The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 - Volume X, 1597-1599
by E. H. Blair
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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 X, 1597-1599

Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne.

Contents of Volume X

Preface ... 9 Documents of 1597

Letter to Felipe II. Antonio de Morga; Manila, June 30 ... 25 Administration of the hospital at Manila. L.P. Dasmarinas; Manila, July 20 ... 28 Letters to Felipe II. Francisco Tello; Manila, April 29-August 12 ... 41

Documents of 1598

Letter to Antonio de Morga. Juan de Ronquillo; Tanpaca, January 4 ... 53 Report, of conditions in the Philippines. Antonio de Morga; Manila, June 8 ... 75 Recommendations as to reforms needed in the islands. [Unsigned and undated; 1598?] ... 103 Reception of the royal seal at Manila. Francisco Tello, and others; Manila, June 8 ... 132 Letters from the archbishop of Manila to Felipe II. Ygnacio de Santibanez; Manila, June 24 and 26 ... 141 Letters from the bishop of Nueva Segovia to Felipe II. Miguel de Benavides; Manila, June 30 and July 5 ... 161 Letters to Felipe II. Francisco Tello; Manila, June 17-July 9 ... 168 Report of the Audiencia on the conduct of Tello. Antonio de Morga, and others; Manila, July 15 ... 183

Documents of 1599

Letter to the archbishop of Manila. Felipe III; Valencia, March 1 ... 189 Letter from the bishop of Nueva Segovia to the king. Miguel de Benavides; Tulac, May 17 ... 190 Letter to Joan de Ibarra. Miguel de Benavides; Afulu, May 22 ... 198 Missions of the religious orders. Geronimo de Alearas; Manila, June 28 ... 204 Military affairs in the islands. Francisco Tello, and others; Manila, July 12 ... 207 Letter to the king. Francisco Tello; Manila, July 12 ... 245 Ordinances enacted by the Audiencia of Manila: Francisco Tello, and others; Manila, June, 1598-July, 1599 ... 293 (To be concluded.)

Bibliographical Data ... 317


Autograph signature of Ignacio de Santibanez, first archbishop of Manila; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 159 Autograph signature of Francisco Tello; photographic facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla ... 177


The present volume covers the years 1597-99, and is mainly occupied with the details of the Philippine colony's internal affairs and development Mindanao has been conquered, but proves to be an unprofitable possession, except that the Spanish garrison there serves as a check on the piratical Moros, who otherwise would harry the Pintados Islands. Japanese pirates have menaced Luzon, and the Chinese immigration needs frequent restriction. In the colony there is much corruption in official circles and inaction and inefficiency in the military. The new governor relates his efforts to improve the condition of the city and administer the affairs of the islands; but he is accused, especially by the ecclesiastics, of immorality and tyrannical behavior, and of general unfitness for his office. The Indians are oppressed in various ways; and some mutinies among them have been suppressed. Formal submission to the Spanish crown is required from the Indians; but this proves difficult to enforce. They need more missionaries, who are to be sent. The usual discords between the secular and ecclesiastical authorities still exist; and the relations between Manila and Mexico are none too cordial. Complaint is made of the trade recently begun with the Chinese at Canton.

A letter from Antonio de Morga (June 30, 1597) notifies the king that the treasure-ship "San Felipe" has been wrecked on the coast of Japan, and her cargo seized by the emperor of that country; this is a heavy blow to the Philippine colony. Franciscan missionaries have been crucified in Japan. Morga approves the reestablishment of the Audiencia in the islands.

Luis Perez Dasmarinas recommends (July 20, 1597) that the royal hospital at Manila should be placed under the joint care of the Franciscans and the Order of La Misericordia. He reports that the religious are reluctant to do this, but that the confraternity approve of the plan—except that they are unwilling to assume a financial responsibility in a work which is, on their part, one of charity only.

A group of short letters from Tello to the king (April 29-August 12, 1597) relates various matters of interest. The conquest of Mindanao has been practically effected. The numbers and power of the Chinese in the islands have been greatly reduced. A rising of the Zambales has been quelled. Insubordinate Spaniards have been punished; "on New Year's day, I had the entire city council arrested for an act of disobedience to me." Tello is improving the city, and is striving to secure a good water-supply. He has imprisoned Dasmarinas, for failure to equip the lost treasure-ship properly. The Japanese talk of seizing Formosa, but the Spaniards are planning to forestall them in this. The Chinese who slew some Spaniards en route to Mindanao have been punished with death. It is reported that the Spanish fort of Maluco has been seized by the natives. The natives of Mindanao have rebelled (August, 1597), and reenforcements have been sent thither to end the the Chinese, whom he views with some suspicion. The Japanese trade requires regulation, especially that in deerskins, which threatens to destroy the game. The sale of provisions especially should be under government supervision. Sumptuary laws and the prevention of gambling are required. Negroes should be kept out. Building houses with wood should be prevented. The streets need repairs. The officials take much advantage of their position, and especially favor their dependents unduly. Military commissions are given by favoritism. Soldiers are ill disciplined, ill paid, ill lodged, demoralized, and in bad health. Military stores are badly cared for; the very arquebuses in the armory are rotting, and there is no preparation for emergencies. The ordinary magistrates pillage the treasury, are oppressive, indolent, and corrupt, and take advantage of their position to traffic; they are not sharply looked after. The encomenderos are extortionate and fraudulent, take law into their own hands, and fail to provide religious instruction for the Indians. The royal exchequer and treasury is negligently and wastefully managed, and insufficiently regulated. There are many sinecures, and not a little fraud in offices. In the voyages to and from Mexico, many frauds and illegal acts are committed by the officers of the vessels.

An interesting complement to Morga's report—all the more so because it is apparently written by an ecclesiastic—is found in a document unsigned and undated (but probably of 1598) which enumerates the reforms needed in the islands. The writer advises that the usual inspection of encomenderos and officials be made by the prelates of the church, rather than, as hitherto, by laymen appointed by the governor. He urges that fewer offices be provided, and that each should have more extensive jurisdiction. The present system is a heavy and increasing burden on the wretched Indians, who are in danger of perishing; and causes much unnecessary waste to the royal exchequer. The city should establish a storehouse, where rice and other supplies should be kept in store for times of need. Thus the natives would not be harassed, often at most unseasonable times, to supply provisions for the Spaniards; both peoples can be aided in times of famine, and prices can be better regulated. More care should be used in selecting men to collect the tributes from the Indians; and their appointment, as well as that of the lay protector of the Indians, should be approved by the archbishop. The Indians who are engaged in various labors for the Spaniards are often kept waiting a long time for their pay, or even cheated out of it; when such pay is due them, it should be sent to them promptly and safely. Rewards should be given to deserving soldiers; and the troops should no longer be recruited with exiles and criminals. The troops should be paid more liberally and punctually; and one meal a day should be given to the poor Spaniards, whether soldiers or not. The soldiers, moreover, should be paid from the time of their arrival; for, as it is, they must serve long without pay, which causes great suffering and immorality among them. Half of the advance pay now given them in Mexico should be held back until their arrival at Cavite. The desirability of aiding needy Spaniards is again urged, and this charity should be placed in charge of the Confraternity of La Misericordia. The seminary of Sancta Potenciana is well conducted, and a most important work; it should be further aided, and now needs that some order of professed nuns be represented in it. Again the writer urges that the vessels plying between the islands and Nueva Espana be commanded by inhabitants of the Philippines, in order to correct the abuses now prevalent.

Upon the arrival of the ships from Nueva Espana, bringing the members of the reestablished Audiencia, the royal seal, which represents the authority and person of the king, is received by the governor (June 8, 1598) with great solemnity and pomp, and deposited in the royal building; the official record of this proceeding, with the oaths taken by the new governor, is here presented.

The new archbishop of Manila writes to the king (June 24, 1598) complaining of the neglected and impoverished condition of his see, and the little interest or attention given to religion by the laity therein. He denounces the governor as avaricious, corrupt, vicious, and tyrannical. The archbishop asks that a new governor be appointed, who shall have no selfish aims in accepting the post, preferably an ecclesiastic. Some check must be placed on the immigration of Chinese, who are ruining the country and demoralizing the natives. The Inquisition should be reestablished in Manila. In another letter (dated July 26) Santibanez explains to the king his attitude in regard to the marriage of one of his relatives, and complains that the governor has, in consequence of this affair, slandered and persecuted him. The archbishop again denounces Tello's vices, and asks that he himself be permitted to return to Spain, as he cannot remain with Tello in that land.

Fray Miguel de Benavides, bishop of Nueva Segovia, sends to the king (June 30, 1598) a complaint against the conduct of the new governor, Francisco Tello: the latter has contracted an unlawful marriage, and is also very licentious; he has seized the property of a citizen; and he is cowardly, extravagant and reckless, even wasting the public stores for his own uses. Benavides asks that Luis Dasmarinas be appointed governor in Tello's place. A postscript to this letter (dated July 5) complains of the wrongs done to the Chinese by the Spanish officials, and for details refers the king to Fray Diego de Soria, who is going to Spain.

Tello sends the king a report on military matters (June 17, 1598). In Mindanao, Ronquillo had been successful, but retired (pursuant to orders afterward canceled), and is to be tried. In Cagayan the revolt has been extinguished, and its leader killed; and the Spanish encomendero whose oppression had had most to do with causing the revolt has died in prison, while awaiting trial. Relations with Japan are still uncertain, although Luis de Navarrete's reception as ambassador had on the whole been favorable. Some new economies are being practiced in the military establishment. An impregnable citadel has been formed within the city, but there is a lack of weapons; and there is great negligence in Nueva Espana in providing serviceable and well-equipped soldiers. Another letter (dated June 19) complains that the reenforcements sent from Nueva Espana are ragged, penniless, and unarmed, largely on account of the rascality and greed of their captains. The viceroy of that country illegally permits Mexicans to bring money to the islands, to the great detriment of the inhabitants. The old soldiers who have obtained encomiendas receive but little income therefrom, because so many of the Indians are revolting; these men need aid, which the king is asked to grant. The governor claims that he is annoyed by defamatory libels, and asks that the offenders be punished. He objects to the reckless marriages of rich widows, and proposes to the king a plan for correcting this evil. The royal treasury is greatly straitened, and for its relief Tello asks permission to levy additional duties on the Chinese merchants. In a third letter (July 9) Tello reports the number of religious in the islands, belonging to the various orders, and the number still needed. The Council of the Indias orders that suitable measures be taken to increase the number of missionaries in the islands, and to send out such as are fitted to do this work.

The Audiencia complains to Felipe II (July 15, 1598) of Tello for various improprieties of conduct and irregularities of procedure; but above all for failure to recognize that, by the establishment of the Audiencia, the extent of his own jurisdiction is diminished.

A letter from Felipe III—who has succeeded his father on the Spanish throne—to the archbishop of Manila (March, 1599) refers to the latter certain complaints sent from Manila regarding some Augustinian teaching friars.

Bishop Benavides writes (May 17, 1599) to the king, informing him of the death of the new archbishop, and complaining of the acts of the governor and Audiencia in sending a ship to trade with China—from which all kinds of evils, spiritual and temporal, would result to Macao and the Philippines.

Benavides writes to the king's secretary (May 22, 1599) urging that a new governor be appointed for the islands; and he recommends for that post several persons. He asks that no ships be allowed to go from the Philippines to China, as that will ruin the Portuguese who trade there. He complains of the undue power exercised by the bishops over the religious orders; and that he receives so little salary that he cannot live decently on it.

A brief statement of the religious houses established in Luzon up to June 28, 1599, is made by Geronimo de Alcaraz, secretary of the cathedral chapter of Manila. A long report on military affairs was sent (July 12, 1599) by Tello to the king. He urges that annual supplies of men and arms be sent to the Philippines from Nueva Espana, adducing many important reasons for this. The Spanish colony is surrounded by many and powerful heathen countries, who are hostile to the Christian faith. The insalubrious climate and various military expeditions are continually causing losses of men. Artillery and skilled workmen are greatly needed; and the fortifications need repair. The government of Nueva Espana has given little attention to the needs of the Philippine colony. Japanese pirates have menaced Luzon, and the Chinese are suspected of plots against the Spaniards. Light sailing-vessels are being built for defense of the coast, since galleys cannot be used to advantage. Mindanao is pacified, but no tribute has yet been paid, and the country is poor. A rebellion in Cagayan has been put down, and the leaders executed; so that region is now pacified and secure. Dasmarinas's expedition to Camboja has proved a failure, and he is stranded on the Chinese coast, in great need; but Tello is unable to send him aid, and advises him to return to Manila. Aid for the poor soldiers is urgently needed and requested. This letter is accompanied by a report of the conquest of Mindanao and of affairs there, and other papers. Mindanao is a source of little profit; but it is necessary to keep that island in subjection, in order to protect the Pintados natives. Another paper gives a history of affairs in Camboja, the relations of the Philippine colony with that country, and the failure of Dasmarinas's expedition thither. At the end of the document are depositions (dated in 1593, and apparently copied from the official records of the colony) to show that the conquest of Champa is justifiable, as its king is a pirate and tyrant, and a man of evil life, and robs and kills Christians on the high seas.

In another letter of the same date (July 12) Tello makes a general report of affairs in the islands. In matters of religion, there is need for more ministers of the gospel. Two bishops have arrived in the islands, and are in charge of their dioceses. The hospitals have been aided; that for the Spaniards has been placed in charge of the Confraternity of La Misericordia, and that for the natives is under the king's authority. The seminary for girls (Santa Potenciana) is in good condition, and doing excellent work. It should be under the charge of professed nuns, and its income ought to be increased; the king is asked to provide for these matters. The Jesuits have begun the foundation of a seminary for the Indians, in which they are to learn the Spanish language and civilized ways of living; the king is asked to aid this also. Measures are being taken to enforce the royal decree that formal submission and homage must now be rendered to the king by the conquered Indians; but Tello finds some difficulties in this. The bulls concerning the crusades are being preached, and Tello expects to extend this to the Indians. One of the auditors has died, and his place is filled. Tello has been obliged to check the assumption of secular authority by the ecclesiastics. The Chinese should be driven out of Manila, and the Parian abolished. A building of stone has been erected for the Audiencia; Tello asks for a grant of money to continue this work, and mentions other public buildings which he has erected or improved. Religious instruction should be commenced in the Ladrones Islands; and the viceroy of Nueva Espana has been asked to send missionaries thither. The latter functionary has neglected several matters which are necessary to the prosperity of the Philippine colony, and has been arbitrary and overbearing in his treatment of it. Especial complaint is made that he has evaded the law which restricts the Chinese trade to citizens of the Philippine colony, by granting licenses for trade to Peruvians, who have taken from the islands the best of the Chinese trade, which is their main support. A port at Canton has been opened to the Spaniards for trade; and efforts are being made to improve this opportunity. Trade with Siam has also begun. Tello asks that the citizens of Cebu be allowed to trade occasionally with Peru; and that officers of vessels to Nueva Espana be not appointed there, but in the islands. He recommends that the Indians should be punished by moderate pecuniary-fines, rather than by flogging. Various papers are appended to this letter by Tello. One is a memorandum of the number of converts and missionaries in the islands. Another is an inventory of the resources and income of the hospital for natives, and a statement of its expenses for part of the current year. The instructions given to the alcaldes-mayor and to the religious for securing the formal submission of the Indians to the authority of the Spanish king, and the measures taken for this purpose in La Laguna, are given in detail.

The ordinances enacted by the Audiencia of Manila during the year June, 1598, to July, 1599 (the part in this volume ends with December, 1598) throw much light on social and economic conditions at that time. Certain Chinese prisoners remain too long in jail for non-payment of debts, thus causing much useless expense; their services will hereafter be sold for the payment of their debts. Notaries must be present at the inspection of prisons. Prisoners shall no longer be permitted to leave the jail at their pleasure. All huckstering is forbidden, under heavy penalties. No person whatever may leave the islands without the governor's permission, under heavy penalties. The prisons must be regularly visited by the auditors, so that justice shall be promptly and duly administered. The Indians shall be encouraged and obliged to raise poultry. Provision is made for the aid of certain slaves in Pampanga. Another act makes regulations for the supply of provisions in the city of Manila. Buffalo meat shall be provided by contract with Indian hunters. The natives and Sangleys shall be obliged to raise fowls and swine. The Indians must carry their provisions to the city for sale; and for meat, fowls, and some other articles the prices are fixed by the authorities. The natives about Manila protest against being compelled to furnish supplies to the city; and the Audiencia therefore enacts that this responsibility shall be divided among the various districts, each being assigned a period of two or three months therefor. Residencias of regidors shall be taken every two months. Various reports are to be sent to the king and his Council.

The remainder of the ordinances contained in this document will be presented in Vol. XI.

The Editors December, 1903.

Documents of 1597

Letter to Felipe II. Antonio de Morga; June 30. Administration of the hospital at Manila. L.P. Dasmarinas; July 20. Letters to Felipe II. Francisco Tello; April 29-August 12.

Source: All these documents are obtained from original MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla.

Translations: The first two documents are translated by Henry B. Lathrop, of the University of Wisconsin; the third, by Arthur B. Myrick, of Harvard University, except the second letter, which is by Consuelo A. Davidson.

Letter from Antonio de Morga to Felipe II


At the end of April of the current year I sent your Majesty an account of the state of affairs in these islands, a duplicate whereof is enclosed. I have only to add that some days after I returned to this city, the ship "San Felipe" which left this city in July, 96, was carried by several storms to the coast of Japan, entered the port of Hurando, and was lost there; and the emperor of that country, Taycosama, covetous of the treasure with which it was laden, took it all. The men of the ship and the passengers have come in other vessels. At the same time the said tyrant caused to be crucified in Nangasaqui six barefoot friars of the Order of St. Francis, of the number of those who were there from these islands [1]. He has also crucified eighteen native Japanese Christians of their following. Fuller accounts of the matter will be sent your Majesty by the reports thereon to be written by the governor. So far as I can learn, the said king of Japan is a proud and covetous barbarian, who does not keep his word or observe the peace that he promises. As for the Portuguese present in those islands, they desire to see us ousted from there, and have done us no kindness in the affair of the said ship. The religious had as little assistance in what was done to them; and a little before had received great injuries from the religious of the Society who were there and from their bishop, whose purpose was to cause them to abandon that kingdom, as has been done—leaving the members of the Society alone in this work of conversion, as they are, much to their satisfaction. Yet the barefoot friars and their following met death with great fervor for the faith and the defense thereof, and God has since worked many marvels and miracles by means of their bodies. Therefore we of this country have reason to be consoled and happy to have produced in it such fruit for heaven and such honor for Christianity. The loss of this ship was a very great one. She was worth a million and a half—a mighty loss for so small a country; hence it is more needy than ever and more wretched, and your Majesty will have pity on it.

Herewith I send your Majesty again the despatches which it has been possible to copy, in the short time allowed, from those sent last year in the "San Phelipe." They dealt with the residencias and other local affairs which it seemed essential for your Majesty to know, because of their importance. I do not lack those who are ill-disposed toward me because I pay attention as I ought to your Majesty's service; but I care not, for truth must prevail. In the coming year there will be sent at the first opportunity other official documents pertaining to the same residencia in which I have been pleading, and which has been undertaken for these islands.

It is said that your Majesty intends to command the reestablishment of the royal Audiencia which used to be in these islands, which, according to the disposition of affairs in it, will be the most necessary of all things. I accordingly repeat my assurances to your Majesty that on my conscience there never was so great a necessity thereof as now; and I declare that it will be well received by all. I am here very ready to serve your Majesty in all things in which my personal service is required; for I have come hither five thousand leguas; but if my departure hence is desirable, and if your Majesty is pleased to command it, I shall regard it as a very great kindness. Above all may your Majesty's royal will be fulfilled. May your royal person be preserved for many years, as the whole of Christendom, and as we your servants, have need. Manila, June 30, 1597.

Doctor Antonio de Morga

[In the margin: "Let everything referring to the miracles be collected, and a summary thereof be made in the most authentic manner."]

Administration of the Royal Hospital at Manila


I have desired that the royal hospital of this city should be served and administered with more charity, better order and a more perfect system than hitherto; for I am told and I know how much the poor thereof suffer, and of how much importance for the correction of this and of many other evils is their good comfort, assistance, and healing, spiritual and temporal—all which the hospital has in charge; and how essential it is that it should be administered by persons who are servants of God, self-denying and free from self-interest, charitable and zealous for His service and for the good of their neighbors. Hence I desire that the Order of St. Francis, because it seems to me suitable on account of its self-denial, barefootedness, and freedom from self-interest, may unite with the Confraternity of La Misericordia [2] in the charge of the hospital. I suggest that they place there four friars—two priests and two laymen; for this can be done without interfering with the conversion of the natives, and will be a thing of great service to God and your Majesty, the good of the poor and of this state, and the good order, service, and system of the said hospital. It will also remedy many of the inconveniences that may arise, and of the deficiencies from which the hospital suffers, from the want of such persons in charge of it. For these reasons I have asked that this order, associated with the Confraternity of La Misericordia, may attend to this matter, and may take under its care the government and administration of the hospital. Therefore I have set forth and enclosed separately some of the reasons for this, and the advantages which I see in this course and in joining the hospital for the slaves, which the Confraternity of La Misericordia has founded, with the royal hospital. The plan involves establishing separate quarters in the said royal hospital, that there may be a definite place for the slaves, and that slaves and Spaniards may not be mingled. In these quarters there may be a separate ward or room for needy Spanish women, mestizas, and the like, in such a way that they may be kept in separation and distinct from the slaves. There is a great need of this ward for women, for there is no place to put them in the royal hospital, and hence they are not received there. By joining the royal hospital with the hospital of the Confraternity of La Misericordia a place may be provided—which will be of great importance, help, and benefit to the necessities of poor and needy women who have not wherewithal to care for themselves in their sicknesses. It must be no little that they suffer in these regions for lack thereof, and because of their poverty; for even in health there is no little to be undergone, and many are the evils and misfortunes which may result from the lack of this provision.

The provincial and Order of St. Francis having discussed and considered this matter hesitate about it because the distance between the hospital and their monastery makes it inconvenient to keep religious in the former; but as for me, my judgment is that, as they have religious who have to go even further away in the work of instruction, they can keep them here; and that there is no lack of religious who know the language, for the work of conversion. Hence, although there will be some inconveniences, they will not be serious and important; and it seems best to overlook them, and to take account of the advantages hoped for from this work and to be expected of it, which are not few, or of small value and importance.

The deputies and Confraternity of La Misericordia were inclined to accept the suggestion, and to undertake the administration of the royal hospital jointly with that of the slaves' hospital; and the same guardian of the Order of St. Francis, before the adoption of the resolution above mentioned, approved it. In conference with the deputies with regard to the effect of it, he hesitated on one or two points. One of special importance was the question whether the expense was to be in common, and whether the expense for the slaves was to be paid out of the income of the hospital, and that for the Spaniards, in consequence, out of the alms of the Confraternity of La Misericordia. Although he made some doubt and scruple to me personally as to paying for the slaves, to whom his superiors owed the duty of support (although God knows how it was incurred) out of the funds destined for the poor Spaniards, yet on the whole he said, with my approval, that in the interim before your Majesty should be advised of the whole matter, everything should be paid for by accounts kept separately for the royal hospital and by consequence for that of the slaves likewise—as used to be done and as is done still; so that they are not connected, though the connection is desired because of the known advantages of it. But the greatest obstacle to the execution of this plan is the fear and mistrust put forward to requiring the Confraternity and deputies of La Misericordia to render accounts, exposing them to disturbance, and perhaps to expense and loss for matters their connection with which is voluntary—being assumed for charity and the service of God, and not for duty, pay, or advantage. This objection, however, was met by the consideration that the expense with its account had to pass before so many persons of honor, standing, and financial stability that there was not much ground for hesitation; since just as one superintendent or administrator paid and gave accounts, so the deputies can do the same as well or better, being more in number, and of no less financial standing, and making their expenditures with the system and general agreement which are to be desired. With all, I could not bring them to make the venture. But if this risk and obligation were absent, they would do it; this I know from some who were desirous of undertaking this work.

I give your Majesty an account of this matter, because of the importance that it may have for the service of God and your Majesty, the good of the poor, and the advantage of a work of such public necessity and importance in these regions. If your Majesty should be pleased to command that the Confraternity of La Misericordia should take charge of the administration of the royal hospital, as aforesaid, it will be necessary to come to a statement of the system to be observed in making payments for the royal hospital and that of the Confraternity of La Misericordia, by deciding whether they are to be kept separate or no. It will also be necessary, in the way in which your Majesty shall be most pleased and profited, to deal with the mistrust about the accounts, which is what causes most hesitation. Submitting myself to your royal pleasure, and suggesting as I ought what occurs to me in the matter, I propose, Sire, that payments be made only as passing through the hands of a single administrator and superintendent. In this way he will be able to give account of the expenditure. Let the manner, order, and direction of the same be in accordance with the judgment of the deputies of La Misericordia; and let the superintendent give his account of expenditures made under the direction of the deputies. On such conditions the Confraternity will take charge of the work; for it will not hand in accounts and will be called upon for no business except of charity, trust, and good administration, while the superintendent will hand in the accounts for the said Confraternity. Thus the whole, if your Majesty please, will be in one; and on other conditions the Confraternity will not undertake it. At least I regard it as a matter of the highest importance and advantage that your Majesty give commands that the archbishop and the Order of St. Francis place four religious—two priests and two laymen—in the said hospital; and that, in case this order cannot undertake it, the Society of Jesus do so, for, being persons of great charity and good government in all things, it will be of great advantage for them to have this in their charge; so that in this way it seems that many great evils would be remedied, and many great advantages result. Our Lord keep your Majesty many long years, as His Divine Majesty has power, and as we all desire and have need. Manila, July 20, 1597.

Luis Perez Dasmarinas

[Endorsed: "Let the president and auditors and the archbishop state what they think best to be done in the case; and in the meantime let them give such orders as they think best for the good conduct of the hospital."]

Considering and reflecting that the royal hospital of this city is one of the most important and considerable establishments in this country and these islands, it is very essential to the same, for the best advantage and comfort of the poor, and for the good order and system of the administration of the hospital, that it should be under the charge of persons who are influenced by the love of God and by zeal for His service and for the welfare and advantage of His poor, and by no payment or temporal interest. Since all the other hospitals of this city have this advantage, it is a pity that it should be lacking in this one alone, which is of so much importance; and that although it has so good an income and other advantages, it should not surpass the others; and that there should be cause that many refuse to go to it to be cared for, and prefer to go elsewhere. That is proof of either carelessness and disorder, or of necessity; and, although there is some of the latter, yet I believe that it must be mainly the former. Likewise it spends and requires on its part certain salaries and expenses for persons who serve in the said hospital. Great injury is done to the service of God our Lord and of his Majesty the king, if such an institution is managed extravagantly, ineffectively, or unsystematically. At the same time other hospitals are well managed, because of being in the hands of persons who are members of religious orders and servants of our Lord; who being free and bare from personal interest, exert themselves for the good of the poor, merely for His love and service, and with charity and zeal for the good of their neighbors. This is what is done in the hospital for the natives and in that for the Sangleys, which are now well established, having their incomes and accounts separate. On this account, and because they are in charge of persons who are servants of God and have the qualities aforesaid, they are better served than when they were otherwise managed, and better than is that for the Spaniards, for lack of persons to administer and serve it through love and charity toward God and their neighbor, as has been said.

Hence, considering this, and because I know that it will be of great convenience and advantage to the service of God our Lord, and of his royal Majesty; the good, profit, and relief of many poor, and of the wretched and needy; and the common benefit, welfare, and service of this state—therefore I am of the opinion and belief that it may be very advantageous and extremely useful, and may conduce to the improvement, good management, and systematic conduct of the royal hospital that the hospital of the Confraternity of La Misericordia should be joined with it. The resulting advantages will be recapitulated; and the causes and reasons on which I rely, and which I find for this, are the following.

The first reason is that this is a work of so great service to the Divine Majesty of God, and the royal Majesty; to the state a very great advantage, profit, and benefit; to the poor, the advantage, attendance, and healing of their maladies and miseries, bodily as well as spiritual.

Conspicuous among the advantages is the service to God done by caring for His poor, whether Spanish or not, which latter are a forgotten and wretched people—although some of their masters, for charity and the love and service of God, provide and afford them their support, their good, their care, and their salvation, spiritual and temporal.

The royal Majesty will be much advantaged, because by the charity, good order, and system that will exist, several salaries for persons employed in the said hospital may be dispensed with, and there will be more profit and increase of the revenue; while for the support of the poor there will be a larger fund, in addition to the fact that they will be better cared for and served. The result will be that health will more abound, and that perhaps mortality will be lessened, together with these great sicknesses—a great service to God and his royal Majesty, and the state; for his Majesty will have more soldiers, by which he will reap a profit, and in this case a great one, because of the great cost and expense of sending and bringing them here. The state will also have a larger population, more citizens and men to defend it, in addition to the great private and ordinary benefit received by the people thereof, in saving much expense on their property incurred for the care of their servants and slaves, as well as trouble, care, and responsibility, by their being cared for in the said hospital bodily and spiritually.

Then the importance of this for the souls and bodies, not only of the Spaniards but those of the slaves, may easily be seen and understood. For the former, the Spaniards, fail not to have and to suffer great and special need in their illnesses and deaths, of someone to minister to them, or at the least to aid and comfort them therein; while the latter, the slaves, as a people cast off and the greater part of them ordinarily belonging to the royal crown, and of so different races—some or many of them yet to be converted, or imperfectly instructed and entered in the Christian faith—still more require that there should be someone who in the love of God, and with zeal for the good of their souls, should aid them and secure their welfare and health, spiritual and temporal, in the one case as in the other.

Further, the reward, merit, and crown befitting the service done to God our Lord by this, and to the royal Majesty, and the good to this state and these islands, will not be small; since the result and the advantages which will arise from it are so great and so special, important, and universal; and this is a cause for applying the compassion and Christian charity in this state to the glory and service of God, to the welfare, relief, and consolation, perhaps the salvation, of His creatures and the poor thereof; and to the edification and confusion of the great numbers of barbarians, heathens, and infidels whom we have as witnesses about us looking at us, and who will see nothing that can move and edify them like such works of true charity, performed without worldly payment and profit.

It will also result from this that the Confraternity of La Misericordia, which is of such importance, and which succors, aids, and relieves so many general and public necessities, would ordinarily be supported in this state and would be more continuous, and that charity and compassion would be more exercised, as has been said. The hospital would be more frequented and more fully occupied, and the poor better provided and served; and all this would result because of the good order, careful accounting, and system which would exist, on account of putting the control in the hands of persons of such security, gravity, and commendable zeal as the deputies of the said Confraternity. This will also be a cause that for the love and service of God our Lord, as also for their own characters and persons, and their own interest in their own property (namely, their slaves), more people will visit the hospital, and aid it with greater care and liberality, and less hesitation; for one month brings the chance upon one, another upon another, and in this order it comes to all. This will be occasion and cause that the devout women, and those of the greatest influence, after seeing the work and perceiving that it is under the care of religious who are servants of God, and under that of their husbands, and that it is for the good of their slaves, will please and desire to see them, and to visit the hospital, and take the poor some dainties; and from the visits made to some of them will result the good, the comfort, and the consolation of the rest.

Further, as for the order, good accounting, and systematic management of the expenditure, and the care of the estate of the said hospital, it can be carried on by no hand with more clearness and security than by persons of so great honor and so high standing, persons who are required to be such, and who are themselves cognizant of and acquainted with all that is done. Thus the defects, if any there are, will be more known and observed; and if they arise from need the hospital will finally have more, and those from among the best in the state, who will be active in their efforts to supply and provide what is lacking.

The service of the hospital, which is of so great importance to the health and comfort of the sick, will be better and more punctual, and not so expensive, being attended to by persons undertaking it for charity, and not for gain.

Besides all that is said and referred to above, there will be avoided in the aforesaid way many sinful speeches and murmurs, inasmuch as the business will be in the hands of persons of such charity, poverty, holy zeal, and high standing; and thus with reason there will be more occasion for glory and praise to God for this work than for murmurs and condemnation.

In short, this undertaking may afford to the Divine Majesty of God our Lord, service and glory; to the royal Majesty, great service and profit; to the state, great and general good, and advantages; to these nations and tribes who are looking on at us, confusion and edification; to the poor, service, aid, and comfort in their wretchednesses and sicknesses, and care and healing for their bodies, and above all for their souls; and to those who have in their charge the service, administration, and superintendence, a great crown and reward.

Therefore, since this project is good for all and in all, and since this work encloses within itself so many great and important effects, it is right that it should be favored, and that your piety should be supported in it. For the religious who will be occupied there, will be well occupied and employed, preaching with their works true charity and humility, and at the same time striving and aiding in the saving and healing of the souls, both of Spaniards and of others, who shall be ministered to and cared for there; and, since so great advantages may result from this, it is right that it should be done, and that your piety should be supported in encouraging and beginning a work of such importance, and from which so great advantages are hoped for and may result, as has been said.

And assuredly it is highly desirable that the royal hospital should be in the care of this order or of the Society, that it may be served and administered as is proper, and that it may enjoy the advantages which the other hospitals enjoy, and the good administration which they have, as well that for the natives as that for the Sangleys, as has been said. It is also a great good, glory, and service to our Lord, and a cause of great satisfaction and consolation that the results obtained from them are great; and there will be great enthusiasm from this day forward because they are in charge of persons who are servants of God, free from personal interests, who for God, His love and service, give their efforts to this work. Of this advantage it is right that this royal hospital should have the fruit, because it is not the least important, and that it should not suffer, and remain as it is.

Luis Perez Dasmarinas

Letters from Francisco Tello to Felipe II


Last year, as soon as I arrived in these islands, I wrote to your Majesty what had taken place, taking into account the short time that I had spent here. I was afterward told that the people of Terrenate were coming to these your Majesty's islands to inflict injuries upon your subjects and vassals, and that the natives of Mindanao were helping them in this. The conquest of Mindanao being in charge of the heirs of the late Esteban Rrodriguez de Figueroa, who was killed there, I insisted on their continuing that pacification, giving them men at your cost, and appointing, as general and leader, Don Juan Ronquillo, supplying them with what they needed from your Majesty's storehouses, the supply being ample. All was charged to the estate of Esteban Rrodriguez and is now being collected.

I sent to Mindanao Captain Toribio de Miranda, so that, until the arrival of the troops, he might encourage and look after the Spaniards, who had fortified themselves there after the death of Esteban Rrodriguez. Captain Toribio de Miranda, setting out with this order of mine, met the soldiery who had deserted that position, on account of the coming of Captain Juan de Lajara. The latter I hold under arrest. He is to be tried for having abandoned his post without orders from the governor of these islands. Toribio de Miranda having met these men, showed them my orders which he was carrying, and made them return. Then of the men whom I had sent from here, some arrived with Captain Diego de Chabez, with assistance in the shape of supplies. Encouraged by this, many returned to Mindanao with the others and fortified themselves again, although in a better position than before. After this, General Don Juan Ronquillo left Oton with the rest of his force, which numbered perhaps one hundred and fifty men in all. At the present moment I am quite satisfied that, after his arrival, a large part of that land will be peacefully opened up. I have no good reports from that land in regard to abundance of provisions or gold (which is the only thing to encourage those who make these conquests), nor as large a tribute as there was said to be. In the prosecution of this business the necessary demands of your Majesty's service will be considered.

When I came to the government I found that the Sangleys had been given a free hand, and jurisdiction in the administration and cabildo. Considering the troubles that might result, and the large numbers of Sangleys here (somewhat over ten thousand), I took away and withdrew their power in the administration—leaving, however, a governor among them, as was formerly the custom. I have expelled from this land a large number of the Sangleys who were here, and I shall soon order many others to go, leaving only three or four thousand men, who are necessary for the service of the land.

About two months ago the Parian of the Sangleys was burned, together with a large amount of property. I assisted that night in taking care of the property of a few, which was saved. The fire did not touch this city, although the Parian is contiguous to it. All this was well done, and I permitted them to rebuild their Parian, but one hundred paces farther from the city than it was before.

We are having a good deal of trouble from the license taken by some religious in this land. They have a practice of excommunicating the governor by virtue of the apostolic briefs in their possession. Having no authority here to annul their unlawful acts, we can have no liberty to carry on your Majesty's service as it should be done. Therefore I humbly beg your Majesty to consider and order what is most necessary for your Majesty's service.

Many events have taken place in these days. One of them was the rising of the Zambales natives, and the murder of two alcaldes-mayor—one a short time before I came, and the other after my arrival. Therefore I appointed Captain Julian de Cuenca alcalde-mayor of Panpanga, to go to punish them—which is a difficult matter, because these Zambales are in hiding in rugged mountain ranges. However, he wrote me that he had beheaded twenty of them, and that he continues to hunt them down; so that after such a punishment they will be sufficiently frightened for him to make the effort to induce them to leave the sierra for a settlement where they may be instructed.

Although I commenced to govern with mildness, because it seemed to me the best way to get along with the Spaniards here, yet when I came to know them and see the license that they take, I found it necessary to punish several captains and regidors. On New Year's day, I had the entire city council arrested for an act of disobedience to me, which occurred during the election of alcaldes. In all that has been done I have followed judicial forms and taken records, so that, whenever it is necessary, your Majesty may order their examination.

When I arrived, I found your Majesty's royal affairs in confusion, owing to the carelessness and neglect of former governors. I have ordered that, in building, stone shall be substituted for wood which has hitherto been used. Fines and the expenses of justice will be attended to. I also ordered the construction of cabildo buildings in stone, where there had been none before. The whole city has been enriched by stone buildings, and since my arrival more than one hundred and fifty houses have been erected. I am trying to have water conducted into the city, as it is needed by the citizens and by the troops stationed here by your Majesty. Many have died on account of the poor water.

Don Luys Dasmarinas, when he was governor here, appointed Captain Juan Xuarez Gallinato sargento-mayor of the force to go to the assistance of the king of Canboja, who they said was besieged by his enemy the king of Cian. When they arrived there they met a rough reception from a part of the people of Canboja, and from some Sangleys who are settled there and engage in trade. The Spanish came to blows with some of these Sangleys and killed some of them. There was lost, according to their story, a large amount of property belonging to the Sangleys, which they had placed aboard sampans at the time of the fight. I am examining the papers which Captain Juan Xuarez Gallinato brought. He has already returned from his expedition, and justice will be meted out in the case. May our Lord preserve your Majesty for many years for the need of Christendom, etc. Manila, April twenty-nine, 1597.

Don Francisco Tello


From the vessel "San Phelipe," lost in the sea of Japan, some letters addressed to your Majesty reached my hands, which I enclose herewith.

I have imprisoned Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas, because he failed to fit out and repair thoroughly the said vessel; and, for the same reasons, I have imprisoned also General Matias Delandecho. An investigation of this matter is being made in the case of each, and justice shall be done. Copies of all proceedings in connection with this investigation will be sent to your Majesty.

I beg to thank your Majesty for your kindness to this kingdom and especially to myself, in creating here a royal Audiencia, a tribunal very much needed by this government; and although so far I have not received from your Majesty any letter or decree to that effect, I have heard the news through the auditor Don Antonio Maldonado and others, who have communicated it to me. Doctor Antonio de Morga, lieutenant-general of this kingdom, serves your Majesty here with zeal and assiduity; and because he enforces the law, he has made enemies—since, as I have previously written to your Majesty, there are honest people here willing to serve your Majesty; but there exist others unruly and ill disposed, who are exceedingly dangerous to the country. I am punishing a few of these, and am investigating the previous records of others; it shall be done throughout. May our Lord preserve your Majesty as is needful for the good of Christendom. Manila, June 15, 1597.

Don Francisco Tello


Every day events are taking place of which I shall advise your Majesty. A grave Dominican friar [3] lately arrived here from Japon, who went on the ship "San Felipe" which was lost there. He acquainted me with the affairs of that kingdom, and gave me a memorandum which will accompany this. I asked him to sign it, and I now send it to your Majesty, so that you may order to be considered and decreed in this matter whatever you think best for your Majesty's royal service.

Later advices have arrived from Japon to the effect that the Japanese are considering the occupation of the island of Hermosa [Formosa] which lies near these islands, and serves as a connecting point between China and these islands. I am considering what is best to do in this case, because, although I am of the opinion that we should seize it first, the council of war opposed me; urging that we have few men for such an enterprise. I have appointed, as general of the coast, Captain Don Juan Camudio, a trusty and serviceable person. I am also fitting out ships with which to navigate among all these islands, wherever it is necessary.

I have sent money and men to Cagayan to fortify your Majesty's fort there. If the men and assistance which I have asked from Nueva Spana are sent to me, I shall not fear all the power of Japon; because, although there are few troops here, they are all excellent and well-drilled. Your Majesty may be certain that your vassals here will maintain what we hold, even to the death, with sword in hand, doing our duty in your Majesty's service. May our Lord preserve your royal person, as Christendom has need and your vassals desire. Manila, June 19, 1597.

Don Francisco Tello

As matters of importance arise in this government, it becomes necessary to give your Majesty an account of such affairs. Yesterday we held a council of war to consider a petition presented to us by Don Luys Perez Dasmarinas, relative to an expedition to the island of Hermosa, and we passed resolutions which your Majesty may examine, if you be pleased to do so, by means of the report which will accompany this. Although I ordered with resolution what was to be done, I shall keep the sounding-lead in my hand until reenforcements and money arrive from Mexico; for without men nothing can be done. I have sent to the viceroy for five hundred men.

While the detachment of thirty soldiers under an ensign, ordered to the assistance of Mindanao, was on its way thither, aboard a Sangley ship, the Sangleys (who numbered more than forty) mutinied, and killed twenty-five soldiers and some women, and the rest jumped overboard. Captain Gregorio de Bargas, who was sailing in that region with my orders, upon hearing of the matter, attacked and captured the ship, and killed forty soldiers. Nine who were left alive were brought to me two days ago. Today they were executed, with great publicity, before the eyes of their nation and others who are in this city.

Yesterday there arrived from Malaca some of the soldiers who were with Sargento-mayor Gallinato on the expedition to Canboja. They say that they had the news there that Malucos and Terrenatans had banded together, captured your Majesty's fort and annihilated the Portuguese detachment stationed there. I am making an investigation to see what foundation this report has. The result I shall try to send on these ships. These soldiers also say that they were told that there were four English ships off Maluco; and that it was thought that they had joined Terrenate and Maluco to undertake this enterprise. I am guarding the frontiers, because as there are few men here and the fort is in Manila, they were in need of reenforcements. In everything I shall continue to do all that is necessary for your Majesty's royal service, and I shall inform you of everything that happens, after the departure of these vessels, by the despatch-boat, which will be in readiness to be sent out if necessary.

They say that the news from Mindanao is quite plainly for your Majesty's advantage. Although I have heard nothing by letter from the governor there, several Indians who have come from there one by one corroborate this news. May our Lord preserve your Majesty's Catholic person to the benefit of Christendom. Manila, June 22, 1597.

Don Francisco Tello


This ship of discovery under Joan Batista Justiniano, which is about to go to Nueva Spana, has just returned, on account of lack of cables, and will sail again in the morning. Some further details concerning what I have already written to your Majesty are as follows. We have just heard from Mindanao that the war has been renewed with the Indians, because they have failed to observe the stipulations of the treaty. So we have again sent assistance in men, munitions, supplies, and other things. I have ordered General Don Joan Ronquillo to prosecute the war, and, after having demolished the enemy's fort, to build a good one in its place, leaving it well supplied with artillery, and fortified; and to leave a captain with one hundred arquebusiers, and mobilize the remainder of the troops, amounting to about two hundred men. If the Japanese should come, as is thought probable, he will take position on one of the frontiers, especially that of Cagayan. In other places, I have appointed, as justices, captains who were old soldiers, and I have given them soldiery. What little sail-cloth is to be had here, is all well prepared for any occasion. I am having artillery cast, and powder and other necessary things provided, in all haste. Although I am almost out of lead and iron, I shall try to have one of your Majesty's small vessels, which now lie here, go to China, where there is a great abundance of such things, in order to buy some, and return so quickly that we shall not be embarrassed by the scarcity.

I am having some galliots and light vessels built to patrol all these coasts, because their defense is quite important if we are attacked by the Japanese.

When I became governor of these islands, I found them full of Sangleys. I have expelled more than eight thousand of them, and I am gathering the others, who are scattered, into Manila, in order that those who are not needed may return to their own country, for they teach the natives very evil customs. In everything I shall always try to further the service of God and your Majesty, as I was ordered to do, and is my duty. May our Lord preserve your Majesty's Catholic person as is needful. Manila, August twelve, 1597.

Don Francisco Tello

Documents of 1598

Letter to Antonio de Morga. Juan de Ronquillo; January 4. Report of conditions in the Philippines. Antonio de Morga; June 8. Recommendations as to reforms needed in the islands. [Unsigned and undated; 1598?] Reception of the royal seal at Manila. Francisco Tello, and others; June 8. Letters from the archbishop of Manila to Felipe II. Ygnacio de Santibanez; June 24 and 26. Letters from the bishop of Nueva Segovia to Felipe II. Miguel de Benavides; June 30 and July 5. Letters to Felipe II. Francisco Tello; June 17-July 9. Report of the Audiencia on the conduct of Tello. Antonio de Morga, and others; July 15.

Source: All these documents are obtained from original MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla.

Translations: The first, fourth, fifth, and most of the sixth, are translated by Robert W. Haight; the second, by Rachel King; the third, and part of the sixth and seventh, by James A. Robertson; most of the seventh, by Jose M. and Clara M. Asensio; the eighth, by Helen E. Thomas.

Letter from Juan Ronquillo to Antonio de Morga

In my last letter, which I sent you by Captain Luys de Villafana, who left this island on the first of August, I described the need that we were in, and the investigations on account of the failure of the arms to arrive. Although he was wrecked on the way, I have understood that the papers reached there, having been wet, but in such shape as to be legible. Thus far I have seen no answer, either to this despatch, or to those sent on the thirteenth of May and the first of July, from the lord governor, or from your Grace. It leaves me quite undecided and uncertain as to what I am to do. While the aid awaited was being sent on, our need was becoming more pressing, to such an extent that I even abandoned the work, dropped the pacification, and ran the whole fleet aground, so that all the men could busy themselves with gathering landan for food. It seemed to me more important not to abandon the foothold that we had gained in the country, than to get more land, and risk losing it all. Further, it was impossible to provide the men from so few rations; and with so small provision and less support, and large appetites, it looked to me as if they would be forced to leave. I finally resolved to tell them not to be impatient to turn their prows about, or to hope for Manila; for here we should live or die. Thereupon I embarked the next day and went up the river to cut landan; [4] for I felt myself fortunate if I could get plenty of this even. We passed several days in this way, and when it appeared to me that the men were settled, and less anxious about the proposed movement, I had a few vessels launched; and in them I sent two captains with fifty men to the villages of Lumaguan, who is the most friendly to us, that they might be fed there, and together with the natives reconnoiter some of the enemies' villages in the neighborhood. When they were setting out against the latter one night, they attacked the very friends who were guiding them, and killed several. They had thought that they were being deceived, and betrayed to the enemy. The mistake made much trouble, and it would have been worse if they had not taken the utmost pains to remedy it, giving satisfaction to the injured, making them presents, and giving them whatever they had with them. As they were truly friendly to us, this sufficed to put them on the former footing, as they have since demonstrated in all earnestness. So I persevered in the undertaking, changing, however, the leader whom I had sent; and it pleased God that this expedition should be the beginning of so much good fortune as we have had since then, for back from the fort of Buyahen, on a large lagoon, were found a number of the hostile villages, with excellent fields of rice, although it was not the season to harvest it. I ordered them to take the stronghold of a chief named Dato Minduc, which was close to Buyahen. Its site was such that the natives themselves say that, unless men were to come down from heaven to take it, it would be impossible to do so. We captured it with all the artillery in it, a number of men being lost on their side, and none on ours. After this the enemies began to lose spirit, and the friendly natives to take heart, and to hold us in greater esteem. This was on the twenty-ninth of August. On the very next day I brought the men down to the fort, and encouraged them all, and bade them be of good hope that the work would soon be done; and I cheered them to it, and straightway followed up the undertaking, without giving the men's ardor a chance to cool. I got aboard ship, and made my way along the coast. On the eighteenth of September, I entered a river called Picon, in a well-peopled country, there being, besides the natives, a large number of the enemy, who had been scattered abroad, and had joined them. At daybreak we arrived at the first village, close to the sea. It was one of the finest places I have seen, with excellent houses, and a very elaborate mosque; there was a good supply of swine, fowls, goats, and fruit. The enemy made a stand, but at the first encounter we overpowered them, and killed or captured more than two hundred persons; the troops stopped for food, and then I had the village burned. I would have liked to attack another village, which lay a day's march inland, and which has two thousand houses. I left it, because I could have done nothing at that time; for the fugitives from the first village had warned them, and they had all gone to the mountains. This stroke had terrorized the whole coast, and not a vessel appeared over its whole extent; for, as there were Indians in many places, they had all received news of it without delay.

I could remain no longer, nor pass on to other encounters which I might have had there, on account of the crops which I had discovered at Buyahen, which were urgently demanding my presence for the harvest, before their owners should gather them. Accordingly I came back to the fort, whence, in less than four days, I again sent the same captains who had been there before, for the crops, with eighty soldiers and all the boats, besides five hundred friendly Indians, to gather the harvest, and to take another fort in the same neighborhood, of which the Indians informed them. On the twenty-second of October they attacked it, and took it with all the artillery, killing more than a hundred and seventy of them, besides taking a number captive. I did not come out so cheaply as the last time; for it was an extremely strong place, having, besides the usual defenses, inventions of which a barbarous people are incapable. Furthermore, they had fastened on the very curtains some large spars bent like a bow, so that when anyone attacked it, by cutting one end loose from the inside a hundred men would be thrown down—namely, all who were climbing upon the rampart platform. It was intrenched at intervals in such wise that it was necessary to win it step by step, and from below, if one undertook to take it by storm. There were a great many pikemen to receive the stormers, and they felt so safe that they put their women and goods on the inside to guard them better. Thus they lost everything, and the booty was very rich, although the Indians obtained the most—more than did the soldiers, of whom eighteen came out wounded (including the two captains, Guerrero and Grabiel Gonzalez), most being wounded by bullets and arrows. They had fortified this fort strongly; and since they had lost it first, having considered it so long as a last hope for their safety, they thought of nothing more after losing it but being left in peace in the one which they at present hold; for already they have hardly a hand's breadth of land left, and there they are fortifying themselves as much as possible. This will not succeed, for without my going there they will come to ask peace from me—in a few days I hope, because the grain is growing up all over. In this way the whole country becomes ours and the crops are left ready to be gathered. They lie so near to Buyahen that the sentinel bells can be heard from one place to the other.

They are retreating and there is no one who can go ahead. They are sending chiefs from a distance to conduct us peaceably, who wish to become our friends and pay tribute. On the first of November I arrived anew at the mouth of this river on the site of Mindanao, where the fort which belonged to the Spaniards when they took the country was burned. There was a fleet there of more than sixty ships and we did not know what people they carried; but, believing that it was those whom we were awaiting from those islands, I was glad that they had arrived in so good time, and sent some of the friendly Indians to reconnoiter them. They said that they were Terrenatans. I immediately sent Captain Grabiel Gonzalez to make certain who it was, and on the way he met a caracoa which was on sentinel duty. Some arquebus-shots were exchanged, and without any injury he came back with the information. There were at this time in the whole camp, provisions for not more than nine days; and the munitions were so far spent that, having no matches, the soldiers were going about with fire-brands in their hands—for the few matches and balls which they had, had been taken by the troops who were outside harvesting the grain. We had to consider that as soon as we sent to call them back we were lost; for if the rice were not cut we should have nothing to live on. Likewise, on the other hand, I saw the great injury which I should suffer if the enemy should fortify themselves where they were working. It would cost me a great deal to dislodge them, and besides there was the risk which was run of losing the communication with your city; for we had to enter boldly into the enemy's country, as one of the boats of the friendly Indians from Zanboanga had done. Finally, as the evil of the want of food was most pressing, and as without food we could neither go back nor forward, I resolved to reenforce the pass of Vutil, so that the enemy could not pass that way and join with the people of Buyahen. The troops who were acting as porters kept the pass, and immediately, at the same time, I sent the people who were above down to the sea, ordering Captain Juan Pacho, who was at their head, not to come back without bringing in first all the rice which he had harvested and cut, as aforesaid. I got a galley ready with a good deal of trouble, for there was not even bonote [5] to calk it, and I had to go in person among the houses of the Indians to find some. I launched it, and fitted it with guns and new rigging to make it ready; for I was resolved that if the enemy fled I should follow them even as far as their own country. When the men got back I embarked, on Thursday morning, which I reckon to be the third of November. By noon I had come in sight of the enemy, where I anchored, and we exchanged cannon-shots. Seeing that he had a larger force than I had understood, I immediately sent an order to Captain Guerrero who was in Butil, that he should come down to the river of Vitara to the sea, with a galliot, and enter the mouth of this river of Mindanao and come within sight of the enemy, and exchange cannon-shots on his arrival. He did so, arriving at noon on Friday. On the way he met an outpost of the enemy, and killed a few Indians who were with them, with a cannon-shot. When he arrived at cannon-shot distance from the fort he anchored, and commenced to fire. The enemy replied so well that at the first shot they hit the galliot, and it was only by good fortune that it did not go to the bottom. With the second they killed a soldier. With such exercise the day was passed. Saturday morning, Lumaguan having arrived with some troops that were expected, I ordered Captain Guerrero to land immediately with twenty-five soldiers and join me, leaving the rest and the captain of the galliot in it, with orders that, when the troops began the investment, the galliot should come up close to the mouth of a lake which was close to the fort. Accordingly, when these troops came I landed ninety men with Captains Juan Pacho, Guerrero, Ruy Gomes, Grabiel Gonzalez, and Altra. I circled about the fort with the galley, fighting with a good deal of skirmishing, and the galliot doing the same on the other side, so that we had the fort between us. On my side the troops landed not a hundred paces from the fort, on which, on the side toward the aforesaid lake, they had already closed in, and which they had reached as well as on our side, where a very large cavalier was under construction, although they had not yet finished the enclosure. The enemy were so brave that although, by keeping their fleet within the lake, they might have gone away two nights before without losing anything, not only would they not do so, but they even ran the whole fleet on land, excepting one ship, using that as a bridge to pass from the cavalier to the fort.

That very night they cried out to us, telling Captain Don Juan Pacho to have a care and not come to fight them, "because we are all Terrenatans, and you are Castilians and Tanpacans." Although they might have been safe in their fort, and not have lost it unless they sold themselves very dearly, most of them went out into the open country to reconnoiter and there commenced to fight with the land troops. These acted so courageously and so quickly that the enemy had no time to prepare before they had come upon them in front; and when they wished to go back to the fort they could not do so at all, for the artillery of my galley, which was moored quite near, cut off their road with lenternas [grenades?] and balls. Our men kept coming forward without giving way in any part, gained the cavalier, and by the bridge that the enemy had provided passed on to the fort, and won it with all the artillery, altogether in less than an hour. They took the whole fleet, of which we were in much need, and ten pieces of fairly good artillery and more than fifty arquebuses, although most of these were thrown away by the friendly Indians. There were killed there on this occasion more than eighty Moros, among them the commander of their forces, who was an uncle of the king of Terrenate, and was named Cachil Baba, together with other cachils [6] and chiefs. Of those who fled many were wounded, most of whom died, as was afterward seen, in the marshes and mountains. One band of more than fifty Moros—some being wounded, among these a cachil—made an attempt to pass to the other side of the river, thinking that from there they might escape; but, as the river is broad and the current swift, they were all drowned. Every day we are finding more and more who have died from wounds and hunger, and those who have survived are gathering in small bands and going back to their country. They found some boats to take their goods across at the cape of San Agustin, and carry this good news to their king—whom perchance the gain will dispose to continue. This reenforcement was brought by Buysan, brother of Sali and uncle of Raxa Mura, who went to get him and wished him to attack the sargento-mayor, at the time when they cut off his leg. The king of Terrenate yielded to him respectfully, as your Grace may see by the letter of the chief captain of Maluco, a copy of which is sent with this, in which he informs me of what had happened. The troops who came were the most noble and gallant in all Terrenate, and the commander was an old man of more than sixty years, white-haired, with mustaches more than a span long. He was a very venerable person, and so valiant that, after being brought down with an arquebus-shot, so that he could not move, he raised his campilan in the air, calling out to his troops to fight until death. They came well supplied with women and goods, and the materials for making powder. They brought gilded field-beds to sleep on, with cushions of silk and chairs to sit upon, and richly worked cloths for their use. There was so much with this and other things that the booty must have been worth six thousand ducats; and though, as always, the soldiers took the lesser part, yet even thus some of them are a little better off.

I am well aware that I was very fortunate on that occasion, and if our Lord was pleased to grant me success, still fortune will change and the enemy will have it. Not only will that which remains to me here be lost, but even the Pintados Islands have been in great danger, having run the risk each year of being harried by these enemies. But though I knew that God was helping us in a time of such need, yet I had almost lost hope of success. On the other hand, finding myself puzzled and almost desperate at seeing that at the end of six months there had come no reply from the lord governor, nor in any way any intimation of his will or determination, and that it almost seemed as if he were forgetting us, as if we were a lost people without hope, I resolved to do what I did as one who was destitute of aid, and who must live by his own hands. The success was such that I may be pardoned. When I took the site of Buyaen I was so nearly out of supplies that there was not a cannon-ball left for me to use; and on this so important occasion, as I with reason believe it to be—and I may say that since the Philipinas were discovered there was never a better one in them—I had no others than what, by my own diligence, I gathered from some fishermen's cast-nets, and well they did their duty, since they fished so well on land.

When I left that city I told your Grace that, even if I found myself in the utmost need, I should not turn my prow back thither; but first should go to the land of the enemy, and my duty should be well done. If I have accomplished this against so many difficulties as your Grace may see, I believe there are few men who would not have been moved by the circumstances and the necessity which urged me on. When I was most pressed and the troops most in want—so much so that it would bring pity to the heart of anyone who saw it, no matter how hardened he was; for their shirts, shoes, and hose but ill sufficed them, and their food was only a dish of rice with nothing else—even at such a time, I conquered the island; for we may say that it is already conquered, as the larger part pays or gives tribute; and I hope, God willing, that a year from now the whole island will pay us. All this occurred in the midst of the winter, in water waist-deep, with no change of clothing, and the men weary from head to foot. What I think most of is, that I kept the men free from discontent, which seems almost a miracle. And when it was understood that I must depart for lack of supplies, I put in the warehouse eight hundred sestos of rice of forty gantas each; and I supplied almost the whole camp for a month and a half with the crops; the Spaniards and Indians brought in food enough for another month, and the friendly Indians did the same. Much more than what was gathered was destroyed and ruined, as it was not the harvest season.

On all these occasions soldiers and captains worked so gallantly that I have never before so much regretted being poor, since I cannot provide them with some little part of all that they deserve. The sargento-mayor and Captain Juan de Valencia arrived on the twenty-eighth of the last month in a fragata, in which they had been despatched from that city to Butuan. They brought a thousand sestos of rice and some fish, wine, and some clothing which Captain Guenca gave them in Zebu, together with other articles. Very luckily they were retarded, as I had also been, so that they did not arrive earlier; for if they had been twenty days earlier the enemy would have taken them without fail.

The friendly natives were so alarmed at this that even those from the village of Tanpaca, who are near to this fort, withdrew their goods to the tingues, and did not feel safe. They thought that we were dead, and told us to eat, for we must soon kill the Terrenatans. It is strange what fear they felt of the latter, incomparably more than of us; although immediately after this victory they said that we were more valiant than the others, and that there was no people like us. When the fight was over we had no place to store the tribute in acknowledgment of sovereignty which the friendly chiefs offered us in token of friendship, paying it in rice, for at the time of the invasion from Terrenate, Silonga had not threatened them, or made them abandon their good purpose. Immediately upon my arrival I sent to get it, and to prepare them, and to tell them that they might be certain that they would always be under his Majesty's dominion, and likewise to collect the acknowledgment. On this mission the captains, Juan Pacho, Guerrero, and Grabiel Gonzalez were sent with eighty soldiers; and six days ago they informed me that the natives were very firm in their friendship, and that they were busy harvesting the rice which they were to pay. Lumaguan and his people were doing the same thing, being obliged to pay seven hundred sestos of clean rice. In order to collect this, all the men had to pass on to the great lake [i.e., Lanao] for which this island is famous; and as the fame of our works had spread throughout the whole island, two chiefs had already come down from the lake to say that they did not wish to fight with the Spaniards, but to be their friends and pay them tribute. Thus I hope, through God, that inside of twenty days the whole country will be settled; and while sending down the people already mentioned, I myself shall go out in person and go along the coast of the lake and of the cape of San Agustin. Four days ago there came to me word from another chief who wished to be friendly, that the Terrenatans are leaving this road and passing on; for there was not one of them who did not drop his arms and flee. I shall go as far as La Canela, subduing all the country up to that point. This will not detain me long, as I shall follow down the coast and on the way meet the fleet, which was to be despatched from those islands. As it was already so belated when I arrived, it would have been in danger if I had not come to its rescue, and might not have arrived here. I have also kept merchant vessels from the islands of Jolo and Taguima during this whole time. Thus far they have been giving help to the enemy, the most important which they have received; but as they were present at the defeat of the Terrenatans, they are little disposed to remain with them or favor the people of Buyahen. I warned them to be waiting for me at the end of January at La Caldera with the tribute, so that I should not go to their country to punish them. If they do not give it, perhaps I shall do so, as it will be the most certain way.

As I have had no letter from the lord governor I do not know what he may have ordered concerning the continuation of this establishment; but I can say this for myself, that even if he orders me to desert it in so great need as it is, without giving the least information as to the situation in which I now am, which is very different from what I have hitherto thought it, I should not do so. For if it is not kept up for the good which it may be hoped will result to the country, in order to make up for the damage which it suffered in being laid waste, then it must be done for the consideration that its condition will be like that of all the Pintados, which were laid waste unmercifully. And as these affairs are not well understood there, perhaps they thought it sufficient to station here, or at La Caldera, fifty soldiers as a garrison in order to keep the country in check. Those and as many more will be a breakfast to these natives on the day when they do not see that things move on so effectually as now; and they would have done the same thing to those who would have remained in this fort, when I was told to withdraw the rest of the camp to Zebu. In short, I have done this only of my own free will, for good or evil, and without advice—not because I am not given to taking it on all occasions, but because in this country it has always turned out ill, and few are brought into friendship through force.

Neither do I think of wasting time in besieging Buyahen any longer; because, by the means which I have now taken, I shall reduce it to peace with much less difficulty. I am negotiating a marriage between Raxa Mura and the sister of Xlunao, who is the chief of this village of Tanpaca. He is willing and anxious for it and has already embarked to come to see me. As he is a boy, although he is respected by all, his uncles Sali and Silonga would not let him do so. They have hindered him, warning him that he will be hanged. He is importunate in his desire to come, saying that he has no fear of the Spaniards, because he has done them no harm; and his father, Dimasanca, was their friend and paid them tribute, and why should they do him harm? As his uncles are so much to blame they are keeping him back, thinking that they cannot receive the mercy that Raxa Mura will, on account of their treacheries; and that, if he came, they would be lost. If they could make sure that they would not lose their heads, they would all be friendly and the island would be pacified. But it is enough that Raxa Mura should be friendly, wherefore Captain Juan Pacho is under orders to carry on this negotiation through the mother. If this plan of mine is not successful and fails, they must be overcome by want where they now are; for I have them so close pressed and hemmed in that they are not lords of the land a pace from their fort, and they will die of hunger, as neither salt nor fish can enter to them, and their crops have been taken from them on all sides, so they must either die or surrender. And what makes them more reasonable is, that three days ago I took a fort at the place where I have the galliot from Vutil. I have closed the river in such wise that there is no way to go up or down it, and I have there a captain with twenty-four soldiers. They were greatly affected by the defeat of Terrenate; and as they had put their hope in that they lost it thereby as much as if they had been defeated. Sali and Silonga called a meeting of all their people and sought their advice as to what to do. All the timaguas and other chiefs told them that there was nothing to do but become the friends of the Spaniards and pay them tribute. They answered that they would not pay tribute, but would fight first, and they warned them that they should do so. They all answered that they did not wish to fight with the Spaniards, for it was well known that that meant to go to death. The advice that their people gave them was good, but it pleased God that they should choose the worst.

If there had not been such a lack of rowers I should have traveled by means of two hands and forced their respect. But I have so few Indians, and keep them so busy in all kinds of ways that we should be thankful for what has been done. They must have harvested much rice likewise in other parts, and therefore a considerable amount of that to be sent from there [Manila] can be dispensed with. I have something more than four hundred Indians, and two hundred and fifteen Spaniards, counting soldiers, sailors, and gunners. Some of these are crippled and maimed. The war of men continues. Although I understand that this will be more costly to me than was the Terrenate war, two soldiers only have been lost—one of them having his head carried away by a cannon-shot, and the other one his bowels by an arquebus-shot. I sent asking your Grace if you would have those conveyed back to Manila who are no longer capable of service. It will be a gracious act to favor their cause.

In the last letter which I wrote to your Grace I gave an account of the products of this land, so far as they were known up to that time; and now I am doing the same with what has since been observed. In the first place the country is healthful, as has been clearly shown; for if the want, hardships, and privations which the troops have suffered here in mid-winter had occurred in that city, not a man would have lived through it. The climate is incomparably better than that of that island [Luzon]; for in the whole year there are not six days of extreme heat, and the evenings, nights, and mornings are usually cool. Gold is found in all parts, although not in large quantities, but it must exist where there are traces of it. Throughout the whole island there is a great deal of wax and much tortoise-shell. Rice is sowed in all parts, and in some places in great quantities. They raise fowl, goats, and swine in all the villages, and wax they do not save. There is a great quantity of wild game, which is excellent, growing larger than in other places.

There are a great many nipa and other palms, although more than twenty thousand palm-trees have been destroyed. The people of the tingues are farmers and stock-raisers, and would plant a great deal if directed to do so; accordingly, four hundred or five hundred Spaniards could be very bountifully supplied here, and even more. They are in an excellent position for trade, for they are at a very few days' journey from all the islands of Maluco, Xlatheo [Matheo?], Borney, and Xaba, and they lie on the route of the galleons which ply between Yndia, Malaca, and Maluco, and which anchor at La Canela. The only thing to be feared is that the men from these galleons will enter the island, doing damage, and making a bad name for us. It would take a miracle to lose it. The worst thing that I see is that it should be divided into encomiendas, as otherwise the soldiers will work willingly and even without further recompense than what they may happen to get. And accordingly it seems but just that the masters should come and give us support, or that they should leave us, who are well satisfied with it.

Two or three encomenderos only have sent their attendants; and they might as well not have sent them, because they have not provided them with provisions and supplies, but the king has had to furnish them. If this is all that is necessary, they have done well to stay at home forgetful, and let us fools labor here for them. And it seems to me that there has been sufficient deceit, falsehood, and cunning used with the lord governor with their false excuses. Let them come or give up, for otherwise I believe there will be no one to continue the work. Let them build ships and boats; since most of them hold encomiendas, from which they can pay for them. Of one thing they may be certain, that so long as I am on the island no tributes shall be collected there unless in the meantime there shall be another order from the lord governor; except that I shall have them collected and put in the treasury to cover the expenses of this pacification; for thus far I have knowledge of no assent or approval, and therefore I shall treat it as if left to me. Thus far I have founded no settlement; for, although the situation of Tanpaca is good and healthful, it is far from the sea, so that it takes a fragata five or six days to come up and go down from here. There is no other site of importance, and from now on until things are more settled it is inexpedient to leave this river; I shall therefore postpone such an enterprise until a better opportunity.

More than thirty pieces of artillery, although small ones, have been won from the enemy, and more than five hundred boats have been defeated and captured; and up to the time of the peace more than eight hundred people have died or been taken captive.

On the twenty-sixth instant the sargento-mayor came down from exploring the great lake. He found upon it a village of eight hundred people, which immediately surrendered peaceably and paid acknowledgment. There were no more in that neighborhood. And as all the people there pay tribute to these people, they denied having any more than a few tinguianes [i.e., hill people]. When they were told to notify the villages, they said that they could not, for they were at war with them; that this was the boundary of their nation; and that it would take a large body of troops. It could not all be explored on this occasion, because it would take more time than our troops could afford. It is understood that the people of this district are all farmers, and by nature like the Vizayans; they have much cotton and wax. This part of the lake is clear, and has a swift current, owing to the strength of the rivers which flow into it, and which have every reason for being populous. We shall examine it soon; the reason for our not doing so this time was that Silonga knew that the chiefs and principal men of his party wished to go over to our side, paying tribute and obedience unto his Majesty. Seeing himself deserted on all sides without them, and that they were all leaving him, he came out of Buyahen with a large number of troops and went to the village of Dato Mindum; and there he cut off their path and kept them all hedged in. The sargento-mayor and the other captains, considering that since he was so bold as to take up a position where he was without fortification, he must have confidence in the number of his troops, and that for some eight days more or less the victories which God has given us up to now should not be spoiled, therefore put off attacking him till they should have a new order from me. Accordingly today, the twenty-ninth of the said month, I am sending Captain Ruy Gomez with forty soldiers more, and three hundred friendly Indians and more supplies. He has orders to attack the village. We should lose much if the troops came down the river without attacking Silonga; the more he has at stake, the more he will lose. For I know the worth and value of a Spaniard, and it is not a good thing to hazard them without a great deal of consideration. I hope, God willing, that if the enemy wait they will be badly beaten; and if they flee to the chiefs who wish to go over to our side, that will increase their wish and confirm them in it.

Thus far no fragata or other ship has arrived except that of the sargento-mayor which I sent back from here, and even if this had remained in Zebu, it might have brought word from the lord governor regarding the prosecution of this business. He comes here with no more knowledge than we have; the only thing of which he leaves us in no doubt is that he comes without the means to pay or succor these poor troops. If this be true, I am much astonished at it; and it appears to me that this is afflicting them too much and will give them an occasion to make trouble and rebel some day, taking one of the galleys and the artillery and going where they list, as has already been done in two cases. In the one case a barangay and four soldiers mutinied and went away, no one knows where. Although they took an officer, he had no power to prevent them, for they rose in arms against him. The best that he could do was to have them put him ashore and in this way he came back to this fort. The three soldiers who were posted on the galliot which was at Vutil conspired and took the small boat and fled. Your Grace may see, from the eve of the feast, what sort of feast-day may be expected, especially from troops suffering privation and hunger, who do not leave their arms day or night, working for others and receiving no pay. With so small a ration of rice they are ill sustained for any length of time; for the little meat and fish which was sent was so insignificant and arrived in so damaged a condition that there is not enough for eight days. Finally, on this ground of pay they would be justified in mutiny. They are seeking all about for food and clothes, which, if they had received the pay, they would not have lacked; and at the same time they could be commanded and obliged to serve and keep the regulations—which are every day broken, and we cannot punish them. Another band attempted flight a few days past, one of whom I hanged—although it weighs on my conscience now that I have done it; for, in a sense, they have excuse enough. Since I did not shirk it, I inform you of it now, to relieve my conscience, before God and his Majesty.

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