Murat Halstead.

The Story of the Philippines and Our New Possessions, Including the Ladrones, Hawaii, Cuba and Porto Rico The Eldorado of the Orient online

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delighted to see them go, and will be grateful to the United States.

"If some chiefs of the rebellion will be a little disappointed in
their personal pride, they will be convinced that it is better for
them to submit in any case, for most of these chiefs prefer American
authority."

Aguinaldo became swollen with the conceit of greatness, and flattered
to believe he had a commanding destiny, he took on airs of extravagant
consequence in his correspondence with General Anderson, who commanded
the first expedition of the United States troops to the Philippines,
and dared to assume to have authority as to the disembarkation of the
soldiers of the United States. July 24th Aguinaldo wrote to Anderson:

"I came from Hongkong to prevent my countrymen from making common
cause with the Spanish against the North Americans, pledging before
my word to Admiral Dewey to not give place [to allow] to any internal
discord, because, [being] a judge of their desires, I had the strong
conviction I could succeed in both objects."

After this false and foolish presumption, he proceeded in a pompous
way to observe that "without the destruction of the Spanish squadron
the Philippine revolution would not have advanced so rapidly." He
claimed, in a letter dated August 1st to Consul Williams, that if he
did not assert himself as he was doing he would be held by his people
to be a traitor. His point at Singapore was that he could wield his
people at his pleasure. His observation was:

"I have done what they desire, establishing a government in order
that nothing important may be done without consulting fully their
sovereign will, not only because it was my duty, but also because
acting in any other manner they would fail to recognize me as the
interpreter of their aspirations and would punish me as a traitor,
replacing me by another more careful of his own honor and dignity."

On the day after the storming of Manila, Aguinaldo wrote to Anderson:

"My troops, who have been for so long besieging Manila, have always
been promised that they could appear in it, as you know and can not
deny, and for this reason and on account of the many sacrifices made of
money and lives, I do not consider it prudent to issue orders to the
contrary, as they might be disobeyed against my authority. Besides,
I hope that you will allow the troops to enter, because we have given
proofs many times of our friendship."

On the day of occupancy of Manila Aguinaldo wrote Anderson:

"I received a telegram. My interpreter is in Cavite; in consequence
of this I have not answered till now. My troops are forced by yours,
by means of threats of violence, to retire from positions taken. It
is necessary, to avoid conflicts, which I should lament, that you
order your troops that they avoid difficulty with mine, as until now
they have conducted themselves as brothers to take Manila."

General Merritt did not tolerate any folly about "joint occupation,"
and sharply demanded the insurgents should restore the city the water
supply from the mountain stream that is diverted from the Pasig to
the city, and Aguinaldo claimed credit on the water question in these
terms of prevarication and presumption.

"Since I have permitted the use of water before the formal declaration
of the treaty, you can easily see that I am disposed to sacrifice to
friendship everything not greatly prejudicial to the rights of the
Philippine city.

"I comprehend, like yourself, the inconvenience of a double occupation
of the city of Manila and its environs, considering the conditions
of the capitulation with the Spaniards, but you must also understand
that without the wide blockade maintained by my forces you would
have obtained possession of the ruins of the city, but never the
surrender of the Spanish forces, who would have been able to retire
to the interior towns.

"Now, do not make light of the aid formerly given by us to secure
the capitulation mentioned. Greatly though justice may suffer, and
risking well-founded fears in regard to my city, I do not insist upon
the retention of all the positions conquered by my forces within
the environs at the cost of much bloodshed, unspeakable fatigue,
and much money."

At the same time this Dictator was strutting with the powerful
persuasion that the United States must be subordinate to his will,
he was ambitious to live in the palace of the Governor General,
putting an impertinance to that effect in his correspondence, but
General Merritt told him he wanted it for himself and had already
occupied and taken it into possession. It has been made clear that
Aguinaldo was from the first appearance of Americans writhing with
the pangs of wounded vanity, conspiring to initiate the ignorant and
inflate the insignificant, exciting a considerable force to share
his sentiments. Unquestionably the news communicated by Agoncillo to
Aguinaldo of the sailing of the regular troops to reinforce the army
in Manila caused the desperate assault upon our lines, and it may
be accepted as the measurement of the Filipino ignorance of American
character, that the insurgent calculation was that the combat designed
and its influence estimated, was expected to cause the defeat of the
ratification of the treaty in the Senate.

General Merritt assumed the Governor's duties on August 23, at
Matacanan palace. Insurgents seemed more pacific, and business was
resumed. On August 25, Aguinaldo sent the following cablegram to the
American press:

Manila, August 24. - I am satisfied with America's occupation. The
Filipinos are disbanding.

_Aguinaldo_.

Head of the Philippine Insurgent Army.

The same day Aguinaldo issued orders for his soldiers to return
to their homes. The order was obeyed, and the insurgents expressed
willingness to surrender if assured that the islands would remain
under American or British control.

In a clash at Cavite between United States soldiers and insurgents
on August 25, George Hudson, a member of the Utah regiment, was
killed, and Corporal William Anderson, of the same battery, was
mortally wounded. Four troopers of the Fourth Cavalry were slightly
wounded. Aguinaldo expressed his regret and promised to punish the
offenders.

Complaint of the conduct of Aguinaldo was reported by insurgents a
few days later, and he said many of his compatriots accused him of
endeavoring to sell out their cause. This story was his standing excuse
for insolence to Americans, and the commission of savage injustice. He
announced his intention to send peace commissioners to Paris.

On September 5, Aguinaldo effected an important alliance with
the Santiaglesia party in the northern Provinces of Pangasinan
Zamballes. This party commanded 5,000 troops which hitherto had
resisted Aguinaldo's claims to dictatorship.

At a meeting of twenty leaders of the Filipinos on September 5,
eighteen of them declared in favor of annexation to the United States.

Aguinaldo, on September 10, demanded the right to occupy part of
Manila. His demand was refused by General Otis, who ordered him to
remove his forces by a given day to avoid trouble. Aguinaldo removed
his headquarters to Malolos on the railroad forty miles north of
Manila.

It was on October 10 that the open arrogance of Aguinaldo asserted
itself. He refused to permit a burial party from the British ship
Powerful to pass into the city carrying arms. For this he was reproved
by the American commanders, and he apologized.

October 16 Aguinaldo again took the offensive, refusing to permit
the American schooner Mermanos to load. Following that report came
the report of a battle between Americans and insurgents, which was
exaggerated, but showed the seriousness of the situation. The same
day the Czar of Russia suggested a joint note from the powers to the
United States on the Philippine question.

Later Aguinaldo refused the request of General Otis for the release
of Spanish priests held as captives by the Filipinos, and General
Otis reported the entire island of Panay, with the exception of the
City of Iloilo, in the hands of insurgents.

On November 14, the Filipino Junta at Hongkong issued a long statement
and petition directed to President McKinley, demanding recognition
of the insurgents.

On November 18, President McKinley issued orders to General Otis to
occupy the Islands of Panay and Negros, and for this purpose troops
were later sent from Manila on an unsuccessful mission. January 1 came
the serious news from Manila that the American forces before Iloilo,
under the command of General Miller, were confronted by 6,000 armed
Filipinos, who refused them permission to land.

The Spanish had yielded Iloilo to the insurgents for the purpose of
troubling the Americans.

Agoncillo, on January 6, filed a request with the authorities at
Washington for an interview with the President to discuss affairs in
the Philippines. The next day the government officials were surprised
to learn that messages to General Otis to deal mildly with the rebels
and not to force a conflict had become known to Agoncillo, and cabled
by him to Aguinaldo. At the same time came Aguinaldo's protest against
General Otis signing himself "Military Governor of the Philippines."

Agoncillo expressed still more violent sentiments during the second
week in January. On the 8th of the month he gave out this statement:

"In my opinion the Filipino people, whom I represent, will never
consent to become a colony dependency of the United States. The
soldiers of the Filipino army have pledged their lives that they will
not lay down their arms until General Aguinaldo tells them to do so,
and they will keep that pledge, I feel confident."

On the day after Aguinaldo issued his second proclamation in Manila,
in which he threatened to drive the Americans from the islands, called
the Deity to witness that their blood would be on their own heads if it
was shed, and detailed at greater length the promises he claimed were
made by the Americans as to the part of the insurgents in the campaign.

The Filipino committees in London, Paris and Madrid about this time
telegraphed to President McKinley as follows:

"We protest against the disembarkation of American troops at
Iloilo. The treaty of peace still unratified, the American claim to
sovereignty is premature. Pray reconsider the resolution regarding
Iloilo. Filipinos wish for the friendship of America and abhor
militarism and deceit."

The threats that Manila must be taken never ceased in the rebel camp,
and they hung around with sweltering venom, cultivating grievances,
like a horde of wolves and panthers, hungry and rabid.

At the beginning of February the situation at Manila was regarded as
serious, but the officials saw no reason why they could not command it
for a time at least. General Otis reported, in connection with some
matters pertaining to the shipment home of sick Spanish soldiers,
that he could hold out beyond a doubt until his reinforcements
arrived, and added that as the news had reached Manila that there
was every prospect that the peace treaty would soon be ratified,
the effect on the natives had been satisfactory. Sunday morning,
February 5, reports were received by the American press that the
Filipino insurgents under Aguinaldo had attacked the American lines
before Manila, and that a battle had been fought, in which many on
both sides had been killed or wounded.

When news of the attack of the Filipinos was received at Washington,
Agoncillo, the special representative of Aguinaldo, immediately left
the capital, taking the first train for Canada. He reached Montreal
February 6. In an interview at the latter place he professed not
to know that an attack on the American forces at Manila had been
planned by his people. Furthermore, he stated it as his belief that
no attack had been made as described in the reports. His manner and
somewhat evasive statements indicated that he knew more than he cared
to tell. His action in fleeing from Washington indicated complicity.

One of the immediate results of the Filipinos' attack on Manila
was the hastening of the ratification by the Senate of the peace
treaty. At 2:45 o'clock, Monday afternoon, February 6, the Senate met
in executive session, and three-fourths of an hour later the vote on
the ratification of the treaty was announced. It stood 57 for, and
27 against, the absent and paired being six. The treaty was ratified
by a majority of 1.

The Senators who voted for the treaty were: Aldrich, Allen, Allison,
Baker, Burrows, Butler, Carter, Chandler, Clark, Clay, Cullom,
Davis, Deboe, Elkins, Fairbanks, Faulkner, Foraker, Frye, Gallinger,
Gear, Gray, Hanna, Hansbrough, Harris, Hawley, Jones (Nev.), Kenney,
Kyle, Lindsay, Lodge, McBride, McEnery, McLaurin, McMillan, Mantle,
Mason, Morgan, Nelson, Penrose, Perkins, Pettus, Platt (Conn.), Platt
(N.Y.), Pritchard, Quay, Ross, Sewell, Shoup, Simon, Spooner, Stewart,
Sullivan, Teller, Thurston, Warren, Wellington, Wolcott.

The Senators who voted against the treaty were: Bacon, Bate, Berry,
Caffery, Chilton, Cockrell, Daniel, Gorman, Hale, Heitfeld, Hoar,
Jones (Ark.), Mallory, Martin, Mills, Mitchell, Money, Murphy, Pasco,
Pettigrew, Rawlins, Roach, Smith, Tillman, Turley, Turner, Vest.

Those who were absent and paired were: Cannon and Wilson for, with
White against; Proctor and Wetmore for, with Turpie against.

The ratification of the treaty was not a party question. Thirty-nine
Republicans, ten Democrats, and eight Silver men voted for the treaty,
and two Republicans, twenty-two Democrats and three Silver men voted
against it.

On February 4, Aguinaldo issued the following proclamation:

"I order and command:

1. That peace and friendly relations with the Americans be broken and
that the latter be treated as enemies, within the limits prescribed
by the laws of war.

2. That the Americans captured be held as prisoners of war.

3. That this proclamation be communicated to the consuls and that
congress order and accord a suspension of the constitutional guarantee,
resulting from the declaration of war."

February 5th, Aguinaldo issued a second proclamation in which he
said that the outbreak of hostilities was "unjustly and unexpectedly
provoked by the Americans." He also spoke of "the constant outrages and
taunts which have been causing misery to the Manilans," and referred
to the "useless conferences" and contempt shown for the Filipino
government as proving a "premeditated transgression of justice and
liberty." He called on his people to "sacrifice all upon the altar of
honor and national integrity," and insisted that he tried to avoid as
far as possible an armed conflict. He claimed that all his efforts
"were useless before the unmeasured pride of the Americans," whom
he charged as having treated him as a rebel "because I defended the
interests of my country and would not become the instrument of their
dastardly intentions." He concluded by saying:

"Be not discouraged. Our independence was watered freely by the
blood of martyrs, and more will be shed in the future to strengthen
it. Remember that efforts are not to be wasted that ends may be
gained. It is indispensable to adjust our actions to the rules of law
and right and to learn to triumph over our enemies. We have fought
our ancient oppressors without arms, and we now trust to God to defend
us against the foreign foe."

_The Official Battle Bulletins_.

The messages following were received in the order given.

"Manila, February 5. - Adjutant-General, Washington: Have established
our permanent lines well out and have driven off the insurgents. The
troops have conducted themselves with great heroism. The country
about Manila is peaceful, and the city is perfectly quiet. List of
casualties to-morrow. _Otis_."

"Manila, February 5. - To the Adjutant-General: Insurgents in large
force opened attack on our outer lines at 8:45 p. m. last evening;
renewed attack several times during night; at 4 o'clock this morning
entire line engaged; all attacks repulsed; at daybreak advanced
against insurgents, and have driven them beyond the lines they formerly
occupied, capturing several villages and their defense works; insurgent
loss in dead and wounded large; our own casualties thus far estimated
at 175, few fatal. Troops enthusiastic and acting fearlessly. Navy
did splendid execution on flanks of enemy; city held in check, and
absolute quiet prevails; insurgents have secured a good many Mauser
rifles, a few field pieces and quick-firing guns, with ammunition,
during last month. _Otis_."

"Manila, February 5. - To Adjutant-General: Situation most
satisfactory. No apprehension need be felt. Perfect quiet prevails
in city and vicinity. List of casualties being prepared, and will
be forwarded as soon as possible. Troops in excellent health and
spirits. _Otis_."

"Manila, February 7. - Adjutant-General, Washington: The insurgent army
concentrated around Manila from Luzon provinces, numbered over 20,000,
possessing several quick-firing and Krupp field guns. Good portion
of enemy armed with Mausers, latest pattern. Two Krupp and great many
rifles captured. Insurgents fired great quantity of ammunition. Quite
a number of Spanish soldiers in insurgent service who served artillery.

Insurgents constructed strong intrenchments near our lines, mostly
in bamboo thickets. These our men charged, killing or capturing many
of the enemy. Our casualties probably aggregate 250. Full reports
to-day. Casualties of insurgents very heavy. Have buried some 500
of their dead and hold 500 prisoners. Their loss, killed, wounded,
and prisoners, probably 4,000.

"Took waterworks pumping station yesterday, six miles out. Considerable
skirmish with enemy, which made no stand. Pumps damaged; will
be working in a week. Have number of condensers set up in city,
which furnish good water. Troops in excellent spirits. Quiet
prevails. _Otis_."

"Manila, February 3. - Adjutant-General, Washington: Situation rapidly
improving. Reconnaissance yesterday to south several miles; to east
to Laguna Bay; to northeast eight miles, driving straggling insurgent
troops in various directions, encountering no decided opposition.

"Army disintegrated, and natives returning to village, displaying
white flag.

"Near Caloocan, six miles north, enemy made stand behind
entrenchments. Charged by Kansas troops, led by Colonel Funston;
close encounter, resulting in rout of enemy, with very heavy loss.

"Loss to Kansas troops, Lieutenant Alford killed, six men wounded.

"Night of 4th, Aguinaldo issued flying proclamation, charging Americans
with initiative, and declared war.

"His influence throughout this section destroyed. Now applies for
cessation of hostilities and conference. Have declined to answer.

"Insurgents' expectation of rising in city on night of 4th
unrealized. Provost Marshal-General, with admirable disposition of
troops, defeated every attempt.

"City quiet. Business resumed. Natives respectful and cheerful.

"The fighting qualities of American troops a revelation to all
inhabitants. Signed, _Otis_."

Secretary Alger sent the following cablegram to General Otis,
at Manila:

"Accept my best congratulations upon your magnificent victory of
Sunday, all the more creditable because you were not the aggressor."

"Manila, February 10. - Adjutant-General: Insurgents collected
considerable force between Manila and Caloocan, where Aguinaldo is
reported to be, and threatened attack and uprising in city.

"This afternoon swung left of McArthur division, which is north of
Pasig River, into Caloocan, driving enemy easy.

"Our left now at Caloocan. Our loss slight; that of insurgents
considerable. Particulars in morning.

"Attack preceded by one-half hour's firing from two of Admiral
Dewey's vessels.

"_Otis_."

"Manila, February 13. - Adjutant-General, Washington: Everything quiet
this morning; business in city resuming former activity. _Otis_."

"Manila, February 13. - General Miller reports from Iloilo that that
town was taken on the 11th inst., and is held by troops. Insurgents
given until evening of 11th to surrender, but their hostile actions
brought on an engagement during the morning. Insurgents fired the
native portion of town, but little losses to property of foreign
inhabitants. No casualties among United States troops reported.

"_Otis_."

The legal situation, while the treaty was not ratified, and seemed
gravely in doubt, was an embarrassment to the executive of the United
States. The Philippine question was by the act of the President a
special reservation, and it was submitted to the people as too great in
scope and various in detail, to be determined by one man, especially as
the Philippine Archipelago was so far away from our Pacific shore as to
be, according to the average citizen's information, a new departure;
and the novelties in a Republic need much consideration. Really the
departure is not new - it is in the direct line of the logic of our
history. The President exceedingly desired to preserve the peace with
the Filipinos, and gave orders not to attack them. He trusted this
anxious care would prevent bloodshed. Hence the annoying attitude of
waiting acquiesence at Iloilo, and at Manila under almost intolerable
provocation. A personal letter from Manila, dated December 8th,
and written by a general officer contains this.

"Aguinaldo has sent for a new hatter with inflated blocks, and has
his people dragging up field guns in face of our outposts. You can
draw your own inferences."

There is a flavor of bitter humor in this, but the fact is prominent
that the desperadoes were quite wild, and had no understanding of
themselves or of us, and could acquire it only by getting themselves
whipped by us.

We quote again from the letter of which we have taken the passage
above:

"The able and thinking men in this country tell me in unmistakable
language that they are in no way prepared to take up the government
of these islands. They insist upon the fact that tribunals will have,
through lack of native material, to be mixed bodies. They say that
with all the harshness that must accompany occupancy, the people
here never had as much liberty as they have now, and that they show
a strong inclination to abuse what is given them."

This is the true story of the Philippine people wherever there has
been a free and intelligent expression.

Our army did not go to Manila to harm the Filipinos who have the
misfortune to become infatuated with the malicious vanity of those
who have surrounded themselves with a cloud of superstition and all
the inventions of falsehood. It was necessary that Americans should
protect themselves, or yield the country to the destructiveness of
barbarism, and they have defended Americanism and civilization.

The dragging of field pieces to bear upon our pickets was with the
purpose of bringing American soldiers into contempt, at once, and
to force fighting ultimately. The poor men who became victims were
deluded and carried their defiance to an intolerable pitch. In the
same style employed when he demanded that General Anderson should
consult him about getting on Philippine soil, Aguinaldo attempted to
intimidate General Otis by inviting a conference, and avowing that he
would make war if any more troops were sent to Manila. He would have
bloodshed, and is responsible for it, so far as he is an accountable
being. It is of the horrors of war that the blood of brave men is
shed on both sides of a controversy that has been appealed to the
arbitrament of arms, though the origin of the affray may be obscure
and the issue uncertain. In the bloodshed around Manila the case is
clear and the conclusion certain, and there is the compensation that
the heroism, enterprise, activity and dash and continuance of the
American soldiers under the most trying circumstances, flame forth,
and the glory of our soldiers is equal to that of our sailors in the
judgment of the men of all nations.

There is something more in this second clash of arms at Manila. It
is difficult to find ground harder to carry in offensive movements
than the sultry thickets in which the Filipinos were hidden, but
our soldiers obeyed all orders to advance with alacrity, energy
and enthusiasm, and were eager for their work. The men who can
do what ours did at Manila can do anything that may rationally be
dared. And in this story of Manila is the testimony that after the
volunteers have been seasoned, they do keep step with the dread music
of war with the regulars of any race or people, and there can be no
national retreat from the duty destiny defines in the Philippines,



Online LibraryMurat HalsteadThe Story of the Philippines and Our New Possessions, Including the Ladrones, Hawaii, Cuba and Porto Rico The Eldorado of the Orient → online text (page 42 of 44)