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Recollections of Manilla and the Philippines During 1848, 1849 and 1850   By:

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DURING 1848, 1849, AND 1850.






The Philippines, in many respects situated most advantageously for trade, having long been governed by a people whose notions of government and political economy have never produced the happiest results in any of their once numerous and important colonies, appear at last to be slowly reaping the benefit of the new commercial maxims now in course of operation, in Spain, and show symptoms of progressing with increased speed in the march of civilization, encouraged by commerce. As such a state is always interesting, more especially to my countrymen, whose commercial and manufacturing welfare is closely bound up with the rate at which civilization advances in every part of the world, I have attempted to give some idea of the actual state and prospects of this valuable colony, as they appeared to me during a residence there of the three years 1848 9 50, with the double object of directing more attention to these islands than has hitherto been paid to them by our merchants and manufacturers, and of deriving some employment in doing so, during a tedious voyage from Singapore to Hongkong, when, being in a great measure debarred from personal activity, an interesting occupation was felt to be more than usually necessary to engage the mind.

There are many imperfections in the execution of my task; but for these the critical reader is requested to make some allowance, and entreated not to forget the inconveniences all landsmen are subjected to at sea.

September, 1851.





About the time the Spanish arms under Hernan Cortez, Pizarro, and Almagro, were meeting with their most splendid successes in America, the thought occurred to Hernando Magallanes, a Portuguese gentleman in the service of King Charles the Fifth of Spain, that if by sailing south he could pass the new Western World, it would be possible to reach the famous Spice Islands of the East, which he supposed to contain untold of wealth in their bosoms. This vast, and, in the state of their knowledge at the time, apparently hardy and even rash idea, met with approval by the King, who honoured Magallanes with the distinguished military order of Santiago, and appointed him to the command of a squadron which he immediately set about fitting out to accomplish the project, with the view of conquering and annexing these islands to his crown.

At length, when all the preparations were completed, on the 10th of August, 1519, six ships, no one of which exceeded 130 tons, and some of them being less than half that size, sailed from the port of San Lucan de Barrameda on this bold and perilous enterprise.

In the prosecution of their voyage, many obstacles were encountered; but everything disappeared before the ardour of their chief, who, discovering, passed through the Straits of Magellan, which alone immortalize his name, and spreading his sails to the gale, stood boldly with his squadron, now reduced to three crazy vessels, into the unknown and vast ocean which lay open before him, with all the hardihood characteristic of his time, traversing in its utmost breadth the Pacific, without, however, chancing to meet with any of the numerous islands now scattered throughout its extent. At last, the Mariana or Ladrone Islands were descried on the 16th of August, 1521, and a few days afterwards a cape on the east coast of Mindanao was seen.

Coasting along the shores of Caraga, the ships anchored off Limasna, where Magallanes was well received by the natives of the place; from thence steering towards Cebu, he managed to establish a good understanding with the country people, although upwards of two thousand of them had assembled, armed with spears and javelins, to oppose his landing... Continue reading book >>

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