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Basilio Agustin y Dávila, Governor General of the Philippines





(Published by the Manila daily papers, April 23,1898.)


     Between Spain and the United States of North America hostilities have broken out.

     The moment has arrived to prove to the world that we possess the spirit to conquer those who, pretending to be loyal friends, take advantage of our misfortune and abuse our hospitality, using means which civilized nations count unworthy and disreputable.

     The North American people, constituted of all the social excresences, have exhausted out patience and provoked war with their perfidious machinations, with their acts of treachery, and with their outrages against the laws of nations and international treaties.

     The struggle will be short and decisive. The God of victories will give us one as complete as the righteousness and justice of our cause demand. Spain, which counts upon the sympathies of all the nations, will emerge triumphant from this new test, humiliating and blasting the adventurers from those States that, without cohesion and without a history, offer to humanity only infamous traditions and the spectacle of a Congress in which appear united insolence and defamation, cowardice and cynicism.

     A squadron manned by foreigners1 possessing neither instruction nor discipline, is preparing to come to this archipelago with the ruffianly intention of robbing us of all that means life, honor and liberty. Pretending to be inspired by a courage of which they are incapable, the North American seamen undertake as an enterprise capable of realization the substitution of Protestantism for the Catholic religion you profess, to treat you as tribes refractory to civilization, to take possession of your riches as if they were unacquainted with the rights of property, and to kidnap those persons whom they consider useful to man their ships or to be exploited in agricultural or industrial labor.

     Vain designs: Ridiculous boastings:

     Your indomitable bravery will suffice to frustrate the attempt to carry them into realization. You will not consent that they shall profane the faith that you profess, that impious footsteps shall defile the temple of the true God, nor that unbelief shall destroy the holy images which you adore.  The agressors shall not profane the tombs of your fathers, they shall not gratify their lustful passions at the cost of your wives’ and daughters’ honor, nor appropriate the property which your industry has accumulated to assure your livelihood. No, they shall not perpetrate any of these crimes inspired by their wickedness and covetousness, because your valor and patriotism will suffice to punish and abase the people that, claiming to be civilized and cultivated, have exterminated tha natives of North America instead of bringing to them the life of civilization and progress.

     Philippinos,prepare for the struggle,and, united under the glorious flag of Spain,which is ever covered with laurels, let us fight with conviction that victory will crown our efforts,and to the summons of our enemies let us oppose with the decision of the Christian and the patriot the cry of “Viva Espana.”

Manila, April 23, 1898.         Your General

Basilio Augustin Y Davila.2

(Printed on board U.S.Flagship Olympia, Cavite, May 7, 1898.)

Source Note: Contemporary Translation, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 363.

Footnote 1: According to historian Frederick Harrod, most United States Navy captains tended to enlist qualified seaman from large coastal ports regardless of their nationality. As a result, a noticeable portion of all crews on United States naval ships were of foreign birth. However, this did not mean that these sailors were not, or did not eventually become, American citizens. Frederick Harrod, Manning the New Navy: The Development of a Modern Naval Enlisted Force, 1899-1940 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 13, 16.      

Footnote 2: A copy of this proclamation was delivered by the United States Consul at Manila, Oscar F. Williams, and read aloud to the crew of the Olympia after it departed Mirs Bay on 28 April 1898. Ronald Spector, Admiral of the New Empire, 56.

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