Japan and the Philippine Islands
DISCUSSING “Race Prejudice in the Philippines” in the Atlantic Monthly for July, 1902, the writer expressed a belief that met with considerable ridicule in certain quarters as “unduly cheerful optimism.” It was that, though the race prejudice displayed by Americans is today the chief obstacle to the success of our programme in the Philippines, yet in time the Philippine experience itself will tend to make us broader-minded and more tolerant, in matters of race and color, both at home and abroad.
Just now we are receiving frequent reminders that our Pacific coast-line and our presence in the Philippines have brought us face to face with the necessity of revising our all too popular arrogance as to “white supremacy” or else of preparing for difficulties ahead. Once more, the writer may be exposing himself to the accusation of being a bland and youthful optimist; but he can only regard the disturbance over the Japanese in the San Francisco schools as a tempest in a teapot, and view it as of significance chiefly in an educational way, compelling onr own people to face squarely the question of our relations with the Orient and its brown and yellow peoples. We have evaded this question hitherto, practically affronting Chinese sensibilities, but all the while formally protesting that there was nothing of race-feeling in our attitude.
The time has now come, or soon will come, when we can no longer dodge this question. Self-interest, enlightened self-interest surely, plainly indicates the folly of letting ourselves be guided by the prejudice of race, or frightened by the bugaboos which ignorant and malicious selfishness will conjure forth. But were this not so, are we willing to admit that an appeal to the American people on the broader grounds of human charity and brotherhood will no longer succeed ? The writer, for one, is not willing to admit it, any more than he is willing to regard our performance of a troublesome task in the Philippines since 1898 as any indication that the nation has surrendered itself to Imperialism.
We have heard of late, and shall continue to hear, much “jingo” talk about Japan and the Philippine Islands and Japan’s monopoly of Oriental trade. The political agitation in California for the exclusion of Japanese laborers, and the more recent diplomatic inquiry as to the exclusion of Japanese pupils from San Francisco schools, are evidence that prejudice and narrow-mindedness (the two are really synonyms) are active among us. Against such forces it is of no use to thunder editorially — even if the pulpits of our periodical press are quite unanimous in pointing out both the wrong and the loss of profits involved in shortsighted treatment of the Japanese. Ignorance, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness cannot suffer the contact with facts. What we want to combat them with is information, and information at once accurate and incontestable. The busy prophets of the “yellow peril ” should be faced with a demand for facts, not fancies; for proofs, not the fears and suspicions of credulous children.
It is no proof that we of the West should begin to shudder over the “yellow peril” to show that the sense of nationality is growing in China and elsewhere in the Orient. The fact that the Filipinos look forward to being free of American overlordship, and that the people of India are gaining a new assertiveness and independence, is not in itself a sign of unqualified hatred for the Western rulers, nor evidence that these Oriental countries, if they could, would expel all Occidentals and things Occidental. Why should not the West, wherein the sentiment of nationality has been one of the most powerful forces for progress in the recent centuries, welcome such developments in the Orient? Why assume that fraternity of the East and West, wherein neither dominates, wherein both receive material and spiritual benefit, is an impossible ideal for the future?
Narrowing the question simply to the dollars and cents question, — getting down to the plane of the nervous “vested interests” of our Western trade with the Orient, — has the aggressive, vigorous, individualistic and materialistic Westerner come to such a pass that he must needs tremble at the awful spectre conjured up of future competition at the hands of the passive, dreamy, idealistic Easterner, even with machines and modern transportation facilities in his control ? In the lands where the teachings of modern political economists have so freshly been placed on the shelves of every town-library, is the highly paid but still more highly efficient laborer to become panic-stricken over competition from the poorly paid and poorly nourished laborer ? Is it not a truism of world-wide experience that cheap labor is always dear ?
In view of all that has been said about Japan wresting the Philippines from us, it will be of interest to review the relations of Japan with those islands in the past. This is negative evidence, to be sure, as bearing on what Japan’s attitude may be in the future; and those who delight in warning us, in lectures, books, and reviews (always in a sort of mysterious “aside” as if they really had information they must not reveal), against “Oriental duplicity,”will not pause from their task because of any recitation of past history. But at least it may arouse an apparently dormant sense of humor in some of our bugaboo-manipulators to compare the Spanish “scares” about Japan with some of our own more recent alarms, — so like they are in details.
Even before the Dutch and English had fairly begun to establish themselves in the Far East, this danger was pointed out by Spanish observers to their home authorities. Exploring Spaniards and Portuguese, especially Jesuit missionaries, were saying before the end of the sixteenth century that the millions of China could not be subjugated by mere force alone, and were reënforcing thus their arguments for a proselyting campaign accompanied by a policy of diplomacy and insinuation, even of alliance with Chinese and Japanese rulers. All through the seventeenth century the Spaniards in Manila lived in dread of an invasion by Chinese, and two bloody massacres of Chinese residents (charged with rebellion and conspiracy) marked that century. Already, in 1574-75, a great Chinese pirate had almost captured Manila and had for a time successfully maintained himself in a position on the west coast of Luzon; and a century later another great Chinese adventurer, who for a time maintained headquarters on the island of Formosa and defied the newly established Manchu dynasty in Peking, again seriously threatened the frail Spanish dominion in the Philippine Islands.
Japan, which had triumphed over Korea, was a yet more imminent source of dread to the Spaniards in Manila during the early part of the seventeenth century, and though no actual invasion of the Philippines was attempted, Japan’s haughty shoguns adopted a high tone toward the pretensions of Spain in the Orient, and executed Spanish missionaries and their converts with open threats against the Western nation which had dared to encroach upon their preserves. With the decay of Spanish and Portuguese power in the Orient, and the rise first of the Dutch, then of the English, and later the entry of the Russians into this imperial competition, Japan still remained, as is well known, almost untouched in her insular isolation; and down to the middle of the last century China was accessible — as at the beginning of the European discoveries — only in trading-posts on the fringes of her empire.
To go no farther back than to the victory of the Japanese over the Chinese in 1895, the present talk of a “yellow peril ” is, in Europe at least, but a revival of that of 1895-96; it is only intensified by the demonstration of Japan’s prowess against a European power, on a much more impressive scale than in her easy victory over China. The United States did not actively, or even passively, share in the discussion of 1895-96, for it had no territorial possessions in the Orient. But Spain, though already out of the rank of those countries commonly implied by the term “powers of Europe,” shared with her neighbors all the alarm created by the talk of threatened Japanese aggressiveness.
There is a curious analogy between the Spanish predictions of 1895 and the warnings of certain Americans in 1905 that Japan cherishes unholy designs regarding the Philippine Islands. Moreover, the insistence of the Japanese in taking Formosa (itself once occupied by the Spaniards), Luzon’s nearest neighbor to the northward, and the known weakness of Spain’s naval power in the Orient, gave more real point to Spanish fears than Japan’s greater victories of 1904-05 can reasonably inspire in the United States, toward which country the Japanese profess the greatest friendliness and upon whose institutions they have so largely drawn for help in achieving their recent progress.
Already, in 1891, there had been a flutter of excitement in Madrid over a mere rumor to the effect that the Japanese had taken possession of three islets bordering on the Marianne group, which the Spanish government immediately proclaimed officially as belonging to that group. Early in 1895, before the dénouements which led to European interference with Japan in her attempt to grasp the fruits of her sudden victory over China, the Correo Español published a letter from a correspondent in Manila, bearing date of January 23 of that year, in which, after recounting the filibustering propaganda then being secretly conducted among the Filipinos, it was stated: —
“News has been received from Hongkong that the Japanese expect to come and take possession of these islands. It is certain that a commissioner of the Japanese government was here, dressed as a Jew, afterward reported to be colonel of the General Staff of Japan, that he was entertained in the town of Santa Maria, in Bulakan, and spent money lavishly, without objecting to any price that was asked of him, but that he required of every one a receipt, undoubtedly in order to vouch for his expenses before the authority that commissioned him.
“Now, this subject was entertained in the house of a Christian Japanese residing in that town and married to a native woman, and the supposed colonel made every day lengthy trips on horseback, drew up plans by night, and in the morning sent them to the Japanese consul in Manila, who some time back left here.
“Moreover,in the province of Pangasinan there is a port called Sual, perhaps the safest in these islands, and above all very central and extremely easy to fortify. A short time ago there visited this place a man who was said to be a Chinese bonze, but whom I suspect to have been a Japanese, and who made a plan of the port and then went to Lingayen, the capital of the province, to the house of a mestizo who is said to be the owner of a lofty esplanade that dominates the wdiole port. He showed the latter his plans and asked him to sell that ground. This was not done, because it would have been necessary to get the permission of central authority.'’
It is hardly necessary to point out that a secret commissioner of Japan would hardly have shown his plans, supposing him to have made such, to any casual owner of land, nor that the private ownership of this land would scarcely have benefited Japan in seizing possession of the Philippines; moreover, Sual, which the Spaniards opened as a port for foreign commerce for a time in the middle of the last century, was never improved, and has a bar which forbids the entrance of large ships, being in fact a coast town of no importance. The other rumor might well have been connected with the visit of some Japanese who desired to find out about the extent and value of the iron deposits in the hills of eastern Bulakan, which were, to some extent, worked before the arrival of the Spaniards and which have never been really developed up to date. Santa Maria, an inland town, is of no strategic value.
Later in the year, as European attention became centred on the Far East, talk of this sort became very common in the press of Spain, though rarely based on rumors having even the importance of the above. Of course, there were Spaniards who protested against such indefinite suspicions. Señor Dupuyde Lome, whose name has not been forgotten in the United States, and who, before corning to Washington, had seen some diplomatic service in the Orient, published a book on the situation in the Far East, in which he counseled the cultivation of friendship and the arrangement of a good understanding with Japan, as the rising power of the East. Whatever their views as to Japan’s intentions, all Spanish periodicals alike made light of the military power of Japan, and were very free to remark that to conquer a decrepit force like China was a very different thing from combating with Spain. Some of the comments read rather curiously to-day: —
“In default of a real enemy, the Japanese army has only proved itself to be a machine that is a good imitation of the best over here, and that would not play a bad rôle in autumn manœuvres, or even in those of winter. But there remains the doubt (for him who holds it) about what would happen to this machine if it should meet a resistance like that of St. Privat, in which the Germans lost 6000 or 8000 men in less than half an hour, and conquered nevertheless. Coming nearer home, we do not know if the Oyamas and Yamagatas would have been capable of making the assaults of Somorrostro, less yet of resisting them. ... I do not imagine that it has occurred to the imagination of any Japanese, even of the bestvarnished [with civilization], to try to expel from Asia and Oceania the whites, who are meat-eaters. However vain they may be, they will compare their campaign “with that of the French and English in 1860, and will comprehend the difference there is between race and race, or perhaps between species and species. It is one thing to scratch the coasts of China, and another to invade inland territory where there are Englishmen, Frenchmen, Russians, or Spaniards.” 1
“As for Japan, who doubts that she is in process of regeneration and is making herself worthy of consideration ? But we have not yet become convinced in Europe that she is so much a power of the first rank as some declare. There is in Japan’s new dress much that is just fastened up with pins. Besides, her attempts to play a man’s part have been made against a country that is wofully decadent and in no small degree sunk in corruption,— China, not the Yesterday, but the everlasting Day Before Yesterday of History. . . . Let certain precautions be taken in the face of these new neighbors who are going to install themselves in Formosa; let some more battalions of troops from the peninsula and some more boats be sent to our great colony; let our government, by itself and in union with the other powers, address certain precautionary words to Japan. All this is well. But, for the Lord’s sake, don’t let us make a bugaboo, like those which frighten children, out of the Japanese army and navy. Suppose they have routed and so thoroughly trodden upon the Chinese? Don Quixote, too, routed with his lance thousands of sheep. So the victorious Japanese must know that those who have just fought and conquered in Mindanao, against a savage race and in savage jungles, would not let themselves be conquered so easily as the cowardly hordes of Yalu and Wei-HaiWei.” 2
Nevertheless, the Spanish government did send out several fresh battalions of troops before the Filipino insurrection of 1896 began, troops which were, however, needed in pursuing the campaign under General Blanco against the Lake Lanao Moros. Some new rifles were also sent out, and the long projected work toward the construction of a naval station at Olongapó in Subig Bay was given a fresh, though rather feeble, start. The government at Madrid concluded a treaty with Tokyo defining the limits of the possessions of Spain and Japan in the western Pacific. This treaty was condemned by some of the Japanese newspapers, not on the ground that it pledged Japan against a campaign of aggression toward the Philippines, but on the ground that it tended to restrict the liberty of action of Japan in any contingency which might arise. The Mainichi Shimbun suggested that, if Spain wished really to keep her Philippine Islands, she might better ally herself with Japan, which was only looking for peace in the Orient, so as better to guarantee that peace against the powers which were ready to disturb it and eager to grasp more territory in those quarters. Said this paper; “The statesmen of Spain would be employing their time better in the task of reforming the administration of the Philippines, where things are in considerable confusion, and in restoring order in Cuba, where anarchy rules.” The criticisms of the Tokyo press drew from La Política de España en Filipinas this spiteful comment; —
“But yesterday Japan was an array of tribes, and to-day, thanks to the war with the Chinese, the Japanese señores entertain stupendous pretensions. Civilization has gone to their heads ! ”
The Japanese bugaboo was revived again in Spain after the Tagalog revolt of 1896. Never, from beginning to end, was anything revealed indicating, in the least degree, that the authorities of Japan gave any ear to the plots of the Tagalog propagandists, or had given the Spanish government the least pretext for protest in their dealings with the Filipinos, or with regard to the Philippine Islands. Yet the Spanish newspapers, and the Spanish books which treated of the insurrection of 1896-97, dwelt with querulousness on the many childish rumors regarding Japanese complicity with the Katipunan plot and the propaganda of more educated Filipinos which preceded it. A story about the officers of a Japanese cruiser having met with the Katipunan leaders in a private room above the Japanese bazar in Manila simmered down, upon investigation, to the fact that certain Filipinos of no consequence one way or the other had looked up some subordinate Japanese officers who were visiting the bazar one day, had exchanged polite phrases with them, and had later on sent out to the cruiser a dozen melons, which the Japanese commander had the courtesy to pronounce very good! The Katipunan leaders spread the tale through all the provinces that Japan was to furnish arms for the uprising. Yokohama had become, during several years preceding 1896, somewhat such a resort for Filipinos who fled in fear of deportation as Hongkong had long been. The Katipunan organ, Ang Kalayaan (Liberty), which appeared for but one issue, bore Yokohama on its date-line; but it was in fact printed on a clandestine revolutionary press in Manila. The Filipinos who had escaped to Yokohama, several of them (one being Felipe Agoncillo) bearing considerable funds of money, raised in part by subscriptions among the propagandists of property in the islands, sent back enthusiastic assurances that they had arranged for active intervention by Japan in favor of the Filipinos, had interviewed or were about to interview the leading statesmen of Tokyo, etc.; but there was no more truth in this talk than there was in the tales which Agoncillo sent from Europe to his brethren who were fighting at home in 1899, to the effect that he had seen the German emperor in person, that a coalition of all the powers of Europe was on the eve of formation for the purpose of ousting the Americans from the Philippines, etc.
The probabilities are that the Filipino revolutionists did not even succeed in buying for cash any rifles in Japan, much less secure the loan of them from the Japanese government, and a cruiser to land them on the coasts of Luzon, as was reported to Governor-General Primo de Rivera and Admiral Montojo. If the government or the responsible men of Japan ever departed in the least from the attitude of strictest correctness toward Spain, no proof to that effect has ever come to light.
The same stories of arms bought in Japan and landed on the east coast of Luzon disturbed the military authorities in Washington and Manila occasionally during the years 1899 to 1901, and had no more foundation than the similar stories which had a few years before excited the Spanish authorities. The Filipinos never obtained more than two (and perhaps only one) small shipments of rifles from abroad, namely, those sent in 1898 from Hongkong; practically all their arms were obtained from the surrendered or captured Spanish troops, and from the Filipino volunteers into whose hands rifles had been given in the early months of 1898, intended for use against the American newcomers.
The same rumors were also circulated as to the intervention of Japan in behalf of the Filipinos and against the United States, as had previously been circulated about Japan’s interference with Spain. Probably they had the same origin, namely, the desire of Filipino chieftains in the field to hearten their followers with stories of speedy assistance from abroad, and also the desire of the Filipinos in Japan to represent themselves as being in confidential contact with Japanese government officials. There was simply, as there had been in the years 1892 to 1898, and as there is still, some social relationship between the small Filipino colonies in Tokyo and Yokohama and certain “antiforeigner” Japanese, fond of discussing with, them the theme “the Orient for Orientals.” But such conversations did not carry Japanese rifles to the Philippines, nor imply that the Japanese government ever treated with Filipino emissaries or considered the project of going to war with the United States in behalf of the Filipinos.
In December, 1900, General MacArthur cabled from Manila to Washington that among the captured papers of General Trias (then Aguinaldo’s lieutenantcommander for southern Luzon) there had been found a Filipino account of an interview held by Trias a few months before with the Japanese consul in Manila, who had apparently gone to a remote part of Cavite province for the purpose. This consul was represented as advising the Filipinos to seek “voluntary contributions” of arms and other aid in Japan, and as asserting that Japan would find compensation for aiding the Filipinos in some naval stations, etc. Assuming the correctness of this report (and it was probably prepared with a view to circulation among the Filipinos just before the election of 1900, in order to make it appear that foreign assistance was at hand), it is vet to be said that this Japanese in question was merely a clerical employee, though for the time being in charge of the Japanese consulate in Manila. This man would quite certainly not have been authorized by his government to treat of a matter of such seriousness.
Most recently there has been the story cabled from Manila (whence other news of first-class importance fails regularly to reach us by cable) about a Japanese officer arrested while sketching the Manila “fortifications.” Save the mark ! If Manila city is meant, the fortifications are not even so formidable as when the walled city lay at the mercy of Dewey’s light cruisers; for breaches have been made in the walls to enlarge the gates. They are of interest to antiquarians only, and the whole world, military and civil, knows it. As for the entrance to Manila harbor, we have not yet begun to fortify it, as every one may know who reads the Congressional Record, wherein the general plans of fortification have been many times alluded to in the reports of debates. Just why any one should become excited if the whole Japanese General Staff began taking notes and plans in the Philippines is not apparent ; there is nothing there to conceal, and no harbor or other navigation data which they could not learn from our public documents without stirring from home.
There is no doubt at all that Japanese consuls and others have, under both Spanish and American rule in the Philippines, studied the resources and topography of the islands, looked over the prospective coal and iron deposits, and otherwise gained information with a view to possible contingencies. But it is not necessary to see anything unnatural or improper in this. Before 1898, the Japanese were certainly shrewd enough to foresee that Spanish dominion in the Orient was rotting of itself; it was perfectly natural that they should look into the question of forestalling Germany or some other European nation in this rich archipelago so nearly neighbor to them. The most casual follower of American politics knows that the permanent rule of the United States in the Philippines is not, and by the very nature of our institutions cannot be, a closed question. Japan, both on territorial and on economic grounds (for the products she needs and the possible outlet for her laboring men), is more vitally interested in the Philippines than the United States can be. What offense. therefore, need we take from the fact that the Japanese preserve an active interest in those islands ?
Why need any one suppose that the Japanese are not clever enough to see (and to have seen and understood ever since 1898) that the United States must inevitably he the chief factor in any future determination as to the fate, internationally, of the Philippine Islands? It would seem dear that it is now a cardinal point of Japanese foreign policy to cultivate most assiduously that friendship for themselves which was manifested in the late war: indeed, to endeavor to maintain such an active friendship and informal good understanding between the two peoples as will make the United States a sort of informal ally of theirs in case of future difficulties. Prominent statesmen of Japan have repeatedly given public expression to views which indicate such a policy of cultivating our country as a sort of “third ally,” a passive ally, to be sure, but one whose sympathy they hope would be not the less active and potent internationally. A tangible evidence of the stress which is laid by Japanese officialdom upon the cultivation of friendship with America was afforded by the reception given to the “Taft party” last year.
When that party was just leaving the shores of Japan for the Philippines in 1005, the writer asked Secretary Taft if the Japanese officials had discussed with him the future of the Philippines. The reply was that there had been some talk about those islands in an informal way (for no political conferences were held by the Secretary of War in Tokyo, in spite of what has been said to the contrary), and Mr. Taft said without reserve, —
“It can be stated positively that the Japanese do not want the Philippine Islands, nor do they propose to do anything that would interfere with American friendship for them.”
There is good reason to suppose that the government of the United States has been given formal assurances of this sort with regard to the Philippine Islands by the government of Japan.
Under another phase, however, the talk of Japan coveting the Philippines has been for six months agitating the Filipinos. Immediately after it was announced that Governor-General Wright would not return to Manila but would go as the first American ambassador to Tokyo, some British reporter in Washington or New York cabled to London the rumor that negotiations were under way for the sale of the Philippines to Japan, This rumor was transmitted to Manila, and had been stirring up Filipino political circles for several days before it was even heard of in the United States. Most American readers first heard it when Governor-General Ide cabled to Secretary Taft that it was greatly disturbing the Filipinos. In spite of the fact that the latter immediately cabled a positive and authoritative denial, and characterized it as not only false but “absurd,” it continues to furnish the Filipinos with material for heated discussion. The Filipinos do not understand American political institutions and American government by discussion well enough to know that secret treaties arc with us an impossibility, that such a measure would have to be fully threshed out in the forums of public opinion before it could or would be undertaken, and that, to say nothing more, the corps of American newspaper men in Washington would probably get hold of such a piece of news, if there were any foundation for it, at least as early as their British brethren.
The matter is treated as a live topic, an imminent possibility, in the Filipino press, and not a day passes without some reference to it, one Filipino newspaper maintaining in its columns a symposium of opinions upon it. Out in the provinces, provincial and municipal delegations have met and forwarded their protests against the transfer to Japan in lengthy manifestoes to the government at Manila, requesting that they be cabled immediately to Washington, in order to stop the negotiations. In some degree, of course, the opportunity is merely improved by certain radicals to “agitate” and to create a feeling of resentment against the United States, some of their comments being most bitter.3 There is no doubt, however, that the matter is taken most seriously in the provinces, and among a good many in Manila. Secretary Taft’s vehement denial is utterly disregarded in this connection, or is spoken of as a merely “diplomatic evasion,” as a statement which might be literally true when he made it, but which may cover secret designs for a transfer some time in the future.
The significant thing about this agitation in the Philippines is not, however, the fact that the Filipinos are ignorant of the workings of American public affairs and distrustful of American intentions toward them. The real thing of significance that has been brought out by the whole Filipino discussion to date is that the Filipinos prefer American rule to rule by Japan, or probably by any other nation. Some of our American anti-imperialists appear to be much surprised by the turn which the discussion has taken in the Filipino press, and at finding that even the Filipino radicals are bitterly opposed to any such transfer. The antiimperialists have lately, accepting as authentic all the criticisms of Messrs. Ireland, Willis, and others, denounced the present government in the Philippines as inefficient, burdensome, oppressive, and even tyrannical; and they were apparently sure that the Filipinos would turn to any way out. of it as a sovereign remedy. But the Filipinos, evert the most unreasonable of their radicals, know in their hearts that they are enjoving to-day a more efficient government, greater personal liberties and political privileges and in every way better opportunity for progress, than ever before. Hence, their protest against a transfer to Japan was immediate and spontaneous.
Of course, the protest of the Filipino radicals against this transfer arises in part from a natural objection to their country and people being disposed of without having a word in the matter. It is precisely in this respect that they misjudge and wrong the American people; for it is safe to say that public opinion with us would not consent to such ,a disposition of the Filipinos being made without their having an opportunity to express themselves, or in face of their plain disapprobation. It is also true that the attitude of these Filipinos arises in large part from the desire for early political independence. Even so, their attitude plainly indicates that they think their chance is better under America than under Japan; if they would rather rely upon the American people than upon the Japanese government for their future independence, it is plain that they prefer American rule to Japanese rule, even with a view only to political rights and privileges. And if they knew better Japan’s programme in Formosa and Korea, their attitude in this respect would undoubtedly be strengthened.
This episode, moreover, serves as another indication of the fact that the Filipinos are in many respects a people unique in the Orient. The Filipinos do not feel themselves identified with the Orient and with other Orientals. It may strike some as strange, but it is a fact nevertheless, that the Filipinos look down upon the Japanese; nurtured and schooled in the religious feelings and prejudices of the oldest established form of Christian worship and organization, the Filipinos look upon the Japanese as “pagans.” They have, in some degree, a European point of view, because in past centuries their outlook upon people and politics and societies in the world at large was through Spanish and Roman Catholic spectacles.
Of course, there is great admiration on the part of the Filipinos for Japan’s achievements, — admiration mixed sometimes with a little awe, and lately, as we have seen, with fear. One catches now and then, too, the note that indicates some feeling of identity with the Japanese, some sense of a special pride in their achievements in the war with Russia, because they were the achievements of other Orientals, other “brown men;” a sense of racial identity, as it were, though still rather vague. And, too, it is an interesting question how far the Europeanized outlook of the educated Filipinos unfits them to be called fairly representative of the ignorant masses of their people, — the question will arise whether, after all, the Christianity of the latter, and the social customs it has brought with it, are more than nominal and superficial, and underneath there remains a really unchanged Oriental. If this be true, the educational opportunities now being extended to the Filipino youth en masse will, in the course of time, “let him out,” and there will come to light the “real Filipino,” just as there will be born the “real Filipino nation,” where to-day there is only a sense of identity of aims on the part of the few who can communicate across the breadth of the archipelago, and merely a racial feeling on the part of the many who know nothing beyond their own community.
When that time comes, we may find the Filipinos turning more naturally and cordially toward the Japanese and seeking affiliation with them. But, if this should occur, it would be in no small part because both these peoples were semiEuropeanized, the one under the longcontinued tutelage of foreign rule, the other as a voluntary pupil. And who can suppose that the message they would bear to other Oriental peoples, by precept and example, would be simply that of hatred to Europe ? That idea, that feeling, lurk in the minds and hearts of many Orientals without doubt, but the force of events is against them, just as we have seen how the very Filipinos of revolutionary tendencies have just now been rejecting the sentiment of unity with Japan that was expressed by one of their number in the heat of the war against the United States (in a contribution to Columnas Volantes, a revolutionary periodical printed at Lipa, Batangas, June 18, 1899): —
“The sun of the genuinely European modern culture is to-day at its zenith; later it will set in the West and to-morrow it will appear again, brilliant and luminous, in the East. Unquestionably the peoples of the East are called upon, as instruments of Providence, to perform in coming centuries the great deeds which are to startle posterity. The Malay race has taken the forefront and the initiative in this great work of the social and political regeneration of peoples apparently buried in the most abject barbarity. Japan, our elder brother, if the phrase be permitted, the representative of this race having most authority and prestige, begins to cause uneasiness because of her eagerness to put herself upon the level in modern culture of the old nations of Europe, who foresee but too early the danger that threatens them. Her navy, which, at the end of three years, when the modern boats she is building are finished, will be as powerful as that of France or that of Germany, and her determination to attract to herself the Chinese Empire and lead it in the same road to regeneration that she herself has begun to travel, indicate plainly her plans for the future: the union and alliance of the two races, Mongolian and Malayan, and for herself the hegemony. The haughty nations of the West tremble at the mere idea of such a union, which will produce a great revolution in the world, a revolution with which the French Revolution, mother of modern liberties, will not compare. The gigantic volcano of the East will vomit its glowing lava over the fields and plains of the West and destroy it all; and over the ruins of its cities and towns others will rise,— only the memory and the history of the former remaining behind them.
“ By the inexorable laws of fate, the other peoples of the Malay and Mongolian race, the other races inhabiting the old, and yet the newest, world will follow the course pointed out. to them by the Japanese along the road of civilization. Each people, like each race, has its historic destiny; each empire, like each civilization, has its downfall in history. Providence has reserved for the yellow and colored race the empire of the future.”
Here is the outburst of a young revolutionary enthusiast in the days when hatred of things American, as of things Spanish, was zealously preached. Yet the very diction of it is borrowed from the Spanish, a language so rich and oratorical that it easily degenerates into bombast. More yet are the ideas it expresses those of a political reform, of a social “regeneration,” of a “civilization” itself, simply borrowed from Europe. This is no such turning of the East upon the West, and upon all things Western, as has been preached to us as bound to come. Even the race-feeling expressed is based upon the ignorant supposition that the Malay and Mongolian can be entirely identified, — and they by no means always lie down together in peace and harmony. If the East can indeed take the ideas and the institutions of the West, and blend them with those of the East itself to make a superior product, something better in civilization, in religion and thought and life, than the world has yet seen, then does the East deserve to rise again over the West, But here is an honorable rivalry in which the West may well vie, — incidentally learning, it may be, quite as much from the East as it shall impart.
Our nation has stood for Japanese and Chinese nationality and for the integrity of Chinese territory in the past. Our attitude in the Philippines to-day, in its broader aspect, as looking toward “leading out” the Filipino people as a whole, is one in entire sympathy with Oriental nationality. We shall be wise, merely on selfish grounds, — on which grounds national policy is still supposed to rest, — if we continue to cultivate our traditional position as “best friend” of the Oriental peoples, Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, or others. If some day, in that future which no man can foresee for the Far East, something like a Japanese protectorate should suit the Filipinos (perhaps they would prefer to call it “alliance”), and Japan should emerge as the leader of a little group of Oriental nations, it is hard to see why, on all grounds of national policy, we ourselves should not be suited with such an outcome of the “Philippine problem.” But that is mere guessing about a problematical future condition of affairs in the Far East. To-day the Filipinos do not want it, certainly not on any terms that would imply Japanese military rule, which is “thorough” in a way they well know American rule is not. Nor does the task we have undertaken in the Philippines permit us, with honor, to drop it in such a way.
- Jenaro Alas, a well-known Spanish writer on military affairs.↩
- From La Politica de España en Filipinas, the fortnightly conducted at Madrid for seven years by W. E Retana, as the organ of the friar and reactionary party in the campaign against the concession of reforms to the Philippines.↩
- El Renacimiento, Manila, May 18, 1000, has a cartoon wherein Ambassador Wright is represented holding a Filipino in the air, with a hammer in his other hand, auctioning off the Filipino before Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and Russia. Germany and Japan vie in the bidding, which Uncle Sam, swinging a policeman’s stick, urges on.↩