National Geographic : 1900 Jan
14 THE PHILIPPINEISLANDS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT Asia's 500,000,000 were at a low ebb, despite the best and the faithful labors of ministers and consuls. In Japan, in China, in Korea, and in Siam the United States was regarded as a second or third-rate power. While we ministers were treated with differential and patronizing con sideration, we were not potent factors like our colleagues from Great Britain, Russia, Germany, and France. In trade, the agents of our business houses were endured, but not welcomed by the heads of great European and native firms in the far East. With the battle of Manila Bay there came a mighty and a marvelous change, of which I cannot speak in too strong terms, and the truth of which will be confirmed by every American who was familiar with the situation. There seemed to sweep up and down this 5,000 miles of coast line, and far into the interior, a tidal wave of American prestige, which left its trace and in fluence not only in the capitals of politics and trade but among the masses of distant provinces; and all at once ministers and consuls found themselves the representatives of a first-class power and stand ing shoulder to shoulder with the representatives of European nations, if not even leading them in influence and importance. In other words, we became, by the battle of Manila Bay and the occupation of the Philippine Islands, the first power of the Pacific, for the control of which we seem to be destined by the great influences which shape the politics of the world and develop nations for mighty responsibilities. If we bravely perform our duty in the Philippines, establish peace and order, give the people a large degree of autonomy, spread the influence of our free institutions and hold there a position of commercial and strategic advantage for the advancement and pro tection of our vast growing interests in the Pacific and far East, we shall be forever the first power of the Pacific and of all the world. If we are laggards now, we shall be laggards until doomsday. If the war and occupation of the islands costs us hundreds of millions of dollars now, another war, which would inevitably come in the future if we should try to regain the position lost by withdrawing from the islands and to lead in the merciless race of nations for material and moral supremacy, would cost us ten times as many million dollars. THE use of the North Sea and Baltic Canal by ocean-going vessels is slowly but steadily increasing. The entries during the month of October numbered 2,669, with an aggregate tonnage of 385,176, as com pared with 2,436, with a total tonnage of 330,843, in October, 1898.