The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898/Volume 1/Historical Introduction
Edward Gaylord Bourne
The American people are confronted with two race problems, one within their own confines and long familiar but still baffling solution; the other, new, remote, unknown, and even more imperatively demanding intelligent and unremitting effort for its mastery.
In the first case there are some eight millions of people ultimately derived from various savage tribes in Africa but long since acclimatized, disciplined to labor, raised to civilized life, Christianized, and by the acquisition of the English language brought within a world of ideas inaccessible to their ancestors. Emancipated by the fortune of war they are now living intermingled with a ruling race, in it, but not of it, in an unsettled social status, oppressed by the stigma of color and harassed and fettered by race prejudice.
In the other case there are six or seven millions of Malays whose ancestors were raised from barbarism, taught the forms and manners of civilized life, Christianized, and trained to labor by Catholic missionaries three centuries ago. A common religion and a common government have effaced in large measure earlier tribal differences and constituted them a people; yet in the fullest sense of the word a peculiar people. They stand unique as the only large mass of Asiatics converted to Christianity in modern times. They have not, like the African, been brought within the Christian pale by being torn from their natural environment and schooled through slavery; but, in their own home and protected from general contact with Europeans until recent times, they have been moulded through the patient teaching, parental discipline, and self-sacrificing devotion of the missionaries into a whole unlike any similar body elsewhere in the world. They, too, by the fortunes of war have lost their old rulers and guides and against their will submit their future to alien hands. To govern them or to train them to govern themselves are tasks almost equally perplexing, nor is the problem made easier or clearer by the clash of contradictory estimates of their culture and capacity which form the ammunition of party warfare.
What is needed is as thorough and intelligent a knowledge of their political and social evolution as a people as can be gained from a study of their history. In the case of the Negro problem the historical sources are abundant and accessible and the slavery question is accorded, preëminent attention in the study of American history. In the Philippine question, however, although the sources are no less abundant and instructive they are and have been highly inaccessible owing, on the one hand, to the absolute rarity of the publications containing them, and, on the other, to their being in a language hitherto comparatively little studied in the United States. To collect these sources, scattered and inaccessible as they are, to reproduce them and interpret them in the English language, and to make it possible for university and public libraries and the leaders in thought and policy to have at hand the complete and authentic records of the culture and life of the millions in the Far East whom we must understand in order to do them justice, is an enterprise large in its possibilities for the public good.
In accordance with the idea that underlies this collection this Introduction will not discuss the Philippine question of today nor Philippine life during the last half century, nor will it give a short history of the Islands since the conquest. For all these the reader may be referred to recent publications like those of Foreman, Sawyer, or Worcester, or earlier ones like those of Bowring and Mallat, or to the works republished in the series. The aim of the Introduction is rather to give the discovery and conquest of the Philippines their setting in the history of geographical discovery, to review the unparalleled achievements of the early conquerors and missionaries, to depict the government and commerce of the islands before the revolutionary changes of the last century, and to give such a survey, even though fragmentary, of Philippine life and culture under the old régime as will bring into relief their peculiar features and, if possible, to show that although the annals of the Philippines may be dry reading, the history of the Philippine people is a subject of deep and singular interest.
The Philippine Islands in situation and inhabitants belong to the Asiatic world, but, for the first three centuries of their recorded history, they were in a sense a dependency of America, and now the whirligig of time has restored them in their political relations to the Western Hemisphere. As a dependency of New Spain they constituted the extreme western verge of the Spanish dominions and were commonly known as the Western Islands (Las Islas del Poniente). Their discovery and conquest rounded out an empire which in geographical extent far surpassed anything the world had then seen. When the sun rose in Madrid, it was still early afternoon of the preceding day in Manila, and Philip II was the first monarch who could boast that the sun never set upon his dominions.
In one generation, 1486–1522, the two little powers of the Iberian Peninsula had extended their sway over the seas until they embraced the globe. The way had been prepared for this unparalleled achievement by the courage and devotion of the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator, who gave his life to the advancement of geographical discovery and of Portuguese commerce. The exploration of the west coast of Africa was the school of the navigators who sailed to the East and the West Indies, and out of the ministration of the trade with Africa grew the colonial systems of later days.
In the last quarter of the fifteenth century the increasing obstructions in Egypt and by the Turks to the trade with the East Indies held out a great prize to the discoverer of an all-sea route to the Spice Islands. Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama solved this problem for Portugal, but the solution offered to Spain by Columbus and accepted in 1492 revealed a New World, the Indies of the West.
The King of Portugal, zealous to retain his monopoly of African and eastern exploration, and the pious sovereigns of Spain, desirous to build their colonial empire on solid and unquestioned foundations, alike appealed to the Pope for a definition of their rights and a confirmation of their claims. The world seemed big enough and with a spacious liberality Pope Alexander VI granted Ferdinand and Isabella the right to explore and to take possession of all the hitherto unknown and heathen parts of the world west of a certain line drawn north and south in the Atlantic Ocean. East of that line the rights of Portugal, resting on their explorations and the grants of earlier popes, were confirmed.
The documentary history of the Philippines begins with the Demarcation Bulls and the treaty of Tordesillas, for out of them grew Magellan's voyage and the discovery of the islands; and without them the Philippines would no doubt have been occupied by Portugal and later have fallen a prey to the Dutch as did the Moluccas.
King John of Portugal was dissatisfied with the provisions of the Demarcation Bulls. He held that the treaty between Spain and Portugal in 1479 had resigned to Portugal the field of oceanic discovery, Spain retaining only the Canaries; and he felt that a boundary line only a hundred leagues west of the Azores not only was an infringement on his rights but would be a practical embarrassment in that it would not allow his sailors adequate sea room for their African voyages.
His first contention was hardly valid; the second, however, was reasonable and, as Columbus had estimated the distance from the Canaries to the new islands at over nine hundred leagues, the Catholic sovereigns were disposed to make concessions. By the treaty of Tordesillas, June 7, 1494, it was agreed that the Demarcation Line should be drawn three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. This treaty accepted the principle of the Papal arbitration but shifted the boundary to a position supposed to be half-way between the Cape Verde Islands and the newly discovered islands of Cipangu and Antilia.
Neither in the Papal Bulls nor in the Treaty of Tordesillas was there any specific reference to an extension of the Line around the globe or to a division of the world. The arrangement seems to have contemplated a free field for the exploration and conquest of the unknown parts of the world, to the eastward for Portugal, and to the westward for Spain. If they should cross each other's tracks priority of discovery would determine the ownership.
The suggestion of the extension of the line around the globe and of the idea that Spain was entitled to what might be within the hemisphere set off by the Demarcation Line and its extension to the antipodes does not appear until the time of Magellan, and it is then that we first meet the notion that the Pope had divided the world between Spain and Portugal like an orange.
The Portuguese reached India in 1498. Thirteen years later Albuquerque made conquest of Malacca of the Malay Peninsula, the great entrepôt of the spice trade; but even then the real goal, the islands where the spices grow, had not been attained. The command of the straits, however, promised a near realization of so many years of labor, and, as soon as practicable, in December 1511, Albuquerque despatched Antonio d'Abreu in search of the precious islands. A Spanish historian of the next century affirms that Magellan accompanied d'Abreu in command of one of the ships, but this can hardly be true. Francisco Serrão, however, one of the Portuguese captains, was a friend of Magellan's and during his sojourn of several years in the Moluccas wrote to him of a world larger and richer than that discovered by Vasco da Gama. It is probable, as the historian Barros, who saw some of this correspondence, sugguests, that Serrão somewhat exaggerated the distance from Malacca to the Moluccas, and so planted the seed which bore such fruit in Magellan's mind.
The year after the Portuguese actually attained the Spice Islands, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, first of Europeans (1513), set eyes upon the great South Sea. It soon became only too certain that the Portuguese had won in the race for the land of cloves, pepper, and nutmegs. But, in the absence of knowledge of the true dimensions of the earth and with an underestimate of its size generally prevailing, the information that the Spice Islands lay far to the east of India revived in the mind of Magellan the original project of Columbus to seek the land of spices by the westward route. That he laid this plan before the King of Portugal, there seems good reason to believe, but when he saw no prospect for its realization, like Columbus, he left Portugal for Spain. It is now that the idea is evolved that, as the Moluccas lie so far east of India, they are probably in the Spanish half of the world, and, if approached from the west, may be won after all for the Catholic king. No appeal for patronage and support could be more effective, and how much reliance Magellan and his financial backer Christopher Haro placed upon it in their petition to King Charles appears clearly in the account by Maximilianus Transylvanus of Magellan's presentation of his project: "They both showed Caesar that though it was not yet quite sure whether Malacca was within the confines of the Spaniards or the Portuguese, cause, as yet, nothing of the longitude had been clearly proved, yet, it was quite plain that the Great Gulf and the people of Sinae lay within the Spanish boundary. This too was held to be most certain, that the islands which they call the Moluccas, in which all spices are produced, and are thence exported to Malacca, lay within the Spanish western division, and that it was possible to sail there; and that spices could be brought thence to Spain more easily, and at less expense and cheaper, as they come direct from their native place."
Equally explicit was the contract which Magellan entered into with King Charles: "Inasmuch as you bind yourself to discover in the dominions which belong to us and are ours in the Ocean Sea within the limits of our demarcation, islands and mainlands and rich spiceries, etc." This is followed by an injunction "not to discover or do anything within the demarcation and limits of the most serene King of Portugal."
Las Casas, the historian of the Indies, was present in Valladolid when Magellan came thither to present his plan to the King. "Magellan," he writes, "had a well painted globe in which the whole world was depicted, and on it he indicated the route he proposed to take, saving that the strait was left purposely blank so that no one should anticipate him. And on that day and at that hour I was in the office of the High Chancellor when the Bishop [of Burgos, Fonseca] brought it [i. e. the globe] and showed the High Chancellor the voyage which was proposed; and, speaking with Magellan, I asked him what way he planned to take, and he answered that he intended to go by Cape Saint Mary, which we call the Rio de la Plata and from thence to follow the coast up until he hit upon the strait. But suppose you do not find any strait by which you can go into the other sea. He replied that if he did not find any strait that he would go the way the Portuguese took.—This Fernando de Magalhaens must have been a man of courage and valiant in his thoughts and for undertaking great things, although he was not of imposing presence because he was small in stature and did not appear in himself to be much."
Such were the steps by which the Papal Demarcation Line led to the first circumnavigation of the globe, the greatest single human achievement on the sea. The memorable expedition set out from Seville September 20, 1519. A year elapsed before the entrance to the strait named for the great explorer was discovered. Threading its sinuous intricacies consumed thirty-eight days and then followed a terrible voyage of ninety-eight days across a truly pathless sea. The first land seen was the little group of islands called Ladrones from the thievishness of the inhabitants, and a short stay was made at Guam. About two weeks later, the middle of March, the little fleet reached the group of islands which we know as the Philippines but which Magellan named the islands of St. Lazarus, from the saint whose day and feast were celebrated early in his stay among them.
The calculations of the longitude showed that these islands were well within the Spanish half of the world and the success with which a Malay slave of Magellan, brought from Sumatra, made himself understood indicated clearly enough that they were not far from the Moluccas and that the object of the expedition, to discover a westward route to the Spice Islands, and to prove them to be within the Spanish demarcation, was about to be realized. But Magellan, like Moses, was vouchsafed only a glimpse of the Promised Land. That the heroic and steadfast navigator should have met his death in a skirmish with a few naked savages when in sight of his goal, is one of the most pathetic tragedies in history.
The difficulties, however, of approaching the Moluccas by the western route through the straits of Magellan (that Cape Horn could be rounded was not discovered till 1616), the stubborn and defiant attitude of the King of Portugal in upholding his claims, the impossibility of a scientific and exact determination of the Demarcation Line in the absence of accurate means for measuring longitude,—all these, reinforced by the pressure of financial stringency led King Charles in 1529 to relinquish all claims to or rights to trade with the Moluccas for three hundred and fifty thousand ducats. In the antipodes a Demarcation Line was to be drawn from pole to pole seventeen degrees on the equator, or two hundred and ninety-seven leagues east of the Moluccas, and it was agreed that the subjects of the King of Castile should neither sail or trade beyond that line, or carry anything to the islands or lands within it. If a later scientific and accurate determination should substantiate the original claims of either party the money should be returned and the contract be dissolved. Although the archipelago of St. Lazarus was not mentioned in this treaty it was a plain renunciation of any rights over the Philippines for they lie somewhat to the west of the Moluccas.
The King of Spain, however, chose to ignore this fact and tacitly assumed the right to conquer the Philippines. It was, however, thirteen years before another attempt was made in this direction. By this time the conquest and development of the kingdom of New Spain made one of its ports on the Pacific the natural starting point. This expedition commanded by Rui Lopez de Villalobos was despatched in 1542 and ended disastrously. The Portuguese Captain-general in the Moluccas made several vigorous protests against the intrusion, asserting that Mindanao fell within the Portuguese Demarcation and that they had made some progress in introducing Christianity.
Villalobos left no permanent mark upon the islands beyond giving the name "Felipinas" to some of them, in honor of "our fortunate Prince."
Nearly twenty years elapsed before another expedition was undertaken, but this was more carefully organized than any of its predecessors, and four or five years were absorbed in the preparations. King Philip II, while respecting the contract with Portugal in regard to the Moluccas, proposed to ignore its provisions in regard to other islands included within the Demarcation Line of 1529. In his first despatch relative to this expedition in 1559 he enjoins that it shall not enter the Moluccas but go "to other islands that are in the same region as are the Philippines and others that were outside the said contract, but within our demarcation, that are said to produce spices."
Friar Andrés de Urdaneta, who had gone to the Moluccas with Loaisa in 1525, while a layman and a sailor, explained to the king that as la isla Filipina was farther west than the Moluccas the treaty of Zaragoza was just as binding in the case of these islands as in that of the Moluccas, and that to avoid trouble some "legitimate or pious reason for the expedition should be assigned such as the rescue of sailors who had been lost on the islands in previous expeditions or the determination of the longitude of the Demarcation Line."
It is clear from the sequel that King Philip intended, as has been said, to shut his eyes to the application of the Treaty of Zaragoza to the Philippines. As they did not produce spices the Portuguese had not occupied them and they now made no effectual resistance to the Spanish conquest of the islands. The union of Portugal to the crown of Spain in 1580 subsequently removed every obstacle, and when the Portuguese crown resumed its independence in 1640 the Portuguese had been driven from the Spice Islands by the Dutch.
This is not the place to narrate in detail the history of the great expedition of Legaspi. It established the power of Spain in the Philippines and laid the foundations of their permanent organization. In a sense it was an American enterprise. The ships were built in America and for the most part equipped here. It was commanded and guided by men who lived in the New World. The work of Legaspi during the next seven years entitles him to a place among the greatest of colonial pioneers. In fact he has no rival. Starting with four ships and four hundred men, accompanied by five Augustinian monks, reinforced in 1567 by two hundred soldiers, and from time to time by similar small contingents of troops and monks, by a combination of tact, resourcefulness, and courage he won over the natives, repelled the Portuguese and laid such foundations that the changes of the next thirty years constitute one of the most surprising revolutions in the annals of colonization. A most brilliant exploit was that of Legaspi's grandson, Juan de Salcedo, a youth of twenty-two who with forty-five men explored northern Luzon, covering the present provinces of Zambales, Pangasinán, La Union, Ilocos, and the coast of Cagayán, and secured submission of the people to Spanish rule. Well might his associates hold him "unlucky because fortune had placed him where oblivion must needs bury the most valiant deeds that a knight ever wrought." Nor less deserving of distinction than Legaspi and his heroic grandson was Friar Andrés de Urdaneta the veteran navigator whose natural abilities and extensive knowledge of the eastern seas stood his commander in good stead at every point and most effectively contributed to the success of the expedition. Nor should the work of the Friars be ignored. Inspired by apostolic zeal, reinforced by the glowing enthusiasm of the Catholic Reaction, gifted and tireless, they labored in harmony with Legaspi, won converts, and checked the slowly-advancing tide of Mohammedanism. The ablest of the Brothers, Martin de Rada, was preaching in Visayan within five months.
The work of conversion opened auspiciously in Cebu, where Legaspi began his work, with a niece of Tupas, an influential native, who was baptized with great solemnity. Next came the conversion of the Moor [Moslem] "who had served as interpreter and who had great influence throughout all that country." In 1568 the turning point came with the baptism of Tupas and of his son. This opened the door to general conversion, for the example of Tupas had great weight.
It is a singular coincidence that within the span of one human life the Spaniard should have finished the secular labor of breaking the power of the Moslem in Spain and have checked his advance in the islands of the antipodes. The religion of the prophet had penetrated to Malacca in 1276, had reached the Moluccas in 1465, and thence was spreading steadily northward to Borneo and the Philippines. Iolo (Sulu) and Mindanao succumbed in the sixteenth century and when Legaspi began the conquest of Luzon in 1571 he found many Mohammedans whose settlement or conversion had grown out of the trade relations with Borneo. As the old Augustinian chronicler Grijalva remarks, and his words are echoed by Morga and by the modern historian Montero y Vidal: "So well rooted was the cancer that had the arrival of the Spaniards been delayed all the people would have become Moors, as are all the islanders who have not come under the government of the Philippines."
It is one of the unhappy legacies of the religious revolution of the sixteenth century that it has fixed a great gulf between the Teutonic and the Latin mind, which proves impassable for the average intellect. The deadly rivalries of Catholic and Protestant, of Englishman and Spaniard, have left indelible traces upon their descendants which intensify race prejudice and misunderstanding. The Englishman or American looks with a contempt upon the economic blindness or incapacity of the Spaniard that veils his eyes to their real aims and achievements.
The tragedies and blunders of English colonization in America are often forgotten and only the tragedies and blunders of Spanish colonization are remembered. In the period which elapsed between the formulation of the Spanish and of the English colonial policies religious ideals were displaced by the commercial, and in the exaltation of the commercial ideal England took the lead. Colonies, from being primarily fields for the propagation of Christianity and incidentally for the production of wealth, became the field primarily for industrial and commercial development and incidentally for Christian work. The change no doubt has contributed vastly to the wealth of the world and to progress, but it has been fatal to the native populations. The Spanish policy aimed to preserve and civilize the native races, not to establish a new home for Spaniards, and the colonial legislation provided elaborate safeguards for the protection of the Indians. Many of these were a mere dead letter but the preservation and civilization of the native stock in Mexico, Central and South America, and above all in the Philippines stand out in marked contrast, after all allowances and qualifications have been made, with the fate, past and prospective, of the aborigines in North America, the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, and Australia, and clearly differentiate in their respective tendencies and results the Spanish and English systems. The contrast between the effects of the Spanish conquest in the West Indies, Mexico, and the Philippines reflects the development of the humane policy of the government. The ravages of the first conquistadores, it should be remembered, took place before the crown had time to develop a colonial policy.
It is customary, too, for Protestant writers to speak with contempt of Catholic missions, but it must not be forgotten that France and England were converted to Christianity by similar methods. The Protestant ridicules the wholesale baptisms and conversions and a Christianity not even skin-deep, but that was the way in which Christianity was once propagated in what are the ruling Christian nations of today. The Catholic, on the other hand, might ask for some evidence that the early Germans, or the Anglo-Saxons would ever have been converted to Christianity by the methods employed by Protestants.
The wholesale baptisms have their real significance in the frame of mind receptive for the patient Christian nurture that follows. Christianity has made its real conquests and is kept alive by Christian training, and its progress is the improvement which one generation makes upon another in the observance of its precepts. One who has read the old Penitential books and observed the evidences they afford of the vitality of heathen practices and rites among the people in England in the early Middle Ages will not be too harsh in characterizing the still imperfect fruits of the Catholic missions of the last three centuries.
In the light, then, of impartial history raised above race prejudice and religious prepossessions, after a comparison with the early years of the Spanish conquest in America or with the first generation or two of the English settlements, the conversion and civilization of the Philippines in the forty years following Legaspi's arrival must be pronounced an achievement without a parallel in history. An examination of what was accomplished at the very ends of the earth with a few soldiers and a small band of missionaries will it is believed reveal the reasons for this verdict. We are fortunate in possessing for this purpose, among other materials, a truly classic survey of the condition of the islands at the opening of the seventeenth century written by a man of scholarly training and philosophic mind, Dr. Antonio de Morga, who lived in the islands eight years in the government service.
The Spaniards found in the population of the islands two sharply contrasted types which still survive—the Malay and the Negrito. After the introduction of Christianity the natives were commonly classified according to their religion as Indians (Christian natives), Moors (Mohammedan natives), and Heathen (Gentiles) or Infidels. The religious beliefs of the Malays were not held with any great tenacity and easily yielded to the efforts of the missionaries. The native taste for the spectacular was impressed and gratified by the picturesque and imposing ceremonials of the church.
Their political and social organization was deficient in cohesion. There were no well established native states but rather a congeries of small groups something like clans. The headship of these groups or barangays was hereditary and the authority of the chief of the barangay was despotic. This social disintegration immensely facilitated the conquest; and by tact and conciliation, effectively supported by arms, but with very little actual bloodshed, Spanish sovereignty was superimposed upon these relatively detached groups, whose essential features were preserved as a part of the colonial administrative machinery. This in turn was a natural adaptation of that developed in New Spain. Building upon the available institutions of the barangay as a unit the Spaniards aimed to familiarize and accustom the Indians to settled village life and to moderate labor. Only under these conditions could religious training and systematic religious oversight be provided. These villages were commonly called pueblos or reducciones, and Indians who ran away to escape the restraints of civilized life were said to "take to the hills" (remontar).
As a sign of their allegiance and to meet the expenses of government every Indian family was assessed a tribute of eight reals, about one dollar, and for the purpose of assessment the people were set off in special groups something like feudal holdings (encomiendas). The tribute from some of the encomiendas went to the king. Others had been granted to the Spanish army officers or to the officials. The "Report of the Encomiendas in the Islands in 1591" just twenty years after the conquest of Luzon reveals a wonderful progress in the work of civilization. In the city of Manila there was a cathedral and the bishop's palace, monasteries for the Austin, Dominican, and Franciscan Friars, and a house for the Jesuits. The king maintained a hospital for Spaniards; there was also a hospital for Indians in the charge of two Franciscan lay brothers. The garrison was composed of two hundred soldiers. The Chinese quarter or Parián contained some two hundred shops and a population of about two thousand. In the suburb of Tondo there was a convent of Franciscans and another of Dominicans who provided Christian teaching for some forty converted Sangleyes (Chinese merchants). In Manila and the adjacent region nine thousand four hundred and ten tributes were collected, indicating a total of some thirty thousand six hundred and forty souls under the religious instruction of thirteen missionaries (ministros de doctrina), besides the friars in the monasteries. In the old province of La Pampanga the estimated population was 74,700 with twenty-eight missionaries; in Pangasinán 2,400 souls with eight missionaries; in Ilocos 78,520 with twenty missionaries; in Cagayán and the Babuyan islands 96,000 souls but no missionaries; in La Laguna 48,400 souls with twenty-seven missionaries; in Vicol and Camarines with the island of Catanduanes 86,640 souls with fifteen missionaries, etc., making a total for the islands of 166,903 tributes or 667,612 souls under one hundred and forty missionaries, of which seventy-nine were Augustinians, nine Dominicans, forty-two Franciscans. The King's encomiendas numbered thirty-one and the private ones two hundred and thirty-six.
Friar Martin Ignacio in his Itinerario, the earliest printed description of the islands (1585), says: "According unto the common opinion at this day there is converted and baptised more than foure hundred thousand soules."
This system of encomiendas had been productive of much hardship and oppression in Spanish America, nor was it altogether divested of these evils in the Philippines. The payment of tributes, too, was irksome to the natives and in the earlier days the Indians were frequently drafted for forced labor, but during this transition period, and later, the clergy were the constant advocates of humane treatment and stood between the natives and the military authorities. This solicitude of the missionaries for their spiritual children and the wrongs from which they sought to protect them are clearly displayed in the Relacion de las Cosas de las Filipinas of Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop, who has been styled the "Las Casas of the Philippines."
That it was the spirit of kindness, Christian love, and brotherly helpfulness of the missionaries that effected the real conquest of the islands is abundantly testified by qualified observers of various nationalities and periods, but the most convincing demonstration is the ridiculously small military force that was required to support the prestige of the Catholic king. The standing army organized in 1590 for the defense of the country numbered four hundred men! No wonder an old viceroy of New Spain was wont to say: "En cada fraile tenía el rey en Filipinas un capitan general y un ejercito entero"—"In each friar in the Philippines the King had a captain general and a whole army." The efforts of the missionaries were by no means restricted to religious teaching, but were also directed to promote the social and economic advancement of the islands. They cultivated the innate taste for music of the natives and taught the children Spanish. They introduced improvements in rice culture, brought Indian corn and cacao from America and developed the cultivation of indigo and coffee, and sugar cane. Tobacco alone of the economic plants brought to the islands by the Spaniards owes its introduction to government agency.
The young capital of the island kingdom of New Castile, as it was denominated by Philip II, in 1603 when it was described by Morga invites some comparison with Boston, New York, or Philadelphia in the seventeenth century. The city was surrounded by a wall of hewn stone some three miles in circuit. There were two forts and a bastion, each with a garrison of a few soldiers. The government residence and office buildings were of hewn stone and spacious and airy. The municipal buildings, the cathedral, and the monasteries of the three orders were of the same material. The Jesuits, besides providing special courses of study for members of their order, conducted a college for the education of Spanish youth. The establishment of this college had been ordered by Philip II in 1585 but it was 1601 before it was actually opened. Earlier than this in 1593 there had been established a convent school for girls, the college of Saint Potenciana. In provisions for the sick and helpless, Manila at the opening of the seventeenth century was far in advance of any city in the English colonies for more than a century and a half to come. There was first the royal hospital for Spaniards with its medical attendants and nurses; the Franciscan hospital for the Indians administered by three priests and by four lay brothers who were physicians and apothecaries and whose skill had wrought surprising cures in medicine and surgery; the House of Mercy, which took in sick slaves, gave lodgings to poor women, portioned orphan girls, and relieved other distresses; and lastly, the hospital for Sangleyes or Chinese shopkeepers in the Chinese quarter. Within the walls the houses, mainly of stone and inhabited by Spaniards, numbered about six hundred. The substantial buildings, the gaily-dressed people, the abundance of provisions and other necessaries of human life made Manila, as Morga says, "one of the towns most praised by the strangers who flock to it of any in the world." There were three other cities in the islands, Segovia and Cazeres in Luzon, and the city of the "most holy name of Jesus" in Cebú, the oldest Spanish settlement in the archipelago. In the first and third the Spanish inhabitants numbered about two hundred and in Cazeres about one hundred. In Santisimo nombre de Jesús there was a Jesuit college.
Although the Indians possessed an alphabet before the arrival of the Spaniards and the knowledge of reading and writing was fairly general they had no written literature of any kind. A Jesuit priest who had lived in the islands eighteen years, writing not far from 1640, tells us that by that time the Tagals had learned to write their language from left to right instead of perpendicularly as was their former custom, but they used writing merely for correspondence. The only books thus far in the Indian languages were those written by the missionaries on religion.
In regard to the religious life of the converted Indians the Friars and Morga speak on the whole with no little satisfaction. Friar Martin Ignacio in 1584 writes: "Such as are baptised, doo receive the fayth with great firmenesse, and are good Christians, and would be better, if that they were holpen with good ensamples." Naturally the Spanish soldiers left something to be desired as examples of Christianity and Friar Martin relates the story of the return from the dead of a principal native—"a strange case, the which royally did passe of a trueth in one of these ilandes,"—who told his former countrymen of the "benefites and delights" of heaven, which "was the occasion that some of them forthwith received the baptisme, and that others did delay it, saying, that because there were Spaniard souldiers in glory, they would not go thither, because they would not be in their company."
Morga writing in 1603 says: "In strictest truth the affairs of the faith have taken a good footing, as the people have a good disposition and genius, and they have seen the errors of their paganism and the truths of the Christian religion; they have got good churches and monasteries of wood, well constructed, with shrines and brilliant ornaments, and all the things required for the service, crosses, candlesticks, chalices of gold and silver, many brotherhoods and religious acts, assiduity in the sacraments and being present at divine service, and care in maintaining and supplying their monks, with great obedience and respect; they also give for the prayers and burials of their dead, and perform this with all punctuality and liberality." A generation later the report of the Religious is not quite so sanguine: "They receive our religion easily and their lack of intellectual penetration saves them from sounding the difficulties of its mysteries. They are too careless of fulfilling the duties of the Christianity which they profess and must needs be constrained by fear of chastisement and be ruled like school children. Drunkenness and usury are the two vices to which they are most given and these have not been entirely eradicated by the efforts of our monks." That these efforts were subsequently crowned with a large measure of success is shown by the almost universal testimony to the temperate habits of the Filipinos.
This first period of Philippine history has been called its Golden Age. Certainly no succeeding generation saw such changes and advancement. It was the age of Spain's greatest power and the slow decline and subsequent decrepitude that soon afflicted the parent state could not fail to react upon the colony. This decline was in no small degree the consequence of the tremendous strain to which the country was subjected in the effort to retain and solidify its power in Europe while meeting the burden of new establishments in America and the Philippines. That in the very years when Spaniards were accomplishing the unique work of redeeming an oriental people from barbarism and heathenism to Christianity and civilized life, the whole might of the mother-country should have been massed in a tremendous conflict in Europe which brought ruin and desolation to the most prosperous provinces under her dominion, and sapped her own powers of growth, is one of the strangest coincidences in history.
Bending every energy for years to stay the tide of change and progress, suppressing freedom of thought with relentless vigor, and quarantining herself and her dependencies against new ideas, conservatism grew to be her settled habit and the organs of government became ossified. Policies of commercial restriction which were justifiable or at least rationally explicable in the sixteenth century lasted on, proof against innovation or improvement, until the eighteenth century and later. Consequently from the middle of the seventeenth century at the period of the rapid rise of colonial powers of France, Holland, and England, the Spanish colonies find themselves under a commercial regime which increasingly hampers their prosperity and effectually blocks their advancement.
The contrast between the Spanish possessions and those of the other maritime powers became more marked as time went on. The insuperable conservatism of the home government gave little opportunity for the development of a class of energetic and progressive colonial officials, and financial corruption honeycombed the whole colonial civil service.
Such conditions: the absence of the spirit of progress, hostility to new ideas, failure to develop resources, and the prevalence of bribery and corruption in the civil service, insure abundant and emphatic condemnation at the present day for the Spanish colonial system. But in any survey of this system we must not lose sight of the terrible costs of progress in the tropical colonies of Holland, France, and England; nor fail to compare the pueblos of the Philippines in the eighteenth century with the plantations of San Domingo, or Jamaica, or Java, or with those of Cuba in the early nineteenth century when the spirit of progress invaded the island.
To facilitate the understanding of the historical materials which will be collected in this series and to lay the foundation for a just and appreciative comparison of the institutions of the Philippines with those of other European dependencies in the tropics, it will be my aim now to bring into relief the distinctive features of the work wrought in the islands which raised a congeries of Malay tribes to Christian civilization, and secured for them as happy and peaceful an existence on as high a plane as has yet been attained by any people of color anywhere in the world, or by any orientals for any such length of time.
Such a survey of Philippine life may well begin with a brief account of the government of the islands. This will be followed by a description of the commercial system and of the state of the arts and of education, religion, and some features of social life during the eighteenth century and in the first years of the nineteenth before the entrance of the various and distracting currents of modern life and thought. In some cases significant details will be taken from the works of competent witnesses whose observations were made somewhat earlier or later. This procedure is unobjectionable in describing a social condition on the whole so stationary as was that of the Philippines before the last half century.
From the beginning the Spanish establishments in the Philippines were a mission and not in the proper sense of the term a colony. They were founded and administered in the interests of religion rather than of commerce or industry. They were an advanced outpost of Christianity whence the missionary forces could be deployed through the great empires of China and Japan, and hardly had the natives of the islands begun to yield to the labors of the friars when some of the latter pressed on adventurously into China and found martyrs' deaths in Japan. In examining the political administration of the Philippines, then, we must be prepared to find it a sort of outer garment under which the living body is ecclesiastical. Against this subjection to the influence and interests of the Church energetic governors rebelled, and the history of the Spanish domination is checkered with struggles between the civil and religious powers which reproduce on a small scale the mediaeval contests of Popes and Emperors.
Colonial governments are of necessity adaptations of familiar domestic institutions to new functions. The government of Spain in the sixteenth century was not that of a modern centralized monarchy but rather of a group of kingdoms only partially welded together by the possession of the same sovereign, the same language, and the same religion. The King of Spain was also the ruler of other kingdoms outside of the peninsula. Consequently when the New World was given a political organization it was subdivided for convenience into kingdoms and captaincies general in each of which the administrative machinery was an adaptation of the administrative machinery of Spain. In accordance with this procedure the Philippine islands were constituted a kingdom and placed under the charge of a governor and captain general, whose powers were truly royal and limited only by the check imposed by the Supreme Court (the Audiencia) and by the ordeal of the residencia at the expiration of his term of office. Among his extensive prerogatives was his appointing power which embraced all branches of the civil service in the islands. He also was ex officio the President of the Audiencia. His salary was $8,000 a year, but his income might be largely augmented by gifts or bribes. The limitations upon the power of the Governor imposed by the Audiencia, in the opinion of the French astronomer Le Gentil, were the only safeguard against an arbitrary despotism, yet Zúñiga, a generation later pronounced its efforts in this direction generally ineffectual. The residencia to which reference has been made was an institution peculiar in modern times to the Spanish colonial system. It was designed to provide a method by which officials could be held to strict accountability for all acts during their term of office. Today reliance is placed upon the force of public opinion inspired and formulated by the press and, in self-governing communities, upon the holding of frequent elections. The strength of modern party cohesion both infuses vigor into these agencies and neutralizes their effectiveness as the case may be. But in the days of the formation of the Spanish Empire beyond the sea there were neither free elections, nor public press, and the criticism of the government was sedition. To allow a contest in the courts involving the governor's powers during his term of office would be subversive of his authority. He was then to be kept within bounds by realizing that a day of judgment was impending, when everyone, even the poorest Indian, might in perfect security bring forward his accusation. In the Philippines the residencia for a governor lasted six months and was conducted by his successor and all the charges made were forwarded to Spain. The Italian traveler Gemelli Careri who visited Manila in 1696 characterizes the governor's residencia as a "dreadful Trial," the strain of which would sometimes "break their hearts."
On the other hand, an acute observer of Spanish-American institutions of the olden time intimates that the severities of the residencia could be mitigated and no doubt such was the case in the Philippines. By the end of the eighteenth century the residencia seems to have lost its efficacy. The governorship was certainly a difficult post to fill and the remoteness from Europe, the isolation, and the vexations of the residencia made it no easy task to get good men for the place. An official of thirty years experience, lay and ecclesiastical, assures us in the early seventeenth century that he had known of only one governor really fitted for the position, Gomez Perez Dasmariñas. He had done more for the happiness of the natives in three years than all his predecessors or successors. Some governors had been without previous political experience while others were deficient in the qualities required in a successful colonial ruler.
The supreme court or Audiencia was composed of four judges (oidores, auditors) an attorney-general (fiscal), a constable, etc. The governor who acted as president had no vote. Besides the functions of this body as the highest court of appeal for criminal and civil cases it served as has been said as a check upon the governor. Down to 1715 the Audiencia took charge of the civil administration in the interim between the death of a governor and the arrival of his successor, and the senior auditor assumed the military command. Attached to the court were advocates for the accused, a defender of the Indians, and other minor officials. In affairs of public importance the Audiencia was to be consulted by the governor for the opinions of the auditors.
For the purposes of local administration the islands were subdivided into or constituted Provinces under alcaldes mayores who exercised both executive and judicial functions, and superintended the collection of tribute. The alcaldes mayores were allowed to engage in trade on their own account which resulted too frequently in enlisting their interest chiefly in money making and in fleecing the Indians.
The provincial court consisted of the alcalde mayor, an assessor who was a lawyer, and a notary. The favoritism and corruption that honeycombed the civil service of Spain in the colonies in the days of her decline often placed utterly unfit persons in these positions of responsibility. A most competent observer, Tomás de Comyn, many years the factor of the Philippine Commercial Company, has depicted in dark colors, and perhaps somewhat overdrawn the evils of the system.
The subdivision of the provinces was into pueblos each under its petty governor or gobernadorcillo. The gobernadorcillo was an Indian and was elected annually. In Morga's time the right of suffrage seems to have been enjoyed by all married Indians, but in the last century it was restricted to thirteen electors. The gobernadorcillo was commonly called the "captain." Within the pueblos the people formed little groups of from forty to fifty tributes called barangays under the supervision of cabezas de barangay. These heads of barangay represent the survival of the earlier clan organization and were held responsible for the tributes of their groups. Originally the office of cabeza de barangay was no doubt hereditary, but it became generally elective. The electors of the gobernadorcillo were made up of those who were or had been cabezas de barangay and they after three years of service became eligible to the office of petty governor.
In the few Spanish towns in the islands the local government was similar to that which prevailed in America, which in turn was derived from Spain. That of Manila may be taken as an example. The corporation, El Cabildo (chapter) consisted of two ordinary alcaldes, eight regidores, a registrar, and a constable. The alcaldes were justices, and were elected annually from the householders by the corporation. The regidores were aldermen and with the registrar and constable held office permanently as a proprietary right. These permanent positions in the cabildo could be bought and sold or inherited.
Turning now to the ecclesiastical administration, we find there the real vital organs of the Philippine governmental system. To the modern eye the islands would have seemed, as they did to the French scientist Le Gentil, priest-ridden. Yet it was only through the Friars that Spain retained her hold at all. A corrupt civil service and a futile and decrepit commercial system were through their efforts rendered relatively harmless, because circumscribed in their effects. The continuous fatherly interest of the clergy more than counterbalanced the burden of the tribute. They supervised the tilling of the soil, as well as the religious life of the people; and it was through them that the works of education and charity were administered.
The head of the ecclesiastical system was the Archbishop of Manila, who in a certain sense was the Patriarch of the Indies. The other high ecclesiastical were the three bishops of Cebú, of Segovia in Cagayán, and of Cazeres in Camarines; and the provincials of the four great orders of friars, the Dominicans, Augustinians, the Franciscans, the barefooted Augustinians, and the Jesuits. In the earlier days the regular clergy (members of the orders) greatly outnumbered the seculars, and refused to acknowledge that they were subject to the visitation of bishop or archbishop. This contention gave rise, at times, to violent struggles. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the proportionate number of seculars increased. In 1750 the total number of parishes was 569, of which 142, embracing 147,269 persons, were under secular priests. The numbers in charge of the orders were as follows:
making a total of 569 parishes and 904,116 souls.
These proportions, however, fail to give a correct idea of the enormous preponderance of the religious orders; for the secular priests were mostly Indians and could exercise nothing like the influence of the Friars upon their cures.
In these hundreds of villages the friars bore sway with the mild despotism of the shepherd of the flock. Spanish officials entered these precincts only on occasion. Soldiers were not to be seen save to suppress disorders. Spaniards were not allowed to live in these communities, and visitors were carefully watched. As Spanish was little known in the provinces, the curate was the natural intermediary in all communications between the natives and the officials or outsiders. In some provinces there were no white persons besides the alcalde mayor and the friars. Without soldiers the alcalde mayor must needs rely upon the influence of the friars to enable him to execute his duties as provincial governor. In contemplating their services for civilization and good order Tomás de Comyn rises to enthusiasm. "Let us visit," he writes, "the Philippine Islands, and with astonishment shall we there behold extended ranges, studded with temples and spacious convents, the Divine worship celebrated with pomp and splendour; regularity in the streets, and even luxury in the houses and dress; schools of the first rudiments in all the towns, and the inhabitants well versed in the art of writing. We shall see there causeways raised, bridges of good architecture built, and, in short, all the measures of good government and police, in the greatest part of the country, carried into effect; yet the whole is due to the exertions, apostolic labours, and pure patriotism of the ministers of religion. Let us travel over the provinces, and we shall see towns of 5, 10, and 20,000 Indians, peacefully governed by one weak old man, who, with his doors open at all hours, sleeps quiet and secure in his dwelling, without any other magic, or any other guards, than the love and respect with which he has known how to inspire his flock."
If this seems too rosy a picture, it still must not be forgotten that at this time the ratio of whites to Indians in the islands was only about one to sixteen hundred, that most of these lived in Manila, and that the entire military force was not more than two thousand regular troops. As has been intimated this condition lasted down until a comparatively recent period. As late as 1864 the total number of Spaniards amounted to but 4,050 of whom 3,280 were government officials, etc., 500 clergy, 200 landed proprietors, and 70 merchants; and in the provinces the same conditions prevailed that are described by Comyn. In more than half of the twelve hundred villages in the islands "there was no other Spaniard, no other national authority, nor any other force to maintain public order save only the friars."
Recurring for a moment to the higher ecclesiastical organization, the judicial functions of the church were represented by the archbishop's court and the commissioner of the Inquisition. The Episcopal court, which was made up of the archbishop, the vicar-general, and a notary, tried cases coming under the canon law, such as those relating to matrimony and all cases involving the clergy. Idolatry on the part of the Indians or Chinese might be punished by this court. The Holy Inquisition transplanted to New Spain in 1569 stretched its long arm across the great ocean to the Philippines, in the person of a commissioner, for the preservation of the true faith. The Indians and Chinese were exempted from its jurisdiction. Its processes were roundabout, and must have given a considerable proportion of its accused a chance to die a natural death. The Commissioner must first report the offense to the Court in New Spain; if a trial was ordered, the accused must be sent to Mexico, and, if convicted, must be returned to the Philippines to receive punishment.
The most peculiar feature of the old régime in the Philippines is to be found in the regulations of the commerce of the islands. In the Recopilacion de leyes de los reinos de las Indias, the code of Spanish colonial legislation, a whole title comprising seventy-nine laws is devoted to this subject. For thirty years after the conquest the commerce of the islands was unrestricted and their prosperity advanced with great rapidity. Then came a system of restrictions, demanded by the protectionists in Spain, which limited the commerce of the islands with America to a fixed annual amount, and effectively checked their economic development. All the old travelers marvel at the possibilities of the islands and at the blindness of Spain, but the policy absurd as it may seem was but a logical application of the protective system not essentially different from the forms which it assumes today in our own relations to Porto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines.
The Seville merchants through whose hands the Spanish export trade to the New World passed looked with apprehension upon the importation of Chinese fabrics into America and the exportation of American silver to pay for them. The silks of China undersold those of Spain in Mexico and Peru, and the larger the export of silver to the East the smaller to Spain. Consequently to protect Spanish industry and to preserve to Spanish producers the American market, the shipment of Chinese cloths from Mexico to Peru was prohibited in 1587. In 1591 came the prohibition of all direct trade between Peru or other parts of South America and China or the Philippines, and in 1593 a decree—not rigorously enforced till 1604—which absolutely limited the trade between Mexico and the Philippines to $250,000 annually for the exports to Mexico, and to $500,000 for the imports from Mexico, to be carried in two ships not to exceed three hundred tons burden. No Spanish subject was allowed to trade in or with China, and the Chinese trade was restricted to the merchants of that nation.
All Chinese goods shipped to New Spain must be consumed there and the shipping of Chinese cloths to Peru in any amount whatever even for a gift, charitable endowment, or for use in divine worship was absolutely prohibited. As these regulations were evaded, in 1636 all commerce was interdicted between New Spain and Peru. A commerce naturally so lucrative as that between the Philippines and New Spain when confined within such narrow limits yielded monopoly profits. It was like a lottery in which every ticket drew a prize. In these great profits every Spaniard was entitled to share in proportion to his capital or standing in the community. The assurance of this largess, from the beginnings of the system, discouraged individual industry and enterprise, and retarded the growth of Spanish population. Le Gentil and Zúñiga give detailed descriptions of the method of conducting this state enterprise after the limits had been raised to $500,000 and $1,000,000 respectively for the outgoing and return voyage. The capacity of the vessel was measured taking as a unit a bale about two and one-half feet long, sixteen inches broad and two feet high. If then the vessel could carry four thousand of these bales, each bale might be packed with goods up to a value of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The right to ship was known as a boleta or ticket. The distribution of these tickets was determined at the town hall by a board made up of the governor, attorney-general, the dean of the audiencia, one alcalde, one regidor and eight citizens.
To facilitate the allotment and the sale of tickets they were divided into sixths. Tickets were ordinarily worth in the later eighteenth century in times of peace eighty dollars to one hundred dollars, and in war time they rose to upwards of three hundred dollars. Le Gentil tells us that in 1766 they sold for two hundred dollars and more, and that the galleon that year went loaded beyond the limit. Each official as the perquisite of his office had tickets. The regidores and alcaldes had eight.
The small holders who did not care to take a venture in the voyage disposed of their tickets to merchants or speculators, who borrowed money, usually of the religious corporations, at twenty-five to thirty per cent per annum to buy them up and who sometimes bought as many as two or three hundred. The command of the Acapulco galleon was the fattest office within the gift of the Governor, who bestowed it upon "whomsoever he desired to make happy for the commission," and was equivalent to a gift of from $50,000 to $100,000. This was made up from commissions, part of the passage-money of passengers, from the sale of his freight tickets, and from the gifts of the merchants. Captain Arguelles told Careri in 1696 that his commissions would amount to $25,000 or $30,000, and that in all he would make $40,000; that the pilot would clear $20,000 and the mates $9,000 each. The pay of the sailors was three hundred and fifty dollars, of which seventy-five dollars was advanced before the start. The merchants expected to clear one hundred and fifty to two hundred per cent. The passenger fare at the end of the eighteenth century was $1,000 for the voyage to Acapulco, which was the hardest, and $500 for the return. Careri's voyage to Acapulco lasted two hundred and four days. The ordinary time for the voyage to Manila was seventy-five to ninety days.
Careri's description of his voyage is a vivid picture of the hardships of early ocean travel, when cabin passengers fared infinitely worse than cattle today. It was a voyage "which is enough to destroy a man, or make him unfit for anything as long as he lives;" yet there were those who "ventured through it, four, six and some ten times."
Acapulco in New Spain had little reason for existence, save for the annual fair at the time of the arrival of the Manila ship, and the silver fleet from Peru. That event transformed what might more properly be called "a poor village of fishermen" into "a populous city," for the space of about two weeks.
The commerce between the Philippines and Mexico was conducted in this manner from 1604 to 1718, when the silk manufacturers of Spain secured the prohibition of the importation of Chinese silk goods into New Spain on account of the decline of their industry. A prolonged struggle before the Council of the Indies ensued, and in 1734 the prohibition was revoked and the east and west cargoes fixed at $500,000 and $1,000,000 respectively. The last nao, as the Manila–Acapulco galleon was called, sailed from Manila in 1811, and the final return voyage was made in 1815. After that the commerce fell into private hands, the annual exports were limited to $750,000 and the ports of San Blas (Mexico), Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Callao (Peru) were opened to it.
Other changes were the establishment of direct communication with Spain and trade with Europe by a national vessel in 1766. These expeditions lasted till 1783 and their place was taken in 1785 by the Royal Philippine Company, organized with a capital of $8,000,000, and granted the monopoly of the trade between Spain and the islands. The Manila merchants resented the invasion of their monopoly of the export trade, and embarrassed the operations of the company as much as they could. It ceased to exist in 1830.
By this system for two centuries the South American market for manufactures was reserved exclusively for Spain, but the protection did not prevent Spanish industry from decay and did retard the well-being and progress of South America. Between Mexico and the Philippines a limited trade was allowed, the profits of which were the perquisites of the Spaniards living in the Philippines and contributed to the religious endowments. But this monopoly was of no permanent advantage to the Spanish residents. It was too much like stock-jobbing, and sapped all spirit of industry. Zúñiga says that the commerce made a few rich in a short time and with little labor, but they were very few; that there were hardly five Spaniards in Manila worth $100,000, nor a hundred worth $40,000, the rest either lived on the King's pay or in poverty. "Every morning one could see in the streets of Manila, in the greatest poverty and asking alms, the sons of men who had made a fine show and left much money, which their sons had squandered because they had not been well trained in youth." The great possibilities of Manila as an entrepôt of the Asiatic trade were unrealized; for although the city enjoyed open trade with the Chinese, Japanese, and other orientals, it was denied to Europeans and the growth of that conducted by the Chinese and others was always obstructed by the lack of return cargoes owing to the limitations placed upon the trade with America and to the disinclination of the Filipinos to work to produce more than was enough to insure them a comfortable living and pay their tributes. That the system was detrimental to the economic progress of the islands was always obvious and its evils were repeatedly demonstrated by Spanish officials. Further it was not only detrimental to the prosperity of the islands but it obstructed the development of Mexico.
Grau y Monfalcon in 1637 reported that there were fourteen thousand people employed in Mexico in manufacturing the raw silk imported from China. This industry might be promoted by the relaxation of the restrictions on trade. It would also be for the advantage of the Indians of Peru to be able to buy for five pence a yard linen from the Philippines, rather than to be compelled to purchase that of Rouen at ten times the price. But such reasoning was received then as it often is now, and no great change was made for nearly two centuries.
We have now passed in review the political, ecclesiastical, and commercial administration of the Philippines in the olden time; and a general survey of some of the more striking results of the system as a whole may now be made. This is especially necessary on account of the traditional and widely prevalent opinion that the Spanish colonial system was always and everywhere a system of oppression and exploitation; whereas, as a matter of fact, the Spanish system, as a system of laws, always impeded the effectual exploitation of the resources of their colonies, and was far more humane in its treatment of dependent peoples than either the French or English systems.
If, on the one hand, the early conquistadores treated the natives with hideous cruelty, the Spanish government legislated more systematically and benevolently to protect them than any other colonizing power. In the time of the first conquests things moved too rapidly for the home government in those days of slow communication, and the horrors of the clash between ruthless gold-seekers and the simple children of nature, as depicted by the impassioned pen of Las Casas and spread broadcast over Europe, came to be the traditional and accepted characteristic of Spanish rule. The Spanish colonial empire lasted four hundred years and it is simple historical justice that it should not be judged by its beginnings or by its collapse.
The remoteness of the Philippines, and the absence of rich deposits of gold and silver, made it comparatively easy for the government to secure the execution of its humane legislation, and for the church to dominate the colony and guide its development as a great mission for the benefit of the inhabitants. To the same result contributed the unenlightened protectionism of the Seville merchants, for the studied impediments to the development of the Philippine–American trade effectually blocked the exploitation of the islands. In view of the history of our own Southern States, not less than of the history of the West Indies it should never be forgotten that although the Philippine islands are in the Tropics, they have never been the scene of the horrors of the African slave trade or of the life-wasting labors of the old plantation system.
Whether we compare the condition of the natives of the other islands in the Eastern Archipelago or of the peasants of Europe at the same time the general well-being of the Philippine mission villagers was to be envied. A few quotations from unimpeachable witnesses, travelers of wide knowledge of the Orient, may be given in illustration and proof of this view. The famous French explorer of the Pacific, La Pérouse, who was in Manila in 1787, wrote: "Three million people inhabit these different islands and that of Luzon contains nearly a third of them. These people seemed to me no way inferior to those of Europe; they cultivate the soil with intelligence, they are carpenters, cabinet-makers, smiths, jewelers, weavers, masons, etc. I have gone through their villages and I have found them kind, hospitable, affable," etc.
Coming down a generation later the Englishman Crawfurd, the historian of the Indian Archipelago, who lived at the court of the Sultan of Java as British resident, draws a comparison between the condition of the Philippines and that of the other islands of the East that deserves careful reflection.
"It is remarkable, that the Indian administration of one of the worst governments of Europe, and that in which the general principles of legislation and good government are least understood,—one too, which has never been skillfully executed, should, upon the whole, have proved the least injurious to the happiness and prosperity of the native inhabitants of the country. This, undoubtedly, has been the character of the Spanish connection with the Philippines, with all its vices, follies, and illiberalities; and the present condition of these islands affords an unquestionable proof of the fact. Almost every other country of the Archipelago is, at this day, in point of wealth, power, and civilization, in a worse state than when Europeans connected themselves with them three centuries back. The Philippines alone have improved in civilization, wealth, and populousness. When discovered most of the tribes were a race of half-naked savages, inferior to all the great tribes, who were pushing, at the same time, an active commerce, and enjoying a respectable share of the necessaries and comforts of a civilized state. Upon the whole, they are at present superior in almost everything to any of the other races. This is a valuable and instructive fact."
This judgment of Crawfurd in 1820 was echoed by Mallat (who was for a time in charge of the principal hospital in Manila), in 1846, when he expressed his belief that the inhabitants of the Philippines enjoyed a freer, happier, and more placid life than was to be found in the colonies of any other nation.
Sir John Bowring, who was long Governor of Hong Kong, was impressed with the absence of caste: "Generally speaking, I found a kind and generous urbanity prevailing,—friendly intercourse where that intercourse had been sought,—the lines of demarcation and separation less marked and impassible than in most oriental countries. I have seen at the same table Spaniard, Mestizo and Indian—priest, civilian, and soldier. No doubt a common religion forms a common bond; but to him who has observed the alienations and repulsions of caste in many parts of the eastern world—caste, the great social curse—the binding and free intercourse of man with man in the Philippines is a contrast worth admiring." Not less striking in its general bearing than Crawfurd's verdict is that of the German naturalist Jagor who visited the islands in 1859–1860. "To Spain belongs the glory of having raised to a relatively high grade of civilization, improving greatly their condition, a people which she found on a lower stage of culture distracted by petty wars and despotic rule. Protected from outside enemies, governed by mild laws, the inhabitants of those splendid islands, taken as a whole, have no doubt passed a more comfortable life during recent centuries than the people of any tropical country whether under their own or European rule. This is to be accounted for in part by the peculiar conditions which protected the natives from ruthless exploitation. Yet the monks contributed an essential part to this result. Coming from among the common people, used to poverty and self-denial, their duties led them into intimate relations with the natives and they were naturally fitted to adapt the foreign religion and morals to practical use. So, too, in later times, when they came to possess rich livings, and their pious zeal, in general, relaxed as their revenues increased, they still contributed most essentially to bring about conditions, both good and bad, which we have described, since, without families of their own and without refined culture, intimate association with the children of the soil was a necessity to them. Even their haughty opposition to the secular authorities was generally for the advantage of the natives." Similar testimony from a widely different source is contained in the charming sketch "Malay Life in the Philippines" by William Gifford Palgrave, whose profound knowledge of oriental life and character and his experience in such divergent walks in life as soldier and Jesuit missionary in India, pilgrim to Mecca, and English consul in Manila, give his opinion more than ordinary value.
"To clerical government," he writes, "paradoxical as the statement may sound in modern European ears, the Philippine islands owe, more than to anything else, their internal prosperity, the Malay population its sufficiency and happiness. This it is that again and again has stood a barrier of mercy and justice between the weaker and stronger race, the vanquished and the victor; this has been the steady protector of the native inhabitants, this their faithful benefactor, their sufficient leader and guide. With the 'Cura' for father, and the 'Capitan' for his adjutant, a Philippine hamlet feels and knows little of the vexations inseparable from direct and foreign official administration; and if under such a rule 'progress,' as we love to term it, be rare, disaffection and want are rarer still."
As compared with India, the absence of famines is significant; and this he attributes in part to the prevalence of small holdings. "Not so much what they have, but rather what they have not, makes the good fortune of the Philippines, the absence of European Enterprise, the absence of European Capital. A few European capitalist settlers, a few giant estates, a few central factories, a few colossal money-making combinations of organized labour and gainful produce, and all the equable balance of property and production, of ownership and labour that now leaves to the poorest cottager enough, and yet to the total colony abundance to spare, would be disorganized, displaced, upset; to be succeeded by day labour, pauperism, government relief, subscriptions, starvation. Europe, gainful, insatiate Europe would reap the harvest; but to the now happy, contented, satiate Philippine Archipelago, what would remain but the stubble, but leanness, want, unrest, misery?"
The latest witness to the average well-being of the natives under the old system whom I shall quote is Mr. Sawyer. "If the natives fared badly at the hands of recent authors, the Spanish Administration fared worse, for it has been painted in the darkest tints, and unsparingly condemned. It was indeed corrupt and defective, and what government is not? More than anything else it was behind the age, yet it was not without its good points.
"Until an inept bureaucracy was substituted for the old paternal rule, and the revenue quadrupled by increased taxation, the Filipinos were as happy a community as could be found in any colony. The population greatly multiplied; they lived in competence, if not in affluence; cultivation was extended, and the exports steadily increased.—Let us be just; what British, French, or Dutch colony, populated by natives can compare with the Philippines as they were until 1895?"
These striking judgments, derived from such a variety of sources, are a sufficient proof that our popular ideas of the Spanish colonial system are quite as much in need of revision as popular ideas usually are.
Yet one must not forget that the Spanish mission system, however useful and benevolent as an agency in bringing a barbarous people within the pale of Christian civilization, could not be regarded as permanent unless this life is looked upon simply as a preparation for heaven. As an educative system it had its bounds and limits; it could train to a certain point and no farther. To prolong it beyond that stage would be to prolong carefully nurtured childhood to the grave, never allowing it to be displaced by self-reliant manhood. The legal status of the Indians before the law was that of minors, and no provision was made for their arriving at their majority. The clergy looked upon these wards of the State as the school-children of the church, and compelled the observance of her ordinances even with the rod. La Pérouse says: "The only thought was to make Christians and never citizens. This people was divided into parishes, and subjected to the most minute and extravagant observances. Each fault, each sin is still punished by the rod. Failure to attend prayers and mass has its fixed penalty, and punishment is administered to men and women at the door of the church by order of the pastor." Le Gentil describes such a scene in a little village a few miles from Manila, where one Sunday afternoon he saw a crowd, chiefly Indian women, following a woman who was to be whipped at the church door for not having been to mass.
The prevalence of a supervision and discipline so parental for the mass of the people in the colony could but react upon the ruling class, and La Pérouse remarks upon the absence of individual liberty in the islands: "No liberty is enjoyed: inquisitors and monks watch the consciences; the oidors (judges of the Audiencia) all private affairs; the governor, the most innocent movements; an excursion to the interior, a conversation come before his jurisdiction; in fine, the most beautiful and charming country in the world is certainly the last that a free man would choose to live in."
Intellectual apathy, one would naturally suppose, must be the consequence of such sedulous oversight, and intellectual progress impossible. Progress in scientific knowledge was, indeed, quite effectually blocked.
The French astronomer Le Gentil gives an interesting account of the conditions of scientific knowledge at the two Universities in Manila. These institutions seemed to be the last refuge of the scholastic ideas and methods that had been discarded in Europe. A Spanish engineer frankly confessed to him that "in the sciences Spain was a hundred years behind France, and that in Manila they were a hundred years behind Spain." Nothing of electricity was known but the name, and making experiments in it had been forbidden by the Inquisition. Le Gentil also strongly suspected that the professor of Mathematics at the Jesuit College still held to the Ptolemaic system.
But when we keep in mind the small number of ecclesiastics in the islands we must clear them of the charge of intellectual idleness. Their activity, on the other hand, considering the climate was remarkable. An examination of J. T. Medina's monumental work on printing in Manila and of Retana's supplement reveals nearly five hundred titles of works printed in the islands before 1800. This of course takes no account of the works sent or brought to Spain for publication, which would necessarily comprise a large proportion of those of general rather than local interest, including of course the most important histories. To these should be added no small number of grammars and dictionaries of the native languages, and missionary histories, that have never been printed. The monastic presses in the islands naturally were chiefly used for the production of works of religious edification, such as catechisms, narratives of missions, martyrdoms, lives of saints, religious histories, and hand-books to the native languages. Simpler manuals of devotion, rosaries, catechisms, outlines of Christian doctrine, stories of martyrdoms, etc., were translated for the Indians. Of these there were about sixty in the Tagal, and from three to ten or twelve each in the Visayan, Vicol, Pampanga, Ilocan, Panayan, and Pangasinán languages.
If, as is credibly asserted, the knowledge of reading and writing was more generally diffused in the Philippines than among the common people of Europe, we have the singular result that the islands contained relatively more people who could read, and less reading matter of any but purely religious interest, than any other community in the world. Yet it would not be altogether safe to assume that in the eighteenth century the list of printed translations into the native languages comprised everything of European literature available for reading; for the Spanish government, in order to promote the learning of Spanish, had prohibited at times the printing of books in Tagal. Furthermore, Zúñiga says explicitly that "after the coming of the Spaniards they (i. e. the people in Luzon) have had comedies, interludes, tragedies, poems, and every kind of literary work translated from the Spanish, without producing a native poet who has composed even an interlude." Again, Zúñiga describes a eulogistic poem of welcome addressed by a Filipino villager to Commodore Álava. This loa, as this species of composition was called, was replete with references to the voyages of Ulysses, the travels of Aristotle, the unfortunate death of Pliny, and other incidents in ancient history. The allusions indicate some knowledge at any rate outside the field of Christian doctrine, even if it was so slight as not to make it seem beyond the limits of poetic license to have Aristotle drown himself in chagrin at not being able to measure the depths of the sea, or to have Pliny throw himself into Vesuvius in his zeal to investigate the causes of its eruption. The literary interests of the Indians found their chief expression however in the adaptation of Spanish plays for presentation on religious holidays. Zúñiga gives an entertaining description of these plays. They were usually made up from three or four Spanish tragedies, the materials of which were so ingeniously interwoven that the mosaic seemed a single piece. The characters were always Moors and Christians, and the action centered in the desire of Moors to marry Christian princesses or of Christians to marry Moorish princesses. The Christian appears at a Moorish tournament or vice versa. The hero and heroine fall in love but their parents oppose obstacles to the match. To overcome the difficulties in case of a Moor and Christian princess was comparatively easy. A war opportunely breaks out in which, after prodigies of valor, the Moor is converted and baptized, and the wedding follows. The case is not so easy when a Christian prince loves a Moorish lady. Since he can never forsake his religion his tribulations are many. He is imprisoned, and his princess aids in his attempt to escape, which sometimes costs him his life; or if the scene is laid in war time either the princess is converted and escapes to the Christian army, or the prince dies a tragic death. The hero is usually provided with a Christ, or other image or relic, given him by his dying mother, which extricates him from his many plights. He meets lions and bears, and highwaymen attack him; but from all he escapes by a miracle. If, however, some principal personage is not taken off by a tragic end, the Indians find the play insipid. During the intermission one or two clowns come out and raise a laugh by jests that are frigid enough "to freeze hot water in the tropics." After the play is over a clown appears again and criticizes the play and makes satirical comments on the village officials. These plays usually lasted three days. Le Gentil attended one of them and says that he does not believe any one in the world was ever so bored as he was. Yet the Indians were passionately fond of these performances.
If one may judge from Retana's catalogue of his Philippine collection arranged in chronological order, the sketch we have given of the literature accessible to Filipinos who could not read Spanish in the eighteenth century would serve not unfairly for much of the nineteenth. The first example of secular prose fiction I have noted in his lists is Friar Bustamente's pastoral novel depicting the quiet charms of country life as compared with the anxieties and tribulations of life in Manila. His collection did not contain so far as I noticed a single secular historical narrative in Tagal or anything in natural science.
Sufficient familiarity with Spanish to compensate for this lack of books of secular knowledge was enjoyed by very few Indians in the country districts and these had learned it mainly while servants of the curate. It was the common opinion of the Spanish authorities that the Friars purposely neglected instructing the Indians in Spanish, in order to perpetuate their hold upon them; but Zúñiga repels this charge as unjust and untrue.
It is obvious that it was impracticable for the Indians to learn Spanish under the mission system. For the pastor of a pueblo of several hundred families to teach the children Spanish was an impossibility. A few words or simple phrases might be learned, but the lack of opportunity for constant or even frequent practice of the language in general conversation would make their attainments in it far below those of American grammar-school children in German in cities where that has been a compulsory study. As long as the mission system isolated the pueblos from contact with the world at large, it of necessity followed that the knowledge of Spanish would be practically limited to such Indians as lived in Manila or the larger towns, or learned it in the households of the Friars. Slavery with its forced transplanting has been the only means by which large masses of alien or lower races have been lifted into the circle of European thought and endowed with a European language. If such a result is secured in the future in any large measure for the Filipino, it can be accomplished only by the translation of English or Spanish literature into the Tagal and other languages, on a scale not less generous than the work of the Friars in supplying the literature of religious edification. This will be a work of not less than two or three generations, and of a truly missionary devotion.
We have now surveyed in its general aspects the old régime in the Philippines, and supplied the necessary material upon which to base a judgment of this contribution of Spain to the advancement of civilization. In this survey certain things stand out in contrast to the conventional judgment of the Spanish colonial system. The conquest was humane, and was effected by missionaries more than by warriors. The sway of Spain was benevolent, although the administration was not free from the taint of financial corruption. Neither the islands nor their inhabitants were exploited. The colony in fact was a constant charge upon the treasury of New Spain. The success of the enterprise was not measured by the exports and imports, but by the number of souls put in the way of salvation. The people received the benefits of Christian civilization, as it was understood in Spain in the days of that religious revival which we call the Catholic Reaction. This Christianity imposed the faith and the observances of the mediæval church, but it did for the Philippine islanders who received it just what it did for the Franks or Angles a thousand years earlier. It tamed their lives, elevated the status of women, established the Christian family, and gave them the literature of the devotional life.
Nor did they pay heavily for these blessings. The system of government was inexpensive, and the religious establishment was mainly supported by the landed estates of the orders. Church fees may have been at times excessive, but the occasions for such fees were infrequent. The tenants of the church estates found the friars easy landlords. Zúñiga describes a great estate of the Augustinians near Manila of which the annual rental was not over $1,500, while the annual produce was estimated to be not less than $70,000, for it supported about four thousand people. The position of women was fully as good among the Christian Indians of the Philippines as among the Christian people of Europe. But conspicuous among the achievements of the conquest and conversion of the islands in the field of humanitarian progress, when we consider the conditions in other European tropical colonies, have been the prohibition of slavery and the unremitting efforts to eradicate its disguised forms. These alone are a sufficient proof that the dominating motives in the Spanish and clerical policies were humane and not commercial. Not less striking proof of the comfortable prosperity of the natives on the whole under the old Spanish rule has been the steady growth of the population. At the time of the conquest the population in all probability did not exceed a half-million. In the first half of the eighteenth century according to the historian of the Franciscans, San Antonio, the Christian population was about 830,000. At the opening of the nineteenth century Zúñiga estimated the total at a million and a half as over 300,000 tributes were paid. The official estimate in 1819 was just short of 2,600,000; by 1845 Buzeta calculates the number at a little short of four millions. In the next half century it nearly doubled.
In view of all these facts one must readily accord assent to Zúñiga's simple tribute to the work of Spain. "The Spanish rule has imposed very few burdens upon these Indians, and has delivered them from many misfortunes which they suffered from the constant warfare waged by one district with another, whereby many died, and others lived wretched lives as slaves. For this reason the population increased very slowly, as is now the case with the infidels of the mountain regions who do not acknowledge subjection to the King of Spain. Since the conquest there has been an increase in well-being and in population. Subjection to the King of Spain has been very advantageous in all that concerns the body. I will not speak of the advantage of knowledge of the true God, and of the opportunity to obtain eternal happiness for the soul, for I write not as a missionary but as a philosopher."
The old régime in the Philippines has disappeared forever. In hardly more than a generation the people have passed from a life which was so remote from the outside contemporary world that they might as well have been living in the middle ages in some sheltered nook, equally protected from the physical violence and the intellectual strife of the outside world, and entirely oblivious of the progress of knowledge. They find themselves suddenly plunged into a current that hurls them along resistlessly. Baptized with fire and blood, a new and strange life is thrust upon them and they face the struggle for existence under conditions which spare no weakness and relentlessly push idleness or incapacity to the wall. What will be the outcome no man can tell. To the student of history and of social evolution it will be an experiment of profound interest.
Edward Gaylord Bourne
Yale University, October, 1902.
- The Philippine Islands, Moluccas, Siam, Cambodia, Japan, and China at the close of the Sixteenth Century, by Antonio de Morga, Hakluyt Society, London, 1868, p. 265. This will be cited usually as Morga.
- "The crown and sceptre of Spain has come to extend itself over all that the sun looks on, from its rising to its setting." Morga, p. 6. Down to the end of the year 1844 the Manilan calendar was reckoned after that of Spain, that is, Manila time was about sixteen hours slower than Madrid time. Finally, with the approval of the Archbishop in 1844, the thirty-first of December was dropped and the Philippines transferred, so to speak, into the Eastern Hemisphere. Thenceforward Manila time was about eight hours ahead of Madrid time. Jagor: Reisen in den Philippinen, pp. 1–2.
- For a fuller account of the negotiations relating to these bulls and the Treaty of Tordesillas see Harrisse: Diplomatic History of America, 1452–1494, S. E. Dawson: The Lines of Demarcation of Pope Alexander VI and the Treaty of Tordesillas, or E. G. Bourne: Essays in Historical Criticism. The texts are printed in this volume.
- The names used by Columbus in his interview with the King of Portugal. Ruy de Pina: Chronica d'el rey Joaõ II, Colleçaõ de Livros Ineditos de Historia Portugueze, ii, p. 177.
- This is also Harrisse's view, Diplomatic History of America, p. 74.
- "Sábese la concession del Papa Alexandra; la division del mundo como una naranja." Letter of Alonso de Zuazo to Charles V, January 22, 1518. Docs. Inéd. de Indias, i, p. 296 (From Harrisse, p. 174). Cf. also Maximilianus Transylvanus in First Voyage Round the World by Magellan. Hakluyt Society, p. 185.
- The question is fully discussed in Guillemard's Life of Ferdinand Magellan, pp. 68–69.
- Guillemard, Magellan, p. 71.
- First Voyage Round the World by Magellan, p. 187.
- Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viages y Descubrimientos, etc., iv, p. 117.
- Las Casas: Historia de las Indias. Col. de Docs. Inéd. para la Historia de España, lxv, pp. 376–377. This account by Las Casas apparently has been overlooked by English writers on Magellan. It is noticed by Peschel, Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen, p. 488.
- See Guillemard's comparison between the voyages of Columbus and Magellan in Life of Magellan, p. 258.
- See Pigafetta's account in The First Voyage Round the World by Magellan, p. 74.
- Pigafetta, ibid., p. 76.
- The description of the Philippines and their inhabitants which we owe to the Italian Pigafetta who accompanied Magellan is especially noteworthy not only as the first European account of them, but also as affording a gauge by which to estimate the changes wrought by the Spanish conquest and the missions.
- See E. G. Bourne: Essays in Historical Criticism, pp. 209–211 for an account of the Badajos Junta which attempted to settle the question of the rights to the Moluccas. The documents are in Navarrete, iv, pp. 333–370, a somewhat abridged translation of which is presented in this volume. Sandoval attributes the sale of the Moluccas to Charles's financial straits. Navarrete, iv, xx. The treaty of sale is in Navarrete, iv, pp. 389–406.
- Navarrete, iv, p. 394.
- Navarrete, iv, p. 396.
- See the correspondence in Col. de Doc. Inéditos de Ultramar, vol. ii (vol. i of subdivision de las Islas Filipinas), p. 66.
- Relacion del Viaje que hizo desde la Nueva-España à las Islas del Poniente Ruy Gomez de Villalobos, written by Garcia Descalante Alvarado. Coleccion de Docs. Inéd. del Archivo de Indias v, p. 127. The name was first given in July or August 1543 to some of the smaller islands in the group. On page 122, Alvarado writes "chinos que vienen a Mindanao y à las Philipinas." Montero y Vidal says that the island first to receive the name was Leyte. Hist. Gen. de Filipinas, i, p. 27. In 1561, Urdaneta uses "las islas Filipinas" in the ordinary way; see his "Derrotero" prepared for the expedition. Col. Docs. Inéd. vol. i, p. 130 ff.
- Col. de Docs. Inéd. de Ultramar, vol. ii, pp. 95–96.
- Ibid., pp. 109–111.
- In September, 1568, a Portuguese squadron despatched by the Governor of the Moluccas appeared off Cebu to drive the Spaniards out of the Visayan Islands. The commander satisfied himself with diplomatic protests. Montero y Vidal: Hist. Gen. de Filipinos, i, p. 34.
- Montero y Vidal, i., pp. 41–42.
- Juan de Grijalva. From W. E. Retana's extracts from his Cronica de la Orden de N. P. S. Augustin en las provincias de la Nueva España, etc. (1533–1592) in Retana's edition of Zúñiga's Estadismo de las Islas Filipinas, ii. p. 219 ff. Juan de Salcedo after being promoted to the high rank of Maestre de Campo (an independent command) died suddenly in 1576 at the age of twenty-seven. Far from amassing wealth in his career he died poor. In his will he provided that after the payment of his debts the residue of his property should be given to certain Indians of his encomienda. Ibid., p. 615.
- This account of the conversion is based on Grijalva's contemporary narrative; see Retana's Zúñiga, ii, pp. 219–220.
- Montero y Vidal, i, p. 59.
- Retana's Zúñiga, ii, p. 222; Morga, Hakluyt Society edition, pp. 307–308; Montero y Vidal, i, p. 60.
- He was lieutenant to the Governor and the first justice to be appointed to the supreme court (Audiencia) on its reorganization. His Sucesos de la islas Philipinas—Mexici ad Indos, anno 1609, is a work of great rarity. It was reprinted in Paris in 1890 with annotations by the Filipino author and patriot, Dr. José Rizal and with an Introduction by Blumentritt. Rizal tries to show that the Filipinos have retrograded in civilization under Spanish rule; cf. Retana's comments in his Zúñiga, ii, p. 277. The references to Morga to follow are to the Hakluyt Society edition.
- A natural transference of the familiar name in Spain for Mohammedans.
- Morga, pp. 296–297.
- Morga, p. 323.
- Relacion de las Encomiendas existentes en Filipinos el dia 31 de Mayo de 1591, in Retana: Archivo del Bibliofilo Filipino, iv, pp. 39–112.
- Mendoza, The History of the Great and Mighty Kingdom of China. Hakluyt Society edition, ii, p. 263.
- Printed in Retana's Archivo, iii, pp. 3–45.
- "Of little avail would have been the valor and constancy with which Legaspi and his worthy companions overcame the natives of the islands, if the apostolic zeal of the missionaries had not seconded their exertions, and aided to consolidate the enterprise. The latter were the real conquerors; they who without any other arms than their virtues, gained over the good will of the islanders, caused the Spanish name to be beloved, and gave the king, as it were by a miracle, two millions more of submissive and Christian subjects." Tomas de Comyn, State of the Philippine Islands, etc., translated by William Walton, London, 1821, p. 209. Comyn was the general manager of the Royal Philippine Company for eight years in Manila and is described by his latest editor, Senor del Pan, editor of the Revista de Filipinas, as a man of "extensive knowledge especially in the social sciences." Retana characterizes his book as "un libro de merito extraordinario," Zúñiga, ii, pp. 175–76. Mallat says: "C'est par la seule influence de la religion que l'on a conquis les Philippines, et cette influence pourra seule les conserver." Les Philippines, histoire, geographie, moeurs, agriculture, industrie et commerce des Colonies espagnoles dans l'oceanie. Par J. Mallat, Paris, 1846, i, p. 40. I may say that this work seems to me the best of all the modern works on the Philippines. The author was a man of scientific training who went to the islands to study them after a preparatory residence in Spain for two years.
- Morga, p. 325.
- Mallat, i, p. 389.
- Morga, p. 320.
- Mallat, i, pp. 382–385.
- Morga, p. 312. Mallat, ii, p. 240.
- Morga, p. 313. Mallat, ii, p. 244.
- The first regular hospital in the thirteen colonies was the Pennsylvania Hospital, incorporated in 1751. Patients were first admitted in 1752. Cornell, History of Pennsylvania, pp. 409–411. There are references to a hospital in New Amsterdam in 1658, but the New York hospital was the first institution of the kind of any importance. It was founded in 1771, but patients were not admitted till 1791. Memorial History of New York, iv, p. 407. There was no hospital for the treatment of general diseases in Boston until the nineteenth century. The Massachusetts General Hospital was chartered in 1811. Memorial History of Boston, iv, p. 548.
- Morga, p. 350.
- Morga, p. 314.
- Friar Juan Francisco de San Antonio who went to the Philippines in 1724, says that "up to the present time there has not been found a scrap of writing relating to religion, ceremonial, or the ancient political institutions." Chronicas de la Apostolica Provincia de San Gregorio, etc. (Sampoloc, near Manila, 1735), i, pp. 149–150 (cited from Retana's Zúñiga, ii, p. 294.
- They used palm leaves for paper and an iron stylus for a pen. "L'escriture ne leur sert que pour s'escrire les uns aux autres, car ils n'ont point d'histoires ny de Livres d'aucune Science; nos Religieux ont imprime des livres en la langue des Isles des choses de nostre Religion." Relation des Isles Philippines, Faite par un Religieux qui y a demeure 18 ans, in Thévenot's Voyages Curieux. Paris 1663, ii (p. 5, of the "Relation"). This narrative is one of the earliest to contain a reproduction of the old Tagal alphabet. Retana ascribes it to a Jesuit and dates it about 1640: p. 13 of the catalogue of his library appended to Archivo del Bibliofilo Filipino, i. The earliest printed data on the Tagal language according to Retana are those given in Chirino's Relacion de las Islas Filipinos, Rome, 1604.
- Mendoza's Historie of the Kingdome of China, volume ii, p. 263.
- Ibid., p. 264.
- Morga, p. 319.
- Relation d'un Religieux, Thévenot, volume ii, (p. 7 of the Relation).
- On the powers of the Governor, see Morga, pp. 344–345.
- Throughout this Introduction the Spanish "peso" is rendered by "dollar." The reader will bear in mind the varying purchasing power of the dollar. To arrive at an approximate equivalent ten may be used as a multiplier for the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and five for the middle of the eighteenth century.
- It may be remembered that the official conscience in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was not so sensitive in regard to "tips" as it is expected to be today. Le Gentil writes: "Les Gouverneurs de Manille corrompent journellement leurs grâces, et les Manillois ne les abordent guère pour leur en demander, sans se précautioner auparavant du rameau d'or; seul et unique moyen de se les rendre favorables. Un soir étant allé voir le Gouverneur, in 1767, à peine m'eut-il demandé des nouvelles de ma senté qu'il alla me chercher une bouteille de verre de chopine, mesure de Paris, (half-pint) pleine de paillettes d'or, il me la fit voir en me disant que c'étoit un présent dont on l'avoit régalé ce jour-là même; Oi, me dit-il, me regalaron de este." Voyage dans Les Mers de L'Inde, Paris, 1781, ii, pp. 152–153. Le Gentil was in the Philippines about eighteen months in 1766–67 on a scientific mission. His account of conditions there is one of the most thorough and valuable that we have for the eighteenth century. As a layman and man of science his views are a useful offset against those of the clerical historians.
- Voyage, ii, p. 153. "The Royal Audience was established to restrain the despotism of the Governors, which it has never prevented; for the gentlemen of the gown are always weak-kneed and the Governor can send them under guard to Spain, pack them off to the provinces to take a census of the Indians or imprison them, which has been done several times without any serious consequences." Zúñiga: Estadismo de las Islas Filipinas o mis Viages por este Pais, ed. Retana, i, p. 244.
- "Cuando se pusieren edictos, publicaren, y pregonaren las residencias, sea de forma que vengan á noticia de los Indios, para que puedan pedir justicia de sus agravios con entera libertad." Law of 1556, lib. v, tit. xv, ley xxviii of the Recopilacion de Leyes de los Reinos de las Indias.
- Recopilacion, lib. v, tit. xv, ley vii.
- Churchill's Voyages, iv, pp. 427–428.
- "I request the reader not to infer from my opinion of the tribunals of residence, my confidence in their efficacy. My homage is immediately and solely addressed to the wisdom of the law. I resign all criticism on its operation, to those who know the seductive influence of Plutus over the feeble and pliant Themis." De Pons: Voyage to the Eastern Part of Terra Firma or the Spanish Main in South America during the years 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. New York, 1806, ii, p. 25.
- "Une loi très-sage, mais malheureusement sans effet, qui devrait modérer cette autorité excessive, est celle qui permet a chaque citoyen de poursuivre le gouverneur vétéran devant à son successeur; mais celui-ci est intéressé à excuser tout ce qu'on reproche à son prédécesseur; et le citoyen assez téméraire pour se plaindre, est exposé à de nouvelles et à de plus fortes vexations." Voyage de La Pérouse autour du Monde. Paris, 1797, ii, p. 350.
- His comments on the kind of officials needed are not without interest today: "A governor must understand war but he must not be over confident of his abilities. Let him give ear to the advice of those who know the country where things are managed very differently from what they are in Europe. Those who have tried to carry on war in the islands as it is carried on in Flanders and elsewhere in Europe have fallen into irreparable mistakes. The main thing, however, is to aim at the welfare of the people, to treat them kindly, to be friendly toward foreigners, to take pains to have the ships for New Spain sail promptly and in good order, to promote trade with neighboring people and to encourage ship-building. In a word, to live with the Indians rather like a father than like a governor." Relation et Memorial de l'état des Isles Philippines, et des Isles Moluques by Ferdinand de los Rios Coronel, Prestre et Procureur General des Isles Philippines, etc. Thévenot, ii (p. 23 of the Relation).
- Morga, p. 345. Recopilacion, lib. ii, tit. xv, ley xi.
- Ibid., ley lviii. Le Gentil, ii, pp. 159, 161.
- Recopilacion, lib. ii, tit. xv, ley xi.
- Mallat, i, pp. 349–50. For a historical summary of the variations in the names of the provinces see Retana's Zúñiga's Estadismo, ii, p. 376 ff.
- They received the tribute in kind in fixed amounts and made money out of the fluctuations of the market prices. At times of scarcity and consequent high prices this procedure doubled or trebled the burden of the tribute. See State of the Philippine Islands, by Tomas de Comyn, translated by William Walton, p. 197. Mallat says: "Rien n'est plus funeste au pays que la permission qui est accordée aux alcaldes de faire le commerce pour leur compte." i, p. 351. See also Retana's note, Zúñiga, Estadismo, ii, p. 530. This right to trade was abolished in 1844.
- "It is a fact common enough to see a hair-dresser or a lackey converted into a governor; a sailor or a deserter, transformed into a district magistrate, collector, or military commander of a populous province, without other counsellor than his own crude understanding, or any other guide than his passions. Such a metamorphosis would excite laughter in a comedy or farce; but, realized in the theatre of human life, it must give rise to sensations of a very different nature. Who is there that does not feel horror-struck, and tremble for the innocent, when he sees a being of this kind transferred from the yard-arm to the seat of justice, deciding in the first instance on the honor, lives, and property of a hundred thousand persons, and haughtily exacting the homage and incense of the spiritual ministers of the towns under his jurisdiction, as well as of the parish curates, respectable for their acquirements and benevolence, and who in their own native places, would possibly have rejected as a servant the very man whom in the Philippines they are compelled to court, and obey as a sovereign." State of the Philippine Islands, London, 1821, p. 194.
- Morga, p. 323.
- Jagor describes an election which he saw in the town of Lauane, of four thousand five hundred inhabitants, in the little island of the same name which lies just off the north shore of Samar. As it is the only description of such a local election that I recall I quote it in full. "It took place in the town house. At the table sits the Governor or his proxy, on his right the pastor and on his left the secretary who is the interpreter. All the Cabezas de Barangay, the Gobernadorcillo and those who have formerly been such have taken their places on the benches. In the first place six of the Cabezas, and six of the ex-Gobernadorcillos respectively are chosen by lot to serve as electors. The Gobernadorcillo in office makes the thirteenth. The rest now leave the room. After the chairman has read the rules and exhorted the electors to fulfil their duty conscientiously, they go one by one to the table and write three names on a ballot. Whoever receives the largest number of votes is forthwith nominated for Gobernadorcillo for the ensuing year, if the pastor or the electors make no well-founded objections subject to the confirmation of the superior court in Manila, which is a matter of course since the influence of the pastor would prevent an unsuitable choice. The same process was followed in the election of the other local officials except that the new Gobernadorcillo was called in that he might make any objections to the selections. The whole transaction was very quiet and dignified." Reisen in den Philippinen, Berlin, 1873, pp. 189–190.
Sir John Bowring's account of this system of local administration is the clearest of those I have found in English books. A Visit to the Philippine Islands, London, 1859, pp. 89–93.
- The Gobernadorcillo in council with the other Cabezas presented a name to the superior authority for appointment. Bowring, p. 90.
- Zúñiga, Estadismo de las Islas Filipinos, i, p. 245. Cf. Mallat, i, p. 358.
- Comyn: State of the Philippine Islands, ch. vii.
- Mallat, i, pp. 40, 386. Jagor, pp. 95–97.
- Mallat, i, p. 380 ff. Comyn, p. 212 ff.
- Mallat, i, p. 365.
- Morga, p. 333.
- Historia de Filipinos, Biblioteca Historica Filipina, Manila, 1892, pp. 155–156. Delgado wrote in 1750–51. Somewhat different figures are given by Le Gentil on the basis of the official records in 1735, ii, p. 182. His total is 705,903 persons.
- Le Gentil, i, p. 186.
- Recopilacion, lib. vi, tit. iii, ley xxi. Morga, p. 330.
"Avec toutes les recommandations possible, il arrive encore que le moine chargé de la peuplade par où vous voyagez, vous laisse rarement parler seul aux Indiens. Lorsque vous parlez en sa présence à quelque Indien qui entend un peu le Castillan, si ce Religieux trouve mauvais que vous conversiez trop long-temps avec ce Naturel, il lui fait entendre dans la langue du pays, de ne vous point répondre en Castillan, mais dans sa langue: l'Indien obéit." Le Gentil, ii, p. 185.
- State of the Philippine Islands, pp. 216–217. These responsibilities and the isolation from Europeans together with the climate frequently brought on insanity. Le Gentil, ii, p. 129. Mallat, i, p. 388.
- Ibid., p. 214.
- In 1637 the military force maintained in the islands consisted of one thousand seven hundred and two Spaniards and one hundred and forty Indians. Memorial de D. Juan Grau y Monfalcon, Procurador General de las Islas Filipinas, Docs. Inéditos del Archivo de Indias, vi, p. 425. In 1787 the garrison at Manila consisted of one regiment of Mexicans comprising one thousand three hundred men, two artillery companies of eighty men each, three cavalry companies of fifty men each. La Pérouse, ii, p. 368.
- Apuntes Interesantes sobre Las Islas Filipinas, etc., escritos por un Español de larga esperiencia en el pais y amante del progresso, Madrid, 1869, p. 13. This very interesting and valuable work was written in the main by Vicente Barrantes, who was a member of the Governor's council and his secretary. On the authorship see Retana's Archivo ii, Biblioteca Gen., p. 25, which corrects his conjecture published in his Zúñiga, ii, p. 135.
- Apuntes Interesantes, pp. 42–43.
- Zúñiga, Estadismo, i, p. 246; Le Gentil, ii, p. 172.
- Le Gentil, ii, p. 172.
- Morga, p. 336.
- Morga, ibid.
- Memorial dado al Rey por D. Juan Grau y Monfalcon, Procurado General de las Islas Filipinos. Docs. Inéditos del Archivo de Indias, vi, p. 444.
- Recopilacion, lib. ix, tit. xxxv, ley vi and ley xv. As will be seen there was usually only one ship.
- Ibid., ley xxxiv.
- Ibid., ley lxviii.
- Ibid., ley lxxviii.
- Ibid., ley xlv.
- Morga, p. 344. Zúñiga, i, pp. 271–274. "El barco de Acapulco ha sido la causa de que los espanoles hayan abandonado las riquezas naturales e industriales de las Islas." Ibid., p. 443.
- Le Gentil, ii, pp. 203–230; Zuniga, i, p. 266 ff.
- Le Gentil, ii, p. 205; Careri, Voyage Round the World, Churchill's Voyages, iv, p. 477.
- Zúñiga, i, p. 267.
- Le Gentil, ii, p. 205.
- Le Gentil, ii, p. 207.
- Zúñiga, i, p. 268.
- Churchill's Voyages, iv, p. 491. I am aware that grave doubts as to the reality of Gemelli Careri's travels existed in the eighteenth century. Robertson says "it seems now to be a received opinion (founded as far as I know, on no good evidence) that Careri was never out of Italy, and that his famous Giro del Mondo is an account of a fictitious voyage." Note 150, History of America. The most specific charges against Careri relate to his account of his experiences in China. See Prévost's Histoire des Voyages, v, pp. 469–70. His description of the Philippines and of the voyage to Acapulco is full of details that have every appearance of being the result of personal observation. In fact, I do not see how it is possible that this part of his book is not authentic. The only book of travels which contains a detailed account of the voyage from Manila to Acapulco written before Careri published that is described in Medina's Bibliografia Española de Filipinas is the Peregrinacion del Mundo del Doctor D. Pedro Cubero Sebastian, of which an edition was published in 1682 in Naples, Careri's own home; but Careri's account is no more like Cubero's than any two descriptions of the same voyage are bound to be; nor is it clear that Careri ever saw Cubero Sebastian's narrative.
- Zúñiga, i, p. 268. Careri mentions the case of a Dominican who paid five hundred dollars for the eastern passage. Op. cit. p. 478; on page 423 he says the usual fare for cabin and diet was five hundred to six hundred dollars.
- Churchill's Voyages, iv, p. 499.
- Op. cit. p. 491. Yet Careri had no such experience as befell Cubero Sebastian in his voyage. When they were nearing the end of the voyage a very fatal disease, "el berben, o mal de Loanda" (probably the same as beri-beri), broke out, as well as dysentery, from which few escaped who were attacked. There were ninety-two deaths in fifteen days. Out of four hundred persons on board, two hundred and eight died before Acapulco was reached. Peregrination del Mundo de D. Pedro Cubero Sebastian, Zaragoza, 1688, p. 268.
- Op. cit. p. 503.
- Montero y Vidal: Hist. Gen. de Filipinas, i, pp. 458, 463. On page 461 is a brief bibliography of the history of Philippine commerce. According to Montero y Vidal, the best modern history of Philippine commerce is La Libertad de comer cio en las islas Filipinas, by D. Manuel de Azcarraga y Palmero, Madrid, 1872.
- Montero y Vidal, ii, p. 122.
- Ibid., ii, p. 297.
- Comyn: State of the Philippine Islands, pp. 83–97.
- Estadismo, i, p. 272.
- Zúñiga, i, p. 274.
Le Gentil remarked that as the Spaniards in Manila had no landed estates to give them an assured and permanent income, they were dependent upon the Acapulco trade, and had no resources to fall back upon if the galleon were lost. Money left in trust was often lost or embezzled by executors or guardians, and it was rare that wealth was retained three generations in the same family. Voyage, ii, pp. 110–112.
- Of the commerce with China it is not necessary to speak at length, as a full account of it is given in Morga. It was entirely in the hands of the Chinese and Mestizos and brought to Manila oriental textiles of all kinds, objects of art, jewelry, metal work and metals, nails, grain, preserves, fruit, pork, fowls, domestic animals, pets, "and a thousand other gewgaws and ornaments of little cost and price which are valued among the Spaniards." (Morga, p. 339.) Besides the Chinese, that with Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas, Siam, and India was so considerable that in spite of the obstructions upon the commerce with America, Manila seemed to the traveler Careri (p. 444) "one of the greatest places of trade in the world."
- Documentos Inéditos del Archivo de Indias, v, pp. 475–77.
- It would be vain to guess how many hundred people there are who are familiar with the denunciations of Las Casas to one who knows anything of the more than six hundred laws defining the status and aiming at the protection of the Indians in the Recopilacion.
- Cf. Jagor: Reisen in den Philippinen, p. 31.
- Voyage de La Pérouse autour du Monde, Paris, 1797, ii, p. 347.
- History of the Indian Archipelago, etc., by John Crawfurd, F. R. S. Edinburgh, 1820, vol. ii, pp. 447–48.
- That I take to be his meaning. His words are: "Ces institutions (i. e., the local administration) si sages et si paternelles ont valu à l'Espagne la conservation d'une colonie dont les habitants jouissent, à notre avis, de plus de liberte, de bonheur et de tranquilleté que ceux d'aucune autre nation." i, p. 357. Cf. also his final chapter: "L'idigène des Philippines est l'homme le plus heureux du monde. Malgré son tribut, il n'est pas d'être vivant en société qui paye moins d'impôt que lui. Il est libre, il est heureux et ne pense nullement à se soulever." ii, p. 369.
- A Visit to the Philippine Islands, London, 1859, p. 18. Cf. the recent opinion of the English engineer, Frederic H. Sawyer, who lived in Luzon for fourteen years. "The islands were badly governed by Spain, yet Spaniards and natives lived together in great harmony, and I do not know where I could find a colony in which Europeans mixed as much socially with the natives. Not in Java, where a native of position must dismount to salute the humblest Dutchman. Not in British India, where the Englishwoman has now made the gulf between British and native into a bottomless pit." The Inhabitants of the Philippines, New York, 1900, p. 125.
- Reisen in den Philippinen, p. 287.
- Cornhill Magazine, 1878, pp. 161, 167. This article is reprinted in Palgrave's Ulysses, or Scenes in Many Lands.
- The Inhabitants of the Philippines, pp. vi, viii.
- "Ils font voir beaucoup d'inclination et d'empressement pour aller à l'église lesjours de Fêtes et Solemnités; mais pour ouïr la Messe les jours de preceptes, pour se confesser et communier lorsque la Sainte Eglise l'ordonne, il faut employer le fouet, et les traiter comme des enfans à l'école." Quoted by Le Gentil, ii, p. 61, from Friar Juan Francisco de San Antonio's Chronicas de la Apostolica Provincia de San Gregorio, etc., commonly known as the Franciscan History. It will be remembered that in our own country in the eighteenth century college discipline was still enforced by corporal punishment; and that attendance upon church was compulsory, where there was an established church, as in New England.
- Voyage, ii, p. 62.
- Voyage, ii, p. 350.
- Voyage, ii, pp. 95, 97.
- Le Gentil says the lassitude of the body reacts upon the mind. "In this scorching region one can only vegetate. Insanity is commonly the result of hard study and excessive application." Voyage, ii, p. 94.
- La Imprenta en Manila desde sus origenes hasta 1810, Santiago de Chile, 1896.
- Adiciones y Observaciones à La Imprenta en Manila, Maddrid, 1899.
- For representative lists of these, see Blumentritt's privately printed Bibliotheca Philippina, Theile i and ii.
- It is, all things considered, a singular fact that in all that list there is no translation of parts of the Bible, except of course the fragmentary paraphrases in the catechism and doctrinals. The only item indicating first-hand Biblical study in the Philippines under the old régime that has come to my notice in the bibliographies of Medina and Retana is this, that Juan de la Concepcion the historian left in manuscript a translation of the Holy Bible into Spanish. La Imprenta en Manila, p. 221. This failure to translate the Bible into the native languages was not peculiar to Spanish rule in the Philippines. Protestant Holland, far behind Spain in providing for native education, was equally opposed to the circulation of the Bible. "Even as late as the second or third decade of this century the New Testament was considered a revolutionary work, and Herr Bruckner, who translated it, had his edition destroyed by Government." Guillemard, Malaysia and the Pacific Archipelagoes, p. 129.
- Mallat says that the elements were more generally taught than in most of the country districts of Europe (i, p. 386) and quotes the assertion of the Archbishop of Manila: "There are many villages such as Argas, Dalaguete, Bolohon, Cebu, and several in the province of Iloilo, where not a single boy or girl can be found who cannot read and write, an advantage of which few places in Europe can boast." Ibid., p. 388.
- Estadismo, i, p. 300.
- Estadismo, i, p. 63.
- Zúñiga, i, pp. 73–75.
- Voyage, ii, p. 131.
- Ibid., p. 132, and Zúñiga, i, p. 76. A modern work on this drama is El Teatro tagalo by Vicente Barrantes, Madrid, 1889.
- Number 877 in Retana's Biblioteca Filipina. This novel was published in Manila in 1885. Friar Bustamente was a Franciscan.
- Estadismo, i, pp. 60–61. Commodore Alava was on his way to make scientific observations of the volcano of Taal.
Le Gentil writes: "Selon une Ordonnance du Roi, renouvelée peut-être cent fois, il est ordonné aux Religieux d'enseigner le castillan aux jeunes Indiens; mais Sa Majesté, m'ont unanimement assuré les Espagnoles à Manille, n'a point encore été obéie jusqu'à ce jour." Voyage, ii, p. 184. Cf. Zúñiga, Estadismo, i, pp. 299–300.
For some of these ordinances see Retana's notes to Zúñiga, ii, p. 57 ff.
- Cf. Retana's views expressed ten years ago upon the impracticability of supplanting to any extent the Tagal language by the Spanish. The same considerations apply equally well to English. Estadismo, ii, p. 59 ff.
- Estadismo, i, pp. 12–13.
- Retana's Zúñiga, ii, p. 527.
- Estadismo, i, p. 174. I cannot take leave of Zúñiga's book without recording my opinion that it is the finest flower of the Philippine literature. Zúñiga did for the island of Luzon what Arthur Young did for France a few years earlier, or to take an apter parallel, what President Dwight did for New England. His careful observations, relieved of tedium by a rare charm of style, his sweetness of temper, quiet humor, his love of nature and of man all combine to make his "Travels" a work that would be accorded a conspicuous place in the literature of any country. An English translation will appear in the present series.