JOSE RIZAL, the martyr-hero of the Philippines, was born in Kalamba, on the southwest shore of the picturesque Laguna of Bay in Luzon, June 1861. His father's family began in the Philippines with a Chinaman named Lam Co who came from the Amoy district to Manila possibly because of the political trouble, which followed the conquest of his country, by the Manchu invaders. It was in 1697 that this ancestor whose Christian name was Domingo was baptized in the Parian Church of San Gabriel. At first a merchant, he finally made up his mind to stay in these Islands, and turned farmer to escape the bitter anti-Chinese prejudice which then existed in Manila. Rather late in life he married the daughter of a countryman - who was a dealer in rice and moved into La Laguna province to become a tenant on the Dominican Friars' estate at Biñan. His son, Francisco Mercado y Chinco, apparently owed his surname to the Chinese custom of looking to the appropriateness of the meaning. Sangley, the name throughout all the Philippines for Chinamen signifies "traveling trader" and in the shop Spanish of the Islands "Mercado" was used for trader. So Lamco evidently intended that his descendants should stop traveling but not cease being traders. Francisco Mercado was a name held in high honor in La Laguna for it had belonged to a famous sea captain who had been given the encomium of Bay for his services and had there won the regard of those who paid tribute to him by his fairness and interest in their welfare. Francisco's son was Captain Juan Mercado y Monica and he took advantage of his position to expunge from the municipal records the designation "Chinese matzo" after the names of himself and family. Thus he saved the higher fees and taxes which Chinese matzos then were compelled to pay. The Captain died when his youngest son, Francisco Engrail Mercado y Alexandra, was only nine years old. An unmarried sister, Optician, twenty years older than he, looked after the boy and sent him to the Latin school. Some years later the husband of their sister Patron died and they moved to the neighboring hacienda of Kalamba, also belonging to the Dominican order, to help the widow with her farm. The landlords recognized the industry of the young farmer and kept increasing his hand until he became one of the most prosperous of their tenants. In 1847 his sister Optician died and the following year Francisco married. His wife, Theodora Alonso y Quintus, was nine years his junior and a woman not only of exceptional ability but also with an education unusual for that time in its modernism and liberality. She was of Ilocano-Tagalog-Chinese Spanish descent, possibly having even a little Japanese blood, and her family counted lawyers priests government officials and merchants among its members. They boasted of one representative of the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes, and it is said to have been a youthful ambition of Dr. Rizal to fill some day the same position. A new family name was adopted in 1850 by authority of the royal decree of the preceding year that sought to remedy the confusion resulting from many unrelated Filipinos having the same and a still greater number having no last names at all. The new name, however, was not taken from the government lists but appears to have been selected, as was the old one because of its appropriateness Rizal a shortened form of the Spanish word for "second crop", seemed suited to a family of farmers who were making a second start in a new home. Francisco Rizal soon found that in spite of his legal authority for it the new name was making confusion in business affairs begun under the old name, so he compromised after a few years, on "Rizal Mercado". His mother-in-law, who lived in the neighborhood, at the same time, adopted the name "Rialonda " and her children followed her example. So it was when José Ptotasio Rizal was baptized, the record showed his parents as Francisco Rizal Mercado and Teodora Realonda, another spelling of Rialonda. St. Protasio, the child’s patron, very properly was a martyr, and that a Filipino priest baptized and a secular archbishop confirmed him seem also fitting.
José's mother taught him his letters learned at three and his uncles and an aunt interested themselves in his, training until a young man named Monroy who had studied for the priesthood but never taken the final orders, came into the house as José's tutor. The impression of his first reading lesson, which was the story of the foolish butterfly in Abbé Sabatier's "Children's Friend", was prophetic of a martyr’s fate, for the child envied the insect which had died for the sake of the light. Early the injustices and abuses daily to be seen Kalamba attracted his attention and he wondered if in the land across the lake, which to him then seemed a distant country, the people were happier and the officials less cruel than they were on the shore where his house was. No small part of his childhood training came from listening to the Spaniards officials and priests, who generally were guests in the Rizal home when they visited Kalamba. The parish priest, Father Leoncio Lopez, also made the boy the companion of his walks, and the confidant of views on the injustices done the Filipino clergy. On his pony or root with his dog Usman, José explored all the picturesque region which lies about Kalamba, but his first journey from house was at seven when his family visited Antipolo during the festival in honour of the Virgin "of Peace and Safe Travel" which had been brought from America by an early Spanish governor. Until he went away to school, and then during his holidays at home, entertainments were given the neighbours of Sleight-of-hand tricks and shadow moving pictures. These shadowgraphs were made by paper figures moved by his clever fingers between a lamp and a white curtain. Their novelty and his skill were the subject of village talk that magnified them as it repeated the stories until the boy came to be involved in a sort of mystery. As he became more than a local hero, these tales spread through the archipelago abreast with his growing reputation and were doubtless the foundation for the belief in his miraculous powers which existed the illiterate of his countrymen.
In two years at the Binan Latin School where he lived in the home of an aunt, he got beyond the old schoolmaster, Florentino Aquin Cruz, and returned to Kalamba to wait till he was old enough to go to Manila. After a few weeks in the public School under a Lucas Padua, who had been a student in the Jesuit Normal School, José rested for a while from studying. His unfavorable opinion of the public school and its methods are very apparent however, from frequent references in his writings. His brother Paciano had been studying philosophy in San José College but really had been more interested in the stirring political matters of the day so that it was considered better for José, when he went to Manila, to not go with elder brother. He lived with the keeper of a seminary store in which his mother was a partner through furnishing the capital, and seems first to have been examined in San Juan de Letran College but not to have attended there. This was in June, 1871, and of the rest of that school year there is no record, but college mates say that once in Spain he spoke of having been in the Jesuit Normal and laughed over the recollection of his struggles with Spanish. His Ateneo record shows credit for arithmetic but evidently given for examination on entrance, which was June 15, 1872, and learning Spanish would certainly have been enough work for one year. The first year in Manila was important in Dr. Rizal's education though the knowledge was not gained in school. On January 20, 1872, the liberal ideas that had been rapidly gaining in the Philippines received a terrible setback through an insurrection in Cavite which was made the pretext for removing the progressive leaders though their guilt was never established and the people believed them innocent. Paciano kept his brother posted on the conditions nor did Mrs. Rizal conceal from her sons her interest its the situation and belief that injustice was being done. With the following year, when he entered the Ateneo Municipal, his real schooling began. This school, whose semi-centennial is to be celebrated in 1909 and which has educated the greater part of the leading men of the Philippines of today, had been founded by the Jesuits upon their return to the Islands after nearly a century of banishment. In methods of instruction it was in 1872 the only modern school in Manila, but it was particularly because Filipinos were given the same treatment there as Spaniards that the school was so popular. Hundreds were going as day scholars awaiting a vacancy in the dormitory that they might enjoy the advantages of a boarder. It was not until his fourth year that José's opportunity came. On March 14, 1877, he received his bachelor's degree in Arts with highest honors, having been first in his class in both department and scholarship throughout the course and having won most of the prizes offered by the school. The next year he did double work, taking the first year in philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas and studying agriculture in the Ateneo. This latter course was also completed with highest honors but because he was not yet of the legal age his credentials as "agricultural expert and surveyor" were not issued until two years later. His second, third and fourth years in the Manila university were in medicine and were combined with outside studies in painting, and sculpture, and interest in two societies established by the Jesuits, the Academy of Spanish Literature, of which he was president, and the Academy of Physical Sciences, in which he held the position of secretary. Modeling had come from making masks, or false faces, from clay for which José used to go out to a cousin 5 brick yard at San Pedro Macati, and when younger his play with wax in. Kalamba had been to fashion rude birds. Drawings of men with arms like X's on the margins of his Abbé Sabatier, for which his mother had scolded him, had been followed by drawings in color. One festival day, when an important banner had been lost just before the procession in which it was to be used, young Rizal hastily painted a substitute that the delighted municipal captain said was every bit as good as the original which had come from Manila. From a Spanish translation of the Latin Vulgate his mother had read to him the poetry of the Bible as well as the stories usually told to children and its rich imagery had an impression. Then she had encouraged his efforts at rhyming, which were inspired by the simple verses its Abbé Sabatier "Children's Friend", and at eight, the municipal captain of Paet had bought a Tagalog comedy of his for us much as a farm laborer earned in half a month. Verses to Magellan, to El Cano, a French ode, and a dozen other efforts had given practiced and each was better than its predecessor. At eighteen in a competition held by the "Liceo Artistico Litarario" with the poem "Al Juventud Filipina" (To the Filipino Youth) he won the special prize for "indians" and mestizos. The next year the same lyceum in a contest in honor of Cervantes allowed Spaniards mestizos andindians all to enter the same competition The first prize for prose was awarded José Rizal's "Consejo de los dioses (Council of the Gods)" and the jury gave it another special prize as the best critical appreciation of the author of "Don Quixote." At the public meeting in the old Variandades theatre, Governor General Primo de Rivera presented to the young student the gold ring bearing a bust of Cervantes which had been won by him as "one who had honored Spain in this distant land", to quote from the newspaper account. Everybody had expected this prize to be won by Friar Evaristo Arias, one of the most brilliant literary men the University of Santo Tomas had ever had on its faculty, and there was astonishment and disappointment among his friends who were present to applaud his triumph when the award of the jury and the opening of the envelopes revealed the success of an unknown medical student. Naturally, as the Jesuits and Dominicans were rivals in school work, there was corresponding elation in the Ateneo and among its friends for, though Rizal was a student the procession in which it was to be used, young Rizal hastily painted a substitute that the delighted municipal captain said was every bit as good as the original which had come from Manila. From a Spanish translation of the Latin Vulgate his mother had read to him the poetry of the Bible as well as the stories usually told to children and its rich imagery had an impression. Then she had encouraged his efforts at rhyming, which were inspired by the simple verses its Abbé Sabatier "Children's Friend", and at eight the municipal captain of Paet had bought a Tagalog comedy of his for us much as a farm laborer earned in half a month. Verses to Magellan, to El Cano, a French ode, and a dozen other efforts had given practiced and each was better than its predecessor. At eighteen in a competition held by the "Liceo Artistico Litarario" with the poem "Al Juventud Filipina" (To the Filipino Youth) he won the special prize for "indians" and mestizos. The next year the same lyceum in a contest in honor of Cervantes allowed Spaniards mestizos andindians all to enter the same competition The first prize for prose was awarded José Rizal's "Consejo de los dioses (Council of the Gods)" and the jury gave it another special prize as the best critical appreciation of the author of "Don Quixote." At the public meeting in the old Variandades theatre, Governor General Primo de Rivera presented to the young student the gold ring bearing a bust of Cervantes which had been won by him as "one who had honored Spain in this distant land", to quote from the newspaper account. Everybody had expected this prize to be won by Friar Evaristo Arias, one of the most brilliant literary men the University of Santo Tomas had ever had on its faculty, and there was astonishment and disappointment among his friends who were present to applaud his triumph when the award of the jury and the opening of the envelopes revealed the success of an unknown medical student. Naturally, as the Jesuits and Dominicans were rivals in school work, there was corresponding elation in the Ateneo and among its friends for, though Rizal was a student Paciano encouraged him and so did Antonio Rivera, a distant cousin of his mother's in whose house he had been living and to whose beautiful daughter, a few years younger than himself, he was engaged. Nor did his old professors in the Ateneo, of whom he sought advice, try to dissuade him.
So, on May 5, 1882, after he had been recalled by cipher telegram from Kalamba where he had been staying for a short visit, he embarked for Singapore on the mail steamer "Salvadora" and after the six day that the journey then took he transferred to a foreign passenger ship that carried him to Barcelona. There was quite in distinguished passenger list of returning officials and their families among whom Rizal figured, according to his passport, as "José Mercado a native of the district of Santa Cruz." Paciano furnished the funds but as soon as his father learned of José's going he arranged to send him money regularly through Antonio Rivera. This roundabout way was necessary as life would not have been pleasant for any provincial family known to have sent one of its sons abroad to be educated, especially for a family like the Mercado’s who were tenants on an estate which was part of the university endowment. From Barcelona Rizal quickly went to Madrid and continued his double course in philosophy and letters and in medicine. Besides he found time for more lessons in drawing and painting, and studied languages under special teachers. In l884 he received the degree of Licenciate in Medicine and the following year, on his twenty-fourth birthday, the like degree in Philosophy and in Letters, and with highest honors. On the voyage to Spain or just after arrival, Rizal wrote and sent back to a Manila Tagalog daily an article on love of native land, and he continued to write for the paper during the short time it lived. The Filipino students in Spain knew Rizal by reputation, many of them had been schoolmates of his, and they enthusiastically welcomed him, but in their gayety he took no part. He recognized in everything else to have money to spend on books and his first purchases included "Picturesque America", "Lives of the Presidents of the United States", "The Anglo-Saxons", "The English Revolution” and other indications that then, as he said later, "the free peoples interested him most." The affectation and love of display of some of his countrymen disgusted him and at the same time convinced him of a theory he later declared in regard to race prejudice. This same disgust, he reasoned, is felt toward the ostentatious new-rich and the braggart self-made man, only these when they come to their senses are no longer distinguishable from the rest of the world while the man of color must suffer for the foolishness of his fellows. So he who by nature was little inclined to be self-conceited, boasting or loud came to be even more unaffected, simpler in dress and reposeful in manner as he tried to make himself as different as possible from a type he detested. Yet this was at no sacrifice of dignity but rather brought out more strongly his voice of character. His many and close friendships with all who knew him, and- that his most intimate friends were of the white race, (one of his Spanish jailers even asked to be relieved of his charge because the association was making him too fond of his prisoner) seem to show that Dr. Rizal's theory was right. One day, after an association aimed to help the Philippines had gone to pieces because no one seemed willing to do anything unless he were sure of all the glory, some of the students met in an effort to revive it. The effort was not successful and then Rizal proposed all joining in a book, illustrated by Filipino artists, to tell Spain about the real Philippines. The plan was enthusiastically received but though there was eagerness to write about the "The Filipina Woman" the other subjects were neglected. Rizal was disappointed and dropped the subject. Then he came across, in a secondhand bookstore, a French copy of "The Wandering Jew" and bought it to get practice in reading the language. The book affected him powerfully and he realized what an aid to the Philippines such a way of revealing its wrongs would be, but he dreaded the appearance of self-conceit in announcing that he was going to write a book like Eugene Sue's. So he said nothing to any one, yet the idea of writing Noli Me Tangere was constantly in his mind from the night of January of 1884 when he finished the French novel. During his stay in Madrid, Dr. Rizal was made a freemason in Acacia Lodge No. 9 of the "Gran Oriente de España" at whose head was then Manuel Becerra, later Minister of Ultramar, or Colonies. Among the persons with whom he thus became acquainted were Manuel Ruiz Zorilla, Praxedes M. Sagasta, Emilio Castelar and Victor Balaguer, all prominent in the politics of Spain. However slight the association, it came in the formative period of the young student's life and turned his thoughts into constructive lines rather than destructive. He no longer thought only of getting rid of Spanish sovereignty but began to question what sort of a government was to replace it. At Barcelona he had seen the monument of General Prim whose motto had been "More liberal today than yesterday, more liberal tomorrow than in today" yet he knew how opposed the Spanish patriot had been to a Spanish republic because Spaniards were not prepared for it. So he resolved to prepare the Filipinos and the campaign of education that he saw being waged by Spaniards in Spain Rizal thought would be no more unpatriotic or anti-Spanish if carried on by a Filipino for the Philippines. Already he had become convinced of one political truth that was to separate him from other leaders of his countrymen, that the condition of the common people and not the form of the government is the all-important thing. From Madrid, after a short trip through the more backward provinces because these were the country regions of Spain and so more fairly to be compared with the Philippines, Dr. Rizal in 1885 went to Paris and continued his medicine studies under an eye specialist. Association with artists and seeing the treasures of the city's rich galleries also assisted in his art education. For the political part Masonry again was responsible. The Spanish Masonry of which Rizal was a member but held relations with a rival organization over which Prof. Miguel Morayta presided did not recognize the Grand Orient of France. So in Rue Cadet 16 he was initiated into this irregular body, which had been responsible for the French Revolution, and, because it did not require of its adherents belief in God, was an outcast in the Masonic world. There he heard much of the "rights of man" and again had it impressed upon him that it was the liberty of the people and not the independence of the government that made freedom. The next year found Rizal in Germany, studying ophthalmology and enrolled as a student of law in the famous university at Heidelberg. During the vacation he visited Wilhelmsdorf and compared its simple villagers with the country folk of his own land. At this time he became acquainted with the great Masonic poet Goethe and from the Wilhelm Meister series, apparently among the most treasured books in his library, Dr. Rizal learned that man has duties as well as rights, So as a Mason he came to be of the philosophic school of the Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon peoples rather than of the political kind common in the Latin countries. Leipzig was his next home and for its "Illustrated News" he wrote interestingly of his summer in Wilhelmsdorf. Here he met Dr. Jaegor in whose "Travels in the Philippines" he had read ten years before that "the Americans are evidently destined to bring to a full development the germs originated by the Spanish." With the great geographer he discussed the education and training needed to prepare his countrymen successfully to compete with an energetic, creative and progressive nation, for he recognized the justice of the criticism that his countrymen had dreamed away their best days. Dr. Virchow, probably the best known scientist of that time, was another new acquaintance, destined to become, a close friend, By him Rizal was introduced into the Berlin Ethnographical Society and ten years later when the society was mourning the loss of the member whose illegal execution by the Spanish they considered a murder it was Dr. Virchow who presided in the memorial services.
At Leipzig, the cheapest publishing place in the world, was printed the novel "Noli Me Tangere", a title giving in Latin the Tagalog idea of cancer - the untouchable disease. This social cancer of the Philippines was the union of church and state, which the censorship did not permit to be touched in speech or print. A Filipino friend, Dr. Maximo Viola, found Rizal without resources and almost suffering, but with the plan of a book at last accomplished. He loaned the money and by cutting many pages the work was lessened in cost so an edition of 2000 copies could be issued. Many different opinions of "Noli Me Tangere" have been expressed but America's foremost literary critic, the novelist W. D. Howells, certainly has not left his judgment in doubt: "I don't know whether it ought to be astonished or not that a little saffron man somewhere in that unhappy archipelago should have been born with a gift so far beyond that of any or all of the authors of our roaring literary successes, but these things are strangely ordered by Province, and no one who has read this pathetic novel ca deny its immeasurable superiority. The author learned his trade from the modern Spanish novelists, but he has gone beyond them in a certain sparing touch with which he presents situation and character by mere statement of fact, without explanation or comment. It is great novel, of which the most poignant effect is in a sense of unimpeachable veracity." Rizal succeeded in his task for he has rivaled the work of Sue and the story dominates one from the first. Of it the author wrote in answer to attacks on its literary faults that it was not written to gain him admission into the Spanish Academy and that it could only be judged by its results. Single handed it destroyed Spain's prestige in the Philippines and laid bare to the world in all its hideousness the rottenness of the Philippines administration. Much of the book is personal experience. The unjust treatment of his mother when no sooner was one accusation proven without cause than another equally groundless was substituted, is the foundation for a similar statement about Ibarra's father. Mrs. Rizal was persecuted successively during four years with seven charges, including cruelty, theft and attempted murder of a relative and in no case was any evidence presented but the malice of the provincial judge convicted while the supreme court as soon the matter came to it each time ordered the dismissal of the charge. Once an appeal was taken because of the evident prejudice of the judge and when the order of the Supreme Court came down sustaining the charge of prejudice the judge imprisoned the defendants and their attorney for contempt of court. The Supreme Court upheld his position. The rich man whose property was eaten up in litigation was Dr. Rizal's half-uncle, at one time the richest man in Biñan. He was a knight commander "de numero" of the American order of Isabel the Catholic and a knight of the order Carlos III, the first for loyalty and the second for charity, but both really bought to help him in his law suits. Captain Tiago, the gobernadorcillo of the mestizos, had many points in common with Rizal's own maternal grandfather whose house in Calle Anloague is described in the book. A relative, still living, who came to see the Doctor about her eyes during his short stay in Kalamba, asked if it was true that she was original of Doña Victorina and her cousin answered, "The book is but a mirror; if you recognized your perfection it must be you". The story was true and though its reading was prohibited no book has ever circulated so widely in the Philippines or so influenced its people. Rizal said he aimed to lift a little the veil that covered his country's ills, sacrificing all to truth, even pride-itself. He planned a series of ten volumes, one of which was to be published each year. "Noli Me Tangere" has two English translations, "An Eagle's Flight" and "Friars and Filipinos", neither of which is complete, and "The vision of Friars Rodriguez" which Rizal wrote in answer to the attacks on the book has also been translated. A French edition and five Spanish editions have been published and parts have at various times been printed in a number of different languages. Until now no Tagalog translation has appeared but one of its, as well as of "El Filibusterismo," has recently been announced by the family to be in preparation.
In the summer of 1887 Dr. Rizal returned for some months to the Philippines. Conditions were favorable to his coming as many high in authority at that time were liberally inclined. The Gran Oriente de España had two lodges in Manila, Luz de Oriente, which was presided over by an army surgeon, and Regularidad whose master was an official of the Supreme Court. These were both composed of Spaniards and very few Filipino masons were then to be found in the Islands. His first operation as an oculist was to remove a double cataract and so restore the sight of his mother. Then in the land troubles at Kalamba he suggested to the tenants that they ask in the lawsuits that the landlords show their deeds. This he knew these would be unwilling to do because they were claiming more land than their deeds covered. Also he got the town to report the full amount of rents paid so that the landlords would have to pay taxes which before they had been escaping. The litigation had arisen from refusals to sign new and one-sided contracts, in which the Rizal family led the tenants. For some time back Dr. Rizal's father had been in disfavor with the hacienda owners through denying to the manager a present of a turkey once when a epidemic had reduced his flock to only a few birds. He had been accustomed to make such gifts at the official's request so that individual became angry and raised the rent, doubling it. Again he doubled it when he found the first raise did not cause Francisco Rizal-Mercado to come begging forgiveness, but his tenant was not of the kind that looked out for self-interest when he considered himself in the right. He stood up for his rights and the courts justified his position. Legally he won but an abuse of authority by an unscrupulous governor general cost him his property. Yet he never seemed to regret his stand and never asked sympathy. The governor general, who had given Rizal a lieutenant of the Civil Guard as a bodyguard, found it difficult to protect him and, after six months, advised him to leave. In the interview the governor general spoke of having been interested in reading the extracts from "Noli Me Tangere" quoted by the censor in the petition for the book's prohibition, and requested a copy. His betrothed, Leonore, whom he idealized in the "Maria Clara" of "Noli Me Tangere," through the withholding of Rizal's letters and by representations that he no longer thought of her had been persuaded to marry a young English engineer. She found out the deception and died shortly after.
Rizal returned to Europe by way of Japan, where for a month he was a guest in the Spanish consulate in Yokohama, and through America that he crossed from San Francisco to New York. As always, he compared the new sights with the familiar scenes of his own land. The banks of the Hudson did not seem so animated as those of the Pasig and for him Niagara, though awe-inspiring, did not have the delicate charm of the waterfalls of La Laguna. Once on the other side of the Atlantic he went to London and in the British Museum copied Morga's account of the Philippines from a rare volume and annotated it with a mass of information gained from the wealth of references available there. In Paris he finished the work and it was published, only to be put in the Philippine list of prohibited books. Then in Belgium "El Filibusterismo" was written, a sequel to "Noli Me Tangere." The Morga tells what the Philippines were at the beginning of Spanish rule and makes an effort to prove that in three centuries they have gone backward. Of course that could not be proven but it was a forcible way of showing how little Spain had really done. The Noli gave a picture of modern conditions in the Philippines under Spanish rule, and "El Filibusterismo" showed what must be the future unless policies were changed. Morga's history with Rizal's notes in English is published in the Blair-Robertson historical collection, and a large part of "El Filibusterismo" appears in Leroy's "Philippine Life in Town and Country." His "Views on Race Differences", originally in German, were published with a translation of Blumentritt's biography in Singapore in 1898 and a better translation by R. L. Packard has been reprinted from the "Popular Science Monthly." In all his writings were keen criticism of Filipino shortcomings but these were unheeded and today the books are supposed to have served their usefulness. There are admirers of Rizal who chew betel nut, fight roosters, follow caciques and neglect work with never a thought that he scored their type as unmercifully as ever he did unworthy friar of dishonest official. The friar is no longer a landlord and the "Guardia Civil" is out of the land but it is more popular apparently to remember Rizal's views of these than his opinions on men and conditions whose like are still with us. For some time Rizal had contributed to a newspaper in Madrid which was the organ of the Filipinos in asking reform of abuses and seeking more liberal government for the Archipelago. The "La Solodaridad" was supported by subscription from the Islands but Dr. Rizal felt that it was following rather a policy to get money to keep it going afford maintenance for its promoters than trying to do what would be most beneficial to the Philippines, so he severed his relationship and left the paper entirely in the hands of Marcelo H. del Pilar and his followers. He no longer cared for representation of the Islands in the Spanish Cortes for he feared the men who would be sent might not be disinterested patriots. He realized education of the people was necessary so that the masses should not be at the mercy of a few leaders.
To understand Rizal's relations with these leaders whose ideals culminated in the Katipunan it must be borne in mind that del Pilar and his associates were protégés of Prof. Morayta, the grand master of the "Gran Oriente Español". This organization was a rival of, and radically different from, the body to which Dr. Rizal adhered in that it was essentially political. In the disturbances Masonic conditions in Spain it finally triumphed over its more conservative competitor and came to have the field itself. It started lodges in the Philippines of Filipinos and to these its leaders kept sending appeals for money to be used in gifts and banquets to curry favor with influential persons in Madrid. Its early Philippine experiences were unfortunate in frequent charges that money raised was misapplied and that considerable sums never passed from the hands of the collectors.
INJUSTICE WITH RIZAL’S FAMILY
His family had more trouble over their land without waiting for the outcome of the lawsuit the Governor General, no more remembered for his honesty in the Philippines than he is in Cuba for his humanity. "Butcher" Weyler, had sent troops to Kalamba. The litigants were told they must carry away their buildings and sugar mills but could bring them back again should the lawsuits be decided in their favor. As this meant the destruction of their improvements naturally no one removed anything and, under protection of his soldiers by Weyler's authority, all the houses were torn apart valued at about 150,000 pesos. Twenty-five Kalambans, including Rizal's father, brother, brothers-in law and two sisters were banished to a distant part of the Archipelago, by Weyler's order. Dr. Rizal went to Hong Kong and, from there, asked permission of his parents and of the new governor general, Despujol, to return to the Islands. Meantime he practiced medicine in Hong Kong. He wrote, too, some articles on the Kalamba trouble for the "Hong Kong Telegraph" and made a short visit to British North Borneo. There he obtained the promise of land for a Filipino colony through the influence of his recommendations from Europe, especially of his London friend, Dr. Roth, editor of Truebner's Monthly of which Rizal had contributed while in England. Despujol was proving the best governor general the Philippines had had in many years and Rizal wrote to him again, expressing appreciation of his work and notifying him of his own intention of returning to take his relatives to North Borneo. The governor general's reply, through the Spanish consul of Hong Kong, was that any one who observed the laws might live in Philippines but with the scarcity of labor there was little patriotism in taking any of its people to foreign lands.
Rizal left in Hong Kong, two letters to be opened after his death. The one to the Filipino people said that there were those who no longer permitted him to serve the Philippines, an illusion to the jealousy of the del Pilar faction, so his duty was now to his family who had suffered so much and through his death possibly these could live in their own country undistributed. Then there would be higher respect, too, for Philippine patriots, and evidently he considered these did not stand very high then, if one should show enough disinterested patriotism to die for his country. The letter to the family regretted their sufferings but showed no regret over his own troubled life or the prospect of his death.
BANISHMENT TO DAPITAN
The confidential file of Despujol is now public to prove that there was a trap laid for Rizal. He brought with him to Manila a scheme for a cooperative society to develop resources of the Philippines after the plan of Spain's Masonic cooperative society, C. Kadosh y Compañia, which he had worked out at the suggestion of J.M. Basa, a Cavite '72 exile resident in Hong Kong. After Rizal had seen the Governor General and received the pardon of his brother and sisters who had been ordered into banishment in the South by Weyler, he took a trip up the new railway, then completed as far as Tarmac, and showed himself greatly interested in the progress Masonry was making among Filipinos. In Manila he was the guest of honor at a banquet given by the masters and wardens of the Filipino lodges and he had frequent consultations with the leading members. These activities can hardly be called political and the Masons suffered in the Philippines through the arbitrary power of unfriendly governors the society was not an unlawful one. In the provinces Rizal seems to have been investigating the scandals connected with the raising of funds for propaganda. He had personally been a heavy sufferer as of the considerable amounts received from sales of "Noli Me Tangere" only a few pesos ever came to him. While able to make a good living by his profession, he had saved over 5000 dollars during half-a-year's practice in his '87 visit, he gave his time to the cause of his country with a disregard for money which did not characterize all of his compatriots. So he was popular and it was easy to raise subscriptions in his name, the more often than not the funds never came into his possession. The subject of a Filipino colony in British North Borneo was taken up with his numerous relatives, most of whom had suffered persecution for the relationship, and he proposed to charter a ship to take them all to al land not far from their old home but where they would live under a free government. "New Kalamba" was to be the name of the colony and the British government had made very liberal concessions so that by industry they could soon have homes as good as those they were abandoning because the law's injustice was making the Philippines intolerable. Especially was the contract of the English law system with the Spanish judicial iniquity pointed out as an inducement. Dr. Rizal during all these journeys was constantly watched and the houses he visited were immediately afterwards searched, but it was not until the visits had been finished that he was arrested. A memorandum in Governor General Despujol's handwriting still remains in the government archives to prove the unfair treatment planed for Rizal. The Governor General says he has heard that Dr. Rizal had been naturalized as a German subject and wants a legal opinion as to whether in that event he could be held a prisoner without a trial. He must have found out that Rizal was still a Filipino and so subject to his arbitrary power for the arrest was made and no trial or even hearing ever took place. The charge was the pretended finding of five circulars entitled "Poor Friars" in the roll of bedding used by his sister on the steamer, a discovery reported to have been made in the custom house examination of the baggage, Rizal was ordered banished to Dapitan, in Northern Mindanao, while Dispujol wrote an apologetic decree which he commanded should not be shown to Rizal and evidently only intended for effect in Hong Kong. The newspapers there, however, were so outspoken that the Spanish consul found it necessary to assure them that Dr. Rizal was being treated with every consideration. The British consul general is said to have urged very strongly that he was at a loss to understand severe treatment without trial of a gentlemen whom his government had found worthy of the confidence shown in the North Borneo arrangement. Rizal in Dapitan was given considerable liberty. He had his medical practice and put up a small hospital, bought a farm and planted on an ambitious scale, and carried on a school for fourteen boys of the neighborhood. The dam built by Dr. Rizal and his pupils, pioneers in industrial education in the Philippines, with the conduit supplying Dapitan with water and the raised map of Mindanao in the town plaza, as well as the exile's house, have recently been placed in a national reservation by the Commission in the exercise of its delegated power from the President. Besides he made natural history collections that he exchanged with European friends for late books in science. He started a study, in English, of the Tagalog language because apparently he believed that of the European languages the English construction most nearly resembled his native tongue. He carried on, too, a discussion about religion with one of the Jesuit Fathers whom he had known at the Ateneo. A little occurrence during this time shows something of Rizal's genius for learning languages. In addition to acquaintance with Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Arabic he could use Spanish, French, German, and English almost equally well, and read easily in Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese and Italian. He could act and did as interpreter in Japanese, could make himself understood in Canton, Amoy and Mandarin Chinese, in Catalan Spanish and had studied Malay and the Polynesian languages, besides translating the poetry of Schiller into his native Tagalog and knowing a good deal of Bisayan and some Ilocano. So it is no wonder that from a stray novel in that language which happened to come in to his hands in Dapitan he picked up Russians. As a linguist he was the marvel of his teachers both in the Philippines and in Europe. Attempts were made by his friends to communicate with him but he no longer would take any action in politics. With his retirement the del Pilar influence had become all-powerful and from it had grown up an active revolutionary society with the common people and the new society told its members that he was their honorary president, hanging his portrait in the meeting room. Finally those who had been paying said it was time something else should be done. A Dr. Valenzuela with a blind man to give an excuse, was sent to Dapitan to interview Rizal about a rebellion, but was so hotly upbraided for daring to use the Dapitan exile's name in such a mad enterprise that he hastily returned to Manila. He reported the failure of his mission to his chief, Andres Bonfacio, but the warehouse porter, who had gone revolution-mad from reading about France's reign of terror, said Rizal was a coward and forbade his lieutenant speaking to any one else of the matter Valenzuela, however, did in confidence tell a few and the Katipunan lost a number of members. Rizal had tried to have his place of banishment changed to Northern Luzon, principally for the benefit of his health, and the denial of his petition he ascribed to the influence of Filipino politicians who feared that with the return of the people's idol, which they knew Rizal was, they would lose their importance. Dr. Blumentritt, an Austrian professor who was the most intimate of his friends, wrote that there was great suffering among the Spanish soldiers, so Dr. Rizal offered his services to Governor General Blanco to go to Cuba as a volunteer surgeon, a service of humanity which he considered a doctor's duty though undoubtedly in the warfare his sympathies were with the Cubans.
With the acceptance of the offer he was transferred to Manila and while on board a cruiser in the harbor awaiting the sailing of the mail steamer for Spain, the Katipunan revolt broke out. Nevertheless he was placed on the next boat with letters of recommendation praising his exemplary conduct as a prisoner and especially mentioning that he deserved the more credit that he was in no way concerned with the recent uprising. He was a passenger and went ashore at Singapore but refused to remain in that English territory saying his conscience was clear and he had no motive to flee. Pedro P. Roxas, who did desert the ship there and urged Rizal that in times of danger Spain forgot justice in her fear, lived to see his prophecy realized and was later acquitted of all guilt by an investigation held after the excitement had subsided.
A cablegram from Manila led to Rizal's arrest shortly after the streamer reached the Mediterranean, so he was placed on the returning steamer at Barcelona. In Singapore, his London friends, led by Dr. Regidor, made an effort to save him by cabling a firm of lawyers there to apply for a writ of habeas corpus, but the steamer flew the Spanish royal flag and was carrying troops so that the court held it was not a merchant ship that would be subject to British law but a war vessel which remained Spanish wherever it was. Had Dr. Rizal ever been brought before a British court he would have gone free for only in Spain of all nations claiming to be civilized did the charges against him constitute a crime, "carrying on an anti-religious and anti-patriotic campaign of education" (poor propagandas anti-religious y anti patriotic as). Three times hated England tried to aid him; with the consul general's protest against his imprisonment without trial: when an Englishwomen sought an interview in Madrid with the Queen Regent and on being refused waylaid the Queen's carriage in her drives to cry out, "Justice, madam, for poor Rizal"; and this third time when the greatest safeguard of Anglo-Saxon liberty was invoked in his behalf. Manila had been frightened by the insurrection and in their fear the authorities blindly resorted to their old policy of trying to strike terror. The jails were crowded, executions were made public demonstrations of patriotism and Poliavieja, an ardent terrorist, superseded the only man, Blanco, who had had the courage to remain calm. Under these circumstances Rizal was brought to trial before a military court and was even denied the right of counsel, for he was only permitted to choose his advocate from a list of strange young Spanish officers who were untrained in the law. Fortunately one was the brother of his bodyguard on his first return home and this Lieutenant Luis Taviel de Andrade did all intelligence and devotion could do to get a fair trial for the stranger dependent on his chivalry. It took real courage to make such a defense as he did in so unpopular a cause. But the result was never in doubt. Dr. Rizal was brought back to be shot and the trial was a sorry farce. The charge was that José Rizal Mercado was the principal organizer and the soul of the insurrection in the Philippines, a founder of societies, newspapers, and books devoted to favoring and making public rebellious and seditious ideas among the people, and the chief of filibusterism in the country. Witness were examined to give testimony against him only to have evidence of his entire ignorance of the plan made plain and to escape this embarrassment the court said it was not necessary to hear any more testimony, the charges had been sufficiently proven. No mention was made of the unsuccessful attempt to torture Paciano Mercado into admitting that he and his brother knew of the insurrection, though the use of the thumbscrews and hanging him by the arms had taken place in Manila just after Dr. Rizal had sailed for Spain. In those days the Doctor answered very frankly except where others were concerned. The use of symbolic names among his Masonic acquaintances made it possible for him to say in many cases that he did not know any one of such a name. At the other times his memory was made the excuse for not caring to answer, but where it concerned himself there were no subterfuges. The man whose word so sacred to him that he would not take any of the many chances to escape offered during his years in banishment disdained any attempt at deception. He had said that his conscience was clear and in his trial he seemed only anxious that his real position should be understood. In fact he asked permission to address a proclamation to the rebels in the field who had been deceived into insurrection by the fraudulent use of his name, and when the prosecutor read it that zealous official added it as another proof of disloyalty. It urged that they disband now, for they were unfitted for independence and should first educate and fit themselves before they attempted to separate from Spain. There was no cringing or denying of responsibility but neither was there any bravado. Rizal's additions to his defense were as clearly reasoned and dispassionate as though he were debating with a friend and not on trial for his life. No time was lost neither in convicting him nor in confirming the military court's decision but he was sentenced to be shot on December 30, 1896. Just after Rizal became aware of his sentence to death but before his transfer to the chapel he wrote the poem now famous as "The Final Farewell." It was copied on a small sheet of notepaper, folded lengthwise into a narrow strip and then doubled and wedged inside the tank of a little alcohol lamp on which his cooking in the cell had been done. At the farewell to his sister Trinidad while in the chapel he said: "I have nothing to give you as a souvenir except the cooking lamp Mrs. Tavera gave me while I was in Paris." And then so the guard might not understand he said in a low tone, in English, "There is something inside." The lamp was taken with his other belongings from the fort and it was not until the night of the second day after his death that it was deemed safe to investigate. Then when the verses were found they were immediately copied and the copy without comment mailed to Hong Kong. There they were published. But Rizal had time to polish the poetry a little and through another channel safely sent the revised poem so the morning after his death copies of it were found on the desks of prominent Filipino sympathizers. He had been a prisoner in Fort Santiago, at first "incommunicado" in one of the dungeons and later in a cell on the ground floor. After his sentence he was removed to the fort chapel with troops on guard in the courtyard in front of it. The military chaplains offered services that he courteously declined but later Jesuits came, from his old school, whom he warmly welcomed. These brought a little wooden image of the Sacred Heart which, as a schoolboy, he had carved with a penknife during playtime and had put up inside the door in the dormitory. During all the twenty years it had stayed in the same place for Rizal was no only the favorite of his fellows as a student but had remained the hero of the Ateneo boys up to that time. The recollection of his happy school days brought up memories of when for his exemplary conduct he had been a leader in the Marian Congregation, and of the verses he had written in honor of the Virgin. The Archbishop required a retraction before he could receive the consolations of his religion and several forms were proposed. Practically every victim of political persecution had left a retraction couched in such language that its spontaneousness was always questions. The one dictated for Rizal was no exception and the Jesuits knew he would never sign it so they substituted a form of their own, giving what was essential for reconciliation with the Church and worded in a way that would not recall the differences Rizal had had with some of its ministers. With its ideas the prisoner was satisfied but he very reasonable argued that unless in his style no one would believe that he had changed the habit of a lifetime in its last moments. To this request the Jesuits say they agreed and the retraction was re-worded by him. Unfortunately the original has been lost and that it was ever made was disputed at the time it was first published. No one of his family was permitted to see. Nevertheless the attending circumstances all argue in favor of its having been made. Strongest of all is the testimony of the Jesuits who were not mixed up in the politics of that time when church and state were so interwoven that it was argued that no one could be a good Catholic who was not a good Spaniard. Two copies, differing only in phraseology, have been published. Of these the one telegraphed to Madrid and published in "El Imparcial" on December 31st, 1896, seems to be more Rizal's style and is free from those formal church terms which he would have been likely to avoid. There is in it nothing he could not have signed in Dapitan when he was expressing his religious views to Father Pastells. But then a political recantation as well as a religious reconciliation was desired. The retraction reads:
"I declare myself a Catholic. I want to live and die as a Catholic. I retract all my heart whatever I have said or written or done against the Church and our Lord Jesus Christ. I give up Masonry which is an enemy of the Church." "The head of the diocese may publish this retraction, which I make of my own accord, to repair as far as may be possible the scandal caused by my writings and by my acts. May all men forgive me for the injury which I have caused to many." After his confession Dr. Rizal was married to Josephine Bracken, the adopted daughter of a Hong Kong retired engineer who had come to Dapitan to see if there was any cure for his lost sight. Rizal had fallen in love with the girl, who was ten years younger than him, and had asked her to stay in Dapitan until they could be married but though authorized by law there was no provision in the Philippines for civil marriage and so there was no chance for the ceremony until this reconciliation with the church. His wife, the daughter of an Irish sergeant in the British army in India and, to judge by her features, an Indian mother, was also of his faith. The belief that Mrs. Rizal was an Eurasian is borne out by the fact that she was educated in the Italian convent of Hong Kong which has so many of that mixed blood. Her adopted mother, Mrs. Taufer, from whom she took her middle name of Leopoldine, was Portuguese, and through her knowledge of that language she found Spanish ways to learn. If she had not known Rizal personally she at least knew of him while he was practicing medicine in Hong Kong. It was now morning and after a short interval the march to the place of execution, on the Luneta, was begun, on foot and with a heavy escort of soldiers. In the same place where the three priests had been killed in 1872 and where his very-very-great-grandfather had his rice store, two centuries back, beside a bastion of the same name he had given to Kalamba in the novel for which he was dying. Jose Rizal with a pulse that beat as naturally as ever was shot by Filipino soldiers behind whom stood Spanish soldiers to see the order was unhesitatingly obeyed. The request that he might not be shot from the back because he was neither a traitor to Spain nor to his own country was refused. A powerful effort of the will in falling led the victim to turn himself so as to fall with his face to the sky. So the Spanish soldiers saw him as they filed past his dead body and the cheers for Spain and the triumphal music of the band as it played theMarch of Cadiz did not prevent a feeling of admiration for the brave man. Spain's was a brief triumph, for the first anniversary of his death was celebrated by desecrating his grave, the second found it decorated, and each succeeding year has seen an increased importance given to the day which has become the great holiday of the Philippines. The martyr's body was put in an unmarked grave in Paco cemetery but a way was found to have a small marble stone, bearing his initials in reversed order, dropped in with the coffin's remains. Within less than two years, on the first day of American occupation, the body was raised for a more decent interment and the marble slab rests for a more decent interment and the marble slab rests under a cross bearing only the date "Dec. 30, 1896". The ashes have since been put in an urn of Philippine woods carved by the skillful hands of Dr. Rizal's instructor in carving, and will be finally deposited in what will be by far the finest of Manila's monuments, the 100,000 peso memorial which is to mark the place where he gave his life for his country. His widow joined the insurgents at Cavite, and later returned to Manila and then to Hong Kong where in 1898 she was married to a Filipino student from Cebu. She taught in the public schools of Manila in 1901, and in the following year died in Hong Kong and is buried there in the Catholic part of Happy Valley cemetery beside the monument of her adopted father, George Taufer, the blind man, who was an American. Dr. Rizal's father survived him but a year, but his mother still lives and not long ago refused a proffered pension from the Assembly with the statement that she did not believe in paid patriotism and was content that her son had done his duty. Of the numerous Rizal relatives there seem to be none in politics but all are industrious and seeking to bring about the independence of their country in the way their distinguished kinsman recommended, working to increase its wealth and availing themselves of every opportunity for education. A new province bears Doctor Rizal's name, his picture appears upon the most generally used values of postage stamps and paper money, every town in the Philippines has its Rizal Street or Rizal Square, Manila has a flourishing Rizal University, a Rizal Ateneo and a Rizal Business College, and his birthday is getting to be observed as well as the day of his death, but Filipinos are forgetting the lessons he taught and remembering him to keep alive old prejudices which no longer serve any useful purpose. Self-control, industry and education are still as necessary to good citizenship as they were in the days of Spain. The evils of cock-fighting, the folly of long, high sounding speeches in which nothing is said, and the utter incongruity of pretending to honor the memory of a Rizal and then elevating an Andres Bonifacio to the dignity of a national hero, are more timely topics than discussing the friar landlord after he has parted with his lands, and more profitable than vainglorious parades of empty patriotism.
The man who works is a better patriot than the one who talks of the past and dreams of the future. The real reverence for Rizal is not shown in December 30th processions but in heeding his teachings and following his example from January 1st to December 31st, inclusive. Reading supplemented the more modern methods of the Jesuit schooling and prepared him for education abroad so that he seems to have entered into the spirit of free institutions and talks of liberty with a realization of its responsibilities that is absent from the beautiful dreams of most writers of Latin countries. Could the magic of his name cause the Spanish-trained generation of Filipinos to study and heed the lessons he prepared for them these Islands might enjoy without delay that prosperity and free government for which otherwise they must wait till power comes into the hands of the schoolchildren who are now through a democratic education acquiring the sense of responsibility and regard for the rights of others which Dr. Rizal recognized as essential to the success of popular government.