There are repeated rumors that Aguinaldo, the leader of the uprising, arrived yesterday from Hongkong. He must have arrived on the MacCulloch. It is alleged that Commodore Dewey greeted him as a friend and ally, and has promised to provide him with arms for his troops: two cannons and 500 rifles.
Aguinaldo, a 30-year-old upstart, is involved in the rebellion because of a personal affront. He was brought up by the priests, the Jesuits in particular, and took a resolute vow against the supremacy of the clergy in the Philippines. He seems to possess fiery courage, astuteness, and energy. I could perhaps meet him personally if I approach the avid followers who surround him. In Hongkong, where the birth of the uprising took place, he enjoyed good rapport with the Americans. In a situation like this, the needs of the moment temporarily bind those in search of allies, but behind such declarations of loyalty lies the danger of later betrayal. Here the Americans evidently need Aguinaldo and the insurgents who, in turn, use the help of the Americans to start the uprising. The manifesto which appeared in Hongkong in April 1898 concludes with the following words: “Long live the Philippines! Long live liberty and civil rights! Long live the great United States of America! Long live President McKinley and Admiral Dewey!”
This proclamation has considerable moral and political interest because it was dated in April, but it had already be conferred on Commodore Dewey the rank which he earned from his victory of May 1. This single fact is a clear indication that everything was planned in advance between the Americans and the rebels in Hongkong, with the blessings of the English.
The Americans were waiting for certain developments to take place before acting. Now that they have brought Aguinaldo into the sphere of action, they will start mobilizing their gold and their guns. But for the moment, it is not certain whether Commodore Dewey will activate his troops or not. I suspect the Americans of having an evangelic plan. They will let the rebels carry out their task by assisting them in entering Manila, and if need be, allowing them to sack the city in two or three days. Once their soldiers arrive from America, they will have them disembark on the pretext of restoring order. Thus, in the name of Christian zeal, after taking over the city, they will remain in Manila.
Some confirm, while others deny, that there are sick soldiers on board the American ships. It is reported that smallpox has broken out on the Boston. It is easy to believe that people can get sick in this climate. The humid heat can be enervating and particularly pernicious, especially for the idle. A good diet and some entertainment can prevent the erosion of the sailor’s morale.