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The offense of lese-majesty has evidently become a felony in some parts of America's far-flung empire. Antonio D. Pagua, Councilman-elect of Manila, was convicted yesterday and sentenced to four months' imprisonment on a charge of having insulted Leonard Wood, the present governor-general of the Philippines. The culprit's offence had consisted of referring to the general in a recent political campaign as an "autocrat" and a "usurper of Philippine autonomy",--terms not altogether indefensible in view of the general's well-known partiality for military methods.
As every administration that has come into office since the Philippines were first occupied has promised to give the islanders their independence, the fact that Philippine citizens are still subject to martial law is significant. And the indifference with which Congress greeted the recent speech of Senator King on the subject shows that the government is as reluctant as ever to give up this profitable possession. On this occasion it was asserted that American dominion was being used as a cloak to exploit the resources of the archipelago.
Capitalistic enterprises, however, are not alone responsible for American imperialism in the Pacific. The people who gaze proudly at the blotch of color on the map which represents "our island empire" or speak complacently of bringing civilization to the natives are equally to blame for this continued departure from American principles. Philippine nationalists are grimly convinced that America is being given a distorted picture of conditions there. Their attempt to forbid the mailing of photographs of the tribes on the outlying islands was the result of this feeling. In reality the Philippines have attained a high degree of civilization according to current Occidental standards, and it be hooves the United States government to relax the reins rather than tighten them.
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