The Novels of Jose Rizal

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Rizal, for all the agitation his writings produced, never called for outright revolt against the Spanish colonizers. On the contrary, his explicit statements never ceased to sustain the hope that Spain would allow the Philippines the freedom and means to develop its intellectual and material resources within a colonial partnership. A Philippine revolution, in Rizal's view, would be unsuccessful and yet inevitable, should Spain continue to delay in granting the kind of reform that would ensure security, freedom, dignity and education for the Filipinos. If a revolutionary, then, Rizal remained a cautious one to the end of his brief life. Regardless of these reservations on Rizal's part, the Judge Advocate General Pe=F1a, charged with passing the death sentence on Rizal, called him el Verbo del Filibusterismo, meaning, according to the Philippine usage of the time, the "word of insurrectionism" or revolutionary separatism. That Pe=F1a thus identified Rizal as an exponent and leader of the separatists. And although Rizal had discouraged insurrection, his words would later arouse the militant Katipunan ("patriots' league," literally "confederation"), led by Andr=E9s Bonifacio, to take up arms in a violent confrontation that might have forced the departure of the Spanish from the Philippines.

Rizal, to judge from his writing, intended no such effect in his readers; his correspondence reveals why prudence had tempered his indignation against colonial misrule. In a letter written to Dr. P=EDo Valenzuela from his exile in Dapit=E1n in June 1896, the year of his death, Jos=E9 Rizal expressed his views on Philippine revolution in response to Valenzuela's news that an uprising was imminent. Rizal wrote:

That I do not approve. A revolution without arms should not be started against an armed nation. Its consequences will be fatal and disastrous to that country. The Filipinos will necessarily have to lose owing to lack of arms. The Spaniards, once conquerors, will...
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