« PreviousContinue »
in the Philippines for ages past, and that intrigue and deception is the rule of conduct in the governing class. It is also true that in pursuit of their oppression and exactions, the Spanish not only practiced intrigue and deceit, but fraud and violence, and these, by precept and example, entered largely into the business life of the people. The varied, iniquitous devices to enforce Spanish misrule upon the Filipino cannot be given within the confines of a chapter, but the whole system was a net-work of wrong, entering into the judicial and executive functions, and lowering the social standard of the people. How any residue of manliness and honor could outlive it all is a source
A NATIVE MILK TRAIN. of wonder; the fact that much has remained will always bring sympathy and esteem to the native Filipino. His status under the Spanish rule has received the condemnation of all who have written upon the Philippines, other than those of Spanish origin, and their conclusions concur as to the baleful effects of the Spanish policy.
In 1842 Lieutenant Wilkes, in command of the United States exploring expedition, makes the significant statement: “That they (the Filipinos) are an industrious class; that they are extremely hospitable, tractable, and possessed of quick apprehension; that they are intelligent and orderly, and govern themselves without the aid of the military; that their wages then were twelve and one-half cents a day in Manila, and six cents to nine cents a day in the provinces,” and he says: “The government of the Philippines is emphatically an iron rule, and how long it can continue so is doubtful.”
Under the present conditions, with his quiet reticence, the native seldom manifests his true character to those outside his class, and what he is or was before the insurrection must be largely gleaned from those who were his familiars at such time.
Professor Dean C. Worcester of the late Commission to the Philippines, had previously spent some years in the islands in his pursuit as a naturalist. He summarizes the Filipino then, and his relation to Spanish rule, as follows: “As a rule the civilized natives are orderly, and when well drilled they make excellent soldiers. Many of the natives are quick to learn, and are anxious for the opportunity, so that their education reduces itself to a question of ways and means. By centuries of oppression and injustice, this naturally gentle and peace-loving people has been drawn into armed revolt. One of the chief causes,” he concludes, “is that a school system is provided for by the Spanish law, but favoritism prevails in the choice of teachers, who are often grossly incompetent, while the practical workings of the schools are frequently interfered with by the friars. The law provides that Spanish shall be taught, but as it suits their convenience in the more out of the way places to be the only means of communication between the government and the natives, they often forbid this. A few prayers, and a little writing and arithmetic, comprise the course of instruction in many of the schools.
The relation of the friars to the free school system naturally leads to the discus. sion of a delicate question, but it would be idle to treat of the problems of the Philippines without discussing the predominance of the friars, and the character of their influence.
“A clear distinction should be drawn at the outset between the friars and the priests. Some of the priests have accomplished an immense amount of good, as the Jesuits. Their ‘Ateneo Municipal' at Manila is, with possibly one exception, the best educational institution in the archipelago, and numbers among its faculty many able and competent men. For some unexplained reason they are
allowed to do missionary work only in the Morro country, where there is much danger and hardship.
“The priests of the mission are often very superior men, abuses are absent, and much good has been accomplished. Many parishes are held by a class of friars which would not be tolerated in any other country. While it is by no means true that all of these friars are incompetent, it is nevertheless a fact that many of them are ignorant beyond belief, and are given over to open and brutish licentiousness, practice inhuman extortion, especially in connection with the solemnization of marriage and the burial of the dead, while they interfere with the execution of the laws, and themselves openly violate
them when it serves their CONSTRUCTING A NATIVE HOUSE.
ends to do so. The inevitable result is the utter demoralization of the communities which they control. There is no doubt that their evil practices have contributed, as much as any other one cause, towards bringing about the present revolution, and one of the demands of the insurgents has been that the friars should be expelled from the country.
“It is true that there exists a large class which has suffered at the hands of the friars wrongs which it is not human to forgive. Spain has purposely kept the natives in ignorance, has prevented them from communicating freely with one another, has removed men who showed capacity and inclination to become
leaders, and has above all, prevented the bringing in of firearms and ammunition. The name of existing codes is legion, and a law-suit under any of them is the worst misfortune that can befall a man; precedent can be found for anything; bribery is universal and justice virtually unknown. Notwithstanding this, it is considered that a larger percentage of the Christian natives can read and write, than the percentage in Spain.
A BRITISH OPINION OF THE FILIPINOS.
“Rarely is an intro-tropical people a satisfactory one, but this cannot be said of the Philippine Malay, who, in bodily formation and mental capacities alike, may fairly claim a place not among the middling ones merely, but among the higher ones included in the world's national scale. He is characterized by a concentrated, never absent self-respect; an habitual self restraint; a word and deed
very rarely broken, except when extreme provocation induces the transitory, but fatal frenzy ‘Omuah;' an inbred courtesy, equally diffused throughout all classes, high or low; by unfailing decorum, prudence, caution, quiet cheerfulness, ready hospitality and correct, though not inventive taste. His family is a pleasing sight; much subordination, and little restraint; unison in gradation ; liberty, not license; orderly children, respectful parents; women subject, but not oppressed; men ruling, but not despotic; reverence, with kindness; obedience in affection. These form a lovely picture, by no means rare in the villages of the eastern isles.”
The construction and operation of the only steam railway in the islands affords another illustration of the capacity of the natives. The Manila and Dagupan Railway was constructed on a guaranty by the government of an income of eight per cent on the investment, and as the government has never been called upon to liquidate the guaranty, it may be assumed that the investment is a paying one. The road is one hundred and twenty-three miles in length, and extends from Manila, through and along the length of one of the largest, and perhaps the most productive valley in the islands, to Dagupan, a small port on the west coast. It has a good roadbed, well ballasted, elevated some three or four feet above the adjoining land; hardwood ties, and steel rails; the gauge is three feet six inches. There are some sixteen iron bridges crossing the streams on the course, and the line is almost entirely on the lowlands, in order that it may be accessible in moving the large rice crops which grow in what might be termed the swampy part of the valley. On the higher and dryer land grow the sugar cane and cocoa crops. The line, then, is peculiarly subject to washouts and overflows, common to certain periods of the year, owing to torrents of rainfall. The construction was begun in 1887, and completed in four years.
BUSINESS CAPABILITY OF THE NATIVES. It goes without saying that a high order of intelligence and great trustworthiness on the part of the employees of our ordinary American railway is required; and it is apparent that the construction and maintenance of such a line as the Manila and Dagupan Railway, under the circumstances and conditions described, would call for the highest type of these qualities on the part of the employees.
The railway was built, and has ever since been maintained by Filipinos under the supervision of English management. Up to the time of the insurrection there had not been a single loss or accident chargeable to the neglect or want of skill on the part of an employee. There were some twenty-eight stations on the line, and with the exception of three Spanish station agents, all the rest were
Filipinos. In fact, with the exception of the general manager and a few English overseers, the whole force, clerical and otherwise, were Filipinos. Their aptitude for this service is a revelation when it is further known that they had no prior training or discipline in the work. It is said that the clerks compare
very favorably with the IGRITOS CAPTURED NEAR THE DEPOSITO, ON FEBRUARY 5TH. Europeans in the like service. Their wages were six to twenty dollars per month, and this service included station masters, telegraph operators, conductors, engineers and mechanics, the great bulk of them drawing the lower salaries. This is only one instance of the capacity of the Filipino, and may be an overdrawn statement. Under the restraints attending his position in this conflict he is too exclusive to
an American to be by him fairly judged, but we may safely say of him that he is open-handed, capable, cheerful and hospitable. He does not count himself in his hospitality to the stranger; he never turns one of his kind from his door. If cleanliness is next to godliness he is to be commended; public and private baths are universal, and are daily used by all classes. There is a pretty custom at vespers, which has often been mentioned: “In an instant a hush comes over the home and place; in each house father, mother and children fall on their knees before the image of some saint and repeat their prayers; then, rising, each child kisses the hand of its mother and father and bids a good night; then obeisance is made to his fellow children, and if there is a guest present he is saluted with a bow, and to a white man they usually kneel and kiss his hand.” The Filipino is a kind father, a dutiful son. His aged relatives are never allowed to want where there is wherewithal to give, but dependents are taken to the home and in all ways share in the living of the family. He is genial with his race; is a natural musician, and loves to sing, dance and be merry. Fearless himself, he much admires bravery in others. Such is the kind
NATIVES IN THE INTERIOR OF Luzon. of people to be subdued in this conflict-persistent, indefatigable, brave. When once the science of arms is known to them it is the consensus of opinion among the volunteers that their subjugation and defeat can only be compassed by great effort and sacrifice.
CLIMATIC CONDITIONS. Before turning to the topography of the country in which the campaign has been, and must for a time continue, consideration must be given to the climatic conditions under which the war has been and must be waged. “Seis meses de lodo,”—“six months of mud.” “Seis meses de palvo,"_"six months of dust.” “Seis meses de todo,""six months of anything." This is what the Spaniards said after losing twenty-five per cent of their command in fifteen months in the Philippines. While the climate in general is tropical, there is great variation, and this should be apparent when we consider the extreme length of the group, from north to south, their northern limit extending to a point north of the tropical zone; the variable winds and currents are more or less unlike in their