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The Great Republic by the Master Historians
Text of the Treaty of Peace
by Bancroft, Hubert H.

Article I. -- Spain renounces all right of sovereignty over Cuba. Whereas said isle when evacuated by Spain is to be occupied by the United States, the United States, while the occupation continues, shall take upon themselves and fulfil the obligations which, by the fact of occupation, international law imposes on them for the protection of life and property.

Article II.-- Spain cedes to the United States the Island of Porto Rico and the other islands now under her sovereignty in the West Indies and the Isle of Guam in the archipelago of the Marianas or Ladrones.

Article III. -- Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, which comprise the islands situated between the following lines: A line which runs west to east near the twentieth parallel of north latitude across the centre of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the 118th to the 127th degrees of longitude east of Greenwich, from here to the width of the 127th degree of longitude east to parallel 4 degrees 45 minutes of north latitude. From here following the parallel of north latitude 4 degrees 45 minutes to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 119 degrees 35 minutes east from Greenwich. From here following the meridian of 119 degrees 35 minutes east to the parallel of latitude 7 degrees 40 minutes north. From here following the parallel of 7 degrees 40 minutes north to its intersection with 116 degrees longitude east. From here along a straight line to the intersection of the tenth parallel of latitude north with the 118th meridian east, and from here following the 118th meridian to the point whence began this demarcation. The United States shall pay to Spain the sum of $20,000,000 within three months after the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty.

Article IV.--The United States shall, during the term of ten years, counting from the interchange of the ratifications of the treaty, admit to the ports of the Philippine Islands, Spanish ships and merchandise under the same conditions as the ships and merchandise of the United States.


Article V.-- The United States, on the signing of the present treaty, shall transport to Spain at their cost the Spanish soldiers whom the American forces made prisoners of war when Manila was captured. The arms of these solders shall be returned to them. Spain, on the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, shall proceed to evacuate the Philippine Islands, as also Guam, on conditions similar to those agreed to by the commissions named to concert the evacuation of Porto Rico and the other islands in the Western Antilles according to the protocol of August 12, 1898, which shall continue in force until its terms have been completely complied with. The term within which the evacuation of the Philippine Islands and Guam shall be completed shall be fixed by both Governments. Spain shall retain the flags and stands of colors of the war-ships not captured, small arms, cannon of all calibres, with their carriages and accessories, powders, munitions, cattle, material and effects of all kinds belonging to the armies of the sea and land of Spain in the Philippines and Guam. The pieces of heavy calibre which are not field artillery mounted in fortifications and on the coasts shall remain in their places for a period of six months from the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, and the United States may during that period buy from Spain said material if both Governments arrive at a satisfactory agreement thereon.

Article VI. -- Spain, on signing the present treaty, shall place at liberty all prisoners of war and all those detained or imprisoned for political offences in consequence of the insurrections in Cuba and the Philippines and of the war with the United States. Reciprocally the United States shall place at liberty all prisoners of war made by the American forces, and shall negotiate for the liberty of all Spanish prisoners in the power of the insurgents in Cuba and the Philippines. The Government of the United States shall transport, at their cost, to Spain, and the Government of Spain shall transport, at its cost, to the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines, conformably to the situation of their respective dwellings, the prisoners placed or to be placed at liberty in virtue of this article.

Article VII. -- Spain and the United States mutually renounce by the present treaty all claim to national or private indemnity, of whatever kind, of one Government against the other, or of their subjects or citizens against the other Government, which may have arisen from the beginning of the last insurrection in Cuba, anterior to the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, as also to all indemnity as regards costs occasioned by the war. The United States shall judge and settle the claims of its citizens against Spain which she renounces in this article.

Article VIII.-- In fulfilment of Articles I., II. and III. of this treaty Spain renounces in Cuba and cedes in Porto Rico and the other West Indian isles, in Guam and the Philippine archipelago, all buildings, moles, barracks, fortresses, establishments, public roads and other real property which by custom or right are of the public domain, and as such belong to the crown of Spain. Nevertheless, it is declared that this renouncement or cession, as the case may be, referred to in the previous paragraph, in no way lessens the property or rights which belong by custom or law to the peaceful possessor of goods of all kinds in the provinces and cities, public or private establishments, civil or ecclesiastical corporations or whatever bodies have judicial personality to acquire and possess goods in the above-mentioned, renounced or ceded territories, and those of private individuals, whatever be their nationality.

The said renouncement or cession includes all those documents which exclusively refer to said renounced or ceded sovereignty which exist in the archives of the peninsula. When these documents existing in said archives only in part refer to said sovereignty, copies of said part shall be supplied, provided they be requested. Similar rules are to be reciprocally observed in favor of Spain with respect to the documents existing in the archives of the before-mentioned islands. In the above-mentioned renunciation or cession are comprised those rights of the crown of Spain and of its authorities over the archives and official registers, as well administrative as judicial, of said islands which refer to them and to the rights and properties of their inhabitants. Said archives and registers must be carefully preserved, and all individuals, without exception, shall have the right to obtain, conformably to law, authorized copies or contracts, wills and other documents which form part of notarial protocols or which are kept in administrative and judicial archives, whether the same be in Spain or in the islands above-mentioned.

Article IX.-Spanish subjects, natives of the peninsula, dwelling in the territory whose sovereignty Spain renounces or cedes in the present treaty, may remain in said territory or leave it, maintaining in one or the other case all their rights of property, including the right to sell and dispose of said property or its produces; and moreover, they shall retain the right to exercise their industry, business or profession, submitting themselves in this respect to the laws which are applicable to other foreigners. In case they remain in the territory they may preserve their Spanish nationality by making in a registry office, within a year after the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their intention to preserve said nationality. Failing this declaration they will be considered as having renounced said nationality and as having adopted that of the territory in which they may reside. The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by Congress.

Article X.-The inhabitants of the territories whose sovereignty Spain renounces or cedes shall have assured to them the free exercise of their religion.

Article XI.-Spaniards residing in the territories whose sovereignty Spain cedes or renounces shall be subject in civil and criminal matters to the tribunals of the country in which they reside, conformably with the common laws which regulate their competence, being enabled to appear before them in the same manner and to employ the same proceedings as the citizens of the country to which the tribunal belongs must observe.

Article XII.-Judicial proceedings pending on the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty in the territories over which Spain renounces or cedes sovereignty shall be determined conformably with the following rules: First, sentences pronounced in civil cases between individuals or in criminal cases before the above-mentioned date, and against which there is no appeal or annulment conformably with the Spanish law, shall be considered as lasting, and shall be executed in due form by competent authority in the territory within which said sentences should be carried out. Second, civil actions between individuals which on the afore-mentioned date have not been decided, shall continue their course before the tribunal in which the lawsuit is proceeding or before that which shall replace it. Third, criminal actions pending on the afore-mentioned date before the supreme tribunal of Spain against citizens of territory which, according to this treaty, will cease to be Spanish, shall continue under its jurisdiction until definite sentence is pronounced, but once sentence is decreed its execution shall be intrusted to competent authority of the place where the action arose.

Article XIII.-Literary, artistic and industrial rights of property acquired by Spaniards in Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines and other territories ceded on the interchange of ratifications of this treaty shall continue to be respected. Spanish scientific, literary and artistic works which shall not be dangerous to public order in said territories shall continue entering therein with freedom from all customs duties for a period of ten years dating from the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty.

Article XIV.-Spain may establish consular agents in the ports and places of the territories whose renunciation or cession are the object of this treaty.

Article XV.-The Government of either country shall concede for a term of ten years to the merchant ships of the other the same treatment as regards all port dues, including those of entry and departure, lighthouse and tonnage dues, as it concedes to its own merchant ships not employed in the coasting trade. This article may be repudiated at any time by either Government giving previous notice thereof six months beforehand.

Article XVI.-Be it understood that whatever obligation is accepted under this treaty by the United States with respect to Cuba is limited to the period their occupation of the island shall continue, but at the end of said occupation they will advise the Government that may be established in the island that it should accept the same obligations.

Article XVII.-The present treaty shall be ratified by the Queen Regent of Spain and the President of the United States, in agreement and with the approval of the Senate, and ratifications shall be exchanged in Washington within a period of six months from this date or earlier if possible.

In faith whereof we, the respective plenipotentiaries, have signed this treaty and have hereunto affixed our seals.

Done in duplicate at Paris, the tenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight.


The treaty was signed in Paris December 10, 1898, and President McKinley transmitted it to the Senate January 4, 1899, where it was read in executive session and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. The committee reported it favorably January II, and after long and exhaustive discussion it was ratified (February 6) by a vote of sixty-one to twenty-nine.

The Queen Regent attached her signature March 17, 1899.

[The island of Porto Rico, over which the flag of the United States was raised in token of formal possession on October 18, 1898, is the most eastern of the Greater Antilles in the West Indies and is separated on the east from the Danish islands of St. Thomas by a distance of about fifty miles, and from Hayti on the west by the Mona passage, seventy miles wide. The island is 108 miles from the east to the west, and from 37 to 43 miles across from north to south, the area being about 3,600 square miles. The population in 1887 was 798,656, of whom 474,933 were whites, 246,647 mulattoes and 76,905 negroes. An enumeration taken by the United States Government in 1900 showed a population of 953,243. Porto Rico is unusually fertile, and its dominant industries are agriculture and lumbering. In elevated regions the vegetation of the temperate zone is not unknown. There are more than 500 varieties of trees found in the forests, and the plains are full of palm, orange and other trees. The principal crops are sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and maize, but bananas, rice, pineapples, and many other fruits are important products. The largest article of export from Porto Rico is coffee, which is over 63 per cent. of the whole. The next largest is sugar, 28 per cent. The other exports in order of amount are tobacco, honey, molasses, cattle, timber, and hides. The principal minerals found in Porto Rico are gold, carbonates and sulphides of copper and magnetic oxide of iron in large quantities. Lignite is found at Utuado and Moca, and also yellow amber. A large variety of marble, limestone, and other building stones are found on the island, but these resources are very undeveloped. There are salt works at Guanica and Salinac on the south coast, and at Cape Bojo on the west, and these constitute the principal mineral industry in Porto Rico. There are 137 miles of railway, with 170 miles under construction, and 470 miles of telegraph lines. These connect the capital with the principal ports south and west. Submarine cables run from San Juan to St. Thomas and Jamaica. The principal cities are Ponce, 27,952 inhabitants; Arecibo, with 30,000, and San Juan, the capital, with 32,048.]

A writer in the Forum thus describes the condition of the people:

"The school system in Porto Rico has been utterly worthless. With few schools and no schoolhouses, and with the Roman Catholic catechism as the principal text-book, it is not strange that not exceeding 10 per cent. of the population can read or write. Other disadvantages of living in Porto Rico can also be enumerated. The tax for making and recording deeds is so high as to be well-nigh prohibitive; while the charge for recording wills is not definitely fixed by law, but is in proportion to the value of the estate. It not infrequently happens that excellent properties are entirely dissipated in fees, leaving nothing for the widow or other heirs. Most remarkable of all, however, is the fact that over one-half of the children of Porto Rico are illegitimate-not because of the wanton immorality of their parents, but because the expense connected with a marriage in a church made the formal ceremony impossible among the poorer classes. While thus placing the barrier of money at the church door, the priests discouraged any form of civil marriage; so that the poor, and some of the rich, cut the Gordian knot by simply living together in the marital state. There was not, in this mode of living, a deliberate desire to offend against recognized custom; nor were the relations thus informally assumed regarded as lacking force. On the contrary, both men and women, compelled by poverty to live together without legal or religious sanction, remained true to each other."

The act providing a civil government for Porto Rico was passed by the Fifty- sixth Congress and received the assent of the President on April 12, 1900, and came into force in May. In his annual message delivered to Congress on the 5th day of December, 1899, the President said: "The markets of the United States should be opened up to her (Porto Rico's) products. Our plain duty is to abolish all customs tariffs between the United States and Porto Rico and give her products free access to our markets." A later proposal was successfully made to impose customs duties equal to 25 per cent. of the rates provided for in the tariff laws of the United States, applying the sum so raised to local government. There was much suffering and stagnation of trade in the island, through bad seasons and general unrest. In March a special bill was passed authorizing the President to apply to internal improvements the two millions of customs revenue received on importations by the United States from Porto Rico since the evacuation of the island by the Spanish forces on the 18th of October, 1898, to the 1st of January, 1900. In the language of the bill, this sum "shall be placed at the disposal of the President, to be used for the government now existing and which may hereafter be established in Porto Rico, and for public education, public works, and other governmental and public purposes therein; and the said sum, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated for the purposes herein specified, out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated."

The nation is deeply interested in the operation of the new civil government. The island is recovering its prosperity. Its people are beginning to make up their heavy losses by the cyclone of October, 1899. They are now marketing a heavy coffee crop. The sugar-cane will soon be ready for thousands of laborious hands in the fields and mills. Fruit is plentiful. More ships laden heavily are coming into the ports, and in turn take heavy cargoes back to the States. The new steamer lines have seen the wonderful outlook in Porto Rico, and are on regular routes. The island is practically at rest. Every man who cares for work and is fit for his desired place has work. The insular police system is the best thing the island has ever had to subdue the bad elements, the bandit robbers and maintain order. Churches of many denominations are sending down from the States money and missionaries for opening of private schools and mission chapels. Railroad, electric light and telephone franchise are being considered and each of these concerns has ample capital.

A sugar combine from New Jersey with $1,600,000 capital is here purchasing large tracts of land and will erect central factories. The sanitary conditions of the island are being improved daily. There is but little sickness among the soldiers. Those who are ill are well cared for in the United States barracks, which are equipped with the finest of hospital service.]

Vigorous objections are made against the extension of the territorial system of government to Porto Rico. It is urged that admission as a Territory implies ultimate admission to statehood; and statehood for islands separated as Hawaii and Porto Rico are by from 1,200 to 2,500 miles from the United States should not be thought of for a moment. Further, territorial organization involves the relinquishment of customs duties, and the cane and tobacco growers of our West India possessions would have free access to the markets of the United States, and thus come into injurious competition with our farmers. Third, the people of Porto Rico are not competent for the measure of self-government which the territorial system provides. These arguments are met by such pleadings as those urged in the Forum by Mr. H. K. Carroll, who claims that if we buy freely from the Porto Ricans they will quickly attain a greater prosperity than the island has ever known.

"Give the agricultural producers good markets, and they will be able to pay better wages. The area of production would be vastly increased; and with better and more economical methods, the fertile soil will yield such crops of cane, coffee, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables that there will be a demand for labor, and idle peasants will be few and far between. The peones will not then be satisfied with the poorest cotton fabrics and with an almost exclusive vegetable diet; they will not wear pacotilla or shoddy shoes, or go barefoot; they will not shelter themselves from the rains with banana leaves instead of umbrellas; they will have plates for their food instead of taking it direct from their one cooking vessel; they will have knives and forks, metal spoons and ladles, instead of pieces of gourd; chairs in their houses instead of rude boxes or nothing at all; houses instead of thatched huts; when they are sick they will not be deprived of medical care, but will have the service of doctors; and when they die they will not be tumbled into the grave without even a box, but in coffins. We shall get our winter vegetables from Porto Rico instead of Bermuda; our oranges, when the frosts kill the crop in Florida, from a country where the orange-tree never fails, unless injured by the hurricane, which comes about once in a generation. If we deal generously with Porto Rico we will get liberal returns; if in a niggardly spirit, we must not expect prosperity or profit.

"As a matter of fact, free Porto Rican sugar and tobacco will not greatly disturb the market, if the entire crop comes in free. The island's export of sugar is to our production of cane and sorghum sugar as one to six; and its export of tobacco as one to one hundred and eighty-two. As to the tobacco, it is very different from that which is raised in this country; and if we get it we shall manufacture it and send much of it back to Porto Rico in that form. Formerly the bulk of the crop went to Cuba to be made into cigars. Our farmers will not be hurt by allowing Porto Rican produce to come in free. They were not hurt when Oklahoma was opened to extensive agriculture."

The question whether or not the legislation of 1900 made Porto Rico an integral part of the United States came before the Supreme court in the form of a group of commercial cases which turned on points testing the validity of the new colonial policy.

The first case was the suit of De Lima & Co., New York, sugar brokers, who imported sugar from Porto Rico during the latter half of 1899 and were made to pay duty thereon. In this case the duty was paid under the tariff fixed by the President after the signing of the treaty of peace. It does not bring into question the constitutionality of the civil government law in any respect, but merely the broad general question as to whether the Island of Porto Rico became an integral part of the United States upon the ratification of the treaty of peace.

This firm sued Collector Bidwell of New York to recover the duties. The case was dismissed in the lower court on a demurrer and from this an appeal went to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Counsel contended that while the form of the government in territory belonging to the United States might be either military or civil, the territory is for that reason none the less a part of the United States, and therefore, according to the Constitution, the duties must be uniform throughout. They must be kept so uniform throughout the United States, and it is a matter of entire indifference under what particular form of government any portion of the United States may be. It was further claimed that the Constitution strictly limited Congress, and the President as well, so that neither of them could lay duties between the mainland and the Island of Porto Rico any more than either, or both of them, could lay duties between the District of Columbia and Virginia, and he closed with the declaration that if it was desirable to change this state of affairs, the only possible method of procedure would be by the people themselves, who have it in their power to amend the Constitution, and who could, if they so desired, relax some of the limitations they had themselves for their own protection put upon the power of the general government. It was further agreed that it had been sufficiently demonstrated that the term United States had been meant by the framers of the Constitution to include both States and Territories, or the entire outlying domain, under the jurisdiction of the United States, and that the Constitution itself showed that the term was used in this sense in the clause regarding the uniformity of taxation. Chief Justice Marshall so interpreted it as the equivalent of "the great American empire," and this meaning is the ordinary and general one in which the term is understood not only by American citizens but by people throughout the world. The American nation is sovereign. It can go where it wishes, act where it wishes, acquire territory where it wishes, treat inhabitants as it wishes, and its powers are only limited by the physical force which may be brought to bear against it by other sovereigns.

But the government is not sovereign. The great salient fact, which those who contend for the government's position now do not recognize, is that the people of the United States are sovereign and that the government is not, which is the great fact that distinguishes the constitutional law from that of most of the civilized nations of Europe. It did not make the United States a crippled nation, as the Attorney-General suggested, but a nation which has permanently protected itself against usurpations against its own agents.

In another of these test cases Ex-Secretary Carlisle appeared in support of the following contentions:

First, at all time since of the ratification of the treaty Porto Rico has been a part of the United States.

Second, as a consequence of the treaty the entire sovereignty over Porto Rico has become vested in the United States, but the executive and legislative departments of the Federal government have only such power in relation to Porto Rico as is granted to them by the Constitution.

Third, the President had not the power, under the Constitution, to make or enforce the order of January 20, 1899, in so far as it imposed duties upon articles brought into Porto Rico from other parts of the United States.

Fourth, Congress had not the power, under the Constitution, to impose the taxes or duties provided by the act of April 12, 1900, upon articles of merchandise brought into Porto Rico from other parts of the United States or into other parts of the United States or into other parts of the United States from Porto Rico. The second point, relating to sovereignty, is elaborated as follows:

It does not follow that because Spain has yielded her sovereignty Congress has unlimited sovereign powers. Congress has no powers whatsoever derived from any other source than the Constitution. It does not derive any additional powers from internal law or from "the fact that the United States is a sovereign nation," or from the fact that the exercise of such power may be deemed necessary in order to carry out the policy of a particular administration.

Ex-President Harrison took this or a substantially similar position in public address.

Replying on the general question, Attorney-General Griggs reviewed the action of the framers of the Constitution in dealing with the territory belonging to the United States.

He showed that when the Constitution was framed the ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Northwest Territory had been in effect three years; that the first Congress ratified that ordinance with modifications, only providing that reports should be made to the President instead of to Congress, and that appointments should be made by the President. It was not until 1790 that North Carolina ceded to the United States the territory not forming a part of North Carolina but belonging to North Carolina. This cession was made by a deed containing stipulations which were accepted by Congress in an act. One of these stipulations was that the government should be executed not in accordance with the Constitution of the United States but in accordance with the Constitution of the United States but in accordance with the government established for the Northwest Territory.

Mr. Griggs then quoted Thomas Benton's historical and legal examination of the Dred Scot case, in which Mr. Benton, referring to the history of the formation of the Constitution, showed that at no time were "Territories" referred to as parts of the United States, but always as property of the States, to be managed and dealt with accordingly. The laws, the administration, and the revenue of the Territories are subject to the absolute control of Congress, which may repeal the whole form of government existing in a Territory, may destroy the Legislature, vacate all the offices, and take over all the public funds and absorb them into the common treasury. It may appropriate out of the Federal Treasury all the money necessary to carry on a Territorial government, omitting all local taxation.

"Has Congress the right to go so far as to decree non-intercourse with a territorial possession?" asked Justice Harlan.

"Yes," replied the Attorney-General, who went on to show that Congress had repeatedly done so, by setting off parts of territory belonging to the United States as Indian reservations, and that in the case of the Prybiloff Islands a line has been drawn around them and they had been made a government reservation to which no one could go without a license from the government.

Taking up the argument of the appellants as to the rule of uniformity of taxation, the Attorney-General pointed out that if the rule applied to tariff taxation in the territory belonging to the United States it applied as well to the internal revenue laws. Aside from the obvious practical impossibility of extending the internal revenue laws of the United States to the newly acquired insular possessions, he claimed that if the contention of the appellants was correct the Porto Rican law had operated to render the whole body of internal revenue laws of the United States void by destroying the uniformity required by the Constitution.

The Attorney-General denied that an act of the treaty-making power conferring vested vested rights on individuals could be repealed by act of Congress. He contended that territories must be governed differently according to different conditions.

[The decision of the Supreme Court in the Neely extradition case should be noted in this connection. It is given in the pages dealing with Cuba, following this.]


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