Philippines

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.

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 [6] under the pretext that he was conspiring against the Americans.

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.

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.

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: -

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.

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 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.

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.

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