The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 19 of 55 1620-1621 Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions, as re online

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The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898

Explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and
their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions,
as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the
political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those
islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the
close of the nineteenth century,

Volume XIX, 1620-1621

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

Contents of Volume XIX

Documents of 1620

Reforms needed in the Filipinas (concluded). Hernando de
los Rios Coronel; (Madrid, 1619-20)
Letter to Alonso de Escovar. Francisco de Otaço, S.J.;
Madrid, January 14.
Decree ordering reforms in the friars' treatment of the
Indians. Felipe III; Madrid, May 29.
Relation of events in the Philipinas Islands,
1619-20. (Unsigned); Manila, June 14.
Compulsory service by the Indians. Pedro de Sant Pablo,
O.S.F.; Dilao, August 7.
Letter from the Audiencia to Felipe III. Hieronimo
Legaspi de Cheverria, and others; Manila, August 8.

Letter to Felipe III. Alonso Fajardo de Tenza: Manila,
August 15.
Letter to Alonso Fajardo de Tenza. Felipe III; Madrid,
December 13.

Memorial, y relacion para sv magestad, Hernando de los Rios
Coronel; Madrid, 1621.
Bibliographical Data.
Appendix: Buying and selling prices of Oriental products. Martin
Castaños (in part); (undated.)


Autograph signature of Alonso Fajardo de Tenza; photographic
facsimile from MS. in Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla
Title-page of _Memorial y relacion_, by Hernando de los Rios
Coronel (Madrid, 1621); photographic facsimile from copy in
Library of Congress


The documents in the present volume cover a wide range. In greater
or less detail are discussed affairs in the islands - civil, military,
and religious, in which all the various ramifications of each estate
are touched upon. Reforms, both civil and religious, are urged and
ordered; and trade and commerce, and general economic and social
conditions pervade all the documents. The efforts of Dutch, English,
French, Portuguese, and Spanish in eastern waters are a portent of
coming struggles for supremacy in later times. Japan, meditating on the
closed door to Europeans, though still permitting the Dutch to trade
there, continues to persecute the Christians, while that persecution
is, on the other hand, lessening in violence in China. The piracies
of the Moros endanger the islands, and allow the Dutch to hope for
alliance with them against the Spaniards; and the importance of the
islands to Spain is urged forcibly.

A letter addressed by Los Rios Coronel to the king (probably in 1620)
urges that prompt aid be sent to Filipinas for its defense against
the Dutch and English who threaten its coasts. To it he adds an
outline "treatise on the navigation of Filipinas," which sustains
his demand by forcible arguments. The rich Oriental trade amounts
to five millions of pesos a year, which mainly goes to sustain the
Dutch and their allies, the enemies of Spain, whose commerce they
will utterly destroy unless some check is placed on their audacity;
and the effectual method of doing this is to deprive them of that
trade. An armed expedition for the relief of the islands is being
prepared by the king; it should be despatched via the Cape of Good
Hope, and all possible efforts should be made to drive out the Dutch
and English from the Eastern seas. Los Rios proposes that for this
purpose loans be asked from wealthy persons in Nueva España and Peru;
and that the vessels needed be built in India. He makes recommendations
for the routes and equipment of the vessels, both going and returning;
and for the seasons best for sailing.

A letter from Francisco de Otaço, S.J. (January 14, 1620), mentions
various arrangements for the despatch of more missionaries to the
islands, and laments the recent loss of a fleet sent to the aid of the
Philippine colony. A royal decree of May 29 in the same year orders
the governor and Audiencia to correct the religious who have levied
on the Indians exactions of forced service.

The Jesuit chronicler of events in 1619 continues the record for the
year ending July, 1620. Some account of the war waged by the Chinese
and the Tartars is given. The persecution of the Christians in China
has slackened, and the authorities of that country are more favorable
to the Jesuit missionaries there. But in Japan the persecution
continues, and the college at Macao is crowded with Jesuits who are
disappointed in their efforts to enter Japan. Letters from Jesuits
in that country enumerate many martyrdoms, of both missionaries and
their converts, and describe their holy zeal and faith in suffering
death. The authorities and influential men of Japan consider it well
to harbor the Dutch there, and even talk of conquering the Philippines,
in order to get rid of the Spaniards; but it is rumored that they also
contemplate the expulsion of all Europeans from Japan. In the Malucas
"there is constant strife between the English and the Hollanders,"
and the French are obtaining a foothold. Portuguese India has but
inadequate means of defense against the Dutch and other foes. An
interesting and picturesque account is given of the religious fiestas
held in Manila to celebrate the festival of the immaculate conception
of the Virgin Mary; the chief features are processions, dramatic
representations, dances, fireworks, etc. - to say nothing of the
bull-fights and masquerades of the laity. Fearful earthquakes, with
considerable loss of life, have occurred in the islands, especially
in Ilocos and Cagayan of Luzón; they are ascribed to the influence
of the comets seen in the preceding year. The commerce of Manila is
increasing; rich cargoes arrive there from all parts of the world;
and Manila is a magnificent city, surpassed by few in Europe.

A letter from the Franciscan, Pedro de Sant Pablo (August 7, 1620),
calls upon the king to abolish the repartimientos of forced service
and supplies levied upon the Indians for shipbuilding and other
public works by the colonial authorities. He recounts the oppression,
cruelty, and enslavement caused by this practice; and in the name of
both the Spaniards and the Indians he asks that the repartimientos
be commuted for certain payments of money, in proportion to the means
of each household.

The Audiencia of Manila send to the king (August 8, 1620) a roll of
complaints against Governor Fajardo. They accuse him of abusive and
violent language toward the auditors, and arbitrary conduct in both
sentencing and releasing prisoners; and of granting certain illegal
appointments and privileges to the friends and relatives of himself and
the royal officials. His conduct of an expedition made ready to repel
the Dutch from the islands is sharply criticised; covert attack is
made on him as defrauding the treasury by the sale of Indian orders,
and allowing reckless expenditures of the public moneys; and he is
blamed for failing to enforce the regulations as to the sale of the
Chinese goods.

Fajardo sends a long report of affairs to the king (August 15,
1620). The coming of the ships this year was delayed; and by storms
and an encounter with the Dutch both were wrecked - but on Philippine
coasts, which enabled them to save the rich cargo. As the Dutch
failed to secure this prize, they have lost in prestige, while the
Spaniards have gained accordingly. A marginal note here, apparently
the reply of the Council of the Indias to this clause of Fajardo's
letter, censures him for allowing the ships to leave Manila so late,
and warns him to send them hereafter promptly, and not overladen. He
is also directed to remonstrate with the Japanese officials who are
aiding the Dutch with arms and other supplies; and to strive to break
up their friendship with the Dutch. Fajardo proceeds to say that he
is equipping the ships for both the outward and return voyages with
various supplies, to avoid the greater expense of buying these in
Nueva España; and for the same object is asking the viceroy of that
country to make no unnecessary repairs on the ships. He complains of
the reckless and arbitrary proceedings of the officials in charge of
the ships at Acapulco. He is advised by the Council to send them a
detailed statement of all matters in which unnecessary expense can
be avoided. Fajardo recounts his difficulties with the viceroy of
Nueva España over the appointments to offices in the trading fleet,
and with the pretensions of certain Philippine residents who claim
rewards and appointments without meriting these. He complains that
the troops just arrived from Nueva España are mostly "boys, mestizos,
and mulattoes, with some Indians;" the viceroy is directed to send
better and more effective soldiers to Filipinas hereafter. Fajardo
is uncertain how far he can depend on aid from the viceroy; and he
proposes that those troops and supplies be sent to him from Spain by
way of Panama, enumerating the advantages and economy of that plan
over the present one. He thanks the king for sending aid to Filipinas
by the India route, and asks that such aid be regularly provided
for some years to come; while he states in general terms what he has
accomplished during the last two years with the limited public funds
of the islands. He has equalized the pay of the soldiers at Manila
and Ternate, and has sent large reënforcements and supplies to the
latter region. Fajardo complains of the opposition and intrigues of the
religious. He desires the royal appointment of a governor for Ternate,
and the adjustment of certain difficulties connected therewith. He
is informed that this appointment has been already conferred on Pedro
de Heredia; and is advised not to allow the religious to interfere in
purely secular matters, especially in those which concern the conduct
of government officials, and to warn the religious orders to refrain
from meddling with these matters. Dutch pirates infest the China Sea,
plundering the Chinese trading ships when they can; but Fajardo is
able to save many of these by warning them beforehand of the danger,
and he has been able to keep them in awe of his own forces. He has
begun to have ships built in Japan for the Philippines, which can be
done there more conveniently and cheaply; the Council would like to
provide thus ships for the South American colonies.

The governor has many annoyances regarding the Audiencia, which
circumstances compel him to endure as best he can. He is directed to
check trading by government officials, and to punish those who are
guilty; and to do all that he can to obtain funds from the islands
for their expenses, by opening the mines of Luzón and trading-posts
in the Moluccas. In answer to his complaint that the auditors meddle
in judicial proceedings in the military department, he is informed
that they must observe the laws already enacted for such matters;
and is ordered to punish severely anyone who shall obstruct the course
of justice in the islands. Fajardo recounts various other annoyances
experienced at their hands - they claiming authority to restrict the
Chinese immigration, and the right to appoint certain minor officials;
and he regrets that the auditors should be all new at one time, and
so ignorant of their duties. He suggests that the king avail himself
of the abilities of Archbishop Serrano, in case of his own death or
other emergency requiring an _ad interim_ governor; and describes
the character of Auditor Rodriguez. The trials of persons involved
in the scandal at Sancta Potenciana have not pleased the governor,
some whom he regards as guilty having been acquitted. The official
inspection of the country, especially for the sake of the natives,
Fajardo has committed to Auditor Mesa, but the latter is unwilling
to undertake it. The Council order that no auditor shall shirk this
important duty. The governor mentions in detail various minor matters,
showing anxiety to act as the home government shall approve. He has
been ordered to reduce military salaries, but objects to this, and
enumerates the amounts paid to each officer. Directions for arranging
this reduction are given by the Council, as also for the governor's
management of expenses, etc., Fajardo makes recommendations as to
certain crown encomiendas, at present unproductive. This is approved
by the Council, who order him to prevent any unjust collections. He
commends certain officers as deserving rewards, and exonerates many of
the religious from the blame of harassing the Indians. He is able to
maintain amicable relations with the orders, especially by allowing the
religious to transact certain secular business for him; but he finds
them domineering and self-willed, and suggests that they cannot be kept
in order without some change in their present mode of government. He is
advised to check their arrogance, especially in their open and public
censures of their superiors, whether ecclesiastical or secular. He
relates his difficulties with Pedro Alvarez over the countersigning of
Sangley licenses. He has sent an expedition to attempt the opening of
mines in the Igorrote country - an undertaking in which he has received
the support and countenance of the religious orders. He commends the
Augustinian Recollects as not meddling in governmental affairs that do
not concern them, and offering to take distant missions. The tributary
Indians are peaceable, and appreciate with gratitude Fajardo's efforts
to relieve them from taxes and wrongs. One of their burdens has been
the erection of many churches - of which there are thirty, almost all
of stone, in Manila and its immediate vicinity alone. The Council
order that no religious house or church be hereafter erected without
the permission of both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. At the
end of Fajardo's letter are added certain comments and directions by
the Council. They are inclined to send reënforcements, supplies, and
merchandise to Filipinas via Panama, as Fajardo suggests, but direct
the vessels to return to Acapulco instead. Illicit participation
of government officials in trade shall be severely punished. The
official visitations recommended by the governor are to be made,
and the auditors are commanded to serve in this duty.

A letter from the king to Fajardo (December 13, 1620) answers previous
despatches from the latter. He commends Fajardo's proceedings in
discontinuing certain grants, and orders him to be careful in making
his reports, to maintain harmony in the Audiencia as far as possible,
to investigate the conduct of the auditor Legaspi, to correct with
vigor the scandals at Santa Potenciana, to enforce discipline in
the military department, and to maintain friendly relations with
Japan. Felipe returns thanks to the colonists for their loyalty
and services in public affairs, and to the Augustinian order in the
islands for their zeal in his service.

A document of especial interest and value is the _Memorial_ (Madrid,
1621) of Hernando de los Rios Coronel, long procurator-general of
the Philippine Islands. Introducing the work with a statement of
his coming to Spain as an envoy from "that entire kingdom and its
estates," he begins with an historical account of the discovery and
settlement of the islands, and the growth of the Spanish colony. The
earlier historical matter in Part I of the _Memorial_ is presented
to our readers in synopsis, as being largely a repetition of what
has already appeared in our former volumes. In chapter vii Los Rios
gives some account of the government of Juan de Silva, especially of
the latter's infatuation for shipbuilding, and its baneful effects
on the prosperity of both the colony and the natives. He recounts the
disastrous attempt to expel the Dutch by means of a joint Spanish and
Portuguese expedition (1615-16), and its ruin and Silva's death at
Malaca. Then he describes the opposition to Silva's schemes that had
arisen in Manila, where, although, he had a faction who supported his
ambitious projects, "all desired his absence." Los Rios cites part of
a letter from Geronimo de Silva to the governor, blaming the latter
for not going to Maluco, where he could have secured the submission
of the natives in all those islands; and urging him to do so as soon
as possible, as that is the only means of preserving the present
foothold of the Spanish. The Dutch fleet there sets out for Manila,
and, hearing in Mindanao of Silva's death, they concert plans with
the Moros for ravaging the Philippines. Part of the Moros are defeated
on the coast of Panay, but they meet with enough success to embolden
them to make further raids; these go unpunished by the Spaniards,
and thus the islands are being devastated and ruined. The Christian
and friendly Indians are at the mercy of these cruel foes, from whom
the Spaniards do not defend them; accordingly, they demand freedom
and arms, that they may defend themselves against the invaders. All
would revolt, were it not for the influence of the missionaries,
especially the Jesuits.

Los Rios makes complaint of the apathy, negligence, and blunders
exhibited by the governors of the islands in regard to their defense
from so many enemies, supporting his position with detailed accounts
of the damages thereby suffered in raids by the Dutch and Moros, and
failures to achieve success that was within the grasp of the Spaniards.

In the second part, Los Rios discusses "the importance of the
Filipinas, and the means for preserving them." He enumerates the
reasons why the crown of Spain should keep the islands, indicating a
curious mixture of worldly wisdom and missionary zeal; and refutes
the arguments of those persons who advocate the abandonment of the
Philippines, or its transfer to Portugal in exchange for Brazil. Los
Rios explains at length the desirability of retaining Manila, and its
importance and desirability as a commercial and military center, and
a check on the ambition of the Dutch. He then asserts that the money
sent to the islands by the Spanish government is mainly expended not on
the Philippines, but for the defense of the Moluccas; and he enumerates
the resources of the former, which but for that diversion would support
them without aid from the crown. He then enlarges upon the great wealth
which is found in the islands, especially in the gold mines of the
Igorrote country; and urges upon the king the necessity of developing
these mines, and of converting the Indians of that region. He asks
that the governors sent to the Philippines be better qualified for
that post; praises Gomez Perez Dasmariñas as being the best governor
of all who have ruled there; and describes the qualifications needed
for a good governor. Los Rios considers the measures that should be
taken for growth and preservation of the Philippines. He recommends
that a fleet be sent to aid and reënforce them. If that cost too much,
eight galleys should be sent to Ternate - a proposal which the writer
urges for many reasons, explaining in detail the way in which these
vessels could, at little cost, be made highly effective in checking the
Dutch. They could be manned by captive Moros and others taken in war,
or by negro slaves bought at Malacca. The third measure is one which he
"dare not write, for that is not expedient," but will explain it to the
king in person. Again he insists on the necessity of a competent and
qualified person as governor of the islands, enlarging upon the great
power and authority possessed by that official, and the consequent
dependence of all classes upon his arbitrary will or prejudices. Los
Rios cites various instances which prove his position, and expressly
states his good opinion of the present governor, Fajardo. He would
prefer to see the Audiencia abolished. A special inspector is needed,
with great experience and ability, and authority to regulate affairs
and redress all grievances in the islands. The immigration of Chinese
and Japanese into the colony should be restricted; and the Mindanao
pirates should be reduced to submission. The opening already made for
commerce and friendly relations with the king of Macassar, and for
preaching the gospel there, should be at once improved, and Jesuits
should be sent there as missionaries. More care should be exercised
to despatch with promptness the ships to Nueva España. More attention
should be given to the garrisons, especially those in the Moluccas,
to keep the men from discontent; and measures should be taken to
encourage and aid new colonists to settle in the Philippines. The late
restrictions on the possession and enjoyment of encomiendas should be
removed. A letter from Lucas de Vergara, commandant in Maluco, is here
inserted. He recounts the losses of the Dutch in their late attack
on Manila (1617), and their schemes for driving out the Spaniards
from the Moluccas; also his own difficulties in procuring food,
fortifying the posts under his care, and keeping up his troops who
are being decimated by sickness and death. He urges that the fleet
at Manila proceed at once to his succor, and thus prevent the Dutch
from securing this year's rich clove-harvest.

In the third part of the _Memorial_, Los Rios gives a brief description
of the Philippines and the Moluccas, with interesting but somewhat
desultory information of their peoples and natural products, of the
Dutch factories, and of the produce and value of the clove trade. He
describes the custom of head-hunting among the Zambales, and advocates
their reduction to slavery as the only means of rendering the friendly
natives safe from their attacks. The numbers of encomiendas and their
tributarios, and of monasteries and religious, in the islands, are
stated, with the size and extent of Manila. All the natives are now
converted, except some tribes in Central Luzón. Los Rios describes
the Malucas Islands and others in their vicinity, and enumerates the
Dutch and Spanish forts therein; and proceeds to state the extent
and profits of the spice trade. He closes his memoir with an itemized
statement of the expenses incurred by the Spanish crown in maintaining
the forts at Tidore and Ternate. These amount yearly to nearly two
hundred and twenty thousand pesos.

In an appendix to this volume are presented several short papers
which constitute a brief epitome of early seventeenth-century
commerce in the Far East - entitled "Buying and selling prices of
Oriental products." Martin Castaños, procurator-general of Filipinas,
endeavors to show that the spices of Malucas and the silks of China,
handled through Manila, ought to bring the Spanish crown an annual net
income of nearly six million pesos. Another paper shows the extent and
value of the trade carried on with Japan by the Portuguese at Macao;
and another, the kind of commerce maintained by those enterprising
traders with the countries of southern Asia from the Moluccas to
Arabia. All these enumerate the various kinds of goods, the buying
and selling prices of most articles, the rate of profit, etc.

_The Editors_

September, 1904.

Documents of 1620

Reforms needed in the Filipinas (concluded). Hernando de los Rios
Coronel; [1619-20].
Letter to Alonso de Escovar. Francisco de Otaço, S.J.; January 14.
Decree ordering reforms in the friars' treatment of the
Indians. Felipe III; May 29.
Relation of events in the Philipinas Islands, 1619-20. [Unsigned];
June 14.
Compulsory service by the Indians. Pedro de Sant Pablo, O.S.F.;
August 7.
Letter from the Audiencia to Felipe III. Hieronimo Legaspi de
Cheverria, and others; August 8.
Letter to Felipe III. Alonso Fajardo de Tenza; August 15.
Letter to Alonso Fajardo de Tenza. Felipe III; December 13.

_Sources_: All of these documents, except the second, fourth, and
eighth, are obtained from the Archivo general de Indias, Sevilla. The
second and fourth are from the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid;
and the eighth from the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid.

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