The Philippines-Northern Islands And Their People
While a deep interest in the political problems tempts me to deal at once with the policy to be pursued by our government with respect to the Filipinos, I am constrained to proceed logically and discuss first the islands and their people. And in speaking of the Filipinos, a distinction should be made between those who inhabit the northern islands and are members of one branch of the Christian Church and those who inhabit the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago—people who are followers of Mohammed. While a considerable number of Christian Filipinos are to be found in Mindanao and some in Sulu, the Sultans and Datus have dominated the country. Even Spanish authority never extended over the southern islands and the garrisons maintained at the seaports were constantly in fear of massacre.
Leaving the southern islands for the next article, I shall confine myself at present to Luzon, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Samar and the smaller islands which make up the Visayan group. These islands contain the bulk of the territory, a large majority of the people, most of the material wealth and practically all of the civilization of the Philippines. Luzon, the largest of the entire group, reaches north almost to the nineteenth parallel and is about six degrees long. Like the islands of Japan, it is mountainous and well watered. The other islands of the group are considerably smaller and extend as far south as the ninth parallel. They, too, are mountainous, but the valleys are fertile and support a large population. The principal industry is agriculture, and the soil produces a variety of cereals, fruits and vegetables. Rice, as in other oriental countries, is the chief article of food, though hemp is by far the largest export. The hemp plant looks so ,much like the banana that the traveler ,can scarcely distinguish between them. Sugar cane is also grown in many parts of the islands and would be cultivated still more largely but for the low price of raw sugar. Sugar, however, cannot be raised here with the same profit that it can in Hawaii and Cuba, owing to the fact that it must be replanted more frequently. Tobacco of an excellent quality is produced on several of the islands and in sufficient quantities to supply the home demand (and nearly all Filipinos use tobacco) and leave a surplus for export.
The cocoanut is a staple product here of great value, and its cultivation can be indefinitely extended. Of all the crops it probably yields the largest income on the investment, but as the trees do not begin to bear until they are about eight years old, they are only cultivated in small groves or by those who can afford to wait for returns. Copra, the dried meat of the cocoanut, is now exported to the value 'of two and ,a half million dollars, but systematic effort ought to very largely increase this export.
The methods of cultivation and the implements used are not as modern as one would expect. The carabao, or water buffalo, is the one all-purpose farm animal. Carabaos are something like the American ox, but are more heavily built; they are uniform in color—a dark drab—and have heavy, flat horns which grow back instead of for-ward.
The agricultural situation in the islands is at present most distressing. The fields were devastated by war, and before labor could restore what the soldiers had destroyed, rinderpest attacked the carabaos and in some places carried away as many as 90 per cent of the animals. We visited a sugar plantation which had lost more than half of its carabaos during the two weeks preceding. Everywhere one sees fields overgrown with grass which cannot be cultivated for lack of plow animals. One can understand something of the rinderpest calamity when it is remembered that these patient beasts do all the plowing and all of the hauling in the Philippine Islands. We often see them ridden, sometimes bearing two persons. In addition to the ravages of disease and the ruin wrought by arms, the Filipino farmer has suffered from the closing of his market. When United States authority was substituted for Spanish rule, the Filipinos lost the advantage which they had previously had in the Spanish market, and then they were shut out of the United States by a tariff wall. And to make matters worse, they now bear the brunt of the Chinese boycott aimed at American goods. Every speaker who has attempted to voice the sentiments of the people during our stay in the islands has laid special emphasis upon the injustice done to the islands by our tariff laws. This subject was also brought to the attention of Secretary Taft and his party, and all of the American officials here urge the importance of relief in this direction.
The well-to-do Filipinos live in houses modeled after those built by the Spaniards, but the great majority of the people live in what are called nipa huts—light structures made with bamboo frames and with sides and roofs of nipa palm leaves. The houses are several feet above the ground and are reached by a ladder or steps. As the temperature at midday does not change much the year round, the main objects in building are to secure protection from rain and an abundance of air, and the nipa hut meets these requirements. The Filipino house is not only light and airy, but it is inexpensive; we saw a school house at Santa Barbara built for five hundred pupils at an expense of five hundred pesos, or $250 in gold. At some of the military camps, which we visited, the Filipino style of building has been, adopted.
The Filipino dress is quite like that worn in Europe and America ; among the educated men it is identical. The men of the middle class wear a shirt of a gauzy material outside the trousers. The women wear a dress skirt with a long narrow train and a low-necked, wide-sleeved waist made of jusi (pronounced hoose), or pina (penya) cloth. A kerchief of the same material folded about the neck completes the toilet. All the thin fabrics worn by the women are manufactured on hand looms kept in the homes.
Iloilo is the center of the jusi cloth manufacture, of which we saw many beautiful samples during our tour of the islands. The pina cloth is made from the fibre of a leaf resembling that of the pineapple. In the province of Balacan a fine quality of silk is made on handlooms—the weaving of fabrics being an accomplishment in which the women take pride. There is a coarser cloth made of hemp which is used for ordinary wear, and this is also produced in the home and sold on market days.
Such conflicting reports have reached the United States regarding the Filipino people that I was anxious to study them for myself, and I feel that I am prepared to form an intelligent opinion upon the subject. I have seen representatives of all occupations in all parts of the islands, in the cities and in the country. I have conversed with students and professional men, visited the markets where the rank and file meet and exchange their products, watched the farmers at work in the fields and the laborers in the city, and I have made inquiries of both Americans and natives. The Filipinos are a branch of the Malay race, but there is such a strong resemblance between some of the individual Filipinos and the Japanese as to suggest the possibility of a mixing of bloods, if not a common origin. At Hong Kong I visited a Filipino of prominence, and the young lady who admitted me so resembled the Japanese that I was surprised to learn that she was the daughter of my host. A few hours later I noticed a young man attending to some business in a shipping office and supposed him to be a Japanese, but found that he also was a full blooded Filipino. The Filipinos are a little darker than the Japanese and may average a little taller, but I have constantly been reminded of the Land of the Rising Sun during my stay here.
It is frequently said in disparagement of the Filipinos that they will not work, but this is answered conclusively by a patent and ever present fact, viz., that they produce their own food, make their own clothes, build their own homes and in other ways supply their needs. They have not the physical strength of the average American, nor have they the experience in machine labor or in the organization of work, but they will do more physical labor than a white man can perform in this climate and they have shown themselves capable of doing the finer kinds of work when instructed. They are also capable of successful co-operative effort when under efficient guidance. One of the commission informed me that the street car system lately inaugurated in Manila was put in at a labor cost of 40 per cent below the estimate, the work being done by Filipino laborers under an American contractor. This is certainly an excellent showing. The operating force is composed of Filipinos and the cars are run very successfully.
The superintendent of the railroad from Manila to Dagupan, an Englishman, speaks very highly of the Filipinos employed on the road. He says that he uses natives entirely for the train service and that he has not had an accident on the road during the thirteen years of its operation.
A large company of men were unloading stone and gravel from barges near our hotel, and they were as industrious and as cheerful a lot of workmen as one could wish to see. They carried the material in baskets and accomplished more, so far as I could judge, than the coolies whom I saw at similar work. in China. The Filipino demands better treatment than that accorded to the coolie, but when employed by those who understand him and show him proper consideration, he is both competent and faithful.
In the government printing office nearly nine-tenths of the employees are natives (and the proportion is increasing), and Mr. Leach, the public printer, informed me that they readily learned the work and were able to run the typesetting machines and presses, do the bookbinding and stereotyping and other skilled work connected with the office. The newspaper offices of the city also employ native labor, and I need not remind my readers that the members of the various typographical unions of the United States are among the most intelligent of our skilled laborers. We visited the largest tobacco factory in Manila, the Germinal, and found between twelve and fifteen hundred men and women making cigars and cigarettes by hand and by machine. There are several smaller factories, and all are operated by native labor.
One of the leading furniture manufacturers of Manila is authority for the statement that in wood carving the Filipino soon becomes the equal of the Japanese artisan. The Philippine Islands are so near the Equator that the heat of the sun in the middle of the day and during the almost twelve months of summer must be taken into consideration. When due allowance is made for climatic conditions and for the fact that the inhabitant of the tropics lacks the spur of necessity which ever urges on the dweller in higher latitudes, one is inclined to excuse any seeming lack of industry. Sure it is that those who come here from America and Europe do not as a rule do enough manual labor to enable a comparison between them and the natives.
Besides those who work in the fields, on the streets and in the factories, there is an army of fishermen and boatmen. Fish forms a considerable part of the food supply of the island, and these are brought from the ocean, from the rivers and from the lakes by a hardy and active people. Much of the commerce is carried by water, and the boats are manned by natives. Except Where the Chinese have monopolized the mercantile business, the stores are kept by Filipinos, men and women sharing the labor as they do in France.
And speaking of the women, it must be remembered that woman occupies a much higher place in the Philippines than in any other part of the Orient. The Filipinos contend that even before Spanish influence made itself felt in the islands, woman was accorded an equal place with man and divided with him both the honors and the responsibilities of the home. However this may be, it cannot be doubted that at present the rights of woman and her position in the family and in society are respected fully as much as in continental Europe. Her influence is felt in industrial and political life as well as in the church. At one reception a lady law student delivered an excellent address.
Under Spanish rule education was confined to a few. In fact, one of the indictments brought against the Friars by the natives was that educational facilities were denied to the masses. This, too, brought the Jesuits, the friends of education, into conflict with the Friars. But comparatively few of the people enjoyed the advantages of higher education, and these were a controlling influence in their respective communities. As in Mexico and in Cuba, the cultured men and women of the Philippines are thoroughly refined and polished in manner.
The American government has had no difficulty in finding men competent to fill the offices which have been assigned to the natives, three of the seven members of the commission and three of the seven supreme court judges being Filipinos. The governors and mayors are nearly all Filipinos, as are most of the judges of the lower courts. As there is no satisfactory service by private boats, the commission furnished us a coastguard steamer for a tour of the islands, the passengers paying the cost of subsistence, and we were thus enabled to visit the principal cities. At all of these places we found a group of intellectual and public spirited men. At Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu and Santa Barbara there were addresses of welcome and public receptions; and the views of the residents were presented in clear and well chosen language. At Malolos, the first capital of the Aguinaldo government, which we visited as the guest of a committee of prominent Filipinos, similar speeches were delivered, which met with the approval of the assembled crowd. At Manila a public dinner was given by a number of representative Filipinos, headed by Mayor Roxas, at which speeches were made by Filipinos distinguished in official and professional life. The addresses delivered on these several occasions would compare favorably with speeches delivered under similar circumstances in the United States. While some of the persons who took part in these meetings showed traces of Spanish blood, others were unmistakably Filipino, but the racial differences could not be distinguished by the manner in which they performed their parts.
While at Manila I met General Aguinaldo, first at the reception tendered us by the Elks, and later at his own home in Cavite. Since his capture he has been living in retirement and has conducted him-self in such a manner as to win the approbation of the American officials. He is small of stature, modest in deportment and manifests a deep interest in the welfare of his people. He has twice appealed to the government to establish an agricultural bank for the relief of the farmers, calling attention to the scarcity of money and to the high rate of interest (sometimes 40 or 50 per cent) charged the farmers on short loans. The agricultural bank was referred to by several speakers during our stay in the islands, and it is certain that, from an industrial standpoint, the government could do nothing which would be more beneficial or acceptable to the people.
Dr. Apacible, the head of the Hong Kong junta during the insurrection, now a practicing physician in Manila, was selected by the Filipino reception committee to accompany us on our trip, and being personally acquainted with the leaders of thought, he was able to bring us into contact with those who reflected the opinion of the people, while Captain Moss, of General Corbin's personal staff, and Col-lector Shuster, representing the insular government, kept us in touch with the Americans in military and civil life. We found every-where commendation of the educational system established by the Americans. It is the one department of work instituted by our government which seems to have avoided serious criticism. I presented this universal commendation as evidence of the good intentions of our people, pointing out to the Filipinos that people are apt to assert their' rights in proportion as they increase in intelligence, and that our people would not be foolish enough to encourage education if they really intended to do injustice to the Filipinos.
The large increase in the number of students and the interest taken in the establishment of schools must be taken into consideration by anyone who attempts to forecast the future of the islands. In many communities there are more people speaking English to-day than could ever speak Spanish; and the multitude of dialects will soon be dissolved into a common language. One superintendent of schools told me that in his district the attendance was more than 50 per cent above the school population, owing to the fact that grown men, and women with children, insisted upon studying. Another superintendent reported that she could not find teachers for all the villages which offered to erect school houses. An incident was related by still another teacher which illustrates the ambition of the Filipino youth. A Filipino boy, who was working in the home of an English woman notified his mis-tress that he wanted to go to school. Being anxious to keep him, she offered to raise his wages from twenty pesos per month to forty, but he rejected the offer, saying that he loved wisdom more than he loved money.
Besides the public schools, primary, secondary, industrial and normal, there are a number of religious schools. The Jesuits had their schools and colleges under Spanish occupation, one of the boys' schools which we visited at Cebu being older than Harvard University. The Catholic sisters also have numerous girls' schools through-out the islands. At Manila the Jesuits have an observatory and weather bureau which, for equipment and scientific accuracy, probably has no superior anywhere.
The Protestant churches are also establishing schools, some of them industrial. Who will measure the effect upon coming generations of these multiplying agencies for the training of the boys and girls of the Philippines?
The northern islands are inhabited by a Christian population. Whatever may be said of the governmental methods of Spain or of the political corruption of her colonial representatives, she established the Christian faith in the islands. Prior to American occupation the higher officials of the church and many of the priests were Spanish, but since 1900 American and Filipino bishops and priests are being substituted. Under the lead of Archbishop Harty the work of the church is being vigorously pushed and a large number of baptisms are reported. Several of the Protestant churches are gaining a foot-hold, there being upwards of ten thousand Filipinos enrolled in the evangelical churches. The Presbyterian church of the Tondo district, Manila, has something like four hundred natives, Senor Buencamino, secretary of state under Aguinaldo, and afterwards a member of the civil service commission, being president of the Tondo congregation.
No discussion of the religious situation in the Philippines would be complete without a reference to the independent Catholic church of which Señor Gregoria Agilpay is the head. Obispo Maximo Aglipay is a native Filipino, 46 years old, with an intelligent face and fine presence. In three and a half years he has established a church with some three hundred priests and about seven hundred congregations. He claims a membership of about four million, but the clergy of the regular Catholic church do not concede nearly so large a following. In fact, they deny that he has made any considerable impression upon the Catholic population, and as there is no accurate church census, it is impossible to say in what proportion the Catholic membership is divided between these two church organizations.
As to the honesty of the average Filipino, different opinions are to be heard from Americans, but we are told that less care is taken to lock the doors than in America, which would indicate less fear of burglary. . The Philippine court records would embarrass us if we became too harsh in our reflections upon the integrity of the Filipino, for during the years 1902-3-4-5 thirty office-holding Americans were found guilty of shortages and defalcations, the total amount embezzled exceeding seventy thousand dollars, gold. Bilibid prison at Manila is the penitentiary for the northern islands and most (I think all) who receive more than a jail sentence are confined here. There are now about forty-six hundred prisoners in Bilibid, nearly eleven hundred serving terms for brigandage, insurrection, rebellion and sedition —the remainder for other crimes. If the convicts average a year's sentence each, the number of natives sent to the penitentiary during four years would have to be about twenty-five thousand, to give the native population a criminal class equal to the proportion which the thirty convicted Americans bear to- the entire American population in the islands, and it must be remembered that the defalcations have been among Americans selected because of their supposed character and capacity. There have been many defalcations among the fiscal officers appointed among the natives, but not knowing the total number of the Filipinos occupying fiduciary positions and the number of Americans occupying similar positions, I can not make a comparison. Our chief consolation is to be found in the fact that Americans guilty of dishonesty have been promptly punished by the American officials, but this does not entirely remove the stain which their conduct has brought upon our nation's good name.
I can not conclude this article without expressing my appreciation of the courtesy shown me by Acting Governor Ide, Secretary Furguson, the members of the Philippine commission and the other officials, civil and military. They were all willing to furnish information, records and statistics regarding the things done under American authority. While mistakes have been made, some of them expensive ; while there have been outrages by the constabulary (which is merely a native army officered by Americans and serving under another name) and while there have been instances of seeming partiality to Americans where a conflict has occurred between them and natives, I believe that the serious evils to be complained of are not personal, but are inherent in a colonial system and can not be eradicated so long as such a system is maintained.
The greatest need that I noted in the islands is an increase in what we call the middle class, but this need is noticeable in the other Spanish colonies which I have visited and will be corrected as education increases among the masses. With more education among the farmers there will be improved methods of agriculture, and with more education among the artisans will come diversification of industry. This middle class will be a balance wheel, as it were, to regulate the machinery of society, and it will furnish a public opinion which will control official representatives.
The following extracts concerning Mr. Bryan's visit are taken from Filipino papers:
December 27, El Renacimiento, said editorially :
"Bryan. This is a name among names. Others may boast of it but in their eases it does not mean so much. The daily press today fills column after column regarding him and his name is in the mouths of everyone. The events of yesterday claim special notice, consisting, as they do, of more than mere generalities.
"Why do these simple people salute us? Do they treat the Americans here this way? These are questions which were asked of his companions during the trip through Paranaque, Las Pinas and Bacoor yesterday.
" `The salutations are for you,' replied a prominent Filipino, 'be-cause they know that it is you who is approaching. These people do not know you, but they have learned that you are here and your name is revered by them.'
"In fact few names of Americans can be mentioned among Filipinos which will excite more feeling. Bryan did not need to come here in order to be popular.
"The principal impression produced by his presence; even upon his adversaries in politics, is his consummate amiability and discretion.
Bryan has made no statements or passed any judgment regarding the Philippine administration. He has not given any excuse for his being characterized as an agitator or a scoffer at the enterprise which the United States, as a nation, has undertaken in these islands.
"But does this signify that Bryan will abstain from collecting data for future use? We believe not. One can easily hope for a highly optimistic opinion from him, but a party man takes his ideas and prejudices with him wherever he goes and he sees things through the light of his convictions."
One Manila paper prints the following:
The Elks gave a rousing reception last night to William Jennings Bryan at the club house on the Luneta, and all of Manila turned out to do homage to their distinguished guest. The club rooms were artistically arranged with flags and potted plants and the spacious halls were the scene of many groups of well-known faces.
Punch and lemonade were served during the evening and the music was furnished by the constabulary band.
The guests were received by Colonel Dorrington and Mrs. Dorrington, Governor Ide and Mr. and Mrs. Bryan, and were ushered by Messrs. Reiser, Patstone, Steward and Fisher.
There was considerable stir when Emilio Aguinaldo entered the hall and was ushered up to the receiving party. He was introduced to Mr. Bryan by Governor Ide._ Aguinaldo said in Spanish, "I am glad to meet you ; I have been very anxious to see you. I have heard a great deal of you." This was interpreted to Mr. Bryan who said, "We have heard your name in our country also." Then Mr. Bryan said, taking hold of Aguinaldo's arm and turning to Mrs. Bryan, "This is Aguinaldo."
At a meeting of prominent native citizens held in the office of the president of the municipal board and presided over by that official, the following program for entertaining Mr. Bryan was decided upon :
A public banquet at one of the hotels of Manila.
An evening entertainment at the Liceo de Manila, at 4 o'clock p. m., on January 6, with the following program :
1. Parade of the students
2. Address of welcome to the Honorable William Jennings Bryan.
4. Speech by Mr. Bryan.
5. Theatrical performance by the students of the college.
The Manila Times of January 1 gave an account of the popular banquet given to Mr. Bryan in the Luzon restaurant. From this report the following extracts are taken :
At the popular banquet held in honor of William Jennings Bryan last Friday night in the Luzon restaurant, the distinguished guest showed the same caution as at Malolos in dealing with the questions of policy affecting these islands, never at any time doing more than skirting issues which if not dead are generally quiescent.
About 150 guests sat down at the tables, though when the speaking began there were probably close on 300 persons present, most of the new arrivals being young Filipinos of the class which made itself prominent in the "Independence Day" held recently before the visiting congressmen in Marble hall.
The program, which was somewhat artistically designed, had on its first page. the Stars and Stripes; inside, the picture of Mr. Bryan and the menus and names of the committee of organization, and on the last page the Katipunan emblem of the rising sun and the three stars. During the evening the Rizal orchestra discoursed music at intervals.
Generally, the speaking was too long; Judge Yusay, who occupied a place on the program, consuming an hour in a speech which finally tired its hearers. Mr. Bryan, the last orator, did not close his remarks till half-past one.
In his own speech he took occasion to say that he did not feel at liberty to speak freely as he would in the United States. Two or three times when his remarks were leading to a climax whose logical sequel appeared to be some reference to independence, his audience waited al-most breathlessly, but he carefully evaded the seemingly logical denouement and ended in some relevant but not thrilling expression, one could sense rather than hear 'the sigh, in some cases of relief, in others of disappointment, which followed.
His address dwelt chiefly on two thoughts, the first being that there is a tie which binds all mankind together, that tie being knit up with the human heart, and the second being what constitutes civilization and how it may be attained.
The following report is taken from the Manila Times of December 28:
"Independence the Soonest Possible."
"Mr. Bryan, the Hope of Our Nationality."
"W. J. Bryan, Defendant of Our Liberty."
Such were the legends mounted upon the arches under which William Jennings Bryan passed from the railroad station to Malolos on the occasion of his provincial excursion yesterday. The trip was made by the famous democrat, in company with his wife and children, as guests of Mr. Higgins. The private car of Mr. Higgins and an extra coach took the party first to Gapan, where it arrived about 9:30 a. m., after having stopped at several of the stations en route, where Bryan made short addresses to the delegations, which were in attendance at the stations with bands of music and banners flying to greet him.
At Malolos, the seat of the former revolutionary government and the center of operations of the prime movers in the "independencia" campaign, luncheon was had at the home of Mrs. Tanchanco, an opulent Filipino matron. After the luncheon was over Teodoro Sandico rose to introduce Sr. De Luce, who addressed. the following words to the assembled guests:
"I salute the real champion of a democratic people, the true defender of the rights of the people ; he who at Kansas City included in his platform the independence of the Philippine Islands. I am sorry that his presence in Malolos, once the capital of a Filipino republic, is so short. So deep-rooted is the desire for independence in the Filipino people that the news of the arrival of this champion has brought to Malolos many from all about, only to greet their savior. Such spontaneous manifestations by all grades of people will, I believe, convince you that we desire our independence at once. It will show you that we have a right to nationality, that we have everything that is necessary to support a government of our own. If the government will give us this independence it will show it is the champion of liberty as it did in its treatment of Cuba. Such a step here will eliminate the need of a great American army twice its natural size, and it would avoid the corruption ,of the principles inherited from the ancestors of Americans. If America will not give us full independence, grant us a democratic government ! Separate the executive and legislative branches ! Give us real independence of the judiciary ! We drink a health to those who have not forgotten the true principles of Americans."
After the toast to the great orator had been drank, Bryan rose to his feet and addressed some two or three hundred natives, aside from those who were gathered at luncheon. The following is his address:
"Allow me to thank you for the welcome you have extended to my family and to me. I appreciate also the kindly manner in which you have referred to the way in which I have tried to express my friendship for the Filipino people. I do not propose to discuss here political questions. I have not felt that in, these islands I should enter on any disputed questions.
"Some things I can say with propriety. While you appreciate the manner in which I have attempted to show my friendship for the Filipinos, do not make the mistake of believing that those who differ from me are not interested in this people. In my country there are two great political parties, republican and democratic. They enter into contests which are strenuous, but in fundamental principles both are the same. Thomas Jefferson founded the democratic party. Abraham Lincoln was the first great republican. Lincoln has left records to show the admiration that he felt for the principles and utterances of Thomas Jefferson.
"In two contests I was defeated by the republicans, but I believe as much in the patriotism of those who voted against me as I do in the patriotism of those who fought for me. Those who agreed with me announced a policy for the Philippines. Those who opposed me did not. But do not make the mistake of believing that those others are enemies to the islands. I believe the majority of all American people without regard to politics or party are sincere well wishers of the Filipinos. Yes, all.
"However you may differ about policies, all your people speak well of what our country stands for in regard to education. Let me re-mind you that these little children who are attending school speak more eloquently in your behalf than I am able to do. The more educated people you have among you the easier will be the task for those who speak for you in the United States. The more respect your eople show for the law the easier will be the task for those who speak for you. The higher the ideals shown in your language and your lives the easier the task of those who speak for you. I want you to have as much confidence in the republicans in power as I have, though I have been twice defeated by them. And when [ say this I am not trying to pay them for anything. I do not owe them anything. When I say trust them, I say it because I believe the American people want to do right and, given the time, will find out what is right on every question.
"Differences of opinion must be expected. In fact, that people differ in opinion is to their credit rather than to their discredit. Those who agree in everything do not as a rule think on anything.
Differences of opinion must not only be expected but must be respected. Do not expect our people to administer authority here with-out mistakes. They make mistakes at home, and if we democrats get into power, good as we are, we will make mistakes. The Spanish made mistakes here, and so would the Filipinos. I suggest that if you want to help us who are interested in you, you can do it by supporting with all the enthusiasm you have, the efforts made by America here. Let us hope that whoever is in authority here and there, they will have the wisdom to so promote the welfare of all, as to unite both peoples in an eternal affection."
Conception Felix, the president of the Women's Association of the Philippines, followed Mr. Bryan and spoke of the duty of the islands in securing for them the best advantages for their welfare, and concluded with the statement that the women of the Philippine Islands demanded their independence.
After leaving Malolos the trip to Pasig was made and the return to Manila was so timed as to allow the party to arrive at Santa Mesa in good season. A special car of the street railway company met it there.
At the reception given at Bacolod, on the island of Negros, January 5, Señor Joaquin Jortich spoke as follows :
"Hon. William Jennings Bryan and distinguished party—Gentlemen:
"The people of Bacolod and the province in general, through me, have today the honor of greeting their distinguished visitors, giving to them all a most cordial and sincere welcome, and very especially to the illustrious leader of the democratic party who has deigned to grant us the high distinction of his visit.
"Mr. Bryan has doubtless noticed since he set foot on Filipino soil that the people of the islands received him as if he were an old and beloved friend.
"There is nothing strange in this ; one of the most striking qualities of the Filipino is gratitude, even though his enemies and detractors assert the contrary. The Filipino people know that Mr. Bryan has been and is a sincere champion of the Filipino ideals and interests in America, and this little suffices to make all here, without distinction, receive him to-day with open arms and with hearts swelling with joy.
"His visit today to this province gives us the satisfaction of knowing him personally, as well as the opportunity of expressing our true sentiments toward the North American people, to whom we hope to make our humble voice heard through the channel of our illustrious visitor.
"The Filipino people can not fail to thank Providence which has appointed to them the good fortune of being under the protection of the noble and powerful Stars and Stripes.
"No one familiar with the history of the constitution of North America can fail to admire the spirit of wisdom and morality which permeates its most liberal institutions.
"It is true that the Philippines bill is not in every way based upon the principles which that constitution breathes, and it is also true that in the government administration there exist certain prejudice. which find no place in so wise a constitution; but those defects are errors which we hope will be rectified in time and through the education of the people.
"To deny that the Filipino people aspire to independence in the future would be to deny the light of the sun in broad day. But in spite of this aspiration, we understand that peoples, like men, in order to be independent must necessarily pass in strictly chronological order, through different stages, which they can not traverse by leaps and bounds. Nor do we fail to realize that the liberty, great or small, which may be granted to a people, must be in direct relation to the state of their culture.
"Our ambition is just and within the bounds of reason and logic. We wish independence through evolution, because we understand that a people, differing from another in race and in its ethnographical and ethnological conditions, can never be governed with justice and equity except by itself ; and this, because the pride of superiority will always dominate the governing race to the detriment of the governed, and the latter will never be happy. Some of the congressmen and senators who were here a short time ago have said in Washington that the Filipino people are growing away from the American people. That statement is by no means as clear as it should be.
"The Filipino people, by virtue of being a tropical race, are very sensitive, and with the same impetuosity with which they love and admire a benefactor, they hate and despise a tyrant.
"The American people have brought us in the Philippines many things of great value; they have bestowed upon us many benefits and have granted us many liberties which formerly we did not enjoy; but it is also true that among the good things they have brought some evils; among the benefits there have sprung up like brambles certain unjust abuses, and among the many liberties conceded us petty tyrants have arisen to restrict them. Therefore, the Filipino people have grown away from the bad Americans, but in no way from the American people to whom we owe but gratitude and love.
"We love those who love us and despise those who despise us. However defective our past civilization may have been, it has left in our hearts the feeling of dignity which befits a people of culture.
"Unfortunately, in the Philippines, not all those who are here as Americans possess the noble sentiments of the American people, whom we admire and love, for we would be contemptible did we, through the fault of some bad representatives, come to hate an entire nation which has been and is. lending us its aid.
"Our illustrious visitor has proof positive of my assertion. The Filipino people, without knowing him personally, receive him with open arms and as to an old and beloved friend open to him their hearts, telling him their troubles.
"This is the Filipino people, these are their real feelings towards the. people of North America.
"We trust that these prejudices may disappear in time, as these two races, destined to live together, continue on the road of mutual sympathy and a better understanding.
"With regard to our present situation, from an administrative standpoint, although we are relatively better off than formerly, nevertheless there are in the present government many defects which merit censure.
"Against such defects we shall continue to struggle until the Philippines possess a legislative body which shall know better than that of to-day the needs and conditions of this people.
"At present we have no legislative body but the civil commission, composed of three Filipino members, without portfolios, and four American members with them. The latter members, the majority of whom do not know the country in its inside phases, clearly can never dictate laws which are adapted to the circumstances and conditions of the people.
"The Philippine archipelago is very diverse in its ethnographical and ethnological conditions, and, therefore, it is very difficult to frame a law which is adapted to its general necessities, unless one has an accurate and profound knowledge of the situation and conditions of each and every one of the thirty-some provinces which form the archipelago.
"Another of the greatest defects which we observe in the present government is the inequality and lack of justice in the appointments of government positions, as between Filipinos and Americans, with the exception of the judiciary which is the department most evenly distributed.
"In the civil commission and in the provincial boards the voice of the Filipino is not in the majority, neither, therefore, is the voice of the people. It is true that the municipalities appear to operate with the fullest liberty, but this liberty is restricted, because the provincial board exercise direct control over all their acts, so that municipal autonomy is, as a matter of fact, nominal.
"The most noble and acceptable institution which American government has established here is that of public instruction. Even the officials in that department are also the best liked and those upon the most friendly terms with the Filipino people, although defects are not entirely absent as is the case with every human creation. Against this department we can say nothing up to the present. God grant that it may continue so for many years, without being affected by the discord and prejudice which the enemies of the country seek to sow.
"With respect to the economic phase, we could be no worse off than we are now, and this can be easily explained. Since the year 1896, in which the revolution against Spain commenced, the Philippines have gone from bad to worse in all their economic conditions, particularly in the matter of agriculture which is the sole source of their wealth. Of 56,000,000 acres of land which we have fit for cultivation, only 6,000,000 acres are cultivated and 50,000,000 are not cultivated. War, drouth, cholera and rinderpest among our work animals, have prostrated us to such an extent that all which the farmer might say of the situation pales before the reality. To these inferior troubles must be added others on the outside, the lack of market for our sugar; Japan, protecting herself from Formosa, raises her custom tariff upon sugar; China, with the boycott, closes her market to us because of our relations with America, and rich America, which should protect us, also closes her doors to us with a Dingley tariff.
"To sum up, the Philippines have no money, they have no production, they have no market. Could there be a harder situation?
"The plantations paralyzed and the laborers without work—thus rises the germ of ladronism. The scarcity of money is such that in order to find a dollar to-day one needs a searchlight, and to make matters worse the articles of prime necessity rise in price, making existence almost impossible for the poor workman.
"In the time of the Spanish government there were in circulation some two hundred million of Mexican pesos, to-day we have hardly thirty million, according to the last report of the secretary of finance, a sum which, when divided among eight million inhabitants, gives 3.75 pesos per capita.
"If to this we add the stoppage of all business through the paralysis of commerce and the industries, it will be seen that with 3.75 pesos for each inhabitant, pauperism, hunger and misery are necessary consequences.
"Here we have the actual state of the Philippines, whose competition the powerful sugar trust in America still fears. America needs three million tons of sugar for her home consumption; her production amounts to only one million tons, so that she must import two million tons from abroad. The Philippines produce only three million piculs of sugar, or about 187,500 tons. Is it possible to dream of competition?
"Our money crisis can only be met by the establishment of agricultural mortgage banks, and if we wish to escape disaster in that enterprise it is necessary that its administration be completely separated from the government, with the exception of the usual powers of inspection, this because it is well known that prosperity in these affairs is based upon mercantile interest, which does not exist in government officials, whose interests are political rather than mercantile. As proof of this statement let us look at what happened with the $3,000,000 which the national government donated to the insular government to improve the grievous situation of the country. With all our soul we are grateful for so generous a gift, but we greatly regret that the government has not known how to administer it better. The $3,000,-000 have been exhausted, but the situation of the country has not improved in the slightest degree. That was, indeed, a disaster.
"Today questions involving many millions are being discussed and it would be very lamentable if the protection and good wishes of the national government should come to naught through a mistaken or defective administration. Our agricultural crisis is due rather to the terrible mortality of the work animals, which is today extending to all classes of cattle. This is a misfortune from which we have been suffering since the year 1901. Five years of massacre, na stock in the world will stand it.
"To remedy this state of affairs we need machinery which will take the place of the work animals, and we believe that the free entry of every class of machinery for a definite time would be one of the most efficacious means of fomenting and encouraging the many lines of industry which we have to exploit, and, therefore, of raising the country from the state of prostration in which it is found. "With what has been said, our distinguished guest will be able to form an idea of the situation of this country under its triple aspect, political, administrative and economic and echo across the seas our by no means enviable condition. I have spoken."
( Originally Published 1907 )
The Old World And Its Way:
Chinese Education, Religion And Philosophy
The Philippines—northern Islands And Their People
The Philippines—the Moro Country
The Philippine Problem
The Philippine Problem - Continued
In The Tropics
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