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 VIII, 1591-1593
Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne.
Contents of Volume VIII
Preface ... 9 Documents of 1591
The collection of tributes in the Filipinas Islands (concluded). Domingo de Salazar, and others; Manila, January-March ... 25 Liberty of the Indians in the Philippinas. Gregory XIV; Rome, April 18 ... 70 Articles of contract for the conquest of Mindanao. Gomez Perez Dasmarinas and Estevan Rodriguez de Figueroa; Manila, May 12 ... 73 Ordinance forbidding the Indians to wear Chinese stuffs. G. P. Dasmarinas, and others; Manila, April 9-May 20 ... 78 Account of the encomiendas in the Philipinas Islands. [G. P. Dasmarinas]; Manila, May 31 ... 96 Letter to Felipe II. G. P. Dasmarinas; Manila, June 20 ... 142 The fortification of Manila. G. P. Dasmarinas; Manila, June 20 ... 169 Investigations at Manila concerning trade with Macan. Melchor de Baeca, and others; Manila, May 23-November 19 ... 174
Documents of 1592
Opinions of the religious communities on the war with the Zambales. Juan de Valderrama, and others; Manila, January 19-20 ... 199 Letter of congratulation to the bishop, clergy, and people of the Philippines. Clement VIII; Rome, March 25 ... 234 Letter to Felipe II. G. P. Dasmarinas; Manila, May 31 ... 236 Rules for the Manila hospital. G. P. Dasmarinas; [Manila, May 31] ... 245 Expedition to Tuy. [Luis Perez Dasmarinas]; Manila, June 1 ... 250 Two letters to Felipe II. G. P. Dasmarinas; Manila, June 6, 11 ... 252 An embassy from Japan. Hideyoshi, and others; 1591-92 ... 260 Three letters to Felipe II. G. P. Dasmarinas; June 20, July 6 ... 268 Luzon menaced by Japanese. [G. P. Dasmarinas; Manila, 1592] ... 284
Documents of 1593
Letter to Governor Dasmarinas. Felipe II; Madrid, January 17 ... 301 Two royal decrees. Felipe II; Madrid, January 17, and February 11 ... 312
Bibliographical Data ... 319
Autograph signatures of Augustinian officials; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 215 Autograph signatures of Dominican officials; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 223 Autograph signature of Antonio Sedeno, S. J.; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 227 Autograph signature of Pedro Baptista, O.S.F.; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 231
In this volume are recorded the more important events in the history of the Philippine colony during the years 1591-92. The dissensions between the secular and the ecclesiastical authorities continue, though the governor asks, in various important public affairs, the advice of the religious orders, and in view of a threatened invasion by the Japanese, appeals to the ecclesiastics to cease their opposition to his measures, and aid his efforts to save the colony. Dasmarinas does all in his power for its defense and increase; but the unfriendly attitude of the ecclesiastics, the restrictions laid on commerce, the poverty of the public treasury, and the greed of officials and other influential residents, all greatly hinder and embarrass his efforts. A papal decree orders the Indian slaves in the islands to be freed. Explorations are made in northern Luzon, opening up a rich and important region; and the conquest of Mindanao is undertaken. The Chinese trade continues to call for special measures: the Spanish residents of the islands ask for permission from the home government to trade with the Portuguese colony of Macao; and, in order to encourage the Indians to keep up their native industries, they are forbidden to wear Chinese stuffs. A revolt of the Zambales and Negritos of western Luzon is quelled, and the surviving insurgents are dispersed or enslaved. The emperor of Japan demands from the Spaniards of the islands tribute and homage, which excites in their minds apprehensions of coming war.
The document of 1591 relating to the collection of tributes in the islands, begun in Vol. VII, is here concluded. The bishop asks the governor to let him know his decision regarding such collection; the latter replies (February 8) that he cannot make any change in present conditions without further orders from the king; and issues (February 28) a decree regulating the collection of tributes. A dispute between the bishop and the governor ensues, followed by letters (dated March 4-21) interchanged by them, which are an interesting revelation of the relations between the religious and secular authorities, and of the conflicting interests involved therein. The governor repels (March 8) the accusation that he has been the mouthpiece of others; defends the Jesuits from any suspicion of unfriendliness toward the bishop; and complains that he is still attacked in the pulpit. In another letter (dated March 19) Dasmarinas makes suggestions to the bishop regarding the best means of meeting the religious needs of the Indians with the small number of priests who can be thus employed. He denies that he has any partiality for the Augustinians over the other orders and makes various explanations regarding his attitude toward the orders. He then urges the bishop to follow his suggestions, and thus to fulfil his obvious and pressing duties—advising Salazar not to meddle with the encomenderos, and other matters which do not concern his office. Dasmarinas also complains that the bishop does not provide laymen to instruct the natives; that he allows the Indians to come to Manila too often with their complaints, and that there are irregularities in the appointment of clergymen to benefices. Salazar replies (March 21) to this epistle, manifesting little confidence in the promises made by the secular authorities, and calling for their fulfilment. The bishop complains of the wrongs that are being perpetrated, and of the curtailment of his own authority. He claims that he has the right to decide whether a religious order may take possession of a new field. He discusses the governor's suggestions regarding the provision of clergymen for various districts, and explains what he is willing to do. He objects to placing one friar alone in a village, and desires to leave the assignment of the friars' charge to their superiors—citing for this the arrangements already adopted in Mexico regarding this matter; he also objects to any interference with his priests by the governor, rebukes the latter for assuming to instruct his bishop in the episcopal duties, and asserts his own rights and privileges. Salazar declares that he cannot find suitable laymen to instruct the Indians, and that they come to him for help and counsel because the governor treats them so ungraciously. He no longer fills the office of "protector of the Indians," for it has brought him only sorrow, and he cannot do for them what he desires.
A decree of Gregory XIV (dated April 18, 1591) requires restitution to the Indians for the losses caused to them in the conquest of the Philippines, according to the ability of the individual conquerors; and sets free all Indian slaves in the islands. On May 12 of that year are signed articles of contract for the conquest of Mindanao, a task which is undertaken by Estevan Rodriguez de Figueroa (the same officer formerly sent thither by Sande). He is to establish at least one settlement there; and encomiendas are to be allotted, the most important being reserved for the crown, and one-third of the remainder for the conqueror. Certain documents dated between April 9 and May 20, 1591, relate to a municipal ordinance (March 30) forbidding the Indians to wear silks or other stuffs from China. Dasmarinas institutes an inquiry (April 9) into the results of this on the natives, and the possibility that the decree should be suspended in some cases. Ten witnesses, converted Indian chiefs, testify that the importation of Chinese goods has ruined the native industries, and demoralized the people; and that the ordinance should be enforced.
A document unsigned, but prepared by order of the governor (dated May 31, 1591), gives "a detailed account of the encomiendas in the Philippinas Islands," royal and private, pacified and hostile, with and without instruction; the names of the encomenderos, and the number of the tributarios, religious ministers, and magistrates in each. At the beginning is given a description of the city of Manila, with the churches, public buildings, governmental and municipal offices, Parian, etc. There are some three thousand Chinese in the islands, two-thirds of whom live in the Parian, where they have two hundred shops. There are so many friars in Manila that some of them might well be sent to districts where ministers are lacking. At the end of the document is a brief summary of the above statistics. The writer concludes that the number of religious teachers ought to be at least doubled, and "even more, for when they arrive here, one-fourth of these will have died"—pathetic commentary on the hardships of a voyage across the Pacific.
At the end of his first year as governor, Dasmarinas writes (June 20, 1591) a report for that period. Delay in receiving the royal despatches before leaving Spain has prevented him from obtaining the money which he was to expend in building the Manila cathedral, and the amount raised for this purpose at Manila had been much lessened by poor management; but he has stopped the waste (mainly in large salaries), and is pushing the work as fast as he can. He has aided the hospitals, but they need much more help, for they are crowded with patients on account of the unhealthful climate. He complains that the bishop hinders his attempts to obtain a statement of accounts from the Franciscan friars in charge of the hospital for Indians; the king thereupon orders that this matter be officially investigated, and that the governor take possession of both hospitals in the name of his Majesty. Dasmarinas recommends that more ministers of religion be furnished for the Indians, and sends an exact statement of the encomiendas and their religious needs (the document preceding this). He places before the king the problem of collecting the tributes, which he has recently been discussing with the clergy and friars; summarizes the position of the latter thereon, and his own arguments with the bishop; and complains that the latter is arrogant and self-willed. Another letter of the same date reports his measures for fortifying the city; he imposes a tax of two per cent on all shipments of goods from the islands. The bishop opposes this measure, as do the members of the late Audiencia, apparently because it touches their personal interests too closely.
In the summer of the same year, the citizens of Manila ask that they may be allowed to trade with the inhabitants of Macao, the Portuguese settlement in China. Dasmarinas orders an inquiry to be made into this matter, and has various witnesses examined. This is done according to a detailed interrogatory—the witnesses testifying that the Portuguese of Macao trade with the Philippine Islands, with much profit and advantage; that the trade of Macao is rapidly increasing in extent and range, and yet does not notably decrease the abundance of goods to be had at that port; that, if the Spaniards trade there, it will be much easier to introduce the gospel into China; that hitherto no trading ships have gone from the Philippines to India; that trade with Macao will enrich the islands; that the Portuguese at Macao have plundered a ship sent thither by Dasmarinas; and that the Chinese desire the trade of the Spaniards. To this are appended various declarations and decrees which bear upon the question discussed; and, finally, the recommendation of Dasmarinas that the king permit trade between the islands and Macao.
Hostilities arising with the Zambales of Luzon, the governor calls upon the religious orders for their opinion regarding the justice of waging war against these Indians. The Augustinians make a long and elaborate response; they state three conditions as necessary to make a war righteous—that he who begins it must have authority, just cause, and righteous intention. These are explained in detail, as general precepts, and then applied to the question now before them—all fortified by citations from doctors of law and theology, and from the Bible. Their conclusion is that war may be justly waged against the Zambales. They also lay down the rules which should, ex jure gentium, be followed in the conduct of such war; and end by recommending that the Zambales, when conquered, should be transplanted to some other district, and remodeled into an agricultural people. This document is presented in full, as a curious and interesting example of the reasoning employed by churchmen of that time in settling questions of public concern, and of the opinions then current regarding the laws of war. The Dominicans mention the evil practice of head-hunting among the hostile tribes, and declare that the latter have no right to attack, as they have done, the peaceable tribes; on the contrary these latter have just cause for war on the Zambales and Negrillos. To them the question is, whether it is, in the circumstances, expedient and necessary for the Spaniards to attack these ferocious peoples. The fathers consider this war as justifiable; the enemy should be destroyed, and all who are taken captive should be enslaved for a specified time. The Jesuits consider that the first step is to ascertain who are guilty of inciting the outrages which the Zambales have committed against both the Spaniards and their Indian allies—whether all of that people, or only a few; whether their chiefs, or certain lawless individuals. When this shall be known, then the guilty, and they only should be punished. If the tribe as a whole, or their chiefs, are responsible, war against them is justifiable; but it should be waged with all possible mercy and moderation. These fathers also recommend a limited period of enslavement for captives; and that the women and children of the conquered people shall be removed from their country and dispersed elsewhere in small bands—a proceeding from which "they will receive much benefit, both spiritual and corporal." But they protest against mutilation, except for those who shall commit individual crimes. The Franciscan guardian renders a short opinion, to the effect that malefactors should be punished, and highways made safe for the Indian allies. If war be necessary to accomplish this, then war is justifiable; but therein the innocent should be spared.
A letter of congratulation to the bishop, clergy, and people of the Philippines is sent (March 25, 1592) by Clement VIII. On May 31, Governor Dasmarinas writes to the king. He states that he has received no letter from his Majesty since he arrived in the islands, and fears that his own to Spain may be lost. The islands are generally in a prosperous condition; trade is flourishing, the religious orders are at peace, "and, aside from the bishop, everything is quite as it should be." The cathedral church is complete; the seminary for girls is established, and some of its inmates have been married, and a new house is being erected for its use. The new fort is well under way, and some artillery has been mounted in it. New galleys have been built, which are manned by Zambale slaves captured in war. All trading is now done by the royal ships, which is much less expensive and more satisfactory. Dasmarinas recommends that private shippers be charged a moderate rate on tonnage. The Zambales have been reduced to subjection, their country devastated, and the survivors dispersed in various new settlements. New explorations have been made in the interior of Luzon; one, which seemed important, had to be abandoned on account of sickness among the troops; half the Spanish soldiers have died. The country is in danger of attack by the Japanese, and needs prompt and effective succor; he asks that the troops be sent from Castilla, "and not Creoles or exiles from Mexico." The governor is trying to secure quicksilver, on which the Chinese have given him prices. With this letter he sends a set of rules for the hospital.
A brief account of the expedition to Tuy is furnished (June 1, 1592) by Luis Perez, son of Dasmarinas. He has easily pacified the natives, who are a superior race; and expects to establish a Spanish settlement there, another year. The governor writes (June 6) to the king to make certain explanations about his relations with Pedro de Rojas, his legal counselor. The letter is conceited and self-willed, prejudiced and overbearing. Dasmarinas complains that Rojas and other late auditors have been greedy of gain in the foreign trade, and have opposed the governor's efforts to raise funds for necessary expenses. The latter has ascertained what their business dealings are, of which he has sent reports to Spain. He recommends that Rojas be transferred to some other country, preferably not Mexico. (An endorsement on the MS. states that Rojas has been given an appointment in Mexico.) At the end is the "register of merchandise carried in the ship 'Sant Felippe';" all the consignors are ecclesiastics, or officials of the Audiencia. In another letter (June 11) Dasmarinas informs the king of a recent embassy sent to him by a king in Japan, and sends to him translated copies of the letters which they bring, which demand from the Spaniards subjection and tribute, to be rendered to him. In this emergency, they are endeavoring to prepare for possible hostilities and Dasmarinas asks that the Mexican government be commanded to furnish troops and supplies to the Philippines. The letter of the Japanese ruler (written in 1591) demands, with much arrogance, that the Spaniards render him allegiance and tribute. Dasmarinas replies cautiously, alleging that he does not understand the Japanese language, and fears that the envoy is making false representations; he accordingly sends an envoy (Father Juan Cobo) to carry this letter, with a present, to the king of Japan.
Another Letter to Felipe (June 20, 1592) recounts the difficulties which Dasmarinas had to encounter upon arriving in the Philippines. He is disgusted with the exorbitant claims made by the soldiers for rewards due them for their services. He finds no ships or supplies, and no place where the latter could be kept. He is building storehouses, and collecting what supplies he can find. He has built such fortifications as his means permitted; for this he has levied various duties and contributions. He has incurred the enmity of the bishop and friars. The royal exchequer is empty, but heavily loaded with debts—a legacy from the Audiencia. The governor objects to the Chinese trade, and thinks that the natives of the islands should be induced to raise and weave their own cotton. He has issued a decree forbidding the Chinese traders to remain in the islands; this is violently opposed by the clergy and friars. Dasmarinas warns the king that this measure will decrease the royal income. The bishop intends to go to Spain, and is trying to make trouble for the governor. Another letter of the same date is devoted to an account of his difficulties with the ecclesiastics. He complains of their arbitrary and tyrannical conduct, and of the bishop's headstrong and obstinate disposition, and his interference with the conduct of secular affairs. Both he and the friars have so used their power over the Indians that the latter "recognize no other king or superior than the father of the doctrina, and are more attentive to his commands than to those of the governor." Dasmarinas accuses them of practically enslaving the natives for their own service and benefit; and the bishop of taking for his personal use the money entrusted to him for restitutions to the Indians. The clergy "are all better merchants than students of Latin." The governor thinks that it will be best to send the bishop to Spain. In another letter (July 9), he complains of the evils arising from the unregulated marriages of the widows and minor heirs who have inherited encomiendas, and suggests that he be empowered to control such marriages.
Two papers unsigned and undated, but evidently emanating from the governor, contain suggestions for precautions to be taken by the Spaniards in view of the threatened hostilities by the Japanese. These suggestions are submitted to a council of war and to the religious houses, respectively. Among the former are the expulsion of Japanese and Chinese traders from Manila; the accumulation of provisions; agreement that no one will, if captured, accept ransom; and establishment of a refuge in the hills near Manila for the women, children, and sick. The religious are asked to give their opinion on certain points: whether it would not be well to take from the Indians their gold, as a pledge for their good behavior in the event of hostilities; to induce the Christianized natives to remove inland to more secure locations, there to produce rice and other supplies; to seize the property of the Chinese and place it in the warehouses of the city, and break up the Parian; and to oblige the encomenderos to store in the city the provisions which they collect as tributes. Another communication from the governor is addressed to the ecclesiastics. He reminds them of their persistent opposition to his measures, but urges them, in view of the common danger that threatens the colony, to unite with him in efforts to repel it and to save the country.
A letter from Felipe to Dasmarinas (January 17, 1593) commends the governor's faithfulness and care in his office, and replies to various suggestions made in his dispatches. Dasmarinas is to take possession of the hospitals for the king, restrain the assumption of authority by the bishop, and not allow him to meddle with the payment of salaries to the priests. The religious orders are not to interfere with civil affairs. Dasmarinas shall appoint, in place of the bishop, a protector of the Indians. All the tributes are to be increased by two reals; and the royal fifth shall be exacted as soon as practicable. The soldiers are not to be allowed to trade, beyond the amount of a few hundred pesos; the governor may, at his discretion, permit some to return to Nueva Espana. The removal of the Chinese traders from Manila is left to the governor's judgment. Workmen in the islands are to be paid there, from the royal treasury. The duties levied by Dasmarinas are approved and continued. With this letter go two decrees; one (dated on the same day) ordains that suits involving one thousand ducados or less may be concluded in the court of the islands, and those for larger sums may be appealed to the Audiencia of Mexico. The other (dated February 11) restricts the trade with China to the inhabitants of the Philippines, and forbids those of the American colonies (except those of Nueva Espana) to trade, not only with China, but even with the Philippines.
The Editors October, 1903.
Documents of 1591
The collection of tributes in the Filipinas (concluded). Domingo de Salazar, and others; January-March. Liberty of the Indians in the Philippinas. Gregory XIV; April 18. Articles of contract for the conquest of Mindanao. G. P. Dasmarinas and Estevan Rodriguez de Figueroa; May 12. Ordinance forbidding the Indians to wear Chinese stuffs. G. P. Dasmarinas and others; April 9-May 20. Account of the encomiendas in the Philippinas Islands. [G. P. Dasmarinas]; May 31. Letter to Felipe II. G. P. Dasmarinas; June 20. The fortification of Manila. G. P. Dasmarinas; June 20. Investigations at Manila concerning trade with Macan. Melchor de Baeca, and others; May 23-November 19.
Sources: All but two of these documents are obtained from original MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla. The papal decree is found in Hernaez's Coleccion de bulas, i, p. 108; the account of encomiendas is taken from Retana's Archivo del bibliofilo filipino, iv, pp. 41-111.
Translations: Such part of the first document as appears in this volume is translated by Norman F. Hall; the second is by Rev. T. C. Middleton, O.S.A., of Villanova College; the third and fifth, by James A. Robertson; the fourth, by Herman G. A. Brauer, of the University of Wisconsin; the sixth, by Jose M. and Clara M. Asensio; the seventh, by Henry B. Lathrop, of the University of Wisconsin; the eighth, by Alfonso de Salvio, of Harvard University.
The Collection of Tributes in the Filipinas Islands (concluded)
Letter from the Bishop to the Governor
Inasmuch as your Lordship wrote to me at San Francisco del Monte that the encomenderos were urgently seeking from you permission to make collections from their encomiendas, I despatched to you from that place an answer to the letter which your Lordship wrote to me after having received my statement and that of the other theologians of the bishopric who think carefully about this matter. I had therein represented to your Lordship some of the difficulties which might result from carrying into execution some of the plans proposed in the aforesaid statement. In the reply, I solved these difficulties; and have since been waiting to learn what your Lordship has communicated to the encomenderos regarding collections in the encomiendas which are without religious instruction. Since I must inform all confessors who are outside the city how they are to deal in the confessional with the aforesaid encomenderos, I pray your Lordship to favor me by advising me of your transactions with these encomenderos, so that we may all be of one mind, express ourselves in harmony, and avoid dissensions among ourselves, which are wont to be the cause of many evils. It is necessary that your Lordship should inform me promptly; for messages must be sent to some districts remote from here, and, if I do not write at once, I shall be unable to send word to the confessors in time. May God guard your Lordship. From this house, on Ash Wednesday of the year 91.
Reply by the Governor
Yesterday I received a letter from your Lordship in which you request me to inform you what resolutions and plans I have adopted in the matter of collecting the tributes. I reply that besides the former statements and conclusions which your Lordship has written on this subject in such learned fashion, I have read also the last decision and statement thereon which your Lordship sent me in reply to my letter to you on this subject. I answer that all this comes as from your most reverend hand, and is most holy and excellent. But on account of those very obstacles which I represented to you, which every day are constraining me more and more, I dare not undertake any innovation, or put into execution a doctrine which will expose all our affairs to such risk.
The point on which your Lordship and I most differ is concerning the pacified encomiendas which possess justice and religious instruction; and in those also pacified which enjoy justice, but are without religious instruction. The king grants to neither your Lordship nor myself authority to deal with these encomiendas, nor in his instructions does his Majesty mention or raise any doubt in regard to them; he discusses only those which are disaffected, or were never pacified. Consequently, the other encomiendas must remain in their present condition, without making any changes, until such time as his Majesty shall make other provisions. I therefore state that my opinion and final decision is that which your Lordship may see in this document. I trust that your Lordship will strive to conform thereto; if you cannot, please give an account of your opinion of it to his Majesty, so that he may declare what action we are to take. In the meantime, I shall order the encomenderos and the collectors to act in accordance with my decision; and I have no more to say on this matter, and shall make no changes. As far as I am concerned, this discussion is closed for the present, and settled until I shall receive further orders from my king; for this decision is what I consider best for his royal service. From the office, February 8, 1591.
[Salazar writes a short letter (dated Feb. 14) to Dasmarinas, urging him to adopt the measures proposed by the clergy; but, as it contains no new information, we do not present it here.]
Order Issued by the Governor for Collection of the Tributes
I, Gomez Perez Dasmarinas, governor and captain-general of these Islas Philipinas for the king our lord: Inasmuch as I am notified, by the decrees and instructions of his Majesty, wherein he commands and charges me to exert myself to check the excesses and lawless acts which are prevalent in the collection of the tributes in the encomiendas belonging to his Majesty, as well as those of the other encomenderos, I have looked into this matter; and, with all the care and attention I could give, I have consulted and conferred as to the best order and method that should be employed in the aforesaid collections, in order that God and the king, our lord, may be served. Therefore, in order that the Indians may not be annoyed or aforesaid excesses—it is fitting that the procedure is not due them, to put an end to the evils and wrongs which have existed in this business, and to check the aforesaid excesses—it is fitting that the procedure which is to be henceforth followed be understood and established. Accordingly, by this present I do order and command that in the collection of tributes, not only in the encomiendas of the king but in all others, the following rules and conditions shall be observed:
First: In the encomiendas of his Majesty as well as in those of private persons, where they have Christian instruction and the administration of secular justice for the maintenance of law and order, the entire tribute levied may be collected from the natives; and the encomendero is bound, with that part of the tribute which falls to him, to aid in the support of the minister or ministers of religion who belong to his encomienda. The said tribute shall be collected in its entirety in the aforesaid encomiendas where justice and religious instruction exist, and equally from all the Indians therein, whether believers or unbelievers. I also order all encomenderos who are or shall be appointed in the encomiendas, to provide with the utmost punctuality and promptness, each in his own encomienda, that part of the tribute which is due from them for the maintenance of religious teaching, churches, and all other purposes of religion, under penalty of being deprived of their encomiendas; and the collectors, under the penalties hereinafter written, which will be most vigorously executed.
Item: In those encomiendas where justice is administered, but where, through lack of ministers, there is no religious instruction, the tribute shall be collected, reserving that part which would be due to the minister, if they had one—namely, a fourth part of the tax, a little more or less, which part shall be left and freely surrendered to the Indians.
Item: In those encomiendas which, on account of their remoteness, have neither justice nor religious instruction, no tribute shall be collected until such time as God shall order the affairs of these islands; and his Majesty, informed of their condition, shall make other provisions, in order that he may be better served.
Item: The same is decreed for those encomiendas which are disaffected or have never been pacified. No collection shall be made in this case except from those encomiendas which, having once been pacified, and having rendered obedience to his Majesty, shall without any just cause rise in rebellion. From those encomiendas may be taken such part of the tribute as can conveniently be collected, for their preservation and by way of recognition; and whatever small portion his Majesty may order, and what the lord bishop cites, may be collected.
And since, according to the above, no tribute is to be levied where there is no justice, occasion is offered for many parts of these islands—which, on account of their great distance, are beyond its reach—to become turbulent and rebellious as soon as they realize that they are released from tribute which is now collected from them. Most pernicious consequences [would follow (?) —illegible in MS.] and many other districts would be disloyal and rebellious; and it would be necessary, when they should have sufficient religious instruction, to go back and win them and [illegible in MS.] anew. Assiduous efforts shall be made to provide, as quickly as possible, justice in the aforesaid encomiendas. Where it is now lacking, I charge the encomenderos to inform me of such districts and territories, with their topography and location; also of the number of those who pay tributes, so that I may appoint accordingly, in each encomienda, an alcalde-mayor, or a deputy, or others, if necessary, who may be suitable persons for such offices. They will have salaries sufficiently large to enable them to administer justice to the natives, protecting and defending them against anyone who would injure them, and maintaining such intercourse and friendship with them as will incline them to receive religious instruction when they shall have it. Thus in all the encomiendas which have this justice and preparation, as soon as it is known what benefits are conferred upon the natives by those ministers of justice, in influencing and governing them, as above stated, authority will be given to the encomenderos to collect the three-fourths of the tribute, as I have said. But in the meantime, none of it shall be imposed or levied; and as soon as justice is established, efforts shall also be made, until religious ministers shall come, to employ a layman or laymen of virtuous life and example, in order to instruct the natives, to the best of their ability, in the things of our holy faith; and such persons shall receive some benefice, in accordance with the royal right of presentation.
The encomenderos shall fulfil and observe all the aforesaid orders, under penalty of being deprived of their encomiendas. In encomiendas belonging to his Majesty, and in those of other and private persons when the encomenderos shall—by order, or through any other lawful impediment—be prevented from making the collections personally, in case these collectors should exceed just bounds they shall be fined five hundred pesos for his Majesty's treasury, and half the expenses of any war thus caused. In addition, they shall make good any losses caused by them to the said Indians, and shall pay all costs. The aforesaid persons are likewise ordered to make the collections with all possible gentleness and equity, observing the other instructions of his Majesty concerning the manner of collecting tributes. The Indians shall pay in kind, or in such articles as they prefer to give. I also order that an authorized copy of this my decree be furnished to each and every one of the encomenderos or collectors who shall engage in the aforesaid collections. This decree I order and command to be observed, fulfilled, and executed, under the penalties above stated, for the present and until such time as his Majesty, when well informed of the present state of affairs in this land, which has been mentioned above, shall make suitable provisions in these and all other matters, according to his pleasure. Upon the first occasion that offers itself there shall be sent on my part and that of the encomenderos of this commonwealth, to his Majesty, a detailed and careful account of what is here decreed and ordered, as well as what the lord bishop suggests and advises; so that his Majesty, having examined both sides of this question, may make such provisions and so direct our course that God and his Majesty may be best served, and all may have the same object. Done in Manila, on the twenty-eighth of February in the year 1591.
Letter from the Bishop to the Governor
[Evidently as the result of a dispute between these two dignitaries, Salazar writes (March 4) a letter to Dasmarinas, deprecating any hostility between them, defending his own position, ascribing the differences between them to intermeddlers, and prophesying evil to the country if Dasmarinas maintains his present purposes in regard to the tributes. He criticizes the governor's decree in various points—the permission to collect three-fourths of the amount levied; the appointment of more officials (in most of whom the bishop has no confidence); and the importance attached therein to the administration of justice in the encomiendas, as compared with the provision of religious instruction.]
Since your Lordship cares so little for these arguments, know that the reason which induced his Majesty to command that in Nueva Espana there should be no fiscals was, that they wrought injury to the Indians; ... and yet he had not so much certainty of the evil deeds committed by the fiscals as he has of those done by the alcaldes-mayor and the deputies. ... Among other decrees which, I am told, Doctor Vera brought when he came here as president of this Audiencia, is one commanding him to be very cautious in creating alcaldes-mayor, on account of the injury thus occasioned to the country. ... You say that you do not dare to make changes, lest the encomenderos abandon their encomiendas, or become disaffected; and yet you know that all the inhabitants of these islands, whether or not they possess encomiendas, have been and now are faithful and loyal vassals to their king; and that nothing which could occur, even to the injury of their property or lives, would prevent them from rendering obedience to his Majesty's commands. This is one of the things in which the inhabitants of these islands can take most pride, and his Majesty should most highly value them, on account of the fidelity with which they have served him, at the cost of their lives and possessions. [The king confers the encomiendas upon certain persons, who thus assume obligations to the Indians; that they may fulfil these, he orders them to collect the tributes. Accordingly, the alcaldes-mayor do not appear in the king's provisions regarding this matter, and Salazar questions the governor's right to appoint them.] Neither the king of Castilla nor his ministers can exercise, in regard to the Indians, more authority than what the church confers upon them; and the church has not over the infidels as much authority as some who think otherwise have given your Lordship to understand. ... The church did not grant'lordship over the Indians to the kings of Castilla with the principal object of establishing justice among them, but did so in order that they should furnish to the natives religious instruction—which always, and in every instance, can and ought to be given them. [No tribute should be imposed upon the Indians unless religious instruction is given to them; and to allow them the fourth part of the tax is not to benefit their souls. The bishop insists that the governor is responsible for taking such measures as shall remedy the present abuses, and urges him to accept the plan proposed by the clergy.] If your Lordship, after reading what I here state, shall decide to pursue and carry into execution the opinion and resolution which you have communicated to me, I cannot, without violating the obligations of my office, decline to release the consciences of those whom I have in charge. From this your Lordship's house, on the fourth of March of the year 1591.
Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Filipinas.
Letter from the Governor to the Bishop
[Two days later (March 6) Dasmarinas answers, at considerable length, the letter written by the bishop. He adopts a conciliatory tone, disclaiming any intention to be arbitrary, unfair, or unfriendly. He explains his position in regard to the collection of tributes, saying that the plan laid down in his recent decree is but temporary, awaiting only the provision by the king of a sufficient number of religious teachers. He reminds Salazar that encomiendas and tributes were established in the land as soon as the Spaniards had obtained a foothold there, when only some half-score priests were to be had. Religious instruction is the chief but not the only reason for collecting tributes; and, until it shall be adequately provided, it is but reasonable to collect for the benefit of justice bestowed upon the Indians. The tax also is very moderate; "since an Indian pays here one peso, while in Nueva Espana he pays three or four pesos, by way of tribute."] The advantages resulting to the Indians are not so small as your Lordship thinks. If we had no other example of this, the one which is afforded by the province of Pintados would be sufficiently convincing—seeing that, before the Spaniards came to these islands, and even after they came, the inhabitants voyaged from one island to another with many boats, assaulting, plundering, and murdering one another, not only in their fleets by sea, but in armed bands on the land. It was only after they had intercourse and communication with the Spaniards—although they had no religious instruction, and in most regions no justice—that factions, and raids, and assaults have ceased among them. This is no insignificant gain, to say nothing of many others, which, as I have said, result from the establishment of justice, in their better government, order, and preparation for receiving religious instruction, which is our principal object. Dasmarinas admits that religion is more important than justice; but the latter is so much more expensive that it justifies the appropriation of a larger share of the revenues; moreover, the encomendero should be allowed enough for his support, and for that of his family and the soldiers whom he must support (usually eight or ten in number). A parallel case is seen in the relative positions of himself and the bishop; the latter's office is certainly a higher dignity, and of greater importance, yet he receives but two thousand (pesos?), while the governor has twelve thousand; but the latter is thus remunerated because he incurs much greater expense. The governor claims that his instructions command him to consult the bishop only in reference to affairs in the districts which are mutinous, or have never been pacified; and cites the instructions further to show that he is justified in collecting tributes where religious instruction is not given, and that the bishop's privileges in the conduct of affairs are only advisory, not authoritative. Moreover, the opinions which the religious orders have furnished to him show that they disagree with the bishop in many important particulars—not to mention that the bishop and the religious superiors signed their approval of his plan in this matter, soon after his arrival. Dasmarinas has already compelled the encomenderos to refrain from collecting the fourth part of the tax when they do not provide the Indians with religious instruction—a reform which had never been secured until he made it. He advises the bishop to institute another reform by insisting that the encomenderos shall not collect any tributes until they shall have provided for the Indians both religion and justice.
I do not understand how it can seem to your Lordship that to provide the land with justice is to bring about its destruction. Your Lordship has, indeed, told me that, when the alcalde-mayor is what he should be, he better edifies and preaches than any minister of religion whatever. Thus far, I have not found any of these officials who are bad, except those of whom your Lordship has made some complaints to me, and whose evil-doing is proved by naught else than the opinion of your Lordship.
It seems to your Lordship that I wish to appoint too large a number of these alcaldes-mayor; but one day your Lordship asked me to appoint some of them. Since I have come to this land, I have established a new administration of justice in the island of Masbate; and good results which have followed, can be stated by the father custodian, who arrived yesterday from that island, and is well acquainted with the excellent result there. Hitherto, tribute has been collected there in the absence of every form of religious teaching, or administration of justice; but now, only from their intercourse and relations with the Spaniards and from having justice established at once among them, they have already made such progress that they demand a minister, and even the blacks have come down from the interior to settle near us.
[The governor reminds the bishop that the progress of religion among the heathen must depend upon the foundation established for that good work by secular government; and that if this be not maintained the land will relapse into barbarism, and the Spaniards will be compelled to abandon what they have begun to build in the islands.] Your Lordship should make some estimate of the damage which would result therefrom to the king our lord and his royal treasury; for according to that his Majesty would have to find one hundred and fifty thousand pesos and more with which to make restitution, to say nothing of thirty thousand of income which he would lose; for all the encomiendas are his. These islands would be left without one soldier, and your Lordship and the religious would alone remain; but within eight days there would be none of you left. Your Lordship may be sure of one thing: until I receive express orders from my king to do so, I can make no change whatever in regard to the encomiendas, by reducing or cutting off their income. It is twenty-six years since they were first instituted, and during twelve years your Lordship has known that they were in this condition; and yet you have until now maintained silence. [The governor again declares that he will not change his attitude; and that he has no right to interfere between the king and the encomenderos. It is his business to establish justice, and the encomenderos are bound to provide instruction; but they must have the means to do so.] Your Lordship does not provide religious to minister to the Indians, because you have none; but you have never been willing to give these good Christian laymen whom I have mentioned permission to go among them meanwhile to do this good work, although the encomenderos have many times asked for them, both since and before I came here. But your Lordship replies that you are not willing that any layman should teach them to make the sign of the cross; accordingly nothing is done for them. [The governor justifies some minor provisions of his decree, on a basis practically the same as has already been set forth; and, in his turn, cites various learned theologians. He requests the bishop to prevent the clergy from discussing this subject in their pulpits, as they have often done, which is not fitting to the uses of a house dedicated to God.]
Letter from Salazar to Dasmarinas
[The bishop replies (March 8) to the foregoing letter, which he accuses of being inspired by others than the governor—presumably by the Jesuits, since the name of Joseph de Acosta rouses Salazar to anger; he declares that "the doctrine contained in that book  is exceedingly pernicious, and erroneous in regard to the Indias," and warns the governor that under their guidance he will infallibly plunge into many errors. The land will go to ruin, and the governor and his advisers will be responsible therefor. He defends himself against what he considers unjust aspersions on his character, and remonstrates against the governor's neglect of his counsels. He promises to put a stop to the preaching by his clergy on public matters. The salary due him is greatly in arrears, which has caused him much privation; but he does not wish to receive it if it shall proceed from unjust collection of the tributes.]
Letter from Dasmarinas to Salazar
I have received your Lordship's letter dated today. When your Lordship says that, with the great number of opinions I am trying to weaken yours, I can only reply that my intention certainly has not been such, but to tell your Lordship with all plainness and truth the state of the case—which is that I have learned whether this is the general sentiment of the theologians of this bishopric, as your Lordship said it was in your conclusions. Even if it were so, I could not do more than leave it in the same state in which it was, and report it to his Majesty. But, my lord, if I find some other expression of opinion in clinging to the majority, I do not think that I am mistaken in it; and to this end alone I wrote to your Lordship—certainly not that you should be troubled by what did not come into my thought. Still less would I have you think that I made use of anyone in writing the letter which I sent to your Lordship last night, for I certify, upon the life of my son Luis, that (although that letter seems to your Grace to be a large harvest from my little stock) there is not in it one word by another person, save what suggested itself to me from my own papers and discourses; for all that I wrote there I have told you already at various times, except those quotations from authors and from the Council of Lima. Those I asked to be given to me, from memory, by the person who mentioned them to me as authority for what he stated and thought; and I quoted them there that your Lordship might see that I had not made up my mind without foundation. All this I had need of in order to justify myself in your eyes, for it seems to you that I could not reply without the help of assistants; but thus far neither my king nor his advisers have noticed in me such a deficiency as that. On another occasion your Lordship told me, in Saint Agustin,  that I had read Father Acosta, although I have never in my life seen his book; and when your Lordship says that his doctrine is very pernicious, I have nothing to reply but that no book is written by any father of the Society which is not very carefully looked over and examined and approved by all the members. But before God, and in the name of the holy season [Lent] in which we are, I protest to your Lordship that all these fathers have not erred toward your Lordship in anything except that, at my request, they said what they felt. They are very devoted to you; and if there is in my letter anything worthy of blame, the fault is mine. I say this that your Lordship may not lay it upon anyone to whom it does not belong. Nor am I so fond of the far-fetched reasonings of others that in order to write a letter I need to use anything but the argument which the subject itself and its accompanying circumstances carry with them. And one occurs to me now, which is that matter of having laymen, for lack of religious ministers, look after and bring together the Indians and instruct them in our holy faith. This, I say, is in conformity with the royal right of appointment, where the king expressly orders it; and although your Lordship says that it is not to be believed that the king with so much risk should have put into my hands alone so important a business, I am satisfied with myself and I think that his Majesty is. For any business which is not of my profession I shall not direct by my own judgment; in this matter, accordingly, I consulted with those whose business it was, and I pray your Lordship to tell me if I did wrong in this. Your Grace says that I am new in the islands, and unlettered; and on the other hand you say that those with whom I have consulted are misleading me and are mistaken. I do not know then what recourse your Lordship leaves for me to find it out, if, as you say, I am a new arrival, and not a theologian, and you take away from me the recourse to the experienced and the theologians. Now since enough has been written and answered about this, I beg of your Lordship not to weary yourself with answering this letter, which is written only not to leave yours without reply. At least do not answer until the treatise is finished which you say you are composing, in which may it please the divine goodness to give your Lordship so much light that his Majesty, seeing it, may confirm it and approve it as a thing from your hand—with the result that all may be of one opinion in this island, and that all the service of God may be set in order and freed from difficulties, and that these divisions and encounters may cease; for I assure your Lordship that in many ways the state is very much scandalized, and that that matter is ill carried out which you said would be improved concerning the pulpits, for this affair was discussed with no little liberty in that place today. May our Lord keep your Lordship. From the office, March 8, 1591.
Letter from the Governor to the Bishop
As your Lordship was absent from this city, and many things presented themselves to me which were important to the service of God and of his Majesty, and needed remedy, it seemed to me that in order to provide for them it would be best for me to represent them to your Lordship in this letter; and I beg of you to see to them in order that they may be provided for and adjusted as may be most fitting and may best serve our Lord.
The preaching of the gospel is the matter in which we serve God most in these regions to which it came so late; and this is the first intention of his Holiness and of his Majesty, and it is the principal care which your Lordship and all of us who have come here must have. Yet, although this is so, there is nothing which needs more to be provided for and set right than this, on account of the lack which there is of ministers, whether clergy or religious, to do this work. For although his Majesty in his holy zeal has sent so many and continues to send them, there is need of a great many more, considering the many regions which we must reach. So we must not only make all possible efforts to have a sufficient number of ministers come, but must try to find means to distribute in so wide a field the force that we have here, endeavoring with all equality to arrange and stretch the line as much as possible, that there may not be an over-abundance in some parts and a distinct lack in others; but rather we should act as one who has much to cover and but little cloth, who plies the shears with no little prudence, being watchful in marking his outline to see how it can reach here and there. This may cause some inconvenience to the religious themselves, for it comes to this [illegible in MS.] since we have not the fulness and abundance that there is in Espana. I have already asked this from your Lordship at other times, as being one who was under such obligations to set about it, as well for the good of the souls as for the temporal good of the king and of his encomenderos, by selecting and distributing ministers in order that thus religious instruction may be communicated and spread. For this the following [illegible in MS.] plans occur to me, if they seem suitable to your Lordship.
The new settlement of La Hermita and Malate may be all one administration. Paranaque and Cavite at least can be another; and, by establishing a house for religious at Cavite, Paranaque and the tingues ["hills"] may be administered by visit, and also the lowlands of Tuley and Limbo. In this way there will remain three clergymen who can minister elsewhere, because [illegible in MS.] which is a great burden. The Augustinian fathers are able to give enough instruction to [meet (?) - illegible in MS.] their obligation; and they will accept it and take charge of it without any more alms being given them. I would save up what is given there, in order to bestow it somewhere else; for there are so many places where there is need of it. Moreover, two religious could be taken from Vatan, because there are four there, and two are sufficient, and there are not enough alms given for more. Furthermore, Father Leon is a very good speaker; and the dean, as he wishes to advance him, can employ him in the ministry.
The king's villages in Ylocos are for the most part without religious instruction; and the Augustinian fathers say that it should be given to some of them because, as they are new Christians, they do not confess yet. Thus, if the convents were near, a few might remain alone until there should be plenty of ministers; since now all that they can do is to baptize them and prepare them for subsequent confession. It would not be unsuitable that, for the present, while there is no greater supply of ministers, one friar should be alone in a house, since one clergyman is also alone, and is entrusted with the care of a greater number of souls. Moreover, Father Carvajal is a good interpreter and could be of use. I beg of your Lordship to insist that the clergymen who are ministers of religious instruction should not come and go so many times to Manila—not only on account of the offenses which they commit, of which there always are some (as your Lordship might ascertain if you wished to), but also that they may not impose such burdens on the Indians. This is as much as concerns the provision of ministers.
I propose the Augustinian fathers to your Lordship because they have a greater number of religious than the other orders have, and not because I have any partiality in regard to the orders, as your Lordship suspects. I do not know on what you found your suspicion unless it be on the advantages and benefits which have resulted to these fathers from my protection and favor, as your Lordship is accustomed to say, because you will not give any. I will tell you of several things in which, by my interfering and inclining to your side, they have lost what was due them; for in Cagayan I took away from them a resident's house which was worth one hundred and fifty pesos of rent to them; in Tondo, the lands to which the Indians laid claim; and the property in Laguio and Nuestra Senora de Guia, which was theirs. When they were saying mass in their house to the Indians, with considerable notoriety and scandal to them, and no little affliction to the fathers, they were ejected from the [illegible in MS.] at my instance; for I asked it, and chose to give them this punishment, in order to palliate their offense. Thereupon your Lordship [illegible in MS.] occasioned some disturbance to result. This is what I have done for this order, and the way in which I have favored them, which in truth I might have done in many things most deservedly, and very rightly and justly. But I protest before God that I neither have now nor have had any other consideration or regard in this or in anything else, except a desire that in some way or other so evident an obligation should be fulfilled, and that religious affairs should be settled as they ought, according to the adjustment and amendment which they themselves sought [illegible in MS.] In accomplishing this, let not your Lordship understand that the royal exchequer is to suffer, because [illegible in MS.] his royal intention is that there shall be no lack in this. Accordingly, we shall have recourse in other districts to the clergy whom I mentioned above as being at leisure, who will be occupied with their own support. The plans for this, as I say—taking away here, and replacing there, and distributing and selecting them in order that each one may receive a little—this is all matter for your Lordship and for the obligations of your office. It is much more your Lordship's duty that you should attend to this business than it is to prevent the king and his encomenderos from enjoying what in justice they ought to, because they do not give you ministers or because they have not them. Your Lordship can remedy and provide for this only in one of three ways—either as a protector of the Indians, or as bishop, or as one who has a special commission for it from his Majesty. As protector, what your Lordship can do is to bring suits in the courts (and, even then, not in all cases), and be satisfied with the decision; or else perform your own duties in the matter. As bishop, your Lordship is concerned with the collections of tribute, in that in confession you should deny absolution to anyone who confesses that he has not fulfilled well the charge of an estate. I do not know whether you, as bishop, can command the confessors that they all should refuse absolution in this or that case, provided the said confessors and your Lordship be of the same opinion and doctrine. As for special commission, I do not know if your Lordship have one, unless it be in the unruly and unpacified encomiendas. With this supposition there remains to your Lordship no other foundation on which to act. Neither does his Majesty commit it to you, nor do I find how your Lordship can be occupied in dealing with [illegible in MS.] more than to give your opinion on it; and here ends the prerogative which your Lordship can claim in this matter. You make strenuous efforts in what does not properly concern you, and fail to remedy what is most necessary and close to your office, which is what I mentioned above about religious instruction. I beg of your Lordship that, putting aside human considerations, you order that this be attended to, which the good of these souls demands with [illegible in MS.] necessity. Since in this way there are needs now, there will be at least many more. Meanwhile, until ministers are provided more liberally from Spain, let them all get along as best they can, and accommodate themselves, establishing houses wherever they wish to, and where no better opportunity is to be expected. God knows that this does not [illegible in MS.] your Lordship, because you interfere with my office. As far as this is concerned, if I could [illegible in MS.] with it and my commission, or even give it all to your Lordship, and perform my duty, [I would ask (?) —illegible in MS.] your Lordship to do it, if it were not for the obstacle which that would put in the way of the careful guidance and [illegible in MS.] who manage affairs.
Neither does your Lordship resolve to order that, on account of the great lack of religious ministers which exists, provision may be made in the encomiendas that laymen of good life and example may instruct the Indians, bringing them thus to a knowledge of the true God, as well as into friendship and intercourse with us. From this would result at least the favorable disposition which you wish them to have for the time when there may be religious instruction for them, as his Majesty orders in his charge regarding presentations. I have proposed this to your Lordship on several occasions, but you do not set about it or reply to it. Since your Lordship [knows(?) —illegible in MS.] what persons will be fitted for this ministry, I beg you to tell me of some who are suitable; for, as I am new here, am not as well able to [select them(?)—illegible in MS.] properly; and those whom I brought and know are occupied in other duties and neither [know(?)] the language nor are acquainted with the country.
The dependence which the Indians have upon your Lordship as one to shelter them and to defend them as bishop and father; and, beyond this, as protector, to try and relieve them and to negotiate with the person whom the king shall maintain here concerning all that shall be to their good, and to ward off all that would be grievous to them—all this is very just and proper in your Lordship, and very necessary to the Indians as poor, wretched beings. Although I have always told them to go to you or to the alcaldes-mayor, who would report their suits or troubles to your Lordship or to me, I did not, my Lord, intend to give them occasion that on pretext of this, or of protection, they should come with every childish trifle to Manila from their villages, perhaps very far away. And it is not two or four Indians who come, but often a whole village, with their women and children. But whether they come in small or in great numbers, they stay here, spending in petitions more than the thing which they are suing for is worth, while they are needed at home by their sowed fields, their plants, their young cattle, their wives, their children, their houses, and for their services to the community and the church and others. One might come on a business of importance, as I have ordered. Now your Lordship sees how annoying this is, and how you should wean them from repeating these comings and goings, in which they work their own harm and ruin themselves; and so, except in very important cases, their trouble and our time might be spared by preventing their coming and wasting time with their troublesome affairs.
The dignities, prebends, and canonries of your Lordship's cathedral you will fill the first time, according to the apostolic privilege which your Lordship holds, and then the king begins to present. I am very plain in this, for all I wish is to know what and how many have been filled by you and how many remain to be filled, in order that we may agree on this, as well as on provision for the beneficed curacies and the administration of religious instruction, which are assigned to the clergy. In these his Majesty always presents one of two whom you propose, according to his edicts. It will be well to know if the number is full or if there are some places to be filled, and if those which are filled are so with establishment in a parish and canonical installation by your Lordship, preceding presentation by his Majesty, or if they are, as I have heard of some, only in encomienda, accepted with your Lordship's consent; because in this way, by taking away one and placing another [illegible in MS.], and not in right of possession, the royal right of presentation is defrauded. I do not understand how it is that, when your Lordship had ordained Father Salinas under pretext of [giving him] the benefice of Catanduanes, it remained as it was, and he is serving in Valayan. I say all this only through desire that your Lordship may lose nothing of your rights, and that I may not give a bad account of what I am responsible for to his Majesty; and that affairs may be settled with the clearness and certainty which is desirable. I had other things to tell your Lordship, but they will wait for a better opportunity in order not to weary you; and if any doubt or difficulty arises between your Lordship and me concerning what has been said, there are learned men here who can easily solve it by examining it and discussing it, and by their decision and determination I will abide very willingly. Our Lord, etc. From this house of your Lordship, March 19, 1591.
Letter from Salazar to Dasmarinas
Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from your Lordship, and intended to begin a reply immediately; but there are so many occupations crowding upon me that they do not leave me time to take breath; and although I came out here to finish the little treatise which I had promised your Lordship, I see that neither here nor there have I opportunity to do anything.
I was much pleased with the earnest zeal which your Lordship showed in your letter, but you must know that as I am old and have seen so many things, I do not care very much for what I hear, but wait for what may be done; because laying down general rules and instructions for what is to be done is a very easy thing, but very hard to put into practice. Who doubts that the preaching of the gospel is the most important thing for which we have come here? but yet I see that this is the least object of solicitude; and, if you do not think so, look at the progress of the natives. I know very well that there is plenty of care about temporal things; and, as long as these present themselves, religious instruction is to cease—or the Indians must support it, even if they never understand it So we all say that the Gospel is the principal thing, but our works show what it is that we care most about. Ordinances, decrees, and provisions which speak in favor of it, we have in plenty; the fulfilment of them will come when there is nothing temporal to be looked after, which will be very late. If your Lordship does not think so, ask what is going on in the island of Panay. Of what do they take most account, of the galleys and ships which are being built there, or of the religious instruction which was to be preached there? Because I have seen with what dislike your Lordship hears of what is going on there, I have ceased to inform you of it—which I did, hoping that if you understood the situation, you would find means to improve it. Letters and messengers from there have told me things which are enough to break one's heart; but now I am hardening it, because I see that it is of no use for me to grieve over them. This I say in reply to the statement in the preface to your Lordship's letter, in which you say: "If they would allow me to be bishop, I would maintain better order in my bishopric than there is, and the natives would be much better instructed and not so harassed." But where there are so many to order and so few to obey, he who leads this dance can ill guide it to the place where it ought to go. For this reason many things are going so far astray, and they will go astray as long as he who has care of everything does not have the authority which he ought to have. For how can I arrange for the religious instruction, or take away here or place there, if after I have ordered it someone says that he chooses not to abide by it, but to do what he thinks best? Allowing, in general, that in moral matters there is a little improvement, let us come to the particular point which your Lordship treats of in your letter. But, before considering it, I wish to warn your Lordship that concern for these things, and the arrangement of them, and deciding who is to be here and who is to be there, is my business—not only because it belongs to my office, but because his Majesty particularly committed and entrusted it to me, recommending me to do it in communication with your Lordship; but the execution of it he leaves to me, as by right is proper. I say this because I have heard that by virtue of some decree or other they are persuading your Lordship that religious can establish themselves without my consent in villages where they have never been. In this they are misleading your Lordship, and they themselves are mistaken; for that decree on the other side—which notifies the viceroy of Nueva Espana, which has never been used in this land, and which no governor has ever dared to use—is previous to the Council of Trent, after which it has no force, because in it the contrary [i.e., to the Council's decision] is decreed. So I beg of your Lordship, as I am in quiet and peaceful possession, that no house whatsoever be taken in my bishopric for religious without first seeking and obtaining my permission. It was some days ago that I found this out; but because your Lordship told me that you did not believe what they said to you, I did not pay any attention to it until I learned, yesterday, that the provincial of San Augustin says that, by decrees which they have from the king, they can occupy houses without my permission. This I believe your Lordship will not do; and I can not understand how they can do it with any conscience With this understanding, let us come to what you say.
The new settlement of La Ermita and that of Malate can very well be under one religious administration, and it shall be that of the priest whom I have placed there. The same seems to me to be true of Cavite and Paranaque, of which the priest whom I have there shall have charge. In this way the fathers of San Augustin can take away three or four religious who are now in those two places, and put them in other localities where they have great need of these men to fulfil their responsibility. I say this on the one hand, on account of the great satisfaction which I have in these two ministers; and on the other hand, because they are already incumbents of those two districts, and as such are, in equity, under obligations. Accordingly, I will not and cannot give them to one who may tell me that he will not receive them except as a favor, and then remain there, even though I should be dissatisfied with him. Add to this that I have need of some clergymen near me for the many necessities which arise, which religious cannot supply, and in order to help in the cathedral at times; for there is much need of this, as your Lordship has probably seen sometimes, when you have been there. As for what they say, that the fathers of San Augustin will take charge of those districts without having more alms given them, I am very sorry on account of this offer of these fathers, because I know that whatever burden is taken from the king's treasury will fall on the Indians; and I do not wish this, neither should your Lordship wish it. Since those fathers have, as I have said, so many districts to provide for, let them take there what they get therefrom.
Concerning the religious of Batan and the others of this bishopric, it seems to me that neither your Lordship nor I should interfere with them, for they know what is suitable for the government and preservation of their orders; and they would be great fools not to consider themselves first rather than others, for St. Paul knew very well what he was saying when he bade his disciple Timothy to take heed to himself first and afterward to teaching. For the apostle knew very well how proper it was for a minister to take heed to himself first rather than others—and this not only for the good of the minister himself, but also for that of those to whom he ministers. Now since the apostle said this to a bishop, who is under so great obligations to look after his sheep, how much better might it be said to the friars, who have this duty only through charity. This is the law of charity, primum mihi secundum tibi; and this should be observed more among religious than among other ministers who are not included among them—in the first place, because these religious did not choose to take up this ministry as under just obligations to do so, but merely through charity, which looks first to itself and then to its neighbor; in the second place, because a simple-minded minister who is withdrawn from the world, and given to prayer, and a careful observer of his religion, and who will make the Indians feel that he lives as a saint, is worth more than twenty who are inattentive to their duties, and who cannot remain an hour in their cells. These virtues and other similar ones, without which a religious can not maintain himself, can ill be acquired by the religious when they go alone and are so separated as you wish. Would to God that I might see in every house for Indians, not four such as are in Batan, but six or eight, and not one, as your Lordship says, because I should expect more fruit from these six or eight quiet ones than from eighty heedless ones. For as St. Paul said, speaking to the Corinthians, Regnum dei non est in sermone sed in virtute; for chattering is chattering, and teaching through works is the true teaching. There are no people in the world who have so great need of good ministers as have the Indians, or who notice as much as they do the life which these ministers lead, and the example which they set them. For one religious to be alone, although he be a St. Paul, is unsafe; and so it is proper that in this region we should permit the superiors of each community to govern their religious and arrange for them as it seems best to them; for, since they came to convert these souls, it is to be believed that they will not fail to do so if they can. But they will not, and very rightly, consent to ruin themselves through maintaining the religious instruction; but this is not unfavorable to religious instruction, but rather very favorable to it—since, in the way which I describe, it is to give them ministers who will profit them; and the way which your Lordship proposes means to put fire to them which will consume them. Of this I have more experience than your Lordship or anyone else who is in these islands, because I was a friar forty-six years, and minister more than thirty, and have been bishop twelve; and I know it all and have seen it all, and this is good reason why more reliance should be placed on me than on any other. This same matter was discussed in Mexico among all the orders. When they saw that it was ruinous to them to be alone, they determined to establish houses where there should be at least four; and, in order that they might support themselves without being burdensome to the Indians, they decreed that the orders of St. Dominic and St. Augustine might have some estates in the Indian villages, by which to support themselves. As it had been ordered by his Majesty that they should not hold property in the villages of the Indians, I went to Espana to see about the matter, and obtained from his Majesty the revocation of this decree. As some of the auditors of the Council said what your Lordship says now, I freed them from that error, and proved to them that it was not expedient that the friars should live otherwise than in a community. I discussed the same thing with his Majesty, and it seemed well to him and so it was provided. In confirmation of this, the fathers of St. Dominic who came to these islands brought a brief from his Holiness, confirmed by the royal Council, which orders that in each house there should be at least four religious; and they tell me that in the [illegible abbreviation in MS.] they praised it greatly and were much edified. In this way, wherever your Lordship thinks of making a short cut, you take a longer route. To give to the Indians ministers [as you propose?] will be to give them those who would destroy them, or at least who would be of very little profit to them. Do not think that I am so careless that I would have waited till now if I had thought that what your Lordship says would be expedient; but as I know how important it is for the good of my sheep that those who teach them should live uprightly, I am more pleased to see the religious living together than to see them separated. I am sorry in my heart when I know that some religious is alone in a house, and if I could remedy it I would do so; but I do what I can in not consenting that, through taking too many houses, the friars may be left alone in others. Your Lordship will do me the great favor and kindness not to treat of any other matter which shall be contrary to this, because I know that it is to destroy the religious and ruin religious instruction. The provincial who shall do this will give me a very bad example; and I shall understand that he cares more about establishing houses than about looking after his friars or religious instruction. On this account the religious and I have had some quarrels, but I know that they have not been right; for my zeal and desire has not been to prevent their having houses, but to prevent their taking so many that they could not support those establishments without harm to themselves and to the Indians. When your Lordship says that two are sufficient in Batan, you show clearly that you are not well informed of what is needed in order that there be religious instruction; for in Batan there is need of two more friars in order that it may be well instructed. As to what your Lordship says about provision for the encomiendas of Ylocos, you have as much care for them as if you forgot those which the king has in Panay and in other regions of the Pintados, who are all, or most of them, Christians. The Augustinian fathers, in whose charge these were wont to be, abandoned them; but since they have returned to take charge of the religious instruction of that people, and the obligation which holds them is greater than that of Ylocos, let them cease to claim houses there until they have more ministers. As for those who were to be sent to Ylocos, where there was no obligation at all, let them be sent to the Pintados, where there is so much obligation. With those who are to be taken from Malate, Laguio, and Paranaque, two or three houses might be occupied among the Pintados in the king's villages, which have been without religious instruction now for some time. If your Lordship carries this out, you will take a great burden from the conscience of the king and from your own, and those fathers will do a thing which they are under great obligations to do; for to claim the charge of Ylocos is only a whim of those fathers, and a desire to undertake what they cannot carry on vigorously. If your Lordship had consulted with me, I know that I should have given you much safer advice than that which others give you; because there is no one in this country who knows as much as I do about what is fitting, nor is there anyone who would give it to your Lordship with so little regard for other considerations as I.
What I have said about the religious, that it is not fitting for them to go about alone, does not extend to the priests; because these, by their profession and habit, are not obliged to be together, but each one goes by himself. This has been the usage of the church, and, so far, we have not seen that any bad results have followed; but many indeed have followed from the religious dwelling alone.
There is another great evil in what your Lordship wishes, and it is that, to station so many religious who are scattered about, each one by himself, is not to establish religious instruction but to permit it to go to ruin; for I have always been of the opinion, and shall be all my life, that a few well instructed are better than many ill instructed. When they are ill instructed they are like an ill-cured wound, which, when we think that it is well, breaks forth again. Thus it is with the ill-instructed Indians; for when we think that they have profited, we find that they are worse than before they were baptized. This comes from never having sufficient religious instruction, which in this part of the world is most necessary, among these unfortunate people who in but few places have seen one happy day. Your Lordship also suggests where the priests may be placed. To this I reply that, as we leave it to the superiors to govern their religious, it would be right for your Lordship to leave it to me to govern my priests, as I leave it to you to look after your captains and soldiers; for I know what each one of my priests is for, as your Lordship knows of your men. Your Lordship must understand that I am not so careless of the life that the priests lead that I am not on the watch, and they know this well; and if sometimes they come to Manila it is with my permission, or on business which cannot be avoided. In this I know that there is more to be remedied elsewhere than in my priests. If the scattering of these ministers in so many regions is, as your Lordship suggests, that the king and the encomiendero may collect their taxes, it seems to me that this is not a good means for it; because where there is not sufficient religious instruction, as there is not where there is one minister in an encomienda, neither the king nor the encomenderos can receive as much as your Lordship wishes to give them. And I know well from the Christian spirit of our king that, if he were informed of the truth which I know and have told you, he would never consent that any money which was so ill gathered should enter his treasury. Some day this truth will be known and we shall see who will weep for not having believed it. His Majesty understood this very well when, in an article of the letter which he wrote to me, he bade me to try to provide sufficient religious instruction; for his Majesty sees clearly that what is actually done is rather to neglect than really to provide the Indians with what they need. Would to God, as I know that what I say is true, that I might satisfy my conscience by not saying what I am going to pass over in silence, and that I might be in peace; for I desire this more than to see myself in the midst of disputes and hard feeling. But the obligation which I have, to fulfil the duties of my office, does not allow me to keep silent, but I have to speak and say what I feel.
I do not understand what your Lordship says about the Augustinian fathers and do not wish to reply to it until you have explained it to me, because it never entered my thoughts to be sorry that you should favor them, for they deserve it and your Lordship should do so. But when your Lordship says that since you came here they have lost some of their rights, I do not wish to agree to that, nor do I think that they will say so; but let this wait for another time, for I do not wish to treat of it here.
At this point your Lordship makes a long digression, trying to give me to understand what my office is and what I can do and what I can not do, and for this your Lordship makes distinctions of protector and bishop and commissioner. Your Lordship need not have taken so much trouble; for, as Captain Becerra dares to write to me not to take so much trouble to give him light, because he has enough from God, so it would not be very much for me to dare to tell your Lordship not to take so much trouble as you have taken in this letter to teach me what my office is and what I may do in conformity with it—because, speaking with the respect which is due to your Lordship, you did not come to this bishopric to teach me but to be taught by me. In truth I do not understand what could be your Lordship's thought in discussing a matter so foreign to your profession; and it did not seem at all well to me, unless your Lordship regards me as so contemptible a person that I am not equal to this. Although humility is well in all, and particularly in bishops, it is not humility for the sheep to teach the shepherd; nor would it be considered well in me, and still less so in your Lordship, if it were known that I allowed you, who should take rules of right living from me, to give them to me. Read, or have read to you, the chapter si imperator 96 distin., in which your Lordship will see what is the duty of secular princes and what that of bishops, where among other words it says these: "If the emperor is Catholic he is a son, not a prelate, of the church; and whatever concerns religion he is to learn, not teach." In what follows in this chapter your Lordship will see what is your duty and what is mine; and our Lord, through the prophet Malachi, says that the lips of the priest held knowledge, and from his mouth the law is to be sought, and not from the governors. Since your Lordship wished to be master when you should have been pupil, you could not avoid falling into the difficulties into which you have fallen in this letter, as you say that you do not know whether the bishop can order that all the confessors should not absolve in this or that case. It is almost a matter of course that the bishop may reserve cases, when that may seem best to him; and it is an amusing thing that your Lordship sets about declaring to me when the confessors are to reserve the cases and when they are not to do so. I am astonished, and marvel at your judgment and prudence in coming to discuss such matters with your bishop, especially when your Lordship knows that he has studied a great deal to know this which you can not know, nor would it be proper for you to know it. The cases which I shall reserve shall be reserved, and those who dare to absolve, although they may have other privileges, will commit mortal sin, when the bishop declares the reason why he does it; and many doctors of the highest standing maintain that the absolution is void in such cases. When anyone shall confront me with a concession opposed to this, he must have studied deeply, for many talk about concessions without understanding them. Since your Lordship meddles so much in things in which you ought not to, do not be astonished if I reply as is suitable, in order that your Lordship may be instructed, and that I may satisfy the objections which are brought against me. When your Lordship says that you do not know and can not discover how I can be concerned in trying to remedy anything which concerns the encomiendas which are peaceful, except by giving my opinion about the matter, I say that I am not astonished that your Lordship does not know, since you are not under obligations to know; but I am astonished that because you yourself do not know, your Lordship should think that I do not know, since you cannot but confess that I know much more than your Lordship does about the matter in question. That your Lordship may be completely undeceived, please know that in order to discuss the collection of tributes and the rest that has to be done in that connection, I have no need of a commission from the king, because I have it from God. This limitation is proper for your Lordship, because you have no power but that which the king has given you. I hold mine from God, who gives the bishops all that they need to govern their bishoprics; and so I do not need to have the king tell me what I have to do, but I have to determine what is proper for the unburdening of the royal conscience, and my duty toward your Lordship and the others who are under my care; for I know better than any who are here what is proper for relieving the royal conscience in the Philipinas. Do not consider this as presumption, for it is not, but merely telling the truth; for if we consider the law, I studied it very well many years ago, and as for the facts, I know them better than anyone else, and there is no one who has so much experience as I. Your Lordship need not tell me that it is not my place to act in this matter, for it is, and it is more fitting for me than for any other to act in it and determine what should be done about it. Neither do I need to pay any attention to the fact that there are some who say the opposite, because, beyond the fact that I know that those who say the opposite are wrong and make your Lordship err, besides this, I say that when the bishop determines a thing after having taken due care not to be mistaken, it should not be suffered that others, however excellent they may be, should dare to say the opposite, for this is to cause dissensions between the prelate and his flock. Whoever shall be the cause of this, it will not go well with him, because in this bishopric there is no other doctor than I, and whatever I say must stand and pass in my tribunal. If I am not what I should be, let them use the remedy which our Lord Jesus Christ left in His church, as St. Luke tells in chapter XII. This is to wait for God to remedy the matter, and advise with anyone who, by his authority, can remedy it, and in the meantime to commend it to God. This same remedy laymen have as regards their governors. But in order that they should undertake to remedy it by opposing it, the error of the bishop must be so great that it could not be tolerated without great prejudice to the faith or to customs. But since I have relied on the reasons which I have, and have consulted with those who could give a good opinion about it, and particularly as I am so certain that I am in the right, it would be rash boldness for another to say the opposite, or to dare to preach it. Your Lordship is very much mistaken when you think that what I say is nothing but the opinion of any other person whatsoever; for now that I have set about determining this and discussing it so purposely, I know that no one who says the opposite can support it. I say this with such liberty because I know what I am saying; and in the defense of it I should think it but little to lose my life. When your Lordship tells me that I interfere with what is your business, I consider it as a great offense; for you yourself are a good witness of how little trouble I have given you in this matter, and henceforward I shall give much less. I am not so desirous of ordering that I wish you to share your charge with me, for my own work, which is not small, is enough for me. I do wish to have your Lordship know that my discussion of the manner in which the collections are to be made, or from what encomiendas they may be made and from what ones not, is not interfering with your Lordship's office, but fulfilling the duty of my own. Not that I am to imprison or sentence encomenderos who collect contrary to what I say, for this is your Lordship's duty. Before the tribunal of conscience I must condemn those to make restitution who collect without having the authority to collect, even if it be with the permission of your Lordship; and I must place your Lordship under the same obligation because you gave them such permission. This distinction of powers your Lordship ought to have known before telling me that I was interfering in what was not my business.
In the matter of employing laymen where there are no ministers of religious instruction, your Lordship says that I do not make up my mind, although you have already proposed it to me several times. Twice your Lordship tells me in this letter that you have communicated things to me, but I am astonished that my poor memory does not recall any of them. One of the greatest satisfactions is that your Lordship does things all by yourself, without my having anything to do with them, and in truth I hold it as one of the greatest mercies that could come to me; and although his Majesty orders the opposite, as many things fail to be done which kings command, so this also shall fail to be done, to my great satisfaction and to yours also, as I think. I have not stationed Spaniards in the encomiendas because I do not know whom to place there; and I remember very well having said this to your Lordship, but we agreed together that I should decide this matter, as I remember it. There is no reason why I should give your Lordship a report on the persons who can be appointed, because it is my business to appoint them, and to determine their salaries—not only by commission from his Majesty, but it is also my due on account of my office. But I have not dared, and do not dare, to appoint anyone—not because I do not wish to and have tried to, but because I know that there is no one in whom we can trust without great harm to the Indians and very little benefit; because those who could go and be of service to the Indians do not wish to, and those who wish to are not suitable. Thus your Lordship will see how right I was in saying that to appoint many alcaldes-mayor and lieutenants is a greater harm to the Indians, and this is not a fancy of mine but a common saying in all the land.
It is very amusing to me that your Lordship places to my account the coming of so many Indians to me that I may favor them, just as if I called them, or were a party to driving them away. It is evident that your Lordship knows but little of the Indians, since you say this. In order that I may tell you some truths, as your Lordship wished to tell me, please know that the Indians are much dissatisfied and complain that you receive them very ungraciously and roughly, and thus many do not dare to appear before you. This can but be a great obstacle to what is needed to be done in this country. If my meeting them with a friendly aspect and treating them kindly is the cause of their coming to me, I do not think that I shall mend my ways in this, because I know what they need. As far as being protector is concerned, that obstacle has been removed, for it is some time since I abandoned the office of protector; and by no means would I take it up again, for I do not wish to know more sorrow than I have known, without any other result than to grieve my heart at the sight of it. When his Majesty shall learn the reasons which I had for giving it up, I am sure that he will not regard me as undutiful to him in having abandoned it.