“The Life of Jose Rizal in the USA”
Rizal first saw America on April 28, 1888. His arrival in this great country was marred by racial prejudice, for he saw the discriminatory treatment of the Chinese and the Negroes by the white Americans. He kept notes of what he observed during his trip from San Francisco to New York, where he took a ship for England. From his notes and his letters to his friends, we get a wealth of first- hand impressions of America, some which were rather unfavorable but true. Rizal was a man of truth, and he wrote what he had seen and experienced. Arrival in San Francisco. The steamer Belgic, with Rizal on board, docked at San Francisco on Saturday morning, April 28, 1888.All Passengers were not allowed to land. The American health authorities placed the ship under quarantine on the ground that it came from the Far East where a cholera epidemic at that time in the Far East. He joined the other passengers in protesting the unjustifiable action of the health authorities. The American consul in Japan had given the ship a clean bill of health, and the British Governor of Hong Kong certified to the absence of cholera cases in China. He soon discovered that the placing of the placing of the ship under quarantine was motivated by politics. The ship was carrying 643 Chinese coolies. At that time public opinion on the Pacific coast was against cheap coolie labor because the coolies from China were displacing white laborers in railroad construction camps. To win the votes of the whites in California (for election was near , the administration impeded the entry of Chinese coolies. Rizal noticed that contrary to quarantine regulation 700 bales of valuables Chinese silk were landed without fumigation, that the ship doctor went ashore without protest on the part of the health officers, and the customs employees ate several times on board the supposedly cholera – infested ship. After a week of quarantine, all first – class passengers, including Rizal, were permitted to land. But the Chinese and Japanese passengers of the second and third class accommodation were forced to remain on board for a long quarantine period. Rizal in San Francisco. On Friday afternoon, May 4,1888, the day he was permitted to go ashore, Rizal registered at the Palace Hotel, which was then considered a first class hotel in the city. On this day, he wrote on his diary: I lodged in Palace Hotel; $4 a day with bath and everything included. Stockton St., 312. I saw the Golden Gate… on Sunday the stores are closed. The best Street in San Francisco is Market Street. Rizal mentioned in his diary the name of Leland Stanford, who was a millionaire senator representing California in the U.S. senate at the time. This senator was the founder and benefactor of Stanford University at Palo Alto, California. Also recorded in Rizal’s diary was a Street – Dupont Street – in Chinatown which is Gant Avenue today. Rizal stayed insane Francisco for two days – May 4 to 6, 1888. The president of the United States at the time was Grover Cleveland. Across the American Continent. On May 6, 1888 – Sunday, 4:30 P.M. – Rizal left San Francisco for Oakland, nine miles across San Francisco Bay, by ferry boat. In Oakland, he boarded the train for his trip across the continent. He took his supper at Sacramento for 75 and slept in his coach. Early the fallowing morning (May 7), he awoke and had a good breakfast at Reno, Nevada, now glamourized by American high- pressure propaganda as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Rizal’s diary recounts his travel observation as follows. Monday, May 7.
I saw an Indian attired in semi- Euro- pean suit, and semi –indian suit, leaning against a wall. Wide desert without plants nor trees. Unpopulated. Lonely place. Bare mountains. Sands. A big extension of white land, like chalk. Far from ths desert can be seen some blue mountains. It was a fine day. It was warm, and there was still snow on the top of some mountains. Tuesday,...
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