The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898
Emma Helen Blair

Part 4 out of 5

a better state of defense; while now it is subject to any piratical
invasion whatever. For all these reasons, and others that Father
Alonso Sanchez will tell you in greater detail, we beg that your
Majesty be pleased to reduce this government to only one governor who
has experience in the affairs of this country, and in the wars and
pacifications that can and should be made. This we shall consider as
the greatest favor and kindness, and the only remedy for our hardships.

Section 3. In other letters we implored your Majesty to be pleased
to have set aside in Nueva Hespana pay for three hundred soldiers,
who should serve here as a garrison, with whom this government and
the dominions of your Majesty could be increased by other kingdoms
of great wealth. We entreat this once more; and Father Sanchez will
inform your Majesty of the blessings that may result to your royal
service therefrom.

Section 4. Because of its lack of public property this city cannot
maintain many things needed for the public good; therefore, we wrote
to your Majesty, entreating that you have a repartimiento of Indians
granted this city. Answer was received that the governor should
take cognizance of this matter; and therefore having recourse to the
governor and president, Santiago de Vera, we learn that he is informing
your Majesty of this necessity in his letters. Father Alonso Sanchez
also will do the same by word of mouth. We entreat your Majesty--since
this matter is so just, and appertains so much to your royal service
and the common good--to have this city granted an encomienda of
three or four thousand Indians, and the alcaizeria of the Chinese,
or any like favor, whereby all the above expenses may be met.

Section 5. We are being totally ruined here through the arrival in
this city of merchants, and consignments from Mexico, and innumerable
troubles are arising therefrom, of which the same religious will
inform you in our name. The customs duties of Sevilla and of Vera
Cruz are being decreased and lost, to the great detriment of the
merchants. Four or five thousand pesos, more or less, are brought to
this city from Nueva Hespana, whence they are taken to the foreign
kingdom of China. Finally, the royal incomes and customs duties
are being decreased, the merchants of Castilla are suffering loss,
the silver is taken to a country of infidels, and these islands will
be ruined entirely, if your Majesty do not correct these evils by
ordering that no merchants come hither from Nueva Hespana, or send
money for investment here, but that the citizens of these islands
alone have the right to trade and traffic. This will only be done
in small amounts, and will result in fewer troubles; while those who
are engaged in pacifying and maintaining this country will have some
reward for their toils, instead of all the profits being reaped by
those who go to Mexico, after trading here with so much resultant
loss to this state and to the seigniories of your Majesty, as Father
Alonso Sanchez will inform you in greater detail.

Section 6. Father Fray Rufino, of the Franciscan order, is sailing
to those kingdoms for the sole purpose of soliciting religious of
his order for these islands, where they are greatly needed for the
preaching of the gospel. We beseech your Majesty to order his superiors
to send them with all haste, and the same to the Augustinian order.

Section 7. Since Father Alonso Sanchez will, on account of his
thorough knowledge of affairs in this country, China, and the
states of Eastern India, discuss with your Majesty these and many
other things--all touching the service of God and your Majesty--and
petition you concerning them, we humbly beg that your Majesty will
please to grant him free audience; for in all, and by all, we ratify
everything that he may relate and declare to your Majesty. May God,
our Lord, preserve and exalt your Majesty's sacred royal Catholic
person, with the increase of kingdoms and seigniories that we, your
subjects and vassals, desire. Manila, June 25, 1586.

Don Juan de Bivero, archdeacon of this holy cathedral church, has
served in it for twenty years, and has taken part in all the work of
pacification in these islands, in administering the holy sacraments to
the soldiers and citizens--in all, serving God and your Majesty very
religiously. At present he is in dire need, for he has been given
no recompense for his services, and this country has no benefices
or other ecclesiastical incomes from which he might be supported. We
beseech that your Majesty be pleased to order some recompense to be
given him, since he so well deserves it. This will be a very signal
favor and kindness to this city. Sacred royal Catholic Majesty,
your Majesty's servants and vassals.

Andres de Villanueva
Don Antonio Sufre Carrillo
Andres Cabchela
Don Francisco de Poca y Guevara
Juan de Moron
Juan Maldonado del Castillo
Juan Baptista Roman
Rodriguez Albarez
Francisco RroS
Hernando Nunez de Pyatos
Luis de Bivanco
Hernando Vergara

Letter from Antonio Sedeno to Felipe II


Sacred Royal Catholic Majesty:

It is five or six years since the Society, at your Majesty's orders,
sent me to these Philippinas Islands, together with some fathers and
brethren. In these islands we have endeavored, during all this time, to
attend to the needs and welfare of the country, in the service of God,
and, with especial care and effect, in that of your Majesty. Besides
ordinary occasions, two noteworthy cases have arisen in the course
of these years, beyond, these islands and in China, in which we
have lent our aid by order of your Majesty's governors, the bishop,
and the chief personages of these islands, by sending Father Alonso
Sanchez-of whom your Majesty has notice already--the first time to
reduce to your obedience the Portuguese of those regions. This he
accomplished with the success and skill of which your Majesty will have
heard, and with many hardships--both in China, and Macan, and in his
voyaging--as your Majesty will have learned by his relations. On the
second occasion he was sent, by the same order, to reduce a vessel,
which had mutinied in China, which he accomplished also so well,
that the factor, who was going with the warrants, confesses that
without him he could have done nothing, because of the mettle of
the Portuguese, and the daring with which those of the vessel had
closed with them. In this case there would surely have been many
disorders and deaths, if the said father, by his care and prudence,
and the authority that he enjoys among all, had not appeased them,
and reduced both of them. In this, and in a year of contrary weather
on strange seas and land, he suffered the hardships and dangers of
which, likewise, your Majesty has been informed.

Since his return, in this last year of his stay here, your president
and auditors, and the entire city and camp, have been forced to examine
and deliberate upon the danger of these lands, the condition of which
is daily becoming worse. Both in private talks and in assemblies called
for that purpose, the remedy for these troubles has been discussed;
and all, with one voice and unanimously, agreed that there was nothing
else to do but to send the said father to discuss these matters with
your Majesty. For they have this confidence in him through their long
experience, not only in the two so grave affairs above mentioned,
but in all the more common matters which have been generally attended
to by the said father, since his arrival at these islands; and since
all of them are satisfied as to his proved virtue and religion,
the impartial manner in which he attends to matters, his energy and
executive ability, and his learning, whenever these qualifications are
needed. Especially they recognize the love that he has ever manifested
toward these lands, and the special eagerness with which he exerts
himself in your Majesty's affairs, and in establishing and increasing
your titles and rights to new conquests and pacifications--his reasons
therefor being the great service that will accrue to God in this way,
and your Majesty's obligation to make the conquests for the welfare
and remedy of so many souls. For these and other reasons and motives
which they know, all, unanimously--secular, clergy, religious,
municipal government, and Audiencia--have requested most urgently
that the said father go upon this mission to your Majesty. After much
hesitation--because of the vacancy that his absence will cause in
our religious community, and for the sake of the common welfare of
all this country; and because of the dislike that I have ever found
in him to meddle in such distractions and labors, so contrary to his
inclination (which has ever been that of one desirous of retreat)--I
was willing to excuse him from such a duty, thinking that he would
serve God, your Majesty, and these your lands, no less here. But, in
addition to the general demand of the whole community, I was ordered
by a decree of your Audiencia, which I could not or ought not resist;
and therefore he is going. I beseech your Majesty to receive this
little service from this religious order of yours, and from this
house; and from my poor will and that which the father takes, to
succeed in everything in serving your Majesty, knowing how great is
the service done to God, if success is secured therein. I shall not
request your Majesty to give him audience, for all the community begs
that; and of the kindness with which you will receive his humble and
good intentions, proof is experienced here, and your Majesty will
appreciate them. And as he has no other thought, intent, or designs
than the common welfare, and the service of God and your Majesty,
both he and I have great fortitude and tranquillity. May God grant
your Majesty, in this life, what we all desire for you; and, in the
other and eternal life, what we all beg for your Majesty, and are all
assured is kept for you as a reward for the so many labors and cares
with which your Majesty has maintained, and maintains, the universal
Church. Manila, June 25, 1586. Your sacred royal Catholic Majesty's
most humble servant in our Lord.

Antonio Sedeno

[Addressed: "+ To the sacred royal Catholic Majesty of the King
Felippe, our sovereign."]

[Endorsed: "+ To his Majesty, no. 16. 1586. Manila, June 25. Antonio
Sedeno, rector of the Society of Jesus. In recommendation of Father
Alonso Sanchez."]

Letter of Domingo de Salazar to Felipe II

Royal Catholic Majesty:

As Father Alonso Sanchez, of the Society of Jesus, is going, in the
name of this community, to inform your Majesty of the condition of
these kingdoms, and of their need for reforms, I shall not dwell upon
that matter at all, but will refer you to what the said father will
relate in detail. But, inasmuch as there are certain special matters
that perhaps he will not mention, I thought that I should inform your
Majesty of them in the present letter.

Immediately upon the arrival of the royal Audiencia in these islands,
mass was commenced to be said in the royal chapel. According to the
usual procedure in other audiencias, the chaplains who said it ended
the prayer of the mass with that clause which reads, _et famulos
tuos_, etc.--in which, after the name of his Majesty, follow those of
the bishop and the president, and the others contained in the said
prayer. According to what is said in this principal church of this
city, the president and auditors erased the name of the bishop, and
substituted those of the auditors, under the name of senators. When
I heard of this, I ordered my name to be inserted, and those of the
auditors to be erased. This gave rise to animosity, and certain acts
were passed, which the dean declares were sent to the royal Council
[of the Indias] a year ago.

Because I sat down one day on the gospel side of the principal altar
during mass, the president and auditors took umbrage, and refused to
enter the principal church again until I made them return to it. I
have not sat there since, in order to give no grounds for contention,
although I know that it is my proper place, and that the Audiencia
have deprived me of it against all right. What was done in this
matter was sent also to the royal Council last year. I entreat that
your Majesty will be so good as to have the Audiencia and myself
informed as to what must be observed in regard to these two points;
for it is neither right that they should take umbrage at me, nor for
me to do what I should not.

After their arrival in this city, there was but little harmony between
the president and auditors. Their discord was so public, that it
caused great scandal here. I tried to restore peace between them,
and for that purpose came to this city, leaving the visitation that
I was making. After they had been harmonized once, they began to
quarrel again, and with much more scandal than before. I tried for
the second time to pacify them; and when I saw that talking to each
one in private could result in nothing, one day, in full meeting,
I set before them the great scandal that they were causing in this
city, and the bad example that they were setting to it; and declared
to them the great displeasure of your Majesty, if you should know it,
and of God too. The hand of the Lord was interposed, and their lack
of harmony ended from that time; and they have been on friendly terms
ever since. In public as in secret, God works His will.

In a decree sent to me by the Inquisition of Mexico your Majesty
orders me to deliver the records of proceedings and the prisoners to
the commissary of the Inquisition there; this I did immediately, as
I was only awaiting a message sufficient to enable me to do so, but
which had not come until then. I know that many troubles will surely
arise from this in the future; but, in doing what is ordered me,
I obey. May our Lord preserve your Majesty's royal Catholic person
for many years, for the good of His church and the protection of us
who have so little power. Manila, June 26, 1586.

Royal Catholic Majesty, your most humble friar chaplain kisses your
royal hands.

The Bishop of the Filipinas

[Addressed: "To his royal Catholic Majesty, King Don Phelippe,
our sovereign. In his royal Council of the Indies."]

[Endorsed: "Philippinas. + To his Majesty, 587; from the bishop,
June 26." _In a different hand:_ "Seen. Have its points abstracted."]

Letter from the Audiencia of Manila to Felipe II

Sacred Royal Catholic Majesty:

In the past year of eighty-five, we gave your Majesty a report on
the condition of this land, and some other matters concerning your
service, which are contained in the duplicate accompanying this present
letter. If it has not been examined, we beg your Majesty to have this
done, and to make suitable provision for these matters.

_That the tributes shall be increased by one real for married men,
and a half-real for single men, in order to pay the soldiers._ [49]
Section 1. By your Majesty's order, the soldiers usually come from
Nueva Spana with one hundred and fifteen pesos as pay, out of which
they clothe themselves and purchase their weapons. They continue to
spend their money until they embark at Acapulco, so that, when they
arrive at these islands, they have nothing more to spend and find no
one to give them food. Unable to find a way to earn their sustenance,
they are forced to seek it among the natives, whom they annoy and
maltreat. They live in extreme distress, and so fall sick. The
greater number even die soon, without the possibility of assistance
from their neighbors, because they also are poor. The royal exchequer
is also always in difficulties, and embarrassed by many debts. Your
governor has been unable to give them any assistance from the royal
treasury. Considering that the natives of this land commonly have
treasure and means of gain, and furnish less in tribute than do the
natives of Nueva Spana (who are in fact poorer), and that without
oppression they might pay more, it has seemed right to us, if it be
your Majesty's pleasure, that the rate of tribute shall in general
be increased by one real for married men, one-half real for single
men, and for young men who possess means of gain, but who do not pay
tribute, the sum of one real. It will be easy for them all to pay this
every year. By this increase twenty-five thousand pesos, or even more,
would be realized, with which many of the soldiers living here could be
paid; meanwhile, as the others enter paid employment, they would be on
like footing with those just mentioned, and could support themselves;
and they would willingly do their duty in war, to which they must at
present be forced. Soldiers would willingly come here to serve your
Majesty, if they could know that they would be supported and paid;
and thus your royal conscience would be relieved. It certainly seems
cruelty to compel these men to serve without pay, and to die of
hunger. We beseech your Majesty that, if this remedy be expedient,
you will have the kindness to order its application, and will have
money sent from the royal exchequer of Mexico, so that these wretched
people can at least be fed and clothed.

_Expenses which have been incurred in war_. Section 2. By your
Majesty's decree, the offices of clerk of the exchequer and of the
governor's office were sold, for some five thousand odd pesos; and,
although this sum was to have been sent on a separate account to the
officials in Nueva Espana, and thence to the House of Trade at Sevilla,
it was absolutely necessary to spend it on a fleet to operate against
the Japanese pirates, who are in the habit of plundering the coasts
of these islands; and also on a ship, which is being built for this
navigation [between New Spain and the Philippines], in order that
traffic should not be stopped; for the despatch of your Majesty's
fleet to Nueva Spana; and for various other matters. This could not
be avoided, because there is no more money in the royal exchequer
with which to relieve these distresses, as your Majesty will see by
the accounts which the royal officials are sending.

_Concerning the twenty-two thousand pesos in salaries for the
Audiencia_. Section 3. Your Majesty has ordered that from the
repartimientos of Indians that are now or shall become vacant, twelve
thousand pesos de minas shall be assigned to the royal crown, to pay
the salaries of the Audiencia. We have informed your Majesty, in our
letters, of the great difficulties that would arise from the execution
of this order. For the soldiers, expecting to receive encomiendas,
and that some day good fortune would come to them, have for many
years served your Majesty, and are now serving, in war at their
own cost. Now the fruit of their labors is taken away from the men
who have conquered and maintained this land, while they are without
the hope that they may be rewarded in any other manner; and, seeing
themselves thus deprived, they become disheartened, desert service,
and abandon the land, thus depopulating it beyond all remedy. It seems
to us that, if such should be your Majesty's pleasure, it would be
best that you command money to be sent from Mexico for the salaries of
the Audiencia; and to assign the Indians who are or shall be without
owners as repartimientos and encomiendas to those who have served,
and have merited such reward, as has been the custom hitherto. Since
the conservation and increase of this land is so important for your
Majesty's service, may you be pleased to order for its succor, and
for the aid of the ecclesiastical and secular estates, the sum of
twenty-five thousand or thirty thousand pesos, to be provided annually
from the royal exchequer in Mexico. This sum is quite necessary for
the expenses incurred in armed expeditions, in aid for this land and
its defense, and in what is done almost every year for Maluco.

Section 4. As affairs in this island are constantly falling into so
great neglect and danger of loss; and so many occasions that might
be advantageous to your Majesty, for the reduction of this new world
to your service, slip by; and since all the many thousands of souls,
oppressed and deceived by the devil, in great China and other kingdoms
in the neighborhood of these islands, may be saved through the door
which your Majesty has commenced to open--understanding that your
Majesty has not been suitably informed since these neighbors were
discovered, nor has had any clear account of their affairs, we have
agreed to send your Majesty a person who can do this and give your
Majesty a true relation of everything. Considering that Father Alonso
Sanchez, of the Society of Jesus (a man of the highest prudence and
learning, and most excellent in Christian faith and practice), has
a wide knowledge and great experience in this land and the realms of
China, Yndia, Xapon, and other surrounding nations (acquired by having
seen most of them several times and having visited and closely observed
them), and inasmuch as there is no one else able to do it--considering
also his detachment from outside considerations and interests, which,
intermingling, distort all one's views: therefore this Audiencia, the
city, the orders, the military captains, and all the other citizens,
unanimously elected him for this purpose. As he made excuses for
not going, and his superior declined to give him permission, we
ordered the latter to give the father leave and to order him, by
his obligation to obedience, to make this voyage, and the father to
accept the charge. Accordingly, the said father is going to inform
your Majesty and supplicate your favor for these islands, asking for
redress of their grievances and improvement of their condition, and
to discuss with your Majesty other matters of greater importance, of
which he will inform you. We beg your Majesty to grant him audience,
and to place entire confidence in a man who acts here with prudence,
circumspection, religious principle, and wise methods--as your Majesty
will understand when you see him in person; we refer your Majesty to
the relation he will give you.

Section 5. Your Majesty did a great favor to this Audiencia and to
the citizens of these islands, by appointing the licentiate Don
Antonio Rivera y Maldonado, who arrived in good health, and has
assumed his office.

Section 6. In this Audiencia, as is usual among all those that are
newly founded, a certain rivalry as to jurisdiction has existed between
the president and auditors, and some differences and discords have
arisen over it; therefore we decided among ourselves to lay the matter
before your Majesty, in order that you may declare and enforce your
pleasure; meanwhile the Audiencia will exercise the duties contested
between them. The trouble is ended, and there is quiet and agreement
among us. We beseech your Majesty to examine the record of proceedings
and acts in this matter, and to declare whether the conferring of
the said offices belongs to the Audiencia, or to the president alone,
in order that our concord may be permanent, and that there shall be
no further occasion for disturbing it; for this condition of peace
is so important for your Majesty's service and the good of the land.

Section 7. As we have before related to your Majesty, ships resort to
these islands from China with merchandise and many supplies, with which
this land is but ill furnished. The fear of customs duties on such
things as provisions and supplies, which are of great bulk, the great
expense in lading, and their small profits here, induce those merchants
to discontinue bringing the above-named articles, substituting others
in their place. Thus there has been a great scarcity of supplies,
and considerable distress in the land. We have seen your Majesty's
decree in which you order us to make a report of the duties imposed
upon the merchants by Don Gonzalo Ronquillo, governor of these islands;
and whether it is expedient to impose heavier duties, or to drop them
altogether. In the meantime, we shall take such measures here as we
consider most necessary for your service. We are ordering that the
collection of one and one-half per cent imposed on money coming to
this land be discontinued; and, in order that the Chinese might bring
us an abundance of supplies, with horses and cattle, as they had begun
to do, it is decreed that no duties be imposed on the grain, biscuit,
flour, and all other provisions brought by them, in order to encourage
them to provide this land abundantly with these supplies. Moreover,
besides the above reason, the amount collected from this source for
your Majesty is very small. Your Majesty will order what you shall
be pleased to have done in this matter.

Section 9. [50] By virtue of a royal decree of your Majesty, the bishop
added another parish priest to the benefice of this cathedral church,
so that there are now two priests and a sacristan. Orders have been
given that their salaries shall be paid from the royal exchequer,
in conformity with another royal decree lessening the amount to be
secured from the tithes.

Section 10. Your Majesty ordered a royal decree to be issued,
commanding us to send a report on the recommendation made by the bishop
of these islands, that it is expedient that a brief be procured from
his Holiness, in order that the authority which he granted to the
bishop in the _foro interior_ for twelve years be also granted to
him in the _foro esterior_. [51] Since this concession has been made
by other pontiffs to the religious of the mendicant orders, the claim
made by the bishop has seemed to us both fitting and necessary--as also
that the grant be made for several years more, because eight of the
twelve years have elapsed. Since the orders possess this authority,
it is just that the bishop shall not remain without it, because cases
arise in the _foro esterior_, which, although they should go to the
apostolic see, fail to go, on account of the great difficulty and
length of the journey between here and Rome; and thus penitents might
not secure absolution, or would be unable to fulfil the obligations
that they owe to their consciences. And, if your Majesty be pleased
to order that this brief be obtained, it is our opinion that the same
authority be conferred, _tan in absolvendo quam in dispensando_.

Section 11. Your Majesty commanded your royal decree to be issued,
ordering that the hundred pesos and hundred fanegas of rice which
are given annually as alms to the religious, besides the wine for
the saying of mass, and flour for the host, be given them. This
ordinance has been observed, and the supplies given them conformably
to the decree.

Section 12. Certain slaves are brought to these islands from Yndia and
the settlement at Macan; as your Majesty has given no orders as to
the collection of duty on them from those who bring them hither--as
is paid on those from Santo Domingo and other places to Nueva Espana
and Piru--your royal officials have not collected on them, or on
those slaves who are carried from these islands to Nueva Espana. We
ask your Majesty to order as suits your pleasure in the regulation
of this matter.

Section 13. Your viceroy in Yndia has, by severe restrictions and heavy
penalties, closed the door to the intercourse and commerce maintained
with these islands by the Portuguese; he has ordered that we should
not resort to Yndia, nor should the Portuguese come hither. As the
route to Macan and the coast of China has been opened, he says that
the natives of that country are offended, and might destroy Macan
through fear. Nevertheless, we understand that this course has been
pursued on account of the little love that the Portuguese feel for us;
and because they think that the Castilians will injure their commerce
and trade and raise the price of commodities in that land. We judge
from our own observation that, since so many ships come from the entire
coast of China to this land, and great concessions and kind treatment
have been afforded to them here, and as they supply their country
with gold and silver received in exchange for what they sell us, they
ought not to feel irritated at our presence there. On the contrary,
they always say that they desire this, and would be pleased to have
our trade. Although some inconvenience might result from Castilians
going there, it could not result from the Portuguese coming hither
with their wealth and merchandise. They, who are Christians, would
then enjoy the wealth and money now carried away by the Chinese;
and thus all of it would remain among your Majesty's vassals, which
would seem to be important to your service. Since we all are vassals of
your Majesty, we may have intercourse together, which will facilitate
the plans of your Majesty. Your Majesty will take such action as is
expedient for your service.

The archbishop of Mexico, [52] while acting as governor of Nueva
Espana, sent Captain Francisco Galli to Nueva Espana and the ports,
and ordered him to transact other affairs necessary in your Majesty's
service, taking particular care to give him secret orders not to go to
Macan or the coast of China, because they ought not to waste time in
buying merchandise, and on account of other reasonable considerations
which influenced him. Your governor, the president of this Audiencia,
hearing that Pedro de Unamuno--who, on account of Captain Galli's
death, succeeded to his office, together with a large sum of money
which the latter and the officers of the fleet had brought over to
invest--was about to go to Macan, hastened to give them orders, under
penalty of death, to observe the secret instructions given by the said
archbishop, not to go to Macan. The fiscal appealed from this order,
asking that he should not be commanded to make a voyage to Nueva
Espana and abandon the discovery. Notwithstanding the confirmation of
the governor's order by this Audiencia, we have learned that he has
gone toward that coast of China and the settlement of Macan. We give
your Majesty particulars of this matter, in anticipation of future
contingencies. May our Lord preserve the imperial royal Catholic
person of your Majesty, and grant you the addition of greater realms
and seigniories, as we your Majesty's vassals desire and need. Manila,
June 26, 1586. Sacred Royal Catholic Majesty, your Majesty's servants
kiss your royal feet

L. de Santiago de Vera
The licentiate Melchor de Avalo
The licentiate Pedro de Rojas
The licentiate Don Antonio de Ribera Maldonado

[Addressed: "To his sacred royal Catholic Majesty King Don [Felipe]
our lord, in his royal Council of the Indias."]

[Endorsed: "To his Majesty; no. 8; 1586. Letter from the Audiencia
of the Filipinas; June 26, 86." "On various matters regarding the
islands, of which it gives a detailed account, in order that his
Majesty may have it and take suitable action regarding all."]

Letter of Pedro de Rojas to Felipe II

The great need in this country of giving your Majesty an account of the
many matters here that demand reform (and without it are on their way
to evident ruin), and further of the affairs of the realm of China,
seems at this juncture to make it indispensable that the people of
this country should send to your Majesty Father Alonso Sanchez, of
the Society, a person of very holy life, much learning, prudence,
and excellent judgment, and such a one as is well fitted to go to
discuss with your Majesty the affairs which have been placed in his
charge. Many of them, if the father did not go, would compel me to
write to your Majesty for their amendment; but, as he is being sent,
I shall let them go, referring you to all that the said father may
relate. I only beg that at this time, when the opportunity is so good,
and within the lifetime of your Majesty, an entrance may be made
into these Chinese realms, and they and the neighboring countries
be brought to the knowledge of the holy Catholic faith, and to the
service and dominion of your Majesty.

The affairs of this Audiencia are, through the goodness of God, in
order and peace at present--although in times past it has not been so,
for there was some contention between your president and auditors,
over filling certain offices of the Audiencia. The appointments
to them belonged, it seems, according to your royal laws, to the
Audiencia. There was a question as to whether the president was to
confirm the appointments made by him as governor, in your royal name,
by Don Phelipe, and with your royal seal. It seems that this is quite
to the disadvantage of the Audiencia. For, if the office of governor
resided in another than the president, the offices of the Audiencia
would not be provided for therein, except the president and auditors;
nor would they be confirmed by Don Phelipe or with your royal seal,
since this belongs to the Audiencia alone. As soon as it was seen
that this was being done, there was hard feeling; but nevertheless,
to avoid wrangling, a compromise was settled upon--which, if it be
your Majesty's pleasure, you may order to be examined, as it is sent
with the documents relating to the foregoing controversy. By these
your Majesty will see how much your president was at fault, and the
chance the Audiencia gave for your Majesty's interests to suffer, if
there were any disturbance. Everything was done very circumspectly,
to avoid the injury that might result, from some other source, to
this commonwealth and realm. Accordingly we drew up, by agreement,
an act which your fiscal sent with the other papers; and since then
we have had no difficulties, but on the contrary, cordial relations
have been maintained in so far as the public is concerned. It appears,
however, that this is not so in secret; for I was yesterday informed
that your president was sending depositions and information against
your auditors, reviewing our entire lives, to your Majesty. I beseech
you to have these documents examined, both ours and his; and, if it
shall follow that we are at fault, we will expiate it with no less
than our lives, for it is not just that those who are disloyal to
your Majesty's service in countries so remote should incur a lighter
punishment. Will your Majesty make certain of the intention of your
president, and whether he can find guilt in your auditors too grave
for pardon. Likewise your Majesty must understand that I do not
consider that I am serving you by detailing the shortcomings of my
colleagues; for there is no lack of writers better able to write and
tell them than I am. The one thing that gives me consolation is, that
when your Majesty sends some one to ascertain how we have served you,
then in truth, you will be able to see who has done and who has aided
in doing his duty. [53]

Although the father above mentioned is instructed to discuss the
matters pertaining to this country, it has seemed best to me not to
neglect writing your Majesty about the following matters.

It seems expedient for your royal service, as this country is so
ill-provided and poor, that the Audiencia should be suppressed, and
that in its place one man be sent who is fitted for the position. If he
be not such, the Audiencia should remain, in order to hear disputants
with justice, relieve the oppressed, remedy wrongs and grievances,
and prevent many wrong acts which, without it, an evil-minded governor
would commit; this would also do away with the appeals to Mexico,
by which the citizens suffer much loss. But if the governor were a
fit one, there would be no need for the Audiencia and for many other
institutions, for the reasons which the father will explain to you.

Such a governor should have authority and permission from your Majesty
so that, after having discussed and consulted (with such persons as
you may direct) on the affairs that seem to him most important for
your Majesty's service, he shall take such measures as appear to him
expedient, without other formality or consultation with your Majesty;
for in many cases the delay would entail losses, and in this way many
important opportunities are lost to your Majesty's service.

Such a governor should not give permission, without a special license
from your Majesty, for any person to go out of this country; for by
the lack of this, great losses in population have been suffered here;
in some years more Spaniards go hence than arrive. Besides, everyone
is confident that permission to go will be granted to him, and many
therefore neglect to make themselves a home; whereas, if they did so,
it would cause them to multiply, have children, and become citizens
of the country.

Such a governor should not be allowed, either in his own name or
through a third person, to carry on trade or commerce. And the better
to hold him to this, the decision as to whether he trades or carries
on commerce should be in the hands of the magistracy, the municipal
government, and the judiciary; so that, if such charge be proved on
investigation, all the said governor's goods may be sequestered and
he be sent prisoner to your Majesty, so that you may do with him
and his as you see fit. If this be done, it is the surest means to
keep the governors in the path of rectitude, and make them perform
their duties as they should. Nothing else has wrought such ruin in
the country as the trading and trafficking of those who govern it.

And in order that this land should meet the high hopes which your
Majesty has for it, it would seem of the utmost importance to restrain
not only the governors from trading, but the soldiers as well. From
their trading have resulted losses to your Majesty, which I shall
point out.

Every year there goes out of this country to China three hundred
thousand pesos of silver, and this year more than five hundred
thousand. The Chinese obtain here much gold, which they take away,
and none of it ever comes back to this country; and what they bring
for it is the dregs of their own country, while what they take is
the fat and richness of your Majesty's realm.

Through the opportunities furnished by commerce, a great many Chinese
come hither, which is no small injury for so weak and poor a land; for
every Chinaman eats more than do five Moros and always of the best,
even though the cost is high, and in this way provisions are made
dearer. With the interest in inordinate gain, they cease to perform
their duties, because these are of less profit than trade. If this were
stopped, some of them would, for their own interest, seeing that there
is nothing else of which they are capable, stay in these islands as
farmers, others as stock-raisers; and still others would work at the
mechanical trades, and especially at building, which is so important a
trade in this country. In this way they would receive their profits,
and the Spaniards would have all the service they wanted, and that
very cheaply. If they no longer bring silk and brocades, they can
bring cows, horses, mares, provisions, military supplies, copper,
and all kinds of metal and gunpowder, each in great abundance, and at
a low cost--a thing much to the profit of this land, as may readily be
seen. Articles sent from Espana to Nueva Espana would keep their value;
and the gold and silver paid for them would remain in your own realm.

If there were no trade with China, the citizens of these islands would
be richer; for the natives, if they had not so many tostons, would
pay their tributes in the articles which they produce, and which are
current--that is, cloths, _lampotes_, cotton, and gold, all of which
have great value in Nueva Espana. These they cease to produce because
of the abundance of silver; and what is worse, and entails more loss
upon your Majesty, is that they do not, as formerly, work the mines
and take out gold. If they did so, it would be of great importance
to your Majesty and the whole country; and if this alone formed the
merchandise sent to Nueva Espana from these islands, the gold and
silver would remain here, and in the hands of the Spaniards themselves.

Carrying on commerce as they do, all the Spaniards are absorbed in
it, to such a degree that there are not even enough to aid in the
expeditions and military operations. Thus they will not remember
that they are soldiers, and living among so many enemies, and do
not realize that they are carrying arms; nor do they work for what
your Majesty claims of them, the conversion and pacification of the
natives. The Spaniards have become effeminate in spirit by their
trading, and on various occasions have greatly lost their repute,
for they are not as they used to be--having given themselves over
to vices, luxuries, fine clothes, eating, and drinking; consequently
they have not had their wonted success on several of the expeditions,
and have come back without accomplishing what they set out to do,
and the friendly Indians are making war, and going out to fight.

If your Majesty would prohibit trading, except perhaps in the products
of the islands, three hundred men would be of as much use here as a
thousand are today; for they would realize that they must gain their
livelihood by their arms, and not by traffic. Otherwise they only
await a chance to go hence as soon as possible, and so take no heed
of the affairs of this country, and do not engage in stock-raising
and agriculture, or in building, for each one does as suits him best;
and therefore this country is not growing, but rather falling into
appalling decay and weakness.

What with the hopes they all have of returning to Espana, they will
not do otherwise than send their wealth back thither; and they have no
mind for spending it in the country where they earned it, in building
churches, monasteries, and chapels, and performing other pious works
whereby this city would be improved--which they would do if they knew
that permission could not be given them to go back to Espana.

It would seem best for the present that your Majesty should not make
exchanges or transfers of Indians with the encomenderos; for, if this
is done, your Majesty must pay for it in other parts of the royal
estate. At the least he will lose a soldier, an important thing in this
land, when it has cost your Majesty so much to bring him here. On the
other hand, they will always settle down, in order to have some one to
succeed them in their encomiendas, and will marry; and their children
will do the same, and become more and more naturalized in this land,
which is so important for its welfare.

Likewise it seems expedient, for the same object, that your Catholic
Majesty should found in this city a seminary and place of shelter for
girls, where they may be supplied with all necessaries while they
remain there, until they are married. If this were done, many poor
girls from Mexico and the whole of Nueva Espana would enter the said
seminary, knowing that there they would find support until they were
settled. In order that they may be more eager to come, it would be
of great advantage for your Majesty to direct that in Mexico should
be given them everything necessary for traveling expenses and those
of the voyage.

It would be of no little benefit to your Majesty's royal estate,
if there were sent from your royal treasury of Mexico to this one,
each year, twenty thousand pesos in coin; and if there were sent from
here to Mexico all the gold that is collected in tributes from the
Indians assigned to the royal crown, and what is paid for the tithes
and the assay fee--as it is in this country an article of trade,
which rises or falls according to the abundance of tostons. If this
gold were taken to Mexico, it would, in a few years, amount to double
the money given for it here; and if the attempt were made to issue
it from this treasury for its value, no one would take it, except at
a considerable loss, for the reason given.

If your Majesty be pleased to discontinue the Audiencia, the temporal
governor of these islands should be the same person who rules spiritual
affairs. For the present, it seems that this would be very desirable;
for with such a person the suspicion of trading and trafficking does
not exist, and there is more certainty that the offices and encomiendas
will be given to those who deserve them, rather than to his servants
and relatives. And, above all, it would be well if this dignity were
given to the bishop, who is now so zealous in the service of your
Majesty, and desirous that all its affairs shall go well. He is also
so thorough a Christian, and possessed of so much virtue, learning,
and wisdom, that by his holy zeal he would aid in what your Majesty
desires--that is, the conversion and good treatment of the natives
of these islands, and the propagation of the holy faith. With that
will cease the struggles for jurisdiction, which are not right during
this time when spiritual affairs are getting a foothold; but, after
they have become established, they can easily be put in their proper
place. Furthermore, the said bishop, as he is a spiritual father,
will be so in all things, and will proceed in the suits and cases
rather with fatherly mediation than with judicial rigor.

If it be not the bishop, there is the licentiate Ayala, fiscal of
this Audiencia, who performs his duties here as a good lawyer and a
Christian, and is such a man as would give your Majesty satisfaction,
whatever you may order him to do.

If the government could be given to one of the persons residing here,
there would result many advantages, the greatest being that he would be
acquainted with insular affairs, by the experience that he would have
had with them. He would know who was deserving of honor and reward;
and as all of us who have lately come have come in need, burdened with
the care of servants and relatives, all being poor, we seek to supply
our own needs and those of the persons whom we bring at our expense,
and those who deserve aid go hungry; for before the governors can feel
the pulse of affairs in the islands, and know what things need remedy,
they depart or are removed.

I write this to your Catholic Majesty, knowing that you will regard it
as for your service that I, as one present on the scene, should write
of each subject what I think in regard to it, so that your Majesty
may act as you see fit, considering the reasons advanced on either
side. These will be more fully explained in each case by Father Alonso
Sanchez, to whom your Majesty should give entire credit, on account of
his sanctity, and the earnest zeal that he has always shown for the
bettering of affairs in this realm; and because he is a person who,
through the broad experience he has had with them, and the many times
he has pondered over their remedy, will be able to give a satisfactory
account of them all. I therefore beg your Majesty, in all the affairs
which are reported from here, to listen to the opinion of the said
father, that your Majesty may be the better informed. May our Lord
preserve your Catholic and royal person for many long years of life,
adding to your kingdoms and seigniories, as we the loyal vassals
and most humble servants of your Majesty desire. Manila, June 30,
86. Royal Catholic Majesty, your Catholic Majesty's most humble vassal,
and insignificant servant.

The licentiate _Pedro de Rojas_

Letter of Juan Moron to Felipe II

Royal Catholic Majesty:

Upon the arrival in these islands of Doctor Sanctiago de Vera,
your president, governor, and captain-general, he was informed of
the condition of affairs in Maluco, and of the unwillingness of the
petty king of Ternate to render obedience to your Majesty. Therefore,
with the advice of all the captains, he determined to send an officer
with reenforcements of three hundred soldiers, giving them orders
and instructions to remain subordinate to the commandant, Diego de
Acambujar, then your Majesty's lieutenant at that fortress. Seeing
how important this expedition was to the service of your Majesty,
I--being then in this city, occupying the post of your sargento-mayor
and captain of infantry--offered to undertake it at my own expense,
and to fit out the entire fleet. Your president, learning this, and
having been informed that, on many other occasions that have arisen,
I have ever aided in the service of your Majesty with the ardent
zeal that is mine, risking my person and property in your royal
service; and that this was of no less importance, as being one of
your Majesty's most especial affairs in these regions, gave me the
troops that I have mentioned with title as your general, which was
confirmed by the royal Audiencia here.

I set out upon my expedition, and, upon arriving at Maluco, conferred
immediately with the commandant, Diego Dacambujar. But, in discussing
with him what was expedient for your Majesty's service, in accordance
with my instructions, he was quite lukewarm in a matter requiring
so great haste, and thus detained me several days with questions and
answers. Finally, seeing the great need of haste that I represented
to him, he left his post, and we marched with our men until we were
within cannon-shot of the fort, where with all haste we entrenched
ourselves. The enemy was well supplied with much artillery, both great
and small, and began at once to fire on me. Nevertheless, I made every
effort to reach the walls and to enter the fort by open assault;
but having no cannon with which to demolish it--the most necessary
thing--and seeing the great resistance that the enemy offered, I was
forced to retire, with several soldiers wounded, and returned to my
trenches. I remained there several days, defending myself from the
heavy shower of balls rained down upon our camp. During all this time,
Diego Dacambujar did not attempt to give any orders, and finally said
that, if we remained there any longer, not one of us would be left
alive. Thereupon I answered him that I came for that very purpose, or
else to capture that fort and leave it your Majesty's. In everything he
displayed his usual lukewarmness, and upon calling a council of war,
it was agreed to strike camp and retire to his fort. As afterward
appeared, he was not anxious--for his own private interest and his
trade in cloves with the petty king--that anything should be effected,
as your Majesty will see in greater detail by the accompanying copy
of the inquiry made concerning this matter.

Thereupon I returned to this city of Manila, heavy at heart at not
having attained the object which I had desired for the service of your
Majesty, and resolved to pledge my person and property to obtain the
men and supplies to spend in your royal service, although I should
pledge myself to the further sum of six or seven thousand pesos--the
amount spent on this expedition. However, it did not please God that
this should come to pass, on account of the few men and supplies
remaining from the late fire.

As I was one of the very first to come here to serve your Majesty in
these islands, the hardships and wretchedness suffered here grieve
me so sorely, and especially those of this city, that I feel obliged
to inform your Majesty of several of them.

First, it is very necessary that your Majesty order a fortress of stone
built in this city, for the one here now would be exceedingly easy to
take, as it is nothing more than a palisade, with but little rampart;
and, as your Majesty will have been informed, we are surrounded by
so many enemies.

All of this could be remedied, did your Majesty feel the needs of
this city so strongly that you would be pleased to grant us some
public property. Although I, as a regidor and attorney of this city,
have endeavored, in your Majesty's name, to have certain villages
of Indians granted to the city as its property, your governors have
always answered me with fair words, and have done nothing. Our only
hope now is that, when your Majesty understands that this is all
to be employed in your royal service, you will take compassion on
us and grant us, as city property, some Indians. With this grant,
all these difficulties can be remedied.

With this ship sails Father Alonso Sanchez, of the Society of Jesus,
a very learned man, having much experience in the affairs of these
islands, as well as of China and other countries. Since he is thus
qualified, this city resolved to send him as agent for this kingdom,
in order to give your Majesty a detailed account of affairs here. May
our Lord preserve your sacred royal Catholic person, with increase
of greater kingdoms and seigniories, as we, your Majesty's servants,
desire. Manila, June 30, 1586.

Royal Catholic Majesty, your Majesty's humblest servant kisses your
royal feet and hands.+

Juan de Moron

[Addressed: "To his + sacred royal Catholic Majesty, King Don
Ffelipe, our sovereign. To be given into his royal hands."]

[Endorsed: "1586. Legajo 1; letters from Manila. + Number 17. To his
Majesty." "Manila, Joan de Moron, June 30. The expedition to the land
of Maluco, and the lukewarmness encountered in the commandant, Diego
de Cambujar, as will appear from the accompanying investigation. Need
in that city of a fortress. In favor of Father Alonso Sanchez."]

Measures Regarding Trade with China

Letter to Felipe II

Sacred Royal Catholic Majesty:

In order to discuss your Majesty's commands regarding the commerce
between the Philipinas Islands and Nueva Espana, Don Cristobal Mora
and I met yesterday and examined a long report which Ledesma had drawn
up from many papers which have been sent from both sides, together
with a certain clause of a letter to your Majesty by the viceroy, Don
Martin Enriquez, written on the twentieth of March of the past year,
eighty [-five]. [54] In this letter he says that the merchants of that
country are greatly disappointed that trade with the Philipinas Islands
should be taken away from them; for, although the satins, damasks, and
other silken goods, even the finest of them, contain very little silk,
and others are woven with grass (all of which is quite worthless),
the people mainly resort to this cheap market, and the prices of silks
brought from Spain are lowered. Of these latter, taffetas had come
to be worth no more than eight reals, while satins and damasks had
become very cheap. He feared that, if this went further, it would not
be needful to import silks from Espana. He says, moreover, that all
goods carried from the said islands are mere trifles, from which the
land derives no profit--such as porcelains, escritoires, caskets, fans,
and parasols, all flimsy and very unprofitable. We can trade with the
Chinese only with gold and silver, since they have more than enough of
everything else. The letter written to your Majesty by the commander
of the fleet which is in Nueva Espana was also examined. He states
therein that the trade in thin fabrics imported from these kingdoms
to that land is steadily decreasing, on account of the trade which
is carried on there with the Philipinas Islands. This letter was the
occasion for issuing a decree, to which your Majesty was pleased to
set your royal hand, calling for a report from the viceroy of Nueva
Espana. This is an affair which requires a much more expeditious
remedy. We have investigated the state of affairs in those regions,
of which a detailed report was made to us. Besides the little value of
those wares, a large amount of silver and coin is carried thither in
exchange for them. Although a portion of this money remains in those
islands, all the rest is carried away by the Chinese who go thither
from the mainland to sell these wares.

In this way the commerce of these kingdoms is falling away, and
the bringing of money hither is impeded; both these are matters of
consequence and importance. This is not the way to maintain our trade,
since the settlement of the land must be through its richness and
fertility, and the prospect of other discoveries that are being made
daily, and not through trade. Those who are engaged in this trade are
merely transients, and those islands are merely a place of lading for
this commerce; for all, or the greater part, of the merchandise comes
from China. The Spaniards derive two, three, or four thousand ducats
from anchorage alone; this is the fee for the privilege of anchoring
the ship. The lure of the cheapness of the merchandise overcomes
all other considerations. This hinders the prosperity of the people,
and furnishes them no aid in the most important thing, namely, the
settlement of the islands, and the discovery and operation of the gold
mines there. We came to the conclusion that the trade and commerce
of the said islands, as far as the said merchandise is concerned,
should be abolished, and that these wares should not be carried to
Nueva Espana or other parts of the Indias, in order that the trade of
these kingdoms--a most important matter--may continue. A communication
to this effect should be addressed to the viceroy of Nueva Espana,
recounting to him the aforesaid disadvantages; and advising him that,
unless he shall encounter other obstacles so great as to prevent
him from taking such action, he should prohibit the traffic in the
above-mentioned merchandise from China, and order the cessation of
such commerce with that country. If he find too great difficulties
in the way, then he should give advice thereof, together with his
opinion. In the meantime, he should make such provision as he shall
find most expedient. To save time, the decree in accordance with
this recommendation accompanies the present communication; and it
shall be sent by this fleet, if your Majesty will have the goodness
to sign it. Madrid, June 17, 1586.

[_Marginal note_: "This recommendation is excellent, and I have
therefore signed the decree. I shall also endorse all that you shall
say in regard to it in the Council, and what the members thereof
shall approve:"]

Decree Regarding Chinese Trade

The King: To the Marques de Villamanrrique, my kinsman, and viceroy,
governor, and captain-general of Nueva Espana. [55] Having understood
that the silks brought from China and the Philipinas Islands to your
realms are quite worthless, but that nevertheless, because of the
low price set upon them, they are sold and distributed; and because,
if that trade continues, the trade in cloth exported from these realms
would cease or be greatly decreased; and also that these silks, like
other articles brought thence (all of which are of trifling value,
and of no profit to the country), are bartered only for gold, silver,
or coin, for there is abundance of everything else there--a matter,
too, of considerable importance, both on account of the large amount
that is withdrawn and would be withdrawn for the benefit of a foreign
kingdom, and because these kingdoms [Spain and Portugal] lose that
whole amount, their trade being more profitable for the common good,
on account of the excellence of its wares, which in their lasting
qualities more than make up for the difference in price; neither
is this the best means for the settlement of the said islands,
since they serve only as a lading-station for this trade, and it
proves a hindrance to the settlers by being of no assistance in
whatever concerns their permanence and fixed residence: therefore,
having carefully considered this as well as other inconveniences
set forth, it has seemed best to discontinue this trade with the
Philipinas Islands and China, since, even besides the aforesaid, it
has evidently caused delay in despatching the fleets, as must be the
case if this sort of cargo continues to diminish. Since the present
is a fitting occasion to furnish a remedy, as so important a matter
demands, I order you--after considering the aforesaid points and others
of which you may be advised (since the matter is a current one), and
difficulties that might arise, if you find, to the contrary, no others
so important as to overbalance them--to give orders that there be no
further trade or importation of the said merchandise and Chinese wares
to that land for the purpose of sale. You will have the merchants
engaged in this commerce advised and notified of this decree. You
will provide for its public proclamation, indicating the penalty to
be incurred by those who bring in contraband goods. If you find in
the execution thereof such special difficulties, as above-mentioned,
as oblige you to desist, you will inform me of what occurs, together
with your opinion, taking in the meantime such measures as shall seem
to you most advisable. Given at Sant Lorenco, on the nineteenth of
June in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-six.

I, The King

Countersigned, Matheo Vargas
Approved by the Council.

[_A separate sheet reads as follows_: "His Majesty has ordered me
to send your Lordship the enclosed copy of deliberations of the
Council of the Indias, and the papers accompanying it, concerning
the trade and commerce between the Filipinas Islands and China,
so that, together with any that your Lordship may have concerning
this matter, everything enacted may be examined personally. Your
Lordship will advise his Majesty of your opinion. May God preserve
your Lordship. Sant Lorenco, July 31, 1590."]

Letter from Marques de Villamanrique to Felipe II

_Year 86. Copy of two sections of a letter written by the Marques de
Villa Manrrique, viceroy of Nueva Espana, to the king, our lord, on the
fifteenth of November, 86, describing the importance of maintaining
trade and commerce, and the great inconveniences which result [from
its discontinuance]._

[After citing the royal decree of June 19, 1586 (q.v. _ante_), in
regard to trade between the Philippines and China, in words similar
to the decree, the viceroy continues:]

Regarding the whole matter I have procured detailed information from
people who are familiar with it and have an extensive knowledge of the
affairs of those regions from the beginning of their settlement, and
from the correspondence that they maintain therein. It appears that,
since the time when Don Luis de Velasco was viceroy and governor
for your Majesty in this kingdom, your Majesty has spent in the
pacification of those islands more than three millions [of pesos?] for
soldiers, ships, and other supplies--all in order that the natives of
those parts might recognize and profess the Catholic faith, and the
sovereignty of your Majesty. As a result, there are already among
them six Spanish settlements, and more than forty monasteries of
friars of various orders in many native villages, whose inhabitants
are converted and baptized. By this, God our Lord is well served,
and your Majesty's glory and renown augmented. With the assiduity
exercised by all these ministers, the Christian church appears to be
increasing in those places, in such wise that in a short time it is
hoped that the sect of Mahoma and the idolatries of which they were
full, will be eradicated from them. Not only has this been done and
continued among the people of the said islands, but also among many
natives of China who have come, and continue to come, to live in the
islands. They are baptized and have become Christians, which seems a
good beginning; this will be an excellent way of pursuing the pious
work and the objects which, as your Majesty has always made plain,
you have had in the pacification and settlement of those places,
and of acquiring greater favor and grandeur than is now possessed in
all these kingdoms.

Although the ships and soldiery that have ordinarily been here have
been also of great effect in placing affairs in their present state,
it seems that the traffic and commerce which has been encouraged with
the natives of the Filipinas and those of China and other nations,
and the friendship and good treatment which has been accorded them,
have been of considerably greater importance, since they are a
well-armed and numerous people. It seems very difficult to subject
them or negotiate with them against their will; and as they live for
the most part by commerce, it will be seen, that, by the advantage
accruing to them therefrom, they will not only become Christians,
but, with the lapse of time, they will be profitable to your Majesty
and instruments for whatever your Majesty would like to undertake
among those nations. And if this should come to an end, it is well
known also that this people, because of our recent knowledge of them,
and because of their covetousness, would drop Christianity, return
to their idolatries and old customs, and close the door which they
are now opening for their gain and self-interest. That might be of
greater importance than the annoyance of enduring and supporting them
with some loss, especially as the trade and commerce that comes from
those parts to this kingdom [of Mexico] usually amounts to one ship and
sometimes two, aboard which arrive the returns from the encomenderos
of the said islands--silk, both raw and woven, cotton cloth, iron,
copper, earthenware, and other things of no great worth, carried to
those islands from the said land of China. As these are in no greater
quantities than heretofore, the success achieved in this trade, and the
benefit that might result from it, seem to be held in greater account
than the damage which occurs, as I have said. Although the figured
silks are most usually not so fine as those that come from Espana,
some are good; and those that are not, are of such a price that,
considering the price of those that come from Espana, there is no
comparison--because, as a rule, the damask is better than the taffeta
from Espana, and costs hardly half as much. The same holds with regard
to all other cloth. The raw silk is very good and profitable in this
city. As it is made, it is better than the native product; and from it
are made good fabrics. In the first, second, and further sales of it
that are made, your Majesty's customs also receive greater increase,
rather than diminution, from that which used to come from Espana,
and now does not come for this reason.

Also with this trade and profit many merchants and other people from
Espana and this land are going to live in those islands, and continue
to settle there. Thus the country is made safe, because, when any
necessity arises, they take arms and incur the dangers of war, so
that the natives of the said islands and of those surrounding are
peaceable, and fear the Spaniards. If these and the trade that they now
maintain should fail, and if your Majesty should not supply as many
more men at his own cost, it is well-known that with the instability
and suspicious nature of those peoples, they would rebel, and recover
the liberty that they have lost. Worse than that, they would return to
the heresy or the heathenisms which they professed a little while ago.

Moreover, by this means the encomenderos and settlers of those islands
get a profit out of the customs, trade, and commerce, because from
their tributes and profits they derive a good income. Before they had
it, they were in need. From the said China they provide themselves
with biscuit, flour, meat, fruits, clothes, gunpowder, iron, and many
other things which they greatly need, and which the said islands
lack. If they had to bring those articles from this kingdom, they
might not have them on account of their dearness, and since they,
without their trade, are so poor. Accordingly, it not only does not
embarrass or hinder the settlement of the said islands; but rather
they find it very difficult to support themselves and achieve success
without the said trade and commerce. It will surely result in greater
cost to your Majesty, if the trade can[not] be conducted as heretofore;
and if provision must be made as on the frontiers of Oran, Tanger, or
Melilla. Even those who avoid sending their money to those districts,
send it to the islands. It is not in such a way as understood hitherto,
that the prompt despatch of the fleets is hindered; because, although
they do not send their money thither now, they will be able to send
it--namely, to Piru and Guatemala--and to employ it in other ways in
this land, without obliging them necessarily to send it to Espana, if
the gains that they attain are not so certain as they would have them.

Likewise it appears that, if the said trade should cease, the annual
departure of ships and people, as it is at present, would cease; and
that would be a greater incentive to the natives who are peaceful, and
those who until now have had no desire for peace, to rise and rebel,
seeing that the gain which they derive from trade is taken away from
them, and ships and Spaniards go thither no longer--through fear
of whom they dare not rise from the subjection and obedience which
they now observe. The said trade being in the present condition, it
might be so regulated, that the expense to your Majesty in ships, men,
and supplies for their navigation should end by having them furnished
from the merchant service, as on the routes by the Northern Sea. This
I have written your Majesty in the eighteenth section of my letter of
May 10 of this year, in which I said that greater economy and profit
will result than loss be incurred in continuing the trade of the said
islands. This I shall try to secure by every possible means.

And because these difficulties seem serious and the harm that might
result does not come to pass, I have seen fit to disregard your
Majesty's orders, until you direct me further. In the meantime,
I shall see that the affairs of those parts remain in their present
state, so that the vessels leaving this kingdom for the said islands,
shall take half the money that they could carry according to their
tonnage. The shipment shall consist in such part of gold as will
supply the present want of silver and coin--which are withdrawn as I
have written your Majesty in the same section of the said letter. Your
Majesty will give directions therein at your pleasure.

And in order that this navigation may be accomplished by the medium
of merchants, which is a matter truly important for your Majesty's
royal service, and in order to avoid the increased expense of the
port of Acapulco, I have today ordered that every tonelada of cloth
brought in your Majesty's ships shall pay a duty in conformity with
those paid on the Northern Sea. This is done to oblige the merchants,
by incurring this duty, to turn their attention to buying ships, in
order to economize and enjoy greater profits; also in order that in
the interim, while this is being established, it may prove of some
help for the great expense incurred by the ships. For hitherto--as
I have written to your Majesty in section 9 of my letter of February
23, 86--they had not paid and were not paying more than nine ducats
per tonelada; now they will pay from thirty-two to thirty-four. Your
Majesty will order all according to your will.

[Endorsed. "Sections from the letter of Marques de Villa Manrrique,
viceroy of Nueva Espana, to his Majesty."]

Brief of Sixtus V

Erection of the custodia of the Discalced Franciscans in the
Philippines into a province

Sixtus V, Pope:

In perpetual remembrance of the affair.

While with our mental vision we regard the fruitful results, which,
with the aid of God, religious persons--especially the Friars Minor
of Observance [56] known as "Discalced" ["barefoot"], of the custodia
of St. Gregory in the Philippine Islands of the Western Indias--are
zealously gathering by their own toil, as so many workmen in the field
of the Lord, busy for the glory of God and the spiritual health of
peoples dwelling in those very remote regions so far away from us,
we think it right--nay, even their due--that we should graciously
impart the favor of our apostolic love for their comfort and increase.

In truth, our very dear son in Christ, Philip, Catholic king of
the Spains--in his own name, as well as in that of our beloved sons
the guardian and the other brethren of the custodia of St. Gregory
in the aforesaid islands--has represented to us, that the brethren
of the province of St. Joseph of the same order, established in the
kingdoms of the Spains, whereon the aforesaid custodia of St. Gregory
was dependent, in chapter held lately in the town of Cadahalso,
in the diocese of Toledo, prudently being of opinion that they no
longer could maintain the said custodia otherwise than with notable
loss ... unless the aforesaid custodia were erected into a province,
resolved that they should humbly petition us to deign of our apostolic
bounty to confer the title of province on the aforesaid custodia,
and provide whatever else might be needed in the premises.

Accordingly, as we have learned also through information from our
beloved son, Francis Gonzaga, minister-general of the whole Order of
Observance, that no prejudice will be occasioned to anyone by reason
of this erection of the said custodia; nor will the fathers thereof
under due regular observance, to their own great advantage, cease to
render grateful service to the Lord--wishing to decorate them with
worthy favors ... nor indisposed to hearken to their plea, by our
apostolic authority, and in virtue of these presents, we do erect
and establish the aforesaid custodia of St. Gregory, hereafter to be
called "the Province of the Discalced Friars of St. Gregory," in the
Philippine Islands, to be ruled and governed henceforth by a minister
provincial. He shall be chosen by the brethren of the province--under
obedience, however, to the minister-general of the whole order of
the aforesaid Brethren of Observance, and to the commissary-general
of the Indias, resident for the time being at the royal court.

Given at Rome at St. Peter's, under the seal of the Fisherman,
November 15, 1586, in the second year of our pontificate.

Documents of 1587-88

Letter to Felipe II. Alvaro, Marques de [Villa] Manriquez;
Mexico, February 8, 1587.

Letter to Felipe II. Santiago de Vera; Manila, June 26, 1587.

Letter from the Audiencia to Felipe II. Santiago de Vera,
and others; Manila, June 25, 1588.

Source: All these documents are obtained from MSS. in the Archivo
general de Indias, Sevilla.

Translations: The first document is translated by Arthur B. Myrick,
of Harvard University; the second, by James A. Robertson; the third,
by Consuelo A. Davidson.

Letter from Marques Don Manriquez to Felipe II

Sacred Royal Catholic Majesty:

On the twenty-fourth of January I wrote to your Majesty a letter, which
I send with this, in clause 6 of which I stated how very important it
is for your Majesty's service that trading in the Philipinas should
be carried on through the hands of the merchants; that they should
maintain ships, in order to relieve your Majesty from so great and
heavy expense as you are under at the port of Acapulco; and that it
was on this account that the galleon "Sant Martin Visto" had been
sold at auction. To show of what importance this is--to begin with,
it was sold for sixteen thousand pesos, which was the highest sum
offered, and, in addition, what the repairs would cost which would
be made at Acapulco after the arrival of the vessel, which came to
two thousand pesos more. If no one had been willing to give so much,
I myself would have done so; for I am quite certain that this is to
be the first step in setting this business on the sound basis which
is desired. As they continue to sell the other galleons and to build
more, we must have merchants who are interested in buying them and in
sending them away on voyages; thus conditions will finally come to
be like those in the Northern Sea, and the great expense which your
Majesty incurs in those islands will cease; and ships will be built
in the Philipinas, which will cost but little. It may be a means of
profit to your Majesty's royal exchequer to continue selling ships to
the merchants. This has been demonstrated by experience; for the man
who bought the galleon "Sant Martin" has offered to keep it on this
route as long as it will hold together--as also another vessel, of two
hundred toneladas. This offer is accompanied with certain conditions,
as your Majesty will see from the petition which he presented to me,
which accompanies this letter. Since he demands various things of
importance, and some others which concern his own profit, they should
be carefully considered. Certain conditions should also be imposed
upon him, which would benefit your Majesty and, when fulfilled, would
stop the expense at Acapulco. I have referred it to your Majesty's
fiscal and the royal officials, that they may give their opinion
on all points. All of us will examine this matter with the utmost
attention, and I shall send a report to your Majesty of what action
shall be taken. May our Lord guard your sacred royal Catholic person
during many years, with increase of greater kingdoms and seigniories,
as the Christian world needs and your Majesty's servants and vassals
desire. From Mexico, February 8, M.D.LXXVIJ. Sacred Royal Catholic
Majesty, I kiss your Majesty's royal feet and hands. Your faithful
vassal and servant,

Alvaro, Marques Don Manrrique.

[Endorsed: "+ Philipinas; February 8, 1587. To his sacred royal
Catholic Majesty, the king, our lord, in his royal Council of the
Indias. Let a duplicate be made of what is here related. Duplicated."]

Letter from Santiago de Vera to Felipe II


Last year, 86, I informed your Majesty of the condition of these
islands, and the need of certain things for their betterment and
conservation. Because of the great distance and remoteness of these
islands, and the dangers that the letters must encounter until they
reach your Majesty's hands, I enclose a duplicate of the last letter
with this. For the same reason, I beseech that your Majesty will please
to answer that letter, and order that what is most fitting for your
service be provided--since the decision is delayed three years, at the
very least, and, if left for other vessels, six; and this delay might
cause great harm to this land, and bring about irreparable injuries.

In these Philipinas your Majesty has some Spanish settlements; and in
this city of Manila, the capital, and in the others, are usually about
seven hundred men, and sometimes as many as eight hundred. Although
your Majesty has ordained that reenforcements should be sent annually
from Nueva Spana, that has not been done; and, even when soldiers are
sent, there are but few. And as, after their arrival here, they have
no pay or any means of gain, they suffer great hunger and privation,
and cannot endure more than the dry season. As this country is so
unhealthful, and the climate so trying, most of them die, while others
desert; and it is not in our power to remedy the evil. I beseech
your Majesty to be so good, if this kingdom--as being a gateway,
so important for the gospel and the Christian religion, to so great
and powerful kingdoms--is to be extended and increased, to order the
viceroy of Nueva Spana to send every year, conformably to his orders,
the troops, supplies, and arms requested by the governor of these
islands. Will your Majesty also command that food and sustenance be
provided for the soldiers, for their sufferings are most pitiful.

In another letter, I have informed your Majesty of the deep affliction
and pressing need in which I found this city, because all the houses
and property had been destroyed by fire, not even the fortifications
escaping. On account of the constant danger from fire, because
the buildings were being constructed of wood and bamboo, thatched
with straw, and because many quarries and much limestone had been
discovered, which is brought down the river, I forbade that any
houses should be built of other material than stone, since this could
be done at a very slight expense. I ordered roof-tiles and bricks
to be made; and now many substantial and handsome houses are being
constructed of stone. The natives have assisted no little in this,
for most of them have been set to work in the quarries. According to
the promptness exercised by the citizens, I trust, God helping, that,
in ten years, the city will be built entirely of stone, for from two
stone houses here the number has increased to twenty large houses,
besides a monastery; and a considerable number of buildings, very
substantial and well planned, are at present in course of construction.

This city is located on a narrow piece of land, between the sea
on one side and a river of considerable size, which flows through
part of the city, on the other; while on another side is a swamp or
morass. On the side fronting the sea is a handsome beach, extending
two leagues to the port of Cavite, where lie the vessels of the Nueva
Spana line. Where the river enters the sea, the land forms a point,
upon which is built a very small and dilapidated wooden fort. Neither
on the seacoast nor in any other part was there any defense. On this
account, in view of our danger, I resolved to set about fortifying
the city, although the poverty of the city and of your royal treasury
could not assist me. I have constructed a stone tower on the said
beach, near the city; and lower down, where it seemed more necessary,
I am constructing a very strong and handsome fort, the plan of which
accompanies this letter. [57] In the three months while we have worked
on it, I have the first story, where the heaviest artillery is to be
placed, ready for flooring. God helping, I shall, I believe, finish
it in little more than one year from now. From this fort and beach
near the sea I have dug a deep ditch, thirty-four feet wide, which
fills with the incoming tide, and even at low tide has sufficient
water to float several vessels, which are used in carrying materials
by this ditch to the said work, and for other important things. This
ditch extends from the sea to the river, and at that side around the
entire city, in such wise that the latter is an island formed by sea,
river, and ditch. In place of the wooden fortress, I am going to
build a bulwark to defend the entrance to the river and the beach,
which can correspond to the tower already built; and the new fortress
will defend both sides, the ditch and the sea. Along the river-bank
I have ordered stone breastworks to be built, extending from the old
wooden fortress on one side, where the stone bulwark is to be built,
to the ditch on the other side. With this, I think that this city
will be well fortified; and it would be more so, if your Majesty were
pleased to have us provided with a garrison of two hundred soldiers,
already paid--as could be done, by the plan about which I have written
to your Majesty, without spending anything from your royal estate,
and without harm to the natives.

To build the fortress, as I have recounted, the bulwark, and the other
defenses, as I saw that your Majesty has no income in this country,
with which to enable me to do it, and that the city has no public
property, I made a single assessment on the encomenderos, proportioned
to their Indians and incomes, and on the inhabitants who could stand
it, of three thousand odd pesos. I also assessed on each married
Indian, one real, and on each single Indian, one-half real--which
both classes are paying without any oppression or harrying--so that
the entire sum will amount to eight or nine thousand pesos. With this
sum, I think it possible to construct the principal fortress, because
the materials are cheap. The stone is so suitable that, when wet, it
can be worked like wood, and when dry it is very strong and durable;
and it is better than brick for the artillery. Should your Majesty be
pleased to look favorably upon these works, and have them aided from
your royal estate with an equal sum, everything would be finished;
and another fort could be built as well, to guard the port of Cavite
and your Majesty's ships for the regular line. Since it is two leagues
distant from the city, it is not made safe by the above-mentioned
fortifications; and the ships cannot anchor at any nearer place,
without ordinarily being in danger from the weather. In the general
fire in this city four years ago, the powder and ammunition were
burned, and the artillery was destroyed. Although I have had the
pieces refounded, and have used up the metal remaining, still there
are only twenty-six large and twenty small pieces; and this supply
is very small, considering the need of artillery in this country for
its defense, as well as for the expeditions that have been made and
for which occasion arises. Near these islands, in one called Lumban,
twenty leagues from this city, and in others near by, I have discovered
a quantity of copper, which on being tested by smelting it, gives one
arroba of metal to the quintal of ore. I have not found anyone who
understands the smelting of it; for those who tested it are Indians,
who do not smelt it in bulk. [58] I beseech your Majesty to please
have some founders and workmen sent to make artillery, for what we
have here is of iron, and quite old and useless.

In the city of Macan, China, where the Portuguese have settled, and in
the city of Sian, there is an abundance of saltpeter. If your Majesty
were pleased to have it brought from there--for it is quite near by,
and an easy voyage thither--the great expenses annually incurred by
your Majesty by having it brought from Mexico would be contracted;
for there is sulphur in this country, [59] and the Chinese bring it
to sell, while excellent charcoal is made here. Your Majesty will
order such provision to be made as suits the royal pleasure.

Many vessels have come to these islands from China this year, and
especially to this city--more than thirty of considerable burden,
laden with a quantity of merchandise, horses, cows, and more than three
thousand men. I have treated them hospitably and given them a kind
reception. They are very anxious for our trade on this account, and
because of the large gains that they make--although, in our opinion,
they sell so cheaply that we can but think that either products are
raised in their country without any labor, or that they find them
without money. They bring many rare articles, and every product of
Spana, so that there is usually but little lack of those supplies
here, both in clothing and food; while they bring many things not
found in that country. It is a land of great abundance, and has
an infinite number of people, all workers, and each one master
of many trades. Two vessels have also come to this city from the
Portuguese of the city of Macan, laden with curious merchandise,
whence they have drawn great gain. The Chinese, on this account,
have been very envious, and jealous, and fearful lest the Portuguese
should work them an injury. Certain captains and leading men among
them asked me why, since the Portuguese had settled in Macan, near
the province of Canton, China, and held their trade there, we do not
do the same likewise in the province of Chincheo, whence they bring
so much wealth to this land. They say that, if there were Spaniards
there, they could send their goods to this land. These with what they
themselves bring, would render it quite unnecessary for the Portuguese
to come here. I thanked them heartily for the suggestion, and in reply,
said that, next year, they should bring a _chapa_, or passport from
their viceroy of Chincheo, so that Castilians could go there; and
that, as the people of Canton had lent the island of Macao, that the
Portuguese might settle there, so they should lend us another island,
very near Chincheo, on which we could settle and construct a fortress.

At present, I could say [no] more than this, but I told them that
your Majesty wished to favor them, and had given me orders to that
effect; and that, if they would keep their promises, your Majesty
would send Spaniards to protect and aid them in their wars, and to
defend them from their enemies. They were exceedingly glad at hearing
this, and agreed to bring the chapa; for the viceroy is very anxious
to increase the incomes there [at Chincheo] by the duties that the
Spanish vessels would pay. I am continuing to inspire them with love
and affection for your Majesty's service, and they are already very
favorably inclined toward our nation. And beyond even the mandarins
and viceroys, I understand that all the people wish to see us in their
country. I beseech your Majesty, in case these men keep their word,
to order me to execute what is most advisable for your service as
quickly as possible, for it would be of very great importance not to
lose such an opportunity.

The trade continues to increase, so that, were vessels not lacking,
a great quantity of goods would be sent to Nueva Spana. The Chinese
are so careful merchants, that they bring goods in proportion to
the vessels that come to the port. Although I have built one very
fine galley of five hundred toneladas--at so slight a cost that the
sum does not amount to eight thousand pesos--and your Majesty has
four other useful vessels, still two more would be necessary for the
trading fleet. If your Majesty so pleases, they can be constructed
very easily, and at but little expense; and if there were any money
in your royal chest, I would have had them built already. I entreat
your Majesty to have some concession granted us from Mexico, and
advise me of your pleasure.

In a former letter, I informed your Majesty of the arrival of a
Japanese vessel laden with flour and horses (which they were bringing
to this city), at the city of Segovia, in the province of Cagayan,
in these islands. They had been driven upon the coast there, and some
of the crew and horses escaped death. As soon as I learned of this,
I sent a vessel for them, and, upon their arrival, showed them great
hospitality; for this they were so grateful that they published in
their country great praises of this land, and of the kind treatment
accorded them. Certain of them, together with others--both Christians
and pagans, up to about forty--returned with letters from the king
of Firando, and from Don Gaspar, his brother, the originals of which
are enclosed here. They brought some merchandise and weapons to
sell. They say that war is being waged in those kingdoms, and that
of Miaco, [60] to which sixty-three kingdoms are subject, has given
a passport to the fathers of the Society who reside there, so that
they may preach the gospel freely throughout Japon, and permission,
to all who wish, to become Christians. This is certified by one of
the fathers to the members of the Society who reside here, as your
Majesty may cause to be seen by the copy of his letter. This so good
news has gladdened these islands. May God direct this, and grant that
this new world may be saved by your direction and order. The many
kingdoms, the infinite number of people, and the wealth of those
realms, is incredible. The Japanese are an energetic race, skilled
in the use of our weapons. All the other nations lack that spirit,
and are cowardly, dastardly, and abject.

As above remarked, two vessels came this year from the islands of
Macan, whence the Portuguese brought provisions, a quantity of raw
silk, taffetas, damasks, and other merchandise. I showed them much
hospitality and friendship, for which they were very grateful; and
they desired to come here again, because they had derived much profit,
and the voyage, in fair weather, can be accomplished in two weeks. I
did not allow any duties to be collected on what they brought, or on
the merchandise of the Japanese, not only as it was very premature
to impose these, but to inspire them with desire for our commerce
and trade; also because your Majesty ordered us to have friendly
intercourse and communication with them, but chiefly because of
having no order from your Majesty for such collection. Besides, as
this land is so new, and must be treated like a sprout, I thought it
advisable, in order that it may increase daily, to try not to burden
it, but to maintain it--especially by means of the Portuguese, so
that they may lose the ill-will that they bear toward us; and so that
other foreigners may desire our trade and the Christian religion. I
beseech your Majesty to give orders regarding what should be done
for the future.

I have informed your Majesty that some of the Chinese Sangleys,
upon coming to this city, become citizens and Christians. The bishop
thereupon orders their hair to be cut, in accordance with our custom;
but they, following their own custom, wear it very long, and braided
and tied in a certain manner. They so dislike this, that, in order
not to be compelled to cut their hair, many of them are not baptized;
for, in their country, it is a great insult to them, and is regarded
as a great crime to cut off their hair, and without it, they do not
dare to return in order to bring their property, and their wives and
children, to settle here. I have told the bishop that, inasmuch as
that is not a religious rite, but a custom, just as it is a custom of
ours to wear short hair, he should not have it cut. But he refuses to
observe this, saying that he fears lest they go back to their country
and return to their idolatries. Will your Majesty please have this
matter examined and provided for. Because of its extreme importance,
I reiterate this supplication here.

In my letter of last year, of which I enclose a duplicate herein,
I informed your Majesty of the disputes of the auditors and fiscal
with myself in regard to preeminence in office, they wishing to enact
certain measures of government and war outside of their jurisdiction;
and that because of this lack of harmony greater hindrances were
resulting to the service of God and of your Majesty, in a land so
new and so distant from your royal person. I resolved to allow them
to do as they wished, and to let go my right and the preeminences of
my office, until your Majesty should order this remedied and provided
for--believing that, in so acting, I serve you better. Affairs here
are in this condition, and I shall make no innovation until receiving
your Majesty's orders. Through my overlooking and tolerating this,
and through the arrival of the licentiate Don Antonio de Rivera,
auditor of this Audiencia, those differences have ceased, and we are
all in accord. Justice is being administered with the authority,
custom, and system of the audiencias of Castilla, and those well
regulated in the Yndias.

Captain Francisco Gali, who was sent by the archbishop and governor to
discover the route for the return to Nueva Spana from these islands,
as well as the islands and ports lying in the course, died as soon as
he reached this country. Pedro de Unamuno succeeded to his command,
with instructions not to go to China, or to its coast, because of
the great difficulties that would result. Because the said governor
charged me urgently to make him fulfil his instructions, and because I
was informed that, beyond all doubt, he was intending to go to Macan
to invest great sums of money brought by himself and the officials
of the ship, I ordered him, under severe penalties, to observe his
instructions, and not to touch at or sight the country of China. But
he, notwithstanding this edict, deviated from his straight course
and went to Macan. Contrary to the will of the commandant and the
Portuguese, and the orders of the viceroy of Yndia, he entered the
port, where they arrested him and hid his cargo. He has remained
there one year, and the expedition has been broken up. Because the
Portuguese believed that he would not return to Nueva Spana, and
because he had a crew made up of different nationalities (among them
one Frenchman and one Englishman)--all excellent sailors, and all
in rivalry--fearing lest they would become pirates, and commit some
great damage, the commandant, the cities, and the chief men wrote
to me to send for those vessels, men, and property of your Majesty,
so that no act of insolence displeasing to God and your royal crown
might be committed. Therefore I despatched a man and vessel for them,
and am expecting them now. I shall inform your Majesty of the result.

The captain from Japon, the servant of the king of Firando--a man of
worth and intelligence, and one of the chief men of that country--with
whom I discussed certain matters, told me that, although his voyage
hither had been for the purpose of becoming acquainted with us, and
opening a road from his country to these islands, his chief purpose
was to offer the king of Firando and the people of his kingdom to
the service of your Majesty; and that whenever your Majesty, or the
governor of these islands, should advise the said king of Firando
and another Christian king--his friend, by name Don Augustin--of any
need of troops for your service, they would send as many people and
soldiers as should be requested. All these would come well armed and
at little expense, whether for Burney, Sian, Maluco, or Great China
(to which country they are hostile), without asking anything in return,
for they only wish to serve your Majesty and to gain honor. This man
has under him five hundred excellent soldiers, whose captain he is,
who would come here willingly. These are his formal words. As a prudent
man and experienced in war, he gave me certain advice, and a plan for
bringing easily from those provinces six thousand men, and the method
which could be followed therein, which appeared to have no little
fitness. I thanked him heartily in your Majesty's name, for his offer,
saying that your Majesty is not now thinking of the conquest of China
or other kingdoms; and that your Majesty's object has been, and is,
to convert the natives; to preach the holy gospel to them, and to
bring them to the knowledge of our Lord, so that all might be saved;
and that for this your Majesty is spending so vast sums and sending
annually so many soldiers, weapons, and ammunition, as a protection
and rampart for the preachers of the gospel. I told him that when
it should be advisable to place this in execution by force of arms,
and if any necessity should arise, I would advise those kingdoms,
so that they could effect their good desire, and your Majesty would
be served thereby. I also said that, as so powerful a sovereign, your
Majesty would reward them as is your custom with other friendly kings;
and told him of the great advantage that would accrue to the seigniors
of those islands in recognizing and serving your Majesty. He was well
satisfied at this, and I more so, at seeing a people, so important
for the service of your Majesty, imbued with so great desire to serve
you--so that should your Majesty order an expedition to be made to
China, or to any other part of this new world, you could make use of
them. This is a warlike race, feared among all the natives, and most
by the Chinese, who tremble at their very name, because of the many
damages they have inflicted, and the experience that the latter have
of their courage and valor. I have kept this conference secret, and
ordered it kept so, in order that the Chinese might not hear of it,
as they are a very suspicious and timorous race. I have made much of
these Japanese, and am treating them with especial hospitality. I am
writing to the king of Firando in your Majesty's name, in generous
terms, thanking him for his offer. The devotion and Christian zeal
of this race is remarkable, and puts us to confusion. May God direct
it all, so that a great gateway may be opened to your Majesty for
whatever you may be pleased to do.

Your Majesty had Jaime Joan, a cosmographer, sent to this country. He
had scarcely entered upon his duties, when he died of the fever, before
he was able to complete any of the matters ordered by your Majesty.

On the twenty-third of last March, at half-past six in the afternoon,
a total eclipse of the moon was seen, which lasted until a quarter
past nine at night. Nothing else has happened this year, of which
to inform your Majesty. May God preserve your Majesty's Catholic
person. Manila, June 26, 1587.

The licentiate _Santiago de Vera_

Letter from the Manila Audiencia to Felipe II


The two letters enclosed herewith are duplicates of those sent
last year (87) by this royal Audiencia--one on June 24, carried by
the vessel "Sancta Ana," which left these islands for Nueva Spana;
and the other dated November first, sent via Malaca, in Portuguese
Yndia. It being understood that the letter carried by the "Sancta
Ana" was lost, we beg your Majesty to give orders that this letter,
together with the enclosed copies, be attended to, taking such steps
as may be required for the good service of your Majesty here.

Your Majesty will have received the news of the capture of the "Sancta
Ana" last year, which occurred while on its way from these islands
to Nueva Spana, by an English pirate, who entered the Southern Sea
with two vessels; after having plundered the ship, he burned it,
with all the goods which still remained on board. [61] This was one
of the greatest misfortunes that could happen to this land; because
it is estimated from the investments made, and the treasure and gold
carried, that the cargo of the said vessel would have been worth in
Mexico two millions [of pesos]. The loss has caused great poverty and
distress in this city, and among its inhabitants and soldiers. To cap
the climax, they have learned anew how much harder the viceroy of Nueva
Spana makes things for this country, for he has levied certain imposts,
ordering that every tonelada of cloth shipped from here to Nueva Spana
shall pay forty-four pesos, the duty having been only twelve pesos
heretofore--an increase which is keenly felt. As the people here are
serving your Majesty without receiving any salary or pay, it seems
expedient and just that they be favored by ordering the viceroy not
to alter the regulations hitherto made, and also to allow all those
people who desire, to come freely to these lands. From what has been
ascertained, it appears that they find it exceedingly difficult and
expensive to obtain a license to come; and even the personal effects
that they bring must be declared and permission obtained for each
article. All this causes a great loss, and prevents the development
of these islands; and it is necessary, should your Majesty be pleased
to do so, that this state of affairs be remedied.

By a royal decree of May 10, eighty-three, brought here by Doctor
Santiago de Vera, president of this royal Audiencia, when he came to
establish it, your Majesty ordered that the said Audiencia look into
the matter of the three per cent customs duty imposed on goods, both
imports and exports, by Don Gonzalo Ronquillo, when he was governor of
these islands; and, in case this duty be not expedient, to remove it,
or to take such measures as they deemed best. Considering the poverty
of the royal treasury of these islands, and the many current expenses
here, the Audiencia ordered that the three per cent duty continue in
force; but in order to make its payment easier, and not to harass by
this tax the inhabitants of this city and other people serving in these
regions, it was decided that the citizens and soldiers and traders
should not be obliged to declare in detail the number of pieces of
silk carried, or their length in varas--it being sufficient to state
the quality of the silk and what it had cost, so that the goods might
be appraised according to their value for the payment of the three
per cent duty. The same order obtains in regard to all the rest of the
cargo--goods in bundles, robes, and other articles--this measure being
taken for the sake of avoiding the annoyances caused at the port of
Acapulco were the officials sent from Mexico for this purpose, since
they would open the boxes and undo the packages, thus occasioning a
great deal of damage and loss to the inhabitants of these islands,
both soldiers and merchants. Now we have learned that the viceroy
has given orders that the goods of those who have not declared the
number of pieces of each article carried, and the number of varas
they measure, and a like account and calculation for everything else,
be seized and confiscated--for which purpose he has begun to send to
the port a judge, who proceeds with great rigor. We beg your Majesty
that, since this royal Audiencia was ordered by the said royal decree
to take such measures as it deemed best, and it has declared that
the inhabitants and soldiers should be relieved and favored, and has
had therein so just a reason to prevent the oppression that might be
inflicted on them, your Majesty will order the viceroy of Mexico not
to interfere in this or other measures which may be taken here, since
from such measures result so much benefit to the poor citizens and
soldiers, and to all other people who dwell in and maintain this land.

Since this royal Audiencia was established in the year 83, it has not
received any answers to the letters written, except a few decrees
which have reached it; and we are informed that all letters sent
from here are opened in Mexico and held there, so that we cannot feel
at liberty to write anything which is not examined and known there,
from which great difficulties may result. Even were it not certain
that the letters from this Audiencia are held there, we beg that your
Majesty will be pleased to give orders for their safe conveyance,
and that nothing be lacking which may be important for the service
of your Majesty. We also ask that suitable action be taken in regard
to the letters sent by individuals, because both Nueva Spana and this
country resent very deeply this interference.

Through letters received here it has also been learned that, without
any cause therefor, the viceroy orders investigations to be made
in regard to the president and auditors of this Audiencia, by every
vessel which goes to Nueva Spana from other islands, from which great
harm results to the authority of the royal Audiencia. We beg that your
Majesty will be pleased to command what shall be done in this matter,
and not permit the good name of those who are serving your Majesty
here to be tampered with in that fashion.

This Audiencia wrote to your Majesty, in the letter above referred
to as sent via Malaca, concerning the great injury done to this
country by the sale of the vessel "San Martin," sold by the viceroy
of Nueva Spana--an injury not only through the need of ships in these
islands but because it was sold with permission to make its first
voyage to Macan, and thence to return to Mexico without touching
at this city. And now it has been learned by letters from private
persons that the ship "Santa Ana," burned by the English privateer,
has been sold at public auction in the plaza of the City of Mexico,
also with the condition that permission would be given so that it
could make another voyage to Macan. If this be so, it means the total
ruin of this country; because it cannot be supported if commerce be
carried on between Macan and Mexico, and if the vessels which carry on
that trade be taken away from us. Your Majesty, if he be so pleased,
will look into the matter, and furnish a prompt remedy, as the affair
does not admit of any delay, and the welfare and development of this
country depend wholly upon such a remedy.

This year we expected to receive help in the way of people and
supplies, of which we suffer great lack, and without which this land
is in the utmost danger of ruin; but as the "Sancta Ana" and the "San
Martin" which were the best ships that we had afloat, are not coming
any more, there were no vessels that the viceroy of Nueva Spana could
send for this purpose; accordingly, he sent a vessel so small that
it could not carry any people. The necessity of this country and its
extremity are such that no carelessness may be allowed in providing
help. May it please your Majesty to command that aid be provided,
with great care.

From the Portuguese at Macan came a large vessel loaded with a quantity
of merchandise. Notwithstanding that the goods were excellent and
valuable, they were not better than those brought by the Sangleys--who,
having made so large profits during the last few years, bring now
everything of the best that their country produces. Over thirty vessels
have come here from that land, bringing so many people that, together
with those who were living here, there are over ten thousand Sangleys
now in this city. We have always received them very kindly, as ordered
by your Majesty; and they are so friendly to the Spaniards that the
"San Martin," which sailed from Nueva Spana for Macan, on arriving at
the province of Chincheo, which is in the country of those Sangleys,
was very warmly received, and they expressed much pleasure at seeing
the Spaniards in their country. The Sangleys offered to load the
vessel with anything that the Spaniards wanted; but the latter,
thinking that they would do a larger business at Macan, where the
Portuguese are in the habit of trading, did not accept the offer;
they were supplied with all the provisions that they desired, with
much show of friendship and kindness, after which they sailed for
Macan. Near that place, the vessel was lost during a heavy gale which
it encountered--not, however, until all the people and money were
saved. Nothing was lost, as your Majesty will have been notified at
greater length through some other source.

The friars of the order of St. Dominic, whom your Majesty was kind
enough to send to this country last year, have begun to gather much
fruit here, in certain houses that they maintain outside of this city,
in which they minister to the natives. They have also established
another house in the city, where they are striving earnestly for the
conversion of the Sangleys, and have even begun to preach to them
in the Chinese language. It is understood that the Sangleys are very
docile and well-meaning people; and it is expected that the preaching
will attain to great results among them. May our Lord bring them to
a knowledge of the truth, and may He allow us to see your Majesty
master of everything.

The religious came to these regions firmly resolved to live in poverty,
as do the discalced Franciscan fathers, and to live by charity; but
finding that alms were scarce, and that there was extreme poverty
in the convents which are established here, they have asked that a
gratuity be given them from the royal treasury. Since it was evident
to this royal Audiencia, as being a well-known fact, that without
such alms the religious could not be supported, or assist in religious
instruction, we gave orders, with the consent of the fiscal, that an
amount equal to that given to the friars of the order of St. Augustine
be granted them, provided that a greater amount be not given to
each Dominican convent than is given to the Augustinian friars,
although the latter have more religious in their convents. They are
very content and pleased with this order. Alms have been granted to
four religious of the convent in this city, with pledges that they
would secure the approval of the royal Council. This is a kindness
which your Majesty can do them, if you so please; it is just, and
they cannot live without it.

Your Majesty orders this Audiencia, by a decree dated January 11,
87, which has been received here, to investigate the _modus operandi_
of the fathers of the Society [of Jesus] who reside in these islands:
whether they look after the welfare of the souls of the people, and in
what districts, and what result they have accomplished, what benefit
would accrue by endowing for them a college in this city, and how the
income for it could be provided, and for what amount. In regard to
these questions it may be said that since the time of the arrival of
these fathers in the islands until now, they have not been in charge
of the souls of the natives, nor have they instructed them. Throughout
the islands they have maintained one convent, which is in this city,
where there have been generally from four to six religious. They have
rendered very good service to the Spaniards, and have always attended
very carefully to preaching and confessions, obtaining the same good
results which they are wont to secure wherever they may be. They would
do the same for the natives were there enough fathers, and if they had
charge of the Indians. Although there are so few of these fathers,
there have been and are some of great prudence, and learning, and
highly esteemed, who could do excellent work in the college which
they are attempting to open, if there were any inclination for it,
in this city. But it would be useless, at present, to open a college,
because there are in all this country no students to attend their
teaching. For this reason, the Dominican fathers ceased to give
instruction in grammar soon after their arrival here, although they
attempted it with great earnestness. The case being as above stated,
there is no necessity for a college, or the assigning of an income to
them, unless your Majesty is willing to give them something for their
subsistence. However, because of the poverty that they were enduring,
this Audiencia has already ordered that the same amount of alms be
given them as to the Augustinian religious--namely, one hundred pesos
and one hundred fanegas of rice annually to each priest, to be given
from the royal treasury. This kindness can be accorded them if your
Majesty consents, and will be of great benefit to them.

In another royal decree of the same year, dated January 11, your
Majesty orders that this Audiencia look after, and help in every
possible way, the two hospitals established in this city, and
report as to the best manner in which to provide for and remedy
their necessities. This order will be observed very carefully, as
your Majesty commands; and as in this country there is nothing with
which an income could be furnished to them sufficient for the care of
the many Spaniards who are treated there, your Majesty might order,
if you so please, that enough Indians be allotted to them to pay
to each hospital one thousand pesos, one thousand fanegas of rice,
and one thousand fowls, this amount to include what is already given
them. Although this grant may be only for a period limited to certain
years, it will be an effective remedy for the distress which they
now endure. All that the hospital for the Spaniards now has is the
income from one village, assigned to it by Doctor Francisco de Sande
when he was governor of these islands, which is worth one hundred
and twenty gold taes (equivalent to 500 pesos) a year, more or less,
and will continue for three years. This time seeming very short to
the president of this Audiencia, Doctor Santiago de Vera, he ordered
that the hospital receive this aid for six years, adding to it the
income from another village, which amounts to seventy taes, or two
hundred and fifty pesos, or a trifle more. Besides this, he also
ordered that this hospital be given one thousand fanegas of rice and
one thousand fowls; whereas for the hospital for the natives he only
ordered one thousand fanegas of rice and one thousand fowls [which
is not sufficient], and therefore great privations and hardships are
suffered by those who are being treated there.

In another royal decree of the above-mentioned month and year,
your Majesty orders that this Audiencia endeavor to maintain great
peace and harmony with the bishop of these islands, and manifests
your displeasure at some differences between us and him concerning
precedence in seats, and in regard to the mode of settling Indian
lawsuits. The whole trouble was this: the bishop claimed a seat on
the same side of the church where the Audiencia sits; and, the latter
being six or seven steps below the main altar, the bishop would have
been higher than and directly in front of the Audiencia, with his
back toward them. This being something unusual in other countries,
it was suggested to the bishop that, until your Majesty could be
consulted, he should not overstep the usual practice hitherto in
vogue throughout the Yndias, and which had until then been observed
with this Audiencia; and that he should not meddle with the decision
of the Indian suits, in matters under the jurisdiction of the royal
crown, as he had done. Since that time, as this seat was yielded to
the bishop, there has been, and is, between him and the Audiencia,
the agreement and peace and good understanding which should always
exist, and affairs are managed in great friendliness and harmony, so
that the people have always understood how much the Audiencia esteems,
honors, respects, and reverences the bishop. We beg that your Majesty
will appreciate the spirit in which this matter was settled. The aim
of this Audiencia was to maintain its own preeminence, in the desire
that your Majesty be thus better served, since it is through this
that the Audiencia keeps up the authority and respect which are its
due, especially in so new a country as this, where respect for these
offices is of so great importance.

In the letter that we wrote to your Majesty via Malaca, notice was
given of the arrival in these islands of the Dominican fathers,
informing you that it was not expedient to send any more religious
orders to this country. Of those orders already here--namely, the
Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Dominicans, and the Society--it is


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