MINDANAO ; A NOBLE INSTITUTION 383
liberated slaves of the Moros, to be useful members of society. This noble institution occupied the very spot where the former Moro Sultan of Tamontacca held his court.
Two or three more institutions like this, established at points a few miles distant from Lake Lanao, and protected from aggression on the part of the Moro, would gradually undermine the power of the Dattos by affording an asylum to all fugitive slaves attempting to escape from cruelties of their masters.
For years past the Spaniards have protected all slaves who have fled to them from their masters. The Datto Utto applied to General Weyler to restore to him forty-eight slaves who had taken refuge at a Spanish fort on the Rio Grande, but Weyler refused, reminding the datto that he had signed an engagement to keep no slaves, but only free labourers, who had the right to fix their residence where they pleased.
I assume that no slaves who seek the shelter of the Stars and Stripes will ever be sent back again into bondage.
As a guide to the strength of the expedition which will sooner or later have to be sent against the Moros of Lake Lanao, I may say that the total war strength of the Moros of Mindanao was estimated in 1894 at 19,000 fighting-men, 35 guns, 1896 Lantacas and 2167 musket s or rifles. (See list, p. 387).
They have probably since then obtained a large supply of rifles and ammunition. This traffic in arms should be at once stopped.
Swords and spears they have in abundance.
But of these 19,000 men many have submitted to the Spanish rule, or have become allies of the Spaniards, like the Datto Ayunan, the Datto Abdul, the Sultan of Bolinson and many others.
Probably 10,000 men would be the very utmost that the Moros of Lake Lanao could bring on the field, and only a part of these would have fire-arms, which they could have little skill in handling.
They would on no account give battle in the open, but would fight in the bush, and desperately defend their cottas. They would not concentrate their forces, for want of transport for their food supply ; besides, the nature of the country would prevent this.They would on no account give battle in the open, but would fight in the bush, and desperately defend their cottas. They would not concentrate their forces, for want of transport for their food supply ; besides, the nature of the country would prevent this.