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Theodore Roosevelt Commissions a Captain
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THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Document Signed as President. Commission for John J.A. Clark as Captain in the Philippine Scouts. Washington, D.C., September 19, 1908. 1 p., 21 x 16 in.

Inventory #22949       Price: $950


“Know Ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the Patriotism, Valor, Fidelity, and Abilities of John J.A. Clark, I do appoint him, provisionally, Captain in the Philippine Scouts, in the service of the United States....Given under my hand at the City of Washington, this nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eight and in the one hundred and thirty-third year of the Independence of the United States.

            By the President:

                         [signed] Theodore Roosevelt”

Historical Background

The Philippine Scouts were organized by the U.S. Army after the Spanish – American War (1898) and existed from 1901 to the end of the Second World War. The unit, intended to combat the Philippine Revolution led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, was comprised of native Filipinos led by white American officers. Aguinaldo, who had led the revolution since 1896, loosely allied himself with the Americans against the Spanish during the war. After the American victory, Aguinaldo declared independence, but neither Spain nor the United States recognized the new nation. Aguinaldo then declared the United States an unfriendly occupying power, and fought the Americans from 1899 to 1902. The war officially came to an end when he was captured. However, conflict with resistance groups continued for close to ten years.

The Philippine Scouts were formed in 1901, the final year of the war, and helped the United States in the continuing “unofficial” fighting. The Scouts also played an integral role in helping control the islands through the 1930s. They were among the first U.S. forces to fight against the Japanese during World War II.

John J. A. Clark began his Philippine tour as a lieutenant, and upon arrival in 1905, he took possession of a safe from the previous officer. Having secured the safe and the government funds it contained, Clark changed its combination and assigned a responsible guard. Nonetheless, the safe was stolen. Blamed for the loss, he filed suit against the government to recover the funds for which he was responsible. He earned this promotion while the case was pending. It was finally decided in his favor in 1911, the same year he resigned from the army.


United States. Court of Claims, Cases Decided in the Court of Claims of the United States...1910 – 1911. (Washington: GPO, 1912) pp. 416 – 424.

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