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The Question of the Philippines
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE GRADUATE CLUB OP
LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY
JOHN J. VALENTINE, ESQ.
This address was read before the Graduate Club of Leland Stanford Junior University on February 14, 1899. It was afterwards, by request, repeated before the Congregation of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, and before the Berkeley Club of Oakland. It is published for the Graduate Club by the courtesy of Mr.
John J. Valentine.
DAVID STARR JORDAN.
PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA.
March 15, 1899.
I wish to maintain a single proposition. We should withdraw from the Philippine Islands as soon as in dignity we can. It is bad statesmanship to make these alien people our partners; it is a crime to make them our slaves. If we hold their lands there is no middle course. Only a moral question brings a crisis to man or nation. In the presence of a crisis, only righteousness is right and only justice is safe.
I ask you to consider with me three questions of the hour. Why do we want the Philippines ? What can we do with them? What will they do to' us?
These questions demand serious consideration, not one at a time but all together. We should know clearly our final intentions as a nation, for it is never easy to retrace false steps. We have made too many of these already. It is time for us to grow serious. Even the most headlong of our people admit that we stand in the presence of a real crisis, while, so far as we can see, there is no hand at the helm. But the problem is virtually solved when we know what our true interests are. Half the energy we have spent in getting into trouble will take us honorably out of it. Once convinced that we do not want the Philippines it will be easy to abandon them with honor. If we are to take them we cannot get at it too soon. The difficulty is that we do not yet know what we want, and we are afraid that if we once let these people go we shall never catch them again. With our long. ings after Imperialism we have not had the nerve to act.
Let us glance for a moment at the actual condition of affairs. By the fortunes of war the capital of the Philippine Islands fell, last May, into the hands of our navy. The city of Manila we have held, and by dint of bulldog diplomacy our final treaty of peace has assigned to us the four hundred or fourteen hundred islands of the whole archipelago. To these we have as yet no real title. get none till the actual owners have been consulted. We have a legal title of course, but no moral title and no actual possession. We have only purchased Spain's quit claim deed to property she could not hold, and which she cannot transfer. For the right to finish the conquest of the Philippines and to close out the