Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Corcuera’s Campaign in Jolo - March–April, 1638.


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The Philippine Islands, 1493–1898

Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the close of the nineteenth century,

Volume XXVIII, 1637–38

Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne

The Jesuit Juan de Barrios, who accompanied Corcuera in his expedition against Jolo, relates (March–April, 1638) the events of that campaign in letters to Manila. The Spaniards are repulsed several times in attacking the Moro stronghold, and one of their divisions is surprised by the enemy with considerable loss to the Spaniards. Corcuera then surrounds the hill with troops and fortifications, and begins a regular siege of the Moro fort; various incidents of this siege are narrated. On the day after Easter the Moros, starved and sick, send Corcuera proposals for surrender; and finally they abandon their stronghold, and take flight, leaving the Spaniards in possession of all their property as well as the fort. A letter from Zamboanga (perhaps by Barrios) adds further particulars of the surrender and flight of the Joloans, the mortality among the Spaniards, the garrison left there by Corcuera, etc.

Corcuera’s Campaign in Jolo

March - April 1638

In my last letter I wrote to your Reverence of the result of the first attack—which was unfortunate, because the Moros repulsed us, as I told your Reverence. Not less unfortunate will be the news that I shall now relate,1 which it is yet necessary for me to tell, in order to fulfil my duty and to remove the clouds arising from rumors and letters that will go there. I am here and see everything; and there is never a lack of those who tell many new things, and exaggerate matters that are not so great as they will relate and descant there, where no one can report and declare what has happened. It is as follows.

Since that attack, we have made two others. The first was with five mines which we had made, with which we expected to blow up a great part of those walls. All of the mines were fired, and, thinking that they would cause the same effects as the others, our men retired farther than they ought to have done. Four of the mines exploded, and did not a little damage among the enemy. They, full of fear, fled down from their position; but, as the mines did not make the noise that we expected, we did not, accordingly, get there in time, as we were quite distant because of our fear lest the mines do us harm. The Moros retook their position, so that we were repulsed this time, as we had been the other—with the death of a captain, while some men were wounded. The fifth mine was left, and did not explode that time. Hence its mouth was looked for, and having found it, we tried two days after that to make another assault. The assault was made after the mine had exploded. That mine was larger than the others had been, and caused much damage. But the Moros fortified themselves again, with greater strength than they had the last two times; and defended themselves in their trenches, which had been fortified with many stockades and terrepleins, so that we could not enter. We lost some soldiers on that occasion, who tried to show that they were bold and valiant. Among them was the sargento-mayor Melon, who was struck by a ball which passed through him and carried him off in two days. May God rest his soul! Thereupon, we retired to our posts, and endeavored to collect our men and carry away the wounded, who were many. We have lost four captains of renown in these three assaults—namely, Captain Pimienta, Captain Juan Nicolas, Captain Don Pedro de Mena, and Sargento-mayor Gonzales de Caseres Melon. Besides these three assaults, another misfortune happened to us, on St. Matthew’s day, which was as follows. Captain Rafael Ome, going with forty-six men and two hundred Indians to make a garo2 (as we say here), and having taken up quarters in a field, where there was a fortified house, arranged his posts at intervals and ordered his men to be on their guard. But since man proposes and God disposes, the posts were either careless, or God ordained it thus; for suddenly the enemy rushed upon our men, who could not unite, as they were by that time scattered through the forest. The enemy, having caught them off their guard, made a pastime of it, killing twenty-six men, and carrying off arms, powder, balls, and fuses. I regard that event as the greatest of all our losses. Among those of our men killed there by the enemy was Captain Lopez Suarez, a fine soldier. Our men were not disheartened by these reverses, except such and such men. The governor well sustains the undertaking with [all his powers of] mind and body. He has surrounded the entire hill with a stockade and a ditch, and has sown the ground with sharp stakes so that the enemy may neither receive aid nor sally out from it. At intervals there are sentry-posts and towers, so close that they almost touch. There were six barracks along it, so that if any tower should be in need the soldiers in them could go to its defense. Some of them have six men, others four, and those which have least three men, as a guard. The enclosure is one legua long and surrounds the hill. I do not know which causes the more wonder, the fort of the Moros or the enclosure of the Spaniards—which restrains the Moros, so that they issue but seldom, and then at their peril. We are day by day making gradual advances. Today a rampart was completed which is just even with their stockades, so that we shall command the hill equally [with the enemy]. God helping, I hope that we shall reduce their trenches, and then we shall advance from better to ]better. May God aid us; and si Dominus a custodierit civitatem frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.3 Father, prayers and many of them are needed. Will your Reverence have them said in your holy college, and excuse me and all of us for what we can not do. I forward this letter, [hoping] for its good fortune in the holy sacrifices of your Reverence, etc. Jolo, March 31, 1638. To the father-prior of Manila.

Pax Christi, etc.

I would like to be the bearer of this letter, and to fulfil my desires of seeing your Reverence and all the fathers and brothers of your Reverence’s holy college. That is a proposition for which credit may be given me, but the time gives space only to suffer; and thus do we have to accommodate ourselves to it, and to check our desires, drawing strength from weakness. I must content myself with writing, which would be a pleasant task, if I could do it at my leisure, and not so hastily as I have made known in certain letters that I have sent to your Reverence—not losing or neglecting any occasion at which I could write. And so that this opportunity should not pass without a letter from me, I have hastened my pen beyond my usual custom, and have written very concisely and briefly—although I could write at greater length, and give account of many things which I leave for a better occasion. That will be when it is the Lord’s pleasure for us to see each other. Moreover, I have no pleasant news to write, since that which I could write would all be to the effect that we have not gained this enchanted hill; and that, at the times when we have tempted fortune, we have retired with loss of some men and many wounded.

Continuing, then, in the same style as the last letter, I declare that since the first assault, in which we were driven back with the loss of Captain Don Pedro Mena Pando, Adjutant Oliva, and Alférez Trigita, we have made two other assaults. One was on the twenty-fourth of March, the eve of our Lady of the Assumption. The second was on the twenty-eighth of the same month. In the first, we trusted to the mines that had been made, by means of which we expected to make a safe entrance. We would have made it had our fear of receiving harm from them matched the little fear of the enemy—who, as barbarians, did not prepare for flight, although they knew our designs. Of the five mines, four blew up; and as was seen, and as we afterward learned here from some captives, there was a great loss to the enemy. As soon as they saw the fire, they took to flight; but our men, being at a distance, could not come up to seize the posts that the enemy abandoned, until very late. That gave the Moros time to take precautions, so that when we had come up, it was impossible to gain a single thing which the mines had given us. On that occasion both sides fought very valiantly. The wounded on our side were not many, and our dead even fewer; among the latter was Captain Pimienta. We were forced to return to our posts without having gained more than the damage wrought by the mines. The loss of those people was considerable, while not few of them perished because of the severity of our fire. But with the opportunity of the fifth mine which remained (which could not have its effect, because the fire-channel of the others choked it), the third attack was made inside of two days, by first setting fire to that mine, and by arranging the men better than on the day of the previous assault. They were set in array by the governor, who in person came up to these quarters on that occasion. They set fire to the mine, and more was accomplished than on the preceding days. Many of the enemy were killed; but, as the entrance was so deeply recessed, it could not be forced so freely by us, for the Moros were able to defend it from us, with so great valor that we could not take it. Our men fought with so great spirit and courage that it was necessary for the leaders to use force with them in order to get the men to retire, when they saw the so superior force of the enemy. On that occasion they killed seven of our men, besides wounding many. Among the latter was Sargento-mayor Melon, who was shot through the lung by a ball. He died on the second day, to the grief of all this army. Thereupon his Lordship made his men retire to their quarters, and commanded that the fort should not be attacked, but that they should proceed to gain it by the complete blockade of the enemy, as we are doing. By this method, I think that we shall make an entrance into the fort. Already we have one bulwark, which we have made level with their entrenchments; and we are raising our works one and one-half varas above them, so that we are dislodging them with our artillery. They are retiring to the interior of their fort. By this means we hope to gain entrance into all their forts; and, once masters of them, I trust by God’s help that we shall conquer their stronghold, and that they will humble themselves to obey God and the king.

Before those assaults, on St. Matthew’s day, Captain Raphael Ome went out to make a garo, as they say here, and to overrun the country. In this island the level country is heavily wooded as nearly all of it is mountainous.4 He took in his company about fifty men [i.e., Spaniards] and two hundred Caraga Indians. The captain reached a field, and having lodged in a fortified house, such as nearly all those houses are (for those Indians of the mountain, who are called Guimennos,5 build them for their defense), he placed his sentries and seized the positions that he judged most dangerous. But since non est volentis neque currentis, etc., either because of the great multitude and the wiliness of the enemy, or (as is more certain) because the sentries were careless, and the other men asleep, the enemy came suddenly and attacked our soldiers—with so great fury that they killed twenty-six men, among whom was Captain Lopez Suarez, a brave soldier. The leader and captain, Ome, was in great danger. He fought in person with so great valor that, although run through with a spear, he attacked and defeated his opponent, laying him dead at his feet. Few of our men aided him, and many of them retreated immediately, thus allowing the enemy to capture from us twenty firearms, with fuses, powder, and balls. That was a great loss, and it is certain that we have not hitherto had a greater. And if any loss has occurred, it has been due to the neglect and confidence of the Spaniard.

Today two Bassilan Indians came down from the hill to ask for mercy, and for passage to their own country. They say that they are sent by the datos in the stronghold who came from that island of Bassila or Taquima; and that, if permission and pardon were given to them by the pari [i.e., Corcuera], one hundred and thirty of them would come down in the morning. We regard this as a trick of that Moro; and, although it may be as they say, we are taking precautions, and are watching for whatever may happen. It they should come, they will be well received; and that will not be a bad beginning to induce others to come from the hill. I shall advise your Reverence of such event on the first occasion. What we know that they are suffering within [the fort] is the disease of smallpox and discharges of blood, together with great famine; because we have surrounded the entire hill with ditches and stockades, set with sharp stakes, which run around it for more than one and one-half leguas, and within musket-shot [of their fort] is a sentry-post [garita] or tower in which three men and three Bantayas are staying. By that means the enemy cannot enter or go out without being seen; and, when they do that, they are given such a bombardment that scarcely does any one dare to go outside of their walls. The hill is a beautiful sight, and if it were enjoying holy peace instead of war, it would be no small matter of entertainment and recreation to survey the landscape at times. The Moro does not like to see us, and is looking at us continually from his stronghold and yelling and scoffing at us—as they say sometimes that the Spaniards are chickens; again, that they are sibabuyes;6 and again, that they will come to set fire to us all, and kill us. The Moro is a great rascal and buffoon. I trust in God that in a little while He will be ready for our thanksgivings [for the defeat of the Moros]. Will your Reverence urge His servants to aid us with their sacrifices and prayers. Those, I believe, it will be that must give us the victory, and that must humble the arrogance of this Mahometan. His Lordship is displaying great firmness and patience, as he is so great a soldier. Already has he almost raised a stone fort on the beach, for he intends to leave a presidio here, and I think that it will be almost finished before he leaves. Nothing else occurs to me. Of whatever else may happen, your Reverence will be advised on the first occasion. If I have gone to considerable length in this letter, it is because I have known, one day ahead, of the departure of this champan. I commend myself many times to the holy sacrifices of your Reverence. This letter will also serve for our father provincial, etc. Jolo, April 5, one thousand six hundred and thirty-eight.

The Moro has returned today with a letter from the queen and all the stronghold, in which they beg pardon and humiliate themselves. May God grant it, and bring them to His knowledge. I shall advise you of the result. I hear that Dato Achen is dead. If that is so, then the end has come. Today, the sixth of the above month.

Pax Christi

Deo gracias qui dedit nobis victoriam per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.7 I have written your Reverence another letter, by way of Othon, telling you that it was our Lord’s pleasure to give us a joyous Easter-tide, the beginning of what has happened. His Divine Majesty has chosen to bestow upon us an overflowing blessing, by the reduction of these Moros so that they should come, abased and humiliated, to beg His governor for mercy; for, whether it was the latter’s plan to go to treat for peace at Basilan for their men, or whether they should send them all, that they might see how the governor viewed their petition, the following day they came with letters from the queen8 for Father Pedro Gutierrez and his Lordship. Therein she begged the father to protect her, for she wished to come to throw herself at the feet of the hari of Manila, and to beg his pardon for the obstinacy that they had shown hitherto. The father answered for his Lordship, in regard to the pardon, that if they agreed to do what was right, they would be very gladly pardoned; but that in regard to their coming it was not time, until they would humbly give up the arms which they had taken from us, and the captives, vessels, and holy ornaments; and that, even though the queen had so great authority, so long as the king did not come, he must declare and show his willingness to accept what the queen had written. Accordingly, the king wrote to the same father and to his Lordship next day, begging the same thing and more earnestly. But he was not allowed to come—which he urgently entreated—until they should have given up the arms and other things of which they had robbed us. Difficulties arose over this point, as to which of the two things was to be done first. The Moro declared that he wished to treat first of the peace, and the points on which they were to agree; and therefore it was necessary to see the hari of Manila first of all. But Don Sebastian, as he was so experienced in these matters of war (in which God has inspired him with so wise resolutions, and given him even better results), held firm to his proposals. Two days passed, but at last the king agreed to the terms, by giving up the pieces of artillery which he had captured from us. There were four iron pieces; and, in place of one which had burst, one of bronze was requested, which many mines had buried. Afterward we found the broken piece, by opening the mouth of one of the mines; [52]and he gave it to us willingly—saying that he had thus brought the broken piece, and that he ought not for that reason to give another in its place; and that that which had been asked from him had been bought for forty basines of gold at Macazar. In order that the Spaniards might see what an earnest desire for a permanent peace was in his heart, and that he was greatly inclined to it, he sent also some muskets, although few and poor ones. In what pertained to the captives, he said that he would surrender those that he had, but that he could not persuade his datos to give up theirs; still he would ask them to give their captives. At most, he sent eleven Christian captives, counting men, women, and children. He had already spent the holy vessels, for, since it was so long a time since they had been brought, he had sold them to the king of Macazar; but he said that he and all his property were there, to satisfy the Spaniards for any injury that they had received. The king petitioned his Lordship to allow him to visit him; and his Lordship granted such permission for Quasimodo Sunday.

The dattos [sic] were very angry that the king was so liberal, and because he humbled himself so deeply; accordingly, they opposed his leaving the hill to talk with the governor. They tried to prevent it, but the king overruled everything by the reasons which he gave to the datos, and which Father Gregorio Belin gave to him. His Lordship gave hostages for the king, and ordered Captain Marquez and Captain Raphael Ome to remain as such. They asked for Admiral Don Pedro de Almonte and two fathers, but that was not granted to them. Finally they were satisfied with the two said captains, persons of great esteem and worth; and the king came down to talk with his Lordship, accompanied by many chief men. His Lordship received him with such display as he could arrange at short notice, under a canopy of damask, and seated on a velvet chair, with a cushion of the same at his feet. Another cushion was placed at his side upon a rug. As the king entered the hall, his Lordship rose from his seat, and advancing two steps, embraced the Moro king; then he made him sit down on the cushion that had been prepared. Then his Lordship also seated himself beside the king in his chair, while at his right side was his confessor, and at his left stood a captain of the guard and the sargento-mayor. Grouped behind the confessor were the fathers who were in the quarters on that occasion. There were two Augustinian Recollects, and one Franciscan Recollect, and a secular priest. Then came Father Gutierrez, and Father Gregorio Belin. The king requested permission to rest a little first, for he came, one of his servants fanning him [haciendole paypay], lifting up from time to time the chinina which he wore—open in front, in order to catch the breeze, and to enable him to shelter himself from the heat, or to get rid of the fears with which he had come. His chief men seated themselves after him on that open floor, a seat very suitable for such nobility, who esteemed it as a great favor. Then when the king was rested, or reassured from his fears, they began their discourses or bicharas, talking, after the manner of these people, by the medium of interpreters—namely, Father Juan de Sant Joseph, an Augustinian Recollect, and Alférez Mathias de Marmolejo, both good interpreters. The governor set forth his conditions. The agreement made was: first, that the banners of the king our sovereign were to be hoisted on the stronghold; second, that the men from Vasilan were to be permitted to leave the stronghold and go to their country; third, that the Macazars and Malays were also to leave and return to their own lands; and fourth, in order that the first condition might be fulfilled without the rattle of arms and the shedding of blood, all the enemy were to come down to our quarters, while the king and queen and their family could come to that of the governor. The Moro king did not like this last point; but as he saw that matters were ill disposed for his defense, he had to assent to everything. But, before its execution, he begged his Lordship to communicate the terms with his men and datos, saying that he would endeavor to get them all to agree to the fulfilment of what his Lordship ordered; and that in a day and a half he would reply and, in what pertained to the other conditions, they would be immediately executed. This happened, for the Basillans descended in two days with all their men and families—in all, one hundred and forty-seven. Some fifty or sixty did not then descend, as they were unable to do so. The Macazars refused to descend until they received pardon from his Lordship, and a passport to their own country. Therefore their captain came to talk with his Lordship, who discussed with him what was to be done with him and his men. The latter are very humble and compliant to whatever his Lordship should order. His Lordship answered that he would pardon their insolent and evil actions, and they could descend with security of life; and that he would give them boats, so that they could go away. Thereupon the captain, giving a kris9 as security that they would come, returned, and immediately began to bring down his property and men. The Malays came with them, for all those peoples had united against the Castilians. They are the ones who have done us most harm with their firearms, and have furnished quantities of ammunition for all the firearms of the Joloans. At the end of the time assigned to the king for answering his Lordship in regard to the matters which he had discussed with him, he was summoned, in order that what had been recently concluded might not be hindered, as his Lordship had many matters to which to attend. If he would not come, his Lordship was resolved immediately to continue his bombardment and fortifications, saying that he would make slaves of all whom he captured. With this resolution, the queen determined to come to visit his Lordship; and, so saying and doing, she summoned her chair, and had herself carried down to the quarters of Don Pedro de Almonte—which is the one located on their hill, and which has given them so much to do. She sent a message to the governor, begging him to grant her permission, as she wished to see him. His Lordship sent a message to her, to the effect that he would be very glad to see her, and that she would be coming at a seasonable time. She came to the hall borne on the shoulders of her men, accompanied by some of her ladies and by her casis, who was coming with pale face. She alighted at the door of his Lordship’s hall. He went out to receive her, and with marked indications of friendship and kindness led her to her seat, which was a cushion of purple velvet; and his Lordship, seated in his own chair, welcomed her through his interpreter, Alférez Mathias de Marmolexo. She responded very courteously to the courtesies of the governor; for the Moro woman is very intelligent, and of great capacity. She did not speak directly to the interpreters, but through two of her men, one of whom was the casis; and often he, without the queen speaking, answered to what was proposed. The queen petitioned and entreated the governor to desist from entering the stronghold, for the women, being timid creatures, feared the soldiers greatly. And if his Lordship was doing it to oblige her and the king her husband to descend, she said that they would descend immediately, with all their people. Thus did she entreat from him whom his Lordship represented; and I desired that she should obtain this favor. His Lordship answered her that he would do so very willingly; but that he had an express mandate for it [i.e., to gain the fort] from his king, and that, if he did not obey it, he would lose his head. “I do not wish,” said Toambaloca (for such is the name of the queen), “that the favor which I petition be at so great a price and danger to your Lordship. Consequently, will you kindly grant me three days? and in that time I, the king, and our people will descend without fail.” His Lordship thanked her anew, and added that with this she obliged him to fulfil strictly what he had promised her. “Indeed,” said the queen, “I have no doubt of it; for, being in the gaze of so many nations that your Lordship has to conquer, it is clear that you must fulfil what you have promised me; for your Lordship’s actions toward me would be understood by all to be those that you would have to perform toward all.” This terminated the discussion. His Lordship ordered a collation to be spread for the queen and her ladies; and then his Lordship retired, so that they might refresh themselves without any embarrassment. Then, having dined, the queen returned to her stronghold with the retinue that she had brought. Before she left the quarters she was saluted by the discharge of two large pieces of artillery, which had been made ready for that purpose. She was greatly pleased by that, and the next day began to carry out her promises, by sending down a portion of her possessions. The Macasars and Malays also brought down their property with hers, and immediately embarked. I had written up to this point to this day, Saturday, the seventeenth of this month of April, hoping for the end of all these incipient results and expected events regarding this stronghold; the issue has been such as we could expect from Him who has also been pleased to arrange and bring it to pass. Last night the queen came down to sleep in our camp or quarters, with some of her ladies. In the morning she went to report her good treatment to her people; for she was received with a salute of musketry and large artillery, and a fine repast. All that has been done to oblige her to encourage her people, for they were very fearful, to descend immediately. More than two thousand have now descended, and our banners are flying on the hill, and our men are fortified on it. May God be praised, to whom be a thousand thanks given; for He, without our knowledge or our expectations, has disposed this matter thus—blinding this Moro and disheartening him, so that, having been defeated, he should surrender to our governor, and give himself up without more bloodshed. We are trying to secure Dato Ache; if we succeed in this, I shall advise you. Now there is nothing more to say, reverend Father, except to give God the thanks, for He is the one who has prepared and given this victory to us; and to beg all in your Reverence’s holy college to give thanks that the college has had (as I am very certain) so great a share in the achievements [here]. The governor is very much pleased, and we all regard him in the proper light. The men are full of courage, and even what was carefully done is now improved. I am your Reverence’s humble servant, whom I pray that God may preserve as I desire, and to whose sacrifices I earnestly commend myself. Jolo, April 17, 1638. JUAN DE BARRIOS

All the Joloans descended, in number about four thousand six hundred, to the sea. Finding themselves down and outside the enclosure, they all fled, under cover of a very heavy shower of rain—leaving all their possessions, in order not to be hindered in their flight. Many mothers even abandoned their little children. One abandoned to us a little girl who had received a dagger-stroke, who received the waters of baptism and immediately died. There is much to say about this, and many thanks to give to God, of which we shall speak when it pleases God [59]to let us see each other. Today, the nineteenth of this month of April, 1638. BARRIOS

The governor sent messages to the king and queen by two casis, asking why they had fled. They replied that since all their people had fled, they had gone after them for very shame, but that they would try to bring them back and to come, and this was the end of the matter. The result was exceedingly profitable for our soldiers and Indians; for the Joloans, fearful because they thought that, if they became scattered, they would all be killed, abandoned whatever they were carrying—quantities of goods, and chests of drawers—which our soldiers sacked. Above, in the stronghold, they found much plunder. It is believed that the king and queen will return, but not Dato Açhe; but this is not considered certain.

Letter from Sanboangan

Pax Christi

I am not writing to anyone [else], for the lack of time does not allow me to do so. Therefore will your Reverence please communicate this to the father provincial, Father Hernandez Perez; Father Juan de Bueras, and the father rector of Cavite.

When our men were most disheartened at seeing that the fortress on the hill was so extensive, and that it was becoming stronger daily; that the mines and artillery had seemingly made no impression on it; that we had been repulsed four times; and that our men were falling sick very rapidly: in order that it might be very evident that it was [all] the work of God, ambassadors came from the hill to beg his Lordship for mercy. He received them gladly, and asked them for the artillery that they had plundered from the Christians, etc. They brought down four pieces, which they had taken from the shipyard, and brought to us some Christians. Next day, more than one hundred and fifty people from Basilan descended, who surrendered their arms, and then about fifty Macazars, who did the same; and all were embarked in the patache.

Next day the king and queen went down and slept in the camp of Don Sebastian. On the following day (which was the day agreed upon when all were to descend from the hill), seeing that it was already late, the king and queen said that they would go to get their people. The governor granted them permission, and went to a camp that was located opposite the gate of the stronghold. All the Joloans descended, carrying their goods, arms, etc., to the number of about four hundred soldiers, and more than one thousand five hundred women, children, old men, etc. They reached the governor’s camp and Don Pedro de Francia told the king that they must surrender their arms. The latter replied that he would surrender them to none other than to the governor. Thereupon, they went to summon his Lordship; but the Joloans, seeing that they were going to summon him, fled, under a heavy shower that was falling, and abandoned all their goods. A vast amount of riches, many pieces of artillery, and versos, falcons, muskets, arquebuses, etc., were found. The cause of the Moros fleeing was their great fear that they were to be killed. On our part, since Don Sebastian Hurtado held all their stronghold, and had left only thirty men in his quarters (in order that Dato Ache might not escape), and as that number could not resist so many people, the Joloans were, on the contrary, allowed to go without any firearms being discharged.

More than two hundred and fifty of the Joloans have died, and they were perishing in great numbers from dysentery because the women and children were placed under ground for fear of the balls. That and the fear of the mines caused their surrender; for it was impossible to take their fort by assault. The interior strength of that stronghold is so great that the Spaniards were surprised; and all recognize that it has been totally the work of God, and [a result of] the perseverance of Don Sebastian, who ever said that all must die or capture the stronghold. Somewhat more than two hundred Christians and more than one hundred Moro women have come from the stronghold during this time. All the Moro women are fearful. Up to date eighty-three Spaniards have died from wounds, and many of them from disease.

The killed

1. Sargento-mayor Melon

2. Captain Don Pedro de Mena

3. Captain Juan Nicolas

4. Captain Pimienta

5. Captain Lope Suarez

Died of dysentery

1. Captain Don Aregita Martin de Avila

2. Adjutant Oliba

3. Adjutant Calderon

4. Alférez Concha

5. Alférez Alonso Gonçalez

I shall not name others, as they are not so well known, and it will be known later. Up to date about two hundred Bisayan Indians have died, most of them from diseases. Don Pedro Cotoan died while en route from Jolo to Sanboangan, in order to take back the Bisayans, who are a most cowardly race. Those who have done deeds of valor are the Caragas, and the Joloans tremble at sight of them. Don Pedro Almonte remains as governor and lieutenant for the captain-general at Sanboangan, with one hundred and fifty Spaniards, as has been reported. Captain Jines Ros is to stay as castellan in Jolo with one hundred and eighty men—Captain Sarria being fortified in the stronghold with eighty men, and Jines Ros on the beach in a stone tower that is already eight stones high, with one hundred men. Captain Marquez is going to Buaren with fifty Spaniards, although no succor had been sent to Don Sebastian from Manila. All that has been supplied to excess is truly wonderful, for the winds have brought (and it is incredible) many champans, with more than twenty thousand baskets of rice, innumerable fowls, and pork, veal, beef, and cheeses from Zebu, which have made a very excellent provision.

They ask for Father Martinez [and] Alexandro10 at Jolo [and] Father Carrion at Buiaon, but without an associate. I say that, following even to the end of the world, I do not know to what to compare these Moros of Samboangan. They have paid all their tributes. This is a brief relation. I pray your Reverence to pardon me and commend me to God, for indeed what I desire is necessary. Sanboangan, April 23, 1638.11

1 In the manuscript that we follow the letter of March 31 is given second, while that of April 5 is given first; we have arranged them chronologically.

2 Garo: probably the same as garita; a fortified outpost?

3 The translation of this passage seems to be, “If God fights against a city, he who guards it watches in vain.” The difficulty lies in ”a custodierit,” which we translate as “fights against.”

4 Sulu, the chief island of the group of that name, has an area of 333 square miles. It contains numerous mountains, some of them nearly 3,000 feet high; and their slopes are covered with magnificent forests. Of the ancient town of Sulu (the residence of the “sultan”), on the southern shore, hardly a trace remains; the present town of that name was built by the Spaniards in 1878, and is modern in style. See U. S. Gazetteer of Philippines, pp. 842–850.

5 “Four groups having different customs may be distinguished among the inhabitants of the archipelago: the Guīmbajanos, or inhabitants of the mountains, who are the indigenes; the Malay and Visayan slaves, whose descendants have intermarried; the Samales, an inferior race, though not slaves; the true Moros, who trace their origin from the Mohammedan invaders, and who dominate the other inhabitants.” “Physically the Sulu natives are superior to the ordinary Malay type, and, according to Streeter, are a strange mixture of villainy and nobility.” (U. S. Gazetteer, pp. 845, 846.)

6 Babui, in their language, signifies “pig;” apparently they called the Spaniards “swine,” as expressing the acme of contempt for their besiegers.

7 “Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

8 Combés says (Hist. Mindanao, Retana’s ed., col. 264) that this queen, named Tuambaloca, was a native of Basilan, and that she had acquired such ascendency over her husband that the government of Joló was entirely in her hands. This statement explains the presence of the Basilan men in the Joloan stronghold.

9 Kris, a dagger or poniard, the universal weapon of all the civilized inhabitants of the archipelago, and of a hundred different forms. Men of all ranks wear this weapon; and those of rank, when full dressed, wear two and even four. (Crawfurd’s Dict. Ind. Islands, p.202.)

At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, held last year (1904) at St. Louis, the Philippine exhibits contained Malay weapons, in great number and variety—krises, campilans, lances, etc.

10 Francisco Martinez was born near Zaragoza, February 25, 1605, and at the age of seventeen entered the Jesuit order. Joining the Philippine mission, he labored mainly among the Moros, and died at Zamboanga on September 17, 1650.

Alejandro Lopez, a native of Aragon, was born in July, 1604, and at the age of nineteen went to Mexico, where he spent several years in commercial pursuits. On August 28, 1631, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Manila; and, accompanying Corcuera in his campaigns, was long a missionary among the Moros, and at various times an envoy to their chiefs in behalf of the Spanish governors. It was on one of these embassies that Lopez met his death, being killed by the Moros, December 15, 1655. See Combes’s Hist. [56n]Mindanao, which relates in full Lopez’s missionary career; and sketch of his life in Murillo Velarde’s Hist. Philipinas, fol. 94 verso, 235, 238–247. Cf. Montero y Vidal’s Hist. Filipinas, i, pp. 296–298.

11 This letter is unsigned; but the transcript of it made by Ventura del Arco places it with others ascribed to Barrios.

See detailed accounts of the expedition against Jolo (Sulu) in Combés’s Hist. Mindanao y Jolo (Retana and Pastells ed.), cols. 349–368; Diaz’s Conquistas, pp. 388–401; Murillo Velarde’s Hist. Philipinas, fol. 92, 93; and La Concepción’s Hist. Philipinas, v, pp. 334–351.

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