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Antonio de Morga Sanchez Garay (1559, Seville, Spain; July 21, 1636) was a Spanish lawyer and a high-ranking colonial official in the Philippines, New Spain and Peru. He was also a historian. He published the book Sucesos de las islas Filipinas in 1609, one of the most important works on the early history of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. He also led the Spanish in one naval battle against Dutch corsairs in the Philippines in 1600.

While stationed in Manila, de Morga noted many of the wares imported from Ming China, while precariously mentioning porcelain only once, even though at this time it was becoming one of the greatest export itemsóalong with silkóto Europe from China. From his observation of textiles in the Manila inventory, the Spanish were buying:

...raw silk in bundles...fine untwisted silk, white and of all colors...quantities of velvets, some plain and some embroidered in all sorts of figures, colors, and fashions, with body of gold and embroidered with gold; woven stuff and brocades, of gold and silver upon silk of various colors and patterns...damasks, satins, taffetas...

Other goods that Antonio de Morga mentioned included were:

...musk, benzoin and ivory; many bed ornaments, hangings, coverlets and tapestries of embroidered velvet...tablecloths, cushions, and carpets; horse-trappings of the same stuffs, and embroidered with glass beads and seed-pearls; also pearls and rubies, sapphires and crystals; metal basins, copper kettles and other copper and cast-iron pots. . .wheat flour, preserves made of orange, peach, pair, nutmeg and ginger, and other fruits of China; salt pork and other salt meats; live fowl of good breed and many fine capons...chestnuts, walnuts...little boxes and writing cases; beds, tables, chairs, and gilded benches, painted in many figures and patterns. They bring domestic buffaloes; geese that resemble swans; horses, some mules and asses; even caged birds, some of which talk, while others sing, and they make them play innumerable tricks...pepper and other spices.

De Morga closed his inventory list by stating that there were "rarities which, did I refer to them all, I would never finish, nor have sufficient paper for it."

Quoted from Schurz, William Lytle. The Manila Galleon, copyright © 1939, (Dutton Paperback ed.: 1959, New York), pp. 73-6

The Manila Galleon
William Lytle Schurz

Chapter I The Chinese
excerpt p. 63 - 75

CHINA was always the principal source of the galleon's cargo. To the people of New Spain the galleon was the nao de China, or China Ship, and Manila was but a way-station between China and Mexico, where the silks that formed the great staple of the trade were gathered for shipment across the Pacific. Spaniards in Mexico often spoke loosely of the Philippines as of a province of the Chinese Empire. To Manila the annual coming of the junks from across the China Sea was the very basis of her prosperity. Moreover, the heavy influx of Chinese into Manila, as a consequence of their trading operations, early resulted in their domination of the ordinary economic life of the colony. For, though the Spaniards remained the intermediaries in the galleon commerce, the Sangleys, as the Manileños called them 1 early came to monopolize the retail trade and the skilled crafts of the community. In spite of the later entrance of native, Spanish, and American elements into the business of the islands, the Chinese still maintain a strong position in their commercial and industrial life, certain branches of which they have never ceased to control. 2 Finally, at the source of the Chinese traffic the withdrawal during nearly two hundred and fifty years of such vast sums of Mexican pesos in payment for the goods carried to Manila by the junks established a monetary standard for the east coast of Asia that has endured to the present. "For this reason," wrote Gemelli Careri, the Italian globetrotter of the seventeenth century, "the Emperor of China calls the King of Spain, the King of Silver; because there being no good Mine of it in his dominions, all they have there is brought in by the Spaniards in Pieces of Eight." The old "trade dollar," coined by the United States mints until 1887 for the convenience of Americans trading with the Orient, was a recognition of the standard of value fixed centuries ago by the China Ship.

The Spaniards early made an attempt to establish direct trading relations in China, but the post which might have rivaled Macao proved to be but a short-lived venture. Legaspi entertained such a project in the early years of the colony, and a number of voyages, inspired as much by curiosity and religious zeal as by a desire for the opening of trade, were made before the end of the century. A voyage of exploration, suggested to Philip II by Juan de la Isla, a veteran pilot and navigator, was never realized, though it promised more substantial results than those which were to follow. La Isla proposed to chart the Asiatic coasts up to fifty or sixty degrees of latitude, while investigating possibilities for trade, and to return thence along the American coast to New Spain. Instructions to that effect were drawn up, but before the skillful seaman could leave Manila Legaspi died, and his successor, Lavezaris, refused to give the needed support to the enterprise.

That was in 1572. It was three years later that the first voyage was made: to China from Manila. The small company which went from Manila at that time consisted of two Augustinian friars and four officers and soldiers. The ostensible object of their visit was to give an account to the viceroy of Fuhkien of the measures being taken to suppress the pirate, Limahon, who had recently sacked the young settlement at Manila and was then besieged by Juan de Salcedo in northern Luzon. Lavezaris, who was still governor, also instructed his emissaries to notify the viceroy of the Spaniards' desire for peaceful trading relations with the Chinese and for freedom to carry on missionary propaganda within the empire. Finally, they were to request the cession of a port, which the Spaniards might use as a base for trading with the Chinese, as the Portuguese already did at Macao. Though the Spanish envoys humiliated their pride by kowtowing before the viceroy and submitted to all the required ceremonials, they returned to Manila without having accomplished the real purposes of their journey. However, they brought back with them rich presents from the viceroy to Lavezaris. But Lavezaris was no longer governor, and when the Chinese who accompanied the returning ambassadors refused to deliver the presents to Governor Sande, his successor, the latter conceived such a violent antipathy towards all things Chinese that further attempts at a closer official rapprochement with China were suspended during the five years of his administration. When the viceroy of Fuhkien relented and in 1526 offered the Spaniards an island between Canton and Pakian for purposes of a trading factory, Sande bluntly declined the offer. Moreover, he not only refused to send any presents to the viceroy according to custom, but put two friars on board the returning junk, who were thrown overboard before the ship had left Philippine waters.

The interest of the regular clergy in the Philippines had already been aroused in the possibilities for an unlimited mission field in China. During the next few years Spanish friars–Augustinians, Jesuits, and Franciscans–made several voyages to the southern provinces. Two of these parties of missionaries were fortified with letters from the pious Philip II to the "Powerful and very Esteemed King of China," and one of them carried from Spain as a present for the "Gran Chino" twelve falcons, twelve horses, whose harness and caparisons bore the royal arms, six mules with rich coverings, and twelve chests containing Spanish silks, mirrors, and wines, and Venetian glassware. None of these overtures advanced either the spiritual or material designs of the Spaniards, though the reports brought back by the missionaries greatly increased Spanish knowledge of Chinese civilization.

Meanwhile Chinese junks had come each year to Manila with rich merchandise, so that the urgency for direct connections with the mainland had largely disappeared. A ship occasionally went to Macao to buy Chinese goods, but even this was forbidden by a royal decree of 1593. Philip II wrote in the order to Governor Dasmariñas: "I have been informed that many persons of those islands are going to Macao and other parts of China to trade and traffic." The king gave as his reason for promulgating the order the higher prices the Spaniards were compelled to pay in China "and other notable inconveniences." Yet, only five years later, in his instructions to Governor Tello, he authorized him to undertake direct trade with any of the nearby countries, if in his opinion it seemed advantageous to the interests of the colony.

With this royal sanction Tello gave permission in 1598 to Juan Zamudio to go to the Chinese coast for the purpose of securing the grant of a port that might serve as a trading post. This semi-private enterprise succeeded in its immediate end, and "by means of great assiduity and a quantity of silver," Zammudio obtained from the suspicious Chinese officials the concession of the site near Canton known in Spanish records as El Pinal, or the "pine tree." 3 The Spaniards were also granted the use of a ware· house or godown in Canton, where they might carry on their trade at that greatest of Chinese markets, and passports were given to assure them freedom in their trading activities within the restricted areas. The next year the governor dispatched his relative, Juan Tello de Aguirre, with another ship, equipped with arms and supplies, to follow up Zamudio's expedition. A short time after an armament under ex-Governor Luís Perez Dasmariñas, destined for operations in Cambodia, was shipwrecked on the south China coast and the survivors carried to EI Pinal by a Chinese junk.

The arrival of so many Spaniards in a locality where they had hitherto enjoyed exclusive trading privileges aroused the violent opposition of the Portuguese at nearby Macao. Zamudio had fought off their attacks for six weeks and with the arrival of Dasmariñas they redoubled their efforts to drive out the Spaniards. In fact, the persistent hostility of the Portuguese made it almost impossible for the Spaniards to carry on the trading part of their program, on which depended the success of the whole plan for a foothold on the Chinese coast. Moreover, the Spanish king, who now ruled over Portugal as well, gave only a lukewarm support to the venture. The need for presenting a united front to the impending onslaught of the Dutch and the English in the Orient, with the danger to harmonious coöperation that would result from trading quarrels, doubtless had much to do with the failure of the Spaniards to develop the possibilities of their new treaty port. The inertia of the Manileños, satisfied with the existing arrangements for trading with the Chinese at Manila, also contributed to the early abandonment of the Chinese factory. When a royal order was issued in 1609, specifically granting the right to direct trade with China, El Pinal was already a memory.

Among the most influential partisans of direct trade had been Antonio de Morga, then president of the audiencia at Manila. Morga favored the plan for the following reasons: that it would save to the Spaniards the large profits of the merchants of the junk fleet; that it would free Manila from the perpetual Chinese peril; that the Spaniards could thereby better control prices, since, when the Acapulco galleon reached Manila in advance of the junks, the Chinese were in the habit of raising prices by as much as one hundred percent; and finally, that it would enable the Manileños better to regulate the time of dispatching the annual galleon. In December 1598, Hernando de los Rios Coronel, one of the ablest officials in the islands, had written to Morga from "the port of EI Pinal, frozen with cold," urging continued support for the undertaking. Yet at the time he was being assailed on one side by the active interference of the Portuguese and on the other by all the devious trading devices of the Chinese. "Each Chinaman appears to be the devil incarnate," he wrote, "for there is no malice or deceit which they do not attempt. Although here they do not rob or plunder the foreigners openly, yet they do it by other and worse methods."

In 1637 Grau y Monfalcón, agent of the colony in Spain, declared that the Manileños had neither the forces nor the capital to prosecute such an enterprise. There were too many demands at that time on the attention and energies of the small Spanish population in the Philippines to risk the further diversion of their slender resources on a venture of doubtful advantage. Desultory efforts made in the eighteenth century to enter into trade at the source of supply usually failed of profitable results. Meanwhile, other European powers had broken into the Chinese market by way of Macao, where they maintained agents who sent orders to Canton for the manufacture of specified lots of goods. When their ships arrived from India or Europe in July or August, the factors removed to the quarter set off for foreigners in Canton and superintended the loading of their consignments. Though the Spaniards made a fortunate venture at Canton in 1766, their late re-entrance into a field where competition was fierce with skilled English and French buyers operated against the continued success of their trading. They were generally forced to wait several months after the departure of their rivals before they could make up a cargo. The later and more ambitious voyages of the Royal Philippine Company to China were as unsuccessful.

Closely connected with the early attempts to trade directly with China were the Spanish schemes for the conquest of that monarchy. The wealth of Cathay had cast a spell over the imagination of Europe since the publication of the account of Marco Polo. The Spaniards believed it would be an easy prize in view of the peaceful and unmilitary reputation of its inhabitants. The religious motive was strongly alleged, as well as the need to forestall the English or the French, who, if established there, might use it as the base for a descent on the west coast of the Americas.

Diego de Artiega proposed to Philip II in 1573 to penetrate China with eighty men. "I will enter the country myself," he promised the king, "and will return by way of New Spain, after having explored the coast. I will ascertain how both trade and conquest must be carried on there." Governor Sande offered to undertake the conquest of the country with from four to six thousand men. "This people is so cowardly," said Sande, "that no one rides on horseback." About the same time Diego Garda de Palacios, a member of the Audiencia of Guatemala, conceived a similar plan. He considered raising an army of four thousand Spaniards in Central America, where a large number of restless men were eager for military adventure. These were to be transported to Manila, where they would join a force to be assembled by Governor Sande, and thence proceed to the Chinese coast. Hernando Riquel considered sixty good Spanish infantry enough for the task of overturning the Empire of the Mings. Juan Bautista Roman, the Spanish factor at Macao, declared that "with the divine favor," less than seven thousand men would be sufficient. As late as 1797 Governor Aguilar wrote to Godoy, the first minister: "A well disciplined battalion could overcome armies of Chinese as numerous as those whom Alexander conquered." The Spaniards at Manila counted on the aid of a force of Japanese, who were "redoubtable and mortal enemies of the Chinese." However, in 1586 the king ordered his governor to desist from entertaining such a project, and instead to guard the friendship of the Chinese. The same year Governor Vera and several citizens of Manila sent a memorial to the Council of the Indies, in which they wisely observed: "If the Spaniards go into China in their usual fashion, they will desolate and ravage the most populous and richest country that ever was seen." All these proposals for the armed invasion of China would appear quite chimerical and fantastic if it had not been for the accomplished fact of the conquest of Mexico and Peru by small bands of Spanish paladins. The spirit of the conquista was still alive, with its ardor and its confidence in the superhuman prowess of the Spanish man-at-arms. It might even lay Cathay at the feet of the Most Catholic King.

After their abortive plans for conquest and direct trade had been renounced or left to the chance of a more propitious occasion, the Spaniards early came to rely on the Chinese imports into Manila. In accepting so natural an arrangement they were only taking advantage of a long established channel of trade. For centuries merchants from China had trafficked among these islands and penetrated southward into more remote corners of the eastern Indies. About 1280 Chau Ju Kua, who had evidently made a voyage to the island of Ma-i, as he called Mindoro, wrote of the land and the barter that was carried on between its natives and his people. In his time the Filipinos exchanged cotton, yellow wax, pearls, tortoise shell, and hempen cloth with the Chinese for silks, porcelain, colored glass, and beads, and iron ware. When Magellan reached the Visayas in 1521 he heard of the trading relations of the Chinese with Luzon, which seems to have been visited by six or eight junks a year. Álvaro de Saavedra heard the same reports when he passed among the group a few years later, and Andres de Urdaneta, who accompanied Loaysa's expedition in 1537 and was to. be Legaspi's pilot in 1564, also gave an account of Chinese trading among the islands.

In 1567 Legaspi wrote to Philip II from Cebu: "Moros have come to this port from Luzon and Mindoro. These men have told us that the Chinese go to their land to trade and carry away all the products of this archipelago." It was in 1571, the year Legaspi transferred his headquarters to the site of the old Mora settlement on Manila Bay, that commercial intercourse began between the Spaniards and Chinese. As we have seen, his admiral, Juan Pablo Carrion, rescued the crew of a junk which was sinking off the Mindoro coast and carried them to safety. On their return to China the survivors spread such a good report of the Spaniards that a number of merchants hastened to take advantage of the opportunities for trade with the newcomers in the Philippines. It was their cargoes of silks and porcelains, which arrived early the next year, that laid the real foundation of the galleon commerce with Mexico and fixed the course of the colony's economic life for over two centuries. In June 1573, Guido de Lavezaris, who was to take over the government on the death of Legaspi, wrote to the king: "The Chinese have come here on trading voyages since our arrival, for we have always tried to treat them well." The same year, Juan de la Isla, just returned from Manila, addressed the king on the need for merchants in the Philippines to take advantage of the new openings there. "We have friendship and trade with the people of China," he added as an inducement for the migration of merchants to the young colony. A year later Lavezaris wrote again: "The Chinese continue to increase their commerce each year, and supply us with many articles, as sugar, wheat and barley flour, nuts, raisins, pears and oranges, silks, choice porcelain and iron, and other small things which we lacked in this land before their arrival."

The goods were carried from Canton or Amoy or other ports between directly across the open China Sea to Manila, a distance of from 650 to 700 miles. After Governor León (1669-76) had sent a special embassy to China to promote trade with the Philippines merchants were accustomed to come to Manila from as far as Ningpoo in northern Che-Kiang.

The large sea-going junks, which made the voyage to the Philippines, carried between two hundred and four hundred men. In fact, these limitations were placed on the number of men who might go in a single junk by the Chinese authorities in order to restrict emigration to the Philippines. Except for their larger size, their general appearance and arrangement were much like that of the smaller coastwise junk which William Dampier saw below Canton in 1687 and described as follows: "She was built with a square flat Head as well as Stern, only the Head or forepart was not so broad as the Stern. On her deck she had little thatcht Houses like Hovels, covered with Palmetto leaves, and raised about 3 foot high, for the Seamen to creep into. She had a pretty large Cabbin, wherein there was an altar and a Lamp burning. I did but just look in, and saw not the Idol. The Hold was divided in many small Partitions, all of them made so tight, that if a Leak should Spring up in anyone of them, it could go no farther, and so could do but little damage, but only to the Goods in the bottom of the Room where the Leak springs up. Each of these Rooms belongs to one or two merchants, or more; and every Man freights his goods in his own room; and probably lodges there, if he be on Board himself. These Jonks have only two Masts, a Main-mast and a Fore-mast. The Fore-mast has a square Yard and a square Sail, but the Mainmast has a Sail narrow aloft, like a Sloops-Sail, and in fair Weather they use a Top-sail, which is to hale down on the Deck in foul Weather, Yard and all; for they do not go up to furl it. The Main-Mast in their biggest Jonks seems to me as big as any third-rate Man of Wars Mast in England, and yet not pieced as ours, but made of one grown Tree; and in all my Travels I never saw any single Tree-masts so big in the body, and so long, and yet so well tapered, as I have seen in the Chinese Jonks."

The usual number of junks to visit Manila varied from twenty to sixty each year. In 1574 six came, but by 1580 forty or fifty were coming. At the end of the century thirty or forty generally came. In 1616 there were only seven, but in 1631 fifty came and five years later thirty made the voyage. The number varied little from one year to another in the eighteenth century. At any period it depended on the chances for a profitable sale at Manila, the momentary safety or danger of the passage, and local conditions in China. When the Chinese knew money to be scarce at Manila they cut down their shipments accordingly for the year. Word of piratical armaments in their path might keep the junks in port beyond the time when weather conditions would be favorable for the crossing. Especially destructive were the ravages of the pirate community that long flourished on the Cochin-China coast, the Japanese pirates who plied off northern Luzon, and the corsair attacks which used Formosa as a base. Sometimes the menace from the Portuguese or the Dutch was as serious, when either of those peoples were bent on crippling the business of Spaniards at Manila. Finally, the internal dissensions of the empire or local disturbances in the coast provinces might suspend temporarily the junk trade to the Philippines.

Morga thus describes the coming of the junks: "Although they do not come together, in the form of a trading and war fleet, still they do come in groups with the monsoon and settled weather, which is generally at the new moon in March. They make their voyage to the city of Manila in fifteen or twenty days, sell their merchandise, and in order not to endanger their voyage return in good season, before the winds change at the end of Mayor early in June." "In the moneth of March," wrote Captain John Saris, of the English East India Company, "the Junckes bound for the Mannelies depart from Chanchu in Companies, sometime foure, five, ten or more together, as they are readie."

On the appearance of a junk outside Manila Bay it was boarded by the watchman stationed on Mariveles, who posted a guard on it and by fire signals announced its arrival to the authorities at Manila. After it had proceeded up the bay and anchored before the city its cargo was inspected by the royal treasury officials and appraised for payment of the three percent import duty. When import and anchorage duties had been paid the cargo was lightered ashore and stored in the Parián or Chinese quarter. 4

Though there was an infinite variety in the cargoes of the junks, silks always comprised the bulk of the goods from China. Some of the early stuffs were of inferior quality, but the Chinese merchants soon learned to meet the demand for better fabrics, while skillfully copying the favorite Spanish designs until they quite equaled the Andalusian cloth in color and were only slightly surpassed, if at all, in wearing quality. "Among all the silk stuffs brought by the Chinese," wrote Diego de Bobadilla, "none is more esteemed than the white,–the snow is not whiter,–and there is no silk stuff in Europe that can approach it." When the first lots of Chinese goods reached Mexico Viceroy Enriquez esteemed them of little value. "I consider the whole business as a waste of effort," he said, "and a trade that is injurious rather than profitable; for all they bring is some very miserable silks, most of which have a woof of grass fibre, some false brocatels, fans and porcelains, and some writing desks and painted boxes."

Yet, before the end of the century their increasing excellence and lower prices had created such serious competition for peninsular silks in the American colonies that a strong movement was set on foot in Spain to limit or ban altogether the importation of Chinese silks. Some of the early governors, like Sande and Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas, and viceroys like Villamanrique, wrote of the actual or imminent threat to metropolitan industry and trade and of the loss to the empire in the draining away of so much silver to China. Dasmariñas advised Philip II in 1592 that the exports to America from the Orient already exceeded those from Spain, adding the weighty argument that this "would interfere with your Majesty's royal revenues from the silks to Granada, Murcia and Valencia." The next year the system of restrictive legislation was instituted, with the object of limiting the volume of silks which the galleon might carry. And though the Manileños might continue to sell in Mexico, the rich market of Peru was closed to them. Though every illegal resource was invoked to defeat the purpose of the restrictions, and not without considerable success, the principle had been put into effect and at times was to give much trouble to the galleon traders during the next two centuries.

Antonio de Morga, who was familiar with the commerce in its heyday, gives a catalogue of the rich and varied wares that were brought to Manila by the Chinese: "Raw silk in bundles, of the fineness of two strands, and other silk of coarser quality; fine untwisted silk, white and of all colors, wound in small skeins; quantities of velvets, some plain and some embroidered in all sorts of figures, colors and fashions, others with body of gold and embroidered with gold; woven stuffs and brocades, of gold and silver upon silk of various colors and patterns; quantities of gold and silver thread in skeins; damasks, satins, taffetas, and other cloths of all colors; linen made from grass, called lençesuelo; and white cotton cloth of different kinds and quantities. They also bring musk, benzoin and ivory; many bed ornaments, hangings, coverlets and tapestries of embroidered velvet; damask and gorvaran tapestries of different shades; tablecloths, cushions and carpets; horse-trappings of the same stuffs, and embroidered with glass beads and seed-pearls; also pearls and rubies, sapphires and crystal; metal basins, copper kettles and other copper and cast-iron pots; quantities of all sorts of nails, sheet-iron, tin and lead; and saltpetre and gunpowder. They supply the Spaniards with wheat flour; preserves made of orange, peach, pear, nutmeg and ginger, and other fruits of China; salt pork and other salt meats; live fowls of good breed and many fine capons; quantities of fresh fruits and oranges of all kinds; excellent chestnuts, walnuts, and chicueyes (both green and dried, a delicious fruit); quantities of fine thread of all kinds, needles and knick-knacks; little boxes and writing cases; beds, tables, chairs, and gilded benches, painted in many figures and patterns. They bring domestic buffaloes; geese that resemble swans; horses, some mules and asses; even caged birds, some of which talk, while others sing, and they make them play innumerable tricks. The Chinese furnish numberless other gewgaws and ornaments of little value and worth, which are esteemed among the Spaniards; fine crockery of all kinds; canganes, or cloth of Kaga, and black and blue robes; tacley, which are beads of all kinds; strings of cornelians and other beads, and
precious stones of all colors; pepper and other spices; and rarities, which, did I refer to them all, I would never finish, nor have sufficient paper for it."

As the ships of Tarshish brought to King Solomon ivory and apes and peacocks, so did those of China bring them to the Spaniards at Manila. Padre Casimiro Diáz wrote in 1669: "One cannot imagine any exquisite article for the equipment of a house which does not come from China." "These Chinese merchants are so keen after gain," said Diego de Bobadilla, "that, if one sort of merchandise has succeeded well one year, they take a great deal of it the following year. A Spaniard who had lost his nose through a certain illness, sent for a Chinaman to make him one of wood, in order to hide the deformity. The workman made him so good a nose that the Spaniard in great delight paid him munificently, giving him twenty escudos. The Chinaman, attracted by the ease with which he had made that gain, loaded a fine boat-load of wooden noses the next year and returned to Manila. But he found himself very far from his hopes and quite left out in the cold; for, in order to have a sale for that new merchandise, he found that he would have to cut off the noses of all the Spaniards in the country."

For the purchase of the Chinese imports the Spaniards adopted an arrangement of wholesale bargaining known as pancada. The distrustful Spanish system did not favor leaving to individuals the chance of indiscriminate trading with aliens and assumed that the abuses inseparable from such an exchange could be reduced to a minimum by close official supervision of the transactions. The concentration of the dealings between the two parties in a few responsible hands would make it easier to control a traffic whose possibilities of expansion gave so much concern to the central government in Spain. At this point it might have been possible to confine the volume of goods purchased within the limits fixed, but the local demand for Chinese merchandise offered a convenient loophole and an irresistible incentive for the evasion of this restriction.

Other circumstances of the trade seemed to justify the resort to the pancada. It prevented the seller from taking advantage of the eager competition of many buyers to raise prices. The use of interpreters that was possible under the pancada assured more satisfactory conclusions than could result from private trading between men who could have understood one another but imperfectly. Even as it was, the dearth of reliable interpreters conversant with the current speech of the Kuang Tung and Fuhkien traders hindered the operation of the pancada. Moreover, the Chinese were not buyers, but sellers, and they demanded silver in exchange for their goods. This constant passage of so much silver into another country, from where it never returned into circulation, always alarmed the Spaniards, as the same circumstance did in Spain itself, and they believed that such a regulative device as the pancada could somehow restrict its export. Thus, the system was not generally applied to the traffic with the Japanese, who usually traded by barter.

(Chapter 1 continues...)


1 The term "Sangley" is derived from "Seng-li," a word of the Amoy dialect, meaning "trade."

2 According to Commerce Reports, December 21, 1935, published by the United States Department of Commerce, there were 13,787 retail establishments in the Philippines operated by Chinese. Chinese merchants then owned "somewhat over 56 percent of the capital invested in retailing, and as late as 1932 handled 50 percent of the total business."

3 The exact location of "EI Pinal" has not been determined. It is probable that it was situated on the island of Hong-Kong.

4 The Chinese work known as Tung hsi yang K'ao says as follows of the arrival of the junks at Manila: "As soon as the ships arrived they sent out men to hurry with all dispatch to the chieftain (i.e. the governor) to bring him presents of silk. The duties which they levied were rather high, but the meshes of their nets were so close that there was no escape." Berthold Laufer, The Relations of the Chinese to the Philippine Islands, p. 279.


Schurz, William Lyttle: The Manila Galleon. Copyright © 1939, (Dutton; paperback reprint: Dutton Paperbacks, New York, 1959)