Sunday, December 03, 2006

THE FILIPINO MARTYRS - Part 1: Chapters 1 to 2 - Eyewitness Report by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1900)

"......the Insurgent Government of the Philippine islands cannot be dealt with as though they were North American Indians willing to be removed from one reservation to another at the whim of their masters. If the United States decides not to retain the Philippine islands, its ten million people will demand independence, and the attempt of any foreign nation to obtain territory or coaling station will be resisted with the same spirit with which they fought the Spaniards."- U.S. Consul Rounsvelle Wildman (1864-1901) dispatch to John Basset-Moore, U.S.  Under Secretary of State

“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” – Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996

NOTES TO READERS:  Colored and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posts/articles. Forwarding this and other posts to relatives and friends, especially those in the homeland, is greatly appreciated. To share, use all social media tools: email, blog, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc. THANKS!!

Click the following underlined title/link to checkout these Essential/Primary Readings About Us Filipino Natives:

The Filipino Martyrs
A Story of the Crime of February 4, 1899
BY AN EYE WITNESS Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Barrister at Law, Inner Temple John Lane: The Bodley Head London and New York 1900

For the other Parts, point and click:

(Chapters 3,4, 5 found in Filipino Martyrs - Part 2 )
(Chapters 6-7 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 3 )
(Chapters 8-9 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 4)
(Chapters 10-11 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 5)

Hi All,

This book is a historical eyewitness report by British diplomat Richard Brinsley Sheridan on the American arrival, duplicity, and intervention during the revolution against Spain. It also demonstrates the determined and brave nationalism of our (Katipunan) revolutionary forefathers.

The report anger but most important reminds us that our revolutionaries were led by men who were aware of the principles of democracy and had plans for a democratic national government, but whose dreams for "the people," i.e. the native dispossessed native/Malay Filipino majority, were destroyed by the duplicitous, invading Americans in cooperation with local mendicant friends - our traitorous socioeconomic elite. The Americans have duped the na├»ve and sentimental, thus trusting native leadership.

Fast forward today, it is unfortunate, sad, and enraging that no significant change for the better has occurred in the attitudes and behaviors of our local elites, native and foreign, old and new.

Hopefully, this kind of glossed over and hidden, if not unpopular, history will make us consciously aware of our relevant past, of Filipino nationalism forgotten, ignored and debased, of mythologies and outright lies highlighted by the mock Battle of Manila Bay; of American intervention and occupation as God-ordained Manifest Destiny, of being colonized by America with the sole altruistic intent of so-called "benevolent assimilation," of us being the Americans' sweet-talked "little brown brothers," of us being constantly duped (especially each July 4th) by the old-tune "special relationship" with America, etc. ad nauseam.

Hopefully, all these long-unquestioned historical claims and myths we learned will be outgrown by well-thought, well-documented thus objective knowledge; and therefrom help us, as a people, to be more prudent and realistic in dealing with America and any other foreign nation.

In matters of true nationhood, mass ignorance is not bliss but brings and guarantees only misery and pain, as in the past, present, and foreseeable future.

(NOTE: Because of its length ---the book has 200+ pages, subsequent Chapters will be posted by installment)

- Bert

For the other Parts, point and click:

(Chapters 3,4, 5 found in Filipino Martyrs - Part 2 )
(Chapters 6-7 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 3 )
(Chapters 8-9 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 4)

(Chapters 10-11 found in Filipino Martyrs – Part 5)


The Filipino Martyrs - Chapters 1 and 2

A Story of the Crime of February 4, 1899, BY AN EYE WITNESS Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Barrister at Law, Inner Temple John Lane: The Bodley Head, London, and New York COPYRIGHT, 1900, By JOHN LANE.


Before giving my views and opinions to the public upon the American policy in the Philippines, I desire to state the circumstances, which took me to the islands. On my return from Mexico and the United States in the early part of 1897, I had occasion to go to China with my old friend, Mr. Cumming Macdona, M.P. After we had completed the work we had undertaken at Pekin, we decided to visit Manila, reputed in the East to be progressing under American rule. Little was known of the Filipinos in those parts of China, which we visited, except Hong Kong, where we heard varying reports, principally from Americans with commercial interests in the East.

I desire clearly to state that before we sailed for Manila I had no intention of committing my views or opinions to paper, or of criticizing either American policy or American discipline in the Philippines. I went there merely from idle curiosity to see the islands and the people. I did not understand that they were opposed to an American form of government, nor did I believe that there were issues to be considered by the great republic. I had frequently been told the Filipinos were a turbulent race of semi-barbarians, instinctively savage, and without the smallest desire to become civilized or to recognize the necessity either for religion or refinement.

When the American-Spanish War was declared in the cause of humanity and for the protection of weak people from the cruelties of a merciless oppressor, I was an enthusiastic advocate of America's humane policy. I regarded Americans then as I do now, the champions of the suffering, and believed that they were prepared to sacrifice the blood and the lives of their citizens, at any cost, in order that justice should be done, and the weak emancipated from tyranny and deception. 

America was hailed as the Saviour of the oppressed, not only by the English-speaking races of the earth but by foreigners in all the continents of the world. The attitude of Great Britain clearly demonstrated the feeling of the people. If European complications had arisen, and America had needed England as an ally, England was undoubtedly prepared to join her Anglo-Saxon brethren in the support of their holy cause.

I refer to this only to show that before I went to Manila on the United States despatch "Zafiro" (by the kind permission of Consul General Wildman) my sympathies were entirely American, as they are today, aside from any mistaken foreign policy. I believed the United States had acquired the Philippine Islands, not only by right of conquest, but by right of purchase, and I admired the generous gift of twenty million dollars made to conquered and bankrupt Spain. 

But, after a short time in Manila, I discovered that the Filipinos had been grossly misrepresented. Where I had expected to meet people unworthy of recognition, I found men of refinement and cultivation; individuals of intellect and education, who objected to the American policy of extermination, and to the arrogance of General Otis. It is for the individual American after a careful investigation to consider whether that policy should be remedied by the United States government or by the people themselves.

In consequence of what I saw I decided to remain in the Philippines until I could collect sufficient information, which I was careful should be verified, as far as possible, and to write shortly and without animus a statement of those events which should long since have been brought to the knowledge of the American people. I am satisfied that what I have written is almost entirely unknown to the majority now demanding information, in order to judge whether the Filipinos have been wronged or to decide whether the Americans have been duped.

The emancipators of slaves, the great advocates for justice, will not permit enormities to be committed in the name of liberty, or pledges to be broken in the cause of justice, and to remain unredressed and unfulfilled.

I do not dedicate this work to the government of the United States, but to the citizens of America, in the North, the South, the East, and the West, who are known among nations and among men to be loyal to their creeds, both political and commercial, and to respect the rights and privileges of their fellow-creatures, no matter what the color of their skin may be, or whether they be in peace or in times of war.

It is time the people, and not the government, took in hand this question and insisted upon the publication of all letters and cables sent to the Philippines, and the replies received at Washington - then, and then only, will they be the true arbitrators of a cause which threatens to obliterate some of the most illustrious pages in American history.




Hopes of Filipinos on the Declaration of War between America and Spain-Spanish Corruption---Spanish Fleet goes to Subig, but quickly returns---Arrival of the American Squadron at Corregidor---Incompetency of Spanish Naval Officers ---They were absent from their Ships on the Eve of the Battle of Manila Bay ---Desertion of Spanish Sailors.

Entrances to Manila Bay reported mined ---Courageous Entrance of Admiral Dewey with his Ships---Condition of the Spanish Fleet---Ships scuttled by their Commanders ---Description of the Engagement --- Little or No Damage done to the American Vessels --- Fears of European Merchants --- Admiral Dewey's Opinion of the Battle---A Dangerous Torpedo Boat - Capture of Cavite

Admiral Dewey awaiting Instructions from Washington ---Foreign Vessels permitted in Manila Harbour---Sir Edward Chichester's Attitude --- German Interference ---Admiral Dewey threatens German Admiral --- Blockade and Condition of Manila.

Aguinaldo invited to fight for the Americans --- Promises of Independence --- Proceeds to Cavite on Board an American Warship --- Negotiations with Aguinaldo --- Hon. Edward Spencer Pratt communicates with his Government ---His Defence ---Quotations from the Temps --- Aguinaldo armed by the Americans --- His Victorious Campaign --- Admiral Dewey's Position --- General Merritt's Arrival ---His Proclamation --- Cables between Admiral Dewey and Washington --- Aguinaldo's Flag saluted---American Soldiers instructed to salute Filipino Officers---Aguinaldo's Treatment of Prisoners..


General Merritt instructed by his Government to repudiate Filipinos, yet accepts their Cooperation --- Merritt orders Filipinos to evacuate Trenches---Attack and Retreat of the Americans from Fort San Antonio ---Guns abandoned, recaptured by the Filipinos ---Attack on Spaniards by Filipinos continued and sanctioned by General Merritt --- Conditions of Manila during Siege --- Capture of Manila---Unnecessary Sacrifice of Men --- Aguinaldo's Action in the Taking of Manila ---A Commission agrees to Terms of Capitulation ---Five Thousand Spaniards taken Prisoners---Aguinaldo's Offer to disarm on Special Terms---American Indifference

General Merritt's Proclamation --- Further American Government Cables to Dewey ---Arrival of General Otis --- Departure of General Merritt for Paris Conference---His Views of the Filipinos---His Corroboration of Aguinaldo's Wrongs --- Senor Agoncillo's Reply to General Merritt's Statements.
The American Occupation of Manila — Treatment of Prisoners - --Attitude taken by General Otis ---Cruel Treatment of the Filipinos --- Newspapers attack Aguinaldo in their Articles --- Repeated Scares --- Filipinos ordered to withdraw from Manila ---General Otis as a Tactician.

Manila in January, I899 ---Increased Wages---Immigration of Chinese forbidden---American Uniforms --- Cafes in Manila --- Officer's Opinion of his Men ---Dissipation among the Troops ---A Transport for the Provinces

General Otis publishes a Proclamation --- Hostile Intention shown--- General Otis blunders---General Aguinaldo publishes Two Proclamations.

Anxious Time in Manila ---Another Proclamation---Exodus of Natives Rumoured Massacre of Americans --- Within the " Rebel" Lines --- The British Flag a Passport — " Rebel" Launches Drill of " Rebel" Soldiers ---Otis declines to assist British Merchants --- The Forces at Cavite ---Another Scare ---A Filipino Child shot dead.

Conversation with Aguinaldo and Buencamino ---Invitation by the Merchants to act as Intermediary between Otis and Aguinaldo---Rising reported Imminent --- Conversation with Dewey---American Views of Situation ---A Visit to Corregidor ---Description of American Hospital.

Caloocan on the 22nd of January, I899---Presidential Election---Two American Deserters in Filipino Army---Archbishop P. Nozaleda ---A Native Luncheon Party in the Interior.

Malolos, February 4th, 1899---Outbreak of Filipino-American War ---Panic at the Circus --- Behaviour of Volunteers --- A Trying Night ---Filipino Lines shelled by American Warships---Fires in and around the City --- Paco Church destroyed--- Remarkable Graves and Customs.

Battle of Santa Ana-Position of English Residents --- Retreat of Filipinos --- A Conversation with an American Officer ---Future Difficulties of the Campaign--- Butchery of Filipinos —A Proclamation of Aguinaldo---The Filipinos repulsed--- Higgins's House shelled

Seizure of Private Property by American Volunteers--- Murder of Filipino Coachman ---Women
improperly examined ---Caloogan taken ---Aguinaldo publishes Proclamation Commissioners appointed --- Opinions of their Capabilities




IN the following plain statement of facts, as I have seen and known them in the Philippines, I do not propose to enter into a detailed account of the history of the islands. It is well, however, to mention briefly, that they were discovered by Magellan in 1521 when he landed on Cebu. Later however he received a mortal wound on the island of Mactan. 

In 1563, Philip II. of Spain sent an expedition from Mexico under the command of Legaspi. This adventurer took forcible possession of the island of Cebu in 1565, pacifying and annexing all the neighboring islands. The archipelago was, in consequence, named after Philip II. In I570, Juan Salcedo, the grandson of Legaspi, was sent to the island of Luzon, where he was well received by Lacandola, Rajah of Tondo, and Soliman, Rajah of Manila. In 1571, Legaspi proclaimed the sovereignty of Spain over the whole group of islands and made Manila the capital.

In 1574, a famous Chinese pirate of the name of Li-Ma-Hong, who had been outlawed by the Emperor of China, entered the bay of Manila, with some sixty-two armed junks and about five thousand men, and demanded the surrender of the city. Li-Ma-Hong was, however, defeated, and ultimately escaped to the north, where many of his followers intermarried with the natives of the island. The Dutch, always the enemies of Spain, were frequent invaders of the Philippines, but in all cases were repulsed. In 1762, the war having been declared by England against France and Spain, the British troops conquered Manila and entered the city on the 5th of October of that year. 

By the Treaty of Paris, dated the 10th of February 1763, it was agreed that the British should evacuate Manila. They had retained possession for about one year. The forces were accordingly withdrawn, on Spain agreeing to pay a ransom. The Philippine Islands have therefore been a Spanish colony for a period of some three hundred years, yet today they are still unexplored and undeveloped, not on account of the poverty of the islands, for there is no question of their immense wealth, metallurgically and agriculturally, but from the gross neglect of their indolent conqueror.

The estimated area is about one hundred thousand square miles. The archipelago comprises over a thousand islands, the more important being Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Cebu, Negros, Panay, Leyte, etc. The population may be divided into three groups. The inhabitants of the Lowlands, the Hill tribes, and the Mohammedans. The first of the group are Filipinos. They are a peaceable race of an extremely intelligent order, who suffered from patience for many years all the tortures of Spanish inquisitions and oppressions.

In the second group may be mentioned Igorrotes, Itavis, Gaddanes, Nigritos, and Tinguianes. These men are of a lower order both as regards intelligence and character. They are more in the nature of barbarians or savages, recognizing no law; nevertheless, they are peaceable and amiable. In the hunt, they use for the most part the bow and arrow. As a rule, they avoid the civilized parts of the islands.

The third group is the Mohammedans, found principally in the northwestern parts of Mindanao and on other islands in the Sulu seas. These people are a fierce and warlike race, whose country is unsafe for Europeans without an escort. They make their pilgrimages periodically to Mecca.

Having dealt as briefly as possible with the history, and having sketched slightly the general character of the inhabitants, I propose to describe the position taken by the representatives of the American government in the Philippine Islands.



Hopes of Filipinos on the Declaration of War between America and Spain --- Spanish Corruption ---Spanish Fleet goes to Subig, but quickly returns --- Arrival of the American Squadron at Corregidor --- Incompetency of Spanish Naval Officers ---They were absent from their Ships on the Eve of the Battle of Manila Bay --- Desertion of Spanish Sailors.

THE Filipino people, when war between America and Spain was declared, saw for the first time a ray of hope that their servitude to Spain, lasting nearly three centuries, might be terminated. They did not anticipate that America, whose home interests were so vast that it was almost inconceivable for her to care for conquest, would decide to increase her territories or extend her power in the East, and they therefore naturally expected that the issue of the war would be Filipino independence. The Filipinos were aware that the origin of the war was the inhuman treatment of the Cubans by Spanish administrators, and that America had started the war was undertaken in the interests of humanity, and not for the purpose of annexation or extension.

The American people are doubtless unaware of much that has since transpired in the Philippine Islands. They are ignorant of many important facts in connection with this war in the East, and they do not realize the situation with respect to the broken pledges given by American representatives to the Filipino leaders. There has been systematic deception, possibly for political reasons. They have no knowledge of the barbaric treatment to which the Filipinos were subjected by the American volunteers. Neither the American people nor the resident Europeans in the Philippines know the motives which induced General Otis to commence hostilities on the night of February 4, I899.

At that time the American and European press was unrepresented in the islands, and later, when correspondents arrived at Manila, they found a censor appointed who would not permit telegrams either to be sent or to be received. So strictly were these instructions carried out, that European merchants were not allowed to transmit their ordinary business telegrams from Manila without first making a declaration that the messages contained no reference to the war.

Manila was under martial law of the severest kind, and has been so since the I3th of August 1898; and had the people of America known the real condition of the Filipinos, and the methods which were adopted to subjugate and to deceive them, it is probable they would have withdrawn their support and sympathy from a war which, although commenced with the highest and noblest motives, has been carried on by so continuous an exercise of cruelty and injustice, that it has involved the violation of all the rules of public faith and civilized warfare.

When the news reached Manila that the American fleet during the Spanish-American struggle had arrived at Hong Kong, it was hailed by both Europeans and Filipinos as the destroyer of Spanish rule, the full horrors of which have been absolutely unknown to the civilized nations of the Western world. Spain may well look east and regret the loss of a colony which naturally was one of the richest in the world, but under her government became degenerated and demoralized. 

She may well reproach herself with a system of government which must be a lasting disgrace to her as a recognized Power; a system so loose and so wickedly disorganized that her colonial officers deceived her ministers at home, and appropriated monies provided for the advancement and improvement of the islands; - a system by which the Spanish rulers robbed and plundered openly those whom it was their duty to protect, and to whom good moral influence and honest examples should have been given.

These officials, in league with certain renegade priests, - a shame to their religion and to their order, - traded on the power given them from Spain and from Rome, and with the worst motives worked upon the fears of a simple, superstitious, and law-abiding people. It is a strange enigma that Spain, surrounded by and in amicable communication with the greatest nations in the world, has alone failed to progress or to advance with modern civilization; that she, the oldest of all colonizers, is remembered only for centuries of cruelty and persecution, and that, among the Christian nations of the earth, she alone remains unchanged. The terrors of the Inquisition and its elaborate tortures -the special feature of that Inquisition -have been perpetuated in her colonies, even down to the days of the recent war between herself and America.

It is no longer a matter for wonder that of all the colonies of that glorious empire, given her by the Pope, and subdued by the conquering arms of her adventurous sons, not one now remains - nothing but the record of her folly, her indescribable wickedness, and her everlasting shame.

The Spanish fleet in Philippine waters, intended and believed to be sufficient protection for the islands, was regarded by the inhabitants of Manila, both Spanish and foreign, as more than useless. It was a well-known fact that the majority of her ships were unable to steam either at any great speed or to any great distance and that they were officered by totally incompetent men.

When the American fleet was reported to have left Hong Kong for Manila, no steps had been taken to mine, at Corregidor, the entrance to the bay of Manila. No guns had been mounted, nor had any efforts been made to protect the entrance to the bay or to the harbor, which with ordinary care could have been made absolutely impregnable.

Before the arrival of the Americans at Manila, it was decided by the Spanish admiral to take such ships of his fleet as we're able to steam to Subic Bay, which is beyond Corregidor on the north. Admiral Montojo knew that by no possibility could the enemy arrive there in time to give him battle, and he thought, therefore, it would appear to the home government that he had done a brave and daring deed in going out into the China seas to meet his American opponents. Scarcely had he arrived at Subic than he received information that the American fleet had been sighted at the northern end of the island of Luzon. He issued immediate instructions for his fleet to return to Cavite, and there take up their positions in the shallowest water, at Sangley Point.

I do not suggest that the Spanish officers and men were necessarily cowards, but they obviously knew that their unseaworthy vessels were unfit to enter into any naval engagement and that their guns were of such a character and in such a condition as to render them practically useless.

The Spanish sailors, too, were aware that their superior officers were incompetent to command or to control their vessels. It is known that many of these officers were not in command of their ships, but were spending the night of the 30th of April in the cafes of the city of Manila. On war being declared, it was rumored that some two hundred and twenty-four Spanish sailors deserted from their ships.


SOURCE: The Filipino Martyrs
A Story of the Crime of February 4, 1899
BY AN EYE WITNESS Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Barrister at Law, Inner Temple John Lane: The Bodley Head London and New York 1900

"The Philippines makes a decent representative example of the US' first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as "civilizational imperialism" - a project we're presently repeating.

"Lest this seems to be the bellicose pipe-dream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini.

No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future." - --Major General Smedley D. Butler, America's Armed Forces: 'In Time of Peace', 1935. 1898-1914: The Philippines


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Hello sir,

Thank you so much for sharing this books with us. I hope you will continue to publish the rest of the chapters.

Good luck to you and your endeavors!

God bless!