Today in Philippine History, February 5, 1842, the Wilkes treaty was signed at Soung, Island of Sulu

Wednesday January 16, 2013 ()

On February 5, 1842 the Wilkes treaty was signed at Soung, Island of Sulu. This treaty is the first written understanding between the government of the United States of America and the Philippines through the Sultanate of Sulu.

   The Wilkes treaty of 1842
   Copy of the Wilkes treaty of 1842 courtesy of Dr. H. Otley Beyer -- Walter Johnson Robb (Click on image to enlarge).

Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan Mahomed Jamal Al Alam Bin (son of) Al Marhon Sri Paduka Al Sultan Mahomed Fathlon, Sultan of Sulu signed in behalf of the Sultanate, and Charles Wilkes commander of the American expedition, for the United States of America.

Here is the full text of the treaty.

I, Mohamed, Sultan of Sooloo, for the purpose of encouraging trade with the people of the United States of America, do promise hereby and bind myself that I will afford full protection to all vessels of the United States, and their commanders and crews visiting any of the islands of my dominions, and they shall be allowed to trade on the terms of the most favoured nation, and receive such provisions and necessaries as they may be in want of.

2dly. In case of shipwreck or accident to any vessel, I will afford them all the assistance in my power, and protect the persons and property of those wrecked, and afford them all the assistance in my power for its preservation and safe-keeping, and for the return of the officers and crews of said vessels to the Spanish settlements, or wherever they may wish to proceed.

3dly. That any one of my subjects who shall do any injury or harm to the commanders or crews belonging to American vessels, shall receive such punishment as his crime merits.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, in presence of the datus and chiefs at Soung, island of Sooloo. February 5th, 1842.

Photgraphic reproduction of The Wilkes treaty of 1842

Shown above is the first photograph ever taken of the original Treaty, published for the first time by courtesy of Mr. E. D. Hester, United States Trade Commissioner in Manila, who obtained it through the kind offices of Mr. W. B. Pitts of the Division of Foreign Tariffs of the United States Department of Commerce. After a considerable search, Mr. Pitts finally located the Treaty in the Library of Congress and had the photograph taken -- Philippine Magazine

The khaki cabinet and old Manila, Robb, Walter Johnson, Sugar News Press, 1926, Manila
Philippine magazine, Volume 29, Number 7, December 1932


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