CHAPTER XV. Vain Hopes
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.