OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
BEFORE THE EXECUTION.
The two photographs on this page represent an execution of native insurgents, by Spanish soldiers, on the Luneta at Manila. In this view one of the victims is overcome by the horrors of approaching death, and has fainted and fallen to the ground.
Filipinos in Madrid, as well as in Paris and London. The bibliography of the Philippines is said to number 4,500 volumes, the greater part of which has been written by Spanish priests and missionaries. The number of books on the subject in the English language is probably less than a dozen.a
Senor Ramon Reyes Lala, who is a native Tagalog, and also a distinguished writer and lecturer, thus describes his people in his book entitled a The Philippine Islands.a
a The first thing in the native character that impresses the traveler is his impassive demeanor and imperturbable bearing. He is a born stoica a fatalist by nature. This accounts for his coolness in moments of danger, and his intrepid daring against overwhelming odds. This feature of the Malay character has often been displayed in the conflicts of the race with the Europeans in the East Indies. Under competent leadership, the native, though strongly averse to discipline, can be made a splendid soldier. As sailors, too, I do not believe they can be equaled. For, lithe, active, and fond of water, the Malays have ever shown their inclination for the sea. Their pirates, coursing in their prahus, have, until a few years ago, for centuries infested the bays and inlets of the eastern archipelagos, looting the towns and villages on shore and taking as booty such foreign merchantmen as they were able to overcome. On account of the ravages of these fierce eastern Vikings, Europeans have come to regard the whole Malay race as cruel and bloodthirsty. But these were pirates in their own waters, and preyed upon their own countrymen, by whom they were feared no less than were the Spanish and English freebooters of old by their own countrymen. Why, then, should their outrages and rapacity be taken as indicative of the Malay character any more than are the atrocities of the Caucasian corsairs of their race?a
Senor Lala also states that the natives of both sexes are excellent swimmers, a qualification that belongs alike to all the Polyne-
sians. It is said that among some of these tribes mothers will carry their little infants, only a few days old, into the surf of the sea, and thus accustom them to the water from the very beginning of consciousness. They are utterly fearless in the water. a It is no uncommon sight,a says Senor Lala, a to see groups of naked men plunge w7ith drawn daggers among a shoal of sharks, with whom they fight with a fierceness that always results in victory for the native.a Along the beach at Manila, at the close of their daya s labor, may be seen hundreds of natives, men, women and children, of all ages and sizes, married and unmarried, disporting themselves in the surf and shouting and laughing like a lot of merry children. The natives are nearly all fatalists, and consequently manifest but little fear of death, and never bewail misfortune. Whatever happens is, in their estimation, due to fate, and cannot be helped; so the native loses no time in useless bewailing, but goes about his business and makes no complaint. Our soldiers, in their letters home, mention numerous instances of extraordinary personal bravery on the part of these people, and their inability to withstand the rushing charges of our men is attributed more to animal instinct than any lack of courage. This incident is related by a member of the Kansas regiment:
a In one of the early battles near Manila, after sweeping all before them in a long charge, the Kansas boys were suddenly surprised to find Mauser bullets coming from the rear. After some difficulty the tree was located in which the insurgent was hidden. The little bullets whizzed around them, wounding several. Volley after volley was fired into the tree before the deadly Mauser came tumbling down. As the man still remained in the tree, the Kansas boys decided to investigate. They found away up among the top branches the body of an old Filipino. He had lost a leg in a former trouble, probably in a fight with the Spaniards. He had been helped to his perch by friends and tied to the trunk of the tree. It had evidently been his intention to sacrifice himself, as he could hardly have loosened the rope.a
AFTER the EXECUTION.
This view shows the position of the firing party and the bodies of the victims a moment after the execution, scenes were regarded as festive occasions before the Americans put a stop to them.