter the orders of our Latin constitutions and those of the new ordinances of our aforesaid general chapter shall be observed.

“In regard to time, I declare that it shall be held [241] within four months of the time when your Reverences shall receive the messages and when the religious who bear them, and who sail in this trading-fleet, shall arrive at that convent of the city of Manila—so that [there will be no haste] in case that it should not be a suitable time when the religious arrive, or it should be necessary to arrange anything for the celebration; but if time should allow, and the necessary things should be arranged, it may be held within a month, and not before. I warn your Reverences that, on receiving and opening the messages and despatches that I am sending, the form that I order be observed. And inasmuch as when your Reverences receive these despatches, two years will have passed of the sexennium—according to the order laid down in the new ordinances, decreeing that now and henceforth provincial chapters shall be held, so that those who are to come to take part in the election of a new vicar-general may be elected every six years—your Reverences shall take one year from this first triennium, and this election shall be, but for this time only, a biennium. Thus shall be done with both the provincial and definitors, and the rest of the priors and the other offices, so that in the following provincial chapter of that province, the definitor and discreto may be elected—who shall come, in its name, for the new election of vicar-general that is to be made (if our Lord be so pleased), at Pentecost of the year 1627.

“The coming shall be arranged in such manner that they may not come late, nor leave before it is necessary. As soon as the definitor and discreto (or those who may be elected to fill their places on account of their death, or for any other legitimate impediment) [242] are elected, your Reverences shall advise the vicar-general by the first boat, if they cannot arrive in time. I have chosen to advise your Reverences of this, so that you might know what you ought and must do; and so that everything may be done with prudence, devotion, and virtue, in which may our Lord give us many increases. From this convent of the discalced of our father St. Augustine, of the city of Madrid, June 12, 1622. Your Reverences’ brother,

Fray Geronimo de La Resurreccion

Accordingly, when this order arrived with the other despatches, the priors of San Nicolàs of Manila, of Zibù, of Cabite, of Masinglo, of Amò, of Bolinao, of Calumpan, of Tanda, of Butuan, of Iguaquet, of Tibastlan, of Cuyo, of Linacapan, and of Cagaiang assembled. Under the presidency of the said father Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios, they unanimously elected the venerable father Fray Onofre de la Madre de Dios, provincial, on the sixth of February of that year twenty-four, the time that the present history has reached.

The election was very suitable, as he who was elected was deserving of other and greater posts. He was a native of Perpiñan, in the county of Rosellòn, and a son of the convent of Zaragoça, in Aragòn, where he studied arts and theology. He was prior of the convent of Zuera, and afterward master of novitiates in that of Madrid, where he furnished a great example of observance and virtue. He went to the Indias with the zeal of preaching the faith of Christ our Lord. He filled some posts worthily, with so much satisfaction to the religious that he deserved [243] to be the first provincial of that province. He completed the suitable ordering and economical régime of the houses, the methods that he practiced being continual presence at the choir, steadfast application to the divine worship, and the decoration of the churches. He was modest in his actions, which he adapted to all; mild in his intercourse, by which he made himself loved; skilful in business management; extremely poor, and given to continual mortification. The definitors were father Fray Andrès del Espiritu Santo, father Fray Diego de San Bernardo, father Fray Joseph de San Augustin, and father Fray Juan de Santo Tomàs, chosen men indeed.

The acts passed are reduced to the following points: “That the religious living at the missions or villages of the Indians maintain all the regular observance of the convents, especially in rising at midnight for matins, and in the two hours of mental prayer morning and afternoon, even though there should be no more than one priest. That authority be given to the missionary fathers to carry some books that are conformable to their profession; and that they be prohibited from wearing hempen garments, especially since the heat of the country is contrary to that harshness. That the ministers learn the language of the Indians within one year; and that, in order to avoid disturbance, they do not receive guests in their convents, unless it be bishops, religious, governors, or alcaldes-mayor.

[A section on the first intermediate general chapter of the Recollects, which was held at the convent of Portillo, follows. Section iii treats of the life and death of brother Fray Juan de San Nicolàs, who had professed at Manila, December 21, 1622. The malice [244] of certain Indians who were taking him up the river from the convent of Iguaquet, to aid in one of the missions, causes his death; for they overturn the boat, leaving him to drown while they swim safely to shore. The chapter ends with an account of the life of Bishop Don Fray Gregorio de Santa Catalina Alarcòn who after having been appointed bishop of Nueva Cáceres, in the Philippines, by King Felipe IV, is appointed almost immediately afterward to the bishopric of Santiago de Cuba at Habana. His death occurs at sea while on his way to assume the latter office. This chapter completes the annals for the year 1624.] [245]

1 Following are translations of the title-pages of this work, of which facsimiles are here presented:

Engraved title-page: “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. To the most excellent duke of Ixar count of Salinas. By Father Fray Luis de Jesus son of the same congregation, and its chronicler. Volume second. From the year [177n] M.DC.L. Divided into three decades. Engraved by Pedro a Villafranca royal engraver, Madrid. 1663.”

Printed title-page: “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. By Father Fray Luis de Jesus, son of the same congregation, pensioned lecturer, general chronicler, and acting provincial of Castilla the old and the new. Dedicated to the most excellent Señor Don Jayme Francisco de Hijar Silva Sarmiento, etc., protector of our sacred Reform convent. Volume second. Divided into three decades, from the year twenty-one to that of fifty. With privilege. In Madrid: Printed by Lucas Antonio de Bedmar, printer of the kingdom. Year of 1681.”

2 Delgado in his Historia, pp. 813–816, describes this bird. Tabón, he says, is a word that signifies in the Pintados “to hide by covering, or to cover by concealing it with earth.” When the chick first appears its plumage is white and gray. Its wings are used at first for aid in running rather than in flying. The bird lives mainly on fish, which it catches in the sea. The eggs, which are very nutritious, are eaten with gusto by the natives.

3 This is the flying lemur (Galeopithecus philippinensis; called káguang or caguán by the Visayans), an animal belonging to the Quadrumana, and the Prosimidæ (semi-apes). Alfred R. Wallace found it in Sumatra, Borneo, and Singapore; see his description of it in Malay Archipelago (New York, 1869), pp. 145, 146. Jagor found it in Sámar—Travels in the Philippines (English translation, London, 1875), pp. 242–244. See also [184] Delgado’s description (Historia, p. 845). This lemur has, like the flying squirrel, a volucral membrane, which not only covers all its limbs but reaches to its tail; and thus the creature glides from tree to tree. This explains the writer’s allusion to it as a bird.

4 The creature thus described is the tarsier (Tarsius spectrum), belonging to the same class (semi-apes) as the lemur, ante. Jagor (ut supra, p. 252) was told in Luzón that it could be found only in Samar, and that it lived exclusively on charcoal—of course, an erroneous notion. In Samar it was called mago or macauco. The Report of U.S. Philippine Commission for 1900 (iii, p. [185n] 311) mentions several Islands as its habitat, and the belief of the natives that it lives on charcoal. Delgado cites the same notion (Historia, p. 875); he supposes the tarsier to be a sort of wild cat.

5 The gecko (Gecko verticillatus), a reptile allied to the lizard. Two species of this animal in the Philippines frequent the houses: one very small, which feeds on mosquitoes, flies, and other pests, and works noiselessly; the other larger (up to eight inches long) with a heavy body and a loud call. The latter is, to judge from Delgado’s description (Historia,p. 885) the one mentioned in our text.

6 The cuttlefish, or octopus (Sepia octopus).

7 This was in 1609, and the fort erected was that of Tandag; it was on a bay on the northeast coast of Surígao province, Mindanao.

8 Apparently the same as the present Gigáquit, a town an the northeast coast of the province of Surígao.

9 Juan de la Madre de Dios assumed the habit of the discalced Augustinians at Valladolid, making his profession in 1615. With eight other missionaries, he arrived at Manila in 1620; and some two years later he entered the Mindanao mission. His ministry there was short; for toward the end of 1623 he was slain by a fierce Moro chief whom he had rebuked for his acts of injustice and tyranny. See sketches of his life, in Luis de Jesús’s Historia, pp. 53–55; and Provincia de S. Nicolas de Tolentino, pp. 308, 309.

10 Apparently referring to the missions founded by the Jesuits, some years before, in northern Mindanao; see Vol. XIII, pp. 48, 80. Fuller accounts of these missions are given in Combés’s Historia de Mindanao, which will be presented in later volumes of this series.

11 Situated in central Surigao, on a chain of lakes and rivers [207n] from which issues the Butúan River, flowing northward into the bay of same name.

12 See Delgado’s account of the various kinds of bees in the Philippines (Historia, pp. 848–850).

13 The pangolin or Manis, commonly known as ant-eater. The preceding sentence probably refers to the flying lemur (note 44, ante.)

14 Cf. account of the weapons used by the Mindanaos, given by Retana and Pastells in their edition of Combés’s Historia de Mindanao, cols. 782 and 783. Also cf. weapons of North American Indians, as described in Jesuit Relations—see Index, vol. lxxii, pp. 337, 338.

15 Referring to Sìargao Island, off northeast coast of Mindanao; about twenty-one miles long and fourteen wide.

16 Cimarrón is an American word meaning “wild” or “unruly,” and is also applied to a runaway slave. O.T. Mason, in his translation of Blumentritt’s Native Tribes of the Philippines [225n] (Washington, 1901), says (p. 536) that “this characterization is given to heathen tribes of most varied affiliation, living without attachment and in poverty, chiefly posterity of the Remontados.” Buzeta and Bravo (Diccionario) say that these people are “collections or tribes of infidels known by this name in the island of Luzón and others of the archipelago. There is at present a tribe living in the dense forests of the mountain Isaroc in the province of Camarines Sur. There are also some collections of these and some hostiles in the mountains of the island and province of Samar. They are descendants of the Negrito race, who seem to become differentiated from their own species because of their extraordinarily wild and mountainous life.” Hence the name seems to have been given these people in Mindanao simply to distinguish them as especially barbarous and difficult to establish relations among. They were probably one of the numerous tribes of Negritos such as inhabit Mindanao today.

17 In a brief description of the Philippine Islands which occurs in a geographical work by the Chinese writer Chao-Yu-Kua (who flourished in the thirteenth century)—which account will appear later in this series—is an interesting mention of “nests” built in trees by the Aetas or Negritos, who live therein in single families. Professor Friedrich Ratzel (History of Mankind, Butler’s translation, London and New York, 1896) says (i, p. 111) that the Battaks in Sumatra, and many Melanesians lived in trees; and on p. 422, he says: “Among the Battaks safe dwelling-places are also found at the point where a tree-stem forks or throws off branches; the central shoot is lopped off, and the surrounding branches remain.” Continuing he speaks of the huts built by the Ilongotes of Luzón on tree stems, which are made from leaves of the nipa-palm and bamboo. “The Orang-Sakei and the Lubus of Sumatra also live to some extent in trees” (p. 423). There are also tree-dwellers in Africa and India.

18 “In older works are so named [Caragas] the warlike and Christian inhabitants of the localities subdued by the Spaniards on the east coast of Mindanao, and, indeed, after their principal city, Caraga. It has been called, if not a peculiar language, a Visaya dialect, while now only Visaya (near Manobo and Mandaya) is spoken, and an especial Caraga nation is no longer known.” (Blumentritt’s “Native Tribes of the Philippines,” in Smithsonian Report, 1899, p. 535.)

General History of the Philipinas By Fray Juan de La Concepcion1

Volume IV

Chapter VII

Arrival at these islands of a new mission of the discalced Recollects, the reformed branch of the Hermits of the order of the great father St. Augustine.

[Through the solicitations of Felipe II, the supreme general of the Augustinian order, Gregorio Petrochini, furthers the founding in Spain of a reformed branch of the order. Accordingly the beginning is made in the convent of Talavera, from [246] which beginning the branch gradually grows, although with several set-backs, until the Recollects (their distinctive name) obtain separation from the regular branch of the Augustinians. A province is formed, and elections held, at which Juan de San Geronimo is chosen provincial. After his term of office, he is created bishop of Chiapa; but, burning with the mission fever, offers himself and twelve companions as volunteers for the missions of the Indias.]

34. So noble a proposition edified the king, who recognized it as made by a whole and free spirit. The king had information that the orders appointed for the conquest of Philipinas were not sufficient for the total conversion and reduction of the many pagans; and, even if they were sufficient, that they had not exerted all their strength, distracted by other and less important cares. The proposition of the father provincial was very much in keeping with the royal intentions. Accordingly, without any delay, it was decreed that the father and his associates should prepare to go to the Philipinas Islands, and executive orders to his ministers for a speedy despatch were formulated without delay. The venerable father kept these to himself until the formal session of the chapter, in whose assembly he presented the decree. It was punctually obeyed, all of them considering this laborious expedition as a great service for God. They determined to grant him all the necessary documents, and appointed as vicar-provincial with full powers father Fray Juan de San Geronimo himself, with the limitation of recognizing as superior the father provincial of the province of Castilla.

35. With this arrangement, and the royal decrees [247] which contained the permission for their embarcation, and general royal authority to make as many establishments as possible in these islands, and as those new missionaries should deem proper (to which were added other concessions for spiritual matters conceded by the papal legate), and fortified with all these patents and despatches, the good father chose his associates, men like himself. Most of them were graduated, and most of them eminent men of the Reform. He well comprehended that such new plantations required, since they were to be conspicuous before all, men of learning and eminent virtue. Having assembled at Madrid, they set out for Sevilla on the fifteenth of May, in great harmony and modesty. There they rested somewhat from the fatigues of their journey, and then continued it to San Lucar de Barrameda. They waited there until a large trading-fleet sailed, which left the bay of Cadiz for Nueva España, and those religious embarked in one of its ships. The confessions that they heard, and their exhortations to the sailors, were a great comfort to the latter, and they did not neglect charitably to assist the sick. Thus did they acquire unusual estimation throughout the fleet. The commander-in-chief approached them in his ship, the flagship, when the weather permitted, to inquire after their health, and to offer them what they needed, commending himself to their holy prayers, and placing in their care the prosperous voyage of the fleet.

36. They reached the port of Vera Cruz with perfect safety, where the ships were sheltered. They disembarked, and, passing through the town of Los Angeles, went to Mexico. There they were received in the college of San Pablo by its rector, father [248] maestro Fray Diego de Contreras, who was afterward archbishop of Santo Domingo, the primatial church of the Indias. He kept them with his hospitable aid until the vicar-provincial rented a comfortable house, in order to avoid receiving favors, which their strict regulations forbade. While awaiting the opportunity to go to the port of Acapulco, their mode of life was retired and edifying. Many noble and wealthy persons began to entreat them to remain there, and to establish themselves, offering them their favor and most abundant alms; and they asked that, if that should not be granted, a competent number would remain and establish themselves. The father maestro Contreras encouraged these solicitations, and promised them to allow them to become discalced, and to give credit to the new institute.

37. The president Fray Juan considered those so liberal propositions as annoying temptations, to which, through the motive of their zeal, not one of his could consent. He considered it advisable to avoid them by flight, and resolved upon his voyage to the port of Acapulco. There was already a ship there about to sail to Philipinas on the day of the invocation of the Holy Ghost. Having embarked on it, they set sail on the twenty-second of February, one thousand six hundred and six. They had their terrors on the voyage; the ship caught fire, and the fire was already quite near the powder-barrels that were reserved in the “Santa Barbara.”2 Warning was given of this (which is one of the greatest of dangers), in sufficient time to enable them to extinguish the fire. Had it reached the powder, the worst ruin [249] would have surely followed. I think that there is no peril of the sea so horrible. Another danger happened on a calm, clear night, when the cry of “Land, land!” came from the bow. That danger startled the pilots, who had no shoals down on their charts there. They were aware of them by the breakers in the water, and the vessel was so engulfed in them that it could neither bear away, nor put in, without the same risk. As the breaking of the waters was getting nearer the ship, they considered all their efforts vain, and without any urging, allowed themselves to be carried in the same path. They tried to make soundings, but the plunging of the boat and the violent dragging of the sounding-line on the reefs did not permit them to make an accurate calculation of the depth. In such a contest, the hopes of all were already weak, besides which they were entering amid the breakers. The ship sailed a long distance without meeting accident, and later they found themselves in the deep sea, free from so dangerous a fright. That shoal was marked down accurately on the charts, and was noted on other voyages. It was a rocky islet surrounded with many covered reefs. They considered it a marvelous occurrence that they should pass over them without meeting with accident on them. Father Fray Andres de San Nicolas fell sick near the islands of the Ladrones, and, recognizing that his attack was serious, he sought consolation in the holy sacraments. During his last hours he fervently exhorted all to persevere in the undertaking that had been begun, promising them a happy result. He yielded up his spirit to God amid tender colloquies. Those of the ship wished to keep his body in a well-sealed wooden casket, in order to give it decent burial on shore; but [250] in order to avoid innovations, the venerable superior, Fray Juan, did not consent to this. Accordingly, having been placed in a casket, he was cast into the sea, accompanied with the usual obsequies.

38. They continued from that moment their voyage prosperously, after an almost general epidemic of fever, safe and sound. By special orders they anchored in the port of Zebu. That most venerable prelate, Don Pedro de Agurto, received the new missionaries with a procession. They were lodged in the convent of the Augustinian fathers, who received them as brethren. Much did that illustrious man desire the propagation of the gospel. He begged and insisted that they stay in his bishopric, and offered them a foundation to their liking, if they would only remain for the conversion of the infidelity that was obstinately persevering for the lack of ministers. He suffered greatly from this, for so necessary was the remedy. It was impossible for the newcomers to consent to so favorable arrangements, or to listen to so urgent and compelling entreaties. Their journey to Manila was unavoidable, in order to present the royal decrees and despatches to the governor. They thanked his Excellency fittingly, and all offered to put themselves at his disposal after the performance of so necessary business. They set out from that place to execute it, as soon as opportunity offered. They reached the capital city of Manila without any accident, then celebrating the victories obtained by their governor, Don Pedro de Acuña, in the expedition of Terrenate. They were accommodated in a small house for the time being, where the most influential people of the city came to visit them. Everyone offered them a more decent lodging, the orders distinguishing [251] themselves by offering them their convents. To all they humbly excused themselves, only accepting the infirmary of the Dominican fathers, for the treatment of some of their sick, where they were treated with a most benign charity. The governor arrived, triumphant from his expedition; and as soon as he heard of the arrival of those new religious, leaving the magnificent trophies, deigned to be the first to visit them. He consoled and regaled them as a noble knight. But being eager to finish the despatch of the ships to Acapulco, and going quickly to Cavite, he could not examine the royal despatches; nor could he do so afterward, for, as we have already stated, death attacked him while engaged in this affair, and laid its spoils in the sepulcher. Thus was suspended his recognition of the royal decrees; they were presented to the royal Audiencia, who, recognizing them as authentic, gave them the requisite attention. In virtue of these, permission was given to the father vice-provincial, Fray Juan de San Geronimo, to preach the gospel wherever he thought best, and to establish his houses wherever he should consider it most advisable.

Chapter VIII

This Mission establishes itself at Bagumbayan, and they begin their evangelical labors

1. The deceased governor, Acuña, had already finished a country-seat or summer-house for his retirement from the cares caused by so extensive a government, at a location called Bagumbayan, three hundred paces distant from the walls of the city. At the death of that gallant governor they began to try to dispose of this house. The new missionaries [252] thought that retreat very suitable for their purpose, and tried to buy it because it was already offered for sale. For that purpose they went through the city begging alms of its citizens, accompanied by certain persons of influence, and in two afternoons they collected more than three thousand pesos. With them they immediately paid the price asked, the authorized guardian of estates, Captain Don Pedro de Ortega, lowering its just price considerably. Licentiate Don Rodrigo Diaz Guiral, then filling the office of fiscal of the royal Audiencia, was a zealous and influential party in everything, and took especial interest in facilitating that accommodation. They converted the house of recreation into a convent. They assigned a location for a public church, which they dedicated on the tenth of September to the glorious St. Nicolas de Tolentino, to whom they had consecrated themselves by a special vow when they left the coasts of España. That function was very solemn. His Excellency of Zebu, Don Pedro de Agurto, performed the pontifical office; while the very reverend father maestro, Fray Pedro Solier, of the Order of St. Augustine of the Observance, a person distinguished by his merits and position, preached. He was then provincial of the province of Santissimo Nombre de Jesus in these islands, bishop of Puerto Rico, and afterward archbishop of Santo Domingo. The royal Audiencia, the ecclesiastical and secular cabildos, the orders, and the nobility and citizens of Manila were present and lent honor to the function With such favorable beginnings, those evangelical ministers were greatly consoled and very happy. They were most happy with the favorable horoscope in which that new province was born, in having St. [253] Nicolas for their patron. There was some altercation [over this matter] with the Augustinian fathers of the Observance; the devotion to this saint had now grown very extensive in their church, in a special chapel, and they foresaw that worship there would be decreased on account of this new advocacy. It was not an occasion for a suit, and they tried modestly to avoid litigation. Although possession could not give better right, the Recollects yielded, and accommodated themselves to a change of title, commending to God this serious matter. The calmness of Señor Agurto was seen in that, at whose direction they cast lots to settle the controversy satisfactorily. Many other saints took part in the lots, and in them the said St. Nicolas had success the first, second, and third time when the cast was repeated. Thus was the will of God powerfully confirmed, resistance ceased, and they resigned themselves to it peacefully. They extended the protection of the new church to the province, which was already in its beginnings. The said first feast was celebrated with the greatest harmony between the parties, and unity of minds.

2. They were not useless in that location, for, accommodating the active life to the contemplative one, they applied themselves with fervid ardor to spiritual help in the administration of sacraments and in gospel preaching to many different peoples, who needed that same assistance, especially at night, when the city gates were locked. As there were no parish churches near, many were the sudden calls that disturbed their rest, for all of which they were very ready and prepared, as one should be in a matter that concerns the salvation of the soul. Their zeal could not be restrained here; more arduous was the obligation [254] which had brought them, and the acquiring of some one of the many languages which are spoken in these islands. Without that diligence their application would be useless; without such intercourse, men must necessarily consider one another as barbarians. Since the Tagál language is the most general, their most careful study was given to it. Their eagerness was emulative, and made them rapid in their haste. He who most quickly penetrated the language was father Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, native and son of the convent of Zaragoza, a person of resolution and vigorous mind, and of no common abilities.

3. With these arrangements they tried to make a beginning in their apostolate. On discussing where they would better employ themselves, they thought that they would better not separate far then, since they were so few. Quite near by, eight leguas distant, was the village of Marivelez, which had no ministers. The other ministers had left it because of the insalubrity of its climate and the brutishness of its natives, who were very obstinate in their superstitions. The voices of the missionaries did not at all soften them, wherefore with comfortable maxims they had left them in their obstinacy, shaking off secretly the dust from their sandals. Truly their religion was ridiculous. They had their groves or reserved places in the forest. There were their peculiar penates or minor gods, to whom they made their sacrifices. Certain old deluded and ceremonious persons took charge of the sacrifices. They were assisted by certain old women, called catalonas, who had great authority among those deluded people, which they had acquired by deceitful and delusive tricks. [255] The method of sacrificing cattle was the common and transcendental one among those natives. But irreligion was manifest in all their vain observances, and in the conservation of their traditions, rather than any active and positive religion. They observed those long-kept and sacrilegious customs, through fear of punishment if they omitted them; and, even more, they were persuaded that they would die the instant when they violated these.

4. Their laws in political government were no better, being at the pleasure of the most powerful, who exercised their tyranny despotically. Many difficulties were those. And if one would consider that others, who must be considered of equal or greater spirit, had abandoned them as unconquerable, he would understand their human prudence, or temerity, or their great conceit. But the robust vicar-provincial stumbled in nothing, his wonderful zeal facilitating everything. For that administration and conquest, he appointed Fray Miguel de Santa Maria the adelantado, giving him as associates father Fray Pedro de San Josef, and the lay brother Fray Francisco de Santa Monica, all of them now well acquainted with that language. They accepted their appointments resignedly, and set out for Marivelez. They quickly found that profound darkness was opposed to their new light. They were not dismayed by their inevitable labors. No welcome was found among so rude and unconquerable a people. The missionaries solicited them in the woods, where they gained their livelihood by the labor of their fields. They spoke to them in affectionate tones; they undeceived them of their errors, which so darkened their souls. They maintained, at their own cost, [256] some huts where they retired for the necessary rest at night. When they took any slight and hurried refreshment, it was for their necessary relief and rest, since the rest of their time was broken with penitential exercises. By such unalterable and edifying procedure, they were gradually softening those hard rocks; and they already had many converts and baptized people. The other idolaters did not regard that desertion well, and one day when the father was going on his rounds to catechise them in the woods, the pagans were awaiting him, and discharged upon him a shower of stones. He yielded to his contusions and wounds. He escaped with his life from this exigency, which was not little. But he was so ill-treated that he could not recover his health, which became worse; and recognizing that it was impossible to recover it there because of the utter lack of comfort, he determined to retire to Manila, in order to die conformably with his brethren. Some medicines were administered to him here, which he took rather to please his superior than because he had any idea that they would be of use. The dissolution of his body rapidly progressing, he piously received the last sacraments; and, in the midst of lofty and loving acts, he passed to the eternal rest, leaving this wretched life with envy. His two courageous companions returned also to the infirmary at Manila, for they had fallen sick from their continual troubles; and they ended their lives in so excellent and desirable a manner, the first fruits of this laborious task.

5. So arduous an undertaking was not abandoned through fear of its danger, because those beginnings were, in the general mind, unfortunate. It fell to the lot of father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel, a man [257] celebrated in the history of his holy province, especially in the voyage that he made from these islands to Basora and Caldea, in which he reduced various Armenians of the schism3 to the obedience of the holy see, and presented their chiefs to his Holiness, Urban Eighth, who thanked him for his zeal by special favors and rewards. He was firm in spirit and of most courageous boldness. He took possession of that toilsome mission. With his industry, he reduced to a civilized and Christian life the remainder of those pagans, in a location called Bagac. There he built his church and dwelling, and there he gathered many scattered peoples. Afterward he moved it to that of Marivelez because of the convenience of the port, and its more equable climate. He arranged other annexed locations within a distance of twelve leguas, where his tireless industry gathered about one thousand five hundred souls. Assuring this stronghold, he opened a gateway by which to pass to the coast beyond. The Zambales Indians tyrannized over it, and no boats could touch there without danger of their lives. Those were Indians of barbarous ferocity, and very bloody-minded. It was very difficult [258] to soften such monsters, so blinded by their superstitions and by their barbarous customs, that in no way would they accustom their ears to other things. One very extraordinary event procured respect for the father among them, and thereupon they paid more attention to his evangelical words.

6. Father Fray Rodrigo was one day passing through a thicket. That thicket was, according to their customs, one of the reserved ones, and it was considered sacrilegious to cut anything from it, and that such act would be punished with immediate death. So infatuated were they with that blindness that no one, even though in great need, dared to take anything from that place, being restrained by fear. The father saw a beautiful tree, which they call pajo, laden with ripe fruit. He ordered his followers to gather some by climbing the tree. They strenuously resisted, but father Fray Rodrigo insisted on it. They declared that they would not do it under any circumstances, and that it meant sure death if they offended the respect whose fatal sentence comprehended all the trees of that place. The father severely chided them for their error, and to show them that it was so, he determined to gather the fruit himself. He began to break branches and to clear the trunk, in order to facilitate the ascent. The Indians were grieved, and urgently begged him to desist from that undertaking, which they considered as so rash. But the religious, arming himself with the sign of the cross, and reciting the antiphon, Ecce lignum crucis, managed to gather some of the ripe fruit, which the tree offered. He ate it in front of them and liked the fruit very much, for indeed it is savory. They looked at his face amazed, expecting his instant death. When that did [259] not happen, they recognized their delusion, and detested their cheats They also ate without experiencing any harm. The father charged them to say nothing upon their arrival at the village. He took with him a goodly quantity of that fruit, and divided a great portion of it among the chiefs. Esteeming the gift, they, in their ignorance, ate it without fear. In a sermon on the following day, the father disclosed the secret and checked their vain fears; so that, undeceived by experience, they followed him with their axes, and in short order felled that thicket, which was a confused center of perverse iniquities. Thereupon, many of those infidels submitted to the true knowledge.

7. He continued the conversion of those people after that happy result, despising dangers, and enduring bodily necessities, very full indeed of interior consolation. That is a rough coast, and offers grievous terrors in its times of turbulent weather. Father Fray Rodrigo was navigating along it when a fierce tempest suddenly overtook him, which, driving the small boat upon some rocks, dashed it into pieces. Those who were in it were drowned, although they knew how to swim. The father alone, by the violent impulse of a wave, reached a small rocky islet. His life was miraculously saved on it, and God, who does not grant His blessings incompletely, caused an Indian to discover him within twenty-four hours. The Indian swam to him, and carried him from that danger, on his shoulders. Even more marvelous was another thing that happened to father Fray Juan de la Ascension, while sailing along that same coast. He was in a boat manned by Chinese, who, being careless of their sheets, did not loose them [260] in time, when the wind suddenly shifted furiously. It is most dangerous to coast along high lands, for so furious winds blow through the passes that if great care is not taken with the sheets the boats overturn easily.

8. Thus did it happen with this boat, and its keel was exposed to the sun. All were drowned, without any aid; only father Fray Juan was saved by divine Providence. This is more manifest, since the method was one unheard-of. The father remained inside his craft, while the overturned boat tossed up and down. Its space did not entirely fill with water, a small space being left, which served as an arch, in which the father could keep his head and arms out of the water, having laid fast hold of a beam. He passed three days thus, until a boatful of Indians, happening to pass that way, and observing the floating hull, approached the boat, to see if it contained anything by which their greed could be advantaged. They began to break through the open end. As soon as they had opened a small aperture, they heard the voice of the shipwrecked religious, who begged for help. The Indians were frightened, and resolved to leave the task that they had undertaken. One of them, more courageous, inspired them with the sufficient resolution, and, continuing, they discovered the father almost at the last extremity. They reached him presently, took good care of him, and helped him with what they were carrying. With that he came to himself and recounted his catastrophe. They marveled greatly at so extraordinary an event, which they regarded only as a prodigy never before seen. In this manner did they continue with the conversion of those infidels, until they obtained a good foundation in the [261] village of Masinloc. It was a very suitable location, as it was the center of many mountains and settled districts where many and diverse peoples could easily be reduced to a civilized and Christian life. The management of its planting was given to father Fray de el Espiritu Santo; and he, with two associates, was well employed in those apostolic excursions. In a short time they had eight thousand newly baptized Indians, and arranged methods for their administration, and for their catechism. Their first care was divine worship, and instruction and training musicians and singers. So did those zealous ministers labor, and we leave them now in that cultivation.

Volume V

Chapter III

The discalced Augustinian religious continue their spiritual conquests on the coast of Zambales, and pacify it with their labors. They extend their fervent tasks to the province of Caraga, in Mindanao.

1. If God created man with a certain fertility, with which to propagate other men, although that fertility was not taken away by the first sin, it is not what it would be if disobedience had not intervened; and if to that propagation conservation be not added, it would not proceed according to the form and method of its kind, but even in these natural arrangements nothing would be done without the cooperation of the Creator. Proportionally so is it in the spiritual propagation, in which man is formed for piety and justice. He who plants or he who waters is nothing, but it is only God who giveth the increase. For that [262] reason so necessary dispositions are not useless, but are indispensable in the present providence. How can they hear unless there be one to preach to them? God gave man understanding, but it is as dull in infancy as if he did not have one; it must be excited, and brought to light with the increase of age, in which he becomes capable of knowledge and of instruction, skilful to perceive truth and pure and chaste love, with which to fight strenuously against the engendered vices to which he is inclined naturally from his youth. Those spiritual propagations in semi-brutish men are very difficult; for, although reason is not altogether extinguished, the sparks of it are so feeble that one must use considerable discretion and prudence in order to arouse them. With those monsters were the discalced Augustinian religious dealing on the Zambales coast; having as the object of their living faith the salvation of souls, they could employ themselves admirably in such spiritual propagations, planting and watering with immense labor, God granting them the desired increase in that so blessed intercourse. Establishing themselves in Masinloc, they did not restrain themselves in the undertaking until they reached the end of the coast, on whose famous point is the village of Bolinao. There they had had the first intelligence of the gospel, which the observantine Augustinians had tried to communicate to them. But either the ferocity and barbarous customs of the natives, who threatened to kill them, or their great occupation in other more abundant missions, compelled them to abandon that attempt. At the demand of those religious, together with a commission from the governor then in office, Don Rodrigo de Rivero, and the instance of the venerable [263] dean and cabildo, the vice-provincial despatched fathers Fray Christoval de Christo and Fray Andres del Espiritu Santo to that conversion. The village was then located on an island, which formed the port of the same point. When the venerable religious entered, the natives would have nothing to do with them; however they did not dare to expel the fathers nor lay hands on them. They supported themselves on certain herbs and roots, which grow naturally and without labor in the forest, necessarily suffering misery and misfortunes.

2. Their endurance and suffering made the Bolinaos more tractable; they were persuaded that their preaching was true, and that their instruction was important for them. They began to listen to it without aversion, although with curiosity. The efficacy of the word of God penetrated strongly into their hearts. Then they conceived a horror of their barbarous customs. Thereupon, and because of the continual instruction, they resolved to abandon paganism, and to surrender their necks to the gospel yoke. One thousand six hundred, having been catechised satisfactorily, were baptized. They built a suitable church and a dwelling-house for the father ministers, and the village of Bolinao was established in very orderly ways, in matters relating to their common life and to civilization. They have continued happily in their vocation, and I think that it is one of the most solid Christian communities in the islands. They are very devout, and their thoughts are without any superstition, while they are most inclined to devotion. Thence the fathers extended their zeal to the near-by and dependent communities; all these were most happily subjected. That was largely induced [264] by the religious themselves cutting down a reserved bamboo plantation, and thus removing their foolish fears that he who dared to cut a single bamboo from it would die—but which did not happen to them, as the Indians had imagined. By that means they were undeceived in their previous superstitions.

3. The fathers also extended their reductions and conversions to the south of Masinloc. They formed the scattered peoples, and the rural settlers of Tuguy and Paynayan into villages. Inasmuch as the Pagans and Negritos of the immediate forests disturbed those new establishments greatly by making furtive raids on them and killing several people, seizing those who were heedless at night, the superior government determined to establish a small fort in Paynayen, with moderate-sized artillery, and a garrison of Spanish and Pampanga infantry which would maintain in loyalty those newly catechised and reduced, and would shelter them from barbarous hostilities. The expenses for it were to be paid, in order to make raids in the forests, and to intimidate with their arms those people of so fierce customs. The only ones still to be conquered on that long coast were the scattered people of Sigayan, about eight leguas north of Masinloc. Father Fray Alonso de San Augustin, a son of this city of Manila, took charge of that undertaking at the order of his vicar-provincial. His diligence was efficacious and most lively. He reduced many of those infidels to the true faith; founded a town with them, which he, with good supervision, established in a commodious site; and established a church and house. He managed and perfected the work with great vigilance and the consolation of his soul. One [265] day when the people were assembled, he preached a fervent sermon, censuring the resistance of some obstinate infidels. Some of them were respected and venerated as the greatest chiefs. The sermon mortified them, and they resolved to take satisfaction for the pretended and supposed insult. The bolder of them, on some pretext or other, approached the zealous father, quickly drew a cutting weapon, such as they use, from its sheath, and at the first blow almost decapitated him with it. His hood protected him somewhat, but not so much that he was not grievously wounded. As the wound was given in a dangerous place, its cure was difficult. Thus he lived but a short time, sacrificing his life very willingly for the good of those rebellious sheep. After that parricide the new reduction rose in rebellion. The followers of the unjust aggressor burned and destroyed the village, convent, and church, and withdrew to the general asylum and refuge of the woods. Some faithful Christians remained with the wounded father, whom they carried to Masinloc, where his happy death occurred. With what was left, after abandoning that new Christianity for the time being, the ministers tried later, as if forgetful of the past insult, to have the reduction returned to its old site. They interested the Indians of Masinloc, and, partly with mild means and partly with threats, they attained their object—not without great efforts, fears, and hardships. The church, house, and village were rebuilt, and about seven hundred souls were enrolled. That village, after other translations, is the one now called Santa Cruz, and is dependent on Masinloc.

4. Those hardships caused those religious to be well received in Manila. Its citizens became interested [266] in that, without leaving their first foundation of Bagumbayan, which was very useful for those suburbs, they should move into a regular convent within the walls of their fortification—which was unavoidable because of the continual disputes with Japanese and Chinese, and because of the fears caused by the Dutch with their fleets. Because of the urgency with which all compassionately entreated them, with this security, the father vice-provincial, Fray Juan de San Geronimo, responded gratefully; and, recognizing the strict advisability of it, bought a small house near the artillery foundry which then existed. The governor, then Don Juan de Silva, liberally and willingly facilitated this undertaking with alms, and conceded the site. Various oppositions were encountered against that foundation, but they were conquered, although with difficulty, by constancy. The religious passed many days of poverty on that site, being uncomfortable and with scanty subsidies, until the very pious and noble gentleman, Don Bernardino de el Castillo Rivera y Maldonado, a native of the City of Mexico, master-of-camp of the royal regiment, castellan of the fort of Santiago, and regidor of the city—moved likewise by the urgent entreaties of his pious wife, Doña Maria Enrriquez de Cespedes, who was very strongly inclined towards this religious institute and to their patron, San Nicolas de Tholentino (by whose intercession she had obtained a son), who had died soon afterward—took charge of the foundation. He erected a handsome building on that site for a church and convent, which was made of hewn stone. He finished it at a personal cost to his estate of more than one hundred thousand pesos. He assigned it suitable revenues in lands, and funds for the necessary [267] repairs and rebuilding—all the more liberally, as he had no necessary heir.

5. In an authentic declaration that he made before the alcalde-in-ordinary of this city, Don Martin de Herrera—received and testified before the notary-public, Juan de Villa Marin—the patron, Don Bernardino, declares that the impelling motive for undertaking and perfecting the work of church and convent was his great devotion to San Nicolas de Tolentino, and his having recognized in the discalced Augustinian religious, from the time of their arrival in this city, learned, virtuous, and serious men; and the knowledge that they were gathering much fruit in this community and among the natives round about. In their manner of acting, they persuaded men that they were all true servants of God. That had moved him to aid them in their very severe need; and he had taken under his charge convent and church, building them a new edifice from the foundations up. He had bought many pieces of ground for them at excessive prices; in that way and on the work, he had spent a large sum, and he considered it well employed. He declared that he was ready to spend much more, even to the extent of all his wealth, and to be left with only his assigned pay of castellan; for the said Recollect religious deserve it by their example and virtue. For the repairs and preservation of the work, he assigned a fitting income from many lands. It is estimated that he spent on and endowed it, in all, with one hundred and fifty thousand pesos, although with obligations to chaplaincies. Besides that, he adorned the church, and continually expended money for it.

6. He also had a garden or country-house, called Calumpang, because of its location. He made them [268] a present of it, and of a portion of the lands surrounding it, on condition that the said religious found a convent on that site, where some religious could live retired and free from disturbance. The then vice-provincial, Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel, took possession, after obtaining the necessary licenses from the government and from the archbishop. With these was formed a convent of the same house, and a small church was erected under the invocation of St. Sebastian, being dedicated to that glorious martyr, a being to whom especial devotion was paid by its founders, who aided its cost with their wealth. The archbishop, then Don Fray Miguel Garcia Serrano, adjudged [to it] the spiritual administration of the tenants of the lands, to the number of about thirty houses. The minister of Sampoloc had a suit pending about those tenants, but as soon as they were adjudged to that new church, they escaped from his demands; and free possession remained to them, which was confirmed by the royal patronage. A beautiful image of our Lady of Carmel was placed in that church a few years afterward, which was brought from Mexico by a mission of those religious. Her devotion extended her worship, and her favors made her more famous. The dean of that holy church, Don Juan Velez, given up by the doctors, and already without hope, begged the religious to carry the holy image of Carmel to his house. At the entrance of that Lady, and the fervent prayer of the dean, he suddenly became well and completely cured. As a thank-offering for so singular a favor, he returned the image to her church, and made her a very solemn feast. He founded with the ordinary authority a confraternity, under the title of Carmel, which attained [269] so many members within a short time that the number was more than two thousand, of both sexes. The dean continued the feast every year, but scapularies were not distributed because they had no authority for it, and because they had no members of the Carmelite order.4 Therefore those religious had recourse to a competent prelate of the Carmelites, who could concede the permission with apostolic privilege—the very reverend father-provincial of Andalucia, Maestro Fray Diego de el Castillo, granting authority to the prior of the convent of San Sebastian in Philipinas in order that he, in his person alone, could and might bless the scapularies of his holy order, and distribute them to the faithful who might request them. From the receipt of that despatch, and by means of such a distribution, the confraternity became full to overflowing. The feast could not be [270] held on its appropriate day in July, which is wont to fall in the height of the rainy season. Having recourse to the apostolic see, Pope Clement Eleventh erected the confraternity anew, and set its feast for the twenty-first of January, with special concessions of a plenary indulgence weekly, and additional ones during the year on days assigned by the archbishop. Those weekly indulgences fall on Wednesday, and the others on the four Sundays of the month in February, May, July; and the last, on the day of the betrothals. The same pontiff later extended the plenary indulgence of the twenty-first of February to the following week, in order to satisfy the devotion of the innumerable crowd. If those nine days were increased to a fortnight, the crowd would always be numerous. In the nine days are administered from six to seven thousand communions, besides many who commune in other churches. It is the most extensive devotion among Spaniards and natives. That devotion had its failings, as is usual among numerous crowds, which have been corrected by the zeal of the superiors. That confraternity has since been established in the city of Zebu, and has in the same manner been extended into the Bisayan provinces.

7. At length his final illness came to this illustrious benefactor. Recognizing it as such, he made his will, in which he instituted as his heir San Nicolas de Tolentino. He died, and the religious accepted that condition, and the remainder of his property was adjudged to them. He was buried in that church as if in his own house: on his conspicuous tomb was expressed the record that he left by his charitable deeds. In the same tomb the body of his wife was afterward placed. Monuments were erected to them, and in a [271] suitable niche were placed worthy memorials of gratitude. Since that first church had the misfortune to be ruined by earthquakes, the fathers did not recognize the patronage when they entirely rebuilt the church, regarding their new church as free.

8. The governor, the bishops, and the encomenderos were urgent for those religious to extend their apostolic labors. But they were few and could not attend to those extensions Consequently, the vicar-provincial decided to send a religious to España, to beg king and council for aid for new operations. Father Fray Pedro de San Fulgencio, a well known and experienced member of the order, was proposed for that undertaking. He was given for the voyage legitimate authorizations, letters of credit from all the governments, very expressive and liberal, in which the truth and necessity were explained, so that his Majesty would kindly concede a suitable number of ministers, who might continue so excellent and important beginnings. That father reached Madrid without accident, and found his brethren in mortal anguish and distressing pain, and the reformed branch now breathing its last and almost destroyed.

[The outgoing provincial has relaxed the strict rule of the reformed branch. The internal disputes that follow his term are brought to a definite head by Paul V’s brief, ordering the regular Augustinians to take over the convents of the Recollects and to absorb that branch. However, the order is saved by the strenuous efforts exerted both in Spain and Rome.]

15. In such condition was this reformed branch when father Fray Pedro, procurator of Philipinas, reached España, without province, without authority, and without means for cooperation in his urgent [272] affairs. But his brave spirit did not waver; he was adroit and prompt in the management of papers; and he was presented to the king with a brief memorial referring to his commissions. Although his Majesty was not then very well inclined to the Reform, laying aside those considerations, he paid good heed to the petition, recognizing its justification. He conceded the despatch of thirty religions, whom the procurator could take with him on the first occasion that should present itself, with the usual subsidies. After that so favorable result was obtained, it was considered advisable to go to the court of Roma, in order to move the universal head [of the church] to favor the general interest by information of the results obtained in the islands. He obtained audience with the supreme pontiff, Paul V, to whom he related the labors of his associates in the benefit of infidel souls. His representation was very well received by the supreme pontiff. The latter conceded him many favors and indulgences for the missionaries engaged in conversions and reductions. In order to aid father Fray Gregorio5 in his claims, he was detained a long while. Those public interests and the most important affairs of those conquests disappointed private interests. Powerful rivals advanced their claims, but the procurator ought not to have abandoned his own affairs. He trusted too much to his prompt and favorable commissions, in whose durability the quickest despatch is not enough; for the agents on the opposing side, availing themselves of his voluntary absence, began to depreciate the mission that had been conceded. They declared that the Recollects were not [273] necessary in Philipinas; that those who had gone there before were but few and useless. The procurators of the provinces of Philipinas—who by having taken the habit were not divested of human passions, for they considered it [i.e., the Recollect mission] as a grievance, instead of being moved by a just and charitable zeal—interested themselves in that report. There was much that had to be tilled and cleared. Whole provinces were begging for spiritual aid. But now, since their zeal was mitigated, they were excusing themselves from labors, and were contenting themselves with tranquillity. To say that new missions were necessary, without some of these entering the labors of others, was very apparent to them, and on very superficial considerations reprehensible. Their immoderate opposition reached such a point that they declared publicly that they [i.e., the Recollects] were not men who could prove at all useful to the infidels.

16. Their procurator, Fray Pedro, was well able to answer those calumnies (for they were calumnies), and to restrain insinuations so pernicious and prejudicial to the interests with which he was charged; for he had discretion and a spirit for everything. The most effective thing in that was the pressing need of his commissions, and the contents of his credentials. But death, which overtook him at Milan on his return trip, prevented those advancements and important efforts; and there was no person to whom to entrust the favorable outcome of his negotiations at Roma, nor his papers as procurator, which were the essential part of the negotiation. Upon that so unexpected disaster, inasmuch as there was no substitution of powers, nor, as it happened, anyone in whom [274] to substitute them, the above opposition and contradiction had their opportunity—thus disappointing the arrangements of several religious who were already preparing for that voyage, in their anxiety to embark quickly, and assist their associates in the islands, and extend their laborious work. Those misfortunes and disturbances were unhappily removed and extended to Philipinas. The vice-provincial was notified of Paul V’s brief, of the extinction of the province, and the submission to the calced religious, who began to make use of violent acts of superiority. Although counsel was taken with erudite men regarding that difficulty, yet in view of that so executive brief, they wavered in their opinions. The only thing that militated against the brief was that it was not passed by the royal Council. But since it had to do with government and monarchy, it was at least binding on the inner court of the conscience, especially on subjects who had given a special and solemn obedience to the pontiff, in regard to the internal government of their institutes. These so violent disturbances had some rest in the election of provincial in the person of the father maestro, Fray Miguel Garcia Serrano. In it the offices of the convents and ministries of the discalced were confirmed to the persons who held them, and in the same manner; all taking care, after the representations of such a prelate, to honor and protect so afflicted a family.

17. Those so complicated causes for disquietude saddened extraordinarily the venerable father, Vice-provincial Fray de San Geronimo. He, upon seeing his edifice being destroyed gradually in this manner, and that its ruin was a foregone conclusion by such measures, determined, notwithstanding his age, and [275] the catastrophes that usually happened, to return to España, in order to solicit and promote the quiet of his reformed branch, and help for the preaching and conservation of the Indians, by communicating in person to the Catholic king his fortunate beginnings, being confident in the royal and benignant attachment to his person, and his merits. His receipt of certain letters, however, compelled him to cut short the voyage. Those letters assured him that the mind of the monarch was made up to appoint him as bishop in one of the vacant sees of these islands. In order that those obligatory despatches might not find him in the islands, and as he found a suitable opportunity, he embarked in a vessel to make his voyage by way of India. That unusual effort also was frustrated, because he was attacked by his last illness on the high sea, at the parallel of Ormuz. During it he edified the sailors greatly by his excellent disposition, and his conformity to the divine will, in whose kiss he delivered up his spirit. Very sorrowfully they cast him into the sea, the common tomb of sailors who happen to die thus.

18. Although few, those reformed religious, condescending at repeated urging, accepted a foundation in the port of Cavite. There lived the seamen, who, accustomed to dangers, are also reckless in vices. Men of nationalities distinct in religion and sect were wintering there because of the heavy commerce, and through their frequent intercourse their morals were becoming relaxed.

19. He who most urgently requested and sighed for such a foundation was a pious citizen and a good Christian, named Raphael Blanco, chief of the shore or arsenal, and master of the calkers. He offered to [276] help in the establishment with a large ground-plot and property on which he had built some houses, with the necessary condition that it was to be used as a church and convent. He was ready to sign a legal writ of gift, provided that the vicar-provincial bound himself to erect a church on the said ground and site. The parties having come to an agreement, went before the royal Audiencia, which was governing, and the bishop of Zebu, Don Fray Pedro de Arze, governor of this archipelago. Permission was granted, and a church and convent were formed in the best manner, in the houses of Raphael Blanco, with the aid of various alms, with St. Nicolas de Tolentino as its titulary. In the beginning of its construction it was of wood; but afterward, the necessary licenses having been granted, it was built of stone. Three reredoses adorned the temple. Shortly after its foundation its benefit was experienced. The people of the port were most extraordinarily afflicted; they frequently saw various horrifying specters in the air, which gave vent to terrible and formidable cries. Those specters took possession of various bodies, which they maltreated in many and cruel ways. Some they made raving mad; to some they caused very dangerous illnesses; some took to the mountains in flight; some, going up to the heights, let themselves fall down a precipice. So terrible a persecution put the whole port beside itself. The churches were opened and the august sacrament exposed day and night. The greatest crowd collected in the new convent and church. Missions were preached there with spirit and fervor, in which their prior at that time, Fray Pedro de la Madre de Dios, excelled. These aroused all to penitence, and there was frequent petition [277] for the holy sacraments. The air was filled with sighing, and the people mortified themselves with fastings and severe penances, in order to placate the divine wrath, so manifest in fearful acts of vengeance. The priests were continually employed in exorcisms against the wicked spirits. Cavite resembled an afflicted Nineveh. God willed to let the punishment end with threats. The spirits left their obsessions at the command of the ecclesiastical ministers, the horrible apparitions ceased, and their mournful howling was no longer heard. The inhabitants became quiet and were consoled, but did not fail to be very well warned. For they continued constant in the correction and the general reform of morals; and it extended to every kind of people, who were intimidated for a considerable time by such fearful events, and very thankful to their spiritual benefactors.

20. Upon hearing of the death of his vice-provincial, father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel became very eager to make his voyage to España to solicit new workers. He asked and obtained duplicate despatches from the most prominent and distinguished inhabitants, from the ecclesiastical and secular cabildos, from the governor, and from the royal Audiencia. All the documents were confirmed by the most illustrious bishops, who said that the discalced Augustinians were very observant of their rule in their ministries, very zealous in the conversion of souls, and therefore very advantageous, useful, and even necessary. That would oblige his Catholic Majesty to concede them the mission that they desired. The orders also confirmed the documents, especially the observantine Augustinians, in which they confuted the preceding adverse testimonies. [278] Then he embarked with so favorable and extensive despatches; but his voyage was very disagreeable. They suffered a severe storm amid these islands, in which were lost boats that had anchored at Manila and Cavite. The stormy winds obliged them to sail to Japon, from which altitude they continued their course, with constant squalls, until they sighted Cape Mendocino—whence, coasting the shores of Nueva España, they finally anchored at Acapulco, after innumerable terrors and dangers, and after a most distressing voyage of seven months.

21. The father went overland to the North Sea, and embarking at Vera Cruz, continued his course. On the voyage a raging tempest carried them to the coasts and banks of Terra Nova—[i.e., Newfoundland]. That deviation from their course made water and food grow scarce, so much so that daily rations of only two ounces of sea-biscuit were dealt out, and the same proportion of water. The ship sprang a leak, and took so much water into the hold that they reached the Terceras as by a miracle. There they rested and equipped themselves, in order to finish their voyage to Cadiz. Thence the father went to Madrid, where his requests were listened to kindly, and his despatches conceded to him. In virtue of them, he had already called together twenty religious; and he determined to embark in the fleet that was being sent to the Malucas with reënforcements. He could not effect that, because that order had been lost with the obligations expressed in another part. Accordingly it was necessary to accommodate himself to the trading-fleet which was being despatched to Vera-Cruz, although with a small number of missionaries; however, considering the extreme lack of [279] them [in the islands] great relief was furnished even by these.

22. Thereupon, and the contentions of the Roman court having been favorably determined, because the supreme pontiff had [now] been thoroughly and sufficiently informed, the latter took pains to console those whom he recognized as innocent. He did that by his apostolic brief, in which, with full knowledge of the cause, he explained his former brief and definitive sentence, confirming the concession of Clement Eighth, in the erection of the province. He restored the title and office of provincial to the same father Fray Gregorio, confirmed his former patents, and restored everything to its former condition. However, there were certain endurable reservations, by which they could not found more monasteries or receive novices. At the end of the three years’ term, the calced provincial was to visit that reformed branch in whose jurisdiction the Recollect convents were to be. He conceded them many indulgences, privileges, and favors, by which their minds were calmed, and their desired relief in Philipinas obtained. This country was reenforced with thirteen other missionaries, whom the fathers of España sent officially in charge of their commissary, father Fray Christoval de San Augustin. He reached Mexico, whence he could not proceed farther, as death seized him. Father Fray Onofre de la Madre de Dios took charge of that leadership, with whose arrangement they all arrived safe and sound at Manila. They had their frights in meeting some Dutch urcas, which followed our ship with a stern wind; and they were about to be captured when the religious invoked in their favor the glorious St. Nicolas de Tholentino. [280] Then, luffing, they were able to escape the Dutch.

23. The most illustrious bishop of Zebu, Don Fray Pedro de Arze, was in Manila, and requested the reverend father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel, the vice-provincial at that time, to send religious to Zebu to make a foundation in that city. The latter complied with this, by sending father Fray Juan Chrisostomo de la Ascencion to take charge of that, in answer to the bishop’s venerable and respectful urgency. His Excellency conceded to the father a site as his especial property, which had a chapel of our Lady of the Conception somewhat apart from its center. There the said father established his convent. As his Excellency’s desires were not that the fathers should live in ease, he immediately assigned to them the administration of the island of Maripipi, where there were about six hundred souls. Being thus established in Bisayas, his same Excellency, after consulting the superior government, and his Excellency Don Alonso Fajardo acquiescing, charged and intrusted them solemnly with the spiritual administration of the province of Caraga in Mindanao. That province, although subdued by Don Juan de Silva, and given as an encomienda, had not yet had any ministers—or, at most, a secular chaplain for ministration to the garrison of its fort. It was a difficult undertaking because of the warlike spirit and the ferocity of the Caragas, whose chief tenet of religion was the deification or apotheosis of the brave and of the most tyrannical. From so barbarous a maxim one can infer something of their fierce customs. The district was large and caused great labor, for the conquests had to be made through rough and dense forests. Their superior assigned eight religious [281] for this task, who, being supplied with the necessary things, arrived without accident at the presidio of Tandag.6

24. They endeavored to reduce that infidelity with mildness and gentleness. They made those people see their errors, and God lent such force to their persuasions that many were baptized. They procured their conversion through the chiefs, who by their superiority tyrannized over their dependents. One of those chiefs was called Ynuc, as renowned for his reputation as feared for his cruelty, by means of which he was absolute along that coast and formidable in the neighboring islands. He hated the Spaniards violently, with whom he always refused to make peace or truce, ever preserving for them an implacable hatred. The superior of that mission, father Fray Juan de la Madre de Dios, trusting in God, dared to conquer that monster. He left Tandag to look for him alone, without any followers. He found him at his ranchería.7 Ynuc wondered at the father’s audacity in appearing before him without first asking permission. He intended to take satisfaction for what he considered an intolerable insult, but the [282] father talked to him with so much mildness and spirituality, that he not only pardoned his boldness, but also showed pleasure at his salutary advice. They conversed intimately, and Ynuc was so pleased with his intercourse that he accepted tolerable treaties of peace with the Spaniards of Tandag, with whom he opened communication and commerce. He granted a free permit so that the father might preach to his subjects, and so that the father might enter and leave his lands without hindrance, ordering that all give him their help. The father continuing his intercourse with Ynuc, the opportunity came, when master of his affections, to treat concerning his conversion, as his example was so important. Ynuc did not resist the divine call very strenuously. He disposed himself for catechism, and received baptism amid great solemnity. In that conversion he performed the necessary duty, as a proof [of his sincerity], of sending all the concubines from his house, and marrying the first wife and confirming by the sacraments the natural contract in faciæ ecclesiæ.8 He freed all his slaves, who exceeded two thousand. He issued edicts ordering that all persons who thought themselves aggrieved should come for satisfaction, without any fear; and he made the religious the judges for that, together with the commandant of the fort. They settled all differences equitably, and to the satisfaction of the interested parties, entirely contenting them all with their decrees.

25. That conversion was much bruited throughout the whole province, and to his example many infidels bowed their necks; however, many difficulties yet remained. [283] The missionaries resolved to conquer them, for which they exposed themselves to evident dangers. The superior either did not recognize them as dangers or despised them. He was resting one night in a location called Ambagan, not far from Tandag. An Indian, without other motive than his barbarous inclination, conceived the thought of killing him, and obtained two companions, who aided him with their weapons in his depraved purpose. He climbed into the house boldly, leaving his two companions ready on the ladder. When he tried to enter the apartment where the minister was sleeping, a venerable old man stopped him, who asked him in his native language: “Where art thou going, profligate? I am guarding the sleeper, who is my son.” The Indian, carried away by his headlong wrath, persisted in entering the forbidden apartment. Thereupon, the venerable old man raised aloft a golden staff, which he supported in his hand, with which he threatened the Indian, who conceived so great a horror of it that in his confusion he was unable to find the ladder by which to descend, although he sought it in various ways. He remained there, miserable and afflicted, all that night, without knowing what was passing, until, the morning having come and the minister having come out of his room, he placed himself before the latter very contritely, and told him what had happened, urging him to make it known. His associates confirmed what referred to them—namely, that becoming tired of waiting at the foot of the ladder, they had retired thence at daybreak, in order not to be discovered, abandoning their associate to his fortune. The father agreed, as did the more judicious, that he whom the Indian was declaring by his signs was the [284] great father St. Augustine, who miraculously defended his son with the pastoral staff.

26. The infidels came to hold these religious in great veneration when so noteworthy incidents were made known throughout the province, and the gospel obtained great advantages. The errors in which the idolatrous priests were trying to maintain the infidels were dissipated. The priests, seeing their interests waning by the recent conversions, conspired against the fathers’ lives several times; but they escaped those dangers by a special and divine providence. Several reductions were formed in the province, and in the adjacent island of Siargao. The Jesuit fathers could not take care of all their enterprises in that island. The reduction of Butuan was not assured, with the visits made at long intervals. Those visits, being transient, allowed no place for instruction, nor did those people preserve much of their teaching. The bishop of Zebu communicating that fact to the superior government, it was agreed that the discalced Augustinians should take charge of that administration, with a foundation, as that was important. They accepted it with legal papers, and had much to do on that great and famous river. They ascended its waters even to their source, which is the lake of Linao, about fifty leguas in circuit. There they founded a settlement, in order to assure their labors.9 They [285] coasted the shore to little Cagayan,10 on that excursion taking also into their charge the island of Camiguin. Farther on they passed through the rancherías of Higan and Langaran up to the lake of Malanao. But the opposition of the Jesuits stopped them; for the latter disputed their right to that spiritual progress, to such an extent that they produced controversies in the court. His Catholic Majesty decided the question by the rights of his royal patronage. He ordered the island of Mindanao to be surveyed, and distributed the administration of it between the two contending provinces, granting to that of the Recollects [the coast] from the point of Sulaban11 to the cape of San Agustin, while the rest remained in charge of the Society. Thereby were hostile rivalries pacified, which would have produced nothing good had they continued without so powerful arbitration.

Chapter IV

The Augustinian Recollects are charged with the administration and conquest of the province of Calamianes. Geographical and natural description of that province.

1. The extension of its spiritual progress to the province of Calamianes does much honor to the religious Recollect family. It was not the effect of a rash temerity; it was a matter of slow and careful [286] deliberation. When once established and determined, resolution free from terrible doubts was necessary to undertake it. “Not only is fear not a cause for surety,” said the emperor Leo12 in his tactics, “but it is also most adverse for good strategies; since in difficult undertakings it is necessary to consult God, and, assured in one’s inmost beliefs, to attack without trepidation of spirit. The best good of expeditions (especially military), if they are difficult, consists in discovering thoroughly the condition of the enemy, the number and quality of their troops, and their enterprise in military discipline. With that keen knowledge, the captain prepares his assaults, and plans his sudden counter strategies.” In the present conversion, maxims so prudent were very suitable—in which, prepared by the spiritual food of faith, hope, and charity, they made manifest the mystery of the ineffable Trinity, and subdued the infidels to the sacrament of holy baptism. It was a difficult thing, and one that exceeds human strength; but obeying God, attacks become spirited. By His help one can soothe difficulties, explain intricate mysteries, and resolve everything easily. After having consulted that superior oracle, accompanied solely by his armor-bearer, one can attack whole armies, rout them, and throw them into a general confusion and consternation; and it is the enemy’s own weapons that wound and disperse them.

2. The archipelago of Calamianes consists of an infinity and indeterminate number of islands, large [287] and small, and most of them very fertile.13 Those best known and best supplied with the products of commerce which might make them rich are [here] set down. But their lack of attention [to these products] reduces the natives to a wretched and unhappy state. The first island, and that which is first encountered from the course of Mindoro, about fifty leguas across from Luban, is Calamian the great, which gives name to the whole province. It is commonly called Busuagan, taking that name from a principal village or settlement. It is a large and pleasant island in the form of an oblong, eight long leguas in length and about four wide. Its rivers are of great volume; there are sufficient mountains; and from that nature [of the land], there is an abundant yield of wax of superior quality, which is produced naturally, and without [human] labor, by the vast multitude of industrious bees. The only work in it is the gathering of the honeycomb in its season (which is very securely fastened in the large, high, and leafy branches of the trees), by the sole effort of making fires with thick smoke, which compels those little animals, which defend their property at the cost of their lives, to flee in confusion.

3. A more profitable product is the nest made by certain small black birds, which are mistakenly called swallows. The material of which the nest is made, in order to lay and hatch their eggs, is yet unknown. It is regarded as sure that its manufacture takes place [288] in the breast or crop, whence issues a long filament. Those filaments stick together because of their viscous nature, and at their extremities adhere to the rock. Those nests are usually located in very overhanging and rough places, in such a way that the continual rains do not unfasten or destroy them, although the birds always endeavor to place them under shelter. The shape of the nest is similar to that of the regular swallow, although smaller. It is known that that filament is produced with difficulty. It is like fine vermicelli, which is sometimes accompanied with drops of blood. It is white and somewhat transparent, like ice. It is prepared in various ways, but a soup resembling that of vermicelli, but of better taste, and incomparably more nourishing, is made with the broth from a substantial olio, or stew. It is very useful for those who suffer from evacuations and dysentery; it corrects those ailments and is good as a mild and dissolvent food. The Chinese esteem it highly, and generally pay, according to its scarcity or abundance, eight, nine, and sixteen pesos per cate, which contains twenty-one onzas. They are very difficult to gather, for the birds always build them in craggy locations, in whose tortuous and precipitous caverns they are only obtained by descending a rope. Some are obtained by climbing up bamboos, finding a rest for the feet on the knots, which are left with large projections for that purpose. So dangerous evolutions cost even broken arms and legs, and sometimes even cause death. The taking of the nests is repeated three times during the calm months of the year. The latter part of December, those to whom are assigned crags—in which it is not right for one to meddle with those of another, a rule that is observed [289] with much fidelity—go out. They gather the old nests, which are sufficiently blackened by the preceding rains; however, they do not lose much of their nourishment. Thus do they force the little bird to make a new nest, as it cannot make use of the old one for breeding. As the desire to breed is excited by its nature, the industrious little bird strives to build its nest before breeding. All the month of January is spent in its costly labors. The destroyers come and tear them down. Sometimes they are found with eggs, and sometimes even imperfect; but nothing restrains their greed, and they tear down all indifferently. The disconsolate birds again begin to build their nest, and at the end of February or the beginning of March the Indians repeat their robbery. The saddened bird, forced to build its shelter at the behest of nature in the multiplication of the species repeats its anxious labors. Either because there is not enough material for so many labors, or because the season has passed in their periods, the bird does not possess the same inclination in its formation; the nest is finished later, and is less juicy, as experience has shown, for at that time the rainy season generally sets in. That, and the Moros who infest these seas cause the harvest of nests involuntarily to be abandoned. However, if the above circumstances do not prevent, the third excursion is not lacking. All the crags are not accessible, and where those furtive assaults cannot be made, the number of those industrious little birds is prodigious.”14 [290]

4. The beaches are protracted into very extensive shoals and reefs. There the excellent balate is very abundant. This is a shellfish,15 which when cooked and dried in the smoke is preserved dry. This product is highly relished by the Chinese or Sangleys. They lade as much as possible into their boats, paying thirty and even thirty-eight pesos per pico (which is equivalent to five arrobas twelve and one-half libras), according to the season. The flesh is very wholesome, and tastes like shrimp. The fisheries of fine-shelled turtles are also abundant, and they also form a conspicuous product. Some of the shells have markings as deep red as a fine garnet; and the four principal shells are of an extraordinary size. From the shells are made very neat boxes, trays, and other pretty things. They are given a jasper finish, which makes their colors shine out strongly. The island has abundance of deer, wild boars, and wild hogs, and monkeys and birds of singular rarity. There are many pagans [291] of good appearance and better disposition. The frequent raids of the Moros hold that most fertile island in the greatest abandonment. A narrow channel separates the island of Coron16 from it. The latter is a rocky crag about three leguas in circumference. The only entrance to it is by a narrow tongue of land, which forms, as it were, a small port. But it is so easy of defense that a few men can prevent any entrance there without danger. Because of the strength and independence of its location many natives of savage inclination, and most warlike, live there. Calamian the little follows, where the capital is at present located.17 There is a fort there, well armed. The men in their capacity as soldiers, with their corresponding officers, defend from the natives. It is also fertile in the same products, although less abundantly than Calamian the great, but it is so overrun with rats or moles that no seed plant can live, for they destroy everything. The natives are forced to engage in the trade of jars and salt, although they are much interested in the nest business, and in that of wax; the one being their own occupation and the other the exchange.

5. Passing without comment other innumerable islands, comes the famous one of Paragua,18 about eighty leguas long and from ten to twenty in its greatest width. It is a rich and fertile island. Besides the common articles of commerce, such as wax [292] (of which the harvest is more abundant than in any other district), nests, fine shell, and balate, it has various fisheries for fine pearls of beautiful luster, some of them found at a depth of three or four brazas. Shells, or madres abiertas, of excellent mother-of-pearl, of various beautiful colors, are found on its coasts. The matrix-shell of these pearls has been seen of one and one-half ordinary palmos in length and almost one palmo in its narrowest part—whose pearl could not be obtained, because the valve opened on drawing it from the sea, and the sensitive fleshy part that contained the pearl fell into the water. According to its appearance, it must have contained pearls of many grains and carats in size. The island has various exquisite and useful woods which distil special gums. There is one which is an effective remedy for cancers; it is so powerful a caustic that it burns out the cancer even when it is deep, although the wounds caused by its burning are dangerous. However, those wounds have their suitable remedy. There is a quantity of nutmeg of two varieties—the long and the round. The latter is valued more because it is more fragrant. It is easily destroyed by grubs, because the precautions useful for its preservation are unknown. There are bejucos or Indian canes for walking-sticks, with their branches as much as five and one-half palmos long; they are of better luster and of greater toughness than are those gathered by the Dutch in the islands of the Sonda. I am sure that camphor would be found, if one looked for it, just as good as that of Borney; for the resemblance of Paragua’s productions to those of that great island is very marked, and the latter is not very far from its southern point. [293]

6. There are but few quadrupeds19 that are not found in the other islands: porcupines, armadillos, tezones, leopards, colcobos, and certain very beautiful foxes, but of the same species as the stink-foxes of Peru, and very pestilent. They come to the houses in their greed for fowls, among which they cause considerable havoc. But whether it is due to their urine or some other posterior evacuation, such is their stench that is necessary to abandon the house for a time, as it is unendurable. There are many and rare birds. Royal peacocks are very common; they are but slightly larger than a hen, though without any difference from the large peacocks of India in the vividness of their colors. Several efforts have been made to domesticate them, but in vain; they become greatly depressed, and soon die. There are nightingales that sing harmoniously near the coolness of the small streamlets, repeating their melodious trills, and gifted with most nimble throats. There are many varieties of parrots of brilliant colors; green, white, [294] and vari-colored pigeons; squirrels or paniquesas, of several distinct species—some are white with a black ring which sets them off well; there are some with wings and some with membranes that facilitate their flight, although that is but short. It is known that the land is one continuous mineral district. Extensions of pure iron jut from the shores laid bare by the breaking of the waves, as rocky shoals. There are others of vitriol or verdigris, in very rich veins. It must be that the centers of the mountains are like this. The island abounds in exquisite and healthful waters, now in the springs, now in the large rivers—so many in number that sixty-seven are counted from Catbuli to the bay of Ypolote, on the side and coast of the east. Numerous tribes live there. In the roughest locations the Aetas or black Cimarrones are gathered. Along the rivers and level farm lands the natives are of a lighter complexion, and less ugly in feature. This island is peculiar in what we have already mentioned, namely, that earthquakes are not experienced there. But there are stormy clouds that emit vivid lightnings and terrifying thunder. But we have not heard that the fury of the thunderbolts is in those clouds, or results from them, for the inhabitants of Paragua have experienced none of those ravages. Consequently, they do not have any words or terms peculiar to their language, for these or for earthquakes, which is a very convincing proof....

7. The coasts, bays, and rivers of that large island abound plentifully in divers and savory fish. In the bay of Malampaya, opposite Taytay, in the same district as Manila, although with a clear and deep bottom, there are many islands, which beautify the bay with their foliage. A vast multitude of vicudas enter [295] the great rivers at the spawning season—a fine cod-fish that differs in no wise from that of Terranova [i.e., Newfoundland], and when fresh they are of delicious taste. The Indians catch them (although with danger from the Moros), and without other appliances than certain hooks, and as many as they wish. For lack of salt, they smoke-dry them, which always leaves an unpleasant taste, and the fish spoil easily. Paragua has its own near-by islands scattered along its coast, some of which are inhabited by pigeons, various species of parrots, peacocks, and aquatic birds; others in which sailors get as many eggs and squabs, or the young of such birds, as they wish. The largest and most fertile [of these islands] is that of Dumaran, which is separated from Paragua by a narrow strait. It is a fertile island, in which there is a most abundant harvest of rice, which as a general rule yields more than a hundred-fold.

8. The island of Alutaya belongs to that province. It is a rocky and arid land. However, it has plenty of domestic and useful animals, [the rearing of which forms], the careful industry of its natives. It is about thirty leguas across the open sea from the islands of Calamianes. About six leguas away is the island of Cuyo, which is small, being about three leguas in circuit, and low, but very fertile. It contains whatever is fitting and desirable for the sustenance of human life. Its natives, being for the most part descendants of Sangleys, are industrious and shrewd in trade. In exchange for the edible and potable products of their island, and the textiles of Yloylo, and tobacco, they lade fine products in Calamianes, an exchange that causes anger to the alcaldes-mayor. The latter endeavor to prevent that [296] trade, which injures their interests; but those people by their shrewdness deceive them easily, and frustrate the efforts of the alcaldes. The natives were on the whole very savage, and had even more barbarous customs and greater stupidity than the inhabitants of the other islands. They have a knowledge of herbs. In Paragua especially, there are some very poisonous ones. They use them to bewitch their fellows and deprive them of life. There is one of so uncommon deadliness, that if it be chewed in the mouth, and if the exhalations from it be directed in a gentle current toward any person whom it is wished to destroy, his life is quickly taken away. I heard that from some who have intercourse with the Negroes of Dapit, who know more about it and use it mere easily. The way to overcome those fatal effects is to carry the effective remedy with one—another herb or root. Thus the evil breath loses all its force, and the [aforesaid] herb or root is a sure antidote for its deadliness.

9. This Recollect province set itself to conquer those savage monsters. They had but little religion, and that an idolatry so barbarous and stupid that no light of reason was visible in it. Their knowledge of the first cause was very erroneous and confused. They admitted another life, but through certain very confused transmigrations. They revered their dead greatly, for they prepared food for their resting-places. They had certain little idols—one who presided over the fields, one over wars, one over illnesses—and they offered ridiculous sacrifices to all. They revered the moon greatly, as the mistress of death, and celebrated their funeral rites only at the full moon. Their priests had high honor among them, [297] and still more the priestesses, who arrogated despotic power to themselves. They had no civil body, but were scattered, and had communication only in their families. They were timid and cowardly, and avenged their grievances only by treachery. Five religious were assigned for that difficult undertaking, their director and superior being father Fray Juan de Santo Thomas, a missionary of proved spirit and a man of resolute mind. They left Manila provided with the necessary supplies. They put in first at the island of Cuyo, whose natives, being of excellent disposition, were hoping to have Spaniards in their island—although this was against the will of their priests, who were losing their profits (which their offices made easy) by admitting them. The missionaries were received with affection by the others, who had no such interests. They first reduced those people to a social life and united them, settling quarrels among the families, and forming a goodly village; and, urging their obligation, they built a church and house. They continued gently to insinuate themselves in the natives’ hearts and succeeded in reducing them to the bosom of the Catholic church. Thence they went to Alutaya. They preached the gospel, and, in the same manner, established a town, church, and house, for the people received the instruction with docility.

10. After those so fortunate beginnings, they determined to send two of the said religious and one lay brother to Paragua. They entered the bay of Taytay, where they experienced greater resistance. The people were opposed to living congregated in one settlement, and that was the gravest hindrance; but the fathers were able to attain in part, [298] by dint of patience and constancy. The greatest annoyance arose from the Moros, who infested those coasts, and the natives were unwilling to expose themselves to their injuries by establishing themselves on the beach. The religious hoped that the Spaniards would defend them with their arms, and that with their reduction they would become established there. By that method and other effective efforts they attained the erection of a large village. Thence the religious informed the superior government of their progress, and that for its continuation and the defense of the natives—both those already reduced, and those whom they expected to reduce—the construction of a fort was necessary for the reduction of the island of Paragua, in which a Spanish garrison might be stationed. By that means the reduction of all that large island was certain. Accordingly, that determination was taken in a meeting of the royal treasury tribunal; and two companies were detached for the garrison, one Spanish and the other Pampanga. The title and pay of royal chaplain was given and conceded to the minister of that village. The fort mounted on its ramparts some excellent artillery. The conquests were carried farther along that coast, and inland. The Spaniards were also received, and without any repugnance the natives accommodated themselves to the fitting homage, even the infidels recognizing the tribute. Villages were established on the river of Barbacan, Aborlan, and as far as Ypolote. They also reduced the island of Dumaran, and spread to the Calamianes Islands, where they founded reductions in Linacapan, Culiong, or Calamian the lesser, and in the greater [Oalamian] at Busuagan. To the above, which they [299] regarded as capitals, they added other near-by villages; and as their ministrations spread so extraordinarily, it became necessary for a greater number of religious to go there. That was made possible by the second arrival from España of father Fray Rodrigo de San Miguel,20 who had been sent to make various efforts in their interests, and who returned with eight religious.

1 The title-pages of La Concepción’s fourteen volumes show more or less difference in their wording. Following is a translation of the title of vol. iv, a facsimile of which is here presented: “General history of Philipinas: temporal and spiritual conquests of these Spanish dominions, their establishment, progress, and decadence; comprehending the empires, kingdoms, and provinces of islands and continents with which there has been communication and commerce by immediate coincidences, with general notices regarding geography, hydrography, natural history, politics, customs, and religions, in which so universal a title should be interested. By father Fray Juan de la Concepcion, discalced Augustinian Recollect, pensioned lecturer, ex-provincial, synodal examiner of the archbishopric of Manila, and chronicler of his province of San Nicolas of the Philipinas islands. Volume IV. With permission of the superiors. At Manila, in the printing office of the royal and conciliar seminary of San Carlos; printed by Agustin de la Rosa y Balagtas. Year of 1788.”

2 A term applied to the gun-room on a ship, which was considered as under the protection of St. Barbara.

3 The Armenian church was founded by St. Gregory, who was consecrated bishop of Armenia in the year 302 A.D. Owing to a misunderstanding, this church refused to accept the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) regarding certain questions of heresies, which led to its gradual separation from the Greek church. In the middle of the fifteenth century arose dissensions, which resulted in a schism; these were mainly occasioned by Roman Catholic missionaries who endeavored to proselytize the Armenians to the doctrine, liturgy, and ceremonies of the Roman church, to which they gained many adherents. This led to dissensions and persecutions, which continued until, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the Armenian patriarch secured the intervention of Peter the Great, and the protection of the Russian church, under which that of Armenia has since remained.

4 The Order of the Carmelites was founded by a crusader named Berthold, in the middle of the twelfth century. Some time after becoming a monk in Calabria he went to Mount Carmel, where he was joined by various other hermits living there in solitude. They adopted the rule of life framed for them by Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, which consisted of sixteen articles. These forbade the possession of property; ordered that each hermit should live in a cell by himself; interdicted meat; recommended manual labor and silence; and imposed a strict fast from the exaltation of the cross to Easter, Sundays being excepted. The hermits were compelled to abandon Mount Carmel by the advance of the Mahomedan power, and established themselves in Cyprus, and other places. In Europe they were compelled to live in common and mitigate their rule, and they became known as one of the mendicant orders. In England, where they became very numerous, they were called the “White Friars.” To St. Simon Stock, the first general, the Virgin is said to have shown the scapular in a vision. The order became divided into two branches, according to whether they observed the strict or the mitigated rule, being designated as Observatines and Conventuals. The Carmelite nuns were first instituted by John Soreth, general of the order in the fifteenth century. See Addis and Arnold’s Catholic Dictionary, pp. 120–122.

5 Gregorio de Santa Catalina, who had gone to Rome with twelve religious to urge the support of the pope for the Recollects.

6 “Fray Miguel de Santa Maria, with his seven companions, arrived at Tandág in the year 1622” (Provincia de S. Nicolás de Tolentino, p. 276).

7 A letter dated May 22, 1904, from father Fray Eduardo Navarro, O.S.A., Valladolid, Spain, who spent many years in the Philippines, thus defines several terms as used in the islands. Pueblo [“town” or “village”] is to be understood in its usual significance. But beside the pueblo proper, where are established the church, parochial house, and city hall, all the pueblos have, at a greater or less distance, groups of a greater or less number of houses. If they belong to Christians, they are called barrios [“suburbs”], and have a distinctive name; if of infidels, they are called rancherías [“a collection of huts”] of such and such a chief.

8 i.e., “at the entrance to the church;” said of marriages duly performed with church rites.

9 “Strictly speaking, then, the work of the redemption of those islanders [in Mindanao] belongs to the Jesuits and the Recollects. The latter commenced their labors by virtue of an arrangement made in the year 1622, by the bishop of Cebú, Very Reverend Father Fray Pedro de Arce—agreed upon with the captain-general of the archipelago, who was then the famous Don Alonso Fajardo de Tenza. Their first enterprises were on the northern and eastern coasts of Mindanao, as well as in the adjacent islets of Dinagat, Camiguin, and Siargao. In the year 1631, the ninth of [285] their evangelizing work, the Recollect fathers suffered painful but glorious losses; for six of those missionaries were martyred by the inhabitants of the island.” (Retana and Pastells, in their edition of Combés’s Historia de Mindanao, col. 788.)

10 River and pueblo of same name in the province of Misamis, in northern Mindanao; the river falls into the bay of Macajalar.

11 A point on the northern coast of Misamis province.

12 Referring to Leo VI, Emperor of the East, styled “the Philosopher” and “the Wise;” he occupied the throne of Constantinople from 886 to 911 A.D. He wrote several books, among which is a treatise on military tactics, which was published by J. Meursius, at Leyden, in 1612.

13 The islands in the Calamianes and Cuyos groups number one hundred and forty-five that are charted, besides nearly sixty that are uncharted. See descriptions of these groups in U. S. Gazetteer of Philippine Islands, pp. 412–415, 480–484. The names Calamian and Busuañga are now applied to separate islands, the largest, of the Calamianes group.

14 The bird here referred to (Collocalia troglodites) is a specie of swift; the nests, composed of a gelatinous secretion from the salivary glands in the mouths of the birds, sell at high price almost their weight in gold, when fresh and clean. The best nests are obtained on the precipitous sides of the Peñon de Coron, between [290n] Culion and Busuanga, where the natives gather them at no little personal risk. The nests are known to commerce as salangana. (U. S. Gazetteer of Philippine Islands, pp. 170, 482.)

Delgado says (Hist. de Filipinas, p. 821) that the material used by the bird is a species of seaweed, called ñgoso, or another called lano—and not, as Colin and San Antonio would have it, the foam of the sea. See ut supra, pp. 727, 728, and 822.

See also Retana’s note in his edition of Zúñiga’s Estadismo, ii, pp. 430*, 431*.

15 The balate—also known as “sea slug,” “sea cucumber,” “beche de mer,” and commercially as “trepang”—is a slug (Holothuria edulis) used as food in the Eastern Archipelago and in China, in which country it is regarded as a delicacy by the wealthy classes, and brings from seven to fifty cents a pound in the markets. (See U. S. Gazetteer of Philippine Islands, pp. 482, 483.) Delgado, writing in 1754, says (p. 935) that in Manila the dried balate was usually worth thirty-five to forty (or even more) silver pesos a pico (or pecul; equivalent, in the Philippines, to 137.9 U.S. pounds).

16 “Better known as Peñon de Corón (“Crown Peak”); a small, rocky island off the eastern end of Busuañga Island, famous for the fine quality of the edible bird’s-nests found there.

17 Apparently the present Calamián island is here referred to; its chief town is Culion.

18 Now known as Palawan; its northern part forms the province of Paragua, which includes many dependent islands lying near it.

19 “In general it may be said that the Philippines politically speaking, and the Philippines zoologically speaking, are not identical areas, for Balabac, Palawan, and the Calamianes Islands are strongly characterized by the presence of numerous Bornean forms which are conspicuously absent throughout the remaining islands of the archipelago. Although the Philippines are commonly held to form an eastern extension of the Indo-Malayan subregion, it should not be forgotten that at least among the birds and mammals there is a large amount of specialization in the islands to the eastward of the Balabac-Palawan-Calamianes group.... The Philippines are very poor in mammals.... They are undoubtedly well adapted to a large and diversified mammalian fauna, and the only plausible explanation of the scarcity of forms is to suppose either that they have never been connected with Borneo and the Asiatic continent or that, if at one time connected, they have since been subjected to such subsidence as to wipe out the greater part of their mammalian fauna.” (U.S. Philippine Commission’s Report, 1900, iii, p. 307.)

20 This is an error on the part of La Concepción; Fray Rodrigo went to Europe in 1622, but died there in 1626. The missions of Mindanao and Paragua were begun by Recollects who arrived at Manila in 1620 and 1622, and continued by missionaries who came in 1627 and 1637.


Bibliographical Data

The principal document in this volume, “Early Recollect missions in the Philippines,” is compiled from the following works:

1. Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden de San Avgvstin, by Fray Andrés de San Nicolas (Madrid, 1664), pp. 396–510.

2. Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden de S. Augustin, by Fray Luis de Jesús (Madrid, 1681), pp. 1–61. (This work is a continuation of the preceding one.)

3. Historia general de Philipinas, by Fray Juan de la Concepción (Manila, 1788), tomo iv, pp. 189–265, and v, pp. 32–100.

The following documents are obtained from MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla:

4. Seminary for Japanese missionaries,—“Simancas-Secular; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y expedientes del governador de Filipinas vistos en el Consejo; años 1600 á 1628; est. 67, caj. 6, leg. 7.”

5. Extract from Serrano’s letter.—“Simancas—Eclesiástico; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y expedientes del arzobispo de Manila vistos en el Consejo; año de 1579 á 1679; est. 68, caj. 1, leg. 32.”

6. Royal orders regarding the religious.—“Audiencia de Filipinas; registro de oficio; reales ordenes [301] dirigidas á las autoridades del distrito de la Audiencia; años 1597 á 1634; est. 105, caj. 2, leg. 1.” The second part of this document, however, is obtained from the “Cedulario Indico” of the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid: “tomo 40, fol. 26, verso, n°. 38.”

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

7. Conflict between civil and religious authorities.—In vol. i, pp. 515–523.

The following document is found in Pastells’s edition of Colin’s Labor evangélica (Barcelona, 1904):

8. Ecclesiastical affairs in the Philippines.—In tomo iii, pp. 674–697.