- Historic Sites
Another eyewitness takes us on another voyage, three and a half centuries earlier—this one around the world …
October 1969 | Volume 20, Issue 6
On Monday morning … the king said that he was content, and that if the captain wished to be his friend, as a greater token of love he would send him a little of his blood, from the right arm, and that the captain should do likewise. And our men answered that they would do it.…
On the Tuesday morning following, the King of Mazzaua [the island of Limasawa, off the south coast of Leyte] with the Moor [the Siamese merchant] came to the ship, and greeted the captain on behalf of the king of Zubu, and told him that that king was preparing as many provisions as he could to make him a present of them, and that after dinner he would send two of his nephews with other notable men to make peace with him. Then the captain had one of his men armed with his own harness, and made it known that we should all fight armed in this way.
At this the Moorish merchant was much astonished. But the captain told him that he was not to be afraid, and that, just as linen absorbs a man’s sweat, so our weapons destroy the enemies of our faith. And the captain said thus to the Moor, because he was more intelligent than the others, that he might tell all to the king of Zubu.
After dinner the king’s nephew (who was a prince) with the king of Mazzaua, the Moor, the governor, and the chief constable, and eight of the chief men came to the ship, to make peace with us. The captain-general was seated on a red velvet chair, and near him were the leading men of the ships seated on chairs covered in leather.… The captain spoke long on the matter of peace, and prayed God that He would confirm it in heaven. Those people replied that they had never heard such words as the captain had spoken to them, and took great pleasure in hearing them. Then the captain, seeing that those people listened gladly to what was said to them, and that they gave good answers, began further to tell them many good things to induce them to become Christians.
…Then the captain told them how God had made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and all other things in the world, and that he had commanded every man to do honor and obedience to his father and mother, and that any man who did otherwise was condemned to eternal fire. And he told how we were descended from Adam and Eve, our first parents, and how we had immortal souls.
Each of us wept for the joy that we had at the goodwill of those people. And the captain told them that they should not become Christians for fear of us, or in order to please us, but that if they wished to become Christians, it should be with a good heart and for the love of God. For that, if they did not become Christians, we should show them no displeasure. But that those who became Christians would be more regarded and better treated than the others.
Then all cried out together with one voice that they wished to become Christians not for fear, nor to please us, but of their own free will. Then the captain said that if they became Christians he would leave them weapons which Christians use, and that his king had ordered him to do this.…
The prince and his people promise to become Christians
Lastly they said that they could not reply to so many fair words which he spoke to them, but they put themselves in his hands, and that he should treat them as his own servants.
Then the captain with tears in his eyes embraced them, and taking the prince’s hand and that of the king, he told and promised them by the faith which he bore to God, and to his master the Emperor, and by the habit of St. James which he wore, that he would cause perpetual peace to be between them and the King of Spain. Then the prince and the others promised likewise.
After peace was concluded, the captain had a collation prepared for them.… Then the captain sent by me and another to the king of Zubu a robe of yellow and violet silk after the fashion of a Turkish jubbah, a very fine red cap, and certain pieces of glass, and he had it all put in a silver dish, and two gilt cups.
When we had come to the town, we found the king of Zubu at his palace, seated on the ground on a mat of palms, with many people. He was quite naked, except for a linen cloth covering his private parts, and round his head a very loose cloth, embroidered with silk. Round his neck he had a very heavy rich chain, and in his ears two gold rings hung with precious stones. He was a short man, and fat, and had his face painted with fire in divers patterns. He ate on the ground from another palm mat, and then he was eating turtle eggs on two porcelain dishes, and he had four jars full of palm wine, which he drank with reed pipes.
We made reverence to him as we presented what the captain had sent him, and we told him, by the mouth of the interpreter, that it was not in return for the present which he had given to the captain, but for the love which he bore him.…
The prince, nephew of this king, led us to his house, and showed us four girls who were playing on four very strange and very sweet instruments [metal taborins, made in China], and their manner of playing was rather musical.…