IO THE INHABITANTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Collection of Taxes.
Natives of the gorgeous East very commonly require a little persuasion to make them pay their taxes, and I have read of American millionaires who, in the absence of this system, could not be got to pay at all. Not many years ago, there was an enquiry as to certain practices resorted to by native tax-collectors in British India to induce the poor Indian to pay up ; anybody who is curious to know the particulars can hunt them up in the Blue Booksathey are unsuitable for publication.
In Egypt, up to 1887, or thereabouts, the "courbash " * was in use for this purpose. I quote from a speech by Lord Cromer delivered about that time (' Lord Cromer,' by H. D. Traill) : " The courbash used to be very frequently employed for two main objects, viz. : the collection of taxes, and the extortion of evidence. I think I may say with confidence that the use of the courbash as a general practice in connection either with collection of taxes or the extortion of evidence has ceased."
But we need not go so far East for examples of collecting taxes by means of the stick. The headmen of the village communities in Russia freely apply the lash to recalcitrant defaulters.
It would seem, therefore, that the Spaniards erred in company with many other nations. It was by no means an invention of theirs, and it will be remembered that some of our early kings used to persuade the Jews to pay up by drawing their teeth.
Its Good Points.
The Government and the laws partook of a patriarchal character, and notwithstanding certain exactions, the Spanish officials and the natives got on very well together. The Alcaldes remained for many years in one province, and knew all the principal people intimately. I doubt if there was any colony in the world where as much intercourse took place between the governors and the natives, certainly not in any British colony, nor in British India, where the gulf ever widens. In this case, governors and governed professed the same religion, and no caste distinctions
* A whip made from hippopotamus hide.* A whip made from hippopotamus hide.