The earliest development of commerce between the Philippines and the outside world was in the direction of China and Japan, which gradually increased in importance. The Chinese were the founders of this interchange of products. At first their merchants came and returned each year, but as the trade increased they found it more profitable to remain permanently, and founded that Chinese commercial colony which, in spite of occasional outbursts of fanatical persecution and of oppressive taxation, has really been the mainstay of commerce in the islands. The earliest efforts of the Spaniards after obtaining possession of the country were directed to securing for Spanish subjects a monopoly of the trade, precisely as they did in their American possessions, and to this end for a long time only a single ship was allowed to make the voyage each year from Mexico to the Philippines and from the Philippines to Mexico. These ships, called by the Spaniards the Acapulco ships and known to the English as the Spanish galleons, were equipped as ships of war and commanded by officers of the navy. This monopoly insured enormous profits to the adventurers who supplied the cargoes, but the whole business was permeated by corruption and roguery of the worst description. This condition existed, but with diminishing success, until 1815, when the last of these vessels was dispatched from Acapulco, as their monopoly had been gradually absorbed by a company chartered in Spain in 1784, called ” Compania de Filipinas,” which by opening direct commerce with Spain caused the decline and final extinction of the trade via Mexico. This company, however, in consequence of bad management and injudicious ventures, did not prove successful and passed out of existence at the end of fifty years. In the meantime some relaxation of the narrow-minded exclusive system had taken place; in 1789 the port of Manila was opened to foreign vessels, and in 1809 an English firm received permission to establish a business house in Manila, being the first foreigners to receive such concession. In 1814 this permission was made general. It is, however, only since 1834, when the operations of the Philippine company came to an end, that greater freedom of intercourse and larger introduction of foreign capital and busi-ness methods has affected materially the development of the great natural resources and a foreign commerce has resulted which, although far smaller in amount than it ought to be, is a fair indication of what it might and would become if the country should be controlled by a liberal and progressive government. The statistics published in another part of this issue will give a good idea of the progress and present condition of the commerce of the islands.