Today in Philippine history, March 15, 1901, General Mariano Trias surrendered

Monday March 31, 2014 ()

Mariano Trias   
General Mariano Trias   
On March 15, 1901, General Mariano Trias along with his subordinate officers and men surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Frank D. Baldwin in San Francisco de Malabon (now named after him), Cavite. Trias who had been prominent in the Philippine revolution since 1896, held important positions in the revolutionary government. He was considered the most influential man in the southern Luzon after General Aguinaldo.

According to the newspaper "Manila American", Trias stated that it was the "Woman's Peace League", a group composed of 25 members and headed by the wife of William Howard Taft of the Philippine Commission, which had induced him to finally surrender. Unlike many Filipino officers, Trias waited until all of his command was ready to surrender with him; having surrendered, he was eager to persuade his companions in arms to do the same.

Today in Philippine history, March 15, 1901, General Mariano Trias surrendered

Trias took his oath of allegiance to the American government on the same day of his surrender in an impressive ceremony witnessed by Filipinos who "cheered the submission and shed tears of sad contentment".

On the 28th of March, General Trias wrote the following circular letter to his brother officers:

Letter to Companions in Arms

I let you know that on the 15th I surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Frank D. Baldwin, Fourth Infantry, military commander of San Francisco, this province, together with my staff and others composing the government of my general headquarters of the south of Luzon.

I do not know, my Companions, what effect this unexpected occurrence may have had on you. And to-day, both to relieve my conscience and to satisfy you, I wish to state the reasons for the change in my attitude.

You are well aware of my innermost ideas and convictions in regard to the fate of our country,- how I have wished to see her free and happy, and how to that end I have been obliged to sacrifice family considerations and make light even of life itself. During five years of the most arduous campaigning, maintaining the defence of our cause by force and by strategy, I canvassed all means, and examined one by one all resources which could in any way lead to the success of our aspirations. And, oh, with what horror I saw it! I observed, as the war went on, that the horizon of our future became narrower and more narrow and that the Filipino problem became darker and more complicated. In these last periods the revolution has assumed an aspect yet more gloomy and discouraging,- property destroyed, fields deserted, woes of women and orphans by the domestic fireside,- all consequences of war and its devastating progress.

Oppressed by the weight of so many calamities, the people asked for peace, and sought insistently for the tranquility they had lost through war; and where were they to go to obtain the one or the other? To the army of occupation? To the American government or the defenders of the revolution?

The first, as we already know, maintains that peace does not lie with them, but must come as the result of the pacific.attitude of the country which deceives itself in seeing in America the enemy of our liberty and well-being.

In the face of such reasons, the last mentioned - or, in other words, the revolution - could not be indifferent; and it was their duty to listen to the voice of their brothers.

To continue in the disregard of that voice, to cause the war to continue and assume greater proportions in its destructive consequences, seemed to me to be inhuman and impolitic.

If the remedy is not found in one way, it was natural to look for another; and, having in view that the noise of war would be silenced and that reason, backed up by legality might speak, I surrendered.

And today, as I find myself in this situation, with my point of view of these matters changed, I am convinced, not only that force can and should not be all, but that much more can be gained by reasonable conduct, since America, as a nation that hates and does not recognize slavery, promises for all liberty of speech, and freedom to ask for anything within reason and justice.

Examine the country from a political and social point of view, and observe whether it has not merely ability, but even the aptitude —to direct alone its own destination. Go over in your minds the different conditions that the country has been in on account of the war up until lately, and state solemnly what in reason is the best for it. I, without hesitation, am the first to give it as my opinion that the country, in order to proceed with firm and sure step to the height of its happiness and welfare, needs nothing more than reliance on some strong support that may lend it the necessary life and energy; and for this purpose none can be better than the United States, which has, I am convinced, no other design respecting the future of the Philippines than the union of its forces with our own for the advancement of the intellectual and commercial life of the Filipino peoples On the one hand you see its municipal and civil governments, on the other its interest in saving us from the ambition of the friars, and its innumerable projects for the construction of canals and railroads -all this that our fields may again be fruitful, and receive new impulse our paralyzed industries. All these advantages and yet more in a not far distant day,. being sustained by the priceless boon of liberty, and guarded by the generous American Union, will be, with its mighty commerce, the greatest country of this extreme of the Orient.

America does not deprive us of property, throws no impediment in the path of the advancement of agriculture or industry, and, in case money be lacking to develop the country, I have been assured that it can be secured at an insignificant rate of interest. Nevertheless, all these advantages (and I feel sure you will not claim them as the fruits of war) proceed from the most sincere desire of this great nation that the Filipino people may be as happy as its own are, and what good can you indicate to me resulting to the country from this war? You will answer that good will come out of it later -but are you sure of that, and when will it come?

In the mean time I see but a picture of miseries, tears, desolation, and ruin and God knows if at the end the country will ever return to its former state.

I know that you are a patriot, a man of healthy mind, and one who appreciates realities; and, as a friend and a companion, I desire that you give way to reason, and labor with me for the restoration of our beloved land, since the great American Nation does not haggle with us in our attainment of that end.

Let us dry these many tears and return to the domestic firesides the consolation that the actual state of affairs has robbed them.

Think and meditate over this matter and do not be deaf to the clamors of the people who now ask for peace, and in the mean while command the services of your companion.



  1. Facts about the Filipinos, Progress in Pacification, [September 1900 to July 1901, Vol. 1, no. 10], Philippine Information Society, Page 93-98, Boston, September 15, 1901.


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