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July 6, 1765, Jose Raon arrived in Manila to become Governor General.

Prior to Raon’s arrival,

Archbishop Rojo, ad interim governor of the islands at the time of the English attack on Manila, died on January 30, 1764, a prisoner in the hands of the conquerors.1 A few days later, Anda received despatches from Spain notifying him of the treaty of peace made with England, and he immediately entered into negotiations with the English for the surrender of Manila, which was accomplished on March 31 following. There was a dispute over the question of who should succeed Rojo in the government of the islands, an honor which was certainly due to the patriot Anda, who was, however, opposed by some of the citizens; but this was settled by the arrival of Colonel Francisco de la Torre, appointed governor ad interim of the islands, to whom Anda surrendered his command on March 17. The revolts [24]and other disturbances in the provinces, consequent on the English occupancy, and their suppression, are noted in VOL. XLIX; cf. Montero y Vidal, Hist. de Filipinas, ii, chap. iii, and Ferrando, Hist. PP. dominicos, v, pp. 640–644, 651–740, for fuller accounts of these, and of the Chinese insurrection which then occurred. Ferrando makes (p. 739) the following interesting citation from an unnamed but “reliable” writer: “There died in this war some seventy Spaniards and two hundred and fifty natives, who, as good subjects, fought even unto death for their king. Before the insurrection there were in the province [of Pangasinan] 60,383 souls; and according to the computation which was made on May 13, 1766, there were in it only 33,456; consequently the loss for the entire province was 26,927 souls. Many of these inhabitants emigrated, others perished from their privations, and no small number were killed by the barbarians.”2 During Torre’s temporary command the most important occurrence was a noisy controversy which was called forth by the imprudent and meddlesome utterances of a Jesuit preacher in Manila, Francisco Javier Puch, attacking government officials.3 The governor with the aid of the [25]fiscal Viana, attempted to secure the punishment or rebuke of Puch, but the Dominican theologians took sides against them with the Jesuits;4 the dispute was [26]carried to the court at Madrid, and produced long and bitter controversies and dissensions, and probably was one of the motives which influenced the king, some years later, to expel the Jesuits from his dominions.

The Philippine Islands, Vol. L.
(An artist concept of Jesuit priests [www.kahimyang.com])

Upon his arrival as the new Governor-General on July 6, 1765, he Torre from his post.

On July 6, 1765, new propriety governor, José Raon, a military officer of high rank, relived Torre; he appears to have been able but unscrupulous. He is most conspicuous for his revision of the “Ordinances of good government” drawn up by Arandia, the revision being dated February 26, 1768; and for the expulsion of the Jesuits from the islands (1768), in pursuance of the orders received from Madrid dated March 1, 1767 – which matter is related in detail in the last document of this volume. In 1769 he also decreed the expulsion of the Chinese from Filipinas, although this was not full enforced.

Early in October, 1766, the French astronomer Le Gentil, whose Voyage (Paris, 1781) is a valuable contribution at once to science and to the history of Filipinas at that time, arrived at Manila, commissioned by the French government to make observations on the approaching transit of Venus.

The Philippine Islands, Vol. L.

Le Gentil noted (in Le Gentil, Voyage, II) that, Raon was one of the most shrewd of the governors of Manila in enriching himself without causing any one to complain. Raon even displayed to him (Le Gentil) the magnificent “presents” which he had received from the officers of a French ship which came to Manila in evasion of the standing prohibition of foreign trade there.

Raon was condemned for having revealed to the Jesuits, beforehand, in exchange for a large sum of money, the news that their expulsion had been decreed, and for other acts of disobedience to the royal commands regarding that expulsion.

The news of his case reached the Royal court which sent Don Simon de Anda (second term) to relieve him and ordered Anda to immediately commence legal proceedings against Raon. Many charges were brought against him and three others; these were Francisco Henriquez de Villacorta and Domingo Blas de Basaraz, members of the Audiencia, and Juan Antonio Cosio, the governor’s secretary.

In most of these charges, Raon tried to make excuses for his conduct, or to throw the blame on Galvan or Villacorta; but Anda declares that they were all partly or wholly proved, and that Raon neglected everything in his official position. His secretary Cosio, was especially denounced for having drawn up and attested the false declaration that Raon had obeyed his instructions and performed his duty faithfully in the expulsion of the Jesuits.

Raon was found guilty on the charge of having given information to the Jesuits of the measures to be taken against them.

Raon street in Quiapo, Manila was named after him.

Sources:

http://www.gutenberg.org. The Philippine Islands, Vol. L.

http://www.kahimyang.com

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