[MANUSCRIPT] Letter to the Duchess of Aveiro regarding news from the Mariana and Chinese Missions.
Manila, June 24, 1684. Folio, pp 2 (single folded leaf), manuscript in ink on rice paper; in Spanish; housed in a cloth portfolio with a half calf protective case, spine lettered in gilt.
A very early autograph letter signed by the Jesuit Padre Francisco Salgado, to the Duchess de Aveiro, giving interesting news of the Mariana and Chinese Missions.
Translation: ‘The dates of the last letters I received from you were the 29th June and 26th November of the year 1680, to which I replied during the year 1682, and I also wrote to you last year, sending the letters by the Padre Procurador to Rome, Geronimo de Ortega and Luis de Morales, who sailed in that year for New Spain. In this I cannot write at length, as I desire, having made a long journey, in which I was six months overdue. On my return, I found I had not sufficient time for all the letters that I must write. As Padre Antonio Xaramillo writes at length, I will content myself by giving you news relating to the Mariana Mission, in which there are at present seventeen Religiosos, three of whom are lay brothers and the rest are priests. The Padres Antonio Xaramillo and … Adan, of whose departure from here to the Marianas I advised you last year, have arrived safely in the Islands, and so we have achieved the impossible with some of the minor difficulties of this Mission, for we have found a direct route, and thus can avoid the great detour via Acapulco, which is what I desired most of all. Some other Padres were detained several months in the Marianas, when Padre Xaramillo visited there, for he was appointed Visitador, and set a very good example in virtue to all those Missionary Fathers. He tells me that they are all fervent workers, and that everything appertaining to the Mission, and the spiritual welfare of those Indians is satisfactory. It is as well established as the one here, and even better, with the extra help sent by the good Governor to the Padres, and the Christian Captain General, Don Antonio Saravia, who has passed on to a better life to receive the reward he deserved for all his good work in saving souls. … What I consider the most urgent and necessary act for the advancement of this Mission, is that the King should order the Governor of these Islands to complete the conquest of all the islands that lie to the North, as this is at present coolly overlooked; there are only two which have as yet been conquered … The Governor of the Philippines should also be instructed to despatch a vessel regularly to the Marianas, with orders to navigate and explore the southern islands, on their return journey. … Padre Francisco Paul, the French Bishop, whom you know well, has already reached China, with two of his priests, who in compliance with the edict of His Holiness, under penalty of ex-communication and suspension, give prompt and implicit obedience to the orders of his Lordship and the other Bishops … the Franciscan and Augustin Missionaries who are in Canton, and belong to the Province of Philippines, were put off with an excuse when they asked for it (?communion) saying that orders were awaited from their respective Provincials. … The Bishop Paul desires to visit the Emperor or China; God grant that that Christian community be safely established. I do not wish to omit to tell you, although it is not my place to do so, for fear of being considered a ‘suspected informant,’ that our experience teaches us that it is not convenient to have in this country too many Bishops of the same Religious Denomination at one and the same time. There being four of the Holy Dominican Order at present, they seem to have lost their heads in sheer vanity, and have taken too much upon themselves, with the result that there is much talk, not to say even scandal.’ – Maggs Bros., Catalogue Number 442, Bibliotheca Americana et Philippina, Part III (1923), no 1905.
Maria de Guadalupe Lancastro e Cardenas, 6th Duchess of Aveiro (Azeitao, Portugal 1630 – Madrid, Spain 1715) married the 6th Duke of Los Arcos, Manuel Ponce de León. In 1681, Carlos II granted her the title of Duchess of Aveyro (Spanish spelling) as a Spanish title.
The Duchess was the patroness of the Jesuit missionaries connected with the Mariana Mission, and received numerous letters from them from 1668 onwards. Many of these letters – including this one by Francisco Salgado – were first catalogued in Maggs Bros. Catalogue 442 (ibid.).
C.R. Boxer, Two Jesuit letters on the Mariana Mission, written to the Duchess of Aveiro (1676 and 1689), in: Philippine Studies 26 (1978), 35-50.
C.R. Boxer, The Mother of the Missions, in: History Today 23 (1973), 733-39.