The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898/Volume 1/Letter of authorization

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The Philippine Islands, 1493–1803, Volume 1
edited by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson
3707269The Philippine Islands, 1493–1803, Volume 1


Inasmuch[1] as we have commanded a certain contract and agreement to be made with you, Ruy Falero, bachelor, and Fernando de Magalhayns, knight, natives of the Kingdom of Portogal, in order that you make an expedition of discovery in the Ocean Sea; and inasmuch as for the said voyage we have ordered five ships to be armed, manned, provisioned, and supplied with whatever else is necessary for said voyage, having confidence that you are such persons as will guard our service, and that you will execute fully and loyally what we command and entrust to you: it is our will and pleasure to appoint you—as by this present we do—as our captains of the said fleet. We also authorize you so that, during the time of your voyage and until (with the blessing of Our Lord) you shall return to these kingdoms, you may and shall hold office as our captains, both on sea and land, in your own names and those of your lieutenants, in every case and in everything relating and pertaining to said office. You shall see that there is proper execution of our justice in the lands and islands that you shall discover, according to and in the manner followed by those who have been our sea captains hitherto. By this our letter, we command the masters, mates, pilots, seamen, roustabouts, boys, any other persons and officials of the said fleet, and whatsoever persons may see this present, and shall reside in the said lands and islands that you shall discover, and whomsoever the contents of this letter may concern or affect in any manner whatever, that they regard, accept, and consider you as our captains of the said fleet. As such, they shall obey you and fulfil your commands, under the penalty or penalties which, in our name, you shall impose or order imposed, and which, by this present, we impose and consider as imposed. We authorize you to execute sentence on their persons and goods, and that they observe and cause to be observed all the honors, favors, grace, privileges, liberties, preëminences, prerogatives and immunities, which as our captains, you should hold and enjoy, and which must be kept for you. It is our pleasure and we command that, if during the voyage of said fleet, there should be any disputes or differences, either on land or sea, you shall be empowered to sentence, judge, and execute justice in brief form, summarily and without process of law. We authorize you to decide and judge the said disputes, and to execute all the remaining contents of this our letter and whatever is incumbent upon and pertains to said office of captain, with whatever may be incident, dependent, or connected in any way with the same; and neither yourselves nor others shall act contrary to this.

Given at Valladolid, the xxij day of March, of the year one thousand five hundred and eighteen. I, the King. I, Francisco de los Covos, Secretary of the

Signature of Fernão de Magalhães

[From Original MS. in Archivo General de Indias, Seville]

Queen[2] and of the King, her son, our Sovereigns, write it by their command.

[Endorsed: "Authorization as sea-captains, given to Fernando Magallayns and the bachelor Ruj Fallero for the time while they shall be in the fleet which your Highness ordered to be equipped, until their return to España. Johanes le Sauvaige. Fonseca, archbishop and bishop. Registered. Juan de Samana. (Seal) Guilhermo, chancellor."]

  1. This document opens with a list of the various dignities of the King and Queen of Spain, which is omitted here, as being similar to that already given in the Treaty of Tordesillas.
  2. Reference is here made to Juana, Cárlos I's mother, the daughter and nominally the successor of Isabella, and later of Ferdinand. Juana being inflicted with insanity from 1503 until her death in 1555, Ferdinand acted as regent until his death (1516), when Cardinal Ximenes succeeded him in that capacity, acting until Cárlos I attained his majority (1518)—Juana still being queen of Castile and Aragon.