« PreviousContinue »
prevails in all countries in time of war; nor was there any such special information immediately available to the President and Congress as would warrant the formation of any fixed judgment by them. The decision was made, however, and
put into execution as rapidly as possible, to despatch troops to the islands in sufficient numbers to capture and hold the city of Manila, and be prepared to enforce, as to the remainder of the territory, whatever decision might ultimately be reached.
As a matter of fact the SPANISH TARGET PRACTICE ON THE LUNETA.
most important factor in the ultimate solution of the problem was the character and disposition of the inhabitants of the islands, and the probability of a satisfactory affiliation between them and the Americans. It is, perhaps, even yet too early to form definite opinions on this subject, but the following resumé of some of the events which have occurred upon the islands during the past few years will throw some light upon the subject, and is at any rate essential to a proper understanding of the course of events since the American occupation.
CONDITIONS UNDER SPANISH RULE.
The Philippines, like all other Spanish colonies, were ruled with an iron hand. A11 authority was concentrated in the Governor-General, residing at Manila. There were provincial and municipal governments, but all subject to review by the central authority. To what extent the Governor-General was directed from Madrid does not appear, but apparently it depended upon his personal influence with the home government. It is stated that the Governor-Generals always went to the islands as poor men, and returned very rich. If this were true, and it is common report, their riches were obtained by peculation, because it is impossible to become rich from the legitimate emoluments of public office. There is no authentic statement known to us of the exact forms of tyranny practiced by the Spaniards upon the Filipinos, but in general it appears to have taken the form of corrupt administration rather than of oppressive laws. Both the fiscal administration and the courts are said to have been corrupt. The rich oppressed the poor, and divided the plunder with officials. There appears to have been cases of enforced colonization, in which natives were compelled to leave their homes and settle in other islands. Those forms of oppression, however, which most directly affected the masses, seem to have been connected with the church. During the course of the three centuries of Spanish control, Christianity has become firmly implanted among the natives. With the exception of some Mohammedans in the southern islands, and the few tribes which are entirely uncivilized, all Filipinos are good Catholics. Those who know them best have least doubt as to the sin. cerity of the belief of the masses in the tenets of the Catholic faith. The Catholic church, as is well known, is a hierarchy with the parish priest as the unit, locally directed by his bishop and archbishop. But within the church there are a large number of religious orders, supposed to be devoted to good words and works, and actually so, so far as we in America know them, but independent of the authority of the priests and bishops, and responsible mainly to their own superiors, and through them, like the parish priests and bishops, to the Pope. The testimony is univers.il that in the Philippines these “friars” were wholly unlike the good men whom we know as such in this country, and, to a very great extent, were ignorant, brutish, licentious and rapacious. Educational affairs, at least in the rural districts, were largely in their hands, and in many ways they were employed by the Governors in connection with the civil administration, in which capacity they could, and, as alleged, did practice all forms of petty extortion, while leading, as is stated, in many cases, grossly immoral lives. At any rate, the one clear and emphatic demand which stood out above all others from this sincerely Catholic people was that the friars should be banished from the islands, and all religious work committed to the parish priests, as to whom no complaint was made, and who appear to have acquired and deserved the entire respect of the people.
SOCIETY OF THE KATIPUNAN. As the result of misgovernment there have been, since 1868, several Filipino insurrections, none of them attaining any great measure of success until that of 1896, which was coincident with the rebellion in Cuba. During all these years, however, the spirit of discontent has been spreading, and the art of secret organization acquired. It is said that educated Filipinos residing in European capitals were initiated as Freemasons, and introduced into the islanıls many of the methods of that organization in the formation of the society of the “Katipunan”—a Tagalo word meaning “brotherhood”—which was devoted to the attainment of the independence of the islands. This brotherhood became very strong on the island of Luzon, and gradually spread over most of the islands of the archipelago, largely aided, it is said, by the enforced colonization schemes of the government, from the fact that the suspected persons who were selected for deportation became new centers of conspiracy in the islands to which they were taken.
REBELLION OF 1896. Warfare between the Spaniards and their subject people has always been savage on both sides, and the preparations for the revolt which broke out on August 20,
1896, are said to have included a conspiracy for the massacre of the entire Spanish, and perhaps foreign population. The night attack, on the 20th of August,
in which the Spaniards were to have been slaughtered, was frustrated through the confession of the wife of a member of the Katipunan to a priest, and this led to the arrest and imprisonment at once of some 300 of the suspects. Some time before this, a petition, signed by 5000 of these natives, had been presented to the government of Japan, asking for annexation to that government, and this was at once forwarded by the Japanese government to that of Madrid. This action of Japan only added fuel to the fire. While the Spanish government was for the time lenient with these petitioners, it was compulsory lieniency, as there were then in the Philippines only about 1500 Spanish soldiers, and 6000 auxiliaries (natives). By the 1st of December following, this force had been increased to 10,000 Spanish regulars, with the addition of some small war-craft. Arrests followed, and discontent became rampant. On the 26th of August, 1896, Caloocan was raided by the insurgents, some Chinese killed and others captured. The Spanish cavalry started in pursuit, but all had vanished. On the morning of August 30th the first battle of the insurrection occurred at San Juan del Monte, just outside Manila, the rebels making the attack at four o'clock in the morning.
BRIDGE OF SPAIN. A FIESTA DAY. They had no military skill or leadership, Sancho Valenzuela being in command, and he, by occupation, a ropemaker. One Spaniard was killed and several wounded. There were eighty of the rebels killed. On September 4th four of the leaders of the San Juan fight were executed on the Luneta. This was 'followed by the execution of others. The rebellion now spread like an infection, reaching into the provinces, the populace being quite universally allied with the rebellion. Everywhere, however, the little conflicts were favorable to the Spanish.
AGUINALDO APPEARS. The province of Cavite soon attracted most attention from its connection with Don Emilio Aguinaldo. He was there teaching school at Silan, a small place, but a hotbed and resort of rebels. He was born in this province on the 22d of March, 1868, at Cauit.
Aguinaldo at once sprang into prominence by issuing an address to the people, counseling resistance. There was not formulated in this proclamation a plan of government. At San Francisco de Malabon he organized the revolutionary move
ment, and at once marched to Imus, in the province of Cavite. Here there was a slight engagement, and several priests were captured and cruelly tortured to death. Aguinaldo fortified Imus. The insurgents also held Paranaque and Las Pinas, and built trenches one and one-half miles long, south of Cavite fort and arsenal; they were splendidly entrenched. Here the Spaniards,
with a large force, sought to dislodge them, but were defeated with the loss of nearly the half of a whole regiment of auxiliaries; sixty Spanish regulars were killed and fifty wounded. The Spaniards retired behind trenches. In the meantime executions were the order of the day; in Manila thirteen of the “promoters” were executed at one time.
There was an organized force of insurgents north of Manila, in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga. Their estimated strength was 3000. Against these the Spaniards had a cavalry detachment of 500 men. Nothing effective, however, was done. With the augmentation of the Spanish forces an attempt was made to capture the insurgents, but everywhere the rebels seemed victorious. At Carmona, Silan, Imus, Binicayan—all were Spanish defeats, but still these defeats served the purpose of keeping the rebel forces out of Manila. It was a savage warfare and no mercy shown by either faction.
CHANGES IN THE GOVERNOR-GENERALSHIP.
Governor-General Blanco, not being in harmony with the archbishop, was recalled to Spain in December. At this time the insurgent force was practically in possession of the whole province of Cavite, except the fortifications of Cavite, and there were in the province about 7000 insurgent troops, mostly equipped with Mauser rifles. They were well entrenched, but with no sufficient artillery. Their total fighting force at this time was about 35,000 men.
General Camilo Polavieja succeeded General Blanco. His available force was increased to 28,000 men, and a vigorous campaign was at once inaugurated. General Lachambre was his deputy commanding in the field, and a large number of small engagements followed, the result of which, for the time, re-established Spanish rule in Cavite province. General Polavieja and his deputy resigned and left for Spain, April 15, 1897. He was succeeded in command by General Fernando Primo de Rivera, who arrived later in the spring in Manila.
At this time, Aguinaldo had united his forces with Llaneras, and they overran a number of the northern provinces, including Tarlac. General Monet conducted the Spanish campaign against these forces, but his barbarities were such that the rebellion only spread and strengthened. His native auxiliaries, and the native priests, almost in a body joined the rebellious army. The rebellion, from now until the making of that remarkable pact of peace which so long brought Aguinaldo and his party into obloquy, took on the form of guerrilla warfare. There were no actions known as battles, between the forces, but a series of raids and assaults by small detachments.
THE PACT OF PEACE. On August 6, 1897, General Rivera commissioned a Filipino to negotiate terms of peace with the insurgents; and an agreement or treaty, known as the “Pacto de Biac-na-bato," was made, on the part of the Spanish government, by
Pedro A. Paterno, the Filipino mentioned, and Aguinaldo and thirty-four of his leaders; in which among other stipulations, it was agreed, -that the rebels should be paid $1,000,000, and the families who had been damaged by the war $700,000; that Aguinaldo and his associates should leave the islands, and not return without the consent of the Spanish government; all arms and ammunition of the rebels were to be sur
rendered, and they were to evacuate all places and A sore crowd. fortifications held by them by force of arms. An armistice for three years was provided for, in which certain promised reforms were to be made, and the rebels should not again engage in rebellious acts.
There has been much dispute as to the full terms of that compact, the insurgents claiming that many reforms were provided for, which the Spaniards deny. As the treaty or agreement has never been published or made known by any of those who were party to it, there is cause for suspicion, that in its scope, and afterwards in its execution, there was that which would compromise those connected with it. On the 15th of December, 1897, however, the General-in-Chief, and his mediator, Pedro A. Paterno, signed the following agreement which appears to be a part of the unpublished compact:
“In the peace proposals presented by the sole mediator, Don Pedro Alejandro Paterno, in the name and on behalf of the rebels in arms, and in the Peace Protocol which was agreed to and submitted to His Majesty's Government, which approved of the same, there exists a principal clause relating to the sums of money which
BRIDGE AT BULACAN. were handed over to the rebels and their families as indemnity for the loss of their goods consequent on the war, which sums amounted to a total of $1,700,000, which the mediator, Señor Paterno, was to distribute absolutely at his