To the Young Women of Malolos
(London, February 22, 1889)
When I wrote Noli Me Tangere, I asked myself whether bravery was a common thing in the women of our people. I brought back to my recollection and reviewed those I had known since my infancy, but there were only few who seem to come up to my ideal. There was, it is true, an abundance of girls with agreeable manners, beautiful ways, and modest demeanor, but there was in all an admixture of servitude and deference to the words or whims of their so-called “spiritual fathers” (as if the spirit or soul had any father other than God), due to excessive kindness, modesty, or perhaps ignorance. They seemed faded plants sown and reared in darkness, having flowers without perfume and fruits without sap. However, when the news of what happened at Malolos reached us, I saw my error, and great was my rejoicing. After all, who is to blame me? I did not know Malolos nor its young women, except one called Emilia, and her I knew by name only. Now that you�ve responded to our first appeal in the interest of the welfare of the people; now that you have set an example to those who, like you, long to have their eyes opened and be delivered from servitude, new hopes are awakened in us and we now even dare to face adversity, because we have you for our allies and are confident of victory. No longer does the Filipina stand with her head bowed nor does she spend her time on her knees, because she is quickened by hope in the future; no longer will the mother contribute to keeping her daughter in darkness and bring her up in contempt and moral annihilation. And no longer will the science of all sciences consist in blind submission to any unjust order, or in extreme complacency, nor will a courteous smile be deemed the only weapon against insult or humble tears the ineffable panacea for all tribulations. You know that the will of God is different of that of the priest; that religiousness does not consist of long periods spent on your on your knees, nor in endless prayers, big rosarios, and grimy scapulars, but in spotless conduct, firm intention and upright judgement. You also know that prudence that does not consist in blindly obeying any whim of the little tin god, but in obeying only that which is reasonable and just, because blind obedience is itself the cause and origin of those whims, and those guilty of it are really to be blamed. The official or friar can no longer assert that they alone are responsible for their unjust orders, because God gave each individual reason and a will of his or her own to distinguish the just from the unjust; all were born without shackles and free, and nobody has a right to subjugate the will and the spirit of another. And why should you submit to another your thoughts, seeing that thought is noble and free? It is cowardice and erroneous to believe that saintliness consists in blind obedience and that prudence and the habit of thinking are presumptuous. Ignorance has ever been ignorance, and never prudence and honor God, the primal source of all wisdom, does not demand that man, created in his image and likeness, allow himself to be deceived and hoodwinked, but wants us to use and let shine in the light of reason with which He has so mercifully endowed us. He may be compared to the father who gave each of his sons a torch to light their way in the darkness bidding them keep its light bright and take care of it, and not put it out and trust to the light of the others, but to help and advice each other to find the right path. They would be madmen were they to follow the light of another, only to come to a fall, and the father could unbraid them and say to them: “Did I not give each of you his own torch,”, but he could not say so if the fall were due to the light of the torch of him who fell, as the light might have been dim and the road very bad. The deceiver is fond of using the saying that “It is presumptuous to rely on one�s own judgment,” but, in my...
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