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A letter from Mexico , of Sebastian Biscaino to his Father Antonio Biscaino in Corchio in Spaine, touching the great profit of the trade to China , and somewhat of M. Thomas Candish. Written the 20 of June 1590.

HAVING written to your worship by a friend of mine at large, nowe I will bee somewhat short. And this is onely to give you to understand, that foure moneths past, I came from China , and landed in Acapulco , 70 leagues from Mexico, which is the harbour where the ships that goe downe to China lye: and all the marchants of Mexico bring all their Spanish commodities downe to this harbour, to ship them for that countrey. It is one of the best harbours in all Nueva Espanna; and where the ships may ride most safely without all kinde of danger. For it lyeth under a necke of land, and behind a great point. And in this harbour here are foure great ships of Mexico of 600 and 800 tunnes a piece, which onely serve to cary our commodities to China , and so to returne backe againe. The order is thus. From hence to China is above two thousand leagues, farther than from hence to Spaine. And from hence their two first ships depart at one time to China : and are 13 or 14 moneths returning backe againe. And when those two ships are returned, then the other twaine two moneths after depart from hence. They goe nowe from hence very strong with souldiers. I can certifie you of one thing; That 200 ducates in Spanish commodities, and some Flemish wares which I caryed with me thither, I made worth 1400 ducates there in the countrey. So I make account that with those silkes, and other commodities which I brought with me from thence to Mexico, I got 2500 ducates by the voyage: and had gotten more, if one packe of fine silkes had not bene spoiled with salt water. So as I sayd, there is great gaine to be gotten if that a man returne in safetie. But the yeere 1588 I had great mischance, coming in a ship from China to Nueva Espanna: which being laden with rich commodities, was taken by an Englishman which robbed us and afterward burned our ship, wherein I lost a great deale of treasure and commodities.

If I should write to you of the state of this countrey of China , and of the strange things which are there, and of the wealth of the countrey, I were not able to doe it, in an whole quier of paper. Onely I may certifie you, that it is the goodliest countrey, and the richest, and most plentifull in all the world. For here are great store of golde mynes, silver mynes, and pearle, great store of cotten cloth: for the countrey people weareth nothing else but fine cotten cloth, which is more accepted then silkes. For here is great store of silkes, & they are good cheape. All kinde of victuals, as bread, flesh, wines and hennes and all kindes of foules, are very plentifull. Here are great store of fresh rivers. The people are very loving. Here are very faire cities and townes with costly buildings, better then those in Spaine. And the countrey people go very richly apparelled both in silkes and gold. But here we have order from the king of Spaine, that a Spaniard may not dwell in China , above 3 yeres, and afterwards they must returne againe into Nueva Espanna, and other souldiers must come in their places. The countrey is very unwholesome for us Spaniardes. For within these 20 yeres of 14000, which have gone to the Philippinas, there are 13000 of them dead, and not past 1000 of them left alive. There is a place in China which is an harbour, called Macaran, which the king hath given to the Spaniards freely: which shall be the place where the ships shall come and trafficke. For in this harbour there is a great river which goeth up into the maine land, unto divers townes and cities, which are neere to this river. And thus troubling you no farther I rest.

From Mexico the 20 of June 1590.Your obedient sonne,

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