The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898: Volume XII, 1601-1604
Edited by Blair and Robertson
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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 XII, 1601-1604

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


Preface 9 Documents of 1601-1602

Expedition to the Malucas Islands. Arias de Saldanha, and others; 1601-02 29 Principal points in regard to the trade of the Filipinas. Alonso Fernandez de Castro; [undated; 1602?] 46 Various documents relating to commerce. Fray Martin Ignacio de Loyola, and others; [ca. 1602] 57 Letter to Felipe III. Antonio de Morga; Manila, December 1 76

Documents of 1603

Three Chinese Mandarins at Manila. Geronimo de Salazar y Salcedo; Manila, May 27 83 Resignation of his office by the bishop of Nueva Segovia. Miguel de Benavides; Manila, June 4 98 Letters to Felipe III. Miguel de Benavides; Manila, July 5 and 6 101 Letters to Felipe III. Pedro de Acuna, and others; Manila, July-December 127 The Sangley insurrection. Pedro de Acuna, and others; Manila, December 12-23 142

Relacion de las Islas Filipinas (to be concluded). Pedro Chirino, S.J.; Roma, 1604 169 Bibliographical Data 323


Map of China and East Indies (original in colors), in Voyage ofte Schipvaert, by Jan Huygen van Linschoten (Amstelredam, M. D. XCVI), p. 22; photographic facsimile, from copy in Boston Public Library. 90, 91 Title-page of Relacion de las Islas Filipinas, by Pedro Chirino, S.J. (Roma, M. DC. IV); photographic facsimile, from copy in library of Harvard University. 171


The general documents contained in this volume cover the years 1601-03; they are followed by Chirino's Relacion, which was published in 1604, but the events related therein end in 1602. The two notable occurrences in this period are the great fire, and the Chinese revolt in Manila in the year 1603—the latter ending in the slaughter or expulsion of almost all the Chinese in the islands. Pirates are still raiding the shores of the northern islands; but the available forces of the colonial government are diverted to the assistance of an expedition from India which attempts (but unsuccessfully) to drive the Dutch from the Spice Islands. Commercial difficulties still affect the prosperity of the islands, caused mainly by the unauthorized share of Mexican speculators in the profitable trade between the Philippines and China; and various expedients are proposed for the regulation of this commerce. The great fire is a heavy blow to the Spanish colony, and the people fear the vengeance of the Chinese for the slaughter of their countrymen. The new archbishop of Manila complains that the religious orders are in much need of inspection and reform; some neglect the Indians to whom they should be missionaries, others keep the infidel Chinese on their lands, and allow the Indians to be corrupted by the vices of the former. After the Chinese revolt is quelled, vigorous protests are sent to the home government, especially by the ecclesiastics, against the laxity hitherto prevailing in the enforcement of the laws restricting Chinese migration to the islands.

These documents are followed by the noted and rare work of the Jesuit Pedro Chirino, Relacion de las Islas Filipinas (Roma, 1604). It is mainly intended as a history of the missions in the islands conducted by the Jesuits, begun in 1581; Chirino himself arrived there in 1595, and gives a full and detailed account of the missions from that time until his departure in 1602. Not only this, but he narrates many things of interest and importance regarding the people, their customs and character, their language and state of civilization, their religious beliefs and worship, and the results of missionary labors and influence upon them. Much of this information is of special value as one of the earliest records regarding the Filipino peoples in their primitive condition, before they had had much contact with the white men; for the Jesuits went even beyond the outposts of Spanish civilization, among tribes who sometimes had never seen white men before. Chirino's Relacion is here presented for the first time in an English dress; and the Editors are fortunate in securing for this publication some valuable annotations from the hand of Rev. Pablo Pastells, S.J. of Barcelona, Spain, who was for some eighteen years superior of the Jesuit missions in the Philippines. Chirino's work is begun in the present volume, and will be concluded in Vol. XIII.

The presence of Van Noordt's fleet in the Oriental archipelago renders the Spaniards apprehensive that their possessions therein may be attacked, especially that of the rich Spice Islands. Accordingly the viceroy of India determines to send a fleet to drive out the Dutch from those seas; and (May 5, 1601) notifies Tello of this. On September 1, 1602, a council of war is held at Manila, which decides to furnish aid for this expedition against the Dutch; its commander has already captured and subjugated Amboyna. This is followed by a list of the supplies furnished to the Portuguese fleet; their value amounts to over twenty-two thousand pesos, including eight months' pay for two hundred soldiers and a number of seamen. An official statement (dated October 2) enumerates the proceedings of the Manila authorities in raising these troops and supplies, and notifies the Portuguese envoys to be ready to convey this aid to the fleet. On October 26, Governor Acuna writes to the king a report on the piracies committed by the Moros. They have made several successful raids, and it is necessary to provide defenses for the islands against these attacks. An expedition had been planned against the Moro pirates; but the governor and his military advisers have deferred it, for the sake of aiding the Maluca expedition. Acuna is going to Arevalo, to despatch the ships and men for that purpose. He is doing all in his power to aid the enterprise, but fears that it will be a failure. Acuna asks permission to aid sick and needy soldiers from the royal treasury.

Alonso Fernandez de Castro, a lawyer, furnishes (1602?) a paper containing "principal points in regard to the trade of the Filipinas." He notes the decrees forbidding Mexicans and Peruvians to trade with the islands, and their violation; the result of this illegal trade is disastrous to Spanish commerce. Complaint is made that the appointments of officers for the ships are made in Mexico, thus causing great and unnecessary expense. The ships lost in the Philippine trade, and the causes of such loss are enumerated; and the kinds of merchandise therein are mentioned. The citizens of the Philippines are discontented at the partial diversion of their trade to the American colonies. A violation of the royal decrees is interpreted by the Mexicans to be not a mortal sin, accordingly they disregard them; Castro advises more leniency in both the prohibition and the penalty. Some ecclesiastics recommend that the Holy See be asked to decide whether such transgression be a mortal sin. The viceroy of Mexico has ordered an increased duty on goods coming from the Philippines, to pay the cost of soldiers and artillery to guard the merchandise on the voyage. The trading vessels lost in the Pacific are being replaced by new ones built at Acapulco; and the viceroy has sent over some ships "in trust" of private persons—a plan which is censured. Mexico should not be allowed to trade with the South American colonies in Chinese goods.

A group of documents on commerce (ca. 1602), although somewhat fragmentary, contain much interesting information regarding the trade between Spain and her colonies. Fray Martin Ignacio de Loyola, bishop of Rio de la Plata, writes his opinion regarding colonial administration in the Spanish empire. The colonies should be kept in a dependent and subordinate position, and their high officials should be sent from Spain. Commerce should be maintained between the colonies and the mother-country. At present the conditions and results of this trade are ruinous. Loyola advocates the establishment at Manila of a "consulate" of trade, like that at Mexico; strict prohibition of Mexican participation in the China trade; and its monopoly by the inhabitants of the Philippines. Letters from the viceroy of Mexico state that the merchants of Peru who trade with Spain are being ruined, on account of the long time during which they must wait for returns on their money, and the excessive duties charged on their goods. As a result, they are sending their goods to Mexico; and they demand permission to trade direct with China. Monterey recommends that this be allowed to a limited extent, and that no restrictions be placed on the use of Chinese goods in Nueva Espana. He has used severe measures in regard to infringements of the ordinances regarding commerce, but there is evidently remissness in the customs inspection at Manila. Another paper gives an abstract of certain points in a petition sent from the Philippines. It is requested that the officers of vessels trading with Nueva Espana be inhabitants of the islands; that no space in the ships be sold; that Peruvian merchants be not allowed to go to the Philippines; that the troops be paid from a special and separate account; and that the lading of the trading ships be placed in charge of the Manila cabildo. All these points are commented upon by certain bishops whose advice is apparently requested by the Council of the Indias. Various memoranda follow, on the trade between the Philippines and Nueva Espana; these include recommendations for a commercial consulate at Manila, diminished coinage of money, allowance of a limited amount of trade to Peru, government custom-houses at Acapulco and Manila, etc. A letter from Morga (December 1, 1602) informs the king that Governor Acuna has aided the expedition sent from India to seize Maluco; and that some of the trading ships sent to Nueva Espana have returned without crossing the ocean, after great losses by storms, and having risked seizure on the Japanese coast.

In May, 1603, three Chinese mandarins visit Manila. Salazar y Salcedo, the fiscal, informs the king of this, and sends him a translation of the letter presented by the mandarins to the governor (in which they explain that they have come in search of a mountain of gold, of which report had reached them); also a copy of the complaint made by the fiscal to the Audiencia regarding the manner in which these mandarins have administered justice, according to their own usages, to the Chinese residing in Manila. The governor forbids them to continue such procedure, and takes measures to fortify the city against possible Chinese invasion.

Fray Miguel de Benavides resigns his bishopric (July 4), to become archbishop of Manila. On the next day he reports to the king his arrival at Manila, and the present condition of affairs in the islands, which is very disheartening. The Mindanao pirates have ravaged the coasts, and carried away many captives. The richest part of the city, including the merchandise stored in the warehouses, has been destroyed by fire; and the ships from Mexico arrived too late for the merchants to ship goods thither this year. The people are full of anxiety over a possible war with the Chinese; and the archbishop deprecates the laxity of the royal officials in allowing so many Chinese to live in the islands. They are so numerous that their presence is a menace to the Spaniards, and they are corrupting the natives with their own vicious practices. He urges that most of the Chinese be expelled from the islands, and that the conduct of the civil officials be investigated and punished. On the next day, he writes another letter to ask that certain matters in the islands be set right. The trade upon which the people depend for support is being taken from them by unscrupulous Spaniards from Mexico and Peru. The archbishop has been urged to excommunicate those citizens of Manila who are engaged in this illegal traffic, but refuses to do so, not thinking this the right procedure in such a case; and his efforts to secure redress from the Audiencia are fruitless. He also complains that offices are given to friends of the auditors; that the latter and their women-folk monopolize the best seats in the church; and that various irregularities have crept into the church at Manila. Benavides criticises the religious orders in the islands, saying that they often neglect their duties to the Indians; and asks that the friars be not allowed to leave their charges at their own pleasure. The Dominicans and Franciscans maintain strict discipline, but neglect the Indians. The Augustinians are in great need of inspection and reform. The Jesuits lead exemplary lives, and are excellent instructors; but the Indians complain that these fathers have taken from them their lands and property. Benavides asks the king to redress this wrong. They also keep infidel Chinese on these lands, who are corrupting the Indians. The bishop demands that he shall be consulted by the governor in regard to the assignment of charges to the religious orders; and that priests shall be tried not by the Audiencia, but by the ecclesiastical courts. He asks various favors for the city and its people, and that military aid be sent to the island from Mexico. The cathedral needs repairs, and the episcopal residence is very small and inadequate to the archbishop's needs. The Jesuits should not be allowed to have a university, nor to obtain the funds which were given by the old soldiers in order to make restitution to the conquered Indians.

The Audiencia of Manila make a report (July 2, 1603) of various matters and events. Two new auditors have arrived at Manila, and Morga is transferred to Mexico. They recount the dangers and the safe return of the ship "Rosario" from Japan; and the losses incurred by fire at Manila, half of the city being destroyed. They note various matters about which they have received the royal commands, the most important of these referring to the personal services rendered by the Indians—which, the Audiencia state, are exacted only when necessary, and then paid for at fair rates. Two days later (July 4) the fiscal advises the king that it would be well to make the archbishop of Manila the president of the Audiencia—a request which is ignored by the government. Acuna notifies the king (July 20, 1603) of the failure of the Portuguese expedition against Maluco, and urges that the king take prompt measures to conquer that fort.

On November 29, 1603, the king sends instructions to Acuna to deport the Chinese residing in the islands, and to restrict the immigration of others, until no more than three thousand are left—these to be only such workmen as are needed for the service of the country. As a result of various restrictions imposed upon them, the Chinese revolt (October 9) and attack Manila; but the Spaniards subdue them after several sharp engagements, many of the Chinese being slain, and the ringleaders are executed. One of the Jesuits in Manila, Gregorio Lopez, writes to the king (December 10, 1603) to ask for reenforcements to be sent to the islands, in order that the Mindanao pirates may be driven back; they are raiding the Visayan Islands, and endangering the existence of the Christian communities formed there by the Jesuit missionaries. A letter from the cabildo of the cathedral (December 11) informs the king of the revolt of the Chinese, and the subsequent conflagration in Manila. The Dominican provincial complains (December 15) that the colony is going to destruction because the royal decrees have not been observed, especially those restricting Chinese immigration, and calls for a rigorous investigation of the conduct of the colonial authorities—to be made preferably by an ecclesiastic. Bishop Benavides writes, at the same time, a brief letter to the king, similar in tenor to that of the provincial. With his commendation of Fray Diego de Guevara to the king go other credentials for that envoy. Letters relating the events of the Chinese insurrection are sent to Spain by the governor and the Audiencia (December 12 and 18, 1603). The fortifications of Manila are being pushed forward, and an envoy has been sent to China to explain the recent revolt and its punishment. Acuna has also endeavored to procure military supplies from that country to supply the present deficiency; he dreads lest the trade with China may be cut off, which would ruin the Philippine colony. Acuna has enlisted several military companies among the Indians, who have done good service in quelling the Sangley insurrection. He recounts his difficulties in equipping a small fleet for the defense of the islands. The Mindanao pirates have again raided the islands; but the Chinese insurrection made it necessary to recall the troops who had been sent to check the pirates. Acuna relates the chief events of the past year in the Mindanao campaign, and the present state of affairs there. He complains of the lack of funds, and entreats that money be promptly sent from Nueva Espana. A postscript to this letter, dated December 23, asks that the conduct of the royal officials at Manila be investigated, as they had illegally allowed so many Chinese to take up residence there.

The chronological order of our narrative is here interrupted to survey the course of the Jesuit missions as related by Pedro Chirino in his Relacion de las Islas Filipinas. After a brief prefatory note, he begins by describing the location of the islands and their discovery and settlement by Spaniards. The finding of the Santo Nino in Cebu in 1565 is related at length, with an account of the miracles and the veneration connected with it; and the patron saints invoked by the Spaniards are enumerated. Among these is especially prominent St. Potenciana, chosen as their patron and protector against hurricanes. Chirino briefly describes the dress, customs, and character of the natives, and the game, fish, and fruits which serve them as food; and, at some length, the wonderful bamboo plant. He enumerates the imports into the Philippines from surrounding countries, and the occupations of the people therein who come to the islands; and praises the wealth and comfort of that region.

Chirino then mentions the coming to the islands of the various religious orders, especially recounting the labors and privations of his own order, the Jesuits, and the beginning of their settlement at Manila. Five priests, with one lay brother, are the founders of that work; Suarez dies from overwork, Sanchez goes back to Europe, and Sedeno conducts the affairs of the mission—laboring for the good of the colony in all matters, both spiritual and secular. The Jesuits exert considerable influence over the Chinese and Japanese who come to Manila. In chapter vi are enumerated the names of the larger islands in the Filipinas, and their extent is compared with that of Spain.

Chirino next defines the bishoprics and religious provinces in the islands—inserting in this account a description of the process of tattooing; and proceeds to relate how the Jesuits extended their labors to the Indian villages outside of Manila. In the district of Balayan, they have baptized some seven thousand natives within ten years. The village of Taitai is removed, by Chirino's influence and the superstitious fears of the natives, to a more secure and healthful site. He describes the customs of the natives in bathing, which is a universal and frequent practice among them. On the shore of the lagoon of Bai are hot springs, which have already become a noted health resort. Various trees native to the islands are described at length, as well as the Chinese method of reducing a large tree to a dwarf pot-plant. Interesting particulars are given regarding the Bisayans and Negritos who inhabit Panay, and of a petty war between those peoples. The Jesuits have done excellent missionary work there, in the district of Tigbauan; some particulars of this are related. One of their number, Martin Henriquez, dies from overwork, and Chirino is ordered to return to Manila. In June, 1595, eight more Jesuits come with Morga; and the missions of the order are now extended into Cebu, Leyte, and Samar. A chapter is devoted to the pious labors and death of Father Antonio Sedeno. In 1596 a large reenforcement of Jesuits arrives at the islands, headed by Francisco de Vera; and the work of the order there receives new impetus. The missionaries in all the religious orders are able to master the native languages with so little difficulty that "it seems a gift from heaven." Chirino gives some account of these, illustrated with specimens of three—Tagalan, Harayan, and Visayan—with the alphabet used by the Filipinos. He also praises the politeness, in word and act, of the Tagalos, and gives them credit for much musical ability. A chapter is assigned to the native alphabet and mode of writing. All, women as well as men, write and read; and they have already learned to do so in the Spanish language as well as in their own.

Chirino relates the progress of the Jesuit mission during the year 1596-97. The curriculum of the Manila college is enlarged, and its church (which is described in detail) is completed. A minute account is given of a nine days' fiesta in honor of the relics of saints which are deposited in the church. At this time is begun the practice of self-scourging as a voluntary penance. The Jesuit church is frequented by the Indians in great numbers, not only on special occasions, but throughout the year: and they display the utmost devotion, even forming among themselves a confraternity in honor of the relics. Their piety shows practical results, especially in the modesty and virtue of their women, qualities which the heathen neither value nor desire; Chirino narrates some instances of triumphant virtue. An account is given of the foundation and progress of the girls' seminary of Santa Potenciana: and of the various ministrations of the Jesuits in the hospitals and elsewhere in Manila. The writer relates the methods of conducting the mission of Taytay, and events there during the year 1597. Three fine churches are erected, and the missionaries gain the good-will not only of those Indians, but even of the savages in the mountains; the taming and conversion of one of these, the fiercest of his tribe, is narrated. After him, entire villages come to live near the mission, the father in charge helping them to establish their homes there; he even converts all the heathen priests of one tribe. Not only the Tagalos but the Negrillos resort to the mission, and many are converted. Chirino laments the idolatries and superstitions which still linger among even the more civilized natives; and proceeds to recount their religious and superstitious beliefs. All their religion is based on tradition and custom, and is handed down in songs. Their beliefs regarding gods, demons, etc., are mentioned; Chirino reduces most of these to their adoration of their ancestors, in whose honor they worship various images. They also worship animals, birds, and other natural objects; and have many superstitions. Chirino demolishes the little buildings dedicated to the anitos. Among those people their priests are also their physicians, or "medicine-men;" and in both roles they deceive the credulous and ignorant votaries of superstition. The mode of offering sacrifices is described. In the mission village at Taytay, certain idolatrous rites have been secretly practiced, under the influence of the heathen priestesses; but this is revealed by the faithful among the natives to the missionaries, who promptly eradicate the evil and demolish the idols. All the heathen priestesses are converted, and now lead exemplary Christian lives.

Chirino remains alone in Cebu after Sedeno's death (1595). He not only maintains the usual services in the Jesuit church there, but undertakes to instruct the Chinese, whose language he soon learns sufficiently for that purpose. He works in great harmony with the Augustinians of the city, who aid him in times of need; and with those of other orders who sometimes come to Cebu. In September, 1596, some of the recently-arrived Jesuits are assigned to that city, and great activity ensues in their mission, including a school for children. The Jesuits extend their labors to Leyte, which island is described by Chirino; he praises the hospitality and fraternal feeling which prevail among its people. Five mission stations are established there, and many conversions are secured. A sketch of the mission labors for 1597 in each of these posts is given—Dulac, Carigara, Paloc, Alangalang, and Ogmuc. In Dulac a church is erected, and a school opened, and many are converted. The station at Caligara is also flourishing, and especial mention is made of two remarkable conversions there, one of a boy five years old. At Paloc the fathers encounter some dislike, apparently inspired by the heathen priests; but this is soon replaced by affection and religious ardor. Some miraculous cures occur here. At Alangalang, Cosmo de Flores forms a large mission village from many scattered hamlets; but dies soon after its foundation. The fathers are welcomed in Ogmuc, and a school for the children is at once begun; they are delighted at the cleverness and docility of these little ones. Many of those people are converted, including several chiefs.

Here Chirino again digresses to an account of "marriages, dowries and divorces among the Filipinos." He "had lived in the Filipinas almost ten years" before he knew that some of the natives practiced polygamy, which was not a custom in Manila, Panay, and other islands where the Spaniards had long dwelt, but had some currency among the Visayans. In certain parts of Mindanao, the woman has two husbands; but monogamy is the prevailing custom of the archipelago. The first degree of consanguinity is the only one which bars marriage. Various betrothal and marriage ceremonies are described, and their usage regarding dowries and divorces. Chirino thinks that polygamy in those islands has been derived from the "cursed doctrine" of Mahomet.

He next relates the entrance of the Jesuit missionaries into the island of Ibabao (now Samar); they find the people well disposed toward the Christian faith, and soon have churches and schools established. On one occasion, all the people of the island of Maripipi come to the fathers for baptism, and receive it, as they show themselves well prepared for it. A mission is begun at Catubig, in the eastern part of Samar; but for lack of workers it has not been maintained. Another mission has been established in Bohol, where their efforts are greatly aided by the prevalence of monogamy among the people, who suddenly abandon their idols and drunken feasts.

Chirino here describes the funeral and mortuary customs generally prevalent in the islands. The natives practice a sort of embalming of the dead. The dead person is usually buried in the lower part of his own house; and the funeral is succeeded by feasting and carousing—the immediate relatives, however, fasting. At the death of a chief, a curious taboo is placed upon the entire village, silence being imposed upon all, under penalty of death. If a man be slain by violence, his death is avenged by his relatives, the innocent as well as the guilty being slain by them. Chirino draws curious parallels to all these customs from the history of various nations, as recorded by both sacred and profane writers. He devotes a chapter to the description of "feasting and intoxication among the Filipinos." They eat little and drink much; but, even when intoxicated, they do not become frenzied or incapable.

The labors of Jesuit missionaries in the island of Bohol are further recounted. They find the people unusually well disposed toward the Christian religion, and very earnest and devout; all their idolatrous and immoral practices are soon abandoned, lest they displease the missionaries. Many are converted, and in an epidemic the lives of these Christians are preserved by their using holy water as a medicine.

Chirino gives some description of the island of Mindanao and its characteristics. He praises the bravery of its people, of which he relates some instances. The Jesuits Ledesma and Martinez open a mission in the southern part of the island, and soon obtain many conversions, including those of several chiefs; the circumstances of some of these are narrated. Juan del Campo and a lay brother accompany Figueroa on his expedition to the Rio Grande of Mindanao, where the governor is slain; soon after, the priest dies, of whose life and virtues Chirino gives a brief sketch.

The thanks of the Editors, for useful information, loan of books, and other valued favors, are extended to the following persons: Edward E. Ayer, Chicago; Rev. E.I. Devitt, S.J., Georgetown College, Washington, D.C.; James H. Canfield, librarian of Columbia University, New York; Asa C. Tilton, School of History, University of Wisconsin; Herbert E. Bolton, Department of History, University of Texas; William Beer, librarian of Howard Memorial Library, New Orleans; Roland G. Usher, Boston; James A. LeRoy, U.S. consul, Durango, Mexico; David P. Barrows, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Manila; T.H. Pardo de Tavera, member of U.S. Philippine Commission, Manila; Rev. A. Coleman, O.P., and Arthur S. Riggs, Manila; Rev. Anthony Huonder, S.J., editor of Katholischer Missionen, Luxemburg; Rev. Francesco Ehrle, S.J., prefect, and Mons. Mariano Ugolini, of Vatican Library, Rome; Mons. Wenzel, Vatican Archives; Rev. Alphonse Giroux, S.S., Colegium Canadense, Rome; Rev. Antonio Ceriani, prefect of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan; Paul Lemosof, Societe de Geographie, Paris; Antonio Graino y Martinez, Madrid; Jose Maria de Valdenebro, University of Sevilla; Jose Gonzalez Verger, Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla; C.J. Zulueta, collecting librarian for the government of the Philippine Islands, now at Sevilla. Also to officials of the following libraries: British Museum, London; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Biblioteca Vittorio Emanuele, Rome; Ecole de Ste. Genevieve, Paris. Favors have also been received from many of the persons to whom acknowledgment was tendered in Vol. I of this series.

The Editors

February, 1904.

DOCUMENTS OF 1601-1602

Expedition to the Malucas Islands. Arias de Saldanha, and others; 1601-02. Principal points in regard to the trade of the Filipinas. Alonso Fernandez de Castro; [undated; 1602?]. Various documents relating to commerce. Fray Martin Ignacio de Loyola, and others; [ca. 1602]. Letter to Felipe III. Antonio de Morga; December 1, 1602.

Source: All these documents are obtained from the Archivo general de Indias—from MSS., except the second, which is a rare printed pamphlet.

Translations: The first document is translated by Henry B. Lathrop, of the University of Wisconsin; the second, by Jose M. and Clara M. Asensio, and Emma Helen Blair; the third, by James A. Robertson; the fourth, by Norman F. Hall, of Harvard University.


Letter from the Viceroy of India to the Governor of the Philipinas

In addition to the necessary occasion for the service of his Majesty which has arisen, I have desired an opportunity for your Lordship's service since, by command of his Majesty, I assumed the governorship of this state. [1] My chief instruction was to put an end to the navigation of the Hollanders in all these regions of the South, their commerce being injurious to the service of God and of his Majesty, and to his Majesty's vassals. As this was the most important thing, I did not fail to undertake it, as soon as I took possession of this state, although I lacked all kinds of needful supplies. But, putting God before me, that I might with His aid prosecute this great enterprise, and fixing my mind on its great importance, I ordered an armed fleet to be prepared—the most powerful one that has departed from this state to any other region; and I appointed as its commander Andres Hurtado de Mendoca, on account of whose Christian character and good fortune I hope God will give him success in carrying out his Majesty's intentions.

He took six galleons, five galliots, and one galley, with thirteen hundred combatants, and two thousand non-combatants for service. Of this it seemed proper to advise your Lordship, so that if the commander should be in need of any assistance you may give orders to provide it at his request—in order that his Majesty's purpose may be more thoroughly accomplished, and that the great sum expended for this fleet may not be lost. I feel assured that there will be no failure on your Lordship's part; on the contrary, I look forward without question to the entire success of the undertaking, with your assistance and favor. I trust that his Majesty will regard himself as having received better service from what your Lordship may do in this matter than by the much that I have done in this state; and in behalf of his Majesty's service I am under obligations to your Lordship. Our Lord guard, etc. (Written on May 5, 1601; received October 1, 1602.)

Decision of a Council of War at Manila to Send Aid to the Maluco Fleet

At Manila, on the first day of September, one thousand six hundred and two, there were present at the royal buildings in the said city Don Pedro de Acuna, knight of the Order of San Juan, commander of Salamanca, and president, governor, and captain-general of these islands; Doctor Antonio de Morga and the licentiate Tellez de Almacan, auditors of the said Audiencia; the commandant of the camp, Agustin de Arzeo; Don Juan Ronquillo, commander of the galleys; the sargento-mayor, Captain Christoval Azcueta; Captain Juan de Bustamante, adjutant; the quartermaster, Francisco de las Misas; the treasurer, Ventura de Santillana; Don Bernardo de Sande, warden of the fort at the Point; Captain Gomez de Machuca, Captain Francisco de Mercado, Captain Gaspar Perez, and Captain Esteuan de Prado. The said president announced and declared that by letters received from the Portuguese viceroy of Yndia and from Andres Hurtado de Mendoca, and by the report of Captain Antonio de Brito Fogaca, and of Father Andres Pereyra of the Society of Jesus, who brought the letters, he had been informed that the said Andres Hurtado had come by order of his Majesty to get control of the Malucas Islands, which the kings thereof had usurped, and of other islands after the Hollanders had gained possession of them. For this purpose he had already proceeded with a large fleet to Amboyno, where the said Andres Hurtado had already subdued that island and placed it under obedience to his Majesty. Thence he had despatched the aforesaid persons to report to the said royal Audiencia and his Lordship how he had proceeded; and in what need the fleet was of provisions, ammunition, and other supplies. He begged with great urgency that they would provide and aid him with the same, as appeared from the said letters, which were read before the said assembly. Accordingly the president requested them, after considering the matter and its nature, together with its great importance, to state their opinions upon the proper course to pursue under the circumstances.

Don Pedro de Acuna

Before me:

Antonio de Ordas

Immediately and directly the said commandant of the camp, commander of the galleys, and other captains, after discussing and conferring upon the aforesaid, declared unanimously that their opinion was in favor of assisting the said Andres Hurtado de Mendoca with two hundred men, which was the number asked for by word of mouth by the said Captain Antonio Vrito Fogaca. They agreed to this, notwithstanding that for this year the expedition to the river of Mindanao, already agreed upon, must be given up; because after considering the importance of reenforcing the naval expedition, and its usefulness in facilitating the said attack on Mindanao and causing apprehension in other islands, they regarded the aid of the said fleet as the more important enterprise for the present. They also decided to send as much assistance in the way of provisions and ammunition as was possible, and as his Lordship should direct; and to despatch everything as promptly as the weather would permit, considering that Terrenate is the principal point for the security of these islands, and the place where have originated the mischiefs done by the Mindanaos and Joloans. To this they affixed their signatures.

Assistance Sent by the Governor of the Filipinas to the Maluco Fleet Sent out from Yndia

Memorandum of provisions and ammunition which by order of Senor Don Pedro de Acuna, knight of the Order of San Juan, commander of Salamanca, governor and captain-general of these Philipinas Islands, and president of the royal Audiencia which sits therein, were sent by the official judges of the royal exchequer to the islands of Maluco, in aid of the fleet sent out by the lord viceroy of India, under Commander Andres Hurtado de Mendoca:

Rice. Five thousand fanegas of clean rice, a little more or less, at three reals a fanega—the price at which it is received in tribute, although at present the market price here is a peso and a half a fanega. Total: one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five pesos.

Meat. Three hundred young beeves, at six pesos each, including salt and earthen jars. Total: one thousand eight hundred pesos.

Wine. Two hundred jars of wine, at ten reals apiece, including the jars. Total: two hundred and fifty pesos.

Nails. Eight hundred quintals of nails and spikes, at seven pesos a quintal. Total: five hundred and sixty pesos.

Gunpowder. Forty quintals of gunpowder, at two reals and a half a libra—the price at which it is given to the infantry because of the small pay they receive, although it costs his Majesty more than four reals a libra. Total: one thousand two hundred and fifty pesos.

Cloth. Three hundred pieces of cloth from Ylocos at four reals and a half. Total: one hundred and sixty-eight pesos, and four tomins.

Idem. Seven hundred varas of Castilian sail-cloth at six reals a vara. Total: five hundred and twenty-five pesos.

Needles. A hundred sail-needles, at a real: twelve pesos and four tomins.

Thread. Three quintals of cotton thread, at eighteen pesos a quintal: fifty-four pesos.

Oil. Thirty jars of oil for galagala, [2] at a peso and a half: forty-five pesos.

Infantry. Two hundred private soldiers, one hundred and sixty-five being arquebusiers, at six pesos a month; and thirty-five musketeers at eight pesos; their pay for eight months comes to ten thousand one hundred and sixty pesos. The pay of the commandant and two captains, with their officers, for the said eight months comes to two thousand pesos.

Seamen. Twenty-two seamen to go with the ships carrying the reenforcements receive a hundred and fifty pesos a year, and rations. Total for the said eight months: two thousand two hundred pesos. A pilot, whose pay, at six hundred pesos a year, amounts for eight months to four hundred pesos. A master, whose pay, at three hundred pesos a year, amounts for eight months to two hundred pesos. Three gunners in the ship "Santa Potenciana," at two hundred pesos a year, and rations; for eight months, four hundred and fifty pesos. Twenty Indian deck-hands, at two pesos a month. Total: three hundred and twenty pesos.

Grand total: twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy pesos.

Francisco de las Missas Jhoan de Bustamante Ventura de St. Tillen

Official Statement in Regard to the Re-enforcement at Maluco

(To be sent to his Majesty)

In the city of Manila, on the second of October, one thousand six hundred and two, Don Pedro de Acuna, knight of the Order of San Juan, commander of Salamanca, governor and captain-general of these Philipinas Islands, and president of the royal Audiencia and Chancilleria which sits therein, made the following declaration. A month ago, or thereabouts, he received news and information from Senor Andres Hurtado de Mendoca that he was in the fortress of Ambona with a force which he had brought from the city of Goa to conquer and seize the kingdom of Terrenate, and that to complete the enterprise he was in great need of assistance from these islands in men, provisions, and other things. He accordingly requested such assistance, and to this end had sent Father Andres Pereira of the Society of Jesus and Captain Antonio de Brito Fogassa, as appears from the letters and advices in their possession, to which reference is made. His Lordship, the auditors and fiscal of the royal Audiencia and Chancilleria of these said islands, and the officers of the royal exchequer—to whom by one of the ordinances of the said royal Audiencia had been committed by his Majesty the provision for such cases without waiting to consult his Majesty personally—considered the importance, advantage, and benefit to our lord the king, and the profit to these islands in the peace that they would enjoy if this project were carried into execution and the desired assistance were sent. With the unanimous approval of the members of the council of war he had commanded that the ship "Santa Potenciana," which is one of his Majesty's vessels, be immediately fitted out and provided with everything requisite, with a view to sending in it and in some other smaller vessels what has been prepared. At present the said ship is ready to sail to the island of Panay and the province of Pintados to receive the provisions, the troops, and the other supplies to be sent on the said expedition. Likewise, at the request and desire of the said Father Pereira and Captain Brito, he has given them a pilot, Vicente Dias, a Portuguese, to go in the said ship—one of the best pilots now in this city. Since everything is ready, the season far advanced, and promptitude is important, he ordered and does order that notification of the whole matter be given to the said Andres Pereyra and Captain Antonio de Brito Fogassa, as persons who came for the said assistance and are to return with it. His Lordship now has the said ship "Santa Potenciana" ready and fitted out with all things necessary to the voyage, and they are immediately or at a proper time to embark in her to go to the island of Panay, in the province of Pintados, where his Lordship is going in person to hasten and direct in the best manner the said assistance; and to give and deliver to them the infantry, provisions, and other supplies which they were to take for that purpose. And since they are provided with everything necessary, let them attend to and carry out the undertaking accordingly. The supplies are not deficient; on the contrary, he has provided them, and he demands that if by a failure to carry out the enterprise, or by not departing in season with the said ship, the said assistance does not attain the desired end, or some loss occurs, or any other evil result follows, it shall be charged to their account and be at their responsibility, and not at that of his Lordship. For he on his part has complied with everything asked from him, by word of mouth or in writing, by the said Senor Andres Hurtado de Mendoca; and has done it with the good-will and care requisite in a matter of so great importance and consequence, and of so great service to the royal person of the king our lord, and the advantage and peace of this kingdom. Thus I order, direct, and attest. Let an official copv of this declaration and the answer thereto be made, that for all time the zeal with which I have attended to the affairs of the royal service may be made plain.

Don Pedro de Acuna

Before me:

Francisco Sarmiento


In the city of Manila, on the third of October of the said year, I, clerk of the government, read the above official act, communicated it word by word, and gave notice of it to Father Andres Pereyra of the Society of Jesus and to Captain Antonio de Brito in person. When they had heard the contents thereof they declared that they were ready to undertake the direction and completion of the enterprise, and that in execution thereof they would go on the following day, or the second day at latest, and embark in the said vessel at the port of Cauite for the island of Panay, as they were directed. This they gave as their answer. As witnesses there affixed their signatures: Father Diego Sanchez, of the Society of Jesus; General Don Juan Ronquillo; and the sargento-mayor Captain Christoual de Azqueta.

Andre Pereyra Antonio de Brito Fogassa Francisco Sarmiento

I, Francisco Sarmiento, clerk of the government of these Philipinas Islands for the king our lord, was present at that of which I make mention above, and caused this copy to be made of the said official act which was in the archives of my said office, with the notification to them of the request made by Senor Don Pedro de Acuna, governor and captain-general of these said islands. This is a corrected, exact, and faithful copy. Witnesses of the correction and accuracy are: Geronimo Suarez and Juan de Aldabe, citizens of this city of Manila. Made therein, on the seventh of October, one thousand six hundred and two. Interlineations: nao, el, Vala. In testimony of the truth, I have affixed my seal.

Francisco Sarmiento


Letter of Pedro de Acuna to Felipe III


By the ships that left these islands this year for Nueva Hespana I wrote for your Majesty, in duplicate, an account of my voyage and arrival here, and of the other events which have happened to me; and as a ship was about to depart for Malaca I was unwilling to let slip the opportunity to write these lines and to send them in it by way of Yndia, that your Majesty might be informed of what other events have taken place and have come under my notice.

In my previous letters I gave your Majesty a detailed account of the state of affairs in Mindanao and Jolo, and sent a report of the retreat to Pintados of Captain Juan Xuarez Gallinato with your Majesty's force that was at Dapitan. The reason of this retreat was the information received that the enemy were preparing a great fleet to attack Pintados, which rendered it desirable to place the force at a point whence it could better be transported to the region where it might be needed. The result showed the importance of the retreat; for the enemy, being informed of it, dared not go to the said islands of Pintados, but advanced with a squadron of ships against Cuyo and the neighboring islands, distant from Pintados, where they pillaged everything and killed and took captive more than seven hundred persons. [3] This is misery enough; and, as I wrote your Majesty, this unfortunate condition of affairs cannot be remedied except by arming galleys [underlined in original] or large galliots, with which it will be possible to hasten from island to island. In many regions the mere knowledge of their existence will be sufficient to put a bridle on the audacity of these barbarians; and with them it will be possible to hunt out the enemy at home. With garrisons no beneficial results can be expected, in view of the great number of the islands; if we put soldiers wherever they are needed, the whole force of these provinces would not suffice—no, nor many more. Even if we had the troops, the cost would be enormous and the gain nothing; for the Moros come by sea, seize their booty, and take flight, without waiting to come to close quarters, understanding well how to accomplish their purposes and desires. Since it is impossible to get to close quarters with them, I am making all possible haste to build the galleys. For two I have the wood already cut, and for two others the wood will be cut next month. I am making plans to provide them with a complement of rowers; and I believe I shall be able to put them into such order that we can live with much more quiet than hitherto. [In the margin: "For the council of war—there is no answer;" and, lower down: "Again no answer."] [4]

It was agreed at a council of war that the fleet under Captain Gallinato should be prepared and put in order, to go on the expedition for the occupation of Mindanao. It seemed that this was the best means of putting an end to the great harm done by the inhabitants of that island and of Jolo and Terrenate, and their confederates, to your Majesty's vassals. While the orders in regard to the preparations necessary to that end were being given, two letters arrived, one from the viceroy of Yndia, and the other from Commander Andres Hurtado de Mendoca. Copies will be enclosed, from which your Majesty will understand the condition of the fleet made up in Yndia for Maluco, and its need of aid. Your Majesty will also learn from the report of Captain Antonio Brito Fogaca and of Father Andres Pereyra of the Society of Jesus, who brought the letters, that although the fleet to which the viceroy refers in his letter set sail from Yndia, it put into harbor in distress and part of it was lost, as is made plain from a statement by the said Captain Brito, of which a copy is also enclosed. A great reduction of the strength of the fleet must of course have resulted; and we considered the importance of the undertaking and the great service that would be done by it to our Lord God, and which your Majesty would receive from its success, since the king of Terrenate is the principal defender in these regions, of the accursed sect of Mahoma. We considered these things and were moved by the disturbances to which your Majesty's vassals are subjected by the necessity of preparing a defense against the enemies of our true law—especially against the English and the Dutch, with whom the Moros make regular treaties and alliances, not only for the commercial advantages thus obtained, but for their favor and assistance against us. We also took into consideration your Majesty's commands and decrees to the effect that when occasion should arise we should give aid and succor to the vassals of your Majesty in the states of Yndia, as appears from the royal decree [5] [underlined in original] of which also a copy is enclosed. The whole matter was considered and discussed in two councils of war, held with the Audiencia, the master-of-camp, and the captains; and it was agreed that for the present the expedition to Mindanao and the occupation of that island should be given up, together with all the preparations made or about to be made therefor; and that aid should be sent to the said fleet, as the more important matter, in the manner laid down in the formal votes of the councils of war, copies whereof are enclosed [underlined in original], together with a memorandum of the forces sent. I have had a ship of your Majesty's made ready, that there may be no lack of what is requisite. In it may be transported the soldiery, the provisions, and the rest; and assistance will be given by the other vessels, which will supply what is not taken in the ship. It has already been despatched to the town of Areualo, since on that island (namely, Panay) are to be collected and prepared the greater part of the said supplies. Since the expedition seemed to me of the importance that I have ascribed to it, I was unwilling to entrust the despatch of this reenforcement to anyone but myself; and to attend to it with the greatest care, promptitude, and haste, I depart today for the said town of Areualo, which is ninety leagues from this town of Manila. While there, I shall give all my energy to the matter, that not an hour of time may be lost. The result that can and should follow is in God's hands. Should it be the contrary of what we desire, life in this archipelago will be attended with many hardships. When the expedition is despatched, I shall visit the fort in Octon, which is the one at Areualo, and thence I shall proceed to Cebu; and in both places I shall give the necessary directions for their security. Since those places are the two capitals of Pintados, from which the Indians of these provinces receive aid and protection, it is essential that those positions should be properly prepared and garrisoned. [In the margin: "Let a copy of this section and of the summary sent be transmitted to his Majesty, and let him be informed of the diligence displayed, in order that his Majesty may know of the sending of the reenforcements, and of the friendly relations between the Portuguese and the Castilians in the Filipinas."]

From the very day on which Captain Brito arrived, which was the seventh of last September, he began to give orders for the despatch of his fleet. Since the weather has been unfavorable to navigation to Maluco, he has not been able hitherto to depart. Now that the Bendavales [i.e., southwest winds] are moderating, and all is quiet, and so favorable that unless there is a monsoon, as the Portuguese call it, nothing is lacking, it seemed best to me to make all possible haste with them, as your Majesty will learn by the report which I send; so that, if there be any delay, it may be known that it has not been by my fault. I wished to make this statement to your Majesty, so that you might give orders to be informed in the matter because of what may happen in Terrenate. In my opinion the coming of a fleet from Yndia to Maluco incurs the difficulties of which I wrote to your Majesty from Mexico. The voyage is long and dangerous for galleys and galliots; and the worst is, that the enemy knows that they are remaining three or four months in Ambueno, waiting for favorable weather. Hence I fear that evil results may follow, because the troops and other requisites for defense may be made ready in advance by the islands subject to Terrenate and by the other friends of their sect.

In these islands there are many veterans who have done good service. Some are sick or wounded; and since there is here no occupation or support for them all, and since they are at such a distance from your Majesty that they cannot come before you to ask that you will show them favor in return for their services, some suffer the extremity of want, and feel greatly discontented and discouraged at seeing themselves in such misery, without anyone to turn to for relief. Hence it seems that it would be just if they were to receive rewards and gifts as your Majesty commands, and as is done in Espana for those who come from other regions to ask for such bounty. Inasmuch as affairs of greater consequence are entrusted to me, I beg your Majesty to be pleased to give me authority to aid such persons from the royal treasury of these islands, bestowing upon them annually such an amount as their service to your Majesty shall have deserved. I beg also for authority to give some false musters to such as deserve them, that they may be able to live and maintain themselves. Such a course, in addition to being worthy of your Majesty's greatness, will have the important effect of animating the others to do good service on occasion, stimulated as they will be by the hope of reward. Our Lord protect the Catholic person of your Majesty in the happiness necessary to the good of Christendom. Manila, the twenty-sixth of October, 1602.

Don Pedro de Acuna

[Endorsed: "Manila. To his Majesty; Don Pedro de Acuna, the [twenty-sixth] of October. Let it be seen if this is a duplicate, and if the original has been filed." "Filed and registered within. Let attention be paid to the part on which a consultation is directed." "Two sections have already been epitomized, and were sent on to the council of war in Valladolid, on the twenty-eighth of June, 1605."]


First Point

The quantity of merchandise which may be traded with; and that which, contrary to the prohibition, is brought from the Western Indias to the Filipinas.

By decrees of his Majesty, of January 11, 93, and of July 9 and 5, 95, the trade of the Western Indias with China and the Filipinas Islands is prohibited. It is only permitted therein that the citizens of the Filipinas may trade with Nueva Espana; and that two ships, each of no more than three hundred toneladas, shall sail from Nueva Espana every year, in which may be sent 250,000 pesos of Tepuzque [6] in coin, and which may carry back the proceeds thereof in merchandise, which, under fixed penalties, shall not exceed another 250,000 pesos—that is, in all, 500,000 pesos.

Notwithstanding these prohibitions, and although the same is also commanded by other decrees to be strictly observed, two million reals are usually taken out of the Indias for the Filipinas, according to advices from the viceroy of Nueva Espana, and from Senor Don Bernardino de Avellaneda.

Second Point

To whom it is permitted to trade and traffic in the Filipinas Islands.

By the aforesaid decree, it is permitted solely to the citizens of the said islands, for the space of six years. This license is not to be renewed, and trade and commerce is unqualifiedly prohibited to any other person whatsoever of the Western Indias, under the penalty of confiscation of his merchandise.

Nevertheless, under cover of commissions, the citizens of both Piru and Nueva Espana engage in trade, and they send their money in the ships going from Nueva Espana—some registered, and some secretly.

Third Point

That Chinese merchandise be not brought to Piru.

By the same decree it is ordered that the merchandise brought to Nueva Espana from the Filipinas be not taken to Piru and Tierra Firme; and that the goods which had already been brought be disposed of within four years.

By another decree of the same date, like commands were given; and that the merchandise brought to Nueva Espana be either consumed there or sent to Espana.

Nevertheless, this merchandise is taken to Piru under pretense of being that of Castilla. Hence arise many difficulties, and the commerce of Espana with Piru and Tierra Firme is ceasing, and merchandise from Espana is not sent to Piru. If this be not checked within a few years, it is agreed by all that the trade of Espana in merchandise with Tierra Firme, Piru, and Nueva Espana will cease.

Fourth Point

The ships which must be used in the trade, to whom they shall belong, and what has been permitted by the viceroys.

By the decree of January 11, 93, it is permitted that for this trade two ships, each of no more than three hundred toneladas, may sail annually from Nueva Espana to China. They may bring in return the property which is to come, and no ships belonging to private persons shall be sent. There shall be three ships, in order that one may remain at the port of Acapulco for repairs. They will sail at the expense of his Majesty, and the cost will be paid by their freight-charges and the cargoes that they carry. This order was altered by the viceroy, the administration of two ships having been given to private persons in 99, for this trade, with the power of appointing the officers thereof, with salary, and license to take freight, as will be stated later under the twelfth point.

Fifth Point

The appointment of the commanders and officers of said ships, and their number; the expenses incurred by them; and the question whether it will be expedient to reduce their salaries.

By the decree of his Majesty referred to in the letter of January 11, 93, sent to Gomez Perez das Marinas, governor of the Filipinas, permission is given to the viceroy of Nueva Espana to appoint the pilots and officers of the ships bound for the Filipinas.

Complaint is now made of this, from the islands, that there is great expense to the royal exchequer, in that the viceroys, in order that there may be offices in which to place their followers, multiply those of the ships; and, although they have the right to appoint one pilot to a ship, they appoint a captain-general and many accompanying him, an admiral, and many captains of infantry, a sargento-mayor, a royal sub-lieutenant, sub-lieutenants of the companies, and a royal alguazil. All these are persons of little experience, who are going to seek their fortunes in the Filipinas at his Majesty's expense; and they deprive the citizens of their offices.

Information is given, by a letter from the fiscal of the Filipinas, that but one pilot is sufficient for the ships; that the troops should be under the command of the captain or master of the ship, without increase of salary to said captain or master. Thus the aforesaid officers of the troops may be dispensed with, and one gunner suffices for each piece or every two pieces of artillery.

Sixth Point

The losses of ships which have been employed in the Filipinas trade, and the cause thereof.

Through news brought by the ship "Santa Potenciana" in the year 601, it seems that the ships "San Geronimo," and "Santa Margarita," which sailed in the year 600, lost their masts in a storm; and the "Santa Margarita" drifted to the island of the Ladrones, and the "San Geronimo" to Luzon, near Catanduanes. Both were driven ashore in February, 601, without being able to save themselves. This loss is attributed by some to disagreement among the officers, and by others to the late sailing of the ships, and to a lack of sailors, and (what is more nearly correct) to the general overloading of the vessels. The ship "Santo Tomas" was lost also on the voyage out, near the channel at Catanduanes; the hulk was lost with some supplies, small wares, and two millions or more of silver, besides the 500,000 pesos which were allowed to be carried.

Seventh Point

What property may be taken to the Filipinas, and where it goes.

By the sixth point it appears that in the ship "Sant Tomas" alone, which was lost at the entrance of Catanduanes, there were over two millions besides the 500,000 pesos allowed.

This and all else which is carried is placed in the power of the infidels, who receive it as the price of the Chinese merchandise; and it can therefore be returned neither to the Indias nor to these kingdoms. Silks, damasks, taffetas, needlework, hand-mills, cotton stuffs, earthenware, wax, nails, and other merchandise of little profit are carried to those regions, thereby depriving his Majesty of his dues.

Eighth Point

The discontent of all the islands, on account of depriving them of the profits which might be had from the purchase of this merchandise; and the lading of it which his Majesty has granted, by his decrees, to the citizens of Peru and Nueva Espana.

The citizens of the islands, except one here and there, are very poor. They wish to abandon the islands, as there are no means of gain or profit except in trade and commerce. They are deprived of this by the citizens of Mexico and Peru, who bring over a great quantity of money, with which they do not hesitate to purchase merchandise at excessive prices. Then, in order to ship these goods, they hasten to pay high rates for the tonnage, and thus succeed in occupying the space which belongs to the citizens; and when the latter ship their merchandise it is so little that it is not sufficient for their support. On the other hand, the Portuguese pass from Acapulco to China with their money, and do not return to Nueva Espana. They either remain there, sending cargoes therefrom, or they send merchandise to Portugal, by way of the ports where the Portuguese trade, thus defrauding the native-born citizens of their rights.

Ninth Point

That the royal decrees prohibiting trade with the Filipinas are not observed, chiefly on account of the opinion of Doctor Sacedo, a citizen of Mexico, that the violation of royal decrees involves the penalty thereof, but is not a mortal sin. Thus the citizens of Mexico may carry on commerce in the Filipinas, and those of the Filipinas may invest money which is sent to them, without burdening their consciences, or being obliged to make restitution.

The opinion of Doctor Juan de Sacedo, a citizen of Mexico, replying to the decree of January 11, 93, states that this decree does not show clearly, and with the explicit statement necessary, that it was his Majesty's intention to bind strictly to an eternal punishment those on whom he imposes a pecuniary penalty; or that by its transgression are obligations to make restitution laid, in conscience, ipso jure non expectata judicis sententia, upon the people of Mexico who trade with the islands, or consign their property to citizens of Manila—either goods sent in exchange for the merchandise of the latter, or money which they remit to these—although both of these are prohibited. If these things are conceded, they make a profit and have the means of support. The reply thereto is incumbent upon his Majesty, from whom the decree emanated. Until his Majesty shall make further declaration, the decree is purely a penal ordinance, and nothing more. It involves only the penalty and condemnation to which the transgressor is exposed, and does not burden the conscience with mortal sin or restitution. For that, it is necessary that there be an explicit declaration—one conforming to the most lenient interpretation, which avoids fetters on men's consciences, and constraining transgressors by only a temporary penalty, and not by restitution or eternal punishment.

The religious Orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis at Manila, and the cabildo of the metropolitan church of that city, ask that this matter be adjusted. The religious assert an opinion contrary to the above, saying that a mortal sin is involved. They beg that his Majesty declare his royal will, and provide a person who shall enforce obedience to the royal decrees and punish the transgressors.

The cabildo of the church declares that no one in the islands will be sufficiently powerful to enforce the decrees, unless his Holiness would undertake to decide what the faith teaches, regarding the authority which the mandatory as well as the penal laws possess in this matter. They request, therefore, that effective measures be taken by his Holiness in declaring and deciding the Catholic truth in this particular; and whether it will be a mortal sin to transgress the laws of the kingdom when that which is decreed is something very useful to the commonwealth. [7]

Tenth Point

His Majesty has granted favor to the citizens of the islands, by permitting two ships, each of three hundred toneladas, to sail annually from Nueva Espana to the Filipinas; and they may carry therein from the Filipinas such property as is to be transported. There shall be three ships, in order that one may remain in dry dock at the port of Acapulco. They shall sail on his Majesty's account, paying the expenses thus incurred from their own earnings.

The viceroy and Don Pedro de Acuna, governor of the Filipinas, are of the opinion that this tonnage should all be utilized, so that each ship may carry three hundred toneladas of lading, six hundred toneladas between the two ships; and these should be the toneladas of the Southern Sea, which are larger than those of the Northern Sea. There should be three ships, all alike and of the same model, each containing four hundred short toneladas of the Northern Sea, which amount to three hundred. The citizens of Manila shall lade on each ship two hundred toneladas and no more, which consequently will amount to six hundred toneladas in all the ships, in order that the goods may be distributed to better advantage, and the ships may carry more mariners.

Under this arrangement the expenses are greater, as there is one ship more, as well as the increased cost of the escorts of soldiers, and the artillery for the protection of the ships. Therefore the viceroy orders that henceforth in the Southern Sea, instead of paying thirty-two pesos on every tonelada, there shall be paid thirty-two ducados on every tonelada of stuffs coming from the Filipinas. This increase will amount to 12,000 pesos, more or less, with which may be defrayed the expenses of the infantry who return as guard of the ships and property which come from the Filipinas Islands, thereby assuring greater safety.

Eleventh Point

That ships be bought on his Majesty's account; and those which have already been bought.

Until the new ships shall be built, the viceroy has supplied the line with ships in place of those which were lost. He commanded one to be bought from the mariscal Gabriel de Ribera. That and the "Santa Potenciana" were conveyed [to the islands] by Don Pedro de Acuna; also two ships from Piru were in his convoy, moderately laden with freight. Grace was granted, in the name of his Majesty, for some permissions for carrying money and a quantity of freight. This was given as to private persons, but not that the ships should be navigated on their account or under their administration, or that they should exercise any more authority than that of a passenger. This did not deprive the city of Manila of any of the six hundred toneladas which could be shipped, but merely utilized the surplus space of the ship, thereby doing no damage to the citizens of Manila.

Twelfth Point

That the ships of the Filipinas line may be assigned by contract.

The viceroy made the experiment in the year 99, of giving two ships in trust to Don Fernando de Castro and Alonso de Torres, with the privilege of appointing officers, a salary of one thousand pesos, and permission to place in the cargo twenty or twenty-five toneladas of their own goods; they were obliged to give bonds, and to keep correct accounts of the profits and expenses. If the profits should exceed the expenses, the excess should belong to his Majesty; if the costs should amount to more than the profits, the trustee must supply the deficit from his own purse.

The officials of his Majesty at the port of Acapulco oppose this plan, and say that it is very unprofitable, and to the injury of his Majesty and the royal exchequer, in that the trustees attend only to their own profit. It is the universal opinion that the "Santa Margarita" did not come here on account of having been sent out thus in trust.

Thirteenth Point

That a limit be placed on the merchandise brought from China.

Fourteenth Point

That there be trading and voyaging to Eastern India.

There are also the general points, that the commerce of Nueva Espana with Piru and Tierra Firme in silks and Chinese merchandise be prohibited, without any discrimination of persons, as being a great damage and injury to the trade of Espana and defrauding the royal dues.

The licentiate Alonso Fernandez de Castro

Various Documents Relating to Commerce

Rule 45 on the leasing of the import duties of Sevilla, and likewise the ordinances made by the prior and consuls [8] of Mexico in regard to this trade of the Filipinas, are to be considered by the assembly discussing the trade of the Filipinas, in order to decide what is best to be done.

Letter from Fray Martin Ignacio de Loyola


As I could not be present, I have written out my answer in my memorial on the Filipinas, and it accompanies the present letter, by which your Lordship will see what I advocate. I assert that, beyond all doubt, what I here point out would be the only remedy.

This morning when I went to receive your Lordship's blessing, and offer my respects, it was already late; and I believe that I shall not be able to do it tomorrow. Therefore I beseech your blessing in this, as one whom I hold in so great esteem, and to whom I owe so much. Upon all occasions I shall advise you of my affairs and matters of importance. As from one from whom I have experienced it, I shall receive all kindness. May our Lord preserve your Lordship, as I desire. From San Diego. Your Lordship's chaplain,

Fray Martin Ynacio de Loyola

[Endorsed: "No date."]

Opinion of Fray Martin Ignacio de Loyola

In order that the Yndias may not be ruined, they should be dependent upon and subordinate to Espana, and there should be close relationship between the different parts.

This subordination and relationship consists in two things: first, in what concerns the government—political, spiritual, and temporal, and therefore it is advisable that the viceroys, governors, bishops, vicars, and commissaries-general should be sent from Espana. True, those who have gone from these parts and fulfil their duties properly there, should be rewarded since they have worked, and merit this favor more than those going from Espana.

By reason of the lack of this subordination and relationship, we know that many kingdoms which were converted to the faith returned to paganism. A good example of this is furnished in Eastern Yndia, where the apostle St. Thomas converted innumerable souls in the kingdom of Bisnaga, Cuylan, Cochin, and Caratuete. But after the death of St. Thomas, as there was no communication either with Palestina or Roma, in three or four generations there was not one Christian. Until now, for two hundred years Babylonian bishops have gone there; and now there are many Portuguese.

The second thing essential to the relationship between the Yndias and Espana is that there should be commerce and trade between those kingdoms. This is extremely needful, for, if commerce should cease, then communication would cease; and, should the latter cease, within a few generations there would be no Christians there. That which causes most inquiry to this commerce and communication, is the diversion of the commerce between the Yndias and Espana to other kingdoms, not belonging to his Majesty, but heathen and pagan; such is now the case between Nueva Espana, Peru, and the Filipinas, which receive annually two million pesos of silver; all of this wealth passes into the possession of the Chinese, and is not brought to Espana, to the consequent loss of the royal duties, and injury to the inhabitants of the Filipinas; and the greatest loss, with the lapse of time, will be that rebounding upon the Yndias themselves. All the projects and prohibitions that have been devised to remedy this loss serve but to inflict still greater injury, and to cause universal ruin.

As long as the viceroy of Nueva Espana continues to appoint the captains and officials of the vessels sailing to the Filipinas, the fitting reform cannot be instituted; for, it is clear that, as such officials go from Mexico, they will not hesitate to take their money and that of their friends; and even if other prohibitions may be issued, they will not cease to do so.

The fitting remedy for this matter consists in having a consulate in Manila, and in providing there the said officers, and in assigning to each citizen of the islands the amount of goods that he may export. By this method, a complete remedy for this evil will be provided, and the inhabitants of the islands, for their own benefit and interest, should endeavor to keep the trade themselves, and prohibit trading or sending consignments of silver from Mexico or Peru.

The trading in, and consignments of silver to, the Filipinas by the inhabitants of Mexico causes great detriment to the inhabitants of the islands; for, because of the Mexicans sending so much silver, the price of Chinese silks and merchandise has risen, so that, while for twenty years, when only the inhabitants of the islands were permitted to trade, they were wont to gain one thousand per cent, now they do not gain one hundred, whence results much resentment in the Filipinas. Therefore it is most certain that, if the trade be conceded to them alone, with a just limitation, they will desire to be the only gainers; and hence will endeavor to see that no Mexicans send any silver, and will execute whatever penalty his Majesty imposes on the Mexicans. This they will do, because clearly much advantage will accrue to the islanders thereby, by the lowering of the price of the merchandise in Manila and a rise in Mexico. If this reason be examined closely, my assertion will be quite clear.

I maintain the same in regard to the port of Buenos Ayres; and what has been ordained but lately I think was by divine ordination; for hitherto, notwithstanding the prohibition that there should be no trade, ships entered and cleared, and traded between Brasil and Potosi, and between Potosi and Brasil and Espana. And, although six judges were sent to enforce this prohibition, they were unable to effect a remedy, until the governor, Don Diego de Baldes, gave permission, as he considered it an extreme necessity, and the ultimate remedy, for the citizens of Buenos Ayres to reap some slight portion of the profits—although he erred in this, as it was done without his Majesty's permission. However, now that this license is confirmed, the matter, in so far as it touches this port, is remedied; for the amount of flour which they take cannot be of sufficient consideration to damage the commerce of Tierra Firme; and the citizens, as they profit thereby, will prevent anyone from trading outside of the port, and will execute the penalties imposed by his Majesty on those who try to trade. I relate all the above because I think great things will result therefrom to the service of our Lord and of his Majesty.

Fray Martin Ynacio de Loyola, bishop of Rio de la Plata.

[Endorsed: "+ Memorial from the bishop of Rio de la Plata, in which he declares what reform should be effected in the commerce of the Filipinas and Mexico; and asserts that the action of the council in Buenos Ayres has had very good effect."]

Extracts of Two Letters from the Conde de Monterrey

The merchants of the corporation of the city of Los Reyes, Peru, declare that, in the commerce between that kingdom and this one of [Nueva?] Espana, they regard it as so necessary, that should it cease, it would mean complete destruction. On this account it must be preserved, and to this end all the means possible must be sought out.

Further, they declare that the merchandise brought to the kingdom of Peru from China is not the cause of this decline of commerce between the Yndias and Espana, but the inadequate regulation of the war and merchant fleets, and the winter seasons, which are the utter ruin and destruction of the merchants. This is plainly evident, since before the wars with Ynglatierra, when this matter was properly attended to, the commerce was extensive and profitable—although there was no need of so much merchandise as there is now, when the population of Peru is so much larger than at that time—and the merchants not only of Espana but of Peru were amassing wealth. But now they are not doing so, for the reason that is here named. All is going to destruction: payments cannot be met when due; and duties are excessive, for in order to send money to Espana, the shippers pay seven and one-half per cent for the galleons to guard the money, and when goods are shipped from Sevilla, they pay as much as three and one-half per cent. The principal cause of this loss is the time [required to transact business]; for from the day when the money leaves Callao (the port of Lima) until it returns in merchandise to the same point there is an interval of at least three years, counting the winters; and before they can secure returns from the merchandise another year, or even a year and one-half, must pass, for not all the merchandise can be sold for cash. Consequently this money can gain its profit only once in four years, when it could, as formerly, be thus handled twice in that time. And however great the amount of the profit, it cannot approach that of the two profits [in the four years], especially with the loss involved in the aforesaid duties for the fleets, and the new impositions of duty for the armed vessels that carry, in the South Sea, the money from Lima to Panama—and this is in addition to the duties paid to his Majesty. Thus it results that the merchants of Lima, who were formerly very rich and had ample credit, have become debtors; and this is the reason why the merchants of Sevilla do not make the same profits as formerly. Therefore there is a cry against Chinese goods, as they imagine that to be the cause of their loss. This is evident likewise, because the commerce existing formerly between Peru and Nueva Espana was very slight and now has increased greatly, and the Peruvian merchants prefer to go to Nueva Espana to make their investments rather than to Espana, because they can make the voyage to Nueva Espana in one year; and therefore can make many investments with their money. And although it is true that they bring Chinese merchandise in their shipments from that which arrives in that kingdom of Nueva Espana, still the greater part of the cloth bought by them is from Espana. Although this costs them more, the shortness of the time is of so great importance to them that they consider it more profitable than going to Espana, for the reason expressed above regarding the delay in time. Thus, with suitable arrangements regarding galleons and merchant-vessels, commerce is prosperously carried on.

Further, they declare that the kingdom of Peru has greatly increased, during the last twenty years, in its Spanish population, both in Spaniards born there, and in those who have gone thither from Espana, so that there are at least three times as many people. All these people live very luxuriously. All wear silk, and of the most fine and costly quality. The gala dresses and clothes of the women are so many and so excessive, that in no other kingdom of the world are found such; so that if four merchant-vessels went to Peru annually, all the cloth goods would be sold, as well as everything else of the cargo. Because vessels go there only at long intervals, the people make use of goods from Nueva Espana and China. However, in the case of the Chinese goods, they are worn only by the very poor, and the negroes and mulattoes (both male and female), sambahigos, [9] many Indians, and half-breeds, and this in great number. The silks of China are much used also in the churches of the Indians, which are thus adorned and made decent; while before, because of inability to buy the silks of Espana, the churches were very bare. As long as goods come in greater abundance, the kingdom will feel less anxiety, and the cheaper will be the goods. The increase to the royal exchequer will be greater, since the import duties and customs increase in proportion to the merchandise; and this increase cannot take place, if the fleets are laid up for the winter, for by this delay the merchant-vessels cannot be despatched annually—on which, and upon their money not lying idle, depend the profits of the merchants.

Therefore the merchants of Peru declare that commerce should be opened with China, and that they should be permitted to send one million [ducados] annually in two vessels, and that this million bring back merchandise to the same port of Callao. This merchandise will yield six millions, of which ten per cent, paid to his Majesty, will amount to six hundred thousand ducados. And if the license for one million is not given, it should be for one-half, the duties on which would be three hundred thousand ducados.

Further they declare that, if this be not conceded to them, they should be permitted to buy and carry to Peru the merchandise taken from China to Nueva Espana. There the duties on this merchandise would be imposed, and they would pay seven per cent on them, notwithstanding that only five per cent is paid in Nueva Espana. Paying seven per cent on the merchandise from China bought in Mexico, it will be seen of what little importance the four to six millions of ducados that Sevilla pays to his Majesty are to the royal estate, because it does not consent that goods from China may enter Peru.

And I assert that, should his Majesty ask me for my opinion, I would tell him that, if it is true that the Chinese merchandise can in no way injure the commerce of Espana, while its benefit to Peru is certain—especially to the poor and common people, of whom there is a great number—and since it seems desirable, for the adornment of the churches of the Indians, that there should be goods from China, my opinion would be that license should be given for only one-half million (ordering under heavy penalties that this sum be not exceeded), to be used in the following manner: Four hundred thousand ducados' worth of merchandise should be brought, and one hundred thousand worth of gold bullion. The latter is likewise merchandise in China; but traders do not like to take it as it yields them no more than fifty per cent, while on the other merchandise they make five hundred per cent and upward. Thus if this silver should be allowed to them, they would obtain gold, and this one-half million would yield three millions in Peru from merchandise which will be worth three hundred thousand ducados in import duties to his Majesty, besides the other dues imposed on the aforesaid goods. Thus the customs will increase, and, as said, these five hundred thousand ducados need not to be considered, as it is thought that this amount cannot diminish the commerce with Espana; for every year the merchandise of Peru yields six or seven millions, and if the trading fleets and armed galleys are sent at the same time, much more money will go to Espana, which on this account does not go there. These five hundred thousand ducados have, in previous years, always gone from China to Peru by way of Mexico; and as the merchants say truly, the winterings and increased duties and expenses of the winterings are causing the commerce to deteriorate. This is proved by the above arguments of the merchants, evidently cited from actual facts. Thus, if the merchants were provided with money, and were able to dispose of their cargoes every two years, and with the proceeds thereof begin new commercial enterprises, they would not be only exhausted and ruined, but rather they would be placed in easy circumstances and the country would be relieved from its difficulties by the gains thus made. With more goods, it is evident that the royal exchequer would benefit more as aforesaid. Therefore it would not be advisable to prohibit all commerce with China.

And at the very least, the five hundred thousand ducados should be granted, so that the merchandise taken to Mexico from China can be purchased in Mexico. Collecting in Peru the customs on these Chinese goods purchased in Mexico, seven per cent would be levied thereon, which plus the five per cent paid in Mexico, makes twelve per cent. The kingdom would feel greatly aggrieved if they were deprived entirely of this commerce. And if Mexico continues to have trade with China, a considerable quantity of Chinese goods will, however many precautions will be taken, be hidden in the Mexican ships for Peru; while but very little of it will be seized, and his Majesty will lose almost four hundred thousand ducados, because the goods do not enter publicly. Therefore it would be advisable that this license be granted perpetually, with the above limitation.


A great lack of money has made itself felt in this colony; and, after having thoroughly investigated the cause thereof, it has been ascertained that it proceeds in part from the very great sum taken out annually for China. It is also attributed in part to the issue of the money from the treasury—not that it has been less than in other years, but it has always been much more limited than it might be, and than is advisable for a commerce that is increasing in extent and value so much as is that of this kingdom. And since it would be greatly to the advantage of the treasurer to coin more money, they impute to him that, by not spending something at present, he is thus niggardly in making the necessary provision, and that by this he loses much and the state more. These two difficulties are reenforced by another—that since there have hitherto been, for various reasons, very few traders who were inclined to buy silver from private persons and send it to the mint to have it coined on their account, it has resulted that four or five men have made themselves the masters of this traffic; consequently there has been a great increase this year in the loss incurred by those who sell their silver in order to be furnished with coin. All this has been observed at the time of the vessels and trading fleet; and it is a matter of much moment, in which it has seemed best to me to inform your Majesty, inasmuch as I have undertaken to institute a reform. This, please God, will be made with energy, as in breaking open a package. When the correctives usual in this region (which are mild) do not suffice, I will propose to your Majesty other and more severe measures, which might be adopted by the Council, and one might be of sufficient advantage to your Majesty. However, it were not advisable to discuss this, but that the necessity of the public government demands it and invokes it, since only at such times can it be called just or used as an argument.

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