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The Philippine-American War
Gen Merritt's Proclamation of Occupation of Manila




HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
August 14th, 1898

To the People of the Philippines:
  1. War has existed between the Unites States and Spain since April 21st of this year. Since that date you have witnessed the destruction by an American fleet of the Spanish naval power in these islands, the fall of the principal city Manila and its defences, and the surrender of the Spanish army of occupation to the forces of the United States.
     
  2. The commander of the Unites States forces now in possession has instructions from his government to assure the people that he has not come to wage war upon them, but to protect them in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and religious rights. All persons who by active aid or honest submission cooperate with the Unites States in its efforts to give effect to this beneficent purpose will receive the reward of its support and protection.
     
  3. The government established among you by the Unites States army is a government of military occupation, and for the present it is ordered that the municipal lawas, such as affect private rights of persons and property, regulate local institutions, and provide for the punishment of crime, shall be considered as continuing in force, so far as compatible with the purposes of military government, and that they be administered through the ordinary tribunals substantially as before occupation, but by officials appointed by the government of occupation.
     
  4. A provost-marshal general will be appointed for the city of Manila and its outlying districts. This territory will be divided into subdistricts, and there will be assigned to each a deputy provost-marshal.

    The duties of the provost-marshal general and his deputies will be set forth in detail in future orders. In a general way, they are charged with the duty of making arrests of military as well as civil offenders, sending such of the former class as are triable by court martial to their proper commands, with statements of their offences and names of witnesses, and detaining in custody all other offenders for trial by military commission, provost courts, or native criminal courts in accordance with law and the instructions hereafter to be issued.
     

  5. The port of Manila and all other ports and places in the Philippines which may be in actual possession of our land and naval forces will be open while our military occupation may continue, to the commerce of neutral nations as well as our own, in articles not contraband of war and upon payment of the prescribed rates of duty which may be in force at the time of importation.
     
  6. All churches and places devoted to religious worship and to the arts and sciences, and all educational institutions, libraries, scientific collections, museums, are, so far as possible, to be protected, and all destruction or intentional defacement of such places of property, of historical monuments, archives, or works of science, is prohibites save when required by urgent military necessity -- severe punishment will be meted out for all violations of this regulation.

    The custodian of all properties of the character mentioned in this section will make prompt returns thereof to these headquarters, stating characterrrrrr and location, and embodying such recommendations as they may think proper for the full protection of the properties under their care and custody, that proper orders may issue enjoining the cooperation of both military and civil authorities in securing such protection.


     
  7. The commanding general, in announcing the establishment of military government, and in entering upon his duties as military governor in pursuance of his appointment as such by the government of the Unites States, desires to assure the people that so long as they preserve the peace and perform their duties toward the representative of the United States, they will not be disturbed in their persons and property, except in so fas as may be found necessary for the good of the service of the Unites States and the benefit of the people of the Philippines.
     

(Signed) WESLEY MERRITT.
Major General, Unites States Army, Commanding

 

Source : The Filipino Martyrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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