The losses of ships which have been employed in the Filipinas trade, and the cause thereof.
Through news brought by the ship “Santa Potenciana” in the year 601, it seems that the ships “San Geronimo,” and “Santa Margarita,” which sailed in the year 600, lost their masts in a storm; and the “Santa Margarita” drifted to the island of the Ladrones, and the “San Geronimo” to Luzon, near Catanduanes. Both were driven ashore in February, 601, without being able to save themselves. This loss is attributed by some to disagreement among the officers, and by others to the late sailing of the ships, and to a lack of sailors, and (what is more nearly correct) to the general overloading of the vessels. The ship “Santo Tomas” was lost also on the voyage out, near the channel at Catanduanes; the hulk was lost with some supplies, small wares, and two millions or more of silver, besides the 500,000 pesos which were allowed to be carried.
What property may be taken to the Filipinas, and where it goes.
By the sixth point it appears that in the ship “Sant Tomas” alone, which was lost at the entrance of Catanduanes, there were over two millions besides the 500,000 pesos allowed.
This and all else which is carried is placed in the power of the infidels, who receive it as the price of the Chinese merchandise; and it can therefore be returned neither to the Indias nor to these kingdoms. Silks, damasks, taffetas, needlework, hand-mills, cotton stuffs, earthenware, wax, nails, and other merchandise of little profit are carried to those regions, thereby depriving his Majesty of his dues.
The discontent of all the islands, on account of depriving them of the profits which might be had from the purchase of this merchandise; and the lading of it which his Majesty has granted, by his decrees, to the citizens of Peru and Nueva Espana.
The citizens of the islands, except one here and there, are very poor. They wish to abandon the islands, as there are no means of gain or profit except in trade and commerce. They are deprived of this by the citizens of Mexico and Peru, who bring over a great quantity of money, with which they do not hesitate to purchase merchandise at excessive prices. Then, in order to ship these goods, they hasten to pay high rates for the tonnage, and thus succeed in occupying the space which belongs to the citizens; and when the latter ship their merchandise it is so little that it is not sufficient for their support. On the other hand, the Portuguese pass from Acapulco to China with their money, and do not return to Nueva Espana. They either remain there, sending cargoes therefrom, or they send merchandise to Portugal, by way of the ports where the Portuguese trade, thus defrauding the native-born citizens of their rights.