The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898/Volume 1/Instructions


[In this document, written in Valladolid, February 4, 1523, and signed by the king and the chancellor and countersigned by the king's secretary Cobos, the king lays down the following points:]

First, that the course of action mapped out for you, our said notary-in-chief Barroso, in answer to your letter reporting your conversation with the duke of Berganza regarding this treaty, seemed then, and seems still right and proper; since by this course we declare in effect our purpose and wish to fulfil in toto toward the said most serene King, the treaty concerning the division and demarcation of the seas, negotiated between the Catholic sovereigns—my lords and grandparents—and King Don Juan of Portugal. I order you, likewise, to ascertain briefly what regions lie within the right of our conquest, and where are the limits of our demarcation, and those of the said most serene King of Portugal. And you shall ascertain in what manner restitution of whatever I may have appropriated of his possessions, with the profit accruing therefrom, may be made to the said most serene King, the latter making to our Royal crown the same restitution of whatever he may have appropriated, with all profits and revenues arising therefrom.

That we believe the reason for the refusal of the said most serene King to accept the expedients proposed, and for his recent reply to us, transmitted through you, the said notary-in-chief Barroso, was due to his not being informed thoroughly in regard to the said expedients, and of our past and present intention and wish to fulfil strictly in every point the said treaty; and to preserve and augment, by fair dealing on our part, our relations with, and love toward, the said most serene King. For these reasons we beseech him earnestly that he have the said expedients examined; that he treat and confer concerning them, singly and collectively; and that he inform us of whatever in them, singly or collectively, seems wrong or prejudicial to his rights—in order that we, through our great affection for him and our desire for its increase, may have his objections examined and discussed before our royal person by the members of our Council. This done we shall order what is unjust to be remedied, and the said most serene King, shall, in no wise, receive any hurt, in what by right pertains to him.

[The king orders further that his ambassadors confer discreetly and prudently with the Portuguese king and others, and advise him promptly as to the outcome, that he may take the proper steps. He continues:]

In case that you are unable to prevail upon the said most serene King to reexamine the said expedients, and if he declares that he has seen them already, and that he has informed us, through you, the said notary-in-chief Barroso, of his dissatisfaction regarding them,—although without stating in detail his causes for dissatisfaction—and that he proposed now that we each send two caravels to determine the said demarcation, in the meantime neither himself nor myself despatching our fleets to Maluco, you shall reply in this manner: that whatever pertains to the sending of the said caravels to determine the said demarcation is in perfect accord with our desires, and we are quite well satisfied with the proposal, since such a procedure is in keeping with the said treaty, which will in this manner, be fulfilled so far as we are concerned. And you shall confer briefly with him and with those he shall appoint concerning the method of procedure—the tons burdens of the said caravels; the astrologers, cosmographers, notaries, pilots, and others who shall embark in each vessel; in what manner they shall be armed; and for what time victualed and provisioned. You shall stipulate that a certain number of our subjects shall embark in his caravels, and a like number of his subjects in ours, who shall all be designated by name, in order that the determination and measurements might proceed with more fairness and justice. Also all documents, both measurements and proofs, made for the verification of the above, shall be made in presence of the notaries sent in the said caravels by each of us. They shall be made before those notaries in such manner that one notary shall be present always for each one of us, and two others shall sign the said documents, which without such signatures shall be invalid. And you shall confer upon all other desirable topics, in order that the voyage be fair to us both, and the demarcation be made in accordance to the said treaty, and that those sailing in the said caravels have desire only to ascertain and declare the truth. Before concluding anything discussed and treated by you, you shall first advise us. But as regards saying that, during the time taken in fixing upon the said demarcation, neither of us shall send his fleets to the Maluco Islands, you shall reply to the said most serene King that, as he may see clearly, it is neither just nor reasonable to ask this of me, for the agreement and treaty neither prohibits nor forbids of it, and to do this would be to the detriment of my rightful and civil possession in the said Maluco Islands, and in the other islands and mainlands which will be discovered by my fleets during this time of fixing upon the said demarcation. He is aware that I am received and obeyed as king and lord of those Maluco Islands, and that those who, until the present, held possession of these regions, have rendered me obedience as king and rightful seignior, and have been, in my name, appointed as my governors and lieutenants over the said regions. He knows, too, that my subjects, with much of the merchandise carried by my fleet, are at the present time in these regions. For these reasons it is not reasonable to ask that I discontinue my possession of these districts during the time of determining the demarcation, especially since the said most serene King has never held possession, past or present, of any of the said Maluco Islands, or of any others discovered by me up to the present; nor has his fleet touched at or anchored therein.

You shall say to him that, inasmuch as I have not asked that he discontinue to hold his possessions in Malaca and other regions discovered by him, although I have been assured on many different occasions by many different persons of learning and judgment—a number of whom are natives of the Kingdom of Portugal—that these regions pertain to me and to my crown, being, as these men declare, within the limits of our demarcation, he will recognize quite fully the injustice of asking me to discontinue sending my fleets to Maluco and other regions where I am in civil and rightful possession, and am obeyed and regarded as legitimate seignior, as aforesaid.

Should the said most serene King propose to you that it would be a fair expedient to us both that, during the time of determining the demarcation, since we claim that Malaca and many other islands where he carries on trade lie within the limits of our demarcation and pertain to us, he will desist from despatching his vessels and fleets to those regions, provided that I do the same as regards whatever of the Maluco and other islands discovered by me in those regions, and claimed by him as lying within his demarcation; or should he propose any other expedient or innovation not in this present writing, you shall make answer that such expedient is new, and that we have no knowledge of it. On this account you shall request that he allow you to consult with us. After this discussion you shall advise me of the matter.

[The instructions conclude by urging the ambassadors to proceed prudently, and to impress the Portuguese monarch with the affection felt toward him by Carlos, and the latter's desire for its continuance. The ambassadors are to act in complete harmony with one another, and to carry on negotiations jointly at all times, one never presuming to act without the other's full knowledge. Exact reports must be submitted by them, in order that their king may give definite instructions.]