Guam history: Guam at the turn of the century



At the turn of the century, Guam, the largest island of the Ladrone group, had an area of about 150 square miles, with 10,000 inhabitants. The island was ceded by Spain in the settlement of 1898. General Joseph Wheeler was sent in 1900 to make a report upon the working of the new government established by Captain R. P. Leary, U. S. N., the previous year. His account was highly favorable, the people were happy under the new conditions, and were disposed to observe the disciplinary regulations that had been instituted by Captain Leary. General Wheeler quotes:

Orders issued Aug. 16, 1899, prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors to any person not a resident of Guam previous to Aug. 7; regulate the importation and sale of intoxicating liquors; prohibit the transfer of land without the consent of the government; regulate the celebration of church and other holidays; prohibit concubinage and require marriage rites between persons so co-habiting; prohibit the exportation of certain articles in common use among the people; require persons without a trade or regular employment to plant specified commodities and keep certain live stock; regulate the keeping of dogs and other animals running at large; abrogate the Spanish system of taxation and provide a new one; establish a public system of nonsectarian education; require each adult to learn to write his or her own name within a specified time. Early in the summer of 1900 Captain Leary was recalled and Commander Seaton Schroeder, U. S. N., was appointed governor of the island.

The land is fertile, and should produce enough sugar, rice, coffee, and fruits to work up a profitable export trade.

The Sulu Archipelago lies east of the Philippines, with an area of about 1,000 miles and a population of about 100,000, all Mohammedans. The United States took over the Sultanate on the same terms as those negotiated by Spain. General Otis empowered General J. C. Bates to effect the transfer, giving him these instructions:

"The United States will accept the obligations of Spain under the agreement of 1878 in the matter of money annuities and in proof of sincerity you will offer as a present to the Sultan and datos $10,000, Mexican, with which you will be supplied before leaving for Jolo-the same to be handed over to them respectively in amounts agreeing with the ratio of payments made to them by the Spanish government for their declared services. From the first of September next and thereafter, the United States will pay to them regularly the sums promised by Spain in its agreement of 1878, and in any subsequent promises of which proof can be furnished * * * and will declare all trade of the Sultan and his people with any portion of the Philippine islands, conducted under the American flag, free, unlimited and undutiable."

The result was the following treaty:

Article 1. - The sovereignty of the United States over the whole archipelago of Jolo and its dependencies is declared and acknowledged.

Article 2. -The United States flag will be used in the archipelago of Jolo and its dependencies, on land and sea.

Article 3. -The rights and dignities of His Highness the Sultan and his datos shall be fully respected; the Moros shall not be interfered with on account of their religion; all their religious customs shall be respected, and no one shall be persecuted on account of his religion.

Article 4. -While the United States may occupy and control such point in the archipelago of Jolo as public interest seems to demand, encroachment will not be made upon the lands immediately about the residence of His Highness the Sultan, unless military necessity requires such occupation in case of war with a foreign power; and where the property of individuals is taken, due compensation will be made in each case. Any person can purchase land in the archipelago of Jolo, and hold the same by obtaining the consent of the Sultan and coming to a satisfactory agreement with the owner of the land, and such purchase shall immediately be registered in the proper office of the United States Government.

Article 5. - All trade in the domestic products of the archipelago of Jolo, when carried on by the Sultan and his people with any part of the Philippine islands, and when conducted under the American flag, shall be free, unlimited and undutiable.

Article 6. - The Sultan of Jolo shall be allowed to communicate direct with the governor-general of the Philippine islands in making complaints against the commanding officer of Jolo, or against any naval commander.

Article 7. -The introduction of firearms and war material is forbidden, except under specific authority of the governor-general of the Philippine islands.

Article 8. -Piracy must be suppressed, and the Sultan and his datos agree to co-operate heartily with the United States authorities to that end, and to make every possible effort to arrest and bring to justice all persons engaged in piracy.

Article 9. -When crimes and offences are committed by Moros against Moros, the government of the Sultan will bring to trial and punishment the criminals and offenders, who will be delivered to the government of the Sultan by the United States authorities, if in their possession. In all other cases, persons charged with crimes or offences will be delivered to the United States authorities for trial and punishment.

Article 10. -Any slave in the archipelago of Jolo shall have the right to purchase freedom by paying to the master the usual market value.

Article 11. -In case of any trouble with subjects of the Sultan, the American authorities in the island will be instructed to make careful investigation before resorting to harsh measures, as in most cases serious trouble can thus be avoided.

Article 12. -At present, Americans or foreigners wishing to go into the country should state their wishes to the Moro authorities and ask for an escort, but it is hoped that this will become unnecessary as we know each other better.

Article 13. -The United States will give full protection to the Sultan and his subjects in case any foreign nation shall attempt to impose upon them.

Article 14. -The United States will not sell the island of Jolo or any other island of the Jolo Archipelago to any foreign nation without the consent of the Sultan of Jolo.

Article 15. -The United States Government will pay the following monthly salaries:

To the Sultan.. 250 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Rajah Muda.. 75 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Attik.. 60 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Calbi.. 75 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Joakanain.. 75 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Puyo.. 60 Mexican Dollars. To Dato Amir Hussin.. 60 Mexican Dollars. To Hadji Butu.. 50 Mexican Dollars. To Habile Mura.. 40 Mexican Dollars. To Serif Saguin.. 15 Mexican Dollars.

J. C. BATES, Brig.-Gen. United States Volunteers. SULTAN OF JOLO. DATO RAJAH MUDA. DATO ATTIK. DATO CALBI. DATO JOAKANAIN.

Objections were raised to this treaty as sanctioning slavery and polygamy. The native Moros have also a firm belief that the man who dies in the act of killing Christians earns the best place in paradise.





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