The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 (Vol 28 of 55)
Author: Various
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The bishopric of Nueva Segovia was founded at the same time and in the same manner as the preceding. The city (if it is one) has a convent of calced Augustinians, one of discalced Franciscans, and one of Dominicans.

The secular priests, according to a list that I have seen, govern one hundred and forty-two livings, which include 131,279 persons. The other livings, to the number of more than five hundred and fifty, are divided among the Augustinians, the fathers of the Society, the Dominicans, the Recollects, and the discalced Franciscans.

The Augustinians have charge of 241,806 persons The fathers of the Society had 170,000 The Dominicans have 89,752 The Recollects have 63,149 The discalced Franciscans 141,196

Sum total 705,903 persons.

The above sum is for 1735, and is very exact, as it is taken from the communities and from the statement of the royal officials. There may, however, be some error in it, due to the fact that the Indians change their dwelling from time to time, or absent themselves for some time. Mortality must also have some effect on it. It results always that the natives of the Philippines, the subjects of the king of Espana, form a colony about as numerous as the city of Paris; and that that colony, if it were well governed and well directed, might become very flourishing.

Article Thirteenth

Of the power and influence enjoyed by the religious in the Philippines

If the governor of the Philippines is absolute, the religious orders form there a body that is not less powerful. Masters of the provinces, they govern there, one might say, as sovereigns; they are so absolute that no Spaniard dares go to establish himself there. If he tried to do so, he would succeed only after having surmounted great difficulties, and removed the greatest obstacles. But he would always be at swords' point: the friars would play him so many tricks; they would seek so many occasions of dispute with him; and they would stir up so many things against him, that in the end he would be forced to go away. Thus do those fathers remain masters of the land, and they are more absolute in the Philippines than is the king himself.

In 1763 or 1764 an alcalde of Manila, zealous for the public welfare, had a royal road lengthened two or three leagues from the city, and had both sides of it planted with trees. It produced a very beautiful effect, and facilitated the carriage of food to Manila. The fathers of the Society began a suit against the alcalde, because, they said, he had encroached upon the lands of the poor Indians. The alcalde, and rightfully, paid but little attention to the suit. The fathers of the Society, upon seeing that the matter was not turning out at all to their advantage, caused the trees to be cut down by the Indians, and reduced the road to its former condition—that is to say, they administered justice themselves. Will it be believed that the affair is left in this condition? However, nothing is more certain; it was still quite recent at my arrival at Manila, and was related to me by several persons worthy of credit.

According to an ordinance of the king, renewed, perhaps, a hundred times, the religious are ordered to teach Castilian to the young Indians. But his Majesty, the Spaniards of Manila have assured me universally, has not yet been obeyed to this day, and has not been able to succeed in having the ordinance executed. Public schools are to be seen at a half-league's distance from Manila, where the youth are taught, but good care is taken not to teach them Castilian. They are taught the language of the country. They have, it is true, little prayer-books written in Castilian, and the youth are taught now and then a few words of that language; but the chief language that the teachers try to have them speak and read well is the language of their own country. So, go one league from Manila, and you can scarcely be understood if you do not know the language of the country—a fact which I can attest, for I have experienced it. It is still worse in the provinces. Thus are the friars the masters of the Indians. A great abuse that follows from that is, that the Spaniards themselves cannot get any knowledge of the condition of things in those provinces. They would have no safety in traveling, if they were not known to the religious, and if they did not have with them recommendations presented by the religious of Manila. Those recommendations are infinitely more to be preferred than the orders which the governor could give to the alcaldes or to those religious. The latter would probably not deign to receive them; while the alcaldes, who themselves need to keep on good terms with the friars, would give but faint response to the governor's orders.

Notwithstanding all the recommendations possible, it yet happens that the friar in charge of the people among whom you travel, allows you but rarely to speak alone with the Indians. When you speak in his presence to any Indian who understands a little Castilian, if that religious is displeased to have you converse too long with that native he makes him understand, in the language of the country, not to answer you in Castilian but in his own language. The Indian obeys him; and, if you are not aware of that practice, you cannot guess his reason, inasmuch as you have not understood what the religious said. I have been assured of this by several Spaniards, among them the engineer Don Feliciano Marques. He has several times complained to me that, in spite of his great desire to travel in the provinces, he did not dare resolve to do it, in view of the great difficulties that he saw to be inseparable from such an undertaking.

We went together, he and I, several times, on the river in a pangue—the boat of the country. Once we went up stream for three leguas. No one could understand us at that short distance from Manila, for no one knew any Castilian; neither did they even pay any attention to us. One would not believe that the Spaniards were the masters of the country. That, I was told by the Spaniards, was the result and the effect of the policy of the friars.

If the religious in the Philippines have resisted the temporal power in these matters, they have not been more docile, in another matter, to the ecclesiastical power; for they have been able, even to this day, to elude the visitation of the archbishops, and those prelates have never been able to succeed in that.

The great obstacle in this matter is, that there are very few [secular] priests in the Philippines, and the majority of those who are there are Indians. The people, say the Spaniards, have almost no respect or veneration for the latter. Most frequently they are dressed like their compatriots, the other Indians, in the fashion of the country. The friars, on the contrary, are necessarily more respected, and even though it were only by reason of their mode of dress, they would inspire more awe in the people than do the Indian priests. Those religious hold the people in a sort of dependence in which the priests of their own race, and clad as they, could not hold them. But so the religious, because they know that they are necessary in the present condition of affairs, have always raised an opposition when the archbishops have tried to visit them, so that the latter have never been able to surmount the difficulty. The religious are, so to speak, entrenched or fortified in castles (encastillados, to use the peculiar expression of the Spaniards), so that all the zeal of the archbishops has been unable to reduce them to the footing of the other curas. As a rule, there are no difficulties at all in the other bishoprics; for, as the livings there are almost always filled by religious, the curas easily allow themselves to be visited by a person of their own class. It is true that, since the governors have not as yet taken sides with them, the archbishops have always been the weaker party.

Monsieur Arandia, of whom I have already spoken, a man fit to govern a state, would have doubtless put an end to it had he lived. Don Manuel Antonio Roxo was appointed archbishop of Manila under his government. Don Andres Roxo, nephew of that archbishop, told me several times that Monsieur Arandia was only awaiting his uncle's arrival to conclude that important matter. But Arandia died before his arrival, and it is claimed that he was helped to die. However that may be, Archbishop Roxo, having lost his support, could not, although he became governor and captain-general of the islands, make the friars submissive. He wrote to the king that the briefs of the pope and the decrees of his Majesty would always be without force and validity; and that the one and only way of succeeding in regulating that matter was to issue imperative commands to the general of each order in Europe to direct their friars at Manila to receive the visit of the archbishop. In the meantime, the war comes—Manila is captured; Roxo dies, and all is as before.

Roxo was replaced only in 1767. That year the court of Espana sent an archbishop. [89] I saw him, and even went to make him several visits when he had made his [public] entrance. He wrote to all the communities that he was preparing to visit his diocese. He had, so it was said, left Europe with the fullest authority for that purpose. He had bulls, briefs from the pope, and orders from the court. He thought that he would succeed with all these arms, but he did not know that there would be an answer for everything at Manila. The friars answered then that they could not allow him to visit them; and such is their answer [to their superior]. They went, say they, first to the Philippines; they have received the care of souls, under certain conditions and certain charges that cannot be set aside; [and they said] that the archbishop might, if he wished, take away all the livings in their charge and provide the same with secular priests. I have said that the archbishopric of Manila contains more than two hundred livings, of which only thirteen are in charge of secular priests. Consequently, there are about two hundred still occupied by the friars. Now the case was very embarrassing for the archbishop, who did not then have two hundred priests at his disposal. As to the briefs, bulls, etc., consider the pleasant response that they made, and which their partisans scattered abroad in public; they said, then, that his Excellency had not brought any new rulings with him from the courts of Rome and Madrid. It was very true that there existed a bull of the pope in regard to that matter, but it would have to be looked for in the books. In order that it might, on the other hand, become a law, it was necessary for the archbishop to give notification of it, legalized by notary in the ordinary manner. Such, they said, were the laws of the kingdom, in consideration of the fact that there might be some difference in the books, either by the transposition of a comma, or by some other error that might have slipped into the printing.

Such are the intrenchments that the friars opposed in 1767 to the new archbishop of Manila. In the beginning, the Dominicans and Augustinians were disturbed; the Dominicans in fact submitted, and the archbishop's party already thought that he had the victory. But, toward the end of the year, some repented, and changed their minds; and, as a consequence, there was a schism in the convent. The Augustinians also were divided, and they came even to blows among themselves. One of the chief actors was imprisoned in his room. However, the matter was arranged, and it was agreed that all of them should assemble and be reconciled, without saying a word of what had occurred. It produced a singular effect. At my arrival the dissension had again commenced, but I am not aware how the affair terminated.

The other religious and the fathers of the Society held firm. These last especially, in appearance, were very assiduous in visiting the governor [90]—and that at an hour when no one is received in the houses of Manila, unless it be for matters which cannot suffer delay; that is to say, the fathers went just after dinner, at the time when all people retire to take their siesta. Having gone one day during that time, just after his dinner, to see the governor about a pressing matter which concerned me, scarcely had I begun what I had to say when a father of the Society appeared, who had ascended by a little private stair-way. I was unable to terminate my business. The reverend father took possession of the governor, who made an appointment with me for another time. I cannot be positive that that father had gone on the matter of the visitation; I only report that fact because it agrees with what was said then at Manila in regard to the frequent visits which the fathers of the Society made to the governor, at times when no one dared present himself at the government [house].

I must tell what side the governor took in so delicate a matter. On one side he was pressed by the archbishop; on the other he was solicited by the Jesuits and the friars. During these contests I found him one evening when I went to see him, meditative and thoughtful. He had two letters in his hand, which the archbishop had written to him, successively, that same day. He told me, with demonstrations of feeling which showed his embarrassment, that the archbishop was writing to him letter after letter, on a matter that depended on him in no way at all. He said that he had no instructions on the matter, and that he could not exceed his powers. And, as he repeated that to me time after time, I answered him that, since he had no orders from his court, and especially since he had no secular priests at his disposal, it was in fact very difficult for him to proceed as the archbishop desired. It must be observed that I was living with a wealthy French merchant, one of whose daughters had married the secretary of the government; and I have often remarked that that secretary was not at all inclined to the archbishop's side.

Next morning, four pasquinades [91] or injurious and very defamatory placards, were found posted in the city: one at the government offices; the second, on the gate of the Parian; a third at La Misericordia; and the fourth at our door. Those lampoons stated distinctly that the governor for twenty thousand piastres (105,000 livres), had prevented the archbishop from fulfilling his duty. The secretary was beside himself at the boldness of the lampoon, and especially at the one posted at his door. He spoke of it as a crime which deserved the most severe chastisement. He added that it would be better for him who had done it, if he were discovered, that he had never lived. In fact, I am quite sure that Sambouangam [92] (in the island of Mindanao), which I have before mentioned, would have been his dwelling, and that he would not have enjoyed himself there very greatly.

The friars in the Philippines are, as can be seen, absolute in the provinces. It is quite true that, according to the ordinances, the governor ought to send the auditors there from time to time in the quality of visitors. But besides that that scarcely ever happens, these visitors, although members of the royal Audiencia, are obliged to take recommendations from the convents of Manila before their departure, in order to be well received. However, that great authority of the friars over the people does not prevent the latter from revolting very often in the provinces; and those revolts are nearly always followed by the death of some religious. Then there is no means of restoring order except by sending troops to reduce the Indians to obedience, for the eloquence of the religious can do nothing. Such an emergency occurred in my time, at the end of 1767. Several settlements about the large lake revolted, and carried their boldness even to the point of killing the friar curas. It was necessary to send a cavalry officer at the head of a detachment of fifteen men, to make those rebels submit.

These disorders always happened when the provinces of the Philippines had at their head, to govern them, only an alcalde and the friars. I believe that it would be necessary for the court to have four or five hundred troops (or at least a sufficient number), for the sole purpose of scattering them through those different provinces, in posts of only fifteen or twenty men. That number, besides being but inconsiderable and of little expense, would be sufficient to maintain the Indians in their duty, since only fifteen men have appeased the disturbance in a considerable district near the lake.

[The following, also from Le Gentil (pp. 59-63), treats in part of the ecclesiastical estate.]

Ninth Article

Of the genius of the inhabitants of the Philippines, and the peculiar punishments inflicted by the religious on the women who do not attend mass on the prescribed days.

This article is the fourteenth chapter of the Franciscan religious from whom I have extracted a portion of my details. But I believe that it will be important to reproduce here in exact translation the text of the original.

[The extract is from San Antonio's Chronicas, vol. i, part of chapter xl of book i; it is not, however, an exact translation, but in part a synopsis. The meaning is not distorted; but we have preferred to translate this portion of the chapter, entitled in San Antonio "Of the characteristics and genius of the Filipino Indians," directly from the Spanish, reproducing exactly the matter synopsized by Le Gentil.]

"412. Among the gifts with which man is adorned, those of the soul are the most noble and most important—for instance, the characteristics or bent, and the skill or understanding in the exercise of a man's reasonings and mental operations. And since the soul is so dependent on the body and on its sensations, the spiritual operations are tempered by the bodily characteristics. These characteristics (in the judgment of Galen, Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates), are such or such, according to the varying climate of the [different] regions. Consequently, the difference of nations in bodily characteristics, and in disposition, genius, and morals, springs from the various climates of the regions, and from the difference in air, water, and food—in accordance with that maxim, Natura facit habilem, [93] in its common interpretation. That makes evident (in distant regions) the difference between Spaniards and French, Indians and Germans, Ethiopians and English. It is experienced, within distances not so great, in the many provinces of Espana alone. Even in Ubeda and Baeza, only one legua apart, this diversity of men and women is found. There are more marked differences of this sort encountered in Philipinas; for there are certain peoples at the mouth of one river, while at the source are others very different in complexion, customs, and languages. In the same province are found stupid and intelligent peoples; white, black, and brown; and those of distinct degrees of corpulency, and features according to the various temperatures and climates. It is a matter which is truly surprising, to see so great a diversity of temperatures and so great a diversity of men within so small a space. But that happens in districts here and there, for usually there is but little differentiation in these islands in characteristics and genius. If one Indian be known, I believe that they are all known; but God alone can have this complete knowledge.

"413. The very reverend father, Gaspar de San Agustin, an Augustinian and a native of Madrid, with the practical experience of forty years of life among those people, confesses, in a letter which he wrote concerning their characteristics—and which although in manuscript, deserves to be printed, for he understood those natives as far as it is possible to comprehend them—that it is so difficult to describe their characteristics that it would be more easy to define the formal object in logic; more feasible to compute the square of a circle; more discoverable to assign a fixed rule for the measurement of the degrees of longitude on the globe; and after the four knowledges of Solomon could be placed this fifth, as impossible. [94] In fact, after so many years, he says that he has only been able to understand that quadraginta annis proximus fui Generationi huic, & dixi: semper hi erant corde. [95] He speaks at length and from experience and with remarkable detail. Although the letter is worth printing, my lack of space does not allow me to copy it. [96]

"414. Granting, then, as true the experiences that he writes, and reducing them to a brief summary I assert that the character of these Indians is a maze of contradictions and oppositions; and I believe that this is not the worst of the descriptions. For they are at once proud and humble; bold in wickedness, and pusillanimous cowards; compassionate and cruel; negligent and lazy; but for their own affairs, whether evil or good, careful and watchful; easily credulous, but incapable of understanding, and fickle, after so oft repeated sacred teachings. They are very much inclined to attend the church, and its feasts and solemn rites, but it is necessary to oblige them by the rigor of the lash to attend mass on the prescribed days, and confession and communion when holy Church orders; and are very reverent toward the ministering fathers because of the superiority that they recognize in them, while at the same time they mock them, murmur against them, and even deceive them. Consequently, a religious called them jokingly 'the schoolchildren of St. Casiano;' [97] for it is a fact that they go astray in all their resolutions without the government of the fathers, and it is necessary to treat them like schoolchildren in their instruction."

[Here we resume the narrative of Le Gentil, who italicises the words, "It is necessary to employ the lash in order to get them to attend mass on the prescribed days when holy Church orders it, and to treat them as schoolchildren," and continues:]

This is an abuse which reigns in the provinces. The religious give the lash to women and girls with a cat-o'-nine-tails, even in the presence of their husbands, and no one dares say a word. That is not practiced at Manila, and the religious are not so absolute there as they are in the provinces; and, besides, one is able at times not to attend mass on Sunday without that act of irreligion reaching the ears of the religious or the cures.

I was intimately acquainted at Manila with some army officers, with whom I had gone from the Ile de France to that city on board the "Bon-conseil." Although Spaniards, they dared to revolt publicly against that ridiculous custom; others approved it. Sometimes the religious or fathers have their own executioners, and the church is the place of the action. In this regard a singular chance procured me a knowledge of the following.

A short league [lieue] from Manila is a parish called Las Penas (les Roches) [i.e., "the rocks"]. It is under the charge of a secular priest, and has a very small church, built of bamboo and thatched with straw. It is a charming place, and pleasure-parties often go there to dine, or walk there after dinner. I went there quite frequently with Father Melo. One Sunday, Don Andres Roxo and Dona Ana Roxo, his wife, asked me to go there to dine with them. Don Andres Roxo had married one of the daughters of the marquis of Villa-Mediana, a distinguished family of Spain. The marquis, who has died since my return to France, was then commandant of the troops in Manila, and was to come to join us in the afternoon. As I was walking with Monsieur and Madame Roxo in the country quite near the village, about four or five in the afternoon, we beheld a great concourse of people gathered about the entrance of that same village. We went in that direction, to ascertain what could be happening. It was a woman who had not attended mass that day, whom they were taking to the church to lash. She was led along by the executioner. He had a heavy cat-o'-nine-tails on his shoulder, which hung down to the middle of his back. The father, more black than white, went behind, and a crowd of Indians followed, especially of Indian women. Doubtless they were those of the village, who were obliged to witness the ceremony, in order to teach them not to stay away from mass. Madame Roxo, seeing this sight, was touched with compassion. She left us, forced her way through the crowd, and easily succeeded in reaching the father. She asked clemency for that woman, which was obtained.

At this juncture the marquis of Villa-Mediana arrived. From as far as we could see him we went to meet him. When he asked us whence we came, Madame Roxo told him what had just happened. But the marquis, far from approving the generosity of his daughter, put on a severe countenance, and scolded her for it roundly in my presence. He told her in express terms that she had performed a very wrong action, which would be the cause of a greater evil; that that woman would not fail to commit that sin again, and perhaps several times, and the blame and sin for it would rebound on her who had asked for the pardon.

[Le Gentil concludes this article by a further translation and synopsis of the same chapter of San Antonio, which relates entirely to the characteristics of the natives—matter which will, if space permit, be embodied in this series.]


[The following is taken from volume ii of Sinibaldo de Mas's Informe sobre el estado de las islas Filipinas en 1842 (Madrid, January, 1843).]

The ecclesiastical estate

Shortly after Legaspi had discovered the islands, came successively religious of St. Augustine, St. Dominic, and St. Francis, who spread through the interior and founded convents in Manila. They were the ones who accomplished most in the spiritual and temporal conquest, as is attested uniformly by writers, native and foreign, even the least devout. Some years later, bishoprics were erected; and from that moment began a struggle between the bishops and the monastic orders as to whether or no the friar curas should be subject to the diocesan visit. Innumerable are the treatises, opinions, superior decrees, and scandalous disputes, which took place on this account, as we have already seen in the chapter called "History." The arguments of the religious were founded on the fear of falling into relaxation of their regular observance, as they believed that they could not be good ministers without being good religious. The religious of the Order of St. Dominic, discussing this point in the year 1710, resolved that, if the lords ordinary [98] attempted to subject them to the diocesan visit, they would first abandon all their missions; for the province regards it as certain and evident that the ruin of the ministering religious must follow the said visit; and of this opinion have been, for many years past, grave religious and zealous and superior prelates whom the province has had. In the year 1757, Governor Don Pedro Manuel Arandia claimed, with the greatest firmness, that the regulars should submit to the laws of the royal patronage in respect to the appointment of religious for the curacies, and that they should receive the canonical installation. He first directed himself to the provincial of the calced Augustinians, even going so far as to warn him that, if he did not obey his behests and commands in this matter, the governor would proceed to his exile and the occupation of his temporalities. To that the provincial replied that he could not under any circumstances accede to his demands, adding that "he knew by proof in his establishment the ruin of their regular institute, with notable harm to souls;" and that "he was at the same time assured that the piety of the king (whom may God preserve) would not take it ill at seeing the aforesaid province [of Augustinians] reduced to their profession and subject to the same laws of the royal patronage. Those laws, although so just, do not bind the regulars to continue in their missions, which they obtain precariously, in case that all the royal patronage is impracticable to them with their institute." In the year 1767, and during the government of Don Simon de Anda, there came an order from Madrid, together with a bull from Pope Benedict XIV, requiring the curas to submit to the metropolitan. The religious of St. Augustine still resisted, which caused Anda to have all the curas in Pampanga arrested, and to send the provincial and definitors to Espana. In the year 1775 arrived a decisive order from the court, requiring all the regulars to submit to the visit and the royal patronage, and the restoration of the curacies of Pampanga to the Augustinians. They submitted, and from that time the regular curas have been subject to their provincial in matters de vita et moribus [i.e., of conduct and morals], of the bishop in all that pertains to spiritual administration, and to the captain-general as the viceregal patron. According to a royal decree of August 1, 1795, it is impossible to remove a regular cura against his will without formulating a cause against him and trying him according to law, unless he is appointed to fill some office in the order; and even in this case it is necessary that the consent of the ordinary and the royal vice-patron precede, in accordance with the terms of another royal decree of September 29, 1807. Perhaps this subjection of the curas to the bishops and vice-patrons will have resulted in great advantages; but there is no doubt that the relaxation of morals which the regular superiors foresaw has been verified. There are many, there are numberless faults which a director recognizes and knows positively, but which cannot be proved in a judgment, especially when one is conducting a cura of souls. Further, in a cause, it is necessary to take depositions from the parishioners, and to make public matters which it would be highly important to keep secret; for scandal does more harm than the evil which one is trying to remedy, especially in a colony where the good man and the prestige of the religious is so important. And, above all, it ought to be remembered that since the will of three must unite to punish one cura, it will be very easy for the cura to find a means of securing favor from some of them. Those evils would probably be remedied by rigorously obeying the commands of Benedict XIV in his constitution beginning Firmandis, given November 6, 1744, in which it is ruled that the regular curas may be removed from their curacies according to the will of one or the other superior, without its being necessary for either to declare to the other the causes of the removal.

As a result of these continuous and obstinate quarrels between the regular curas and the bishops and civil authorities, and as if to cut the Gordian knot, the government ordered, in 1753, that all the curacies be handed over to secular priests of the country. The execution of this decree presented so many difficulties, and raised so many remonstrances that it was decided in 1757 that, until it should be ordered otherwise, none of the curacies administered by regulars should be granted to a secular priest under any circumstances, until it was really vacant, and that then the viceroy and the diocesan should agree together whether or no it were advisable to make it secular; and the opinion of both should be carried into effect, and that in equal accord they should execute the decree of 1753. By this decision, the governor-general had the power to deprive the friars of their curacies at will, since the bishops have almost always desired or solicited that. Carlos III, wearied at the obstinacy of the Augustinian religious in not submitting to the diocesan visit, ordered by decrees of August 5 and November 9, 1774, that all the missions should be secularized as they fell vacant. The governor, then Don Simon de Anda, in spite of being at open war with the friars—because they had intrigued in Madrid against him when the government was conferred on him—and of his being, perhaps, the governor-general most hated by them, inveighed so strongly against this order, asserting that it was not advisable to the service of God and the State, that the same Carlos III resolved that the decree of 1774 should not have effect, and that the curacies and missions which the religious had filled before the decree, should be returned to them. Nevertheless the government of Madrid was so annoyed and wearied at the continual strife which the friars maintained with the bishops and authorities, that it desired to cut the dispute short, at any risk; and in this same decree it was recommended that a body of Filipino secular priests be formed, so that the curacies could be surrendered to these as they became vacant—thus carrying into effect the decree of 1757, when they should be ready for it. This same order was confirmed by another decree of December 11, 1776, and another of September 7, 1778—although in this last, in consideration of a representation of Don Pedro Sarrio, which will be seen later, it was provided that there should be no innovation in what was contained in the decree of '76, without the express order of the Council and of the king. In 1822, in consequence of a decree of the Cortes, the curacies which fell vacant were presented at a meeting of opponents. In regard to the first, which was that of the village of Malate, the superior of the calced Augustinians, Fray Hilarion Diez, made a representation; but the archbishop, Don Fray Juan Zulaybar, was interested in complying with the decrees of the Madrid government. In 1826, order was given to return that curacy to the religious, and all [others] that they had, and what was declared to them by the decree of 1776; and that the secularization of any curacy should not be proceeded with except by express order of the king.

I am going to insert what Don Tomas de Comyn said about the religious of Filipinas in a book which has not had the appreciation that it merits, and which is already rare.

"The valor and constancy with which Legaspi and his worthy companions conquered these natives would have been of little use, had not the apostolic zeal of the missionaries aided in consolidating the undertaking. The latter were the true conquerors—who, without other weapons than their virtues, attracted the good-will of the natives, made them love the Spanish name, and gave the king, as by a miracle, two millions more of submissive and Christian vassals. They were the legislators of the barbarous hordes who inhabited the islands of this immense archipelago, thus realizing with their persuasive mildness the allegorical prodigies of Amphion and Orpheus.

"As the means, then, which the missionaries employed to reduce and civilize the Indians, were their preaching and other spiritual instruments, and as, although they were scattered and working separately, they were at the same time subject to the authority of their superiors—who as chiefs, directed the great work of the conversion—the government primitively established in these provinces must necessarily have shared much of the nature of the theocratic; and there is no doubt that it so continued until, the number of the new colonists, as well the effective force of the royal authority, increasing with the lapse of time, it was possible to make the governing system uniform with that which rules in the other ordinary establishments of Espana.

"Further, this same is deduced from the fragments which even yet remain of that first constitution in the islands of Batanes and the missions of Cagayan, which are administered spiritually and temporally by the Dominican fathers; and from what can be noted at every step in the other provinces, by whoever gives the matter but a little attention. For although the civil magistracies are regulated now, and their respective attributes determined with all precision, it has been as yet impossible to lay aside, however much they have tried to show the contrary, the personal authority which the parish priests hold among their parishioners; on the contrary, the government has indeed seen itself constantly under the necessity of making use of this same authority, as the most powerful instrument to acquire respect and due subordination. Consequently, although the parish priests are not today authorized to intervene by law in the civil administration, they become in fact the real rulers.

"It certainly is the case that, since the parish priest is the consoler of the afflicted, the pacifier of families, the promoter of useful ideas, the preacher and example of all good; as generosity is conspicuous in him, and the Indians see him alone among them, without relatives, without trade, and always engaged in their greater good—they are accustomed to live contentedly under his paternal direction, and to give him their whole confidence. Master in this way of their wills, nothing is done without the counsel—or, to speak more correctly, without the consent—of the cura. The gobernadorcillo, on receiving an order from the alcalde, goes first to get the permission of the father; and it is the latter who, in strict terms, tacitly sees to its fulfilment, or prevents its course. The father concludes or directs the suits of the village; makes the writs; goes up to the capital to plead for his Indians; opposes their petitions, and at times their threats, to the violences committed by the alcaldes-mayor; and manages everything by the standard of his own desire. In a word, it is impossible for there to be any human institution, at once so simple and so firmly grounded, and from which so many advantages can be derived for the State, as that (which is admired with reason) which is firmly established in the ministries of these islands. And by the same fatality it is very strange that since the true art of governing a colony like Filipinas, which is different from all others, consists in the wise use of so powerful an instrument as secrecy, the superior government has been laboring under an hallucination for some years past, to the point of pledging itself to the destruction of a work that it is so advisable to maintain.

"In this as in other things, one may very plainly see how absurd or how difficult it is to organize a system of government which is equally well suited to the genius of all peoples, regardless of what discordance may exist in their physical and moral make-up. Hence, when one tries to assimilate in toto the administrative regime of these provinces to that of the Americas, he meets obstacles at every step which evidently originate from this erroneous principle. The regime, however much one may try to assert it, must either make itself obeyed by fear and force, or respected by means of love and confidence. And in order to convince one's self that the first is impracticable, it is quite sufficient to take into consideration the following circumstances and reflections.

"The number of the whites in proportion to that of the natives is so small, that it can scarcely be set at the ratio of 15:25,000. These provinces, infinitely more populous than those of America, are given into the care of their alcaldes-mayor, who take there no other troops than the title of military captains and the royal decree. Besides the religious, no other whites than their alcalde-mayor generally live in the whole province. He has the care of the royal possessions; he attends to the punishment of evildoers; he pacifies riots; he raises men for the regiments who garrison Manila and Cavite; he orders and leads his subjects in case of an invasion from the outside; in short, he alone must do everything, on the word of alcalde-mayor and in the name of the king. In view, then, of the effective power that the fulfilment of so great a variety of obligations exacts spontaneously, and the fact that no one assists him with what is in his charge, who could deny that it would be to risk the security of these dominions too greatly to try to rule them by means so insufficient? If the villages are in disorder or revolt, to whom will the alcalde turn his face for aid in checking and punishing them? What other recourse is there for him in such a conflict than to flee or to die in the attempt? And if it is considered indispensable among cultured nations that authority always present itself accompanied by force, how can one expect that bare and unprotected law be respected among Indians?

"It is clear that it is necessary to appeal to force of another kind, and to employ means, which although indirect, are without dispute the most adequate under the peculiar circumstances of these lands; means which, by influencing the imagination, excite veneration, subjugate the rude intellect of the inhabitants, and lead them to endure our dominion without repugnance. And well can one understand, too, how ready these means are found, and how we are envied for them and have always been envied by all the other European nations who have aspired to extend and consolidate their conquests in both Indias.

"Let one listen to La Perouse, if he would know and wonder at the arms with which our missionaries captured the natives of the Californias. Let him read dispassionately the marvelous deeds of the Jesuits in other parts of America. And above all, let him go to the Filipinas Islands, where he will be surprised to see those remote fields strewn with spacious temples and convents wherein divine worship is celebrated with splendor and pomp; regularity in the streets; ease and even luxury in dress and house; primary schools in all the villages, and the inhabitants very skilful in the art of writing; paved highways disclosed to view; bridges constructed in good architectural style; and the greater portion of the country, finally, in strict observance of the provisions of good government and civilization—all the work of the union of the zeal, apostolic labors, and fiery patriotism of the ministering fathers. Let him traverse the provinces, where he will see villages of five, ten, and twenty thousand Indians, ruled in peace by one weak old man who, with his doors open at all hours, sleeps secure in his dwelling, without other magic or other guard than the love and respect with which he has been able to inspire his parishioners. Can it be possible, on contemplating this, that by the efforts of foolish zealots, and by the vain endeavor that only those persons assigned by the general laws in ordinary cases shall intervene in the government of the natives, there should not only be a waste of the fruit obtained in so long a time and by so great constancy; but also that, scorning and repelling for the future a cooperation as efficacious as economical, the attempt should be made purposely to destroy the royal regulator, the principal wheel of this machine. Such is, notwithstanding, the deplorable upheaval of ideas that has conduced in these latter times to the adoption of regulations diametrically opposed to the public interest, under pretext of restraining the excessive authority of the parish priests.

"The superior government does not content itself with having despoiled the ministers of the power of themselves prescribing certain corrective punishments—which although of slight importance, contributed infinitely, when applied with discretion, to strengthen their predominance, and consequently that of the sovereign. But, in order more effectively to exclude them from and deprive them of all intervention in civil administration, the attempt has been made directly to destroy their influence, by arousing the distrust of the Indian, and by separating, when possible, the latter from their side. In proof of this, and so that my statement may not be taken as an exaggeration, it is sufficient to cite substantially two notable measures which, by their tendency, were obviously intended to weaken the influence and good reputation of the spiritual administrators.

"By one measure it is decreed that, for the purpose of preventing the abuses and notorious maladministration of the fund of the saints (especially attached to the cost of the festivals and the worship of each parish, formed from the principal and medium parishes—which are contributed by each individual tributario for that purpose, and are collected and administered privately by the cura), it should thereafter be kept in a box with three keys, one of which was to be in the possession of the alcalde-mayor, another in that of the gobernadorcillo of the respective village, and the other in that of the parish priest. By the other measure, it is declared, as a general point, that the Indian who is or has recently been employed in the domestic service of the parish priest is disqualified for being chosen to any office of justice.

"It is surely superfluous to make comments upon measures of such a nature, and which so clearly speak for themselves. The only thing that ought to be said is, that means could not more intemperately have been chosen, that are more harmful to the state, to the propagation of religion, and even to the natives themselves. It is, indeed, very strange that so much effort should have been exercised in impeaching the purity of the parish priests, by degrading in passing their respectable character, just at the moment when circumstances would make it appear natural that because on account of the mortality and scarcity of religious, the ardor and authority of even the few who remain ought to be encouraged by new stimulation. [This comes, too,] at a time when because the sending of missionaries to China has been suspended, and the spiritual conquest of the Igorrotes and other infidels who inhabit the interior of the islands has been almost abandoned the said Spanish laborers can neither give any help to the ordinary administration, nor prevent the transference of whole provinces to the hands of secular Indians and Sangley mestizos (as is happening)—who by their crass ignorance, disgraceful morals, and utter lack of decency, incur universally the contempt of their parishioners, making them, because of the tyrannies of these, sigh for the gentle yoke of their former shepherds.

"If it is desired, then, to keep this colony subject, and to elevate it to the lofty grade of prosperity, of which it is susceptible, in my opinion the first thing that ought to be attempted is the efficient organization of its spiritual administration. I say again, that we cannot be blind to the fact that, if the local government is powerless, because of the lack of military force and the scarcity of Europeans, to make itself duly obeyed through its own efforts, it is necessary to call to its aid the powerful influence of religion, and to bring new reenforcements of missionaries from the peninsula. For the latter differ essentially by their nature from the rest of public servants; it is well known that they neither claim nor expect any remuneration for their labor, aspiring only to obtain in the community the degree of respect to which they rightfully believe themselves entitled. Let their jurisdictions, then, be preserved, let them be treated with decorum, and let the direction of the Indian be entrusted to them; and instantly, they will be seen, in turn, reconciled, and the supporters of the legitimate authority.

"Nothing is more unjust, nor of which the ministering fathers complain with more reason, than the little discernment with which people have been accustomed to judge and condemn them, representing as common to all the body the vices of a few of the members. Consequently, there is not one who does not read without shame and indignation the insidious motives and the defamatory expressions lavished against them in the ordinances of good government drawn up in Filipinas in 1768 [99]—which, although ordered to be modified by his Majesty, are now in force for lack of others, and are found, printed, in the hands of all. For even granting that in any case there can actually have existed a cause for complaint, what will it matter at the end that this or that father may have abused the confidence reposed in him, so long as the spirit that animates the whole body of the religious is in accord with the sanctity of their estate, and in accordance with the aims of the government? Why must one forever pursue an ideal perfection, which cannot be obtained, and which is unnecessary in human society?"

Even though this be matter which pertains to a chapter on internal policy rather than to religion, I can do no less than say, succinctly and in passing, that in my opinion the ideas of Senor Comyn are very true; and that nothing could better qualify as men weak in affairs of state the governors or counselors who dictated the present ordinances and the above-mentioned measures and phrases printed in them against the religious. Even supposing those sentences to be very just, wise, and merited, what need would there be, what gain would result from printing them and placing them in the hands of the Filipinos?

Those who have no liking for the friars, censure them as egoists and buffoons; as living in concubinage; as gamblers and usurers; as arrogant, and ambitious for power.

In respect to refinement, it is known that the majority [of the friars] are of obscure birth. They pass from the bosom of the family to their novitiate; thence in a boat to the convent at Manila, and then to a village where there are no other Spaniards than themselves. Is it strange, then, that they are not more in the current of social forms? On that account one ought to overlook the fact that they do not know more, as is done with an honored artist or farmer. But other is the motive for this accusation of guilt. It is said that on the arrival of a Spaniard at a village the friars do not offer him lodging, and they often will not drink his health in a glass of water—or, at least, do not go to receive him; while everything is open for a Filipino. This is sometimes a fact, and has happened to me more than once; but everything needs explanation, and one must not pass judgment without hearing both sides. One must remember that there are at present many vicious and abandoned swindlers in the islands, especially of the class of creoles; and that such men very often form the plan to go to travel through the provinces at the cost of the curas, either to amuse themselves or to seek their fortunes. But, for amusement, the silver spoons and other trifles of one [of the curas] have been carried away. There are various others; especially among the recently-arrived military men, who, brought up among disturbances, and accustomed to insult the religious with impunity, have no scruples about telling them what they call "the truths of the coxswain." "Who could eat free soup [100] as you do, father, without working?" "What matters to you the good or poor harvest, so long as you have fools to impose upon?" "How is the stewardess?" "How many children have you?"—and innumerable others of the same kind, and even much worse. Anyone can recognize that it is very natural for these things to happen, and I myself have been a witness of them. There are more things—namely, that many of those persons who have been in the convents take delight immediately in publishing the weaknesses of the cura, abusing the confidence that the latter reposed in him, and (what is worse) exaggerating, and even mentioning things that never occurred. If the friar, carried away by the good humor born of the company of a compatriot, drank a little and became jolly, then he relates that the friar was drunk. If he saw a woman with a child in her arms who had come to speak to the friar on any of the innumerable matters that arise in the village, then he says that he knew the sweetheart and a child of the friar. If some curas of neighboring villages assembled, and engaged in playing brisca, or "thirty-one," [101] in order to pass the time, then it is said that they engaged in gambling. On that account the curas are so cautious of giving the freedom of their houses and their friendship to transient Spaniards, that they will now scarcely receive anyone who does not bring a letter of recommendation; and, considering this sensibly, it does not seem that they are to be censured for this caution toward people whom they do not know, in consideration of the fact that in Manila there is no police office, and a passport is easily given to whomever asks for it. In spite of all this, some curas—as for instance, Father Lorieri of Paniqui—without having any notice of me, received me with gratifying and ready hospitality. For the rest, the convents are usually the lodging-houses and inns of the village.

The friars in Filipinas are quite different from those in Espana. They are very glad to see a Spaniard arrive, when they know that he is not a malicious person. They have traveled, and they have escaped from the conversations and meetings of the convent; they are more tolerant, because they have rubbed against many Spaniards of liberal ideas; they have found that the lion is not so fierce as it is painted, and that there are respectable people in all parties, and men with good hearts—especially in that which takes for its goal the good of the country. How often would we abhor people less if we approached them and became acquainted with them! We must confess also that the hate cherished by the religious in Espana toward the liberals proceeds in great measure from the personal insults which they have endured; while in Filipinas these are very few and are neutralized by the tokens of veneration and respect which others pay them, because of circumstances which are entirely distinct from those of Espana. A man without prejudice and with a suitable standard of judgment, who lives in the metropolis [i.e., Madrid], sees in a friar the enemy of reforms, of progress, and of public prosperity; but, when he is in Filipinas, he sees in this same friar the benefactor of the public, and the preserver of tranquillity and of the colony. Consequently he considers and treats the friar differently than in Espana, and is repaid in the like coin. From this it happens that many who come from Espana with very exaggerated and preconceived ideas against the religious—even to the point of never having had relations or speech with a friar—and here have to come in contact with them, are surprised to find some (and even very many) of them very sociable, serviceable, tolerant, and worthy of all appreciation; and this has happened to me myself, both in Filipinas and in Palestina.

In regard to their being gamblers, I can say that when several curas of the neighboring villages assemble on the feast-day of a village, they sometimes play to pass the hot hours of the day; but I have never seen in the houses of Spanish religious what can be called play for gaining and losing money, and, in the convents of Manila, cards are not even played for amusement. I know this positively.

As for some of them leading licentious lives with women, I will not say that it is false, although I could not say that I know of such. I believe, indeed, that there is much exaggeration in this as in other things, and that not one quarter of it is to be believed. An official, not at all partial to the friars, and who lived several years in Pangasinan, told me that he never could discover that any of the Dominicans who minister there had a sweetheart; and that, if perchance any of them had one, he concealed it very carefully, since he himself had never known any trace of it. Concerning that point, I will say, although it appears evil to many, that that offense is the most excusable, especially in young and healthy men, placed in the torrid zone. Nature must struggle continually with duty. The garb of the Filipina women is very seductive; and it is known that the girls, far from being untractable to the cura, consider themselves lucky to attract his attention, and their mother, father, and relatives share that sentiment with them. What virtue and stoicism does not the friar need to possess! Let those who criticise them on this point imagine themselves to be living in a village without relatives or friends, or any other fellow-countrymen, at least with whom they can converse; and then let them be candid. Don Inigo Azaola told me that, meditating on the reason why so many Spanish religious went mad, he thought that it had its origin in the continual struggle between nature and devotion. [102]

In regard to usurers, there may be some among them who are addicted to trade, since the business carried on in the provinces consists chiefly in advancing money at seed-time, in order to receive the fruits at harvest time at a much lower price than is current in the market. Surely the cura who embarks in these speculations not only fails in his most sacred duty, [103] but even gnaws at and gives a deathblow to the principal base upon which rests the prestige and veneration enjoyed by the religious of Filipinas. Nothing infuses these weak and greedy islanders with so much love, surprise, and respect as does contempt for gold and for earthly goods. The generous minister, he who gives, will be considered as good, most good, and will obtain whatever he wants from his parishioners. The greedy and avaricious, he who does what common and vile men do, will, notwithstanding the habit in which he is clad, notwithstanding the sermons he preaches, be considered as mean, if he does not end by being despised and abhorred. Nevertheless, I can affirm that the religious who trade are very few, and among the Dominicans, not any. And this, and their anxiety for saving their stipends and for making money, proceeds in great measure from the information which they receive concerning the wretched condition of the religious in Espana, and their fear of falling into the same condition.

In respect to their pride and ambition to govern, all men have that, for this is our most powerful instinct; and the priests of all times and countries have had it. The royal decrees and the articles of which we have spoken demonstrate quite clearly that those of Filipinas have not escaped from falling into this sin. Up to a certain point, one can affirm that the civil government itself—or, to speak more accurately, circumstances—have placed them in a position where they must take part in the temporal administration. In a whole province, there is no other Spaniard in authority except the alcalde-mayor, and he never knows a word of the idiom of the country (see my remarks on the administration of justice). Hence it necessarily arises that the alcalde-mayor does not know more than the natives allow him to know; and that the gobernadorcillos of the villages are masters, inasmuch as in everything they do whatever they think proper. In order to obviate these inconveniences, scarcely is any document asked in which the government does not require the supervision of the cura; and in this way it obliges him to be acquainted with matters quite at variance with his ministry. The cura possesses the language, resides in the village, has the means of the confessional, [104] and when he wishes there are but few matters, even the most trivial, that can be hidden from him. On the contrary the alcalde, not having any of these advantages, can have knowledge of but few things, if the parish priest does not communicate them. I shall quote here what father Fray Manuel del Rio says on this point. "Although the temporal government of the village that he administers does not belong to the obligation of the minister of souls, but it may, on the contrary, be prejudicial to his obligation and ministry for him to meddle too much in this; yet on certain occasions it is necessary for the minister to put his shoulder to the wheel so that the village may be well governed—now by directing the gobernadorcillos in its employ, now by encouraging them and giving them zeal and energy and courage in certain decisions which they, through their cowardice, do not dare to make unless an order or command proceed from the minister; now also by restraining the audacity of the greater against the less, in order to prevent the annoyances that the chiefs practice upon their cailianes [105]—thereby protecting the cause of the wretched, which is one of the duties that the council of Trent (in the place cited at the beginning of this work), commits to those who are ministers of souls.

"There are two kinds or modes of annoyances which the Indians who are more influential practice on those of lower rank. Some are peculiar to the cabezas de barangay, with their cailianes; others are common to every kind of rich Indian toward the poor. I shall first treat of those of the first class, and next, of those of the second.

"First, the cabezas are accustomed to impose on their cailianes certain taxes of silver, rice, and other products, under pretexts that they there feign, of service to the church or to the village. Perhaps, they cast the blame on the alcalde, who is most often unaware of such taxes and is not told of them. The remedy is that, when the minister learns of it, he causes the cabezas to be punished, and the silver to be returned to the cailianes.

"Second, when the father or some passenger pays the Indian rowers or carriers, or tanores, through the medium of the cabeza or of the government, the silver generally does not reach the hands of the Indians; but the cabezas keep it, under pretexts which they advance that the Indians owe a certain polo or tribute, long overdue, or similar things. The same thing happens with the money which the father or passengers give them with which to buy provisions, and, with the opas of those who perform personal duty for others. The remedy for all this is for the minister to solicit him to pay the money to all [the Indians] into their own hands; and especially should he do that in what he buys [from them] or when he makes the Indians perform any work.

"Third, that in the polos the cabezas exempt whomever they wish, without other justification than that they choose to do so; and because those persons contribute silver, tobacco, or rice to the cabeza, thereby exempting themselves from personal service throughout the year. In that way the yoke of the polos and personal service is loaded on those of less influence. Consequently the personal service comes upon the Indians more frequently; e.g., although the village can have two months of rest (if there is order and harmony), it is usual for lack of that to have a return [of the personal service] every month, or every six weeks, if the minister does not attend to it, or intervene in the distribution of the personal service, by investigating and showing up these frauds of the cabezas.

"Fourth, in the tree-cuttings that arise for the king or for the village, all those who are cited do not go, many redeeming themselves with money which they give to their cabeza or to the petty officer [who exacts the work], thus burdening with all the work those who go—from which it follows that the felling of the timber is extended in time, and lasts longer than is necessary; and also that the petty officers or the cabezas make the Indians work for their own private interests. All of the above cannot be remedied unless the minister undertake to station secret spies, to advise him of the number of those who go, and also of those who work there more than is necessary for the king or for the village—so that those who shall be involved in such frauds may be punished, and so that they may be made to pay what they have usurped.

"Fifth, the gobernadorcillos of the villages appoint the officials whom they wish to help in their government. Many of them buy off their personal attention to it with money, which they give to the gobernadorcillo, and only help on Sundays with their authority, remaining the rest of the time in their houses. Consequently, the personal service of the village falls on very few, because of these and other like exemptions by the gobernadorcillos and cabezas for money, by which they themselves alone profit. For this reason, one must assign a definite number of bilangos or constables, outside of which number the gobernadorcillo cannot assign others. It appears sufficient that in villages of five hundred tributes twelve bilangos be appointed, so that each week four may aid, together with their constable-in-chief and lieutenant. In smaller villages nine are sufficient, so that three may aid every week. In very large villages there may be fifteen or eighteen, so that five or six may assist every week. Thus in all the villages the bilangos would rest two weeks, which is sufficient relaxation, since their personal duty is not very heavy.

"Sixth, in the collection of tributes, the cabezas perform many acts of injustice; for some are accustomed to collect the entire tribute of rice, and then to collect separately what they call 'the stipend of the father,' as if that were not included in the tribute. Some collect from each person six gantas more than they ought to give; for in many villages they receive fifty-eight cates as a kind of half tribute, and in others they receive from one house sixty cates from one and fifty-five from another, and it amounts to the same. There is generally an inequality in the balances used for weighing there in the field, where only God is witness, and the cabeza or collector, who weighs according to his pleasure. Not less is the deceit existing in the collection of oil, for double the amount asked from them by the king is usually taken, and the cabezas keep it; because they assess it among all the cailianes, although often half the barangay would be sufficient to obtain the assessment, and thus they could alternate between the two halves each year. All these troubles are usually encountered, and the worst is that they are often concealed so skilfully that the minister can learn of them but seldom; and for that reason I write them here, so that warning may be taken and the remedy procured—not only in respect to the charge on the consciences of those who occasion them, but in the matter of restitution to the sufferers, not neglecting to check these abuses, and to solicit that they be condignly punished by the civil authority.

"Seventh, others make their cailianes serve the entire year in their house or field, under pretext of paying their tribute for them. Some deliver them to mestizos or to other Indians, as if they were their slaves. In this way there are cabezas who hold many cailianes in slavery, making them serve in their houses for many years—without allowing them sometimes to hear mass or to go to the village, so that the father may not see them.

"All public works, both great and small, ought to be consulted over with the village itself which has to construct and pay for them. But it is to be noted that the village does not settle upon them, but the cabezas only. Rather they are a suspicious party, in this point, for if there is any work in the village, the cabezas are wont to have the greatest advantage from it. Consequently, they are generally the first to encourage the government officials to undertake any work; for not only do they not have to work at it, but they hope to get some benefit from it by the methods which they know how to use."

The reading of these instructions can give an idea of the internal government of a Filipino settlement, and the impossibility that impartiality and efficient justice can rule, if there is no intervention by the cura. I will add that the latter regards the village in a certain manner as his own. He enjoys seeing its prosperity and its advancement, as he thinks that this is his work. He takes an interest in its having good roads, harvests, tools, irrigation, and everything that can enrich and beautify it. Many curas spend all their money in public works, and on their churches. They rival one another, each striving to have in his own village the richest altars, the best houses, musicians, schools, and finely-dressed people. It is a sight worth seeing, a friar constituting himself overseer and director of a wooden bridge or of a causeway—administering a buffet to this one, a shove to another; praising that one, or calling this other a lazy fellow; giving a bunch of cigars to the one who stays an hour longer to work, or carries most bricks up to the scaffold; promising to kill a cow for the food of next day; and making them offers, often without any intention of fulfilling them, only with the object of encouraging them, and deceiving them like children. [106] But whoever knows the country can do no less than confess that this is the only means to get any advantage out of the lazy and childish Filipinos, who have no needs; and that the cura has infinite advantages over the governor, for his buffets do not offend, his requests oblige, and his love to the village and his disinterestedness captivate and interest these people, and make them as wax. Thus indeed can it be said that the cura is the soul of the village. In any province where its ruler is united with the curas, where the latter honor the alcalde and instruct him of all that happens, and he gives them the aid that is necessary to preserve their prestige—in that province, I say, there are no thefts, no disorders, no complaints, no tears, no insurrections, nor any other thing but a complete and durable peace, [107] and great submission and reverence to the Spaniards. At the present time that may be seen in the provinces where the governor has the right desires and a clear understanding, and recognizes the error into which the government has fallen during the last few years, in trying to deprive the curas of the civil administration, by forcing them to reduce themselves to spiritual matters, and to tolerate irreligious acts. The province of Pangasinan, for example, finds itself in this case under the orders of the worthy alcalde-mayor, Don Francisco de Lila, a volunteer of the militia of Manila and a very decided liberal: I have traveled through this province by night, with only one servant, without arms, and quite without fear, although there was not a soldier in the whole province. The horses and buffaloes were feeding in the meadows without herders; and, on my arrival at the capital, I went out with him in his carriage. In all the streets and from all the windows, we were saluted with great show of affection, and the children began to jump for joy, and to cry out, "Good afternoon, father." The tears started to my eyes, and I said: "Ah, simple people, how little do you know the blessing that you enjoy! Neither hunger, nor nakedness, nor inclemency of the weather troubles you. With the payment of seven reals per year, you remain free of contributions. You do not have to close your houses with bolts. You do not fear that the district troopers will come in to lay waste your fields, and trample you under foot at your own firesides. You call 'father' the one who is in command over you. Perhaps there will come a time when you will be more civilized, and you will break out in revolution; and you will awake terrified at the tumult of the riots, and will see blood flowing through these quiet fields, and gallows and guillotines erected in these squares, which never yet have seen an execution." "But is it not true also," I reflected later, "that this present happiness may be transitory up to a certain point, and that a changing of the captain-general or of the alcalde can cause great evils, and change the aspect of so pleasing a picture? Yes, it is a lamentable truth; and I shall do what is in my power so that your lot may be less precarious, and so that the government which rules you may be so organized that you may be as little as possible subject to the injustice and avarice of men; and so that, wherever you see a Spaniard, you may salute him with love and call him father."

But returning from our digressions to our matter in hand, I believe that if it is useful and indispensable for the parish priest to know, directly or indirectly, the particular affairs of the village, it is evident that far from undermining his authority, it ought to strengthen it as much as possible. From the time of the conquest, the curas have availed themselves of the expedient of applying some lashes to the natives, when the fathers have believed it necessary in order to correct faults, whether religious or those of another kind; and it is known that this has contributed not a little to the preservation of devotion. It is also known that they have not been hated for this by the islanders; but, on the contrary, the friars have constantly merited their love and have enjoyed a prestige which no one doubts. Everyone knows that if the friars have shown themselves exaggerated and unreasonable in anything, it has been in the protection of the Filipinos—more, indeed, than they deserved and than healthy justice demanded. Let us listen to the following words of Fray Casimiro Diaz: "The old laws in regard to the execution of the tributes were harsh, even to the point of making slaves of the debtors, and even killing them with lashes, or mutilating them. And although these laws were abolished from the time of Constantine as wicked, and have with the law of Christ been moderated within judicious limits, this benefit has not been obtained by the Indians. The Indian is beaten for his tribute. The goods of the Indian are sold for the tribute, and he is left destitute all his life. The Indian is enslaved for the tribute; for the cabeza de barangay, under pretext that he is getting back what the Indian owes, takes his house away from him, and, for the five reals that the Indian owes, makes him serve one whole year. In short, the wrongs which the tribute brings upon the poor wretch are so many, that the greatest charity which the parish priest can show him is to pay it himself." The above shows how this good father grieves because the Indian has to pay five reals per year—five reals, which a Filipino can get by simply planting a cocoa or cacao tree at the door of his hut. How happy would be the Spaniards, or the French and English, and any other Europeans, if they had no more to pay than that! But it is not credible that Father Diaz was unacquainted with the people who so broke his heart, and that he did not know the measures resorted to in the country. A few pages farther on the same father says: "The poverty of these Indians is not their curse, but it is their own idleness and laziness, and they content themselves with little. They are not ruled by covetousness; and, although there is some covetousness, their fondness for doing nothing tempers it, and they wish to live rather by providence than to dedicate themselves to work." What, then, would the good Father Diaz wish? that the Filipinos should not be made to contribute even the little amount that they now contribute, and that the government of Espana should send money there from the mother country in order to meet all the expenses of state, at the cost of increasing the heavy taxes which the Spaniards already pay? And all this, for what motive? Because the Filipinos are very "fond of doing nothing, desiring rather to live under the care of providence than to dedicate themselves to work." For thus are the fathers all, often carrying this enthusiasm or mania for protection to a ridiculous extreme—for it is the same to touch one of their parishioners and the apple of their eye. At times they make use of unjust and compromising expressions: Thus the tobacco monopoly is "an imposition" or "a bit of knavery." The impost for elections of gobernadorcillos, the signing of a passport, or any other accidental expense which is incurred [by the Indian], is "a theft." The services for the repairing of roads and bridges are "annoyances" or "tyrannies." And so on all in this tenor. Many would wish that the Filipino be left stretched out at ease all day long, and that afterward the manna should fall, and he have no other work than to open his mouth. Whoever has known the country, especially in former years, can do no less than say that there is not the least exaggeration in the picture which I draw; that the letters and remonstrances of the religious are what have been influential in dictating the laws of the Indias—which breathe out in every one of their lines, so great piety and mildness that one would believe that they treat only of innocent and tender lambs which are found among wolves. These know, too, that this same spirit has always led the religious to support the quarrels that have arisen against the civil and military government, which have, for the greater part, given origin to royal orders against them, and to the indiscreet articles of the ordinances which we have cited. Notwithstanding all this, during the last years certain new arrivals from Espana, especially those of the class of auditors and governors-general, have been feverish on hearing that the curas of the villages have whippings administered; and decrees have been fulminated against many provinces, in order to check this. In fact, they have attained that object; but the result of this most fatal error has been the increase of impiety in an astonishing manner, and there are a great number of villages where few go to mass, and more than the third part refuse to take the communion—which is probably also the cause of the increase in criminality which has been noted. But a short time ago, during the government of General Lardizabal, the religious presented a petition through the archbishop, asking that they be allowed to administer corrective punishment at the door of the church, as had always been their custom with those who were remiss in complying with the duties of religion. The government replied that the curas should avail themselves in such cases of advice and admonition, but that they should under no circumstances punish anyone corporally; and to complete matters, this ruling was circulated and communicated to the natives themselves, a measure that caused the greatest grief to the parish priests. The good Senor Lardizabal, who had an excellent heart, himself told me this incident, very well satisfied at the manner in which it had worked. We shall discuss this matter more at length in the chapter on "Internal policy."

There are regular and secular clergy in Filipinas. The latter are more numerous, and include some mestizos, Chinese, and many full-blooded Filipinos. The bishops, in spite of being Spanish, have almost always shown themselves hostile to the friars and patrons to the seculars. The origin of this partiality must be found in the old-time fight between the bishops and the regular curas—who defend their rights with tenacity; while the natives are submissive and most humble to the prelates and flatter them. Notwithstanding the protection of the bishops, the seculars have generally had a very bad reputation; and many private persons, of every class and in every epoch, have openly declared against them.

The religious now living in Filipinas, excepting those of the Order of St. Francis, are not able to fill the curacies in their charge—although there are curas who take under their charge an extension which they are unable, notwithstanding all their efforts, to administer well. The cura of Surigao has twelve visitas or dependent towns. From this condition there results, among other evils, this: that when there is any cura who is unruly or of evil conduct, there is no method of summoning him to the convent and replacing him with another. Hence proceeds the laxity which is consequent on impunity.

I have been not a little surprised to see that there is a lack of religious in Filipinas, where they enjoy the thorough protection of the government, and great consideration in the villages; where all have at least what is necessary to live with ease, [108] since they are able to command more from their domestic servants, and from all the singers, sacristans, and other dependents of the Church—and this while in Espana there is such an oversupply of them, and they live so uncomfortably. The curacy is generally worth to the parish priest one peso fuerte [109] to each tribute. The ministers of villages which contain more than one thousand five hundred or two thousand tributes usually have one or more assistants, according to their wish, with the consent of the bishop. The parish priest generally gives the assistant a house, his board, and ten or twelve pesos fuertes per month; and leaves to him the fees for the masses, which are worth to him in excess of one peso fuerte every day—so that, besides his lodging and support, the assistant can count upon thirty-five or forty pesos fuertes per month. The administrative ecclesiastical division follows:

There is one archbishop in the capital, and three suffragans—to wit, the bishop of Nueva Segovia, he of Nueva Caceres, and he of Zebu.

The archbishopric includes the provinces of Tondo, Bulacan, Pampanga, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Bataan, Zambales, and Mindoro. It contains one hundred and sixty-seven curacies, of which ninety-five are served by religious, and seventy-two by secular priests.

The bishopric of Nueva Segovia comprises the provinces of Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, and the missions of Ituy, of Pangui, of Abra, and of Batanes. It contains ninety-two curacies, of which eighty are served by religious, and twelve by seculars.

The bishopric of Nueva Caceres comprises the provinces of Tayabas, part of Nueva Ecija, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Albay. It contains eighty-four curacies, of which twenty-seven are served by religious, and fifty-seven by seculars.

The bishopric of Zebu comprises the provinces of Zebu, Iloilo, Capis, Antique, Negros, Caraga, Misamis, Zamboanga, Samar, Leyte, and Marianas (three hundred leguas distant). It contains one hundred and forty-three curacies, of which eighty-six are served by regulars and fifty-seven by seculars.

At present there are four hundred and fifty Spanish religious in Filipinas, and seven hundred Filipino secular priests, or thereabouts. More than three per cent of the Spaniards die annually; so that, in order that their present number may not diminish, it is necessary for fifteen to go there annually.

As a conclusion to this chapter, I cannot resist the desire to insert the words of a wise religious of Filipinas of former days, Father Pedro Murillo Velarde, as it may be useful to the ministers of the present time who may read these pages.

"To take the mean of the proportion in the administration of the Indians is one of the most difficult matters of the prudence. The parish priest must be in the village the loving father, the hospitable tutor, the master and diligent teacher of his parishioners; and as such he must not treat them as if he were a seignior of vassals. He must be dignified, but without affecting majesty. He should always strive to be loved, rather than feared. He must be affable, but not vulgar. He must not separate himself far from intercourse with his parishioners, nor be too familiar. He should visit them in charity rather than in affection. He should listen to their complaints, but not to their malicious reports. He should settle their controversies, but not in a partial manner. He should not be altogether credulous, nor despise everything. If one Indian accuses another, he should ascertain, before all else, whether they have quarreled. He must not be all honey, nor all gall. He should punish, but not flay off the skin. If the Indian knows that there is no whip near, the village will be quickly lost. A good beating at the proper time is the best antidote for all sorts of poisons; for, in the end, fear guards the vineyard. In punishments, let him show himself a father, not a hangman; and, in case of doubt, let him incline rather to mildness than to severity. Let him hear quarrels and discussions with the alcaldes, but let him not allow them to fleece his sheep. Let him defend his own jurisdiction, but not usurp that of another. Let him not become an alcalde unless the alcalde tries to become a cura. If he is unable to settle the quarrels of the Indians satisfactorily, he shall allow them to go to the alcalde, who will quickly render them harmonious by laughing at the matter of the quarrel. Let him handle books, but not cards. [110] Let him [not] direct the Indians in the government of his village, but let him leave them to those who govern them; for the wish to command is a sort of itch in Filipinas. Consequently, let him leave to each one the care of what God has given him. Let him check sins, but not lawful games and amusements, since thereby other and illicit amusements will be prevented. Let him eradicate drunkenness, but not prohibit all use of wine to all; for, if the cura drinks wine, why should not the Indian drink it in moderation? Let him not pour out the wine or break the wine-jars; for who has given him any authority for that? Because of some of these acts of imprudence, certain foolish laymen say that the ministers who come from Europa to become martyrs, become more than kings in their villages.

"Let him attend to the affairs of God, and not obstruct those of Caesar. Let him be the mirror of the village, so that all may imitate him; but not a telescope, to register foolish trifles. Let him get from the Indian what the latter is able to give; for he who tries to get everything loses everything. If the Indians learn that their sins are unpardonable, many will take to the hills. If the father is very harsh in the confessional, many sacrileges may be feared. In assigning penance, let him incline to mildness rather than to rigor, if he wishes the penance to be observed. Let his diligence when he preaches be not long, but fervid; for one onza of gold is worth more than an arroba of straw. Let him explain to the Indians what is necessary for their salvation, and let him not play the discreet among them. Let him use similes and examples in his sermons that they can understand, and not plunge into depths of abstract ideas, for that is a jargon which they do not understand; and they especially detest Latin phrases. The statement that the Indians have no faith is a pretext of the devil, to discourage the gospel ministers. Let him do with fervor whatever he finds to do, that the corresponding fruit may not be lacking; and even when there should be no fruit, God will reward his zeal. Let him not raise difficulties in taking the sacraments to the fields, but let it be with the reverence due. Let him insist on the presence of the boys at the school, for the good that follows from that is great; but let him not urge them so much that he wearies them. Let him receive the fees of the Church, but let him not collect with the severity of a warrant-holder. Let the Indians know that the cura is looking after their souls, not their purses; and let him remember that he came from Europa to remove disease from the sheep, not to take their wool. Let him give alms, but let him not scatter the patrimony of Christ uselessly. It will be a suitable alms to provide his parishioners with medals, rosaries, catechisms, and bulls [of the crusade]. [111] Let him not permit idle spongers in the village, who are goblins of cursed consequences; and the whiter they are, the worse. Let the cura be found more often in the houses of the sick and dying, than in weddings, games, and dances. He should let the customs of the villages alone, when they involve no grave disadvantages, for innovations alter men's dispositions; and more than anything else must he shun causing innovation in the prayer, and in matters pertaining to the Church and the method of administration. Let him encourage congregations, devotions, and novenas, frequent confession, daily mass, and the rosary, but let him warn the Indians that these are not for obligation but for devotion, since perhaps they sin through ignorance, when there is no guilt. The soul of the missionary or parish priest has a thousand dangers in the solitude of a village; but with prayer and mortification he can overcome all. Chastity is a flower so delicate that it takes but little to make it wither: the heart of man, the opportunity for temptations, the frequency of errors, and the ease with which men stumble, are as tinder and fire, which are kindled, whoever blows. Do not believe that in this regard there is any caution that is too great in the Indias. In the external encounters that may arise with alcaldes or with others, let the cura endeavor to conquer them by patience rather than by arrogance. Let him remember that Jesus Christ says we should offer the other cheek to him who smites us; and let him reflect that in the tribunal of God, and even that of men, more is to be gained by humility than by valor. Let him reflect that he is a secular or a religious; and that the weapons of such are tears, prayer, and penance."

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