Murat Halstead.

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_Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy_.

"Mr. Murat Halstead, Manila.

"Bakoor, 29th August, 1898."

General Aguinaldo proceeded vigorously to make use of his knowledge
that the China would go to Hongkong for General Merritt and sent his
secretary and others to me at the Hotel Oriente, but they arrived
after I had left the house. They came to the China and General Merritt
had not arrived and did not appear until within a few minutes of
the start. Then the deputation from the insurgent chieftain had an
interview with him, asking that two of their number should go to
Hongkong on the China to express fully the views of the insurgent
government to to the commissioner, Don Felipe Agoncillo, chosen to
represent the Filipinos at Washington and Paris and to ask that he be
allowed to go to the United States on the China. When the committee saw
General Merritt he was taking leave of Admiral Dewey, and the General,
who had not heard of this movement until that moment - the question
being entirely new - invited the opinion of the Admiral, who said there
was "certainly no objection," and on the contrary, it would be very
well to permit the passage of the deputation to Hongkong and of the
commissioner appointed from that city to Washington. General Merritt
at once in half a dozen words gave the order, and the journey began.

General Greene, who reads and translates Spanish with facility
and whose Spanish speech is plain, treated with marked courtesy
the Filipino committee to Hongkong and thence the commissioner
and his secretary from Hongkong to San Francisco, on the way to
Washington and Paris. General Greene, while according distinction
to the representatives of the insurgents, stated to them that his
attentions were personal and he could not warrant them official
recognition at Washington or anything more than such politeness as
gentlemen receive from each other. The commissioner was Don Felipe
Agoncillo, and his secretary, Sixto Lopez.

Saturday, September 24, the Salt Lake newspapers contained stories to
the effect that the Germans had entered into an alliance offensive and
defensive with the Aguinaldo government and would furnish equipments
for an army of 150,000 men. We were on the Union Pacific Railroad at
the time, and I called the attention of Don Felipe Agoncillo to this
remarkable intelligence and asked him what he thought of it. He said
emphatically that it was "Nothing," "No true," "Nothing at all,"
and he laughed at the comic idea. There was also in the Salt Lake
newspapers a statement that the Aguinaldo 'government' had sent
to President McKinley a letter strongly expressing good-will and
gratitude. There did not seem to be much news in this for Don Felipe,
but it gave him much pleasure, and he, not perhaps diplomatically
but enthusiastically, pronounced it good.

_What Agoncillo Approved_.

The dispatch marked with his approbation by the Philippine commissioner
was the following from Washington, under date of September 23:

"The President doubtless would be glad to hear any views these
Filipinos might care to set forth, being fresh from the islands and
thoroughly acquainted with the wishes of the insurgents. But it would
be plainly impolitic and inconsistent for the President, at this
date and pending the conclusion of the peace conference at Paris,
to allow it to be understood, by according a formal reception to the
delegates, that he had thereby recognized the Philippine government
as an independent nationality. His attitude toward the Filipinos
would be similar to that assumed by him toward the Cubans. As the
Filipinos have repeatedly, by public declaration, sought to convey
the impression that the United States representatives in Manila have
at some time during the progress of the war recognized Aguinaldo as
an independent ally, and entered into formal co-operation with him,
it may be stated that the government at Washington is unaware that
any such thing has happened. Admiral Dewey, who was in command of all
the United States forces during the most critical period, expressly
cabled the Secretary of the Navy that he had entered into no formal
agreement with Aguinaldo. If General Otis followed his instructions,
and of that there can be no doubt, he also refrained from entering
into any entangling agreements. As for Consul-General Wildman, any
undertaking he may have assumed with Aguinaldo must have been upon
his own personal and individual responsibility, and would be without
formal standing, inasmuch as he has not the express authorization
from the State Department absolutely requisite to negotiations in such
cases. Therefore, as the case now stands, the peace commissioners are
free to deal with the Philippine problem at Paris absolutely without
restraint beyond that which might be supposed to rise from a sense
of moral obligation to avoid committing the Filipinos again into the
hands of their late rulers."

Senor Agoncillo, the commissioner of the Philippine insurgents at
Paris, made, in conversations on the steamer China, when crossing
the Pacific Ocean from "Nagasaka to San Francisco, this statement in
vindication of Aguinaldo, and it is the most complete, authoritative
and careful that exists of the relations between Admiral Dewey and
the insurgent leader:

_Brief Notes By Senor Agoncillo_.

"On the same day that Admiral Dewey arrived at Hongkong Senor
Aguinaldo was in Singapore, whither he had gone from Hongkong, and
Mr. Pratt, United States Consul-General, under instructions from the
said Admiral, held a conference with him, in which it was agreed that
Senor Aguinaldo and other revolutionary chiefs in co-operation with the
American squadron should return to take up arms against the Spanish
government of the Philippines, the sole and most laudable desire of
the Washington government being to concede to the Philippine people
absolute independence as soon as the victory against the Spanish arms
should be obtained.

"By virtue of this argument Senor Aguinaldo proceeded by the first
steamer to Hongkong for the express purpose of embarking on the Olympia
and going to Manila; but this intention of his was not realized,
because the American squadron left Hongkong the day previous to
his arrival, Admiral Dewey having received from his government an
order to proceed immediately to Manila. This is what Mr. Wildman,
United States Consul-General in Hongkong, said to Senor Aguinaldo
in the interview which took place between them. A few days after the
Spanish squadron had been totally destroyed in the Bay of Manila by
the American squadron, the latter obtaining a most glorious triumph,
which deserved the fullest congratulations and praise of the Philippine
public, the McCullough arrived at Hongkong and her commander said
to Senor Aguinaldo that Admiral Dewey needed him (le necesitaba)
in Manila and that he brought an order to take him on board said
transport, as well as other revolutionary chiefs whose number should
be determined by Senor Aguinaldo, and, in fact, he and seventeen
chiefs went to Cavite on the McCullough.

"Senor Aguinaldo began his campaign against the Spaniards the very
day that he received the 1,902 Mauser guns and 200,000 cartridges,
which came from Hongkong. The first victory which he obtained
from the Spaniards was the surrender or capitulation of the Spanish
General, Senor Pena, who was the Military Governor of Cavite, had his
headquarters in the town of San Francisco de Malabon, and his force
was composed of 1,500 soldiers, including volunteers.

"The revolutionary army in six days' operations succeeded in getting
possession of the Spanish detachments stationed in the villages of
Bakoor, Imus, Benakayan, Naveleta, Santa Cruz de Malabon, Rosario
and Cavite Viejo.

"On June 9 last the whole province of Cavite was under the control
of the provisional revolutionary government, including many Spanish
prisoners and friars, 7,000 guns, great quantities of ammunition and
some cannon.

"At the same time that the province of Cavite was being conquered
other revolutionary chiefs were carrying on campaigns in the Batangas,
Laguna, Tayabas, Nueva Eziza, Bulcau, Batangas, Pampanga and Morong,
which were under control of the revolutionary army by June 12, and
such progress was made by the Philippine revolution in the few days
of campaign against the Spaniards that by August 3 last it held under
conquest fifteen important provinces of the island of Luzon; these
provinces are being governed by laws emanating from the provisional
revolutionary government and in all of them perfect order and complete
tranquility reign.

"It is to be noted that the Spanish government has sent to Senor
Aguinaldo various emissaries, who invited him to make common cause with
Spain against the United States, promising him that the government of
the Spanish nation would concede to him anything he might ask for the
Philippine people. But Senor Aguinaldo has invariably replied to those
emissaries, that it was too late and that he could not consider any
proposition from the Spanish government, however beneficial it might
be to the Philippines, because he had already pledged his word of honor
in favor of certain representatives of the government at Washington.

"In view of this positive resolution of Senor Aguinaldo there began
forthwith the intrigues of the Spanish enemy directed against the
life of Senor Aguinaldo.

_Peace Convention of December, 1896._

"Senor Aguinaldo, in his own name and in that of the other chiefs
and subordinates, obligated himself to lay down their arms, which,
according to an inventory, were to be turned over to the Spanish
government, thus terminating the revolution. His Excellency the
Governor and Captain-General, Don Fernando Primo de Rivera, as the
representative of His Majesty's government in the Philippines,
obligated himself on his side (1) to grant a general amnesty to
all those under charges or sentenced for the crime of rebellion
and sedition and other crimes of that category; (2) to introduce
into the Philippines all reforms necessary for correcting in an
effective and absolute manner the evils which for so many years
had oppressed the country, in political and administrative affairs;
and (3) an indemnity of $800,000, payable at the following dates:
A letter of credit of the Spanish Filipine Bank for $400,000 against
the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Hongkong was to be delivered to
Senor Aguinaldo on the same day that he should leave Biak-va-Bato,
where he had established his headquarters, and should embark on the
steamer furnished by the Spanish government (this letter of credit
was in point of fact delivered); $200,000 was to be paid to the said
Senor Aguinaldo as soon as the revolutionary general, Senor Ricarte,
should receive his telegram ordering him to give up his arms, with an
inventory thereof, to the commissioner designated by his excellency
the Governor and Captain-General, Don Fernando Primo de Rivera; and
the remaining $200,000 should be due and payable when the peace should
be a fact, and it should be understood that peace was a fact when
the Te Deum should be sung by order of his excellency the Governor
and Captain-General of the Philippines.

"Senor Aguinaldo complied in every respect, so far as he was concerned,
with the peace agreement. But the Spanish government did not observe
a similar conduct, and this has been deplored and still is deeply
deplored by the Philippine people. The general amnesty which was
promised has remained completely a dead letter. Many Filipinos are
still to be found in Fernando Po and in various military prisons in
Spain suffering the grievous consequences of the punishment inflicted
upon them unjustly and the inclemencies of the climate to which they
are not accustomed. Some of these unfortunates, who succeeded in
getting out of those prisons and that exile, are living in beggary
in Spain, without the government furnishing them the necessary means
to enable them to return to the Philippines.

"In vain has the Philippine public waited for the reforms also
promised. After the celebration of the compact of June and the
disposition of the arms of the revolutionists the Governor-General
again began to inflict on the defenseless natives of the country
arbitrary arrest and execution without judicial proceedings solely
on the ground that they were merely suspected of being secessionists;
proceedings which indisputably do not conform to the law and Christian

"In the matter of reforms the religious orders again began to obtain
from the Spanish government their former and absolute power. Thus
Spain pays so dearly for her fatal errors in her own destiny!

"In exchange for the loftiness of mind with which Senor Aguinaldo has
rigidly carried out the terms of the peace agreement, General Primo de
Rivera had the cynicism to state in the congress of his nation that
he had promised no reform to Senor Aguinaldo and his army, but that
he had only given them a piece of bread in order that they might be
able to maintain themselves abroad. This was reechoed in the foreign
press, and Senor Aguinaldo was accused in the Spanish press of having
allowed himself to be bought with a handful of gold, selling out his
country at the same time. There were published, moreover, in those
Spanish periodicals caricatures of Senor Aguinaldo which profoundly
wounded his honor and his patriotism.

"Senor Aguinaldo and the other revolutionists who reside in Hongkong
agreed not to take out one cent of the $400,000 deposited in the
chartered bank and the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, the only amount
which Senor Aguinaldo received from the Spanish government on account
of the stipulated indemnity, but to use it for arms in order to
carry on another revolution in the Philippines, in case the Spanish
government should fail to carry out the peace agreement, at least
in so far as it refers to general amnesty and reforms. All the above
named revolutionists, Senor Aguinaldo setting the example, resolved to
deny themselves every kind of comfort during their stay in Hongkong,
living in the most modest style, for the purpose of preventing a
reduction by one single cent of the above named sum of $400,000,
which they set aside exclusively for the benefit of their country.

_Law Suit between Don J. Artacho and Don E. Aguinaldo._

"Senor Artacho, induced by the father solicitor of the Dominicans
and the Consul-General of Spain, filed in the courts of that colony
a summons against Don E. Aguinaldo, asking for a division of the
above-mentioned $400,000 between those revolutionary chiefs who resided
in Hongkong. Artacho and three others, who joined the revolution in
its last days and rendered little service to it, were the only ones who
desired a division of this money; whereas forty-seven revolutionaries,
many of whom were most distinguished chiefs, were opposed to it,
supporting the resolution which Senor Aguinaldo had previously taken
in regard to it. Senor Aguinaldo, in order to avoid all scandal, did
everything possible to avoid appearing in court answering the summons
of Artacho, who, realizing that his conduct had made himself hated by
all Filipinos, agreed in a friendly arrangement to withdraw his suit,
receiving in exchange $5,000; in this way were frustrated the intrigues
of the solicitor of the Dominican order and of the Spanish Consul,
who endeavored at any cost to destroy the $400,000 by dividing it up.

"Artacho is now on trial before a judicial court on charges preferred
by various revolutionists for offenses which can be proved; he has
no influence in the revolutionary party."

_Proclamation of General Aguinaldo_.

_May 24th_, 1898.


The Great Nation North America, cradle of true liberty and friendly on
that account to the liberty of our people, oppressed and subjugated
by the tyranny and despotism of those who have governed us, has
come to manifest even here a protection which is decisive, as well
as disinterested, towards us considering us endowed with sufficient
civilization to govern by ourselves this our unhappy land. To maintain
this so lofty idea, which we deserve from the now very powerful
Nation North America, it is our duty to detest all those acts which
belie such an idea, as pillage, robbery and every class of injury to
persons as well as to things. With a view to avoiding international
conflicts during the period of our campaign, I order as follows:

Article I. The lives and property of all foreigners, including Chinese
and all Spaniards who either directly or indirectly have joined in
taking arms against us are to be respected.

Article II. The lives and property of those who lay down their arms
are also to be respected.

Article III. Also are to be respected all sanitary establishments and
ambulances, and likewise the persons and things which may be found
either in one or the other, including the assistants in this service,
unless they show hostility.

Article IV. Those who disobey what is prescribed in the preceding
articles will be tried by summary court and put to death, if such
disobedience shall cause assassination, fire, robbery and violation.

Given at Cavite, the 24th of May, 1898.

_Emilio Aguinaldo._

It is to be remarked of this semi-official statement that Admiral
Dewey did not make any promises he could not fulfill to Aguinaldo;
did not assume to speak for the President or the army of the United
States, but gave guns and ammunition to the insurgents, who aided
him in maintaining a foothold on the shore. The insurgents did not
win Dewey's victory, but aided to improve it. Without the aid of the
American army Manila might have been destroyed, but could not have
been captured intact. General Merritt settled the question of the
status of the insurgent army with respect to the capture of Manila in
a summary and sound way when he said there could be but one military
authority in a military government, and as the commanding general of
the Philippine expedition of the United States, he was that authority.


The Proclamations of General Aguinaldo.

June 16th, 1898, Establishing Dictatorial Government - June 20th, 1898,
Instructions for Elections - June 23d, 1898, Establishing Revolutionary
Government - June 23d, 1898, Message to Foreign Powers - June 27th,
1898, Instructions Concerning Details - July 23d, 3898, Letter From
Senor Aguinaldo to General Anderson - August 1st, 1898, Resolutions
of Revolutionary Chiefs Asking for Recognition - August 6th, 1898,
Message to Foreign Powers Asking Recognition.

One of the most critical questions in the situation of the Philippines
is the precise position of the leader of the insurgents, General
Aguinaldo. His utterances in his official character of leader of
the natives who for years have been in rebellion against Spain, have
been but fragmentary, as they have come before the people. We give
for the public information the consecutive series of proclamations.

No. 1.

To the Philippine Public:

Circumstances have providentially placed me in a position for which I
can not fail to recognize that I am not properly qualified, but since
I can not violate the laws of Providence nor decline the obligations
which honor and patriotism impose upon me, I now salute you, Oh,
My Beloved People!

I have proclaimed in the face of the whole world that the aspiration
of my whole life, the final object of all my efforts and strength is
nothing else but your independence, for I am firmly convinced that
that constitutes your constant desire and that independence signifies
for us redemption from slavery and tyranny, regaining our liberty
and entrance into the concert of civilized nations.

I understand on the other hand that the first duty of every government
is to interpret faithfully popular aspirations. With this motive,
although the abnormal circumstances of the war have compelled me
to institute this Dictatorial Government which assumes full powers,
both civil and military, my constant desire is to surround myself with
the most distinguished persons of each Province, those who by their
conduct, deserve the confidence of their province to the end that the
true necessities of each being known by them, measures may be adopted
to meet these necessities and apply the remedies in accordance with
the desires of all.

I understand moreover the urgent necessity of establishing in each
town a solid and robust organization, the strongest bulwark of public
security and the sole means of securing that union and discipline
which are indispensable for the establishment of the Republic, that
is Government of the people for the people, and warding off the
international conflicts which may arise.

Following out the foregoing considerations I decree as follows:

Article I. The inhabitants of every town where the forces of the
Spanish government still remain, will decide upon the most efficacious
measures to combat and destroy them, according to the resources and
means at their disposal, according to prisoners of war the treatment
most conformable to humanitarian sentiments and to the customs observed
by civilized nations.

Article II. As soon as the town is freed from Spanish domination,
the inhabitants most distinguished for high character, social position
and honorable conduct both in the center of the community and in the
suburbs, will come together in a large meeting in which they will
proceed to elect by a majority of votes, the chief of the town and
a head man for each suburb, considering as suburbs not only those
hitherto known as such, but also the center of the community.

All those inhabitants who fulfill the conditions above named, will
have the right to take part in this meeting and to be elected,
provided always that they are friendly to Philippine independence
and are twenty years of age.

Article III. In this meeting shall also be elected by a majority of
votes, three Delegates; one of police and internal order, another of
justice and civil registry and another of taxes and property.

The delegate of police and internal order will assist the Chief in
the organization of the armed force, which for its own security each
town must maintain, according to the measure of its resources and in
the preservation of order, government and hygiene of its population.

The delegate of justice and civil registry will aid the Chief in
the formation of courts and in keeping books of registry of births,
deaths and marriage contracts, and of the census.

The delegate of taxes and property will aid the chief in the collection
of taxes, the administration of public funds, the opening of books
of registry of cattle and real property, and in all work relating to
encouragement of every class of industry.

Article IV. The Chief, as President, with the head men and the above
mentioned delegates, will constitute the popular assemblies who will
supervise the exact fulfillment of the laws in force and the particular
interests of each town.

The head man of the center of the community will be the Vice President
of the assembly, and the delegate of justice its secretary.

The head men will be delegates of the Chief within their respective

Article V. The Chiefs of each town after consulting the opinion of
their respective assemblies, will meet and elect by majority of votes
the Chief of the Province and three councilors for the three branches
above mentioned.

The Chief of the Province as President, the Chief of the town which
is the capital of the Province, as Vice President, and the above
named councilors will constitute the Provincial Council, which will
supervise the carrying out of the instructions of this government
in the territory of the Province, and for the general interest of
the Province, and will propose to this government the measures which
should be adopted for the general welfare.

Article VI. The above named chiefs will also elect by majority of
votes three representatives for each one of the Provinces of Manila
and Cavite, two for each one of the Provinces classified as terminal
in Spanish legislation, and one for each one of the other Provinces
and Politico-Military commands of the Philippine Archipelago.

The above named representatives will guard the general interests of the
Archipelago and the particular interests of their respective Provinces,
and will constitute the Revolutionary Congress, which will propose to
this government the measures concerning the preservation of internal
order, and external security of these islands, and will be heard by
this government on all questions of grave importance. The decision

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 6 of 44)