Read Chapter IX - The Deportation to Dapitan of Lineage‚ Life‚ and Labors of Jose Rizal‚ Philippine Patriot, free online book, by Austin Craig, on

As soon as Rizal was lodged in his prison, a room in Fort Santiago, the Governor-General began the composition of one of the most extraordinary official documents ever issued in this land where the strangest governmental acts have abounded. It is apology, argument, and attack all in one and was published in the Official Gazette, where it occupied most of an entire issue. The effect of the righteous anger it displays suffers somewhat when one knows how all was planned from the day Rizal was decoyed from Hongkong under the faithless safe-conduct. Another enlightening feature is the copy of a later letter, preserved in that invaluable secret file, wherein Despujol writes Rizal’s custodian, as jailer, to allow the exile in no circumstances to see this number of the Gazette or to know its contents, and suggests several evasions to assist the subordinate’s power of invention. It is certainly a strange indignation which fears that its object shall learn the reason for wrath, nor is it a creditable spectacle when one beholds the chief of a government giving private lessons in lying.

A copy of the Gazette was sent to the Spanish Consul in Hongkong, also a cablegram directing him to give it publicity that “Spain’s good name might not suffer” in that colony. By his blunder, not knowing that the Lusitania Club was really a Portuguese Masonic lodge and full of Rizal’s friends, a copy was sent there and a strong reply was called forth. The friendly editor of the Hongkong Telegraph devoted columns to the outrage by which a man whose acquaintance in the scientific world reflected honor upon his nation, was decoyed to what was intended to be his death, exiled to “an unhealthful, savage spot,” through “a plot of which the very Borgias would have been ashamed.”

The British Consul in Manila, too, mentioned unofficially to Governor-General Despujol that it seemed a strange way of showing Spain’s often professed friendship for Great Britain thus to disregard the annoyance to the British colony of North Borneo caused by making impossible an entirely unexceptionable plan. Likewise, in much the same respectfully remonstrant tone which the Great Powers are wont to use in recalling to semi-savage states their obligations to civilization, he pointed out how Spain’s prestige as an advanced nation would suffer when the educated world, in which Rizal was Spain’s best-known representative, learned that the man whom they honored had been trapped out of his security under the British flag and sent into exile without the slightest form of trial.

Almost the last act of Rizal while at liberty was the establishment of the “Liga Filipina,” a league or association seeking to unite all Filipinos of good character for concerted action toward the economic advancement of their country, for a higher standard of manhood, and to assure opportunities for education and development to talented Filipino youth. Resistance to oppression by lawful means was also urged, for Rizal believed that no one could fairly complain of bad government until he had exhausted and found unavailing all the legal resources provided for his protection. This was another expression of his constant teaching that slaves, those who toadied to power, and men without self-respect made possible and fostered tyranny, abuses and disregard of the rights of others.

The character test was also a step forward, for the profession of patriotism has often been made to cloak moral shortcomings in the Philippines as well as elsewhere. Rizal urged that those who would offer themselves on the altar of their fatherland must conform to the standard of old, and, like the sacrificial lamb, be spotless and without blemish. Therefore, no one who had justifiably been prosecuted for any infamous crime was eligible to membership in the new organization.

The plan, suggested by a Spanish Masonic society called C. Kadosch y Cía., originated with Jose Maria Basa, at whose instance Rizal drafted the constitution and regulations. Possibly all the members were Freemasons of the educated and better-to-do class, and most of them adhered to the doctrine that peaceably obtained reforms and progress by education are surest and best.

Rizal’s arrest discouraged those of this higher faith, for the peaceable policy seemed hopeless, while the radical element, freed from Rizal’s restraining influence and deeming the time for action come, formed a new and revolutionary society which preached force of arms as the only argument left to them, and sought its membership among the less-enlightened and poorer class.

Their inspiration was Andres Bonifacio, a shipping clerk for a foreign firm, who had read and re-read accounts of the French Revolution till he had come to believe that blood alone could wipe out the wrongs of a country. His organization, The Sons of the Country, more commonly called the Katipunan, was, however, far from being as bloodthirsty as most Spanish accounts, and those of many credulous writers who have got their ideas from them, have asserted. To enlist others in their defense, those who knew that they were the cause of dissatisfaction spread the report that a race war was in progress and that the Katipuneros were planning the massacre of all of the white race. It was a sufficiently absurd statement, but it was made even more ridiculous by its “proof,” for this was the discovery of an apron with a severed head, a hand holding it by the hair and another grasping the dagger which had done the bloody work. This emblem, handed down from ancient days as an object lesson of faithfulness even to death, has been known in many lands besides the Philippines, but only here has it ever been considered anything but an ancient symbol. As reasonably might the paintings of martyrdoms in the convents be taken as evidence of evil intentions upon the part of their occupants, but prejudice looks for pretexts rather than reasons, and this served as well as any other for the excesses of which the government in its frenzy of fear was later guilty.

In talking of the Katipunan one must distinguish the first society, limited in its membership, from the organization of the days of the Aguinaldo “republic,” so called, when throughout the Tagalog provinces, and in the chief towns of other provinces as well, adherence to the revolutionary government entailed membership in the revolutionary society. And neither of these two Katipunans bore any relation, except in name and emblems, to the robber bands whose valor was displayed after the war had ceased and whose patriotism consisted in wronging and robbing their own defenseless countrymen and countrywomen, while carefully avoiding encounters with any able to defend themselves.

Rizal’s arrest had put an end to all hope of progress under Governor-General Despujol. It had left the political field in possession of those countrymen who had not been in sympathy with his campaign of education. It had caused the succession of the revolutionary Katipunan to the economic Liga Filipina, with talk of independence supplanting Rizal’s ambition for the return of the Philippines to their former status under the Constitution of Cadiz. But the victim of the arrest was at peace as he had not been in years. The sacrifice for country and for family had been made, but it was not to cost him life, and he was human enough to wish to live. A visitor’s room in the Fort and books from the military library made his detention comfortable, for he did not worry about the Spanish sentries without his door who were placed there under orders to shoot anyone who might attempt to signal to him from the plaza.

One night the Governor-General’s nephew-aide came again to the Fort and Rizal embarked on the steamer which was to take him to his place of exile, but closely as he was guarded he risked dropping a note which a Filipino found and took, as it directed, to Mrs. Rizal’s cousin, Vicenta Leyba, who lived in Calle Jose, Trozo. Thus the family were advised of his departure; this incident shows Rizal’s perfect confidence in his countrymen and the extent to which it was justified; he could risk a chance finder to take so dangerous a letter to its address.

On the steamer he occupied an officer’s cabin and also found a Filipino quartermaster, of whom he requested a life preserver for his stateroom; evidently he was not entirely confident that there were no hostile designs against him. Accidents had rid the Philippines of troublesome persons before his time, and he was determined that if he sacrificed his life for his country, it should be openly. He realized that the tree of Liberty is often watered with the blood of secret as well as open martyrs.

The same boat carried some soldier prisoners, one of whom was to be executed in Mindanao, and their case was not particularly creditable to Spanish ideas of justice. A Spanish officer had dishonorably interfered with the domestic relations of a sergeant, also Spanish, and the aggrieved party had inflicted punishment upon his superior, with the help of some other soldiers. For allowing himself to be punished, not for his own disgraceful act, the officer was dismissed from the service, but the sergeant was to go to the scene of his alleged “crime,” there to suffer death, while his companions who had assisted him in protecting their homes were to be witnesses of this “justice” and then to be imprisoned.

After an uneventful trip the steamer reached Dapitan, in the northeast of the large island of Mindanao, on a dark and rainy evening. The officer in charge of the expedition took Doctor Rizal ashore with some papers relating to him and delivered all to the commandant, Ricardo Carnicero. The receipt taken was briefed “One countryman and two packages.” At the same time learned men in Europe were beginning to hear of this outrage worthy of the Dark Ages and were remarking that Spain had stopped the work of the man who was practically her only representative in modern science, for the Castilian language has not been the medium through which any considerable additions have been made to the world’s store of scientific knowledge.

Rizal was to reside either with the commandant or with the Jesuit parish priest, if the latter would take him into the convento. But while the exile had learned with pleasure that he was to meet priests who were refined and learned, as well as associated with his happier school days, he did not know that these priests were planning to restore him to his childhood faith and had mapped out a plan of action which should first make him feel his loneliness. So he was denied residence with the priest unless he would declare himself genuinely in sympathy with Spain.

On his previous brief visit to the Islands he had been repelled from the Ateneo with the statement that till he ceased to be anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish he would not be welcome. Padre Faura, the famous meteorologist, was his former instructor and Rizal was his favorite pupil; he had tearfully predicted that the young man would come to the scaffold at last unless he mended his ways. But Rizal, confident in the clearness of his own conscience, went out cheerfully, and when the porter tried to bring back the memory of his childhood piety by reminding him of the image of the Sacred Heart which he had carved years before, Rizal answered, “Other times, other customs, Brother. I do not believe that way any more.”

So Rizal, a good Catholic, was compelled to board with the commandant instead of with the priest because he was unwilling to make hypocritical professions of admiration for Spain. The commandant and Rizal soon became good friends, but in order to retain his position Carnicero had to write to the Governor-General in a different strain.

The correspondence tells the facts in the main, but of course they are colored throughout to conform to Despujol’s character. The commandant is always represented as deceiving his prisoner and gaining his confidence only to betray him, but Rizal seems never to have experienced anything but straightforward dealing.

Rizal’s earliest letter from Dapitan speaks almost enthusiastically of the place, describing the climate as exceptional for the tropics, his situation as agreeable, and saying that he could be quite content if his family and his books were there.

Shortly after occurred the anniversary of Carnicero’s arrival in the town, and Rizal celebrated the event with a Spanish poem reciting the improvements made since his coming, written in the style of the Malay loa, and as though it were by the children of Dapitan.

Next Rizal acquired a piece of property at Talisay, a little bay close to Dapitan, and at once became interested in his farm. Soon he built a house and moved into it, gathering a number of boy assistants about him, and before long he had a school. A hospital also was put up for his patients and these in time became a source of revenue, as people from a distance came to the oculist for treatment and paid liberally.

One five-hundred-peso fee from a rich Englishman was devoted by Rizal to lighting the town, and the community benefited in this way by his charity in addition to the free treatment given its poor.

The little settlement at Talisay kept growing and those who lived there were constantly improving it. When Father Obach, the Jesuit priest, fell through the bamboo stairway in the principal house, Rizal and his boys burned shells, made mortar, and soon built a fine stone stairway. They also did another piece of masonry work in the shape of a dam for storing water that was piped to the houses and poultry yard; the overflow from the dam was made to fill a swimming tank.

The school, including the house servants, numbered about twenty and was taught without books by Rizal, who conducted his recitations from a hammock. Considerable importance was given to mathematics, and in languages English was taught as well as Spanish, the entire waking period being devoted to the language allotted for the day, and whoever so far forgot as to utter a word in any other tongue was punished by having to wear a rattan handcuff. The use and meaning of this modern police device had to be explained to the boys, for Spain still tied her prisoners with rope.

Nature study consisted in helping the Doctor gather specimens of flowers, shells, insects and reptiles which were prepared and shipped to German museums. Rizal was paid for these specimens by scientific books and material. The director of the Royal Zooelogical and Anthropological Museum in Dresden, Saxony, Doctor Karl von Heller, was a great friend and admirer of Doctor Rizal. Doctor Heller’s father was tutor to the late King Alfonso XII and had many friends at the Court of Spain. Evidently Doctor Heller and other of his European friends did not consider Rizal a Spanish insurrectionary, but treated him rather as a reformer seeking progress by peaceful means.

Doctor Rizal remunerated his pupils’ work with gifts of clothing, books and other useful remembrances. Sometimes the rewards were cartidges, and those who had accumulated enough were permitted to accompany him in his hunting expeditions. The dignity of labor was practically inculcated by requiring everyone to make himself useful, and this was really the first school of the type, combining the use of English, nature study and industrial instruction.

On one occasion in the year 1894 some of his schoolboys secretly went into the town in a banca; a puppy which tried to follow them was eaten by a crocodile. Rizal tired to impress the evil effects of disobedience upon the youngsters by pointing out to them the sorrow which the mother-dog felt at the loss of her young one, and emphasized the lesson by modeling a statuette called “The Mother’s Revenge,” wherein she is represented, in revenge, as devouring the cayman. It is said to be a good likeness of the animal which was Doctor Rizal’s favorite companion in his many pedestrian excursions around Dapitan.

Father Francisco Sanchez, Rizal’s instructor in rhetoric in the Ateneo, made a long visit to Dapitan and brought with him some surveyor’s instruments, which his former pupil was delighted to assist him in using. Together they ran the levels for a water system for the the town, which was later, with the aid of the lay Jesuit, Brother Tildot, carried to completion. This same water system is now being restored and enlarged with artesian wells by the present insular, provincial and municipal governments jointly, as part of the memorial to Rizal in this place of his exile.

A visit to a not distant mountain and some digging in a spot supposed by the people of the region to be haunted brought to light curious relics of the first Christian converts among the early Moros.

The state of his mind at about this period of his career is indicated by the verses written in his home in Talisay, entitled “My Retreat,” of which the following translation has been made by Mr. Charles Derbyshire. The scene that inspired this poem has been converted by the government into a public park to the memory of Rizal.

My Retreat

By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine,
At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green,
I have built my hut in the pleasant grove’s confine;
From the forest seeking peace and a calmness divine,
Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.

Its roof the frail palm-leaf and its floor the cane,
Its beams and posts of the unhewn wood;
Little there is of value in this hut so plain,
And better by far in the lap of the mount to have lain,
By the song and the murmur of the high sea’s flood.

A purling brook from the woodland glade
Drops down o’er the stones and around it sweeps,
Whence a fresh stream is drawn by the rough cane’s aid;
That in the still night its murmur has made,
And in the day’s heat a crystal fountain leaps.

When the sky is serene how gently it flows,
And its zither unseen ceaselessly plays;
But when the rains fall a torrent it goes
Boiling and foaming through the rocky close,
Roaring uncheck’d to the sea’s wide ways.

The howl of the dog and the song of the bird,
And only the kalao’s hoarse call resound;
Nor is the voice of vain man to be heard,
My mind to harass or my steps to begird;
The woodlands alone and the sea wrap me round.

The sea, ah, the sea! for me it is all,
As it massively sweeps from the worlds apart;
Its smile in the morn to my soul is a call,
And when in the even my fath seems to pall,
It breathes with its sadness an echo to my heart.

By night an arcanum; when translucent it glows,
All spangled over with its millions of lights,
And the bright sky above resplendent shows;
While the waves with their sighs tell of their woes
Tales that are lost as they roll to the heights.

They tell of the world when the first dawn broke,
And the sunlight over their surface played;
When thousands of beings from nothingness woke,
To people the depths and the heights to cloak,
Wherever its life-giving kiss was laid.

But when in the night the wild winds awake,
And the waves in their fury begin to leap,
Through the air rush the cries that my mind shake;
Voices that pray, songs and moans that partake
Of laments from the souls sunk down in the deep.

Then from their heights the mountains groan,
And the trees shiver tremulous from great unto least;
The groves rustle plaintive and the herds utter moan,
For they say that the ghosts of the folk that are gone
Are calling them down to their death’s merry feast.

In terror and confusion whispers the night,
While blue and green flames flit over the deep;
But calm reigns again with the morning’s light,
And soon the bold fisherman comes into sight,
As his bark rushes on and the waves sink to sleep.

So onward glide the days in my lonely abode;
Driven forth from the world where once I was known,
I muse o’er the fate upon me bestow’d;
A fragment forgotten that the moss will corrode,
To hide from mankind the world in me shown.

I live in the thought of the lov’d ones left,
And oft their names to my mind are borne;
Some have forsaken me and some by death are reft;
But now ’tis all one, as through the past I drift,
That past which from me can never be torn.

For it is the friend that is with me always,
That ever in sorrow keeps the faith in my soul;
While through the still night it watches and prays,
As here in my exile in my lone hut it stays,
To strengthen my faith when doubts o’er me roll.

That faith I keep and I hope to see shine
The day when the Idea prevails over might;
When after the fray and death’s slow decline,
Some other voice sounds, far happier than mine,
To raise the glad song of the triumph of right.

I see the sky glow, refulgent and clear,
As when it forced on me my first dear illusion;
I feel the same wind kiss my forehead sere,
And the fire is the same that is burning here
To stir up youth’s blood in boiling confusion.

I breathe here the winds that perchance have pass’d
O’er the fields and the rivers of my own natal shore;
And mayhap they will bring on the returning blast
The sighs that lov’d being upon them has cast
Messages sweet from the love I first bore.

To see the same moon, all silver’d as of yore,
I feel the sad thoughts within me arise;
The fond recollections of the troth we swore,
Of the field and the bower and the wide seashore,
The blushes of joy, with the silence and sighs.

A butterfly seeking the flowers and the light,
Of other lands dreaming, of vaster extent;
Scarce a youth, from home and love I took flight,
To wander unheeding, free from doubt or affright
So in foreign lands were my brightest days spent.

And when like a languishing bird I was fain
To the home of my fathers and my love to return,
Of a sudden the fierce tempest roar’d amain;
So I saw my wings shatter’d and no home remain,
My trust sold to others and wrecks round me burn.

Hurl’d out into exile from the land I adore,
My future all dark and no refuge to seek;
My roseate dreams hover round me once more,
Sole treasures of all that life to me bore;
The faiths of youth that with sincerity speak.

But not as of old, full of life and of grace,
Do you hold out hopes of undying reward;
Sadder I find you; on your lov’d face,
Though still sincere, the pale lines trace
The marks of the faith it is yours to guard.

You offer now, dreams, my gloom to appease,
And the years of my youth again to disclose;
So I thank you, O storm, and heaven-born breeze,
That you knew of the hour my wild flight to ease,
To cast me back down to the soil whence I rose.

By the spreading beach where the sands are soft and fine,
At the foot of the mount in its mantle of green;
I have found a home in the pleasant grove’s confine,
In the shady woods, that peace and calmness divine,
Rest for the weary brain and silence to my sorrow keen.

The Church benefited by the presence of the exile, for he drew the design for an elaborate curtain to adorn the sanctuary at Easter time, and an artist Sister of Charity of the school there did the oil painting under his direction. In this line he must have been proficient, for once in Spain, where he traveled out of his way to Saragossa to visit one of his former teachers of the Ateneo, who he had heard was there, Rizal offered his assistance in making some altar paintings, and the Jesuit says that his skill and taste were much appreciated.

The home of the Sisters had a private chapel, for which the teachers were preparing an image of the Virgin. For the sake of economy the head only was procured from abroad, the vestments concealing all the rest of the figure except the feet, which rested upon a globe encircled by a snake in whose mouth is an apple. The beauty of the countenance, a real work of art, appealed to Rizal, and he modeled the more prominent right foot, the apple and the serpent’s head, while the artist Sister assisted by doing the minor work. Both curtain and image, twenty years after their making, are still in use.

On Sundays, Father Sanchez and Rizal conducted a school for the people after mass. As part of this education it was intended to make raised maps in the plaza of the chief city of the eight principal islands of the Philippines, but on account of Father Sanchez’s being called away, only one. Mindanao, was completed; it has been restored with a concrete sidewalk and balustrade about it, while the plaza is a national park.

Among Rizal’s patients was a blind American named Taufer, fairly well to do, who had been engineer of the pumping plant of the Hongkong Fire Department. He was a man of bravery, for he held a diploma for helping to rescue five Spaniards from a shipwreck in Hongkong harbor. And he was not less kind-hearted, for he and his wife, a Portuguese, had adopted and brought up as their own the infant daughter of a poor Irish woman who had died in Hongkong, leaving a considerable family to her husband, a corporal in the British Army on service there.

The little girl had been educated in the Italian convent after the first Mrs. Taufer died, and upon Mr. Taufer’s remarriage, to another Portuguese, the adopted daughter and Mr. Taufer’s own child were equally sharers of his home.

This girl had known Rizal, “the Spanish doctor,” as he was called there, in Hongkong, and persuaded her adopted father that possibly the Dapitan exile might restore his lost eyesight. So with the two girls and his wife, Mr. Taufer set out for Mindanao. At Manila his own daughter fell in love with a Filipino engineer, a Mr. Sunico, now owner of a foundry in Manila, and, marrying, remained there. But the party reached Dapitan with its original number, for they were joined by a good-looking mestiza from the South who was unofficially connected with one of the canons of the Manila cathedral.

Josefina Bracken, the Irish girl, was lively, capable and of congenial temperament, and as there no longer existed any reason against his marriage, for Rizal considered his political days over, they agreed to become husband and wife.

The priest was asked to perform the ceremony, but said the Bishop of Cebú must give his consent, and offered to write him. Rizal at first feared that some political retraction would be asked, but when assured that only his religious beliefs would be investigated, promptly submitted a statement which Father Obach says covered about the same ground as the earliest published of the retractions said to have been made on the eve of Rizal’s death.

This document, inclosed with the priest’s letter, was ready for the mail when Rizal came hurrying in to reclaim it. The marriage was off, for Mr. Taufer had taken his family and gone to Manila.

The explanation of this sudden departure was that, after the blind man had been told of the impossibility of anything being done for his eyes, he was informed of the proposed marriage. The trip had already cost him one daughter, he had found that his blindness was incurable, and now his only remaining daughter, who had for seventeen years been like his own child, was planning to leave him. He would have to return to Hongkong hopeless and accompanied only by a wife he had never seen, one who really was merely a servant. In his despair he said he had nothing to live for, and, seizing his razor, would have ended his life had not Rizal seized him just in time and held him, with the firm grasp his athletic training had given him, till the commandant came and calmed the excited blind man.

It resulted in Josefina returning to Manila with him, but after a while Mr Taufer listened to reason and she went back to Dapitan, after a short stay in Manila with Rizal’s family, to whom she had carried his letter of introduction, taking considerable housekeeping furniture with her.

Further consideration changed Rizal’s opinion as to marriage, possibly because the second time the priest may not have been so liberal in his requirements. The mother, too, seems to have suggested that as Spanish law had established civil marriage in the Philippines, and as the local government had not provided any way for people to avail themselves of the right, because the governor-general had pigeon-holed the royal decree, it would be less sinful for the two to consider themselves civilly married than for Rizal to do violence to his conscience by making any sort of political retraction. Any marriage so bought would be just as little a sacrament as an absolutely civil marriage, and the latter was free from hypocrisy.

So as man and wife Rizal and Josefina lived together in Talisay. Father Obach sought to prejudice public feeling in the town against the exile for the “scandal,” though other scandals happenings with less reason were going on unrebuked. The pages of “Dapitan”, which some have considered to be the first chapter of an unfinished novel, may reasonably be considered no more than Rizal’s rejoinder to Father Obach, written in sarcastic vein and primarily for Carnicero’s amusement, unless some date of writing earlier than this should hereafter be found for them.

Josefina was bright, vivacious, and a welcome addition to the little colony at Talisay, but at times Rizal had misgivings as to how it came that this foreigner should be permitted by a suspicious and absolute government to join him, when Filipinos, over whom the authorities could have exercised complete control, were kept away. Josefina’s frequent visits to the convento once brought this suspicion to an open declaration of his misgivings by Rizal, but two days of weeping upon her part caused him to avoid the subiect thereafter. Could the exile have seen the confidential correspondence in the secret archives the plan would have been plain to him, for there it is suggested that his impressionable character could best be reached through the sufferings of his family, and that only his mother and sisters should be allowed to visit him. Steps in this plot were the gradual pardoning and returning of the members of his family to their homes.

Josefina must remain a mystery to us as she was to Rizal. While she was in a delicate condition Rizal played a prank on her, harmless in itself, which startled her so that she sprang forward and struck against an iron stand. Though it was pure accident and Rizal was scarcely at fault, he blamed himself for it, and his later devotion seems largely to have been trying to make amends.

The “burial of the son of Rizal,” sometimes referred to as occurring at Dapitan, has for its foundation the consequences of this accident. A sketch hastily penciled in one of his medical books depicts an unusual condition apparent in the infant which, had it regularly made its appearance in the world some months later, would have been cherished by both parents; this loss was a great and common grief which banished thereafter all distrust upon his part and all occasion for it upon hers.

Rizal’s mother and several of his sisters, the latter changing from time to time, had been present during this critical period. Another operation had been performed upon Mrs. Rizal’s eyes, but she was restive and disregarded the ordinary precautions, and the son was in despair. A letter to his brother-in-law, Manuel Hidalgo, who was inclined toward medical studies, says, “I now realize the reason why physicians are directed not to practice in their own families.”

A story of his mother and Rizal, necessary to understand his peculiar attitude toward her, may serve as the transition from the hero’s sad (later) married experience to the real romance of his life. Mrs. Rizal’s talents commanded her son’s admiration, as her care for him demanded his gratitude, but, despite the common opinion, he never had that sense of companionship with her that he enjoyed with his father. Mrs. Rizal was a strict disciplinarian and a woman of unexceptionable character, but she arrogated to herself an infallibility which at times was trying to those about her, and she foretold bitter fates for those who dared dispute her.

Just before Jose went abroad to study, while engaged to his cousin, Leonora Rivera, Mrs. Rivera and her daughter visited their relatives in Kalamba. Naturally the young man wished the guests to have the best of everything; one day when they visited a bathing place near by he used the family’s newest carriage. Though this had not been forbidden, his mother spoke rather sharply about it; Jose ventured to remind her that guests were present and that it would be better to discuss the matter in private. Angry because one of her children ventured to dispute her, she replied: “You are an undutiful son. You will never accomplish anything which you undertake. All your plans will result in failure.” These words could not be forgotten, as succeeding events seemed to make their prophecy come true, and there is pathos in one of Rizal’s letters in which he reminds his mother that she had foretold his fate.

His thoughts of an early marriage were overruled because his unmarried sisters did not desire to have a sister-in-law in their home who would add to the household cares but was not trained to bear her share of them, and even Paciano, who was in his favor, thought that his younger brother would mar his career by marrying early.

So, with fervent promises and high hopes, Rizal had sailed away to make the fortune which should allow him to marry his cousin Leonora. She was constantly in his thoughts and his long letters were mailed with regular frequency during all his first years in Europe; but only a few of the earliest ever reached her, and as few replies came into his hands, though she was equally faithful as a correspondent.

Leonora’s mother had been told that it was for the good of her daughter’s soul and in the interest of her happiness that she should not become the wife of a man like Rizal, who was obnoxious to the Church and in disfavor with the government. So, by advice, Mrs. Rivera gradually withheld more and more of the correspondence upon both sides, until finally it ceased. And she constantly suggested to the unhappy girl that her youthful lover had forgotten her amid the distractions and gayeties of Europe.

Then the same influence which had advised breaking off the correspondence found a person whom the mother and others joined in urging upon her as a husband, till at last, in the belief that she owed obedience to her mother, she reluctantly consented. Strangely like the proposed husband of the Maria Clara of “Noli Me Tangere,” in which book Rizal had prophetically pictured her, this husband was “one whose children should rule “ an English engineer whose position had been found for him to make the match more desirable. Their marriage took place, and when Rizal returned to the Philippines she learned how she had been deceived. Then she asked for the letters that had been withheld, and when told that as a wife she might not keep love letters from any but her husband, she pleaded that they be burned and the ashes given her. This was done, and the silver box with the blackened bits of paper upon her dresser seemed to be a consolation during the few months of life which she knew would remain to her.

Another great disappointment to Rizal was the action of Despujol when he first arrived in Dapitan, for he still believed in the Governor-General’s good faith and thought in that fertile but sparsely settled region he might plant his “New Kalamba” without the objection that had been urged against the British North Borneo project. All seemed to be going on favorably for the assembling of his relatives and neighbors in what then would be no longer exile, when most insultingly, the Governor-General refused the permission which Rizal had had reason to rely upon his granting. The exile was reminded of his deportation and taunted with trying to make himself a king. Though he did not know it, this was part of the plan which was to break his spirit, so that when he was touched with the sufferings of his family he would yield to the influences of his youth and make complete political retraction; thus would be removed the most reasonable, and therefore the most formidable, opponent of the unnatural conditions Philippines and of the selfish interests which were profiting by them. But the plotters failed in their plan; they had mistaken their man.

During all this time Rizal had repeated chances to escape, and persons high in authority seem to have urged flight upon him. Running away, however, seemed to him a confession of guilt; the opportunities of doing so always unsettled him, for each time the battle of self-sacrifice had to be fought over again; but he remained firm in his purpose. To meet death bravely is one thing; to seek it is another and harder thing; but to refuse life and choose death over and over again during many years is the rarest kind of heroism.

Rizal used to make long trips, sometimes cruising for a week in his explorations of the Mindanao coast, and some of his friends proposed to charter a steamer in Singapore and, passing near Dapitan, pick him up on one of these trips. Another Philippine steamer going to Borneo suggested taking him on board as a rescue at sea and then landing him at their destination, where he would be free from Spanish power. Either of these schemes would have been feasible, but he refused both.

Plans, which materialized, to benefit the fishing industry by improved nets imported from his Laguna home, and to find a market for the abaka of Dapitan, were joined with the introduction of American machinery, for which Rizal acted as agent, among planters of neighboring islands. It was a busy, useful life, and in the economic advancement of his country the exile believed he was as patriotic as when he was working politically.

Rizal personally had been fortunate, for in company with the commandant and a Spaniard, originally deported for political reasons from the Peninsula, he had gained one of the richer prizes in the government lottery. These funds came most opportunely, for the land troubles and succeeding litigation had almost stripped the family of all its possessions. The account of the first news in Dapitan of the good fortune of the three is interestingly told in an official report to the Governor-General from the commandant. The official saw the infrequent mail steamer arriving with flying bunting and at once imagined some high authority was aboard; he hastened to the beach with a band of music to assist in the welcome, but was agreeably disappointed with the news of the luck which had befallen his prisoner and himself.

Not all of Dapitan life was profitable and prosperous. Yet in spite of this Rizal stayed in the town. This was pure self-sacrifice, for he refused to make any effort for his own release by invoking influences which could have brought pressure to bear upon the Spanish home government. He feared to act lest obstacles might be put in the way of the reforms that were apparently making headway through Despujol’s initiative, and was content to wait rather than to jeopardize the prospects of others.

A plan for his transfer to the North, in the Ilokano country, had been deferred and had met with obstacles which Rizal believed were placed in its way through some of his own countrymen in the Peninsula who feared his influence upon the revenue with which politics was furnishing them.

Another proposal was to appoint Rizal district health officer for Dapitan, but this was merely a covert government bribe. While the exile expressed his willingness to accept the position, he did not make the “unequivocally Spanish” professions that were needed to secure this appointment.

Yet the government could have been satisfied of Rizal’s innocence of any treasonable designs against Spain’s sovereignty in the Islands had it known how the exile had declined an opportunity to head the movement which had been initiated on the eve of his deportation. His name had been used to gather the members together and his portrait hung in each Katipunan lodge hall, but all this was without Rizal’s consent or even his knowledge.

The members, who had been paying faithfully for four years, felt that it was time that something besides collecting money was done. Their restiveness and suspicions led Andres Bonifacio, its head, to resort to Rizal, feeling that a word from the exile, who had religiously held aloof from all politics since his deportation, would give the Katipunan leaders more time to mature their plans. So he sent a messenger to Dapitan, Pio Valenzuela, a doctor, who to conceal his mission took with him a blind man. Thus the doctor and his patient appeared as on a professional visit to the exiled oculist. But though the interview was successfully secured in this way, its results were far from satisfactory.

Far from feeling grateful for the consideration for the possible consequences to him which Valenzuela pretended had prompted the visit, Rizal indignantly insisted that the country came first. He cited the Spanish republics of South America, with their alternating revolutions and despotisms, as a warning against embarking on a change of government for which the people were not prepared. Education, he declared, was first necessary, and in his opinion general enlightenment was the only road to progress. Valenzuela cut short his trip, glad to escape without anyone realizing that Rizal and he had quarreled.

Bonifacio called Rizal a coward when he heard his emissary’s report, and enjoined Valenzuela to say nothing of his trip. But the truth leaked out, and there was a falling away in Katipunan membership.

Doctor Rizal’s own statement respecting the rebellion and Valenzuela’s visit may fitly be quoted here:

“I had no notice at all of what was being planned until the first or second of July, in 1896, when Pio Valenzuela came to see me, saying that an uprising was being arranged. I told him that it was absurd, etc., etc., and he answered me that they could bear no more. I advised him that they should have patience, etc., etc. He added then that he had been sent because they had compassion on my life and that probably it would compromise me. I replied that they should have patience and that if anything happened to me I would then prove my innocence. ‘Besides,’ said I, ’don’t consider me, but our country, which is the one that will suffer.’ I went on to show how absurd was the movement. This, later, Pio Valenzuela testified. He did not tell me that my name was being used, neither did he suggest that I was its chief, or anything of that sort.

“Those who testify that I am the chief (which I do not know, nor do I know of having ever treated with them), what proofs do they present of my having accepted this chiefship or that I was in relations with them or with their society? Either they have made use of my name for their own purposes or they have been deceived by others who have. Where is the chief who dictates no order and makes no arrangement, who is not consulted in anything about so important an enterprise until the last moment, and then when he decides against it is disobeyed? Since the seventh of July of 1892 I have entirely ceased political activity. It seems some have wished to avail themselves of my name for their own ends.”

This was Rizal’s second temptation to engage in politics, the first having been a trap laid by his enemies. A man had come to see Rizal in his earlier days in Dapitan, claiming to be a relative and seeking letters to prominent Filipinos. The deceit was too plain and Rizal denounced the envoy to the commandant, whose investigations speedily disclosed the source of the plot. Further prosecution, of course, ceased at once.

The visit of some image vendors from Laguna who never before had visited that region, and who seemed more intent on escaping notice than interested in business, appeared suspicious, but upon report of the Jesuits the matter was investigated and nothing really suspicious was found.

Rizal’s charm of manner and attraction for every one he met is best shown by his relations with the successive commandants at Dapitan, all of whom, except Carnicero, were naturally predisposed against him, but every one became his friend and champion. One even asked relief on the ground of this growing favorable impression upon his part toward his prisoner.

At times there were rumors of Rizal’s speedy pardon, and he would think of going regularly into scientific work, collecting for those European museums which had made him proposals that assured ample livelihood and congenial work.

Then Doctor Blumentritt wrote to him of the ravages of disease among the Spanish soldiers in Cuba and the scarcity of surgeons to attend them. Here was a labor “eminently humanitarian,” to quote Rizal’s words of his own profession, and it made so strong an appeal to him that, through the new governor-general, for Despujol had been replaced by Blanco, he volunteered his services. The minister of war of that time, General Azcarraga, was Philippine born. Blanco considered the time favorable for granting Rizal’s petition and thus lifting the decree of deportation without the embarrassment of having the popular prisoner remain in the Islands.

The thought of resuming his travels evidently inspired the following poem, which was written at about this time. The translation is by Arthur P. Ferguson:

The Song of the Traveler

Like to a leaf that is fallen and withered,
Tossed by the tempest from pole unto pole;
Thus roams the pilgrim abroad without purpose,
Roams without love, without country or soul.

Following anxiously treacherous fortune,
Fortune which e’en as he grasps at it flees;
Vain though the hopes that his yearning is seeking,
Yet does the pilgrim embark on the seas!

Ever impelled by invisible power,
Destined to roam from the East to the West;
Oft he remembers the faces of loved ones,
Dreams of the day when he, too, was at rest.

Chance may assign him a tomb on the desert,
Grant him a final asylum of peace;
Soon by the world and his country forgotten,
God rest his soul when his wanderings cease!

Often the sorrowful pilgrim is envied,
Circling the globe like a sea-gull above;
Little, ah, little they know what a void
Saddens his soul by the absence of love.

Home may the pilgrim return in the future,
Back to his loved ones his footsteps he bends;
Naught will he find but the snow and the ruins,
Ashes of love and the tomb of his friends.

Pilgrim, begone! Nor return more hereafter.
Stranger thou art in the land of thy birth;
Others may sing of their love while rejoicing,
Thou once again must roam o’er the earth.

Pilgrim, begone! Nor return more hereafter,
Dry are the tears that a while for thee ran;
Pilgrim, begone! And forget thy affliction,
Loud laughs the world at the sorrows of man.