Letter From Sultan Jamalul Kiram II of Sulu
to Governor-General Luke E. Wright

April 1904

This letter from a white heart and clear without a stain from your son His Highness the Sultan Hadji Mohammad Jamalul Kiram.

I hereby inform my father the General Wright:  This letter substitutes my mouth to talk to my father the General. I have received a letter from my father the General Wood . . . in which he said that he received a telegram . . . by the order of the President of the United States, to inform me the Sultan of Jolo and the Datus signers of the Bates Treaty . . . to the effect that the aforementioned treaty was abrogated, and our salary as stipulated therein would be lost to us, and other things given to us in the treaty, and that as we lived in the Moro Province, we are subject to the laws enacted therein, under the sovereignty of the United States.

At this I am very much startled and so are the other dattos signers of the Bates Treaty, and we tried to find a reason why it should be abrogated; because we have always abided by the articles in said treaty to the best of our ability; if there is anything we have not the power to do, the American nation is our power and protection, inasmuch as it is mentioned in Article I of the treaty . . . I even helped to fight my own subject, Panglima Hassan, who was an enemy of the U.S., I in person together will all my subjects, until Hassan and those that followed him were killed.  That is proof of my supporting the treaty, and that I accept the President for my father . . . The American nation told me when they would give profit to me and all my subjects, and that they will look for that which is most beneficial for the Moro people;  that they will not give us detriment, and will not take the rights away from us Moro people on hills and sea, and will not interfere with our religion; and they asked me to make an agreement with them, which is the Bates Treaty.  It is mentioned in the treaty, that if there is any article which will not be accepted, or if anything should be changed in it, both parties of the treaty should confer and come to an agreement . . . It is perhaps that it is for the best of myself and the Moro people and the welfare of the country, that the treaty be abrogated;  very well then, we agree to it as long as it is for the good . . .

I and all my subjects beg of our father the President a thousand times:

1st, we ask not to put yokes on our necks that we cannot bear, and don't make us do what is against our religion, and don't ask us to pay poll tax forever and ever as long as there is sun and moon, and don't ask taxes for land which are our rights of the Moro people, including all that grows (is planted) in Jolo and its islands.

2nd, . . . [no change in articles 4, 5, 14]

3rd, retain Jolo custom -i.e., contributions to Sultan rights to pearls and tortoise shells of a certain size and weight, etc.  "Agree to stop enslaving people and purchase slaves" well we agree to this because we see that it is for the good, but the only thing we ask is that those who were salves left to us by our forefathers, and the slaves we bought before the law arrived here of our father the President, we beg very much that they be paid for by our fathers the American nation, since it is you that freed them, because you have said you will not give us detriment . . .

4th, that U.S. guarantee the sultanate "for ever and ever" because the Sultan is head of the Mohammedan religion, the representative of Muhammad -and that the Sultan must be taken from the descendants of Sayid Hassan "those only can be made Sultan here in Jolo, who will be blessed in the Hutbar, here in Jolo and its islands."

5th, I beg of my father the President of the U.S. and my father the General that in four matters which are part of the Mohammedan religion, I and those who hold the Kitab here in Jolo, try and judge: 1st, quarrels of husband and wife, divorce. 2nd, marriage of blood relations' and about guardianship.  3rd, the division of a dead man's estates.  4th, that I and those who hold the Kitab here in Jolo, will appoint Imam, Hatib, Bilal and all religious titles . . .

You may take my temporal power and rights, if you pay for them according to law and justice.  But I beg you to be left my rights as religious head of the Moros, with the dignities pertaining to that office, and the contributions, due as much.

Moon 3 RAJAB Year 1322

[Document Source:  Treaties and Other International Acts of U.S.A., eidted by Hunter Miller, Vol. 4, 1836-1846]

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