The American Sentinel 14


The American Sentinel 14


January 5, 1899

“Front Page” American Sentinel 14, 1, p. 1.


“IT is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” Psalm 119:126. AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.1

RELIGIOUS questions pertain solely to the sphere of the individual conscience; all civil questions pertain solely to the sphere of individual rights. AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.2

ALL religious legislation is an effort to stagnate the tide of religious progress. AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.3

THE world is not wide enough to permit of two individuals living upon its surface in prace, if one of them is a religious bigot. AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.4

[Inset.] REFORM CLERGYMAN TO MODERN LEGISLATOR: “There’s a flood of immorality sweeping over the land; you must stop it by legislation!” AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.5

THAT tide of immorality in the land is rising, is very true; but why is it true? Is it not because the barrier against immorality has been broken down, so that it does not restrain the flood? That great barrier is the law of God, the Decalogue, which condemns evil in its very citadel—the heart. And who have attacked this barrier, to break it down before the world? Is it not the very clergymen themselves, who have been preaching that the fourth commandment, which sanctifies the seventh day as the Sabbath, does not mean what it says? Is it not the clergymen who have been preaching the “higher criticism,” which denies the truthfulness of Scripture and destroys its reproving and convicting force upon the carnal mind? And now, when they have done all this, by which they have made God’s Word of none effect to the masses of the people, and opened the flood-gates of immorality, they declare that we must have legislation to stay the rising tide. But what will human legislation avail where the law of the Infinite has been set aside? The inadequacy of such a remedy is only faintly depicted in the illustration. AMS January 5, 1899, page 1.6

“America’s Right to the Philippines” American Sentinel 14, 1, p. 2.


THE United States Government has acquired possession of the Philippine Islands by conquest and purchase from Spain, and now considers that it has a right to do with them as it sees fit. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.1

It obtained this right—if such it is—from Spain. But what right had Spain in the islands? Spain’s rights in the Philippines were only those of the robber and freebooter. Spain took what she possessed in the islands by force, just as any highwayman takes money and other valuables from the defenseless traveler. In the courts, this style of procedure is not considered as conferring any right of possession upon the highwayman. But where the robbery is a national act, it is different. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.2

Does the United States Government mean to indorse the acts of Spain by which that nation got possession of the Philippines? Whether it means it or not, that is just what is actually done by the United States in assuming possession of the Philippines as it has now done. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.3

There are human beings in the Philippines—eight millions of them. These people are the natural and rightful owners of the islands. These are the people who must be dealt with in securing any just title to a single foot of land in the Philippine group. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.4

The United States Government drove Spain out of Cuba, because, as it says, Spain was a robber and oppressor of the Cuban people, who by here cruelty and injustice had forfeited all right to the island. If Spain had a right to the possession of Cuba, the United States had no right to deprive her of it. Spain had no right in Cuba—that is true; but she had exactly as much right in Cuba as she had in the Philippines; and now the United States claims possession of the Philippines by virtue of the very thing which, in the case of Cuba, it points to as nullifying all claim to possession. This is not quite consistent to say the least. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.5

The United States might as well be a robber itself as to take away the spoils of a robber and hold them as its own. The right of possession still remains in the one from whom the robber took them, which in this case is the Philippine people. The United States cannot afford to expand by justifying and perpetuating a robbery. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.6

“Justifying ‘Expansion’ by the Constitution” American Sentinel 14, 1, pp. 2, 3.


ADVOCATES of “expansion” justify this policy upon the ground that the national Constitution gives Congress the power “to dispose of and made all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” The Philippines, they declare, are merely territorial property, and as such, can be ruled and regulated under this constitutional provision as Congress sees fit. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.1

But the Constitution does not authorize Congress to dispose of property acquired unjustly, nor does any such power rightfully inhere in any nation or individual. This Philippine question, however, is more than a mere question of the disposal of a certain amount of land. The chief consideration in the transaction, from the standpoint of justice, is not the disposal of the land, but the disposal of the people upon the land. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.2

Are those people to be considered as the property of the United States, of which Congress can dispose as it sees fit? That is just what is assumed in the course which has been pursued towards them by the nations without. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.3

Every form of government which does not recognize the rights and liberties of the people, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, assumes that the people who are governed are the property of the governing power. The government of the czar, for example, assumes the right to dispose of the people under it, and does dispose of them, as it sees fit. That is the assumption upon which every despotism is built. A government must either assume just this, or it must recognize the rights of the people, which is a recognition of their right to govern themselves. There is no middle ground. Not to recognize their rights is itself an assumption of the right to treat them as property. And when the United States Government denies to the Philippine people the right to govern themselves, taking control over them as it does over their land, ignoring their will in the matter entirely, it thereby proclaims that it regards the people themselves as its property, in common with the land on which they live. Such treatment of the Filipinos cannot be harmonized with any other conception than that they are property, to be controlled in live animals. But this is the basis upon which the institution of negro slavery rested in the United States. AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.4

It cost this nation several billions of dollars and the lives of hundreds of thousands of its best citizens, to learn that the image of God—for all men are in his image—cannot be held and treated as the property of the United States or of any part of it. That lesson should have been well learned. And if at that fearful sacrifice it was not learned so as to be remembered, and the principles of truth and justice it emphasized are not to be repudiated, what hope can remain for the nation which has been established expressly to exemplify the virtue of those principles of government before the world? AMS January 5, 1899, page 2.5

“What Now Remains?” American Sentinel 14, 1, p. 3.


THE following from Harper’s Weekly, of December 8, we republish as an important piece of news, as well as for the worth of the discussion itself:— AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.1

“Attorney-General Griggs is quite sure that the Constitution will have no application to the territories of the United States acquired by the war, beyond the grant to Congress to make only needful rules and regulations respecting the territory of the United States. In making these rules and regulations, according to Attorney-General Griggs, Congress is not bound by any of the limitations imposed by the Constitution upon the exercise of its power over the States. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.2

“It is true that Congress has, in general, although not always acquired from the original States, by conquest, or by purchase; and it has never attempted to deprive the citizens of our territories of any of the fundamental personal rights which seem to be guaranteed by the Constitution. But the time is evidently at hand when a strong party in the nation will make a point of insisting that territories may be ruled by Congress outside of the Constitution, and even against the instrument which Mr. Gladstone declared to be the most perfect of human political institutions made at a single moment. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.3

“It is not so long ago that this great instrument, for it is very great, was established and ordained. In the life of the nation the time that has elapsed between the days of our fathers and our own days is but an instant. Times have not so changed, men have not so developed, conditions have not so revolutionized, that the essential truths of the eighteenth century have lost their character in the nineteenth. What was true as a political institution in 1789 is true to-day; and this is recognized even by those who are contending that the Constitution will not apply to the Philippines, or to Puerto Rico, or to Hawaii, although it is impossible to believe that they still recognize the truths of the Declaration of Independence. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.4

“The theory that all governments ought to exist by the consent of the governed has been dropped, but the belief holds that the Constitution did not establish a government capable of ruling over distant territories and alien peoples. Therefore it is that Attorney-General Griggs and other expansionists take the ground that the new colonies lie outside of the Constitution, and may be ruled without regard to its provisions, whether these limit the powers of Congress, define the jurisdiction of courts, or guard the rights of the individual. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.5

“If the Constitution does not apply or does not rule, what power is the last resort? Congress undoubtedly. If Congress possess the necessary two-thirds vote to override the President, it may establish governments for those distant islands in which the executive and judicial powers of the federal authority will have no place. Even without such a vote, its will, perhaps, must be a law; for to it alone is given the power to rule and regulate territory, and Attorney-General Griggs, and those who think as he does, may successfully contend that the President has not the power to veto an act establishing a fundamental government, or legislation of any sort, for a territory. If they are right, then it follows that taxes and imposts collected in the Philippines and in other colonies need not be uniform with those collected at home. A despotic form of government may be established within the law. Even a king may be set up if Congress thinks well of kings for distant savages. The blessings of the writ of habeas corpus may not be extended to our subjects. The right to trial by jury may not be granted to them. Their houses may be searched at the will of any United States official, important or petty. They may be legally arrested without warrant, their liberty and property may be taken away from them without due process of law or without just compensation. They may be denied the right to bear arms. The forms of justice common to civilized lands may be refused them, and judicial functions may be lodged in the hands of the executive. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.6

“We do not contend that the rights which the Anglo-Saxons wrung from the king at Runnymede, and which are preserved as sacred in every American constitution, Federal and State, are to be bestowed carelessly upon barbarians; but we are simply pointing out that when our Government was formed certain rights were regarded as fundamental and essential, and an equal as well as a just rule was to be the central idea of the new republic. It is now discovered that the Constitution is incompatible with the government of colonies of savages, and naturally the effort is being made to evade or destroy it, and to place absolute power in the hands of Congress. Practically, the question, as presented by Mr. Griggs, is, Shall we beat the Constitution by interpretation, or shall we amend it frankly, if we can, and remain a constitutional power a little longer?” AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.7

When the Government of the United States reaches the point where it seriously proposes, and sets about, to govern anybody without the Constitution it will be in principle no different from Russia. All that Russia does is to govern without a constitution. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.8

That the chief law officers of the Untied States should take such a position is ominous enough. Yet since the Declaration of Independence has been renounced, it is not at all surprising that the Constitution should be abandoned. These two documents belong together. And the same spirit that will set aside the Declaration of Independence, is at once ready to abandon the Constitution. The United States is fast repudiating every principle of a republican government. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.9

Harper’s Weekly, of December 24, says that the above is a mistake as to Attorney-General Griggs, but is all true “of many expansionists, if not of Attorney-General Griggs.” The Weekly was misled by an “interview published in a daily newspaper.” As this is the opinion of many expansionists, the principle is worthy of serious consideration even though the attorney-general has not so expressed himself. AMS January 5, 1899, page 3.10

A. T. J.