Antonio Alvarez de Abreu.

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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 XXX, 1640

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

The Arthur H. Clark Company
Cleveland, Ohio


Preface 9

Commerce between the Philippines and Nueva España. Antonio
Alvarez de Abreu; Madrid, 1736. [From his Extracto
historial.] 23

Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario de la Orden
de Predicadores (to be continued). Diego Aduarte, O.P.;
Manila, 1640 115

Bibliographical Data 323


Title-page of Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736);
photographic facsimile from copy in library of Harvard
University 21

Map of the eastern islands; photographic facsimile from
Mercator's Atlas minor (Amsterdam, 1633); from copy of
original map in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris 83

Title-page of Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario
... en Philippinas, by Diego Aduarte, O.P. (Manila, 1640);
photographic facsimile from copy in library of Edward
E. Ayer, Chicago 113

Governor Luis Perez Dasmariñas; from painting exhibited at
St. Louis, 1904, in the Philippine exhibit of the Louisiana
Purchase Exposition 227


The present volume contains no record of events in the year 1640;
but its two documents are retrospective from that date. The first,
an historical survey of Philippine commerce with Nueva España,
from its beginning until 1640, is taken from the Extracto historial
(Madrid, 1736), a work devoted to that subject and compiled by order
of the Spanish government. The second is Aduarte's noted history of
the Dominican missions in the Philippines; although much of it is
briefly synopsized, its great length permits us only to begin it here,
two more volumes being necessary to complete it.

Valuable information regarding the trade between the Philippines and
Nueva España is furnished by the Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736),
from which we take such matter as pertains to that commerce up to
1640. A brief summary of royal ordinances thereon is followed by a
memorial sent (1640) to the royal visitor for Mexico, Juan Palafox
y Mendoza, by Juan Grau y Monfalcón, agent at the Spanish court for
the Philippine Islands. As Palafox is commissioned to investigate
the condition, needs, and commerce of the islands, Grau sends him
this memorial by way of information thereon, and as a brief for the
islands in their controversy over the grievous restrictions placed on
their commerce with Nueva España (which is mainly their export thither
of Chinese silk fabrics). Grau's argument is carefully divided and
subdivided; it is not always ingenuous, and sometimes he overshoots
his mark, or uses the same premises for different and at times
incongruous results; but it is on the whole a forcible presentation
of the difficulties and embarrassments under which that commerce is
laboring, and even the colony striving for existence. He constantly
urges the great importance of the Philippines to the Spanish crown,
not only as a center of missionary effort in the Orient, but for
the defense of the Moluccas and the spice trade, the maintenance
of Eastern India, and the diversion from that region and from the
American coasts of the Dutch enemy, on whom the Philippine colony
is a continual and effective check; all these considerations are
discussed at length. He lauds the bravery, loyalty, and piety of the
Spaniards in those islands, and their great services to the crown. He
computes the expenditures necessary to sustain the Philippine colony,
and the revenues which it yields, and shows that its actual expense
is but moderate, and far less than is supposed. From even this should
properly be deducted the expenses of sustaining Moluco, a burden which
falls on the Philippines, although the Spice Islands and their trade
are the property of Portugal; such computation leaves but 26,000
pesos annually as the actual cost of maintaining the Philippines,
Grau proposes two plans for securing this end: one, to pay all the
expenses of the islands directly from the royal treasury; the other, to
grant them a sufficient amount of commerce - the latter being the most
expedient and desirable method. Granting this, it remains to consider
the character, amount, and form of such commerce; Grau expatiates on
the third of these in especial, recounting the annoyances and injuries
inflicted at Acapulco on Philippine merchants and their goods.

Grau notices the accusations that have been made against the Philippine
commerce, of infractions of the ordinances regulating it; while not
denying these, he claims that they are not more extensive or serious
than those that are committed in the India trade, and do not deserve
the severity which has been employed against them. In behalf of the
islands, Grau asks for an increase in the amount of trade permitted to
them; for the restrictions on their commerce have greatly reduced their
wealth, on which heavier burdens are constantly laid by the necessity
of defending themselves from so many and so powerful enemies. The
population of Manila is also much larger than when the trade was
first limited, and needs more for its support; moreover, much of
the amount permitted is granted to convents and other institutions,
and to certain privileged persons, and various deductions are made
from its total, thus diminishing its actual value. Grau argues that
a sufficient increase in the trade of the islands would put a stop
to illegal shipments of goods; and that the exporters cannot make any
reasonable profits unless they are more liberally treated. He suggests
that they be allowed to export goods freely, a limitation being placed
only on the returns of silver therefor; and urges that the products
of the islands be free from all restrictions, and not included in
the amount permitted - which latter should apply only to Chinese
goods - for which he adduces various forcible arguments. Discussing
then the commerce between Nueva España and Peru, he shows that the
suspension of this trade during 1635-40 has been very injurious to
the Philippines, for various reasons; it has also hurt both Peru
and Mexico, especially by checking the latter's silk industry, which
found a market in Peru. He defends the Peruvian merchants from the
accusations made against them of transgressing the trade permission
that had been accorded to them, and urges that, for the sake of all
the western colonies, this permission be restored to Peru.

This memorial by Grau is followed by several royal decrees
(dated February 14, 1640) addressed to Palafox; these are mainly
"informatory," and lay before that official the representations
made by the citizens of the islands regarding their distressed
condition - ordering him to investigate the affairs of Philipinas
carefully and thoroughly, and report thereon to the home government. In
later volumes of this series will be presented a considerable part of
the Extracto historial - a work which, as we understand, has not before
been Englished - on account of the importance attached not only to the
book as an official report, but to the commerce of the Philippines
as a factor in the history and development of that Spanish colony in
the Far East.

Aduarte's Historia de la provincia del Sancto Rosario (Manila, 1640)
is here presented for the first time in English dress - partly in
full translation and partly in synopsis, because this work, besides
being voluminous, contains much about Japan and other countries, and
other matter outside our scope. The earlier chapters (i-ix) of book i,
here briefly summarized, describe the foundation of the province and
the voyage of the first Dominican missionaries to Manila; also the
unsuccessful effort at the same time to open a mission in China. In
chapter x is described their entrance into Manila, their affectionate
reception by all, and their establishment there as a religious
community. The new arrivals are initiated into missionary labor at
Bataan, and soon afterward are placed in charge of the Pangasinan
natives, and of the Chinese at Manila. With the aid of Bishop Salazar,
the Dominicans secure a piece of land for their convent and church;
and they receive many gifts and alms from pious citizens. They labor
for the good of the Spanish residents of Manila, and soon effect a
great change in their morals and religious life. They prosper, and are
able to erect a new and handsome stone church and the other buildings
necessary for their establishment; but the noted fire of 1603 destroys
all this great work. It is afterward rebuilt, even more solidly than
before, and all by the alms of the faithful. Chapters xii-xv are
devoted to an account of an image of our Lady of the Rosary possessed
by this Dominican convent, and of the miracles wrought through its
agency. Some of the friars had complained of the severity of their
mode of life and of the rules imposed upon them; but all finally agree
thereto, with great self-forgetfulness and devotion. Aduarte proceeds
to recount the great advantages arising to the province from this
procedure, and the holiness displayed by the Dominican religious in
Luzón - statements confirmed by various letters written to Spain by
trustworthy persons, not only within but without that order.

Chapter xix is devoted to an account of the Dominicans' first
mission-field, that of Bataán, and their labors therein. This field
had been transiently occupied by other missionaries, but was so hard
and barren that none of them had persevered in its cultivation. But
the Dominicans "licked their fingers over the hardships," and devote
themselves most heroically to the care of these poor souls, and to
learning their language - a difficult task for old men. One of them,
Pedro de Bolaños, is overcome by the labors and privations of this
sort of life, and is compelled to return to Manila, where he finally
dies; and the others suffer much from illness. As soon as the fathers
learn the language of those natives, they acquire great influence over
the natives, especially through the confessional. They greatly abate
drunkenness, the worst vice of the Indians, by "sending to Coventry"
every intoxicated person; and they persuade the heathen to abandon
their idols and superstitious practices, and even (perhaps the greatest
triumph of all) to set free many slaves, and restore what they had
taken from others in usury and by other unjust means. All this is
accomplished within one year; and Bataán acquires a wide reputation
for the religious and peaceful life which its natives lead. Various
marvelous works are wrought for the fathers by divine power; "on
the other hand, the devil played some tricks on them." They have to
encounter witches and devils, but the Lord gives them the victory
over these evil beings.

Pangasinan is another mission-field assigned to the Dominicans,
which also had been barren of gospel fruit through the obstinate
hostility of its natives to the Christian faith. At first, they
try to drive away the Dominicans also, but the holy lives of those
fathers work a miracle in their hard hearts, and convert them to the
faith. This is told in a letter from Bishop Benavides to the pope,
written in 1598. He relates their hardships, patience, and devotion,
in the face of the hatred and hostility of the natives - so bitter
that the missionaries are entreated, not only by Spanish officers
but by Bishop Salazar, to leave Pangasinan. But they refuse to go,
and finally their persistent and unwearied kindness to the Indians,
and their consistent Christian characters, soften those hard hearts;
and, after three years of patient waiting, the fathers gather a rich
harvest of souls. Those Indians are excellent Christians, and show most
edifying devotion and piety, a statement thoroughly confirmed by later
reports. The early persecution of the missionaries is explained by the
fact that after their arrival the oracles of the native idols became
silent, and by false accusations which the devil and his emissaries
concoct against the religious. The conversions and pious acts of two
prominent chiefs are related, as well as various miracles which occur
in this mission.

The leading events and persons of the next mission (1588-89)
are described. Amid the greatest difficulties and dangers, those
religious make the perilous voyage to Manila. The first provincial
chapter-meeting is held in that city, on June 12, 1588; on this
occasion the new province is organized, and officers regularly
elected. Some progress is made this year in Pangasinan; but some of
the natives are obstinately hostile, and the missionaries are often
ill-treated, and sometimes in danger of death. Their acts of charity to
the Indians, and especially their success in curing some sick persons,
gradually win the affection of the natives; and the fathers are able
to do much to improve the condition of those people - above all, in
furnishing them hospitals and medical care for the sick, thus saving
many lives.

Soon after reaching the islands the Dominicans also undertake to
minister to the Chinese who come to Manila. In this field, as among
the Indians, they obtain a foothold by their generous and unwearied
care for the sick; and soon they erect a hospital for the care
of poor Chinese sick persons, which rapidly increases in size and
in the aid bestowed upon it, and where nearly all the patients are
converted before they leave it. One of their converts devotes himself
to the service of the hospital for many years, and greatly aids the
fathers in charge of it. New buildings are erected, and the number
of converts is greatly increased. The village of Binondo is enlarged,
and a large and beautiful church is erected, for this Chinese Christian
population. The pious works of several of these converts are related.

The harvest of souls continues to increase, and in 1589 a small
but helpful reënforcement of missionaries arrives at the islands. A
full account is given of their labors in Pangasinan and Bataán, the
marvels wrought for them, the renunciation of idols by the heathen,
the devotion and piety displayed by the converts. Fathers Castro and
Benavides go to China (1590) to attempt the establishment of a mission
there; but their enterprise is a failure, on account of the Chinese
hostility to foreigners. Juan Cobo, acting provincial during Castro's
absence, visits the missions and makes some arrangements for their
more advantageous management. Excellent crops for several years,
and the advice and aid of the missionaries, increase the temporal
prosperity of the Indians; and they become more friendly to the
religious, and more inclined to receive religious instruction.

Gomez Perez Dasmariñas arrives at Manila in 1590, as governor of
the islands. Dissensions soon arise between him and Bishop Salazar,
and the latter departs for Spain (in June, 1591), accompanied
by Benavides. The governor is afterward slain by his own Chinese
oarsmen. In April, 1592, Fray Alonso Ximenes is chosen provincial;
the various missions are apportioned, and certain ordinances for their
conduct and the better government of the province are enacted. Fray
Juan de Castro and Fray Juan Cobo die soon afterward, of whom Aduarte
presents full biographical accounts. A special assembly of the
religious is convened in December, 1594, at which additional rules
for their conduct are adopted. They are also asked to send religious
to Nueva Segovia, for which mission two fathers are allotted. Aduarte
describes that province, and its conquest (1581) by the Spaniards,
to prevent it from becoming a Japanese possession. The Indians of
that province are so warlike that for a long time the Spaniards can
keep but a precarious hold upon it; and the friars find that they
can accomplish nothing there with either Spaniards or Indians. The
Dominicans, therefore, enter (1595) upon a hard and sterile field;
but a considerable reënforcement of missionaries opportunely arrive
to aid them, although many die while en route from España. Aduarte
recounts the superstitious beliefs and observances current among the
Cagayán Indians, notions which shape or modify nearly all of their
social customs; they are, from his standpoint, slaves to the devil
in all things. The Dominican missionaries, now eight in number, plan
and begin the spiritual conquest of Cagayán. For nearly a year they
endure, on account of the hostility of the natives, great sufferings
from hunger, exposure, and apparently vain efforts; but gradually
they subdue the natives by their unwearied self-denial, patience,
and love. Their first-fruits consist in eight converted chiefs,
who are baptized at Easter (1597), and these are the beginning of a
rich harvest - at first, mainly of children baptized before they die
from the prevalent epidemic of smallpox. Gradually, they are able to
build churches in the respective villages, and to introduce among
the Indians a civilized and Christian mode of life. At the time of
Aduarte's writing (ca. 1637), those people have become very fond
of their religious, and ask for them to come to teach them - even
changing their own residences, when necessary for their obtaining
religious instruction. The supply of missionaries for that region is
very inadequate, and should be promptly increased.

The Editors

July, 1905.


By Antonio Alvarez de Abreu; Madrid, 1736.

Source: Translated from Abreu's Extracto historial (Madrid, 1736),
fol. 1-28; from a copy in the possession of Edward E. Ayer,

Translation: This is made by Emma Helen Blair.


[From Extracto historial. [1]]


Of what has been ordained by royal decrees, now compiled, in regard
to the commerce of Philipinas.

1-15. [This "period" consists of a very brief summary of the laws
regarding the above commerce, issued from 1593 to 1635; this matter,
in fuller form, has been already given in VOLS. XVII of this series,
pp. 27-50, and XXV, pp. 48-73, with which this document should
be read.]


Of the debates on this commerce which occurred in the royal Council
of the Indias up to the year 1640, and the commissions which on that
account were entrusted to Señor Don Juan de Palafox, who, being an
official of the [India] House, went as bishop of Puebla de los Angeles.

Although in the collection of documents which was furnished to us by
the Council, for the compilation of this Extracto, nothing appears
relative to the controversies which occurred during the greater part
of the last century in regard to the commerce of Philipinas, in order
that the long silence on this matter - from the earliest decrees up
to the year 1684, of which an account is given us by the papers in
the Secretary's office (with which "Period III" begins, and which
the Extracto will follow) - may not seem irreparable, it has seemed to
us desirable to form the present "Period" from a printed quarto book
which was placed in the hands of Señor Palafox (who is now in Nueva
España) by the deputy of those islands, and has reached us among
other interesting documents. In this book are enumerated, for the
purpose of furnishing information to that prelate - who was charged
by the royal orders to inform [the government] regarding that affair
[of the commerce] - the arguments which during the years 1638-40 were
presented in behalf of the maintenance of the commerce of Philipinas,
and the enlargement of the amount of trade allowed to that colony. We
have not been able by any search to obtain the "Memorial" of one
hundred and thirty-six sections which is said, in this printed book,
to have been presented to the Council on this subject, in behalf of
the city of Manila; but the insertion of the present document will
not be unwelcome - not only because it contains substantially the same
arguments which in following years up to the present time have been
adduced, and which, it may reasonably be believed, those same islands
will reproduce in the future whenever this subject is discussed;
but because at the same time it presents certain information which
is of no little value for better understanding the importance of that
remote domain.

Justification of the maintenance of the Philipinas Islands and their

To the very illustrious and reverend Señor Don Juan de Palafox y
Mendoza, member of his Majesty's Council, in the royal Council of
the Indias, and bishop of Puebla de los Angeles: by Don Juan Grau y
Monfalcón, procurator-general of the Philipinas Islands, agent for
the principality of Catuluña, and syndic of the city of Barcelona.

Very illustrious and reverend sir:

Although I wrote for the city of Manila, the capital of the Philipinas
islands, a memorial of one hundred and thirty-six sections - at the
examination and discussion of which in the Council your illustrious
Lordship was present - in regard to eighty-five petitions, to which
can be reduced all the more important matters which may be presented
concerning those islands and their trade-route and their maintenance;
and that memorial with its petitions your illustrious Lordship is
carrying with you, as it is printed, so that it seems as if there
were no need of further information - and even these were superfluous
to one who is so well informed on all the matters which he has in his
keeping, and is so quick to understand those which may come before him:
nevertheless, in order that I may to some extent relieve and set free
your illustrious Lordship from the burdens imposed upon your memory,
as I know the number and importance of the commissions that you
must execute and the matters that you must decide in Nueva España
(all which will be successfully accomplished, as we are assured by
your wide experience in affairs), I have determined to comprise in
this single treatise the matters which concern the city of Manila,
and which it can present to you. It relates to the four leading
points which were entrusted by his Majesty and the royal Council of
the Indias, by royal decrees, to the judicious decision and accurate
information of your Lordship, as follows:

First, to what extent and in what manner shall the commerce of those
islands be tarried on?

Second, whether it will be expedient to increase and extend the
permission which they at present enjoy, both in the export of
merchandise and in the returns of money.

Third, whether in the amount of merchandise allowed to them shall be
included the products of the islands, or only those of China shall
be understood.

Fourth, whether the commerce which Perù was accustomed to hold with
Nueva España shall be resumed, on account of the loss which results
to the Philipinas and Nueva España from its suspension.

Point first

As for the first decree, which is so general as to include all, for
treating of the commerce of the islands, which is essential to their
preservation: this point, which in the memorial that I have cited is
argued at length, can be reduced to an argument of three infallible
propositions, of which, when two are proved, the third cannot be
denied; and they are in this form.

The Philipinas Islands are absolutely necessary: first, to increase the
preaching of the gospel; second, to maintain the authority, grandeur,
and reputation of this crown; third, to defend the Moluco Islands and

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