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typical of the men who were formerly appointed to positions in the consular service as rewards for political work on the general theory that if they did the country no good they could at least do it no harm when so far away from it. In this instance extraordinary conditions arose which called for the exercise of intelligent discretion and judgment.?
The insurrection in the Philippines had not attracted much attention in the United States. When Commodore George Dewey at Nagasaki on June 2, 1897, assumed command of the Asiatic squadron, he was officially informed that, while the newspapers had occasionally referred to a revolution in the Philippines, no information had been received which suggested that American interests were likely to be affected.9 But the attention of the State Department had, shortly before that time, been called to the existence of the insurgents through a remarkable letter from the United States consul at Hong-Kong.' The revolutionary government of 1896 had sent a young lawyer named Agoncillo to represent it abroad. While the negotiations between the Spanish governor-general and Aguinaldo which led to the pact of Biak-na-bató were in progress Agoncillo was in Hong Kong bearing a commission as foreign agent and high commissioner of the Philippine Republic. Consul Wildman was at that time in close communion with the group of Filipinos who were then living in Hong Kong as political exiles. On November 3, 1897, about six months before the declaration of war against Spain, he informed Washington that in view of a possible war between the United States and Spain Agoncillo had, on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, offered to enter into an offensive and defensive alliance with the United States. Pending the execution of a formal treaty, he requested that the United States send to some port of the Philippines twenty thousand rifles and two hundred thousand rounds of ammunition, to be paid for when the United States recognized the independence of his government. As security, the high commissioner offered to pledge two provinces and the custom house at Manila. The price to be paid for the arms was of slight importance; he had no objection to the United States making twenty-five or even thirty per cent. profit. As Agoncillo had written his government, then at its last gasp at Biak-na-bató, that he had hopes of inducing the United States to supply the arms and was threatening to proceed to Washington "to conclude the proposed treaty," the consul thought it advisable to inform the Department of State of the nature of the offer. The naïveté of this proposition seems not to have struck the consul, as he communicated it with perfect seriousness to the Department. He was curtly directed to inform Agoncillo that the United States did not negotiate such treaties and to forward no more such communications. Notwithstanding this rebuff, Wildman continued to have close relations with the Filipino colony. After war was declared and while Aguinaldo was in Singapore consulting with Consul Pratt, he received a delegation from the insurgent junta who desired to return to Manila with the fleet, and pledged them to obey the orders of Dewey and observe the rules of civilized warfare. After consulting Consul Williams, Wildman, with the consent of Dewey, took two Filipinos to Mirs Bay and put them on board the Olympia.
? Certain letters written by Mr. Wildman to Aguinaldo during June and July, 1898, do not put the consul-general in a very favorable light. They were printed in connection with Buencamino's Address to Congress, August 20, 1899. Cong. Rec., 57 Cong., Ist Sess., p. 6180.
8 Dewey's Autobiography, p. 175. No American vessel had visited Manila for three years and the last official report relative to the islands was dated 1876. Ibid., p. 175.
9 Mr. Williams to Mr. Day, Nov. 3, 1897. Sen. Doc. 62, p. 333.
Aguinaldo, who reached Hong Kong from Singapore on May 2, expressed to Wildman a desire to become a citizen of the United States, but, being informed that this was impossible, asked to be allowed to go to Manila and place himself under the orders of Dewey.10 It was finally arranged that he should sail on the revenue cutter McCulloch, and Wildman outlined the proclamation which was subsequently issued from Cavite for
10 Taylor, Phil. Insurg. Rec., 44, F. Z.
bidding pillage and making the abuse of neutrals a criminal of. fense. 11 Two months thereafter Wildman wrote to the State Department that, in view of the rumors that the United States on the conclusion of the war intended to return the islands to Spain, he desired to say that after years of experience with the thirty or forty Filipino leaders with whose fortunes he had been closely connected, he knew that they were "fighting for annexation to the United States firstly and for independence secondly, if the United States decides to decline the sovereignty of the Islands."12
The close association of the American consul with the Filipino junta naturally caused newspaper comment and on August 6 there came a cable from Washington disapproving statements which Wildman was reported by the London Daily Mail to have made to Aguinaldo, and forbidding him to make pledges or discuss questions of policy with the Filipino leaders. In reply he denied that he had made any pledges or discussed the policy of America with Aguinaldo further than to try to hold him to promises made before he left for Cavite. He and Consul Williams had taken the position that the insurgents were a necessary evil in the situation and that if Aguinaldo was placed in command Dewey and Merritt would have some one they could hold responsible for excesses. The other alternative was to allow the islands to be overrun by small bands bent on revenge and looting. They had made Aguinaldo no pledges and extracted from him but two promises, to obey unquestioningly the commander of the American forces and to conduct his warfare on civilized lines. He felt that he had taken Aguinaldo's measure, had some influence with him, and had used it for the benefit of the United States. He had no doubt but that Aguinaldo would like to be president of the Philippine Republic and that there might be a small coterie of his native advisers who entertained a like ambition. “But he was perfectly certain that the great majority of his followers and all the wealthy, educated Filipinos had but one desire, to become citizens of the United States of America."13
11 Mr. Wildman to Mr. Moore, July 18. 1898. Sen. Doc. 62, p. 336.
12 Mr. Williams to Mr. Day, July 18, 1898. Sen. Doc. 62, p. 336. In this despatch Wildman says that he was in Hong Kong in Sept., 1897, when Aguinaldo and his leaders arrived under contract with the Spanish government and that after waiting until November 1 for the payment of the promised money by Spain they lost faith in the promise and on November 3 Agoncillo came to him with the proposition transmitted to the Department in his despatch of November 3, 1897. Supra, p. 386. This is a mistake, as Aguinaldo and his companions did not sail from the Philippines until December 27, 1897.
Without occupation and denied access to the money which had been furnished by Spain for their support, it was inevitable that the exiled Filipinos should fall to quarreling among themselves. Aguinaldo was determined to conserve the funds for use in possible future military operations. He seems, however, to have become discouraged and disgusted with his companions, and after being made defendant in the lawsuit brought by Articho to compel a distribution of the money, he arranged for the modest support of the rest of the party, drew fifty thousand pesos from the bank and, under assumed names, engaged passage to Europe for himself, his aide, C. H. Del Pilar, and his secretary, J. M. Leyba. The party went first to Saigon in French Indo-China and from there to Singapore, where they arrived on April 22.14
13 Mr. Wildman to Mr. Moore, August 9, 1898. Sen. Doc. 62, p. 338.
His admiration for the insurgent leaders expressed in the letter of July 8, had now somewhat abated. Aguinaldo had for some weeks been getting what Dewey called the "big head" and had been writing sulky and childish letters. "My correspondence with Aguinaldo has been strictly of a personal nature and I have missed no opportunity to remind him of his ante bellum promises. His letters are childish and he is far more interested in the kind of cane he will carry or the breast-plate he will wear than in the figure he will make in history. The demands that he and his junta here have made upon my time are excessive and most tiresome. He is a man of petty moods and I have repeatedly had letters from Consul Williams requesting me to write to Aguinaldo a friendly letter congratulating him on his success and reminding him of his obligations." Sen. Doc. 62, p. 339.
Under the Spanish government a cane was the badge of office and the law still prescribes the description of cane which certain officers may carry.
14 Aguinaldo undoubtedly intended to go to Europe.
In an article in the Singapore Free Press, May 4, 1898, W. G. St. Clair, evidently upon information furnished by H. W. Bray, made the absurd statement that “the principal purpose of Aguinaldo's visit to Singapore was to consult other friends here, particularly Mr. Howard W. Bray, an old and intimate English friend and for fifteen years a resident of the Philippines, about the state of affairs in the islands, particularly as to the possibility of war between the United States and Spain and whether in such an event the United States would eventually recognize the independence of the Philippines provided he lent his cooperation to the Americans in the conquest of the country.” Just what special knowledge of the possibility of war between the United States and Spain this stray English newspaper writer in Singapore had does not appear. The article was written a few days after Pratt and Aguinaldo had their interview, and was designed to magnify Mr. Bray.
Consul Pratt first learned of Aguinaldo from an Englishman named Howard W. Bray, who had formerly lived in the Philippines but was then in Singapore writing for the Singapore Free Press. Whether he had known Aguinaldo personally does not appear. He certainly knew of his relation to the insurrection and, sensing an opportunity which might be turned to his own advantage, Bray arranged to bring the American consul and the former insurrectionary leader together. Aguinaldo, with a letter of credit for twenty-five thousand dollars gold and a ticket to Europe in his pocket, seems not to have been very anxious to consult with Pratt. However, during the night of April 22-23 Pratt, Aguinaldo, Del Pilar, Leyba and a Filipino resident of Singapore named Doctor Marcelino Santos met secretly and talked over the situation. Pratt neither spoke nor understood Spanish and Aguinaldo was ignorant of English. Bray, who acted as interpreter, was active in the interests of the Filipinos, and subsequently received five thousand dollars from Aguinaldo as compensation for his services at Singapore and Hong-Kong 15 It very satisfactorily appears from Bray's own correspondence that he was a man upon whose word no reliance could be placed. Sastron very justly observes that Bray "engineered the whole proceedings."'16
After his first talk with Aguinaldo, Pratt cabled Commodore Dewey that if desired Aguinaldo would go to Hong Kong to arrange with him for the cooperation of the insurgents. Dewey, who was expecting orders to sail for Manila, replied, “Tell Aguinaldo to come as soon as possible.” After receiving this cable Pratt had another interview with Aguinaldo, at which
15 In 1902 Buencamino said (Hearings, etc., Com. on Ins. Affrs., 1901-1903, p. 283) that the insurgent treasury was called upon to pay $6,000 to satisfy a judgment for libel which Pratt had obtained against Bray at Singapore.
16 La Insureccion en Filipinas, pp. 415-419.