User Tools

Site Tools


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 XXX, 1640
The Arthur H. Clark Company
Cleveland, Ohio



Contents of Volume XXX

Preface 9
Commerce between the Philippines and Nueva España. Antonio Alvarez de Abreu; Madrid, 1736. [From his Extracto historial.] 23
Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario de la Orden de Predicadores (to be continued). Diego Aduarte, O.P.; Manila, 1640 115
Bibliographical Data 323




Title-page of Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736); photographic facsimile from copy in library of Harvard University 21
Map of the eastern islands; photographic facsimile from Mercator’s Atlas minor (Amsterdam, 1633); from copy of original map in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris 83
Title-page of Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario ... en Philippinas, by Diego Aduarte, O.P. (Manila, 1640); photographic facsimile from copy in library of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago 113
Governor Luis Perez Dasmariñas; from painting exhibited at St. Louis, 1904, in the Philippine exhibit of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition 227




The present volume contains no record of events in the year 1640; but its two documents are retrospective from that date. The first, an historical survey of Philippine commerce with Nueva España, from its beginning until 1640, is taken from the Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736), a work devoted to that subject and compiled by order of the Spanish government. The second is Aduarte’s noted history of the Dominican missions in the Philippines; although much of it is briefly synopsized, its great length permits us only to begin it here, two more volumes being necessary to complete it.

Valuable information regarding the trade between the Philippines and Nueva España is furnished by the Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736), from which we take such matter as pertains to that commerce up to 1640. A brief summary of royal ordinances thereon is followed by a memorial sent (1640) to the royal visitor for Mexico, Juan Palafox y Mendoza, by Juan Grau y Monfalcón, agent at the Spanish court for the Philippine Islands. As Palafox is commissioned to investigate the condition, needs, and commerce of the islands, Grau sends him this memorial by way of information thereon, and as a brief for the islands in their controversy over the grievous restrictions [10]placed on their commerce with Nueva España (which is mainly their export thither of Chinese silk fabrics). Grau’s argument is carefully divided and subdivided; it is not always ingenuous, and sometimes he overshoots his mark, or uses the same premises for different and at times incongruous results; but it is on the whole a forcible presentation of the difficulties and embarrassments under which that commerce is laboring, and even the colony striving for existence. He constantly urges the great importance of the Philippines to the Spanish crown, not only as a center of missionary effort in the Orient, but for the defense of the Moluccas and the spice trade, the maintenance of Eastern India, and the diversion from that region and from the American coasts of the Dutch enemy, on whom the Philippine colony is a continual and effective check; all these considerations are discussed at length. He lauds the bravery, loyalty, and piety of the Spaniards in those islands, and their great services to the crown. He computes the expenditures necessary to sustain the Philippine colony, and the revenues which it yields, and shows that its actual expense is but moderate, and far less than is supposed. From even this should properly be deducted the expenses of sustaining Moluco, a burden which falls on the Philippines, although the Spice Islands and their trade are the property of Portugal; such computation leaves but 26,000 pesos annually as the actual cost of maintaining the Philippines, Grau proposes two plans for securing this end: one, to pay all the expenses of the islands directly from the royal treasury; the other, to grant them a sufficient amount of commerce—the latter being the most expedient and desirable method. Granting this, it remains to consider [11]the character, amount, and form of such commerce; Grau expatiates on the third of these in especial, recounting the annoyances and injuries inflicted at Acapulco on Philippine merchants and their goods.

Grau notices the accusations that have been made against the Philippine commerce, of infractions of the ordinances regulating it; while not denying these, he claims that they are not more extensive or serious than those that are committed in the India trade, and do not deserve the severity which has been employed against them. In behalf of the islands, Grau asks for an increase in the amount of trade permitted to them; for the restrictions on their commerce have greatly reduced their wealth, on which heavier burdens are constantly laid by the necessity of defending themselves from so many and so powerful enemies. The population of Manila is also much larger than when the trade was first limited, and needs more for its support; moreover, much of the amount permitted is granted to convents and other institutions, and to certain privileged persons, and various deductions are made from its total, thus diminishing its actual value. Grau argues that a sufficient increase in the trade of the islands would put a stop to illegal shipments of goods; and that the exporters cannot make any reasonable profits unless they are more liberally treated. He suggests that they be allowed to export goods freely, a limitation being placed only on the returns of silver therefor; and urges that the products of the islands be free from all restrictions, and not included in the amount permitted—which latter should apply only to Chinese goods—for which he adduces various forcible arguments. Discussing then the commerce between Nueva España and Peru, he [12]shows that the suspension of this trade during 1635–40 has been very injurious to the Philippines, for various reasons; it has also hurt both Peru and Mexico, especially by checking the latter’s silk industry, which found a market in Peru. He defends the Peruvian merchants from the accusations made against them of transgressing the trade permission that had been accorded to them, and urges that, for the sake of all the western colonies, this permission be restored to Peru.

This memorial by Grau is followed by several royal decrees (dated February 14, 1640) addressed to Palafox; these are mainly “informatory,” and lay before that official the representations made by the citizens of the islands regarding their distressed condition—ordering him to investigate the affairs of Philipinas carefully and thoroughly, and report thereon to the home government. In later volumes of this series will be presented a considerable part of the Extracto historial—a work which, as we understand, has not before been Englished—on account of the importance attached not only to the book as an official report, but to the commerce of the Philippines as a factor in the history and development of that Spanish colony in the Far East.

Aduarte’s Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario (Manila, 1640) is here presented for the first time in English dress—partly in full translation and partly in synopsis, because this work, besides being voluminous, contains much about Japan and other countries, and other matter outside our scope. The earlier chapters (i–ix) of book i, here briefly summarized, describe the foundation of the province and the voyage of the first Dominican missionaries to Manila; [13]also the unsuccessful effort at the same time to open a mission in China. In chapter x is described their entrance into Manila, their affectionate reception by all, and their establishment there as a religious community. The new arrivals are initiated into missionary labor at Bataan, and soon afterward are placed in charge of the Pangasinan natives, and of the Chinese at Manila. With the aid of Bishop Salazar, the Dominicans secure a piece of land for their convent and church; and they receive many gifts and alms from pious citizens. They labor for the good of the Spanish residents of Manila, and soon effect a great change in their morals and religious life. They prosper, and are able to erect a new and handsome stone church and the other buildings necessary for their establishment; but the noted fire of 1603 destroys all this great work. It is afterward rebuilt, even more solidly than before, and all by the alms of the faithful. Chapters xii-xv are devoted to an account of an image of our Lady of the Rosary possessed by this Dominican convent, and of the miracles wrought through its agency. Some of the friars had complained of the severity of their mode of life and of the rules imposed upon them; but all finally agree thereto, with great self-forgetfulness and devotion. Aduarte proceeds to recount the great advantages arising to the province from this procedure, and the holiness displayed by the Dominican religious in Luzón—statements confirmed by various letters written to Spain by trustworthy persons, not only within but without that order.

Chapter xix is devoted to an account of the Dominicans’ first mission-field, that of Bataán, and their labors therein. This field had been transiently occupied [14]by other missionaries, but was so hard and barren that none of them had persevered in its cultivation. But the Dominicans “licked their fingers over the hardships,” and devote themselves most heroically to the care of these poor souls, and to learning their language—a difficult task for old men. One of them, Pedro de Bolaños, is overcome by the labors and privations of this sort of life, and is compelled to return to Manila, where he finally dies; and the others suffer much from illness. As soon as the fathers learn the language of those natives, they acquire great influence over the natives, especially through the confessional. They greatly abate drunkenness, the worst vice of the Indians, by “sending to Coventry” every intoxicated person; and they persuade the heathen to abandon their idols and superstitious practices, and even (perhaps the greatest triumph of all) to set free many slaves, and restore what they had taken from others in usury and by other unjust means. All this is accomplished within one year; and Bataán acquires a wide reputation for the religious and peaceful life which its natives lead. Various marvelous works are wrought for the fathers by divine power; “on the other hand, the devil played some tricks on them.” They have to encounter witches and devils, but the Lord gives them the victory over these evil beings.

Pangasinan is another mission-field assigned to the Dominicans, which also had been barren of gospel fruit through the obstinate hostility of its natives to the Christian faith. At first, they try to drive away the Dominicans also, but the holy lives of those fathers work a miracle in their hard hearts, and convert them to the faith. This is told in a letter from [15]Bishop Benavides to the pope, written in 1598. He relates their hardships, patience, and devotion, in the face of the hatred and hostility of the natives—so bitter that the missionaries are entreated, not only by Spanish officers but by Bishop Salazar, to leave Pangasinan. But they refuse to go, and finally their persistent and unwearied kindness to the Indians, and their consistent Christian characters, soften those hard hearts; and, after three years of patient waiting, the fathers gather a rich harvest of souls. Those Indians are excellent Christians, and show most edifying devotion and piety, a statement thoroughly confirmed by later reports. The early persecution of the missionaries is explained by the fact that after their arrival the oracles of the native idols became silent, and by false accusations which the devil and his emissaries concoct against the religious. The conversions and pious acts of two prominent chiefs are related, as well as various miracles which occur in this mission.

The leading events and persons of the next mission (1588–89) are described. Amid the greatest difficulties and dangers, those religious make the perilous voyage to Manila. The first provincial chapter-meeting is held in that city, on June 12, 1588; on this occasion the new province is organized, and officers regularly elected. Some progress is made this year in Pangasinan; but some of the natives are obstinately hostile, and the missionaries are often ill-treated, and sometimes in danger of death. Their acts of charity to the Indians, and especially their success in curing some sick persons, gradually win the affection of the natives; and the fathers are able to do much to improve the condition of those people[16]—above all, in furnishing them hospitals and medical care for the sick, thus saving many lives.

Soon after reaching the islands the Dominicans also undertake to minister to the Chinese who come to Manila. In this field, as among the Indians, they obtain a foothold by their generous and unwearied care for the sick; and soon they erect a hospital for the care of poor Chinese sick persons, which rapidly increases in size and in the aid bestowed upon it, and where nearly all the patients are converted before they leave it. One of their converts devotes himself to the service of the hospital for many years, and greatly aids the fathers in charge of it. New buildings are erected, and the number of converts is greatly increased. The village of Binondo is enlarged, and a large and beautiful church is erected, for this Chinese Christian population. The pious works of several of these converts are related.

The harvest of souls continues to increase, and in 1589 a small but helpful reënforcement of missionaries arrives at the islands. A full account is given of their labors in Pangasinan and Bataán, the marvels wrought for them, the renunciation of idols by the heathen, the devotion and piety displayed by the converts. Fathers Castro and Benavides go to China (1590) to attempt the establishment of a mission there; but their enterprise is a failure, on account of the Chinese hostility to foreigners. Juan Cobo, acting provincial during Castro’s absence, visits the missions and makes some arrangements for their more advantageous management. Excellent crops for several years, and the advice and aid of the missionaries, increase the temporal prosperity of the Indians; [17]and they become more friendly to the religious, and more inclined to receive religious instruction.

Gomez Perez Dasmariñas arrives at Manila in 1590, as governor of the islands. Dissensions soon arise between him and Bishop Salazar, and the latter departs for Spain (in June, 1591), accompanied by Benavides. The governor is afterward slain by his own Chinese oarsmen. In April, 1592, Fray Alonso Ximenes is chosen provincial; the various missions are apportioned, and certain ordinances for their conduct and the better government of the province are enacted. Fray Juan de Castro and Fray Juan Cobo die soon afterward, of whom Aduarte presents full biographical accounts. A special assembly of the religious is convened in December, 1594, at which additional rules for their conduct are adopted. They are also asked to send religious to Nueva Segovia, for which mission two fathers are allotted. Aduarte describes that province, and its conquest (1581) by the Spaniards, to prevent it from becoming a Japanese possession. The Indians of that province are so warlike that for a long time the Spaniards can keep but a precarious hold upon it; and the friars find that they can accomplish nothing there with either Spaniards or Indians. The Dominicans, therefore, enter (1595) upon a hard and sterile field; but a considerable reënforcement of missionaries opportunely arrive to aid them, although many die while en route from España. Aduarte recounts the superstitious beliefs and observances current among the Cagayán Indians, notions which shape or modify nearly all of their social customs; they are, from his standpoint, slaves to the devil in all things. The Dominican missionaries, [18]now eight in number, plan and begin the spiritual conquest of Cagayán. For nearly a year they endure, on account of the hostility of the natives, great sufferings from hunger, exposure, and apparently vain efforts; but gradually they subdue the natives by their unwearied self-denial, patience, and love. Their first-fruits consist in eight converted chiefs, who are baptized at Easter (1597), and these are the beginning of a rich harvest—at first, mainly of children baptized before they die from the prevalent epidemic of smallpox. Gradually, they are able to build churches in the respective villages, and to introduce among the Indians a civilized and Christian mode of life. At the time of Aduarte’s writing (ca. 1637), those people have become very fond of their religious, and ask for them to come to teach them—even changing their own residences, when necessary for their obtaining religious instruction. The supply of missionaries for that region is very inadequate, and should be promptly increased.

The Editors

Commerce between the Philippines and Nueva España

By Antonio Alvarez de Abreu; Madrid, 1736.

Source: Translated from Abreu’s Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736), fol. 1–28; from a copy in the possession of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago.

Translation: This is made by Emma Helen Blair. [21]

Title-page of Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736)



Commerce between the Philippines and Nueva España

[From Extracto historial.1]


Period I

Of what has been ordained by royal decrees, now compiled, in regard to the commerce of Philipinas.

1–15. [This “period” consists of a very brief summary of the laws regarding the above commerce, issued from 1593 to 1635; this matter, in fuller form, has been already given in VOLS. XVII of this series, pp. 27–50, and XXV, pp. 48–73, with which this document should be read.] [24]


Period II

Of the debates on this commerce which occurred in the royal Council of the Indias up to the year 1640, and the commissions which on that account were entrusted to Señor Don Juan de Palafox, who, being an official of the [India] House, went as bishop of Puebla de los Angeles.

Although in the collection of documents which was furnished to us by the Council, for the compilation of this Extracto, nothing appears relative to the controversies which occurred during the greater part of the last century in regard to the commerce of Philipinas, in order that the long silence on this matter—from the earliest decrees up to the year 1684, of which an account is given us by the papers in the Secretary’s office (with which “Period III” begins, and which the Extracto will follow)—may not seem irreparable, it has seemed to us desirable to form the present “Period” from a printed quarto book which [25]was placed in the hands of Señor Palafox (who is now in Nueva España) by the deputy of those islands, and has reached us among other interesting documents. In this book are enumerated, for the purpose of furnishing information to that prelate—who was charged by the royal orders to inform [the government] regarding that affair [of the commerce]—the arguments which during the years 1638–40 were presented in behalf of the maintenance of the commerce of Philipinas, and the enlargement of the amount of trade allowed to that colony. We have not been able by any search to obtain the “Memorial” of one hundred and thirty-six sections which is said, in this printed book, to have been presented to the Council on this subject, in behalf of the city of Manila; but the insertion of the present document will not be unwelcome—not only because it contains substantially the same arguments which in following years up to the present time have been adduced, and which, it may reasonably be believed, those same islands will reproduce in the future whenever this subject is discussed; but because at the same time it presents certain information which is of no little value for better understanding the importance of that remote domain.


Justification of the maintenance of the Philipinas Islands and their commerce

To the very illustrious and reverend Señor Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, member of his Majesty’s Council, in the royal Council of the Indias, and bishop of Puebla de los Angeles: by Don Juan Grau y Monfalcón, procurator-general of the Philipinas Islands, agent for the principality of Catuluña, and syndic of the city of Barcelona. [26]

Very illustrious and reverend sir:

Although I wrote for the city of Manila, the capital of the Philipinas islands, a memorial of one hundred and thirty-six sections—at the examination and discussion of which in the Council your illustrious Lordship was present—in regard to eighty-five petitions, to which can be reduced all the more important matters which may be presented concerning those islands and their trade-route and their maintenance; and that memorial with its petitions your illustrious Lordship is carrying with you, as it is printed, so that it seems as if there were no need of further information—and even these were superfluous to one who is so well informed on all the matters which he has in his keeping, and is so quick to understand those which may come before him: nevertheless, in order that I may to some extent relieve and set free your illustrious Lordship from the burdens imposed upon your memory, as I know the number and importance of the commissions that you must execute and the matters that you must decide in Nueva España (all which will be successfully accomplished, as we are assured by your wide experience in affairs), I have determined to comprise in this single treatise the matters which concern the city of Manila, and which it can present to you. It relates to the four leading points which were entrusted by his Majesty and the royal Council of the Indias, by royal decrees, to the judicious decision and accurate information of your Lordship, as follows:

First, to what extent and in what manner shall the commerce of those islands be tarried on?

Second, whether it will be expedient to increase and extend the permission which they at present [27]enjoy, both in the export of merchandise and in the returns of money.

Third, whether in the amount of merchandise allowed to them shall be included the products of the islands, or only those of China shall be understood.

Fourth, whether the commerce which Perù was accustomed to hold with Nueva España shall be resumed, on account of the loss which results to the Philipinas and Nueva España from its suspension.

Point first

As for the first decree, which is so general as to include all, for treating of the commerce of the islands, which is essential to their preservation: this point, which in the memorial that I have cited is argued at length, can be reduced to an argument of three infallible propositions, of which, when two are proved, the third cannot be denied; and they are in this form.

The Philipinas Islands are absolutely necessary: first, to increase the preaching of the gospel; second, to maintain the authority, grandeur, and reputation of this crown; third, to defend the Moluco Islands and their trade; fourth, to support Eastern India; fifth, to relieve the Western Indias from their enemies; sixth, to aid the two crowns of Castilla and Portugal2 in breaking down the power of the Dutch; seventh, to protect for both crowns the commerce of China. In order to support the islands, the commerce [28]with Nueva España is requisite and necessary; for by no other means can their defense, or means for supporting it, be provided. It immediately follows that it is also requisite and necessary to grant this commerce to the islands, or, by abandoning them, to lose all the advantages which result from their preservation, as here represented.

The first proposition of this argument consists of eight fundamental reasons, which are stated therein; but it seems as if they ought to be proved, in order that their force and cogency may be fully understood. Accordingly, I will run through them as briefly as possible.

The first one is the increase of the preaching and promulgation of the holy gospel. This was the principal object which the Catholic sovereigns of Castilla had in carrying on the discovery of the Western Indias, and in colonizing and supporting them—and, consequently, in doing the same for all the islands adjacent to them, among the number of which are the Philipinas; and although the richness of those provinces greatly aided their efforts, this was a secondary object with the sovereigns, and a fulfilment of what is promised in the gospel, that we must seek first the kingdom of God, and that all the rest which the world possesses and esteems shall be gathered and added to us. Therefore, since their intention was the conversion of all the infidels who inhabit that opposite hemisphere, He who became flesh in order to redeem them chose that this undertaking should gain, as a secondary result, the infinite riches which the Indias have given and are giving to España. Such a reason is not lacking in the Philipinas Islands. Their first discovery and settlement [29]were solely for extending the Catholic faith; for then it was not known that those islands would be rich—as indeed they are not of themselves—nor that there could be any further result than the conversion of their natives to the gospel law, and the opening of a gate by which the preaching of the gospel could be carried to other provinces and kingdoms of Asia. That enterprise was prosecuted very successfully, as is publicly known; and it is now very evident that all those islands are today in the bosom of the Church—for they contain an archbishopric and three episcopal sees, and very many convents and hospitals; and there may be seen the Christian religion as pure, as valued, and as venerated as it is in España. And this rouses all the more admiration because the location of the colony is so remote, and so surrounded by heathens, Moors, and heretics; and that, in spite of all, the power and revenues of this crown are able to maintain it. But for this result, which was the main one, what was the second, and in what was seen fulfilled the promise of the gospel? It was, that God has placed in those seas a firm column, on which He could found, and by which they could support themselves, Eastern India, the Molucas Islands, their commerce, and that of China; and which shall prove for the enemies of this crown—heretics, Moors, and heathens—a check upon their advance, a resistance to their intentions, and a strong rock on which they shall be broken, or at least their success may be checked and their machinations prevented. Such are the Philipinas Islands, and this rank they acquired after the preaching of the gospel entered them; and it seems as if it were a providence of Heaven to make them so necessary from the human [30]standpoint, in order that the divine influences might not be lacking in them. For if sometimes the attainment of the first result might not be sufficient for maintaining them (which the piety of the kings of Castilla renders incredible), that of the second result would suffice, because even the divine needs to be maintained in the world by human protection. This is an axiom which, in lands newly converted, is generally accepted in the Indias; and it has been thoroughly proved by experience that the gospel is more effective among the barbarians when it is under the royal banners and standards than when it goes without them. Accordingly, it pleased God to ordain that these standards should be necessary in the Philipinas, in order that the preaching of the gospel, which was the motive for their going thither, might be established in their shelter. It is therefore established by a well-grounded proposition that, even if no more is looked for than this aim of converting the heathen, it is now impossible to give up the preservation of the Philipinas, as being so important a part of the Catholic church. And if the kings of Castilla, in order not to permit liberty of conscience in Flandes, have during more than seventy years maintained in those states (and, through them, in all Europa) the most tedious and costly war that any monarchy in the world has waged: how can it be denied that by abandoning so vast a number of Catholics as there are in those islands, who have been instructed by the Christian zeal of Spaniards, there will, if we leave them now, be introduced among them liberty of conscience? not to mention a mingling of schismatic heretics, Moors, Jews, and heathens of various sects, as is seen in Bantan (which [31]is the Oriental Ginebra [i.e., Geneva]), and in all other places where the Dutch find entrance; and they would soon enter those islands [if we abandon them]. Even if they caused great expenses to this crown (which they do not), they ought to be supported and preserved.

The second reason is, that in these islands are involved the authority, grandeur, and reputation of this crown. [My statement in regard to] the authority is proved by various methods, which may be found in the memorial that I have cited—of which I will only notice here the power which is exercised by the governor who rules the islands in the name of his Majesty. So great is this that it may be affirmed with truth that in all his kingdoms and seigniories (although the viceroyalties are classed as superior to that government) the king does not appoint to an office of greater authority. If this is not evident, let it be noticed how many crowned kings render homage to that governor, and recognize him as their superior; how they respect him and fear his arms; how they desire his friendship, and, if they violate it, receive punishment. The king of Ternate died a prisoner in Manila; and he of Sian made, by force of arms, satisfaction for a reprisal which he had committed. Those of Siao and Tidore are our subjects, and that of Camboxa is our ally. The ruler of Great China is our friend, and the emperor of Japòn was such until the Dutch alienated him; and although the failure of the Japanese trade causes us loss, we have not feared to declare that ruler our enemy—as are those of Champa, Sian, and Mindanao; and, more than all, the Dutch, who keep those seas so infested. And it ought to be considered [32]that the governor of Philipinas sends ambassadors to all those kings, with gifts to present to them, and receives those that they send to him in return; he makes peace and declares war, and does whatever seems to him expedient; and all this on his own responsibility, without waiting for a decision of the matter from España, because the excessive distance renders him the entire master in these acts. This is a preëminence of so great authority that no governor or viceroy in Europe exercises it. The grandeur which this monarchy preserves in those islands is widely known. In its material aspect, that domain extends through a circuit of 1,400 leguas, in which are included the two archipelagos of San Lazaro and Moluco: the latter composed of five especially important islands, which their own kings govern, with more than seventy others adjacent; the latter, of those which are properly called Philipinas, forty in number—some of them larger than all España, some as large as this country, and others somewhat smaller. This does not mention the islands that are small and uninhabited, which are without number. Among all these is [foremost] the island of Luzon, in which is the distinguished and ever loyal city of Manila, which is the precious stone of this setting, and which alone is enough to prove the grandeur of España—by its location, its splendor, its buildings, its sky, and its soil. In its citizens are resplendent the religious faith, the loyalty, and the courage which gave origin to that colony. Since Manila is, as some say, the antipodes of Sevilla, it seems as if it tried to imitate that city in its characteristics, and in being a military center and an emporium of commerce for that hemisphere. If one considers higher things, the power of [33]the islands cannot be reduced to the region just mentioned. Manila may be compared to the city of Goa, the capital of Eastern India; and it is she who reduces to subjection all the coasts from the Straits of Sincapura to Japòn, and the islands of the Ladrones and the Papuas; for her fleets sail through all those seas with the never conquered and always victorious royal standards of España. Her ships are admitted into many maritime kingdoms of Asia, and into numberless islands adjacent to them; they make voyages so long that no others equal to these are known. They go to China and Japòn, and by the Southern Sea to Nueva España; and by way of the Northern Sea—coasting all the Oriental kingdoms, emerging [from the China Sea] through Sincapura, and doubling the great Stormy Cape, that of Buena Esperanza—they have reached the bar of San Lucar, with these two voyages making almost the entire circuit of the world. And if commerce is regarded as the greatest splendor of kingdoms (as it certainly is), this greatness is not lacking to the Philipinas; for they have so rich a commerce that, if they could enjoy it free, there is no city known to the world that would surpass, or even equal, Manila. That in that colony resides and is preserved the reputation of this crown, is evident, if it be noted that the maintenance of that reputation by the arms of España in Fuente-Rabia, in Salsas, in Italia, in Flandes, in Alemania, and in other parts of Europa is not to be wondered at; for if España is the heart which inspires strength in the mystical body of this monarchy, it is not much that the members which are nearest and so closely connected should share most effectively in this influx of energy. And if his Majesty (whom God preserve!) [34]is the soul or vital breath of this heart, it cannot be denied that the closer proximity will cause the greater effect. Besides, the great number of the troops who go out from the adjoining [European] states prevents the enemy from seizing any one of those states; but the greatest cause of reputation for this crown is that, at a distance of three thousand leguas from the royal person and España, three thousand three hundred and thirty-six Spaniards, all of them occupied in those islands in war and in peace, on sea and on land, [accomplish what they do]. It is the citizens of Manila who are the substance of that diamond, where the adjoining states are all enemies—barbarians, heretics, Moors, and heathens. Those Spaniards are without hope of succor in emergencies, without safety for the unfortunate in the retreat, and even without the reward due them for their achievements; they are always inferior in numbers, and continually attacked by Dutch, Mindanaos, Japanese, Jaos, and other peoples. They are always in anxiety about the Chinese, or Sangleys, who number more than 30,000 in Manila; and about the natives, of whom there are more than 80,000. In that land of many islands they maintain fortified posts, and on the sea armed fleets of galleons, galleys, and champans—one for the defense of Manila, another for conveying troops and supplies to Terrenate, and another for the fort on the island of Hermosa. In this last island and in those of Moluco, our military posts confront the Dutch; our people are continually fighting on sea and on land, while they wage on the frontier a fierce war with the most wary people that is known, and with tribes who are as cruel as they can be. Yet, although their soldiers are so few, [35]they meet innumerable obligations, acquit themselves of all, and cause the Spanish name to emerge from all gloriously, and the standards of the king our lord victoriously. Therefore, it is the Philipinas Islands that preserve the reputation of this crown with the most valor and the least reward, with the greatest hazard, and with most glory.

The third fundamental reason is, that the Philipinas defend the islands of Moluco, and the commerce in the cloves that are obtained from them. The importance of these islands is everywhere known, because in all the world there are no other islands nor any other region in which grows this spice or drug, so highly valued. For their discovery alone Hernando de Magallanes made, by order of the emperor Carlos Fifth, that celebrated voyage in which he found the strait to which he gave his name, and passed through it into the Southern Sea; and, although he was slain while making his claims, his ship sailed around the world. The lordship of those islands caused troublesome hostilities between the Castilians and Portuguese, which were ended by this crown giving them to that of Portugal, in fulfilment of a contract; for it seemed (and indeed was evident) that Castilla would have much difficulty in maintaining them when they were so separated from all its kingdoms and states, while Portugal, by possessing Eastern India, was less distant from and could better support them. The course of time showed that even India was very remote from them; for when the Dutch power entered the Orient and established a military post in Bantan3—a port nearer to Moluco, [36]and more advantageously located than was India—it was so obviously impossible to defend them that in the end they were lost to us, the enemy getting possession of them all and of their commerce. But as the Philipinas were by that time quite populous, and so near to the Molucas that they were superior to Bantan [as a trading post], the task of restoring the Molucas [to Spanish control] was laid upon the governor, Don Diego de Acuña—who with his courage and energy, and the convenience of being so near, regained them and restored them to this crown. When both Castilla and Portugal recognized the great expense that India would have to incur in maintaining the Molucas, and that even with excessive expenditures it would be impossible to do so, on account of the injury being nearer than the remedy, and the enemy than the succor, those islands were, by the mutual agreement of the two crowns, united to the government of the Philipinas as regards their defense and support. The clove-trade was left to the Portuguese, because it was so important that, if it were taken from them, India would perish, or become greatly weakened. It is thus sufficiently proved that the Philipinas contributed to the restoration of all the forts in the Orient; and that in their preservation was and still is involved that of the Molucas, and consequently of all India. Thus they have been maintained since the year 1603, defending them by force of arms against the Dutch, who never cease [37]their endeavors to expel the Castilians from those islands; this has been the cause of many naval encounters and battles, in which the arms of España have always remained victorious. Nevertheless, since the military force of Philipinas is small, the territory that they must defend large, and the aid which is given to them for this purpose very limited, it has not been possible to prevent the treachery and persistence of the Dutch from having some effect; nor to put a stop to their sharing in the clove trade at some forts which they keep in the Molucas, though at the cost of many men, armed vessels, and expenses. From all of these islands are produced each year 2,816,000 libras of cloves, of which the Dutch secure 1,098,000 libras, and the Portuguese and Castilians 1,718,000—and this latter supply is due to the protection of the Philipinas; while it is computed that the cloves which the Dutch carry away amount to three times as much as it will cost them to be absolute lords of the Molucas, even with the large garrisons and armed fleets which they keep and maintain for purchasing the spice and transporting it to Bantan. From this it obviously follows that without the Philipinas the Molucas would be lost, and their commerce and trade in cloves would cease—from which would follow two pernicious results, which would cause the loss of whatever his Majesty possesses in the Orient. One is, that India would be greatly weakened, for lack of that commerce; for if that country languishes on account of not having all of that trade, it may well be understood that she will perish if it be taken from her. The other is, that the Dutch in that case would have the entire benefit of the trade, and without much expense; for if [Holanda] [38]with less than half the trade—and that at the cost of so many garrisons and fleets—gains such profits that they are enough to maintain whatever she has in India; if she were to secure all the cloves and, on account of the less cost, thus gain a profit of more than a thousand per cent upon her investments, while the gross amount would be doubled: it is very plain that India would not remain safe, the Western Indias would be more effectively harassed, the rebel states in Flandes would be strengthened, the coasts of España would experience their invasions, and everywhere the treasure that could be obtained from the Molucas alone would cause most injurious effects—as may be seen, with more detailed arguments, in the memorial that I have cited in behalf of the Philipinas, to which [colony] we owe the only compensation [that we receive] for all these losses.

The fourth reason is almost the sequence of what has been said in the third, although it is more general, since it takes notice that the Dutch fleets have entered the Orient with so strong a force that they have often placed India in risk of being lost to us; for if they were aided by the Moorish and heathen kings and the rulers of Persa and Mogòr4—and sometimes the Dutch are leagued with the English, who also navigate those seas—their invasion would be irresistible. What has prevented this danger has been the diversion furnished by the Philipinas—not only by diminishing their trade and profits in Moluco (as has been seen), in China, and in other regions, but by compelling [39]them to divide their forces, and to maintain in some places very large ones. India is divided into two parts—[one], from the Cape of Buena Esperanza to the Straits of Sincapura; the other, from the straits to China and Japòn. The first is defended by the Portuguese fleets of India, which seldom go thither through the straits; the second, by the Castilians of Philipinas, who never come here by way of the straits. For both these, it is necessary that the Dutch send thither and maintain squadrons; and therefore it is proved, at this very beginning, that if the fleets of this crown are deficient in either of those regions, and the enemy can transfer all of his naval force to the one that remains [without defense] because there is no diversion [of his forces] in the other, it will be difficult if not impossible to defend [the one to which he goes]—an argument which admits no debate in the naval as well as in the military world. From this it follows that if now the Philipinas fail us Eastern India will remain without aid, and consequently in evident danger of being lost [to us]. This is further confirmed by the fact that, of the two parts into which India is divided, the enemy expends much more of his energy in the second than in the first. In the latter he is content with factories and barter, without keeping any fortified posts; in the former, he maintains the forts of Malayo, Toloco, Tacubo, Malaca, Tacome, Marieco, Motir, Nofagia, Tafacen, Tabelole, Bermevelt, Tabori, Gilolo, Amboino, Lagu, Maruco, Mozovia, Belgio, Bantan, and Hermosa Island. In these nineteen presidios there were, in the year 1616, 3,000 soldiers; 193 pieces of bronze artillery and 310 of iron, and 300 stone-mortars [pedreros]; and thirty war galleons. And all this is [40]solely to defend themselves from the Philipinas, and to attack the islands so that the armed fleets of India shall not sail to that region—or, if they should go thither, it would be easy to stop them at the Strait of Sincapura. If then, the Philipinas were unable to act, and the Dutch should abandon those nineteen forts (which now are many more), as being no longer necessary to them, they would proceed to the coasts of India, and their galleons to those seas. If even when their energies are diverted, their forces divided, and their gains diminished as they are now, they cause so much anxiety, what would it be if, with little if any opposition, their forces united, and their profits increased, they should harass India? It is easy to see that they would occasion that region the utmost distress, and that consequently the Philipinas are an absolutely necessary defense for it.

The fifth reason has the same ground as the fourth; for, on account of the diversion of forces and the expense which the enemy now encounters in the Orient and in the forts of Moluco, he is compelled to refrain from annoying the Western Indias, and must devote less attention, military force, and money to that object. And since what he spends or fails to gain in India enables the Philipinas to oppose or to embarrass him, it follows that if he there shall gain more and spend less, he will here take possession of both [the Indias]. And if the Indias, even with so effective a diversion [of the enemy’s force as they have now], need the Windward Fleet which is being built there, and for which a subsidy of 600,000 ducados is granted annually: in order to dispense with the garrisons, fleets, and expenditures in India everything would have to be increased, so that in the [41]Indias more expense would be incurred for their defense than is consumed in the Philipinas.

The sixth is a reason of honor and profit, for these two admirable results follow from the victories which the inhabitants of Philipinas have gained over the Dutch: honor, on account of the glory which the Catholic arms acquire in those seas, which gains for them the esteem of the Japanese, Chinese, Sianese, Mindanaos, and innumerable other peoples, who serve as spectators in the theatre for such exploits; and profit, since, if the enemy’s forces are weakened it follows that, besides those that he loses in being conquered, he is compelled to expend still greater ones in order to keep his foothold. This is the most notable reason for maintaining powerful squadrons on the sea, in order that if the pirate undertakes to plunder successfully, he will have to do it with so great a force that either he will abandon the prize because he cannot hold it, or he will let it alone because the profits do not make it worth his while. Of the victories which the Spaniards have gained in those seas there are extant histories and accounts; and in the large memorial some of these are mentioned.

The seventh is, that [by the islands] are aided the two crowns of Castilla and Portugal, who are so united and in so fraternal relations in the Orient, each possessing its share of the two parts into which that region is, as we have said, divided. If we are to base our opinion on experience, the facts are evident in the restoration of Moluco; for in the time of Governor Don Juan de Sylva the forces of both crowns were joined, and it is regarded as certain that, if death had not intercepted his designs, he [42]would have driven from those seas the arms of Holanda and of Inglaterra, and awakened fear and dread in many kings who were awaiting the result of so powerful a combination; and, even though success is not always so immediate, it suffices that it should be possible to make the enemy fear, and to lead them to believe that what has occurred sometimes may occur often.

The eighth reason is to protect and preserve the commerce of China for both crowns. For this argument it is taken for granted that this commerce is one of the most beneficial and lucrative of those in the entire Orient; and we can say that there is no other in all the world that equals it. The Oriental traffic of ancient times, which the Romans so highly valued, originated in China and in the drugs, fabrics, and curiosities of that country—although, as they were ignorant of its real origin, they called it the India trade, since they received it from that country. In the larger memorial I have already discoursed upon this at length. Now all the nations in those [Oriental] kingdoms take part in this commerce, but it is conducted most extensively and steadily by the Portuguese of India and the Castilians of Manila; we shall soon relate how important it is to the latter. Of the Portuguese it suffices to say that they possess in China the city of Macan, and the privilege of entering that of Canton; and the commerce of these two cities they maintain through the Strait of Sincapura, though always in danger from the Dutch. But as the profits are so great, they sail by that route; it adds much to their safety that they cross through the seas of Philipinas, and that Macan can find succor in Manila. But if this should be lacking, Macan could [43]not remain many years without ruin, nor could India enjoy the commerce with China, which is one of those which most benefit her; and if the Chinese trade is cut off from India and Manila, the Dutch alone will be strong enough to carry it on. Although they are at present shut out from it by the robberies that they have committed on the Sangleys, they would not find it difficult to bring the latter to friendship with them; for it is already known that when money is lacking in Philipinas the Sangleys carry their merchandise to the Dutch. Therefore, on the preservation of those islands depends that of the Chinese trade.

These eight fundamental reasons are sufficient to prove the importance and necessity that exist for maintaining, preserving, and favoring those islands; for if they were lost the resulting damage would be great and excessive beyond any possible comparison or proportion to what the islands now cost us. And because there is seen in this an error of misapprehension, I will make a statement regarding it that is worthy of much attention and notice. This is, that it costs the royal exchequer more to support the island of San Martin5—which is of no use, and has no more effect than to remove an obstacle to the navigation of the Indias, and take away a landing-place from the pirates (who already have numberless others)—than to maintain the Philipinas Islands, which have the utility and effectiveness which I have stated.

For the proof of this, I avail myself of a summary [44]of the detailed statements in the larger memorial, regarding the cost of the Philipinas. For the officials of justice, who govern them, 37,077 pesos; for the entire ecclesiastical estate, 37,277 pesos. In maintaining friendly relations with neighboring kings, 1,500 pesos. In the administration of the royal exchequer, 11,550 pesos. For the land forces at Manila, and in the military posts of all the islands, 229,696 pesos. For wars on land, and the forts in Moluco, 97,128 pesos. For naval war, shipbuilding, and navy-yards, 283,184 pesos. For supplies and provisions for all the soldiers and seamen, 153,302 pesos. These sums amount to 850,734 pesos, which is the expenditure made each year for the islands—not omitting to reckon wages and salaries, scanty though they be. This, therefore, is all the charge for their cost which can be made.

On the credit side of the account, the tributes from the crown encomiendas are worth each year 53,715 pesos; and the two reals which are paid to the king by each Indian in the private encomiendas amount to 21,107 pesos. The licenses which are given to the Sangleys come to 112,000 pesos; and the tributes from these Sangleys, to 8,250. The fifth and the tenth of gold, 750 pesos. The ecclesiastical tithes, which are collected by the royal exchequer for the support of the prelates and clergy, 2,750 pesos. The freight charges in his Majesty’s ships, 350 pesos. The court fines, 1,000 pesos. The customs duties, 38,000 pesos. The mesada and half-annats, 6,000. From these ten sources the income amounts to 243,922 pesos; to this must be added the imposts, freight dues, and customs duties which are collected in Nueva España on the merchandise that comes from the [45]islands—all which amount to 300,000 pesos, and this is income that results and proceeds from the islands; accordingly, by a decree of February 19, 1606, it is commanded that these charges, adding to their amount each year, be remitted to Manila, and that so much less be sent from the royal exchequer of Mexico. And if all these goods are sold and traded in Nueva España once, or two or more times, and pay the customary charges of alcabala,6 if the rate of two [per cent] which they usually pay was moderated to 30,000 pesos in the larger memorial, the rate on the said [sales] will certainly amount to 60,000 pesos. With this, the islands now have 593,922 pesos to their credit; so that their [actual] expense cannot be estimated at more than 256,812 pesos—[and that] without counting the proceeds of the Crusade, those from intestate property, or the monopoly of playing-cards.

Another item ought to be placed with these, which is the expense for the islands of Moluco. These were possessions of the crown of Portugal, which consumed in supporting and defending them great sums of ducados and many soldiers; but finally it lost them, and the Dutch gained them. By agreement of the two crowns, Governor Don Pedro de Acuña regained possession of them (as I have related); and as it was [46]evident that the crown of Portugal could not defend them on account of the great expense required therefor, those islands were committed, in the year 1607, to the governor of Philipinas. In this must be considered several things. First, that these islands of Moluco do not belong to those which are called Philipinas, nor are they included in that group. Second, that at present they are the property of the Portuguese crown, but are in possession of the Castilian crown for the purpose of protecting, maintaining, and defending them; on this account, the commerce in cloves is left to India, as it was before. Third, that the Philipinas and the citizens of Manila do not obtain or possess any advantage or benefit from Moluco, or anything else besides the continual trouble of succoring and provisioning its forts; for the clove-trade belongs to the Portuguese, and there is no other commerce in those islands. Fourth, that since the day when the governor of Philipinas and the crown of Castile took charge of Moluco, the crown of Portugal has saved more than 400,000 pesos, the cost which it would have incurred in maintaining Moluco, estimated on the basis of what it now costs Castilla for that—although Manila, which is the place where provision is made for those islands, is so near them. Fifth, that for these reasons it is evident and plain that what is spent for the islands of Moluco should not be charged to the Philipinas; nor even should the crown of Castilla pay it, but rather that of Portugal, which is the proprietary owner of Moluco, and has the benefit of the clove-trade. Consequently, whatever is received from that trade must be placed to the credit and acquittance of the Philipinas, against the amount charged to them. Sixth, [47]and last, notice the [items of] the annual expenses of the Moluco Islands: for salaries, 97,128 pesos; provisions, considering the total number of people, will average 30,000 pesos a year; for the ecclesiastical ministrations and the management of the royal treasury, the expense will reach 4,000 pesos; and for naval affairs and shipyards, 100,000 pesos—since in order to send every year the usual supplies, and to furnish extraordinary aid when occasion demands, the armed ships are necessary which are always kept at Manila. Thus the cost of the islands of Moluco comes to more than 230,000 pesos each year; deducting this from the 256,000 which remain charged to the Philipinas, only 26,000 pesos. This is an amount unworthy of consideration, even if the islands were of no more use than to augment the grandeur of this crown; but granting that they possess the advantages that I have mentioned, the loss, cost, and expense is nothing; and it remains abundantly proved how necessary, just, expedient, and requisite it is to maintain them.

If the Philipinas are to be maintained, it now remains to ascertain how and in what manner this shall be done, in order to secure their preservation, and [at the same time] to avoid any considerable injury to the royal exchequer and to the other kingdoms of this crown. For this there are but two methods, and these alone; no other can be found which is adequate and efficacious. The first one is, the method which is adopted for the island of San Martin, and for all the military posts which his Majesty maintains in the Indias and in other regions, and for his fleets and armies; this is, to furnish from the royal treasury all that shall be necessary for this purpose. Granting that the islands cost annually [48]850,000 pesos and furnish revenues of 244,000 pesos, his Majesty will have to supply 606,000 pesos. Although this is a great sum of money, the preservation of those islands is so desirable, and so much more will have to be lost and spent if the islands are lost, that, in case there shall be no other way, it will be necessary and compulsory to accept and carry out the above method—although even that would not be enough, for the islands now cost 850,000 pesos [only] because the citizens of Manila give much aid, and render service with their persons and property. In one year they have thus given more than 200,000 pesos, as is made evident in the larger memorial, nos. 59 and 60. Accordingly, this method is exceedingly costly, and even more so than it would seem, for the reason that I have stated.

There remains, then, the second method, the only one [available]; this consists in granting commerce to those islands, which would suffice to secure three results. The first of these is, to preserve the present revenue of 244,000 pesos that they yield; for that sum, or the greater part of it, is based on the wealth which the islands obtain from their commerce, and if this fails them they will produce much less, and therefore much more will have to be supplied [from without]. The second, to give the royal treasury the benefit of the 606,000 pesos which (or the greater part of that sum) are deficient for the usual expense account, as has been shown. The third, to furnish the citizens with means by which they can, in emergencies, aid the extraordinary expenses—as they always have done, and still do—by having a commerce to support them; but without this it will be necessary, as they would lack the means to render [49]such aid, that the king should bear these expenses. These three results being granted, the preservation of those islands readily follows.

The question then remains as to the character, amount, and form of this commerce, which are three principal topics. As for the character of this commerce, it is noted in the larger memorial (no. 15) that the islands have a domestic and a foreign commerce. It has been shown that this is scanty, except what proceeds from Moluco; but that this might be very rich, since it is the trade in cloves (as may be seen in nos. 28, 30, 34, and 36 of the said memorial). But, as this trade is reserved for the Portuguese and prohibited to the Castilians, it is useless to consider it for this purpose—although it is worth notice that whatever advantage the crown of Portugal derives from that trade is due to the Philipinas, and results from their preservation. I shall soon make some observations on the remaining portion of this domestic commerce, and what can be obtained from it.

Their foreign commerce is with many regions of the Orient, as is stated in the said memorial, from no. 20 on; and in no. 37 it is shown that only the inhabitants of the Philipinas can carry on the commerce with China, because they have means for this only—exporting that merchandise to Nueva España, and obtaining the returns from it in silver, with which to maintain it; for they have no other commodity which the Chinese crave, as is proved in the said memorial, no. 70. From this the conclusion is drawn that the islands cannot be preserved without commerce, and that this must necessarily be conducted with Nueva España in Chinese merchandise, and in some of their own products. [50]

As for the second point, the amount of the commerce, this was formerly without any limitation; and during the time (which was short) while that condition lasted the islands acquired what strength and wealth and grandeur they now possess. After a time certain difficulties arose—which are discussed in the said memorial, nos. 80, 81, 94, 117, and 118—all being to the prejudice of España’s commerce; on account of these it became expedient to limit the commerce of the islands, reducing it to a fixed amount of 250,000 pesos’ worth of merchandise and 500,000 pesos in returns. Although the citizens resented this, and saw that if it were successful they could [only] preserve their wealth without being able to increase it much, they went on under this decree from the time when it began to be executed (in 1605) until 1635—when Don Pedro de Quiroga went [to Mexico], and by his rigorous measures reduced this permission to terms so restricted that it was rather taking away the permission entirely than carrying out its intent. This falling upon the necessity of the islands that the stated amount of their merchandise be increased, on account of the many shipwrecks, misfortunes, and expenses which they had experienced—of which I have made a brief relation in the said memorial, no. 107—to take away the permission that they had without granting them a more liberal one, was more than they could endure; it may readily be seen what results this would cause. And as divine Providence did not cause these troubles to cease with the death of him who caused them, it may well be believed that the islands are today in so miserable a condition that they will either be ruined or can no longer be reached [51]by the remedy which the kind attention of the council has begun to furnish them—entrusting its final application to the inquiry to be made by your illustrious Lordship, who is well informed of the losses, advantages and disadvantages, and all the circumstances of which knowledge is necessary for your decision in a matter so serious as this, on which depends the preservation of the Philipinas and of all that depends upon them. Their citizens hope that your decision will be what is expedient and necessary for those vassals, always so loyal, but always harassed by enemies, and even by friends.

There remains, then, the third point of the three that I have stated; that is, the form which must be adopted and followed in this commerce of the islands with Nueva España. Don Pedro de Quiroga proceeded in this matter with measures so rigorous and unusual that he tried to establish regulations different from those which are respected and observed in all the ports of España, of the Indias, and of the world. He undertook to open and weigh the bundles and chests, and to count, weigh, and measure the commodities and wares, without any preceding denunciation, information, or [even] indication that these exceeded the registration. He laid an embargo on all, without there being any guilt on the part of the owners, or prohibition of the articles; and for only raising this so unjust embargo he extorted from the commerce 300,000 pesos—excluding from composition 600,000 pesos’ worth besides, which are included in the [right of] composition by express, clear, and plain provisos [of the ordinances]. He collected the dues on whatever appraisement of the goods it suited him to make, although it was evident [52]to him that they were being sold at half that rate in Acapulco, and even in Mexico. He hindered the return of the proceeds from the merchandise, which is allowed by the royal decree; and it cannot be denied that he who carries his goods to sell, [even though] with permission, may not exact the price that he shall obtain for them. For granting that permission, he demanded new dues and imposed new burdens; compelled the shippers to do whatever he wished, and harassed the mariners on that trade-route until he made them leave it—when it is known (and the islands are making representations to that effect) that it is for what is most needed in those islands that the governors in Manila make concessions to their citizens when the latter ask for these, in order to constrain them by kindness to what could not be obtained by severity; and the Council is conferring upon those citizens privileges and distinctions, in order that many may be encouraged to become mariners and artillerists. All this was done by Don Pedro de Quiroga under pretext of serving his Majesty; but it caused his royal exchequer the great loss which has been experienced in the failure, for two years, of ships to arrive from Philipinas. By this has been lost, in dues alone, 660,000 pesos, and as much more through the suspension of commerce; and still greater were the losses to the vassals of his Majesty, to say nothing of the danger in which those islands were left, and to which they are still exposed. To speak of the plan which should be established in this commerce, it seems as if it were sufficient to place before your illustrious Lordship what Don Pedro de Quiroga did, and what resulted from that, in order to understand that if by his proceedings he [53]destroyed and ruined the commerce it is not expedient to follow his example. Rather should be followed those of Sevilla, Cartagena, Portovelo, Vera Cruz, and the other ports of the Indias and of these kingdoms, in which royal laws, decrees, and ordinances have ordained what shall be observed in these matters; and since these regulations are not annulled or broken in favor of the islands, it will not be just if they are broken or annulled to the loss or injury of that colony. For neither do those vassals merit less than this, nor is their commerce of different character from the other commerce that belongs to this crown.

Although representations have been made, with more exaggeration and less in accordance [with the facts] than would be desirable, of serious infractions of law that have been committed in this commerce—which representations I have answered at length and in detail in the said memorial, from no. 94 to no. 99—it may be observed that, if there are any (which, if I do not admit, I do not deny), they are not of greater extent nor of different character than those which are every year experienced in the fleets and galleons on the India trade-route. These infractions consist in shipping more merchandise than what is registered, and different commodities from what are declared, and in carrying back more silver than is shown by the registers; and there are not and cannot be on the ships of Philipinas other infractions than the shipment of more goods and the return of more silver than appear on the registers. Let, then, the remedy be ascertained which is applied at Sevilla, Cadiz, and San Lucar, at Cartagena, Portovelo, Vera Cruz, and Habana, and let the same be [54]applied at Manila and Acapulco.7 Let guards be placed, and informers allowed, and goods declared—with rewards to encourage, and punishments to warn; but it would be a chance success to ascertain in detail what would be shipped at Sevilla and unloaded in the ports of the Indias. This would be to establish not order but disorder in that commerce, as I state in the said memorial, no. 95; and soon the same thing would be noticed in that of the islands. [55]

And although it may be represented that the infractions in the Philipinas trade, considering their amount, cause more loss than those in the commerce of España, especially in the exportation of the silver—since that which is brought in the galleons outside of the kingdom finally comes to Castilla; and that which is carried in the ships of Philipinas soon finds its way to China, and thus is lost, and the commerce is taken away from the vassals of this crown—reply may thus be made. The illegal shipments on the Philipinas route cause much less loss than do those on the India route, as is incurred when a galleon laden with silver is lost at sea, as compared with one that is captured by enemies; in the former case there is only our own loss, but in the latter is the same loss, and an advantage to our enemies. It cannot be denied that the silver which goes unregistered in the ships of Philipinas is lost, but no enemy of this crown benefits thereby; for that silver comes to a halt in China, from which country it never emerges—as is stated in the said memorial, no. 72—nor does it work any harm there, whether it be more or less; for neither do we wage war with China, nor do the Chinese aid any other nation which wages war with us. As for the silver which comes [to España] unregistered in the galleons, those who best understand the subject consider that it would cause less damage if it remained in the Indias (and even some extend this idea to its being lost in the sea); because, under the pretext of its coming concealed, it either does not come into Sevilla, or, if it does come in, soon goes out again. In both these cases, it remains in the hands of the French, English, Flemish, and Portuguese, and most of it is anchored in their ships, by [56]which Inglaterra, Francia, and Holanda are enriched; while that which goes to Portugal is carried to India, and there it is shared by the Dutch, Persians, Arabs, Mogous, and other hostile nations, until it reaches China, which is its center [of equilibrium]. It may be judged, then, which is the greater injury; and since the loss caused by the illegal shipments on the vessels of Philipinas is less, let that be done with those ships that is done with the galleons. But let it not be proposed that the commerce be taken from them, or its amount limited, or that unusual methods and severity be employed in dealing with them, since these are not used in the commerce of the Indias, and, comparing them together, one is no less necessary than the other.

From these considerations we draw the final conclusion that if the Philipinas Islands are, as has been proved, absolutely necessary to this crown on account of the eminent advantages and benefits which result to it from them, and that, in order to preserve them, there are but two methods: one, for his Majesty to support them; the other, to grant them commerce by which they can sustain themselves—the first costly and difficult, the second easy and obvious—the latter ought to be accepted and carried out. [This can be done] by giving them the commerce which they have hitherto enjoyed with Nueva España, to the amount that is expedient, and in the usual manner, without adding conditions that will diminish or render it difficult; for that will be to withdraw and consequently to destroy and end it, and with it those islands, which are so important to this Catholic monarchy. Your illustrious Lordship will make such report on this point and argument as [his Majesty’s] [57]vassals there expect and desire from your great ability and zeal.

Point second

As for the permission [to trade] which the islands have enjoyed since 1604—which is to the amount of 250,000 pesos that may be carried in merchandise, and 500,000 pesos which may be sent back in silver, on the two ships which are allotted for that trade—the islands have petitioned his Majesty that he would graciously increase the 250,000 pesos’ worth of merchandise to 500,000, and the 500,000 pesos of silver to 800,000; this is referred to the inquiry of your illustrious Lordship. And although I have in the said memorial discussed the main arguments for this request, I will, since these are related to the entire subject of those islands, here reduce them to six or seven principles.

First: because, as I have stated and proved, this commerce began in the year 1565, and was carried on without any restriction of its amount until 1604, when it was limited to the amount above stated. The islands could endure this limitation because they then possessed three attributes which they now lack. The first was, that the citizens were rich and strong through having enjoyed free trade almost forty years; and therefore they possessed, and have had thus far, the means to bear expense and losses. But since, from their trade being reduced to so small an amount, it resulted that their profits were diminished and their obligations increased; their fortunes have so steadily declined that, if the trade permitted to them is not increased, they cannot improve their fortunes, nor even preserve the remnants of these. The second was, [58]that those islands had few enemies, and were less infested and harried by them [than now]; for until the year 1600 neither did the Dutch cause any anxiety in those seas, nor was there any other nation which visited them with hostile acts or fleets. Since that year the profits obtained from the cloves, the plunder of the ships from China, and friendly relations with the Japanese, have all been such inducements to the Dutch to frequent the seas in that region that they have kept the [Philipinas] Islands continually in arms, rendering them an active military frontier. Hardly a year has passed without a sea-fight; and, moreover, the Dutch have incited the Mindanaos, the Japanese, and other barbarians also to make war on us. The result has been that the citizens [of the islands] have spent their fortunes in serving his Majesty, which they have done with their property and persons—as is described in the said memorial, nos. 59 and 60. And as the profits from their commerce have become less, and the expenses for war greater and more continual, their poverty has become so great that they are in need of more favor than they have thus far enjoyed; for if (as has been proved) their commerce only is adequate to support those islands, and that which they have hitherto carried on is steadily declining, it must necessarily be increased, in order that they may not perish and be destroyed. This is confirmed by the third of the circumstances mentioned above, the excessive and enormous losses of property which the citizens of Manila have suffered since the year 1575—which are mentioned, in due order, in the said memorial, no. 107. Some of these misfortunes occurred before the year 1604, and, as until then the commerce was free, they had some [59]reparation for their losses; but those which have occurred since then have had, on account of the limitation of trade, but little relief and scanty reparation. The result has been that, although the injurious effects and great loss have not been noticed every year, they are in the course of all those years so keenly felt that a special means of restoration is needed; and there can be no other save that of increasing their commerce, for their relief must come from the same quarter as that whence their losses came.

Second: [This relief should be given] because when the permit for 250,000 pesos was granted there were in Manila fewer citizens and soldiers; and now the number of these and the [size of the] city have increased, and more aid has become necessary, not only with the course of the thirty-six years which have elapsed, but because there is more war. It appears that those who are occupied in his Majesty’s service on pay, including those who have been sent to the islands and those who are born there, number 3,338 Spaniards, and 2,540 Indians of various nationalities—not counting the citizens, or the traders, or other persons who are pursuing various crafts (as is stated in the said memorial, no. 55)—which is twice the number employed in the year 1604. And as it is requisite that all participate in the commerce, and that—although it must be through the medium of the citizens, among whom the amount allowed is distributed—all persons may have some share in it, it becomes necessary, since there are twice as many people as there formerly were, that the amount of trade permitted should also be doubled; for if this be not done, and that which formerly belonged to [60]few be shared among many, no one will have enough for his needs.

Third: this argument being sufficient for the increase and enlargement of the amount permitted, it is asserted that this amount is less than what was first granted; for, as concerns the distribution (which is made by toneladas), the governors have introduced the practice of giving these to hospitals and convents, and often to the mariners and artillerists, to those who go on expeditions and embassies, and to other persons. Thus is consumed a large part of this permitted amount, and consequently of the 500,000 pesos’ worth of returns—from which are deducted the legacies, donations, contributions for charitable purposes, wages of the seamen and soldiers, wrought silver, and all the rest that is shipped (as is ordained by the decree of 1606, cited in the said memorial, no. 90), by which, it is at once evident, the amount granted by the permission is diminished to just that extent.

Fourth: even if it be granted that some illegalities have been committed in that trade, these must have been in exporting more merchandise and bringing back more silver than what the permission decreed; and the cause must have been the pressing need of the inhabitants. For since their numbers are greater, and the amount of trade allowed them is less in quantity, and the share of each one is less because there are more persons concerned in it, the amount that some receive will be so little that it will compel them to infringe the permission, and to export or bring back more than is allotted to them, in order that they may be able to support themselves and meet their obligations. These illegal acts will cease when the [61]amount permitted shall be increased and extended; for, as each person will have a share sufficient to employ his capital, he will not expose it to risk, or carry goods without registry. With this, not only will the inhabitants be enriched, but the illegalities will cease; and, as the royal dues will increase, his Majesty will not have to supply anything for the maintenance of the islands, but instead will be much profited by them.

Fifth: because the main reason for having limited this commerce was the injury which has resulted from it to Sevilla, not only with the merchandise which it carries to Nueva España, but with the silver which it drains thence—as has been noticed in the said memorial, nos. 71–79 and 116–119. And although this difficulty is there solved, and this concession is thus made easier—because when the cause ceases, the effect ceases also—another argument is here adduced; this is as follows. The [accusations of] illegal acts in that commerce which are made public are either true or false; if they are false, our object is attained. But, if they are true and those things are done, how can it be said that, in place of the 250,000 pesos [allowed], four millions’ worth of merchandise come to Nueva España; and that for the 500,000 pesos of returns they carry ten millions in silver? What difficulty is there in [allowing that for] the four millions that are shipped, a half-million should come under registry, and one out of the ten millions that are returned should go registered, and that on this million and a half the royal dues be collected, since actually more than 750,000 pesos are carried each way without paying these? And even if those illegal acts be checked, and it be granted that [62]for the 250,000 pesos are shipped 500,000, and for the 500,000 pesos of returns a million be carried: if the excess [now] goes and comes without registry, how much more certain is it that the goods will be registered and the royal dues paid? But this argument is made even stronger by the great probability that the excess over the amounts allowed only extends or can extend to the investments of the shippers; and since these actually are only citizens of Philipinas, the citizens neither have four millions to export, nor can they get ten millions in returns; for in this way they would be, in four years, at the rate of six millions of profits a year, the wealthiest in the world, while they are at this time the poorest. And if that result is not evident, how can the cause [assigned] be regarded as infallible? Let us grant, then, that they will infringe the rule if besides the amount permitted as much more be carried; and even that is much. But if this permission were ample enough to include the funds of all those who lade goods, it is evident that the infractions of law would cease, and that it would not be possible to have them, or means to commit them; and this becomes more credible, if the urgency with which this increase of the permission is requested be noted. And how is it to be supposed that those who are carrying their goods without registry (which is more profitable) prefer to carry them registered, except in order not to exceed the privilege that is given to them? And thus it is certain that if a more extensive permission be granted to them, there will not be illegal shipments, nor will the injury [to Spanish trade] be greater, nor as much as is now assumed.

The sixth and last argument is reduced to what was proved in the said memorial, nos. 101–106: that [63]the profits of this commerce, on account of the many burdens imposed upon it, are more limited than has been understood; and that in order for the exporters to make any gain, they need more liberal concessions. For [even] if the gain be thirty to forty per cent, it is consumed in costs and management, if the amount laden be small; and the increase of the principal must incur almost the same costs, for they will only be greater in [paying] the duties. The exporters demand with justice that they be authorized to ship twice as much merchandise, since the benefit that they will experience is evident, and no injury will result, as has been proved.

I observe that it would seem a very proper measure to place a limit to the permission only on the returns in silver, and that the shipment of merchandise be free, under the direction of the governor. One reason is, that by this means the amount of merchandise would remain limited; since it is plain that the citizens will not leave their funds in Nueva España, and that therefore they will not carry back more than they are entitled to in the returns [for their goods]. The other, because in this no innovation arises, but it accords with the usage which has hitherto prevailed, the lading being regulated more by the burden of the ships, their capacity in toneladas, and the bulk of the commodities, than by its actual and intrinsic value; and giving opportunity for the registration of the products of the country itself, even outside of the permission, as will soon be discussed. And if no difficulty has been found in this practice, and if the governors and the viceroys have overlooked this, and if Don Pedro de Quiroga, with all his severity, never paid any attention to the merchandise being in excess of the 250,000 pesos that were allowed, [64]unless the goods were shipped unregistered, or incorrectly appraised: it is not a new or injurious arrangement that such a method be continued, and that the limitation of the amount allowed be imposed only on the silver that is carried as returns.

Point third

In case the amount permitted to the islands is increased to 500,000 pesos, or the limitation be placed only on the returns in silver (as is asked and argued in the second question), the declaration of this third topic is not necessary; but if the permission is not enlarged to that extent, and the quantity of merchandise is limited, the petition which the city of Manila has made finds place. In regard to that, moreover, your illustrious Lordship must be informed that the city declares that the commodities which are peculiar to those islands ought not to be included in the amount permitted, but that these should be registered outside of that amount—which should be and is understood to apply to the merchandise from China, and to no other.

Suppose, then, that besides the commodities of China, there are sent in the ships of this commerce some which are produced and manufactured in the Philipinas Islands themselves, and are gathered by their natives and inhabitants—such as wax, white and yellow; talingas,8 table-covers, and lampotes9 [65](which are pieces of cotton canvas); blankets from Ilocos, Moro, and Bombòn; and some civet. Of these products a hundred toneladas are usually shipped, for, as they are bulky, they occupy more space than they are worth; but it is actually worthwhile for the citizens to ship these to Nueva España, even though it be to sell them at no more than their cost, because they have no other market for these goods.

The usage which has hitherto been followed in regard to these goods is to ship them registered, and value them, and pay the royal dues, like the rest, without paying any attention to their being included or not in the 250,000 pesos of the amount permitted, although the returns for them have always been included in the 500,000 pesos of money; and in some years when the citizens have not had the cloth from China to fill up the amount of 250,000 pesos, they have done so with these goods—not because they supposed that such shipments were prohibited in other circumstances, but to supply the deficiency with such goods as they could send.

They ask, then, that to avoid uncertainties declaration be made that these goods, when satisfactory proof is given that they are the products of the islands, may be carried to Nueva España without limitation of their quantity, or obligation to include them in the amount permitted. This [request] is based on the fact that the prohibition was expressly imposed for the merchandise of China, which on account of being silk goods injured [the sale of] those which are shipped from España. This is gathered from all the decrees that have been issued in regard to this matter—all of which distinctly state the cloth of China as [66]being the goods which damage [the Spanish commerce]—not that of the islands, which is not of that character.

Another reason is, that no province has ever been forbidden to export to others its own products, for this would be to close to them the intercourse with others which is their right by natural law; and even if its commerce be limited to certain provinces it ought not to be deprived of trade with all the others, but the exportation which it finds least inconvenient should be left to it. From Philipinas the commodities which those islands produce cannot be carried to other parts of the Orient, which have abundance of the same, and even better. As the only consumption of these goods is in the Indias, the citizens had begun to send them to Perù, Tierra Firme, Goathemala, and Nueva España; but of these four trade-routes three are prohibited, because with these goods are shipped those from China, so only the trade with Nueva España remains to them. It immediately follows that for this latter trade the transportation of goods must be free.

Another reason: because there is not a province in this [kingdom] which has not tacit or express permission to export its products to any place where these may have value and be sold, and with their proceeds are sent in return other products which are lacking in that land; for if they could not do this they would be shut in, and not having communication with adjoining lands, the result would be that both would perish, or would come to such poverty that they could not support themselves.

Another reason: because—as is proved in the said memorial, nos. 115, 116, and 117—these commodities [67]from the islands do not interfere with those that are shipped from España, because they are so different in quality. If the people have the former, they consume them; if not, they cannot supply the lack with the goods from these kingdoms, for these are of much value, and those from the islands are worth but little. Nor does it follow that the poor Indian or negro who buys a vara of canvas from the islands for a real and a half will, if he cannot obtain it, buy the same goods from Ruan for six or eight reals; since it is more probable that he will dispense with the goods, even if he go without a shirt, than possible that he can buy it when he has not enough money to pay for it.

Another reason: because permission is not asked to carry back the returns for these goods in silver, since their proceeds, as being of small value, will be part of the returns allowed for the merchandise of China; and because, in case there is not room for these proceeds, the inhabitants of the islands will sooner cease to ship cloth from China, which costs them their wealth, than cloth of their own country, since they possess it for the gathering, or their Indians pay tributes in it. And for these and other reasons which might be presented, and which will be very evident to your illustrious Lordship in Nueva España as soon as you undertake and investigate the matter, may be inferred the just cause, the readiness, and the need with which the Philipinas ask for the above declaration.

Point fourth

Although the commerce from Perù to Nueva España does not apparently concern Manila, and [68]accordingly it will be deemed that Manila is not interested in the question whether the suspension laid thereon be continued or removed: proof will first be adduced of the injury which the Philipinas Islands experience from that suspension, and then will be presented some arguments, from the many which exist, for the granting of the permission which was formerly current in that commerce.

It is taken for granted (as is mentioned in the said memorial, no. 80) that at the beginning the commerce of the islands and of Nueva España was free to Perù and to all its ports and provinces, in which two kinds of merchandise were trafficked—that from China, and that from Nueva España. The commerce in the goods from China was prohibited, and consequently that in the commodities of Nueva España has been checked; because, as it was decreed that no ships should go, neither commerce could be carried on. A definite form and limitations were imposed upon the commerce in Chinese goods to Nueva España; but the provinces of that country and of Perù remonstrated against the complete interdiction of the commerce that they had carried on together—representing that, even if the trade in Chinese goods were taken away from them, as being foreign, that in their own products ought not to be forbidden to them. The reasons for this petition being considered just and proper, permission was granted for one ship each year, which should sail from the port of Callao de Lima, and go to that of Acapulco; and this ship was allowed to carry goods to the amount of 200,000 ducados in silver, which should return to Perù invested in the products and commodities peculiar to Nueva España—whether in agriculture, stock-raising, [69]or manufactures—and in no others, even if they were the exports of these kingdoms; while the prohibition of Chinese cloth remained in force, under greater and more severe penalties. The trade thus permitted, continued uninterruptedly from 1604 until, on account of certain malicious reports, and less attention being paid to that trade than should have been, it was suspended for a period of five years by a royal decree of November 23, 1634. This decree is, for greater clearness, copied here exactly; it is as follows:

“The King. To Marques de Cerralvo, my kinsman, member of my Council of War, and my viceroy, governor, and captain-general of the provinces of Nueva España. For just causes and considerations which have influenced me thereto, and because I have understood that this measure is expedient for my service, I have decided that, for a period of five years, the ship for which permission was granted to the provinces of Perù to go every year with two hundred thousand ducados for their trade shall not go to those provinces [of Nueva España]. For the execution of this decree I have sent to the Conde de Chinchon, the viceroy of those provinces, the orders proper for this, of which I have thought it best to inform you so that, having understood this matter, you will on your side aid, in what concerns you. I charge you to do so, in fulfilment of the aforesaid command, exercising special and vigilant care that there shall be no infraction of the law, so far as concerns that country; and that no merchandise from China shall be carried from Nueva España to Perù, which is the principal object aimed at. For it is certain that, if in this matter proper care and vigilance [70]be not exercised, whatever is gained by watchfulness and precaution on one road will be diverted by another. At every opportunity that may present itself you shall, without omitting anything, always advise me, with especial care and entire secrecy, how this measure is received by the merchants and trading people of that country; and what advantages or disadvantages result from its execution, in order that, knowing this, I may take such steps and issue such orders in the matter as are most suitable. From Madrid, on the twenty-third day of November in the year one thousand six hundred and thirty-four.

I the King

“By command of the king our sovereign:

Don Fernando Ruiz de Contreras

“Signed by the Council.”

That this suspension of the commerce of Perù is injurious to the Philipinas is notorious. First: because when the ships from Perù do not sail to Acapulco the islands are left exposed to the failure of their [usual] succor in any year when their ships do not make the voyage (as often happens), either by having to take shelter in some port, or being wrecked, or by their late arrival [at Acapulco]—three contingencies which are quite possible, and even usual, as the islands have found by experience. Since in these cases the failure of these ships was formerly made up by those which went from Perù—the necessary supplies of men and money being sent in those vessels—it follows that if they do not go thither, and the former do not come, there will be no ships for this purpose; and in one year alone, if the islands fail to receive the aid which supports them, they run [71]the risk of being ruined—and this may even occur on an occasion of such exigency and danger that afterward they cannot be relieved at all.10

Second: because the silk that is produced in Nueva España (both woven and in skeins)11 was exported to Perù, since it was the principal commodity included in this permission, and in order to [help meet] the expenses of the country; and Nueva España, not being as rich as Perù, prefers the fabrics from China, which remain at a lower price, so that all those that come from Philipinas find consumption. If, then, the market that they formerly had [72]fails, it is necessary that this [home-grown silk] remain in Nueva España, as being their own product. It follows that so much less will be the use of the silks from China, which were substituted in the place of the Mexican goods when those went out of the country with the trade permitted to Perù. On this account, the commerce of Philipinas has been and is steadily diminishing—to how great an extent may be easily understood by finding the country full of silks and its own fabrics, which are no longer consumed except within it, although foreign goods are brought in. Even if these last are cheaper, they are a hindrance and obstacle to those which are or can be called original [in the country]—an injury which has been already experienced with the last ships from the islands, which as they failed to come in the preceding year, did not find an outlet for their wares; nor could they sell even enough to pay the freight charges and the duties, as is stated in letters from Nueva España, where your illustrious Lordship can learn the facts in the case.

Third: because, although Nueva España has mines of silver—and that metal is obtained from them in the quantity that is known, since the greater part of it all is locked up in the royal treasuries for shipment to España—since much goes out for the ordinary trade of Goathemala, Yucatàn, the Windward Islands, and the coasts of Cartagena and Venezuela, while the bulk of it is laden for these kingdoms, and even is not sufficient for their trade, it necessarily results that silver is lacking for that of Philipinas, and that the islands feel the loss of the 200,000 ducados that Perù was sending, which make almost 300,000 pesos of silver. This amount is not [73]so small as to be undeserving of attention, and is sufficiently large to explain why, for this and the preceding reasons, the islands have experienced so great a decline in their commerce; and for all those reasons have so much difficulty in supporting themselves, that it obliges them to demand relief by all possible and suitable means. Since one of these is, that the trade permitted to Perù be carried on as it formerly was, the islands urge that its prohibition, or suspension, shall cease and be removed.

And since, besides the advantages which have been mentioned, there are others which support this decision—some on the part of Nueva España, and others on that of Perù—and accordingly it is demanded by both kingdoms, it must be observed that it seems just and necessary that there should be intercourse between them; and that, as they are united naturally and morally, being continuous by the land, subject to one crown, included under the government of one Council, having the same laws, and being of the same nationality (that is, the Castilian), trade and commerce should [not] be totally prohibited to them. Nor, [on the same grounds, should the amount of trade] permitted to them be so limited, as it was, to 200,000 ducados—which, considering the richness of those countries, was very little; indeed, their intercourse is so restricted that it is less difficult to send a letter from Lima to Mexico by way of Spain than by the route on which it is now carried. And when it has been ordained by royal decrees and by the customary instructions [to royal officials] that the two viceroys of those countries should aid and favor each other when occasions therefor arise, and when they so frequently encounter enemies by sea and disturbances [74]by land, it does not seem consistent that those who should aid and succor each other cannot hold mutual communication.

Another reason: because with this prohibition opportunity is given for greater infractions of the law, or that merchandise which went with registry may go without it; for hardly is there a year when there are not voyages of prelates and ministers from Perù to Nueva España, and from Nueva España to Perù. Very recently Archbishop Don Feliciano de Vega and Auditor Don Antonio de Ulloa went from Lima to Mexico, and the bishop of Nueva Vizcaya (who went to fill the see of La Paz) from Mexico to Lima, as well as the auditors who were transferred from the Audiencia of Mexico to that of Lima. All these have to go by the Southern Sea; and it is quite possible that, by undertaking to sail at different times—and, because each one [of those prelates] prefers to go as a superior in his own ship, different vessels convey them—two ships would go from Lima to Acapulco, and three or four from Acapulco to Lima, without either of the viceroys being able to prevent the shipment of much silver in the ships from Perù, and much merchandise in those from Nueva España. Moreover, these four or five ships are double that number, because all of them are chartered by the voyage, going or returning; so neither does the Peruvian ship care to remain in Nueva España, nor that from Nueva España in Perù; thus there will be ten ships, five from each country. And all these were rendered superfluous by the ship that belonged to the permitted trade; for since the latter sailed regularly and provided registry, there was sufficient cause for ordaining that the prelates and auditors [75]should journey in it. This is a reason so evident that, even if there were no other, it would be enough for granting and facilitating this commerce.

On behalf of Nueva España, it is mentioned in the said memorial (no. 92) that more than fourteen thousand persons are occupied in the culture of silk, who, if that should fail them, would perish. This industry has two factors: one is, that there be silk from China as raw material [para labrar] and a market for that of the country. If the commerce with Perù fail them, that market (which is their principal one) is cut off; and thus that industry will cease, and the country will lose the wealth that it has which is based on that industry. Moreover, since the trade of the provinces is so closely connected and bound together, that of España will experience the same or a greater deficiency. For, if those who in Nueva España deal in silks, and are engaged in the silk culture and industry, sustained and enriched themselves with the commerce of Perù, and whatever they gained in that direction converted into the commerce of Castilla—consuming, as they necessarily would, the commodities in which that trade consists—it follows that if the people of Nueva España lack capital, and if that of the 200,000 ducados from Perù fails them, the wealth of Castilla will be thus diminished.

On behalf of Perù it is also represented that, when that permission for one ship each year was granted, this matter was examined and discussed, with reports from the viceroys and audiencias, and the more intelligent of the officials, and the advantages and disadvantages on both sides were carefully considered. Moreover, no new causes have arisen, nor have illegalities [76]occurred [in the commerce] which compel the suspension of a decision so suitable, just, and beneficial. And there have only been the proceedings of Francisco de Victoria,12 who, without caring for anything except to make himself singular and conspicuous, and to show himself capable of what he least understood—with the desire which many have to improve the government, even though it be by ruining the countries—in affairs belonging to the commerce of Philipinas and that of Perù strayed so far from what was fundamental and requisite in them, as may be seen in the arguments in the said memorial, nos. 1 and 2, and from 93 to 119. And, granting for the sake of argument that this [course of action] might have had some foundation: if the suspension of this permission was for five years, either for the punishment of illegal acts, or for reasons at the time expedient, when these requirements are fulfilled, it seems just that those commerces should again continue as before.

Another: because this becomes more expedient in the present emergencies, in which those kingdoms desire to help meet the new impositions which have been levied in all of them since the year 1630: the union of the armies, the windward armada, the sale of new offices, the half-annat, the stamped paper, the increase of the avería on both seas, the incorporation and reduction of encomiendas in both kingdoms, and other matters, which are well known to your illustrious Lordship. And if [his Majesty’s] vassals are not favored in these exigencies by facilitating their commerce, it will be impossible for them, even [77]though they desire it (as they all do), to aid in bearing so great a load.13

Another: because this permission was granted to Perù in recompense for what was taken away from that country in the goods from China. That trade was free, as I have said, and those stuffs were shipped from Nueva España in abundance; and thus the provinces of Perù experienced great relief, as the Chinese goods were so cheap that those of Castilla were estimated at three times their price. It was expedient to prohibit the Chinese goods, in order that the commerce of España might not diminish for lack of the wealth of Perù. And, since the welfare of some vassals is not to be gained by destroying the others, in order to repair the loss which was caused by this prohibition to the vassals of Perù [78]permission was granted to them for 200,000 ducados in goods from Nueva España, which are not so cheap as those of China, nor so dear as those of Castilla. This is stated in the royal decrees for the concession, and is inferred from their being of the same year and date as those for the prohibition. If this was the cause, and now it does not cease to operate, but rather is still more active—on account of the commodities which go from España having greatly increased in price, the land being poorer, and the impositions, expenses, and losses being heavier—it may be easily understood that this permission ought not to be refused.

Again: because the principal argument which gave cause for the suspension of this permission was the representation of glaring infractions of law therein. Sufficient refutations to these were made in the said memorial, from no. 94 to 117; but as there they are mingled with those in the commerce of the islands, answer is [here] made to the former more than to the latter (although the one depends on the other). The exaggerated statement is made that the ship which goes every year from Perù to Acapulco carries, instead of the 200,000 ducados of the permission, three millions—an enlargement which is an act of audacity deserving punishment rather than complaisance. [This is preposterous:] first, because even in transgressions of this character there is usually some moderation; and never before has it been seen, heard, or supposed that where two [pesos’ worth] were permitted the amount concealed would reach thirty. Second, this ship which went to Acapulco was one of 200 toneladas. The galleons on the India route, which go only to carry silver, and are [79]of 600 to 800 toneladas, do not carry more than one million each year; and the capitana and the almiranta, which are larger, carry a little more. Therefore, if a galleon of 800 toneladas does not carry a million and a half, how could a ship of 200 toneladas carry three millions? Third, it may be asked why all that money went to Nueva España. Reply will be made, “with the royal decree for the permission,” and with the argument (which is very evident) that the money went thither for investment in merchandise, and not to be left there, or to come by that route to España; for the one would be folly for its owners, and the other a blunder, since it would involve greater costs and risks. Then if (as is evident) the money must return invested, and in the same ship, or in another of equal burden, who ever said or imagined that that ship, with a burden of 200 toneladas, can carry the investments of three millions? If this sum be in silver, it is impossible to do so, as is proved; but the same is true if it be in merchandise. The ships which come from Eastern India to Lisboa are of 1,500 toneladas, and some of 2,000; and whatever goes beyond a million in the entire lading is very profitable, and is largely composed of diamonds, rubies, civet, and musk, commodities which are not bulky. Then how could a ship of 200 toneladas carry a cargo of taffetas, velvets, silk in skeins, coverlets, beds, tents, cabinets, and other like articles, to the extent of three millions of investment, which in Perù would be four or five millions? Fourth, because it cannot be said that the ship, since it does not carry three millions of silver, will carry two millions, or one—which also is a great transgression of the limit set. It is proved by experience that neither three nor [80]two millions, nor one, nor [even] half a million can be invested in [the cargo of] a ship of 200 toneladas—which with 200,000 ducados of silver converted into merchandise (which in Perù will be worth 300,000), and with the people, and supplies for three months (the time spent in going from Acapulco to Callao de Lima) will sail so well laden that no considerable quantity can be carried outside of the registry. Fifth, and last, because if this ship carried three millions, we must find a source for this silver, and a halting-place for it. There is no source [for that amount], because the silver produced from the mines of Perù, whether computed at a little more or less, is shipped to España every year, without an error of three millions. But if Perù retained so much silver, if from the year 1636 no ship has gone to Acapulco (and it is not to be supposed that the merchants keep their funds idle) from that time the exports from Perù would be heavier; but if we abide by experience (which is in this matter the best proof), the opposite is well-known. As little is a halting-place found for that silver, since [what there is] remains in Perù, on account of not having permission. Finally, we say, and it is known, that no more silver comes [from Perù] than did formerly, nor even as much. When it was going to Nueva España, the necessary effect of carrying three millions would have been to engross both the commerce of that country with Castilla and that with Philipinas; that those two should share the greater part of the silver; and that, when it ceased, both should feel the lack. The trade of Philipinas has had less return than formerly, not for lack of silver, but because Don Pedro de Quiroga did not give them permission to ship the returns for two years, and therefore the silver remained in Nueva [81]España for that reason. As little has the commerce of Castilla experienced a considerable reduction, and not one in proportion to the lack of Perù’s millions; and thus is proved that this permission for Perù never had the infringements that are represented, either in the quantity that is stated, or in any other considerable amount. [It is clear] that it ought to be decreed that, since the [term of the] suspension imposed upon that commerce is completed, it shall again proceed as is demanded in behalf of Philipinas, and has been requested on behalf of Mexico and Lima—the matter being referred to the investigation of your illustrious Lordship, who, after considering the reasons here mentioned, will decide it with the perspicuity and equity that the matter demands.

His Majesty has also given commission to your illustrious Lordship that, having heard the citizens in regard to the claim which they make of not being included in the two compositions of 630,000 pesos, the share of it which was levied upon them may be returned to them; since his Majesty says in his royal decree that he does not wish them to pay what they do not owe. Since all the considerations and arguments are fully stated in the said decree, I will, in order not to weary your illustrious Lordship, refer you to it, which also is very convenient, as will be seen, in serving to throw much light upon the affairs which your illustrious Lordship has to arrange and settle.


Informatory decree regarding the question to what extent and on what plan shall the commerce of the islands with Nueva España hereafter proceed.

Map of the eastern islands; photographic facsimile from Mercator’s Atlas minor (Amsterdam, 1633)

Map of the eastern islands; photographic facsimile from Mercator’s Atlas minor (Amsterdam, 1633)

[from copy of original map in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris]

The King. To the reverend father in Christ, Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of the cathedral church of the city of Puebla de los Angeles, member [82]of my royal Council of the Indias, to whom I have entrusted the visitation of my royal Audiencia of the City of Mexico in Nueva España, and of its tribunals, and that of the port of Acapulco: on the part of Don Juan Grau y Monfalcòn, procurator-general of the distinguished and ever loyal city of Manila, the capital of the Philipinas Islands, he has in the name of that city presented to me a statement that, having set forth to me in another memorial the wretched condition in which those islands are, and offered various petitions regarding it, which have been examined in the said my royal Council of the Indias, they failed to come to a decision in the principal points, not only on account of their importance, but in order to wait for the despatches which they were expecting to come in the trading fleet. And among those which arrived with the fleet from Nueva España there were letters from the city of Manila and the governor of Philipinas, and from certain intelligent persons, all of which agree—in which, to judge from the condition of affairs, those islands were in evident risk of being ruined unless the relief which they needed were sent to them with the utmost promptness, by helping to give form to their commerce, on which is based their preservation and defense, in the returns of silver, in the succors [that they receive] in fighting men, and in aid from the seamen [who go there]. The said city of Manila and the governor, as men who so carefully bear in mind the losses [that the commerce has experienced] mention them in their letters; and the commissaries of the city (who reside in Mexico), with even more information of what the people of the said city did not know, have considered and noted these letters, [85]since the remonstrances which the citizens have made were caused only by having received some information in general of the cruel acts of Don Pedro de Quiroga [y Moya], and that he had prohibited 600,000 pesos to the commerce. And when they knew that, besides the previous acts of oppression, others had been so recently committed against them, and such as had never before been known, and another sum of 300,000 pesos taken from them, it can be judged what they suffered, and the affliction that they experienced. And [I desire] that always, and in whatever event, it may be seen and known that the said Don Juan Grau gave information of and proposed to me all that he considered expedient for preventing the loss of the said islands, which with so plain indications is menacing them, and ought to be feared—as it is feared, not only by their citizens, but by all who recognize the difficulty of preserving them without commerce, or money, or soldiers, or seamen—continuing in his obligation, which is to communicate what shall be written to him, to present such requests as the said city shall order him to make, and to urge forward the decision of the most important matters. And he regards as settled that the commerce of the said islands with Nueva España is permanent, which is the only way in which they can be maintained, as he has proved in the said memorial; and that, if it ceases, they will be ruined and the Dutch enemy will take possession of them, since for so many years they have with this desire harassed the islands. [He makes the following statements:] If they should succeed therein (which may God not permit) all Eastern India would perish—since, if the enemy should be master of the Straits of [86]Sincapura, and of the archipelagos of Moluco and Luzòn (which have for their defense only that which Manila and its armed fleets give them), all the commerce of China would necessarily be hindered, not only for the Castilians but for the Portuguese; and the factories which (without other power than that of the commerce and advantage of many nations which resort to them), I possess in those coasts and kingdoms, with which I have preserved and sustained them, would come to an end. And the commerce of the said islands is at present suspended, if not cut off, as appears from the letters of the city of Manila and the governor. It must be noted that three-fourths of the merchandise which the citizens are accustomed to trade is pledged to the Sangleys, since the commerce has hitherto been sustained on credit alone; and as in the past year of 1636–37 no money went from Nueva España from the goods which the citizens sent, which the Sangleys had sold on credit, they have not been able to satisfy these claims. For this reason the Sangleys have gone away, and say that they are not willing to lose more than what they have lost; and the Portuguese of Macàn have done the same—who, like the Chinese, have returned to their own country, ruined. And the citizens having refused, in the past year of 1636, to lade their goods in the two ships which were ready to sail, fearing (and with good cause) the severity of Don Pedro de Quiroga, the governor urged them to lade their goods, and those which they had procured on credit—assuring them in my name that these would be expedited at Acapulco in the same manner as formerly, for which purpose he ordered that all the goods should be registered with the utmost possible [87]exactness and equity. The effect of this was, that Don Pedro de Quiroga paid no attention to what the governor had promised in my name; instead, his harsh nature being thereby irritated, he displayed greater severity, and, not content with detaining whatever the ships carried, he weighed and opened registered bales and chests—contrary to the usage at all the ports, against the regulations provided by royal decrees; and the appraisement that he made of the merchandise was so increased and exorbitant that what was at its just price in Mexico worth 800,000 pesos he rated at four millions. For the commodities which in Manila cost at the rate of nine pesos, the said Don Pedro appraised at twenty-two; and much of the cloth was sold in Acapulco, in his very sight, at six pesos, while he had collected the full amount of the royal dues, on the basis of twenty-two, at which he had valued the goods. By this one may judge how considerable a loss the citizens experienced, not only in paying the dues on so increased a valuation, but in the loss of the money they had invested. It may easily be judged that, by making this valuation so contrary to justice and reason, the registers transgressed the permitted amount; and with this appraisement he began to inflict new and hitherto unknown injuries on the commerce, with the sole intent of obtaining another composition, and demanded for it 500,000 ducados. God permitted that he should die; but, on account of his death, what he had begun was continued by the marqués de Cadereyta, and continued with no less severity. For he forcibly extorted from the commerce 300,000 pesos, which the citizens did not owe according to the document that they signed at the time of their first agreement; and he made [88]them draw up a document regarding the commerce, with declarations at the start that they had not entered protest against signing the document for the 300,000 pesos, by which act they left themselves no recourse. In order to relieve themselves from these annoyances they signed the said obligation, although they knew that it was the utter ruin of the commerce; but with this, and the damages and losses that their property suffered—for, besides opening the packages, they remained several days on the beach, with guards, and other expenses—not only their profit but their principal was consumed. Another factor in this loss was the necessity of securing what belonged to the islands out of the 600,000 pesos of the first composition; and for this, and the composition of 300,000 pesos, with the half-annat (which is charged to them), they were obliged to take moneys at a loss, and to sell very cheaply the goods that had remained. The result was, that of all the investment for the said year of 1636, when the entire capital of the citizens of the islands was sent, there remained no considerable amount that could be returned to them—as they were informed by the commissary through whose hand the returns were sent. On account of this—even before the second condemnation of the 300,000 pesos, or all the unfortunate outcome of their investments, was known in Manila—the citizens who had some estates in the country, seeing their extreme necessity, asked the governor’s permission to go out [of the city] to live on their lands, with the little money that remained to them, by cultivating the soil to support themselves. The rest, who are poor, have asked permission to enlist in the army as soldiers, and to join expeditions, or go to Terrenate, as they can find no [89]other means of support; and the majority of the citizens were discussing whether to entreat me that I will be pleased to grant them permission so that they can return to these kingdoms, to die in their own countries, as they can no longer support themselves in the Philipinas—but the governor, having notice of this, persuaded them to ask me for relief in this their afflicted condition, which they have done. Accordingly, they assembled in an open session of cabildo, and agreed that, until I should be pleased to form and establish a definite plan for the said commerce, no one of them should lade or send to Nueva España any merchandise, whether in great or small quantity—with which the said commerce has entirely ceased and been suspended, and will remain in that condition until a decision shall be sent them in regard to its plan. [They say] that, if this be delayed, it may arrive at a time when already no remedy will avail; that, although the citizens of Manila know that this course may ruin themselves and their islands, they consider it less injurious to them to spend their funds in maintaining what they may hereafter acquire, than in sending them to Nueva España in order to complete the loss of these in one year. They have acted accordingly, since in a patache which the governor despatched in the year 1637, with information of these necessities and of others contained in their letters, there came no merchandise, nor was there any person who was willing to ship goods; and the same occurred with the two ships which were despatched in the past year of 1638. And although the governor made all possible efforts to constrain the citizens to lade the two ships, he could not succeed in this, which now causes them to feel their loss still more keenly. [90]It is evident that the foregoing alone will cause a greater loss of duties to my royal exchequer in Nueva España, besides the licenses of the Sangleys, and other things in Manila and Nueva España, than what has been gained for it by the 900,000 pesos of the said two compositions—not to mention the evident risk in which the islands remain; for, if they are lost, four millions will not be enough to recover them if the Dutch take possession of them, which is the principal object at which they aim. It is represented to me that, if that commerce flourishes, my duties in Nueva España on the merchandise will amount to about 300,000 pesos, with which was provided the amount which I ordered to be sent back as returns to Manila, for the purposes and preservation of those islands; and that now all that source of income has fallen at a blow, and the loss has recoiled upon my royal exchequer, since it is necessary that the amount of money which is conveyed every year for the succor of those islands be supplied from my royal treasury of Mexico to that of Manila, out of the silver and the fifths from the mines. And not only is this loss occasioned, but all the capital with which commerce was carried on from Mexico to Philipinas (to which the duties gave rise) has ceased to exist; for in the year 1638, when no ships save one patache came [to Acapulco] the dues from it amounted to [only] 4,000 pesos, and in 1639 another 4,000 pesos were collected from the almiranta which arrived at Acapulco. As the citizens of Manila had no means to lade merchandise, not only the patache but the almiranta came without registers—as also did the capitana, which had to go back to port. According to what the governor writes, he will not send ships in the year [91]1640; with this, in three years I shall have lost 900,000 pesos in duties—the same amount which was extorted as composition, against all reason and justice, by Don Pedro de Quiroga; and it is he who has caused, by his severe measures, these so irreparable losses, not only to my royal exchequer but to the commerce. [Don Juan Grau] entreated me that, since all the above matters are worthy of such careful attention, I would be pleased, in order to place a speedy check on these losses—which recoil upon my royal exchequer, as he represented to me—to furnish a plan for the said commerce, without entrusting the matter to any judge or official visitor, or waiting for reports on a matter which is so thoroughly explained and well understood, in which even one year’s delay is enough to render relief impossible, to judge by the condition in which those islands now are. [He asks that,] in case this is impracticable, I command that for six or eight years the usage that has prevailed in regard to the registration and the appraisement and all the rest be followed, without making changes in anything, punishing those who transgress the regulations and orders that have been established by royal decrees; and that this may and shall be understood without prejudice to what must and shall be decreed after the documents, reports, and other papers which shall be demanded or sent have been examined. [He asks that] I immediately despatch a decree to this effect, since, if a decision on this point be not at once sent, the commerce will be ruined in one year more—which, added to what has been already lost, will be the total destruction of the said islands. This subject has been discussed in my royal Council of the Indias, and I have taken into consideration all that has been [92]represented to me, and that it is just to reward the loyalty, fidelity, and services of vassals who are continually serving me, arms in hand—defending my crown in lands so widespread, with so great reputation for my arms; and I desire in everything their prosperity, comfort, and preservation. By my decree of September 30 last I thought best to command that in the appraisements and registrations, and in not opening the bales or weighing the chests from the ships of the said Philipinas Islands which arrive at Acapulco—unless such act shall be preceded by the informations and other requisites that are ordained by decrees that have been issued on this subject—the custom and usage which were in vogue before Don Pedro de Quiroga went [there] should be observed, without infringing the decrees and orders which were issued regarding these matters; and that this be for the present, and meanwhile nothing else be ordained by the said my Council until you shall have informed me (as you will do) about the affairs of Philipinas, since I have entrusted to you the settlement and enforcement of matters concerning the commerce of the said islands. I request and charge you, [for all these reasons,] to inform me about all that I have here mentioned, with great distinctness and thoroughness, with your opinion and any suggestions that you can offer regarding the advantages and the preservation of the said Philipinas Islands—in order that, after the matter has been examined in the said my Council, I may take such measures as are most expedient. Done at Madrid, February 14, 1640.

I the King

By command of the king our sovereign:

Don Gabrièl de Ocaña y Alarcòn [93]


Informatory decree upon the augmentation of the amount permitted to the Philipinas Islands, in both silver and merchandise; and that the products of the islands shall not be included in the permission for 250,000 pesos.

The King. To the reverend father in Christ Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of the cathedral church of the city of Puebla de los Angeles, member of my royal Council of the Indias, to whom I have committed the visitation of my royal Audiencia of the City of Mexico in Nueva España and of its tribunals, and the visitation of the port of Acapulco: [Here follows a preamble which is identical with that in the first of these decrees, as far as the words, “and to urge forward the decision of the most important matters.” This decree then continues (evidently stating Grau’s arguments) as follows:] And as for the lack of money, this cannot be avoided when the commerce in merchandise fails, since, if that is not sent, there will be no returns from it; and the main thing to be considered is that as little can the duties be collected, which (as is proved in the said larger memorial) on the said commerce amount to the sum which is sent every year for the aid of the said islands. If these duties fail, it will be necessary that all this succor come out of my royal exchequer, and it may be needful to send much more there; for in the past, when the citizens found themselves without means to aid (as they do aid) in the support of the said islands, the deficiency had to be made good from my royal exchequer, as has been proved by experience. The governor of those islands, seeing the pressing necessities of the citizens, in the year 1637 [94]lent them from my royal treasury 76,765 pesos, besides what he lent them in the year 1638, when in the same condition—when formerly the citizens loaned so great sums, as is known, to my royal treasury; and this is ascertained, with convincing arguments, that in order to lessen the occasion [for such loans] it is necessary to aid and favor the citizens and the commerce, since whatever it has of wealth [for them] I shall be spared from expending in the maintenance of continual war in those archipelagos. For it can be understood that if this does not cease, and those who are supporting it have no means for doing that, either I must support it or I shall be defeated; and that it is of the utmost importance to maintain the war. I have already recognized the great difficulties that result from the cessation of sending money to those islands; for, on account of the fact that in the year 1637 not more than 150,000 pesos of the amount in the Count-Duke’s permission was carried [to Mexico], and that the citizens failed to receive the returns therefrom through the harsh measures and blunders of Don Pedro de Quiroga, the Chinese merchants have gone from Manila, and carried away their merchandise, because there is no one who can buy their goods; and it is known with certainty, according to letters from the city, that the silk sold by the said Chinese to the Dutch, since they knew that there was no money in Manila, amounted to more than 5,000 picos. If the commerce with China is cut off from that city, it will be impossible again to introduce it, and whatever is collected there from the licenses given to the said Chinese (which is a very large item) will be lost; and finally the whole colony will reach so exhausted a condition that it will [95]be impossible,14 even with a million [pesos] of aid a year, to maintain the said islands. [Don Juan Grau] has entreated that I would be pleased to command that in the first ships which sail from Acapulco for the said islands—or, in default of these, in whatever ships shall go to the islands—shall be transported, besides the usual succor that I send, all the residues of permissions which there may be in Nueva España belonging to citizens of those islands, and all the money which may be still due as returns from the permissions, so that in this first voyage may be made up whatever shall have been deficient in past ones, according to the amount permitted, and nothing shall remain to fill out the entire amount of the returns in any year. Moreover, in order to mitigate somewhat the great injuries and losses for eight or ten years, [he has asked] that an increase be allowed them in the permission for the silver, up to the amount of 800,000 pesos instead of the 500,000 for which they have permission—or such quantity as I shall be pleased [to grant]; and that I give them permission to carry to Nueva España, besides the 250,000 pesos’ worth of cloth from China which is already allowed to them, all the products of the country—as they have requested by a special petition in the large memorial, which Don Juan Grau asks shall be again examined, with the strong arguments which they present for asking this favor; and he says that at present there are [even] more reasons for granting it. This matter has been considered in my royal Council of the [96]Indias, notwithstanding that I commanded the viceroy and the Audiencia of Mexico, by my decree of December 8, 1638, to inform me what permission the Philipinas Islands have, and that which was granted to the Count-Duke; and whether it would be expedient to enlarge further that of the said islands, considering their needs and other circumstances. By another decree of mine, of the same date, I also commanded the said my viceroy and Audiencia of Mexico, and the governor and Audiencia of Manila, to inform me regarding the representations made to me, on the part of the said city of Manila, that all the provinces of the Indias are permitted to export the products that in them are gathered and cultivated, without limitation of quantity. Those of the islands, the proceeds of their collections and labors, are: wax, lampotes, coverlets, tarlingas, blankets from Ilocos, musk, civet, and other commodities which are peculiar to the said islands; and it has been the custom for many years past to ship these products to Nueva España (which is their only market), registered, but not included in the 250,000 pesos of the permission, as it seemed that the citizens did not need it for these commodities, and that it was granted only for those from China—which are the ones expressly stated in the royal decrees, and on which fall the prohibitions and penalties. And [Don Juan Grau] petitioned that I would command that a declaration be made to this effect, and that these commodities, coming registered, and paying my royal duties at their departure from the islands and entrance at Acapulco, as do the other goods from China, should be (even though their value and quantity did not come included, and be not included, in [97]the permission) passed by the customs officers without incurring penalty of confiscation, or any other. I request and charge you that, after having thoroughly informed yourself of all that I have mentioned, you report to me very fully thereon, in order that, when the matter shall have been discussed in the said my Council, I may take such measures as shall be most expedient for the relief and preservation of my vassals in those islands. Done at Madrid, February 14, in the year 1640.

I the King

By command of the king our sovereign:

Don Gabrièl de Ocaña y Alarcòn


Informatory decree, in regard to opening the commerce between the kingdoms of Perù and Nueva España.

The King. To the reverend father in Christ, Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of the cathedral church of the city of Puebla de los Angeles, [etc. Here follows a preamble identical with that of the first decree, as explained in the second one. This decree continues:]

Both Perù and Nueva España oppose the method followed in the commerce of the said Philipinas Islands, and complain of the above prohibitions, setting forth certain difficulties which result from closing to them the commerce which those two most opulent states have maintained (as it were, by nature) between themselves; the chief of these is their being entirely deprived of the mutual intercourse and relations which ought to prevail between them. On this account, another permission of two ships has [98]been granted to them. One of these shall sail every year from the port of Callao de Lima, and may carry to that of Acapulco silver to the amount of 200,000 ducados, for investment in the products peculiar to Nueva España—whether of agriculture, stock-raising, or manufacture—and no others, even those sent from these kingdoms. The other ship shall return from Acapulco to Callao with these proceeds [of the investment], the prohibition of cloth from China remaining in force; and the decree declares that none of that cloth may be sent in return for the 200,000 ducados, nor outside of that amount, enforcing its execution by heavy penalties [imposed] by the decrees of December 31, 1604, and March 8 and June 20, 1620. By these decrees final shape was given to this permission which now is suspended; and it was ordered to cease by a decree of November 23, 1634, without the reason which had given cause for this act being known—further than the measures which had been proposed for ruining the islands, and this, that the ships of Perù might not sail to Acapulco, to the so great harm of the Philipinas Islands, as this alone would be enough to ruin them. For if ships do not go from Perù, the islands remain exposed to the failure of their aid, in the year when their ships do not make the voyage, by having been wrecked, or forced to put back to port, or having arrived late. As in such cases, it is usual to make good their deficiency with the ships from Perù, sending in them the usual succor of men and money, if the latter do not go, and the others do not come [to Acapulco], there will not be ships for that purpose, and the islands might remain for several years without the succor that supports them, at the evident risk of being [99]ruined. To this may be added, that there are, as will be stated, in Nueva España more than fourteen thousand persons who sustain themselves with the industry of silk-raising and silk manufacture, by express permission, and the order that this industry be preserved. It cannot be maintained with only the silk that is produced in that country, the total amount of which is very small, and it therefore employs the silk that comes from Manila, as being suitable for delicate fabrics. The silk fabrics of Nueva España have always been exported to Perù, as commodities included in the trade permitted to those countries, which was mainly composed of these stuffs; while the fabrics of China remained for meeting the expenses of the country, which regularly consumed all that came thence. Since the exportation of what formerly went to Perù has ceased, the necessary result is that these goods remain and are consumed in Nueva España, as being its own product, and that just so much less of the Chinese silk is required—which is substituted in place of the home product when the former goods are imported through the permission—and necessarily less of the other is produced. Besides taking away their occupation from the people who are engaged in the silk industry, this will cause an evident diminution in the commerce of Philipinas, the bulk of which consists in silks; for just so much less of what the islands export is consumed [in Nueva España] as cannot be sold out of what is produced there—which will be an amount so noticeable that with this reduction alone that commerce will become excessively weakened. This has been already proved in regard to the last ships which came from those islands—for, as they failed to come [100]the previous year, they found no market for their goods, and could not sell enough of these even to pay the freight charges and the duties, according to letters from Nueva España and authentic documents; it is, therefore, very expedient that the permission given to Perù should be revived, else, by not conceding it, a great reduction is feared in that of Philipinas. If, when that permission was granted, the matter was discussed with adequate information, and the advantages which there might be on either side were considered, and now if no new reasons or circumstances arise which compel the decision to be suspended beyond the fact that Francisco de Victoria contrived such expedients, without heeding other objects, so that it seems as if he cared only for the abandonment and ruin of the islands, no opportunity should be given for that suspension. Even if the memorials which [Don Juan Grau] has furnished on the other topics prove to be sufficiently answered, and their arguments are shown to be weak or false, it must not be understood that there are better ones for what concerns the permission given to Perù; but no answer is made here, save in what pertains to the Philipinas, for the rest concerns Nueva España and Perù, who will give fuller explanations. And, considering the evident injury and risk to which the islands are exposed by the lack of freight ships that can sail thither, since in case the ships belonging to the commerce are wrecked, or forced to take refuge in other ports, or arrive late, the islands will perish if there are no other ships in which to send the usual succor of men and money: and since freight vessels are not built, which is necessary in all the coasts of Nueva España, this deficiency must be supplied some [101]years by the ships from Perù that go to Acapulco—which do not sail now, on account of the permission which was given for that purpose being suspended—from which also result to the islands the losses which have been set forth in the said memorial, which are stated anew in this petition, because it is so expedient that the traffic between Nueva España and Perù be restored: [Don Juan Grau] has petitioned me to consent to raise the suspension, or prohibition, which is laid or imposed on the said permission of Perù and Nueva España, even though, for its fulfilment and better observance, the penalties be increased so far as is expedient. This matter having been considered in my royal Council of the Indias, as I desire to ascertain the advantages or disadvantages which may result from the aforesaid measure, whether to my greater service, to the increase or diminution of my royal dues, to the preservation of my vassals of the said Philipinas Islands, or to their relief or injury: I request and charge you to inform me very thoroughly of all that you shall ascertain and understand to be most expedient, in order that when I have considered all the reliable information in your report, I may take such measures as may be most fitting. Done at Madrid, February 14, in the year 1640.

I the King

By command of the king our sovereign:

Don Gabrièl de Ocaña y Alarcòn [102]


Decree in which his Majesty commands that a hearing be given in a court of justice to the citizens of the city of Manila, regarding their claim that they be not included in the condemnations and compositions of the 900,000 pesos; and [it is declared] that it is his Majesty’s intention that they should not pay what they do not owe.

The King. To the reverend father in Christ, Don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of the cathedral church of Tlaxcala,15 member of my royal Council of the Indias, to whom I have entrusted the general visitation of my royal Audiencia of the City of Mexico in Nueva España and of its tribunals, and the visitation of the port of Acapulco, and other affairs very important for my service. [Most of this decree is omitted, as being only a repetition, in the main, of statements in Grau’s memorial preceding. The king rehearses the injuries done to Philippine commerce, the arguments pro and con an increase of duties, and the representations by the citizens of Manila in behalf of their petition for relief; and continues:] What they entreat with the humility belonging to my vassals, and set forth with arguments of expediency and good government, subject in everything to what shall be for my greater service, is that what is past be punished, but not so as to inflict the same penalty on those whose guilt is unequal; for if there shall prove to be guilt, it must be because they were induced to it more by their need and hardships than by the [103]profits on their investments; and it is the fact that whatever they have acquired by these is known to be but a small part of the means which they have at present, and they have spent it and intend to spend it in serving me and in preserving those islands at the cost of their blood and property. They ask that for the present attention be given to what is hidden and concealed, and that this be diminished and reduced to the amount permitted and regulated; and that, until they know in the islands what they ought to do, and what new decrees shall be issued, those penalties be not carried out against the citizens, and that they shall not be punished for what they have committed through ignorance. They ask that for the future the duties be not increased on what shall be found within the amount permitted, whether in silver or merchandise; that no innovations be made in the appraisement of the goods, nor by opening the packages or measuring them, through any different method from that which has been [hitherto] observed and followed, since (as is very evident) they pay more than they are able to; and they state that the despatch of the two ships was included and is still contained in the composition of the 600,000 pesos for the year 1635—a proposition very plain and undisputed, which does not admit of doubt, since it is expressly, clearly, and distinctly stipulated, noted, and agreed in the document which was executed regarding this matter, the first section of which reads as follows: “First: that in this agreement shall be set down and included the two ships which are expected to come from the Philipinas Islands this present year, or early in this coming year of 1636, to this Nueva España with registry; and if one or both of them shall not [104]have sailed, or shall not sail, from the said islands, or if they be forced to put back to port, this agreement shall hold good regarding those which shall come in the following year, at whatever time therein; and the ship which shall not sail this year may do so next year, so that there will be two vessels; and they may land at the port of Acapulco in this Nueva España the goods that they carry, paying to his Majesty his customary royal dues, without those goods being seized; nor can anything be confiscated thereon in case each person declares what he shall carry, in conformity with the proclamation which will be issued. [This goes] with declaration that if (which may God not permit) the ship be wrecked at sea, or plundered by enemies, no other shipment be allowed.” It does not seem as if the persons who drew up and signed this contract could state more contingencies regarding the voyage of these ships, in order that these might be included in the document, since they set down the following: sailing in the year 1635; being obliged to put back to port, and being shipwrecked; sailing not in that year, but in the following one, that of 1636; arriving at Acapulco in that year, or in 1637 at whatever time therein; one ship arriving, and the other being obliged to go back to port, or not sailing at all; and finally, settling beforehand the account and despatch of two ships which would arrive after the date of the contract and agreement, up to the completion of the said year 1637. Moreover, the necessary declarations were made as to the cargo of the ships: that it must pay the customary dues, all goods being declared; and that, if this alone were done, they could not be confiscated, even though they should come outside of the [105]registry, for this is meant by declaring them. The facts of the case were, in all these matters, that the ships did not sail in the year 1635, but in 1636, and reached Acapulco at the beginning of 1637—a voyage included and expressly stated in the [aforesaid] document. In this case, conformably to the section which is here copied, it could not and cannot be doubted that these two ships were the first to arrive after the agreement, within the limit set therein, and with the permitted amount of goods registered—not only as that amount had always come, but with more rigorous and orderly [inspection]. As for the landing of the goods, this was done as the above section directed; for Don Pedro de Quiroga, when the ships cast anchor, caused proclamation to be made that all should declare whatever goods they carried; with this, and the severity which he exercised in permitting the goods to be removed from the ships, not a bale was concealed, or considered as such, nor was anything seized as contraband. [The king then mentions Quiroga’s rigorous and oppressive measures, almost in Grau’s own words, and continues:]

But it is a fact that, according to that agreement, what had to be done was to appraise all that came registered—as had been done during the six years before, to which the commission extended without making any kind of innovation, since the contract was that they had to collect the customary dues; and if anything came outside the registry, its owners, by declaring it in accordance with the proclamation (as they did declare it), had to pay the same dues, freight charges, and alcavala as did the registered merchandise—which is the same practice as that in Sevilla when, at the arrival of the galleons, my royal decree [106]regarding declarations is issued and proclaimed. And this the proclamation of Don Pedro de Quiroga could not exceed, because it was of the same character, not only on account of his own official position, but by the obligation of the contract. Such was the proper course of action, according to justice and reason, and conformably to the contract approved by the viceroy and the visitor and by me; and since, in virtue of his document,16 the 400,000 pesos of the two thirds of 1636 and 1637 were already collected. What he did was to contravene all this, the same as if such usage had not been current; [but in that case] such a composition would not have been made, nor such a contract drawn up. For, as if the ships were not included in the agreement, whatever they carried was immediately seized (as has been stated), saying that it was confiscated—not for coming outside of registry, since of this sort there was nothing belonging to the citizens of the islands; but because the permitted amount came registered,17 as it always has come and ought to come, in order to fulfil therein the condition of the document, which was that each chest be carried as one pico of silk, to which is introduced the addition of a quarter, from which Manila has made petition. For if it were not with the express condition that these ships should be thus despatched, there would have been no reason for mentioning them in the agreement. Besides, they conformed to the [107]order of which Don Pedro de Quiroga notified the islands, as appeared by a section of his letter, inserted in a document which the governor wrote to the city of Manila, which reads thus: “We have been expecting the ships which thus far have not arrived, by which we deem it certain that they have been obliged to take refuge in port; and in order that the service of his Majesty, to which your Lordship is always so attentive, may be furthered, it is necessary for me to express my opinion (as you commanded me, in your instructions) that all the goods which go registered in the ships, even if there be more of them than the 250,000 pesos of the permission, should remain free, by paying the dues at the port of Acapulco; and the same should be done with those that are not registered, if they are declared in the said port within twenty-four hours after the vessel casts anchor.” This was the proclamation which I ordered to be made; and that if the said ships should sail from that city, or after sailing should put back into port, they might come freely the following year with the said merchandise; and this was the order that the visitor sent to Manila, and which the governor executed to the letter. In accordance with it, the ships sailed, according to the agreement and its first condition; from this is positively known the notorious injury and injustice which has been done to all those engaged in this commerce who took part in the first composition—compelling them by severe measures to enter upon the second one, and to pay or be obliged to pay for it the said 300,000 pesos, endeavoring to deprive them of having recourse to my clemency with a protest. For even if there had been (as was not the case) the same or greater infractions of [108]law in those two ships than in all the preceding years, as these cannot be of different character from those of the past, and from those included in the commissions of Don Pedro de Quiroga, they should in justice, and by obligation and legitimate contract, agreed to and executed, be included and contained in the composition of the 600,000 pesos; and in virtue of that agreement ought to have been despatched as usual, without making accusation or fixing blame for what they carried registered, or was declared at Acapulco. The islands therefore claim that they ought not to be included in the first composition, and that what they have paid ought to be restored to them and is imposed upon them when they do not owe it, on account of the said composition. They also claim that the second composition, to which those who signed the document were compelled, ought to be declared null and void; that all who were involved therein be set free from their obligation; and that what they shall have paid or contributed for its fulfilment and execution be returned and restored to them. [The king here enumerates (again in Grau’s language) the losses which these rigorous measures have caused to his royal exchequer, the injuries and dangers thus occasioned to the Philippines, and the services rendered to the crown by its citizens;] notwithstanding that in a letter of September 2, 1638, I thought best to inform the said city of Manila that in regard to the citizens of those islands being included in the former compositions made by the said Don Pedro de Quiroga, my royal intention was that they should not pay what they did not owe. And since this depended on the acts and the general decision which Don Pedro de Quiroga made regarding [109]these compositions, in which the citizens of the islands claim they were not included, the judge was notified to proceed in those commissions, in order that he might hear them and administer justice as was fitting, affording redress to those who had been injured. In conformity therewith, I have considered it well to issue the present, by which I commission you, and give you all the power and authority that is required by law in order that, after hearing them, you may administer justice, and furnish redress to those who shall have been wronged in whatever has been represented to me; for such is my will. Done at Madrid, February 14, 1640.

I the King

By command of the king our sovereign:

Don Gabrièl de Ocaña y Alarcòn [111]

1 The present document is taken from the Extracto historial, a work compiled (Madrid, 1736) by order of the Spanish government, for its information and guidance in the discussions then pending in the royal Council of the Indias upon the subject of the trade in Chinese silks between the Philippine Islands and Nueva España. The book is an historical résumé of that commerce, and of legislation thereon, from its beginning to 1736; it is composed mainly of important documents—decrees, memorials, etc.—from the original sources, and is divided into ten tiempos, or periods, of which the second (which covers the time from 1603 to 1640) is here presented, and the others will receive due attention in later volumes.

The title-page of the Extracto (of which a facsimile precedes the present document) reads thus in English: “Historical summary of the measures now under discussion in the royal and supreme Council of the Indias, at the instance of the city of Manila and the Philipinas Islands, in regard to the form in which the commerce and trade in Chinese fabrics with Nueva España shall be conducted and continued. And for the better understanding of the subject, the important events in that commerce are noted (distinguishing and separating the periods of time), from the discovery of the Philipinas Islands and the concession of commerce to them, with whatever has occurred up to the present in the operation and at the instance of the commerce of España and its tribunal [consulado]. Compiled and arranged by order of the king and the advice of the above-named Council, and at his Majesty’s expense, by an official of the [India] House, from the papers and documents furnished by the office of the Secretary for Nueva España, and [including] other special memoirs, which the said official has here set down for the greater completeness of the work, and to throw more light on the subject. At Madrid: in the printing-house of Juan de Ariztia, in the year 1736.”

The official there mentioned was Don Antonio Alvarez de Abreu; at the beginning of the work he mentions in a prefatory article the reasons for its compilation, and the plan he has followed; he claims to have reproduced accurately the documents presented therein, and to have regarded the interests of both sides in the controversy then being waged over the Philippine commerce. One hundred copies of the Extracto were printed.

2 Thus in the original; but in the following expansion of these points eight of them are enumerated, indicating an oversight on the part of the compiler. The sixth is there stated as the renown and profit accruing to the crown from the victories gained by its Philippine subjects; the seventh, the aid given by them to both crowns; the eighth, their protection of Chinese commerce.

3 According to Crawfurd (Dict. Ind. Islands, p. 38) this is the form, in the native languages, of the name that Europeans write Bantam, applied to the extreme western province of Java, and to an important seaport town in its northwest extremity. Most of the inhabitants of this province are Sundas, but along the coasts there is considerable intermixture with Javanese and other Malayan peoples. The port of Bantan was an important commercial center long before the arrival there of Europeans.

4 i.e., Hindostan (see VOL. XVII, p. 252). The grave accent is here used in the word Mogòr, simply as following the usage of the Extracto, which throughout prints the grave instead of the acute accent.

5 St. Martin, one of the Antilles, was a resort for French pirates and Dutch smugglers until 1638, when it was captured by the Spaniards. It was afterward recovered from them, and in 1648 was formally divided between the French and Dutch—a status that still prevails.

6 The alcabala, an excise duty collected on all sales of commodities, was derived from the Moors, and was more or less imposed in Spain from the year 1342 on. It was introduced in the American colonies in 1574, and for more than two centuries was a rich source of income for the Spanish crown and a heavy tax on the colonists. The rate was at first two per cent, but afterward this was doubled and trebled; and it was levied on every transfer of goods, taxing property over and over again. See Bancroft’s Mexico, iii, pp. 658, 659; and Recopilación leyes de Indias, lib. viii, tit. xiii, and lib. ix, tit. xlv, ley lxvi.

7 Raynal thus describes Acapulco, in his History of Settlements and Trade in Indies (Justamond’s translation, London, 1783), iii, pp. 378, 379: “The port of Acapulco where the vessel arrives, hath two inlets, separated from each other by a small island: the entrance into them in the day is by means of a sea-breeze, and the sailing out in the night-time is effected by a land-breeze. It is defended only by a bad fort, fifty soldiers, forty-two pieces of cannon, and thirty-two of the corps of artillery. It is equally extensive, safe, and commodious. The bason which forms this beautiful harbor is surrounded by lofty mountains, which are so dry, that they are even destitute of water. Four hundred families of Chinese, Mulattoes, and Negroes, which compose three companies of militia, are the only persons accustomed to breathe the air of this place, which is burning, heavy, and unwholesome. The number of inhabitants in this feeble and miserable colony is considerably increased upon the arrival of the galleons, by the merchants from all the provinces of Mexico, who come to exchange their silver and their cochineal, for the spices, muslins, china, printed linens, silks, perfumes, and gold works of Asia. At this market, the fraud impudently begun in the Old World, is as impudently completed in the New. The statutes have limited the sale to 2,700,000 livres, and it exceeds 10,800,000 livres. All the money produced by these exchanges should give ten per cent. to the government: but they are deprived of three-fourths of the revenue which they ought to collect from their customs, by false entries.” This passage is appropriated bodily—with a few changes, and an important omission—in Malo de Luque’s Establecimientos ultramarinos (Madrid, 1790), v, p. 220; and no credit is given by him to Raynal.

On the map of Acapulco in Bellin’s Atlas maritime (Paris, 1764), t. ii, p. 86, appears the following naïve item in the legend at the side: “Two trees, to which the galleon from Manila attaches a cable;” these trees are located directly in front of the tiny “city,” and between two redoubts.

8 Talinga is defined by Noceda and Sanlucar (Vocab. lengua Tagala, third ed., Manila, 1860) as manta de Ilocos (“Ilocos blanket”). It is apparently the same as terlinga, used by Mallat and Malo de Luque; and tarlinga, later in this document.

9 Encarnación (Dicc. Bisaya-Español, Manila, 1885) says, after defining the word as here: “The word lompot eminently signifies ‘piece;’ and the pieces in which the native women weave all their fabrics are regularly eight varas long and one wide.”

10 “An indiscreet or ill-directed zeal distracted from labors and persistent effort those colonists, who themselves were inclined to inactivity. Their exceedingly lucrative commerce and intercourse with America accustomed them to regard as intolerable and even disgraceful the most honorable occupations. If through any misfortune the rich Acapulco galleon could not be despatched, or was wrecked, the greater part of the inhabitants lapsed into fearful misery. Many became beggars, thieves, or assassins; it was customary for them to enlist as soldiers; and the courts were unable to check or correct the many crimes committed.” (Malo de Luque, Establecimientos ultramarinos, v, pp. 211–212.) Cf. this with Raynal’s Settlements and Trade in Indies, iii, p. 78, from which Malo de Luque has again borrowed without giving Raynal credit (see note 7, ante).

11 Silkworms and the cultivation of the mulberry tree, for both of which the country is naturally adapted, were introduced into Mexico by Cortés, and for a time the production and manufacture of silk there promised to become a source of wealth to the country; but it was practically ruined by the restrictive and unfriendly policy of the Spanish government and the competition of the Chinese silks sent to Nueva España from Manila. Mexico has several native species of silkworms, and trees on which they feed—not only of mulberry, but of other genera; and their product was used by the natives before the conquest, especially in Mizteca in Oajaca. For accounts of this product and industry, see Acosta’s Hist. Indies (Hakluyt Society’s publications, London, 1880), i, p. 269; Humboldt’s New Spain (Black’s translation), iii, pp. 57–60, 465; and Bancroft’s Hist. Mexico, ii, p. 292; v, pp. 612, 613; vi, pp. 524, 576.

12 On fol. 24 verso of the Extracto, the surname Barahona is added to this man’s name as here given.

13 Under the rule of Felipe III and Felipe IV, the economic and financial affairs of Spain fell into a ruinous condition. The indolence and incompetency of those monarchs, the influence exercised over them by unscrupulous favorites, the rapid increase of absolutism and bureaucracy, the undue privileges accorded to the nobility and clergy, costly and useless wars, the extravagance and corruption which prevailed in the court and in the administration of the entire kingdom and the expulsion of the Moriscos—all these causes quickly brought on an enormous national debt, the impoverishment of the common people, depopulation of large districts, almost the ruin of manufacture and the like industries, the oppression of the poor, the trampling down of the national liberties, the decline of Spain’s naval and military power, and many other evils. The treasures of the Indias did not suffice to maintain the nation, and even caused some of its woes; and the reckless mismanagement of its revenues caused enormous deficits, which its rulers attempted to meet by imposing more and heavier taxes, duties, and contributions upon a people already staggering under their grievous burdens. The impositions named in the text are but a few of those levied at that time; and the colonies were compelled to bear their share of the burden carried by the mother-country. See the excellent survey of this period in Spanish history, and of conditions political, administrative, social, and economic, with bibliography of the subject, in Lavisse and Rambaud’s Histoire générale (Paris, 1893–1901), v, pp. 649–682.

14 Marginal note: “It stands thus in the original”—referring to a doublet of three and a half (printed) lines, which the Extracto has reproduced from the text which it followed, presumably a manuscript copy of the decree.

15 A variation in Palafox’s title, apparently due to some clerical oversight. It is not, however, incorrect, since Tlascala was the earlier seat of that bishopric, and gave name to it—the bishop’s residence being afterward removed to the new city of Puebla, five leguas distant from Tlascala.

16 Apparently referring to the paper recording the composition of 1635; and the wording of this sentence in the decree would imply that the 600,000 pesos of that composition were at first levied in three annual installments, but afterward collected in advance.

17 Thus in the Extracto; but the statement appears to be a non sequitur, and suggests the probability of some words being omitted.


By Diego Aduarte, O.P.; Manila, 1640.

Source: Translated from a copy of the above work in the possession of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago. This volume comprises pp. 1–167.

Translation: This is made by Henry B. Lathrop, of the University of Wisconsin; it is partly in synopsis. This work will continue in VOLS. XXXI and XXXII; this volume comprises chaps. i–xxxvii of book i. [112]

[Translation of title-page: The History of the Province of the Holy Rosary, of the Order of Preachers, in Philippinas, Japon, and China. By the Right Reverend Don Fray Diego Aduarte, Bishop of Nueva Segovia, with additions by the Very Reverend Father Fray Domingo Gonçalez, Commissary of the Holy Office, and Regent of the College of Sancto Thomas in the same province. With license, at Manila, in the College of Sancto Thomas, by Luis Beltran, printer. In the year 1640.]

Title-page of Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario ... en Philippinas, by Diego Aduarte, O.P. (Manila, 1640)



History of the Dominican Province of the Holy Rosary

By Fray Diego Aduarte, O.P.

[Aduarte’s work1 is here presented, partly in full translation, partly in synopsis—the latter portions being, as usual, printed within brackets.]

1 The various approbations at the beginning of the book are not here translated, as not being sufficiently important to justify such use of our space. The first of these is furnished by Governor Hurtado de Corcuera, and is dated at Manila, March 21, 1639—in which he states that Fray Gonçalez has added matter which brings down Aduarte’s history to 1637, thus covering a period of fifty years from the foundation of that Dominican province. The request for permission to print the book is made by Fray Carlos Clemente Gant, prior-provincial of that order; and it is granted (for six years) by the governor, after favorable report on the book has been made by Fray Theofilo Mascaros, an Augustinian—this report, by the way, being dated at the Augustinian convent of Sancta Ana de Agonoy, August 29, 1638. Archbishop Guerrero also approves this publication (July 7, 1638); and, four days earlier, the Franciscan, Fray Juan Piña de San Antonio, at Sampaloc, does the same.


Book I


Chapter I

How the establishment of the Dominican order in the Philipinas Islands was undertaken

[Though the Dominican order did not accompany the discovery of these islands, it was not late in entering them; for it found many entire provinces still in the night of heathenism, because the preachers, [116]though good ones, had been few, and because the inhabitants differed so in their language and were spread over so vast an extent of territory. The reports which were sent back of the intelligence of the people, the fertility of the soil, and the amount of the population moved some religious to come to these regions, in grief that so many souls should be lost for lack of some one to rescue them from their errors. The question of establishing the Dominican order was discussed among the grave and holy fathers of the Province of Mexico; and to them it seemed unbecoming to our profession that no religious of our order should be engaged in this new conversion. The first man to put these pious desires into effect was that noble man of God, Fray Domingo Betanços, who refused the bishopric of Guatimala, preferring to be a preacher of the gospel in these islands. By his efforts he persuaded the viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoça, to give command that he should have a vessel and sailors to take him to Philippinas, for which he had permission of his bishop. But the time determined upon by our Lord for this had not yet come, and accordingly it was not carried out. However, he did not give up his desire; and began again in 1580 to discuss the journey. In order that the expedition might be better supported, he talked over with some fathers the plan of sending some one to España and Roma to obtain the necessary documents. Fray Juan Chrisóstomo was chosen as leader of the expedition, and was sent to España and Roma to obtain the usual licenses for the foundation of a new province of this order in Philippinas, Japon, and China. Fray Juan set out in 1581 with letters [117]from various ecclesiastics, among them the first bishop of the Philippinas, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, a religious of the same order, who happened to be in Nueva España at the time, on the way to his new bishopric. The bishop was greatly pleased with this determination, as he hoped to find through it reparation for his own unfortunate voyage, in which he had brought religious from España for the same purpose, but had lost so many from death or sickness that he had remaining only father Fray Christoval de Salvatierra. The mission of Fray Juan Chrisostomo was successful.1 He obtained from the general of the order, the Most Reverend Fray Pablo Constable de Ferrara, a charter giving him authority to establish a congregation of thirty brethren of the order for the Philippinas Islands and the kingdom of China, and directing him to follow the usages of the province of Santiago of Mexico. The privileges of the province of Mexico were granted to the new province. The date of this charter is the fourteenth of July, 1582. The general also gave him a circular letter to the members of the order, confirming his powers.] [118]


Chapter II

Negotiations of Fray Juan Chrisostomo at Roma

[At Roma Fray Juan Chrisostomo obtained a brief from Pope Gregory XIII, granting to the Dominican province of Philippinas and China powers of absolution from sins, excommunications, and other sentences, censures and pains, even in cases reserved for the Apostolic See, in foro conscientia. This brief bears date of September 15, 1582. The pope also gave Fray Juan Chrisostomo many precious relics for the order, granting many indulgences to those who visited them.]


Chapter III

The experience of Fray Juan Chrisostomo in España until the establishment of the new province was completed.

[Though father Fray Juan had supposed, because of the ease with which he carried out his business at Roma, that he was likely to obtain even greater favor in España, he found the conditions entirely contrary. During his absence in Rome, the bishop of Philippinas had sent to España Father Alonso Sanchez as his commissioner. The bishop met with great difficulties in Philippinas, because of the long period which had passed during which there had been no bishop there. He had sent Father Alonso to obtain support from España, giving him especial directions to further the establishment of the order, as he expected to receive great assistance from it. But Father Alonso acted in a contrary manner, maintaining both in Mexico and in España that there was no [119]further need of clergy in the islands, and especially no need of the establishment of a new order there. Being accredited with letters from the ecclesiastical dignitaries, and speaking as an eyewitness, he persuaded the Spaniards of whatever he pleased; he had special influence with the Council of the Indias and with the king’s confessor.2 Father Juan was accordingly obliged to retire to his convent of San Pablo at Sevilla, entrusting this work to the Lord. So completely did he abandon the enterprise that he made use of some of the relics which had been given him by the pope for the establishment of the new province, to the advantage of his old convent. At last, by an inspiration of God, Father Juan was again moved to set about the establishment of this province. Among the religious who offered themselves for the work was father Fray Juan de Castro,3 who, after filling important administrative offices in the order, had retired to his convent of San Pablo at Burgos. Though an old man, he was fired with religious zeal for the work on which Father Juan had entered. From the convent of San Pablo at Valladolid there volunteered two lecturers in theology, father Fray [120]Miguel de Venavides (afterward bishop of Nueva Segovia and archbishop of Manila), and father Fray Antonio Arcediano; Fray Juan de Ormaça, lecturer in arts, afterward provincial; Fray Juan Maldonado, likewise lecturer in arts, and afterward a holy martyr; and Fray Pedro de Soto, Fray Miguel Berreaça and Fray Juan de Ojeda, who all were priests.4 Fray Domingo Nieva, deacon, who also volunteered, was afterward of great importance, because of the great ease and skill with which he learned languages, whether Indian or Chinese. From the college of San Gregorio in the same city, came to join them father Fray Andres Almaguer. From the convent of San Estevan at Salamanca there offered themselves for the expedition father Fray Alonso Ximenez (afterward provincial), father Fray Bartolome Lopez, and father Fray Juan de Hurutria [Urrutia, in Reseña]. From San Vicente [121]at Plasencia came father Fray Francisco de Toro; from the royal convent of Sancto Thomas at Avila, father Fray Juan Cobo,5 a master in the college there; from the college of Sancto Thomas de Alcala, father Fray Bernardo Navarro—who was twice provincial, and for many years commissary of the holy Inquisition—father Fray Diego de Soria (afterward bishop of Nueva Segovia), and the lay brother Fray Pedro Rodriguez. From the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia6 came father Fray Alonso Delgado, who was sub-prior, and father Fray Pedro Bolaños,7 master of novices. From the convent of San Pablo de Sevilla volunteered father Fray [122]Juan de la Cruz,8 and the fathers Fray Francisco de la Cruz and Fray Pedro Flores. Father Juan succeeded in obtaining a letter from the king to the governor of the Philippinas Islands, dated September 20, 1585, endorsing his enterprise.

The religious set out from Castilla in May, 1586. Father Fray Juan Chrisostomo, being too humble in spirit to undertake the leadership of the company, resigned his position in favor of father Fray Juan de Castro.]


Chapter IV

The experience of these first fathers up to the time of embarcation

[The fathers met with great difficulty in preparing for the embarcation. After making arrangements for their passage, they found the vessel so ill-suited for their purpose, that they were obliged to annul the contract. They were left behind by the fleet with which they were to sail, and endeavored to follow it with a small vessel; but put back and finally obtained passage in a ship of fair size. As this vessel was sailing alone, it was exposed to danger from the Moors and the English. While the fathers were hesitating, the adelantado of Castilla offered them a munificent support if they would remain and give their attention to the spiritual good of his vassals. But overcoming all these alarms and enticements, which were wiles of the devil, the fathers courageously set sail.] [123]


Chapter V

The voyage of the fathers

[On Friday, July 17, 1586, the day of St. Alexis, they began the voyage. Since the vessel already had its complement of passengers, and a full cargo, there was no place for the religious or for their goods. To the old and the infirm the captain granted the cabin in the poop; the others slept where they could. They spent their time in the occupations which they would have followed in the convent. Reaching the Canarias they found that the fleet had already gone ahead. The captain set sail again, without giving them opportunity to say more than one mass. A fire, which threatened the safety of the ship, was put out by the holy and courageous Fray Juan Cobo and a Spaniard. Seeing four vessels which did not seem to belong to the fleets, the people aboard prepared for battle; but they discovered that these were friends. They suffered greatly for want of water, but finally readied port on St. Michael’s day in September; from the port they went on to Vera Cruz, and thence to Mexico. Their hard experience and the badness of the climate had made a number of them ill. The first to die was father Fray Miguel Berreaza, a religious of most holy life, a Basque by nation; he died of a malignant fever. He was soon followed by father Fray Francisco Navarro, who also died of fever. There also died father Fray Pedro Flores, in the flower of his age. Many others were afflicted with illness, but all were kindly received and treated by the religious at Mexico. The Indians likewise received the religious with feasts, bouquets, and dances—greatly delighting the newcomers when they saw [124]these races so marvelously converted from barbarism and cruelty to peace, kindness, and devotion. The Indians of Cuitlabac received Father Juan Chrisostomo with special tokens of love, as their father and former instructor.]


Chapter VI

New difficulties met by the expedition, and the result

[The common enemy of souls strove with all his might to keep the religious in Mexico. He represented that Mexico was in need of religious, and that the voyage from Mexico to the Philippinas is longer than that from España to Mexico. He employed a religious person who had returned from the Philippinas9 to assure them that they would not be admitted to the kingdom of China; while, as for the Philippinas, he declared that the country was small, thinly populated, and sufficiently provided with religious. The viceroy10 strove to retain them. Some remained; but the most valiant and virtuous, like the army of Gideon against the Midianites, pushed on. The names of the eighteen who founded the province are: father Fray Juan de Castro, vicar-general; father Fray Alonso Ximenez, Fray Miguel de Benavides, Fray Pedro Bolaños, Fray Bernardo Navarro, Fray Diego de Soria, Fray Juan de Castro (who had the same name as the vicar-general, and was his nephew),11 Fray Marcos de San Antonio, Fray Juan [125]Maldonado, Fray Juan de Ormaça, Fray Pedro de Soto, Fray Juan de la Cruz, Fray Gregorio de Ochoa, Fray Domingo de Nieva (deacon), and Fray Pedro Rodriguez, a lay brother. Fifteen of these took their way to Manila; for father Fray Juan Chrisostomo was unable to go because of illness, and father Fray Juan Cobo left the company, on business of importance which could not be finished before the embarcation. By way of Macan there went to China father Fray Antonio de Arcediano, father Fray Alonso Delgado, and father Fray Bartholome Lopez, as members of the same province and subjects of the father vicar-general Fray Juan de Castro. “Though there went eighteen, there should have gone a thousand; from which may appear how far from the truth in his information was he who disturbed this holy company with what he said in Mexico. His intention was good, but in fact he greatly aided the Devil, and kept from these islands many and very good subjects. I trust that the Lord has already pardoned him.”] [126]


Chapter VII

Of the ordinances made by the vicar-general for the foundation of the new province

[The vicar-general, with the advice of the eldest, most learned, and most devout of the religious, made ordinances for the foundation of the new province. He followed the customs of the provinces of Mexico and Guatemala. The name given to the province was that of “the Most Holy Rosary of Mary the Mother of God, ever virgin.” In the preamble, the father vicar-general declares that they who were to guide others in the way of perfection should first travel it themselves, doing virtuous works that they might teach others. He fortified his assertion by quoting Scripture and several fathers.

In the first place, the rules of the order are to be followed not only in essential but in accidental matters, the relaxation of rigor in the latter having caused some to say that the true religious life12 was at an end. Hence the members of the province were [127]to follow the constitutions with literal exactness—fasting, dressing in woolen garments, eating fish, being humbly clad, maintaining silence, and going on foot. This general statement includes everything, but some things are specially insisted upon.

Uniformity is to be maintained in everything—in dress, religious ceremonies, and the celebration of mass; in churches, opinions, and doctrines. The hours are to be kept, however small the number of religious may be, prayers being said at midnight and at every other time enjoined. For every deceased religious all the priests shall say each six masses, applied in olidum; and those who are not priests shall say the psalms and double rosaries.

In our conversation we shall avoid secular matters as much as possible, and speak of the things of God. We shall read the fathers, ecclesiastical histories, and comments on the Scripture, the superior putting questions and a religious answering. In entering a diocese we shall call upon the bishop, receive his blessing, and follow his counsel as to our preaching. Our obedience is to be perfect. Secular visits are not to be made except for charity, and those under direction of the superior. If any go to ask alms, it must be by appointment of the superiors. Poverty is to be maintained. Temporal responsibilities are to rest solely on the superiors. Convents are to be modest. Books and other things acquired by the friars are to belong to the congregation. Individual religious houses are to have no separate property; but all things in them or possessed by them are to be subject to the disposition of the provincial, except in so far as license to hold separate property is obtained from the general of the order. In such case a religious house shall have no share in the property of the [128]province as a whole. No religious shall have anything laid up or shall receive anything, except in the name of the community; nor shall any be granted an exclusive right to use books.

Two hours a day are appointed for mental prayer and divine contemplation, which must never be omitted, either in convent or on journeys; and every day except Sundays, feast-days, or solemn octaves, every religious shall take a discipline (i.e., scourge himself) with his own hands. Though mattresses are allowed by the constitutions this privilege is renounced, and we are to content ourselves with a board or a poor platform and a bed of skins, except in case of sickness or for guests. On every day when there is no office of our Lady, the psalms and antiphons corresponding to the letters of her most holy name are to be recited.13

These ordinances are dated from the convent of Sancto Domingo at Mexico, December 17, 1586. Twenty religious vowed to keep them, and to go on to the newly-founded province.]


Chapter VIII

The voyage of the fathers from Mexico to the Philippines

[The three brethren destined for China set sail from the port of Acapulco for Macan, in a vessel [129]called the “San Martin.” The other fifteen religious began their voyage on the Sunday called Quasimodo, the Sunday after Easter, April 6, in the year 1587. It was very late in the year, so that there was danger of storms; for the time of the vendabals had come—stormy and contrary winds, which are feared greatly by the best pilots. They had the misfortune to lose their ship-stores by fire, and were obliged to live on beans and chick-peas (garbanzos) for all the rest of the voyage, which lasted three months and a half. But a much more severe affliction was the narrowness of their quarters in the ship; for two factions broke out among the crew, one party fortifying itself in the forecastle, the other in the poop; and they were about to give battle to each other, as if the one party had been Moors and the other Christians. Fortunately, the fathers succeeded in reconciling them. The carelessness of the navigators almost caused the ship to be lost on one occasion; on another, the vessel was almost lost on some islands inhabited by cannibals. On the eve of St. Magdalen’s day they reached port; and they took this saint to be patron of that province.]


Chapter IX

The voyage and experience of the brethren who went to Macau

[As it was the principal intention, in establishing this new province, to promulgate the holy gospel in the great kingdom of China, the fathers who were sent thither were distinguished for sanctity and learning. Of the voyage we know only that the vessel was wrecked on the coast of China, and that they escaped to land as if by miracle. They were not treated with the severity usually shown to foreigners who come to [130]or are lost on the coast of China; but were kindly received by one of the chief men, who had observed their devotion. They did not obtain permission to carry on the work of evangelization in China, but went on to Macan and were thence carried to India. Father Antonio Arcediano taught theology, and was highly regarded in Goa. At different times he sent his two companions to España and to Roma to plead the cause of Macan, and to do what they could to establish the preaching of the gospel in China. At the end of six years, seeing no hope of what he desired, he returned to España, and there became a teacher of theology in the University of Salamanca. He afterwards went to Avila, and died there. The order did not succeed at this time in entering China by way of Macan; but finally, the desired entry to China was obtained by way of Hermosa.]


Chapter X

Of the entry of the religious into the city of Manila, and of their occupations there until they went on their various missions.

The previous chapter has caused some digression; but it was necessary, in order to give an account of the voyage, and of the career of these important religious. We now return to those on the other ship, which we left at the port of Cavite—whence the news was immediately carried to Manila, which is two leguas from that port. The bishop of this city, Don Fray Domingo Salazar, was, as has already been said, a religious of this order. He was greatly delighted when he learned that religious of his own order had come to found a province, which was the [131]thing that he most desired in this life. He sent immediately to a nephew of his to ask him to welcome them and to bring them to the city, which they entered on the day of the apostle St. James. This was a happy omen for those who came with so great a desire to imitate the great zeal of this holy apostle, by which he was so distinguished among the other apostles that the enemies of the gospel opposed him more than the others, and that he was the first among the apostles to lose his life. When they entered the city there came out to meet them Doctor Sanctiago de Vera, governor and captain-general of these islands, together with the most noble and illustrious of the city, showing in the joy of their faces and their loving words the delight that they felt at the arrival of the brethren—of whose sanctity they had already been informed and felt assured by the modesty of their appearance, faithful witness to the heart. Accompanied by these friends, they went to the chief church, where the bishop was waiting for them; and he gave them his benediction, full of tears of joy. Here they offered to the Lord the thanks they owed to Him for having brought them to the destination which they had so long desired; and for the great honor which, as to His servants and for His sake, had been shown them. Immediately after, the holy bishop took them to his house, and, making them welcome to everything in it, entertained them as well as he could; for he desired for occasions such as this and for giving to the poor, that his episcopate should be rich. Since this day was wholly given up to visits, it was not very pleasant for him; but when he was alone with his brethren he lifted up his voice with tears, like another Joseph, and said to them: “Is it [132]possible that I have seen the order of my father St. Dominic established in this country? Is it possible that my eyes have seen the thing which I so much desired?” After he had said these words, he remained for a long time unable to speak, his words being followed by an abundance of tears, which he shed from tenderness and the emotion of his soul. Everything else that followed was conformable to this, both in his conversation and his acts, which were those of an affectionate father. He gave them all their sustenance in his house, without growing weary of such guests. They, however, were not seeking comfort such as the good bishop provided them, but labors for themselves and souls for God; and after resting a few days they begged the bishop to put them in the way of attaining what they had come to find, as his bishopric was so rich in it. The festival of our father St. Dominic was at hand; and they resolved to celebrate it before separating, asking the blessing of the Great Father on that important act. Having no convent, they celebrated the festival in church, with the utmost solemnity and devotion; and in the evening they had some theological discussions, father Fray Pedro de Soto maintaining several positions, in which he displayed his admirable ability and great learning. Father Fray Miguel de Venavides presided, a man who surpassed those who in that period were of mark in virtue and scholarship, by the shoulders and more, like Saul in bodily presence among his subjects. The purpose of the discussions was to show that preaching the gospel (which was to be their occupation), even to the simple race of Indians, does not interfere with scholarship, but requires it, and much study; the contrary is a manifest [133]error, for the smaller the capacity of the Indian, the greater should be the capacity of the minister. He is called on to make the Indian capable of the loftiest mysteries taught by the faith; and we see by daily experience among Indians cases and matters which cannot be solved except by a man of great knowledge, learning, and ability. Since all cannot be so highly endowed, it is essential to have some ministers of superior attainments to whom the others may resort with their difficulties, and whose responses they may safely follow. The good bishop took particular pleasure in being present at and encouraging the discussions, and in perceiving that those who sustained theses and the others (who likewise exhibited their abilities) might aid him in weighty matters in the difficult duties of his office. This was afterward proved to be true in this province and in España, where he who presided accompanied the bishop and was of great assistance to him, as we shall see. After the festival was over, it was determined that father Fray Christoval de Salvatierra, who was the bishop’s companion—and who was of the same pattern in virtue, prudence, and zeal for the common good and especially for the good of souls (as will hereafter be recounted)—should take some of these fathers to some villages of Indians who had no one to instruct them, and whom he therefore had taken under his own charge. He went to visit and teach them when he had leisure from his heavy labors as vicar-general. The labor of his office, being in a new country, full of entanglements with regard to the conquistadors and new encomiendas and the collection of tributes, would have been intolerable for others; yet he took his vacation by working at other [134]kinds of labor, teaching new Indians, working with them, and introducing among them Christian policy and civilization so far as they were capable of receiving them. This avocation of his would have sufficed most men for their full duty, but he did it in addition to his regular work as vicar-general. The villages were at such a distance from Manila that it took more than a day to go there by sea, and much more by the rivers.14 In order to teach the new fathers the manner of working with the Indians, and to begin to acquaint them with the language of the natives, which he knew very well, he went with them to the villages commonly known as Bataan. Those who had the fortune to go with father Fray Christoval were very well pleased, inasmuch as they were beginning to obtain that which they had followed with such desire from España. The rest of them, desiring greater convenience for living according to the custom of friars than could be afforded them in the house of the bishop (although he was a holy man), went to the convent of St. Francis, where they were received and entertained as might have been expected of fathers so religious and so zealous in following the rules of their great father and ours, which we accepted exactly as if we were of the same habit. Nothing less could have been expected, since those fathers then had as custodian the holy Fray Pedro Baptista, afterwards the most glorious martyr [135]in Iapon, and as guardian father Fray Vicente Valero—another Nathaniel in guilelessness of soul, joined with a most solid virtue and devotion to his vows, which caused him to be esteemed and venerated among lay and religious. Some days afterward the Indians of Pangasinan were entrusted to our religious. They lived forty leguas distant, and, being all heathen, had need of someone to labor among them. The order likewise took charge of the Indians of Bataan, to whom, as has been said, the father provisor ministered because he had no one to send; as also of the Chinese or Sangleys, who up to that time had had no ministry. Many thousands of them had come and were still coming every year from their own country, on account of their trade and commerce in this colony, which is very great. Many of them were traders, and many were mechanics. No one desired to undertake the ministry to them, because of the great labor and the little fruit; but since the new laborers had come fresh, and were eager for work, this claim of itself was sufficient for them to regard it as a great favor to be permitted to occupy themselves where the toil was greatest. The father vicar-general sent for the absent brethren, and gathered all together in the convent of St. Francis; and there offered a long prayer for them, asking for the grace of the Holy Spirit. He then made them a spiritual and devout address. After it was concluded, he who in lesser things had never been accustomed to proceed without consultation, now, without further consultation than that which he had had with God, assigned and distributed them after the following manner. To the district of Bataan he sent as vicar father Fray Juan de Sancto Thomas (or de Ormaça), [136]with three associates: father Fray Alonso Ximenez and Fray Pedro Bolaños, and Fray Domingo de Nieva. To the province of Pangasinan he assigned, as vicar, father Fray Bernardo Navarro (or de Sancta Cathalina), with five associates: fathers Fray Gregorio de Ochoa, Fray Juan de Castro (nephew of the vicar-general), Fray Pedro de Soto, Fray Marcos de San Antonio, and father Fray Juan de la Cruz. The father vicar-general remained with the others in the convent which was to be established in Manila, and was intended for the conversion of the Chinese. It was only necessary for him to give the directions and to arrange all things, every man doing that which fell to his lot. The reason was not only their great virtue of obedience, but the fact that the holy old man had held this chapter in a manner so spirited and so extraordinary as to convince them that in his address he had said to them that which it was their duty to do, and that it was God who had thus given them their commands. The father vicar-general immediately began to give his attention to the convent which was to be established in Manila; but when he looked for a situation he did not find a suitable one. That part of the city that was submerged at high tide did not seem desirable; but that which was not submerged was so taken up by the cathedral and the other convents that the matter was a very difficult one. Being such, the good bishop laid it before the Lord in his prayers; and having earnestly besought His help, he arose from prayer with great happiness, and went, though it was late at night, to his sub-chaplain and steward, Francisco Zerbantes, telling him that he had the site for the friars, and directing him to see if he could obtain [137]three hundred pesos, which the owner asked for the place; for the bishop had not even one peso with him. The steward—whose accounts were always indicating a deficit, because every third of their yearly income15 scarcely fell due before the poor took it away from the bishop—frankly responded that he did not dare attempt to get that sum and did not see how he could, because even for their ordinary subsistence the means were frequently insufficient, so that he was embarrassed. The bishop was not disconcerted by this, but (though it is not known how or where) he quickly procured the three hundred pesos; and he told the steward to give the money to a Spaniard called Gaspar de Isla, who was diking a small place which was all flooded, and much more the land about it. For this reason, though many had looked at it, no one had regarded it as good for a convent. But the bishop, with great insistence, directed the steward to take the next morning a stole, some holy water, and two sticks to make a cross; and he embarked in a banca, or little canoe, and went to the place (for it was overflowed to that extent), and blessed it. He took possession on August 16, 1587, and set up a cross in token that the convent should be built there, as it was; and the site has turned out to be very healthful, with very pleasant views. It has been surrounded by very good houses, and has had other advantages. The bishop gave for the building two thousand pesos—a thing apparently impossible, because of his poverty, but worthy of his great soul, and of the great affection which he felt toward the friars. They immediately began to build [138]a house there and a poor little wooden church. They finished soon, and the religious began to occupy it on the first day of the following year, 1588, to the great joy of themselves and of the whole city. The first superior of the convent, with the title of vicar, was father Fray Diego de Soria, a great preacher, and a very devout man, so that he immediately made many persons greatly devoted to him. The new convent began to be very much frequented, and to be so well assisted by alms that for many years there was no occasion to cook food; because every day the amount of cooked food which was provided was too great rather than too small. There were many who came to its assistance with alms, some one day, some another; but Captain Francisco Rodriguez sent every day, so that the religious were as sure of this supply of food as if they cooked it at home. The Lord paid His accounts, as He is accustomed to, promptly. The captain had lived for ten years in marriage without any children, for whom both husband and wife were most desirous, and they had some in payment for these alms; for there is nothing that the Lord denies to those who have mercy on the poor. As the number of the religious increased, it became necessary to do the cooking in the convent; but the devotion of the city and the contribution of alms has always continued and still continues. Thus the convent has been and is maintained solely by them, having been unwilling always to accept an endowment, though many have been offered to it. Thus without endowment or possessions they get what they need, with greater certainty than if they had these. For, however certain such things may be imagined to be, they may fail, as many others have failed; but the word of [139]God, in whom the fathers trust, cannot fail. This has been so clearly observed that when our lord the king commanded that this convent, like the others in the city, should receive as a contribution to its support four hundred pesos a year and four hundred fanegas of rice (which takes the place of wheat in this country), they for a long time declined to collect it, since it seemed to them that it was in the nature of an endowment, as being something sure and certain; yet afterward, when they saw that it was pure charity, and that he who gave it could take it away when he chose, they accepted it—on condition, however, that if the ministers of the king take it from us, even unjustly, we shall not ask for it as a right. At this time this has been done, the allowance having been taken away; but the Lord in return has given much more than that. In these first years Doña Ana de Vera, wife of the master-of-camp Pedro de Chaves, and Doña Marina de Cespedes were great benefactors of the religious; and to them the convent, in gratitude, has given chapels in the church for their interment. In general, both poor and rich have given alms to the convent out of good-will; and the religious have paid them all very fully, not only by commending them to the Lord in all their masses and prayers, but by earnestly laboring for the good of their souls with sermons, advice, and exhortation, as well as other spiritual exercises. This was soon evident in the reformation that began to be seen in their habits, and in the improvement in their life. Accordingly, one of the citizens wrote to Captain Chacon (who was at that time governor of the province of Nueva Segovia) telling him as news that the Dominican friars had come to Manila; and that the [140]city was turned into a monastery in the reformation of the lives and morals of the inhabitants, and, in particular, in the abstraction of the women from worldly concerns. This was indeed the case; one reason was, that the example given by the religious was of great influence, and, though they were few in number, they effected as much as if they were many. They acted in harmony, and devoted themselves to the divine offices as systematically as in great and well-ordered convents. They were all men of education (some of very superior education), all virtuous men, all given to prayer, all very penitent, very harmonious, very zealous for the salvation of souls, very poor, and disengaged from the things of this world. Therefore, all esteemed them and desired them as guides of their souls; and they performed this office with so much care and diligence that the reformation of the aforesaid city resulted. For those who confessed to them were either obliged to reform, or were dismissed by them; for in the conduct of the penitents they refused to consent to deceit, in the collection of tributes they would not allow extortion, in women they would not suffer frivolity or impropriety of manners. As learned men, they revealed the evils in such acts, and could make these understood by their penitents; and as men without any personal motive they held themselves ready to dismiss those who with vain and plausible reasons, with the pretext of evil customs, or with other like cloaks strove to cover their acts of injustice, and to justify the wrongs which they committed through evil desires. Hence those persons who confessed in the Dominican convent came to be known and esteemed, as they still are; and there came to [141]exist in the city more light in regard to things to which previously no attention had been given, and more care was taken of conduct. This was the reason why they said that the city had become a monastery; and in truth, in many cases the conduct of those who confessed there deserved that name—for example, that of Doña Ana de Vera, Doña Marina de Cespedes, Catalina de Villegas, and many other women very well known and esteemed in the city on account of their virtue. In this they all owed no little to the aid of their holy confessors, who with great care, much teaching, and their own examples, did the work of God, and succeeded in attracting many people to the knowledge of Him and to His service. Many, in health, did not follow their counsels, regarding them as too severe, and sought for confessors who feared to lose their penitents, and who, by making their theology liberal, unburdened the consciences of those who confessed to them. Yet even these persons in the hour of death, when their desires had lost some of their force, called for the Dominicans and gave to them the charge of their souls, fearing to lose them by following the road which they had taken in health. And this freedom and courage has always been maintained in this convent; and they have used it without respect of persons—with rich and poor, with governors and other officials. Hence it is necessary for them to live in such a manner that no reproach can be cast upon them, and to be content with but little for their sustenance, since that little cannot fail them. Withal they have no regard to pleasing men, for to Saint Paul it seemed that with that desire it was impossible to unite the service of God—mankind being in general [142]greater lovers of themselves than of God, and hence he who is very desirous to please men being necessarily at enmity with God. Therefore, these religious were very careful in this respect, and strove so to conduct themselves toward men that the supreme place should always be held by God; and on this account they had the reputation of rigor—though they were not rigorous, except to those who through their own desires or selfishness tried to cast aside their duties to God.


Chapter XI

Some marvels wrought by the Lord in the convent of Manila, and the rebuilding of the same

[Though the first church and convent were but small and poor buildings, made of wood, they were very precious in the sight of the Lord, who manifested therein many miracles. The candles in the chapel of our Lady burned without wasting. The site being clayey and not firm, and the church poor and built in haste, it was not two years before the larger chapel fell to the ground, warning of the fall having been given to one of the novices in a dream. In response to his prayers, the Lord granted that the church should fall without harming any person, injuring the sanctuary, or damaging the image of our Lady of the Rosary. This image was thereafter regarded with such reverence that, when a new image with a marble face was set up above the altar, the people demanded their old image again. Although the convent was poor, and had no income or funds for the rebuilding of the church and the other edifices, they went on with confidence in the Lord to erect [143]a convent and a church of stone. By the favor of God, they received a number of bequests and other gifts, which enabled them to build a handsome stone church, large and strong, two large dormitories, a sacristy, a chapter-house, a refectory, a porter’s lodge, and such other offices as a convent has need of. The enterprise went on so rapidly that, though the wooden church had fallen toward the end of the year 1589, the new one was finished on the ninth of April, 1592, by the generous alms of the faithful, and the diligence of father Fray Alonso Ximenez. It seemed that the work was to stand for many years, but it was not to be. In the year 1603, toward the end of April, exactly thirteen years after the building of the church16 fire broke out in the town, at a great distance from the convent; and in a short time it consumed a third part of the city, including our convent, the hospital of the Spaniards, and that of the Indians. They succeeded in rescuing only the most holy sacrament and a beautiful statue of our Lady of the Rosary. There were lost seventy-two buildings, fourteen Spaniards, and many more Indians and negroes, of whom the number is not known. The property destroyed amounted to a million. The fire respected many precious and sacred things, and had for our convent the effect of requiring us to rebuild. It was determined that the church should be a vaulted building, which required stronger foundations for the whole church. It was also decided to raise and strengthen the large chapel, and to build a cloister and a super-cloister, and these buildings are in good condition still. The work was paid for by the alms [144]of the faithful, as they were received from time to time. There was never either any lack or any superfluity.]


Chapter XII

A revered image of our Lady of the Rosary possessed by this convent, and the marvels which the Lord has wrought and still works by it.

[This image was given to the convent by Don Luis Perez das Mariñas, formerly the governor of these islands. It was made by a Chinaman, under the direction of Captain Hernando de los Rios Coronel, who afterward became a very devout priest. The Chinaman was afterward converted by the miracles performed by this holy image. She sits on a very beautiful throne, and has a large, rich, and well-gilded retable, given by Antonio Xuarez de Puga, who was many years her steward. The chapel has been enriched and adorned by many gifts. Miracles wrought by this image are very numerous, the most notable of them being one which happened in 1613. The clothes of the mother and child showed signs of travel, for which it was impossible to account. At this time an expedition had been sent out to reënforce Terrenate, consisting of two galleys and five other vessels, under the leadership of Don Fernando de Ayala. The five smaller vessels and one of the galleys were driven on shore at a point called Calabite, on the coast of Mindoro. The Indians who had been forced to row instantly fled to the mountains, taking refuge among some high rocks. The Spaniards ran in pursuit of them, but the Indians taking advantage of the superiority of the situation hurled stones at the Spaniards, killing them miserably. One of the Spaniards, [145]Francisco Lopez, though desperately wounded, was kept alive for thirteen days, in response to his prayers to the Virgin, until he had an opportunity of making his confession. The coincidence of time makes it probable that the journey of the holy image was taken in response to these prayers.]


Chapter XIII

Other miracles wrought by this holy image

[The accounts of this extraordinary miracle moved the whole city and aroused its devotion. The sick crowded to the chapel for healing, and so many miracles were wrought that it seemed ungrateful not to make a record and a verification of them. Pains of all kinds, fevers, difficult births, were cured; in one case a child which was almost drowned, and had turned black in the face, was brought back to life. The records of individual cases are given in detail, with the dates, the names of the afflicted persons, and the names of the witnesses.]


Chapter XIV

Other marvels wrought by the same image

[Several rescues from drowning are recorded, and further cures.]


Chapter XV

Further marvels wrought by the same holy image

[In 1617 some vessels made by the governor Don Juan de Silva, for service against the Dutch heretics, were being taken to a shipyard for overhauling. By a sudden storm they were all wrecked, so that the best [146]ships that these islands ever had, or will have, were lost. In the flagship, called the “San Salvador” (a very large, swift ship), was a sailor named Barnabe de Castañeda, who committed himself to the Virgin and was rescued. This chapter gives the accounts of four other extraordinary rescues from drowning.]


Chapter XVI

The manner in which the religious lived when they entered their ministry to the Indians

Before the religious separated to go on the missions to the Indians to which they were severally appointed, there were given to them those general ordinances which had been so well established for this work, with much thought, prayer, and consideration in Mexico, and which will be found stated in chapter vii of this history. All are based upon the instruction of the apostle to his disciple Timothy: Attende tibi, et doctrinae, whence he directly infers, hoc faciens, et te ipsum salvum facies, et eos qui te audiunt.17 Thus the whole foundation of the ministry rests upon every man’s first taking heed to himself, and doing what he ought to do; while he who has to do good to many, drawing them forth from the condition of idolatrous heathen and great enemies of God to making them His servants and the keepers of His law, will never be able to do so unless he is himself very careful to keep that law. Those religious can never do this who do not very carefully observe their own laws; therefore, the first ordinance established in the province was that our constitutions [147]should be literally observed, just as they were written, without perverse interpretations, usages to the contrary, or irregular dispensations—a most holy ordinance, and one which is sufficient to make men saints. Though in it all the rest are, as it were, included, still, for greater clearness, they made the statement that this included a prohibition to ride, and directed that the fathers should go on foot. This appeared, to some of little spirit, impossible in this country because of the great heat. They declared that if our father [St. Dominic] had come to these regions he would not have commanded his friars to do thus; but they deceived themselves; for the founders of the province of Mexico were much inferior to our father, but they kept this rule, and found it possible and easy. It is also declared that we should not accept money, or take any for our journeys—a stroke which cuts off at the root a thousand cares that the contrary practice brings with it, and which, when observed, brings the greatest freedom from care; for thus it becomes possible for me to live without anxiety for anything, being certain that the head of the convent is obliged to give me all that I need in health, and more in sickness, as to one who has the greater necessity. The rule was given that we should use no linen in either health or sickness, even though the latter were to death, as the constitution ordains and as appears from our histories; for all who have investigated this point sincerely have followed this rule, as did the holy Pius the Fifth, St. Luis Beltran, and many more. Meat was not to be eaten without permission, and in that case of necessity that is determined by the constitutions, which is a very great one. The friars were always [148]to meditate upon God, within and without the convent; and to wear habits poor and mean, and of the form provided by our constitutions. They were to follow the same opinions, and the same custom of administering the sacraments, and the ceremonies of the mass, and the same mode of intoning. They were all to go to matins at midnight, as to the other hours, however few the religious might be, even where was no more than one in the convent; since for even this one it is no less necessary to glorify God, and the service is no more laborious to Him. Thus St. Paul and his disciple Silas, though in chains and in prison, at midnight extolled the Lord; and the royal prophet did the same, though he was alone. Secular visits were entirely forbidden, except such as were required by charity; and these, it was ordained, should be made only as the superior directed, and in no other case. As for poverty, it was ordered that no one should have for any purpose any thing except his breviary and one other book of devotion, and his memorandum-book; all were to be content with the books which are possessed in common in all convents—of which they might make use, with permission, and under the obligation to return them. In cells only one image was permitted, and that a poor one, without other instruments of devotion. The superiors were in this, as in all other things, to be equal with those under them; there was to be no more in the cell of the provincial than in that of any brother. This equality, and the leading of the way by the superiors, makes the road easy for the others. Such poverty as this was not only to be established and maintained with regard to individuals, but everything [149]that the separate convents possessed was the common property of the province; and the provincial might take it from one convent which had little need of it, and give it to another that needed it more—whether it were money, or books, or ornaments, or anything else that the latter required. The license of the general of the order was required for authority to receive anything that should not belong to the whole province after the aforesaid manner; and the licenses of subordinates and superiors for that purpose were forbidden. It was necessary to follow this course, for every day new missions were to be sent out, now to Japon, now to China, now to minister in the service of the Indians; it would not be possible to undertake them without taking from the convents what they had to give, so that the fathers might not enter on a mission under the necessity of begging for their sustenance from the heathen to whom they were just beginning to preach, which would have been hard indeed for them. Above all this—even, as it were the foundation of the whole—two hours were appointed for daily mental prayer, one after matins and the other by day, ordinarily between one and two, before vespers. This was a truly holy counsel; for as a man of himself has but little strength, he could not accomplish so much as has been recounted if he were not constantly asking for the favor of the Lord, which is the office of prayer. For the food of the soul, the castigation of the body serves well, of which, indeed, there is more need than of food; therefore it was ordered that every day, after the matin prayer, they should all together take a discipline, lasting the time of a Miserere and [150]other short prayers said after it. This is to be done on all the days that are not double,18 excepting the solemn octaves. On those days on which there is no lesser office of our Lady, they were to recite the devotion of her holy name, offering this little service to her who constantly favors us with special benefits. The mattresses on the beds, permitted by the constitution as a matter of grace, they renounced—contenting themselves with sleeping on a board, with a mat, large or small, and two blankets. Everything which had been ordained in Mexico was accepted and confirmed by all; and they repeated it now, as they were about to separate, that they might have it as a general rule to which they were obliged to conform, and by which they were to regulate their lives. If they accepted the rules in Mexico with a good will, they now ratified them in the islands with a better; and every day it was more and more plain to see of how great importance they were for our advantage, and for the advantage of those who heard the gospel from our mouths. This, then (which was their last arrangement before departing), and the promptitude with which they offered to obey all that [151]has been here mentioned, was as much as if the Lord had poured out upon them His benediction; and therewith had given them the light of knowledge, and fervor, and strength of will, for the ministry upon which they were to enter. In it they acted not like new ministers, but as if they had had many years of experience, that being verified in them which the wise man has said: “Easy is it in the sight of the Lord”—that is to say, with a single glance—“suddenly to make honorable and to enrich the poor”—that is to say, the humble. And this is especially true when his humility is accompanied by obedience, detestation of himself, and love of God, zeal for His honor, and desire to save souls for Him. All this shines forth in those who with so great zeal accepted such ordinances, and proposed to live according to them; and it is continued in those who have followed them. Therefore, in all provincial chapters they have always been confirmed and laid down with much rigor; and they have been confirmed by many generals of the order, and the original confirmations remain in the archives of the convent of Manila. The principal care of the provincials in their journeys of inspection—which they make every year, personally, going to each and every one of the convents of this province—is to assure themselves how these general ordinances are obeyed; for if they are obeyed there is nothing more to ask, and where they are not obeyed no confidence can be placed. They are, as it were, a wall around the garden of our soul; so long as they are unbroken, though our adversary is always going about, as says St. Peter, moving around us again and again, and seeking to do us evil, he cannot succeed; but if we make a breach in the wall [152]it is easy for him to enter and destroy us. It is certainly true that this has often been verified with regard to our constitutions, taken by themselves, without additions; for without doubt they are a marvelous wall for the virtue of the soul, and when they are observed the soul is safe. Yet there can be no doubt that the observance of the constitutions is much assisted and fortified by the two hours of prayer added in these ordinances. The daily discipline contributes to the same effect, as does also the restriction to a greater poverty, and the rule requiring corporal mortification and a more strictly retired life. All these things are added, over and above the ordinary rules of the Society and its regular constitutions. In the Indias—which, as experience shows, are in all states of life most exposed to laxity of morals and to luxury—such rules are not only desirable, but necessary. In this country it is necessary to give greater care to strengthening the wall of the soul, since perhaps that which in Europe would be sufficient to maintain the religious in the perfect observance of their constitutions is insufficient in the Indias, where causes and occasions for the decay of this wall are well known to be greater. Hence it was a safe and holy counsel to add in these regions to the wall of our constitutions the aforesaid buttresses of prayer and mortification; for if in all countries that is true which the wise man said—“He who observes the law multiplies prayer”—much more necessary will that be where the observance of the law meets with greater difficulties and more obstacles.

These added observances had also another very important effect: being, as they are, easy and very light for devout religious, and for those who are [153]careful to fulfil their obligations, they are intolerable and annoying for those who are not very devout and who have little care for the business that is of so much importance. Hence the obstacle which they feel first, and that which gives them the greatest annoyance, is the obligation to spend two hours in prayer daily. This is, as it were, the touchstone by which are discriminated those religious whose metal is sufficiently pure for them to live in a reformed province with benefit to themselves and to the Indians. In the case of those who alone are suited to this province, it fastens and keeps them in it; the others it shuts out, and makes them strive with all their hearts—sometimes unlawfully—to return to España, where they may live in the convents with greater security and pleasure. If there is need of any test for a religious to determine whether or not he is suited to the province, it is best for it to be in a matter of supererogation, as are these added rules; and before one tries himself in matters of obligation he would better give himself this safeguard, and, without failing in that which is obligatory, test himself by his own comfort and necessity. The reason is that it is impossible to keep up a province, or even a convent, in a state of strict observance with discontented religious. Hence in our order, as in others, in convents of especial severity much attention is paid to having all the members volunteer; and if one grows weary and asks some reasonable license, let it be given; for a single discontented religious does more harm than good. When all are volunteers, all serve the Lord as He desires, with delight and joy; one stimulates another, and urges him on to surpass him in virtue and in profitable exercises. Under these circumstances, all [154]are kept firmly attached to the convent; while a single discontented member is sufficient to cause the discontent of many; for this is a very contagious sickness, as this province has proved by a large experience. Yet it is true that there are some good and devout religious who, as men, grow restless on some occasions; and to these should not be granted immediately the license for which they ask, until an effort has been made to quiet and console them, and to take from them so far as possible the cause of their discomfort, so that they may carry forward that which they have laudably begun.


Chapter XVII

Of the great advantage derived by this province from the observance of the aforesaid rules

[These holy ordinances have without doubt been inspired by God; and the religious followed them with such exactitude that it was impossible for them not to obtain marvelous results and extraordinary successes, as in the work of God unimpeded by the imperfect obedience of His servants. The one great advantage was the profit of their own souls; the other was the salvation of an innumerable multitude of heathen, brought into the church by those who observed these ordinances. As for the first point, the sanctity of these great servants of the Lord has spread its fragrance throughout all the world. In proof hereof, many letters have been collected, written by the religious of this province to that of España, in which they recount with high praise what they have seen in it. It should be noticed that, as these countries are very far from España, the narratives received [155]differ widely; for here more than elsewhere is verified the Castilian proverb, that every man gives his account of the day as he has acted in it. Those who have been aided by the Lord, and who have embraced the ministry among the Indians, and the holy ordinances of this province, out of the desire to serve Him, praise it highly, being compelled to do so by the truth, and by the finger of God which they have seen in it. Those who from sloth or from self-love have not been able or have not been willing to persevere in this mission, and have returned to España, wish to gild over this return, and tell everything about the province that their little affection for it suggests to their minds. As the latter are present and the former are not, the words of the latter have the greater force. It is a great proof of the virtue of the province that its good name is not blackened. Frequently when good religious set out hither, they are asked to send back a plain statement of the truth of affairs in the province. From these letters, religious of great ability have collected a number of extracts containing statements sent back to España with regard to the virtue and religion here to be found. The testimony of these letters from many thoroughly qualified witnesses, who write at the desire of their friends in España, and who have come purposely to investigate the condition of this province, is certainly sufficient evidence without calling in any other. They all testify, without having known the one what the other had written, to the high state of virtue in this province. Upon this testimony we might rely with much security; but since we have evidence from others of greater rank and of higher standing, and who are not members of the province, [156]we may take it, not as more true, but as meriting greater credit. The testimony of the bishop of China, Don Fray Juan Pinto, or de la Piedad, who came to this city of Manila on his way to España and who spent many months here, is to the following effect: “Words cannot exaggerate the devotion, the noble poverty, and profound humility of these grave and holy fathers, who live together in the greatest harmony and brotherly affection. Their life is not merely a miracle, but many miracles. Having no income, they receive more than enough; for all of them in common, and each one in particular, need nothing. The older and graver they are, the more humble; and the weakest in corporal powers zealously follows the rigor of his religious order. They always eat fish, without any sort of dainties; their chanting and their prayers are continual; their charity toward the poor, the roughness of their habit, and their humility are like those of the most perfect in the primitive days of religion. They are zealous for the salvation of souls, and spend their time in learning not only the many languages of the Philippinas, but likewise those of the Chinese. They win more souls to God than any of the other orders. I die with sorrow when I think I must go on to Macan. There is only one way in which I can be comforted, and for that I rely upon your Reverence”—he is writing to the general of the order—“I trust that your Reverence will restore to these Spanish fathers the convent established in Macan by their predecessors, and that it will be subject to this province of Manila, in order that it may share in its reformed constitution and may reach its perfection. There are fathers here who understand the Chinese language thoroughly, [157]and who have made many converts among the Chinese in that province.” Later in the letter he says: “I beg of your Reverence that you will hear the prayer of this your poor son. Let a new convent be established for these holy religious, if the country will support them; and no scandal will follow from having two convents of one order in the province.” This letter is dated at Manila, June 25, 1610.

This great prelate went to España, reaching the court in the year 1617. The report that he gave was such that in virtue thereof, and because of other reasons stated in the general chapter held by our order at Paris, 1611 [sic] the following ordinance was passed, among those which pertained to this province: “It is with great joy that we learn, by certain report, that the Philippine province of the Holy Rosary has been most successful in the conversion of the tribes of that region. It goes on daily advancing; in it the observance of the rule flourishes in the highest degree. Though the number of the brethren is small, and they are widely scattered among those tribes, yet they have recently stretched out their branches to the kingdom of Japon. The harvest reaped there can be learned from the fact that some of the Japanese who were taught by them, though but recently converted to the holy faith, have advanced to such a pitch of devotion that they gave up their lives for their belief, as we learn from a trustworthy printed report. Not contented even yet, they gird up their loins to send on some of their number to the very populous kingdom of China, whither they are called by the most illustrious Don Fray Juan de Piedad, bishop of Macan a Portuguese member of our order.” Immediately [158]afterward follows the case of our convent in Macan, and the direction to restore it to this province—although, on account of the opposition of the Portuguese, the order has not been carried into execution.

A third piece of testimony is a letter written to the king our sovereign by the cabildo of the city of Manila. This letter thanks the king for sending so many religious of all orders to the Philippinas, but in particular for those in the Dominican order, as being men already formed by their studies, and therefore prepared to be of immediate use as soon as they have learned the language. The letter represents that, as they live without income and entirely upon alms, whatever his Majesty should see fit to give them would be very acceptable to the Lord. This letter bears date July 7, 1607.

A report from Manila to the royal Council of the Indias is also cited. In it the testimony of the most distinguished ecclesiastics of the cabildo is given, of their head the archbishop, at that time Vazquez de Marcado, and of the majority of the secular clergy, and they all bear witness to the virtue and devotion of the members of the province. In 1636 the accusation was brought that all the orders carried on trade with Japan; but this province brought evidence to the contrary, so far as it was concerned. The testimony of one witness may be cited here, the chief captain, who had in that year come from Macan. This was Captain Francisco de Abreo, of the Order of Santiago. He testified on oath that he had known the religious of the province of the Rosary for sixteen years; and that he had been acquainted with them in the realm of Japon, in Camboxa, and in other places where these holy religious had settled with no other object or purpose than the service of [159]God and of his Majesty our lord the king. He went on to declare that they were occupied with nothing else than the conversion of souls—as is evident of itself, from the fact that the religious of these provinces have kept and still keep, with the greatest devotion, their vow of poverty and the other vows which they have professed. It is evident to all that they depend for their living upon the alms given by his Majesty, and by other faithful in this city. Another evidence of this fact is that they share with those who are settled in the kingdom of Japon, whither they have gone to suffer martyrdom and convert souls to God. The religious of the Philippinas send to them what they can, that in the midst of all the suffering which those fathers endure in the said kingdoms they may not lack sustenance, small though it be—as indeed it must be small, considering the amount which is sent them. It never surpasses four hundred or five hundred pesos; and the manner of sending it is well known to this witness. It was to ask the captains, or some other persons who went in the ships belonging to the city of Macan, to carry to the fathers in Japan their support every year, since many of these persons, as soon as they went from here, made the voyage to the kingdom of Iapon. The testimony ends with the most emphatic affirmation of the exemplary life of the members of the order, and of their high reputation.]


Chapter XVIII

The same subject is continued with testimony taken from regions and persons at a greater distance

[The greater the virtue, the more widely it spreads its fragrance; and so it was with the founders of this province. “Father Fray Thomas de Jesus speaks [160]thus of them in his book Stimulus Missionum, part iv, chap, vii: ‘At this day among the brethren of St. Dominic—who are making their way throughout the whole world, and especially throughout the Philippine Islands, to preach the gospel to the heathen—we have found that in no other place does the observance of the rule of the order flourish as it does in those islands; for the vesture that they wear is rougher, their food is more sparing, and their devotion to prayer is greater, and they voluntarily exercise themselves in all the practices of a life of greater severity and perfection.’ In the same way speaks of this province the master Fray Domingo Gravina in the book entitled, Vox Turturis, part ii, chap. xxiii, ad fin., where he says: ‘The province of the Rosary, which includes the Philippine Islands and the empires of Japan and of the Chinas and other kingdoms, is most celebrated for its sanctity. So accurately does it observe the constitutions of the order that the primitive fervor of the order seems to glow in it, as it did in the days of our father St. Dominic. And hence it results that not only by their word but by their example, the people of Pangasinan, Gayan, and other places in the islands of Luzon have been aroused, and have enlisted under the banner of Christ; while in the extensive empire of Japan, the kingdoms of Satzuma, Figen, and Fingo have been, through their preaching and their works, glorified with the water of holy baptism.’ Thus far Gravina.” The most complete and accurate statement of our entire purpose has been made by the father master Fray Baltasar Nabarrete. He writes to this province a letter of eulogy and religious congratulation. He rejoices that the Dominican order, transplanted to a sterile and mountainous [161]country, begins to bear most glorious fruit of celestial life. He celebrates the spirit and fervor of the few brethren who undertook this honorable enterprise at the beginning, and who put in the field an army in which every soldier was fit to be a captain. He congratulates them that the heathen Indian should have recognized their divine power; he bears witness to the impression produced by the letters sent back home. He praises the frequency of their prayers. He compares their delight in their spiritual children to that which God may have in His own son. He glorifies their devotion in going forth to a life of affliction in distant countries; and declares that their love of God should shine forth, however efforts might be made to hide it; and that, in the power of their devotion, they will be able to do all things. He glorifies the martyrdoms that they have suffered, assuring them that for every martyr there will be a hundred more. He feels that dark clouds are arising over the order in Europe; and expresses the hope that the virtue of the Dominican order shall not leave its home to go to China and the Philippinas. He prays that they may go on as they have begun; and that they will offer their petitions to the Lord that he may have a good departure from this life. The letter is written from S. Pablo de Valladolid, April 25, 1625.]


Chapter XIX

The foundation of the vicariate of Bataan, and the early history thereof

Being now armed with the general ordinances and animated by the fervent address of the vicar-general, whom they regarded as inspired by the Lord, those [162]who had received assignment went directly to the duties to which he assigned them. Since that of Bataan was the first in the neighborhood of Manila which was founded, not fifteen days passed after the arrival of the brethren in those regions before some of them were there, to whet the steel of their ardor on some of those rough stones. Within two months after their arrival they were regularly settled, and in charge of it, and were given exclusive right to it by September 15, 1587. It was a post of much labor; and on this account, and because there were many others where with less effort greater results could be obtained and more souls converted, it had been abandoned by the clergy who had previously had it. Secular clergy, and members of the orders of St. Francis and of St. Augustine, all had tried it, but none had persevered. It was no marvel that they left it, because the few Indians who dwelt there, about seven hundred inhabitants in all, were scattered in thirty villages situated at the foot of some mountains toward the sea—in a land subject to overflow, with many creeks or little rivers, to cross which the Indians did not take the trouble to build bridges. There was no open road from one village to another, and it was necessary for all of them to keep in continual movement, in order to baptize, to confess, and to administer the other sacraments to all. More ordinarily, however, they were called on to go to the sick, to whom the ministers, when they were called, could not excuse themselves. Since to attend to so many villages a single man would not have had enough strength, while on account of the lack of ministers not many could occupy themselves with so small an Indian population, the labor came to be intolerable; [163]and when this region was compared with others in as great a need of service, but requiring less labor, and giving a greater spiritual harvest, within a few months those missionaries left this desert place, and went away where they could reap a greater harvest with less effort. This is the reason why the Indians in this district never had a settled ministry before our religious entered it. Accordingly the ministers who went there, being merely transient, had not been able to give it the care and devotion required for new conversions; because the newly baptized, being so new in the faith, are likely to fall away, and to return to the vomit of the idolatrous devices which they had laid aside for their baptism—if indeed they had laid these aside. For in the case of one baptized so casually, the idolatries and superstitions in which one has been educated all his life, are not laid aside but are only concealed, unless he have help from without. This is still more the case among those who live all their lives in the midst of heathen and who know that the priest who baptizes them today will have to go away tomorrow, as has happened to these poor Indians. There was even one priest who was so slothful in this duty that without teaching them what they were to believe, he baptized them by force, making them bring all the boys and girls together, though they had already reached adolescence, and gave them in writing the Christian names which they were to have. With no further preparation than this, he baptized on the second day those whom he had not scared away. These were not a few; for since the baptism was not voluntary, but by force, they ran away, because no great care was taken to keep them. To keep themselves from being annoyed in this way [164]again, they kept their names and said they were Christians, so that in this way they might avoid baptism and those who baptized them. They had the idea that baptism was a curse poured out upon them; and they scarcely got out of the hands of the baptizer before they bathed, and carefully washed off the chrism and the holy oils, in which they believed the curses of baptism consisted. Both classes returned to their idolatries, their superstitions, and their sins, as if they had never been baptized; and the priest went away well satisfied, leaving written on a piece of wood the names of those whom he had baptized, and supposing that he had done a great service to the Lord. Then he went on to perform as many other baptisms, or sacrileges, in another village. In a district so remote and so new, all this could easily and did happen. It was this that afterward gave the religious the greatest trouble and the most anxiety. On the one hand, in the first years there were many who, without being baptized, acted as if they were Christians, confessing, communicating, and receiving the other sacraments as if they were so indeed; on the other hand, many of those who were baptized concealed their baptisms, and acted in all things like heathens; and, since the religious did not understand the language, it was very easy to deceive them until in time they had learned it. Then by preaching and talking with the Indians, they came little by little to learn of these things; and though it took a great deal of effort, with the aid of the Lord, they finally brought everything to the right order. When they discovered the root of these maladies, they immediately applied to them the proper remedy—declaring in their frequent sermons and their private conversations [165]the evil condition in which those were who, without being Christians, acted as such; and likewise those, on the contrary, who really were Christians and concealed the fact, living as if they were not. They offered to both of these classes to unburden their consciences without any penalty, and without affronting or disgracing them in any way; because they promised to come to the cure of their souls with perfect secrecy, without causing them to lose their good reputation in any respect on this account. It was this last that the natives feared, and that made them keep secret and concealed. In this way our fathers helped many; for it was necessary to baptize those who for many years had been receiving the holy sacraments without being Christians, except in the superficial view of the common people; while those who, though they were Christians, concealed the fact, likewise profited by this kindness and gentle management of their ministers, and found their remedy. As for the others whose Christianity had really had a beginning, but without any preparation or catechism, they were greatly improved. By all this it is easy to see how great an amount of labor would be necessary to convert a tribe so rude and so scattered, who lived in so rough a country, and who positively loathed the faith, regarding baptism as a deadly curse. And all this labor of the ministers was carried on entirely without worldly comfort, or any sort of temporal support. But none of these things discouraged them, or made them take a backward step, not even the labor required of old and gray-haired religious in having to learn the Indian language—and how difficult that is of itself, he only knows who has tried it. But as they had come eager [166]to suffer for God, they licked their fingers over the hardships [comianse las manos tras los trabaxos]. And, as the native language is absolutely necessary to preach the gospel, they set about learning it with great spirit, though the two eldest fathers went but a little way with it, because they had already got beyond the time of learning; while the father vicar, Fray Juan de Sancto Thomas, got on very slowly with it, because he was much of the time sick. Only father Fray Domingo de Nieva (who was then a deacon) learned it rapidly and well, and soon began to preach to the Indians in it—to the great delight of himself and of the fathers, and to the notable satisfaction of the Indians, who in this way began to feel a great affection for all the religious. To be sure, the deacon alone preached; but the rest of them accompanied him, and by their example and good works constrained the Indians to love them. The good deacon did not give over doing his duty by day or by night, now in one village, now in another; and the holy old men accompanied him, regarding themselves as very blessed in doing so. They felt that, after all, they were thus rendering assistance in the salvation of souls, which was what they desired. To the sick who were to be baptized—who were then the majority, as they were practically all heathen—the deacon did his office as a minister; those who had to confess, he served as an interpreter. Sometimes they went from one village to another by sea, in tiny boats; but for much of the time it was necessary to go by land, through an overflowed and muddy country, so that they thought it best to walk barefooted and barelegged. After they arrived where they were going, they prepared themselves to hear confession or to [167]baptize, all wet and muddy as they were, as indeed necessity compelled them to do. They had no other food than a little rice, boiled with nothing but water, and sometimes a little bit of fish to eat, if the Indians happened to have any. They had the floor of an Indian hut for bed, and for covers their wet apparel, and nothing else. They lived and labored thus, in order to make these Indians understand that for all their efforts they expected no other return than a harvest of souls for God; and when the Indians saw them so disinterested, and perceived that when they called upon the fathers on any account, whether by day or by night, whether in rain or in thunder, their request never was considered nor seemed to the fathers unreasonable, so that they should put off coming to them, many began to desire baptism, and others were eager to confess, in health or in sickness. Thus, though the labor increased, it seemed lighter and even pleasanter; and after they had tasted this refreshment they were not unready to reach out further than their strength would permit. Hence they all fell sick, one of them to death. This was father Fray Pedro Bolaños, a man more than sixty years of age—who, at a time when others are accustomed to take their ease, undertook these excessive labors with more courage than strength. His efforts were such as would have been very arduous even if they had only occasionally been made; but as the work of every day they were mortal, as they turned out for father Fray Pedro. This father was living in the very devout and strict convent of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia, when he heard with great interest the mere rumor that religious were being collected to establish a new province in the Philippinas and [168]China, which was to be placed by the founders on a footing of most strict observance, as being undertaken by persons who were proposing to convert whole nations of heathen. This came to father Fray Pedro as a voice from heaven; and he consulted with the Virgin, to whom he was devoted, and became more settled in the purpose of undertaking this pious enterprise himself. But because he did not wish to be deceived he talked the matter over with the wisest and most devout of the fathers of that house. They dissuaded him from the undertaking because of his great age, and because he would be obliged to undertake two long sea-voyages on his way to the islands—efforts greater than at his age, after he had spent his energies for the sake of his order, he would be able to make. They went on to say that even after he had completed the sea-voyage he would suffer so from the infirmities of his years that when he reached the Philippinas he would not be able to learn the language of the natives, or to be anything but a hindrance. These arguments would have made him lay aside his purpose, if devotion to that holy image had not at that time brought to that country father Fray Antonio de Arcediano, one of the most useful of those who had enlisted on this enterprise, who did not wish to undertake it without having first received the blessing of this Lady. On account of the learning and well-known virtue and prudence of father Fray Antonio, father Fray Pedro consulted with him, telling him the state of affairs with reference to his being called to this mission, and the arguments which caused him to refrain, or by which the other fathers kept him back. Father Fray Antonio listened to the arguments and considered them, and answered as [169]follows: “If we were going to a province already established and formed, these would be good arguments, but since it is still to be founded, they are not. It is certain that it will be ill-established if it be entirely composed of youths, however able and religious.” He accordingly judged that it would be very necessary to have among the pioneers of the order there some gray-haired men, men well experienced in the practice of virtue; since for the foundation of the province which was, as they asserted, to have the rigor of the first fathers of our order, it was clear that old religious, careful observers of the rules, men of tried virtue, were of greater value than youths of good principles. Hence he regarded his going as settled, and took great pleasure that it was so. Hereupon the good old man determined to go, and did so; and both on the voyages and in the islands he served his companions as a great example of religious devotion, sedateness, and patience. He was always firm under the difficulties to which we have referred, and on the first mission to the heathen he was one of those sent to Bataan. Here his kindness and gentleness were such as to gain the good-will of the Indians. To attract the older ones, he began with the children, established a school of reading and writing, and taught both to the little ones. Those who were a little older he taught to sing, that, performing the office of angels, they might praise the Lord in the church. He was so desirous of the salvation of souls that when the deacon went to catechize, or to baptize the sick, he went also and accompanied him—choosing this labor for himself to relieve his companions of it, for he regarded them as more useful than he, because they learned the language better. His age [170]was so great and the labor so heavy that walking through the water produced an affection of the bowels. The severity of the disease was such that, unable longer to withstand it, he was day and night in continual pain. They took him to Manila to the Franciscan convent (ours being not yet built), where they took care of him with great devotion and attention. He recovered, and returned to his laborious duties, but the same infirmity attacked him with such violence that he died in the same convent, whither they had taken him the second time; and here he was interred, leaving his companions very sad on account of his absence. Yet they were very confident that he who had carried for the Lord so heavy a cross up to death, would likewise follow Him in His glory, which according to His word is granted therewith. He was prepared with the holy sacraments, and confessed very minutely and with great frequency; and singing he invited death, praying God to take him away in peace, now that he had beheld this holy province established as a light for so many tribes, whom he had seen already coming to the church and being baptized. He bade farewell to the Franciscan fathers, thanking them for their great kindness and the hospitality which they had shown him; he encouraged his companions to proceed with that which they had begun assuring them that, however great the difficulty and labor, even to those in health, there was still greater consolation, and confirmation of the hope of reward, in the perils of sickness and death in which he was; and declaring to them that the confidence in which he departed was a most sufficient reward for having left, in his last years, his quiet and his cell for this and for other greater sufferings. [171]

After the death of this father the labor to be done fell more heavily upon his companions, because it had to be divided among a smaller number. It might be said that almost the whole burden fell upon the deacon, who was, as it were, the whole of this ministry. From this it may easily be inferred that though young friars are of less dignity in such missions, they are more useful for them—that is, in cases where the sufficiency of virtue and learning makes up for the lack of age. This is what happened not only on this occasion, but on many others, as this province has learned by experience. For the labors of new conversions are very great, so great indeed as to surpass the power of youth; so that few or no such conversions have been made without costing the death of some religious. When the father vicar observed this, and found himself, though he had poor health, provided with some command of the language, he began to relieve his companions—unraveling the entanglements (which are many among the heathen Indians) in matters of matrimony, usury, and the oppression which the chief men employ toward their inferiors, making them slaves without reason or justice. He gave to this matter very great care and no less labor, being present at the investigation of such things by day and by night, and thus greatly reducing the amount of labor of his companions, because when they met with a case of this kind, they referred it to him as a matter of his jurisdiction. In the confessions they had greater labor during this first year; because in the whole year the priests were not able to make themselves masters of the Indian language so as to be able to hear confession independently, and to understand the Indians as they ought. To be sure, the deacon, if he had been [172]a priest, would have been very well able to confess them; and the vicar-general had authority to dispense with the required age in a case of such necessity, so that he might be ordained priest. His great virtue and indefatigable industry deserved this favor; but the vicar-general could never bring himself to the point of granting it, because he did not wish the province which was to be founded with such strictness to begin by having a dispensation in so grave a matter. Accordingly the deacon was obliged to wait until he had attained the required age, which was in September of the following year, 1588, and then he was ordained priest. By this means, and by the help of another priest called Fray Juan de la Cruz, who came to join their company—and who, being young, succeeded very well with the language—this district improved greatly. They both began to hear confessions, and immediately there were manifested by experience the great efficacy and the excellent results of this sacrament—a remedy for souls that are sick, and even for those that are dead. In all regions where it is systematically followed the most valuable results are obtained; but its effects are principally seen among Indians, who are simple and have no duplicity. To such its secrecy is very edifying, and it strongly affects their souls. This it is, particularly, that directs and teaches them; hence at the beginning of the Christian training of this tribe the general amendment was sensibly perceived. It was possible to read on their very faces the great efficacy of this most beneficial medicine for their souls. Only in the case of the vice of drunkenness was it impossible to find a remedy that would suffice for the great excesses produced by it; for although all the Indians [173]are very faulty in this particular, those of this region surpassed those of the rest of the country, and were famous for this vice among their neighbors. It seemed impossible to remedy the fault, because it was the hereditary vice of their fathers and their grand-fathers before them; and they had, as it were, grown into it by continual use. Still God revealed to the father vicar a remedy for this, so gentle that without blood or violence it brought them to reason, and so efficaciously that in a short time it achieved what was intended. This was to give orders, under light penalties, that any man who became intoxicated was not to be received in any house, and was not to be visited in his own house; that no one was to communicate to him or talk to him, or have any dealings with him.

He caused to be proclaimed in church those who were most guilty of this vice, commanding all others to avoid them, as has been said, regarding them as enemies of God and despisers of His doctrine, and of the teaching of the fathers; and this way of depriving them of intercourse with the rest was sufficient to make them ashamed of themselves. The result was that they renounced their custom and evil habit, and strove so to make themselves fit for the sacrament that, in order to avoid drunkenness, they gave up wine as an ordinary beverage. If they drank it occasionally, either because of need or desire, they drank by rule and measure. So far did they depart from their old excess that they not only blotted out their former evil reputation, but obtained for themselves a good one—which up to today they maintain, to the great joy of their ministers. The same thing is true of the other vices that they had, not only when they were heathen, but even after they were [174]baptized, on account of the bad system of which we have given an account. For lack of teaching they had remained in their idolatries as before, without giving up usury, oppression, false swearing, and the feuds in which they had been brought up to have perpetual enmities. But soon after these religious learned their language, and began to give them instruction, the change which was to be seen in them was extraordinary; for the root of all these vices was plucked up, and that so completely that they themselves aided in their own reformation—for they gave the ministers information in regard to sins and idolatries by showing them who they were that committed them, and where they were committed. Thus it was easy to find some little idols that they kept hidden, which were handed over to the Christian boys to drag about through the whole village, and at last were burned. By this means and by the punishment of a few old women who acted as priestesses, and who were called catalonans, the idolatry of the whole region was brought to an end. In the matters of restitution of usury, and maltreatment of slaves, and other oppressions, there was some difficulty; for, as the evil had been converted into the flesh and blood of the wrongful holders of the property, it was the same as to strip off their flesh and drain their blood to talk about their returning that which they unjustly held. Still so great was the power that the teaching of the religious had over them, and so deep root had it taken in their hearts, that they broke through everything, and by the aid of the Lord brought themselves to the point. Thus at the beginning of their Christian life they did something which would hardly have been done by those grown old in [175]Christianity, who had sucked it in with their mother’s milk. They gave liberty to many slaves deprived thereof unjustly, they restored the usury they had taken, and everything that they unjustly held. And this they did with so good a grace that it was enough for the father to propose it, after having verified the case. There was one man who gave up everything that he had, because he found that it was all unjustly held; and who did this without anything more having been done to influence him than the mere speaking of the word. Such a marvel as this God alone can work, who knows how to give so great an efficacy to such gentle means as have been described. Though in some cases no owners were known, to whom restitution could be made, they did not fail to make restitution on that account; but, collecting all the debts of this kind, they made a common deposit of them for common needs, and for the poor. There were many who could not be found to receive the satisfaction made in this way, and the application of the amount was made to the common necessity, as has been said. The great force that brought about this result was the obvious disinterestedness of the religious, who did not desire to apply anything to the benefit of the churches, on the ground that they were of common importance, but regarded these as being their special charge, so that in this way they might assure the Indians that in all this there was no other purpose than their own good, and might avoid every occasion for their imagining the contrary. That district reached this happy point in less than one year from the time when these ministers took charge of it, though it had been in the wretched state which we have described for the lack of some one systematically [176]and regularly to care for the souls of the inhabitants. These people, who were always bringing suits and forming factions, have from that time lived so peaceably that they undertake few or no lawsuits. They prefer coming to an agreement before their minister (who takes no fees or bribes from them), to appearing before the courts, where they consume their property, and usually spend more than the case is worth. This is so true that when the alcalde-mayor came there to make his visit, he and his company were fain to hasten away from that district, for where there are no fees there are no profits; and they arranged to go on to a place where their profits would be certain, because the population were not so peaceable as in this region.


Chapter XX

The same continued, and some miracles that afterwards followed

[The mighty work described, being beyond human power, must have been of God; and, to make this clear, God showed His power in this region. At one time the father vicar was going to hear confessions in one of those villages, and was met by a leading Indian already converted, by name Don Pablo Taclanmanoc, who asked where he was going. When he said: “To hear the confessions of the people in this village,” the Indian replied, “Well then, Father, you have inquired about their debts, so that they may be able to confess?” “I cannot know them,” answered the father, “if they do not tell me them; and for that reason I have taken care to instruct them in my sermons that those who owe debts must pay [177]them.” “More than that is necessary,” said Don Pablo; “give me the charge of investigating the debts in this village, so that they may make a good confession.” The religious thanked him and put off the confessions that he might see what would come of this undertaking. Don Pablo made his investigation with much care. He made inquiry throughout the village, and he ascertained that there were much usury and many other unjust and wrongful acts which had been committed in it. He took this all, written down in a memorandum-book, to the minister, who governed himself by it and made his inquiries in the confessions as it suggested. The confessions were very accurate, and in this way many wrongs were undone without any further pressure or force than this. When he saw how useful and necessary this undertaking had been, he had it done in all the villages, making use of the idea of the Indian Don Pablo—whom the Lord had given to these missionaries in this region as a teacher; and by whose instruction they might dig out many evil roots, which had grown strong with age, and were certain to be a great hindrance to the growth of the good seed of the gospel. This result these ministers at that time could not attain, because they were then new; nor would they have been able to attain them later, if the Indians had been silent with regard to them, and had followed the bad habit of confessing the rest while being silent on this point, which to them is the hardest thing in our law. But as they were at that time at the very beginning, and as this course was followed with all, and as it agreed with the truth and with all the evidence obtained by Don Pablo, they all accepted it very well. The results were most beneficial to this [178]district. The Indians of it came to have such a reputation for devotion, for frequenting the holy sacraments, for obedience to their ministers, and for peace and brotherly love among themselves—being free from the vanities and excesses to which these Indians are naturally inclined—that when the ecclesiastical judges desired to bring to order any persons in other regions, they used to send them to Bataan, because of the good example set there. The Lord cared for these Indians with a very loving providence, as He showed by the special works that He wrought to rescue them from their course of perdition. Though we must be silent in regard to the greater number, we cannot pass over some. An old Indian woman who was preparing for baptism was one day absent from the class, and the father under whose care she was, sent a boy to call her. He came back saying she was dying; and the father, running with all his might to her side, found her still breathing. He was just in time to baptize her. The preservation of her life just up to that moment astonished all, and especially the bishop Don Fray Domingo de Salaçar. Several instances are recorded, in which persons were barely kept alive up to the time of their baptism. Several cases are also preserved in which insane persons were allowed a lucid interval in which to receive the holy sacrament of baptism. On the other hand, the devil played some tricks upon the fathers. One of the most important was to deceive them as to the character of some Indian women accused of witchcraft. They were so ingenious in concealing their wickedness that the fathers refused to listen to charges against them. Their daring reached so high a point that, at the command of one [179]of them, the devil appeared before one of the chiefs of the village, by voice but not by sight, bidding him go thence. This was told the father. The devil answered, and said to the father: “Thou shalt believe only what thou seest.” At last the Lord was pleased to reveal the deceit, by the means of a sick woman in a hospital, who declares that one of these witches had punished her with this illness because of her refusing to give the witch the small fruit that she had asked for. An investigation followed, and it was discovered that they were most subtle witches; that they had wrought great evils, and had two accomplices in their work. They were punished with banishment, and therewith this country was freed of this evil remnant of its heathen condition; and, though there have been more of this sort since then, their punishment has required some less severe penalty. There have been a number of notable miracles by which the Lord gave authority to His gospel and His ministers among these Indians—though, on account of the care which the former have taken to conceal them, the particulars are not known. Still there is one miracle that is almost universal in all these regions; this is, that when the devil torments some Indian, under the influence of witches with whom he has made an agreement to torment those whom they desire to harm, he loses his power before the command of the religious. The Indians fear the witchcraft so that they do not dare deny the witches anything they ask; and thus they become masters of the property, the food, and the persons of all the Indians. The devil is driven out by the very presence of the religious, while in their absence he is kept away by merely having the sick [180]hold a scapular. All this is accomplished without exorcisms, except the command in the name of the Lord that they shall cease their tormenting. In many cases miracles of healing have been wrought by baptism, or by confession.]


Chapter XXI

The entry of the religious into Pangasinan

When the order of our father St. Dominic reached these islands the Indians of Pangasinan were given over to idolatry, and so detested the gospel that, though the ministry of some religious was brought to the Indians on both sides of them (who are those of the provinces of Panpanga and of Ylocos), these Indians always refused to admit them; and they treated those fathers so badly that, though there were some clergy and some Franciscan religious who desired and endeavored to convert them, these had no success with them on account of their determined resistance. On the contrary, the Indians were wretchedly victorious, obliging the ministers, by their perversity, to go away and leave them in the darkness which they so loved and delighted in. There was only one place—the principal village, called Lingayen, where the alcalde-mayor resided—in which some of the religious of our father St. Augustine had been able to persevere. They were protected and defended by the law, and by the Spaniards who lived there, who by their presence were able to compel the Indians to treat the fathers properly—not as they had been in the other villages, where they were not only treated discourteously, but came near to being killed. This treatment resulted [181]in bringing the fathers to the conclusion that it was best to leave them, which was what the Indians desired, and even what the devil whom they served had commanded them, on occasions when he had spoken with them. One of these occasions occurred while some Indians were on their way from the villages below to the mountains of the Ygolotes, on their ordinary business. As they were going through a thicket [arcabuco] full of bushes and briars, they heard a very loud and dreadful voice lamenting and complaining pitifully. The Indians retreated with great alarm at hearing this voice in so rough and so lonely a place; but, as they were many, they ventured to follow it to see who had uttered it, and in this way they came near to the place where it had sounded. Though they kept on going up the mountain, they saw nobody, and came no nearer to the voice they heard. Their alarm greatly increased, and one of them, exerting his breath and voice as much as he could, asked: “Who art thou that thus lamentest and utterest such groans?” and they heard this answer: “I am Apolaqui”—who among them takes the place of Mars among the heathen Romans—who might be called their god of war, and to whom they also pray when they go on a voyage, or on any journey for business. And when they heard it was their revered and highly beloved Apolaqui that was complaining, their alarm increased so greatly that they were almost out of their senses, until one of the most courageous of them said: “Apolaqui, our anito,” for thus they are accustomed to call those whom they reverence as God, “for whom we celebrate feasts, what cause have we given thee now that thou shouldest complain thus? Wherefore hast thou [182]thundered upon these mountains, putting us in such fear, though we have done nothing to offend thee?” Apolaqui answered: “I am weeping to see fulfilled that which for years I have dreaded: that ye should receive among you strangers with white teeth, wearing cowls, and that they should place in your houses some sticks of wood laid across each other to torment me,” for thus he spoke of the crosses. “And now I am going from among you, seeking to find some one to follow me, since ye have abandoned me for strangers, though I am your ancient lord.” To this day the Indians give to the place where the demon spoke, this name (which in their language means “at the cross”), Pinabuenlagan. Is it strange that he who would do such things when he merely knew that the preachers of truth were near him, and who would thus alarm the Indians who followed him, should cause them to treat the ministers of the gospel as badly as they always did? It was to these Indians then, so ill disposed to receiving the faith, that father Fray Bernardo de Sancta Catalina was sent with five associates, all priests, who arrived there in the month of September, 1587. A Spanish encomendero of that country, called Ximenez del Pino, gave them a little bit of a house, for it was not to be hoped of the Indians that they would offer any hospitality to the friars; on the contrary, they hated them above all things. There was one man that offered them, if they would go away, a chinanta of gold, which is the weight of half an arroba—so far were they from offering hospitality to our fathers and doing them any kindness. The religious knew all this, and went on with patience, which was very necessary; for so determined were the Indians to receive them badly [183]that the friars were, so to speak, in a desert, so far as anything that human society could do for them was concerned. They suffered greatly from hunger and from hardships. The Indians refused to provide them with the necessities of life, for payment or for anything else. Many times the religious had to carry on their backs their wood and water, and even their poor little beds, when they went from one village to another; for in this way the Indians strove to force them to go away, as the religious had been in the habit of doing. But the virtues of these fathers overcame everything. The hardships that they had to suffer, however severe, did not attain the height of the sufferings which they desired to bear for the Lord; nor did the difficulties which they met, which were not few, discourage them; nor could the little hope that the Indians gave of being converted take away the hope that the Lord gave; for He was certain to pity these tribes, for whom He had shed His blood. That which happened was very strange, and it should not therefore be reported without evidence worthy of it, which is that of the first bishop of these tribes, Don Fray Miguel de Venavides—a religious of very superior virtue, as we shall tell in due time, who made a report from his bishopric to Clement VIII, at that time head of the church. This report, because of the person who wrote it, because it was written to the sovereign pontiff, and because it was written in fulfilment of the oath which he had taken, as bishop of this holy see, to obey and to report the condition of his church and bishopric to his Holiness, must be free from all suspicion. I know not in what way, but somehow it was printed; and there are many copies in our convent in Valencia. The [184]report is as follows. “It is about eleven years since the Dominican fathers entered the province of Pangasinan. That which has happened in the conversion of the province, which at the present time is composed of Christians—there being, of course, a heathen here and there—is such that we must give thanks to God for it. The miracles by which these tribes have been converted have been the lives of the ministers, though there have not been lacking other miracles, for the Lord has now and then shown the power of His hand. There were at first six religious of this order; and when the Indians saw them, they immediately asked the fathers when they were going away. The natives saw no opportunity to drive them away from their country; and so much did they detest them that there was no means by which they could be induced to give the fathers anything to eat, even for money. Thus for the space of three years they suffered many hardships; but their rebelliousness could not outstrip the patience of the fathers. Besides all this, five of the fathers fell sick at once, and were in that condition for five months; but at the end of that time, God was pleased to give them their health without physician, or medicine, or comforts. Such was the treatment accorded them by the Indians, to say nothing of the fact that no one was converted to our holy faith. The bishop of these islands, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, noticing this fact, begged the religious to leave the Indians and depart from their country. This he did at the request of many Spanish captains. It was true that these Indians were of all the tribes in the country the worst, the fiercest, and the most cruel—an unconquered tribe who celebrated their feasts by cutting off one another’s [185]heads. But the superior who was then at the head of the province was unwilling to take this step; on the contrary, he said, ‘These bad Indians are the ones whom I wish my friars to convert.’ After three years, during which they only baptized a few boys (for the natives were unwilling to give the girls), the Indians began to believe in the religious; and the beginning that the Lord chose for this was the following. When the Indians perceived the way in which the friars lived, the fasts and penances which they performed, their patience amid hardships, and the fact that the fathers not only did them no harm, but came to their aid in their necessities, they began to be mollified, and to believe what the friars said. The story is told that an Indian chief went one night to a religious and said to him: ‘Father, you must know that I have been watching you for two years, and have carefully noted everything that you do; and I see that you all have one way of living. If one of you does not eat, no more do the others; if one of you rises at midnight to pray, so do the rest; if one of you avoids women, all the rest of you do so too. You all of you follow one rule and one road; you strive to obtain neither gold nor silver; you are ill-treated and yet patient; you do all things for our good. Hence I have resolved to believe you, since I am persuaded people who act like you will not deceive.’ So high did the good opinion of these Dominican religious rise among those people (God having ordained it thus in His goodness and providence), that the Indians actually regarded those of this habit as sinless; so much so that if the devil sometimes suggested to an Indian woman an improper dream with reference to a friar, when the woman afterwards came to confess [186]she did not say: ‘I accuse myself of having dreamed this about a friar,’ but, ‘about a devil in the shape of a friar.’ When the leading men of the tribe began to consider becoming Christians—their headmen being already so, as well as some others—they came to the religious, and persuaded them that, in order that all of them might be converted together, they should first of all give up in a single day everything which they held in commission for the devil; these things were the instruments which they used for their sacrifices. The fathers accordingly did as they wished, and, with the assistance of these same governors of the country there were given up an infinite number of pieces of earthen ware and a great deal of very old wine—for this is regarded as the thing consecrated to the devil; and no one dares touch or go near it except at the time of the sacrifice, and then only the minister who performs it. They are accustomed to keep this wine at the head of the bed in a little earthen jar, like holy water. When they had given all this up (which they did with very good will), they all proposed immediately to become Christians, and to know and learn the things of our holy Catholic religion. After they had learned them and been instructed in them, they were directed to fast for forty days, or one month; and general baptisms took place on the eve of the feasts of the Resurrection and Pentecost. [Long before this a marvel had happened in which an Indian had been cured of a frightful rupture after his baptism. This made the Indians regard the baptism as something medicinal, and they wished to be baptized whenever they were sick, in order to be cured; but the fathers undeceived them. They made the same mistake about the sign [187]of the cross, and in regard to the cross itself. Visions were seen. At one time, when some of the brethren were desirous of leaving this region and of going to China to preach the gospel, one of them laid the matter before the Lord in prayer. He dreamed that night that he saw the good man of a household, clad in a long robe, and sending men out to reap his harvest. When they came to one sterile place where there was only a spike of grain here and there, they did not wish to reap it, but to go to another field where the harvest was rich; but the good man said to them: ‘Will you not reap here? then you shall reap neither here nor there.’ Finally, God was pleased that by the patience and sufferings of these ministers this tribe should be converted and baptized. They are now very good Christians, insomuch that some of them can conduct prayer like religious who most closely follow the rules of their order. They are people of very good intelligence, and often put very clever questions and propose intelligent doubts. At one time when a religious was preaching of the mercy of God in dying for men, an Indian woman rose in the midst of his sermon, and said: ‘Wait, Father. How can you say that Christ died? You have said that Christ was God; but God cannot die.’ At another time, a sick Indian put the question whether God did not concur in all things that happened in the earth and was not thus responsible for the evil of it. They even go beyond things required, in order to do works of supererogation, many of them rising at midnight to pray when the matin bell rings; they follow the fasts of the Dominican order; when they rise, the first thing they do at dawn is to make an offering of themselves and all that they have to [188]our Lord; whenever they begin an undertaking, they first offer it to God, with their minds, their hearts, and their hands in the work. Though poor, they give alms frequently. Some of them, whenever they eat, put aside a portion as ‘Christ’s food,’ and send it to some sick person. Some of them fast during the whole Advent, in preparation for the feast of the Nativity. It is said of one Indian woman that St. Mary and St. Joseph visited and ate with her one Advent. All the Spaniards and religious of other orders are amazed at this conversion, and especially at seeing them give up vices so enticing as drunkenness, which used to be very common among them—up to the point of making them unable to keep their feet—but which they have now given up so completely that some do not even taste wine. They greatly delight in the devotion of the rosary. The very friars who are their ministers are amazed to see such a conversion in a tribe so barbarous, so cruel, and so completely given over to vice. Their minds are set upon preparing themselves for death, so that they regard all besides—houses, property, and children, and all temporal things—as merely accessory. Those who can afford it have masses said for their souls while they are still alive, as if they were already dead; and give much alms to this end. Those who have not the means for this, fast and mortify themselves. In this province the ministers have begun to give the most holy sacrament of the communion to the natives, as being adult in the faith. They prepare themselves for the communion with great devotion. As there are no masses except on the great feasts, some prepare themselves as if they were to communicate every month, being contented with spiritual communion. [189]The hand of the Lord hath wrought this; for the ministers had this success, with a race speaking a foreign language, one which the missionaries did not know as thoroughly as their own, while when these same men preached to those of our own nation and language, their words have had no such effect. The fault is in the hearers, who are unwilling to profit by the good which God has sent them.” Here the report of Venavides ends. Other reports have been sent to España of the perfect devotion of these people. One of these tells how the Indians crowd the churches at the time of confession, fast, and communicate regularly; how many of the married ones live a great part of the time not as man and wife but as brother and sister—in particular, during Lent, and for some days before communicating; how there would be no end to the good that might be said about these people; and how some of them are of very good intelligence, and ingenious in asking questions which make the ministers reflect. This report is by father Fray Juan de Sancto Domingo, afterward a holy martyr in Japon.19 It is dated at Magaldan, a village of Pangasinan, November 8, 1618. Father Fray Bernardo de Santa Catalina or Navarro, the apostle to this tribe, one of whose reports bears date of Manila, the twenty-fourth of [sic] one thousand six hundred and twelve, [190]says that the great care manifested by our religious in following the rules of the order has given them power to overcome these unconquerable tribes. He reports that the number of persons baptized in the province of Pangasinan has grown from a few new-born boys to ten thousand, and that the number of those in this region who are prepared for heaven is constantly increasing.]


Chapter XXII

Of the persecution of the religious by the Indians, at the beginning; and of their later heartfelt conversion.

The principal reason that these Indians had for persecuting these first fathers who came to their villages was that, as soon as they came thither, they built a convent in a few days, and a very tiny church, in front of which they set up a large wooden cross; and that thereupon their greatest idol, who was called Ana Gaoley, ceased to give the responses and oracles which it had been wont to give them, in the shrines or temples which they had made, which were called anitoan. The priestesses had been accustomed to invoke these oracles, for the ministry of idols among them was given over to women. These women, called managanito, were dressed in certain vestments dedicated to this sole use, and employed certain vessels esteemed among them, containing oils, unguents, odors, and perfumes. With all this they placed themselves in a retreat where they used to conjure the devil; and there the devil spoke to them, giving them answers with regard to their wars, their sicknesses, and their undertakings. Whatever thing the devil [191]asked by the mouths of these women, however costly it might be, the Indians brought immediately; and if through them he commanded the Indians to kill any one, they instantly put the command into execution without a word. But from the moment of the building of the church the oracle was silent. The Indians felt this very much, and made many sacrifices to placate him, supposing he had grown silent from anger; but they could not succeed in drawing a single word from him. He revealed himself on a mountain at some distance from the village, where there were some Indians cutting wood for their houses, and said to them that they should not wear themselves out by asking anything more from him, because two things had banished him from his village. One of them was that straight stick set up in the village, with another across it, like a body with two arms. The other was those men with hair on their heads who were among them in his village; for so long as they were there he could not go back to it. [This ought to have been enough to convert them, like the priest of the idol whom St. Gregory Thaumaturgus put to silence by his presence; but these people had not intelligence enough for that, and grew very indignant against the religious, especially after the father of lies told them that the friars meant to kill their children. Their wrath against the innocent religious grew so great that, if they had not feared the Spaniards, they would have killed them. The enemy of God found means still more to inflame the wrath of the Indians against the friars.] One of the Indian women of the highest rank being found pregnant when she was about to be married, her parents intended to execute upon her their ancient law, which [192]was to bury her alive, together with the malefactor. They seized her, and tortured her to make her reveal who he was. She, at the instigation of the devil, declared that it was father Fray Bernardo de Sancta Catalina, the superior of all those religious, and the one against whom the devil and the Indians felt most bitter, because he was the principal minister of the gospel. Thereupon, without further investigation, she was immediately believed: and they came upon him like bloodthirsty wolves, with the purpose of carrying out that penalty. He was not disturbed or alarmed, but made them go with him to the Indian woman, and asked her some questions; and when the time was ascertained at which she had conceived, it was plain that the father had not been at that time, or for many days before or after, in that village. Thus they believed him firmly, while they and he who had stirred them up were ashamed and confused. Still the woman’s artifice was of use to her; for the father repaid her for the false witness she had given, by delivering her from the death which they were going to inflict upon her—searching for devices to bring this about, just as the devil had searched for them to do evil; for kindness is no less subtle than malice. Later will be seen what was the life and death of this holy religious, whom the devil strove to discredit by other means, but without success. [The devil was finally banished from these villages, in which he had kept all the Indians in wretched slavery; for if he gave them some liberty to vice he demanded from them a much greater return.] In addition to the sacrifices that he required of them—which as has been said were costly, and which sometimes extended even to the death of men, [193]he required them to do most painful things in their times of bereavement. For the first three days they did not have a mouthful to eat; for three more days they had only a little fruit; after this, for a long time, they had only boiled herbs or roots, without wine to drink, and with nothing savory to eat. During all this time they wore around the neck a little gold chain, which was a mark of mourning; and this they were not allowed to put off during all this period, unless they killed some one. As soon as they committed a homicide, there was an end of the mourning and the fast; and they made up by eating and drinking without limit or measure. Every little thing that happened to them caused them a thousand superstitions, painful, and sometimes expensive.

The worst of all was the wars that they were constantly waging among themselves, and the great oppressions inflicted upon the people of the lower class by those who are above them in rank. These took away their possessions from them and made them slaves at their mere whims, under the law that “might makes right.” One of these bravo chiefs (a very tyrannical one, and therefore the more esteemed, feared, and respected by the rest), by name Cabanday, would never hear of being converted to Christianity—the more so because he would have been required to restore everything which he had taken by injustice, usury, extortion, and wrong; for thus he had gained all he had, and he was very rich. [God one day heard the prayers of the friars for him; and at night he told the Indian who was his closest friend that he felt so strong an impulse to turn to God that he could not resist it. He ordered his slaves to take the chest in which he kept all his [194]gold and riches, to carry it to the church, and to open it immediately. They broke it open. The fathers went down from the choir where they were, being mistrustful of some ill. They found him with his chest; he opened it; placed at the feet of father Fray Bernardo all that was in it, and afterwards threw himself at these too—praying, with much feeling and with many tears, to be baptized, and telling them that there was the whole of his fortune and the fortune of his children; let them do with it what they would, though they should send him away poorer than the lowest of his vassals, if only they would do what he asked. The religious gave a thousand thanks to God, comforted him, promised him baptism, and began to prepare him for it. Being very old, he could not learn the prayers by heart; but he was very intelligent, and very well understood the mysteries of the faith they taught him. They accordingly baptized him, to his own great joy and to the comfort of the fathers. They called him in baptism Don Pablo. Though he could not learn the prayers by memory, he was not deprived of them; for when he recited the rosary, in place of the pater-noster he said in his own language: “Oh, Lord my God, have pity upon me, a sinner,” and in place of the Ave Maria he said the same to our Lady. And, when he came to confess, in place of the general confession he said: “Father, I come to your feet to reveal my sins, and to obtain pardon therefor from God our Lord.” He made his confession with much clearness and contriteness, educated his children in the fear of God, strove to have all the people of his country baptized, and lived an exemplary life. He lived eighteen years a Christian. His death took [195]place under the following circumstances. While father Fray Bernardo was confessing the Indians, one Lent, in the church of Binalatongan, Don Pablo came on foot and said: “Father, confess me, for I am going to die today.” He asked the father to come and say mass, and to give him the viaticum. On the same day he died.

No less remarkable was the conversion of another great chief of the village of Magaldan, called Casipit, who had been on the point of killing a Franciscan, so opposed was he to the faith. This Indian had already thrown him on the ground to kill him with a cruel dagger which they use, when the others hindered him. When now our order came to his country, he took it so ill that he went to Manila to arrange to have the friars withdrawn from his village; and to carry out the negotiation he offered his encomendero half his property, which was considerable. His wife, named Lalo, was first converted by the preaching of father Fray Pedro de Soto. She was baptized Doña Gracia. By her efforts the husband was converted and baptized, with the whole of his family and his large retinue. He used to gather the people of his village near the church, and to address them, urging them to works of mercy with plain and sensible words; but with such fervor and devotion that he made them all weep, even the religious who had concealed himself to overhear. He led a very religious life, directing his household in habits of devotion. So also did his wife; and the good people directed their slaves to pay as much attention to their religious duties as to the work they did for them. On one occasion, when one of his slaves died, and it was impossible to bury him in the [196]churchyard, because of the floods, the old man determined to carry the slave to another village, which on account of its higher situation had not been flooded, and to bury him in the church there. The river was full of trees and logs which might overturn his boat, the current was very strong, and there were many whirlpools in it. There was also danger from the caymans, which at that period of the year are most dangerous, and most frequently attack small boats. Don Pedro was not ignorant of the risks for an old man like him, for he was more than a hundred years old, though he had lost none of his strength. In spite of the petitions of all of his family he made the effort, carrying the slave to the village of San Jacintho. The old man, when he got there, was all wet, and was chilled with the cold of the rain that had fallen and of the winds that had blown on him. He buried the slave and went home, happy in having fulfilled his duty so nobly. When one of his slaves died by accident, without having been able to confess, the good Don Pedro took it to heart as if it had been his own sin. From this instance may be seen how devoted Christians those Indians became whose conversion had been so difficult.]


Chapter XXIII

Some miracles wrought by God in Pangasinan at the beginning of the preaching in this province

[Though the Lord did not work so many miracles in this province as in the primitive church, since that was the foundation of all the churches since, He still gave authority to the preaching of His gospel in these regions by many marvelous works. Father [197]Fray Alonso Montero,20 a son of the province of Mexico, and a native of Castilla la Vieja, tells us that, in two years during which he was in this province, no day passed without a miracle. After a year, during which no conversions had been made among the Indians, because of their hardness of heart, it seemed to father Fray Bernardo that it was time to break the silence which they had kept up to that time. By the favor of an Indian chief who had been converted in Manila, Don Juan de Vera by name, and of his brother, who was headman of that village, they visited all the houses, asking the people to let them have the children to baptize them. In one house they had a child and hid it. When father Fray Bernardo asked for it, they told him they had no child. In affliction he turned to his companion, father Fray Luis Gandullo, and said: “There was a child here, and they will not let me have him. Ask for him, your Reverence, perhaps they will give him to you.” After they had refused him, too, the child put up its head, and when father Fray Luis opened his arms and said to him in the Castilian language, “Come to me, child of my heart, that knowest not the good that thou losest in being hidden from holy baptism; come to us. I promise thee to take care of thee, and to do thee good,” the child, as if it had understood Castilian (of which it did not know a word), and as if it had had the sense to know what was for its advantage, left its mother and its kinsfolk to go to the religious, keeping its eyes fixed upon him [198]as if thanking him for the good counsel they had been giving it. It went with the religious and was baptized, and turned out to be a very perfect Christian, as having been made one by miracle. An old man annoyed them by speaking against them in his own language, and following them about everywhere. When father Fray Luis took him by the arm and kindly remonstrated with him, the Indian, who did not understand the language, began to scream and said, “Let go, Father; I do not wish to become a Christian.” They kept this up for some time till the father let him go. Some days afterward, the two fathers saw him again; and father Fray Luis, who had prayed much for him in the interval, pointed him out to father Fray Bernardo, and said: “Let us ask him now if he wishes to be a Christian.” He accepted, and was baptized. A girl was born blind, and her parents were so afflicted that, as cruel barbarians, they planned to kill her. The religious knew of this, and prayed to God that He would be pleased to provide relief. Father Fray Marcos de Sant Antonio undertook the business of gaining this soul. He spoke to the parents of the child; but they were unwilling to give the child, and offered to sell her. They came to an agreement for eight reals; and the religious took the child and baptized her. At her baptism, the Lord was pleased to give her not only the light of His grace, but also that of corporal sight; and her eyes became miraculously clear and beautiful. With this the eyes of the parents were also opened, and they began to give their children for baptism, especially as this was not the only miracle wrought among the baptized children. That they might not suppose that the virtue of this most [199]necessary sacrament had an effect upon children only, an Indian who was wounded in the abdomen, so that his entrails protruded in great quantity and he seemed to be near death, was implored by the religious to be baptized. He, however, refused, and was not even influenced when they once said that this holy sacrament had sometimes cured bodies as well as souls. The religious came and did what they could to keep away the ants which came to feed upon his entrails. He already had the smell of death upon him; and, when he felt that death was near, he begged for baptism. When he was baptized, his entrails drew in again, the wound was closed, and he was as sound as if such a thing had never happened. A number of similar miracles of healing were wrought. The Indians were surprised to see the religious come among them unarmed and alone, while the other Spaniards always came in numbers and with firearms—even then not regarding themselves as safe, but proceeding with much caution. The religious, however, went about carelessly. When the Indians consulted the devil, according to their custom before doing away with any one, he responded to them that the religious did not go unprotected; that they were accompanied by an armed angel, with a cross on his brow, and another on his shield. The Indians had never seen such a thing, and could not have made up a fiction because they had never seen a painting or heard mention of any such matter. Thus they learned that the devil was not so strong as they had supposed, since he was obliged to admit that there was one stronger than he. Another heathen Indian, who had permitted his child to be baptized, was rewarded by a vision, by which he was converted. [200]He put away all his wives but the first, though he loved another and better one. He built in his village, called Gabon, a monastery and a church for the religious, more capacious than those they had. Devils were driven away by the holy sacrament of baptism, and children were restored to life. When the heathen jeered at some Christians for going to church on Sunday and neglecting their fields, God was pleased to send a plague of locusts, which spared the fields of the Christians. Many more miracles might be put down here, of which we have reports from religious of great virtue; and there is a still greater number which they have passed over and failed to mention.]


Chapter XXIV

The coming to this province of father Fray Juan Cobo and other religious

Though father Fray Juan Cobo and other fathers did not come on the first voyage, for the reasons given, they were always thinking of and longing for this province. So when father Fray Juan Chrisostomo felt a little better, though he was not well, they began to think immediately of resuming the journey which his severe infirmity had necessarily interrupted. Father Fray Juan Cobo had the same idea; and, even if he had not done so, affairs went on in such a way that he would have been obliged to give up all the business that kept him in Nueva España and go to the Philippinas. His well-known learning, his great virtue, and his zeal for the honor of the Lord, together with his great prudence and lofty courage, and all the other qualities requisite in a consummate preacher, were well known, and the order required him to preach in Mexico. He declaimed [201]against the great scandals which were occurring at that time, so that the viceroy (who was the most guilty person) ordered his banishment to the Philippinas, where the authorities of Nueva España generally send the criminals whom they wish to punish. Father Fray Juan accepted his banishment with great joy, partly because of the desire he had to make the journey, partly because of the gratification that he felt in coming hither as an exile for doing his duty as a preacher, as God had commanded. This is a most delicious, though a hidden manna, the sweetness of which those only know who find themselves in such condition as this; for it is suffering for God, who is a most generous rewarder of services performed for Him—much more of sufferings undertaken for His honor. On the same ground—namely, having preached on this occasion against the doer of those scandalous deeds—the viceroy sent into banishment father Fray Luis Gandullo, a person of very superior virtue, of whom it will be necessary later to give a very full account. When he heard the sentence of banishment, he fell on his knees and gave many thanks to the Lord for the kindness that He had shown him, in honoring him by permitting him to suffer banishment for love of Him. The two banished religious joined each other, and took no little pleasure in each other’s company. They had much reason therefor, for they were both setting out for the same end; and God led them by the same means. Father Fray Juan Chrisostomo was joined by several: father Fray Juan Garcia,21 a distinguished [202]religious and minister to the Indians in Nueva España, who was afterwards of the very greatest importance in this province; father Fray Thomas Castellar, a very religious friar; a brother, better known in this country by the name of “the Holy Friar” than by his own name, which was Fray Pedro Martinez; and the brother Fray Juan Deça, who had come to take care of father Fray Juan Chrisostomo in his illness.22 These all had gathered together because of the fame of the province, which was spreading abroad—that it was beginning with so great a reformation within itself, and with zeal for the conversion of so many tribes. These were seven religious in all; and, as they were on the point of departing, father Fray Juan Cobo wished to bid farewell to one of his friends, a cleric of much virtue called Juan Fernandez de Leon, who lived in a very exemplary manner in Guastepec. When they reached there they found the house where he lived tightly closed. They shouted to him many times, but the good clergyman who was within made no answer, so carefully did he protect his retirement. It was necessary to get a ladder and climb in by a window. The [203]virtuous cleric rejoiced much to see father Fray Juan, and, when he knew where they were all on the point of going, the enterprise pleased him also so well that he immediately determined to go with the religious to the Philippinas. He carried out his plan, set a very noble example in life, and after his death was and is venerated as a saint, our Lord proving his sainthood with miracles. A layman of much virtue called Juan de Soria, when he saw people of such virtue making this journey, made the same journey in their company, being desirous of assuming the habit in that province, as he did when he reached the islands. With these two good associates the company increased greatly in virtue, though it was not very great in numbers. They resolved to make their voyage immediately; and reaching Tisla [i.e., Tixtla], which is near the port of Acapulco, they were informed that there was being prepared for the Philippinas a vessel, small, old, and in ill condition, and so loaded with people, soldiers, and sailors—since they had doubled the number of those needed for the navigation of the vessel because sailors were required in Manila—that it was impossible for them to embark. The news grieved them greatly, and to be assured of the truth of it they sent to the port father Fray Juan Garcia and brother Fray Juan Deza, who found all true that had been said of the vessel, and more. It was so heavily laden that it was in the water above the scupper-holes, without having taken on board the people who were to go as passengers, who were of no small number. The religious went back with this report, and repeated what they had been told in the port—namely, that it was impossible to put on board more, at most, than one or two [204]priests, whom they might have with them in case of danger, in order to confess to them; and that if there had to be only two, they would better be the banished ones. They were all deeply grieved—those who remained, because they had to give up their holy enterprise; and those who were to undertake it, because they were to be separated from such a company. As they were so near the port, they thought that they would all go down and bid farewell to those who were about to sail. Father Fray Juan Chrisostomo alone, being so infirm, remained in Tisla. When they reached the port, they saw that according to human reason no more could be put aboard than what they had been told; but as they were taught to direct themselves by other and higher motives, they were not discomfited, but were very instant with the Lord in prayer, the priests all saying mass and begging His aid. Then with new confidence they went to talk with those who had charge of the despatch of the vessel, to persuade them to give the religious a place in it. While they were busy with this, they saw the vessel putting out to sea and beginning its voyage—being in greater haste, perhaps, in order that these new passengers might not be admitted in addition to the great (and indeed excessive) number who were already going. When they saw that they were being left behind, they found a very small boat; and without further stores or other equipment they got on board. Once there, they pleaded so well—and what is more, the Lord so greatly aided them and gave them so great favor with the persons on board—that they admitted the six: Fray Juan Cobo, Fray Luis Gandullo, Fray Juan Garcia, Fray Juan Deca, four religious; and Father Juan Fernandez de Leon, and [205]Juan de Soria. Instantly, without waiting longer, they set sail with a fair wind, on Shrove Tuesday, 1588. They were without stores or clothes or provisions, being dependent solely upon the providence of the Lord and upon the alms which they might receive from the people on the ship; these were small, in any case, on such a voyage—and the more so upon this one, for they had set out from a port where the population was so small that they could not provide themselves so well with ship-stores as they could at other places. The vessel had hardly put to sea before it was found to be leaking and to be making much water. The pilot, who was very skilful and very courageous, went straight to the fathers, and bade them commend the ship to God; for, if the prayers of good men did not save it, it would be certain to founder in the first little storm, and they would be drowned. They undertook to do as he asked, and it was well that they did so. One night a great storm arose, with a great massing of clouds and with furious winds; and though the wind was not favorable, the pilot ordered sails to be set on the poop—letting the ship drive before the wind, because the vessel would not sail close-hauled. The storm was such that, though the pilot strove to hide his anxiety, and gave his commands in a very low tone, so as not to excite the passengers and bring them on deck to see their own death and to hinder the sailors; yet, in spite of all this care, the religious perceived his fear. Being in alarm at the fury of the winds and the roaring of the sea, and perceiving the danger, they gave themselves to prayer; and with outward silence they uttered the voices of their souls to the Lord, begging His pity. At midnight they heard the pilot say, [206]though in a low voice, that he wished axes to be brought, which is a preliminary to cutting away the masts. Thereupon, father Fray Luis Gandullo left the rest praying, and climbed up into the waist of the ship. He looked upon the sea in silence; its fury terrified him; he lifted his eyes to the heavens, and saw them all cloaked with the deepest blackness. Therewithal, the sea was white with the waves which roared and dashed against one another, sending up spray; it seemed to him that all of the Spaniards must soon be buried in them, so mighty were they, and the vessel so weak. At this point there overcame him a strange consciousness of his sins, which gave him no opportunity to think of those of others, and assured him that his own transgressions only were the cause of this frightful storm.

[He went back to his post and fell on his knees before a Christ that was there, prayed to the Lord until he felt assured that He heard him, and turned to the Virgin of the Rosary. She appeared to him in a vision and promised her aid. When the pilot came in, calling out, “Fathers! cast some relics into the sea, for the love of God! Recite some litanies, that the Lord may have compassion upon us! I promise them a lighted lantern,” Father Luis replied that they should all be safe. They cast into the sea a relic of Saint Mary Magdalen and an Agnus Dei, and began their litany. The stars began to appear and soon the storm had passed. The report of the vision and the miracle turned the hearts of the seamen and the passengers, for a time, to the good of their souls; but after Easter, as is usual among worldly people, they fell back into their lax way of living, and particularly into gambling, with all the [207]evils that ordinarily accompany it. One frightful sacrilege was committed by a gambler, who mutilated an image of Christ and of the Virgin, to punish them for his losses; but who repented under the ministration of father Fray Luis. At last they all reached Manila safely.]


Chapter XXV

The election of the first provincial, and the first provincial chapter

[Though the religious had come in the previous year, and though the second Sunday after Easter of the year 1588 had gone by (which is the usual day on which provincial chapters are held), the fathers, being so few, had waited for the arrival of those who came from Mexico. Accordingly, the chapter was convoked by the father vicar-general on the twelfth of June, and there were chosen as definitors father Fray Diego de Soria, vicar of the convent at Manila, where the chapter was held; Fray Juan Cobo; Fray Juan de San Thomas, vicar of Bataan; and Fray Bernardo de Sancta Catalina, vicar of Pangasinan. They and the rest elected, as the first provincial of the new province, father Fray Juan de Castro. The first act passed in this chapter was to accept the general ordinances made for the foundation of this province when the founders were in Mexico. The chapter provided that special care was to be taken that no ministerial duties were to be accepted as curacies, but merely as charity—with liberty of removal, due notice being given to the bishops. It also determined that these ordinances should be read and declared to the religious who were to be brought [208]over from España, so that if they approved of them they might come, while if they did not venture to undertake them they might remain; and no one might complain that he had been deceived, if he should find himself obliged to keep them. In this chapter the province was given the glorious name of our Lady of the Rosary, to whom all the religious desired especially to belong; they also chose as special advocate and patroness her who was the apostle23 to the apostles, Saint Mary Magdalen, on whose day they had reached port in these islands, and by whose aid (which they had a thousand times experienced in the order) they hoped for the most complete and glorious success in that which they were undertaking. The religious were warned to treat the Indians with great charity and a spirit of kindness, as beloved sons, showing them the love that we feel for them not only by words but by deeds, and striving to attract them by love. If punishment should at any time be necessary, it was not to be by our hands, that it might not happen to us, as Saint Gregory said, that corrections should be converted to arms of wrath. To the convent of Manila they gave the title of priory, and appointed as the first prior father Fray Diego de Soria. They accepted the vicariate of our Lady of the Rosary of Macan, and named as vicar thereof father Fray Antonio de Arcediano. They likewise accepted the vicariate of our father Saint Dominic of Binalatongan, appointing as vicar thereof father [209]Fray Bernardo de Sancta Catalina; likewise the vicariate of our father Saint Dominic of Bataan, the vicar whereof was father Fray Juan de Sancto Thomas; likewise the vicariate of Gabon, the vicar whereof was father Fray Juan de San Pedro Martyr. They appointed as preacher-general father Fray Miguel de Venavides; and as lecturer24 of the convent the same person, on account of his great ability and talent. This father and father Fray Juan Cobo were very successful in learning the Chinese language, and assumed responsibility for the mission to the Chinese, to which, on account of its great difficulty, no one before these fathers had devoted himself. Father Fray Juan Cobo preached the first sermon to the Chinese. Finally, at this chapter the father provincial and the definitors sent a full report to the most reverend general of the order—who responded, confirming the new province, and most nobly congratulating the founders thereof. The translation of this letter into Spanish is given at length. The substance of it is as follows: “Very Reverend Fathers: Your letters from the Philippinas Islands, dated June 22, 1588, have been received and read with great pleasure in the general chapter of the order, held in this year, 1592, at the convent of San Juan and San Pablo in Venecia. We rejoice that your fervor and zeal for the propagation of the Catholic faith are about to restore the order from the ruin which we here see and experience every day, because of the great pest of the heresies. Ye go down in ships to the sea, and see the great wonders of God. Ye are like the mystic [210]animals whose wings are joined between themselves, which make others fly aloft while they walk upon the ground. We approve your erection of a province in the Philippinas Islands, confirming it in the graces and privileges enjoyed by the other provinces of the same order; we also confirm as provincial of the said province the very reverend father Fray Juan de Castro. All this would have been inserted in the acts of the general chapter, except for the carelessness of the printer.” The letter is dated Milan, November 3, 1592, and is signed by Fray Hipolyto Maria Vicaria, master-general of the Order of Preachers; and master Fray Pablo Castrucio, provincial of the Holy Land.

Soon after the election of the first provincial, father Fray Gregorio de Ochoa died. He lived a holy, scrupulous, and devout life. He was one of those assigned to the conversion of the province of Pangasinan, where the exposure and hardship and the lack of necessities brought sickness upon all of the brethren except father Fray Bernardo de Sancta Catalina. Father Fray Gregorio suffered more than any of the rest. They had no physician, medicines, or comforts. They wished to make a broth with which to take the quilites25 they used as purgatives, but the Indians, desiring to drive them away, refused them the game that they needed to make the broth; and father Fray Gregorio grew so ill that he had to be sent back to Manila to be cured. Here he grew somewhat better, and undertook for the order the work of instruction in grammar; but was taken ill again, and died.] [211]


Chapter XXVI

The foundation of another church in Pangasinan, and the first visitation of the father provincial

[After the chapter, father Fray Bernardo de Santa Catalina and the new vicar of Gabon set out for Pangasinan, taking with them as their associates father Fray Luis Gandullo and brother Fray Juan de Soria, a novice in the order. These recruits were greatly needed, and lightened the work of those who were there. In Pangasinan, being unable to attract to baptism those who were of full age, they gave their energies to obtaining children—generally failing but succeeding sometimes. At the feast of our Lady of August26 they baptized sixty, all they could get together. The Indians who promised their children often failed to let the religious have them, thus getting rid of the importunity of the fathers; or they would be perverted by heathen Indians, who abhor baptism. The fathers prayed to the Lord that they might not lose any of their number; He heard them, and a sufficient number of children were voluntarily offered to make up the total of sixty. The people came together to see what the religious would do to the children; and father Fray Pedro de Soto preached to them upon the workings of this holy sacrament, and miracles were afterward wrought in support of his words.

The Lord softened these hard hearts, and in Binalatongan and some other villages, where none of the adults were converted, they did not look upon the religious with such hatred as at first. Only those [212]of Gabon were as obstinate as ever, and were unwilling to admit to the village the new vicar, Fray San Pedro Martyr, and his companion. They could get for their habitation only one small hut, where they could hardly put up an altar and build a fire. Accordingly they decided to go to a hamlet near there, called Calasiao, where the Spaniard to whom the Indians gave tribute bought a hut for them, for four reals. When they had added a shed, it did not make so bad a lodging as the other, and they could inhabit it with less peril to their lives; for in Gabon the Indians had planned to kill them. When the fathers heard this news, it was midnight. The people in the town were drinking, and, as the friars were told, were planning their death. The news was totally unexpected to the friars, and they could not have made their escape because they did not know the country. They waited that night, offering themselves to the Lord, for whom their lives would have been well expended in preaching His gospel. The next day they went to Calasiao. The Indians are extremely jealous, and though they were pleased that the religious had left their village, they were vexed that the fathers had gone to Calasiao—a village smaller than their own, where they thought they would have to carry for burial those who died in the Christian faith; so they held a council, and determined that no one, whether in health or sickness, should be baptized, and that no sick person should dare to have a father come to see him. If the fathers had known of this decision and its cause, they would have remedied it by going back to live or die at Gabon. So they remained in this other little village, though they went daily to Gabon and the other villages near [213]there, to render aid in the necessities of the Indians, and especially to visit the sick. On one of these visits father Fray Luis Gandullo and Father Marcos de San Antonio saw a man who was very sick. When they urged him to be baptized, he responded with abuse and insult. The fathers asked the people in the house with what illness he was afflicted, and they said that he was troubled with a very great swelling, and would not let them treat it. The fathers then examined him carefully, and found a dreadful abscess extending from the thigh across the abdomen; they opened it by force, and let out a great quantity of matter. Those in the house, when they saw this rotten and offensive matter, fled away from the religious, while the man himself abused them. They answered him humbly, telling him that they had given him his life. “Even though I should die,” he said, “never come back again.” The man recovered, and in course of time was converted. This and other works of charity, and in especial the cure of a woman afflicted with a disgusting leprosy, who had been abandoned by her relatives, won for the fathers the love of these Indians. At last even the chief of those who had planned to kill the religious gave his child to be baptized, and finally offered himself for baptism. Baptisms in the church were begun in the month of October, 1588. When the perversity of this region was overcome, many other churches were built in the neighboring villages, the mildness of the sheep sent forth by the Lord prevailing, as it always has prevailed, against the bloodthirsty wolves of heathendom. About the same time the new provincial—if he can be called new who had already held the position of provincial twice before—undertook [214]a visitation of his new province. This was the second year since he had come, and the province had greatly increased; while at the same time his sons and brothers were suffering great hardships, in living among a race without God or law or justice. To participate in their discomforts, and to aid them in their difficulties, he set out to visit them. At Bataan he found all things in as good order as if the new converts had sucked in Christianity with their mothers’ milk. The Lord began to show these Indians great mercy, both spiritual and temporal. He gave them a succession of fertile years, which, being farmers, they estimate more highly than anything else. They also saw the land visited by a great plague of locusts, which attacked the fields of the heathen but left those of the Christians untouched. From this time on there were also fewer sicknesses and deaths than when they were heathens. To this improvement in health the diligence of the missionaries contributed, who ordered houses to be built in all the villages to serve as hospitals. Here they caused the sick poor to be carried, devoting themselves with diligence to the care of their bodies and souls, and taking the food out of their own mouths to give it to them. By this devotion and piety they prevented many deaths, and many most horrible deaths; for, since this is an agricultural tribe, the sick suffer much, and often even die without the sacrament, because their kinsmen are obliged to go out to their fields and leave no one to care for the sick person. So they had in these hospitals and still have, all that was needed, for the hospitals are still in existence; and the sick are cared for in them, bodily and spiritually, better than in their own houses. The value of these hospitals was experienced during an epidemic, [215]in which few of those who were in the hospitals died, while in the neighboring villages where they had no hospitals there were numberless burials.

When the holy provincial reached Pangasinan, he saw his religious persecuted by the Indians, upon whom they were heaping benefits—not only to their souls but to their bodies, which were the only things the savages understood and esteemed. He saw them without the necessaries of life, lacking even food in sickness as well as in health; he saw their dwellings so small that four reals was too much to pay for them. Yet with all this he saw them happy and active, traveling from one village to another as if there was nothing that they lacked. Still there was nothing to be wondered at in all this, for God’s mercy to them was so clear that not only they but the heathen Indians were obliged to recognize it. Thus, against their wills, their hearts were softened by the good that the fathers did to them. The good old man saw with tears of delight the many miracles which the Lord had wrought to give authority to His preachers and His gospel among these tribes; the flight of the devil from those villages where before he had quietly reigned, the baptisms which began to be performed, the devotion of the newly baptized. He saw the many new churches built in the villages, poor as buildings, but rich in the fruits for God to be gathered from them.]


Chapter XXVII

The province takes charge of the missions of the Chinese, and the results which follow

Although the zeal for the good of souls with which the religious came to these regions was universal in its scope, and included all those races who were [216]ignorant of their God and served the devil, they were always most especially influenced by everything that concerned the conversion of the great kingdom of China. This is incomparably greater in population and higher in the character of its people, who have greater intelligence and more civilization. It is therefore the greater grief to see them so blind in what most concerns them, and so devoted to their blindness that of nothing do they take such heed as to close the doors of their souls against the light; for they believe that there is no truth of which they are ignorant, and no race that is further advanced than they. Perhaps this pride and presumption is the cause why the Lord has left them so long in their errors, a suitable punishment for those who, puffed up by the benefits of nature, despise those of grace—imitating in this the Father of Pride, who in this way lost all his good and made himself incapable of regaining it. But since this race, being men, are capable of recognizing their error, there is always hope that by the aid of the Lord they will bethink themselves. The desire of converting them was the greatest and most important motive that the founders of this province had for coming to it; and when they arrived they set about with all their hearts learning the language, without being too much afraid of it. Up to that time, though many had desired to learn it, no one had yet been able to conquer its great difficulty; thus it had been impossible to minister to the Chinese or to teach them in their own language. The Lord favored the friars’ designs, seeing that, although these designs were in so uncommon a matter, they did not spring from presumption but from fervent wishes for the good of those souls, and from [217]perfect confidence that, since the Lord required these people to be baptized, He would provide the language in which they might be ministered to. It was in this faith, without hesitating at any labor, that on the first Epiphany, which was in 1588, father Fray Miguel de Venavides was able to baptize solemnly three Chinese, though he had already baptized many others who asked for baptism at the point of death. This was within six months of the time when the religious set foot on this land. The bishop was greatly delighted, because he had greatly desired and striven for this end, without being able to attain it before, and now saw his desires accomplished. Still, he did not even then assign to them the ministry to the Chinese without having first invited to undertake it each one of the three religious orders that were in the country when our order came; and without having received the response from all of them that they were unable to supply religious to learn that language, and to minister to this race in it. He then, with all this justification, gave to them the said ministry, and granted them a license to build a new church for those who were already Christians, or who should later become such. They received the same license from the governor, Sanctiago de Vera; and in fulfilment of this mandate they took possession of this ministry, and built a new church near the village of Tondo, in another new village called Baybay. The church was dedicated to our Lady of the Purification, and there were assigned to it the excellent colleagues Fray Miguel de Venavides and Fray Juan Cobo, who struggled manfully with the new language, and conquered its difficulties marvelously, although these were so great. They preached and [218]taught in it, not only in the church to the Christians, but also to the rest of them, the heathen, in their Parian—as a large town is called, formed by those who come every year from China to this city of Manila on business. They were greatly pleased and delighted by the marvelous conversion of some Chinese. These conversions were effected not only in the case of those who came with frequency and devotion to hear the sermons and addresses made for this purpose, but even in one case when a man merely heard them repeated by others. The convert spoken of lived in the Parian, where all were heathen; and he understood nothing of what they had heard but that there were religious who taught the law of God in the Chinese language. This man lay sick, and was seized with a great desire to speak with these fathers, wishing to accept the law that they preached. The religious went to see him; and, when he came in, the sick man exhibited such fervent desire to become a Christian that the religious in wonder asked him the reason. [He replied that he had seen in a vision a most beautiful lady, who had told him that he must become a Christian in order to see the glory of heaven. When the father questioned him, he already showed considerable knowledge of the mysteries of the faith. He was baptized immediately, and died soon after. A number of similar cases followed, some Chinese being converted by happy visions, some by dreadful ones.]

Soon after the building of the church already mentioned in the village of Baybay, the religious thought they ought to go nearer the principal town of the Chinese, called the Parian, where there are ordinarily from eight to ten thousand Chinese, and [219]often more than fifteen thousand. Accordingly, half-way between this large town and the city of Manila they built a tiny hut of nipa, which here fills the place taken by straw in Castilla; and from this they went, by day or by night, to take advantage of the opportunities offered for preaching to those who were in good health, and teaching and baptizing those who were sick. Many of the sick were in the greatest poverty, and lacked the necessaries of life; for the Chinese in Manila show each other very little charity, being heathens, and, like all the rest of their nation, extremely avaricious—a quality not very consistent with caring for the sick poor. Thus the religious were obliged to show compassion upon the sick, and to put the poorest ones in their little hut and in their own beds, for they had no others; and, because they could not get bed-clothing, the cloaks of the poor friars served as blankets for the sick. The friars reckoned it a profitable exchange, a most profitable exchange, to give their cloaks of serge or sackcloth for that of charity, which affords a much better and much more honorable covering. Chinese and Spaniards both greatly admired this deed, the more so when they saw religious of such endowments as fathers Fray Miguel de Venavides and Fray Juan Cobo not only putting these poor heathen and strangers in their own beds and cloaks, but serving them in all the low and humble offices required for the sick, applying themselves to all things in their own proper persons—washing their feet and bathing them and caring for them, although their maladies were very disgusting, as they usually are with this race. Thus these people began to feel a very great affection not only for these fathers, but for all of [220]their habit, seeing in them so rare and disinterested a virtue. The food for the sick was taken from that sent to the fathers from the convent of Manila, for in this little hut there was nothing to eat, and no kitchen in which to prepare it. The result was that they had all the more for the poor, for those who lived in the convent of Manila were unwilling to lose the merit of so good a work, and therefore gave up a good part of what they had to eat and sent it to the poor. Since these poor were at first few in number, it was possible to serve them carefully; and when their numbers afterward increased, there likewise increased the piety of many Spaniards and Chinese Christians, who aided with alms to enlarge the lodgings, to buy food and medicines, and to get the other things needed by the sick, so that there was never any lack of these, and it was never necessary to send away anyone that came. On the contrary, the religious went out and looked for people, and at times forced them to come and receive the good that they did to them. Some heathen wished to give contributions to this good work done for their people; but the fathers at that time thought it well not to accept these offers, so that they might make it still more clear that they were giving their services purely for charity. The governor of Manila saw the good results attained by the hospital, and the great need in which it was; and in the name of his Majesty he made it a present of a hundred blankets from the country known as Ylocos, which are large and are made of cotton cloth. These were for the sick to be covered with, and this gift was a very useful one. This was a work which the Lord would not fail to aid, as He has so many times commended to us compassionate [221]treatment of the poor; and as the religious in this case attended to all the needs, spiritual and temporal, of those whom they had in their care. Hence the number of the poor whom they cared for was constantly multiplied, as were the alms which gave the fathers the ability to care for them. Very soon the religious who accepted no income or possessions for their own, and who gave all their attention to seeking for these for the poor—had the courage to build a regular hospital of stone. In fact they drew the foundations around the little hut of nipa that they had between the Parian and the city of Manila, and built a large room accommodating twenty beds. But the inhabitants would not permit them to complete it, for they thought that it would be an injury to the city to have a stone building so near, as, in case of an earthquake (such as happened some years afterward), it might do damage. On this account the friars crossed to the other side of the river which washes the walls of the city, and built a temporary building entirely of wood, but large, with a capacity for eighty beds, which were ordinarily occupied. At the present time it is built with pillars of stone, and accommodates more than one hundred and fifty beds in three large wards. There are many who die in the hospital, and practically all are baptized when they are at the point of death; so there are very few who die in their unbelief, for they are influenced by the great charity with which they are cared for there. They receive all that they require, and even all the food allowed by the physician. Thus their wills are made gentle, and there is fixed in them that pious affection needed by the faith, so that they will make no perverse resistance. Since great care is taken to [222]teach them the Catholic truths, they understand these very well; for they have good minds; and they not only embrace them with great willingness when they are at the point of death and have lost their other purposes and desires, which previously kept them from being baptized, but usually when they leave the hospital, cured of their infirmities, they also leave their errors. Then, after they have been well educated in the faith, they are made Christians. Thus on both accounts this hospital is one of the most illustrious in the world; for if others are illustrious on account of their splendid buildings, their great incomes, the excellent diet they provide, and the neatness with which the sick are cared for, this one, though it has of all these things even more than enough, exceeds all the rest in the fact that practically all those who enter it are heathen, and practically all are baptized. Since this occurs at the point of death, they generally pass from the bed to heaven without being obliged to pass through purgatory—the proper effect of baptism being that it not only pardons all faults, but releases from all penalties. When this hospital was moved from a situation close to Manila, as has been said, to the place which it now occupies, it was named for St. Peter the martyr—whom the religious took as their patron, inasmuch as he was so in matters of faith, for the propagation of which everything carried on in that hospital was and is done. Hence some of them desired to have the first name retained in the newly-built hospital, while others had other ideas. Finally they settled the matter by lot, begging the Lord to give this spiritual patronage to that saint to whom He should please to assign it. For this they put in [223]many lots, among the rest that of the archangel St. Gabriel, which was the first to come out. Some were not satisfied, and for a second time the names of the saints were gathered and whirled round; when one was drawn out for the second time it was the same St. Gabriel. Then, when they tried drawing lots again, as they had done twice before, for a third time the same saint came out, and all were persuaded that the Lord was pleased to have the patronage belong to this holy archangel. So the hospital was named for St. Gabriel and became his house, so that he might arrange with God for the spiritual healing of those who were cared for there—since to him, as one so zealous for salvation, the same Lord had made him His ambassador to the Virgin, to confer with her on the means necessary to the universal salvation of the world. As the hospital increased in size, the number of those cared for likewise increased, its reputation spread, and it was a continual preacher of the truth of our holy faith. For the superior intelligence of the Chinese forced them to the conviction that the virtue of these religious was real, because without any worldly motives they took care with such devotion of the sick of another nation, another faith, and another law, without being under any obligation to them and without expecting from them any pay or reward. If they were truly virtuous, their law must be good; and they would not be able to attempt to deceive the Chinese in a matter of so much importance as their salvation. Accordingly they listened with profit and many were converted, believing that one who lives a good life would tell the truth in his preaching. Not only those who were converted, but all the rest, made [224]these matters the subject of familiar conversation; then, when they went back to their own country, they told about them to those who were there; and by this hospital the order was made famous in China. To this end it was a great assistance that when the sick man first came in, and his sickness gave an opportunity for it, they did not immediately discuss spiritual matters with him, until by experience he saw the truth of what the religious ordinarily said to him, and had learned with what solicitude and care they attended to his health and his diet. Upon this good foundation, and the confidence which they had created among them by such works, they built up, little by little, the preaching of the faith, and the consistency of its mysteries, confuting the errors of his infidelity. Now when all this rests upon a basis of so much beneficence which is not his due, but which he has received out of kindness alone, he is very willing to accept it; and he earnestly begs for baptism, receiving that sacrament with great joy. Sometimes, when some with great obstinacy have resisted the light, the Lord has amazed their ears, and has forced them to be eager for baptism, as happened to one who had a severe disease of the head. He was very perverse, and one day—the day of St. Nicholas the bishop—when he had been asleep for some time and had not spoken, he aroused a little, calling upon them to baptize him, because he wished to become a Christian. When the religious wondered at this, as did all the rest who had seen him a short time before in so contrary a mood, they asked him the reason for the change. He answered that he had seen a venerable old man, whom he described as the saint to whom that day is sacred is represented; the vision [225]had commanded him to be baptized. In another case, one of two sick men was baptized; and the other saw a vision of that man rescued from demons as a result of the baptism. In still another case two impenitent sick persons refused to be baptized. One of them died, and the other saw him in a vision tortured by frightful demons, and prayed to be baptized.] The result is, that few who enter the hospital are not baptized, while all tell of the good done in it for the people of their nation. Years ago, a Chinese heathen came from his own country, and the first thing that he did when he reached this country was to ask for this hospital, of which he had heard so much good in his own land. When they showed it to him, he went straight to it, and told the fathers that in China he had heard how the fathers in this hospital cared for and fed those who were not their kinsmen or their acquaintances; and that the glory of so noble a thing and so pious a work had caused him to come to keep them company and aid them. The religious received him lovingly, and, finding that he had unusual intelligence, they taught him not only what was required for baptism, which he received, but enough for him to teach those of his own nation all they required for baptism. This he did marvelously, and greatly diminished the labor which fell on the religious. He was named Bartholome Tamban; and he lived with the religious many years, being as one of them in prayer, discipline, and their other penances. He frequented often, and with much purity, the holy sacraments of penance and the eucharist. When he had served in the hospital for eighteen years, he married; and he lived a very exemplary life in the state of marriage, heard mass [226]every day with great devotion, and, after coming to the first mass did not leave the church until he had heard all that was said, in the church at his village of Minondoc. In the year 1612 he died, leaving behind him the name not only of a good Christian, but of a very devoted servant of God. The hospital was afterward built with large stone pillars, but, as the number of the sick constantly increased, and as there was not room enough for them in that house, they erected another building, very large and handsome, which was finished in 1625; and both are still used. Since at some times they cannot accommodate the sick because of their number, another one is now being built, still larger and finer. The Lord always supplies it with great abundance, as a house that continually furnishes Him people for heaven—those who, if they had died out of the hospital, would necessarily have died in their unbelief, and would have gone to people hell.

Governor Luis Perez Dasmariñas

Governor Luis Perez Dasmariñas

[From painting exhibited at St. Louis, 1904, in the Philippine exhibit of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition]

As a result of the continued preaching to the Chinese, the number of them converted and baptized increased from year to year. Since after this they were not permitted to return to their own country, they married and settled down in this one, so that the population of Christians in Baybay belonging to this nation was greatly increased. It accordingly became necessary to buy another large site, in order to extend this village—which, though it is immediately contiguous to the other, has a separate name, and is somewhat divided from it by a river which passes between them. This village is called Minondoc. This site was bought to be given to the new Christians, as in fact it was given, by Don Luis [229]Perez das Mariñas,27 knight of the Habit of Alcantara, and former governor of these islands, a man of superior virtue, who lived in this same village among the Chinese, setting them an admirable example as a man who had the name and did the works of sainthood. In this location of Minondoc it was necessary to build another church, much larger than the one they had at Baybay (which was very small, and did not accommodate all the congregation). From time to time it has been increased in size and is now a most beautiful church, very capacious, very well lighted, very pleasant, very strong, and very attractive. It is built wholly of stone, being thirty-eight brazas in length, and more than eight in width, and eight and one-half high. It has fifty large windows, which add much to its beauty. Its size is now so great that it is the largest church in the village; and since it will not accommodate all the congregation at one time, they go to it twice on every Sunday and feast-day. Sermons are delivered at each of the masses, in two languages—one in Chinese, and the other in the language of the natives of this country, for the wives [230]of the Chinamen and other Indians who live in this town. There are then four sermons delivered every Sunday, two in Chinese, and two in the language of these Indians; although, that they may not be too heavy a burden, each address lasts not more than half an hour. The Chinese have always given this church of theirs the name of St. Gabriel, after that of their hospital, in admiration of the miracle of his lot having been drawn out three times in succession as patron of the hospital, as has been said. They desire not to fail to deserve the favor of this most holy archangel, whom the Lord has given them with His own hand as their especial advocate; and they therefore celebrate in his honor every year very joyful and devout feasts. Throughout the year the divine offices are performed in this church with great solemnity and grandeur, many of these Chinese affording their assistance, with very large contributions toward everything necessary for the adornment of the church and the divine services. There have been in this town many Chinese of very exemplary lives. Juan de Vera was not only a very devout man, and one much given to prayer, but a man who caused all those of his household to be the same. He always heard mass, and was very regular in his attendance at church. He adorned the church most handsomely with hangings and paintings, because he understood this art. He also, thinking only of the great results to be attained by means of holy and devout books, gave himself to the great labor necessary to establish printing in this country, where there was no journeyman who could show him the way, or give him an account of the manner of printing in Europe, which is very different from the manner of printing followed [231]in his country of China. The Lord aided his pious intention, and he himself gave to this undertaking not only continued and excessive labor, but all the forces of his mind, which were great. In spite of the difficulties, he attained that which he desired, and was the first printer in these islands;28 and this not from avarice—for he gained much more in his business as a merchant, and readily gave up his profit—but merely to do this service to the Lord and this good to the souls of the natives. For they could not profit by holy books printed in other countries, because of their ignorance of the foreign language; nor could they have books in their own language, because there was no printing in this country, no one who made a business of it, and not even anyone who understood it. Hence this labor was very meritorious before the Lord and of great profit to these peoples. As a reward the Lord gave him a most happy death, with such joy and devotion that he began to sing praises to the Lord in a very loud voice—at one time in his Chinese language, at another in that of the Indians, at another in Spanish; for he knew them all well. There were about his bed many religious, who loved him much for his devoutness. One of them said, in a low voice, to him who was next to him, “It seems that the severity of his disease has affected his mind;” and as if this had been said aloud the sick man heard it, and answered, “Has he not lost his reason, fathers, who on any such occasion as this should think it well to do anything but what I am doing—sing praises to the Lord and give Him many thanks for having made me a Christian?” He [232]longed for a thousand languages that he might praise Him in all; and in this devotion and fervor of spirit he died, leaving the religious not only greatly comforted but very envious of such a death. Juan de Vera had a brother somewhat younger than he; and when Juan saw that he was about to die he called him and said to him: “Brother, there is one thing which I wish to ask you to do for me, that I may die in comfort; and that is, that you will carry on this business of printing, so that the great service done by it to God may not come to an end. I know well that you are certain in this way to lose much gain; but it is of much greater importance to you to obtain a spiritual profit by printing devout books for the Indians. You may well afford to lose this temporal gain in return for that eternal one.” The brother promised, and much more than fulfilled his word; for, greatly influenced by the aforesaid holy death, the brother greatly improved his own manner of life, and began a career of especial devotion, which lasted until his death. He was made steward of our Lady, and served her with great diligence. From his own fortune he provided many rich adornments, giving to the church a large cross and silver candlesticks for the procession, besides a silver lamp for the most holy sacrament. He also contributed largely to the building of the church. He gave all these things to our Lady, in return for what he gained in his business; and he agreed with this Lady to give her a certain portion of his profits, obliging himself to this with a special vow. In return for this devotion, his merits and his gains increased, and he felt himself daily more and more under obligation; and he more and more devoutly fulfilled his office, in which he [233]died, leaving behind him a very good name, as such a life deserved. A still greater advance in spirituality was made by Antonio Lopez, a Chinese of superior ability and judgment, very devout and charitable, and a liberal benefactor of his church. To the building of the church he gave many thousand pesos in life, and after his death left a perpetual endowment of considerable amount for its ornaments, repairs, and other needs. Because of his probity, rectitude, and disinterestedness—a rare virtue among the Chinese, who are naturally avaricious, and one which is never found by itself, but is always accompanied by all the rest in a high degree, since it is the most difficult for them—because of these good qualities, he was frequently obliged to hold the office of governor of his people. This gave them great delight, because they knew he was just and pious. Though this office is usually sought for, and even ordinarily bought for many thousand pesos, he did not desire it, even free of cost; and it was necessary to force it upon him. When finally he accepted it, being unable to resist longer, he desired to avoid all temptations to avarice; and therefore, from the very beginning, he made an offering to the church of all the profits obtained from the office. He left for himself only the labor, so that good-will to the party affected by his decisions might not make him swerve a single point from justice. When he died he left a will very Christian and very prudent, providing for many masses immediately and a perpetual chaplaincy, bestowing much alms, giving three slaves to his church, and doing many other things worthy of his Christian spirit and his advanced intelligence. There have been in this town many other persons of [234]very great virtue, particularly women. A reference to their devotion at this point will cause a similar spirit in the readers; but, being a matter not directly connected with this history, we are obliged to omit it, that we may pass on to matters more germane to our subject. It will be sufficient to refer to one special case which happened to one woman, a Japanese by nation, married to a Chinaman. [Poor in the things of this world, they were rich in those of heaven. Each of them had the characteristics opposite to those of their race; she was without the duplicity and choleric spirit of the Japanese, and he was destitute of the avarice and loquacity of the Chinese. She in particular amazed and humiliated her confessor. Her virtue was such that she was rewarded by a vision of our Lady, who comforted her with the promise that her confessor, father Fray Thomas Mayor,29 who had expected to return to his native province of Aragon, would not leave his post in the islands.]


Chapter XXVIII

The coming of some religious, and the second visitation of father Fray Juan de Castro

As has been seen, the conversions that had been begun proceeded with great prosperity, affording even at the very beginning marvelous fruits. The Lord at the very outset favored them, as being matters [235]peculiarly under His own care, with supernatural marvels—manifest proofs of the truths preached in them, proofs which the heathen could not resist; and hence more and more of them embraced the faith and abandoned their errors with the greatest marks of devotion. This they did with such rapidity that the few missionaries there were could not serve so many converts, scattered in so many villages. Therefore the Lord had compassion upon them, and in the year 1589 sent them reënforcements of religious, few but excellent. As their superior came father Fray Juan Chrisostomo, the man who had labored most in the establishment of this province, and who therefore greatly loved it. But the Lord had kept him in desire for it, that he might obtain the greater merit; and therefore in his first year he was not able to come, having been so infirm and weak that he could not even use his arms and hands to carry the food to his mouth, and had to depend upon others. In the second year, although he had not completely recovered, he set out on the road and almost reached the port, desiring to take ship; but was unable to do so, for lack of a vessel. These were reasons enough why a man who had been of old a missionary in Nueva España, who had great command of the language, and who was much beloved by religious and Indians, as father Fray Juan Chrisostomo was, should remain among them. Still, this result did not follow in his case, because of the great desire that he felt to do a greater service under greater difficulties in this new province, where with the utmost fervor the missionaries devoted themselves to their labor for the benefit of souls, drawing them from the darkness of their unbelief. Therefore in [236]this year he sought for an opportunity and for some associates, and embarked for this province—although, on account of his many and severe infirmities and his great age, and on account of the fact that his life had been spent with great praise in the ministry to the Mexican Indians, he might justly have taken his ease in a country where it would have been so natural to do it as Mexico. He was joined by father Fray Francisco de la Mina,30 who had been a missionary in Nueva España for forty years, setting a noble example, and exhibiting the most finished virtue; by Fray Thomas Castellar, likewise a very devoted religious, who had been a missionary there and had labored notably in that office and in other laudable exercises, for which he received great commendation in that province; and by Fray Alonso Montero, who, though younger, had likewise been a missionary to those Indians. These two fathers were sent directly to the province of Pangasinan, where they learned the language well, and labored much and with notable results. Father Fray Francisco de la Mina went to the district of Bataan. He was so old that he could not learn the language of these Indians very well; but the good example of his life, his great virtue, and his strictness of life, qualities which were eminent in this gray-haired and venerable man, were of great profit to the natives, and gave opportunity for permitting father Fray Juan Garcia to leave this mission and go to that of Pangasinan. This was the vocation indicated for [237]him by the Lord; and hence, by His aid, he was most useful in this tribe, and one of those who labored most and best in it. He was greatly beloved by the Indians, among whom his memory still remains; and they speak of him with great affection, which he deserved by his exemplary life and by the great devotion with which he labored for them, as will be told when his happy death is related. Father Fray Juan Chrisostomo was occupied in the conversion of the Chinese, not only because that was what was most desired by the religious, but also because his many infirmities would not permit him to go very far from the physician, and there was none in the other districts. When the father provincial had divided the new workers, as has been said, he himself would not be idle; and accordingly he set about a second visitation of his province, desiring to see that of which reports were sent to him—the favor shown by the Lord to these new conversions, in softening the hard hearts of the heathen, and in firmly rooting the faith and virtuous habits in those already converted. He received consolation enough in seeing the great things wrought by the Lord in the conversion of the Chinese—the church and the teaching that they had in Baibai, and the continual conversions in the Parian, as a result of the sermons assiduously delivered to them. But what most of all delighted his spirit was what he saw daily in the hospital of the Chinese, where he dwelt with great comfort to his soul. It delighted him greatly to hear these sick persons—who had previously not known to whom to turn in their troubles, except to their idols and devils, but who now despised these, and called in their sorrows and wretchedness upon God—invoking the most comforting name of [238]Jesus and of His most holy mother Mary, our Lady. To her all these peoples feel such loving devotion that some of them more quickly remember this our Lady and call upon her in their necessities than God Himself—in which our Lord delights, for the honor of His most holy mother. It took from the holy old man a thousand gray hairs to see the many persons who, recovering from their sickness, asked for baptism—and much more to see those who died baptized. He was not displeased but delighted when he heard them ask for food and dainties, which he provided for them with great charity and kindness, giving them whatever they asked so long as it was not dangerous to their health. He regarded his provincialship as a happy one when he went among those who were serving the sick, not as their needy neighbors, but as taking the place of Christ, our good, who regards as a kindness to His own person everything that is done in His name to those who are so poor. Hence the good provincial went on, in happiness and devotion, serving the sick as if he were their nurse; he provided them with good beds, shared with them his robe, and as well as he could, though he did not know their language, encouraged them to patience. Lifting his eyes to heaven, he thanked the Redeemer of the world that He had so changed the hearts of this race, who in their heathen state seemed to have no heart or understanding for anything except the gaining of money, in which they seemed to place all their happiness and all their desires. Afterward, when he saw some miraculous conversions here, which have already been partly described, it was a wonderful thing to see the devout superior breaking out in lively and fervent wishes that he might see [239]similar mercies of the Lord enjoyed by the great kingdom of China; and that the doctrine of the Catholic church, carried thither by apostolic men, might succeed in conquering in that same country those able minds by the force of its truth, and by the constant aid which truth has always received from the divine Goodness. He was sure that among the people of that kingdom, as they are more polite, having a superior political organization, and are more highly cultivated by learning, the faith would accomplish very extraordinary results. To this belief he was the more inclined because it had already wrought so much among those poor Chinese who came to the Philippinas Islands; for they are ordinarily of the lower class of their kingdom, and as such come to serve and labor for foreigners. On this account there followed in his mind a great desire to send to China religious from the number of those who understood the language, and even to accompany them, though he could not see the way to carry out his plan. He could not venture to take them thither, because of his fear of the great hardships that those would have to endure who ventured upon this undertaking. So he felt the desire only, with no further results than to commend it constantly to the Lord, to whom there is nothing impossible or difficult. He visited the district of Bataan and found it greatly improved as a result of the useful spiritual exercise introduced by the fathers. They had set up crosses at the intersections of the roads, and here the people of the neighborhood gathered every evening as they came in from their fields, which they have very near their villages. Here they recited all of the doctrine [that they had received], in order that [240]they might be more thoroughly acquainted with it; and from day to day they became more tractable and devout, as being more fully instructed in the faith. It was for the father provincial a most delicious morsel to hear them recite not only all the prayers, but afterward all the questions which are ordinarily put in regard to the teaching of Christianity—some asking the questions and others answering them; and even offering difficulties to each other, about which they asked questions, and to which many old Christians would not know what to say. What pleased him more than anything else was the happy beginning of confessions that had been made. By these confessions, given with clearness and truth, the missionaries came to the knowledge of the great errors which had been committed by those who had previously been concerned with this mission. By this time, as a result of the great amount of teaching which had been given to this district, the Indians came to bethink themselves, and gave information to their confessors; and thus many things which needed remedying were set right, in cases which were of no less importance than salvation itself. The provincial was with great reason pleased; for all the faults which are committed, not only against the commandment of God and of His church, but against the other sacraments, are corrected and blotted out, if only this one is properly received, for our Lord has placed reparation for all of them in this sacrament of penance. But if confession is not such as it ought to be, there is no remedy; and hence everything is irredeemably lost. This truth, which holds for the whole church of God, has greater force among Indians, in whose way the devil strives to place a [241]thousand difficulties, and fears of this sacrament. Since they do not know as much or have as much capacity as old Christians, they are more easily deceived, and it is not so easy to deliver them from such temptations. Only continual instruction by the ministers can help them to escape from these snares, as the Christians of this region escaped. With great clearness and distinctness they stated what troubled their consciences, and many evils were remedied, to the great comfort both of the penitents and of their confessors, who gave an account of this matter to their superior, and he rendered many thanks to the Lord for it. Continuing his visitation, the provincial went on to Pangasinan, where he saw and heard even greater things—since, as the obstinacy of this tribe had been greater, it was proper that God should work in it greater marvels. These had been such as to overcome nearly all their perversity, and much has been said with regard to them already. Much more is omitted; but they all wrought upon these untamed Indians marvelous effects. Not that they subjected themselves wholly to the easy yoke of the faith; rather, the Christians there were very few, but they were very good ones; and all the rest were almost convinced, by the things which they saw and heard, in favor of the gospel and its ministers. Even though they did not wholly accept the missionaries, they were not so much opposed to them as they had been in the two previous years. They were influenced by the many evident miracles wrought daily for their benefit and that of their children—so many indeed that one of the ministers, in some remarks which he made upon the events which occurred there in these first years, affirms that during the time that he spent [242]in this province not one day passed in which the Lord did not work some miracles or new marvels. Sometimes these took the form of the healing of incurable diseases—a cure at times so sudden and unexpected that the Indians could not deny or fail to perceive it. The result was that more and more asked to be baptized, and received baptism with much faith and devotion. A good evidence of the truth of their conversion was the coming of these same new Christians to the fathers, saying: “You teach us that the vessel which is full of one liquid cannot contain another if the first is not poured out—so that if a man persists in pouring another upon that which is within, it will all go outside and be lost. This is true; we cannot deny this truth, of which we have daily experience. It follows from this that though you pour upon us baptism and the good teaching which you give us, it all comes to nothing so long as we are still full of the appliances and the vessels with which we offer sacrifices to our idols; because these things keep in our memory that which we used to do with them, so that as they are the customs in which we were born and bred, they do us much harm. Command, fathers, that all shall show where these things are; take them from the possession of those who have them, so that with all our hearts we may be Christians.” The fathers listened with great pleasure to the things said—things which had been said so many ages before by the prophet Samuel, in the spirit of God, to his own city. But considering that those who kept these objects hidden, and esteemed them highly, would not display them immediately, even though they were commanded to do so, they said to these chiefs: “The example of your [243]leaders is that which overcomes all the difficulties there may be in the rest of the village. Do you begin, and the common people will follow you. Even if your example is not sufficient, that which you do will be a service pleasing to God; and you will render a benefit to the souls of your neighbors, if you will declare to us who they are that make use of these things or hide them. If you do not do this, your zeal and Christian resolution which you have shown to us will be useless; and the doctrine of the Lord will not be advanced among your kinsmen, much to your blame.” These arguments had so much weight that these chiefs were immediately the very first to cause to be brought thither the vessels of quila (this is a wine which they make of sugar-cane, and when it has aged for some years it has the color of our amber wine). This they esteem very highly and keep with great care, using it at their feasts in honor of their idols. They also brought a great amount of fine earthenware, which they employ only in their superstitions; with a great heap of various kinds of apparatus, as it were, consecrated and employed for their idolatries. After the consecration of these articles, they were used only by the ministers of their idols, who among them were old women—as it were, priestesses. All this they poured out, or broke, by the common consent of the village. This was on Shrove Tuesday, in Pangasinan. And thus they cast from them the remnants of their idolatry, to the great confusion of the devils, to whom all this had been dedicated. This example was followed in other villages, but not in all; for up to that time they were still almost all not yet baptized, and, as heathen, they could not bring themselves to [244]give up their superstitions. It was therefore necessary that father Fray Pedro de Soto should spend great diligence on such things in the district of Magaldan, where he was settled; for the people there were more given to superstition than were those in the rest of the island. He instructed the persons who enjoyed the greatest influence what zeal they ought to have for the honor of the Lord; and to move them more, as they were only taking on for the first time the office of agents of virtue, he offered payment to anyone who would give him information with regard to these things, assuring the informers that the matter would never be revealed by him. As a result of this assurance and of the payment of the money, and, above all, the Lord lending His aid to this holy purpose, but few idolatries were concealed. To all those of which he knew the father strove to bring a healing remedy, without hesitating before any labor or danger for this end in venturing among this race which was so barbarous, untamed, and idolatrous, and which so hated the gospel. In this region there was one Indian chief named Lomboy. This man had fled from his villages three years, for fear of the alcalde-mayor, as the officer intended to punish him for having taken the life of his own sister, whom he had detected in sin, and for failing to consult his tribesfolk or kinsmen in the matter. This Lomboy used often to visit the churches and convents of the religious; and, simulating carelessness, looked on with great curiosity to see how they lived. He beheld their great innocence, their penitence, their continual prayer, their frequent scourging; he saw that they ate but little, labored much, went afoot from one village to another to give aid to all, without fear of [245]the great heats and the no less dreadful storms of rain which follow each other in this country, according to the seasons; above all, he was impressed by the great uniformity displayed by the life of the fathers in all these holy exercises. He saw them so poor and so completely without covetousness that they not only did not strive for temporal gain, but shared freely the little which they had with the poor. He saw them so patient that they paid with good works for the bad deeds and the worse words which the heathen Indian did and said to them. He saw them so chaste that they did not seem to be made of flesh and blood, and seemed to be sinless in this respect. When this Indian saw and thought of all these things he said: “You know me, fathers, and you see that I am exiled for my sins. I too have noted the manner in which you live in your convents, and the way in which you treat each other. So good are your ways in all things that I cannot help seeing that the law which you preach is a good one; and therefore I have determined to bring my evil life to an end and to seek for God. Therefore I beg of you the training that is needed by my faults and my wretched conditions of my life, and I put my will wholly in yours.” The religious encouraged him to go on as he had begun, taught him, and baptized him; and his conversion was of great value, since it resulted in the baptism of many who heard him tell all these things as a witness at first hand from within the convent, from whom nothing could be concealed if anything to the contrary had existed. It kept the good provincial from many gray hairs to hear and see all these things; and he gave thanks to the Lord for the fortitude and perseverance which His grace had inspired within him in [246]previous years, when not only the well-affected Spaniards and the religious of other orders, but even the bishop himself, had advised him to withdraw the religious from that province, where there was nothing but immeasurable labor to be done, to the great danger of their lives, while the Indians gave no hope that they would be converted. Rather, they strove with all their might to dismiss the religious from their country, offering a great quantity of gold for that purpose, so great was their obstinacy and their opposition to the gospel. To this the good superior had answered: “Then it is these bad Indians whom I wish my friars to strive to convert.” Indeed, he had even commanded them to persevere in that which they had begun, urging them on to the labor and the suffering with most efficacious arguments, full of spirit and truth. Therefore, though this conversion was a matter of great delight to all, it was so particularly to the father provincial, for it was he who had had the greatest part in it.


Chapter XXIX

The journey of the father provincial, Fray Juan de Castro, and of father Fray Miguel de Venavides to the kingdom of China.

[The unexpected success of the mission to the province of Pangasinan encouraged the father provincial to undertake the mission to China which had been the principal object of their departure from España. He was the more desirous to carry out his purpose of undertaking the conversion of this kingdom, because of the superior intelligence of the people, and the readiness to accept the faith which [247]had been shown by the Chinese in Manila. His determination was confirmed by visions seen by father Fray Luis Gandullo. In April, 1590, the provincial laid his plans before the religious of the province and with their consent undertook his journey. He appointed father Fray Diego de Soria as procurator of the province, to represent it in España and at Roma. He designated as superior of the province, with all his own authority in his absence, father Fray Juan Cobo. To take the place of this father in the mission to the Chinese in Manila he designated father Fray Juan de San Pedro Martyr. After making these arrangements, he selected as his own companion father Fray Miguel de Venavides; and, with the approval of the bishop and the governor of the islands, he began to make arrangements for his voyage. This was very difficult to do, because of the strict and severe laws of the Chinese empire against admitting foreigners. Finally, however, two courageous Chinese, Don Thomas Seiguan, a ship-captain who had been converted at Manila, and another Chinese known as Don Francisco, agreed to run the risk of taking the fathers to China. At the very outset, the miraculous nature of the voyage was shown by the fact that the devil whom the sailors consulted with regard to the success of the voyage would not give his ordinary responses, being frightened away by the presence of the servants of the true God. As soon as they reached the coast of China, the two religious were arrested by officers who searched the ship, manacled, and taken to the city of Hayteng, the chief port of China. The venerable age of Fray Miguel de Venavides, and his ability to speak the Chinese language, caused him to be treated with [248]kindness and respect; but the provincial received much abuse and violence. After being in prison for a time in a temple of the goddess of the sea, whom they called Neoma, they were taken before the tribunal. The judge was a man of great dignity and gravity, and around him stood twelve grave personages in ample robes with flowing sleeves, their rank being distinguished by a certain difference in their hats. Father Fray Miguel answered the question why they had come to that country with great boldness and frankness, declaring that they had come to teach and to preach the true religion of the Christians in that kingdom, and that in it only and in no other was salvation to be found. When they said “teach,” the judge without waiting for another word replied, Bo ly, which in their language means, “You are wrong;” and without further delay they were remanded to prison. The temple being flooded, they were removed to a hut near the wall of the city, where they suffered from want and were exposed to rain and wind. The provincial was taken ill, and twice almost died. The Lord, however, moved the heart of a rich and noble captain, who had been twice at Manila, to give them a refuge in his house. Here they set up an altar where they celebrated mass, the sacramental wine being miraculously preserved. The two Chinamen who had brought them over were severely punished. Don Thomas was about to be flogged, but at the intercession of the religious, who begged that they might receive the punishment in his place, he was spared this part of his chastisement, being condemned for life to serve in the army—which is regarded in China as a great dishonor, and brings with it much hardship. False [249]charges were brought against the religious, that they had come as Spanish spies; and these charges were supported by false testimony and by forged papers. Father Miguel, by the help of God, was enabled to write his petitions in the court language of that country, to the great surprise of the officials. Finally the judges set the religious free, commanding them to depart from the realm, as foreigners. This they were obliged to do after some days, feeling that their presence there would do no good. The father provincial was greatly impressed by the dignity, composure, sound judgment, and superior intelligence of the Chinese magistrate. As he had seen the leading personages of both Españas, and had been acquainted with the court of the prudent King Felipe, he was qualified to form an opinion of the merits of this judge.]


Chapter XXX

Events in the province during the absence of the provincial in China

[Great was the loneliness felt by the province during the absence of the provincial, because of his holy life and the love they felt for him. Father Fray Juan Cobo, though not wholly equal to the provincial, was a man of great ability and great devotion. His first act was to strengthen the ministry to the Chinese, by appointing to it father Fray Domingo de Nieva, an able and virtuous religious, and a perfect master of both the Chinese and the Indian languages. He labored and wrote much in both of them, to the great advantage of the ministers who succeeded him and of his own disciples. He suffered all his life long [250]with a severe headache, which began to afflict him in youth and never left him till his death. Father Fray Juan Cobo also appointed to the hospital of the Chinese brother Fray Pedro Rodriguez, a lay religious of much charity, who found his delight and his spiritual profit in serving the sick. Though he was not the founder of the hospital, he was the cause of its great increase. He restored and rebuilt it two or three times, as was necessary, because it had been built at first very poorly, and hence was very frail and not durable. At this time a fire broke out in the village of Baybay. A wooden cross fastened in the gable of a house was miraculously preserved from burning. The power of God was exhibited in marvelous incidents connected with the baptism of several children.]

Father Fray Juan Cobo went on a visitation of the province, and found the religious in the district of Bataan suffering no little discomfort, because they could not visit the Indians who were in it without great hardship and risk to their health. The reason was that the Indians lived in hamlets so distant one from another that it was often necessary to travel six leguas when they were called to confess a sick person. As the number of Christians kept increasing, they were called more and more often. The roads were very bad and marshy, which increased the difficulty and made it more certain that the ministers would suffer from disease. He planned to arrange them in such a manner that the ministers could visit them better and with less hardship; and gathered several little villages into others somewhat larger, placing in the midst of all the two chief villages, Aboucay and Samal, which were the places where the ministers [251]resided, and from which they went out to serve the neighboring places. There was some difficulty in carrying out the plan, but God our Lord showed that He was pleased with it, not only by making easy for them that which they asked from Him so much to their own good, but by giving them several very fertile years, those that had preceded having been so barren that they scarcely yielded enough for the tribute. The crops were now very abundant, giving the Indians enough to eat and something to sell; and they began to lift up their heads, having hitherto lived in great poverty. The health of the district was also greatly improved, and many more of their sick were cured than before the religious came. Both of these results came from the better years which the Lord had given them, because as a result of these they had better sustenance and fewer sicknesses. To this happy result the hospitals also contributed, which had been established by the religious, as did also the care which the religious took that the sick should not lack anything needed for their care and sustenance—of which there had previously been a very great want, so that fewer had recovered. As they experienced these benefits which had come to them with the religious, they came to love the latter very much; and with their love for them they came afterwards easily to a change of heart, which at first they had greatly opposed. The religious were a great help to them, not only in spiritual matters (which was the principal thing), but also in everything else, providing seed every year for those who had none, and greatly increasing the arable land above what they had had previously. The result was, that not only did those Indians who were there [252]live better, but many came to them from other districts, drawn by the report of their prosperity. Accordingly, though in the country at large the Indian districts exhibited a decreased population, the population here has constantly increased, and so steadily that there are today twice as many Indians there as there were when the religious came to it. When these villages in Bataan were provided for, the father vicar of the province went to Pangasinan, where he found those Indians somewhat more nearly tamed than they had been, though there were still many of them in their ancient hardness of heart. He was greatly delighted at seeing how much the religious had achieved, and at perceiving their great labors. He was still more delighted at seeing the many miracles wrought by our Lord by the means of father Fray Luis Gandullo and by other religious, in order to give credit to His gospel. Thus the Indians had formed a high idea of the law of God, the heathen were being converted, and the Christians were being perfected in the faith which they had received a short time before. Of all this matter a fuller account will be given in the lives of these religious. They were certainly very holy men, as was demanded by the hardness of heart of this tribe, whose hearts had to be softened and who had to be brought into the bosom of the church much more by the example of a good life than by sermons and words.

[At this time died at Manila father Fray Juan Chrisostomo, the founder of the province, who had sacrificed his health to the establishment of it. He had twice labored in this foundation, twice at Roma obtained for it the sanction of the sovereign pontiffs and generals of the order, and in Spain had twice [253]obtained the royal approval. For a third time he saw his work practically brought to an end in Mexico, to his great sorrow. He had then been obliged to suffer the unhappiness of remaining in Mexico without being able to visit the province which he had established, until at the end of two years the Lord rewarded him by permitting him to spend his last days in the province which he had done so much to establish, and which he so much loved. He was a remarkable preacher, having a fine voice, a good command of language, and natural energy; and there was much substance in what he said. He made such an impression in Spain that the king appointed him to be one of four bishops who were to be consecrated if China should open its doors to the preaching of the gospel. He lived a life of great asceticism, in spite of his bodily infirmities. He took upon himself the painful and laborious work of the office of vicar, giving the honorable duty to father Fray Juan de Castro. In order to keep up his health for his work, he continued to apply remedies against his old sickness, until part of one side became as black as a coal. His death was holy and devout.]


Chapter XXXI

The journey of the bishop of these islands to España in company with father Fray Miguel de Venavides, and the death of two religious.

In the month of June in this same year, 1590, there came to these islands as governor Gomez Perez das Mariñas, knight of the Habit of Sanctiago, an able governor, indefatigable in labor, who did many useful things for the benefit of the city of Manila, one [254]of them being to surround it with a wall of stone. Some years afterward, in an uprising of the Chinese, this was the only defense of the Spaniards. He was extraordinarily diligent, very zealous for the common weal, a great soldier, and very chaste; yet in spite of these and other good qualities, he failed of success because he was beyond measure choleric. Of this imperfection the devil took advantage to sow discord between him and the bishop, Don Fray Domingo de Salaçar—who, as a holy man, though he would suffer wrath and evil treatment affecting him personally, was not able to endure in the same way those which were opposed to his official undertakings and his official dignity. Accordingly, as he endeavored to protect these or defend his subordinates, the encounters between him and the governor were very unpleasant, and grave scandals followed. Our religious under these circumstances found themselves in a position of great difficulty, because the evils from one side were intolerable, while from the other even greater evils threatened them if they broke with the governor in order to stand by the holiness and justice of the bishop. So they were for some time in suspense, and did what they could to settle affairs without a rupture; but, being unable to succeed in this way, they determined to follow the opinion of St. Gregory, and rather to suffer the hardships and scandals that might result, than to leave truth and justice without a defense on an occasion when there was so great need of aid. Compelled by this necessity, they began, without exceeding the limits of modesty and courtesy even in the opinion of this same governor, to preach upon this subject. The governor resented this much, and when he was [255]angry affirmed that he had been insulted; but when his wrath had given way to good sense, his intelligence could not but be convinced. He then spoke very well of our friars; constantly gave them alms; and above all, in his will (made in health, when he was about to set out on a journey), he directed that he should be buried in our convent. This was a thing that amazed the whole country and gave our religious no little credit; for, though he had regarded them as opposed to him, he recognized that they had been influenced by reason, and had been compelled by truth and justice to do what they did. Thus he regarded it as very proper to entrust to them in his death soul and body, though when he was vexed, and wrath left no room in his soul for good counsel, he gave them enough cause for merits. But the Lord was not pleased that he should receive ecclesiastical burial; for, in the very royal galley in which he went on this journey, the Chinese whom he had taken against their will, instead of volunteers, and forced to row, rose against him and killed him and the others who accompanied him—God permitting this, to punish him for his irreverence in losing respect for a bishop who was known to be a holy man and who was his [spiritual] shepherd. The bishop, before this happened, had gone to Spain, being unable to bring the governor to do justice. He had felt himself forced to this by the evils in that community, which he could not remedy there, and by the hardships suffered by his church. He was even influenced to some extent by the desire to avoid scandals by absenting himself. When he began to plan for going, he wished to take along as his associate father Fray Diego de Soria, who, as has been said, was appointed [256]by the father provincial, Fray Juan de Castro, to go to España when he went to China. On account of this, the bishop, who loved him and esteemed him highly, wished to take him in his company, while the order could not refuse, and indeed would gain much thereby. But the governor would not permit it, fearing the harm that might be done to him in España; for because of the clearness and vigor with which the father had boldly corrected and blamed him to his face, he felt very sure, and with reason, that he would do the same in the court—the more so from having gone in company with the bishop, as they would be certain to discuss and plan this very thing on the voyage. On this account he preferred to listen to the father’s corrections made in his own presence which, as he saw, proceeded from good-will and were regulated by discretion and prudence—rather than give him an opportunity to spread abroad in España an account of the improper manner in which he treated the bishop. For this cause father Fray Miguel de Venavides was obliged to take his place as companion of the bishop, and as procurator of the province in España. In this way, without the knowledge of men, the plan of divine Providence, which in all things chooses the better part, was being carried out. It was of advantage to the province, in that father Fray Diego de Soria was given to it; for he was extremely useful in Pangasinan and was afterward necessary at Nueva Segovia, in which places father Fray Miguel could not have rendered any assistance. On the other hand, the going of father Fray Miguel de Venavides to España was of the very greatest importance, because he was able to speak as an eye-witness in regard to Chinese [257]affairs, which in España they desired much to learn about with certainty from some person of credit—as was father Fray Miguel, who did not speak from hearsay but from sight. The acquaintance of the grave fathers of Spain with father Fray Miguel, and their esteem for him, gave them much more confidence in his report of the remarkable things which had happened in the province, than if they had heard them from someone of less standing. In that case they might have doubted; but, when he gave this report, they could have no doubt at all. In fact, occasions presented themselves in which all the scholarship and ability of Fray Miguel were required, as will later be shown. For all these reasons his departure to España was of great importance at that time. The Lord giving them a good journey, they reached there in health; and what happened to them will be told later.

A shorter but more dangerous journey was taken at this time by two religious of Pangasinan; but so clearly did they perceive their danger that their fear was changed to comfort—which was likewise felt by all who saw them depart, since all regarded it as certain that they were entering upon the road to heaven in striving for the salvation of that people; for there were still many who were hard-hearted and rebellious to the gospel. One of these friars was Fray Pedro Martinez, a lay religious, a man of God, of plain and simple character. He had been brought by father Fray Juan Cobo from Nueva España in eighty eight, his holiness and virtue being well recognized by those who had had to do with him in that country. [Fray Pedro was a native of Segovia in Old Castilla, the child of poor but very devout parents. [258]He grew up in gravity and devotion, being blessed by the particular favor of the Holy Virgin, to whom he showed great devotion. She appeared to him in a vision, directing him to enter her order, which she declared to be that of St. Dominic. His life brought him the name of “the Holy Friar.” Fray Pedro first had the office of porter in the convent at Manila. Seeming not to be fitted for it, he was made sacristan, but soon showed that he was less fitted for this post, and resumed his former one. He was sent by the provincial to Pangasinan, and was soon seized by a severe fever, of which he died. In the utmost severity of his sickness he followed the constitutions of the order with the greatest closeness. On the day of his death he received extreme unction in the morning. They then placed in his hands a blessed candle, which they could not draw from his hands until the hour of the Ave Marias, when he died.

At the same time the Lord took to himself father Fray Marcos de San Antonino, whom the provincial, finding him very ill with asthma, had ordered to return from his post at Pangasinan to Manila, to be cared for. In spite of his sufferings from this disease father Fray Marcos had continued his labors, not only without complaints, but with cheerfulness, walking about among these little villages and fields in order to learn the language, seeking everywhere for someone to whom he might do good, sometimes carrying the poor bed on which he had to sleep. So devoted was he to his labor that the superior had to compel him to consider his health. At Manila they placed him in the hospital of the Sangleys, that he might have meat to eat, as his illness required, for [259]no meat is eaten in the convent. His asthma greatly increased, and he was attacked by a burning fever which made him so weak that he could not turn himself in bed. He died a devout death.]


Chapter XXXII

The election of father Fray Alonso Ximenez as provincial

On the ninth of April, 1592, the Sunday Deus qui errantibus—which is the third after Easter, and the customary day for holding provincial chapters—the electors assembled in the convent of Manila to elect a provincial; and they unanimously elected as second provincial of this province father Fray Alonso Ximenez, who was at that time prior. He was a very devout friar, an aged man and venerable, whose fervor of spirit caused him to work like a youth at a time when his great age and the many hardships which he had endured justly required rest. There were chosen as definitors fathers Fray Francisco de la Mina, Fray Juan de Castro (nephew of him who had just filled the office of provincial), Fray Thomas Castellar, and Fray Juan de San Pedro Martyr. The vicariate of Binalatongan was entrusted to father Fray Luis Gandullo, that of Calasiao to father Fray Pedro de Soto, and that of Bataan to father Fray Juan de San Pedro Martyr. As prior of the convent of Manila was elected father Fray Francisco de la Mina, being compelled to undertake it by his obedience, after he had accommodated himself to the ministry of Bataan, and had learned the language with great effort. He had begun to learn it when he was almost seventy years of age, and had been [260]greatly pleased with these Indians because he had found in them greater ability than in those of Nueva España, to whom he had been a missionary for forty years. Although this long term of service would have justified him in resting when he was relieved from labor, he was so far from this that he spent nearly the whole day with his Indians in Bataan, hearing them confess, teaching them, and showing them the way to salvation, because of the great love which he felt for them. So he much regretted leaving them, to take the position of prior at Manila—although they needed in the convent a man of his endowments, and the duties in the convent were less laborious than those of the ministry that he then had. But this was the very thing that grieved him, because he had not come to that province to rest but to labor—insomuch that he feared those who were taking away his labors were depriving him of his merit. But the order of his superior made everything plain, and assured him that he would not lose but gain merit in this way, since his good-will was worth as much with God as many labors; and, besides this, he would gain in addition that merit which the position of prior could give him, which, for those who are such priors as this father was, is not a small but a great increase.

Excellent ordinances were enacted in this chapter. The first was, that those confessors who had not been examined in the province should be examined before they received confessions. For this examiners were appointed—not because the few who were in the province were not of known competency and had not been examined in other provinces before, but to establish a matter of such importance firmly at the [261]very beginning; and to have the medicine anticipate and prevent the disease, as the Holy Spirit counseled, and as was very wise. They established in the convent lectures in theology, and appointed as lecturer father Fray Juan Cobo. Anyone who will consider how few the religious were, and how much they had to do, one performing the work of many, will see the esteem which these fathers felt for the exercises of sacred theology (which are so appropriate to our order), and will think very highly of this care. It was ordained that the preachers to the Indians should follow in their sermons the form of the Roman catechism, teaching them the virtue and necessity of the holy sacraments, and the reverence and devotion with which they must be treated. Since by the mercy of God the Indians have given signs of approaching them in the spirit necessary to receive them, and since they were every day increasing in works of charity and mercy, and exhibiting their faith, it was ordained that they should be instructed thoroughly in regard to this matter; and that those sufficiently instructed should be admitted to the most holy sacrament of the altar, and in time to extreme unction. They repeatedly impressed upon their own memory the ordinance passed in the first chapter, namely, that they should treat the Indians with great love and charity, not only in words, but in works—aiding them in their necessities with alms, as much as might be possible for them, and in all things treating them with the spirit of mildness. This ordinance further provided that if at any time there should be necessity for punishment [of the Indians], it should be performed by the hands of others, in order that from our hands they might receive nothing but benefit and might [262]thus become devoted to the law which we preached. The chapter was held with great solemnity and joy, as the church was then used for the first time. It was now very beautiful, and was built wholly of stone. To crown the feast they held some theological discussions, certain moral difficulties being therein vindicated and explained. These difficulties had to do with that which at that time was of the greatest importance; in particular they discussed questions of great weight with regard to the collection of the tributes,31 and the justice with which encomiendas and other places of profit ought to be distributed; and with regard to slavery in this country, since, because it does not follow the laws of España, but conforms to the customs of the Indians, it presents peculiar difficulties. But the point which they discussed most, and with the greatest profit, was the obligation of the ministers to the Indians to remain among them and preach the gospel to them, and to keep them in the law which those who were already Christians had received. It was shown with great clearness that, in the condition in which affairs were, the priests who were in these islands could not leave them without being guilty of mortal sin against the charity which we owe to these Indians our neighbors—who are placed in the most extreme need of ministers to teach them, and to administer the sacraments to them, without which it is impossible for them to [263]be saved. Since the Indians who were in this state of necessity were so many, and the priests so few that, even though their number were many times increased, there would not be enough, it was inferred with clearness that those who went away were guilty of most grievous sin. It was concluded that they were obliged to give an account to the Lord of the souls which should be lost on account of their absence, the number of whom must of necessity be very great. This teaching was of great importance and usefulness in calming some priests and religious whom the love of their own country was drawing back to España; and thus there resulted much consolation and improvement to the Indians. [At this time there occurred an incident which very greatly impressed the Chinese Christians, and caused them to respect the directions of their confessors. The incident might be called a punishment, but it was the punishment of a kindly father, as the punishments of the Lord often are; and it resulted in the entire salvation of a soul. In 1590 a Chinese Christian bookseller called Pablo Hechiu desired to return in the vessels which left Manila for China. He did not dare tell any of the fathers, because he knew that they would interfere with his departure; but he was unable to keep the matter secret from father Fray Juan Cobo. The father did what he could to keep him from going away, because of the danger which he ran of relapsing into idolatry; but the Chinese succeeded in eluding him, and departed for China. The vessel in which he took passage was cast upon the mountainous coast of Bolinao.32 Though the [264]people on board escaped to land, they lost their lives, because the Indians of this country, the Zambales or mountaineers, are ferocious, and find their greatest delight in slaying men and cutting off their heads, for no other reason than their own wicked disposition. They are trained up in this from childhood. When they saw the wretched Chinese cast on shore, they fell upon them, robbed them of everything they had saved from the wreck, and killed as many as they could; these were nearly all—some few escaping, and hiding themselves in the most thickly overgrown parts of the mountain. Among those who thus escaped was Pablo Hechiu. He remained there hidden for a fortnight, without daring to come out from the place where he had concealed himself; and, having no food, he died, leaving on two crosses made of bamboo a written account of what had happened to him. This came to light in the following way. The governor of Manila sent a strong expedition against these Zambales, which sought for them all through those mountains. Some of the scouts came upon Pablo Hechiu, his body, entire and dried, leaning against the foot of a tree. The preservation of the body was an extraordinary thing; and still more extraordinary was it that Christians should go through a region which had probably never been trodden by the feet of Catholics since the world was created, because the country was mountainous and visited by the Zambales alone, and the place was hidden even from them by the thickness of the undergrowth.

At this time died the venerable father Fray Juan de Castro, first vicar-general and provincial of this province. It was he who had established and kept [265]it in the happy state in which it was. He was born in Burgos, of noble race; and his father, being left a widower, had entered our convent of San Pablo at Burgos. He had left his son in the world, but was followed by him into the religious life when the son reached maturity. The son was scholarly and well read in the saints. Against his father’s wishes he went to the province of Guatimala, where he became twice provincial. The prudent king Felipe II appointed him to the bishopric of Vera Paz [sc., Cruz], and sent him the royal letter of presentation to the said bishopric. The father not only desired to be excused from accepting, but concealed the matter until he desired to go to China. When the fathers endeavored to obstruct his purpose he threatened, if they would not let him make this journey, to make the other to his bishopric, which was further away and from which he would never come back. This was only a threat, because he had taken a vow not to accept the bishopric, and was resolved to keep it. He was a kindly man, and very easy of access. He was given to the use of old proverbs. He had great skill in extricating himself quickly from useless business. He was much given to the reading of the [lives of the] saints, which in dead letters contain living thoughts. When he said mass he used to water the altar with his tears, though he strove greatly to control himself. His addresses to the order had such fervor, devotion, tenderness, and gentleness that those who heard them regarded them as words from heaven, and went forth from them with new spirit. This was especially true of his address at the first chapter, when he assigned the fathers to their duties. It then seemed as if it was not he that spoke, but the [266]Holy Spirit. There is much that goes to show that this is true. Father Juan himself was accustomed to say that he was certain that he had made no mistake in this assignment—something which those who know him and who know his humility would attribute to nothing else than divine revelation. Those who were in this chapter accepted, without a single word, the duties assigned to each one, although these were such things as might cause trembling in the souls of giants in virtue, being no less than driving the devil out of his own house and his ancient abiding-place. At times the father seems to have shown the spirit of prophecy. In one case he declared that there were those before him who, as he knew, had never lost their baptismal innocence. This is proof of itself that he spoke not without some inspiration from without his own mind. Second, he declared that all those who were before him should go through life without falling into mortal sin. Those who listened to him understood that he was speaking of the sin of the flesh, which is that from which those are least safe who accept the ministry of souls, [even] with humility and in the fear of God. This is especially true before they learn by experience how much God helps those who fulfil this office in loving obedience to Him. On several other occasions father Fray Juan showed that he had the spirit of prophecy. He told Fray Juan de Soria that he would leave the order, but not to his own blame, rather to the glory of God and the happiness of the provincial, as was fulfilled. By anointing a brother who suffered from scrofula, he cured him; but when he was about to anoint Fray Domingo de Nieva, who suffered from headache, he stopped and withdrew the holy oil, saying [267]that it was not God’s will. Father Fray Juan had special grace and power to arouse devotion in those with whom he talked, in confession or in private conversation. The infirmities with which he was afflicted as a result of the exposure and the hardships which he suffered in China never entirely left him. He held the chapter which elected as his successor father Fray Alonso Ximenez, and immediately afterward went to the hospital of the Chinese, asking to be cared for as a poor man—preferring to die there rather than in the convent, not only because he might die there with greater humility and poverty, but because he would be less disturbed by visits, and would have more opportunity to be alone with God. In his last days he was afflicted with fears of the judgment of God. To his last moment he observed the rigorous rules of the order. When at last he died, he left the religious edified and consoled by his example, but most sad to lose him, for merely to see him had comforted them.]


Chapter XXXIII

Father Fray Juan Cobo, his virtues and death

[Father Fray Juan Cobo was born in Consuegra, in the kingdom of Toledo, and took the habit of the order and made his profession in the convent of the town of Ocaña. After studying in that of Avila, he entered the college of Sancto Thomas at Alcala. He distinguished himself in his studies, and, after he had read the arts, he became master in the royal convent of Sancto Thomas at Avila. His remarkable abilities were early recognized, and exhibited themselves wherever he went. Taking upon himself the lowliest [268]duties, he desired to be steward on the ship—a most disagreeable position, because of the intolerable heat in the lower part of the ship, and because the provisions frequently spoil as a result of that heat. He was a tall, handsome man, of red and white complexion, and very active. His conversation was agreeable, and his mind keen and quick. He was well acquainted not only with the liberal arts, but with many mechanical occupations. His knowledge of the Chinese language has already been mentioned. He was the first man to preach publicly to the Chinese, and his sermon attracted the governor and nearly all the good people of the city; they were greatly astonished, as were also the Chinese, who would never have believed that any one of another nation could advance so far in the command of their language. It was to this father that principally was due the establishment of the hospital for the Chinese, where so many souls were saved, and in which the Lord often worked miracles by multiplying the rice which Father Juan kept as food for the sick persons. He knew three thousand Chinese characters, each different from all the rest, for the Chinese have no alphabetical letters. He translated a number of Chinese books; for, like those of Seneca, they contain many profound sayings, though they are the work of heathens. He taught astrology to some of the Chinese, whom he found capable of learning; and also taught them trades that are necessary among the Spaniards but are not employed among the Chinese—such as painting images, binding books, cutting and sewing clothes, and such things—doing all things to win all men to God. At this time there came to Manila a letter from the emperor of Japon, [269]Taicosama, in which he asked the governor of Manila and the Spaniards of these islands to send him tribute every year and an acknowledgment of vassalage, that he might not come and destroy them with a mighty fleet, which he had already prepared for this purpose. This caused much alarm in the city, because the emperor of Japon was very powerful, and of warlike disposition; and as a result of his victories he had become very proud and vain. The city of Manila had no defenses, no walls, no protections against so strong an enemy; and the Spaniards in it, being very few in number, were called on to die rather than accept that which he asked of them so much to their dishonor. It seemed to all necessary to send a special embassy to Japan with an answer. Father Fray Juan Cobo was chosen by the governor as the most suitable person to represent España who could be found in the island, both because of his natural gifts and because of his acquirements. He acquitted himself marvelously well in this occupation, greatly amazing and pleasing the emperor of Japon. The emperor went so far as to permit the churches of the Society of Jesus to be rebuilt, and to allow the fathers publicly to prosecute the conversion of the Japanese. The emperor requested father Fray Juan to remain in his kingdom; but he declined, as having no order to do so. At his return, they set sail in a tempestuous season, which cost them very dear, because the vessel in which father Fray Juan was carried was cast on shore in a country of barbarous Indians, namely, that which is known as the island of Hermosa. Escaping to the shore to avoid the furious sea, they fell into the hands of those ferocious people, who killed them all, to a man. [270]After the death of father Fray Juan, father Fray Pedro de Soto had a vision of the father, who was in purgatory, being purified for the sin of having hastened his departure too greatly. Afterward, father Fray Luis Gandullo had a vision of him in paradise.]


Chapter XXXIV

The death of father Fray Francisco de la Mina, and the council which was held in place of the intermediate provincial chapter.

[Father Fray Francisco de la Mina was a native of Andalucia, where he assumed the habit of the order. He afterward went to Mexico, preaching there both in Spanish and in the Indian language. He was one of those who formed the plan of sending from that province some religious to ask for the approval of the most reverend general of the order for the foundation of the new province in the Philipinas. He served in the mission to the Indians of Bataan, learning their language; and was afterward appointed prior of Manila, the second post in the province. He lost his health after his return to Manila, and soon died.

In the month of December, 1594, the father provincial Fray Alonso Ximenez assembled a council of the religious in the neighborhood of Manila, to serve in place of an intermediate provincial chapter. The rules which they adopted were of much importance. It was determined that on visitations the hours should be kept as in convents. It was also ordained that the convents should be visited in order, as might best be done. It was also provided that no business should be done with Indians or Spaniards, [271]except in case of the necessity of sick persons, before prime or after the Ave Maria, or for one hour after meals. Also that no religious should have any peculiar mark on the table, or on his cup or on his spoon, or should carry either with him, that there might be absolute uniformity. This order was made because the father provincial Fray Alonso Ximenez used a marked spoon, not because it was any better than the others, but that he might neither receive nor give others anything to cause disgust; and, though it was so trifling a thing, they would not permit it to the provincial, but discussed the matter, and placed their resolution in their public formal acts—so precise were they and so closely did they follow the rule that the superior shall have nothing more than the rest, and that all things shall be uniform.

While the religious were in council, the governor, Don Luis Perez das Mariñas, appeared before them, and called their attention to the great need, for the Spaniards in the city and the province of Nueva Segovia, of a priest to confess them; and to the still greater need of someone to teach and preach the holy gospel to the native Indians in that province—who, though they had now been many years subjects of his Majesty, and had paid tribute to his encomenderos, had never had anyone to preach the faith to them, and were as blind and as heathen as if they had never accepted as king a Catholic prince. The petition of the governor made such an impression that, in spite of the small number and the heavy duties of the religious, they assigned two to this mission. The need was indeed very great, for the Spaniards who lived there had been more than six months in constant danger of death, without having any priest. The [272]Indians were enemies of the Spaniards, very valiant, and very numerous considering the small number and the discord of the Spaniards who were in that province. As superior, father Fray Diego de Soria (who afterward became bishop of that region) was appointed, the ecclesiastical chapter giving him full power in spiritual matters, and the governor in temporal matters. His associate was father Fray Thomas Castellar. They found that they needed all the authority which they had received, to bring to some order the great laxity which prevailed among the Spaniards. It was this, and their great perversity and pertinacity in dissensions, which had caused the priests whom they had had to leave them. After those priests went away, their hatreds and their sins increased even more. The importance of this province, which includes the major part of the territory in charge of this order in the Philipinas, makes it desirable to give some very brief notice of it.] It is a hundred and fifty leguas from Manila, and constitutes a part of the island of Luçon. The climate is one of the best in the islands, being refreshing, mild, and not so excessively hot as that of most of the other provinces which are comprised in this island. It is for this reason that it was called Nueva Segovia, after Segovia in España, which is a cool region. It is in nineteen degrees of latitude and is only sixty leguas, or a little over, from China. It accordingly resembles China somewhat in its good qualities—the abundance of fish in its rivers, of rice and other produce of the soil, of animals of the chase, and of wild boars and buffaloes in the mountains; while of Spanish plants which have been introduced here the crops obtained have been very large. In the colder [273]regions pines and live-oaks grow naturally. The occasion which obliged the Spaniards to conquer it was an attack made upon it in 1581 by a Japanese fleet, the Japanese desiring to have control of this region because of the abundance of products which it yields that are lacking in Japon. The Spaniards who were in Manila were informed of this project, and they did not think it best that the Japanese should come so near to them, when they were so few and the Japanese were so many and so audacious; they accordingly determined to go and prevent them from entering this country. With this purpose they armed a galley and other small vessels, the expedition including only forty Spaniards. Their leader and chief was Captain Carrion, and their chaplain father Fray Christoval de Salvatierra of our order, who was the associate of the bishop, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar; he was a man of great prudence, much courage, and very superior virtue, as will be declared later. They set out from Manila on the voyage to that province; and in the bight of the cape called Cabo del Bojeador (which is close to Nueva Segovia) they found a Japanese vessel, which was prowling along the coast and pillaging it. The galley made an attack upon the Japanese ship, and with the mid-ship gun brought down its mainmast; and immediately the Spaniards, with more boldness than was expedient, bore down upon the enemy, and thrust their iron beak through his side. But they were not slow in finding out their mistake, much to their own cost; for the Japanese leaped aboard, doing much execution with their cutlasses (some of which are shaped like our cutlasses and others like broadswords), and they attacked our vessel so furiously that [274]they got control of the deck, back to the mainmast. The Spaniards found themselves obliged to retreat to the poop, and cut the halyard of the mainsail. The sail fell down, with the yard, and served them as an intrenchment so that they could fire their arquebuses, doing great execution and driving off the enemy. The Spaniards continued their voyage, and entered the river of Nueva Segovia [i.e., Rio Grande de Cagayan], which may compete in size and in the excellence of its water with the finest rivers of Spain. Here they found the enemy’s fleet concealed. In order to attack it they went up the river and intrenched themselves on land, working hard all night and making their breastworks of turf and fascines between stakes. They took out of the galley a paterero and two culverins, placing them under cover, and aiming them toward the land-side, as there would be the place where the Japanese, if they came, would attack them. Thus prepared, they all waited on their arms, having their weapons at hand even when they were obliged to rest awhile. Since they had learned by experience that Japanese who are wounded by pikes grasp hold of the pikes in order to kill those who have wounded them, the captain had the pikes greased on the upper half, in order that our men might be able to draw them from the bodies and the hands of the Japanese, if the latter should pull by the pikes; and this device was of great use in the conflict which ensued.33 The Japanese were not idle, [275]for they landed two hours before day, coming well armed and in good order, and protected by the darkness of the night. They advanced upon our soldiers very silently, intending to take them by surprise; however, they did not succeed, but were discovered by the sentinels. Our men put themselves in good order, to wait for them while they advanced. Although they perceived that the Spaniards had detected them, they made a very spirited and courageous assault, but were beaten back with even greater courage once, twice, and three times. After a short rest, they attacked again with wonderful spirit, though the arquebuses and muskets brought many to the ground. Finally, the whole force of Japanese attacked our fort on the side where the cannon were, without knowing what awaited them there. The cannon were filled to the muzzle with ammunition, and were fired so seasonably that they did great execution among the Japanese. Those who were left alive, seeing what had happened, retreated, leaving their camp full of dead and mangled men. Their captain had lost so many men, who were left lying on the shore, that he set sail; and they were so thoroughly punished that they never again thought of coming to conquer this country. In this way the Spaniards found themselves in this region, but against the will of its inhabitants, who as little wished to see them there as to see the Japanese. This was immediately manifested by their retreating into the interior, leaving the Spaniards alone with nothing to eat, so that the latter consumed all the provisions that they had brought with them. The natives even made some assaults upon them, attacking them when it seemed that they could do so with safety. The Spaniards [276]accordingly suffered much hardship, want, and hunger, because supplies from Manila came very insufficiently and slowly, while they had in that country nothing but cruel war. At the same time, they were much aided in their purpose to remain in it by the many factions and wars among the Indians, who could not live in peace and were constantly slaying one another, following no law but “Let the conqueror live.”34 On this large river a valorous Indian by the name of Guiab had raised himself above the others. He was at the head of only three hundred followers (since he did not wish to lead any more); he was in a fair way to make himself lord of the province, and would soon have been such if the Spaniards had not come. This Indian was so determined that he had no hesitation in attacking anything with the few courageous Indians who followed him. He was so choleric that, whenever he wished to make any address to them, he could not speak to them at first, out of sheer fury—until, little by little, he cooled down and went on with his speech. He ruled his people like a great captain, rewarding them with largesse, which was at other people’s cost and was obtained from the great wealth which he procured by robbery; and he punished them with rigor for any sort of liberty taken with him, or disrespect shown to him, or for disobedience to his orders. They carried to him the news of the Spaniards, and told him that they were very courageous men who had come there from far countries; that they had beards and handsome faces, and that they did not wear the hair of their head long, as the Indians were accustomed [277]to; they reported that the strangers went dressed in iron, and that they carried sticks with which they slew from a distance anyone whom they pleased, without its being visible by what means they did so (referring to the arquebuses). Guiab was greatly delighted with these reports, and, as a valiant man, he immediately felt an affection for these others who were so valiant. He strove to procure their friendship by sending them a great present of rice, chickens, large fat hogs, and other products of the land, all of them coming very opportunely because the Spaniards were in such a state of need. Doubtless, if the Spaniards had joined with him, they would have subjected the province without more war. But as Guiab had oppressed many of the people in the land and frightened all, they went to the Spaniards, begging them not to ally themselves with Guiab, and did nothing but speak evil of him. On this account the Spaniards, purposing to gain the good will of so many, caught Guiab and hanged him on a tree. The event was altogether opposite to what they had expected; for all the Indians retreated from the Spaniards and began to make open war upon them, often challenging them to lay aside their arquebuses and to come out into the field, man to man, with all the other weapons they pleased, so courageous are these people. Though the Spaniards lost this opportunity, they soon had another. In the maritime part of that region there were two of the ablest chiefs in the province—brothers, but at variance with each other—who were constantly making war against each other with the greatest cruelty. Tuliao, one of them, at last got the other in his hands, put him in a cage, and kept him there for a long time. The brother in [278]prison begged the other to kill him, because death would be better and more easily borne than the painful and disgraceful imprisonment in which he was. The other answered that he did not do that, because he was his brother. “Then let me go,” answered the prisoner, “since you wish me well because I am your brother.” The other one refused to do this, because he knew perfectly that he would be obliged to make war again, as in fact happened; and they were at war as long as they lived, until our troops reached that region. Then one of them, finding himself very hard pressed by the other, went to beg the favor of the Spaniards; and the Spaniards put an end to their strife by taking from them the lands about which they had been quarreling. This was a great benefit to that province, not only because the light of the true and divine faith was brought to it, but because they were so continually engaged in civil war that, if the Spaniards had delayed their coming, they would have been likely to destroy each other. The life which they led did not deserve the name of life, because of the daily alarms to which they were exposed. Brother was unable to trust brother, and no man left his house unarmed, or without great danger. He who had the greatest power made as many slaves as possible, on any ground, no matter how slight—even for taking a single stalk of sugar-cane, when the poor people were dying of hunger because they could not cultivate their fields on account of the wars. Many of them went, of their own will, to eat in the houses of the chiefs, in order to save their lives, and in this way became their slaves. From all these evils the faith which was brought by the Spaniards freed them. The latter, by the aid of [279]some of the Indians against the others, conquered many of their villages though at the cost of many deaths; and established the city which they called Nueva Segovia, a name which was also given to the whole province. The priest who accompanied the Spaniards in these first events was, as has been said, father Fray Christobal de Salvatierra, of the order of our father St. Dominic. He was the first priest whom these Indians had seen; and although, on account of his ignorance of the language, he did not occupy himself with their conversion, he did not fail to do much for them by accompanying the soldiers, in order that they might not do as many wrongs to the Indians as they would otherwise have committed—for entirely to prevent outrages was impossible. He soon returned to Manila, where his personal presence was necessary. There went to that province religious of our father St. Augustine, who lived in the new town with the Spaniards, but who undertook no ministry to the Indians. They even felt that a mission to them was impossible because of the excitement of the Indians resulting from the many homicides committed among them by the Spaniards, as the latter have done in the other parts of the Indias. Besides this, these Indians were so warlike that not even a religious went out of the town except in a company of soldiers and with arms; nor did the encomenderos go to collect their tributes without an escort of many soldiers, coming back immediately with anything that the Indians were pleased to give them, for they feared the danger incurred by remaining. The conduct of the soldiers and of the colonists who lived there at that time was so little Christian, and the exhortations of the religious had so little [280]effect upon them, that the friars regarded it as wise to leave them in their dissensions, since they did not wish for the peace to which the religious persuaded them. Accordingly, one night, without being perceived, the fathers left them and went away. For a long time they lived without a priest, without sacraments, or Christian teaching, so careless of God and of their souls that they let the cattle feast in the church; and a picture of our Lady which had been left in it was covered with spider-webs, there being no one to keep it in order, so forgetful were they of their souls. Such was the needy condition of that province when the noble and devout governor Don Luis Perez das Mariñas came to the council above mentioned, and asked them to send religious, who might at least administer the sacraments to the Spaniards. On account of the great need, the two religious mentioned went to the province, receiving orders that, if no religious came from España in the ships for which they were waiting, they should return. The number of the religious was, indeed, so small that they could not even attend to what they had in their charge, much less assume the additional charge of that province, which was so far from the missions which the order had in those regions. The religious did their duty with great care and diligence; and that Lent they made great efforts with sermons and addresses, planning and delivering them with the object of inducing the inhabitants to settle their differences and confess themselves during Lent. To this end public documents were drawn up before a notary, with the purpose of adjusting debts and settling dangerous controversies. All this was a necessary and most holy work; and when it was concluded [281]and they had left the consciences of the Spaniards at rest, the time had come when the vessels from Mexico might have arrived. Since they had no news that religious were coming, these two friars, in fulfilment of the order given them, set out for Manila again, at the time when six others, who had newly come from España, reached the province. All eight met in the town of Pata, which is at the entrance to that province. Here those who were going away received with joy those who came; and together they gave many thanks to the Lord. They then began upon the conversion of the province, as will be told. We shall begin with what happened to these religious on their journey from Spain, and with the deaths of some who died on the way, with great manifestations of the highest virtue.


Chapter XXXV

The second expedition of religious from Castilla to the Philippinas, and the deaths of some on the voyage.

[Father Fray Alonso Delgado had been sent to Roma by father Fray Antonio de Arcediano, but had failed in his endeavors there on account of the opposition made by a religious of another order. He had then returned to Spain, and appeared to be giving himself up wholly to the care of his own soul; but in his inmost heart he had never forgotten the conversion of the Philippinas and of China. The Lord also had not forgotten it, so that, though the mission of father Fray Alonso seemed to be dead, it was really alive. Animated by the presence of Don Fray Domingo de Salaçar, bishop of the Philippinas, and [282]of father Fray Miguel de Venavides, who had come to Madrid, he immediately set about taking religious to this province by way of Nueva España. They both urged him on and praised him, knowing the need of religious in this region. The most reverend general of the order, Fray Hipolito Maria Vecaria, gave father Fray Alonso letters-patent permitting him to take religious of virtue and learning from the provinces of España to the Philippinas, and appointing father Fray Alonso his vicar-general for this purpose. The need of immediate assistance caused him to hasten his preparation, and with as many religious as he could get together in a short time, fifteen in all, he set sail in July, 1694 [sic; sc. 1594], on the feast of our Lady of the Rosary. They reached the port of Nueva España in safety, but as soon as they set foot on land they were afflicted by disease; and so many died that it seemed as if death had spread a drag-net for them. In Puebla de los Angeles, there were four religious lying sick, and placed one next to the other, in as many cells in the infirmary. Death began with the one that was in the first cell and carried him off, and next to him put an end to the life of the one in the second cell, and when he was buried, attacked the third. While the religious were performing the last rites of the church for the third, the noise which they made reached the fourth cell, which was the next one, where father Fray Diego Aduarte was lying. He had been the first one to be taken ill, and that he might not be annoyed they carried him to another cell. It seemed that death in his progress, failing to find anyone in the fourth cell, desisted from searching further, so that Father Diego was left to do a marvelous work, [283]as will be recorded in time at the end of this his history. One of those who died in the convent was Fray Pedro Batrez, son of the convent of Sancto Domingo at Piedrahita, and an adopted son of that of Sant Esteban at Salamanca, where he was chief sacristan when he set out for these regions.

Two brothers also died on the same day and at the same hour. The elder was a priest named Fray Antonino de Sancta Maria, who had come to this province from the college of Sancto Thomas at Sevilla, of which he had been made a member on account of his profound knowledge of theology. The younger was a deacon and lived in the convent of Xerez de la Frontera, where, on account of his skill in singing, he had been made cantor. They distinguished themselves much on the voyage by prayer, silence, and abstinence. On Fridays and Saturdays they ate a little fish, which was provided for all. On the other days—since, on account of the length of the voyage, it was not possible to have fish every day—they satisfied themselves with biscuit, some raisins, and a little broth, without touching anything made of flesh. They would not let anything else be prepared for them, that they might not fare unlike the rest and that they might not cause any trouble to others. The younger died in the convent at Puebla de los Angeles; the elder expired at the same hour in the convent at Mexico. After his death it was found that he wore a rough shirt of metal; and that, because he never left it off even in sickness it was as if it had grown to his flesh. These two brethren had died most joyful deaths. No less so was the death of a lay religious called Fray Gonçalo de San Pedro, a son of the convent of San Pablo at Sevilla. His life [284]had been a very holy one; and, at his general confession made before his death, the purity of his life was so clearly shown that the father who received the confession declared that Fray Gonçalo had never lost his baptismal innocence by committing mortal sin.

Death also carried away the superior who led these religious from Spain, father Fray Alonso Delgado. After he had lost so many of the subordinates whom he led, there was but little reason for his wishing to remain behind them. By his death the whole company was practically broken up, many of them having died and others being scattered among the convents of Nueva España. The rift was mended by the selection as superior of father Fray Miguel de San Jacintho, who displayed such diligence that, with the aid of the Lord, he succeeded in filling up the number of fifteen religious who had set out from España. They then set out from Mexico; and so great was their desire of serving the Lord after the manner followed by the religious of the province to which they were going (which, as has been said, is stricter than in the other provinces of the order), that when they reached the port of Acapulco they took the character of Philippine friars—gave up mattresses, and began to sleep on boards; rose at midnight to say matins, going from the convent where they were guests, to the church to say them; kept the hour of prayer immediately after; and performed the discipline observed in the islands. They embarked March 23, 1595. On board ship they followed the customs of the order as closely as possible under the circumstances. They reached the port of Manila June 12. By their coming the province felt enabled to undertake the conversion of the province of Nueva Segovia. [285]This province alone is larger, and has more villages and a larger population than the order had previously taken under its charge in Manila and Pangasinan. Six of the religious, as has been said, were sent to Nueva Segovia, and with the others the missions to Bataan and Pangasinan were reënforced, where death had made inroads upon the number of missionaries. When these six reached Nueva Segovia, father Fray Diego de Soria and his associate were greatly delighted, having desired to enter upon the conversion of this province, but having been unable to do so because of their ignorance of the language and the fact that there were but two of them. They had hesitated the more because of the order which they had received to return to Manila if no religious came out from España, feeling that it would be unwise to begin a conversion which could not be followed up by regular instruction.]


Chapter XXXVI

The condition in which the religious found the Indians in the province

This land was not only ruined by the continual wars which the villages all waged with one another, but still more by the settled peace which they all had made with the devil. They obeyed to the full his diabolical will, though it was such that there never was a tyrant who treated those whom he had conquered, and who were subject to him, as the devil treated these wretched Indians. He had led their minds into such a state of confusion that they could not refuse anything which he commanded them—though his demands were so great and so grievous [286]that they could not put their hands on anything from which he did not take tribute, and with which he had not commanded that they should do him honor by means of some superstition, threatening them with death if they failed therein. They were accustomed to call whomsoever they adored anito; and they said that they had a good anito, to whom they attributed all the good fortune that happened to them, and a had anito, who caused all their hardships, poverty, temporal evils, maladies, and deaths. They served the latter that he might not do them harm, and the former that he might do them good. They employed more priestesses, or aniteras, than priests, though they had some of the latter—a wretched class of people, and with reason despised on account of their foul manner of life. The devil entered these aniteras or sorceresses, and through them, and by their agency, he gave his answers. By these priestesses the Indians performed their superstitious rites and sacrifices, when they wished to placate their anitos or obtain anything from them. If anyone fell sick, the aniteras immediately came, and with oils and a thousand performances they persuaded him that, if he would believe in what they did, they would cure him. Then in his sight they performed and displayed a thousand fantastic things; and the devil so earnestly strove to give them credit that at times he made the people believe that the soul had left the body, and that the anitera had restored it by the power of her prayers and her medicines. Whenever the sick man recovered, they attributed the recovery to their own efforts; while, if he died, they were plentifully supplied with excuses and reasons to avoid the blame and to throw the responsibility upon someone else. [287]This is an old trick of the devil, with which he betrayed the heathens of antiquity, and likewise betrays this deluded and foolish people. Before sowing their fields they used to celebrate three solemn feast-days, during which all the men gave themselves up to dancing, eating, and drinking until they were unable to stand; and after this came that which commonly follows—namely, giving loose rein to the flesh. The women did not drink, for this was very contrary to their customs as they are very laborious; but they made up for it as well as they could, and in the dances and all the rest they did as well as the men. If the Indians left their houses, and happened to meet anyone who sneezed, they went back home again even though they had gone a day’s journey, as if the sneeze had been something in the road. Sometimes they went on, and returned without delay from their destination. If the same thing happened when they began to work, they immediately desisted from their labor. If on any similar occasion they heard the singing of a certain bird which they regarded as a bad omen, they did not go on at all with what they had undertaken, even though they had traveled for many days, and even in the case of an entire army in war. They acted in the same manner if the bird came or flew toward their left hand, or if it turned its bill in such or such a direction. It was the same way with other signs which they regarded as evil omens. On the contrary, they were very much encouraged and very joyful when the augury was a good one; and although a thousand times the event was opposite to what the augury, as it seemed, had threatened or promised, they never lacked an excuse for remaining in their error, and [288]for continuing forever in this harmful ignorance. When they began a voyage by sea or by the rivers, they threw into the water a certain quantity of their food out of reverence for the devil, in order to placate him so that he might give them success. If they built a house, they had to perform their rites before entering it; and if the bird of augury entered it they either tore it down, or performed a thousand sacrifices and superstitious rites in order to fit it for habitation. When they bought anything, they did the same before they would put it in the house; and whenever they went out on any little business, those who went and those who stayed at home did nothing but perform superstitious acts that they might have good luck in it. It was the same with everything they did or thought of doing, in life and in death, in sickness and in health; and for this purpose they had their houses full of devices and apparatus. As the devil never turns back from the evil thought and purpose of being as God, which he had in the beginning, he taught them a thousand superstitious rites to adore and revere him, very like those which the church uses in honor of our true God. Hence they had regular feast-days, and days assigned for their worship, and three-day feasts, like our great ecclesiastical feasts.35 They carried on their wrists blessed beads, which the sorceresses gave them with threats of death if they took them off. They had their sort of holy water; and in one village named Masi, which was much given to all sorts of superstition, they had a certain water with which they washed the arms, the legs and the foreheads of all the children, especially [289]the children of the chiefs. As a result of this, they promised them a long and fortunate life. They had receptacles like charity-boxes, in which they put what they offered the anito. These boxes were set out in dark places, hidden in ravines, or in thickets, or in cane-brakes. Even when they were in plain and open places, and even (as sometimes happened) when things of great value were placed in them, no one dared to take anything out of them, even gold, or stones regarded by them as precious. They also had some places of devotion where the sick went to pray for health, and ate food. When they went home again they were obliged to cast into these places the jars and other utensils with which they prepared their food, as being consecrated to their anito by being used at this meal, which was a kind of sacrifice. There were different places for different infirmities, while for the chiefs only there were separate places. They had so much reverence for these things that even when they had become Christians they did not dare to go and destroy the things in these places which had been dedicated to the devil. The religious themselves had to go there, and with their own hands break and demolish all these things, and burn them before the eyes of the Indians, and cast the ashes into the river. They kept back nothing, not even precious things which might have been applied to holy works; for in this way only was it possible to undeceive the Indians, and to avoid the impression of avarice. There were dedicated to the devil certain trees, flowers, and mountains, which no one dared to touch except in the service and honor of their owner, the devil. In a word, they had not the right to put their hands on anything without turning to him and consulting [290]him as their God. He often spoke to them in their own language, in such a way that they heard and knew that he was present, although they did not see him. Even at this day they tell what he said to them. One of these aniteras, who afterward became a very good Christian, told how the devil played a thousand tricks upon her. At one time she begged him earnestly to give her gold, a thing which at other times she had often asked of him. He promised it to her; and when she awoke in the night she found her wrists covered with gold bracelets, and many strings of stones highly valued among the Indians. She fell asleep again; and when she awoke the second time she did not find even one ornament, for everything had disappeared like fairy wealth. The sorrow in which the trick had left her was greater than the satisfaction which she felt when she believed that she was rich. In this manner he treated them like children, promising them riches by these deceits, and assuring them of other things of the same sort. He told them besides that he knew their ancestors must come back to life again; for they believed that their deceased fathers and ancestors must return to life in this world. In this way he deceived them; and even when the religious came the natives represented to them that they would incur ignominy if their ancestors, when they came back to this world, should find them professing a different religion and law from that which they themselves had followed. They sometimes asked the devil that he would permit them to see him; but he answered that his body was so subtile that they could not see it. At one time, when some Indians begged him very earnestly that he would come down on top of the house where they [291]dwelt and talk with them, he immediately came among them; for they had there a stone, highly esteemed among them, which they called maxin. He remained for some time moving about on the ground, and from that stone spoke with a very small and fine voice. Finally stone and devil disappeared, leaving them greatly pleased, and more deceived than before. When Don Luis Perez das Mariñas was at Tuy, in Nueva Segovia, before the religious were there, he spent one night near the sea on the shore, by the mouth of a river which passes the village of Pata, at the foot of a little hill which was dedicated to the devil, and where they offered sacrifices and celebrated festivals in his honor. On this account no one dared to cut a stick or anything else on it, except for the service of the devil; because the sea would instantly grow wrathful, the winds would arise, and their houses would be thrown down. When the soldiers reached there, the alcalde-mayor of that province (who was Captain Mercado) directed the Indians to cut some stakes, reeds, and branches to build huts for the soldiers. The Indians refused, and offered to bring it all from other places, even though that would require more labor of them. But the Spaniards would not wait so long, and compelled them by force to cut what they needed from this little hill. That very night a frightful wind arose, stirred up the sea, drove the waves up on the shore, and carried them to the camp—which, as it seemed, was very safe from such an accident. The soldiers and Don Luis himself were obliged to flee from the danger, losing many things (some of them of great value), which were carried away by the sea, or by the devil in return for what they had cut from that [292]hill of his. Even after the religious had come there, when they needed some wild palms which were on that little hill, there was not an Indian that dared cut these, because they were still heathen. The religious sent two Christian boys whom they had brought from Pangasinan, and some others who were being instructed in preparation for baptism. In course of time they cut everything off the hill, without the devil’s daring to do as he had been accustomed. The Indians were all struck with wonder, not only those in this village, but those in all the others. But what was the marvel? For when the religious came to establish themselves in this village the devil complained to its natives, saying that he was going away and that they should never see him again—because, as he said, from that day forth there was someone else who would deal with them. However, he did not tell them who it was. “One thing only,” he said, “I tell you; take care not to believe what you hear from these men in long clothes who have come here, for I am certain that the dead will rise again.” He said this to them with regard to their ancestors, as he wished them to believe that the dead would be much grieved if they were to come back to life and find their descendants far from that which they had followed during their own lives. The devil had inculcated in them a belief that, when a man died, his soul was obliged to pass a river or lake where there was a boat rowed by an old boatman; and to pay his passage they fastened some money on the arm of the dead man. They believed that no woman could pass whose hands were not tattooed with black in accordance with their custom. They were in the habit also of burying with the dead [293]food for the journey, oil with which he might anoint himself, a robe for his clothing, and some gold for the contingencies which might arise. If the dead man was a chief, they used to bury with him one or two slaves to serve him there in some very flowery and pleasant fields, where the devil had taught them that they were to live a delightful life, eating, drinking, and enjoying themselves until they should return a second time to this world. There are still living many Indians who tell about all these things, and there are even heathen who believe them, because they have had no religious to whom they might go for teaching. They also tell of some very mischievous tricks which the devil has played upon them. It happened sometimes that when a man was alone in the field he came upon some creatures resembling little women. They would deceive him, and either by alluring words or by force would place him within a thicket, and there toss him in the air as if he had been a ball; they then left him there, half-dead. If he ventured to go away from there and make his way to the village he remained for many days beside himself, as it were, and half stupid; if he did not, he died there miserably. At one time an Indian chief went to sea, with many people in his vessel. They were drowned, and perished in the sea without leaving anyone to carry the news. As they did not return, their relatives consulted the devil to know where they were; and he answered them that they were suffering no pain because they had reached port in a very rich and fertile country known as Mexico, where they were very happy. The others believed him, although they did not know that there was any such land until afterward, when they heard [294]the religious speak of Mexico. They then asked many questions as to their judgment with reference to this chief and those who accompanied him. The fathers undeceived them, and corrected the falsehood which the devil had told them—as if their tiny boats could have passed over so great and so terrible an ocean, or carried sufficient provisions for such a length of time as is necessary to go from there to Mexico! In addition, the devil showed in his dealings with them how tyrannical and cruel he is, and how addicted to the destruction of men, by causing them to kill some in his service. This was not only made evident by their law requiring the burial of the living with the dead, as has been narrated, but also by other laws. For instance, when the son, the wife, or the brother of any chief died, he mourned; and during this mourning he fasted, not even eating rice, which is the ordinary bread of that country, or drinking wine—a deprivation which, for a race so fond of wine as this is, must have been a great hardship. During all this time he did not touch flesh or fish, but ate only roots and products of the soil, and drank water. This mourning lasted sometimes for years, sometimes less, in proportion to the love and esteem which was felt for the deceased. When it seemed to the people of the village that the time of mourning had lasted long enough, and that it would be well for their chieftain and head to treat himself more kindly—perhaps because during this time they drank less themselves, to show their sympathy with their lord—they discussed it among themselves and afterward with him. If he agreed with them, they all contributed to buy a slave, whom they handed over to him; and before them all the chief cut off [295]the slave’s head. With this the mourning came to an end, and he immediately began to drink with them like a man dying from abstinence. There was an Indian who, when the religious came to this country, confessed that he had killed twelve slaves in this manner on various occasions when he had been in mourning. This, however, was not the most honorable manner of bringing the mourning to an end; for those who could slay any one belonging to their enemies did so, even though it was a woman, a child, or an old person whom they killed. This was the best way of concluding the mourning, and was accordingly followed most by those who were in mourning. They also had another cruel custom like this, which they followed in their wars, which one village waged with another on the slightest occasion. If at any time they came to an agreement instead of a quarrel, it had to be done not without shedding human blood; and the side which in their opinion was in the wrong, or was the weaker party, bought a slave and delivered him to the other side. Then all these others killed him, not one failing to give him a wound even if he was already dead. They cut him in pieces; and with this they rested satisfied, as if this vengeance had been taken against all their opponents. Since their wars and outbreaks were so frequent, deaths which occurred in this manner must have been very many, although the number of those whom they slew in the wars was much greater. In general they took their enemies by surprise, and killed them all, not excepting women and children and old men. Such was their cruelty and their madness in this region that to slay any one of these was a great honor among them; and it sufficed to give the [296]slayer the name of a valiant man, and to grant him the privilege of using certain marks of honor reserved for the valiant. These no one could assume who had not slain a human being, no matter whom. They had received the command to do thus from the devil, under penalty of death to whoever should assume these marks of honor without having slain another. In this way he incited them to that which he most desired, which is to shed human blood, to slay the body, and to carry off the soul to hell. In fine, their vices were such as may be inferred from what has been said. They were a people abandoned by the hand of God and governed by the devil in accordance with his laws—without judgment, or reason, or sense, because their minds had been wholly taken away by him who had governed them. In particular they were extremely vengeful, proud, envious, extraordinarily avaricious, and given to shameless and unbridled lewdness. Above all, they were drunkards from the greatest to the least, and each of their drunken feasts surpassed all the others. From this vice all the other vices followed in a troop, as if they were leagued with it; and this drunkenness was continuous, and excessive. They were a heathen race, with no supernatural light, though it was at hand; and their natural light was so darkened and falsified by the devil that they regarded that person as happiest who could indulge the most in these vices. All of them took pleasure therein, and were grieved when, as happened at times, they could not commit them; they envied him who had gone furthest in them, for they regarded him as the most powerful—as indeed it was generally true that the man who had the greatest power was [297]the most vicious. As for their marriages, they came to an end as soon as the husband was vexed with his wife, or the wife with her husband. This was all that was needed on either side, to cause them to separate and to make a new marriage, unless they had children; for they loved their children so much that this tie was sufficient to keep them from separating, and to make them bear with each other. The reason that influenced them was their desire not to be parted from their children, or to grieve them. As wives, the men were allowed to have those to whom they could give a dowry, for it is the husband that gives the dowry. But if the first wife belonged to a chief’s family she would not consent to have her husband marry anyone of a rank below her own; and if the first wife was not of this rank the husband could not find any woman of high birth who would afterward marry him—except in some very unusual case, as when he was very powerful or very valiant. To their equals in rank the husbands gave large dowries, which were practically in the power of the fathers and kinsfolk of the woman. On the other hand, if they married women below them in rank, they did not endow them. Further, if, as has been said, equals separated from each other as a result of any quarrel or dislike, and afterward the man wished the woman to return to his house, they asked a new dowry from him, just as if it were a new marriage. Hence, if once they separated they were seldom reunited. So common was a separation that there was almost no man or woman who had not been divorced from a legitimate wife or husband. This was a thing which caused much trouble when they were to be baptized, since they were living in improper [298]relations of marriage, because of having dismissed, men their first wives and women their first husbands, and having married others while the first were still alive.


Chapter XXXVII

The beginning of the conversion of these Indians of Nueva Segovia

These Indians were in this wretched state when the six new religious came to this province. They were received by father Fray Diego de Soria and his associate with great joy; and the two fathers gave many thanks to the Lord for remembering these souls and sending preachers to them. Father Fray Diego immediately said that he had very much at heart the gathering into the church of these tribes, whom up to that time he had not tried to convert, on account of the order to return if no religious came from España that year. He had felt that it would be a bad plan to baptize any while he was in this doubt, because of the danger of leaving the newly baptized without any teacher in the midst of so many heathen; for it was morally certain that they would go back to their diabolical worship if they were left alone. They would have been compelled to do so, not only by force, which the heathen about them would have been sure to apply in a matter of this kind; but by their own weakness, being new-born in the faith, and their scant possession not only of spiritual but even of natural energy, having been depraved by so many and so evil customs, in which they had been born and had spent all their lives. But now that there were religious to sustain, strengthen, and [299]maintain in the faith those who might be converted, father Fray Diego was greatly encouraged, and immediately began to lay out the plan to be followed in this spiritual conquest. The first thing determined upon for this purpose was that all should commend themselves with all their hearts to the Lord, to whom all this work belonged. Hence, the religious who had arrived on the first of August, 1595, were gathered in the convent of the city up to the middle of September, spending all this time by day and night in constant prayer, begging the Lord to direct all their actions as should be most suitable for a work so peculiarly His own as was the conversion of these Indians. To this end they prayed Him first of all that He would convert them themselves, by giving them purity of life, and a knowledge of this language which they had never heard, and which they had no masters to teach them; and finally that he would give them patience, courage, and virtue to live and dwell in the midst of this barbarous and bloodthirsty race, with no other defense than the divine aid. So barbarous and bloodthirsty were they that, as has been said, the Spaniards dared not go out of their city unless they were well armed and went in numbers; while the friars were obliged to go, as indeed they did go, into the Indian villages unarmed and alone, except for the divine companionship. The devil, the captain of the enemy’s troops, was not heedless, when he saw that war had been declared against him; and the Spanish sentinels that made their rounds about the city at night saw a mastiff of extraordinary size going round and round the church and the convent. Since there was no such mastiff in the house of any of the Spaniards, much [300]less among the Indians, and as they saw no such animal either before or afterwards, they could not doubt who it was. It was a very particular favor of the Lord to show the devil in visible form, that the religious might strengthen their prayers and turn with greater urgency to Him who surely favored them, for they now had in view their enemy, who desired to swallow them whole. They also perceived that he was very active among his Indians; for the religious frequently heard them (sometimes by day but ordinarily by night) in the villages about the city, named Daludu and Tocolana, and in the houses in the fields in that vicinity, making a great noise with their voices and their gasas—which are their bells, though they are not formed like our bells. Father Fray Diego de Soria said to the other religious, with a tone of certainty: “Fathers, this noise that we hear is the Indians making sacrifices to the demons; for, induced by their diabolical industry, they are now offering special services to the devil, and are striving to appease him by feasts, that he may keep and preserve them in their ancient rites and customs. Pray then, reverend fathers, to the Lord for His grace, that He may expel from the land the Prince of Darkness, who holds it under his tyranny. Prepare yourselves, for we are soon to come into conflict with him. Within a few days you will be scattered among the villages of these heathen, and will be exposed to great dangers. You will find that you will have to do with him, for he it is who is the strong army guarding this his dwelling-place. Therefore he will strive to defend it, and to attack those who seek him, and who are endeavoring to drive him forth from it. But be of good courage, [301]for we have on our side Him who conquered the devil, and who every day causes His followers to conquer him.” This was not spoken to deaf persons, but to those who knew very well the truth of what was said. Though they felt confident that they would conquer with the divine aid, they made themselves ready, with prayer and fasting and suffering, for the dangers and hardships without which there is never conflict, and much less victory. While this was taking place in the city, father Fray Diego strove to have churches erected in Pata, Abulug, and Camalaniugan36—as was easily done, because the churches were very small and poor. Then father Fray Diego held a council of the religious and said to them: “It would be well to cast lots, to see to which of each of these four villages your Reverences are to go.” They answered: “There is no reason for depending on uncertain lots, for he is always sure of a happy lot who is under the rule of obedience. Dispose of us, your Reverence, as seems best to you; for without any reply we will each of us go very contentedly wherever the direction of our superior bids us go.” Father Fray Diego was pleased to hear so wise a response, and one so proper from vowed religious; and named father Fray Miguel de San Jacintho37 [302]and father Fray Gaspar Zarfate to the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Pata; and father Fray Ambrosio de la Madre de Dios to Abulug, with brother Fray Domingo de San Blas as his companion, directing them to build or to finish the church in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the church. Father Fray Antonio de Soria, with another brother, went to Camalaniugan. In the city remained father Fray Diego de Soria and father Fray Thomas Castellar, who had picked up a little of the language. In addition to this, father Fray Diego went out to visit all the villages, to the great spiritual and temporal profit of the Indians.

The first church of the Indians erected in this province was in the village of Pata. There was a chief in it, named Yringan, who was devoted to the Spaniards and who attached himself to the religious, being on very intimate terms with them. He was accordingly very glad to receive them in his village, which they reached on the day of the Holy Cross in September. They were overjoyed to find a cross set up in it, three braças and a half in height. When they asked the Indians how they got it, they answered that before the religious came to this province a contagious disease attacked the Indians, of which many died. It happened that at that time there was [303]in this village a Spaniard, Juan Fernandez de Najara, a peaceful man, much beloved by the Indians. Many of them went to him to ask for a remedy for their sick. He, pitying their need, answered them, “Friends, I cannot cure you. It is God who can cure these ills. Let us trust in Him and in His only Son, who was made man and died on a cross. Let us believe that by His sign he will heal you. For this is a thing that we Christians reverence and esteem highly; and it may be that for this devotion God will pity you. Bring two pieces of wood and let us make it.” He made the cross and the Indians put it up. Najara and his companions fell on their knees and celebrated the setting up of the cross by shooting off their arquebuses with the utmost devotion and reverence. The Indians, imitating them, reverenced it in their own manner. The result was miraculous, for this contagious disease immediately began so plainly to abate that the Indians could not fail to see this result, barbarians though they were. One of them, the one who received the fathers, made a small cross and fastened it to his bed, that it might protect him from this sickness, and in this way he attained his desire. When the religious entered this and the other villages of the Indians, they had absolutely no knowledge of the language; and there was in all the villages not a single person who desired to receive the faith, since it had never been preached to them. They had never heard a thing of it in all their lives; on the contrary, the devil had kept them prejudiced against it—by the threats which he uttered, and by telling them that their ancestors would return, and would be greatly grieved to find them under a different law from that which they had followed. [304]Moreover, the works which they saw done by the Christian Spaniards whom they knew there were not such as to cause them to be converted, or to make them esteem the Christian way of living. At that time they knew no religious, though they had heard of them, but very confusedly and uncertainly, by reports brought from Pangasinan. Accordingly they felt distrustful of religious, and believed that they followed the customs of the soldiers, because they belonged to the nation of the latter. At first, therefore, they put no confidence in them and could not understand what their purposes were in coming to live in the Indian villages. They feared that the religious would be like the other Christians whom they had seen, who came to try to get away from them their gold and everything that they prized. Being suspicious of this, some of the villages refused to admit them, for instance, that of Masi. But in the village of Pata they were kindly received, and built their poor church and tiny dwelling-place, made of nothing but cane and nipa or straw, and of very slender stakes. Even for this they had to pay the Indians much more than the materials were worth, as also for the labor of those who built it. However, the fathers thought nothing of the expense, but it seemed to them very good; and to this very day they praise that house, and regard it as very well built. As the religious did not understand the language, and did not even have any translators or interpreters [naguatatos] by whom they might communicate with the Indians, and explain the law of God which they came to preach to them, they labored much with very small results. The Indians, who were greatly displeased to see them in their villages, [305]gave them nothing to eat; and the need and hunger which they suffered were very great. Although they suffered joyfully for love of God, still these things had their natural effect on their bodies; and father Fray Miguel de San Jacintho was afflicted by a severe pain in the stomach, and his companion by giddiness of the head. Both of these maladies were due to their lack of food, for as soon as they had anything to eat they recovered. But it was not often that they had sufficient food, sustaining themselves generally with nothing but herbs, and those purgative ones, which rather diminished their strength than afforded them sustenance. At meal-time one of them read a chapter from holy Scripture, and when this was finished they began upon their short meal. The one who completed his meal first read another chapter of the scripture, and then they gave thanks to God, having satisfied their souls rather than their stomachs. [On one St. Dominic’s day the religious found themselves with nothing to eat but rice boiled in water (which takes the place of bread in this country); and just at meal-time an Indian came in and gave them a very good fish of the kind called bobo. This is the best kind of fish known in this country, and this was the best fish of the sort that the fathers had ever eaten. It was caught in a river where it had never before been seen, and at a time of year when this fish is not generally found, even in the rivers which it enters to spawn. The fathers accordingly accepted this as a miracle, granted them that they might duly celebrate the day of the founder of their order. Soon after, the fathers found the man who had given them the fish, given over for dead, but still living. By their care he was cured, and [306]afterwards was baptized. The fathers to whom this happened were father Fray Ambrosio de la Madre de Dios and Fray Domingo de San Blas. This was in August, and, as the fathers had entered upon their work in September in the preceding year, their sufferings had lasted almost a year. At this time it happened that an Augustinian friar came to the village of Pata, and, beholding the sufferings of these religious, was greatly shocked, and rebuked the Indian chiefs for the treatment that they had offered to the friars. The religious had been unwilling to ask the Indians even for a little fish, although there were a great many in the river that flowed by the village. The words of the Augustinian had some effect, and the Indians brought them some fish, though not very much. The custom of father Fray Luis de Granada was to read a little after grace had been said, and then to discuss the reading and to talk over what they had learned of the language of the Indians. They then took a brief rest and afterwards conferred upon some point in theology, finally returning to the language, for they thought more of discovering a new word than of finding a rich pearl. In course of time the Lord was pleased to reward their diligence by giving them the use of the language, so that they could understand the Indians and instruct them in the law of God. They translated the Christian doctrine into their language, and had the children recite it. They succeeded in obtaining many of the children for baptism. The devil’s oracles ceased in this village of Pata, where they had been delivered to a sorceress named Fulangan.] At this time there was in the village near this one, called Cabacungan, a famous Indian anitera, or priestess, with whom the [307]devil frequently spoke, and by whose mouth in those days he uttered most dreadful things. By her means the enemy caused a great repugnance to the faith among the people there. The religious endeavored to frighten her, and several times threatened her that if she did not cease they would have her punished in the Spanish city, or would send her to Manila; but she, egged on by him who inspired her, pretended that she did not understand, and continued in her wickedness. The religious, as a last resort, thought it best to send an Indian chief who had become a good Christian to talk with her. His name was Don Francisco Yringan. They hoped that he would be able to bring her over, or at least to prevent her from perverting the people. If they failed in this, they determined to bring her to justice. Yringan did not dare to carry this message to this she-devil without stronger weapons than hers, and asked the fathers for a cross. The religious, who had nothing better at hand, painted one on a cloth that Yringan had tied on his head, and used nothing but pen and ink. This was so easy that he made or painted not one only, but several. This one thing terrified the devil so greatly that, without daring to stand before the Indian armed with crosses, he caught up his priestess, and she disappeared. Neither he nor she ever appeared again, nor was it ever known where he took her or what he did with her. As a result of this miracle and many others with which the Lord gave credit to His gospel, the Indians began to feel respect for the law that the religious preached to them. The latter were much encouraged when they saw that the Lord favored them; and father Fray Diego de Soria determined to undertake a very difficult and dangerous [308]enterprise, which, if successful, would greatly aid in this conversion. It happened that the lord of this village of Pata, of Masi, and of others, named Siriban, a very noble and valiant Indian, had at this time withdrawn to the mountains, fleeing from the alcalde-mayor, before whom some of his rivals had brought against him charges that he had many wives. In fact, he had no more than two—one of them his equal in rank; and the other of lower rank but more beloved, because he had a daughter by her whom he tenderly loved, as the child deserved. The alcalde-mayor had these two women arrested; and he ordered them to be flogged, though one of them was pregnant. Partly from resentment for this, and partly for fear that the alcalde-mayor would capture him (as he meant to), Siriban withdrew to the mountains, attended by a heavily-armed guard. His purpose was not to make war against the Spaniards, for he never undertook anything of that kind, but merely to defend himself if they tried to capture him, as his enemies desired. However, he always kept his person safe, being an Indian of great courage and much ingenuity; a man of noble birth, good motives, and a kind disposition. He was accordingly much beloved by his subjects, who accompanied and guarded him with great fidelity. All this had happened before the religious came to the province, for if father Fray Diego had been in it the alcalde-mayor would not have done what he did. Father Fray Diego saw that if he could convert this Indian many more would be sure to follow him to the church, and determined to attempt his conversion. For this purpose he prepared himself with many prayers and masses, and the tears of himself and the other religious, [309]in return for which the Lord caused the Indians to appoint a place where father Fray Diego might come and speak with him. Father Fray Diego gave him the assurance that no other Spaniard would come there, and that there would be no Indians in ambush and no trickery. They conversed with each other, and father Fray Diego was able to give Siriban such assurances that he came down with his following to the village of Pata, put himself like a lamb in the hands of father Fray Diego, and began like a child to learn the Christian prayers and doctrine, desiring to receive the law which the religious taught. He was occupied in this up to the end of Lent; and at Easter was baptized in the city of the Spaniards with seven other chiefs. These were the first adult Christians of this province of Nueva Segovia. Don Diego, as Siriban was named, had as his godfathers the alcalde-mayor and some other leading Spaniards. This was a day of great joy for the villages; and Don Diego Siriban and his associates became very friendly to the Spaniards. Don Diego was very grateful and was a great aid to Christianity; he attracted many to the faith, not only by his example, but by his words. Many adults now began to be baptized; but the greatest and most certain harvest was that of the children, because the Lord at this time sent a great plague of epidemic smallpox throughout the province. It was so malignant that it did not leave a child alive; and that the children might have eternal life the Lord enabled the religious to baptize them throughout the time of the epidemic. The result was a great harvest of souls for heaven, sent from a land which always before had supplied a harvest for hell. The new [310]preachers of the gospel kept constantly baptizing children; and, as this activity was so sure and certain in its results, they took great delight in it. They already forgot and despised all the hardships which they had suffered in their long voyages, their dangerous infirmities, and their exhausting journeys, being pleased with the taste of fruits which were so plentiful, which came so early, and which were so agreeable to God. God also showed himself to be pleased with the good services of the religious, in receiving from their hands such abundance and such gracious first-fruits. The religious also promised themselves marvelous results from their labor, which had commenced so wonderfully. Not only here, but in all the churches which have been established, the ministers of this province have observed that the first bodies which have been interred in them have been those of baptized infants, in order that possession of them may be taken first by the bodies of those who, as we certainly know, have gone to glorify and to people heaven. [The Lord also showed himself very kind to the adults at times. On one occasion, in response to the prayers of an Indian Christian He protected his fields from a plague of locusts, which devastated the fields of all his Indian neighbors.]

After the church of Pata had been founded, it was planned to erect another as large in Abulug, a more populous town, the people of which were very proud and esteemed themselves highly. The Indians came to help in building it, not because of the payment they received—for as they very soon showed, they would have given much more to keep the religious out of their village, for the devil kept prejudiced against the fathers—but because they were afraid of [311]the alcalde-mayor, who ordered them to do this. Even while they were at work on it, they held a council in which they agreed to do what they could to interfere with it and to drive away the religious. The chiefs made up a plan that some of them should go to the city of Manila, and there bring it about that the religious should be compelled to leave their village, and to give them over to their barbarous and heathen manner of living. The charge of this matter was put in the hands of two chiefs, who were uncle and nephew, one being named Cafugao and the other Tuliau. They got ready a vessel, and gave their ambassadors a great quantity of gold to carry out their object; and the latter actually set sail, in order to bring this about. The storms and dangers of the sea which they suffered on this voyage were many; because the sea of these coasts is very violent and stormy. However, making their way against the wind, they reached Bigan, the principal town of the province of Ylocos. Here they talked with the chiefs there, telling their intentions and designs, and the purpose which took them to Manila. The people of Ylocos told them that they were making a mistake, and that, now they had Spaniards in their land, to oppose having priests there was to strive in vain. But Cafugao, who held the highest rank among them all, was so obstinate that he urged his nephew Tuliau to prosecute their journey to Manila, because they could reach it by six days’ sailing. They set sail, and though the weather was good and the sea was quiet, they could not manage to get a step in advance, and accomplished nothing but to advance and then come back again. In this way they spent many days even in reaching a port called Purau, which was little [312]more than a day’s voyage distant. This was the more marvelous because they plainly saw other vessels making their way to the same place to which they wished to go. All the rest passed them by, while they only remained in that place without being able to advance as the others did. They did not know to what they might attribute this, when they saw that for all the others that were making the same voyage the wind was fair, while for them it was contrary. At last, forced by necessity, they were obliged to return to Bigan, where the chiefs of the town again tried to persuade them to receive the religious. To influence them the more, they said: “Look, and see that the religious whom you have are not going to do you any harm. On the contrary, they will do you much good by helping to protect you from the Spaniards. The people of Pangasinan, our neighbors, are very well pleased with them; for they eat no chickens, but only a little fish, and if that is not given to them they get along with herbs. They do not travel on the backs of men, or of Indians, but on their own feet. If there is no one to carry their bed for them, they carry it on their own shoulders. They do not seek for gold, they do not ask for silver; on the contrary, they give of what they have to their Indians, they maintain the poor, and they cure the sick.” Influenced by these words, and disgusted and wearied by the unfavorable weather which they experienced, they determined to return to their village, after having spent four months on a journey which was usually performed in a week, and after having been many times in danger of being wrecked and drowned. By this may be seen the rebelliousness of their hearts, and the mercy of the Lord, who carried [313]them from one place to the other, and, placing before their eyes the death that they deserved, hindered the evil purpose upon which they had entered, and drew them to His holy law. They did not understand it then, but came to see it afterward; and to this day they tell the story with great wonder, as of a manifestly miraculous and marvelous event. When they reached their own village, they had become changed and gentle, beyond all the hope that the fathers had of them. They began with all their hearts to learn how to pray, to hear the catechism, and to frequent the church; and, urging the others to do the same, they accepted baptism. They and the rest in that house became very good Christians, and were the support of Christianity in that region. They gave alms freely, and were devoted to the divine worship. God has given them His blessing; and that household is the best ordered and most highly esteemed among all the Indians in that province. In the meantime, the chiefs of this village and their neighbors were waiting for news from Manila that the negotiations of those who had sailed there had succeeded in causing the dismissal of the religious. While waiting, they tricked and deceived them by sending half a dozen boys to listen to the prayers, having agreed among themselves that none of the grown people should enter the church or the fathers’ dwelling-place, or should have any dealings with them, or go to see them. This plan displeased the boys, and one of them, a son of the most prominent chief, said: “So the grown people are pleased and satisfied to send me to endure this praying, and to stay in the church; but they ought not to do so.” Thus every day he quarreled with them, and they with him. He [314]began to cry and whimper, and threatened them that he would run away if they made him go to church. This was the state of perversity in which they then were; but when the voyagers came and told them what had happened, their minds were all changed, and they began to think well of the law which was preached to them. Thus they set about becoming Christians, and good Christians, being much aided by the virtue of the religious—which was so great that, though they were heathen and barbarous, they recognized and respected it. It happened at this time that there came to this village on business some Indians who had already been converted to Christianity, natives of the province of Ylocos, which, as has been said, is next to that of Nueva Segovia. One of them fell sick, and was left without shelter or food. No one took pity upon him, because those in the village were all still heathen and pitiless, as was he whom they adored as God. Father Fray Ambrosio de la Madre de Dios went to the sick man, and, pitying him, took him to the convent, entrusting him to brother Fray Domingo de San Blas, his associate, a very devout friar. He directed him to provide the sick man with what he needed as well as he could, though this was but poorly. The brother did this with great delight, for his whole mind was set upon serving God and his neighbor. At last the sick man was about to die; and the fathers summoned the chief of the village—who was a heathen, like all the rest of them—that he might see how they attended upon the dying person, and might thus be edified and come to feel kindly toward the faith. [While the chief was there the father cast holy water upon the dying man, whom he took for dead. The sick man revived, and the result of this occurrence was to [315]make the hearts of the chief and of the other inhabitants of the village very well disposed to the fathers and to their teaching, because they saw them act so disinterestedly and so charitably toward a stranger, from whom they could expect no reward. The recovery of the sick person when the holy water was sprinkled upon him caused the Indians to believe in the virtue of this water, and hence to be willing to be baptized. An Indian woman who seemed to be mortally wounded also recovered after being baptized; and the Indians believed that this healing was much aided by the great virtue of the missionary, father Fray Ambrosio de la Madre de Dios.

The first church was built as poorly as might have been expected of religious who came into the country as Christ our Lord in His gospel directed His apostles to go, without money, or bag, or treasure. In the course of time, when necessity required the building of larger churches, because the town was large and the population had almost all become Christian, they were all of wood and unfortunately burned. The religious afterward undertook to build one of brick or stone; and for this purpose they built a kiln in which to burn lime. When it was already full of stone and of the wood necessary to make a fire, there was a religious standing at the top of the arch over it, and there were some men and women at work on the side. The arch suddenly fell in, and all the stone was carried inward. One woman was buried in the stone, to twice her own height. The religious offered prayers for her to the Virgin; and when they uncovered her, which they did as quickly as possible, she came out, of her own accord, quite uninjured.]

When the first church in this village had been [316]finished, the religious, seeing the manifest favor of the Lord in everything that had happened, undertook to build another in Camalaniugan, a village about a legua from the city. The Indians there are among the most intelligent in those provinces. They were very friendly with the Spaniards, and gave them great help in pacifying the whole country, by their great fidelity and continued assistance in the wars which took place. No falsehood or double-dealing was ever discovered in them; and they have always preserved this affection for the Spaniards, serving them much—as they were able to do, because of their proximity to the city. The chief and lord of this village was so rich that, if we are to believe his vassals, or even some of the old soldiers who were there at that time, he weighed the gold that he had with a steelyard, as iron is commonly weighed. Afterward, however, he suffered from the vicissitudes of fortune, and lost the greater part of his property. To this village father Fray Antonio de Soria went, with a brother of the order, to establish and erect a church. Though they were received without opposition, the Indians showed so little pleasure at having them in their village that no one visited them or spoke to them, except to ask when they were going to depart. Their answer was, that they would go as soon as the river ran dry. Now this river is so large that, because of its resemblance, the Spaniards called it Tajo [i.e., “Tagus”]. At this answer the Indians gave up putting that question, but they did not give up their wonder at seeing the religious among them, making a thousand guesses about the plans and purposes that the religious might have in maintaining a house and dwelling in their [317]village. The women, though out of curiosity they tried to look at the religious, did so by stealth, glancing over their shoulders. If a religious happened to turn his head, they ran away like so many fallow-deer. If one suddenly came upon them when they were carrying water (which they drew from the river), they put it on the ground in order that they might better run away from him and from being seen by him. This was the way in which the religious were generally received in that and the other villages. However, as the story of the way in which they lived at Pata and Abulug had reached there, the Indians did not find the missionaries quite so strange, or treat them quite so badly, as they did at those places. What they wondered at most was their habits, which for such a hot country were very heavy, and which were very different from anything that they had seen on Spaniards, or on religious who had up to that time been in the city. A church was afterward built there—like the rest, poor and small, and with a roof of thatch. But it was built with great devotion on the part of the religious, and with great acceptance to our Lord, for whose glory it was built. Immediately afterward, they likewise built a church in Buguey, which was near that village and was closely allied to it. The church of Camalaniugan had the name of St. Hyacinth, and was dedicated to him. That of Buguei was dedicated to St. Vincent Ferrer; but afterward the name was changed, and it is now named for St. Anne. These churches were for the time annexed to the convent in the city, as its benefices, and as dependent upon it. The religious found much to occupy them while they were dwelling in those villages, as they were the first who [318]preached there the law of the gospel; and as they had deeply at heart the purpose of overthrowing and casting to the ground the deceits which the Father of Lies had inculcated upon these tribes, and the diabolical customs in which they had been brought up. These evil ways of living had been sucked in by them with their mothers’ milk, and, having been continued by them all their lives, they had become second nature. As the Indians had inherited them from their ancestors, they observed them with the greatest accuracy, and took the greater pleasure in them because they were so closely conformed to their wicked inclinations and their evil training. Therefore to draw them forth from this condition, which was so contrary even to the law of nature, was a most difficult matter, and one in which success was not to be expected from natural forces. Hence the religious strove with all their hearts to obtain divine strength by means of prayer, fasting, and tears. By the aid of the Lord, which is never denied to those who thus seek for it, they went on and conquered all these difficulties; and in a short time they saw and tasted, to the great comfort of their souls, wonderful fruits from their labors. These had been accomplished by the help of God, to whose omnipotence there is nothing difficult. The Indians—who, because they did not know the religious, received them at first with so much disgust—soon came to see in what an error they had been, and how unfounded their fears were; for with the religious God sent to them light, teaching, true belief, healing for their souls, comfort in their sorrow, a wise rule of conduct, order and system in their manner of living, protection against those who wronged them, and, in [319]a word, true fathers, not only in spiritual, but also in temporal matters. Hence within a few years, when the voluntary offer of their allegiance was asked for from them on the part of his Majesty King Felipe II,38 to satisfy a scruple which he had felt with regard to the conquest of that province, one of the leading chiefs of the province, Don Diego Siriban, responded for himself and for his subjects that he gave his allegiance to the king our lord with a very good will, because of the great blessing which he had given them by sending religious to them. He went on to say “If we had known earlier the good that was coming to us with them, we would have gone to their countries to seek for it, even if we had been sure that half of us were certain to perish in the quest.” The same thing was said by the whole village. Another village declared that they very readily offered their allegiance to his Majesty for having sent them Spaniards to deliver them from the tyranny of their chiefs, and religious to deliver them from the tyranny of some Spaniards. In general, the love that they feel for the religious is very great. Those who can have them in their villages are greatly pleased; while those who cannot be supplied, on account of the insufficient number, long for them. An evidence of this may be seen in the case of a great Indian chief named Bacani. Some years ago this man, who had no religious in his district, went to see the father provincial, and, falling on his knees, begged him with tears that he might receive some fathers. He offered in his own name, and in that of the other [320]chiefs of his tribe, to gather in one village more than a thousand inhabitants, and for this purpose to leave his own villages and estates. The reason for this was that the villages were so small and scattered that it was difficult to give instruction among them; and hence the offer was made that many of them would assemble together in a new village, in some cases one or two days’ travel distant from where they had been living. The inhabitants of another region, called Malagueg, who had no ministers, and to whom none could be given, built a house for them and bought a boat in which they might travel—for people generally travel by the rivers—planning thus to make it easier for religious to be given them, as soon as there should be any. In the interim they did not cease to ask for them very humbly, and left no stone unturned to bring it about that the religious might be sent. They did all sorts of things to get ministers to live among them, offering to abandon their vices, and manifesting the greatest desire to become Christians (as at this time, by the grace of God, they are). The same desire was displayed by the Indians of the estuary of Yogan; but the father provincial did not dare to give them religious. A marvel followed, for while they were very urgently pleading for missionaries, two of the religious fell sick, and were so near to death that they were already despaired of. At that time a religious came in, who was much moved to pity when he saw the heathen asking for preachers with so much urgency. He told the father provincial, Fray Miguel de San Jacintho, that he ought to make a vow to send missionaries to the people of Yogan if the Lord healed the sick men; for, if the Lord did heal them, it was the same as to give him anew two [321]missionaries, the number necessary for these Indians, for they were already mourning the religious as dead. The provincial made no vow, but promised to do so; and the Lord straightway fulfilled that condition by healing those whose life was despaired of, and the provincial sent religious to Yogan. Many other Indians of that same country have felt this same desire, wishing to enjoy the presence of the religious, because of the high regard that they feel for them and the great advantage which they receive from their presence. And the hearts of the religious have been not a little grieved at seeing the heathen coming to ask for preachers (which is the same as for them to come to preach to us), and themselves unable to help them. Since there are not religious enough for so many villages and districts, the religious have done all they could, and at times have done more than they could; so that, as a result of their excessive labor, they have lost their lives. Even so, there are many to whose succor it has not been possible to go; and they have failed to become Christians for lack of missionaries to teach them, baptize them, and keep them in the divine law.

(To be continued.) [323]

1 See account (mainly derived from Aduarte) of the foundation of the Dominican province of Filipinas, in Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 1–29. Fray Juan Crisóstomo was one of the Dominican friars in Mexico, and was sent to Spain and Rome in 1581 to make arrangements for the opening of the new Filipinas mission; no information is available regarding previous events in his life. Having assembled the members of his mission at Sevilla, he set out with them for Nueva España (July 17, 1586); but the hardships of the voyage made him so ill that he was obliged to remain a long time in Mexico, not being able to reach Manila until 1589. There he was so affected by age and broken health that he could do little; and finally disease carried him away, and he died probably late in 1590 or early in 1591.

2 The mission of the Jesuit Sanchéz to Spain, and its results, are described in VOLS. VI and VII of this series.

3 Juan de Castro, a native of Burgos, entered the Dominican order at that place, and soon after his ordination went to Nueva España, where he spent most of his life in Guatemala. Being sent to Madrid on business of his order, he encountered there Fray Juan Crisóstomo (1585–86), through whom he became so interested in the projected mission to Filipinas that for its sake he declined proffered honors and dignities. He conducted to Manila the mission of 1587, and was elected provincial at the first chapter-meeting (June 10, 1588). In May, 1590, Castro and Benavides went to China to preach the gospel, returning to Manila in March, 1591. The suffering and hardship which they endured in China broke down the health of Castro, who was already an old man; and he died in 1592.

4 Juan Ormaza de Santo Tomás was born at Medina del Campo, in September, 1548. His studies were pursued at Salamanca; after graduation he spent several years in teaching and was engaged in this occupation at Valladolid when Crisóstomo went thither to secure missionaries for Filipinas. Ormaza enlisted in this new field, and, after arriving at Manila, he was assigned to the district of Bataan. Here he “reduced to two villages, with some visitas annexed, the thirty-one hamlets among which the Indians were dispersed; made bridges over the rivers; hindered with palisades (which those people call tabones) the inroads of the sea, which had ruined their grain-fields; and adorned the churches with altars, sacred images, and paintings.” During 1610–14 he was engaged in the missions of Japan; the rest of his life, except 1619–21 and 1623–25, when he ministered to the Chinese in the Parián and in Binondoc respectively, was spent at the Manila convent—where he died on September 7, 1638. (Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 86–91.)

Pedro de Soto was a native of Burgos, and pursued his priestly studies at Valladolid; soon after his graduation he joined the Filipinas mission. His first charge was in Pangasinan, where he labored zealously, amid great opposition and hostility from the natives. A serious illness at last compelled him to return (1599) to Manila, where he died.

5 Juan Cobo, a native of Castilla, joined the Dominican order at Ocaña, and was a student at Avila and Alcalá de Henares. He came to Nueva España with the mission of 1587; during his stay there (prolonged another year, on account of certain business of the order) he rebuked the viceroy of Mexico so boldly that the latter ordered Cobo to be exiled to the Philippines. Arriving at the islands in May, 1588, he began his labors among the Chinese of the Manila Parián, and later went among those of Tondo. In 1592, Cobo was sent by Dasmariñas as ambassador to Japan; having fulfilled his commission he set out on the return to Manila, and is supposed to have perished by shipwreck, as nothing more was ever known of him or his ship.

6 “Peña de Francia is a lofty mountain in the province and diocese of Salamanca, twelve leguas from this city and seven from Ciudad-Rodrigo. On its rugged summit is the celebrated convent-sanctuary of this name, where the community resided from Easter until November 2, at which time they went down to another house, on the slope of the same mountain, only two or three brethren remaining above for the care of the sanctuary.” (Reseña biográfica, i, p. 95, note 1.)

7 Pedro Bolaños was master of novices in the convent of Peña de Francia when he decided to enter the Filipinas mission, and was then sixty years of age. He labored among the natives of Bataan for a little while; but the responsibilities of this work, the hardships of missionary life, and his advanced years, were too much for him, and he died before he had spent a year in Filipinas. (Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 95–97.)

8 Juan de la Cruz, labored first among the natives of Pangasinan, and was afterward sent among those of Bataan, where he became very proficient in the Tagál language. He was provisor of the archdiocese under Benavides, until the latter’s death; then he returned to Bataan, where he died, probably near the end of 1605. (Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 100, 101.)

9 Apparently meaning the Jesuit Alonso Sanchéz, who was then in Nueva España, on his way to Spain.

10 At that time, the marqués de Villamanrique (VOL. VI, p. 282).

11 The younger Juan de Castro was a priest in the Dominican convent at Barcelona when the Filipinas mission enterprise was begun. Arrived in the islands, he was sent to Pangasinan; and, at the end of 1593, accompanied Fray Luis Gandullo on an embassy to China. On their return, they were shipwrecked off the coast of Pangasinan; and the exposure and suffering incident to this misfortune brought on a serious illness, from which Castro died early in 1594.

Marcos Soria de San Antonio was also assigned to the Pangasinan field, where his life was at first in danger from the fierce heathen; but afterward he won their affection by his gentleness and kindness to them. The sufferings and hardships of missionary life broke down his health, and he was compelled to seek medical care in Manila; but it was too late, and he died there in 1591.

Gregorio Ochoa de San Vicente, then a Dominican friar in Valladolid, joined the Filipinas mission; and, like his associates in Pangasinan, was broken down by hardships—but even earlier than they, since his death occurred on November 25, 1588.

The lay brother Pedro Rodriguez spent twenty years in the hospital maintained by the Dominicans for the Chinese, which was later removed to Binondo. He died in that place, in 1609.

12 Religious life (religion): Religion, as used by Aduarte, means solely the rule of life followed by a religious order, the order itself, or the ideal of the order; and derivative words have corresponding significations. For instance: “at the expense of the order (la religion),” book ii, p. 77; “to the no small credit of our religious community (nuestra religion), with the members of which (cuyos religiosos) they generally have most to do,” book ii, p. 83; “the act which he was performing because of his duty as a religious (acto religioso),” book ii, p. 104; “sufficient to give glory to an entire religious order (una religion entera);” “all the religious orders (las religiones) in the Indias.” As an adjective, a “very religious” friar (religiosissimo padre, book ii, p. 376) means one who remarkably approaches the ideal of the order. In this sense religioso has generally been rendered by “devoted” in this translation. The noun “religious,” in the sense of “a member of an order,” and the adjective in such phrases as “a religious house,” “the religious life,” are still not rare in English.—Henry B. Lathrop.

13 The full text of these ordinances may be found in Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 18–30; it is in Latin, accompanied by a Spanish translation, which differs considerably from Aduarte’s, following the Latin more closely than his. The devotion to the Virgin Mary which is here mentioned (also known as the coronilla, or “little crown”) is given ut supra, p. 29. The initial letters of the first words in the psalms selected for this purpose form the name “Maria,” as do those of the corresponding antiphons—thus producing a double acrostic on her name. Gregory XIII granted an indulgence of one hundred days for those reciting this devotion.

14 The present province of Bataán is on the western shore of Manila Bay, being the peninsula formed between that bay and the sea. But the description in the text, together with other mention of Bataán (or Batán) in old documents, makes it evident that the name was applied in Aduarte’s time to at least the western part of the delta at the mouth of the Rio Grande de Pampanga, in the southwest part of the present Pampanga province.

15 Salaries were paid from the royal treasury in installments thrice a year, hence in thirds (tercios).

16 So in the text, but evidently referring to the beginning only of constructing the new church.

17 i.e., “Take heed to thyself and to doctrine;” and, “in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee”—both quoted from 1 Timothy, iv, v. 16.

18 Dias que no son dobles: in church terminology, feast days whereof the canonical offices are observed according to double rite—or duplex feasts, as sometimes styled in English liturgical works. In church calendars, the rite to be followed every day of the year is determined (according to fixed rules) with a view to its greater or less solemnity. The various designations thus employed are: simple, or simplex; semi-double, or semi-duplex; double, or duplex, and these may be minor or major; major double of the second class; and major double of the first class. Of this last sort are the most solemn feasts, as Christmas, Easter, Pentecost; while a feast day of simple rite is of the lowest class.—Rev. T. C. Middleton, O.S.A.

Cf. Addis and Arnold’s Catholic Dictionary, art. “Feasts” and “Feria,” where full details, and the origin and application of the terms, are given.

19 Juan de Santo Domingo assumed the Dominican habit in the convent at Salamanca, and later came to the Philippines. He spent two years (1610–12) in the missions of Bataán and Pangasinan, and six years in Manila and Binondo; and in 1618 undertook, but unsuccessfully, to start a mission in Korea. He then remained a little while in Japan, where he was arrested (December 13, 1618) and imprisoned. Condemned to suffer death by torture, he was carried away by a sickness instead (March 19, 1619). He was beatified on July 7, 1867. (Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 207, 208.)

20 Little is known of Alonso Montero, save that he belonged to the province of Mexico, where he spent several years, and afterward labored two years in the Pangasinan mission. His name does not appear in the records after 1592. (Reseña biográfica, p. 146.)

21 Juan García was for some time a minister to the Indians in Nueva España; he came to the islands in 1588, and labored in the missions of Bataán and Pangasinan. He died about 1603. (Reseña biográfica, i, p. 138.)

22 Tomas Castellar, from the Dominican convent at Barcelona, went to Mexico, where he filled various high positions in his order. He came to Manila in 1589, where he remained three years; in 1592 he was sent to Pangasinan, and, two years later, aided in founding the Cagayan mission. Returning to his former field, he labored with those natives until his death (1607).

Pedro Martinez came to the islands in 1588, and was placed in various posts in the Manila convent, for which he proved to be unfit from his habit of being absorbed in contemplation. He was then sent to Pangasinan, where he died (1592) from the effects of the climate.

Juan Bautista Deza remained some time in Pangasinan; then, as he had some knowledge of surgery, accompanied an expedition to Camboja. Nothing is known of him after 1600.

(See Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 138, 145.)

23 Spanish, apostola de los apostoles. One of the word-plays of which the old religious writers were so fond. No literal translation conveys the meaning here implied; but apostola is used (as also in English) with the primitive meaning of “apostle,” as one who first introduces the gospel—in this particular instance, one who first announces the good tidings, i.e., of Christ’s resurrection.

24 Spanish, lector, literally, “reader;” applied to one who gave lectures in theology, especially moral theology.

25 Amaranthus; see Delgado’s Hist. Filipinas, pp. 724, 725; and Blanco’s Flora, p. 491. Cf. VOL. XV, p. 111.

26 Probably referring to the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, which fell on August 15.

27 See portrait of Dasmariñas here presented; it is a photographic facsimile of an old painting (possibly a later copy of an authentic original) which was displayed in the Manila house in the Philippine exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904). The inscription on the scroll held by the page reads thus, in English: “Don Luis Perez Dasmariñas, knight of the Order of Alcántara, governor and captain-general of these Filipinas Islands for the king our lord, and founder and owner of this village of Binondo. He obtained this land by purchase, March 28, 1594, from Don Antonio Velada, husband of Doña Sebastiana del Valle, for the sum of $200. This sale was authorized by the certificate of Gabriel Quintanilla, a notary-public, one of the number allotted to this very illustrious and loyal city; and the grant of feudal rights over the Sangleys and mestizos of this said village, on May 29, 1594.”

28 See account of the first printing in the islands (1593), in vol. ix, p. 68; and that of printing in China, in vol. iii, p. 206.

29 Tomás Mayor came to Manila with the Dominican mission of 1602, and spent several years in their residence of San Gabriel among the Chinese; he composed a useful catechism in that language. In 1612 he went to Macao, at the summons of the bishop there; but finding it impossible then to found a Dominican house at Macao, he departed thence for Europe—dying, however, in that same year, before reaching his destination.

30 Francisco de la Mina, an Andalusian, was a missionary among the Mexican Indians during forty years. Coming to Manila in 1589, he labored in Bataán for a time; and was afterward made prior of the Dominican convent in Manila, where he died in 1592.

31 A topic then of special interest to the Dominicans, since Bishop Salazar (who belonged to their order) had but recently been involved in a hot controversy with Dasmariñas over the collection of tributes from the Indians (see correspondence between them at end of VOL. VII and beginning of VOL. VIII). All the missionaries in the islands had opposed slavery, whether among the Indians or the Spaniards; and the latter had adopted this practice to such an extent that Gregory XIV commanded them in 1591 to cease it entirely (VOL. VIII, pp 70–72).

32 A cape (now known as Piedra Point) at northwest extremity of Zambales peninsula, Luzón; name also applied to the narrow channel between that cape and Purra Island.

33 Cf. with this the description in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur (book xxi, chap. iv) of the last and fatal combat between King Arthur and Sir Mordred: “And when Sir Mordred felt that he had his death-wound, he thrust himself unto the bur of King Arthur’s spear,” and with this final effort dealt a mortal blow on the king’s head.

34 Spanish, viva quien vence; equivalent to the English saying, “Might makes right.”

35 Spanish, pascuas. Certain great church festivals last three days or more in Spain.

36 All these are towns on or near the northern coast of Cagayán.

37 Miguel Martin de San Jacinto made his profession at Salamanca, in 1586. He seems to have spent his life after coming to the islands (1595) in the Cagayán missions, in which he was a prominent worker. He died there, at Abulug, April 26, 1625.

Gaspar Zarfate was a native of Mexico. He spent some time in Cagayán, and afterward in Manila, where he filled various important offices in his order. He died at Manila, March 9, 1621; and was the first who systematized the grammar of the Ibanag dialect.

Ambrosio Martinez de la Madre de Dios, a native of Guatemala, made his profession at Mexico in 1589. Reaching the Philippines in 1595, he spent the rest of his days in the Cagayán missions, where he died in April, 1626.

Domingo de San Blás came to the islands from the Dominican convent at Sevilla, and spent several years in the Cagayán missions; he died at Manila, in 1601.

Antonio de Soria came from the convent at Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico. He labored so earnestly in the Cagayán missions that he soon wore out his strength; and died at Lal-ló about the beginning of 1599.

See Reseña biográfica, i, pp. 181–184.

38 The instructions given in this matter to the Spanish officials and missionaries, and the manner in which they carried out these, may be found in VOL. X, pp. 277–288.


Bibliographical Data

The first document is obtained from Antonio Alvarez de Abreu’s Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736), fol. 1–28; from a copy of that work in the possession of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago.

The second document is part of Diego Aduarte’s Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario (Manila, 1640), pp. 1–167; from a copy of that work in the possession of Edward E. Ayer. It will be continued in the next two volumes of this series.

Table of Contents

the_philippine_islands_1493-1898_volume_30.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/11 21:00 by briancarnell