The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Charles Francis Adams, Jr., January 16th, 1899


New York, Jan. 16, 1899.

This time I have to dictate my answer to your letter on account of the grippe, which, however, is gradually passing away—at least I hope so, although nobody can tell what the treacherous monster may do.

I agree with you that we ought to have a meeting of some kindred spirits as soon as possible and I hope you will be here before long and let me know some time in advance!

The news from Washington, confirmed by Mr. Carnegie whom I saw yesterday, is that the imperialists there are in full retreat, and that they are looking out for all sorts of things to cover their discomfiture. They had advanced to the point where they could not go any further without shooting down Filipinos fighting for their independence. This idea called forth a growl from the country which made Mr. McKinley shiver. Moreover, there is reason for believing that the condition of our troops in the Philippines is very bad, and that the necessity of any campaigning there would bring upon us very disastrous consequences.

In short, “eventual independence” is the word now and the thing which we shall have really to fight in such tricks as the imperialists may use to extend and prolong our military occupation.

I think that Chandler's letter has to be read in that light. There will be no trouble at all about the Spanish captives as soon as we put ourselves with the Filipinos upon a footing of good faith and friendly coöperation. They will then, no doubt, do us any favor for the asking.

As to the intention of Germany to pounce upon the Philippine Islands as soon as our forces are withdrawn, nothing could be more absurd. I became firmly convinced of this by a conversation I had, immediately after his return from Europe, with the German Ambassador, Mr. von Holleben. He gave me the most ample proof, that the German Government did not only not intend to cross our purposes in any way, but that it was on the contrary bent upon doing its utmost to remain on friendly terms with the United States. It seems to me the true policy is for the United States to secure an agreement of the Powers most interested in that region to put the Philippine Islands under the cover of a guarantee of neutrality, as Belgium and Switzerland are covered in Europe.

The only Power that might feel inclined to frustrate such a scheme might be Great Britain, who would like to force us to take the Philippines for good and thus become dependent in a sense, upon her protection.

I had a letter from Senator Hoar which indicates that their fight against the treaty will be for time and I think this is wise. We are evidently growing stronger every day. The irritated tone of the imperialistic press indicates that they feel defeat in their bones.