National Geographic : 1900 Jan
TIHE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE VOL. XI JANUARY, 1900 No. 1 THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT* By Hon. JOHN BARRETT, Late United States Minister to Siam In accepting the invitation of the National Geographic Society, I am not unmindful of the honor conferred or of the responsibility rest ing upon me to tell the truth about a portion of the world which has such an important bearing now upon our national welfare. It will be my simple purpose to consider within the limits of time at our disposal the Philippine Islands as seen and known by me in times both of peace and war, including such description of their environ ment or of neighboring countries as will best indicate the commercial and strategic value of their location. This discussion will be no effort at oratory or rhetoric, but an honest endeavor to tell you what I learned with unprejudiced eyes. The invitation to speak under the distinguished auspices of the National Geographic Society suggested that the treatment of the sub ject should particularly include the material and geographical features of the Philippines and their environment. It would not be wise, there fore, to enter upon any extended argument of the moral problems in volved in our occupation of the islands, although they are important, except insomuch as they are interwoven with our political status in the Pacific, which in turn is closely associated with commercial and geographical considerations. During five years' residence in the far East, four of which it was my honor to be the United States minister to Siam, it was also my privilege to travel not only well over Siam, which today is making more progress than any other Asiatic land except Japan, but also, in * A lecture delivered before the National Geographic Society, December 8, 1899.