Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 58.djvu/401

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393
THE PHILIPPINES TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

THE PHILIPPINES TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
By Professor E. E. SLOSSON,

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING.

"I NOW and then, as occasion offers, undertake to plead the cause of the Indians in the Philippine Islands, as many more have for those of America: This is tolerable because grounded on compassion, mercy and the inclination of our kings and their supreme council of the Indies, who love them as their children, and give repeated orders every day for their good, advantage, quiet, satisfaction and ease. There is no other fault to be found with those poor creatures but that which S. Peter Chrisologus found in the holy innocents, whose only crime was that they were born. There is no reason for all their sufferings but their being in the world; and it is worth observing that tho' so many pious, gracious, and merciful orders have passed in favor of them, yet they have taken so little effect.... So that these Wretches have been several times redeemed, yet they remain in perpetual servitude. Salvianus, lib. 6, de Provid. says thus, All captives when once redeemed enjoy their liberty, we are always redeemed and never free. This sutes well with what we speak of. To which we may add that of St. Paul, 2 Cor. 8. 13. It is a subject deserves to be considered, and much authority and a high hand must make the remedy work a due effect."

These words, written by R. F. F. Dominick Fernandez Navarette, Divinity Professor in the College and University of St. Thomas, at Manila, are as applicable to-day as in 1656. The natives have been delivered several times since then, but are still in bondage, and much authority and a high hand are still needed to carry into effect the good intentions of their distant rulers. The good father does not let his piety blind him to the sins of his own brethren, but declares plainly that the 'Christians of Manila are worse than the infidels of Japan.' On the other hand, he never omits an opportunity to praise the docility and innocence of the Filipinos. "All those Indians are like our plain countrymen, sincere and void of malice. They come to church very devoutly; not a word was spoke to them but produced fruit; would to God the seed were sown among them every day; but they have mass there but once in two or three years. When they die, there's an end of them; but great care is taken to make them pay their taxes, and the curate's dues." "It were endless to descend to particulars. I know that in my time a governor of Ilocos in two years made fourteen thousand pieces of eight of his government; what a condition did he leave the Indians and their country in? It were well that those who write from thence would speak plain, and point at persons and things, and not do in general terms, leaving room to blame those that