Crime was infrequent, and in those fourteen years I do not think half-a-dozen executions took place. There was less risk of burglary in Manila than in a London suburb. Whatever their faults I must give the Spanish Administration credit for the perfect order they kept Manila, in this respect, compared favourably with Hong Kong, and still better with Singapore, where the authorities, perhaps remembering the fate of Governor Eyre of Jamaica, and in terror of Exeter Hall, tolerated the incredible insolence of the Chinese secret societies. These villainous organisations, which in Singapore successfully defied the law, never raised their heads in Manila, and Rajah Brooke showed how to treat them in Sarawak.
In pursuance of the Asimilista policy, in July 1887, the Penal Code was put in force in the Philippines by peremptory order from the Government at Madrid, and much against the opinion of experienced officials. In December of the same year the Civil Code was promulgated.
It cannot be said that these reforms, however well-intended, produced any beneficial effect on the natives. Combined with the great increase in taxation, they intensified the discontent that was always smouldering, more especially in the hearts of the native priests. Their grievances against the religious orders, and more particularly against the Recollets, who had been compensated for the handing over of their benefices in Mindanao to the Jesuits, at the expense of the secular clergy, were the cause of their bitter hatred of the Spanish friars.
In 1883 Field-Marshal Jovellar had thought it necessary to strengthen the small garrison by bringing out two battalions of Marine Infantry. However it was not till March 1st, 1888, that some natives and mestizos, emboldened by the fact that an anti-clerical, D. Jose Centeno, a mining engineer, was Acting Civil Governor of Manila, walked in procession to his official residence and presented a petition addressed to the Governor-General, demanding the immediate expulsion of the friars of the religious orders, and of the Archbishop, whom they declared unworthy to occupy the Primacy of the Islands. They further demanded the secularisation of the benefices and the confiscation of the estates of the Augustinians and the Dominicans.
To this petition there were 810 signatures, but when the signatories were summoned and examined, most ofTo this petition there were 810 signatures, but when the signatories were summoned and examined, most of