Laura Ingalls Wilder by Christi E. Parker
By Christi E. Parker
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I endeavoured to do my part toward dispelling this ignorance. " Indeed, a member of the University Board of Regents said that I ought to be compelled to enlist. As a matter of fact, compulsion would have been quite unnecessary had it not been for physical disability. My life-long friend and former travelling companion, Doctor Bourns, was not similarly hampered. He promptly joined the army as a medical officer with the rank of major, and sailed for the islands on the second steamer which carried United States troops there.
To my amazement, at the end of our interview he asked me whether I would be willing to go to the islands as his personal representative. I could not immediately decide to make such a radical change in my plans as this would involve, and asked for a week's time to think the matter over, which was granted. I decided to go. Meanwhile, the President had evolved the idea of sending out a commission and asked me if I would serve on it. I told him that I would and left for my home to make preparations for an early departure.
I next take up some of the more important subsequent historical events, describing the work of the first Philippine Commission, and showing in what manner the government established by the second Philippine Commission has discharged its stewardship, subsequently discussing certain as yet unsolved problems which confront the present government, such as that presented by the existence of slavery and peonage, and that of the non-Christian tribes. For the benefit of those who, like Judge Blount, consider the Philippines "a vast straggly archipelago of jungle-covered islands in the south seas which have been a nuisance to every government that ever owned them," I give some facts as to the islands, their climate, their natural resources and their commercial possibilities, and close by setting forth my views as to the present ability of the civilized Cagayans, Ilocanos, Pampangans, Zambals, Pangasináns, Tagálogs, Bicols and Visayans, commonly and correctly called Filipinos, to establish, or to maintain when established, a stable government throughout Filipino territory, to say nothing of bringing under just and effective control, and of protecting and civilizing, the people of some twenty-seven non-Christian tribes which constitute an eighth of the population, and occupy approximately half of the territory, of the Philippine Islands.