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A COMMISSION APPOINTED. A commission appointed by the President of the United States had been for some time endeavoring to come to an understanding with Aguinaldo that should form the basis of a settlement satisfactory to himself and to the United States. The commissioners were men as well qualified for the task as in the President's judgment could be found, combining a knowledge of civil, military and legal affairs far beyond the common-namely, Gen. R. P. Hughes, Provost MarshalGeneral, and Inspector-General of Manila; Col. Enoch H. Crowder, Judge Advocate General, and Col. (now General), James F. Smith of the 1st California Regiment.
These men met the Filipino commissioners appointed by Aguinaldo-namely, Florentine Flores, Ambrosio Flores, and Manuel Arguieles, many times in the attempt to secure a frank statement of their views—how they were to establish a stable government, and how to meet the just demands of the United States, which in the eyes of the civilized world was bound to protect the Philippines from the rapacity of other nations until they were strong enough to protect themselves. Such protection as it seemed, could only be afforded by the United States assuming the responsibility of establishing a provisional government, which was to lead up to complete autonomy as rapidly as the lesson of self-government was learned. To this proposition Aguinaldo had not consented—would not consent. Whatever of patriotism was in his heart, his brain seemed to be inflamed by the ambition to rule.
The following short colloquy at a session of the commission brings out very clearly some of the difficulties of the case :
Col. Crowder asked the insurgents :
THE TREATY OF PEACE SIGNED.
The treaty in so far as it relates to the Philippines is as follows:
ARTICLE III. Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, and comprising the islands lying within the following lines :
A line running from west to east along or near the twentieth parallel of north latitude, and through the middle of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) to the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127t!) degree meridian of longitude east of
Greenwich, thence along the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127th ) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the parallel of four degrees and forty-five minutes ( 40 45' ) north latitude, thence along the parallel of four degrees and forty-five minutes (to 45°) north latitude
to its intersection with the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty-five minutes (1190 35') east of Greenwich, thence along the meridian of longitude one hundred
and nineteen deMOVING ARTILLERY TO THE FRONT.
grees and thirtyfive minutes (119) 35°) east of Greenwich to the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7° 40') north, thence along the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7° 40') north to its intersection with the one hundred and sixteenth (116th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence by a direct line to the intersection of the tenth 10th) degree parallel of north latitude with the one hundred and eighteenth (118th degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, and thence along the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the point of beginning.
The United States will pay to Spain the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000), within three months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty.
ARTICLE IV. The United States will, for the term of ten years from date of exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, admit Spanish ships and merchandise to the ports of the Philippine Islands on the same terms as ships and merchandise of the United States.
The United States will, upon the signature of the present treaty, send back to Spain, at its own cost, the Spanish soldiers taken as prisoners of war on the capture of Manila by the American forces. The arms of the soldiers in question shall be restored to them.
Spain will, upon the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, proceed to evacuate the Philippines, as well as the island of Guam, on terms similar to those agreed upon by the commissioners appointed to arrange for the evacuation of Porto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, under the protocol of August 12, 1898, which is to continue in force till its provisions are completely executed.
The time within which the evacuation of the Philippine Islands and Guam shall be completed shall be fixed by the two governments. Stands of colors, uncaptured war-vessels, small arms, guns of all calibers, with their carriages and accessories, powder, ammunition, live stock, and material and supplies of all kinds, belonging to the land and naval forces of Spain in the Philippines and Guam, remain the property of Spain. Pieces of heavy ordnance, exclusive of field artillery, in the fortifications and coast defenses, shall remain in their emplacements for the term of six months, to be reckoned from the exchange of ratifications of the treaty; and the United States may, in the meantime, purchase such material from Spain, if a satisfactory agreement between the two governments on the subject shall be reached.
ARTICLE VI. Spain will, upon the signature of the present treaty, release all prisioners of war, and all persons detained or imprisoned for political offenses, in connection with the insurrections of Cuba and the Philippines and the war with the United States.
Reciprocally, the United States will release all persons made prisoners of war by the Ameri an forces, and will undertake to obtain the release of ali Spanish prisoners in the hands of the insurgents in Cuba and the Philippines.
The government of the United States will, at its own cost, return to Spain and the government of Spain will, at its own cost, return to the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines, according to the situation of their respective homes, prisoners released or caused to be released by them, respectively, under this article. (Other articles of the treaty provide for the protection of the inhabitants of the ceded territory in their civil rights.
THE PRESIDENT DECLARES THE UNITED STATES SOVEREIGN
IN THE PHILIPPINES.
A few days after the signing of the treaty of peace, Gen. Otis inade public the following instructions of the President:
Executive Mansion, Washington, D, C., December 21, 1898. To the Secretary of War. Sir: The destruction of the Spanish feet in the harbor of Manila by the United States naval squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Dewey, followed by the reduction of the city and the surrender of the Spanish forces, practically effected the conquest of the Philippine Islands and the suspension of Spanish sovereignty therein.
With the signature of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain by their respective plenipotentiaries at Paris on the luth inst., and as the result of the victories of the
BLOCK-HOUSE NO. 2, LA LOMA CHURCH IN THE DISTANCE. American arms, the future control, disposition and government of the Philippine Islands is ceded to the United States. In fulfillment of the rights of sovereignty thus acquired and the responsible obligations of government thus assumed, the actual occupation and administration of the entire group of the Philippine Islands becomes immediately necessary and the military government heretofore maintained by the United States in the city, harbor, and bay of Manila is to be extended with all possible despatch to the whole of the ceded territory.
In performing this duty the military commander of the United States is enjoined to make known to the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands that, in succeeding to the sovereignty of Spain, in severing the former political relations of the inhabitants and in establishing a new political power, the authority of the United States is to be exerted for the sovereignty of the persons and property of the people of the islands and for the confirmation of all their private rights and relations.
It will be the duty of the commander of the forces of occupation to announce and proclaim in the most public manner that we come not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments and in their p'rsonal and religious rights. All persons who, either by active aid or honest submission, co-operate with the government of the United States to give effect to these benefits and prirposes, will receive the reward of its support and protection. All others will be brought within the lawful rule we have assumed with firmness, if need be, but without severity so far as may be possible.
Within the absolute domain of military authority, which necessarily is and must remain supreme in the ceded territory until the legislation of the United States shall otherwise provide, the niunicipal laws of the territory in respect to private rights and property and the repression of crime are to be considered as continuing in force and to be administered by the ordinary tribunals so far as possible. The operations of civil and municipal government are to be performed by such officers as may accept the supremacy oi the United States by taking the oath of allegiance, or by officers chosen as far as may be practicable from the inhabitants of the islands.
While the control of all the public property and the revenues of the State passes with the cession, and while the use and management of all public means of transportation are necessarily reserved to the authority of the United States, private property, whether belonging to individuals or corporations, is to be respected except for cause fully established. The taxes and duties heretofore payable by the inhabitants to the late government become payable to the authorities of the United States unless it be seen fit to substitute for them other reasonable rates or modes of contribution to the expenses of the government, whether general or local. If private property be taken for military use it shall be paid for, when possible, in cash at a fair valuation and when payment in cash is not practicable receipts are to be given.
All ports and places in the Philippine Islands in the actual possession of the land and naval forces of the United States will be opened to the commerce of all friendly nations. All goods and wares, not prohibited for military reasons by due announcement of the military authority, will be admitted upon payment of such duties and other charges as shall be in force at the time of their importation.
Finally, it should be the earnest and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring to them in every possible way that full measures of individual rights and liberty which is the heritage of free people and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation, substituting the mild sway of justice and the right for arbitrary rule. In the fulfillment of this high mission, supporting the temperate administration of affairs for the greatest (good of the governed, there must be sedulously maintained the strong arm of authority, to repress the disturbance and to overcome all obstacles to the bestowal of the blessings of good and stable government upon the people of the Philippine Islands under the free flag of the United States.
AGUINALDO REPLIES TO THE PRESIDENT.
Within two days after the promulgation of the foregoing by Gen. Otis, Aguinaldo issued the following statement:
The government of the Filipinos has concluded that it is obliged to expound the reasons for the breaking off of friendly relations with the army of the l'nited Seates in these islands, so that all can be convinced that I have done everything on my part to avoid it, and at the cost of many rights necessarily sacrificed.
After the naval combat of May 1st, the Commander of the American squadron allowed me to return from Hongkong, and distributed among the Filipinos arms taken from the arsenal at Cavite, with the intention of starting anew the revolution (that had settled down in consequence of the treaty made between the Spaniards and the Filipinos at Biak-na-bato) in order that he might get the Filipinos on his side.
The different towns now understand that war was declared between the United States and Spain and that it was necessary for them to fight for their liberty, sure that Spain would be annihilated and would be unable to do anything to put the islands in the way of progress and prosperity.
My people rejoiced at my return, and I had the honor to be chosen as chief for the services I had rendered before. Then all the Filipinos, without distinction of class, took arms, and every province hurried to turn all the Spaniards outside the lines of its boundary.
So it is easy to understand how my government would have had the power over the whole island of Luzon, Bisayas and a portion of Mindanao had the Americans taken no part in the military operations here, which have cost us so much blood and so much money.
My government is quite aware that the destruction of the Spanish feet and giving of arms to them from the arsenal has helped them much in the way of arms. I was quite convinced
that the American army was obliged to sympathize with a revolution which had been crushed so many times, had shed so much blood, and was again working for independence. I had all confidence in the American tradition and history, for they were willing to fight for independence and the abolition of slavery until it was attained.
The Americans, having won the good disposition of the Filipinos, disembarked at Paranaque and took the position occupied by our troops in the trenches as far as Maytubig, taking possession as a matter of fact of many trenches that had been constructed by my people.
They obliged the capitulation of Manila, and the city, being surrounded by my troops, was obliged to surrender at the first attack. Through my not being notified, my troops advanced to Malate, Ermita, Paco, Sampaloc and Tondo. Without these services in keeping the Spaniards in the city they would not have given up so easily.
The American generals took my advice regarding the capitulation, but afterwards asked me to retire with my forces from Port Cavite and the suburbs of Manila.
I reminded the Generals of the injustice they were doing me and asked them in a friendly manner to recognize in some expressed way my co-operation, but they refused to accord me anything. Then not wishing to do anything against the wishes of those who would soon be the liberators of the Filipino people, I even ordered my troops to evacuate the port of Cavite and all the suburbs of Cavite, retaining only one, the suburb of Paco.
After all these concessions, in a few days Admiral Dewey, without any motive, took possession of our steam launches that were circulating, by his express consent, in the bay of Manila.
Nearly the same time I received an order from Gen. Otis, Commander-in-Chief of the army of occupation, obliging me to retire my army outside certain lines which were drawn and given me, and in which I saw included the town of Pandacan and the village of Cingalon, which never have been termed suburbs of Manila.
In the actual sight of the two American generals I ordered a consultation of my military generals, and I consulted my assistant counselors and generals, and the two bodies conformed in a desire to appoint a commissioner to see Gen. Hughes.
The General received my commissioner in a poor way and would not allow him to speak, but I allowed it to pass, by a friendly request from Gen. Otis, and withdrew my troops outside the given lines so as to avoid trouble and waited for the conclusion of the peace commission at Paris.
I thought I would get my independence, as I was promised by the Consul-General of Singapore, Mr. Pratt, and it would come in a formal, assured, friendly proclamation by the American generals who had entered these waters.
But it was not so. The said Generals took my concessions in favor of friendship and peace as indicative of weakness, and, with growing ambition, sent forces to Iloilo with the object of taking that town, so they might call themselves the conquerors of that part of the Philippines, which is already occupied by my government.
This way of proceeding, so far from custom and practice observed by the civilized nations, gives me the right to proceed, leaving them out of consideration. Notwithstanding this, and wishing to be in the right to the last, I sent to Gen. Otis a commissioner with a request to desist from this fearful undertaking, but he refused to do so.
My government cannot remain indifferent in a view of violent and aggressive usurpation of its territory by a people who claim to be the champions of liberty, and so it is determined to begin hostilities if the American forces intend to get, by force, the occupation of Visayas.
I denounce these transactions before the world in order that the universal conscience may give its inflexible decision. Who are the manslaughters of humanity? Upon their heads be all the blood that will be wasted !
EMILIO AGUINALDO. January 6, 1899.
The crisis was fast approaching. At Iloilo the expedition, under Gen. Marcus P. Miller, was resisted, with arms, by the natives, and under instructions he desisted from using force. When the manifesto of Aguinaldo was posted on the