Read Chapter VII - The Period of Propaganda of Lineage‚ Life‚ and Labors of Jose Rizal‚ Philippine Patriot, free online book, by Austin Craig, on ReadCentral.com.

The city had not altered much during Rizal’s seven years of absence. The condition of the Binondo pavement, with the same holes in the road which Rizal claimed he remembered as a schoolboy, was unchanged, and this recalls the experience of Ybarra in “Noli Me Tangere” on his homecoming after a like period of absence.

Doctor Rizal at once went to his home in Kalamba. His first operation in the Philippines relieved the blindness of his mother, by the removal of a double cataract, and thus the object of his special study in Paris was accomplished. This and other like successes gave the young oculist a fame which brought patients from all parts of Luzon; and, though his charges were moderate, during his seven months’ stay in the Islands Doctor Rizal accumulated over five thousand pesos, besides a number of diamonds which he had bought as a secure way of carrying funds, mindful of the help that the ring had been with which he had first started from the Philippines.

Shortly after his arrival, Governor-General Terrero summoned Rizal by telegraph to Malacanan from Kalamba. The interview proved to be due to the interest in the author of “Noli Me Tangere” and a curiosity to read the novel, arising from the copious extracts with which the Manila censors had submitted an unfavorable opinion when asking for the prohibition of the book. The recommendation of the censor was disregarded, and General Terrero, fearful that Rizal might be molested by some of the many persons who would feel themselves aggrieved by his plain picturing of undesirable classes in the Philippines, gave him for a bodyguard a young Spanish lieutenant, Jose Taviel de Andrade. The young men soon became fast friends, as they had artistic and other tastes in common. Once they climbed Mr. Makiling, near Kalamba, and placed there, after the European custom, a flag to show that they had reached the summit. This act was at first misrepresented by the enemies of Rizal as planting a German banner, for they started a story that he had taken possession of the Islands in the name of the country where he was educated, which was just then in unfriendly relations with Spain over the question of the ill treatment of the Protestant missionaries in the Caroline Islands. This same story was repeated after the American occupation with the variation that Rizal, as the supreme chief and originator of the ideas of the Katipunan (which in fact he was not he was even opposed to the society as it existed in his time), had placed there a Filipino banner, in token that the Islands intended to reassume the independent condition of which the Spanish had dispossessed them.

“Noli Me Tangere” circulated first among Doctor Rizal’s relatives; on one occasion a cousin made a special trip to Kalamba and took the author to task for having caricatured her in the character of Dona Victorina. Rizal made no denial, but merely suggested that the book was a mirror of Philippine life, with types that unquestionably existed in the country, and that if anybody recognized one of the characters as picturing himself or herself, that person would do well to correct the faults which therein appeared ridiculous.

A somewhat liberal administration was now governing the Philippines, and efforts were being made to correct the more glaring abuses in the social conditions. One of these reforms proposed that the larger estates should bear their share of the taxes, which it was believed they were then escaping to a great extent. Requests were made of the municipal government of Kalamba, among other towns, for a statement of the relation that the big Dominican hacienda bore to the town, what increase or decrease there might have been in the income of the estate, and what taxes the proprietors were paying compared with the revenue their place afforded.

Rizal interested the people of the community to gather reliable statistics, to go thoroughly into the actual conditions, and to leave out the generalities which usually characterized Spanish documents.

He asked the people to cooeperate, pointing out that when they did not complain it was their own fault more than that of the government if they suffered injustice. Further, he showed the folly of exaggerated statements, and insisted upon a definite and moderate showing of such abuses as were unquestionably within the power of the authorities to relieve. Rizal himself prepared the report, which is an excellent presentation of the grievances of the people of his town. It brings forward as special points in favor of the community their industriousness, their willingness to help themselves, their interest in education, and concludes with expressing confidence in the fairness of the government, pointing out the fact that they were risking the displeasure of their landlords by furnishing the information requested. The paper made a big stir, and its essential statements, like everything else in Rizal’s writings, were never successfully challenged.

Conditions in Manila were at that time disturbed owing to the precedence which had been given in a local festival to the Chinese, because they paid more money. The Filipinos claimed that, being in their home country, they should have had prior consideration and were entitled to it by law. The matter culminated in a protest, which was doubtless submitted to Doctor Rizal on the eve of his departure from the Islands; the protest in a general way met with his approval, but the theatrical methods adopted in the presentation of it can hardly have been according to his advice.

He sailed for Hongkong in February of 1888, and made a short stay in the British colony, becoming acquainted there with Jose Maria Basa, an exile of ’72, who had constituted himself the especial guardian of the Filipino students in that city. The visitor was favorably impressed by the methods of education in the British colony and with the spirit of patriotism developed thereby. He also looked into the subject of the large investments in Hongkong property by the corporation landlords of the Philippines, their preparation for the day of trouble which they foresaw.

Rizal was interested in the Chinese theater, comparing the plays with the somewhat similar productions which existed in the Philippines; there, however, they had been given a religious twist, which at first glance hid their debt to the Chinese drama. The Doctor notes meeting, at nearby Macao, an exile of ’72, whose condition and patient, uncomplaining bearing of his many troubles aroused Rizal’s sympathies and commanded his admiration.

With little delay, the journey was continued to Japan, where Doctor Rizal was surprised by an invitation to make his home in the Spanish consulate. There he was hospitably entertained, and a like courtesy was shown him in the Spanish minister’s home in Tokio. The latter even offered him a position, as a sort of interpreter, probably, should he care to remain in the country. This offer, however, was declined. Rizal made considerable investigation into the condition of the various Japanese classes and acquired such facility in the use of the language that with it and his appearance, for he was “very Japanese,” the natives found it difficult to believe that he was not one of themselves. The month or more passed here he considered one of the happiest in his travels, and it was with regret that he sailed from Yokohama for San Francisco. A Japanese newspaper man, who knew no other language than his own, was a companion on the entire journey to London, and Rizal acted as his interpreter.

Not only did he enter into the spirit of the language but with remarkable versatility he absorbed the spirit of the Japanese artists and acquired much dexterity in expressing himself in their style, as is shown by one of the illustrations in this book. The popular idea that things occidental are reversed in the Orient was amusingly caricatured in a sketch he made of a German face; by reversing its lines he converted it into an old-time Japanese countenance.

The diary of the voyage from Hongkong to Japan records an incident to which he alludes as being similar to that of Aladdin in the Tagalog tale of Florante. The Filipino wife of an Englishman, Mrs. Jackson, who was a passenger on board, told Rizal a great deal about a Filipino named Rachal, who was educated in Europe and had written a much-talked-of novel, which she described and of which she spoke in such flattering terms that Rizal declared his identity. The confusion in names is explained by the fact that Rachal is a name well known in the Philippines as that of a popular make of piano.

At San Francisco the boat was held for some time in quarantine because of sickness aboard, and Rizal was impressed by the fact that the valuable cargo of silk was not delayed but was quickly transferred to the shore. His diary is illustrated with a drawing of the Treasury flag on the customs launch which acted as go-between for their boat and the shore. Finally, the first-class passengers were allowed to land, and he went to the Palace Hotel.

With little delay, the overland journey was begun; the scenery through the picturesque Rocky Mountains especially impressed him, and finally Chicago was reached. The thing that struck him most forcibly in that city was the large number of cigar stores with an Indian in front of each and apparently no two Indians alike. The unexpressed idea was that in America the remembrance of the first inhabitants of the land and their dress was retained and popularized, while in the Philippines knowledge of the first inhabitants of the land was to be had only from foreign museums.

Niagara Falls is the next impression recorded in the diary, which has been preserved and is now in the Newberry Library of Chicago. The same strange, awe-inspiring mystery which others have found in the big falls affected him, but characteristically he compared this world-wonder with the cascades of his native La Laguna, claiming for them greater delicacy and a daintier enchantment.

From Albany, the train ran along the banks of the Hudson, and he was reminded of the Pasig in his homeland, with its much greater commerce and its constant activity.

At New York, Rizal embarked on the City of Rome, then the finest steamer in the world, and after a pleasant voyage, in which his spare moments were occupied in rereading “Gulliver’s Travels” in English, Rizal reached England, and said good-by to the friends whom he had met during their brief ocean trip together.

Rizal’s first letters home to his family speak of being in the free air of England and once more amidst European activity. For a short time he lived with Doctor Antonio Maria Regidor, an exile of ’72, who had come to secure what Spanish legal Business he could in the British metropolis. Doctor Regidor was formerly an official in the Philippines, and later proved his innocence of any complicity in the troubles of ’72.

Doctor Rizal then boarded with a Mr. Beckett, organist of St. Paul’s Church, at 37 Charlecote Crescent, in the favorite North West residence section. The zooelogical gardens were conveniently near and the British Museum was within easy walking distance. The new member was a favorite with all the family, which consisted of three daughters besides the father and mother.

Rizal’s youthful interest in sleight-of-hand tricks was still maintained. During his stay in the Philippines he had sometimes amused his friends in this way, till one day he was horrified to find that the simple country folk, who were also looking on, thought that he was working miracles. In London he resumed his favorite diversion, and a Christmas gift of Mrs. Beckett to him, “The Life and Adventures of Valentine Vox the Ventriloquist,” indicated the interest his friends took in this amusement. One of his own purchases was “Modern Magic,” the frontispiece of which is the sphinx that figures in the story of “El Filibusterismo.”

It was Rizal’s custom to study the deceptions practiced upon the peoples of other lands, comparing them with those of which his own countrymen had been victims. Thus he could get an idea of the relative credulity of different peoples and could also account for many practices the origin of which was otherwise less easy to understand. His investigations were both in books and by personal research. In quest of these experiences he one day chanced to visit a professional phrenologist; the bump-reader was a shrewd guesser, for he dwelt especially upon Rizal’s aptitude for learning languages and advised him to take up the study of them.

This interest in languages, shown in his childish ambition to be like Sir John Bowring, made Rizal a congenial companion of a still more distinguished linguist, Doctor Reinhold Rost, the librarian of the India Office. The Raffles Library in Singapore now owns Doctor Rost’s library, and its collection of grammars in seventy languages attests the wide range of the studies of this Sanscrit scholar.

Doctor Rost was born and educated in Germany, though naturalized as a British subject, and he was a man of great musical taste. His family sometimes formed an orchestra, at other times a glee club, and furnished all the necessary parts from its own members. Rizal was a frequent visitor, usually spending his Sundays in athletic exercises with the boys, for he quickly became proficient in the English sports of boxing and cricket. While resting he would converse with the father, or chat with the daughters of the home. All the children had literary tastes, and one, Daisy, presented him with a copy of a novel which she had just translated from the German, entitled “Ulli.”

Some idea of Doctor Rizal’s own linguistic attainments may be gained from the fact that instead of writing letters to his nephews and nieces he made for them translations of some of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. They consist of some forty manuscript pages, profusely illustrated, and the father is referred to in a “dedication,” as though it were a real book. The Hebrew Bible quotation is in allusion to a jocose remark once made by the father that German was like Hebrew to him, the verse being that in which the sons of Jacob, not recognizing that their brother was the seller, were bargaining for some of Pharaoh’s surplus corn, “And he (Joseph) said, How is the old man, your father?” Rizal always tried to relieve by a touch of humor anything that seemed to him as savoring of affectation, the phase of Spanish character that repelled him and the imitation of which by his countrymen who knew nothing of the un-Spanish world disgusted him with them.

Another example of his versatility in language and of its usefulness to him as well, is shown in a trilingual letter written by Rizal in Dapitan when the censorship of his correspondence had become annoying through ignorant exceptions to perfectly harmless matters. No Spaniard available spoke more than one language besides his own and it was necessary to send the letter to three different persons to find out its contents. The critics took the hint and Rizal received better treatment thereafter.

Another one of Rizal’s youthful aspirations was attained in London, for there he began transcribing the early Spanish history by Morga of which Sir John Bowring had told his uncle. A copy of this rare book was in the British Museum and he gained admission as a reader there through the recommendation of Doctor Rost. Only five hundred persons can be accommodated in the big reading room, and as students are coming from every continent for special researches, good reason has to be shown why these studies cannot be made at some other institution.

Besides the copying of the text of Morga’s history, Rizal read many other early writings on the Philippines, and the manifest unfairness of some of these who thought that they could glorify Spain only by disparaging the Filipinos aroused his wrath. Few Spanish writers held up the good name of those who were under their flag, and Rizal had to resort to foreign authorities to disprove their libels. Morga was almost alone among Spanish historians, but his assertions found corroboration in the contemporary chronicles of other nationalities. Rizal spent his evenings in the home of Doctor Regidor, and many a time the bitterness and impatience with which his day’s work in the Museum had inspired him, would be forgotten as the older man counseled patience and urged that such prejudices were to be expected of a little educated nation. Then Rizal’s brow would clear as he quoted his favorite proverb, “To understand all is to forgive all.”

Doctor Rost was editor of Truebner’s Record, a journal devoted to the literature of the East, founded by the famous Oriental Bookseller and Publisher of London, Nicholas Truebner, and Doctor Rizal contributed to it in May, 1889, some specimens of Tagal folklore, an extract from which is appended, as it was then printed:

Specimens of Tagal Folklore

By Doctor J. Rizal

Proverbial Sayings

Malakas ang bulong sa sigaw, Low words are stronger than loud words.

Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa ’y hubad, A petted child is generally naked (i.e. poor).

Hampasng magulang ay nakataba, Parents’ punishment makes one fat.

Ibang hari ibang ugail, New king, new fashion.

Nagpuputol ang kapus, ang labis ay nagdurugtong, What is short cuts off a piece from itself, what is long adds another on (the poor gets poorer, the rich richer).

Ang nagsasabing tapus ay siyang kinakapus, He who finishes his words finds himself wanting.

Nangangako habang napapako, Man promises while in need.

Ang naglalakad ng marahan, matinik may mababaw, He who walks slowly, though he may put his foot on a thorn, will not be hurt very much (Tagals mostly go barefooted).

Ang maniwala sa sabi ’y walang bait na sarili, He who believes in tales has no own mind.

Ang may isinuksok sa dingding, ay may titingalain, He who has put something between the wall may afterwards look on (the saving man may afterwards be cheerful). The wall of a Tagal house is made of palm-leaves and bamboo, so that it can be used as a cupboard.

Walang mahirap gisingin na paris nang nagtutulogtulugan, The most difficult to rouse from sleep is the man who pretends to be asleep.

Labis sa salita, kapus sa gawa, Too many words, too little work.

Hipong tulog ay nadadala ng anod, The sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.

Sa bibig nahuhuli ang isda, The fish is caught through the mouth.

Puzzles

Isang butil na palay sikip sa buony bahay, One rice-corn fills up all the house. The light. The rice-corn with the husk is yellowish.

Matapang ako so dalawa, duag ako sa isa, I am brave against two, coward against one. The bamboo bridge. When the bridge is made of one bamboo only, it is difficult to pass over; but when it is made of two or more, it is very easy.

Dala ako niya, dala ko siya, He carries me, I carry him. The shoes.

Isang balong malalim puna ng patalim, A deep well filled with steel blades. The mouth.

The Filipino colony in Spain had established a fortnightly review, published first in Barcelona and later in Madrid, to enlighten Spaniards on their distant colony, and Rizal wrote for it from the start. Its name, La Solidaridad, perhaps may be translated Equal Rights, as it aimed at like laws and the same privileges for the Peninsula and the possessions overseas.

From the Philippines came news of a contemptible attempt to reach Rizal through his family one of many similar petty persecutions. His sister Lucia’s husband had died and the corpse was refused interment in consecrated ground, upon the pretext that the dead man, who had been exceptionally liberal to the church and was of unimpeachable character, had been negligent in his religious duties. Another individual with a notorious record of longer absence from confession died about the same time, and his funeral took place from the church without demur. The ugly feature about the refusal to bury Hervosa was that the telegram from the friar parish-priest to the Archbishop at Manila in asking instructions, was careful to mention that the deceased was a brother-in-law of Rizal. Doctor Rizal wrote a scorching article for La Solidaridad under the caption “An Outrage,” and took the matter up with the Spanish Colonial Minister, then Becerra, a professed Liberal. But that weakling statesman, more liberal in words than in actions, did nothing.

That the union of Church and State can be as demoralizing to religion as it is disastrous to good government seems sufficiently established by Philippine incidents like this, in which politics was substituted for piety as the test of a good Catholic, making marriage impossible and denying decent burial to the families of those who differed politically with the ministers of the national religion.

Of all his writings, the article in which Rizal speaks of this indignity to the dead comes nearest to exhibiting personal feeling and rancor. Yet his main point is to indicate generally what monstrous conditions the Philippine mixture of religion and politics made possible.

The following are part of a series of nineteen verses published in La Solidaridad over Rizal’s favorite pen name of Laong Laan:

To my Muse

(translation by Charles Derbyshire)

Invoked no longer is the Muse,
The lyre is out of date;
The poets it no longer use,
And youth its inspiration now imbues
With other form and state.

If today our fancies aught
Of verse would still require,
Helicon’s hill remains unsought;
And without heed we but inquire,
Why the coffee is not brought.

In the place of thought sincere
That our hearts may feel,
We must seize a pen of steel,
And with verse and line severe
Fling abroad a jest and jeer.

Muse, that in the past inspired me,
And with songs of love hast fired me;
Go thou now to dull repose,
For today in sordid prose
I must earn the gold that hired me.

Now must I ponder deep,
Meditate, and struggle on;
E’en sometimes I must weep;
For he who love would keep
Great pain has undergone.

Fled are the days of ease,
The days of Love’s delight;
When flowers still would please
And give to suffering souls surcease
From pain and sorrow’s blight.

One by one they have passed on,
All I loved and moved among;
Dead or married from me gone,
For all I place my heart upon
By fate adverse are stung.

Go thou, too, O Muse, depart,
Other regions fairer find;
For my land but offers art
For the laurel, chains that bind,
For a temple, prisons blind.

But before thou leavest me, speak:
Tell me with thy voice sublime,
Thou couldst ever from me seek
A song of sorrow for the weak,
Defiance to the tyrant’s crime.

Rizal’s congenial situation in the British capital was disturbed by his discovering a growing interest in the youngest of the three girls whom he daily met. He felt that his career did not permit him to marry, nor was his youthful affection for his cousin in Manila an entirely forgotten sentiment. Besides, though he never lapsed into such disregard for his feminine friends as the low Spanish standard had made too common among the Filipino students in Madrid, Rizal was ever on his guard against himself. So he suggested to Doctor Regidor that he considered it would be better for him to leave London. His parting gift to the family with whom he had lived so happily was a clay medallion bearing in relief the profiles of the three sisters.

Other regretful good-bys were said to a number of young Filipinos whom he had gathered around him and formed into a club for the study of the history of their country and the discussion of its politics.

Rizal now went to Paris, where he was glad to be again with his friend Valentin Ventura, a wealthy Pampangan who had been trained for the law. His tastes and ideals were very much those of Rizal, and he had sound sense and a freedom from affectation which especially appealed to Rizal. There Rizal’s reprint of Morga’s rare history was made, at a greater cost but also in better form than his first novel. Copious notes gave references to other authorities and compared present with past conditions, and Doctor Blumentritt contributed a forceful introduction.

When Rizal returned to London to correct the proofsheets, the old original book was in use and the copy could not be checked. This led to a number of errors, misspelled and changed words, and even omissions of sentences, which were afterwards discovered and carefully listed and filed away to be corrected in another edition.

Possibly it has been made clear already that, while Rizal did not work for separation from Spain, he was no admirer of the Castilian character, nor of the Latin type, for that matter. He remarked on Blumentritt’s comparison of the Spanish rulers in the Philippines with the Czars of Russia, that it is flattering to the Castilians but it is more than they merit, to put them in the same class as Russia. Apparently he had in mind the somewhat similar comparison in Burke’s speech on the conciliation of America, in which he said that Russia was more advanced and less cruel than Spain and so not to be classed with it.

During his stay in Paris, Rizal was a frequent visitor at the home of the two Doctors Pardo de Tavera, sons of the exile of ’72 who had gone to France, the younger now a physician in South America, the elder a former Philippine Commissioner. The interest of the one in art, and of the other in philology, the ideas of progress through education shared by both, and many other common tastes and ideals, made the two young men fast friends of Rizal. Mrs. Tavera, the mother, was an interesting conversationalist, and Rizal profited by her reminiscences of Philippine official life, to the inner circle of which her husband’s position had given her the entree.

On Sundays Rizal fenced at Juan Luna’s house with his distinguished artist-countryman, or, while the latter was engaged with Ventura, watched their play. It was on one of these afternoons that the Tagalog story of “The Monkey and the Tortoise" was hastily sketched as a joke to fill the remaining pages of Mrs. Luna’s autograph album, in which she had been insisting Rizal must write before all its space was used up. A comparison of the Tagalog version with a Japanese counterpart was published by Rizal in English, in Truebner’s Magazine, suggesting that the two people may have had a common origin. This study received considerable attention from other ethnologists, and was among the topics at an ethnological conference.

At times his antagonist was Miss Nellie Baustead, who had great skill with the foils. Her father, himself born in the Philippines, the son of a wealthy merchant of Singapore, had married a member of the Genato family of Manila. At their villa in Biarritz, and again in their home in Belgium, Rizal was a guest later, for Mr. Baustead had taken a great liking to him.

The teaching instinct that led him to act as mentor to the Filipino students in Spain and made him the inspiration of a mutual improvement club of his young countrymen in London, suggested the foundation of a school in Paris. Later a Pampangan youth offered him $40,000 with which to found a Filipino college in Hongkong, where many young men from the Philippines had obtained an education better than their own land could afford but not entirely adapted to their needs. The scheme attracted Rizal, and a prospectus for such an institution which was later found among his papers not only proves how deeply he was interested, but reveals the fact that his ideas of education were essentially like those carried out in the present public-school course of instruction in the Philippines.

Early in August of 1890 Rizal went to Madrid to seek redress for a wrong done his family by the notorious General Weyler, the “Butcher” of evil memory in Cuba, then Governor-General of the Philippines. Just as the mother’s loss of liberty, years before, was caused by revengeful feelings on the part of an official because for one day she was obliged to omit a customary gift of horse feed, so the father’s loss of land was caused by a revengeful official, and for quite as trivial a cause.

Mr. Mercado was a great poultry fancier and especially prided himself upon his fine stock of turkeys. He had been accustomed to respond to the frequent requests of the estate agent for presents of birds. But at one time disease had so reduced the number of turkeys that all that remained were needed for breeding purposes and Mercado was obliged to refuse him. In a rage the agent insisted, and when that proved unavailing, threats followed.

But Francisco Mercado was not a man to be moved by threats, and when the next rent day came round he was notified that his rent had been doubled. This was paid without protest, for the tenants were entirely at the mercy of the landlords, no fixed rate appearing either in contracts or receipts. Then the rent-raising was kept on till Mercado was driven to seek the protection of the courts. Part of his case led to exactly the same situation as that of the Binan tenantry in his grandfather’s time, when the landlords were compelled to produce their title-deeds, and these proved that land of others had been illegally included in the estate. Other tenants, emboldened by Mercado’s example also refused to pay the exorbitant rent increases.

The justice of the peace of Kalamba, before whom the case first came, was threatened by the provincial governor for taking time to hear the testimony, and the case was turned over to the auxiliary justice, who promptly decided in the manner desired by the authorities. Mercado at once took an appeal, but the venal Weyler moved a force of artillery to Kalamba and quartered it upon the town as if rebellion openly existed there. Then the court representatives evicted the people from their homes and directed them to remove all their buildings from the estate lands within twenty-four hours. In answer to the plea that they had appealed to the Supreme Court the tenants were told their houses could be brought back again if they won their appeal. Of course this was impossible and some 150,000 pesos’ worth of property was consequently destroyed by the court agents, who were worthy estate employees. Twenty or more families were made homeless and the other tenants were forbidden to shelter them under pain of their own eviction. This is the proceeding in which Retana suggests that the governor-general and the landlords were legally within their rights. If so, Spanish law was a disgrace to the nation. Fortunately the Rizal-Mercado family had another piece of property at Los Banos, and there they made their home.

Weyler’s motives in this matter do not have to be surmised, for among the (formerly) secret records of the government there exists a letter which he wrote when he first denied the petition of the Kalamba residents. It is marked “confidential” and is addressed to the landlords, expressing the pleasure which this action gave him. Then the official adds that it cannot have escaped their notice that the times demand diplomacy in handling the situation but that, should occasion arise, he will act with energy. Just as Weyler had favored the landlords at first so he kept on and when he had a chance to do something for them he did it.

Finally, when Weyler left the Islands an investigation was ordered into his administration, owing to rumors of extensive and systematic frauds on the government, but nothing more came of the case than that Retana, later Rizal’s biographer, wrote a book in the General’s defense, “extensively documented,” and also abusively anti-Filipino. It has been urged (not by Retana, however) that the Weyler regime was unusually efficient, because he would allow no one but himself to make profits out of the public, and therefore, while his gains were greater than those of his predecessors, the Islands really received more attention from him.

During the Kalamba discussion in Spain, Retana, until 1899 always scurrilously anti-Filipino, made the mistake of his life, for he charged Rizal’s family with not paying their rent, which was not true. While Rizal believed that duelling was murder, to judge from a pair of pictures preserved in his album, he evidently considered that homicide of one like Retana was justifiable. After the Spanish custom, his seconds immediately called upon the author of the libel. Retana notes in his “Vida del Dr. Rizal” that the incident closed in a way honorable to both Rizal and himself he, Retana, published an explicit retraction and abject apology in the Madrid papers. Another time, in Madrid, Rizal risked a duel when he challenged Antonio Luna, later the General, because of a slighting allusion to a lady at a public banquet. He had a nicer sense of honor in such matters than prevailed in Madrid, and Luna promptly saw the matter from Rizal’s point of view and withdrew the offensive remark. This second incident complements the first, for it shows that Rizal was as willing to risk a duel with his superior in arms as with one not so skilled as he. Rizal was an exceptional pistol shot and a fair swordsman, while Retana was inferior with either sword or pistol, but Luna, who would have had the choice of weapons, was immeasurably Rizal’s superior with the sword.

Owing to a schism a rival arose against the old Masonry and finally the original organization succumbed to the offshoot. Doctor Miguel Morayta, Professor of History in the Central University at Madrid, was the head of the new institution and it had grown to be very popular among students. Doctor Morayta was friendly to the Filipinos and a lodge of the same name as their paper was organized among them. For their outside work they had a society named the Hispano-Filipino Association, of which Morayta was president, with convenient clubrooms and a membership practically the same as the Lodge La Solidaridad.

Just before Christmas of 1890, this Hispano-Filipino Association gave a largely attended banquet at which there were many prominent speakers. Rizal stayed away, not because of growing pessimism, as Retana suggests, but because one of the speakers was the same Becerra who had feared to act when the outrage against the body of Rizal’s brother-in-law had been reported to him. Now out of office, the ex-minister was again bold in words, but Rizal for one was not again to be deceived by them.

The propaganda carried on by his countrymen in the Peninsula did not seem to Rizal effective, and he found his suggestions were not well received by those at its head. The story of Rizal’s separation from La Solidaridad, however, is really not material, but the following quotation from a letter written to Carlos Oliver, speaking of the opposition of the Madrid committee of Filipinos to himself, is interesting as showing Rizal’s attitude of mind:

“I regret exceedingly that they war against me, attempting to discredit me in the Philippines, but I shall be content provided only that my successor keeps on with the work. I ask only of those who say that I created discord among the Filipinos: Was there any effective union before I entered political life? Was there any chief whose authority I wanted to oppose? It is a pity that in our slavery we should have rivalries over leadership.”

And in Rizal’s letter from Hongkong, May 24, 1892, to Zulueta, commenting on an article by Leyte in La Solidaridad, he says:

“Again I repeat, I do not understand the reason of the attack, since now I have dedicated myself to preparing for our countrymen a safe refuge in case of persecution and to writing some books, championing our cause, which shortly will appear. Besides, the article is impolitic in the extreme and prejudicial to the Philippines. Why say that the first thing we need is to have money? A wiser man would be silent and not wash soiled linen in public.”

Early in ’91 Rizal went to Paris, visiting Mr. Baustead’s villa in Biarritz en route, and he was again a guest of his hospitable friend when, after the winter season was over, the family returned to their home in Brussels.

During most of the year Rizal’s residence was in Ghent, where he had gathered around him a number of Filipinos. Doctor Blumentritt suggested that he should devote himself to the study of Malay-Polynesian languages, and as it appeared that thus he could earn a living in Holland he thought to make his permanent home there. But his parents were old and reluctant to leave their native land to pass their last years in a strange country, and that plan failed.

He now occupied himself in finishing the sequel to “Noli Me Tangere,” the novel “El Filibusterismo,” which he had begun in October of 1887 while on his visit to the Philippines. The bolder painting of the evil effects of the Spanish culture upon the Filipinos may well have been inspired by his unfortunate experiences with his countrymen in Madrid who had not seen anything of Europe outside of Spain. On the other hand, the confidence of the author in those of his countrymen who had not been contaminated by the so-called Spanish civilization, is even more noticeable than in “Noli Me Tangere.”

Rizal had now done all that he could for his country; he had shown them by Morga what they were when Spain found them; through “Noli Me Tangere” he had painted their condition after three hundred years of Spanish influence; and in “El Filibusterismo” he had pictured what their future must be if better counsels did not prevail in the colony.

These works were for the instruction of his countrymen, the fulfilment of the task he set for himself when he first read Doctor Jagor’s criticism fifteen years before; time only was now needed for them to accomplish their work and for education to bring forth its fruits.