The Peril of the Republic of the United States of America



After the pages of this book were all in type and for the most part plated, another incident occurred in the policy of abandoning the Constitution of the United States. It constitutes a radical departure from principles in behalf of which every day of the years 1861 to the spring of 1865 was steeped in the blood of the noblest sons of the Northern States. Therefore I have considered it of sufficient importance to append here. PRUS 194.1

The Sulu Archipelago is the most southerly group of the Philippines. The inhabitants number about 110,000. They are “Mohammedan by religion and more or less pirates by instinct.” They, and the sultan who rules over them, practise concubinage and polygamy. Slavery is an established institution among them. PRUS 194.2

According to President Jacob G. Schurman, of Cornell University, and United States commissioner to the Philippines, this slavery is “not the cruel inhuman slavery, but beneficent in form.” Some time ago the president of the United States announced that the policy of this government toward the Filipinos was one of “beneficent assimilation.” This “beneficent assimilation” policy has been pushed forward by powder and projectile ever since it was first promulgated. Now it has become so exceedingly beneficent and assimilative in character that it has assimilated into the body politic of the United States of America and Asia the beneficent poisons of concubinage, polygamy, and slavery. And as seemingly these were too good to be garnered by gunboats and Gatling guns like everything else in the Philippines, they were purchased with Mexican dollars. PRUS 194.3

Recently a treaty, or treaty-like arrangement, has been effected by General Bates in behalf of the United States with the sultan of Sulu. According to the agreement this government pays to the sultan of Sulu a cash bonus of ten thousand Mexican dollars, and in addition to this he is to get an annual subsidy of four thousand dollars. The sultan, on his side, agrees that in consideration of the payment of the sums aforesaid he and his people will be subject to the power and jurisdiction of the United States. This was a cheaper way of securing recognition of the undisputed sovereignty of the United States than by their “benevolent assimilation” through bayonet and bullet. PRUS 194.4

As a part of the bargain the United States agrees not to disturb the domestic institutions of the sultan and people of the Sulus; viz., concubinage, polygamy, and slavery. In other words, the United States has agreed to recognize polygamy in the Sulu Islands, and to pay four thousand dollars per annum to the polygamous ruler there for the glory of exercising sovereignty over them. PRUS 195.1

At the present time there are many petitions being circulated by the churches in this country requesting Congress to expel Congressman-elect Roberts, of Utah, because, as alleged, he is a polygamist. Will these churches plead with the Senate of the United States not to approve this treaty, or bargain, which recognizes polygamy in the Sulu jurisdiction of the United States? Will they petition Congress not to appropriate the four thousand dollars which the administration has agreed to pay to the order of the Sulu polygamist? “If they do, what will become of their boasted loyalty to the government? If they do not, what will become of their consistency?” This is a serious phase of the incident; but there is still another phase of it which is much more serious. PRUS 195.2

The United States has agreed not to disturb the institution of slavery in her Sulu jurisdiction. Now what shall be done with the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which declares that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”? PRUS 195.3

It follows from this that when the administration agreed not to disturb slavery in the Sulu Islands, the same being part of the Philippines and consequently under the jurisdiction of the United States, it agreed both in principle and in practise that it would openly violate and publicly disregard the Constitution of these United States. Possibly the administration is proceeding upon the plan hinted at and proposed last winter, that the Philippines and other islands be ruled without the Constitution! But to do this is only to trample upon and abandon the Constitution which by and according to the very wording of the instrument itself, extends to all places within the jurisdiction of the United States. PRUS 195.4

Since the Declaration of Independence is repudiated, accounted as a “nursery rime” only fit to “hamper the greatest nation of earth;” and since the Constitution is abandoned, and this by the very government of the United States itself,-since all this is so, it may be pertinent to inquire, how much of the original government of the United States remains? PRUS 196.1

And further, in view of the revived discussion of the “race problem,” since slavery is an undisturbed institution in one corner of the territory under the jurisdiction of the United States, what assurance is there that slavery will not be established, yea, and re-established, in other places “subject to their jurisdiction”? Will the sun upon the dial of the nation’s day be set back where it stood before the mighty conflict of ‘61? With sadness we turn from the contemplation of this checkered spectacle of a great nation whose beginnings were in so much glory, but whose latter day must be in so much shame. PRUS 196.2