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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/432

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416
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

study of birds. In the course of them he visited twenty-two islands. The first expedition was unofficial and was regarded suspiciously by the authorities of the islands; the second was armed with a special permission from the Spanish Minister of the Colonies and enjoyed every advantage. The scientific results of both were reported to the United States National Museum, and the collections were deposited in its cabinet. The general results, the story of the adventures of the members of the expedition, with their observations on the geographical features of the islands, their peoples, and the social conditions prevailing there, are given in a popular style in the volume before us.[1] The account is preceded by a short sketch of the history of the islands, as an aid to the better comprehension of their present condition and the reasons for it. Of the natives, who form the bulk of the 8,000,000 of the population of the islands, there are more than eighty distinct tribes, each with its own peculiarities, scattered over hundreds of islands. The more important of these islands may be reached by lines of mail and merchant steamers, which afford tolerably frequent communication between them. The difficulties begin when one attempts to make his way into the interior of the large and less explored of them, or desires to reach ports at which vessels do not call. Roads are scarce and to a large extent impracticable, while enemies and dangers are many, and such boats as one can find off the regular routes are precarious. As to climate, if one is well, able to live as he pleases, and most scrupulously observes all sanitary rules, keeping the most healthy spots, he may escape disease; but if he steps a little aside at any point he is in danger. It is very doubtful, in the author's judgment, if many successive generations of European or American children could be reared there. Evidences of the action of earthquakes and volcanoes are seen almost everywhere, and elevation and subsidence are going on with great rapidity at the present time. Hence it is not safe to build substantial houses in Manila. The soil is astonishingly fertile: fruits—in about fifty varieties—are the chief luxury; the value of the forest products is enormous; the mineral wealth is great, but has never been developed. Professor Worcester speaks of five millions of civilized natives of the Philippines. They belong for the most part to three tribes: the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, and Visayans. Without drawing fine distinctions between these, they are regarded as showing sufficient homogeneity to be treated as a class. They have their bad qualities and their good, which are reviewed with an apparent inclination on the part of the author to like them, and the conclusion that, having learned something of their power, they will now be likely to take a hand in shaping their own future. There are also barbarians, of whom the Moros of Sulu are a type—bloodthirsty and faithless, and as careless of human life as one would be of weeds in a field; and savages of all degrees, down to the lowest. The government is various, according to the particular governor and the people he has to deal with, but all of the Spanish or Moro type. The clergy are the dominant class; and of these the friars or brethren of the orders exert an evil influence, while the Jesuits are believed to be a distinctive power for good. Much can be said in favor of the insurgents' demand that the friars be expelled from the colony and their places taken by secular clergymen not belonging to any order. Professor Worcester has


  1. The Philippine Islands and their People. A Record of Personal Observation and Experiences, with a Short Summary of the More Important Facts in the History of the Archipelago. By Dean C Worcester. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 529. Price, $4.