The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XXXVI, 1649-1666
Author: Various
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The intention of this barbarian [Cot-sen] was to become the master of China, profiting by the hatred of the Chinese to the Tartars, and on the present occasion by the fact of the king's death. But as Cot-sen needed land whereon to maintain so many people, he was minded to conquer Hermosa and these islands. Accordingly, he landed [on Hermosa] first in April, 1660, with 100,000 men, a hundred cannon for batteries, and a still larger number of field-pieces; the cannons carried balls of forty to fifty libras. At first the Dutch scoffed at their forces, calling them "men of the paypay"—that is, "of the fan," which all of that nation use, as if they were women. Confident in the impregnable nature of their fortress (into which they gathered the feeble garrison of the island), and in the large and splendid force of men which defended it, more than two thousand in number, although they had nineteen ships, they did not take these out of the river when they could; and the Sangleys attacked them on the sea to great advantage overcoming the Dutch with their champans, and inflicting much injury on them—for these champans are lighter vessels [than those of the Dutch], and their people are very skilful in the management of artillery. The Dutch at once sallied out with 300 men to prevent them from occupying the islet in the Mosamboy entrance, [58] on which the Chinese expected to plant their battery; but the multitude charged upon the Dutch and cut off the heads of all, except one or two who escaped by swimming. This humbled the pride of the Dutch and dispirited their men. As soon as the Chinese landed their men they attacked the eminence, where the Dutch had a fort called Chiacam garrisoned with sixty soldiers; but it surrendered on the third day, and the Chinese used the Dutchmen for handling the artillery, assigning them to various stations. In the harbor they burned three ships and boarded one; and such was the fear that filled the hearts of the timid of falling into the hands of so bloody and savage an enemy, that twelve Dutch fugitives with other people went to him [as those who surrendered] with five brigantines which the [Dutch] fort had employed for many purposes.

The Chinese began their enterprise with as much fury as if they had lacked time for the attacks of their batteries; but in their assurance and the manner of their encampment they acted as if time were of no importance, since it was the chief enemy of the besieged. Palmo by palmo they steadily gained the [surrounding] country, carrying with them branches, and baskets [of earth], until they established themselves near the fortifications of the Dutch; and during the ten months while the siege lasted they did not cease firing all their artillery, night or day. In another direction an innumerable throng of laborers were continually at work cultivating the soil, as if they were already its owners; and before the fort surrendered, the Chinese were already enjoying the produce of their farming. For the proud corsair went [to Hermosa] so confident in his strength that among the 500 champans which he took with him for this enterprise many went loaded with plows, seeds, and the other things used in cultivating land with innumerable workmen who were set aside for this service alone. Consequently, while he fought he peopled and cultivated the island without any one being able to prevent him; and, as he is so rich, he carried a great quantity of cloth, in order to attract the poor natives and bring them over to his side, in which he has succeeded.

Only one other engagement was a success for the Dutch, who undertook, when the Chinese first encamped, to bombard them with all their cannon at once; and, having thus demolished their huts and fortifications, the Dutch made a bold sortie, spiked six of the enemy's cannon, cut to pieces the garrison, 3,000 in number, and were carrying away nineteen pieces of artillery to the fort. But another Sangley officer hurried up with his regiment and attacked the Dutch with such fury that they were obliged to leave the captured cannon behind, and in disorder, take refuge within the fort. With the twelve Dutchmen they put the fortifications in better shape, and their bombardment began to be more effective. Finally they demolished the redoubt with all the fortifications outside, and approached the fort so closely that the men on the walls talked with those in the enemy's camp. They demolished the second height of the wall, which had no terreplein; the governor of the place was killed by a cannon-ball; and every day the enemy came up to the walls to drink the health of the Dutchmen and display other soldierly civilities.

They had now demolished all of the wall that rose above the terreplein, and talked of making a general assault. The Dutch began to be disheartened by the death of the governor and the loss of so many soldiers; and when they saw the preparations for the assault they talked of negotiating fur surrender, in order that they might not be left exposed to the enemy's cruelty—since for that arrogant tyrant it was the same to slay five or six thousand men as one. He therefore at once replaced twice the number in a post [which had lost its defenders], as he was so near to his island of Vicheu where he kept the main body of his followers, from which they were continually coming and going; and for every one who died a thousand fresh men came to his camp. They now set out to engage the Dutch with six hundred scaling-ladders, fourteen of their men being allotted to each ladder; but the besieged hung out a white flag, and came out to propose terms of surrender. This was granted with the condition that only the property of private persons should be removed, and that they must surrender intact the property of the [East India] Company, which was done. It is computed according to the Company's books, that with the military supplies and the artillery of the fort, [this capture] had a value of five millions—an amount which will not cause surprise to any one who knows that this place was the magazine for the two richest traffics in the Orient, those of China and Japon. The artillery found there [by the Chinese] included 150 pieces; the firearms, 4,000; and there were provisions and military supplies for years. The slain in this war, for the entire period, were: of the Dutch, 630; of the Chinese, 10,000 men. The vanquished left the fort on the day of the Purification of our Lady, six hundred in number, and embarked in nine ships which had remained in the harbor.

In short, this [i.e., the Chinese] people is the most ingenious in the world; and when they see any contrivance in practice they employ it with more facility than do the Europeans. Accordingly, they are not now inferior in the military art, and in their method of warfare they excel the entire world. No soldier is hindered by providing his food; every five men have their own cook. All are divided into tens, and every ten have their own flag, and on it are written the names of its soldiers. These tens are gathered into companies and regiments with such concert and such ease in governing them that Europeans who have seen it are astonished.

Consider the anxiety that must be caused by a nation so ingenious, so hardy, so practiced in the military art, so numerous, so haughty and cruel, in a city where all the forts together could not call to arms 2,000 Spaniards—and these of so many colors that not two hundred pure Spaniards could be picked out from them—and occupying so much space that for its suitable garrison it needs 6,000 soldiers. From this may be inferred the joy that was felt throughout the city [at his death] and the so special kindness of God in putting an end to this tyrant in the prime of his life—for he was only thirty-nine years old, and had spent his time in continued military practice from the year 1644 until that of 1662, when he conquered Hermosa Island. He was always favored by fortune, and there was no undertaking in which he did not succeed except the siege of Nanquin—which would be considered foolish temerity by any one who will consider the strength and greatness of that city—an enterprise in which he had to entomb or submerge in blood his fortune and his acquired glories; yet it weakened him so little that he quickly restored the losses, victorious over the entire naval force of China.

At the beginning of June his Lordship gave permission to all the [native] tribes to return home; they went away well satisfied and loaded with praises. He gave the Chinese more freedom, permitting them to remove to the villages adjoining the city, and releasing them from serving on the ships [de las faginas] on account of the great labors which they had performed before his Lordship's eyes in completing, with so much readiness and with so little expenditure of time and money, [public] works which [otherwise] could not have been finished in ten years of hard labor, with half a million pesos, and the exhaustion of the weak natives of the neighboring provinces.

His Lordship summoned a council, in which by his command were read the letters from the mandarins who were directors and guardians of Cot-sen's estate, written by order of his son, in which was discussed the stipulation which they made a condition of peace—the restitution of the property which their agents had left here in trust, and other merchandise which the alcaldes-mayor of Ylocos and Cagayan had withheld. In accordance with the [decision of the] first council, this one ordered that such restitution be made. Therein was also discussed the question whether the Sangleys should be permitted to live in the islands; this was done by a few ecclesiastics (only three in number), who opposed such permission; they had attempted, both in the pulpit and in private conversation, to persuade the rest to their opinion. All of the council agreed with only one dissenting voice, that the Sangleys ought to be allowed to remain here up to the number which the decrees of his Majesty regarding this matter have prescribed—that is, 6,000 men—provided that they be not allowed to spread into other provinces, nor go beyond the villages included in the jurisdiction of Tondo (which is in the territory of this city) conformably to the royal ordinances which have fixed these limits. All recognized our need of that [Chinese] nation, in the lack and scarcity of all things to which we see ourselves now reduced—all because the number of the Sangleys has been diminished, since the natives have neither energy nor strength to support the burdens that the Chinese carry; and much more on account of our dependence upon their trade, for everything. For not only does everything necessary for life come to us from China—as wheat, cloth, and earthenware—but it is the Sangleys who carry on all the crafts, and who with their traffic maintain the fortunes of the citizens (without those other products of vineyards and olive-groves that are furnished in the industries carried on in Nueva Espana) from the merchandise of China, having secured in their hands the entire commerce of these islands, since that of Yndia and Japon failed. His Lordship, having handsomely entertained the ambassador, dismissed him, with letters for the prince and the mandarins; and we here remain in peace, affairs settled as they were before, and the fear [removed] that an enemy so powerful and at our very gates must occasion us.


Summary of this letter, written from Manila, dated July 16, 1664, giving information regarding the condition of the islands at his arrival, and the measures that he had taken.

He states therein that he set sail from the port of Acapulco on March 25, 1663; and after a prosperous voyage they sighted the cape of Espiritusanto. There a vendaval storm came against them, so violent that it carried them to Cape Engano; and on July 8 he landed, made the ship secure, unladed all the money sent for the situado, and made arrangements for its transportation to Manila. The governor was gladly received there, and took possession of the government and the authority of captain-general, on September 8, 1663.

He found the islands in most wretched condition—the Spaniards as yet hardly reassured after the insurrections of the years 61 and 62, and the natives irritated by cruel punishments. The royal treasury was so exhausted that it contained no more than 35,000 pesos; the magazines were destitute of provisions, ammunition, and other supplies for the relief of the fortified posts and the soldiers. A few months before, the soldiers had received part of their pay—each one who had eight pesos of wages being paid one peso, and others receiving only a ration of rice and meat. But the governor found the officials of all classes still unpaid; and he had no ship to send to Nueva Espana, because the vessel sent thither by his predecessor had put back to port. The commerce [of the islands] with all the neighboring countries was paralyzed, and the said commerce must again be revived, for without it Manila could not exist.

He states that he had ordered timber to be cut for repairing the ship that would go to Nueva Espana, and for the construction of the forty galleys that were needed for the defense of the islands from the Moro pirates that infested them—who were still more daring since the abandonment of our forts on account of our fear of the Chinese Cotseng. The governor ordered that wheat shall be sowed, since this is so necessary to the manufacture of sea-biscuit for the ships, and in order not to depend upon foreigners for the supply of this article. For the same reasons, he caused an engineer (whom he had carried to the islands at his own expense) to make examination of the iron mines; this reconnaissance had given satisfactory results, for the engineer had begun to work the mines with so good success that he had taken out nearly 600 arrobas [of iron], and was continuing to operate the mines.

In another (but undated) letter on the same subject, he mentions the improvements that he had had to make in the walls of Manila; and says that he had ordered four forts to be built in the interior of Luzon, in order to push forward the conquest of the infidel peoples. He also repeats much of what he had said in the preceding letter. [59]


The reasons that the governor and the royal Audiencia of the Filipinas Islands apparently might have had for suspending the execution of the royal decrees, which were repeatedly ordered to be observed in favor of the right of the royal patronage, from the year 1624 to that of 1656 [sic] have been as follows. [60]

First, the consideration of the zealous observance of [their rules by] all the orders in those islands; the zeal with which they busy themselves in their ministries; the new conversions that are made daily in certain portions of the islands; and because if the religious are forced to that subjection [to the diocesan authorities] they will surely fall into laxity, and consequently, will lose the zeal that they today exercise, as experience shows in the orders throughout America that have entered that subjection.

Second, because of the few seculars that there have always been in the islands to take charge of those missions; for when these were most numerous here was in the years 24, 28, and 34, for then the city of Manila had 400 citizens, and Cebu, Oton, Nueva Segovia, and Arevalo had nearly 200 more. Now the representative citizens throughout the islands do not number 60. Then if in that time, when the islands contained most Spaniards, there were no secular priests, how can there be any today when there are not 60 citizens in all the islands, while the number of priests is steadily growing less in America, where the Spanish settlements are large and populous and are continually increasing?

So great is the lack of the secular clergy that they cannot even take care of the missions in their charge. For there is no district belonging to the seculars, especially outside of the island of Manila, that does not need two or three priests; for most of the villages of their jurisdiction are 10, 20, or 30 leguas distant from the chief mission station—from which, as they find themselves alone, they do not go out to visit their districts as a rule, except once a year. Consequently many must necessarily die without the sacraments, and even the children without baptism, because of the laziness of the Indians and the little esteem in which they hold the faith because of the lack of instruction. Even the ministers themselves run the risk of dying without confession, and there are not few examples of that in those islands. That occurs because they can do no more, and have no priests who can aid them in their ministries. In order to have these, they must maintain them at their own cost, in order to meet the obligations of their consciences. But the regulars in all their districts which consist of many villages (they have three or four priests in each district), are ever traveling unceasingly by sea and land, visiting their villages. Consequently the villages instructed by the religious are frequent in their use of the holy sacraments, because of their good opinion of our holy Catholic faith, and their stricter observance of it.

The ministries of those islands need at least 400 priests who are religious; for I assume that there must not be only one to a district, as are the seculars in regions so extensive as these, but three or four, and sometimes more, and that is a matter involving a question of conscience, because of their ministries and their own souls; for there is a district belonging to the seculars where a priest does not arrive for a whole year, and if one reaches some parts, it is only by chance.

For the above reasons I believe that the governor and the royal Audiencia of Manila, as those who have the matter in hand, in the past year of 1665 suspended the execution of the said decrees, giving a time-limit of four years to the Order of St. Dominic to present the said reasons to his Majesty and his royal Council of the Yndias. For it is to be believed that if they found it advisable for the royal service (as they are so attentive to it) to carry out the exact royal orders in the matter, they would not have delayed the execution of the orders for four years, nor have allowed any more replies.

The reasons that the regulars have for petitioning his Majesty to be pleased not to change the method that they have followed for the space of one hundred years in their administration of the Indians in the islands, are as follows:

First, because the Indians are not yet well rooted in the faith, and there are still a great number of heathen and Moros to be newly converted—for the sacred Order of St. Dominic has many heathen in the provinces of Cagayan, Pangasinan, and Ytui. The Order of St. Augustine has still many heathen among the Yglotes (who belong to the province of Ylocos) and in the island of Panay. The Society of Jesus has all the island of Mindanao, those of Jolo, and the islands adjacent to them, which are for the most part inhabited by Moros and to a less extent by Christians and heathens. They have abandoned the Maluccas, where they have labored for so many years; and at present they administer only the island of Siao which is all Christian. The Recollect Augustinians administer the Negrillos of Masinlo and many of the Caragas bordering upon the Mindanaos. The Order of St. Francis is not lacking in Aetas (who are still heathen) in their districts of La Laguna and the mountains there to be converted.

Second, because the missions of the Filipinas are suitable for him who is looking for hardship and not ease. How is it possible for missions in the islands of old infested by infidel pirates, and [now] having new conversions of Moros and heathen, not to be full of hardship? For as a rule, those missions outside the island of Manila are visited by sea by their ministers; and that brings them no little trouble besides the constant danger of being killed by the Moros.

Third, because the regulars in those islands now and those who have always been there have almost all come from Espana, and have gone to them, not for the purpose of any temporal advantage, but with the design of reducing infidels to the bosom of the Church. Most of them are desirous of going thence to Japon, as the reduction of that empire as well as a portion of that of China belongs to the crown of Castilla. Since, then, the missions and doctrinas of those islands are so apostolic, and the zeal of the regulars in going there is expended only in the direction of promulgating the gospel among heathen, one can easily infer how necessary it is that the regulars be maintained there in the strict observance and spirit with which they left Espana. They fear, and with great reason, that if that subjection be accepted the regulars in those islands will relax, as has been experienced in the provinces where the orders have bowed to that subjection, paying heed perchance rather to not leaving the comforts of the fatherland than to the observance of their rules. But since the religious in the Filipinas Islands are not rooted in their fatherlands, but on the contrary regard themselves as exiled therefrom, it is impossible for them to return thither. Subject there to hardships and sickness (for the climate of Filipinas is less favorable and healthful to Europeans), they will not have the difficulty in quitting their ministries that has been experienced in America—where, in order not to leave their ministries, they have become subject, thus losing their positions; and they will not be willing that the most religious and those most zealous for their rules should at least keep away from the missions and ministries of the Indians through the imposition of that burden, and that no others should be found. Consequently, with that subjection they desire again to journey to parts so remote; so that in such case, in those provinces which are today so religious, their courage would grow less and that not without danger to those ministries, which by their very nature demand zealous persons and those of a very superior virtue.

For it is sufficient to consider that, if serious men of learning and virtue subject themselves to the ordinary in order to minister in a doctrina, it may happen that they will be punished for a slight omission or neglect, perhaps one that they could not avoid—such as not being able to arrive in time to hear the confession of a dying person or to give him the holy oil; or to baptize a new-born infant. It is possible that this fear alone would make some refuse the ministries of the islands with such a risk. For although the ordinary cannot punish them as religious, he can punish them as curas; and in such a case it is difficult to proceed between cura and religious.

In the first place the religious's definitorio may assign him also to a house with a vote, all of which have ministries in the Filipinas; and an ambitious man may by the exercise of skill, and by influence, intercessions, and presents deprive him of the place, and perhaps may impute to him faults and defects that he does not possess in order to attain his purpose better and to justify his action. That can not fail to be a cause for sorrow, and more so to one who has no foundation in the islands, but who is rather disgusted at being there; and it will be a sufficient cause for him to retire from his ministries and even to attempt to return to Espana.

And even though the superiors may order the religious to live in their missions with that subjection, it may be that they cannot obtain it by entreaty from them, and that the religious will excuse themselves by saying with St. Paul: Unusquisque enim in ea vocatione qua vocatus est permanet. [61] They may also say that they wish to persevere in the vocation to which they were called by God, and that they did not enter religion to recognize two superiors, one a regular and the other a secular, but rather one of their own profession—by whom they would willingly allow themselves to be visited, censured, and punished; but not by two distinct in profession. For if there are two superiors who are unequal in profession, it is quite possible that they will be at variance in the matters of orders and obedience; and that such subordinate may be in doubt without the power to help it lest obedience to one be an offense to the other. Consequently, placed between two extremes, he will come to obey the more powerful and to disobey his regular superior, who is the one from whom he can fear less.

And one might doubt whether the superior could impose on those who should be thus firm in their purpose the precept of obedience, so that they should subject themselves as curas to an ordinary and to tho choice of a governor. And if for the above reasons those who are zealous for their rules should be lacking in the provinces and ministries, the men who are less religious would become the mainstay of the provinces and would administer the missions—men whom neither ambition nor their slight attachment to the observance calls away [from the order]. Consequently, such men coming in time to rule the provinces and to possess the ministries in those islands, the end will be that there will be no religion, observance, or examples in them to invite the Indians, but only scandals by which they will stumble; for, as a foolish people, they embrace what they see rather than what they hear.

Besides the above, the orders fear lest the governors and the ordinaries will make use of that subjection to harass them, especially if by any accident some collision should occur between them and the authorities. For if the governor had the selection of the [religious of the] villages in his control, who could prevent him from removing or appointing whomever he wished, or choosing those whom he considered better for his own purposes and even molesting the good? For since all the houses with votes in those islands except the convents of Manila are doctrinas, he could place in them the men satisfactory to himself; and these would not fail him in the following provincial chapters in accepting from his hand a provincial who would be most advantageous to him, or most inclined to agree with him. Consequently, he would become absolute master of the monastic government of the orders. If the ordinaries wished to molest those religious whom they did not like, who could prevent them from fulminating penalties for the slightest causes? and this especially where the witnesses are Indians who would swear against their missionaries at any threat or for any profit, whatever the ministers or the visitors of the bishops wished.

It is well seen that all those troubles, so possible, would cease if the governors would govern according to the pious zeal and most Christian intention of his Majesty, and the ordinaries according to the obligation of their estate. But, nevertheless, in parts so distant and remote from the heart of the monarchy, not all the governors and ordinaries work in harmony. For even the good and those regarded as such in Espana are wont to become changed in the Yndias, and to act very differently from what was expected of them; for power and opportunity generally change the purposes and disorder the expectations of those who are by nature covetous, revengeful, or subject to other passions. What may not [therefore] be feared? On account of all those things the fears of the orders are not ill founded. Would that experience did not testify to all these possibilities. Since even without that subjection the governors and ordinaries are wont to give the regulars causes for merit for very slight causes, what would it be if they held the regulars as subjects and had absolute power to be able to punish them as criminals and to depose them as guilty?

If the regular superior should decide that he ought in conscience to remove any occasion for scandal, or one who was a discredit to his profession, in the case of any of his subjects; and it should be necessary for that reason to remove him from his mission: in such case, if he went to the governor to impart his purpose as he is obliged to do by the right of the royal patronage, the governor having heard the reasons would have a copy of the charges given to the party; and the suit having been brought to trial the defense might even manage with crafty pleas to frustrate the zeal of the superior. In such cases (which are quite ordinary where the said subjection to bishops and viceroys is allowed) the superior will come out disaccredited and justly angry, and the accused triumphant; for his evil conscience and the zeal of his prelate will put him on his guard, and he will be forewarned of each attack.

How many scandals will follow from this, and how many discords, edicts, and enmities! how many expenses in money, and how much bribing of witnesses and intercessors! both of servants and friends of the governors, who are usually benefited by religious of that sort. They are generally aided as much by cunning as by what they spend in order to succeed in their designs, without considering that they are trampling upon all the three essential vows of the estate which they profess—namely, poverty, obedience, and chastity.

Therefore, if the desires of his Majesty are that the regulars shall live in accordance with their own laws; that the natives of the Indias be well instructed; and that they be not molested by the officials of the two estates: the remedy for that is to leave the regulars to their observance without obliging them to become more subject than they have been hitherto. If this is either not advisable or cannot be done, it would be better for the orders that the secular clergy should administer those missions.

For how is it possible that such missionaries should not be covetous if they are inclined to that vice as an efficacious means to maintain themselves in their posts, to attain others that are larger and more wealthy, to defend themselves from the zeal of their prelates? Such will have the power of loading the Indians with pecuniary fines and of doubling the fees; and even perhaps there will not lack some who will avail themselves of trade and commerce to attain that end.

The subjection will result only in advantage to the governors and ordinaries, in trouble to the Indians (for the latter furnish the wealth of such ministers) and disservice to his Majesty; since it means the ruin of religious discipline. The Indians being harassed and the governors and ordinaries being interested parties, all contrary to his Majesty's holy intent, the Indians will come to have disinclination instead of love to affairs of the faith and religion. And I dare affirm that Christians thus instructed will be Christians rather by force than in their hearts.

In no part of the Yndias can one more intelligently expect that the regulars will be strict of observance than in the Filipinas Islands; for all their missions, even those in the suburbs of Manila, are surrounded by heathen and Moros—Chinese, Japanese, Mindanaos, Joloans, and Borneans, and people of almost all the other kingdoms of the Orient whose conversion is so anxiously desired. For if those heathen and Moro nations, who have before their eyes the conduct of the Christians, come to observe it as not at all in accord with right, not only among the secular clergy but among the regulars—who are by their profession teachers of the law and are bound to furnish a good example as the rule of their observance—what would they think, or what notion would they form of it? It is learned from some mandarins of Great China who were converted to our holy faith because they saw in all the ministers of it for many years a conformity of morals that was regulated to natural law, that they prudently conclude therefrom that the law which taught such actions could not be other than true. If the Chinese and Japanese who live in those islands should see the evangelical ministers acting against all natural dictates, they would come to a contrary conclusion, for they have no greater arguments for belief than those which come through their eyes.

The regulars of the Filipinas Islands have well understood how just it is that the right of his Majesty's royal patronage be observed therein according to his orders. Therefore, they do not petition for exemption from the choice by the governors and the collations by the ordinaries under any other title than that of a favor from the greatness of his Majesty, if perchance their merits have deserved it. For, as is well known, there are no missions more distant throughout the monarchy nor more seas to pass nor seas so endangered by the enemies of the faith—which can be affirmed by those who administer outside the suburbs of Manila and their environs, who continually bear death or captivity before their eyes.

If his Majesty has been pleased to give privileges to the citizens of those islands with the honorable title of hidalgos and nobles—the munificence of his Majesty supplying what birth denied to many, a privilege not conceded to any others of the Yndias—as a reward for having been willing to become citizens in regions so remote from their fatherland without any other service, in order that by such kindness others might be encouraged to do the same, not less do the regulars merit some special privilege and reward from your Majesty, and the welfare of the souls of the natives. This is the chief object of your Majesty in conserving the Filipinas Islands and all that conduces to this is only a means—namely, that it is inhabited by Spaniards and garrisoned with soldiers, and the expenses which are incurred in all this. Therefore if his Majesty exercises so great munificence in order that the means may not fail so that the end may be attained, in order that it may be more completely and perfectly executed, the regulars may hope for greater favor from the piety of their king. And if laymen are rewarded for the services that they have rendered in those islands with military honors and with great encomiendas of Indians, one can trust that the services rendered to his Majesty by all the orders during a hundred years in the islands will merit some recompense in immunity (even though it be not due for their services) from his gratitude and liberal hand, as they hope from the grandeur of their king and sovereign.


Source: This is from Sinibaldo de Mas's Informe de las Islas Filipinas, ii, no. 12.

Translation: This is by James Alexander Robertson.


[In addition to the following account by Mas, the student desirous of pursuing the subject will find much data in the various Guias de Filipinas. Some statistics are also presented by Montero y Vidal (Archipielago Filipino, pp. 194-203) for the years 1883-1884. Much of value and interest will also be found in the various reports of the Philippine Commission, and in the numerous pamphlets issued by the United States Government.]

Justice is administered by means of an Audiencia, which has the title of royal, and resides in Manila, being composed of one regent, and five judges; by means of alcaldes-mayor who govern the provinces; and by the gobernadorcillo whom each village has and who is equivalent to our alcalde de monterilla. [62] The latter proceeds in criminal cases to the formation of a verbal process, and tries civil causes up to the value of two tailes of gold or 44 pesos fuertes.

The royal Audiencia is a court without appeal in Filipinas. The alcaldes-mayor cannot terminate by their own action civil questions that have to do with a sum of greater value than 100 pesos fuertes, or impose any corporal punishment without the approval of the Audiencia, and then only imprisonment for one week. But they are judges of the first instance for every kind of litigious or criminal cases.

In order that one may obtain the post of alcalde-mayor, it is not necessary that he should have studied law. Hence, the greater part of the heads of the provinces are laymen in that respect. Generally those posts are given to military men. Consequently, this is the origin that for every process which is prosecuted in a lawsuit or cause, the alcalde has to have recourse to an assessor, in order to obtain the opinion of that one on which to base his action. But since the advocates reside in Manila, the records have to make at times many trips from the province to the capital. From this results the inconvenience of delay, the liability of theft, or the destruction of the mail. For, in the many rivers that must be crossed, the papers become so wet that they are useless (as happened with several letters of a post which was received in the chief city of a province when I was there, the envelopes of which it was impossible for us to read), and the malicious extraction in order to obscure the course of justice. The defect of this system can only be understood if one reflect that the various provinces of the colony are not situated on a continent, but in various islands, and that by reason of the periodic winds and the hurricanes which prevail in this region, the capital very often finds itself without news of some provinces for two or three months, and of that of Marianas for whole years.

It appears that what we have said ought to be sufficient to show the necessity of radical reforms in this department, but, unfortunately, there are other more grave reasons for such reform. The alcaldes-mayor are permitted to engage in business. [63] The author of Les Estrits des Lois [64] said many years ago that the worst of governments is the commercial government; and surely, for those who have studied the science of government, all comment on this point is superfluous. The alcalde who is permitted to engage in business naturally tries, if possible, to monopolize it by all means in his power. This vice of the system leads some greedy men to the greatest excesses, which later are attributed to all alcaldes in general. Upon my arrival at Manila, I asked a very respectable Spaniard who had been in the country for many years about what happens in the provinces. He replied to me: "You know that the alcaldeships are reported to be worth 40,000 or 50,000 duros, and he who seeks one of those posts very earnestly has no other object or hope than to acquire a capital in the six years for which the government confers them. Before going to his province, he borrows 8,000 or 10,000 duros from one of the charitable funds at such and such a per cent. Besides, he has to pay an interest to those who act as bondsmen for him, both to the government for the royal treasury, and to the charitable funds which supply him with money. When he arrives at his province he acts according to conditions ruling in that province, for not all provinces are alike in their productions and circumstances. He generally establishes a supply store, and, consequently, from that moment, any other storekeeper is his rival and enemy. If such storekeeper has a creditor whom he tries to hurry up and goes to the alcalde, he gets no protection. If any theft happens to him the same thing more or less occurs; for, although the alcalde orders efforts made to ascertain the thief, far from taking those measures earnestly, he is secretly glad of the losses of his rivals, and it has even been asserted that there are cases in which the alcalde himself has been the instigator of the crime. Who is your enemy? That of your trade. But does the alcalde himself sell the goods? Sometimes he sells and measures them, at other times he keeps an agent in the store; the most usual thing is, if he is married, for his wife to take charge of the expense, especially of those goods of any value. But his greatest gain consists in making advances of money at the time of the sowing, the period when the Indians need it and try to get it at any cost, for their negligence and their vices do not allow them to foresee such a case and be prepared for it. For example: a farmer signs a paper for the alcalde which obliges him to deliver at harvest time ten measures of sugar, which are worth at least two and one-half duros, and he himself receives only one and one-half, consequently, by that operation alone of advancing money, the alcalde-mayor sometimes gains 40 per cent. But what generally happens is that the Indian is so short sighted and is so indifferent to the future that he signs any burdensome obligation provided he gets some money, and he only takes account of what they give him without thinking of what they are going to get from him. For example, the alcalde gives him 60 duros as an advance for forty measures of sugar at the harvest time. The harvest is bad and he can only give 20. In such case the reckoning is after the following fashion: 'The sugar has been sold for 4 duros, and hence 20 measures will amount to 80 duros. You cannot pay them to me, consequently they can just as well remain as an advance for the coming year at one and one-half.' In consequence of that the farmer signs a paper by which he enters under obligation to deliver 53 measures at the next harvest. Harvest time comes, and if it is bad, he only presents, say, 13. Therefore, 40 measures at 4 duros amount to 160 duros of debt, and at one and one-half make 108 measures for the following year. In this way the man keeps on adding more and more until all his goods are at the disposal of the alcalde. Besides, there are innumerable other vexations to which he must subject himself. For instance: he has to deliver to the alcalde 100 cabans of rice; when he presents them the alcalde measures them out with a larger measure than that used in the market. Hence, in reality, the alcalde exacts from him more than he is bound to pay. The same thing happens with indigo. For, a discussion arises as to whether the indigo is, or is not, very damp, and some libras must be taken off for waste; or, whether it is of poorer quality than the Indian promised, and so on." "But surely it must needs be that it is fitting to take money advanced, since there is one who seeks it, and it is worth more for a farmer to cultivate his land in this way than that he leave it without cultivation for lack of the necessary capital. In regard to the tyrannies which the alcalde tries to commit, it seems to me that they might be avoided by the countryman borrowing the money from a private person who is not in position to annoy him." "That is all very well thought out, but I will tell you what happens. The Indian borrows money very easily, but it is very difficult to get him to pay it, and he generally avoids doing so, if possible. If a private person lends him money and does not collect it when due, he has to go to the alcalde in order that the latter may force payment. The latter either does so coldly, or pays no attention to the whole matter, since his intention is that such private persons take warning and never again lend to anyone; for, it is evident, that if many come to speculate in this kind of business, the alcalde will soon be shut out, or at least will have to submit himself to the general rules. Consequently, the result is that capitalists draw back from him, saying, and very rightly, that it is only fitting for the alcaldes who possess the means to cause themselves to be paid when a debt is due. The alcalde, then, remains master of the field, and monopolizes this department at his pleasure, for he who needs funds has to go to him, for there are very few who enjoy enough credit to get them elsewhere. Many other advantages also favor the alcalde. The parish priests aid him, and many times take charge of the division of the money of the alcalde in their villages, for they know that that is the sure means of keeping on good terms with him, and obtaining the measures which depend on his will in the matters of their villages. The gobernadorcillos and officials of justice are other instruments of which the alcalde makes use to apportion and collect his funds." "Why is it that these do not occupy themselves rather in their affairs than in those of the alcalde?" "The alcalde can always, whenever he wishes, make trouble for the gobernadorcillo by making him go to the chief village with innumerable pretexts, and by various other methods which it would take a long time to enumerate, and which it is very easy to conceive. Besides, it is important for the alcalde to keep the gobernadorcillo satisfied. Suppose now, that a road has to be built, or a bamboo bridge, or any other work for which the people of the village who have to do it, according to their obligation called polos and services, are summoned. As some of them are busy in their fields or other business, they wish to be free from such a burden, and they give the gobernadorcillo two or three reals and he excuses them on the ground of sickness. A party of troops or a Spaniard passes by and asks for some beast of burden, or an aid in food. That is also an occasion for the gobernadorcillo to get even with those whom he dislikes and obtain part of his demands; for some give him presents in order that he may not give the beasts of burden, while others do not receive the pay for that food. During the days of tiangui or village fairs, such and such a sum is exacted for each post in the market place. In general there are some men of service called bantayanes who are a kind of sentinel placed at the entrances of villages. Many of them also pay to be excused from that burden when their turn comes or when they are told that it comes. In general he has ten or twelve men called honos, manbaras, etc., given to him, who are exempt from polos and services, and they serve the ayuntamiento to send papers, conduct prisoners, etc., and the gobernadorcillo gives them permission so that they may cultivate their lands, by collecting from them a contribution." "But it seems to me that the gobernadorcillo will have to give account, if not for all, at least for many of the taxes that you have mentioned." "It ought to be so, and in fact, some enter into the communal treasury, but they are the fewest and those connected with the legal matters, for of the others there is nothing to be said. For example: I have seen an order enclosing a fine as a punishment on the gobernadorcillo for some fault or misdeed that he had committed. He assembles the cabezas de barangai; the whole sum is apportioned among the people of the village. The amount of the fine is collected and the gobernadorcillo has still something left for his maintenance and revelling." "Why do they not complain to the alcalde?" "Because, sir, of just what I told you. The alcalde needs the gobernadorcillo so that he may use him in his business, and for all such things he is a very far-sighted man. Besides, the alcalde who tries to investigate those snares of the tribunals (ayuntamientos) will lose his senses without deriving any benefit from it. He does not know the language. As interpreter he has the clerk, who is an Indian, and the entangler-in-chief, and almost always in accord with the Indian magnates." "If the clerk is a bad man, will he not be hated?" "I do not say that he is beloved, but some fear him, and others are his accomplices. Since the alcalde is, in reality, a business man, he naturally takes more interest in his business than in that of other people, and leaves all court matters in charge of the clerk, who comes to be the arbiter in that matter, and here is where the latter reaps his harvest. One of the members of the tribunal (ayuntamiento) steals, or causes to be stolen from some man his buffalo. The man finds out where it is; he complains to the gobernadorcillo; they begin to take measures; at last the animal is returned to him, but if it is worth five duros, they make him pay ten duros in expenses so that the man either considers his beast as lost and the thieves keep it, or the latter get from him twice as much as it is worth. Hence, if I were to tell all that passes in this wise, my story would be very long. One of the things which they are accustomed to do is to let the prisoners go out of the prison for several days without the government knowing it. I have seen that done this very year of 1841 in the province of—-, in regard to some prisoners whom the alcalde-mayor believed to be in prison; but they were working on the estate of the clerk, and one of those prisoners had committed very serious crimes." "But why do not the curas remedy all that? I have heard it said that they are really the ones who govern the villages." "In reality, when the curas take that matter upon themselves, those abuses are remedied, at least in great measure, for they know the language well, and every one in their village knows the truth, if the cura wishes to ascertain it. That is what happened in former times. And also at that time the communal funds were deposited in the convent, and [thus] many tricks and tyrannies were avoided. But for some years the governors who have come from Espana have desired that the parish priests should keep to their houses and say mass and preach and not meddle with the temporal government; without taking heed that in a whole province there is no other Spaniard who governs than the alcalde-mayor himself, who generally comes from Europa and goes without reflection to take his charge without any knowledge whatever of the country or knowing even a single word of its language. Consequently, many religious, in order to avoid trouble, see and keep still, and allow everything to take what course God wills. This is one of the chief causes of the disorders of the villages, and of the increase of crime." "Now tell me, do the alcaldes make all the wealth that they are accustomed to acquire with the kind of trade which you have explained to me?" "They have many means of hunting [buscar] for that is the technical expression used in this country, but those means vary according to circumstances. In some provinces great efforts are made to obtain posts as gobernadorcillos and officials of justice, and that department generally is worth a good sum annually. Those are things which the clerk or secretary manages. In the province of—- while Don—- was alcalde-mayor, that gentleman was in collusion with the manager of the wine monopoly and they practiced the following. The harvesters came with their wine, but they were told that it was impossible to receive it. There was a conflict within themselves, for they had to return to their village. Then they were told that if they wished to deposit the wine they would put it in certain jars which had been provided in the storehouse, by paying such and such a rent until the administration could introduce it. The harvesters, who needed the money, thereupon sold the wine to the agents of the alcalde, at any price at all in order to return to their homes. Finally, as he who had come to be an alcalde, has had no other object than to acquire wealth, every matter which does not contribute to that object, such as the making of a bridge, or a road, the prosecution of evil doers, or any occupation purely of government or justice, distracts and troubles him. On the contrary every means of attaining his end appears to him fitting and good. This method of thought is a little more or less in the minds of all; and thus you observe that no one says here, not even excluding the religious, who are those who know the country best, 'I have such or such reasons for gaining this suit,' but, 'I have so many thousand pesos to gain the suit.' But to tell the truth, it is not to be wondered at that the alcaldes-mayor work without much scruple. In the space of six years they have to pay their passage from and to Espana; to satisfy the high interest on the money which they have borrowed; to acquit themselves of the amount which their alcaldeship has often cost them; and besides they make their fortunes. Not more or less is done in Turquia."

In the same way as this good man talked, the majority talk. The faults and vices of some are attributed and laid to all. It is certain that this system is fatal, for governors of such sort must be essentially interested in turning down the attempt of private speculators, and to frighten away instead the attraction of capital. That has, as a natural consequence, the increased interest on money which so endangers production, and, consequently, exportation and the encouragement of the islands. But not less fatal is the opinion that the authorities of Manila themselves are fed on such abuses. Complaints are continually presented against the alcalde, at times very captious and filled with falsehood and absurdity. The Audiencia and office of the captain-general receive those complaints kindly and very easily dictate measures humiliating for the alcalde, and impose fines on him, of which a copy is given to the complaining parties. Rarely is it that one leaves his alcaldeship without having paid many fines. The Filipinos make the greatest ado, as is natural, over those triumphs against authority, but authority loses decorum and moral force. All this comes from the bad system established, for, since the governor from the moment that he becomes a merchant, must be a bad governor and a usurer and tyrant, the government of Manila is predisposed against his acts, and declares itself the protector of the Filipinos. In this way one evil is remedied by a worse. The supreme authority instead of supporting and sustaining the subordinate government punishes and degrades it. Illusion, respect, and fear vanish. It is believed that that severity against those who rule is advantageous in making our yoke loved, and that the natives will say, "The government is kind for it punishes the alcaldes," while it would be better for them to say, "The government is kind because it gives us good alcaldes."

Shortly after my arrival in the islands, being at the feast of Cavite, distant four hours from the capital, I wished to go thither on horseback, but all who heard of it dissuaded me from the idea, asserting that I was about to commit a rash act. Another time when I was coming from Laguna, on passing through Montinlupa, the manager of the estate of that name was so greatly alarmed that he wished to accompany me with his servants until we came near the city, and in fact I learned soon that I was running a great danger on that road, and that shortly before a Spanish sergeant had been murdered on it. Then I was very much surprised to find that it was dangerous to go near the capital without an escort, but later I have been much more surprised to see that in provinces distant from the capital a complete security is enjoyed. In order to show the condition of the criminality of the island we shall present the following data drawn from the clerk's office of the Audiencia.

Criminal causes sentenced in the Audiencia of Filipinas between the years 1831-1837

[not inclusive]

Years Causes

1832 75 1833 83 1834 43 1835 102 1836 108


Report of the criminal causes sentenced between the years 1836-1842 [not inclusive]

Crimes ========================================================== Rebell- Robbery Mobs False- Immor- Wounds Total Years ion or Murder Theft Incen- and hood ality and no. of Con- and Im- diarism Lam- and and rough Causes spiracy position poons Perjury Scandal usage - - - - - - 1837 43 54 2 2 8 5 114 1838 108 145 6 4 7 52 60 382 1839 74 149 1 5 2 45 41 317 1840 2 83 106 5 1 3 41 54 295 1841 131 216 12 6 5 66 67 499 - - - - - - 2 439 670 26 16 19 212 227 1609 ==============================================

Penalties ======================================== Deprivation of [Years] Death Imprisonment Office and Total no. other of correctives Sentences - - [1837] 6 99 17 122 1838] 6 140 169 313 1839] 6 192 46 244 1840] 7 131 19 157 [1841] 3 173 77 253 - - 28 735 328 1089 ========================================

Total number of causes sentenced in the first five years 411 Idem 1607 Increasing the latter 1196

[Here follows a report in tabular form showing the number of causes in each province for the years 1840 and 1841. This table is compiled at least in part from the guide of Manila for the year 1840; the population of each province being taken therefrom. Thirty-three provinces are enumerated. The total number of causes for 1840 was 295, and for 1841, 499.]

The first thing which arrests the attention in these reports is the increase of crime. The fiscal, whom I questioned in regard to this matter, told me that now many causes are elevated to process which were before finished in the interior courts, and that during these latter years many old causes had been sentenced. This may be true, but in regard to the accumulation of back cases that have been sentenced, I believe that that can only be understood from the year 1838, or even from that of 1839, because of the lack of judges in which the court found itself in 1837. No matter how it is considered, the increase is palpable, for the causes alone for murder of last year amount to more than all those of any of the years of the first five years, and it is incredible that at that time they neglected to try people for homicide, although they did dissimulate in regard to lesser crimes. The second thing which arrests the attention is the tendency to theft, since the greater part of the homicides have been committed by robbers, and further one sees a great multitude of causes for theft. For among those two kinds of crime are found two-thirds of all kinds of criminality. This is a matter well worthy of reflection in a country where the means of existence can be procured so readily. The third [thing that arrests the attention] is the mildness of the sentences. In the last five years, when there were 439 homicides, only 28 have ascended the scaffold, one-third of those tried have been set at liberty, and 328 condemned to light punishment. One would not believe that those treated with so great mercy are (at least always) criminals for insignificant faults. A man of the village of Narbakan was tried in the year 1840 for having begotten children twice by his daughter, the second time that having been done by means of assaulting her with a dagger. The attorney asked for ten years of imprisonment, but the Audiencia did not impose any penalty and did not even condemn him to the costs, nor did it take the measure in honor of public morality of causing them to separate, but allowed them to live together as they are still doing. At the beginning of the same year, 1840, Mariano San Geronimo, a servant from youth to a Spanish tailor called Garcia, stole one hundred pesos fuertes from his master, and another hundred from Captain Castejon, adjutant of the captain-general of the islands, who was living in his house; by extracting them from the trunks of each one. That of the captain-general he opened with the key which the latter's own assistant gave him. The greater part of the money was delivered to that assistant, his accomplice; the rest was lost at play. This deed served the defender of San Geronimo, Don Agustin Ruiz de Santayana, to petition his acquittal, alleging in his favor the incapacity and irreflection which that individual had shown with the said thief. Both the criminal and his accomplice confessed, and no obstacle was presented to substantiate this verbal process. However, it lasted for more than one year. They troubled the master Garcia so much with notifications and accounts of the maintenance of the prisoner that at last he refused to have anything more to do with the matter, and abandoned the charge. The alcalde-in-ordinary sentenced San Geronimo to six months' imprisonment. When the Audiencia examined that clause, March 31, 1841, it ordered the prisoner to be liberated. In Inglaterra, that violator of his own daughter, and the domestic thief would have been given the death sentence on the gallows.

This impunity for crimes is, to my understanding, very fatal, not only because of the encouragement which it gives on that account to criminality, but also because of the fear which gobernadorcillos and alcaldes have in arresting the guilty, for they know that they will be soon liberated and will soon take vengeance on them by robbing them, cutting down their trees, and burning their places of business. An employe of estimable qualities in the department of taxes told me that once grown tired in a certain province of seeing that no one dared to arrest a thief who had terrified the entire village, he himself took the trouble to waylay and seize him in the very operation of committing a theft. He had him bound, and sent him to the alcalde with the general complaint. In a few weeks he saw him again in the village and had to reckon with him. I have been in the estate of Buena-Vista in the outskirts of which live very many robbers. However, they do not steal there, but they go to do that in other places, bringing there afterward horses, buffaloes, and whatever they can lay their hands on. The manager does not dare to wage war against them or to denounce their thefts, although he knows them. One night when I was there at twelve o'clock, appeared a cavalry troop sent from the neighboring province of Pampanga by Alcalde Urbina and commanded by Lieutenant Lao. With them they brought several persons who had been robbed, and took them before the official. He had a list of many whom he was to arrest. It had already been given to the justice of the village. We amounted to four or five Spaniards in that place. One of those who live there came within a few minutes to tell us secretly that those who were to do the arresting had already advised those who were to be arrested so that they might get out of the way, and so that no one could be caught. That person and the manager were silent in order not to compromise themselves, and I did the same, because the evil was already done, and in order not to abuse the confidence which they had in me. In fact, the officer and his men, and the guides, went away without having arrested a single one. A fortnight after another official, named Dayot, who knows the language of the country well, returned. Warned by what had happened the first time, he went directly to the houses where his guides took him; and, consequently, he seized some of them. Later he came to the estate and asked us for a very notorious fellow who was said to be absent. We assured him that we had seen that man less than an hour before. I advised Dayot to have the soldiers put aside their arms and uniforms, and send them dressed like the natives together with the guides, and if they surprised anyone to take him to the barracks; since, to imagine that the justice would aid him to arrest the criminals was to imagine something that could not be. In fact, he did that, and within three days he marched away taking five or six prisoners with him. A great state of consternation reigned throughout that district, which was good evidence of the moral condition of the inhabitants. In a few months I asked and learned that they were back already and in quiet possession of their homes. One day I was talking in Manila to the regent of the Audiencia, Don Matias de Mier, about that system of impunity which I had observed in the islands. That gentleman remarked to me: "It is not possible to take severe measures here, Senor Mas, for it is necessary to govern here with mildness." I praise and esteem most sincerely the benevolent ideas and the good heart of Senor Mier, but it seems to me that his words might be answered somewhat by those of Jeremias Bentham: [65] "How many praises are wasted on mercy! It has been repeated, time and time again, that that is the first virtue of a sovereign. Surely if crime consists only in an offense to one's self-love, if it is no more than a satire which is directed against him or his favorites, the moderation of the prince is meritorious. The pardon which he grants is a triumph obtained over himself! But when one treats of a crime against society, the pardon is not an act of clemency, it is a downright prevarication.... Every criminal who escapes justice threatens the public safety and innocence is not protected by being exposed to become the victim of a new crime. When a criminal is absolved all the crimes that he can perpetuate are committed by his hands." In no army are there so many executions as in that in which slight faults are disregarded. How many charges can be laid to the door of the one who carried away by a poorly understood charity, contributes to the increase, in any society, of assault, theft, assassination, tears, and executions. "Every pardon granted to a criminal," says Filangieri, [66] "is a crime committed against humanity." I cannot conceive how there is anyone who can imagine that the exercise of kindness to evil doers is useful or agreeable to the good. I believe, on the contrary, that those are lamented by the people who are unsafe in their houses while they are paying contributions to the government which is obliged to protect them. [Other reflections of a similar nature follow.]

The tribunal might declare that it works in accordance with the spirit of the Leyes de Indias, but be that as it may, it is, in my opinion, certain that with this system of tolerating everything from the natives, and of punishing and degrading the subordinate authorities, the Audiencia of Manila is losing the islands.

So far am I removed from being a bloodthirsty individual that I would like to see the death sentence removed from our criminal code. It would be useless to repeat in support of my opinion the ideas expressed by many celebrated socialists in regard to the abolition of capital punishment, but I will make one observation only, which I have read in no author. The criminal ought always to inspire public scorn and horror, but from the instant in which he is seen on the scaffold, the aversion of people becomes calm, and he is converted into an unfortunate fellow and an object of compassion. This impression does not seem proper to me. Further, restricting myself to Filipinas I shall say that since the penalties are imposed so that fear of them may keep others from committing the crimes, the death penalty does not cause in that country the same effect as in others, for its natives have a distinct physical organization from us, and their instinct of life is much less strong than that of the Europeans. Consequently, outside of cases in which one treats of questions vital for the colony, I believe that the death penalty is a useless cruelty. To mark those criminals well, and to use them in public works, or in agriculture, would be much more advantageous, and would better conserve the real object to which laws should tend, namely, the common good.

One of the things which contributes to the increase of crime is the prohibition in which the chiefs of the provinces find themselves from applying corporal punishment, without the approval of the Audiencia. For if a cause were to be made for the theft of buffaloes, horses, etc., it would be an interminable matter. To put the Filipino in jail is to move him to a better dwelling than his own. Then he is given his food there, which, however little and poor it be, will never be less than that to which he is accustomed daily. He does not work; on the contrary he lies stretched out all day, and that is his happiness. Besides, he finds in the same dwelling other fellow-countrymen with whom to converse and to chew buyo. Consequently, in the country, the idea of going to prison is very far from the impression that it gives in Espana where men are always animated by the spirit of activity and love to society. It has happened many times and I have seen it, that prisoners escape to attend a feast or go on a pilgrimage, and as soon as that is over they return to present themselves. I am of the opinion that the prison ought alone to be used as a means of detention, and that for light punishments, the lash should be applied. The idea of beating a man is repugnant to many philanthropic persons, for they say that such punishment is for beasts. However, for certain people who do not know what self esteem and honor mean, material punishments are necessary. How can one infuse fear and aversion to crime in one who despises that powerful stimulus for well doing? Who will tell us? This question is still disputed in cultured Europa and the civilized English have not dared to banish the rod from their military code. The first thing which is seen in the hut of any Filipino is the rattan for bringing up their children, and whoever has been in the country for some years thinks that all the provinces would be most tranquil and free from highwaymen if less papers were written and more beatings given.

There are over 80 advocates in Filipinas. The majority have studied in Manila in the same manner as they did a century ago in Espana. It might be said that they belong to the casuist school. The preparation for any lawsuit is consequential and the superfluous writs innumerable, as our system has always been to open all the doors to the innocence of the natives; and many of the advocates are of that same class or are Chinese mestizos. The language which they use is often indecorous, bold, lacking in purity and idiom, and even in grammatical construction. The Audiencia endures it as it is the old style custom, for in times past there were few advocates capable of explaining themselves better. The Filipinos believe that composed and moderate writs can have no effect at court, and they are only contented with those which are full of invective, reticence, interrogation, and exclamation.

Since the alcaldes of the first instance are laymen, they have to appoint an assessor and very often when one party sees that his suit is badly prepared, he challenges the assessor even three times. It is an abusive matter, and to the prejudice of justice, for in case of challenge of the assessor, that ought to be done at the moment that he is notified of his appointment, and not after seeing that which is not favorable to him, and that judgment is near.

The Leyes de Indias, compiled in 1754, and all the previous decrees and royal orders before that time still rule in Filipinas, in addition to the decrees and edicts of the governor-general. Of all this there is nothing, or very little, printed. The advocates generally know the laws in force by tradition and hear-say, but when they need any of the laws they have to look for it in the house of some friend, or, if not that, in the secretary's office of the government, whence very frequently it has disappeared, or in the office of the fiscal, or that of the intendant; because some orders are communicated by grace and justice, and others by the treasury or by other ministries. He who has no relatives or is new in the country is ignorant of the rules in force, or has not the means of acquiring them. Besides so far as they are not overthrown by the Leyes de Indias the laws of the Siete Partidas have as much force as do the latest Recopilacion, [67] Roman law, royal and old law, and, in fact, all the confused mass of the Spanish codes. Consequently, it is a vast sea in which are found abundantly the resources necessary to mix up matters and stultify the course of justice. In English India, a book is printed annually of all the orders which have been communicated to the tribunals and governors. This forms a collection which is entitled The Regulations, which is now being translated into the language of the natives by order of the government.

There are orders and even articles of the ordinances of good government to specify the price of food. These schedules are very often, as is evident, the cause of the disappearance of things, and, as they are not found in the market it is necessary to petition the gobernadorcillo to provide food which he is obliged to furnish at the price named in this schedule; and at times where there are many Spaniards and soldiers, that amounts to hundreds of fowls, eggs, etc., which the village must supply monthly and even daily. This is not only an odious task, but also the reason for infamous vexations on the part of the cabezas de barangai, for the unhappy cailianes are those who have to furnish it all without even collecting a thing. It must be well known that cheapness in articles proceeds only from collecting those articles and this proceeds only from abundance, and abundance only from freedom in the market; and the assigning of a low price to any article by schedule is the most direct method of restricting its production and heightening its price.

After all that we have set forth, one can well say that the department of the administration of justice is what needs the most prompt and speedy reform. From that, then, it is obvious that all the alcaldes-mayor ought to be jurisconsults. The custom of allowing governors to trade is not suitable for the age in which we live, surely, although there are some who do not abuse their position, and today there are some who can be presented as models of honor and nobility, especially Don Juan Castilla who governs in Samar, and Don Francisco Gutierrez de los Rios in Laguna. Not only is the latter free from the avarice and other faults which are so common to other alcaldes, and does not make use of the permission to trade, but also recognizes the defects of the present administration, and declaims in the bosom of his friends against them, since he is imbued with the sane principles of justice and political economy. But in such matters one must not reckon on virtue but always with human nature. One day happening to question one of the most judicious and kind persons whom I have known in the islands, how Alcalde Penaranda had happened to lose his money, he answered me: "He gave it to an agent to use, he to share in the profits, and then paid no attention to it for three years after. He gave up his time very greatly to the building of bridges and roads, and while he was busy in such bits of foolishness, the other made the most of his time and consumed it all." Another person, of whose philanthropy and gentlemanliness I have positive proofs, told me that if he obtained the government of a province, he would assemble all the influential men and make them an offer to renounce all trade provided that they gave him a certain annual sum. I replied to him that that was an impracticable project and stated my reasons. "Then," replied he, "I would harass everyone who engaged in trade until he ceased it, or left the province, and it would be all the worse for him." Such are the evils of a bad system. One becomes accustomed to the idea that a government post offers the opportunity of making money and nothing else. The moment that one has obtained office, he believes that he has a right to make money, without considering the means to any extent; while he who is careless of his own interests and busies himself in the progress of the province, like Senor Penaranda, is ridiculed and called a fool.

Many believe that to prohibit the alcaldes from trading would be useless, because they would do it by all means through a second person. There might be some fraud, but there is no doubt but that the evil would be remedied, if not wholly, in great measure, especially if any contract in regard to business interests signed by the alcaldes in Filipinas be declared null and void; for it is very difficult to find in the country persons to whom to hand over a capital and be sure of their good faith, and it is not easy to take them with him from Espana. And even leaving aside these disadvantages, it will always result from the prohibition that the agent of the alcalde will have to manage his money with great secrecy and as if it were his own, in which case there would be no trouble. The government of India was a few years ago entirely commercial, but since the commerce was prohibited, none of its dependents engage in it. Those who have savings deposit them in one of the banks or in one of the good commercial houses there at four or five per cent, or indeed they buy public stock or speculate with them. Alcaldeships in my opinion ought to be divided into three classes and given to individuals, all of them advocates, who would form a body of civil employes. When an alcaldeship of the first class fell vacant, it would be given to the senior advocate in charge of those of the second class, and so on. The regulation that alcaldes were to remain in the country only six years was founded certainly on the fear that they might acquire a dangerous influence over the country. To the degree that the precaution is not unfounded, the term is very short for so long a distance, for among other obstacles it contains the one that when a chief is beginning to know the country he has to leave it. Fifteen or twenty years would be a more fitting time.

In English India all the civil and military employes know the language of the country. That extreme, however advantageous it be, and is, in fact could be brought about here only with difficulty. It would have been easy if one of the dialects of the islands had been established from the beginning as the language of the government and of the courts; for a Visayan learns Tagalog very quickly, and any other idiom of the country, and the same thing is true of the other natives.

[If that had been done] all would at this moment show well or poorly the dominant language, just as in Cataluna, Valencia, the Baleares Islands, and the Basque provinces, Castilian is known. But this is not a matter which can be remedied in a brief time. Consequently, if an alcalde who is beginning to administer justice in Cagayan has to go immediately to Cebu, he will surely arrive there without knowing the language, although he had given himself to the study of it from the very beginning. But if this is an evil, this evil is now being endured, for the alcaldes arrive from Espana, and since they know that they have to return in six years, they do not take the least trouble to learn the language, and they leave the government in this regard just as when they entered it.

In the capital and its suburbs, justice is administered by means of two lay alcaldes, who are appointed annually by the ayuntamiento from the citizens of the city. When the appointees are men of wealth, they resign, for this charge alone occasions them ill-humor and serious occupations which distract them from their business. Those who accept or desire it, can have no other stimulus than that of vile interest, tolerating prohibited games, etc. It is, then, necessary to appoint two lawyers with suitable pay to be judges of first instance.

Everyone knows what the Leyes de Indias are, the epoch in which they were made, and the distinct regions for which they were dictated. It is, then, indispensable and peremptory to make the civil codes of legal processes, of criminal instruction, and of commerce especially for the country.

In India there is a commission of the government composed of four votes and a president, charged with making and revising the laws of India. For the same purpose, in my opinion, three persons who had studied or should study the country would be sufficient here. In such case I would be of the opinion that they be not allowed to do their work together, but that each one work alone and present his results. Another commission ought to be appointed immediately (there would be no harm in those same men forming it) to examine the codes and present a resume of the points in which they differed essentially. These would be few and in regard to them the government could take the best resolution.


The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla:

1. Letter from the archbishop of Manila.—"Simancas—Eclesiastico; Audiencia de Filipinas; cartas y espedientes de arzobispo de Manila; anos 1579 a 1697; est. 68, caj. 1, leg. 32."

The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid:

2. Jesuit protest.—"Papeles de los Jesuitas, to. 4o., no. 259."

The following document is obtained from a MS. in the Archivo general, Simancas:

3. Paz's Description of Philipinas.—"Consejo de Inquisicion, libro 786." (We present such part of this document as relates to the Philippines.)

The following are taken from the Ventura del Arco MSS. (Ayer library):

4. Condition of Philippines, 1652.—Tomo ii, pp. 385-390.

5. Jesuit missions, 1655.—Tomo ii, pp. 391-399.

6. Events in Manila, 1662-63.—Tomo ii, pp. 421-480.

7. Letter from Salcedo.—Tomo ii, pp. 481-483.

8. Friars and episcopal visitation.—Tomo ii, pp. 401-419.

The following is obtained from Retana's Archivo:

9. Royal funeral rites.—Tomo ii, pp. 105-158.

The following are taken from Pastells's edition of Colin's Labor evangelica:

10. Aid asked for Jesuits.—Tomo iii, pp. 786, 787.

11. Two Jesuit memorials.—Tomo iii, pp. 804, 805.

The following is taken from Historia general de los religiosos descalzos ... de San Agustin:

12. Recollect missions, 1646-60.—Part ii, by Luis de Jesus (Madrid, 1681), pp. 371-373, from a copy in the possession of Edward E. Ayer, Chicago; and part iii, by Diego de Santa Theresa (Barcelona, 1743) pp. 134-558, from a copy in the Library of Congress—using only such matter as relates to the Philippines.

The following is obtained from an old pamphlet not usually included in Philippine bibliographies:

13. Description of Filipinas, 1662.—From a pamphlet published at Puebla, Mexico, in 1662; it is bound in with Letona's Perfecta religiosa (Puebla, 1662, a rare work), in the copy possessed by Antonio Graino y Martinez, Madrid.

The following is obtained from Sinibaldo de Mas's Informe de las Islas Filipinas:

14. Administracion de Justicia (1842).—Vol. ii, no. 12.


[1] Evidently a reference to the "Relation" of Father Fayol, q.v., Vol. XXXV, pp. 212-275.

[2] This was the mother of the dead prince Baltasar Carlos—Isabel (or Elizabeth) of France, daughter of Henri IV; she died October 6, 1644.

[3] i.e., "The crown of our head has fallen."

[4] Spanish, una media naranja, literally, "a half orange."

[5] The original verses are given for this and following stanzas, because of the plays on words which cannot be perfectly rendered in English.

[6] Codal: A short thick wax candle, one cubit in length.

[7] Upon the occasion of the death of the late pope Leo XIII, a rich catafalque was erected in the great cathedral of Sevilla, between the choir and the high altar, and services were conducted somewhat in the same manner as here described.

[8] Diego Patino was born June 1, 1598, at Tarancon, in the diocese of Cuenca, and entered his novitiate March 22, 1613. After teaching grammar he went to the Philippines in 1622. He had charge of missions in Catubig, Malanao, Iligan, and Dapitan; was afterwards associate to the provincial, rector of Catbologan and Manila, and provincial of the Philippines; and was finally sent to Rome as procurator. He was versed in the various dialects of the Bisayan Islands. See Sommervogel's Bibliotheque, and post, note 9.

[9] The archbishop of Manila, Miguel Poblete, wrote to the king in like terms under date of July 8, 1654, as did also the bishop of Nueva Caceres, under date of December 15, 1654. When Father Diego Patino reached Mexico, he obtained permission from the viceroy there (June 26, 1656) to go to Madrid and Rome. Patino died of suffocation from hernia, in Tenerife at the convent of the Dominicans, July 26, 1657, and was succeeded in his office by Brother Francisco Bello, who presented his licenses, authorizations, and memoranda to the Council, September 30, 1659 [sic. in Pastells, but probably 1658.] Recruits finally reached the Jesuits in 1662. The above document is only one of many written by various persons, detailing the need of the Jesuit missions and petitioning aid. See Pastells's Colin, iii, pp. 787-790, where some of these letters are given with press-marks.

[10] Magino Sola was born at Girona, April 22, 1605, and was admitted into the Society of Jesus, August 15, 1624. He went to the Philippines, where he labored among the natives for three years, was procurator of his province for four years, minister at Manila for three years, rector of Silang, and after 1659 procurator for the Philippines in Spain. He died at Cadiz, October 31, 1664. Sommervogel mentions two letters written by him.

[11] A note of Ventura del Arco, the transcriber and synopsizer of this document, says: "It is not exact to say that this was the cause of the insurrection of the Sangleys either in 1639 or in 1603."

[12] Miguel Solana was born in Castilla, June 1, 1594; at the age of eighteen he entered the Jesuit order, and ten years later (1622) came to the Philippines. During twenty years he ministered to both the Spaniards and the natives, and later was (twice) provincial, and procurator-general at Madrid. He died at San Miguel, December 21, 1669.

Cf. this document with "Jesuit missions in 1656" (Vol. XXVIII of this series, pp. 78-103), both being written by royal command.

[13] This information is obtained by Montero y Vidal from a report made in 1654 by the Jesuits, at the order of the colonial government; it is probably one of the local reports used by Solana in compiling the preceding account.

[14] Murillo Velarde says of the Lutaos (Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 73b): "They are capable and alert, and remind me of the gypsies in Espana."

[15] Montero y Vidal adds: "It is seen, then, that the Christian population in charge of the Jesuits in Mindanao and adjacent regions was at that time 50,000 souls. The discalced Augustinians, who had gone to aid the Jesuits in 1621 in extending their jurisdictions of Butuan and Caraga, had 20,000 more or so in charge. As the entire population of the island was, according to Father Colin, calculated at that time at 150,000, it follows that more than two-fifths had embraced Christianity and were obedient to Spanish authority."

[16] Before embracing a religious life, Brother Francisco Bello (or Vello) had been a fine business man and merchant, and had a thorough knowledge of the Orient. See Pastells's Colin, iii, p. 806.

[17] Considerable legislation took place in regard to these two memorials. They were submitted to Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, who indited his reply from Santander, November 22, 1658, in which he corroborated the statements of Vello, and advises that the suggestions in both be followed. They were also submitted to one Licentiate Antonio de Leon Pinedo, because of his knowledge of such matters, who answered under date of Madrid, January 10, 1659, advising that the forts of Terrenate be annexed to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Philippines. The fiscal, reporting on the matter at Madrid, February 11, 1659, also favors the establishment of a tribunal of the Inquisition at Manila and the merging of the Terrenate forts in the archbishopric of Manila. On March 11, 1659, the council resolved that the viceroy and Audiencia of Nueva Espana report pro and con on the founding of a tribunal of the Inquisition in Manila, after conferring with the inquisitor of Mexico; also that the governor and archbishop of the Philippines report on the means of supporting a tribunal of the Inquisition without royal expense. A royal decree of April 24, 1659, directed to the governor and Audiencia of the Philippines, orders them to report pro and con on the separation of the Terrenate forts from the bishopric of Malacca and their addition to the archbishopric of Manila. Another decree of like date addressed to the viceroy and Audiencia of Nueva Espana orders a report on the establishment of a tribunal in Manila. Although the memorials are without date, it is probable that they were presented to the royal Council in the latter part of 1658; for Bello succeeded Patino as procurator-general at Tenerife, July 26, 1657. See the original documents presented by Pastells (Colin, iii, pp. 806-810).

[18] Mateo Bermudez was one of the Dominican mission that arrived in the islands in 1626. He ministered in Formosa, and in the Parian of Manila; and was afterward procurator at Madrid and Rome, and visitador to the American provinces. In 1658 he returned to Mexico, remaining there until his death (1673), at the age of eighty.

[19] In the MS. this latter clause is separated from the preceding one, but obviously refers to it. The argument of Solana is: The Dominican school requires the teachings of St. Thomas, "the Angelical Doctor," to be maintained. But St. Thomas opposed the belief and doctrine of the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin Mary. In Solana's day the dogma of the immaculate conception had not yet been defined by the Church; it then was a moot question. But in that day the belief in and teaching of the immaculate conception was common, though not (as said) of duty—Dominicans only, one may say, holding to the contrary. The pupils, then, of Santo Tomas had to swear to uphold what was not common belief, although it was not then heretical.—Rev. T. C. Middleton, O.S.A.

[20] Many passages in this document are very involved and elliptical, and in some places the sense is not at all clear. The translation is necessarily somewhat free, at times, in wording; but it is believed that the author's meaning is, as a rule, accurately rendered.—Rev. T. C. Middleton, O. S. A.

[21] This description of the Philippines appears in a manuscript book of an itinerary of the district of the Inquisition of Mexico, made by the order of the bishop of Plasencia, Diego de Arce Reynoso, a member of his Majesty's Council and inquisitor-general of his kingdoms and seigniories, and given to Pedro de Medina Rico, visitor of the Inquisition of the City of Mexico and its districts. The Philippines have place in this itinerary, as they were under the Inquisition of Mexico. This general visit or itinerary was to include a general review of all things affecting the Inquisition, its establishments and employees.

[22] That is, along the bay shore in the other direction—northward from the city of Manila.

[23] This is a misstatement, for the three islands of Samar, Negros, and Panay are larger than Paragua, the areas of the four islands in square miles being respectively, 5,031, 4,881, 4,611, and 4,027. See Census of Philippine Islands, ii, p. 30.

[24] The island of Cebu has an area of 1,762 square miles; Bohol, 1,441; 2,722; 5,031; Samar, 5,031; Negros, 4,881; Bantayan (the Bantallan of the text), 47; Panai, 4,611; Mindanao, 36,292. See Census of Philippine Islands, ii, p. 30.

[25] Bachian, not Ternate, is the largest of the Moluccas, its area being 800 square geographical miles, while that of Ternate is only 11.5. See Crawfurd's Dictionary.

[26] The following two sections are taken from the Historia de los religiosos descalzos (Madrid, 1681) of Luis de Jesus, pp. 371-373.

[27] The title-page of this book, translated, reads as follows: "General history of the discalced religious of the Order of the hermits of the great father and doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, of the congregation of Espana and of the Indias. Volume third: which was written by the very reverend father Fray Diego de Santa Theresa, pensioned lecturer, ex-definitor, and chronicler-general of the said congregation; arranged and enlarged by Father Fray Pedro de San Francisco de Assis, pensioned lecturer, calificador of the Holy Office, definitor of the holy province of Aragon, and chronicler-general. Dedicated to Nuestra Senora del Pilar [i.e., "our Lady of the Pillar"] of Zaragoza. Containing apologetic additions to the first volume in defense of the discalced Augustinians, in answer to what was written against them by the father master Fray Alonso de Villerino; and one decade, namely, from the year 1651 to that of 1660. With license. In Barcelona; at the press of the heirs of Juan Pablo and Maria Marti, under the management of Mauro Marti, in the year 1743." The heading of the dedication is as follows: "To the sovereign queen of heaven and earth, on her throne of the pillar in Zaragoza" and it is followed by a long and curious letter of dedication. We translate and condense from a copy owned by the Library of Congress, which bears the following inscription: [This book] belongs to the Library of the convent of the discalced Augustinian fathers of Valladolid. Fray Tomas de San Jose, Librarian."

[28] Manobos: This name is applied to several pagan Malay tribes in northern and eastern Mindanao, the word meaning "man"—just as many other savage tubes in all parts of the world designate themselves as "men" ("the men," par excellence); but Santa Theresa's description of them does not accord with that of Dr. Barrows. (See Census of Philippine Islands, i, pp. 461, 462.)

[29] The same name as Davao, that of the province occupying the southeastern part of Mindanao.

[30] i.e. "Black vomit;" a reference to the yellow fever, which is still prevalent today in that region.

[31] i.e., "within two days' journey."

[32] i.e., "When officiating in his duties, and as far as it relates to the care of souls."

[33] The Negritos (who have been frequently mentioned in previous volumes of this series), or Aetas, form part of the Eastern division of the pygmy race of blacks. In the Philippines, the Negritos are tound mainly in Luzon and Panay, and in northeastern Mindanao; in smaller numbers they also inhabit districts in Palawan and Negros, and in some small islands besides. As in our text, they are, in Luzon, often mentioned in connection with the Zambals—who "were the most indolent and backward of the Malayan peoples," and "who, in the days before the arrival of the Europeans, were in such close contact with the Negritos as to impose on them their language, and they have done it so thoroughly that no trace of an original Negrito dialect remains." See W. A. Reed's study of the "Negritos of Zambales," vol. ii, part i of Ethnological Survey Publications (Manila, 1904); it contains valuable information, based on actual field-work among those people, regarding their habitat, physical features, dress, industrial and social life, amusements, superstitions, etc., with numerous illustrations.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse