Diary of William C. Allen

Second Month, 18

At 12:15 noon to-day we left the pier at Manila on the beautiful Japanese steamship Hitachi Maru for Australia. Our kind friends, Wm. T. Hilles and wife, came down to see us off.

Probably 75 attenders at the Union Church service last night seemed glad to hear an address on the relation of the church to militarism. At the conclusion of the meeting a few questions were asked regarding the present war. I never encourage discussion on this subject — there are too many emotions and prejudices represented in a mixed audience to make it helpful. As we were separating, a few men encouraged me by expressing their pleasure because of “the spiritual note to the address.” One young man, dressed in the uniform of the United States navy, came forward, and was evidently laboring under much excitement, as he protested that the great European war was necessary. Before we parted he said, “I have just two months more in the navy — then I go home.” I asked where he came from. “Iowa,” he responded. “A great State,” said I ; “they grow fine men in Iowa.” “Yes,” he replied, “and I will be back in the navy inside of a year in the war.” I asked, “What  war?” He exclaimed, “In a war the United States will have. We will be at war inside of a year.” Then with an expression of disgust he added, “We would have been at war before this if it had not been for Wilson. He is afraid,” laying great emphasis on the word “afraid”. I told him that the people of American generally thought that President Wilson had manifested great bravery, and advised this young fire-eater to “get into God’s eternal quiet.” His lip quivered, and he understood what I meant. So much for our peace-loving navy which we are soberly told desires new guns and battleships only that we may enjoy peace with the rest of the world !

I regretted not seeing more of Bishop Brent, who was absent from Manila, but returned in time for us to call the day before sailing. He is a power in the Philippines. It was a pleasure to listen to his presentation of personal conviction as he conducted us through the beautiful garden of the Episcopal residence. All through the Orient I have seen that whilst there is naturally a great difference in Christian laborers, some of God’s best workmen have been chosen and sent by Him into the foreign field.

Manila has treated us very well. I landed there eleven days ago suffering so much with neuralgia in the stomach that I was afraid the port quarantine doctor would see my distress as I was compelled to stand in line for examination and that he would mistake my trouble for some disease which would impel him to refuse permission to the ship’s company to land. Anyhow, I got on land, and the dry air, even if hot, has wonderfully benefited me. Unexpected opportunities for work have developed. I have actually been able to play the tourist a little and see some of the beauties of this tropical land. So we leave the broad streets of new Manila with its American improvements, and the charming old architecture of the Spanish regime, with regret. Our hearts are afresh filled with gratitude to God because of His mercies to us.

The revolutionary talk, and efforts, in the Philippines at the present time is creating apprehension in some quarters and is treated with contempt in others. It seems strange just at the moment when the Washington Government is endeavoring to grant larger liberty to the people of the islands that efforts to promote insurrections should be discovered. On the face of it there would seem reason for thinking that these little revolts are instigated by mercenary men who do not wish their present influence diminished, and who desire to prove at this juncture the political irresponsibility of the Filipinos. On the other hand, even if such be the case, I very much question if the Filipinos will, for a generation, be able to govern themselves. Too few of them have  the education, ideals, or common dialect, or the political poise and temperament to successfully continue the work that has been carried on by our country. We have done a few millions of Filipinos much service, particularly with respect to education and developing their cities. But I feel that we have impaired the ideals of one hundred millions of our own people by holding colonies, at first against their will, and, subsequently, subjecting them by processes of force which our own country resented being applied to itself in the beginning of its career. Their civil administration does not cost the United States any financial outlay. But unhappily our control of them affords an excuse to the military party in the United States to advocate a big navy, wherewith to presumably protect them, and this carries with it a huge national expenditure and the development of a system and military aristocracy which may yet become a menace to the republic.