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From the Library of J

Juan JosĂŠ Osuna


TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO A RECORD OF PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY WORK SINCE THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION

By ARTHUR JAMES, M.A., B.D.

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• EDUcATIONAL WORK BoAID

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HOIIIt MIIIIOMI, I'UDYTDIAJf

C.uaca

1&6 Fifth Avaaue, Naw Yoar;

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U. S. A.


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TABLE O

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· Chapter u

CONTENTS

l.

So.me Per onal Characteristics .. . ,. .... Page 9

11.

The Social Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .,. 16

e00 d.t1 IOOS. . . · . . .•• . . . . . . . . •.. " 26 111 . . R ~ llglOUS IV. Medica] Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " 35 "

V.

Educational and Community Work .... "

43

VI.

E~angelistic Mission s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "

55

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FOREWORD NGLO-SAXONS and Latins bave much to learn from each other and much to contribute to one another's happiness. In Porto Rico the two races are meetirig under the American ftag and there we have an exceptional op¡ portunity to learn by actual contact those traits in which the Latins excel and in turn to bring to the Porto Ricans what is 'b:est in our American civilization, especially our r~ligion, our education and our science. In the latter service Mr. James, the author of this booklet, has given ten years of his life since graduating from Y ale. He has come to have a genuine affection for the Porto Ricans and has made his understanding and appreciation of trhem the basis of a success ful ministry. He sets down here f<,>r the benefit of us who live in the "States," his interpretation of the Porto Ricans in order that we may have an understanding of their personal characteristics and their social and r.eligious life. He has gained a clear vision of their needs as well as of their attainments and he has made these needs a very real chall~nge to all American Christians interested in the cooperative task of building a great Christian democracy. Mr. James has the happy faculty of being able to say much in few words and as a result it is possible for the reader to obtain, in remarkably brief compass, an understanding of Porto Ricans and their need and what the Presbyterian Church is doing to meet these needs. '

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FREO EASTMAN

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A FEW FACTS ABOUT PORTO RICO

OUTSTANDING DATES IIU .A.JOm

1

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HISTORY OF PORTO RICO

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of Inqu.l.sltloo .. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · and F1llbllll&ers ....... .. . 1625-1180

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. PTovbnee of s,.io .. . . .. . . . .. . .. . .. ..... 18811 . 1813 of S{avee .... . .. ... . .. . . . ..... .. ... .

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Amelteao OeeupMioo .••. . .... .................. . 18118 va-&.--- Oeeupatlon ..... ... ... . . .. . .. .. ... .. . 18118 .._ . , 18118 c-u.--HSOOO . .. . . ··· ·· ··· ····· ··· ···· ·· ······ ·

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of Clvll Oovl'lr'IIIIMlllt ...... .. ...... .. 11100

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CHAPTER I

Sorne

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~ersonal

Characteristics

Courtesy. The Porto Rican is the embodiment of hospitality, courtesy and tact. The poorest peon in the country posse ses a native social ease that is seldom fotind among Anglo-Saxons. The stranger can always be sure of an unaffected welcome even to the most humble country hut. T·his courtesy is not confined to the social 1ife. It permeates and inAuence every phase of living. In the business world, for example, although the Porto Rican has few equals when it comes tQ shrewdness, he doe not depend upon the complicated efficiency systems of his northern brother. He has a way of ingratiating himself into the confidence of' his customer and establishing a personal friendship. In tead of á monthly statement, when he is in need of money, he wil! hand you a signed receipt. A more subtle method could hardly be devi ed to create a special effort on the part of the customer to raise the necessary cash. By way of contrast an American grocery store on the island prints · sorne such legend as this &t the bottom of its biits and statements. "This is not a bank. BiLis are payable promptly the first of every month. Intere t will be charged on all overdue accounts at legal ·rate." This method no doubt works well with the American clientele which the store serves, but it will not work with the Latin element. If the American bu iness man is sincere in his desire to win the confidence of Latin America from a commercial standpoint he must, as other nations have already done, accommodate himself to this element of courtesy. The courtesy of the Porto Rican often runs to the extremity----an outcome of exaggeration. We must not take him too literally. On the announcement of ·his new-bom babe will appear the startling statement, "He is yours." Express tbe slightest interest in a thing and the proprietor wiU tell you that you are welcome to it, even though it be the house which

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10

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

ha lodged him and hi famíly for generation . One of the favorite tories both among the Porto Ricans . and the re ident American i that during a vi it to the home of a cultured Porto Rican, a oortbem tourist ~pressed bi admiration of a beautifuJ picture--an heirloom of tbe family. Witb hi cu' tomary· cour:tesy, the host made tbe formal reply tbat tbe picture wa tbe property of bis guest. Tbe literal American, ho ever, took bis friend at bis ord and next moming sent a man to brin away his newly acquired work of art. Needle to y tbe man retumed empty-handed, but with a po itive opinion a to · the prosaic nature of tbe nortberner's make up.

Appreciation of the Beautiful. Anotber marked charac eristic of the Poito Rican i hi love of the beautif.ul. This trait manife ts it elf in every waJk of life. It is seen i~ the language itself-the chief index of tbe life and feeling of a people. Good Spani h i not so much a matter of good grammar as it i "the way it sounds." Art for art's sake mean a great deal to the .Porto Rican. :Far removed from tbe great metropolitan center , tbe women of the inland towns appear in dresses of .the latest Pari and New York styles whicb ome nati've dre maker haS made from a picture in a current magazine, without either pa teros or in tructioas. One of the tasks of Prote tant mi ioris is to supply direction to thi artistic sen e. Where it does not have this direc- ' tion and where t he artistic sense i not tempered by the practicaJ we oftentimes get a pitiful affection and ¡nucb useless labor.· gir( wiU work for months on a pi~e of drawn ork and will shed innumerable tear because she cannot di pose of her work on account of the poor quality of the cloth on which she has P.,Ut her labor. The cabinet maker, not content with the natiJe beauty of the mahogany, cedar or satin ood wiJJ,' unJe he has very specific instructions to the contrary, work days and weeks carving these woods in imitation of sorne piece of cheap State' furniture tbat may take his eye. Wbere work of thi nature has had the ov.ersight of a trained

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

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. .t.ha t :ype of beauty characteristic of tbe teacber it results m Spanisb-Moorish civihzatiOn. . h hi th r Latín R bares wtt s o e ldea.lism. Tbe ~orto ~:~istic idealism. In this respect American brethrenf h~ c:~~:f differences from the more .pracwe can note one o t e . Am . n po sesses a fine tdealb The South enea · tical nort erner. the ability to put his ideals mto a fatalism which so of.ten saps ism, but he see~s .to lack reality. This tr~t~ .'s .offsetT~ constitutions of sorne of these e ss even the work of Thomas his energy and mttlatlv~. Latín American .Repubhcs sur~a . ustice and brot'herhood; yet Jefferson jo thetr advoc~cy o ~nd a revolution With ;Umost in many of these countnes we eo le whose standard of sucevery rainy s~on. It is refreshmg touJ fi. nd. a p f ~terial properey, and who . ot the accum atton o . 'd d cess ts n . k' d f political inconvenience provt e will put up wJth ~1 '.m s::fort with fami1y and friends; yet, they are ab1e to hve .m .co , ointing to see so few nativ~ on the other 'hand, tt ts dtsaphp k this is a decided deter1 In our churc wor b 1eaders deve -op. . nd theories there is no dearth, ut rent. Of good tde~ a effect is 1acking. It is the absence ture that justifies the Anglothe will to p~t th~ mto . oí this practJcal stde of t.hdeu ..na. educational institutions. · d es of stu Y m our 1' Saxomze cours 1 have along these mes, Whatever weakness these peophet m;~set it as is evideneed in the right training has ~~ne mue o ' that certainly has a great our trained, native mmts~ry. d Idealism is a noble tratt ~n . one perience but it is essenpart in a well-rounded Chnstlanba~ ed by' a sense of practial that this element s~u1d .be . anc d imbuing the Porto G' · thts dtrectton an · · . tical values. tvmg . . . view of things is an tmR' himself with this proportíona1 . . tcan . . d rtant part of the wor k o f the American mtsSJonary. po 1 llec:tual Qualitiea. Th e p orto Rican has a decJde . nte . ual uestions. At a railroad station, taste for purely mtellec h' q men are wont to congregate in the drug store, or fw ~everdiscussion on any religious or we are always sure o a een

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12.

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

philo ophical . q"..est'Ion ¡f . we but tak h An appreciation for tht b e t e trouble to tart it. the i !ande . A tea h a .tract eem to be ioherent with . e er m the fir t h' ti 01 hed a course in Frankl' , . year . •gh chool had 10 6e utob10gra h ¡ a .teen year old fre hman 00 thi . .P Y· n quizzing he hked be t about it th pragmabc book as to what. ., h . • e te cher wa st ti d . t e author' philo ophy of l'f " T . ar e wlth the reply ence JO . te ~ing .on the i 1 'd e. La hJs was her li rst experiurpri ed to lind that over ;;; . ter she was not so much % o.f the same clas elected "Si and penance" as a • b' " su )ect to wnte o f 11 . n the Rhyme of th An . n, o owurg a study of e ctent Ma · " h cho o, "The p1ot of the story ,nner w en they rnight ha ve ' or sorne uch ubject Manual training and · 'lar · JmJ branches · h cu 1um are popular but th m t e chool curri. ' ey do not a h ~ h•eh the emphasi h '--nswer t e purpose for as ua:n piaced on th . f d 0 stu y. It is probabl · . em ID .the course ell ed y JU t as difficult no to w ucated young PortG Rican to w get ~ fairly manual work for his l:ivelihood . take up sorne form of RecenUy a mi ionary wa . tr as tt was twenty . years ago. ·1 d m umental in t · an adolescents in touch ' th . pu hng one of the the boy being to· go to th sw' an Amencan-the object of bu ine . In the course th~tes to follow this man's line of v f . J corresponden th bo ery car-e ul to state that h' did ce, e y was the not need the ordinary groundwork of the Am·e·n·ca· n you . but that h . do anytbing tbat would can' f h : e. was quJte willing to hich tbe Latin race was the· d•plomatic ability for

:r

not:;;

Witb all thi intellectual · • '<1 mterest the Port R' J be up to date in hi '. o •can can hardly ratber than a leader in thi di p~llosophy. ~ is a follower nent of the ~vatJgelical reli~ec:n al~. Th~ greatest oppoCatbolici m a it i the kind nf f ay IS not so much Roman UOJted · States more tban fif o ree think'mg that swept the and purifying p 'losophies ago. The great modern e~ to ha~ found these ergsoo a~d Euc.ken do not the~r illluJar position will ::pie yet. It lS to be hoped that out. Nothing could be of pe;:na"~tJy .lceep these forces more elp ID the preaching of tbe

be

:e y;r

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

13

Gospel tban a philosophy that would tum the people from a material conception of the universe to a spiritual one.

Sympathy and Generosity. It is doubtful if there is a more kind and generous person to be found anywbere tban the Porto Rlcan. In spite of the abject poverty of a large percentage of the 'population orphan asylums and similar institutions du not em to flouri h. I f one or both parents die, the children are divide<! among the neighbors to share tl,le trials and fortunes of another meager existence. During the war all philanthropies connected with the conflict were enthusiastically supported. People who had never given to anything outside t h:eir town oversubscribed to the Red Cross and in Liberty Loans--<>ften without a clear knowledge of what the money was for or w'here it was going. One incident which occurred in an interior country district will serve to show the pirit of the people. A planter was .npproached to .subsc;ribe his share of liberty bonds. He had been u ed to the periodical swindles of Spanish days, but could not be thought to be ungenerous. He sub'scri:bed for $500.00 worth of bonds, but even after he ·bad the United States' receipt he firmly maintained that the money would not reach San Juan, the capital of the !sland, much less the bOys on the western front. We have not seen him since he has been clipping his coupons, but certainly he must be one of a great company whom the fair treatment on the part of Uncle Sam has convinced that ·t here is at least one government which does not exploit their generosity. Like all good traits these of generosity and sympathy bave their abuses. The hundreds of professional beggars that infest the island thrive principally because it is easier to make an immediate appeal to the Porto Rican, than it is for the reformer to appeal to bis sense of social justice with its m'Ore remote alleviation of the trouble. These mendicants make their rounds twice a week and receive food and money fro~ their clients. It is a good business to those who play the game well and many of the parasites prosper. One well known beggar whose principal assetl are catari.cts on both his eyes has aupported a

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14

TWE~TY

YEARS IN PORTO RICO

large f mil and is now owner of ·a small farm which he has bought from hi "eafnings." He frequently receives a.lms from hi wife as she comes from mass in he.r finery 1 A mision doctor a few years ago offered to remove the cataracts from hi eyes o that he might resume his former occupatio'n a carpenter. He ji,.,¡y refwed this lu!lp with a Stri"ff of belligtrnt .· Últlguage artd charged the ""-ssioruJry wi.th tlu! o/fence of seelti"ff to talle aWCJy Hts employmentt Mendicancy ha been the object of many attack , but it perist in pite of :IJl agitation . The remedy must come from the I land itself. Should the American interfere he would be regarded cold .. blooded. lt i gratifying to note, however, that the Protestant church is meeting with succes in the suppre ion of this cu~tom. The victoriou campaign against the liquor traffic and the succ fui tights again t social impurity · and kindred vice are gradually striking at the · root of the evil of which mendica.ncy i but a manifestation. Emotion. We may write of these characteristics, yet after all they are but manife tations of a more fundamental difference between t!Je Porto Rican and the North American. These islander , lilce ~e rest of theil' race are fundamentally e.motional while the continental is unemotional. By his virtues and hi vices, we find that the Porto Rican is íar more influ-. en.ced by the great emotional in tincts. of Ji fe, !ove, hate, fear, joy and sorrow than the American. : They are an impulsive people. In one small town there have been wi~in a year, thrce attemp at assassination, two o( which were successful. In .. one in nce an infuriated brother sought to give expression of hi di~pproval of hi sister's sweetheartj by shooting hiní as he carne from the tbeater. A second case was that of a young man who shot and killed bis best friend over a dispute as to the merita. of their. revolvers. Tbe other case wa.s that of a boy ·who f tally stabbed his opponent in a game of dominoes in' which a wager of three cent as at stake. lt need not be said that this emotional nature has its outJet in other ways than in gruesome incidents such as these. lt

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

15

. for th etr . sOCl'al ease ' for their !ove of theh beau. responstble It for their idea.fism, for their generosity and Y· thls element in their nature has made the Sparush type

~~fui

symp~t

:~

tha~ 0 of 1~ ;:-~~fv:~:a~t~nr~~~i~;dn t~;t: :~¡:~~ experien~e that

. ba d the einotional nature of manis altogether mcomt not the heart come the issues of life." The Porto fundamentally has' those elements a great . an d the first phase of the mtsstonary s problem heart reJ•tgton d t .~~aa d pt ou r Anglo-Saxonized go . pel to the natures an o the personal needs of these emotiOnal peop 1e.

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"~to:f

th~t ~e ~or

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

States of the Union. is $16,CXX>,OOO.

CHAPTER II

The Social Life

Thfe c~mplete Americanization of Porto Rico may be ter o years or of ceot . b . a matean civiJoizatlon largelyu7; , ut lt seems inevitable. Ameri,; d , e outcome of the Prote t>ant el ' .,.on, oe not have thi el' · r JTherefore the Social t ~ ~~ou~ · backgrou?d in Porto Rico. provide the moral element ~f :h~ e~angehcal ch_u_rch is to problem doe not end . .e anged cond•tJon. The has within it co 111 thc conver Jon of the individual, but life of th 1 pe the complete regeneration of the social e peop e. A tudy of th · 1 ·• i land will hel e sooa condJtJons of the ' h p u to understand the nature of th'15 ha t e Church's work. . P se of

Populatlon. The most. receot st ( ·

· · tion of Porto . Rico as 1 300 000 da 1 tlcs g•ve the populaaln the campo ition of the population as 60% hite' 35~ • /r7 mu atto and 5% M . o f the wh•tes are descended fr S . negro. ost th om pam h coloni ts. In politic or in bu. ine . • e amount of color IS no drawback. In the a per on may have 1ower e1a e where . . th . hon for a .v-ial car · . ' ere 1s no ambi"" eer1 mtermarriag bet . tbe black i ¡jf f . e ween the Whlte and · .. . requent occurteoce. There is 1 a po ·~ve opmion again t the practÍce. In th:o h~~ or even of SOCJety, there i a well-detine . . •g er states of _the race is strictly caf mol. and otber recreational institutions is d•niedhlpthm the. o co or. ) ,. e man

prohlQit~ c~~o; ~:~~:ter_-m~rriage

"Rich .Port" and Its Pov

fu

.

i h fát "Ricb Port " It tuertyl• Porto co IS the Span. s na ra weaJth att d h coloni s of the 16th racte t e Spanish view, tbe e i sti~tury.. !oday, from many points of ·-• . de~phve of the island Th 1 ti """' year showed a tnlde bal . · e ast ,594,231 which . . ance,_ exports over imports, of m proporuon to 1ts po lati than that of the United St t Tb pu on, was larger year i $5,227 389 bi a es. e budget for the Present , a gger btidget t,han twenty-three of the

17

The borrowing capacity of the island

In spite of the e facts, poverty and its attendant evils are very pressing problems. All the wealth of the island, we are told, is in the ha~ds of 15% of the pop~ation and in spite of such a good trade balance the pre war per capita wealth of the island was $182 compared with a per capita wealth in continental United ?tates of $1,123 and of $1,442 in Great Britain. Doctors Ashford and Gutierrez who, since the Occupation have done such valiant service in the eradkation of Uncinariasis, the "hookworm," know intimately the country~an, or "}ibero" of Porto Rico who comprises sucli a large proportion of .the population. They give this description of the daily diet Of this unfortunate class:

.

"He rises at dawn and takes a coco.anut dipperful of· 'cafe puya,'-coffee without sugar. Naturally, he never uses milk. With this black coffee he works until about twelve o'clock, when bis wife brings him his breakfast, corresponding to our lunch. This is composed of boiled salt codfish, with oil; and has one of the following vegetables of the island to furnish the carborate element; banana, platano 1 name, batata, or yaytia. "At three in the afternoon he takes another dipperful of coffee, as he began the day. At dusk he returns to the house and has one single dish, a kind of stew, made of the current vegetables of the island, with rice and codfish. At rare íntervals, he treats himself to pork, of which ·be is very fond, and oñ still rarer occasions he visits the town and eats quantities of bread, without butter, of course. "Of al! this list of country foods there are only three elements that are bought-rice, codfi h and condiments. Rice is imported from the United State and codtisb from Nova Sootia. The bread he eats on his visit to town 'is made of American ftour. . . . "Only a few cents difference in wages will cut out the small

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TWENTY YEAR~ I

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PORTO RICO

proportion of animal proteids he 0 b . . · . . tam • the codfish, and a cyclone iU d · . nve him m d perabon to the town." Many have been the ed' b thi d' t . rem tes rollght forward to relieve t re m poverty The mo th ha received . re recent, at of emigration dean of the ~~:~~al ~f ;!~~ti~. Dr. Fleagle, formerl; oC the social life of th . 1 d . .co, and a keen student that Porto Rico could : t an ' ~ntmg of this method says upport twtce the population that h . .. . e now ha Wtth comp rative ea e found to reli th . : proVIdmg sorne means is e e e economre ttuation of the eater ~~~ 7ple and to ~revent the accumulation of !;.lth inp;h~ o a comparative maU number. Of the other propo d 1 . , ab ntee landlord and the es'::~~tons, the elimination of thc farm in tbe place of the great 1hm~t oC a ystem of small d . p antattons that now exi t d ommate the agricultura! life of the i 1 d b s an en . Many of the best f . d f .an as strong adhernen s o the tsland s · · ..._ · ant proprietor hip 'th ee m miS peasWI a Y tem of rural e · . . lar to that of' Denmark th . o-opera non stmt1 pall of poverty It . , e vatton of the island from the

0

t ~robably the be t solution offered but · can IS DOtOrJOUSly individu J' f d ' tive part of die scheme i likely to fa~l•s ~~ an . ~e C<H>peraby year of education and A-pe . un ess tt ts preceded . -.... nme11t. For the Church to ignore thi ta . f h. sible-all of its work is condition~~ ob t ·~ngsywould be im~_?srnan>: , i.ded mon ter and the evangeli~lt ~hur ~t ;:verty ts a met tt m part by promoting t e thus far "-b' emperance ~d social . e ta bWl zng hospitals and dinics . 1 nier . punty, school and bove a1J b ' ~a ce ers and mdustrial in Porto Rico as elsewh?re ~ p;:;::mg of t_he gospel which to the qtterm t. strated tts power to save the Porto Ri

..

Wha.t lie before the Churc.h in th' but that we must lead in the soluti t new .era no one knows, hand over the leadership to th oc" of this. problem and not . t o er orces Wtth their destructive pr.............. i a posn upon which every ¡· m Porto Rico is agreed. ,· evange •cal leader

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

19

La Segunda Clase. One of the outstanding results of the American Occupation of Porto Rico is the bridging of the gulf that divides the extremely wealthy from the peon classes. The creation of a middle cla s eems to be one of the contributions of the Anglo-Saxon race to the social Ji fe of the island. The personnel of most of the distinctively American institution consist of members of the "Segunda clase," people, who, . before the occupation, were without any social standing and are now teaching in the public chools, occupying government offices and preaching in many of our evangelrcal pulpits. In this new democratic arrangement, there are many instances where this virile element of Porto Rican life 'has t:hrust the so-called "primeras" from places of responsibility which family and wealth .had given them for centuries. The boss of one of the important political parlies on the island,, is colored. In the afternoon he will confer and dicta e to men with whom in the evening he would not be permitted to associate in a social way. The class is as a rule stoutly pro-American. It is this Jclnd of people that comprise to a great extent the membership of our evangelical churches, and it is in them that our hope of a self-supporting church lies . La Buena Familia. It has been said that the English word "home" has no equivalent in the Spanish language. In its larger meaning, this may be true but whatever significante this fact ha in the Spanish character the family and family life has as great a part in Hibernian civilization as in our· own. For the honor of his family the Porto Rican will make any sacrifice. There are dozens of young meo in Porto Rico today who were traihed in the States and had started in sorne promising pro fe sional career; yet they quit their profession to retum to the land of their birth in order to satisfy one or both parents who could not be separated from ~heir "ninos." If one is a member .of a "buena familia"-a good familyhe is likely to be forgiven a multitude of sins and weaknesses. What the family wealth will do for the prodiga! in

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T

ENTY ~EARS IN PORTO RICO

the tates, the family name will d e h . t. Quite recently in tbe write:.s ~~ t .e Porto Rican scapeof the mo t' honored r 'li . IStrJct, a member of one mJ e m the com . muruty committed · what, under otber circumsta donáble breach of etiquette n~, ;ould have bten an unparbidden jui and· in a d . ,_ e ~ank too much of the [orbaU T , run.. en dnvel in ult d h' · he matter wa hu h d e J host at a in as ood a ociaJ tandingeas u~:nd. tbe fellow is apparently e ore. I n one o our recent church ent . . part ' the Porto Rica d ' . ertamments m a igning the T n 1rector pa1d more tt · 1 le of the actor than h d'd . a entJon to the famde t1 . e 1 to theJr dramat' b'li n y WJtb an eye to the box offi . IC a 1 ty, evi~i m of the play. . ce receJpts and to fu ture critiConcubátage. Accordin h · tbe males and 15.7% of the r to t e census of 1910, 1.6% of ried. That i one- ixth e Uema-les were consensuaUy mar0 a . . ' the people 15 a e are hvmg together . h over years of . . 1 Wlt out the benefit of . . La tlca marriagC: In a recent . a CIVIl or ecclePresbytery of P~rto RJ'co o t fSOCJf al. ~urvey conducted by the u ·o am1he · · d t hat they ere living t b . VISite 18% repotted · · oget er wahout th · na e. In sorne center t!i e sanct1on of marTbere are two rea edpercentage went a high as 38%. . a vanced tha t ar ~ pon 1ble for this tate of thín . e ~uppo ed to be JOg of the pani h colonJ'st Ugl 'k. The fir t IS the loose liv. n 1 e our p·¡ · carne to America with the' f ·¡· 1gnm fathers who tJ Ir ami le the e S . d mo y a venturer who left fam'J , . _Pamar s were . 1y t~es betn them and entered into thi consen ual Becau e of the lack o e mi arn~ge Wlth the native women. '1' . mora re 1 taru:: e . 1 IZed 1 lander this pract:i beca e o t e partJaiJy civ: other reason advanced i ~at oí~ an acc~pted custom. The t e ex.tortJonate and prohíbitory fee charged by th Ch th 1 · · e urch. Eccles1 .tícal marnages · e on y kind recognized before were w~r. day the draft law ent thouth~::~ncan occupation. In mtnl ter and magí trate to 1 r . couple to the priest, qualífy for the government theJ.r unions, in order to e lled to the color . a o ents !" ca e the men were

:n

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

21

The mo t deplorable phase of these unions is that the children who are born are denied a real home. In the eyes of the law, there is the "natural" child, and the illegitimate child. The "natural" child .is a child boro out of wedlock but recognized and registered by the fa.ther. This ¡:hild has a legal standing. The father support it and grants it a mínimum percentage of his estate. As a rule the child lives with its mother. Later should the father marry, the na.tural child has the humiliation of seeing his half brothers and sisters enjoying social recognition and prestige in which he too ought to share. As one of the native legislators in advocating better and fairer laws for the natural child has said :· "The natural child abandoned by its father needs the law to protect him more than the legitimare child, because society rejects him. If it accepts him at all it is on an inferidr leve! when referring to bis rights. Frequently hís father turns his back upon him ancl. pretends that he does not know him." There is as yet no insular law that will effectually corred the evil; nothing will do it but an educated Christian public opinion. The Evangelical Church is the only institution on the island that fights openly this unsocial practice. The illegitimate child is another outcome of these loose sexual relations. The last census figures gives the number of illegitimate children in Porto Rico as 155,249, a slight decrease over the previous cen u . The evil results of illegitimacy in Porto Rico are the same as el ewhere. Many of the children are abandoned by both parents and owing to lack of sufficient orphanages and children's bornes, it is estimated that today there are 10,000 bomeless children on the Island under twelve years of age. The children live on what .they can earn, beg or steal. They sleep in the waiting room of a railway station, in the comfortable branches of a tropical tree, or on the porch of sorne reside ce. They are entirely illiterate anti form the class from wbich come the beggars and thieves. "They constitute a danger to the community, and if it were not for the relatively high death nte that is found arnong

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·22

TWENTY Y.EARS IN PORTO RICO

people o( thi cla , the i land would oon . be CltJZen brought up under the e crirrunal-fonning ""•'-'","" Prostitution. Tbe pt.Jblic pro titute is accepted by majority OÍ the peopJe OÍ the island' as a part OÍ the normal public life. During the recent war in tbe enforcement of the five mile .. act and imilar legi lation, the Attomey General of the Island encóuntered so much oppo ition that he was almost compened to resign. Until recently thi pha e of the Isl¡¡nd's Ji fe completely ignor d; tbere was no segregation, no medkal in pection and no public interest in the matter. At pre ent in the larger cities there are organizations of women working together for the welfare of their fallen sister . At a recent ocia! Purity Sunday, th~ evangelical churches oí t.he '¡ land contributed $400.00 to be used in helping the govemment re tore the unfortunate' women then in the jails to normal living. Many of the e women had already expre ed a desire to lead a different life. Under uch organization as the W. C. T. U. they are being taught different native indu tries.

Recreational Life. In the abandon oí their play we are much more lilcely to get a true per pective of Porto Rfcans than .in tbeir more self~on cious moments. "Palms, Patio$ and Plaza " has been u ed to describe Cuba. For the recreational life oí Porto R.ito, althougli at the sacrifice of the aniteration, we could ubstitute "Ca inos, Plazas, and Fiesta.s." Tbe Casino is the apex oí the ocial life of the I land. Every .. town, even tbough it be not more than atoup of huts in tbe mo~ntain, wiJJ maintain its ca ino. To be a member of tbis group· i the social ambition of the you of the town. It i however exclu ive, by r on of its color line and by its prohibitory fee , and is reany the only in titution in the I Jand's ocia! li(e thatt doe not recognize the social equality of the negro. • In pite oí prot ts from one or the other excluded parties the casino maintains its exclu ive feature and sets the pace for the mart set of the communit . The attitude of the evangeJieaJ cburch to this institution

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO , RICO

23

h d community. Wherever the according to the churc an . 't has resulted disasd the casmo 1 . has openly e pouse . . ter In the past the casmo for the church and th~ mmts .d as tabooed by most w . f . di been a tftg p~~ser of hquotsT an day although thts eature of the churches on thts acco.u~t. ·. t do m~ny of the casinos are, h been ehmtna e • d' it suppo ed to ave Ji 1 bs and for this reasqn are ISer it is very difficult to o a '"'eat extent, gamb ng e uH ". . h hes owev • h and to place a ban on suc a approved by our e urc . . formulate a prohibitory pohcy, . tal to the work of the . . prove detnmen . ., . native instltu.tton may enerate this msthUtton church. It become would abeconstruc bettert~~tve~n~:~nce in the comn'lunity's . may that. 1t · Anglowelfare. . . arallel or coun.terp~rt m The Plaza. There 1 no P . A . n Ji fe. What the . Spamsh- menea . Saxon life to the plaza m h 1 a is to the masses. It ts casino is to a seleded class, t e hp az . ht falls the boys and · nter W en mg · the real commUillty ce 'de.ns husbands and wives congregat.e girls, young men an? ma~are ~f the city. The older people stt in the plaza or pubhc sq . oun folks begin to parade, on the side and: chat, ~vhtle ~~:Jve o~chestra. In this parade often to the quamt muste of ~ th oung men the other. So de y carefully chaperoned are the gt'rls circle one way an f ustom an so great is the power o ·~ . 1 should circle with a young man the young ladies that 1 a gtr an en agement. Then would 'tt would be almost tantamount toh g ade and the formal fl' tat' n t e seren • follow the balcony Ir lO • tbis girl will be seated W . h' a year or so, . · betrothmen.t. tt m . watching her ·sister take. a stmt-t . f the process10n at the fnnge o 'rls so closely chaperoned eve: lar step. How do these gt f ence for their "noviOS? . re s a pre er . h , cquaintance wtth t ese an opportumty to exp · · h with one s a . . These difficulttes varus .h d a.t chapetones m Porto 1 h at locksmtt s an . "It people. Love aug s f Ross has recently .satd: Rico as elsewhere. As Pro es.stohr t opportunity of speech the · t 0 ut that wt ou f is needless to pom killed in the language o 1 be me marve1ous1Y s f young peopWhat e coa senon'ta looking over the edge of a an tbe eyes.

g~.

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24

TWENTY YEARS l~ PORTO RICO

can expre dead.''

witb ber ' dark eyes would rouse a . poet from the

Tbe Fiesta. The tie ta i another thing that is essentially a part of the Porto Rican life. It is omething more than a social g thering; it i a state of mind that gra p at any excuse to tum fr~m the seriou thin of life to the more entertaining. Hatdly a week pa that does not have a holiday or me 'nt's day to celebrate. Nothing brou ht about by the American OccuP,.tion was o unanimou ly adopted by the Porto Rican as the American holidays. George Wa. hington meant nothing to the simple mountaineer,s, but the 22nd of February was an important tiesta of the "Americano," and so now with vim they celebrate the birthday of the "American patron-Saint George 1" Christmas day in Porto Rico did not mean much to the children. The youngster have their festival on the 6th of January, Three Kings Day. This holiday celebrates tbe coming of the Wise Men. Before retiring the children will fill baskets with .gTass and place them in conspicuous places so that the Wi Men in tbeir s.earch for the infant Jesus wiJI see them and in return for fodder for their beasts, will leave present for the !lhilqren. ·The coming of Santa Oaus with the American did not ou t this cu Iom by any means; he was welcomed a an additional friend and ndw these two days l!S well as New Y ear's are duly ceJebrated. It does not have to ' be emphasized that the religious significance of the fiesta is very~ gteat. ·One of the chief critici m again t t~ Catholic Church, alike fro~ the Protestan! and from eriouf-minded Catholi~s is that this church has over-empha ized the fie a. For the Saints' Days and other speciaJ celebrations the church will be crowded, while at the devotional ervices, mass and coofession, i~ tnany t wn it i difficult to tind more than a few devout women.

Sporta. One might think tbat to this fiesta-loving people America couJd not introduoce m~ch in the way of amusemeot. In thi direction, however, we have · 'made one of the most

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO , RICO

25

. . h life of the people. The Porto notable contr~buttons to t e ork is lacking in what the when 1t comes to team w an on considers the first element of a good sport. Anglo-Sax . h'1s S ou th of Panama• quotes a Briti h. ,diploma! P O f Ro s m · o f rom Panama to Patagoma asill say.....r ho· knows the contment o o p t . umversa . ud 1 here. N o South Amencan wh . " "Distrust IS ~~g, o in another South American.'' In his spo.rt t. e en_ hiS . . t he means. A little cheating is all nght, ¡{ o likfa~th 1 to JUstlfy 1s e Y A o base ball has done more to ou are not found out. menean Th blic y . h' f lt than perhaps any other factor. rect1fy ot IS au · h t' e1 pu game school has been t?e great ag_e~cy ~~: t;;:h~~~tt ..~:~i;~:nd no~ It is now impo lble to go m o baJ1 di d As one travels thi'ough the country on find a base amon o acro an excited crowd yella Sunday, he frequently comes . d "Fo 1, "Play ing them elves hoarse. The English wor s u , h oble ba11," "Strike" will arise from a jargon of incompre ensl Ric

Sp~::~·ican spotts have taught the Porto Rica_n the value of k and that there is something more lmportant ~han team_ , WhiJe the evangelical church has no to wmwor a game. b 11d!rect part in this work, it welcomes a clean game of base a as a very fine help to its task.

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO

CHAPTER 1II

Religiow~ Conditions li Catholicism. "In no other part of the world has the Cathoc hurcn been o protected a in South Arnerica " says p f h • ro . Ro · h · ~~ 1S out . of PaMma. In practically al! o f the e Latin countne • the Roman Churqh i upported by the State and the Church cont~l and direct the educational policie ~f the tate. Port~ Rico wa probably the mo t immune of an of the e countrle to Prot.e tant ¡nfluence. I f th Catholic Ch~rch ;;.er. 7d an opportumty to pro ve it aving power it was in • 1 1 and. From 1493 to 1898-over 400 year 't h d · • . - 1 a no competJtJon. Wlth the ingle exception of a mall Epi 1 C~.u~h for the Engli h colony in the city of Ponce, ·no ~~~:r redlgJOu body but the Roman Catholic Church was permit. te to wotk among this i land people. The etfect of this i olatioQ thi "clo ed sho " 1' be f · 1 · · ' P po 1cy may alr y JUdged by the tatement of Father he , f rman, son o G neral herman and chapla1n to the A . . . . menean army of occup~tlo . m Port~ ~leo. To a tholic paper he write • "Porto R1co 1 a Cathohc country without religion whatever Th . el rgy do not eem to have any lirm hold on the nati~e o~ pie, nor have they any liveJy ympathy with the Porto Ripe or Porto Ri " I h1· cans "N co. . n report to General Brooke he s¡id, o .t?at the pne ts are d~rived of gove rnment aid man .. are leavmg the country. The Church was s):> united '.th y ~tate and · o identified with it in the eye 6f the peo;:e t~~ u mu t hare the odium with which the Spanish rule i common~y. regarded. The acram nt of confirmation has t be admm1 er d . no en . . . d r many year m a grea.t part of the i land R elJgJOn 1 ead on the island." ·

s

o far a statistics can bear any light on the subject about the Church however is quite a dltferent· thing from membtr h'1 . h, p , P m t e rote tant

so~ of the people are nominally Catholic, though cla~m 60~. .Member hip in the Catholic Church

~UCO

27

Church. lf a person has been bapti¡ed in injancy, that person from the standpoint of Rome is member of the Church. The life he sub equently leads has little to do with his church affi.liation. A comparison of the CathoHc and Protestant churches by membership, then, would be very misleading. The Protestant churches, whose membership is . the result of a mature decision and is suppo edly dependent upon a moral Jife, need a diff rent ba is of comparison. A more fair method of judging the influence of these two religious organizations wa inaugurated a few years ago. In a large section of the island the people who attended the Catholic and Protestant churches were enumerated and it was found that on this Sunday, the Catholic Church held 80 services in towñs with an attendance of 7,731 persons and eight services in the count~y with an atterÍdance o{ 363 persons, a total attendance for the Catholics of 8,094. On the ame day, and in the same .district the Protestants held 70 ervices in towns with an attendance of 4,796 ~hile in the country they held 102 services with an attendance of 4,074, a total for the Protestants of 8,870. Had the census not stopped with attendance at Sunday services, but continued through the week the result would bave been a great deal more favoral,>le for the Protestants. For in the eighty towns and centers enumerated there would easily have been lifty Protestant services each day of the week while the Catholic midweek services-unless tbere is a special fiesta-are practically nil.

J

Let us not make the error, though, of basing too much .on any set of figures. The Protestants are quite willing to Jet their inftuence be judged by t he fruits of their work. guorance and Superstition. From an evangelical point of view the principie reason that Roman Catholicism falls short of tn.inistering to the spiritual needs of the Porto Rican is because of the ignorance it make 1 ittle etfort to remove, and because of the superstitious practkes it sanctíons in the name of rdigion. The ·Catholic Church in Porto Rico has always opposed anything in the way of popular education and

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28

TWENTY YEAR

IN PORTO RICO

co~ equently

ignorance and uper, tition ha ve ' for four cen. turie preverited the cr on of an enlighten~ public opinion. Durmg the recent eries of earthquakes, even the American pri ts led the rogativas-candlelight proces ions-to appea e the 'Wrath of the Devil who was said ·to be the cause of the di urbance . In many place the priests explained that the eartbquake carne a re ult of anti-Cathoüc propaganda. In one city in ..particul r, where the damage had been exception· lly heavy the American priest in i red that the people of the town had brought it on them 'lves by persisting in the removaJ of hi predecessor 'for gro ly immoral conduct. At the ancient town of Aguadilla, where the tidal wave did o much dam. age and 'Wbete the Catholic eburch was demolí hed, the prie hit upon the plan of placing the Patron Sa4nt of the town on the balcony of a house facing the sea. So great was the .PDwer of thi! effigy that in pite of hoclcs and. rumors of shock , the sea did not inyade the town again. On Palm Sunday, the natives ftock to town and to mas bringing ~ir paJm brand1es with them. So great is the demand for the palm branches that even the Protestant minis· ter' cocoanut palm are likely to be injured by his good Catholic friend begging too man branches. At the church, the prie ble s the branc~e and the people take them home and place them: in front of their hou es to protect the domicile · again t lightning. U ually the branches are beaten down by the fir t heavy storm. · V hen the young manhood of the Island wa called updn for railitary service in the past war, instead of devoting them· .. selv and their energy to sorne more practicaJ occupation, the· ultra Cat!tolic women of the Island made "Cofazons de Jesus" -Hearts of Je u . This piece of neediC'Work was· to revent any bulle reacbing tbe soldier . In as mucb as the istice wa signed two y before the boys had been ordered to leave for France, it may be pr~ umed that the women now claim that their badgeJ were effective in "keeping the buUet away." From 10.00 A. M. of the Thursday of Holy Week until the

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

29

. eculiarly sacred time for the same hour on Saturd~y IS ;h~ time does not !limply comCatholics of Porto Rico. Lo ~ but to them J esus is actually memora te the death of ou~ ;h, absurd consequences of such dead again and in bis to~ . f thee superstitious mire into which a belief indicate the ~ept o Rico has been plunged. To Porto the Catholic ~hure~ ID ro~~he Lord agaln dead but the whole Rican Cathohcs not on y IS f d~ath with him. Should a physical world s~ffe~s t~~ pan~~othat is not autho~zed by .the person do anythiDg ~~ t J.s ~e ve body of ehrist. Manual Chttn:h, he will be domg~~ Th; poor of both town and wol'k is, of course, ta e .tholics must quit their work, for country, if they be devo~t a ke their rickety huts more ·1 be dnven to ma th s~ould even a na\d be driving it into the very body of e secure, they wou Master. . . r titious nature a f the eatholic Cases .that illustr.ate ~~sh~u= multiplied ad innnitum . .They ehurch ID Porto Ricohg. h . 'dent to the casual observer 1 e that W IC IS eVJ )' · would on . Porto R'IC o-the need o f a re 1g10n . Y provd't'ons m of religJOus . COl) 1 1 • bl d d that in avoiding super. . . nd feelmg are so en e where reason a . . tangible mystJc1sm 1s not stition a cold intellectuahsm, or an m lished.

An . S

·

· . the eatholic ehurch m ial Nature A gam, .

Its ti· oc . . ,The whole hierarchical system IS Porto Rico is antJ-Soclal. ti' 'ew of looking at things. • modern democra e Vl opposed lo .our Ca h lic ehurch is the greatest suppor~er To the nahve, the t o . th Island When a famlly · t lhat dom1nates e of the caste s~s ~m d in the Protestant faith, the great~st of sorne note IS mter:este hinks he can bring lo bear on them IS, argument that the pnest t p ta t" 'He is greatly perople are rotes n . . d 'Only the poor. ~ in does not have the desm~ Plexed hen thls bne .of reason g 1 1·s from the eatholic h' h · r greatest g ory , resuk. hat w le IS ou bl . nt The fact that every . . most vulnera e po1 · . poiDt of VJe~ our . . e holic and Protestant ehurches, piritual rev~val, alike tR hat 1 1 seems to have been for· has had its origin among t e ow y . gotten by the Porto R lcaD Catholic protagorusts.

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

Thi anti- éx:ial nature i shown ·particularly in movemeots like Prohibition and th~ Social Purity campaigns. For such movem nt the Catholic Church shows either ·an ctive oppoition or a total indifference. Even in ram ntal matter , the Catholic hierarchy shows tbi · me djffidence to the artificial line of cleavage in the ociallife of the people. It i no uncommon thing for the Prote tan t mini ter to have ome poor ignorant woman bring him her child to be baP,tized becau e the ·prie ha refused to do so ince he ha not enough money to pay the mirumum fee. In funeral ervice$ for the pea ant who can pay only a few cent , the priest wiU mumble a few formularies in the church; for tho e who can pay a lit le more, he will take them to the door of the church : with other higher up in the social and financia! sea le he will walk down the tep of t-he church; for la buena faMilia, however, he and his a sistants i.n their fine t regalia will go to the graveyard with the cortege. The Catholic Church in Porto Rico does not eem to have awakened to the .fact that we are living today in a democratict world and that· the urest, if the lowe t, way to get even political power is to work witl1 ihe mas es. The churc:.h, however, p!ay the game as i~ did in the time of king and court. 1f the energy that i used in San }u the capital of the . i land, by the Catholics to pick som~ political plum or to curry favor with sorne pO!itical appointee r.re spent in the bettering of the social and moral conditions of the island, Porto Rico would be a far more wholesome place than it is .. at presmt.

PriesthoJ.

Low Monl Stanc:Jard,s of, the The immorality of the prie s in Latin America has always been the subject of more critici m t~ any other phase of the dominant religion o.f the ut'hern continent. If '¡t is a fact fhat the clergy are as generally im¡:noral as sorne people say they are, then the case for the Catholic Church is ended. No matter what claims of sacerdotal exemption the Church may bold for its clergy a go pe1 for the pure in beart. cannot be proclaim~d

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

31

lmmoral preachers any more than a stream can rise high.er it sou~e. It should be said, though, ~hat anybod~ VISPorto Rico would not find every pnesl a profhgate. the ca e in Spanish days, under the spur of the Ann"r'""·" prie t and of evangelica:l competition, the cura of a is usually a fairly decertt man.

Religious Terma Made Mean~gle~ A tr.aveler in . a Latín Iand or a student of any Latin literature 1s· bou~~ to be impressed by the occurrence and recurrence of rehg10us phra es. lf the phrases convey the same idea ~s they do to the Anglo- axon, the traveler or student may nghtly assume that either the pcople are a very religious or. a very prof~e people. That these expre ions have very l~ttle ~o do w1th their spiritual Ji fe is one of the first conclus10ns of the per. manent residen! 'in these lands. Profe sor Ross in his travels through. South America .tells of eeing the "Butcher Shop of the H~Iy Spiri.t" over a meat shop, of reading. an advertisement for The Wme of the La~t Supper," and of another announcement ol a new brand of cigarettes with the twelve disciples puffing away at them and Judas remarlcing, "If I had had this kind of cigarette to smoke, I never would have betrayed him ." The American influence in ·Porto Rico has to a great extent done away with this crudeness, yet a newly arrived missionary will be greeted by his compatriota in business o.r government service by a felicitation that the language w.11l not be hard for him to leam becau e half the words are cuss words that the missionary will have no use for. A thorough study of the Spanish Janguage and nature would indi~te th~t ~her; was no such thing as swearing. "Ave Mar1a Sant1ss1ma ~hich would literally mean "the most holy mother of God'' is translated in a recent grammar as "Good gracious." When a orto Rican cannot express his indignation by the ordinary vocabulary and gesture, he has no cuss words on wmch to fall back-be 1imply explodes. AU of tisis in.dicalts a most difficull phase of the mi.ssion-

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JJ

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO ~UCO

ary's work. H 1 ho.s to •,,gender into the sacred words tJnd phro.ses wltich IJt"t lxutdied tJbou.t in ordintJry cOfl'verstJtio" a MetJrtillg siMi:Wr to tlwl Mld by the ewrageliCIJI ChristitJ" in other pGrls of the world. ·

tian worker to find eventually that witb a changed heart ~mes a changed vocabulary. Many names and phrases which before were truted so lightly have taken on a new apiritual meaning. Spiritism. One · form of belief that has groatly affected the religious life of the Island i Spiritism, the pri!lcipal doctrines of which re: 1. A pantheistic idea of God, and that complete absorption with him

32

The u ual .penance inflicted by the Catholic priest on one of hi flock ha vi ited the mis ionary' hou e i to have him repeat ttle Lord' prayer over a number of times, the number depending on how many times the offence ha been repeated. The peed · with which these "Padre Nue tros" a~e r ttled off and the fun the mi erable offenders have in racing through them are only paralleled by the absolute lack of any spiritual aid they expect to receive from the exercise. Even the name of these people make the mi ionary' task ore difficult. Often a child i named for the p~tron saint of the day on which he wa.s bom and in addition will usually have some Biblical cognomen added. Popular names íor the girl are R~urecion, Con<:epcion, Asuncion. Duripg the first few month of tho writer' stay in Porto Rico he wa engaged in the erection of ·a mi ion building in a mountain town. The chief carpenter's name wa J u while his peon' name ·was John the Baptist. The new mlssionary never could get u ed to ending JohJ?. the Bapii to look for Je us even though the Spani h pronunciation helped a great deal. He had to invent nicknames for the men. · The a ignment of an original prayer is a favorite one among the Spani h teacher of the I land. "This kind of compo irion," they y, "lend itself to the ~ani h nature." The production that emanate from the pens of the e Porto ' Riocan adolescents are remarkable. Sorne o the prayers of the village scamp, who has not seco the in ide or a churcb iDee he was ba tized would, so far as lofty diction is concerned, !=Oinpare avorably witb the productions of the Church Father.

who

But the go!pel change thi phase of life also. It is not only one of the mo t graciou works of tbe Holy Spirit, but it i at the same ri;me one of the grea~e t joys of the Chris-

is the aoal of human endeavor. . . 2. That this absorption into the infinite is at the end of an tndefinate number of reincamations. . 3. That salvation comes from good works-that the n~mber ~f remcarnations is determined by the good works one has to h1s cred!\· 4. That all will be eventually saved and consequently there w1ll be no {uture punishment. . . f · tho S. That there should be a respect for the Bible, and a be1•e m se parts which favor spiritism. 6. That Jesus Christ was one of the ~orld's greatest .~chers. . 7. That there is spiritual healin of s1ckness by med1ctne prescnbed by the aood spirits. 8. That it is possible to communicate ~ith the ~~ , 9. That Lave· sho11ld domínate' all relat1o~s .of th•s h~e, and that L•!(ht and Truth should be the aim of all those hvmg on th1s plane of ex1stJ ence.

The government of the cult is very loose and simple. In every important town there are spir.itualistic. cen~er~ and these centers"are grouped together in an msular assoc1attOn. There are but few professional preachers, or "orators," as th~y are called. This phase of worship is left to the prompb~g of the spirits during the session. There are of course mediums at every center-intermediaries between this material wor~d and the piritual one. In a general way the spiritists of Porto Rico may be divided into two classes. The intellectual and well-to-do, and the poor and ignorant. The first group are now, for the most part, reorganizing themselves into theosophical societies. The poorer members of this sect, and there are stretches of country and whole sections of towns where spiritism . reigns,practice tbe cult in its crude!t forms. That these fonns of belief appeal to such a susceptible people as the Porto Ricans is not at all strange. A clear cut

J


1

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

di tinction aet een the real and · the un real does not exi t ior the unsophi ticated' inhabltant. He will relate his dreams a i f they were part of hi con ciou exper.ience, or he will repeat a ndghborhood ho t story w'thout the slightest dou~t as to the hi torical aocuracy of the legend. 1n uch a fertile field as thi the propagator of a belief in hich the ··communication with loved one i the most distinguí hin feature ha an ea y ta k; especial! y when he asuro occult power to heaJ the ick, to peec into the future and to re tore 1 •t property. Poor people will travel from all part of the Island on foot to their favorite medium when they are afflicted with me malady. Should the medium fail to restore them, it will be due to sorne faulty spiritual connection, and hould, by chane , the invalid recover his health . the particular rrtedium will cJajm all the credit, apd her fame will go forth throughout the l~d a a succes fui intermediary. The moral effect of pirit' m a it appears in Porto Rico are not happy. Many piritl ts live nearly as . they please. There is ~o counterpart to tl'te wonderfully viviíying evangelical doctrine · of salvation by fai.th. W'hen eventually the great delu 'on of a elf-determ¡ned salvation has dawned 'many of them dr;'ft into complete mdifference. Not a few however, 'turn to _the .Prote!tant Church, and by a súnple trust in an inlinite Savior find the Love, tl'te Light and the Truth.

Rationalism and Iitdilference.' The purely negative gjde of the religiou life of Porto Rjco is expressed in the rationalism and indifference of the I land. The rationali ts or freethinker (libre ~dores) tbeoretical.ly belie e in a material conception of t~ universe. They proles to ba've nothing to do with anything tha.t savors of the spiritual. Practically they have very little to show from a con tr:uctive mt of view. As an organization they are smalJ ¡n numbers, but they have many semi-adh.erents throughout the I land. Their periodical ha a large circulation. Judging from thls paper the efforts of the freethinkers are largely pent in expo ing the abu es of the Catholic Church. The

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

35

wever come. in for their share. Cheap Biblical Protestan ts, ho k .. · ppears every wee · · h h' h cnttct m a , h the philosophy w1t w 1c The "libre ~n ador preac here more than a century ago Tom Paine c.larlfied the tmospll tirred the American nation and wi1:h W~lch ~~~~ ;~e~:~e neither a lifeless Deism nor Y t in our evangelical world. In last generauon. a deadening orthod~xy' ~t tl~~e e former conditions hold good making the a sumpuon t a . 1 attacking men of straw o{ today, the rationalists are lmp y their

o~n _manufactur~.

that are indifferent to any kind .or r 'ous point of view, compn e religious appeal, from a re Jgt 1 t'on of the Islan~ . . In the the largest section of ,t,he popu a 'who had not attended any "'ndiferente was one · d 1 This indifference IS ue survey an religious service for threehye~r . seen the infl.bility of the f. h the fact that avmg large1Y to . : to the spiritual needs o t e Catholic Chu:ch. to ~~~~:~:r Protestant Church and all other people and rhm,km~ t h me deficiency, many peoreligious orgamzatiOns have t e ~ . ligious affihat10ns. . pie prefer to have no re r 1 churches of the Island The member.ship of t~e ~v~~;~ ~~~ese people who had pro¡ for the mo t part denve r . Eve~y local church, of {essed an indifference to re belgton. it rolls who in spite of h mber of mem rs on , f f . t have come into the fold o cour e, as a nu injunction and threat o pnes' Catholic Church and every Protestantism directly from the h h ha ve 'left behind h h f rthermore t o e w o local churc as, ..u. d h~ve stepped directly from Centhe vagaries o{ spmtlsm anthe chief source of supply is from 1 1 d "Los indiferentes" not ter to Church. However, the hone t doubters ~f. the s an . often anxious to be cononly are open to c~nVJcttond.but vae:~ minister have an equal vinced. W·hen pnest, me • IU~ t tO be wondered that SO opportunity of approach'¡ ~~o~s t~~ satisfaction they have so many .turn to the Gospe long de ired.

Los ,ndJferentes-t ose

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO . RICO

CH PTER IV

edical Missions fedicaJ mi ion have ~ome . . world e n e~ ·· · an mdJ pen able part of lzabon. In Porto Ri h . nd th Chri ian doctor ha co, t e Chnstian minister thve tarted work together. They have demon trated du . h· nng ese twenty lm elf demon trated 1 ho year • a the Master in of the body and the o t. u and year ago, that the bealsavtng oí the out bo h la sk and part oí the G Co . . are t hristian Th . reat mm1 1on. e need of medJcal mini t . . . the death rate of the I la d . ryh .l tndlcated by the fact that that o f ontinentaJ United n 1 t lrty-two pe r th ousand ; twice Philippine and Hawa·l· Thi~tes and three tim¿s that of the 1· death t h · much in the pa t three y·~ h . ra e a m reased 50 ·· ..... rs t at the m ula pet1t10ned . the RbckefeJJ F . r government has f er oundatton for ·· . 10n of the cau e . Furth a specta 1 lhvestiga-

e

e

.

and religiou tondition e edrmore the survey into the social R on ucted by th p b • ICO revealed the tartling fact th h e res ytery of. Porto m ca. of ickne ~~ t ree out of five families h cannot call ID medicaJ d t at the me." percenta e of . . atten ance, and ing attended them I g h people die Wlthout a doctor hav~ higher. The fee .for na t~u:unt~; .the proportion is mucb 11 pr ctitioner i between ry dvl by a regular medica! 00 countryman earning f o $40 an $8.00. To the ignoran! prohib1ti e. He ha r. m · ~ $1.50 a day, these fees are' ID many m tances 6h Jo t er recourse t han the accommodating . . al " . f pmtu 1 t1c medí orm of uper titution . ' or sorne grosser M ny good remedie exi • I land, althou h, on the ot~e;n hthed mountain di9trict of the harm(ul remedie . Blood- . ~ ' ther~ are many crude, ou kind are very commo~s;rungh ~nd IDÍection of variill drink the oup of bo"Jed. o~ t eu cure the countryman 1 ant ne t ( · ) . on t be IDfec:ted part a m"xt . comeJen and place 1 ure o f ohve oiJ tobacc:o me hould the chiJdren of th f . ·¡ ' and nute ami Y develop colds, the

37

countryman will make braceJets of small unripe lemons and place them on the wri ts of his children. For severe nervous di ease the ignorant farmer will take a watermelon, cut a bote in one end and place in it his rings and everything he has that pa es as jewelry. He will then cut a smaller hole in the other end and catch the water as it pas es through. This water when taken is supposed to quiet the distraught nervous sy tem. ne of the hardest tasks o[ the man or woman engaged in the work of evangeJization is to explain why the Church that he repre ents does not pay more attention to physical wdíare. A brief review of the principal diseases o-f Porto Rico will show the great need for med1cal miss1ons. Infant Maladies. Half of the deaths occur among children under five years of age. The number equals the death rate of all ages in Continental United States. Accordlilg to the survey qf the Interchurch World Movement the rate of infant mortality in Porto Rico exceeds that of India. Thjs is not due to the climate. There are no extremes of heat or cold, there are no sudden changes of temperature. lt is an almost out of ·door existence for the young ters. The conditions which contribute to ibis heavy mórtality are poverty, ignorance, and lack of medica! care. More medica! missions would soon sweep away the deadly ignorance with which child Ji fe is surrounded in this tropical 'Island, and check the many disea es transmissible from parent to off pring. Tuberculosis. TubercuJosis ranks second in the moitality table. Again, so far as the Island itself is concerned, there is no reason why the White Plague should cause such ravages. Malnutrition; poverty, and ignorance have combined again to overbalance the e natural advantages. In an investigation in the city of San Juan a few years ago, it was found that in one street twelve people out of every hundred died of tuberculosis. · Malaria. Malaria .is not a malignant disease but in Porto Rico it is a con tant deterrent to the life of the Islawl· Al-

r

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~WENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

~hough. only a little over five per cent of the total mortality 1 attnbutable to m !aria, few are the families which this ~ady h not attacked. Death rate a9d illnes alone do not md1cate th.e hav~ wrought among the people afflicted. As an ~onorru~ hand1cap it effect ha been hown by an inve tigat~ m de ~y Dr. D. L. Van Dine in a large plantation in Lout tana wh1ch contained eTenty-four tenant familie with a total population of two-'hundred .and ninety-nine. }"ro.m May to October,. 1914, there were nine-hundred and seventy ~ys o~ ctual tllnes from malaria reported to a doctor. orty-e.~ght of the eventy-four families were repre ented. ~h.ere were al o many other case not reported to the phytoan. Dr. Van Dine estimated that there were four-hun~red and eighty--seve~ work days lost by ease not repórted. Three-hundred and etghty-five days_ were lost on the part of the adults who a i ted in talcing care of the ick 'D · b" · . unng t t ~nod there were ix and a half days lost for every case of mala na.

U~cínariasis .(Hookworm). The most prevalent disea ~ m Porto Rico i the o-atled "Hookworm." The inve tiun .commi ion from ,the Rockefeller Foundation recently ~eclared that t~e I land wa "in fe ed by hookworm." "There . t . more hook_worm in Porto Rico tha~ in any other country . tth the po tble exception of India a:nd Ceylon." Comparatlvely few deaths ~re .attrib~table directly to thi malady. I re ult re een pnnctpally m the social and economic life of ~he 1 land. The power of re istance of the penon afflicted lS reduced . almo t to nothing. The great t bercular death-' rate for in tance, i due largely to this enervating effect of "hookworm." Dr Heiser and Grant of the Rockefeller Foundarion in eir repott say: "There can be no qu ho.. that wt·d e- pread uncmanasts · • • u u mfectton 1 a seriou menace to the economic life of Porto Ric.o and if . the ~ople of the Island are to keep pace with thetr. competttor , tt. ts nece ary that this unnece ary barden be lifted from tbetr houlder . Eveit light infection with · •

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO ~CO

39

hookworm cau es erious mental retardation. It is not too much to state that much of the money that is now being provided for schools is lost because of the defective mentality produced by the hookworm disea e which renders the pupils incapable of as imilating instruction." The time for another active and oontinuous campaign against hookworm is ripe. Porto Rican Efforts. In combating transmissible disea es, the Department of Health has had conspicuous success. ]n different parts of the Island, there are pecial stations for the treatment of such diseases as tuberculosis, hookworm, and mal:lria. Against malaria and its mosquito, an active campaign is at present being carried on. The fight against the White Plague is .also led by this Department, and although there is still a great deal of apathy to overcome. on the part of the general public, much progress has been made. A few months ago $100,000.00 was raised ·by public subscription to augment the insular appropriation for a tuberculosis hos: pita!. This hospital will consist of at least two hundred detached cottages. Each cottage to cost $3,000.00 and to accommodate four patients. Although the fight against l}ookworm does not proceed with the same pace as it did during the first years of the occupation this enervating disease is being combated all over the Island. Stations for its treatment are operated in 37 different towns and during the year there were 20,590 cases treated. With the help this campaign is likely to receive from the Rockefeller Foundation, it is hoped that this disea e will be starnped out. Every town has its .commissioner of health, its sanitary inspector, and its municipal doctor, working under the Commi ioner of Health. However, the salary of ~he municipal doctor is so small that often he delegates his duties to a ubordinate. Municipal Hos~tals. · Prompted by a noble impulse, but without the necessary knowledge or money to maintain tbem

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40 '

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

tbe municipalities built bo pital . Though nominally in charge of tbe municipal doctor tbese hospitals are quite· often given over to the care of a "practicante' --a minór urgeon-and the i ter of the local· Catholic Church, or convent. This. is the only recour e the common people have for hospital trea ment. .:rhe only good that can be said of the e municipal ho pital i that they are one or two degrees better than the miserable hou es from hich mo t of the patient come. They are used a a last t ort and the attititde of the people to them i indicated in tite 1918 Report of the Commi ioner of Health. Speaking of the difficultie ot getting patients to attend his pecial mal rial ho pital in the town of Barcelooeta, the Commi ioner said, "The tubbom and to a certain extent, natural resistance of the peasaot' to ubmit to llledical treatment in 'the ho pital , can be explained by the fact that the ho pitals maintained by the municipalitie are generally in a deplorable condition, and the patient ho i unfortunate enough to enter one for th fir t time firmly malees up his mind upon retuming home not to. avail him elf again of this service. For this rea on the ph sician in charge of the malaria\ hospital and the sanitary in pector were often compelled to request the assista_nce of the police .to compel malaria\ patients to enter the ho pita!." :

What the Missions Are Doing: San Juan Presbyterian Hospital. The work out of hich grew the San Juan Presbyterian Ho pita!, began in 1S01, when Dr. Grace Atkins was ent to . work among the poor of Santurce, a suburb of San ·· Juan. A di pen ry was soon establi hed an~ in 1902 another mi iona1r · carne to help. So great was tM need for a hospital that in the year 1903, Dr. Atkins went to the States to appeal for the necessary ,funds to estab!!sh the instituciÓn. The money wa f hcoming and in August of that year, work on the ho pita! was commented, and was fini hed in a few months. This building wa con tructed of wood and con·tained 45 beds. The need of a larger and better equipped building, apparent from the beginnit;~g, was emphasized a

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

· pa sed because of it rapid deterioration and becau e ttme . 1 fi . hed . of tropical rain and sun. The present hosptta nts .m 1917 was erected by the Woman's Board of the Presbytenan with the help of a generou contribution by the Men's Ch urch . constructed tile Kennedy Fund. This but'Id'mg ts from Boar d . d d . 1 of reinforced concrete, ha a capacity of 85 be s an ts sp enpidly equipped and appointed. Patients come from all over Porto Rico, and from the neighboring islands. During the y~r 1919: ,20,308 persons were gíven hospital treatment while tn the chmc, 27,813 cases were treated. Patients are expected to pay when able . and from the ward cases ·in this same year $4,422.00 was _re:etved, from the prívate rooms $21,411.00 and from the dtspensa? $12,531.00. The total receipts for the year were a~proxt­ mately enough to 'pay the operating expenses of y~ar wtth the exception of the salaries. The tast report of the in titution says: "The purpo e of the Hospital is to do Medica! Missionary work; t~ afford a_ place where the sick poor can receive proper medtcal . treatment under the influence of the Gospel of Jesus ~hnst; to furnish needed hospital accommodations to Porto Rtcans a~d Americans who can afford to pay for th m; and to tram native girls to become ski\led nurses to care for their own people throughout the !stand." The hospital has completely changed the social statu.s of the nursing profession. In Spanish times, the profess10nal nurse was ostracized from the sociallife of the Island. Practically the whole of the work was done by the ~atholic sister who, though inspired by the best of ·. ~ooves, lacked tamentably when it came to training and abthty. Today the social .:rrier has been aimo t completely broken down. Girls from the best families have taken their training as nurses at this institutíon. Upwards of a hundred girls have graduated from the training schoo\. Pre.byt~ Hospital, Mayaguez. Until the . eall'thquake demolished the building, there was a Presbytenan hb ·

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42

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

pital of 21 ~ in the city of Mayaguez. This hospital, with the whole of the den ely populou estern end of the I land to look after, a alway taxed to capa·city. Plan are already m de to rebuild thi plant. lt i hoped within a few month to reopen work. Wliat Other Denominations Are Doing. The Congregationali ts h~ve a · ho pi tal at Ji umacao. This hospital has cap city of only 16 bed , but it reaches 2,0C1J patients a m6nth · through it dispen ary service. Tbe Epi pal Church maintains at Ponce a hospital with a capacity of 53 bed . F.ive doctor and 23 nurses are emp1oyed. It i tbe only mi ion ho pital on the outh coast of the Island and many hundred of pati~nts are benefited by its mini try. The United Br~thren Cburcb is planning medica! service at' two ceo ter ai each of which they expect to place. a doctor and tbree trained Porto Rican nu1'Ses. In this manner. they hope to be ble to cover the entire territory for which their denomination is re pon ible. ExteMion of Medica! Missions Essential. The medícal ork in Porto Rico hould be extended. Of thls fact every worker, native or continental, is convinced. To undertake the .big evangelistic ca~paigns c.alled for by the programs of the forward looking movements of the different churches and ignore tbe ac.ute and pres ing need of medica! missions would be to court failure, ·and to be blind to the example of the g:reat Physician.

)

CHAPTER V

Educational and Community Work (a) EDUCATIONAL Neither in the history of the United .states, nor. in t~e history of Latin America is there anythmg that ~.11\ q~1te compare with the educational progress of Porto R1co smce American Qcc.upation. Less than a quarter of a century te . · t' d h . ago the school system was church ridd~n. m 1ts opera 10n an medi¡¡eval in its organization. Today 1t 1s the most free and democra.tic thing in the life of the !stand. . When the Americans took possession, they found m most towns school boartis compo ed o{ the Alcalde (mayor), the local priest, and the heads of three familie~. :bese local school boards had practically no funds at the1r d1sposal, and a a result teachers remained unpaid many mont~s. T.he subjects taught were reading, writing, elementary anthmettc, cat.echism, and Spanish grammar. The classification of the pup1l was left to the teachers, and as a rule there were only four grades in each ~hool. As to the method .o{ teaching, the invariable rule was for the student to learn by heart th!! textbook assignment, oand the highe t . mark. ~as given to th~. student who omitted the teast words m rec1t1ng the lesso~. Corporal purushment, abnormal positions, and ~etent10n afte;, school were the most common forros of pumshment used. A good summary of the antiquated methods. is given by Lindsey, the second Commissioner of Educat10n under Amen-

n:.

can rule: "The work done under the Sparush school system scarcely constituted anything worthy of being called a school. There was no uniform cour e of study, no attempt at ruJes, regulation , or order; no thought of the rights of the :hild i no endeavor to apply pedagogical principies or to furrush teachers with an adequate equipment for .their work. A ~ral teacher ~ived with bis family in the school house and d1d as

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TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO T\i E TY . YEARS IN PORTO RICO

44

~vidence that

the American school system estáblished in Porto Rico is successful is the constant and in<:reasing desire of the people to see it extended. The requests for additional schools are far in excess of the present ability of the people to sup·

~~ ple:rse: i~h : his pupil ',. frequently "not teaching them at al\ ~~ : ut hmng a ubstJtute or delegating one of. the old under general

anhileb~~h~;e pu~~ss t~lateach

~is

instructio~~

ide7ab~ ::eum~hearb

from hoo1 for con ..... ented bhimself hool · r· e were ut two . ·. upervt~rs for the entire Island and they mad b one e ut i . vt htt a yeat. toe . eh school , eh"-" to:uy for th e purpose of exam runhg t. e pup ls th th catechi m and doctrine of the R oman Ca t ohc Church." From thi conditión which prevailed in 1899 ha been made. In the 1919 re rt th remarkable miTwtoner tabulate the ad . h po . e pre Com-. D vanee t e followmg lucid ent manner

pro~e

o

ecades of Educational Progress in Porto R"ICO.

Of~.J:r •..' ... '' ''' '···•····

p

ul .

Attendina .. · ............ · Of Khool ·: ............ · Teachu age not m Khool ...... District

.;Pe~~;~.. .. .. .. .. .. .. Rural barrio wi~t...::¡,;,;; "" · 1 s....

~1,873

Public ecbool b 'Id ' Rented build' w mgs · · · · · · · · · · Total Scbool expmd " S .. . " " " " " " F el Jture . .. .. . .. .. .. F!~ hf:tary tchools ... . .... : . For unlver~s ................ " Expenditure · · :::::: Percm e of adult illiteracy .

tchooi:O:n .. ·-·...... ·....

nu-u 953,243 322,393 300,520 525 16 426 O All 525 $288,008

~; ~~biWtt ~Wo 1919

1

.

IGOI' .....

uu

~~~1 160,794 -U

2~41

273

20 529 1,195 2923 $2 467l03 274,203 2',on:JCJ O 128,306 . 162,232 $1.94

$0~

310,231 111,231 138,921 26,933 2,459 25

t406

529

:t2,398 $2,179,605 1,803,700 128,306 162,232 $1.64

....... ..........................

79.9% ·(·~~¡~·~)"..... .... .... .. .. . .. 66.5% ······· · ···· · · · ·· ·· · 54.0%

. There rill remains a great deal to be done for the educatlonal not delfare. of · the I land. Over half of the u1a u·on can· rea or nte, and there is till a third of the po 1 . of school age who do not attend school Th' ·¡¡· pu abon __ ... __ · IS 1 tteracy and the absenc f . e rom IIUIUUI of · o large a proportion of the child.ren tS n~t due to lack of desire for more educationa1 fa T tles Dr. Miller ' the present Commissioner says: "The best et t· _.:.__

rfP

; ~.,:::~t 11•

a la

•4

...._

urollm at u

tÑ .,. . . . .

U ,IH..

45

ply and maintain." :Mill8ion Schools. · During the first years of occupancy the mi sion schools aimed to do almost the same work as the public schools. As the school system developed the emphasis has been rather to supplement than to duplicate the ·work of the Department of Education. The educational institutions of the Protestant Mission seek to supply a need that the In ular authorities make no pretense of meeting. Polytechnic Institute. Polytechnic Institute was inaugu· rated in the year 1912 by Rev. J. W . Harris, the Presbyterian missionary of the s:ian Gerrnan district as a part of bis regular missionary duties, with funds which he raised in .Porto Rico and in the United States. Four years later the work had · so developed that he relinquished his other missionary duties and devoted himself to the development and supervr.;ion of the school. ' . The object of this school is to develop the mental, moral and physical welfare of its students. The courses of instruc· tion indude the regular grammar and high school courses with additional work in Bible and manual training. The cur· riculum has not only been approved by the Insular Department of Education, but has received the warm commenda· tion of educational authorities in the United States. Graduales of the high school course can enter without examination many of our northern colleges. There are three things in wbich this school is unique. The first is the inexpensive nature of the institution. For fifteen dollars a month a student receives his instroction, his food, his 1aundry, and his room. In sorne cases this amount is still furtber reduced by scholarships to properly qualified boys and gir1s. In a land where the old Spanish idea of 'education for the wealthy held sway, this factor r.; a veritable boon for

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47

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

the ambitiou youth of the 1 land. Young people will often come to the lil titute for admittance with nothing but the clothe on their back, and ' after they are in the chool by dint of tbeir irrdustry, will ser pe together the few dollars that will maintain them through theit cour e qf tudy.

la Antilla " ha a ring about it that particularty. ap~als to the """"le. That such. a Umvers1ty should ears o{ these in ular r--r . . . be developed from the present Polytec:hmc Insbtute 1s a pomt upon which every mission worker is agreed.

nother innovation of the Polytechnic Institute to the education 1 life o.f the Island is the requirement that each stud nt, boy or girt, shall do at le t three hours of manual work every day. l'n a land and in a civiliza.tion where education upposed to rai .e one above manual labor, this featare tartlin , but realizing it cultural and disciplinary value , the ealthie t families are now sending their boys and girls to the In.stitute. There is nothing indefinite about this manual ork; the entire kitchen and laundry force i made up of the girl of the chool while the boy build the road , cultivate the field , and construd the buildings of the in titution . . The third definite contribution of the In titute is thl!,t of co-edueation. The Polytechnic [nstitute i the only co-educational boar~ing school in La.tin America. Its success can be jud ed by the fact that until a few year ago the education o{ women in any. kind of public chool was frowned upon. t the time of the American Otd.tpation in 1898 tbere were only 7,158 girls enrolled in the public chools of the whole I land wtiile in O!!e munidp~ity there was not a girl enrolled. In the eight year of the Institute's hi tor.y, there ha not been ñous disciplinary problem becau e of the co-educational a nature of the Institute. On the otber hand, di tinct advan- • tage in tbe way of a normal social t¡fe have arisen from it. t preseitt the Institute begin it cour e of stupy in the fifth grade and continues through the high chool. 1t has alreadv graduated sorne lifty young people from tbe secondatiy sch~l and a larger nurnber from tbe eigbth grade. The graduates 'ine S, Or continue their course in tbe coJgo directly ~nto Jeges of the States, or enter sorne local professional school. There is a great dentand for a Christian college in Porto Rico from churcbes and general public alike. "La Univer idad de

Evangelical Seminary of Porto Rico. ~h~ training ~f ative mini ry is a task that faces any miSSion from t.ts As the ~ork develops the scope and method of • ' · • d h training varies. In the early days mstruct1on rece!Ve te La . . h 1 from individual missionaries sufficed. ter tra1mng. se ~ s were e tablished; and finally, when the work warranted 1t, a regular theological seminar~ arose with prescribed courses of tudy and entrance reqUJrements. Th~ )a t stage of this development in Porto Rico was re~ched after twenty years of missionary work. In the fall of 1919 and in the town of Rio Piedras near the Uni~ersity of Porto Rico, the Evangelii:al Seminary of Porto Rico ~~s opened. The seminary is a cooperative effort o~ the Bapt1~t, Congr.egational, Disciple, Presbyterian, Method1st, and ,Umted Breth· reo churches. . The new institution opened w1th twenty-five students with a ¡)erfect spiri.t of good fellowship between . . the representatives o{ the different churches. This piece of cooperative work brought to the evangehst1c work o{ the 1 land ome very definite benefits: · 1. Better instruction than · was possible in ~he sma.Jler

~tnCIPI ~ ·ency •

institutions. . . 2. The educational advantages of the nearby Univer 1~. 3. The placing of Porto Rico in the van of the Latm American evangelical educational {orces. . . 4. A great ímpetus to the developmen~ of a ~aove ~­ versity. A high school course, or its equ1valent 1s requ1red for entrance. This, for Porto Rico in its present stage of • educational development, 'is a rather high standard, although it may be raised' stiU higher in the near future. Graduates from the different tTaining schools hat formed the new union are already filling the important pastorates of the island. Their success may be indicated by the fact

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48

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

that in one mi ion in 1914 there were twelve continental m tonaries hile at present (1920) there are only four. The place of the other cight have been taken by tbe young seminary graduates. The duries bf a ·mi ionary are largely pa toral . He i respon iblc for a local churcb and its surrounding territory. Thi pa toral work, naturally can be done much Bctter b · native Porto Ricans,-they know thc language and tbc people better. Our pre ent union eminary hould givc u more and better trained men for thi kind of work. The dem nd for more workers to 'thoroughly evangelize · the I land cannot po ibly be mct for many years. In addition to thi Porto Rico has becn alloted the ta k of evangelizing the neighborio island of Santo Domingo. J.t strategic po ition from a mi ion tandpoint malees tbe Evangelical emin ry of Porto Rico thc logical center ~o •train Mission wtlrkcr for tbe whole of Central America and the. Spani h We t lndie. What Other Denominations Are Doing. Recently the Bapti t Woman's Soard has opcned the Hostal Hou e at Río Piedras, designed to provide a home for girls attending <tbe Univer it)' of Porto Rico. The building co t about $30, .00 and ill accommodatc 30 girl . lt contains sleepin room , large P.arlor and ·commodiou porches. t Santurce tlie Blanche eiiQgg Institute, established by her father a a memorial to Blanche K;cllogg, is a seminary for young women giving thcm the equivalent oí a high scbool cour e, preparing tbcm for bome-making and training sorne ' a pa tor ' a is.t.ant and mis ionary workers. About 20 girls ~re in a~~dance. This. ~ titute i mai?tained by thc Amer1can M1 10nary Assooatton of the .COngregational Cburch, but nearly cvcry denomination on the Island is represented among the tudents enrolled. Par~iál . Sdl la. Although the empbasi in tbe misionary educational work ha! been to supplcment the work o{ the Department of Education, many of our Protestant churches have opened tchools that practically duplicate the

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

49

public !!Choola for the first grades. The churches have done this because of the inability of the Department of Education to provide sufficient schools and tcachcrs. These parochía! !!Chools receive a great deal of help from· local citizens interested in the educacional development of he Island. Very little o{ the ~nancial support of thesc schools ~o~es from the mission boards. Their great value ~rom a nuss1on tandpoint is that tbe church is able to reach hundreds of children who otherwise could never be reacbed. Other than the development of the institutions which now exist there is no big educational program on the part of the evangelical churches of Porto Rico, not because they believe tha.t the pr'esent condition of the I lan<l is satisfactory; but beca~se they believe that with adequate support the Insular Department of Education can cope with the situation better than the churches: The evangelical workers are en.thusiastically behind the commissioner of education in 'his recommendatio~s for speeial federal aid to develop the present srstem. In his 1919 report he say : "The material resources of the people of Porto Rico are · not sufficient to extend and support •the present school system in a manner adequate to solve their educa.tionali problems. The great defect 'oí the system is insufficie~t schools rather than deficiency of organizarion and method. More schools, installed in better buildings specially constructed and provided with modero furniture and equipment require the exv~ndi­ ture of money that is not and will not be available from insular revenues for many years to come. Porto Rfco's only hopc is to secure Federal aid for the extension and support of public education. Now that the subject of Federal aid to the States is 'receiving the attention of Congress it is vitally important that the American citizens of Porto Rico should oot be overlooked."

(b) COMMUN ITY WORK The distressing economic condition of Porto Rico has been thc source of more rcccnt ·publicity for the country than any

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50

TWENTY ' YEARS IN PORTO RICO

other factor. Within the , hort space. of three month , in the ear 1920, two thing reports were i ued by the American Federation of Labor and the United tates Department of Labor respectively. In the preamble of the Federation of Labor' report Porto Rico i d scribed as a "living graveard,"· while from he report of tbe Department of Labor the "N e York \Vor. d 1' is led to tate editorially, that ugar wa kin of the J land and that poverty, hunger, disea e, and death are hi handmaiden .

Miasions and tite Economic Situation. The Protestant mi ion of Porto Rico have a firm conviction that the thorough cvangelization of the lsland will bring in its train a better economic an<i indu triallife. The Prote tant churches have already developed a vital intere t in _the physical and ocia! welfare of their people. This interest has .expressed itself in cstabli hing Orphanage , Day Nur eries, and ll:leighborhood Hou s. Marina Neighborhood House. One of the oldest establi hed community .work is that conducted in the poorest section of Mayaguez by the Woman' Board of Home Mission of the Prc byterian Church. It i the Marina Neighborhood . Hou~ founded in a very modest way by the pre ent dircctre in th · year 1907. It has developed to such an extent that at pre nt thcre are four American workers six Porto Rican orkers and a 'number of p~ople, iocluding a 'phySIOa who devote part of their time to this neighborhood' work. In 1907 the enterprise wa housed in a small rented building; 'at p_re ~n~ the ~ ion covers a whole ¡city block. The wo k · 1s divtded •nto the departments .o/. Kindergarten, Primary, lndu tria) Clas , Day Nur ery, and Dispensary. The plant includes lecture room , living quarters · for the orkers, ~ com unity laundry, and a model cottage. Tbe Day Nursery was begun a number of years ago as a cooperative effort of sorne charitably disposed ladies of Mayaguez who tiJI provide the nece sary fibance . The objcct of the Nursery is to care for th_e vety small childrcn

TW

TY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

51

hile their mothers are working. for the supp~rt of the family. Fifty children are cared for datly. The Industrial Department almost exd~sively . concerns itself wioth the development of tho e. industnes nattve to the 1 1 d The head worker of the Netghborhood House says: .. J:d~r the Spani h . rule, many had learned in the convents to do beautiful embroidery and drawn work. The daughters f these women had a like desire to learn. Instead of the ~onvent they carne to the Protestant Mission where t:hey were not only organized into classes, but were brought mto surroundings where they could hear the 'Word able. to make . wi e unto salavation.'" Since the establishment of th1s d_e partment more than two hundred girls ha fe . been taugh_t to do this native work in such an acceptable man~er that lt has a market all over the United Sotates. There ts always a long list of unfilled orders. A Dispensary is conducted with a registered nurse who devotes her whole time to tbe work and a doctor who de~otes . d'tspensary 1' 700 . pattents· about three hours a day. At t h ts . . were .treated last year, and the nurse made 3,000 vtstts. When the patient is able to pay something .f~r the treat.ment he receives the money is accepted, but ab\hty to pay IS by no means ~ condition to this . healing ministry. In the Primary and Kindergar-ten departments th~ Neighborhood House supplies to the immediate commumty ·what the public school authorities cannot give. In the schoo_l year 1920-1921 there was an average attendance per day m tbe . d partment o{ 43 children and in the Kindergarten P nmary e . . . f k· d rt · o{ 50. A summer course for the trammg o m erga en. now a regular feature · An expert comes from the ers IS States, and givcs a short course in kindergarten methods to the Porto Rican and American workers. The courses a_re grade<! so that with two or three summers' 'study a gtrl receives a careful training. The Marina Nei~hbo_rhood House i thus the mother of many kindergartcns m d1fferent parts of the Island.

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53

TW.ENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

Neighborhood Houae, Aguadilla. The oth"er Neighborhood ~ou e under tbe direction of the Pre byterian Woman's Board doe for th ancient city of Agu dilla what the Marina Neighborhood H~u does for áaya~ez. Local condition eh nge th nature of the w9rk somewhat. Since Aguadilla ¡ the center of he n tive hand-made aace industry, a · class in lace making under the direction of an . expert i one of the principal feature of the indu trid department. In this cla the girl are tau ht the art from the very beginning, great care being tak~ in the exact nature of the work and in it ci nlin any a girl, by mean of thi cla , in tead of becomin a médiocre lace-maker has become so gifted that order for her work ~ome from all over the United State order that keep her bu y from one week's end to the next.

Jt need scarcely be added thát -tbe Christian community work of these Neighborhood Houses not only benefits the vicinity in wbich they are located, but is .of immense help 10 the local churcbes. Year in and year out these consecrated workers demon trate to the Church the fundamental Christian virtues of patience, faithfulness, and self-sacrificing

guadi a, moreover, i the center of the ba ket-111aking of the 1 land. Under the auspices of the Neighborhood Hou e ther are also clas ~ in thi work. Ba kets of all hapes and for aU purpo e are .m ade from the native palm. T he products are ' marketed in the State and ent directly to the consumer ithout the agency of middlemen. The Neighborhood Hou has a well organized IGndergarten and Day Nu r ery. There are 40 children in a.ttend:-nc~ in th~ former- and 20 in the latter. This department 1 stuated m the poore t ection of the city and is of incal~labl~ benefit to children ho otherwi e would be running sld m t e stteet or accompanying their parents to omc tobacco factory. : One of the most di tinct contnbution$ to the city and to the mi ionary problem i the Di pensary of thi Neighborhood Hou e. The municipal authorities have definitely rec- ' gnized tbt worth of this Dispen ary. It is conducted on plan ,by. whi~h t~e municipality provide the p~y ician, while the M1 JOI'I provsdes the nur e and equipmeiÍt. The success of this arrangement can be judged by the fact tbat the people of the town and the municipal authorities wish to extend it to· inclu a ho pita! of a hundr~d beds.

devotion.

What Other Denominations Are Doing. The Methodi t Episcopal Church maintains he George Robinson Orphanage for girls at · San Juan. This institution was establi hed in 1902 through the generosity of Mr. Robinson. The gi rls come from the re pectable poor, to whom the death of one or more parents often means starvation or a life of hame. Here the girls are cared for, protected and trained to .take up sorne occupation. Mr. Robinson has also established an orphanage for boys on an agricultura) school basis. Thete are always sorne 30 boys in the orphanage being prepared to make their living by farming. A Child Welfare Society is conducted at Santurce in connection with the Blanche Kellogg Institute (Congregational) . The Society ministers to the poor of the neighborhood, particularly the t;hildren, giving them medica! service and milk, either free or at a nominal cost. The American Baptist Home Mission Society has workers tationed at Ponce, Saguas, Río Piedras, Santurce and an Juan. Thes~ workers visit the bornes systematically, conducting prayer and Bible reading with mothers and maintaining industrial classes with the children. The women workers of the Lutheran Church and of the Di ciples of Christ each maintain a kindergarten in the city of Bayamon. At Ponce a kindergarten is maintained ~y the Christian Church, which is also establishing there an mdustrial work. The United Brethren Church, one of the largest and best organized churches on the lsland, conducts an efficient community work at Ponce.


'. TWENT,Y YEARS IN PORTO RICO 1

The Y. M. C. A. has a well organized a ociation in San Juan. In 19a> it enrolled 620 member . I conduct phy icai culture, edueationa}, ocial and relígious el es. The work i very popular and it is hoped that similar a ociations may be i tituted in all .the principal citic of Porto Rico.

CHAPTER Vl

Evangelistic Missions• Distribution of Forces. For the work of evangelization

)

Porto Rico is divided into denominational rones of activities. At the ou.tset of Protestant mis ionary work, each denomination was assigned a portion of the !stand with the understanding that it would not encroach upon its sister denomination's' territory. While this arrangement did not provide for organic union of the evangelical forces it did provide a practica! and economical basis of co-operation, and it prevented overlapping and duplication of effort. The American Missionary. The work of the American · missionary has undergone a great change in these twenty years of occupation.. Porto Rico is an ideal example O'f "the church increasing and the mission decreasing." In the early days the entire church work was done by the continental missionary. As the · work developed, it was more and more taken over by the native Porto Ri.can ministers. · This process has been particularly marked during the last five years. The churches have become increasingly self-supporting while the young Porto Ricans who have been graduated from the Seminary have proved themselves worthy and acceptable feaders among their own people. The Porto Rican Minister. The native ministry is divided into two main divisions. First, the untrained but experienced pastors--who have worked by the side of the continental missionaries for sorne years, and have received their qualifications in the school of hard knocks. The other the trained pastors--the younger element, many of whom' have not • LlmltMI. ept.e

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..ttatu tilo eo11ftMmoat

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'lirio cbapter to n-.ol..Uc

worlr. -G•ot.d la tbo wMten """'"11 ot tbo I•ad, ,.,.. WI1Uob Lbo .......,,.. - . , ClaD""Il lo OO .. IJ' r - D -. AOCODDte Of 'lito Worlr. 111 otbor G•OIIll· MUo• t11 tbelr ftopoctl .. • may bo lled from lb Ir det~omlaatloaal

ll•4qaartero.

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56

T\VENTY YEARS I

PORTO RICO

only received their schooling and ~cial training in missioninstitutions, but have been brought up from early clüldbood in the Cburch. Men of the ñr t type have charge of sorne of the mo t important churches of the 1 land and their work peak volumes of praise to the early continental mi ionaries. By 'v irtue of youth and training the second type of worker i naturally coming to the fore as the year go by. Replacem nts in the important field are almo t alway filled b tbe young men who have· been under the observation of the variou churche and mi ion through their boyhood and outh. ooner or later thl type of mini ter will domínate the ituation.

City Work. The ervice of the Protestant churches in the ciúe i1,1 Porto Rico are· similar to the ervices in the cities of the north-with one exception. Tbere is no difficulty in Porto Rico in getting people to hear the Me sage for regular rvice , and for special ervices you may be ure of a full church. It is thi phase of the work that appeals mosUy to vi itor from the north . .They come expecting to find in the · Prote tant churche mall group of people brought together by aH ort of inducement . They are greatly urprised to e the enthu i m, ·poqtaneity, md interest of the Porto Ri • n in hi church. Quite recently one of these visitor attended the prayer meeting of a cburch in ari inland town and after the rvice be said : "The Wednesday brlore I left tbe State 1 att nded prayer meeting at the First Presbyterian Churcb of - - " ( he mentiooed one of the largest subur n church of New York) . "I counted the peoRJe and tbere ere just the number you have here tonight." Shortly fter ard a mini ter from a large Philadelphia church was inYited to preach in thi hurch. .Ratber reluctantly he con~ed and, through an terpreter, preached at a Mother's Day rvice to a'n audience that crowded the hurch and to scores of people that were packed around windows and doora. Spealring of it afterward he exclaimed, "What a wonderful experi~nce it wa . lt was the opportunity of 11o lifetime."

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RICO

57

CO\Ultry Work. The greatest inftuence of the evan~lical churches in Porto Rico is in the country. It is among the people of the rural sections, who form ~ of the pc>pulation, that the Protestant churches have rendered greatest service and have found their. greatest opportunity. The country work is organized with the ideal of giving every inhabitant of the lsland an opportunity of hearing the Gospel periodically. Many preachers make itineraries of severa! days' duration, visiting bornes during the day and conducting services at night at sorne central house. From the seed sown in this manner come surprising harvests. The preacher is almost certain to. be invited to repeat his visit and frequently a per~ manent preaching point results. The country service~ of the evangelical churches are the only opportunity for worship the jibaro or peasant h<Js. In many instances people walk over ten miles each week across mountain and stream to sorne preaching center. Occasionally an incident like the following cheers the beart of a pastor. At Sabbath school in town Sunday morning the minister was surpri ed to see a man who for sorne time had been attending every meeting that had been held at a backwoods place sorne fifteen mile away. Barefooted he had· walked this tlistance over mountainous paths and across raging rivers. He had come to ask the mis ionary to establish a permanent preaching point at bis borne, and to offer himself for mem, bership in the church. With such demonstration as this to prove the sincerity of bis profession of faith he was received. , Today be is a church officer, acting as an under-shepherd to a little band of Christians in that mountain recess. The cottage service is very. popular, and often is the only kind of service tha.t can be had. With his customary generosity the Porto Rican will offer the use of bis ho!Jse for "los protestantes" even though he is not a believer. There are sorne distinct advantages tp this plan-chiefty the intimate cootact one gets with the peoplé and their problems. In this balmy land the open air service is much used. lt is inspiring


T

ENTY YEAR

IN PORTO RICO

to attmd an evangeli tic ervice con,ducted at sorne planta.tion on . the large concrete drying floor. In pioneer work uch a thi there is practica tiy no phy · ical equipment. It i a clear demon tration of the power of the imple Go pel. . Some of tbe orker are u ing tbe tereopticon. Thi make a f<5rcdl!l method of presenting religious truth, pecially in the opening of new work.

Church Memberahip. h.urch membership in Porto Rico i a more direct everance from the former life than it i in mo t pi ce on the continen . In only a very few cases is it th r ult of childhood where church and home have united to m e church member hip· a natural tep in the development of the indi idual. lt i about a oppo ite a thing to the nominal adherence to the Catholic Church through in fant bapti m a could be imagined. The preparation for P rotestant ' . member hip differ in form a the denominations differ in - creed and custom. All, bowever, agree in spirit. Cburche \\i th the Metbodi t forro of government find their period of probation ery effective in. Porto Rico. Other churches bave their catechurnen cla which last frorn th ree to six month . The influen e of the evangelical .churche is not confined to their members. There are on every hand tho e people who attend the rvices regularly, ho ca1l them elves. Protestants, but do not unite witb tbe church. · Taking the~e fads into con ideration an estimate wa made about a year ago ba ed on an exten ive urvey. It gave Prote tant population of Porto Rico 12% of the entire population. This d~ not inc~ude uch organiz.ation. ~ the F ree Ma ons and Free Thinker and a ho of md1fferent who, becau e o their anti-atholic attitude, are much more sympathetic with the Evangdjcal point of view, than witñ the Rornan Catbolic.

Self-Support. ' Tbe pha e that ha most encouraged the orker on the field and tbe contributing Boards and Societi has been the di tinct advance made toward self-support b the 'fferent churche . Of cour a church i n~ependent of

TWENTY YEARS IN PORTO RI CO

59

outside financia! upport and direction has been tlle ideal ever ince the work began. Mo t of the tronger denominations have programs and schedules arranged that will render the present organized churches free from out ide . support in ten, fi fteen, or twenty years. There will be a need for missio~?' work in P~rto Rico for rnany generations to come but 1t 1s hoped, parttcularly by the native worker, that the native churcb will soon demonstrate its ability to conduct its own affairs. One of the greatest aids to this end is ·t he essentially patriotic spirit of the Porto Rican. "E l Sosten Propio"-self support- has come to be the slogan at every denominational and . interdenominational gathering. The Strategic Value. of Porto Ric~ . . Even before se.lfsupport is reached the Protestant Chmuans of Porto . Rico are looking toward the service which they in :u~n hope ; to render to their less fortunate neighbors. For wtthm a rad1us o f 1,500 miles, Jie the Central American States, and Hayti, Santo DOmingo, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. Within these countries are Jiterally millions of human beings whose need for education, health, and the inspiration of a vital religion is vast and urgent. These peop~e are also Latins and the Porto Ricans for that reason have a unique opportunity as well as a responsibility to pass on to them in turn the bless, ings t bey have received from Protestant Missions. The number of calls for help are increasing as the years go by. The m.ost insistent of these calls just now and the one that con~titutes a veritable cry from Macedonia is from the little Republic of Santo Domingo. Since t~e American. occu~ati on of t his Island Republic and tbe opemng of Amencan mdustries, Porto Ricans by the thousands have crossed the narrow Mona Cbannel to make their livelibood. A large number of members of the different evangelical churches were among the emigrants. The e folk mis ed their church bornes. At a big sugar center several of them organized a Protestant Chun:h which is today 6ghting tbe ,fight of all infants for

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60

TWENTY YF:f.RS IN PORTO RICO 1

urvinl. It i appealing to the Protestant Churches of Porto . Ric:d to help it in tbe struggle. And the Protest nt Cburches of Porto Rico are aending what aid they can in money and men. So it is tha.t the Go pel is pread ; so it is that the leaven of the Kingdom ~orks.

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Twenty Years in Porto Rico, a Record of Presbyterian Missionary Work since the American Occupation  

By Arthur James. New York; Educational Work, Presbyterian Church, 1921.

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