At sea from San Blas and at Manila. Dec. 24, 1768 to May 24, 1769 [i.e., Dec. 24, 1767 to May 24, 1768]. 52pp., in a secretarial hand. Plain paper wrappers. Occasional minor foxing, occasional slight worming. Very good. In a modern chemise and slipcase, gilt leather labels. In Spanish. Item #WRCAM54397
An outstanding contemporary manuscript copy of the log book of the Spanish galleon SONORA, signed by the ship's captain, documenting its journey in late 1767 and 1768 from San Blas to Manila conveying the orders from Charles III for the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish Empire. Francisco Xavier Estorgo y Gallegos, the naval captain tasked with delivering the secret orders, sailed from San Blas in December 1767, accompanied by Col. Don Domingo Elizondo, Sonora governor and commander of the military detachment sent to enforce the expulsion, and they arrived at Manila in May of the following year. In January 1767, Charles III, convinced that the Jesuits were conspiring against his authority, ordered them to be expelled from within the Spanish dominions. In Spain alone, 6,000 Jesuits were marched to the cost and deported to the Papal States. The orders reached New Spain by the summer, and thence were conveyed to and carried out in the Philippines, and by 1771 the entire Jesuit population in the islands had been removed to Italy. They were not allowed to return to the Philippines until 1859. Estorgo was well-suited to command the mission. In the 1750s, he was involved in several mining operations in the Philippines, and was an experienced Pacific navigator, making the voyage from New Spain to the Philippines several times in the mid-18th century. In 1763, he was ordered to convey the articles of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years' War from Spain to the islands. Several extant manuscript charts of the Pacific and a printed map of Manila Harbor by Estorgo from this period attest to his skill as a pilot and cartographer. The log book gives a lively and detailed view of a quite difficult journey. In addition to the usual remarks and measurements on navigation and weather, the log lends great insight into the trials of the long journey made by the SONORA and a second ship under Estorgo's command, the SINALOA, which upon arrival was intended to be used for the removal of the Jesuits from the Philippines. Illness seems to have been a particular problem on board, and Estorgo devotes a good deal of space to discussion of the issue. Another difficulty was the small size of the ships, according to Estorgo, which had trouble dealing with rough conditions in the open ocean. He also had to assuage a restless crew and group of soldiers on an arduous journey, and manage encounters with potentially hostile ships. Moreover, Estorgo provides a meticulous and lucid account of the route taken by the ships, enumerates the islands at which they stopped, and keeps track of supplies and other necessities. Another contemporary manuscript copy of the log is housed at the Archive of the Indies in Seville. The present copy contains several additional marginal notes, and at least one expanded entry. The final page, after the description of his arrival in Manila and his delivery of the orders, is signed by Estorgo. We are unable to locate any other contemporary copies of this vital account, highly significant both for its detail of a little known Pacific voyage and for its relevance to a highly consequential and disruptive event in Spanish colonial and religious history.