Despujol managed to work himself into something like a passion over this alleged disrespect to the Pope, and ordered Rizal to be taken as a prisoner to Fort Santiago by the nephew who acted as his aide.
Like most facts, this version runs a middle course between the extreme stories which have been current. Like circulars may have been printed at the "Asilo de Malabon," as has been asserted; these certainly came from Hongkong and were not introduced by any archbishop's nephew on duty at the custom house, as another tale suggests. On the other hand, the circular was the merest pretext, and Despujol did not act in good faith, as many claim that he did.
It may be of interest to reprint the handbill from a facsimile of an original copy:
Acaba de suspender sus pages un Banco, acaba de quebrarse el New Oriental.
Grandes pedidas en la India, en la isla Mauricio al sur de Africa, ciclones y tempestades acabaron con su podeiro, tragnadose mas de 36,000,000 de pesos. Estos treinta y seis millones representaban las esperanzas, las economias, el bienestar y el porvenir de numerosos individuos y familias.
Entre los que mas han sufrido podemos contar a la Rvda. Corporacion de los P. P. Dominicos, que pierden en esta quiebra muchos cientos de miles. No se sabe la cuenta exacta porque tanto dinero se les envia de aqui y tantos depositos hacen, que se necesitarlan muchos contadores para calcular el immense caudal de que disponen.
Pero, no se aflijan los amigos ni triunfen los enemigos de los santos monjes que profesan vote de pobreza.
A unos y otros les diremos que pueden estar tranquilos. La Corporacion tiene aun muchos millones depositados en los Bancos de Hongkong, y aunque todos quebrasen, y aunque se derrumbasen sus miles de casas de alquiler, siempre quedarian sus curates y haciendas, les quedarian los filipinos dispuestos siempre a ayunar para darles una limosna. ?Que son cuatrocientos o quinientos mil? Que se tomen la molestia de recorrer los pueblos y pedir limosna y se resarciran de esa perdida. Hace un ano que, por la mala administracion de los cardenales, el Papa perdio 14,000,000 del dinero de San Pedro; el Papa, para cubrir el deficit, acude a nosotros y nosotros recogemos de nuestros tampipis el ultimo real, porque sabemos que el Papa tiene muchas atenciones; hace cosa de cinco anos caso a una sobrina suya dotandola de un palacio y 300,000 francos ademas. Haced un esfuerzo pues, generosos filipinos, y socorred a los dominicos igualmente!
Ademas, esos centanares de miles perdidos no son de ellos, segun dicen: ?como los iban a tener si tienen voto de pobreza? Hay que creerlos pues cuando, para cubrirse, dicen que son de los huerfanos y de las viudas. Muy seguramente pertencerian algunos a las viudas y a los huerfanos de Kalamba, y quien sabe si a los desterrados maridos! y los manejan los virtuosos frailes solo a titulo de depositarios para devolverlos despues religiosamente con todos sus intereses cuando llegue el dia de rendir cuentas! Quien sabe? Quien mejor que ellos podia encargarse de recoger los pocos haberes mientras las casas ardian, huian las viudas y los huerfanos sin encontrar hospitalidad, pues se habia prohibido darles albergue, mientras los hombres estaban presos o perseguidos? ?Quien mejor que los dominicos para tener tanto valor, tanta audacia y tanta humanidad?
Pero, ahora el diablo se ha llevado el dinero de los huerfanos y de las viudas, y es de temer que se lleve tambien el resto, pues cuando el diablo la empieza la ha de acabar. Tendria ese dinero mala procedencia?
Si asl sucediese, nosotros los recomendariamos a los dominicos que dijesen con Job: Desnudo sali del vientre de mi madre (Espana), y desnudo volvere alla; lo dio el diablo, el diablo se lo llevo; bendito sea el nombre del Senor!
Manila: Imprenta de los Amigos del Pais.
The Deportation to Dapitan
As soon as Rizal was lodged in his prison, a room in Fort Santiago, the Governor-General began the composition of one of the most extraordinary official documents ever issued in this land where the strangest governmental acts have abounded. It is apology, argument, and attack all in one and was published in the Official Gazette, where it occupied most of an entire issue. The effect of the righteous anger it displays suffers somewhat when one knows how all was planned from the day Rizal was decoyed from Hongkong under the faithless safe-conduct. Another enlightening feature is the copy of a later letter, preserved in that invaluable secret file, wherein Despujol writes Rizal's custodian, as jailer, to allow the exile in no circumstances to see this number of the Gazette or to know its contents, and suggests several evasions to assist the subordinate's power of invention. It is certainly a strange indignation which fears that its object shall learn the reason for wrath, nor is it a creditable spectacle when one beholds the chief of a government giving private lessons in lying.
A copy of the Gazette was sent to the Spanish Consul in Hongkong, also a cablegram directing him to give it publicity that "Spain's good name might not suffer" in that colony. By his blunder, not knowing that the Lusitania Club was really a Portuguese Masonic lodge and full of Rizal's friends, a copy was sent there and a strong reply was called forth. The friendly editor of the Hongkong Telegraph devoted columns to the outrage by which a man whose acquaintance in the scientific world reflected honor upon his nation, was decoyed to what was intended to be his death, exiled to "an unhealthful, savage spot," through "a plot of which the very Borgias would have been ashamed."
The British Consul in Manila, too, mentioned unofficially to Governor-General Despujol that it seemed a strange way of showing Spain's often professed friendship for Great Britain thus to disregard the annoyance to the British colony of North Borneo caused by making impossible an entirely unexceptionable plan. Likewise, in much the same respectfully remonstrant tone which the Great Powers are wont to use in recalling to semi-savage states their obligations to civilization, he pointed out how Spain's prestige as an advanced nation would suffer when the educated world, in which Rizal was Spain's best-known representative, learned that the man whom they honored had been trapped out of his security under the British flag and sent into exile without the slightest form of trial.
Almost the last act of Rizal while at liberty was the establishment of the "Liga Filipina," a league or association seeking to unite all Filipinos of good character for concerted action toward the economic advancement of their country, for a higher standard of manhood, and to assure opportunities for education and development to talented Filipino youth. Resistance to oppression by lawful means was also urged, for Rizal believed that no one could fairly complain of bad government until he had exhausted and found unavailing all the legal resources provided for his protection. This was another expression of his constant teaching that slaves, those who toadied to power, and men without self-respect made possible and fostered tyranny, abuses and disregard of the rights of others.
The character test was also a step forward, for the profession of patriotism has often been made to cloak moral shortcomings in the Philippines as well as elsewhere. Rizal urged that those who would offer themselves on the altar of their fatherland must conform to the standard of old, and, like the sacrificial lamb, be spotless and without blemish. Therefore, no one who had justifiably been prosecuted for any infamous crime was eligible to membership in the new organization.
The plan, suggested by a Spanish Masonic society called C. Kadosch y Cia., originated with Jose Maria Basa, at whose instance Rizal drafted the constitution and regulations. Possibly all the members were Freemasons of the educated and better-to-do class, and most of them adhered to the doctrine that peaceably obtained reforms and progress by education are surest and best.
Rizal's arrest discouraged those of this higher faith, for the peaceable policy seemed hopeless, while the radical element, freed from Rizal's restraining influence and deeming the time for action come, formed a new and revolutionary society which preached force of arms as the only argument left to them, and sought its membership among the less-enlightened and poorer class.
Their inspiration was Andres Bonifacio, a shipping clerk for a foreign firm, who had read and re-read accounts of the French Revolution till he had come to believe that blood alone could wipe out the wrongs of a country. His organization, The Sons of the Country, more commonly called the Katipunan, was, however, far from being as bloodthirsty as most Spanish accounts, and those of many credulous writers who have got their ideas from them, have asserted. To enlist others in their defense, those who knew that they were the cause of dissatisfaction spread the report that a race war was in progress and that the Katipuneros were planning the massacre of all of the white race. It was a sufficiently absurd statement, but it was made even more ridiculous by its "proof," for this was the discovery of an apron with a severed head, a hand holding it by the hair and another grasping the dagger which had done the bloody work. This emblem, handed down from ancient days as an object lesson of faithfulness even to death, has been known in many lands besides the Philippines, but only here has it ever been considered anything but an ancient symbol. As reasonably might the paintings of martyrdoms in the convents be taken as evidence of evil intentions upon the part of their occupants, but prejudice looks for pretexts rather than reasons, and this served as well as any other for the excesses of which the government in its frenzy of fear was later guilty.
In talking of the Katipunan one must distinguish the first society, limited in its membership, from the organization of the days of the Aguinaldo "republic," so called, when throughout the Tagalog provinces, and in the chief towns of other provinces as well, adherence to the revolutionary government entailed membership in the revolutionary society. And neither of these two Katipunans bore any relation, except in name and emblems, to the robber bands whose valor was displayed after the war had ceased and whose patriotism consisted in wronging and robbing their own defenseless countrymen and countrywomen, while carefully avoiding encounters with any able to defend themselves.
Rizal's arrest had put an end to all hope of progress under Governor-General Despujol. It had left the political field in possession of those countrymen who had not been in sympathy with his campaign of education. It had caused the succession of the revolutionary Katipunan to the economic Liga Filipina, with talk of independence supplanting Rizal's ambition for the return of the Philippines to their former status under the Constitution of Cadiz. But the victim of the arrest was at peace as he had not been in years. The sacrifice for country and for family had been made, but it was not to cost him life, and he was human enough to wish to live. A visitor's room in the Fort and books from the military library made his detention comfortable, for he did not worry about the Spanish sentries without his door who were placed there under orders to shoot anyone who might attempt to signal to him from the plaza.
One night the Governor-General's nephew-aide came again to the Fort and Rizal embarked on the steamer which was to take him to his place of exile, but closely as he was guarded he risked dropping a note which a Filipino found and took, as it directed, to Mrs. Rizal's cousin, Vicenta Leyba, who lived in Calle Jose, Trozo. Thus the family were advised of his departure; this incident shows Rizal's perfect confidence in his countrymen and the extent to which it was justified; he could risk a chance finder to take so dangerous a letter to its address.
On the steamer he occupied an officer's cabin and also found a Filipino quartermaster, of whom he requested a life preserver for his stateroom; evidently he was not entirely confident that there were no hostile designs against him. Accidents had rid the Philippines of troublesome persons before his time, and he was determined that if he sacrificed his life for his country, it should be openly. He realized that the tree of Liberty is often watered with the blood of secret as well as open martyrs.
The same boat carried some soldier prisoners, one of whom was to be executed in Mindanao, and their case was not particularly creditable to Spanish ideas of justice. A Spanish officer had dishonorably interfered with the domestic relations of a sergeant, also Spanish, and the aggrieved party had inflicted punishment upon his superior, with the help of some other soldiers. For allowing himself to be punished, not for his own disgraceful act, the officer was dismissed from the service, but the sergeant was to go to the scene of his alleged "crime," there to suffer death, while his companions who had assisted him in protecting their homes were to be witnesses of this "justice" and then to be imprisoned.
After an uneventful trip the steamer reached Dapitan, in the northeast of the large island of Mindanao, on a dark and rainy evening. The officer in charge of the expedition took Doctor Rizal ashore with some papers relating to him and delivered all to the commandant, Ricardo Carnicero. The receipt taken was briefed "One countryman and two packages." At the same time learned men in Europe were beginning to hear of this outrage worthy of the Dark Ages and were remarking that Spain had stopped the work of the man who was practically her only representative in modern science, for the Castilian language has not been the medium through which any considerable additions have been made to the world's store of scientific knowledge.
Rizal was to reside either with the commandant or with the Jesuit parish priest, if the latter would take him into the convento. But while the exile had learned with pleasure that he was to meet priests who were refined and learned, as well as associated with his happier school days, he did not know that these priests were planning to restore him to his childhood faith and had mapped out a plan of action which should first make him feel his loneliness. So he was denied residence with the priest unless he would declare himself genuinely in sympathy with Spain.
On his previous brief visit to the Islands he had been repelled from the Ateneo with the statement that till he ceased to be anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish he would not be welcome. Padre Faura, the famous meteorologist, was his former instructor and Rizal was his favorite pupil; he had tearfully predicted that the young man would come to the scaffold at last unless he mended his ways. But Rizal, confident in the clearness of his own conscience, went out cheerfully, and when the porter tried to bring back the memory of his childhood piety by reminding him of the image of the Sacred Heart which he had carved years before, Rizal answered, "Other times, other customs, Brother. I do not believe that way any more."
So Rizal, a good Catholic, was compelled to board with the commandant instead of with the priest because he was unwilling to make hypocritical professions of admiration for Spain. The commandant and Rizal soon became good friends, but in order to retain his position Carnicero had to write to the Governor-General in a different strain.
The correspondence tells the facts in the main, but of course they are colored throughout to conform to Despujol's character. The commandant is always represented as deceiving his prisoner and gaining his confidence only to betray him, but Rizal seems never to have experienced anything but straightforward dealing.
Rizal's earliest letter from Dapitan speaks almost enthusiastically of the place, describing the climate as exceptional for the tropics, his situation as agreeable, and saying that he could be quite content if his family and his books were there.
Shortly after occurred the anniversary of Carnicero's arrival in the town, and Rizal celebrated the event with a Spanish poem reciting the improvements made since his coming, written in the style of the Malay loa, and as though it were by the children of Dapitan.
Next Rizal acquired a piece of property at Talisay, a little bay close to Dapitan, and at once became interested in his farm. Soon he built a house and moved into it, gathering a number of boy assistants about him, and before long he had a school. A hospital also was put up for his patients and these in time became a source of revenue, as people from a distance came to the oculist for treatment and paid liberally.
One five-hundred-peso fee from a rich Englishman was devoted by Rizal to lighting the town, and the community benefited in this way by his charity in addition to the free treatment given its poor.
The little settlement at Talisay kept growing and those who lived there were constantly improving it. When Father Obach, the Jesuit priest, fell through the bamboo stairway in the principal house, Rizal and his boys burned shells, made mortar, and soon built a fine stone stairway. They also did another piece of masonry work in the shape of a dam for storing water that was piped to the houses and poultry yard; the overflow from the dam was made to fill a swimming tank.
The school, including the house servants, numbered about twenty and was taught without books by Rizal, who conducted his recitations from a hammock. Considerable importance was given to mathematics, and in languages English was taught as well as Spanish, the entire waking period being devoted to the language allotted for the day, and whoever so far forgot as to utter a word in any other tongue was punished by having to wear a rattan handcuff. The use and meaning of this modern police device had to be explained to the boys, for Spain still tied her prisoners with rope.
Nature study consisted in helping the Doctor gather specimens of flowers, shells, insects and reptiles which were prepared and shipped to German museums. Rizal was paid for these specimens by scientific books and material. The director of the Royal Zooelogical and Anthropological Museum in Dresden, Saxony, Doctor Karl von Heller, was a great friend and admirer of Doctor Rizal. Doctor Heller's father was tutor to the late King Alfonso XII and had many friends at the Court of Spain. Evidently Doctor Heller and other of his European friends did not consider Rizal a Spanish insurrectionary, but treated him rather as a reformer seeking progress by peaceful means.
Doctor Rizal remunerated his pupils' work with gifts of clothing, books and other useful remembrances. Sometimes the rewards were cartidges, and those who had accumulated enough were permitted to accompany him in his hunting expeditions. The dignity of labor was practically inculcated by requiring everyone to make himself useful, and this was really the first school of the type, combining the use of English, nature study and industrial instruction.
On one occasion in the year 1894 some of his schoolboys secretly went into the town in a banca; a puppy which tried to follow them was eaten by a crocodile. Rizal tired to impress the evil effects of disobedience upon the youngsters by pointing out to them the sorrow which the mother-dog felt at the loss of her young one, and emphasized the lesson by modeling a statuette called "The Mother's Revenge," wherein she is represented, in revenge, as devouring the cayman. It is said to be a good likeness of the animal which was Doctor Rizal's favorite companion in his many pedestrian excursions around Dapitan.
Father Francisco Sanchez, Rizal's instructor in rhetoric in the Ateneo, made a long visit to Dapitan and brought with him some surveyor's instruments, which his former pupil was delighted to assist him in using. Together they ran the levels for a water system for the the town, which was later, with the aid of the lay Jesuit, Brother Tildot, carried to completion. This same water system is now being restored and enlarged with artesian wells by the present insular, provincial and municipal governments jointly, as part of the memorial to Rizal in this place of his exile.
A visit to a not distant mountain and some digging in a spot supposed by the people of the region to be haunted brought to light curious relics of the first Christian converts among the early Moros.
The state of his mind at about this period of his career is indicated by the verses written in his home in Talisay, entitled "My Retreat," of which the following translation has been made by Mr. Charles Derbyshire. The scene that inspired this poem has been converted by the government into a public park to the memory of Rizal.
By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine, At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green, I have built my hut in the pleasant grove's confine; From the forest seeking peace and a calmness divine, Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.
Its roof the frail palm-leaf and its floor the cane, Its beams and posts of the unhewn wood; Little there is of value in this hut so plain, And better by far in the lap of the mount to have lain, By the song and the murmur of the high sea's flood.
A purling brook from the woodland glade Drops down o'er the stones and around it sweeps, Whence a fresh stream is drawn by the rough cane's aid; That in the still night its murmur has made, And in the day's heat a crystal fountain leaps.
When the sky is serene how gently it flows, And its zither unseen ceaselessly plays; But when the rains fall a torrent it goes Boiling and foaming through the rocky close, Roaring uncheck'd to the sea's wide ways.
The howl of the dog and the song of the bird, And only the kalao's hoarse call resound; Nor is the voice of vain man to be heard, My mind to harass or my steps to begird; The woodlands alone and the sea wrap me round.
The sea, ah, the sea! for me it is all, As it massively sweeps from the worlds apart; Its smile in the morn to my soul is a call, And when in the even my fath seems to pall, It breathes with its sadness an echo to my heart.
By night an arcanum; when translucent it glows, All spangled over with its millions of lights, And the bright sky above resplendent shows; While the waves with their sighs tell of their woes— Tales that are lost as they roll to the heights.
They tell of the world when the first dawn broke, And the sunlight over their surface played; When thousands of beings from nothingness woke, To people the depths and the heights to cloak, Wherever its life-giving kiss was laid.
But when in the night the wild winds awake, And the waves in their fury begin to leap, Through the air rush the cries that my mind shake; Voices that pray, songs and moans that partake Of laments from the souls sunk down in the deep.
Then from their heights the mountains groan, And the trees shiver tremulous from great unto least; The groves rustle plaintive and the herds utter moan, For they say that the ghosts of the folk that are gone Are calling them down to their death's merry feast.
In terror and confusion whispers the night, While blue and green flames flit over the deep; But calm reigns again with the morning's light, And soon the bold fisherman comes into sight, As his bark rushes on and the waves sink to sleep.
So onward glide the days in my lonely abode; Driven forth from the world where once I was known, I muse o'er the fate upon me bestow'd; A fragment forgotten that the moss will corrode, To hide from mankind the world in me shown.
I live in the thought of the lov'd ones left, And oft their names to my mind are borne; Some have forsaken me and some by death are reft; But now 'tis all one, as through the past I drift, That past which from me can never be torn.
For it is the friend that is with me always, That ever in sorrow keeps the faith in my soul; While through the still night it watches and prays, As here in my exile in my lone hut it stays, To strengthen my faith when doubts o'er me roll.
That faith I keep and I hope to see shine The day when the Idea prevails over might; When after the fray and death's slow decline, Some other voice sounds, far happier than mine, To raise the glad song of the triumph of right.
I see the sky glow, refulgent and clear, As when it forced on me my first dear illusion; I feel the same wind kiss my forehead sere, And the fire is the same that is burning here To stir up youth's blood in boiling confusion.
I breathe here the winds that perchance have pass'd O'er the fields and the rivers of my own natal shore; And mayhap they will bring on the returning blast The sighs that lov'd being upon them has cast— Messages sweet from the love I first bore.
To see the same moon, all silver'd as of yore, I feel the sad thoughts within me arise; The fond recollections of the troth we swore, Of the field and the bower and the wide seashore, The blushes of joy, with the silence and sighs.
A butterfly seeking the flowers and the light, Of other lands dreaming, of vaster extent; Scarce a youth, from home and love I took flight, To wander unheeding, free from doubt or affright— So in foreign lands were my brightest days spent.
And when like a languishing bird I was fain To the home of my fathers and my love to return, Of a sudden the fierce tempest roar'd amain; So I saw my wings shatter'd and no home remain, My trust sold to others and wrecks round me burn.
Hurl'd out into exile from the land I adore, My future all dark and no refuge to seek; My roseate dreams hover round me once more, Sole treasures of all that life to me bore; The faiths of youth that with sincerity speak.
But not as of old, full of life and of grace, Do you hold out hopes of undying reward; Sadder I find you; on your lov'd face, Though still sincere, the pale lines trace The marks of the faith it is yours to guard.
You offer now, dreams, my gloom to appease, And the years of my youth again to disclose; So I thank you, O storm, and heaven-born breeze, That you knew of the hour my wild flight to ease, To cast me back down to the soil whence I rose.
By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine, At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green; I have found a home in the pleasant grove's confine, In the shady woods, that peace and calmness divine, Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.
The Church benefited by the presence of the exile, for he drew the design for an elaborate curtain to adorn the sanctuary at Easter time, and an artist Sister of Charity of the school there did the oil painting under his direction. In this line he must have been proficient, for once in Spain, where he traveled out of his way to Saragossa to visit one of his former teachers of the Ateneo, who he had heard was there, Rizal offered his assistance in making some altar paintings, and the Jesuit says that his skill and taste were much appreciated.
The home of the Sisters had a private chapel, for which the teachers were preparing an image of the Virgin. For the sake of economy the head only was procured from abroad, the vestments concealing all the rest of the figure except the feet, which rested upon a globe encircled by a snake in whose mouth is an apple. The beauty of the countenance, a real work of art, appealed to Rizal, and he modeled the more prominent right foot, the apple and the serpent's head, while the artist Sister assisted by doing the minor work. Both curtain and image, twenty years after their making, are still in use.
On Sundays, Father Sanchez and Rizal conducted a school for the people after mass. As part of this education it was intended to make raised maps in the plaza of the chief city of the eight principal islands of the Philippines, but on account of Father Sanchez's being called away, only one. Mindanao, was completed; it has been restored with a concrete sidewalk and balustrade about it, while the plaza is a national park.
Among Rizal's patients was a blind American named Taufer, fairly well to do, who had been engineer of the pumping plant of the Hongkong Fire Department. He was a man of bravery, for he held a diploma for helping to rescue five Spaniards from a shipwreck in Hongkong harbor. And he was not less kind-hearted, for he and his wife, a Portuguese, had adopted and brought up as their own the infant daughter of a poor Irish woman who had died in Hongkong, leaving a considerable family to her husband, a corporal in the British Army on service there.
The little girl had been educated in the Italian convent after the first Mrs. Taufer died, and upon Mr. Taufer's remarriage, to another Portuguese, the adopted daughter and Mr. Taufer's own child were equally sharers of his home.
This girl had known Rizal, "the Spanish doctor," as he was called there, in Hongkong, and persuaded her adopted father that possibly the Dapitan exile might restore his lost eyesight. So with the two girls and his wife, Mr. Taufer set out for Mindanao. At Manila his own daughter fell in love with a Filipino engineer, a Mr. Sunico, now owner of a foundry in Manila, and, marrying, remained there. But the party reached Dapitan with its original number, for they were joined by a good-looking mestiza from the South who was unofficially connected with one of the canons of the Manila cathedral.
Josefina Bracken, the Irish girl, was lively, capable and of congenial temperament, and as there no longer existed any reason against his marriage, for Rizal considered his political days over, they agreed to become husband and wife.
The priest was asked to perform the ceremony, but said the Bishop of Cebu must give his consent, and offered to write him. Rizal at first feared that some political retraction would be asked, but when assured that only his religious beliefs would be investigated, promptly submitted a statement which Father Obach says covered about the same ground as the earliest published of the retractions said to have been made on the eve of Rizal's death.
This document, inclosed with the priest's letter, was ready for the mail when Rizal came hurrying in to reclaim it. The marriage was off, for Mr. Taufer had taken his family and gone to Manila.
The explanation of this sudden departure was that, after the blind man had been told of the impossibility of anything being done for his eyes, he was informed of the proposed marriage. The trip had already cost him one daughter, he had found that his blindness was incurable, and now his only remaining daughter, who had for seventeen years been like his own child, was planning to leave him. He would have to return to Hongkong hopeless and accompanied only by a wife he had never seen, one who really was merely a servant. In his despair he said he had nothing to live for, and, seizing his razor, would have ended his life had not Rizal seized him just in time and held him, with the firm grasp his athletic training had given him, till the commandant came and calmed the excited blind man.
It resulted in Josefina returning to Manila with him, but after a while Mr Taufer listened to reason and she went back to Dapitan, after a short stay in Manila with Rizal's family, to whom she had carried his letter of introduction, taking considerable housekeeping furniture with her.
Further consideration changed Rizal's opinion as to marriage, possibly because the second time the priest may not have been so liberal in his requirements. The mother, too, seems to have suggested that as Spanish law had established civil marriage in the Philippines, and as the local government had not provided any way for people to avail themselves of the right, because the governor-general had pigeon-holed the royal decree, it would be less sinful for the two to consider themselves civilly married than for Rizal to do violence to his conscience by making any sort of political retraction. Any marriage so bought would be just as little a sacrament as an absolutely civil marriage, and the latter was free from hypocrisy.
So as man and wife Rizal and Josefina lived together in Talisay. Father Obach sought to prejudice public feeling in the town against the exile for the "scandal," though other scandals happenings with less reason were going on unrebuked. The pages of "Dapitan", which some have considered to be the first chapter of an unfinished novel, may reasonably be considered no more than Rizal's rejoinder to Father Obach, written in sarcastic vein and primarily for Carnicero's amusement, unless some date of writing earlier than this should hereafter be found for them.
Josefina was bright, vivacious, and a welcome addition to the little colony at Talisay, but at times Rizal had misgivings as to how it came that this foreigner should be permitted by a suspicious and absolute government to join him, when Filipinos, over whom the authorities could have exercised complete control, were kept away. Josefina's frequent visits to the convento once brought this suspicion to an open declaration of his misgivings by Rizal, but two days of weeping upon her part caused him to avoid the subiect thereafter. Could the exile have seen the confidential correspondence in the secret archives the plan would have been plain to him, for there it is suggested that his impressionable character could best be reached through the sufferings of his family, and that only his mother and sisters should be allowed to visit him. Steps in this plot were the gradual pardoning and returning of the members of his family to their homes.
Josefina must remain a mystery to us as she was to Rizal. While she was in a delicate condition Rizal played a prank on her, harmless in itself, which startled her so that she sprang forward and struck against an iron stand. Though it was pure accident and Rizal was scarcely at fault, he blamed himself for it, and his later devotion seems largely to have been trying to make amends.
The "burial of the son of Rizal," sometimes referred to as occurring at Dapitan, has for its foundation the consequences of this accident. A sketch hastily penciled in one of his medical books depicts an unusual condition apparent in the infant which, had it regularly made its appearance in the world some months later, would have been cherished by both parents; this loss was a great and common grief which banished thereafter all distrust upon his part and all occasion for it upon hers.
Rizal's mother and several of his sisters, the latter changing from time to time, had been present during this critical period. Another operation had been performed upon Mrs. Rizal's eyes, but she was restive and disregarded the ordinary precautions, and the son was in despair. A letter to his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, who was inclined toward medical studies, says, "I now realize the reason why physicians are directed not to practice in their own families."
A story of his mother and Rizal, necessary to understand his peculiar attitude toward her, may serve as the transition from the hero's sad (later) married experience to the real romance of his life. Mrs. Rizal's talents commanded her son's admiration, as her care for him demanded his gratitude, but, despite the common opinion, he never had that sense of companionship with her that he enjoyed with his father. Mrs. Rizal was a strict disciplinarian and a woman of unexceptionable character, but she arrogated to herself an infallibility which at times was trying to those about her, and she foretold bitter fates for those who dared dispute her.
Just before Jose went abroad to study, while engaged to his cousin, Leonora Rivera, Mrs. Rivera and her daughter visited their relatives in Kalamba. Naturally the young man wished the guests to have the best of everything; one day when they visited a bathing place near by he used the family's newest carriage. Though this had not been forbidden, his mother spoke rather sharply about it; Jose ventured to remind her that guests were present and that it would be better to discuss the matter in private. Angry because one of her children ventured to dispute her, she replied: "You are an undutiful son. You will never accomplish anything which you undertake. All your plans will result in failure." These words could not be forgotten, as succeeding events seemed to make their prophecy come true, and there is pathos in one of Rizal's letters in which he reminds his mother that she had foretold his fate.
His thoughts of an early marriage were overruled because his unmarried sisters did not desire to have a sister-in-law in their home who would add to the household cares but was not trained to bear her share of them, and even Paciano, who was in his favor, thought that his younger brother would mar his career by marrying early.
So, with fervent promises and high hopes, Rizal had sailed away to make the fortune which should allow him to marry his cousin Leonora. She was constantly in his thoughts and his long letters were mailed with regular frequency during all his first years in Europe; but only a few of the earliest ever reached her, and as few replies came into his hands, though she was equally faithful as a correspondent.
Leonora's mother had been told that it was for the good of her daughter's soul and in the interest of her happiness that she should not become the wife of a man like Rizal, who was obnoxious to the Church and in disfavor with the government. So, by advice, Mrs. Rivera gradually withheld more and more of the correspondence upon both sides, until finally it ceased. And she constantly suggested to the unhappy girl that her youthful lover had forgotten her amid the distractions and gayeties of Europe.
Then the same influence which had advised breaking off the correspondence found a person whom the mother and others joined in urging upon her as a husband, till at last, in the belief that she owed obedience to her mother, she reluctantly consented. Strangely like the proposed husband of the Maria Clara of "Noli Me Tangere," in which book Rizal had prophetically pictured her, this husband was "one whose children should rule "—an English engineer whose position had been found for him to make the match more desirable. Their marriage took place, and when Rizal returned to the Philippines she learned how she had been deceived. Then she asked for the letters that had been withheld, and when told that as a wife she might not keep love letters from any but her husband, she pleaded that they be burned and the ashes given her. This was done, and the silver box with the blackened bits of paper upon her dresser seemed to be a consolation during the few months of life which she knew would remain to her.
Another great disappointment to Rizal was the action of Despujol when he first arrived in Dapitan, for he still believed in the Governor-General's good faith and thought in that fertile but sparsely settled region he might plant his "New Kalamba" without the objection that had been urged against the British North Borneo project. All seemed to be going on favorably for the assembling of his relatives and neighbors in what then would be no longer exile, when most insultingly, the Governor-General refused the permission which Rizal had had reason to rely upon his granting. The exile was reminded of his deportation and taunted with trying to make himself a king. Though he did not know it, this was part of the plan which was to break his spirit, so that when he was touched with the sufferings of his family he would yield to the influences of his youth and make complete political retraction; thus would be removed the most reasonable, and therefore the most formidable, opponent of the unnatural conditions Philippines and of the selfish interests which were profiting by them. But the plotters failed in their plan; they had mistaken their man.
During all this time Rizal had repeated chances to escape, and persons high in authority seem to have urged flight upon him. Running away, however, seemed to him a confession of guilt; the opportunities of doing so always unsettled him, for each time the battle of self-sacrifice had to be fought over again; but he remained firm in his purpose. To meet death bravely is one thing; to seek it is another and harder thing; but to refuse life and choose death over and over again during many years is the rarest kind of heroism.
Rizal used to make long trips, sometimes cruising for a week in his explorations of the Mindanao coast, and some of his friends proposed to charter a steamer in Singapore and, passing near Dapitan, pick him up on one of these trips. Another Philippine steamer going to Borneo suggested taking him on board as a rescue at sea and then landing him at their destination, where he would be free from Spanish power. Either of these schemes would have been feasible, but he refused both.
Plans, which materialized, to benefit the fishing industry by improved nets imported from his Laguna home, and to find a market for the abaka of Dapitan, were joined with the introduction of American machinery, for which Rizal acted as agent, among planters of neighboring islands. It was a busy, useful life, and in the economic advancement of his country the exile believed he was as patriotic as when he was working politically.
Rizal personally had been fortunate, for in company with the commandant and a Spaniard, originally deported for political reasons from the Peninsula, he had gained one of the richer prizes in the government lottery. These funds came most opportunely, for the land troubles and succeeding litigation had almost stripped the family of all its possessions. The account of the first news in Dapitan of the good fortune of the three is interestingly told in an official report to the Governor-General from the commandant. The official saw the infrequent mail steamer arriving with flying bunting and at once imagined some high authority was aboard; he hastened to the beach with a band of music to assist in the welcome, but was agreeably disappointed with the news of the luck which had befallen his prisoner and himself.
Not all of Dapitan life was profitable and prosperous. Yet in spite of this Rizal stayed in the town. This was pure self-sacrifice, for he refused to make any effort for his own release by invoking influences which could have brought pressure to bear upon the Spanish home government. He feared to act lest obstacles might be put in the way of the reforms that were apparently making headway through Despujol's initiative, and was content to wait rather than to jeopardize the prospects of others.
A plan for his transfer to the North, in the Ilokano country, had been deferred and had met with obstacles which Rizal believed were placed in its way through some of his own countrymen in the Peninsula who feared his influence upon the revenue with which politics was furnishing them.
Another proposal was to appoint Rizal district health officer for Dapitan, but this was merely a covert government bribe. While the exile expressed his willingness to accept the position, he did not make the "unequivocally Spanish" professions that were needed to secure this appointment.
Yet the government could have been satisfied of Rizal's innocence of any treasonable designs against Spain's sovereignty in the Islands had it known how the exile had declined an opportunity to head the movement which had been initiated on the eve of his deportation. His name had been used to gather the members together and his portrait hung in each Katipunan lodge hall, but all this was without Rizal's consent or even his knowledge.
The members, who had been paying faithfully for four years, felt that it was time that something besides collecting money was done. Their restiveness and suspicions led Andres Bonifacio, its head, to resort to Rizal, feeling that a word from the exile, who had religiously held aloof from all politics since his deportation, would give the Katipunan leaders more time to mature their plans. So he sent a messenger to Dapitan, Pio Valenzuela, a doctor, who to conceal his mission took with him a blind man. Thus the doctor and his patient appeared as on a professional visit to the exiled oculist. But though the interview was successfully secured in this way, its results were far from satisfactory.
Far from feeling grateful for the consideration for the possible consequences to him which Valenzuela pretended had prompted the visit, Rizal indignantly insisted that the country came first. He cited the Spanish republics of South America, with their alternating revolutions and despotisms, as a warning against embarking on a change of government for which the people were not prepared. Education, he declared, was first necessary, and in his opinion general enlightenment was the only road to progress. Valenzuela cut short his trip, glad to escape without anyone realizing that Rizal and he had quarreled.
Bonifacio called Rizal a coward when he heard his emissary's report, and enjoined Valenzuela to say nothing of his trip. But the truth leaked out, and there was a falling away in Katipunan membership.
Doctor Rizal's own statement respecting the rebellion and Valenzuela's visit may fitly be quoted here:
"I had no notice at all of what was being planned until the first or second of July, in 1896, when Pio Valenzuela came to see me, saying that an uprising was being arranged. I told him that it was absurd, etc., etc., and he answered me that they could bear no more. I advised him that they should have patience, etc., etc. He added then that he had been sent because they had compassion on my life and that probably it would compromise me. I replied that they should have patience and that if anything happened to me I would then prove my innocence. 'Besides,' said I, 'don't consider me, but our country, which is the one that will suffer.' I went on to show how absurd was the movement.—This, later, Pio Valenzuela testified.—He did not tell me that my name was being used, neither did he suggest that I was its chief, or anything of that sort.
"Those who testify that I am the chief (which I do not know, nor do I know of having ever treated with them), what proofs do they present of my having accepted this chiefship or that I was in relations with them or with their society? Either they have made use of my name for their own purposes or they have been deceived by others who have. Where is the chief who dictates no order and makes no arrangement, who is not consulted in anything about so important an enterprise until the last moment, and then when he decides against it is disobeyed? Since the seventh of July of 1892 I have entirely ceased political activity. It seems some have wished to avail themselves of my name for their own ends."
This was Rizal's second temptation to engage in politics, the first having been a trap laid by his enemies. A man had come to see Rizal in his earlier days in Dapitan, claiming to be a relative and seeking letters to prominent Filipinos. The deceit was too plain and Rizal denounced the envoy to the commandant, whose investigations speedily disclosed the source of the plot. Further prosecution, of course, ceased at once.
The visit of some image vendors from Laguna who never before had visited that region, and who seemed more intent on escaping notice than interested in business, appeared suspicious, but upon report of the Jesuits the matter was investigated and nothing really suspicious was found.
Rizal's charm of manner and attraction for every one he met is best shown by his relations with the successive commandants at Dapitan, all of whom, except Carnicero, were naturally predisposed against him, but every one became his friend and champion. One even asked relief on the ground of this growing favorable impression upon his part toward his prisoner.
At times there were rumors of Rizal's speedy pardon, and he would think of going regularly into scientific work, collecting for those European museums which had made him proposals that assured ample livelihood and congenial work.
Then Doctor Blumentritt wrote to him of the ravages of disease among the Spanish soldiers in Cuba and the scarcity of surgeons to attend them. Here was a labor "eminently humanitarian," to quote Rizal's words of his own profession, and it made so strong an appeal to him that, through the new governor-general, for Despujol had been replaced by Blanco, he volunteered his services. The minister of war of that time, General Azcarraga, was Philippine born. Blanco considered the time favorable for granting Rizal's petition and thus lifting the decree of deportation without the embarrassment of having the popular prisoner remain in the Islands.
The thought of resuming his travels evidently inspired the following poem, which was written at about this time. The translation is by Arthur P. Ferguson:
The Song of the Traveler
Like to a leaf that is fallen and withered, Tossed by the tempest from pole unto pole; Thus roams the pilgrim abroad without purpose, Roams without love, without country or soul.
Following anxiously treacherous fortune, Fortune which e'en as he grasps at it flees; Vain though the hopes that his yearning is seeking, Yet does the pilgrim embark on the seas!
Ever impelled by invisible power, Destined to roam from the East to the West; Oft he remembers the faces of loved ones, Dreams of the day when he, too, was at rest.
Chance may assign him a tomb on the desert, Grant him a final asylum of peace; Soon by the world and his country forgotten, God rest his soul when his wanderings cease!
Often the sorrowful pilgrim is envied, Circling the globe like a sea-gull above; Little, ah, little they know what a void Saddens his soul by the absence of love.
Home may the pilgrim return in the future, Back to his loved ones his footsteps he bends; Naught will he find but the snow and the ruins, Ashes of love and the tomb of his friends.
Pilgrim, begone! Nor return more hereafter. Stranger thou art in the land of thy birth; Others may sing of their love while rejoicing, Thou once again must roam o'er the earth.
Pilgrim, begone! Nor return more hereafter, Dry are the tears that a while for thee ran; Pilgrim, begone! And forget thy affliction, Loud laughs the world at the sorrows of man.
NOTICE of the granting of his request came to Rizal just when repeated disappointments had caused him to prepare for staying in Dapitan. Immediately he disposed of his salable possessions, including a Japanese tea set and large mirror now among the Rizal relics preserved by the government, and a piece of outlying land, the deed for which is also among the Rizalana in the Philippines library. Some half-finished busts were thrown into the pool behind the dam. Despite the short notice all was ready for the trip in time, and, attended by some of his schoolboys as well as by Josefina and Rizal's niece, the daughter of his youngest sister, Soledad, whom Josefina wished to adopt, the party set out for Manila.
The journey was not an uneventful one; at Dumaguete Rizal was the guest of a Spanish judge at dinner; in Cebu he operated successfully upon the eyes of a foreign merchant; and in Iloilo the local newspaper made much of his presence.
The steamer from Dapitan reached Manila a little too late for the mail boat for Spain, and Rizal obtained permission to await the next sailing on board the cruiser Castilla, in the bay. Here he was treated like a guest and more than once the Spanish captain invited members of Rizal's family to be his guests at dinner—Josefina with little Maria Luisa, the niece and the schoolboys, for whom positions had been obtained, in Manila.
The alleged uprising of the Katipunan occurred during this time. A Tondo curate, with an eye to promotion, professed to have discovered a gigantic conspiracy. Incited by him, the lower class of Spaniards in Manila made demonstrations against Blanco and tried to force that ordinarily sensible and humane executive into bloodthirsty measures, which should terrorize the Filipinos. Blanco had known of the Katipunan but realized that so long as interested parties were using it as a source of revenue, its activities would not go much beyond speechmaking. The rabble was not so far-seeing, and from high authorities came advice that the country was in a fever and could only be saved by blood-letting.
Wholesale arrests filled every possible place for prisoners in Manila. The guilt of one suspect consisted in having visited the American consul to secure the address of a New York medical journal, and other charges were just as frivolous. There was a reign of terror in Luzon and, to save themselves, members of the Katipunan resorted to that open warfare which, had Blanco's prudent counsels been regarded, would probably have been avoided.
While the excitement was at its height, with a number of executions failing to satisfy the blood-hunger, Rizal sailed for Spain, bearing letters of recommendation from Blanco. These vouched for his exemplary conduct during his exile and stated that he had in no way been implicated in the conspiracies then disturbing the Islands.
The Spanish mail boat upon which Rizal finally sailed had among its passengers a sick Jesuit, to whose care Rizal devoted himself, and though most of the passengers were openly hostile to one whom they supposed responsible for the existing outbreak, his professional skill led several to avail themselves of his services. These were given with a deference to the ship's doctor which made that official an admirer and champion of his colleague.
Three only of the passengers, however, were really friendly—one Juan Utor y Fernandez, a prominent Mason and republican, another ex-official in the Philippines who shared Utor's liberal views, and a young man whose father was republican.
But if Rizal's chief adversaries were content that he should go where he would not molest them or longer jeopardize their interests, the rabble that had been excited by the hired newspaper advocates was not so easily calmed. Every one who felt that his picture had been painted among the lower Spanish types portrayed in "Noli Me Tangere" was loud for revenge. The clamor grew so great that it seemed possible to take advantage of it to displace General Blanco, who was not a convenient tool for the interests.
So his promotion was bought, it is said, to get one Polavieja, a willing tool, in his place. As soon as this scheme was arranged, a cablegram ordering Rizal's arrest was sent; it overtook the steamer at Suez. Thus as a prisoner he completed his journey.
But this had not been entirely unforeseen, for when the steamer reached Singapore, Rizal's companion on board, the Filipino millionaire Pedro P. Roxas, had deserted the ship, urging the ex-exile to follow his example. Rizal demurred, and said such flight would be considered confession of guilt, but he was not fully satisfied in his mind that he was safe. At each port of call his uncertainty as to what course to pursue manifested itself, for though he considered his duty to his country already done, and his life now his own, he would do nothing that suggested an uneasy conscience despite his lack of confidence in Spanish justice.
At first, not knowing the course of events in Manila, he very naturally blamed Governor-General Blanco for bad faith, and spoke rather harshly of him in a letter to Doctor Blumentritt, an opinion which he changed later when the truth was revealed to him in Manila.
Upon the arrival of the steamer in Barcelona the prisoner was transferred to Montjuich Castle, a political prison associated with many cruelties, there to await the sailing that very day of the Philippine mail boat. The Captain-General was the same Despujol who had decoyed Rizal into the power of the Spaniards four years before. An interesting interview of some hours' duration took place between the governor and the prisoner, in which the clear conscience of the latter seems to have stirred some sense of shame in the man who had so dishonorably deceived him.
He never heard of the effort of London friends to deliver him at Singapore by means of habeas-corpus proceedings. Mr. Regidor furnished the legal inspiration and Mr. Baustead the funds for getting an opinion as to Rizal's status as a prisoner when in British waters, from Sir Edward Clarke, ex-solicitor-general of Great Britain. Captain Camus, a Filipino living in Singapore, was cabled to, money was made available in the Chartered Bank of Singapore, as Mr. Baustead's father's firm was in business in that city, and a lawyer, now Sir Hugh Fort, K.C., of London, was retained. Secretly, in order that the attempt, if unsuccessful, might not jeopardize the prisoner, a petition was presented to the Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements reciting the facts that Doctor Jose Rizal, according to the Philippine practice of punishing Freemasons without trial, was being deprived of his liberty without warrant of law upon a ship then within the jurisdiction of the court.
According to Spanish law Rizal was being illegally held on the Spanish mail steamer Colon, for the Constitution of Spain forbade detention except on a judge's order, but like most Spanish laws the Constitution was not much respected by Spanish officials. Rizal had never had a hearing before any judge, nor had any charge yet been placed against him. The writ of habeas corpus was justified, provided the Colon were a merchant ship that would be subject to British law when in British port, but the mail steamer that carried Rizal also had on board Spanish soldiers and flew the royal flag as if it were a national transport. No one was willing to deny that this condition made the ship floating Spanish territory, and the judge declined to issue the writ.
Rizal reached Manila on November 3 and was at once transferred to Fort Santiago, at first being held in a dungeon "incomunicado" and later occupying a small cell on the ground floor. Its furnishings had to be supplied by himself and they consisted of a small rattan table, a high-backed chair, a steamer chair of the same material, and a cot of the kind used by Spanish officers—canvas top and collapsible frame which closed up lengthwise. His meals were sent in by his family, being carried by one of his former pupils at Dapitan, and such cooking or heating as was necessary was done on an alcohol lamp which had been presented to him in Paris by Mrs. Tavera.
An unsuccessful effort had been made earlier to get evidence against Rizal by torturing his brother Paciano. For hours the elder brother had been seated at a table in the headquarters of the political police, a thumbscrew on one hand and pen in the other, while before him was a confession which would implicate Jose Rizal in the Katipunan uprising. The paper remained unsigned, though Paciano was hung up by the elbows till he was insensible, and then cut down that the fall might revive him. Three days of this maltreatment made him so ill that there was no possibility of his signing anything, and he was carted home.
It would not be strictly accurate to say that at the close of the nineteenth century the Spaniards of Manila were using the same tortures that had made their name abhorrent in Europe three centuries earlier, for there was some progress; electricity was employed at times as an improved method of causing anguish, and the thumbscrews were much more neatly finished than those used by the Dons of the Dark Ages.
Rizal did not approve of the rebellion and desired to issue a manifesto to those of his countrymen who had been deceived into believing that he was their leader. But the proclamation was not politic, for it contained none of those fulsomely flattering phrases which passed for patriotism in the feverish days of 1896. The address was not allowed to be made public but it was passed on to the prosecutor to form another count in the indictment of Jose Rizal for not esteeming Spanish civilization.
The following address to some Filipinos shows more clearly and unmistakably than any words of mine exactly what was the state of Rizal's mind in this matter.
On my return from Spain I learned that my name had been in use, among some who were in arms, as a war-cry. The news came as a painful surprise, but, believing it already closed, I kept silent over an incident which I considered irremediable. Now I notice indications of the disturbances continuing and if any still, in good or bad faith, are availing themselves of my name, to stop this abuse and undeceive the unwary I hasten to address you these lines that the truth may be known.
From the very beginning, when I first had notice of what was being planned, I opposed it, fought it, and demonstrated its absolute impossibility. This is the fact, and witnesses to my words are now living. I was convinced that the scheme was utterly absurd, and, what was worse, would bring great suffering.
I did even more. When later, against my advice, the movement materialized, of my own accord I offered not alone my good offices, but my very life, and even my name, to be used in whatever way might seem best, toward stifling the rebellion; for, convinced of the ills which it would bring, I considered myself fortunate if, at any sacrifice, I could prevent such useless misfortunes. This equally is of record. My countrymen, I have given proofs that I am one most anxious for liberties for our country, and I am still desirous of them. But I place as a prior condition the education of the people, that by means of instruction and industry our country may have an individuality of its own and make itself worthy of these liberties. I have recommended in my writings the study of the civic virtues, without which there is no redemption. I have written likewise (and I repeat my words) that reforms, to be beneficial, must come from above, that those which come from below are irregularly gained and uncertain.
Holding these ideas, I cannot do less than condemn, and I do condemn this uprising—as absurd, savage, and plotted behind my back—which dishonors us Filipinos and discredits those who could plead our cause. I abhor its criminal methods and disclaim all part in it, pitying from the bottom of my heart the unwary who have been deceived.
Return, then, to your homes, and may God pardon those who have worked in bad faith!
Fort Santiago, December 15, 1896.
Finally a court-martial was convened for Rizal's trial, in the Cuartel de Espana. No trained counsel was allowed to defend him, but a list of young army officers was presented from which he might select a nominal defender. Among the names was one which was familiar, Luis Taviel de Andrade, and he proved to be the brother of Rizal's companion during his visit to the Philippines in 1887-88. The young man did his best and risked unpopularity in order to be loyal to his client. His defense reads pitiably weak in these days but it was risky then to say even so much.
The judge advocate in a ridiculously bombastic effusion gave an alleged sketch of Rizal's life which showed ignorance of almost every material event, and then formulated the first precise charge against the prisoner, which was that he had founded an illegal society, alleging that the Liga Filipina had for its sole object to commit the crime of rebellion.
The second charge was that Rizal was responsible for the existing rebellion, having caused it, bringing it on by his unceasing labors. An aggravating circumstance was found in the prisoner's being a native of the Philippines.
The penalty of death was asked of the court, and in the event of pardon being granted by the crown, the prisoner should at least remain under surveillance for the rest of his life and pay as damages 20,000 pesos.
The arguments are so absurd, the bias of the court so palpable, that it is not worth while to discuss them. The parallel proceedings in the military trial and execution of Francisco Ferret in Barcelona in 1909 caused worldwide indignation, and the illegality of almost every step, according to Spanish law, was shown in numerous articles in the European and American press. Rizal's case was even more brazenly unfair, but Manila was too remote and the news too carefully censored for the facts to become known.
The prisoner's arms were tied, corded from elbow to elbow behind his back, and thus he sat through the weary trial while the public jeered him and clamored for his condemnation as the bloodthirsty crowds jeered and clamored in the French Reign of terror.
Then came the verdict and the prisoner was invited to acknowledge the regularity of the proceedings in the farcical trial by signing the record. To this Rizal demurred, but after a vain protest, affixed his signature.
He was at once transferred to the Fort chapel, there to pass the last twenty-four hours of his life in preparing for death. The military chaplain offered his services, which were courteously declined, but when the Jesuits came, those instructors of his youth were eagerly welcomed.
Rizal's trial had awakened great interest and accounts of everything about the prisoner were cabled by eager correspondents to the Madrid newspapers. One of the newspaper men who visited Rizal in his cell mentions the courtesy of his reception, and relates how the prisoner played the host and insisted on showing his visitor those attentions which Spanish politeness considers due to a guest, saying that these must be permitted, for he was in his own home. The interviewer found the prisoner perfectly calm and natural, serious of course, but not at all overwhelmed by the near prospect of death, and in discussing his career Rizal displayed that dispassionate attitude toward his own doings that was characteristic of him. Almost as though speaking of a stranger he mentioned that if Archbishop Nozaleda's sane view had been taken and "Noli Me Tangere" not preached against, he would not have been in prison, and perhaps the rebellion would never have occurred. It is easy for us to recognize that the author referred to the misconception of his novel, which had arisen from the publication of the censor's extracts, which consisted of whatever could be construed into coming under one of the three headings of attacks on religion, attacks on government, and reflections on Spanish character, without the slightest regard to the context.
But the interviewer, quite honestly, reported Rizal to be regretting his novel instead of regretting its miscomprehension, and he seems to have been equally in error in the way he mistook Rizal's meaning about the republicans in Spain having led him astray.
Rizal's exact words are not given in the newspaper account, but it is not likely that a man would make admissions in a newspaper interview, which if made formally, would have saved his life. Rizal's memory has one safeguard against the misrepresentations which the absence of any witnesses favorable to him make possible regarding his last moments: a political retraction would have prevented his execution, and since the execution did take place, it is reasonable to believe that Rizal died holding the views for which he had expressed himself willing to suffer martyrdom.
Yet this view does not reflect upon the good faith of the reporter. It is probable that the prisoner was calling attention to the illogical result that, though he had disregarded the advice of the radical Spaniards who urged him to violent measures, his peaceable agitation had been misunderstood and brought him to the same situation as though he had actually headed a rebellion by arms. His slighting opinion of his great novel was the view he had always held, for like all men who do really great things, he was the reverse of a braggart, and in his remark that he had attempted to do great things without the capacity for gaining success, one recognizes his remembrance of his mother's angry prophecy foretelling failure in all he undertook.
His family waited long outside the Governor-General's place to ask a pardon, but in vain; General Polavieja had to pay the price of his appointment and refused to see them.
The mother and sisters, however, were permitted to say farewell to Rizal in the chapel, under the eyes of the death-watch. The prisoner had been given the unusual privilege of not being tied, but he was not allowed to approach near his relatives, really for fear that he might pass some writing to them—the pretext was made that Rizal might thus obtain the means for committing suicide.
To his sister Trinidad Rizal spoke of having nothing to give her by way of remembrance except the alcohol cooking lamp which he had been using, a gift, as he mentioned, from Mrs. Tavera. Then he added quickly, in English, so that the listening guard would not understand, "There is something inside."
The other events of Rizal's last twenty-four hours, for he went in to the chapel at seven in the morning of the day preceding his execution, are perplexing. What purported to be a detailed account was promptly published in Barcelona, on Jesuit authority, but one must not forget that Spaniards are not of the phlegmatic disposition which makes for accuracy in minute matters and even when writing history they are dramatically ificlined. So while the truthfulness, that is the intent to be fair, may not be questioned, it would not be strange if those who wrote of what happened in the chapel in Fort Santiago during Rizal's last hours did not escape entirely from the influence of the national characteristics. In the main their narrative is to be accepted, but the possibility of unconscious coloring should not be disregarded.
In substance it is alleged that Rizal greeted his old instructors and other past acquaintances in a friendly way. He asked for copies of the Gospels and the writings of Thomas-a-Kempis, desired to be formally married to Josefina, and asked to be allowed to confess. The Jesuits responded that first it would be necessary to investigate how far his beliefs conformed to the Roman Catholic teachings. Their catechizing convinced them that he was not orthodox and a religious debate ensued in which Rizal, after advancing all known arguments, was completely vanquished. His marriage was made contingent upon his signing a retraction of his published heresies.
The Archbishop had prepared a form which the Jesuits believed Rizal would be little likely to sign, and they secured permission to substitute a shorter one of their own which included only the absolute essentials for reconciliation with the Church, and avoided all political references. They say that Rizal objected only to a disavowal of Freemasonry, stating that in England, where he held his membership, the Masonic institution was not hostile to the Church. After some argument, he waived this point and wrote out, at a Jesuit's dictation, the needed retraction, adding some words to strengthen it in parts, indicating his Catholic education and that the act was of his own free will and accord.
The prisoner, the priests, and all the Spanish officials present knelt at the altar, at Rizal's suggestion, while he read his retraction aloud. Afterwards he put on a blue scapular, kissed the image of the Sacred Heart he had carved years before, heard mass as when a student in the Ateneo, took communion, and read his a-Kempis or prayed in the intervals. He took breakfast with the Spanish officers, who now regarded him very differently. At six Josefina entered and was married to him by Father Balanguer.
Now in this narrative there are some apparent discrepancies. Mention is made of Rizal having in an access of devotion signed in a devotionary all the acts of faith, and it is said that this book was given to one of his sisters. His chapel gifts to his family have been examined, but though there is a book of devotion, "The Anchor of Faith," it contains no other signature than the presentation on a flyleaf. As to the religious controversy: while in Dapitan Rizal carried on with Father Pio Pi, the Jesuit superior, a lengthy discussion involving the interchange of many letters, but he succeeded in fairly maintaining his views, and these views would hardly have caused him to be called Protestant in the Roman Catholic churches of America. Then the theatrical reading aloud of his retraction before the altar does not conform to Rizal's known character. As to the anti-Masonic arguments, these appear to be from a work by Monsignor Dupanloup and therefore were not new to Rizal; furthermore, the book was in his own library.
Again, it seems strange that Rizal should have asserted that his Masonic membership was in London when in visiting St. John's Lodge, Scotch Constitution, in Hongkong in November of 1891, since which date he had not been in London, he registered as from "Temple du honneur de les amis francais," an old-established Paris lodge.
Also the sister Lucia, who was said to have been a witness of the marriage, is not positive that it occurred, having only seen the priest at the altar in his vestments. The record of the marriage has been stated to be in the Manila Cathedral, but it is not there, and as the Jesuit in officiating would have been representing the military chaplain, the entry should have been in the Fort register, now in Madrid. Rizal's burial, too, does not indicate that he died in the faith, yet it with the marriage has been used as an argument for proving that the retraction must have been made.
The retraction itself appears in two versions, with slight differences. No one outside the Spanish faction has ever seen the original, though the family nearly got into trouble by their persistence in trying to get sight of it after its first publication.
The foregoing might suggest some disbelief, but in fact they are only proofs of the remarks already made about the Spanish carelessness in details and liking for the dramatic.
The writer believes Rizal made a retraction, was married canonically, and was given what was intended to be Christian burial.
The grounds for this belief rest upon the fact that he seems never to have been estranged in faith from the Roman Catholic Church, but he objected only to certain political and mercenary abuses. The first retraction is written in his style and it certainly contains nothing he could not have signed in Dapitan. In fact, Father Obach says that when he wanted to marry Josefina on her first arrival there, Rizal prepared a practically similar statement. Possibly the report of that priest aided in outlining the draft which the Jesuits substituted for the Archbishop's form. There is no mention of evasions or mental reservations and Rizal's renunciation of Masonry might have been qualified by the quibble that it was "the Masonry which was an enemy of the Church" that he was renouncing. Then since his association (not affiliation) had been with Masons not hostile to religion, he was not abandoning these.
The possibility of this line of thought having suggested itself to him appears in his evasions on the witness-stand at his trial. Though he answered with absolute frankness whatever concerned himself and in everyday life was almost quixotically truthful, when cross-examined about others who would be jeopardized by admitting his acquaintance with them, he used the subterfuge of the symbolic names of his Masonic acquaintances. Thus he would say, "I know no one by that name," since care was always taken to employ the symbolic names in introductions and conversations.
Rizal's own symbolic name was "Dimas Alang"—Tagalog for "Noli Me Tangere"—and his nom de plume in some of his controversial publications. The use of that name by one of his companions on the railroad trip to Tarlac entirely mystified a station master, as appears in the secret report of the espionage of that trip, which just preceded his deportation to Dapitan. Another possible explanation is that, since Freemasonry professes not to disturb the duties which its members owe to God, their country or their families, he may have considered himself as a good Mason under obligation to do whatever was demanded by these superior interests, all three of which were at this time involved.
The argument that it was his pride that restrained him suggested to Rizal the possibility of his being unconsciously under an influence which during his whole life he had been combating, and he may have considered that his duty toward God required the sacrifice of this pride.
For his country his sacrifice would have been blemished were any religious stigma to attach to it. He himself had always been careful of his own good name, and as we have said elsewhere, he told his companions that in their country's cause whatever they offered on the altars of patriotism must be as spotless as the sacrificial lambs of Levitical law.
Furthermore, his work for a tranquil future for his family would be unfulfilled were he to die outside the Church. Josefina's anomalous status, justifiable when all the facts were known, would be sure to bring criticism upon her unless corrected by the better defined position of a wife by a church marriage. Then the aged parents and the numerous children of his sisters would by his act be saved the scandal that in a country so mediaevally pious as the Philippines would come from having their relative die "an unrepentant heretic."
Rizal had received from the Jesuits, while in prison, several religious books and pictures, which he used as remembrances for members of his family, writing brief dedications upon them. Then he said good-by to Josefina, asking in a low voice some question to which she answered in English, "Yes, yes," and aloud inquiring how she would be able to gain a living, since all his property had been seized by the Spanish government to satisfy the 20,000 pesetas costs which was included in the sentence of death against him. Her reply was that she could earn money giving lessons in English.
The journey from the Fort to the place of execution, then Bagumbayan Field, now called the Luneta, was on foot. His arms were tied tightly behind his back, and he was surrounded by a heavy guard. The Jesuits accompanied him and some of his Dapitan schoolboys were in the crowd, while one friendly voice, that of a Scotch merchant still resident in Manila, called out in English, "Good-by, Rizal."
The route was along the Malecon Drive where as a college student he had walked with his fiancee, Leonora. Above the city walls showed the twin towers of the Ateneo, and when he asked about them, for they were not there in his boyhood days, he spoke of the happy years that he had spent in the old school. The beauty of the morning, too, appealed to him, and may have recalled an experience of his '87 visit when he said to a friend whom he met on the beach during an early morning walk: "Do you know that I have a sort of foreboding that some such sunshiny morning as this I shall be out here facing a firing squad?"
Troops held back the crowds and left a large square for the tragedy, while artillery behind them was ready for suppressing any attempt at rescuing the prisoner. None came, however, for though Rizal's brother Paciano had joined the insurrectionary forces in Cavite when the death sentence showed there was no more hope for Jose, he had discouraged the demonstration that had been planned as soon as he learned how scantily the insurgents were armed, hardly a score of serviceable firearms being in the possession of their entire "army."
The firing squad was of Filipino soldiers, while behind them, better armed, were Spaniards in case these tried to evade the fratricidal part assigned them. Rizal's composure aroused the curiosity of a Spanish military surgeon standing by and he asked, "Colleague, may I feel your pulse?" Without other reply the prisoner twisted one of his hands as far from his body as the cords which bound him allowed, so that the other doctor could place his fingers on the wrist. The beats were steady and showed neither excitement nor fear, was the report made later.
His request to be allowed to face his executioners was denied as being out of the power of the commanding officer to grant, though Rizal declared that he did not deserve such a death, for he was no traitor to Spain. It was promised, however, that his head should be respected, and as unblindfolded and erect Rizal turned his back to receive their bullets, he twisted a hand to indicate under the shoulder where the soldiers should aim so as to reach his heart. Then as the volley came, with a last supreme effort of will power, he turned and fell face upwards, thus receiving the subsequent "shots of grace" which ended his life, so that in form as well as fact he did not die a traitor's death.
The Spanish national air was played, that march of Cadiz which should have recalled a violated constitution, for by the laws of Spain itself Rizal was illegally executed.
Vivas, laughter and applause were heard, for it had been the social event of the day, with breakfasting parties on the walls and on the carriages, full of interested onlookers of both sexes, lined up conveniently near for the sightseeing.
The troops defiled past the dead body, as though reviewed by it, for the most commanding figure of all was that which lay lifeless, but the center of all eyes. An officer, realizing the decency due to death, drew his handkerchief from the dead man's pocket and spread the silk over the calm face. A crimson stain soon marked the whiteness emblematic of the pure life that had just ended, and with the glorious blue overhead, the tricolor of Liberty, which had just claimed another martyr, was revealed in its richest beauty.
Sir Hugh Clifford (now Governor of Ceylon), in Blackwood's Magazine, "The Story of Jose Rizal, the Filipino; A Fragment of Recent Asiatic History," comments as follows on the disgraceful doing of that day:
"It was," he writes, "early morning, December 30, 1896, and the bright sunshine of the tropics streamed down upon the open space, casting hard fantastic shadows, and drenching with its splendor two crowds of sightseers. The one was composed of Filipinos, cowed, melancholy, sullen, gazing through hopeless eyes at the final scene in the life of their great countryman—the man who had dared to champion their cause, and to tell the world the story of their miseries; the other was blithe of air, gay with the uniforms of officers and the bright dresses of Spanish ladies, the men jesting and laughing, the women shamelessly applauding with waving handkerchiefs and clapping palms, all alike triumphing openly in the death of the hated 'Indian,' the 'brother of the water-buffalo,' whose insolence had wounded their pride.
* * * Turning away, sick at heart, from the contemplation of this bitter tragedy, it is with a thrill of almost vindictive satisfaction that one remembers that less than eighteen months later the Luneta echoed once more to the sound of a mightier fusillade—the roar of the great guns with which the battle of Manila Bay was fought and won.
* * * And if in the moment of his last supreme agony the power to probe the future had been vouchsafed to Jose Rizal, would he not have died happy in the knowledge that the land he loved so dearly was very soon to be transferred into such safekeeping?"
The After-Life in Memory
An hour or so after the shooting a dead-wagon from San Juan de Dios Hospital took Rizal's body to Paco Cemetery. The civil governor of Manila was in charge and there also were present the members of a Church society whose duty it was to attend executions.
Rizal had been wearing a black suit which he had obtained for his European trip, and a derby hat, not only appropriate for a funeral occasion because of their somber color, but also more desirable than white both for the full day's wear, since they had to be put on before the twenty-four hours in the chapel, and for the lying on the ground which would follow the execution of the sentence. A plain box inclosed the remains thus dressed, for even the hat was picked up and encoffined.