ON THE PHILIPPINES
Prof.Worcester's Views Concerning the Natives
SOME ODD STATEMENTS
In the Press Differ From the Professor's Information
He Has Left to Visit Relatives in Vermont Before Assuming His New Duties at Manila.-Interesting Interview.
The prospect of going back to the Phillipines lacks, for Prof. Dean C. Worcester, the romance that surrounded his first expedition to those islands says a staff correspondent of the Evening News who interviewed him. Now he knows what is before him ; that the long siege of typhoid and that of malaria, which he suffered on the first trip, may have to be gone through again. The opportunity, however, to go in a position to learn facts which Spanish rule prevented, and to help along the formation of the government is enticing. That he will go was officially announced Monday at Washington by Secretary Alger, who will send him to Manila as geographical and ethnological expert, to act as adviser to the military authorities.
The lack of present information makes Prof. Worcester dislike to talk on the Philippines, for fear he may be classed with some writers and speakers who are now making the most ridiculous blunders. One of these is a politician, who glowingly described the advent into the United States congress of a senator belonging to a certain race of Filipinos now extinct. Another ambitious individual wrote Prof. Woicester, saying: "I want to write an article on the Philippines. Please tell me where I can get some information about them. ' '
Then, too, there are details in the situation which are puzzling in the extreme. According to the correspondents the cable was cut in Manila bay. When Prof. Worcester was there the cable landed 60 miles north of the bay, and he has never heard of its being extended down as a cable. The time required to go from one place to another is given as much less than Worcester found it, and he is puzzled to know whether the correspondent is wrong or whether there are more steamers and better roads. A dispatch says natives have kerosene houses in Iloilo, which seems doubtful as the houses are little better than tinder to begin with.
"These things." said Prof. Worcester last night, "puzzle me, and I'm keeping still because I don't want to talk nonsense. However, there are some things that seem to me certain. One is that we shall not have any great trouble. The natives are fickle. At one time they will be up in arms and ready to fight. If they are left to themselves they get tired of this, want to do something else and leave the army. That makes me think that if we give it time the rebellion will fall of its own weight, through the desertion of the people.
"How would they fight, if it came to war? Well, if they are drilled and armed they are good fighters. They are very brave men. I suppose the trouble now is due to the stories spread by the Spaniards, that if we get possession we will make slaves of them and carry off their women. I believe the surrender of Iloilo to the insurgents was just to give the latter arms and make us trouble.
"Aguinaldo was an unknown school teacher when I was there. Reports had him friendly once, and now they have him hostile. The leaders are not always able to stand the pressure brought upon them by the people, and it is quite possible, in my mind, that Aguinaldo is fighting to please the masses under him.
"However, you cannot make me believe that there is not a great amount of sentiment there in favor of American control. I found through the length and breadth of the islands that the half-castes, that is, the half-Spanish half-native, were almost unanimously wishing that England or the United States would take the islands. I believe that sentiment is there still and that we will have no trouble, if we take the proper course. "
"What would happen if we were not, to take control and the islands were to have their freedom?"
' ' That's impossible, ' '
"But suppose that case?"
"There would be one nation in the north and another in the center. They would eat each other up until the Morro pirates came up from Mindanao, and ate up all the rest. The Morros are one of the fiercest races in the world. They are pirates and fight as desperately as the 'Fuzzy-Wuzzy' of the Soudan. How can we civilize them? Well, they have Mohammedan civilization now, but that teaches them to prey on christians. I think the best plan is to isolate them. Patrol their island with gunboats to keep them away from other parts of the group aud let them take care of themselves. "
' ' Are there any American in Iloilo to suffer from the present trouble?" was asked. "
Just one. His name is Wilson and he was formerly vice consul on one of the other islands. The Spaniards captured him and his mother when the war broke out and would have killed them both but for the British minister. His mother is now in New York, but he went back to try to save part of their estate and got caught in this uprising.
"Americans are scarce on the islands. There was one old sailor on Mindanao who was marooned 40 years ago, that is, placed on the island for some offense on shipboard. He has a native wife and a dozen children. There was another named Thomas Collins and that is all I know of.
"I can't tell whether our soldiers can stand it there or not because I don't know where they will be sent. Some parts are as healthful as Michigan and others as bad as they can be. They say 2 per cent of the Spanish soldiers died within 15 months after reaching the Philippines, but I don't know whether that means of typhoid in Manila or malaria in the swamps and which it was makes all the difference possible in telling the effect on our soldiers.
"Would the natives torture prisoners?" Oh I think they have treated their prisoners pretty well, though there are reports that they have tortured Spaniards. That would not be surprising for they learned the trick of Spaniards who tortured them. There are stories too, that they tortured friars that may be true.
"While these natives do not like many of the friars they are not opposed to the church, for the Jesuits have a great hold on them and have done them lots of good. ' '
Prof. Worcester left for the east yesterday. He will make a short visit to relatives in Vermont before taking up his duties in the Philippines.