To the Philippine Youth
(Translation by Charles Derbyshire)
Hold high the brow serene, O youth, where now you stand; Let the bright sheen Of your grace be seen, Fair hope of my fatherland!
Come now, thou genius grand, And bring down inspiration; With thy mighty hand, Swifter than the wind's volation, Raise the eager mind to higher station.
Come down with pleasing light Of art and science to the fight, O youth, and there untie The chains that heavy lie, Your spirit free to blight.
See how in flaming zone Amid the shadows thrown, The Spaniard's holy hand A crown's resplendent band Proffers to this Indian land.
Thou, who now wouldst rise On wings of rich emprise, Seeking from Olympian skies Songs of sweetest strain, Softer than ambrosial rain;
Thou, whose voice divine Rivals Philomel's refrain, And with varied line Through the night benign Frees mortality from pain;
Thou, who by sharp strife Wakest thy mind to life; And the memory bright Of thy genius' light Makest immortal in its strength;
And thou, in accents clear of Phoebus, to Apells dear; Or by the brush's magic art Takest from nature's store a part, To fix it on the simple canvas' length;
Go forth, and then the sacred fire Of thy genius to the laurel may aspire; To spread around the fame, And in victory acclaim, Through wider spheres the human name.
Day, O happy day, Fair Filipinas, for thy land! So bless the Power today That places in thy way This favor and this fortune grand.
The next competition at the Liceo was in honor of the fourth centennial of the death of Cervantes; it was open to both Filipinos and Spaniards, and there was a dispute as to the winner of the prize. It is hard to figure out just what really happened; the newspapers speak of Rizal as winning the first prize, but his certificate says second, and there seems to have been some sort of compromise by which a Spaniard who was second was put at the head. Newspapers, of course, were then closely censored, but the liberal La Oceania contains a number of veiled allusions to medical poets, suggesting that for the good of humanity they should not be permitted to waste their time in verse-making. One reference quotes the title of Rizal's first poem in saying that it was giving a word of advice "To the Philippine Youth," and there are other indications that for some considerable time the outcome of this contest was a very live topic in the city of Manila.
Rizal's poem was an allegory, "The Council of the Gods"—"El consejo de los Dioses." It was an exceedingly artistic appreciation of the chief figure in Spanish literature. The rector of the Ateneo had assisted his former student by securing for him needed books, and though Rizal was at that time a student in Santo Tomas, the rivalries were such that he was still ranked with the pupils of the Jesuits and his success was a corresponding source of elation to the Ateneo pupils and alumni. Some people have stated that Father Evaristo Arias, a notably brilliant writer of the Dominicans, was a competitor, a version I once published, but investigation shows that this was a mistake. However, sentiment in the University against Rizal grew, until matters became so unpleasant that he felt it time to follow the advice of Father Burgos and continue his education outside of the Islands.
Just before this incident Rizal had been the victim of a brutal assault in Kalamba; one night when he was passing the barracks of the Civil Guard he noted in the darkness a large body, but did not recognize who it was, and passed without any attention to it. It turned out that the large body was a lieutenant of the Civil Guard, and, without warning or word of any kind, he drew his sword and wounded Rizal in the back. Rizal complained of this outrage to the authorities and tried several times, without success, to see the Governor-General. Finally he had to recognize that there was no redress for him. By May of 1882 Rizal had made up his mind to set sail for Europe, and his brother, Paciano, equipped him with seven hundred pesos for the journey, while his sister, Saturnina, intrusted to him a valuable diamond ring which might prove a resource in time of emergency.
Jose had gone to Kalamba to attend a festival there, when Mr. Hidalgo, from Manila, notified him that his boat was ready to sail. The telegram, asking his immediate return to the city, was couched in the form of advice of the condition of a patient, and the name of the steamer, Salvadora, by a play on words, was used in the sense of "May save her life." Rizal had previously requested of Mr. Ramirez, of the Puerta del Sol store, letters of introduction to an Englishman, formerly in the Philippines, who was then living in Paris. He said nothing more of his intentions, but on his last night in the city, with his younger sister as companion, he drove all through the walled city and its suburbs, changing horses twice in the five hours of his farewell. The next morning he embarked on the steamer, and there yet remains the sketch which he made of his last view of the city, showing its waterfront as it appeared from the departing steamer. To leave town it was necessary to have a passport; his was in the name of Jose Mercado, and had been secured by a distant relative of his who lived in the Santa Cruz district.
After five days' journey the little steamer reached the English colony of Singapore. There Rizal saw a modern city for the first time. He was intensely interested in the improvements. Especially did the assured position of the natives, confident in their rights and not fearful of the authorities, arouse his admiration. Great was the contrast between the fear of their rulers shown by the Filipinos and the confidence which the natives of Singapore seemed to have in their government.
At Singapore, Rizal transferred to a French mail Steamer and seems to have had an interesting time making himself understood on board. He had studied some French in his Ateneo course, writing an ode which gained honors, but when he attempted to speak the language he was not successful in making Frenchmen understand him. So he resorted to a mixed system of his own, sometimes using Latin words and making the changes which regularly would have occurred, and when words failed, making signs, and in extreme cases drawing pictures of what he wanted. This versatility with the pencil, for many of his offhand sketches had humorous touches that almost carried them into the cartoon class, interested officers and passengers, so that the young student had the freedom of the ship and a voyage far from tedious.
The passage of the Suez Canal, a glimpse of Egypt, Aden, where East and West meet, and the Italian city of Naples, with its historic castle, were the features of the trip which most impressed him.
The Period of Preparation
Rizal disembarked at Marseilles, saw a little of that famous port, and then went by rail to Barcelona, crossing the Pyrenees, the desolate ruggedness of which contrasted with the picturesque luxuriance of his tropical home, and remained a day at the frontier town of Port-Bou. The customary Spanish disregard of tourists compared very unfavorably with the courteous attention which he had remarked on his arrival at Marseilles, for the custom house officers on the Spanish frontier rather reminded him of the class of employes found in Manila.
At Barcelona he met many who had been his schoolmates in the Ateneo and others to whom he was known by name. It was the custom of the Filipino students there to hold reunions every other Sunday at the cafe, for their limited resources did not permit the daily visits which were the Spanish custom. In honor of the new arrival a special gathering occurred in a favorite cafe in Plaza de Catalonia. The characteristics of the Spaniards and the features of Barcelona were all described for Rizal's benefit, and he had to answer a host of questions about the changes which had occurred in Manila. Most of his answers were to the effect that old defects had not yet been remedied nor incompetent officials supplanted, and he gave a rather hopeless view of the future of their country. Somewhat in this gloomy mood, he wrote home for a newly established Tagalog newspaper of Manila, his views of "Love of country," an article not so optimistic as most of his later writings.
In Barcelona he remained but a short time, long enough, however, to see the historic sights around that city, which was established by Hannibal, had numbered many noted Romans among its residents, and in later days was the scene of the return of Columbus from his voyages in the New World, bringing with him samples of Redskins, birds and other novel products of the unknown country. Then there were the magnificent boulevards, the handsome dwellings, the interest which the citizens took in adorning their city and the pride in the results, and above all, the disgust at all things Spanish and the loyalty to Catalonia, rather than to the "mother-fatherland."
The Catalan was the most progressive type in Spain, but he had no love for his compatriots, was ever complaining of their "manana" habits and of the evils that were bound to exist in a country where Church and State were so inextricably intermingled. Many Catalans were avowedly republicans. Signs might be seen on the outside of buildings telling of the location of republican clubs, unpopular officials were hooted in the streets, the newspapers were intemperate in their criticism of the government, and a campaign was carried on openly which aimed at changing from a monarchy to a democracy, without any apparent molestation from the authorities. All these things impressed the lad who had seen in his own country the most respectfully worded complaints of unquestionable abuses treated as treason, bringing not merely punishment, but opprobrium as well.
He, himself, in order to obtain a better education, had had to leave his country stealthily like a fugitive from justice, and his family, to save themselves from persecution, were compelled to profess ignorance of his plans and movements. His name was entered in Santo Tomas at the opening of the new term, with the fees paid, and Paciano had gone to Manila pretending to be looking for this brother whom he had assisted out of the country.
Early in the fall Rizal removed to Madrid and entered the Central University there. His short residence in Barcelona was possibly for the purpose of correcting the irregularity in his passport, for in that town it would be easier to obtain a cedula, and with this his way in the national University would be made smoother. He enrolled in two courses, medicine, and literature and philosophy; besides these he studied sculpture, drawing and art in San Carlos, and took private lessons in languages from Mr. Hughes, a well-known instructor of the city. With all these labors it is not strange that he did not mingle largely in social life, and lack of funds and want of clothes, which have been suggested as reasons for this, seem hardly adequate. Jose had left Manila with some seven hundred pesos and a diamond ring. Besides, he received funds from his father monthly, which were sent through his cousin, Antonio Rivera, of Manila, for fear that the landlords might revenge themselves upon their tenant for the slight which his son had cast upon their university in deserting it for a Peninsular institution. It was no easy task in those days for a lad from the provinces to get out of the Islands for study abroad.
Rizal frequently attended the theater, choosing especially the higher class dramas, occasionally went to a masked ball, played the lotteries in small amounts but regularly, and for the rest devoted most of his money to the purchase of books. The greater part of these were second-hand, but he bought several standard works in good editions, many with bindings de luxe. Among the books first purchased figure a Spanish translation of the "Lives of the Presidents of the United States," from Washington to Johnson, morocco bound, gilt-edged, and illustrated with steel engravings—certainly an expensive book; a "History of the English Revolution;" a comparison of the Romans and the Teutons, and several other books which indicated interest in the freer system of the Anglo-Saxons. Later, another "History of the Presidents," to Cleveland, was added to his library.
The following lines, said to be addressed to his mother, were written about this time, evidently during an attack of homesickness:
"You Ask Me for Verses"
(Translated by Charles Derbyshire)
You bid me now to strike the lyre, That mute and torn so long has lain; And yet I cannot wake the strain, Nor will the Muse one note inspire! Coldly it shakes in accents dire, As if my soul itself to wring, And when its sound seems but to fling A jest at its own low lament; So in sad isolation pent, My soul can neither feel nor sing.
There was a time—ah, 'tis too true— But that time long ago has past— When upon me the Muse had cast Indulgent smile and friendship's due; But of that age now all too few The thoughts that with me yet will stay; As from the hours of festive play There linger on mysterious notes, And in our minds the memory floats Of minstrelsy and music gay.
A plant I am, that scarcely grown, Was torn from out its Eastern bed, Where all around perfume is shed, And life but as a dream is known; The land that I can call my own,
By me forgotten ne'er to be, Where trilling birds their song taught me, And cascades with their ceaseless roar, And all along the spreading shore The murmurs of the sounding sea.
While yet in childhood's happy day, I learned upon its sun to smile, And in my breast there seemed the while Seething volcanic fires to play. A bard I was, and my wish alway To call upon the fleeting wind, With all the force of verse and mind: "Go forth, and spread around its fame, From zone to zone with glad acclaim, And earth to heaven together bind!"
But it I left, and now no more— Like a tree that is broken and sere— My natal gods bring the echo clear Of songs that in past times they bore; Wide seas I cross'd to foreign shore, With hope of change and other fate; My folly was made clear too late, For in the place of good I sought The seas reveal'd unto me naught, But made death's specter on me wait.
All these fond fancies that were mine, All love, all feeling, all emprise, Were left beneath the sunny skies, Which o'er that flowery region shine; So press no more that plea of thine,
For songs of love from out a heart That coldly lies a thing apart; Since now with tortur'd soul I haste Unresting o'er the desert waste, And lifeless gone is all my art.
In Madrid a number of young Filipinos were intense enthusiasts over political agitation, and with the recklessness of youth, were careless of what they said or how they said it, so long as it brought no danger to them. A sort of Philippine social club had been organized by older Filipinos and Spaniards interested in the Philippines, with the idea of quietly assisting toward improved insular conditions, but it became so radical under the influence of this younger majority, that its conservative members were compelled to drop out and the club broke up. The young men were constantly holding meetings to revive it, but never arrived at any effective conclusions. Rizal was present at some of these meetings and suggested that a good means of propaganda would be a book telling the truth about Philippine conditions and illustrated by Filipino artists. At first the project was severely criticised; later a few conformed to the plan, and Rizal believed that his scheme was in a fair way of accomplishment. At the meeting to discuss the details, however, each member of the company wanted to write upon the Filipino woman, and therest of the subjects scarcely interested any of them. Rizal was disgusted with this trifling and dropped the affair, nor did he ever again seem to take any very enthusiastic interest in such popular movements. His more mature mind put him out of sympathy with the younger men. Their admiration gave him great prestige, but his popularity did not arise from comradeship, as he had but very few intimates.
Early in his stay in Madrid, Rizal had come across a second-hand copy, in two volumes, of a French novel, which he bought to improve his knowledge of that language. It was Eugene Sue's "The Wandering Jew," that work which transformed the France of the nineteenth century. However one may agree or disagree with its teachings and concede or dispute its literary merits, it cannot be denied that it was the most powerful book in its effects on the century, surpassing even Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which is usually credited with having hurried on the American Civil War and brought about the termination of African slavery in the United States. The book, he writes in his diary, affected him powerfully, not to tears, but with a tremendous sympathy for the unfortunates that made him willing to risk everything in their behalf. It seemed to him that such a presentation of Philippine conditions would certainly arouse Spain, but his modesty forbade his saying that he was going to write a book like the French masterpiece. Still, from this time his recollections of his youth and the stories which he could get from his companions were written down and revised, till finally the half had been prepared of what was finally the novel "Noli Me Tangere."
Through Spaniards who still remembered Jose's uncle, he joined a lodge of Masons called the "Acacia." At this time few Filipinos in Spain had joined the institution, and those were mostly men much more mature than himself. Thus he met leaders of Spanish national life who were men of state affairs and much more sedate, men with broader views and more settled opinions than the irresponsible class with whom his school companions were accustomed to associate. A distinction must be made between the Masonry of this time and the much more popular institution in which Filipinos later figured so largely when Professor Miguel Morayta became head of the Grand Lodge which for a time was a rival of that to which the "Acacia" owed allegiance, and finally triumphed over it.
In 1884 Rizal had begun his studies in English; he had been studying French during and since his voyage to Spain; Italian was acquired apparently at a time when the exposition of Genoa had attracted Spanish interest toward Italy, and largely through the reading of Italian translations of works which he knew in other languages. German, too, he had started to study, but had not advanced far with it. Thus Rizal was preparing himself for the travels through Europe which he had intended to make from the time when he first left his home, for he well knew that it was only by knowing the language of a country that it would be possible for him to study the people, see in what way they differed from his own, and find out which of their customs and what lessons from their history might be of advantage to the Filipinos.
A feature in Rizal's social life was a weekly visit to the home of Don Pablo Ortigas y Reyes, a liberal Spaniard who had been Civil Governor of Manila in General de La Torre's time. Here Filipino students gathered, and were entertained by the charming daughter of the home, Consuelo, who was the person to whom were dedicated the verses of Rizal usually entitled "a la Senorita C. O. y R."
In Rizal's later days he found a regular relaxation in playing chess, in which he was skilled, with the venerable ex-president of the short-lived Spanish republic, Pi y Margal. This statesman was accused of German tendencies because of his inclination toward Anglo-Saxon safeguards for liberty, and was a champion of general education as a preparation for a freer Spain.
Rizal usually was present on public occasions in Filipino circles and took a leading part in them, as, for example, when he delivered the principal address at the banquet given by the Madrid Filipino colony in honor of their artist countrymen, after Luna and Hidalgo had won prizes in the Madrid National exposition. He was also at the New Year's banquet when the students gathered in the restaurant to bid farewell to the old and usher in the new year, and his was the chief speech, summarizing the remarks of the others.
In 1885, having completed the second of his two courses, with his credentials of licentiate in medicine and also in philosophy and literature, Rizal made a trip through the country provinces to study the Spanish peasant, for the rural people, he thought, being agriculturists, would be most like the farmer folk of his native land. Surely the Filipinos did not suffer in the comparison, for the Spanish peasants had not greatly changed from the day when they were so masterfully described by Cervantes. It seemed to Rizal almost like being in Don Quixote's land, so many were the figures who might have been the characters in the book.
The fall of '85 found Rizal in Paris, studying art, visiting the various museums and associating with the Lunas, the Taveras and other Filipino residents of the French capital, for there had been a considerable colony in that city ever since the troubles of 1872 had driven the Tavera family into exile and they had made their home in that city. In Paris a fourth of "Noli Me Tangere" was written, and Rizal specialized in ophthalmology, devoting his attention to those eye troubles that were most prevalent in the Philippines and least understood. His mother's growing blindness made him covet the skill which might enable him to restore her sight. So successfully did he study that he became the favorite pupil of Doctor L. de Weckert, the leading authority among the oculists of France, and author of a three-volume standard work. Rizal next went to Germany, having continued his studies in its language in the French capital, and was present at Heidelberg on the five hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the University.
Because he had no passport he could only attend lectures, but could not regularly matriculate. He lived in one of the student boarding houses, with a number of law students, and when he was proposed for membership in the Chess Club he was registered in the Club books as being a student of law like the men who proposed him. These Chess Club gatherings were quite a feature of the town, being held in the large saloons with several hundred people present, and the contests of skill were eagerly watched by shrewd and competent judges. Rizal was a clever player, and left something of a record among the experts.
The following lines were written by Rizal in a letter home while he was a student in Germany:
To the Flowers of Heidelberg
(translation by Charles Derbyshire)
Go to my native land, go, foreign flowers, Sown by the traveler on his way; And there beneath its azure sky, Where all of my affections lie; There from the weary pilgrim say, What faith is his in that land of ours!
Go there and tell how when the dawn, Her early light diffusing, Your petals first flung open wide; His steps beside chill Neckar drawn, You see him silent by your side, Upon its Spring perennial musing.
Saw how when morning's light, All your fragrance stealing, Whispers to you as in mirth Playful songs of love's delight, He, too, murmurs his love's feeling In the tongue he learned at birth.
That when the sun on Koenigstuhl's height Pours out its golden flood, And with its slowly warming light Gives life vale and grove and wood, He greets that sun, here only upraising, Which in his native land is at its zenith blazing.
And tell there of that day he stood, Near to a ruin'd castle gray, By Neckar's banks, or shady wood, And pluck'd you from beside the way; Tell, too, the tale to you addressed, And how with tender care, Your bending leaves he press'd 'Twixt pages of some volume rare.
Bear then, O flowers, love's message bear; My love to all the lov'd ones there, Peace to my country—fruitful land— Faith whereon its sons may stand, And virtue for its daughters' care; All those beloved creatures greet, That still around home's altar meet.
And when you come unto its shore, This kiss I now on you bestow, Fling where the winged breezes blow; That borne on them it may hover o'er All that I love, esteem, and adore.
But though, O flowers, you come unto that land, And still perchance your colors hold; So far from this heroic strand, Whose soil first bade your life unfold, Still here your fragrance will expand; Your soul that never quits the earth Whose light smiled on you at your birth.
From Heidelberg he went to Leipzig, then famous for the new studies in psychology which were making the science of the mind almost as exact as that of the body, and became interested in the comparison of race characteristics as influenced by environment, history and language. This probably accounts for the advanced views held by Rizal, who was thoroughly abreast of the new psychology. These ideas were since popularized in America largely through Professor Hugo Munsterberg of Harvard University, who was a fellow-student of Rizal at Heidelberg and also had been at Leipzig.
A little later Rizal went to Berlin and there became acquainted with a number of men who had studied the Philippines and knew it as none whom he had ever met previously. Chief among these was Doctor Jagor, the author of the book which ten years before had inspired in him his life purpose of preparing his people for the time when America should come to the Philippines. Then there was Doctor Rudolf Virchow, head of the Anthropological Society and one of the greatest scientists in the world. Virchow was of intensely democratic ideals, he was a statesman as well as a scientist, and the interest of the young student in the history of his country and in everything else which concerned it, and his sincere earnestness, so intelligently directed toward helping his country, made Rizal at once a prime favorite. Under Virchow's sponsorship he became a member of the Berlin Anthropological Society.
Rizal lived in the third floor of a corner lodging house not very far from the University; in this room he spent much of his time, putting the finishing touches to what he had previously written of his novel, and there he wrote the latter half of "Noli Me Tangere" The German influence, and absence from the Philippines for so long a time, had modified his early radical views, and the book had now become less an effort to arouse the Spanish sense of justice than a means of education for Filipinos by pointing out their shortcomings. Perhaps a Spanish school history which he had read in Madrid deserves a part of the credit for this changed point of view, since in that the author, treating of Spain's early misfortunes, brings out the fact that misgovernment may be due quite as much to the hypocrisy, servility and undeserving character of the people as it is to the corruption, tyranny and cruelty of the rulers.
The printer of "Noli Me Tangere" lived in a neighboring street, and, like most printers in Germany, worked for a very moderate compensation, so that the volume of over four hundred pages cost less than a fourth of what it would have done in England, or one half of what it would cost in economical Spain. Yet even at so modest a price, Rizal was delayed in the publication until one fortunate morning he received a visit from a countryman, Doctor Maximo Viola, who invited him to take a pedestrian trip. Rizal responded that his interests kept him in Berlin at that time as he was awaiting funds from home with which to publish a book he had just completed, and showed him the manuscript. Doctor Viola was much interested and offered to use the money he had put aside for the trip to help pay the publisher. So the work went ahead, and when the delayed remittance from his family arrived, Rizal repaid the obligation. Then the two sallied forth on their trip.
After a considerable tour of the historic spots and scenic places in Germany, they arrived at Dresden, where Doctor Rizal was warmly greeted by Doctor A. B. Meyer, the Director of the Royal Saxony Ethnographical Institute. He was an authority upon Philippine matters, for some years before he had visited the Islands to make a study of the people. With a countryman resident in the Philippines, Doctor Meyer made careful and thorough scientific investigations, and his conclusions were more favorable to the Filipinos than the published views of many of the unscientific Spanish observers.
In the Museum of Art at Dresden, Rizal saw a painting of "Prometheus Bound," which recalled to him a representation of the same idea in a French gallery, and from memory he modeled this figure, which especially appealed to him as being typical of his country.
In Austrian territory he first visited Doctor Ferdinand Blumentritt, whom Rizal had known by reputation for many years and with whom he had long corresponded. The two friends stayed at the Hotel Roderkrebs, but were guests at the table of the Austrian professor, whose wife gave them appetizing demonstrations of the characteristic cookery of Hungary. During Rizal's stay he was very much interested in a gathering of tourists, arranged to make known the beauties of that picturesque region, sometimes called the Austrian Switzerland, and he delivered an address upon this occasion. It is noteworthy that the present interest in attracting tourists to the Philippines, as an economic benefit to the country, was anticipated by Doctor Rizal and that he was always looking up methods used in foreign countries for building up tourists' travel.
One day, while the visitors were discussing Philippine matters with their host, Doctor Rizal made an off hand sketch of Doctor Blumentritt, on a scrap of paper which happened to be at hand, so characteristic that it serves as an excellent portrait, and it has been preserved among the Rizal relics which Doctor Blumentritt had treasured of the friend for whom he had so much respect and affection.
With a letter of introduction to a friend of Doctor Blumentritt in Vienna, Nordenfels, the greatest of Austrian novelists, Doctor Viola and Doctor Rizal went on to the capital, where they were entertained by the Concordia Club. So favorable was the impression that Rizal made upon Mr. Nordenfels that an answer was written to the note of introduction, thanking the professor for having brought to his notice a person whom he had found so companionable and whose genius he so much admired. Nordenfels had been interested in Spanish subjects, and was able to discuss intelligently the peculiar development of Castilian civilization and the politics of the Spanish metropolis as they affected the overseas possessions.
After having seen Rome and a little more of Italy, they embarked for the Philippines, again on the French mail, from Marseilles, coming by way of Saigon, where a rice steamer was taken for Manila.
The Period of Propaganda
The city had not altered much during Rizal's seven years of absence. The condition of the Binondo pavement, with the same holes in the road which Rizal claimed he remembered as a schoolboy, was unchanged, and this recalls the experience of Ybarra in "Noli Me Tangere" on his homecoming after a like period of absence.
Doctor Rizal at once went to his home in Kalamba. His first operation in the Philippines relieved the blindness of his mother, by the removal of a double cataract, and thus the object of his special study in Paris was accomplished. This and other like successes gave the young oculist a fame which brought patients from all parts of Luzon; and, though his charges were moderate, during his seven months' stay in the Islands Doctor Rizal accumulated over five thousand pesos, besides a number of diamonds which he had bought as a secure way of carrying funds, mindful of the help that the ring had been with which he had first started from the Philippines.
Shortly after his arrival, Governor-General Terrero summoned Rizal by telegraph to Malacanan from Kalamba. The interview proved to be due to the interest in the author of "Noli Me Tangere" and a curiosity to read the novel, arising from the copious extracts with which the Manila censors had submitted an unfavorable opinion when asking for the prohibition of the book. The recommendation of the censor was disregarded, and General Terrero, fearful that Rizal might be molested by some of the many persons who would feel themselves aggrieved by his plain picturing of undesirable classes in the Philippines, gave him for a bodyguard a young Spanish lieutenant, Jose Taviel de Andrade. The young men soon became fast friends, as they had artistic and other tastes in common. Once they climbed Mr. Makiling, near Kalamba, and placed there, after the European custom, a flag to show that they had reached the summit. This act was at first misrepresented by the enemies of Rizal as planting a German banner, for they started a story that he had taken possession of the Islands in the name of the country where he was educated, which was just then in unfriendly relations with Spain over the question of the ill treatment of the Protestant missionaries in the Caroline Islands. This same story was repeated after the American occupation with the variation that Rizal, as the supreme chief and originator of the ideas of the Katipunan (which in fact he was not—he was even opposed to the society as it existed in his time), had placed there a Filipino banner, in token that the Islands intended to reassume the independent condition of which the Spanish had dispossessed them.
"Noli Me Tangere" circulated first among Doctor Rizal's relatives; on one occasion a cousin made a special trip to Kalamba and took the author to task for having caricatured her in the character of Dona Victorina. Rizal made no denial, but merely suggested that the book was a mirror of Philippine life, with types that unquestionably existed in the country, and that if anybody recognized one of the characters as picturing himself or herself, that person would do well to correct the faults which therein appeared ridiculous.
A somewhat liberal administration was now governing the Philippines, and efforts were being made to correct the more glaring abuses in the social conditions. One of these reforms proposed that the larger estates should bear their share of the taxes, which it was believed they were then escaping to a great extent. Requests were made of the municipal government of Kalamba, among other towns, for a statement of the relation that the big Dominican hacienda bore to the town, what increase or decrease there might have been in the income of the estate, and what taxes the proprietors were paying compared with the revenue their place afforded.
Rizal interested the people of the community to gather reliable statistics, to go thoroughly into the actual conditions, and to leave out the generalities which usually characterized Spanish documents.
He asked the people to cooeperate, pointing out that when they did not complain it was their own fault more than that of the government if they suffered injustice. Further, he showed the folly of exaggerated statements, and insisted upon a definite and moderate showing of such abuses as were unquestionably within the power of the authorities to relieve. Rizal himself prepared the report, which is an excellent presentation of the grievances of the people of his town. It brings forward as special points in favor of the community their industriousness, their willingness to help themselves, their interest in education, and concludes with expressing confidence in the fairness of the government, pointing out the fact that they were risking the displeasure of their landlords by furnishing the information requested. The paper made a big stir, and its essential statements, like everything else in Rizal's writings, were never successfully challenged.
Conditions in Manila were at that time disturbed owing to the precedence which had been given in a local festival to the Chinese, because they paid more money. The Filipinos claimed that, being in their home country, they should have had prior consideration and were entitled to it by law. The matter culminated in a protest, which was doubtless submitted to Doctor Rizal on the eve of his departure from the Islands; the protest in a general way met with his approval, but the theatrical methods adopted in the presentation of it can hardly have been according to his advice.
He sailed for Hongkong in February of 1888, and made a short stay in the British colony, becoming acquainted there with Jose Maria Basa, an exile of '72, who had constituted himself the especial guardian of the Filipino students in that city. The visitor was favorably impressed by the methods of education in the British colony and with the spirit of patriotism developed thereby. He also looked into the subject of the large investments in Hongkong property by the corporation landlords of the Philippines, their preparation for the day of trouble which they foresaw.
Rizal was interested in the Chinese theater, comparing the plays with the somewhat similar productions which existed in the Philippines; there, however, they had been given a religious twist, which at first glance hid their debt to the Chinese drama. The Doctor notes meeting, at nearby Macao, an exile of '72, whose condition and patient, uncomplaining bearing of his many troubles aroused Rizal's sympathies and commanded his admiration.
With little delay, the journey was continued to Japan, where Doctor Rizal was surprised by an invitation to make his home in the Spanish consulate. There he was hospitably entertained, and a like courtesy was shown him in the Spanish minister's home in Tokio. The latter even offered him a position, as a sort of interpreter, probably, should he care to remain in the country. This offer, however, was declined. Rizal made considerable investigation into the condition of the various Japanese classes and acquired such facility in the use of the language that with it and his appearance, for he was "very Japanese," the natives found it difficult to believe that he was not one of themselves. The month or more passed here he considered one of the happiest in his travels, and it was with regret that he sailed from Yokohama for San Francisco. A Japanese newspaper man, who knew no other language than his own, was a companion on the entire journey to London, and Rizal acted as his interpreter.
Not only did he enter into the spirit of the language but with remarkable versatility he absorbed the spirit of the Japanese artists and acquired much dexterity in expressing himself in their style, as is shown by one of the illustrations in this book. The popular idea that things occidental are reversed in the Orient was amusingly caricatured in a sketch he made of a German face; by reversing its lines he converted it into an old-time Japanese countenance.
The diary of the voyage from Hongkong to Japan records an incident to which he alludes as being similar to that of Aladdin in the Tagalog tale of Florante. The Filipino wife of an Englishman, Mrs. Jackson, who was a passenger on board, told Rizal a great deal about a Filipino named Rachal, who was educated in Europe and had written a much-talked-of novel, which she described and of which she spoke in such flattering terms that Rizal declared his identity. The confusion in names is explained by the fact that Rachal is a name well known in the Philippines as that of a popular make of piano.
At San Francisco the boat was held for some time in quarantine because of sickness aboard, and Rizal was impressed by the fact that the valuable cargo of silk was not delayed but was quickly transferred to the shore. His diary is illustrated with a drawing of the Treasury flag on the customs launch which acted as go-between for their boat and the shore. Finally, the first-class passengers were allowed to land, and he went to the Palace Hotel.
With little delay, the overland journey was begun; the scenery through the picturesque Rocky Mountains especially impressed him, and finally Chicago was reached. The thing that struck him most forcibly in that city was the large number of cigar stores with an Indian in front of each—and apparently no two Indians alike. The unexpressed idea was that in America the remembrance of the first inhabitants of the land and their dress was retained and popularized, while in the Philippines knowledge of the first inhabitants of the land was to be had only from foreign museums.
Niagara Falls is the next impression recorded in the diary, which has been preserved and is now in the Newberry Library of Chicago. The same strange, awe-inspiring mystery which others have found in the big falls affected him, but characteristically he compared this world-wonder with the cascades of his native La Laguna, claiming for them greater delicacy and a daintier enchantment.
From Albany, the train ran along the banks of the Hudson, and he was reminded of the Pasig in his homeland, with its much greater commerce and its constant activity.
At New York, Rizal embarked on the City of Rome, then the finest steamer in the world, and after a pleasant voyage, in which his spare moments were occupied in rereading "Gulliver's Travels" in English, Rizal reached England, and said good-by to the friends whom he had met during their brief ocean trip together.
Rizal's first letters home to his family speak of being in the free air of England and once more amidst European activity. For a short time he lived with Doctor Antonio Maria Regidor, an exile of '72, who had come to secure what Spanish legal Business he could in the British metropolis. Doctor Regidor was formerly an official in the Philippines, and later proved his innocence of any complicity in the troubles of '72.
Doctor Rizal then boarded with a Mr. Beckett, organist of St. Paul's Church, at 37 Charlecote Crescent, in the favorite North West residence section. The zooelogical gardens were conveniently near and the British Museum was within easy walking distance. The new member was a favorite with all the family, which consisted of three daughters besides the father and mother.
Rizal's youthful interest in sleight-of-hand tricks was still maintained. During his stay in the Philippines he had sometimes amused his friends in this way, till one day he was horrified to find that the simple country folk, who were also looking on, thought that he was working miracles. In London he resumed his favorite diversion, and a Christmas gift of Mrs. Beckett to him, "The Life and Adventures of Valentine Vox the Ventriloquist," indicated the interest his friends took in this amusement. One of his own purchases was "Modern Magic," the frontispiece of which is the sphinx that figures in the story of "El Filibusterismo."
It was Rizal's custom to study the deceptions practiced upon the peoples of other lands, comparing them with those of which his own countrymen had been victims. Thus he could get an idea of the relative credulity of different peoples and could also account for many practices the origin of which was otherwise less easy to understand. His investigations were both in books and by personal research. In quest of these experiences he one day chanced to visit a professional phrenologist; the bump-reader was a shrewd guesser, for he dwelt especially upon Rizal's aptitude for learning languages and advised him to take up the study of them.
This interest in languages, shown in his childish ambition to be like Sir John Bowring, made Rizal a congenial companion of a still more distinguished linguist, Doctor Reinhold Rost, the librarian of the India Office. The Raffles Library in Singapore now owns Doctor Rost's library, and its collection of grammars in seventy languages attests the wide range of the studies of this Sanscrit scholar.
Doctor Rost was born and educated in Germany, though naturalized as a British subject, and he was a man of great musical taste. His family sometimes formed an orchestra, at other times a glee club, and furnished all the necessary parts from its own members. Rizal was a frequent visitor, usually spending his Sundays in athletic exercises with the boys, for he quickly became proficient in the English sports of boxing and cricket. While resting he would converse with the father, or chat with the daughters of the home. All the children had literary tastes, and one, Daisy, presented him with a copy of a novel which she had just translated from the German, entitled "Ulli."
Some idea of Doctor Rizal's own linguistic attainments may be gained from the fact that instead of writing letters to his nephews and nieces he made for them translations of some of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. They consist of some forty manuscript pages, profusely illustrated, and the father is referred to in a "dedication," as though it were a real book. The Hebrew Bible quotation is in allusion to a jocose remark once made by the father that German was like Hebrew to him, the verse being that in which the sons of Jacob, not recognizing that their brother was the seller, were bargaining for some of Pharaoh's surplus corn, "And he (Joseph) said, How is the old man, your father?" Rizal always tried to relieve by a touch of humor anything that seemed to him as savoring of affectation, the phase of Spanish character that repelled him and the imitation of which by his countrymen who knew nothing of the un-Spanish world disgusted him with them.
Another example of his versatility in language and of its usefulness to him as well, is shown in a trilingual letter written by Rizal in Dapitan when the censorship of his correspondence had become annoying through ignorant exceptions to perfectly harmless matters. No Spaniard available spoke more than one language besides his own and it was necessary to send the letter to three different persons to find out its contents. The critics took the hint and Rizal received better treatment thereafter.
Another one of Rizal's youthful aspirations was attained in London, for there he began transcribing the early Spanish history by Morga of which Sir John Bowring had told his uncle. A copy of this rare book was in the British Museum and he gained admission as a reader there through the recommendation of Doctor Rost. Only five hundred persons can be accommodated in the big reading room, and as students are coming from every continent for special researches, good reason has to be shown why these studies cannot be made at some other institution.
Besides the copying of the text of Morga's history, Rizal read many other early writings on the Philippines, and the manifest unfairness of some of these who thought that they could glorify Spain only by disparaging the Filipinos aroused his wrath. Few Spanish writers held up the good name of those who were under their flag, and Rizal had to resort to foreign authorities to disprove their libels. Morga was almost alone among Spanish historians, but his assertions found corroboration in the contemporary chronicles of other nationalities. Rizal spent his evenings in the home of Doctor Regidor, and many a time the bitterness and impatience with which his day's work in the Museum had inspired him, would be forgotten as the older man counseled patience and urged that such prejudices were to be expected of a little educated nation. Then Rizal's brow would clear as he quoted his favorite proverb, "To understand all is to forgive all."
Doctor Rost was editor of Truebner's Record, a journal devoted to the literature of the East, founded by the famous Oriental Bookseller and Publisher of London, Nicholas Truebner, and Doctor Rizal contributed to it in May, 1889, some specimens of Tagal folklore, an extract from which is appended, as it was then printed:
Specimens of Tagal Folklore
By Doctor J. Rizal
Malakas ang bulong sa sigaw, Low words are stronger than loud words.
Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa 'y hubad, A petted child is generally naked (i.e. poor).
Hampasng magulang ay nakataba, Parents' punishment makes one fat.
Ibang hari ibang ugail, New king, new fashion.
Nagpuputol ang kapus, ang labis ay nagdurugtong, What is short cuts off a piece from itself, what is long adds another on (the poor gets poorer, the rich richer).
Ang nagsasabing tapus ay siyang kinakapus, He who finishes his words finds himself wanting.
Nangangako habang napapako, Man promises while in need.
Ang naglalakad ng marahan, matinik may mababaw, He who walks slowly, though he may put his foot on a thorn, will not be hurt very much (Tagals mostly go barefooted).
Ang maniwala sa sabi 'y walang bait na sarili, He who believes in tales has no own mind.
Ang may isinuksok sa dingding, ay may titingalain, He who has put something between the wall may afterwards look on (the saving man may afterwards be cheerful).—The wall of a Tagal house is made of palm-leaves and bamboo, so that it can be used as a cupboard.
Walang mahirap gisingin na paris nang nagtutulogtulugan, The most difficult to rouse from sleep is the man who pretends to be asleep.
Labis sa salita, kapus sa gawa, Too many words, too little work.
Hipong tulog ay nadadala ng anod, The sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.
Sa bibig nahuhuli ang isda, The fish is caught through the mouth.
Isang butil na palay sikip sa buony bahay, One rice-corn fills up all the house.—The light. The rice-corn with the husk is yellowish.
Matapang ako so dalawa, duag ako sa isa, I am brave against two, coward against one.—The bamboo bridge. When the bridge is made of one bamboo only, it is difficult to pass over; but when it is made of two or more, it is very easy.
Dala ako niya, dala ko siya, He carries me, I carry him.—The shoes.
Isang balong malalim puna ng patalim, A deep well filled with steel blades.—The mouth.
The Filipino colony in Spain had established a fortnightly review, published first in Barcelona and later in Madrid, to enlighten Spaniards on their distant colony, and Rizal wrote for it from the start. Its name, La Solidaridad, perhaps may be translated Equal Rights, as it aimed at like laws and the same privileges for the Peninsula and the possessions overseas.
From the Philippines came news of a contemptible attempt to reach Rizal through his family—one of many similar petty persecutions. His sister Lucia's husband had died and the corpse was refused interment in consecrated ground, upon the pretext that the dead man, who had been exceptionally liberal to the church and was of unimpeachable character, had been negligent in his religious duties. Another individual with a notorious record of longer absence from confession died about the same time, and his funeral took place from the church without demur. The ugly feature about the refusal to bury Hervosa was that the telegram from the friar parish-priest to the Archbishop at Manila in asking instructions, was careful to mention that the deceased was a brother-in-law of Rizal. Doctor Rizal wrote a scorching article for La Solidaridad under the caption "An Outrage," and took the matter up with the Spanish Colonial Minister, then Becerra, a professed Liberal. But that weakling statesman, more liberal in words than in actions, did nothing.
That the union of Church and State can be as demoralizing to religion as it is disastrous to good government seems sufficiently established by Philippine incidents like this, in which politics was substituted for piety as the test of a good Catholic, making marriage impossible and denying decent burial to the families of those who differed politically with the ministers of the national religion.
Of all his writings, the article in which Rizal speaks of this indignity to the dead comes nearest to exhibiting personal feeling and rancor. Yet his main point is to indicate generally what monstrous conditions the Philippine mixture of religion and politics made possible.
The following are part of a series of nineteen verses published in La Solidaridad over Rizal's favorite pen name of Laong Laan:
To my Muse
(translation by Charles Derbyshire)
Invoked no longer is the Muse, The lyre is out of date; The poets it no longer use, And youth its inspiration now imbues With other form and state.
If today our fancies aught Of verse would still require, Helicon's hill remains unsought; And without heed we but inquire, Why the coffee is not brought.
In the place of thought sincere That our hearts may feel, We must seize a pen of steel, And with verse and line severe Fling abroad a jest and jeer.
Muse, that in the past inspired me, And with songs of love hast fired me; Go thou now to dull repose, For today in sordid prose I must earn the gold that hired me.
Now must I ponder deep, Meditate, and struggle on; E'en sometimes I must weep; For he who love would keep Great pain has undergone.
Fled are the days of ease, The days of Love's delight; When flowers still would please And give to suffering souls surcease From pain and sorrow's blight.
One by one they have passed on, All I loved and moved among; Dead or married—from me gone, For all I place my heart upon By fate adverse are stung.
Go thou, too, O Muse, depart, Other regions fairer find; For my land but offers art For the laurel, chains that bind, For a temple, prisons blind.
But before thou leavest me, speak: Tell me with thy voice sublime, Thou couldst ever from me seek A song of sorrow for the weak, Defiance to the tyrant's crime.
Rizal's congenial situation in the British capital was disturbed by his discovering a growing interest in the youngest of the three girls whom he daily met. He felt that his career did not permit him to marry, nor was his youthful affection for his cousin in Manila an entirely forgotten sentiment. Besides, though he never lapsed into such disregard for his feminine friends as the low Spanish standard had made too common among the Filipino students in Madrid, Rizal was ever on his guard against himself. So he suggested to Doctor Regidor that he considered it would be better for him to leave London. His parting gift to the family with whom he had lived so happily was a clay medallion bearing in relief the profiles of the three sisters.
Other regretful good-bys were said to a number of young Filipinos whom he had gathered around him and formed into a club for the study of the history of their country and the discussion of its politics.
Rizal now went to Paris, where he was glad to be again with his friend Valentin Ventura, a wealthy Pampangan who had been trained for the law. His tastes and ideals were very much those of Rizal, and he had sound sense and a freedom from affectation which especially appealed to Rizal. There Rizal's reprint of Morga's rare history was made, at a greater cost but also in better form than his first novel. Copious notes gave references to other authorities and compared present with past conditions, and Doctor Blumentritt contributed a forceful introduction.
When Rizal returned to London to correct the proofsheets, the old original book was in use and the copy could not be checked. This led to a number of errors, misspelled and changed words, and even omissions of sentences, which were afterwards discovered and carefully listed and filed away to be corrected in another edition.
Possibly it has been made clear already that, while Rizal did not work for separation from Spain, he was no admirer of the Castilian character, nor of the Latin type, for that matter. He remarked on Blumentritt's comparison of the Spanish rulers in the Philippines with the Czars of Russia, that it is flattering to the Castilians but it is more than they merit, to put them in the same class as Russia. Apparently he had in mind the somewhat similar comparison in Burke's speech on the conciliation of America, in which he said that Russia was more advanced and less cruel than Spain and so not to be classed with it.
During his stay in Paris, Rizal was a frequent visitor at the home of the two Doctors Pardo de Tavera, sons of the exile of '72 who had gone to France, the younger now a physician in South America, the elder a former Philippine Commissioner. The interest of the one in art, and of the other in philology, the ideas of progress through education shared by both, and many other common tastes and ideals, made the two young men fast friends of Rizal. Mrs. Tavera, the mother, was an interesting conversationalist, and Rizal profited by her reminiscences of Philippine official life, to the inner circle of which her husband's position had given her the entree.
On Sundays Rizal fenced at Juan Luna's house with his distinguished artist-countryman, or, while the latter was engaged with Ventura, watched their play. It was on one of these afternoons that the Tagalog story of "The Monkey and the Tortoise" was hastily sketched as a joke to fill the remaining pages of Mrs. Luna's autograph album, in which she had been insisting Rizal must write before all its space was used up. A comparison of the Tagalog version with a Japanese counterpart was published by Rizal in English, in Truebner's Magazine, suggesting that the two people may have had a common origin. This study received considerable attention from other ethnologists, and was among the topics at an ethnological conference.
At times his antagonist was Miss Nellie Baustead, who had great skill with the foils. Her father, himself born in the Philippines, the son of a wealthy merchant of Singapore, had married a member of the Genato family of Manila. At their villa in Biarritz, and again in their home in Belgium, Rizal was a guest later, for Mr. Baustead had taken a great liking to him.
The teaching instinct that led him to act as mentor to the Filipino students in Spain and made him the inspiration of a mutual improvement club of his young countrymen in London, suggested the foundation of a school in Paris. Later a Pampangan youth offered him $40,000 with which to found a Filipino college in Hongkong, where many young men from the Philippines had obtained an education better than their own land could afford but not entirely adapted to their needs. The scheme attracted Rizal, and a prospectus for such an institution which was later found among his papers not only proves how deeply he was interested, but reveals the fact that his ideas of education were essentially like those carried out in the present public-school course of instruction in the Philippines.
Early in August of 1890 Rizal went to Madrid to seek redress for a wrong done his family by the notorious General Weyler, the "Butcher" of evil memory in Cuba, then Governor-General of the Philippines. Just as the mother's loss of liberty, years before, was caused by revengeful feelings on the part of an official because for one day she was obliged to omit a customary gift of horse feed, so the father's loss of land was caused by a revengeful official, and for quite as trivial a cause.
Mr. Mercado was a great poultry fancier and especially prided himself upon his fine stock of turkeys. He had been accustomed to respond to the frequent requests of the estate agent for presents of birds. But at one time disease had so reduced the number of turkeys that all that remained were needed for breeding purposes and Mercado was obliged to refuse him. In a rage the agent insisted, and when that proved unavailing, threats followed.
But Francisco Mercado was not a man to be moved by threats, and when the next rent day came round he was notified that his rent had been doubled. This was paid without protest, for the tenants were entirely at the mercy of the landlords, no fixed rate appearing either in contracts or receipts. Then the rent-raising was kept on till Mercado was driven to seek the protection of the courts. Part of his case led to exactly the same situation as that of the Binan tenantry in his grandfather's time, when the landlords were compelled to produce their title-deeds, and these proved that land of others had been illegally included in the estate. Other tenants, emboldened by Mercado's example also refused to pay the exorbitant rent increases.
The justice of the peace of Kalamba, before whom the case first came, was threatened by the provincial governor for taking time to hear the testimony, and the case was turned over to the auxiliary justice, who promptly decided in the manner desired by the authorities. Mercado at once took an appeal, but the venal Weyler moved a force of artillery to Kalamba and quartered it upon the town as if rebellion openly existed there. Then the court representatives evicted the people from their homes and directed them to remove all their buildings from the estate lands within twenty-four hours. In answer to the plea that they had appealed to the Supreme Court the tenants were told their houses could be brought back again if they won their appeal. Of course this was impossible and some 150,000 pesos' worth of property was consequently destroyed by the court agents, who were worthy estate employees. Twenty or more families were made homeless and the other tenants were forbidden to shelter them under pain of their own eviction. This is the proceeding in which Retana suggests that the governor-general and the landlords were legally within their rights. If so, Spanish law was a disgrace to the nation. Fortunately the Rizal-Mercado family had another piece of property at Los Banos, and there they made their home.
Weyler's motives in this matter do not have to be surmised, for among the (formerly) secret records of the government there exists a letter which he wrote when he first denied the petition of the Kalamba residents. It is marked "confidential" and is addressed to the landlords, expressing the pleasure which this action gave him. Then the official adds that it cannot have escaped their notice that the times demand diplomacy in handling the situation but that, should occasion arise, he will act with energy. Just as Weyler had favored the landlords at first so he kept on and when he had a chance to do something for them he did it.
Finally, when Weyler left the Islands an investigation was ordered into his administration, owing to rumors of extensive and systematic frauds on the government, but nothing more came of the case than that Retana, later Rizal's biographer, wrote a book in the General's defense, "extensively documented," and also abusively anti-Filipino. It has been urged (not by Retana, however) that the Weyler regime was unusually efficient, because he would allow no one but himself to make profits out of the public, and therefore, while his gains were greater than those of his predecessors, the Islands really received more attention from him.
During the Kalamba discussion in Spain, Retana, until 1899 always scurrilously anti-Filipino, made the mistake of his life, for he charged Rizal's family with not paying their rent, which was not true. While Rizal believed that duelling was murder, to judge from a pair of pictures preserved in his album, he evidently considered that homicide of one like Retana was justifiable. After the Spanish custom, his seconds immediately called upon the author of the libel. Retana notes in his "Vida del Dr. Rizal" that the incident closed in a way honorable to both Rizal and himself—he, Retana, published an explicit retraction and abject apology in the Madrid papers. Another time, in Madrid, Rizal risked a duel when he challenged Antonio Luna, later the General, because of a slighting allusion to a lady at a public banquet. He had a nicer sense of honor in such matters than prevailed in Madrid, and Luna promptly saw the matter from Rizal's point of view and withdrew the offensive remark. This second incident complements the first, for it shows that Rizal was as willing to risk a duel with his superior in arms as with one not so skilled as he. Rizal was an exceptional pistol shot and a fair swordsman, while Retana was inferior with either sword or pistol, but Luna, who would have had the choice of weapons, was immeasurably Rizal's superior with the sword.
Owing to a schism a rival arose against the old Masonry and finally the original organization succumbed to the offshoot. Doctor Miguel Morayta, Professor of History in the Central University at Madrid, was the head of the new institution and it had grown to be very popular among students. Doctor Morayta was friendly to the Filipinos and a lodge of the same name as their paper was organized among them. For their outside work they had a society named the Hispano-Filipino Association, of which Morayta was president, with convenient clubrooms and a membership practically the same as the Lodge La Solidaridad.
Just before Christmas of 1890, this Hispano-Filipino Association gave a largely attended banquet at which there were many prominent speakers. Rizal stayed away, not because of growing pessimism, as Retana suggests, but because one of the speakers was the same Becerra who had feared to act when the outrage against the body of Rizal's brother-in-law had been reported to him. Now out of office, the ex-minister was again bold in words, but Rizal for one was not again to be deceived by them.
The propaganda carried on by his countrymen in the Peninsula did not seem to Rizal effective, and he found his suggestions were not well received by those at its head. The story of Rizal's separation from La Solidaridad, however, is really not material, but the following quotation from a letter written to Carlos Oliver, speaking of the opposition of the Madrid committee of Filipinos to himself, is interesting as showing Rizal's attitude of mind:
"I regret exceedingly that they war against me, attempting to discredit me in the Philippines, but I shall be content provided only that my successor keeps on with the work. I ask only of those who say that I created discord among the Filipinos: Was there any effective union before I entered political life? Was there any chief whose authority I wanted to oppose? It is a pity that in our slavery we should have rivalries over leadership."
And in Rizal's letter from Hongkong, May 24, 1892, to Zulueta, commenting on an article by Leyte in La Solidaridad, he says:
"Again I repeat, I do not understand the reason of the attack, since now I have dedicated myself to preparing for our countrymen a safe refuge in case of persecution and to writing some books, championing our cause, which shortly will appear. Besides, the article is impolitic in the extreme and prejudicial to the Philippines. Why say that the first thing we need is to have money? A wiser man would be silent and not wash soiled linen in public."
Early in '91 Rizal went to Paris, visiting Mr. Baustead's villa in Biarritz en route, and he was again a guest of his hospitable friend when, after the winter season was over, the family returned to their home in Brussels.
During most of the year Rizal's residence was in Ghent, where he had gathered around him a number of Filipinos. Doctor Blumentritt suggested that he should devote himself to the study of Malay-Polynesian languages, and as it appeared that thus he could earn a living in Holland he thought to make his permanent home there. But his parents were old and reluctant to leave their native land to pass their last years in a strange country, and that plan failed.
He now occupied himself in finishing the sequel to "Noli Me Tangere," the novel "El Filibusterismo," which he had begun in October of 1887 while on his visit to the Philippines. The bolder painting of the evil effects of the Spanish culture upon the Filipinos may well have been inspired by his unfortunate experiences with his countrymen in Madrid who had not seen anything of Europe outside of Spain. On the other hand, the confidence of the author in those of his countrymen who had not been contaminated by the so-called Spanish civilization, is even more noticeable than in "Noli Me Tangere."
Rizal had now done all that he could for his country; he had shown them by Morga what they were when Spain found them; through "Noli Me Tangere" he had painted their condition after three hundred years of Spanish influence; and in "El Filibusterismo" he had pictured what their future must be if better counsels did not prevail in the colony.
These works were for the instruction of his countrymen, the fulfilment of the task he set for himself when he first read Doctor Jagor's criticism fifteen years before; time only was now needed for them to accomplish their work and for education to bring forth its fruits.
As soon as he had set in motion what influence he possessed in Europe for the relief of his relatives, Rizal hurried to Hongkong and from there wrote to his parents asking their permission to join them. Some time before, his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, had been deported upon the recommendation of the governor of La Laguna, "to prove to the Filipinos that they were mistaken in thinking that the new Civil Code gave them any rights" in cases where the governor-general agreed with his subordinate's reason for asking for the deportation as well as in its desirability. The offense was having buried a child, who had died of cholera, without church ceremonies. The law prescribed and public health demanded it. But the law was a dead letter and the public health was never considered when these cut into church revenues, as Hidalgo ought to have known.
Upon Rizal's arrival in Hongkong, in the fall of 1891, he received notice that his brother Paciano had been returned from exile in Mindoro, but that three of his sisters had been summoned, with the probability of deportation.
A trap to get Rizal into the hands of the government by playing upon his affection for his mother was planned at this time, but it failed. Mrs. Rizal and one of her daughters were arrested in Manila for "falsification of cedula" because they no longer used the name Realonda, which the mother had dropped fifteen years before. Then, though there were frequently boats running to Kalamba, the two women were ordered to be taken there for trial on foot. As when Mrs. Rizal had been a prisoner before, the humane guards disobeyed their orders and the elderly lady was carried in a hammock. The family understood the plans of their persecutors, and Rizal was told by his parents not to come to Manila. Then the persecution of the mother and the sister dropped.
In Hongkong, Rizal was already acquainted with most of the Filipino colony, including Jose M. Basa, a '72 exile of great energy, for whom he had the greatest respect. The old man was an unceasing enemy of all the religious orders and was constantly getting out "proclamations," as the handbills common in the old-time controversies were called. One of these, against the Jesuits, figures in the case against Rizal and bears some minor corrections in his handwriting. Nevertheless, his participation in it was probably no more than this proofreading for his friend, whose motives he could appreciate, but whose plan of action was not in harmony with his own ideas.
Letters of introduction from London friends secured for Rizal the acquaintance of Mr. H. L. Dalrymple, a justice of the peace—which is a position more coveted and honored in English lands than here—and a member of the public library committee, as well as of the board of medical examiners. He was a merchant, too, and agent for the British North Borneo Company, which had recently secured a charter as a semi-independent colony for the extensive cession which had originally been made to the American Trading Company and later transferred to them.
Rizal spent much of his time in the library, reading especially the files of the older newspapers, which contained frequent mention of the Philippines. As an oldtime missionary had left his books to the library, the collection was rich in writings of the fathers of the early Church, as well as in philology and travel. He spent much time also in long conversations with Editor Frazier-Smith of the Hongkong Telegraph, the most enterprising of the daily newspapers. He was the master of St. John's Masonic lodge (Scotch constitution), which Rizal had visited upon his first arrival, intensely democratic and a close student of world politics. The two became fast friends and Rizal contributed to the Telegraph several articles on Philippine matters. These were printed in Spanish, ostensibly for the benefit of the Filipino colony in Hongkong, but large numbers of the paper were mailed to the Philippines and thus at first escaped the vigilance of the censors. Finally the scheme was discovered and the Telegraph placed on the prohibited list, but, like most Spanish actions, this was just too late to prevent the circulation of what Rizal had wished to say to his countrymen.
With the first of the year 1892 the free portion of Rizal's family came to Hongkong. He had been licensed to practice medicine in the colony, and opened an office, specializing as an oculist with notable success.
Another congenial companion was a man of his own profession, Doctor L. P. Marquez, a Portuguese who had received his medical education in Dublin and was a naturalized British subject. He was a leading member of the Portuguese club, Lusitania, which was of radically republican proclivities and possessed an excellent library of books on modern political conditions. An inspection of the colonial prison with him inspired Rizal's article, "A Visit to Victoria Gaol," through which runs a pathetic contrast of the English system of imprisonment for reformation with the Spanish vindictive methods of punishment. A souvenir of one of their many conferences was a dainty modeling in clay made by Rizal with that astonishing quickness that resulted from his Uncle Gabriel's training during his early childhood.
In the spring, Rizal took a voyage to British North Borneo and with Mr. Pryor, the agent, looked over vacant lands which had been offered him by the Company for a Filipino colony. The officials were anxious to grow abaca, cacao, sugar cane and coconuts, all products of the Philippines, the soil of which resembled theirs. So they welcomed the prospect of the immigration of laborers skilled in such cultivation, the Kalambans and other persecuted people of the Luzon lake region, whom Doctor Rizal hoped to transplant there to a freer home.
A different kind of governor-general had succeeded Weyler in the Philippines; the new man was Despujol, a friend of the Jesuits and a man who at once gave the Filipinos hope of better days, for his promises were quickly backed up by the beginnings of their performance. Rizal witnessed this novel experience for his country with gratification, though he had seen too many disappointments to confide in the continuance of reform, and he remembered that the like liberal term of De la Torre had ended in the Cavite reaction.
He wrote early to the new chief executive, applauding Despujol's policy and offering such cooeperation as he might be able to give toward making it a complete success. No reply had been received, but after Rizal's return from his Borneo trip the Spanish consul in Hongkong assured him that he would not be molested should he go to Manila.
Rizal therefore made up his mind to visit his home once more. He still cherished the plan of transferring those of his relatives and friends who were homeless through the land troubles, or discontented with their future in the Philippines, to the district offered to him by the British North Borneo Company. There, under the protection of the British flag, but in their accustomed climate, with familiar surroundings amid their own people, a New Kalamba would be established. Filipinos would there have a chance to prove to the world what they were capable of, and their free condition would inevitably react on the neighboring Philippines and help to bring about better government there.
Rizal had no intention of renouncing his Philippine allegiance, for he always regretted the naturalization of his countrymen abroad, considering it a loss to the country which needed numbers to play the influential part he hoped it would play in awakening Asia. All his arguments were for British justice and "Equality before the Law," for he considered that political power was only a means of securing and assuring fair treatment for all, and in itself of no interest.
With such ideas he sailed for home, bearing the Spanish consul's passport. He left two letters in Hongkong with his friend Doctor Marquez marked, "To be opened after my death," and their contents indicate that he was not unmindful of how little regard Spain had had in his country for her plighted honor.
One was to his beloved parents, brother and sisters, and friends:
"The affection that I have ever professed for you suggests this step, and time alone can tell whether or not it is sensible. Their outcome decides things by results, but whether that be favorable or unfavorable, it may always be said that duty urged me, so if I die in doing it, it will not matter.
"I realize how much suffering I have caused you, still I do not regret what I have done. Rather, if I had to begin over again, still I should do just the same, for it has been only duty. Gladly do I go to expose myself to peril, not as any expiation of misdeeds (for in this matter I believe myself guiltless of any), but to complete my work and myself offer the example of which I have always preached.
"A man ought to die for duty and his principles. I hold fast to every idea which I have advanced as to the condition and future of our country, and shall willingly die for it, and even more willingly to procure for you justice and peace.
"With pleasure, then, I risk life to save so many innocent persons—so many nieces and nephews, so many children of friends, and children, too, of others who are not even friends—who are suffering on my account. What am I? A single man, practically without family, and sufficiently undeceived as to life. I have had many disappointments and the future before me is gloomy, and will be gloomy if light does not illuminate it, the dawn of a better day for my native land. On the other hand, there are many individuals, filled with hope and ambition, who perhaps all might be happy were I dead, and then I hope my enemies would be satisfied and stop persecuting so many entirely innocent people. To a certain extent their hatred is justifiable as to myself, and my parents and relatives.
"Should fate go against me, you will all understand that I shall die happy in the thought that my death will end all your troubles. Return to our country and may you be happy in it.
"Till the last moment of my life I shall be thinking of you and wishing you all good fortune and happiness."
* * * * *
The other letter was directed "To the Filipinos," and said:
"The step which I am taking, or rather am about to take, is undoubtedly risky, and it is unnecessary to say that I have considered it some time. I understand that almost every one is opposed to it; but I know also that hardly anybody else comprehends what is in my heart. I cannot live on seeing so many suffer unjust persecutions on my account; I cannot bear longer the sight of my sisters and their numerous families treated like criminals. I prefer death and cheerfully shall relinquish life to free so many innocent persons from such unjust persecution.
"I appreciate that at present the future of our country gravitates in some degree around me, that at my death many will feel triumphant, and, in consequence, many are wishing for my fall. But what of it? I hold duties of conscience above all else, I have obligations to the families who suffer, to my aged parents whose sighs strike me to the heart; I know that I alone, only with my death, can make them happy, returning them to their native land and to a peaceful life at home. I am all my parents have, but our country has many, many more sons who can take my place and even do my work better.
"Besides I wish to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for duty and principles. What matters death, if one dies for what one loves, for native land and beings held dear?
"If I thought that I were the only resource for the policy of progress in the Philippines and were I convinced that my countrymen were going to make use of my services, perhaps I should hesitate about taking this step; but there are still others who can take my place, who, too, can take my place with advantage. Furthermore, there are perchance those who hold me unneeded and my services are not utilized, resulting that I am reduced to inactivity.
"Always have I loved our unhappy land, and I am sure that I shall continue loving it till my latest moment, in case men prove unjust to me. My career, my life, my happiness, all have I sacrificed for love of it. Whatever my fate, I shall die blessing it and longing for the dawn of its redemption."
And then followed the note; "Make these letters public after my death."
Suspicion of the Spanish authorities was justified. The consul's cablegram notifying Governor-General Despujol. that Rizal had fallen into their trap, sent the day of issuing the "safe-conduct" or special passport, bears the same date as the secret case filed against him in Manila, "for anti religious and anti patriotic agitation." On that same day the deceitful Despujol was confidentially inquiring of his executive secretary whether it was true that Rizal had been naturalized as a German subject, and, if so, what effect would that have on the governor-general's right to take executive action; that is, could he deport one who had the protection of a strong nation with the same disregard for the forms of justice that he could a Filipino?
This inquiry is joined to an order to the local authorities in the provinces near Manila instructing them to watch the comings and goings of their prominent people during the following weeks. The scheme resembled that which was concocted prior to '72, but Governor-General de la Torte was honest in his reforms. Despujol may, or may not, have been honest in other matters, but as concerns Rizal there is no lack of proof of his perfidy. The confidential file relating to this part of the case was forgotten in destroying and removing secret papers when Manila passed into a democratic conqueror's hands, and now whoever wishes may read, in the Bureau of Archives, documents which the Conde de Caspe, to use a noble title for an ignoble man, considered safely hidden. As with Weyler's contidential letter to the friar landlords, these discoveries convict their writers of bad faith, with no possibility of mistake.
This point in the reformed Spanish writer's biography of Rizal is made occasion for another of his treacherous attacks upon the good name of his pretended hero. Just as in the land troubles Retana held that legally Governor-General Weyler was justified in disregarding an appeal pending in the courts, so in this connection he declares: "(Despujol) unquestionably had been deceived by Rizal when, from Hongkong, he offered to Despujol not to meddle in politics." That Rizal meddled in politics rests solely upon Despujol's word, and it will be seen later how little that is worth; but, politics or no politics, Rizal's fate was settled before he ever came to Manila.
Rizal was accompanied to Manila by his sister Lucia, widow of that brother-in-law who had been denied Christian burial because of his relationship to Rizal. In the Basa home, among other waste papers, and for that use, she had gathered up five copies of a recent "proclamation," entitled "Pobres Frailes" (Poor Friars), a small sheet possibly two inches wide and five long. These, crumpled up, were tucked into the case of the pillow which Mrs. Hervosa used on board. Later, rolled up in her blankets and bed mat, or petate, they went to the custom house along with the other baggage, and of course were discovered in the rigorous examination which the officers always made. How strict Philippine customs searches were, Henry Norman, an English writer of travels, explains by remarking that Manila was the only port where he had ever had his pockets picked officially. His visit was made at about the time of which we are writing, and the object, he says, was to keep out anti friar publications.
Rizal and his sister landed without difficulty, and he at once went to the Oriente Hotel, then the best in town, for Rizal always traveled and lived as became a member of a well-to-do family. Next he waited on the Governor-General, with whom he had a very brief interview, for it happened to be on one of the numerous religious festivals, during which he obtained favorable consideration for his deported sisters. Several more interviews occurred in which the hopes first given were realized, so that those of the family then awaiting exile were pardoned and those already deported were to be returned at an early date.
One night Rizal was the guest of honor at a dinner given by the masters and wardens of the Masonic lodges of Manila, and he was surprised and delighted at the progress the institution had made in the Islands. Then he had another task not so agreeable, for, while awaiting a delayed appointment with the Governor-General, he with two others ran up on the new railway to Tarlac. Ostensibly this was to see the country, but it was not for a pleasure trip. They were investigating the sales of Rizal's books and trying to find out what had become of the money received from them, for while the author's desire had been to place them at so low a price as to be within the reach of even the poor, it was reported that the sales had been few and at high prices, so that copies were only read by the wealthy whose desire to obtain the rare and much-discussed novels led them to pay exorbitant figures for them.
Rizal's party, consisting of the Secretary of one of the lodges of Manila, and another Mason, a prominent school-teacher, were under constant surveillance and a minute record of their every act is preserved in the "reserved" files, now, of course, so only in name, as they are no longer secret. Immediately after they left a house it would be thoroughly searched and the occupants strictly questioned. In spite of the precautions of the officials, Rizal soon learned of this, and those whom they visited were warned of what to expect. In one home so many forbidden papers were on hand that Rizal delayed his journey till the family completed their task of carrying them upstairs and hiding them in the roof.
At another place he came across an instance of superstition such as that which had caused him to cease his sleight-of-hand exhibitions on his former return to the Islands. Their host was a man of little education but great hospitality, and the party were most pleasantly entertained. During the conversation he spoke of Rizal, but did not seem to know that his hero had come back to the Philippines. His remarks drifted into the wildest superstition, and, after asserting that Rizal bore a charmed life, he startled his audience by saying that if the author of "Noli Me Tangere" cared to do so, he could be with them at that very instant. At first the three thought themselves discovered by their host, but when Rizal made himself known, the old man proved that he had had no suspicion of his guest's identity, for he promptly became busy preparing his home for the search which he realized would shortly follow. On another occasion their host was a stranger whom Rizal treated for a temporary illness, leaving a prescription to be filled at the drug store. The name signed to the paper was a revelation, but the first result was activity in cleaning house.
No fact is more significant of the utter rottenness of the Spanish rule than the unanimity of the people in their discontent. Only a few persons at first were in open opposition, but books, pamphlets and circulars were eagerly sought, read and preserved, with the knowledge generally, of the whole family, despite the danger of possessing them. At times, as in the case of Rizal's novels, an entire neighborhood was in the secret; the book was buried in a garden and dug up to be read from at a gathering of the older men, for which a dance gave pretext. Informers were so rare that the possibility of treachery among themselves was hardly reckoned in the risk.
The authorities were constantly searching dwellings, often entire neighborhoods, and with a thoroughness which entirely disregarded the possibility of damaging an innocent person's property. These "domiciliary registrations" were, of course, supposed to be unexpected, but in the later Spanish days the intended victims usually had warning from some employee in the office where it was planned, or from some domestic of the official in charge; very often, however, the warning was so short as to give only time for a hasty destruction of incriminating documents and did not permit of their being transferred to other hiding places. Thus large losses were incurred, and to these must be added damages from dampness when a hole in the ground, the inside of a post, or cementing up in the wall furnished the means of concealment. Fires, too, were frequent, and such events attracted so much attention that it was scarcely safe to attempt to save anything of an incriminating nature.
Six years of war conditions did their part toward destroying what little had escaped, and from these explanations the reader may understand how it comes that the tangled story of Spain's last half century here presents an historical problem more puzzling than that of much more remote times in more favored lands.
It seems almost providential that the published statement of the Governor-General can be checked not only by an account which Rizal secretly sent to friends, but also by the candid memoranda contained in the untruthful executive's own secret folios. While some unessential details of Rizal's career are in doubt, not a point vital to establishing his good name lacks proof that his character was exemplary and that he is worthy of the hero-worship which has come to him.
After Rizal's return to Manila from his railway trip he had the promised interview with the Governor-General. At their previous meetings the discussions had been quite informal. Rizal, in complimenting the General upon his inauguration of reforms, mentioned that the Philippine system of having no restraint whatever upon the chief executive had at least the advantage that a well-disposed governor-general would find no red-tape hindrances to his plans for the public benefit. But Despujol professed to believe that the best of men make mistakes and that a wise government would establish safeguards against this human fallibility.
The final, and fatal, interview began with the Governor-General asking Rizal if he still persisted in his plan for a Filipino colony in British North Borneo; Despujol had before remarked that with so much Philippine land lying idle for want of cultivation it did not seem to him patriotic to take labor needed at home away for the development of a foreign land. Rizal's former reply had dealt with the difficulty the government was in respecting the land troubles, since the tenants who had taken the old renters' places now also must be considered, and he pointed out that there was, besides, a bitterness between the parties which could not easily be forgotten by either side. So this time he merely remarked that he had found no reason for changing his original views.
Hereupon the General took from his desk the five little sheets of the "Poor Friars" handbill, which he said had been found in the roll of bedding sent with Rizal's baggage to the custom house, and asked whose they could be. Rizal answered that of course the General knew that the bedding belonged to his sister Lucia, but she was no fool and would not have secreted in a place where they were certain to be found five little papers which, hidden within her camisa or placed in her stocking, would have been absolutely sure to come in unnoticed.
Rizal, neither then nor later, knew the real truth, which was that these papers were gathered up at random and without any knowledge of their contents. If it was a crime to have lived in a house where such seditious printed matter was common, then Rizal, who had openly visited Basa's home, was guilty before ever the handbills were found. But no reasonable person would believe another rational being could be so careless of consequences as to bring in openly such dangerous material.
The very title was in sarcastic allusion to the inconsistency of a religious order being an immensely wealthy organization, while its individual members were vowed to poverty. News, published everywhere except in the Philippines, of losses sustained in outside commercial enterprises running into the millions, was made the text for showing how money, professedly raised in the Philippines for charities, was not so used and was invested abroad in fear of that day of reckoning when tyranny would be overthrown in anarchy and property would be insecure. The belief of the pious Filipinos, fostered by their religious exploiters, that the Pope would suffer great hardship if their share of "Peter's pence" was not prompt and full, was contrasted with another newspaper story of a rich dowry given to a favorite niece by a former Pope, but that in no way taught the truth that the Head of the Church was not put to bodily discomfort whenever a poor Filipino failed to come forward with his penny.