True Version of the Philippine Revolution
Don Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy
Produced by Jeroen Hellingman, Tamiko I. Camacho and PG Distributed
Proofreaders. Produced from page scans provided by University of
TRUE VERSION OF THE PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION
DON EMILIO AGUINALDO Y FAMY
PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC.
_Tarlak (Philippine Islands), 23rd September, 1899_.
TO ALL CIVILIZED NATIONS AND ESPECIALLY TO THE GREAT NORTH AMERICAN
I dedicate to you this modest work with a view to informing you
respecting the international events which have occurred during the
past three years and are still going on in the Philippines, in order
that you may be fully acquainted with the facts and be thereby placed
in a position to pronounce judgment upon the issue and be satisfied
and assured of the Justice which forms the basis and is in fact the
foundation of our Cause. I place the simple truth respectfully before
and dedicate it to you as an act of homage and as testimony of my
admiration for and recognition of the wide knowledge, the brilliant
achievements and the great power of other nations, whom I salute,
in the name the Philippine nation, with every effusion of my soul.
The Revolution of 1896
Spain maintained control of the Philippine Islands for more than three
centuries and a half, during which period the tyranny, misconduct
and abuses of the Friars and the Civil and Military Administration
exhausted the patience of the natives and caused them to make a
desperate effort to shake off the unbearable galling yoke on the
26th and 31st August, 1896, then commencing the revolution in the
provinces of Manila and Cavite.
On these memorable days the people of Balintawak, Santa Mesa, Kalookan,
Kawit, Noveleta and San Francisco de Malabon rose against the Spaniards
and proclaimed the Independence of the Philippines, and in the course
of the next five days these uprisings were followed by the inhabitants
of the other towns in Cavite province joining in the revolt against
the Spanish Government although there was no previous arrangement
looking to a general revolt. The latter were undoubtedly moved to
action by the noble example of the former.
With regard to the rising in the province of Cavite it should be stated
that although a call to arms bearing the signatures of Don Augustin
Rieta, Don Candido Firona and myself, who were Lieutenants of the
Revolutionary Forces, was circulated there was no certainty about the
orders being obeyed, or even received by the people, for it happened
that one copy of the orders fell into the hands of a Spaniard named
Don Fernando Parga, Military Governor of the province, who at that
time was exercising the functions of Civil Governor, who promptly
reported its contents to the Captain-General of the Philippines,
Don Ramon Blanco y Erenas. The latter at once issued orders for the
Spanish troops to attack the revolutionary forces.
It would appear beyond doubt that One whom eye of man hath not
seen in his wisdom and mercy ordained that the emancipation of the
oppressed people of the Philippines should be undertaken at this time,
for otherwise it is inexplicable how men armed only with sticks and
_gulok_  wholly unorganized and undisciplined, could defeat the
Spanish Regulars in severe engagements at Bakoor, Imus and Noveleta
and, in addition to making many of them prisoners, captured a large
quantity of arms and ammunition. It was owing to this astonishing
success of the revolutionary troops that General Blanco quickly
concluded to endeavour, to maintain Spanish control by the adoption
of a conciliatory policy under the pretext that thereby he could quel
the rebellion, his first act being a declaration to the effect that
it was not the purpose of his Government to oppress the people and
he had no desire "to slaughter the Filipinos.".
The Government of Madrid disapproved of General Blanco's new policy
and speedily appointed Lieutenant-General Don Camilo Polavieja to
supersede him, and despatched forthwith a large number of Regulars
to the Philippines.
General Polavieja advanced against the revolutionary forces with
16,000 men armed with Mausers, and one field battery. He had scarcely
reconquered half of Cavite province when he resigned, owing to bad
health. That was in April, 1897.
Polavieja was succeeded by the veteran General Don Fernando Primo de
Rivera, who had seen much active service. As soon as Rivera had taken
over command of the Forces he personally led his army in the assault
upon and pursuit of the revolutionary forces, and so firmly, as well
as humanely, was the campaign conducted that he soon reconquered the
whole of Cavite province and drove the insurgents into the mountains.
Then I established my headquarters in the wild and unexplored mountain
fastness of Biak-na-bato, where I formed the Republican Government
of the Philippines at the end of May, 1897.
The Treaty of Biak-na-bato
Don Pedro Alejandro Paterno (who was appointed by the Spanish
Governor-General sole mediator in the discussion of the terms of
peace) visited Biak-na-bato several times to negotiate terms of
the Treaty, which, after negotiations extending over five months,
and careful consideration had been given to each clause, was finally
completed and signed on the 14th December, 1897, the following being
the principal conditions:--
(1) That I would, and any of my associates who desired to go with me,
be free to live in any foreign country. Having fixed upon Hongkong as
my place of residence, it was agreed that payment of the indemnity
of $800,000 (Mexican) should be made in three installments, namely,
$400,000 when all the arms in Biak-na-bato were delivered to the
Spanish authorities; $200,000 when the arms surrendered amounted to
eight hundred stand; the final payment to be made when one thousand
stand of arms shall have been handed over to the authorities and the
_Te Deum_ sung in the Cathedral in Manila as thanksgiving for the
restoration of peace. The latter part of February was fixed as the
limit of time wherein the surrender of arms should be completed.
(2) The whole of the money was to be paid to me personally, leaving
the disposal of the money to my discretion and knowledge of the
understanding with my associates and other insurgents.
(3) Prior to evacuating Biak-na-bato the remainder of the insurgent
forces under Captain-General Primo de Rivera should send to
Biak-na-bato two General of the Spanish Army to be held as hostages by
my associates who remained there until I and a few of my compatriots
arrived in Hongkong and the first installment of the money payment
(namely, four hundred thousand dollars) was paid to me.
(4) It was also agreed that the religious corporations in the
Philippines be expelled and an autonomous system of government,
political and administrative, be established, though by special
request of General Primo de Rivera these conditions were not insisted
on in the drawing up of the Treaty, the General contending that such
concessions would subject the Spanish Government to severe criticism
and even ridicule.
General Primo de Rivera paid the first installment of $400,000 while
the two Generals were hold as hostages in Biak-na-bato.
We, the revolutionaries, discharged our obligation to surrender our
arms, which were over 1,000 stand, as everybody knows, it having
been published in the Manila newspapers. But the Captain General
Primo de Rivera failed to fulfill the agreement as faithfully as
we did. The other installments were never paid; the Friars were
neither restricted in their acts of tyranny and oppression nor were
any steps taken to expel them or secularize the religious Orders;
the reforms demanded were not inaugurated, though the _Te Deum_
was sung. This failure of the Spanish authorities to abide by the
terms of the Treaty caused me and my companions much unhappiness,
which quickly changed to exasperation when I received a letter from
Lieutenant-Colonel Don Miguel Primo de Rivera (nephew and private
Secretary of the above-named General) informing me that I and my
companions could never return to Manila.
Was the procedure of this special representative of Spain just?
But I and my companions were not to be kept long in our distress,
grieving over the bad faith of the Spaniards, for in the month of
March of the year referred to (1898) some people came to me and in the
name of the Commander of the U.S.S. _Petrel_ asked for a conference
in compliance with the wishes of Admiral Dewey.
I had some interviews with the above-mentioned Commander, _i.e._,
during the evening of the 16th March and 6th April, during which the
Commander urged me to return to the Philippines to renew hostilities
against the Spaniards with the object of gaining our independence,
and he assured me of the assistance of the United States in the event
of war between the United States and Spain.
I then asked the Commander of the _Petrel_ what the United States
could concede to the Filipinos. In reply he said: "_The United States
is a great and rich nation and needs no colonies_."
In view of this reply I suggested to the Commander the advisability
of stating in writing what would be agreed to by the United States,
and be replied that he would refer the matter to Admiral Dewey.
In the midst of my negotiations with the Commander of the _Petrel_ I
was interrupted by letters from Isabelo Artacho and his solicitors, on
the 5th April, claiming $200,000 of the money received from the Spanish
authorities, and asserting that he (Artacho) should receive this
sum as salary due to him while acting as Secretary of the Interior,
he having been, it was alleged, a member of the Filipino Government
established in Biak-na-bato. These letters contained the threat
that failure to comply with the demand of Artacho would result in
him bringing me before the Courts of Law in Hongkong. It may make the
matter clearer if I mention at this point that Isabelo Artacho arrived
at Biak-na-bato and made himself known to and mixed with the officers
in the revolutionary camp on the 21st day of September, 1897, and was
appointed Secretary of the Interior in the early part of November of
that year, when the Treaty of Peace proposed and negotiated by Don
Pedro Alejandro Paterno was almost concluded, as is proved by the
fact that the document was signed on the 14th of December of that year.
In the light of these facts the unjust and unreasonable nature of
the claim of Artacho is easily discernable, for it is monstrous to
claim $200,000 for services rendered to the Revolutionary Government
during such a brief period.
Moreover, it is a fact that it was agreed between ourselves (the
leaders of the Revolution assembled in Biak-na-bato) that in the
event of the Spaniards failing to comply with each and every one of
the terms and conditions of the Agreement the money obtained from
the Spanish Government should not be divided, but must be employed in
the purchase of arms and ammunition to renew the war of independence.
It is therefore evident that Artacho, in making this preposterous
demand, was acting as a spy for the enemy, as an agent of General Primo
de Rivera, for he wanted to extinguish the rebellion by depriving its
organizers and leaders of the most indispensable element, the "sinews
of war," which is money. This was the view, too, of the whole of my
colleagues, and it was resolved by us that I should leave Hongkong
immediately and thereby avoid the litigation which Artacho seemed
bent upon and thereby afford my companions time and opportunity to
remove this new and wholly unexpected barrier to the realization of
our cherished plans for the emancipation of our beloved fatherland. I
am profoundly pleased to say that they succeeded, Artacho withdrawing
the suit through a transaction.
In accordance with the decision of the meeting above referred to, I
left Hongkong quietly on the 7th April, 1898, on board the steamship
_Taisany_, and after calling at Saigon I reached Singapore as a
passenger by the s.s. _Eridan_, landing there as secretly as possible
on the 21st April. I at once proceeded to the residence of one of
Thus is explained the cause of the interruption of the vitally
important negotiations with Admiral Dewey, initiated by the Commander
of the _Petrel_.
But "Man proposes and God disposes" is a proverb which was verified
in its fullest sense on this occasion, for, notwithstanding the
precautions taken in my journey to avoid identification yet at
4 o'clock in the afternoon of the day I arrived at Singapore an
Englishman came to the house in which I was residing and in a cautious
manner stated that the United States Consul at that port, Mr. Spencer
Pratt, wished to have an interview with Don Emilio Aguinaldo. The
visitor was told that in that house they did not know Aguinaldo;
this being the prearranged answer for any callers.
But the Englishman returned to the house several times and persisted
in saying that it was no use trying to conceal the fact of Aguinaldo's
arrival for Consul Pratt had received notice from Admiral Dewey of
General Aguinaldo's journey to Singapore.
In reply, the Consul said he would telegraph about this matter to
Admiral Dewey, who was, he said, Commander-in-Chief of the squadron
which would invade the Philippines, and who had, he also stated,
full powers conferred on him by President McKinley.
Between 10 or 12 in the forenoon of the next day the conference was
renewed and Mr. Pratt then informed me that the Admiral had sent him
a telegram in reply to the wish I had expressed for an agreement in
writing. He said the Admiral's reply was--_That the United States
would at least recognize the Independence of the Philippines under
the protection of the United States Navy. The Consul added that there
was no necessity for entering into a formal written agreement because
the word of the Admiral and of the United States Consul were in fact
equivalent to the most solemn pledge that their verbal promises and
assurance would be fulfilled to the letter and were not to be classed
with Spanish promises or Spanish ideas of a man's word of honour. In
conclusion the Consul said, "The Government of North America, is a
very honest, just, and powerful government._"
Being informed of what had been said by the visitor I consented to
meet Consul Pratt, and had a strictly private interview with him
between 9 and 12 p.m. on 22nd April, 1898, in one of the suburbs
of Singapore. As soon as Mr. Pratt met me he said that war had been
formally declared by the United States against Spain the day before,
_i.e._, on the 21st April.
In the course of the interview alluded to, Consul Pratt told me that as
the Spaniards had not fulfilled the promises made in the Biak-na-bato
Agreement, the Filipinos had the right to continue the revolution
which had been checked by the Biak-na-bato arrangement, and after
urging me to resume hostilities against the Spaniards he assured
me that the United States would grant much greater liberty and more
material benefits to the Filipinos than the Spaniards ever promised.
I then asked the Consul what benefits the United States would confer
on the Philippines, pointing out at the same time the advisability
of making an agreement and setting out all the terms and conditions
in black and white.
Being as anxious to be in the Philippines as Admiral Dewey and the
North American Consul--to renew the struggle for our Independence--I
took the opportunity afforded me by these representatives of the United
States, and, placing the fullest confidence in their word of honour,
I said to Mr. Pratt (in response to his persistent professions of
solicitude for the welfare of my countrymen) that he could count upon
me when I returned to the Philippines to raise the people as one man
against the Spaniards, with the one grand object in view as above
mentioned, if I could take firearms with me to distribute amongst my
countrymen. I assured him that I would put forth my utmost endeavours
to crush and extinguish the power of Spain in the islands and I added
that if in possession of one battery of a dozen field-guns I would
make the Spaniards surrender Manila in about two weeks.
The Consul said he would help me to get over to the Philippines the
consignment of arms in respect of which I had made the preliminary
arrangements in Hongkong, and he added that he would at once telegraph
to Admiral Dewey informing him of this promise in order that the
Admiral might give what assistance laid in his power to make the
expedition in question a success.
On the 25th April the last conference was held in the United States
Consulate at Singapore. I was invited by the Consul to meet him on
this occasion and as soon as we met he said he had received a telegram
from the Admiral requesting him to ask me to proceed to Hongkong by
first steamer to join the Admiral who was then with his squadron in
Mir's Bay; a Chinese harbour close to Hongkong. I replied to this
proposal in the affirmative, and gave directions to my _aide-de-camp_
to at once procure passages for myself and companions, care being
taken that the tickets should bear the assumed names we had adopted
on the occasion of our journey from Hongkong to Singapore, it being
advisable that we should continue to travel _incognito_.
On the 26th April I called on Consul Pratt to bid him adieu on the eve
of my departure from Singapore by the steamship _Malacca_. The Consul,
after telling me that when I got near the port of Hongkong I would
be met by the Admiral's launch and taken from the _Malacca_ to the
American squadron (a precaution against news of my movements becoming
public property, of which I highly approved), then asked me to appoint
him Representative of the Philippines in the United States, there to
zealously advocate official recognition of our Independence. My answer
was, that I would propose him for the position of Representative of
the Philippines in the United States when the Philippine Government
was properly organized, though I thought it an insignificant reward
for his assistance, for, in the event of our Independence becoming
_un fait accompli_ I intended to offer him a high position in the
Customs Department, besides granting certain commercial advantages
and contributing towards the cost of the war whatever sum he might
consider due to his Government; because the Filipinos had already
decided such a policy was the natural outcome of the exigencies of
the situation and could be construed only as a right and proper token
of the nation's gratitude.
But to continue the statement of facts respecting my return to Hongkong
from Singapore: I left Singapore with my A.D. Cs., Sres Pilar and
Leyba, bound for Hongkong by the s.s. _Malacca_, arriving at Hongkong
at 2 a.m. on the 1st May, without seeing or hearing anything of the
launch which I had been led by Consul Pratt to expect to meet me near
the entrance of Hongkong harbour. In response to an invitation from
Mr. Rounsevelle Wildman, United States Consul at Hongkong, I wended
my way to the United States Consulate and between 9 and 11 p.m. of the
same day I had an interview with him. Mr. Wildman told me that Admiral
Dewey left for Manila hurriedly in accordance with imperative orders
from his Government directing him to attack the Spanish Fleet. He
was therefore unable to await my arrival before weighing anchor and
going forth to give battle to the Spaniards. Mr. Wildman added that
Admiral Dewey left word with him that he would send a gunboat to
take me across to the Philippines. In the course of this interview
with Mr. Wildman I spoke to him about the shipment of arms to the
islands which I had previously planned with him, and it was then
agreed among ourselves that he (Mr. Rounsevelle Wildman) and the
Filipino Mr. Teodoro Sandico should complete the arrangements for
the despatch of the expedition, and I there and then handed to and
deposited with them the sum of $50,000.
A steam launch was quickly purchased for $15,000, while a contract
was made and entered into for the purchase of 2,000 rifles at $7 each
and 200,000 rounds of ammunition at $33 and 56/100 per 1000.
A week later (7th May) the American despatch-boat _McCulloch_ arrived
from Manila bringing news of Admiral Dewey's victory over the Spanish
fleet, but did not bring orders to convey me to Manila. At 9 o'clock
that night I had another interview with Consul Wildman, at his request.
On the 15th of the same month the _McCulloch_ again arrived at
Hongkong from Manila, this time bringing orders to convey me and my
companions to Manila. I was promptly notified of this by Consul Wildman
who requested that we go on board the _McCulloch_ at 10 o'clock at
night on 16th May. Accompanied by Consul Wildman, the Captain of the
_McCulloch_, and Mr. John Barrett (who then usually styled himself
"ex-Secretary of the United States Legation in Siam") we boarded an
American steam launch and proceeded to Chinese Kowloon Bay, where the
_McCulloch_ was anchored. While bidding us adieu Mr. Barrett said he
would call on me in the Philippines, which he did later on in Cavite
Mr. Wildman strongly advised me to establish a Dictatorship as soon
as I arrived in the Philippines, and he assured me that he would use
his best endeavours to have the arms already contracted for delivered
to me in the Philippines, which he in fact did. [It is to be observed,
though, that the first expedition having been conducted satisfactorily,
the arms reaching me in due course, I was naturally grateful and
had confidence in the sincerity and good faith of Consul Wildman,
and there was nothing surprising therefore in the fact that I asked
him to fit out another expedition and caused the sum of $67,000 to
be deposited with him for that purpose. I regret to state, however,
that Mr. Wildman has failed to comply with my request and I am informed
that he refuses to refund the money.]
The _McCulloch_ left Hongkong at 11 a.m. on the 17th May and arrived
off Cavite (Manila Bay) between noon and 1 p.m. on the 19th idem. No
sooner had the _McCulloch_ dropped anchor than the Admiral's launch,
carrying his Adjutant and Private Secretary, came alongside to convey
me the flagship _Olympia_, where I was received with my Adjutant
(Sr. Leyba) with the honours due to a General.
The Admiral ushered me into his private quarters, and after the
exchange of the usual greetings I asked _whether it was true that
he had sent all the telegrams to the Consul at Singapore, Mr. Pratt,
which that gentleman had told me he received in regard to myself. The
Admiral replied in the affirmative, adding that the United States had
come to the Philippines to protect the natives and free them from
the yoke of Spain. He said, moreover, that America is exceedingly
well off as regards territory, revenue, and resources and therefore
needs no colonies_, assuring me finally that _there was no occasion
for me to entertain any doubts whatever about the recognition of the
Independence of the Philippines by the United States_. Then Admiral
Dewey asked me if I could induce the people to rise against the
Spaniards and make a short, sharp, and decisive campaign of it.
I said in reply that events would speak for themselves, but while
a certain arms expedition (respecting which Consul Wildman was duly
informed that it would be despatched from a Chinese port) was delayed
in China we could do nothing, because without arms every victory
would assuredly cost us the lives of many brave and dashing Filipino
warriors. The Admiral thereupon offered to despatch a steamer to hurry
up the expedition. (This, be it borne in mind, in addition to the
General orders he had given the Consul to assist us to procure arms
and ammunition.) Then he at once placed at my disposal all the guns
seized onboard the Spanish warships as well as 62 Mausers and a good
many rounds of ammunition which had been brought up from Corregidor
Island by the U.S.S. _Petrel_.
I then availed myself of an early opportunity to express to the
Admiral my deep gratitude for the assistance rendered to the people
of the Philippines by the United States, as well as my unbounded
admiration of the grandeur and beneficence of the American people. I
also candidly informed the Admiral that before I left Hongkong the
Filipinos residing in that colony hold a meeting at which the following
question was fully discussed, namely, _the possibility that after the
Spaniards were defeated, and their power and prestige in the islands
destroyed, the Filipinos might have to wage war against the United
States owing to the American Government declining to recognize our
independence. In that event the Americans, it was generally agreed,
would be sure to defeat us for they would find us worn out and short
of ammunition owing to our struggle with the Spaniards. I concluded
by asking the gallant Admiral to excuse me for an amount of frankness
that night appear to border on impudence, and assured him of the
fact that I was actuated only by a desire to have a perfectly clear
understanding in the interest of both parties._
_The Admiral said he was very glad to have this evidence of our
earnestness and straightforwardness and he thought the Filipinos and
Americans should act towards one another as friends and allies, and
therefore it was right and proper that all doubts should be expressed
frankly in order that explanations be made, difficulties avoided,
and distrust removed; adding that, as he had already indicated_, _the
United States would unquestionably recognize the Independence of the
people of the Philippines, guaranteed as it was by the word of honour
of Americans_, _which, he said, is more positive, more irrevocable than
any written agreement, which might not be regarded as binding when
there is an intention or desire to repudiate it, as was the case in
respect of the compact made with the Spaniards at Biak-na-bato. Then
the Admiral advised me to at once have made a Filipino National
Flag, which he said he would recognize and protect in the presence
of the other nations represented by the various squadrons anchored
in Manila Bay, adding, however, that he thought it advisable that we
should destroy the power of Spain before hoisting our national flag,
in order that the act would appear more important and creditable in
the eyes of the world and of the United States in particular. Then
when the Filipino vessels passed to and fro with the national flag
fluttering in the breeze they would attract more attention and be
more likely to induce respect for the national colours_.
I again thanked the Admiral for his good advice and generous offers,
giving him to understand clearly that I was willing to sacrifice my
own life if he would be thereby more exalted in the estimation of
the United States, more honoured by his fellow-countrymen.
I added that under the present conditions of hearty co-operation,
good fellowship and a clear understanding the whole nation would
respond to the call to arms to shake off the yoke of Spain and obtain
their freedom by destroying the power of Spain in all parts of the
archipelago. If, however, all did not at once join in the movement
that should not cause surprise, for there would be many unable to
assist owing to lack of arms and ammunition, while others, again,
might be reluctant to take an active part in the campaign on account
of the loss and inconvenience to themselves and families that would
result, from open hostility to the Spaniards.
Thus ended my first interview with Admiral Dewey, to whom I signified
my intention to reside for a while at the headquarters of the Naval
Commandant of Cavite Arsenal.
The Revolution of 1898
I returned to the _McCulloch_ to give directions for the landing
of the luggage and _war materials_ which I brought over with me
from Hongkong. On my way to the _McCulloch_ I met several of my
old associates in the 1896 revolution who had come over from Bataan
province. To these friends I gave two letters directing the people
of that province and Zambales to rise against the Spaniards and
vigorously attack them.
Before returning to the Arsenal and when near the landing place
I came across several _bancas_ [large open boats] loaded with
revolutionists of Kawit (my birth-place) who told me they had been
looking out for me for about two weeks, the Americans having announced
that I would soon return to the islands. The feeling of joy which
I experienced on the occasion of this reunion with my own kith and
kin--people who had stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the desperate
struggles of the 1896-97 revolution--is simply indescribable. Words
fail to express my feelings--joy mingled with sadness and strong
determination to accomplish the salvation, the emancipation, of my
beloved countrymen. Hardly had I set foot in the Naval Headquarters
at Cavite, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, than I availed myself of
the opportunity to give these faithful adherents orders similar to
those despatched to Bataan and Zambales.
I was engaged the whole of that night with my companions drawing up
orders and circulars for the above mentioned purpose.
We were also kept very busy replying to letters which were pouring
in from all sides asking for news respecting the reported return of
myself to the islands and requesting definite instructions regarding
a renewal of hostilities against the Spaniards.
That the invisible, albeit irresistible, hand of Providence was
guiding every movement and beneficently favouring all efforts to rid
the country of the detestable foreign yoke is fairly evidenced by the
rapid sequence of events above recorded, for in no other way can one
account for the wonderful celebrity with which news of my projected
return spread far and wide.
Sixty-two Volunteers, organized and armed by the Spaniards with
Mausers and Remingtons, from San Roque and Caridad, placed themselves
under my orders. At first the Americans apprehended some danger from
the presence of this armed force, which was promptly placed on guard
at the entrance to the Arsenal. When I heard of this I went down and
gave them orders to occupy Dalajican, thereby preventing the Spaniards
from carrying out their intention to approach Cavite by that route.
When the Americans were informed of what I had done they were
reassured, and orders were given to the Captain of the _Petrel_ to
hand over to me the 62 rifles and ammunition which Admiral Dewey had
kindly promised. About 10 a.m. the _Petrel's_ launch landed the arms
and ammunition in question at the Arsenal and no time was lost in
distributing the arms among the men who were by this time coming in
ever increasing numbers to offer their services to me and expressing
their willingness to be armed and assigned for duty at the outposts
and on the firing line.
During the evening of the 20th May the old Revolutionary officer
Sr. Luciano San Miguel (now a General in command of a Brigade)
came to me and asked for orders, which were given to him to effect
the uprising of the provinces of Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas,
Bulakan, Morong, Pampanga, Tarlak, Newva Ecija and other northern
provinces. He left the same night to execute the orders.
During the 21st, 22nd and 23rd and subsequent days of that month my
headquarters were simply besieged by my countrymen, who poured into
Cavite from all sides to offer their services in the impending struggle
with the Spaniards. To such an extent, indeed, were my quarters in the
Arsenal invaded that I soon found it necessary to repair to another
house in the town, leaving the place entirely at the disposal of the
U.S. Marines, who were then in charge of and guarding Cavite Arsenal.
The Dictatorial Government
On the 24th May a Dictatorial Government was established, my
first proclamation being issued that day announcing the system of
government then adopted and stating that I had assumed the duties
and responsibilities of head of such government. Several copies of
this proclamation were delivered to Admiral Dewey and through the
favour of his good offices forwarded to the representatives of the
Foreign Powers then residing in Manila, notwithstanding our lack of
intercourse with Manila.
A few days later the Dictatorial Government was removed to the house
formerly occupied by the Spanish Civil Governor of Cavite, because,
owing to the great number of visitors from the provinces and the
rapid increase of work the accommodation in the private house was
wholly inadequate and too cramped. It was while quartered in the first
mentioned house that glad tidings reached me of the arrival at Cavite
of the long-expected arms expedition. The whole cargo, consisting of
1,999 rifles and 200,000 rounds of ammunition, besides other special
munitions of war, was landed at the very same dock of the Arsenal,
and was witnessed by the U.S.S. "_Petrel_."
I immediately despatched a Commission to convey to the Admiral
my thanks for the trouble he had taken in sending to hurry up the
expedition. I also caused my Commissioners to inform the Admiral
that I had fixed the 31st May as the day when the Revolutionary
Forces should make a General attack upon the Spaniards. The Admiral
returned the compliment by sending his Secretary to congratulate
me and my Government upon the activity and enthusiasm displayed in
preparing for the campaign, but he suggested that it was advisable
to postpone the opening of the campaign to a later date in order that
the insurgent troops might be better organized and better drilled. I
replied to the Admiral through his Secretary that there was no cause
for any anxiety for everything would be in perfect readiness by the
31st and, moreover, that the Filipinos were very anxious to free
themselves from the galling Spanish yoke, that they would therefore
fight and my troops would make up for any deficiency in discipline by
a display of fearlessness and determination to defeat the common enemy
which would go far to ensure success, I was, I added, nevertheless
profoundly grateful to the Admiral for his friendly advice.
I promptly gave orders for the distribution of the arms which had
just arrived, sending some to various provinces and reserving the
remainder for the revolutionaries of Kawit, the latter being smuggled
into the district of Alapang during the night of 27th May.
The First Triumphs
The next day (8th May, 1898), just when we were distributing arms to
the revolutionists of Kawit, in the above mentioned district a column,
composed of over 270 Spanish Naval Infantry, appeared in sight. They
were sent out by the Spanish General, Sr. Pena, for the purpose of
seizing the said consignment of arms.
Then it was that the first engagement of the Revolution of 1898 (which
may be rightly styled a continuation of the campaign of 1896-97) took
place. The battle raged from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the Spaniards ran
out of ammunition and surrendered, with all their arms, to the Filipino
Revolutionists, who took their prisoners to Cavite. In commemoration
of this glorious achievement I hoisted our national flag in presence
of a great crowd, who greeted it with tremendous applause and loud,
spontaneous and prolonged cheers for "Independent Philippines" and for
"the generous nation"--the United States of America. Several officers
and Marines from the American fleet who witnessed the ceremony evinced
sympathy with the Filipino cause by joining in the natural and popular
rejoicings of the people.
This glorious triumph was merely the prelude to a succession of
brilliant victories, and when the 31st May came--the date fixed for
general uprising of the whole of the Philippines--the people rose as
one man to crush the power of Spain.
The second triumph was effected in Binakayan, at a place known as
_Polvorin_, where the Spanish garrison consisting of about 250 men
was attacked by our raw levvies and surrendered in a few hours,
their stock of ammunition being completely exhausted.
I again availed myself of the opportunity to hoist our national flag
and did so from an upper story of the _Polvorin_ facing the sea,
with the object of causing the sacred insignia of our Liberty and
Independence to be seen fluttering in the breeze by the warships,
representing all the great and civilized nations of the world, which
were congregated in the harbour observing the providential evolution
going on in the Philippines after upwards of three hundred years of
Scarcely had another hour elapsed before another flag was seen flying
over the steeple of the Church at Bakoor--which is also in full view
of vessels in the harbour--being the signal of another triumph of
our troops over the Spanish forces which held that town. The garrison
consisted of about 300 men, who surrendered to the Revolutionary Army
when their ammunition was exhausted.
And so the Revolution progressed, triumph following triumph in quick
succession, evidencing the power, resolution and ability of the
inhabitants of the Philippines to rid themselves of any foreign yoke
and exist as an independent State, as I affirmed to Admiral Dewey and
in respect of which he and several American Commanders and officers
warmly congratulated me, specially mentioning the undeniable triumphs
of the Philippine Army as demonstrated and proved by the great number
of prisoners we brought into Cavite from all parts of Luzon.
The Philippine Flag
In conformity with my orders issued on the 1st of September, all
Philippine vessels hoisted the national flag, the Marines of the
Filipino flotilla being the first to execute that order. Our little
flotilla consisted of some eight Spanish steam launches (which had been
captured) and five vessels of greater dimensions, namely, the _Taaleno,
Baldyan, Taal, Bulucan_, and _Purisima Concepcion_. These vessels were
presented to the Philippine Government by their native owners and were
converted by us, at our Arsenal, into gunboats, 8 and 9 centimetre
guns, taken from the _sunken Spanish warships_, being mounted on board.
Ah! what a beautiful, inspiring joyous sight that flag was fluttering
in the breeze from the topmasts of our vessels, side by side,
as it were, with the ensigns of other and greater nations, among
whose mighty warships our little cruisers passed to and fro dipping
their colours, the ensign of Liberty and Independence! With what
reverence and adoration it was viewed as it suddenly rose in its
stately loneliness crowning our victories, and, as it were, smiling
approvingly upon the undisciplined Philippine Army in the moment of
its triumphs over the regular forces of the Spanish Government! One's
heart swells and throbs again with the emotions of extreme delight;
the soul is filled with pride, and the goal of patriotism seems
well-nigh reached in the midst of such a magnificent spectacle!
At the end of June I called on Admiral Dewey, who, after complimenting
me on _the rapid triumphs of the Philippine Revolution_, told me
he had been asked by the German and French Admirals why he allowed
the Filipinos to display on their vessels a flag that was not
recognized. Admiral Dewey said his reply to the French and German
Admirals was--with _his knowledge and consent the Filipinos used that
flag_, and, apart from this, he was of opinion that in view of the
courage and steadfastness of purpose displayed in the war against
the Spaniards the Filipinos deserved the right to use their flag.
I thereupon expressed to the Admiral my unbounded gratitude for such
unequivocal protection, and on returning to the shore immediately
ordered the Philippine flotilla to convey troops to the other provinces
of Luzon and to the Southern islands, to wage war against the Spaniards
who garrisoned them.
Expedition to Bisayas
The expedition to Bisayas was a complete success as far as the
conveyance of our troops to the chief strategic points was concerned,
our steamers returning safely to Cavite after landing the soldiers. The
steamer _Bulusan_, however, which sailed for Masbate with Colonel
Sr. Mariano Riego de Dios' column destined for duty in Samar was
sighted by the Spanish gunboats _Elcano_ and _Uranus_, which gave
chase, and the former proving the faster overtook and attacked the
_Bulusan_ doing so much damage to her that she foundered after
a hot engagement in which considerable damage was done to the
Spaniard. Happily the crew and troops on board of the _Bulusan_
saved their lives by swimming ashore.
The Steamer "Compania de Filipinas"
In a few days the Spanish steamer _Compania de Filipinas_ was
brought to Cavite by my countrymen, who captured her in the harbour
of Aparri. Cannon were at once mounted on board this vessel and she
was loaded with troops and despatched for Olongapo, but she had not
gone far before I sent another gunboat to recall her because Admiral
Dewey requested me to do so in order that a question raised by the
French Consul might be duly settled. The Admiral having been informed
that when captured the _Compania de Filipinas_ was flying the Spanish
flag abstained from interfering in the matter and handed the French
Consul's protest over to me, affirming at the same time that _he and
his forces were in no way concerned in the matter_.
This incident, which was soon settled, clearly demonstrates the
recognition of and protection extended to the Philippine Revolution
by Admiral Dewey.
The _Filipinas_ (as this steamer has since been styled) was again
despatched to Olongapo and on her way back landed troops in the
provinces of Cagayan and the Batanes islands for the purpose of
wresting the government of those districts from Spain. This steamer,
whose name has more recently been changed to _Luzon_, is at present
ashore in the Rio Grande, in Cagayan, where she was beached owing to
some damage to her machinery.
When our steamers were leaving the harbour with troops for the
provinces they dipped their ensigns in passing Admiral Dewey's
flagship _Olympia_, performing this act in conformity with the rules
of international courtesy, a demonstration of friendship that was
invariably promptly responded to in the usual way.
The Proclamation of Independence
The Dictatorial Government decided that the proclamation of
Independence should take place on the 12th June, the ceremony in
connection therewith to be held in the town of Kawit. With this
object in view I sent a Commission to inform the Admiral of the
arrangement and invite him to be present on the occasion of the
formal proclamation of Independence, a ceremony which was solemnly
and impressively conducted. The Admiral sent his Secretary to excuse
him from taking part in the proceedings, stating the day fixed for
the ceremony was mail day.
About the end of that month (June) the Spanish gunboat _Leyte_
escaped from the Macabebe river and reached Manila Bay, where she
was seized by General Torres' troops. She had on board part of the
troops and volunteers which were under the command of the Filipino
Colonel Sr. Eugenio Blanco, but on being sighted by an American
gunboat she voluntarily surrendered. Admiral Dewey delivered to me
all the prisoners and arms on board the vessel, which latter, however,
he took possession of; but after the fall of Manila he demanded that
I should give back the prisoners to him.
On the 4th July the first United States military expedition arrived,
under command of General Anderson, and it was quartered in Cavite
Arsenal. This distinguished General called on me in the Filipino
Government House at Cavite, an honour and courtesy which I promptly
returned, as was right and proper, seeing that we were friends,
of equal rank, and allies. In the course of official intercourse
General Anderson solemnly and completely endorsed the promises made
by Admiral Dewey to me, asserting on his word of honour that America
had not come to the Philippines to wage war against the natives nor
to conquer and retain territory, but only to liberate the people from
the oppression of the Spanish Government.
A few days before the arrival of this military expedition, and others
that followed under command of General Merritt, Admiral Dewey sent
his Secretary to my Government to ask me to grant permission for
the stationing of American troops in Tambo and Maytubig, Paranaque
and Pasay. In view of the important promises of Admiral Dewey, above
mentioned, the Dictatorial Government consented to the movement of
troops as proposed.
During that month (July) Admiral Dewey accompanied by General
Anderson visited Cavite, and after the usual exchange of courtesies
he said--"You have had ocular demonstration and confirmation of all
I have told you and promised you. How pretty your flag is! It has a
triangle, and is something like the Cubans'. Will you give me one as
a memento when I go back home?"
I replied that I was fully satisfied with his word of honour and of
the needlessness of having our agreement in documentary form. As to
the flag he wanted, he could have one whenever he wished.
The Admiral continued: _Documents are useless when there is no sense
of honour on one side, as was the case in respect of the compact
with the Spaniards, who failed to act up to what had been written and
signed. Have faith in my word, and I assure you that the United States
will recognize the independence of the country. But I recommend you to
keep a good deal of what we have said and agreed secret at present. I
further request you to have patience if any of our soldiers insult
any Filipinos, for being Volunteers they are as yet undisciplined_.
I replied that I would bear in mind all his advice regarding
cautiousness, and that with respect to the misconduct of the soldiers
orders had already been issued enjoining forbearance, and I passed
the same remarks to the Admiral about unpleasantness possibly arising
through lack of discipline of our own forces.
The Spanish Commission
At this juncture the Admiral suddenly changed the topic of conversation
and asked--"Why don't the people in Manila rise against the Spaniards
as their countrymen in the provinces have done? Is it true that they
accept the _autonomy_ offered by General Augustin with a representative
Assembly? Is the report which has reached me true, that a Filipino
Commission has been sent from Manila to propose to you the acceptance
of that _autonomy_ coupled with a recognition of your rank of General,
as well as recognition of the rank held by your companions?"
"The people of Manila," I answered, "are quiet because they have
no arms and because as merchants and landlords they fear that their
valuable properties and money in the banks will be confiscated by the
Spaniards if they rise up and begin burning and destroying the property
of others. On this account they had ostensibly accepted _autonomy_,
not because that was what they wanted but more as a means of deceiving
the Spaniards and being allowed to live in peace; but I am confident
that all the Filipinos in Manila are for _independence_, as will be
proved the very day our troops capture Manila. At that time I fully
expect the people of Manila will join with us in raising loud cheers
for the Independence of the Philippines, making fresh demonstrations
of loyalty to our Government."
I also told him it was true that a Mixed Commission had arrived and
in the name of General Augustin and Archbishop Nozaleda made certain
proposals; but they made known to us their intention to adhere to our
Cause. The members of the Commission said the Spaniards instructed them
to say they came _motu propio_  without being formally appointed
or 'coached' by the Spanish authorities in what they should say,
representing, on the contrary, that they were faithful interpreters
of the sentiment of the people of Manila and that they had good
reason for believing that if I was willing to accept _autonomy_
General Augustin and Archbishop Nozaleda would recognize my rank
of General, and that of my companions, would give me the $1,000,000
indemnity agreed upon at Biak-na-bato and still unpaid, as well as
liberal rewards for and salaries to the members of a popular Assembly
promises which the Commissioners did not put any faith in, though some
of them held the opinion that the money should be accepted because
it would reduce the funds of the Spanish Government and also because
the money had been wrung from Filipinos. The Commissioners, I added,
left after assuring me that the people in Manila would rise against
the Spaniards if supplied with arms, and that the best thing I could
do was to make an attack on Manila at the places they pointed out as
being the weakest parts of the Spanish defense and consequently the
easiest to overcome.
I thanked the Commission for their loyalty and straightforwardness,
told them they would be given an escort to take them safely back to
the Spanish lines, and that when they got back they should inform
those who had sent them that they were not received because they were
not duly accredited and that even if they had brought credentials
according to what they had seen and heard from the Revolutionists
Don Emilio Aguinaldo would certainly not consider, much less accept,
their proposals respecting autonomy because the Filipino people had
sufficient experience to govern themselves, that they are tired of
being victimised and subjected to gross abuses by a foreign nation
under whose domination they have no wish to continue to live, but
rather wish for their _independence_. Therefore the Spaniards might
prepare to defend their sovereignty, for the Filipino Army would
vigorously assault the city and with unflagging zeal prosecute the
siege until Manila was captured.
I also told the Commissioners to tell Archbishop Nozaleda that he was
abusing the privileges and authority of his exalted position; that
such conduct was at variance with the precepts of His Holiness the
Pope, and if he failed to rectify matters I would throw light on the
subject in a way which would bring shame and disgrace upon him. I added
that I knew he and General Augustin had commissioned four Germans and
five Frenchmen to disguise themselves and assassinate me in the vain
hope that once I am disposed of the people of the Philippines would
calmly submit to the sovereignty of Spain, which was a great mistake,
for were I assassinated, the inhabitants of the Philippines would
assuredly continue the struggle with greater vigor than ever. Other
men would come forward to avenge my death. Lastly I recommended
the Commissioners to tell the people in Manila to go on with their
trades and industries and be perfectly at ease about our Government,
whose actions were guided in the paths of rectitude and justice, and
that since there were no more Friars to corrupt the civic virtues,
the Filipino Government was now endeavouring to demonstrate its
honesty of purpose before the whole world. There was therefore no
reason why they should not go on with their business as usual and
should not think of leaving Manila and coming into the Camp, where
the resources were limited, where already more were employed than was
necessary to meet the requirements of the Government and the Army,
and where, too, the lack of arms was sorely felt.
The Commissioners asked me what conditions the United States would
impose and what benefits they would confer on the Filipinos, to which
I replied that is was difficult to answer that question in view of the
secret I was in honour bound to keep in respect of the terms of the
Agreement, contenting myself by saying that they could learn a good
deal by carefully observing the acts, equivalent to the exercise of
sovereign rights, of the Dictatorial Government, and especially the
occular demonstrations of such rights on the waters of the harbour.
These statements, which were translated by my interpreter, Sr. Leyba,
made such an impression on the Admiral that he interrupted,
asking--"Why did you reveal our secret?" Do you mean that you do not
intend to keep inviolate our well understood silence and watchword?
I said in reply that I had revealed nothing of the secret connected
with him and the Consul.
The Admiral then thanked me for my cautiousness, bid we good-by and
left with General Anderson, after requesting me to refrain from
assaulting Manila because, he said, they were studying a plan to
take the Walled City with their troops, leaving the suburbs for the
He advised me, nevertheless, to study other plans of taking the city
in conjunction with their forces, which I agreed to do.
More American Troops
A few days later American troops arrived, and with them came
General Merritt. The Admiral's Secretary and two officers came to
the Dictatoriat Government and asked that we allow them to occupy our
trenches at Maytubig; from the harbour side of that place right up to
the main road, where they would form a continuation of our lines at
Pasay and Singalong. This I also agreed to on account of the solemn
promises of the Admiral and the trust naturally placed in them owing
to the assistance rendered and recognition of our independence.
Ten days after the Americans occupied the trenches at Maytubig (this
move being well known by the Spaniards who were entrenched at the
Magazine in San Antonio Abad) their outposts, composed of a few men
only, were surprised by the Spaniards, who made a night attack on
them. They had barely time to get out of their beds and fall back
on the centre, abandoning their rifles and six field-guns in their
The firing being distinctly heard, our troops immediately rushed to
the assistance of our friends and allies, repulsing the Spaniards and
recapturing the rifles and field-guns, which I ordered to be returned
to the Americans as a token of our good-will and friendship.
General Noriel was opposed to this restitution, alleging that the arms
did not belong to the Americans since the Filipino troops captured
them from the Spaniards. But I paid no attention to the reasonable
opposition of my General and gave imperative instructions that they
be returned to the Americans, showing thereby clearly and positively
the good-will of the Filipinos. The said rifles and field-guns, with
a large quantity of ammunition, was therefore restored to those who
were then our allies, notwithstanding the fact of General Noriel's
brigade capturing them at a cost of many lives of our compatriots.
Later on more American reinforcements arrived and again Admiral Dewey,
through his Secretary, asked for more trenches for their troops,
averring that those which we had given up to them before were
insufficient. We at once agreed and their lines were then extended
up to Pasay.
The Thirteenth of August
The 13th August arrived, on which day I noticed a general advance
of the American land and sea forces towards Manila, the former being
under command of General Anderson at Paranaque.
Subsequently I ordered a general assault of the Spanish lines and
in the course of this movement General Pio del Pilar succeeded in
advancing through Sampalok and attacked the Spanish troops who where
defending the Puente Colgante,  causing the enemy to fall back on
the Bridge of Spain. The column commanded by our General, Sr. Gregorio
II. del Pilar, took the suburbs of Pretil, Tendo, Divisoria and Paseo
de Azcarraga, situated north of Manila city; while General Noriel's
command, near Pasay, took the suburbs of Singalong and Pako, and
following the American column he out-flanked the Spaniards who were
defending San Antonio Abad. The Spanish officers observing General
Noriel's move ordered their men to retreat towards the Walled City,
whereupon the Americans who held the foremost trenches entered Malate
and Ermita without firing a shot. At this point the Americans met
General Noriel's troops who had captured the above mentioned suburbs
and were quartered in the building formerly used by the Exposicion
Regional de Filipinas,  in the Normal, and in Sr. Perez' house
In Santa Ana (the eastern section of Manila) General Ricarto
successfully routed five companies of Spaniards, being aided in this
by the manoeuvres of General Pio del Pilar's brigade.
Our troops saw the American forces landing on the sea shore near the
Luneta and Paseo de Santa Lucia, calling the attention of everybody to
the fact that the Spanish soldiers in the city forts were not firing
on them (the Americans), a mystery that was cleared up at sunset
when details of the capitulation of Manila, by General Jaudenes in
accordance with terms of an agreement with General Merritt, became
public property--a capitulation which the American Generals reserved
for their own benefit and credit in contravention of the agreement
arrived at with Admiral Dewey in the arrangement of plans for the
final combined assault on and capture of Manila by the allied forces,
American and Filipino.
Some light was thrown upon this apparently inexplicable conduct of the
American Commanders by the telegrams which I received during that day
from General Anderson, who wired me from Maitubig asking me to issue
orders forbidding our troops to enter Manila, a request which I did
not comply with because it was not in conformity with the agreement,
and it was, moreover, diametrically opposed to the high ends of the
Revolutionary Government, that after going to the trouble of besieging
Manila for two months and a half, sacrificing thousands of lives and
millions of material interests, it should be supposed such sacrifices
were made with any other object in view than the capture of Manila
and the Spanish garrison which stubbornly defended the city.
But General Merritt, persistent in his designs, begged me not only
through the Admiral but also through Major Bell to withdraw my
troops from the suburbs to (as it was argued) prevent the danger
of conflict which is always to be looked for in the event of dual
military occupation; also by so doing to avoid bringing ridicule upon
the American forces; offering, at the same time, in three letters,
to negotiate after his wishes were complied with. To this I agreed,
though neither immediately nor at one time, but making our troops
retire gradually up to the blockhouses in order that the whole of the
inhabitants of Manila should witness the proceedings of our troops
and amicability toward our American allies.
Up to that time, and in fact right up to the time when the Americans
openly commenced hostilities against us, I entertained in my soul
strong hopes that the American Commanders would make absolute with
their Government the verbal agreement made and entered into with the
Leader of the Philippine Revolution, notwithstanding the indications
to the contrary which were noticeable in their conduct, especially
in respect of the conduct of Admiral Dewey, who, without any reason
or justification, one day in the month of October seized all our
steamers and launches.
Being informed of this strange proceeding, and at the time when the
Revolutionary Government had its headquarters in Malolos, I despatched
a Commission to General Otis to discuss the matter with him. General
Otis gave the Commissioners a letter of recommendation to the Admiral
to whom he referred them; but the Admiral declined to receive the
Commission notwithstanding General Otis's recommendation.
Notwithstanding the procedure of the American Commanders, so contrary
to the spirit of all the compacts and antecedents above mentioned,
I continued to maintain a friendly attitude towards them, sending
a Commission to General Merritt to bid him farewell on the eve of
his departure for Paris. In his acknowledgement of his courtesy
General Merritt was good enough to say that he would advocate the
Filipino Cause in the United States. In the same manner I sent to
Admiral Dewey a _punal_  in a solid silver scabbard and a walking
stick of the very best cane with gold handle engraved by the most
skilful silversmiths as a souvenir and mark of our friendship. This
the Admiral accepted, thereby in some measure relieving my feelings
and the anxiety of my compatriots constituting the Revolutionary
Government, whose hearts were again filled with pleasant hopes of a
complete understanding with Admiral Dewey.
Vain indeed became these hope when news arrived that Admiral Dewey
had acted and was continuing to act against the Revolutionary
Government by order of His Excellency Mr. McKinley, who, prompted
by the "Imperialist" party, had decided to annex the Philippines,
granting, in all probability, concessions to adventurers to exploit
the immense natural wealth lying concealed under our virgin soil.
This news was received in the Revolutionary camp like a thunderbolt out
of a clear sky. Some cursed the hour and the day we treated verbally
with the Americans; some denounced the ceding of the suburbs, while
others again were of opinion that a Commission should be sent to
General Otis to draw from him clear and positive declarations on the
situation, drawing up a treaty of amity and commerce if the United
States recognize our independence or at once commence hostilities if
the States refused.
In this crisis I advised moderation and prudence, for I still had
confidence in the justice and rectitude of United States Congress,
which, I believed, would not approve the designs of the Imperialist
party and would give heed to the declarations of Admiral Dewey, who,
in the capacity of an exalted Representative of the United States in
these Islands concerted and covenanted with me and the people of the
Philippines recognition of our independence.
In fact in no other way was such a serious matter to be regarded,
for if America entrusted to Admiral Dewey the honour of her forces in
such a distant region, surely the Filipinos might equally place their
trust in the word of honour of such a polished, chivalrous gentleman
and brave sailor, in the firm belief, of course, that the great and
noble American people would neither reject his decision nor expose
to ridicule the illustrious conqueror of the Spanish fleet.
In the same way the not less known and notorious circumstances, that
the American Commanders who came soon after the echoes of the Admiral's
victory reached their native shores, namely, Generals Merritt, Anderson
and Otis, proclaimed to the people of the Philippines that America _did
not come to conquer territories, but to liberate its inhabitants from
the oppression of Spanish Sovereignty_. I would therefore also expose
to universal ridicule and contempt the honour of these Commanders
if the United States, by repudiating their official and public acts,
attempts to annex these islands by conquest.
The American Commission
With such prudent as well as well founded reflections, I succeeded
in calming my companions shortly before the official news arrived
reporting that the Washington Government, acting on Admiral Dewey's
suggestion, had intimated its intention to despatch a Civil Commission
to Manila which would treat with the Filipinos with a view to arriving
at a definite understanding respecting the government of the Islands.
Joy and satisfaction now filled the breasts of all the Revolutionists,
and I thereupon set about the appointment of a Commission to meet the
American Commissioners. At the same time I gave strict orders that
the most friendly relations should be maintained with the Americans,
enjoining toleration and overlooking of the abuses and atrocities
of the soldiery because the effect on the Commissioners would not be
good it they found us at loggerheads with their nation's forces.
But the abases of the Americans were now becoming intolerable. In the
market-place at Arroceros they killed a woman and a little boy under
the pretext that they were surprising a gambling den, thus causing the
greatest indignation of a great concourse of people in that vicinity.
My Adjutants, too, who hold passes permitting them to enter Manila
with their uniform and sidearms, were molested by being repeatedly
stopped by every patrol they met, it, being perfectly evident that,
the intention was to irritate them by exposing them to public ridicule.
While this sort of thing was going on as against our people the
American Commanders and officers who visited our camp were treated
with the utmost courtesy and consideration.
In Lacoste Street an American guard shot and killed a boy seven years
of age for taking a banana from a Chinaman.
The searching of houses was carried on just as it was during the
Spanish regime, while the American soldiers at the outposts often
invaded our lines, thus irritating our sentries. It would make this
book a very large volume if I continued to state seriatim the abuses
and atrocities committed by the American soldiery in those days of
It seemed as if the abuses were authorised or at least winked at
in official quarters for the purpose of provoking an outbreak of
hostilities. Excitement ran high among all classes of people, but the
Filipino Government, which had assumed responsibility for the acts
of the people, by the constant issue of prudent orders succeeded
in calming the excited populace and maintained peace, advising all
sufferers to be patient and prudent pending the arrival of the Civil
At such a critical juncture as this, and before the anxiously-awaited
Civil Commission arrived, it occurred to General Otis, Commandant of
the American forces, to commit two more impolitic acts. One of them
was the order to search our telegraph offices in Sagunro Street, in
Tondo, where the searching party seized the apparatus and detained
the officer in charge, Sr. Reyna, in the Fuerza Santiago  under
the pretext that he was conspiring against the Americans.
How and why was Sr. Reyna conspiring? Was not this sufficient for
the Filipino Government to give the order to attack and rescue Reyna
and thereby we (eight thousand strong) be plunged immediately into
war with the United States? Was there any reason for conspiring when
the power was in our own hands? And, above all, would a telegraphist,
be likely to interfere in _affaires de guerre_ when there was an army
near by to attend to such matters?
It was abundantly manifest that the object was by wounding the feelings
of and belittling the Filipino Government to provoke a collision, and
it was clear also that this system of exasperating us was not merely
the wanton act of the soldiery but was actually prompted by General
Otis himself, who, imbued with imperialistic tendencies, regarded the
coming of the Civil Commission with disfavour and especially would it
be unsatisfactory that this Commission should find the Philippines in
a state of perfect tranquility, because it was evident to the said
General, as well as to the whole world, that the Filipinos would
assuredly have arrived at a definite amicable agreement with the
aforesaid Commission if it reached the islands while peace prevailed.
We, the Filipinos, would have received the Commission with open
arms and complete accord as honourable Agents of the great American
nation. The Commissioners could have visited all our provinces,
seeing and taking note of the complete tranquility throughout our
territory. They could have seen our cultivated lands, examined our
Constitution and investigated the administration of public affairs in
perfect peace and safety, and have felt and enjoyed the inimitable
charm of our Oriental style,--half negligent, half solicitude,
warmth and chilliness, simple confidence and suspiciousness;
characteristics which cause descriptions of contact with us to be
depicted by foreigners in thousands of different hues.
Ah! but neither did General Otis nor the Imperialists wish for
such a landscape. It was better for their criminal designs that
the American Commission should view the desolation and horrors of
war in the Philippines, inhaling on the very day of their arrival
the revolting odour emitted from American and Filipino corpses. It
was better for their purposes that that gentleman, Mr. Schurman,
President of the Commission, should return from Manila, limiting
his investigation to inquiries among the few Filipinos, who, seduced
with gold, were siding with the Imperialists. It were better for them
that the Commission should view the Philippines problem through fire
and slaughter, in the midst of whizzing bullets and the uncontrolled
passion of infuriated foes, thus preventing them from forming correct
judgment of the exact and natural conditions of the problem. Ah! it
was, lastly, better that the Commission return to the States defeated
in its mission of obtaining peace and blaming me and other Filipinos
for its inability to settle matters, when, in reality, I and all the
Philippine people were longing that that peace had been concluded
yesterday,--long before now--but an honest and honourable peace,
honourable alike for the United States and the Philippine Republic
in order that it be sincere and everlasting.
The second impolitic act of General Otis was the issue of a
proclamation on the 4th of January, 1899, asserting in the name
of President McKinley the sovereignty of America in these islands,
with threats of ruin, death and desolation to all who declined to
I, Emilio Aguinaldo--though the humble servant of all, am, as
President of the Philippine Republic, charged with the safeguarding
of the rights and independence of the people who appointed me to such
an exalted position of trust and responsibility--mistrusted for the
first time the honour of the Americans, perceiving of course that
this proclamation of General Otis completely exceeded the limits of
prudence and that therefore no other course was open to me but to
repel with arms such unjust and unexpected procedure on the part of
the commander of friendly forces.
I protested, therefore, against such a proclamation--also threatening
an immediate rupture of friendly relations,--for the whole populace was
claiming that an act of treason had been committed, plausibly asserting
that the announcement of the Commission applied for by Admiral Dewey
was a ruse, and that what General Otis was scheming for was to keep
us quiet while he brought reinforcement after reinforcement from the
United States for the purpose of crashing our untrained and badly
equipped Army with one blow.
But now General Otis acted for the first time like a diplomatist,
and wrote me, through his Secretary, Mr. Carman, a letter inviting the
Filipino Government to send a Commission to meet an American Commission
for the purpose of arriving at an amicable arrangement between both
parties; and although I placed no trust in the professions of friendly
intentions of the said General--whose determination to prevent the
Commission arriving at a peaceful solution of the difficulties was
already evident--I acceded to the request, partly because I saw
the order, dated 9th January, given by the above mentioned General
confirmed, and on the other hand to show before the whole world my
manifest wishes for the conservation of peace and friendship with
the United States, solemnly compacted with Admiral Dewey.
The Mixed Commission
Conferences of the Mixed Commission, Americans and Filipinos, were
held in Manila from the 11th to the 31st of the said month of January,
the Filipino Commissioners clearly expressing the wish of our people
for recognition as an independent nation.
They also frankly stated the complaints of the Filipino people about
the abuses and atrocities of the American soldiery, being attentively
and benevolently listened to by the American Commissioners. The
latter replied that they had no authority to recognize the Filipino
Government, their mission being limited to hearing what the Filipinos
said, to collect data to formulate the will of our people and
transmit it fully and faithfully to the Government of Washington,
who alone could arrive at a definite decision on the subject. These
conferences ended in perfect harmony, auguring well for happier times
and definite peace when Mr. McKinley should reply to General Otis's
telegrams transmitting our wishes with his favourable recommendations,
as the American Commissioners said.
Outbreak of Hostilities
While I, the Government, the Congress and the entire populace were
awaiting the arrival of such a greatly desired reply, many fairly
overflowing with pleasant thoughts, there came the fatal day of
the 4th February, during the night of which day the American forces
suddenly attacked all our lines, which were in fact at the time almost
deserted, because being Saturday, the day before a regular feast day,
our Generals and some of the most prominent officers had obtained
leave to pass the Sabbath with their respective families.
General Pantaleon Garcia was the only one who at such a critical
moment was at his post in Maypajo, north of Manila, Generals Noriel,
Rizal and Ricarte and Colonels San Miguel, Cailles and others being
away enjoying their leave.
General Otis, according to trustworthy information, telegraphed to
Washington stating that the Filipinos had attacked the American
Army. President McKinley read aloud the telegram in the Senate,
where the Treaty of Paris of the 10th December, 1898, was being
discussed with a view to its ratification, the question of annexation
of the Philippines being the chief subject of debate, and through
this criminal procedure secured the acceptation of the said Treaty
_in toto_ by a majority of only three votes,  which were cast
simultaneously with a declaration that the voters sided with the
"Ayes" on account of war having broken out in these Islands.
This singular comedy could not continue for a great length of time
because the Filipinos could never be the aggressors as against the
American forces, with whom we had sworn eternal friendship and in
whose power we expected to find the necessary protection to enable
us to obtain recognition of our independence from the other Powers.
The confusion and obfuscation of the first moments was indeed great,
but before long it gave place to the light of Truth which shone forth
serene, bringing forth serious reflections.
When sensible people studied the acts of Mr. McKinley, sending
reinforcement after reinforcement to Manila at a time after an
armistice was agreed upon and even when peace with Spain prevailed;
when they took into account that the despatch of the Civil Commission
to settle terms of a treaty of amity with the Filipinos was being
delayed; when, too, they knew of the antecedents of my alliance
with Admiral Dewey, prepared and arranged by the American Consuls of
Singapore and Hongkong, Mr. Pratt and Mr. Wildman; when they became
acquainted with the actual state of affairs on the 4th February knowing
that the Filipinos were awaiting the reply of Mr. McKinley to the
telegram of General Otis in which he transmitted the peaceful wish of
the Filipino people of live as an independent nation; when, lastly,
they riveted their attention to the terms of the Treaty of Paris,
the approval of which, in as far as it concerned the annexation of the
Philippines, was greeted with manifestations of joy and satisfaction
by the Imperialist party led by Mr. McKinley, then their eyes were
opened to the revelations of truth, clearly perceiving the base,
selfish and inhuman policy which Mr. McKinley had followed in his
dealings with us the Filipinos, sacrificing remorselessly to their
unbridled ambition the honour of Admiral Dewey, exposing this worthy
gentleman and illustrious conqueror of the Spanish fleet to universal
ridicule; for no other deduction can follow from the fact that about
the middle of May of 1898, the U.S.S. _McCulloch_ brought me with
my revolutionary companions from Hongkong, by order of the above
mentioned Admiral, while now actually the United States squadron is
engaged in bombarding the towns and ports held by these revolutionists,
whose objective is and always has been Liberty and Independence.
The facts as stated are of recent date and must still be fresh in
the memory of all.
Those who in May, 1898, admired the courage of Admiral Dewey's sailors
and the humanitarianism of this illustrious Commander in granting
visible aid to an oppressed people to obtain freedom and independence,
surely cannot place an honest construction upon the present inhuman
war when contrasting it with those lofty and worthy sentiments.
I need not dwell on the cruelty which, from the time of the
commencement of hostilities, has characterized General Otis's
treatment of the Filipinos, shooting in secret many who declined
to sign a petition asking for autonomy. I need not recapitulate the
ruffianly abuses which the American soldiers committed on innocent
and defenseless people in Manila, shooting women and children simply
because they were leaning out of windows; entering houses at midnight
without the occupants' permission--forcing open trunks and wardrobes
and stealing money, jewellery and all valuables they came across;
breaking chairs, tables and mirrors which they could not carry away
with them, because, anyhow, they are consequences of the war, though
improper in the case of civilized forces. But what I would not leave
unmentioned is the inhuman conduct of that General in his dealings
with the Filipino Army, when, to arrange a treaty of peace with the
Civil Commission, of which Mr. Schurman was President, I thrice sent
emissaries asking for a cessation of hostilities.
General Otis refused the envoys' fair and reasonable request, replying
that he would not stop hostilities so long as the Philippine Army
declined to lay down their arms.
But why does not this Army deserve some consideration at the hands
of General Otis and the American forces? Had they already forgotten
the important service the Filipino Army rendered to the Americans in
the late war with Spain?
Had General Otis forgotten the favours conferred on him by the Filipino
Army, giving up to him and his Army the suburbs and blockhouses which
at such great sacrifice to themselves the Filipinos had occupied?
Why should General Otis make such a humiliating condition a prime
factor or basis of terms of peace with an Army which stood shoulder to
shoulder with the American forces, freely shedding its blood, and whose
heroism and courage were extolled by Admiral Dewey and other Americans?
This unexplained conduct of General Otis, so manifestly contrary
to the canons of international law and military honour, is eloquent
testimony of his deliberate intention to neutralize the effects of
Mr. Schurman's pacific mission.
What peace can be concerted by the roaring of cannon and the whizzing
What is and has been the course of procedure of General Brooke in
Cuba? Are not the Cubans still armed, notwithstanding negotiations
for the pacification and future government of that Island are still
Are we, perchance, less deserving of liberty and independence than
Oh, dear Philippines! Blame your wealth, your beauty for the stupendous
disgrace that rests upon your faithful sons.
You have aroused the ambition of the Imperialists and Expansionists
of North America and both have placed their sharp claws upon your
Loved mother, sweet mother, we are here to defend your liberty and
independence to the death! We do not want war; on the contrary, we
wish for peace; but honourable peace, which does not make you blush
nor stain your forehead with shame and confusion. And we swear to you
and promise that while America with all her power and wealth could
possibly vanquish us; killing all of us; but enslave us, never!!!
No; this humiliation is not the compact I celebrated in Singapore with
the American Consul Pratt. This was not the agreement stipulated for
with Mr. Wildman, American Consul in Hongkong. Finally, it was not
the subjection of my beloved country to a new alien yoke that Admiral
Dewey promised me.
It is certain that these three have abandoned me, forgetting that I
was sought for and taken from my exile and deportation; forgetting,
also, that neither of these three solicited my services in behalf
of American Sovereignty, they paying the expense of the Philippine
Revolution for which, manifestly, they sought me and brought me back
to your beloved bosom!
If there is, as I believe, one God, the root and fountain of all
justice and only eternal judge of international disputes, it will not
take long, dear mother, to save you from the hands, of your unjust
enemies. So I trust in the honour of Admiral Dewey: So I trust in
the rectitude of the great people of the United States of America,
where, if there are ambitious Imperialists, there are defenders of the
humane doctrines of the immortal Monroe, Franklin, and Washington;
unless the race of noble citizens, glorious founders of the present
greatness of the North American Republic, have so degenerated that
their benevolent influence has become subservient to the grasping
ambition of the Expansionists, in which latter unfortunate circumstance
would not death be preferable to bondage?
Oh, sensible American people! Deep is the admiration of all the
Philippine people and of their untrained Army of the courage displayed
by your Commanders and soldiers. We are weak in comparison with
such Titanic instruments of your Government's ambitious Caesarian
policy and find it difficult to effectively resist their courageous
onslaught. Limited are our warlike resources, but we will continue this
unjust, bloody, and unequal struggle, not for the love of war--which
we abhor--but to defend our incontrovertible rights of Liberty and
Independence (so dearly won in war with Spain) and our territory
which is threatened by the ambitions of _a party_ that is trying to
Distressing, indeed, is war! Its ravages cause us horror. Luckless
Filipinos succumb in the confusion of combat, leaving behind them
mothers, widows and children. America could put up with all the
misfortunes she brings on us without discomfort; but what the North
American people are not agreeable to is that she should continue
sacrificing her sons, causing distress and anguish to mothers,
widows and daughters to satisfy the whim of maintaining a war
in contravention of their honourable traditions as enunciated by
Washington and Jefferson.
Go back, therefore, North American people, to your old-time
liberty. Put your hand on your heart and tell me: Would it be pleasant
for you if, in the course of time, North America should find herself in
the pitiful plight, of a weak and oppressed people and the Philippines,
a free and powerful nation, then at war with your oppressors, asked
for your aid promising to deliver you from such a weighty yoke, and
after defeating her enemy with your aid she set about subjugating you,
refusing the promised liberation?
Civilized nations! Honourable inhabitants of the United States, to
whose high and estimable consideration I submit this unpretentious
work, herein you have the providential facts which led to the unjust
attack upon the existence of the Philippine Republic and the existence
of those for whom, though unworthy, God made me the principal guardian.
The veracity of these facts rests upon my word as President of this
Republic and on the honour of the whole population of eight million
souls, who, for more than three hundred years have been sacrificing
the lives and wealth of their brave sons to obtain due recognition
of the natural rights of mankind--liberty and independence.
If you will do me the honour to receive and read this work and then
pass judgment impartially solemnly declaring on which side right and
justice rests, your respectful servant will be eternally grateful.
(Signed) _Emilio Aguinaldo_.
_Tarlak, 23rd September, 1899_.
 A kind of sword--_Translator_.
 Of their own free will and accord--_Translator_.
 Suspension bridge.--_Translator_.
 Philippine Local Exhibition.--_Translator_.
 Short sword--_Translator_.
 The "Black Hole" of Manila.
 Many of the American papers reported that the majority was _one_
vote only in excess of the absolutely requisite two-thirds majority.
I.--The Revolution of 1896; 1.
II.--The Treaty of Peace of Biak-na-bato; 4.
IV.--The Revolution of 1898; 19.
V.--The Dictatorial Government; 22.
VI.--The First Triumphs; 24.
VII.--The Philippine Flag; 26.
VIII.--Expedition to Bisayas; 28.
IX.--The Steamer "Compania de Filipinas"; 28.
X.--The Proclamation of Independence; 30.
XI.--The Spanish Commission; 32.
XII.--More American Troops; 37.
XIII.--The 13th August; 38.
XIV.--First Clouds; 40.
XV.--Vain Hopes; 42.
XVI.--The American Commission; 44.
XVII.--Impolitic acts; 46.
XVIII.--The Mixed Commission; 50.
XIX.--Outbreak of Hostilities; 51.
Back to Full Books