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Monthly Archives: January 1907

T.R. Editorial for January 27, 1907

January 27, 1907, Sunday


WE are not disposed to look for faults in the sayings and doings of our officials. The FREE PRESS is not in the least anxious to win the cheap plaudits with which thoughtless people frequently laud the carping critic. We seek the respect of those who think calmly and dispassionately, and we try to be just. Thus, we willingly affirm that Governor General Smith has started out well in his tenure of office. His motives are above reproach: and he is a plain talker. He has accomplished much in a very short time. Some of his speeches have been admirable—that address at the Quill Club dinner was particularly good. So much in deserved approbation—now for the other side of the medallion. Smith is a man, and a man (like a woman) can talk too much. When a man talks too much he frequently becomes garrulous, and garrulousness in an executive is a parlous thing—a decidedly perilous thing.

“Speech” said M. de Tallyrand, “was given to man that he might conceal his thoughts.”

When the beasts of the field and the birds of the air were at war, and the war became barren of battles through the inability of the carabao to fly and the unwillingness of the dove to peck at the tiger’s tail, the rival armies chose the bat as go-between—for the recorded reason that the bat was dumb. The wise Philip of France once remarked that his greatest regret was that his realm was so short in deaf-mutes that he was hard put to find suitable ambassadors.

No disrespect to General Smith, who is an excellent man and a governor in earnest—but we believe he would have done better in the north country if he had closed his ears against some of the soothing ditties of the revenue-spenders and refrained from intoning them with variations while playing the Piper up-country in Luzon.

“The Piper”—that is not a bad title for our little insular serio-comedy. Chief piper, little pipers, and lesser pipers.

It is not General Smith’s fault that he is cast for the little role, and, after all, it is, at best, an ungrateful part: but it is, in great measure, his fault that there are so many little pipers and lesser pipers crowding the stage that there is hardly room in the auditorium for the people who are paying the freight, that a great deal of the music is execrable, and the libretto so massacred that its author would never recognize it.

We are told by the highest authority that the government is “flat broke.” “It has no money to speak of, now, and it will have less than that (nothing from nothing leaves nothing) next year”—what a sorrowful confession for a modern government to be forced to make! Yet, it is partly true—the central government has so many high-salaried official ornaments on its hands that it has not a copper centavo for necessary, urgently needed works. We are short on teachers for the public schools, road builders, and others of the rank and file, and long on expensive chair warmers. That is why the cupboard is bare.

Once in a while, an economy wave strikes the administration, officials of the mandarin class go a-head-hunting; cut out some hundred-dollar clerks, stop a few leaks at the bottom of the governmental bark and—raise their own salaries.

There’s the rub. It is against reason to expect the higher officials of the Philippine Islands to cut down their own salaries. The economies at the top will have to be ordered by the governor general, or by Washington on the advice of a special commission sent out for that purpose. There lies Smith’s opportunity, and the alternative.

That the governor general is not over-paid will be generally admitted. Equally, there is agreement that the government is absurdly top-heavy—that it is but another teat added to a long-suffering and over-milked cow.

Our aims, outlined: January 20,1907

January 20, 1907, Sunday

Our aims outlined

No class, creed, or party axes to grind

Square deal for all

THE Philippines Free Press has been founded for the purpose of bringing into closer harmony the forces best calculated to achieve real progress in these islands. Our hopes of success are based merely on the merit of the policy we are determined to pursue and on our usefulness as a news vehicle.

When Babel tower was in the first stages of erection, there was (according to the writer in the good book) a decided unity of purpose among the people of the world of that time. The Great Architect decided that a little less unity would fit the bill, and by divers tongues the disunion was accomplished. Be that as it may, language variance among mankind has certainly kept the world in a continual state of cordial discord. From Finland to the Philippines, from Panama to Peking, it is just the little difference in man’s way of saying: “Top of the morning to you!” that is mainly responsible for the barriers builded between men, for the bickerings between chancellories

• • •

Through Justice, Progress!

Strict Justice at the hands of the American administration is all that is sought by the Filipino people. And through justice, alone, can real progress be won. You cannot make bricks without straw, and you cannot rear the cross of a permanent peace upon soil scarred by the sword of strife without the co-operation of a people really free, confident, and content. These are the three great necessities, and the greatest of these is confidence. It may be achieved by the acts (not words) of the governing body.

• • •

A clean-cut policy for the guidance of the representatives of American power in the Philippines was defined at the start by the highest authority in the United States. And the cry “lack of policy” would never have been raised if some of our insular policy-pill-rollers had not lost the prescription and pounded in the mortar nostrums of their own devising. “None so blind as those who will not see,” of which sort has been the blindness of the policy-puzzled Philippine senator. The humor of it is one could not call it color-blindness.

• • •

The archbishop of Manila has recommended to the pope the appointment of a coadjutor or assistant, and he is credited with the desire that the mitre be placed on the brow of a Filipino priest. We do not intend to mix in denominational matters. At the same time, we may, perhaps, be permitted the remark that in this matter as in others, the attitude of Monsignor Harty displays considerable sound sense. Filipino Catholics are entitled to have one of the able and zealous priests of their own race placed “close to the throne.” A glance at the early chapters in the history of christianity points a moral that the churches sometimes forget. The cult of the Great Jew is today the faith of the Gentile world. Mighty was Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles!

• • •

“Our lack of a policy in the Philippines, while communicating a feeling of uncertainty to the Philippine commissioners, who are performing their duties to the extent permitted them with sincere purpose, has had unhappy result in the appointment of a great herd of subordinate American officials in Manila, and to some extent in other cities, who are distinctly hostile to the Filipino. No definite mission or policy has been imported to these subordinates from the government. Our government has no policy. As a consequence, these men are simply “holding down their jobs.” They do not associate with nor care to know the Filipinos. There is to-day a distinctly anti-Filipino American element in Manila. Secretary Taft referred to this fact last winter before the New York chamber of commerce. I have heard high government officials, while passing the time in a Manila club, refer in terms of the utmost contempt, and incidentally vilely, to the Filipinos. The salaries of these men are paid by the very people they detest. Such a spirit does not exist, for instance, among the British or Dutch subordinates in India or in Java. Those countries have clear-cut policies, whether good or ill, which are well known. Many merchants, businessmen and officers of constructing companies state that the commission, while permitted little constructive power, exercises autocratic authority in inhibitory measures.”

The above is an extract from an article contributed to The World Today by Hamilton Wright, the young American “special” who looked over the Philippine field a few months ago. In the main Wright’s deductions are right, and his reference to the anti-Filipino attitude of some of our officials is unfortunately within the truth. Yet, we are not suffering from “lack of a policy.” On the contrary, we would diagnose our ailment as one of too much physic and too many conflicting physicians.