BORN TO BE A HERO
Sir Lino Wy Paras, KGO
Sir Lino Wy Paras, KGO
This book is intended for the readers who treasures achievements, love of liberty and freedom. Why not? Born to be a Hero", the Philippines and Dr. José Protacio Rizal. True he was not Napoleon, Stalin or Hitler, like those three brought death to so many, yet is glorified by an otherwise rational people. He was not Lincoln – but only in the sense that he acted on a much smaller stage, a country of little importance to the world because it does little harm. He, too, would set a people free – by bringing light to them and their oppressors. (Lincoln was not too zealous about setting the Negro slaves free at the start.) Rizal faced the problem of human iniquities, injustices committed by the Dominicans and Governor General against his people. Whether he acted rightly or wrongly, his life illumines the problem and obtained respect of people everywhere.
Now comes this book "born to be a hero" by Sir Lino Paras a Belgian-Filipino in Brussels who revered Rizal a Universal man, whose life and death continue to haunt the minds and imaginations of foreigners as well as his countrymen. As tribute to the Philippine National Hero, the researcher-author-publisher mentioned extraordinary human courage, goodness and virtues that a man could have.
Hence, this work requires "enormous labor", as the author-researcher-publisher tediously followed up (for seven years) hundreds of bibliographical references for life, works and writings of Dr. Jose Rizal. The author almost abandoned making this book in 2001, due to the long period of sickness of his wife who died January 21, 2001. His devotion to his subject persists till he found out the unedited documents in archives of Belgium, France, Czech Republic and Spain about Rizal.
History is link to the past, the mirror and vehicle to the future.
On the 19th of June 1861, in the province of Laguna (Philippines), Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado (y) Alonzo Realonda was born to Francisco Mercado and Teodora Realonda. The birth of this important person was not heralded by a star, nor was it marked by any seismic phenomenon, despite the significant role which destiny had marked out for him – such that Spain's eminent philosopher-writer Unamuno was later to call him "the tagalog Christ". If there was any supernatural happening that accompanied his birth, it must have been the intervention of the Virgin of Antipolo, for while undergoing difficult labor, his mother promised to make pilgrimage to Antipolo should her delivery prove successful. (Antipolo, 25 kilometers east of Manila, is the most frequented town-shrine in the country.)
This, then, is our hero – born beneath the skies of the country he poetically called "Pearl of the Orient".
Three days after his birth, Fr. Rufino Collantes, the parish priest of Calamba, Laguna with Fr. Pedro Casañas, baptized him in complete Catholic rites as his godfather. He was named Jose on account of his mother's devotion to St. Joseph. He was fondly called Pepe in the family household.
What were his physical attributes? He was of below-average height and weight. He had large eyes, full lips and prominent cheekbones, a nose that slightly widened downward. His complexion was medium dark, but his delicate features belied his pure native origin. Every detail of his face gave one the feeling that the nobility of that countenance must be coupled with excellence of conduct. Time confirmed this presentiment.
The future "Redeemer" was not born poor. Neither was he born in a palace whose vast marble floors and lonely halls would have rendered his heart cold and unfeeling. On the contrary, the warmth of his family life is difficult to equal, tried and tested as it was by so many vicissitudes.
The house in which he was born was a large, two-story edifice, the lower floor of stone and concrete, and the second floor of wood, surrounded by a balcony. A portico in front of the house offered shelter from the rain and lent symmetry and harmony to the edifice. This house was the fruit of the sacrifices and labors of Francisco Mercado in cultivating the lands leased to him by the Dominicans.
Calamba, by the Laguna de Bay, was populated by less than 500 inhabitants at the time of Rizal's birth. A sketch of it by Karuth done during that period shows the plaza, with a carabao pulling its load, a stone church, the little nipa-and-wood houses, and in the background, the elegant silhouette of Mt. Makiling, garlanded with clouds and legends. (Its name, in Tagalog it means "inclined mountain"). Calamba was a rich town owing to its natural setting. Around it extended a vast plain that lent itself excellently to the cultivation of rice, sugarcane and coffee. In its fertile orchards, great varieties of tropical fruit trees were cultivated. Beside the town lay the wide expanse of Laguna de Bay, which provided Rizal with the atmosphere conducive not only to cultivating a poet's soul but also to develop an inclination to the natural sciences.
In contrast to the fertility of the land, life in Calamba was marred by frequent epidemics of typhoid; malaria, which usually came together with the cultivation of rice, wrought havoc, and cholera frequently broke out.
The first thing which calls the attention of the alert reader is the fact that the family name of Rizal's parents does not coincide with his own, as inscribed in his birth certificate. This can be explained as follows: The name of Rizal's mother was Teodora Alonzo Quintos. According to some notes of Rizal's brother Paciano "The birth certificate of Jose bears the name Realonda because there was a time when many Filipinos had the custom of adding the name of the godmother of godfather to the child's name. Thus, when his mother Teodora was baptized, the name Realonda (her godmother's), was added to her name, and later to Rizal." Rizal himself gave, in a letter to Blumentritt, the complete name of his mother: Teodora Alonzo Quintos Realonda.
In the middle of the 19th century, to the effect that the natives choose the family name they wished from a list provided for this purpose. Rizal's father ignored these orders and reapplied for the name Rizal. The Spanish authorities rejected the petition, but despite this the Mercado family used the name Rizal as a second family name. Jose was the first to use the family name "Rizal" in 1872 when he went to manila to enroll at the Ateneo Municipal, directed by the Jesuits. There was a good reason for the change. Only six months had elapsed since the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. This event was to have a profound effect on the ideological genesis of Jose, despite the fact that he was only 11 yrs. Old at the time his brother Paciano had contacts with Fr. Burgos, who was executed as a consequence of the uprisings. The name Mercado thus became subject to suspicion. Hence, the adoption of Rizal as the first family name.
Teodora Alonzo, who undoubtedly was the most striking personality in the family circle, owing to her intelligence, culture and disposition. A well-read person,
She knew how to appreciate literature, corrected her son's verses and guided him in his study of rhetoric; she had a good knowledge of mathematics.
Furthermore, she was able to foretell future events. Educated in the College of Santa Rosa, run by the Sisters of Charity, she was a devout Catholic, and believed in the intercession of the saints in earthly happenings, as we have seen when she made the promise to the Virgin of Antipolo. She took great efforts to imbue her sons with the maxims of Christian morality. Her father was a representative to the Cortes for the Philippines, for the Islands had been represented there for short periods: 1810-1813; 1813-1814; 1820-1822; 1822-1823 and 1834-1837. This prominent grandfather of Rizal was the teacher of Teodora. His brother had been educated in Europe and spoke four languages, besides Tagalog, he was a Knight of the Order of Isabel la Catolica. It is not surprising that, with the personal qualities that adorned Teodora, her authority and prominence, together with certain unique charm, she had strong influence over the family. Furthermore, she and her husband enjoyed the utmost respect of their children. It was a spontaneous obedience – such that Rizal never made any important decision without the approval of his parents. The only exception to this was his first trip to Europe, but this involved a loftier cause, the historic mission that had been assigned to him. Even then, Rizal did not dare present himself to his parents to kiss their hands without asking their previous pardon.
Francisco Mercado was 43-years old when Rizal was born. He was older than his wife by six years was, having more than average height; his face was serious and noble. He was a man of few words, dignified and hospitable. Having studied in the Colegio de San Jose in Manila, he possessed an elementary education that was sufficient to successfully carry out the management of the large agricultural properties that were leased to him. He was the first Mercado from the neighboring town of Biñan to settle in Calamba. His father and grandfather had been, successively, "capitanes" or mayors of the town in which he was born.
Such was the intellectual and moral climate in which the personality of Jose was to develop – an atmosphere of work, seriousness, devoted to his duty, piety and rigor. The Rizal family was a closely-knit unit without fissures, in which the spirit of solidarity was of primary importance, and the striving for culture was the leitmotiv of the home. Hence, the family library contained more than 1,000 volumes, many of them brought in clandestinely from Europe, according to Rizal, "majority of the books in the Philippines were religious and narcotic in effect."
The mother of Rizal was prolific, having had 11 children in the span of 20 years, in the following order: Saturnina (1850), Paciano (1851), Narcisa (1852), Olimpia (1855), Lucia (1857), Maria (1859), Jose (1861), Concepcion (1862), Josefa (1865), Trinidad (1868) and Soledad (1870). These data show that out of 11 children she had only two sons. This should explain the close ties that so obviously bound Paciano and Jose, in spite of the differences of their ages.
Paciano requires special mention because, although in all the biographies of the illustrious Tagalo his (Paciano's) personality was praised, its real dimensions have been justly evaluated. The influence of his human, political, patriotic character and prudence have not been given due importance. The influence was significant during Jose's youth, at which time his brother's character and personality were the surrounding circumstances that molded his own. The great Tagalo received from Paciano, which he could not have learned from the books, namely, consciousness of the necessity to obtain liberty for the Filipinos, which would put them on an equal basis with the Peninsulares. The urgency of eliminating the political influence of the religious orders and the promulgation of laws that would grant the natives participation in the government of the Islands. He advocated a program that would, to a large extent, be administered by the Filipino patriots in the manner that sons of the motherland would.
Paciano, holding up the sacred fire of patriotism, was able to transmit this flame to the soul of Jose. The shadow of Paciano may be clearly visualized in the image of Rizal. In his essence of the highest and purest of ideals.
Paciano was a tall, slight man, with prominent and elevated cheekbones. His eyes were slightly slanting though not in the same beautiful way as those of his brother, giving him a slightly Chinese mien, like his father. He was serene of temperament, poised, serious, restrained and moderate in his expression. Behind that somewhat austere mien, was a man of integrity, full of tenderness, generosity and with a strong, firm resolution in the attainment of his ideals. He was more a man of action than his brother was for Jose would never have joined the revolutionaries the day after Polavieja signed the death sentence of his brother. Although intelligent, he did not possess the qualities of his brother, nor did he reach the level of the latter's culture. But judge against the background of his times and his surroundings (Calamba), he was an educated man.
He studied high school in the Colegio de San Jose de Manila, directed by the Dominicans. Jose knew the relationship he had with Fr. Burgos. Relations were not limited to have lived together but extended to an identity of ideas. As a consequences, and in spite of the ability of Paciano, the Dominicans made it difficult for him to attain the title of "bachiller", after several years, he still had not reached the last course, or highest level, he gave it up and returned to Calamba. The culture of Paciano is shown in his letters to his brother, written in correct Spanish, both as to construction and orthography. In one of his letters, he tells Jose that after reading Schiller he started translating the story "Maria Estuardo", by the same author, into Tagalog. He also alludes to the ring of Policrates. Paciano was like a true father to Jose, counseling him whenever it is necessary, giving him the proper attention as well as providing for his needs, financial and otherwise, which became quite difficult especially at the time he was in Europe.
The Rizal genealogy has roots of Chinese origin. The Philippines has always maintained a close contact with China due to her proximity, commerce, fishing industry and because of immigration. There is some obscurity as to the distant ancestors of Rizal, although it seems certain that among the male ascendants there was Chinese from Fukien who contracted marriage with a Christian Chinese girl in Manila. Successively, there were marriages with Chinese mestizas in Biñan (1861) a few kilometers from Calamba. At any rate, when Rizal was born, 141 years had elapsed without a single further inter-racial combination. The family was entirely Filipino. According to Paciano, Francisco Mercado was the son of Juan (Mercado) and a tagala with the family name Alejandra. Juan was the son of another Francisco Mercado, according to family traditions, was the son of Chinese. In other words, Jose Rizal was the great-grandchild of a Chinese man.
Paciano states all the female ascendants were tagalas, and although having some drops of Chinese blood is no blemish to one's reputation, it is not correct to say that Rizal was a Chinese mestizo, as he was classified by the Council of War that condemned him to death. Before signing the document, Rizal protested, assuring the council that he was a pure Indio (native). This affirmation was an example for the rest of the natives; the admission of this condition should not be degrading, but the discrimination practiced against the natives of colonies had created a complex, which drove them to deny the purity of their indigenes, preferring to claim mixture of white blood. Rizal, as shown in his conduct, condemned this prejudice.
With a curiosity that Rizal demonstrated, he tried to trace his family tree, but unfortunately could not go any further than his grandparents.
The sisters of Rizal did not become prominent in the sense of occupying important public positions. In those times, it is unusual for women to do so. But they were greatly responsible for the solidarity of the family, giving Rizal moral and spiritual support – the heroic mission that dominated their lives. An example of family solidarity is the fact that in the family of 13 members, not to mention the sons-in-law, there was never a discordant voice that advised Rizal to stop his political activities, nor any ideological differences, despite the persecution and deportations that they suffered because of him. Manuel Hidalgo was deported to Bohol, simply because he was the brother-in-law of Rizal, according to Weyler. All the family suffered deportation and persecution, yet among the hundreds of family letters one does not come across a single suggestion that Jose give up his mission. But although Rizal was a man a capite ad calcem, his vacillations sometimes and to restore its tranquility. Our hero saw it that the family would be a unit in conduct and in example, giving his sisters, with his usual tact and discretion, advice on conduct.
The care and attention with which the sisters of Rizal showered him during his deportation in Dapitan and his stay in Hongkong are difficult to equal. And one notes the unswerving determination of Narcisa to find the tomb of her brother on the afternoon of his execution. She did not turn back until she found it, despite the fact that the Spanish authorities had chosen an abandoned site and camouflaged the sepulchre. All this clear shows the unifying bond of affection that held the Rizal family.
Also to the family finances – they were not really as rich as many biographers have stated but were just comfortably well to do. They certainly did not have any reserves with which to face an emergency or adverse situation. One has to take into account the fact that there were 13 members of the family. The couple was ambitious as regards the education of their children, desiring to give each the means to acquire a solid preparation. Furthermore, the lands they cultivated were not property of Francisco Mercado. These belonged to the Hacienda Calamba, a property of the Dominicans, who had leased a part of the property to the Rizal's. From letters between Paciano and Jose, we learned that they had to sell the castaño horse in order to send a money order of two hundred pesos to the latter, who was then in Europe. And that they also had to sell a chronometer which they had intended to give him as a gift upon his return. These and many other similar incidents, which shows that it cannot be rightly asserted that the Rizal family was rich, but all their acquisition (house, education of their children, and gracious life) were the fruits of diligence and good administration.
The family was bereft of one member when Olimpia died of placenta previa in September 1887.
While Rizal, happy in the bosom of his family, awaited the month of July to go to school in Manila, something happened to darken the life in that home. Jose Alberto, cousin of Teodora, was one of the wealthiest in Biñan. Upon his return from a trip to Europe, he came home to find his wife gone and his children abandoned. To all appearances, she had been unfaithful to him. Jose Alberto planned to separate from her, but Teodora intervened for the sake of the children, and for reasons based on the Catholic principles she professed. They succeeded in dissuading him from his plans, and the family was reunited.
Subsequent events proved tragic. Rizal says in his memorias: "A few days later, the infamous woman, together with a lieutenant of the guardia civil who had been a family friend, accused him (Jose Alberto) of poisoning, and named my mother as an accomplice. My mother was put in prison by the alcalde, which was a fanatic, a puppet of the friars. From then on, Jose doubted all men and lost faith in their friendship."
"One dark night," Rizal further relates, "while taking a stroll I was assaulted and jailed, despite my being wounded. They threatened me with deportation for the sole reason that, in the darkness of the night, I failed to lift my hat as I passed the lieutenant of the guardia civil." He filled a suit with the Capitan General. "It took two weeks before my wounds were healed," he writes. The legal action was in vain; he was not permitted to see the Capitan, nor did he obtain redress of his grievances.
The restoration of the guardia civil in the Philippines was well intentioned as regards the principal mission assigned to them, namely, to fight the tulisanes. But almost all the Filipinos of that time protested against abuse of authority and discrimination against the natives. Such abuses and discrimination happened also in other Spanish colonies.
Back to Rizal's account, he repeatedly refers to the alcalde as a servant of the friars. We stress this because it appears again and again, like a ritornello, in the course of this narrative. The Filipinos considered the "frailocracia", as they described the rule of the friars, responsible for the state of political stagnation in which the Filipino people were kept, and it was used as the most important coercive instrument of the government to hold back any current of progressive political thought.
Extreme cruelty and humiliation marked the detention of Teodora. They made her walk barefoot to the prison which was situated 35 kilometers away. We continue with Rizal's narration: "Once there, they made her confess what they wanted her to confess, promising her liberty and the chance to see her children once again, should she confess. My mother was terrified and deceived, they threatened to condemn her if she did not acquiesce. Weakened, she submitted to the will of her enemies."
Subsequently, when the case reached the Audiencia, the alcalde asked pardon for Teodora. She was finally absolved but the case dragged on for two and a half years before she finally gained release.
The knowledge of these facts, and the conclusions that can be drawn from their repercussion and influence on the shaping of the personality of the great Malayan, are very significant. He himself says in his Memorias that he became a skeptic. This emotional trauma was to such a sensitive boy very painful, indeed, plus the fact was still in a very formative stage.
The fact that the alcalde was in connivance with the friars and their subordinates indicated who were behind all this, especially in the view of Paciano, as we shall when we come to the Cavite Mutiny of 1872.
Rizal to Manila
Late in the night of the 15th of February 1872, a Spanish court-martial found three secular priests, Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora, guilty of treason as the instigators of a mutiny in the Kavite navy-yard, a month before and sentenced them to death.
Terror spread all over the archipelago and an ominous silence filled the air, the same silence that Francisco Mercado had imposed when he prohibited his family from speaking of Cavite and of El Filibusterismo. But Paciano, with the moderation and tact that always characterized him, informed Jose of the facts, and gave his opinion on the matter, for he had no other close kin in whom he could confide. Older than Jose, he was more prudent in his judgment. His stand was not radical but simply nationalistic. The young Rizal, at 11 years of age, was thus initiated into the clamor of his blood brothers and of his land.
The moment was also critical as regards his studies, for there were very few good schools and he had to pass an entrance examination.
On the 10th of June 1872, accompanied by Paciano, Jose took the road to Biñan on his way to Manila. As on every occasion that he left home, he was full of sadness. At the moment, Rizal must have seen Mt. Makiling no longer encircled by a garland of white clouds, as it was in his innermost thoughts and legends, but by dense clouds that darkened the landscape. The green of the meadows, the whiteness of the houses, the mornings dew were shrouded in dim shadows that not only pervaded the atmosphere but also his spirit. With gloomy thoughts, fruits of his own fantasy, which did not exactly reflect reality, he made the trip to Manila.
For school admittance, one was required to pass the entrance examination. Rizal satisfactorily accomplished this at the Colegio de Letran. The subjects covered were Christian doctrine, arithmetic and reading. Having passed the test, he returned to Calamba. Here the feast in honor of the town's patron saint was being celebrated. During this interval Francisco Mercado changed his mind and decided Jesuit priests directed that his son take up his secondary education at the Ateneo Municipal which.
Rizal's First Love
When Rizal returned to Manila to pursue his studies, he found himself disoriented. There was a great contrast between the ambiance at the Ateneo and the boarding house in Intramuros, which was administered by a priest. It was during this period that he experienced his first love.
One day, while at his grandmother's place, he met a young girl of 14 named Segunda Katigbak, who turned out to be the sister of his friend. He fell in love with her, but she was already engaged. He found out subsequently, that Segunda went to the same college where a sisters of his stayed as boarder. The two friends went together to visit their sisters, who had become friends. Although Rizal tried to keep away, in difference to her being engaged, the coquetry, the grace and the endowments of Segunda had completely captivated him, and this can be deduced from his own description of the girl: "Her looks were terribly overwhelming. So sweet and expressive were her eyes, her voice so melodious and all her actions invariably accompanied by a certain charm."
Rizal made a pencil sketch of her, She embroidered a rose on his hatband. The affair progressed, the little incidents typical of lovers went on, until without any pressure on the part of Jose, she broke with her fiancé and they continued seeing each other under very proper circumstances. It should be remembered that in those days Filipino society was very strict and rigorous, and frowned upon amorous adventures. From among the long, loving tête-à-têtes between the lovers, we picked up one remark of Rizal. "Death might do me a lot of good." The topic of death cropped up at the age of eighteen and, like a refrain was repeated throughout his life, a recurrent manifestation of his chronic depression. Before Christmas vacation that year, the two had a last meeting during which, in spite of the skills and wiles of Segunda, Jose did not propose. They left separately within two successive days, with the agreement that they would see each other when Segunda passed through Calamba. But when her coach crossed the town, he just lifted his hat. She responded with a smile waving her handkerchief, but the timid Rizal did not dare approach her. Because of this indecision, he lost the love of Segunda.
After Three Kings Day, he returned to Manila, but the loss of Segunda had sunk him again in sadness.
Nevertheless, his studies continued with the usual diligence. And when the year ended he obtained the grade of sobresaliente in metaphysics, history of philosophy and theology. In surveying, he also got medals in topography and agriculture.
Rizal, Student of Medicine
During the last part of 1878 he wrote his Memorias de un Estudiante en Manila, to which we have made reference from time to time. When Jose returned to Calamba in 1878 for the Christmas vacation, Doña Teodora, her eyes now suffering from some defect, could hardly recognize him.
One can imagine the consternation that Jose suffered, knowing how deeply he loved his mother. At the moment, no diagnosis could be made, for there was no Ophthalmologist either in Calamba or in neighboring towns. Later it was found out that the disturbance was due to cataract, but the etiology or the classification of the cataracts is numerous. The likeliest probability is that it was a cataract attendant to aging and/or senility. Rizal thought that she might go blind. These circumstances led him to shift the orientation of his studies. Medicine would not only enable him to cure his mother's illness but also he considered it a priestly profession with which he could serve his countrymen. Still, we think that his primary consideration was the state of health of his mother. This was the decisive factor in our hero's choice of the profession. Proof of this is the fact that he specialized in Ophthalmology, a field where he said he had the least interest and aptitude, compared with Philosophy and Letters. At the start of the school year of 1878-79 he registered at the College of Medicine of the University of Santo Tomas, somewhat against his natural inclinations. This did not become cause for undertaking his studies half-heartedly. It would have been contrary to his deeply rooted of compliance with duty. At the same time, he did not lose contact with the Jesuits, for they founded a Literary Academy, of which he was president. With his great versatility, his multi-faceted talents, he still had time to write poetry; to paint, to sculpt and to indulge in the courtship prompted by his easy inclination to love.
Jose – Paciano
In 1878, a very significant event occurred in the life of Rizal. At the start of his medical studies, the two brothers, Paciano and Jose, made an arrangement. According to Coates, this information came from Narcisa, although all of Rizal's sisters were very close and affectionate to him, it was Narcisa who shared most intimately the aspirations of her brother and showed the closest affinity to him. As to the terms of the pact, we can summarize them from Coates as follows: "Jose would assume the defense of the country's cause, and Paciano would help his brother and would take care of his parents; furthermore, only one of them would marry. The biographies of Jose and Paciano fully show the firmness of this pact. Not only as borne out by the facts but also from their letters dated a few days after Rizal's departure for Europe to prepare himself for the fight for the Filipino people who at that time were not oriented to emancipation. From the time the agreement was made between the two brothers, its fulfillment was the leitmotiv of the life of both, and they worked at it with a strength of will, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice worthy of emulation. If Rizal had any human frailty at all, such as his predilection to love, it was not powerful enough to sway him away from his primary obligation. That of acquiring a solid intellectual preparation which would enable him to lead, with authority and prestige, the movement for the liberation of his country.
During the year 1879 the gallant lover Rizal visited many ladies in Manila society without seriously committing himself to anyone. He likes good conversation, and because of his culture and intelligence, his language was colorful and poetic, sometimes spiced with irony. But he never entered into any significant, binding compromises.
One afternoon he went to visit his Uncle Antonio Rivera, who had a boarding house in Manila. Paciano, his inseparable companion, accompanied him. It was decided that he would stay in the house as a boarder. There he met his cousin, Leonor, daughter of Antonio, a young girl of 13, but with the precocity typical of oriental girls. She had very fair skin and light brown hair, a very pleasing voice and could carry an interesting conversation. From a sketch done by Rizal, she was a pretty woman, with charmingly slanting eyes, a clear forehead and a small mouth. At the first sight of her the romantic Jose fell in love. Photos of her do not seem to do her justice. Although many biographers have dealt greatly with this matter, the accounts seem to be purely speculative, since we hardly have any documentary evidence of this great love. Although Rizal's copious correspondence has been almost completely preserved in archives, those of and with Leonor (correspondence ended in 1891) cannot be traced evidently having been destroyed.
Antonio, in his double role of Uncle and possible father-in-law of Jose, played an important part when he favored in 1882 the departure of his nephew for Europe.
Rizal had prepared well for his departure, as per agreement with Paciano and his Uncle Antonio. This explains why he was able to leave on May 1, 1882, soon after the end of the school year of 1881-1882, It was one and a half months before his 21st birthday.
On that day Paciano woke him up at dawn to go to Biñan and thence to Manila. He called his servants to hire a carromata to transport him to the next town. Paciano gave him 356 Mexican pesos, the legal tender then in the Philippines. This was a considerable sum, considering that it excluded the cost of transportation, which had already been paid. He did not bid goodbye to his six sisters who were still sleeping. He took a cup of coffee and kissed the hands of his parents, who thought that he was only bound for Manila, not for abroad! With the overwhelming emotion that welled within him, it took great effort to keep himself from shedding tears. In a laconic manner that manifests his overwhelming pain, he relates, "I bade a silent goodbye to everything that was dear to me."
After having changed carromatas twice, they arrived in Manila. There they went to see Jose Ma. Cecilio, a great friend and confidant of Jose in his love affairs who informed him that his passport would be ready that same day, as indeed it was. His Uncle Antonio arrived with the passport. The passport bore the name of Jose Mercado. Then they went to get a first class ticket. His sensitivity and his propensity to melancholy brought him a night full of distress. Like a swift kaleidoscope, the images of his great loves passed before his mind his country, his family, and his friends. He wondered whether he would see them again.
The next day, the 2nd of May, finding it impossible to sleep, he rose early. At seven, his compadre (Matéo Evangelista) arrived and together they went to see the Salvadora that was anchored at the Pasig. Evangelista wished to introduce and recommend Jose to the captain. The boat cruised between Manila and Singapore at the low speed of only seven nautical miles per hour. In the afternoon he attended to his obligations. He went to say goodbye to Pedro A. Paterno who gave him a letter for Minister Esquivel, an important Filipino resident in Spain, together with pictures for his brothers who lived in Madrid. After this he went to take leave of the Jesuits who gave him letters of introduction for their boarding house in Spain. In his commentaries on this visit, Rizal says: "I owe to this religion almost everything that I am." This last remark confirms that when Rizal left Manila he was still a Catholic, not only a fervent one but an orthodox one as well.
The many visits that Jose made that day are proofs that there was nothing secret about his trip; the journey was a secret only to his parents. What was kept secret was the motive (or motives) of the journey, which we have earlier gone into. More goodbye visits to the Rivera's with whose daughter Leonor, Rizal had maintained close friendship.
On the 3rd of May he woke up at 5:00 in the morning. He was full of accumulated tension. He heard Mass, later had breakfast but could not eat owing to his emotional state.
Accompanied by Gella and Tio Antonio, he went to the Paeso de Magallanes and then to the wharf on the Pasig River where the Salvadora was docked. They accompanied him up to the bay; they were returning on the práctico. With his exquisite sensibility, our hero was deeply touched by these acts of his friends who had been like a second family to him. He expressed his feelings of gratitude: "How can I ever repay you? Because I am human I weep upon leaving my country." He had reserved his tears for the most lofty of all sentiments: patriotism, it was at this moment when he referred to his mission, as we have noted: "I go in search of a vain idea, perhaps a false illusion." As always, throughout his life, he was skeptical and doubtful. Yet, over and above this grave solemnity and uncertainty floated the happy memories of his days of courtship that he describes in personalized details in his Diario.
On the 9th of May, they arrived at Singapore where all the passengers disembarked since the Salvadora was not going any further. He stayed in a very good hotel, the Hotel de la Paz. During the entire journey Rizal had royal treatment not only in regard to lodging but also in the matter of visiting all the centers, museums and establishments which would add to his cultural growth. In his inexperience, he over-estimated perhaps the value of the 356 pesos given by Paciano, though at that time was a fortune. What happened is that upon his arrival in Barcelona he had no money left, and had borrow from the Jesuits.
In his Diario, Rizal gives a detailed description of Singapore, spiced with personal comments, colored with poetic notes about Nature, which he does not in all the stops throughout the trip.
In May 1882, he embarked on the Djemnah of the Messageries Maritimes. Rizal begun to come in contact with occidental civilization, not only as regards these material comforts but also through contact with the passengers, among whom were Britishers, Spaniards, Siamese, Frenchmen and some 40 Dutch. Rizal did not waste time. He struck up acquaintance with the Frenchmen in order to improve his French.
On the 14th of May they arrived at the Punta de Gales (New South Wales), where they disembarked. From there they sailed to Colombo, the Senegalese capital. Here he rented a coach and hired a guide for the trip from Colombo to the Cape of Guardafui in the African peninsula of Somalia. They went through seven days of stormy weather, suffered the attendant dizziness. The Djemnah entered the Red Sea, which now had taken on a blue color in the same manner, as it becomes black during the nine months of ice. The heat and the full moon, which illuminated the night, reminded him of his country. And in a reverent invocation of God he implored Him "that He shower life and peace on his family, on the other side of the seas, where his people were, reserving for himself all the sufferings."
The next stop was Aden. He landed and noticed the lack of sanitation and hygiene: dirty tables on which refreshments were served, the ice broken with a nail and served with the hand, misery, poverty-ridden homes and absence of vegetation.
On the second of June they arrived at Suez where they stayed in quarantine for 24 hours. On entering the canal they were blocked by the remains of a damaged ship, and this delayed them for four days. At last they arrived at Port Said. He stepped down and visited the city. For the first time, he heard the La Marseillaise although it had been 90 years since Rouget de L'isle composed the Chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin. It struck him as an enthusiastic, menacing and, at the same time, sad song.
At last the ship entered the Mediterranean and after going through the straits which separates the Two Sicilies; the passengers had the chance to admire the snows of Mt. Etna, Mesina and its straits.
On the 11th of June they arrived at Naples. The silhouette and the smoke of Mt. Vesuvius inspired Rizal to compose poetic prose on the spot. He went down to the port, although they only had an hour and a half to make a tour of the city, made good use of the brief stop and went aboard on time.
On the night of June 12 they docked at Marseille and he hoped to land the following day. During the night he was filled with melancholy thinking of the good friends on board whom he was about to lose. He was definitely a sentimentalist, with a profound sense of the meaning of friendship, coupled with his predisposition to fall in love. He seemed deeply affected by the prospect of separation from two young girls.
He described Cannebiere, and praised the cleanliness of the hotel and the stores. Of his shipmates only two went to Spain: Buil and Pardo, with whom he traveled first class up to Barcelona. He had only 29 pesos and the ticket to the frontier cost 12 pesos.
On the 15th of June he arrived in Barcelona. His homesickness and loneliness had again rise to depression. He suffered, but with his will, determination and sense of duty, he would overcome all obstacles. He had learned much from his trip, from his personal observations, his conversations with the passengers, all of which made up an atmosphere totally different from what he had known till then. He began to see the Philippines from another perspective. Until then it was a dark picture, but from that moment on he saw it with a ray that shed light on the scene, albeit only partially. He also noted the attitude of some wealthy Spaniards regarding the Philippines.
Rizal arrived in Barcelona on the 15th of June 1882, accompanied by Pardo and Buil, his companions on the Djemnah trip. In his Diario, he complains of the way he was treated at Port Bou. He was sad – which inspired him to write poetry as he observed the scenery enrobe. He had no money left, but there were friends waiting for him and besides he was carrying a letter for the Jesuits.
Suddenly Barcelona loomed into view. The silhouette of the Montjuich, amidst the mists of the mountains, did not escape his sight. The vision served like an omen: 14 years later, before leaving for Manila, he was to enter the castle on the way to his execution.
He did not have a good first impression of the city, partly because he lodged at the narrow and dirty Calle de San Pablo at "Fonda de España", the entrance to which was through a dark alleyway. He came from Marseille, where he had stayed in a magnificent hotel, embellished with the grace of French politesse, which was in contrast to the gravity and rudeness of the Levantines. To the native, whether Mexican or Filipino, any Spaniard gives the impression of rudeness.
Jose wrote his parents from Port Said on the 7th of July the same year. He wrote again from Barcelona on the 23rd. He mentioned that the Jesuits had recommended another pensión house more "Christian" in character.
He located his countrymen and decided to transfer to the pensión house were Cabangis and other students of medicine stayed, on Sitges 3. In the place recommended by the Jesuits, one of the lodgers had by mistake taken his coat with his passport.
With the change of atmosphere and visits to the most important parts of the city, he gradually learned to put up with his situation. Since it was summer vacation, he could not enroll; he attended to his correspondence instead and fulfilled his promise to Basilio Teodoo, administrator of the paper Diariong Tagalog, of sending him an article that he entitled El Amor Patrio. He signed it Laong Laan, a pen name which meaning "prepared long since", or "predestined". It was published in number 20, issue of August 1883.
He says that he would "in a foreign land" dedicate his first words to his country, enveloped in the clouds and mists of the future. In other words, the Peninsula was for Rizal foreign land. From this remark one can be deduce that at that moment he was already a Filipino nationalist, albeit not a separatist.
El Diariong Tagalog was first bilingual paper in the Philippine press. Founded by Marcelo H. del Pilar, about whom we shall speak time and again, it was in circulation for only three months.
On the 6th of May Rizal received the first letter of Paciano, informing him among others of the great sadness of his parents due to his unexpected departure, and the enormous efforts he had to take in order to console them. We have already mentioned earlier this important letter which revealed the true reasons for Rizal's trip to Europe. Another letter of Paciano, dated 24th of July, relayed the sad news that cholera had struck in Manila; there were three deaths in Calamba. He informed him that he was sending his monthly stipend of 35 pesos, which would be under Tio Antonio's charge. During this period Jose received frequent letters from Jose Ma. Cecillio who kept him posted on his love affairs. For his part, Rizal, in a letter to Leandro Lopez says this of Spanish women: "The women here are beautiful (eyes, nose, mouth, skin), but they lack expression. They do not have that freshness of the face, that sweet look, etc."
During his stay in Barcelona he wrote various articles for the Diariong Tagalog which never saw the light of print for the simple reason that the paper folded up. He contributed his writings gratuitously, receiving only reimbursement of mailing cost. At the end of his stay in Barcelona he was tendered a Filipino dinner organized by Cabangis.
In September 1882, Rizal moved to Madrid to enroll there.
On the 10th of February 1881, a government presided over by Sagasta had been constituted. Sagasta, in spite of his liberal character, had postponed the establishment of universal suffrage in order to stay in the good graces of the rightists. This led to the creation of the dynastic left, under the banner of liberty of association, with Moret, Becerra and Montero Rios as the most prominent members. The Republican Federal Party, headed by Pi y Margall, was created in 1882. In the same year, a national labor congress was held in Barcelona and the Typographic Federation was founded. All of these sectors would have to be tapped when the time came for mobilizing public opinion in favor of the Philippine cause. But Rizal made contact with Pi y Margall only later. There is no evidence that he established relations with labor organizations, nor was it probable that he did, considering the elitist character of those who worked for the liberty of the Philippines.
Rizal saw with optimism the opportunities in Madrid for pursuing the claims of the Filipinos by exposing the realities of the Philippine situation. These were either unknown to the Spanish public or erroneously described. The Filipinos must rely on either the foreign press or their own. By establishing their own press the Filipinos could speak for themselves. It was necessary to demonstrate that the natives, although very docile, were as intelligent and as capable as any white man was.
In accordance with his plans, he enrolled in the College of Medicine at San Carlos Street, and in the College of Philosophy and Letters at San Bernardo Street. His vocation was Philosophy and Letters, although for his mission law would have been more useful.
Upon arriving in Madrid, he was happily surprised by the news that Circulo Hispano-Filipino had just been founded, composed of about 30 members, of which 20 were students. The rest were elderly (businessmen, military men and proprietors). Ironically, the latter showed more enthusiasm than the young men who were all concerned with the easy life. The Circulo published a magazine to which Rizal contributed in his capacity of socio de numero, although not a founder. The older members were Spaniards, former residents of the Philippines, and currently liberals. Among them the most prominent was D. Pedro Ortiga y Rey, ex-mayor of Manila under the regime of General de la Torre.
Rizal proceeded in Madrid by Eduardo de Lete, the three Paterno brothers, Pedro, Maximo and Antonio Ventura and Graciano López Jaena. The last had abandoned his studies in medicine in Valencia, and among the emigrants, was one of the most prestigious. A good writer, a magnificent orator, and with a character more marked for political leadership than Rizal, he had the most advanced ideology among the members of the group. Also in Madrid at the time, to mention only the most prominent, was Govantes and Aguirre.
As regards the Circulo Hispano-Filipino, he saw that it was not in line with the mission assigned him, for it had been reduced to a casino, a center of gatherings and gambling. He tried to transform it into a group that would constitute a launching point, in Spain, of the campaign for pursuing the aspirations of the Filipinos. When the government fell in 1883 and León y Castila ceased to be the Minister of the Colonies, the directive of the Circulo was to visit him and express their regrets. Days later, they went to greet the new minister, Sr. Nuñuz de Arce.
Once a week the Filipinos met at the house of D. Pedro Ortiga, who at that time had honorific position of adviser of the colonies. His daughter, Consuelo, a cultured and intelligent girl, motherless since childhood, lent a joyous air to those meetings. Rizal the eternal courtier, so fond of intelligent flattery and so skillful at play of words, found in Consuelo the opportunity to practice this art. He himself tells us the details in his Memorias.
The two met on the 16th of September, when Rizal had just arrived from Barcelona. But Rizal was not alone in this venture. He was competing with Eduardo de Lete and also with the Chinese-Tagalogs Antonio and Maximo Paterno. Although Consuelo was more inclined towards Rizal, there were vacillations on both sides. Summer came and they still not come to any definite decision.
In Rizal's Diario, on the 1st of January of 1883, he says that two days earlier, i.e., the night of the 30th of December; "he had a horrible nightmare in which he almost died". Exactly 13 years later he was executed. During those days he was steeped in melancholy.
Miguel Morayta, professor of history at the Universidad Central de Madrid, and a prestigious politician, requested his participation in a program in commemoration of Giordano Bruno. In his letter he writes: "The outstanding works of students will be read and, since I know your worth, I beg you to send me some of your writings to be read in this program. It is a manifestation in favor of freedom of thought and there is place for many thoughts besides that of Giordano.
Morayta was a great Filipinist. In 1896, when the insurrection in Luzon broke out, he was president of the Circulo Hispano-Filipino. He went to France, and from Bourg-Madame he protested "against the infamous supposition, that in that center (the Circulo) which was very Spanish, they conspired against Spain.
Morayta became the highest director of the Gran Oriente Español, but this was six years before the letter relative to Giordano was written.
The life of the "Circulo" languished. Its decadence was caused by various factors. In the first place some members had individualistic or personal motives. There was lack of unity among them. Rizal had earnestly counseled them in favor of this virtue, without which there could be no patriotism. Ambition or aspiration for leadership was another cause. But all these factors were internal causes that were not manifested externally. The financial factor was apparently what ended the life of the fortnightly. Membership fees could not cover the great expenses. A meeting was called to discuss the matter. Rizal spoke, proposing that expenses be reduced that they solicit financial aid from the Philippines and that dissolution be postponed for three months. His proposal was accepted, but the money supposed to come from the Philippines never arrived. The publication did not maintain the fighting spirit that Rizal hoped for. In reality, it merely reflected the activities of a recreational center, not of a society for the courageous struggle for the realization of the aspirations of the Filipinos. A ball was organized to raise funds and Rizal was asked to compose a poem to be recited during the occasion: 'Mi Piden Versos'. Some funds were collected but in the next meeting, by a majority of votes, including Rizal's the "Circulo" was dissolved.
The third of May 1883 gives us another demonstration of Rizal's doubting nature. He wrote in his Diario: "A year ago today I left my country. Should I curse, or should I celebrate this day?" Celebrate it, indeed, he should for, despite the vicissitudes, he was the one most responsible for the development of the process which led to the awakening of Philippine nationalism.
When the school year 1882-1883 end, Rizal obtained in medicine two grades of bueno (good), one aprobado (passed), and one sobresaliente (excellent). In Philosophy, notable, and in Letters, sobresaliente.
Rizal to Paris
Rizal did not wish to waste time in Madrid during the summer vacation. After he had taken the examination. He left for Paris, as he had told Consuelo Ortiga he would. He arrived in Paris on the 17th of June of 1883. On the 21st he wrote his parents and brother describing Paris and the Trip. He noted the urban development from Hendaya to Paris. The day after his arrival, Rizal accompanied by his countrymen, Zamora and Cunanan visited the Laennec Hospital and attended the operations performed by Doctor Nicaise. He compares this Hospital with that of San Carlos, finding the former superior. He continued the visit of Hospitals and in a letter to his parents and brother he describes the good impression that he had of the Hotel Dieu and the Museum Orfila of Comparative anatomy. He told of his visit to various museums, among them the Louvre.
On August 2 he wrote another letter to his parents in which he expresses his admiration and wonder at the resources that science availed of, in its application or techniques. He observes: "Everybody here talks of barometers, thermometers, etc., the way we (in the Philippines) talk about the miracles of San Agustin and San Procopio, of whom we know more than the saints themselves." Later, he adds: "On the feast of the 14th of July, the President of the Republic and the ministers themselves came in coaches drawn by two horses only. I almost looked down on them with disdain comparing them with our Governor-General and Archbishops who always ride in coaches pulled by six horses. The number of horses that pull one's coach signifies the weight and talent of the occupant. This is what I always believed before, and no friar could convince me to the contrary." Rizal went on describing the changes and development of his ideas, with a conviction that he did not hesitate in communicating to his parents.
In September, he returned to Madrid to begin the next academic year. He continued staying in drab boarding houses, for with the pension he was receiving from the Philippines he could not afford anything better. With this stipend, he had to pay not only for the matriculation fees in the two faculties, his textbooks and other reading materials. He installed himself at No.7 San Miguel St., but in October he moved to the Calle Naño, where he lived with his countrymen.
Looking for an instrument which would serve as a vehicle for his project, he thought of a publication exclusively by Filipinos, which would really have something to say and which would expose in a frank and direct style, different from that of the Circulo, the real situation in the Philippines. The idea was accepted in principle but when the time came for discussing the financial contributions the desertion was almost general. For this reason, in spite of appeals to the Filipino residents in other countries, the idea was finally abandoned.
It was then, perhaps, that the idea of writing a novel began to germinate in Rizal's mind, a novel would, like a painting with vivid colors, be the drama of his country. Thus was conceived the Noli Me Tangere.
The idea of an early death was like a refrain that kept coming back in his dreams, repeating itself in his saying and writings. Consuelo Ortiga, in her memoirs corresponding to his period, writes that she told Rizal: "If I believed in certain things, I would say that you will be immortal." Rizal not only rejected this but in addition replied" "I think I shall die soon. If something happens, something that exists only in my thoughts, you will see I was right."
What a hectic life he led! His work consisted of the exhausting tasks of studying for two professions, painting as well as the activities and responsibilities of his work in connection with the propaganda. Added to these were the financial difficulties, the harsh extremes of the climate of Madrid, the homesickness and longing for his family, plus the responsibility of having to serve as an example in all his actuation's.
Yet Rizal did not spare any effort when it was for the cause of his country. He thought of gathering the Filipino community in Madrid in a banquet on the 31st of December, with the New year's Eve as the excuse, but, in reality, to remind them of their task of working for their country's cause.
The gathering took place in the Café de Madrid. Towards the end, when toast were made, Rizal took advantage of the occasion to appeal to his compatriots to give place, among their activities, to political in favor of their country. As a consequence of the gathering a proposal was made to revive the Circulo Hispano-filipino. A meeting was called at Calle Sauco. All who came were students, except for Maximo, Pedro and Antonio. No resolutions were adopted, and considering his thought about the publication of a book, Rizal purposely desisted from presenting the question.
In May 1884, the gathering at the house of D. Pablo Ortiga were continued, due undoubtedly to the fact that Consuelo had become formally engaged to Lete; this, however, did not lead to matrimony. On the 28th of the same month the Memorias of Consuelo comes to an end. She writes that this time Rizal at the point of proposing but desisted because he did not wish to stand between her and his friend (Lete). This might have been one of the causes of the friction that arose subsequently between Rizal and Lete.
From the 5th of June the examination began. In surgical clinic he obtained a notable; in medical clinic he got a bueno. He was now a physician. The janitors congratulated him, and he took the opportunity to return the three duros that they had lent him. He wanted to obtain the title with a grade, and applied for the title of licentiate, after having pawned a ring in order to pay for the examination permit. But he only made aprobado.
In a letter to his parents he explains the reason for the poor grade: "The theme (question) was about modern theories and the president (of the panel) was Don Thomás Santero who was of antiquated doctrines!" In Philosophy and Letters, he had a definite triumph: In Greek, excellent. In Literature (Greek and Latin), excellent and a prize in historia universal. In his second course, excellent. Summarizing, he had three sobresalientes and one prize. It is evident that he had more inclination to Philosophy and Letters than to medicine.
Luna and Hidalgo, Honored
In 1884, a very important event shook the Filipino colony in Madrid out of the lethargy in which, through indifference and idleness, it was submerged. The Filipino painters Juan Luna and Félix Resurección Hidalgo suddenly brought prestige to their country through their art, their dedication and the quality of their work, demonstrating that the sons of Filipinos could equal the artistic creations of foreigners. The occasion was the National Exposition of Fine Arts of Madrid that year. In this competition, Juan Luna obtained a first medal, together with the Spaniards Moreno Carbonero and Muñoz Degrain. The Medal of Honor was not awarded. F.R. Hidalgo won the second medal. Luna was an Ilocano painter who went to Madrid in 1877 and who later moved to Rome on a pension. Because of common inclinations Luna cultivated the friendship of Rizal.
The prizes in themselves were, in principle, of relative importance with respect to the repercussion they had in the politics of the Filipinos in Spain, but an event took place related to them which strongly stirred the Filipino colony. We refer to the banquet, which took place on the 25th of June to celebrate the success of the two artists, at the Restaurante Inglés, in Lobo Street. Gracing the occasion were prominent personages, among them D. Segismundo Moret, who presided. He was Minister of State in 1885, a liberal, despite the law of jurisdiction of 1906, which, according to Fernández Almagro, marked the militaristic character of the monarchy. Moret was in sympathy with the Filipinos; it was to him as Minister of the Colonies that Cuba and Puerto Rico owed the granting of their autonomy, although very much delayed. Also present at the banquet were Andrés Mellado (famous mayor of Madrid), Rafel Ma. De Labra (famous Cuban leader), (the illustrious painter) Nin y Tudo, Morayta and many writers and artists of renown.
On that day the physiology of our hero was not affected by abundance of food, which would have clouded his intellect. On the contrary, he had not eaten the whole day, as he himself writes, for he had no money to pay for a meal. The splendor of the day compensated for his fasting. In the morning he won the first prize in Greek; in the evening he spoke with great courage and brilliance, lifting the veil of misconceptions that concealed the reality of the Philippine situation and exposing the truth. This astonished many, which till then had only viewed the Philippine scene with complacency and indifference. He started by saying that the era of paternalism was passing away, and that the Filipino race, plunged in deep lethargy during the dark night of history, had started to awaken, demanding in its stead the light of civilization. Afterwards, without naming names, he made an allusion to the friars, who, he said thinking only of the present, did not look to the future, nor weigh consequences, promoting corruption in towns, sowing the seeds of discord. Embellishing the speech, he cited the generosity and the nobility that were always present under Spanish skies. Even if Spain's flag were to disappear, he said, its memory would forever remain. He did not fail to call on the Filipino youth, "hope of my country", whom he aroused and spurred onwards, citing the excellent examples of Luna and Hidalgo. Finally, he offered a toast to Spain: that she may soon carry out the long awaited reforms in order that the two may unite into one nation enjoying the same rights and privileges.
The speech provoked a commotion. The metropolis had never heard a speech, which albeit restrained, had launched an attack against the friars, pointed out the privileges of the colonizers, and asked that the long-desired reforms be implemented at last. The presence of an audience of such elevated political, artistic and intellectual caliber lent great importance to his speech.
After Rizal, Graciano López-Jaena took the floor. He proved himself a good orator with a strong personality. More radical than our hero, he was influenced by the French Revolution. He hurled a virulent attack against the frailocracia. Following him were a dozen more speakers. The speeches ended with Moret's closing remarks.
It was a brilliant affair, the result of which not only gave the Filipinos in Spain inspiration and incentive but also visibly influenced their conduct, awakening political awareness among them. These events had also strong repercussion in the archipelago.
In August José Ma. Cecilio wrote from Manila congratulating Rizal on his speech and quoted the comments it had evoked among his countrymen. His mother, who was seriously concerned, due to inquiries about the speech, wrote him a letter right away, repeating the precepts she had taught him when he first entered the university: "Do not get involved in things that may give me sorrow. Do not fail in your duties as a Christian. Sometimes knowledge is what LEADS us to our perdition." (Italics supplied.)
If in the little town of Calamba Rizal's speech caused an expanding of excitement, the commotion in Manila was much greater, and naturally of a different character. Although their names were not mentioned, the friars felt alluded to. And although it was not a call to subversion, the authorities, together with the peninsular, took note of this disturbance of the status quo, which had been maintained up to that time, sometimes against the law.
After the examinations, he took a few days of rest and, tireless traveler that he was, made a short trip to Valencia and Sevilla.
In August 1884, he moved to Pizarro 13 in order to be near the university, and there he stayed until the end of the course, 1884-85. When he moved to Paris.
Rizal received his pension late. Paciano informed him of the acute financial situation of the family. The matter of Rizal's return was brought up. For long time this question became the subject of argument between Jose and his family and friends.
The determining factors of these two positions may be described as follows: on Rizal's part, his overwhelming homesickness sharpened every time he was in depression. The emotional effect of his absence on his parents, he wished not to be a burden to his family, given the economic situation of the moment, and finally, his indifference to life, which he was ready to give up in the fulfillment of his patriotic apostate. As for his family and friends united in a common front, they had only one reason to oppose his return to the Philippines: the risk it meant for him. The opposition reflected their evaluation of Rizal's actuation's and its possible harsh consequences if he returned under any danger. We have already noted the difference in the manner of weighing or judging certain attitudes in Madrid and in Manila. The effect at home of Rizal's speech is reflected in a letter of Paciano, which says: "Much is said about the speech that you made during the banquet in honor of our compatriot painters, and commenting on it, there are those who assure that you can never return. Some say that it is better that you stay there; others, that you have made enemies, and finally, there are those who affirm that you have also lost friends. But everybody is unanimous in that you should not return. These were the thoughts that have afflicted our mother and made her ill."
Since returning to the Philippines was not possible, he had two options: one, suggested by Paciano who proposed that he transfer to Hongkong the moment he finished with his course, and to settle there. The other alternative, adopted by him, was the idea of specializing in ophthalmology, preferably in Germany. Rizal was an admirer of the Germans for their organization, work, punctuality and methodical system, qualities that were common with his. He also appreciated the fact that the great advances in medicine originated in Germany. At the end of the school year of 1884 he paid for a monthly "review" in order to be abreast of the most modern ideas in medicine, which, according to him, were German.
In deference to the letters of Paciano and of some friends, Rizal put off his plan of returning to the Philippines. He continued his studies, put more attention to ophthalmology and continued writing his novel.
In March he wrote Paciano expressing regret over the delay of his pension. Paciano answered on July 16 giving the reason. He also related the incidents that occurred in the hacienda de Calamba, a property of the Dominicans, embracing almost all the land around the town. When June of that year came, all the lessees had to pay tribute. Contrary to their usual practices, this time not one of them did. The administrator (friar) without inquiring as to reason for their failure (unwillingness, bad harvest, low prices, the progressive increases of the tribute, or material impossibility, etc.), declared all the lands open to lease to the residents of the nearby towns. After many incidents, together with the sale of sugar at lower prices in order to pay partially, the lessees came to an agreement. We have narrated these incidents to show the first phase of that bitter quarrel due to which the Rizal family had later to file a suit against the Dominicans. We shall deal with this in subsequent chapters.
Paris, France (1997).
Sir Lino Paras with wife Elsa Castor, grandson Louron Adrian and grand daughter Kaitlyn took time for a souvenir photo, While doing research work in France about Rizal's life.
Meanwhile, Rizal completed the academic requirements for the doctorate in Medicine, with the following grades: Aprobado (passed) in history of medical science; Bueno (good) in surgical analysis; and Sobresaliente (excellent) in normal histology. In Philosophy and Letters, he obtained Sobresaliente in the second course in Greek and Hebrew, and Bueno in history of Spain.
On the 19th of June 1885, Rizal obtained the title of licentiate (in Philosophy and Letters) with a general rating of Sobresaliente. All in all he had obtained 12 grades of Sobresaliente with two honorable mentions, one Notable (highly satisfactory) and a Bueno.
In 1885 he decided to move, first to Paris and then to Germany, in order to take up specialization in ophthalmology. He had weighed both the favorable and the adverse sides of the decision, from the scientific as well as the practical point of view, considering that it involved surgical operations. He had also taken into account Paciano's advice, always couched in discreet suggestions and not as direct orders, showing Paciano's respect for his younger brother.
Rizal in Paris
In the month of July 1885, Rizal left Madrid for Paris. He was disposed to complete his medical studies, to take up theoretical and practical aspects of specialization in ophthalmology as well as to improve his command of French, English, and German. Instead of passing through Irun, he passed through Barcelona and Port Bou. He stayed in Barcelona for a while, where he met and stayed with Maximo Viola of whom he had previously heard. Upon the request of Rizal, the two shared a room; they became very good friends and made plans for a common trip around Europe.
In Paris, Rizal stayed in the residence of the painter Luna. There he continued writing the Noli, which was three-fourths finished. He made little contacts with the French, much less than what he had maintained with the Spaniards – this, perhaps, due to his shyness and natural aloofness. Germany was an exception, but, in this case, he had no alternative, for, due to the difficulty of the language, there was hardly any Filipino to be found in that country.
The chronological coincidence in the stay of Rizal and Freud in Paris is interesting. In October 1885, the Viennese doctor arrived in Salpetriere to attend the clinical lessons of the famous Charcot. Both left Paris at the same time – in February of 1886. It is not unlikely that the two met, for, in January 1886, the American ophthalmologist Knapp visited the clinic of Doctor Wecker. There was a gathering, which Freud attended, to discuss the introduction of cocaine as anesthesia. It was to that clinic that one day Rizal was allowed to assist and, if necessary, to collaborate in the consultation. We do not know whether or not there was an introduction, but it is certain that Rizal was allowed to assist in that most famous ophthalmologic clinic in Europe, where among all others the greatest number of surgical operations were performed.
From October 1885, to the latter part of January 1886, he learned as fast as he could the technique of surgical operations, paying special attention to the operation of the cataract, in which Wecker has an authority. He proceeded, step by step, in his training with rigorous dedication; his goal set on the future operation on his mother. He had the honor of being invited to Wecker's home. At the clinic, however, he was not the only assistant; there were other assistants of various nationalities, united by the common bond of the French language which at that time was the universal language, more so than it is today. During the last days of January he wrote his family informing them that he already knew the technique of ophthalmologic operations. This would seem like an exaggeration, if one did not know his humility and love for the truth.
In spite of the prestige of Wecker and the welcome he had given Rizal, Germany still attracted him. He bade goodbye to Wecker and went back to Heidelberg. This action was not well taken by the ophthalmologist.
At about this time Rizal remembered that on the 31st of December 1885, the traditional New Years' Eve dinner would be held. Since he could not attend, he instead sent a long letter to be read on that day. In the letter he summarized the events that had happened within the Filipino community since 1882. The laziness and gambling of the past had been, in this third year, replaced by better attendance in classes and the disappearance of gambling, and the great majority of the students had passed their courses. He ended his letter with the remark: "In the most difficult days our love for our country has never waned. Let us affirm our unity and solidarity, each time stronger, and may the good of our country be our only motive."
Rizal left Paris under snow. He stayed in Strasbourg one day. And on the next day of February 3, 1886, he arrived in Heidelberg. The city was like a living Christmas card, with its castle, its university, the red-tiled roofs of its houses, which, in the distance, blended with the vegetation that covered the gentle hills around the frozen Neckar. This river, with its Roman Bridge link and as the gate to the oldest University of Germany, founded in 1386.
Heidelberg University, October 2000.
The researcher (Sir Lino Paras) at famous old University and romantic
surroundings. One hundred fourteen years ago, Dr. Jose Rizal visited and met German Law Student here and attended some lecture courses to satisfy his knowledge.
Rizal had idealized Germany, but the imagination is apt to clash with the reality. In a letter to his parents, he said: "In Germany I see only militarism. Everything is full of potatoes. At night, tea with potatoes and cold meat."
The day after his arrival at Heidelberg, he presented himself at the famous ophthalmologic clinic known as Augen-Klinik, under the direction of the famous oculist whose name, curiously enough, was the same as the one in Paris, except that it is spelled differently: Becker. But Rizal was disappointed. Otto Becker, according to him, was not as excellent as a surgeon nor was he as famous as Wecker, and the operations performed there were not as many as those in Paris. Wecker had advised Rizal to return to his side, and Rizal, promised to do so. Now that he saw the contrast, he was more eager than ever to fulfill his promise.
With his meager pension, he was obliged to take a room with light, service and fire for eight duros a month. At noon he ate at the restaurant. At night he supped German style: tea, bread and butter.
The scientific standard of the Augen-Klinik was very high; despite Rizal's in favorable comments regarding other aspects. Otto Becker was not only a scientist in the field of ophthalmology but was also a scholar and an aesthetician in other fields of culture.
He was educated in the School of Vienna, and the chair in Heidelberg was created for him. Prescription and specifications recommended by him became models in all of Germany. Thus, at the Augen-Klinik, Rizal learned the scientific basis of the practical skills, which he had acquired in Paris.
In Heidelberg Rizal had more time to write his family than he did in other cities, judging from the frequency of his letters. On the 11th of March he wrote his sister Trinidad and took the opportunity to describe the German women, in comparison with Filipinas. He also wrote a song (poem) on the education of women by means of reading and study.
He devoted his mornings to the study of ophthalmology, his afternoons to the study of German. Twice a week, he used to go to the beerhouse which the Suabian students frequented, but due perhaps to his shyness, or perhaps because of his deficient oral German, he was somewhat isolated from them. His love for Nature took him to the outskirts of Heidelberg where he enjoyed the beautiful scenery. When spring came, he went to the left bank of the Neckar, from where he contemplated the beauty of the river. Now with a visible course, flowing beneath the arches of the Roman bridge, racing toward the Rhine, while on the opposite bank rose the city in a typical horizon of old building of the past, tinted by the polychrome of time. It must have been while watching this scenery that sprang from his heart; the beautiful poem entitled "To the flowers of Heidelberg". From this poem we can imagine the writer, full of puissant nostalgia, longing for his mother country, looking for flowers at the edge of the Neckar, ambassadress that would bear the message of this traveler to his country. Filled with love of country, it is a romantic composition which expresses the sentiments of Rizal aroused by feeling of isolation in which he found himself, owing to the enormous gap between the Latin world to which by education and culture he belonged, and the Germanic world.
At about the same time that he composed this poem, he made an excursion to the woods between Heidelberg and the small town of Wilhelmsfeld. Here he met the Protestant pastor Karl Ullmer. Between these two, there quickly sprang a bond of friendship, for Rizal had a very attractive and engaging personality, once he overcame the initial shyness. When the Reverend Ullmer and his wife learned of his language difficulties, they suggested that he move to Wilhelmsfeld where he was a vicar. They offered to put him up at their home, which offer was accepted, and he moved to the place on the 6th of May. There he lived for two months, enjoying the smiling spring, the peace of the green valleys, carpeted with vegetation, and the affection of a family that unselfishly offered him the human warmth, which his sensitive spirit needed.
While Rizal was taking a rest cure, which he badly needed, bad news came regarding the Filipino Community in Madrid where dissension had arisen.
At about this time El Socialista was founded by Pablo Iglesias (October 12,1886). We stress this date for the paper fought against colonialism in the Philippines and the rest of the Spanish colonial empire.
On the 17th of May 1886, Alfonso XIII was born, posthumous son of Alfonso XII. The kingdom enjoyed a brief spell of peace before the outbreak of civil war.
Obviously, the extensive correspondence that Rizal maintained was not just compliance with social duties or courtesy but an organized system, for the purpose of getting information on the happenings in the Philippines, in Spain and the rest of Europe. Back in Heidelberg, in the month of June 1886, he received plenty of news.
On the first day of June, the Spanish delegate and ex-president of the Republic, Nicolás Salmerón interceded in Congress in favor of the Philippines, since the Islands, despite being considered Spanish territory, were not represented in the Chamber. A few days earlier, the Cuban autonomies delegate Rafael Montero had proposed that the electoral laws, both provincial and local, in force in the metropolis be applied to Cuba. This indirectly strengthened the cause of the Filipinos. On the 12th of July, the Sociedad Hispano-Filipina was constituted. It advocated a moderate program, with liberal and assimilation tendencies and was headed by Miguel Morayta, who is already known to us. A university professor of intellectual prestige, he was also a prominent Mason, although the majority of the members were not. The magazine España en Filipinas, as an organ of dissemination, was born and was directed by Lete, who began his campaign in March of 1887.
Rizal - Blumentritt
A very important event in the life of Rizal took place on the last day of this month: He had received information regarding this Austrian, who was interested in some aspects of the Philippines, especially those concerning Filipinos and Spaniards. There was a group of German scholars, studying the ethnography, cartography and autochthonous linguistic data which, although published only in specialized magazines, were of great value to the Filipino people. Among the group were Jagor, A.B. Meyer and Boettger. Professor Blumentritt, eight years older than Rizal, was teaching geography and history in the Imperial Atheneum of Leitmeritz (Bohemia), at that time known as Austria- Hungary. Without living his home near the Elba, he had published several ethnographic and linguistic works about the Philippines. On July 31, 1886, Rizal wrote him from Heidelberg: "Having heard that you are studying our language and have published some works regarding it, permit me to send you a valuable book, written by a countryman of mine in Tagalog. The Spanish version is mediocre, for the author is just a humble writer, but the Tagalog part is very good and Tagalog is the language in our province."
While awaiting the reply of Blumentritt, the celebration of the fifth centennial of the foundation of the university took place, coinciding with the end of the term. Rizal described this in his Memorias with enthusiasm, at the same time with sadness, at having to leave the happy city – "to leave friendships that have just begun, and to be separated from persons one appreciates, never to see them again."
He left Heidelberg for Leipzig not taking the usual direct route. His curiosity urged him to take a long trip, mostly by boat, passing through thirty-five towns and cities, a great number of them along the Rhine. It was a fantastic array of cities: Mannheim, Magundia, Lorelei, Bonn, Coblenza and many others. From Frankfurt he proceeded to Leipzig by train, this time on third class, and arrived there on the 15th of August 1886.
A photograph of Blumentritt in his last years shows his very Germanic looks, with short-cropped hair, a kaiser-like moustache, the inevitable uniform and the obligatory medals. As to his political ideas, he was rather conservative but tolerant. He was a Catholic. With respect to the relations between Spain and the Philippines, he was more of Hispanist than Rizal was. In the course of this work, we shall see the transformation in the ideas of Blumentritt in spite of the fact that he was older than Rizal was. Gradually gave up his point of view, adopting those of Rizal and converting himself into a collaborator in the struggle for the liberation of the Philippines. Like Rizal, he was very punctilious in the matter of letter writing and correspondence. He in turn sent him the two books of Artez y Lenguas de la Lengua Tagala, published by the friars, which Rizal acknowledge gratefully while criticizing the intellectual point of view of the author.
During his stay in Germany, Rizal continued to develop his Tagalog and upon the request of some friends in the Philippines, made translations of Schiller. Paciano sent these to the press for publication. The friendship between the two became even firmer, and the exchange of letters was never less than once a week in frequency. Around the end of August, the Austrian professor sent him a Vocabulario tagalo-Alemán that earned the admiration and amazement of Rizal. Furthermore, he wrote him a letter that excites his curiosity: he told him of Kern, professor of Sanskrit in the University of Leyden, of Virchow, of Jagor, of the Library of Vienna, etc. Rizal, enthused with such scientific program, wanted to undertake all of it. Between him and Blumentritt they resumed by correspondence the polemic regarding the friars. Blumentritt tried to justify the acts of the friars while Rizal attacked them for those acts.
From that time on, thanks to the encounter with Blumentritt, Rizal not only broke his isolation but, as a result of Blumetritt's introduction, became immersed in the world of the intellectuals, of European Filipinists.
Rizal stayed two months in Leipzig, studying and negotiating the price of the editing and printing of his novel. These negotiations were not limited to Leipzig but extended to Spain. Viola wrote him from Barcelona, sending him an estimate of the cost, with the condition that the printing be delayed by one year. Evaristo Aguirre (Cawit) also wrote him expressing regret that, due to the cost of printing, it could not be done immediately. He liked the city of Leipzig. Besides, it was the most inexpensive among the cities he had visited. Here he met another Filipinist who had traveled in the Philippines for two months, after Rizal's departure. This was Dr. Hans Meyer, director (publisher) of one of the biggest encyclopedias in Germany. He did him the courtesy of giving him a book about the Igorots.
It was during his stay in Leipzig that a military uprising, led by the Republican Brigadier Villacampa, took place in Madrid. This uprising was suppressed. That was a progressivism opportunity that the Philippines lost. On the 9th of October, the poet of Barcelona Victor Balaguer was named Minister of the Colonies, under the administration of Sagasta.
Rizal in Berlin
Rizal decided to stay in Berlin where he expected to find more possibilities for the publication of his novel, and where prevails the best scientific atmosphere in Germany. But before that he made a short visit to Dresden, arriving there on the 29th of October 1886. We do not know whether he had visited the Museo del Prado (Madrid), but of Dresden he made a detailed description, full of praise for its picture gallery. He also visited the scholar, A.B. Meyer, illustrious Filipinist.
After staying in Dresden for three days, he arrived in Berlin on the first of November 1886. His plan was to reside in the capital for five to six weeks, as he mentioned in his letter to Ullmer. But the printing of his novel alone would take six weeks. He spent the time improving his German, attending to the publication of his novel and maintaining scientific relations with German scholars, without neglecting Philippine political affairs relating to his mission in Europe. A.B. Meyer presented him to the Ethnographic Society of Berlin. Upon presentation of a work on Tagalog versification, which was published in the annals of the society, he was admitted as a member. A.B. Meyer knew the Philippines very well, having earlier traveled extensively in the Islands in connection with his study of natural history.
Jagor had also visited the Philippines and written about the Aetas, called Negritos in the country. As a member of the geographic Society of Berlin he presented Rizal to the society. But of all these German scientists, the most outstanding were the Messrs. Virchow, father and son, whose friendship with Rizal was also due to the intervention of Blumentritt. Today, the memory of Rodolfo Virchow (1821-1902) is held in honor by the medical profession.
In view of the frequency of the interchange of letters between Rizal and Blumentritt, it is not surprising that the latter was the first one to have news of Rizal's illness. He complained that he could not work as much as he would wish to, as he suffered from a chest ailment. Considering the symptoms he showed he feared he was suffering from a serious disease. He recalled that the doctor at the Ateneo de Manila had diagnosed his case, according to the criteria of those days, as tuberculosis.
On the 11th of December, in answer to Rizal's telegram, Viola arrived in Berlin. Rizal was not able to meet him at the station because he had hardly slept the night before. Viola, who had just finished his medical studies, made a clinical examination of his friend, beginning, as he should with clinical history, including an investigation of his family history.
Was he the first patient of Viola? This is almost certain. Viola had not even had time to be an intern in Barcelona, nor did he have any experience other than the clinical cases studied during the course. Unfortunately, as a result of the bookish method in that university – to the detriment of clinical experience – actual case studies were few. This was the defect of the Spanish University of the epoch.
The examination given by Viola is very interesting, can be summarized thus: "Afternoon fevers preceded by chills, slight cough, feeling of fatigue, and haggardness." By the end of December Rizal was still ill, but with less fever. This did not leave him completely, though as he wrote Blumentritt, he had a very strong urge to drink water and he could not work at night because the fever would rise again and he would perspire profusely. In addition, he suffered from a slight case of hemoptysis. Aside from working less, Rizal had to treat himself. But it seemed that the only medication he had taken was arsenic that at that time was only known specific treatment. By the end of December, he observed in himself a feeling of nervous excitation. This was perhaps due to an overdose of arsenic (Fowler's liquor) which he considered very effective for his illness. After an examination, Viola rejected the diagnosis of tuberculosis made by Rizal, attributing the condition to malnutrition, excessive work, insufficient and unvaried food and excessive gymnastic exercises, to which Rizal had a great inclination. Did Viola make this diagnosis just to calm him down? Viola very tactfully advised him to see a specialist. The German specialist confirmed the opinion of Maximo, but – and we stress this – neither of them could give definite diagnosis of any other specific disease, although both rejected tuberculosis and agreed that arsenic treatment should be continued. The duration of the illness and the symptoms described would lead one to think of pulmonary tuberculosis, which could only be rejected if, at the time, x-rays were available. Rizal stopped going to the gymnasium, worked less and increased his nourishment. But he attended punctually to his correspondence.
Rizal, Suspected as a Spy
While still prostate in bed, he was visited by the police, who required him to present his passport, giving him a period of three weeks to obtain it. Rizal went to the embassy, and the ambassador, the Count de Benomar, promised that he would attend to the matter. Days passed and still no passport, in spite of the fact that the son of Moret (a student recently arrived in Berlin) was an attaché whom Rizal had helped with his study of German.
Finally, Benomar learned that the matter was within the jurisdiction of the consulate and not within his. With that the danger of expulsion which threatened Rizal was finally dispelled. The chief of police explained that they had mistaken him for a French spy because he had visited so many small and insignificant towns and villages of France. To this, Rizal replied that being a student of ethnography, he had chosen to conduct his study in the small towns. In view of this, and probably after having obtained additional secret information, they stopped molesting him.
Making up for this unpleasant incident, Rizal subsequently had the satisfaction of being named, at the age of 26, a member of the Societies of Anthropology and Geography. His membership did not prevent him from assisting at the ophthalmologic clinic of Dr. Schultzer beginning February 1887, as collaborator. He also worked with the son of Doctor Virchow, professor of descriptive anatomy at the university.
Rizal's Ideology, 1887
When Rizal left Manila in 1882 he did not have any definite political ideology. He had some general ideas, but these lacked the depth and distinction that experience in politics and the study of science were to give him. Among his fundamental ideas was that the idea of nationalism (among the Filipinos) was, at that moment, something premature and too radical. But his position gradually changed with events. In any case, he always avoided radicalism and violence. When the Madrid students rallied behind Morayta when he made an opposition speech at the opening of the academic year of 1884-85 (which led to the first public demonstration in the university and to its subsequent closure), there is no evidence that Rizal participated in the demonstration. Neither are their allusions in his copious correspondence to these events. Yet Morayta had given him special attention, in spite of the gap between them.
Neither was he in any way involved with labor parties although in 1879 the Socialist Party was already in existence, and the publication El Socialista has started in 1886. Rizal evidently did not describe to this paper, for in his very detailed Diario mention is made only of a subscription to El Liberal.
Rizal was an admirer of the Madrid bourgeoisie. From Heidelberg he wrote: "The most beautiful thing about Madrid is the bourgeoisie!" Adding some not very favorable comments on the Spanish lower classes.
Rizal was not a man of action but a member of the Filipino intelligentsia; faithful to the concept that education would lead to emancipation. Bound to this concept for life, he addressed himself more to be the elite rather than to be masses.
In his inveterate skepticism, Rizal, speaking of the Philippines, believed that separation was at the moment not possible, for Spain was incapable of learning any lesson from the loss of her colonies in the New World. His aspirations regarding emancipation in the distant future were very moderate. "Under the present circumstances, we do not desire separation from Spain; all that we ask for is greater attention, better education, better government employees, one or two delegates and more security for us and our properties. Spain could win the appreciation of the Filipinos if she were only reasonable. But as the Latin saying goes, 'Quos vult perdere Jupiter, prius dementat.' (He whom Jupiter wishes to lose he first makes him lose his mind.)"
This Latin expression determined the posture of Rizal, not only for the moment but also in the future.
The religious concepts of Rizal, which were formed before his departure from Manila, underwent a transformation when he was in Europe. His political ideology that was still in the nucleus stage when he left for the continent began to take shape only in the course of his studies in Europe. And was influenced by real experiences as well as by the unfolding of political events and the ideological struggle that went on around him.
Rizal left the Philippines a fervent and militant Catholic, except in one respect – his attitude towards the friars who meddled in the economic policies of the Spanish government as well as in its conduct towards the people, and took possession of a good part of the land.
All these were, however, but the external manifestations of the more radical events taking place in the metropolis, the colonial policies of the two parties taking turns in power, supported by caciques (landowners) and by a large part of the army.
Starting from this fissure, the edifice of Rizal's Catholic faith began to weaken. From his very detailed lists of expenses, we learn that this library was stocked with volumes of Montesquieu and Rousseau, in addition to the complete works of Voltaire. Finally, the concepts of Masonry completed his opposing views on doctrine. He remained, fundamentally, a good Christian until death. But we have evidence to the effect that, in 1887 he no longer believed in purgatory or in hell, and many other things, which he now considered idolatry. The subject of religion profoundly obsessed Rizal. The obsession did not remain in the realm of mere ideas but was a real problem to be studied profoundly, researched and documented, and later analyzed objectively.
Hence, the surprise and failure of Father Pastells when he started a debate on doctrine with Rizal. The brilliance of Rizal's reputation was all the more amazing, considering that in Dapitan Rizal had no documentary sources, and discussed the topic calamo currente. Father Pastells did not know that during Rizal's stay in Berlin, he had studied Greek and Latin texts on the Gospel. And had also studied Hebrew in order to be able to read the texts written in this language regarding Christianity. If the need arose, to meet the polemics that his novel could excite!
As previously mentioned, Rizal took great efforts in searching all over Europe for a publisher for his novel – one who would not charge him too much and would print the book in the shortest possible time. All throughout urge was born of the presentiment that he was going to die young.
The Noli was finally printed in Berlin by a society that provided work to women, the name that did not correspond to an official publisher but to a corporation. The price was 300 pesos for 2,000 copies, a reasonable price. But Rizal did not have even that amount. Viola offered him a loan, which, only after much insistence by Viola, Rizal accepted so that the printing could be started. Thus, a great Filipino writer was launched on the road to fame, one which would expose to the world the political, social and economic realities of the Philippines, using the Spanish language as medium, for greater and more effective international dissemination. Later on, there would be time for translation into Tagalog, for the benefit of Filipinos who did not read Spanish.
The book's dedication (to his country) is dated 1886, but the novel was not circulated until March 1887, the interval between the dates having been taken up by the processes of printing and binding. The work was fully completed only on the 21st of February 1887.
The Latin expression that Rizal used as title of his book gives the reader no hint as to its contents. It also gives an impression of pedantry on the part of the author, although nothing could be farther from truth.
Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) is taken from the Gospel of St. John chapter 20, vol.17, which words Jesus spoke in greeting Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. With these words, Rizal intimated that the topics treated in his work, although known to all, nobody had dared divulge. (He who dared speak of them publicly – we add – would suffer the consequences.) The patriot knew the dangers that were involved in exposing a sick society, but considering that the welfare of his country depended on it, his sense of duty gave him the courage to vigorously pursue his undertaking.
Utilizing his own talent in painting, he himself did the design for the cover. He delineated the various topics of the book, as though announcing its contents. The title is inscribed diagonally across the page. On the upper left-hand corner is the black silhouette of a Filipina; the cross over a tomb, symbolizing faith, and surrounded with roses, is a poetic representation. The sunflower which searches for the light, to illumine reason; the bamboo, so typical of the Philippine landscape and, finally, the feet of a friar shod in sandals, are other symbols that give glimpses into the contents of the book. The whip and the headgear of a guardia civil complete the drawing. Beneath the title, the dedication to his parents is almost covered and scarcely readable. It is dated Berlin 1887.
The hero, Crisostomo Ibarra, is a young and wealthy Spanish mestizo, a liberal inspired by the best intentions for the progress and liberalization of the Philippines. He has just arrived from Europe, where for seven years he has been studying. His father has incurred the ire of Father Damaso, and Crisostomo has inherited his enmity. Because of an incident, Rafael Ibarra, father of Crisostomo, is accused of being a heretic and a filibustero and dies in jail under very questionable circumstances. When Crisostomo arrives, these events have already transpired; he knows nothing about them.
In his desire to alleviate the condition of his country, Ibarra decides to build, at his own expense, a school for his town. But during the corner stone lying, mysterious forces plan an "accident" to kill Ibarra. He escapes death through the intervention of Elias, the noblest character in the novel. During the luncheon that follows the ceremonies, Father Damaso assails Ibarra with malignant remarks, mocking and insulting those who go to Europe to study, in addition to offending the memory of his father. Crisostomo hits him on the head and the friar falls down on the floor. The consequences are very grave for Ibarra. He is excommunicated and ostracized, so that nobody receives him, not even Maria Clara, his sweet, pure and innocent sweetheart.
Subsequently, an insurrection is alleged to have taken place, and Crisostomo is implicated, arrested and jailed. Elias helps him escape from prison, accompanies him as he flees from the pursuers, and is killed in the flight, the savior of Crisostomo.
Aims of Noli
As Rizal himself explains, he wrote the Noli "to awaken the feelings of his countrymen". The book is denunciation of a political system founded on the privilege of the rulers, discrimination against the ruled and liberty of the Filipino people. For the presentation of his arguments, Rizal chose to depict a series of typical Filipino scenes in which he vividly and realistically describes the classical types in the country during that era, including the Spanish peninsulars, with their virtues and vices. These descriptions reveal his excellent gift of observation. In his criticisms of the religious orders, he directs his attack especially against the Dominicans and the Franciscans, principally in the figure of Father Damaso who he presents as an intolerable fanatic and the adulterous father of Maria Clara. The Jesuits, on the other hand, are treated with considerable respect and consideration. The abuses of the police authorities are revealed in the dialogue. The remarks about the guardia civil may reflect the wounds left in Rizal's and his mother's hearts by painful experiences with the force.
The description of typical local scenes, done with great vividness and realism, recreates the town fiesta. The pompous and magnificent scenes in the houses of opulent Filipinos, the cockpit, the school teacher and his surroundings, the great church feast, the incidents in the headquarters and lodgings of the guardia civil, the stage presentations, etc. In these descriptions of Filipino manners and custom as well as folklore, Rizal speaks through his characters, severely censuring superstition, advocating the fight against ignorance and illiteracy. Criticizing political opportunism, the enrichment of some peninsulars – the most ignorant – who, on top of it all, speak ill of the country and its defects. He offers his rationalistic opinion regarding indulgences, the papal bulls, candles that are supposed to drive away the tulisanes, the preference for the ringing of bells to the use of lightning rods when there are storms, etc. But contrary to what many have affirmed, in no instance does Rizal show himself an enemy of Spain or an advocate of separatism. When asked, during a dinner which country he liked best, Ibarra replies: "Any free country in Europe".
On another occasion, in his idyll with Maria Clara, he speaks of her as the poetic incarnation, of the Philippines. That beautiful country which unites the great virtues of Mother Spain and the beautiful qualities of a young nation, in the same manner as all the beautiful components of the patrimony of both races are united in yourself.
Rizal, in the words of Ibarra, recognizes that the Philippines is religious and loves Spain. But in a discussion with philosopher Tasio, rich in ideas, the latter replies that although some Spanish ministers did introduce reforms, these were nullified in the lower spheres, due to the over-riding desire for self-enrichment and to the ignorance of the people, who allowed all of these without limit. "The royal decrees will not correct the abuses, as long as the authorities do not see to the implementation, as long as there is no freedom of expression against the tyrants."
Not all the Spaniards that figure in the novel are censured. The Governor-General, Lieutenant Guevara and Don Tiburcio, among others are presented as worthy, noble and honest persons. The way he describes and delineates the persons of the Governor-General brings to mind the personality of Emilio Terrero, but in the manner of a prophecy, for he had written the Noli before he came to know Terrero.
The character of greatest worth is Elias. His humane qualities, his courage, his willingness to give up his life in order to save others, his strong conviction and decisiveness, his honesty and patriotism, make his figure the most outstanding among all the other characters. Since he is a peasant, he represents the Filipino native into whom Rizal has poured all the virtues of the Tagalog race. The dialogues between him and Ibarra are most interesting, showing the ideological differences that separate them as well as the points on which they agree.
Both believe in God; both are rationalistic: Elias intuitively, Ibarra due to his cultural and scientific background. The peasant is denied human justice and the right of man to be judged by his equals. He protests the domination of some classes over others. Elias is wanted because of his political ideas; these he presents to Ibarra every time they meet. Ibarra disputes, although without much force, the most progressive ideas of Elias, whose arguments are surprisingly much more solid than those of Crisostomo do. At no time does not ask for independence, nor does he insult Spain, but attacks the political power of the religious orders. The conversion of honest persons into tulisanes became the conduct of some officials of the administration, keeping of the people in ignorance and the discrimination between peninsular and Filipino priests. Elias is a native, an Indio who speaks the voice of the people. Ibarra is a man very much like Rizal in some aspects: "I have not been brought up among the people, and perhaps I do not know their needs. I have spent my childhood in the Jesuit college; I grew up in Europe, have been educated from books. What the writers have not written I know nothing about."
Some people believe that Ibarra personifies Rizal, and Maria Clara, Leonor Rivera, and Elias, Bonifacio. There are many similarities, but it cannot be accepted that this was in accordance with a preconceived plan of Rizal. Among other reasons, Rizal did not know Bonifacio. Admitting that Ibarra personifies Rizal; the latter has much of Elias, too, in the arguments that arose between the two, Ibarra, in some cases, ends up accepting the thesis of his opponent, either explicitly of tacitly.
Rizal represents the case of Sisa, the mother of the persecuted boys, whose mental derangement, as pointed out by L. Santiago, is more scientific than of literary value, citing as he does the influence of sociological problems in the etiology of a mental illness. This criterion is more akin to present-day opinions than those maintained during that period.
Criticism of the Noli
First of all, let us state that this being Rizal's first novel is of no importance in this criticism. Whatever success he attained is the fruit of his innate art, not of his experience. In literary terms, the novel does not reach great heights. Neither the vocabulary nor the style, which lacks conciseness, would have merited for the author a place in the Academy of Languages. The construction is frequently defective, and he is sometimes inclined to the use of Tagalismos (corruption of the Spanish by the use of a Tagalog word or part of a word.) These lapses are found even in his later works.
All This can be explained: in his 7 years at the Ateneo, he hardly spoke anything but Tagalog, his natural language, which has no analogy or similarity whatsoever to Spanish, and with a very different spelling and syntax. We may recall that his less than excellent performance during his first year at the Ateneo was due exclusively to his deficient Spanish. Furthermore, when he wrote the Noli, he was alternating his study of Spanish with French, and later on, with English and German, each with its own different construction. Besides, when Rizal wrote, he was not moved by literary motives but by the desire to transmit a message to his people that would lead them to liberty by means of education and culture.
In a letter to Ponce from London he says, "We do not write for anything or for anybody but for the cause of our country." In his letters to others, he advised them to write, even if the style were deficient. He himself, with his loves of perfection, put his best efforts into polishing his writings (Figaro), whose style he admired tremendously.
The Noli expresses the personality of Rizal – a romantic, not in the sense of belonging to the Romantic Movement in literature, whose exponents were Mme. De Stael, Victor Hugo and Lamartine, but in the sense that he was a sentimentalist, an idealist, and a dreamer.
Rizal, like Larra, utilized irony, for the latter too had to fight against censorship and resorted to caustic metaphor. From the literary point of view, the best parts of the work are the vivid descriptions of the people's customs and manners, in which he successfully pictures Philippine society, with the minute descriptive details of a keen observer. Into these descriptions he injects his socio-political message, to awaken his people from the lethargy in which they were submerged. In this sense, he is like Figaro, who, in his articles on manners and customs, laid an under-current of fine political criticism.
Criticism of the book may be, divided into that of his friends and that of his dictators. Since Blumentritt was among the best of his friends, we shall begin with his opinion regarding the Noli. The Austrian professor begins by giving a historical background of the conquest and the conquistadores, giving the differences between the various periods, and then provides a biographical sketch of Rizal. Following this, he proceeds with an explanation of the aims of the book, which are already known to us. He points out that the characters are not vague personifications but authentic pictures of people who have existed before and still exist. Blumentritt notes that the novel was censored on the recommendation of Father Font, an Agustinian, who was assigned to submit a report and recommendation on the book.
Salva Guarda Hotel.
The researcher (Sir Lino Paras) stays in this Hotel from May 10-12, 2001. Jose Rizal and Maximo Viola arrived in this beautiful place on May 13, 1887. Prof. Ferdinand Blumentritt was in the train station carrying the pencil sketch of Jose Rizal to identify his Filipino friend. Rizal and viola stayed at Krebs Hotel.
It was the Agustinians who were precisely the object of attack in the Noli. In other words, the accused became the judge. Blumentritt rejects the affirmations about the Noli to the effect that it presents socialistic and protesting ideas. He declares such statements as ridiculous, and that they reveal that whoever made them had not read the book. Blumentritt regrets, however, the inclusion of theological ideas in the book, since this gives Rizal's enemies the occasion and weapon to attack him. Then he analyzes the mental attitude of the peninsulares towards the Filipino natives, including the mestizos, pointing out that the posture of superiority, disdain and pride of some was the cause of Spain's loss of Mexico and Peru. Rizal's criticism of this attitude and conduct has provoked the reaction of the peninsulares (friars, employees and officials), who brand the book as anti-Spanish, although it is not possible to find a single sign of disaffection towards Spain.
Blumentritt adds: "The savants in Europe, the writers who have had contact with him, as well as his Spanish friends, know that Rizal never harbored in his heart a single spark of race hatred. He loved everything Spanish that was, in truth, noble and brave, in the same manner that he hated all tyrants, all scoundrels, all those who forget their duties, whether he was Spanish, native, black or Papuan. He did not look at the color of the skin, nor the difference in language but at the character of the man. In this he had more of the Spanish, in the sense of the noble, which the nation attributes to itself."
Blumentritt ends with the affirmation that, for him "the Noli was the greatest literary work ever written by a Filipino about the Philippines… It is written with the patriot's blood." We should recall as Blumentritt did, that he was a Catholic, and "the most loyal advocate of the Regent Queen, of her deceased husband and their young and innocent King."
Rizal received many letters from his countrymen, praising his work, especially from his close friends. Jose Ma. Cecilio wrote, congratulating him warmly on his novel. Carried away by his enthusiasm, he describes the Noli as the Filipino Don Quijote de la Mancha. Cawit said that it was a faithful reflection of the Philippine scene, with great local color and flawless fidelity. He also said that the description of the various types of friars was done with stokes of a master, the language spontaneous and the dialogues alive and very realistic. Schadenberg, a German friend of Rizal, wrote him from Vigan, congratulating him. Pardo de Tavera later said, "The success of the Noli was due to the fact that Rizal had uncovered the evils that afflicted the Filipinos saw reflected persons and events seen and felt by them. The Noli was all truth, taken from raw reality." The other friends of Rizal, A. Regidor, E. de Lete, Graciano Lopez Jaena, etc., sent him letters similarly praising the work.
Among the dictators were the great majority of the peninsular and friars residing in the Philippines. The only exception was Father Garcia, a fact that Rizal mentions in his letter to Blumentritt: "An old priest, doctor in Theology (Fr. Vicente Garcia) has defended me against Father Rodriguez, declaring that the Noli is very Christian. Naturally for he is a native! He has translated the Kempis into Tagalog", anonymously.
One of the Spaniards who attacked him most vehemently was Vicente Barrantes, a professor and writer who had resided for some time in the Philippines where he had occupied a high position. In La España Moderna of January 1890, he published a criticism of the Noli, perhaps upon seeing himself reflected in the novel. In his criticism, he pointed out the grammatical imperfections, contradictions, and declared that Rizal's mind had been wrapped by his German education. Rizal answered him point by point, except those concerning grammar where Barrantes was right.
Rizal's Financial Situation
The proximity of spring was stimulating, and March 1887 brought with it many new developments. Rizal received a letter from Paciano, with a draft in the amount of 1,000 pesos. The biggest amount ever sent to him so far – intended for the purchase of ophthalmologic instruments, expenses for his doctorate and for his travels, and the surplus for the expenses of the publication of the Noli. Paciano did not know that the novel would see the light of print that month.
Rizal's financial situation during this period was very difficult, what with all this many obligations in connection with the publication of his novel. Since nothing could move him from his determination to return to the Philippines, Paciano closed his letter warning him once again of the danger: "I expect to see you on the day of the fiesta, if God and the guardia civil will permit it."
In Madrid, a magazine entitled España en Filipinas had come out. The title was confusing, and confusion is a great enemy of political progress; hence, those who try to block progress often resort to it. Proof that there were many diverse interpretations as regards the significance of the title was the fact that Cawit wrote Rizal saying that it should be interpreted thus: "The policy of Spain in the Philippines: how it is, how it should be." The magazine served to sharpen the division existing in the Filipino community in Madrid, fomenting dissentions not only of a political nature but also of racial character (Creoles, mestizos and natives). Eduardo de Lete was made editor, a fact that placed the magazine in a mediocre classification. Lete, although a good writer, avoided colonial politics, adopting a speculative attitude. For this reason, Graciano Lopez Jaena, the brilliant emigrant, refused to collaborate, for "he did not want to sacrifice his ideas nor his language, which he could not possibly modify." He proved to be right as proven by the fact that Cawit wrote that the magazine had been well received by the "castilas".
Litoměrice, Czech Republic, May 11,2001
Born to be a hero, author Sir Lino Paras, KGOR of the Order of the Knights of Rizal find time exchanging ideas with the Philippine Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Her Excellency Amb. Carmelita R. Salas after floral offering at the bust of Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt.
In indignation at the nature of the magazine, Lopez Jaena wrote Rizal for the second time in the month of March, proposing to him the leadership of the Filipino emigrants and taking the opportunity of describing the Spanish political scene in relation to the Philippines, seen from behind the scenes. Ironically, the liberals were opposed to Philippine representation in the Cortes.
Rizal prepared for his departure from Berlin, for he did not like it there. He thought that Italy would be better suits him but only for an interval, for convalescing. His decision to return to the Philippines was now definite. The emigrants were united in their vehement advice to him not to go home. Felipe Zamora had, a year before, recommended that he should not return to Manila without changing his nationality. Chenggoy had written him from Manila, advising him, as did his family, to postpone his trip for a year until after seeing the effect of the Noli in the archipelago. We already know that Paciano was also opposed to this trip. When Rizal wrote to his friends in Europe bidding them goodbye, he saw that the opposition to the trip was unanimous.
The unanimity of opinion was so widespread that even the employee at the publishing house who brought the proofs for his correction expressed to Rizal his presentiment of a fatal ending for the author should he decide to return to the Philippines. The major responsibility of arguing against the trip fell on the shoulders of Viola, his roommate. But all his arguments were futile in the face of the adamant spirit of abnegation and self-sacrifice of our hero. His words, as translated to us by Viola, are worth transcribing here: "There must be some mission which I am destined to accomplish on this earth. For which reason God gave me this manner of being and thinking" To act against his convictions would then be tantamount to rebelling against God's will and could result in his condemnation. As a physician his duty was to alleviate, cure and prevent physical disease of men. So also was it his duty to dedicate himself did not provide a remedy for the spiritual ills of his people, subject to Spanish domination. Besides he thought that if he himself did not provide an example in his own land, his novel would be of no effect. They would say that he could write all he did since he himself was far from danger. When they suggested that he change his nationality, he argued that to do so would be pure cowardice.
The previous lines have an extraordinary biographical importance, coming as they do from a great friend of Rizal, Viola, who was with him the greater part of the day during his stay in Berlin. If this were written by Rizal himself, it would merit a detailed treatment but Viola signed his Viajes in 1913, for which reason one should not take the words he attributed to Rizal as exact. But the thought fully coincides with the inner motives that spurred our hero. His actuation's had a profound religious basis, for he had made of his patriotism a mystical creed. For the defense of that ideal he was ready to sacrifice, there should be an offering and a deity to whom the sacrifice is offered as homage. For the redemption of his country, Rizal offered himself, his life, as the sacrifice of offering to the deity, his country. Hence, the epithet (the Tagalog Christ) gave him by the great philosopher, Unamuno. Not only was Rizal's offering total and irrevocable, one has to add the sense of loyalty to conviction and the consistency between his words and his actions, a principle which is seldom observed, and the realization of which a disillusioned humanity has to wait for. With his heroic ideological posture, so steeped in self-abnegation, it is not surprising that Rizal has become for his country a symbol, an image, and an icon that stands for the ideals he worked for.
Starting from the middle of March, Rizal received congratulatory letters from his friends and relatives who had read the Noli. One of the most effusive came from Blumentritt who told him in a German phrase, "It is written with the blood of the heart and hence also speaks to the heart." In conclusion, he predicts that, if Rizal continued thus, he would become one of the greatest guides of spiritual life.
About the beginning of April, Blumentritt sent him by mail an ethnographic map of Mindanao, which up to that time was terra incognita. Rizal acknowledged receipt of the map, but expressed to Viola his regret that it was the foreigners who first gained knowledge about his own land.
During the first days of April, he received news that eight copies of the Noli had arrived in the Philippines.
The last days of his stay in Berlin were spent in the company of his friend Viola, visiting all the cultural spots of the city, in an exhaustive and well-programmed way, utilizing every minute of the day, with the untimely detailed guidance of the Baedecker (traveler's guidebook). They did not miss a single museum or any artistic edifice. Resolutely, Rizal had adopted the German methods that were so much in harmony with his temperament.
Rizal left Berlin
Rizal left Berlin on the 11th of May 1887. One of the suitcases contained nothing but letters. The first stop was Leitmeritz, with the aim of meeting Blumentritt and his family, a wish that both of them shared. Their friendship had become closer with the years, and would become still closer in the future.
From Testchen he sent a telegram to Blumentritt announcing his coming. On the 13th he and Viola arrived in Leitmeritz. In spite of the fact that Rizal had told Blumentritt not to meet him at the station since he did not know the hour of arrival, there was Ferdinand, whom he had known only by photograph. He accompanied them to the Hotel Krebs, where they were to stay. Later they dined at the Blumentritt residence and were introduced to Mrs. Blumentritt and their daughter Rosa. The main topic of conversation was the Noli, and Ferdinand repeated once again the German phrase, to the effect that the work was written with blood from the heart.
With his culture and through knowledge of the small city, Blumentritt was a perfect guide. During his hours of work, his friends substitute for him. Mrs. Blumentritt again offered dinner. The next day, there was a meeting of the Club of Tourists, of which Blumentritt was secretary. Rizal attended the meeting in deference to the wishes of his friend.
On the 15th of May, they visited Dr. Czepelak, an inmate friend of Blumentritt, and on the 16th, the naturalist Professor Klutschek. Viola and Rizal invited them to dinner at the Hotel Krebs; before dinner they visited the island of Tiradores, in Elba. Afterwards, in a private conversation with Viola, Blumentritt said that "Rizal was the greatest son of the Philippines, and his coming into this world was like the apparition of a rare comet, with a special brilliance, which could be seen and admired only once in a great while."
They left for Prague on the 16th of May 1887. After this follows a series of episodes which we shall not describe in detail, but which we can say were indeed very informative and educational: Vienna, Brunn, Linz, Salsburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Baden, Basilea, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva. In Geneva the two friends separated. Rizal proceeded to Italy and Viola went back to Barcelona.
While in Geneva, he received a letter from Jose Ma. Cecilio saying that it was imperative that Rizal stays in Europe, adding that he would inform him as to when he should return to the Philippines.
During this trip the Philippines Exposition was held in Madrid in which his Filipino compatriots (ethnic tribes) were "exhibited". The entire Filipino community considered this a humiliation to their race. Rizal describes it as an exhibition of rare individuals, designed to entertain curious residents of Madrid.
The visit to Italy was far from superficial, for Rizal was a profound devotee of history and art. Thus, he found in the Italian peninsula a means of satisfying his thirst for knowledge and for his inclinations: Turin, Milan, Florence, Venice and Rome. In the style of Baedecker, he left nothing unexplored. Rome fascinated him – not the world of cafes and singers but that recreated by the old stones, the ruins, and the monuments, buildings and museums, with their mute messages of the glories of the past empire. With this knowledge of history sharply etched in his mind, he relived all that past grandeur. He visited the forum two successive afternoons. There he stayed for hours, creating poetry in his mind, harmonizing the scene, the old ruins and the little wild flowers, one of which he sent Blumentritt as a souvenir. Night fell on him as he watched this scene. What a thrill he must have felt as he contemplated, rising in the horizon, the Palatine hill, the oldest vestige of ancient Rome! But his country and his mission beckoned him. Leaving the Alma Mater of occidental civilization, he proceeded to Marseilles.
Marseilles – Manila
Rizal left Europe aboard the Djemnah. When the boat left the shores of the continent which he associated with liberty (the liberty of its natives, but not of its colonies), tears welled in his eyes. The church of the Notre Dame de Lagard, on the peak of the hill that overlooks Le vieux port, seemed to touch the sky. As the ship glided farther away from the dock, the Basilica also seemed to move away from the blue celestial backdrop. Rizal felt all alone, the thought of an ominous future for his family and his friends heavily upon him. Full of sorrow, he contemplated the blue waters of the Provence, which so inspired Mistral. Now the blue waters turned gray. Gray was the sea, gray the city, its outlines now blurred and imperceptible. Gray was the earth.
Could there exist a solar race, as affirmed by the author Mireya, in an atmosphere so bereft of light? But no, it was he and his own circumstances – the whiteness of his spirit, combined with the darkness of his uncertain destiny – that created that gray scene. The sudden appearance of the If castle in the distance brought him back to reality, to the colorful and brilliant world described in his readings as a child.
He was the only passenger who could speak with everybody on board because of his knowledge of so many languages. He had an unpleasant experience when he heard some French shipmates speaking of how to exploit the colonies. With an ironical style he made some incisive remarks that hit their mark, and the colonialists were left speechless in great amazement.
The Diario gives further information about the trip but there was really nothing significant or of special interest. On the 30th of July the Djemnah dropped anchor at the Mekong Delta, in front of Saigon. On the 31st, the passengers landed; they had to transfer to another ship. On August 2, on board the Haiphong, he left for Manila. There were only two passengers in the first-class cabin. On the 5th of August, they arrived in Manila. His travel notes do not show the slightest symptom of fear on the part of the traveler. Anybody else in his place would have been full of apprehension considering the unanimous opinion of his family and friends regarding his return to his country. But he showed no anxiety; having in mind the apostate destined for him, he was immune to fear. Thus, with firm step and a heart filled with joy, he set foot once again on his land.
When Rizal disembarked in Manila, there was no one waiting for him, not even the police. Had his family and friends exaggerated the danger of his returning to Manila?
His natural skepticism, together with his cynical nature, made him wonder what was ahead of him. It was possible that the authorities had postponed carrying out their plans to some other time. For sure, the friars, who had been portrayed so sarcastically in the Noli, they would not allow the author of such a virulent attack to get away without sanction of some form. To do so would surely result in strengthening the proselytism against the friars. As soon as he arrived in Manila, Rizal began receiving anonymous letters and advises from unknown persons and from friends, warning him of the dangers he was facing. He knew the methods of the friars in the Philippines. He was aware that precipitation was not their usual norm of action. It was rather the application of the Roman proverb in cuada venenum. True to form, they did not evince any hostile manifestation at the moment, but like the scorpion prepared for the final lethal bite, in keeping with the Latin expression. The fact that a great number of the warnings that foretold of terror, or at least danger, were anonymous, was a bad omen.
The political situation in Spain would have been favorable to Rizal were it not for the series of contradictions in the debates over the royal governance of the archipelago. In Madrid they're existed a liberal government presided over by Sagasta at the time Rizal disembarked in Manila. Victor Balaguer was the Minister of the Colonies. But, not withstanding the liberalism which they professed, they maintained a colonial policy, and in Spain political bossism continued to be the dominant practice. All this resulted in inconsistency or discrepancy between the ideology of the Madrid government and the application of its policies in the Philippines.
Here we should note that Cánovas and Sagasta did not represent all of Spain, due to the customary practice of "turno de poderes" (turn of powers).
In 1876, Francisco Giner founded the Institutión Libre de Enseñanza, which spearheaded the liberal movement among the Spanish educators led by Salmerón, Castelar and Francisco Giner. The Institutión was the intellectual nucleus of the emerging modern Spanish University, patterned after the European models especially the English. These were inspired by concepts of intellectual freedom, of Krausism, rationalism and anti-clericalism. The Institutión was then a spearhead against a monarchy in which education maintained and defended obsolete ideas, as to the political aspect, it was indifferent to the needs of the people and was perpetuated by the political bosses, the landholders, the Church and the Army.
Krausism, as pointed out by Tuñon de Lara, looked towards Europe for new tendencies, but confused the decadence of the classes represented in the ministry at the Puerta del Sol with decadence of the nation. In Spain, therefore, there was an intellectual movement in opposition to the official stand, which was naturally what was implemented in the Philippines, since education was in the hands of the friars and Jesuits. It is true, however, that Kraunism existed only among the intelligentsia and did not have advocate among the masses, mainly because these lacked the intellectual background.
We have indulged in this digression to point out that Spain was not really totally exhausted at the time and could have lifted herself from stagnation. There were many Spanish patriots who rejected the colonial policy. As for Rizal, there was no sign that he was a Krausist, although he manifested rationalism and anti-clericalism. He was a staunch advocate of public education, starting with the fight against illiteracy, an enemy of dogmatism, of Thomist teachings and the rote methods, which he had experienced at the University of Santo Tomas, under the Dominicans. This is not a matter of analogy but of identity. Even the elitist tendency, which characterized the liberal bourgeoisie, who constituted a great number of the Krausists, also influenced the thinking of Rizal. He underestimated the Filipinos' capacity for subversion, for history has shown that though defeated in the end, they were at the point of victory.
Rizal stayed only for a few days in manila, for he was anxious to be with his family. He received some friends who pressed him with questions about the divine and the human, and asked him about his health. What with all the anonymous letters, the threats and warnings, manila presented him with an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. If only Leonor were there! But she had left for Dagupan, her native town.
His arrival at Calamba was a grand event, not only within the locality but also in the whole region around it. He asked forgiveness of his parents. The manifestations of love and affection reached their peak at that moment, for in that family blood relationship had always been exalted.
Within a short time he received news from Blumentritt, saying that the Noli could be translated into German if he approved of the project.
For the moment, Rizal decided to practice his profession in Calamba, in order to accumulate funds and not be a burden to his family any longer.
The first surgical operation he performed was on his mother, for the removal of her cataract. The operation was successful. With this joyful happening the news went around that a German doctor had arrived who was able to make a blind see. The clients began to troop in, in progressively increasing numbers. With true missionary spirit, Rizal charged fees in accordance with the financial capacity of each patient. His fame, however, was Due not only to his prowess as a doctor and a surgeon but also extended to the political sphere. His enemies, especially the Spaniards and the friars branded him, as "filibustero," as a German spy, an agent of Bismarck, a Protestant, a Mason, a magician. All these, plus the anonymous threats which he kept receiving.
Despite the profoundly rooted filial ties that bound the members of that family, the situation was tense. The first days of joy and merriment were followed by the realization of the facts, which brought down a pall of sadness over the entire family. It was due not only to the reality of the present, with its atmosphere of threats and insults, but also to the remembrance of the past and the prospect of the dark future that awaited them.
We recall that Francisco, the father of Rizal, had prohibited the mention of the words "Burgos" and "filibustero". Now he had, under his own roof, linked to him by blood, a candidate to the field of Bagumbayan, the fate reserved for "filibusteros". The speech made in Madrid in honor of Luna and Hidalgo, the Noli, weighed heavily on them. Paciano, as always a man of few words, showed his anxiety by his silence and isolation. He felt he was responsible for the situation; as mentor of Rizal, he had taken the initial steps that brought about this situation. Francisco prohibited his son from leaving the house, for fear of physical assault. The corporal of the guardia civil firmly believed that Rizal had a foreign passport, and was surreptitiously making plans.
Teodora was doubly distress and apprehensive. In this atmosphere of difficulty and anxiety Rizal's unhappiness was mitigated only by his occupation with his professional work which filled his time and distracted his mind.
Another events brought pain and sorrow to the family circle. His sister Olimpia died of "placenta previa" upon giving birth in December. Unfortunately, Rizal had to attend to her with the meager medical facilities and means to be found in a small town and without present-day remedies. In desperation at his powerless, he threw down all his medical books.
Governor Emilio Terrero
If the political ideology of the Spanish government were liberal and the principal officials in Manila were of the same policy, one could logically conclude, and foresee, the victory of Rizal in his battle against the friars and some peninsulares. The contest, which arose therefore, served as a test of the power of the friars when it came to matters that concerned their interests.
We have briefly enumerated, in a previous chapter on the occasion of his assumption of office, the characteristics of Emilio Terrero. Two years had elapsed since then, sufficient time for a person with his docile character and not too strong personality to adapt to the atmosphere that the government had created around him. On the other hand, Terrero as a person was possessed of excellent qualities. He was courteous; had a great sense of justice, admirable equanimity, as judged from his conduct, which should be the basis of judgment. But the pressure from the friars and from the Spanish community was too strong. Terrero was constrained to send a note to Rizal, ordering him to come to Malacañang palace on the 29th of August. Rizal relates that the governor told him: "You wrote a novel that has aroused many comments. I am told that it contains subversive ideas. I wish to read it." Rizal answered that he was intending to send His Excellency a copy, as well as the Archbishop, as soon as he received copies from Europe. And that if His Excellency would permit it he would look for one here, to which Terrero replied that he was not only permitting it but was requiring it.
Rizal had to rush out looking for a copy, but nobody wanted to part with his. He, therefore, asked the Jesuits, who also refused. Finally he came up with a dirty copy. Terrero received him in a more amiable manner and asked him if he was going back to Calamba. Rizal replied affirmatively, but told him of the constant threats that he received. The governor, taking this into account, and in view of the anti-Rizal actions, decided to have him the guardia civil. Given Rizal's antagonism toward the guardia civil as consequences of his and his mother's painful experiences with it, he did not take Terrero's decision as a friendly act. In his own mind he constructed it as an act of vigilance rather than of protection.
Assigned to guard him was Jose Taviel de Andrande, who belonged to a noble family. He spoke English and French. He was a cultured man who knew how to paint. But Rizal "hated everything about the guardia civil."
The initial cold reception by Rizal was transformed little by little and grew into a warm friendship, thanks to their common intellectual qualities, and the susceptibility of Rizal to affection. The lies that were incessantly circulated related that Rizal, together with Taviel, had ascended the summit of Makiling and planted there the German flag, proclaiming German sovereignty over the Philippines. They did climb Mt. Makiling, but the part about the flag and German sovereignty was a figment of the imagination.
In that atmosphere of tension, denunciation and suspicion, the days in Calamba passed for Rizal. The only note of optimism consisted in his professional successes and the fact that his clientele became more and more numerous. He operated frequently, especially cataracts. He wrote Blumentritt that he had earned enough money to enable him to return to Europe without once again burdening his family. He added, "Everybody wants me to leave the Philippines. The friars do not want to hear or speak of me. Some government officials want me as far away as possible and the Filipinos fear for me and for themselves."
Terrero read the Noli and apparently did not find anything excessive in it. But it was necessary to calm the indignation of the friars, especially the Dominicans, and to adopt some measure that would diminish the pressure exerted on the Governor through Archbishop Payo, also a Dominican. Terrero sent a copy to the rector of the University of Sto. Tomas in order for a commission to make a report on the novel. The rector, who submitted a report on August 30, 1887, appointed the commission, composed of three members of the faculty of the university. From which we extract the following: "The work Noli Me tangere has been found heretical, impious and scandalous from the religious perspective, anti-patriotic and subversive from the political point of view, injurious to the Spanish government and its proceedings in the Islands." They did not indicate the pages in which the previously mentioned descriptions could be found because in almost every page one could find no basis for such evaluation. They marked with a blue and red pencil the lines where the offensive passages were to be found.
They insisted that "the whole narration was against the dogmas of the Church, against the religious orders and against the institutions that Spain had implanted in these island. "Finally, there was a report of the rector based on the mandate of the commission, which read thus: "The Noli Me tangere, if circulated throughout the Philippines, will cause great detriment to faith and morality. It will diminish and extinguish the love of all the natives for Spain and, perturbing the heart and the passions, may bring very sad days for the mother country."
Gregorio Echavarria, who signed the report, probably thought that in view of such hard terms, which foretold of days of sorrow and affliction, Terrero would decree deportation or trial, or some other grave measure against Rizal. But Terrero read the report without adopting any resolution, awaiting the verdict of the permanent Commission on Censorship, solicited at the instance of the archbishop, which he expected to be adverse and, having executive character, would thus ban the sale of the book.
The Agustinian Fr. Salvador Font was in charge of submitting the report which, after describing Rizal as ignorant, recommended that "the importation, reprinting and circulation of this pernicious book in the Islands be prohibited."
Father Font committed the error of giving a copy of his lengthy report to the press in the form of a pamphlet which, when circulated, exposed to the public a touchy matter, until then not fully shown to the public eye. With Font's report published, curiosity and interest in the Spanish-Philippine policy and the establishment of relations with the metropolis took shape and gained significance in the souls of the Filipinos. This was precisely what Rizal wanted.
As the days passed, the atmosphere became more and more unbearable for Rizal. The pressures were not limited to Manila. In Calamba the tension was also palpable. The former accusations were reiterated, and meetings or assemblies were prohibited.
Rizal used to take long walks to the mountains in the early mornings, as a form of exercise and to breathe in the fresh morning air, always in the company of Lieutenant Taviel. Evidently, this was misconstructed again and he was accused of holding conspiratorial meetings in the mountains. However, the denunciation, made by the Dominicans, did not prosper.
Finally, with the relentless harassment and surveillance, added to the advice of his family, his friends and those of Lieutenant Taviel de Andrande, who, after all was the representative of the Governor-General, Rizal decided to leave. In a letter to Blumentritt, he said he was leaving. Not because in his country nobody wanted to have anything to do with him but because the reactionaries, including some ignorant Filipinos, wanted to convert him into a kind of scapegoat which should be separated from the flock and abandoned to its fate, as did the ancient Israelites.
Before leaving the Philippines, Rizal decided to bid goodbye to the Jesuits. After all, he had treated them kindly in the Noli. He was cordially received at first, for they had not forgotten his exemplary conduct at the Ateneo Municipal. For this reason, Father Faura tried to convince him to return to orthodoxy, but it was futile. His ideas were too deeply rooted in the theological studies he had made in Europe. (The depths of his logic were clearly manifested in his letters to Father Pastells when, years later, he had a polemic with him.) Father Faura, in the face of failure, told him never to return to the Ateneo, for the society was breaking all relations with him. He also advised him to leave the Philippines, for he was bound to end up on the scaffold, a statement most unkind. Rizal remembered this on the eve of his execution.
Hacienda de Calamba
Adjacent to the town of Calamba there was a hacienda of relatively small area belonging to the Jesuits. The tenants were obliged to pay an amount called canon. For those lands situated beyond the area, the town folk did not pay taxes but just a standard rate for irrigation, since those lands did not belong to the Jesuits. When the Jesuits were expelled in 1767, the lands came into the possession of the Dominicans, who extended the hacienda to cover practically all the lands surrounding Calamba. The Dominicans took charge of the canones as their new proprietors as of 1833. It seems that the friars paid the government some taxes based on the original hacienda of the Jesuits and not on the much more expensive one that was presently in their possession. This is based not only on the fact that the majority of biographers affirm but also on the results conducted by the Governor-General, inquiring from the inhabitants of Calamba. If the area of the hacienda had been extended during the last few years, and whether the products obtained there from them had increased.
All of these inquiries were obviously made in relation to the taxes paid by the Dominicans. It should be noted that Terrero was still the Governor General. According to Rizal, the friars wanted the townsfolk to withhold the truth, but his family refused to do so, and so did the other Calamba tenants. The answer to the inquiry, which requires figures, dates and other circumstances, probably required the collaboration of Rizal, which circumstance would bring on him grave consequences. But his main preoccupation had always been the upholding of truth and justice; whatever consequences befall his person.
Although the inquiry by the Governor-General was igniting spark, or the precipitating factor, the tenants had suffered since many years back due to the unjustified increase in the taxes, notwithstanding the benefits from the land. The benefits might have decreased due to bad harvests, climatic circumstances or a lowering of the market price. The "Epistolario" between Paciano and Rizal makes frequent allusions to these economic crises, which were the cause of so many deprivations for Jose. When the friar-administrator of the hacienda threatened the tenants, these, in agreement with Rizal, sent a written appeal to the governor, requesting that a contract be drawn up, binding on both parties, so that the tenants would not be subject to the unilateral decisions of the friars regarding the cánones. As always, the paper was shelved, and the requests of the tenants were not attended to. Rizal tried to calm down the tenants once the resolution was sent, and advised them to have confidence in the authorities.
Since then, the tenants of Calamba lived under threat of eviction, and this eventually effected. Later on, the Dominicans filled a lawsuit in the court of justice, presenting for the first time the vital issue of the legitimacy of the ownership of the lands. As of August 1890, the documents had not yet been accredited, nor those in connection with the eviction of Francisco Rizal. The Dominicans won the case in the Philippines and that one filed by Rizal in the Supreme Court of Madrid suffered the same fate.
Rizal Leaves the Philippines
With the entire tribulations attendant to his perception, the anguished of feeling responsible for his family's troubles, and excessive work, Rizal's predicament was aggravated when he fell ill, probably with malaria.
During the last week of 1888, in the midst of this distressing situation, Rizal received a summons from the Governor-General. Terrero pointed that it was best that he leaves the country. The Governor, a liberal, could no longer resist the pressure exerted on him almost daily by the Fathers Provincial (Padres Provinciales) of the different religious orders. Rizal promised to leave but did not give a definite date. Physically spent with fever, he returned to Calamba. The gravity of the situation urged him to seek refuge in the comforting advice of Paciano, which he very badly needed, and which by virtue of their mutual pact was due him.
According to Coates Rizal expressed to Paciano and Narcisa his wish to postpone the trip, in view of his illness, and secondly, in order to marry Leonor. His brother and sister strongly opposed this plan, and Paciano declared firmly that although he was sick he should leave immediately, before he was imprisoned, otherwise not only his life would be endangered but also those of the members of his family. If this happened, said Paciano, the pact between them would be rendered null and void. The discussion ended with Paciano invoking the spirit of self-sacrifice for others. He thus touched the most sensitive fiber of Rizal's soul, and the matter was closed. In all their lives this was the only tense situation between the two brothers.
The next day, Rizal bade goodbye to his family and friends. Once again he was leaving his country, but this time in forced exile, a circumstance which intensifies the pain of homesickness. Trusting and romantic, he placed his faith in his people and friends, but many of them had turned their backs on him. Some of them did not offer him money for his departure, nor for his sake but for their own, i.e., in order to guarantee their own safety. It was fear, that feeling which drives man to acts of vileness that prompted them. Rizal asked himself, when will there be a society in which man can live without fear?
Rizal left a skeptic, his faith in the Spanish authorities completely destroyed, for they had not even replied to his letter regarding the Calamba case. These significant events which, when woven together, form the course of history, told him that the incumbent authorities would not give concessions through legal means. This is how ideological changes take place in the minds of liberators. From that moment on, Rizal must have realized that the Filipinos had been too prudent, and that nothing could be gained in this manner. Several months earlier, he had told Blumentritt that he was not in favor of a conspiracy, for the reason that it was premature and too risky. Only as a last resort, when there were no other means left, should the Filipinos resort to war rather than induce their misery. Now, with these recent developments in his country, he reaffirmed this position.
He departed from Calamba, his sensitive heart laden with sorrow. He was still weak with fever, but he has assisted by his cousins and brothers-in-law who gave him physical as moral support, aside from accomplishing the boarding papers and assuring him bodily protection if the need arose.
He left Manila on the 3rd of February of 1888, at 5:00 in the afternoon, his heart filled with pain and skepticism. When Manila's skyline grew faint in the distance and the green outline of Mariveles gradually disappeared in the horizon, Rizal thought that it was necessary to reconsider the problem of the emancipation of his country. Not from his former idealistic point of view but in order to be effective, from one that was adapted to the realities of the actual Spanish colonial practices. He made a distinction between the concept of Spain as a country and Spain as represented by its government then. Of the former he had never spoken ill or written a single derogatory statement, knowing that a major part of its people and its intellectual elite understood the aspirations of and symphatize with the Filipinos.
On the 3rd of February 1888, Rizal left Manila for Hongkong. On the 7th they sighted Amoy, the land of his Chinese ancestors, from whence came the roots of his stock, and on the 8th, they arrived at the British colony, where he had to wait for the Oceanic, which was to take him to Japan. The period of waiting proved to be not only of tourist value but also yielded the benefit of personal contacts. There were several Filipinos of the same ideology as our hero's refugees from the Philippines who had fled from implication in the Cavity Mutiny. One of them was Jose Ma. Basa, on old lawyer and at the time engaged in business. Two of his compatriots went to the port to meet Rizal: Iriarte and Mitjans. The latter had previous contact with him in Madrid. As always, he was well treated by his friends. Basa invited him to dinner at his house, where they served him Filipino food. A few days later, he accompanied Rizal to the Portuguese colony of Macao. They also visited the Oceanic, which was already docked at the bay. He received a visit from a certain Laurel, an attorney for the Dominicans.
Rizal did not take the Suez route this time; he already knew that passage well. He opted for the Pacific, via Japan and the United States. This way he would complete his education, satisfy his curiosity and have the opportunity to practice his English, which he already spoke but wished to improve. His professional fees had enabled him to make this interesting roundtrip without asking for financial aid from his family.
On the 22nd of February, he left Hongkong aboard the Oceanic liner bound for Yokohama where he arrived on the 29th. Scarcely two minutes had passed upon his arrival at the hotel, according to his own account, when the Spanish commercial attaché (probably the consul in Yokohama) presented him and very kindly invited him to stay at the legation. Rizal accepted the offer, in order to prove that he did not fear being observed and watched. Convinced that he was acting rightly and with certain fatalism in his destiny, he justified his decision with these words: "I have the firm conviction that my actuation's are right and just, and that I am in the hands of God."
The Government of the Philippines had obviously sent orders to Yokohama to have Rizal watched, for Lieutenant Taviel knew his itinerary. As often happened, and would happen subsequently, his custodians would end his personal charisma. They, however, made this prediction of Rizal: "In the Philippines, he would be forced to be a filibustero."
Before leaving Hongkong, the Spanish official offered him a post in the consulate, with a salary of P100 a month. He did not accept the offer. Evidently, they wanted to immobilize him in Japan in order to distract his attention from the friars in his country.
As we have mentioned before, Jose was very susceptible to love. In Japan he had a brief affair with O-Sei-Kiyo-San. In his diary we find poetic record of this romantic interlude, which is worthy of transcription. Rizal was, mutatis mutandis, a precursor of Pinkerton, the protagonist in Madame Butterfly. Cio-Cio San may be compared to O-Sei-San, but Rizal can hardly be compared to Pinkerton, who was a navy officer and dealt with cannons, while Rizal was a poet who wrote poetry to liberate his country. Rizal experienced the sweet polychrome of the Japanese atmosphere, with its tranquility, the delicacy of the people's manner, the art of selection and arrangement of flowers, all enriched by the backdrop of Japanese silken screens depicting a kaleidoscope of cherry blossoms and the snow of the Fujiyama. The final dramatic scene of Madame Butterfly could not have taken place in the case of Rizal and O-Sei- San, for they never became formally engaged.
On the 13th of April 1888, he left Yokohama, leaving a love and a country that had conquered his heart, with its beautiful forms of courtesy and the amiability with which he was treated. While there, he never lacked money, which had often been his problem. He left behind all these: a love, a good job, security, and that pleasant atmosphere; he had to go on and accomplish that high mission destined for him.
From Yokohama to San Francisco he sailed on the Belgique. He arrived on the 28th, but the health authorities did not allow him to disembark until they had completed the quarantine on the 4th of May. From San Francisco he wrote Ponce, thanking him for his efforts in promoting the sale of the Noli. He also asked him to buy a set of the complete works of Larra for him. The choice is very significant, for there's a close similarity between Larra and Rizal, a coincidence which, to our knowledge, has not been mentioned by his previous biographers. Larra had lived in an atmosphere of liberalism, in contrast to the absolution of Ferdinand VII, due to the fact that his father was a military physician with Jose I. upon his return to Spain, he realized the great difference, and this brought him much pain. He, like Rizal had studied in a Jesuit college, and had practiced journalism with a new style of subtle irony, which in a way was stimulated by censorship. This style similar to the ironic style of Rizal, whose political writings of the precursor of both: Cadalso. Both of them pointed out the evils and problems of Spain, without being in any way less patriotic. Finally, both Larra and Rizal were victims of periodic depression. In the case of Larra (Figaro) this depression led to suicide.
On the 6th of May, he left San Francisco and crossed the United States, arriving in New York on the 13th, where he boarded the City of Rome for Europe. The boat, one of the best and largest at the time, arrived in Queenstown, Ireland on the 24th.
In his letters he writes that the United States does not offer its citizens through civil liberties. He has something to say on radical discrimination, describing how, in San Francisco, only the first-class passengers were allowed to disembark, while the second and third class passengers, mostly Chinese and Japanese, were not permitted to land.
From Queenstown to Liverpool he took a ferryboat and from there to London on the 25th of May, arriving there on the same day.
Twenty-five days after Rizal's departure from Manila, a public demonstration took place on the 1st of March 1888, characterized by the fact that its participants were all natives. The demonstrators were not more than 300, but they represented the Principalia, the gobernadorcillos and members of the native tribes. In perfect order and a peaceful manner they marched towards the office of the governor, Don Jose Centeno y Garcia. He received them kindly, and they informed him of their purpose. They presented a petition, requesting for the transfer of Archbishop Payo and the suppression of the religious orders in the archipelago, as well as the granting of curacies to the native priests. Centeno advised them to present the petition to Governor General Terrero. This they did subsequently, but Terrero refused to receive them.
The Jesuits had presumed that Rizal was the promoter of this demonstration, but there is no proof to support this assumption. The proclamation, which in the previous days had been circulated, was written in a style very different from Rizal's. Rizal, with his usual candidness, would have mentioned it in his letters. It is not necessary to resort to Palma's argument in order to disprove the participation of Rizal. The demonstration, in spite of it being orderly and peaceful, reflected that climate of unrest among the natives. It is evident that Rizal, with his Noli, had contributed towards creating that climate, although this would be exaggerating its influence, considering the limited circulation of the book at that time and the fact that it was written in Spanish. Perhaps more effective was the oral dissemination of his work, and the fact of his persecution leading to his exile.
Fundamentally, however, there were historical roots to this discontent, as evidenced by the periodic insurrections. There was a pervasive feeling of oppression and discrimination all over the country. Rizal had only reactivated the concept of the dignity of the Filipino, stressing that if they were Spaniards (in prevailing definition of the term); they should have the same rights and prerogatives. In the midst of this oppressive atmosphere another event flared up, mention of which is seldom made. The Director of Civil Administration, Benigno Quiroga, a liberal and anti-clerical, had dictated some rules regarding burials and funerals for hygienic purposes which the Church authorities strongly opposed.
All these events were of great significance. The Spanish community, the officials, the religious orders and the highest authorities realized it. Terrero had to call a meeting of the Council of Authorities. Under pressure by the council, he requested for the relief of Centeno from office. Centeno was sent to Spain on the first boat. The Minister of the Colonies, Balaguer, likewise called the attention of Quiroga. The pressure on the part of the friars, and their influence in the choice of Governor General, manifested itself in less than 15 days. On the 16th of March, General Weyler was appointed to replace Terrero. The new Governor General, among his accomplishments, had invented concentration camps. His temperament, which was the opposite of Terrero's, would have satisfied the fanatical patriots of the "Marcha de Cádiz."
Months later, there was a debate in the Senate concerning these events. General Salamanca, who according to Retana hardly understood the subject, participated in the debate, demanding grave sanctions for those who were responsible for the demonstration. Senator Vida also intervened in the discussion. It was in this session that, with absolute lack of veracity, Rizal was accused of being a German subject and an intimate friend of Prince Bismarck, as well as of having been professor at a German university. Vida also said that in the Noli it was affirmed that the properties of the religious orders were in fact usurpation's of the lands of the natives.
When Rizal heard of these assertions, he wrote Blumentritt immediately, indignant at such false statements. He was being presented as anti-Spanish for having censured some aspects of Spanish policies in the Philippines, forgetting that other good and respected Spanish patriots, like Pi y Margall, and later Moret, were advocates of the autonomy of the Philippines and Cuba. It cannot be ignored that nine years earlier, in 1879; a proposal for autonomy for Cuba was presented in Congress and obtained 17 votes. Republicans and the autonomy had cast their votes. Even Moret, a moderate, in a meeting in Zaragoza asked for the independence of Cuba and autonomy for the Philippines, and this did not lower his high level of patriotism.
Terrero left Manila in May 1888. Thanks to his liberal and tolerant spirit, a repetition of the events of Cavite had been avoided. But successor, ad interim, General Molto issued a proclamation praising the friars and subsequently decreed the imprisonment of many participants in the demonstration.
On the 25th of May 1888, Rizal arrived by train in London from Liverpool. He was now at the capital of the biggest empire, which exerted the greatest political influence in the world at the time. Rizal intended not only to improve his knowledge of English but also to study a new country, its customs, its history, and above all its politics, a field relatively new to him. He also intended to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in its famous museums and in its various media of communication. When he arrived in London he had his eyes set on the most important library of the world, the British Museum. This is the reason why he took lodgings in the vicinity of said Museum, in the home of a family composed of an old man and his wife, with four daughters, two of whom were already engaged. With his engaging personality and his affectionate nature, Rizal must have felt the possibility of an amorous interlude in that charming and friendly atmosphere. We do not know exactly that whether at the start he had presentiment but the truth is that the idyll did take place.
The period when Rizal arrived in London is of great interest, England being at the time the country that assumed the leadership in world affairs. In the world of literature, the 19th century is most interesting. It was the age of the romantic poets – Byron, Keats, Blake, Shelley, and of great novelists like Scott, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Thackeray, and profound philosophers like Ruskin and Carlyle. Rizal, a romantic liberal, wrote in a style similar to these intellectuals, who wrote for the middle class, that class which he so admired when he was in Madrid. English politics offered an extremely interesting study for one that wished to learn the political evolution of a nation.
When Rizal arrived in London the influence of Disraeli could still be felt in spite of the fact that seven years had gone by since his death. The Jewish politician, although a Tory, had dictated a series of social measures as soon as he became Prime Minister; at the same time he exalted imperialism. Gladstone the political liberal still lived another 10 years after Rizal's arrival giving him the opportunity to analyze the norms and criteria of the great statesman. Rizal liked England. There was system and punctuality as well as seriousness of purpose and respect for traditions.
Filled with patriotism, Rizal wanted to realize his dream of recovering for his country that ideal situation prevailing before the arrival of the Spaniards. With this subject in mind, he went to London determined to study the history of his country as written by those who had lived it.
The 1872 mutiny had scattered many Filipinos around the world. One of them was Antonio Ma. Regidor, who was exiled to London and from there, had sent an appeal to the King. Rizal went to see him everyday. A firm bond of friendship grew between the two compatriots, who shared the same views and ideology. In spite of the fact that Regidor was 40, the affinity between the two exiles was such that Regidor became Rizal's confidante.
One of Regidor's Filipinist activities was to gather a group of Filipino students in the district of Dalston, not only to have tea together but also to awaken in his young countrymen the feeling of patriotism and instill in their minds the dignity of the Filipinos.
Another friend in London was Dr. Reinhold Rost, to whom he was introduced through a letter by Doctor Blumentritt. Rost was at that time director of the library of the office of India. As his name shows, he was a German. He had lived in England for many years and was considered the best authority in Sanskrit. Once again Blumentritt paved the way towards another great intellectual relationship for Rizal. Rost not only offered his friendship and his home to which Rizal was frequently invited for tea but also became his guide to the historical bibliography of the Philippines.
Only a few years before in 1868, R. Stanley had published the English translation of the famous book by Antonio de Morga, entitled "Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas," published in Mexico in 1609. Rizal knew of the book by its title but he had not been able to locate it.
With his innate interest in history, especially where his country was concerned, Rizal had already studied the works of Pigafette who had accompanied Magellan in his trip to the Philippines, those of Gaspar de San Agustin, Martin de Rada and Chirino. Except for the work of Morga, Rizal had misgivings on each of the works above.
With the tenacious diligence, which Rizal applied to all the tasks, he undertook he embarked on the enormous work of copying by hand the work of Antonio de Morga and to annotate it. By the middle of 1889, he had finished it. Thence he moved to Paris to have the work printed by the Garnier firm. It bore a pompous title. It is best for the reader at this point to know Morga was, as well as the character of his work, before commenting on the edition annotated by Rizal.
Antonio de Morga was born in Seville in 1559. He was the son of Pedro de Morga, a Vizcayan nobleman of the village of Morga, near Guernica. He had moved to Seville for business reasons. This came as a result of the bankruptcy of his bank in 1576. Antonio obtained his bachelor's degree in Salamanca in 1574, returned to Seville, and in 1578 obtained his doctorate from the University of Osuna. He returned to Salamanca and completed his law studies at the same university. Either because of his adventurous spirit or because of the bankruptcy of his bank, he decided to leave the Peninsula although he was then already married. Appointed technical adviser to the Governor General of the Philippines, Pedro Rojas, he departed for the Indies in 1593. At that time there was only one route: through Cadiz, Veracruz, Mexico, Acapulco and Cavite. He arrived in Manila on the 10th of June of 1595, after a long and expensive journey that lasted 15 months.
He stayed in the Philippines for 10 years, during which time he studied not only the history of the Islands, its discovery and colonization, but also recorded with great talent and objectivity, coupled with his keenly observant nature, every little detail that aroused his curiosity. Thus was born a magnificent history of the Islands, with its two points of view – the political and the military. The book was published in Mexico in 1609, where he was given the post of "Alcalde del Crimen."
The book opens with a narration of the journey of Legazpi and the discovery of the Islands. Subsequently, he describes in great detail the administration of each Governor General and the events that transpired during each of them. From chapter VIII onwards, the book presents a highly interesting study description, at least from Rizal's point of view, of the habits, customs and government of the natives, from pre-Spanish times onwards. The author leaves out no detail that may contribute to a complete and accurate picture of the state of the Philippines up to that time. The anthropology, character, work, morals, matrimony, funeral customs, food, housing, religion, etc. of the natives are examined and evaluated with objectivity and impartiality.
He makes dispassionate criticisms – in reality addressed to the King of Spain – of everything and everybody, including the peninsular and the friars. Rizal considered the book a documentary repository, a rich source for the defense of his utopian opinion that the Spaniards had destroyed an indigenous culture, which had little to borrow from the occidental. But this concept of the pre-Spanish civilization and life was just an idealization on the part of Rizal, inspired by his exalted nationalism and love for his country, her own culture, inflamed by the longings and dreams of a man in exile.
Unamuno states that Rizal dreamt of an ancient Tagalog civilization but add that this was pure poetry, fruit of a romantic's idealism. However, this is mitigated by the fact that it was spurred by the noble aims of patriotism. The following are all the defects of the conquest: the arrogance of the conquistadores, the discrimination, the abuses of the encomenderos and of some members of the religious orders, and the exploitation by some colonizers. It is not possible to accept the fact that the cultural level of the Filipinos of the XVI century was superior to that of Filipinos of the XIX century. This is said without prejudice to the right of independence, which at any moment a people may invoke, whatever be the developmental stage they are in.
Rizal's annotations on the book of Morga are prompted by his idealistic view of that epoch and sometimes go to an exaggerated degree. In the prologue, however, his aims are more modest. He says: "If the book succeeds in awakening within us, a consciousness of our past that has been erased from our memory. And if it is able to rectify the falsehood and the calumny that have been committed, then I shall feel that I have not worked in vain; and, on that basis, we can all put our efforts into studying the future."
In his prologue, Blumentritt praises Rizal, stating, "In the face of Spain's indifference to Stanley's translation of Morga's book into English, not having given it any honorific mention, he, the martyr to a loyal patriotism. Has paid the debt of the nation." Later on, he adds: "Your observations about the actuation of the conquistadores are not new to historians, for colonizers from all nations have committed cruelties." This truth, however, does not justify the acts of cruelty. Still further, he adds: "You have revealed things that have escaped the attention of the Europeans, and these new points of view are what makes your work invaluable."
Prodded on by Rizal request that he express his views without considering their friendship, Blumentritt says: "You are committed the same mistake incurred by other (modern) historians who criticize the situation of past centuries with the standards and concepts of contemporary times. The historian should not attribute to the men of the XVI century the wealth of ideas of the XIX century." In truth, historians often forget this principle. We are in conformity with the principle if the ideas that they seek to apply to the XVI century did not exist then but do today. However, it should not be applied in all cases, for this has often been used to justify the Inquisition as well as the political persecutions, religious or racial discrimination, forgetting that the principles of Christianity, and the teachings of the Bible, which were written previously, condemn all acts of inhumanity. We researchers have often found documentary proof that the liberal principles, which we believed of recent origin, really have their antecedents many centuries ago.
Going back to Blumentritt's prologue, he says further, "Those millions of Filipinos aspire for assimilation of their country and expect not magnanimity but justice – the redemption of their country. The best reforms would be futile if the policy of government by terror continues in the Philippines would obtain their rights to parliamentary representation, to freedom and respect, by force, if Spain did not grant it gratuitously.
The "Sucesos" begins its narration with numerous annotations by Rizal. There is hardly a page without some comment or footnote by him. Rizal did not allow a single chance to pass by where he could make a clarification, rectification or implication whenever the same would enrich and improve the text, in accordance with his philosophical, political or patriotic interpretation. Here, the conquerors, especially the friars, always appear in a bad light, with some honest exceptions, of course. Thus, Rizal comments on the following passage from the "Note to the Reader" by Morga: "The Filipinos were full of tyrannical blindness and barbaric cruelty," to which Rizal replies: "The Filipinos had a moral civilization, advanced for that age."
Further, where it is affirmed that "The discovery, conquest, and conversion have not been without much cost, labor and blood on the part of the Spaniards." Rizal counters, "… and of the Filipinos, too, for there were more Filipinos who fought with, and for Spain, in her wars, as we shall see later…"
When Morga says, "The land was entrusted or granted to those who had cleaned and cultivated it and settled on it…" Rizal responds with the annotation: "Distributed, that is. This word 'encomendar' (to entrust) and the word 'pacificar' (to pacify) later took on an ironic meaning."
To entrust or grant an encomienda was like saying to submit it to the looting and the avarice of the encomenderos. Although Rizal exaggerates in some cases, in others he praises, as he did Juan Legazpi and Juan de Salcedo, grandson of the Adelantado Lopez de Legazpi, paying tribute to his talent, bravery and admirable personal qualities, which won him the sympathy of the Filipinos.
Rizal makes many corrections as regards to dates, names and facts as well as concepts, naturally oriented towards his own nationalistic views.
Thus, during the administration of Dr. Santiago de Vera, says Morga, they ordered an old native to produce artillery by hand. Rizal comments that "a native who already knew how to melt iron cannons before the arrival of the Spaniards." We shall support Rizal with his quotation from Jagor: "In the distinct of Lepanto, Luzon, they began to utilize copper, an enterprise that they soon abandoned. However, what they were not able to accomplish was what the Igorots did, for since many centuries back, they had already utilized the mineral to a considerable amount despite the fact that they were found in Pyrite State. It is believed that they were taught by the descendants of the Chinese or Japanese."
Likewise, in the chapter wherein Morga describes the customs of the natives, Rizal has numerous comments on the events related by Morga. He blames the friars for the loss of all the national traditions, mythology, genealogy of the country.
Rizal, who all his life zealously defended the honesty and the virtue of the Filipino women, is irritated when Morga puts in doubt the virtue of the women of the epoch; he replies in the following manner:
This was due not only to the sincerity with which they obeyed the laws of nature but also to the religious beliefs of which Father Chirino speaks in his Relacion. The doctrine was implanted by the devil in some of these Islands. That every woman should have a lover, for in the life beyond he was the one who would give her a hand and help her on the sorrow bridge that would lead her across the dangerous river towards the other side, which was the land of rest, called Kalualhatian.
He concludes that today the Filipino women have nothing to be ashamed of before the women of the proudest nation in the world.
Another occasion in which Rizal demonstrates that the Filipinos have, instead of progressing, retrogressed, is his annotation to Morga's text in which he describes the boats which carried as many as a hundred oarsmen. Such boats were no longer existent; the country, which produced boats of 2,000 tons, now had to depend on Hongkong to produce useless vessels in exchange for gold taken from the poor. Rizal forgets that in Peninsula there were shipyards.
As to the indolence of the Filipinos, Rizal makes the observation that the encomenderos paid them extremely low prices for their products (blankets, textiles, etc.), such that they abandoned their weaving frames, destroying or burning them.
Morga states that there were three social classes in the country: the principales, the timaguas (plebeians) and the slaves. Rizal replies that, thanks to the latter, the Spanish domination found little resistance. It was just a question of a change of masters.
There is a description of the practice of slavery: "In order to avoid so many arguments which would arise if one were to treat the question of slavery, its origin and its beginning, these are preserved and maintained as they were before." Rizal's annotation contains a message for his people in the following terms: "Catholicism not only failed to liberate the poor from the oppressive tyranny but further increased the number of tyrants." Before the arrival of the Spaniards, theft was punished with slavery, for which reason robbery was very rare, according to Rizal.
If we were to comment on the innumerable notes of Rizal, it would unnecessarily prolong this chapter. Hence, we conclude with the reference made to the Dominicans, since it is related to the vicissitudes that which Rizal and his family had to undergo in connection with the Calamba hacienda, a property of the order. "The Dominicans and the Franciscans do not have, nor do they accept, rents or properties." This may have been true during the time of Morga, but it seems that since then things have changed because today the Orders do have properties. The Dominicans not only possess very rich haciendas in the Philippines, such as those of Biñan, Sta. Rosa etc., but also numerous properties in Hongkong.
Spurred on by his nationalism, Rizal contributed a great deal to the knowledge about the independent past of the islands. His aim was for the Filipino people to shake off the idea of their inferiority, to acquire a sense of dignity and by means of education and culture, to prepare themselves for assimilation and later, for emancipation.
We have stated at the beginning that the noble sentiments of patriotism had rendered Rizal's notes idealistic. With all the defects of the Spanish colonization, many historians say that if it had not taken place the Filipinos would have fallen under the rule of the Moros whom already dominated Jolo and Mindanao during Rizal's time, with all the consequences of such rule.
In London, besides annotating Morga's book Rizal studied and practiced English, increasing his knowledge in that difficult branch of philology. As always, he studied, not to accumulate knowledge in his mind but for concrete application, to pave the way for someday converting the Tagalog language into an idiom of culture. For this role it was necessary that the language should have a philological basis, orthographic norms and unity, since there were distinct dialect forms in different regions. In addition to this huge task, Rizal had to keep up with his copious correspondence, which for him had become an information agency on events from all over the world related to the Philippines. Ponce, with whom he had hardly had any correspondence and whom he had not yet met but with whom he had affinity of temperament, wrote from Barcelona, announcing that he was sending the complete works of Larra. This compensated for the error he committed in sending only the articles. He was also sending a transcript of the circular of Molto, ad interim successor of Terrero – from which one could sense a deterioration in the relations between the friars and the priests, on the one hand, and natives on the other. Molto last sentences of the circular show the gravity of the circumstances, a matter that the government wished to counteract with a policy of settlement.
In his letters to Ponce, Rizal tried to recruit him as a militant in the fight for the future emancipation of their country. He observes that "having the gift of the pen – the last weapon left for us – you do not use it for our moral upliftment." The letter reflects his emotional state, his great sensitivity and touchiness, which, as in other cases of this sort, had its causes. What made it abnormal is that it influenced his judgment and evaluation of things.
Furthermore, these moods of Rizal usually lasted from these spells of depression to an attitude of self-abnegation, a feeling of being a victim. In this respect it is anthologize.
In truth, laziness and indolence in general, marked the conduct of the Filipino community in Madrid. However, it would be too much to expect that the students in Madrid should have the zeal of Blumentritt or of Rost. And since, in his view, Madrid had turned his back on him. Rizal turned his eyes back to Barcelona.
From the archipelago came the news that the measures adopted by the authorities had become harsher. In the last days of June, the Hongkong Telegraph carried the news that several houses in Manila had been searched. Among them were those of Laureano Viado, who was detained for having had in his possession a copy of the Noli. All the bookstores that sold this book were searched. This signified that the decree issued by the Commission of Censorship was in full force.
Corroborating the news, Rizal received on the 13th of October a telegram from Hongkong, with the information that his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, married to Saturnina Rizal and a lawyer by profession, had been deported to Bohol. Weyler, who assumed his office on the 5th of June 1888, initiated a new style in the conduct of the Governor General. In more graphic language, it can be said that he was the antithesis of Terrero. Although he was austere and devoted practically the whole day to his administrative tasks, his conduct towards the natives was often inhuman. He deported Hidalgo, according to his own testimony, just for being the brother-in-law of Rizal. Besides, he ordered several discriminatory measures against the Filipinos, sowing the seeds of dissension.
While the government exerted more and more pressure against the Filipinos' efforts for liberalization, often surreptitiously made, in Bohemia sympathy was expressed for the Philippine cause. This served to somehow alleviate Rizal's sufferings.
Blumentritt, who was of a slightly nervous nature, read with anxiety the news from the Philippines, which also contained barbs against him. Rizal wrote him a very emotional letter, a proof of his friendship. He wrote: "Withdraw from this violent struggle which will poison your peaceful heart and embitter your grand character, because politics, when it burns between tyrants and oppressed peoples, does not have a heart, nor a brain, but claws, poison and vengeance… Leave us alone to solve our problems… your life and your family is sacred to me. You have yet to write our history, and to maintain an impartial view. Stop all your letters."
Here is a sublime manifestation of Rizal's concept of true friendship. Once again he sacrifices himself for the welfare of his friend, his most important international collaborator, on whom he counts so much. Blumentritt cooperated because of conviction as well as friendship, though he was not duty-bound to do so, for he was not a Filipino. Rizal wanted to preserve his image free from sectarian leanings, for he was to write the history of the Philippines. It is easy to fall into this weakness when one is a belligerent.
At this time there occurred certain incidents between Rizal and Retana (Desengaños) by letter and through the papers. Retana at that time attacked the Filipinos and even wrote a book defending the administration of Weyler. Subsequently, he became the greatest defender of Rizal and the author of the most scholarly biography of Rizal at the time.
Rizal remained in London, exhausting the subject of the study of the history of the Philippines. He wrote Blumentritt, saying that he would not leave London until he had read all the books and manuscripts about his country.
With the tension becoming more acute, hardly a week passed without an attack in the press against the Filipinos. Among the most virulent were those of "Quioquiap" (Pablo Feced), who wrote horrible articles about the Filipinos in the paper El Liberal. Rizal had objected to the inclusion of his name in Blumentritt's prologue to the Morga book he annotated.
Meanwhile, the papers from Spain carried the news that the General Union of Workers had been founded in Madrid on August 14, 1888, the organization which would later support the liberal currents in favor of Cuba and the Philippines, although this fact had not been recorded by Rizal.
Becerra, successor of Balaguer in the Ministry of the Colonies, had prepared a series of educational reforms, by virtue of which primary education would not only be obligatory but also free. Furthermore, the professional chairs of the University of Manila would be filled through competitive tests, except those of canon law and theology, which would be reserved for the Dominicans. The reactionaries, supported by the friars, unleashed a violent campaign in Parliament and in the press opposing the reform. As a result of this, the bills were not pushed through. It was feared that the Filipino native, upon acquiring some knowledge, would claim his rights, and that the University of Santo Tomas would fall under the hegemony of the Kraunists. Thus, the opportunity for the majority of the Filipinos to learn Spanish was lost.
The paper España en Filipinas, directed by Lete, had ceased publication in September 1887. The Filipino community in Barcelona wanted to revive the paper, with the same title, or better still, with another. Although the differences between Rizal and Lete were not known, there was a tremendous lack of unanimity at the moment of electing a new editor.
On the 16th of October 1888, Antonio Luna wrote from Madrid, proposing Llorente as director, but previously consulting with Rizal. Eleven days later, Luna, having obtained the address of Rizal, wrote him a lengthy letter in which he invoked the necessity of unity, which only Rizal could make possible. He insisted that Rizal should accept the editorship of the paper. He had made an inquiry, the results of which he transmitted to Rizal as follows: There were 25 sure voters for Rizal, five unknown and some other members who never attended the meetings. This was in Madrid. In Barcelona they were unanimous for Rizal. At the end of the letter, he appealed to him, "If, as you say, you are always willing to serve your country, this is the time that she asks you for a sacrifice." Then he stated that "the number of voters in his favor indicated a moral unanimity and that the contributors were in the Philippines." He could not understand what Rizal meant when he said, "Had you proposed this editorship to me before, I would have accepted it."
Rizal was not disposed to move to Spain to assume the editorship of the paper, which was to be the organ of the Sociedad Hispano-Filipina, founded in Madrid on the 12th of July 1888, under the financial auspices of the Comité de Propaganda. It answers to the repression during Molto's term. Five months after the society was founded, another directorship was set up, headed by Morayta, and with a politico-Masonic character.
On the 8th of May, Rizal wrote Luna rejecting definitely the editorship of the publication. His motives? Blumentritt observed that this action of Rizal did not harmonize with the purity which always characterized by his motives and conduct. The professor had advised him to accept, but when Rizal received the letter it was too late. Rizal justified his stand. Saying, "The friends of Lete were very jealous, and since Lete, my former friend, did not treat me well when my articles appeared in España en Filipinas, I have withdrawn. If I were the only capable Filipino… but there are many more worthy than I am."
The letter is of interest, for, firstly, it revealed the sensitiveness of Rizal and, secondly, it shows that he had not forgotten an old grudge that he should have, set aside his extreme touchiness for the sake of his motherland. History has proven Blumentritt right, for no publication, either before or after, gained the importance and transcendence of La Solidaridad, the name given to the fortnightly.
Rizal's resentment stemmed not only from his differences with Lete but also from the indifferences and neglected shown by the Madrid-based Filipinos in the dissemination of the Noli. Rizal, hurt by there seems lack of interest, wrote Ponce: "Not one of them took the least initiative to have my books transported to Madrid, despite the fact that it was already at the frontier, the postal expenses paid, and the authorization given. Up until my return to the Philippines last June, the copies had not yet arrived in Madrid.
Rizal's complaint was justified, but knowing the nature and habits of the Filipino students then, the neglecting should have been attributed to their usual laziness and not to a deliberate refusal to do what Rizal expected. At any rate, any active politician with such sensitiveness would have lost prestige and influence. With his reticent nature, Rizal continued his research work in London.
In spite of his decision to reject the position, Rizal was elected director of the fortnightly. He went to Barcelona, where he took the opportunity to see the Exposition which was being held there, and in which the Philippines was represented. He stayed for 15 days only, and his sojourn did not change his decision to refuse the editorship of the paper. Perhaps the more important reason of his trip was to expedite the papers seeking to annul the deportation of his brother-in-law.
Back in London, he continued with his work, this time with an additional project of annotating a Chinese code from the Middle Ages, in collaboration with Blumentritt and Professor Meyer.
Marcelo H. del Pilar
Known also by the pseudonym Plaridel and Piping Dilat, Marcelo del Pilar was one of the men who worked with a realistic approach in the struggle of the Filipinos. Born in 1850 in the province of Bulacan, he was 11 years older than Rizal. After finishing law, he became a Mason. He wrote several articles against the friars in a publication based in Malolos under his pen name. For these articles the authorities took action against him. He was served a court summons, but before judgment on this was passed, he was advised by the Committee on Propaganda to leave the country in order to avoid detention.
In Spain, his wife and family, who had remained in the Philippines, supported him. There, he at once gained prominence due to his personality, journalistic excellence, and talent for polemics, and above all, his realistic view of the political scene. He had greater experience in politics, for he was less of a scholar and intellectual, than Rizal was. As soon a he arrived in Barcelona, he began to write for the papers on Philippine affairs with such keen intelligence and success that he won the praise of Rizal who, in a enthusiastic letter to Ponce, asked, "Who is Plaridel?" But his enthusiasm reached its peak when he read the pamphlet La Soberania Monacal, a precise and caustic diatribe against the frailocracia, as he baptized it. Rizal then asked Ponce, "Why can't we have a hundred Plaridels?"
On December 31,1888, a New Year's Eve dinner was held in Barcelona. This time, the gathering was to have a special significance, for during the dinner the questions of activating the struggle, forming an association called La Solidaridad, and launching on a firm base the fortnightly of the same name would be taken up and resolved. The society and its publication counted on the support of some liberal Spaniards and the financial backing of the Committee on propaganda residing in the Philippines. Rizal was named honorary president, although he was in London. He felt that on the occasion of this appointment he should send a message. Which he did, and entitled it "An Address to the Filipinos" Where he says, "There where two Filipinos meet, in the name of and for the good of the country, there I also wish to be, for her good." Further, he asks them to do something memorable that night, something worthy of the Filipino youth. One thing certain is the La solidaridad became the most important paper of the Filipinos abroad and their most significant work in connection with the propaganda movement was published in it.
If Cavite was the ferment, which activated the process of awakening the Filipino people, personified by Rizal and his co-workers, the repression that followed the publication of the Noli and the subsequent deportation of Rizal to Dapitan constituted the spark which lighted the conflagration of the Insurrection of 1896.
In January of 1889, although he had rejected the directorship of La Solidaridad, Rizal continued with his efforts to intensify the propaganda. He began to implement another one of the ideas conceived by his active imagination – the creation of an "international association of Filipinists". Among the objectives of which would be the organization of international congresses where the history, past and present, of the Philippines, with special attention to linguistics, would be discussed. The board of directors would be international, and its first congress would be held during the Paris International Exposition in May 1889.
The association was stillborn due to lack of funds for the development of its program and lack of sufficient enthusiasm of some of its members. As early as March, Rizal had written Blumentritt to see Doctor Riedel and request him to accept the post of adviser. The latter, however, failed to confirm the request.
In October 1889, when Blumentritt inquired as to the state of the "association", Rizal replied that it would be in a "latent state" until his annotations on the Morga book were finished. In the end, in spite of the good will that motivated its organizer, the association did not go beyond the planning stage.
Women of Malolos
Soon after Marcelo del Pilar arrived in Barcelona, he informed Rizal of the unique development in Malolos, capital of the province of Bulacan, his home province, where the women had established a night school over the objections of a friar of that town. These developments were, indeed, in line with progressive thinking of the Filipino emigrants. Del Pilar requested Rizal to write a letter to the women, lauding them for their achievement.
All throughout the letter, Rizal reveals once again his rationalism, his repudiation of clericalism, his concern with freedom and independence that would liberate man from slavery, his defense of honor and dignity, and the necessity for education and the culture as the fundamental source of liberation. The concepts are mainly based on doctrines; the words of Christ and the invocation to god constitute a theological support.
Rizal begins by saying that he was often wondered about the courage of Filipino women. He knows that they have a sweet disposition and modest ways, but this with excessive acquiescence and servility to the words and caprices of the so-called fathers of souls (as though the soul could have a father other than god). But with the news of the occurrences in Malolos, there was no longer any question as to the bravery of Filipino women, their own struggle to free themselves from servitude serving as an example to the youth of the country.
The Filipinos no longer have their heads bowed, nor do they need to kneel, counting as they now could on the collaboration and support of their women. Religiosity, he says, does not consist in staying on one's knees for long periods of time, nor in saying kilometric prayers, in holding big rosaries and wearing dirty scapulars, but in impeccable conduct, in sincerity of intention and in righteous judgment. He adds: "God, who is the source of all wisdom, does not ask that man, made unto his image and likeness, should allow himself to be deceived and blinded, but that the gift of reason should shine and be utilize.
Then, referring to the education of the children, he says that this should not be limited to religious practices. He criticized the practice giving gifts and contributions in the name of God, the donation of great sums of money to the friars, who were already wallowing in wealth, in place of giving food to the poor and to the hungry. In classifying the virtues, he places obedience to reason in the highest place, happen what may, although previously he had advised that one should hear and think about, what others have to say. Knowing the Bible remarkably well, having read various versions from the Hebrew to the Spanish, from the Vulgate to the version of Casiodoro de Reina, Rizal loves to quote frequently from Holy Scripture and the words of Christ. Quoting the Lord, he says to the women of Malolos: "Christ said: What I want of you are acts not words. That it is not he who cries 'My Father, My Father!' who is the son of my Father. It is he who lives according to the will of my Father."
Then he makes a comparison between the conduct of Jesus and that of the friars.
The mothers should train their sons to value honor, have a clear mind, act justly and honorably, and respect God. Also, they should prepare their sons to face misfortunes, for life is strewn with them. Ever patriotic in his views, he warns that the country will never be free and prosperous as long as the children and the women remain in ignorance. This is the reason, he add, that the woman in Asia remains in semi-slavery.
Then he approaches the topic of love, touching on the quotation of Filipino women given them by some peninsulars and friars of being "easy" women. He rejects this generalization, saying that in all countries there are women of weak character. The Filipino maiden should be the pride of the country and should command the respect of everybody.
As regards married women, they should avoid servility, and for this purpose they should collaborate with their husbands, encouraging them and lifting their spirit, easing their pains and lightening their tribulations.
To facilitate comprehension and make the reading more interesting, Rizal describes briefly the conduct of Spanish women in relation to their husbands. Filipino women, he says, should imbue their husbands with the idea that it is better to die with honor than to live without it. "Tyranny is possible only because of cowardice and negligence in others. What makes one despicable is his lack of dignity and intense fear of the despised. Ignorance is servitude. He who loves independence should first help his fellowmen, for he who forsakes shall be forsaken. Men are born equal, naked. God did not create men to be slaves, nor did he adorn them with reason in order to be blinded by others. Analyze carefully the kind of religion they teach you, if it is in accordance to the will of God, the teachings of Christ to help the poor and the suffering. Compare that religion with the pure one Christ." He concludes with a wish for the success of the Malolos women in their eager efforts to acquire education.
We have given a detailed treatment of this message of Rizal because it gives us a clear insight into Rizal's thinking in the year 1889. Imbued with the Christian spirit and with some opposing views on Catholic doctrine, it also presents Rizal as a pioneer in the promotion of education and liberation of women, which he defends per se. From the letter, one derives the following conclusion: Women can exert great influence towards the emancipation of their country.
Rizal found London very pleasant and enjoyed his stay there, far from the intrigues of his fellow emigrants, but maintaining close correspondence with them. Suddenly, one day, he decided to leave that warm, familiar retreat, the home of the Becketts. What could have motivated this sudden departure? That inflammable heart of his had once again tempted him to depart from his mission. The only women with whom he dealt were two daughters of Mister Beckett. It is not surprising that between Gertrude, the elder one, and Rizal, there should develop affection and love, starting early in 1888 and lasting up to 1889. His options were to marry her, to seduce her or to leave London. He opted for the last. He expressed his thoughts thus: "I should commit the indignity of seduction in exchange for a pure and virginal love, as is that love which she offers me."
Once again Rizal had conquered his passions, his sights always set on the supreme mission assigned him. Everything else was subordinated to it, including life. Gertrude could have offered him the lenitive to his solitude and could have helped heal the wound inflicted by the long months of Leonor's silence.
He left for Paris in the first days of March 1889, as though fleeing from a fire, to quote from his friend Valentin Ventura. His other purpose was to work once more for the freedom of his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, who had been deported to Bohol. That was the start of the persecution of Rizal's family and the neighbors who had taken their side. On the 16th of May, he wrote his family that he had been notified of the order allowing his brother-in-law to return to Calamba. He did return, in effect, but soon after was deported again.
Meanwhile, the life of Rizal in Paris remained to his work, perhaps with his intensity in Madrid, being mindful, perhaps, of his previous bout with tuberculosis, and the fact that on the same month that he arrived in Paris he fell ill, although just for a short spell. Four hours of library work; one or two of gymnastics or fencing, to be prepared for possible duels; some time for the study of Dutch – the rest of the time was consumed by visits of his friends. Two nights a week he played chess in a café, and once in a while was invited to dinner at the house of the painter Luna; on Friday's tea at the house of the Bousteads. This completed his activities.
At the slow pace in which the Filipinos proceeded, several weeks passed before the fortnightly started publication. Rizal, however, in his capacity of honorary president of the society, wrote while still in London, giving advice, as always with that exquisite tact which characterized him, so as not to hurt anybody's feelings. He counseled tolerance when the question was not of much importance and did not affect fundamental issues. He also advised avoiding arguments, and recommended honesty and the fulfillment of duty without expecting remuneration, as well as respect for the decision of the majority.
At last, on the 15th of February 1889, La Solidaridad appeared in Barcelona, the size of half of a tabloid, but well printed with two columns. At the beginning the paper came out in 500 copies. Propaganda was intensified among Filipinos scattered all over Europe so that they would help with their subscriptions, contribute articles and promote the dissemination of the fortnightly. Graciano Lopez-Jaena was now the director. The frustrated student of medicine wrote well, was intelligent, and had a good politico-philosophical background. He was considered the most radical among emigrants, but assisting him in the tasks of editor was Marcelo Del Pilar, a man of great worth, who somehow moderated Jaena's radicalism. At that time Del Pilar was in the assimilation stage of the propaganda. In due time he would become more radical. Rizal was pleased with the way the fortnightly was developing, but he feared that, owing to lack of tact or good judgment, the paper, which was the best collective projects of the emigrants, would fail. He wrote Lopez-Jaena giving him advice.
On the 2nd of April, Rizal received a letter in Paris from the Philippines, informing him that the families of the so-called Filibusteros were being excessively persecuted. He replied with a lengthy letter wherein he says that he understood the sufferings of the persecuted that it was a necessary evil in a corrupt society. Besides, he wrote, this would be a test of the fortitude and bravery of the people concerned, and hence would prove whether they were worthy of liberty. But if they were cowards and weaklings, then, he added, they should first mature.
As regards the method of working in favor of the detainees in Manila, Rizal declared he was not in favor of making personal approaches, from his experience in the case of his brother-in-law. He made somewhat naïve suggestion: "The best thing is to use legal procedures. The victims or aggrieved should go to the courts if they can, and if they cannot, then they should appeal to God."
One can imagine the reaction of the fighters Lopez-Jaena and Del Pilar, who proposed to launch an international campaign denouncing before the whole world the outrageous repression against the Filipino people. In time these methods proved to be the most efficacious. In his letter Rizal expressed a concept that he had previously communicated to Blumentritt from Calamba in 1887, "We are all in the hands of God," he had said. Now, in this letter to the "supporters", he expands the same idea, adding that God watches over his creatures and helps those who have courage and good will. Rizal himself demonstrated these two qualities before his death.
But Del Pilar, with great tact, wrote Rizal saying that perhaps a more effective procedure was that for every outrage committed, they should arouse and agitate European public opinion. In truth, this was what the times called for Del Pilar did so, but Rizal refrained.
The program of La Solidaridad was moderate. The veering to the left, which the Filipino fighters could not help due to the Spanish policy in the Philippines, did not harmonize with the program of the paper. The goals of which were limited to the following: 1) representation in the Cortes, 2) the right of assembly, 3) the right of association and of freedom of thought and of speech, 4) participation of the Filipinos in the government of the Islands, and 5) assimilation. As we see, nothing is said about autonomy or of independence. Rather, their goals were inspired by the principles of the bourgeois revolution of 1789.
The first article that Rizal wrote in La Solidaridad was entitled, "The Filipino Farmers," which came out in issue No.3, dated March 3, 1889. He censures the authorities of minor category molest and harass the farmers with their suspicion, fears and sometimes, demands, all of which fomented discontent against the Spanish government. The second article came out in the 8th issue of the same paper, published on the 31st of May 1889. He entitled it, "The truth for Everyone", and in it he contests the attacks against the Filipino people launched in a manila periodical. Rizal's articles appeared in almost all the issues. They were very journalistic in style, almost always on the burning issues of the day, developed with great polemical style, although with some occasional literary deficiencies, for he used the pen only in defense of his country. Another interesting article is "A Profanation", which is marked by a violence unusual of him. Mariano Herbosa, brother-in-law of Rizal, married Lucia, had died of cholera in May 1889; the coadjutor did not allow his burial in the cemetery. In the article, and in his letters to his friends, Rizal does not regret the fact that his brother-in-law was buried in the mountains, but what he resented was that the decision had been based on his being Rizal's brother-in-law.
On the other hand, another one who had died on the same day and under the same circumstances was buried in the cemetery. The burial of this other person in the cemetery reinforced Rizal's argument. He gives the example of an adulterer who killed his beloved and committed suicide, but because he was the son of the King they buried him properly and built a chapel in the place where the assassination and his suicide took place. Rizal was referring perhaps to Rudolf, the son of the Emperor of Austria, and the tragedy of Mayerling.
Another important article was entitled, "Barrantes and the Tagalog Theatre", which appeared in issues 9 and 10 of June 1889. Barrantes, a Spaniard and an academician, a good writer and a high official in the Philippines where he resided for some time had published in La Ilustración Artistica, Barcelona, and a series of articles on the Tagalog theatre. After citing Gaspar de San Agustin and his reference to the idleness of the Filipinos, he launches an indirect criticism of "a certain writer of that country, who writes in Spanish in his own Hispano-Tagalog manner". Devoting an entire book to prove the existence of a pre-Spanish civilization and history, which Barrantes denies. Then he goes on to demonstrate that there is no such thing as pure Tagalog literature or pure Tagalog theatre.
In his article, Rizal refutes him in his typical ironic style and, responding to the adjectives "incapable" and "completely inept", which Barrantes used to describe the Tagalogs, he assails him, making him look ridiculous by pointing out his errors regarding the history of the Philippines, some of them terrible inaccuracies. Our hero takes the opportunity to cite one of Morga's statements which he has annotated: "The Filipinos were industrious before the arrival of the Spaniards, but they gradually lost this trait from the time the Spaniards took possession of the country, for causes very sad and vexing to relate." Further on, Rizal says that Barrantes knows nothing of Tagalog writing, thinking that it is the same as the Malay language. He ends up by saying that even if the Filipinos were accused of ingratitude and branded as "filibusteros", they would continue being faithful to Spain. As long as those who ruled her destiny had an ounce of love for the country and as long as there were ministers who promoted liberal reforms. As long as the clamor of invectives does not drown out from memory the names of Legazpi, Salcedo and, above all of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela who protected the unfortunate Filipinos from a distance.
The article "The Philippines a Century Hence" can be classed among his best writings. It not only reveals Rizal's erudition but also we can also see in this monograph that many of his predictions have today come true and, therefore, can be described as prophetic.
In this long exposition, he analyzes the history of the Philippines gradually through three centuries of the regime until it reached the deplorable state. He objectively examines the options offered by the various political postures that Spain could adopt, indicating the enormous risk taken by Spain in adopting an intransigent attitude. He declares his position in favor of assimilation and predicts that repression could only lead to insurrection and insurrection to independence. As always, he has more confidence in the judgment of the intelligentsia than the masses for leading the people towards their aspired goals.
The article gives us an accurate idea of the political ideology of Rizal in 1889, although somewhat moderate or restrained for obvious reasons. With prophetic vision he makes the hypothesis that if the Philippines were to gain independence, neither England for France, Germany, nor least of all Holland, would think of acquiring the Philippines, but that the United States could have intentions of gaining possession of colonies in the East. History has proven Rizal right; what he failed to foresee was that the colonial design of the United States was against its traditions. This is understandable, for American history was at the time limited to two important events: the war waged under the banner of the struggle against slavery and the fight for independence of the English colonies in America. Nobody would have guessed than a person as candid, true and loyal as our hero. They're living such a tradition, and with the purity of the Declaration of Principles in Virginia of June 1776, the United States would later proceed with a colonial policy based on swindling, demagoguery and economic exploitation. The promises of Pratt, Consul of the United States in Singapore, made to General Aguinaldo, of recognizing Philippines independence under a Filipino government, were reiterated by Commodore Dewey while already in Cavite, in the presence of the former, and of high officers of the squadron during the Proclamation of Independence. This was apparently a mere show, with the aim of continuing the insurrection against Spain under Aguinaldo.
When the Americans landed large contingents of forces during the last week of June to prevent Aguinaldo's taking possession of Manila, the latter realized that the Americans were there to stay indefinitely. The Spanish colonial policy was reactionary, but at least it was open and the Filipinos knew what to expect. Fraud and hypocrisy dominated the policy of the United States, the Americans pretending to be emancipators of the Filipinos when in fact they were new colonizers who would stay for 48 years in order to implement its economic domination of the Islands.
Although not frequently, news from the distant islands reached the Congress of Delegates in Madrid. As always, the two political factions, the progressive and the reactionary, displayed their oratorical skill, so much in vogue at the time. In the month of April 1889, Rizal was summoned to the session of the Congress. The news of the repression had reached Spain, and on 11th of the same month, Delegate Sr. Muro interpolated the Minister of the Colonies on the numerous deportations decreed by the Governor General of the Philippines.
Muro observed that in the archipelago the Penal Code was in force and it did not authorize such government measures. He added that only the King could decree deportation, according to the Laws of the Indies, and that this should go through the proper channels. He asked the Minister of the Colonies what was happening in the Philippines, whether such measures were being taken, whether he was aware of it and whether he approved of them.
The next day, interpolation was resumed, but it was of an opposite political inclination. General Luis Ma. Pando requested the Minister of the Colonies to appear before Congress with regards to a very grave matter which could endanger the interest of Spain in the Philippines, where, he affirmed, people were being killed – a sign of a great conflagration in the offing. This, he asserted, was due to the fact that the authorities did not receive the support they needed and were not given all the facilities required. Here we should recall that the Governor general then was Weyler, the harsh man par excellence, typical example of dehumanized authority. The president of the council replied, denying the claims of Pando.
Pando declared that the assassination was made to the cry of: "Death to the Castilas!" Then he informed the chamber that: "In the Philippines there is in circulation a book entitled Noli Me Tangere, which I beg the President of the Council to study, for there is much to study. But I would advise him to do so with great care, for the book is full of poison, and could poison his Lordship."
The next day, the Minister of the Colonies (Becerra) declared that he had not been notified about the disturbances, but that he had already wired for information. On the 15th of April, becerra read the telegram from manila, which affirmed that peace and order was absolute.
Pando attempted another interpolation, but his request was rejected due, perhaps, to the telegram. He recalled the Cavite Mutiny and lauded the execution by the garrote of the three priests, adding he would feel honored to do the same thing as General Izquierdo did.
Pando's statement, 17 years after the drama of Bagumbayan, was certainly least suitable for starting a policy of pacification which the circumstances demanded, as history shows.
News of the speech of Pando immediately reached the Philippines. The harshness of the repression was due not to Becerra's actuation but to the personal decision of General Weyler. The Minister of the Colonies, on the contrary, required the application of the Civil Code and decreed the "Becerra Law" which mandated the calling of elections for positions in the local administration in some of the entities of the towns.
The Weylerian repression became worse. The Comite de Propaganda became more active. La Solidaridad was smuggled into the country; funds were raised and the periodical was clandestinely disseminated.
In July 1889, Rizal wrote Blumentritt, informing him that he had sent the Morga book with his annotations to the printer. The Austrian professor who, upon request of Rizal, in his evaluation laid aside his friendship with our hero wrote the prologue.
Rizal stayed in Paris longer than he had previously planned. In his case, the extension was not due to his political duties but to an affair of love. In the summer of 1889, Rizal met the Boustead family, composed of Eduardo Boustead, his wife and two daughters. Mister Boustead, a rich Englishman, with business enterprises in Singapore and the Philippines, was married to a Filipina of an illustrious Manila family. The youngest daughter, Nelly, possessed an impressive personality, with firmness of character, strong convictions and a rich cultural background. Because of a certain affinity of ideas, it was not surprising that a bond of affection should develop between her and Rizal. Nelly had the sentiments of a Filipina, a quality of which drew them together.
There exited a singular mutual understanding among the Filipinos in Paris, shown in the weekly tea parties held at the Boustead home every Friday. The members of the Boustead family were kept informed of the situation in the Philippines, not only because of these gatherings but because they subscribed regularly to La Solidaridad.
Rizal's interest in Nelly was much greater than that which he felt for the insignificant Gertrude Beckett, who continued writing him her anodyne letters. Antonio Luna also attended these regular meetings. Likewise felt an admiration for Nelly. Rizal was as always correct and proper, and the two rivals had to thresh out matters between them. When he saw that his rival was on firmer ground than he was with Nelly, Luna withdrew from the contention.
Graciano Lopez-Jaena, who lived a bohemian life, lacking in personal discipline, neglected his tasks as director of La Solidaridad. Marcelo Del Pilar gradually began to take over the responsibilities of directing the paper.
At this time, Rizal desiring to have an exchange of views with the principal Filipinos in Europe wrote them, inviting them to come to Paris and see the Exposition. He offered to put the bill for their breakfasts and tickets (for the Exposition). Meanwhile, the board of directors decided that La Solidaridad be edited in Madrid under the direction of Marcelo H. Del Pilar. Thus, the office of the fortnightly was transferred to Madrid, the campaign intensified, and the contents of the paper amplified.
The first number published in Madrid came out in November 1889. By the beginning of September, Moret, who was then ex-minister, was in Madrid. He sent a note to Rizal, saying that he had read the Noli and that he liked it very much. He expressed a wish to have a talk with them.
Some days later, Rizal talked to Blumentritt about the interview and said that the ex-minister manifested a sympathetic attitude towards the Filipinos. Summarizing, he said that Moret was liberal and a reformist, but, naturally, always a Spaniard, although he showed a dislike for Weyler and other generals.
In November, Blumentritt had finished his prologue to the Morga book. Before that, Rizal had reiterated his request that Blumentritt criticize the book with no holds barred. Saying all that the deemed wrong with the book: "I wish to give an example to my people, that I do not write for myself nor for my glory; for me the truth is more important than my fame.
In the meantime, the name of Rizal acquired more and more prestige in his country. Proof of this were the numerous articles published in La Voz de Manila, attacking him, as always.
It was during this year that Rizal's relation with Masonry became most active, he had sporadic contact with the organization in Madrid in 1883, but in 1889, he read a paper before lodge "Solidaridad". However, his affinity with Masonry was limited to his anti-clericalism, for he always maintained the Christian principles that had been inculcated in his mind and pervaded all his life. He was not regularly active in the lodge and, hence, remained in the lower grades. The Masons, for their part, believed that the non-violent posture of Rizal was due to his background of Masonic principles.
In Brussels, he took lodgings, as was his custom, in a private house – the home of a family composed of two aunts and a niece. The reasons for his sudden departure for Brussels have not been explained. Rizal had an inclination for solitude. His frequent spells of depression, caused by his spiritual suffering, found relief in his constant occupation with his various tasks – research work and writing. In solitude he found a lenitive to his pain. Furthermore, he needed to be alone in order to concentrate on his new novel, El Filubusterismo. One thing certain is that, this time it was not love that attracted him to Brussels, as his fellow-Filipinos thought. He worked on the Filibusterismo, assisted in a clinic, attended to his correspondence, and wrote articles for La Solidaridad.
It was during his stay in Brussels that Rizal's personality began to undergo a change – an intellectual transformation, which came about not in an abrupt turn but in a gradual manner. As early as the beginning of 1890, the change had begun to take place, although he still maintained much of his religious views. Thus, in a letter to B. Roxas, he praised virtue as he had always done; he censured the gambling and idleness of the Filipino colony in Madrid, adding that the slave can be redeemed only by his virtues. At the same time, he was veering slowly towards radicalism, not because, like Marat, he had learned a lesson from history, for if this were true, he would have changed much earlier. It was because he had personally felt the pain of persecution and discrimination against his family and country. Since he left Manila in 1882, the Spanish authorities had not taken a single effective step towards assimilation. We say effective, because Weyler did not implement the decrees of a minister with progressive ideas like Becerra. We have pointed out the peculiar circumstances of the system in the Philippines: a vice-royalty, in practice autonomous from the metropolis, but conditioned by a surreptitious power represented by the friars. Rizal, who never asked for independence in his writings, saw that the way towards assimilation was closed, that the repression grew worse and worse, and censorship became more and more strict. It is not surprising that his stand, as regards the strategy to be used, became more radical – a moderate radicalism wrapped in a background of sacrifice; a sacrifice which represented not only efforts, dedication, work, etc., but also the greatest of sacrifices – that of life for his country.
Once again, the old ritornello came back, the idea that he had been placed on this earth for a certain purpose – that of giving life to his country. He was convinced that the time would come when the seed of his body would bear fruit in the form of freedom for his people. With his tormented soul in pain, he wrote to Del Pilar in 1890: "I would appreciate your signing your name always, for I want to withdraw little by little and be forgotten. What I wish is for you, and nobody else but you, to succeed me, and that is the reason why I want you to sign your name always; and then I shall retire…" Further on he adds that he does not wish to be a delegate but that he wishes Del Pilar would prepare himself for this position. Upon retiring, he would devote himself to his vocation: teaching.
Although in this letter he does not explicitly say so, what Rizal was actually planning was his return to the Philippines, no matter what the consequences. He always maintained that it was in the mother country where the fight had to be carried on, except for the Filipinos who had to go abroad for their intellectual preparation which would provide them with the resources necessary for the struggle for the liberation of their country.
Marcelo H. Del Pilar had been misjudged by his fellow-emigrants who thought, as did Rizal, that he should not have left the Philippines, comparing his situation with that of Rizal. But this criticism is not quite fair, for Del Pilar did return to the Philippines after finishing his education; if he did leave again, it was because he was practically expelled. Rizal's second return to the Philippines shows that criterion which he applied to Del Pilar, he also applied to himself.
As the year 1890 advanced, he was confirmed in his wish to retire a decision that at the age of 29 was most premature. In the month of May, he explained to Del Pilar why he had not been writing for La Solidaridad. "I have not been sending you any articles for La Solidaridad, for I do not wish to tire our readers, and hope that our other countrymen should also write, and get to be known. I wish to lie low now, so that new names may arise."
As Blumentritt's cooperation with the Filipinos became more intense, the peninsulars agitated against him, notwithstanding the fact that he was a good Catholic, a friend of Spain, and an advocate of simple assimilation. A few months back, a proposal for his honorary membership had been presented before the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country, in Manila. In February of 1890, Barrantes, wishing to pit the Filipinos against the Spaniards, wrote in La Esperanza Moderna that Blumentritt came from Bismark's pit of reptiles. Blumentritt wrote Rizal, inquiring as to what Spanish laws gave him the right to reply. Needless to say, this one more trauma compounds the already afflicted state of our hero. This was the result of Blumentritt's not heeding Rizal's presages and advice to extricate him from the Philippine politics. Blumentritt's reply to Barrantes came out in the La Solidaridad of the 28th of February 1890.
The ominous situation, which darkened Rizal's solitude in his Brussels retirement, was heightened by more news from the Philippines. His brother-in-law was still detained in Bohol and were expected to be deported soon, in view of frequent denunciations, which up to now had been parried by the provincial governor. According to the news, two or three friars always accompanied Weyler, and thanks to the writings of Retana and "Quioquiap", a chauvinistic patriotism was aroused among the Spaniards.
In Bulacan, the house of Del Pilar was razed by fire, evidently a deliberate act. In the Peninsula, the progressivism movement grew stronger. In the Cortes, on March 28, 1890, the universal suffrage bill was approved. Sometime before that, the proposal of granting representation to the Philippines was presented but not pushed through.
With the arrival of Felipe Roxas in Madrid, where he intended to stay several years for the education of his children, the fact that the Filipino students devoted much of their time to gambling and amusement became once again a burning issue. Rizal wrote Del Pilar, asking him to remind them that "the Filipino goes to Europe to be educated and to work for the liberty and dignity of his race."
In the same letter there is proof that Rizal, for the first time, was swinging to the left. In Madrid, he had pronounced a profuse eulogy of the virtues of the bourgeoisie. In May 1890, he comments on the article of his compatriot Dominador Gomez. He said, "With the conditions in our country as they are, and conscious that all our writings are directed toward lifting the spirit of our people from their present miserable plight, to speak of the 'gold trimmings of the groom and of the luxurious coaches', in preference to topics on the social and political status of our country, is to speak of beautiful panoramas to the blind." This time Rizal thought specifically of the people, the masses who, after all, were the ones that suffered to a greater degree the consequences of colonization and who would give their blood generously for the Revolution.
About the end of May 1890, the Audiencia of Manila heard the case of the Hacienda De Calamba. The case had been appealed by Paciano and other Calambaleños in order to avoid eviction. The judgment in Manila was still in favor of the Dominicans, for which reason Paciano had to resort to the Supreme Court of Madrid.
In June, the gloomy presentiments of Rizal about his life grew stronger. He told his family and friends about these feelings. All of them were worried, and dissuaded him, with the same unanimity as when he left Germany for the Philippines, from returning again.
Del Pilar believed that Rizal's state of depression was due to wounded pride. In this manner also he explained Rizal's refusal to collaborate in the La Solidaridad. But Rizal denied this, saying, "I am not being touchy, and even if I did have some frustration or displeasure, I would tell the truth, but would still continue helping and fighting." (Soon, however, he graves proof of this sensitiveness.) In the same letter, there are manifestations of his state of depression. He communicated these feelings to his friends, always denying, however, any belief in them, otherwise, according to him, his conception of him, as a rationalist, a scientist and anti-superstition man, would suffer. "I want others to rise. I am assaulted by sad presentiments, although I do not give them full credence. In my youth, I believed that I would not reach the age of 30. For two months now, I have almost nightly of my dead friends and relatives. Although I do not believe in such things, still I am preparing for my death. I am putting in order the things I shall leave behind and I am ready for any eventuality… For this reason I wish, at any cost, to finish my second volume of the Noli (El Filibusterismo). For this reason, too, I wish that new ones arise and become renowned.
Like Hamlet, his destiny was calling him. In Hamlet's case it was the voice of the dead king that called; in Rizal's, it was the voice of the three Filipino priests executed in 1872.
A few days after the dramatic letter, Blumentritt wrote, trying to dissuade him from his plan to go back to the Philippines. He advised him to leave for Madrid where he would be more useful to his family than he would be in Calamba. It is to be recalled that Rizal had to carry out two missions: the case of the annulment of the decree deporting his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, and the case of the Hacienda de Calamba in the Supreme Court. To emphasize his point, or perhaps because Blumentritt truly felt it, he told Rizal that in many cases he was a fatalist, and that at the moment he had the feeling that if Rizal made this trip to his country, they would not see each other again. The ominous prediction proved to be true.
Another conflict arose among the ranks of the emigrants. Graciano Lopez-Jaena, the bohemian, intelligent, revolutionary and bad student, ex- director of the La Solidaridad, found himself in very bad financial straits and decided to go to Cuba as a military doctor. A collection was among the Filipinos to defray the expenses of his trip. When Rizal was informed of this, he expressed his dissent to Ponce, adding: "If one has to die, at least let him die in his country." But by an irony of fate, in 1896, Rizal also applied for authorization to go to Cuba as a military doctor. Lopez-Jaena did not go to Cuba but Manila, where he stayed for only four days. According to reports, if he had stayed longer, he would have been deported to the Marianas.
On the 3rd of July the government of Sagasta fell as a result of a bribery case in which his wife was involved. In view of this crisis, the projects of Becerra could not be realized.
In the last of May, Rizal carved two statuettes during his few spare hours: one entitled "The Triumph of Death over Life" and the other, "The Triumph of Science over Death". He sent these as gifts to Blumentritt and Czepelack, respectively.
In July 1890, Rizal was determined to leave for the Philippines in spite of the many pressures to the contrary. But before he left, he saw to it that the way was clear for the case of the hacienda de Calamba. Since there was little time left and in view of the distance between Spain and the Philippines, he sent Del Pilar a power of attorney. The latter could interpose, without prejudice to his presenting himself in Madrid and later proceeding to the Philippines "even if he had to step over dragons and vipers", as he wrote Blumentritt.
The unrest in the Philippines had become serious. The native in the Carolinas has rebelled, killing a lieutenant, four corporals and twenty-nine soldiers.
Rizal, rectifying his previous stands regarding La Solidaridad, and in view of his improved relations with Del Pilar, sent some articles for the paper. On July 31, 1890, the fortnightly published his excellent article entitled "The Indolence of the Filipinos" in which the responsibility for the alleged failing of the Filipinos was thrown back to the colonizers. The apathy of the government in attending to commerce and agriculture contributed greatly to bringing about that indolence, for before the conquest the Filipinos were active, rich, vigorous, and maintained brisk commerce with their neighbors. Although at first the natives still occupied some important posts, later on, when they were sunk in ignorance and discriminated against, they gradually lost all initiative. All of these, according to Rizal, led to the indolence attributed to the Filipinos.
In early August of 1890, Rizal moved to Madrid. Once again he was short of funds, for as Paciano had written him he did not have the money for his monthly stipend. He had resort to Basa in Hongkong for help. The latter replied that he would try to help him with a monthly stipend of P100. He also acknowledged receipt of 170 copies of the Morga that he had remitted to La Propaganda. He took the opportunity to reiterate his advice that Rizal should not return to Manila, that it would be risking too much to do so.
Basa had conceived of an alternative plan: Rizal should go to Hongkong and practice his medical profession there while waiting… Basa's idea was an excellent one; it would at the same time partly blunt Rizal's impatience to go back to his country. Following this plan, he would never be nearer his family, they could come and visit him and, above all – through Basa – Rizal would not be in danger.
In the meantime, Silvestre Ubaldo brought news that bode coercive measures against the tenants of the hacienda. These fears were confirmed in a decision of Weyler.
In the face of the above information, Rizal multiplied his efforts. He saw to it that the Association Hispano-Filipino sent circular letters to the press in support of liberal reforms in the Philippines. At the same time that a commission composed of Del Pilar, Rizal and Dominador Gomez arranged a meeting with Fabie, the new Minister of the Colonies, to protest the events in Calamba.
These months in Madrid were full of anxiety for Rizal. The news of the persecution in the Philippines, the financial situation of his family, the division among the Filipinos in Madrid – all these darkened his mood and dampened his spirit, at a time when his psychological condition urgently needed surcease from pain. These contributed to a change in his political outlook, radicalizing it as never before. This transformation finds expression in his El Filibusterismo some pages of which he had to rewrite, conforming with his new concepts, but everything still within the framework of moderation.
The threats of the provincial governor, as indicated in not 13, were pursued. Paciano, together with his brothers-in-law Antonio Lopez and Silvestre Ubaldo, and two residents of Calamba, were taken to the capital of the province, under custody of two guardias civiles, and subsequently deported to Mindoro without the benefit of due process.
Also in the month of October, Isabelo de los Reyes expressed the view that Rizal's annotations of Morga's book were excessively partial to the Filipinos, provoking a controversy. De los Reyes, an Ilocano writer, had written a note in the second edition of hisHistoria de Ilocos, asserting that the patriotism of Rizal sometimes blinded him in his thinking. He added that a historian should be impartial. In judging the Filipinos of that period, the views of Rizal were in some respects influenced by his nationalistic emotions. Rizal answered him in an article that appeared in La Solidaridad. Rizal supports the authority of parents over children, the respect of the latter towards their parents, which De Los Reyes questions, with quotations from seven authors. Our hero ends thus: "I cite from books, and when I do, I have them on hand.
This reply was considered undiplomatic by Blumentritt and Juan Luna, not because of content but because they deemed it improper to make known to the public, much less through La Solidarida, the dissension's among the Filipinos. But the comments of De Los Reyes did go counter to the aims of Rizal's annotated version of the Morga.
In the midst of this deluge of bad news, an article appeared in La Epoca of Madrid, signed by Wenceslao Retana, at that time a enemy of the liberal Filipinos. In the article, he wrote that with Rizal's arrival in Calamba the tenants started refusing to pay the canon to the Dominicans, an accusation aimed at the relatives and friends of Rizal. (The Filipinos thought the offense serious enough to challenge Retana to a duel). In less than 24 hours Rizal's seconds went to see Retana, but the duel was averted after a settlement on paper was drawn up, upholding the honor of both contenders. This was fortunate, for, with the skill in marksmanship which Rizal had acquired in Paris, and his long experience in fencing, the life of Retana was in real danger, and this would have been another bitter experience for the already distraught emotional state of our hero.
About the end of the year 1890, sorrow once again filled the heart of Rizal. The reason for the prolonged silence of Leonor Rivera, his fiancée, was revealed. On one occasion when her mother was not home, the mailman had handed her a letter from Jose, in which he complained that more than a year had passed without news from her. Later she learned that her mother had intercepted Jose's letter to her. In addition, she had invented stories about the alleged love affairs of Rizal in Madrid. Leonor wrote Jose that because of his apparent silence and due to pressure from her mother, she had accepted the proposal of an English engineer who worked in the construction of a railroad that linked Manila with San Fernando, passing through Dagupan, the town of Leonor. Her mother, with great practical sense, believed that her daughter would have a more peaceful and contented life with Henry Kipping than with a "filibustero" who was being relentlessly pursued by the Spanish authorities. It was a great blow to Rizal and he said so to Blumentritt. Blumentritt consoled him by saying that another woman looked at him with a more noble love: the mother country.
Although Rizal proclaimed his great sorrow, we have seen that he had not always been loyal to Leonor in his affection. Usui Seiko in Yokohama, Gertrude Beckett in London, and Nelly Boustead in Paris, had offered him balm for his afflicted and ailing romantic soul; he had withstood not seeing his beloved during his stay in the island of Luzon in 1887. However, it may be recalled that in 1888 he was ready to marry Leonor but the circumstances of the time as well as the political situation as pointed out by Paciano made Rizal drop the idea.
Each year's end had, until then, been a stimulus to the struggle for liberation. The end of 1890 was no exception, and the traditional New Year's banquet was held. Earlier, on the 23 of December, the Filipino colony offered a banquet in honor of Ex-Minister Becerra in gratitude for all his projected reforms, unfulfilled though they were, owing to a certain crisis in the ministry. Among other things, Becerra said that he had in his possession a letter of the religious orders that he received during his term as minister, threatening him with adverse measures should he insist on carrying out the obligatory teaching of Spanish in the Philippines. Becerra added that he had replied to the letter, stating that while he was minister, he would apply the full rigor of the law on the religious orders if they dared to carry out their threats. In the same manner that he would do to any other party that would make any attempt against the interests of the country. For his part, Morayta called attention to the distinction between those in the Peninsula and those residing in the Philippines in matters of rights. Becerra ended his speech by saying that they (the religious) should be thankful he did not touch their property, although he knew where the property came from.
It is surprising to note though, that Rizal was absent during this very important occasion organized by the Asociacion Hispano-Filipina, graced by most prestigious personages and speakers as well as by Filipinists. This was offensive to the Asociacion as well as to Becerra, whose projects for reforms he (Rizal) had praised in his article "The Philippines in Congress" and whom he held in admiration even until the days of his deportation to Dapitan, as he manifested to Carnicero, his guardian. The reason for his absence is unknown, but it was whispered that it was due to personal differences with some colleagues.
On 31 December 1890, the traditional New Year's Eve Dinner took place. Rizal as usual attended this affair and delivered a speech in patriotic tones, calling once again for unity. Before the dinner began, some cutting remarks had been thrown at Rizal, an indication of some hostility toward him. When Doctor Del Rosario in his toast, referred to the lack of diligence among some Filipino students, he was loudly applauded, Rizal in low tones remarked that instead of being applauded, the statement should be deplored, a remark not well-received by some of those present. It was clearly evident that night that there was an anti-Rizal faction within the colony. According to Del Pilar, when he retired during the early hours of dawn he met a group of the anti-Rizalists at the Atocha who complained of Rizal's inclination to impose his will on others.
A frank letter to Rizal from the Filipino Arejola reveals the reasons for the division. "In general," he said, "you have left pleasant memories among our countrymen in Madrid, and I say 'in general,' because not everybody has been in your favor – some, due to old grudges or inordinate pride, still others due to a certain possibly, envy. In the case of the majority, it is due to a certain rigidity and imposition which they mistakenly sense in you."
Notwithstanding his kindness, his extraordinary propriety, his strict morality and other virtues, the temperament of Rizal did not lend itself to the makings of a leader. His exemplary conduct disturbed the lazy ones, and his insistence on censuring gambling made his presence uncomfortable to many. He was inclined to giving advice, always having in mind the good of country. However, he was very tactful, trying hard not to offend always apologetic for having to do so. Del Pilar, Lete, Ponce, Lopez-Jaena, all of them had received letters with unsolicited advice and recommendations which they accepted, thanks to the prestige authority of Rizal's position.
Just the same, our hero seemed to lack flexibility; his rigorousness, combined with sensitivity, often led to his isolation… When his spiritual crisis reached a certain point, he would withdraw into the solitude of his work; he sought refuge in seclusion, away from his fellowmen, there to find inner peace. Old grudges, such as the indifference of his countrymen to the transportation of the Noli across the French-Spanish border, as well as old differences with Lete, had somewhat demoralized him. This he had confided to his brother (as he called him), Blumentritt. We also have to take into consideration the news of the rupture with Leonor as well as that regarding the eviction of numerous families of Calamba, in order to understand his psychological state. As Arejola pointed out in his letter, there was no doubt that the envy he aroused among some of his countrymen, because of his merits and virtues, surely played an important role in this matter.
The day after the banquet – January 1, 1891, the members of the Filipino Community met at the house of Del Pilar without his having convoked the meeting, for the purpose of electing a "leader" of the group. A conflict arose on the number of votes cast for Rizal and those for Del Pilar. A commission was named to write the statutes of the organization. According to his account, Del Pilar was not in favor of the article which provided that the leader of the Filipino community would be in charge of the direction of the organization, and that La Solidaridad would be subordinate to it. Del Pilar believed that La Solidaridad should be independent above all. He said that the paper was ready to help the members of the colony as long as it was for the good of the country, but that it should not lose its independence because of subordination to another entity.
After the matter of this rule had been discussed, they proceeded with the election of the leader. Rizal proposed that a two-thirds vote should be required for election. Rizal and Del Pilar were the only candidates. The desired majority was not obtained despite the fact that votes were cast three times. The next day, there was another voting, and still the desired majority was not attained. When Mariano Ponce proposed to Rizal that a third candidate have to be nominated, the latter replied that "he was going to leave the country, to work alone." When another voting was held, with still the same result, Rizal rose, saying: "Now I know that I have 19 friends in this colony. Goodbye, gentlemen, I am going to pack." He took his hat and left. For the sake of unity, Ponce and Dominador Gomez asked that those present refrain from voting for Del Pilar. The voting was repeated and Rizal came out winner.
On the day of the assumption of office, Rizal gave a short speech, with undertones of recrimination against Lete and Del Pilar. This, in brief, is the account given by Marcelo Del Pilar to La Propaganda of Manila. Del Pilar had the support of important emigrants like Antonio Luna, Dominador Gomez, Vivencio Del Rosario, Mariano Ponce and Eduardo De Lete. In a letter to Basa, Rizal recounted the details of the conspiracy plotted against him, utilizing Del Pilar who had unconsciously become a part of it.
He also told Basa that since La Propaganda did not want him to return, a plan had been conceived to set up a school in Hongkong, of which he (Rizal) would be the director. The school would teach languages, the arts and sciences.
It is doubtful whether the plan was satisfactory to Rizal, although it seemed that the idea came from him. That he would content himself with the direction of a school, after he had just started to appear as a star of the first magnitude in the historic destiny of the Philippines, seems improbable. It is also surprising that among the subjects to be taught, according to the plan, history and political science were, advertently, overlooked. It was to be expected that one of the aims of the school would be to awaken the patriotic conscience of the Filipino students.
The consequences of the schism lasted many months. The Epistolario offers us, little by little, its details and explanations. But in all the related circumstances there is the common and overriding desire for unity. What remains obscure is whether Rizal's departure for France sometime after his election as a leader arose from the belief that his presence in Madrid would contribute towards maintaining the dissension. Whether it was prompted by his won personal reactions, wishing to take refuge in solitude in the face of a difficult situation.
With some delay, due to the distance, La Propaganda studied the matter of the political subordination of La Solidaridad to the leader of the colony. Although a body was assigned to make a study, submit a report and propose a solution, the matter was not included in their communication to Rizal: "… considering that if we were to attempt a solution to the conflict, you may feel slighted or Del Pilar offended. We therefore propose that you advise us to the solution which you think is best, with a view to reconciliation."
The colony in Madrid, and later La Propaganda, had both given to the wishes of Rizal for the sake of unity. But he, who had often advised them to abide by the wishes of the majority, now took the personal decision to leave Madrid.
In August, while the matter was still being discussed in Madrid, Rizal wrote to La Propaganda, explaining the facts of the case which in some respects, did not coincide with the account of Marcelo Del Pilar. In the letter he says that with his retirement everything would be ironed out, for the paper and the responsibility of leadership of the group would be concentrated in the hands of one person. He affirms that he never had any desire to subordinate the La Solidaridad to his position as leader. He gives the assurances that there is no conflict between him and Del Pilar, but he added: "For my part, if I have any resentment at all, it is the lack of confidence, which he manifested in my intervention in the political direction of the La Solidaridad. I do understand that since he was appointed by you, he had no right to relinquish any of his powers without consulting with you."
This declaration of Rizal is somewhat self-contradictory, and is an admission of his wish for political intervention in La Solidaridad. It is comforting to read the letters from those who according to Rizal, had conspired against him. Lete wrote, reiterating his friendship and explaining his contrary vote. He said that he had considered the fact that the character of Rizal was not the type that would enable him to accommodate himself to the ways of the members of the community. Besides, Rizal had expressed his wish to leave. In view of the news that came from manila regarding the resentment of Rizal in Madrid, Del Pilar wrote Rizal in August proclaiming his friendship and showing surprise that reconciliation was requested. Rizal replied in similar amicable terms, but he added something that deserves attentions: "I stopped writing in La Solidaridad for various reasons. First, to work on my book; secondly, to let other Filipinos collaborate, too, and finally, that it was important to preserve unity in work. And since you are already up there, and I have my own ideas, it is better to let you direct the policy of the paper the way you deem it should be, and not to meddle in your decisions. Besides, I do not wish to waste time on personal matters such as those of P. Font, Quioquiap, etc. I fight for the Filipino nation.
The first underlining shows that Rizal aspired for unity in the work of the propaganda which explains his view that La Solidaridad should be subordinated to the leader; the second underlining shows that the crisis had sprung from ideological differences. It is more plausible that these were the underlying reasons, and not personal ones, although the latter cannot be entirely dismissed. In effect, I spite of the moderation of Rizal. The paper was much less radical than Rizal would have wanted. For the moment he stopped contributing articles. With his sensitiveness, his wounded pride did not easily heal. Eight months later, from Ghent, he wrote to Ponce, who had voted for Del Pilar, that the imputations against him had hurt much but that he was constantly with them in spirit. He only wanted the tempest to pass.
The Bousteads had invited Rizal to spend time with them in Villa Eliada, the property they owned in Biarritz. Close on the heels of the rupture in the colony in Madrid, he left the capital and travelled to the Franch Basque coast. We already know that it was not only his friendship with the Boustead couple that bound him to the family but a great fondness for Nelly, which had started in Paris. The Madrid schism, the Bad news from Calamba, the break with Leonor, all these created an urgent need for a physical and spiritual relief. The Boustead invitation for a vacation on the Basque coast and the comfortable lodgings, together with retirement from the din and the noise, was just what he needed. Warmth of friendship coupled with charms of Nelly provided the longed-for balm, his affectionate nature needed to soothe his pains.
Nelly was a very interesting woman, with a very attractive personality, cultured and serious. It is no wonder that Rizal was attracted to her. Her letters were models of correct writing, with rich vocabulary and wealth ideas. However, the firmness of her conviction and erudition in theology were the principal obstacles to their eventual union. For him, his politico-religious convictions were the reasons for his being. Hence, he upheld them as unchangeable.
Nelly wished Jose to be converted to Protestantism, the religion of the Bousteads. Other considerations arose, too, such as the financial situation of both, but the principal reason they could not come to an agreement was the condition expressly set by Nelly, that Rizal should abjure his heterodoxy and embrace Protestantism. It seems that Eduardo Boustead planned to lend material assistance to the couple. This would have alleviated the financial condition of Jose. But he was not going to change his plans and projects in connection with the fight for the liberty of his country, much less give his religious convictions in exchange for a comfortable and pleasant life.
In his letters, Rizal had confided to Nelly his plan of returning to the Philippines, adding his oft-repeated phrase that "we are all in hands of God". With that fatalism which characterized his actions and which he applied to others when thay sought his advice. The intelligent Nelly wrote this postscript to Rizal's phrase: "It is true that trusting in the protection of the Lord, nothing can happen without His will, but He gave us the duty to protect ourselves. He wishes his children to take care of themselves and not to remain, arms folded, awaiting His help".
It was in Biarritz that Rizal finished his El Filibusterismo. As Blumentritt noted, Rizal had not written a single bitter line of vengeance against his enemies, writing only for the good of those that suffered, and were suffering, always in defense of the human rights of the Tagalogs, though they were dark-skinned and rough features.
On the 30th of March 1891, he left Biarritz and moved to Brussels, but before that he made a stopover in Paris. There, he received letters from Ponce and Lete, asking him to collaborate in La Solidaridad, but Rizal very courteously declined, saying that he was very occupied with his work. But was this real reason? No. The old grudge was still there. As he himself says in a letter to del Pilar, Rizal's emotions, including his hate, were longlasting. In his letter he clarifies his position with del Pilar.
In Paris, he did not stay with Ventura, as he used to; instead, he checked in at a good hotel that still exits up to this day (Grand Hotel).
As to his health, symptoms showed that he had fallen into another spell of depression, presumably owing to the news from Calamba and the conflict in Madrid. From Biarritz, he wrote to Blumentritt, his "wailing wall", on the eve of his departure, saying that were it not for his great faith in God he would have committed a great folly. Obviously, he was thinking of suicide, a usual concomittant manifestation of depression. He felt guilty for the fact that his parents, brothers, friends, nephews had to suffer because of him.
From Paris, he wrote Basa for a first-class ticket on the Messageries Maritimes, but "only in case that I embark, for I may die, or anything may happen to me, and I don't want you to lose anything in case I cannot embark. I fear that something may happen and I may not go through with the trip. In Hongkong I plan to practice my ophthalmology and thus earn my livelihood."
But Rizal was not physically sick. He was a man about to pomplete only his 30th year. Why then this sad foreboding? Was his faith in God waning and was he thinking of committing a great "folly", undefined in his letter? Had he had a tragic premonition? It is to be recalled that he himself wrote that in his childhood he had dreamt that he would not reach the age of 30. At the time of writing to Basa, it was only two months before the day referred to… No, this last conjecture should be rejected, for his rationalist mentality and his declarations, at least those made publicly, were contrary to such a speculation.
In Paris he stayed only 20 days. On April 11, he found himself in Brussels again. He was obsessed with the idea of returning to the Philippines. It seemed that the only cure for his woes was to step on Philippine soil no matter what the consequences. On the 19th, he wrote to Basa again, saying that if he had the money he would embark immediately for Manila. Twenty days later, he wrote Basa once again, reiterating his wish to borrow the amount of the fare, "event with interest". This last phrase was somewhat superfluous, for there was no pressing reason for him to leave Europe. On the other hand, the printing of El Filibusterismo should have urged him to stay in Belgium until the first edition came out. But if there was no material reason for him to go to Hongkong, there was an irresistible spiritual force that impelled him to move nearer his homeland. It is a well-known fact about patriots, that they seek to meet death in the land in which they first saw the light. It could be that this overpowering desire to leave Europe was due to a strong presentiment that death was at hand.
In the month of April 1891, Rizal received the news that the case of the hacienda of Calamba that they had lost in the Philippine court was also negatively decided in the Supreme Court of Madrid. This meant that the Rizal family, and many others, were left in absolutely misery. It is amazing how the Rizal family derived strength from the solidarity of the family, the better and more worthily to bear the grief of persecution. Many of the residents had been evicted and had to live under the shade of trees.
Blumentritt was disturbed by these news and, knowing Rizal's decision to return to the Philippines, wrote him a very tactful letter trying to persuade him to desist from his plan. In this letter, he speaks of the good of the motherland. He makes him an offer, which should suit his inclinations. "I am not in favor of your going to the Philippines now. You are exposing yourself to great dangers; the country is in need of your intelligence and freedom. Go to Leyden and study the scientific roots of the Malyan with Professor Kern. Then compile a dictionary like the one Littre has given the French, and your name will be immortal." Indeed, one could not have given, in fewer words, an advice for the safety of a friend and suggest a better and more tempting plan appealing to the inclinations of Rizal. Unfortunately, other more powerful considerations were moving him.
On May 1, Rizal did not write from Brussels to La Propaganda informing it of his plans, but not fully, nor did he give the intimate reasons that spurred him.
L'Annee Rizal en Belgique
Un siècle a passé. Le Dr. José Rizal demeure la figure historique et emblématique la plus exemplaire et la plus vivante au coeur de tous les Philippins. Héros national des Philippines, fusillé à 35 ans par le pouvoir espagnol (en 1896), symbole de la liberte, Dr. José Rizal est la figure la plus retentissante de l'histoire des Philippins. Par ses écrits, Rizal a été l'un des plus percutants revolutionaires de son pays. Or, il vécut precisément en Belgique en 1890 et 1891. L'un de ses deux romans-pamphlets "El Filibusterismo" fut publié et édité pour la première fois par un jeune édituer belge qui en prit l'initiative en mai 1891. Cette coïncidence, véritable événement historique, rapproche le peuple philippin et sera célébré en ouverture du Festival 1990.
Jose RIZAL (1861-1896)
S'il est un homme vénéré par tous les Philippins sans exception, c'est bien le Dr. José Rizal, héros national des Philippines. Né en 1861, métis espagnol-chinois-philippin, son exécution par les espagnols 35 ans plus tard, provoqua la première guerre d'indépendence engagée par un pays asiatique a l'encontre d'un colonisateur étranger. Dans sa courte vie, José Rizal réussit à gagner les surnoms de Grand Malais et d'Orgueil de la race malaise. Elevé au Collège des Jésuites de Manille, il manifeste de bonne heure des dons exceptionnels de poète et de littérateur. Il viendra en Europe obtenir différents diplômes: philosophie, et lettres, médecin. Il était tout à la fois artiste, poète, auteur théâtral, romancier, musicien, naturaliste, scientifique, linguiste, médecin et avant tout réformateur social. Ses deux romans, écrits en espagnol, Noli Me Tangere (Ne Me Touchez pas, 1887), El Filibusterismo (Le Flibustiérisme, 1891) ont été écrit à un moment ou il mourait presque de faim en Europe, tentant de répandre les thèses du movement progandiste philippin. Les romans établirent sa réputation de porte-parole de movement réformateur philippin. Dés leurs publications, ses ouvrages furent aussitôt déclarés séditieux par les autorités espagnoles.
La satire de la domination religieuse abusive et des personnages politiques qui représentaient le pouvoir espagnol, liee a une allégorie du nationalisme latent qui devait exploser en revolution, servit de pièce à conviction dans le semblant de procès qui vit Rizal condamné. L'homme avait évidemment plusieurs facettes don’t certaines contradictoires. Rizal croyait en une réforme pacifique et repoussait l'appel des révolutionnaires à l'insurrection armée. Il rentra chez lui, contre l'avis de ses parents et de ses amis en 1892. Exilé à Dapitan (dans l'ile de Mindanao) il fit échouer le plan qui consistait a le démoraliser et fut heureux de concevoir un plan de distribution des eaux pour la ville, de pratiquer l'ophtamologie et de chercher des espèces nouvelles de lézards.
En 1896, il est arrêté et accusé de subvertion. Après un simulacre de procès, les juges espagnols le condamnent à mort. Le 30 décembre 1896, (il a 35 ans), il est fusillé dans le quartier de Luneta, au centre de Manille ou s'élève aujourd'hui son monument.
Dans sa cellule, il écrivit quelques heures avant son exécution, un poème d'adieu à son pays sous le titre "Ultimo Adios", poème qui est un des plus beaux de la littérature espgnole, devenu classique.
Mots de Rizal
· Une nation ne se fait pas respecter en couvrant des abus, mais en les condamnant et en les punissant.
· Celui qui veut s'aider lui-même doit aider les autres: car s'il néglige les autres, il sera lui aussi négligé par eux, On peut aisément briser un roseau; mais s'il sont réunis en faisceau, c'est impossible.
· Succomber en ayant la tête haute et le visage serein n'est pas un échec, c'est une victoire. Ce qui est triste, c'est une chute dans laquelle l'honneur est compromis.
· Pour pouvoir être responsible, l'homme doit être le maitre de ses actions.
· Quand elle oppose les tyrans et les opprimés, la politique n'a ni coeur ni cervelle; elle se réduit aux griffes, au poison et à la vengeance.
· Ayez du respect pour les cheveux gris de vos parents. Car ils sont âgés et nous devons embellir leurs vieux jours. S'il est vrai qu'il ya un certain égoïsme dans l'amour des parents, cet égoïsme résulte de leur amour excessif. Les parents veulent par-dessus tout que leurs enfants soient heureux.
· Un peuple qu'on tyrannise, on l'oblige à être hypocrite; quelqu'un à qui l'on refus la vérité se livre au mensonge; celui qui se fait tyran engendre des esclaves.
· Les hommes naissent égaux, nus et sans entraves. Dieu ne les a pas créés pour être des esclaves. Ils n'ont pas été doués d'intelligence pour être trompés; ils n'ont pas été doués de raison pour qu'on profite d'eux.
· Le devoir de l'homme moderne est de travailler pour le salut de l'humanité: car si l'homme accède à la dignité, il ya aura moins d'infortune et davantage de bonheur dans cette vie.
· Les égratignures causées par un ami son plus douloureuses que les blessures infligées par un enemi.
· Un homme a besoin de croire et d'aimer. Il a besoin d'un but pour orienter ses actions. Il doit s'inventer un objectif et viser quelque chose au-delà des préoccupations matérielles. En un mot, il lui faut un but qui soit a la mesure de son être profond et de ses capacités.
· Ce n'est pas un signe d'orgueil que de refuser de vénérer un autre homme; ou de prôner l'ouverture d'esprit et l'examen critique de chague sujet. L'homme arrogant est celui qui veut être vénéré, qui trompe les autres et qui exige que sa volonté l'emporte sur la raison et la justice.
When Rizal returned to Brussels, he took lodgings in the same house where he atayed before. He received news that Graciano Lopez-Jaena had left for Manila before him, prepared to make sacrifices, disposed to be the first martyr of the Filipino people of that epoch.
By the end of May, Rizal had finished El Filibusterismo. He informed Basa of his fact, taking the opportunity to ask: "Can you send me money order for the cost of the printing of the book?" It had been two months since he had received the amount for the ticket for the trip to Hongkong. A few days later, he received a telegram from Basa, informing him that he was sending the amount for the fare. About the same date, the marriage of Leonor with the Englishman Kipping took place.
Looking for less expensive printer, he moved to Ghent in the first days of July 1891. In the City of Charles VI, he met a young Filipino student who was taking up agriculture, and who agreed to share a room with him. His name was Jose Alejandrino, who later became a general of the Revolution.
Within a short time, Rizal found a printer who undertook the publication of the book, even though the author did not have on hand the full amount of the printing cost. Knowing his sensitive pride, especially when it came to matters of money, one can imagine how he suffered during his stay in Ghent. With his family in poverty, his brother in exile, La Propaganda was sending him only 50 pesos monthly. At that time, the profits from his novels reduced to the amount sent by Basa for the sale of the Morga and additional 200 pesos sent by Rodriquez Arias - this was his overall financial situation. He had incurred some debts when he redeemed the diamond ring he had reserved for cases of extreme urgency. Between his financial problems and his differences with his countrymen, his stay in Ghent was full of affliction. This much can be deduced from his letter to Basa in which he expresses his resentment, saying that he was tired of believing in his countrymen. "It seems that everybody has conspired to embitter my life. They have impeded my return, promising to send me a monthly pension, and after having sent me one month's pension they forhet about mw." He also complains that La Propaganda had promised to send his pension regularly but did not comply with this promise.
In April, according to him, he had received P100, corresponding to the months of January and February but it was now July and he had received nothing since then. Some rich friends had offered to finance the publication of the Fili. He had declined the offer, but now that due to his financial predicament he was forced to accept, they completely ignored his letters.
Rizal took all these, which are common situations in life, to heart. Thus embittering his life and plunging him into depression and doubt… His days in Ghent passed – his spirits at rock bottom, sharing small room with Alejandrino, taking his meals in a modest restaurant, and in between, correcting the proofs of El Filibusterismo. When the first part was finished, printing had to be suspended for lack of funds. A timely loan from Ventura, which Rizal repiad later, came in handy for the resumption of the printing.
Not giving up his plan of going to Hongkong, he sent Basa four boxes of the Fili informing him that if anything should happen to him and his family could not pay him, he could dispose of the books, the value which was more than P600. With the letter of the Messageries Maritimes informing him of a prepaid fare to Hongkong, and the financila remittence from Paris by Ventura, his spirits rose somewhat.
On 18th of September, he sent Basa two copies of El Filibusterismo, properly dedicated, one for him and one for Sixto Lopez, an exemplary citizen who later was to deny allegiance to the United States. He also infirmed him of his probable departure on the 4th of October bringing 800 copies of the novel. He added that he had renounced the hypothetical pension from La Propaganda. With his usual candor, he also told Basa that the copies of his work, which he was taking with him, would be in payment for his debt.
The second novel of Rizal is very different from the first, although the subtitle says "continuation of the Noli Me Tangere." Ideologically, it differs from the first novel. In the Noli the goal of the characters is that of assimilation without dissidence. Now, upon finding all avenues leading to reforms and political, economic and religious liberty hopelessly closed, they are impelled to seek the way of subversion and are willing to be branded as filibusteros, a label used on all natives who excelled in intelligence and education.
In the introduction by Blumentritt, the reader is informed that in two successive pages that Rizal, abandoning the reserve and moderation of the Noli, was addressing through El Filibusterismo. A message to the government, intimating that, and we quote Blumentritt: "The policy of the pro-friars and the retrogrades led to the growth of 'filibusterism' and convinced the Filipinos that there was no other salvation but separation from Mother Spain." It was a warning meant to impede separation – not to foment it, as Despujol interpreted it, utilizing this fact as an argument for the deportation of Rizal.
The second page contains the dedication of the book to the three priests martyred in Cavite: Mariano Gomez, 85 years, Jose Burgos, 30 years, and Jacinto Zamora, 35 years.
This expression of a common cause, although only in principle, signified an implicit censure of the government posture and could not but arose the antipathy of the government, as proven by the fact that Despujol referred to the dedication in the decree for Rizal's deportation.
The novel, naturally, expresses Rizal's political posture in the face of the various forces in action during this period, a posture which had changed as a result of the course of events. Rizal had come to realize that the attitude of the authorities and the friars on the granting of reforms was irreversible. The case against the Dominicans in relation to the Hacienda de Calamba had been lost; families had been expelled from the lands that they had cultivated, relatives deported without due process, and, in addition he had had differences with his compatriots in Europe. It seemed that the liberation of the Philippines was not to be reached through legal means. However, we have to stress the fact that the ideology of the characters in a novel (cannot be presumed) to be that of the author himself, as it was claimed at the trial of Rizal as well as in the exposition of the legal reasons for the hero's deportation.
The principal character in El Filibusterismo is Simoun, a sinister individual, "corrupter" of people. A pessimist and revolutionary. His concept of social change is not by evolution nor it is by organized insurrection. It is not based on belief or on ideology, or a planned struggle. His revolution is characterized by terroristic methods, coupled with uncoordinated action. His image is one of an uncontrol revolutionary. Rizal has poured all his pessimism into the personality of Simoun, full of cynicism and bitterness, but nobody should think that there is any identity or even a relation between the ideology and actions of the author and that Simoun. Their only likeness is in their pessimism, their frustration and disenchantment, their loss of faith and hope. Simoun has not inherited the qualities, which adorned Ibarra in the Noli. An eccentric type who as easily visits the natives in their huts as he does the Captain general who has been his friend since he was a commandant in Cuba and with whom he has some connivance. Simoun, frustrated in his terroristic campaign, commits suicide but before his death he engages in a beautiful conversation with Father Florentino, a native. And into Father Florentino's words, Rizal pours all his beliefs: "No, if our country would be free some time in the future, it shall not be through vice and crime; it will not be by means of corruption of its sons, deceiving some and buying others, no, redemption presupposes virtue, sacrifice and love!"
And later, Father Florentino tells Simoun: "You fomented poverty in society, without fomenting an idea. Señor Simoun, as long as our people are not prepared, as long as they undertake the struggle deceived and pushed, having no clear idea of what they should do, the wisest attempts will fail…"
As in Noli, there are charming descriptions of Filipino manners and customs and from the dialogue we can get a faithful picture of Philippine society and of the evnts of that era, with the bittersweet commentaries of the author on each one of them.
Perhaps one of the most effective of these is the description of the happenings in a class under the Dominicans. He shows the Dominican system of education, the bookishness, the arrogant treatment of students by the professors, the overemphasis on scholasticism, the memorization method, the belittling of the native students, ect. Rizal relates the eager efforts of the students towards the creation of a Spanish Academy, which was furiously opposed by the friars, the criticism of superstition and deceit, and other topics, with great realism. He attacks corruption and expresses the need for a state of law. The Fili is, as literature, slightly superior to the Noli, although it also has some defects in construction. It is less of a novel and does not have the same freshness of narration and description as the Noli; it leaves the reader with a bitter taste, owing to the lack of spontaneity, and perhaps due to the psychological state of the author when he wrote it. By describing the risks that the government would incur in the case of a revolution, it aims to warn the authorities not to close the way towards liberation, which would necessarily convert the Filipinos into filibusteros, ready for revolution.
As to whether the Fili does or does not have a separist character, the biographers differ in their opinions. We believed that in that particular moment of his life, Rizal had left the idea of assimilation behind. Some of his characters speak another language – a more aggressive, more radical language than that of the Noli. However, we stress the fact that, as noted by Alejandrino, Rizal would not have led a revolution but would only have adhered to it if the people acquired the level of culture and enlightenment that would guarantee not only its success but also its stabilization.
The Filipino community in Europe was greatly moved upon reading the Fili. Rizal received letters from all corners of the world congratulating him for his work, and in some cases making comments on the book. The Barcelona community led by Lopez-Jaena praised the novel highly.
We have to call attention here to the fact that the great majority of the Filipinos did not know Spanish, thanks to the opposition of the friars to the teaching of Spanish. From here we can infer that the book was written for the elite who would, orally or in writing in Tagalog, transmit its ideas to the people… a difficult task, more so because the Fili is not a practical manual that would guide the people to liberation.
The decision to write the two novels in Spanish was consistent with Rizal's idea that it was the inteligentsia that should awaken the people, lead and guide them in the revolution by means of educating and preparing them for it. But at the same time that he received fresh congratulations (Blumentritt, Ponce, Luna, etc.) he also heard that some Filipinos had criticized the work, distorting its meaning, he wrote Blumentritt, even before it was printed. Rizal himself believed that the Fili was inferior to the Noli, and yet he was extremely hurt by the criticisms, thinking that the critics only wanted to destroy his "little reputation," quoting his own words.
Graciano Lopez-Jaena, who thought he was going to be martyr, did not stay in the Philippines more than four days. During the first days of August, Del Pilar wrote Rizal that Lopez-Jaena was forced to leave the country at once, and was now on the way back to Europe. From Barcelona, he wrote Rizal informing him that he had attended a meeting where Del Pilar's letter had been read. Lopez-Jaena had taken Rizal's side. But this was not the reason he had written Rizal. It was to propose to him a plan according to which Rizal would be sent to travel through Europe and America to explore the opinion of various governments. He would receive a salary of P200, with all expenses paid. He also informed Rizal that, according to Basa, he had not received the payment for the Morga books that he had sent the committee – the whole batch sent to him by Rizal. There had been a change in the composition of the committee and they had requested the person formerly in charge of the books to settle the accounts.
The committee had granted Lopez-Jaena a monthly pension of P40, and although it was a meagre sum, he had accepted it in view of the perilous situation he was in. (Twenty-four hours after leaving Manila, an order for his capture was issued.) Lopez-Jaena intimated to Rizal his doubts as to the good word of the committee in the matter of its obligations. It had promised to send him funds for his transfer from Hongkong to Marseilles and Brussels in order to meet with Rizal, but it did not keep its promise.
Lopez-Jaena, following Rizal's example, had plans to write a book; hence, he requested Rizal to convince La Propaganda that with his present pension it was impossible to have the tranquility necessary for doing research and writing a book. He firmly maintained the belief that revolution was the only way for the Filipinos to attain their aspirations.
From Madrid, Antonio Luna also communicated to Rizal his complaints against La Propaganda. Judging from the protests of Graciano Lopez-Jaena and Luna, it is evident that there was a lack of organization, of rigor in the administration of La Propaganda. All this is a premonitory indication of the decline and proximate end of the paper.
Having finished the Fili, Rizal hastened to make good his projected trip. On October 2, he left Ghent for Paris. Before leaving Belgium, he wrote to Blumentritt, informing him of his plans. The frankness with which he reveals his situation in this letter makes it a most interesting biographical material. The printer's ink on the Fili had hardly dried when he talked of another novel, in which, he said, not politics but ethics would play the principal role. In this novel, he added, he would be a humorist, satirist, ingenious; he would "laugh and laugh amidst the tears…" Rizal was now an expert in the art of irony and satire and wielded these literary devices perfectly. What seemed difficult to understand was his plan to have only two characters in the projected novel: a friar and a lieutenant of the guardia civil, considering that the novel was not to be political in nature.
When Rizal left Ghent, he was conscious of the danger to which he was exposing himself, but this did not matter to him, for with the role that he had taken unto himself, he would give the example of one not fearing death. With the dramatic flair that always accompanied his important decisions, he left for Paris, later to embark via Marseilles for Hongkong. In his brief stop in Paris he wrote Blumentritt, reiterating his laments against those whom he called his enemies. Ten months had passed since the schism had taken place in Madrid, and instead of trying to forget about it; he was still stirring up in his mind.
In his letter to Blumentritt, he wrote that if he only could, he would go and bid him goodbye and embraces him for the last time, for he believed that he would not see him again. In this state of mind, he left Paris for Marseilles. In the short interval between the 7th and the 13th, he sent Del Pilar two letters, almost exclusively about the schism and its motivations.
In Marseilles, he received a letter from Lopez-Jaena with a proposal full of intrigues, aiming to persuade Rizal to join him in a move to put down La Solidaridad. The whole letter is an expression of his resentment at what he considered extreme neglect towards him by his colleagues in the paper.
Hacienda de Calamba
Although the legal ownership of the hacienda could not be duly established, the suit filed against the Dominicans was turned down and a tragic fate awaited the tenants. Weyler, who was always accompanied by the friars, would not delay carrying out the sentence of the Supreme Court of Madrid. In effect, as a result of the adverse sentence and in recognition of the propeitorship of the lands by the Dominicans, the dispossessed had to leave the land immediately. It was mandated that they are evicted, should they fail to vacate the hacienda before the date set by the law.
Weyler sent 50 soldiers from the peninsulr regiment of artillery under the command of the colonel of the Guardia Civil, Francisco Olive Garcia. The eviction of the tenants and burning of the houses were carried out. This same colonel was to take part in the trial of Rizal. The tenants were given 12 days to remove what remained; since this was not done, these were burned. Olive recommended the deportation of 25 men.
Eight months earlier, Narcisa had written to Jose informing him that many of their townmates had been driven out and deprived of their lands, homes and harvest of rice, sugar, etc. – 300 families as of that date. Some lived under the shade of the trees, and those who lived in towns took to the streets, for it was prohibited to give lodging to the evicted. She also described the cruelties committed against the dispossessed.
Marseilles – Hongkong
On the 18th of October 1891, Rizal embarked on the Melbourne for Hongkong. The advice of his friends and his family did not have any effect on his resolve to take this step. We have already seen how feeling so intense that it provided him with physical strength, which together with the spiritual, irresistibly impelled him towards his beloved Philippines, moved Rizal.
In previous trips he spoke with all the passengers abroad, and in this one he could do the same with greater ease and fluency, since his knowledge of English had greatly improved. His diary tells us not only of the scenery, which he described, in poetic language, but also of the conversations on board, revealing to us his mental state as well as the ideas that formed in his mind during the trip. Thus, in passing the Red Sea, he had a discussion with a bishop about religion. Rizal's comment about the bishop runs thus: "A great deal of faith as missionary; but intolerance and always intolerance," adding, "I am reminded of the Boustead family." This last remark would seem to confirm the reasons for the break with Nelly.
Rizal took advantage of the life on board to socialize, exchange views, and above all, to observe closely the clonizers. He commented that the colonies were the touchstone with which to evaluate the character of a European. "A Spaniard who dies not get swell-headed in the Philippines is truly a sound man." Discussing this with a Russian naturalist, apparently a socialist, he affirmed that a European residing in Europe is different from another European who voluntarily goes to the colonies in that latter thinks only of enriching himself.
In Colombo, he went down to spend the night on land. Some Franciscans boarded the ship and Rizal talked with them. Rizal must have made remarks on the wealth of the Franciscans in the Philippines, for they replied: "If they are rich, then they are no longer Franciscans."
Among the passengers were Mr. and Mrs. W.B.Pryer, with whom he had a long conversation. The idea occurred to him: why not establish in Borneo a colony of Filipinos - secret dissidents of the Spanish regime?
The nearer ho got to his country the stronger his wish to step on his native land. He wrote in his diary: "I know that it is a very foolhardy step, nevertheless something is pushing me." Was it that feeling we have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that now acted as an inseparable force of his being?
Rizal's spirits would have received a great boost had he known that on the 1st of November when the Melbourne was approaching Colombo, the committee of La Propaganda adopted a resolution, which fully vindicated him. He was also named director of another paper, with a salary of P100 a month and P40 allocated to Lopez-Jaena as assistant director. Finally, the committee expressed its gratitude to Rizal. Half a month later, or three days before the Melbourne touched Hongkong, Moises Salvador sent him another letter, on behalf of the new committee. Informing Rizal that they had formed themselves into a pro-Rizal party, consequent to their opposition of the procedure taken by the previous committee in relation to Rizal. They begged him to accept and, to lend more force to their request, made it appear that it was the wish of the country.
When Rizal arrived in Hongkong in 1891, the port was an insignificant one. Up to 1841, when it was ceded to England, fishermen mainly populated Hongkong. Its growth did not start until 1849, when the emigration of Chinese skilled laborers to California and other countries started and its beautiful and natural attributes as a port were utilized. The expansion and delopment of the British Crown Colony gained momentum in 1898 – with the annexation of new territories, thus increasing its area to a total of 922 square kilometers.
Hongkong's climate is warm; in summer the temperature reaches 35 degrees, a reading that is quite ordinary for the Filipinos. The relative proximity to his native land, the racial affinity, the liberty of professional practice and the opportunity for the family to travel – all these were other attractions for Rizal. The Mexican peso, which was legal tender in the Philippines, was also circulated in Hongkong.
On the 20th of November, our hero disembarked in the English colony. Basa had prepared a room for him in one of the houses he owned there. For Rizal's practice of general medicine and ophthalmology, Basa provided him with a rented room in the heart of the city of Victoria, on Duddel Street. However, the atmosphere of the place was not to Rizal's liking and after some time, when he had already established a steady clientele, he moved to a first-floor space in a more decent neighborhood, also in the center of the city.
Carta A Sus Padres Y Hermanos, 1889
On the same day day that Rizal arrived in Hongkong, a political crisis rocked Madrid – Romero Robledo was appointed Minister of the Colonies; Sagasta did not return to power until December 1892. Meanwhile, Maura occupied his position, distinguishing himself by the reforms he obtained in favor of the colonies.
On the 6th of December, without previous notice, the father of Rizal, his brother Paciano and his brother-in-law Siolvestre Ubaldo, who had evaded deportation, arrived in Hongkong. Their mother could not do the same, for the reason that she had given her family name and was detained. This time, however, the Governor General freed her at once. Thus, she and her daughters Lucia, Josefa and Trinidad were able to leave for Hongkong, arriving there shortly after Christmas. The joy of the reunited family knew no bounds.
Hardly had Rizal arrived Hongking when he made his presence felt. He immediately had published and circulated in the archipelago an article in the Hongkong Telegraph, dated December 3,1891, describing the eviction and destruction of the houses of the residents of Calamba, and the persecution that followed.
Shortly after the end of the year, Rizal received a visitor – an Augustinian friar whom he did not know. Rizal received him well. He stayed for a couple of hours, asking many questions and engaging Rizal in a long discussion. When he was about to leave, the Augustinian playfully tweaked Rizal's ears. Rizal returned the jest, saying: "You, too, deserve it." The friar was peeved, replying that he could not possibly beat him when it came to strength. When the friar prepared to strike Rizal, the latter caught his arm and twisted it, saying, "That is what you do not know,
Meanwhile, the family was very happy. The over-all situation was felicitous and the prospects bright. They were all together; they enjoyed liberty; Jose earned good money, and Paciano found a little house for them from which they could enjoy a panoramic view of the bay. The streets increased in altitude as they wound around the city in the form of terraces – hence, most of them were named "Terrace." The Rizal family lived in "Rednaxela Terrace," from which, according to Jose, his father contemplated the sea and watched the boats.
The women of the family, mean while, had changed their religious concepts. Rizal expressed his pain over this change in a letter to Blumentritt, with the remark that, as a consequence of the conduct of the Dominicans, his mother, who earlier was a very devout Catholic, had lost a good part of her faith. Her religious beliefs were now reduced to her faith in God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her daughters had followed suit.
On the political scene, the lack of unity that exited among the Filipino propagandists was a disheartening sight. The fractionalism had reached ridiculous heights, resulting in great inefficiency. During the first two months of 1892 the propaganda campaign was in disarray. Del Pilar, in Madrid, abandoned by all except his brother-in-law Lopez-Jaena. In Barcelona, very skeptical of La Propaganda with its utter neglect of its obligations, and finally, the new committee of La Propaganda which proposed to Rizal the launching of a new fortnightly paper as well as the organization of a new party – the Rizalist party!
Meanwhile, from Paris came the news of the creation of a revolutionary organization called Katipunan. Rizal, on his own account, founded La Liga Filipina, which surpprisingly bore the same name as the one organized earlier by Lopez-Jaena.
On the 23rd of December, Rizal, who had transmitted to La Propaganda his decision to practice his profession in Hongkong for some years in order to gain financial stability and thus be able to resume with greater energy the campaign for independence. He wrote a disturbing letter to Despujol, the new Governor General of the Archipelago, offering his collaboration. This is another of the vacillations of our hero.
All these developments are very significant, indeed, and they call for a study of the organs of the struggle. Despite their scant ideological background, the propagandists trod on political grounds. In the year 1891, the movement had lost a good part of its potential efficacy, hampered, as it was petty personal squabbles, which dominated the political arena.
Andres Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, the first revolutionary organization, on The 7th of July 1892, in Manila. It appears thus in the records of all biographers and historians. However, the latest number of the Epistolario contain data, not known previously, to the effect that around the end of January 1892, the program of the Katipunan was already circulating in Paris. The name Katipunan is the Tagalog word for association. The complete name of this organization was "Sovereign and Very Venerable Association of the sons of the People.
Its first president was Deodato Arellano, a clerk at the navy yard. Andres Bonifacio, the man of action, was a humble warehouseman. The members of the Katipunan were all townsfolk. There were no wealthy persons among its affiliates, and if some of them had an academic title, it was an exceptional case. It was, therefore, essentially a popular, revolutionary organization, which aimed to revive the indigenous ways of life of the natives before the Spanish conquest. There is evidence here of a nationalistic position inspired by Rizal's annotations on the Morga.
The need for secrecy called for the adoption of Masonic procedures in the organization, for it was easier to adopt the methods of a secret society already established than to invent new ones. They did not, however, follow Masonic formulas to the letter; they simplified and adapted them to the limited educational background of the neophytes. To make the ceremony of inductions more dramatic, the neophyte was made to sign his name with his own blood, drawn from an incision in the arm, an evocation of ancient marriage ceremonies in which the bridge and groom went through the so-called "blood compact". Isabelo de los Reyes avers that this practice was later eliminated owing to its sanguinary nature; it was substituted with the simple ceremony of drinking from the same glass of wine, symbolizing the blood of both.
The aims of the Katipunan were to work for the welfare of the natives in three aspects:
1. Political – the expulsion of the friars and the granting of political rights. If these were not granted, the plan was to resort to secessionsm (or separatism).
2. Civic and social – mutual aid, help for the sick and the disabled as well as financial aid in case of death.
3. Moral – the teaching of democratic principles, good manners, hygienne as well as the elimination of religious fanaticism, obscurantism and effeminacy.
As a complement to these three objectives, the members were given practical combat exercices. It is to be stressed that at the moment the Katipunan did not ask for independence, and that their program did not have any socialistic principles, although Marx's Communist Manifesto had been published as early as 1884.
It is not known who conceived the idea of founding the Katipunan. It is said that Marcelo H. del Pilar had suggested it. Its principles and methods of implementation were in direct contrast to those of La Liga Filipina. The statutes of La Liga, drafted by Rizal, reveal the great differences. The ideas were excellent, but they reveal certain ingenuousness on the part of Rizal. The Spanish authorities would not tolerate such an association. Furthermore, it was not viable – the loans to the farmers and the consumers' cooperatives could not have been possible with a monthly membership fee of 10 centavos and an entrance fee of two pesos. Aside from being Utopian, the La Liga was not relevant to the political phase to which the Filipinos had advanced – a time of nationalistic awakening, due in part to the impact of the Noli and further spurred by El Filibusterismo. As a beginning of the long, hard fight for the liberation of the Filipinos, the Liga offered nothing more than a outline for the implementation of reforms. That is why Lopez-Jaena wrote Rizal from Barcelona that the Liga founded by him was, on the contrary, dominantly political. On the hand, Rizal's Liga appeared to be a likeness or copy of the Rizalist party. While the Katipunan was popular, active and fighting organization, the Liga was one for unity, mutual assistance and peace, and would enlist businessmen, university students, proprietors and the middle class in general. The program of the Liga, aside from not being in keeping with the ideological climate obtaining in the archipelago, was also contrary to the personal ideology that Rizal then professed. He was more radical than before, due to the events in Calamba, the persecution of his family and the repression of the Weyler administration. The concrete manifestation of this change of ideology to a leftist in El Filibusterismo itself, and this is supported by the verbal testimony of General Alejandrino on the innermost thoughts of Rizal, as we have cited in the footnote of the previous chapter. Beautiful words of a man who overflowed with humanitarianism, who, with his love for his fellowmen, would, as time prove, never have any intention of insurrection!
Returning to Honkong, we find the family of Rizal installed in a house of Rednaxela Terrace which Paciano, with help of his sisters, had beautified. The neighborhood was middle class, peopled mostly by Portuguese families from Macao, the nearby Portuguese colony. Here, Rizal met a good neighbor, Dr. Lorenzo Pereyra Marquez, a Portuguese born in Macao, of British nationality, who had studied in Dublin, Ireland and had subsequently, settled in Hongkong.
At that time, Pereyra was the official doctor of the Victoria Prison. A relentless adventurer, with great curiosity and a striking personality, he was a republican of great humanitarian sentiments although lacking in a definite political ideology. This potential chist became great company for Rizal and thus was born an abiding friendship. We shall return to Pereyra when we deal with that mission which Rizal subsequently confided to him.
During the trip from Marseilles to Hongkong, Rizal had discussed the idea of colonization with the Englishman, Mr. W.B. Pryer, with his wife, was on their way to North Borneo. Rizal was attracted to this territory, a place discovered by Magellan in 1512 and later colonized by Legazpi. The Sultan of Jolo had ceded it to the North Borneo Company in 1878. Spain, Germany and England recognized this transfer in exchange for Spanish sovereignty over the island of Jolo. It is very fertile land, with good inlets and coves for shelter, and a warm and regular temperature.
Rizal had been mulling over his conversation with Pryer, from which arose the idea of establishing a Philippine colony in English territory. Rizal's idea was to organize a community of Filipino emigrants who would devote themselves to agriculture, whith him as leader. His concept was: "If I cannot give liberty to my country, at least I would like to give it to these noble compatriots in other lands."
Rizal said that Borneo could be like a Cayo Hueso (Key West, an island off Florida, U.S.A., and belonging to it) for the Filipinos. This was not a bad idea, for although it would not be a stepping stone to the Philippines, it could be considered a base of operations, given the proximity of North Borneo (Sandakan) to Mindanao (Zamboanga), a distance of only 500 kilometers between them. Besides, it would be a place of refuge in the event that the need for retreat arose.
All this could been part of a strategy in the course of a possible revolution, although it is evident that these thoughts never entered the mind of Rizal. Otherwise, he would not have requested authorization from Governor General Despujol for the establishment of the colony. Some biographers are of the belief that Rizal in effect thought of creating a base, which could serve either as refuge or as launching pad of operation, but there is no known documentary proof to support the belief. Nor would the English government have tolerated a hostile base against Spain in an enclave within its territory.
When the S.S. Melbourne arrived at Singapore, Rizal bade goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Pryer, who proceeded to Sandakan, the small port of British North Borneo, which was practically founded by pryer. As the good-byes were said, the matter of the possible establishment of the colony was left pending. It was not Rizal alone who was interested. Pryer, in his position as manager of British North Borneo, was also quite eager about the project, since the flourishing of a territory necessitated its settlement first.
By January of 1892, Rizal had already prepared the agreement, which was to govern the settlement of the Filipino colony in its relations with North Borneo. This was composed of 14 specific points premised by a lengthy introduction.
On the 13th of January, Ada, the wife of Pryer, whom Rizal describes as energetic, authoritarian and with a certain degree of masculinity, wrote him, expressing her enthusiasm over the project and for his plan to visit Borneo on the next trip of the Memnon. On the strength of this invitation Rizal decided to go to Sandakan, but before he did that he wrote Despujol a letter, dated March 21.
He begins the letter by reminding Despujol that about the end of 1891 he wrote him, offering his services, but that he had not received a reply. To somewhat cushion the effect of this blunt statement, Rizal adds that he does not doubt the urbanity and courteousness of the general, remarking that whatever answer there was, must have been lost. He further says that in his letter he had made plain the Filipinos' belief that he (Despujol) headed the progressive movement in the Philippines. In order that he could govern the country in peace and tranquility, Rizal was considering the idea of establishing a colony in North Borneo. Further on, he says:
"… If it is believed that my presence and that of my friends and relatives if prejudicial to the peace in the Philippines, so much so that they are constrained to take violent and often unjust measures such as deportation and exile. We have no objection to exiling ourselves forever, accepting the offer to the English State. In this case I beg your Excellency to grant us the permissions to change our nationality, collect the few possessions left us, after so many adversities and to guarantee our emigration. In this way nobody will feel in their conscience the responsibility for unjust exiles, and the government can say to the people: The doors are open."
Rizal ends by saying that if he is granted permission to emigrate, he would go to the Philippines to sell his few properties there, and then thank him (Despujol) personally.
The letter must have hit Despujol like a dart. It was well written, composed in faultless exposition, but in between the respectful lines he had referred to the Governor's failure to reply to his letter, insinuated that the procedure of illegal deportation was unjust and that, whoever decreed them, carried the burden of responsibility on his conscience. Never before had a native told a Governor General such truths, hard and bitter, notwithstanding the beauty of the language in which they were clothed. Nobody with a realistic sense of politics could have expected Despujol to answer favorably Rizal's request; apart from the reasons given above, it would gave made known to the entire world that a people had been forced into self-exile in order to find liberty. To renounce Spanish nationality was an evident offense, and for Despujol to enter into agreement with a foreign power could bring on a chain of diplomatic incidents. Finally, given the proximity of Borneo to the Philippines, it was possible that the colony would be converted into a base from which to launch the revolution. From the moment Despujol received the letter, the Borneo project was doomed, this from the point of view of the Governor General of the Philippines.
In the last days of March, Rizal left for Sandakan aboard the Memnon, the ship plying between Hongkong and Borneo. Upon his arrival there, he started negotiations with Pryer. He made it a condition that all offers should be made in writing.
On the 3rd of April, they notified him that during a period of eight months he had the option to buy 1,000 acres from the company and 5,000 during the next three years, at the price of $6 per acre, payable on terms, and a lease good for 950 years! All these, of course, were subject to the laws of B.N.B. (British North Borneo). The company offered to undertake the construction of buildings and planting of orchards, all payable in three years. In the absence of the governor, who was on leave at the time, Rizal entered negotiations with he acting Secretary of the Government, Mister Cook, who also had to specify in writing the conditions of the settlement. These were, in general, along the same lines as drafted by Pryer. But Rizal noticed that Pryer and Cook was not quite compatible for which reasons, he arranged an interview with Cook alone. Surprisingly, Cook offered him 5,000 acres without payment for three years. On the 6th of April, the governor received him, and on the following day he left for Hongkong on the Memnon.
On the 29th of April, however, Rizal received word that the governor of north Borneo had not confirmed the offer of Cook, but that, in any case, the price would be P3 per acre. Twenty days later, Pryer wrote him again, informing him that he had sent the terms of negotiations to London for study by the company. Rizal was disappointed.
Upon his arrival in Hongkong, he was notified that the Spanish Consul wished to have an interview with him. Despujol had not wanted to answer Rizal's letters in writing for fear of compromising himself, or to give publicity to the aspirations of the would-be settlers as well as their intention to renounce their Spanish nationality. The consul, through whom Despujol coursed, informed Rizal that the Governor General received his letter but that he considered the Borneo project anti-patriotic and that he strongly rejected it. He also insinuated to Rizal that it would be wise for him to return to the Philippines, but when Rizal asked him what guarantees he could offer him as a citizen, the consul's reply was a vague one.
The Rizal family was happy in Hongkong, in spite of the past vicissitudes. Her son had removed Teodora's cataract on the left eye in a successful operation. By the middle of May 1892, she could read and write perfectly. Jose had earlier received the title of licenciate, but it had been lost. Baldomero Roxas sent him a duplicate of the title. The Noli had been sold out, and the novel was about to be translated into English and Tagalog. In spite of their apparent contentment, however, Rizal, in his innermost heart was not happy. Like the needle of a compass that constantly seeks the north, he was irresistibly drawn towards his beloved country. At this time, Antonio Lopez, husband of Narcisa, wrote him not to go to Manila, as it might engender great misfortunes. They already knew that Despujol had passed a circular to the governors ordering them to have certain suspects watched. Among of them were Doroteo Cortes, Alberto and Poblete. Subsequently, on the strength of such circular, the houses of the suspects were searched.
A year had passed since that schism in Madrid. Rizal, with good intentions, regretted the discord among the Filipinos, for the more transcendental reason – the cause of the country. However, the wounds he suffered from the personal differences were slow to heal. In April 1892, Lete wrote an article in La Solidaridad, entitled "The Illusive One", in which he described a certain type of revolutionary who had neither the material means nor resources to effectively carry out a revolution. Rizal, still smarting from old grudges, felt alluded to and wasted no time in writing to Del Pilar about "the article that Lete has written against me…" He concludes by saying, "who knows whether this is a blessing in disguise? The article woke me up, and after a long silence I resume the campaign…"
He decided to strengthen the Liga and activate political propaganda. He also wrote Ponce, Zulueta and Del Pilar, regarding the same matter. Finally, Lete, the author of the article, wrote him, expressing regret that while Rizal had written to all others that he had made an exception of him. And Lete adds: "Is it that your way and procedures are those described in the article? Are you among those who believe that with a paltry sum one can finance a movement? If, without any such intention on my part, you feel alluded to, it is not my fault. With your incessant suspiciousness you see shadows where there are none. Why should we attack you when you yourself said that you have the field to others?"
Thirty-seven years later, when the matter had long been cleared, Lete, in a letter dated 1929 June, reiterated that he had not referred to Rizal in the article. Subsequently, in a letter to Del Pilar, Rizal declared that the dispute had been settled. In any event, Lete's posture was in general invariably in opposition to that of Rizal. In the letter he had previously written to Rizal, there is a statement which is quite inconsistent: "The curious thing is that none of the illusive ones (perhaps only one), felt alluded to…"
Rizal, Path of Sacrifices
During the last part of his stay in Hongkong Rizal maintained contacts with the Filipinos residing there. In his writings, however, there is no mention of the Asociacion de Filipinos founded by Graciano Lopez-Jaena in Hongkong on his return to Europe. Rizal also cultivated relations with some Portuguese the most prominent among whom were Dr. Carvalho and Dr. Lorenzo Pereyra Marquez. The latter helped Rizal by referring some of his own patients to him.
Beginning June 19, 1892, many important events took place. With only two more days before his departure, and conscious of his historic responsibility to his people, of his duties towards his family, and anticipating the inevitable brush with the Spanish authorities, Rizal wrote a number of letters. These letters reveal his overwhelming feeling that he was returning home to give his life for his country.
In Hongkong, he wrote on June 20, 1892, the first letter addressed to "His beloved parents and friends". The importance of the letter, as well as the shortness of time, made him decide not to mail it. Instead, he gave the letter to Dr. Lorenzo Pereyra Marquez, closed and sealed, for safekeeping, with the instruction that upon his death he gives it to the addressees.
The letter, and the one following it, which bore the same date and addressed to his countrymen, constitutes what has been called Rizal's "Political Testament". Because of their importance, the two letters are herein reproduced in their entirety.
"Hongkong, June 20, 1892
To my beloved parents, brothers and friends:
The love, which I have always borne for you is what impels me to take this step, which whether or not it is wise, only the future can tell. The success of an act is judged according to its consequences. Whether this step ends up favorably or unfavorably, it shall be said that I was dictated by my sense of duty, and if I perish in fulfilling it, it does not matter. I know that I have caused you much suffering; but I am not sorry for what I have done, and if I had to begin all over again I would do the same thing, because it is my duty. Gladly, I go to expose myself to danger, not to expiate my faults (for up to this point I do not believe I have committed any) but to crown and to attest with my example what I have always taught: Man should be willing to die for his duty and for his convictions. To this moment I hold on to all the ideas I have expressed relative to the state and the future of my country, and I shall gladly die for her and, more than that, to obtain justice and peace for you. Gladly, I risk my life in order to save many innocent people, so many nephews and children of friends (and strangers) who suffer because of me. What I am? A man alone, almost without family, quite frustrated in life. I have been disillusioned, and the future that faces me is, and will be, a dark future if the light and the dawn of my country do not illuminate it. Since there are many persons, full of hopes and dreams, which will perhaps rejoice at my demise, I hope that my enemies will be satisfied and cease to persecute so many innocent ones. Their hatred for me is, to a certain point justified, but not with respect to my parents and relatives. If my fate is adverse then let it be known by all that I shall die happy in the thought that with my death I have gained for them the end of all sorrows. Go back to our country, and may you be happy in her bosom. Up to the last minute of my life I shall think of you and shall wish you all happiness.
In this marvelous letter, Rizal has bequeathed to us an example in conduct, upholding the principle that man should above all fulfill his duty, never to relinquish his convictions, to the extent of giving up his life rather than renounce them. This declaration serves as an example for his people as well as for all humanity, for despite the passing of the years, if we today examine the multifarious aspects of Rizal's ideas we see that they have transcended time. The Spaniard Miguel Servet, the Filipino Father Gomez, who preferred death, rather than renounce his ideals, and the Italian Galileo, also offered their lives to the service of their convictions. It appears that man needs to be reminded from time to time, through the examples of extraordinary men, so that this virtue of fidelity to duty and conviction may stay ever vigorous through the ages.
In the case of Rizal, he was overly confident that upon his death the persecution of his family and friends would automatically cease. In truth, the moral and spiritual suffering that his death was to inflict on them was greater than those they would have felt had he lived on. The only explanation for this part of Rizal's letter is his ever ingenious and trusting nature.
The second letter overflows with patriotism and love for his compatriots. He repeats the idea that with his death he would spare many innocent persons of unjust persecution. The reader will perceive the allusion to the division among his collaborators, which reveals that Lete's letter reopened the old wound. The final words of the letter constitute the poetic quintessence of his patriotism. The second letter reads thus:
"Hongkong, June 20, 1892
To the Filipinos:
The step I have taken, or which I am about to take, is, without doubt, very risky and, needless to say, I have given it much thought. I know that almost everybody is against it; but I also know that very few are conscious of what lies in my heart. I cannot live on knowing that because of me many are suffering persecution; I cannot live on seeing my brothers and their numerous families persecuted like criminals. I prefer to face death and gladly give my life if only to free so many innocent people from such unjust persecution. I know at this point that the future of my country hinges partly on my actuations; I know that with my death many will triumph and that therefore many are wishing for my perdition. But what can one do? I have my duties of conscience, first of all with the families that suffer with my aged parents, whose sighs reach my innermost heart; I know that I alone can make them happy, even with my death, in order that they may return to their native land and to the peace of their homes. I have no one but my parents, but my country has many more sons who can take my place and who are now taking my place to advantage. Furthermore, I want to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for our duties and for our convictions. What matters death if one dies for what one holds dearest; for one's country and for the people one loves?
If I were sure that I am the only support of the political situation in the Philippines, if I were sure that the Filipinos would utilize my services, I would hesitate in taking this step. There are some who consider me unnecessary, and who think that my services are not needed; hence, they have rendered me inactive…
I have always loved my unfortune motherland… Whatever be my fate, I shall die blessing her and wishing for the dawn of her redemption.
Let these letters be published after my death.
The next day, June 21, Rizal wrote Governor General Eulogio Despujol. The text of that letter is as follows:
This is to inform you that on this mail boat I am returning to my country; first, to be at your disposal and, secondly, to attend to some private matters of mine. Both friends and strangers have tried to dissuade me from taking this step, pointing out the dangers to which I am exposing myself. But I have confidence in your Excellency's justice. Which protects all the Spanish subjects in the Philippines. I have confidence in the justness of my cause and my conscience is at peace; God and the law shall guard me from petfalls. For some time now my aged parents, relatives, friends as well as persons unknown to me, have been cruelly persecuted because of me, they say. I am, therefore, offering myself now; to answer for all such persecutions, to respond to the charges they have against me, in order to put an end to this matter, so bitter for the innocent and so sad for your government, which is desirious to be known for its justice.
In view of the silence which Your Excellency has kept, with respect to my previous letters, a silence which can only be attributed to the great gap between your very elevated position and that of my humble self – for your great courtesy and kindness is well known – I do not know if Your Excellency would deem it proper that I present myself without being called. I shall, therefore, wait in one of the hotels in manila, possibly the Hotel Oriete, just in case Your Excellency wants something of me, and to wait your orders. After two days, and if Your Excellency has no objection, I shall feel free to attend to my personal affairs, with the conviction that I have complied with my duty towards the Government and to my countrymen."
The letter is very proper and respectful, but interwoven among the phrases, and adorned with many compliments, there flows a sarcastic undercurrent. After citing Despujol's supposed justice, Rizal implies that because of him the innocent are persecuted, for which reason he offers to answer for the charges. Finally, he points out in heavily veiled language the breach of propriety in not having answered his two letters.
If we place ourselves in that particular period, we can see that it was an extraordinary daring act for a native to express himself in the above-described manner to the Governor General, who had the authority of a Viceroy. Such an action could not possibly go unpunished by the application of the juridical norms in force at the time. Despujol had never received a letter of such tenor, not even from a peninsular Spaniard. Considering how in the Philippines this position usually spoiled its occupant, we can imagine Despujol feeling his blood boil as he read the letter.
As supreme civil and military chief, particularly at the time f his term when the country was fermenting with subversion, he had to do his duty, namely, to quell insurrection before it grew worse, avoiding at all costs secession from Spain. For this he could avail himself of existing laws, without recourse to totally illegal means. Arbitrary detention could, for the moment, deter demonstrations in favor of Philippine liberties – but in a long run, as the facts will show, it would be the stimulus for launching a good docile people on the road to revolution.
Arrival in Manila
Rizal arrived in Manila, accompanied by his sister Lucia, on the 26th of June 1892. Like the heroes of old, a crowd, watching or spying on him awaited him, before he was consecrated to history. The carabineers, headed by their commandant, a captain and a lieutenant of the Guard Civil Veterana, and a sergeant in civilian clothes were there. It can be affirmed that a big representation of the police force had come to receive a "dangerous" man! Since there were no Filipinos who came to meet Rizal, there was no sense in that manifestation of force. The disguised sergeant followed Rizal and his sister to find where they were going to stay. They registered at the Hotel del Oriente, the best and the most modern hotel at that time.
In the afternoon, at 4:00 Rizal proceeded to Malacañang Palace, residence of Governor General Eulogio Despujol y Dusay, Count of Caspe since 1883, and lieutenant general of the Spanish Army. He was born in Barcelona. When he arrived in Manila, almost at the same time that Rizal previously did, he announced a series of reforms, which created a certain wave of popularity in his favor. Besides, he had arrived with the label of a liberal man, which by contrast to Weyler, justified the initial applause. Now, the general sent word to Rizal that he could not receive him at the moment, but requested him to come back at seven. At that hour, the interview started, and as a result Despujol annulled the deportation of Rizal's father, but not that of his brother or his brother-in-law, Antonio Lopez. Another meeting was arranged, for Wednesday, the 29th of three days later. From Malacañang, he proceeded to see his sisters Narcisa and Saturnina.
On the following day, Rizal left by train to visit various towns where some of his companions in Spain resided, among them Pedro Serrano Laktaw, Timoteo Paez, and the parents of Valentin Ventura, who had collaborated with him in financing El Filibusterismo. He was gone only two days later. In his guilelessness he failed to notice that the police was following him.
On Wednesday, the 29th, he went to Malacañang for his appointment with the Governor General. The interview lasted fortwo hours. He did not succeed in obtaining the freedom of his brothers; he left, however, with the prospect of succeesing in the near future.
On Thursday, he had another meeting with Despujol. This time, the matter of the Borneo settlement was taken up. As was to be expected, Despujol expressed strong opposition to the idea. What is surprising is that Rizal had hoped at all for the acceptance of the project. The Governor General offered lands (a league and a half from Calamba.) In this particular session, Despujol annulled the deportation of Rizal's brother, and on Sunday, July 3, Rizal went personally to thank the Governor, and to inform him that his father and brothers were arriving by the first boat available. Rizal had written to Hongkong, instructing the men to come first, to be followed by the women later.
The General then inquired whether or not Rizal wanted to return to Hongkong. Rizal replied affirmatively. The meeting ended up with an agreement to resume talks the following Wednesday, July 6. One has to aknowledge the fact that Despujol was giving extra attention and time, despite the great differences between them in positions. A series of visits, each one lasting two hours, was something unprecendented in the history of the conduct of the Governor. Was Despujol politically motivated in his action, so that he discover, by means of a longer period of acquaintance, the true aims of the candid and confiding Rizal? Was the Catalonian General another one in the list of Governors General who arrived in the Philippines with the aura of liberalism but gradually changed into conservatives? Terrero was an exception.
On the night of July 3, Sunday, Rizal went to the house of Doroteo Ongjunco – a name that has gone down in history for the organization of La Liga Filipina. It was in Ongjunco's house that the election of the board of directors took place. It was in Hongkong that the information and the writing of its by-laws were accomplished. There were only 30 persons, among them Pedro Serrano Laktaw and Timoteo Paez y Salvador. The least exalted among those present, socially speaking, was Andres Bonifacio, who was to be the soul of the Katipunan.
Rizal made an exposition of the aims of the Liga, which coincided with its statutes, with which we are already acquainted. For sure these did not satisfy the fiery Bonifacio, who was in favor of a more active struggle against the Spanish regime. On the same day, Rizal had dinner in the house of Legaspi and on the following day in the house of Gorgonia Ongsiaco.
On July 5, Tuesday, the police simultaneously searched all the houses Rizal had previously visited. Suspicion arose from the fact that Masons inhabited all the houses visited by him. The police found some denunciations against the friars, some Masonic signs and some copies of the Noli and the Fili. The worst fear was confirmed: that all along, Rizal's steps had been constantly tracked.
On the 6th of July, the last and the most dramatic conference between Rizal and the Govenor took place. Despujol asked him again whether he still wished to return to Hongkong. And again, Rizal replied in the affirmative. Then, taking up another topic, Despujol inquired if he had brought in his baggage some leaflets againsts the friars. Rizal emphatically denied it. Despujol then showed him one of the leaflets which, allegedly, had been found inside suitcases in his room at the Hotel del Oriente. He then asked Rizal to whom the pillows and mats belonged, and the latter answered, "To my sister…" The general concluded that Rizal was trying to throw the blame on his sister Lucia. This was, of course, utterly implausible and improbable. Such conduct was contradictory to, and unworthy of, a man who did not fear death. As proven by the act of presenting himself in the Philippines despite all the perils and inspite of all the advices to the contrary – one who appeared before the Governor General to serve as hostage, in order to stop the persecution against his family and friends.
Despujol then informed Rizal that he was under arrest as of that moment, and that his nephew and assistant, Ramon Despujol, would escort him in the palace coach to Fort Santiago. Two artillery and one corporal guarded the room where he was detained. He was, however, well treated. The chief of the fort lent him books, and the food was excellent, as Rizal himself affirms.
At first sight, the matter of the leaflets with octavillas, allegedly brought by Rizal from Hongkong, appeared as simple and clear evidence, making it look as though Rizal were playing two roles, that he was deceiving Despujol. And this was how the officials explained the matter – a simplistic and shallow conclusion, indeed! In reality, there were various currents at play, but all with one common motive, namely, to immobilize Rizal.
It does not seem probable that Despujol had coceived of the stratagem of the leaflets, nor that he was in conivance with the plotters of such a sinister ploy. But the General was under presures from three sides: the peninsulares, the friars and the Jesuits. How could a man who had attacked the actuations of the religious orders in the Philippines be allowed to move freely, and even be granted audience day after day by the highest official, as though he were a high-level contracting party, as it is said diplomatic parlance?
Despujol was given, on a silver platter so to speak, the means to discredit Rizal and to render him impotent for it was thought that his further stay in Manila was indeed dangerous, in view of the police reports regarding the meetings he held with his collaborators. On the other hand, Despujol did not wish Rizal to stay in Hongkong because of its proximity, and the possiblity that the idea of settlements like Borneo would arise once again. This explains Despujol's repeatedly asking Rizal of his intentions about returning to Hongkong.
From July 6 to 14, he was in a state of incumunicado. During those eight days, there were three forces, subterraneous as they were, that exerted their their various pressures of the Governor, all attempting to influence the Govenor's decision on the fate of the prisoner. Despujol was inclined to heed the advice of the Jesuits, who were much less ferocious than the friars. Besides, all the Jesuits in Manila were Catalonians like him. Their aim was to give a sensational demonstration of their capacity and their knowledge of apologetics by converting or having Rizal return to their orthodox beliefs. The premise for this was to deport him to some region where they were in charge of the parishes. The distant island of Mindanao, most terra incognita and dominated by mahammendan datus, was the ideal place. In order to neutralize the other pressures that might be exerted on him, Despujol took great care in concealing the place of Rizal's exile, indicating merely that it was one of the islands in the south. But that the Jesuits had been previously informed of this will be confirmed in the course of subsequent happenings.
The same night that Rizal was held incomunicado at Fort Santiago, a group of resolute men secretly met in the modest house of Deodato Arellano. The group was composed of Arellano, the fiery Andres Bonifacio, Diaz, Teodoro Plat, Jose Dizon and Ladislao Diwa. Deodato was the brother-in-law of Marcelo del Pilar, who lived there with his wife and a nephew. It has been said that it was at this meeting that the Katipunan was founded, but we have already shown earlier that as of January 1892, the program of the "Venerable Association of the Sons of the People" was already circulating in Paris. It is, therefore, to be deduced that the meeting was held only to get agreement on the course of action. One might say that while the Katipunan was coming to life, La Liga Filipina, with its program of deferred action, was dying. Rizal did not have any participation in the Katipunan.
Diario: De Marseille A Hongkong
While Rizal was held incomunicado at Fort Santiago (with all kinds of special consideration, in contrast to the many discomforts that his fellow-detainees underwent), in the central administration work was feverishly going for the publication of the decree of deportation as soon as possible. Thus, on the Gaceta de Manila, dated July 7, 1892, the decree came out deporting Rizal to one of the islands in the south, signed by Despujol. The following are the bases of the decision.
The decree begins with a brief history of a Spanish citizen, born in the Philippines, who, after having published books of doubtful loyalty to Spain and openly anti-friar, had addressed himself to the highest authority to offer his services, at the same time that he was circulating his second book. For this reason he received no reply to his letter. Subsequently, he sent another letter asking for permission to establish an agricultural colony in Borneo, under English protectorate. The act was considered anti-patriotic, since Philippine soil lacked manpower to cultivate it and was in need of the labor, which Rizal intended to use in foreign lands.
The narration continues by saying that Rizal had presented himself to the Governor General upon his arrival from Hongkong with his sister. Within a short time he was granted the annulment of the deportation of his aged father, and in the following days those of his three sisters. The following paragraph relates the discovery of the leaflets entitled "Pobres Frailes" in his baggage. This, in spite of consulting disloyal felony, could still have been pardoned, the decree continues, by a paternal authority, thanks to the inexhaustible castilian generosity; the slightest sign of repentance could have easily suppressed the voice of disdain.
The following paragraph alludes to the fact that El Filibusterismo was dedicated to the three priests of Cavite, traitors to Spain. And that on the flyleaf of said book it was stated that there was no salvation for the Philippines, in view of the errors committed by the Spanish administration, other than separation from the Madre Patria (Spain).
Finally, in the last paragraph it is explained that in the leaflets referred to, there will be an "attempt to 'decatholicize,' which is equivalent to 'denationalize', this 'ever Spanish Philippine Islands'."
In the first assumption it is affirmed that it was no longer merely an attempt to attack the friars, nor merely to criticize the colonial policy of Spain, but "to uproot from the loyal breast of the Filipinos the treasure of our Holy Catholic faith".
In the following assumption it is stated that the only defense of Rizal in relation to the allege leaflets was a futile denial, and that he then resorted to passing the blame to his own sister.
In the last paragraph Despujol says that in order to save the ideals of Religion and of the Motherland, Spain, he was endowed with discretionary powers which he never had expected to use. In view of the foregoing, he says Rizal, "whose actuation's would be judged, like any other patriotic Catholic Filipino would be judged, by all righteous consciences, by all delicate hearts", would be deported to one of the islands of the south. Immediately following this, Despujol prohibited the entrance to the Philippines of all books and writings of Rizal, granting the possessors of the same a period of three to 15 days, depending on the zone of origin, to present them to the local authorities.
A critical evaluation of the decree of deportation signed by Despujol would be favorable to him if pronounced by the peninsulares (of the period) and unfavorable if it came from the Filipinos. The Governor General had the responsibility of maintaining peace and order and prohibiting any propaganda or organization that could lead to an attempt at autonomy or at secession from the metropolis.
Situating ourselves in that particular period, and taking into account the duties of the Governor General's high office, we can understand why he could not do less than try to quell any organized movement tending towards autonomy or secession. In addition (and we place ourselves in the psychological situation of Despujol), he suffered from powerful pressures from the Spanish peninsular community, backed by the friars in Madrid, who had asked for his ouster. He also knew that in the history of the discovery and the suppression of Filipino uprisings, the unarmed hand of the friars had been much more powerful than the armed one of the militia. Despujol had, therefore, to take into consideration the fact that Rizal was not only an emancipator but also that he had made numerous visits and attended meetings, that while the true significance of these were unknown to him. They nevertheless revealed the existence of an organization, or at least an attempt to form one, as attested by the results of the house searches. Had he, of course, read the statutes of Liga Filipina, he would have understood that the organization had no subversive intent, at least none on a short-range basis unlike the aims of the Katipunan in which Rizal had no participation whatsoever.
The above, of course, is only explanation and not a justification of the arbitrariness of the decree. An analysis of the decree has to be made to enable us to judge for ourselves.
It states in the paragraph that some leaflets of doubtful loyalty and frankly anti-Catholic position had been published and attributed to Rizal. But a simple attribution cannot be the basis of a charge. Besides, Spanish laws then did not consider it a crime not to be a Catholic. Although Rizal had, indeed, attacked the friars, he remained essentially a good Christian until his death. As to the Borneo affair, although deep down the act implied disdain for the Spanish administration, when Despujol rejected it, Rizal no longer insisted on the project.
The third paragraph refers to the famous leaflets found among the baggage "after a superficial check". It seems logical that it it was Rizal who had tried to smuggle in the leaflets, he would have hidden them more carefully, in a way which would require a minute search. As to the rest, we have already stated in the previous chapter that it was obviously a premeditated stratagem.
It comes as a surprise that Despujol should refer to the "inexhaustible Castilian generosity" when he himself was a Catalonian. Is it possible that for him, those born in Cataluña or any other region outside of Castilla were not generous? He could have substituted "Spanish for Castilian", and that would have included everyone.
The fourth paragraph deals with the statement on the flyleaf of El Filibusterismo which states that due to the vices and errors of the Spanish administration, there remained no other salvation for the Philippines but separation from the mother Country. But there is here the question of accuracy, since the note is not signed by Rizal but by Blumentritt, and what is more, it is expressed in different terms.
Our hero never expressed himself in favor of separation, although his disappointments, as well as the delay in the promised reforms, had pushed him to a more advanced and aggressive posture. Even this, though, was never tacitly expressed in his writings.
Assuming for a moment that, the Supreme Court had decided a case in favor of the mulato Juan Gualberto Gomez, condemned by the Audiencia of Habana two years and eleven months of prisonment for having written an article entitled "Why are we Separatists?" published in Habana's La Fraternidad. The decision of the Supreme Court was based on a constitutional Law provision which qualifies separatist ideas as perfectly legal, but not in the case of acts of agitation for its realization. Juan Gualberto Gomez was thus acquitted.
Likewise, many Spanish politicians of the period whom nobody could brand as unpatriotic were in favor of autonomy for the colonies in their own time. Pi y Margall himself, ex-Chief of Spain, sometime after the cry of Baire, declared that events had to lead to the independence of Cuba, as well as to the autonomy of the Philippines.
The fifth paragraph contains a curious affirmation: "Those infamous leaflets were an attempt to decatholicize, which is equivalent to saying denationalize". According to this thesis, the Protestants in Spain or those of any other creed were "denationalized". This is, indeed, a queer interpretation of liberty of religion. Unamuno expressed his indignation at such an interpretation.
The first consideration can only be judged as a ploy to set Rizal against the Filipino Catholic masses, since it was never the aim of Rizal to "uproot from the loyal breats of the Filipinos the treasure of our Holy Catholic Faith."
The first consideration, Despujol invokes the discretionary powers vested in him which, according to him, he had never expected to utilize. In the first place, he had already used them in relation to the family of Rizal and, in the second place, any discretionary power always has a limit, usually very short, until the matter is passed to the courts of justice. In the Philippines there was a code in force that could have been, but was not, applied to the case. It is to be deduced from the above that Despujol could have, in the face of the events, compiled with his duty, decreeing the deportation of Rizal but subsequently instituting an action through the courts. He failed to do this, and in so doing perpetuated his "discretionary powers" for four years, thereby reducing the administration of justice to plain arbitrariness.
Rizal to Dapitan
On the 14th of July, the anniversary of the French Revolution, which had proclaimed the rights of man. Rizal was visited by the nephew of Despujol to inform him that at 10:00 that night he was to leave for Dapitan. Accordingly, Rizal prepared his baggage, but when the men supposed to take him did not come at the appointed time, he went to sleep, an indication that he was not worried at all. This equanimity of Rizal could perhaps be explained by his strong fatalism, a fact shown in the letter he had written that day to his family, where he reiterated that "wherever I go, I shall always be in the hands of God, in whose hands lie the destinies of all men." Rizal did not elaborate, in spite of the fact that Nelly Boustead had once said, "He leaves us the duty to protect ourselves and he wants his children to care of themselves and not to wait, with arms folded, for His help."
We have cited his statement once more to emphasize the firmness of Rizal's principles. In the same letter he told his family that he was being deported to Dapitan. Evidently, the secrecy of his exile had not been strictly maintained. Further on, he advised his two sisters to stay in Hongkong until they had learned English. His books and scientific instruments, he added, should be deposited in the house of Basa. They could come to Dapitan, for there were no friars there. (Underlining by Rizal). Those who were in Dapitan were Jesuits.
At 12:15 they woke him up, the attendant took him to the sea wall in the same coach that had taken him to Fort Santiago. In spite of the unholy hour, General Ahumada, next in rank to Despujol, showed up, together with some other persons. In the ferryboat were another assistant and two other individuals of the G.C.V. The captain had earlier received secret orders to reserve a cabin for an official, without mentioning either the name or the destination of the "official". Only after the Cebu had gone past Corregidor Island did the Captain open the sealed letter and read the instructions therein. According to the letter, only Ahumada, the nephew of Despujol and Father Pastells, superior of the Jesuit Mission in the Philippines, knew the destination of the deportee. We know now, with the letter just transcribed, that Rizal also knew it.
The cabin bore the sign "Jefes" (Chiefs). The chief of the expedition occupied the adjacent cabin. The Cebu had on board several military prisoners who were in chains. A sentinel and corporal of the guards constantly guarded Rizal, but as a sign of the special treatment accorded him, the captain accompanied Rizal in his daily afternoon strolls.
On Sunday July 17,1892, at seven in the evening, they arrived in Dapitan. This was the beginning of an epoch of Rizal's life, which was to last four years. The climate, the solitude, the lack of social relationships, the heavy feeling of injustice committed against him – all these hung heavily on him and left their imprint on this very sensitive spirit. It is surprising that his emotional stability did not suffer adverse effects in the face of such tragic circumstances.
Rizal's political life had practically ended here since henceforth he was to be immobilized from any political activity. He had not much opportunity to show any reaction to his situation; frustration and exile itself seemed to have exhausted his fighting spirit. His convictions, however, remained resolute.
His name and prestige would later be raised once again to primary importance, but this would come from an extrinsic force, no longer emanating from him. Meanwhile, despite this political liberation in which he found himself, he managed well to hold beyond reproach. In effect, he was the greatest argument in favor of emancipation, a model that would serve as an example through the years, and to this day is held as a paradigm of patriotism.
The small town to which Rizal was exiled was a little port situated to the north of the island of Minadanao. It was previously under the care of the Recollects but later its jurisdiction was taken over by the Jesuits. Dapitan then constituted a politico-military district, with the category of a commander's headquarters.
From the Cebu, a ferryboat with three artilleries and eight mariners conducted Rizal to the beach. He says in his Diario that it appeared to him a very lonely place, perhaps owing to the oppressed mood he was in at the moment. It was now dark and they had to advance by the light of a lamp along a grass-covered path. In the town the politico-military commandant, Captain Carcinero, the health officer Don Cosme and the Spanish ex-delegate Antonio Macias, met them.
As soon as Rizal had set foot on the sands of Dapitan, the world knew of and was stirred by his exile. The press in the Philippines – (it had no alternative) – approved of the deportation and so did some of the papers in the Peninsula. The Correspondencia Militar, El Globo, El Pais and others, however, denounced Despujol's arbitrariness. The foreign press of Hongkong and of Europe also condemned Rizal's exile. La Solidaridad, of course, expressed its indignation, scrutinizing Despujol's decree. From Leitmeritz, Blumentritt wrote him, but while his words were aimed at giving him courage, his premises were based on unrealistic idealism. Thus referring to the government of Despujol, Blumentritt says: "Keep on with the conviction that enlightened justice will grant the liberty which wrongful autocracy has taken." But four years later, that autocracy still prevailed, notwithstanding the beautiful play of words of the naïve Austrian professor.
Numerous friends wrote Rizal, among the most prominent of them was Marcelo del Pilar who sent him an effusive letter telling him that he had an interview with the Pi y Margall and was awaiting the return of the Assistant Secretary of the Colonies. It must be pointed out here that during the month of July, Madrid is practically deserted. It was for this reason that Don Miguel (Morayta) was not in Madrid at that time.
The Capitan of the Cebu carried instructions for Carcinero regarding the treatment of the deportee. According to the instructions, Rizal was to be given the option to live in Captain Carcinero's house or in the mission house of the Jesuits. Rizal opted for the latter, but quickly changed his mind when Father Obach, following the instructions of the superior. Father Pastells informed him that if he was to stay with them, he had to publicly rectify his errors. Declared himself against subversion as well as make a general confession of his sins and behave like a devout Catholic and a true Spaniard… The fact that as soon as Rizal arrived Father Obach had these instructions ready as proof that there was connivance all along between Father Pastells and Despujol.
In Dapitan, Carcinero, with whom Rizal stayed, and Father Obach simultaneously undertook two tasks. The formers' task was to soften Rizal; the latter's to convert him. Both of them, however, underestimated the dimensions of Rizal's character. With his good nature, his natural charisma, his propriety, his neat and stylish look, he gradually won the confidence of the captain. But Carcinero took advantage of this to get to know the thinking of Rizal, his projects, which later he transmitted to Despujol in his reports.
The first of these reports' was dated 30 August 1892. It began with a transcribed conversation with the deportee. Carcinero reported Rizal's conviction that the leaflets found in the pillows of his sister were placed there in Manila. If Rizal, however, were the one interested in smuggling them into Manila, he would have placed them close to his person, or probably in his socks. He added that he could seek the help of Pi y Margall or Linares Rivas as lawyer, but he did not wish to create obstacles in their campaign for reforms for the Philippines… Rizal did not know that all Europe and the Archipelago were informed of his deportation.
Captain Carcinero continues with the report in the manner of a conversation: What were the reforms desired by Rizal? He replied: representation in the Cortes; the secularization of the friars; the provision of curates from among both the peninsular and the insular clergy; the implementation of primary instruction; the filling up of positions or assignments in equal proportions between Filipinos and peninsulares, and, the setting up of a clean and honest administration – an assimilist policy, in short.
But was this really the ideological posture of Rizal at that moment? We do not think so. The Captain tried hard to sound out his innermost thoughts. Rizal had set forth an assimilist program, aimed at the "exportation of the Manila government to Madrid". But the declarations of Alejandrino, during the last days in Ghent – mentioned previously – and El Filibusterismo, and Rizal's conduct since then, do not give evidence that he was still under the influence of the policy of assimilation. But with assimilation as bait, the way could be opened towards reforms, and it could finally attract Despujol' attention.
In the same report, Carcinero mentions that he had asked Rizal if he never advocated the expulsion of the friars. He answered, no, because, according to him, in the Philippines there was room for everybody. On the question of the settlement of the lands in Dapitan in place of those in Borneo, Rizal replied that he would not wish that after cultivation of the lands for years and years, the friars would come and confiscate them from the people (alluding to Calamba). Disregarding this Carcinero insisted on the plan and offered guarantees. Rizal took this opportunity to request that some of his relatives and friends, numbering nine in all, who were then in Jolo as deportees, be brought to Dapitan.
Also worthy of mention here is the fact that although Paciano had been acquitted of the charges against him, while his brother-in-law was convicted, he took upon himself the deportation, for the reason that his brother-in-law had many children.
Carcinero advised in his report that efforts should be made to win over Lucia, Rizal's widowed sister. Once in Dapitan, she could make Rizal see the situation in which the family had found itself as a result of the ideas he held. How Carcinero under-estimated the Rizal Family! For so many years the Rizals had suffered persecution and gone through sorrows and griefs but never had the family solidarity known the slightest fissure. It was solidarity forget not only with those of blood relationship but also with in-laws.
Continuing with his sinister plan the captain said that Rizal would be flattered with an appointment as provincial doctor, and that this would keep him tied down. In addition, he said in his report: "Allowing him to have his family here, I am sure that from Dapitan he would retract everything, leaving behind for a long time – perhaps forever – his friends and his political activities. Furthermore, in this manner, the real filibusteros in the islands could also eventually be identified". What did Carcinero wish to insinuate? We do not deem it necessary to defend Rizal from the implied accusation. It is impossible to attribute that kind of actuations to Rizal. His conduct, his integrity, his honesty and his heroic sacrifice are the best proofs against such presumption.
While the inhabitants of Dapitan, upon learning about their new neighbor, showered Rizal with demonstrations of esteem, the reaction in the other island was explosive. Following that meeting on the 7th of July in the house of Deodato Arellano, had the friars not stumbled upon its existence, the organization, together with the propaganda work of the Katipunan, could have rapidly expanded.
On the 21st of September 1892, Carcinero sent his second report on Rizal to Despujol. He informed him that he had forgotten to include something in his previous communication: the fact that among the reforms desired by Rizal was freedom of religion and freedom of the press. He also reported that father Obach had informed Rizal of the acquittal of those involved in the Calamba case, including Paciano. The deportee, meanwhile, thought of acquiring lands and building a house.
Life in Dapitan during the year 1892 was rather monotonous. The time he used to devote to his copious correspondence had been considerably reduced, partly because since he arrived in Dapitan he wrote mostly to his family. He instructed them to keep the letters addressed to him lest they be intercepted. The small town, by the way, was easily traversed from any direction. The majority of the houses were constructed in the native style – from nipa palms. The "Casa Real" were Rizal lived with the captain had impressed him by its spaciousness. The parochial schools and the church, both of stone, bordered the plaza that Rizal wanted to beautify, subject of course to the consent of the captain. Rainbows of flowers of various hues, trees in different shades of green, made up the voluntary contribution of Nature.
In September, an unexpected fortune came along to provide the funds needed for project improvements and planting of crops. Rizal won the second prize in a lottery! The price was shared equally, one third each for Carcinero, another Spaniard (residing in Dipolog) and Rizal. Each won a little more than P6,000. A good son and a grateful soul, he notified his mother in Hongkong that he had sent P2,000 to his father after paying a few small debts in manila. With the rest he planned to build a small house in Dapitan. He told them also that he had sent Basa P200.
Rizal – Father Pastells Polemic
We already know that the deportation of Rizal to Dapitan was in compliance with a plan conceived by the Jesuits. Despujol, who was a Catalonian like all the Jesuits in the Philippines, heeded their suggestion, either because of his good relations with them or because he thought them more clever than the friars. We have already mentioned that father Obach was also assigned to Dapitan, and nearby, in the town of Dipolog, was stationed Father Vilaclara, who played such an important role in the attempt to make Rizal retract. He was; however, the wrong choice to undertake Rizal's return to Catholic orthodoxy, for Rizal and Father Vilaclara had never had pleasant relationships in the past. When Rizal was a student at the Ateneo, it was Father Vilaclara who had forbidden him from long writing poetry while Father Sanchez encouraged him to perfect the art. Taking advantage of the affinity of the latter with Rizal, the Jesuits sent him to Mindanao with the pretext of making some studies in ethnography(!).
While the idea was a clever one, inviting Rizal to live in the Jesuit mission house was rather naïve, since this gave way a pre-planned design. Likewise, Father Pastells committed a faux pas when at the same time that he sent Rizal the work of Salva and Salvany, he wrote Father Obach: "Tell him (Rizal) to quit the foolishness (majaderias) and personal pride." Aside from having done Rizal the discourtesy of not having written him directly, the terms he used were more appropriate for addressing a little boy – not for a man of Rizal's prestige, authority and knowledge of Christian doctrine. Moreover, one has to take into account the innate sensitiveness of Rizal. The very fact of gifting Rizal with the books of Salva and Salvany in order to convert him was offensive and, according to Unamuno, an index of Father Pastells' mentality and wrong concept of Rizal.
On September 1, 1892, Rizal answered Father Pastells. This was the beginning of a long series of letters.
Like his letter to the Governor General, Rizal's reply were couched in very courteous phrases, but there were little cutting remarks, so finely edged as not to be immediately discernible. Rizal pointed out what he considered errors in the priest's reasoning, giving evidence of a profound knowledge and a solid study of Christian doctrine. It was simply not like dealing with a little boy whom you could dismiss with one "Our Father".
Rizal begins by saying, "I have not had the honor of receiving a letter from your Reverence." And then he proceeds to thank him for Salva's book which Rizal, by the way, had already read in school and whom he describes as a skilled polemicist in disseminating his ideas with a certain social class. Further on, he refers to the passage "tell him to stop foolishness of…" Here Rizal comments that it was not the words that attracted his attention, since he probably deserved them. But he adds: "Besides seeming too strong an expression for the Reverend's pen, he does not see anything wrong with looking at things through the prism of logic and personal pride. If we have to do this through other prisms, since there are as many prisms as there are individuals, we would not know which one to select." Rizal continues: "I imagine that when God gave each one his own reason he did this own good, and he does not wish that he who was less reason should think in the same manner as he who has more." As regards pride, he says, "it is the greatest good, which God has endowed us with, as long as this is not displayed with passion… I think I would do you an offense if I did not speak with sincerity."
He ends the letter by saying: "I would like to clean up the land in my country, hence, the whistling of the retiles when they are thrown out of their dens. Let the rocks fly and crush me as they fall…"
As usual, Rizal's letter showns the dexterity of his pen, the subtle use of irony, at the same time that he indicates where the adversary erred, but always expressing himself in the most correct and courteous terms. Father Pastells then realized that the work of reintegrating Rizal with the tenets of rigorous orthodoxy required muct tact, respect, erudition and talent.
Thus went a series of letters which brought out the ideas of an intellectual and progressive Christian who had in the course of his long stay in Europe developed an open and tolerant spirit, and on the other side those of a Spanish Jesuit of the era.
On the 12th of October, another letter from Father Pastells arrived. He now stops addressing Rizal as a young fatuous boy but as 'my beloved in Christ, Don Jose". Rizal had wished that he is accorded his proper position, and Father Pastells had learned lesson.
Furthermore, he had chosen the date of the anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in Guanahani, otherwise known as the conversion of continent. On this occasion Father Pastells undertook to convert a heterodox whom, to compound the affront, was an alumnus of the Jesuits. Father Pastells had changed his style, from his previous condescending and ill-humored tone to well-written prose, courteous in style and didactic in content. He intended thus to regain the soul of Rizal, not only to bring him back to the folds of orthodox Christianity but also to reinfuse him with the purest strain of Hispanism.
Father Pastells begins by expressing regret that Rizal had not utilized his talents in the defense of a better cause, for he had read the Noli the Fili, and the Morga. He also asserts that Rizal had left the country embittere and full of resentment, attributing it to Rizal's injured dignity. Then he proceeds to blame Rizal's stay in Germany for the loss of his candid soul to the Protestants and Masons. Referring to his own statement, "Tell him to quit the foolishness of…", Pastells explains that he only wanted him to "stop his persistence in wanting to emancipate the Filipinos from the light yoke of the Catholic religion, of the Spanish nation", to repudiate the spurious doctrines of reformism and separatism. Pastells refuses to admit Rizal's contention that each individual sees things through his own prism. He asks if Rizal's mind had not, like the light, suffered a spiritual polarization, which now prevented him from seeing the truth as it is. Further on, Pastells expounds his own concepts about faith. There was nothing new to the students of Christian doctrine who had read the Bible in its various versions. On the matter of the dissension between Faith and Reason, a favorite topic of heterodoxy, Pastells says that since God has bestowed man with both, one truth cannot contradict another truth. At the end of the long letter, partly summarized here, he says that he is lending Rizal a booklet, the Contemptus Mundi, in the hope that it would be of benefit to him in his moments of desolation. Pastells ends by saying that at some other time he would refute Rizal's ideas regarding separatism, for which he felt himself, sent by God. Pastells finds no documentary basis for separatism. In the final part of his letter, Patells takes up something namely, historic destiny, something almost supernatural, for which Rizal felt himself fated. Thus he awaited the Golgotha of martyrdom. It is to be recalled that he chose the penname Laong-Laan (pre-destined). He was made an oblation not by his parents but self-offered for the lofty mission that he felt had been assigned him.
One month later, (one has to consider the distance, and the condition then of the mails), Rizal replied. His styles still the same: respectful, courteous, firm in conviction. With touches of sarcasm, he expresses regret that father Pastells was too late with his arguments. But Rizal thanks him for the Kempis that the Jesuits had sent him as a gift. Acknowledging and thanking him for the gift, Rizal says that he has read the French and the Tagalog version of the book. He also thanks him for the other books dealing with the conquest of the Philippines. All of them Rizal had read for his annotations on Morga's book.
Then, he refutes the letter of the Jesuit. In response to Father Pastells remark, "what a pity that such a gifted young man has not used his talents for the defense of better cause!" Rizal replies with the humility of St. Ignatius: "It is possible that there may be other cause, but my cause is a good one, and that is enough for me." As to embracing other causes to reap more honor and glory, he counters, with the modesty of an apostle; "I do not regret the humility of my cause, nor the poorness of the recompense, but the insufficiency of my talent to serve my causes." He adds a comment about racial and national inequality.
Pastells has kept away from political subjects but Rizal observes that in order to speak on politics, one has to have freedom, which he does not have. He added that dissent would be considered a provocation, assent as adulation. He rejects the view that his work and conduct have been motivated by his resentments. On the contrary, he says, they were inspired by a clear and prophetic view of his country's situation, for he is taking the part of an actor in the drama of its story and is actually "living" his role. Pastells has attributed Rizal's political and religious posture to German influence. Rizal responds by saying that he regret seeing the learned Father Pastells acting like one of the common people who believe everything without first examining or investigating it. Only a quarter of his book was written while he was in Germany, and the Germans, including Blumentritt, who was Austrian, had no knowledge about the Noli until it was published. Further On, he replies to an accusation often directed against him, i.e., that he is a Protestant! "I wish," he says, "you had heard my conversations with a Protestant priest (referring to Ulmer). There, in leisurely conversation, enjoying freedom of speech, we talked about our respective beliefs… [With] great respect for the good faith of the adversary, and finally arriving at the conclusion that religions, whatever they be, should not make enemies of men but brothers." With these words Rizal gives Pastells examples of tolerance and love among men, whatever their differences in ideology, race, politics or religion.
Rizal does not leave a single point unrefuted. Thus, to Pastells' remark that he should have sought shelter under trees of better shade, he replies: "In the midst of the darkness that reigns in my country, I do not look for the shade; I prefer the light." And to Father Pastells' prediction of Rizal's future which, he says, appears like dark gathering clouds, Rizal replies, "The storm will pass, and at worst I shall pass away with it." In addition, as though he were the teacher, he strikes with two quotations from the Kempis.
Further on, alluding to the statement: "The redeeming ideas of the Catholic religion, the only true one." Rizal retorts that all religions claim to possess the truth, and not only religions but also each man claims to be in the right, and that, upon hearing each partisan, repudiating the beliefs of others. He has arrived at the conclusion that nobody can judge the beliefs of others on the basis of his own norms.
Finally, he rejects the accusation that he is advocating separatist ideas. No matter how much he re-examines his own work, he does not find in it a single line which contains this idea.
Father Pastells' reply is dated December 8. It is quite skeptical; it is now evident that his adversary is difficulty to tackle. From the very start the letter shows that Pastells feels very certain of Rizal's Protestant faith. The following line is very revealing: "Disregarding all that you have written in your works in conformity with Protestant doctrine…" Then, to confirm the previous affirmation, he says that the pastor of Odenwald had "caused him to fall into the trap", for "that theory of respecting ideas entirely opposed to each other, that the diverse religions should make brothers of all men, professing a profound respect for all ideas sincerely conceived and every conviction practiced, is entirely Protestant, for it is the consecration of the private individual thought of men." He proceeds to criticize the theory of the freedom of thought, quoting Jesus and Saint Augustin, with copious Latin citations, together with the opposite side, citing Draper.
Summarizing his observations on Rizal, Father Pastells makes the following conclusions: "Profound hatred, irreconcilable and incessant fight against all false and erroneous ideas. He pursues isolates and confines every idea maliciously conceived, especially those pernicious ones, so as not to contaminate society. In this letter case, severity is charity and piety would be cruelty."
Pastells is, however, glad that Rizal admits the existence of God, Creator and Lord of all things, but he wonders whether he admits the divinity of Christ and the divine institution of His Church. Without waiting for Rizal's answer, he tells him that the mission of Jesus is proven by miracles, citing the resurrection of Christ and that of Lazarus. He ends up by agreeing to Rizal's proposal that they postpone the discussion on political matters. However, he insists on "Spain's right to the occupation, and later the dominion, of the Philippines as a divine and natural right." In the final paragraph, he prognosticates that a Philippines separated from Spain would fall into anarchy, slavery and savagery. As history has later unfolded, one may say that Father Pastells did not qualify as prophet. As a side comment however, we cite the fact that under the new masters, the Americans, the Filipinos were still under the yoke-a yoke of a different type, yes, but a yoke, nevertheless.
Rizal continued answering the letters of Father Pastells, although not with the documentary sources of Father Pastells, who cites long quotations in Latin from certain authorities. Rizal had to depend entirely on his memory. In his letter of January 9, he confirms his belief in the existence of a Creator, except that he cannot, in his own insignificance, be capable of imagining Him. While this interesting exchange of letters took place every three or four weeks, Fr. Francisco Sanchez, of marked human qualities, tried to convert Rizal through verbal exchange. He had the advantage of sharing a mutual affection with Rizal, but inspite of this it was still difficult to convince him, since Rizal's Catholicism was sui generis, equipped with seal of rationalism and, in some aspects, of agnosticism. Above all, he fought superstition, which some elements of the Church had adopted when they supported the conservative classes. He fought the friars the Philippines, at least they had constituted themselves into a superior body, an enemy not only of independence but also of the simplest reforms. As we have seen, although he was not a friar, Father Pastells shared the same view.
On April 4, Rizal sent a letter to Father Pastells, which put an end to this protracted epistolar exchange. In the letter, Rizal begins by saying that he was delayed for two months in his answer, for it much pained him to answer such a letter. He would have preferred, he adds, to be thought as discourteous rather than go against his convictions. In spite of the lack of reference books, Rizal takes the offensive in this letter… He begins with an admission of the existence of God, but adds that faith in God is blind, blind in the sense that he knows nothing. Finally, he declares: "The God, which I perceive, is much greater, much more superior."
Judging from this and similar comments, we feel that Rizal's concept of God bore elements of agnosticism. Later, like all men of good will he was confident that Humanity advances in progressive strides, immortal in spite of minor falls. This filled him with hope, because he believed that God would not let His handiwork go to waste. With this concept Rizal placed himself among the progressives, not only in the sense of civil liberties – a concept which characterized the Progressive Party of the period – but liberty in all its aspects, physical, moral and spiritual. And this not only in regard to the Filipino people, whom he does not cite at all in this case, but in regard to the whole of Humanity. Thus, one may describe Rizal as a universal emancipator.
About miracles and the contradictions in the canonical books, finding them trite, he does not wish to speak on this matter. Everything can be explained, if one wishes so, and everything is acceptable when one wishes to accept. At the end of the letter Rizal defends his nationlism, a stand which Father Pastells has described as "foolish". He asks, "Who is more foolishly proud: he who is contented following his own reason or he who tries to impose on others that which his reason does not dictate but simply because it seems to be the truth? That which is based on reason cannot be foolish, and pride has always expressed itself in the idea of superiority."
Rizal's remarks on the revelation of Nature reminds one of the philosophy of Sabundel as expressed in his Theologia Naturalis, whose concepts were followed by Miguel Servet from Aragon, and which we now find in Jose Rizal. Sabundel's ideas, by the way, were condemned in the Council of Trent.
This long and interesting polemic between Father Pastells and Rizal ended after seven months. The debate on doctrine was not the sedative, which Rizal needed precisely at this point. No doubt it affected adversely his psychological state, since by nature Rissole was inclined to depression.
Going back to 1892, Rizal wrote to Carnicero despite their common domicile, if only to have a written record of their conversation, as well as of the confirmation of his request that his parents and townmates be allowed to settle in Dapitan so that they might devote themselves to agriculture. He promised to stay there, "forever". His parents were to come with all their possessions, including his books, in case he would be allowed to use them. He, too, would devote himself to agriculture. He ends up by giving his word "not abuse the liberty that would be granted him.
The letter reveals psychological state verging on demoralization regarding his mission as emancipator. The fact that he was willing to stay in Dapitan forever and that he promised in writing not to abuse the liberty granted him indicates that he had come to a decision on whether to live as before or maintain his present status. With this declaration (and knowing full well his honesty), it appears that Rizal had closed the door to his own possible release. It never occurred to him that his enemies would someday break their word!
In December 3,1892 issue of the El Nuevo Régimen, Pi y Margall published an article pointing out the errors of the Spanish policy in the Philippines. It noted the discovery of the printing press of the friars in which the clandestine leaflets that were attributed to the filibusteros had been printed. Sometime later, in La Publicidad, Morayta expressed the same views. This is evidence that not all the Spaniards who supported these rights were lesser patriots for having done so.
Among the few letters that Rizal received were those of Blumentritt, who offered him words of solace and encouragement and suggested that he write a Tagalog grammar. Rizal immediately took up the suggestion.
From Rizal's letters to his family we learn that Dapitan had 6,000 inhabitants at the same time, but that it had neither light nor an adequate water system. The food was very inadequate, in spite of the abundance of fish in its waters.
Early in 1892, Rizal left his quarters with the captain, having been granted some lands a kilometer away from Dapitan. He now had his own hacienda, with lanzones, mangoes, cacao, santol, and mangosteen. The site of his new home was called Talisay.
In the early part of March, Rizal's mother and sisters, who were still in Hongkong, wrote him of their desire to return to the Philippines. Rizal instructed them to pack up his books and send them over to Dapitan.
On March 8, Rizal's own house was completed. It was simply constructed, with a nipa roof, posts and rafters of unhewn wood, as he himself describes it in his poem "Mi Retiro" Since there was no regular supply of fish for the town's consumption, he went into partnership with the Spaniard Miranda in a fishing project.
In the first few months of 1893, many changes took place. Father Juan Ricart replaced Father Pastells. In February, Father Sanchez' term in Dapitan came to an end. On May 4, Carnicero left for Manila, a result of pressure exerted by the new Jesuit superior who blamed the failure of the attempts to convert Rizal on Carcinero's liberal thinking as well as his overly generous treatment of the rebel. Also, it was reported that Rizal did not attend mass regularly and that he did not kneel in Church, as was the custom. Carnicero had treated Rizal with rigor tempered with humanness.
Carnicero had chosen the lot assigned to Rizal – "in an isolated place but at the same time within easy reach in case of any attempt against the Spanish government".
More transfer were effected, the most important being that of Despujol, who was temporarily substituted by General Ochando and later by Blanco. Again, this change was the result of complaints of the Jesuits.
The Minister of the Colonies, Maura, asked Despujol to resign, and when the latter refused, Maura dismissed him. The Jesuits' action to have Despujol removed may have been based on the fact that he had ordered the investigation of the notorious anti-friar leaflets, which were discovered and printed at the printing press of the friars. This was the reason given for the deportation of Rizal, in addition to "certain independent attitudes", in the words of his detractors.
Rizal had been having little correspondence since his arrival at Dapitan. From a letter of his to Blumentritt we gather that he had bought a total of 16 hectares, that he was becoming a farmer, for he hardly had any chance to practice his medical profession. He built roads and pathways, with benches here and there, to make a civilized and pleasant retreat amidst the wild woods.
The only thing he lacked was liberty, his family and his books. Following the advice of Blumentritt, he worked on a Tagalog grammar but had great difficulty due to lack of references on linguistics.
Juan Sitges, the new politico-military captain, aside from being a captain of the infantry, was a physician. In spite of this common circumstance which should have led to a fellowship between him and Rizal, their relationship was distant, either because of instructions received by Sitges or because he had learned that Carnicero was removed precisely because of his intimacy with Rizal. Rizal stopped taking his meals at the captain's house as he used to do. He had to report frequently at headquarters and so had to live in a nearby house. These and other security measures were adopted by Sitges.
In the same report to Ochando, Sitges said that in spite of the distance he set between himself and Rizal, the latter seemed to like him, making a good impression on the commandant. This is another proof of the naturally pleasing personality of our hero. The rest of the report seems to have been copied from one of Carnicero's – that if they did not bother him (Rizal) with transfers, he would bring his books and other things and would stay in Dapitan. Carnicero had not charged Rizal for his board, the cost of which amounted to P90 (50 centavos daily). In view of this, Rizal wrote to Manila ordering a gift of more or less the same value. He got a cane with a golden handle.
During the second half of 1893, despite Sitges' censorship, Rizal maintained correspondence with various experts in Europe, especially with Meyer and Rost. To Rost he sent some animals of rare species. Rizal himself had a collection of 200 seashells. In the early part of 1894, Rost invited him to write articles for some scientific bulletins of Asia.
Meanwhile, from the peninsula came news about victories of the liberals. In March, the Republicans won in Madrid: Salmeron, Pedregal, Ruiz, Esquerdo, etc.
During the same month, the Gaceta published an article signed by Maura, who was then, a liberal, presenting a reorganization plan for the municipal administration in Cuba and the Philippines, with assimilist norms for the natives. A commission from the Associacion-Hispano Filipina congratulated Maura, stating that this was the "beginning of the regeneration."
The new Governor General Blanco (Marquis of Peñaplata) assumed office. He already knew the Philippines well, and upon his arrival was said to be a liberal, a qualification that did not always correspond with actual practice.
Blanco's policy with respect to Rizal was to immobilize him in his exile, giving him some concessions as regards his family, his books and a relative liberty, with the aim of converting him into a "bien pensante". In line with this policy, he authorized the trip of the mother of Rizal and of his sisters Narcisa and Trinidad, who arrived in Dapitan on the 28th of August. A few days later, Narcisa told her brother of the death of Leonor. Her marriage had lasted two years.
As time passed, Sitges became more liberal with his prisoner. He was to report only once a week now, and his mail no longer censored. The family was reunited. Jose lived with his sisters and mother in the square house; "his boys" or students of arithmetic, Spanish, English in the octagonal house, and his chickens in the hexagonal house. All in all, there were three houses, all of them made of bamboo, wood and nipa.
Rizal rose at five and took breakfast at 7:30, after which he visited his indigent patients. Then he got dressed and went to town for his patients there. At 12:00, he returned for lunch, after which, without any rest, he began his classes and taught until 4:00. Then he went out to attend to his farm. At night, he read and studied – a workday which could serve as a model of work and sacrifice for all.
Assassination attempt on Rizal
Retana and Palma – two important biographers of Rizal – recount the facts that we are going to narrate but without the epigraph that we have placed here. Coates, his most recent biographer, suggests that there was an attempt at assassination. He does not, however, offer any new documentary proofs to support his statement. Retana, thanks to his friendship with General Blanco, succeeded in obtaining the official report of Sitges to the Governor General and the extract from the record of criminal proceedings. Palma reproduces the documents published by Retana. We shall refer to these documents and then transcribe those we found in the National Library of Madrid, which have not been published before.
On the 4th of November 1893, Sitges, who was always on the alert, saw a man surreptitiously going in the direction of Rizal's place one afternoon, at dusk, taking a route that was not commonly used. He tried to reach him by opposite side but lost him.
The next day, Rizal came to tell him that although he did not wish to make any denunciation, since he had given his word to Despujol as well as to the authorities, he had to report the matter. Secondly, for the safety of his mother and sisters, he was constrained to inform him of what happened. The night before, Rizal said a person who gave his name as Pablo Mercado and claimed to be his relative offered his services for bringing him whatever books or writings he needed to realize his plans. He showed Rizal a picture of him, and some buttons with his initials. Rizal asked Sitges to proceed, as he deemed necessary.
Sitges ordered that the man be imprisoned and placed incomunicado and that legal action be taken against him. It turned out that his real name was Namanam. Sitges closed his report with these words: "What a surprise it was for me to learn from the legal proceedings things not even remotely to be expelled!" The sentence ends with three spaced dots. We do not know whether it is so in the original report of Sitges or whether Retana had omitted something or modified the report to cover up for his friend Blanco, who was still alive when Retana wrote his book.
As to the criminal proceedings, Sitges declared that the report constituted only an extract. The documents start with a memorandum of the captain to the gobernadorcillo informing him as to the motive of Namanan. He had stated that his name was Florencio Misamis. He had been instructed to obtain a picture of Rizal in order to be able to identify him. In addition, he was to pick up a book of Rizal on the way, and some buttons in order to be able to introduce himself as a political ally and relative who had been commissioned to find out Rizal's necessities, to offer his help in his propaganda. And to try to get hold of some letters or writings of his that were separatist in concept.
Upon arriving in Dapitan, he sought lodging at the house of the lieutenant of the alcalde. That night, at dusk, he proceeded towards the house of Rizal. He attempted to obtain some writings, but in so doing, Rizal threw him out. When asked who gave him the orders, he replied that in the month of May the Recollect father of Cagayan de Misamis arranged for the trip and gave him 70 pesos, together with some decent clothes. He also told him that in case he (the Recollect priest) died, Namanan should give the procurator of the Recollects whatever he was able to obtain. The Recollects already had ordered to pay him generously for his services, and that he should not worry, for if anything happened to him they could and would do everything to free him. The above are the transcriptions made by Retana from the documents provided by General Blanco.
In the National Library of Madrid we have found the following documents: a memorandum of Captain Sitges ordering the investigation, which is here reproduced in full. Although it does not contain anything new except for the date which, is given as the 5th; the second memorandum, relative to the legal action taken, does not coincide with that transcribed above. It states: "The tribunal de Dapitan – Criminal proceedings against Pablo Mercado. Judge-Gobernadorcillo Anastacio Adriatico. Legal action was filed against Pablo Mercado, for suspected intention to assassinate Rizal. There was some basis for such suspicion. In said trial, the Recollect priest of Dapitan and others came out in bad light."
Mercado declared that in May 1893, the Recollect priest of Cagayan ordered him to make the trip under the conditions specified, gave him 70 pesos and decent clothing to present himself to Dr. Rizal, etc. Pablo Mercado was imprisoned and placed incomunicado. On November 7, by disposition of Gov. Juan Sitges, the state of incomunicado was lifted.
When the proceedings were finished, Rizal asked for a record of the same. But Sitges refused because, according to him, a document of his nature could, in Rizal's hands, stir up old passions. This seems to confirm the fact that the document contained matters more serious than a mere intention to obtain writings containing separatist ideas.
Based on Rizal's report and, above all, on the ratification of his promise not to intervene in politics, Retana said "he is less and less political as he takes root in Mindanao. Although in general this is true, Rizal's reaction to Namanan was due to the fact that he saw right away that Namanan was not a political ally but one who was sent by the reactionaries who wanted to implicate him. The record of this, which is not cited by the biographers, is to be found in Rizal's letter to his brother-in-law Hidalgo in which he says, "I tell you, Namanan came here pretending to be a political friend, to obtain letters, writings, but I quickly saw through him, and if I did not throw him out physically, it was because I always try to be polite and thoughtful to others." Later, he says that in spite of this, since it was raining, he allowed him to spend the night in the house. The next day Namanan disappeared. He must have repented and changed his mind about assassinating Rizal for he could have done it during the night. Rizal never came to know of Namanan's real intentions.
From the foregoing, one can see that Retana's account was incomplete although there is a grave insinuation in his phrase "things not even remotely to be expected!" This is followed by a blank space where evidently something was omitted. In the rest of the narration of Retana, no mention is made of the intended assassination nor of the complicity of the Recollect priest of Dapitan and the case quashed, it can be deduced that all this was with the permission – at least tacit – of Blanco, who had been informed of everything but Sitges. Retana, a friend of Blanco, was indebted to the latter for giving him access to the documents pertaining to the case as we have noted, and perhaps wished to put him in a good light. In the same manner, when Blanco, playing a double role, proved untrue to his word to Rizal and the latter wrote to Blumentritt lashing out with strong adjectives against Blanco, Retana left in out of his narration.
At the start of the year 1894, 18 months had already elapsed since Rizal's arrival in Dapitan. The frustration, monotony and solitude they're relieved only by the occasional presence of his family gradually told on Rizal's spirit.
On the 14th of February. He sent a communication to the Governor General. It was a long, detailed description of the circumstances surrounding him. In short, he stated that for a year and a half now, by decree of the Governor's predecessor, he had been in exile in Dapitan. He was sure that, with the Governor's high level of patriotism he would not wish that, under his administration, the name of Spain should be stained by an act of injustice. He then expressed his fears that his mental faculties would fast deteriorate under the conditions: "The life in a place which lacks all amenities, far from the medium in which one was educated, the continuous struggle with the climate and the necessities as well as the poor accommodations and living quarters and, what was most robust health and could impair whatever little faculties one may have."
Further on, he reminds His Excellency that even the worst criminals had the right to depend themselves and that, despite the persecution that he and his family had suffered, as well as various testing of his loyalty, he had never taken a step that was dishonorable. In closing, he expressed the hope that the deportation would be lifted and that his case be coursed through the courts of justice.
Granting, for the sake of argument, the allegations against Rizal, it was for the courts of justice to rule on whether a crime existed, and the penalty that corresponded to such crime; it was unfair to maintain indefinitely a deportation which could be prolonged until his execution. We say until his execution, and not until his departure from Dapitan, because up to that date Rizal's exile had not been terminated, a thesis which we shall support with documentary proofs.
Rizal's deportation was the most important stimulus spurring the Katipunan's rapid expansion all over the archipelago, although Rizal was unknowing of this.
The rest of the first semester of 1894 passed by with same monotony and the same atmosphere, which little by little lowered his spirit.
In the meantime, Paciano was in Laguna de Bay, cultivating a very small piece of land given him, and with this he helped support the family. Rizal's agricultural undertakings had expanded, and other work had increased; patients came to see him in fast-growing numbers. But the region was very poor; frequently he neither charged them the consultation fees nor for the medicines. In March 1894, all his lands were developed, not only with plants but with little houses as well, which served as hospitals. However, the abaca project did not yield much profit. He continued sending birds, butterflies and other tropical animals to Professor Meyer of Dresden. The Tagalog grammar was completed in June.
In April, he was notified of the remittance of a collection of lenses, artificial eyes and suture needles that would enable him to operate on his mother's bad eye. This he undertook successfully during the last week of May. But the patient did not follow his instruction of removing and replacing the bandages every now and then, reasoning out that it would not do any harm. She would read, expose herself to the light, rub her eyes, etc. at will. As a result, she had a violent opthalmia, with hernia of the iris.
Carta A Su Abuela, Basilia Bauzon, 1876
Rizal wrote to his brother-in-law, saying that doctors should be prohibited from treating the members of their families. Despite everything, however, the complications were finally cured.
In March, a crisis took place in Madrid. Becerra took Maura's place. With that, hopes for reforms favorable to the Philippines were revived.
Until Blanco had not answered Rizal's first letter, nor the second; no trace remains of either letter. He led a campaign against the Mohammedans of Mindanao, who till then, had not surrendered. With the fall on Marawi, the death of Sultan Amani, his son and 23 datus, the operation came to an end.
Around the end of October, Blanco made an inspection trip to the Visayas. Rizal asked for an interview with him abroad the warship which bore the Governor General: Rizal reminded him of the request he had sent in February, and the Governor promised to send him to Ilocos or La Union, in Luzon, where he could practice his profession more profitably. Blanco, slyer than Rizal, maintained the conversation with the aim of sounding him out and getting at his inner thoughts. The transfer to Ilocos was bait. As Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Polonio: "With the bait of a lie, one can fish out the truth." But the bait did not work.
Rizal, always so trusting in the word of others, wrote his brother-in-law Hildalgo, "I think that in January I shall leave this place…"
It seems that Blanco had offered him liberty, on condition that he lived in the Peninsula. Rizal, though, does not refer to this in his writings. The information was transmitted verbally. Believing that by the beginning of 1895 he would be moving out of Dapitan, his mother and sister Trinidad departed in January for Manila, leaving Rizal and a sister and her sons in Dapitan.
At this point it is important to cite a document of the Grand Regional Council of the Philippines, addressed to the Masonic lodge "Modesta", where it was made apparent that Rizal had authorization to transfer to any point of Spain, except the Philippines. They believed that Dimas Alang (Rizal) who, with his extreme prudence, "had never since his deportation communicated with them, needed help, for the enemies would surely attribute intervention in any imaginary disturbance. This important document, discovered after the insurrection broke out, is a valid proof, that Rizal had nothing to do with the rebellion.
Rizal's life went on as before: teaching his boys, as he called them, attending to the sick, treating fractures "with rattan and bamboo", and gradually falling into a state of depression. What is suprising is that he did not have a nervous breakdown.
Rizal's daily life continued without change, the only novelty being his project of constructing a water dike and reservoir. 14 boys who, in exchange for gratuitous help from Rizal, worked for him helped him. He also put up a water conveyor system out of the primitive materials available then: bamboo, bricks and mortar. This conducted the water to a fountain with a lion's head of clay molded by Rizal himself.
Taufer as we know was blind but not deaf. It is a known fact that when one sense is lacking, the other senses are sharpened. The old man soon realized that Rizal and Josephine were in love… He wanted to find out the truth, and when he did, he threatened to take his life with a razor, which he was in his hand unless they swore to break up their relations. Rizal, however, was able to snatch the razor away from him. This incident, which could have ended in tragedy, broke up the engagement of Josephine with Rizal, but it did not leave him without hope. She accompanied Taufer to Manila.
The sisters of Rizal did not favor the union because they feared for his safety in view of the friendship between Josephine and Miss Orlac. Neither did they approve of their union without the sanction of the Church. But Rizal's letter put her within the family circle, thanks to their regard and love for Jose.
As Rizal expected, Josephine came back to Dapitan after Taufer's return to Hongkong. During her absence, the revolution in Cuba had grown to great proportions. Rizal must have observed and studied the events with great interest in order to draw lessons from the movement, which was parallel to that of the Philippines. The "Cry of Baira", on the 24 of February, had started the third Cuban insurrection. As a result, the "Manifesto of Montecristi" (Dominican Republic) was drawn up between the Spaniards and the Cubans, signed by Marti, the poet, intellectual and politician, and Maximo Gomez, the military arm of the insurrection. The manifesto contained liberal principles and promise of a "civilized war".
Had Rizal wished to escape, he could have come to an agreement with Emilio Aguinaldo, for there was a somewhat parallel situation among the four personalities (Marti, Gomez, Rizal, Aguinaldo). But Rizal, whose policy, like that of Gandhi, was a non-violent one, chose to wait until the time that the people reached the necessary level of education, and in the case of a revolution, until the time when their victory was assured, in order to save thousands of lives.
The Spanish government, on the other hand, did not make any concessions. Sagasta, despite his alleged liberal ideology, pronounced his famous line in connection with the Cuban war: "Up to the last man and to the last peseta…" But, of course, the majority of the republicans, headed by Pi y Margall, as well as the socialists, did not approve of his policy.
Sitges left his post as captain when his relationship with Rizal had welded a strong bond of friendship between them.
During Josephine's absence, Rizal sent Blanco a letter dated May 8, in which he reminded him of his promise to transfer him to Ilocos or La Union; since he had not received any reply, Rizal said he had no other recourse, in order to restore his failing health, but to accept His Excellency's proposal that he should go back to Spain. In order to strengthen his argument Rizal wrote that "the government has deprived me of my freedom, but it cannot deny me the right to survive.
In the beginning of May, he wrote his sister Trinidad, telling her that he felt his health was failing and that he believed he would not be able to stand the life in Dapitan any longer, what with its sad atmosphere, the heavy work load, the monotonous food and the many disappointments.
In the middle of May when Josephine returned from Manila, Rizal went to see Father Obach about their marriage. The reply was harsh: if there were no retraction, there would be no marriage. It is to be remembered that at that time there was no other kind of marriage but religious one. The Bishop of Cebu was consulted, for the parish belonged to that diocese; the bishop supported the decision of Obach. Rizal sent a draft of a retraction, without signature, but the Bishop tacitly rejected the draft by neither making any comment nor returning it. Nothing more was heard of it, although after Rizal's execution the matter was revived when it was alleged that Rizal had retracted.
Rizal allowed matters to ride over, living with Josephine and considering her; until his death, as his wife. Had he not always said that his fate was in the hands of God? With his oriental fatalism, he accepted these happenings with resignation. This attitude allayed his tendency to depression and averted a possible deterioration of his personality. With great tolerance, his mother said it was better to be united in the grace of God than to be married in a state of mortal sin which words can be interpreted in various ways.
The sisters of Rizal, with their good breeding and refinement, characteristic of the family, did not manifest in any ostensible manner their non-conformity to the union, but non-conformity did not exist, based not only on the irregularity of the case with respect to Christian precepts but also on the difference in their respective life-styles or ways. Owing to the troubled atmosphere in which she had lived, Josephine lacked the delicate refinement and social graces, which characterized the family of Jose, and the culture of her sisters-in-law. She had been suspected of being a spy (with some reason) but after she fell in love with Jose, such suspicion was found to be completely without basis. In his letters to his family, Rizal always had good words for her, saying that she was industrious, good, obedient, and docile.
Coate's states, that Josephine became pregnant during the last part of 1895, but as a consequence of some incident, which startled or frightened her, she had a miscarriage. This unfortunate happening filled her cup of sorrow to the brim. On the other hand, although the love of both was ab imo pectore, in a physical and spiritual union, the ideological linked which would have given it complete sustenance was lacking. This is not to say that Josephine opposed any of the thoughts and beliefs of Rizal, but chi non sa niente non dibita de niente.
In November 1895, Benito Francia, Inspector General of Health and Social Work, wrote to the official doctor of Dapitan, Jose Arrieta – a spy of the government, as we have previously stated – asking him to suggest to Rizal to write on the superstitions of the people in Mindanao.
Rizal undertook the work and submitted it with a letter in which he strongly rejected the paragraph in which Francia, in his letter to Arrieta, attributed "unfortunately separatist ideas" to Rizal.
In his work, he described the types of witchery most common in Mindanao. The people went to herb doctors for the cure of their ailments and when these were unable to cure them, or unable to diagnose the case, they usually resorted to the pronouncement that a witch possessed the patient. Rizal exposed the psychopathology of witchcraft in which the power of suggestion was used. He proposed the use of psychotherapy, utilizing a new suggestion to eliminate the first.
Rizal was interested in psychiatry. Not only the many books on the subject, which he had in his library but also prove this, by the creation of the figure of Sisa in his Noli.
Rizal's love for the truth, the first rule of conduct for him, led him to scrutinize Nature in order to interpret the great book and the lessons it offers to the man gifted with natural curiosity. We know his great interest in ophthalmology. At the same time, he started collecting medicinal plants, which he classified and used to cure his indigent patients. Likewise, with the aid of Doctor Meyer of Dresden, he catalogued 346 kinds of marine and land shells. He proved that a small snail (oncomelania nosofora) was the intermediary host in the contamination of asquistosomiasis or hepatic bilharziosis caused by Schistosoma Japonicum, a very common parasitosis in the Orient. He also discovered three unknown species of toadfish, beetle and lizard. These varieties were made after Rizal. Apogonia Rizalix, Rachoforous Rizali and Draco Rizali. He also made studies on mosquitoes and their elimination, in relation to malaria.
Struggle Against Deportation
Rizal saw that representative of the Church was not going to tolerate his relationship with Josephine. From the pulpit as well as outside they campaigned against him. A few of his students dropped out of his classes. All this, in addition to repeated spying on him and other circumstances, moved him to intensify his efforts towards obtaining a transfer out of Dapitan.
In early October, the substitute of Sitges arrived. The new commandant was Rafael Morales. For the moment, Rizal had a good impression of him.
In the meantime, Blumentritt wrote him advising him to apply for the position of army doctor in the island of Cuba. This was a viable measure in order to put an end to the deportation; Rizal thought it was an excellent idea and relayed this opinion to his friend. Ironically, he was now going to take a step which, for political reasons and the danger of yellow fever, he had criticized Graciano Lopez-Jaena for taking when he (Graciano) applied for the same position. But the circumstances were not the same. Garciano was not "in the hands of God" (he had other alternatives); Rizal, not a little fatalistic, repeated to Blumentritt that one dies when God wished him to die.
Now, he sent a petition to the Governor General, dated December 17,1895, applying for the position of temporary physician in Cuba, for the duration of the campaign.
Previous to this, Sitges had made a report of his work and accomplishments in Dapitan, with the aim of obtaining a promotion or an award, but did not mention at all his efforts in connection with his custodianship of Rizal. This fact is taken from the records of Archives of the A.H.N. (National Historic Archives). The Ministry of the colonies in a communication dated December 6, 1896 expressed its appreciation, by order of his Royal Highness.
The year 1896 begins with bitter events for Rizal. He wrote his mother that he had many enemies and that many of his countrymen were working for the extension of his stay in Dapitan. On the other hand, in March, Carcinero was re-appointed commandant of Dapitan.
For Rizal, however, life in Dapitan had become more and more monotonous. He scarcely received letters from Europe. In May, he contracted a fever and was attended to by Josephine. He made haste to write his family that she took care of him like a mother. Also in the month of May, Josephine made a quick trip to Manila returning with Narcisa on the next boat.
In the month of July, two important events, by a surprising coincidence, took place. Governor General Blanco sent Rizal a communication worded as follows: "I have made representations with the Government in connection with your petition, and acceding to your wishes have no objection to your going to Cuba as a physician of the Military Health Corps. If you still wish to take this step, the commandant of Dapitan will issue you a passport for the Peninsula. There, the Minister of War will commission you to the Cuban Army."
We stress the terms of this letter, for although the terms were outwardly fulfilled, the official communications, normal or in code, had other intentions. This additional finding, so far unpublished, relative to the life of Rizal, will be supported subsequently with documentary proofs.
The other event, which happened also on the first day of July, was the arrival in Dapitan of Pio Valenzuela, a young doctor, a revolutionary, and the only affiliate of the Katipunan known to have had a university education. Since January 1, 1896, he was a member of the board of directors and appointed fiscal and physician of the society.
Valenzuela arrived, accompanying a supposed patient suffering from an eye ailment. Waiting for the propitious moment, he requested to speak in private with Rizal. For this reason, the reports on the content of their conversation are speculative. There exists a publication on the supposed dialogue that transpired between the two. The nature of the interview was possibly deduced or reconstructed from the ideological stand of Rizal during that period as well as from the declarations of Rizal during the trial and the "Manifesto" written by Rizal on December 15, 1896.
At any rate, it seems that Valenzuela informed Rizal of the importance of the Katipunan, that it had 43,000 members, of the organizational structure, the arms in their possession as well as those planned to appropriate from the government armories. He also informed him of the funds available to them.
Rizal saw the constituents of the Katipunan were mostly townspeople without any educational preparation. This was directly opposed to Rizal's concept that the intellectual elite, who was to lead and guide the people, should direct revolutions. Of course, with these concepts of his the movement of liberation would have been delayed sine die.
Valenzuela then invited Rizal to head the Revolution, for which purpose they would arrange for his escape. Anyway, he added, whether or not he accepted the leadership, when the revolt broke out, reprisal against him was inevitable.
Rizal rejected the invitation, for in his opinion they lacked the necessary logistics – money, forces, prepared plans – to guarantee the success of the revolt, for which reason he considered the plan premature.
Rizal was an intellectual, with some elements of Germanic influence in his education and ways of thinking. Andres Bonifacio, head of the Katipunan, was a plain workman, an intuitive man with much enthusiasm and good faith.
In view of Valenzuela's insistence, Rizal suggested that he consulted with Antonio Luna as military chief, and gets the collaboration of the intellectual elite.
Valenzuela returned to Manila, after gifting Rizal with a medical kit. (Luna, for his part, also rejected the proposition.)
It is to be noted that the Revolution was not set for a definite date. The ammunitions from Japan were expected on the 31 of December, but the discovery by a friar of the plan for the uprising precipitated, on the initiative of Bonifacio, the outbreak of the revolt.
It has been noted that the Rizal-Valenzuela interview is reminiscent of the dialogue between Elias and Ibarra in the Noli, with Valenzuela taking the part of Elias and acting in the name of the people.
Deportation to Spain
This title should produce no little surprise to those with a thorough knowledge of the life of Rizal. Our own surprise was great when we found in the files of the Ministry of the Colonies a document entitled: "Deportation of Sr. Rizal to the Peninsula". After a brief foreword, we shall take up a detailed discussion of this matter at the proper chronological point.
The visit of Valenzuela to Dapitan had spoiled all Rizal's plans. His request to transfer to Cuba, dated December 17, 1895, had not been answered, but the commandant of Dapitan had informed him, verbally at least, that the application had been rejected. Rizal changed his plans and decided to put up a hospital, to plant rice and corn, and to acquire a boat for transporting these. He also had the flooring of his changed to good native wood.
We have mentioned the letter of Governor General Blanco, dated July 1, rectifying his stand on Rizal's request to be transferred to Cuba. On the 30th of July, Rizal received notification to appear before him in connection with a letter of recommendation. We note Blanco's statement, "If you still wish to continue with this plan," thus leaving the door open for Rizal to decide whether to leave or not. For the government, it was better that Rizal should be far from the Philippines.
On the 4th of July, another great fighter, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, died, under pitiful sad conditions of absolute poverty.
Rizal's impression upon receiving the authorization to proceed to Cuba was expressed in the following words" It was like a delicious dish, received after one had already taken dessert."
In the home of the Rizals the news was received with rejoicing. Narcisa and Josephine jumped and went with joy. On the other hand, the servants became sad, wishing to follow the family. Since the boat was leaving the next day and he could not possibly settle his affairs, financial and otherwise, within 24 hours, he inquired from the captain whether he could take the next boat. However, upon returning home and exchanging views with his family, he decided to leave the next day after all, even if he could not sell his properties or collect various fees and debts due him.
Rizal, in his Diario, does not explain this sudden decision, but obviously it had something to do with the imminent insurrection, and the possibility of his being implicated when in fact he had no participation in it. This is confirmed in his letter to Blumentritt, written on board the Isla de Panay en route to Barcelona: "The Governor General's letter authorizing my going to Cuba, upset all my plans. I had given up the said plans, for six months had elapsed since my request was transmitted, but fearing that they might attribute my change of mind to some other cause, I decided to abandon everything and to leave immediately."
Rizal's decision was right but history has shown that although he did not miss the boat, still it was too late for him…
The decision to leave immediately came on the advice of Narcisa, a practical woman, possessed of a deeper intuition than Jose…
Dapitan to Manila
At midnight of the 31st of July 1896, Rizal on the España, on the way to Cuba. His sister's Narcisa, Josefa and his niece Angelica Lopez; three nephews and three boys accompanied him.
His departure was grand event. The whole town saw him off – a spontaneous action without any urging. The town band was there. As the hour of sailing approached, more and more people filled the port. Rizal, mute with emotion, felt deeply touched and flattered. Thus, the people manifested in unison their adherence and support for the man who had given free education to so many of the sons of Dapitan and had offered gratuitous medical services to those who had no means to pay him.
When Rizal boarded the banca, which was to take him in the España, the band struck Chopin's Marcha Funebre. Was this the mourning of Dapitan for the loss of Rizal? Yes, and at the same time it seemed an omen of the tragic destiny of the hero, who was not on the way to Cuba, as officially stated, but on the way to his death…
The stops and incidents of the trip are of little interest. In Dumaguete, he went down with his family and continued the rest of the trip via Cebu with his family, and on the 6th of August arrived in Manila. To his surprise and disgust, he learned that the mailboat Isla de Luzon had sailed a few hours earlier.
This meant a great risk for him, for, upon disembarking, they could accuse him of fraternizing with the Katipunan. As soon as the boat docked, a guardia civil relayed the orders of the Governor General, to the effect that Rizal was not to disembark. Soon after, his mother and sister Lucia, Trinidad, Maria and several nephews came to see him. Subsequently, the guard returned, saying that he was "to keep him company", and that at 7:30 they would take him to the commandant's office.
At the stated hour, nobody arrived, but at 10:00 the same guard came to inform him that His Excellency had changed the itinerary, that he was to transfer to the cruiser Castilla, anchored at Cavite. As he sighted the silhouette of the Castilla, he remembered his interview with Blanco and the latter's promise to transfer him to Ilocos – a promise of liberation – to live in the northern part of the island in which he was born. Now, he was going to be free, or so he believed, but he was in fact on his way to an island at war, with bullets, yellow fever and far from his native land.
Rizal's arrival at the Castilla was announced to the commandant, who received him in his office. After kindly offering him a chair, he informed him of His Excellency the Governor General's order to the effect that he was to be detained but not imprisoned, so as to avoid the displeasure of both friends and enemies. With usual good nature and good faith, Rizal thanked the captain. He was given a good cabin that occupied until September 2, when he was transferred to the Isla de Panay.
Rizal wrote to his mother telling her that the commandant, Colonel Santalo, was a very kind person. The day before, he had invited him to dinner. The officials, he added, were very distinguished. He also informed her that he had asked permission from His Excellency to bid goodbye to his family before leaving. Four days later, he wrote again asking for collars and cuffs. He would continue being meticulous in his dressing, even up to the moment of his death. A sailor whom the commandant had placed at his disposal transmitted these messages.
On the 13th of August, Rizal received news that hurt his sensitive soul. Jo – as he called Josephine – had written him of her exchange of words with one of his sisters, arising from some remarks referring to their unmarried state. She, however, made an exception of Narcisa and his parents. Though deeply in love with Jose, she generously told him that if he met a girl in Spain, he should marry her: "Listen, my dearest, it is better for you to get married, and not live together as we did. This way your sisters will not be ashamed."
In Spain he would have the same problems as in the Philippines. The replies of Rizal to Josephine are not included in the Epistolario, but it is evident in her letters that he wrote her.
On the 17th of August another letter came from Josephine, full of promises of love and faithfulness – a very comforting epistle for Rizal. He had fallen deeply in love with her.
Rizal's days on board slipped by peacefully, for the officers were kind to him. As always very expressive of his gratitude, he asked Narcisa to send cheeses to give them as gifts. At the same time he thanked her for the hospitality she had extended Josephine, but suggested that, to avoid friction, she should be made to stay in another house near hers. With the authorization of His Excellency, his mother and sister were able to visit him on board.
Two days later the Revolution broke out. It began with the historic Cry of Balintawak – a suburb of Manila. Father Mariano Gil, parish priest of Tondo, a barrio of Manila, had discovered the Katipunan. (Again, it was a friar who revealed the insurrection.) The outbreak of hostilities was precipitated by this discovery.
In the struggle in the Philippines, the participants were mostly natives, unlike in Cuba, where many of the whites, including the Creoles, constituted a great number of the leaders. The participants of the Negroes, on the other hand, were small.
Surprisingly, the Filipino insurgents gained some victories in the area of Cavite. Surely, Rizal must have heard the booming of the guns from the Castilla, which was moored opposite Caloocan, a town that together with many others came under the power of the insurgents.
On August 30, there was a great battle in Sta. Mesa and in Mandaluyong, which initiated the attack on Manila. The Governor General had to move out of the Malacañang Palace to Santa Potenciana.
On the same day, General Blanco sent Rizal two letters of introduction to the Ministers of War of the Colonies, which we here transcribed in full:
"The Governor General of the Philippines
Manila August 30, 1896.
To: Your Excellency, Sr. Don Marcelo de Azcárraga My esteemed
I hereby recommend, with real interest, Dr. Don Jose Rizal, who is leaving for the Peninsula as per order of the Government, always desirous of rendering services as physician in the Spanish Army in Cuba.
During the four years of his exile in Dapitan, his behavior has been exemplary, and is, in my opinion worthy of pardon and benevolence, especially since he is not, in any way, involved in the lamentable attempts that had been committed these days, nor in any conspiracy or secret society which has been plotted.
I have the pleasure of assuring you of my most distinguished consideration.
Your friend and companion, Ramón Blanco."
The letter for the Minister of the Colonies is identical. Together with these is another letter for Rizal, as follows:
"The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
To: Don Jose Rizal
Attached hereto, I am transmitting two letters for the Minister of War and of the Colonies, which I believe, will be well accepted.
I have no doubt that your actions in the future will place me in the good graces of the government, not only because of your given word of honor but also because you have seen tangibly that the results of certain procedures, prompted by wild ideas, can only result in hatred, ruin, tears and blood.
Wishing you happiness, I remain,
Manila Aug. 30, 1896."
With those two letters of introduction, which is at the same time an endorsement of Rizal's conduct, Rizal was at peace. Thus, he wrote his mother the 2nd of September, on the eve of his departure for Spain, saying that he had been worried as to "How it was with your during these days of disturbance and agitation," adding that "His Excellency the Governor General has been very kind to me. I shall show him, if God gives me the health and the time that I know how to reciprocate." But in less than a month, and as a consequence of the events, which we shall relate below, Rizal in a letter to Blumentritt, called Blanco by a name – the one and only expletive registered in all his writings.
On the 2nd of September 1896, he was transferred to the mailboat Isla de Panay. A friend presented him to the captain, who attended to him kindly and assigned him a private cabin, which, according to Rizal, could not have been better. These were the external happenings. Now, we shall make a chronological presentation of the secret instructions, classified as "Confidential" (Reservado), which were being coursed in connection with this matter.
In less than 24 hours after the letters of Blanco to Rizal, a coded telegram was received which said: "From the Minister of the Colonies to the Governor General of the Philippines, August 31, 1896. Not advisable that Rizal goes to Cuba. He should be watched."
On September 2, General Blanco sent a secret communication to the Minister of the Colonies, which we reproduce to the letter:
"Confidential. – Your Excellency: I have the honor of informing Your Excellency that Dr. Jose Rizal y Alonzo has embarked on the vessel Isla de Panay which will leave this port tomorrow, the third of this month. We have instructed the management of the Compañia Transatlantica in this city, that he is to be under close surveillance during the trip, that he is to be taken to the Civil Governor of Barcelona who has been instructed that unless there are no other orders to the contrary from the Government of His Majesty, he should in turn hand over the said individual to the Civil Governor of Madrid so that the latter may place him under Your Excellency's disposition. The aforementioned Sr. Rizal, undoubtedly grateful to His Excellency for having granted his request, had expressed adherence to you as well as repentance for his past actions, and assured us that he is prepared to comply with his duties. These assurances seem to be sincere and spontaneous, not only in form but in reality, as proven by the fact that until now his name has not been implicated in the movement recently discovered and reported to His Excellency.
God keeps Your Excellency. Manila, September 2, 1896 –
Ramón Blanco to His Excellency, the Minister of the Colonies."
This communication, together with others which follow was contained in a folder with the following title on the cover: "Deportation of Sr. Rizal to the Peninsula."
The telegram dated 31 does not coincide with the authorization for Rizal's transfer to Cuba, nor with the communication of Blanco to the Minister of the Colonies, nor with the letters which Rizal were give. For Blanco speaks of "handing him over" to a succession of governors, from which it can be deduced that he was not free, as the commandant of the Castilla had made him believed, and repeated verbally.
On the day of the departure of the Isla de Panay, the wealthy businessman Pedro Roxas, accompanied by his son, boarded the ship. The Roxases denied in the dining room, Rizal, at the captain's table. He suspected nothing, possibly because he was being closely guarded. On the other hand, the fact that he was on board should have prevented his being considered responsible for the events connected with the uprising. Still, an ominous anti-Rizal feeling was gaining ground among the passengers.
Rizal's life had taken on a two-sided character – one which he perceived; the other secret one, which was unknown to him and which has come to public knowledge only now. As proof of the second side, we have a telegram in code, sent by the Governor General on the 6th of September to the Minister of the Colonies. It was expressed in the following terms: "On the boat Isla de Panay, Rizal embarked as per your instructions, considering his presence here more dangerous. Details by mail."
On the 7th, the Minister of the Colonies replied in a coded telegram as follows: "I beg Your Excellency clarify if Rizal comes as deportee, with a definite residence, and if he is sufficiently guarded on board." The next day, the Governor General answered, likewise by telegraph: "Manifesting that Rizal goes as deportee and that he was placed in the hands of the Captain of the Isla de Panay, with a memorandum for the Governor of Barcelona."
The next day, the 8th, was a crucial day for our hero. The Isla de Panay arrived in Singapore. Had Rizal known of the secret communications and the coded telegrams, perhaps he would have remained in the British colony. But he had given his word, and he had two letters of the Governor General of the Philippines, which in his belief were a strong endorsement. Several Filipinos, headed by Don Manuel Camus, came on board, attempting to convince him to stay, but they did not succeed in making him break his promise. They had even arranged to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus if Rizal acceded, but Rizal had decided to proceed with the trip.
Pedro Roxas, a shrewd person compared with Rizal, went down in Singapore with his son and did not return on board. The opulent Spanish-Filipino mestizo was honorary adviser of the Spanish administration. His cargo was confiscated a few days later. As per telegram of Blanco to the Minister of the Colonies, Roxas had placed P372,000 in the Bank of London in Manila before leaving. Subsequently, the subsecretary, the Marquis of Amposta, communicated to the Minister of the Colonies that the measures taken by the Ambassador in London were unsuccessful and that, legally, the embargo could not be effected.
The grim destiny of Rizal ha dbeen decided. From then on, he would no longer be able to extricate himself from the trap in which he had found himself. He had been chosen to be the sacrificial lamb, which role he would play in dignity, up to the last moment of his life.
Blanco was uneasy about his first report on Rizal that was more benevolent than anything else. Thus, in order to evade responsibility in case of untoward developments he sent another telegram that says: "Although Rizal does not appear implicated and despite his good behavior, or his having merited the generosity of the government, we cannot guarantee him. You may do what you deem best and decide his fate."
On the 12th of September, the Minister of the Colonies sent another communication to the Government, with the information that Rizal had left on the Isla de Panay for Barcelona as a deportee, in the hands of the government, and he should be surrendered to the Governor of Barcelona by the Captain of the said boat, with the instructions of the Governor General.
Meanwhile, the life of Rizal on board became more and more intolerable. It was small boat, with no other native in it, and no other topic of distraction but criticism of the "filibusteros." Everyday the atmosphere became more and more charged, and uncharitable imaginations fabricated the most absurd ideas about him. Rizal noted down some of these misconceptions in his Diarios.
On the 28th, the telegraph started to get busy again. The Captain General of Barcelona, manifesting some doubts, inquired from the Ministry of War: "Kindly inform me if it is certain that upon arrival of the deportee Sr. Rizal in this city, I should order his detention in the Castle of Montjuich as instructed by the Civil Governor." A day later, the Minister of War sent an affirmative answer.
On the same day, the 28th, Rizal wrote to Blumentritt. As always, whenever he found himself in a situation that accused him emotional agitation, he wrote to his close friend. In the letter he wrote that a passenger had given him an almost unbelievable information which, if it were true, would be the end of the prestige of the authorities in the Philippines. In it he relates the entire series of events that we have just related here, regarding the petition and the authorization to go to Cuba, transcribing the letters of presentation of Blanco and the ministers. He insists that he had nothing to do with the insurrection, as Blanco himself has stated. But now, he says, they are sending him to Ceuta. Then, for the first and the last time in his life, he hurls a strong invective at another – Blanco. With dramatic impact he concludes the letter: "I have offered to serve as a physician, risking my life in the dangers of war and leaving all my affairs and my business; I am innocent. And now, in return, they send me to prison."
On the 30th of September, two important things occurred. The captain sent him a note, saying: "Sir: I deem it best that after dinner you go down to your cabin and stay there until further orders, which will probably be after we shall have left Malta. Yours truly, A. Alemany."
Rizal replied that he was willing to obey orders but that he would like to be informed of the reasons for the orders. The Captain told him frankly that some passengers had told him that he would try to remain in Malta and, although he believed that his word was good, there was no harm in following orders. Rizal replied that he regretted that the captain believed in the gossips of persons who lied so shamelessly.
These were the visible events. The surreptitious developments were more serious. On the same day the Minister of War communicated to the Government as follows:
"His Majesty the King, and in his name the Queen Regent of this Kingdom, has directed that D. Jose Rizal, sent by the Governor General of the Philippines as deportee, at the disposal of the Government, should reside, under the specified conditions in the Plaza de Alhucemas. By Royal Order, as promulgated in the Council of Ministers, and as a continuation of the Order of the Ministry dated 12th of this month, I hereby communicate this to your Excellency, for your information and action accordingly. God keep you etc…"
On October 2, the Commander-in-chief of Barcelona wired the Ministry of War inquiring if Rizal was to be held incomunicado and whether his mail was to be intercepted.
The Isla de Panay arrived in Barcelona on October 3. In accordance with the rules in force, nobody disembarked for three days during which the boat would be under observation. Rizal was watched by three pairs of guards and was forbidden to communicate with anybody. On the same day, the Governor of Barcelona telegraphed the Government confirming these measures.
Surprisingly, on the same date, three days after the issuance of the Royal Order were deporting Rizal to Alhucemas (Ceuta, in Spanish Morocco). The Minister of War coursed a telegram to the Governor General of the Philippines: "Please inform me responsibility of Rizal insurrection and your concrete opinion as to treatment of said deportee."
The Governor General responded with the following dramatic telegraph which was to close forever all possibility of saving Rizal's life. "After departure of Rizal, very serious charges filed against him for causing insurrection and Prosecutor requests he be returned here as prisoner under his disposal."
On the same day of the 5th, the Minister of the Colonies sent Governor General Blanco a long letter summarizing all previous communications relative to the case of Rizal and requesting clarification.
First, he acknowledged receipt of Blanco's communication of September 2 in which he informed the Minister of the departure of Rizal for Barcelona, and that he should be placed under the charge, successively, of the governor of Barcelona, Madrid, and finally, the Minister of the Colonies. But, the minister indicated they had not received any papers from the Ministry regarding Rizal's departure for Cuba.
The second inconsistency, as pointed out by the Minister, consisted in Blanco telegraphing that Rizal was being sent to Spain because he was more dangerous in the Philippines. Subsequently, in another telegram stating that Rizal was sent as a deportee, and still later that, in spite of the latter's good behavior he could not vouch for him. In view of the above, continued the Minister's communication, the following decisions were made:
"Rizal conduct to which your Excellency referred does not detract from the fact that his writings and publications (as well as his secret propaganda movements for years) could have prepared the present rebellion. Neither does it excuse his aversion for the religious orders or his unfavorable concepts regarding the sovereignty of Spain in that territory. In view of these circumstances and antecedents the following measures are deemed necessary. By Royal Order of the 30th of September, promulgated in the Council of the Ministers, the said Dr. Jose Rizal y Alonzo is to be sent as a deportee to the Plaza de Alhucemas…"
On the 6th of October, at 4:00 a.m., Rizal left the boat and was conducted by launch by an officer and a soldier. He requested that someone carry his baggage, as it was too heavy for him. They replied that he either take it himself or leave it behind. He had to carry the baggage himself. Upon reaching the slope to Montjuich he paid somebody to take it up the hill while he followed on foot the officers who were on horseback. At five o'clock they arrived at the fort. His baggage was inspected, after which he was handed over to a captain who assigned him a cell for officers and informed him that as soon as the general woke up he would interview him.
However, at two o'clock that afternoon, the same captain who had conducted him to the castle arrived and, according to Rizal's account, shouted at him to prepare his baggage once again, for he was going back on board. Accompanied by two pairs of guards, he went down the slope of Montjuich to the city of Barcelona. There he waited at the office of the Captain General, who turned out to be Despujol, already known to him. After an hour, the captain arrived. He received Rizal and notified him of his situation, reading from telegram sent from Madrid the order that he should be returned to the Philippines as a prisoner. They talked of many important things, according to Rizal's narration, which however, does not specify anything in particular. The interview lasted for a quarter of an hour. According to the captain, Rizal would be assigned a second-class cabin on the boat. After an interview, escorted by guards he returned to the boat, the Colon, which was full of officers and soldiers. At eight o'clock that night, they sailed for Manila.
Rizal could not make out exactly his situation, since he had no knowledge of the developments in regard to the rebellion. Neither did he know the contents of the documents, except for the little information that he got from Despujol. He was treated with consideration on board, except for a minor officer who was ignorant of the circumstances. Three days earlier, on the 3rd of October, the Minister of War had wired Despujol that, in accordance with instructions of the President of the Council and Minister of the Colonies, "he should be allowed communication and correspondence, and treated with such consideration as allowed by security reasons, in the meantime that they awaited concrete news from the Captain General of the Philippines."
While this exchange of telegrams and communications was going on, the Council of Ministers itself adopted severe decisions prior to the trial of Rizal. In the Philippines, meanwhile, the Revolution was fast spreading.
To the reader who is familiar with the history of the Philippine struggle for liberty, it is an established fact that the root cause were the abuses of power on all levels. The Filipino people rose up principally against the friars for interfering in politics, particularly the raising of the amount of the canon which the tenants of the lands had to pay regardless of economic and weather contingencies, and of the plagues which broke out.
The Filipinos could not understand why, being Spaniards (according to the law at the time), they were not accorded the same prerogatives and rights as the Filipinos of the Peninsula. This is what gave rise to the assimilation program for which they campaign for so many years. This would have ended had the authorities granted the rights, which the Filipinos asked for. It would have stopped the discrimination that existed, even with respect to the native clergy. The inflexibility of the Spaniards made the ideological posture of the assimilists more radical and, having no other resort, they were pushed towards more revolutionary measures. As an example we can cite the Liga and the Katipunan. Even among the Masons, majority of them was not separatists; there were many that were denounced as such.
It is true that other colonial powers did not do any better in their colonies, and that, compared with them, the Spaniards were better in their treatment of their colonies, but one cannot justify his errors and defects with the argument that "you are even worse". Neither can one reasonably advance the argument that one has to situate him in that particular period and consider the circumstances of the epoch.
Many centuries of Christianity had elapsed since Miguel Servet was burned for defending freedom of conscience in 1553. The declaration of rights of Virginia, which inspired the French Revolution, was proclaimed in 1776, and Spain should have learned a lesson about the independence of nations from the majority of its colonies in America. If the politicians of our monarchy had granted liberal concessions, which even many in that epoch, were not new concepts, the history of our colonies would have been different.
Five days after the Cry of Balintawak, Emilio Aguinaldo, mayor of Cavite, who had studied for two years in the College of San Juan de Letran of Manila, appeared before the civil government of Cavite to receive instructions – and feel the pulse of the people – about the uprising. There he learned that the parish priest of Cavite Viejo had made moves to have him detained, and that the majority of those accused were already in the hands of the authorities. On August 31, he led an uprising and within a week took almost all the towns of the province, except for the arsenal and the port, which were defended by warships. It may be remembered that the Castilla was docked there, with Rizal on board.
Manila, which had a small garrison, felt endangered, or rather, the peninsular Spaniards urged the authorities, by means of manifestations and press campaigns in Diario de Manila, to increase repressive measures. Some units were in Mindanao in the old struggle against the Mohammedan "datus"; a good part of the forces was made up of natives of doubtful loyalty or none at all. Blanco and the second corporal, Echaluce, left Malacañang Palace and sought refuge in the Palace of Santa Potenciana, which was more secure.
The Revolution spread rapidly. The province of Cavite as well as the northern part of Luzon fell into the hands of the rebels. Two columns, which attempted to break through to enter Cavite, failed in their efforts. Between the end of September and the first week of October, some troops arrived from the Peninsula. In addition, some forces were moved to the capital. The peninsular volunteers arrived. However, the military operations continued to suffer results adverse to the Spaniards despite the lack of preparation on the part of the rebels and the inadequacy of their firearms, both in quantity and quality. Hence, it would not be such a wild guess to say that, had not the insurrection been aborted and had the arms expected from Japan arrived earlier, the course of the insurrection would have changed, though short of attaining complete victory.
Meanwhile, Governor General Blanco was subjected to pressures from all sides – the peninsular and the religious orders, which feared for their properties and their riches, and who urged him to dictate draconian measures. The great number of telegrams sent by Blanco regarding Rizal's case that gradually veered in direction, making a 180-degree turn that furnishes concrete manifestation of this. As a result of these pressures, and of the collective fear, that homicidal enemy of man Blanco issued on the 25th of October 1896, an extremely repressive proclamation.
Fort Santiago and other headquarters were filled to capacity with prisoners, among them the three brothers Luna y Novicio. In the first batch, according to the Spanish historian Fernandez Almagro, there were 30 executions.
Rizal on boards the Colon. Rizal does not give in his Memorias any information regarding his conversation with Despujol. This is understandable. He must have deliberately refrained from recording it for reasons of security. It is probable that Despujol, in order to justify the action of the Governor General in demanding Rizal's return to Manila as detainee, must have given him same explanation, since he knew Rizal's way of always asking for an explanation for any action taken. Although we know that Rizal had no hand in the insurrection, we know that life often takes unforeseen twists and turns, and Rizal was entangled in happenings he did not have a hand in.
This was the first action of a juridical nature in connection with Rizal's case: the chief prosecutor of the case against the insurrection had communicated to Blanco that, based on the declarations of other detainees, Rizal appeared to have grave responsibilities for the insurrection. Blanco limited himself to transmitting the position of the prosecutor, which no other authority would oppose.
On the night of the 6th Rizal found himself not feeling well. He went to bed without supper. Feeling chilly, he covered himself with a blanket but an officer woke him up and told him to remove the cover. The next day he had a fever, which he attributed to the cold. It is more probable that it was due to emotional indigestion, since October is warm in Barcelona and he had used a blanket part of the night.
On the 8th, an officer informed him that a newspaper in Madrid held him responsible for the insurrection. This disturbed him very much. On the 9th, he noted down in his Diario his speculations about his future. The notes express, in summary, his concepts regarding his destiny, his attitude towards life and the judgment of posterity. Since these notes are extraordinarily prophetic, we transcribe them verbatim: "I feel more spirited now. I believe that this is a blessing from God, that I am returning to my country, to be able to answer all the accusations against me. For, either they do me justice recognizing my innocence, or they condemn me to death. Then I shall, in the eyes of society, expiate my alleged crime and be pardoned. Later, undoubtedly, I shall be justified and become a martyr. At any rate, instead of dying in a foreign land or in the marshes of Cuba I shall die in my country. I think that what is happening to me is for the best. God's will be done."
What beautiful words from this mystic of God and lover of his country! Once again Rizal bares his thoughts, pervaded by an acceptance of martyrdom as part of a historic destiny as savior of his country, his fatalism, his conformity to the will of God. His understanding of his fate, together with his concept to predestination and the divine will, gave him strength and prevented him from falling into despair. On the 9th of October, he wrote a note, in German, in his Diario, in which, after saying that God's will be done, he adds: "I am happy and ready." Not many years before, he had chosen the pseudonym Laong Laan, which means "predestined" or "prepared long ago."
The 11th of October bears no record, for he had been searched and taken out of his cell, to return there on November 2. Before arrival in each port, they put him in a barred cell, sometimes with handcuffs on. He closes his travel notes praising the officers who attended to him. All of them were very kind except one who was rough and cruel to him. But with his usual tolerance he says: "What matters one bad as against so many good ones? I know his name but I shall not write it. I prefer to forget it."
On the 24th of October 1896, the Colon arrived in Singapore. They placed him behind bars 16 hours before arrival instead of the usual four. In his stopover, an attempt was made to save Rizal. Regidor, a Filipino lawyer residing in London, made efforts to save his friend. Charles Burton, English lawyer and solicitor of Singapore, submitted a written declaration stating that Rizal bore two letters of introduction, to the effect that he was not involved in the insurrection and that the Spanish Constitution prohibited imprisonment without order of the judge prosecutor. The English law authorized anybody to ask for the freedom of Rizal while he was in English territory, in exercise of the right of habeas corpus. Mister Fort, lawyer of Rizal, presented the formal declaration on the 28th.
The next day, the 28th, the Tribunal Supremo de los Establecimientos de Estrecho (Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements) denied the petition on the ground that the Colon was transporting troops and that, therefore, it was to be classified as a warship of a foreign state. The unofficial conversations went on, bearing Rizal, sailed out from Singapore.
On the 3rd of November, he arrived in Manila.
Closely guarded, Rizal was transferred to Fort Santiago, a fortress that he already knew, for it was there that they took him in 1892 before taking him to Dapitan. An anteroom and an adjacent bedroom comprised his cell. Again he was held incomunicado. This time, however, his relations with the wardens assigned to him were rigorously controlled. He knew nothing of what was happening outside and thus could not plan his course of action. He could only take refuge in his Kempis that he always had with him. As always, and unlike his prison mates, he was neatly and smartly dressed, with immaculate shirt, collar and tie.
Blanco named Col. Francisco Olive judge advocate in charge of the general proceedings against the insurrection, the same Olive who, under orders of Weyler, had led the troops in evicting the Calambaleños some year's back. This man was always showing up in Rizal's way. He had taken the declarations of numerous detainees, in an attempt to find out the names of supposed organizers and accomplices and, especially, the possible relations between Rizal and the Katipunan.
These declarations gave Olive a legal ground for demanding the return of Rizal to the Philippines even when the testimonies were of relative value, it not being known under what circumstances they were taken. Not only were they inconsistent but also contradictory to what is already known, with proofs, about Rizal's life and character. On the basis of the voluminous Epistolario Rizalino, which we have been minutely analyzing in the course of this work, we know for certain, and better than his prosecutors, the real thinking of Rizal. It would be absurd to think that Rizal, in his private letters to his friends and collaborators did not express his real and true thoughts and concepts.
In addition to the declarations, there were documents, mainly letters from those involved in the rebellion, previous to and after the founding of the Katipunan. Another factor unfavorable to Rizal was the atmosphere then prevailing in Manila, especially among the wealthy Spaniards (including the friars). It was not only the risk of losing their material possessions acquired through many years and accumulated through generations, that moved them. Their very lives were endangered. This climate of fear led to rash and desperate actions. These began with a campaign against Blanco, branding him as a "softie". (They would have preferred Weyler or Polavieja.) In this manner the friars began their maneuver. It seems that in the list of names proposed to replace Blanco, the Dominicans had managed to insert the name of Polavieja. And they got what they wanted! Their very lives were endangered. This climate of fear led to rash and desperate actions. These began with a campaign against Blanco, branding him as a "softie" (They would have preferred Weyler or Polavieja.) In this manner the friars began their maneuver. It seems that in the list of names proposed to replace Blanco, the Dominicans had managed to insert the name of Polavieja. And they got what they wanted!
Back in Luzon, Paciano was suffering on account of his brother. While Jose was never ill-treated, his brother, according to Coates, was submitted to prolonged and cruel torture. Coates describes this in detail, but we shall not transcribe him here. What is important is that they never succeeded in making Paciano confess to any complicity on Jose's part with the Katipunan or the insurrection. This painful and unfortunate experience was a test of Paciano's fraternal love, which overcame all trials.
On the 20th of November, Rizal appeared before Colonel Olive and read the documents pertinent to his case. The documentary "proofs" gathered by Olive consisted principally of letters found during the searches made in the houses of suspected organizers of the Katipunan. Most of the documents did not constitute proof against Rizal at all, since he never talked of separatism or of insurrection. Also produced were such insignificant letters as those referring to the polemic he had with Lete, the Borneo colony or the merienda in Rizal's honor in Madrid. There were some Masonic letters mentioning the matter of liberty, in the abstract, of oppression as well as some protest against deportation without trial. Also among the papers did Rizal allegedly write lyrics of a kundiman, but which were really from Pedro Paterno's pen. In these lyrics reference is made to despots, chains and liberty, never mentioning the name of Spain, although the reference was clear. Found among the documents, too, were fragments of speeches made in meetings of the Katipunan when Rizal was in Dapitan, which ended in cheers for him, and of which he was completely ignorant? In addition were the testimonies of detainees taken from September to November 1896. Two of these were those of Agueldo Del Rosario and Francisco Quizon who indicated that Rizal was honorary president of the Katipunan and that his picture presided over the session hall. This does not actually signify Rizal's knowledge or approval of the Katipunan. For the reason that Rizal was already in Dapitan when the Katipunan began its operations. Neither can he be held responsible for the fact that, according to the declaration of Martin Constantino, the aim of the Katipunan was to kill the Spaniards, proclaim independence and designate Rizal as Supremo.
Salvador Dizon, Franco, Arellano, A. Salvador and T. Paez all referred to the organization of La Liga upon Rizal's arrival from Hongkong. Almost all of them attributed secessionist tendencies to La Liga, a grave charge, indeed. But if we examine the statutes or by-laws of La Liga, we shall find that there in not a single line that speaks of, or even reflects, aspiration for secession fron Spain. Palma says, "It is a mystery how all the witnesses could have made incriminating declaration against Rizal.
For five days Olive interrogated Rizal regarding all points in which, it appeared, he was implicated, based on documents and testimonies. Rizal admitted that Valenzuela had seen him in Dapitan, together with patient with an eye ailment, but that he had not known him before nor did he hear of him after the visit. When Olive asked whether Valenzuela had gone to Dapitan on a mission, Rizal replied that the former had told him of an uprising, and that they were worried as to what would happen to Rizal in Dapitan. He added that he had expressed his opinion that it was not the opportune time; for they lacked education, arms and ships; that the case of Cuba should be taken as a lesson; that for Spain's own good she would give concessions and that, therefore, they should wait for these. The Italics (ours) show that Rizal, although opposed to the uprising, accepted the idea for some opportune time in the future.
Since the condition set by Rizal for liberation was the education of the people, it was possible that he would die of old age before it could be realized. (The General Assembly of the United Nations approved a resolution in 1960 to the effect that the lack of preparation in the fields of education, politic, economics and social science cannot be advanced as justification for delaying the independence of the nations.)
Olive asked Rizal if he knew the detainees who had given testimonies implicating him in the rebellion. He said he did not know most of them. He admitted, however, having met Salvador in Madrid, as well as Deodato Arellano, brother-in-law of Marcelo del Pilar, but added that Arellano's testimony was doubtful owing to the differences between him and del Pilar. Arellano had alluded to Rizal's moves to organize La Liga and mentioned the meeting at the Ong Jungco house. Regarding Pedro Serrano, he admitted having known him in Madrid but he had learned that Serrano was against him, for which reason he considered his testimony unreliable.
When asked whether he had organized an association La Liga Filipina in Madrid, Rizal replied affirmatively, but said that the ends of said association was to promote discipline among the members. Asked whether there was a relationship between La Liga and La Solidaridad, he replied that the two were independent of each other, and that when Del Pilar worked for the union of these two, he (Rizal) had left for Paris. He added that the La Liga did not have any political leanings and that politics was the concern of La Solidaridad, which was not under his direction. When asked if he had written the by-laws of La Liga, he answered in the affirmative, specifying that its ends were to promote unity among the Filipinos and to promote commerce and the cooperative system in business, but without political orientation.
He also confirmed having gone to Tarlac during the last days of June 1892, accompanied by Pedro Serrano, to visit the northern provinces and to see the recently inaugurated railway to the north.
Olive gave special attention to the famous meeting in the house of Ong Junco. Rizal admitted having attended the meeting, for there were some Filipinos who wished to know him. The topics discussed in the meeting were La Liga and Masonry. The judge advocate inquired whether it was true that he had spoken during the meeting, encouraging the Filipinos to be a worthy and free nation, for otherwise they would always be at the mercy of the abuses of the authorities. The judge also asked him whether he had made reference to the excesses due to the discretionary powers of the governors. Rizal replied that this was possible, for he had spoken of this several times. But he did not think he had spoken of the effect of the unexpected spread of Masonry in the Islands as cause for alarm.
Rizal also declared that he did not know Bonifacio, head of the Katipunan, although it was true he attended the meeting at the Ong Junco house. As to his picture, he said that it was possible to get copies of his picture without his consent.
At this point Olive asked Rizal if he knew that there was a plan to rescue him from Dapitan, to which Rizal replied that he had heard rumors but that he had never been directly informed of the plan. Anyway, he added, he would not have accepted the offer. Lastly, Olive inquired whether, in the supposed escape he had planned to go to Japan to join Del Pilar and Doroteo Cortes. Rizal replied that he had no knowledge of such preparations and that the proponents of the escape plan did not know of the animosity between him and Cortes.
When the interrogation was finished, Colonel Olive sent a transcript of the proceedings to Governor Blanco, together with letters and documents. Blanco submitted all the papers to Capt. Rafael Dominguez, who had been designated special judge for the Rizal case.
On the 3rd of December, Dominguez initiated action on the case. It took him only two days to draw his conclusions, which were expressed as follows:
"The accused is the principal organizer, the moving spirit of the Philippine insurrection, founder of societies, of newspapers, and has written books designed to foment and propagate the ideas of rebellion and sedition among the people, as well as the principal leader of the anti-government movement in the country."
So far, we have avoided speculative evaluation of Rizal's personality. We will take it up now. We shall rely on the Epistolario and on original documents. The Epistolario is the primary source, which offers us a basis for a spontaneous and frank appraisal of his personality. Such as, only a letter to a friend or to his family could possibly offer, for it is not probable that when writing to them that he would camouflage his thoughts or modify his words for fear that they would be used as evidence against him. In none of these letters or in any of the documents, whether public or private, does he suggest insurrection. On the contrary, when Valenzuela visited him in Dapitan to ask him to head the Revolution, he not only opposed the plan but also exhorted him not to push through with it at that stage, for which Bonifacio castigated him.
What Rizal responsible for was his awakening the Filipino people to an awareness of their rights and urging them to work for obtaining the same rights as those enjoyed by the peninsulars. He was responsible for having inculcated in the native a sense of dignity, for having offered of an image of a man of his race, with two university degrees, a talent for languages and specialization in ophthalmology a moral completely demolished the concept of the inferiority of the native. In truth, it is a grave thing to awaken the political conscience of a people, even without recommending violent means, as in the case of Rizal. His position was aggravated by the fact that he had attacked the intervention of the religious orders in the political life of the country, particularly the conduct of the Dominicans in the case of the tenants of Calamba.
Without losing any time, Blanco decreed that the case be passed on to Don Nicolas de la Peña who was then the auditor general. Blanco was not aware that seven days before, from Hongkong, the Dominicans had sent a cable to the general prosecutor in Madrid lamenting the indolence of the Governor General and urging immediate action on his case.
While the abovenogotiations were going on, Don Camilo Polavieja arrived in the Philippines on the 3rd of December 1896. This general had risen from the rank of soldier to second corporal, thence to Captain General. Strict, authoritarian, with features similar to Weyler, Polavieja was the person whom the friars had in mind as their instrument in the fight to replace Blanco as soon as they had succeeded in his transfer. And although it was not customary for a second corporal to be promoted to Governor General, except as an interim designation, this change was enough for Rizal's fate to take a fatal turn.
Once the indictment was pronounced, the auditor issued on the 7th of December instructions to the effect that the papers be elevated to plenary, specifying that the defense must be undertaken by an officer of the army and not by a civil lawyer.
With this Rizal's chances were further reduced, for in the hands of an officer who did not know the law, the chances for the use of rights favorable to the accused were reduced. Further, the accused was to be detained in prison and the bail is set at P1,000,000. Blanco subscribed to the proposal of Peña to assign the case to the lieutenant auditor, since this was a case of rebellion and illegal association, the latter a prerequisite to commit the former. It is to be noted, however, that La Liga was not separatist or revolutionary in nature, and that it died a few days after it was founded when Rizal was deported to Dapitan. Between the dissolution of the La Liga and the Cry of Balintawak, there was a gap of four years. It was impossible for Rizal to have maintained a connection with the insurrectos from the distant island in the South where he was held incomunicado and was so closely guarded.
Rizal was given a long list of officials from which to select his counsel. He did not know anybody but noted a familiar name, that of Taviel de Andrande. At first he thought that it was his custodian in Calamba. It turned out to be the brother, Don Luis, lieutenant of the artillery. Since he knew no other person in the list, he opted for Don Luis Taviel. It has been decided that Rizal's case was to be submitted to a Council of War.
In the meantime, it came to Rizal's knowledge that his name was being used as a battle cry by the insurrectos despite the fact that he was held incomunicado. He, therefore, wrote to the judge, informing him of this fact, and requested permission to manifest his views on the matter, considering that many were being misled by it, and were committing many disturbances of which he did not approve. Rizal added that he was taking this step to save those who were being misled and expressed the hope that this action of his would not affect any way the case against him.
On December 13, Camilo Garcia Polavieja assumed his post as Governor and Captain general of the Philippine Islands. The program of the friars had been carried out. The Spanish community was assuaged. As compensation, Blanco was named Chief of His Majesty's Casa Militar. In the same manner that Martinez Campos in Cuba was relieved in favor of Weyler, Polavieja replaced Blanco. In fact, these two cases are parallel in many respects. Canovas, the conservative, was in power. It appears that the Marquis of Pidal intervened in the appointment of Polavieja, Nozaleda (Archbishop of Manila) being quite close to him. According to Fernandez Almagro, Maria Cristina did not have to be pressured in order to be on the side of the Dominicans.
On December 15, Rizal presented to the judge the following manifesto, the publication of which necessitated the approval of the auditor.
MANIFESTO TO SOME FILIPINOS
Upon my return from Spain, I have learned that my name has been used as battle-cry among some that have risen in arms. The news came as a painful surprise to me; but believing that all this was over, I kept my silence in the face of something irremediable.
Now I have heard rumors that the said disturbances are still going on; and if there are some who keep on using my name, whether in good or in bad faith, I hasten to address these lines to them, in order to remedy this abuse and to inform those who have been misled, so that the truth may be known.
Since the beginning when I was notified of what was being projected, I was opposed to the plan, I fought against it and demonstrated its absolute impossibility. This is true and there are witnesses to my words. I was convinced that the idea was highly absurd and worse, fatal. Furthermore, when, later on, the rebellion broke out in spite of my advice, I offered, spontaneously, not only my services but also my life and my name for them to use in the manner they deemed best, to suppress the rebellion; for convinced of the harm that could be done, I was glad to sacrifice anything to impede such useless disaster. This, too, is based on proof.
My countrymen: I have given proof of wanting liberties for our country, and I still want them. But I have placed as the premise for these, the education of the people, so that, through education and work they will have the proper personality and be worthy of the same. In my writings I have always recommended study, the civic virtues, without which there can be no redemption. I have also written that in order for reforms to be fruitful, they have to come from above, for those that come from below are irregular and unsure. Fully convinced of these ideas, I cannot but condemn this absurd and savage uprising, plotted behind my back, which dishonors the Filipinos and discredits those who can advocate for us. I hate the criminal proceedings and I reject all types of participation, deploring with pain in my heart the rash ones who have permitted them to be misled. Return to your homes and may God pardon those who acted in bad faith. Fort Santiago, December 15, 1896.
The manifesto did not see the light of day for the auditor was opposed to its publication arguing that Rizal only repudiated the insurrectional move because of its being premature and destined to fail. But between the lines one could see his hope that independence could be reached through more honorable means, when the education of the people guaranteed its success. De la Peña summarized Rizal's manifesto in the following words: "In the face of defeat, lay down your arms. Later I shall lead you to victory."
Majority of the biographers has an unfavorable judgment of the Manifesto. Those who are partial to Rizal like Palma mention it very lightly in passing, as though treading on embers. But we believe that the document is important because it presents Rizal's posture during his trial.
If the manifesto had been published, it would have caused confusion among the insurgents, especially those who did not understand Rizal's ideology and were moved only by the general idea of independence, which for them could be won only through armed struggle against Spain. Rizal should have foreseen this and also surmised that it was too much to expect that an insurrection which had reached that stage, dominating several provinces and having had several military victories, could, at his bidding, be aborted. Especially so since its leaders had not heeded his advice as transmitted by Valenzuela. It took all of one year on the 14th of December 1897 for the forces of Aguinaldo to lay down their arms, not just like that but because of the pact of Biac-na-Bato, an agreement binding both parties to fulfill its terms.
Furthermore, Rizal's manifesto reveals a certain tone of resentment because of the fact that the uprising had proceeded despite his advice against it, in his own words, "behind my back". He speaks too much in the first person and thinks that his prestige is enough to make the rebels lay down their arms. Had the manifesto been published, he might have suffered the embarrassment of being unheeded, which for a man of his temperament would have been traumatic. Also, the leaders of the Revolution would not have left the manifesto unanswered. Rizal would, for the first time, have been attacked harshly, without mincing words, for the rebels would have surely rejected the adjectives "criminal proceedings", as he described the uprising, and "rash", as he describes those who joined the insurrection. These comments refer to the possible results of the manifesto, not to the actual course of the fighting; victory for the insurgents was difficult.
The manifesto is, in short, a reiteration of the political concepts of La Liga: liberty obtained through education, the reforms to be obtained through the intelligentsia. What is incomprehensible is the fact that the Spanish authorities did not allow the publication of the manifesto when it does not speak of independence either for the present or for the future. The most serious words are "liberties" and "reforms". In short, it was a communication, which could have been subscribed to by Archbishop Nozaleda himself.
Commenting further on the manifesto, we recall that upon submitting the paper to the judge, he clearly specified that he did not wish that it (the Manifesto) should affect, in any way, the case against him. This rhymes with Rizal's characteristic of being always correct and proper. Nevertheless, if the phrase had not appeared in the manifesto, the insurrectos could have considered the communication as a trick of some sort, to save his life. But we already know, form his actuations that Rizal was brave, sincere, trusting, and honest and a friend of the truth. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius advises his son Laertes before he leaves France: "This above all to thine ownself is true, then it follows, as the night the day, thou cannot be false to any man."
With this we leave the famous "manifesto". In it Rizal has offered another proof that he is a romantic intellectual, with a great sense of humanity. But did he have the qualifications of a political leader?
On the 19th of December, Polavieja decreed that Rizal's case be forwarded to the lieutenant auditor, Don Enrique de Alcocer, who, in turn, should forward it to the prosecutor, Capt. Rafael Dominguez, who would then send it to the Council of War.
On December 20, Rizal wrote a letter to Lieutenant Taviel. The letter reflects the understandable anxiety of the accused, seeing that his counsel was a man of good faith but totally ignorant of the law. Fearing that request for a consultation with a professional lawyer might hurt the feelings of his counsel, Rizal's letter is written in the most prudent and careful terms:
"Frankly speaking, having you as my counsel, I feel that I do not wish nor do I need consultation with others. I have more confidence in the nobility of the defender than in his practical skill. I believe you have nobility, enough for my small case. Besides, you are more informed of certain matters than any other lawyer, with whom I have spoken… whether to admit consultation or not, as you deem best, I am satisfied with my choice."
This letter was to be handed to Taviel by one of Rizal's sisters, but it did not get to the addressee due to Paciano's objection. He feared that the letter would hurt the defender's feelings.
Council of War
We wish to state that data and information about the Council of War were incomplete. It seems that only after the lapse of a hundred years can the documents be made available relative to the council. These are kept in the General Military Archives in Segovia. Our main sources are the journalists of the time, together with Retana's biography of Rizal. (Retana had live din the Philippines.)
From the 20th of December Rizal, together with his counsel, started to prepare his defense, studying it point by point. The counsel although not possessing any special knowledge of law was inspired by good will and possessed a clear intelligence. But it is impossible to produce a good lawyer in a few days. Anyway, the skills and subtleties of an expert on the law were of no special use in a case like Rizal's.
On December 25, regardless of it being a feast day, Rizal was informed that on the next day at 10:00 in the morning, the Council of War would convene. Upon receiving the communication Rizal wrote to Taviel asking for a conference prior to appearing before the Council.
On the 26th, at the Cuartel de España, a soldier's dormitory was converted into an improvised sala or courtroom. Behind a long table sat the president, Lieutenant Colonel of the Cavalry don Jose Togores, accompanied by six captains of different arms. In front of the table was Rizal, more pallid than usual, but at ease despite being handcuffed. Beside him was lieutenant Taviel and near him the fiscal. The hall was filled with people the majority of them were officials and officers in the service. The rest were mainly peninsular, some natives. On a bench meant for the public but conspicuously located sat Josephine with an unidentified woman. As was his custom, Rizal was in black suit, white shirt, vesting and tie, his hair carefully combed. He was completely relaxed – the picture of serenity.
The correspondents of Heraldo de Madrid and El Imparcial, who were presented, have provided us with these and other details about the trial.
The trial proceeded with the reading of the accusations by Fiscal Don Enrique de Alcocer, who began by acknowledging and maintains the provisional conclusions, followed by an oratorical exposition, exaggeratedly patriotic in tone. He pointed to Rizal – who owed to Spain all that he was, the fiscal said – as the principal figure of the insurrections movement, adding that his only dream was to obtain the independence of the Philippines employing all means towards that goal. The fiscal evidently did not have better and more reliable proof for he had to cite as evidence the ode "La Juventud Filipina," written in 1879 when Rizal was 18 years old.
The next he referred to Noli Me Tangere in which, according to him, Rizal had heaped insults on the Spaniards. He emphasized the immense damage done by the novel. He noted that El Filibusterismo praises the memory of the three priests who died by the garrote during the Cavite Mutiny.
The account continued with the arrival of Rizal in Manila in 1892 bearing numerous leaflets and proclamations of separatist content in his baggage. Finally, the fiscal said that Rizal broke his word when he organized La Liga.
Subsequently, the fiscal took up the significance of Masonry in the Philippines, which was true enough, but he confused the practices of Masonry with those of the Katipunan. Furthermore, in his description of La liga there were many inaccuracies in dates, names and aims. Among these was the statement that the aim of the organization was independence, which is definitely not in the statutes of the Liga and was, at the time, Utopian. Mixing up the declarations of the witnesses, he stated that the aim of the Liga was to proclaim independence in the country and to name Rizal supreme chief. Hence, the hanging of his picture in the session hall.
Next the fiscal referred to Rizal's exile to Dapitan, "in view of the 'suspicions' which his conduct aroused". With this statement, he tacitly admitted that the verdict was not based on proof, as in the case of decree promulgated by the Council of Ministers deporting Rizal to Alhucemas. He stressed the importance of the many and regular conferences Rizal allegedly had with several persons involved in the insurrection but he did not give any names except that of Valenzuela. The fiscal cited Rizal's reply that "It is not the opportune time to organize adventures", turning the phrase against the accused by qualifying it as very grave, since with it Rizal meant that the insurrection was premature as yet. In reality, his (Rizal's) opinion, as transmitted by Valenzuela, was a vox clamantis in deserto (a lone voice in the desert).
We wish to call attention to two statements of the fiscal. In the first one he affirmed that the supreme direction of the insurrection was always linked with Rizal. With the knowledge that we now have of the real facts, this need not be refuted. The second statement goes: "Trying to go beyond the modest sphere in which, by birth (nature) he should move." He was saying that Rizal, because of a "natural" reason, being an Indio, because of the color of his skin, should not have the same aspirations as a white man born in the Peninsula. Señor Alcocer must have been very much satisfied with what he said. It never occurred to him that it was a very unchristian thing to say, fully justifying the struggle for equality which the Filipinos aspired for, besides being a public expression of the concept of discrimination against which, logically, the natives fought.
Illegal association and rebellion were the final accusations of the fiscal. For the first crime the penalty was imprisonment in its minimum and medium grades, and for rebellion the penalty was life imprisonment, but since the law stipulated that if in order to commit one crime it was necessary to commit another, the maximum penalty should be applied: death. The fiscal cited as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the accused was a native. This constitutes additional proof of the discrimination against the natives. The fine as proposed by Alcocer, in case of absolution, was P20,000.
The newspapers in Manila could not publish any report of the defense owing to the strict censorship.
The first lieutenant of the artillery, Luis Taviel de Andrande, began the defense of Rizal by emphasizing the fact that notwithstanding the good intentions of the tribunal, it could not avoid being prejudiced by the prevalent opinion, confused as it was, regarding the right course. Then he asked: "Has Rizal performed any act, public and solemn, that is separatist in concept? Did he on any public solemn that is separatist in concept? Did he on any occasion declare aloud in the face of our beloved country that he abominates her domination? As a factor contributing to these prejudices, he pointed out that the presence of the boat Castilla for a month caused speculation that Rizal was a participants in the insurrection, although later it was made known that he had been authorized to go to Cuba as a military doctor. The majority thought that it was a trick to enable him to disembark and put himself at the head of the uprising. The defense confessed with candor that he himself participated in preventing that from occurring.
Taviel cited a law, an annex to the penal code, which included a rule, No. 52, regarding the application of penalties when the delinquency is proven beyond doubt by conclusive proofs. The defense affirmed that the accusations did not have probative value since they were not in conformity with the rule. Then he analyzed, one by one, the charges, demonstrating that not one of them conformed to the provisions of the rule.
Taviel proceeded to say that the co-accused, upon testifying that Rizal was their head and the moving spirit of the rebellion, automatically became instruments or collaborators of the prosecution and were thus saved from death. For this reason, he said their testimony should be carefully evaluated.
As to the Liga, he admitted that the defendant had written the by-laws, but that he did so at the instance of Basa. At any rate, as they themselves stated, its aim was only to promote commerce, industry and consumers' cooperatives. He pointed out that since his arrival in Dapitan in 1892, the defendant had refrained from all political actuation, and that there was no proof whatsoever to the contrary. His conversation with Valenzuela was exculpation. If he were really the head of the revolt, they would have abided by his advice dissuading them from proceeding with the plans due to their untimeliness. Of Rizal's actuation, only those previous to the uprising remained to be evaluated. Taviel asked, "Would any court dare pass sentence on Rizal based only on the charges previous to the 26th of August when the insurrection arose? Rizal had no hand in the latter, nor did he give his assent, nor did the rebels count on him."
Taviel closed his discourse requesting the court to reject the images engendered by wars, for they could only provoke ideas of vengeance, and judges should not be vengeful but just.
For a lieutenant of the artillery who was not a lawyer by profession and had experience whatsoever neither in trial procedures, nor in life in general, considering his youth, the defense counsel did very well. He was able to find rule No. 52 and many other arguments in favor of the defendant. He hardly, if at all, made any error in dates, etc. It can be assumed that this was due to military discipline and to the fact that many of the points brought up in the trial by the prosecutor could not be admitted for lack of supporting evidence. Taviel's position was difficult, considering the climate prevalent in and out of the sala. This is confirmed by the fact that his pleading was coldly received in the courtroom.
The chairman of the council then asked Rizal if he had anything to say. Rizal read his own arguments as addition to the defense. We here reproduce the most important points.
Referring to the rebellion, Rizal declared that from July 6, 1892, when he was deported to Dapitan, he had removed himself from politics. Proof of this was the trip of Valenzuela. If he (Rizal) had been in correspondence with him, Valenzuela would not have had taken an expensive and risky trip to Dapitan for Rizal would by then have been informed of the uprising.
Another proof is that they could not produce any letter of Rizal proving that he had previous knowledge of the uprising.
After many considerations regarding his exile and the persecution of his family, Rizal advanced an important argument: "If I did not have a clear conscience, I would have stayed in Singapore when we landed there, as did several of the passengers who had booked passage for Spain." He had no feelings of guilt, and was expecting to be sent to Cuba, he added. In order not to put Blanco in a bad light (despite the fact that the latter had been false to him), Rizal did not mention the fact that he bore two letters of recommendation by Blanco for the Ministers of War and of the Colonies. Commending his good conduct and affirming that he had nothing to do with the insurrection.
Rizal went on to say that if he had wanted to escape, he could have done so since he had several boats at his disposal. As to his being the alleged head of the insurrection, he asked, "What kind of head is he who is not consulted for its projects, and when he says no they say yes?"
Regarding the Liga, he stated that it became inactive shortly after it was founded and that its aims were not objectionable. The creation of another society, the Katipunan, proved that the two organizations differed in their ends, for if they had identical aims, there was no sense in founding more than one.
With respect to his stay in Dapitan, he suggested that they ask the people, the commandants and the missionaries about him. He declared that he had been asking in vain for a meeting wit those who had testified against him and that he doubted very much that for one single meeting in the house of Ong Junco he could be blamed for all the subversion in the country. Furthermore he said that those of the Liga who attended the meeting that night were not the founders of the Katipunan. Rizal ended by saying that he hoped to have demonstrated that he had neither founded a subversive society or had he been an accomplice or organizer of the rebellion but on the contrary had opposed it.
Subsequently, the chairman ordered that the sala be vacated and that the Council proceeds with the deliberations. Shortly after, the sentence was read and we transcribe verbatim the document:
"In the plaza of Manila on the 26th day of the month of December 1896, the Council of War presided over by Lt. Col. D. Jose Togores Arjona, having met this day, to look into and pass sentence on the case against D. Jose Rizal Mercado y Alonzo, accused of the crimes of rebellion, sedition and illegal association, has carefully and thoroughly examined said case, after a reading of his actuations by the Judge Advocate, and having seen the Fiscal's accusation, heard the allegations of the defense and the declarations of the accused, hereby declares that the punishable acts consist of the crimes of illegal association and of promoting and inducing to execute the latter; Jose Rizal is, therefore, found guilty of being the author of said rebellion. By virtue of its powers, the Council dictates the following sentence: D. Jose Rizal should be, and is hereby condemned to death, and in case of a pardon will bear the accessories of life imprisonment and subjection to vigilance for life, and shall pay the State an indemnity of P100,000.00, which indemnity shall be passed on to his heirs for satisfaction, in accordance with the articles… etc."
The individual signatures of the members of the Council follow.
On the same day, the Governor General, who had requested a report of Auditor D. Nicolas Peña, concludes: "It is right to qualify Rizal as the promoter of the crime of rebellion, consummated by means of illegal association, and the death sentence is just."
In his report, Peña said: "Rizal was admired by his less educated countrymen and proceeded to propagate disloyal and treasonous thoughts among them." Admitting that Rizal was industrious, more so than any of his countrymen and that he spoke several languages. Peña said that his discourses contained many vulgarities, that "he is not a correct writer nor a profound thinker; his writings are marked by major defects in language and yet he has become the spokesman of subversion, the most intelligent leader of the separatist."
We ask why and wherefore of such comments, for this were far from being an examination for entrance into a literary or scientific academy. It is very clear that these were meant to humiliate Rizal and the natives, for if he was number one among them and yet had so many imperfections, what more his countrymen and followers?
Polavieja convened the Council of Authorities. Not a single member of the council, not even Archbishop Nozaleda, asked for commutation of the sentence. Aside from the Council of Authorities, not one of the religious hierarchy, or his former Jesuit tutors, nor the Dominicans, of course, recommended pardon. On the 28th, the Captain General, Camilo Garcia Polavieja approved the sentence of the council of War, fixing the date of the execution for the 30th of December, at 7:00 in the morning. On the same day, Doña Teodora, the mother of Rizal, went to Malacañang Palace with a petition for pardon, but she was not admitted.
On the 29th, judge Dominguez went to fort Santiago to notify Rizal officially of the sentence. Rizal read the report of the auditor and the approval of Malacañang but refused to sign it, alleging that he was innocent. He must have thought that by signing the papers he would signify conformity with the text. His vacillation could have been resolved by nothing. "Informed, but not in conformity, for I am innocent."
He made one comment, which we think important. He remarked that he was not a Chinese mestizo as stated by the auditor but a pure Indio. He was told that no modifications were allowed in the text of the sentence. Rizal's protest was valid, for not only did it express the truth but it was also protest against the slur by the authorities on the inferiority of the native.
From that time Rizal went about the last act of his life.
The matter of Rizal's retraction is a very nebulous one. Eighty-five years have elapsed, and the polemic on whether he did retract or was faithful to his convictions up to the last moment remains unresolved. When two opposing camps maintain their positions, irreconcilable through many years, it means that the facts are not clear. By depending on the ecclesiastical heirarchy instead of the civil archives for any new findings on the matter, it is not possible to contribute any new documentary proof on which to base an adherence to one or the other side of the question. We shall therefore, rely on what the Epistolario has to offer. We shall present the opinions of both sides, commenting on those parts that we consider relevant. This will be a summary of the case. Much more has been written on this particular aspect of Rizal's life than on his life in general. However, we shall transcribe verbatim the documents that we deem noteworthy.
At the outset, we should like to state clearly our opinion that, whether or not Rizal retracted, he should still be held in highest esteem by the Filipinos as their greatest patriot. The total accomplishment of a man in life cannot be measured merely by his conduct during the last hours of his life. Rather, it should be evaluated on the basis of all his actuations, his virtues and defects, his loyalty to the truth and to himself, as demonstrated throughout the span of his entire life.
Rizal himself, in a letter to Ponce, says that no one knows how one will behave in that supreme instant. This statement, however, should not be taken as supportive of the stand that Rizal might have been disposed to retract.
The chronology begins on the 29th, with the arrival of the judge, to inform him of the sentence, as we have already mentioned. Having read the sentence, Rizal sat down and wrote the following letter:
"My dear parents and brothers:
I would like to see some of you before I die; though this may cause much pain. Let the brave ones come. There are some important things that I have to tell you. Your son and brother who loves you with all his heart.
The letter does not bear a date, but it was obviously written after reading the sentence, hence, it corresponds to the 29th of December. A little later, at 7:30, the Jesuits, Father Miguel Saderra and Luis Viza, entered his cell. From that moment on, until 7:00 of the next morning, when he was shot, Rizal did not have a moment's rest. Instead, several persons bombarded him with matters of Christian doctrine. The Archbishop had chosen the Jesuit and not the Dominicans to persuade him to retract, which was a smart decision. In the first place, the Dominicans had intervened in politics, and directly against the family of Rizal in the Calamba case. In the second place, Rizal had been for many years a student of the Jesuits and had some affection for them. With his usual good nature, Rizal received the Jesuits pleasantly, asking them if there still were some of the old professors of his time. They replied that only Fathers Vilaclara and Balaguer remained. For a while they talked of insignificant things. Then, at a propitious turn of the conversation, Father Saderra said that they still kept the statue of the sacred heart, which he had carved from baticuling when he was 14 years old. "It is the Sacred Heart of Jesus that has been waiting for you for 20 years and comes to greet you," said Father Viza.
Rizal had rejected the spiritual services of the chaplain of the fort, but he could not turn down the dialogue with the Jesuits. But the attempt to initiate his conversion was politely repulsed. At nine o'clock, the two priests withdrew, but, faithful to the precept of a drop-by-drop approach, they were replaced by father Rosell.
While Father Rosell was in the cell, Santiago Mataix a correspondent of heraldo de Madrid entered. The conversation began with Rizal's reminiscences of when he was a student at the Ateneo and ended with an allusion to general Blanco whose conduct he lamented. He told Mataix that he did not go to Spain as a deportee. (Rizal died without knowing that when he left the Philippines the last time, he was sent apparently on an assignment, but in reality as a deportee.)
Archbishop Nozaleda had given instructions to Father Pia Pi, superior of the Jesuit mission, to the effect that once the conversion was accomplished, they should let Rizal signa document of retraction before administering the sacraments. Two drafts of a retraction were prepared.
At 10:00 in the morning two Jesuits entered the cell, Fathers Vilaclara and Balaguer. After touching on casual topics, Balaguer approached the subject of religion, asking Rizal his ideas on doctrinal matters. They discussed numerous and valid topics.
When Rizal remained unyielding after a very long debate, Balaguer resorted to warning him of eternal cremation "if he did not relinquish his ideas".
This phrase reminds us of Unamuno's comment as regards Rizal's alleged retraction: "Not without reason. Overcome, yes; Converted, perhaps, convinced, no".
In the fact of Balaguer's threat, Rizal replied, "No, I shall not be condemned." To which the Jesuit harshly replied, "You shall go to hell, for there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. "Rizal then said, and we quote from Balaguer's account, "Look, Father, if in order to please you I said yes to everything and senselessly signed everything presented to me, I would be a hypocrite, and would offend God."
How like Rizal, always faithful to the truth until the last moments of his life, despite the threats! Balaguer then took a step backward saying that was not what he wanted, and that they were willing to be shot, in his stead, to obtain his salvation. We recall that not one of the religious had asked for a commutation of his sentence, to save his life, although it would necessarily risk their own. If anyone should argue that Rizal was a reprobate, it can be asked why, when hours later, according to the Jesuits, Rizal retracted and was in the grace of God, nobody moved to petition for commutation of his entice.
The polemic continued with this man who, for half a year, had been exposed to constant tension, made hostile, deceived with a fictitious assignment to Cuba accused of acts in which he had not participated, and finally condemned to death for rebellion! In addition, we have to consider that his mental health had suffered much due to four years of deportation without trial. When a man is hurt continuously and totally, without being left a moment's rest, animal atavism asserts itself, as a reaction of the subconscious, which ignores the norms and shouts beside him with pain: "Enough!"
But Rizal knew how to control himself. Instead of saying "Enough!" he told Father Balaguer, "I promise you that the remaining hours of my life I shall employ asking God for the grace of faith."
The discussion lasted more than two hours. Rizal did not lose his equanimity, for as Laong Laon he never lost his serenity. The predestined should give an example for the present and for the future. Hence, he always measured his every word and thus his conduct was always exemplary and, lastly, for this reason, he did not retract. Instead, he wrote the Ultimo Adios, a documentary proof of the consistency of his conduct.
Subsequently, Father Vilaclara joined Father March. The civil governor and Father Faura, director of the Observatory, came in at this point. Rizal asked Father Faura if he remembered their last meeting in which he (Faura) foretold that he (Rizal) would die on the scaffold. He told the priest, "You have been a prophet, Father."
In one of his rare free moments, after lunch, Rizal wrote to Blumentritt the following dramatic letter:
"My dear brother:
When you receive this letter I shall be dead. Tomorrow at 7:00 I shall be shot. But I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. I shall die with a clear conscience. Goodbye my best, most beloved's friend. Fort Santiago, December 29,1896."
But the Jesuits did not give up. Balaguer returned at 3:00 and resumed the polemic, maintaining it until night came – four solid hours of controversy. Balaguer left the fort, and after picking up Father Viza at the Ateneo, proceeded to the palace to inform the Archbishop that in his opinion there was some hope. The new formula of retraction was not prepared as yet, but they promised to send it. And they did.
In the meantime, Rizal's mother and sisters had arrived. It was during these moments that Rizal had to muster the greatest effort to remain calm, greater even than that which the moment of execution would require. The Rizal family was of monolithic solidarity. In their lineage, mutual love was a profession of faith, amalgamated by blood. Rizal kissed his mother's hand – embracing was not allowed – and in a low voice told her to claim his body and have it buried. This was the first of his secret instructions that could be of great consequence. His other sisters entered, successively and separately. To Josefa, Trinidad and Lucia, Jose spoke in English, saying that he had placed something inside an alcohol lamp. We now know that he referred to the Ultimo Adios. To another sister he said, also in English "look inside my shoes." The moments when he bade them the last goodbye were fraught with pain.
As regards theUltimo Adios, El Imparcial of Madrid received the following telegram from its correspondent at 6:45 of the 30th and published it on the 31st: "Rizal said he wanted to confess, which he did unobtrusively. Then, as a very strange reaction, he asked for paper and pen and started to write verses." It must have been almost midnight for, according to Balaguer's narration, Rizal had not yet signed the retraction until the last hours of the night. According to the correspondent, Rizal wrote the verses after having confessed, which he did after signing the retraction. These facts are important because the poem appears as a countersign of his old ideas.
Rizal was a romantic, not, as we have said, in the sense that he belonged to the literary school of the first half of the 19th century but in the sense that he was a dreamer, an idealist. His works are characterized by this state of being, most especially the Ultimo Adios, due to the emotional state he was in when he wrote it. For us, it is best and most passionate poem of Rizal, although for Jaime de Veyra it is "A mi…" The Filipino people know the Ultimo Adios, not only because it was the last poem written by their national hero in his dramatic last moments but also because it constitutes an authentic legacy and a declaration of faith. Faith in the destiny of the Philippines, as well as an affirmation of his convictions and of his solidarity with all lovers of their country:
"On the field of battle 'mid the frenzy of fight, Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed"
It gives the lie to those who say that, in the end, he embraced the ideas of his adversaries:
"For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends, Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high"
Based on his works and declarations we can assert that Rizal believed in the existence of the soul, that he was a profoundly religious nature. Unamuno believes he was a free believer, although not a free thinker. He was, therefore, in Unamuno's concept, not a pure rationalist, although he himself (Rizal) thought he was.
Moreover, in spite of the injustice committed against him by his judges and in the face of the prejudice of which he was the victim, not a single word of hate or of bitter rancor is said.
Rizal could have left a manifesto, but he prepared to leave a poem, because, with its colorful imagery, it made it easier for the people, sensitive by nature, to capture the ideas he wanted to convey. Furthermore, the Ultimo Adios offers a permanent and authentic testimony, sans outside manipulations, of his last thoughts.
Rizal made sure his poem was not going to be lost, for it was his legacy to his country. Thus, he thought of inserting the narrow sheets inside an alcohol lamp, telling his family to pick it up after his death.
At 10:00 o'clock that night, according to Balaguer's account, he sat with Rizal and began reading the formula for the retraction, but Rizal almost immediately rejected it allegedly saying that the style did not rhyme with his own and accepting the simpler draft prepared by Father Pio Pi. He was supposed to write it in his own handwriting. At 11:30, according to Balaguer, he signed it. The text of the draft, as provided by Balaguer, is as follows:
"I declare myself a Catholic, and in this religion in which I was born and educated I wish to live and die. I retract, wholeheartedly, everything that I have, by word, writings and publication and conduct, professed contrary to my capacity as a son of the Church. I believe and profess all that she teaches and submit myself to all that she directs. I reject Masonry as an enemy of the Church, and as a society prohibited by the Church. The Diocesan Prelate, as superior ecclesiastical authority may publish this spontaneous manifestation, in order to make reparation for the scandal which my acts may have caused and so that I may be pardoned by God and by all men. Manila, December 29, 1896. Jose Rizal."
But, surprisingly, Balaguer did not make an official report of the retraction, although Mataix, the correspondent of Heraldo de Madrid, cabled a few minutes after midnight, quoting the only possible source of such information, that "Rizal will retract his errors, and will confess before contracting marriage."
Continuing the account of Balaguer, he states that Rizal signed the retraction and the profession of faith. He asked for confession and father Vilaclara heard it. He then slept for a few minutes. Upon waking up, he confessed a second time and expressed his wish to marry Josephine. According to Father Balaguer, although the documents he signed were sufficient, Father Vilaclara still asked him to read some acts of faith, hope and charity which he read from a prayer book and which Rizal repeated after him.
The miracle, according to Balaguer, had been performed. The former student of the Jesuits had recovered his faith. It had been held a disgrace for the Jesuits that a former student of theirs, so distinguished, had been turned into a reprobate, Not only was it a defeat for them – it did not speak well of their capacity for evangelic mission. Later, Rizal confessed, allegedly, for a third time and prayed the rosary.
At 3:00 in the morning, he heard Mass and confessed for the fourth time. Then he heard another Mass. This was on the basis of Balaguer's account. At this point Rizal asked a question, "Can my soul go to heaven right now?"
The question, we can only say, is a puerile one and radically goes against Rizal's mentality and character. So much for Balaguer's story.
At 5:30 Rizal took his breakfast. Soon after he wrote the following letter:
6:00 A.M. 30-XII-96
"My beloved father:
Please pardon me for all the pain with which I have repaid you for all your concern and efforts to give me my education. I did not want this; nor did I expect it. Goodbye, father, goodbye."
Another letter, undated, was addressed to his sisters:
"I ask for your pardon for the suffering which I have caused you. But one day or another I have to die, and it is better that I die now in the fullness of my consciousness. Dear father and brothers: Give my thanks to the Lord who has granted me serenity before my death. I die resigned, and hope that with my death they will leave you in peace. It is better to die than to live with suffering. Be consoled. I suggest that you pardon one another, the little, trivial things of life and try to live united in peace and harmony. Treat your parents the way you wish your children to treat you. Love them very much in memory of me. Bury me in the earth. Put a stone and a cross, with my name and the dates of my birth and death. Nothing more. If you wish to put later an enclosure around my grave, you may do so. No anniversaries. I prefer to be buried in Paang Bundok. Have pity on poor Josephine."
Right after this, he wrote his last letter, undated. It is addressed, as was to be expected, to his dear brother Paciano. It goes:
"It has been four years that we have not seen each other nor written each other, not for lack of affection on my part nor on yours, I believe, but because, knowing each other so well, we did not need to speak to each other in order to understand one another. Now that I am going to die, it is you that I dedicate my last lines, to tell you how much I regret leaving you alone in life, burdened with the care of the family and of our aged parents. I bear in mid what you have labored to give me my career. I believe I have tried to make good use of my time. My brother: if the fruit has been bitter, it was not my fault, but that of circumstances. I know that you have suffered much because of me. I am sorry. I assure you, brother, that I die innocent of the crime of rebellion. If my previous writings have contributed to this. I should not deny it at all, but then I thought that by my exile I was expiating for my past. Jose."
It is to be noticed that none of his past letters did he take up the dissent, which had separated him from Catholic orthodoxy, in spite of its cardinal importance, and in spite of the fact that, for his mother and sisters, it was of special significance.
Going back to Balaguer's report, which unfortunately, and for obvious reasons, is the only available source of this matter, he relates that shortly after 6:00 a.m. Josephine arrived, accompanied by a sister of Rizal. Other sources did not mention the fact of his sister's presence during Josephine's visit but it is logically to assume that Josephine would not have gone at such an early hour in the morning, alone and unaccompanied.
According to Balaguer, he advised the captain of the Fort to proceed with the marriage ceremony, the two standing on each side of the Spanish officer. At first the officer was opposed to the bride and groom's holding hands during the ceremony but he had to accede because the marriage ritual required it. Balaguer then proceeded with the religious rites. Before parting, Rizal whispered some words of advice to Josephine. Shortly after, her face bathed in tears, she withdrew.
All the foregoing is as related by Father Balaguer.
Fifteen minutes before Rizal went out for the execution Father March arrived, which brings the number of priests who visited him to eight within 24 hours.
To the amazement of those present, Rizal was surprisingly calm. He knew that he was making history and wished to act in an exemplary manner till the last moment, in a manifestation of his personal courage. Thus, in order to maintain his serenity, he asked Father Balaguer not to accompany him to the place of execution. Surely, he must have had in mind his own words when he wrote of Burgos, the Filipino priest who was executed by the garrote in 1872. "If in his last moments Burgos had demonstrated the same valor as Gomez, the Filipinos of today would be different."
Thus, his firmness of conduct contrasts with the puerile manifestations attributed to him by Balaguer, which are diametrically opposed to his actual, visible (hence, conformable) conduct in his last moments. Palma, a Filipino biographer of Rizal, says the following: "Of this version circulated by the ecclesiastical authorities of that time, the part referring to the retraction of Rizal and his conversion at the last hour to Catholicism, has not been considered satisfactory, or is its veracity admitted by the Catholic opinion in the Philippines."
The cocks, as strident heralds of the dawn, were hushed on that day, their silence perhaps a tacit protest, a vain attempt as it were to delay the light that would announce the new and gloomy day.
At 6:30, the squad of artillery soldiers was formed, preceded by a bugle and a drum. Rizal came out, bound elbow to elbow, flanked by Father Vilaclara and March and followed by Taviel, his counsel. The squad surrounded them all. They took the Paseo de Maria Cristina, now named Paseo de Bonifacio. The morning was cool, the air limpid, clear and diaphanous. Nature favored Rizal with its profound transparency showing everything in clear-cut detail.
The hero walked with a relaxed, modest stride, as though taking a walk. He chatted with his companions about the scene around him. Pointing to the Ateneo, he said to Taviel, "There I spent seven years." Then his gaze slowly alighted on other things in the distance – Corregidor and the hills of Cavite. He must have remembered the tragedy of 1872, the epilogue of which he was writing with his own death. He lapsed into silence. He must have realized that Cawit was memorable, not only because of 1872 but also because of the present insurrection, for it was there that the fighting raged with increasing fury. On his way to what the Filipinos would consider their Golgotha, his steps became more firm, as though he was not conscious of the historic destiny he was marking with every step. Across the Luneta they went to Bagumbayan, that tragic site where Philippine liberties were sacrificed. He hastened his steps as they approached the square.
In spite of the earliness of the hour, there was a dense crowd in Luneta as well as many carriages bearing Spaniards and well-dressed personages.
Cordially, he bade goodbye to his companions. Clean, well groomed, his white shirt and vest carefully buttoned and wearing his black hat, Rizal was the picture of correctness. Consuelo Ortigas' prediction in Madrid was now being fulfilled. The prophetess was right in her prediction.
Rizal placed himself in the middle of the square, filled with 400 men, with a band playing. Ironically, the firing squad was composed of eight native soldiers, but as a measure of caution, another line of peninsular soldiers stood behind. At this point a discussion arose, for Rizal refused to be shot from behind, saying that only traitors were thus shot, and that he was not a traitor to Spain. The captain replied that he was sorry but those were the orders and he had to follow them. At the last moment, Rizal requested that he be shot in the body and not in the head. That way, he must have thought, he could, at the last instant, turn his head and body sidewise so he would fall face upwards, facing the Philippine blue sky of which he had so often sung, and fall on the earth, which he never wished to see stained with blood.
At this point, Ruiz y Castillo, the military physician who attended him, took his pulse and was surprised to find it normal.
The order to fire was given. The shots rang out and the body of the patriot who had faced death so bravely, with such dignity and honor, fell with his face up, toward the sky. He did not fall as a traitor. Nature had made the rectification, and Rizal, rationalist to last minute of his life, had used his head to obtain his ends.
Shouts of "Viva España!" and "Death to traitors!" were heard from the Spaniards. Yes. Long live Spain and death to traitors, whenever and wherever there were traitors! But there were none in this case. Unamuno says that over the still warm body of the martyr they hurled, Like an insult to the sky, that sacrilegious "Long live Spain". And adds, "The concepts of Rizal regarding Spain are of such moderation and serenity, of such deep sympathy and affection, which only barbarians could fail to appreciate those barbarians who, truncheon in hand, wanted us to shout 'Long live Spain' without any meaning whatsoever."
The band of the regiment struck the first chords of the Marcha de Cadiz. The Philippines had lost its greatest patriot but Spain had lost the Philippines. It can be said, symbolically, that when Polavieja with his military hand signed the death sentence of Rizal, he was inadvertently, signing Spain's loss of the country. The independence of the Philippines could have been obtained much earlier than it was under American rule.
The body of Rizal was placed in a van and with the greatest secrecy buried in the old and unused Paco cemetery. Teodora wanted to comply with the last wish of her son, i.e., that the family should take charge of his cadaver. After several objections on the part of some officials, Civil Governor Manuel Luengo acceded to the petition, but when the funeral coach left, they had already secretly taken the body away and Narcisa went to all the cemeteries of Manila in search of the body in vain. On the way back, she saw, through the open gate of the Paco cemetery, some guardias civiles. This gave her a clue. She entered the cemetery and after much searching found a grave with freshly turned earth. She gave the gravedigger a tip and placed a plaque with the initials of her brother in reverse, R.P.J. (Rizal, Protacio Jose).
On the afternoon of the 30th, according to Coates, who got the information from the Rizal family, the books, letters and the alcohol lamp were handed over in the house of Narcisa. She quickly opened the fuel receptacle and found the Ultimo Adios. Copies of the same were made and distributed among the family and some were sent to the insurrectos of Cavite.
Going back to Balaguer, who plays an important role in this biography. After parting ways with Rizal when the latter left for the execution, he went to the Ateneo to submit the alleged document of retraction to Father Pio Pi, who on the same day left it in the hands of Archbishop Nozaleda. The latter handed it to his secretary, Gonzales Feijoo, who kept it in the box of confidential documents. This as related by Father Balaguer.
My Last Farewell
Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress'd
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life's best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.
On the field of battle, 'mid the frenzy of fight,
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
The place matter not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom's plight,
This ever the same, to serve our home and country's need.
I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour'd out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with its crimson, the waking ray.
My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy lov'd face, O gem- of the Orient Sea
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.
Dream of my life, my living and burning desire,
All hail! Cries the soul that is now to take flight,
All hail! And sweet it is for thee to expire,
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity's long night.
If over my grave some day thou seest grow,
In the grassy sod, a humble flower,
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath's warm power.
Let the moon beam over me soft and serene,
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes,
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen,
And if on my cross a bird should be seen,
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o 'er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, O my country, that in God I may rest.
Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all that have suffered the unmeasur'd pain,
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.
And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
'T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.
And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark'd by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o'er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.
Then will oblivion bring to me no care,
As over thy vales and plains I sweep,
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air
With color and light, with song and lament I fare,
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.
My Fatherland ador'd, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-bye!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high!
Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed!
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day!
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friends that lightened my way,
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest!
Mijn Laatste Groet
(By Sir Kris Ortmanns, KCR)
Vaarwel mijn geliefd land gestreeld door de son,
parel van de Oostzee, ons verloren paradijs.
Graag geef ik je mijn bedroefd en verdrukte leven.
Ware het frisser en stralender, dan nog zou ik het je geven.
Jouw welzijn voor alles.
Zonder pijn of aarzeling geven anderen jou hun leven,
op de slagvelden, in het vuur van de strijd,
waar en hoe is onbelangrijk: met erepalm, Leliewit,
op schavot of open veld, als martelaar of soldaat,
het maakt geen verschil als het is voor huis en vaderland.
Ik sterk als eindelijk het hemelse licht ontwaakt
en na een sombere nacht de dag aankondigt.
Wil je kleur om je ochtendgloed te verven,
vergiet dan mijn bloed op het juiste moment,
en verguld het met een weerspiegeling van je ontluikend licht.
Mijn dromen als nauwelijks een puber,
mijn dromen als reeds jeugd, vol van kracht en reikend
om jou te vinden, edelsteen van de Oostzee.
Je donkere droge ogen, zachte hoge wenkbrauwen
Zonder frons noch rimpels, niet bevlekt door schande.
Mijn levens liefde, mijn vurige hartstochtelijke wens.
Heil! Roept m'n ziel tot jou, die je spoedig zal verlaten.
Heil! Hoe zoet is het te sneuvelen in de volheid van je streven.
Je door sterven laten, onder jou hemel te vergaan.
Inslapen in eeuwigheid in jou!
Als je ooit op m'n graf een eenvoudige nederige bloem
ziet bloeien tussen het dikke gras,
breng ze dan aan je lippen en kus m'n ziel.
Zo voel ik op mijn voorhoofd, onder het koude graf,
Je warme adem, een vleug van je zachtheid.
Laat de maan me ontwaren met zacht, teder licht.
Zendt de dageraad zijn vluchtige stralende gloed,
moge de wind dan zuchten over m'n ruisend graf.
En mocht een vogel neerstrijken op m'n kruis en't verlichten,
laat de vogel een vredeslied zingen over mij.
Laat de brandende zon de regen verdampen,
een mijn schreeuw in zuiverheid naar de hemel drijven.
Laat een vriend tranen storten over mijn vroegtijdid overlijden.
En mocht iemand op enn stille namiddag voor me bidden,
oh mijn Vaderland, bidt dan òò, dat ik in God mag rusten.
Bidt voor al de ongelukkigen die stierven,
die ongeëvenaard werden gekweld.
Voor de arme moeders die bittere tranen schreeuwden,
voor de wezen, weduwen en gefolterde gevangenen,
en voor jeself, dat je verlossing moge vinden.
En als de donkere nacht over het kerkhof daalt,
en enkel de doden achterblijven om te waken,
stoor dan hun rust niet, stoor het mysterie niet.
Hoor je het geluid van siters of van psalmen,
dan ben ik het, geliefde land, die tot jou zingt.
En wordt mijn graf door niemand meer gekend,
geen kruis of steen meer dat het siert,
laat het dan omploegen, verspreiden met de spade,
verstrooi mijn asse tot de leegte is hersteld.
Laat mijn stof je land bedekken.
Dan is het onbelangrijjk dat je me vergeet.
Dan ben ik je vallei, je hemel en je lucht.
Een heldere zuivere noot zal ik in je oren zijn.
Geur , licht, kleur, zang, tranen en geruis,
bevestigen voor immer mijn geloof.
Land dat ik aanbid, waar ik zo vreselijk naar verlang.
Dierbare Filippijnen, voor mijn laatste afscheid, oh, luister!
Ik verlaat allen: ouders en geliefden.
Waar ik ga zijn slaven, beulen noch tirannen,
overtuiging doodt er niet, God heerst daar allèèn.
Vaarwel, ouders, broeders, die ik liefheb,
jeugdvrienden, die thuis zijn en beddroefd.
Wees blij, ik rust nu na m'n vermoeiende dag.
Vaarwel, lieve vreemdeling, vriend die mijn weg verlichtte.
Vaarwel, aan allen in mijn hart, sterven Is Rust.
Huling Paalam ni Dr. Jose Rizal
(By Sir Lino Paras, KGOR)
Pinipintuho kong Bayan ay paalam,
Lupang iniirog ng sikat ng araw,
mutyang mahalaga sa dagat Silangan,
kaluwalhatiang sa ami'y pumanaw.
Masayang sa iyo'y aking idudulot
ang lanta kong buhay na lubhang malungkot;
maging maringal man at labis alindog
sa kagalingan mo ay aking ding ihahandog.
Sa pakikidigma at pamimiyapis
ang alay ng iba'y ang buhay na kipkip,
walang agam-agam, maluag sa dibdib,
matamis sa puso at di ikahapis.
Saan man mautas ay di kailangan,
cipres O laurel, lirio ma'y patungan
pakikipaghamok, at ang bibitayan,
yaon ay gayon din kung hiling ng Bayan.
Ako'y mamatay, ngayong namamalas
na sa silanganan ay namamanaag
yaong maligayang araw na sisikat
sa likod ng luksang nagtabing na ulap.
Ang kulay na pula kung kinakailangan
na maitina sa iyong Liway-way,
dugo ko'y isabong at siyang ikinang
ng kislap ng iyong maningning na ilaw.
Ang aking adhika sapul magkaisip
ng kasalukuyang bata pang maliit,
ay ang tanghaling ka at minsan masilip
sa dagat Silangan hiyas na marikit.
Natuyo ang luhang sa mata'y nunukal,
Taas na ang noo't walang kapootan,
Walang bakas kunot ng kapighatian
Gabahid man dungis niyong kahihiyan.
Sa kabuhayang ko ang laging gunita
maningas na aking ninanasa-nasa
ay guminhawa ang hiyas ng diwa
hinga'y papanaw ngayong biglang-bigla.
Pag hinga'y papanaw ngayong biglang-bigla.
Ikaw'y guminhawa laking kagandahang
ako'y malugmok, at ikaw ay matanghal,
hiniga'y malagot, mabuhay la lamang
bangkay ko'y masilong sa iyong Kalangitan.
Kung sa libingan ko'y may tumubong mamalas
sa malagong damo mahinhing bulaklak,
sa mga lupa ng aking libingan,
ang init ng iyong paghingang dalisay
at simoy ng iyong paggiliw na tunay.
Bayaang ang buwan sa aki'y ititig
Ang liwanag niyang lamlam at tahimik,
Liwayawy bayaang sa aki'y ihatid
Magalaw na sinag at hanging hagibis.
Kung sakasakaling bumaba't humantong
sa krus ko'y dumapo kahit isang ibon
doon ay bayaan himuning hinahon
at dalitin niya payapang panahon.
Bayaan ang ningas ng sikat ng araw
Ula'y pasingawin noong kaintan,
magbalik sa langit ng boong dalisay
kalakip ng aking pagdaing na hiyaw.
Bayaang sino man sa katotong giliw
tangisang maagang sa buhay pagkitil;
kung tungkol sa akin ay may manalangin
idalangin, Bayan, yaring pagka himbing.
Idalaging lahat yaong nangamatay,
na nagtiis hirap na walang kapantay;
mga ina naming walang kapalaran
na inihihibik ay kapighatian.
Ang mga bao na nagungulila,
ang mga bilanggong nagsisipagdusa;
dalanginin namang kanilang makita
ang kalayaan mong, ikagiginhawa.
At kung ang madilim na gabing mapanglaw
yy lumaganap na doon sa libingan
tanging mga patay ang nangaglalamay,
huwag bagabagin ang katahimikan.
Ang kanyang hiwagay huwag gambalain;
kaipala'y maringig doon ang taginting,
tunog ng guitara't saltero'y mag saliw,
ako, Bayan yao't kita'y aawitin.
Kung ang libingan ko'y limot na ng lahat
At wala ng krus at batang mabakas,
Bayaang linangin ng taong masipag,
Lupa'y asarolin at kauyang ikalat.
At mga buto ko ay bago matunaw
Mauwi sa wala at kusang maparam,
Alabok ng iyong latag ay bayaang
Siya ang babalang doo'y makipisan.
Kung magka-gayon na'y aalintanahin
Na ako sa limot iyong ihabilin
Pagka't himpapawid at ang panganorin
Mga lansangan mo'y aking lilibutin.
Matining na tunog ako sa dinig mo,
Ilaw, mga kulay, masamyong pabango,
Ang ugong at awit, pag-hibik sa iyo,
Pag-asang dalisay ng pananalig ko.
Bayang iniirog, sakit niyaring hirap,
Katagalugang ko pinakaliliyag,
Dinggin mo ang aking pagpapahimakas;
Diya'y iiwan ko sa iyo ang lahat.
Ako'y patutungo sa walang busabos,
Walang umiinis at berdugong hayop;
Pananalig doo'y di nakasasalot,
Si bathala lamang dooy haring lubos.
Paalam, magulang at mga kapatid
Kapilas ng aking kaluluwa't dibdib
Mga kaibigan bata pang maliit
Sa aking tahanan 'di na masisilip.
Pag-papasalamat at napahinga rin,
Paalam estrangherang kasuyo ko't aliw,
Paalam sa inyo, mga ginigiliw;
Mamatay ay siyang pagkakagupiling!
Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de Oriente, nuestra perdido Eden!
Si fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
A darte voy alegre, la triste, mustia vida;
Tambien por ti la diera por tu bien.
En campus de batlla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas, sin dudas, sin pesar.
El sitio nada importa: cipres, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso ó campo abierto combate ó cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es, si lo piden la Patria y el hogar.
Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora,
Y al fin anuncia el dia tras lóbrego capúz:
Si grana necesitas para teñir la aurora,
Vierte la sangre mia, derrámala en buen hora.
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz!
Miss sueños cuando apenas niño ó adolescente,
Mis sueñas cuando joven, ya Ileno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un dia, joya del mar Oriente!
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.
Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
Salud! Te grita el alma que pronto va a partir.
Salud! Oh! Que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.
Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un dia,
Entre la espesa yerba, sencilla humilde flor,
Acércala á tus labios y besa el alma mia,
Y sienta yo en mi frente, bajo la tumba fria,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito et calor.
Deja á la luna verne con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envie su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave;
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.
Deja que el sol ardiendo las Iluvias evapore,
Y al cielo tornen puras con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un sér amigo mi fin temprano Ilore,
Y en las serenas tardes, cuando por mi alguien ora,
Ora tambien, oh Patria! Por mi descanso á Dios.
Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos pedecieron tormentos sin egual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura,
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura,
Y ora por ti, que veas tu rención final.
Y cuando, en noche oscura envuelva el cementerio
Y solo, con los muertos queden velando alli,
No turbes' su reposo, no turbes el misterio:
Tal vez acorde oigas de citara ó saltero:
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.
Y cuando ya mi tumba, de todos olvidada,
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan á la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombrà que vayan á formar.
Entonces nada importa me poongas en olvido.
Tu atmófera, tu espacio, tu valles cruzaré
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oido;
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.
Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós!
Ahi te dejo todo: mis padres, mis amores:
Voy á donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores;
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que rena es Dios!
Adiós, padres, hermanos, trozos del alma mia,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar!
Dad gracias, que descanso del fatigoso dia!
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga mi alegria!
Adiós, queridos séres! Morir es descansar!
***Fort Santiago, December, 1896***
All the newspapers in Manila carried long articles on the execution and alleged retraction of Rizal: El Español, El Comercio, La Oceania Española, La Voz Española, and Diario de Manila. Some of them inserted the text of the "retraction" on the same day, the 30th. Others, like La Voz de España, described Rizal as proud and Protestant. Everybody read the text of the "retraction" after Rizal's death.
The only newspapers of the Peninsula that had correspondents in Manila were El Imperial and Heraldo de Madrid. G. Ma. Piñana, spokesman of the Jesuits, said that "It is natural to takes as factual any news that appears in the papers unless it offends the reason. " It is surprising to read this because the daily happenings belied it. The newspapers could not publish any article adverse to the government, since a state of war had already been declared and the proclamations of Polavieja and the "ductile" Blanco were very repressive. If one were to accept what the newspapers says, we wonder what Piñana thought of the article published by El Socialista commenting on the injustice of Rizal's execution? Piñana does not cite this article. It was published in Madrid, but it could not have seen the light in the Philippines. It was not possible to voice or publish any protest, or hold demonstrations, in connection with the death of Rizal, although it was feared that there would be, according to a report of Polavieja to the Ministry of the Colonies.
Many days passed without any comment on the "retraction" in the archipelago. Then, in Barcelana, an anonymous article appeared in the paper La Juventud, which was reproduced in the pamphlet La Masonization de Filipinas that was also anonymous, although Piñana admits that the Jesuits provided the data.
In the following years there was a long silence as regards the retraction. This could not helped. The Insurrection had dragged on, without being totally suppressed. The Pact of Biac-na Bato was signed. Then came the Spanish-American War. The American Consul in Singapore, and subsequently, Commodore Dewey, falsely promised Emilio Aguinaldo an independent Philippine Republic, but the Americans by means of the army and organized deception appropriated the archipelago. In the Caribbean, the same thing happened in Santiago de Cuba and the S.S. Maine.
As new masters of the archipelago, the Americans were very different from the Spaniards in their attitude and administrative policy. They did not support the Catholic religious orders, which were a minority in their country. They were not much preoccupied with Masonry. William Howard Taft, Secretary of War, announced that American tutelage over the Philippines would not end as long as the "ignorant masses" were not sufficiently educated. This was very similar to Rizal's concept of independence through education. This openness of the Americans regarding Rizal (his bust on the bank bills and postal stamps, the setting of a Rizal Day, etc.) led to the revival of the retraction controversy.
The attacks began in 1908, mostly incited by the Masons. In that year, Juan Utor – we remember that he was on the Islas de Panay – wrote a dramatic work in which the "retraction" of Rizal was rejected. Soon after, El Renacimiento of Manila insisted that the "retraction" was false. Almost simultaneously, many other writers not only confirmed this position but also declared that they would believe it only when they saw the document of retraction signed by Rizal. When Catholics went to the Archbishop to look at the document, it could not be found.
In 1909, Father Pio Pi published his pamphlet entitled La Muerte del Dr. Rizal in which he repeats, more or less, the report of his subordinate Balaguer which, we already know. In 1920, Gonzalo Ma. Piñana wrote an article, based entirely on data furnished by the Jesuits, in which he presents a series of notaries' documents relative to the case and subscribed to by Father Pio Pi and Balaguer and Archbishop Nozaleda, which we transcribe here in parts. We do not doubt the Declarations of such respectable persons, but the notary does not attest to the "facts" but only certifies to the declaration of the "facts." The Archbishop affirms the document was handed to him and he in turn gave it to his secretary, who finally deposited it in the archives "where some persons saw it." It may be presumed that he himself saw it.
We close with the finding of the document of "retraction" by Father Manuel A. Garcia on May 18, 1935, in the archives of the Archbishop's Palace. It is to be stressed, however, that the marriage contract (religious) has not been found until now. The religious marriage implied, as necessary prerequisite, retraction. At the same time, Father Garcia also found a book of prayers with Rizal's signature. The proofs would seem to be conclusive, but the adversaries would not admit defeat. They argued that the signature is false. This opinion is supported by a study made by Prof. Ricardo Pascual in his book Rizal beyond the Grave. He points out the similarity of the handwriting in the "retraction" itself and that of the three signatories, and arrives at the conclusion that the document is the work of a single hand.
Runes have given the name of the forger as Roman Roque. It appears that it was he, too, who forged the signature of the revolutionary general Urbano Lacuna, which signature enabled General Funston to capture Emilio Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela in 1901. Runes tell of an interview with a certain Antonio K. Abad, who stated that in 1901 he had a conversation with Roman Roque. During which he (Roque) explained how in the beginning of that year he had been utilized by the friars to make several copies of a document of retraction. The friars had urged him to come to Manila, where he spent 10 days to do the job. Runes and Buenafe also disproved the marriage of Josephine and Rizal, basing their conclusion on the difference between the handwriting in an alleged life of hers and an original letter of hers. The difference is so great that even a boy would deny any similarity.
A meticulous research by those who reject the "retraction" has yielded differences in the versions presented by various parties. In the version found by Father Garcia in 1935, line 6 says "Iglesia Catolica" while in the declaration of Balaguer it says only "Iglesia". In line 10 of Father Garcia's version says "por la iglesia." The same line in the Balaguer version says "por la misma iglesia". It is also surprising that in the retraction allegedly written seven and a half-hours before Rizal's death, he should say "En esta religion en que naci y me eduquë, quiero vivir y morir" (In this religion in which I was born and educated, I wish to live and die).
Runes also published various dedications which, Rizal had made to Josephine and his sister Trinidad to demonstrate the differences.
Runes pointed out that had there been a marriage, Rizal's sister, who had accompanied Miss Bracken on the 30th at 6:00 in the morning, would have witnessed it.
Finally, Rune has reproduced three photocopies of the retraction, which differ from each other as regards the date. All of it serves only to heighten skepticism on the matter.
The latest and most documented biography of Rizal by Coates is of the opinion that either the retraction was forged or the draft written by Rizal in Dapitan was used when he signified his wish to marry Josephine. This draft, however, was unsigned when it was sent to the Bishop of Cebu for his approval. We are of the belief that the latter theory is not plausible, since the Bishop rejected, and did not return, the draft. If it were not acceptable to the ecclesiastical authorities then, neither would it be acceptable on the eve of Rizal's execution. On the other hand, in case of a forgery, the penmanship in Rizal's draft could have served as model for the forger.
There were no funeral ceremonies for Rizal, but on the 11th day after his death, the family was informed that early the next day a Mass was to be said for the repose of his soul. After the Mass, if they wished, they could see the document of "retraction". Rizal's family arrived at 6:00 the next morning, but after waiting for two hours they were informed that the Mass had been celebrated at 5:00 and that the document had been returned to the Archbishop's Palace.
With this we close the discussion of this prolonged controversy. We conclude by reiterating what we have said at the outset – that Rizal's life was consecrated to the cause of the liberty of his people. His work and conduct constitute an example of patriotism that reached a climax with the supreme sacrifice of life for the sake of his country. He was always faithful to the truth and, hence, faithful to himself and to his principles. Granting, for the sake of argument, that he did sign the alleged retraction, in such a situation of affliction, and under such strong and prolonged pressure, and judgment based on his last moment actuations would not be valid. Rizal should be judged in the light of his works and efforts throughout his entire life, and not by any thing he might have done in the last moments of his life. Still, we maintain that it is repugnant and contrary to logic that a man who was so zealously careful about his public and private life, so painstakingly conscious always of the importance of his words, writings and actuations to the future of his people. A man, who was to meet death as a sacrifice for love of country, should be so consciously and completely transformed as to relinquish his life's principles.
The Last Incidents
After Jose's death, Josephine left for Cavite under the protection of the insurrectos. She did not, however, live with them for long. Returning to Manila, she continued giving English lessons as a means of livelihood. When Taufer died in 1898, she went back to Hongkong. That year she married a Filipino, with whom she had a daughter. She subsequently made short trips to Manila, but lost all connection with the Rizal family. She passed away, a victim of miliary tuberculosis.
A few days after the Americans took Manila in August 1898 Narcisa asked the permission of the new authorities to exhume the remains of Rizal. When the permission was granted, she proceeded with the exhumation. It was found out, then, that the body had not been placed in a coffin. The shoes were identified, but whatever had been hidden inside them had already disintegrated. The remains were put in fitting condition and reentered in the proper manner. The sepulchre was well tended.
In 1911, the remains were transferred to the base of the monument which, had earlier been erected at the Luneta. His aged mother was still able to attend the ceremonies. A few weeks later she died. It would seem that she had made an effort to survive her son, to go on living until the time that his memory would be officially vindicated. For her, after that, there was no longer reason for living.
Father Faura predicted that Rizal would die on the scaffold. But he did not foresee that 78 years later, the Prince of Spain, great grandson of Ma. Cristina de Hapsburgo, under whose administration he was executed, would place a crown of flowers at the foot of Rizal's monument. From thence will eternally emanate a true fragrance, and from its depths, like an essence of fraternal love, the constant spirit of Paciano.
We, with our modest effort, wish to contribute towards the payment of the debt which, Spain incurred in the case of Rizal.
Noli and Fili Compared
The novels of Rizal – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – are different on many aspects, although they are written by the same author and are supposed to be dealing with the same story and have the same characters. The Noli is a Romantic novel; it is a "work of the Heart", A book of feeling". It has freshness, color, humor, lightness, and wit.
On the other hand, the Fili is a Political novel; it is a "work of the Head", "A book of the Thought". It contains bitterness, hatred, pain, violence, and sorrow.
The issue of which is the superior novel – The Noli or the Fili – is purely academic. Both are good novels from the point of view of History.
I think the purportedly original book, or parts of it that show similarities to the book of Lino Paras should also be published alongside the latter. If possible, emphasis in a line-by-line comparison should be highlighted. That would bring doubters (his supporters, too) to see how the literary robbery has been performed. How about it?
I think the purportedly original book, or parts of it that show similarities to the book of Lino Paras should also be published alongside the latter. If possible, emphasis in a line-by-line comparison should be highlighted. That would bring doubters (his supporters, too) to see how the literary robbery has been performed. How about it?
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