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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, co

51 As for father Fray Francisco de Medina Basco


effort to prevent the election

of the father definitor Fray Francisco de Medina Basco, on which thirty-one of the voting fathers were agreed. The father president of the chapter was one of the eight who were opposed to this election, and these were favored by the governor--which in these islands means, to have whatever one may desire. Accordingly, the first thing that he did that afternoon was to make charges in virtue of which he deprived father Fray Francisco de Medina Basco of the right to vote or to be elected [voz activa y pasiva], and commanded him to leave the chapter-meeting--which he did with great humility and resignation, saying only those words of Jonah, Si propter me orta est haec tempestas, projicite me in mare, [49] and went to his convent of Tongdo. On the following day the governor came to the convent, accompanied by the senior auditor, Don Francisco de Coloma, Sargento-mayor Don Juan de Robles, and Captain Don Pedro de Tortesa, with their [military] company, as if it were to invest a fort of enemies. The religious were astonished at seeing such a military display, but with much decorum and gravity they proceeded with the transactions of the chapter; and at the first ballot father Fray Francisco de Medina Basco was elected by thirty-one votes, and the remaining eight fathers voted for father Fray Juan Caballero [50]--a religious who had come to this province two years before, as I have already stated, and whose merits deserved such a mark of esteem. The governor would not allow them to sing
the Te Deum laudamus, and the president declared that he would not confirm the election, on account of its being inhibited by the suit which Father Francisco had brought when Licentiate Don Juan de Rosales was counselor; and one heard only protests on both sides, although the voters recognized that they would be overpowered by the side which the governor supported.

The latter went out from the hall, leaving the capitulars within under the guard of the soldiers, so that these should prevent the fathers from going out of the room until they should elect another provincial who should not be father Fray Francisco de Medina Basco; for father Fray Juan Caballero was not canonically elected, for lack of one more than half of the ballots of the voters. All that day, until evening, they remained shut up in the chapter-hall, experiencing great harshness; for the guards would not allow even a pitcher of water to be given to them, a cruelty very unlike the kindly nature of Don Manuel de Leon. The provisor and vicar-general of the vacant see, Doctor Don Francisco Pizarro Orellana, came out in defense of the ecclesiastical immunity, which had been violated by that compulsion; and it resulted in the religious being allowed to go to their cells, weak from hunger and thirst. But the governor ordered that two soldiers should be stationed at the door of each cell, so that the fathers could not leave their cells or communicate with one another. In these disturbances passed that Saturday until sunset, the limit peremptorily allotted by our holy constitutions within which the chapter can proceed to the election of a prior provincial; and, when that time was spent, the authority for such election devolved upon our very reverend general [of the order]. But as this adjustment of the limit was made by violence, this prescription of the limit was, in a case so irregular as this, invalid. What I can assert, on the best information, is the great patience and humility which all the fathers of the chapter displayed in these tribulations, enduring great privations in this imprisonment, which lasted through Saturday and Sunday. Finally, recognizing that their strength was very inferior to that which was opposing them, and that further effort was only to struggle against the current of a freshet, they, acting on the advice of the said provisor, again assembled in the chapter-room on the following Monday, and made a new choice, that of father Fray Jeronimo de Leon--a native of Mexico, a son of the convent of Manila, quite advanced in years; he was an excellent minister in the province of Tagalos, and formerly prior of the convent of Bulacan, and was much beloved by all for his devout religious spirit and peaceable conduct. They appointed as definitors Master Fray Jose de Mendoza, father Fray Isidoro Rodriguez, father Fray Luis de Montufar, and father Fray Juan Bautista Bover; and for visitors father Fray Carlos Bautista and father Fray Jose Duque. [51] As for father Fray Francisco de Medina Basco, they appointed him prior of the convent at Cebu and vicar-provincial of that island, which he accepted with much resignation and humility. The tempest in the chapter ceased, and the province again enjoyed its former tranquillity for some time.


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