Captain Richard P. Leary. Don Farrell collection.

General Orders issued in 1900. To go back to the list of General Orders click here.

No. 10

5 January 1900

General Order No. 10
1. The Spanish system of taxation on real estate is hereby abolished, and in lieu thereof a land tax shall be levied, collected and paid to the government in accordance with the following classification:

CLASS I: Lands within the limits of the towns and villages, comprising the yards surrounding the dwelling houses, or land suitable for erecting dwellings within the said limits shall be taxed at the annual rate of four pesos (Mexican) per hectare.

CLASS II: Stretches of low land along the coast suitable for raising coconuts; low fertile land suitable for raising cacao or coffee; low marshy land susceptible of irrigation and suitable for raising rice or sugar, and islands lying near the coast, shall be taxed at the annual rate of 50 cents (Mexican) per hectare.

CLASS III: Virgin forestland, with rich soil, requiring clearing, and suitable for agricultural purposes or for pasture, shall be taxed at the annual rate of 30 cents (Mexican) per hectare.

CLASS IV: Land on the mesa or uplands, not susceptible of irrigation nor within easy reach of water for stock, and suitable for tobacco and sweet potatoes or corn, shall be taxed at the annual rate of 15 cents (Mexican) per hectare.

CLASS V: Marshlands not suitable for the cultivation of rice or sugar shall be taxed at the annual rate of 10 cents (Mexican) per hectare.

CLASS VI: Sabana land with soil so thin as to permit nothing but sword grass and iron wood to grow upon it, shall be taxed at the annual rate of 5 cents (Mexican) per hectare.

2. The lack of facilities for transportation of cattle and produce making it difficult to reach the market, until otherwise ordered a reduction of twenty per centum (20 p.c.) will be allowed on the foregoing rates for the following named districts, viz: Umata, Merizo, Ynarajan, Tarafofo, Ilic, Pago and the districts of land lying to the northward and eastward of a straight line connecting Pt. Aguy and Pt. Lujuna.

3. Upon the payment of a land tax a certificate of payment will be issued and before registering a title to or transferring any portion of land the certificate of tax payment therefore must be presented for inspection as a proof of ownership.

4. The provisions of this order go into effect immediately, and the tax will be paid semi-annually, on the 30thday of June and the 31st day of December of each year.


No. 11

19 January 1900

General Order No. 11
1. It is to be regretted that the licentious and lawless conduct of some of the men belonging to this station has made it necessary to issue this order, which is intended to be a reminder that in assuming control of this island the government is pledged to fulfill its guarantee of absolute protection of all the rights and privileges of the residents of Guam, in their homes and in their lawful pursuits of life.

2. Attention is hereby called to the fact that the natives of Guam are not “damned dagoes,” nor “niggers,” but they are law abiding, respectful human beings who have been taken under the protection of the United States Government and who are as much entitled to courtesy, respect and protection of life and liberty in their homes and in their occupations as are the best citizens of New York, Washington or any other home city.

3. The several disgraceful cases of assault committed by persons attached to this station, interfering with the functions of local officials, ruthlessly destroying private property, viciously violating the sanctity of native homes, etc., were worthy only of the dastardly cowards and blackguards who were implicated in those acts, and it is deeply regretted that the government has thus far been unable to sufficiently establish the identity of the culprits and their abettors in order that they might be brought to justice.

4. For the preservation of the well-earned reputation of the American Navy as champions in succoring the needy, aiding the distressed and protecting the honor and virtue of women, it is earnestly hoped that the honorable, self-respecting portion of this command will unite their efforts in using all lawful means within their power to discourage and suppress every known tendency on the part of others to commit lawless acts that would cast dishonor and shame on the service in which we have shared the honors and trials of wars and to which we have dedicated our official lives.


No. 12

22 January 1900

General Order No. 12
1. The system of public education in this island is hereby placed under the supervision and exclusive control of the government, and all necessary expenses for the maintenance of the public school will be defrayed by the government.

2. Religious instruction in favor of any particular church or creed is prohibited and all religious training heretofore required by the late school customs or rules must be eliminated from the course of instruction, as the proper place for religious teaching is the home-circle, church, chapel or Sunday school.

3. All children between the ages of eight years and fourteen years must attend school, unless excused there from by competent authority for good reasons that interfere with their attendance.

4. Instruction in the English language will be introduced in the public schools as soon as suitable teachers can be provided, and it is expected that the present force of native teachers will cheerfully and harmoniously co-operate with the teachers of English in order that the greatest benefits may be derived by both scholars and preceptors.


No. 13

23 January 1900

General Order No. 13
1. Every adult resident of this island must learn write his or her own name before the first day of July 1900, unless prevented from doing so by physical disability.

2. The signature must be plain and legible, suitable for use when required in legal documents or commercial transactions, and must be without ornamentation, scroll or other rubrical decoration.

3. Any citizen may procure from the government a suitable sample of his or her written name for use as a copy to be imitated in practice and instruction.

4. All residents are recommended to utilize every available opportunity to learn how to read, write and speak the English language, thereby improving their own mental condition as well as preparing themselves for assisting their children who are required by law to attend school.


No. 14

3 February 1900

General Order No. 14
1. Any person attached to this command who absents himself from his ship or station without authority and lives with the natives in Chamorro fashion, which is prohibited, thereby incurs the risk of infection by dangerous fever or disease.

2. Until otherwise ordered, such person or persons, if apprehended, will be placed in quarantine a sufficient period of time to allow development of possible infection before being allowed to associate with others of the command.

3. This quarantine is a sanitary precaution required by the local government and is not to be regarded as a punishment, nor to interfere with such official action as may be deemed advisable for the punishment of offenses in accordance with the US Navy regulations.

4. Any member of the command who shall strike, maltreat, and threaten or in any other manner attempt to intimidate a resident of this island for the purpose of committing acts in violation of the law, shall be punished at the discretion of the local authorities.

5. Any native or other resident of this island who shall be convicted of harboring, protecting or assisting a refugee from a ship or station will be punished at the discretion of the local authorities.


No. 15

3 February 1900

General Order No. 15
1. All owners or claimants of land are hereby warned that in order that their ownership be recognized they must acquire legal titles to the said land and have it registered according to law in the Office of the Registrar of Lands in Agana before May 15, 1900.

2. All owners of land are hereby ordered to send to the registrar without delay a statement of the extent and nature of their land, so that they may be assessed accordingly for the tax which is to be paid the 1st of July 1900. After the 1st of July no titles will be recognized as valid unless the claimant of land wishing to prove ownership presents tax receipts for the land in question.

3. All those who wish to pay the taxes for the current half-year, beginning January 1st and ending June 30th, 1900, may do so before July 1st if they please, but any mistake in specifying the nature of the land or its extent will be subject to correction when discovered.


No. 16

17 March 1900

General Order No. 16
1. In consequence of the great need of repairs to the highways, bridges and other public works on this island, it is hereby ordered that the fifteen (15) days work required by the State, according to the law, from males between the ages of 18 and 60 years shall not be commuted or evaded by the payment of money except in extreme cases of necessity, but each male resident in good health between the ages specified must either give the labor required by law to the State or must provide and pay an able-bodied substitute who shall perform the work in his place.

2. The government may at its discretion accept ten (10) pesos annually in lieu of the fifteen (15) days work, but in all cases the service is preferred to the money, and the commutation, when allowed, will be paid semi-annually.

3. The money already paid into the treasury for the current year as commutation for labor will be returned to the persons who paid it and the fifteen (15) days labor in lieu thereof will be required according to the provisions of this order.


No. 17

3 April 1900

General Order No. 17
1. Every death occurring on this island must be immediately reported to the gobernadorcillos of the District in which it occurs, who will report it to the governor. The age and nationality of the deceased and cause and date of death must be given.

2. No burial shall take place without a written permit signed by authority of the governor.


No. 18

12 May 1900

General Order No. 18
1. Merchants and others interested in the commerce of this island are hereby reminded that the old custom of advancing money, stores or other merchandise to be paid for with personal labor or with copra or other products of the ground not in existence at the time of purchase is one of the phases of peonage, which is prohibited by law and punishable at the discretion of the local authorities.

2. Mexican coin (or its equivalent in American money) is the currency or legal tender of this island, and must be used in settling commercial transactions.


No. 19

14 May 1900

General Order No. 19
1. It has been reported that the requirements of General Order No. 12, dated January 22, 1900, concerning religious instruction, are not being complied with in some of the public schools.

2. The gobernadorcillos in the island will immediately remove all crucifixes and saint pictures from the public school rooms in their respective towns or districts and they will direct the school teachers to discontinue instruction in the church catechism and to comply strictly with the requirements of General Order No. 12.

3. Town officials will see that children of the required age are sent to school and will hold the parents or guardians responsible for the same, reporting delinquents to the government.

4. Parents, guardians and preceptors can effectively benefit themselves and the community by teaching truth, honesty and morality, and they are hereby advised to check the pernicious habit of gambling that prevails extensively among young children and to discourage the habit among adults who will be held responsible for violation of the law which prohibits gambling.


No. 20

8 June 1900

General Order No. 20
The new tariff rates on imports having gone into effect in this island, the export duty heretofore imposed on copra will discontinued from this date.


No. 21

11 June 1900

General Order No. 21
1. The males of the Caroline islanders’ community in Guam are hereby forbidden to appear in public in their customary nude condition or “string-and-pouch” decoration after the 30th day of this month, by which date they must provide themselves with suitable conventional wearing apparel.

2. Sunday “cock-fighting” is hereby prohibited in the island of Guam and its dependencies, and any person who violates this law may be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the local authorities, and the fowl shall be confiscated.


Commander Seaton Schroeder. Don Farrell collection.

No. 22

1 August 1900

General Order No. 22
1. That part of article 300 of the “Ley hipotecaria par las provincias de Ultramar,” which declares ineligible the judge of the court of the first instance to the office of registrar of lands, deeds, and titles, is hereby abrogated.

2. When the office of registrar of lands, deeds, and titles is filled by a commissioned officer of the Navy or Marine Corps of the United States of America no personal bond shall be exacted.

3. All laws or parts of laws inconsistent with the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this order are hereby abrogated.


No. 23

10 August 1900

General Order No. 23
1. It appears that the payment of the land tax semi-annually works a hardship to those who live at a distance from Agana, compelling them to make the journey twice in the year, frequently for the purpose of paying a very small sum. Therefore, for this and other reasons, General Order No. 10 relating to the payment of land taxes, is so far modified that the entire land tax for each year shall hereafter be paid at one time instead of in two semi-annual installments.

2. The year for which taxes are due shall comprise the period from the 1st day of July to the 30th day of June following; and payment shall be made before the 1st day of January intervening. Land taxes not paid before the said 1st day of January shall be increased 10 percent if paid before the 1st day of March, 25 percent if paid before the 1st day of May, and 50 percent if paid before the 1st day of July. The land tax now due for the half year ending June 30th, 1900, shall be subject to the penalty of 50 percent increase if not paid on or before January 1st, 1901.

3. The laws governing the occupation of unclaimed land or land reserved to the Government, are so far modified that no such public or unclaimed land shall be occupied without written permission signed by the Governor. This is not intended in any way to hamper or discourage the occupation and improvement of wild land, but, on the contrary, to encourage such enterprise by better defining the proper mode of procedure, and ensuring a more perfect tenure.


No. 24

14 August 1900

General Order No. 24
1. After August 31 of this year the hospitals which have been established at Agat and at Sumay, and all other hospitals which may be established in the future for the benefit of the citizens of the island of Guam, will receive patients without payment of any entrance fee. The government will pay the salaries of nurses and other necessary attendants, and the patients there and at Agana will continue to receive gratis the professional services of the medical officers of the Navy on duty at this station. All those who are ill or suffering from disease are cordially invited to present themselves for care and treatment; more than that they are strongly urged to thus avail themselves of the generosity displayed by the Navy Department of the United States and by the government of the island of Guam.

2. There are many unfortunates on this island who are suffering from disease for which they are not responsible, it having been transmitted to them from preceding generations. If they do not become cured, they will hand down the dreadful scourge to their children and to their children’s children. Wherefore these unfortunates are enjoined to come to the skillful surgeons of the Navy, who are able to cure them, and in course of time to restore them to a condition which will leave the coming generations free form taint and in the full enjoyment of perfect health.


No. 25

5 September 1900

General Order No. 25
1. All persons employed by the government of the island of Guam are required to take the following oath of allegiance:

I, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America: that I will serve them honestly and faithfully, denying all their enemies and opposers whomsoever, and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the Untied States and of the governor of Guam, and of the officers appointed over me according to the laws governing the island of Guam.

[SEAL.] subscribed and sworn to before me this day of, A.D. 190 ___.

2. This oath shall be subscribed to in English, but subscribers to it will be furnished a copy in Spanish if desired.

3. All persons in the employ of the government at the present time shall take this oath on or before the 30th day of September, 1900.


No. 26

15 September 1900

General Order No. 26
1. The public holidays of the United States of America shall be observed as such in the island Guam. Besides Sundays, they are as follows: The 1st of January (New Year’s Day), the 22nd of February (Washington’s Birthday), the 30th of May (Memorial Day), the 4th of July (Independence Day), the first Monday in September (Labor Day), the 25th of December (Christmas), and such day of national Thanksgiving as may be designated by special proclamation.

2. Whenever any of the above-designated dates falls on Sunday the following Monday shall be observed as a holiday.

3. General Order No. 4 is so far modified that public celebrations of feast days may be allowed by special permit in each case from the governor under the customary regulations for the maintenance of public order. Such permits shall not be construed as giving the day the character of a public holiday. The government offices shall not be closed except upon the days mentioned in the first paragraph of this order, and no government work shall be suspended upon any other days.


No. 27

20 October 1900

General Order No. 27
1. In all cases where public officials receive a salary the fees provided by law as payable to them by the government are hereby abolished.

2. In all cases where public officials receive a salary exceeding $6 a month the fees paid to them under provisions of law by private parties shall be covered into the island treasury. Officials who are responsible for the issuance of permits or the fulfillment of obligation for which these fees are charged shall collect the fees and deposit them in the treasury, taking receipts therefore and keeping an account of the same; and such officials shall hold their accounts ready for inspection at any time and by such person as may be appointed by the governor.

3. The fee for a marriage license is hereby fixed at $1.00.

4. The following fees are hereby established for services performed by land judges:
Defining and bounding town property- $0.50

Defining and bounding other property- $1.00

Double fees shall be paid when the land judge is required to travel more than 5 kilometers from his residence. Land judges are required to perform these services whenever required, and within a reasonable time after the receipt of notice.

5. The annual dog tax is hereby fixed at $0.50, under such regulations as may be prescribed.

6. The use of stamped paper or the payment of the equivalent when ordinary paper is used, in judicial proceedings, shall no longer be required.

7. The laws relating to raffles are so far modified that no license or fee shall be required for holding them. All other provisions regulating these and other operations or games of hazard are continued in force.

8. Officials in charge of departments or offices where fees are paid will cause to be posted in their offices and in the offices of their assistants for the information of the public copies of their respective governor, correcting errors and omissions when discovered.

9. All laws or parts of laws inconsistent with the provisions of this order are hereby abrogated.


No. 28

1 November 1900

General Order No. 28
1. All persons in the island of Guam who practice mid-wifery are hereby directed to present themselves at the Naval Hospital in Agana for an elementary course of instruction.

2. After December 1st of this year none shall be permitted to practice professionally without a certificate of instruction and a license dated subsequent to November 1st of this year. All previous licenses shall be considered revoked.

3. The instruction shall be given gratis. No fee shall be charged for the license. To those who live in remote districts the hire of carts and other expenses of travel to Agana shall be paid from the Island Treasury.

4. Penalties are provided by law for practicing without a certificate and license. But it is not alone respect for the law that should induce prompt and cheerful obedience to this order; it must be realized that the eminent surgeons who will give the instruction have had the benefit of a careful study and training and have been able to profit by the results of a world-wide practice, being therefore skilled to a degree far beyond the capabilities of those who have had less good opportunities. All are therefore enjoined to profit by the great experience now made available, and prepare themselves in good faith for their responsible work, to the end that there may be brought about a reduction in the present deplorable rate of mortality among mothers and infants.


To go back to the list of General Orders click here.