Thomas B. (Thomas Brackett) Reed.

Modern eloquence; (Volume 11) online

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Admiral Dewey, making comparison between the capacity
and the intelligence of the Filipinos and the Cubans and
awarding superiority to the Filipinos, I desire to say that
I have asked a great many army officers, who have served
both in Cuba and in the Philippines, what their estimate
was, and without a single exception every army officer has
given me the same opinion that Admiral Dewey expressed,
that the Filipinos are superior in point of capacity and in-
telligence to the Cubans. Of course he is speaking of the
average of the two peoples.

I want to say, Mr. President, if I may be pardoned for
speaking of anything included in my personal experience in
the Philippines, that my observation of that people satis-
fied me that they were a very far superior people to what
I supposed they were before I went there. They are in
some respects far superior to any other Asiatic people I
have ever seen. They certainly have a very much higher
regard for the outward observance of the decencies and
modesties of life, as we understand them and as we observe
them, immeasurably more so, than any other Asiatic race
which it has ever been my fortune to see. What is the
cause of that I do not know, unless it is the ameliorating
influences of Christianity upon them ; for it is a fact, Mr.
President, that they are, speaking of them generally, a Chris-
tian people and a people of great devotion to their religion.


Something has been said here about the Filipinos having
organized the only republic ever organized in Asia, and
there has been controversy as to whether or not they did in
fact organize a true republic. I do not propose to go into
that question, but there is one thing that I think is abso-
lutely true, and that is that they are the only Christian
people in the whole of Asia, either on the mainland or on
the islands of that continent. If there is any other Chris-
tian people in the whole of Asia, except the Filipinos, I do
not know them. In that vast continent, embracing nearly
one half of the entire human race, among them all there is
no Christian people except the Filipinos. Of course I do
not include in that statement the Russians who have gone
to Siberia, because they are not an Asiatic people, but a
European people.

Mr. Beveridge- Among those Christian people of whom
the senator speaks, does he include the Moros?

Mr. Bacon No.

Mr. Beveridge Does the senator include the Igor-

Mr. Bacon With the permission of the senator, I will
state exactly what I do include. I include the Visayans,
who constitute some 2,600,000 people; I include the Taga-
logs and others of the islands of Luzon and the neighbor-
ing islands, making in all, according to the report of the
Schurman Commission, some 6,500,000 people. Those are
the number whom I include.

Out of an estimated population of between 8,000,000
and 10,000,000 people, 6,500,000 of them are devoted Chris-
tians. There are more than twice as many Christians in
the Philippines than there were people of every class in the
thirteen colonies when they wrested their independence
from England and founded this mighty nation. They do
not belong to the denominations which are most popular
when I say "popular" I mean most numerous in the
United States, but they are none the less most devoted
Christians, and the number of them is stated by the Schur-
man Commission to be 6,500,000. In everything except
language they are one people in religion, in blood, in
dress, in habits, in domestic and social customs and ob-
servances, and in a strong feeling of common nationality.


Whatever was formerly lacking in this last regard, they
have now been welded together in the white heat of four
years' war. '

But, Mr. President, in speaking thus of the Filipinos,
I do not say this with any disposition of criticism or con-
troversy, but simply in connection with the contention
which I am endeavoring to make as to the propriety of our
conferring upon those people liberal free institutions. The
fact that they are a Christian people, a people devoted in
their observances of the requirements of the Christian re-
ligion, a people whose Christianity has developed into the
observances of the outward decencies and modesties of life,
a people whose Christianity has developed into the virtues
of home and society which characterize Europeans and
Americans who are also Christians all these things, I say,
Mr. President, should appeal to us most strongly in dealing
with this people, and influence us to confer upon them the
freest institutions which it is possible for us to conceive
them capable of appreciating and enjoying.

It does seem to me the very irony of fate one that can-
not fail to sadden any man who goes there and looks upon
that people the very irony of fate that the people who
alone in all Asia share with us our religion, and worship
with us at the same altar; the people who alone in all Asia
have, through the influence of our religion, grown into the
love of the social and domestic virtues, which are our rich-
est inheritance; the people who have come nearest to us in
our civilization, so far as personal characteristics and ob-
servances go; the people among whom this is seen even in
the matter of their dress, which closely approaches that of
Europeans and Americans, the only people who in all Asia
even approximate the outward dress of civilized nations
I say it seems to me to be the very irony of fate that we,
the great Christian republic of all the world, should have
been brought into a situation not criticising it now, but
speaking of it simply as an unfortunate fact that we should
have been brought into a situation where there should have
been between us this bloodshed, this terrible war, with
its death and desolation and devastation. Mr. President,
they are too far away, they belong to a different race, they
can never be with us and a part of us, but every good senti-


ment appeals for their right to be a people, a nation free
from yoke or thraldom.

Mr. President, I have felt that it was proper I should
say this much for this people. I am not speaking now, as
I say, in a controversial spirit or in a spirit of criticism for
the purpose of attacking anything that has been done or
anybody by whom it has been done. It is a very diffi-
cult thing in the heat of war and in the presence of the nar-
ration of outrages committed by some of that people upon
our own soldiers, of barbarities and atrocities that nobody
can possibly defend and everybody must condemn, and
which I know the good people of that country condemn,
it is extremely difficult for us to recognize the humanities
of the situation ; and it is with the hope that some one
word I say may reach the American people in the presenta-
tion to them of the fact that in spite of the horrors of war,
in spite of all the prejudices which grow out of this conflict
of life and death between man and man, and between peo-
ple and people, in spite of all that they are a people
who should peculiarly commend themselves to us; that
they are the only people in the whole of Asia that have the
same religion that we have ; that they are the only people
in Asia that have the same outward regard for the decencies
of life and modesties that we have and as we understand,
and that they are the only people who have and prize the
same social and domestic virtues that we have.

Not only so, but they should appeal to us most strongly
to recognize the fact that a people of such religion, a people
of such social and domestic virtues, a people with a love of
country, which I believe is as strong in them as in any
people in all the world, if they desire their liberty, if they
desire an independent nationality, these are facts that
should appeal to us most strongly, and we should not turn
to them a deaf ear either through greed for wealth, the
pride of conquest, or the lust of dominion.

There is one thing which appealed to me most patheti-
cally in my intercourse with a great many people there. I
take occasion to say that I had no intercourse with any
except those who had recognized the sovereignty of the
United States and were professedly loyal to it, who were
not insurrectos certainly not actively engaged in insurrec-


tion. But a fact which came to my knowledge and I
know it not only came to my knowledge, but to that of a
great many others, because I have heard American officers
speak of it was this: That one great apprehension of that
people is that the occupation of those islands by the Ameri-
can people means the extermination of themselves as a

That is the grave apprehension of that people. It is
with them an ever-present haunting fear. I myself do not
think to the extent of their fear the apprehension well
founded. If the islands shall be exploited by Americans,
I doubt not that the Filipinos will be pressed to the wall,
and that under such circumstances they will never be the
governing class in their own country. But I do not think
the apprehension of utter extermination is well founded,
solely for the reason that, on account of climatic conditions,
the islands can never be inhabited by white people. If
they could be inhabited by white people, I believe our
occupation would have the effect of the practical extermi-
nation in time of the native population.

In conversing with a man who was not a politician and
had never been a soldier, who was a man of property, a
man of business, and who deprecated the war and wished
it to cease, and was extremely anxious to that end that the
authority of the United States should be recognized and
that there should be no resistance to it, but who still
thought that the Filipino people were entitled to their
nationality, he said to me in a very dramatic manner, speak-
ing of the condition in which the sovereignty of the United
States would leave the islands and the effect upon the
political status of its people: "I am not a Spaniard; I am
not an American; I am not a Filipino. What am I?"
indicating the utter hopelessness in that man's mind of the
status of himself and his people, that he was no longer a
Spaniard, that he could never become an American, and
that as nationality was denied to his race he was not even
a Filipino.

In this connection, while it is a little out of order for
me to say it, I think one great defect in the pending bill is
that there is no provision in it at least there is not unless
it has been made by amendment under which any Filipino


can ever become a citizen of the United States even if he
comes to America.

Mr. President, I did not expect to make this statement
relative to the Filipinos when I rose. I rose principally for
the purpose of putting these documents in the "Record "
in order that they might be preserved in some degree of
continuity as a part of this debate, and unconsciously I have
drifted into this. But, sir, now that I have said I do not
regret it, and I would that I could say more, for my heart
is heavy with the fate of that unhappy people. I do feel
that no man can go to the Philippine Islands, unless he is
an extreme partisan, and fail to be interested in that people
and to entertain a very great desire that there should be
meted out to them much of kindness and much of indul-
gence and much of consideration, and that above all there
should be remembered the extreme desire and anxiety of
that people for an independent nationality. I would that
to-day we might set their feet in the path that shall lead
to it.



[Joseph Walden Bailey, an American political leader and orator,
was born in Mississippi in 1863. He studied law and settled in Texas.
He was elected to Congress from that state when twenty-seven years
old. Elected a member of the National House of Representatives for
ten years, during part of his period of service he was the leading
Democrat " on the floor," and was nominated for the speakership by
his party associates. He became a member of the United States Senate
in 1901. The following speech, representing the anti-expansionist
point of view regarding the Porto Rico tariff, was made in the United
States Senate in 1900.]

MR. CHAIRMAN: The majority of the committee*
say: " Upon the whole we conclude, first, that
upon reason and authority the term ' United States,' as
used in the Constitution, has reference only to the states
constituting the Federal Union, and does not include

It is refreshing to find a Republican committee talking
once more about the "Federal Union." We have been so
long accustomed to hear them talk about the "nation"
and express a contempt for the " Federal Union," that it is
some compensation for this debate to hear them employing
the earlier language of the republic.

Is it true, either upon reason or authority, that the term
"United States" includes only the sovereign states and
excludes the territories ?

In the first place, Mr. Chairman, that term is used, as
the committee itself has well said, with several different
meanings. It is sometimes used to denote the states of
the Union ; it is sometimes used in a geographical sense to
describe the area of the republic, and at other times it is

* The committee appointed to consider the Porto Rico tariff.


used to signify the government organized by the Consti-

Unless there are plain words or plain intent in the Con-
stitution to restrict the meaning of the term, it ought not
to be restricted, because to separate the states from the
territories under the designation " United States" is an
effort to apply, as is proposed by this bill, different princi-
ples of jurisprudence to the two; and that, sir, is contrary
to the genius of our institutions. A republic is, in its very
nature, incapable of maintaining permanent dependencies;
and this truth, until these last twenty-four months, has
been accepted by all schools of political thought in this
country. I defy you to find a respectable authority, until
within the last two years, which has even ventured to affirm
that a colonial policy is in harmony with our system of

I desire, Mr. Chairman, to call the attention of the com-
mittee, in confirmation of this statement, to an eminent
authority read by my distinguished friend from Illinois
[Mr. Hopkins], but read only so far as suited the particular
contention which he then had in his mind, and it was not
concluded. Had he read the entire paragraph, it would
have set the seal of the great chancellor's condemnation
upon this new and startling proposition to colonize distant
and unknown lands. Chancellor Kent, in his "Commen-
taries," declares:

Such a state of absolute sovereignty on the one hand and of absolute
dependence on the other is not congenial with the free and independent
spirit of our institutions ; and the establishment of distant territorial
governments ruled according to our will and pleasure would have a
very natural tendency, as all proconsular governments have, to abuse
and oppression. [Applause.]

Mr. Webster, in a passage that has been well quoted by
my distinguished friend from Massachusetts [Mr. McCall],
declares that

an arbitrary government may have territorial governments in distant
possessions, because an arbitrary government may rule its distant
territories by different laws and different systems. Russia may govern
the Ukraine and the Caucasus and Kamchatka by different codes or


ukases. We can do no such thing. They must be of us, part of us, or
else estranged. I think I see, then, in progress what is to disfigure and
deform the Constitution. ... I think I see a course adopted
that is likely to turn the Constitution under which we live into a de-
formed monster, into a curse rather than a blessing, into a great frame
of unequal government, not founded on popular presentation, but
founded on the grossest inequalities, and I think if it go on for there
is a great danger that it will go on that this government will be
broken up.

Surely, Mr. Chairman, the Republican party will pause
before committing itself to a policy which the greatest
statesman of its own school has declared would " turn the
Constitution into a curse and break up the government."

If it were possible to find an authority which addresses
itself with greater force to gentlemen on the other side than
the solemn warning of Webster, reenforced by the com-
mentary of Kent, it would be the language of one reared
under the system which we are now urged to adopt. I
have in my hand that remarkable contribution to modern
literature which the author modestly calls a " Sketch of
Caesar." It was written by Mr. Froude; and surely his
testimony against a colonial government will weigh with
the Anglomaniacs, who doubtless remember what an ear-
nest defender he has been of English oppression against
the Irish race. In the preface Mr. Froude uses these words,
which I will ask the clerk to read from his desk.

The clerk read as follows:

To the student of political history and to the English student above
all others, the conversion of the Roman republic into a military empire
commands a peculiar interest. Notwithstanding many differences, the
English and the Romans essentially resemble one another. The early
Romans possessed the faculty of self-government beyond any people of
whom we have historical knowledge, with the exception of ourselves.
In virtue of their temporal freedom, they became the most powerful
nation in the known world ; and their liberties perished only when
Rome became the mistress of conquered races, to whom she was unable
or unwilling to extend her privileges. If England was similarly su-
preme, if all rival powers were eclipsed by her or laid under her feet,
the imperial tendencies., which are as strongly marked in us as our love
of liberty, might lead us over the same course to the same end. If there
can be one lesson which history clearly teaches it is this, that free na-


tions cannot govern subject provinces. If they are unable or unwilling
to admit their dependencies to share their own constitution, the consti-
tution itself will fall to pieces from mere incompetence for its duties.

If it be true, Mr. Chairman, as declared by all these great
authorities, that an attempt to govern subject provinces
is at war with the spirit of a free republic, where will the
majority of this committee find its justification for assert-
ing that "upon reason and authority the term 'United
States ' does not include our territories ? "

But, sir, there is a still more conclusive answer than any
which has been read an answer that is not political or
historical or literary, but one from the lips of the greatest
chief justice who ever served this or any other republic in
the history of the world. Although I agree with but little
of his political philosophy, the services, the character, and
the ability of John Marshall entitle his memory to be re-
vered and his words to be respected. The authority which
I shall read is not only a judicial opinion sanctioned by
Marshall's great name, but it was the unanimous judgment
of the Supreme Court. With that highest tribunal known
to our law explicitly and unequivocally declaring that the
term " United States" does include our territories, I think
this committee will find it difficult to explain why they
have reported a different conclusion to this House. What
opinion of our courts have they cited to sustain their re-
port ? What learned judge supports their contention ? Not
one; and against their single and unsupported assertion I
offer these words of Chief Justice Marshall. He says:

Does this term meaning the " United States " designate the whole
or any particular portion of the American empire ? Certainly this ques-
tion can admit of but one answer.

He had not lived long enough to see this remarkable
report of this remarkable committee [applause on the Demo-
cratic side], or perhaps he would not have ventured to say
that the question admits of but one answer.

It is the name given to our great republic, which is composed of
states and territories. The District of Columbia, or the territory west
of the Missouri, is not less within the United States than Maryland or


I defy any gentleman on either side of the aisle to take
an hour, a day, or week, and write out a more explicit con-
tradiction of the statement contained in that committee's
report than is found in these words of Chief Justice Mar-
shall. [Applause on Democratic side.]

Let us compare them. The committee say:

That upon reason and authority the term "United States," as used
in the Constitution, has reference only to the states that constitute the
Federal Union, and does not include the territories.

Marshall says that the "United States" is the name
given to our great republic, which is composed of states
and territories, and includes our territories as much as the
State of Maryland or the State of Pennsylvania. [Applause
on the Democratic side.]

Gentlemen, whose judgment will you follow that of
the greatest lawyers that ever adorned our bench, or the
political report of the Hon. Mr. Payne of New York ?
[Laughter and applause on the Democratic side.]

That is not the only case in which this same doctrine is
asserted. In Cross vs. Harrison the court says:

By the ratification of the treaty California became a part of the
United States.

California could not become a part of the United States
if these gentlemen are right, until it became a state of the
Federal Union, and therefore if California became a part
of the United States by the ratification of the treaty, as
stated, by the Supreme Court, this report must be wrong,
because the ratification of the treaty only made it a terri-
tory, which is not, according to the report, a part of the
United States.

Who is right the unanimous Supreme Court or this
divided committee? Who is most apt to have understood
the Constitution those judges, removed from the passions
and perplexities of the political question that now confronts
us, or these politicians who three weeks ago introduced a
bill for free trade and now report a substitute which is
exactly opposite? [Applause on the Democratic side.]

I shall submit the first conclusion of the Committee on


Ways and Means without further argument, because it is
itself a mere abstraction, and is of no practical importance
except as a precedent for what follows it. The meat of
their report is the second conclusion of the committee,
which is: "that the power of Congress with respect to legis-
lations for the territories is plenary."

In order to arrive at what the committee means by
"plenary," we have only to read the speeches of the gen-
tlemen who have joined in that report. By "plenary"
they mean that it is outside of and above the Constitution.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Dalzell], who is, I
will do him the justice to say, one of the greatest lawyers
on that side, as well as one of the ablest men in the House,
in response to the direct question says that under its plenary
power over the territories Congress can establish free trade
between the United States and Arizona, and at the same
time maintain a protective tariff between New Mexico and
the United States. In other words, he meets the question
broadly and fairly, and affirms the power of Congress to
govern these territories, not only outside of the Constitu-
tion, but to govern them contrary to its express prohibi-
tions. Is that position defensible either as a matter of
reason or as a matter of authority?

Perhaps, before we undertake to determine the extent
of the power of Congress over the territories of the United
States, it might be well enough for us to occupy a few
moments in ascertaining the source from which Congress
derives whatever power it may possess. That it derives its
power from the Constitution all men have admitted until
this remarkable report was submitted to the House. The
differences heretofore have been as to what part of the Con-
stitution vested Congress with its power over the territories.
Some have asserted that the power comes from that pro-
vision which authorizes us " to dispose of and to make all
needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and
other property of the United States"; whereas others, and
with better reason, as it seems to me, have insisted that the

Online LibraryThomas B. (Thomas Brackett) ReedModern eloquence; (Volume 11) → online text (page 10 of 43)