Fray Domingo, Bishop of the Filipinas Andres de Cervantes Francisco Morante
Before me: Salvador de Argon, secretary
LETTER FROM JUAN BAPTISTA ROMAN TO THE VICEROY
Most Illustrious and Excellent Sir:
I do not know whether the letters with new information which the governor is writing today will arrive in time to go on this ship, which has been despatched to this port of Acabite; so I wish to give your Excellency notice of what is going on. Yesterday—St. John's Day—in the afternoon, there arrived six soldiers who had gone with Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion  against the Japanese, who are settled on the river Cagayan. They say that Juan Pablo sailed with his fleet—which comprised the ship "Sant Jusepe," the admiral's galley, and five fragatas—from the port of Bigan, situated in Ylocos, about thirty-five days' journey from Cagayan. As he sailed out, he encountered a Chinese pirate, who very soon surrendered. He put seventeen soldiers aboard of her and continued his course. While rounding Cape Borgador near Cagayan one fair morning at dawn, they found themselves near a Japanese ship, which Juan Pablo engaged with the admiral's galley in which he himself was. With his artillery he shot away their mainmast, and killed several men. The Japanese put out grappling-irons and poured two hundred men aboard the galley, armed with pikes and breastplates. There remained sixty arquebusiers firing at our men. Finally, the enemy conquered the galley as far as the mainmast. There our people also made a stand in their extreme necessity, and made the Japanese retreat to their ship. They dropped their grappling-irons, and set their foresail, which still remained to them. At this moment the ship "Sant Jusepe" grappled with them, and with the artillery and forces of the ship overcame the Japanese; the latter fought valiantly until only eighteen remained, who gave themselves up, exhausted. Some men on the galley were killed, and among them its captain, Pero Lucas, fighting valiantly as a good soldier. Then the captain, Juan Pablo, ascended the Cagayan River, and found in the opening a fort and eleven Japanese ships. He passed along the upper shore because the mouth of the river is a league in width. The ship "Sant Jusepe" was entering the river, and it happened by bad fortune that some of our soldiers, who were in a small fragata, called out to the captain, saying to him: "Return, return to Manila! Set the whole fleet to return, because there are a thousand Japanese on the river with a great deal of artillery, and we are few." Whereupon Captain Luys de Callejo directed his course seaward; and although Juan Pablos fired a piece of artillery he did not and could not enter, and continued to tack back and forth. In the morning he anchored in a bay, where such a tempest overtook them that it broke three cables out of four that he had, and one used for weighing anchor. He sent these six soldiers in a small vessel to see if there was on an islet any water, of which they were in great need. The men lost their way, without finding any water; and when they returned where they had left their ship they could not find it. They met with some of those Indians who were in the galley with Juan Pablos, from whom it was learned that Juan Pablo had ascended the river two leagues and had fortified himself in a bay; and that with him was the galley, which had begun to leak everywhere, in the engagement with the Japanese. The Indian crew was discharged on account of not having the supplies which were lost on the galley. Most of these men went aboard the "Sant Jusepe." They said that the Japanese were attacking them with eighteen champans,  which are like skiffs. They were defending themselves well although there were but sixty soldiers with the seamen, and there were a thousand of the enemy, of a race at once valorous and skilful. The six soldiers came with this news, and on the way they met a sailor who had escaped from a Sangley ship which had sailed from here, with supplies of rice for Juan Pablo. He says that the Sangleys mutinied at midnight and killed ten soldiers who were going with it as an escort, who had no sentinel. This one escaped by swimming, with the aid of a lance that was hurled at him from the ship.
Moreover, I have just detained some passengers who were going on this ship, because there are no troops on these islands, and a hundred soldiers have to go immediately as a reenforcement, although the weather is tempestuous. I expect to be one of them, if the governor will give me permission.
These enemies, who have in truth remained here, are a warlike people; and if your Excellency do not provide by this ship, and reenforce us with a thousand soldiers, these islands can be of little value. May your Excellency with great prudence provide what is most necessary for his Majesty's service, since we have no resource other than the favor your Excellency shall order to be extended to us.
The governor was disposed to send assistance to the ship, which was a very important affair; but after these events he will not be able to do it, because there do not remain in this city seventy men who can bear arms. May our Lord guard the most illustrious and excellent person of your Excellency and increase your estate, as your Excellency's servants desire. From Cabite, June 25, 1582. Most excellent and illustrious sir, your servant kisses your Excellency's hands.
Juan Baptista Roman
LETTER FROM PENALOSA TO FELIPE II
Royal Catholic Majesty:
By this ship, which is to leave these islands on the last of June of this year, I am giving your Majesty a full account of the condition of affairs and events in this region. As it was about to sail news came of the fleet—which, I wrote among other things, I had despatched to effect a settlement in Cagayan—and of the punishment and resistance of the Japanese pirates, of whose coming we had news this year. The fleet sent by me, as above stated, met two vessels of the enemy near Cagayan, one of Japanese and the other of Sangleys; an engagement ensued, and those vessels surrendered after a fierce fight, in which two hundred Japanese, among them the commander of the fleet and his son, were killed, while we lost only three soldiers.
Juan Pablo de Carrion, whom I sent as my lieutenant-general in charge of this fleet, continued his journey, and entered the Cagayan River, where he was to make a settlement. At the entrance of the river he found six more Japanese vessels belonging to the fleet of those which had surrendered. There was also a goodly number of people there, and fortifications. On account of his lack of men—a severe storm having driven out to sea the flagship, which he took on this expedition—he did not sack these forts, but attempted only to enter the river. This he did, going up about six leagues, where he made a settlement in a place where he could erect a fort, whence he could direct offensive and defensive warfare against the enemy. This news came yesterday; and with all possible despatch I am sending reenforcements, boats, ammunition, and the provisions necessary. I considered it so needful to employ the soldiers for this purpose, because too small a force remains to me for the aid of Maluco, as I have written, since that undertaking is so important. However if they send from that place to beg aid, I shall give it with what forces I can. For I suffer a great lack of men and other things because no reenforcements have been sent me from Nueva Espana, although I have implored them. This land suffers from a constant and pressing need of reenforcements, on account not only of its unhealthful climate, but of the many emergencies which continually arise when I must send aid. These occasions now are not so much a matter of jest as they have been hitherto; for the Chinese and Japanese are not Indians, but people as valiant as many of the inhabitants of Berberia [Barbary], and even more so. I entreat your Majesty to give careful attention to this, and to order that in all vessels as many men as possible be sent; for it is the key to what is necessary for the preservation of this camp. I beg also that careful attention be given in the other things.
The gratuity for the expenses incurred in these necessary undertakings and for others similar to them, which are thrusting themselves forward every moment—which was provided by your Majesty's auditors of your royal Audiencia of Mexico in the ship arriving at this bay on the twenty-fourth of last month, consisted of a decree and warrant in which they order that Doctor Sande be paid here for the time while he remained here after my arrival, and until his arrival at Mexico. For this purpose they set aside in their decree the tributes which belong to your Majesty, and order that they be attached for this and sent to them—threatening me with imprisonment if I do not comply. I have written to your Majesty already of the poor state of your treasury here and its many pressing necessities, and of the extreme difficulty experienced in raising the amount needful for the same. Will your Majesty please take suitable action in this? for without the aid of what little resources your Majesty possesses here, this colony cannot be preserved. May our Lord guard the Catholic and royal person of your Majesty for mary prosperous years, and give you increase of many kingdoms and seigniories for the good of Christianity. Manila, July first, 82.
[Endorsed: "To the royal Catholic Majesty, King Don Phelipe, our sovereign, through his royal council of the Indies. Governor of the Philipinas."]
TWO PAPAL DECREES
Indulgence Granted to the Dominicans on Their Setting Out for the Philippines
Gregory, Bishop, servant of the servants of God: In perpetual remembrance of the affair.
Since, as we have learned, very vast kingdoms, islands, cities, and towns in the parts of the Western Indias are being converted to the faith of Christ, and daily the light of heavenly learning is beaming on the peoples thereof—who, hitherto unacquainted with the law of God, and under the yoke of the demon, were groping their way in the dark places of unbelief; but now, rejecting the errors of heathenism, are revering and following the name of our Savior Jesus Christ: therefore our beloved son, the master-general of the Order of Preachers  [Dominicans], has determined to send thither professed members under the care of their own vicar, with rules for austere life and a reformed standard of conduct—as is becoming to a religious and praiseworthy institute, and according to which their province of New Spain was established—who there may found a new province of their order.
We, on whom through appointment of the Lord it is incumbent to foster the spread of the gospel, desirous of taking part in this duty of preaching the gospel in kingdoms wherein Christ is unknown, desirous moreover to aid, in as faras we can, the pious and religious endeavors of the Friars Preachers—who, with their abandonment of fatherland and their self-denial of comforts, are now exposing themselves to dangers of land and sea for the sake of spreading the name of Christ—therefore, trusting in the mercy of almighty God and the authority of His blessed apostles Peter and Paul, we by our apostolic authority, in virtue of these presents do grant, etc., a plenary indulgence and remission of all their sins to the professed members of the said Order, all and singular, if really penitent and confessed, who by leave or order or mandate of their afore-named master-general shall go to the Philippine Islands.
Given at Rome, at St. Mark's, under the seal of the Fisherman, on the fifteenth day of September, in the year 1582, the eleventh of our pontificate.
Foundation of the Province of the Dominicans in the Philippines
Gregory XIII, Pope. Beloved son, health and apostolic blessing.
Not long ago you acquainted us with the fact that, some time before, Paul Conestabile, master-general of the entire order of Friars Preachers, gave you leave—with thirty or forty professed members of the said order, to be gathered by you from the provinces of Spain, Aragon and Andalusia, and ten from the province of Mexico and from Chiappa,  to go to the Philippine Islands and to the kingdom of China. Moreover, appointing you his vicar-general in the said Philippine Islands and kingdom of China, etc., he granted to you, all and singular, the privileges which had been granted by former generals to the province of Santiago of Mexico—to the end that you might there establish a rule of life in accordance with the same, and found provinces, etc.
But since, as you also told us, the said General Paul is dead, and there are some who are doubtful of your power in the premises, and therefore you have humbly petitioned us to determine what through our apostolic bounty you should do in the premises: therefore, holding that you are free from any sort of excommunication, etc., and by these presents decreeing that the tenor of the said letters is to be considered as if herein expressed; moreover, being not unwilling to hearken to your petition, we by our apostolic authority, in virtue of these presents, approve and confirm the things contained therein, all and singular; and, as far as needs be, do again depute you to the aforesaid charge,  etc.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, under the seal of the Fisherman, on the twentieth day of October in the year 1582, the eleventh of our pontificate.
REPORT ON THE OFFICES SALEABLE IN THE PHILIPPINES
The following are the saleable offices in these Philipinas islands, from which some gain may be derived.
Seven positions as city magistrates in Manila; because, of the twelve which are available, three are filled with officials of his Majesty, and two by Captain Juan de Moron and by Pedro de Herrera, both possessing titles from his Majesty.
Two offices as notaries-public in the same city; for, of the three available, one is filled by Diego Aleman who was appointed by his Majesty, and the other two are appointed by the governors, and therefore are not royal notaries.
A notary of the cabildo, for no one has been supplied by his Majesty.
The office of alguacil-mayor [high constable] in this city was held by Hernan Lopez: he has lived during the last three years in Mexico, where he has married, and has not attended to his office; and consequently the governor disposes of this position. More will be given for this office on account of its dignity, as holding a seat in the cabildo next to the royal officials.
The office of chief clerk of registers and mines of these islands; for no appointment has been made by his Majesty.
Six magistrates for the town of Zubu, which is the required number. No one has been appointed by his Majesty.
In the said town, two notaries—one public, and the other for the cabildo; for they have not been filled by his Majesty.
In the said town, the office of alguacil-mayor; for his Majesty has made no provision for the said dignity.
The offices which are available in the town of Zubu are also available in the town of Caceres, in the province of Camarines; and in the town of Arevalo, in the island of Panai.
The town of Fernandina in the province of Ylocos has proved to be so unhealthy a region that, from being the richest town of these islands, it has now only a few inhabitants with no organized cabildo or government.
The city of Segovia, in the province of Cagayan, is a newly-settled city. The offices have been filled by the governor with the early conquerors; it will therefore be convenient for his Majesty to confirm them, in order that the community may become permanently settled.
Concerning the office of alcalde-mayor in the villages and provinces of the Indians, the following method is carried out. The alcalde-mayor, who goes there for a year or two, takes with him his own alguacil and clerk, appointed by himself. The lawsuits which take place before them are seldom made public; and they can keep the fines forfeited to the royal treasury—which are not slight, for they fine the natives even for treading the ground. They keep neither archives nor record of anything, so that his Majesty is ill served in their office; the natives suffer, and the officials condemn themselves. In view of all this, it would be better for each province of Indians possessing the office of alcalde-mayor to have a permanent alguacil and clerk appointed by his Majesty; for if they are not appointed by the alcalde and are not his servants, they will not conform so thoroughly to his will. Thus light would be shed upon the legal proceedings, of which an account would be kept; and the fines forfeited to the royal treasury would not be lost, together with the expenses of justice. Finally, if they are appointed permanently, they will aim at the preservation of the Indians for their own benefit, and will not plunder and then go away, as they do now. The three most important provinces in which an alcalde resides are: the province of Pampanga, which is the most fertile region of these islands, and which has about thirty thousand Indians; the province of La Laguna de Bai, with a like number of Indians; and the province of Bombon, Balaian, Mindoro, with about twenty thousand Indians. I believe that in these three provinces the offices of alguacil and clerk will be of no less value than they are in Spanish communities. In the other provinces, these offices are of little importance at present.
DOCUMENTS OF 1583
Complaints against Penalosa. Gabriel de Ribera; [1583?] Affairs in the Philipinas Islands. Fray Domingo de Salazar; . Instructions to commissary of the Inquisition. Pedro de los Rios, and others; March 1. Foundation of the Audiencia of Manila. Felipe II; May 5.
Sources: These documents are obtained from MSS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla—excepting the third, which is from the Archivo general at Simancas.
Translations: The first and third documents are translated by Alfonso de Salvio, of Harvard University; the second, by Herbert E. Bolton, of the University of Texas; the fourth, by Henry B. Lathrop, of the University of Wisconsin.
COMPLAINTS AGAINST PENALOSA
Most powerful lord: 
Captain Gabriel de Rivera  beseeches your Highness on behalf of the Filipinas islands, kindly to see that due attention and consideration be given to the advancement and preservation of those islands, upon which his Majesty has set his eyes so fixedly, and which have cost so many thousands of ducats and Spanish lives. May what has been asked be provided, according to the memorials which I have presented to the royal person and to your Highness; for it befits the service of God our Lord, that of your Highness, and the advancement and good government of those islands.
The appointment of Don Gonzalo Ronquillo  by your Highness as governor for life, and the many sentences, decrees, and favors in his behalf, greatly injure the said islands in their advancement; they harass and totally ruin them as we have seen with our own eyes. Such an appointment is contrary to the orders and laws given for the new discoveries; for the Filipinas islands were discovered more than fifty years ago, and were settled at the time of the emperor (may he rest in peace). Since a way of return to Nueba Espana had not been discovered, the settlers for lack of sustenance abandoned the land, until the viceroy, Don Luis de Belasco, by order of your Highness despatched a fleet to the said islands, and sent Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as governor, who made a settlement and discovered a way of return. He went there at his own expense. All favors granted him in the meantime were so small and inadequate that he was not even allowed to take a repartimiento. The islands have been settled for twenty years, and have enjoyed peace and quiet.  The appointment may have been a very lawful one, but it should not be forgotten that it is injurious to the said islands and their advancement. God alone can remedy the abuses perpetrated every day, for, as is well known by your Highness, they are beyond any other remedy—inasmuch as Don Gonzalo has carried out no part of the agreement he made with his Majesty. In regard to this, and the papers and memorials which I have presented, may your very Christian Highness take the measures befitting the service of God, and the advancement and good government of those islands.
Gabriel de Ribera
AFFAIRS IN THE PHILIPINAS ISLANDS
By Fray Domingo de Salazar
Memorial regarding occurrences in these Philipinas Islands of the West, also their condition, and matters which require correction; written by Fray Domingo de Salazar, bishop of the said islands, in order that his Majesty and the gentlemen of his royal Council of the Indies may see it.
At first, when the Spaniards came to these islands, there was a great abundance of provisions, such as are produced in the country; namely, rice, beans, fowls, swine, deer, buffaloes, fish, cocoanuts, bananas and some other fruits, wine, and honey. Of these a large quantity could be bought from the natives with very little money. Although among them there was gold, with which they traded and trafficked, yet it was most usual to barter eatables for rice until the Spaniards introduced the use of money, from which no little harm has come to the country. Wine and rice are measured by the ganta, which is equivalent to a quarter of a celemin in our measure.
The prices which articles brought after the Spaniards introduced silver coins—which are, as a rule, tostons, as the four-real pieces are called—were as follows: [four]  hundred gantas of rice [for one toston]; for another, a hundred of wine; and for another, twelve, fourteen, or sixteen fowls; and other things in proportion. These rates continued until a year and a half or two years ago. Then products began to be scarce in this country, and articles which were formerly cried through the streets have today reached so high prices and such scarcity that there is now no one who can obtain them, even when they go to search for them in the Indian villages. For what is thus found the common prices are forty or fifty gantas of rice, or eight or ten gantas of wine, for one toston; fowls have advanced to two reals apiece, although the usual price is one real; while a hog costs four or five pesos, or six or eight for one of considerable size. Oil of agenxoli [sesame], cocoanuts, and butter, which formerly could be bought very cheaply, cannot now be obtained—although in this there is variation, as little or much comes to the market.
I have tried to ascertain the reason for so great a change, and for the dearness of food; and after thoroughly informing myself through persons who know, and through what I have seen with my own eyes, I find the following reasons therefor. First: When Don Goncalo Ronquillo came here as governor of La Pampanga,  whence all this country used to be supplied with rice, wine, and fowls, a great number of Indians went to the mines of Ylocos, where they remained during the time when they ought to have sowed their grain. Many of them died there, and those who returned were so fatigued that they needed rest more than work. As a result, in that year followed a very great scarcity of rice, and for lack of it a great number of Indians in the said Pampanga died from hunger. In Luvao alone, the encomienda of Guido de la Vacares, the dead exceeded a thousand.
Second: in regard to the many occupations in which the Spaniards employ the Indians, such as setting them to row in the galleys and fragatas despatched by the governor and officials on various commissions, which are never lacking. At times they go so far away that they are absent four or six months; and many of those who go die there. Others run away and hide in the mountains, to escape from the toils imposed upon them. Others the Spaniards employ in cutting wood in the forests and conveying it to this city, and other Indians in other labors, so that they do not permit them to rest or to attend to their fields. Consequently, they sow little and reap less, and have no opportunity to attend religious instruction. It sometimes happens that while these miserable creatures are being instructed for baptism the Spaniards force them to go to the tasks that I have mentioned; and when they return they have forgotten what they knew; for this reason there are today many Indians to be baptized. In some cases when I have gone to a village to administer confirmation, I have returned without confirming any one, because the Indians were not in the place, but were occupied in labors ordered by the alcalde-mayor, and I could not collect them together. In proof of this, I send a mandate issued by a deputy of Tondo. (I was present at the time, and all the people were away, occupied in the tasks assigned to them; and the only Indians in the village were those who were being instructed for the reception of baptism.) This ordinance commanded all the Indians of the said village to cut wood, and those who were receiving instruction to quit it.
Third: Before the governor Don Goncalo Ronquillo came, there were not more than three or four alcaldes-mayor in all these islands; but now there are sixteen and most of them are men who came with him. As they came poor, and as the salaries are small, they have taken away the Indians—as all affirm, and it is common talk—at the time for harvesting rice; and they buy up all other provisions, and many profit by selling them again. In this way everything has become dear, because, as they have forbidden the Indians to trade and traffic, they sell at whatever price they wish. Formerly the Indians brought their produce to the gates, and sold it at very low-prices; for they are satisfied with very little gain, which is not true of the Spaniards. But, not to ascribe all the guilt to men, but to our sins, the cause of this dearness has in part been that these years have not afforded as good weather as others. This is the state in which the country has thus far been up to the present.
Injuries inflicted upon the Indians
First: When a long expedition is to be made, the wrongs which they suffer are many. One is to despatch for the Indians who are to row in a galley or fragata a sailor who has neither piety nor Christian feeling. Moreover, it is notorious that, without inquiring whether an Indian is married or single, or whether his wife is sick or his children without clothing, he takes them all away. It has happened that when a husband has led this deputy to his wife, who was great with child, and has asked with tears that he might be left behind as she had no one to care for her, the sailor has beaten her with cudgels in order to make her go, and the poor husband also, despite his resistance. In other cases, their wives are abandoned when dying, the husband being compelled to go away to row. The Indians are put into irons on the galleys, and flogged as if they were galley-slaves or prisoners. Moreover, the pay that is given them is very small; for they give each man only four reals a month—and this is so irregularly paid that most of them never see it. The [officials of the] villages from which they take the rowers divide the pay among themselves, or give it to those whom they impress as oarsmen. This statement is thoroughly authenticated; for when the governor, Don Goncalo Ronquillo, sent to the mines, in Vitis and Lobao alone they divided three thousand pesos belonging to the Indians themselves; and when he sent to Borney, in Bonbon they divided more than two thousand. They say that in all Pampanga five or six thousand pesos were taken, and similarly in all towns where they get recruits.
Sometimes they do not go at harvest-time to collect the rice which they say belongs to your Majesty, but only when it is very dear; and then they require it to be sold for the price which it was worth when they harvested. Sometimes the Indians buy back for five or six tostons what they sold for one. The past year, when the Indians ate shoots of palms and bananas because they had no rice, and many Indians died from hunger, they made them sell the remaining rice at the price which it was worth at harvest-time. Sometimes the entire quantity of his rice is taken from an Indian, without leaving him a grain to eat. One poor widow, seeing that they were carrying off all her rice without leaving her a grain to eat, took, as best she could, two basketfuls to hide under the altar, and there saved them; but it is certain that if the collector had known it, they would have been taken from that place.
Another injury that they do to this poor people, under pretense of its being for your Majesty, whereby your royal name is detested among them, is as follows. Formerly, when rice was plentiful, four hundred gantas were worth one toston; your Majesty's officials of La Pampanga furnished me with the price which it was worth. Last year the governor ordered that twelve thousand fanegas of rice be taken from La Pampanga for your Majesty, and that the Indians should give three hundred gantas for one toston. It was then worth among them about a peso of gold, because it could not be had at any price. Many Indians died of hunger. The three hundred gantas which they took from them for one toston were worth about six tostons, and a person who wished to buy it could not find it. This present year, when they have so little grain and the famine is so great in La Pampanga, the Spaniards might have sent to other districts to buy rice, where—although they must go farther—it is more plentiful, and could be taken without injuring the Indians. Yet the Spaniards have chosen not to do this, but rather to order that it be taken from La Pampanga. And while the price among the Indians is fifty gantas for one toston, they require them to give for your Majesty at the rate of two hundred and fifty gantas. At the season when this was collected, I was visiting La Pampanga, and I saw so much weeping and moaning on the part of the wretched Indians from whom they took the rice, that it moved me to great pity—and all the more since I could see so little means to provide a remedy; for although I wrote about it to the master-of-camp, who was at that time lieutenant-governor, it profited me little.
As for the means of collecting this rice, the alcalde-mayor or his deputy divides among the chiefs two, three, four, or more taes of gold (which is a certain weight worth five pesos), and orders that so many gantas of rice be collected for one toston. Afterward they send, to collect this rice, men without piety; who, with blows, torture, and imprisonment enforce compliance with the rate of three hundred and fifty gantas for a toston; and, in other years, one hundred of wine, and this year, sixty. It is a fact well established, for I have learned from the very persons who collect it that it often happens, that the Indian, not having so much rice as is demanded, is obliged to go to buy at the rate of fifty gantas for a toston, and fifteen gantas of wine; and from him, as is said, they take two hundred and fifty of rice and seventy of wine for one toston. If this occurred only with respect to rice, which is necessary for the expense which your Majesty incurs in this city, it would be but half a wrong, although I do not know what law permits them to invent one price for your Majesty and another for others. However this may be, I will pass on. But the real evil is that the governor, master-of-camp, alcaldes-mayor, your Majesty's officials and other persons to whom these wish to give it, all consume it at this same price, and they also collect it at this price for the hospitals of the city. Although the governor, in the orders which he gives for the hospitals and for other persons, such as alcaldes-mayor, does not name the number of gantas to be given for a toston, yet the rate is not higher than for your Majesty. He is at fault, in that—knowing that they collect at this price—he neither causes what has thus been taken to be restored, nor punishes him who transgresses in this matter; thus many dare to take rice from them at these same prices, knowing that they will not be punished. I know that many alcaldes-mayor, having orders from the governor to buy from the Indians of their districts three hundred fanegas from each single man and five hundred from each married man, take it at the aforesaid price, and even much more than they are permitted to take, and sell it again at the current price. I know that they also go to collect, at the price fixed for your Majesty, for themselves and their friends, much more rice than they have a right to take according to order. The same is true in regard to cutting timber.
They compel the Indians to work at tasks in the service of your Majesty, paying them but little, and that irregularly and late, and often not at all.
I do not mention the injuries which the Indians received from the Spaniards during the conquest, for from what happened to them in other parts of the Yndias can be inferred what would happen here, which was not less, but in many places much more. I speak of what has happened and now happens in the collection of the tributes, so that your Majesty may see if it is right to overlook or tolerate things which go so far beyond all human justice.
As for the first, your Majesty may be assured that heretofore these Indians never have understood, nor have they been given to understand, that the Spaniards entered this country for any other purpose than to subjugate them and compel them to pay tributes. As this is a thing which all peoples naturally refuse, it follows that where they have been able to resist they have always done so, and have gone to war. When they can do no more, they say that they will pay tribute. And these people the Spaniards call pacified, and say that they have submitted to your Majesty! And without telling them more of God and of the benefits which it was intended to confer upon them, they demand tribute from them each year. Their custom therein is as follows. As soon as the Spaniards have subjugated them, and they have promised to pay tribute (for from us Christians they hear no other word than "Pay tribute"), they say to the natives, "You must give so much a year." If they are not allotted in encomiendas, the governor sends some one to collect the tributes; but it is most usual to allot them at once in an encomienda to him who has charge of collecting the tributes. Although the decree relating to encomiendas says, "Provided that you instruct them in the matters of our most holy faith," the only care that they have for that is, that the encomendero takes with him eight or ten soldiers with their arquebuses and weapons, orders the chiefs to be called, and demands that they give him the tributes for all the Indians of their village. Here my powers fail me, I lack the courage, and I can find no words, to express to your Majesty the misfortunes, injuries, and vexations, the torments and miseries, which the Indians are made to suffer in the collection of the tributes. The tribute at which all are commonly rated is the value of eight reals, paid in gold or in produce which they gather from their lands; but this rate is observed like all other rules that are in favor of the Indians—that is, it is never observed at all. Some they compel to pay it in gold, even when they do not have it. In regard to the gold likewise, there are great abuses, because as there are vast differences in gold here, they always make the natives give the finest. The weight at which they receive the tribute is what he who collects it wishes, and he never selects the lightest. Others make them pay cloth or thread. But the evil is not here, but in the manner of collecting; for, if the chief does not give them as much gold as they demand, or does not pay for as many Indians as they say there are, they crucify the unfortunate chief, or put his head in the stocks—for all the encomenderos, when they go to collect, have their stocks, and there they lash and torment the chiefs until they give the entire sum demanded from them. Sometimes the wife or daughter of the chief is seized, when he himself does not appear. Many are the chiefs who have died of torture in the manner which I have stated. When I was in the port of Ybalon some chiefs came there to see me; and the first thing they said to me was, that one who was collecting the tributes in that settlement had killed a chief by torture, and the same Indians indicated the manner in which he had been killed, which was by crucifixion, and hanging him by the arms. I saw this soldier in the town of Caceres, in the province of Camarines, and learned that the justice arrested him for it and fined him fifty pesos—to be divided equally between the exchequer and the expenses of justice—and that with this punishment he was immediately set free. Likewise I learned that an encomendero—because a chief had neither gold nor silver nor cloth with which to pay the tribute—exacted from him an Indian for nine pesos, in payment of nine tributes which he owed; and then took this Indian to the ship and sold him for thirty-five pesos. And although I told this to the steward and asked for the Indian, he remained in slavery. They collect tribute from children, old men, and slaves, and many remain unmarried because of the tribute, while others kill their children.
What the encomendero does, after having collected his tributes in the manner stated, is to return home; and for another year he neither sees nor hears of them. He takes no more account of them than if they were deer, until the next year, when the same thing is repeated. These injuries the Spaniards inflicted in all places until recently. In this district of Manila there is not so much of it now, because many of the natives are already Christians, and there are religious among them, and affairs are in better order. But in remote places and some not very far away, what I have stated occurs, and even worse things are done. Because all, or nearly all, of those who pay the tribute are infidels, and neither know nor understand more of the matters of our faith than they did a hundred years ago, and even more on account of the wrongs which they suffer, they abhor and abominate the faith. Indeed, as for the example of decency which those who mingle with the Indians set them there is no way to describe it here without offending your Majesty's ears; but I state it as an assured fact that they care not whether a woman be a believer or an infidel, single or married; all are on the same level. From this your Majesty will gather what these unhappy Indians will have conceived of us and of the faith which we preach.
I shall not omit to mention here a thing which is full of reproach to the Christians who have lived here, and even to all of us who hear it—namely, that the natives of these islands have been, from ancient times, infidels, of whom there are many now in this and other islands; and that the Moros have come to these islands from that of Burney to preach the law of Mahoma, through which preaching a large number of pagans have turned Moros. Those who have received this vile law keep it with much pertinacity, and there is great difficulty in getting them to leave it. Moreover it is known that the reason which they give—to our shame and confusion—is that they were better treated by the preachers of Mahoma than they have been and are by the preachers of Christ.  Since, through kind and gentle treatment, they received that doctrine willingly, it took root in their hearts, and so they leave it reluctantly. But this is not the case with what we preach to them, for, as it is accompanied with so much bad treatment and with so evil examples, they say "yes" with the mouth and "no" with the heart; and thus when occasion arises they leave it, although by the mercy of God, this is becoming somewhat remedied by the coming of the ministers of the gospel, with whose advent these grievances cease in some places. After Don Geronimo  Ronquillo carne to govern, [it was decreed] that from the Indians should be taken the [taels?]  of gold which the Indians manufacture. Whether or not this has been done by order of your Majesty, I do not know; but I know that if your Majesty were in this country you would not order this law to be executed now; because most of them are still infidels, and I do not know what right there is to exact these taxes from the infidel, nor to what a people so [illegible in original MS.] might be driven by such rigor. From this result many injuries to the Indians. For, as is well known, they have wrought the gold which they received from their ancestors, and they regard it as lost.  All the Indians are compelled to declare all the gold that they possess, and the amounts are placed on a list, in order that if they should come into possession of more gold in the future, it may be taken from them—not as the royal fifth, but as forfeited. Moreover as these Indians wear chains and ajorcas,  the alcaldes-mayor, in the attempt to profit thereby, require that these should be declared, on the ground that these are ornaments which the Indians have manufactured, and on which they have not paid the fifth; and although this may be a lie, it costs the Indian, before he is free, a good share of his gold. Indeed, they denounced an Indian before the governor himself; and in spite of many entreaties from religious, he fined the Indian one hundred and twenty pesos, which was the third part of the gold about which he was accused. A religious assured me that it was gold received from his ancestors; but the Indian could not help himself.
I could never finish—and it would be a very annoying subject for your Majesty—relating all the hardships that befall these unfortunates in this country. They ought to be feasted and favored, in order that they may become attached to our faith, and understand the mercy that God has shown them in bringing them to the knowledge and manifestation of it; but those who here continue to forget this are the cause of their abhorring the faith. They consider your Majesty a cruel king, and think that you are trying only to profit by their estates and to claim their personal service—although all is so much to the contrary on the part of your Majesty, as witness the holy laws and ordinances which, for the good government of these lands, your Majesty has made and ordered to be observed.
But if it is true, most Christian king, that the intent of your Majesty in sending Spaniards to these lands is that God may be known, His faith preached, and His holy law received here; and that these Indians, by love, good works, and example, may be led to the knowledge of God and obedience to your Majesty—what law or right permits individuals to transgress in this matter by their greed and self-interest, and to do the opposite of that for which your Majesty sent them? This purpose is that in your royal name and with holy royal authority they may govern this country, dignified for this task by very honorable titles, and remunerated by large salaries, your Majesty so affectionately charging them to treat these natives well, and giving them for that purpose such holy laws, ordinances, and instructions. Yet these men turn aside their eyes from all this and close them to the injuries and ill-treatment which these unfortunates receive. What abhorrence to our holy faith arises in their minds from this conduct, and what an impediment to the conversion of the infidels is thus formed! And those who are already converted are regretting that step; for these men concern themselves so entirely with getting rich in the shortest possible time, to which end they are continually planning and undertaking every means which seems to them best suited to attain that object—even though it may be contrary to your Majesty's commands and prohibited by the laws of the kingdom and the ordinances of the Yndias, and though it may be injurious and prejudicial to those whom they were charged, by the authority of your Majesty, to make free, and to secure from all those wrongs. If this be true, what punishment would be fitting for such a crime? Or how could your Majesty so overlook a thing so pernicious, that you should not order it to be punished rigorously, and should not remedy evils which so greatly need correction? But whether this is so or not, it is not for me to accuse or to speak ill of any one. I only say, and truthfully, that this land is ruined; and it is doubtful whether, if it experiences another year like the two just past, it will endure till the third—and this is no exaggeration.
In the ship which just arrived from Nueba Espana came certain royal decrees—a remedy for some evils of which information had been given. It seems that the country received thereby some alleviation of its troubles, but I do not know what will follow. It is a great misfortune to have your Majesty so far away. For if you were near us, all these ills would soon disappear—as I hope, by the Divine goodness and your Majesty's holy zeal, that they will not endure longer than till you shall hear of them, not by my report, but by information which may be quite sufficiently obtained in Nueba Espana; for what I say here is for no other purpose than that your Majesty may be informed of what is going on, and that you may order it to be remedied.
Since your Majesty orders, by your royal decree, that in case the governor do not keep the royal laws and ordinances which are made for these lands, I advise your Majesty of the fact: what might in compliance be said with entire truthfulness is, that I do not know what decree, provision, or ordinance issued for the benefit and aid of the Indians is kept or noticed; and if any promise is made, it is only for courtesy. Never have I seen any man punished who may have violated the decrees, or who may be scandalous in sin; and in order that it may be quite evident to your Majesty how badly your holy laws are kept, I shall proceed to demonstrate by the royal ordinances.
2nd. The second clause, commencing, "those who administer government," etc., is neither kept nor noticed, because it never is taken into account. Therefore the Indians understand that the good which is to be done them is but to subjugate them and make them pay tribute; and as this is the purpose of those in authority, they never do what is ordered in this clause, but at once send soldiers to force the Indians to submit although they may not desire it; and before they return they leave the natives subjects and tributarios.
4th. Clause four, for the same reason, is not heeded.
20th. In regard to clause 20, although it is so necessary, and so deserves to be obeyed, those in power act as if they were ordered to do the very opposite, as is explained above, where I discuss the wrongs that they inflict.
24th. To what is ordered in clause 24 some respect is now paid in this island; but heretofore everything has been done in contravention of it, and the penalty has never been enforced.
25th. Nor has clause 25 been observed in this island. On the contrary, there has been, I say plainly, a notable diminution in the royal exchequer, and the difficulties which are mentioned in the clause result.
29th. With regard to clause 29, the deeds of those who go on these expeditions are so contrary to the orders given in this clause that it would appear that they are sent to rob, rather than to pacify.
30th. Clause 30 is the least respected of all those contained in this book of ordinances, as was said, and there is most necessity for its observance. It is, moreover, certain that all the other ordinances are regulated by what is here commanded.
32nd. To clause 32, which treats of new settlements, no more attention is paid than if it had not been written. For no settlement is either made or contemplated in this island; no Spanish town has any pasture for cattle, or land for cultivation, although that would be a great convenience; and those who wish to undertake anything of the sort—for there are two or three such—are granted no favor when this matter is discussed; nor is there any one who remembers the law.
33rd. No attention is paid to clause 33, nor is the pacification of the natives conducted on any orderly plan—except that here and there some men are sent to make the Indians tributary, without attention to securing their pacification or settlement. Some attention was, however, given to this in the expedition which was just made to Cagayan.
36th. We all know well that the principal aim of your Majesty is that expressed in clause 36, but this is not the aim of those who govern; accordingly, they do little for the conversion of the Indians, but much for their own profit.
138th. The part of clause 138 which is observed, for good or bad, is to subjugate the Indians and compel them to pay tribute; beyond this there is neither care nor thought.
139th. For the like reason, clause 139 is not observed, nor is there thought of it.
141st. Of what is ordered in clause 141 nothing is observed; for they care no more for rendering justice to the Indians than if these were beasts who lack reason.
144th. The part of clause 144 most important for observance was that beginning "the country being pacified" [illegible in original MS.]; it was, indeed, the most necessary for observance. But in order to relate the harm that follows from not observing it, there should be another man who knows better how to say it than I do. This law or clause contains two parts. In the first is stated the obligation of the governor in allotting the Indians; in the second, the obligations of the encomenderos toward their encomiendas. As for the first, it might (and not without reason) be disputed whether, for your Majesty's peace of conscience and for the welfare of these natives, it is fitting that these encomiendas be allotted. But since this subject requires more time and space than I now have to devote thereto, let it remain for another voyage, when, by the help of God, these and other doubts will be dissipated, for the service of God and your Majesty. I venture to say this because, although your Majesty has so near you so many and so excellent learned men in all subjects, yet, to determine many matters relative to the Yndias, it is doubtless necessary to have dwelt in them, and that for not a few years. For the present it is sufficient to say that if the governors (before allotting the Indians) and the encomenderos (after their allotment) would observe even what is demanded from them in this clause, they would relieve your Majesty from painful scruples, and us from doubt, and thus from a heavy burden of conscience; while to the Indians would be given an extraordinary benefit. But all is contrary to this, because neither do the governors, when allotting the Indians, take notice of what is here required from them—for they make the encomiendas before the Indians are pacified, or even have heard the name of God or of your Majesty—nor do the encomenderos heed the obligation which they take upon themselves; but, confident of the encomienda allotted in this manner, they go to collect the tributes in the manner above stated; and among them are some who do so even more tyrannically.
145th. Of clause 145, that which has to do with the Indians is not observed any more than the foregoing in regard to reserving the chief villages for your Majesty. Your islands are not like Nueva Espana, where there is a chief village with many others subject to it. Here all are small villages, and each one is its own head. The governors, interpreting this law more literally than is good for the service of your Majesty, have added to your royal crown some very small maritime villages; and the advantage has been given to whomsoever they have wished—whether justly or not, it is not for me to decide. I can assure your Majesty that it is very little in way of tributes that finds its way into the royal chest, although there is much need that your Majesty should have money here to provide many necessities, which others cannot supply if your Majesty cannot. I also say that, according to accounts current here, no Indians are harder worked or less free than those apportioned to the royal crown. There are many other reasons which might be given to make this clear, which are very patent to us here. One is that, as the officials do not go out to collect the tributes, the governor sends one of his servants whom he wishes to favor, to collect them. He collects for your Majesty what they owe, and for himself whatever he desires; and this is most certain, as well as the method of collecting. Your Majesty's Indians undergo greater oppression than do the others. Those encomenderos visit their Indians, and once in a while they cannot help taking pity on them; but for those of your Majesty, there is no one to grieve and no one to care. I even hear it said that many soldiers, when without food, take it from the Indians, under the pretense that they serve your Majesty and are given nothing—saying that, as it belongs to your Majesty, they may do so.
146th. What is contained in clause 146 is the thing which would most attract the Indians to receive our faith if it were observed. But there is nothing which more impedes the conversion of these barbarians than that, from the very outset, the Spaniards go among them and compel them to become subjects of another and a foreign king whom they do not know; and without more ado demand tribute from them, which is the thing that they most unwillingly acquiesce in. Certainly it is a very great pity and a cause for much grief that such covetousness is found among us, that—through not knowing how to deal with these barbarians, through not having patience with them that they may understand the good which comes with us to them, and through greed for what they now pay us—we may be the cause of thousands of them remaining unconverted, and of those who are converted becoming so more through force than choice. I am certain that if this clause had been observed, all of these islands would be converted, and that not as a pretense, but in all sincerity. From this your Majesty may see the harm done by those who do not observe what your Majesty commands with respect to the pacification of the Indians. And—in order that you may know how these Indians feel about paying the tribute—when my arrival was made known among them, and it was said that I was captain of the clergy, as the governor was of the laymen, they asked if I had come to force on them any tribute, a thing which they so much fear. In the instructions which the governor, Don Geronimo [sc. Gonzalo], recently gave to Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion, who made the expedition to Cagayan, there is a clause stating that "tribute shall not be demanded from them for one year"—which marks the beginning of some respect for your Majesty's orders; and I hope to God that it is to be one of much importance, in order that those Indians, who three or four times have been so wronged and scandalized, may now have peace.
147th. Clause 147 is quite forgotten, nor can those who govern be persuaded that this so holy manner of preaching the gospel be tried; besides, your Majesty leaves no authority to the bishops or to other prelates to attempt the apostolic preaching of the gospel, but all the authority is given to the governors, or is assumed by them. If this clause were to be observed, the bishops and not the governors would have to reform whatever is needed. The preachers go either alone or with an escort; hence it is that the governors attempt more than the conversion of the Indians. They never find place for the fulfilment of this clause. It is without doubt a shameful thing, and unworthy of one who professes such a law as ours, that we should not trust in God, for sometimes the preachers would do more alone, unaccompanied by arquebuses and pikes; and, although I do not deny that this may be lawful and sometimes necessary, it would not be a bad plan that this be tried the other way, at some time. But it will not be done if your Majesty does not order otherwise.
148th. It is very necessary to observe clause 148 in this country, since the Indians are thinly scattered, and are settled amid rivers and marshes where they are found with much difficulty. Hence it is very desirable that the encomenderos do as they are here commanded, and not wait for the religious or ecclesiastics, who can not do it with the same facility as can the encomenderos. Moreover, since the removal of the Indians from their former homes is a thing very odious to them, and they change their homes very unwillingly and with much hardship, it would be better that they be vexed with the encomendero than with the minister—who has to teach them, and through whom they have to learn love, and who in all things strives for their good. The same is true of building the churches and monasteries.
Relation of what concerns the Sangleys
The commerce with the Sangleys has always been considered very important for the supplies and trade not only of this city, but of those who come here to invest their money, and for what is expected from it in the future. For it might be that by this means we shall get a foothold in that great realm, which of all things is so much desired. This trade has been so harassed and injured this year that we are in great dread lest those who come here, or many of them, will not return, or that they will not be willing to sell their merchandise at former prices, because of the bad treatment that they have received and the lack of order here.
During the past year and the present one the ill feeling has increased, because at first they paid nothing; but later anchorage dues were levied upon them—more by way of securing acknowledgment than for gain; while last year and this they have demanded three per cent from the Sangleys, from which many injuries to the latter have resulted. The first is, that they all were ordered to live apart, in one fenced-in dwelling made this year, whither they have gone very unwillingly. There the shops have made them pay higher prices than goods would cost them outside. A warden has been appointed for them, with judicial authority to punish them; and, according to report, many wrongs and injuries are inflicted upon them. Indeed, for very trivial causes they are put in the stocks, and pecuniary fines exacted from them. Sometimes they have been fined for going outside at night to ease the body, or for not keeping their place clean.
Under the pretext that they must pay taxes to your Majesty, a penalty was imposed upon the sale of any article without its previous registration; but at the time of this registration the best of their merchandise was taken from them, and that at the price which the inspector or the registrar chose to set. Some pieces of silk were therefore hidden by the Sangleys, either to sell them to better advantage or to give them to persons to whom the goods had been promised. For this they were punished with as much rigor as if the penalty had been required from them for many years, instead of being, on the contrary, only the first or second time when they had heard of it. Among other things, I know that because a Chinese merchant sentenced him to one hundred lashes and a fine of seventy-five tostons. A brother of his came to me to ask protection for him, and at my request they remitted the lashes; but he paid the tostons before he could leave the jail. Of these and of other wrongs to individuals so many cases occur that I have been greatly troubled. For some would take the goods from the Sangleys by force, and keep them; others would not give them what the goods were worth; others would give them written orders [Span. cedulas]  (which are much in use among them), and afterward repudiate these. Thereupon they would hasten to me; and, as I could not secure reparation for these wrongs, I was greatly afflicted. The confusion and lawlessness which prevailed in taking the goods from them was so great, that in order to get these better and cheaper, those who had authority in this matter would not allow the Sangleys liberty to sell to those whom they might prefer. But these of whom I speak took all the goods. Then, after having selected what they desired, at whatever price they might choose, they would give the rest to their servants, friends, and associates. In consequence, although twenty ships have come from China—and so many have never before been seen in this space of time—nothing of all that comes from China has been visible this year. On the contrary, Chinese goods have risen to such excessive prices that a piece of satin formerly worth ten or twelve tostons here, has been sold at forty or forty-five, and yet could not be found, even for the church, which is so needy that it has not been able to obtain silk to make a single ornament. The same is true of all other Chinese goods, which were formerly hawked in vain through the streets. Who may have been the cause of this, what has become of these goods, or where they may have gone, it is not incumbent upon me to say. What devolves upon me is, to represent to your Majesty the condition of this country, which can not last long volves upon me is, to represent to your Majesty the will insist upon knowing whose is the guilt, and upon providing a remedy for your vassals who are so greatly in need of it.
From this condition of affairs has resulted very great harm, which must be the reason why the trade of this city has ceased. That is, since all the goods have this year come into the possession of a few persons, the traders who came here on the strength of reports of the good trade in this country have not spent their money; or else those who have spent it have bought very little, and at so high prices that they will do well if they get back their money. The evil does not stop here; for these traders are compelled to perform sentinel-duty, just as the soldiers do, and in order not to leave their goods to be stolen, they pay a soldier who does this for them, and collects the money. Thus every week they have to pay one toston (the equivalent of four reals) for the services of a sentinel.
These same merchants were summoned for an expedition which was going to Iapon [Japan], and a fleet was made ready to sail thither; and in order to avoid going they paid as much as thirty and forty pesos each. Thus, in many ways, trade has been unfortunate this year. The latest injury—that which most harassed the Chinese, and most succeeded in irritating them—was that, in sending a galley on the expedition to Iapon which I mentioned, twenty or thirty Sangleys who had come this year to remain here were seized, and compelled to row. Many have come to me to complain, saying that they had come here to earn a living for their children; and asked that, since they were not allowed to accomplish what they came for, they might be permitted to return to their own land. But it profited neither them nor me to say this, for they went on that expedition and have not yet returned. From this another injury has come to us all. For since those who went in the galley, and others sent afterward, were fishermen, the fish that formerly was sold in the streets in great quantities, and for a trifling sum, now cannot be obtained at a high price. Next, they sent another vessel, loaded with rice as provision for the fleet, and ordered a like number of Sangleys to accompany it. In order to avoid going, each hunted up whomsoever he could find; and he who had no slave to send gave ten pesos to some other man to act as his substitute. These and other wrongs have caused two hundred Sangleys, who came this year to settle here, to return; and of those who were living here two hundred and more have gone away. There used to be a very prosperous settlement of them on the other side of the river, but now there appears to be almost no one—as your Majesty will see by the letter written to me by the vicar of the Sangleys, who is an Augustinian friar.
Another wrong is done to the Indians—not to all in general, but to many; it is, to hold them as slaves. This clause also concerns the failure of the governors to obey your Majesty's decrees and writs; for so many of these are issued, commanding that Indians must not be held as slaves of the Spaniards anywhere in the Yndias—either in the islands or on the mainland, in lands discovered or to be discovered. This applies, in whatever way the Spaniards may have obtained them: whether it be in just war; or if the Indians themselves have sold them to the Spaniards, saying that they are slaves; or even if among them these are actually slaves; or by any other means, and in any manner whatsoever. By the ship in which I came the Augustinian fathers brought a new decree from your Majesty, ordering with much rigor, and in strong terms, that the Spaniards shall at once liberate the slaves whom they may hold, under whatever circumstances they may have obtained them. This was presented to the governor, for I talked with him about it. But, to show that what I say above is true—that no decree in favor of the Indians is ever enforced—since this decree was presented the Indians are still in the same servitude as formerly, and some of them are even worse treated than in the past. The governor did not so long delay to enforce the decree (if there be one) relative to taking a fifth of the gold; for the first thing that he did on entering his office was to demand the fifth, while the decree regarding liberty is yet to be executed. I have passed over many things in this connection which, if written here, would be annoying to your Majesty. A document in behalf of the city is being prepared which proves the great necessity in this country for servitude. It states that the Spaniards undergo much toil, and most of them many hardships, and that there is much need that your Majesty should aid and favor them; but asks that this be done by allowing them to hold slaves. Your Majesty will order this to be carefully examined, for it is a certain and well-established fact (and admitted by the very persons who hold and attempt to gain possession of slaves) that although among the Indians there are some who are really slaves, these are few; and that, rather than sell these now, the Indians will sell one of their children. All others are wrongfully obtained and unjustly enslaved—as would be done by a people so barbarous as this, who at this very time sell a relative for gain, and among whom the more powerful will sell the weaker. Most of those who today are in Manila as slaves are of this class. As soon as this decree was presented to him, the governor asked me to advise him what he should do. Accordingly, I convened the superiors of the orders, and the religious therein who had long resided here, with some very learned men who came with me. All of them, without one exception, were of one opinion, a copy of which goes with this letter; your Majesty will please order it to be examined—although it profits little, because proclamation of the decree and orders that it be obeyed were not issued until March of this year. Would to God that it had not been proclaimed! because before that the masters were afraid, and had already determined to give their slaves liberty, seeing that they were urged thereto in the confessional. But when the decree was proclaimed, and the petition which the city referred to your Majesty was granted, all returned to their obstinacy. Upon seeing this, I again convened the fathers and priests, and we agreed to admit the owner of slaves to confession, but on condition that they make no objection to what your Majesty may order; or that within two years from the departure of this ship (the term assigned to them by your Majesty) they should free the slaves. But I am sure that if your Majesty does not renew your order the masters would not release them, if two years or even twenty should pass. It is a great hardship, and a scandal, to have to deny them confession; and many say that they will not release their slaves until your Majesty so orders, even though they remain without confession. The decrees made by the city and by the protector of the Indians are being sent to you. Your Majesty will order examination of them, and whatever else may be proper, and command accordingly; because, although I have been of the opinion that for the present the masters may be absolved, many of the religious refuse to do so unless the slaves are first given their liberty.
It is next in order to inform your Majesty of what is done here with the prelates;  it is as follows: When a Spaniard comes to this country he is at once ordered to serve under the flag, although he may be a merchant who comes here to buy and sell. The authorities say that for the present it seems proper to allow the merchants to depend upon their merchandise, and the encomenderos to live upon their encomiendas. All the rest live a very poor and wretched life; for they are not supplied with any provisions, nor do they possess means to procure food and clothing. Notwithstanding all this, they are ordered with great severity to assist the sentinels and aid in other duties of war, just as if they were well paid. Hence ensue oppression and ill-treatment of the Indians; for sometimes when an Indian has some food that he has cooked for his own meal, a soldier enters and takes it away from him. Not only that; they also maltreat and beat the Indians, and when I, being near at hand, go to them and reprimand them for it, they say to me: "What is to be done? must we be left to die?" I assure your Majesty that in this matter I suffer an intolerable torment; because all come to me with their troubles, and I have not the means to remedy them. I only pity them, and do what I can, with my limited means, to aid them. Moreover, the encomenderos refuse to pay tithes, although they have been ordered to do so; nor can the royal officials pay me what your Majesty orders to be given me from your royal treasury, because they assert that no adequate instructions are sent them. Thus I am without means for myself or for the poor. The former governors were accustomed to divide among the poor soldiers some of the rice paid to your Majesty as tribute, in order that they might endure their misery; but now not even this is given to them. It is a still greater oppression that the authorities neither consent to furnish them a living, nor give them permission to go in search of it or even to leave this island. I gave to the governor the decree regarding this matter which your Majesty ordered to be sent; but nothing has been done, because in it your Majesty did no more than to order him to attend to it, and to do what he might think best.
The governor consulted me about his intention to add to the tribute of the Indians two more reals apiece, with which to support the poor soldiers; and I convened the fathers and the clergy to confer about this matter. Seeing that this country cannot be sustained unless there are Spaniards in it, unless the encomenderos are supported, unless the tributes are collected with the aid and assistance of the soldiers here, and unless the Indians pay the tribute which the encomenderos levy for love of the faith, they concluded that the encomenderos are obliged to support the soldiers, who are necessary to render the country secure. But, on the other hand, they considered that as the encomenderos of these islands are very poor, and some of them are married, and very few have encomiendas of reasonable extent, and they can maintain themselves only with much difficulty—much less will they be able to support the soldiers. They concluded that your Majesty is not obliged to use your royal patrimony for this and the other expenses, but that those for whose benefit they are incurred (for which purpose the Spaniards are here) must bear the cost. Accordingly, if the tribute they give does not suffice for all the expenses necessary in order that they may have suitable instruction and may be protected, they, and not your Majesty, must bear these—as St. Paul says, and as the divine law commands. For this reason the governor wished to add the two reals before mentioned, and there was no lack of agreement in this opinion among the fathers and clergy. To me also it seems that, considering the divine law, these people are obliged to pay all the expenses. But considering the poverty of the common people, that perhaps the tribute they give might suffice, for all that is necessary—if it were well apportioned—and for other reasons that make the project doubtful, I have ventured to give the opinion that nothing should be added to the tribute which the Indians now give, until your Majesty can be informed and can order what action should be taken.
In these islands there are many soldiers who were married in Mexico, Espana, and other countries. Many of them left their wives twenty-five, others ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago; and others, more or less. I have done my best to induce them to go to live with their wives, or to bring them here, but it has been of no avail. Will your Majesty please order that your decree in this matter be observed, for this is not done—nor do the governors try to observe it, saying that the soldiers are needed here; and thus they spend so many years, breaking the law of God and that of holy matrimony. I beg your Majesty, if it please you, to provide a remedy for this; for, if your Majesty does not order it, there will be no one here who can send them hence.
The thing most necessary for the protection of these Indians until they shall better understand our ways is, that there should be a protector who should look after them and defend them from the innumerable injuries that are inflicted upon them. The governor has named one who, it appears to me, does this well, and with care and diligence. But as his appointment is temporary, he dare not exercise his office with as much freedom as if he were appointed by your Majesty. I beseech your Majesty to order this matter disposed of in such manner that it may be to the advantage and not to the injury of the Indians—which would result if this office were given through favor or sale, instead of being conferred on a person who is unencumbered, and very zealous in the service of your Majesty and for the welfare of the Indians; of such there will be very few. He who is now protector is very persevering, and is qualified for this appointment. His name is Benito de Mendiola.  But this man might prove deficient; and for the future, if it shall please your Majesty—since this should be well done (for it surely is a very important matter), and the bishops are, by right, fathers of the unhappy—it might be entrusted to him whom the bishop appoints, your Majesty naming the salary or requiring that it be raised here. If it please your Majesty, I will see that the Indians pay it, which they will do very willingly. And if your Majesty does not commit this to the bishop, he and the governor might be entrusted to name the appointee, it being provided that together and in no other way may they remove him—because many times the protector has to ask things which the governor does not like. The governor becomes angry at him, and if it is in his power, removes him—as I have seen done more than once since I came. The inhabitants of this city are among the most loyal subjects that your Majesty has in all his islands; and the soldiers, although suffering so many hardships, as above stated, and many more which cannot be told, are so obedient to orders in the service of your Majesty that it is certainly a cause for thanksgiving to God that, in so great an expanse of country, there should be a prince so obeyed and feared, loved and reverenced as is your Majesty in these regions. And since this condition of affairs is conserved by subjects perceiving gratitude in their kings and princes, and knowing that their rulers reward them for loyalty, I humbly petition your Majesty to give attention to what I have said (which is unquestionably true); and that you show them favor, in order that they may know that your Majesty is pleased with their loyalty.
I understand that what they ask is, that your Majesty order that the limits of this city's jurisdiction (which is five leagues) be maintained; and that you make them a gift of some lands, of which they have none, but without which no commonwealth can be sustained or conserved. The cabildo of Mexico has, besides other sources of income, an encomienda—that of Jalapa, a prosperous village near Mexico. Here there is at present nothing with which to undertake any enterprise, unless your Majesty is pleased that some village be given them as an encomienda, in order that from the tributes may be obtained means to defray the necessary expenses, and conduct the public business in such manner as your Majesty shall order. With that they will be well content. The governor despatched a soldier to Maluco to ascertain what conclusion the Portuguese of those islands had reached. He returned almost at the same time as the ship from Nueba Espana, with the news which the governor will write to your Majesty. This news gave great satisfaction to all the people of these islands, because your Majesty's interests are thereby promoted, since our Lord has placed in your Majesty's hands the spice-trade of Maluco, which your ancestors so greatly desired. I am sending the letter which the captain at Maluco wrote me, in order that it may please your Majesty to reward generously so worthy a Portuguese as this man is—who certainly has displayed great zeal in your Majesty's service—not forgetting him who obtained and bore the news. This is Ensign Francisco de Duenas, a very intelligent man, and very reliable in his own duties, who by his energy and diligence succeeded with this undertaking, in which others had failed. He is an old soldier in these islands, and has served your Majesty well in times of war. He is loved by all in this city, and has a good reputation on account of his excellent qualities. He is a person to whom anything whatever may be entrusted; he is very faithful, and a very good Christian. Will your Majesty please order that some reward be given to him? because he merits it, and because others may thereby be encouraged. I also beg that the Portuguese soldiers of Maluco may be in some way rewarded for the affection with which they ask your Majesty to be their king and lord.
In the letter written to me by the captain, he complains that I have not written to him; and he has reason for this—although the blame was not mine; for the governor wrote to the captain without saying anything to me, as he has done in other undertakings. I do not say this to speak ill of the governor, but only that your Majesty may know how affairs go here, and what respect is paid to the bishops.
In regard to Maluco, your Majesty will send some one there who understands it well. To those here who understand the trade, it has appeared that the cloves and other spices will go at less cost by way of Nueba Espana, and with less risk and more quickly than by way of India; and that to preserve the supply of cloves, so that it may not be destroyed, it is necessary that your Majesty should not permit the Indians of those islands to be allotted, but should retain them under your Majesty's direct control, and they should be dealt with as the king of Portugal dealt with them. For if the Spaniards try to subjugate them, and order them to pay tribute, all will be lost—especially in view of the ill-treatment which the Castilians will inflict upon the natives if the conquered land be given to them as an encomienda (even though it be with name of pacification), as we have seen them do in all lands where they have been. The Indians would receive such harm at the first entrance of the Spaniards that it would not be repaired in many years. Your Majesty will pardon my boldness and accept my desire, which is very strong, to serve your Majesty, in stating what I and many conscientious persons here feel. Your Majesty will adjust the matter as shall serve your interests.
It is now three years since certain Franciscan religious left this island to go to China (as your Majesty will already know), without notifying the governor. Now they have determined to do the same thing; the custodian, whose name is Fray Pablo de Jesus, has gone thither with his companions, without saying anything to the governor, for which I am very sorry. For lack of their labors here, many Indians who were already Christians have remained without instruction, which I consider a great disadvantage. But, knowing that God moves the hearts of men (a matter that we cannot understand), I will overlook that. The governor took this with more asperity than I wished, for he sent after them, and the person who went thither treated them very rudely; but finally God ordained that they should arrive at this island. The governor ordered a proclamation to be made (its contents will be seen by the copy of the ordinance which I send to your Majesty), which even to me seems very harsh toward an order of so high character and strict obedience as is that of the discalced Franciscans. I advised the governor not to act with so much severity, but he did not see fit to grant my petition. I have since learned that the same person who went after them treated them very harshly in Pangasinan and Yllocos—perpetrating upon them many acts of oppression, taking away their ship, and refusing to let any one accompany them—which occasioned no little scandal to the Indians. Among other reasons which the religious have given me to justify their departure from here is the sight of the ill-usage which the natives of these islands receive from the Spaniards, especially those who have the charge of justice; and they say that all these are for hindrance, and no one for help. Hence no harvest can be gathered; and therefore they went to seek a place where they could gather it. Certainly they are not far wrong, for the things that occur here and the obstacles opposed by those who ought to aid us, are so numerous that many times I have longed to leave it all and flee to the mountains; but the charge that I hold keeps me within bounds. There is very little respect for the ministers of the gospel; and they cannot exercise their office without being dependent upon those who have more concern for their own profit than for the instruction of the Indians.
There was sent to the island of Macan, where the Portuguese live—near the city of Canton, in China—a father of the Society, and with him two Franciscan religious, to deal with the Portuguese there, in the same way as with those at Maluco; he was sent also to the Chinese governor at Canton. A copy of the letter is sent to you, in order that it may be seen what is asked from the Chinese governor and in what form; for the Chinese who were then here told me how it should be properly written; they said that their governor would thus learn our usages, and that he would be delighted if we would write to him as we write to one another.
To fulfil our obligation, and to bring this narrative—already so long—to a close, I will not omit, as your Majesty's servant and chaplain, to say that since these lands are your Majesty's, and you have in them so many and so loyal and obedient subjects, both Spaniards and Indians, you should please to see that the people are cared for and well treated; and that the governors preserve their liberties, and do not convert the government into a source of profit to those who govern, as has been done heretofore, to the great injury and deterioration of these colonies.
To remedy this condition, your Majesty should send to govern them not those who solicit that charge, but those whom your Majesty shall seek—Christian men, without greed; for such men are what the people desire, and would suit them and us. Let your Majesty send hither a man who comes alone, and without obligations to relatives or friends (in serving whom they neglect their duty to the early comers, whose blood has been spilled), who is content with the salary that your Majesty assigns him (which is always quite sufficient), and who hopes for advancement by your Majesty through his services; and who will not, by making himself rich in two years, destroy this country, or prevent others from enjoying it and gaining a livelihood. By doing this, your Majesty will have one of the best possessions in the Yndias. But if things go on as heretofore and there is no one to attend to it, it cannot continue long. If it shall please your Majesty to entrust the government to men who live here, there are those who could conduct it very well and creditably, without the many disadvantages which attend those who come from Espana.
The foregoing is such information as I can give your Majesty from here regarding the transgression and observance of the royal commands, laws, and decrees; and of the present state of this country, the wrongs that occur in it, and what matters ought to be remedied. On account of the little time before the ship departs, not all of this letter is so polished as to be fit to appear before your Majesty. If this relation is deficient (as it cannot fail to be) it is not in lack of truth or in desire to serve your Majesty and secure the welfare of these souls whom, because of their sins and my own, I have in charge. If there is anything which to your Majesty appears worthy of remedy, I humbly ask for it; and if I have said anything about which it appears to your Majesty I ought to have been silent, I also humbly beg that I may be pardoned. Since your Majesty knows that I am five thousand leagues distant from your court, and surrounded by so many griefs and afflictions, you will not be surprised at what I say, but at what I leave unsaid—and even why I myself did not go to beg for the remedy; for it certainly is a different thing to see and endure it here, than to hear it mentioned there.
Fray Domingo, bishop of the Filipinas
INSTRUCTIONS TO COMMISSARY OF THE INQUISITION
Instructions which the person who is or in future will be the commissary of the Holy Office in the city and bishopric of Manila and the Phelipinas Islands of the West,  must mark and observe, in order better to fulfil the office and trust which he holds.
1. For this office shall always be chosen persons who are thoroughly competent and well approved—whose purity of family descent, and exemplary life and habits, have been previously ascertained through written information. Besides this, confidence is placed in their prudence, moderation, and temperance, which qualities will enable them to exercise aright the trust conferred upon them, and they will exercise it, for the public good, for the better transaction of business, and not for any private ends. Above all, it behooves them, and they are earnestly charged, not to employ the name and title of the Holy Office for avenging individual wrongs, or for the intimidation or affront of any person. The more such a person shall suspect the inquisitor's friendship, the more prudently must the latter deal with him; otherwise, not only will God be therein offended, but the Holy Office will be greatly wronged.
2. As soon as the commissary receives his appointment, and before he makes use of his powers, he must accept it in the presence of an apostolic notary or a royal scrivener, in whose presence he shall give oath of secrecy and fidelity according to the minute accompanying these instructions. He will show the said title to the governor, and to the ecclesiastical and lay cabildos, in order that they may receive, treat, and recognize him as a commissary and agent of so holy an office. He will take great care not to exceed his commission, but to fulfil it, observing these instructions and other particulars which will be sent to him, which treat of the manner of receiving acknowledgments, substantiating testimony, and visiting ships. To show the certificate of appointment to the cabildos is only a mark of courtesy, and in no way a necessary proceeding; for there is no need of their permission or approbation. The commissary is advised of this because the patent for his commission does not require any other contrasignature or permission for its validity.
3. Secrecy is the surest means, which the Inquisition is to employ very rigorously, for the detection and punishment of crimes. Therefore the commissary is strictly charged to observe secrecy in reference to these instructions, or any others which shall be sent to him, or letters written to him about business, and all else that comes to his notice in the capacity of commissary. He shall impose the same secrecy upon all those who act as accusers or witnesses, or who ratify their former testimony, and upon all honest persons who are present at such ratification—ordering all the said parties to observe secrecy, under pain of excommunication, and under the obligation of the oath which they took when making their depositions. The commissary, moreover, shall impose other punishments, pecuniary or corporal; and shall enlarge on the gravity of the sin committed in the disclosure of a secret by a witness, with this warning, that the Inquisition punishes from the standpoint of example, and according to the character of the person and the nature of the transaction. On account of the great distance, [to Manila]  it is fitting to make this provision, that whenever any person who shall incur excommunication for having disclosed a secret shall come, of his own free will, to ask for absolution, therefore with the confession of his guilt the commissary shall absolve him, and impose upon him some secret spiritual penance, such as will entail no stigma or infamy. The commissary shall submit his own denunciation to the Holy Office, without making further investigations concerning the matter except in serious cases. But should the disclosure of a secret result in any marked injury or bring dishonor to a person, in such an event further information is required, in order that in either case the Holy Office may, after due examination, justly dispose of the matter as is fitting, although no change will result for the absolved person.
4. Special care must be taken to warn bishops, vicars-general [provisores], visitors, and vicars, that they are not allowed to mention crimes of heresy or the like in their public letters and proclamations during visit; for his Holiness has referred and submitted such cases to the most illustrious inquisitor-general and the inquisitors appointed by him in all the kingdoms and seigniories of his Majesty. Therefore they shall try these cases privatim, which other judges can neither try, nor undertake to investigate, nor otherwise handle. Since in visitations crimes often come to light which must be tried by the Holy Office, warning must be given that these should be submitted to the Inquisition, with all secrecy and without the knowledge of the guilty party. The same must be done in suppressing the titles of vicars, in annulling the head of processes and charges made by the bishops, and in suppressing the title of inquisitor-inordinary; for in these regions the jurisdiction over the crime of heresy is wholly apostolic, except in case of the Indians. If any doubt, contention, or difficulty regarding the execution of this clause should arise, the commissary, without further inquiry, shall promptly notify us that he has warned, in especially polite and respectful language, the prelate concerned, to whom he must show much reverence—for the reverential respect which is due him should not be in the least abated by the privilege of the commissary's office.