Jhoan Fernandez de Aparicio, public notary.
LETTERS FROM BENAVIDES TO FELIPE III
I arrived in this city of Manila, having accepted the favor, so signal, which your Majesty has conferred upon this his most insignificant vassal and servant, by the royal decree of your Majesty; this was presented to the dean and chapter of this church, who complied with it promptly, and delivered to me the government, in which I am now installed.
I find this city and country in so afflicted and ruined a condition, and the minds of many of the Spaniards, including the principal ones here, so anxious, and desirous of leaving this country, that it causes me much concern. I am not overcome at confronting the very great and continuous hardships which result; but, without counting those dating back to the time of Don Francisco Tello, those of this year alone are enough to put us in great straits. Even the Indians have taken such courage against the Spaniards, that they came from Mindanao in battle array, to harry our coasts; and they have taken captive Spaniards, and even two priests—to say nothing of innumerable Indians, whom they seize to sell into slavery among infidels, where it is very likely that they will abandon the faith. They have destroyed villages and churches, and taken away much valuable spoil; and at one time it was only through the mercy of God that they failed to capture the governor, Don Pedro de Acuna. Other Indians, called Camucones,  a wretched people, have also brought misfortunes upon our people. There arrived this year two of the ships of those which went to Nueva Espana. The cloth sent in one of them came back badly wet, and ruined. On this day, the first of May, occurred in this city a conflagration—a most grievous loss, for, according to the account of those who were present, it was no ordinary fire, but burned the richest quarter of the city, and the convent of St. Dominic (which was the largest here), and the royal hospital for the Spaniards. It all happened in so singularly short a time that no goods or property could be gotten out of the houses; accordingly, much of the merchandise which arrived in the ships was consumed. This was especially disastrous as this poor Spanish people, who were expecting some alleviation of their misfortunes through the returns from their property sent to Nueva Espana this year, lost even that consolation; for the ships from Mexico for these islands this year were despatched thence very late, and arrived here at the time when those from here were departing. These are already very late, and are in great danger that what has happened in years past will occur again—that is, to return to port, or be lost in these seas. This is not the only evil, for very little of the money which has come belongs to the citizens of this country, whereas there is much belonging to Mexicans and Peruvians. It is said that not more than