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Sa mga kababaihang taga Malolos

 

Rizal wrote this famous letter in Tagalog, while he was residing in London, upon the request of M. H. del Pilar.  The story behind this letter is this: On December 12, 1888, a group of twenty young women of Malolos petitioned Governor-General Weyler for permission to open a “night school” so that they might study Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko.  Fr. Felipe Garcia, the Spanish parish priest, objected to the proposal.  Therefore the governor-general turned down the petition.  However, the young women, in defiance of the friar’s wrath, bravely continued their agitation for the school – a thing unheard of in the Philippines in those times.  They finally succeeded in obtaining government approval to their project on the condition that Señora Guadalupe Reyes should be their teacher.  The incident caused a great stir in the Philippines and in far-away Spain.  Del Pilar, writing in Barcelona on February 17, 1889, requested Rizalto send a letter in Tagalog to the brave women of Malolos.  Accordingly, Rizal, although busy in London annotating Morga’s book penned this famous letter and sent it to Del Pilar on February 22, 1889 for transmittal penned this famous letter and sent it to Del Pilar on February 22, 1889 for transmittal to Malolos.  For full text of this letter in the original Tagalog and in English and Spanish translations see A Letter to the Young Women of Malolos by José Rizal, edited by Teodoro M. Kalaw and published by the National Library, Manila. 1932.  NOTE: This document was taken from José Rizal: Life, Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and Naional Hero by Gregorio F. Zaide and Sonia M. Zaide (Manila: National Book Store).

 

When I wrote Noli Me Tangere, I asked myself whether bravery was a common thing in the young women of our people.  I brought back to my recollection and reviewed those I had known since my infancy, but there were only few who seem to come up to my ideal.  There was, it is true, an abundance of girls with agreeable manners, beautiful ways, and modest demeanor, but there was in all an admixture of servitude an deference to the words or whims of their so-called "spiritual fathers" (as if the spirit or soul had any their other than God), due to excessive kindness, modesty, or perhaps ignorance.  They seemed faced plants sown and reared in darkness, having flowers without perfume and fruits without sap.

 

However, when the news of what happened at Malolos reached us, I saw my error, and great was my rejoicing.  After all, who is to blame me?  I did not know Malolos nor its young women, except one called Emila [Emilia Tiongson, whom Rizal met in 1887], and her I knew by name only.

 

Now that you have responded to our first appeal in the interest of the welfare of the people; now that you have set an example to those who, like you, long to have their eyes opened and be delivered from servitude, new hopes are awakened in us and we now even dare to face adversity, because we have you for our allies and are confident of victory.  No longer does the Filipina stand with her head bowed nor does she spend her time on her knees, because she is quickened by hope in the future; no longer will the mother contribute to keeping her daughter in darkness and bring her up in contempt and moral annihilation.  And no longer will the science of all sciences consist in blind submission to any unjust order, or in extreme complacency, nor will a courteous smile be deemed the only weapon against insult or humble tears the ineffable panacea for all tribulations.  You know that the will of God is different from that of the priest; that religiousness does not consist of long periods spent on your knees, nor in endless prayers, big rosarios, and grimy scapularies [religious garment showing devotion], but in a spotless conduct, firm intention and upright judgment.  You also know that prudence does not consist in blindly obeying any whim of the little tin god, but in obeying only that which is reasonable and just, because blind obedience is itself the cause and origin of those whims, and those guilty of it are really to be blamed.  The official or friar can no longer assert that they alone are responsible for their unjust orders, because God gave each individual reason and a will of his or her own to distinguish the just from the unjust; all were born without shackles and free, and nobody has a right to subjugate the will and the spirit of another your thoughts, seeing that thought is noble and free?

 

It is cowardice and erroneous to believe that saintliness consists in blind obedience and that prudence and the habit of thinking are presumptuous.  Ignorance has ever been ignorance, and never prudence and honor God, the primal source of all wisdom, does not demand that man, created in his image and likeness, allow himself to be deceived and hoodwinked, but wants us to use and let shine the light of reason with which He has so mercifully endowed us.  He may be compared to the father who gave each of his sons a torch to light their way in the darkness bidding them keep its light bright and take care of it, and not put it out and trust to the light of the others, but to help and advise each other to fiind the right path.  They would be madman were they to follow the light of another, only to come to a fall, and the father could unbraid them and say to them: "Did I not give each of you his own torch," but he cold not say so if the fall were due to the light of the torch of him who fell, as the light might have been dim and the road very bad.

 

The deceiver is fond of using the saying that "It is presumptuous to rely on one's own judgment," but, in my opinion, it is more presumptuous for a person to put his judgment above that of the others and try to make it prevail over theirs.  It is more presumptuous for a man to constitute himself into an idol and pretend to be in communication of thought with God; and it is more than presumptuous and even blasphemous for a person to attribute every movement of his lips to God, to represent every whim of his as the will of God, and to brand his own enemy as an enemy of God.  Of course, we should not consult our own judgment alone, but hear the opinion of other doing what may seem most reasonable to us.  The wild man from the hills, if clad in a priest's robe, remains a hillman and can only deceive the weak and ignorant.  And, to make my argument more conclusive, just buy a priest's robe as the Franciscans wear it and put it on a carabao [domestic water buffalo], and you will be lucky if the carabao does not become lazy on account of the robe.  But I will leave this subject to speak of something else.

 

Youth is a flower-bed that is to bear rich fruit and must accumulate wealth for its descendants.  What offspring will be that of a woman whose kindness of character is expressed by mumbled prayers; who knows nothing by heart but awits [hymns], novenas, and the alleged miracles; whose amusement consists in playing panguingue [a card game] or in the frequent confession of the same sins?  What sons will she have but acolytes, priest's servants, or cockfighters?  It is the mothers who are responsible for the present servitude of our compatriots, owing to the unlimited trustfulness of their loving hearts, to their ardent desire to elevate their sons  Maturity is the fruit of infancy and the infant is formed on the lap of its mother.  The mother who can only teach her child how to kneel and kiss hands must not expect sons with blood other than that of vile slaves.  A tree that grows in the mud is unsubstantial and good only for firewood.  If her son should have a bold mind, his boldness will be deceitful and will be like the bat that cannot show itself until the ringing of vespers.  They say that prudence is sanctity.  But, what sanctity have they shown us?  To pray and kneel a lot, kiss the hand of the priests, throw money away on churches, and believe all the friar sees fit to tell us; gossip, callous rubbing of noses. . . .

 

As to the mites and gifts of God, is there anything in the world that does not belong to God?  What would you say of a servant making his master a present of a cloth borrowed from that very master?  Who is so vain, so insane that he will give alms to God and believe that the miserable thing he has given will serve to clothe the Creator of all things?  Blessed be they who succor their fellow men, aid the poor and feed the hungry; but cursed be they who turn a dead ear to supplications of the poor, who only give to him who has plenty and spend their money lavishly on silver altar hangings for the thanksgiving, or in serenades and fireworks.  The money ground out of the poor is bequeathed to the master so that he can provide for chains to subjugate, and hire thugs and executioners.  Oh, what blindness, what lack of understanding.

 

Saintliness consists in the first place in obeying the dictates of reason, happen what may.  "It is acts and not words that I want of you," said Christ.  "Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven."  Saintliness does not consist in abjectness, nor is the successor of Christ to be recognized by the fact that he gives his hand to be kissed.  Christ did not give the kiss of peace to the Pharisees and never gave his hand to be kissed.  He did not cater to the rich and vain; He did not mention scapularies, nor did He make rosaries, or solicit offerings for the sacrifice of the Mass or exact payments for His prayers.  Saint John did not demand a fee on the River Jordan, nor did Christ teach for gain.  Why, then, do the friars now refuse to stir a foot unless paid in advance?  And, as if they were starving, they sell scapularies, rosaries, bits, and other things which are nothing but schemes for making money and a detriment to the soul; because even if all the rags on earth were converted into scapularies and all the trees in the forest into rosaries, and if the skins of all the beasts were made into belts, and if all the priests of the earth mumbled prayers over all this and sprinkled oceans of holy water over it, this would not purify a rogue or condone sin where there is no repentance.  Thus, also, through cupidity and love of money, they will, for a price, revoke the numerous prohibitions such as those against eating meat, marrying close relatives, etc.  You can do almost anything if you but grease their palms.  Why that?  Can God be bribed and bought off, and blinded by money, nothing more nor less than a friar?  The brigand who has obtained a bull of compromise can live calmly on the proceeds of his robbery, because he will be forgiven.  God, then, will sit at a table where theft provides the viands?  Has the Omnipotent become a pauper that He must assume the role of the excise man or gendarme?  If that is the God whom the friar adores, then I turn my back upon that God.

 

Le us be reasonable and open our eyes, especially you women, because you are the first to influence the consciousness of man.  Remember that a good mother does not resemble the mother that the friar has created; she must bring up her child to be the image of the true God, not of a blackmailing, a grasping God, but of a God who is the father of us all, who is just; who does not suck the life-blood of the poor like a vampire, nor scoffs at the agony of the sorely beset, nor makes a crooked path of the path of justice.  Awaken and prepare the will of our children towards all that is honorable, judged by proper standards, to all that is sincere and firm of purpose, clear judgment, clear procedure, honesty in act and deed, love for the fellowman and respect for God; this is what you must teach your children.  And, seeing that life is full of thorns and thistles, you must fortify their minds against any stroke of adversity and accustom them to danger.  The people can not expect honor nor prosperity so long as  they will educate their children in a wrong way, so long as the woman who guides the child in his steps is slavish and ignorant.  No good water comes from a turbid, bitter spring; no savory fruit comes from acrid seed.

 

The duties that woman has to perform in order to deliver the people from suffering are of no little importance, but be they as they may, they will not be beyond the strength and stamina of the Filipino people.  The power and good judgment of the women of the Philippines are well known, and it is because of this that she has been hoodwinked, and tied, and rendered pusillanimous, and now her enslavers rest at ease, because so long as they can keep the Filipina mother a slave, so long will they be able to make slaves of her children.  The cause of the backwardness of Asia lies in the fact that there the women are ignorant, are slaves; while Europe and America are powerful because there the women are free and well-educated and endowed with lucid intellect and a strong will.

 

We know that you lack instructive books; we know that nothing is added to your intellect, day by day, save that which is intended to dim its natural brightness; all this we know, hence our desire to bring you the light that illuminates your equals here in Europe.  If that which I tell you does not provoke your anger, and if you will pay a little attention to it then, however dense the mist may be that befogs our people, I will make the utmost efforts to have it dissipated by the bright rays of the sun, which will give light, thought they be dimmed.  We shall not feel any fatigue if you help us: God, too, will help to scatter the mist, because He is the God of truth: He will restore to its pristine condition the fame of the Filipina in whom we now miss only a criterion of her own, because good qualities she has enough and to spare.  This is our dream; this is the desire we cherish in our hearts; to restore the honor of woman, who is half of our heart, our companion in the joys and tribulations of life.  If she is a maiden, the young man should love her not only because of her beauty and her amiable character, but also on account of her fortitude of mind and loftiness of purpose, which quicken and elevate the feeble and timid and ward off all vain thoughts.  Let the maiden be the pride of her country and command respect, because it is a common practice on the part of Spaniards and friars here who have returned from the Islands to speak of the Filipina as complaisant and ignorant, as if all should be thrown into the same class because of the missteps of a few, and as if women of weak character did not exist in other lands.  As to purity what could the Filipina not hold up to others!

 

Nevertheless, the returning Spaniards and friars, talkative and fond of gossip, can hardly find time enough to brag and bawl, amidst guffaws and insulting remarks, that a certain woman was thus; that she behaved thus at the convent and conducted herself thus with the Spaniards who on the occasion was her guest, and other things that set your teeth on edge when you think of them which, in the majority of cases, were faults due to candor, excessive kindness, meekness, or perhaps ignorance and were all the work of the defamer himself.  There is a Spaniard now in high office, who has set at our table and enjoyed our hospitality in his wanderings through the Philippines and who, upon his return to Spain, rushed forthwith into print and related that on one occasion in Pampanga he demanded hospitality and ate, and slept at a house and the lady of the house conducted herself in such and such a manner with him; this is how he repaid the lady for her supreme hospitality!  Similar insinuations are made by the friars to the chance visitor from Spain concerning their very obedient confesandas, hand-kissers, etc., accompanied by smiles and very significant winkings of the eye.  In a book published by D. Sinibaldo de Mas and in other friar sketches sins are related of which women accused themselves in the confessional and of which the friars made no secret in talking to their Spanish visitors seasoning them, at the best, with idiotic and shameless tales not worthy of credence.  I cannot repeat here the shameless stories that a friar told Mas and to which Mas attributed no value whatever.  Every time we hear or read anything of this kind, we ask each other: Are the Spanish women all cut after the pattern of the Holy Virgin Mary and the Filipinas all reprobates?  I believe that if we are to balance accounts in this delicate question, perhaps, . . .  But I must drop the subject because I am neither a confessor nor a Spanish traveler and have no business to take away anybody's good name.  I shall let this go and speak of the duties of women instead.

 

A people that respect women, like the Filipino people, must know the truth of the situation in order to be able to do what is expected of it.  It seems an established fact that when a young student falls in love, he throws everything to the dogs -- knowledge, honor, and money, as if a girl could not do anything but sow misfortune.  The bravest youth becomes a coward when he married, and the born coward becomes shameless, as if he had been waiting to get married in order to show his cowardice.  The son, in order to hide his pusillanimity, remembers his mother, swallows his wrath, suffers his ears to be boxed, obeys the most foolish order, and and becomes an accomplice to his own dishonor.  It should be remembered that where nobody flees there is no pursuer; when there is no little fish, there can not be a big one.  Why does the girl not require of her lover a novle and honored name, a manly heart offering protection to her weakness, and a high spirit incapable of being satisfied with engendering slaves?  Let her discard all fear, let her behave nobly and not deliver her youth to the weak and faint-hearted.  When she is married, she must aid her husband, inspire him with courage, share his perils, refrain from causing him worry and sweeten his moments of affection, always remembering that there is no grief that a brave heart can not bear and there is no bitterer inheritance than that of infamy and slavery.  Open your children's eyes so that they may jealously guard their honor, love their fellowmen and their native land, and do their duty.  Always impress upon them they must prefer dying with honor to living in dishonor.  The women of Sparta should serve you as an example should serve you as an example in this; I shall give some of their characteristics.

 

When a mother handed the shield to her son as he was marching to battle, she said nothing to him but this: "Return with it, or on it," which mean, come back victorious or dead, because it was customary with the routed warrior to throw away his shield, while the dead warrior was carried home on his shield.  A mother received word that her son had been killed in battle and the army routed.  She did not say a word, but expressed her thankfulness that her son had been saved from disgrace.  However, when her son returned alive, the mother put on mourning.  One of the mothers who went out to meet the warriors returning from battle was told by one that her three sons had fallen.  I do not ask you that, said the mother, but whether we have been victorious or not.  We have been victorious -- answered the warrior.  If that is so, then let us thank God, and she went to the temple.

 

Once upon a time a king of theirs, who had been defeated, hid in the temple, because he feared their popular wrath.  The Spartans resolved to shut him up there and starve him to death.  When they were blocking the door, the mother was the first to bring stones.  These things were in accordance with the custom there, and all Greece admired the Spartan woman.  Of all women -- a woman said jestingly -- only your Spartans have power over the men.  Quite natural -- they replied -- of all women only we give birth to men.  Man, the Spartan women said, was not born to life for himself alone but for his native land.  So long as this way of thinking prevailed and they had that kind of women in Sparta, no enemy was able to put his foot upon her soil, nor was there a woman in Sparta who ever saw a hostile army.

 

I do not expect to be believed simply because it is I who am saying this; there are many people who do not listen to reason, but will listen only to those who wear the cassock or have gray hair or no teeth; but while it is true that the aged should be venerated, because of their travails and experience, yet the life I have lived, consecrated to the happiness of the people, adds some years, though not many of my age.  I do not pretend to be looked upon as an idol or fetish and to be believed and listened to with the eyes closed, the head bowed, and the arms crossed over the breast; what I ask of all is to reflect on what I tell him, think it over and shift it carefully through the sieve of reasons.

 

First of all.  That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others.

 

Second.  What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and abject fear of him who holds one in contempt.

 

Third.  Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allowed himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter.

 

Fourth.  He who loves his independence must first aid his fellowman, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib in the buri is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together.

 

Fifth.  If the Filipina will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them.  She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all.

 

Sixth.  All men are born equal, naked, without bonds.  God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others.  It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one's equal, to cultivate one's intellect, and to make use of reason in all things.  Fatuous is he who makes a god of him, who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just.

 

Seventh.  Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you.  See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated.  Consider what they preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc. etc; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing; investigate whence they came and whiter they go and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether the pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milch cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat nor through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

 

Let us, therefore, reflect; let us consider our situation and see how we stand.  May these poorly written lines aid you in your good purpose and help you to pursue the plan you have initiated.  "May your profit be greater than the capital invested;" and I shall gladly accept the usual reward of all who dare tell your people the truth.  May your desire to educate yourself be crowned with success; may you in the garden of learning gather not bitter, but choice fruit, looking well before you eat because on the surface of the globe all is deceit, and the enemy sows weeds in your seedling plot.

 

All this is the ardent desire of your compatriot. –Jose Rizal

 

The Philippines a Century Hence

(by José Rizal  Translated by Charles E. Derbyshire)

NOTE: This famous essay of Rizal entitled "Filipinas de cien años" was first published in La Solidaridad, Madrid,

between September 30, 1889, and February 1, 1890

 

PART ONE:  Following our usual custom of facing squarely the most difficult and delicate questions related to the Philippines, without weighing the consequences that our frankness may bring upon us, we shall in the present article treat of their future.

In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past, and this, for the Philippines may be reduced in general terms to what follows.

Scarcely had they been attached to the Spanish crown than they had sustained with their blood and the efforts of their sons the wars and ambitions, and conquest of the Spanish people, and in these struggles, in that terrible crisis when a people changes its form of government, its laws, usages, customs, religion and beliefs; the Philippines was depopulated, impoverished and retarded -- caught in their metamorphosis without confidence in their past, without faith in their present and with no fond home of the years to come.  The former rulers who had merely endeavored to secure the fear and submission of their subjects, habituated by them to servitude, fell like leaves from a dead tree, and the people, who had no love for them nor knew what liberty was, easily changed masters, perhaps hoping to gain something by the innovation.

Then began a new era for the Filipinos.  They gradually lost their ancient traditions, their recollections, -- they forgot their writings, their songs, their poetry, their laws in order to learn by heart other doctrines, which they did not understand, other ethics, other tastes, different from those inspired in their race by their climate and their way of thinking.  Then there was a falling-off, they were lowered in their own eyes, they became ashamed of what was distinctively their own, in order to admire and praise that was foreign and incomprehensible; their spirit was broken and they acquiesced.

Thus years and centuries rolled on.  Religious shows, rites that caught the eye, songs, lights, images arrayed with gold, worship in a strange language, legends, miracles and sermons, hypnotized the already naturally superstitious spirits of the country but did not succeed in destroying it altogether, in spite of the whole system afterwards developed and operated with unyielding tenacity.

When the ethical abasement of the inhabitants had reached this stage, when they had become disheartened and disgusted with themselves, an effort was made to add the final stroke for reducing so many dormant wills and intellects to nothingness, in order to make of the individual a sort of toiler, a brute, a beast of burden and to develop a race without mind or heart.  “Then the end sought was revealed, it was taken for granted, and the race was insulted, an effort was made to deny it every virtue, every human characteristic, and there were even writers and priests who pushed the movement still further by trying to deny to the natives of the country not only capacity for virtue but also even the tendency to vice.

Then this which they had thought would be death was sure salvation.  Some dying persons are restored to health by a heroic remedy.

So great endurance reached its climax with the insults, and the lethargic spirit woke up to life.  His sensitiveness, the chief trait of the native, was touched, and while he had the forbearance to suffer and die under a foreign flag, he had it not when they whom he served repaid his sacrifices with insults and jests.  Then he began to study himself and to realize his misfortune.  Those who had not expected this result, like all despotic masters, regarded as a wrong every complaint, every protest, and punished it with death, endeavoring thus to stifle every cry of sorrow with blood, and they made mistake after mistake.

The spirit of the people was not thereby cowed, and even though it had been awakened in only a few hearts, its flame nevertheless was surely and consumingly propagated, thanks to abuses and the stupid endeavors of certain classes to stifle noble and generous sentiments.  Thus when a flame catches a garment, fear and confusion propagate it more and more, and each shake, each blow, is a blast from the bellows to fan it into life. 

Undoubtedly during all this time there were not lacking generous and noble spirits among the dominant race that tired to struggle for the rights of humanity and justice, or sordid and cowardly ones among the dominated that aided the debasement of their own country.  But both were exceptions and we are speaking in general terms.

Such is an outline of their past.  We know their present.  Now what will their future be?

Will the Philippine Islands continue to be a Spanish colony, and if so, what kind of colony?  Will they become a province of Spain, with or without autonomy?  And to reach this stage, what kind of sacrifices will have to be made?

Will they be separated from the mother country to live independently, to fall into the hands of other nations, or to ally themselves with neighboring powers?

It is impossible to reply to these questions, for to all of them both yes and now may be answered, according to the time desired to be covered.  When there is in nature no fixed condition, how much less must there be in the life of a people, being endowed with mobility and movement!  So, it is that in order to deal with those questions, it is necessary to presume an unlimited period of time, and in accordance therewith try to forecast future events.

PART TWO:  What will become of the Philippines within a century?  Will they continue to be a Spanish colony?

Had this question been asked three centuries ago, when at Legazpi’s death the Malayan Filipinos began to be gradually undeceived and, finding the yoke heavy, tried in vain to shake it off without any doubt whatsoever the reply would have been easy.  To a spirit enthusiastic over the liberty of the country, to those unconquerable Kagayanes who nourished within themselves the spirit of Mgalats, to the descendants of the heroic Gat Pulintang and Gat Salakab of the Province of Batangas, independence was assured, it was merely a question of getting together and making a determination.  But for him who, disillusioned by sad experience, saw everywhere discord and disorder, apathy and brutalization in the lower classes, discouragement and disunion in the upper, only one answer presented itself, and it was: extend his hands to the chains, bow his neck beneath the yoke and accept the future with the resignation of an invalid who watches the leaves fall and foresees a long winter amid whose snows he discerns the outlines of his grave.  At the time discord justified pessimism -- but three centuries passed, the meek had become accustomed to the yoke, and each new generation, begotten in chains, was constantly better adapted to the new order of things.

Now then, are the Philippines in the same condition they were three centuries ago?

For the liberal Spaniards the ethical condition of the people remains the same, that is, the native Filipinos have not advanced; for the friars and their followers the people have been redeemed from savagery, that is, they have progressed; for many Filipinos ethics, spirit and customs have decayed, as decay all the good qualities of a people that falls into slavery that is, they have retrograded.

Laying aside these considerations, so as not to get away from our subject let us draw the brief parallel between the political situation then and the situation at present, in order to see if what was not possible at that time can be so now, or vice versa.

Let us pass over the loyalty the Filipinos may feel for Spain; let us suppose for a moment, along with Spanish writers, that there exist only motives for hatred and jealousy between the two races; let us admit the assertions flaunted by many that three centuries of domination have not awakened in the sensitive heart of the native a single spark of affection or gratitude; and we may see whether or not the Spanish cause has gained ground in the Islands.

Formerly the Spanish authority was upheld among the natives by a handful of soldiers, three to five hundred at most, many of whom were engaged in trade and were scattered about not only in the Islands but also among the neighboring nations, occupied in long wars against the Mohammedans in the south, against the British and Dutch, and ceaselessly harassed by Japanese, Chinese, or some tribes in the interior.  Then communication with Mexico and Spain was slow, rare and difficult; frequent and violent the disturbances among the ruling powers in the Islands, the treasury nearly always empty, and the life of the colonists dependent upon one frail ship that handled the Chinese trade.  Then the seas in those regions were infested with pirates, all enemies of the Spanish name, which was defended by an impoverished fleet, generally manned by rude adventurers, when not by foreigners and enemies, which was checked and an expedition of Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, which was checked and frustrated by the mutiny of the Chinese rowers, who killed him and thwarted all his plans and schemes.  Yet in spite of so many adverse circumstances the Spanish authority had been upheld for more than three centuries and, though it has been curtailed, still continues to rule the destinies of the Philippine group.

On the other hand, the present situation seems to be gilded and rosy -- as we might say, a beautiful morning compared to the vexed and stormy night of the past.  The material forces at the disposal of the Spanish sovereign have now been trebled; the fleet relatively improved: there is more organization in both civil and military affairs; communication with the sovereign country is swifter and surer; she has no enemies abroad; her possession is assured and the country dominated seems to have less spirit, less aspiration for independence, a world that is to it almost incomprehensible.  Everything then at first glance presages another three centuries, at least, of peaceful domination and tranquil suzerainty.

But above the material considerations are arising others, invisible, of an ethical nature, far more powerful and transcendental.

Orientals and the Malays, in particular, are a sensitive people: delicacy of sentiment is predominant with them.  Even now, in spite of contact with the Occidental nations, who have ideas different from his, we see the Malayan Filipino sacrifice everything -- liberty, ease, welfare, name for the sake of an aspiration or a conceit sometimes scientific, or of some other nature but at the least word which wounds his self-love he forgets all his sacrifices, the labor expended, to treasure in his memory and never forget the slight he thinks he has received.

So the Philippine peoples have remained faithful during three centuries, giving up their liberty and their independence, sometimes dazzled by the hope of the Paradise promised, sometimes cajoled by the friendship offered them by a noble and generous people like the Spanish, sometimes also compelled by superiority of arms of which they were ignorant and which timid spirits invested with a mysterious character, or sometimes because the invading foreigner took advantage of internecine feuds to step in as the peacemaker in discord and thus after to dominate both parties and subject them to his authority.

Spanish domination once established, was firmly maintained, thanks to the attachment of the people, to their mutual dissensions, and to the fact that the sensitive self-love of the native had not yet been wounded.  Then the people saw their own countrymen in the higher ranks of the army, their general officers fighting beside the heroes of Spain and sharing their laurels, begrudged neither character, reputation nor consideration; then fidelity and attachment to Spain, love for the fatherland, made of the native encomendero and even general, as during the English invasion; then there had not yet been invented the insulting and ridiculous epithets with which recently the most laborious and painful achievements of the native leaders have been stigmatized; not then had it become the fashion to insult and slander in stereotyped phrase, in newspapers and books published with governmental and superior ecclesiastical approval, the people that paid, fought and poured out its blood for the Spanish name, nor was it considered either noble or witty to offend a whole race, which was forbidden to reply or defend itself, and if there were religious hypochondriacs who in the leisure of their cloisters dared to write against it, as did the Augustinian Gaspar de San Agustin and the Jesuit Velarde, their loathsome abortions never saw the light, and still less were they themselves  rewarded with miters and raised to high offices.  True it is that neither were the natives of that time such as we are now: three centuries of brutalization and obscurantism have necessarily had some influence upon us, the most beautiful work of divinity in the hands of certain artisans may finally be converted into a caricature.

The priests of that epoch, wishing to establish their domination over the people, got in touch with it and made common cause with it against the oppressive encomenderos.  Naturally, the people saw in them learning and some prestige and placed its confidence in them, followed their advice, and listened to them in the darkest hours.  If they wrote, they did so in defense of the rights of the native and made his cry reach even to the distant steps of the Throne.  And not a few priests, both secular and regular, undertook dangerous journeys, as representatives of the country, and this, along with the strict and public residencia then required of the governing powers, from the captain-general to the most insignificant official, rather consoled and pacified the wounded spirits, satisfying, even though it were only in form, all the malcontents.

All this has passed away.  The derisive laughter penetrates like mortal poison into the heart of the native who pays and suffers and it becomes more offensive the more immunity it enjoys.  A common sore the general affront offered to a whole race, has wiped away the old feuds among different provinces.  The people no longer have confidence in its former protectors, now its exploiters and executioners.  The masks have fallen.  It has been that the love and piety of the past have come to resemble the devotion of a nurse, who, unable to live elsewhere, desires the eternal infancy, eternal weakness, for the child in order to go on drawing her wages and existing at its expense, it has seen not only that she does not nourish it to make it grow but that she poisons it to stunt its growth and at the slightest protest she flies into a rage!  The ancient show of justice, the holy residencia has disappeared; confusion of ideas begins to prevail; the regard shown for a governor-general, lie La Torre, becomes a crime in the government of his successor, sufficient to cause the citizen to lose his liberty and his home; if he obeys the order of one official, as in the recent matter of admitting corpses into the church, it is enough to have the obedient subjects later harassed and persecuted in every possible way; obligations and taxes increase without thereby increasing rights, privileges and liberties or assuring the few in existence; a regime of continual terror and uncertainty disturbs the minds, a regime worse than a period of disorder for the fears that the imagination conjures up are generally greater than the reality; the country is poor; the financial crisis through which it is passing is acute, and every one points out with the finger the persons who are causing the trouble, yet no one dares lay hands upon them!

True it is that the Penal Code has come like a drop of balm to such bitterness.  But of what use are all the codes in the world, if by means of confidential reports, if for trifling reasons, if through anonymous traitors any honest citizen may be exiled or banished without a hearing, without a trial?  Of what use is that Penal Code, of what use is life, if there is no security in the home, no faith in justice and confidence in tranquility of conscience?  Of what use is all that array of terms, all that collection of articles, when the cowardly accusation of a traitor has more influence in the timorous ears of the supreme autocrat than all the cries for justice?

If this state of affairs should continue, what will be come of the Philippines within a century?

The batteries are gradually becoming charged and if the prudence of the government does not provide an outlet for the currents that are accumulating, some day the spark will be generated.  This is not the place to speak of what outcome such a deplorable conflict might have, for it depends upon chance, upon the weapons and upon a thousand circumstances which man cannot foresee.  But even though all the advantages should be on the government’s side and therefore the probability of success, it would be a Pyrrhic victory, and not government ought to desire such.

If those who guide the destinies of the Philippines remain obstinate, and instead of introducing reforms try to make the condition of the country retrograde; to push their severity and repression to extremes against the classes that suffer and think they are going to force the latter to venture and put into play the wretchedness of an unquiet life, filled with privation and bitterness, against the hope of securing something indefinite.  What would be lost in the struggle?  Almost nothing: the life of the numerous discontented classes has no such great attraction that it should be preferred to a glorious death.  It may indeed be a suicidal attempt -- but then, what?  Would not a bloody chasm yawn between victors and vanquished and might not the latter with time and experience become equal in strength, since they are superior in numbers to their dominators?  Who disputes this?  All the petty instructions that have occurred in the Philippines were the work of a few fanatics or discontented soldiers, who had to deceive and humbug the people or avail themselves of their powers over their subordinates to gain their ends.  So they all failed.  No insurrection had a popular character or was based on a need of the whole race or fought for human rights or justice, so it left no ineffaceable impressions, but rather when they saw that they had been duped the people bound up their wounds and applauded the overthrow of the disturbers of their peace!  But what if the movement springs from the people themselves and based its causes upon their woes?

So then, if the prudence and wise reforms of our ministers do not find capable and determined interpreters among the colonial governors and faithful perpetrators among those whom the frequent perpetrators among those whom the frequent political changes send to fill such a delicate post; if met with the eternal it is out of order, preferred by the elements who see their livelihood in the backwardness of their subjects, it just claims are to go unheeded, as being of a subversive tendency; if the country is denied representation in the Cortes and an authorized voice to cry out against all kinds of abuses, which escape through the complexity of the laws; if in short, the system, prolific in results of alienating the goodwill of the natives, is to continue, pricking his apathetic mind with insults and charges of ingratitude, we can assert that in a few yeas the present state of affairs will have been modified completely -- and inevitably.  There now exists a factor which was formerly lacking -- the spirit of the nation has been aroused and a common misfortune, a common debasement has united all the inhabitants of the Islands.  A numerous enlightened class now exists within and without the Islands, a class created and continually augmented by the stupidity of certain governing powers, which forces the inhabitants to leave the country, to secure education abroad, and it is maintained thanks to the provocation and the system of espionage in vogue.  This class, whose number is cumulatively increasing, is in constant communication with the rest of the Islands, and if today it constitutes only the brain of the country in a few years it will form the whole nervous system and manifest its existence in all its acts.

Now, statecraft has various means at its disposal for checking a people on the road to progress; the brutalization of the masses through a caste addicted to the government, aristocratic, as in the Dutch colonies, or theocratic as in the Philippines; the impoverishment of the country; the gradual extermination of the inhabitants; and fostering of feuds among the races.

Brutalization of the Malayan Filipinos has been demonstrated to be impossible.  In spite of the dark horde of friars in whose hands rests the instruction of youth, which miserably wastes years and years in the colleges, issuing therefrom tired, weary and disgusted with books: in spite of the censorship which tries to close every avenue to progress; in spite of all the pupils, confessionals, books, and missals that inculcate hatred toward not only all scientific knowledge but even toward the Spanish language itself; in spite of this whole elaborate system perfected and tenaciously operated by those who wish to keep the Islands in holy ignorance; there exist writers, freethinkers, historians, philosophers, chemists, physicians, artists, and jurists.  Enlightenment is spreading and the persecution it suffers quickens it.  No, the divine flame of thought is inextinguishable in the Filipino people and somehow or other it will shine forth and compel recognition.  It is impossible to brutalize the inhabitants of the Philippines!

May poverty arrest their development?  Perhaps, but it is a very dangerous means.  Experience has everywhere shown us and especially in the Philippines, that the classes which are better off have always been addicted to peace and order, because they live comparatively better and may be the losers in civil disturbances.  Wealth brings with it refinement, the spirit of conservation, while poverty inspires adventurous ideas, the desire to change things and has little care for life.  Machiavelli himself held this means of subjecting of a people to be perilous, observing that loss of welfare stirs up more obdurate enemies than loss of life.  Moreover, when there are wealth and abundance, there is less discontent, less compliant and the government, itself wealthier, has more means for sustaining itself.  On the other hand, there occurs in a poor country what becomes in a house where bread is wanting?  And further, of what use to the mother country would a poor and lean colony be?

Neither is possible gradually to exterminate the inhabitants.  The Philippine races, like all the Malays, do not succumb before the foreigner, like the Australians, the Polynesians and the Indians of the New World.  In spite of the numerous wars the Filipinos have had to carry on, in spite of the epidemics that have periodically visited them, their number has trebled, as has that of the Malays of Java and the Moluccas.  The Filipino embraces civilization and lives and thrives in every clime, in contact with every people.  Rum, that poison which exterminated the natives of the Pacific islands, has no power in the Philippines, but rather, comparison of their present condition with that described by the earlier historians, makes it appear that the Filipinos have grown soberer.  The petty wars with the inhabitants of the south consume only the soldiers, people who by their fidelity to the Spanish flag, far from being a menace, are surely one of its solidest supports.

Three remains the fostering of internecine feuds among the provinces.

This was formerly possible, when communication from one island to another was rare and difficult, when there were not steamers or telegraph lines, when the regiments were formed according to the various provinces, when some provinces were cajoled by awards of privileges and honor and other were protected from the strongest.  But now that the privileges have disappeared, that through a spirit of distrust the regiments have been reorganized, that the inhabitants move from one island to another, communication and exchange of impressions naturally increase, and as all see themselves threatened by the same peril and wounded in the same feelings, they clasp hands and make common cause.  It is true that the union is not yet wholly perfected, but to this end the measures of good government, the vexations to which the townspeople are subjected, the frequent changes of officials, the scarcity of centers of learning, forces of the youth of all the islands to come together and begin to get acquainted.  The journeys to Europe contribute not a little to tighten the bonds, for abroad the inhabitants of most widely separated provinces are impressed by their patriotic feelings, from sailors even to the wealthiest merchants, and at the sight of modern liberty and the memory of the misfortunes of their country, they embrace and call one another brothers.

In short, then, the advancement and ethical progress of the Philippines are inevitable, are decreed by fate.

The Islands cannot remain in the condition they are without requiring from the sovereign country more liberty.  Mutatis mutandis.  For new men, a new social order.

To wish that the alleged child remain in its swaddling clothes is to risk that it may turn against the nurse and flee, tearing away the old rags that bind it.

The Philippines, then, will remain under Spanish domination, but with more law and greater liberty, or they will declare themselves independent after steeping themselves and the mother country in blood.

As no one should desire or hope for such an unfortunate rupture, which would be an evil for all and only the final argument in the most desperate predicament, let us see by what forms of peaceful evolution the Islands may remain subjected to the Spanish authority, with the very least detriment to the rights, interests and dignity of both parties.

PART THREE:  If the Philippines must remain under the control of Spain, they will necessarily have to be transformed in a political sense, for the course of their history and the needs of their inhabitants so required.  This we demonstrated in the preceding article.

We also said that this transformation will be violent and fatal if it proceeds from the ranks of the people, but peaceful and fruitful if it emanates from the upper classes.

Some governors have realized this truth, and impelled by their patriotism, have been trying to introduce needed reforms in order to forestall events.  But notwithstanding all that have been ordered up to the present time, they have produced scanty results, for the government as well as for the country.  Even those that promised only a happy issue have at times caused injury, for the simple reason that they have been based upon unstable grounds.

We said and once more we repeat, and all will ever assert, that reforms, which have a palliative character, are not only ineffectual but even prejudicial when the government is confronted with evils that must be cured radically.  And were we not convinced of the honesty and rectitude of some governors, we would be tempted to say that all the partial reforms are only plasters and salves of a physician, who, not knowing how to cure the cancer, and not daring to root it out, tries in this way to alleviate the patient’s sufferings or to temporize with the cowardice of the timid and ignorant.

All the reforms of our liberal ministers were, have been, are, and will be good -- when carried out.

When we think of them, we are reminded of the dieting of Sancho Panza in this Barataria Island.  He took his seat at a sumptuous and well-appointed table “covered with fruit and many varieties of food differently prepared,” but between the wretch’s mouth and each dish the physician Pedro Rezio interposed his wand, saying, “Take it away!”  The dish removed, Sancho was as hungry as ever.  Truth is that the despotic Pedro Rezio gave reasons, which seem to have been written by Cervantes especially for the colonial administrations.  “You must not eat, Mr. Governor, except according to the usage and custom of other islands, where there are governors.”  Something was found to be wrong with each dish: one was too hot, another too moist, and so on, just like our Pedro Rezio on both sides of the sea.  Great good did his cook’s skill do Sancho!

In the case of our country, the reforms take the place of the dishes, the Philippines are Sancho, while the part of the quack physician is played by many persons interested in not having the dishes touched, perhaps that they may themselves get the benefit of them.

The result is that the long suffering Sancho, or the Philippines, misses his liberty, rejects all government and ends up by rebelling against his quack physician.

In this manner, so long as the Philippines have no liberty of the press, have no voice in the Cortes to make known to the government and to the nation whether or not their decrees have been duly obeyed, whether or not these benefit the country, all the able efforts of the colonial ministers will meet the fate of the dishes in Barataria Island.

The minister, then, who wants his reforms to be reforms, must begin by declaring the press in the Philippines free and by instituting Filipino delegates.

The free press in the Philippines, because their complaints rarely ever reach the Peninsula, very rarely, and if they do they are so secret, so mysterious that no newspaper dares to publish them, or if it does reproduce them, it does so tardily and badly.

A government that rules a country from a great distance is the one that has the most need for a free press more so even than the government of the home country, if it wishes to rule rightly and fitly.  The government that governs in a country may even dispense with the press (if it can), because it is on the ground, because it has eyes and ears, and because it directly observes what it rules and administers.  But the government that governs from afar absolutely requires that the truth and the facts reach its knowledge by every possible channel so that it may weigh and estimate them better, and this need increases when a country like the Philippines is concerned, where the inhabitants speak and complain in a language unknown to the authorities.  To govern in any other way may also be called governing, but it is to govern badly.  It amounts to pronouncing judgment after hearing only one of the parties; it is steering a ship without reckoning its conditions, the state of the sea, the reefs and shoals, the direction of the winds and currents.  It is managing a house by endeavoring merely to give it polish and a fine appearance without watching the money chest, without looking after the servants and the members of the family.

But routine is a declivity down which many governments slide, and routine says that freedom of the press is dangerous.  Let us see what History says: uprisings and revolutions have always occurred in countries tyrannized over, in countries where human thought and the human heart have been forced to remain silent.

If the great Napoleon had not tyrannized over the press, perhaps it would have warned him of the peril into which he was hurled and have made him understand that the people were weary and the earth wanted peace.  Perhaps his genius, instead of being dissipated in foreign aggrandizement would have become intensive in laboring to strengthen his position and thus have assured it.  Spain herself records in her history more revolutions when the press was gagged.  What colonies have become independent while they had a free press and enjoyed liberty?  Is it preferable to govern blindly or to govern with ample knowledge?

Someone will answer that in colonies with a free press, the prestige of the rulers, that prop of false governments, will be greatly imperiled.  We answer that the prestige of the nation is not by abetting and concealing abuses, but by rebuking and punishing them.  Moreover, to this prestige is applicable what Napoleon said about great men and their valets.  Who endure and know all the false pretensions and petty persecutions of those sham gods, do not need a free press in order to recognize them; they have long ago lost their prestige.  The free press is needed by the government, the government which still dreams of the prestige which it builds upon mined ground.

We say the same about the Filipino representatives.

What risks does the government see in them?  One of three things, either that they will prove unruly, become political trimmers, or act properly.

Supposing that we should yield to the most absurd pessimism and admit the insult, great for the Philippines but still greater for Spain, that all the representatives would be separatists and that in all their contentions they would advocate separatist ideas; does not a patriotic Spanish majority exist there, is there not present there the vigilance of the governing powers to combat and oppose such intentions?  And would not this be better than the discontent that ferments and expands in the secrecy of the home, in the huts and in the field?  Certainly the Spanish people does not spare its blood where patriotism is concerned but would not a struggle of principles in parliament be preferable to the exchange of shot in swampy lands, three thousand leagues from home in impenetrable forests, under a burning sun or amid torrential rains?  These pacific struggles of ideas, besides being a thermometer for the government, have the advantage of being cheap and glorious, because the Spanish parliament especially abounds in oratorical paladins invincible in debate.  Moreover, it is said that the Filipinos are indolent and peaceful -- then what need for government fear?  Hasn’t it any influence in the elections?  Frankly speaking, it is a great compliment to the separatists to fear them in the midst of the Cortes of the nation.

Now then, if the real objection to the Filipino delegates, is that they smell like Igorots, which so disturbed in open Senate the doughty General Salamanca, then Don Sinibaldo de Mas, who saw the Igorots in person and wanted to live with them, can affirm that they will smell at worst like powder, and Señor Salamanca undoubtedly has no fear of that odor.  And if this were all, the Filipinos, who there in their own country are accustomed to bathe every day, when they become representatives may give up such a dirty custom, at least during the legislative session so as not to offend the delicate nostrils of Salamanca with the odor of the bath.

It is useless to answer certain objections of some fine writers regarding the rather brown skins and faces with somewhat wide nostrils.  Questions of taste are peculiar to each race.  China, for example, which has four hundred million inhabitants and a very ancient civilization, considers all Europeans ugly and calls them “fankwai”, or red devils.  Its taste has a hundred million more adherents than the Europeans.  Moreover, if this is the question, we would have to admit the inferiority of the Latins, especially the Spaniards, to the Saxons, who are much whiter.

And so long as it is not asserted that the Spanish parliament is an assemblage of Adonises, Antoniuses, pretty boys and other like paragons, so long as the purpose of resorting thither is to legislate and not to philosophize or wonder through imaginary spheres, we maintain that the government ought not to pause at these obligations.  Law has no skin nor reason nostrils.

So we see no serious reason why the Philippines may not have representatives.  By their institution many malcontents would be silenced, and instead of blaming its troubles upon the government, as now happens, the country would bear them better, for it could at least complain and with its sons among its legislators, would in a way become responsible for their actions.

We are not sure that we serve the true interests of our country by asking for representatives.  We know that the lack of enlightenment, the indolence, the egotism, of our fellow countrymen, and the boldness, the cunning and the powerful methods of those who wish their obscurantism, may convert reform into a harmful instrument.  But we wish to be loyal to the government and we are pointing out to it the road that appears best to us so that its effort may not come to grief, so that discontent may disappear.  If after so just, as well as necessary, a measure has been introduced, the Filipino people are so stupid and weak that they are treacherous to their own interests, then let the responsibility fall upon them, let them suffer all consequences.  Every country gets the fate it deserves and the government can say that it has done its duty.

These are the two fundamental reforms, which properly interpreted and applied, will dissipate all clouds, assure affection toward Spain, and make all succeeding reforms fruitful.  These are the reforms sine quibus non.

It is puerile to fear that independence may come thorough them.  The free press will keep the government in touch with public opinion, and the representatives, if they are, as they ought to be, the best from among the sons of the Philippines, will be their hostages.  With no cause for discontent, how then attempt to stir up the masses of the people?

Likewise inadmissible is the obligation offered by some regarding the imperfect culture of the majority of the inhabitants.  Aside from the fact that it is not so imperfect as is averred, there is no plausible reason why the ignorant and the defective (whether through their own or another’s fault) should be denied representation to look after them and see that they are not abused.  They are the very ones who most need it.  No one ceases to be a man, no one forfeits his rights to civilization merely by being more or less uncultured, and since the Filipino is regarded as a fit citizen when he is asked to pay taxes or shed his blood to defend the fatherland why must this fitness be denied him when the question arises of granting him some right?  Moreover, how is he to be held responsible for his ignorance, when it is acknowledged by all, friends and enemies that his zeal for learning is so great that even before the coming of the Spaniards every one could read and write, and that we now see the humblest families make enormous sacrifices to the extent of working as servants in order to learn Spanish?  How can the country be expected to become enlightened under present conditions when we see all the decrees issued by the government in favor of education meet with Pedro Rezios who prevent execution whereof because they have in their hands what they call education?  If the Filipino, then, is sufficiently intelligent to pay taxes, he must also be able to choose and retain the one who looks after him and his interests, with the product whereof he serves the government of his nation.  To reason otherwise is to reason stupidly.

When the laws and the acts of officials are kept under surveillance, the word justice may cease to be a colonial jest.  The thing that makes the English most respected in their possessions is their strict and speedy justice so that the inhabitants repose entire confidence in the judges. Justice is the foremost virtue of the civilized races.  It subdues the barbarous nations, while injustice arouses the weakest.

Offices and trusts should be awarded by competition, publishing the work and the judgment thereon, so that there may be stimulus and that discontent may not be bred.  Then, if the native does not shake off his indolence he can not complain when he sees all the offices filled by Castilas.

We presume that it will not be the Spaniard who fears to enter in this contest, for thus will he be able to prove his superiority by the superiority of intelligence.  Although this is not the custom in the sovereign country, it should be practiced in the colonies, for the reason that genuine prestige should be sought by means of moral qualities, because the colonizers ought to be, or at least to seem, upright, honest and intelligent, just as a man stimulates virtues when he deals with a stranger.  The offices and trusts so earned will do away with arbitrary dismissal and develop employees and officials capable and cognizant of their duties.  The offices held by natives, instead of endangering the Spanish domination, will merely serve to assure it, for what interest would they have in converting the sure and stable into the uncertain and problematical?  The native is, moreover, very fond of peace and prefers a humble present to a brilliant future.  Let the various Filipinos still holding office speak in this matter, they are the most unshaken conservatives.

We could add other minor reforms touching commerce, agriculture, security of the individual and of property, education, and so on, but these are points with which we shall deal in other articles.  For the present we are satisfied with the outlines and no one can say that we ask too much.

There will be lacking critics to accuse us of Utopianism: but what is Utopia?  Utopia was a country imagined by Thomas Moore, wherein existed universal suffrage, religious toleration, almost complete abolition of the death penalty and so on.  When the book was published these things were looked upon as dreams, impossibilities, that is Utopianism.  Yet civilization has left the country of Utopia far behind, the human will and conscience have worked greater miracles, have abolished slavery and the death penalty for adultery -- things impossible for even Utopia itself!

The French colonies have their representatives.  The question has also been raised in the English parliament of giving representation to the Crown colonies, for the others already enjoy some autonomy.  The press there is also free.  Only Spain, which in the sixteenth century was the model nation in civilization, lags far behind.  Cuba and Puerto Rico, whose inhabitants do not number a third of those of the Philippines, and who have not made such sacrifices for Spain, have numerous representatives.  The Philippines in the early days had theirs, who conferred with the King and Pope on the needs of the country.  They had them in Spain’s critical moments, when she groaned under the Napoleonic yoke, and they did not take advantage of the sovereign country’s misfortunes like other colonies but tightened more firmly the bonds that united them to be the nation, giving proofs of their loyalty and they continued until many years later.  What crime have the Islands committed that they are deprived of their rights?

To recapitulate: the Philippines will remain Spanish if they enter upon the life of law and civilization, if the rights of their inhabitants are respected, if the other rights due them are granted, if the liberal policy of the government is carried out without trickery or meanness, without subterfuges or false interpretations.

Otherwise, if an attempt is made to see in the Islands a lode to be exploited, a resource to satisfy ambitions, thus to relieve the sovereign country of taxes, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, and shutting its ears to all cries of reasons the, however, great may be the loyalty of the Filipinos, it will be impossible to hinder the operations of the inexorable laws of history.  Colonies established to subserve the policy and the commerce of the sovereign country, all eventually become independent said Bachelet, and before Bachelet, all the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, English, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies have said it.

Close indeed are the bonds that unite us to Spain.  Two peoples do not live for three centuries in continual contact, sharing the same lot, shedding their blood on the same fields, holding the same beliefs, worshipping the same God, interchanging the same ideas, but that ties are formed between them stronger than those engendered by affection.  Machiavelli, the great reader of the human heart said: la natura degli huomini, e cosi obligarsi pe li beneficii che essi fanno come per quelli che essi ricevono (it is human nature to be bound as much by benefits conferred as by those received).  All this, and more, is true but it is pure sentimentality, and in the arena of politics stern necessity and interests prevail.  Howsoever much the Filipinos owe Spain, they can not be required to forego their redemption, to have their liberal and enlightened sons wander about in exile from their native land, the rudest aspirations stifled in its atmosphere, the peaceful inhabitants living in constant alarm, with the fortune of the two peoples dependent upon the whim of one man.  Spain can not claim, nor even in the name of God himself, that six millions of people should be brutalized, exploited and oppressed, denied light and the rights inherent to a human being and then heap upon them slights and insults.  There is no claim of gratitude that can excuse, there is not enough power in the world to justify the offenses against the liberty of the individual, against the sanctity of the home, against the laws, against peace and honor, offenses that are committed three daily.  There is no divinity that can proclaim the sacrifice of our dearest affections, the sacrifice of the family, the sacrileges and wrongs that are committed by persons who have the name of God on their lips.  No one can require an impossibility of the Filipino people.  The noble Spanish people, so jealous of its rights and liberties, cannot bid the Filipinos to renounce theirs.  A people that prides itself on the glories of the past cannot ask another, trained by it, to accept abjection and dishonor its own name!

We, who today are struggling by the legal and peaceful means of debate so understand it, and with our gaze fixed upon our ideals, shall not cease to plead our cause, without going beyond the pale of the law, but if violence first silences us or we have the misfortune to fall (which is possible for we are mortal) then we do not know what course will be taken by the numerous tendencies that will rush in to occupy the places that we leave vacant.

If what we desire is not realized. . .

In contemplating such an unfortunate eventuality, we must not turn away in horror, and so instead of closing our eyes we will face what the future may bring.  For this purpose, after throwing the handful of dust due to Cerberus, let us frankly descend into the abyss and sound its terrible mysteries.

 PART FOUR: History does not record in its annals any lasting domination exercised by one people over another, of different races, of diverse usages and customs, of opposite and divergent ideals.

One of the two had to yield and succumb.  Either the foreigner was driven out, as happened in the case of Carthaginians, the Moors and the French in Spain, or else these autochthons had to give way and perish, as was the case with the inhabitants of the New World.

One of the longest dominations was that of the Moors in Spain, which lasted seven centuries.  But, even though the conquerors lived in the country conquered, even though the Peninsula was broken up into small states, which gradually emerged like little islands in the midst of the great Saracen inundation and in spite of the chivalrous spirit, the gallantry and the religious toleration of the caliphs, they were finally driven out after bloody and stubborn conflicts, which formed the Spanish nation and created the Spain of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

The existence of a foreign body within another endowed with strength and activity is contrary to all natural and ethical laws.  Science teaches us that it is either assimilated, destroys the organism, is eliminated or becomes encysted.

Encystment of a conquering people is possible, for it signifies complete isolation, absolute inertia, and debility in the conquering element.  Encystment thus means the tomb of the foreign invader.

Now applying these considerations to the Philippines, we must conclude, as a deduction from all we have said, that if their population be not assimilated to the Spanish nation, if the dominators do not enter into the spirit of their inhabitants, if equitable laws and free and liberal reforms do not make each forget that they belong to different races, or if both peoples be not amalgamated to constitute one mass, socially and politically, homogeneous, that is, not harassed by opposing tendencies and antagonistic ideas and interests some day the Philippines will fatally and infallibly declare themselves independent.  To this law of destiny can be opposed neither Spanish patriotism, nor the love of all Filipinos for Spain, not the doubtful future of dismemberment and intestine strife in the Islands themselves.  Necessity is the most powerful divinity the world knows, and necessity is the resultant of physical forces set in operation by ethical forces.

We have said and statistics prove that it is impossible to exterminate the Filipino people.  And even were it possible what interest would Spain have in the destruction of the inhabitants of a country she can not populate or cultivate, whose climate is to a certain extent disastrous to her?  What good would the Philippines be without the Filipinos?  Quite otherwise, under her colonial system and the transitory character of the Spanish who go to the colonies, a colony is so much the more useful and productive to her as it possesses inhabitants and wealth.  Moreover, in order to destroy the six million Malays, even supposing them to be in their infancy and that they have never learned to fight and defend themselves, Spain would have to sacrifice at least a fourth of her population.  This we commend to the notice of the partisans of colonial exploitation.

But nothing of this kind can happen.  The menace is that when the education and liberty necessary to human existence are denied by Spain to the Filipinos, then they will seek enlightenment abroad, behind the mother country’s back or they will secure by hook or by crook some advantages in their country with the result that the opposition of purblind and paretic politicians will not only be futile but even prejudicial because it will convert motives for love and gratitude into resentment and hatred.

Hatred and resentment on one side, mistrust and anger on the other, will finally result in a violent terrible collision, especially when there exist elements interested in having disturbances, so that they may get something in the excitement, demonstrates their mighty power, foster lamentations and recriminations, or employ violent measures.  It is to be expected that the government will triumph and be generally (as is the custom) severe in punishment, either to teach a stern lesson in order to vaunt its strength or even to revenge upon the vanquished the spells of excitement and terror that the danger caused it.  An unavoidable concomitant of those catastrophes is the accumulation of acts of injustice committed against the innocent and peaceful inhabitants.  Private reprisals, denunciation, despicable accusations, resentments, covetousness, the opportune moment for calumny, the haste and hurried procedure of the court martials, the pretext of the integrity of the fatherland and the safety of the state, which cloaks and justifies everything, even for scrupulous minds, which unfortunately are still rare and above all the panic-stricken timidity, the cowardice that battens upon the conquered -- all these things augment the severe measures and the number of the victims.  The result is that a chasm of blood is then opened between the two peoples that the wounded and the afflicted, instead of becoming fewer, are increased, for to the families and friends of the guilty, who always think the punishment excessive and the judge unjust, must be added the families and friends of the innocent, who see no advantage in living and working submissively and peacefully.  Note, too, that if severe measures are dangerous in a nation made up of homogeneous population, the peril is increased a hundred-fold when the government is formed a race different from the governed.  In the former an injustice may still be ascribed to one man alone, to a governor actuated by personal malice, and with the death of the tyrant the victim is reconciled to the government of his nation. But in a county dominated by a foreign race, even the most just act of severity is construed as injustice and oppression, because it is ordered by a foreigner, who is unsympathetic or is an enemy of the country, and the offense hurts not only the victim but his entire race, because it is not usually regarded as personal and so the resentment naturally spreads to the whole governing race and does not die out with the offender.

Hence the great prudence and fine tact that should be exercised by colonizing countries, and the fact that government regards the colonies in general and our colonial office in particular, as training schools, contributes notably to the fulfillment of the great law that the colonies sooner or later declare themselves independent.

Such is the descent down which the peoples are precipitated.  In proportion as they are bathed in blood and drenched in tears and gall, the colony, if it has any vitality, learns how to struggle and perfect itself in fighting while the mother country whose colonial life depends upon peace and the submission of the subjects, is constantly weakened and even though she makes heroic efforts, as her number is less and she has only a fictitious existence, she finally perishes. She is like the rich voluptuary accustomed to be waited upon by a crowd of servants toiling and planting for him and who on the day his slaves refuse him obedience, as he does not live by his own efforts, must die.

Reprisals, wrongs and suspicions on one part and on the other the sentiment of patriotism and liberty, which is aroused in these incessant conflicts, insurrections and uprisings, operate to generalize the movement and one of the two peoples must succumb.  The struggle will be brief, for it will amount to a slavery much more cruel than death for the people and to a dishonorable loss of prestige for the dominator.  One of the peoples must succumb.

Spain, from the number of her inhabitants, from the condition of her army and navy, from the distance she is situated from the Islands, from her scanty knowledge of them, and from struggling against a people whose love and goodwill she has alienated, will necessarily have to give way, if she does not wish to risk not only her other possessions and her future in Africa, but also her very independence in Europe.  All this is at the cost of bloodshed, and crime, after mortal conflicts, murders, conflagrations, military executions, famine and misery.

The Spaniard is gallant and patriotic, and sacrifices everything in favorable moments, for his country’s good.  He has the intrepidity of his bull.  The Filipino loves his country no less and although he is quieter, more peaceful and with difficulty stirred up, when he is once aroused he does not hesitate and for him the struggle means death to one or the other combatant.  He has all the meekness and all the tenacity and ferocity of his carabao.  Climate affects bipeds in the same way that it does quadrupeds.

The terrible lessons and the hard teachings that these conflicts will have afforded the Filipinos will operate to improve and strengthen their ethical nature.  The Spain of the fifteenth century was not the Spain of the eighth.  With their bitter experience, instead of intestine conflicts of some islands against others, as is generally feared, they will extend mutual support, like shipwrecked persons when they reach an island after a fearful night of storm.  Nor may it be said that we shall partake of the fate of the small American republics.  They achieved their independence easily and their inhabitants are animated by a different spirit from what the Filipinos are.  Besides the danger of falling again into other hands, English or German, for example, will force the Filipinos to be sensible and prudent.  Absence of any great preponderance of one race over the others will free their imagination from all mad ambitions of domination, and as they tendency of countries that have been tyrannized over, when they once shake off the yoke, is to adopt the freest government, like a boy leaving school, like the beat of the pendulum or by a law of reaction, the Islands will probably declare themselves a federal republic.

If the Philippines secure their independence after heroic and stubborn conflicts, they can rest assured that neither England or Germany, nor France, and still less Holland will dare to take up what Spain has been unable to hold.  Within a few years Africa will completely absorb the attention of the Europeans, and there is no sensible nation which, in order to secure a group of poor and hostile islands, will neglect the immense territory offered by the Dark Continent, untouched, undeveloped and almost undefended.  England has enough colonies in the Orient and is not going to sacrifice her Indian Empire for the poor Philippine Islands -- if she had entertained such an intention she would not have restored Manila in 1763, but would have kept some point in the Philippines whence she might gradually expand.  Moreover, what need has John Bull the trader to exhaust himself over the Philippines, when he is already lord of the Orient, when he has Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai?  It is probable the England will look favorably upon the independence of the Philippines, for it will open their ports to her and afford greater freedom to her commerce.  Furthermore, there exist in the United Kingdom tendencies and opinions to the effect that she already has too many colonies, that they are harmful, that they greatly weaken the sovereign country.

For the same reasons Germany will not care to run any risk, and because a scattering of her forces and a war in distant countries will endanger her existence on the continent.  Thus we see her attitude, as much in the Pacific as in Africa, is confined to conquering easy territory that belongs to nobody.  Germany avoids any foreign complications.

France has enough to do and see more of a future in Tongking and China, besides the fact that the French spirit does not shine in zeal for colonization.  France loves glory, but the glory and laurels that grow on the battlefields of Europe.  The echo from battlefields in the Fear East hardly satisfies her craving for renown, for it reaches her quite faintly.  She has also other obligations, both internally and on the continent.

Holland is sensible and will be content to keep the Moluccas and Java.  Sumatra offers her a greater future than the Philippines whose seas and coasts have a sinister omen for Dutch expeditions.  Holland proceeds with great caution in Sumatra and Borneo, from fear of losing everything.

China will consider herself fortunate if she succeeds in keeping herself intact and is not dismembered or partitioned among the European powers that they are colonizing the continent of Asia.

The same is true with Japan.  On the north side she has Russia, who envies and watches her, on the south England, with whom she is in accord even to her official language.  She is, moreover, under such diplomatic pressure from Europe that she can not think of outside affairs until she is freed from it, which will not be an easy matter.  True it is that she has an excess of population, but Korea attracts her more than the Philippines and is also easier to seize.

Perhaps the great American Republic, whose interests lie in the Pacific and who has no hand in the spoliation of Africa, may dream some day of foreign possession.  This is not impossible, for the example is contagious, covetousness and ambition are among the strongest vices, and Harrison manifested something of this sort in the Samoan question.  But the Panama Canal is not opened nor the territory of the States congested with inhabitants, and in case she should openly attempt it the European powers would not allow her to proceed, for they know very well that the appetite is sharpened by the first bites.  North America would be quite a troublesome rival, if she should once get into the business.  Furthermore, this is contrary to her traditions.

Very likely the Philippines will defend with inexpressible valor the liberty secured at the price of so much blood and sacrifice.  With the new men that will spring from their soil and with the recollection of their past, they will perhaps strife to enter freely upon the wide road of progress, and all will labor together to strengthen their fatherland, both internally and externally, with the same enthusiasm, with which a youth falls again to tilling the land of his ancestors who long wasted and abandoned through the neglect of those who have withheld it from him.  Then the mines will be made to give up their gold for relieving distress, iron for weapons, copper, lead, and coal.  Perhaps the country will revive the maritime and mercantile life for which the islanders are fitted by their nature, ability and instincts, and once more free, like the bird that leaves its cage, like the flower that unfolds to the air, will recover the pristine virtues that are gradually dying out and will again become addicted to peace -- cheerful, happy, joyous, hospitable and daring.

These and many other things may come to pass within something like a hundred years, but the most logical prognostication, the prophecy based on the best probabilities, may err through remote and insignificant causes: An octopus that seized Mark Anthony’s ship altered the face of the world; a cross on Calvary and a just man nailed thereon changed the ethics of half the human race, and yet before Christ, how many just men wrongly perished and how many crosses were raised on that hill!  The death of the just sanctified his work and made his teaching unanswerable.  A sunken road at the battle of Waterloo buried all the glories of two brilliant decades, the whole napoleonic world, and freed Europe.  Upon what chance accidents will the destiny of the Philippines depend?

Nevertheless, it is not well to trust to accident, for there is sometimes an imperceptible and incomprehensible logic in the workings of history.  Fortunately, peoples as well as governments are subjects to it.

Therefore, we repeat and we will ever repeat, while there is time, and that is better to keep pace with the desire of a people than to give way before them; the former begets sympathy and love, the latter contempt and anger.  Since it is necessary to grant six million Filipinos their rights, so that they may be in fact Spaniards, let the government grant these rights freely and spontaneously, without damaging reservations, without irritating mistrust.  We shall never tire of repeating this while a ray of hope is left us, for we prefer this unpleasant task to the need of some day saying to the mother country: “Spain, we have sent our youth in serving thy interests in the interests of our country; we have looked to thee, we have expended the whole light of our intellects, all the fervor and enthusiasm of our hearts in working for the good of what was tine, to draw from them a glance of love, a liberal policy and that would assure us the peace of our native land and thy sway over loyal but unfortunate islands!  Spain, thou hast remained deaf, and wrapped up in thy pride, hast pursued thy fatal course and accused us of being traitors, merely because we love our country because we tell thee the truth and hate all kinds of injustice.  What dost thou wish us to tell our wretched country when it asks about the result of our efforts?  Must we say to it that, since for it we have lost everything -- youth, future, hope, peace, and family; since in its service we have exhausted all the resources of hope, all the disillusions of desire, it also takes the residue which we can not use, the blood from our veins and the strength left in our arms?  Spain, must we some day tell Filipinas that thou hast no ear for her woes and that if she wishes to be saved, she must redeem herself?” 

 

The Indolence of the Filipinos

English translation by Charles Derbyshire.  The article by José Rizal, originally written in Spanish, was published in La Solidaridad in five installments,

from July 15 to September 15, 1890.

 

PART ONE:  Doctor Sanciano, in his Progreso de Filipinas, has taken up this question, agitated, as he calls it, and relying upon facts and reports furnished by the very same Spanish authorities that ruled the Philippines has demonstrated that such indolence does not exist, and that all said about it does not deserve a reply or even passing choice.

Nevertheless as discussion of it has been continued, not only by government employees who make it responsible for their own shortcomings, not only by the friars who regard it as necessary in order that they may continue to represent themselves as indispensable, but also by serious and disinterested persons: and as evidence of greater or less weight may be adduced in opposition to that which Dr. Sanciano cites, it seems expedient to us to study this question thoroughly, without superciliousness or sensitiveness, without prejudice, without pessimism.  As as we can only serve our country by telling the truth, however, bitter it be, just as flagrant and skillful negation cannot refute a real and positive fact, in spite of the brilliance of the arguments; as mere affirmation is not sufficient to create something possible, let us calmly examine the facts, using on our part all the impartiality of which a man is capable who is convinced that there is no redemption except upon solid bases of virtue.

The word indolence has been greatly misused in the sense of little love for work and lack of energy, while ridicule has concealed the misuse.  This much-discussed question has met with the same fate as certain panaceas and specifics of the quacks who by ascribing to them impossible virtues have discredited them.  In the Middle Ages, and even in some Catholic countries now, the devil is blamed for everything that superstitious folk cannot understand or the perversity of mankind is loath to confess.  In the Philippines one's and another's faults, the shortcomings of one, the misdeeds of another, are attributed to indolence.  And just as in the Middle Ages he who sought the explanation of phenomena outside of infernal influences was persecuted, so in the Philippines worse happens to him who seeks the origin of the trouble outside of accepted beliefs.

The consequence of this misuse is that there are some who are interested in stating it as a dogma and others in combating it as a ridiculous superstition, if not a punishable delusion.  Yet it is not to be inferred from the misuse of a thing that it does not exist.

We think that there must be something behind all this outcry, for it is incredible that so many should err, among whom we have said there are a lot of serious and disinterested persons.  Some act in bad faith, though levity, through levity, through want of sound judgment, through limitation in reasoning power, ignorance of the past, or other cause.  Some repeat what they have heard, without examination or reflection; others speak through pessimism or are impelled by that human characteristic which paints as perfect everything that belongs to oneself and defective whatever belongs to another.  But it cannot be denied that there are some who worship truth, or if not truth itself at least the semblance thereof which is truth in the mind of the crowd.

Examining well, then, all scenes and all the men that we have known from childhood; and the life of our country, we believe that indolence does exist there.  The Filipinos, who can measure up with the most active peoples in the world, will doubtless not repudiate his admission, for it is true there one works and struggles against the climate, against nature and against men.  But we must not take the exception for the general rule, and should rather seek the good of our country by stating what we believe to be true.  We must confess that indolence does actually and positively exist there, only that, instead of holding it to be the cause of the backwardness and the trouble, we regard it as the effect of the trouble and the backwardness, by fostering the development of a lamentable predisposition.

Those who have as yet treated of indolence, with the exception of Dr. Sancianco, have been content to deny or affirm it.  We know of no one who has studied its causes.  Nevertheless, those who admit its existence and exaggerate it more or less have not therefore failed to advise remedies taken from here and there, from Java, from India, from other English or Dutch colonies, like the quack who saw a fever cured with a dozen sardines and afterwards always prescribed these fish at every rise in temperature that he discovered in his patient.

We shall proceed otherwise.  Before proposing a remedy we shall examine the causes, and even though strictly speaking a predisposition is not a cause, let us, however, study at its true value this predisposition due to nature.

The predisposition exists?  Why shouldn't it?

A hot climate requires of the individual quiet and rest, just as cold incites to labor and action.  For this reason the Spaniard is more indolent than the Frenchman; the Frenchman more so than the German.  The Europeans themselves who reproach the residents of the colonies so much (and I am not now speaking of the Spaniards but of the Germans and English themselves), how do they live in tropical countries?  Surrounded by a numerous train of servants, never-going afoot but riding in a carriage, needing servants not only to take off their shoes for them but even to them!  And yet they live and eat better, they work for themselves to get rich, with the hope of a future, free and respected, while the poor colonist, the indolent colonist, is badly nourished, has no hope, toils for others, and works under force and compulsion!  Perhaps the reply to this will be that white men are not made to stand the severity of the climate.  A mistake!  A man can live in any climate, if he will only adapt himself to its requirements and conditions.  What kills the European in hot countries is the abuse of liquors, the attempt to live according to the nature of his own country under another sky and another sun.  We inhabitants of hot countries live will in northern Europe whenever we take the precautions of the people there do.  Europeans can also stand the torrid zone, if only they would get rid of their prejudices.

The fact is that in tropical countries violent work is not a good thing as it is in cold countries, there it is death, destruction, annihilation.  Nature knows this and like a just mother has therefore made the earth more fertile, more productive, as a compensation. An hour's work under that burning sun, in the midst of pernicious influences springing from nature in activity, is equal to a day's work in a temperate climate; it is, then, just that the earth yields a hundred fold!  Moreover, do we not see the active European, who feels the fresh blood of spring boil in his veins, do we not see him abandon his labors, during the few days of his variable summer, close his office -- where the work is not violent and amounts for many to talking and gesticulating in the shade beside a lunch stand -- flee to watering places, sit in the cafes or stroll about.  What wonder then that the inhabitant of tropical countries, worn out and with his blood thinned by the continuous and excessive heat is reduced to inaction?  Who is the indolent one in the Manila offices?  Is it the poor clerk who comes in at eight in the morning and leaves at one in the afternoon with only his parasol, who copies and writes and works for himself and for his chief, or is it the chief, who comes in a carriage at ten o'clock, leaves before twelve, reads his newspaper while smoking and with his feet cocked up on a chair or a table, or gossiping about all his friends?  What is indolent, the native coadjutor, poorly paid and badly treated, who has to visit all the indigent sick living in the country, or the friar curate who gets fabulously rich, goes about in a carriage, eats and drinks well, and does not put himself to any trouble without collecting an excessive fee?

Without speaking further of the Europeans in what violent labor does the Chinaman engage in tropical countries, the industrious Chinaman, who flees from his own country driven by hunger and whose whole ambition is to amass a small fortune?  With the exception of some porters, an occupation that the natives also follow, he nearly always engages in the trade, in commerce; so rarely does he take up agriculture that we do not know of a single case.  The Chinaman who in other colonies cultivates the soil does so only for a certain number of years and then retires.

We find, then, the tendency to indolence very natural, and have to admit and bless it, for we cannot alter natural laws, and without it the race would have disappeared. l Man is not a brute, he is not a machine, his object is not merely to produce, in spite of the pretensions of some Christian whites who would make of the colored Christian a kind of motive power somewhat more intelligent and less costly than steam.  Man's object is not to satisfy the passions of another man, his object is to seek happiness for himself and his kind by traveling along the road of progress and perfection.

The evil is not that indolence exists more or less latently but that it is fostered and magnified.  Among men, as well as among nations, there exist no only, aptitudes but also tendencies good and evil.  To foster the good ones and aid them, as well as correct the evil and repress them, would be the duty of society and government, if less noble thoughts did not occupy their attention.  The evil is that the indolence in the Philippines is a magnified indolence, an indolence of the snowball type, if we may be permitted the expression, an evil that increases in direct proportion to the periods of time, and effect of misgovernment and of backwardness, as we have said, and not a cause thereof.  Others will hold the contrary opinion, especially those who have a hand in the misgovernment, but we do not care; we have made an assertion and are going to prove it.

 

PART TWO: When in consequence of a long chronic illness the condition of the patient is examined, the question may arise whether the weakening of the fibers and the debility of the organs are the cause of the malady's continuing or the effect of the bad treatment that prolongs its action.  The attending physician attributes the entire failure of his skill to the poor constitution of the patient, to the climate, to the surroundings, and so on.  On the other hand, the patient attributes the aggravation of the evil to the system of treatment followed.  Only the common crowd, the inquisitive populace, shakes its head and cannot reach a decision.

Something like this happens in the case of the Philippines.  Instead of a physician, read government, that is friars, employees, etc.  Instead of patient, Philippines; instead of malady, indolence.

And just as happens in similar cases when the patient gets worse, everybody loses his head, each one dodges the responsibility to place it upon somebody else, and instead of seeking the causes in order to combat the evil in them, devotes himself at best to attacking the symptoms; here a blood-letting, a tax; there a plaster, forced labor, further on a sedative, a trifling reform.  Every new arrival proposes a new remedy; one, seasons of prayer, the relics of a saint, the viaticum, the friars; another shower-bath; still another, with pretensions to modern ideas, a transfusion of blood.  "It's nothing, only the patient has eight million indolent red corpuscles; some few white corpuscles in the form of an agricultural colony will get us out of the trouble."

So, on all sides there are groans, gnawing of lips, clenching of fists, many hollow words, great ignorance, a deal of talk, a lot of fear.  The patient is near his finish!

Yes, transfusion of blood, transfusion of blood!  New life, new vitality!  Yes, new white corpuscles that you are going to inject into its veins, the new white corpuscles that were a cancer in another organism will withstand all the depravity of the system, will have more stamina than all the degeneration, all the trouble in the principal organs.  Be thankful if they do not become coagulations and produce gangrene, be thankful if they do not reproduce the cancer!

While the patient breathes, we must not lose hope, and however late we may be, a judicious examination is never superfluous; at least the cause of death may be known.  We are not trying to put all the blame on the physician, and still less on the patient, for we have already spoken of a predisposition, in the absence of which the race would disappear, sacrificed to excessive labor in a tropical country.

Indolence in the Philippines is a chronic malady, but not a heredity one.  The Filipinos have not always been what they are, witnesses whereto are all the historians of the first years after the discovery of the Islands.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Malayan Filipinos carried on an active trade, no only among themselves but also with all the neighboring countries.  A Chinese manuscript of the 13th century, translated by Dr. Hirth (Globus, September, 1889), which we will take up at another time, speaks of China's relations with the islands, relations purely commercial, which mention is made of the activity and honesty of the traders of Luzon, who took the Chinese products and distributed them throughout all the islands, for the merchandise that the Chinaman did not remember to have given them.  The products which they in exchange exported from the islands were crude wax, cotton, pearls, tortoise shell, betel-nuts, dry goods, etc.

The first thing noticed by Pigafetta who came with Magellan in 1521, on arriving at the first island of the Philippines, Samar, was the courtesy and kindness of the inhabitants and their commerce.  "To honor our captain," he says, "they conducted him to their boats where they had their merchandise, which consisted of cloves, cinnamon, pepper, nutmegs, mace, gold and other things; and they made us understand by gestures that such articles were to be found in the islands to which we were going."

Further on he speaks of the vessels and utensils of solid gold that he found in Butuan where the people worked in mines.  He describes the silk dresses, the daggers with long gold hilts and scabbards of carved wood, the gold sets of teeth, etc.  Among cereals and fruits he mentions rice, millet, oranges, lemons, panicum, etc.

That the islands maintained relations with neighboring countries and even with distant ones is proven by the ships from Siam, laden with gold and slaves, that Magellan found in Cebu.  These ships paid certain duties to the king of the island.  In the same year, 1521, the survivors of Magellan's expedition met the son of the Rajah of Luzon, who, as captain-general of the Sultan of Borneo and admiral of his fleet, had conquered for him the great city of Lave (Sarawak ?).  Might this captain, who was greatly feared by all his foes, have been the Rajah Matanda whom the Spaniards afterwards encountered in Tondo in 1570?

In 1539 the warriors of Luzon took part in the formidable contests of Sumatra, and under the orders of Angi Sity Timor, Rajah of Batta, conquered and overthrew the terrible Alzadin, Sultan of Atchin, renowned in the historical annals of the Far East.  (Marseen, History of Sumatra, chapter 20)

At that time, that sea where float the islands like a set of emeralds on a paten of bright glass, that sea was everywhere traversed by junks, paraus, barangays, vintas, vessels swift as shuttles so large that they could maintain a hundred rowers on a side (Morga); that sea bore everywhere commerce, industry, agriculture, by the force of the oars moved to the sound of warlike songs of the genealogies and achievements of the Philippine divinities.  (Colin, Chapter 15)

Wealth abounded in the islands.  Pigafetta tells us of the abundance of foodstuffs in Pragua and of its inhabitants, who nearly all tilled their own fields.  At this island the survivors of Magellan's expedition were well received and provisioned.  A little later, these same survivors captured a vessel, plundered and sacked it and took prisoner in it the chief of the Island of Paragua with his son and brother.

In this same vessel they captured bronze lombards, and this is the first mention of artillery of the Filipino, for these lombards were useful to the chief of Paragua against the savages of the interior.

They let him ransom himself within seven days, demanding 400 measures (cavanes ?) of rice, 20 pigs, 20 goats, and 450 chickens.  This is the first act of piracy recorded in Philippine history.  The chief of Paragua paid everything, and moreover, voluntarily added coconuts, bananas, and sugar-cane jars filled with palm wine.  When Caesar was taken prisoner by the corsairs and required to pay twenty-five talents ransom, he replied, "I'll give you fifty, but later I'll have you crucified!"  The chief of Paragua was more generous: he forgot.  His conduct, while it may reveal weakness, also demonstrates that the islands ere abundantly provisioned.  This chief was named Tuan Mahamud; his brother, Guantil, and his son, Tuan Mahamud.  (Martin Mendez, Purser of the ship Victoria: Archivo de Indias.)

A very extraordinary thing, and one that shows the facility with which the natives learned Spanish, is that fifty years before the arrival of the Spaniards in Luzon, in that very year 1521, when they first came to the islands, there were already natives of Luzon who understood Castilian.  In the treaties of peace that the survivors of Magellan's expedition made with the chief of Paragua, when the servant-interpreter died they communicated with one another through a Moro who had been captured in the island of the King of Luzon and who understood some Spanish (Martin Mendez; op cit.)  Where did this extemporaneous interpreter learn Castilian?  In the Moluccas?  In Malacca, with the Portuguese?  Spaniards did not reach Luzon until 1571.

Legazpi's expedition met in Butuan various traders of Luzon with their boats laden with iron, cloths, porcelain, etc.  (Gaspar de San Agustin) plenty of provisions, activity, trade, movement in all the southern islands.

They arrived at the Island of Cebu, "abounding in provisions, with mines and washings of gold, and peopled with natives, "as Morga says: "very populous, and at a port frequented by many ships that came from the islands and kingdoms near India," as Colin says: and even though they were peacefully received discord soon arose.  The city was taken by force and burned.  The first destroyed the food supplies and naturally famine broke out in that town of a hundred thousand people, as the historians say, and among the members of the expedition, but the neighboring islands quickly relieved the need, thanks to the abundance they enjoyed.

All the histories of those first years, in short, abound in long accounts about the industry and agriculture of the natives; mines, gold-washings, looms, farms, barter, naval construction, raising of poultry and stock, weaving of silk and cotton, distilleries, manufactures of arms, pearl fisheries, the civet industry, the horn and hide industry, etc., are things encountered at every step, and considering the time and the conditions in the islands, prove that there was life, there was activity, there was movement.

And if this, which is deduction, does not convince any minds imbued with unfair prejudices perhaps, of some avail may be the testimony of the oft-quoted Dr. Morga, who was Lieutenant-Governor of Manila for seven years and after rendering great service in the Archipelago was appointed criminal judge of the Audiencia of Mexico and Counselor of the Inquisition.  His testimony, we say, is highly credible, not only because all his contemporaries have spoken of him in terms that border on veneration but also because his work, from which we take these citations, is written with great circumspection and care, as well with reference to the authorities in the Philippines as to the errors they committed.  "The natives," says Morga, in Chapter Seven, speaking of the occupations of the Chinese, "are very far from exercising those trade and have forgotten much about farming, raising poultry, stock and cotton, and weaving cloth.  As they used to do in their Paganism and for a long time after the country was conquered."

The whole Chapter 8 of his work deals with this moribund activity, this much forgotten industry, and yet in spite of that, how long is his eighth chapter!

And not only Morga, not also Chirinco, Colin, Argensola, Gaspar de San Agustin and others agree to this matter, but modern travelers, after two hundred and fifty years, examining the decadence and misery, assert the same thing.  Dr. Hans Meyer, when he saw the tribes not subdued cultivating beautiful fields and working energetically, asked if they would not become indolent when they in turn should accept Christianity and a paternal government.

Accordingly, the Filipinos in spite of the climate, in spite of their few needs (they were less then than now), were not the indolent creatures of our time, and, as we shall see later on, their ethics and their mode of life were not what is not complacently attributed to them.

How then, and in what way, was that active and enterprising infidel native of ancient times converted into the lazy and indolent Christian, as our contemporary writers say?

We have already spoken of the more or less latent predisposition which exists in the Philippines toward indolence, and which must exist everywhere, in the whole world, in all men, because we all hate work more or less, as it may be more or less hard, more ore less unproductive.  The dolce far niente of the Italian, the rascarse la barriga of the Spaniard, the supreme aspiration of the bourgeois to live on his income in peace and tranquility, attest this.

What causes operated to awake this terrible predisposition from its lethargy?  How is it that the Filipino people, so fond of its customs as to border on routine, has given up its ancient habits of work, of trade, of navigation, etc., even to the extent of completely forgetting its past?

 

PART THREE: A fatal combination of circumstances, some independent of the will in spite of men's efforts, others in offspring of stupidity and ignorance, others the inevitable corollaries of false principles, and still others the result of more or less base passions, has induced the decline of labor, an evil which instead of being remedies by prudence, mature reflection and recognition of the mistakes made, through a deplorable policy, through regrettable blindness and obstinacy, has gone from bad to worse until it has reached the condition in which we now see it.

First came the wars, the internal disorders which the new change of affairs naturally brought with it.  It was necessary to subject the people either by cajolery or force; there were fights, there was slaughter; those who had submitted peacefully seemed to repent of it; insurrections were suspected, and some occurred; naturally there were executions, and many capable laborers perished. Add to this condition of disorder the invasion of Li-Mahong; add continual wars into which the inhabitants of the Philippines were pledged to maintain the honor of Spain, to extend the sway of her flag in Borneo, in the Moluccas and in Indo-China; to repel the Dutch foe; costly wars, fruitless expeditions, in which each time thousands and thousands of native archers and rowers were recorded to have embarked, but whether they returned to their homes was never stated.  Like the tribute that once upon a time Greece sent to the Minotaur of Crete, the Philippine youth embarked for the expedition, saying goodbye to their country forever; on their horizon were the stormy sea, the interminable wars, the rash expeditions.  Wherefore, Gaspar de San Agustin says: "Although anciently there were in this town of Dumangas many people, in the course of time they have very greatly diminished because the natives are the best sailors and most skillful rowers on the whole coast, and so the governors in the port of Iloilo take most of the people from this town for the ships that they send abroad . . .  When the Spaniards reached this island (Panay) it is said that there were on it more than fifty thousand families; but these diminished greatly . . . and at present they may amount to some fourteen thousand tributaries."  From fifty thousand families to fourteen thousand tributaries in little over half a century!

We would never get through, had we to quote all the evidence of the authors regarding the frightful diminution of the inhabitants of the Philippines in the first years after the discovery.  In the time of their first bishop, that is, ten years after Legazpi.  Philip II said that they had been reduced to less than two-thirds.

Add to these fatal expeditions that wasted all the moral and material energies of the country, the frightful inroads of the terrible pirates from the south, instigated and encouraged by the government, first in order to get a complaint and afterwards disarm the islands subjected to it, inroads that reached the very shores of Manila, even Malate itself, and during which were sen to set out for captivity and slavery, in the baleful glow of burning villages, strings of wretches who had been unable to defend themselves, leaving behind them the ashes of their homes and the corpses of their parents and children.  Morga, who recounts the first piratical invasion, says: "The boldness of these people of Mindanao did great damage to the Visayan Island, as much by what they did in them as by the fear and fright which  the native acquired, because the latter were in the power of the Spaniards who held them subject and tributary and unarmed, in such manner that they did not protect them from their enemies or leave the means with which to defend themselves, AS THEY DID WHEN THERE WERE NO SPANIARDS IN THE COUNTRY."  These piratical attacks continually reduce the number of the inhabitants of the Philippines, since the independent Malays were especially notorious for their atrocities and murders, sometimes because they believed that to preserve their independence it was necessary to weaken the Spaniard by reducing the number of his subjects, sometimes because a greater hatred and a deeper resentment inspired them against the Christian Filipino who, being of their own race, served the stranger in order to deprive them of their precious liberty.  These expeditions lasted about three centuries, being repeated five and ten times a year, and each expedition cost the island over eight hundred prisoners.

"With the invasions of the pirates from Sulu and Mindanao," says Padre Gaspar de San Agustin, (the island of Bantayan, near Cebu) "has greatly reduced, because they easily captured the people there, since the latter had no place to fortify themselves and were far from help from Cebu.  The hostile Sulus did great damage in this island in 1608, leaving it almost depopulated."  (Page 380)

These rough attacks, coming from without, produced a counter effect in the interior, which, carried out medical comparisons was like a purge or diet in an individual who has just lost a great deal of blood.  In order to make headway against so many calamities, to secure their sovereignty and take the offensive in these disastrous contests, to isolate the warlike Sulus from their neighbors in the south, to care for the needs of the empire of the Indies (for one of the reasons why the Philippines were kept, as contemporary documents prove, ws their strategic position between New Spain and the Indies), to wrest from the Dutch their growing colonies of the Molluccas and get red of some troublesome neighbors, to maintain, in short, the trade of China and New Spain, it was necessary to construct new and large ships which, as we have seen, costly as they were to the country for their equipment and the rowers they required, were not less so because of the manner in which they were constructed.  Padre Fernando de lost Rios Coronel, who fought in these wards and later turned priest, speaking of these King's ships, said, "As they were so large, the timber needed was scarcely to be found in the forests (of the Philippines?), and thus it was necessary to seek it with great difficulty in the most remote of them, where, once found, in order to haul and convey it to the shipyard the towns of the surrounding country had to be depopulated of natives, who get it out with immense labor, damage, and cost to them.  The natives furnished the masts for a galleon, according to the assertion of the Franciscans, and I heard the governor of the province where they were cut, which is Laguna de Bay, say that to haul them seven leagues over very broken mountains 6,000 natives were engaged three months, without furnishing them food, which the wretched native had to seek for himself!"

And Gaspar de San Agustin says: "In these times (1690), Bacolor has not the people that it had in the past because of the uprising in that province when Don Sabiniano Manrique de Lara was Governor of these islands and because of the continual labor of cutting timber for his Majesty's shipyards, which hinders them from cultivating the very fertile plain they have.

If this is not sufficient to explain the depopulation of the islands and the abandonment of industry, agriculture and commerce, then add "the natives who were executed, those who left their wives and children and fled in disgust to the mountains, those who were sold into slavery to pay the taxes levied upon them," as Fernando de los Rios Coronel says; add to all this what Philip II said in reprimanding Bishop Salazar about "natives sold to some encomenderos to others, those flogged to death, the women who are crushed to death by their heavy burdens, those who sleep in the fields and bear and nurse their children and die bitten by poisonous vermin, the many who are executed and left to die of hunger and those who eat poisonous herbs . . . and the mothers who kill their children in bearing them," and you will understand how in less than thirty years the population of the Philippines was reduced one-third.  We are not saying this: it was said by Gaspar de San Agustin, the preeminently anti-Filipino Augustinian, and he confirms it throughout the rest of his work by speaking every moment of the state of neglect in which lay the farms and field once so flourishing and so well cultivated, the town thinned that had formerly been inhabited by many leading families!

How is it strange, then, that discouragement may have been infused into the spirit of the inhabitants of the Philippines, when in the midst of so many calamities they did not know whether they would see sprout the seed they were planting, whether their field was going to be their grave or their crop would go to feed their executioner?  What is there strange in it, when we see the pious but impotent friars of that time trying to free their poor parishioners from the tyranny of the encomenderos by advising them to stop work in the mines, to abandon their commerce, to break up their looms, pointing out to them heaven for their whole hope, preparing them for death as their only consolation?

Man works for an object.  Remove the object and you reduce him to inaction.  The most active man in the world will fold his arms from the instant he understands that it is madness to bestir himself, that this work will be the cause of his trouble, that for him it will be the cause of vexations at home and of the pirate's greed abroad.  It seems that these thoughts have never entered the minds of those who cry out against the indolence of the Filipinos.

Even were the Filipino not a man like the rest, even were we to suppose that zeal in him for work was as essential as the movement of a wheel caught in the gearing of others in motion; even were we to deny him foresight and the judgment that the past and present form, there would still be left us another reason to explain the attack of the evil.  The abandonment of the fields by their cultivators, whom the wars and piratical attacks dragged from their homes was sufficient to reduce to nothing the hard labor of so many generations.  In the Philippines abandon for a year the land most beautifully tended and you will see how you will have to begin all over again: the rain will wipe out the furrows, the floods will drown the seeds, pants and bushes will grow up everywhere, and on seeing so much useless labor the hand will drop the hoe, the laborer will desert his plow.  Isn't there left the fine life of the pirate?

Thus is understood that sad discouragement which we find in the friar writers of the 17th century, speaking of once very fertile plains submerged, of provinces and towns depopulate, of leading families exterminated.  These pages resemble a sad and monotonous scene in the night after a lively day.  Of Cagayan, Padre Agustin speaks with mournful brevity: "A great deal of cotton, of which they made good cloth that the Chinese and Japanese every year bought and carried  away."  In the historian's time, the industry and the trade had come to an end.

It seems that there are causes more than sufficient to breed indolence in the midst of a beehive.  Thus is explained why, after thirty-two years of the system, the circumspect and prudent Morga said that the natives have forgotten much about farming, raising poultry, stock and cotton and weaving cloth, as they used to do in their paganism and for a long time after the country had been conquered!"

Still they struggled a long time against indolence, yes: but their enemies were so numerous that at last they gave up!

PART FOUR:  We recognize the causes that awoke the predisposition and provoked the evil: now let us see what foster and sustain it.  In this connection government and governed have to bow our heads and say: "We deserve our fate."

We have already truly said that when a house becomes disturbed and disordered, we should not accuse the youngest child or the servants, but the head of it, especially if his authority is unlimited.  He who does not act freely is not responsible for his actions; and the Filipino people, not being master of its liberty, is not responsible for either its misfortunes or its woes.  We say this, it is true, but, as well as seen later on, we also have a large part in the continuation of such a disorder.

The following other causes contributed to foster the evil and aggravate it; the constantly lessening encouragement that labor has met with in the Philippines.  Fearing to have the Filipinos deal frequently with other individuals of their own race, who were free and independent, as the Borneans, the Siamese, the Cambodians, and the Japanese, people who in their customs and feeling differ greatly from the Chinese, the government acted toward these others with great mistrust and great severity, as Morga testifies in the last pages of his work, until they finally ceased to come to the country.  In fact, it seems that once an uprising planned by he Borneans was suspected: we say; suspected, for there was not even an attempt, although there were many executions.  And as thse nations wee the very ones that consumed Philippine products, when all communication with them had been cut off, consumption of these products also ceased.  The only two countries with which the Philippines continued to have relations were China and Mexico, or New Spain, and from this trade only China and a few private individuals in Manila got any benefit.  In fact, the Celestial Empire sent her junks laden with merchandise, that merchandise which shut down the factories of Seville and ruined the Spanish industry, and returned laden in exchange with the silver that was every year sent from Mexico.  Nothing from the Philippines at that time went to China, not even gold, for in those years the Chinese trades would accept no payment but silver coin.  To Mexico went a little more: some cloth and dry goods which the encomenderos took by force or bought from the natives at a paltry; price, wax, amber, gold, civet, etc; but nothing more, and not even in great quantity, as is stated by Admiral Don Jeronimo de Benelos y Carrilo, when he  begged the King that "the inhabitants of the Manilas be permitted (1) to load as many ships as they could with native products, such as wax, gold, perfumes, ivory, cotton cloths, which they would have to buy from the natives of the country. . .  Thus friendship of these peoples would be gained, they would furnish New Spain with their merchandise and the money that is brought to Manila would not leave this place."

The coastwise trade, so active in other times, had to die out, thanks to the piratical attacks of the Malays of the south; and trade in the interior of the islands almost entirely disappeared, owing to restrictions, passports and other administrative requirements.

Of no little importance were the hindrance and obstacles that from the beginning were thrown in the farmer's way by the rules, who were influenced by childish fear and saw everywhere signs of conspiracies and uprisings.  The natives were not allowed to go to their labors, that is, their farms, without permission of the governor, or of his agents and officers, and even of the priests as Morga says.  Those who know the administrative slackness and confusion in a country where the officials work scarcely two hours a day; those who know the cost of going to and returning form the capital to the little tyrants will well understand how with this crude arrangement it is possible to have the most absurd agriculture.  True it is that for sometime this absurdity which would be ludicrous had it not been so serious, had disappeared; but even if the words have gone out of use other facts and other provisions have replaced them.  The Moro pirate has disappeared but there remains the outlaw who infests the fields and waylays the farmer to hold him for ransom.  Now then, the government, which has a constant fear of the people, denies to the farmers even the use of a shotgun, or if it does allow it does so very grudgingly and withdraws it at pleasure; whence it results with the laborer, who, thanks to his means of defense, plants his crops and invests his meager fortune in the furrows that he has so laboriously opened, that when his crop matures it occurs to the government, which is impotent to suppress brigandage, to deprive him of his weapon; and then, without defense and without security, he is reduced to inaction and abandons his field, his work, and takes to gambling as the best means of securing a livelihood.  The green cloth is under the protection of the government, it is safer!  A mournful counselor is fear, for it not only causes weakness but also in casting aside the weapons, strengthens the very persecutor!

The sordid return the native gets from his work has the effect of discouraging him.  We know from history that the encomenderos, after reducing many to slavery and forcing them to work for their benefit, made others give up their merchandise for a trife or nothing at all, or cheated them with the measures.

Speaking of Ipion, in Panay, Padre Gaspar de San Agustin says: "It was in ancient times very rich in gold . . . but provoked by he annoyances they suffered from some governors they have ceased to get it out, preferring to live in poverty than to suffer such hardships." (page 378) Further on, speaking of other towns, he says: "Boaded by ill treatment of the encomenderos who in administering justice have treated the natives as thier slaves and not as their children, and have only looked after their own interests at the expense of the wretched fortunes and lives of their charges. . . (Page 422)  Further on, "In Leyte, they tried to kill an encomendero of the town of Dagami on account of the great hardships he made them suffer by exacting tribute of wax from them with a steelyard which he had made twice as long as others. . ."

This state of affairs lasted a long time and still lasts, in spite of the fact that the breed of encomenderos has become extinct.  A term passes away but the evil and the passions engendered do not pass away so long as reforms are devoted solely to changing the names.

The wars with the Dutch, the inroads and piratical attacks of the people of Sulu land Mindanao disappeared; the people have been transformed; new towns have grown up while others have become impoverished; but the frauds subsisted as much as or worse than they did in those early years.  We will not cite our own experiences for aside from the fact that we do not know which to select, critical persons may reproach us with partiality; neither will we cite those of other Filipinos who write in the newspapers, but we shall confine ourselves to translating the words of a modern French traveler who as in the Philippines for a long time.

"The good curate," he says with reference to the rosy picture a friar had given him of the Philippines, "had not told me about the governor, the foremost official of the district, who was too much taken up with the ideal of getting rich to have time to tyrannize over his docile subjects; the governor, charged with ruling the country and collecting the various taxes in the government's name, devoted himself almost wholly to trade; in his hands the high and noble functions he performs are nothing more than instruments of gain.  He monopolizes all the business and instead of developing on his part the love of work, instead of stimulating the too natural indolence of the natives, he with abuse of his powers thinks only of destroying all competition that may trouble him or attempts to participate in his profits.  It maters little to him that the country is impoverished, without cultivation, without commerce, without industry, just so the governor is quickly enriched."

Yet the traveler has been unfair in picking out the governor especially.  Why only the governor?

We do not cite passages from other authors, because we have not their works at hand and do not wish to quote from memory.

The great difficulty that every enterprise encountered with the administration contributed not a little to kill off all commercial and industrial movement.  All the Filipinos, as well as all those who have tried to engage in business in the Philippines, know how many documents, what comings, how many stamped papers, how much patience is needed to secure from the government a permit for an enterprise.  One must count upon the good will of this one, on the influence of that one, on a good bribe to another in order that the application be not pigeon-holed, a present to the one further on so that it may pass it on to his chief; one must pray to God to give him good humor and time to see and examine it; to another, talent to recognize its expediency; to one further on sufficient stupidity not to scent behind the enterprise an insurrectionary purpose land that they may not all spend the time taking baths, hunting or playing cards with the reverend friars in their convents or country houses.  And above all, great patience, great knowledge of how to get along, plenty of money, a great deal of politics, many salutations, great influence, plenty of presents and complete resignation!  How is it strange that the Philippines remain poor in spite of the fertile soil, when history tells us that the countries now the most flourishing date their development from the day of their liberty and civil rights?  The most commercial and most industrious countries have been the freest countries.  France, England and the United States prove this.  Hong Kong, which is not worth the most insignificant of the Philippines, has more commercial movement than all the islands together, because it is free and is well governed.

The trade with China, which was the whole occupation of the colonizers of the Philippines, was not only prejudicial to Spain but also the life of her colonies; in fact, when the officials and private persons in Manila found an easy method of getting rich they neglected everything.  They paid no attention either to cultivating the soil or to fostering industry; and wherefore?  China furnished the trade, and they had only to take advantage of it and pick up the gold that dropped out on its way from Mexico toward the interior of China, the gulf whence it never returned.  The pernicious example of the dominators in surrounding themselves with servants and despising manual or corporal labor as a thing unbecoming the nobility and chivalrous pride of the heroes of so many centuries; those lordly airs, which the natives have translated into tila ka castila, and the desire of the dominated to be the equal of the dominators, if not essentially, at least in their manners; all this had naturally to produce aversion to activity and fear or hatred of work.

Moreover, "Why work?" asked the natives.  The curate says that the rich man will not go to heaven.  The rich man on earth is liable to all kinds of trouble, to be appointed a cabeza de barangay, to be deported if an uprising occurs, to be forced banker of the military chief of the town, who to reward him for favors received seizes his laborers and his stock in order to force him to beg money and thus easily pays up.  Why be rich?  So that all the officers of justice may have a lynx eye on your actions, so that at the least slip enemies may be raised up against you, you may be indicted, a whole complicated and labyrinthine story may be concocted against you, for which you can only get away, not by the tread of Ariadme but by Dane's shower of gold, and still give thanks that you are not kept in reserve for some needy occasion.  The native, whom they pretend to regard as an imbecile, is not so much so that he does not understand that it is ridiculous to work himself to death to become worse off.  A proverb of his says the pig is cooked in its own lard, and as among his bad qualities he has the good one of applying to himself all the criticisms and censures he refers to live miserable and indolent rather than play the part of the wretched beast of burden.

Add to this the introduction of gambling.  We do not mean to say that before the coming of the Spaniards the natives did not gamble: the passion for gambling is innate in adventuresome and excitable races, and such is the Malay, Pigafetta tells us of cockfights and of bets in the Island of Paragua.  Cock-fighting must also have existed in Luzon and in all the islands, for in the terminology of the game are two Tagalog words: sabong and tari (cockpit and gaff).  But there is not the least doubt that the fostering of this game is due to the government, as well as the perfecting of it.  Although Pigafetta tells us of it, he mentions it only in Paragua, and ot in Cebu nor in any other island of the south, where he stayed a long time.  Morga does not speak of it, in spite of his having spent seven years in Manila, and yet he does describe the kinds of fowl, the jungle hens and cocks.  Neither does Morga speak of gambling, when he talks about vices and other defects, more or lest concealed, more or less insignificant.  Moreover excepting the two Tagalog words sabong and tari, the others are of Spanish origan as soltada (setting the cocks to fight, then the fight itself), pusta (apusta, bet), logro (winning), pago (payment), etc.  We say the same about gamblilng; the word sugal (jugar, to gamble), like kumpistal (confesar, to confess to a priest), indicates that gambling was unknown in the Philippines before the Spaniards.  The word laro (Tagalog: to play) is not the equivalent of the word sugal.  The word play (baraja, playing card) proves that the introduction of playing cards was not due to the Chinese, who have a kind of playing cards also, because in that case they would have taken the Chinese name. l Is nto this enough?  The word taya (tallar, to bet), paris-paris (Spanish, pares, pairs of cards), politana (napolitana a winning sequence of cards), sapote (to stack the cards), kapote (to slam), monte, and so on, all prove the foreign origin of this terrible plant, which only produces vice and which has found in the character of the native a fit soil, cultivated circumstances.

Along with gambling, which breeds dislike for steady and difficult toil by its promise of sudden wealth and its appeal to the emotions, with the lotteries, with the prodigality and hospitality of the Filipinos, went also, to swell the train of misfortunes, the religious functions, the great number of fiestas, the long masses for the women to spend their mornings and the novenaries to spend their afternoons, and the nights for the processions and rosaries.  Remember, that lack of capital and absence of means paralyze all movement, and you will see how the native was perforce to be indolent for if any money might remain to him from the trials, imposts and exactions, he would have to give it to the curate for bulls, scapularies, candles, novenaries, etc.  And if this does not suffice to form an indolent character, if the climate and nature are not enough in themselves to daze him and deprive him of all energy, recall then that the doctrine of his religion teach him to irrigate his fields in the dry season, not by means of canals but with amasses and prayers; to preserve his stock during an epidemic with holy water, exorcisms and benedictions that cost five dollars an animal, to drive away the locusts by a procession with the image of St. Augustine, etc.  It is well, undoubtedly, to trust greatly in God; but it is better to do what one can not trouble the Creator every moment, even when these appeals redound to the benefit of His ministers.  We have noticed that the countries which believe most in miracles are the laziest, just as spoiled children are the most ill-mannered.  Whether they believe in miracles to palliate their laziness or they are lazy because they believe in miracles, we cannot say; but he fact is the Filipinos were much less lazy before the word miracle was introduced into their language.

The facility with which individual liberty is curtailed, that continual alarm of all from the knowledge that they are liable to a secret report, a governmental ukase, and to the accusation of rebel or suspect, an accusation which, to be effective, does not need proof or the production of the accuser.  With the lack of confidence in the future, that uncertainty of reaping the reward of labor, as in a city stricken with plague, everybody yields to fate, shuts himself in his house or goes about amusing himself in an attempt to spend the few days that remain to him in the least disagreeable way possible.

The apathy of the government itself toward everything in commerce and agriculture contributes not a little to foster indolence.  Three is no encouragement at all for the manufacturer or for the farmer, the government furnishes no aid either when a poor crop comers, when the locusts sweep over the fields, or when cyclone destroys in its passage the wealth of the soil; nor does it take any trouble to seek a market for the products of its colonies.  Why should it do so when these same products are burdened with taxes and imposts and have no free entry into the ports of the mother country, nor is their consumption there encouraged?  While we see all the walls of London covered with advertisements of the products of its colonies, while the English make heroic efforts to substitute Ceylon for Chinese tea, beginning with the sacrifice of their taste and their stomach, in Spain, with the exception of tobacco, nothing from the Philippines is known; neither its sugar, coffee, hemp, fine cloths, nor its Ilocano blankets.  The name of Manila is known only from those cloths of China or Indo-China which at one time reached Spain by way of Manila, heavy silk shawls, fantastically but coarsely embroidered, which no one has thought of imitating in Manila since they are so easily made; but the government has other cares, and the Filipinos do not know that such objects are more highly esteemed in the Peninsula than their delicate piña embroideries and their vey fine jusi fabrics.  Thus disappeared our trade in indigo, thanks to the trickery of the Chinese, which the government could not guard against, occupied as it was with other thoughts; thus die now the other industries, the fine manufacturers of the Visayas are gradually disappearing from trade and even from use; the people, continually getting poorer, cannot afford the costly cloths, and have to be contented with calico or the imitations of the Germans, who produce imitations even of the work of our silversmiths.

The fact that the best plantations, the best tracts of land in some provinces, those that from their easy access are more profitable than others, are in the hands of the religious corporations, whose desideratum is ignorance and condition of semi-starvation of the native, so that they may, continue to govern him and make themselves necessary to his wretched existence, is one of the reasons why many tows do not progress in spite of the efforts of their inhabitants.  We will be met with the objection, as an argument on the other side, that the towns which belong to the friars are comparatively richer than those which do not belong to them.  They surely are! just as their brethren in Europe, in founding their convents, knew how to select the best valleys, the best uplands for the cultivation of the vine or the production of beer, so also the Philippine monks have known how to selecte the best towns, the beautiful plains, the well-watered fields, to make of them rich plantations.  For some time the friars have deceived many by making them believe that if these plantations were prospering, it was because they were under their care, and the indolence of the natives was thus emphasized; but they forget that in some provinces where they have not been able for some reason to get possession of the best tracts of land, their plantations, like Bauan and Liang, are inferior to Taal, Balayan, and Lipa, regions cultivated entirely by the natives without any monkish interference whatsoever.

Add to this lack of material inducement the absence of moral stimulus and you will see how he who is not indolent in that country must needs be a madman or at least a fool.  What future awaits him who distinguishes himself, him who studies, who rise above the crowd?  At the cost of study and sacrifice a young man becomes a great chemist, and after a long course of training, wherein neither the government nor anybody has given him the least help, he concludes his long stay in the University.  A competitive examination is held to fill a certain position.  The young man wins this through knowledge and perseverance, and after he has won it, it is abolished, because. . . we do not care to give the reason, but when a municipal laboratory is closed in order to abolish the position of director, who got his place by competitive examination, while other officers, such as the press censor, are preserved, it is because the belief exists that the light of progress may injure the people more than all the adulterated foods.  In the same way, another young man won a a prize in a literary competition, and as long as his origin was unknown his work was discussed, the newspapers praised it and it was regarded as a masterpiece but the sealed envelopes were opened, the winner proved to be a native, while among the losers there are Peninsulars; then all the newspapers hasten to extol the losers!  Not one word from the government, nor from anybody, to encourage the native who with so much affection has cultivated the language and letters of the mother country!

Finally passing over many other more or less insignificant reasons, the enumeration of which would be interminable, let us close this dreary list with the principal and most terrible of all: the education of the native.

From his birth until he sinks into his grave, the training of the native is brutalizing, depressive and anti-human (the word "inhuman" is not sufficiently explanatory; whether or not the Academy admits it, let it go).  There is no doubt that the government, some priests like the Jesuits and some Dominicans like Padre Benavides, have done a great deal by founding colleges, schools of primary instruction, and the like.  But this is not enough; their efforts is neutralized.  They amount ot five or ten years (years of a hundred and fifty days at most) during which the youth comes in contact with books selected by those very priests who boldly proclaim that it is evil for the natives to know Castilian, that the native should not be separated from his carabao, that he should not value any further aspirations, and so on; five to ten years during which the majority of the students have grasped nothing more than that no one understands what the books say, nor even the professors themselves perhaps; and these five to ten years have no offset the daily preachment which lowers the dignity of man, which by degrees brutally deprives him of the sentiment of self-esteem, that eternal, stubborn, constant labor to bow the native's neck, to make him accept the yoke, to place him on a level with the beast -- a labor aided by some persons, with or without the ability to write, which if it does not produce in some individuals the desired effect in others it has the opposite effect, like that of breaking of a cord that is stretched too tightly.  Thus while they attempt to make of the native a kind of animal, yet in exchange they demand of him divine actions.  And we say divine actions, because he must be a god who does not become indolent in that climate, surrounded by the circumstances mentioned.  Deprive a man, then, of his dignity, and you not only deprive him of his moral strength but you also make useless for those who wish to make use of him.  Every creature has its stimulus, its mainspring; man's is his self-esteem.  Take it away from him and he is a corpse, and he who seeks activity in a corpse will encounter only worms.

Thus is explained how the natives of the present time are no longer the same as those of the time of the discovery, neither morally nor physically.

The ancient writers, like Chirino, Morga, and Colin, take pleasure in describing them a well-featured, with good aptitudes for any thing they take up, keen and susceptible and of resolute will, very clean and neat in their persons and clothing, and of good mien and bearing (Morga).  Others delight in minute accounts of their intelligence and pleasant manners, of their aptitude for music, the drama, dancing and singing, of the faculty with which they learned, not only Spanish but also Latin, which they acquired almost by themselves (Colin); others of their exquisite politeness in their dealings and in their social life, others, like the first Augustinians, whose accounts Gaspar de San Agustin copies, found them more gallant and better mannered than the inhabitants of the Moluccas.  "All live off their husbandry," adds Morga, "their farms, fisheries and enterprises, for they travel from island to island by sea and from province to province by land."

In exchange, the writers of the present time, without being more gallant than Herman Cortez and Salcedo, nor more prudent than Legazpi, nor more manly than Morga, nor more prudent than Colin and Gaspar de San Agustin, our contemporary writers we say find that the native is a creature something more than a monkey but much less than a man, an anthropoid, dull-witted, stupid, timid, dirty, cringing, ill-clothed, indolent, lazy brainless, immoral, etc. etc.

To what is this retrogression due?  Is it the delectable civilization, the religion of salvation of the friars, called of Jesus Christ by euphemism, that has produced this miracle that has atrophied his brain, paralyzed his heart and made of the man this sort of vicious animal that the writers depict?

Alas!  The whole misfortune of the present Filipinos consists in that they have become only half-way brutes.  The Filipino is convinced that to get happiness it is necessary for him to lay aside his dignity as a rational creature, to attend mass, to believe what is told him, to pay what is demanded of him, to pay and forever to pay; to work, suffer, and be silent, without aspiring any thing, without aspiring to know or even to understand Spanish, without separating himself from his carabao, as the priests shamelessly say, without protesting against any injustice, against any arbitrary action, against an assault, against an insult; that is, not to have heart, brain, or spirit; a creature with arms and a purse of gold. . . there's the ideal native! unfortunately, or because of the brutalization is not yet complete and because the nature of man is inherent in his being in spite of his condition, the native protests; he still has aspirations, he thinks and strives to rise, and there's the trouble!

 

PART FIVE:  In the preceding chapter we set forth the causes that proceed from the government in fostering and maintaining the evil we are discussing.  Now it falls to us to analyze those that emanate from the people.  Peoples and governments are correlated and complementary: a stupid government would be an anomaly among righteous people, just as a corrupt people cannot exist under just rulers and wise laws.  Like people, like government, we will say in paraphrase of a popular adage.

We can reduce all these causes to two classes: to defects of training and lack of national sentiment.

Of the influence of climate we spoke at the beginning, so we will now treat of the effects arising from it.

The very limited training in the home, the tyrannical and sterile education of the rare centers of learning that blind subordination of the youth to one of greater age, influence the mind so that a man may not aspire to excel those who preceded him but must merely be content to go along with a march behind them.  Stagnation forcibly results from this, and as he who devotes himself merely to copying divests himself of other qualities suited to his own nature, he naturally becomes sterile; hence decadence.  Indolence is a corollary derived from the lack of stimulus and of vitality.

That modesty infused into the convictions of everyone, or, to speak more clearly, that insinuated inferiority, a sort of daily and constant depreciation of the mind so that it may not be raised to the regions of life, deadens the energies, paralyzes all tendencies toward advancement, and of the least struggle a man gives up without fighting.  If by one of those rare incidents, some wild spirit, that is some active one, excels, instead of his example stimulating, it only causes others to persist in their inaction.  "There's one who will work for us; let's sleep on!" say his relatives and friends.  True it is that the spirit of rivalry is sometimes awakened, only that then it awakens with bad humor in the guise of envy, and instead of being a lever for helping, it is an obstacle that produces discouragement.

Nurtured by the example of anchorites of a contemplative and lazy life, the natives spend theirs in giving their gold to the Church in the hope of miracles and other wonderful things.  Their will is hypnotized: from childhood they learned to act mechanically, without knowledge of the object, thanks to the exercise imposed upon them from the most tender years of praying for whole hours in an unknown tongue, of venerating things that they do not understand, of accepting beliefs that are not explained to them, to having absurdities imposed upon them, while the protests of reason are repressed.  Is it any wonder that with this vicious dressage of intelligence and will the native, of old logical and consistent -- as the analysis of his past and of his language demonstrates -- should now be a mass of dismal contradictions?  That continual struggle between reason and duty, between his organism and his new ideals, that civil war which disturbs the peace of his conscience all his life, has the result of paralyzing all his energies, and aided by the severity of the climate, makes that eternal vacillation, of the doubts in his brain, the origin of his indolent disposition.

"You can't know more than this or that old man!"  "Don't aspire to be greater than the curate!"  "You belong to an inferior race!"  "You haven't any energy!"  This is what they tell the child and they repeat it so often, it has perforce to become engraved in the mind and thence mould and pervade all his action.  The child or youth who tries to be anything else is blamed with vanity and presumption; the curate ridicules him with cruel sarcasm, his relatives look upon him with fear, strangers regard him with great compassion.  No forward movement -- Get back in the ranks and keep in line!

With his spirit thus molded the native falls into the most pernicious of all routines: routine not planned but imposed and forced.  Note that the native himself is not naturally inclined to routine but his mind is disposed to accept all truth, just as his house is open to all strangers.  The good and the beautiful attract him, seduce and captivate him although like the the Japanese he often exchanges the good for the evil, if it appears to him garnished and gilded.  What he lacks is in the first place liberty to allow expansion to his adventuresome spirit, and good examples, beautiful prospects for the future.  It is necessary that his spirit, although it may be dismayed and cowed by the elements and the fearful manifestation of their mighty forces, store up energy, seek high purposes, in order to struggle against obstacles in the midst of unfavorable natural conditions.  In order that he may progress it is necessary that a revolutionary spirit, so to speak, should boil in his veins, since progress necessarily requires the present; the victory of new ideas over the ancient and accepted one.  It will not be sufficient to speak to his fancy, to talk nicely to him, nor that the light illuminate him like the ignis fatuus that leads travelers astray at night: all the flattering promises of the fairest hopes will not suffice, so long as his spirit is not free, his intelligence is not respected.

The reasons that originate in the lack of natural sentiment are still more lamentable and more transcendental.

Convinced by the insinuation of his inferiority, his spirit harassed by his education, if that brutalization of which we spoke above can be called education, in that exchange of usages and sentiments among different nations, the Filipino, to whom remain only his susceptibility and his poetical imagination, allows himself to be guided by his fancy and his self-love.  It is sufficient that the native product for him to hasten to make the change, without reflecting that everything has its weak side and the most sensible custom is ridiculous in the eyes of those who do not follow it.  They have dazzled him with tinsel, with strings of colored glass beads, with noisy rattles, shining mirrors and other trinkets, and he has given in return his gold, his conscience, and even his liberty.  He changed his religion for the external practices of another cult; the convictions and usages derived from his climate and needs, for other convictions that developed under another sky and another inspiration.  His spirit, well-disposed toward everything that looks good to him, was then transformed, at the pleasure of the nation that forced upon him its God and its law, and as the trader with whom he dealt did not bring a cargo of useful implements of iron, hoes to till the fields, but stamped papers, crucifixes, bulls and prayer-books, as he did not have for ideal and prototype the tanned and vigorous laborer, but the aristocratic Lord carried in a luxurious litter, the result was that the imitative people became bookish, devout, prayerful; it acquired ideas of luxury and ostentation, without thereby improving the means of its substance to a corresponding degree.

The lack of national sentiment brings another evil, moreover which is the absence of all opposition to measures prejudicial to the people and the absence of any initiative in whatever may redound to its good.  A man in the Philippines is only an individual, he is not a member of a nation.  He is forbidden and denied the right of association, and is, therefore, weak and sluggish.  The Philippines is an organism whose cells seem to have no arterial system to irrigate it or nervous system to communicate its impressions; these cells must, nevertheless, yield their product, get it where they can; if they perish, let them perish.  In the view of some this is expedient so that a colony may be a colony; perhaps they are right, but not the effect that a colony may flourish.

The result of this is that if a prejudicial measure is ordered, no one protests, all goes well apparently until later the evils are felt.  Another blood-letting, as as the organism has neither nerves nor voice the physician proceeds in the belief that the treatment is not injuring it.  It needs a reform, but as it must not speak, it keeps silent and remains with the need.  The patient wants to eat, it wants to breathe the fresh air, but as such desires may offend the susceptibility of the physician who thinks that he has already provided everything necessary, it suffers and pines away from fear of receiving a scolding, of getting another plaster and a new blood-letting and so on indefinitely.

In addition to this, love of peace and the honor many have of accepting the few administrative positions which fall to the Filipinos on account of the trouble and annoyance these cause them places at the head of the people the most stupid and incapable men, those who submit to everything, those who can endure all the caprices and exactions of the curate and of the officials.  Will this inefficiency in the lower spheres of power and ignorance and indifference in the upper, with the frequent changes and the eternal apprenticeships, with great fear and many administrative obstacles, with a voiceless people that have neither initiative nor cohesion, with employees who nearly all strive to amass a fortune and return home, with inhabitants who live in great hardship from the instant they begin to breathe, create prosperity, agriculture and industry, found enterprises and companies, things that still hardly prosper in free and well-organized communities?

Yes, all attempt is useless that does not spring from a profound study of the evil that afflicts us.  To combat this indolence, some have proposed increasing the native's needs and raising the taxes.  What has happened?  Criminals have multiplied, penury has been aggravated.  Why?  Because the native already has enough needs with his functions of the Church, with his fiestas, with the public offices forced on him, the donations and bribes that he had to make so that he may drag out his wretched existence.  The cord is already too taut.

We have heard many complaints, and every day we read in the papers about the efforts the government is making to rescue the country from its condition of indolence.  Weighing its plans, its illusions and its difficulties, we are reminded of the gardener who spent his days tending and watering the handful of earth, he trimmed the plant frequently, he pulled at it to lengthen it and hasten its growth, he grafted on its cedars and oaks, until one day the little tree died, leaving the man convinced that it belonged to a degenerate species attributing the failure of his experiment to everything except the lack of soil and his own ineffable folly.

Without education and liberty, which are the soil and the sun of man, no reform is possible, no measure can give the result desired.  This does not mean that we should ask first for the native the instruction of a sage and all imaginable liberties, in order then to put a hoe in his hand or place him in a workshop; such a pretension would be an absurdity and vain folly.  What we wish is that obstacle be not put in his way, not to increase the many his climate and the situation of the islands already create for him that instruction be not begrudged him for fear that when he becomes intelligent he may separate form the colonizing nation or ask for the rights of which he makes himself worthy.  Since some day or other he will become enlightened, whether the government wishes it or not, let his enlightenment be as a gift received and not as conquered plunder. We desire that the policy be at once frank and consistent, that is highly civilizing, without sordid reservations, without distrust without fear or jealously, wishing the good for the sake of the good, civilization without ulterior thoughts of gratitude, or else boldly exploiting tyrannical and selfish, without hypocrisy or deception, with a whole system well-panned and studied out for dominating by compelling obedience, for commanding to get rich, to be happy.  If the former, the government may act with the security that some day or other it will reap the harvest and will find people its own in heart and interest; there is nothing like a favor for securing the friendship or enmity of man, according to whether it be conferred with good will or hurled into his face and bestowed upon him in spite of himself.  If the logical and regulated system of exploitation be chosen, stifling with the jingle of gold and the sheen of opulence the sentiments of independence in the colonies, paying with its wealth for its lack of liberty, as the English do in India, who moreover leave the government to native rulers, then build roads, lay out highways, foster the freedom of trade; let the government heed material interests more than the interests of four orders of friars; let it send out intelligent employees to foster industry; just judges, all well paid, so that they be not venal pilferers, and lay aside all religious pretext.  This policy has the advantage in that while it may not lull the instincts of liberty wholly to sleep yet the day when the mother country loses her colonies she will at least have the gold amassed and not the regret of having reared ungrateful children.

 

 

 




























P.I. 100 MHQ1 1st Sem SY 2004-2005 7:00-8:30 Group Copyright

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