THE momentous victory at Manila during the Spanish American war, and the subsequent acquisition of the Philippine Islands by purchase, marked the opening of an era of new responsibilities, new national greatness and power, and new constitutional problems, for twentieth-century patriotism to grapple with and carry through, to the permanent peace and prosperity of the American people. The entire history of our military and civil relations with the inhabitants of the archipelago since the battle Manila Bay has been so complicated with issues, varying in their nature, but almost equally important to the United States, that a full statement of the case is imperative. Only by a dispassionate survey of the broad facts, and a careful consideration of their bearing upon each other, can we hope to arrive at a position enabling us to form just conclusions, or at least obtain an impartial view of the situation as a whole. The following statement is compiled from authentic sources of information accessible to the public:
In February, 1899, commenced the militant protest of the Filipinos against the retention of Manila and surrounding districts by American troops. An attempt was made to burn the city and destroy our garrison. From the end of March there has been a ceaseless guerrilla war between the American and native troops, under the lead of Aguinaldo, who is general in the field and claimant of the presidency of the native government to be formed when the United States decides to withdraw.
The fortunes of war have distributed victories and losses evenly between the combatants, allowing for the inequality of their resources. Aguinaldo was forced to take refuge in the hills and swamps, with his portable court and toy army, and was repeatedly reported to have been killed. His military and diplomatic vitality are in evidence after two years of alleged continuous defeats and extinctions. Despite the ever vigorous efforts of our troops, under a succession of brave and experienced commanders, the Filipinos still hold the field and an appalling catalogue of casualties and expenditures has been steadily recorded.
In accordance with a Senate resolution, in May, 1900, the War Department gave certain information relating to the cost of shipping troops and supplies for the army to and from the Philippines since May 1, 1898. The reply states that the expenditures incurred for the transportation by sea of the officers, men, animals and supplies to the Philippine Islands, and from those islands to the United States, since May 1, 1898, were as follows:
At San Francisco $11,114,320.24 At Seattle 1,159,250.00 At Portland 568,330.00 $12,841,900.24 At New York 2,795,196.21
The accounts of officers of the quartermaster's department show that since May 1, 1898, to June, 1900, there was paid out for passage through the Suez Canal of the United States transports with troops, on account of tolls, fares, etc., the sum of $81,901.18. Accompanying the reply is a statement showing that the War Department saved over $9,000,000 by owning its transports.
Conservative estimate of cost of transportation by commercial lines from New York to Manila $1,092,400.00 Cost of same service by transports 278,668.77 Saved on account of transports $813,731.23
Conservative estimate of cost of transportation by commercial lines between New York and Cuba and Puerto Rico during the Spanish War and since $6,091,272.00.
Cost of same service by transports and chartered vessels 5,167,188.50.
Saving on account of transports $924,083.50
Total saving to the Government $9,087,155.32
It is also officially reported that the losses of United States troops in the Philippines from July 1, 1900, amounted to a total of 69 officers and 2,187 men, killed in the field, and in deaths from disease contracted in service.
President McKinley appointed a commission, hereafter referred to as the first Philippine Commission, in January, 1899, to visit the islands and report, that the government might have reliable data upon which to base its policy in dealing with the inhabitants. The chairman was President J. G. Schurman, of Cornell University; Admiral Dewey, General Otis, Hon. C. Denby, formerly minister to China, and Professor Dean C. Worcester, of Michigan University. They arrived there in April, and in a few days two Filipino officers approached General MacArthur under a flag of truce, asking a conference with the commander-in-chief. They were sent to Manila, where they asked General Otis for a suspension of hostilities, to allow time for the assembling of the Filipino congress, to consider the policy of continuing or giving up the war. General Otis refused to recognize a Filipino government, but, in the presence of President Schurman, listened to their assurance that Aguinaldo wished to give up if he might do so without humiliation. He offered "a written guarantee of amnesty to all insurgents who shall lay down their arms." Three weeks later commissioners from the insurgents, two military men and two civilians, again visited Otis, who granted nothing further than an audience with the Philippine Commission, as they claimed to be charged with an errand to that body.
Professor Schurman, president of the commission, submitted to the Filipino envoys propositions in writing, formally approved by President McKinley. These propositions outlined a form of government for the Philippine Islands, subject to the action of Congress; but the envoys regarded them as so unsatisfactory that the conference terminated without definite results.
Aguinaldo withdrew to inaccessible hills, and the press censorship grew so strict that our correspondents signed a protest against the new rules enacted by General Otis. Meanwhile our troops were suffering extremely from the climate, the terrible country they had to fight in, and from the bullets of the foe. President McKinley called for twenty new regiments for Philippine service between July 6 and August 26. Hundreds of troops came back incapacitated for duty.
A second Philippine Commission was appointed by the President, in March, 1900, "with a view to establishing a stable government in the Philippine Islands. It consisted of William H. Taft, of Ohio; Prof. Dean C. Worcester, of Michigan; Luke I. Wright, of Tennessee; Henry C. Ide, of Vermont, and Bernard Moses, of California. The secretary of war was ordered to instruct them as follows:
To devote their attention in the first instance to the establishment of municipal governments in which the natives of the islands, both in the cities and in the rural communities, shall be afforded the opportunity to manage their own local affairs to the fullest extent of which they are capable and subject to the least degree of supervision and control which a careful study of their capacities and observation of the workings of native control show to be consistent with the maintenance of law, order and loyalty. Whenever the commission is of the opinion that the condition of affairs in the islands is such that the central administration may safely be transferred from military to civil control, they will report that conclusion to you (the secretary of war), with their recommendations as to the form of central government to be established for the purpose of taking over the control.
Beginning with the first day of September, 1900, the authority to exercise, subject to the President's approval, through the secretary of war, that part of the power of government in the Philippine Islands which is of a legislative nature is to be transferred from the military governor of the islands to this commission, to be thereafter exercised by them in the place and stead of the military governor, under such rules and regulations as the secretary of war shall prescribe, until the establishment of the civil central government for the islands contemplated in the last foregoing paragraph, or until Congress shall otherwise provide. Exercise of this legislative authority will include the making of rules and orders having the effect of law for the raising of revenue by taxes, customs duties and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of the public funds of the islands; the establishment of an educational system throughout the islands; the establishment of a system to secure an efficient civil service; the organization and establishment of courts; the organization and establishment of municipal and departmental governments, and all other matters of a civil nature for which the military governor is now competent to provide by rules or orders of a legislative character. The commission will also have power during the same period to appoint to office such officers under the judicial, educational and civil service systems, and in the municipal and departmental governments as shall be provided.
Until Congress shall take action these inviolable rules must be imposed upon every branch of the government:
That no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation; that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence; that excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted; that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offence, or be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; that the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment for crime; that no bill of attainder or ex-post-facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances; that no law shall be made respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed.
It will be the duty of the commission to promote and extend, and as they find occasion, to improve, the system of education already inaugurated by the military authorities. In doing this they should regard as of first importance the extension of system of primary education which shall be free to all, and which shall tend to fit the people for the duties of citizenship and for the ordinary avocations of a civilized community. Especial attention should be at once given to affording full opportunity to all the people of the islands to acquire the use of the English language.
Upon all officers and employees of the United States, both civil and military, should be impressed a sense of the duty to observe not merely the material but the personal and social rights of the people of the islands, and to treat them with the same courtesy and respect for their personal dignity which the people of the United States are accustomed to require from each other.
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