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homicide and other such serious offenses and their equivalents in Spanish law.
Health, police and street cleaning departments were soon in active operation, and conditions, which had been necessarily bad in an oriental city at the end of a siege, rapidly improved.
Three days after having taken possession of the city under the capitulation, General Merritt learned that the Peace Protocol had been signed at Washington, and received an order directing that all military operations against the enemy should be suspended. The protocol was signed at Washington at 4:30 on the afternoon of August 12, 1898. It was then 5:30 in the morning of August 13 at Manila, and the American troops were already in position and waiting for the navy to open fire upon the defenses of the city. The president's proclamation announcing the suspension of hostilities was at once communicated to the Spanish authorities, who thereupon declined to transfer the public funds, as required by the capitulation, on the ground that the proclamation was dated prior to the surrender. General Merritt replied that the status quo which must be observed was that which existed when he received notice of suspension of hostilities. The funds were then delivered under protest and the question thus raised was disposed of adversely to the Spaniards by the treaty of peace.
After getting the local government roughly organized and under way, General Merritt again took up the very serious question of the relations with the Filipino insurgents. The situation was now somewhat more favorable to the Americans, as they were no longer between the Spanish and the Filipino lines. If necessary, force could safely be used to compel obedience.
On the day after the battle General Merritt had notified Washington that the insurgents were pressing for a joint occupation of the city, and requested instructions as to how far he should go in enforcing obedience to his orders in this and other matters of the same nature. The reply was direct and positive. The president directed that there must be no joint occupation with the insurgents. The United States must have the absolute possession and control of the city, bay and harbor, as upon it would rest the duty of preserving the peace and protecting persons and property within the territory occupied by its military and naval forces. The insurgents and all others must therefore recognize the military occupation and authority of the United States and the cessation of hostilities proclaimed by the president. The commanding general was instructed to use whatever means in his judgment was necessary to this end.
The statement in General Merritt's proclamation that the Philippines would for the present be held under military rule greatly increased the agitation of the insurgents. Immediately the tone of their demands was raised. A commission which Aguinaldo had sent to General Anderson to treat with reference to the withdrawal of the insurgents from the city, had proposed but one, and that a seemingly reasonable condition, if the place was turned back to Spain—that when a treaty of peace was signed the United States would reinstate them in the positions they were now required to give up. Immediately after the issuance of Merritt's proclamation these commissioners returned, in a very bad humor, with ten new and very unreasonable demands. They were now informed that no conditions would be considered until after their troops had been withdrawn beyond the lines marked on the maps which were delivered to them.
Major-General E. S. Otis succeeded General Merritt as military governor on August 29, 1898, and on the following day General Merritt sailed for Europe to give the Peace Commission the benefit of his knowledge of the situation. Aguinaldo's rather pathetic letter of August 27 thus came to General Otis for consideration. Merritt had explained to Otis that the difficulty seemed to be that Aguinaldo did not think it prudent to give positive orders for his people to withdraw for fear he would not be obeyed. The Filipino leader was, in fact, seeking some easy way of dealing with the inevitable. “I appreciate as well as yourself," he had written from Bacour, "the inconvenience of a dual occupation of the city of Manila and its suburbs ... but you ought to understand that without the long siege sustained by my forces you might have obtained possession of the ruins of the city, but never of the Spanish forces, who could have retired to the interior towns. I do not complain of the disowning of our help in the capitulation, although justice resents it greatly, and I have to bear the well-founded blame of my people. I do not insist on the retention of all the positions conquered by my forces within the city limits at the cost of much blood, of indescribable suffering and much money. I promise to retire to this line. ... Permit me to insist, if you will, upon the restitution of the possessions which we are now giving up, if in the treaty of peace between Spain and the United States they acknowledge the dominion of Spain in the Philippines. I am compelled to insist on the said conditions to quiet the complaints of my chiefs and soldiers who have exposed their lives and abandoned their interests during the siege of Manila."
After delaying long enough to familiarize himself with the situation, General Otis on September 8 sent to Aguinaldo a long communication, in which he reviewed the questions at issue, gave the insurgent leader some very good advice, and peremptorily directed that his forces evacuate the entire city, including its suburbs and defenses, before September 15, in default of which forcible action would be taken. It would be easy to criticize the tone and language of this letter. It showed not the slightest consideration for the susceptibilities of the Filipinos. It was, in fact, a frank Anglo-Saxon document. Nevertheless it was what was required by the situation. The Filipinos expected ultimately to oppose the Americans with arms and were playing the game of negotiation quite skilfully. A Filipino will never cease urging and arguing his case until he receives an ultimatum, and it must be an ultimatum which he clearly recognizes. When necessary, he generally acquiesces with perfect good nature. General Aguinaldo realized that he must remove his troops, but sent another commission to beg General Otis to withdraw the letter and substitute a simple request, unaccompanied by a threat to use force. General Otis refused to withdraw his letter, but
finally consented to write another which Aguinaldo could show to his army. This was done, and on the evening of the appointed day all the insurgent organizations withdrew from the city."
The attempt to govern the city by merely substituting American for Spanish officials was not very successful. In the interest of economy and efficiency many of the Spanish offices were abolished and others were consolidated. The result was a gradual concentration of power in the office of the military governor. It was found impractical to continue the office of intendente general de hacienda, in which General Whittier had succeeded General Greene when the latter left for the United States. The duties of the office as defined by the Spanish law were broader than the powers which were to be exercised by the American government, as it included matters relating to the entire islands, such as the customs and internal revenue. The Spanish colonial treasury had dealt with questions of general as well as local import. The funds of the insular government and of the city of Manila and the money which had been deposited in the treasury by private individuals had been commingled and could not easily be segregated. The laws of the military government were not operative beyond the limits of the territory under its control. The Spanish officials very properly claimed that financial matters which related to the islands generally, in which Manila was not immediately concerned, were still under their control. This dual control made the situation very difficult, and the military governor soon found it necessary to bring all financial matters within the direct control of his office.
1 Aguinaldo managed to keep his men ignorant of the real situation. General Otis says that the insurgents marched out in excellent spirits, cheering the American troops. An eye witness gives the following account of an incident connected with the withdrawal. The Filipinos had requested that they be allowed to march up to the Luneta, the old Spanish execution grounds.
"Early on this morning that part of the insurgent forces which would make their departure by the Luneta began to move. The columns passed from the Calle Real into the Calle Luis, the rank and file in blue drilling, lead by the famous Pasig band of ninety pieces, and the column headed by Colonel Callies. Down to the Paco Road they went, to the Calle Bagumbayan, where they soon stood beside the wall where so many of their comrades had endured Spanish execution. As they passed the Wyoming regiment, cheer upon cheer was given by the Wyoming boys. It was an incident long remembered by the insurgents.” Faust, Campaigning in the Philippines, p. 111.
The management of the Bureau of Internal Revenue also presented many perplexing problems. Operating under many decrees, of different dates, it issued cedulas, executed the stamp laws and the industrial regulations, and collected the money belonging to the city as well as to the central government. It was not easy to determine what particular taxes should be collected by the military government. Thus the railway tax, imposed by the Spanish insular government for services rendered in the island of Luzon, was not at first collected by the American government, as the services rendered by the railways were not confined to the city.
It was also thought to be doubtful whether the cedulas should be issued at all, because they were supposed to confer certain advantages upon the holders, such as the right to travel about the islands. The cedulas were, therefore, at first not collected, but the inhabitants demanded them so persistently, as a means of identification, that they were issued finally for a merely nominal fee.
The officers assigned to the work of civil government found themselves beset with all kinds of difficulties. The old Spanish system, which they had been set to operate, was extremely complicated. The accumulation of uncodified and often conflicting laws, orders and decrees, was not to be mastered in a day by military officers who had been trained under a different system of legislation and jurisprudence. The Royal Decree of 1894, under which the limits of Manila had been extended to include the adjacent villages of Ermita, Malate, Binondo, Paco and others, recognized and retained many of the usages and customs which for generations had formed a part of the native community life. Certain of the city offices had been made elective. Taxation was to some extent controlled by the municipal council, subject to the approval of the governor-general. It was found impossible to operate this kind of a city government, and municipal affairs were entrusted to the provost-marshal-general, who deposited all funds received from any source in the general