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


[The first letter is an open proclamation and order to the " Council, court, regidores,[1] knights, squires, officials, and good people of the city of Badajoz." The King announces that he is sending "to this said city the licentiates de Acuña, of my Council; the licentiate Pedro Manuel, auditor of our audiencia of Valladolid; the licentiate Barrientos, of my Council of Las Ordenes,[2] Don Hernando Colon, Simon de Alcazaba, other astrologers, pilots, and other lawyers and persons, who are to investigate, in our name, the demarcation, with other deputies and representatives of the most serene and excellent King of Portugal." He orders that the utmost hospitality be extended to those representatives. They must be given free and (not in inns) good lodging. No overcharges must be made in food and other necessities, and they must not be bothered with noises or questionings. All courtesy must likewise be extended to "the ambassadors of the said most serene King. . .as it is proper in a matter of such import to these kingdoms, that I should receive from you courteous behavior." Vitoria, March 8, 1524.]

[In accordance with the terms of the treaty negotiated in Vitoria, February 19, 1524, (q. v. above) which make it incumbent upon the king to appoint "a notary before whom, together with another notary appointed by the said most serene King of Portugal the said case and all its proceedings must be conducted," Bartolomé Ruiz de Castañeda is appointed "as notary for our side, so that, together with him who shall be appointed by the said most serene King of Portugal, you may inquire into it, and all the proceedings shall be conducted in your presence, and you shall do whatever else, in accordance with the above compact, that is necessary." Búrgos, March 20, 1854.]

[Two letters follow, both bearing the date, March 21, 1524, and sent from Búrgos. The first is addressed to the licentiates Acuña, Pedro Manuel, and Barrientos "our deputies." The second is to Hernando Colon, Simon de Alacazaba, Doctor Salaya, Pero Ruiz de Villegas, Fray Tomás Duran, and Captain Juan Sebastian [del Cano]," our astrologers and pilots." Each letter contains the following injunction, couched in the same words:]

Inasmuch as, as you will understand, this matter that you are to examine and determine is of so great caliber and import to us and the good of these kingdoms, that it should be considered with great care and vigilance, and that in the determination of it, there should be great moderation and discretion; and inasmuch as there should be no want of harmony among yourselves, I charge and order you that before conferring with the deputies of the said most serene King of Portugal, that you shall have discussed and conferred on the matter among yourselves, so that you may take a common resolution as to what you shall answer or plead in our favor, and so that you may all speak with one mouth.

[The second letter contains the additional injunction:]

And in order that you may be better informed, you shall always listen to the opinions and arguments of our astrologers and pilots, and others, who by our command, accompany you for the purpose of informing you as to our rights, in order that everything might be done in a suitable manner. And it will be advisable for you to hold discussions with the licentiates Acuña and Pedro Manuel, and the licentiate Hernando de Barrientos, our deputies, as often as possible, so that all that should be done for our service and the good of the said negotiation be done better and unanimously.

[A letter from Búrgos, April 10, 1524, and addressed to the licentiates Acuña, Pedro Manuel, and Hernando de Barrientos, states that the King of Portugal has requested the removal of "one of our deputies, the astrologer Simon de Alcazaba, as he was formerly a vassal and is a native of that kingdom (Portugal)," as he is suspicious of him; and that another be appointed in his stead. Accordingly Cárlos appoints one master Alcarez, although declaring that Alcazaba entered his service with the knowledge and consent of the Portuguese monarch. This change goes into effect provided that no former Spanish subjects be appointed on the commission by the King of Portugal. It is reported that two Spaniards—the bachelor Maldonado, who fled from Spain for various offenses, and Bernardo Perez, a citizen of Nova, kingdom of Galicia — had been appointed by the latter. Should these be retained, or should other former vassals of Spain be appointed, then "the said Simon de Alcazaba shall enjoy what was committed to him, until as abovesaid, both the above-mentioned men be removed and displaced, or whichever of them is appointed, or any one else, who may be our vassal, subject, or native of our kingdoms."

[On the same date the King writes to the same licentiates as follows:]

I have your letter of the sixth instant, and your memoranda of your doubts since your meeting and conference with the deputies of the most serene and excellent King of Portugal, our very dear and beloved cousin, and you have done well in advising me of it.

As to what you say about having difficulty in the place where you must meet for your investigations in the determination of this matter, for the reason that no place on the boundary line is suitable for it; and because, as you have seen by the compact negotiated in Vitoria, the stipulation was relaxed so that the meeting might take place wherever agreed upon between yourselves and the deputies of the most serene King of Portugal, therefore you may agree, as you say, to remain there in Badajoz one week, or what time you determine, and an equal period in Yelves, in order that you may be well lodged and have a good meeting place. You do well in wishing that the first meeting be held there in Badajoz, since it is not to be believed that the deputies of the most serene King, my cousin, will wish any thing else or oppose any objection, nor should you consent to anything else.

As to the departure of Simon de Alcazaba, he will have arrived already, for this post brought news hither that the day of its arrival here, he would have arrived there in Badajoz. Therefore the negotiations will not be delayed on his account.

As to what you say about the astrologers, pilots, and other persons whom we sent thither to furnish reasons and information concerning our right, namely, that, because they were not named on the commission, our astrologers and pilots who were appointed as deputies, will not receive them in their assembly as not bearing our special writ of appointment, I am much surprised, for it was here repeated again and again that they must summon to their council all those going thither at our command for the above said purpose, and they must confer with them and discuss with them concerning the demarcation; for otherwise their being there was useless. I am sending orders to these deputies to the effect that from this moment they do this. And I therefore order you to give them my letter, and to see to it that whenever the said pilots and astrologers shall meet to discuss and confer in regard to the matter committed to them that they summon to their council all those who are there at my behest, to wit, Master Alcarez, the bachelor Tarragona, our chief pilot, the other pilots of the India House of Trade,[3] and Diego Rivero; and that they confer with and discuss with them everything necessary for their information and the elucidation of our right; they shall always be careful to preserve a mutual harmony, as I now recommend to you.

In regard to your lodging, I am giving orders to the corregidor[4] that he look after the same and provide the rooms. You shall be careful that whenever the deputies of my cousin, the most serene King, shall come there, that they be well lodged and treated as is fitting.

This post brings the moneys asked for by the treasurer for the payment of the witnesses there at Badajoz, and if more are necessary, they will be sent.

I will have the bulls and other documents favoring our rights that you ask for, looked up, and will send them to you. Likewise I will have secured the hydrographical maps of which you say you have been advised, and which are in the possession of Francisco de Lerma, an inhabitant of this city, and the one that the pilot Estéban Gomez gave to Colonel Espinosa. These latter I shall send by another messenger, for this one does not take them, in order not to be detained.

I have ordered sent you with the present letter the copy of the letter you mention that I wrote to my ambassador in Portugal, and in which I give the reasons for our right, and reply to the reasons brought forward on the side of the most serene King.[5]

This mail bears a packet of letters written by the ambassadors of the most serene and excellent King, my cousin, residing at my court, to the licentiate Antonio de Acevedo, his chief magistrate, or to whatever other such official resides in the city of Yelves as his deputy. As it is a thing which concerns this negotiation in my service, as soon as this post arrives, you are to give or send this packet to him with all care, and you shall make him certify that it has been delivered to him, and shall send me the certification.

[The letter closes with the king prescribing the order in which the deputies shall be seated at their general councils.]

[Another letter of the same date as the preceding commands the astrologers and pilots named as deputies to summon to their councils those who, though not named on the commission are there to give their opinion and advice. They are commanded "whenever you assemble among yourselves to consider and discuss regarding this matter, you shall summon the persons above named, and shall discuss and confer with them, and shall listen to their words and opinions, and after having heard all of them, according to this order, you shall determine what you shall reply or plead when you meet with the deputies of the most serene and excellent King of Portugal, my cousin, and you shall always advise me fully of every thing that happens."]

The King. Licentiates Acuña, of my Council, Pedro Manuel, auditor of Valladolid, and Licentiate Barrientos, of my council of Las Ordenes, our commissaries in the city of Badajoz, investigating the affair of the Spice Islands: I saw your letter, and the records and papers you sent me of what occurred there in regard to the possession of the Maluco islands, at which proceedings you were present; also in what shape affairs are at present, and the manner in which you have managed them. My Council of the Indies has discussed it, and consulted with me regarding it. What you have done seems good, and as was to be expected from your learning and prudence. And inasmuch as I have ordered a full reply to be made in regard to the matters upon which you have consulted me, as you will see by the memorandum accompanying this letter, signed by my grand chancellor, I therefore command and charge you to examine it, and in accordance with it direct affairs, so that, so far as we are concerned, it will be evident that nothing remains to be done for the fulfilment of what we agreed upon. You must accomplish this secretly and in the good manner I expect from you. You shall give a very secret account of everything to the licentiate de Pisa.

I am writing to our deputies—the astrologers and pilots—to place entire confidence in you. You shall discuss with them in the best and most reserved manner possible what pertains to them in accordance with the section of the said memorandum that treats of the demarcation, and in regard to the advices given by Don Hernando on the true understanding of the treaty. Búrgos, May 7, 1524. I the King. By command of his Majesty: Francisco de los Cobos.

The King. Our deputies in the city of Badajoz, who are considering the demarcation: I saw what you wrote me, and am pleased with you. I hold in mind all you say, which is as I expected from you. And inasmuch as I am writing fully to the licentiates Acuña, Pedro Manuel, and Barrientos, our commissaries, who will discuss with you in my behalf what you should know of it; therefore I command and charge you that, placing entire faith and credence in them, you shall execute this as I wish, and that you shall in all this business have the watchfulness I expect from you, so that the said demarcation be established justly and truly. Búrgos, May 7, 1524. I the King. By command of his Majesty: Francisco de los Cobos.

  1. The individuals of the municipal governing body upon whom devolves the economic government of a city.—Novisimo diccionario de la lengua castellana (Paris and Mexico, 1899). See also Diccionario enciclopedico hispano-americano (Barcelona, 1887–1899), tomo xvii, pp. 302–303.
  2. The Consejo de las Ordenes [Council of the Military Orders] was created by Charles V, from the separate councils of the various military orders. This council consisted of a president and six or eight knights, and both temporal and ecclesiastical powers were conferred upon it. Clement VI approved it, extending its jurisdiction to tithes, benefices, marriages, and other matters of ordinary authority, and both Paul III and Saint Pius V confirmed it. Two important tribunals were created, one called the Tribunal of the Churches, and the other the Apostolic Tribunal. The first was created by Charles V, and was under the charge of a Judge protector, and had charge of the repairs, building, and adornment of the churches of the military orders. The second was created by Philip II, in virtue of the bull of Gregory XIII, of October 20, 1584,—this bull having as its object the amicable adjustment of the disputes between the military orders and the prelates in regard to jurisdiction, tithes, etc. In 1714 the jurisdiction of the council was limited by Felipe IV, to the ecclesiastical and temporal affairs of their own institution. In 1836 the council was reorganized under the name of tribunal. The tribunal of the churches was suppressed, as were also the offices of comptroller and the remaining fiscal officials, and the funds diverted into the national treasury. Jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters was limited to the four military orders of Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántara, and Montesa. See Dic. encic. hisp-amer., tomo v, pp. 821, 822.
  3. Casa de Contratación de las Indias (House of Commerce of the Indies). A tribunal, having as its object the investigation and determination of matters pertaining to the commerce and trade of the Indies. It consisted of a president and several executive officials,—both professional and unprofessional men—and a togated fiscal agent. It was formerly in Seville, but removed later to Cadiz.—Dic. encic. hisp.-amer., iv, p. 844. The documents relating to the affairs of this house were kept formerly in a special archives, but are housed at present in the Archivo general de Indias in Seville.
  4. The corregidor was the representative of the royal person, and combined both judicial and executive functions; in some large cities he was made president of the city council, with administrative functions—an office nearly equivalent to that of mayor in American cities.
  5. See this document at p. 139, ante.