OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
comedians of the variety stage at home. One of these, who appeared quite intelligent, was asked why he had come down to Manila. He replied : a To fight/ a Whom did you come to fight?a He shook his head; he had just come to fight; he did not know who or what it was about. Undoubtedly these people had been enticed from their mountain homes by the promise of unlimited loot/a In the hemp and tobacco regions of Luzon there dwells a singular tribe called Macabebes, of whom but little is known. The Spaniards do not mention them in their official records, and none of the travelers who visited the islands previous to the American war seem to have heard anything about them. They are very dark and so small as to be almost dwarfish in stature. The men wear their hair in long, thick masses that hang below their waists. They
GENERAL LORIS, OF THE FILIPINO ARMY.
Showing style of uniform and accouterments worn by prominent officers of the native army.
are fierce fighters, and hate the Tagalogs with an intensity that amounts almost to a religion. But they likewise hate the Spaniards even more than they do the Tagalogs, and so it happened that in the organization of Aguinaldoa s heterogeneous army the Macabebes were enlisted under the flag of the Filipino Republic. Later, when the fighting commenced between the natives and the Americans, these little black men with the long hair were against us, and some of them were captured and brought into camp. Then it was that their traditional hatred for the Tagalogs became a matter of public information, and General Lawton conceived the idea of organizing a battalion from among these people to fight the common enemy. This work was entrusted to Lieutenant Batson, who had been trained in similar service in Cuba. The results are told in
the following correspondence from Mr. Will Levington Comfort, who witnessed the thrilling events that he so graphically describes: a Lawton, that war chief of deathless memory, and one of his staff officers, Lieutenant Matthew S. Batson, of the 4th Cavalry, must be given the credit for conceiving the possibilities of the Mac-abebe as a scout and trailer. He is a wonderful little black man, this Macabebe.
a His home is in the heart of vast Luzon; and because the enemy of his soul and body and religiona the dominant Tagaloga is everywhere on the island except in the Macabebe province, he is cut off from the outside world as effectually as if he were in a small boat in the midwaters of the Pacific. He knows not the meaning of commerce. The crash and carnage of an international
war might go on for years, and he would not know. He has no literature save his unwritten traditions; he has no education save that which is in the swirl of tepid rivers, in the fastnesses of steaming jungles, or in the blue of torrid skies.
a Yet the Macabebe has his laws, his home and his fields. His fathers delved deeply into the mysteries of the rice swamps, and nature taught them the theory of hemp. The great tobacco valley of Luzon curves through part of the Macabebe province, and the art of his cultivation puts the choicest flavors in the great green leaves. And from all these things arise the civilization of the Macabebe.
a It is not the higher cultivation of inventions and books, of diplomacy and imperialism; but it is strong in primary factors of peace and plentya stanch in the first virtues of correct family systems and fraternal justice. Yet one ugly passion lurks in the Macabebe heart.
a Into this tropical Arcadia, Lieutenant Batson journeyed, under orders from the General, to enlist native allies. He anticipated mighty annoyances. His mission had been regarded Doth by General Lawton and other members of the staff as one of extreme perila anc he was received as monarch of the world !
a He found that it was wholly unnecessary for him to exert any influence toward the end of making the Macabebe hate the Tagalog. This much had been accomplished ages ago. And the hate of the Macabebe is a fearful, wonderful kind of hate. It knows no reason, no palliation. Nor is it without cause. The beginning of it all may be legendary. Anyw-ay, the Macabebes say that once, long ago, their forefathers were invited by the Tagalogs to partake of a splendid feast. They went, so the story runs, with naught but peace in their hearts and gifts in their hands. By various and skillful methods they were murdereda so quickly and quietly was it done that the guests barely had time for realization. Now, no one pretends to stand for this statement in its ruthless entirety, but it is more than reasonable to believe that something of the kind happened. And it is a historical fact that the Tagalogs in very late years made a raid into the Macabebe country and created an ugly record for themselves in the lines of destruction and slaughter.
a And so it is that the Macabebes hate the mightier tribesman, his wife, his pickaninnies; nay more, even his caraboa. And all these years he has clutched at this hatred, and worn it as a live