Page images

with steep banks. Though the religious Orders have some of their best estates in Cavite, the province is yet full of wood, bush, and patches of reed. These montes, cogonales, and cañiverales supply ample cover to the Tagalos, and afford the material for stockades. Wet as the province is in the rainy season, there is often a difficulty in finding waterparticularly for large bodies of men-in the dry months.

A country of this character presents obvious advantages to the side which is fighting to resist invasion, even when it is well supplied with roads and bridges. But from the very nature of Spanish administration there were few of the first and still fewer of the second. The Filipinos, too, were far from being ill supplied with arms. Colonel Monteverde calculates that they possessed some 15,000 good rifles, Remingtons, Springfields, or Berdans. They clearly never wanted for cartridges. Some of these weapons were seized in the stations of the Civil Guard overpowered by the rebels in the early days of the rising; others were brought in by deserters from the native troops. Not a few must have been obtained by smuggling. The Filipinos had no modern ordnance, but endeavoured to supply the want by guns of their own invention called lantacas. From Colonel Monteverde's description it would seem that the lantaca bears a close resemblance to the once famous Swedish guns of the army of Gustavus Adolphus, which were made of copper and

leather. The inner tube is a piece of iron water-pipe. Bars of metal are laid along it and well fastened on, served, as the sailors would say, with rope, and the whole covered with leather. The breech-piece was made of wood. Rude as these guns are, they can still do damage. Colonel Monteverde describes how one of his comrades, Major Vidal, was blown to pieces by one of them while leading his men to the storm of a stockade. One can believe that, when well charged with slugs and nails, and fired at short range into a storming party, they are capable of scattering a good few wounds.

Necessity has plainly proved herself once more to be the mother of invention, even among the Filipinos. But, indeed, Colonel Monteverde's narrative leaves the impression that these barbarians are by no means so feebly barbarous in their tactics as we might believe them to be when we only knew that they had finally prevailed over the Spaniards. Thanks, no doubt, to the preliminary efforts of the Katipunan, they possessed a regular military organisation. At the head was Emilio Aguinaldo as Generalissimo, with his staff of lieutenants-general, majorsgeneral (in Spanish, Mariscales de Campo), brigadiers, and so on. All these officers had their due insignia. In the matter of uniform the Filipinos were indifferent, but their marks of rank were simple and not without decorative merit. On the whole the Filipino measures of defence were not contemptible. Their

[merged small][ocr errors]

villages, usually built by the side of a stream, in one, two, or three long streets joined by lines, were fortified. Lunettes covered the ends, stockades arranged in quincunx were erected to close all openings, and the solid stone churches built by the friars were barricaded and loopholed. In many cases these works were constructed by Filipinos who had been educated as civil engineers. The sections and profiles given by Colonel Monteverde do not look contemptible. Nor was it only round the villages that these works were to be found. Many were erected, and strengthened by abutting riflepits and trenches, to stop the roads through through the forests. Finally, there was one resource to which the Tagalos might be driven. In order keep water for irrigation in the dry months, many presas or weirs have been constructed on the upper reaches of the rivers in Cavite. It was seriously feared by the Spanish authorities that, if driven to desperation, their enemies would flood the country by opening the sluices.

Colonel Monteverde speaks with more rancour than generosity of the fighting quality of his foes. Their rebellion is to his mind explicable only by a double dose of original sin. Their courage is to his mind founded only on folly, ignorance, superstitions, and an unpardonable hatred of the Spaniard. As for the superstitions of the Tagalos, and all other Filipinos, there can be no question. Colonel Monteverde assures us that in several actions they

were led by a boy who wore wings, and who in their belief bore a charmed life by virtue of an extremely powerful Antinganting, and the protection of an archangel. Mr Worcester has much to say of the confidence the natives have in these charms, and how impossible it is to remove their belief. They will present you with one of them, and assert that it cannot be damaged by a bullet. When you destroy it with a welldirected shot, they only remark that your Anting - anting is stronger than theirs. Anything, apparently, will do, so long as it is credited with magic powers, a book, a button, a medal, a fragment of metal, a piece of paper with a few words of gibberish written on it, may all be Anting-antings. Colonel Monteverde gives specimens of this last kind. They are covered with rude drawings of a symbolical religious character, and words of dog Latin. Colonel Monteverde's contempt for these amulets does not sit very gracefully on a Spaniard. The bullfighters of his own country go into the ring protected by such things. Among the soldiers who served under Colonel Monteverde's orders there must have been many who carried round their necks little medals bearing the picture of the Virgin or some saint, blessed by the priest, and given to them by their mothers in the villages of Castile, of Aragon, and the hillsides of Navarre. And if these things are not Anting-antings, the reason is that this is not the name for them in Castilian.

We cannot follow the Spanish colonel in his minute account of the fighting in the early months of 1897. The general plan of the operations is sufficiently simple. Polavieja himself held the northern part of the province of Cavite, while his lieutenant-Lachambre-in command of the left division of the army, some 13,000 men with artillery, advanced in a succession of turning movements from the shores of the Laguna de Bay on the western side. The object was to drive the Filipinos from their fortified villages in the interior of Cavite and pin them up against the shores of the bay of Manila. It was carried out with a large measure of success. General Lachambre advanced southward from his headquarters at San Domingo with his three brigades, marching on parallel routes through a closely wooded country. They were often out of sight and hearing of one another. Communications had to be kept up by staff-officers, who rode across country by guesswork, or by the compass. An active enemy

who could have attacked with reasonable hope of success might have punished the Spaniards severely for thus dividing their forces. But methods which would infallibly spell disaster if tried against a European enemy answer well when put in practice against Orientals. They did in this case. The Filipinos had no idea of what is meant by beating an enemy in detail, and little notion of aggressive movements of any kind. To judge by the telegrams which have come of late

from Manila, they are more bold against the Americans than Colonel Monteverde found them. The only forms of offensive movement they practised were occasional rushes at small outposts, and incessant "sniping" at the Spanish troops on the march and in bivouac. The colonel confesses that this form of worry proved at first a severe trial to the young soldiers who filled the ranks of Lachambre's division. But they soon grew hardened to it, on discovering how badly the Filipinos aimed. After making a large allowance for Colonel Monteverde's natural partiality for his countrymen, we come on the whole to the conclusion that the military quality of the troops engaged in this campaign was nowise inferior to that of the American soldiers who are now fighting in the same region. Indeed, the very good-natured account which Major Younghusband gives of the American soldiers he saw at Manila leaves no very exalted impression of their military qualities. On the whole, it seems at least as fortunate for them as for the Spaniards that the Filipinos, like most Orientals, have an excessive reliance on rifle-pits, trenches, stockades, and loopholed walls, and that they seem incapable of learning the proper answer to a flank attack.

In this campaign of February and March 1897, the Filipinos certainly acted on a uniform plan. They held the stockades and abattis which they had made across the roads or round their villages till the Spaniards were able to turn their flanks,

and carry the positions by storm after preparing the way by artillery fire. Their local knowledge, and the thickly wooded nature of the country generally, enabled them to escape prolonged pursuit; but this kind of defensive policy can lead to only one result when the assailant is in sufficient numbers, and when his operations are conducted on a combined and intelligent plan. Little by little the Filipinos were driven into a corner. General Lachambre first forced his way south to the mountain of Mataas-na- lupa, and the town of Silang, which he stormed. Then he wheeled to the right, and, having got his enemy on the run, kept him on the run. Meanwhile General Polavieja took care that the Filipinos did not escape to the north-at least, not in an organised body. Many did, no doubt, slip away between the Spanish divisions; but as army, in any serious sense of the word, the native force ceased to exist. As they were more and more driven to the wall, the resistance of the Filipinos grew fiercer, which is to their honour. At Salitran, one At Salitran, one of the later actions of the campaign, where General Zabala was killed, the fighting was desperate. But the storm of Silang, which was one of the earlier actions, was typical of them all. This place is a large village, or small town, formed of three long streets with crosslanes. It contains a strongly built stone church and convent. The ground about it is much broken, and covered with bush. When the Spaniards, after a number of minor actions on the



way, reached the place, it was full of rebels, who had collected there in great numbers, relying on the natural strength of the position, and the fortifications they had erected all about it. Yet it was stormed with the loss of some seventy or eighty in all to the Spaniards, and of several hundreds to the rebels. The assailants broke in at one end, and took the defenders in flank. Like most Orientals—or indeed like most men till they are taught what to do in such the Filipinos cannot stand being attacked in that fashion, though they will stick stoutly to their barricades against an enemy who comes on in front. The difficulty of the Spaniards was not to beat the Filipinos, but to overcome the natural obstacles of a roadless country (for the want of roads they had of course to thank themselves), the want of water in the dry season, the heat, the bush, and their insufficient local knowledge. It never seems to have suggested itself to Colonel Monteverde that this last deficiency was discreditable to his countrymen. The new-comers from Spain could not be expected to know the the paths through the bush and forest. But there was an almost total want of guides, whether Spanish residents or natives. Only one of these last volunteered to serve, and he made it a condition that he should be allowed to disguise himself in a false beard and moustache, and that his name should be concealed. If General Lachambre's division had not accidentally captured two babaes or native girls in a wood, they would have had

As a rule, the inhabitants fled before the Spaniards. A GovA Government must surely have been bad indeed when it has contrived to get itself hated to this extent.

no local information whatever. leaders were discouraged by defeat, and not unwilling to be bought off. be bought off. So the treaty of Biacnabató was made, Aguinaldo and some score and a half of others received a sum down, promises of more, and a safeconduct to Hong-kong. Then the Spanish Government came to the premature conclusion that all was over. It withdrew 7000 of its men, and prepared to settle down once more on its pillow. But all was not over. On the contrary, many minor patriots who had not shared in the benefits of the treaty of Biacnabató took up arms, and began a guerrillero warfare. They were persuaded, not absurdly, that rebellion was a quick and not too dangerous method of making a fortune. The wet season soon carried off more men than had been recalled to Spain, and in 1898 the garrison was again overtaxed everywhere. Meanwhile the troubles of the Spaniards had been increased by an untimely exhibition of the most odious side of their character. A blatant ruffian of the name of Comenge, who took upon himself to play the patriot at Manila, went about preaching "energetic measures." In plain words, this meant massacre, and under the stimulus of this ruffian's speeches a mob of volunteers attacked and murdered some Visaya sailors. The Visayas are inhabitants of the islands south of Luzon, which had hitherto remained quiet. It may be that they would have revolted sooner or later in any case; but it is very probable that the report of this massacre hastened the rising.

Colonel Monteverde, in the course of his rather misnamed brief reflections, remarks that his countrymen have never failed at each successive stage of their history to display military capacity. A good deal might be said upon that point, but it may be allowed that the campaign of Cavite proves them still able to produce officers who can lead and men who can follow. The instructions of General Polavieja are thorough and workmanlike, including some very sensible remarks on the consequences of using a magazine rifle with indiscreet haste. General Lachambre carried out the orders of his commander-in-chief ably. But the end of this spasm of effectual activity was comically Spanish. General Polavieja was attacked by ophthalmia and compelled to resign, which, however, was an accident such as might have happened to anybody. But the conduct of General Lachambre was most truly Spanish. He came home to enjoy an ovation. As for the Government, it behaved like itself. It came to the conclusion that a few fine words and а little money would complete the pacification of the Philippines. General Primo de Rivera was sent out with orders to make an arrangement on the model of the convention of Zanjon, which wound up the ten years' war in Cuba in 1878 -after a fashion. The rebel

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »