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

Part 8 out of 11

and missions of Cagayan, administered by the Dominican friars in a
spiritual and temporal manner; as well as from what may frequently be
observed in the other provinces, by any one who bestows the smallest
attention. Although the civil magistracies have since been regulated,
and their respective attributes determined with due precision, it has
not hitherto been possible, notwithstanding the pains taken to make the
contrary appear, to do without the personal authority and influence
the parish curates possess over their flocks. The government has, in
fact, constantly been obliged to avail themselves of this aid, as the
most powerful instrument to insure respect and a due subordination,
in such manner that, although the parish curates are not at present
equally authorized to interfere in the civil administration, in point
of fact, they are themselves the real administrators.

[Standing of parish priests.] It happens that, as the parish curate
is the consoler of the afflicted, the peacemaker of families, the
promoter of useful ideas, the preacher and example of every thing good;
as in him liberality is seen to shine, and the Indians behold him alone
in the midst of them, without relatives, without traffic, and always
busied in their care and improvement, they become accustomed to live
satisfied and contented under his paternal direction, and deliver up to
him the whole of their confidence. In this way rendered the master of
their wishes, nothing is done without the advice, or rather consent,
of the curate. The subaltern governor, on receiving an order from the
superior magistrate, before he takes any step, goes to the minister
to obtain his sanction, and it is he in fact who tacitly gives the
mandate for execution, or prevents its being carried into effect. As
the father of his flock, he arranges, or directs, the lawsuits of
his parishioners; it is he who draws out their writings; goes to the
capital to plead for the Indians; opposes his prayers, and sometimes
his threats, to the violent acts of the provincial magistrates, and
arranges every thing in the most fit and quiet manner. In a word, it
is not possible for any human institution to be more simple, and at
the same time more firmly established, or from which so many advantages
might be derived in favor of the state, as the one so justly admired in
the spiritual ministry of these islands. It may therefore be considered
a strange fatality, when the secret and true art of governing a colony,
so different from any other as is that of the Philippines, consists in
the wise use of so powerful an instrument as the one just described,
that the superior government, within the last few years, should have
been so much deluded as to seek the destruction of a work which,
on the contrary, it is, above all others, advisable to sustain.

In this, as well as many other cases, we see how difficult, or rather
how absurd it is, to expect to organize a system of government,
indistinctly adapted to the genius and disposition of all nations,
however great the discordance prevailing in their physical and moral
constitutions. Hence it follows that, by wishing to assimilate
the administrative plan of these provinces to the one adopted in
the sections of America, inconveniences are unceasingly met with,
evidently arising out of this erroneous principle. Whatever may
be asserted to the contrary, there is no medium. It is necessary to
insure obedience either through dread and force, or respect must be
excited by means of love and confidence. In order to be convinced that
the first is not practicable, it will only be necessary to weigh well
the following circumstances and reflections.

The number of the whites compared to that of the natives is so
small, that it can scarcely be estimated in the proportion of 15
to 25,000. These provinces, infinitely more populous than those of
America, are entirely delivered up to the charge of provincial [Friars
only check on officials.] magistrates, who carry with them to the seats
of their respective governments, no other troops than the title of
military commandants, and their royal commission on parchment. Besides
the friars, it sometimes happens that no other white person is to be
found in an entire province, but the presiding magistrate. It is the
duty of the latter to collect in the king's revenue; to pursue robbers;
appease tumults; raise men for the regiments in garrison at Manila and
Cavite; regulate and head his people in case of an external invasion,
and, in short, it is he who is to do everything in the character of
magistrate and in the name of the king. Considering, therefore, the
effective power required for the due performance of so great a variety
of duties, and the want of that species of support experienced by him
who is charged with them, can it be denied that it would be risking the
security of these dominions too much, to attempt forcibly to control
them with means so insufficient? If the inhabitants become tumultuous
and rise up, on whom will the magistrate call for aid to repress and
punish them? In such a predicament, is any other alternative left him
than to fly or die in the struggle? If among civilized nations, it is
deemed indispensable that authority should always appear accompanied
with force, how can it be expected, among Indians, that the laws will
otherwise be respected, when left naked and unsupported?

[Missionaries' achievements.] Evidently, it is necessary to appeal to
aid of another kind, and to employ means, which, although indirect
ones, are, beyond all dispute, the best adapted to the peculiar
circumstances of the country,--means which, by influencing the mind,
excite veneration, subdue the rude understanding of the inhabitants,
and incline them to bear our dominion without repugnance. It is well
understood what these means are, how much they are at hand, and how
greatly also they have always been envied by other European nations,
who have sought to extend and consolidate their conquests in both
the Indies. Let us listen to La Perouse, if we wish to know and
admire the army with which our missionaries subdued the natives of
both Californias; let us read, dispassionately, the wonderful deeds
of the Jesuits in other parts of America, and, above all, let us
visit the Philippine Islands and, with astonishment, shall we there
behold extended ranges, studded with temples and spacious convents;
the Divine worship celebrated with pomp and splendor; regularity
in the streets, and even luxury in the houses and dress; schools
of the first rudiments in all the towns, and the inhabitants well
versed in the art of writing. We shall there see causeways raised,
bridges of a good architecture built, and, in short, all the measure
of good government and police, in the greatest part of the country,
carried into effect, yet the whole is due to the exertions, apostolic
labors and pure patriotism of the ministers of religion. Let us
travel over the provinces, and we shall there see towns of 5000,
10,000, and 20,000 Indians, peacefully governed by one weak old man,
who, with his doors open at all hours, sleeps quiet and secure in
his dwelling, without any other magic, or any other guards, than the
love and respect with which he has known to inspire his flock. And,
when this is contemplated, can it be deemed possible, through foolish
jealousy and vain wish for those persons only pointed out by the
general laws in ordinary cases, to intervene in the government of the
natives, that the fruit of so much time constancy are not to be lost,
but also by hereafter disregarding and rejecting a co-operation,
as efficient as it is economical, that attempts should purposely be
made to destroy the mainspring of the whole of this political machine?

[Curtailing priestly authority.] Such, nevertheless, are the mistaken
ideas which, within the last few years, have unhappily led to the
adoption of measures, diametrically opposed to the public interest,
under the pretext of curtailing the excessive authority of the
parish-curates. The superior government, not satisfied with having
deprived the ministers of the faculty of personally prescribing certain
correctional punishments, which although of little moment, when applied
with discretion, greatly contributed to fortify their ascendency,
and consequently, that of the sovereign; but, in order to exclude and
divest them of all intervention in the civil administration, a direct
attempt has also been made to lower the esteem in which they are held,
by awakening the distrust of the Indian, and, as much as possible,
removing him to a greater distance from them. In proof of this, and
in order that what has been said may not be deemed an exaggeration,
it will suffice to quote the substance of two regulations, remarkable
for their obvious tendency to weaken the influence and credit of the
spiritual administrators.

By one of these, it is enacted that in order to prevent the abuses
and notorious malversation of the funds of the sanctuary, specially
applicable to the expenses of the festivities and worship of each
parish, and arising out of the real and half for this purpose
contributed by each tributary person, and collected and privately
administered by the curate, the same shall hereafter be kept in a chest
with three keys, and lodged in the head-town of each province. The keys
are to be left, one in possession of the chief magistrate, another in
the hands of the governor of the respective town, and the remaining
one with the parish-curate. By the other measure it is declared, as
a standing rule, that no Indian, who may lately have been employed
in the domestic service of the curate, shall in his own town be
considered eligible to any office belonging to the judicial department.

On measures of this kind, comments are unnecessary; their meaning and
effect cannot be mistaken. I shall, therefore, merely observe, that
no untimely means could have been devised more injurious to the state,
to the propagation of religion, and even to the natives themselves. It
is, in fact, a most strange affair, that such endeavors should have
been made to impeach the purity, by at the same time degrading the
respectable character of the parish-curates, more particularly at a
period when, owing to partality and the scarcity of religious men,
it would have seemed more natural to uphold, and by new inducements
encourage the zeal and authority of the remaining few. This step
appears the more singular, I repeat, at a moment when, neither
by suspending the sending out of missionaries to China, and the
almost entire abandonment of the spiritual conquest of the Igorots
and other infidel tribes, inhabiting the interior of these islands,
have the above Spanish laborers been able to carry on the ordinary
administration, nor prevent entire provinces from being transferred,
as is now the case, into the hands of Indians and mestizo clergymen
of the Sangley race, who, through their great ignorance, corrupt
morals, and total want of decorum, universally incur the contempt
of the flocks committed to their care, and, in consequence of their
tyrannical conduct, cause the people to sigh for the mild yoke of
their ancient pastors.

[Friars bulwark of Spanish rule.] If, therefore, it is the wish of
the government to retain the subjection of this colony, and raise
it to the high degree of prosperity of which it is susceptible,
the first thing, in my opinion, that ought to be attended to is the
good organization of its spiritual administration. On this subject
we must not deceive ourselves. I again repeat, that as long as the
local government, in consequence of the want of military forces,
and owing to the scarcity of Europeans, does not in itself possess
the means of insuring obedience, no other alternative remains. It is
necessary to call in to its aid the powerful influence of religion,
and to obtain from the Peninsula fresh supplies of missionaries. As
in their nature the latter are essentially different from the other
public functionaries, it is well known they neither seek nor aspire to
any remuneration for their labors, their only hope being to obtain,
in the opinion of the community at large, that degree of respect to
which they justly consider themselves entitled. Let, therefore, their
pre-eminences be retained to them: let them be treated with decorum;
the care and direction of the Indians confided to their charge, and
they always be found united in support of justice and the legitimate

[Unwise to discredit priests.] Nothing is more unjust, and of nothing
have the spiritual directors of the provinces so much reason to
complain, than the little discernment with which they have sometimes
been judged and condemned, by causing the misconduct of some of their
individual members to affect the whole body. Hence is it that no one
can read without shame and indignation, the insidious suggestions and
allusions, derogatory to their character, contained in the Regulations
of Government framed at Manila in the year 1758, and which although
modified by orders of the king, are at the present moment still in
force, owing to the want of others, and found in a printed form in
the hands of every one. Granting that in some particular instances,
real causes of complaint might have existed, yet in the end, what
does it matter if here and there a religious character has abused
the confidence reposed in him, as long as the spirit by which the
generality of them are actuated, corresponds to the sanctity of their
state, and is besides conformable to the views of government? Why
should we be eternally running after an ideal of perfection which
can never be met with? Nor, indeed, is this necessary in the present
construction of society.

[Testimony in their behalf] If, however, any weight is to be attached
to imposture with which, from personal motives, attempts have been
made to obscure the truth, and prejudice the public mind against
the regular clergy; or, if the just defense on which I have entered,
should be attributed to partiality or visionary impressions, let the
Archives of the Colonial Department be opened, and we shall there
find the report drawn up by order of the king on November 26, 1804, by
the governor of the Philippine Islands, Don Rafael Maria de Aguilar,
with a view to convey information regarding the enquiries at that
time instituted respecting the reduction of the inhabitants of the
Island of Mindoro; a report extremely honorable to the regular clergy,
and dictated by the experience that general had acquired during a
period of more than twelve years he had governed. Therein also will
be seen the answer to the consultation addressed to his successor in
the command, Don Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras, under date of April
25, 1809, in which he most earnestly beseeches the king to endeavor,
by every possible means, to send out religious missionaries; deploring
the decline and want of order he had observed with his own eyes in the
towns administered by native clergymen, and pointing out the urgent
necessity of intrusting the spiritual government of these provinces
to the dexterous management of the former. Testimonies of such weight
are more than sufficient at once to refute the calumnies and contrary
opinions put forth on this subject, and at the same time serve as
irrefragable proofs of the scrupulous impartiality with which I have
endeavored to discuss so delicate a matter.

In a general point of view, I have alluded to the erroneous system,
which during the last few years has been pursued by the government
with regard to the parish-curates employed in the interior, and also
sufficiently pointed out the advantages reasonably to be expected
if the government, acting on a different policy, or rather guided
by other motives of state, instead of following the literal text
of our Indian legislation, should come to the firm determination of
indirectly divesting themselves of a small portion of their authority
in favor of the religious laborers who are acting on the spot. Having
said thus much, I shall proceed to such further details as are more
immediately connected with the present chapter.

[Ecclesiastical Organization.] The ecclesiastical jurisdiction is
exercised by the metropolitan archbishop of Manila, aided by the
three suffragans of Nueva Segovia, Nueva Caceres and Cebu.

The archbishopric of Manila comprehends the provinces of Tondo,
Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna de Bay, Zambales, Batangas,
and the Island of Mindoro.

The bishopric of Nueva Segovia comprehends the province of Pangasinan,
the missions of Ituy and Paniqui, the provinces of Ilocos, Cagayan,
and the missions of the Batanes Islands.

That of Nueva Caceres comprehends the provinces of Tayabas, Nueva
Ecija, Camarines and Albay.

That of Cebu comprehends the Islands of Cebu and Bohol, Iloilo,
Capiz and Antique, in the Island of Panay, the Islands of La Paragua,
Negros and Samar, Misamis, Caraga and Zamboanga in that of Mindanao,
and the Mariana Islands.

The archbishop has a salary of $5,000 and the bishops $4,000 each. The
curacies exceed 500, and although all of them originally were in charge
of persons belonging to the religious orders, owing to the expulsion
of the Jesuits and the excessive scarcity of regular clergy, so many
native priests have gradually been introduced among them, that,
at present, nearly half the towns are under their direction. The
rest are administered by the religious orders of St. Augustine,
St. Dominic and St. Francis, in the following manner:

The Augustinians 88
The barefooted Augustinians (Recoletos) 52
The Dominicans 57
The Franciscans 96
Total 293

It ought, however, to be observed, that since the detailed statement
was made out, from which the above extract has been taken, so many
members of the religious orders have died, that it has been necessary
to replace them in many towns with native clergymen, as a temporary
expedient, and till new missionaries shall arrive from Spain.

[Dual supervision over friars.] The monastic curates are immediately
subject to their provincial superior, in the character of friars but
depend on the diocesan bishop in their quality of parish priests; and
in like manner obey their own provincial vicars, as well as those of
the bishop. They are alternately eligible to the dignities of their
own order, and generally promoted, or relieved from their ministry,
at the discretion of the provincial chapter, or according to the final
determination of the vice-patron or bishop, affixed to the triple
list presented to him. Besides the ordinary obligations attached to
the care of souls, they are enjoined to assist at the elections of
governors and other officers of justice, in their respective towns,
in order to inform the chief magistrate respecting the aptitude of
the persons proposed for election on the triple lists, and to point
out the legal defects attributable to any of them. On this account,
they are not, however, allowed to interfere in the smallest degree
with any of these proceedings, and much less make a formal proposal,
as most assuredly would be advisable if permitted so to do, in favor
of any particular person or persons in their opinion fit for the
discharge of the above mentioned duties. It is their obligation to
ascertain the correctness of the tribute lists presented to them
for their examination and signature by the chief of the clans,
by carefully comparing them with the registers kept in their own
department; and also to certify the general returns, without which
requisite the statements transmitted by the chief magistrates to
the accountant-general's office are not admitted. Above all they
are bound to affix their signatures to the effective payments made
by the magistrate to their parishioners on account of daily labor,
and to certify similarly the value of materials employed in public
works. Besides the above, they are continually called upon to draw
up circumstantial reports, or declarations, required by the superior
tribunals; they receive frequent injunctions to co-operate in the
increase of the king's revenue and the encouragement of agriculture
and industry; in a word, there is scarcely a thing to which their
attention is not called, and to which it is not expected they should
contribute by their influence, directly or indirectly.

[Allowances from treasury.] The royal treasury pays them an annual
allowance equal to $180, in kind and money, for each five hundred
tributes under their care, and this, added to the emoluments of the
church, renders the total proceeds of a curacy generally equivalent
to about from six to eight reals for each entire tribute; but
from this allowance are to be deducted the expenses of coadjutors,
subsistence, servants, horses, and all the other charges arising
out of the administration of such wearisome duties; nor are the
parishioners under any other obligation than to provide the churches
with assistants, or sacristans and singers, and the curates with
provisions at tariff prices.

[Need of more European clergy.] Finally, as from what has been above
stated it would appear, that as many as five hundred religious persons
are necessary for the spiritual administration of the interior towns
and districts, besides the number requisite to do the duty and fill
the dignities of the respective orders and convents in the capital,
independent of which there ought to be a proportionate surplus,
applicable to the progressive reduction of the infidel tribes
inhabiting the uplands, as well as the preaching of the Gospel
in China and Cochinchina, most assuredly, it would be expedient
to assemble and keep together a body of no less than seven hundred
persons, if it is the wish of the government, on a tolerable scale, to
provide for the wants of these remote missions. At the present moment
the number does not exceed three hundred, including superannuated,
exempt from service, and lay-brothers, whilst the native clergymen
in effective possession of curacies, and including substitutes,
coadjutors and weekly preachers, exceed one thousand. And as the
latter, in general unworthy of the priesthood, are rather injurious
than really serviceable to the state, it should not be deemed unjust
if they were altogether deprived of the dignity of parish curates,
and only allowed to exercise their functions in necessary cases, or by
attaching them to the curacies in the quality of coadjutors. By this
plan, at the same time that the towns would be provided with suitable
and adequate ministers, the native clergymen would be distributed
in a proper manner and placed near the religious persons charged
to officiate, would acquire the necessary knowledge and decorum,
and in the course of time might obtain character and respect among
their countrymen.

To many, a measure of this kind may, in some respects, appear harsh
and arbitrary; but persons, practically acquainted with the subject
and country, will deem it indispensable, and the only means that
can be resorted to, in order to stop the rapid decline remarkable in
this interesting department of public administration. Fortunately,
no grounded objections can be alleged against it; nor is there any
danger of serious consequences resulting from the plan being carried
into effect. In vain would it be to argue that, if the reform is to
take place, a large number of priests would be reduced to beggary,
owing to the want of occupation; because, as things now stand, many of
the religious curates employ three or four coadjutors, and, no doubt,
they would then gladly undertake to make provision for the remainder
of those who may be thrown out of employment. On the other hand, with
equal truth it may be observed that the inhabitants of the interior,
far from regretting, or taking part on behalf of the native clergy,
would celebrate, as a day of gladness and rejoicing, the removal of
the latter, in return for their beloved Castilian Fathers.

[Restriction of native ordinations recommended.] In case the ideas
above suggested should be adopted in all their parts, it may be proper
to add that an injunction ought to be laid on the reverend bishops
in future to confer holy orders with more scrupulosity and economy,
than, unfortunately, heretofore has been the case; by representing to
them that, if, at certain periods the Popes have been influenced by
powerful reasons not to insist on ordinations taking place in Europe,
as was formerly the case, very weighty motives now equally urge the
government to decline, in the Philippine Islands, paying so much to
religious vocation, and to relax in the policy of raising the natives
to the dignity of the priesthood.

[Moro depredations.] Long have the inhabitants of the Philippines
deplored, and in vain remonstrated, against the ravages committed
on their coasts and settlements by the barbarous natives of the
Islands of Mindanao, Basilan and Jolo, as well as by the Malanos,
Ilanos and Tirone Moros and others; and there is nothing that so much
deserves the attention, and interests the honor of the Captain-General
commanding in this quarter, as an early and efficient attempt to check
and punish these cruel enemies. It is indeed true that, in the years
1636 and 1638, General Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, undertook in
person and happily carried into effect the reduction of the Sultan of
Mindanao and the conquest of the Island of Jolo, placing in the latter
a governor and establishing three military posts there; under the
protection of the garrisons of which, Christianity was considerably
extended. It is equally true, that on the subsequent abandonment of
this important acquisition, owing to the government being compelled to
attend to other urgent matters, the enemy acquired a greater degree of
audacity, and the captain-general in command afterwards sent armaments
to check his inroads. On one of these occasions, our troops obliged an
army of more than 5,000 Moros, who had closely beset the fortress of
Zamboanga, to raise the siege; and also in the years 1731 and 1734,
fresh detachments of our men were landed on the Islands of Jolo,
Capul and Basilan, and their success was followed by the destruction
and ruin of the fortified posts, vessels, and settlements of those
perfidious Mahometans. It is not, however, less certain that at the
periods above mentioned, the war was carried on rather from motives
of punishment and revenge, and suggested by a sudden and passing zeal,
than in conformity to any progressive and well-combined system. Since
then these laudable military enterprises have been entirely neglected,
as well on account of the indolence of some of the governors, as
the too great confidence placed in the protestations of friendship
and treaties of peace with which, from time to time, the Sultans
of Jolo and Mindanao have sought to lull them to sleep. Their want
of sincerity is proved by the circumstance of the piracies of their
respective subjects not ceasing, the chiefs sometimes feigning they
were carried on without their license or knowledge; and, at others,
excusing themselves on the plea of their inability to restrain the
insolence of the Tirones and other independent tribes. Nevertheless,
it is notorious that the above-mentioned sultans indirectly encouraged
the practice of privateering, by affording every aid in their power
to those who fitted out vessels, and purchasing from the pirates all
the Christians they captured and brought to them.

[A missionary's appeal.] Father Juan Angeles, superior of the mission
established in Jolo, at the request of Sultan Alimudin himself (or
Ferdinand I as he was afterwards unworthily called on being made a
Christian with no other view than the better to gain the confidence
of the Spaniards) in a report he sent to the government from the
above Island, under date of September 24, 1748, describing the
Sultan's singular artifices to amuse him and frustrate the object
of his mission, fully confirms all that has just been said, and,
on closing his report, makes use of the following remarkable words:

"When is it we shall have had enough of treaties with these Moros, for
have we not before us the experience of more than one hundred years,
during which period of time, they have not kept a single article
in any way burdensome to, or binding on, themselves? They will never
observe the conditions of peace, because their property consists in the
possession of slaves, and with them they traffic, the same as other
nations do with money. Sooner will the hawk release his prey from
his talons than they will put an end to their piracies. The cause of
their being still unfaithful to Spain arises out of this matter having
been taken up by fits and starts, and not in the serious manner it
ought to have been done. To make war on them, in an effectual manner,
fleets must not be employed, but they must be attacked on land, and
in their posts in the interior; for it is much more advisable at once
to spend ten with advantage and in a strenuous manner to attain an
important object than to lay out twenty by degrees and without fruit."

[Governmental lenience.] It is an undeniable fact that the government,
lulled and deceived by the frequent embassies and submissive and
crouching letters which those fawning sultans have been in the habit
of transmitting to them, instead of adopting the energetic measures
urged by the above-mentioned missionary, have constantly endeavored
to renew and secure the friendship of those chiefs, by means of
treaties and commercial relations; granting, with this view, ample
licenses to every one who ventured to ship merchandise to Jolo, and
winking at the traffic carried on by the governors of the fortress of
Zamboanga with the people of Mindanao; whilst the latter, on their
part, sporting with our foolish credulity, have never ceased waging
a most destructive war against us, by attacking our towns situated
on the coast, not even excepting those of the Island of Luzon. They
have sometimes carried their audacity so far as to show themselves
in the neighborhood of the capital itself, and at others taken up
their temporary residence in the district of Mindoro and in places
of the jurisdictions of Samar and Leyte; and in short, even dared
to form an establishment or general deposit for their plunder in the
Island of Buras, where they quietly remained during the years 1797,
1798 and 1799 to the great injury of our commerce and settlements.

[Authority for war not lacking.] This want of exertion to remedy evils
of so grievous a nature is the more to be deplored as the Philippine
governors have at all times been fully authorized to carry on war,
and promote the destruction of the Moros, under every sacrifice, and
especially by the royal orders and decrees of October 26, and November
1, 1758, and July 31, 1766, in all of which his majesty recommends,
in the most earnest manner, "the importance of punishing the audacity
of the barbarous infidels, his majesty being desirous that, in order
to maintain his subjects of the Philippines free from the piracies and
captivity they so frequently experience, no expenses or pains should
be spared; it being further declared, that as this is an object deeply
affecting the conscience of his majesty, he especially enjoins the
aforesaid government to observe his order; and finally, with a view
to provide for the exigencies arising out of similar enterprises,
the viceroy of New Spain is instructed to attend to the punctual
remittance, not only of the usual "situado," or annual allowance,
but also of the additional sum of $70,000 in the first and succeeding
years, etc." In a word, our monarchs, Ferdinand VI and Carlos III,
omitted nothing that could in any way promote so important an object;
whether it is that the governors have disregarded such repeated orders
from the sovereigns, or mistaken the means by which they were to be
carried into effect, certain it is that the unhappy inhabitants of
the Philippines have continued to be witnesses, and at the same time
the victims of the culpable apathy of those who have successively
held the command of these Islands within the last fifty or sixty years.

[Native efforts for self-defence.] Abandoned therefore to their own
resources, and from time to time relieved by the presence of a few
gunboats which, after scouring the coasts, have never been able
to come up with the light and fast sailing vessels of the enemy,
the inhabitants of our towns and settlements have been under the
necessity of intrenching and fortifying themselves in the best way
they were able, by opening ditches and planting a breastwork of stakes
and palisades, crowned with watch towers, or a wooden or stone castle;
precautions which sometimes are not sufficient against the nocturnal
irruptions and robberies of the Moros, more especially when they come
with any strength and fire-arms, in general scarce among the natives.

[Moro piratical craft.] The pancos, or prows, used by the Moros, are
light and simple vessels, built with numerous thin planks and ribs,
with a small draft of water; and being manned by dexterous rowers,
they appear and disappear from the horizon with equal celerity, flying
or attacking, whenever they can do it with evident advantage. Some
of those vessels are large, and fitted out with fifty, a hundred,
and sometimes two hundred men. The shots of their scanty and defective
artillery are very uncertain, because they generally carry their guns
suspended in slings; but they are to be dreaded, and are extremely
dexterous in the management of the campilan, or sword, of which they
wear the blades long and well tempered. When they have any attack
of importance in view, they generally assemble to the number of
two hundred galleys, or more, and even in their ordinary cruises,
a considerable number navigate together. As dread and the scarcity
of inhabitants in the Bisayan Islands cause great ranges of the coast
to be left unsettled, it is very easy for the Moros to find numerous
lurking-places and strongholds whenever they are pressed, and their
constant practice, in these cases, is to enter the rivers, ground
their vessels, and hide them among the mangroves and thick foliage,
and fly with their arms to the mountains, thus almost always laughing
at the efforts of their opponents, who seldom venture to follow them
into the thickets and morasses, where the musket is of no use and a
single step cannot be taken with any security.

[Outrages suffered.] The fatal consequences and ravages of this system
of cruising and warfare round the Islands are incalculable. Besides
plundering and burning the towns and settlements, these bloody
pirates put the old and helpless to the sword, destroy the cattle
and plantations, and annually carry off to their own homes as many as
a thousand captives of both sexes, who, if they are poor and without
hopes of being redeemed, are destined to drag out a miserable existence
amidst the most fatiguing and painful labor, sometimes accompanied
with torments. Such is the dread and apprehension of these seas that
only those navigate and carry on trade in them who are able to arm and
man their vessels in a way corresponding to the great risks they have
to run, or others whom want compels to disregard the imminent dangers
which await them. Among the latter class, the Bisayans, or "painted
(tattooed) natives," are distinguished, an extremely warlike people of
whom great use might be made. Reared from their infancy amidst danger
and battle, and greatly resembling the Moros in their features and
darkness of skin, they are equally alike in the agility with which
they manage the long sword and lance, and such is the courage and
implacable odium with which they treat their enemies that, if not taken
by surprise, they sell their lives very dear, sacrificing themselves
in a most heroic manner, rather than to be led away as captives.

In order, however, that a more correct idea may be formed of the
wicked policy and atrocious disposition of these Moros, and with a
view to do away with the misconceptions of those who are of opinion
that incentives to trade, and other slow and indirect means ought
to be employed for the purpose of overcoming them, it will suffice
to quote the following examples among a number of others, even more
recent ones, which might equally be brought forward.

[Instances of treachery.] In 1796, the governor of Zamboanga
dispatched, with regular passports and under a safe conduct obtained
from the Sultan of Mindanao, Lieutenant Don Pantaleon Arcillas,
with a sergeant, eight men, and a guide, in order to bring into
the fortress the cattle belonging to the king's farm, which had
strayed away and got up in the lands of the above-mentioned Mahometan
prince. Five days after their departure, whilst the lieutenant was
taking his meals at the house of a "Datu," or chief, named Oroncaya,
he was suddenly surrounded by seventy Moros, who, seizing upon him,
bound him to a tree and then flayed him alive, from the forehead to
the ankle. In this miserable and defenceless situation, the barbarous
"Datu" wreaked his vengeance on his body by piercing it all over
with his "kris," or dagger, and then ordered his skin to be hung up
on the pole of one of his ferocious banners.

In the year 1798, whilst the schooner San Jose lay at anchor at
Tabitabi, near Jolo, the sons-in-law and nephews of the sultan went
out to meet her in two large prows, exhibiting at the same time every
demonstration of peace, and, sending forward a small vessel with
refreshments, they invited the captain to come on board of them. The
latter, deceived by the apparent frankness and high rank of the Moros,
with the greatest good faith accepted the invitation, and proceeded on
board, accompanied by two sailors, with a view to make arrangements
for barter. Scarcely had they got on board of the large prow, when
they were surrounded and seized, and the captain, who was a Spaniard,
compelled to sign an order to his mate to deliver up the schooner,
which he reluctantly did, under the hope of saving his own and his
companions' lives. The Moros proceeded on board the Spanish vessel,
and, in the meantime, the two sailors were taken back to the boat,
and there killed with daggers in the presence of all. The schooner's
sails were next hoisted, and she was brought into Jolo, where the cargo
and crew were sold in sight of, and with the knowledge and consent of
the sultan; an atrocity for which he has always refused to give any
satisfaction to a nation, thus openly and barbarously outraged by his
own relatives, and in defiance of the existing treaties of peace. Such
is the cruel character, and such the execrable policy of the Moros
generally inhabiting the Islands situated in the Philippine seas.

[Growth of Moro power.] The most lamentable circumstance is, that
these infidel races, at all times to be dreaded, owing to their
numbers and savage ferocity, after the lapse of a century of almost
uninterrupted prosperity, and encouraged also by our inattention,
have at length gradually attained so formidable a degree of power,
that their reduction now must be considered an extremely arduous and
expensive enterprise, although an object urgently requisite, and worthy
of the greatness of a nation like ours. In order, however, that the
difficulties of so important an undertaking may be justly appreciated,
it may be proper to observe that the Island of Mindanao alone, at
the present moment, contains a population equal, if not larger, than
that of Luzon, and the margins of the immense lake, situated in its
center, are covered with well-built towns, filled with conveniences,
the fruits of their annual privateering, and of the traffic they
carry on with the inhabitants of the Island of Jolo. True it is,
and it may be said, equally fortunate, that they are greatly divided
into parties, subject to a variety of "datus," or independent chiefs,
in name only inferior to the one who styles himself the sultan of the
whole Island. As, however, the fortresses and districts of Caraga,
Misamis, and Zamboanga occupy nearly three parts of the circumference
of the Island, these Moros freely possess no more than the southern
part, commencing at about twenty-five leagues from Cape San Augustin,
and ending in the vicinity of Zamboanga; so that the largest number
of their naval armaments are fitted out and issued to sea, either by
the great river of Mindanao, or from some of the many bays and inlets
situated on the above extent of coast.

[Jolo.] The Island of Jolo, although small compared with that of
Mindanao, is, nevertheless, in itself the most important, as well
as the real hotbed of all the piracies committed. Its inhabitants,
according to the unanimous reports of captives and various merchants,
in skill and valor greatly exceed the other Mahometans who infest
these seas. The sultan is absolute, and his subjects carry on trade
with Borneo, Celebes, and the other Malayan tribes scattered about
this great Archipelago. In the port of Jolo, as already noticed,
sales are made of Christians captured by the other Moros. The Chinese
of Amoy, as well as the Dutch and British, carry them manufactured
goods, opium and arms, receiving, in return, black pepper, bees'
wax, balato, edible nests, tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, gold
dust, pearls, etc., and from Manila also a vessel usually goes once
a year with goods; but all act with the greatest precaution in this
dangerous traffic, guarding, as much as possible, against the insidious
acts of that perfidious government. The great number of renegades,
of all casts, who have successively naturalized themselves there;
the abundance of arms, and the prevailing opulence, have, in every
respect, contributed to render this Island a formidable and powerful
state. The capital is surrounded with forts and thick walls, and
the famous heights, standing near it, in case of emergency, afford a
secure asylum where the women can take refuge and the treasures of
the sultan and public be deposited, whilst in the plains below the
contest may be maintained by more than 50,000 combatants, already
very dexterous in the use of the musket and of a bold and courageous
character. The navy of these Islanders is also very respectable,
for, besides a great number of smaller prows and war-boats, they
have some of a large size, capable of carrying heavy artillery on
their decks, mounted on corresponding carriages, and not suspended
in slings as is the custom of the people of Mindanao. In a word,
Jolo is an Island governed by a system of administration extremely
vigorous and decisive; dread and superstition sustain the throne of
the tyrant, and the fame of his greatness frequently brings to his
feet the ulemas, or missionaries of the Koran, even as far as from
the furthest margin of the Red Sea. The prince and people, unanimous
in the implacable odium with which they view all Christians, cannot
be divided or kept on terms of peace; and if it is really wished to
free these seas from the evils and great dangers with which they are
at all times threatened, it is necessary at once to strike at the
root, by landing and attacking the Jolonese in their strongholds,
and break the charm by which they are held together.

This, at least, is the constant and unshaken opinion of all
experienced persons and those versed in Philippine affairs; and if,
by the substantial reasons and existing circumstances, I convince
myself sufficiently to openly recommend war to be undertaken against
the Moros and pushed with the utmost vigor, and more particularly
commencing the work by a formal invasion of Jolo; still, as I feel
myself incompetent to trace a precise plan, or to discuss the minute
details more immediately connected with the object, I feel it necessary
to confine myself to the pointing out, in general terms, of the means
I judge most conducive to the happy issue of so arduous but important
an enterprise, leaving the rest to more able and experienced hands.

[Council of war recommended.] As a previous step, I conceive that
a council of war ought to be formed in Manila, composed of the
captain-general, the commanders of the navy, artillery, and engineer
department, as well as of the regular corps, who, in conformity to
all the antecedent information lodged in the secretary's office for
the captain-generalship, and the previous report of some one of the
ex-governors of Zamboanga and the best informed missionaries, may be
enabled to deliberate and proceed on to a mature examination of the
whole affair, taking into their special consideration everything
regarding Jolo, its early reduction, the number of vessels and
men required for this purpose, the most advantageous points of
attack, and the best season in which this can be carried into
execution. After all these matters have been determined upon, the
operation in question ought to be connected with the other partial
and general arrangements of the government, in order that a plan the
best adapted to localities and existing circumstances may be chosen,
and without its being necessary to wait for the king's approbation
of the means resolved upon, owing to the distance of the court and
the necessity of acting with celerity. If, however, on account of
the deference in every respect due to the sovereign, it should be
thought proper to reconcile his previous sanction with the necessity
of acting without loss of time, the best mode would be to send from
Spain an officer of high rank, fully authorized, who, as practised
on other occasions, might give his sanction, in the name of the king,
to the resolutions adopted by the council of war, and take under his
own immediate charge, if it should be so deemed expedient, the command
of the expedition against Jolo, receiving the appointment of governor
of the Island, as soon as the conquest should be carried into effect,
as a just reward for his zeal and valor.

[War popular in Philippines.] Supposing an uniformity of opinions to
prevail with regard to the expediency of attempting the subjugation
of Jolo, and supposing also the existence of the necessary funds to
meet the expenses of a corresponding armament, it may be positively
relied upon that the project would be extremely popular, and meet
with the entire concurrence and support of the Philippine Islands. The
military men, aware of the great riches known to exist in the proposed
theatre of operations, would emulously come forward to offer their
services, under a hope of sharing the booty, and the warlike natives
of the Bisayas would be impelled on by their hatred to the Moros,
and their ardent wishes to avenge the blood of their fathers and
children. On the other hand, the abundance of regular and well
disciplined officers and troops, at present in the colony and the
number of gun-boats found in the ports, a want of which, on other
occasions, has always been experienced, will afford ample scope for
the equipment of a force competent to the important enterprise in
view. In fact, if the operation is arranged in a systematic manner,
and all the precautions and rules observed as are usual in cases of
attacks premeditated against European and civilized establishments,
there is no reason to expect any other than a flattering and decisive
result, since, in reality, the whole would be directed against an
enemy contemptible on account of his barbarism and his comparative
ignorance of the art of war.

[Native assistance.] The preparations deemed necessary being made in
Manila, and the Bisayan auxiliaries assembled beforehand in Zamboanga,
with their arms and respective chiefs, the whole of the operation
in question, it may be safely said, might be terminated within the
period of three or four months. Supposing even 2,000 regular troops
are destined for this expedition, with a corresponding train of field
pieces, and at the moment there should not be found in the Islands a
sufficient number of larger vessels to embargo or freight for their
conveyance, a competent quantity of coasters, galleys and small craft
might be met with at any time sufficiently capacious and secure to
carry the men. This substitute will be found the less inconvenient,
because, as the navigation is to be performed among the Islands during
the prevalence of the north winds, usually a favorable and steady
season of the year, the voyage will consequently be safe and easy. It
will also be possible to arrive at the point agreed upon, as a general
rendezvous, in twenty, or five-and-twenty days, which place, for many
reasons, ought to be the fortress of Zamboanga, situated in front of
Jolo and at moderate distance from that Island; it being from this port
that, in former times, the Philippine governors usually sent out their
armaments, destined to make war against the Basilanese and Jolonese.

[Mindanao also needs attention.] As soon as this important and
memorable enterprise has been carried into effect, and the punishment
and total subjugation of these faithless Mahometans completed and
the new conquest placed under a military authority, in the mean
time that the lands are distributing and arrangements making to
establish the civil administration, on the same plan followed in the
other provinces of the Philippine government, the armament ought to
return to Zamboanga with all possible speed; but, after stopping by
the way to reduce the small island of Basilan and leaving a fortress
and garrison there. Immediately afterwards, and before the various
tribes of Moros inhabiting the Island of Mindanao have been able to
concert among themselves and prepare for their defence, it would
be advisable to direct partial expeditions towards both flanks of
Zamboanga, for the purpose of burning the settlements of the natives
and driving them from the shores into the interior. Forts ought then
to be raised at the mouths of the inlets and rivers, and a fourth
district government formed in the southern part of the island; in such
manner that, by possession being taken of the coasts, the government
and district of Zamboanga may be placed in contact with the new
one established on the one side, and on the other with the district
of Misamis, also the new district with that of Caraga, the western
part of which territory is already united to that of Misamis. Such,
at least, was the opinion of Lieutenant-Colonel Don Mariano Tobias,
an officer deservedly celebrated for his prudence and consummate skill
in these matters, and this he substantially expressed in a council
of war, held on August 28, 1778, for the purpose of deliberating on
the most advisable means to check the Moros, as appears by a long
and intelligent report drawn upon this subject on April 26, 1800,
by the adjutant-general of this colony, Don Rufino Suarez.

In case it should be determined to adopt the means proposed by Colonel
Tobias, for the purpose of holding the Moros of Mindanao in check,
and to which, unfortunately, due regard has not hitherto been paid,
notwithstanding the enterprise presents very few difficulties, owing
to the little opposition to be expected from the infidel natives,
the latter would then be left completely surrounded and shut up in
the heart of the island, and their active system of privateering,
with which they have so many years infested these seas, entirely
destroyed. If, through the want of garrisons and population, it should
not, however, be possible to deprive them of all their outlets, by
which means they would still be able occasionally to send some of
their cruising vessels, nevertheless there would be facilities with
which it would be possible to pursue and counteract the ravages of
the few pirates who might furtively escape out of some river, while
now they are fitted out, and well manned and armed to the number of
one and two hundred war-boats, openly in their ports.

[A plan for future policing.] After the emporiums of slavery have
been destroyed by the conquest of Jolo, and the other general
measures adopted, as above pointed out, the government would then
be in a situation to turn its attention, with much greater ease,
to the arrangement of all the other minor schemes of precaution and
protection suited to the difference of circumstances and locality,
without the concurrence of which the work would be left imperfect,
and in some degree the existence of those settled in the new
establishments rendered precarious. As, however, I am unprepared
minutely to point out the nature of these measures, or distinctly
to lay down a ground-work for future civilization and improvement,
I shall merely observe, that what would then remain to be done would
neither require any great capital, or present obstacles which might
not easily be overcome. The Moros being then concentrated in the
Island of Mindanao, and this completely surrounded on all sides by our
forts and settlements, in the manner above described, the only enemies
let loose on these seas would be either the few who might, from time
to time, elude the vigilance of our troops and district-commanders,
or those who might have escaped from Jolo previous to its conquest,
and taken up their abode in one or other of the Bisayas Islands; or,
in short, such as are out cruising at the time our armament returns
to Zamboanga and takes possession of the southern coast of Mindanao;
in which case they would be compelled to resort to a roving life,
establishing, like the Jolo fugitives, temporary dwellings among the
mangroves and thickets bordering on the shore.

The principal objects then remaining for the attention of government
would be to guard and protect the towns and settlements established
on the coasts from the insults and inroads of banditti, impelled by
necessity or despair, and at the same time to promote the gradual
overthrow or civilization of the dispersed remnant of Moorish
population left in the Island. The cruising of the pirates being
thus reduced to a space comprehended in an oblong circle formed by
an imaginary line drawn from the southern extreme of the Island of
Leyte, to the south-west point of Samar, which next running along
the north-west coast of Mindoro, on the outside of Tacao and Burias,
and coming down to the west of Panay, Negros and Bohol, closes the
oval at the little island formed by the Strait of Panaon, about forty
gunboats might be advantageously stationed in the narrowest passages
from land to land; as, for example, in the Strait of San Juanico and
other passes of a similar kind, well known to the local pilots. By this
means, the limits would be gradually contracted. Various small naval
armaments ought, at the same time, to keep cruising in the center
of this circle, pursuing the Moros by sea and land, dislodging them
from their strongholds and lurking places, and sending on those who
might be captured to the depot pointed out by government.

[Feasibility of plans.] The first part of the plan would be the
more easily realized, as it is well-known that most of the districts
corresponding to the Bisayan tribes, including those of Camarines and
Albay, situated at the extremity of the island of Luzon, have several
gunboats of their own, which might be used with great advantage. By
merely advancing and stationing them in such channels as the Moros
must necessarily pass, either in going out or returning, according to
the different monsoons, they would easily be checked, without removing
the gunboats to any great distance from their own coasts. As besides
the great advantages resulting from this plan and every one doing
his duty are apparent, no doubt numbers of natives would volunteer
their services, more particularly if they were liberally rewarded,
and their maintenance provided from the funds of the respective
communities. Moreover, the points which at first should not be
considered as sufficiently guarded might be strengthened by the king's
gunboats, and, indeed, in all of them it would be advisable to station
some of the latter, commanded by a select officer, to whose orders
the captains of the provincial gunboats ought to be made subservient.

With regard to the second part, it will suffice to observe that the
captain-generalship of the Philippine Islands already possesses as
many as seventy gunboats, besides a considerable number of gallies
and launches, which altogether constitute a formidable squadron
of light vessels; and, after deducting those deemed necessary for
the protection of Jolo and the new province to be established in
Mindanao, a sufficient number would still be left to carry into
execution all the objects proposed. At present, although the Moros
navigate in numerous divions, and with a confidence inspired by their
undisturbed prosperity, a 24-pounder shot from one of our launches is
nevertheless sufficient to put them to flight; what therefore may not
be expected when their forces shall be so greatly diminished and their
apprehensions increased, of being defeated and captured? Nevertheless,
as it is not easy for our gunboats to come up with them, when giving
chase, it would be advisable to add to our cruisers a temporary
establishment of prows and light vessels, manned by Bisayan Indians,
which, by advancing on with the gallies, might attack the enemy and
give time for the gunboats to come up and decide the action. Besides as
the Bisayan Indians are perfectly acquainted with the mode of making
war on the Moros, the meaning of their signals and manoeuvers and
the kind of places on shore in which they take shelter when pursued
at sea, the employment of such auxiliaries would be extremely useful.

[Need of undivided leadership.] The whole of these defensive and
offensive arrangements would, however, be ineffectual or incomplete
in their results, if the most perfect union and concert is not
established in every part, so that all should conspire to the same
object, although by distinct means. In order therefore that the
necessary harmony may be secured, it would be expedient to remove the
chief authority nearer to the theater of war, by confiding all the
necessary instructions and powers to the person who might be selected
for the direction and command of the enterprise, after the general
plan of operations had been regularly approved. Under this impression,
and with a view to the better execution of all the details, it would
be advisable for the commanding officer, named by the government,
to take up his headquarters in the Island of Panay, which, owing to
its geographical situation, the great number of towns and inhabitants
contained in the three provinces into which it is divided, as well
as other political reasons, is generally esteemed preferable for the
object in question, to the Island of Zebu, where, in former times,
the commanders of the province of the painted natives resided,
as mentioned in the laws of the Indies. The center of action being
placed in Iloilo, a communication with the other points would thus
more easily be kept open, aid and relief might be sent more rapidly
to the quarter where required, and, in a word, all the movements,
of whatsoever kind they might be, would be executed with greater
precision and certainty of success. It would be unnecessary to
add that the provincial magistrates of Camarines and Albay ought to
co-operate, with their fourteen gunboats and other smaller vessels, in
the measures adopted by the commander of the Bisayan establishment,
distributing their forces according to the orders given by him,
and by undertaking to guard the straits of San Bernardino.

[Paragua.] The Island of Paragua, at the head of which the
provincial jurisdiction of Calamianes is placed, is not included
in the great circle, or chain of stations, above traced out, as
well in consequence of its great distance from the other islands,
for which reason it is not so much infested by the Moros, as because
of its being at present nearly depopulated and uncultivated, and for
these reasons the attention of government ought not to be withdrawn
from other more important points. With regard to that of Mindanao,
the necessity of keeping up along the whole of its immense coast, a
line of castles and watch towers, has already been fully pointed out,
more especially in the vicinity of the bay of Panguil, to the north,
and the mouths of the great river towards the south; the two points
in which the enemies' most formidable armaments are usually fitted
out. Consequently, it would not be possible to expect the provincial
commanders stationed there would be able to disengage any part of
their naval force, in order to place it at the disposal of the officer
commanding the Bisayan vessels. Indeed, it is obvious that it would be
extremely important to afford the people of Mindanao every possible
additional aid, in vessels, troops and money, in order the better to
check the sailing of partial divisions of the enemy, and thus prevent
the immense number of pirates, inhabiting the interior of the island,
from breaking the fortified line, and again covering these seas, and
with redoubled fury carrying death and desolation along all the coasts.

It would, in fact, be extremely desirable if, through the concerted
measures and constant vigilance of the four chief magistrates
intrusted with the command of the island, the future attempts of
the Mindanayans could be entirely counteracted, and their cruisers
altogether kept within the line for a certain period of years; as by
thus depriving them of the facilities to continue their old habits
of life, these barbarous tribes would be eventually compelled to
adopt other pursuits, either by ascending the mountainous parts of
the island, and shutting themselves up in the thick and impenetrable
forests, with a view to preserve their independence; or, throwing
down their arms and devoting themselves to the peaceful cultivation
of their lands. In the latter case, they would gradually lose their
present ferocious character; their regard for the conveniences and
repose of social life would increase; the contrast would be attended
with most favorable consequences, and in the course of time, the whole
of the aboriginal natives of these islands would come into our laws
and customs, and become confounded in the general mass of Philippine
subjects, owing allegiance to the king.

Finally, it must be equally acknowledged that the Islands of Jolo,
Basilan, Capul, and some of the other inferior ones, of which,
as above pointed out, an union ought to be formed in the way of an
additional government, subordinate to the captain-general, would be
able to co-operate in the war on no other plan than the one traced
out for the provinces held in Mindanao; that is, by their gunboats
being confided to the protection of their own coasts; though with
this difference, that if, in one instance, the main object would be
to prevent the evasion of the enemy, in the other every effort must
be employed to guard against and repel their incursions when they
do appear. However complete the success of the armament, destined
for the reduction of Jolo, it may nevertheless be presumed, that the
mountains would still continue to give shelter to hordes of fugitives,
who would take refuge in the fastnesses, and avail themselves of every
opportunity to concert plans, or fly off to join their comrades in
Mindanao, in order to return, and through their aid, satisfy their
thirst for vengeance, by surprising some fortress or settlement,
or establishing themselves on some neglected and not well known
point. In consequence of this, the governor, commanding there,
would at first require the active co-operation of all his forces,
for the purpose of consolidating the new conquest, and causing his
authority to be respected throughout the island.

[Importance of peace for Philippine progress.] These, in my opinion,
are the true and secure means by which the enemies of the peace
and prosperity of the Philippines may be humbled, their piracies
prevented, and a basis laid for the future civilization of the
remaining islands in this important Archipelago. To this sketch,
a number of other details and essential illustrations, no doubt,
are wanting; and possibly, I may be accused of some inaccuracies, in
discussing a topic, with which I candidly avow I cannot be considered
altogether familiar. The plan and success of the enterprise must,
however, greatly depend on military skill and talent; but as I have
attempted no more than fairly to trace the general outline of the
plan, and insist on the necessity of its adoption, my remarks, it
is to be hoped, will serve to awaken a serious disposition to review
and investigate the whole subject, a task that most assuredly ought
to be confided to a competent and special council. Whatever defects
I may involuntarily have fallen into, will then be corrected; at the
same time it ought not to appear strange that inexperienced persons
should presume to speak on matters connected with the public good,
when we see them so much neglected by those whose more immediate duty
it is to look after and promote them. At all events, dispassionate
zeal has seldom done harm; and I again repeat, that my wish is not
so much to see my own ideas adopted, as to urge the necessity of
their being examined and digested. I am desirous that other sources
of information on this subject should be explored, that practical men
should be called in, and that those in power should be induced to apply
themselves and devote their exertions to an object so highly deserving
of their attention. In short, I am anxious that the pious injunctions
of our monarchs should be fulfilled, and that the tears and blood of
the inhabitants of these neglected islands should cease to flow.

Should the happy day ever arrive, when the inhabitants of these
provinces shall behold themselves free from the cruel scourge with
which they have been desolated for so many years, they will bless the
nation that has redeemed them from all their cares, they will tighten
their relations with it, and deliver themselves up to its direction
without reserve. The natives will then come down from the strong
fastnesses they at present inhabit; they will clear fresh lands, and
earnestly devote themselves to tillage and industry. Under the shadow
of peace, population and commerce will increase; the Bisayan vessels
will then plough the ocean without the dread of other enemies than
the elements; and the Moros themselves of Mindanao (I say it with
confidence), straightened on all sides, and incessantly harassed
by the Christians, but on the other hand witnessing the advantages
and mildness of our laws, will at length submit to the dominion of
the monarchs of Spain, who will thus secure the quiet possession of
one of the most interesting portions of the habitable globe, and be
justly entitled to the gratitude of all nations connected with China
and India, for having put an end to a series of the most terrific
plunder and captivity that ever disgraced the annals of any age.


Manila in 1842

By Com. Charles Wilkes, U.S.N.

(Narrative of U. S. Exploring Expedition, Vol. V, Chaps. 8 and 9.)

[Port rules.] At daylight, on January 13, we were again under way,
with a light air, and at nine o'clock reached the roadstead, where we
anchored in six fathoms water, with good holding-ground. Being anxious
to obtain our letters, which, we were informed at Oahu, had been sent
to Manila, I immediately dispatched two boats to procure them. On
their way to the mole, they were stopped by the captain of the port,
Don Juan Salomon, who requested them, in a polite manner, to return,
and informed the officers that, agreeably to the rules of the port,
no boat was permitted to land until the visit of the health-officer
had been made, etc.

[Official courtesies.] The captain of the port, in a large barge,
was soon seen pulling off in company with the boats. He boarded us
with much ceremony, and a few moments sufficed to satisfy him of
the good health of the crew, when he readily gave his assent to
our visiting the shore. Every kind of assistance was offered me,
on the part of the government, and he, in the most obliging manner,
gave us permission to go and come when we pleased, with the simple
request that the boats should wear our national flag, that they might
at all times be known, and thus be free from any interruption by the
guards. The boats were again dispatched for the consul and letters,
and after being anxiously watched for, returned; every one on board
ship expecting his wishes to be gratified with news from home; but,
as is usual on such occasions, the number of the happy few bore no
comparison to that of the many who were disappointed.

Our vice-consul, Josiah Moore, Esq., soon paid us a visit, and gave
us a pressing invitation to take up our quarters on shore while we
remained. To this gentleman and Mr. Sturges I am greatly indebted for
much of the information that will be detailed in the following chapter.

[American hemp ships.] A number of vessels were lying in the roads,
among which were several Americans loading with hemp. There was also a
large English East Indiaman, manned by Lascars, whose noise rendered
her more like a floating Bedlam than any thing else to which I can
liken it.

[A Spanish oriental city.] The view of the city and country around
Manila partakes both of a Spanish and an Oriental character. The
sombre and heavy-looking churches, with their awkward towers; the long
lines of batteries mounted with heavy cannon; the massive houses,
with ranges of balconies; and the light and airy cottage, elevated
on posts, situated in the luxuriant groves of tropical trees--all
excite a desire to become better acquainted with the country.

[Surroundings.] Manila is situated on an extensive plain, gradually
swelling into distant hills, beyond which, again, mountains rise in
the back ground to the height of several thousand feet. The latter
are apparently clothed with vegetation to their summits. The city is
in strong contrast to this luxuriant scenery, bearing evident marks
of decay, particularly in the churches, whose steeples and tile roofs
have a dilapidated look. The site of the city does not appear to have
been well chosen, it having apparently been selected entirely for
the convenience of commerce, and the communication that the outlet
of the lake affords for the batteaux that transport the produce from
the shores of the Laguna de Bay to the city.

[Canals.] There are many arms or branches to this stream, which have
been converted into canals; and almost any part of Manila may now be
reached in a banca.

In the afternoon, in company with Captain Hudson, I paid my first visit
to Manila. The anchorage considered safest for large ships is nearly
three miles from the shore, but smaller vessels may lie much nearer,
and even enter the canal; a facility of which a number of these take
advantage, to accomplish any repairs they may have occasion to make.

[Typhoons.] The canal, however, is generally filled with coasting
vessels, batteaux from the lake, and lighters for the discharge of
the vessels lying in the roads. The bay of Manila is safe, excepting
during the change of the monsoons, when it is subject to the typhoons
of the China Seas, within whose range it lies. These blow at times with
much force, and cause great damage. Foreign vessels have, however,
kept this anchorage, and rode out these storms in safety; but native
as well as Spanish vessels, seek at these times the port of Cavite,
about three leagues to the southwest, at the entrance of the bay,
which is perfectly secure. Here the government dockyard is situated,
and this harbor is consequently the resort of the few gunboats and
galleys that are stationed here.

[Twin piers.] The entrance to the canal or river Pasig is three hundred
feet wide, and is enclosed between two well-constructed piers, which
extend for some distance into the bay. On the end of one of these is
the light-house, and on the other a guard-house. The walls of these
piers are about four feet above ordinary high water, and include the
natural channel of the river, whose current sets out with some force,
particularly when the ebb is making in the bay.

[Suburbs.] The suburbs, or Binondo quarter, contain more inhabitants
than the city itself, and is the commercial town. They have all the
stir and life incident to a large population actively engaged in trade,
and in this respect the contrast with the city proper is great.

[Walled city.] The city of Manila is built in the form of a large
segment of a circle, having the chord of the segment on the river:
the whole is strongly fortified, with walls and ditches. The houses
are substantially built after the fashion of the mother country. Within
the walls are the governor's palace, custom-house, treasury, admiralty,
several churches, convents, and charitable institutions, a university,
and the barracks for the troops; it also contains some public squares,
on one of which is a bronze statue of Charles IV.

The city is properly deemed the court residence of these islands; and
all those attached to the government, or who wish to be considered as
of the higher circle, reside here; but foreigners are not permitted
to do so. The houses in the city are generally of stone, plastered,
and white or yellow washed on the outside. They are only two stories
high, and in consequence cover a large space, being built around a
patio or courtyard.

[Dwellings.] The ground-floors are occupied as storehouses,
stables, and for porters' lodges. The second story is devoted to
the dining-halls and sleeping apartments, kitchens, bath-rooms,
etc. The bed-rooms have the windows down to the floor, opening on wide
balconies, with blinds or shutters. These blinds are constructed with
sliding frames, having small squares of two inches filled in with
a thin semi-transparent shell, a species of Placuna; the fronts of
some of the houses have a large number of these small lights, where
the females of the family may enjoy themselves unperceived.

[Business.] After entering the canal, we very soon found ourselves
among a motley and strange population. On landing, the attention is
drawn to the vast number of small stalls and shops with which the
streets are lined on each side, and to the crowds of people passing
to and fro, all intent upon their several occupations. The artisans in
Manila are almost wholly Chinese; and all trades are local, so that in
each quarter of the Binondo suburb the privilege of exclusive occupancy
is claimed by some particular kinds of shops. In passing up the
Escolta (which is the longest and main street in this district), the
cabinet-makers, seen busily at work in their shops, are first met with;
next to these come the tinkers and blacksmiths; then the shoe-makers,
clothiers, fishmongers, haberdashers, etc. These are flanked by outdoor
occupations; and in each quarter are numerous cooks, frying cakes,
stewing, etc., in movable kitchens; while here and there are to be
seen betel-nut sellers, either moving about to obtain customers,
or taking a stand in some great thoroughfare. The moving throng,
composed of carriers, waiters, messengers, etc., pass quietly and
without any noise: they are generally seen with the Chinese umbrella,
painted in many colors, screening themselves from the sun. The whole
population wear slippers, and move along with a slipshod gait.

The Chinese are apparently far more numerous than the Malays, and the
two races differ as much in character as in appearance: one is all
activity, while the other is disposed to avoid all exertion. They
preserve their distinctive character throughout, mixing but very
little with each other, and are removed as far as possible in their
civilities; the former, from their industry and perseverance, have
almost monopolized all the lucrative employments among the lower
orders, excepting the selling of fish and betel-nut, and articles
manufactured in the provinces.

On shore, we were kindly received by Mr. Moore, who at once made us
feel at home. The change of feeling that takes place in a transfer from
shipboard in a hot climate, after a long cruise, to spacious and airy
apartments, surrounded by every luxury that kind attentions can give,
can be scarcely imagined by those who have not experienced it.

As we needed some repairs and supplies, to attend to these was
my first occupation. Among the former, we required a heavy piece
of blacksmith-work, to prepare which, we were obliged to send our
armourers on shore. The only thing they could procure was a place for
a forge; but coal, and every thing else, we had to supply from the
ship. I mention these things to show that those in want of repairs
must not calculate upon their being done at Manila with dispatch,
if they can be accomplished at all.

[City of Manila.] The city government of Manila was established
June 24, 1571, and the title under which it is designated is, "The
celebrated and forever loyal city of Manila." In 1595, the charter
was confirmed by royal authority; and all the prerogatives possessed
by other cities in the kingdom were conferred upon it in 1638. The
members of the city council, by authority of the king, were constituted
a council of advisement with the governor and captain-general. The
city magistrates were also placed in rank next the judges; and in
1686 the jurisdiction of the city was extended over a radius of five
leagues. In 1818, the members of the council were increased and ordered
to assume the title of "Excellency." Manila has been one of the most
constantly loyal cities of the Spanish kingdom, and is, in consequence,
considered to merit these additional royal favors to its inhabitants.

[Commerce.] In 1834, the Royal Tribunal of Commerce was instituted,
to supersede the old consulate, which had been established since 1772,
The Royal Tribunal of Commerce acts under the new commercial code, and
possesses the same privileges of arbitration as the old consulate. It
consists of a prior, two consuls, and four deputies, elected by the
profession. The three first exercise consular jurisdiction, the other
four superintend the encouragement of commerce. The "Junta de Comercio"
(chamber of commerce) was formed in 1835. This junta consits of the
Tribunal of Commerce, with four merchants, who are selected by the
government, two of whom are removed annually. The prior of the Tribunal
presides at the Junta, whose meetings are required to be held twice a
month, or oftener if necessary, and upon days in which the Tribunal
is not in session. The two courts being under the same influences,
and having the same officers, little benefit is to be derived from
their double action, and great complaints are made of the manner in
which business is conducted in them.

[Magellan.] Of all her foreign possessions, the Philippines have
cost Spain the least blood and labor. The honor of their discovery
belongs to Magellan whose name is associated with the straits at
the southern extremity of the American continent, but which has
no memorial in these islands. Now that the glory which he gained
by being the first to penetrate from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
has been in some measure obliterated by the disuse of those straits
by navigators, it would seem due to his memory that some spot among
these islands should be set apart to commemorate the name of, him
who made them known to Europe. This would be but common justice to
the discoverer of a region which has been a source of so much honor
and profit to the Spanish nation, who opened the vast expanse of the
Pacific to the fleets of Europe, and who died fighting to secure the
benefits of his enterprise to his king and country.

Magellan was killed at the island of Mactan, on April 26, 1521;
and Duarte, the second in command, who succeeded him, imprudently
accepting an invitation from the chief of Cebu to a feast, was, with
twenty companions, massacred. Of all the Spaniards present, only one
escaped. After these and various other misfortunes, only one vessel
of the squadron, the Victoria, returned to Spain. Don Juan Sebastian
del Cano, her commander, was complimented by his sovereign by a grant
for his arms of a globe, with the proud inscription, commemorative
of his being the first circumnavigator, "Primus Me Circumcedit."

[Other expeditions.] Two years afterwards, a second expedition was
fitted out, under the command of Loaisa, who died after they had
passed through the Straits of Magellan, when they had been a year
on their voyage. The command then fell upon Sebastian, who died in
four days after his predecessor. Salazar succeeded to the command,
and reached the Ladrone Islands, but shortly after leaving there
he died also. They came in sight of Mindanao, but contrary winds
obliged them to go to the Moluccas. When arrived at the Portuguese
settlements, contentions and jealousies arose, and finally all the
expedition was dispersed, and the fate of all but one of the vessels
has become doubtful. None but the small tender returned, which,
after encountering great difficulties, reached New Spain.

The third expedition was fitted out by Cortes, then viceroy of Mexico,
and the command of it given to Saavedra. This sailed from the port
of Silguattanjo, on the 31st of October, 1528, and stopped at the
Ladrone Islands, of which it took possession for the crown of Spain. It
afterwards went to Mindanao, and then pursued its voyage to Timor,
where part of the expedition of Loaisa was found remaining. From
Timor they made two attempts to return to New Spain, both of which
failed. The climate soon brought on disease, which carried off a great
number, and among them Saavedra. Thus the whole expedition was broken
up, and the survivors found their way to the Portuguese settlements.

The fourth expedition was sent from New Spain, when under the
government of Don Antonio de Mendoza, for the purpose of establishing
a trade with the new islands, and it received orders not to visit
the Moluccas. This expedition sailed in 1542, under the command
of Villalobos. It reached the Philippine Islands without accident,
and Villalobos gave them that name after Philip II, then prince of
Asturias. Notwithstanding his positive instructions to the contrary,
he was obliged to visit the Moluccas, and met the same treatment from
the Portuguese that had been given to all whom they believed had any
intention to interfere in their spice trade. The squadron touched at
Amboina, where Villalobos died, an event which caused the breaking
up of the expedition; and the few Spaniards that remained embarked
in the Portuguese vessels to return home.

The fifth and last expedition was ordered by Philip II to be sent
from Mexico, when under the government of Don Luis de Velasco,
for the final conquest and settlement of the Philippines. With
this expedition was sent Andres Urdaneta, a friar, whose reputation
stood very high as a cosmographer: he had belonged to the ill-fated
expedition of Loaisa. This was the largest that had yet been fitted
out for this purpose, numbering five vessels and about four hundred
men. The command of it was intrusted to [Legaspi.] Legaspi, under
whom it sailed from the port of Natividad, on November 21, 1564, and
upon whom was conferred the title of governor and adelantado of the
conquered lands, with the fullest powers. On the 13th of February,
1565, he arrived at the island of Tandaya, one of the Philippines:
from thence he went to Leyte; there he obtained the son of a powerful
chief as a guide, through whom he established peace with several of
the native rulers, who thereafter aided the expedition with all the
means in their power. At Bohol they built the first church. There he
met and made peace with a chief of Luzon, with whom he went to that
island. (Facts here are confused.--C.)

He now (April, 1565) took possession of all the island in the name of
the crown of Spain, and became their first governor. In this conquest,
motives different from those which governed them on the American
continent, seemed to have influenced the Spaniards. Instead of carrying
on a cruel war against the natives, they here pursued the policy of
encouraging and fostering their industry. Whether they felt that this
policy was necessary for the success of their undertaking, or were
influenced by the religious fathers who were with them, is uncertain;
but their measures seem to have been dictated by a desire to promote
peace and secure the welfare of the inhabitants. There may be another
cause for this course of action, namely, the absence of the precious
metals, which held out no inducement to those thirsting for inordinate
gain. This may have had its weight in exempting the expedition in
its outset from the presence of those avaricious spirits which had
accompanied other Spanish expeditions, and been the means of marking
their progress with excessive tyranny, bloodshed, and violence. It is
evident to one who visits the Philippines that some other power besides
the sword has been at work in them; the natives are amalgamated with
the Spaniards, and all seem disposed to cultivate the land and foster
civilization. None of the feeling that grows out of conquest is to be
observed in these islands; the two races are identified now in habits,
manners, and religion, and their interests are so closely allied that
they feel their mutual dependence upon each other.

The establishment of the new constitution in Spain in the year 1825
has had a wonderful effect upon these colonies, whose resources have
within the last ten years been developed, and improvements pushed
forward with a rapid step. Greater knowledge and more liberal views
in the rulers are alone wanting to cause a still more rapid advance
in the career of prosperity.

As our visit was to Luzon, we naturally obtained more personal
information respecting it than the other islands. We learned that the
northern peninsula [268] was composed of granite and recent volcanic
rocks, together with secondary and tertiary deposits, while the
southern peninsula is almost wholly volcanic.

The northern contains many valuable mines of gold, lead, copper,
and iron, besides coal. A number of specimens of these, and the rocks
which contain them, were presented to the Expedition by Senores Araria
and Roxas of Manila.

So far as our information and observations went, the whole of the
Philippine Islands are of similar geological formation. In some of
the islands the volcanic rock prevails, while in others coal and the
metalliferous deposits predominate. On some of them the coal-beds
form part of the cliffs along the shore; on others, copper is found
in a chlorite and talcose slate. The latter is more particularly
the case with Luzon, and the same formation extends to Mindoro. Much
iron occurs on the mountains. Thus among the (Upland) natives, who
are yet unsubdued by the Spaniards, and who inhabit these mountains,
it is found by them of so pure a quality that it is manufactured
into swords and cleavers. These are, occasionally, obtained by the
Spaniards in their excursions into the interior against these bands.

[Tufa.] The country around Manila is composed of tufa of a light gray
color, which being soft and easily worked, is employed as the common
building material in the city. It contains, sometimes, scoria and
pumice, in pieces of various sizes, besides, occasionally, impressions
of plants, with petrified woods. These are confined to recent species,
and include palms, etc.

This tufa forms one of the remarkable features of the volcanoes of the
Philippine Islands, showing a strong contrast between them and those of
the Pacific isles, which have ejected little else than lava and scoria.

Few portions of the globe seem to be so much the seat of internal
fires, or to exhibit the effects of volcanic action so strongly as
the Philippines. During our visit, it was not known that any of the
volcanoes were in action; but many of them were smoking, particularly
that in the district of Albay, called Isaroc. Its latest eruption
was in the year 1839; but this did little damage compared with
that of 1814, which covered several villages, and the country for a
great distance around, with ashes. This mountain is situated to the
south-east of Manila one hundred and fifty miles, and is said to be
a perfect cone, with a crater at its apex.

[Resources.] It does not appear that the islands are much affected
by earth-quakes, although some have occasionally occurred that have
done damage to the churches at Manila.

The coal which we have spoken of is deemed of value; it has a strong
resemblance to the bituminous coal of our own country, possesses a
bright lustre, and appears very free from all woody texture when
fractured. It is found associated with sandstone, which contains
many fossils. Lead and copper are reported as being very abundant;
gypsum and limestone occur in some districts. From this, it will
be seen that these islands have everything in the mineral way to
constitute them desirable possessions.

With such mineral resources, and a soil capable of producing the
most varied vegetation of the tropics, a liberal policy is all that
the country lacks. The products of the Philippine Islands consist
of sugar, coffee, hemp, indigo, rice, tortoise-shell, hides, ebony,
saffron-wood, sulphur, cotton, cordage, silk, pepper, cocoa, wax,
and many other articles. In their agricultural operations the
people are industrious, although much labor is lost by the use of
defective implements. The plough, of very simple construction, has
been adopted from the Chinese; it has no coulter, the share is flat,
and being turned partly to one side, answers, in a certain degree,
the purpose of a mould-board. This rude implement is sufficient for
the rich soils, where the tillage depends chiefly upon the harrow,
in constructing which a thorny species of bamboo is used. The harrow
is formed of five or six pieces of this material, on which the thorns
are left, firmly fastened together. It answers its purpose well, and
is seldom out of order. A wrought-iron harrow, that was introduced
by the Jesuits, is used for clearing the ground more effectually,
and more particularly for the purpose of extirpating a troublesome
grass, that is known by the name of cogon (a species of Andropogon), of
which it is very difficult to rid the fields. The bolo or long-knife,
a basket, and hoe, complete the list of implements, and answer all
the purposes of our spades, etc.

[Draft animals.] The buffalo was used until within a few years
exclusively in their agricultural operations, and they have lately
taken to the use of the ox; but horses are never used. The buffalo,
from the slowness of his motions, and his exceeding restlessness
under the heat of the climate, is ill adapted to agricultural labor;
but the natives are very partial to them, notwithstanding they
occasion them much labor and trouble in bathing them during the great
heat. This is absolutely necessary, or the animal becomes so fretful
as to be unfit for use. If it were not for this, the buffalo would,
notwithstanding his slow pace, be most effective in agricultural
operations; he requires little food, and that of the coarsest kind;
his strength surpasses that of the stoutest ox, and he is admirably
adapted for the rice or paddy fields. They are very docile when used
by the natives, and even children can manage them; but it is said they
have a great antipathy to the whites, and all strangers. The usual
mode of guiding them is by a small cord attached to the cartilage of
the nose. The yoke rests on the neck before the shoulders, and is of
simple construction. To this is attached whatever it may be necessary
to draw, either by traces, shafts, or other fastenings. Frequently this
animal may be seen with large bundles of bamboo lashed to them on each
side. Buffaloes are to be met with on the lake with no more than their
noses and eyes out of the water, and are not visible until they are
approached within a few feet, when they cause alarm to the passengers
by raising their large forms close to the boat. It is said that they
resort to the lake to feed on a favorite grass that grows on its bottom
in shallow water, and which they dive for. Their flesh is not eaten,
except that of the young ones, for it is tough and tasteless. The milk
is nutritious, and of a character between that of the goat and cow.

The general appearance of the buffalo is that of a hybrid of the
bull and rhinoceros. Its horns do not rise upwards, are very close
at the root, bent backwards, and of a triangular form, with a flat
side above. One of the peculiarities of the buffalo is its voice,
which is quite low, and in the minor key, resembling that of a young
colt. It is as fond of mire as swine, and shows the consequence of
recent wallowing, in being crusted over with mud. The skin is visible,
being but thinly covered with hair; its color is usually that of a
mouse; in some individuals darker.

[Rice.] Rice is, perhaps, of their agricultural products, the article
upon which the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands most depend for
food and profit; of this they have several different varieties; which
the natives distinguish by their size and the shape of the grain:
the birnambang, lamuyo, malagequit, bontot-cabayo, dumali, quinanda,
bolohan, and tangi. The three first are aquatic; the five latter
upland varieties. They each have their peculiar uses. The dumali
is the early variety; it ripens in three months from planting, from
which circumstance it derives its name: it is raised exclusively on
the uplands. Although much esteemed, it is not extensively cultivated,
as the birds and insects destroy a large part of the crop.

The malagequit is very much prized, and used for making sweet and
fancy dishes; it becomes exceedingly glutinous, for which reason it
is used in making whitewash, which it is said to cause to become of a
brilliant white, and to withstand the weather. This variety is not,
however, believed to be wholesome. There is also a variety of this
last species which is used as food for horses, and supposed to be a
remedy and preventive against worms.

The rice grounds or fields are laid out in squares, and surrounded by
embankments, to retain the water of the rains or streams. After the
rains have fallen in sufficient quantities to saturate the ground, a
seed-bed is generally planted in one corner of the field, in which the
rice is sown broadcast, about the month of June. The heavy rains take
place in August, when the fields are ploughed, and are soon filled with
water. The young plants are about this time taken from the seed-bed,
their tops and roots trimmed, and then planted in the field by making
holes in the ground with the fingers and placing four or five sprouts
in each of them; in this tedious labor the poor women are employed,
whilst the males are lounging in their houses or in the shade of
the trees.

The harvest for the aquatic rice begins in December. It is reaped
with small sickles, peculiar to the country, called yatap; to the
back of these a small stick is fastened, by which they are held,
and the stalk is forced upon it and cut. The spikes of rice are
cut with this implement, one by one. In this operation, men, women,
and children all take part.

The upland rice requires much more care and labor in its
cultivation. The land must be ploughed three or four times, and all
the turf and lumps well broken up by the harrow.

During its growth it requires to be weeded two or three times, to
keep the weeds from choking the crop. The seed is sown broadcast in
May. This kind of rice is harvested in November, and to collect the
crop is still more tedious than in the other case, for it is always
gathered earlier, and never reaped, in consequence of the grain not
adhering to the ear. If it were gathered in any other way, the loss
by transportation on the backs of buffaloes and horses, without any
covering to the sheaf, would be so great as to dissipate a great
portion of the crop.

It appears almost incredible that any people can remain in
ignorance of a way of preventing so extravagant and wasteful a mode
of harvesting. The government has been requested to prohibit it on
account of the great expense it gives rise to; but whether any steps
have ever been taken in the matter, I did not learn. It is said that
not unfrequently a third part of the crop is lost, in consequence of
the scarcity of laborers; while those who are disengaged will refuse
to work, unless they receive one-third, and even one-half of the crop,
to be delivered free of expense at their houses. This the planters
are often obliged to give, or lose the whole crop. Nay, unless the
harvest is a good one, reapers are very unwilling to engage to take it
even on these terms, and the entire crop is lost. The laborers, during
the time of harvest, are supported by the planter, who is during that
time exposed to great vexation, if not losses. The reapers are for the
most part composed of the idle and vicious part of the population, who
go abroad over the country to engage themselves in this employment,
which affords a livelihood to the poorer classes; for the different
periods at which the varieties of rice are planted and harvested,
gives them work during a large portion of the year.

After the rice is harvested, there are different modes of treating
it. Some of the proprietors take it home, where it is thrown into
heaps, and left until it is desirable to separate it from the straw,
when it is trodden out by men and women with their bare feet. For
this operation, they usually receive another fifth of the rice.

Others stack it in a wet and green state, which subjects it to heat,
from which cause the grain contracts a dark color, and an unpleasant
taste and smell. The natives, however, impute these defects to the
wetness of the season.

The crop of both the low and upland rice, is usually from thirty
to fifty for one: this is on old land; but on that which is newly
cleared or which has never been cultivated, the yield is far beyond
this. In some soils of the latter description, it is said that for a
chupa (seven cubic inches) planted, the yield has been a caban. The
former is the two-hundred-and-eighth part of the latter. This is not
the only advantage gained in planting rich lands, but the saving of
labor is equally great; for all that is required is to make a hole
with the fingers, and place three or four grains in it. The upland
rice requires but little water, and is never irrigated.

The cultivator in the Philippine Islands is always enabled to secure
plenty of manure; for vegetation is so luxuriant that by pulling the
weeds and laying them with earth, a good stock is quickly obtained
with which to cover his fields. Thus, although the growth is so rank
as to cause him labor, yet in this hot climate its decay is equally
rapid, which tends to make his labors more successful.

The rice-stacks form a picturesque object on the field; they are
generally placed around or near a growth of bamboo, whose tall,
graceful, and feathery outline is of itself a beautiful object,
but connected as it is often seen with the returns of the harvest,
it furnishes an additional source of gratification.

The different kinds of rice, and especially the upland, would no doubt
be an acquisition to our country. At the time we were at Manila, it
was not thought feasible to pack it, for it had just been reaped,
and was so green that it would not have kept. [269] Although rice
is a very prolific crop, yet it is subject to many casualties, from
the locusts and other insects that devour it; the drought at other
times affects it, particularly the aquatic varieties. There is a use
to which the rice is applied here, which was new to us, namely, as a
substitute for razors; by using two grains of it between the fingers,
they nip the beard, or extract it from the chin and face.

[Manila hemp.] Among the important productions of these islands, I have
mentioned hemp, although the article called Manila hemp must not be
understood to be derived from the plant which produces the common hemp
(Cannabis), being obtained from a species of plantain (Musa textilis),
called in the Philippines "abaca." This is a native of these islands,
and was formerly believed to be found only on Mindanao; but this is
not the case, for it is cultivated on the south part of Luzon, and
all the islands south of it. It grows on high ground, in rich soil,
and is propagated by seeds. It resembles the other plants of the tribe
of plantains, but its fruit is much smaller, although edible. The
fibre is derived from the stem, and the plant attains the height of
fifteen or twenty feet. The usual mode of preparing the hemp is to cut
off the stem near the ground, before the time or just when the fruit
is ripe. The stem is then eight or ten feet long below the leaves,
where it is again cut. The outer coating of the herbaceous stem
is then stripped off, until the fibers or cellular parts are seen,
when it undergoes the process of rotting, and after being well dried
in houses and sheds, is prepared for market by assorting it, a task
which is performed by the women and children. That which is intended
for cloth is soaked for an hour or two in weak lime-water prepared
from sea-shells, again dried, and put up in bundles. From all the
districts in which it grows, it is sent to Manila, which is the only
port whence it can legally be exported. It arrives in large bundles,
and is packed there, by means of a screw-press, in compact bales,
for shipping, secured by rattan, each weighing two piculs.

The best Manila hemp ought to be white, dry, and of a long and fine
fiber. This is known at Manila by the name of lupis; the second
quality they call bandala.

The exportation has much increased within the last few years, in
consequence of the demand for it in the United States; and the whole
crop is now monopolized by the two American houses of Sturges & Co.,
and T. N. Peale & Co., of Manila, who buy all of good quality that
comes to market. This is divided between the two houses, and the
price they pay is from four to five dollars the picul. The entire
quantity raised in 1840 was eighty-three thousand seven hundred and
ninety piculs; in 1841, eighty-seven thousand.

The quantity exported to the United States in 1840, was sixty-eight
thousand two hundred and eighty piculs, and in 1841, only sixty-two
thousand seven hundred piculs; its value in Manila is about three
hundred thousand dollars. Twenty thousand piculs go to Europe. There
are no duties on its exportation.

That which is brought to the United States is principally manufactured
in or near Boston, and is the cordage known as "white rope." The
cordage manufactured at Manila is, however, very superior to the
rope made with us, although the hemp is of the inferior kind. A large
quantity is also manufactured into mats.

In the opinion of our botanist, it is not probable that the plant could
be introduced with success into our country, for in the Philippines
it is not found north of latitude 14 deg. N.

[Coffee.] The coffee-plant is well adapted to these islands. A
few plants were introduced into the gardens of Manila, about fifty
years ago, since which time it has been spread all over the island,
as is supposed by the civet-cats, which, after swallowing the seeds,
carry them to a distance before they are voided.

The coffee of commerce is obtained here from the wild plant, and
is of an excellent quality. Upwards of three thousand five hundred
piculs are now exported, of which one-sixth goes to the United States.

[Sugar.] The sugar-cane thrives well here. It is planted after the
French fashion, by sticking the piece diagonally into the ground. Some,
finding the cane has suffered in times of drought, have adopted other
modes. It comes to perfection in a year, and they seldom have two
crops from the same piece of land, unless the season is very favorable.

There are many kinds of cane cultivated, but that grown in the valley
of Pampanga is thought to be the best. It is a small red variety, from
four to five feet high, and not thicker than the thumb. The manufacture
of the sugar is rudely conducted; and the whole business, I was told,
was in the hands of a few capitalists, who, by making advances, secure
the whole crop from those who are employed to bring it to market. It
is generally brought in moulds, of the usual conical shape, called
pilones, which are delivered to the purchaser from November to June,
and contain each about one hundred and fifty pounds. On their receipt,
they are placed in large storehouses, where the familiar operation
of claying is performed. The estimate for the quantity of sugar
from these pilones after this process is about one hundred pounds;
it depends upon the care taken in the process.

[Cotton.] Of cotton they raise a considerable quantity, which is of a
fine quality, and principally of the yellow nankeen. In the province
of Ilocos it is cultivated most extensively. The mode of cleaning it
of its seed is very rude, by means of a hand-mill, and the expense of
cleaning a picul (one hundred and forty pounds) is from five to seven
dollars. There have, as far as I have understood, been no endeavors
to introduce any cotton-gins from our country.

[Wages.] It will be merely necessary to give the prices at which
laborers are paid, to show how low the compensation is, in comparison
with those in our own country. In the vicinity of Manila, twelve and
a half cents per day is the usual wages; this in the provinces falls
to six and nine cents. A man with two buffaloes is paid about thirty
cents. The amount of labor performed by the latter in a day would
be the ploughing of a soane, about two-tenths of an acre. The most
profitable way of employing laborers is by the task, when, it is said,
the natives work well, and are industrious.

The manner in which the sugar and other produce is brought to market
at Manila is peculiar, and deserves to be mentioned. In some of the
villages, the chief men unite to build a vessel, generally a pirogue,
in which they embark their produce, under the conduct of a few persons,
who go to navigate it, and dispose of the cargo. In due time they
make their voyage, and when the accounts are settled, the returns
are distributed to each according to his share. Festivities are then
held, the saints thanked for their kindness, and blessings invoked
for another year. After this is over, the vessel is taken carefully
to pieces, and distributed, among the owners, to be preserved for
the next season.

The profits in the crops, according to estimates, vary from sixty
to one hundred per cent.; but it was thought, as a general average,
that this was, notwithstanding the great productiveness of the soil,
far beyond the usual profits accruing from agricultural operations. In
some provinces this estimate would hold good, and probably be exceeded.

[Indigo.] Indigo would probably be a lucrative crop, for that raised
here is said to be of quality equal to the best, and the crop is
not subject to so many uncertainties as in India: the capital and
attention required in vats, etc., prevent it from being raised in
any quantities. Among the productions, the bamboo and rattan ought to
claim a particular notice from their great utility; they enter into
almost every thing. Of the former their houses are built, including
frames, floors, sides, and roof; fences are made of the same material,
as well as every article of general household use, including baskets
for oil and water. The rattan is a general substitute for ropes of
all descriptions, and the two combined are used in constructing rafts
for crossing ferries.

I have thus given a general outline of the capabilities of this
country for agricultural operations, in some of the most important
articles of commerce; by which it will be seen that the Philippine
Islands are one of the most favored parts of the globe.

[Locusts.] The crops frequently suffer from the ravages of the locusts,
which sweep all before them. Fortunately for the poorer classes, their
attacks take place after the rice has been harvested; but the cane
is sometimes entirely cut off. The authorities of Manila, in the vain
hope of stopping their devastations, employ persons to gather them and
throw them into the sea. I understood on one occasion they had spent
eighty thousand dollars in this way, but all to little purpose. It is
said that the crops rarely suffer from droughts, but on the contrary
the rains are thought to fall too often, and to flood the rice fields;
these, however, yield a novel crop, and are very advantageous to the
poor, viz.: a great quantity of fish, which are called dalag, and are
a species of Blunnius; they are so plentiful, that they are caught
with baskets: these fish weigh from a half to two pounds, and some are
said to be eighteen inches long; but this is not all; they are said,
after a deep inundation, to be found even in the vaults of churches.

The Philippines are divided into thirty-one provinces, sixteen of
which are on the island of Luzon, and the remainder comprise the
other islands of the group and the Ladrones.

[Population.] The population of the whole group is above three
millions, including all tribes of natives, mestizos, and whites. The
latter-named class are but few in number, not exceeding three
thousand. The mestizos were supposed to be about fifteen or twenty
thousand; they are distinguished as Spanish and Indian mestizos. The
Chinese have of late years increased to a large number, and it is
said that there are forty thousand of them in and around Manila
alone. One-half of the whole population belongs to Luzon. The island
next to it in the number of inhabitants is Panay, which contains
about three hundred and thirty thousand. Then come Cebu, Mindanao,
Leyte, Samar, and Negros, varying from the above numbers down to
fifty thousand. The population is increasing, and it is thought that
it doubles itself in seventy years. This rate of increase appears
probable, from a comparison of the present population with the estimate
made at the beginning of the present century, which shows a growth
in the forty years of about one million four hundred thousand.

The native population is composed of a number of distinct tribes,
the principal of which in Luzon are Pangasinan, Ilocos, Cagayan,
Tagalog, and Pampangan.

The Igorots, who dwell in the mountains, are the only natives who
have not been subjected by the Spaniards. The other tribes have
become identified with their rulers in religion, and it is thought
that by this circumstance alone has Spain been able to maintain the
ascendency with so small a number, over such a numerous, intelligent,
and energetic race as they are represented to be. This is, however,
more easily accounted for, from the Spaniards fostering and keeping
alive the jealousy and hatred that existed at the time of the discovery
between the different tribes.

It seems almost incredible that Spain should have so long persisted
in the policy of allowing no more than one galleon to pass annually
between her colonies, and equally so that the nations of Europe should
have been so long deceived in regard to the riches and wealth that
Spain was monopolizing in the Philippines. The capture of Manila,
in 1762, by the English, first gave a clear idea of the value of this
remote and little-known appendage of the empire.

The Philippines, considered in their capacity for commerce, are
certainly among the most favored portions of the globe, and there is
but one circumstance that tends in the least degree to lessen their
apparent advantage; this is the prevalence of typhoons in the China
seas, which are occasionally felt with force to the north of latitude
10 deg. N. South of that parallel, they have never been known to prevail,
and seldom so far; but from their unfailing occurrence yearly in some
part of the China seas, they are looked for with more or less dread,
and cause each season a temporary interruption in all the trade that
passes along the coast of these islands.

The army is now composed entirely of native troops, who number about
six thousand men, and the regiments are never suffered to serve in
the provinces in which they are recruited, but those from the north
are sent to the south, and vice versa. There they are employed to keep
up a continual watch on each other; and, speaking different dialects,
they never become identified.

They are, indeed, never allowed to remain long enough in one region,
to imbibe any feelings in unison with those of its inhabitants. The
hostility is so great among the regiments, that mutinies have occurred,
and contests arisen which have produced even bloodshed, which it was
entirely out of the power of the officers to prevent. In cases of
this kind, summary punishment is resorted to.

[Conditions not peaceful.] Although the Spaniards, as far as is known
abroad, live in peace and quiet, this is far from being the case; for
rebellion and revolts among the troops and tribes are not unfrequent in
the provinces. During the time of our visit one of these took place,
but it was impossible to learn anything concerning it that could
be relied upon, for all conversation respecting such occurrences
is interdicted by the government. The difficulty to which I refer
was said to have originated from the preaching of a fanatic priest,
who inflamed them to such a degree that they overthrew the troops
and became temporarily masters of the country. Prompt measures were
immediately taken, and orders issued to give the rebels no quarter;
the regiments most hostile to those engaged in the revolt were ordered
to the spot; they spared no one; the priest and his companions were
taken, put to death, and according to report, in a manner so cruel as
to be a disgrace to the records of the nineteenth century. Although I
should hope the accounts I heard of these transactions were incorrect,
yet the detestation these acts were held in, would give some color
to the statements.

The few gazettes that are published at Manila are entirely under the
control of the government; and a resident of that city must make
up his mind to remain in ignorance of the things that are passing
around him, or believe just what the authorities will allow to be
told, whether truth or falsehood. The government of the Philippines
is emphatically an iron rule: how long it can continue so, is doubtful.

[The governor-general.] One of my first duties was to make an
official call upon His Excellency Don Marcelino Oroa, who is the
sixty-first governor of the Philippine Islands. According to the
established etiquette, Mr. Moore, the vice-consul, announced our
desire to do so, and requested to be informed of the time when we
would be received. This was accordingly named, and at the appointed
hour we proceeded to the palace in the city proper. On our arrival,
we were announced and led up a flight of steps, ample and spacious,
but by no means of such splendor as would indicate the residence of
vice-royalty. The suite of rooms into which we were ushered were so
dark that it was difficult to see. I made out, however, that they were
panelled, and by no means richly furnished. His excellency entered
from a side-door, and led us through two or three apartments into his
private audience-room, an apartment not quite so dark as those we
had come from: our being conducted to this, I was told afterwards,
was to be considered an especial mark of respect to my country. His
reception of us was friendly. The governor has much more the appearance
of an Irishman than of a Spaniard, being tall, portly, of a florid
complexion. He is apparently more than sixty years of age. He was
dressed in a full suit of black, with a star on his breast.

Mr. Moore acted as interpreter, and the governor readily acceded to my
request to be allowed to send a party into the interior for a few days;
a permission which I almost despaired of receiving, for I knew that
he had refused a like application some few months before. The refusal,
however, I think was in part owing to the character of the applicants,
and the doubtful object they had in view. I impute the permission we
received to the influence of our consul, together with Mr. Sturges,
whose agreeable manners, conciliatory tone, and high standing with
the authorities, will, I am satisfied, insure us at all times every
reasonable advantage or facility.

The term of the governor in office is three years, and the present
incumbent was installed in 1841. This length of time is thought to be
sufficient for any one of them to make a fortune. The office is held
by the appointment of the ministry in Spain, and with it are connected
perquisites that are shared, it is said, by those who confer them.

After having paid our respects to his excellency, we drove to visit
several other officers of the government, who received us without
ceremony. We generally found them in loose morning-gowns, smoking, and
cigars were invariably offered us; for this habit appears in Manila to
extend to all ranks. Even in the public offices of the custom-house
it was the fashion, and cigars, with a machero for striking a light,
or a joss-stick kept burning, were usually seen in every apartment.

[Courteous Spanish officials.] To the captain of the port, Don Juan
Salomon, I feel under many obligations for his attentions. I was
desirous of obtaining information relative to the Sulu Seas, and to
learn how far the Spanish surveys had been carried. He gave me little
hopes of obtaining any; but referred me to Captain Halcon, of the
Spanish Navy, who had been employed surveying some part of the coast
of the islands to the north. The latter whom I visited, on my making
the inquiry of him, and stating the course I intended to pursue,
frankly told me that all the existing charts were erroneous. He
only knew enough of the ground to be certain that they were so,
and consequently useless. He advised my taking one of the native
pilots, who were generally well acquainted with the seas that lay
more immediately in my route. The captain of the port was afterwards
kind enough to offer to procure me one.

The intercourse I had with these gentlemen was a source of much
gratification, and it gives me great pleasure to make this public
expression of it. To both, my sincere acknowledgments are due for
information in relation to the various reefs and shoals that have
been recently discovered, and which will be found placed in their
true position on our charts.

During our stay at Manila, our time was occupied in seeing sights,
shopping, riding, and amusing ourselves with gazing on the throng
incessantly passing through the Escolta of the Binondo suburb, or
more properly, the commercial town of Manila.

[Cigar factories.] Among the lions of the place, the great royal cigar
manufactories claim especial notice from their extent and the many
persons employed. There are two of these establishments, one situated
in the Binondo quarter, and the other on the great square or Prado;
in the former, which was visited by us, there are two buildings of
two stories high, besides several storehouses, enclosed by a wall,
with two large gateways, at which sentinels are always posted. The
principal workshop is in the second story, which is divided into six
apartments, in which eight thousand females are employed. Throughout
the whole extent, tables are arranged, about sixteen inches high,
ten feet long, and three feet wide, at each of which fifteen women
are seated, having small piles of tobacco before them. The tables are
set crosswise from the wall, leaving a space in the middle of the room
free. The labor of a female produces about two hundred cigars a day;
and the working hours are from 6 a.m., till 6 p.m., with a recess of
two hours, from eleven till one o'clock. The whole establishment is
kept very neat and clean, and every thing appears to be carried on
in the most systematic and workmanlike manner. Among such numbers,
it has been found necessary to institute a search on their leaving
the establishment to prevent embezzlement, and this is regularly
made twice a day, without distinction of sex. It is a strange sight
to witness the ingress and egress of these hordes of females; and
probably the world cannot elsewhere exhibit so large a number of ugly
women. Their ages vary from fifteen to forty-five. The sum paid them
for wages is very trifling. The whole number of persons employed in the
manufactories is about fifteen thousand; this includes the officers,
clerks, overseers, etc.

As nearly as I could ascertain, the revenue derived from these
establishments is half a million of dollars.

The natives of the Philippines are industrious. They manufacture an
amount of goods sufficient to supply their own wants, particularly
from Panay and Ilocos. These for the most part consist of cotton and
silks, and a peculiar article called pina. The latter is manufactured
from a species of Bromelia (pineapple), and comes principally
from the island of Panay. The finest kinds of pina are exceedingly
beautiful, and surpass any other material in its evenness and beauty
of texture. Its color is yellowish, and the embroidery is fully
equal to the material. It is much sought after by all strangers,
and considered as one of the curiosities of this group. Various
reports have been stated of the mode of its manufacture, and among
others that it was woven under water, which I found, upon inquiry,
to be quite erroneous. The web of the pina is so fine, that they
are obliged to prevent all currents of air from passing through the
rooms where it is manufactured, for which purpose there are gauze
screens in the windows. After the article is brought to Manila, it
is then embroidered by girls; this last operation adds greatly to
its value. We visited one of the houses where this was in progress,
and where the most skilful workwomen are employed.

On mounting the stairs of bamboos, every step we took produced its
creak; but, although the whole seemed but a crazy affair, yet it did
not want for strength, being well and firmly bound together. There
were two apartments, each about thirteen by twenty-five feet, which
could be divided by screens, if required. At the end of it were seen
about forty females, all busily plying their needles, and so closely


Back to Full Books