National Geographic : 1907 Jul
438 THE NATIONAL GE recompense, have we had it in the con tinuing gratitude of the people whom we have aided? There have been many ex pressions at various times showing that at such times a feeling of gratitude ex isted, but he who would measure his al truism by the good will and sincere thankfulness of those whom he aids will not persist in good works. There are many reasons why we need not expect a continued feeling of gratitude from the peoples we have benefited. It is impos sible always to secure American officials who are properly imbued with the spirit of sympathy for the natives that is es sential to prevent race friction. We strive, of course, to go as little counter to the customs of the people as possible, but to secure needed reforms it is necessary sometimes to enforce laws that are not popular. Ihus sanitary regulations needed to secure good health are irksome to such a people. They do not see the use of such severity. Again, to carry on a government we must employ many Americans in the service, and we must, in order to secure them, pay them at a higher rate than the natives. Offices are much sought after by the natives, and the greater pay and discrimination in favor of the Americans are sure to engender dissatisfaction. We have tried to substitute natives for Amer icans as rapidly as possible, but we must retain some Americans for guidance. Then the native newspapers avail them selves of the freedom of the press and abuse the privilege by every kind of un fair statement to stir up native prejudice against the government and so against the Americans. This is not decreased by the hostile attitude of unthinking and unpatriotic American business men against the natives. Finally, the character of the benefits we have conferred on these Spanish speaking peoples is such as necessarily to imply our sense of greater capacity for self-government and our belief that we represent a higher civilization. This in itself soon rankles in the bosom of the native and dries up the flower of OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE gratitude. It is natural that it should be so. We cannot help it. It is inseparable from the task we underake. Our reward must be in the pleasure of pushing the cause of civilization and in increasing the opportunity for progress to those less for tunate than ourselves in their environ ment, and not in their gratitude. I have not touched upon and do not in tend to discuss, for lack of time, what our future policy toward these three peoples must be. The problems to be presented are difficult and need a clear and calm judgment and a generous altruistic spirit for their satisfactory solution. Neither will be wanting, I am sure. Our experience in the three countries of Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines has many points in common, and the chief common feature has been the desire on the part of the American people, repre sented by the American Congress and the American Executive, to stimulate busi ness, to elevate and educate the people, to maintain and preserve order, to intro duce internal improvements of all sorts into the islands, to build roads and bridges and harbors, and gradually to enlarge as far as possible the control which the natives shall have over their own local government. There have been times when abuses have crept into the administration of the islands on the part of some of the civil and military servants of the United States, but the record of the nine years since the beginning of the Spanish War, looked at from an impartial standpoint, is on the whole an unblemished record of generous, earnest effort to uplift these people, to help them on the way to self government, and to teach them a higher and a better civilization. It is a record I confidently submit will always redound in the coming century to the high credit of the people of the United States as a generous civilizing nation charged by the accident of war with the responsibilities of guardianship of a less fortunate peo ple and discharging that God-given re sponsibility in accordance with the high est ideals of the brotherhood of man.