Proclamation 483—Granting Pardon and Amnesty to Participants in Insurrection in the Philippines

July 04, 1902

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas, many of the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago were in insurrection against the authority and sovereignty of the kingdom of Spain at divers times from August, 1896, until the cession of the archipelago by that kingdom to the United States of America, and since such cession many of the persons so engaged in insurrection have until recently resisted the authority and sovereignty of the United States; and

Whereas, the insurrection against the authority and sovereignty of the United States is now at an end, and peace has been established in all parts of the archipelago except in the country inhabited by the Moro tribes, to which this proclamation does not apply; and

Whereas, during the course of the insurrection against the kingdom of Spain and against the government of the United States, persons engaged therein, or those in sympathy with and abetting them, committed many acts in violation of the laws of civilized warfare; but it is believed that such acts were generally committed in ignorance of these laws, and under orders issued by the civil or military insurrectionary leaders; and

Whereas, it is deemed to be wise and humane, in accordance with the beneficent purposes of the government of the United States toward the Filipino people, and conducive to peace, order and loyalty among them, that the doers of such acts who have not already suffered punishment shall not be held criminally responsible, but shall be relieved from punishment for participation in these insurrections and for unlawful acts committed during the course thereof by a general amnesty and pardon;

Now, Therefore, be it known that I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power and authority vested by the Constitution, do hereby proclaim and declare, without reservation or condition, except as hereinafter provided, a full and complete pardon and amnesty to all persons in the Philippine archipelago who have participated in the insurrections aforesaid, or who have given aid and comfort to persons participating in said insurrections, for the offenses of treason or sedition, and for all offenses political in their character committed in the course of such insurrections pursuant to orders issued by the civil or military insurrectionary authorities, or which grow out of internal political feuds or dissensions between Filipinos and Spaniards, or the Spanish authorities, or which resulted from internal political feuds or dissensions among the Filipinos themselves during either of said insurrections.

Provided, however, that the pardon and amnesty hereby granted shall not include such persons committing crimes since May 1, 1902, in any province of the archipelago in which at the time civil government was established, nor shall it include such persons as have been heretofore finally convicted of the crimes of murder, rape, arson, or robbery, by any military or civil tribunal organized under the authority of Spain or of the United States of America, but special application may be made to the proper authority for pardon by any person belonging to the exempted classes and such clemency as is consistent with humanity and justice will be liberally extended; and, further

Provided, That this amnesty and pardon shall not affect the title or right of the Government of the United States or that of the Philippine Islands to any property or property rights heretofore used or appropriated by the military or civil authorities of the Government of the United States or that of the Philippine Islands organized under authority of the United States by way of confiscation or otherwise; and

Provided further, That every person who shall seek to avail himself of this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath before any authority in the Philippine archipelago authorized to administer oaths, namely: "'I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the United States of America in the Philippine Islands and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that I impose upon myself this obligation voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion so help me God."

Given under my hand at the city of Washington, this 4th day of July, A. D. 1902, and in the one hundred and twenty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States.

Signature of Theodore Roosevelt


By the President:


Secretary of War.

Gen. Chaffee is relieved of his civil duties, and the Philippine Commission is made the superior authority in the following order:

The insurrection against the sovereign authority of the United States in the Philippine archipelago having ended, and provincial civil governments having been established throughout the entire territory of the archipelago not inhabited by More tribes, under the instructions of the President to the Philippine Commission, dated April 7, 1900, now ratified and confirmed by the act of Congress approved July 1, 1902, entitled "An act temporarily to provide for the administration of affairs of civil government in the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes," the general commanding the division of the Philippines is hereby relieved from the further performance of the duties of military governor, and the office of military governor in said archipelago is terminated. The general commanding the Division of the Philippines and all military officers in authority therein will continue to observe the direction contained in the aforesaid instructions of the President that the military forces in the division of the Philippines shall be at all times subject, under the orders of the military commander, to the call of the civil authorities for the maintenance of law and order, and the enforcement of their authority.

Finally the President, through Secretary Root, pronounces the following eulogy upon the United States Army:



Washington, July 4, 1902.

General Order, No. 66.

The following has been received from the War Department:


Washington, July 4, 1902.

To the Army of the United States:

The President, upon this anniversary of national independence, wishes to express to the officers and enlisted men of the United States Army his deep appreciation of the service they have rendered to the country in the great and difficult undertakings which they have brought to a successful conclusion during the past year.

He thanks the officers and the enlisted men who have been maintaining order and carrying on the military government in Cuba, because they have faithfully given effect to the humane purposes of the American people. They have with sincere kindness helped the Cuban people to take all the successive steps necessary to the establishment of their own constitutional government. During the time required for that process they have governed Cuba wisely, regarding justice and respecting individual liberty; have honestly collected and expended for the best interests of the Cuban people the revenues, amounting to over $60,000,000; have carried out practical and thorough sanitary measures, greatly improving the health and lowering the death rate of the island. By patient, scientific research they have ascertained the causes of yellow fever, and by good administration have put an end to that most dreadful disease which has long destroyed the lives and hindered the commercial prosperity of the Cubans. They have expedited justice and secured protection for the rights of the innocent, while they have cleansed the prisons and established sound discipline and healthful conditions for the punishment of the guilty.

They have re-established and renovated and put upon a substantial basis adequate hospitals and asylums for the care of the unfortunate. They have established a general system of free common schools throughout the island, in which over two hundred thousand children are in actual attendance. They have constructed great and necessary public works. They have gradually trained the Cubans themselves in all branches of administration, so that the new government upon assuming power has begun its work with an experienced force of Cuban civil service employees competent to execute its orders. They have borne themselves with dignity and self-control, so that nearly four years of military government have passed unmarred by injury or insult to man or woman. They have transferred the government of Cuba to the Cuban people amid universal expressions of friendship and good will, and have left a record of ordered justice and liberty of rapid improvement in material and moral conditions and progress in the art of government which reflects great credit upon the people of the United States.

The President thanks the officers and enlisted men of the army in the Philippines, both regulars and volunteers, for the courage and fortitude, the indomitable spirit and loyal devotion with which they have put down and ended the great insurrection which has raged throughout the archipelago against the lawful sovereignty and just authority of the United States. The task was peculiarly difficult and trying. They were required at first to overcome organized resistance of superior numbers, well equipped with modern arms of precision, intrenched in an unknown country of mountain defiles, jungles, and swamps, apparently capable of interminable defense. When this resistance had been overcome they were required to crush out a general system of guerrilla warfare conducted among a people speaking unknown tongues, from whom it was almost impossible to obtain the information necessary for successful pursuit or to guard against surprise and ambush.

The enemies by whom they were surrounded were regardless of all obligations of good faith and of all the limitations which humanity has imposed upon civilized warfare. Bound themselves by the laws of war, our soldiers were called upon to meet every device of unscrupulous treachery and to contemplate without reprisal the infliction of barbarous cruelties upon their comrades and friendly natives. They were instructed, while punishing armed resistance, to conciliate the friendship of the peaceful, yet had to do with a population among whom it was impossible to distinguish friend from foe, and who in countless instances used a false appearance of friendship for ambush and assassination. They were obliged to deal with problems of communication and transportation in a country without roads and frequently made impassable by torrential rains. They were weakened by tropical heat and tropical disease. Widely scattered over a great archipelago, extending a thousand miles from north to south, the gravest responsibilities, involving the life or death of their comrades, frequently devolved upon young and inexperienced officers beyond the reach of specific orders or advice.

Under all these adverse circumstances the army of the Philippines has accomplished its task rapidly and completely. In more than two thousand combats, great and small, within three years, it has exhibited unvarying courage and resolution. Utilizing the lessons of the Indian wars it has relentlessly followed the guerrilla bands to their fastness in mountain and jungle, and crushed them. It has put an end to the vast system of intimidation and secret assassination, by which the peaceful natives were prevented from taking a genuine part in government under American authority. It has captured or forced to surrender substantially all the leaders of the insurrection. It has submitted to no discouragement and halted at no obstacle. Its officers have shown high qualities of command, and its men have shown devotion and discipline. Its splendid virile energy has been accompanied by self-control, patience, and magnanimity.

With surprisingly few individual exceptions its course has been characterized by humanity and kindness to the prisoner and the noncombatant. With admirable good temper, sympathy, and loyalty to American ideals its commanding generals have joined with the civilian agents of the government in healing the wounds of war and assuring to the people of the Philippines the blessings of peace and prosperity. Individual liberty, protection of personal rights, civil order, public instruction and religious freedom have followed its footsteps. It has added honor to the flag, which it defended, and has justified increased confidence in the future of the American people, whose soldiers do not shrink from labor or death, yet love liberty and peace.

The President feels that he expresses the sentiments of all the loyal people of the United States in doing honor to the whole army which has joined in the performance and shares in the credit of these honorable services.

This general order will be read aloud at parade in every military post on the 4th day of July, 1902, or on the first day after it shall have been received.


Secretary of War.

By command of Lieutenant-General Miles:


Adjutant-General, Major-General, U. S. A.

Theodore Roosevelt, Proclamation 483—Granting Pardon and Amnesty to Participants in Insurrection in the Philippines Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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