The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, March 02, 1899, Page 4, Image 4

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    Conservative *
[ Address of Eklwnrcl Atkinson , to the Work-
mun'n Political Li'nguu , BoHton , February 17 ,
( Feb. 10. ) Having been honored by
your invitation to address the Work
men's Political League tomorrow even
ing , February 17 , it is proper that I
should in some measure prepare for a
joint debate with my friend , Mr. J. II.
Procter. Yet I should be unwilling to
enter upon that joint debate , the course
of which must bo governed by the open
ing of the case by Mr. Procter , without
putting carefully on record the point of
view from which I shall deal with the
subject. This is the more necessary be
cause on this very evening fateful words
may bo spoken by the president by
which not only the future welfare of
this nation may bo made or marred , but
on which the very honor and moral in
tegrity of the nation may either be sus
tained or endangered.
On the llth of April , 1898 , President
William McKinley , speaking as the
head of the nation in calling upon the
people to support the government in an
effort to remove the oppresivo rule of
Spain from the island of Cuba , used
these words :
' 'I speak not of forcible annexation ,
for that cannot be thought of. That by
our code of morality would bo criminal
aggression. "
I trust that President William Me-
Kiuley hero present as the representa
tive of the nation may have again taken
this evening the same position which he
held on April 11 , 1898 , and on which he
attained the confidence and support of
the nation , so that ho may again in spite
of aberration bo entitled once more to
that support.
A necessary incident of that under
taking to remove the oppressive rule of
Spain from the island of Cuba has been
the abatement of the same oppressive
rule from the Philippine islands. Noth-
ing has changed in the purpose of the
undertaking nor in the conditions. The
conditions are only what any man en
titled to deference either in position or
capacity might and should have ex
pected. The only unexpected occur
rence has been that through the admir
able organization of the navy under
competent officers and well-trained men
the naval forces of Spa.n have been
swept from the ocean with relatively
little effort ami almost no loss of life on
our own part" ; "while in spite of the
grave faults in the organization of the
army , in its direction and in the conduct
of its work , the laud forces in Cuba
have attained an almost unwarranted
success , due mainly to the force and
bravery of the privates in our own army
and to the incapacity of the leaders of
of their opponents , while in the Philip
pine islands , through the superiority
of their arms and the support of the
navy they ( our land forces ) have been
enabled to slaughter many thousand iu-
habitants who had trusted the purpose
of this country and who have been led
to violent resistance under conditions
which may yet bring the government of
this nation into disgrace. In this fight
wo have extended our possession of the
Philippines ten miles. By the code of
morality of this nation the work of
slaughtering has been lately executed
under the orders of the chief executive ,
is not this act one of criminal aggres
sion , carried out with such effect that
while we may find no fault , perhaps
only praise for the soldiers who have
done this work , we may find nothing
but shame for us who are thus placed at
the bar of nations to answer for the
wrongs which we are now inflicting ?
Who are the Filipinos ? They are a
people of many tribes and races , but
among them appear to be men whose
record so far as we have any knowledge
of it , is equal in its ability and merit to
that of the leaders of any people who
ever resisted oppression and who ever
before made an effort to secure for
themselves and those dependent upon
them the right o'f home rule and of gov
ernment by consent of the governed.
Their leader , Aguiualdo , brought back
to his native land by ourselves in order
to aid , as he did aid us , in the removal
of Spanish rule from that small section
in which the Spanish still held power ,
has taken part with others in framing a
constitution which I have not seen , but
which Senator Hoar , than whom there
could bo no better judge , pronounces a
document of unequalled merit. They
have drawn up and presented state pa
pers to our department of state and to
the military officers in command in
Manila which we have all read or might
have read , which are themselves models
of intelligent comprehension of their
rights , clear and plain in their conclus
ions , but which to the discredit and per
haps to the dishonor of the people of
this country , the state department has
refused acceptance , while the military
authorities in Manila have rejected this
appeal to right and reason.
And now wo are allowed to believe ,
perhaps led to believe , that the agent
of the Filipinos in this country sent a
message to incite the members of his
government and its leaders to attack
the forces of the United States ; and we
are told that General Otis , in command
of the forces , has been influenced by
this information. Think for a moment
of the recldess absurdity of this charge
when you bear in mind that the only
wire over which that message could
have been transmitted to Manila is
under the control and censorship of
the military authorities of the United
States. This assertion is not only ab
surd in itself but it has been denied
by Aguiualdo and Agoncillo with a
challenge for any ono to produce such a
Who is this Aguinaldo ? Apparently
a born leader of men , .carried back to
his own country in ono of our ships of
war to help hold the Spanish troops
within the narrow lines of the city of
Manila , where they have been easily
subdued by our forces. If ono would
know more of this man read his noble
protest against the unlawful proclama
tion of President William McKinley
after he had forgotten his declaration
against criminal aggression , when even
before either branch of congress acted
he gave our troops instructions to take
military possession of the Philippine is
lands without the consent of the well-
organized government already acting
under a constitution with chosen lead
ers , every one of whose protests and
papers submitted has proved them to be
more capable of establishing a strong
government with protection to property
and persons than has yet become appar
ent in the island of Cuba.
Now , whatever might be the material
advantages of permanent control over
these islands , even if there were any ;
whatever might bo the gain in com
merce ; whatever might be the positions
of influence and power to be secured by
this control ; we have neither the moral
right , the political right , and I hope we
have not the physical power to compel
the inhabitants of these islands to be
come our vassals and to submit to a rule
under the pretense of Christian benefit
to them at the point of the bayonet with
the sacrifice of thousands of their num
ber to this Moloch of expansion. We
have heard of the deathly roll of the
wheels of Juggernaut , passing over
the bodies of its victims. To thesa
countries and isolated people of the
Philippine islands who prostrated them
selves before us in the expectation and
hope of benefit , this nation has become
the Juggernaut , crushing them to their
death , breaking faith with them and
planting in their minds for generations
a sense of animosity which it may take
a century to remove.
Taking up the case at the day of the
meeting , the 17th , thus far had I gone
in stating the point of view from which
I shall speak to you tonight before Presi
dent William McKinley had declared his
allegiance to the principles of the Anti-
Imperialist League in his address at the
Homo Market Club , which now on the
morning of the 17th is before us. Wo
welcome his declaration that "No im
perial designs lurk in the American
mind. " Wo concur with him "That
they are alien to American sentiment ,
thought and purpose. " Wo have de
clared that "Our priceless principles
undergo no change under a tropical
sun. "
Ho asks : "If wo can benefit those
remote peoples , who will object ? " Who
has objected ? Is not that the very de
mand upon the executive of this nation ,
that it shall benefit these remote people
ple ? And how are wo benefitting them
today ? By criminal aggression without
authority of law. They have been led