Letters Exchanged Between José Rizal and Other Reformers - 1888 (July to December)
The Philippines in a crisis – A communication of Acting Governor General Moltó concerning the prestige of the religious orders – Fr. Salvador Font’s censure of the Noli – Grand reception of Rizal’s book in Germany, according to Blumentritt who is translating it into German.
The Philippines in a crisis – A communication of Acting Governor General Moltó concerning the prestige of the religious orders – Fr. Salvador Font’s censure of the Noli – Grand reception of Rizal’s book in Germany, according to Blumentritt who is translating it into German.
2-3o Ramblas Canaletas, Barcelona
4 July 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My very esteemed Friend,
On this date I am sending, consigned to Mr. Luna, the works of Larra in accordance with your suggestion in your letter of the 27th of last month. You have noting to thank me for; my greatest desire is to be useful to you in something.
It goes as parcel post. I took the liberty of writing to this gentleman advising him of the remittance.
The Philippines is going through a crisis. According to what my friends tell me, they are making an effort to give news of robbery, hold-ups, and assaults which the newspapers are stressing, especially La Oceanía, which hardly carries any other thing daily. All this is to be able to declare Manila and other provinces in a stage of siege for the purpose of driving away reputable residents and enlightened citizens. They send me a copy of the communication that Acting General Moltó sent to the provincial governors, immediately after Terrero had life, which is as follows:
The religious orders are constituted under the protection of the laws, of tradition, and of national sentiment. It is the duty of my office to guarantee their rights so that their mystic character may be respected and their high prestige may be maintained so long as their rights are confined to their own sphere, in the atmosphere of concord and evangelical peace with which priesthood surrounds them.
The General Government is inspired by this criterion. Without concealing from you the fact that for sometime now the respect and veneration that the natives owe their parish priest have weakened, I advise Your Lordship through the means at your command and by the methods you deem convenient, as by means of persuasion, or admonition, in the province under your command, to endeavor to raise the prestige of the clergy to the height that it always occupied in this Archipelago, not only for the august mission that its sacred ministry represents but that it would be impolitic any way to impair the prerogatives of an element that symbolizes so many glories (!) and through whose Christian (!!) endeavors the peoples submitted willingly that the sword of our conquerors subjected by force.
I leave to Your Lordship’s clear judgment, recognized zeal, and patriotism the enforcement of my instructions in the form and manner that will not give the clergy a motive to go beyond the limit in matters alien to their ministry that Your Lordship with your customary energy would know how to repress. This Superior Government wishes at the present time to identify itself with the design of the Government of Her Majesty whose policy, frankly liberal, ample, and progressive but adapted to places and circumstances, is always of attraction, assimilation, and concord. Please advise me in the shortest possible time of the receipt of this present communication.
Pedro Serrano and other friends send you their fond greetings.
Enclosed I send you a clipping of a little article that I published in La Publicidad, which made it its own, thanks to your kindness. Mr. Eusebio Corominas, manager of this newspaper, sends you his affectionate regards.
Have you heard of Fr. Salvador Font’s censure of the Noli me tángere?
In the name of the colony I ask you if you are not planning to visit this city during the Exposition. All of us would be glad to be able to embrace you.
I am sending you also my photography. I hope you will send me yours.
Mr. Blumentritt has already informed me of the grand reception that the Noli me tángere had in Germany on which I have congratulated myself. This good and learned professor also told me that he was busy translating it into German.
At your pleasure, command your friend.
I request you to advise me promptly whether you have received the book or not.
Photographs of Luna’s paintings – He may go to London to sell some of his paintings – When is Rizal going to write the second part of his beautiful satire? (Noli me tángere)
175 Boulevard Pereire, Paris
5 July 1888
Ventura has already cashed the money order, according to what he told me yesterday, so then I am sending you the enclosed second order. I shall do with your books what you tell me in your post card. I have not received them until this date.
When I shall have photographs of my paintings, I shall send them to you.
I know nothing extraordinary from Manila. Outside of family news, I have no mail at all. What I do receive is the Dario de Manila that my brother-in-law has the kindness to send me. I read it to inform myself of some news of Madrid.
Are you thinking of settling on the land of the red coasts? (01) I figure out that if you continue there, you will devote yourself to business.
Perhaps I may go there too, but much later, for the purpose of selling some oil paintings. We shall see what will come out of my project; this is just between us.
They have also told me that you are going to write the second part of your beautiful satire (i.e. the Fili). When are you going to let me read it?
Regards from Paz and kisses from my little boy, and you know that here you may command.
Ever yours affectionately,
Paz is somewhat indisposed; she has had an abortion of two months. If she continues otherwise, our little house will soon be too small. Well, well, I must paint much.
General Moltós temporary administration was fatal to the Philippines – Rizal’s trip had not been useless – Effect of Rizal’s visit to some families in Manila.
45 Rue de Maubeuge, Paris
Mr. José Rizal y Mercado
Dear Friend Pepe,
Many thanks for the 20 pounds that I received this morning. I have taken advantage of your offer by sending you a telegram, because precisely I did not receive funds by the mail that arrived here on Thursday, and according to my cousin, in chare of sending them to me, I shall not receive any until the next mail.
Today is a bad day in Paris because the third payment to the landlords is due today.
I shall not be able to pay you these five hundred francs until after twenty days. However, tell me frankly if you need them before that, because in this case, we shall resort to extraordinary means. What a nice return trip you have made, and now, more than ever I regret not having made it with you. But my friend, with my brother’s composure nothing can be planned. What could have been accomplished in one month actually took four months and a half.
I can tell you very little about Manila, because neither do they write me much. It is known that General Moltó’s temporary administration of one month had been fatal for us. The curate of Binondo was replaced; the question of burial is back to what it was before the decree – prohibiting the entry of corpses in the churches.
Much is expected of the governor general (01), but I fear that all hopes may be dashed, for he has made the trip with a bishop and naturally the latter would not have wasted his time.
The fellow countrymen who came with me is from my province, Eusebio Panlilio, third-year law student, who is going to Barcelona to finish his studies.
With regard to news about you, I can only tell you that there was much talk about the farewell tendered you, each one commenting on it in his own way, our people favorably, and the others trying to discredit you and divest the event of importance.
By what I have heard, your trip has not been useless for according to a mutual friend of ours, there is a radical change in the families you used to visit with in Manila, some of whom would not even like to hear Mass now. What do you think?
When you come, we shall talk about many things that should not be written down.
Affectionate regards from Elisa and you receive a close embrace of your friend.
I have not received the letter you said you have written me; tell me to where you addressed it.
(01) Valeriano Weyler, the Governor General (1888-1891)
The Mother Country ought to be satisfied because she has sons who love her – Who is Plaridel? – Fr. Font’s
[London, 21 July 1888]
Mr. Mariano Ponce
2-3o Rambla de Canaletas
I received the Publicidad (01) that you sent me as well as Larra’s big book. I am very grateful to you for this and for that of Piping Dilat. (02) Our country ought to rejoice because her sons who know how to love her are beginning to appear. Who is Plaridel? I am grateful to him also. Fr. Font’s letter has gladdened me; I should like to include it in the new edition of my book. Could you send me other issues of Publicidad, because I am going to send to Blumentritt this issue that you have sent me? Many thanks. Later I am going to write long. Greet all for me.
Laong Laan (José Rizal)
This is a postal card without a date, but the post office stamp says: London, N.W. – 12 – July 21 – 88 (Ed. Of the Epistolario Rizalino)
(01) Publicidad was a periodical published by Prof. Miguel Morayta at Barcelona, which was pro-Filipino.
(02) Pseudonym of Marcelo H. del Pilar (1850-1896), Filipino lawyer, writer, and reformer.
Rizal receives Larra’s work – Relates his hurried departure from the Philippines – Amusing incident on the boat – Impressions of America – Lauds Plaridel’s patriotic labors.
London, 27 July 1888
37 Chalcot Crescent
Mr. Mariano Ponce
My distinguished Friend and Fellow Countryman:
Many thanks for the things you have promptly sent me, like your photograph, the book, newspapers and speeches of the Filipinos on the occasion of Weyler’s arrival.
I cannot send you yet my photograph because I have none; the one I have was taken sometime ago and I wish to present you with a new one. Larra’s book pleased me much, but I find that he is a failure in his dramas. Is Marcelo del Pilar in Barcelona or did he send his article from Manila? This is what it seems to me. I appreciate this so much that when the second edition is published I will have Father Font’s (01) review printed at the beginning of the work. Thus, we shall appear to posterity as two good friends and let it judge and condemn us.
I am going to tell you in a few words what has happened to me since my departure from Manila. As I was still sick when I embarked, I got very seasick aboard. We touched Emuy but I did not go down because it was raining and I have been told that it was very cold there and dirty. We went to Hong Kong, which pleased me. There I met various important Spaniards, one of whom was Baranda, who had been secretary of General Terrero, they say. We were together many days and we went together with Basa to visit the Portuguese colony of Macao and Mr. Lecároz (02) in whose house we stayed. Lecároz, like Basa and other Filipinos of Hong Kong, are partisans and advocates of the Noli me tángere. In Hong Kong I inquired into important matters; for example, the wealth of the Dominicans, (who turned out to be the largest shareholders of the Arsenal established there), their missions and those of the Augustinians, etc., etc. There I met Mr. Balbino Mauricio (03) – an unfortunate man who deserved a better lot – whose acquaintance was useful to me because it prepares me for my end that can be much worse than his. Iriarte (04) was also very friendly towards me, helping me in every way and accompanying me everywhere. The young men who are studying there generally are good patriots. In Hong Kong I had also the opportunity to study Chinese customs and the Chinese theatre. After about fifteen days I left for Japan. Again I got quite seasick and I arrived at Yokohama on 28 February (1888). A few minutes after reaching the hotel, when I had not yet had time to tidy up, I received a call for an interview from the Spanish chargé d’affaires. They were very kind, making me many proposals including staying at the Spanish legation. After various excuses, I accepted the offer, because, if there purpose is to watch e, I had nothing to fear. I lived therefore in the legation over a month. I toured some provinces of Japan, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of the chargé d’affaires, and other times with the interpreter. There I studied Japanese and a little about their theatre. I received many offers of employment that I declined and sailed for America.
In the boat I met a semi-Filipino family, the mother being the daughter of an Englishman, Jackson by name. They brought a servant from Pangasinan. The son asked me if I knew Richal, author of Noli me tángere. I answered yes, smiling like Aladdin in Florante. As they spoke well of me I revealed my identity for it was impossible for them not to find out my name during the voyage. The lady complimented me, etc., etc.
In this voyage I did not get seasick. I got acquainted with a Japanese who was going to Europe after having been imprisoned for being a radical and director of an independent newspaper. As the Japanese spoke only Japanese I served him as an interpreter until our arrival at London.
I visited the largest cities of America with their big buildings, electric lights, and magnificent conceptions. Undoubtedly America is a great country, but it still has many defects. There is no real civil liberty. In some states a Negro cannot marry a white woman, nor can a Negress marry a white man. Because of the hatred of the Chinese, other Asiatics, like the Japanese, being confused with them, are likewise disliked by the ignorant Americans. These customs are excessively strict. However, as they say rightly, America offers a home to the poor who like to work. There was also much arbitrariness; for example, when we were in quarantine. They placed us under quarantine, in spite of the clearance given by the American consul, of having been at se for about one month, of not having had a single case of illness aboard, and of the telegram of the governor of Hong Kong declaring that port free from any epidemic. We were quarantined because 800 Chinese were on board and, as the elections in San Francisco were approaching, the government wanted to boast that it was taking strict measures against the Chinese to win votes and the people’s sympathy. We were informed of the quarantine verbally, without specifying its duration. However, on the same day of our arrival, they unloaded 700 bales of silk without fumigating them; the ship’s doctor went ashore; many customs employees ate on board, including an American doctor from the hospital for cholera victims. We were in quarantine for about thirteen days. Afterwards only the passengers of the first class were allowed to land; those of the 2nd and 3rd classes – Japanese and Chinese -- remained for an indefinite period. It is said that in that way they got rid of about 300 Chinese, letting them gradually die on board. I don’t know if it is true.
I crossed America: I saw Niagara, the majestic cascade. I was in New York, a big city. But there everything is new. I visited some relics of Washington, the great man whom I believe has no second in this century.
I sailed for Europe on board the City of Rome, considered to be the second largest boat in the world today. A newspaper was published on board towards the end of the voyage. I got acquainted there with many people and as I was carrying a yo-yo the Europeans and the Americans marveled as to how I could use it as an offensive weapon. Also I could talk with them in their respective languages.
If you write to Plaridel, please tell him that I rejoice with our country and all our good countrymen that we are united and solid so that we can help one another. His articles seem to me very well written and not only I should be grateful to him but all our fellow countrymen, because all of us work for our country and our pen writes not for anybody but for our motherland. On the day when all Filipinos should think like him and like us, on that day we shall have fulfilled our arduous mission, which is the formation of the Filipino nation.
That is all, thank you for everything, and I bid you goodbye.
Your friend who esteems you,
Serrano has a school in Binondo – Incidents in the hearing on the petition for the expulsion of the friars – News about various friends – Viado is imprisoned on account of the Noli.
My ever-dear Laong Laan,
In my previous letters to Naning I always requested him to send you the mail after he has read it so that you may be informed of everything that is going on here.
Now, I make this letter pass through your hands so that you may take note of it before sending it along. In this way, I save myself from writing much, for I have no time.
Serrano got second place in the competition held and now lives at 12 Joló, Binondo, where he has a school. The poor one has not finished settling with the censor about his book.
The celebrated petition for the expulsion of the friars has given birth to many incidents that are extremely curious to the history of the Philippine judiciary.
Instead of dealing with it administratively Mr. Terrero, while he was still here, endorsed the petition of the Audiencia. The first judge was . . . . Mr. Sunye charged the signers with the crime of holding a secret meeting. After a few days, Galvan replaced the judge to whom Doroteo Cortés objected. At that time there was only one imprisonment, that of Doroteo José, gobernadorcillo of the natives of Santa Cruz. (01)
After Galvan, Mascarós succeeded. He threw out the charge of secret meeting and advanced that of offence against constituted authority (that of the Archbishop). At this time Terrero left and Vice Governor General Moltó became acting governor general. Immediately there was whispered about, spreading among the masses in the city of Manila, a thousand harrowing varieties of deportation, executions by the garrote and shooting that they said Moltó was planning with the friars in revenge. Five successive telegrams were sent via Hong Kong to Her Majesty the Queen informing her of the schemes and the armed conspiracy that the friars are plotting with Moltó in their frequent meetings held by them at Navotas, Malinta, and Lolomboy.
In the meantime some gobernadorcillos who showed their loyalty to the authorities in the question of burials were being removed from office.
One Saturday, eve of the day . . . when the friar simulacra, feigning an uprising, was to take place. Providence, who watches over our holy cause and his faithful children, willed that Her Majesty send over a telegraphic dispatch ordering Mr. Moltó to turn over his office to Mr. Lobatón, naval commander. This made general Moltó hold over until after the arrival of Weyler.
As it was to be expected, these occurrences, disconcerted the weak among us; and Doroteo José, Celestino Aragon, and Justo Trinidad, who at the beginning already were feeling triumphant, were frightened.
Mascarós and Galvan quarreled, because the latter, according to what they say, did not want to share with the first absolutely any of the 10,000 (pesos) that had been received from the friars. For this reason, the two, who were formerly intimate friends, separated.
Then the defense lawyer, who was Pilar, presented a plea of lack of jurisdiction and for the nullification of the proceedings, asking at the same time that before proceeding against the informers, the crime denounced be clarified.
The judge, seeing this attitude and with the purpose of getting also something for himself, decided to satisfy the friars by making use first of the threat against the accused signers; but as this procedure did not produce the desired result, he changed his plan. Deceiving them he promised to drop the case provided they withdraw the plea of lack of jurisdiction and for nullification of proceedings. Though he might wish to drop the case, he could not do it, because he had no jurisdiction. In fact they withdrew and thus the special court acquired a jurisdiction that it did not have, recognized if not expressly but in a tacit manner by the incident of withdrawal. Having done this, the judge resigned. Mr. Gómez Planas assumed the office.
He, in turn, cast aside the incident and advanced the charge of falsification against the signers. However, according to the definite rules of the present penal code on falsification of public or official documents, only those cited in a judicial decree apply. On the 11th instant a total of eleven gobernadorcillos entered prison: Doroteo José and Félix del Rosario, residents of Santa Cruz, Celestino Aragón of Malate, Vélez of Paco, Timoteo Lanuza of Binondo, Bladomero Cacnio of Navotas, and others whose names I don’t know. After holding them incommunicado for three days, that is, on the 13th instant, they seized Pedro Alvarez, a private citizen, and held him incommunicado also.
In the afternoon of the same day, Doroteo José was removed from the prison cell and accompanied by the Special Judge Gómez Planas, Prosecuting Attorney Abdón Gonzales, a Filipino, Abraham García, clerk of the court, and the lieutenant of the civil guard of Quiapo, Mr. Raez, they went to Serrano’s house at 12 Joló to search his papers. As Serrano was out of the house, his wife refused to open the dressers and writing desk. The judge told her that he would do it as judge and sent for a carpenter. Before the carpenter’s arrival, Serrano came. He was asked to show the two permits for the feasts of two barrios of Santa Ana, Manila, which, according to Doroteo José were in his possession.
As Serrano replied that he could not do so because he did not have them nor did he know about them, they threatened him with deportation to Joló or Paragua, and they proceeded to search his house. I do not know what remote or close relation can two permits for feats have to do with the case of falsification. Blessed judge!
The judge, seeing that this time they remained equally firm, he used first threats, the cajolery, and promises, for some days. Six were incommunicado, namely, Pedro Alvarez Santos, Doroteo José, Félix del Rosario, Vélez, Celestino Aragón, and José . . . .
Frightened or bought they declared what the judge wanted, that is, they said that if they made the petition it was because Messrs. Quiroga and Centeno knew about it and these two threatened them if they would not sign, which is a lie.
What is certain is that Doroteo José, brother-in-law or uncle-in-law of Moreno Lacalle, professor of law at the University, seems to have been won by this with many promises, among others, to provide him with money to enable him to escape to another country; and going up from one convent to another in the company of the prison warden, he himself accused Pedro Alvarez by showing his correspondence to the judge.
It was luck that the other six, who were Lanuza, Cadorniga, Cacnio, one from Sampaloc, one from San Miguel, and other one, supported the case and appealed against the conduct of the first six prisoners. It seems that this ought to encourage the weak, for now they are planning to challenge the judge and retract what they had said.
In truth, looking at it well, . . . . . . . . . is to justify what the first declared against Terrero and others who were not concerned with it. Public opinion is inflamed against these apostles. If they can extricate themselves from prison, they cannot escape public execration (= denouncement) and they have lost . . . . . . . . . . . and friends.
In spite of the pressure that the curates exert upon the signers, I believe that they realize that their future is becoming dark. As the parish census diminishes from day to day, the sumptuous funeral rites are disappearing. These measures increase the number of indifferent persons. Are they trying to compel us to resort to violent measures?
Your compadre Teo has been in prison for a month for this same reason – the petition.
And so you may have an approximate idea of the state of mind of this community, I enclosed a poem written by a young woman of . . . . . . . . . years who leads a group of young women of Malolos.
Overlook it if until now we have not been able to send you another remittance of money. Epizooty (disease caused by parasites), which decimated our cattle, the financial crisis, and the lawsuit have exhausted our funds. However, we shall try what is humanly possible and we shall explore other means. Have a little patience and all this will be remedied.
Mr. Manuel Crisóstomo was one of those removed by Moltó. Now Mr. Gatmaytan, his brother-in-law, is occupying the first place in the ternary (threefold ranking). The curate of Malolos is working against him, but he has not yet succeeded to remove him. Mr. Laong Laan, now we are, now we live.
Pardo (Trinidad) no longer makes visits and I believe he will soon leave the Subdelegación de Medicina. They have demanded of him I don’t know what things, not to say he is persecuted. The consequent troubles for all those who are strangers in their own country. You have said the truth.
Viado (02), a student of medicine, was imprisoned for your novel. Serrano at last is released, but expelled from teaching. He appealed to His Excellency Governor-General Weyler who ordered him to study again so that he would not lose his profession.
My regards and embraces and may Providence keep you.
Simon l’Aktaw (Pedro Serrano Laktaw)
01 Name of one of the districts of Manila.
02 Laureano Viado.
Sends Rizal copy of Fr. Font’s review of Noli – Reports of insurrection plotted by the friars – Resignation of liberal-minded governor general Emilio Terrero – Filipino colony at Barcelona eagerly awaits Rizal – M. H. del Pilar (Plaridel) is still in the Philippines.
Barcelona, 2 August 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My dear Friend and Countryman:
I received your letter dated 27 July and I thank you very much for the account of your journey.
I have the pleasure to enclose a true copy of the articles that compose the analytical part of Fr. Font’s review. In the next mail you will receive the continuation.
I am enclosing also an article entitled Filipinas ante la opinion.
I do not know what truth there is in the news that I read in a daily newspaper in this city, El Noticiero Universal, entitled “Noticias de Filipinas,” a clipping of which is enclosed. If the news is true, we have reason to rejoice. What intrigues me is that in the letters that the 1st mail brought me they did not tell me anything about this.
After Terrero’s (01) departure, black clouds appeared in the Philippine horizon. Muffled rumors regarding a sham insurrection prepared by the friars to ruin their enemies spread all over the capital and provinces. All of which confirmed the friar threats and beforehand the future victims were marked, assuring that Moltó’s (02) administration would leave a dreadful memory in the country.
Luckily he was sick, or pretended to be so, upon seeing the resolute attitude of the country and gave up the command to General Lobatón. Weyler arrived some days later and the country breathed. The monastic sham collapsed. General Weyler has not yet expressed his views. It is not know to which side he will lean. This is what friends write me from there.
Are you not planning to come to Barcelona and see the Exposición Universal? The Philippine colony in this capital is yearning to embrace you personally and has asked me to give you the message.
Marcelo del Pilar is in the Philippines, in the province of Bulacan, from which place he sent me the articles. In the letter I sent him in the last mail, I had the pleasure to convey your message.
All our countrymen greet you.
Your affectionate friend and countryman embraces you.
01 Emilio Terrero y Perinat, Governor General, (1885-1888), was liberal minded and liked by the Filipino reformers
02 Antonio Moltó, Vice Governor (Segundo Cabo), became acting governor for a very short time. He resigned on account of ill health, and Federico Lobatón took his place until Valeriano Weyler arrived.
Rizal’s friends are alarmed by his silence – The Spanish government awards the Grand Cross of Isabela the Catholic to Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt
2-3o Rambla Canaletas, Barcelona
16 August 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My very esteemed Friend and Countryman,
Enclosed I am sending you a copy of the analytical portion of Fr. Font’s censure of Noli me tángere whose conclusion you will receive shortly.
For some weeks I have not heard anything from you and we would be deeply sorry if your silence might be due to some lamentable misfortune. Neither has our mutual and good friend Blumentritt received a letter from you for some days, and he is somewhat alarmed as we are, as he himself tells me in his letter. He informs me besides that he has just been decorated by the Spanish Government with the Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic.
Awaiting impatiently news from you, your true friend and countryman embraces you and kisses your hand.
A novelist is responsible only for the words that he says are his—The Country is beginning to show her hatred of the friars and civil guards – Send copies of Noli to Manila – The new Tagalog orthography.
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, London
18 August 1888
My dear Friend,
Many thanks for your kindness in having sent me the analytical criticism of the blessed Fr. Font. What a father and what a criticism! If the author of a novel had to be responsible for the sayings of his characters, holy God, to what end would we come! Because, following this system, the opinions of Fr. Dámaso would be mine, the manners of the alférez mine, the piety of Capitán Tiago mine. Fr. Font ought to remember a little of rhetoric which says that a novel is a type of prose fiction in which characters speak and also the author. It is evident that the author is responsible only for the words that he says are his and the events and circumstances will justify the sayings of the characters; otherwise it would te a tiquis miquis (01) if the different opinions of the characters are attributed to the author.
The news that Noticiero Universal (02) publishes smack of friar origin. Whether they are true or not, a fact always shines through them and it is that the country is beginning to manifest her hatred of the friars and civil guards, and as I believe having said, they will be the wick, the casus belli (the provoking event leading to a certain uprising.
Please send me by mail two or three copies of the Noli, if it is possible and if I still have there some funds, for I am going to begin the continuation. Try to send to Manila as many copies as you can. They sell well there. It is understood that you will get one-half of the sale there.
I am very busy these days for I am working ad majorem Phil. gloriam. (03)
When I begin writing the continuation, then I shall have my picture taken in order to send you my photographia or fotogrifia. I get from the English the writing of ph.
The new Tagalog orthography (a system of spelling) that we are using is perfectly in accord with the ancient writing and with the Sanskrit origin of many Tagalog words as I have found out through my research in the British Museum. Adopt it. Pedro Serrano has already published a note in this new orthography and he will publish a dictionary. The Filipino colony here, already small, has been further diminished by the departure for Manila of friend Cornelio Aenlle, (04) his wife, and children.
It is probable that I may go there.
I greet you all affectionately,
01 That is, ridiculous, absurd
02 A Barcelona periodical that publishes a column of news from the Philippines.
03 To the greater glory of the Philippines.
04 A Manila businessman.
More on Fr. Font’s criticism Ponce’s family follows the new Tagalog orthography—It asks for a picture of Rizal – Filipinos at Barcelona send regards to Rizal.
2-3o Rambla Canaletas, Barcelona
25 August 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My very dear Friend,
By this mail I am sending you a registered package of three copies of Noli me tángere, as you ask me in your letter of the 18th instant. I am sending you besides the last part of Fr. Font’s analytical criticism. All of us who have read his attacks – as they can well be called thus rather than criticism – understood that this blessed father tocaba el violón, (01) pardon me for the phrase. They tell me that only a few copies of this censorship have been printed to avoid its popularization, which indicates that the very censor himself knows that he is lying. With what surprise he will read Plaridel’s articles entitled Noli me tángere before Monastic Hatred in the Philippines.
I continue sending copies of the Noli to the Philippines through every possible means. By so doing, I am only filling the orders that I receive.
Many friends ask me to send you their greetings.
My family, who also sends your greetings, wished to have a picture of you, and so I wish to request you to comply with this desire when you have your picture taken.
My family and I have already adopted the new Tagalog orthography and we write each other in it. My friends are also adopting it.
The Filipino colony here is increasing. After Gallicano Apacible (02) came Santiago Ycasiano of Bulacan and Eusebio Panlilio and Feliciano Gonzales of Pampanga, and many military men with their families. Fortunately here we have unity and the proof of it was our get-together in honor of our fellow countrywomen at the Exposition held two weeks ago and attended by all the Filipinos. Our object was to show to our Barcelona friends and to the Spaniards in general that Filipino women also know how to behave in society and are as educated as Spanish women, though those women were only cigarette makers. Some newspapermen attended it.
Tonight we are going to foregather at the home of F. Canon on San Gervasio. The Filipino women will attend also.
All our countrymen send you affectionate regards and especially Canon. And your countryman and true friend embraces you.
Do you know Pedro Ramos? Is he there?
I am sending you a clipping of a letter I wrote in the light of news that they sent me from Manila and which I published in La Publicidad some months ago. I continue publishing such letters as I receive news from Manila. I cannot send you the latest ones for I did not save them; they are very badly written.
01 Literally, he was playing the bass-viol, meaning talking absentmindedly.
02 A Filipino medical student from Balayan Batangas and a relative of Rizal.
“Why should we not have a hundred Plaridels?” -- “If my enemies would only write like Father Rodríguez and Font, it would not matter to me; the bad thing is that I have enemies among my countrymen.” -- Rizal is busy.
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, N.W.
London, 30 September 1888
My dear Friend,
I have to thank you very much for your letter as well as for the books, newspapers, and other things that you have sent me.
The article which you published in La Publicidad in which you devote affectionate words to me has been for me another powerful inducement to work for the welfare of our country—that country which, had she been free or were she in normal conditions, would bring forth many noble, generous, and disinterested sons, but now in her present condition, her sons have to watch out and disguise themselves.
I have finished a work and I am only negotiating with a capitalist for its publication. (01)
Plaridel’s work has given me great joy. Now I can say parodying Jacob, “Now I can die contented.” I am sure that the work that I have dreamed of will be completed. Why should we not have a hundred Plaridels?
I have received the three copies of Noli. Please send me another by mail. If it is possible, I would appreciate it if you would send to Hong Kong, to José María Basa, all the copies that you can send. He will take care of selling them there and even introduce them into Manila. If I have enough money there to defray the cost of sending by boat all the remaining copies in one box, I would beg you to please do so. You know that the book has been written for the Filipinos and it is necessary that the Filipinos read it. José María Basa has just asked me to send him copies.
With regard to the booklets of Fathers Rodríguez and Font, I have the great pleasure to see that even writing with the feet I can do them a terrible harm; what if I should get to write with the hand. . .! For the rest, I believe that this friar has written his booklet with the hand, with the tongue, and with the head, but as he cannot give more, he remains there. If my enemies would only write like Fathers Rodríguez and Font, it would not matter to me, but the bad thing is that I have enemies among my countrymen, some of whom with their ambiguous phrases discredit me greatly. Have you read what the newspaper La Paz, managed by our countryman La Serna, says about me? Patience!
Many regards to Canon.
I am thinking of sending you for publication as an appendix to Plaridel’s work (02) [and is] something I wrote in the Philippines against the friar estates signed by the people of Calamba.
I continue working.
Regards to our friends.
01 Rizal was negotiating with Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor for the publication of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas with his annotations. He was disappointed.
02 M. H. del Pilar, La soberanía monacal. New edition published by the Philippine Historical Association in 1957 with an English translation by Encarnación Alzona. Rizal’s contribution is its Appendix X, pages 174-180.
Luna deplores the mean revenge on Rizal’s family – Offers his services to Rizal – The family of Pedro Roxas at Paris
Paris, 3 October 1888
Mr. José Rizal
I received in Houlgate your letter with the receipt enclosed. I am very sorry for what is happening to your family in Manila. This revenge is mean and very detrimental to your brother and brother-in-law. I’ll be glad if our countryman Azcárraga would do something in your favor, for the sake of the Philippines, for after all he is from there.
If you think that I could be useful to you, just write me what you want, as you already know who are the persons with whom I am friendly.
I have been back since a week ago and the house is all in a mess, because we left for the country after moving in, leaving everything in disorder. And the worst thing is that the house is still unfinished and I don’t know where to begin.
My atelier (artist’s studio) is very pretty, big and with very good light; besides we have a garden for the children and for painting plein aire (outdoors).
Please pay 100 pesetas to the landlady of Antonio. A thousand thanks. The family of Mr. Pedro Roxas is here, but he is in London with Abarca. This is all for today. May you get what you want, which is the principal thing.
Paz sends her regards, the children, their kisses, and your affectionate friend embraces you.
Extract from a defense of the Noli – reappearance of the newspaper España en Filipinas – Rizal proposed as its director – Father Vicente Garcia, Filipino theologian defends Rizal’s Noli against the attacks of Fr. José Rodriguez.
2-3o Rambla Canaletas, Barcelona
6 October 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My very dear Friend,
I have received your pleasing letter of the 30th of last month. You have nothing to thank me for. One who is only complying with his duty does not deserve gratitude. Moreover, what I do is so little that I would not even dare say that I am fulfilling my duty.
Plaridel’s work is not yet finished. Send me what you mention in your letter in order to put it as an appendix to the little work. (01)
An illustrious fellow countryman, (02) recognized in Manila as a profound theologian and great philosopher, in view of Fr. Rodríguez, little treatise, tried to write him a letter to show him that his little book is full of Catholic aberrations and to defend at the same time the Noli me tángere against his assertions that it contained propositions that are heretical, blasphemous, and impious. The letter did not reach the hands of the blessed Fr. Rodríguez as the friends of the writer counseled him against sending it. But the author of the letter entrusted to a young writer the work of preparing a treatise that would show the opposite of the passionate assertions of the friar author in point of religion. I shall try to give you an extract of the said letter.
After stating that he has read and reread the Noli and declaring that he has not found any confirmation of Fr. Rodríguez accusations, he states his opinion in the following observations:
Dr. Rizal, by means of veiled allusions, severely censures the great abuses of individuals at certain institutions and their inherent goodness owing to his primitive spirit. The inquiry of the abuses infects indeed, like leprosy, the members of the corporation, not so the criticism that is made of them so that they may reform. Unfortunately, passion or interest often confuses men with things, identifying the persons of the religious with immaculate religion.
He cites the ridiculous boasting of so-called pious persons who dispute recklessly who of them has won more indulgences, etc., and says: “To put in bold relief with vivid and loud colors of criticism that foolish boasting, that arrogant bragging and ridiculousness of such pious persons, is that by chance to deny the existence of purgatory, the efficacy of indulgences, and the infinite value of the sacrifice of the Mass? Can any one assert it unless he is obfuscated by passion?
He demonstrated that you prove the existence of purgatory by citing church councils and ecclesiastical decrees, and he quotes “between us we can say that the idea of purgatory is good, holy. . . . . The evil is in the abuse of it.”
“You said, ‘addressing Fr. Rodríguez”, that Dr. Rizal is irreverent, heretical, and blasphemous who induces others to atheism, but you do not cite a single proposition of his that indicates his impiety and heresy. In his words or various concepts that I am going to cite I see his faith in God and the Christian religion that rejects all idea of impiety and atheism.” He quotes Tasio on page 68 that says: “I do not know Madame, what God will do with me. When I am agonizing, I shall entrust myself to Him without fear; He may do with me what He likes.” And he says: “Is he thus an atheist who denies the existence of God or a godless man who induces others to atheism?” He quotes also this: “if the only ones who can save themselves are the Catholics. . . .” until the end of chapter XIV. In order to stress the Christian faith of the author of the Noli he quotes what Ibarra says to the teacher on page 88: “I have meditated better and I think that in order to realize the ideas of my father, . . . .” until the end of the paragraph. And he proceeds: “Here is the religion of Jesus Christ professed in spirit and in truth, not officially and interestedly, not with words belied by the works and abuses that dishonor it and that God abominate in his ministers.” Another point discussed and refute with powerful arguments is that of Fr. Rodríguez which says: “The only thing that is evident in the author of the Noli is his hatred of religion and Spain”, quoting the dialogue of Ibarra and Elías in chapter 49. And the said letter ends by saying that the intelligent public far from believing Fr. Rodríguez’ assertions attributes his declarations to another motive – incredulity based on the following reasons: “1. It is publicly known that the book was denounced to the Governor General and to highly influential persons keenly interested in your disappearance. They have made strong representations to the highest civil and ecclesiastical authorities to prohibit its circulation. It is known that it was subjected to censorship. And what was the result? His pretension did not prosper; so far as we know the prohibition requested by the interested party has not been ordered. This result was already expected as a consequence of the present policy dominant in Spain and given the prevailing atmosphere there, here, and everywhere. I have seen the opinion of the curate censor that was certainly and of course very favorable to the pretension. It seemed to me very weighty and its official approval would have been a matter of course had it been made twenty years ago, that is to say, in the day of gags when one could not speak against the abuses of a certain class of persons, because a quiet voice of terrible vengeance resounded everywhere whose echo was similar to Noli me tángere. 2. During the sojourn here of Rizal of more or less one year, they had already initiated a tolle-tolle (03) that gave so much importance to this book that six pesos were offered for a copy. If it were true that it is full of heresies and blasphemies, our prudent and zealous prelate would have wrested from the hands of the faithful that book that is said to be poisonous to the soul, prohibiting it under canonical penalties. 3. On page 25 you say that the ecclesiastical authority is the only one that can judge the goodness or the wickedness of a book. Well then, is the Fr. Prior of Guadalupe, (04) solely for being so, possibly the only competent ecclesiastical authority? No? Then de ore tuo te judico. These three reasons are enough to convince anyone of the necessity that you give adequate explanations on the matter or the competent authority render its especially condemnatory verdict against the said book if you think it convenient..” Such is the plan of the defense that the aforesaid illustrious countryman adopted to confront Fr. Rodríguez. As we are thinking of publishing the little treatise, I have decided to acquaint you of it in case you have some objection.
La Oceanía of Manila of 3 August last alludes to you, your novel, Blumentritt, and Molo, the Maguinoo.
Please give me Mr. Basa’s address in Hong Kong in order to send the books as you wish. Today I send you the copy you ask together with two booklets of our “good friend” Fr. Rodríguez.
The Filipino colony of Barcelona, as well as some countrymen in Madrid, is actively working to revive the periodical España en Filipinas, not without counting on the valuable support of enthusiastic Manilans who offer to provide funds. And, as we, as well as the friends in Manila, wish you to manage the periodical, I take the liberty to ask you if you are definitely staying abroad or going back to Spain, in which case, should you accept it, our most ardent desire shall be realized.
What work is that which you have finished?
Your sincere friend embraces you,
Antono Luna is with us at present to see the Exposition; he is sending you many regards. He asks me to advise you not to tell his brother Juan about his trip to this city. We also have with us Paco Esquivel and Evaristo Aguirre, and the arrival shortly of Eduardo Lete is announced.
01 See footnote 2, letter No. 72.
02 Father Vicente Garcia, Filipino clergyman, An English version of his letter is found in Appendix II.
03 Shouting of the populace.
04 Name of the Augustinian convent outside of Manila.
Father Vicente Garcia’s courage is inspiring – The Noli is being analyzed critically in the Philippines – Rizal: “My work has defects.” – Engaged to manage a periodical – Intensive research in the history of the Philippines in the British Museum to prepare himself for his tasks.
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, NW.
London, 12 October 1888
My very dear Friend,
Appreciating the interest you have taken in sending me an extract of the reply as well as the copy of the Noli, I am writing you this because there are in your letter things that need a prompt reply and decision.
There is nothing I object to in the letter of my countryman theologian. (01) I ought to appreciate his disinterested defense, for I do not know him and to rejoice that we have now fellow countrymen who even there dare to look face to face at our now powerful enemies and answer them. This erases all my displeasures and gives me courage and confidence. If you cannot tell me his name, at least express to him my sincere compliments, etc. etc.
What does La Ocenía say of us and of Friend Blumentritt?
Basa has no other address but his name in Hong Kong – José María Basa.
I see that they are winnowing a great deal my work here and there. It seems that it does not please them, but Holy God! If besides their liking for us and to our dislike, I still have to write to give them pleasure, what is going to happen to us? Notwithstanding, I myself admit that my work has defects and I have said so at the very beginning, but I believe that they are not so many nor are they so colossal. For the rest I shall try to avoid them in my next work.
With regard to the newspaper, I appreciate very much your wish, but I am already more or less engaged to manage one. Now I am devoting myself day and night to certain studies, for I should not want to manage any periodical without possessing some knowledge about the country, its history, and its government, because it seems to me that we shall have to fight a great deal and it would be desirable to fight an defeat the enemy. For this purpose I am making use of the very rich library of the British Museum the like of which cannot be found anywhere else. For this reason I am going to remain here for a long time yet. From here it is easy for me to go to Belgium, Sweden, and Norway, passing through Holland, Germany, and Denmark.
Concerning the management of España en Filipinas, I am greatly honored by what you tell me. (02) I shall always be at the service of my country and what my fellow countrymen think I can do I shall do. However, in my opinion, it is much better if you manage it, if it is published in Barcelona, or one at Madrid if in Madrid, and for God’s sake, may it not be so weak as La Paz! It is not possible for one to manage it from abroad.
I greet affectionately our countrymen, regards to Luna, and to friends Esquivel and Aguirre; may they enjoy and form with you a league.
Enclosed is the little work that was presented in Manila and stirred noise. (03) As I expect that the clerk who copied it committed some errors, you may correct it. I am very busy.
Remember me to Plaridel.
(01) Father Vicente García.
(02) Offer to Rizal to manage the magazine, España en Filipinas.
(03) Petition of the people of Calamba concerning the Calamba Estate owned by the Dominical friars.
Different factions – Alignment of forces – Rizal, sure of a majority – Advantage if Rizal should manage the periodical.
Leon 30-2o, Madrid
27 October 1888
I have before me your letter of the 22nd which I am answering.
I expected from you such an answer with reference to Llorente and Lete, but your opinion with regard to the management of the periodical, which will be a reality, starts me in the process of working for you – which is an easy thing – because I infer from your letter that if all our compatriots will compel you, stressing the duties to our country, we shall see in the not distant day the establishment of harmony that we lack and the desired formula to arrive at unity. How? With your management.
I am going to make you a summary, a synthesis of the attitude towards you. There are various factions here, divided not by ideas but because the members either live together or are close friends. They can be reduced into two: Those on the Carrera de San Gerónimo and those on León Street. Outside of these are the others. Well then, all the rest – it can be said – are grouped around the first two. So that from those two pints comes to solutions of all the problems of the country. Well then. It is the general desire here that you come over to manage the periodical, because they realize that you are the only one capable of uniting all of us. In either faction there is a desire that you come, and on election day there cannot be any possible fight, because what do four or five pledged votes signify? Here are those in the entire colony whom we are sure, their opinions being already known.
There opinions are unknown to me: Those who never attend:
1. Lete 1. Cañas
2. Aguirre 2. Pozas
3. Súnico 3. Barretto
4. Govantes 4. Abreu, G.
5. Esquivel 5. Rocha
As you can see by the list, there are 25 against 5 doubtful for I don’t know what they think of the matter, but even of those, you could cont on 3 who will favor you. I say nothing about the indifferent ones, because one counts on them, but they do not allow themselves to be counted. I have before me letters from Barcelona in which I see more gains for you because there they are unanimously for you. Therefore, in view of this general clamor, in view of the fact that all in Barcelona, without exception, military men and civilians alike, want you for the management, and in view of the fact that almost all in Madrid want you to be manage, totaling some 50 to 60 members, almost all Philippines in Europe, what will you do? Are you going to remain indifferent? I don’t think so, nor do I expect it; that is to say, or more exactly, we do not think so nor do we expect it.
If as you say you are always ready to serve your country, this is the occasion when she, through her sons, asks you to make sacrifice. The unanimity that you wish is met and I am going to explain. You, in the opinion of everybody, are not seeking absolute unanimity, because this is absurd. Therefore, by the figures that you see, you have the unanimous election in your favor, that is to say, the moral unanimity of all without distinction, which is worth more.
Well now, I am going to clarify one point in your letter, for it needs it: “Had the management of your periodical been offered to me before, perhaps I would have accepted it, etc.” I don’t know if you refer to España en Filipinas, that disastrous experiment that resulted in our division. If you refer to this, I say nothing. However, if you mean the one that is being planned whose stockholders are in Manila and who leave completely to the Filipinos in Spain the choice of a manager, I am not sure what you mean to say, for now the only mater that is being discussed is the selection of a manager. At present, minds are carefully considering the matter in preparation for the election. I am going to explain further: I was in Barcelona (keep the secret) and there they told me of the need to look for a manager among all the Filipinos. I pointed out to them that in the opinion of the Filipino colony of Madrid he could be Rizal, and in case he could not come to Spain, Llorente. Persons with whom you correspond told me that it would be very difficult for you to come over and so I decided to find out from you. I see that by imposing it upon you as a duty, you would come, for now there are no more reticences; we have been working since before so that you may come. More correctly, it is not a matter of working but everybody demands it of you.
The advantages if you come are the following: 1. You are the only one who is respected by all for your exceptional qualities (without adulation). Consequently, you will succeed in bringing all of us together and turning away the selfish ones. 2. If you will manage it, you have more advantage than Llorente, for in the Philippines you are known for your last work. That is to say, those over there must have found what they are looking fore. 3. Some, very few, criticize Llorente as somewhat weak, but those same ones who will abstain from voting for Llorente (2 at the most) will vote for you.
Consequently, if you really want that we form a close bond of union without distinction, listen to the cries of the people who acclaim you. Therefore, I only want to get from you a reply and it is this: To know if you will accept immediately the management through voting, not absolute unanimity, but almost unanimous in the light of the data I have given. If we are not assured of your assent, we could be defeated, though having won. Here is the case: The election returns show that 50 favor you against 5 for Lete or another one. You are advised and you decide. Lete or somebody else becomes manager. All the Filipinos without distinction want to avoid this, because if Lete succeeds to get hold of it, he will not give it up at any cost, as formerly, and again will recur the general animosity against him, which is already known, even more in Barcelona where he stayed. They hinted to me in Barcelona that they would give me a proxy to act for them. They also assure me of the general unanimous desire there that you come here.
Awaiting your reply, command your compatriot,
Almost the entire colony greets you. How are you getting along with your writing?
General desire that Rizal manage a new publication, and should he refuse, Llorente – Lete does not have the sympathy of the Filipinos – He is incompetent.
Madrid, 19 October 1888
I have thought of writing you for a long time but… sometimes for not knowing your address, at other times for not knowing your whereabouts, the fact is that I have not done it until now that I have your address.
Four days ago I came from Barcelona (please keep it a secret) and there I saw our compatriot Mariano Ponce and we had long conversations ending with the periodical and its management. Desirous of knowing my opinion on who should wield the baton, I suggested Mr. José Rizal and if he could not come for numerous reasons, Julio Llorente, for, in my judgment, no one else can undertake such a difficult task. So I am writing you to beg you to come to manage it, because here there is such a confusion and there exist so many factions that I believe you are needed in order to accomplish something serious, something that is not childish, or children’s work, as we have been doing thus far. The foolish pride of some and the false patriotism of these same ones are creating, or have already created, certain divisions that are prejudicial to all. Well now, it is the desire of the majority, of almost all of the Filipinos (with the exception of Aguirre and Lete, whose opinions I do not know) that you come to assume the management of this new echo of the country. And as it promises be a fact for counting on means and funds, serious management is urgent, not by some children whose competence in the absence of any valid evidences, can be doubted. I reiterate then the desire of all, without distinction, to see you at the front of this building that threatens to fall apart.
In case we could not succeed to bring you over, my feeling is that the only one who can substitute for you is Llorente and no one else. Llorente is a chap who is formal, serious, studious, a good writer and a good Filipino, who counts on the sympathy of all. In addition, and above all, he has an academic title as proof of his capability. This will banish the prejudice of our adversaries who are convinced that we entrust the management of our periodical to students and that such a periodical is their voice. It is imperative that we do not entrust the management to students or to one without a profession. The degree serves as a shield and evidence of competence against the claim of those who try to prove our ineptitude.
In the second alternative I have special interest that Llorente triumph, for my discovery of the patriotism of false patriots has made me appreciate the just merit of persons, and it is known that many Filipinos here, especially the genuine ones or manobos think so too.
If Lete believes that he is already manager of the periodical for the mere fact of having worked (more for Pine that for himself) issuing circulars, etc., I believe I am not mistaken in saying that the periodical has again fallen into little skilled hands and in persons whose patriotism could be doubted. Many of us, if not all, would be very greatly disgusted if he would assume the new management for which he has given so little evidence of aptitude in the past period of España en Filipinas.
Let us review the past: A manager who does not assume responsibility for an editorial (Graciano’s article). A manager who allowed to be published in the newspaper, a defender of the Philippines, an insulting article to a Filipino (by R. against Figueroa). How can Lete explain why he did not write a review of Noli me tángere? I am informed of the matter: Lete, Aguirre, and another you do not know personally, were the first ones to criticize your book. Lete assigned Llorente to write a review of it after two months and after having promised that he would do it. He had the weakness to confess that Llorente would take care of it, for thus the tribute would become more complete, giving to understand with this gesture that he wished to favor you by not making the review himself. You, yourself, have said: “My enemies are not the castilas but some who are not.” In the same manner: What can Lete do for the Associación Hispano-Filipina? At the beginning, he did not want to join it on account of the presence of certain elements (or Indios). Why does he belong to it now holding the office of secretary? Has the office lured him like sweetmeat? Could we not say also that he works in order to win the position of manager? Selfish patriotism! And moreover, who is Lete but a second-year law student and who for years has not passed it?
Lete does not have the sympathy of the Filipinos, except of some four who sit and eat naturally at his table. If he gets to be manager, almost all of us would quit, for here the antipathy that he inspires is general, not because of his personality, but of his pride, his false patriotism, and his conviction that he is superior to the rest. Speaking with Llorente, he told me that it should be you and if not you, anyone else except Lete. It is the general opinion. Lete has created those divisions in the periodical España en Filipinas that led to its death. And if unfortunately the new one should fall into his hands, we would witness the rise of a cacique [= a Spanish political boss] who would suppress the Filipinos.
For this reason I shall work with others here in order that he who has genuine patriotic sentiments may triumph and I shall oppose with all my strength that selfish patriotism win.
I have succeeded after a hard struggle to make Llorente show himself inclined to accept the management of the periodical. I need your mandate, your valuable cooperation, so that on the day that the election for the post is held, the deserving one, in your judgment, may come out victorious. Llorente does not know how to practice intrigue; he has too noble a character to beg for this position and for this same reason the man whom we do not need, the one we detest, might come out.
Rizal or Llorente – this is what we want. If Rizal cannot, Llorente, and no one else. The dilemma is not so hard if we . . . . . . . . . that the rest are going against us and there is much to distrust.
You would never have heard from me all that I have written here about Lete except now that it concerns a highly important matter when it is not possible, it would be criminal, to remain silent. Out with the masks and let us see what people we can depend on.
If you believe our request is just, see that Ponce and others support the candidacy of Llorente. If it is not so, not counting with you in the management, what will come will further divide us, now that disunion already exists.
Nothing more for today and awaiting your opinion on the affair, command as you please.
Your true compatriot,
Regards from Llorente, and my house companions who, without knowing him, salute the author of Noli me tángere.
Subscription in favor of López Jaena to enable him to return to the Philippines – What will be his fate there? He will fall into the clutches of the friars.
Paris, 28 October 1888
Mr. José Rizal y Mercado
On hand are your two last letters, always pleasing, dated 2 and 4 instant respectively, which I have read and I am now going to answer them.
In your letter of the 4th you say I need not bother about sending you money until the 20 or 25 September. As the letter is dated October, I believe you are mistaken as to the month and instead of putting November you have written September. Tell me frankly when do you need funds, because depending upon your reply, I shall decide for or against a project that I have in my portfolio. You see, Friend Rizal, that there cannot be greater frankness on my part, bordering on impudence.
Our mutual friend Luna has received a letter from his brother Antonio requesting that we of the Filipino colony have contributed to a subscription opened in Madrid in favor of poor Graciano López Jaena in order to remedy a little the critical situation in which this poor lad is in. I have given very little, I would have liked to give more, but it has caught me in a very difficult time.
The truth is that I do not know if we do well or badly in giving something, because it seems to me that it is to enable him to embark for the Philippines. But I ask myself: And once over there, what will become of this poor lad? ; It is futile to count on his relatives who formerly sent him his allowance, because from the moment the friars succeeded to make them withdraw the allowance, they will have to let him die of hunger. On the other hand, the friars will try to take advantage of this in order to show that without them nothing can be done and they are capable of saying, and thee will be people who will believe them, that if Graciano is experiencing the difficulties that he is going through now, it is for having written against them.
So that in short we do not remedy Graciano’s situation, but rather we aggravate it by placing him within reach of our enemies, and we shall give them besides the very great satisfaction of having their victim in their possession.
I am saying this only to you as my own opinion, because I don’t dare say it to the initiators of the subscription for they can tell me in turn, “And you, what do you want this lad to do in Europe?” And as I cannot at present pledge to give him all that he needs to enable him to stay in Europe and finish his studies, I have to keep quiet.
If it concerned another colony, which is not ours, we could collect a sum from among us every month and advance it to him for his allowance and thus he could quietly finish his studies. But as it is the Filipino colony, I would not even suggest anything for fear that it may turn out like the notorious Revista.
In short, ellos cuidado, (1) as they say over there. But I am sorry to know these things, for I would like to be able to remedy them.
Friend Ramirez is leaving for our country. Maybe he will go on the 16 of next month by way of Barcelona.
Elsa sends you many regards.
Receive a close embrace of your friend who esteems you.
(1) A colloquial expression in the Philippines meaning let them look out.
The anonymous defender of the Noli is Fr. Vicente Garcia – Homage to Rizal at the banquet in honor of Morayta – More on the new periodical – Rizal is the choice for its director.
Barcelona, 1 November 1888
Mr. José Rizal.
My very dear Friend,
It is now two weeks that I owe you a reply and now I am settling my debt, for circumstances now permit me to do so. I will begin by telling you the name of the theologian who wished to defend you against the unjust attacks of Fr. Rodríguez. He is Fr. Vicente García, a penitentiary (1) of the cathedral. On account of the ecclesiastical character of this learned doctor, it is convenient to conceal his name in matters of this nature under penalty of meeting the same fate as the never sufficiently lamented Fr. Burgos. After all, this good man, being a Filipino, in defending you does nothing more than fulfill his duty.
I am sending you a clipping of La Oceanía, which talks about you and our mutual friend Blumentritt. I don’t understand why it was given space in a newspaper that is almost managed by a Filipino. Patience! . . . . . . . . . . . The remittance of copies of the Noli to Basa will be done by the next mail. By this time you must have read the account of the banquet given to Morayta by the Filipino colony of Barcelona. I had the honor of greeting this gentleman and Labra on behalf of the Filipino colony of Barcelona. I am not sending you my insignificant speech, for I have very nearly forgotten it. I tried to be brief. It would have been unpardonable for me not to give him proof of my admiration and affection in those moments. And I said at the end: “And before concluding, allow me, gentlemen, to mention at this moment a name loved and admired by the majority of those present as a just tribute to the talent, industry and patriotism – José Rizal! For his profound love for that country, which has been his cradle, now he is compelled to beg for hospitality in a foreign land! . . . . . . . . . I drink to his prosperity! Pardon me if I had been so modest about you in those moments.
The banquet was prepared in four days and therefore we did not have time to advise you in advance. However, Graciano López – who is at present with us in Barcelona – wrote to Mr. Luna so that he might inform you of the banquet, but I think the letter was not received on time, for Mr. Luna’s telegram was received the following day. Canon and Morayta also dedicated to you affectionate phrases in their respective speeches.
At this moment I received your letter that is almost answered by me with regard to the banquet.
Let us turn to the periodical. When I arrived last year at Barcelona, España en Filipinas was in the last moments of its life. I sent . . . . . . and clippings to Manila and I wrote to friends . . . . that they send funds so that its publication might be continued, for it was already tottering. They did not hesitate to do so; but unfortunately, despite their haste, the money arrived late. But in view of the enthusiasm of those over there, we have considered possible the formation of a capital that would insure the life of the periodical for a minimum period of five years. On the other hand, Serrano wrote me that I should ask from the management of the España an estimate of expenses. Lete ordered a circular printed on the point, which is enclosed herewith. Only a few weeks ago Serrano informed me that all the shares are about to be subscribed, and if they are delayed, it is because everybody is excited by the present occurrences there and by what you tell me besides that Lete has lost the sympathy of those there. I see that neither has he that of our countrymen in Madrid. All nominate you for the management of the periodical and therefore I dare to ask you if you are intending to move later to Spain. On the other hand, while we do not receive assurances of the capital formed in Manila, I do not think it prudent to make you a definite offer . . . . . . as many wish to do it at an opportune time. At the same time, we understand the great importance that you continue your studies in London. Surely you will not find in Spain the resources that capital offers for your very important studies and we do not want later the remorse of having deprived posterity of your works. We shall act by what they advise us from Manila and you will decide what would seem to you the best and most profitable for our dear country. I have not dealt personally with Rosario; I cannot tell you about him. My candidate cannot be any other than you. Now, if for more powerful reasons you cannot accept your candidacy, and heeding the good information that I have about Mr. Llorente who, I understand, enjoys the sympathy of everybody, I shall have no inconvenience to give him my insignificant vote.
I am sending you mail from Manila sent to me by Serrano. Graciano . . . .
Your affectionate friend and compatriot,
Asociación Hispano-Filipina – With Morayta as President – Its effect in the Philippines – Division in the Filipino colony of Madrid.
Madrid, 4 November 1888
My dear Friend,
I received your esteemed letter of the 23rd October last. Although you do not say anything about it, I believe you must have received my reply to your previous letter, as you have received my card with my card with my new address.
So you have resigned as a member of the board of directors of the new association? Llorente has also resigned as treasurer and certainly he says he intends to hold aloof as much as possible like you from collective work, having found by experience that it is more profitable for each one to work independently.
I don’t belong to the association, though I was invited to join at the very beginning, because I don’t want to be useless and I am whenever I don’t’ join willingly, as it would happen if I joined the association, which I don’t believe would obtain any grand thing, because it is evident to me that its greatest enemy is the Ministry of Colonies. It is already known what effect that league and the name of its president, the ex-communicated Morayta, will produce in the Philippines. Time will show what positive results can be obtained from all this.
But, though I have nothing to do with the matter, I have already spoken to Lete to make the substitution that you suggest of the title of protector of Regidor to that of member of the board, which they wanted to grant to you.
I am not informed about the division in the Filipino colony of Madrid. When you were in Germany, they said the same thing about us. You will remember all that I told you then. There are members of the colony who are only ready material for trouble and the colony is the toy of their caprices and no sensible ones appear who could make a just estimate of their value. Now we are Manobos or of blue blood. It is a pity that those who report and regret divisions do not know to what faction they belong. Perhaps Llorente or Rosario – very estimable persons – may be able to unite and harmonize us. I am the fist to admit the evil, because I despise wretchedness and I do not make the colony responsible – I do not attribute to it the disunion for divisions that are not based on ideas and diverse serious procedures, but on personal temperaments. The talebearers and cliques that exist are in inveterate vice, and no one can put an end to them or to our oceanic passions. We are thus educated. The fault is that we are like children. Our factions ought to be called children at the breast and children of the bottle. Fortunately I belong to no faction, though I do not know if one of the factions already counts me as belonging to it. For the rest, we carry the penance in our sin and it will not be long that we shall suffer for our wicked ways.
This is the first news I have of the revival of the periodical and of the vacancy in the management; they must be authorized to do it. I have not been told even one word about the revival of the periodical nor do I know anything, though I suppose that I will be told about the remitting of funds. I ought not to meddle where I am not called, and it is better that they do not call me, because I am not ready to serve as an instrument of personal caprices and passions. I am at peace with everyone and quiet and this suits me very well, better than to be fetched and carried away by every kind of gossip and entanglements . . . . Those who want a new manager must have their reasons for expressing it and to convince, if that worries them. I see that they are resolved to put Lete in eclipse here and over there, above all where they have responded to his circular that they allowed him to sign when they were not yet thinking, or were not yet courageous enough to think, as they do today. I do not know how some compatriots will look at things, but that is a rebuff in due form that, however openly it may be done is enough to make Lete decline to accede to it, even for patriotism, unless by demanding that he renounce his dignity. Hence the conflict whose origin you can trace through sources better informed than I am. I shall be glad if there would not be an injurious action. That a newspaper falls short, there being funds, though it is another injudicious action, what does it matter to our little world? Who will like to be manager? And he who may be manager can now put his head in for soaking, as he must be already coached in the procedure that some compatriots employ.
So not ask me to excuse you for interfering in our problems. You may interfere as you please. You have as much right as any other in the community. I am not involved in any, I hear only bells, I have no pretensions, and not even as a joke can I accept your excuse. Moreover, questions of this kind are of concern to all.
Yes, unfortunately those sentiments of other times are cooling off like the planets. Some tutored by experience and others disenchanted no longer see things through magic crystals. Until the next, my friend; regards from Leonor and Don Antonio who appreciate you.
Executive Commission of the Asociación Hispano-Filipina – Luna solicits Rizal’s cooperation – Patriotic motive of Luna.
Madrid, November 1888
Mr. José Rizal
In view of the fact that the Asociación Hispano-Filipina would not be inaugurated until after a preparatory period of six months, at the petition of a majority of Filipino members, a new executive commission was appointed as follows:
Morayta - President
Rivas Moreno - Vice President
Dominador Gómez - Secretary
Jugo Vidal - Member
M. Labra - Member
A. Luna - Treasurer
Appointed by our compatriots those of us who can give impetus to this association and inaugurate it so that we may acquit ourselves well, do not expect more than the real, positive support of all our countrymen. I request you then as friend and compatriot to take charge of collecting from the Filipinos in Barcelona the amount that they would like to give for the inauguration of the association. This is voluntary, for it concerns merely our good name and the realization of the purposes of the association.
I ought to give you some explanations, aside from these questions, to tell you that your program for the periodical must have already been received in Manila.
Finally (and this is between us) I have accepted this post because I saw that the association was going to die on account of the little interest of the few persons who composed it and who were useful only in creating divisions. I have accepted it as a patriotic duty and in gratitude to Morayta who would have been placed in the most frightful ridiculous position by us on account of our informality. For all that reason it is a most vital question that we inaugurate the association so that La Voz may not say that just one cry from it was enough to disband all of us.
Awaiting then until the 3 or 4 the amount collected, your friend and admirer sends you an embrace,
I wish for you much happiness and a good new year.
Rizal declines the management of the periodical – Regrets he could not send a telegram of greetings to Morayta on the occasion of the banquet in his honor.
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hall
London, 8 November 1888
My dear Friend, Antonio,
Some things having happened and finding it difficult to choose or find a substitute in case I shall be a manager – a substitute who must possess all the necessary qualifications – I ask you to excuse me and choose another one who is actually there. I am very sorry to upset your plans, but it is better that I decline now while there is time rather than give you later a substitute who is not to your liking. I already told you the great friendship that unites me with Julio and certain things that have occurred between Lete and I prevent me from voting for the first and against the latter, lest they say I do it for vengeance. Choose then some one you like, whom I shall accept with pleasure, and express to the rest my regret not to be able to stay there among compatriots.
A banquet was given to Morayta and I was not able to send a telegram on time for I learned about it through Juan’s telegram on the very same day, the 27th, at 10:30 at night, that it was held.
You may rest assured that whomsoever you may choose as manager will fill the position as well, if not better than I. I am one of so many and all of us who love well our country are worth the same. You lose nothing; I am the loser; but what can I do? Pacienciado. (1)
Goodbye, chap. Give my regards to our friends.
(1) Characteristic Chinese pronunciation of paciencia, patience.
The attacks of El Páis and Desengaños – Fr. Vicente Garcia’s defense.
37 Chalcot, Primrose Hill, N.W.
London, 9 November 1888
[Mr. Mariano Ponce]
My dear Friend,
I express my many thanks for having sent me the clipping of La Oceanía as well as for the letter of our friend L’aktaw. (1)
Upon reading the attacks of the descendants of the Arabs (2) anyone would say I am a dreaded person, known to all, because no one dares courageously to cite my name, neither El Páis nor Desengaños, (3) and they only content themselves with allusions. Is Desengaños afraid to mention my name, or does he believe that my mentioning me he will immortalize me in his funny articles? Do these simpletons believe that their empty words and blusterings are going to survive like Larra’s articles? But, laying aside this question, I am only surprised that Desengaños promise to publish his articles against me abroad and not in the Philippines where the work is more read and welcomed by many. But now I am wrong. He wants the people of Manila to know that he can write in foreign periodicals! Only that between saying and doing . . . . My attention is also called by the modest phrase: “As it is known that Blumentritt has not corresponded with us for some months!” Now! Desengaños is going to instruct Blumentritt, make yourself easy, that thanks to the instructive correspondence with Desengaños the unfortunate Blumentritt will come to have a little common sense. What a pity that Bismarck does not correspond with Desengaños! If he did, you would see how he would conquer heaven itself! I don’t call these things great lies.
While these things make me laugh, the fact is Fr. Vicente Garcia (4) defends me moves me and tells me that I ought to continue on the road that I have traced for myself. To have thus an old man beside me makes me believe that I am not against the spirit of my country. It is the most pleasant news you have given me thus far.
As to the management of the periodicals, I am sorry not to be able to accept it on account of the impossibility of my going there. I shall favor whomsoever may want to be manager, only that if it should be Lete, I shall have to renounce taking part in its editing, for his ex-friend had refused in the past to publish my articles. Notwithstanding, I shall defend by word of mouth your periodical.
I cannot vote for or against because I find myself in a very delicate position with regard to Lete and Llorente. One is a very good friend of mine and with the other I have had some troubles.
Do I return to you the clipping of La Oceanía?
I have to thank you very much for your toast; give thanks also to Friend Canon and to Mr. Morayta, if he is there.
I am going to write Friend L’Aktaw.
I write in haste because the houseboys are waiting to mail this letter.
Excuse me now. Next time I shall write more.
1 Pedro Serrano Laktaw.
2 Meaning the Spaniards.
3 Nom de plume of W. E. Retana who wrote an extensive biography of Rizal after his execution: Vida y escritos del Dr. José Rizal, Madrid, 1907.
4 See footnote 1, letter No. 64.
Mutual true affection – Is Rizal offended by his previous letter? – Again the question of the periodical and Lete.
Madrid, 11 November 1888
Mr. José Rizal
My Dear Friend,
I have just received your esteemed letter of the 8th.
I have nothing to say concerning the Association except that I am convinced your resignation has nothing to do with the excommunication of the president and that, as you must have seen, what I said in my previous letter referred to the faithful over there.
I do not find in your letter an explanation of the cause of the preoccupation that you say my letter has given you; much less can I explain the very bitter flavor you have found in it. I would have wished that with that frankness that you say is inherent in you, you had told me the details in my letter that you have found bitter, why and in what sense, because in truth I don’t know now by what to abide. I do not know if you are simply echoing the bitterness with which my letter brimmed or you are complaining that I have shown myself bitter towards you. And behold that now in my turn I am preoccupied, because with the doubt your letter has given me I cannot but be distressed that perhaps some phrase of mine, on account of your excessive delicacy or susceptibility (I cannot attribute it to any other thing) has seemed to you to be offensive to you inasmuch as it embitters you. Though confusedly, I still remember the principal paragraphs of my letter, I assure you that I am still dominated by the ideas and temper that I had when I wrote you my previous letter, and frankly my conscience is clear. Now as at that time you are one of my friends who have distinguished me with true friendship and with whom I have the most affinity. So that for my part I have to tell you, though it may only be once, that I feel towards you true affection, sympathy, and admiration. How have I hurt you? Read once more my letter, my friend, and complain against me openly if you believe I deserve it.
According to your previous letter, you were a completely passively entity with regard to the periodical to whom its management has been offered by some and which you had clearly declined. I deduced this from your letter and you can tell me if I am right. You did not tell me more than that you had declined the post for the same reasons that you did my membership on the boards of directors of the Association; because you saw divisions and you did not want to incline one way or another; and you suggested to me that I propose a manager who would be satisfactory to all. For me then you were discarded from the question by your own will. You simply, absolutely did not want to be manager. This being so, how could any one here suppose that you have an ambition for honors, or you would contest the post with Lete? Are you jealous, yes or no? What you lacked was a little more frankness to tell me everything as you are doing now, though you concealed the question of substitution that was intended to be given to me, as it suited you to conceal it from me. What you told me was that your agreement with Regidor to terminate the division that they told you existed in the colony. What you did not tell me was that, having declined beforehand the post, you were ready, as you now say, to accept it if the colony insisted on electing you. And as you are aware of having made this statement, that I did not know, I understand that you suspect perhaps that I would come to suppose it, as I did not know it, and hence you give to my phrases a meaning that they could not have. You feared that I might suppose you to be ambitious, or interested in the question, but nothing of the kind, friend; I confess to you sincerely. I did not think that you would become manager, because I could see that you did not want to be.
I found nothing unpleasant in your previous letter except the news of our wretchedness that was unknown to me. If my letter was bitter, it was because so much bickering distresses and more sickens me, and they accuse us of divisions and other excesses and for what motives, with what improper means! I am tired of seeing the colony being made a plaything of children that the work that interests us most is adulterated and falls to the ground due to our debased habits. How do you want me not to disregard this nor refuse to be mixed up in questions that do not favor us?
Once it can be allowed to pass, but again and again is too much for one who has already reached the age of desiring to have things done with more sense and less pirouettes. Dominated by this displeasure I wrote you my previous letter and I said that over there they might fix things as they please. For the rest, I reiterate that I am the last one to know, and that is through you, that the question of the periodical and its management was being discussed. Those who have discussed this question have completely left me out. And I am not saying this as a complaint but to justify that, inasmuch as I was not included in it, I have now no reason to meddle in it. How can I tolerate patiently that it be said again and again that here we are divided like sheep without a shepherd? Therefore, I said to you that I was not involved in any question. I am in good terms with everybody and I have no need of putting myself in bad with anyone. How can any common undertaking of ours prosper since there is never a lack of excuses to disturb it? Who is the perfect man who can satisfy all?
Do you know why Llorente became disgusted with the periodical? Because there appeared in it an article of Mr. Manuel Regidor criticizing the attacks of Figuerora on the painting of Enriquez at the Philippine Exposition – not permissible attacks within the bosom of the jury but outside of it. The excuse given was that it was an attack on a Filipino, not on the Filipino jury, as if it were not the defense of the work of a Filipino, which we ought to respect because those who attack us; as if it were not the defense of a Filipino artist, attacked it. Do you know why they say that Antonio Luna was displeased with the periodical and has declared war against Lete? For the laudatory articles of other artistic works which were not by his brother, and because he had a quarrel with him in a café on whether once ate macaroni and the other prosaic kidneys. If this is true, are they not trifles? Who will be disheartened in pondering on them? Well everything for the style.
I am also frank and maybe my frankness this time may seem rude to you. Therefore, I have told you, being uninvolved in the factions here, my naked estimate of the exceptional situation in which Lete – the unfortunate Lete – is placed, whom I pity because he has not become congenial to all. But this estimate is only from me to you, because I love justice and in the bosom of friendship at least I should say my frank opinion. As to the rest, and above all to Lete, I hold back; on the contrary, I try to convince Lete (though I understand his reason, because I put myself in his place) that the life of the periodical is first, that he ought not to separate from us, and that he should not have the pretension that a work of common interest will fail on his account nor is it tied to him. In view of this state of things, I am in favor of noninterference. If I do not intervene in the conflict . . . of the periodical, if it is revived and prosper, as I wish. You have known me for a long time and I believe you will do me justice. I do not know if I have told you in a previous letter, but I tell you now that I should like every Filipino here to have or to manage a periodical, not to wage war in them, but to avoid what is now appearing and all of them jointly undertake a great work that in general is so difficult to realize.
That I am a little discouraged should not surprise you. You yourself upon arriving from the Philippines wrote me discouraged, and Julio and you too, according to him, as I have told you in my previous letter, did not trust much in our common enterprises.
Finally, my friend, may God draw us out of our blindness and in one way or another may resolutions and opportunities favorable to a holy enterprise, certainly longed by all, be not rendered barren. Amen.
Give my regards to friend Regidor.
You know your affectionate friend esteems you truly.
Cauit [Evaristo Aguirre]
España en Filipinas dead – Plan to found a new organ of the Filipino reformists – Lete explains his stand – Accuses Rizal of partiality towards Mariano Cunanan – The question of the review of Rizal’s Noli me tángere – Lete is irritated at Rizal.
Madrid, 11 November 1888
My dear Pepe,
Because of a letter of Friend Regidor that I received a few days ago, I believe it my duty to write you on a subject concerning you. Regidor says that there is a heated struggle over the choice of manager of the periodical that I have tried to found. Some want Llorente, others me; letters that I have received asked for my vote so that you may be elected manager.
I must begin the story of this affair by telling you that I have resigned as manager of the periodical. I am now in a position to attend freely to our affairs and now no one can impute to me any opinion that is not impartial and devoid of selfish purpose. I have resigned as I say the post of manager of our periodical that until now I thought I represent, expressing my resignation in a letter addressed to Mr. Ponce, for I understand that I alone represent the founders and capitalists of the new periodical that is about to appear. We can then judge together the vicissitudes of our periodical and my unfortunate management.
The España en Filipinas being dead – whose administration I am far from believing to be exempt from defects – the majority of the colony of Madrid as well as of Barcelona and friendly persons stimulated me to write a circular for the revival of the periodical soliciting funds from our brothers in the Archipelago and sending it as manager of the publication. A record of the proceedings was signed here approving or authorizing my appeal and a copy of it was sent to Regidor. Finally, enthusiastic supporters in the Philippines and Barcelona began to send letters and funds for the new enterprise they entrusted to me. Thus was the state of things. I leave Madrid, leaving the colony in complete calm. I stay at the Exposition in Barcelona for twenty days, dealing with the compatriots there without observing or being advised of any motive for dissatisfaction or dissidence on my account. I return here at last, and I find unexpectedly that in Madrid as in Barcelona, in London as in Paris, there were being discussed the division in the colony, the dissatisfaction of some with the manager, new candidates for the position, to work for harmony and reconciliation of opposing factions; in a word, I find numerous unexpected questions which had arisen magically during my absence. Place yourself in my position, tell me what you would think of all this. I ask myself: What is going on? How could such serious incidents occur? How could this struggle arise without my knowledge? From where and from whom did this come? And what ought to concern me most, what is this discontent and since when has this discontent of some exist? How has it arisen? Ah! Everything will be cleared up with time, and I am so convinced of the meanness that corrupts the origin of this question that I do not even need that my so-called friends help me to discover the hidden bottom underneath it. I have enough with what I know and with what has already happened to be warned and to flee from new vexations. This is what I say now to the one who offers me a settlement, for I do not have to settle, because I am defending my person, the post of manager of the periodical. The settlement is for the parties that are fighting. I believe that anyone can manage the periodical better than I can, perhaps with more skill, ending this question without consideration of any kind.
I should like to ask you as a friend for an explanation of certain unjust complaints which seem to be directed to me in a letter you wrote Cunanan (1) who read it to me, I do not know whether deliberately or with pardonable imprudence. Referring to an item in the periodical La Paz which clarified a praise of your novel published in that publication, you said: “This is the second time that I receive kicks from periodicals managed precisely by Filipinos. Foreign and even Spanish periodicals have treated me with more consideration; it is true that those who wrote in these were not in doubt (no nadaban entre dos agues). Many interpretations can be given to your words, and I understand that you have wished to indicate – laying aside the crudity of the phrase nadir entre dos agues – this or something similar: “It is true that these were Spaniards and foreigners while the others were neither Spaniards nor Filipinos and it is obvious that being in doubt they have tried to please both sides, not daring to incline boldly . . . . If this is so, I forgive you for this hyperbole for the sake of the harm that this manner of thinking does to yourself, you who boast of not knowing in your dictionary . . . . . . . . . . regarding all your compatriots equally. I thought that your attitude towards all is the same, but I see that towards Cunanan you are different than towards me. I wrote you two letters at Calamba in one of which I explained this matter to you; but in short, what I have to tell you for my tranquility is that you are mistaken in your opinions and neither has Julio (2) been exact in what he said to me he has told you about the review of your novel that ought to have been published in the periodical. You and he had thought that I, being manager, should have written the review, that I had taken charge of it. But it was nothing of the kind; I did not intend to do it. Neither was Evaristo Aguirre assigned to do it nor could he make it, because hardly he opened the copy you sent him, he had to deliver it to the Ministry of Development (Fomento) for the question of its introduction. We agreed that it would be more proper to make Julio take care of the review because I believe he had read better you work and had a better impression of it. On account of his work or whatever it might be, he was not able to do it. He agrees with me to do it now and luckily, because I note that you are even grateful to him that he has not done anything that might have turned out passionately favorable, while you criticize me and complain against me. I have another explanation to make to you as a friend. In your last letter from Geneva you complained against an item that I published, judging it by your reprehensible meticulousness or contempt when I swear by my honor that it was inspired by the best good faith. The periodical came out on the day of the receipt or acquisition of a copy of the novel and of putting the final touches on that number, so that without laying aside my pen, I read the dedication. I had no time but to look at the book. However, I did not want to let it pass in silence without saying something, to advance something about the book, even if it is only a notice of it. What could I say about it? Well, the only thing that I had read on the first page was that it dealt with a social cancer. I promised in the periodical to say more on the novel after I had read it and I could form a complete and impartial opinion on it. Is this contempt? Is this a judging that the work is bad as you say and the promise to take it up again is only a matter of courtesy? You judge your friends unfairly. If you think thus, you will make me believe that you are capable of behaving in the same way towards those who are your own. I am not capable of deceit, you know well, and I am incapable of the deed that you impute to me. Your work had deserved of me and deserves of me every kind of respect and affection. Would you like a light review in the ordinary stile without even reading the book? I though you deserved something more than that, hence the promise to take it up when I shall have formed an exact opinion after its perusal. Nobody interpreted that item as you have done and I believe that here you have friends as sensitive as they can be. Do you call that to give kicks? Believe what you please if you persist in your idea after what I have said.
Before the two letters I addressed to you at Calamba, I wrote you at Geneva a rather long letter expressing my sincere opinion of your book, mentioning the defects that for me it had and praising much that is worthy of praise in it. I am very sorry that the letter did not reach your hands for enclosed in it were my picture, that of Antonio Luna, that of a group which included Evaristo, taken at a Chinese fountain at the Retiro. With Julio’s letter I received a letter of the . . . . 1st arrondissement [a municipal subdivision] saying that my letter could not be returned to me while the prescribed time has not elapsed. After this I claimed it and it arrived at Madrid, it was lost here at the central post office.
I have no more time for more comment. I reiterate the friendship that I have never withdrawn and which is as intense as before.
Ever your affectionate compatriot,
(1) Mariano Cunanan of Pampanga who studied agriculture at parish; Rizal’s friend.
(2) Julio Llorente, one of the Filipino reformists.
He regrets what is happening to Rizal’s brother-in-law – Banquet in honor of Morayta alarms the enemy camp – Desengaños (Retana) does not deserve the attention of the Filipinos – Laudatory phrases of Andres Avelino del Rosario.
2-3o Rambla Canaletas, Barcelona
17 November 1888
My very dear Friend,
I am sending you by registered mail the document and letter from your brother-in-law Mr. Manuel Hidalgo that Laktaw sent me in the last mail which arrived day before yesterday. I am pained by what is happening to Mr. Hidalgo and so much more for what it signifies to our unfortunate country, worthy of a better fate and for whom we all should work.
I suppose that this question will compel you to transfer to Madrid. In the affirmative case, I request you to communicate it to us in advance and especially if you are going to pass through Barcelona.
The banquet that we gave in honor of Morayta has somewhat alarmed the enemy camp. La Voz de la Patria hurls an anathema to the banqueteantes and Champagniceantes – phraseology of the Voz – applying to us the taunt of filibusteros. Always the same thing! La Publicidad and Mr. Morayta in El Globo come out in our defense and the colony will join with an article that is being submitted to the scrutiny of all. I am sending you La Publicidad and El Globo that carry these protests.
In reply to your letter of the 9th, I should say that Desengaños (Retana) does not even deserve our attention, for we give him an importance he does not deserve; he is only worthy of our contempt.
I have had an occasion to speak in this city a few days ago with Mr. Andrés Avelino del Rosario, former secretary of the Audienca of Manila and appointed judge of first instance in Cuba. Asking him for news from Manila, he assured me that you have done an immense harm to the friars. An admirer of yours, he spoke of you in affectionate and patriotic phrases and of the valuable campaign you are undertaking, advising me of the necessity and of the duty of each one of us within our respective spheres to second your efforts. Mr. Del Rosario is a Filipino by nature and at heart. I am relating this to you as additional confirmation that you are with the spirit of our country. Forward then, for we on our part are animated by the same sentiments and we are ready to work within our limited capacities.
We shall talk another time about the periodical. We respect your motives for not giving your vote, but if you cannot vote, we shall vote.
There is bad news about Weyler. (1) They say that he already eats at the convents.
An affectionate embrace of your friend,
I take the liberty of asking you, and do not take it as boldness, that we stop using the embarrassing usted, substituting for it the affectionate tú. I repeat, pardon my boldness.
(1) Valeriano Weyler, Governor General of the Philippines from 5 June 1888 to 1891. This statement signified that Weyler had fallen under the influence of the friars, of the convents.
López Jaena is very much changed with great desire to work – It is useless to have a newspaper in Barcelona – Its entry in the Philippines will not be permitted.
Paris, 23 November 1888
Mr. José Rizal
I shall seldom write you inasmuch as when I write you my letters cost me very much, for with this as well with the previous one are enclosed English bank notes worth five hundred francs each. I still owe you two hundred francs, the amount I collected from the firm that sent it to me from the Philippines. I shall appreciate it if you would let me know when you need it so that I can remit it to you.
I repeat to you what I have always said that I am very grateful to you for having furnished me with funds. I have not yet received from Manila the sum I have asked to deposit it here for urgent needs. I expect to receive it in December. Then I trust that if at any time you would need funds, you are at liberty to call upon me.
The project that I had in my portfolio that I mentioned to you in my previous letter was the trip that I have made to Barcelona.
I was away from Paris fifteen days. I have seen everything there is to be seen at the Exposition, which is certainly worth a trip, for there is much to see. There I met many compatriots, the majority of whom being students, our Graciano among them. I found this one very much changed, with a great desire to work. He was there hoping to be placed on the editorial staff of La Publicidad, on the recommendation, it seems, of Morayta. Concerning your going to Madrid to take charge of a periodical, I agree with you that if it is to prevent the colony from breaking up, it is necessary for you to go and make a sacrifice. Nevertheless, you ought to find out beforehand what means of support the periodical has, for one cannot count on subscriptions, because what there are in Europe are not enough to maintain a newspaper and what may come from the Philippines cannot be depended upon, because, in addition to the fact that its entry will not be allowed, no one would want to subscribe in order not to be branded. (1)
I am now going to tell you my personal opinion on whether it is useful or not to have a newspaper in Barcelona. I think it is useless. First, because the propaganda being done is useless there, because we Filipinos who are in Europe are almost all agreed on what should be done and as I have said before one should not count on the Filipinos in the Philippines, because the authorities will forbid the entry of the periodical in the Philippines. Second, I think that what has been done in the Philippines and outside of the Philippines is enough for our plea for more rights should they wish to grant them to us. To insist further is already fawning.
As I tell you, this is my opinion that I shall not tell anyone else, for, not because I am disenchanted I want all to be likewise. May each one serve his country in the best way he thinks.
Regards from Elisa and command your affectionate friend who esteems you.
(1) That is to be branded a filibustero by the authorities, the friars. Every enlightened Filipino was so dubbed, and that means he could be arrested, thrown into jail or exiled, and his property confiscated.
A letter in Tagalog to Ponce – A letter from Manila published in German newspapers – Discrimination against Anacleto del Rosario.
37 Chalot Crescent, Primrose Hill
London, 3 December 1888
My dear Friend,
You may wonder why I have put off for some time answering your affectionate letter, previous to this one that I have just received. But the week before last, I have been very sick and in a devilish humor.
I thank you for having sent me the newspapers as well as the booklets. We have again discovered a new “ell of Gil!” Praised and blessed be the purest etc. etc.
As you see, following your good inspiration, I true you with tú.
I am very busy with the publication of a work. (1)
There appeared in the Cologne Gazette of 26 November, morning edition, a long letter from Manila about the condition of the Philippines, of my brothers-in-law, and of my work, in that order in the article, not of modesty. This letter was reprinted in the Gazette of North Germany, Bismarck’s organ on the 27th in the evening and it was communicated her by telegraph that same night by the correspondent of the Standard. I have seen to it that they send you a translation of the article, but if you do not receive it, tell your friends, the newspapermen, that there is something about the Philippines in those German newspapers, the foremost in the Empire.
I am going to write to Laktaw.
Give my regards to Canon and other friends.
I suppose that you already know the outrage on Friend Anacelto del Rosario. The salary of director of the laboratory that was 3,000 pesos (through competition) was reduced to 300 pesos by [Governor General Valeriano] Weyler. (2) Regidor told me about it.
When is our newspaper there coming out?
I have written twice to the Minister. In the second letter I called him ill bred.
Is Morayta a deputy?
If he is, see if he will interpellate [politically challenge] the government on the abuses that are committed in Manila.
Could the newspapers there publish an article of mine?
(1) Rizal was annotating Morga’s Los Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.
(2) That is, Weyler reduced the salary for the position when it was known that a Filipino had won in the competitive examination to fill the position.
A letter for Laktaw sent through Mariano Ponce (Maning) to evade censorship at Manila.
37 Chalcot Crescent, London
7 December 1888
[Mr. Mariano Ponce]
My dear Friend Naning,
Enclosed I am sending you that letter for Laktaw for not knowing how I should send it to him. If I put on the envelope Pedro Serrano, the trick will be discovered; if I put L’Aktaw, it will not reach him.
What you could do is to tell him: “There I send you a copy of a letter that I have received from Laong Laan for L’Aktaw. As there is something about you in it, I send it on to you. Besides the prudent opinion of Laong Laan on Rizal may be of use to you. Find out there who is that L’Aktaw.”
You could say this or something else.
Excuse me now for I am very busy; I am working. (1)
You may read the letter.
(1) Rizal was working on his Morga edition.
“Despite everything that has happened. I remain the same.”
according to what they say is fifty pesos.
This season of the year reminds me of other seasons – those when I was there. I remember that after the first speech that you delivered on 31 December, I was the first one to greet you and I congratulated you warmly, and you then told me that my compliments were the most precious to you because they were the most sincere. Now, despite everything that has happened, I remain the same. If some day you publish something, you will receive the same sincere congratulations from me, because I do not take revenge and because I want to fulfill my duties as a friend, as a man, as a comrade, and as a compatriot. And because I am not revengeful, I did not wish to support the candidacy of Llorente against yours, nor accept my candidacy the moment I found out that it would hurt you.
I conclude this letter wishing you, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Note: This is a fragment of a letter to Eduardo de Lete.
“Be the interpreter of my sentiments” at the banquet on the 31st of December.”
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, London
28 December 1888
[Mr. Fernando Canon]
My dear Friend and old Comrade,
I arrived here bringing fresh the beautiful memories of your cordial reception and immediately I started working to fulfill my promise to you. Unfortunately the Museum was closed for two days and I could not do anything.
I write you not only to thank you, but also to ask you to be the interpreter of my sentiments when you meet on the 31st of December at night, granting that this letter arrives on time. In doing so I count on the ties that bind us. You are not only a good compatriot but also to me an old childhood companion, a rival, a competitor, from whom I have learned much and whose name reminds me of many happy days.
I am sending to Ponce now the manuscripts against Fr. Rodríguez and the friars in general. See to it that the first is published as soon as possible.
I am enclosing herewith a greeting card for the New Year for your wife. May you celebrate it happily.
Give her my regards,
Manuscript of La vision de Fr. Rodríguez sent to Mariano Ponce for publication at Barcelona.
37 Chalcot Crescent Primrose Hill, London
28 December 1888
My dear Friend Naning,
Enclosed are the manuscripts. See to it that La vision de Fr. Rodríguez (1) is published. Use the money from the sale of my remaining books there. Print some 3 or 4,000 copies and see to it that it is done as quickly as possible. Add or delete something.
I already sent 25 pesetas to the Asociación Hispano-Filipina some money remaining there, give five duros to Graciano, for the bill that I intended to send him for the New Year I had to send to Madrid, as they sent me a receipt for my quota.
I arrived here well; they were expecting me.
I am working like a good Filipino. Tomorrow I am going to write Rogers, because I have had no time until now, having been busy with Fr. Rodríguez. But this will be the last time.
Give my regards to all our compatriots; I will not write any more here their names but let them know that I remember them all.
I wish to write to Canon.
Happy New Year!
(1) Rizal’s reply to the pamphlets published by Fr. José Rodríguez, an Augustinian friar, attacking the Noli me tángere and its author. Written in a satirical vein.
Address to his Compatriots at Barcelona Alza tu tersa frente juventud filipina, en este dia (Lift up your radiant brow, This day . . .) (1)
On the 31 December 1888
Without wishing to parody the sublime words of Christ, shall say to you nevertheless why I think and feel thus, that whenever two Filipinos meet in the name of the native land and for her welfare, there also I should like to be to join them.
How I would like now to be in your midst in order to think and feel with you, to dream, to wish, to attempt something so that those who will follow us may not be able to throw anything in our face, so that we may give something to that country that has given us everything, in spite of her unhappy fate!
Across the Cantabrian Mountains [a mountain range in N & NW Spain, parallel to the Bay of Biscay], dear compatriots, go my wishes that tonight you may accomplish something memorable, something worthy of the Filipino youth upon whom the native county has pinned her hopes! And I conclude repeating to you what I said ten years ago in a contest.
!Alza tu tersa frente,
Juventud Filipina, en este dia!
Tu rica gallardía
Bella esperanza de la Patria mía! (2)
(1) From Rizal’s poem A la juventud filipina (To the Philippine Youth) which was awarded a prize in 1897 by the Liceo Aristico Literario de Manila. It is one of the better-known poetic compositions of Rizal. Rizal enjoins young Filipino students at Barcelona to remember always their motherland and serve her.
(2) Lift up your radiant brow, / This day, Youth of my native strand! You abounding talents show / Resplendently and grand, / Fair hope of my Motherland!