IO THE INHABITANTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
In 1896, Mr. George Gilchrist, the engineer at the Varadero, who was not in the Philippines when the murders were committed, was cited by the judge, and asked if he could identify the prisoner ten years after his arrest ! Two years more passed, and in April, 1898, Mr. Gilchrist returned to Scotland for a well-earned holiday. When he left Canacao, Juan de la Cruz was still in prison awaiting his trial.
He may have escaped when the rebels occupied Cavite after Admiral Dewey's victory over the Spanish Squadron in the Bay of Bacoor.
For the murderer no pity need be felt, he certainly had nothing to gain and all to lose by a trial. A double murder, premeditated, accompanied by acts of great barbarity, and committed at night, constitutes by the Penal Code a capital offence with three aggravating circumstances which would forbid all hope of clemency.
But what can be thought of courts so remiss in their duty ? How many innocent prisoners have waited years for their trial ? How many have died in prison ?
Piratical Outrage in Luzon.
At Laguimanc, a port and village in the Province of Tayabas, there resided an Englishman, Mr. H. G. Brown, who had been many years in the Philippines. By the exercise of untiring industry, by braving the malaria of the primeval forests, and by his never-failing tact in dealing with the officials of the Woods and Forests on the one hand, and with the semi-barbarous and entirely lawless wood-cutters on the other, he had built up an extensive business in cutting timber in the state forests of Southern Luzon and the adjacent islands. He was owner of several sailing vessels, had a well-appointed saw-m:ll, and a comfortable residence at Languimanc. He employed large numbers of woodcutters ; all under advances of pay, who were scattered about the Provinces of Tayabas, and Camarines Norte over a considerable area.
His business was so considerable that he paid the Government fully $30,000 per year as royalty on timber which was mostly shipped to Hong Kong and Shanghai.
In order to facilitate a business so profitable to them the Government placed a Custom House official at Atimnan, in the Bay of Lamon on the Pacific coast, to clear andIn order to facilitate a business so profitable to them the Government placed a Custom House official at AtimA nan, in the Bay of Lamon on the Pacific coast, to clear and