In a few days the Spanish steamer Compania de Filipinas was brought to Cavite by my countrymen, who captured her in the harbour of Aparri. Cannon were at once mounted on board this vessel and she was loaded with troops and despatched for Olongapo, but she had not gone far before I sent another gunboat to recall her because Admiral Dewey requested me to do so in order that a question raised by the French Consul might be duly settled. The Admiral having been informed that when captured the Compania de Filipinas was flying the Spanish flag abstained from interfering in the matter and handed the French Consul’s protest over to me, affirming at the same time that he and his forces were in no way concerned in the matter.
This incident, which was soon settled, clearly demonstrates the recognition of and protection extended to the Philippine Revolution by Admiral Dewey.
The Filipinas (as this steamer has since been styled) was again despatched to Olongapo and on her way back landed troops in the provinces of Cagayan and the Batanes islands for the purpose of wresting the government of those districts from Spain. This steamer, whose name has more recently been changed to Luzon, is at present ashore in the Rio Grande, in Cagayan, where she was beached owing to some damage to her machinery.
When our steamers were leaving the harbour with troops for the provinces they dipped their ensigns in passing Admiral Dewey’s flagship Olympia, performing this act in conformity with the rules of international courtesy, a demonstration of friendship that was invariably promptly responded to in the usual way.
The Proclamation of Independence
The Dictatorial Government decided that the proclamation of Independence should take place on the 12th June, the ceremony in connection therewith to be held in the town of Kawit. With this object in view I sent a Commission to inform the Admiral of the arrangement and invite him to be present on the occasion of the formal proclamation of Independence, a ceremony which was solemnly and impressively conducted. The Admiral sent his Secretary to excuse him from taking part in the proceedings, stating the day fixed for the ceremony was mail day.
About the end of that month (June) the Spanish gunboat Leyte escaped from the Macabebe river and reached Manila Bay, where she was seized by General Torres’ troops. She had on board part of the troops and volunteers which were under the command of the Filipino Colonel Sr. Eugenio Blanco, but on being sighted by an American gunboat she voluntarily surrendered. Admiral Dewey delivered to me all the prisoners and arms on board the vessel, which latter, however, he took possession of; but after the fall of Manila he demanded that I should give back the prisoners to him.