The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898/Volume 1/Papal Bull, Præcelsæ

The Philippine Islands, 1493–1803, Volume 1
edited by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson


November 3, 1514

[This bull, called Precelse denotionis, confirms and extends certain bulls of Leo X's predecessors, Nicholas V and Sixtus IV, reciting the bulls so confirmed and extended—two of the former and one of the latter. In the first bull, Dum diversas, authority is granted to King Alfonso V of Portugal to make war upon the infidels, to conquer their lands, and to reduce them to slavery. It concedes also plenary indulgence for their sins to all taking part in the expeditions against the Moors, or aiding the expeditions with gifts.[1] Its date is June 18, 1452. The second bull is dated January 8, 1454, and is called Romanus Pontifex. In it Nicholas "after reviewing with praise the zeal of Prince Henry in making discoveries and his desire to find a route to southern and eastern shores even to the Indians, granted to King Alfonso all that had been or should be discovered south of Cape Bojador and Cape Non toward Guinea and 'ultra versus illam meridionalem plagam' as a perpetual possession."[2] The third bull, the Eterni Regis of June 21, 1481, confirms that of Nicholas V. It "granted to the Portuguese Order of Jesus Christ[3] spiritual jurisdiction in all lands acquired from Cape Bojador 'ad Indos.'" This bull also contained and sanctioned the treaty of 1480 between Spain and Portugal, by which the exclusive right of navigating and of making discoveries along the coast of Africa, with the possession of all the known islands of the Atlantic except the Canaries, was solemnly conceded to Portugal.[4] After thus reciting these bulls ("of our own accord . . . approve, renew, and confirm the aforesaid instruments"[5]) Pope Leo extends and amplifies them in the following words:]

And for added assurance, we do by virtue of the authority and tenor of the above instruments, concede anew, [to the King of Portugal] everything, all and singular, contained in the aforesaid instruments, as well as all other empires, kingdoms, principalities, duchies, provinces, lands, cities, towns, forts, dominions, islands, ports, seas, coasts, and all possessions whatsoever, real or personal, wherever they may be, and all uninhabited places whatsoever, recovered, found, discovered, and acquired from the above-mentioned infidels by the said King Emmanuel and his predecessors, or to be hereafter recovered, acquired, found and discovered, by the said King Emmanuel and his successors—both from Capes Bogiador and Naon[6] to the Indies and any district whatsoever, wherever situated, even although at present unknown to us. And likewise we do extend and amplify the instruments above-mentioned and everything, all and singular contained therein, as aforesaid, and in virtue of holy obedience, under penalty of our [wrath,] we do, by the authority and tenor of the foregoing, forbid all faithful Christians, whomsoever, even although possessing imperial, regal, or any other dignity whatsoever, from hindering, in any manner, King Emmanuel and his successors in the aforesaid, and from presuming to lend assistance, counsel, or favor to the infidels. [The Archbishop of Lisboa and the Bishops of Guarda and Funchal are ordered to see that the provisions of this bull are observed.[7]]

  1. The original of this bull is in Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, bearing pressmark "Col. de Bullas, maço 29, n°. 6." It occupies pp. 276–279 of Corpo diplomatico Portuguez. The synopsis from which the above is translated is in Alguns documentos, p. 14, but the date as there given is wrong, "Quarto Decimo Kalendae Julii," being June 18 and not 17. See also Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, pp. 194, 195.
  2. See Bourne, ut supra, p. 195, from which this synopsis is taken. The original of this bull exists in Torre do Tombo, its pressmark being "Coll. de Bullas, maço 7° , n°. 29." It occupies pp. 279–286 of Corpo diplomatico Portuguez, and is printed also in Alguns documentos, pp. 14–20.
  3. This military order was founded (August 14, 1318) by the Portuguese king Dionisio; its knights served against the Moors, also in Africa and India. Pope Calixtus III invested its grand prior with the spiritual powers conferred on a bishop. In 1522, João III became grand-master of the order; and in 1551 this dignity passed to the crown in perpetuo. In 1789, this order had four hundred and thirty-four commanderies, and twenty-six villages and estates. It is now only a civil and honorary order.
  4. See Bourne ut supra, p. 195. The original is in Torre do Tombo, bearing pressmark "Coll. de Bullas, maço 29, n°. 6. Inserta." This bull occupies pp. 286–296 of Corpo diplomatico Portuguez. It is printed also in Alguns documentos, pp. 47–55.
  5. See Corpo diplomatico Portuguez, p. 296.
  6. Cape Noon (Naon, Non, Nun) is situated near the southwest extremity of the coast of Morocco; Cape Bojador (Bogiador) projects into the Atlantic at a point two degrees thirty-eight minutes farther south than Noon.
  7. See Corpo diplotnatico Portuguez, p. 297, and Alguns documentos, p. 366.