The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
Fedor Jagor; Tomas de Comyn; Chas. Wilkes; Rudolf Virchow.

Part 6 out of 11

unique and nearly incredible performance that took place on April 28,
1859, when ten miles of railway track were laid in eleven working
hours along a division of land which had in no way been prepared
beforehand, was accomplished by Chinese workmen; and indeed only by
them could it have been practicable. [255]

[Chinese cleverness and industry.] Of course, the superiority of the
European in respect Chinese of the highest intellectual faculties is
not for a moment to be doubted; but, in all branches of commercial
life in which cleverness and perservering industry are necessary to
success, the Chinese certainly appear entitled to the award. To us
it appears that the influx of Chinese must certainly sooner or later
kindle a struggle between capital and labor, in order to set a limit
upon demands perceptibly growing beyond moderation.

[Chinese problem in America.] The increasing Chinese immigration
already intrudes upon the attention of American statesmen questions of
the utmost social and political importance. What influence will this
entirely new and strange element exercise over the conformation of
American relations? Will the Chinese found a State in the States, or go
into the Union on terms of political equality with the other citizens,
and form a new race by alliance with the Caucasian element? These
problems, which can only be touched upon here in a transitory form,
have been dealt with in a masterly manner by Pumpelly, in his work
Across America and Asia, published in London in 1870.

Letter of the Commissary-General of Chinchew to Don Pedro De Acuna,
Governor of the Philippines

To the powerful Captain-General of Luzon:

"Having been given to understand that the Chinese who proceeded to
the kingdom of Luzon in order to buy and sell had been murdered by
the Spaniards, I have investigated the motives for these massacres,
and begged the Emperor to exercise justice upon those who had engaged
in these abominable offences, with a view to security in the future.

"In former years, before my arrival here as royal commissioner, a
Chinese merchant named Tioneg, together with three mandarins, went
with the permission of the Emperor of China from Luzon to Cavite,
for the purpose of prospecting for gold and silver; which appears to
have been an excuse, for he found neither gold nor silver; I thereupon
prayed the Emperor to punish this imposter Tioneg, thereby making
patent the strict justice which is exercised in China.

"It was during the administration of the ex-Viceroy and Eunuchs
that Tioneg and his companion, named Yanglion, uttered the untruth
already stated; and subsequently I begged the Emperor to transmit
all the papers bearing upon the matter, together with the minutes
of Tioneg's accusation; when I myself examined the before-mentioned
papers, and knew that everything that the accused Tioneg had said
was utterly untrue.

"I wrote to the Emperor and stated that, on account of the untruth
which Tioneg had been guilty of, the Castilians entertained the
suspicion that he wished to make war upon them, and that they,
under this idea, had murdered more than thirty thousand Chinese in
Luzon. The Emperor, complying with my request, punished the accused
Yanglion, though he omitted to put him to death; neither was Tioneg
beheaded or confined in a cage. The Chinese people who had settled in
Luzon were in no way to blame. I and others discussed this with the
Emperor in order to ascertain what his pleasure was in this matter,
as well as in another, namely, the arrival of two English ships on
the coast of Chinchew (Fukien or Amoy district)--a very dangerous
circumstance for China; and to obtain His Imperial Majesty's decision
as to both these most serious matters.

"We also wrote to the Emperor that he should direct the punishment of
both these Chinese; and, in acknowledging our communication, he replied
to us, in respect to the English ships which had arrived in China,
that in case they had come for the purpose of plundering, they should
be immediately commanded to depart thence for Luzon; and, with regard
to the Luzon difficulty, that the Castilians should be advised to give
no credence to rogues and liars from China; and both the Chinese who
had discovered the harbor to the English should be executed forthwith;
and that in all other matters upon which we had written to him, our
will should be his. Upon receipt of this message by us--the Viceroy,
the Eunuch, and myself--we hereby send this our message to the Governor
of Luzon, that his Excellency may know the greatness of the Emperor
of China and of his Empire, for he is so powerful that he commands
all upon which the sun and moon shine, and also that the Governor of
Luzon may learn with what great wisdom this mighty empire is governed,
and which power no one for many years has attempted to insult, although
the Japanese have sought to disturb the tranquillity of Korea, which
belongs to the Government of China. They did not succeed, but on the
contrary were driven out, and Korea has remained in perfect security
and peace, which those in Luzon well know by report.

"Years ago, after we learnt that so many Chinese perished in Luzon
on account of Tioneg's lies, many of us mandarins met together,
and resolved to leave it to the consideration of the Emperor to
take vengeance for so great a massacre; and we said as follows:--The
country of Luzon is a wretched one, and of very little importance. It
was at one time only the abode of devils and serpents; and only
because (within the last few years) so large a number of Chinese
went thither for the purpose of trading with the Castilians has it
improved to such an extent; in which improvement the accused Sangleyes
materially assisted by hard labor, the walls being raised by them,
houses built, and gardens laid out, and other matters accomplished
of the greatest use to the Castilians; and now the question is, why
has no consideration been paid for these services, and these good
offices acknowledged with thanks, without cruelly murdering so many
people? And although we wrote to the King twice or thrice concerning
the circumstances, he answered us that he was indignant about the
before-mentioned occurrences, and said for three reasons it is not
advisable to execute vengeance, nor to war against Luzon. The first
is that for a long time till now the Castilians have been friends
of the Chinese; the second, that no one can predict whether the
Castilians or the Chinese would be victorious; and the third and last
reason is, because those whom the Castilians have killed were wicked
people, ungrateful to China, their native country, their elders,
and their parents, as they have not returned to China now for very
many years. These people, said the Emperor, he valued but little for
the foregoing reasons; and he commanded the Viceroy, the Eunuch, and
myself, to send this letter through those messengers, so that all in
Luzon may know that the Emperor of China has a generous heart, great
forbearance, and much mercy, in not declaring war against Luzon; and
his justice is indeed manifest, as he has already punished the liar
Tioneg. Now, as the Spaniards are wise and intelligent, how does it
happen that they are not sorry for having massacred so many people,
feeling no repentance thereat, and also are not kinder to those of the
Chinese who are still left? Then when the Castilians show a feeling of
good-will, and the Chinese and Sangleyes who left after the dispute
return, and the indebted money is repaid, and the property which was
taken from the Sangleyes restored, then friendship will again exist
between this empire and that, and every year trading-ships shall come
and go; but if not, then the Emperor will allow no trading, but on the
contrary will at once command a thousand ships of war to be built,
manned with soldiers and relations of the slain, and will, with the
assistance of other peoples and kingdoms who pay tribute to China, wage
relentless war, without quarter to any one; and upon its conclusion
will present the kingdom of Luzon to those who do homage to China.

"This letter is written by the Visitor-General on the 12th of the
second month."

A contemporary letter of the Ruler of Japan forms a somewhat notable

Letter of Daifusama, Ruler of Japan

"To the Governor Don Pedro de Acuna, in the year 1605:

"I have received two letters from your Excellency, as also all the
donations and presents described in the inventory. Amongst them was
the wine made from grapes, which I enjoyed very much. In former years
your Excellency requested that six ships might come here, and recently
four, which request I have always complied with.

"But my great displeasure has been excited by the fact that of the four
ships upon whose behalf your Excellency interposed, one from Antonio
made the journey without my permission. This was a circumstance of
great audacity, and a mark of disrespect to me. Does your Excellency
wish to send that ship to Japan without my permission?

"Independently of this, your Excellency and others have many times
discussed with me concerning the antecedents and interests of Japan,
and many other matters, your requests respecting which I cannot comply
with. This territory is called Xincoco, which means 'consecrated to
Idols,' which have been honored with the highest reverence from the
days of our ancestor until now, and whose actions I alone can neither
undo nor destroy. Wherefore, it is in no way fitting that your laws
should be promulgated and spread over Japan; and if, in consequence
of these misunderstandings, your Excellency's friendship with the
empire of Japan should cease, and with me likewise, it must be so,
for I must do that which I think is right, and nothing which is
contrary to my own pleasure.

"Finally, I have heard it frequently said, as a reproach, that many
Japanese--wicked, corrupt men--go to your kingdom, remaining there
many years, and then return to Japan. This complaint excites my anger,
and therefore I must request your Excellency henceforth not to allow
such persons to return in the ships which trade here. Concerning the
remaining matters, I trust your Excellency will hereafter employ your
judgment and circumspection in such a manner as to avoid incurring
my displeasure for the future."


[Spain's discovery and occupation.] The Philippines were discovered
by Magellan on the 16th of March, 1521--St. Lazarus' day. [256]
But it was not until 1564, [257] after many previous efforts had
miscarried, that Legaspi, who left New Spain with five ships, took
possession of the Archipelago in the name of Philip II. The discoverer
had christened the islands after the sanctified Lazarus. This name,
however, never grew into general use; [Numerous names.] the Spaniards
persistently calling them the Western Islands--Islas del Poniente;
and the Portuguese, Islas del Oriente. Legaspi gave them their present
name [258] in honor of Philip II, who, in his turn, conferred upon
them the again extinct name of New Castile. [259] Legaspi first of
all annexed Cebu, and then Panay; and six years later, in 1571, he
first sub dued Manila, which was at that time a village surrounded by
palisades, and commenced forthwith the construction of a fortified
town. The subjection of the remaining territory was effected so
quickly that, upon the death of Legaspi (in August, 1572), all the
western parts were in possession of the Spaniards. [Mindanao and
Sulu independent.] Numerous wild tribes in the interior, however,
the Mahomedan states of Mindanao and the Sulu group, for example,
have to this day preserved their independence. The character of
the people, as well as their political disposition, favored the
occupancy. There was no mighty power, no old dynasty, no influential
priestly domination to overcome, no traditions of national pride to
suppress. The natives were either heathens, or recently proselytized
superficially to Islamism, and lived under numerous petty chiefs, who
ruled them despotically, made war upon one another, and were easily
subdued. Such a community was called Barangay; and it forms to this
day, though in a considerably modified form, the foundation of the
constitutional laws. [Spanish improvemnts.] The Spaniards limited the
power of the petty chiefs, upheld slavery, and abolished hereditary
nobility and dignity, substituting in its place an aristocracy
created by themselves for services rendered to the State; but they
carried out all these changes very gradually and cautiously. [260]
The old usages and laws, so long as they did not interfere with the
natural course of government, remained untouched and were operative
by legal sanction; and even in criminal matters their validity was
equal to those emanating from the Spanish courts. To this day the
chiefs of Barangay, with the exception of those bearing the title
of "Don," have no privileges save exemption from the poll-tax and
socage service. [Unthinking policy of greed.] They are virtually
tax-collectors, excepting that they are not paid for such service,
and their private means are made responsible for any deficit. The
prudence of such a measure might well be doubted, without regard to
the fact that it tempts the chiefs to embezzlement and extortion;
and it must alienate a class of natives who would otherwise be a
support to the Government.

[High character of early administrators.] Since the measures adopted in
alleviation of the conquest and occupancy succeeded in so remarkable
a manner, the governors and their subordinates of those days, at a
time when Spain was powerful and chivalrous, naturally appear to have
been distinguished for wisdom and high spirit. Legaspi possessed both
qualities in a marked degree. Hardy adventurers were tempted there,
as in America, by privileges and inducements which power afforded
them; as well as by the hope, which, fortunately for the country, was
never realized, of its being rich in auriferous deposits. In Luzon,
for instance, Hernando Riquel stated that there were many goldmines in
several places which were seen by the Spaniards; "the ore is so rich
that I will not write any more about it, as I might possibly come under
a suspicion of exaggerating; but I swear by Christ that there is more
gold on this island than there is iron in all Biscay." [Conquerors
on commission.] They received no pay from the kingdom; but a formal
right was given them to profit by any territory which was brought into
subjection by them. Some of these expeditions in search of conquest
were enterprises undertaken for private gain, others for the benefit
of the governor; and such service was rewarded by him with grants of
lands, carrying an annuity, offices, and other benefits (encomiendas,
oficios y aprovechamientos). The grants were at first made for three
generations (in New Spain for four), but were very soon limited
to two; when De los Rios pointed this out as being a measure very
prejudicial to the Crown, "since they were little prepared to serve
his Majesty, as their grand-children had fallen into the most extreme
poverty." After the death of the feoffee the grant reverted to the
State; and the governor thereupon disposed of it anew.

[The feudal "encomiendas."] The whole country at the outset was
completely divided into these livings, the defraying of which formed by
far the largest portion of the expenses of the kingdom. Investitures of
a similar nature existed, more or less, in a territory of considerable
extent, the inhabitants of which had to pay tribute to the feoffee;
and this tribute had to be raised out of agricultural produce, the
value of which was fixed by the feudal lord at a very low rate, but
sold by him to the Chinese at a considerable profit. The feudal lords,
moreover, were not satisfied with these receipts, but held the natives
in a state of slavery, until forbidden by a Bull of Pope Gregory XIV,
dated April 18, 1591. Kafir and negro slaves, whom the Portuguese
imported by way of India, were, however, still permitted.

[Extortions of encomenderos.] The original holders of feudal tenures
amassed considerable booty therefrom. Zuniga relates that as early
as the time of Lavezares, who was provisional governor between 1572
and 1575, he visited the Bisayas and checked the covetousness of
the encomenderos, so that at least during his rule they relaxed
their system of extortion. Towards the end of Sande's government
(1575-80) a furious quarrel broke out between the priests and the
encomenderos; the first preached against the oppression of the
latter, and memorialized Philip II thereon. The king commanded that
the natives should be protected, as the extortionate greed of the
feudal chiefs had exceeded all bounds; and the natives were then at
liberty to pay their tribute either in money or in kind. The result of
this well-intentioned regulation appears to have produced a greater
assiduity both in agriculture and trade, "as the natives preferred
to work without coercion, not on account of extreme want." [Salcedo
"most illustrious of the conquerors."] And here I may briefly refer to
the achievements of Juan de Salcedo, the most illustrious of all the
conquerors. Supported by his grandfather, Legaspi, with forty-five
Spanish soldiers, he fitted out an expedition at his own expense,
embarked at Manila, in May, 1572, examined all parts of the west coast
of the island, landed in all the bays which were accessible to his
light-draught ships, and was well received by the natives at most of
the places. He generally found great opposition in penetrating into
the interior; yet he succeeded in subduing many of the inland tribes;
and when he reached Cape Bojeador, the north-west point of Luzon, the
extensive territory which at present forms the provinces of Zambales,
Pangasinan, and Ilocos Notre and Sur, acknowledged the Spanish
rule. The exhaustion of his soldiers obliged Salcedo to return. In
Vigan, the present capital of Ilocos Sur, he constructed a fort, and
left therein for its protection his lieutenant and twenty-five men,
while he himself returned, accompanied only by seventeen soldiers, in
three small vessels. In this manner he reached the Cagayan River, and
proceeded up it until forced by the great number of hostile natives to
retreat to the sea. Pursuing the voyage to the east coast, he came down
in course of time to Paracale, where he embarked in a boat for Manila,
was capsized, and rescued from drowning by some passing natives.

["The Cortes of the Philippines."] In the meantime Legaspi had died,
and Lavezares was provisionally carrying on the government. Salcedo
heard of this with vexation at being passed over; but, when he
recovered from his jealousy, he was entrusted with the subjugation of
Camarines, which he accomplished in a short time. In 1574 he returned
to Ilocos, in order to distribute annuities among his soldiers, and to
receive his own share. While still employed upon the building of Vigan,
he discovered the fleet of the notorious Chinese pirate, Limahong, who,
bent upon taking possession of the colony, was then passing that part
of the coast with sixty-two ships and a large number of soldiers. He
hastened at once, with all the help which he could summon together in
the neighborhood, to Manila, where he was nominated to the command of
the troops, in the place of the already deposed master of the forces;
and he drove the Chinese from the town, which they had destroyed. They
then withdrew to Pangasinan, and Salcedo burnt their fleet; which
exploit was achieved with very great difficulty. In 1576 this Cortes
of the Philippines died. [261]

[Commercial importance of early Manila.] Apart from the priests, the
first-comers consisted only of officials, soldiers, and sailors; and to
them, naturally, fell all the high profits of the China trade. Manila
was their chief market, and it also attracted a great portion of the
external Indian trade, which the Portuguese had frightened away from
Malacca by their excessive cruelty. The Portuguese, it is true, still
remained in Macao and the Moluccas: but they wanted those remittances
which were almost exclusively sought after by the Chinese, viz.,
the silver which Manila received from New Spain.

[Spain and Portugal united.] In 1580 Portugal, together with all
its colonies, was handed over to the Spanish Crown; and the period
extending from this event to the decay of Portugal (1580-1640)
witnessed the Philippines at the height of their power and prosperity.

[Manila as capital of a vast empire.] The Governor of Manila ruled
over a part of Mindanao, Sulu, the Moluccas, Formosa, and the original
Portuguese possessions in Malacca and India. "All that lies between
Cape Singapore and Japan is subject to Luzon; their ships cross the
ocean to China and New Spain, and drive so magnificent a trade that,
if it were only free, it would be the most extraordinary that the
world could show. It is incredible what glory these islands confer
upon Spain. The Governor of the Philippines treats with the Kings of
Cambodia, Japan, China. The first is his ally, the last his friend;
and the same with Japan. He declares war or peace, without waiting
for the command from distant Spain." [262] [Dutch opposition.] But
the Dutch had now begun the struggle, which they managed to carry
on against Philip II in every corner of the world; and even in 1510
De Los Rios complained that he found the country very much altered
through the progress and advance made by the Dutch; also that the Moros
of Mindanao and Sulu, feeling that they were supported by Holland,
were continually in a state of discontent.

[Decline of colony.] The downfall of Portugal occasioned the loss of
her colonies once more. Spanish policy, the government of the priests,
and the jealousy of the Spanish merchants and traders especially,
did everything that remained to be done to prevent the development
of agriculture and commerce--perhaps, on the whole, fortunately,
for the natives.

[Philippine history unimportant and unsatisfactory.] The
subsequent history of the Philippines is, in all its particulars,
quite as unsatisfactory and uninteresting as that of all the other
Spanish-American possessions. Ineffectual expeditions against pirates,
and continual disputes between the clerical and secular authorities,
form the principal incidents. [263]

[Undesirable emigrants from Spain.] After the first excitement of
religious belief and military renown had subsided, the minds of those
who went later to these outlying possessions, consisting generally as
they did of the very dregs of the nation, were seized with an intense
feeling of selfishness; and frauds and speculations were the natural
sequence. The Spanish writers are full of descriptions of the wretched
state of society then existing, which it is unnecessary to repeat here.

[English occupation.] The colony had scarcely been molested by
external enemies, with the exception of pirates. In the earliest time
the Dutch had engaged occasionally in attacks on the Bisayas. But
in 1762 (during the war of the Bourbon succession) an English fleet
suddenly appeared before Manila, and took the surprised town without
any difficulty. The Chinese allied themselves with the English. A
great insurrection broke out among the Filipinos, and the colony,
under the provisional government of a feeble archbishop, was for a
time in great danger. It was reserved for other dignitaries of the
Church and Anda, an energetic patriot, to inflame the natives against
the foreigners; and the opposition incited by the zealousness of the
priests grew to such an extent that the English, who were confined in
the town, were actually glad to be able to retreat. In the following
year the news arrived from Europe of the conclusion of peace; but
in the interval this insurrection, brought about by the invasion,
had rapidly and considerably extended; and it was not suppressed
until 1765, when the work was accomplished by creating enmity among
the different tribes. [264] But this was not done without a loss to
the province of Ilocos of two hundred sixty-nine thousand two hundred
and seventy persons--half of the population, as represented by Zuniga.

[Many minor uprisings from local grievances.] Severity and want of
tact on the part of the Government and their instruments, as well as
bigoted dissensions have caused many revolts of the natives; yet none,
it is true, of any great danger to the Spanish rule. The discontent
has always been confined to a single district, as the natives do
not form a united nation; neither the bond of a common speech nor
a general interest binding the different tribes together. The state
communications and laws among them scarcely reach beyond the borders
of the villages and their dependencies.

[Danger from mestizos and creoles.] A consideration of far more
importance to the distant metropolis than the condition of the
constantly excited natives, who are politically divided among
themselves, and really have no steady object in view, is the attitude
of the mestizos and creoles, whose discontent increases in proportion
to their numbers and prosperity. The military revolt which broke
out in 1823, the leaders of which were two creoles, might easily
have terminated fatally for Spain. The latest of all the risings of
the mestizos seems to have been the most dangerous, not only to the
Spanish power, but to all the European population. [265]

[Cavite 1872 mutiny.] On the 20th of January, 1872, between eight and
nine in the evening, the artillery, marines, and the garrison of the
arsenal revolted in Cavite, the naval base of the Philippines, and
murdered their officers; and a lieutenant who endeavored to carry the
intelligence to Manila fell into the hands of a crowd of natives. The
news therefore did not reach the capital until the next morning, when
all the available troops were at once dispatched, and, after a heavy
preliminary struggle, they succeeded the following day in storming
the citadel. A dreadful slaughter of the rebels ensued. Not a soul
escaped. Among them was not a single European; but there were many
mestizos, of whom several were priests and lawyers. Though perhaps
the first accounts, written under the influence of terror, may have
exaggerated many particulars, yet both official and private letters
agree in describing the conspiracy as being long contemplated, widely
spread, and well planned. The whole fleet and a large number of troops
were absent at the time, engaged in the expedition against Sulu. A
portion of the garrison of Manila were to rise at the same time as
the revolt in Cavite, and thousands of natives were to precipitate
themselves on the caras blancas (pale faces), and murder them. The
failure of the conspiracy was, it appears, only attributable to a
fortunate accident--to the circumstance, namely, that a body of the
rebels mistook some rocket fired upon the occasion of a Church festival
for the agreed signal, and commenced the attack too soon. [266]

[Summing up.] Let me be permitted, in conclusion, to bring together a
few observations which have been scattered through the text, touching
the relations of the Philippines with foreign countries, and briefly
speculate thereon.

[Credit due Spain.] Credit is certainly due to Spain for having
bettered the condition of a people who, though comparatively speaking
highly civilized, yet being continually distracted by petty wars,
had sunk into a disordered and uncultivated state. The inhabitants of
these beautiful islands, upon the whole, may well be considered to
have lived as comfortably during the last hundred years, protected
from all external enemies and governed by mild laws, as those of
any other tropical country under native or European sway,--owing,
in some measure, to the frequently discussed peculiar circumstances
which protect the interests of the natives.

[Friars an important factor.] The friars, also, have certainly had
an essential part in the production of the results.

[Their defects have worked out for good.] Sprung from the lowest
orders, inured to hardship and want, and on terms of the closest
intimacy with the natives, they were peculiarly fitted to introduce
them to a practical conformity with the new religion and code
of morality. Later on, also, when they possessed rich livings,
and their devout and zealous interest in the welfare of the masses
relaxed in proportion as their incomes increased, they materially
assisted in bringing about the circumstances already described,
with their favorable and unfavorable aspects. Further, possessing
neither family nor good education, they were disposed to associate
themselves intimately with the natives and their requirements;
and their arrogant opposition to the temporal power generally arose
through their connection with the natives. With the altered condition
of things, however, all this has disappeared. The colony can no
longer be kept secluded from the world. Every facility afforded for
commercial intercourse is a blow to the old system, and a great step
made in the direction of broad and liberal reforms. The more foreign
capital and foreign ideas and customs are introduced, increasing
the prosperity, enlightenment, and self-respect of the population,
the more impatiently will the existing evils be endured.

[Contrast with English colonies.] England can and does open her
possessions unconcernedly to the world. The British colonies are
united to the mother country by the bond of mutual advantage,
viz. the production of raw material by means of English capital,
and the exchange of the same for English manufactures. The wealth
of England is so great, the organization of her commerce with the
world so complete, that nearly all the foreigners even in the British
possessions are for the most part agents for English business houses,
which would scarcely be affected, at least to any marked extent,
by a political dismemberment. It is entirely different with Spain,
which possesses the colony as an inherited property, and without the
power of turning it to any useful account.

[Menaces to Spanish rule.] Government monopolies rigorously maintained,
insolent disregard and neglect of the mestizos and powerful creoles,
and the example of the United States, were the chief reasons of the
downfall of the American possessions. The same causes threaten ruin
to the Philippines: but of the monopolies I have said enough.

[Growing American influence.] Mestizos and creoles, it is true, are
not, as they formerly were in America, excluded from all official
appointments; but they feel deeply hurt and injured through the
crowds of place-hunters which the frequent changes of ministries
send to Manila. The influence, also, of the American element is at
least visible on the horizon, and will be more noticeable when the
relations increase between the two countries. At present they are
very slender. The trade in the meantime follows in its old channels to
England and to the Atlantic ports of the United States. Nevertheless,
whoever desires to form an opinion upon the future history of the
Philippines, must not consider simply their relations to Spain,
but must have regard to the prodigious changes which a few decades
produce on either side of our planet.

[Powerful neighbors] For the first time in the history of the world
the mighty powers on both sides of the ocean have commenced to enter
upon a direct intercourse with one another--Russia, which alone is
larger than any two other parts of the earth; China, which contains
within its own boundaries a third of the population of the world;
and America, with ground under cultivation nearly sufficient to feed
treble the total population of the earth. Russia's future role in
the Pacific Ocean is not to be estimated at present.

[China and America.] The trade between the two other great powers will
therefore be presumably all the heavier, as the rectification of the
pressing need of human labor on the one side, and of the corresponding
overplus on the other, will fall to them.

[Nearing predominance of the Pacific.] The world of the ancients was
confined to the shores of the Mediterranean; and the Atlantic and
Indian Oceans sufficed at one time for our traffic. When first the
shores of the Pacific re-echoed with the sounds of active commerce,
the trade of the world and the history of the world may be really
said to have begun. A start in that direction has been made; whereas
not so very long ago the immense ocean was one wide waste of waters,
traversed from both points only once a year. From 1603 to 1769 scarcely
a ship had ever visited California, that wonderful country which,
twenty-five years ago, with the exception of a few places on the coast,
was an unknown wilderness, but which is now covered with flourishing
and prosperous towns and cities, served by a sea-to-sea railway, and
its capital already ranking the third of the seaports of the Union;
even at this early stage of its existence a central point of the
world's commerce, and apparently destined, by the proposed junction
of the great oceans, to play a most important part in the future.

[The mission of America.] In proportion as the navigation of the west
coast of America extends the influence of the American element over
the South Sea, the captivating, magic power which the great republic
exercises over the Spanish colonies [267] will not fail to make itself
felt also in the Philippines, The Americans are evidently destined to
bring to a full development the germs originated by the Spaniards. As
conquerors of modern times, representing the age of free citizens in
contrast to the age of knighthood, they follow with the plow and the
axe of the pioneer, where the former advanced under the sign of the
cross with their swords.

[Superiority over Spanish system.] A considerable portion of
Spanish-America already belongs to the United States, and has since
attained an importance which could not possibly have been anticipated
either under the Spanish Government or during the anarchy which
followed. With regard to permanence, the Spanish system cannot for a
moment be compared with that of America. While each of the colonies,
in order to favor a privileged class by immediate gains, exhausted
still more the already enfeebled population of the metropolis by the
withdrawal of the best of its ability, America, on the contrary, has
attracted to itself from all countries the most energetic element,
which, once on its soil and, freed from all fetters, restlessly
progressing, has extended its power and influence still further and
further. The Philippines will escape the action of the two great
neighboring powers all the less for the fact that neither they nor
their metropolis find their condition of a stable and well-balanced

[Need of Philippine awakening.] It seems to be desirable for the
Filipinos that the above-mentioned views should not speedily become
accomplished facts, because their education and training hitherto
have not been of a nature to prepare them successfully to compete
with either of the other two energetic, creative, and progressive
nations. They have, in truth, dreamed away their best days.


State of the Philippines in 1810

By Tomas de Comyn

[Population.] The enumeration of the natives for the assessment
of tributes, in the manner ordained by the standing regulations
of the Intendants of New Spain, is not observed in the Philippine
Islands; nor indeed would this be an easy task. The wide extent of
the twenty-seven provinces of which they are composed, scattered, as
they are, through the great space comprehended between the southern
part of Mindanao, and the almost desert islands known by the name of
Batanes and Babuyanes, to the north of that of Luzon, presents almost
insurmountable obstacles, and in some measure affords an excuse for
the omission. Among these obstacles may be mentioned the necessity of
waiting for the favorable monsoon to set in, in order to perform the
several voyages from one island to the other; the encumbered state
of the grounds in many parts, the irregular and scattered situations
of the settlements and dwellings, the variety among the natives and
their dialects, the imperfect knowledge hitherto obtained of the
respective limits and extent of many districts, the general want of
guides and auxiliaries, on whom reliance can be placed, and, above all,
the extreme repugnance the natives evince to the payment of tributes,
a circumstance which induces them to resort to all kinds of stratagems,
in order to elude the vigilance of the collectors, and conceal their
real numbers.

[Estimates.] The quinquennial census, as regularly enjoined, being
thus found impracticable, no other means are left than to deduce from
the annual lists, transmitted by the district magistrates to the
superintendent's office, and those formed by the parish curates, a
prudent estimate of the total number of inhabitants subject to our laws
and religion; yet these data, although the only ones, and also the most
accurate it is possible to obtain, for this reason, inspire so little
confidence, that it is necessary to use them with great caution. It is
evident that all the district magistrates and curates do not possess
the same degree of care and minuteness in a research so important,
and the omission or connivance of their respective delegates, more
or less general, renders it probable that the number of tributes,
not included in the annual returns, is very considerable. If to
this we add the leged exemptions from tribute, justly granted to
various individuals for a certain number of years, or during the
performance of special service, we shall easily be convinced of the
imperfection of results, derived from such insecure principles. * * *
I have carefully formed my estimates corresponding to the year 1810,
and by confronting them with such data as I possess relating to the
population of 1791, I have deduced the consoling assurance that,
under a parity of circumstances, the population of these Islands,
far from having diminished, has, in the interval, greatly increased.

[Ratio to tributes.] From the collective returns recently made
out by the district magistrates, it would appear that the total
number of tributes amounts to 386,654, which multiplied by six and
one-half produces the sum of 2,515,406, at which I estimate the
total population, including old men, women and children. I ought
here to observe, that I have chosen this medium of six and one-half
between the five persons estimated in Spain and eight in the Indies,
as constituting each family, or entire tribute; for although the
prodigious fecundity of the women in the latter hemisphere, and the
facility of maintaining their numerous offspring, both the effects
of the benignity of the climate and their sober way of living,
sufficiently warrant the conclusion, that a greater number of persons
enter into the composition of each family, I have, in this case, been
induced to pay deference to the observations of religious persons,
intrusted with the care of souls, who have assured me that, whether
it be owing to the great mortality prevailing among children, or
the influence of other local causes, in many districts each family,
or entire tribute, does not exceed four and one-half persons.

[Foreigners and wild tribes.] To the above amount it is necessary to
add 7,000 Sangleys (Chinese), who have been enumerated and subjected to
tribute, for, although in the returns preserved in the public offices,
they are not rated at more than 4,700, there are ample reasons for
concluding, that many who are wandering about, or hidden in the
provinces, have eluded the general census. The European Spaniards,
and Spanish creoles and mestizos, do not exceed 4,000 persons, of both
sexes and all ages, and the distinct castes or modifications known in
America under the name of mulattos, quadroons, etc., although found
in the Philippine Islands, are generally confounded in the three
classes of pure natives, Chinese mestizos, and Chinese. Besides the
above distinctions, various infidel and independent nations or tribes
exist, more or less savage and ferocious, who have their dwellings in
the woods and glens, and are distinguished by the respective names of
Aetas, Ingolots, Negrillos, Igorots, Tinguianes, etc., nor is there
scarcely a province in Luzon, that does not give shelter to some of
those isolated tribes, who inhabit and possess many of the mountainous
ranges, which ramificate and divide the wide and extended plains of
that beautiful island.

[Origin of race.] The original race by which the Philippines are
peopled, is beyond doubt Malayan, and the same that is observed
in Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the other islands of this immense
archipelago. The Philippine Islanders, very different from the
Malabars, whose features possess great regularity, sweetness, and even
beauty, only resemble the latter in color, although they excel them in
stature, and the good proportion of their limbs. The local population
of the capital, in consequence of its continual communication with
the Chinese and other Asiatics, with the mariners of various nations,
with the soldiery and Mexican convicts, who are generally mulattos,
and in considerable numbers sent to the Islands yearly in the way
of transportation, has become a mixture of all kinds of nations and
features, or rather a degeneration from the primitive races.

[Manila's population.] Manila, the capital of the Philippine Islands,
at present contains a population of from one hundred forty to one
hundred fifty thousand inhabitants, of all classes; but it ought,
however, to be understood, that in this computation are included
the populous suburbs of Santa Cruz, San Fernando, Binondo, Tondo,
Quiapo, San Sebastian, San Anton, and Sampaloc; for although each is
considered as a distinct town, having a separate curate, and civil
magistrate of its own, the subsequent union that has taken place rather
makes them appear as a prolongation of the city, divided into so many
wards and parishes, in the center of which their respective churches
are built. Among the chief provincial towns, several are found to
contain a population of from twenty to thirty thousand souls, and
many not less than ten to twelve thousand. Finally, it is a generally
received opinion that, besides the Moros and independent tribes, the
total population of the Philippine Islands, subject to the authority
of the king, is equal to three millions.

[Cotton.] Among the varied productions of the Philippines, for many
reasons, none is so deserving of attention as cotton. Its whiteness
and find staple give to it such a superiority over that of the rest of
Asia, and possibly of the world, that the Chinese anxiously seek it,
in order pereferably to employ it in their most perfect textures,
and purchase it thirty per cent dearer than the best from British
India. Notwithstanding this extraordinary allurement, the vicinity
of a good market, and the positive certainty that, however great the
exportation, the growth can never equal the consumption and immense
demand for this article, it has, nevertheless, hitherto been found
impossible to extend and improve its cultivation, in such a way as to
render it a staple commodity of the country. Owing to this lamentable
neglect, is it, that the annual exportation does not exceed five
thousand "arrobas" (125,000 lbs.) whereas the British import into
China at the annual rate of 100,000 bales, or 1,200,000 "arrobas,"
produced in their establishments at Bombay and Calcutta, and which,
sold at the medium price of fifteen "taels," for one hundred thirty
pounds, yield the net amount of $4,800,000.

[Its advantages.] This want of attention to so important a branch
of agriculture is the more to be regretted, as the Islands abound
in situations peculiarly adapted for the cultivation of cotton, and
the accidental failure of the crops in some provinces, might easily
be made up by their success in others. The culture of this plant is
besides extremely easy, as it requires no other labor than clearing
the grounds from brush-wood, and lightly turning up the earth with a
plough, before the seeds are scattered, which being done, the planter
leaves the crop to its own chance, and in five months gathers abundant
fruit, if, at the time the bud opens, it is not burnt by the north
winds, or rotted with unseasonable showers.

[Restricted cultivation.] The provinces of Ilocos and Batangas
are the only ones in which the cultivation of cotton is pursued
with any degree of zeal and care, and it greatly tends to enrich
the inhabitants. This successful example has not, however, hitherto
excited emulation in those of the other provinces; and thus the only
production of the Philippine Islands, of which the excellence and
superior demand in trade are as well known as its culture is easy,
owing to strange fatality and causes which will be hereafter noticed,
is left almost in a neglected state, or, at most, confined to the
narrow limits of local consumption.

[Indigo.] Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bataan, La Laguna, Tayabas and
Camarines produce indigo of various classes, and, although its
preparation or the extraction of the dye, is in most of the above
provinces still performed in an equally imperfect manner, several
small improvements have recently been made, which have bettered the
quality, more particularly in La Laguna, the only district in which
attempts have been made to imitate the process used in Guatemala,
as well with regard to the construction and number of vats necessary,
as the precipitation of the coloring particles--detached from the plant
by the agitation of the water. In the other places, the whole of the
operations are performed in a single vat, and the indigo obtained is
not unfrequently impregnated with lime and other extraneous substances.

[Increasing culture.] Whatever may have been the causes of this evident
backwardness, from the period of the establishment of the Philippine
Company in these Islands, and in consequence of the exertions of some
of the directors to promote the cultivation of indigo, at that time
very little known, the natives have slowly, though gradually, been
reconciled to it; and discovering it to be one of the most advantageous
branches of industry, although accompanied with some labor and exposed
to the influence of droughts and excessive heats, as well as to the
risks attendant on the extraordinary anticipation of the rainy seasons,
have of late years paid more attention to it. The quintal of indigo
of the first class costs the planter from $35 to $40 at most; and in
the market of Manila it has been sold from $60 to $130, according to
the quality and the greater or lesser demand for the article at the
season. As, however, everything in this colony moves within a small
circle, it is not possible to obtain large quantities for exportation;
not only because of the risk in advancing the Indian sums of money
on account of his crop, but also owing to the annual surplus seldom
exceeding from two to two thousand five hundred distributed in many
hands, and collected by numerous agents, equally interested in making
up their return-cargoes.

[Sugar.] The cultivation of the sugar-cane is more or less extended
to all the provinces of these Islands, owing to its consumption among
the natives being both great and general; but those of La Pampanga and
Pangasinan are more particularly devoted to it. These two provinces
alone annually produce about 550,000 arrobas (13,750,000 lbs.) of
which one-third is usually exported in Chinese and other foreign
vessels. In extraordinary seasons, the amount exported greatly
exceeds the quantity above stated, as, for example, happened in the
monsoon of 1796, when the planters came down to the port of Manila,
and by contract exported upwards of nine millions weight, of the first
and second qualities. The price of this article has experienced many
variations of late years; but the medium may be estimated at $6 for one
hundred twenty-five pounds of the first quality, and $5 for the second.

[Method of Manufacture.] The superior quality of the sugar of
the Philippines is acknowledged, when compared to that produced
in the Island of Java, China, or Bengal; notwithstanding in the
latter countries it may naturally be concluded that greater pains
and care are bestowed on its manufacture. The pressure of the cane
in the Philippine Islands is performed by means of two coarse stone
cylinders, placed on the ground, and moved in opposite directions by
the slow and unequal pace of a "carabao," a species of ox or buffalo,
peculiar to this and other Asiatic countries. The juice is conveyed to
an iron caldron, and in this the other operations of boiling, skimming
and cleansing take place, till the crystallization or adhering of
the sugar is completed. All these distinct parts of the process, in
other colonies, are performed in four separate vessels, confided to
different hands, and consequently experience a much greater degree of
care and dexterity. After being properly clayed, the sugars acquire
such a state of consistency that, when shipped in canvas bags, they
become almost petrified in the course of the voyage, without moistening
or purging, as I understand is the case with those of Bengal.

[Silk.] Among the useful objects to which the Patriotic Society of
Manila (Amigos del Pais) directed their attention, from the very
moment of their formation, the planting of mulberry trees seems to
have met with peculiar encouragement. The society rightly judged that
the naturalization of so valuable a commodity as silk in these Islands
would materially increase the resources of the colony, and there was
reason to hope that, besides local consumption, the growth might in
time be so much extended as to supply the wants of New Spain, which
are not less than 80,000 lbs., amounting to from $350,000 to $400,000,
conveyed there in the galleon annually sent to the port of Acapulco,
by the Manila merchants, which article they are now compelled to
contract for in China.

[Mulberry trees.] The Society gave the first impulse to this laudable
project, and then the governor of the Islands, Don Jose Basco, anxious
to realize it, with this view sent Colonel Charles Conely on a special
commission to the province of Camarines. This zealous officer and
district magistrate, in the years 1786-1788 caused 4,485,782 mulberry
trees to be planted in the thirty districts under his jurisdiction;
and incalculable are the happy results which would have attended a
plan so extensive, and commenced with so much vigor, if it could have
been continued with the same zeal by his successor, and not at once
destroyed, through a mistaken notion of humanity, with which, soon
after the departure of Governor Basco, they proceeded to exonerate
the Filipinos from all agricultural labor that was not free and
spontaneous, in conformity, as was then alleged, to the general spirit
of our Indian legislation. As it was natural to expect, the total
abandonment of this valuable branch followed a measure so fatal, and
notwithstanding the efforts subsequently made by the Royal Company, in
order to obtain its restoration, as well in Camarines as the Province
of Tondo, all their exertions were in vain, though it must be allowed
that at the time several untoward circumstances contributed to thwart
their anxious wishes. Notwithstanding this failure, the project, far
from being deemed impracticable, would beyond all doubt succeed, and,
under powerful patronage, completely answer the well-founded hopes of
its original conceivers and promoters. The natives themselves would
soon be convinced of the advantages to be derived from the possession
of an article, in so many ways applicable to their own fine textures,
and besides the variety of districts in the Islands, proved to be
suitable to the cultivation of this interesting tree, it is a known
fact that many of the old mulberry groves are still in existence.

[Beeswax.] The Bisayas, Cagayan, and many other provinces, produce wax
in considerable abundance, which the Indians collect from the natural
hives formed in the cavities of the trees, and it is also brought down
by the infidel natives from the mountains to the neighboring towns. The
quality certainly is not the best, and notwithstanding attempts have
been made to cleanse it from the extraneous particles with which it
is mixed, it always leaves a considerable sediment on the lower part
of the cakes, and never acquires an entire whiteness. Its consumption
is great, especially in the capital, and after supplying the wants of
the country, an annual surplus of from six hundred to eight hundred
quintals is appropriated for exportation.

[Neglected market.] This certainly might be converted into an article
of extreme importance, especially for the kingdom of Peru, which
in peaceable times receives its supplies from Spain, and even from
the Island of Cuba; but for this purpose it would be necessary to
adopt the plan recommended by the enlightened zeal of the Patriotic
Society and previously encourage the establishment of artificial
hives and the plantation of aromatic and flowering shrubs, which so
easily attract and secure the permanency of the roving swarms, always
ready to undertake fresh labors. This, as well as many other points,
has hitherto been entirely overlooked.

[Black pepper.] The production is cultivated in the Provinces of
Tayabas, Batangas, and La Laguna, but in such small quantities, that,
notwithstanding the powerful allurements of all kinds constantly held
out by the Royal Company during the long period of twenty years,
their agents have never been able to collect in more than about
64,000 lbs. annually. After every encouragement, the most that
has been attained with the natives, is confined to their planting
in some districts fifty to one hundred pepper-vines round their
huts, which they cultivate in the same way as they would plots of
flowers, but without any other labor than supporting the plant with
a proportioned stake, clearing the ground from weeds, and attending
to daily irrigation.

[A possibility.] This article therefore scarcely deserves a place
amongst the flourishing branches of agriculture, at least till it has
been raised from its present depressed state, and the grounds laid
out in regular and productive pepper-groves. Till this is done, to
a corresponding extent, it must also be excluded from the number of
productions furnished by these Islands to commerce and exportation;
more particularly if we consider that, notwithstanding the great
fragrance of the grain, as well as its general superiority over the
rest of Asia, so great a difference exists in the actual price, that
this can never be compensated by its greater request in the markets of
Europe, and much less enable it to compete with that of the British and
Dutch, till its abundance has considerably lowered its primitive value.

[Not popular.] Finally, although an infinity of grounds are to be found
adapted to the rapid propagation of pepper-vines, as may easily be
inferred from the analogy and proximity of the Philippine Islands to
the others of this same archipelago, so well known for their growth
of spices, it must be confessed that it is a species of culture by
no means popular among the Philippine natives, and it would be almost
requiring too much from their inconstancy of character, to wish them
to dedicate their lands and time to the raising of a production which,
besides demanding considerable care, is greatly exposed to injury,
and even liable to be destroyed by the severity of the storms, which
frequently mark the seasons. With difficulty would they be induced to
wait five years before they were able to gather the uncertain fruits
of their labor and patience. If, therefore, it should ever be deemed
a measure of policy to encourage the growth of black pepper, it will
be necessary for the government to order the commons belonging to each
town, and adapted to this species of plantation, to be appropriated to
this use, by imposing on the inhabitants the obligation of taking care
of them, and drawing from the respective coffers of each community the
necessary funds for the payment of the laborers, and the other expenses
of cultivation. If this cannot be done, it will be necessary to wait
till the general condition of the country is improved, when through
the spirit of emulation, and the enterprises of the planters being duly
patronized and supported, present difficulties may be overcome, and the
progressive results of future attempts will be then found to combine
the interests of individuals with the general welfare of the colony.

[Coffee.] So choice is the quality of the coffee produced in the
Island of Luzon, especially in the districts of Indang and Silang,
in the province of Cavite, that if it is not equal to that of Mocha,
I at least consider it on parallel with the coffee of Bourbon; but,
as the consumption and cultivation are extremely limited, it cannot
with any propriety be yet numbered among the articles contributing
to the export-trade.

[Cocoa.] Cocoa is something more attended to, in consequence of the
use of chocolate being greatly extended among the natives of easy
circumstances. That of the Island of Cebu, is esteemed superior to
the cocoa of Guayaquil, and possibly it is not excelled by that of
Soconusco. As, however, the quantity raised does not suffice for
the local consumption, Guayaquil cocoa meets a ready sale, and is
generally brought in return-cargo by the ships coming from Acapulco,
and those belonging to the Philippine company dispatched from Callao,
the shipping port of Lima.

The cultivation of these two articles in the Philippines is on the
same footing as that of pepper, which, as above stated, is rather an
object of luxury and recreation than one of speculation among the
Filipinos. The observations and rules pointed out in the preceding
article, are, in a general sense, applicable to both these branches
of industry.

[Cinnamon.] Cinnamon groves, or trees of wild cinnamon, are to be
found in every province. In Mindanao, a Dutchman, some years ago,
was employed by orders of the government, in examining the forests
and making experiments, with a view to discover the same tree of
this species that has given so much renown to Ceylon; but, whether
it was owing to a failure in the discovery, or, when the plant was
found, as at the time was said to be the case, the same results were
not produced, from the want of skill in preparing, or stripping off
the bark; certain it is, that the laudable attempt totally failed,
or rather the only advantage gained, has been the extracting from
the bark and more tender parts of the branches of the tree, an oil
or essence of cinnamon, vigorous and aromatic in the extreme.

[Experiment in Laguna.] About the same time, a land-owner of the name
Salgado, undertook to form an extensive plantation of the same species
in the province of La Laguna, and succeeded in seeing upwards of a
million cinnamon trees thrive and grow to a considerable size; but
at last, he was reluctantly compelled to desist from his enterprise,
by the same reasons which led to the failure of Mindanao.

[Need of experienced cultivators.] These facts are of sufficient
authority for our placing the cinnamon tree among the indigenous
productions of the Philippine Islands and considering their general
excellence above those of the same nature in the rest of Asia, it may
reasonably be concluded that, without the tree being identically the
same, the cinnamon with which it is clothed will be found finer than
that yielded by the native plant of the Island of Ceylon, and this
circumstance, consequently, holds out a hope that, in the course of
time, it may become an article of traffic, as estimable as it would be
new. In order, however, that this flattering prospect may be realized,
it will be requisite for the government to procure some families,
or persons from the above island, acquainted with the process of
stripping off the bark and preparing the cinnamon, by dexterously
offering allurements, corresponding to the importance of the service,
which, although in itself it may probably be an extremely simple
operation, as long as it is unknown, will be an insuperable obstacle
to the propagation of so important an agricultural pursuit.

[Nutmeg.] Two species of nutmeg are known here, the one in shape
resembling a pigeon's egg, and the other of a perfectly spherical
form; but both are wild and little aromatic, and consequently held
in no great esteem.

[Rice.] Rice is the bread and principal aliment of these natives, for
which reason, although its cultivation is among the most disagreeable
departments of husbandry, they devote themselves to it with astonishing
constancy and alacrity, so as to form a complete contrast with their
characteristic indifference in most other respects. This must, however,
be taken as a certain indication of the possibility of training them
up to useful labor; whenever they can be led on in a proper manner.

[High yield.] The earth corresponds with surprising fertility to
the labors of the Filipino, rewarding him, in the good seasons, with
ninety, and even as high as one hundred per cent; a fact I have fully
ascertained and of which I besides possess undoubted proofs, obtained
from the parish-curates of La Pampanga. As, however, the provinces are
frequently visited with dreadful hurricanes (called in the country,
baguios), desolated by locusts, and exposed to the effects of the
great irregularities of nature, which, in these climes, often acts
in extreme, the crops of this grain are precarious, or at least,
no reliance can be placed on a certain surplus allowing an annual
exportation to China. On this account, rice cannot be placed in the
list of those articles which give support to the external trade.

[Dye and cabinet woods.] The "sibucao," or logwood, and ebony, in
both which these islands abound, are the only woods in any tolerable
request. The first is sold with advantage in Bengal, and the other
meets a ready sale in the ports of China, in the absence of that
brought from the Island of Bourbon, which is a quality infinitely
superior. Both are however, articles of no great consumption, for,
being bulky and possessing little intrinsic value, they will not
bear the high charges of freight and other expenses, attendant on
the navigation of the Asiatic seas, and can only suit the shipper,
as cargo, who is anxious not to return to the above countries in
ballast. Hence, as an object of export trade, these articles cannot
be estimated at more than $30,000 per annum.

[Timber.] I deem it superfluous to dwell on a multitude of other
good and even precious woods in timber, with which the Philippine
Islands are gifted, because this is a subject already sufficiently well
understood, and a complete collection of specimens, as well as some
large blocks, were besides transmitted some years ago to the king's
dockyard. It may, however, be proper to remark, that the establishment
near the capital for shipbuilding and masts, are much more expensive
than is generally supposed, as well on account of the difficulties
experienced in dragging the trees from the interior of the mountains
to the water's edge, as the want of regularity and foresight with
which these operations have been usually conducted. Besides these
reasons, as it is necessary that the other materials requisite for
the construction and complete armament of vessels of a certain
force, should come from Europe, it is neither easy, nor indeed,
would it be economical, as was erroneously asserted, to carry into
effect the government project of annually building, in the colony,
a ship of the line and a frigate. It ought further to be observed,
that no stock of timber, cut at a proper season and well cured, has
been lain in, and although the wages of the native carpenters and
caulkers are moderate, no comparison whatever can be made between the
daily work they perform, and that which is done in the same space of
time in our dock-yards of Spain.

[Ship building advantages.] Notwithstanding, however, the impediments
above stated, as it is undeniable that abundance of suitable timber is
to be obtained, and as the conveyance of the remainder of the necessary
naval stores to the Philippine Islands is shorter and more economical
than to the coast of California, it possibly might answer, at least,
many mariners are of this opinion, in case it is deemed expedient to
continue building at San Blas the brigs and corvettes necessary for the
protection of the military posts and missions, situated along the above
coasts, to order them preferably to be built in Cavite giving timely
advice, and previously taking care to make the necessary arrangements.

[Gold.] Gold abounds in Luzon and in many of the other islands; but as
the mountains which conceal it are in possession of the pagan tribes,
the mines are not worked; indeed it may be said they are scarcely
known. These mountaineers collect it in the brooks and streamlets,
and in the form of dust, offer it to the Christians who inhabit the
neighboring plains, in exchange for coarse goods and fire-arms; and it
has sometimes happened that they have brought it down in grains of one
and two ounces weight. The natives of the province of Camarines partly
devote themselves to the working of the mines of Mambulao and Paracale,
which have the reputation of being very rich; but, far from availing
themselves in the smallest degree of the advantages of art, they
content themselves with extracting the ore by means of an extremley
imperfect fusion, which is done by placing the mineral in shells and
then heating them on embers. A considerable waste consequently takes
place, and although the metal obtained is good and high colored,
it generally, passes into the hands of the district-magistrate, who
collects it at a price infinitely lower than it is worth in trade. It
is a generally received opinion that gold mines are equally to be
met with in the Province of Caraga, situated on the coasts of the
great Island of Mindanao, where, as well as in other points, this
metal is met with equal to twenty-two karats. The quantity, however,
hitherto brought down from the mountains by the pagan tribes, and
that obtained by the tributary Filipinos, has not been an object of
very great importance.

[Copper.] Well-founded reasons exist for presuming that, in
the Province of Ilocos, mines of virgin copper exist, a singular
production of nature, or at least, not very common, if the generality
of combinations under which this metal presents itself in the
rest of the globe, are duly considered. This is partly inferred
from the circumstance of its having been noticed that the Igorots,
who occasionally come down from the mountains to barter with the
Christians, use certain coarse jars or vessels of copper, evidently
made by themselves with the use of a hammer, without any art or
regularity; and as the ignorance of these demi-savages is too great
for them to possess the notions necessary for the separation of the
component parts which enter into the combination of minerals, and much
less for the construction of furnaces suitable to the smelting and
formation of the moulds, it is concluded they must have found some
vein of copper entirely pure, which, without the necessity of any
other preparation, they have been able to flatten with the hammer and
rendered maleable, so as to convert it into the rough vessels above
spoken of.

[Cinnabar.] The district-magistrate of Caraga, Don Augustin de Ioldi,
received a special commission from the government to explore and
obtain information respecting a mine of cinnabar, which was said
to be situated under his jurisdiction; and I have been informed of
another of the same species in the Island of Samar, the working of
which has ceased for a considerable time, not because the prospect was
unfavorable, but for the want of an intelligent person to superintend
and carry on the operations. The utility of such a discovery is too
obvious not to deserve, on the part of government, the most serious
attention and every encouragement to render it available; and it is
to be hoped that, as the first steps have already been taken in this
important disclosure, the enterprise will not be abandoned, but, on
the contrary, that exertions will be made to obtain aid and advice
from the Miners' College of Mexico, as the best means of removing
doubt, and acting with judgment in the affair.

[Iron.] Iron in mineral form is to be found at various points on Luzon,
and those engaged in working it, without the necessity of digging;
collect the iron-bearing stones that constitute the upper stratum,
these, when placed in fusion, generally yield about forty per cent
clear metal. This is the case in the mountains of Angat, situated
in the Province of Bulacan, and also in the vicinity of the Baliwag
River. In Morong, however, belonging to the Province of La Laguna,
where the cannon-ball factory is established, the ore yields under
twenty-two per cent. Its quality is in general better than the Biscayan
iron, according to formal experiments and a report, made in 1798 to
Governor Don Rafael Maria de Aguilar, by two Biscayan master-smiths
from the squadron of Admiral Alava. Witnesses to this test were the
Count de Aviles and Don Felix de la Rosa, proprietors of the mines of
Morong and Angat, and the factor of the Philippine Company, Don Juan
Francisco Urroroz. Notwithstanding its advantages, this interesting
branch of industry has not yet passed beyond the most rude principles
and imperfect practice, owing to the want of correct information
as to the best process, and scarcity of funds on the part of the
proprietors to carry on their works. Without the aid of rolling or
slitting mills, indeed unprovided with the most essential instruments,
they have hitherto confined themselves to converting their iron into
plow shares, bolos, hoes, and such other agricultural implements;
leaving the Chinese of Amoy in quiet possession of the advantages
of being allowed to market annual supplies of all kinds of nails,
the boilers used on the sugar plantations, pots and pans, as well as
other articles in this line, which might easily be manufactured in
the Islands.

[Sulphur.] In the Island of Leyte, abundance of sulphur is met with,
and from thence the gunpowder works of Manila are supplied at very
reasonable prices. Jaspers, cornelians and agates, are also found in
profusion in many of these provinces; everything, indeed, promises
varied mineral wealth worthy of exciting the curiosity and useful
researches of mineralogists, who, unfortunately, have not hitherto
extended their labors to these remote parts of the globe.

[Pearls.] Pearl fisheries are, from time to time, undertaken off the
coast of the Island of Mindanao, and also near smaller islands not
far from Cebu, but with little success and less constancy, not because
there is a scarcity of fine pearls of a bright color and considerable
size, but on account of the divers' want of skill and their just dread
of the sharks, which, in great numbers infest these seas. Amber is
frequently gathered in considerable lumps in the vicinity of Samar and
the other Visayan Islands as well as mother-of-pearl, tortoise-shell,
and red and black coral, of the latter kind of which, I have seen
shafts as thick as my finger and six or eight feet long.

[Estates.] The proprietors of estates in the Philippines are of
four classes. The most considerable is that of the religious orders,
Augustinians and Dominicans, who cultivate their respective lands on
joint account, or let them out at a moderate ground-rent, which the
planters pay in kind; but far from living in opulence, and accumulating
the immense revenues some of the religious communities enjoy in
America, they stand in need of all they earn and possess for their
maintenance, and in order to be enabled to discharge the various duties
and obligations annexed to the missions with which they are entrusted.

[Spanish planters.] The second class comprehends the Spanish
proprietors, whose number possibly does not exceed a dozen of persons,
and even they labor under such disadvantages, and have to contend with
so many obstacles, under the existing order of things, that, compelled
to divide their lands into rice plantations, in consequence of this
being the species of culture to which the natives are most inclined,
and to devote a considerable portion of them to the grazing of horned
cattle, no one of them is in a situation to give to agriculture the
variety and extent desired, or to attain any progress in a pursuit
which in other colonies rapidly leads to riches.

[Filipino farmers.] The third consists of the principal mestizos
and natives, and is in fact that which constitutes the real body of
farming proprietors. In the fourth and last may be included all the
other natives, who generally possess a small strip of land situated
round their dwellings, or at the extremities of the various towns
and settlements formed by the conquerors; besides what they may
have obtained from their ancestors in the way of legal inheritance,
which rights have been confirmed to them by the present sovereign of
the colony.

[Aids to agriculture.] It will beyond doubt, in some measure dissipate
the distrust by which the Filipino is actuated, when the new and
paternal exertions of the superior government, to ameliorate his
present situation, are fully known, and when that valuable portion of
our distant population is assured that their rights will henceforth be
respected, and those exactions and compulsory levies which formerly
so much disheartened them, are totally abolished. On the other
hand, a new stimulus will be given by the living example and fresh
impulse communicated to the provinces by other families emigrating
and settling there, nurtured in the spirit and principles of those
reforms in the ideas and maxims of government by which the present
era is distinguished. A practical participation in these advantages
will, most assuredly, awaken a spirit of enterprise and emulation
that may be extremely beneficial to agriculture, and as the wants
of the natives increase in proportion as they are enabled to know
and compare the comforts arising out of the presence and extension
of conveniences and luxuries in their own towns, they will naturally
be led to possess and adopt them.

[Plans for progress.] So salutary a change, however, can only be
the work of time, and as long as the government confines itself
to a system merely protecting, the effects must consequently be
slow. As it is therefore necessary to put in action more powerful
springs than the ordinary ones, it will be found expedient partly to
relax from some of those general principles which apply to societies,
differently constituted, or rather formed of other perfectly distinct
elements. As relating to the subject under discussion, I fortunately
discover two means, pointed out in the laws themselves, essentially
just, and at the same time capable of producing in this populous
colony, more than in any other, the desired results. The legislator,
founding himself on the common obligation of the subject to contribute
something in return for the protection he receives, and to co-operate
in the increase of the power and opulence of the State, proscribes
idleness as a crime, and points out labor as a duty; and although
the regulations touching the natives breathe the spirit of humanity,
and exhibit the wisdom with which they were originally formed, they
nevertheless concur and are directed to this primary object. In them
the distribution of vacant lands, as well as of the natives at fair
daily wages to clear them, is universally allowed, and these it seems
to me, are the means from an equitable and intelligent application
of which the most beneficial consequences may be expected.

[Confiscating unused lands.] The first cannot be attended with any
great difficulty, because all the provinces abound in waste and vacant
lands, and scarcely is there a district in which some are not to be
found of private property completely uncultivated and neglected,
and consequently susceptible, as above stated, of being legally
transferred, for this reason alone, to the possession of an active
owner. Let their nature however, be what it may, in their adjudication,
it is of the greatest importance to proceed with uniformity, by
consecrating, in a most irrevocable manner, the solemnity of all
similar grants. Public interest and reason, in the Philippine Islands,
require that in all such cases deference only should be paid to
demands justly interposed, and formally established within a due and
fixed period; but after full and public notice has been given by the
respective judicial authorities, of the titles about to be granted,
the counter claims the natives may seek to put in after the lapse of
the period prefixed, should be peremptorily disregarded. Although at
first sight this appears a direct infringement on the imprescriptible
rights of property, it must be considered that in some cases individual
interests ought to be sacrificed to the general good, and that the
balance used, when treating of the affairs of State, is never of
that rigid kind as if applied to those of minor consideration. The
fact is, that by this means many would be induced to form estates,
who have hitherto been withheld by the dread of involving themselves,
and spending their money in law suits; at the same time the natives,
gradually accustoming themselves to this new order of things, would
lay aside that disposition to strife and contention, which forms so
peculiar a trait in their character, and that antipathy and odium would
also disappear with which they have usually viewed the agricultural
undertakings of Spaniards.

[Compulsory labor.] Proceeding to the consideration of the second
means of accelerating the improvement of agriculture, viz., the
distribution of the natives, it will suffice to say that it would be
equally easy to show that it is absolutely necessary rigorously to
carry into effect, in the Philippine Islands, whatever the laws on this
subject prescribed, otherwise we must give up all those substantial
hopes entertained of the felicity of the colony. We are no longer in
a situation to be restricted to the removal of ordinary obstacles,
and the season is gone by in which, as heretofore, it entered into
our policy to employ no other than indirect stimulants--in order to
incline the Filipino to labor. It is evident that admonitions and
offers of reward no longer suffice; nor indeed have the advantageous
terms proposed to them by some planters, with a view to withdraw
the lower orders of the natives, such as the timauas and caglianes
plebeians, from the idle indifference in which they are sunk, been of
any avail. Their wants and wishes being easily supplied, the whole
of their happiness seems to depend on quiet and repose, and their
highest enjoyment on the pleasure of sleep. Energy, however, and a
certain degree of severity must be employed, if permanent resources
are to be called forth, and if the progressive settlement of European
families and the formation of estates proportioned to the fertility
of the soil and capabilities of the country are to enter into the
views of government. In vain would grants and transfers of vacant and
useless lands be made to new and enterprising proprietors, unless at
the same time they can be provided with laborers, and experience every
other possible facility, in order to clear, enclose, and cultivate
them. Hence follows the indispensable necessity of appealing to the
system of distributions, as above pointed out; for what class of
laborers can be obtained in a country where the whites are so few,
unless it be the natives? Should they object to personal service,
should they refuse to labor for an equitable and daily allowance,
by which means they would also cease to be burdens to the State
and to society, are they not to be compelled to contribute by this
means to the prosperity of which they are members; in a word, to
the public good, and thus make some provision for old age? If the
soldier, conveyed away from his native land, submits to dangers, and
is unceasingly exposed to death in defence of the State, why should
not the Filipino moderately use his strength and activity in tilling
the fields which are to sustain him and enrich the commonwealth?

[The undeveloped Philippines.] Besides, things in the Philippine
Islands wear a very different aspect to what they do on the American
continent, where, as authorized by the said laws, a certain number
of natives may be impressed for a season, and sent off inland to a
considerable distance from their dwellings, either for the purpose of
agriculture, or working the mines, provided only they are taken care of
during their journeys, maintained, and the price of their daily labor,
as fixed by the civil authorities, regularly paid to them. The immense
valleys and mountains susceptible of cultivation, especially in the
Island of Luzon, being once settled, and the facilities of obtaining
hands increased, such legal acts of compulsion, far from being any
longer necessary, will have introduced a spirit of industry that
will render the labors of the field supportable and even desirable;
and in this occupation all the tributary natives of the surrounding
settlements can be alternately employed, by the day or week, and thus
do their work almost at the door of their own huts, and as it were
in sight of their wives and children.

[No legal obstacle to forced labor.] If, after what has been above
stated, the apparent opposition obstacle to which at first sight
strikes the eye, in Law 40, Title 12, Book 6, speaking on this subject,
and expressly referring to the Philippine Islands, should be alleged,
no more will be necessary than to study its genuine sense, or read it
with attention, in order to be convinced of its perfect concordance
with the essential parts of the other laws of the Indies, already
quoted in explanation and support of the system of distributing
the laborers. The above-mentioned law does indeed contain a strict
recommendation to employ the Chinese and Japanese, not domiciliated,
in preference to the natives, in the establishments for cutting timber
and other royal works, and further enjoins that use is only to be made
in emergencies, and when the preservation of the state should require
it. It has, however, happened that, since the remote period at which
the above was promulgated, not only all contracts and commerce have
ceased, but also every communication with Japan has been interrupted,
and for a number of years not a single individual of that ferocious
race has existed in the Philippine Islands. With regard to the Chinese,
who are supposed to be numerous in the capital, of late years they have
diminished so much, that according to a census made by orders of the
government in the year 1807, no more than four thousand seven hundred
are found on the registers; and, if in consequence of their secreting
themselves, or withdrawing into the interior, a third more might be
added to the above amount, their total numbers would still remain
very inconsiderable, and infinitely inferior to what is required,
not only for the tillage of the estates, but even for the royal works.

[Substitute laborers wanting.] As, therefore, the Japanese have totally
disappeared, and the number of Chinese is evidently inadequate to the
wants of agriculture, it almost necessarily follows that the practice
of distributing the Filipino laborers, as allowed by the aforesaid
laws of the Indies, under all circumstances, is the only alternate
left. Even if, against the adoption of this measure, it should be
attempted to urge the ambiguous sense of the concluding part of the
second clause, it would be easy to comprehend its true intent and
meaning, by referring to Law 1, Title 13, Book 5, which says:

"That, considering the inconveniences which would arise from doing
away with certain distributions of grounds, gardens, estates, and
other plantations, in which the Indians are interested, as a matter
on which the preservation of those distant dominions and provinces
depends, it is ordained that compulsory labor, and such distributions
as are advantageous to the public good, shall continue."

After so pointed an explanation, and a manifestation so clear of
the spirit of our legislation in this respect, all further comments
would be useless, and no doubt whatever can be any longer entertained
of the expediency, and even of the justice of putting the plan of
well-regulated distributions in practice, as a powerful means to
promote the agriculture, and secure to Spain the possession of these
valuable dominions of the Indian Seas. ....

[Manufactures.] .... It would be impossible to gainsay Don Juan
Francisco Urroz, of the Philippine Company, in his detailed and
accurate report to the managing committee in 1802, when he observes:

"That the Philippine Islands, from time immemorial, were acquainted
with, and still retain, that species of industry peculiar to the
country, adapted to the customs and wants of the natives, and which
constitutes the chief branch of their clothing. This, although
confined to coarse articles, may in its class be called perfect, as
far as it answers the end for which it is intended; and if an attempt
were made to enumerate the quantity of mats, handkerchiefs, sheeting,
and a variety of other cloths manufactured for this purpose only in
the Provinces of Tondo, Laguna, Batangas, Ilocos, Cagayan, Camarines,
Albay, Visaya, etc., immense supplies of each kind would appear, which
give occupation to an incalculable number of looms, indistinctly worked
by Indians, Chinese, and Sangleyan mestizos, indeed all the classes,
in their own humble dwellings, built of canes and thatched with palm
leaves, without any apparatus of regular manufacture."

[Native cloth weaving.] With equal truth am I enabled to add, that the
natural abilities of these natives in the manufacture of all kinds of
cloths, fine as well as coarse, are really admirable. They succeed
in reducing the harsh filaments of the palm-tree, known by the name
of abaca, to such a degree of fineness, that they afterwards convert
them into textures equal to the best muslins of Bengal. The beauty
and evenness of their embroideries and open work excite surprise;
in short, the damask table-cloths, ornamental weaving, textures of
cotton and palm-fibres, intermixed with silk, and manufactured in the
above-mentioned provinces, clearly prove how much the inhabitants of
the Philippine Islands, in natural abilities and dexterity, resemble
the other people of the Asiatic regions. It must nevertheless be
allowed, that a want is noticed of that finish and polish which the
perfection of art gives to each commodity; but this circumstance
ought not to appear strange, if we consider that, entirely devoid of
all methodical instruction, and ignorant also of the importance of
the subdivision of labor, which contributes so greatly to simplify,
shorten, and improve the respective excellence of all kinds of works,
the same natives gin and clean the cotton, and then spin and weave it,
without any other instruments than their hands and feet, aided only by
the course and unsightly looms they themselves construct in a corner
of their huts, with scarcely anything else than a few canes and sticks.

[Aptitude for, but no development of, manufacturing.] From the
preceding observations it may easily be deduced that, although
the natives succeed in preparing, with admirable dexterity, the
productions of their soil, and therewith satisfy the greatest part of
their domestic wants, facts which certainly manifest their talents
and aptitude to be employed in works of more taste and delicacy,
manufacturing industry is nevertheless far from being generalized,
nor can it be said to be placed with any degree of solidity on its
true and proper basis. Hence arise those great supplies of goods
annually imported into the country, for the purpose of making up the
deficiencies of the local manufactures.

[Improved methods and machinery needed.] The regular distribution or
classification of the assemblage of operations which follow each other
in graduation, from the rough preparation of the first materials, till
the same have arrived at their perfect state of manufacture, instead
of being practiced, is entirely unknown. The want of good machinery
to free the cotton from the multitude of seeds with which it is
encumbered, so as to perform the operation with ease and quickness, is
the first and greatest obstacle that occurs; and its tediousness to the
natives is so repugnant, that many sell their crops to others, without
separating the seeds, or decline growing the article altogether, not
to be plagued with the trouble of cleaning it. As the want of method
is also equal to the superabundance or waste of time employed, the
expenses of the goods manufactured increased in the same proportion,
under such evident and great disadvantages; for which reason, far from
being able to compete with those brought from China and British India,
they only acquire estimation in the interior, when wanted to supply
the place of the latter, or in cases of accidental scarcity.

[Scanty exports.] In a word, the only manufactured articles annually
exported from the Philippine Islands are eight to twelve thousand
pieces exports of light sail cloth, two hundred thousand pounds of
abaca cordage assorted, and six hundred carabao hides and deer skins,
which can scarcely be considered in a tanned state/ for, although the
Royal Company, from the time of their establishment, long continued to
export considerable quantities of dimities, calicos, stripes, checks,
and coverlids, as well as other cotton and silk goods, it was more
with a view to stimulate the districts of Ilocos to continue in the
habit of manufacturing, and thus introduce among the inhabitants of
that province a taste for industry, than the expectation of gain by
the sale of this kind of merchandise either in Spain or any of the
sections of America. At length, wearied with the losses experienced by
carrying on this species of mercantile operations, without answering
the principal object in view, they resolved, for the time being,
to suspend ventures attended with such discouraging circumstances.

[Need of encouragement.] Notwithstanding so many impediments, it
would not, however, be prudent in the government entirely to abandon
the enterprise, and lose sight of the advantages the country offers,
or indeed, to neglect turning the habitual facilities of the natives
to some account. Far from there existing any positive grounds for
despairing of the progress of manufacturing industry, it may justly
be presumed that, whenever the sovereign, by adopting a different line
of policy, shall allow the unlimited and indistinct settlement of all
kinds of foreign colonists, and grant them the same facilities and
protection enjoyed by national ones, they will be induced to flock to
the Philippine Islands in considerable numbers, lured by the hope of
accumulating fortunes in a country that presents a thousand attractions
of every kind. Many, no doubt, will preferably devote themselves
to commerce, others to agricultural undertakings and also to the
pursuits of mining, but necessarily some will turn their attention
and employ their funds in the formation of extensive manufactures,
aided by intelligent instructors and suitable machinery. The
newly-introduced information and arts being thus diffused, it is
natural to expect they will be progressively adopted by a people
already possessing a taste and genius for this species of labor,
by which means manufacturing industry will soon be raised from the
state of neglect and unprofitableness in which it is now left.

[Internal commerce handicapped.] The circulation of the country
productions and effects of all kinds among the inhabitants of the
provinces, which, properly speaking, constitutes their internal
commerce, is tolerably active and considerable. Owing to the great
facilities of conveyance afforded by the number of rivers and lakes, on
the margins of which the Filipinos are fond of fixing their dwellings,
this commerce might be infinitely greater, if it was not obstructed
by the monopoly of the magistrates in their respective districts
and the unjust prerogative, exercised by the city, of imposing
rates and arbitrary prices on the very persons who come to bring the
supplies. Nevertheless, as the iniquituous operations of the district
magistrates, however, active they may be, besides being restricted
by their financial ability, regularly consist of arrangements to buy
up only the chief articles, and those which promise most advantage,
with least trouble; as that restless inquietude which impels man on,
under the hope of bettering his condition, acts even amidst rigor of
oppression, a certain degree of stimulus and scope is still left in
favor of internal trade.

[Inter-island traffic.] Hence it follows, that there is scarcely an
island or province, that does not carry on some traffic or other,
by keeping up relations with its neighbors, which sometimes extend
as far as the capital; where, in proportion as the produce and raw
materials find a ready market, returns suitable and adequate to the
consumption of each place, respectively, are obtained. If, however, it
would be difficult to form an idea, even in the way of approximation,
of the exchanges which take place between the various provinces,
a task that would render it necessary to enumerate them, one by one,
it is equally so to make an estimate of the total amount of this class
of operation carried on in Manila, their common center. Situated in
the bottom of an immense bay, bathed by a large river, and the country
round divided by an infinite number of streams and lakes descending
from the provinces by which the capital is surrounded, the produce and
effects are daily brought in and go out of suburbs so extended in a
diversity of small vessels and canoes, without its being possible to
obtain any exact account of the multiplicity of transactions carried
on at one and the same time, in a city built on so large a scale.

[Local markets.] Besides the traffic founded on ordinary consumption,
the necessity of obtaining assortments of home-manufactured as well
as imported goods, in order to supply the markets, known by the name
of tianguis, and which are held weekly in almost every town, there
is another species of speculation, peculiar to the rich natives
and Sangley mestizos, an industrious race, and also possessed of
the largest portion of the specie. This consists in the anticipated
purchase of the crops of indigo, sugar, rice, etc., with a view to fix
their own prices on the produce thus contracted for, when resold to the
second hand. A propensity to barter and traffic, in all kinds of ways,
is indeed universal among the natives, and as the principal springs
which urge on internal circulation are already in motion, nothing
more is wanting than at once to destroy the obstacles previously
pointed out, and encourage the extension of luxury and comforts,
in order that, by the number of the people's wants being increased,
as well as the means of supplying them, the force and velocity of
action may in the same proportion be augmented.

[External commerce.] Under "External Commerce" generally are comprised
the relations the Philippine Islands keep up with other nations, with
the Spanish possessions in America, and with the mother country; or,
in other words, the sum total of their imports and exports.

[Outside deterrents.] Many are the causes which, within the last
ten or twelve years, have influenced the mercantile relations of
these Islands, and prevented their organization on permanent and
known principles. The chief one, no doubt, has been the frequent and
unforeseen changes, from peace to war, which have marked that unhappy
period, and as under similar circumstances merchants, more than
any other class of persons, are in the habit of acting on extremes,
there have been occasions in which, misled by the exaggerated idea
of the galleon of Acapulco, and anxious to avail themselves of the
first prices, generally also the highest, foreign speculators have
inundated Manila with goods, by a competition from all quarters; and
others, owing to the channels being obstructed, when this market has
experienced an absolute scarcity of commodities, as well as of funds
necessary to continue the usual and almost only branch of commerce
left. The frequent failure of the sugar and indigo crops, has also
in many instances restrained the North Americans and other neutrals
from coming to these Islands with cargoes, and induced them to prefer
Java, where they are at all times sure of finding returns. Besides
the influence of these extraordinary causes on the uncertainty
and irregularity of external commerce, no small share must also be
attributed to the strangeness of the peculiar constitution of the
country, or the principles on which its trade is established.

[Domestic discouragements.] Scarcely will it be believed, in the
greater part of civilized Europe, that a Spanish colony exists between
Asia and America, whose merchants are forbidden to avail themselves
of their advantageous situation, and that, as a special favor only
are they allowed to send their effects to Mexico, once a year, but
under the following restrictions. It is a necessary condition, that
every shipper shall be a member of the Board of Trade (Consulado),
and therein entitled to a vote, which supposes a residence of some
years in the country, besides the possession of property of his own to
the amount of $8,000. He is compelled to join with the other members,
in order to be enabled to ship his goods in bales of a determined
form and dimensions, in one single vessel, arranged, fitted out,
and commanded by officers of the royal navy, under the character of a
war ship. He has also to contribute his proportion of $20,000, which,
in the shape of a present, are given to the commander, at the end of
every round voyage. He cannot in any way interfere in the choice or
qualities of the vessel, notwithstanding his property is to be risked
in her; and what completes the extravagance of the system, is, that
before anything is done he must pay down twenty-five or forty per cent
for freight, according to circumstances, which money is distributed
among certain canons of the church, aldermen, subalterns of the army,
and widows of Spaniards, to whom a given number of tickets or certified
permits to ship are granted, either as a compensation for the smallness
of their pay, or in the way of a privilege; but on express conditions
that, although they themselves are not members of the Board of Trade,
they shall not be allowed to negotiate and transfer them to persons
not having that quality. In the custom house nothing being admitted
unless the number of bales shipped are accompanied by corresponding
permits, and as it besides frequently happens that there is a degree
of competition between the parties seeking to try their fortune in
this way, the original holders of the permits very often hang back,
in such a manner that I have seen $500 offered for the transfer of
a right to ship three bales, which scarcely contained goods to the
amount of $1,000. Such, nevertheless, is the truth, and such the
exact description of the famous Acapulco ship, which has excited so
much jealousy among the merchants of Seville and Cadiz, and given
rise to such an infinite number of disputes and lawsuits.

[Business irregularities.] So complete a deviation from the rules
and maxims usually received in trade, could not fail to produce
in the Philippine Islands, as in fact it has, effects equally
extraordinary with regard to those who follow this pursuit. The
merchant of Manila is, in fact, entirely different from the one in
Cadiz or Amsterdam. Without any correspondents in the manufacturing
countries and consequently possessed of no suitable advices of the
favorable variations in the respective markets, without brokers and
even without regular books he seems to carry on his profession on
no one fixed principle, and to have acquired his routine of business
from mere habit and vague custom. His contracts are made out on stamped
paper, and his bills or promissory notes no other than long and diffuse
writings or bonds, of which the dates and amounts are kept more in
the shape of bundles than by any due entry on his books; and what at
once gives the most clear idea of this irregularity is the singular
fact that, for the space of twenty-five and possibly fifty years,
only one bankrupt has presented the state of his affairs to the Board
of Trade, in conformity to the regulations prescribed by the general
Statutes of Bankruptcy, whereas, numbers of cases have occurred in
which these merchants have wasted or secreted the property of others
with impunity. Hence have arisen those irregularities, subterfuges
and disputes, in a word, the absence of all mercantile business
carried on in a scrupulously punctual and correct manner. Hence, also,
have followed that distrust and embarrassment with which commercial
operations are attended, as well as the difficulty of calculating
their fluctuations. On the other hand, as in order to send off an
expedition by the annual ship to Acapulco, the previous consent
of the majority of the incorporated merchants is necessary, before
this point is decided, months are passed in intrigues and disputes,
the peremptory period arrives, and if the articles wanted are in the
market, they are purchased up with precipitation and paid for with
the monies the shippers have been able to obtain at an interest from
the administrators of pious and charitable funds. In this manner,
compelled to act almost always without plan or concert, yet accustomed
to gain in the market of Acapulco, notwithstanding so many impediments
and the exorbitant premiums paid for the money lent, these merchants
follow the strange maxim of risking little or no property of their
own; and unaware, or rather, disregarding the importance of economy
in the expenses and regularity of their general method of living,
it is not possible they can ever accumulate large fortunes, or form
solid and well-accredited houses.

[Merchants discouraged.] Thus oppressed by a system, as unjust as it
is absurd, and conducting their affairs in the way above described,
it is not strange that these gentlemen, at the same time yielding to
the indolence consequent on the climate, should neglect or behold with
indifference all the other secondary resources which the supplying
the wants of the country and the extensive scope and variety of its
produce offer to the man of active mind. Hence it follows, as already
observed, that the whole of the interior trade is at present absorbed
by the principal natives, the Sangley mestizos of both sexes, and a
few Chinese peddlers.

[The outlook brightening.] Notwithstanding, however, the defective
manner in which the generality of the merchants act, some already
are beginning to distinguish themselves by the prudence of their
conduct, by forwarding, in time, their orders to the manufacturers
of India and China, and, in other respects guiding themselves by the
principles which characterize the intelligent merchant. Finally, it
is to be presumed that, as soon as the government shall have thrown
down this singular and preposterous system that has been the cause of
so many disorders, and proclaimed the unlimited freedom of Philippine
commerce, the greater part of these people will rise up from the state
of inaction in which they now live, and the relations of the colony
will then assume the course and extent corresponding to its advantages
of position. At least, if our national merchants should not act up
to the impulse given to all kinds of mercantile enterprises by the
beneficial hand of the sovereign, foreigners will not be wanting, who,
relying on due toleration, will be induced to convey their fortunes
and families to the Philippine Islands, and, vigorously encouraging
the exportation of their valuable productions, amply secure the fruits
of their laudable activity and well-combined speculations.

[Capital employed in commerce.] Were a person, judging from the
numbers constituting the body of registered merchants, and supposing
all of them to possess the essential requisites prescribed by our
commercial regulations, to form a prudent estimate of the amount of
capital employed by them, his calculations would turn out extremely
erroneous, for besides the case with which regulations of this kind
are eluded, many are merely nominal traders, and there are others whose
mercantile existence is purely artificial for they are sustained in a
temporary manner, by means of a forced species of circulation peculiar
to this country. This consists in obtaining the acquiescence of the
administrators of pious and charitable funds, let out at interest,
to renew the bonds they hold during other successive risks, waiting,
as it were, till some fatal tempest has swallowed up the vessel in
which these merchants suppose their property to be embarked, and
at once cancel all their obligations. On the other hand, neither
excessive expenses nor the shipment of large quantities of goods to
Acapulco can in any way be taken as a just criterion whereby to judge
of the fortunes of individuals; because, in the first, there is great
uniformity, every one, more or less, enjoying, exteriorly, the same
easy circumstances, notwithstanding the disparity of real property;
and in the second, considerable fiction prevails, many persons
shipping under the same mark, and even when the shipper stands alone,
he might have been provided with the necessary funds from the pious
and charitable establishments, possibly without risking a dollar
of his own in the whole operation. Under circumstances so dubious,
far from presuming to give a decided opinion on the subject, I am
compelled to judge from mere conjectures, and guided only by the
knowledge and experience I have been able to acquire during my long
residence there. In conformity thereto, I am inclined to believe,
that the total amount of capital belonging to and employed in the
trade of the Philippine Islands, does not at present exceed two
and a half million dollars, with evident signs of rapid decline, if
the merchants do not in time abandon the ruinous systems of chiefly
carrying on their speculations with money obtained at interest.

[Large sums hoarded.] The two and a half million dollars thus
attributed to the merchants, form, however, the smaller part of the
funds distributed among the other classes, and the total amount of
the circulating medium of the colony might be considered an object
sufficiently worthy of being ascertained, owing to the great light
it would throw on the present state of the inhabitants; but it is in
vain to attempt any calculation of the kind, at least without the aid
of data possessing a certain degree of accuracy. The only thing that
can be affirmed is, that during the period of more than two hundred
and fifty years which have elapsed since the conquest, the ingress of
specie into the Philippine Islands has been constant. Their annual
ships have seldom come from New Spain without bringing considerable
sums in return, and if some of them have been lost, many others,
without being confined to the one million of dollars constituting
the ordinary amount of the permit, have not unfrequently come back
with triple that sum; for which reason there are ample grounds of
judging the estimates correct, which fix the total importation of
dollars, during the whole of that long period of years, to be equal
to four hundred millions. It may further be observed that, as in
the Sangley mestizos economy and avarice compete with intelligence
and activity in accumulating wealth and as they are scattered, among
the principal islands, and in possession of the best lands and the
most lucrative business of the interior, there are ample motives for
presuming that these industrious and sagacious people have gradually,
although incessantly, amassed immense sums in specie; but it would
be impossible to point out their amount, distribution, or the secret
places in which they are hoarded.

[Pious and charitable funds' capital.] The assemblage of pious
legacies, temporalities, and other funds and property placed under
the care of several administrative committees, for purposes as well
religious as charitable, constitute the chief capital employed in
external trade; and notwithstanding the failures, which from time
to time occur, the subsequent accumulation of the enormous premiums
obtained for funds laid out in maritime speculations, both in time of
peace and war, not only suffices to make up all losses of the above
kind, but also to secure the punctual payment of such charitable
pensions and other charges as are to be deducted from the respective
profits of this species of stock, its total amount, according to an
official report made by order of the head committee of the sinking
fund, including temporalities, and Queen Maria of Austria's endowment
for the College of Las Marianas, together with other funds of the same
kind, not comprehended in the decree of abolition, at the commencement
of the year 1809, amounted to $2,470,390, and as the sea-risks of that
and the following year were successful, and the outstanding amounts
punctually recovered, the aggregate sum, arising out of the above
description of property, may now be estimated at more than three
millions. Of these funds three distributions are generally made,
viz., one part is appropriated to the China risks, at from twelve
to eighteen per cent. premium, according to circumstances, and also
those to Madras, Calcutta and Batavia, at from sixteen to twenty-two
per cent. The second, which generally is in the largest proportion,
is employed in risks to Acapulco, at various premiums, from 27 to 45
per cent.; and the third is left in hand, as a kind of guarantee of
the stability of the original endowments.

[Coveted by Spanish treasury.] In the great exigencies of the Royal
Treasury, experienced during the last years of the administration
of Sr. Soler, the royal decree of Consolidacion was extended to the
Philippine Islands, under the pretext of guarding the funds belonging
to public charities and religious endowments ... sea-risks, the
income of which, when secured on good mortgages, does not generally
exceed five per cent, many in Spain not yielding above four; but the
remarkable difference between this plan and the one above described,
together with various and other weighty reasons alleged by the
administrators, caused the dreaded effect of this new regulation to
be suspended, and whilst the head committee of Manila were consulting
their doubts and requesting fresh instructions from the court at home,
orders came out not to make any alteration in measures relating to
this description of property.

[Easy capital but lessened profits.] Accustomed, in their limited
calculations, to identify the resources, offered by the funds belonging
to this class of establishments, with the very existence of the
colony, the needy merchants easily confound their personal with the
general interest; and few stop to consider that the identical means
of carrying on trade, without any capital of their own, although they
have accidentally enriched a small number of persons, eventually have
absorbed the principal profits, and possibly been the chief cause
of the unflourishing state of the colony at large. Without fearing
the charge of rashness, it may, in fact, be asserted, that if these
charities and pious endowments had never existed, public prosperity
in the Philippine Islands would, as in other parts, have been the
immediate effect of the united efforts of the individual members
of the community and of the experience acquired in the constant
prosecution of the same object. As, however, a progress of this kind,
although certain, must necessarily have been at first extremely
slow, and as, on the other hand, the preference given to mercantile
operations undertaken with the funds belonging to public charities,
has its origin in the assemblage of vices so remarkable in the very
organization of the body of Philippine merchants, any new measure on
this subject might be deemed inconsistent, that at once deprived them
of the use of resources on which they had been accustomed to rely,
without removing those other defects which excuse, if not encourage,
the continuation of the present system. Without, therefore, appealing
to violent remedies, it is to be hoped that, in order to render plans
of reform effectual, it will be sufficient, under more propitious
circumstances, to see property brought from other countries to these
Islands, as well as persons coming to settle in them, capable of
managing it with that intelligence and economy required by trade. The
competition of those who speculate at random would then cease, or
what is the same, as money obtained at a premium could not then be
laid out with the same advantages by the merchants as if it was their
own, it will be necessary to renounce the fallacious profits held out
by the public charities, till at least they are placed on a level
with existing circumstances, and brought in to be of real service
to the honorable planter and laborious merchant, in their accidental
exigencies, ceasing to be, as hitherto, the indirect cause of idleness,
dissipation, and the ruin of an infinite number of families.

[Mercantile shipping.] The vessels which the district magistrates of
the provinces employ in carrying on their trade with the capital and
those belonging to some of the richer merchants, together with such as
are owned by the natives and mestizos, on an approximate calculation,
amount to twelve thousand tons, including ships, brigs, schooners,
galleys, barges, etc. For the want of better data, this estimate
is founded only on reasonable conjecture, aided by the advice of
experienced persons, for although the greatest part of these vessels
are built by the natives in the neighborhood of their own towns, no
register is kept of their number and dimensions, nor do they carry
with them the usual certificates. Those belonging to the merchants,
that is, ships and brigs of a certain size, have already begun to
frequent the ports of China, Java, the coast of Coromandel, Bengal,
and the Isle of France, availing themselves of the lucrative freights
which formerly enriched and encouraged foreign shipping. The other
class of vessels, although perfectly adequate to the coasting trade,
cannot in general be applied to larger enterprises, on account of
their not being sufficiently strong and capacious. The seamen are
not apprenticed, or as it is usually called, matriculated, but
their frequent crossing from island to island, their familiarity
with regional tempests, voyages to various parts of America, and
the occupation of fishing followed by the inhabitants of the coast,
serve to train up a large body of dexterous and able mariners who at
all times can be had, without any compulsion, to complete the crews.

[Need of nautical school.] The want of a public school for the
teaching of navigation, is, however, sensibly felt, as well as great
inconvenience from the scarcity of persons capable of being trusted
with the command of vessels, and the ignorance that prevails of the
waters of this dangerous Archipelago. Repeated royal orders have
been sent over for the board of trade to proceed to the institution
of so useful an establishment, and in the meantime, a medium has
been resorted to in order to supply the deficiency, by allowing
the free admission of foreign mates, provided they exhibit proofs
of their acquaintance with navigation, and profess the Catholic
worship. Shipowners nevertheless experience great difficulties,
particularly at times when the Acapulco ship is fitting out, for
although she is considered as a vessel of war, and commanded by
officers of the royal navy, the plan of her equipment is so singular,
that in addition, she requires the extra aid of one chief mate,
and three under ones.

[Royal Phillipine company.] The various modifications this corporate
body has successively experienced, have, in great measure, changed
the essence of its original constitution, and the remonstrances of
its directors, founded on the experience of a long series of years, at
length induced the government at home to sanction alterations dictated
by existing circumstances. The project of raising these Islands
from the neglected state in which they were, and in some measure to
place them in contact with the mother country, accompanied by a wish
to give a new and great impulse to the various branches of industry
which constitute the importance of a colony, could not have been more
laudable; but, as was afterwards seen, the instrument employed was
not adequate to the object in view. At the same time that the company
were charged to promote, and, by means of their funds, to vivify the
agriculture and industry of these provinces, the necessary powers
and facilities to enable them to reap the fruits of their sacrifices
were withheld. The protection granted to this establishment, did not
go beyond a general recommendation in favor of its enterprises, and,
in short, far from enjoying the exclusive preponderance obtained at
their commencement by all the other Asiatic companies, that of the
Philippine Islands labored under particular disadvantages.

[Local progress under adverse conditions.] Notwithstanding an
organization so imperfect, scarcely had the agents of the new
Company arrived at Manila, when they distributed through the country
their numerous dependents, commissioned to encourage the natives
by advances of money. They established subaltern factories in the
Provinces of Ilocos, Bataan, Cavite, and Camarines; purchased lands;
delivered out agricultural implements; founded manufacturies of cotton
cloths; contracted for the crops of produce at very high prices;
offered rewards and, in short, they put in motion every partial
resources they were able to avail themselves of and their limited
means allowed. It would be extremely easy for me, in this place,
to enter a particular enumeration of the important services of this
kind rendered by the company, and to exhibit, in the most evident
point of view, the advantages thence derived to these Islands,
if, besides being slightly touched upon in the preceding articles,
this task had not been already ably performed by the Factor Don Juan
Francisco Urroz, in his accurate report on this subject, addressed
to the governing committee of the company, in 1803. In justice I will
nevertheless observe, that this establishment, anxiously resolved to
attain the end proposed, in spite of so many obstacles, constantly
followed up its expensive system without being disheartened; nor
did the contrarieties with which the Royal Audiencia, or High Court
of Justice, frequently paralyzed its plans, the indifference of the
governors, or the general opposition and jealousy of the other classes,
in any way tend to relax its efforts, till at length, convinced of
the impossibility of successfully contending, alone and without any
other arms than its own reduced capital; and, on the other hand,
well aware that a political body of this kind in vain seeks to unite
within itself the triple and opposite characters of agriculturalist,
manufacturer, and merchant, a determination was taken to alter the
plan, and withdraw the factories established in the provinces, and
by adopting a rigid economy and confining the operations in future
to the purchase of such produce and manufactured articles as suited
their trade, and were voluntarily brought by the natives to their
stores, the expenses of the Company were curtailed, and a plan of
reform introduced into all their speculations. By this means also
they always secured an advantageous vent for the productions of the
country, after having been the chief spring by which agriculture was
promoted and encouraged in a direct manner.

[Handicapped in outside trade] The most beneficial reform, however,
introduced by this establishment into its system, has, in reality,
been derived from the variation or rather correction of its plans and
enterprises, purely maritime. The government being desirous to increase
the relations of this colony by every possible means, and to convert it
into a common center of all the operations of the new company, at first
required of the agents that the purchases and collection of goods from
the coast of Coromandel, Bengal, and China, destined for Spain, should
take place at Manila, either by purchasing the articles in that market,
or through the medium of previous contracts to deliver them there. From
this it is easy to infer, that the company was infallibly exposed to
the harsh terms the respective contractors sought to impose upon them,
as well with regard to prices as qualities, unless, in many cases,
they preferred being left without the necessary assortments. Hence may
it, without the smallest exaggeration, be affirmed, that, summing up
all the surcharges under which the shipments left the port of Manila,
and comparing them with those which might have been sent direct from
the above-mentioned points, and without so extraordinary a detour
as the one prescribed by law, the difference that followed in the
prime cost of the cargos was not less than 80 per cent. The urgent
manner, however, in which the directors of the company did not
cease to deplore and complain of so evident a hardship, at length
had the desired effect, and after existing ten or twelve years, so
preposterous a system was successfully overthrown, and permission
obtained from the king for the establishment of Spanish factories in
the neighborhood of the China and India manufactures, as well as the
power of addressing shipments direct to those foreign dominions. The
enlightened policy of their respective governments did not allow them
to hesitate in giving a favorable reception to our factors and vessels,
and the purchases and shipments of Asiatic goods being thus realized
without the old obstructions, the Company was reasonably led to hope
being able soon to increase its operations, and progressively present
more satisfactory results to the shareholders, when those political
convulsions succeeding soon after, which have unhinged or destroyed
all the ordinary relations of trade, compelled them to abandon their
hopes, till the wished-for calm should be again restored.

[Temporary expedient of 1803.] In consequence of the new character
and route given to the commercial enterprises of the Company, as
authorized by a royal decree of July 12, 1803, the functions of
the Manila factors were reduced to the annual shipment of a cargo
of Asiatic goods to Peru, valued at $500,000, but only as long
as the war lasted, and till the expiration of the extraordinary
permits granted through the goodness of the king, and also to the
transmitting to China and Bengal of the specie brought from America,
and the collecting of certain quantities of indigo, sugar, or other
produce of the Islands, with a view to gain by reselling it in the
same market. Consequently, the moment things return to their pacific
and ordinary course, will be the period when the necessity of the
future existence of this establishment will cease, or at least,
when the propriety will be evident of its reform or assimilation to
the other commission houses, carrying on trade in Vera Cruz, Mexico,
etc., which, not being hired establishments, do not create expenses
when they cease to transact business.


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